Catherine Cuddy's Blog
Technology is getting smarter. Nowadays it seems everything has AI built-in. And why not? It makes your home have a clever assistant in every room of your home without the expense of paying hourly wages. Here’s how to have a smarter kitchen, because let’s be honest this is the room where we can always use an extra set of hands.
The Mr.Coffee coffee pot can start from your phone. Let’s be honest the alarm feature most pots boast are great… but not everyone has the same schedule every day. This pot allows you to create a custom schedule that matches your own. Have a fresh, hot cup waiting for you right when you get out of bed when you wake up at 5 am on a Monday and 7 on a Wednesday.
Want more control of your appliances from your phone? Crock-pot now has a slow cooker you can adjust settings with from your phone. Control temperature and cook times from anywhere so if you’re running late getting home it won’t be too an overcooked meal.
Both the Mr.Coffee and Crock Pot devices run off of Wemo technology. While both of these devices have built-in tech that doesn't mean the fun has to end there. Wemo offers devices you can plug into any outlet so you can control any appliance from your phone. With the Wemo app set lights to turn on for your family to come home to a well lit welcoming home even on a Winter night.
You can also use Google Assistant, Alexis or Siri (with the necessary extender) to control these devices and even set timers and reminders. Ask your smart speaker to set a timer for dinner, add an item to your grocery list or that you want to use that hamburger in the freezer by Friday. You can even ask for help with ingredient conversions. If you like to listen to music while cooking you don’t need to worry about touching controls if you want to skip a song, turn the music down or up. Just ask your assistant to do it for you, and it will happily oblige.
Have fun with your pooch from anywhere with the Furbo camera. With camera, access make sure your dog isn’t up to no good while you’re away. Use the microphone to remind them the rules still apply while you are away. The best part, however, is that you can reward them for being well-behaved, or cute, with the built-in treat dispenser.
Keep your home safe with the Nest Protect system, a smart smoke, and carbon monoxide alarm. This alarm alerts your phone as soon as it detects signs of danger. It also warns you with a human-like voice when the alarm is about to go off so you aren’t startled by the typical high pitched screaming of alarms.
In this quick, got to have it now society, the microwave is the go-to for a quick cup of tea or to reheat that coffee. But does it give a satisfying, refreshing cup? Some people believe that water heated in a kettle is hotter and stays hotter longer, so it brews a better cup of tea.
What does the science say?
Personal experience notwithstanding, the scientific community seems to be in agreement that water heated in a microwave to boiling is the same temperature as water brought to boiling on the stove. And, that once in the cup, the cooling rate is the same. There is some speculation that the kettle heats water more uniformly than the microwave, resulting in certain parts, especially in the center, cooling faster because they had not reached the same temperature as the rest of the cup.
Others contend that the heated kettle allows the water to remain hotter while the microwaved container immediately begins to convey the higher temperature away from the heated water. For this reason, microwavable packaging often instructs to stir or let stand for a specified time so that the heat transfers evenly throughout the dish.
And then there are the folks that claim the perfect cup of tea comes from microwaving your tea leaves or tea bag in the water rather than pouring the water over the tea after it has heated. Some studies conclude that boiling the leaves in the microwave extracts more of the nutritional compounds than traditional brewing methods.
What about nature?
Well, yes, heating the water over a flame has a satisfying earthiness about it. The act of filling the kettle, lighting the burner, waiting for the steam to build up a head so the kettle will whistle … all of that adds to the mystique of the brew. During the waiting, you're already relaxing. Then, you have a few moments more to be mindful as you pour the boiling water over loose tea or tea bag and watch as the tendrils of color begin to flow through your cup.
By the time you sit down and take a sip, you've already relaxed so the tea's catechins and warm steaminess can work their magic on your soul. Then, once you've rested, the caffeine slides into your senses to perk you back up so that you can move forward in the day and accomplish more.
Whatever side you’re on, you can find the perfect kettle to brew your stovetop experience or try a borosilicate glass teapot made for the microwave to create your ideal cuppa!
And if you need a new kitchen to support your tea habit, ask your local real estate agent to show you some options.
Many homeowners are unaware that the most common causes of house fires are cooking related. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires cause 46% of house fires and 44% of household injuries.
You aren’t alone if you think those numbers are shockingly high. However, most of us are never taught cooking safety techniques. In this article, we’re going to give you some tips to protect you and your family from the most common and some lesser known causes of kitchen fires.
Cooking fire statistics
Knowing the most common causes of cooking fires is a great way to understand just how dangerous certain types of cooking really are. The NFPA reports that frying is the most dangerous type of cooking. Two-thirds of cooking fires were the result of the ignition of food and cooking materials.
In terms of equipment, the range or cooktop is the most dangerous part of the kitchen, causing over 60% of fires. However, much of the time the cause comes down to leaving your equipment unattended.
One of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of house fires is to stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking. Unattended ranges, stovetops, and ovens can be particularly deadly since they can happen as a result of someone dozing off while watching television, or someone forgetting they left a burner on after they go to sleep.
A good way to monitor your cooking is to always use a timer, even if you don’t necessarily need one for the cooking that you’re doing. Also, be sure that your smoke detectors are working and that you have a functional fire extinguisher in your home. Make sure your family knows what to do if they encounter a fire.
Before you turn on your burners before frying, make sure there is nothing around your oven that can catch fire. A food container, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper towels, or curtains could all potentially catch fire if they come in close contact with a burner.
Clothing is also a leading cause of kitchen fires that turn fatal. Make sure sleeves and other pieces of clothing aren’t near any burners or open flames.
In case of fire
If you encounter a large cooking fire that is spreading throughout, the best thing to do is to immediately gather your family and get out of the house, avoiding the kitchen entirely. Call 9-1-1 as soon as you are safely outside and don’t re-enter the house under any circumstances.
For small grease fires, smother the fire with a lid and turn off the burner immediately.
Understanding cooking fires
Most fire requires oxygen to burn and spread. If there is a small fire in your kitchen, using a soaked towel or a pan lid to smother it will suffice.
However, grease fires work differently. Never put water on a grease fire, this can cause the fire to spread very quickly. Rather, use a lid to put out the fire if it is small enough to get near. You can also throw baking soda, or use a fire extinguisher on a small grease fire.
If you’re in a space with a small kitchen, you know that you face a lot of problems including not enough storage, minuscule amounts of prep space, and barely enough room for more than one person in the kitchen at a time. The layout of the room along with the design is what you must work with when you have a small kitchen. There are a few storage solutions that you can use to make your kitchen into a workable space.
Clear The Clutter
Do you have a lot of gadgets hanging around your kitchen that you aren’t using on a regular basis? If there’s no space to store them, perhaps you should consider getting rid of them. That ice cream maker that you may have thought was a good idea to purchase may sit unused, taking up space. You should store only the things you need, and get rid of any items that are just collecting dust.
Use An Armoire Or Other Shelving Unit
Small kitchens often lack cabinet space. You can use items like armories and bookshelves to give yourself more storage space. Whether you need to store dishes, food items, or pots and pans, these unusual items can help to provide you big amounts of storage. You can even add your own shelves to kitchen walls. All of these ideas provide inexpensive, yet practical solutions to your kitchen storage woes.
Find An Island
There are carts and other portable kitchen island units that exist to provide additional storage and prep space fro you. Many of these have fold-out counter space and drawers and cabinets. If you have some floor space in your small kitchen, this could be a great use of that space.
Hang Your Things
No matter how small your kitchen is, you have some room to hang things. You can use hooks in various places in the kitchen whether it’s on a wall or under a shelf. All of your utensils and pots and pans have the ability to hang up somewhere. Give yourself some more storage room and maximize the space that you do have in the kitchen. There are various designs that you can make use of to hang pots and pans using hooks, racks, or even a hanging shelf. Hang your utensils strategically so they are within reach of your cooking area.
Remember that you have a lot of space available over your head in most cases in a small kitchen. The more you can maximize vertical space, the better off you’ll be. You can place your least used items the highest up and work your way down.
With the right techniques, storage space doesn’t have to be a huge issue in a small kitchen.
A larger kitchen might be on your wish list if you're always hunting for a place to store several bags of groceries. Despite how vigorously you push and shove cereal boxes, canned vegetables and paper towels inside your kitchen cabinets, there's never enough space in your kitchen.
It's easy to gain more kitchen space with a pantry
It's reached the point where you're starting to leave desserts, canned goods, rice and macaroni and cheese on the kitchen counter. This is causing you to feel cramped whenever you pull out your cutting board and start preparing meat for large dinners, including holiday meals. You could knock out a wall and expand your kitchen. But, that could easily cost more than $15,000.
Another solution is to install a kitchen pantry. Specialty shops and home goods stores sell removable kitchen pantries. You may get more space with a double door kitchen pantry. Some pantries have storage drawers and swing open doors. Opt for pantries that give you more shelf space and no storage drawers if your standard kitchen drawers give you enough space to store silverware.
Looking for style? Choose a kitchen pantry that is topped with a glass storage area. As a tip, you could use stackable storage units to build your pantry. Stackable storage units may offer you more style options. To get the look you want, pay attention to color. You won't have much choice when it comes to the texture that pantries are built with, as most pantries are wood.
Kitchen pantry types that offer lots of style
Modular kitchen pantries have a door at the top and a open bottom space. For style,check out a modular pantry that's designed with a glass door. To save space and expand on style, you could line three to four pantries next to each other. For example, you could place three four-drawer kitchen pantries side-by-side, creating a look similar to what you find in a library.
This kitchen pantry option might surprise you. If you're crunched for space and short on cash, use a bookcase as a pantry. There won't be a door to conceal your food items. What you will have is extra space.
To save on cost, shop at outlet stores and industrial supply stores. This way, you can get a pantry at the same price that restaurant owners pay for the furniture. Buying a cabinet that serves as a pantry will also save you money. Just make sure that the cabinet is large enough to keep you from running out of kitchen space.
The easiest way to get more space with a kitchen pantry is to buy a house that is built with a permanent pantry. Go with a house that has a door in front of the pantry and you'll get a clean look. A pantry door will keep you, your family and guests from staring at the extra food and supplies that you stock on your pantry shelves. Just make sure that you seal food before you place them in the pantry. Doing so, could keep pests away. It could also keep food from losing its freshness.