Cooking at home more often than you eat out or order in, can be rewarding for both your wallet and your waistline. But it can also feel like a time suck that requires a lot of effort. It's hard to perfectly plan all of your meals to avoid food waste and get the most of out your produce while it's still fresh. Don't throw that stale loaf of bread out just yet though! Or let hardened brown sugar come between you and a batch of brownies again.
Here are 10 kitchen hacks to save you a little time, a little money, and a lot of frustration.
1. ) Keep Tomatoes Fresh Longer
Tomatoes stored stem side downFood52
You probably already know that tomatoes are better stored at room temperature than in the fridge. While ripe tomatoes do ok in colder temperatures, storing under ripe tomato in the refrigerator affects the development of the flavor, texture, and coloring. Want juicer tomatoes bursting with flavor? Store them stem side down at room temperature.
Storing tomatoes upside can actually keep them fresh for longer. How? It stops excess air and moisture from leaving what's knowns as the scar. The scar is where the tomato was once attached to the vine. This easy kitchen hack stops tomatoes from taking on that unwanted mealy texture and helps them stay fresher longer.
2.) Stop Brown Sugar From Hardening
Hard, clumpy brown sugar is a real bummer. Especially when you're in the middle of baking something delicious. Instead of tossing it out or breaking out a hammer to try to salvage some of it, try these easy hacks first. The key to keeping brown sugar from clumping is restoring as much moisture as possible.
Make sure your brown sugar is stored in an air-tight container and then add a slice of apple, or an orange peel to the mix before sealing. The orange peel and/or apple slice restores moisture and softens brown sugar up. Within a few hours it's as good as new! Here's a guide to everything you'll ever need to know about sugar.
3.) Easy Check to See if Eggs are Still Good to Eat
Spoiled egg testShutterstock
Not sure how long those eggs have been sitting in your fridge? Instead of cracking them open, gently place them in a bowl or glass of cold water instead. If the egg sinks, it's still good to eat. If it floats, it's time to toss it.
The liquid inside eggs slowly evaporates over time, creating a gas bubble inside. The lighter the egg, the older and more spoiled it is. The FDA's generally guideline is that a carton of eggs is ok to eat for up to 4-5 weeks after it's been packaged.
4.) Soften Butter Fast
Soften cold butter quicklyEver Tricks
Baking with soft butter is almost always better, but it isn't always convenient. If you're in a rush and forgot to let your butter soften at room temperature, don't just use it cold. Try these quick tricks to soften cold butter fast instead!
Grate it, slice it, or place it in a ziplock bag and roll it flat with a rolling pin. It'll soften up pretty quickly. Another cool trick? Try Buzzfeed's warm glass hack. Fill a glass with warm water, pour it out, and then place the glass over the butter to soften it.
5.) Quickly Peel Potatoes and Tomatoes
Thin skinned vegetables like potatoes and tomatoes can be annoying to peel. Here's a way to quickly and easily peel them without even using a vegetable peeler. First boil them and then give them an ice bath. The skin will separate from the center making it easy to peel right off with your hands.
6.) Cut the Fat
If you want to remove excess fat from gravy, stews, soups, sauces, and broths there's a faster way than waiting for it to cool. Pop a few ice cubes into the saucepan or pot and the fat will rise around them, making it easier to scoop out. You can also skim a few ice cubes along the surface of the liquid to help it solidify. Remove the fat with a spoon or try soaking it up with a piece of toast.
7.) Save Wilting Herbs for Later
Herb and olive oil cubesRecipe Hubs
If notice any herbs looking less than fresh you can easily give them a second life with this kitchen hack. Finely chop or pulse them in a food processor with olive oil. Enough oil to completely cover the herbs. Pour the herb and olive oil mixture into an ice tray and freeze. When you're ready to use the herbs just add one or two cubes to whatever you're cooking up! You can also try this hack with citrus zest. Here's a fruit freezing guide.
8.) Put Lemons to Work
Don't toss those old lemons out just yet! Instead put them to work as an all natural, and powerful way to clean your countertops, utensils, your oven, and even the fridge. Lemon juice is one of the best natural cleaners, because of it's low ph and antibacterial properties. It's even capable of restoring rusty brass and copper.
Try using half a lemon in place of a dish sponge. Scrub away and then let the lemon juice sit for a few minute before washing clean. Lemons are actually a safer and more environmentally friendly way of cleaning than other store bought products.
9.) Restore Crusty Bread
Revive old breadGetty Images
Don't throw out that stale loaf of bread either. Reviving a crusty baguette is possible with this amazing water trick. Run the stale loaf under water until the crust is completely wet. Don't be afraid to drench it.
Set your oven to 325 F degrees or on it's warm setting and put the wet loaf directly on the metal rack. Let it bake for 6-7 minutes and when you pull it out, it'll practically be as good as new. Warm, soft center and crunchy crusty exterior ready to be used again.
10) Microplane Garlic and Ginger
Finely chopping or mincing garlic and ginger can be a real time suck. Luckily there's an easier way. Microplane it! Anytime a recipe calls for minced garlic or ginger reach for a microplane zester instead of a knife.
It's faster and easier on your fingers. You can also try using a spoon to peel ginger, it actually works better than a vegetable peeler. And for the garlic? Give it a good whack with the back of a knife and the skin will fall right off.
There’s an internet trend that says that everyone has three drinks: one for energy, one for hydration, and one for fun.
Hydration drinks are usually seltzer, a sports drink, or good old-fashioned water. Fun drinks can be anything from boba to kombucha to a refreshing fountain sprite. But the drink you choose for energy says the most about you. Are you a chill tea drinker? An alternative yerba mate devotee? A matcha-obsessed TikTok That Girl wannabe? A chaotic Red Bull chugger? Or are you a lover of the classics, a person after my own heart, who just loves a good cuppa joe?
Coffee can come in many forms. Straight black, concentrated like cold brew for a heartier flavor, or a milky, sugary, frothy treat for a blend of energy and fun.
But the dreaded coffee descriptor: downright bad.
We’ve all been there — free hotel coffee, questionable diner coffee, disappointing overpriced coffee shop coffee. Pour one out for the cups we left unfinished due to sheer revulsion.
In those moments — taking a sip of bitter, bad bean juice and worrying that someone might know if we slyly spit it back into the offending cup — I start to wonder if the “make your coffee at home” brigade is right.
It’s a common point of contention in the personal finance community — but also in the world at large. Is it really such a monumental waste of money to buy coffee instead of making it at home?
If you go by the dollar, of course it’s cheaper to brew a cup at home. Plus, you’ll always know what you’re getting. It’s not exciting, but it’s not disappointing either. You'll never risk a truly awful cup unless you never learned how to use that French press of yours.
But what about the emotional cost? Especially during the heights of the pandemic, going out for a little coffee and a walk was one of the few indulgences we were allowed. Plus, there’s a reason coffee shops are always bustling and busy. They’re a place of communion. Of community. To gather intentionally, to bump into the same 9:47 a.m. crowd every morning on your commute, or to stumble into delight.
And, while the money you save making every single cup of coffee at home could compound into hundreds of dollars over your lifetime…is it worth it?
If your coffee habit is integral to your happiness — for so many of us, it is — don’t give it up. Add it to your budget alongside other delights that align with your values like your Apple Music premium subscription or your travel fund.
Maybe reduce other expenses like that accompanying pastry, disposable cups, or larger sizes over smaller ones. You can also find a middle ground. Save your coffee walks for a special occasion or reduce to a few times a week. A few times a week, why not splurge on an at-home coffee brand you truly adore to make yourself more likely to brew at home. Better yet: one you can take on-the-go. Never stoop to subpar coffee again!
Enter: Cometeer Coffee.
Cometeer is the latest coffee innovation: flash frozen coffee pods. They developed a proprietary extraction system that optimizes all the variables that lead to spectacular coffee. This is achieved with high-quality coffee beans, flash freeze them, and deliver the pods right to your door. Simply melt and enjoy.
26 grams of coffee go into each capsule, brewed with a process that’s carefully calibrated to extract as much flavor as possible from the beans — which are sourced from an array of the country’s best roasters. As soon as it’s brewed, it’s frozen at a chilly -321 degrees to lock in its flavor. The result? The perfect icy puck of the most complex coffee you’ve ever tasted.
And with a travel set to ramp up, having easy coffee pods on hand will be a game-changer. Everyone’s traveling — but travel better by packing Cometeer pods.
Based on research from the travel guidance firm The Vacationer, more than 42% of Americans are expected to travel this summer than last, while only 12% will travel less. (The 42% is a notable jump from the 25% who said they would travel more in 2021's survey.)
It’s the summer of revenge travel, promising lots of trips … which means endless nights, early mornings, and long airport lines. Get through them with coffee, but don’t settle for less than the best.
Cometeer's hyper-flavorful top-tier beans come from the world’s best roasters, ground and brewed with incredible precision, flash-frozen at peak flavor, and ready to be melted by you.
Making great coffee is hard, but melting great coffee is easy. Peel back the lid and drop it in a mug. Add hot water, enjoy. The end.
Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.
What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.
The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.
There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!
Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.
Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”
While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.
That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying
the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.
This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.
Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.
That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?
Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”
While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."
In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.
We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.
As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.
What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.
The rising trend of pet-friendly offices is part of the effort to incentivize employees to come back to work in person. Many companies completely embraced the remote-friendly convenience of WFH. Digital nomad culture emerged and “second cities” arose when people exited New York, San Francisco, and LA, and headed to Denver, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, and Raleigh.
But now, employees and employers have a choice to make. The question now is: to return or not to return to the office? This is no longer about forcing employees to commute. Post The Great Resignation, employees feel more empowered to leave in-person positions and seek out remote jobs. So if offices want people to return, they’ve got to do a ton to entice their employees.
Some huge companies with giant operating budgets are not worried. With major perks like shiny facilities and full-service food bars, they feel comfortable requiring in-office work days — even if it’s for a hybrid week. But the solution might be simpler: pet-friendly workplaces.
The Allure of Pet-Friendly Offices
According to the Washington Post, pet-friendly workplaces are becoming a common solution to improve employee morale and appease the rising number of pandemic pet owners. “As offices start reopening and thousands of workers are being called back for the first time in two years, some companies are allowing employees to bring their pets. About 23 million American households adopted a pet during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Many workers say they find pet-friendly environments an important perk for their new furry family members. A recent survey conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital, owned by Mars Inc., showed that 57 percent of the 1,500 pet owners polled said they would be happiest returning to a pet-friendly workplace. Half of the 500 top executives surveyed said they are planning to allow pets at the office. Tech companies including Google, Amazon, and Uber plan to continue to allow dogs at their offices, even with their flexible office policies.”
With so many people adopting and fostering since the pandemic, becoming a pet parent is a trend. And to welcome these new additions into people’s lives, it makes sense for some workplaces to welcome them into the office.
After spending unlimited amounts of time at home, many pets grew greatly attached to their “parents” — and pet-parents feel the same about their pets. Rather than keeping them locked in the house while their caretakers head off to work, this is a mutually beneficial solution to the current separation anxiety faced by pets.
Pets have also been shown to boost happiness in pet owners. According to heart.org, “Studies show that dogs reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; ease loneliness; encourage exercise and improve your overall health. For example, people with dogs tend to have lower blood pressure and are less likely to develop heart disease. Just playing with a dog has been shown to raise levels of the feel-good brain chemicals oxytocin and dopamine, creating positive feelings and bonding for both the person and their pet.” Most likely, this might have a similar effect on people who bond with animals at work that don’t even belong to them, lending an overall mood boost to the office.
The controversy behind pet-friendly workplaces
However, not everyone is as enthusiastic about the prospect. Some would rather keep the office separate from their personal lives. Some are allergic to pets. And some people simply don’t like animals.
Offices considering pet-friendly policies are weighing the pros and cons to keep everyone happy. According to the Washington Post, clear guidelines and communication can increase the chances of success.
“Before making the jump, pet experts say that leaders should first understand whether their employees have interest in, or strong feelings against, having a pet-friendly office. Doing an anonymous survey may allow employees to freely share thoughts on the matter.”
Overall, the key to a policy like this is flexibility. “Be ready to adjust: Above all, pet-friendly offices should be ready to listen and adjust their policies as they go. What works for one office may not work for another, but experts say proper planning can lessen much of the burden.”
Ensure your office is actually suited to the pets you want to welcome. “A well-developed pet-friendly office should be both safe and welcoming to pets. That means companies should consider blocking off areas that could be dangerous to pets as well as making sure pets have access to clean water, food, and places to rest.”
No matter where your pet spends their time, they deserve a bag of treats and toys to make them feel loved and keep them entertained. With Pupbox', never run out of new treats for your pets. Pupbox is a subscription box that sends personalized monthly boxes packed with dog treats, chews, toys, and tips customized to your dog to help you navigate the challenges and celebrate the joys of every stage of your pup’s life.
Pupbox is a monthly puppy box packed with all the toys, treats, accessories, and training info you need to be the best parent pawsible – sorry, couldn’t help myself! Everything’s tested by real dogs and pupstomized to grow with your pup, making sure they always have everything – at just the right time.
For your pet’s optimal health and happiness, give them tasty training treats that meet Petco's high nutritional standards. Pupbox’s teething toys, plush toys, heavy chewers, rope toys, interactive toys, and tough toys are all included and will keep your pup motivated and focused on exciting lessons and games that will grow with your dog!