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Why you should photograph your stove dials before a trip

After weeks of planning, days of packing and hours of travel, you’re finally relaxing on vacation — swearing you’re not going to worry about life back home. But inevitably, one thought creeps into your mind: “Did I leave the stove on?” Maybe it’s the hair straightener, or leaving the garage door open, or even locking the front door. Whatever plagues your peacefulness, Lifehacker shares this genius tip: Use your smartphone to snap a shot of your stove dials (or whatever it is you worry about most) before you head out the door. Make it a part of your usual pre-travel routine. That’s it. It’s so simple, but such a small step can save you from feeling stressed ever again when you’re away from home. If you’re lounging on the beach and anxiety about the little things back home start to pop up, whip out your smart phone and put your mind at…

8 Mistakes you’re making when cooking fish

Fish on the menu tonight? If you’re guilty of doing any of these 8 things, you should adapt your style before you take to the stove tonight. 1. You choose the wrong pan Most people instinctively reach for the non-stick cookware pan, but the secret to cooking fish is a hot pan. Stainless steel or cast iron help you reach the right temperature so you can create that perfectly seared salmon. The only want to achieve that delicious crust is with a high dose of heat. Plus, a lot of recipes call for a quick turn in the oven to finish off the dish, so an oven-proof pan is the only way to go. 2. You don’t dry the fish off To make sure your fish gets a crispy outer layer, dry it off first with a paper towel. This also helps seasonings, salt, or marinade stick to it. Starting…

You might be storing your ice cream all wrong

It’s extra hot outside, but that doesn’t have to bother you — mostly because it’s the perfect excuse to enjoy an extra scoop of ice cream. (Is there really anything better than ice cream on a hot summer day?) But before you go and load your freezer full of pints of your favorite flavors, you may want to consider how you’re handling that frozen treat. Ice cream is a perishable product, and it needs to be treated with care. Whether ice cream lasts in your house a few days or a few months (who are these people?), you should pay attention to how you’re storing and handling it. Of course the easiest way to deal with ice cream is buying it and eating it in one sitting. (You may take this as your permission to do so — after all, food waste is a huge concern nowadays.) But, if you’re…

How to freeze asparagus

Asparagus is one of the first official signs of spring and a promise that more homegrown produce is right on its heels. All winter long we wait for those green spears to show in the garden, but just like that, warm weather hits and the season is over. If you’re getting into June and you still have an abundance of asparagus in the ground, don’t fret. Freezing it means you’ll have asparagus spears available for the whole year to come. 1. Go homegrown Only bother freezing locally grown asparagus while it’s in season for your area. Asparagus that has been shipped from other states, or even internationally, will almost always be less tender and have less flavor — not a good place to start. 2. Size matters The spears you select for freezing should be at least as thick as a pencil. Thinner spears don’t hold up very well in…

12 easy, healthy snacks for your road trip

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the U.S. summer travel season. Nearly 43 million Americans will use the long weekend to travel — about 37.6 million of those by car, according to automobile association AAA. While you can’t avoid the inevitable dirty gas station bathrooms and frustrating traffic jams, you can pack some snacks to make sure that you don’t get hangry and reach for unhealthy fast food. I know, I know. “Road trip food is half the fun,” you say. But is it? Do you arrive to your destination feeling satisfied and refreshed, or do you skid in sideways with a greasy chicken sandwich upset stomach ready for a 12-hour nap? The food options on the road are quite bad, but without something to satiate us, we’ll tell ourselves, “what other options are there?” Well, there are tons of options! Stop yourself from spiraling down the dark rabbit…

7 steps to prep your grill for grilling season

You might have already packed away your sweaters and scarves, but before this summer can really heat up, you need to give your grill its annual checkup. It might not be the most exciting item on your upcoming schedule, but nothing can kill an outdoor dinner party faster than a broken grill. So for the sake of future fun, follow this advice to make sure your grill is ready for its Memorial Day debut and beyond. Also read, How to kick off grilling season with proper food safety. 1. Deep clean the grates. Little charred bits don’t add flavor — by now, it’s just dirt that can make you sick. Cleaning your grates regularly will prevent dangerous bacteria buildup, improve the taste of your food, and also reduce the risk of fire. Grill grates can be cleaned a variety of different ways, but to really start the season off right, consider…

10 bad kitchen habits you need to break now

We all make mistakes in the kitchen — especially when we’re just starting out. But great cooks learn to be great by learning from their mistakes. Whether you’re a seasoned professional chef or a 20-something try-hard, if you’ve picked up any of these bad habits in the kitchen ditch them right now! Your cooking is suffering and you might not even know it. 1. Your knives are always dull When you’re using a dull knife, you actually increase your risk of getting injured. A sharp knife easily slices through anything, but a dull blade needs some force. This means it’s more likely to slip out of your hand and cut you — possibly seriously. If you don’t know how to properly sharpen a knife, no worries. You can get it done by a professional relatively cheaply. Once sharp, remember to store them with their blades protected in knife guards. Never…

18 tips on how to eat healthy and still save money at the grocery store

The average American house hold spends $6,600 on groceries every year — that’s $550 a month!. Are you doing all you can to make sure you’re getting the healthiest foods for your dollar? It can cost a lot to eat whole, healthy foods. In fact, the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can cost about $2,000 more per year. But the real question is can you afford not to? With heart disease, cancer, and diabetes all on the rise, spending the cash now on fresh foods could save you big bucks on medical bills throughout your lifetime. This increased food expense is all the more reason to identify ways to make your money stretch. The most obvious area for savings is to eliminate food waste. Americans throw out $640 worth of groceries every year. Reduce this waste, and you’ve recouped a…

How to pick the best pineapple every time

By this point in the winter we’re dreaming of snacking on sweet, succulent pineapple while lounging in a swaying beachside hammock. Although they’re available all year long, the tangy, tropical fruit is at its peak ripeness from March to July, making this month a perfect time to start enjoying the bold taste of this delicious fruit once again. The vibrant flavor of pineapples works great in all kinds of sweet or savory appetizers, entrées, and desserts. And of course, no summer dream is complete without a cool, refreshing piña colada or mai tai. But knowing how to pick the right one can be the difference between a perfectly balanced sweet and tangy fruit, and a too tart, bitter mess. With this in mind, here are a few things to look for when picking pineapples from the store. Curious why pineapple leaves your mouth sore?  The Base The bottom of the…

An easy trick to bring butter and eggs to room temperature for baking

Baking happens. Sometimes it’s planned days ahead, and sometimes you get the urge for something sweet out of nowhere. But, if you find yourself up for a little impromptu baking session, you might run into a few problems. Recipes regularly call for room temperature eggs, butter, and even milk — that means setting them out ahead of time to warm up. So what’s an impulsive baker to do? While a perfect planner would have had these ingredients resting on the countertop for an hour ahead of time, you just pulled them from your fridge and need them ready now. The microwave looks tempting, but you know that’s seriously hit or miss — and usually makes a mess. Don’t fear. Here a few hacks so you can bake your cookies without waiting until 10 p.m. to start. How to bring butter to room temperature If you’ve ever tried to microwave butter…