Many Americans are making an effort to choose more healthful options. We are looking for more fiber and protein, eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more water while reducing added sugars.
Good steps, indeed!
Master of Your Universe
The best step to move you closer to better health is cooking. When you cook, you are in control of what goes into your food and what goes in to your body. I can’t think of a better way to be master of your universe.
Anything we can do to increase competency in the kitchen helps. The right tools make any job easier. You can help those on your holiday list navigate the kitchen by including some budget friendly gifts. I’ve included links to Amazon so you can see what products I use in my own kitchen and so you can see what I’m talking about. If you buy though this link, I do earn a percentage of the sale as an Amazon affiliate. Or here is my LiveBest Equipment list.
Holiday Gift Guide
- This paring knife is the item I use most when I cook. Always sharp, right sized and easy to clean.
- Microplane zesters are sharp assistants. This is one of my go-to tools to boost flavor by zesting lemons, grating ginger and Parmesan, and shaving chocolate and nutmeg.
- Hand-held metal citrus squeezer. From salad dressing to cocktails, these sturdy juicers brighten flavors with a squeeze of fresh lemon, orange or lime. Zest before you squeeze to capture the entire citrus flavor.
- Instant-read thermometers are key to preventing food-borne illness. To use correctly, insert the probe 2-3 inches into the food and allow at least 10 seconds to take the reading.
- A salad spinner is good for more than just greens. Rinse small fruit, beans, and herbs. Drain pasta and proof bread dough. Rubber grips on the bottom help keep it stable as it spins.
- Cutting boards. With two boards you can use one for meats and poultry and one for vegetables and fruits without washing while cooking. Plastic ones can go in the dishwasher. Look for boards that won’t dull knives.
- Two sets of stainless steel measuring spoons keeps things neater so you can measure liquids such as vanilla and dry ingredients such as corn meal. It’s also a timesaver so you don’t have to wash while you cook.
- The Science of Good Cooking by the folks at Cook’s Illustrated gives basic cooking techniques and the why behind the how to improve cooking skills for the novice and the experienced.
- Kitchen scissors are handy to open packages, cut dried fruit, trim herbs, snip grape clusters, chop canned tomatoes, trim fat from meat, and cut quesadillas and pizza.
- Silpat non-stick baking sheets. These silicon mats keep food from sticking and saves time with clean up because food scrapes off easily.
- A 12-inch skillet with lid can be used on the stove or in the oven. This is an investment, but one worth making because it lasts forever and will help you become a better cook because temperature is evenly distributed so food cooks more evenly, less likely to burn.
- Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest, Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being. True, this is my book, but all the food solutions came from my kitchen 😉
Parmesan Pepper Crisps
With all the shopping, you may find something for your own kitchen. Try out the Silpats with these Parmesan Cornmeal Crisps. These are your easiest, elegant happy app!
If you want to flavor with herbs, add a teaspoon of fresh thyme, rosemary, basil or 1/8 teaspoon dried.
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Parmesan Pepper Crisps
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 12 mins
- Total Time: 22 minutes
- Yield: 24
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a large mixing bowl, stir ingredients together.
- Heat oven to 350°
- Line two baking sheets with silicon mat or parchment paper. Spoon 1 tablespoon cheese mixture into mounds, 12 to a sheet.
- Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.
- Transfer to cooling rack. Store in airtight container.