3 simple techniques to improve your kitchen ability

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For those who may not have much time to cook at home outside of preparing meals for the family, experimenting, as a home cook would, may not be something that feels possible. In order to save time, this can leave you creating meals as quickly as you can, continually eating the same things, and relying on convenience foods perhaps more often than we’re comfortable with.

Now, there’s no shame in bringing a frozen pizza to the table or to order takeout when you need to, nor do you need to justify however much time you can spend in the kitchen just because someone you follow on Instagram seems to create beautiful meals six times a day.

Perhaps you may not have ever really focused on learning how to cook a range of meals instead of some home comforts. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this. However, it can be nice to expand our repertoire when we have the time for it, or to try and find joy in cooking so that following the extra mile makes sense. In this post, we’ll discuss three simple techniques that can improve your kitchen ability in the best way:

Perfect The Basics

It’s a shame how many people under-value the supreme benefit that comes from perfecting the basic meals we otherwise enjoy. Comfort food deserves to be looked at with care, too. For instance, this gooey mac and cheese recipe made with pub cheese can showcase how it’s the additional measures that allow cooking to shine. No matter if this means rubbing garlic cloves on your olive-oil stained sourdough, or learning how to rest meat properly before cooking it, if you can perfect a simple meal, perhaps your favorite, then immediately you can transfer those additional skills elsewhere.

Inspire Your Spice & Herb Rack

Those who know how to wield spices and herbs appropriately have figured out 50% of how to become a great cook. From learning which tastes go with which ingredients, such as parsley used on new potatoes, or just the right amount of cumin used in a chili, as well as learning a better combination of spices (there is nothing quite like Indian cooking learnt at home to help solidify these lessons), the more you can source fresh spices and herbs and use them with care and reverence, the more your cooking game explodes in possibility.

Befriend Your Appliances

It’s healthy to befriend your appliances from time to time, as it were, and to make sure that you truly do understand their operation. From air fryers to slow cookers, or simply knowing that a potato peeler can be used both ways and more easily via that swiping direction, reading the manuals, testing out recipes, perfecting the timing, this can help your cooking approach become better and more endearing than ever. You may be deeply surprised as to just how well this approach can work.

With this advice, we believe you’ll be able to perfect your kitchen ability in the best possible light.

** This was a contributed post.

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4 tips on preparing delicious meals for your family

It’s no secret that home-cooked meals are the best. Not only are they cheaper and healthier than eating out, but they also taste better. If you’re looking to improve your cooking skills or want some new recipes to try out, then read on! This blog post will discuss four tips for preparing delicious meals for your family.

Photo by Dana Tentis from Pexels

1) Plan ahead

One of the best ways to ensure that you’ll be able to make a delicious meal for your family is to plan. This means taking into consideration what everyone likes to eat and any dietary restrictions. By planning, you can make sure that everyone will be happy with what’s on the menu. Planning will also save you time and money. You can take advantage of sales at the grocery store and bulk cook certain items so that you have leftovers for another meal. If you have a busy week coming up, you can prepare some meals in advance to avoid having to worry about dinner.

2) Use fresh ingredients

One of the keys to making a delicious meal is using fresh ingredients. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money on organic produce, but it does mean that you should avoid using processed foods as much as possible. Fresh ingredients will give the flavor and texture of your meals that processed foods can’t match. In addition, using fresh ingredients is better for your health. If you’re unsure how to use certain ingredients or don’t know where to find them, do some research online or ask a friend. There are plenty of websites and cookbooks out there with recipes that use fresh ingredients.

3) Use the right appliances

If you want to make delicious meals for your family, you need the right appliances. This means having a good quality stovetop and oven, as well as a blender, food processor, and microwave. These appliances will help you cook or prepare your food in the most efficient way possible. If you lack kitchen space, consider getting a countertop appliance like a slow cooker or pressure cooker, you won’t believe the flavor produced by lasagna made in the slow cooker. These appliances are perfect for making hearty meals that the whole family can enjoy.

4) Experiment

One of the best things about cooking is experimenting with different ingredients and recipes. Don’t be afraid to try something new or adapt a recipe to make it your own. If you don’t like an element, replace it with something else. The possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking. So don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen! In addition, cooking is a great way to bond with your family. If you have kids, then involve them in the cooking process. They’d be more likely to eat their meal if they helped to make it.

If you want to make delicious meals for your family, follow these four tips. Planning, using fresh ingredients, using the right appliances, and experimenting are all key to success in the kitchen. So get cooking!

** This was a contributed post.

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in october

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 8.30.30 PMNot only is today Halloween, but it also marks the last day in October. Another month has come to an end. I always feel a bit nostalgic on these days. Like something important is concluding. Do you agree? Yet, at the same time, I like these days for the sole purpose of being able to sum up the entire month of blogging.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 7.59.24 PMWhile 30 days may not seem very long ago to most people, to a blogger who publishes 5 posts a week, it feels like a lifetime. No longer do our previous posts seem relevant, as we are typically already planning an entire month in advance.Thus, something that we posted one month ago, in actuality, is really two months ago in our minds. A lot can happen in two months!

That being said, let’s finally discuss what did happen in October.

BeFunky_04.jpgI began the month with the introduction of my store’s website, as well as the grand opening of Potomac Trading Post, Ltd. itself. I also published my Pinterest finds on my store inspiration.

Holly03Next, I described the big changes that I’ve gone through emotionally this summer, as well as dealing with Holly’s health problems and being able to witness the self-effacing beauty in a dog’s own strength and will to survive.

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 10.41.45 AMWe celebrated Thanksgiving in Canada. I wrote about what I was thankful for, in addition to showing you my outfit for the delicious holiday.

01.jpgSpeaking of food, my husband was October’s guest blogger and he made the most delicious Butternut Squash Pasta.

J+J 08I was hired to shoot a prairie couple and their dog, seen here and here.

Moon.jpgI also blogged about my discovery of RAW format, not to mention testing it out on the night of the partial solar eclipse. (The former of which has become one of my most liked posts!)

BeFunky_2.jpgIt wouldn’t be a successful month without including at least one home design idea. Here is my reigning kitchen concept. 

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 9.58.13 AMThis was probably the most that I’ve ever blogged about The Little Barn as well. I showed you our roofsiding, and appliances in these posts. I also discussed the idea of a dream home and you guys had some really amazing and insightful advice on the topic.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetOn a rare evening out, we were able to see the film Pulp Fiction in theatres. What a great night that was!

IMG_1050 copy06.jpgOf course, Halloween also occurred this month. I began by showing you the cutest pumpkin DIY, not to mention 10 scary film choices, a healthy holiday treat, a makeup tutorial, and finally, our costumes for that night (tonight, in fact).

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 7.58.56 PMIt was such a busy and diverse month. Bring on November, baby.

<3

Emory

store bought bones

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset​A few weeks ago, Geoffrey and I took a rare trip into town together and spent the day running errands in preparation for our new home. We made it a prerogative to pick out our remaining bathroom lights, as well as our fridge, stove, washer, and dryer. In addition, we also had to meet a contractor out at our place first thing in the morning. In between all of that, I was also making deliveries for Potomac Trading Post, Ltd. Talk about a busy morning!

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetWe went to a lighting store that I’ve wanted to visit for a few years now. I picked out three really beautiful fixtures, which amounted to around $800. Then in true Emory form, I went home and found similar lighting for a fraction of the price online. Why do I even bother going shopping in person?

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetOur biggest expense was the lot of appliances that we ended up purchasing from the hardware store. I’ve had my eye on a combo washer and dryer unit for a few years now, and because we saved so much money on our fridge and stove, we decided to splurge on the w/d unit. I’m so excited! 

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetAll in all it was a productive day. More importantly, we can now cross appliances off our to-do list for The Little Barn. Phew!

<3

Emory

put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up.

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(Image via Pinterest)

I realize that this may be a strange title for a post, however, when I was thinking about how to cleverly add the word ‘kitchen’ to the title, I could only think of the Harry Nilsson song. You know, from the film Practical Magic when they’re dancing in the kitchen and this is the music that is playing in the background? My mind works in mysterious ways.

While we’re on the topic of kitchens, the one that was featured in that film is pretty much the look that I am trying to attain with ours for The Little Barn. It’s funny how you can completely put something that you like in the back of your mind, and suddenly when you’re writing a post for your blog, it comes rushing back to you with many other childish memories that tie into what you’re discussing. Come to think of it, I don’t ever recall seeing the movie in its entirety. Dammit. Now I have another one to add to my list.

I digress. I need to stop doing that. What this post is really about is Pinterest and it’s unending supply of rustic industrial kitchens. Who needs books and magazines anymore when you have the internet? Wait. I work in a library. Who needs the internet when you have … Ok, so we need it all.

Here are my most influential finds so far:

BeFunky_5.jpg(Image via Pinterest)

BeFunky_4.jpg(Image via Pinterest)

BeFunky_1.jpg(Image via Pinterest)

BeFunky_2.jpg(Image via Pinterest)

BeFunky_6.jpg(Image via Pinterest)

1.jpg(Image via Pinterest)

And just to add a little music to this post, and because Halloween is nearing, here you go!

<3

Emory

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