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10 Kitchen Improvements for $100 or Less

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The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where we prepare our food, kids do their homework, parents work from home, families play board games, and guests pop in for a coffee. We spend so much time in our kitchens that they soon feel outdated. 

Kitchen remodeling is expensive but there are inexpensive changes we can make that make a world of difference. Home decorators know how to give new life to a space while on a budget to make the maximum impact. 

Learn from these incredible ideas and give your kitchen a new lease of life within no time:

  1. Create a better Display for Pots and Pans

Pots and pans take to take up a lot of cabinet space particularly in smaller kitchens. When there are too many of them, it can be difficult to open doors without them falling out. 

Turn your pot and pan display into an art piece by itself. A rail mounted on the wall and populated with s-hooks allows you to hand them neatly in a way that is easily accessible when you need them.  

  • A fresh Coat of Paint for the Cabinets

A can of paint does not cost much, but it can give your kitchen a whole new look while being environmentally friendly. When you repaint your pieces instead of buying new stuff, you are saving the environment. 

Because this is a more labor intensive job, you want to set aside more than one weekend to do it. Achieve a better finish by prepping the cabinets first. Clean them thoroughly, then sand and prime them. You are now ready to start painting. 

If you are trying to make a duller space, consider investing in semi-gloss paint. Semi-gloss paint is also easy to clean. You just have to wipe it down. This makes it good for kitchens. 

To give your paint job an interesting twist, consider painting only the edges of your drawers and doors in a color that stands out. 

  • Open up some shelves

One alternative to painting cabinets is to remove some doors to create open shelves. Open shelves are trendy and they work best when you have pretty dish displays hidden behind a cabinet door. 

Use open shelves to give a row of cabinets a visual interest. See how Regan Mauck did it by removing some doors, painting the cabinets from the inside, and even putting in more shelves. 

Some home decorators avoid the paint and use things like plants and dishes to add interest. 

  • Use Backsplash creatively

Backsplash is expensive to install, but you can find cheaper ways around it. Think of using a peel-and-stick backsplash which is simple enough to install on your own without professional help. 

If you are a renter, this is even better because it does not involve making any major alterations that may need authorization from your landlord. 

This method is not just cheaper but also easy to remove later on if you need to. This kitchen improvement costs as little as $50 although this may vary depending on the specific design you choose. Some of the peel-and-stick designs are made to look like ceramic finishes.

Apart from backsplashes, you can also think about playing around with wallpapers to give your walls a whole new look. 

  • Install a new Faucet 

We probably spend more time at the kitchen sink than some of the other places in the kitchen. A new faucet will definitely make you feel like your space is different. Consider going for a faucet with a higher arch as well as a sprayer which will not only make your kitchen look more modern, it will also make washing dishes easier.

  • Put in New Lighting 

Are you still using the same lighting features you found when you moved into your home? Depending on how long you have been there, it might be time for a change. 

Look into the possibility of getting lighting fixtures that are more in line with your own personal style and how you want your kitchen to look. Just changing the lighting on your kitchen island to pendants will make the whole space look different. 

Lighting fixtures are easy find for $100 or even less at all the big stores, but you can get a more unique DIY statement lighting piece that will cost even less. 

Consider fashioning a pendant light by putting together a rattan basket and a pendant light set. You end up with a chic boho look. 

  • Decals

Decals are a great way to change the colors of your cabinets without having to redo the painting. Decals are low commitment and great for renters. Use peel-and-stick wallpaper or vinyl decals to add different colors to your plain cabinets.

  • Install a Kitchen Island

You don’t need to break the bank to build a kitchen island. IKEA has a popular birch kitchen island that goes for only $108 and fits well into virtually any kitchen thanks to its modest size 

All it needs is a towel bar and hooks to make your kitchen roomier.

  • Hooks beneath Shelves and Cabinets

One of the most under exploited spaces in a kitchen is the space found in between upper cabinets and counter tops or shelves. 

Screwing cup hooks onto the wood and then using them to hang kitchen tools or mugs is a simple and affordable kitchen upgrade. You will have a brand new storage space available instantly. 

  1. Tape Self-Adhesive Paper over Appliances

Give your fridge or dishwasher a brand new look with some self-adhesive paper. It is easy and cheap. A plain color will give you a more classic look or style. Pick a more whimsical pattern to turn your fridge/dishwasher into a statement piece. 

Tips & Advice

Make Lemon Juice with No Knife and No Mess

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Making lemon juice is a messy affair. You have to cut the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice. Then you have to deal with what is left of the lemon and the seeds that inevitably end up in the juice. 

If you could add some lemon juice to your food or water without having to go through all that, you would probably jump at the chance. At least I know I would. 

So you can imagine my excitement when I came across this simple but clever trick for juicing lemons. I saw idea on TikTok, naturally. 

I had already come across this video before but didn’t pay much attention to it. The kitchen hack found its way on to my newsfeed for a second time, and I was not about to let it slide without trying it. So here is how things went:

My No Mess Lemon Juice from TikTok

The first step is to prepare your lemon by softening it and making the membranes more pliable. This makes the process of extracting juice easier. Roll the lemon until it is soft enough. 

For the next step, you will need a skewer. Prick your lemon with the sharp side of the wooden skewer and push it two inches in. 

The final step is to remove the skewer and squeeze out the juice.

It is that simple. You will be left with no mess and no seeds – just juice.

My first Attempt at No Mess Lemon Juice

I spent half a minute at my kitchen counter rolling the lemon. My palms pressed down decisively on the fruit. I couldn’t wait for step two. 

I took out a wooden skewer and stuck the sharp side into the lemon to make a small hole. Pulling out the wood skewer, I held the lemon over my water and squeezed it in my hand. 

If you are still here, you should be happy to hear that the experiment was a complete success. 

This trick worked so well for me because it gave me lemon juice and I didn’t have to deal with the pesky seeds which I hate.

This method is so much better for me than slicing a lemon to squeeze the juice because it is less messy. After only a couple of squeezes, my water tasted just right. I was happy I had tried out the new trick. 

The other thing that is so cool about this method of making lemon juice is that I could squeeze some of the juice and still keep the lemon so that I can squeeze it again later if there is still some juice left.

I concluded that this method is ideal for a situation where you need only a touch of lemon juice. It is quick and easy especially because you don’t have to do as much cleaning up after. Use it when you have company for an interesting party trick.  

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Nonstick Cookware: How you Use it, Store it, and Care for it

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There are some dishes that call for nonstick pots and pans. Omelets, pancakes, and even fish are all easier to cook on nonstick pans. 

We have already covered how ceramic nonstick cookware works differently from traditional nonstick cookware. 

Because nonstick cookware is so handy, you might find yourself using it every day. This is why it is so important to understand the differences between them, and how to use each. 

Nonstick cookware can be carbon steel, standard PTFE-coated, or ceramic. In time, cast-iron pans functions much the same way as nonstick pans, but they are not necessarily the best for searing tender fish.

Using Nonstick Cookware

The first step to using Nonstick Cookware properly is to consider your cooking methods. Some people need something dish washer safe that is easy to maintain and will serve you for a long time to come. 

Some people need a pan that is just as home in the broiler as on the stovetop. Not many nonstick pans can do this, by the way. 

Standard nonstick pans no longer come with harmful PFOAs. They now use synthetic PTFE nonstick coating instead. Ceramic nonstick pans have a nonstick coating made from a derivative of sand. Carbon steel has no chemical coating. It builds up its nonstick patina in the course of time. This is why it needs seasoning. 

Carbon steel is good for people who like high heat. Carbon steel works well with a large flame on a stove top, as well as a broiler. 

Ceramic as well as traditional nonstick pans don’t do well with extremely high heat. It tends to ruin pans with time.

Nonstick pans are perfect for eggs, delicate sauces, as well as fish. 

Standard nonstick pans get hot at a slower pace than ceramic nonstick pans, but the ceramic-lined pans stay hot for longer. Both types of nonstick should not be used with metal utensils or oil sprays.

Choose a nonstick pan with an oven-safe handle. The handle determines whether the pan can go in the oven safely. Ceramic-lined nonstick pans work safely with higher heat but standard nonstick pans have a higher nonstick ability than ceramic. So there is a tradeoff. As always, you get better service out of your pans when you care for them well.

Traditional nonstick pans are better for people who like to use medium to low heat and prefer that food never sticks to the pan. 

Ceramic nonstick pans are perfect for people who like to work with a wider range of cooking temperatures, (low to high), and prefer working with a derivative of sand for a pan lining. 

Carbon steel pans are excellent for cooks who want to be able to move their cookware nimbly between their ovens and stovetops. 

Maintaining your Nonstick Cookware

Using your dishwasher to clean your nonstick pan is a lot easier and more convenient. We understand why you want to do that. But washing it by hand will make it last longer. Also, carbon steel pans should never go into a dishwasher at all. 

Never add cold water to a hot pan. This will warp the pan. 

Use soap and water to clean each pan after use. 

Cook with low to moderate heat. Only carbon steel works well with high heat. High heat causes ceramic-lined nonstick pans to carbonize.

Use a melamine sponge to scrub gently with warm water. This should be enough to clean your nonstick pan. 

Consider working with a soft-bristle brush specially made for nonstick pans to clean. 

Under no circumstances should you clean a nonstick pan with steel wool. 

A well maintained carbon steel pan should last you a lifetime as long as you season it. Old-fashioned and ceramic nonstick pans need replacements after five years. Replace your traditional nonstick pan immediately after a scratch. 

Buy silicone spatula and wooden spoon to use with your nonstick pans. Never use metal utensils with nonstick pans. 

Storing Nonstick Cookware

Put your pans away only after cleaning and drying them. Do not store rougher items – like metal utensils – between nonstick cookware. The metal utensils may leave scratches or scuffs on your nonstick pans. 

Invest in a pegboard, hooks, open shelves, or pan organizers. Cloth napkins or pan protectors in between the pans will help to protect the precious nonstick coating on your cookware from damage.

Your cabinets and kitchen drawers should be fitted with an organizer for the lids of your pans and pots.

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Boiled Eggs without Water or a Pot

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Most people prepare hard-boiled eggs using hot water. It is the standard way to make them. But it is not the only way to make hard-boiled eggs.

Not too many people know that you can cook hard-boiled eggs with no water and no pot. That’s right. You can enjoy hard-boiled eggs prepared using hot air.

If it sounds too good to be true, the best way to prove it is to see for yourself by turning to your oven. Your oven is all you need to give you perfect hard-boiled eggs for your egg salad, Easter eggs, egg curry, or deviled eggs. Your oven will do an amazing job.

Read on to find out just how to do it.

Get your Temperature Right

Setting the oven temperature is the first step to preparing hard boiled eggs in the oven. Set your temperature to 325°F and your eggs will cook perfectly with their shells on. 

The next question on your mind probably has to do with how long you should cook the eggs. We are going to break down just how long to time the oven depending on how well you want your eggs to cook:

If you want your eggs to come out somewhat runny, you want to cook them for 20-24 minutes. The whites will be set, but the york will be just turning to a jam like consistency.

If you want your yolk to come out firm but still not solid, you want to set your oven for 25-27 minutes. The york will have acquired a nice dark golden yellow. It is easy to spread but can almost start to crumble. 

If you want your egg to come out nice and firm, you want to cook them for 28-30 minutes. The eggs will come out firm enough to make a good egg salad or deviled egg salad. 

Some ovens are not correctly calibrated. So if you find that your oven boiled eggs don’t come out as promised, that is probably the reason why.  Or it may be that your eggs are cooler than normal or really fresh. 

If it happens to you, you can adjust the temperature accordingly and use the timings specified. You will soon have it properly mastered down to a T.

Cooking the Eggs

You could simply place the eggs on your oven rack, but you could also do it in a better way. A muffin pan is even better than a normal oven rack. A typical muffin pan can accommodate a dozen eggs because it has a dozen cups.

Laying out the eggs on a muffin pan allows you to put the eggs in and out easily, because they cannot roll off in any direction. 

In the absence of a muffin pan, you can still work with any pan that is safe to use in the oven. 

Why do the Eggs Come out with Brown Spots

Oven-baked eggs often come out with brown spots on their shell exterior. When you wash the eggs, the spots may rinse off. But sometimes they don’t rinse off. Sometimes the brown spots show on the egg whites. 

This usually happens at the spot where the egg shell touched the hot metal. Paper muffin liners on your muffin pan can prevent these brown spots from occurring by forming a barrier between the egg and the hot metal. 

The eggs with brown spots are just as good to eat as those without. They are mere blemishes.

Giving the Eggs a Cooling Off in an Ice Bath

When your eggs are ready, cool them quickly with an ice water bath. An ice water bath not only cools the eggs, but it stops them from cooking any further and preserves the texture of the eggs as it is. 

One added benefit of the ice water bath is that it makes it a lot easier to peel the eggs. A large water bowl with at least a dozen ice cubes inside the water works best for cooling the eggs. Transfer the eggs to the ice bath immediately and allow them to rest for 10 minutes. You can now peel the eggs.

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