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.

Enjoy!

Reese

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Is it worth it to DIY?

DIY has become probably the “it” word since last year. It’s the latest movement that has taken our society by storm and especially thanks to Pinterest. I’ve become a big fan of DIY and for me I’ve found the beauty products and the recipes to be my favorites. However, I’m sure that some people wonder whether it is worth it to invest the time and try to do it yourself, and I’ll share the top three reasons why I think everyone should at least consider DIY:
– It IS cost efficient: obviously, that is usually one of the first reasons that most people will think but they usually assume so under the wrong idea. It is cost efficient because you can purchase the ingredients in bulk and thus make quite a few containers, not because you don’t have to pay for the name brand. However, that is also a very big factor in the low cost.
– You are able to customize your product: have you ever found a product that you loved but only wished it came in a different scent? By learning to make the same product, you are able to reproduce it in the particular scent that you are fond of.
– It is the most natural: this is my number one reason for DIY! You know exactly what goes into your product and this helps avoid allergies.

Here are a couple of DIY recipes that I use and hope you will find useful:

Homemade seasoning:
– 3 shoots of scallions
– 3 cloves of garlic
– ¼ of a green pepper
– ¼ of a red pepper
– Small handful of fresh parsley
– 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard
– ¼ cup of olive oil
Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth and store in a covered container in your refrigerator. This seasoning is very popular in my culture and is also the base for many Haitian dishes. It is very time saving when cooking as you can use it to season any meat and also when cooking rice and beans; for meats, just be sure to thaw the meat ahead of time and once it is ready to cook, simply coat the meat with the mixture and let it marinate for about half an hour. The best advantage of this seasoning is that it does not go bad and thus you can enjoy it until it finishes.

Avocado/Coconut hair mask:
– 1 small avocado hass
– 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Mix all ingredients in a food processor until it is smooth. Apply generously in hair and cover with a plastic cap for 30 minutes. This is a good mask especially for natural hair as the avocado helps keep the shine in your hair; the coconut oil helps retain moisture and prevent dandruff and the olive oil aids with hair loss and overall scalp health.

I hope you will find these two DIY recipes helpful and maybe it will help start your DIY adventure. Feel free to visit my Pinterest page for some more DIY recipes saved on my DIY Board: https://www.pinterest.com/GlamGirlOTG/diy-ideas/

Enjoy!

Reese