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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 September 16, 2019

                              How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                              How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                              You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                              We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                              The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                              Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                              1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                              Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                              For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                              • (1) Research
                              • (2) Deciding the topic
                              • (3) Creating the outline
                              • (4) Drafting the content
                              • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                              • (6) Revision
                              • (7) etc.

                              Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                              2. Change Your Environment

                              Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                              One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                              3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                              Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                              Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                              My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                              Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                              4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                              If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                              Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                              I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                              5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                              I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                              Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                              As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                              6. Get a Buddy

                              Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                              I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                              7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                              This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                              For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                              8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                              What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                              9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                              If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                              Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                              10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                              Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                              Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                              11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                              At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                              Reality check:

                              I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                              More About Procrastination

                              Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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