A lot of people regard cooking as an unwelcome, but necessary task. But cooking can be something to be enjoyed. It can also be a way to a healthier lifestyle. Good cooks are continuously learning and trying to improve their craft. Here, we will offer you some great tips to further your knowledge and love of cooking.

When storing your herbs and spices, they should be kept in a cool, dark spot. Their flavors will be weakened when they are exposed to light, heat or humidity. Ground herbs and spices retain their flavor for 12 months under normal circumstances. Whole spices may retain flavor for up to five years. Storing your spices properly can help you achieve a longer shelf-life for your spices.

If you are looking for new ideas for meals to prepare for yourself or your family two great places to look are the library and the internet, where you can find a vast array of options. Try a few recipes, and be patient with yourself as you are mastering this new skill.

For stir-fry dishes, meat should be sliced very thinly and on the bias. This may take some time and effort. Remove the meat when it is firm but before it freezes, and cut at an angle of 45 degrees against the grain.

It is a good practice to place cut potatoes in a bath of cold water for about half and hour, before frying in order to get crispy fries. The soaking process will reinforce the vegetable fibers, and they will be better able to withstand heat when you fry them.

For healthier, lower-calorie mashed potatoes, add some cooked cauliflower to your tubers. Since cauliflower is bland, it will mix right in with the potatoes along with the other ingredients. Cauliflower also matches the color and texture of the potatoes. This is a great way to add veggies and eliminate calories from a favorite dish.

This type of seasoning is commonly used on other foods besides meat. It can be put on pumpkin seeds for a yummy snack, or even in scrambled eggs for a zesty breakfast. Seasoned salt is a wonderful secret weapon to your spice rack.

Mushrooms will soak up a large amount of water. Wipe off each mushroom with a clean wet cloth to prepare them for cooking.

Optimize your efforts when making your own chicken stock. If you prepare a large pot of stock, it can be frozen and stored for future use. Homemade chicken stock adds great flavor to everything from soups to casseroles. Allow your stock to cool, then put portions in heavy-duty Ziploc bags made for freezing.

Chicken broth is a great cooking base for vegetables. This helps to prevent vegetables from sticking on the pan. In addition, chicken broth improves the vegetables' flavor. Chicken broth is very inexpensive, and can be purchased at just about any local grocery store.

Try cooking your vegetables in chicken broth for an extra kick. The vegetables will take on the broth flavor, and reduce the oil that is used when sauteing. You will love this cooking style if you just give it a try!

If you want to add flavor to your dishes, use a liquid other than milk or water. When you cook vegetables you can use chicken broth or add beef instead of water. You can try out buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream instead of milk. Substituting the liquid in a dish can add nutrient content, flavor or both.

Anytime you are cooking a dish that calls for substantial seasoning, try to add spices gradually throughout the process rather than all at once at the very start. This method will ensure that the flavoring is spread out and even, and that the ingredients are enhanced to the best they can be.

When you are planning to make a meal that needs garlic, buy garlic that is fresh. Usually, fresher garlic will have a sweeter taste. Fresh garlic is very firm to the touch and has an intact, taut skin. The individual cloves are also plump and firm, not shriveled and shrunken.

Every cook needs some method for organizing his cooking supplies. If you are not well organized, you'll be a disaster in the kitchen. Keep certain similar tools in one area. For instance, parsley and basil are both spices and should be in the exact same cabinet.

If you're going to be barbecuing, it's a good idea to prepare your grill beforehand so that it's already ready for you when you need it. Begin preparations around a half hour before you intend to start grilling. The coals should be at medium heat and they should be ash covered. This is the best grilling temperature.

When you truss your bird, you tie its legs and wings together. This process tucks the legs and wings closer to the bird's body, which allows everything to cook more evenly. If you don't truss your bird, the smaller pieces could dry out and burn.

Rather, use both oven and watch timers. If you engage in another activity away from your oven, you will hear your watch timer beep.

You should replace the water in soup, mashed potatoes, and many other dishes with beef or chicken stock to make them more flavorful. If you don't have those on hand, bouillon added to the water will also work. Doing this will allow your food to get the moisture it needs but also add another level of flavor to the dish.

Dark, leafy greens have tons of healthy nutrients, but they can be tedious to prepare. Taking out the tough stems may be tedious. Simplify the task by folding the leaf lengthwise. Then remove the stem from the middle. You can also use a knife in order to cut from the folded leaf the stem. When you unfold the leaf it will be a de-stemmed green, which was done perfectly.

As was stated at the beginning of the article, good cooks never stop learning. The best part of cooking is learning about new techniques and methods to use. Help people around you by sharing your knowledge. Cooking is not just a task to be mastered, but a gift that was meant to be shared with others.

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Use This Piece As Your Personal Gardening Guide

Holistic lifestyles are spreading and becoming popular, all while organic is growing in popularity as well. Anyone living this kind of life usually has to organically grow their own herbs and plants to maintain their way of living. Read on to glean some new organic ideas in the following article.

A garden needs the right type of soil to grow properly. You can get a soil analysis, and if you find your soil needs a supplement, do it! Many offices of Cooperative Extension will do a soil analysis, and it is important to know how to improve soil so that all crops can grow in it.

Before you plant seeds, pre-soak them for a night somewhere dark. Place your seeds in a container filled with water. The seeds will get the hydration they need to start growing. This way, the seeds will have a much better shot at survival once they are planted.

Fresh mint is a wonderful addition to a herb garden, but it can quickly take over your entire yard. That's why it's better to place mint in containers rather than letting it have free rein in your garden. You can even plant the container in the ground. That way, the roots won't be able to escape the container, and the plant won't overrun your garden.

If you decide to grow peas, think about planting them indoors when you first start them off, as opposed to planting them outdoors. The seeds will grow better in your home if planted there first. Seeds grown indoors are much more resistant to diseases and damage done by pests. Once they grow a bit bigger, the seedlings can be easily transplanted to an outdoor garden.

Before you start working in your garden, purchase a wheelbarrow and a good kneeling stool. Spending too much time on the ground working can be quite hard on your knees, and a gardening stool can help alleviate this, plus make things more comfortable for you. Gardening also typically involves transporting bags of topsoil, fertilizer and other heavy items, so using a wheelbarrow to make these tasks easier is a sound investment for your garden, and your back.

Make sure your pesticides are focused on only what you're trying to kill. This particular type of pesticide will also kill the useful insects that consume the pests. Many times good bugs will be more sensitive to harmful pesticides than the ones you are trying to get rid of. If your good bug population goes down, your problem will only get worse. This might result in you having to use even more pesticides to get rid of the pests.

Pick your vegetables when the temperature is moderate to avoid bruising them. You should also be sure to cut them off the vine and not twist them, as twisting can hurt the plant.

In order to bring in good insects to your garden, you need to plant heather. Bees are attracted to heather, and they can bring a source of nectar early in the spring. Heather doesn't usually require a lot of tending, so spiders, ground beetles and other good bugs like to call it home. Being mindful of this, wearing gloves appropriate to gardening is sound strategy when pruning any heather in or around the bed.

Having a garden of perennials can be an easy and quick process. Use a spade to dig up some soil, flip the soil over, and finally, sprinkle around 3-4 inches of wood chips on the soil. Let this sit for a couple weeks, next dig into it to plant your new plants.

When planting seeds, make sure to take your time. Before taking any other steps, you should first moisturize the soil. Then, distribute the seeds evenly, and see to it that they have space to grow. Bury the seed with a planting depth of about three times its size. Certain types of seeds should simply be dropped on top of the soil due to needing sunlight for growth.

Keep plastic bags handy to cover your muddy gardening shoes. This lets you be able to return to the garden without interrupting your work.

When maintaining your organic garden, try lightly petting your seedlings -- either with the palm of your hand or something like a sheet of cardboard -- once or twice each day. It sounds weird, but research has shown that handling the seedling like this often will make them grow bigger than seedlings that are ignored.

Create a raised bed for your garden out of stone, bricks or untreated wood. When selecting wood, make certain you pick untreated products that have a natural resistance to rot. Good choices are cedar, locust and cypress. Don't use treated wood in a garden for vegetables because the chemicals contained in them can leak into the ground. Treated wood can be lined with plastic to create a barrier.

Avoid over-watering your plants. Excess water may hinder the plant's roots from getting nutrition from the soil. Before watering your plants outdoors, check to see if there is rain in the forecast. If rain is in the forecast, it is best not to water that day.

To make sure you have strong seedlings, look deeply. When you are purchasing tomato seedlings for your organic garden, you should watch out for lush green starts with bad root systems. These starts will stick to the seedlings for quite some time, which prevents the seedlings from growing until the starts are gone.

A perennial garden can be set up in a few easy steps. Cut into your turf using a spade and then cover the exposed portion with lots of wood chips. In about 2 weeks, you will be able to plant flowers in your new bed.

Make your organic gardening experience easier. Plan out the landscaping with mainly native bushes, flowers, and grasses. Native plants will thrive in your soil type and climate, without the need for inorganic fertilizers or pesticides. Actually, plants that are native to your area will work great with compost made of other native plants.

With more knowledge comes a higher level of skill and success. Don't forget that this advice is just the beginning.

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Green Energy Tips For The Average Consumer!

Going green, and using less energy, is not as hard as you may think. It can be very simple. No matter how small the changes you make are, they will quickly add up to something big to help the environment. The advice in the paragraphs that follow can help you understand how to switch to different, green sources of energy.

One of the simplest ways to help save the environment is to use less energy. Unplug appliances that aren't in use. Turn off lights, television sets and other small appliances when you are done using them. This simple tip can go a long way in saving you money.

Choose solar-powered lights when installing outdoor lighting in your yard. These lamps are inexpensive and do not require any kind of power source other than exposure to the sun. This, of course, will save you a lot of money. This saves you money, and it also means you don't need to wire the outdoor lights.

If you want to preserve energy, keep your windows so they are shaded from sunlight. Closing your blinds and curtains will keep out the sun in summer and keep heat from escaping in winter. Doing these things will let you use less air conditioning in the summer. You can save money and energy throughout the summer.

Furnace filters should be replaced annually, and check them monthly for cleanliness. It is also recommended to put filters on every register in your home. Register filters will help prevent debris increasing efficiency.

Maybe you can use solar water heaters instead of traditional heating methods. If you live in a region that is not at risk for freezing, it is possible to install a system that pumps water into a solar heater, then pumps it into your house. It is still a good idea to keep a regular water heater in case of excess hot water usage or overcast weather.

During the summer months, hang your clothes outside instead of drying them in the dryer. Using the sun can make clothes smell a lot better. It is a fresher smell than you would get from the dryer. Also, your utility bills will be greatly decreased.

Solar batteries should be placed close to solar cells when system installation is taking place. This helps prevent power loss in the cables. Additionally, the cable cannot shade the cells, which can cause reduction in generation.

Use a tankless water heater instead of one that uses a tank. Instead of keeping a whole tank of water hot at all times, tankless models only heat the water you are actually going to use. You can get a tankless heater that will supply the whole house or one that supplies a single hot-water faucet.

Desktop computers are very power hungry. Try using a laptop as an alternative. By doing this you could be saving around 75% off your electric bill, especially if you constantly use the Internet or type up papers. Another benefit of the laptop is that it's portable, so it can be used anywhere.

If you are apprehensive about what green changes to make to your home, there are many green energy consultants available today. They can advise you about how much inefficient appliances cause you to lose financially, and they can estimate the price of upgrading or simply replacing your old systems.

Use e-mail over snail mail as much as possible. In short, try to be paperless all the time. This will not only help businesses lower their energy costs, but you as well. You also help others by protecting the environment as well.

Keep an eye on how many watts of electricity you use. Try using gadgets like the Kill-A-Watt and the Watt Minder to see what in your home uses too much energy. If you attach the device to the appliances in your home, it will let you know how much energy that appliance uses for different lengths of time. This is helpful in showing you exactly what each appliance costs to run.

It might seem like common sense, but a lot of people don't turn off their lights, machines and other electronics when they are not being used. Just this single habit could prevent a lot of unnecessary energy use and save much money. Before doing something, be sure to remember to turn these things off.

Always maintain modern, energy-efficient windows at home. Not only will you reduce your energy bills, you will enjoy a much quieter home. You will also have a lot less condensation, resulting in less mold growth and water damage.

Get your home greener by being more responsible with how much light you are using. In the months with longer days and more light, don't turn your lights on until a certain time. Try using dimmers to reduce the usage of lights.

Write to your local politicians and ask them to support green energy initiatives. Consumers have the power and right to insist on eco-friendly technology. When enough people combine their buying power, the industry will respond by offering a wider range of environmentally friendly products at lower costs. It also encourages businesses to manufacture their products differently in order to remain profitable.

Rainwater can be effectively used in some household items, for example the toilet. This saves money on the water bill and is good for the environment, too. It's easy to collect rainwater in containers using something as simple as glass jars, or even buckets and barrels.

Shut off lights when not in use. For instance, use as little light as possible at night, and don't leave lights on when you leave the room. Turn off your porch light if everyone is home, or cabinet lighting in your kitchen when no one is in there. This will decrease energy consumption.

Switching to green energies should remain easy. As you have learned from this article there are a lot of ways you can green up your life for the better. Make use of the information you have read here. You may have to make some major changes to your life, but the payoff from going green is very much worth it.

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Tips For Great Organic Gardening

If you are environmentally conscious and worried about the toxic effects of chemicals, organic gardening may be for you. Organic gardeners eschew the harsh chemicals and fertilizers used by large corporate farms. Organic gardening is also cheap and requires very little equipment. This article provides several useful tips that will help you improve your organic gardening techniques.

Plants that result in a larger yield should be higher on your priority list when planning the garden. A plant that is resistant to disease, or one that is tolerant of extreme weather, will deliver a higher yield.

In the cold winter months, you can salvage certain plants by bringing them into the house. Maybe you could pick out the most expensive plants or the most hardy ones. Cautiously avoid the roots while digging, and put your plant into a perfectly sized pot.

To get the best results in your garden, you need to use a good quality soil. Depending on what type of plants you have, your soil may or may not be adapted. You can designate one area of your garden to use one specific type of soil.

If you want your garden to blossom with flowers throughout the spring and summer, plant some bulbs in it. Since bulbs are easy to grow and resistant to poor weather conditions, they will grow without fail year after year. If you choose your plants carefully, you could have flowers in blossom from the first weeks of spring to the end of the summer.

Try growing some cat grass or wheat grass in the vicinity of the plants that your cat likes to eat. Another option is to protect your plants by lacing them with offensive entities, such as peels from citrus fruit or even moth balls from your closet.

Try to keep your plants aerated and dry, every day. Parasites are attracted to the moisture on plants. Fungi are a very common and irritating pest in the world of gardening. You can rid your garden of fungi with fungicidal sprays. However, it is best to treat your garden before there are problems.

Invest in a kneeling stool, and a wheelbarrow to work in the garden. Spending a lot of time near the ground working is very hard on the knees, so a lightweight and portable garden stool will make gardening more comfortable. As well, gardening can involve some heavy lifting and moving, so a strong wheelbarrow can really make that aspect much more effortless.

In the hottest time of the day, most vegetables are less firm; even the act of harvesting the veggies may cause bruising. Twisting off vegetables causes damage to the plant; always snip them at the base of the vine.

You should teach your children how to garden alongside you. Gardening helps your children learn about biological processes and serves as a social activity that helps the family grow closer while eating healthier.

When you are working in your garden, you will want to have all of your tools in a convenient location. One of the biggest time wasters is not keeping track of your tools and having to look for them every time you need them. Have all of your tools gathered and prepared for use before you work in the garden, and make sure to put them away neatly. Even something like a carpenter's tool belt or some cargo jeans work well to keep tools organized.

Pine can make a great mulch. Some plants have a naturally high acidic level, and therefore like acidic soil. When you have any plants like this, it's very simple to just collect pine needles to use in your bed. Cover the surface of the ground with a two-inch layer of the pine needles; as the needles break down, they will release acid into the soil and nourish your plants.

When you want to harvest the produce in your organic garden, always have an old laundry basket to hand. This will be like a strainer for all your produce. While your freshly harvested fruits and vegetables are still in the basket, rinse them off and any excess water will run off through the laundry basket holes.

If you are planting seeds in containers, a good rule of thumb is that the seed's depth should be around three times its overall size. But, is important to realize the some seeds ought not be covered, as they need complete exposure to sun. Example of these kinds of seeds include the petunia and the ageratum. If you are unsure about the specific needs of your seeds, you should consult your local garden center or conduct further research online. Important things to look for include water requirements, ideal soil type, and recommended sunlight exposure.

Organic gardening is harder than relying on chemicals, but the results are worth it. Though the use of chemicals has its own benefits, organic farming is a rewarding experience that ends with natural, healthy produce.

You may want to grow garlic organically. You should plant garlic cloves in either early spring or late fall. Your soils should be well-drained. The cloves should be planted four inches apart from one another and about one to two inches deep, with their ends pointed up. You can cut the sprouts as they grow and use them to replace scallions and chives. When your garlic tops are turning brown in color, they are ready to be dug. The bulbs should be allowed to dry in the sunshine for a few days; the heat will harden the skin. Store them somewhere cool, in tied bunches or loose.

A perennial garden can be set up in a few easy steps. Flip up the turf using a spade or shovel, then cover the exposed area with a thin layer of wood chips, about three or four inches. After a few weeks, you can cut into the new bed and plant your perennials.

Hopefully the useful advice in this article will help you create and maintain your own beautiful, healthy, and toxin free organic garden. You can also look forward to a boost in the volume of wildlife inhabiting your nature-loving garden.

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