Life Hacks: Preparing for the Holidays

122---Life-Hacks---Spoon-sfwThere are countless problems you encounter on a daily basis that can put a little speed bump in your day. Life hacks are those “a-ha!” moments where you find the simplest solution to your daily problems, oftentimes using items immediately at your disposal. Each month this column will take you through some creative hacks to use in all different areas of your life to make your day-to-day as simple as possible. This month we’ll check out some cooking hacks that will help prepare you for the holidays ahead.

When you’re cooking for the masses, you may find your counter and stove overwhelmed with pots, pans and utensils. You probably have a hand trick at your disposal every time you pull out your pots and pans and you never even realized it. The hole in the end of your pot handle c an be used to hold its respective spoon, thereby keeping your counters and stovetop neat and organized.

We’ve all lost a bit of shell when cracking eggs for a recipe. There are several fixes for this frustrating mistake though. The first trick is to take half of the cracked egg shell and scoop up the stray piece from the bowl of eggs. The second trick is to wet your fingers before diving in to get it by hand. This will make the shell piece gravitate towards your finger as opposed to chasing it around the bowl. ­­­­

For those of us who122---Life-Hacks---Salad-sfw rely heavily on the ultra convenient salad mixes for our daily servings of greens, it can be quite frustrating how quickly they deteriorate in the fridge. To extend the life of your expensive mixes and fight this frustrating problem, make sure you purchase mixes with an expiration no less than five days away. When you get home, open the container and insert two paper towels folded in half on top of the mix. This will wick up the excess moisture that would typically spoil your greens.

We all dream of being Betty Crocker around the holidays and mak122---Life-Hacks---Eggshell-2-sfwing our loved ones lots of fresh from-scratch baked goodies for every meal. Let’s be real though – we’re throwing together way more boxed baked goods in those last minute events. A simple way to make your boxed cake recipe taste homemade is to substitute a few items. Add one more egg than the box directions call for, replace the oil with melted butter and use whole milk or buttermilk in place of water. With these simple substitutions your simple box cake will taste like it came fresh from the bakery!

Sometimes the best way to consolidate our cooking responsibilities is to use our cooking tools in ways we never thought of before. For instance, your waffle iron can be used for a myriad of other foods that you never even dreamed possible before. Slap on some hash browns for a crispy breakfast treat with minimal cleanup. Add some brownie batter for a new twist on you122---Life-Hacks---Juice-sfwr favorite dessert. Toss your quesadilla in for a speedy lunch. You can even put in your canned cinnamon rolls for a new twist on an old breakfast favorite.

We don’t all have the newest and greatest kitchen technologies at our disposal, and juicers tend to be one of those high end, pricey products that many homes skimp on. If you don’t have one in your home, you can always grab a pair of tongs and squeeze your citrus or fruit in a much more frugal way.