Kitchen Secrets

Tips and Tricks Tuesday

Food Stain Removal Tips:

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Wash fabrics as recommended after these treatments – the sooner, the better.

Coffee
Stretch the fabric over a bowl and carefully pour boiling water through the stain from about a foot above. If the coffee had milk in it, follow with an oil solvent, like Carbona Stain Wizard Pre-Wash. If it contained sugar, follow with a pretreatment product, like Shout Laundry Stain Remover and let sit for 30 minutes before washing.

Ketchup
Apply Shout, then apply white vinegar with an eyedropper or a clean toothbrush to lighten the stain.

Chocolate
Scrape off the excess with a plastic knife or a spatula. Spray with a dish-soap solution (1 tablespoon clear soap to 10 ounces water) then dab with an enzyme detergent before washing (Most everyday detergents contain enzymes).

Mustard
Saturate the stain with white vinegar, then apply a dish-soap solution (see Chocolate for formula)

Ice Cream
Flush with cool water. Apple a prewash stain-removal product (like Shout), then soak in a sink filled with cool water and a few drops of detergent.

Red Wine
Sprinkle salt on the stain, then stretch the fabric over a bowl and carefully pour boiling water onto the spot from about a foot above.

White Wine
Run cold water over the stain, then spray with a dish soap solution (see Chocolate formula) and pretreat by dabbing with detergent.

Beer
Soak in 2 cups cool water and 1/4 cups white vinegar.

Milk
Soak up as much wetness as possible with a towel. Then, apply a solution of warm water and dish soap. Remove soap residue with a damp towel and blot. Repeat if necessary.

Tomato Sauce
Scrape off dried sauce, then apply a solution of warm water and dish soap. Remove soap residue with a damp towel and blot. If the stain persists, blot on an ammonia solution with a warm, damp towel.

Juice or Berries
Scrape up any solids, then apply a solution of warm water and dish soap. Remove soap residue with a damp towel and blot. If the stain persists, blot on an ammonia solution with a warm, damp towel.

The Top 5 Kitchen Tools & Gadgets to Help with Weight Loss

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While we love dessert, we like to balance our sugar rushes with healthy habits. Thanks to these kitchen tools and gadgets, we’re able to have our cake(s) and eat it too!

PS. Click on the images for more details.

BLENDER

The blender (both countertop and immersion type) is essential in every kitchen, especially when it comes to blending smoothies and pureeing soups to give them a creamy texture (without the cream).

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FRESH HERB SAVER

Not only are fresh herbs a much healthier option than dried, but they also pack a flavor punch and help in cutting down on salt consumption. Worried you won’t use them up before they wilt? Grab this fresh herb saver, a gadget that, unlike the grocery store plastic bags, will keep herbs fresh for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

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OIL MISTER

While olive oil is an essential ingredient in every kitchen, an accidental slip of the wrist (pour versus spray) can wreak havoc on your diet – fill this oil mister with olive oil (plus herbs for extra flavor, if desired) and spritz away on salads and in cooking pans.

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STEAMER BASKET

The old school steamer basket is a life (and waist) saver. Steaming couldn’t be easier than with this steamer basket (the pop-up handle helps you remove it easily), a surefire way to serve up healthy vegetables and fish.

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MEASURING CUPS & SPOONS

Obvious, right? We know, but don’t dismiss how essential these tools are for staying trim. Measuring cups and spoons will take the guesswork out of determining what a true serving size (“What do you mean that’s all the cereal I get?”) is and keep your portions down to a science.

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Tips and Tricks Tuesday

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“Just gimme some Lysol spray
Just hand me a moist towelette
Don’t tell me I’m paranoid
I know that they’re after me
Look under the microscope
See??”

-Weird Al Yankovic

Lisa wears “eau de hand sanitizer” and uses antibacterial wipes to clean everything from airline armrests to hotel TV remotes. My sister is mega-cootie-conscious, and, thanks to her, kitchens across the globe will no longer be Petri dishes for all-things-nasty. Here are her top tips to keep bacteria at bay:

1) THE SPONGE
The warm, moist kitchen sponge is enemy #1. Not only is this porous, spore-producer grimier than a public toilet, but it also acts as a vehicle, spreading germs from surface to surface.
The fix: Either zap it in the microwave 1-2 minutes on a weekly basis and then run it through the dishwasher or replace sponges with microfiber towels that you launder regularly.

2) THE SINK
The kitchen sink is another place where contamination runs wild. From the basin to the drain and taps, nowhere is safe from the perils of raw food.
The fix: In the evening, spray the drain, basin, faucets and spigot with disinfectant.

3) THE TOWELS
Dishrags are a hotbed of bacterial growth. Like the sponge, they give germs a free ride across kitchen counters, onto your hands and even onto that freshly washed apple you’re shining
The fix: Launder towels regularly and dry on high heat. Alternatively, switch to paper towels, and for those who are eco-friendly, use the 1/2-size sheets of recycled paper.

4) THE FRIDGE
Raw meat and poultry isn’t the only culprit that makes this a bacteria-box – raw, unwashed fruit and veggies come with pesticides and other germs.
The fix: Wipe down the inside of your refrigerator once a week and do a deep clean once a month. As well, clean refrigerator handles on a daily basis.

5) THE CUTTING BOARD
Cracks and crevices caused by wear and deep knife cuts make the cutting board a damp, dark, safe harbor for bacterial growth.
The fix: If using a wood board, rub it with mineral oil monthly. As well, to disinfect, use a bleach solution of 1 tbsp bleach with 1 gallon of hot water. If using a plastic board, run it through the dishwasher and use separate ones for produce and meat/poultry.

6) SECRET CROSS CONTAMINATORS
Be aware of these lesser-known germ carriers:
Can Opener: Wash with hot, soapy water
Fruit Rind: Wash before slicing through the fruit
Reusable Shopping Bag: Machine wash regularly
Kitchen Telephone: Clean with antibacterial wipe
Salt & Pepper Shaker: Wipe surfaces with disinfecting wipes
Raw meat/poultry: Don’t rinse before cooking – proper cooking gets rid of harmful germs
*and of course outside of the home, beware the
Shopping Cart: Littered with bodily fluids and bacteria

Don’t fret. It’ll all be ok if you wash your hands like a surgeon and never consider keyboards, escalator railings, playgrounds and communion cups…

Tips and Tricks Tuesday!

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1) Start the potatoes in cold water and bring to a simmer, which allows them to cook evenly.

2) Simmer the potatoes gently. If they boil too violently, they’ll fall apart before they’re cooked.

3) Test for doneness with a metal skewer. It’s more accurate than a knife and less damaging than a fork.

4) After cooking, drain thoroughly, shaking to rid the potatoes of excess water return them to the pot over low heat and stir to dry them fully.

5) The best tool for mashing is a ricer, but you can also use a food mill or simple hand-held potato masher.

6) Never use a food processor to mash russet potatoes you’ll overwork them and give them a gluey texture.

A Kid-Friendly Dinner Menu

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We think eating as a family is very important so we’ve created family-friendly recipes delicious for adults and perfect for picky eaters. Whether it’s tender Sweet and Sour Meatballs, cheesy Mac and Cheese or a sweet treat, we’ve got you covered with delicious adult and kid-friendly recipes.

og-inline-1268919520Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

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Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Popcorn

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Chocolate Cake Batter Milkshake

 

No Yolk

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Get your chalazae (the shock absorber that holds the yolk suspended in the shell) on because we’re celebrating these perfect oval bundles of high quality protein. They can do it all – bind, leaven, thicken, emulsify, clarify, scramble and poach – and we’ve got the intel to make you a full on eggs-pert.

FRESH EGGS?
To tell if an egg is fresh, place it in cold, salted water. If it sinks, it’s super-fresh, if it stays suspended, it’s around 2 weeks old and if it floats to the top, toss it because it’s long past its expiry date.

STORING EGGS
Contrary to refrigerator advertisements, keep your eggs in the carton. Eggs have over 17,000 pores on the shells’ surface and can absorb unwanted flavors and odors. As well, be sure to store the carton on an inside shelf of the refrigerator as the door temperature is a few degrees warmer and can compromise the freshness of your eggs.

BROWN EGGS vs. WHITE EGGS
There isn’t a difference in nutrition between white and brown eggs – the shell color comes from the type of hen that lays the egg.

EGG MESS
Dropped an egg on the floor? Sprinkle it heavily with salt, let it sit 10 minutes and it’ll be a breeze to clean up.

THE PERFECT HARD-BOILED EGG
In a saucepan, place eggs in a single layer and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Over medium-high heat, bring water to a rapid boil. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and run eggs under icy water until cool.

WHIPPING EGG WHITES
If you’re whipping egg whites into a frenzy, make sure you let them come to room temperature first – you’ll get better results. If you’re in a rush, place eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes to quickly bring them to room temperature.

FREEZING EGG WHITES
You can freeze your egg whites. Keep them in an airtight container and they’re good frozen for up to 2 weeks.

Baking Tips and Tricks

20_1929779273_lWhen it comes to baking tips and tricks, Lisa is our go-to gal! Adding chocolate chips, blueberries and raisins always makes for a more exciting cake, so this tip will be sure to help us out when our little friends are sinking to the bottom of the batter.

Here are 3 of our fave recipes to let you test this trick out:

Chocolate Chip Scone

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

Moist Blueberry Muffin

It’s Time To Milk Your Options

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Lately, we have seen an influx of milk alternatives flooding the scene. With the array of options from Soy to Rice, Almond to Hemp, we have come to realize that making the choice about which option to pursue has become a rather dizzying task. To help shed some light on this cloudy field, to clear udder confusion, in an attempt to make brief encounters with baristas less indecisive and to cut time spent in the dairy aisle, here we lay out the factors to consider when teetering along the milky way.

THE ORIGINAL: COW’S MILK

While milk has long been a diet staple, only in recent years have things gotten controversial. Some are opting out of the dairy drink entirely, but for those sticking around it’s important to consider where your milk is coming from and how it’s being produced. When buying cow’s milk, remember these three things: organic, grass-fed, and local. In shopping with these criteria, you are lowering the risk of contamination and ensuring the richest stream of nutrients. The benefits of cow’s milk include immune and inflammatory support, improved bone mass, blood sugar regulation, and reduced risk of heart attack. A reminder the recommended daily dosage is a four once serving of cow’s milk.

The Rundown (based on one cup):
80-150 calories (nonfat to whole)
8-9 grams of protein
30% daily value of calcium
25% daily value of vitamin D

THE POPULAR POSER: SOY MILK

Again, like cow’s milk, there are pros and cons to drinking soy milk. For women, it’s especially important to keep in mind that the phytoestrogen content in soy milk may increase the risk for breast cancer. As well, it has been said that soy can cause trouble when it comes to protein and mineral intake. Regardless, soy milk knows no such thing as saturated fat , is low-cal, lactose free, rich in protein and calcium, strengthens blood vessel integrity, offsets postmenopausal syndromes and symptoms. With soy much to offer, might this be the right choice for you?

The Rundown (based on one cup):
60-130 calories
7-8 grams of protein
0-4 grams of fiber
4-30% daily value of calcium
Up to 30% daily value of vitamin D

THE SWEET SUBSTITUTE: ALMOND MILK

Like regular cow’s milk, almond milk comes packed with vitamins and minerals, shares similar fat content, and, of course, is lactose free. It’s available in several flavours, all offering a rich, sweet, and nutty alternative. That being said, the protein, calcium and vitamin B content in almond milk does not nearly match its competitors. As long as you compensate with other sources of that which almond milk lacks, this option is one that top notch nutty and worth noting.

The Rundown (based on one cup):
60-80 calories
2-9 grams of protein
0-4 grams of fiber
20-30% daily value of calcium
Up to 25% daily value of vitamin D

THE VEGAN VOODOO: HEMP MILK

While many hesitate to chart this less-explored territory, hemp milk is the new player on the scene making a nutritious splash. Made from a blend of hemp seeds and water, it packs a serious punch when it comes to nutrients. It strengthens the immune system, improves circulation, results in healthier skin, hair and nails, builds a stronger heart and increases mental capacity. Moreover, in a single glass you are served hearty helpings of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, E, and D.

The Rundown (based on one cup):
110-130 calories
4-5 grams of protein
1 gram of fiber
46% daily value of calcium
Up to 25% daily value of vitamin D

THE FINAL FALLBACK: RICE MILK

If you’re looking for a diet-friendly milk replacement, the rice route may be the way to go. Low in fat and calories, you can stock up on plain or vanilla rice milk that is both lactose and soy free (perfect for those with allergies). However, it’s worth mentioning that nutritionally, rice milk is lacking when it comes to protein and vitamins A and C. So before you make your choice, be sure to weigh your options and consider your priorities.

The Rundown (based on one cup):
110-120 calories
1 gram of protein
2-25% daily value of calcium
Up to 25% daily value of vitamin D

(“The Rundown” information taken from eatingwell.com)