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Tips & Advice

Arrange your Baking Tools Like A Pro



It is not easy to decorate festive cookies or to create an Instagram-worthy baking cake project from a cluttered, messy kitchen. 

When you always feel like you’re ransacking your pantry for the sprinkles container, or like your whisk is jammed up the kitchen drawer, it is time to better organize your baking tools and have all the appliances, ingredients, and utensils, sorted in the right places.

When you are organizing, a lot may hinge on the layout and size of the kitchen. As each space is separate, a variety of tricks and tips can work on countertops, pantry, drawers, and cabinets so that you may choose and pick what best works for you and your available space. 

Before you start organizing, take note of this tip: never feel limited to the store’s kitchen organization section. Look for home improvement and office organization for various sizes and shapes of items leading to even more creativity (with often surprising) storage ideas.

Countertop Organization

The kitchen countertop area is prime real estate. Save that space for the most beautiful or frequently used items. This is where you want to put that frequently used wooden spoon for stirring your beloved homemade fudge or that perfect rubber spatula that scoops out the very last batter drop from the mixing bowl. 

You might want to leave them very close to the workspace. They are going to be on display, so you may want to store them in an antique crock or heirloom vase.

This adjustable countertop rack can expand to fit different spaces and help you differentiate between frequently-used items and reserves much space for showing off a collection of your favorite cookbooks.

Pantry Organization

The pantry is where you store most of your baking ingredients. Freshness as well as order, matters here. Store sugars and flours in airtight containers to retain freshness and quality, labeled every container clearly with what it contains (you don’t want to guess as you bake). These containers for storage come with a convenient handle and are stackable.

Arranging spices and herbs is always a challenge for me. Some plans look great in a photo but they are not practical for the plethora of ingredients in all sizes and shapes of bottles. A slim vertical rack slipping to the side of the pantry can do wonders.

Instead of sorting spices and herbs alphabetically like a grocery store, I would rather separate the savory baking spices from the sweet ones. When I want to make gingerbread, I love having the nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon conveniently nestled together.

If you are often decorating cookies or cakes, your pantry could be easily overrun with containers of decorative and food coloring sprinkles. These items are small, and a divided office organizer could help you arrange them in a way that you can easily pull out one thing from the lot without disturbing everything else.

Drawer Organization

Your kitchen drawer is the perfect place for often used items that won’t find space in the countertop area. A drawer organizer is essential here, especially one that is expandable to fit in any space.

I was thinking about using each slot for the commonly used items together. Probably the pastry brush could be near the pastry blender. Or the offset spatula is close to the piping tips and bags. 

The workplace’s drawer closets should contain the items you use most such as oven mitt or hot pad. It’s the perfect place for lining aluminum foil boxes, parchment paper, plastic wrap, and hanging the favorite kitchen towels on the handles for fast cleanup.

Cabinet Organization

Kitchen cabinets are excellent for more cumbersome, large kitchen items. This is where you want to store more seldom used appliances. Slide-out drawers will come in handy when bringing them out for baking.

Cabinets are ideal for muffin tins, cake pans, or Bundts. Arrange them from smallest to largest to save space. 

At the bottom, I keep the 10-inch springform pan filled with 9-inch round cake pans, then the 8-inch one, and so forth. If you place a shelf lifter in the cabinet, it could provide additional space.

It becomes easier to see all your bakeware and quickly grab what you need for your project. The area near the shelf lifter is good for vertically lining up cooling racks and cutting boards.

Creative Space

It seems like there is never enough space in your kitchen, no matter how big it is. It takes creativity to make good use of space. Why don’t you borrow a tip from Julia Child by mounting up a pegboard for hanging frequently used items inside a door or on a wall?

Consider the unused kitchen spaces like the refrigerator side. The magnetic refrigerator rack is a small space but a genius solution. It’s not on site but functional and stylish. I would always lose the cake tester until the day I glued a magnet at the back and would keep it on the fridge side where I could grab it fast to check a batch of cupcakes.

My last tip: after placing each baking tool where you want it, wait a week and bake some of your favorite treats. This will help you familiarize yourself with the setup, and make few logical tweaks in the process. You might not know the perfect place for an item until you need it in the middle of baking.   


Redefining Holiday Sweets: Culinary Experts Suggest Delightful Alternatives to Traditional Christmas Pudding




As the festive season approaches, the perennial debate over the traditional Christmas pudding arises. While some relish this classic dessert, others seek alternatives that are equally festive but more aligned with their tastes. Let’s explore some chef-recommended alternatives to the conventional Christmas pudding, offering a twist to your holiday feasts.

Yule Log: A Chocolate Lover’s Delight

The Yule log, or Bûche de Noël, is a popular alternative in many households. Michel Roux, renowned for his culinary expertise, suggests this as a French alternative to the traditional pudding. The Yule log is a light chocolate sponge, rolled with ganache and often spiked with Grand Marnier, adorned with caramelized hazelnuts. It’s a visually impressive dessert that chocolate enthusiasts will adore.

Pastry chef Graham Hornigold, founder of Longboys, echoes the sentiment for a Yule log variant, the Mont Blanc roulade. This dessert is versatile, allowing for various flavor combinations and even a vegan version by substituting dairy products with plant-based alternatives. Hornigold’s Christmas favorite includes a vanilla sponge with blackcurrant jam, chestnut cream, and candied chestnuts, served with blackcurrant ripple ice cream.

Sticky Toffee Pudding: A Pub Classic

Sticky toffee pudding, a pub classic, is another crowd-pleaser. Sabrina Ghayour, author of “Flavour,” shares that this dessert has been a long-standing tradition in her family. She adds a unique twist by infusing the toffee sauce with coffee and warming spices like cinnamon, vanilla, and cardamom, drawing inspiration from the coffees of the Arab Middle East.

Warming Baked Fruits: A Lighter Option

For those seeking a lighter option, Matt Tebbutt suggests warming baked fruits. Based on a Delia Smith recipe, this dish includes winter fruits baked in masala with cinnamon and nutmeg. Served with whipped mascarpone cream, it offers a light and delicious alternative to the dense Christmas pudding.

Spiced Ice Cream: A Chilled Alternative

Contrary to the winter chill, ice cream can be a delightful festive dessert. Rick Stein recommends semifreddo, a frozen dessert akin to ice cream but with a lighter, mousse-like texture. Flavored with Christmas spices, fruit macerated in Kirsch or Cognac, orange zest, and vanilla, it’s a creamy delight. Stein suggests setting it in a kougelhopf pan for a wreath-like appearance, decorated with cocoa powder and flaked almonds.

Sarah Raven takes the ice cream idea further with her coffee meringue ice cream cake topped with pomegranate seeds, perfect as a festive centerpiece. The addition of burning brandy adds to the celebratory spirit.

Boxing Day Delight: A New Tradition

Finally, if none of these alternatives appeal, why not simply postpone the Christmas pudding to Boxing Day? Michel Roux and Matt Tebbutt suggest enjoying it cold or fried in butter the next day, offering a delightful twist and reducing food waste during the festive season.

In conclusion, the Christmas pudding, while traditional, isn’t the only option for a festive dessert. From the chocolatey Yule log to the light and fruity baked fruits, and the unconventional spiced ice cream, there are numerous ways to end your Christmas feast on a sweet note. These alternatives not only cater to different palates but also add a touch of creativity and personalization to your holiday celebrations.

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Tips & Advice

Decoding Nutrition Labels: A Guide to Making Healthier Food Choices




In today’s fast-paced world, where convenience often trumps quality, understanding the nutritional value of what we eat has never been more critical. With a plethora of food options available, the ability to read and interpret nutrition labels is a vital skill for anyone looking to maintain a healthy diet. This article delves into the art of deciphering nutrition labels, empowering you to make informed choices that align with your dietary needs and goals.

The Importance of Nutrition Labels

Nutrition labels are more than just a regulatory requirement; they are a window into the contents of our food. According to a study by the Food and Drug Administration, understanding these labels can lead to better food choices and, consequently, better health. The labels provide information on calories, nutrients, serving size, and other essential data, helping consumers identify the healthiest options.

Understanding Serving Sizes and Portions

One of the first things to note on a nutrition label is the serving size. This is crucial because all the nutritional information displayed pertains to this specific amount of food. As Harvard Health Publishing points out, serving sizes are standardized to make it easier to compare similar foods; however, they may not reflect the portion you usually consume. For instance, if a packet of chips lists the serving size as 10 chips, but you eat 20, you need to double the nutritional values to understand what you’re actually consuming.

Calories: The Energy Measure

Calories are a measure of energy, and understanding your caloric needs is fundamental to managing weight. The Mayo Clinic suggests that an average adult needs about 2,000 calories a day, but this varies based on age, sex, and physical activity level. Nutrition labels provide the number of calories per serving, helping you gauge how a particular food fits into your daily caloric intake.

Nutrients: The Good and the Not-So-Good

Nutrition labels also list the amount of various nutrients, including fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, and certain vitamins and minerals. The American Heart Association recommends paying close attention to:

  • Saturated and Trans Fats: Linked to heart disease, these should be limited in your diet.
  • Sodium: High sodium intake can lead to hypertension. It’s advisable to choose foods with less sodium.
  • Dietary Fiber: Foods high in dietary fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are beneficial for digestive health.
  • Sugars: Keep an eye on added sugars, which can contribute to weight gain and other health issues.

The % Daily Value: Your Nutritional Compass

The % Daily Value (%DV) on nutrition labels indicates how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. As explained by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5% DV or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low, while 20% DV or more is high. This guide can help you quickly assess if a food is high or low in a particular nutrient, aiding in balancing your diet.

Ingredients List: The Tell-All

Beyond the numerical data, the ingredients list on food packaging is equally telling. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, as noted by Healthline. This means that the first few ingredients are the most predominant. Be wary of products where sugars, unhealthy fats, or unrecognizable ingredients appear at the top of the list.

The New Nutrition Label: What’s Changed?

Recent updates to nutrition labels have made them more user-friendly. Key changes, as outlined by the FDA, include larger font for calories, updated serving sizes to reflect what people actually eat, and the inclusion of added sugars. These modifications aim to make it easier for consumers to make informed food choices.

Making Healthier Choices

Armed with the knowledge of how to read nutrition labels, you can make healthier food choices. Opt for foods lower in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and higher in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Remember, the goal is not just to eat less but to eat right.


In conclusion, understanding nutrition labels is a powerful tool in the quest for a healthier lifestyle. By becoming savvy about what’s in your food, you can take control of your diet, make smarter food choices, and ultimately, lead a healthier life. Remember, every small step towards understanding what you consume contributes significantly to your overall well-being.

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The New Culinary Revolution: Sohla El-Waylly’s Low-Waste Cooking Hacks




In an era where social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok have become the new cookbooks, culinary creators are rising to prominence. Among them, Sohla El-Waylly stands out as a beacon of innovation and accessibility. Known for her home kitchen exploits, she’s a culinary creator, writer, video producer, and community advocate. Her recent cookbook, “Start Here: Instructions for Becoming A Better Cook,” has been one of the most anticipated releases of the season, according to HerMoney.

Breaking the Mold

Sohla El-Waylly is not your typical culinary artist. She challenges the status quo by questioning the “how” and “why” behind cooking techniques. “In my culinary journey, whether I was in a professional kitchen or just following a recipe, a lot of times someone just tells you to do something,” Sohla says. “They don’t tell you why, they don’t tell you how something works, and I find it very hard to work that way.” This sentiment echoes a broader shift in the culinary world, where understanding the science of cooking is becoming increasingly important, as noted by experts at the Culinary Institute of America.

Grocery Store Hacks: Quality Over Deals

When it comes to grocery shopping, Sohla has some unique insights. She recommends buying fruits and vegetables that are on sale, arguing that this is when they are at their peak freshness. However, she cautions against buying meat on sale, stating that discounted meat is often close to its expiration date. This aligns with food safety guidelines from the USDA, which advise against purchasing meat that is close to its “sell-by” date unless you plan to cook it immediately.

The Art of Low-Waste Cooking

One of Sohla’s most significant contributions to the culinary world is her focus on low-waste cooking. She advises using what you have on hand and being flexible with ingredients. For instance, if a recipe calls for parsley but you only have dill, go ahead and make the swap. The same principle applies to root vegetables; if you don’t have a beet, use a carrot. This approach not only minimizes waste but also encourages creativity in the kitchen. The Environmental Protection Agency supports this low-waste philosophy, emphasizing that food waste is one of the largest components of landfill waste.

The Takeaway

Sohla El-Waylly is revolutionizing the way we think about cooking. From questioning traditional methods to offering practical grocery store hacks and championing low-waste cooking, she is a culinary creator for the modern age. As we continue to navigate the evolving landscape of food and cooking, figures like Sohla offer a refreshing and sustainable approach that resonates with a new generation of home cooks.

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