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So You’ve Never Cooked Before? It’s Not Too Late To Start

So You’ve Never Cooked Before? It’s Not Too Late To Start

When I was little, I remember being in awe of my mother’s cooking talents. And while I loved her legendary lemon meringue pie and other sweet treats, what really amazed me were the nights we’d have meat and vegetables for dinner.

She was able to get so many parts ready so they were all cooked at the same time—the peas, the potatoes and the lamb chops or sausages. If this sounds impossible, it will be. But if you’re just willing to try, it’s really not hard to learn to make sandwiches and salads. From there, you’ll be baking cakes and cooking pasta.

But it all comes from one thing: being willing to try.

Here are five pieces of advice for how to get started today, even if you’ve never cooked before.

1. Decide that you can cook.

Like anything in life, if you don’t think you’ll be able to do it, it’s probably not going to happen. So this first reason is deceptively simple, but crucial.

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You can cook. And one day you might even be able to say you love to cook.

2. Accept that failure IS an option.

Take some advice from a culinary master of a restaurant that’s been ranked one of the best in the world. One of the things that Danish chef Rene Redzepi is passionate about is for his chefs at Noma to “fail” or have disasters from time to time. His philosophy is that if you aren’t failing then you’re not trying hard enough.

People that love to cook know that there are going to be things that don’t work out. It’s expected. Surely if it happens to the best chefs in the world, it’s okay for it to happen to you.

3. Make a salad for yourself.

When you’re in the right headspace and it’s time to actually touch some food, the good news is you don’t need to invest a small fortune on a new set of knives. You don’t even need a kitchen really. A knife and a chopping board can be helpful but they aren’t essential. With limited utensils you could easily toss together a tuna and chili salad. All you need is a can of tuna in chili oil to mix with a bag of pre-washed salad leaves and a lemon for extra flavor.

4. Make a salad for someone else.

One of the things you’ll start loving about cooking is the opportunity to nurture your loved ones. There’s nothing as rewarding as sharing something you’ve made with your own two hands.

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The secret is that your meal doesn’t need to be anything fancy. A lovely fresh salad will suffice. And once you’ve had that feeling, it will motivate you to keep cooking.

5. Try some soup.

Soup has to be one of the most underrated meals, and also one of the most forgiving. This makes it the perfect place to start playing with fire, so to speak.

All you need is a pot to cook in and some sort of heat source. The good news is that a tasty soup doesn’t need to be simmering on the stove all day. In fact, you can get a really lovely soup on the table in as little as 10 minutes.

A very simple white bean and tomato soup is perfect to try on a stove top, but there’s no reason you couldn’t whip it up in your microwave at work. Feel free to dress it up with a little pesto or some finely sliced proscuitto or even a handful of fresh basil.

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White Bean Soup

    White Bean and Tomato Soup Recipe

    Enough for 2

    1 can white beans (400g /14oz)

    1 jar tomato pasta sauce (or even canned tomatoes)

    Parmesan cheese, to serve, optional

    1. Combine the beans, the bean canning liquid and the tomato in a heat proof bowl (or 2 bowls).

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    2. Heat in a saucepan on the stove until hot. Alternatively, microwave for 3-4 minutes or until very hot.

    3. Taste. Season. Serve with parmesan shaved over the top, if using.

    Featured photo credit: Jules Clancy via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on November 11, 2019

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

    Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

    To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

    Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

    1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

    Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

    Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

    To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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    2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

    Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

    If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

    Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

    3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

    Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

    Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

    4. Feed Your Brain

    Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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    This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

    Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

    Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

    5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

    According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

    Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

    Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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    6. Write it Down

    If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

    It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

    You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

    7. Listen to Music

    Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

    8. Visual Concepts

    In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

    Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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    Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

    9. Teach Someone Else

    Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

    Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

    10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

    Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

    So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

    Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

    More About Boosting Memory

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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