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20 Killer Cooking Hacks That’ll Make You Look Like A Total Pro

20 Killer Cooking Hacks That’ll Make You Look Like A Total Pro

Your time in the kitchen doesn’t have to be tedious. Enjoy cooking again with some of these creative hacks that put a little spice into your dishes and pantry.

1. Muffin Tin Magic

muffintin

    Pre-scoop frozen desserts into a muffin tin before you serve your meal and stick it back in the freezer. When it’s time to serve, your guests won’t have to wait.

    2. Or Slice Your Ice Cream

    icecreamloaf

      Dip the container in warm water for 30 seconds, pop the whole ice cream “loaf” onto a plate and then slice it with a warm knife.

      3. Wooden Spoons

      wooden spoon

        Prevent water or other items from boiling over by resting a wooden spoon across the top — or at the edge.

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        4. Freeze Scraps

        wineice

          Wine, stock, herbs – in ice cube trays. This gives you neat little hunks of goodness you can throw into future meals.

          5. Clothespins

          pegs-349782_640

            Keeps bags tight – and food fresh.

            6. Spoon Rest

            pothandle

              Place the end of a wooden spoon into the hole of a pot handle, keeping it up and out of the way and keeping drips on the stove or counter to a minimum.

              7. Frozen Fruit Ice Cubes

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              strawberry-82529_640

                Freeze berries, grapes and chunks of melon whole (make melon pieces into cool shapes if you’re feeling Martha Stewarty) and place them in punch, kiddie cocktails, champagne or white wine coolers.

                8. Taco Bowls

                upsidedown muffin tin

                  Turn a muffin tin upside down and spray it with a little vegetable oil if it’s not non-stick. Place tortillas in the crevices and create your own taco shell bowls. Bake at 350 until the shells are hard.

                  9. Bread in Sugar

                  breadin sugar

                    Place a piece of bread in your brown sugar container to keep the sugar from forming lumps.

                    10. Pastry Bag

                    Need a pastry bag to frost those cupcakes or write someone’s name on a birthday cake? Don’t despair. Load your frosting into a storage bag – Ziplock or plain – twist it down tight and then cut the corner off. Cut off as much or as little of the corner as you need for your “tip.” A small amount off the corner makes a great writing tip while a larger amount gives you a thick tube of frosting.

                    11. Funnel

                    Need to fill a jar? Cut the corner off an envelope or roll a piece of paper into a cone.

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                    12. A Little Water

                    guac

                      Tired of wasting guacamole when you’re done with it because it turns brown? You can save the guac! Just pour enough water on top of it to cover it and the water will prevent the guacamole from reacting with the oxygen. When you want to eat it again, just pour off the water. Voila!

                      13. Need mayo?

                      One large egg in a cup of oil in the blender makes mayo. Yeah. It’s that easy.

                      14. Bundt Pan Magic

                      corn

                        Place an ear of corn in the hole of a bundt pan and slice off the corn. The pan catches the kernels. Who knew?

                        15. Freeze Cool Whip

                        Then pop it out and cut it with cookie cutters for a fun addition to a hot beverage like cocoa.

                        16. Grill the Fish

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                        fish

                          Save that lovely piece of salmon from a grill-induced death by placing the fish on a bed of sliced lemons. The lemons infuse the fish with flavor and keep it from sticking.

                          17. Boil Water

                          Boil water for clear ice cubes. Cold water makes cloudy cubes. Yes. True.

                          18. Coffee Filters

                          coffeefilters

                            Invert a coffee filter over your glass, poke a straw through the top and keep the bugs at bay on a hot summer day. Does not prevent spilling, I’m afraid.

                            19. Ice Pack Sponges

                            Soak a sponge. Place it in a Ziplock bag. Freeze it. Place it in your lunch cooler.

                            20. Ice Cream in the Bag

                            Place your container of ice cream into a Ziplock bag before putting it in the freezer. Keeps it scoopably soft.

                            21. Cut Cherry Tomatoes or Grapes Easily

                            anigif_enhanced-buzz-25766-1377982915-4

                               

                              Simply place your cherry tomatoes or grapes (especially for little kids) between two large lids or plates and run the knife through them horizontally. Take the time to arrange them so you don’t end up smooshing them too badly.

                              More by this author

                              Michelle Kennedy Hogan

                              Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

                              8 Things to Remember When You Don’t Know What to Do with Your Life 30 Fun Things To Do With Your Friends Without Spending Much 10 Benefits of Deadlifts You Probably Never Knew 9 Benefits of Jumping Rope You Probably Don’t Know 9 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Job

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                              Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                              How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                              How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                              We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                              We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                              So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                              Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                              What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                              Boundaries are limits

                              —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                              Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                              Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                              Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                              Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                              How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                              Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                              1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                              Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                              You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                              To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                              You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                              • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                              • When do you feel disrespected?
                              • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                              • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                              • When do you want to be alone?
                              • How much space do you need?

                              You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                              2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                              Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                              Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                              3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                              Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                              That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                              Sample language:

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                              • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                              • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                              • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                              • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                              • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                              • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                              • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                              Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                              4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                              Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                              Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                              Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                              We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                              It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                              It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                              Final Thoughts

                              Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                              Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                              Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                              The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                              Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                              Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                              They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                              Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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