3 Lazy Dinner Recipes

Sometimes when we get home at the end of the day, we just do not want to cook dinner. Maybe we’re lazy. Maybe we just don’t have a lot of time on our hands. Either way, it is important to have dinner recipes you can pull out at a moment’s notice and whip up a meal without a ton of effort or time taken. Here are three top examples:

Grilled Sandwiches

Okay, so the most popular is grilled cheese. All you need for this is a few slices of cheese, bread, and butter. Butter the outside of the bread, fil the middle with cheese, and grilled it on a frying pan (or sandwich maker). If you want more to your sandwich, you can add ingredients like spinach, ham, bacon, even apples! This adds interest to your sandwich, along with additional nutrients (depending on what you chose to add).

Quick Salad

One of the most popular salad choices, especially when it comes to eating salad as a meal, is chicken Caesar salad. This salad normally consists of chicken (grilled, sliced), romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, croutons, and parmesan cheese. You can go for any other type of salad, like a Cobb salad. We just do not recommend relying on the lettuce and dressing alone—add some protein into your salad for dinner!

Simple Spaghetti

When it comes down to it, you can easily get away with cooking noodles and dumping canned sauce on them. If you need a little more substance or nutrients, and most of us do, try buying a package of frozen vegetables and some precooked meatballs. These will need a little more prep (e.g. in the frying pan, oven, or microwave) but it will add more to your simple spaghetti meal without you needing to exert a lot more effort.

Loose Leaf Tea Steeping Guide

So you’re diving into the world of loose leaf tea? Loose tea is better in quality than bagged tea, no question. The leaves are more flavourful, fresher, et cetera. Regardless of the tea you have, it is important to understand how to brew tea properly. Ready? Here is a handy loose leaf tea steeping guide to help:

Amount Of Tea

First thing’s first: how much tea do you need? This does depend in part on your personal taste, but roughly one and a quarter teaspoons is a good starting point. You can lessen the tea if its too strong, or add more if it’s not strong enough. This amount applies to an average mug of tea—not those super-sized mugs. You’ll need more tea leaves for those!

Steeping Time

The steeping time depends entirely on the type of tea you have. More often than not it will fall between one and seven minutes, with the average being three to five minutes. We suggest steeping black, white, and green teas for three to five minutes (for most varieties). If you want to re-steep your tea leaves, which you can do for many varieties, increase the steeping time by at least 30 seconds (no more than a minute) each subsequent steep. Another not is if you are making pu-erh tea (specifically tea cakes), you should rinse them with hot water before steeping the first time.

Water Temperature

The other major component of this loose leaf tea steeping guide is the temperature of the water. If you boil the water too hot for certain teas, you will burn the leaves and end up with a bitter taste in your mouth. You do not want to go over 185 degrees for white or green tea, whereas with black tea 185 degrees is the minimum, and you can often go up to around 200 degrees if you wish.

 

Guide To Popular Tea Types

Are you entering the world of tea, the world’s oldest hot beverage? Tea is a wonderful drink for social gatherings, to warm up on a cold winter’s evening (or morning!), provides comfort to a person in distress, et cetera. You can find tea for just about everyone, especially when you dive into the world of loose leaf tea and the vast array of tea types out there. But for now, let’s discuss a little bit of information regarding the top three tea types now:

Green Tea

Green teas are relatively unoxidized, which means the pure varieties maintain their gorgeous colour when you steep them. The leaves undergo a heating process to eliminate the enzyme responsible for oxidization. This process is often roasting the leaves (China) or steaming them (Japan). The Chinese method results in a citrus or smoky flavour, whereas the Japanese method results in a vegetal or herbaceous quality. The former often means pale yellow tea and the latter a light green to deep green.

Black Tea

Perhaps the most popular type of tea (think Earl Grey, Orange Pekoe, and English Breakfast) black tea is fully oxidized. Though this tea originated in China, it is now cultivated around the world, and some of the most famous blends come from regions in India (e.g. Assam, Darjeeling). The best black teas are done by hand, though the use of machines to produce tea is becoming much more common.

White Tea

White tea is the most delicate out of all the teas detailed on this list, and also undergoes the least amount of processing. Varieties of this tea often have delicate smells and flavours associated with it, featuring floral or fresh and earthy flavours. You can add fruit and other flavours into a white tea, but in doing so you run the risk of making it taste artificial. You must also be careful about the temperature of the water, since it is very easy to burn white tea.

3 Breakfast Options For Busy Mornings

Whether you have to run to catch a bus to campus, have kids to wrangle in the morning, or need to rush off to work, mornings can get very busy! However, just because you are dealing with busy mornings does not mean you can let breakfast fall to the wayside. With this in mind, here are 3 breakfast options for busy mornings so you can still get the fuel you need even when you are running around:

Overnight Oats

Have you seen recipes for overnight oats around? These are excellent for a grab and go breakfast on a busy morning. For the most part, all you need to do is add milk to quick cooking oats and a selection of berries and cinnamon for your overnight oats. Other recipes will include elements like chia seeds or other superfoods. Find a recipe you like the sound of and go for it!

Healthy Smoothies

You can pack a lot of nutrients into a smoothie, making an excellent breakfast you can drink as you go about your business. Most smoothies will have either an avocado or banana as the base, and then a selection of berries, yogurt, and milk. If you want to go even healthier, add spinach, flax seed, et cetera. Out personally favourite healthy smoothie recipe is one avocado, some mixed berries, almond milk, spinach, and flax seed. Mmm, good!

Classic Cereal

Of course, you cannot go wrong with the classic breakfast: cereal. This is very easy to do since all you need is put the cereal in a bowl and fill it with milk (or your liquid of choice). Done! Now it’s time to eat it! Though you can eat any cereal, we recommend choosing something healthy so you get all the required nutrients. Eating sugary cereal might taste good, but you won’t be getting a lot out of it in the end.

 

 

 

3 Tips For Learning To Cook

Having the ability to cook your own food is an important life skill. You can save a lot of money by being able to do it, and you can then cook for other people (e.g. a significant other, your parents, et cetera). You can look up how to cook, but chances are there will be varied instructions depending on where you look. We recommend avoiding the ones that ease you in and only focus on concepts like boiling water or how to fry something. You can briefly read up on how to do these things, but learning to cook requires more than that. Let’s review three of the most important tips on learning to cook now:

Don’t Leave Kitchen

Regardless of what you are cooking, while learning you should never leave the kitchen for a second. Granted, even when you are very good at cooking, you should still remain in the kitchen as much as possible, but you do have a little more leeway for certain tasks. Staying in the kitchen helps to ensure you catch mistakes quicker, don’t end up with burnt food as often, et cetera.

Master Basic Recipes

Sometimes people make the mistake of trying to tackle complicated recipes when they are just learning to cook. Complicated comes later! We recommend picking out two or three basic recipes (e.g. a basic spaghetti sauce, fried rice, et cetera) and mastering those first. Then you will have a couple recipes under your belt to pull out when necessary! The basic part not only makes it easier as a beginning, but also helps build your confidence for the future.

Cook Food You Love

When it comes down to learning to cook, you should cook food you love to eat! You might not be able to handle complicated recipes right away, but you can still use the same ingredients and find other similar, but simpler, recipes to help. For instance, if you happen to enjoy rice and eggs, why not find a simple friend rice recipe? Enjoy pasta? Simple spaghetti recipes would be great!

 

3 Tips For Chopping Onions

Onions are in many different recipes from sauces to stir-fries. Anything you can think of, onions might play a role in! However, chopping onions is not the most pleasant task around, since almost 100% of the time someone chopping onions will end up with a flood of tears in their eyes. Want to avoid the tears? Here are three tips to help you get through chopping onions without too much discomfort:

Sharpen The Knife

The sharper your knife, the easier it will be to cut into onions, which gives the fumes less time to float up to your eyes and make you cry while chopping. Sharpen your knives on a regular basis to make them perform at their best. We also recommend chopping faster rather than slower, but you still need to be careful, which is why the emphasis should be on the sharpness of the knife you are using instead.

Circulate The Air

The fumes from the onions are why your eyes water when chopping onions. Help reduce the amount of fumes reaching your eyes by turning on an exhaust fan (e.g. on your oven) or setting up another fan in the kitchen near to where you will be chopping. This way you can circulate the air and help reduce the fumes. This way, you should cry less during the chopping process.

Refrigerate The Onions

Another great way of lessening the impact of the fumes and the tears in your eyes when chopping onions is to refrigerate them beforehand. This should chill the onions and slow the release of the fumes when you cut into them. The extreme of this is to freeze the onions, but this makes them much harder to chop, so stick with refrigeration instead. Put them in your fridge for at least half an hour before chopping, but ideally for up to two hours.

3 Ways To Use Overripe Fruit

As much as we might try, sometimes we cannot eat all our fresh fruit before they start getting a little overripe. Overripe fruit tends to not be as enjoyable as a standalone snack like simply ripe, fresh fruit is. However, this does not mean you have to throw out overripe fruit! In fact, you have a good window of time with overripe fruit before you do have to throw it away for health reasons. But what can you do with it during that time? Let’s examine three popular things now:

Baked Goods

Perhaps the most popular example here is using overripe bananas to bake some delicious banana bread.  Almost everyone knows about this particular trick. But did you know you can do something like this for just about all kinds of overripe fruit? You are not even limited to a dessert bread. You can make muffins, brownies, and a lot of other baked goods with your fruit. The overripe variety simply adds a little more flavour and ease of baking (softer fruit, easier to mash).

Savoury Sweet Sauce

Yes, you can make a good sauce with your fruit! For instance, a classic combination is apple sauce and pork chops—why not use overripe apples for this? You can pair lots of different meats with your fruit sauces (e.g. chicken with orange sauce). The choice is all yours! This is a great way to add a sweet flavour to savoury dishes—your results might surprise you.

Salad Dressing

Have you ever seen fruity salad dressings in your grocery store? If you haven’t, you likely just reached for your favourite without looking at what the options were. Fruity salad dressings are aplenty! All you need to make your own is the fruit, vinegar, olive oil, and a little bit of seasoning. Throw these ingredients in a blender to create your dressing. The seasoning you want will depend on what fruit you have. For instance, we might recommend trying basil with strawberries.

 

Steps To Clean Your Refrigerator

Every so often, you need to clean your refrigerator. We recommend doing this at least twice a year, but more than that is better. Perhaps 4 times a year, along with the change in seasons, would work for you!

Cleaning your refrigerator helps save precious space, remind you of what you might need to replenish, and helps with general cleanliness. With this in mind, we wanted to give you some simple directions to help make cleaning your refrigerator a breeze. Let’s start now:

Step One: Empty It Completely

First things first, you need to take everything out of your refrigerator. Your counters or dining room table are both fine temporary locations. This helps you in multiple ways, including giving you an accurate idea of what you have in your fridge and what is spoiled. It also puts a time limit on your cleaning, since you don’t want the food to spoil on the counter.

Step Two: Deep Clean The Inside

While your fridge is empty, you can clean it very well. Make sure you use a nontoxic cleaner when wiping things down in here. We also recommend making a basic paste out of baking soda and water. This baking soda paste with not only clean your fridge from any stains or discolouration, but will also deodorize it!

Step Three: Sort Your Products

Now is the time to go through all of your products on the counter. Throw away anything past its expiry date! Check it all carefully so you know what you have!

Step Four: Wipe Down Containers

Before you place everything back in the fridge, we recommend you wipe down all the containers you can. This will help eliminate bacteria when you put things back on your now pristine fridge shelves. Always make sure you use a food safe cleaner and be sparse so you don’t soak anything.

Step Five: Organize

As you start putting everything back into your now clean fridge, we recommend you use the time to organize everything well. Organization in your fridge will make it easier to find what you are looking for, reduce potential food spoilage, et cetera. You will thank yourself later

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Blend

The flavours of pumpkin pie are all the rage during the autumn months. You see everything from pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin chai tea—even pumpkin spice Oreo cookies! IT seems as if pumpkin spice is everywhere as soon as fall hits.

But how do you get this spice? How do you bring the pumpkin into your home besides spending a fortune on the specialty products? Sure, you can buy prepackaged pumpkin pie spice if you want, but then you have no control! If you want to adjust the spices in your pumpkin pie (or anything else you want to add this flavour too) you have come to the right place!

Commercial pumpkin pie spice will vary based on the manufacturer, and thus so will your homemade blends. However, the common individuals spices you find in pumpkin pie spice are cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, and occasionally mace.

Making your own pumpkin pie spice allows you to bring out one of the specific spices more strongly, or eliminate one you really cannot stand if you so desire.

The fact that you have the control means there is not a hard and fast rule about how much of each spice you need in your pumpkin spice blend. However, our recommended basic recipe looks like this:

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon mace (optional)

You can adjust these according to your taste and recipe requirements.

Even though buying a commercial pumpkin pie spice is convenient, making your own is not only far more economical, but also quite a bit more delicious. When you purchase all the individual spices you need there is some expense, but then you can mix your pumpkin spice regularly and even have some individuals spices left over, which you can then use in other recipes! With this and the taste in mind, you will never go back to commercial blends once you make your own pumpkin spice once!

3 Tips For Gluten-Free Eating

Do you have to eliminate gluten from your diet because of an allergy? Are you trying to improve your diet and have decided cutting back or eliminating gluten is a good place to start? Regardless of why you want to go gluten-free, it is very important to take gluten-free eating seriously. To that end, here are three tips for you to consider:

Read The Labels

When you are in the grocery store, it is important to read the labels on everything you buy. Sometimes it is clear what has gluten, but in some cases things may surprise you. Thus, especially if you are avoiding gluten because of an allergy, you should read the labels looking for references indicating the product may have even trace amounts of gluten.

Consult A Professional

Sometimes people make a lot of mistakes with their diet when they are trying to eat gluten-free. In many instances, they overload on the gluten-free versions of their favourite things (e.g. spaghetti). However, this is a big mistakes. We advise you to connect with a health professional who knows about the specific requirement people need each day with their diets and can help advise you on how to build your own gluten-free diet. They will help ensure your diet remains balanced, healthy, and that you are getting all of the vitamins and nutrients you need.

Experiment

Since you are gluten-free, there is a lot not available to you. There are, however, many options for gluten-free eating! Make a list of the foods you know do not contain gluten. When in doubt, experiment with new fruits and vegetables, along with any other new products you stumble across. Try something new each week to expand your palate. What you discover may actually surprise you in the end! Just be sure to keep the other tips we’ve discussed in this post so you can remain healthy with your gluten-free diet.