Posts tagged with "Advice"

  • Integra Meteor Light Grey

    Eco-Friendly Habits in the Kitchen

    How to reduce your environmental footprint in the kitchen

    While most of us strive to reduce our environmental footprint, achieving this goal can prove tricky.

    Two crucial factors for living sustainability in the kitchen are planning ahead to make sure you buy just enough food and avoiding waste wherever possible. However, it often takes a little extra push to ensure you stick to these goals.

    Thankfully, there are a few simple features you can include when designing your new kitchen to keep environmental impact in mind and encourage you to make greener decisions.

    Out of sight is out of mind

    Unfortunately, the old saying ‘out of sight is out of mind’ is sadly true when it comes to the jars and packages of food lurking at the back of your cabinets or fridge nearing their expiration dates. Knowing when food passes its use by date is the best way to ensure you make the most of what you have, keeping in mind that sell by dates are not the same as use by dates to avoid wasting perfectly good food.

    To help you keep track of what’s about to go out of date, it’s best to keep items clearly visible within your kitchen. However this doesn’t have to mean ugly, cluttered worktops, as Magnet have developed some ingenious space saving storage solutions to stow away kitchen essentials but still ensure they are right at hand when you need them. Take the Cabinet Plus for example, a descending shelf section which makes the items at the back of your cabinets easier to reach. Or alternatively, consider the Shelf Plus, a stacking shelf system with customisable sections made to perfectly fit everything from tea and coffee jars to herb pots and even kitchen roll holders.

    A system for success

    Nobody wants their kitchen to be littered with different rubbish bags and recycling storage bins, but equally it’s no fun having to spend time sorting waste into different bins every time you take the rubbish out. The best approach to avoid these less-than-desirable alternatives is to opt for a concealed recycling bin system with different compartments for each type of waste, such as Magnet’s pull out three part recycling bin. That way, it’s easy to categorise rubbish as you throw it away, but your bins still stow neatly away under your kitchen counter. The fact that this three-part system includes a section for compost is particularly crucial, since food scraps account for nearly a quarter of all human waste and are the number one material sent to landfills.

    Be energy efficient

    Food isn’t the only thing we tend to waste in our kitchens, as inefficient kitchen appliances can also use up a great deal of energy, increasing your carbon footprint and contributing towards global pollution. In fact, the fridge typically accounts for between 9 and 15 per cent of each home’s total electricity usage, so ensuring you choose energy efficient appliances is important for both your bank balance and the planet.

    Thankfully, appliance manufacturers are increasingly making their designs more energy efficient, and all appliances within the Magnet collection are labelled with energy efficiency ratings to help you make smarter, more sustainable choices for your household.

    Category: Advice

  • Little kitchen helpers

    Clever ways to get the kids to help out in the kitchen

    Let’s face it, we could all use a little extra help in the kitchen.

    Life for busy parents can feel like a constant battle to keep the kids fed while also keeping the family kitchen clean, so wouldn’t it be brilliant if you had a few enthusiastic helpers to do their bit?

    Follow these simple steps to allow your messy little monsters to unlock their full potential in the kitchen.

    Start early

    Safety comes first in the kitchen, but there are still ways to get young children interested in cooking. Let them watch you whip up dinner from the safety of their high chair or give them safe items like plastic bowls to play with, since toddlers love discovering things for themselves.

    Celebration not delegation

    It only takes a little extra effort to turn essential everyday tasks into an enjoyable activity for all the family. Turning on music so kids can sweep the floor to the beat, making up songs to sing together as you stir the batter, and replacing dull tea towels with colourful patterned ones can all help to make common kitchen tasks more fun.

    Get creative

    Encouraging creativity is a great way to keep your children’s minds active and aid learning, so why not make mealtimes more creative too? Artistic cooking doesn’t have to be limited to occasional treats like decorating cakes either, you can also make healthy everyday dinners more fun by letting the kids make faces with fruits or set a scene with veggies.

    Make them proud

    Giving little ones responsibility over a certain part of a recipe, like mashing potatoes, is a great way to help them feel super proud of what they’ve achieved and get more enjoyment out of the process. Set the pace slowly to avoid making them feel disheartened if they can’t complete a task, and recognise their efforts once they’ve finished by letting everyone around the table know that you’re serving up ‘Jimmy’s potatoes’.

    The power of choice

    It’s also a great idea to give children choices so tasks don’t feel like an obligation, like letting them help to plan dinner menus, pack their own lunchboxes or choose between two types of pasta at the supermarket.

    Patience is a virtue

    Teaching children to love cooking and tidying up after themselves is not a quick process. In the short run you’ll need a healthy dose of patience to accept that things may get a little messy, or that dishes might not turn out as perfectly as you would have made them. In the long run though, it’s worth it for those precious family moments when your kids surprise you with breakfast in bed, or just make you proud when you see what capable, responsible young adults they’re turning into.

    Category: Advice Tags:

    Kitchen Heart-warming family kitchen memories

    Highlights from the family kitchen stories you’ve shared with us

    Read more about Heart-warming family kitchen memories

  • Little kitchen helpers

    Clever ways to get the kids to help out in the kitchen

    Let’s face it, we could all use a little extra help in the kitchen.

    Life for busy parents can feel like a constant battle to keep the kids fed while also keeping the family kitchen clean, so wouldn’t it be brilliant if you had a few enthusiastic helpers to do their bit?

    Follow these simple steps to allow your messy little monsters to unlock their full potential in the kitchen.

    Start early

    Safety comes first in the kitchen, but there are still ways to get young children interested in cooking. Let them watch you whip up dinner from the safety of their high chair or give them safe items like plastic bowls to play with, since toddlers love discovering things for themselves.

    Celebration not delegation

    It only takes a little extra effort to turn essential everyday tasks into an enjoyable activity for all the family. Turning on music so kids can sweep the floor to the beat, making up songs to sing together as you stir the batter, and replacing dull tea towels with colourful patterned ones can all help to make common kitchen tasks more fun.

    Get creative

    Encouraging creativity is a great way to keep your children’s minds active and aid learning, so why not make mealtimes more creative too? Artistic cooking doesn’t have to be limited to occasional treats like decorating cakes either, you can also make healthy everyday dinners more fun by letting the kids make faces with fruits or set a scene with veggies.

    Make them proud

    Giving little ones responsibility over a certain part of a recipe, like mashing potatoes, is a great way to help them feel super proud of what they’ve achieved and get more enjoyment out of the process. Set the pace slowly to avoid making them feel disheartened if they can’t complete a task, and recognise their efforts once they’ve finished by letting everyone around the table know that you’re serving up ‘Jimmy’s potatoes’.

    The power of choice

    It’s also a great idea to give children choices so tasks don’t feel like an obligation, like letting them help to plan dinner menus, pack their own lunchboxes or choose between two types of pasta at the supermarket.

    Patience is a virtue

    Teaching children to love cooking and tidying up after themselves is not a quick process. In the short run you’ll need a healthy dose of patience to accept that things may get a little messy, or that dishes might not turn out as perfectly as you would have made them. In the long run though, it’s worth it for those precious family moments when your kids surprise you with breakfast in bed, or just make you proud when you see what capable, responsible young adults they’re turning into.

    Category: Advice Tags:

    Kitchen Heart-warming family kitchen memories

    Highlights from the family kitchen stories you’ve shared with us

    Read more about Heart-warming family kitchen memories

  • 5 family craft ideas to try this half-term

    Fun kitchen table craft activities for all the family

    You don’t even have to leave the kitchen to have fun as a family this half-term.

    It’s easy to keep the little ones occupied during the school holidays when the weather’s warm, but the challenge is altogether different when it’s too chilly for days out at the park and trips to the beach. Though there are lots of activity clubs, sports centres and other indoor attractions to choose from, the costs can quickly stack up when you need to capture the kids’ attention for a full week.

    So to help parents everywhere save their pennies, we’ve compiled a list of five exciting family craft projects you can enjoy from the comfort of your kitchen table this half-term. After all, what could be more fun than spending time making precious new family memories in the kitchen while allowing your little ones to explore their creative side?

    Paints and paper plates

    Paper plates make the perfect base for creating your own spellbinding masks from scratch. Let the kids get a little messy painting paper plates with funny faces, from fearsome stripy tigers to adorable pandas and cheeky monkeys, then help them cut out eye holes and attach elastic once dry. Now all that’s left to do is to use your new masks to put on a show!

    Welcome to the lab

    There’s an exciting experiment you can try to teach the kids about chemistry using only items commonly found in the kitchen. All you need to do is boil up a red cabbage then strain out the pieces and fill a clear glass a quarter of the way up with the purple water. Next, let the kids add lemon juice or bicarbonate of soda to the mixture one by one, to see it magically change colour, creating vibrant shades from bright pink to cool turquoise. This fascinating trick occurs because red cabbage is a PH indicator that turns different colours when mixed with an acid or alkali.

    Baking up a treat

    Raise your hand if one of your fondest childhood memories is learning to bake with a parent or grandparent. Pass on the tradition by letting the kids help to measure out and mix ingredients to create a simple biscuit dough. Biscuits cook quickly in the oven, so they’re perfect for impatient little ones who just can’t wait to decorate their creations with gooey icing and colourful sprinkles. Plus of course you get to eat them afterwards!

    Secret spy mission

    What could be more exciting than letting little ones unleash their inner spy by writing secret invisible messages to their siblings? All you need to create hours of mysterious fun is a white wax crayon, white paper, a paintbrush and water-based poster paints. Tell the kids to write a secret message on the paper using the crayon, then watch their awe-struck faces as you brush colourful watered-down paint across the paper to reveal the hidden drawings. This clever illusion is possible since wax repels water.

    Crazy cress heads

    Don’t throw away your old boiled egg shells or yoghurt pots - help the kids feel a true sense of achievement by letting them grow their own crazy cress head plants. Clean out your egg shell or yoghurt pot with boiled water, then when cool, decorate with googly eyes and a felt-tip smile. Next, press cress seeds into a piece of moist cotton wool and place into the bottom & leave on a sunny kitchen windowsill. Cress grows super quickly, so if you plant your egg head at the start of half-term, it should have a full head of green cress hair by the end of the week!

    Got another fun kitchen craft idea to share with other mums and dads? Then let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

    Category: Advice Tags:

    Kitchen Heart-warming family kitchen memories

    Highlights from the family kitchen stories you’ve shared with us

    Read more about Heart-warming family kitchen memories

  • 5 family craft ideas to try this half-term

    Fun kitchen table craft activities for all the family

    You don’t even have to leave the kitchen to have fun as a family this half-term.

    It’s easy to keep the little ones occupied during the school holidays when the weather’s warm, but the challenge is altogether different when it’s too chilly for days out at the park and trips to the beach. Though there are lots of activity clubs, sports centres and other indoor attractions to choose from, the costs can quickly stack up when you need to capture the kids’ attention for a full week.

    So to help parents everywhere save their pennies, we’ve compiled a list of five exciting family craft projects you can enjoy from the comfort of your kitchen table this half-term. After all, what could be more fun than spending time making precious new family memories in the kitchen while allowing your little ones to explore their creative side?

    Paints and paper plates

    Paper plates make the perfect base for creating your own spellbinding masks from scratch. Let the kids get a little messy painting paper plates with funny faces, from fearsome stripy tigers to adorable pandas and cheeky monkeys, then help them cut out eye holes and attach elastic once dry. Now all that’s left to do is to use your new masks to put on a show!

    Welcome to the lab

    There’s an exciting experiment you can try to teach the kids about chemistry using only items commonly found in the kitchen. All you need to do is boil up a red cabbage then strain out the pieces and fill a clear glass a quarter of the way up with the purple water. Next, let the kids add lemon juice or bicarbonate of soda to the mixture one by one, to see it magically change colour, creating vibrant shades from bright pink to cool turquoise. This fascinating trick occurs because red cabbage is a PH indicator that turns different colours when mixed with an acid or alkali.

    Baking up a treat

    Raise your hand if one of your fondest childhood memories is learning to bake with a parent or grandparent. Pass on the tradition by letting the kids help to measure out and mix ingredients to create a simple biscuit dough. Biscuits cook quickly in the oven, so they’re perfect for impatient little ones who just can’t wait to decorate their creations with gooey icing and colourful sprinkles. Plus of course you get to eat them afterwards!

    Secret spy mission

    What could be more exciting than letting little ones unleash their inner spy by writing secret invisible messages to their siblings? All you need to create hours of mysterious fun is a white wax crayon, white paper, a paintbrush and water-based poster paints. Tell the kids to write a secret message on the paper using the crayon, then watch their awe-struck faces as you brush colourful watered-down paint across the paper to reveal the hidden drawings. This clever illusion is possible since wax repels water.

    Crazy cress heads

    Don’t throw away your old boiled egg shells or yoghurt pots - help the kids feel a true sense of achievement by letting them grow their own crazy cress head plants. Clean out your egg shell or yoghurt pot with boiled water, then when cool, decorate with googly eyes and a felt-tip smile. Next, press cress seeds into a piece of moist cotton wool and place into the bottom & leave on a sunny kitchen windowsill. Cress grows super quickly, so if you plant your egg head at the start of half-term, it should have a full head of green cress hair by the end of the week!

    Got another fun kitchen craft idea to share with other mums and dads? Then let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

    Category: Advice Tags:

    Kitchen Heart-warming family kitchen memories

    Highlights from the family kitchen stories you’ve shared with us

    Read more about Heart-warming family kitchen memories

  • Vegan recipe twists

    Simple swaps to make your favourite dishes Vegan-friendly

    We all start off the year with good intentions, whether that means hitting the gym more often or simply trying to eat more healthily. In fact, this year over 115,000 people decided to take their New Year’s Resolutions a step further by attempting the ‘Veganuary’ vegan January challenge.

    As the end of January draws near, it becomes a little trickier to make sure healthy new habits stick around into February and beyond, particularly if your list of vegan meal ideas is running low. So to help out, we’ve gathered a list of tasty twists you can try out in your kitchen to turn the nation’s favourite meaty meals vegan-friendly.

    Classic curry

    Curry is arguably one of the most versatile vegan meals as there are hundreds of combinations of spices, sides, vegetables and pulses you can bring together to create a whole banquet’s worth of vegan dinners. Omit the usual cream and butter in favour of coconut milk and unrefined vegetable oil for a mild and creamy lentil korma, or turn up the heat with fresh coriander, tomato, chilli and sweet potato chunks for a hearty vegetable Madras.

    The ultimate burger

    Burger night is a favourite for meat-eaters and vegans alike, since there are so many ways to customise your burger with different sauces and toppings to make it your own. Serve up a spicy bean burger with lashings of homemade guacamole and chunky tomato salsa for a Mexican fiesta, or top a chickpea burger with cool hummus and crisp cucumber for a Middle Eastern feast.

    Cosy casserole

    Even traditional British favourites can easily become new vegan classics with a few quick and easy twists. Swap meat for tasty vegan sausages and pop in the oven with chunky root vegetables, tinned tomatoes and fresh thyme for a flavour-packed winter warmer.

    Friday night chow mein

    Going vegan doesn’t have to mean missing out on your favourite take-away flavours. Swap fried chicken and egg noodles for tofu chunks and rice noodles to recreate a tasty chow mein dish packed full of fresh stir-fried vegetables, salty soy sauce and just a hint of Chinese five spice.

    Decadent dessert

    Cheesecake might not seem like an obvious dessert choice for a vegan diet, but in fact there are some ingenious swaps you can make to create a dairy-free version of this indulgent favourite. Instead of butter in the base layer, combine ground nuts, dates and coconut oil for a crunchy, protein-packed treat. For the topping, soak cashews overnight until soft, then blend with coconut milk, coconut oil, your choice of fruit and a few tablespoons of lemon juice to help the mixture to set in the fridge. Then serve up and prepare to be amazed!

    Category: Advice

  • Vegan recipe twists

    Simple swaps to make your favourite dishes Vegan-friendly

    We all start off the year with good intentions, whether that means hitting the gym more often or simply trying to eat more healthily. In fact, this year over 115,000 people decided to take their New Year’s Resolutions a step further by attempting the ‘Veganuary’ vegan January challenge.

    As the end of January draws near, it becomes a little trickier to make sure healthy new habits stick around into February and beyond, particularly if your list of vegan meal ideas is running low. So to help out, we’ve gathered a list of tasty twists you can try out in your kitchen to turn the nation’s favourite meaty meals vegan-friendly.

    Classic curry

    Curry is arguably one of the most versatile vegan meals as there are hundreds of combinations of spices, sides, vegetables and pulses you can bring together to create a whole banquet’s worth of vegan dinners. Omit the usual cream and butter in favour of coconut milk and unrefined vegetable oil for a mild and creamy lentil korma, or turn up the heat with fresh coriander, tomato, chilli and sweet potato chunks for a hearty vegetable Madras.

    The ultimate burger

    Burger night is a favourite for meat-eaters and vegans alike, since there are so many ways to customise your burger with different sauces and toppings to make it your own. Serve up a spicy bean burger with lashings of homemade guacamole and chunky tomato salsa for a Mexican fiesta, or top a chickpea burger with cool hummus and crisp cucumber for a Middle Eastern feast.

    Cosy casserole

    Even traditional British favourites can easily become new vegan classics with a few quick and easy twists. Swap meat for tasty vegan sausages and pop in the oven with chunky root vegetables, tinned tomatoes and fresh thyme for a flavour-packed winter warmer.

    Friday night chow mein

    Going vegan doesn’t have to mean missing out on your favourite take-away flavours. Swap fried chicken and egg noodles for tofu chunks and rice noodles to recreate a tasty chow mein dish packed full of fresh stir-fried vegetables, salty soy sauce and just a hint of Chinese five spice.

    Decadent dessert

    Cheesecake might not seem like an obvious dessert choice for a vegan diet, but in fact there are some ingenious swaps you can make to create a dairy-free version of this indulgent favourite. Instead of butter in the base layer, combine ground nuts, dates and coconut oil for a crunchy, protein-packed treat. For the topping, soak cashews overnight until soft, then blend with coconut milk, coconut oil, your choice of fruit and a few tablespoons of lemon juice to help the mixture to set in the fridge. Then serve up and prepare to be amazed!

    Category: Advice

  • Smoothie maker

    6 kitchen tips to encourage healthier eating habits

    Swap bad habits for good with these simple kitchen tips

    Promising yourself that 2018 will finally be the year you embrace healthier eating habits?

    You’re definitely not the only one, but sadly many of us find ourselves falling short of our good intentions when tempting treats get in the way.

    Thankfully, there are some simple changes you can make within your kitchen to make it easier to stick to healthy choices and prevent you from slipping back into old habits.

    Stay on board

    How many times have you heard someone say that you should never shop for food on an empty stomach? Hunger inhibits our ability to make rational long-term decisions, meaning we’re more likely to give in to temptation, so planning ahead before hitting the shops is crucial.

    One easy method to encourage forward-thinking is to hang a blackboard or whiteboard in the kitchen. This will help you to pre-plan meals for the week ahead and keep an ongoing shopping list of healthy ingredients you’ll need for each recipe.

    Plate up

    Did you know that the size of your crockery might have an impact on the amount of food you end up eating each meal time? Research has suggested that using smaller tableware may help you reduce portion sizes, since humans have a tendency to judge quantity by how full a bowl or plate is, rather than how much food it actually contains.

    Interestingly, there’s also evidence that people tend to perceive the same dish as tasting sweeter when it’s served on a round white plate, compared to square or black plates. So if you crave something sugary, try serving healthy dessert alternatives on a round white plate to trick your tastebuds into thinking they taste sweeter.

    Perfect portions

    Beyond limiting the size of your crockery, there are also several effective organisational tips you can follow within your kitchen to better control portion sizes. Try using small tupperware containers or Zip Lock bags to create perfectly-sized packs of smoothie ingredients, pre-prepared stir-fry veggies or soup servings for each day of the week in advance. That way, they’re ready to take out of the freezer and stick straight into the blender, wok or saucepan at a moment’s notice.

    Fabulous fruits

    Out of sight truly is out of mind, and one of the easiest ways to avoid succumbing to unhealthy snacks is to put them out of view. Instead, keep healthier alternatives like fresh fruit, nuts and natural fruit teas on your kitchen worktop so they’re the first thing that catches your eye when you feel hunger coming on.

    If you do want to keep the occasional indulgent treat on hand for special occasions, make sure to store these items at the back of your kitchen cabinets where you won’t constantly come face to face with temptation.

    Switch off

    It’s all too easy to lose track of how much you’re eating when you’re grazing on snacks while catching up on your favourite TV programme or keeping one eye on your mobile phone while at lunch. Instead, avoid technological distractions in your kitchen and take the time to sit down at the dinner table and really enjoy your meal.

    Get technical

    Having the right appliances and kitchen tools on hand can take the hassle out of cooking, reducing the likelihood that you’ll find yourself reaching for ready meals and takeaway menus. Blenders are great for making soups and smoothies, electric grills offer a healthy alternative to frying food, while spiralisers and other food preparation gadgets take the effort out of preparing vegetable-rich dinners.

    What are your top tips for staying healthy in January? Share your suggestions with us on Facebook or Twitter.

    Category: Advice

  • Smoothie maker

    6 kitchen tips to encourage healthier eating habits

    Swap bad habits for good with these simple kitchen tips

    Promising yourself that 2018 will finally be the year you embrace healthier eating habits?

    You’re definitely not the only one, but sadly many of us find ourselves falling short of our good intentions when tempting treats get in the way.

    Thankfully, there are some simple changes you can make within your kitchen to make it easier to stick to healthy choices and prevent you from slipping back into old habits.

    Stay on board

    How many times have you heard someone say that you should never shop for food on an empty stomach? Hunger inhibits our ability to make rational long-term decisions, meaning we’re more likely to give in to temptation, so planning ahead before hitting the shops is crucial.

    One easy method to encourage forward-thinking is to hang a blackboard or whiteboard in the kitchen. This will help you to pre-plan meals for the week ahead and keep an ongoing shopping list of healthy ingredients you’ll need for each recipe.

    Plate up

    Did you know that the size of your crockery might have an impact on the amount of food you end up eating each meal time? Research has suggested that using smaller tableware may help you reduce portion sizes, since humans have a tendency to judge quantity by how full a bowl or plate is, rather than how much food it actually contains.

    Interestingly, there’s also evidence that people tend to perceive the same dish as tasting sweeter when it’s served on a round white plate, compared to square or black plates. So if you crave something sugary, try serving healthy dessert alternatives on a round white plate to trick your tastebuds into thinking they taste sweeter.

    Perfect portions

    Beyond limiting the size of your crockery, there are also several effective organisational tips you can follow within your kitchen to better control portion sizes. Try using small tupperware containers or Zip Lock bags to create perfectly-sized packs of smoothie ingredients, pre-prepared stir-fry veggies or soup servings for each day of the week in advance. That way, they’re ready to take out of the freezer and stick straight into the blender, wok or saucepan at a moment’s notice.

    Fabulous fruits

    Out of sight truly is out of mind, and one of the easiest ways to avoid succumbing to unhealthy snacks is to put them out of view. Instead, keep healthier alternatives like fresh fruit, nuts and natural fruit teas on your kitchen worktop so they’re the first thing that catches your eye when you feel hunger coming on.

    If you do want to keep the occasional indulgent treat on hand for special occasions, make sure to store these items at the back of your kitchen cabinets where you won’t constantly come face to face with temptation.

    Switch off

    It’s all too easy to lose track of how much you’re eating when you’re grazing on snacks while catching up on your favourite TV programme or keeping one eye on your mobile phone while at lunch. Instead, avoid technological distractions in your kitchen and take the time to sit down at the dinner table and really enjoy your meal.

    Get technical

    Having the right appliances and kitchen tools on hand can take the hassle out of cooking, reducing the likelihood that you’ll find yourself reaching for ready meals and takeaway menus. Blenders are great for making soups and smoothies, electric grills offer a healthy alternative to frying food, while spiralisers and other food preparation gadgets take the effort out of preparing vegetable-rich dinners.

    What are your top tips for staying healthy in January? Share your suggestions with us on Facebook or Twitter.

    Category: Advice

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