Browsing Category: how to make this work

Peel, cut, core, dice: Tips for fruit and veggie prep

how to cup up veggies, how to cut up fruit
The Kitchn has compiled a super-handy list of 20 tips and how-to’s for prepping various fruits and vegetables. Some of the more interesting entries:

How to peel a head of garlic in 10 seconds. Two bowls, a solid surface, and you’re 10 seconds away from a bunch of naked garlic cloves.
How to peel roasted red peppers.
How to cut a mango.
How to dice an avocado.
How to dice an onion.
How to core a head of iceberg lettuce.
How to seed a pomegranate.

See the full list of 20 items.

Also, here are a few short, helpful videos from Domestic Geek:

Kitchen tips: Stuff to keep handy by the stove

2-canisters-252Bpitcher

Today I’m going to share a couple things I love that make everyday cooking just a little easier.

I’ve always kept all the most-frequently-used cooking tools close at hand in one large canister right by the stove. That’s handy, but as we collected more gadgets it got more stuffed, to the point where you couldn’t pull out one item without bringing one or two others with it. Not a major problem in the big picture, but just a little daily irritation.

So, a few weeks ago, I went through the utensils and narrowed them down to the ones that really get used weekly to daily. There were still quite a few, so I got two canisters of different heights and sorted the tools out by height. It’s a small change, but it makes it so much easier to find the exact thing I’m after, and pull it out quickly and cleanly.

Then a few days ago I had an ah-ha: I use my measuring spoons every single day, but I’ve always kept them in a drawer with other gadgets. Why not keep them out in the open by the stove, too? So I hunted in a local flea market for something tall enough to hold my measuring spoons, short enough so I can read the measurements stamped on them, and hefty enough to not tip over easily. I found this cute little ironstone pitcher for six bucks — score! It’s just perfect.

By the way, one of the things that makes every day cooking a little easier is these rectangular stainless steel measuring spoons. What I love most about them is that because they’re so long and narrow, they fit in just about any spice jar! I also like the fact that the rectangular shape makes it easy to eyeball a partial spoonful if, for example, you need a 1/2 teaspoon, but that spoon and the 1/4 teaspoon are in the dishwasher. Just grab the full teaspoon and guesstimate it.

I actually have two sets, so there’s (almost) always one clean in any size I need. I also like that the set includes a 3/4 teaspoon and a 1/8 teaspoon. You might balk at spending $12 – 14 on a set of measuring spoons, but not only will you use them every day, but these things will last for generations — literally. So that really makes it pennies per use.

Where I got the stuff:
The red canisters: Target (they came with lids, but I don’t use them)
The ironstone pictcher: A Legacy Antique Mall, Wichita KS
The measuring spoons: I don’t remember, but you can pick up a set (or two) at my Amazon shop.

Ten ways to sneak healthier choices into your snacks

apple sandwiches - healthier snacks

Snacks happen.

Don’t pretend like you’re not gonna have ’em! Plan for them. Stock your pantry, your desk, or your vehicle with some handy but satisfying alternatives.

When you’re craving something unhealthy, think about healthy alternatives that have a similar flavor and texture profile: almonds

1. Want something crunchy and salty? Replace crackers and chips with nuts. Keep a variety of your favorites on hand. Yes, they have fat, but it’s mostly the good kind (especially walnuts and almonds), and fat satisfies sooner than carbs, so you may eat less.

2. Want something salty and sweet? Try an apple and sugar-free nut butter, or apple with cheese. I especially like smoked Swiss.

3. Want something creamy and sweet? Stir together some frozen berries, Greek yogurt or dairy-free yogurt, vanilla and sweetener of your choice. (Find out which ones are lower in fructose.)

4. Replace sugar- or sweetener-laden soda with soda water. Flavor it with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Add sweetener if you must, but you get to control what kind of sweetener and how much goes in.

5. Dip raw carrot or jicama chips in Caesar, ranch or blue cheese dressing. Watch out for sugar and corn syrup in store-bought dressings, though. Better to make your own. (Search this blog for some great salad dressing recipes. Also, try this 5-minute magic green sauce!)

6. Serving dip at a party? Take hearts of romaine: tear or cut away everything but the strong central rib. Save the leafy part for salads, and use the ribs for dippers, instead of chips or crackers. (Here’s my herbed cream cheese dip. For a dairy-free dip, try Dump Ranch.)

7. Got the munchies? It might just be thirst and/or boredom. Have a glass of ice water and go do something interesting or relaxing for 10 minutes.

8. Mix cottage cheese, salsa and guacamole; dip it with celery stalks or romaine ribs. (Dairy free? Sub coconut yogurt for the cottage cheese.)

9. When you would normally go to potato or corn chips, go with 100% whole-grain, non-hydrogentated-fat crackers (such as Triscuits) or gluten-free crackers, and spread them with something that brings some protein and/or fat to the mix: cheese, ricotta, sugar-free nut butter, or hummus.

10. Do a little research and find out what healthy options are available where you tend to stop for snacks. At QuikTrip, walk right past the chip aisle and look for the healthy options, including fresh fruit and cheese sticks.

Get more tips like this in my ebook, “Small Steps to Big Change: 10 easy diet hacks anyone can do.” Find it and others on my books page.

ebook; Small Steps to Big Change