Monthly Archives: October 2013

How to zest a lemon

Fresh lemon zest has so much uses in the kitchen. They give flavour to baked products, used in some drinks, garnish certain dishes and add a zing to some entrees. If you would like to use lemon zest in a recipe, you would need to learn how to zest a lemon first.

What you will need:

• Fresh lemons
• Grater
• Knife or vegetable peeler
• Microplane
• Cutting board

Preparing the lemons:

1. Wash the lemons well. Scrub the skin to get rid of dirt and pesticides.
2. Dry the lemons before zesting

Method #1: Using a grater or microplane

1. Use the cutting board as platform for the grater or microplane.
2. Holding the grater or microplane on a slanting position, grate the outer part or rind of the lemon. Be careful not to grate the pith.
3. Rotate the lemon while grating so that you do not grate one side more than once.
4. Continue until you get as much zest as you need.
5. Spoon up the zest from the cutting board.

Method #2: Using a peeler or knife

1. Peel the lemon using a knife or vegetable peeler using just the right amount of pressure.
2. Rotate the lemon while peeling and avoid the getting the pith with the rind.
3. Continue until you get the amount of zest that you need.

Tips:

• The kind of method you will use will depend on what you need the zest for. Using microplane or grater is for light zest in baking or cooking while peeling is for garnish on a dish or drink.
• Stronger lemon flavour comes from the finer kind of zest.
• Zest can lose flavour when not used immediately
• Cold lemons are easier to zest.

How to void a check

Checks have brought such convenience in terms of how people pay for their transactions. However there are instances where you have to void a check so it will not be used by anyone else. Whether your child has gotten hold of your checkbook and made it into a doodle pad (or playfully wrote a check to a friend) or you accidentally made the wrong check, knowing how to void a check is an essential skill every checkbook owner should have.

What you will need:

  • Check to be voided
  • Permanent pen or marker
  • Internet banking access

Procedure:

1. Using your permanent pen or marker, write the word “VOID” using large letters on the signature line and the payee line.

  • It is important to use permanent ink so that no one will be able to erase what you wrote, just in case you lose the check.
  • Writing in big bold letters is essential so that anyone can easily see that the check is no longer valid.

2. Make a record of the voided check.

  • Use your check register that can be found on your checkbook.
  • Open your online banking software and follow the recording procedures there.

3. Keep the voided check in your file. For reference purposes.

Ensuring that your check is properly voided is necessary for your peace of mind—so you won’t have to worry that someone can access your bank account through the wrong check. Follow the simple steps above and you will do just fine.

Helpful links:

How to grill corn

Grilled corn is a favourite at outdoor gatherings such as clambakes and barbeques. Aside from being utterly delicious and impressive, grilling corn is easy to do.

Method 1: Corn grilled in its husk

What you will need:

• fresh ears of corn
• olive oil
• salt and pepper
• butter
• pot
• pastry brush

Procedure:

1. Peel off the first few layers of the husk to end up with cleaner corn, free from pesticides or dirt.
2. Fill the pot with cold water and soak the corn cobs in for about. This is to let the corn have more moisture before grilling.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to about 350⁰F.
4. Take the corn out of the water and shake to take excess water off.
5. Pull back the husk and discard the silk (or hairlike things on the corn).
6. Use the pastry brush with olive oil on the kernels of corn. You may add any other spice or seasoning you would like too.
7. Reposition the husks back and tie each ear with twine or loose husk.
8. Place the corn on the grill and turn every 5 minutes up to 20 minutes. The husk will begin to pull away from the tip of the ear of corn and get the silhouette of the kernels. The kernels should be tender when pierced with a knife.
9. Remove from the grill and peel off the husk like peeling a banana.

Method 2: Corn grilled in foil

What you will need:

• fresh ears of corn
• olive oil
• salt and pepper
• butter
• pot
• pastry brush
• aluminium foil

Procedure:

1. Take off the husk and the silk off the ears of corn.
2. Place the corn cobs in cold water for 20-30minutes.
3. Preheat the grill to about 350⁰F.
4. Remove the corn from the water and shake off the excess.
5. Brush the corn kernels with olive oil or butter.
6. Sprinkle with your choice of spices.
7. Wrap the ears of corn in aluminium foil.
8. Cook on the grill for about 15 to 20 minutes.
9. Remove from the grill and take off the aluminium foil before serving.

Tips:

• Fresh corn should have husks that are bright green in colour. The kernels should be in rows that are tight, up to the tip of the ear of corn.
• Adding herbs and spices to the corn before grilling makes the taste more interesting.
• Overcooked corn will become mushy. The corn cob will easily flex once overcooked.
• Wear oven mitts when handling corn fresh from the grill.

How to find standard deviation

Standard deviation is one of those mathematical and statistical concepts that appear to be difficult but it is actually pretty easy. Standard deviation is simply an indication of the dispersion of numbers—that is how far the numbers are from the normal.

Here are the simplest steps on how to find the standard deviation:

Calculating manually

1. Neatly write down the numbers that you need to work with.
2. Get the mean or average of the numbers.

  • Add all the numbers you have.
  • Divide by how many numbers there are.

3. Get the squared difference for each number.

  • Subtract the mean from every number to get the difference.
  • Square the difference (multiply the difference by itself).

4. Solve for the mean or average of all the squared differences. The answer you get is the variance.
5. Get the square root of the variance. The answer is the standard deviation.

Calculating using Microsoft Excel

  1. Open a new Excel spread sheet.
  2. Type in your data into individual cells.
  3. Select an empty cell, preferably one that is right next to the last digit that you entered. This is where the standard deviation will appear.
  4. On the empty cell type “ =STDEVP(
  5. Highlight the cells where your numbers are. Then press enter. This will enclose your data set into the formula. (Example =STDEVP(A1:Z99) )
  6. The standard deviation will appear on the selected cell.

How to eat a Mango

Mangoes are delicious tropical fruits that can be eaten while they are raw and green or while they are lovely yellow and ripe. If it is a kind of fruit that you are not familiar with, you will need these pointers on how to eat a mango.

Ripe mango

Method #1: Cutting

  1. Put the mango on a cutting board in an upright position. The nub (or the hard part where the branch was attached) should be on top and the thin end should be at the bottom.
  2. Carefully slide the knife down from the side of the nub to cut one “cheek” of mango. You will feel the hard seed or core as you cut. Avoid it.
  3. Cut the other side.
  4. Spoon out the mango flesh or cut it in cubes as you wish.

Method #2: Peeling

  1. Turn the mango in a triangle position. The hard nub should be at the bottom and the thin tip should be on top.
  2. Pinch the tip with your fingers to create a cut on it.
  3. Start peeling away the skin of the mango halfway. This can get a little sticky or messy.
  4. Eat the mango flesh and leave out the seed.

Tips:

  • Ripe mango is better eaten right away after cutting.
  • The best ripe mangoes do not have white spots and bruises on the flesh. If you find some, cut those parts away and do not eat.
  • Ripe mangoes can also be made into fruit drinks or incorporated in desserts and entrees. 

Green mango

  1. Peel the mango using a sharp knife or peeler.
  2. Cut away the flesh until you reach the seed or core.
  3. Eat the strips or pieces of green mango flesh.

Tips:

  • Green mango flesh tastes sour so they are often served with something salty or sweet. Suggestions are sugar, honey, salt and fish preserves.

How to cook asparagus

Asparagus is a low-calorie spring vegetable that is packed with calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A and C. Fresh asparagus is perfect for so many dishes and there are plenty of ways to prepare it. Asparagus can be quite expensive compared to other vegetables so it is best to learn how to cook asparagus properly.

What you will need:

  • fresh asparagus
  • salt
  • bowl
  • saucepan or pot
  • steamer basket
  • microwave safe dish

Procedures:

1. Prepare the asparagus

  • Fill large bowl with cold water.
  • Submerge the asparagus to remove all the sand.
  • Remove the asparagus from the water.
  • Break each asparagus spear and discard the white ends that are tough.

2. Cook the asparagus with any of these methods:

  • Boiling: stand the asparagus spears in about 3 inches of boiling water, cover and allow to cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Blanch: half-fill the pot with water, add one tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until second boil begins. Quickly remove and dry on a towel.
  • Steam: put 1 inch of water into the saucepan and place the steamer basket in. Break the asparagus to fit in the steamer and steam for 5-7 minutes.
  • Microwave: Fill the microwaveable dish with ¼ cup of water. Add the asparagus spears and put the lid on the dish. Cook for 3 minutes in high power setting. Stir and check for doneness.

Tips:

  • To achieve the tender-crisp texture, asparagus needs to be cooked swiftly.
  • To know of the asparagus spears are done, poke a stalk with a knife. It should give a little resistance.
  • The freshest asparagus has firm spears and tightly closed tips. The color should be deep green.
  • To get the most out of the asparagus, it should be used within 3 days after purchasing.
  • Tying the asparagus in bundles eases the removal during cooking.
  • Cooked asparagus should be served right away because cold asparagus has a dull flavour.

Relevant Links:

How to bake chicken

Baked chicken is a great dish that appears sophisticated, healthy and delicious. It can easily be the star at any dinner party. Learning how to bake chicken only takes a few steps and can be mastered with practice. 

What you will need:

· Chicken pieces
· Marinade of choice
· Seasoning
· Olive oil (optional)
· Large resealable bag or bowl
· Oven safe dish
· Aluminum foil
· Meat thermometer (optional)

Procedure

1. Prepare the chicken

· Defrost the chicken if needed. If you are using chicken straight from the grocery or market, you can skip this step.
· Rinse the chicken pieces in cold water make it free from preservatives due to packaging.
· Trim off fat, skin or unsightly veins using a pair of kitchen scissors if you wish.
· Pat the chicken pieces dry using a clean paper towel.
· Put the chicken pieces on the bowl or inside the resealable bag.
· Pour your marinade over the chicken and make sure the pieces are soaked well.
· Cover the bowl or seal the bag.
· Let the chicken sit in the fridge for about 2 hours. The longer it stays soaked, the more flavorful your baked chicken will be.

2. Preheat the oven.

· Use 350 degrees Fahrenheit if the pieces are bones or if it is chicken breast fillet.
· Use 400 degrees Fahrenheit if the chicken pieces have bones.

3. Prepare the baking dish.

· Line the baking dish with aluminum foil.
· Use non-stick cooking spray to coat the foil to make it easy to remove the chicken later.

4. Put the chicken on the dish.

· Brush the chicken with olive oil if you want a crispy outer layer.
· Season to taste.

5. Pop in the oven.

· Baking time ranges from 20-30 minutes, depending on the number of pieces and if they have bones.
· To see if chicken is fully cooked, insert a meat thermometer into the center of one chicken piece. The reading should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
· Alternatively, check for the color of the liquid oozing out of the chicken. If it is fully cooked, the liquid should be clear.

6. Take the chicken out of the oven.

7. Allow the chicken to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

· This helps the flavour settle and for the cooking process to finish.
· Remove the chicken from the baking dish before serving.

Tips

· It is very important that the chicken meat is thoroughly cooked. If there are still pink parts when the chicken is cut, put it back in the oven. Raw chicken is a carrier of salmonella.
· Keep the chicken drippings (liquid that comes out when baking) because it can be used for making gravy.

Useful Links

 

How to ask a girl to prom

The prom is one of those events that could either make for great memories of terrible times to forget. If you are one of those teen boys seeking to make prom an extra special event, you probably want to spend it with a girl you really like. Don’t know how to ask her? Don’t fret;

here are some tips to help you out.

1. Assess how well you know the girl.

  • This is important in figuring out if she will say yes or give you the thumbs down.
  • If her well enough as in you are friends or classmates who talk a lot, your chances could be quite high.
  • Find out if she already has a date, has a boyfriend or is totally not going to the prom before actually planning on asking her. You don’t want to get yourself in trouble by asking a girl who is already ‘taken’, so to speak.
  • Know about the things that she likes or hates. This will come in handy when striking a conversation with her or when you are actually taking her to prom.

2. Plan ahead. Timing is key in making your approach.

  • Asking her when you two are alone or when there are not so much people around.
  • Find a low-key environment like the cafeteria, study hall or library.

3. Go ask her.

  • Look casual yet presentable. This means you don’t look sweaty from gym class and you should at least smell nice.
  • Ask her in a friendly manner. No need to go over the top and make her swoon. You are asking her to the prom, not asking to marry her. Save the efforts for when you are dating (if it comes to that).
  • Don’t forget to show positive energy by smiling, maintaining eye contact and not fidgeting when you ask. Act confident and be yourself.
  • Although it is not recommended, you may also ask her through text message, chat, old school letter or via a phone call.

Tips:

  • Don’t make a big deal out of it. If she says yes then that’s good but don’t mope if she says no. It will draw unnecessary attention on you.
  • If she says yes, show her a good time at the prom. Give her your best foot forward and a little chivalry goes a long way too.
  • If she says no, you can always ask someone else. Do not require an explanation or ask for her to reconsider. That will make you look like  a desperate loser.

How to not cry

Crying is a natural human reaction. But there are some circumstances where crying can be inconvenient or embarrassing.

Here are some tips to help you learn how to not cry.

  • Think of something else other than the thought that is hurting you. Thinking of math problems for instance, keeps your brain busy so you will not be so emotional.
  • Consciously hold your eyes wide open and do not blink so often. Blinking stimulates the eyes and encourages the tears to fall.
  • Practice long deep breaths, hold your breath for 30 seconds then slowly release. Puffing your cheeks helps too.
  • Try crossing your eyes. This helps prevent the formation of tears.
  • Trigger a different pain or pressure point on your body so you will be distracted from crying. Pinching yourself gently or biting your tongue works best.
  • Release your stress through squeezing a toy or screaming on a pillow.
  • Tickle your hard palette (the roof of your mouth) with your tongue.
  • Try to smile, laugh or yawn. These facial movements loosen the jaw and facial muscles so that you won’t feel so uptight anymore.
  • Wash your face or take a shower because water refreshes your body and relaxes you.
  • Eat ice cream. The sweetness and coldness helps your calm down.

 Additional tips:

  • If you do end up crying, you can blame it on the allergies.
  • Find someone to talk to about the reasons that you want to cry. Keeping emotions bottled up inside you is never good.
  • Write your feelings down to release them.

 

How to Organize your Room

Read more about How to -  simple manuals on the web

Are you getting frustrated already with a bunch of stuff messing around tour room? Do you feel like everything is just so disorganized that you want to throw them all away?

Tips in Room Cleaning

Create a Plan for your Room Cleaning

This is crucial for you need to have a clear idea on how you want your room to be. You also need to know the purpose of your room. Is the room intended for watching television, reading, exercising or sleeping? There are indeed various options for this. You need to be sure on this.

Make a List

The list should contain the things that are needed for the room to function. This will give you a hint on how much space you will need. Aside from this, you will also know where to put the things whenever they are not being used. This has been made possible because you had anticipated these things already.

Scan the room

Scanning the room is done to get rid of the items you do not need. There are various ways in getting rid of these items. You can sell, donate or just throw these items away. Just make it a point that you do not need the items already. If you are just planning to store the items because you will still need them, then think of a place where these items can be stored conveniently. At least, you will not struggle in pulling them out just in case there is a need to do so.

Use bins and labels

These are all necessary if you are storing things in your closet. With this, you will be free from cluttering. You will not have to open everything when you are looking for something. This is the reason why labeling works.

Tidy it up!

Maintenance is the key! The purpose of cleaning the room will be useless if you will not maintain its being tidy. Once you had cleaned the room, you need to make sure that you will dust it off or sweep the dirt off every once in a while. You can even set a schedule for the cleaning. This will surely work in preserving the cleanliness of your very own room.

Room cleaning should not be that hard! Just enjoy everything! You need to make sure that you are having a good time starting from the planning until the cleaning itself. After all, it is your room. You stay in it for most of the time. Cleanliness is something that you need to work on regularly. This encompasses a lot of things if achieved properly. Your room needs to be functional and at the same time pleasing. Believe it or not, the two can coexist. Make sure that the two are balance. You can always ask for help after all. Cleaning should be done by schedule. Do not forget! This is something that you just do not do when you feel like it! Be committed while having fun! 

Read more about How to -  simple manuals on the web

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