Tag Archives: kitchen

What’s Cookin?

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What’s Cookin?

Hello! I have always enjoyed cooking and have fond memories of making anything and everything together with my mom. Cooking in the kitchen in my apartment is an entirely different story, though, because it’s so small and I don’t know about you guys, but I like having lots of room to spread out when I’m making food. I also don’t know about you guys, but I fell into a bit of a depression during the most extreme parts of the pandemic and that left me never feeling like even attempting to make home cooked meals.

The stress of working throughout the pandemic as well as a job that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with really contributed to my slump and it made it hard to do just about anything when I would return home from work. However, this past month has been a complete one eighty as I accepted a new position that I am in love with. Every day, I have come home so happy and both Johnny and I can’t remember the last time I would get off work in such an amazing mood.

Because of this, my love of cooking has definitely been reignited and I have been making meals several times a week for me and my husband to enjoy. Below are some of the favorite recipes that I have whipped up so far and it has felt great to have delicious meals to serve every night. Check it out:

This past month, I have made mac n’ cheese, veggie enchiladas, quesadillas, and pizza. I also used a super easy recipe for pepperoni bread for my non vegetarian husband that he is crazy about. When I began cooking again, I wanted to find simple recipes with limited ingredients as I only have one small counter space to work on in my kitchen. It has been a huge success and I feel proud of myself the entire time. In fact, I feel so happy that I normally will be singing or humming to myself as I chop veggies. This is a far cry from sitting on the couch in misery waiting for yet another air fried meal to cook!

Cooking dinner is a love language that I have learned from a young age from both my mom and grandma and I love being able to express that again. I really enjoy getting creative with the dinners I make now and while I’ll follow the basic recipes, I always try to doctor them up to make it even better. Our favorite recipe is, easily, the jalapeno popper quesadillas and it makes me feel wonderful when Johnny will request them every other night lol. 🙂

I am looking forward to all of the yummy meals that I plan on making and Johnny is looking forward to eating them. One of the last times I made dinner this past week, I told him that it feels good to feel like me again and I wake up every day now eager to go to work and come home to engage in one of my favorite hobbies again. Here’s to delicious meals for all! ❤

What are some of your favorite recipes? Who is the best cook in your family? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Kitchen Upgrades To Try Today

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Kitchen Upgrades To Try Today

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. We tend to spend a lot of time in this space, cooking, chatting, hosting guests. So, why not consider giving your kitchen a little overhaul with some new appliances that will not only look great, but will add to your cooking too? Here are just a few examples you might want to consider:

A Stand Mixer:

Into baking? Throughout the past year and a half, many people have picked up baking as an activity to keep them preoccupied with free time found during the pandemic. We can’t blame them! Baking can be carried out easily from the comfort of your own home – and you get a delicious treat at the end too! Now, if you’ve been practicing and are getting better at your breads, cakes, pastries and other baked goods you may be aware of just how tiring it can be thoroughly mixing ingredients. This is where a stand mixer could help. Stand mixers do the hard work for you, leaving you with a lovely dough or batter, ready to bake.

A Coffee Machine:

If you like a good cup of coffee, you don’t have to go to your local coffee shop to get one. If you have a coffee machine at home, you’ll be able to make delicious brews within your own four walls. A coffee machine can do much more than simply pouring hot water from the kettle into some granules. When choosing your machine, make sure to look for good reviews and recommendations. This will give you an idea of other people’s experience with your chosen machine and whether it’s worth the money. There are different options on the market to suit different budgets but, generally speaking, the better the machine is, the better the coffee will be.

Cookware:

A lot of us settle for budget cookware only to find that food sticks to it or the food burns on it. This is less than ideal, so consider overhauling your cookware and investing in some new versions. There are different types for different cooking devices, such as the best ceramic cookware for oven, stove top, and more. There are also many different designs, allowing you to match your pots, pans and trays to the aesthetic of your kitchen itself.

A Slow Cooker:

Many of us are working from home now and would love to be able to prep a few simple ingredients in the morning to have dinner ready at the end of the day. A slow cooker can achieve this. Leave it plugged in with your ingredients inside and you can have some great casseroles, stews, and curries lined up for your evening meals.

There’s an endless array of other kitchen appliances and equipment out there. The options highlighted above are just a few useful suggestions that could do you and your home a world of good!

Featured Image By: Pexels

TJMaxx Home Goods Haul

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TJMaxx Home Goods Haul

Hi! After a long year and change without in store TJMaxx shopping, my mom and I finally had our first outing to TJs last week. It was everything I ever could have imagined AND MORE! While it was great fun to spend my birthday gift cards, it was even better to spend time with my mom browsing the aisles and modeling the clothes we tried on together. We both walked away with lots of goodies that we are so happy with and I have been mentally reliving our shopping trip since we left the store.

Today, we are going to look at a few of the home goods items that I got for mine and Johnny’s apartment. My TJMaxx clothing haul will begin on July first after we discuss my June 2021 Finishes so keep it posted for that! Now, let’s get to it:

Since moving into my apartment over two years ago, I haven’t bought too much in terms of home goods. Between my initial Moving On Up Hauls and all of the things Johnny brought when he moved in, we really didn’t need anything. However, the laundry hamper that I purchased at TJMaxx when I moved was falling apart at the bottom and it definitely needed replacing. I was hoping to find a new one during my outing with my mom and the TJMaxx gods must have felt it! I love the woven wood hamper that I picked out because of how sturdy it is, the fact that it has a lid, and it is way prettier than my old one. 😀

For my kitchen, I picked up a few odds and ends like ice cube trays in an adorable honeycomb pattern, plates, and a few dish towels. Johnny and I have been saying for forever that we need some ice cube trays and the ones I found are ideal because they won’t take up a lot of room in our tiny freezer. The plates were also a must because we are constantly running out of them, which means we are constantly doing dishes! I thought that four plates for eight dollars was a steal, too.

TJMaxx didn’t have a whole lot of choices in terms of dish towels, but the Love Birds ones that I selected (On clearance!) will do just fine. In fact, they are perfect for us as a newly married couple! My mom was even kind enough to get some of the home supplies for us as an extra wedding prezzie. So sweet! ❤

Shopping at TJMaxx with my mom was absolutely amazing and this outing in particular will forever hold a special place in my heart. We picked up at TJs right where we left off so long ago and I am already looking forward to our next shopping trip. ❤

Where is your favorite place to shop? Who do you like to go shopping with? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Amazing Ways To Cook The Best Steaks

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Amazing Ways To Cook The Best Steaks

If you like steak, it is a given that you have your favorite way to cook them and ask any steak lover, and you may get a different answer. Nevertheless, treating every steak the same would be a foolish disservice. So, let’s look at a few of the ways you can cook steak:

Grill:

Specifically charcoal grilled thin steaks. With meat prices rising, it’s good to know how to cook thin steaks. Grilling steak is quick, simple, and hard to mess up after a short period of learning. All you need is a grill (gas or charcoal), steaks, salt, pepper, and oil.

Start the grill and let it get nice and hot; oil and season the steaks on both sides, and when the grill is good to go, throw the steaks on and leave them alone for 3-5 minutes a side depending on how red you like them. Once the time is up, remove the steaks, leave them to rest covered in foil, and then serve.

Sous Vide:

Sous Vide involves vacuum sealing your steak, cooking it for nearly an hour in temperature-controlled water, then finishing it off with a sear. This may sound like a strange method, but it leads to the most evenly cooked and potentially best tasting steaks out there! There is a very sensory experience with cooking with Sous Vide, you get the aromatic smokey smell of steak getting cooked on high heat, and the end results are exceptional.

Pan Fry:

Pan frying steak is not dissimilar to grilling, except you don’t need to go outside. Like the grill, make sure your pan is hot. A cast-iron pan or a similar heavy-bottomed skillet works best because they hold more heat. You may want to oil your steak, or you may wish to simply salt and pepper the steak and then drop a lump of butter in the pan. A meat splash guard is good for keeping the ventilation going. Otherwise, your kitchen will be covered in grease spots. Not ideal when you want to enjoy your meal!

Sear Roasting:

Sear-roasting involves pre-heating both your oven and a cast-iron skillet at upwards of 500 Fahrenheit. When both the skillet and oven are piping hot, you put an oiled or buttered steak in the skillet, sear it on both sides and then slip it into the oven to finish cooking.

By searing first and then finishing in the oven, sear roasting causes fewer problems than pan-frying and broiling. However, this method is less accurate than grilling or sous vide, where you bring a steak more or less precisely to temperature.

Steak Tartare:

This method is quite overlooked, probably because, at first glance, it does not require any preparation at all, which is a myth. Steak Tartare is a popular dish in France and is overlooked since it is raw. Steak Tartare is not only odd for the lack of heat involved in its preparations, but it is also chopped up before serving!

Its preparation usually involves the assembly of ingredients, but there are also crucial steps to ensure food safety. It is important to locate a fresh cut of good meat as the meat will not be exposed to heat on the outside, where most of the bacteria are. Proper steak tartare starts out life as a decent steak; this recipe suggests eye of round, which is then chilled in the freezer and diced up immediately before serving.

Become the host with the most at your next gathering with the tips above!

Featured Image By: Gonzalo Guzman on Pexels

5 Easy Ways To Optimize Your Kitchen Space

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5 Easy Ways To Optimize Your Kitchen Space

Whether you have a large kitchen or a more modest space, it’s important to make the most of it. With a more organized kitchen, cooking and cleaning will be much less stressful. You can optimize your workflow and always find what you’re looking for. The kitchen is one of the most essential rooms in the house, so it needs a practical design. Assess your needs and plan the layout accordingly. Here are a few ways you can optimize your kitchen space:

Optimize workflows:

Try to create a functional workflow. For example, imagine the process of cooking a meal and the order in which you need to grab things. This will help you organize your kitchen into a circular design where you follow a logical path. You can also group together utensils and food that are used together, such as knives and chopping boards. Keep everyday items within easy reach. Make a rough plan in your mind, and act it out. With a couple of dry runs, you should get a feel of how to organize your kitchen according to your routines.

Add functional lighting:

It’s difficult to prepare food without proper lighting. Consider lighting up your countertops with under cabinet lighting. This will help you to work more safely and efficiently. A few lighting upgrades will also make your kitchen easier to clean. You could get a more durable countertop installed that’s resistant to stains and scratches. Look into stone and granite opinions from this countertop installer. These are incredibly long-lasting materials and very practical.

Organize your storage space:

Make the most of your storage space, especially if you have a small kitchen. Organize your cupboards so that more commonly used items are near the front and less used ones are at the back. Group together crockery and pots and pans into neat logical sets. This will make it much easier to find what you’re looking for. If your space is limited, here are a few clever kitchen storage ideas to give you inspiration.

Use vertical space:

If you are short of storage space, consider vertical storage solutions. You could get a wall magnet to hold knives and metal utensils. Attach hooks for various tools, towels, and even pots and pans. Build shelves and ceiling-high cabinets. Store items you don’t use often on top of cupboards and cabinets. When you’re struggling to find space, always look up. You can even use shelves for plants and ornaments to improve the atmosphere of your kitchen.

Create zones:

Why not give your kitchen a makeover this year? Rearrange it into zones. Separate areas for preparing food, dining, and making breakfast, for example. If you have space to eat in your kitchen always place chairs on the outside of the counter, opposite to where you pass when preparing food. This way the chairs or any guests won’t get in your way or cause a safety hazard. With a few little adjustments, you can design yourself a more practical kitchen and really optimize the space.

Enjoy your time in the kitchen even more by better organizing your space. Preparing meals and cleaning will be a breeze!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Enjoying The Kitchen As A Family

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Enjoying The Kitchen As A Family

The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home so why not get better acquainted with it during your next family night as opposed to the usual movies or games. Kitchens are meant to be used and enjoyed and creating a meal with your family gives you the opportunity to work as a team in a different activity while still spending quality time together. Who knows, you might just have a secret chef in your home! Try the following during your next family night for some good food and good fun:

Agree On A Menu:

If you are going to prepare an entire dinner with your family, then it is best to agree on a menu beforehand so you can pick up all of the necessary ingredients and save you from any surprise trips to the store. Is there going to be a cuisine style that should be adhered to? Is each person going to make their own dish or will tasks be delegated? Will there be enough options for people with dietary needs? All of this should come into consideration while preparing the menu to ensure that everything goes smoothly while cooking your meal.

Don’t forget to read your recipes carefully for instructions that you must complete beforehand or a crazy long cooking time so you can plan accordingly. It also doesn’t hurt to assign stations for everyone to work in so no one gets their toes stepped on and remember to tend to any fridge repairs that need done so all of your leftovers can keep!

Baking & Decorating:

If you’d rather move right onto dessert than try your hand at cooking a whole meal as a family, then that’s okay too! Baking and decorating desserts is fun for children and adults alike. You could even incorporate a competition element to the evening by offering a small prize for the best tasting (or decorated) dessert. Classic desserts are sure to please but there are plenty of creative updates on old favorites that you can try like cake pops and hot chocolate bombs. Making your own chocolate is also a great activity for those with a sweet tooth. 😀

Smoothies:

Going out for a hike with the family in the afternoon and returning home to make some smoothies seems like the perfect way to spend a spring day. Encourage everyone to make their own concoctions with a wide assortment of fruits and low fat yogurts to pick from. Smoothies are also great for sneaking in some veggies like spinach, kale, or carrots.

Slime & Play Dough:

Perhaps, you’d rather use your family time in the kitchen to whip up a few batches of slime or play dough together. If so, there are countless recipes online that you can follow for some colorful, creative fun made with ingredients in your own house. Your kids are sure to have a blast!

Retire your living room for family night and head to the kitchen instead for a more hands on, interactive evening. Creating in the kitchen as a family will encourage team work and help introduce children to different concepts in math like fractions and units of measurement. It’s just as educational as it is wholesome fun.

Giving Your Kitchen A Mini Makeover

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Giving Your Kitchen A Mini Makeover

If you had success during your Mini Living Room Makeover, then now might be the time to start turning your attention over to the kitchen. In my opinion, a house is only as great as its kitchen and not only will improving on it increase its functionality but it is also a surefire way to increase your home’s property value, too. Today, we are going to explore some ideas to help start your own mini makeover for your kitchen:

Tend To Maintenance:

The most important thing to do in your kitchen is to first make sure that all of your appliances are working properly. Maintenance like stove repair or a garbage disposal making questionable noises should be tended to immediately as more damage will be caused the longer you hold off. Despite appliance repairs not making a visual difference, they will sure improve your kitchen’s functionality and that’s just as good, if not better.

Add A Backsplash:

Adding a tile backsplash behind your stove or dishwasher is an amazing way to transform your kitchen relatively cheaply and easily. It also gives you the opportunity to have some fun as you decide on how you want your backsplash to look. From sleek monochrome colors to checkered, paisley, or even glitter you are sure to find a tile that will suit the mood you are going for in your kitchen.

If the backsplash you love doesn’t go with your current color scheme, fear not! That is nothing a new coat of paint won’t fix and you can space out these projects for as long as you need.

Storage:

If you proudly have had your ingredients like flour, sugar, and salt displayed in the same jars for years on your countertops, then it might be time to change things up! There are countless cute and functional storage tins and containers to house your most used ingredients in. You could even incorporate some shelving onto your kitchen walls to place them on to help free up counter space.

Storage accessories as well as dish towels, place mats, and dishes are all perfect opportunities to add bright pops of color or patterns into your kitchen. It is also one of the cheaper ways to makeover the space.

Improve The Lighting:

Having good lighting in a kitchen is crucial as you read new recipes, chop veggies, and measure ingredients. Not to mention entertain your guests and family! One of the best ways to improve the lighting in your kitchen if your current situation isn’t up to snuff is to add a few hanging light fixtures in the problem area. They will instantly illuminate your work space, island, or dining area and turn your kitchen into an even brighter space in the house.

The kitchen is the heart of the home and we all want ours to look its best. Follow the mini ideas above to start making big improvements!

Simple Upgrades To Make Life Easier

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Simple Upgrades To Make Life Easier

With all of the additional stress that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, I think we all deserve to treat ourselves to a few upgrades that will help make life a little easier. Our minds have been filled constantly this past year with concern for the health of our loved ones and any additional space we have left is spent worrying about work, bills, and how to keep our mental health in check. Give your brain a break by adding some of these simple and super handy upgrades into your life:

Remote Car Starter:

A remote car starter is an amazing tool to have, especially in the winter. I always find myself wishing that I had one, as it snows a lot where I live and nothing sounds more luxurious to me than getting my car to defrost automatically while I wait inside. A remote car starter will save you a lot of extra time in the morning since you can warm up your car as you finish getting ready for work. It will also save you from the frustration of having to slip slide around your car to brush your windows off. I hate that!

Air Fryer:

I know I’m about to sound like Every. Single. Adult who has an air fryer when I say this… But the air fryer is the best kitchen appliance ever. I am blown away by how good my food turns out whenever I use it and it is a much healthier option than greasy fried food. Air fryers are not only convenient in size but also really nice for when you’re feeling ravenous because you don’t have to wait for them to preheat.

Contact Free Shopping:

Did you know that certain grocery stores have employees that will gather the items on your shopping list for you, bag it, and either deliver it or put it all away in your car? As we are still in the midst of a pandemic, any way to cut out unnecessary contact is a good thing and is an immediate upgrade that you can make next time you need to restock your pantry.

It has also been said that people feel less likely to impulse buy when they shop for their groceries online, which can help save you money. Talk about a win/win!

Cleaning Appliances:

Endless time at home means an endless cycle of things to clean – That’s sure what it feels like, anyways. If you are constantly cleaning up at your place, you deserve to make the job easier with the right tools. Purchase a Swiffer WetJet instead of having to break out the mop and bucket. Or how about a Dust Buster for those hard to reach corners and spaces? There are also spot carpet cleaners which are great for if you have a new pet that you are house training. Cleaning is hard work and it is well worth it if you can make it any easier on yourself.

Upgrades don’t need to break your bank, despite the word sounding expensive. Simple upgrades, like the ones above, are budget friendly ways to make some improvements.

 

Quick And Affordable Mini Home Makeovers

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Quick And Affordable Mini Home Makeovers

Making some home improvements is an excellent way to transform your space but, unfortunately, they can cost a lot of money. When things are tight, but your home needs a refresh, there are ways you can make some simple and affordable changes that will make a big difference – even if it’s just in the short-term.

Get some inspiration for your home with some quick and affordable mini makeover ideas:

A fresh coat of paint:

Never underestimate the difference a fresh coat of paint can make to your home. Whether you’re covering up a tired paint job or you’re looking to get rid of some dated wallpaper, new paint can be a cheap way of changing the look of your home. Fresh white walls are simple to achieve or you can mix things up with a color block or a feature wall. Check out some color trends to watch out for next year to give you some inspiration.

Upgrade to vinyl flooring:

Laying new flooring can seem expensive, but there are some great ways of making this task more affordable. Quotes from vinyl flooring companies can show you exactly what’s possible – you’ll be surprised at how cost-effective it can be. Vinyl flooring offers a range of options, including wood-effect, tiled, marble, and more to provide a long-lasting and budget-friendly flooring type for your home.

Paint your kitchen cabinets:

If your kitchen is looking a little dated, you might not want to spend much time in it! But the cost of a brand new kitchen could be something that’s out of your reach right now. Have you considered painting your cabinets, instead? A fresh color and some new handles could easily give your kitchen a new look. Just be sure to check out ways to avoid mistakes when painting your cabinets to help you get the best results.

Switch out your light fittings:

New light fittings can make a big difference to your home. They can make it look more modern and spacious, while also changing the feel of a room. Some new light fittings could be a cheap way of giving your home a makeover without having to make some drastic changes. Fairy lights are also a fun addition to give a soft glow to any area.

Get organized:

Sometimes, all your home needs to look a little different is to get it organized! Putting everything away into its rightful home will reduce the amount of clutter, while also making it easier to maintain. Creating a low maintenance home is a great way of changing how it looks, helping to create a more stress-free environment.

Transforming your home is something that can take a long time, so you shouldn’t feel pressured to make big changes overnight. There are a lot of things you can do that are simple and affordable, but will make a big difference. Try your hand at some mini home makeovers today!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Equipment You Will Need To Start Your Restaurant

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Equipment You Will Need To Start Your Restaurant

If you’ve dreamed of opening a restaurant, you know it will take lots of preparation. As you work to carve your niche in the local selection of eateries, you want to know what kinds of things you need to have to be successful. Here are some of the most important types of restaurant equipment you will need:

Equipment for cooking:

No matter what you are making, you likely need all kinds of kitchen tools and gadgets to help you whip it all together. You may need an industrial mixer or blender if you are starting a bakery and need a way to mix the ingredients for your dough. You will likely need pots, pans, spoons, whisks, bowls, the list goes on. Be sure to get enough so you don’t have to wash your equipment between each batch before you can start the next one in case you are extra busy.

Refrigerator or freezer:

If you are preparing food, you will want to keep many of the raw ingredients cold or frozen until you are ready to prepare them. If you are starting a large establishment, you will want walk-in freezers and fridges. Be certain to look at all of your options, especially if you are purchasing an existing restaurant and making some changes. Adding new and better cooling equipment may be necessary.

Stove or oven:

You may need an industrial stove top, convection ovens, or perhaps a brick oven if you are starting a pizza place. Be sure to think through the kinds of equipment you need to cook your masterpieces properly.

Basic equipment:

You need to have plenty of tables or counters, a dishwasher, and one or more sinks. Don’t forget about storage containers and lids, flatware, and serving ware. The list is nearly endless so be thorough when you’re checking through your equipment for things you may have missed.

Starting a restaurant is going to take work and dedication, but with careful planning, you will soon be serving your signature dish to your favorite customers!

Featured Image By: Pixabay