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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 January 21, 2020

                              The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                              The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                              Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                              your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                                Why You Need a Vision

                                Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                                How to Create Your Life Vision

                                Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                                What Do You Want?

                                The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                                It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                                Some tips to guide you:

                                • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                                • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                                • Give yourself permission to dream.
                                • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                                • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                                Some questions to start your exploration:

                                • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                                • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                                • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                                • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                                • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                                • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                                • What qualities would you like to develop?
                                • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                                • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                                • What would you most like to accomplish?
                                • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                                It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                                What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                                Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                                A few prompts to get you started:

                                • What will you have accomplished already?
                                • How will you feel about yourself?
                                • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                                • What does your ideal day look like?
                                • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                                • What would you be doing?
                                • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                                • How are you dressed?
                                • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                                • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                                • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                                It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                                Plan Backwards

                                It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                                • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                                • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                                • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                                • What important actions would you have had to take?
                                • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                                • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                                • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                                • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                                • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                                Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                                It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                                Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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