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40 Delightful And Mind-Blowing Baking Hacks You Can’t Miss

40 Delightful And Mind-Blowing Baking Hacks You Can’t Miss

We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of baking a cake and you run out of a key ingredient. You’re mixing ingredients and end up with more on you and on your counter than in the mixing bowl. Baking can be a headache, but it really doesn’t have to be. To ease your baking-induced stress, you can turn to these backing hacks .

1. Want A Flawless Cake? Measure Your Flour Properly.

Measuring Flour

    Spoon your flour into a dry measuring cup, then scrape the excess off with a knife. Scooping from a bag causes the flour to become compressed, often giving you more flour than your recipe calls for.

    2. Prevent The Whisker Splatter Blues With A Paper Plate.

    Paper Plate On Mixer

      Cut holes into a paper plate for the beaters, then place it above them. The paper plate catches the back splash and eases post-baking cleanup.

      3. Struggling To Decorate That Cake? Grab A Cookie Cutter.

      Cookie Cutter Cake Decoration

        Place the decorative cookie cutter gently on top of the frosted cake. Fill the cookie cutter with enough sprinkles to cover the icing on the cake, gently pressing them in to prevent spilling when the cookie cutter is removed. The result? A perfectly shaped sprinkle decoration on your cake. Check it out here.

        4. Print This Common Measurement Cheat Sheet For A Quick Reference.

        Kitchen Measurements Cheat Sheet

          Whether you’re doubling a recipe or simply like conversions, this cheat sheet is handy to have when baking. Find it here.

          5. Broken Whisker? Grab A Mason Jar And Whip That Cream.

          Whipped Cream in a Jar

            Mason jars have been taking over the Pinterest world – and for good reason. If you can’t find your whisk, pour your cream in a mason jar and shake away. Found here.

            6. Tired Of Post-Brownie Pan Clean Up? Reach For The Parchment Paper.

            parchmentpaperbrownie

              Line your baking dish with foil or parchment paper and then lightly butter it. You’re welcome.

              7. So You Dropped An Eggshell Into Your Dish…

              Egg Shells

                Wet your finger and place it near the shell. It will gravitate towards your finger, making it easier to remove it. If you can’t find them, don’t fret. Eggshells sink when baked, so finding them after will be a breeze.

                8. You Can Also Use The Half Empty Shell.

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                eggshellscoop

                  That’s right. Instead of sticking your finger into the eggs, you can use the half empty shell to scoop the eggshell piece up.

                  9. Out Of Brown Sugar? Use White Sugar And Molasses.

                  Make Your Own Brown Sugar

                    Brown sugar is essentially white sugar before the molasses is removed through processing. Follow the recipe here when you’re in a pinch.

                    10. Or Refer To This Handy Substitutions List.

                    13-handy-cooking-and-baking-substitutions-for-missing-ingredients.w654

                      Pull up this image whenever you’ve realize too late in the baking game that you’re out of something. Found here.

                      11. Test Your Baking Soda Before Baking.

                      Baking Soda In Water

                        Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a 1/2 cup of hot water. If it doesn’t bubble, it’s time to throw it away.

                        12. Keep Baking, Even When You’ve Run Out Of Muffin Tins.

                        Mason Lids

                          Like a tray with mason jar bands, place the liners inside and fill with batter, then bake. Perfect solution to a bit of leftover batter.

                          13. No Frosting? Use Powdered Sugar And Lace.

                          Lace Cake Decoration

                            Find the full instructions here to have beautiful masterpieces in mere minutes.

                            14. Keep Your Cookies Moist Longer.

                            storecookies

                              Store cookies with an apple slice or an orange peel. The cookie will absorb the moisture, keeping them softer, longer.

                              15. Make Frosting Any Color With This Color Chart.

                              SCAN0001 (3)

                                A basic box of primary colors is all you’ll need to achieve these beautiful results. More colors can be found here.

                                16. Or Use Jell-O!

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                                jello frosting

                                  Add a bit to frosting to your favorite Jell-O color or follow this recipe. Added flavor and fun colors?! A must try.

                                  17. Use A Wine Bottle As A Rolling Pin.

                                  winebottle

                                    Can’t find your rolling pin? Reach for the wine. Sure, a glass will help your baking-induced nerves, but the bottle also doubles as a great rolling pin when you don’t have one of your own.

                                    18. Quickly Bring Your Eggs To Room Temperature.

                                    eggsinwater

                                      Did you forget to leave your eggs sitting for an hour before baking? Of course you did – everyone does. Don’t fret. Simply fill a bowl with luke-warm water and place your eggs in. Let them sit for 10-30 minutes to achieve room-temp eggs.

                                      19. Working With Something Sticky? Wet Your Hands.

                                      hand gingerbread dough

                                        Wetting your hands before working with something sticky, like fudge, will help you handle it without getting it stuck to you.

                                        20. Use Saran Wrap To Make Your Decorating Bags Last Longer.

                                        Frosting4

                                          Wrap your icing like a tootsie roll in the saran wrap and then place it in your decorating bag. Pull one twisted side through the decorating bag and cut off the twisted part. Add the decorating tip to the bag and frost away. Follow the step-by-step instructions here.

                                          21. Make A Box Cake Tastes Homemade.

                                          eggs

                                            Use one more egg than the recipe calls for and replace the vegetable oil with butter. Viola – homemade cake from a box.

                                            22. Rid Yourself Of Pesky Air Pockets In Your Cake.

                                            dropcake

                                              After you’ve filled your cake pan with batter and before you place it in the oven, drop it onto the counter a few times. This will release the bubbles, helping the cake to bake more evenly in the oven. And it’s not a bad stress-reliever, when you’ve got an apron covered in flour and streaks of batter lining your creased forehead.

                                              23. Keep Your Brown Sugar Soft.

                                              brown sugar marshmallow

                                                Store your brown sugar with a slice of bread or a large marshmallow for like-new softness, no matter when you use it.

                                                24. No Butter? Reach For An Avocado.

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                                                avocado-vs-buttercakeletter

                                                  Whether you’re watching your cholesterol or you just want a healthier alternative, replace the butter in your recipes with avocados.

                                                  25. Cool Down Whipping Cream Or Meringues With Freezer Pops.

                                                  mixerfreezerpops

                                                    Place a pack of freezer pops underneath your mixing bowl too keep your whipping cream or meringues cool.

                                                    26. Prevent Sticky Ingredients From Sticking Around The Measuring Cup.

                                                    spraying measuring cup

                                                      Honey, syrup, molasses…whatever sticky substance you measure will slide right out of the measuring cup when you spray the measuring cup with a non-stick spray first. It’s so obvious, it almost hurts.

                                                      27. Want The Perfect Pie Crust?

                                                      pie-50407_1280

                                                        Use both butter and shortening in your crust recipe. The butter adds flavor, while the shortening adds flakiness.

                                                        28. Get Professional Cake Decorations Using Wax Paper.

                                                        cakeletter

                                                          Cut a piece of wax paper the size of your cake. Decorate the wax paper as you would the cake (mistakes are easily wiped away) and then freeze. When it comes time to decorate the cake, all you will have to do is gently peel the frozen letters off of the paper and place them onto the cake.

                                                          29. Tired Of Crumbling Cookies?

                                                          coolingcookies

                                                            Let your cookie rest on the sheet pan for 20 – 30 seconds before moving them to a cooling rack. Leaving them sit for that brief time allows the heat to escape and helps prevent your cookies from crumbling.

                                                            30. No Frosting Pipette? Grab A Syringe.

                                                            syringe

                                                              Fill a syringe with frosting, then use it for precise decorating on cookies, cupcakes or whatever your frosted heart desires.

                                                              31. Or A Sandwich Baggie.

                                                              s3.amazonaws.com_photography.prod.demandstudios.com_58f4c766-9f3f-4230-86ad-b2bb85e2023a

                                                                Simply fill the baggie with icing and cut off a corner. It could be a big piece or a little piece, depending on your desired piping size. Or go wild and create many sizes to fit your baking needs.

                                                                32. Use Tinfoil To Create A Smaller Baking Dish.

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                                                                tartpanhack

                                                                  Follow the instructions here to create a smaller baking pan using tinfoil.

                                                                  33. Get Even Cookies By Wrapping, Rolling, And Slicing.

                                                                  cookieroll

                                                                    Roll your cookie dough onto a sheet of parchment and then carefully roll it into a log. Refrigerate the dough until it’s firm. Once it’s firm, cut the dough crosswise into even sections, place on a tray and bake.

                                                                    34. Turn Gluten-Free Oats Into Flour.

                                                                    oatflour

                                                                      Gluten-free doesn’t have to mean baked treats-free. Simply blend your gluten-free oats until they achieve a powdered consistency and then get to baking.

                                                                      35. Experiment With Cake Textures.

                                                                      caketexture

                                                                        Sour cream and yogurt can be used in place of milk to achieve different densities and textures.

                                                                        36. Soften Brown Sugar In Seconds.

                                                                        brown sugar

                                                                          Place your brown sugar in the microwave, cover with a wet paper towel and microwave for around 20 seconds. Boom. Soft brown sugar.

                                                                          37. Check Your Eggs’ Freshness With Water.

                                                                          eggsfloat

                                                                            Place an egg in a dish of water. If it sinks, it’s fresh; if it floats, it’s not. If it stands on one end, it’s best to use soon.

                                                                            38. Create Cake Layers With Dental Floss… Seriously!

                                                                            670px-Cut-a-Cake-Layer-in-Half-Step-3

                                                                              Need to cut your cake in half to create two cake layers? Wrap dental floss around the middle of the cake, pulling each end out and away from it, then move the floss slightly from side to side. Just, maybe think about skipping the mint-flavored variety. Illustrated instructions can be found here.

                                                                              39. Give Your Frosted Cake A Glossy Finish.

                                                                              blow dry cake

                                                                                Right before serving, use a hair dryer on medium heat on the cake until the frosting starts to melt. The melted frosting solidifies, presenting you with a beautifully glossed cake.

                                                                                40. Cut The Cake Fat… Use Applesauce.

                                                                                applesauce

                                                                                  Replace oil in cake recipes with unsweetened applesauce. The ratio is simple: 1:1.

                                                                                  Featured photo credit: birthday cupcake!/Ginny via flickr.com

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                                                                                  Last Updated on June 15, 2018

                                                                                  What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                                                                                  What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                                                                                  Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

                                                                                  Video Summary

                                                                                  Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

                                                                                  Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

                                                                                  Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

                                                                                  Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

                                                                                  This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

                                                                                  Sitting Is the New Smoking

                                                                                  Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

                                                                                  The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

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                                                                                  Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

                                                                                    Sit Properly

                                                                                    If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

                                                                                    Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

                                                                                      Credit: StayWow

                                                                                      Stand Up More

                                                                                      Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

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                                                                                      Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

                                                                                      Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

                                                                                      Or get a standing desk.

                                                                                      One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

                                                                                      Exercise for Lower Back Pain

                                                                                      Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

                                                                                      But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

                                                                                      The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

                                                                                      Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

                                                                                      Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

                                                                                      This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

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                                                                                      Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

                                                                                      Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

                                                                                      There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

                                                                                      Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

                                                                                      I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

                                                                                      Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

                                                                                      If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

                                                                                      Where to Start

                                                                                      The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

                                                                                      Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

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                                                                                      If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

                                                                                      Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

                                                                                      Keep a straight back.

                                                                                      Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

                                                                                      Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

                                                                                      I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

                                                                                      If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

                                                                                      Stay Away From the Back Pain League

                                                                                      Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

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