• Baking
  • Kitchen Cleaning All-Stars in Your Pantry and Fridge

    Getting ready to clean the coffeemaker or scrub away at those unfortunate stains (tomato soup?) in your microwave? Before you reach under the sink for any household cleaning products, give DIY cleaners a try to polish stainless steel, clean grease stains and freshen the garbage disposal. They’re easy to whip up with a few natural ingredients and pantry items.


    The most edible of the cleaning all-stars is also pretty versatile. Cut out a slice and use it straight on stainless steel appliances to remove grease and streaks.

    Clean your microwave and leave it smelling better with some lemon and a bowl of water. Microwave the mix until it boils and leave it to steam for a minute to soften the dried-up gunk on the side of your microwave, before you put in some elbow grease to scrub it away.

    Freshen up your coffeemaker by running a cycle with a lemon juice-water mixture. You can also clean your garbage disposal by running it with a few lemon wedges.

    Make an all-purpose cleaner and wipes with this recipe from The Kitchen, using lemon and orange peels, water and white vinegar.


    In addition to using it in the all-purpose cleaner above, you can add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water for a natural mopping solution that can disinfect and remove odors from your kitchen floors.

    Spray down a cutting board with white vinegar to kill odors and naturally disinfect.

    Seeing chalky white spots on your pans? Boil a mixture of vinegar and water in the pan to clear calcium buildup.


    Salt, our seasoning bestie, plays double-duty in the kitchen by helping lift heavy grime in pans and dishes and preventing fresh grease stains from setting in clothes and carpets.

    It can also clean stains and clear smells from a wooden cutting board with a bit of kosher salt and half a lemon.

    Baking Soda

    Though it isn’t as edible as is, baking soda is probably the best known among pantry items for its cleaning properties.

    Make a paste with baking soda and water to clean tough grime from pots and pans. Use it to clean the oven by leaving the paste coated on the sides of the oven overnight, setting it to heat for an hour and spraying it with a water-vinegar mixture to scrub it off. It can also make cleaning water bottles a breeze.

    Honorable Mentions:

    If you’re having trouble reaching stains at the bottom of a pitcher or glass, use rice to scrub! Add a half cup of rice to a cup of water and a bit of dish soap and swirl away.

    Both yogurt and ketchup (with a bit of salt) can be used to clean and shine copper kitchenware.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • 4 Surprising Sleep Hacks You Haven’t Heard Before

    File this under news you probably could’ve guessed: According to a January study in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the quality of your sleep determines whether or not you’re going to be in a positive or negative mood the next day. It’s not exactly surprising news, but it serves as a good reminder that getting a good night’s sleep is very important to your health. (And, according to The New York Times, a good night’s sleep is the new status symbol.) So while you know that avoiding caffeine and electronics before bedtime will help you catch some quality zzz’s, we asked a handful of sleep experts for their favorite — and most unexpected — sleeping tips:

    Focus on staying awake
    “I know it sounds counterintuitive,” says Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program and sleep health consultant for Mattress Firm, “but it actually works.” Dr. Kansagra says this technique known as paradoxical intent. “It lessens anxiety, giving your mind a chance to relax enough to fall asleep,” Kansagra says. Science backs this theory up: According to a 2005 study at the University of Glasgow, participants who focused on staying awake had an easier time falling — and staying — asleep than those who focused their efforts on trying to sleep.

    Try magnesium spray
    Magnesium is one of those vitamins that is known for its sleep-friendly properties. And while it can be found in foods such as nuts, seeds and even dark chocolate, you can also get your fix another way: Via a spray. Magnesium oil is said to be even stronger than when it’s found in food or pill forms. “It helps relax muscles and decrease cortisol levels,” says Martin-Rawls-Meehan, CEO and founder of sleep technology and mattress company Reverie. “A few sprays on the forehead and chest before going to bed really works,” he adds. And because magnesium naturally helps your muscles relax, the oil could also help with those suffering from restless legs syndrome—another cause of sleeplessness.

    Separate your sheets
    If you sleep with a partner then you know then you’ve probably had to deal a case of stolen covers in the middle of the night. Waking up sheetless can seriously disrupt your sleep, but Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute in North Carolina has a simple solution: Separate your sheets. “Avoid a fight over the blankets by using your own,” he says. “You can have one fitted sheet, but for each side of the bed use your own top sheet and blanket,” he adds. “Simply cover it with a duvet, and no one will see the difference.”

    Pour a glass of tart cherry juice
    According to Dr. Caroline Apovian, the Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center, tart cherry juice is the perfect pre-bedtime drink. “It’s the world’s richest natural source of melatonin,” she says. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and in a recent study, participants who drank tart cherry juice (about 1 ounce of juice concentrate mixed with 7 ounces of water) saw an increase in their melatonin content as well as significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency.


    Kevin Aeh is a New York City-based writer and editor. He has written for Time Out New York, Refinery29, New York Magazine’s Vulture blog, Furthermore from Equinox and more.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • 6 Ways to Use Leftover Hard-Boiled Eggs

    Grilled Cobb SaladChances are you have dozens of multicolored hard-boiled eggs sitting around your kitchen. Now that Easter has passed, make the most of your pretty leftovers in recipes to (finally) welcome the warm spring weather. You’ll simplify your meal prep for the week and reduce your food waste footprint. A win-win! Here are some recipes to get you started.

    Grilled Salmon Cobb Salad (above)

    Now that the warmer weather seems like it’s really here to stay, heat up the grill for a new kind of cobb salad. You’ll grill all your veggie toppings in addition to the salmon before piling everything high on a bed of romaine.


    Club SandwichDeviled Egg Salad Club Sandwich

    Trisha Yearwood turns hard boiled eggs into lunch with classic deviled egg seasonings and all the BLT fixings.


    Potato Egg SaladPotato-Egg Salad

    This light weeknight potato salad is ready in just 30 minutes and requires minimal prep work. You’ll simply toss halved potatoes, peas and quartered hard-boiled eggs in a bowl with a light dressing. Serve it alongside burgers or grilled chicken for a family-friendly meal.


    Avocado ToastAvocado Toast

    For a five-minute breakfast (yes, really!), follow Marcela Valladolid’s lead and top your avocado toast with a sliced hard-boiled egg.


    Macro Platter“Macro” Platter

    Take your leftovers for lunch this week. Add one hard-boiled egg to your favorite macro bowl for some additional protein.


    Macaroni SaladMega Egga Macaroni Salad

    This simple side dish calls for a dozen hard-boiled eggs. With them already made, you’ll be able to save time and get this side on the table even sooner.


    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • 5 Tropical Recipes to Have the Staycation of your Dreams

    Tropical TemptationAside from relaxing next to the beach, getting a glowing tan and catching up on your reading list, a huge draw for vacation is enjoying the local cuisine of whatever exotic location you have jetted off to. But unfortunately, a fabulous vacation isn’t always in the cards — though tropical menu items certainly can be. If you’re staying put this spring, read on below for some decadent recipes that can make this week feel like a delicious oasis.

    Tropical Temptation (pictured above)
    The addition of pineapple and lemon brings Sandra Lee’s drink from everyday cocktail to a getaway in a cup. Thanks to a splash of grenadine, you get a pop of red color that practically mimics a shining sunset.

    Lobster RollLobster Roll
    Topped with spicy mayonnaise and housed in a toasted, fluffy potato bun, Geoffrey Zakarian’s buttery lobster roll is an easy and beach worthy meal.

    Frozen Banana Ice Cream SandwichesFrozen Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches
    When making these ice cream sandwiches – which feature vanilla ice cream and creamy bananas sandwiched between chocolate chip cookies — you get all the indulgence of a vacation meal in the comfort of your own home. Follow Giada De Laurentiis’ lead and start with store-bought cookie dough when making them.

    Sliders with Chipotle MayonnaiseSliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise
    Nothing says vacation like cooking and eating your meal in the great outdoors. Next time you fire up the grill, drizzle on some of Bobby Flay’s chipotle-spiked mayo for a burger like you’ve never had before.

    Avocado SalsaAvocado Salsa
    The perfect staycation calls for a poolside snack (even if you’ll eating it indoors). Trisha Yearwood’s salsa-guacamole mash-up, featuring cherry tomatoes, pineapple and avocado, is any easy snack.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Stay Young with HIIT Workouts

    Let’s face it, aging isn’t always glamorous. As we get older, our metabolism begins to slow, our muscles weaken and we’re not as fast or agile as we used to be. Thankfully, research shows that exercise, especially high intensity interval training, or HIIT, can help prevent weight gain, improve muscle strength and reverse the signs of aging.

    A new Mayo Clinic study indicates that high-intensity aerobic exercise can reverse some aspects of aging at the cellular level. In this study, researchers compared high-intensity interval training, resistance-only training, and combined exercise training in seventy-two healthy, but sedentary individuals for a twelve-week period. While all training types improved lean body mass and insulin sensitivity, only high-intensity interval training and combined training improved aerobic capacity and mitochondrial function.

    In addition, high-intensity training caused muscle enlargement, especially in older adults. This is significant because as we age the mitochondria in our muscle cells function less efficiently; improving their function boosts metabolism and slows signs of aging.

    While most health professionals encourage everyone to exercise on a regular basis, it seems that high-intensity training is best for aging adults. Since this type of exercise can contribute to more injuries, especially in the older athlete, it’s best to start out with a supervised plan and go slow.

    If you’re new to HIIT training, try incorporating faster, shorter distances of your favorite exercise. For example, if you usually jog two miles, try jogging at a faster speed for 30 seconds, then walking for a few minutes to recover and repeat.

    Rest assured that you don’t have to switch all your workouts to a high-intensity level, even one HIIT workout a week can provide metabolic benefits. Whatever your age, you’ll improve energy and feel younger.


    Alex Caspero MA, RD, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Yoga Teacher. She is the founder of Delish Knowledge (delishknowledge.com), a resource for healthy, whole-food vegetarian recipes. In her private coaching practice, she helps individuals find their “Happy Weight.” 

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Why Wine Tasting Is a Big Brain Game

    Why Wine Tasting Is a Big Brain GameSo much has been written about the complexity of wine tasting — the science and subjectivity behind the sip — that you might think there was nothing new to learn about the subject. Think again. In an interview with NPR about his recent book, “Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine,” Yale neuroscientist Gordon Shepherd has lots of surprising things to say about how we taste wine.

    Among them …

    • Shepherd says wine molecules are, in an of themselves, devoid of flavor, but create it by stimulating our brains, much the way we perceive color in response to the way light strikes our eyes and activates our brains.
    • To fully taste wine you really have to move it all around your mouth. Fluid dynamics factor into our ability to appreciate its flavor, Shepherd says.
    • Smell plays a role in the taste of wine even beyond sticking our noses in our glasses and inhaling its “bouquet” (aka “orthonasal” smell), Shepherd explains. We also perceive wine’s flavor by smelling it after we take a sip, through nasal receptors in the back of our throats (“retronasal” smell).
    • Saliva dilutes and interacts with wine and affects its flavor. The amount of saliva and its content can affect our perception of wine, as can age, gender, mood, time of day, making wine tasting highly individual, according to Shepherd.
    • The wine glass you use doesn’t make much difference, although it’s important that the glass is not overfilled in order to allow for the “aroma.” What does make a difference is taking small sips. “If you take too large a sip, you’ve saturated your system,” Shepherd told NPR.


    Photo: iStock

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Chatting with Iron Chef Gauntlet Judges Geoffrey Zakarian and Donatella Arpaia

    Iron Chef GauntletThe quest for gauntlet glory begins this Sunday night, when seven of America’s most-esteemed chefs will face off for the ultimate culinary title on Iron Chef Gauntlet (premiering at 9|8c). There’s no telling what challenges host and Chairman Alton Brown will have in store for these fearless hopefuls, but one thing is certain: To outlast each other and to prepare to run the gauntlet against not one but three Iron Chefs in the finale, these challengers must come prepared with both kitchen savvy and the fiercest of ambitions.

    Ahead of this all-important premiere episode, we caught up with Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Donatella Arpaia, who together will be judging the Secret Ingredient Showdown in Round 2. Read on below for what it’s like for them to return to the world of Iron Chef and what missteps they simply won’t forgive on a challenger’s plate.

    Geoffrey, how does it feel to be on this side of the battle, judging instead of competing?
    GZ: Well, I judge a lot, so it’s very familiar. But this is a very high level of judging, and I relish it.

    Did being on the Iron Chef Gauntlet set bring back memories of past battles, Geoffrey?
    GZ: You can bet your life it does. All the battles from Iron Chef came flooding back. Mostly the stress and exhaustion I felt.

    What missteps on the plate from a competitor will you simply not forgive as a judge?
    GZ: At this level they need to present complete thoughts, not bits and pieces. They are chefs and have to cook with skill, and the dish has to resonate and have a purpose.

    DA: Sloppy presentation and improper cooking techniques.

    As an Iron Chef and a longtime judge on both Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef, you two know better than most what it takes to win in the world Iron Chef. What’s your best advice for the challengers?
    GZ: Don’t worry about your competition. Compete with yourself. Focus, focus, focus!

    DA: Chefs should stay true to their voice and vision of food; it should be their unique perspective. Remember technique is of utmost importance — it needs to be perfect to be an Iron Chef. And in the heat of the moment, don’t forget to do a final taste test of your food. Battles are often so close and can be lost because foods lack a final dash of salt.

    What are some chef-y tips or techniques that home cooks can utilize?  
    GZ: Certainly Sous Vide is terrific. Have plenty of cast iron on hand.

    DA: Dare to try a new cooking method or technique, and have fun — you’re not being judged on TV! Pay attention a little to presentation; you don’t need chef-knife skills to add some care to how you present your food. Remember we eat with our eyes first.

    What’s the first dish for an aspiring chef to master?
    GZ: Eggs, any way you can. Get to know the first meal of the day.

    DA: I often say the best way to test a chef is by asking for the simplest of dishes. That way you see if they have sound technique. For me, being an Italian chef, I always ask a chef I am testing to make linguine in white clam sauce. It’s a simple dish that requires a high level of skill. Another test is cooking eggs; making a perfect omelet is a dish all chefs should aspire to.

    Tune in to the premiere of Iron Chef Gauntlet on Sunday, April 16 at 9|8c.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • 6 Simple Brunch Recipes for Easter Sunday

    Easter BrunchThe beauty of Easter brunch is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple salads, easy egg dishes and glazed ham can be delicious without too much effort in the kitchen, which gives you even more time to help kids hunt for eggs and plan everyone’s Easter baskets. Whether you’re scrambling to plan a whole Easter brunch menu or just need a few more things, these simple recipes will make your table holiday ready in no time.

    Ham Sandwiches with Pickled Veggies (above)

    Skip the whole ham this year and build a platter of individual sandwiches instead. The presentation couldn’t be prettier and you won’t have to slave over a hot oven all morning.


    frittataPotato Basil Frittata

    It wouldn’t be brunch without some eggs and Ina’s cheesy frittata is sure to hit the spot.


    asparagusAsparagus with Prosciutto and Pickled Shallots

    Pickled shallots add a zip to this classic spring ingredient and pink prosciutto turns it into a seasonally-colored presentation.


    rollsCheddar-Potato Rolls

    Make the dough in the morning and let it rest while you’re getting the house ready. Just before guests arrive pop them in the oven to bake. Your house will smell glorious.


    mimosasCarrot Orange Mimosas

    No brunch is complete without a cocktail and Bobby’s bright mimosas add a gorgeous pop of color to your tablescape.


    deviled potatoesDeviled Potatoes

    Start your guests off with a party trick. These appetizers may look like deviled eggs but one bite reveals they’re actually potatoes!

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Counselling
  • Signs to know if a counsellor isnt what they should be

    Counselling and what it should be

    Here are some important tips to follow if you are having issues with your counselling therapist. And what should not be accepted from a specialist.

    • Therapist does not have enough and particular training to address your issues and/or attempts to treat issues outside the scope of the practice.
    • Therapist is not thinking about the modifications you want to make and your goals for therapy.
    • Counselor can not or does not plainly define how they can help you to fix whatever problem or concern has actually brought you to therapy.
    • Therapist supplies no description of how you will know when your therapy is complete.
    • Therapist does not look for assessment with other therapists.
    • Therapist makes assurances and/or promises.
    • Therapist has actually unsettled grievances submitted with a licensing board.
    • Therapist does not supply you with details about your rights as a customer, privacy, office policies, and costs so you can relatively grant your treatment. Note: The requirement for info offered to new clients by therapists differs by state and licensure requirements.
    • Therapist is judgmental or critical of your habits, way of life, or issues.
    • Therapist “looks down” at you or treats you as inferior in subtle or not so subtle methods.
    • Therapist blames your family, buddies, or partner.
    • Counselor encourages you to blame your household, buddies, or partner.
    • Therapist purposefully or unknowingly gets individual mental needs satisfied at the cost of concentrating on you and your treatment.
    • Counselor attempts to be your buddy.
    • Therapist initiates touch (i.e., hugs) without consent.
    • Counselor efforts to have a sexual or romantic relationship with you.
    • Therapist talks excessively about personal problems and/or self-discloses frequently with no healing purpose.
    • Therapist attempts to employ your help with something unrelated to your treatment.
    • Therapist discloses your identifying info without authorization or mandate.
    • Counselor tells you the identities of other customers.
    • Therapist reveals they have actually never ever done individual therapy work.
    • Counselor can not accept feedback or admit mistakes.
    • Therapist focuses extensively on detecting without also assisting you to change.
    • Counselor talks too much.
    • Therapist does not talk at all.
    • Therapist typically speaks in complex “psychobabble” that leaves you confused.
    • Therapist focuses on thoughts and cognition at the exemption of feelings and somatic experience.
    • Counselor concentrates on sensations and somatic experience at the exclusion of ideas, insight, and cognitive processing.
    • Therapist acts as if they have the responses or options to whatever and spends time informing you ways to finest fix or alter things.
    • Counselor tells you exactly what to do, makes decisions for you, or gives frequent unsolicited suggestions.
    • Therapist motivates your reliance by enabling you to obtain your emotional needs fulfilled from the therapist. Therapist “feeds you fish, rather than helping you to fish for yourself.”
    • Therapist tries to keep you in treatment against your will.
    • Therapist thinks that just the therapist’s therapy method works and ridicules other methods to treatment.
    • Therapist is controversial with you or regularly confrontational.
    • Therapist doesn’t remember your name and/or doesn’t remember your interactions from one session to the next.
    • Therapist does not pay attention or seem listening and comprehending you.
    • Therapist answers the phone during your session.
    • Therapist is not sensitive to your culture or religion.
    • Therapist denies or neglects the value of your spirituality.
    • Therapist attempts to push spirituality or faith on to you.
    • Counselor does not empathize.
    • Therapist understands excessive.
    • Counselor appears overwhelmed with your problems.
    • Therapist appears excessively psychological, affected, or set off by your feelings or issues.
    • Therapist presses you into highly susceptible feelings or memories against your desires.
    • Therapist prevents checking out any of your psychological or susceptible feelings.
    • Therapist does not ask your consent to utilize numerous psychotherapeutic techniques.
    • Therapist tries to get you to exert obvious control over your impulses, obsessions, or addictions without helping you to value and resolve the underlying causes.
    • Counselor too soon and/or exclusively concentrates on helping you to appreciate and deal with the underlying reasons for a concern or obsession when you would instead benefit more from learning coping skills to handle your impulses.
    • Your therapist habitually misses, cancels, or appears late to consultations.

    We truly hope your not experiencing any of these problems but if you are. It might be best to look for another counselling expert that can help you with your problems in a more appropriate manner.

    For the best counsellors in Melbourne look through the local directory and there qualifications and reviews to choose the best one.


  • Baking
  • Market Watch: Asparagus

    The arrival of asparagus at farmer’s markets makes it official: spring has finally sprung. Thick or thin, green, white, or even purple, asparagus reins supreme for a few short months — beginning in March or April, and ending sometime in early June. It’s said that this member of the lily family was the favorite vegetable of Thomas Jefferson. King Louis XIV of France was another fan, referring to it as the “king of vegetables.” Today, it retains its hoity-toity reputation, with chefs devising entire tasting menus to showcase its bright, springy flavor. For home chefs, asparagus can lend a sophisticated feel to an ordinary weeknight dinner, not to mention an Easter feast.


    Asparagus facts

    Closely related to garlic, onions, and leeks, asparagus is high in fiber, and a good source of iron, vitamin C and folate.

    While thickness is a matter of taste, there’s no arguing about freshness. Choose stalks that are bright in color and firm, with tightly closed tips. Avoid any spears that are bent, or have open flowers. Wrap the ends of a bunch of asparagus in a wet paper towel, place in the crisper drawer and store up to three days. For best results, though, cook asparagus the same day you purchase it. In addition to tasting better, fresher asparagus will also retain more Vitamin C.

    To prepare asparagus, rinse the spears first in cool water. To trim, hold a spear in both hands, placing your thumbs together where the stem looks woody and pale. Bend the stalk until it snaps. It should naturally break where the asparagus is tough. If you like, save the ends to throw into a vegetable stock. If you’re using white asparagus, you may want to use a vegetable peeler to trim away the tough skin from the base of each stalk.


    What to do with asparagus

    Probably the most common way to cook asparagus is to steam it — there are even steamer inserts and pots sold for this sole purpose, though they are certainly not necessary. Enlivened with a pat of butter and perhaps a squeeze of lemon and served alongside fish or chicken, steamed asparagus makes a simple and tasty side dish. But asparagus is hearty enough to stand up to a variety of different cooking methods. Roasting or grilling it will soften its slightly acidic bite and emphasize its sweet, earthy side.

    Whatever you do, don’t just relegate this vegetable to the side-dish category.  Tossed with pasta, a pinch of lemon zest, sliced scallions and a handful of Parmesan cheese, it serves as an elegant vegetarian main. It’s also a natural fit with fresh shelling peas or snap peas in risotto. To make a visually appealing soup, cook the sliced spears in a little chicken broth and puree with a touch of cream.

    Asparagus is traditionally paired up with another symbol of spring, eggs. Try topping steamed asparagus with a shower of chopped hard-boiled eggs, minced shallots, and fresh herbs. Or incorporate it into a hearty frittata and serve with a fresh green salad for a light dinner or lunch.

    Another common partner for asparagus is ham or prosciutto. Something about that long, pencil shape makes people want to wrap it with a slice of salty, cured pork. If you can resist that urge, you might try a healthier alternative: serve steamed asparagus with a just a sprinkling of minced ham, crisp bacon, or slivers of prosciutto and offer it up as an appetizer or side dish.

    Even raw, asparagus holds it own. Shaved into long, thin pieces and dressed simply with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, it makes an appealing salad.


    Recipes to try:


    Main courses

    Frittata with Asparagus, Tomato and Fontina

    Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Black Olives

    Spaghetti with Asparagus, Smoked Mozzarella and Prosciutto


    Side dishes

    Balsamic Grilled Asparagus

    Roasted Asparagus

    Asparagus with Tangy-Smoky Dressing

    Shaved Asparagus Salad


    Abigail Chipley is a freelance recipe developer, writer and cooking teacher who lives in Portland, Oregon.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!