The Most Important Kitchen Tools

The Most Important Kitchen Tools

A well-appointed kitchen makes healthy eating easier, and a lot more fun and new gadgets promise simplicity and great taste all the time. But before you stock up on specialty items like juicers and kitchen torches, make sure you have enough basic kitchen tools to manage standard recipes and everyday cooking as well as your forays into gourmet. These five types of tools are staples every kitchen needs. Knives: Cut the Fat (and Veggies) A high-quality knife set is one of those kitchen must-haves that’s worth an investment. According to Consumer Reports, a good set should have at least four knives: an 8-inch chef’s knife, which you use most often around the kitchen, plus a paring knife, utility knife and a slicer, which works best for cutting up cooked meats. Look for knives that suit your cooking style and lifestyle — if you don’t do dishes right away, for instance, choose knives that don’t corrode. Likewise, consider whether you want knives that are dishwasher safe or prefer to wash them by hand. Cutting Boards: Protect Your Counters and Your Hands What good is a set of knives without somewhere to use them safely? Cutting boards are utilitarian, but they’re an absolute necessity even in kitchens with butcher-block countertops. (If you’re cutting ingredients in your hand, don’t. The risk of injury is too great.) Cutting boards do more than prevent you from damaging your counters, though. They also confine germs away from your preparation surfaces, which is why you need two in your kitchen — one for breads, veggies and fruits and another strictly for meats. They come in plastic, wood...
How Gratefulness Improves Our Health

How Gratefulness Improves Our Health

November often kicks off the season of family, giving and gratitude. With almost 30 major holidays that focus on celebrating life worldwide between the end of October and the end of the year, November is often when we start turning our minds toward the things that make us feel grateful. Gratitude is something we should practice year-round, though, and not just because saying “thank you” is polite. As it turns out, concentrating on the things for which you’re thankful instead of the things that trouble you boosts your physical, psychological and mental health. Maintaining Positivity Makes Your Body Healthier Studies show plenty of correlation between gratitude and positive health effects. In one, subjects who journaled weekly for 10 weeks about positive things that happened in their lives reported feeling more optimistic and exercising more than subjects who focused in their journals on negative aspects. The positive group also went to the doctor less often. Likewise, other studies show that people who express their thankfulness regularly are more likely to go to their regular checkups at the doctor. People who are grateful also sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal for 15 minutes a day or more can lead to longer, more restful sleep. Gratitude Improves Your Outlook in Life You know how when you, say, buy a yellow car, you suddenly see yellow cars everywhere? That’s not a coincidence — it’s called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, and it’s scientific. Your mind takes in a ton of information every day, and it filters out a great deal to keep you focused on what’s important to you. When you learn about or experience a new...
Bike Accessories Must-Have

Bike Accessories Must-Have

When you first get into bicycling, you know you need some essential accessories — an onboard pump and repair kit, good clips and maybe a gel seat to start — so you can enjoy your rides worry free. Once you’re ready to commit to the sport more fully, however, the options for improving your riding experience seem endless. Here are five of the top bike accessories for both road and mountain biking that have both your safety and sense of adventure in mind. Keep Your GPS and Music at Arm’s Reach with a Phone Mount Whether you’re taking a century ride on a country road or blazing a trail down the mountain, clipping your phone to your handlebars is vital for directions, your favorite tunes and, sometimes, emergency calls. Choose a universal mount that holds your smartphone securely in place even on rough terrain so you can maintain the added protection of your normal phone case on top of the mount’s cushioning. For extra security, look for a waterproof model that zips closed to stop dew, rain and mud from ruining your mobile device. Light Your Way with LED Bikelight If you’re riding in the early morning or at night, your bike needs a set of lights to help you see where you’re going and show cars where you are. The Best Sports LED Bikelight is waterproof for rainy weather excursions and mounts on almost any street or mountain bicycle. It has a range of up to 200 feet, which means you’ll never miss your turn. It detaches and doubles as a flashlight, so you can ride into your campsite and use...
Small Acts of Kindness to Help Those In Need

Small Acts of Kindness to Help Those In Need

People are more engrossed than ever, it seems, in their lives. Cell phones and other mobile devices all but guarantee you never have to make eye contact with anyone in public. Emails and texts have replaced phone calls as the most popular forms of communication. Most of us live in cities that don’t require us to take public transportation, opting instead for long, solo commutes in the private silos of our cars. It’s hard to remember that kindness and generosity reap rewards especially when we live increasingly isolated lives. Taking time out to help others, lend a helping hand, and display your gratitude helps you stay connected to those around you. Give it Away There’s an old Chinese proverb that says simply, “continually give, continually gain.” Go through your closets, kitchen cabinets, and garage and find at least five things that are in good shape like a working drill, a nice pair of dress shoes, or an extra warm coat. Give them to a friend or a family less fortunate than yours. Challenge yourself to part with items that are still like-new. Once a month, ask the kids to go through their toys and do the same. You’ll teach them the joy of generosity and giving, and instill values of selflessness and kindness as they develop. If you don’t know anyone through work or your community who would benefit from your items, ask a local church or non-profit how to make a donation. Practice Random Acts of Kindness Daily Holding open the door, paying for a stranger’s bus fare or cup of coffee, or just saying hello to someone on...

Tips and Tricks To Avoid Skin Aging

“I hope I look 70 by the time I’m 40,” said no person ever. Starting in our early 20s, we want to stave off looking and feeling older as long as possible. With all the skin-care products, diet promises and other options available, you may struggle to find anti-aging tips you can trust. Here are five time-tested ways to address aging in your everyday life. Break Habits That Cause Premature Aging, and add Some That Keep you Young Some habits are much harder on our bodies than others. If you smoke, quit. If you drink alcohol a lot, cut back. These two habits affect not just how you look but how likely you are to stay healthy into older age. At the same time, adding positive habits can improve your health and appearance. One key habit to pick up is sleep. Getting adequate rest gives your body a chance to repair its cells and fend off the pollution you’re exposed to every day, and your brain needs sleep to operate well. Likewise, exercise energizes your body and mind and builds endurance, cardiovascular function and other essential functions that help you live comfortably longer. Take Care of Your Skin and Hair As we age, our skin becomes less elastic and dries out easier. To combat this, experts recommend two beauty secrets above all others: Sunscreen during the day and a retinoid-based cream at night. Sunscreen helps protect your skin against UV damage, one of the main reasons people who tanned a lot in their youth look older than their years now. Retinoids, which come from vitamin A, prevent wrinkles, stop acne in its...