Monthly Archives: December 2015
You could use the size of your kitchen as an excuse for bad cooking or not cooking at all but not anymore. As I mentioned in 5 Space-Saving Appliances Small Kitchen Owners Need, many manufacturers are now offering all sorts of compact appliances that can help you become an iron chef. Believe it or not, even if your small kitchen only comes with a microwave, you can still make delicious meals (not frozen food) to impress your family and friends.
Therefore, stop blaming the equipment or kitchen size. Here are 10 easy, yet delightful meals you can easily prepare in your small kitchen. All you need is a portable induction cooktop, microwave or even better, just a countertop—no heat at all!
Portable Induction Cooktop Recipes for Special Date Nights
If you already traded in your gas range for more counter space, but still want to pick up your cooking skills occasionally, a portable induction cooktop will surely come in handy. Aside from putting it away when it’s not in use, it actually works like traditional stoves. You can use it to boil, sauté, stir-fry and grill as long as you cook in pans that don’t contain aluminum, copper and Pyrex.
Below are three quick, date-night recipes designed for portable induction cooktops:
Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce
- 1 pound large fresh sea scallops
- Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
- 1 lemon (zest)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted, sweet cream butter
- Chopped fresh, flat leaf parsley for garnish
- Lemon, quartered for garnish
- Pat scallops until very dry. Toss the scallops with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Set induction burner on the sear setting and heat the oil in a grill pan. When the oil becomes hot, add the scallops and cook the scallops on one side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the butter to the pan. Just as the butter melts completely, turn the scallops over and add the lemon juice.
- Cook scallops an additional minute and move to a warm plate. Add lemon zest to pan and stir sauce to blend.
- Spoon any sauce in the pan over the scallops and sprinkle the parsley over the top.
- Serve immediately.
- 4 boneless chicken breast halves without skin
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 to 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup Marsala wine
- Pound chicken to 1/4-inch thickness between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.
- Combine flour, salt, pepper, and basil; mix well.
- Heat oil and butter in an 11” sauté pan using the med-high setting on the induction burner.
- Dredge chicken in seasoned flour mixture. Cook chicken until lightly browned on first side, about 4 minutes. Turn chicken and cook about 2 minutes longer.
- Remove chicken and add mushrooms. Cook about 6 minutes until lightly browned.
- Add Marsala wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add chicken, reduce heat to med-low; cover and simmer 10 minutes and serve.
Beef Stew (Highly Recommend Cooking with a Pressure Cooker)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inches
- 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 8 oz. button mushrooms, halved
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and Pepper
- Set induction burner on sear and add olive oil to a 6-quart pressure cooker. Once the oil is hot, add the beef in batches and cook, turning occasionally until browned, about 6 minutes per batch.
- Transfer the beef to a plate once browned and season with salt and pepper. Once all the cubes are browned combine beef, carrots, onions, tomatoes, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and pepper in the pressure cooker. Add wine, mushrooms and olives.
- Cover, lock and bring to high pressure using the stir-fry setting on the induction burner.
- Use boil setting to stabilize pressure and cook for 18 minutes. Depressurize cooker using quick-release method. Carefully remove the cover and discard the bay leaves.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour and ½ cup of the cooking liquid from the pressure cooker. Blend and whisk the mixture into the sauce in the cooker.
- Cook the sauce on the induction burner using the BOIL setting, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, orange zest and parsley and serve.
Microwave Recipes, from Breakfast to Dinner
Your microwave can do so much more than just heat leftovers or frozen food. From breakfast, snacks, dinner to dessert, it’s truly a time-saver, helping you prepare healthy meals that don’t come packaged in a box.
Okay, you may be skeptical about the word “healthy,” because rumor has it, microwaves can cause cancer. However, the American Cancer Society dispelled the myth. When microwaves are used according to instructions, there’s no evidence that microwaves pose a health risk to people.
To ensure your first microwaved meal is perfect and healthy, I picked four simple recipes, from breakfast to dinner and dessert that will never go wrong.
Breakfast: Quiche in a Mug
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of milk (preferably whole milk)
- 4-8 mini cherry tomatoes
- 1 slice of halloumi (diced)
- 1 teaspoon salted butter
- 1 slice of smoked salmon
- 1 slice of bread (preferably chiabatta)
- 1 or 2 slices of onion
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon of corriander
- Cut the mini cherry tomatoes in half.
- Slice the smoked salmon into thin strip.
- Tear the chiabatta bread into small pieces and pack it into a 1/8-cup measurement.
- Crack the egg into a large microwave safe mug, pour in the milk and mix together with a fork.
- Melt the butter in the microwave and add in the egg/milk mixture.
- Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and coriander.
- Toss in all the remanding ingredients. There’s no need to spread them evenly.
- Place the mug in the center of the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute.
- Remove the quiche from the microwave and serve.
Snacks: Potato Chips
- 1 1/3 pounds Yukon Gold or red potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed
- 2 teaspoons or so of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Cooking spray
- Slice potatoes into 1/8-inch rounds for thicker potato chips. For thinner ones, use a mandolin to cut very thin slices.
- Toss slices in a medium bowl with oil and salt to coat evenly.
- Coat a large microwave-proof plate with cooking spray. Arrange some potato slices in a single layer on the plate.
- Place the plate into the microwave, leave it uncovered and cook on high for 2-3 minutes until potato slices turn brown.
- Turn slices over and continue microwaving until they start to crisp and brown around the edges, about 35 seconds for very thin potato slices or 2-4 minutes for thicker slices.
- Check frequently and rearrange slices as needed to prevent scorching.
- Transfer chips to another plate and allow to cool completely.
- Repeat process with remaining slices.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Lunch/Dinner: Microwave Risotto
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, plus extra if needed
- 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
- In a small pan, melt butter over medium heat and sauté the garlic and onions for about 2 minutes.
- In a 3-quart microwave safe dish, heat the vegetable broth for 2 minutes.
- Stir the garlic and onion mixture and uncooked rice into the bowl of broth. Cover tightly and microwave on high for 6 minutes.
- Stir in the wine, cover, and cook for 10 minutes more.
- Since all microwaves are different, if the rice is not fully cooked add ¼ cup broth and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the cheese and serve.
Dessert: Chocolate Mochi Donuts
- 1/4 cup mochiko or glutinous rice flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 4 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Combine all ingredients into a mug and mix with a small whisk until batter is smooth.
- If using mugs to cook, split batter into two mugs and microwave each separately for about 1 minute, or until cooked. If pouring into donut molds, the batter in the mug was enough for two regular-sized donut molds to be filled about 2/3 full. Cook each separately for about 1 minute. If using smaller molds, adjust time according.
- Once mochi cools, you can decorate with glaze and/or sprinkles.
No-Heat, No-Fuss Recipes
Unfortunately, for city dwellers living in a teeny tiny kitchen with little counter space, the above recipes will not work. As such, you won’t be able to fit an induction cooktop or microwave when your counters are crowded with bowls of ingredients.
Hence, why bother cooking with heat? By adapting your cooking method, you can absolutely cook with ease no matter how small your kitchen is. Here are three no-heat, no-fuss recipes that can help you become a more efficient, professional small kitchen cook. Most importantly, they’re perfect for brown bagging.
Strawberry Oat Bars
- 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
- 1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts
- 2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 cup strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
- Pulse dates, nuts, oats and salt in a food processor until combined.
- Press the date mixture into the bottom of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
- Mash half the strawberries and spread on top of date mixture. Top with remaining strawberries. Slice into rectangles.
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
- 2 tablespoons torn fresh basil, plus leaves for garnish
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Sea salt
- 1 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise, slices cut into 1/4-inch-long strips
- In a bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, walnuts, basil and oil. Season with salt.
- Let stand 20 minutes.
- Toss with zucchini and garnish with basil.
French Tuna Salad Sandwich
- 1/2 loaf crusty French baguette
- 1 clove garlic, cut in half
- 4-6 basil leaves
- 1 (6oz) can tuna
- 3/4 cup Nicoise or Kalamata olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
- 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1jar or can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup blanched French green beans, sliced into thirds (optional)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise. Remove some of the insides of the bottom half to create a trough into which the filling will go.
- Brush both halves with a little extra virgin olive oil.
- Rub each with the garlic.
- Line the half with the trough with the basil leaves.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the tuna, olives, red bell pepper, onion, parsley, artichoke hearts (if using) and green beans (if using).
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk the lemon juice into the olive oil until it is combined.
- Pour the vinaigrette into the tuna mixture and stir to combine.
- Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
- Spoon tuna mixture into the trough of the baguette over the basil leaves.
- Wrap sandwich well in plastic.
- Crush it down by placing a brick or heavy cast iron skillet and refrigerate, preferably with the weight, overnight.
- In the morning, cut sandwich in half. Wrap in foil, brown bag it and enjoy it at work.
Just because your kitchen is small, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a good cook. Next time, before you use your kitchen size as an excuse for not cooking, double check if the above recipes are REALLY impossible with your tiny space. Chances are, they’re not.
Are you simply tired of the same four walls in your home? Want to do something different or try something new? Here are 6 ways to add personality to your walls today that won’t cost you and arm and a leg!
Without adding accessories to your home, it is essentially just four walls (usually unappealing at that). Your walls determine the mood and personality of your rooms and add a backdrop for everything you choose to display. The techniques described in the article below will help you reinvent your home and add some personality to those boring walls!
You don’t have to be an artist to get savvy with a paintbrush. With so many arts and crafts stores carrying stencils, you can just about stencil any design on your walls that your heart desires. Consider painting your wall one color and using stencils of your choice to create a border, accent picture frames or mimic a wallpaper design.
Cover the whole wall with wallpaper
Wallpaper is a form of decorating that goes back to the Middle Ages, though not so defined at the time. You may feel that adding wallpaper to your home may give it an outdated or aging look. That is only true if you use a floral design, or a design that would appeal to someone who loves the Victorian era. Wallpapers come in many exciting prints that can help you create a border for your wall. Choose a theme you like! If you are working on a child’s room for example, consider boy or girl cartoons for a wall border. You can find some exceptionally brilliant designs to use to cover the whole wall without taking away from focal points or giving your rooms a dated appearance.
Spice it up with ceramic tiles
Ceramic tiles are a great way to spice up your kitchen or bathroom. Bathrooms can look spa-like and relaxing with tiled designs. Don’t just buy white ceramic tiles, buy different colors and create an interesting geometric pattern for a focal point. Many companies sell printed tiles ranging anywhere from cartoons to country themed roosters. Kitchens look great with a themed tile backsplash. This not only makes mistakes easy to clean, but gives your kitchen a fresh up to date look that many will envy.
Add personality with a vinyl decal
Vinyl decals are becoming more and more popular to add a drop of personality to a room. This is especially a great option to choose if you live in a rental. Most landlords don’t allow you to repaint your walls any color other than white, so adding a focal point to your walls is not easy. Vinyl decals however feature thousands of high quality printed designs that you can safely apply to your walls and remove with no residue left behind. These decals serve as a life-sized wall mural, but don’t require the effort of painting.
Paint your own mural
If you know an artist or you feel confident with a paintbrush, you can paint your own free hand mural. A mural can really draw a space together and this is especially true for children’s rooms or nurseries. Painting a mural from a favorite fairy tale or movie scene can make a room feel like you are there. This also eliminates the need to display too many things on the walls.
Add class with crown molding
Crown moldings are widely available at your local home hardware store and you can easily install these yourself. These strips of plaster or polyurethane create a luxurious look to any room and give your ceilings a sense of height. If your room suffers from a low ceiling and you just feel that the walls and the ceiling blend, adding strips of crown molding can be the cure!
Designing the perfect wall is a little more than choosing a bucket of paint. As this article helped point out, there are a myriad of options you can consider to decorate your walls. You can easily tackle any of these projects in a weekend’s worth of time!
There’s really no need to think you’ve got to take out a loan to redecorate your bathroom. Sometimes, to get a really big return all it takes is some small, simple changes like replacing some faucets or hanging a new shower curtain to really give your bathroom some visual appeal. There’s really a lot of different things that you can do to refresh your bathroom, but here’s 7 ways that you can fix up your bathroom on a small budget, say less than $500.
A bathroom remodel gives you really good return on your investment. Home buyers frequently consider the quality of the bathrooms when they make buying decisions. However, a total remodel can be quite expensive. Here are some ideas on how you can upgrade your bathroom without spending a huge sum of money.
A new coat of paint can always freshen up any room. Paint can hide minor wall imperfections. For your bathroom, experiment with different painting techniques to give you the effect that you want. The good thing is that the wall space is small, so you can repaint the walls fairly quickly.
If your cabinets look old and tired, you can refinish them. Old hardware can be replaced to make the cabinets look interesting. You can go with something modern-looking or something classic.
Replace an old toilet seat with a new one. If the base is still structurally sound, there is no need to replace it. A new seat is not expensive, and you can choose from many styles. It is the next best thing to replacing the entire toilet.
You can add life to a boring mirror by adding a frame around it. You can custom make a frame by using molding that is cut at a 45 degree angle. Measure your mirror carefully. You can browse the selection of molding at your local home center to pick the one that suits your bathroom decor the best.
You can use old drapery to make a nice, stylish shower curtain. All you need is a shower liner for the inside. The outer, decorative side can be anything that you wish. Using your old drapery is one way to extend the use of something that you have. The look of a bathroom can be enhanced by a nice bathroom rug. A plush rug adds a bit of luxury to the bathroom. You can also use decorative towels to finish the look. Lovely bathroom ensembles and towel sets are available at many discount merchants, so you do not have to spend a lot of money.
Bathroom fixtures can be easily replaced, and can really change the way your bathroom looks and feels. Old and stained fixtures make the bathroom look run-down. Shiny, new fixtures can add beauty to the bathroom. Your bathroom light fixtures can also be replaced for a new look. If you still have the old fluorescent lights that emits harsh, white light, replace it with a softer light. Finish off the decor with scented candles and potpourri.
Many people cannot afford a complete bathroom renovation. However, as you can see, there are ways to upgrade your bathroom without breaking the bank. If the tub, sink, and toilet are structurally sound, there is really no need to replace them. Focus on the visual improvement of the area. Make your enhancements little by little, one step at a time. Before long, you will have a beautiful bathroom with an upgraded look that you and your whole family can enjoy.
All it takes really is just a few relatively inexpensive but key updates to make a drastic difference in a bathroom. You can easily make a good thing even better by simply updating the lighting and splashing on a fresh coat of paint. It’s been said time and time again in the decorating/remodeling world that if you are on a budget, paint is your friend. Good words to remember anytime. If you shop around, there’s no reason why you couldn’t add new counter tops to complete the overhaul totaling less than $500. Take these 7 ways that you can fix up your bathroom on a small budget and combine them with your own ideas and see what you come up with today. If you’ve got a good idea, be sure to share it with us in the comments below.
Ever wanted a project you could do in a weekend in your kitchen? Whether that’s a complete overhaul or simple little inexpensive upgrades, there’s something you can do to your kitchen to better it this weekend and still maintain your budget at the same time.
If your kitchen is showing its age and you want to have it redone, you probably realize that a project of this type is quite expensive. If your budget cannot handle that extra expense at this point, you can still give your kitchen a bright, updated look without breaking the bank.
Pick out and install new hardware for your kitchen cabinets. This small, seemingly insignificant change can do wonders to add a modern touch to your kitchen. Visit any home improvement store to find an endless array of choices from which to choose.
If you have a wooden floor in your kitchen and you can’t or don’t want to have it refinished, try painting it. A coat of paint can give your kitchen floor a clean, old fashioned look that is homey and cozy.
Revamp the look of your kitchen by changing the linens. New curtains, tablecloths and tea towels in a new and different theme can make your kitchen look brand new. Choose a theme you love and that has meaning for your family. Use a playful theme if you have young children, or try a sophisticated or country theme if your family members are older.
Chances are that your cabinets are still sturdy enough to hold your dishes and cookware, but the finish may appear shabby, worn and scratched. Changing your cabinets is a major undertaking and costs quite a bit of money, but as long as the cabinets are still in usable condition, you can spruce up the outsides by having them refinished or painted. You can even do the job yourself!
While you are working on those cabinets, consider removing one of the cabinet doors to create an area in which to display some of your decorative pieces. Pitchers, fancy platters and decorative bowls are a few items that you can display in this area.
If your kitchen sink is stained and scratched and the finish is gone, you might want to consider changing the sink. While you may need the services of a plumber, a sink carries a relatively inexpensive price tag and is fairly easy to change. While you are at it, treat yourself to a brand new faucet. Even if you decide not to change the sink, a new faucet can help spruce up your kitchen, especially if you have already changed the cabinet hardware.
Because so much cooking and eating takes place in the kitchen, the walls may show splatters and stains. A quick coat of paint can help cover those unsightly marks and give your kitchen and fresh, clean look.
If your kitchen tends to be dark, you may want to consider upgrading the lighting. New, overhead fluorescent lights can help illuminate your kitchen, and installing under counter lighting can provide light where you need it most when you are preparing food. A pretty light fixture hanging over your kitchen table adds the finishing touch to the lighting project.
As you can see, there is no need to spend a fortune to help your tired kitchen spring back to life. Simple, inexpensive upgrades can work to turn your kitchen from a dark, worn room that shows its age to a fresh, modern space in which you won’t mind spending time preparing meals and an area where your family can share many happy meals and memories.
Hopefully, these short ideas have helped you along to keep a happy kitchen. These inexpensive ideas should do more than enough to keep you heading forward.
If you’ve got a full house and looking to make better use of your basement, you should really think about doing some basement remodeling. Take a little time, invest a little money, and extend a little bit of effort towards remodeling your basement and you can reap the rewards as your family expands and grows. A well-built and designed basement can serve a multitude of purposes for not only your immediate family but for anyone that may visit you as well. And if you are strapped for a little cash, you could even rent it out to someone looking for a place to stay. If you are in the market to redo your basement, you might want to keep reading as there are some things that you should take notice of.
One of the biggest steps in giving your basement a new look is finishing the ceilings, walls and floor. If it’s already framed out and ready, then don’t forget about the color. A good coat of paint can really improve the overall look of your basement. One thing to keep in mind is that basements are naturally dark, so try to stick to lighter or brighter colors.
If you are looking to make your basement a warm and inviting place, there’s a couple things to think about here. Although wood doesn’t do that well in a basement, a wood finish on your walls can really make the place feel like home. Avoid simply painting the floor as that doesn’t do much to warm the place up. Instead, think about using some laminate or carpet tiles, it’ll make not only the place feel a little more live able, but it’ll keep your feet warmer as well instead of walking on a cold and bare concrete floor.
Waterproofing Is A Necessity
To really add an extra layer of protection, since most all basements are underground, you should apply a waterproofing compound to the walls. If you have any cracks in your walls or floor you need to make sure to fill them and seal them. Never nail your frame directly to the basement wall, this will ensure that you have proper distance and ventilation to keep the basement clean and dry. You do this with furring strips, just make sure that you keep them evenly spaced at about 16 inches apart as most panels come in 4 foot width increments (48 inches). This will allow for proper fastening.
Speaking of furring strips and fastening, you should always use concrete nails if attaching them directly to the wall. If you are attaching them to the frame, you might instead go with some type of adhesive. Some people will use a wood glue when attaching the panels to the frames or strips, but I’d suggest using nails. Just make sure to countersink them in and then fill the tops with a wood putty.
Basements Are Stuffy So Let Them Breathe
If you are installing the basement walls yourself, make sure to leave enough room for ventilation. Make sure to use a couple ventilators between the concrete wall and the panels. Also, be sure to measure for electrical outlets and cut them in correctly. You don’t want a big mouse hole looking thing sticking out either above or below your actual outlet plate attached on the walls.
Don’t Be Afraid
The basement is one area, if you are looking for just some more room to stretch out, where you can let your creative juices flow. Come up with your own theme. Use paints and colors to match it. If you are a big baseball fan, think about what your favorite stadium or team is and go with it. Decorate and colorize it to your liking. Take note of how much lighting you have in the room overall and see where you could put some accent lights to really catch someones eye.
But most of all, just remember that your overall objective of your basement remodeling project is to make your basement a place where you’d want to be. It should fit your style, your comfort zone, and be a place where you can come and kick off your shoes for a while and relax the way you want to and how you want to.
CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATES.
The observed labeled alterations in the Earth’s weather by research workers, along hundreds of years, is usually a direct results of the global warming. In present-day global warming debates, nonetheless, the simple fact of climate change have been extensively in contention.