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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.

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                              Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                              How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                              How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                              Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                              You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                              Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                              1. Work on the small tasks.

                              When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                              Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                              2. Take a break from your work desk.

                              Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                              Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                              3. Upgrade yourself

                              Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                              The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                              4. Talk to a friend.

                              Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                              Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                              5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                              If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                              Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                              Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                              6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                              If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                              Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                              Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                              7. Read a book (or blog).

                              The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                              Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                              Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                              8. Have a quick nap.

                              If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                              9. Remember why you are doing this.

                              Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                              What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                              10. Find some competition.

                              Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                              Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                              11. Go exercise.

                              Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                              Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                              As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                              Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                              12. Take a good break.

                              Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                              Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                              Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                              Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                              More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                              Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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