Quick tips for a novice in the kitchen

If you’ve never particularly been fond of culinary arts, have only entered the kitchen just for the time it requires for you to either grab something from the refrigerator, and are now facing the fact that you might have to start picking up some kitchen skills, you will want to keep on reading!

Many of us are now realizing that possessing culinary skills is becoming a must because: a) dining out is costly; b) you may not always get food that truly flatter your taste buds; c) your waistline continually will expand as you eat out. If you have made the conscientious decision to take on cooking, I’m hoping to help you start at least with these following tips:

  1. Start with quick cooking grains – no matter the meal, a quick cooking grain will help minimize errors. Quinoa is one of my favorites because of its versatility and also as a great source of iron, protein and magnesium, you are sure to have a very healthy component to your meal. If you are not a fan of quinoa, you can easily substitute with one of the following grains: couscous, bulgur wheat, or healthy pastas made of the previously mentioned grains. If you are a real novice and need further guidance, you can search online through websites such as foodnetwork.com or allrecipes.com for step by step recipes. I’ll start you off with this list from Fitness Magazine: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/dinner/healthy-quinoa-recipes/?page=1
  2. Select a protein that is easy and quick to cook – my go to protein sources are boneless/skinless chicken breast and seafood: shrimp or snapper fillet to be more specific. These proteins are easy to clean and take usually less than 30 minutes to cook. They are as error proof as ingredients can be and require little experience to make a successful meal with them. You want to ensure that you properly clean them: shrimp needs to be deveined and the connective tissues need to be removed from the chicken breast. Once they are properly cleaned, you can be as adventurous with your seasoning or simply go with salt and pepper. Be sure to thoroughly cook your protein especially your poultry as you risk contracting salmonella poisoning if consumed undercooked. You can refer to the step by step guides following for more assistance: cleaning chicken: http://enchantedspoon.blogspot.com/2011/02/kitchen-basics-how-to-properly-trim.html; deveining shrimp:  http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_peel_and_devein_shrimp/
  3. Invest in great seasoning – the seasoning is what can differentiate a bland meal from an exceptional one! While many people think that producing a great tasting meal requires some of the fanciest seasonings, I’ve always thought that the more natural the seasoning, the better the taste. Some of the best spices to use as seasoning include: garlic, pepper, onion, and thyme (depending on the dish). In addition to these, I like to use lime in the cleaning process but it also enriches the taste especially with seafood. For a more depth in the flavor, you may use a small quantity of mustard and hot pepper. For my quick seasoning blend, see my DIY article: http://glamgirlonthego.me/2015/04/23/is-it-worth-it-to-diy/

It will take some practice before you start to feel comfortable in the kitchen, however, the essential part is that you decide to take on the challenge, start with something small and keep practicing until you feel comfortable enough to move on to more complexed recipes. Remember that you’re not alone in your journey, there are many outlets that will help you find new easy recipes to help sharpen your skills such as allrecipes.com or foodnetwork.com. Keep practicing and remember that your taste buds will guide you through the process. You may not become the next “it” chef but I promise that you will definitely learn your way around the kitchen.




How to Plan an Amazing Trip on a Budget

March is here and soon this frigid weather (for some☺) will be nothing but a memory and bikini season will be upon us! Every year around this time, I plan a trip to get away from the all the daily stressors and usually plan it with my usual suspects: my sister and cousins! So far my get away trips have taken me to South Beach and Puerto Rico. Each time, I have so much fun that upon my return, I need a few days just to recover from the trip. I know that some believe that in order to have a great vacation, you must go with the flow; however, I believe that in order for a glam girl to enjoy her vacation to the maximum without breaking the bank or having obstacles, a certain amount of planning is required! Before you start planning that trip, here is my first advice to you: be sure that you are able to afford a trip financially and know your limit! Once you have determined these two factors, the fun part will commence. As a glam girl, I am always about having the best experience (whether it is shopping or adventure) at the best price. And to do so, you must know how to shop around! An amazing vacation does not have to include an airfare or a road trip, you simply need to plan some amazing activities that will help you reach your goal for your trip. So here are my tips to have the trip of a lifetime:
Have a budget! – When we took our trip to Puerto Rico last year, our budget was to spend a maximum of $500 per person including EVERYTHING: airfare, rental, lodging, and food.
Shop early! – Sometime you may be lucky and find a great ticket at the last minute however, it generally is not the case, especially if you want to travel during peak vacation times such as Spring Break or summer months.
Shop around! – We all have a favorite airline or hotel, however, sometimes they may not have the best deal on their sites. I always like to start shopping for my tickets on a renowned third party site such as CheapTickets, Expedia, Kayak or Priceline. Once you have an idea of the price tickets are going for, you always double check on your favorite airline’s website to see if they may have a better deal.
Third party lodging – I only suggest this option for a group vacation as one can never be too careful. However, I have used AirBnB for each of my trips and have had excellent experiences with my hosts. The key to using a third party site is to ensure that the information provided is verified by the company. From the host to the pictures posted on the site, you want to make sure that the company, where the lodging is advertised, has a strict verification process. If you are not comfortable with a third party lodging, my suggestion is then to use a third party site for a combo special. Be sure to check out my article on using third party services for more tips here: http://wp.me/p5DKT0-1N
Stock the kitchen! – Yes, it is fun to enjoy having great meals out when vacationing, however, you risk of running a hefty bill if you are having all meals at restaurants! Upon arrival, find the nearest grocery store and buy the essentials and just enough for your stay: bread, milk, cereal, juice, wine, etc. Just be sure to have something quick that you can eat prior to heading out on the town. I always suggest having breakfast items and condiments to make a quick sandwich. This reduces the amount spent eating out and you’re still able to have a fabulous lunch or dinner out.
Research the best activities in the area and plan ahead – For Puerto Rico, I looked for all of the events happening in the Condado (neighborhood where we stayed) area during the weekend that we would be in town and planned our time accordingly. Furthermore, to avoid spending our whole time driving, we dedicated each day to a different area and made sure that everything was nearby.
Whether you are planning on an exploration of your local town or the discovery of a new land with your closest pals, you must always do it in style and smart. You simply need to do your research and I guarantee you that it will be a vacation of a lifetime!

Safe Travels!