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Holiday Weekend Grilling Hacks

Holiday Weekend Grilling Hacks

    Memorial Day. July 4th. Labor Day. Heck, maybe even Thanksgiving if the weather is exceptionally balmy.

    In America, holiday weekends mean just one thing: time to grill! After all, It’s just not a party unless there’s meat sizzling over charcoal.

    But anyone can grill. It’s rarer to find someone who can grill like a master, who knows every tip, trick, and grilling hack in the book. If you want to dazzle your guests at your holiday BBQ, here are some pro tips you need to add to your repertoire.

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    1. Keep Food From Sticking to the Grill

    Left Eye has a quick, easy, and flavorful hack that helps to prevent food from sticking to the grill, while also imparting additional flavor to the meats or fish you are preparing.

    Left Eye’s advice specifically related to fresh salmon, but can be used for other foods as well: “Cut two pieces of a large onion and cook a small fillet between it. It will keep the fish from sticking to the grill without using a ton of oil. It helps keep the fish moist and tells you when to flip it — when the bottom onion is cooked through.”

    2. Avoid Carcinogens

    The website Healthcare Hacks warns fans of the holiday weekend BBQ that backyard grilling can be bad for your health.

    When red meat is cooked over high temperatures, this “results in the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCA), which have been found to be carcinogenic in animal models, and may increase a person’s risk for numerous forms of cancer…When grilled meat is cooked to the point of char-broiling, it can lead to the formation of something even worse: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). PAHs are the same cancer-causing compounds found in tobacco smoke.”

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    So how do you avoid the formation of these carcinogenic compounds?

    Well, there are two schools of thought, but they both come down to added flavors.

    The team at Healthcare Hacks suggests that certain spices contain known antioxidants that reduce levels of HCA in cooked meats, sometimes by as much as 40% when they are added before cooking.

    “The spices in question include cumin, coriander seed, galangal, fingerroot, rosemary, and turmeric,” they explained. “The last three had the highest level of HCA-inhibiting activity, with rosemary being the most effective.”

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    Left Eye suggests that you “marinade any protein (meat, chix, fish, etc.) for at least 15-minutes before throwing it on the grill. A quick dunk in simple sodium solution will reduce HCAs — cancerous byproducts of searing by almost 90%.”

    A related article on Shine adds, “Marinating can reduce HCA formation by as much as 92 to 99 percent, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). One study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that marinating red meat in beer or wine for two hours significantly reduced HCAs. “

    3. Give Your Grill Plenty of Time to Preheat

    You need to preheat your grill before cooking on it for best results; a hot grill will cook food faster and more evenly.

    The amount of time that you should be preheating your grill depends entirely on what sort of fuel you prefer. If you’re rocking a gas grill, 15 minutes should suffice. However, if you are using charcoal briquets or hardwood chips, up that time to a full half hour for best results.

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    Oh, and make sure you keep that lid on tight while you’re preheating. Otherwise, all the heat will escape.

    4. Don’t Squander The Residual Heat

    The grill is gonna stay warm for quite a while after you turn it off, and it’s a shame to not take advantage of that residual heat. One great tactic is to keep burgers, dogs, buns, and other nibbles on the covered grill to keep them warm.

    Another use for a hot grill is for making desserts. Try campfire favorites like S’mores (laid out over a foil-covered grill) or a banana boat: cut a banana (in the peel) lengthwise, stuff it with marshmallows and chocolate chips, and wrap the whole thing up in aluminum foil. Leave it on the grill, and 30 minutes or so later, you’ll have an ooey gooey treat that will get the kids out of your hair and take very little effort.

    Do you have any grilling hacks or tips? Share them in the comments below!

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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