Tips for a Quick Kitchen Makeover

Stay-at-home moms like me spend a good portion of the day in the kitchen. Even with the conveniences of modern kitchen tools and appliances, it still takes time to prepare and cook three full meals a day. Add to that afternoon snacks and cleaning up. This makes having a clean and orderly kitchen essential not only for health purposes but also for having a good mood the entire day.

Before the year ends, give your kitchen a quick makeover just in time for busy holiday cooking. You can give your kitchen a facelift without spending your entire month’s salary. Here are three very affordable for a quick kitchen makeover:

Fresh Paint. Re-paint the walls, counters, and shelves. You may choose to change the color of everything in the kitchen or focus on just the walls or shelves. A fresh coat of paint not only makes your kitchen look new, it also inspires you to whip up more yummy treats.

New taps. Old taps that drip or are rusted have no place in the kitchen. Not only do they waste water, but they look unsightly too. Use Workhouse Plumbing and Gas – Stafford or a similar plumbing company to have your taps replaced and get your kitchen sink sparkling again. Consider a low-flow tap to reduce your water bills too!

Light Dressing. You’d be surprised that something as simple as changing your bulbs can change the entire atmosphere in your kitchen. Check out some monorail lighting systems that add drama while illuminating your kitchen. If you have mostly white surfaced in your kitchen, pendant lights would provide gentle illumination. Do also opt for greener options such as LED lights.

Shelf Life. Add new shelves for more storage to de-clutter your kitchen. You can add additional partitions to your existing cabinets for a more organized pantry. You’d also need spring hinges so click here for some good choices. Before adding new shelves and cabinets, take note of the tools, supplies, and food that you normally store so you can tailor fit the shelves to your own liking.

Early Cooking Lessons with Mom and Sis

A few weeks ago, I got a care package from our eldest sister who sent over some of our favorite dishes that she used to prepare for us when we were in college.  It was a simple fare of Spaghetti in Puttanesca Sauce, Homemade Garlic Bread, Grilled Chicken, and Freshly Baked Mango Squares.  

As I take each bite of these flavorful and lovingly prepared dishes, I get transported back in time when my mom and my sisters would bond in the kitchen as we prepare meals for family gatherings.  It was then when I learned my first cooking lessons.  We have used a wide variety range cookers that grew and improved along with our cooking skills.  Here are some of the early cooking tips that I learned from my mom and our eldest sister.

On Cooking Pasta:  Pasta is best enjoyed when cooked Al dente, this means that the pasta is cooked with a soft yet firm consistency.  This means that you have to keep a close watch to your pasta as it gets close to the cooking time specified in the pasta label.  Once the pasta has expanded, take a piece of it from the pot and cool it for a few seconds before taking a bite.  It should be soft enough to bite through but firm enough to remain a bit chewy. Remove pasta from heat and drain water immediately once this consistency is achieved.  Leaving the pasta in the water even when the heat is turned off will lead to over cooking.

On Sautéing:  Heat pan first before putting the oil or butter in.  Add a little oil before placing the butter in so that it won’t get burned easily. Start with medium fire when heating the pan and turn it down to low when sautéing finely chopped vegetables. 

On Grilling:  Lightly brush the grill with oil before cooking to prevent of minimize sticking. Watch over the cooking temperature especially when using charcoal grills.  Temperatures can be adjusted by a sprinkle of water or moving the charcoal around to lower heat of fanning the flames to get more heat.  Marinating helps in tenderizing the meat you can marinate tough meat cuts longer to get the tenderness that you desire.

These are some of the first things I learned about cooking when I was young and it came handy when I had my own family and started preparing meals for them.  Until now, I still consult my mom and my sister whenever I am faced with difficult or tricky dishes to cook. 

Basic Kitchen Cutlery

If you are just starting out in a new place and need to outfit your kitchen then you know one thing on the list will need to be knives. Seeing as you can buy knife block sets to buy online, you’ll be able to make a good purchase for your kitchen. Every kitchen should have a set of knives, as this is one piece of equipment that we use pretty much everyday.

It’s easy to pick up a chef’s knife set and indeed many people start out with a standard knife set but over time they realize that at best only one or two knives really work as they’d like. That’s why it’s a better approach to identify each type of knife you will need from bread and fillet knives to paring and butcher knives and then select each knife on an individual basis so you can get exactly what will work best for you.

You may prefer a particular kind of grip or handle on your paring knife but don’t especially find that same design useful on your bread knife – that’s why if possible it’s a good idea to actually hold the knife in your hand to get a feel for it before you actually make a purchase. There are many knives that feature ergonomically designed handles – these can be helpful if you perform certain food preparation tasks such as mincing or dicing for an extended period of time on a regular basis. However, if your knife is not sharp enough, you might find the work quite tedious. Hence, it’s always a good idea to keep your knives sharpened. This could be accomplished with the assistance of professional knife sharpeners from companies such as GoSharpening (

Most kitchen needs to have at least one paring knife and most cooks prefer to have two or three so they don’t need to interrupt food preparation to wash the paring knife to avoid flavor transfer from one food group to another. A serrated edge bread knife is a must-have for slicing anything from bagels, muffins, and rolls to cakes and bread; in a pinch, a bread knife can be used to slice tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables too.