Dec
20

How to Keep a Clean Kitchen

Let’s be honest, cleaning the kitchen is one of the least enjoyed household chores, and unfortunately, one of the most frequently needed.  With three meals a day and a constant flow of dirty dishes to be washed, keeping a tidy cooking space can feel like a battle you’ll never win.  But don’t fret!  There are small changes you can make that will keep your workload to a manageable level and tamper your stress level to boot.  Sounds great, right?  Let’s take a look!

Declutter Your Countertops
We’re all guilty of it to some degree.  It’s nice to have easy access appliances and utensils ready to go whenever you need them.  Toasters, mixers, and spatulas are among the most common things we’ll leave accessible day after day.  But the truth is, we don’t use these items all the time.  When they’re not being used, they’re creating an overall unkempt appearance on our countertops. And in the process, they’re adding to our stress level.  It might feel strange at first, but go ahead and find a new home for everything – one that is out of sight.  You’ll be amazed at the remarkable difference it makes.  Plus, you might find that you’re more eager to wipe your counters thoroughly if you don’t have to move a bunch of things out of the way first.

Clean as You Go
Here’s some cliché advice that we’ve all heard a million times, but few of us actually practice.  We get so wrapped up in our preparation efforts, the thought of cleaning often doesn’t enter our minds until the end – when we’re exhausted and don’t feel like cleaning.  But there are some super simple ways we can help ourselves out.

While you wait – Instead of staring at a pot of water while waiting for it to boil, go ahead and rinse off a couple of dishes.  Or if the oven needs a little more time to preheat, why not wipe up that pile of flour that’s on the counter, or that puddle of milk you spilled?

Compost bowl – Select a bowl as your dedicated food scrap container and place all your veggie trimmings in it.  That way, you’ll keep your countertops clear as you work.  And when it comes time to toss the scraps, you’ve got a simple, one-step process.  Easy as pie!

Establish a Cleaning Schedule
Time flies faster and faster every year.  And if we’re not careful, essential cleanings can get overlooked for far longer than they should.  But if you set and maintain a regular cleaning routine, you’ll always have a clean kitchen ready for use.  For example, you can mop the floor and sanitize the sink once a week.  And once a month, you can clear out the fridge and give it a thorough cleansing.  Just be sure not to forget the things you’ll do less frequently, like clean the dishwasher or removing the crumbs from the hard to reach nooks and crannies we all have in various places.

No matter what you decide to do, a clean kitchen is necessary for a happy and hygienic cooking space.  Make sure it’s at the top of your priority list!

 

Dec
20

Remodeling Ideas for Your Galley Kitchen

How many times have you heard someone say how much they love the look of a galley kitchen?  Probably never.  And yet, many of us live with this design in our homes every day.  But as style preferences have evolved over time, so must our kitchens.  Take a look at some of the fantastic ways you can transform your galley kitchen into a beautiful and functional space.  You’ll likely be surprised at how easy it can be!

Create Some Space
Opening up a cramped kitchen evokes images of massive, messy demo projects and removing entire walls.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Sometimes, it can be as simple as cutting out a small window into the next room.  The idea is to simply gain a visual connection between the kitchen and the rest of the house.  You’ll be amazed at how much one small opening can add tons of perceived space to your kitchen.

Mirror Mirror
This is a classic design maneuver that still works today, and it’s probably your most cost-effective tool for improving your cooking space.  Add a mirrored backsplash to your galley kitchen and enjoy the appearance of more space provided by the reflection of natural light.

Glossy and White
Similar to a mirrored backsplash, high-gloss cabinetry will reflect the natural light in your kitchen and help it feel more spacious.  And if you choose a bright white color for your cabinets and walls, you can really capitalize on this use of light.  This is another classic tip that is still popular today.  You know why?  Because it works!

Open Shelving
The upper cabinets can create a cavernous effect in a narrow space, and this is especially true if they are a  dark color.  So open-up your kitchen by opting for simple shelving instead of the bulky and obtrusive cabinets.  This will go a long way to making your tight space feel a little bigger, and it makes it a breeze to find the things you need.

Beat the Heat
Do your research and invest in a quality cooking hood to remove all the heat and humidity rising up from your stove.  Without this valuable tool, the temperature of your kitchen can quickly rise to an uncomfortable level.  Especially in the summertime, a hot kitchen seems to make the walls close in around you and can have a considerable impact on your mood and patience.

General Rule of Thumb
No matter what project you decide to tackle, make sure you keep this crucial rule in mind.  The most effective tools at your disposal are light, height, and bright colors.  Each of these elements plays a trick on our minds and helps a small area feel large and welcoming.  So be sure to examine your strengths and make the most of what you’ve got.

Nov
21

6 Things You’re Doing Wrong in the Kitchen

Even for those of us who think we’re experts in the kitchen, there are always new things to learn. And often, we find that we’ve spent years doing things the “wrong” way. Check out the hacks below to help cultivate your culinary prowess.

Don’t Kill Your Fresh Herbs
Do you keep your fresh herbs in a plastic bag in the fridge? If you are, you’re probably doing more harm than good. Remember that herbs are plants. They need air, light, and water to survive. By closing them in plastic, you’re killing them. Instead, ditch the bag, trim the roots, and place the herbs in a jar with water. Think of them like tiny (and delicious) flowers that are waiting for their chance to shine.

Refrigerate the Right Things
Most of us assume that the refrigerator makes everything stay fresher for longer. But guess what? We’re wrong. Some food items, such as tomatoes and potatoes, prefer to stay out of the cold and kept at room temperature. Other examples include bread, butter, honey, avocados, bananas, melons, onions, and garlic.

Drown Your Noodles
This one is kind of a no-brainer. When you cook noodles, the pasta is absorbing the water. If you don’t put enough water in the pot, you’ll end up with chewy, gummy noodles that are undercooked. So don’t be stingy – add more water.

Don’t Store Coffee in the Freezer
This is another item that prefers to stay out of the cold, but it’s such an essential part of our daily lives that it deserves its own section. Here’s the deal: When you place your coffee beans in the fridge or the freezer, condensation occurs when you take them out, and this causes them to lose their lovely roasted flavor. Try storing your beans in an air-tight container and place it in a cool, dark cupboard.

Let the Meat Rest
Just because you take the steak off the grill or out of the oven, doesn’t mean that it’s done cooking. It continues to transform as it slowly cools. This is a vital stage of the process.  It prevents the juices from pouring out of the meat when you cut into it. The same goes for baked dishes, as well. Give your casseroles a little nap and allow the liquids to be reabsorbed before enjoying.

Peeling Potatoes
Peeling potatoes is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. This lifehack will save you loads of hassle. Instead of slowly peeling each potato one-by-one, just slice each one around the circumference before cooking. Once they’re done, simply grab each end of the potato and watch the skin easily slide off.

Nov
21

Why the Kitchen is the Most Important Room in Your House

Why the Kitchen is the Most Important Room in Your HouseThe kitchen is the center of your day-to-day life and the focal point for family gatherings. You likely start your day with a hot cup of coffee or a healthy breakfast to get things off to a great start. You prepare countless meals there and probably eat some of them there too. When you entertain guests, they always seem to wind up in the kitchen where they can enjoy the food and drink while talking and sharing each other’s company. It’s where you cook, eat, socialize, and bond with loved ones. In many ways, it is the heart of your home.

Years ago, homes were very different. Kitchens were treated as a utility space where meals were cooked in seclusion from the dining room and other areas of the house. The design was intended to hide the mess that comes along with preparing a meal. In the process, it also hid the person making the meal, and confined the socializing to the dining area and living room.

Today though, kitchens are often included as part of an open floorplan and are equipped with family-focused features such as seating areas and computer nooks. Now parents can cook dinner while the kids have an after-school snack at the counter or finish their homework on the laptop. It’s where the little ones receive their first lesson in cooking and healthy eating. And it’s where they get their first taste of chores by cleaning the dirty dishes.

But convenient parenting isn’t the only benefit. Kitchens are also where children learn social skills and polite manners that will aid them in their journey into adulthood. Studies show that children who eat frequent home-cooked meals earn higher grades in school and are less likely to abuse alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes.

Holiday meals are now prepared and shared together. Even those who are doing more nibbling than cooking can hang out in the kitchen and be a part of the family time with everybody. No one is isolated alone in the kitchen while the others laugh and play elsewhere in the house. These days, everyone can join in the special day together.

With so much activity in this room, your kitchen must provide you with a functional, supportive, and aesthetically pleasing environment. Take the time to ensure that your kitchen is adequately equipped to decrease your effort so you can increase your focus on family and friends. If your current set up isn’t meeting your needs, maybe it’s time to consider an update or remodel. Just remember, by investing in your kitchen, you are investing in your family.

Oct
24

6 Ways to Make Your Bathroom Feel Bigger

6 Ways to Make Your Bathroom Feel BiggerA small bathroom is a fact of life for many of us.  It can feel like we’re crammed in a damp, dark closet with barely enough room to move our arms.  And most of the time, expanding the walls to gain a little extra square footage just isn’t a possibility.  So, what can we do to fix this situation?  Here are five ways you can make your bathroom feel bigger.

Brighten Up the Room
When it comes to small spaces, light is your best friend.  By providing multiple light sources, you’ll eliminate shadows and add a significant amount of perceived space.  Natural light is always the top choice.  But if that’s not an option, use recessed ceiling lights and an edge-lighted mirror.  If you go with wall sconces, be sure to select a style that has a low profile and doesn’t project too far off the wall.

Remove the Vanity Cabinet
Vanity cabinets are great for storing the necessary items for a bathroom, but they require crucial floor space in a tight area.  Instead, opt for a pedestal or a floating sink.  Even if you don’t place anything underneath (and you probably shouldn’t), simply having that open space will make the room feel larger. This is an elegant option that will help expand the visual appearance of your bathroom.

Reflect the Space with a Large Mirror
The effects of a large mirror can’t be understated.  By installing a wall-to-wall custom piece, you can double the appearance of your space.  This can sometimes be an expensive investment, but it is well worth the price tag.  If you’re looking to add a special touch to your mirror, splurge on a great frame that showcases your style. 

Light-Colored Flooring
We all know how dark walls can sometimes create a claustrophobic feel in small rooms, and it’s best to stick with light colors.  Well, the same rule applies for floors.  Light-colored flooring will open up the room and make it feel much larger than it is.  

Remove the Clutter
Keep your space as clean and tidy as you can.  A well-kept bathroom always feels more spacious than one that’s cluttered and dirty.  Decide which items are essential and keep only those few things visible.  Everything else should be put away and out of sight.  Spending a little time on your organization can go a long way to making your bathroom feel bigger.  And even better, it’s free!

Glass Panel for the Shower
Shower curtains are great when you have the space for one.  But they can sometimes have the effect of becoming a visual wall.  So, if your bathroom feels tight, you might consider adding a glass door for your shower.  It allows the light to pass through and add some much-needed square footage to the room.  After installation, you’ll feel an immediate difference.