5 Kitchen Hacks You’ll Thank Us For Later

With a new year comes a new kitchen, right? Although many wish to remodel their kitchens come the start of the new year, sometimes it’s not financially feasible or you aren’t quite sure how you want to remodel yet. Whether you are in the final touches of a remodel, recently remodeled, or are not planning to in the future, here are top kitchen hacks for the modern household. There’s a little something below for all types of kitchens.

Hack 1. When remodeling, build cabinet storage into the countertops. This is an easy yet aesthetic way to produce more storage room for cutlery and countertop foods and gadgets. It’s a relatively inexpensive alteration, especially if you are remodeling the entire kitchen and have free reign over countertop material.

Install in-counter storage for your fruits, bread, and vegetables.

Hack 2. Use towel racks and “s” hooks to hang mugs, potholders, and oven mitts. Make sure to grab some stylish mitts, first! For this hack you will need some wall space, as this is not ideal for a tiny kitchen with only cabinet walls and windows. This is a great way to decorate a wall without art and with functionality.

Towel rack and s hooks...could be used upside down under cabinets too

Lacking the funds for a stainless upgrade but desperately want one? Try -

Hack 3. Line black or white dishwashers with stainless contact paper for a flawless stainless look. Try this $9.99 paper from Amazon for a $10 upgrade without the hassle. We suggest sampling a small area first. In case you do not like the look or are having trouble smoothing out the paper, it will be easy to remove it. Here is a tutorial on upgrading your appliances with stainless contact paper or even an artsy print. For a few extra bucks, you can even paint your fridge or dishwasher, although it may be tougher than contact paper.

Give your appliances an expensive-looking makeover with stainless steel contact paper.

 

If you do not have children or curious pets in the house, consider Hack 4. Using a double-sided magnetic strip to mount knives on the wall for a dramatic look. These strips sell for as little as $17.99 and are an excellent way to “sharpen” your kitchen look.

Small Space Kitchen Tip: Use a Double Magnetic Knife Holder

Hack 5. Build smaller appliances and storage into cabinetry. We see this hack quite often, and it is becoming more popular with newer kitchen remodels. Coffee machines, microwaves, and specifically designed shelving for certain items (cups, bakeware) are three ways to design cabinetry for functionality. Most commonly, shelving is built to hide microwaves. Make sure to check for the proper electrical hookups for the appliances you are planning to stash behind the scenes!

Hide a slide-out coffee bar or kitchen appliances behind folding doors.

6. Organize the inside of your refrigerator with a small lazy Susan.

Fridge Turntable

Bonus Hacks

We couldn’t leave you without some additional food prep hacks to add to the kitchen hacks of a lifetime. Here are our three top food hacks that you won’t believe:

1. Keep frozen grapes on hand to act as ice cubes in white wine without watering it down. 

Frozen Grapes: fantastic little cubes for keeping your wine chilled without watering it down.

2. Use an old CD case as a bagel holder for transport. This is truly a genius hack. CD holders can be reborn as bagel caddies.

3. Freeze olive oil with fresh herbs for a continuous supply of fresh herbs. 

33. Freeze Your Herbs in Olive Oil to Keep them Year Round | 42 Clever Food Hacks That Will Change Your Life

Top 5 Pumpkin Recipe Picks for the Fall

‘Tis the season for autumn squashes, nutmeg, and pumpkin. We are extremely sad to see the grill cover go on, but are equally excited to start using these recipes. And if you’re from our area (Central NJ) you know that there is an abundance of local fall growers to get your pumpkins and squash from! These five recipes serve as our top five picks this fall.

Have a favorite fall recipe? We would love to showcase yours on our blog or Facebook page.

1. Pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sauce and pecans by JuliasAlbum.com. We really have no words for this one other than delicious.

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2. Pearled barley salad with apples, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts by FoodandWine.com. This recipe is wonderful because it is healthy, can be made all year ‘around, and is vegan.

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3. Pumpkin crepes with beer and cinnamon apples and a chocolate drizzle by Joanne-EatsWellWithOthers.com. Crepes are fantastic at any time of year, right? Why not spice up your crepe recipe using this delectable drizzle.

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4. Pumpkin spice latte popsicles by PurpleHouseCafe.com. This recipe includes dairy but could be modified using coconut milk. Pumpkin popsicles are perfect for that not-so-cold-yet fall day.

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5. Pumpkin seed pesto by CookLikeAChampionBlog.com. What an interesting alternative to the traditional pesto.

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Announcing Dacor’s DacorMatch Color System: Coming to H&H this Fall!

Customization is in high-demand for the modern kitchen designer, and Dacor’s just made your range customization 100% easier by offering ovens in virtually any color – as long as you provide Dacor with a swatch of the color you would like. Do you have an older almond oven that is rapidly aging and would like to replace but never had the proper color option? That is now addressed through Dacor’s DacorMatch Color System. The ability to match almost any color is finally arriving this fall. Not only does this provide a chance for the reinvention of the kitchen, it enables vintage kitchen lovers to bring back colors that they loved in the past, such as Avocado (Pictured below by an old Frigidaire advertisement), Coppertone, and Almond (but in reality, would you want to bring these colors back when you can now invent new pastels in virtually any shade?).

Dacor is also offering 10 pre-determined color choices, as quoted by Dacor’s Director of Business Development, Kevin Henry on his blog and in the official press release by Dacor,

“In addition, the DacorDesignTeam has hand-selected 10 vibrant color choices for its wall ovens and ranges including Cordon Bleu, Sangria, Tangerine, Crimson, Smoke, Black Tie, Arctic, Citron, Envy and Radiant Orchid, the personal favorite of movie star and TV host, Oprah Winfrey and the 2014 Pantone Color of the Year.” 

Below is an example of one of these colors. It is a beautifully constructed light purple, which would fabulously complement jet black, or gray cabinetry.

What do you think of the new DacorMatch Color System? We would love to hear the colors you would put in your kitchen.

How to Cook Rice

Do you ever wish you could cook rice the way it is served in Korean or Japanese restaurants? Nikita here, and I am here to give you an Asian secret that my mother and grandmother have taught me about the art of cooking rice.

To make that moist sticky rice that some restaurants have, takes more than just boiling the rice or putting in a rice cooker. The best way is to have a rice cooker, but not everyone has one so just a pot will do!

The secret: you must to soak the rice beforehand. The longer you soak the rice, the sticker and moist the rice will be. My family usually soaks the rice the night before all the way through the day until we are ready to eat. This may seem like a long time, but take my word, it will be worth the wait.

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When ready to cook, drain the water, still keeping the rice in the pot. Fill with water again based on how much rice is being cooked. Be careful, this is an important step. Putting too much water will cause the rice to be watery, and not enough water will cause rice that is al dente – and we don’t want that. Cover the rice completely but do not drown it.

If using a rice cooker, press the button to cook and relax for a bit.  If you are using the stove, make sure you keep the pot covered and on low heat. Every couple of minutes check and stir. The next part is the waiting game. You need to ensure the rice absorbs all of the water. Sometimes you may need to add more water if it starts to burn on the bottom of the pot. Try here and there to cook it to your liking!

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Did you know you can also steam rice in a steam oven? Stay tuned for our post on how to steam rice using Miele’s steam oven. It’s easy, effective, and the most nutritious way to cook.

Enjoy! If you have other ways of how to cook rice, I would love to learn different ways people and cultures cook! Email me at nikita@hhappliance.com

Kale Smoothie

Kale is the vegetable that everyone is raving about. Not going to lie, but the taste of kale by itself is not the most pleasant thing.  In an older post we gave you a recipe for Kale chips, which are DELICIOUS!

When I was in college living in Baltimore, I wanted to have healthy smoothie recipes that were delicious but at the same time were healthy. I am not a big breakfast person, so this smoothie was the best solution. I have seen many recipes on Pinterst about Kale and blueberries and other ingredients. I think I have perfected a recipe.

All you need is:

1 Cup of Kale (fresh is preferred),

3 ounces of Plain Greek Yogurt

1 tablespoon of Almond Butter

1/2 a cup of Frozen Blueberries

1/2 a cup of Frozen Pineapple

3/4 cup of Water

1 Banana. (Most important part)

Of course if you are not a fan of blueberries or pineapples, they can be substituted to your likings. Add all these ingredients into a blender and ENJOY!

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I have been trying to find away to make sure that the taste of kale did not come through the smoothie. I finally mastered this recipe when a coworker of mine told me to add a banana and it will mask the taste of Kale. It worked! The smoothie may look like a weird color, but do not judge until you try!

Email me at nikita@hhappliance for substitutions you have done! I am always interested in a new recipe!

Nikita’s Laundry Room Makeover: Laundry Reorganized

I went into my laundry room the other day to find that I was overwhelmed with clothes and all other sorts of miscellaneous things that happen to end up in the laundry room. After a quick look around I thought to myself, “this calls for a project!”

After recently graduating from college, I found that my funds were lacking, and wanted to reorganize on a small budget. Rather than buying fancy baskets and other accessories to organize, I found easier, inexpensive ways to organize my laundry room and still look classy.

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Of course, both my washer and dryer are from H&H Appliance Center. This set is no longer sold, but Whirlpool makes the Duet pair that are slightly larger but have the same functionality – I like this set because it’s  quiet and able hold many items. The best part of this set is that they have storage capability built underneath. Many people underutilize the storage space for this set. As you can see, my family had put items haphazardly around. Although we had a great storage space, they weren’t using it!

My first stop was Target. I bought a 3-part laundry basket which came in handy with laundry sorting (Whites, Colors, Delicate). We have about 4 laundry baskets in the house that I was aware of at the time of organization. This made it easier when bringing laundry down for washing.

After the bins I bought a drying rack, because not everything can go in the dryer. Unfortunately I learned from experience in college, when I shrunk one of my favorite sweaters. Before the reorganization we were using a small rack that my grandmother bought me to play house with as a child – it was absolutely time for an upgrade.

I used the space underneath the washer to store dog grooming tools. As most people do, I keep other items in the laundry room that are completely unrelated to laundry.  Under the dryer, I stored spot cleaning tools for clothes; the placement of the tools is great because they are within reach when I am cleaning. Keeping dog toys and grooming tools in the laundry room is a nice idea when there are smaller dogs in the house and they need a little area to find their toys. When they need grooming I am now able to sit on the ground and be within distance of the compartment.

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VOILA! Clean and under $50. I decided to store the drying rack between the dryer and the sink. This space is perfect, as it is out of the way while cleaning but still reachable.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve my project, I would love to hear them. Please send your thoughts to nikita@hhappliance.com.

Contés Pizzeria

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On Witherspoon Street in Princeton, there is a pizzeria that has been around for decades. Nicole and myself had the pleasure of going to lunch there last week, and we would love to chronicle our trip. The owner, Ciro Baldino, gave us nothing but the best service. He recommended the Ciro pizza, made by himself, which features “all of the things you like”. The process includes asking the customer what toppings they like, and Ciro determining which mix of these ingredients will make the perfect pizza for that particular customer. Our Ciro pizza included pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and a few secret ingredients. Because we can’t tell you all of the ingredients, we recommend trying Conte’s for yourself. Being there was like a little slice of Italy.

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We never visit a location without relating it to our own business, and soon we will attempt to recreate a Ciro pizza using a grill. Baldino recommended using pizza stones, otherwise the pizza dough could fall through the racks of the grill and burn. Using a pizza stone also ensures that the pizza will cook all the way through. We do sell these pizza stones from companies such as Napoleon, Weber, and Big Green Egg.

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During our visit we had the wonderful opportunity to ask Mr. Baldino a few questions. Conte’s uses a commercial GE refrigerator, very typical of this type of business.

Have you been to Conte’s? We’d love to hear about your experience.

Banana Boat Desserts in 10 minutes

Author: Nikita, Nikita@hhappliance.com

If you ask any of my friends, I have the biggest sweet tooth. I always need to have some type of sweets lying around the house. If you are like myself, I like to try new recipes. Since it is still summer I thought it would be a good idea to try to make a sweet savory snack using our grill! This is also a low-cost dessert option for any outside BBQ. It cost us less than $10 for about 10 people.

S’mores is a summer must, no matter what age you are. One of my favorite recipes is a Banana Boat, a version of s’mores.

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First you take a banana and slice down the middle. Some recipes say to take the peel off. We experimented with both and our conclusion was to keep the peel on. This creates a nice mold and stand allowing you to stuff as much in there as possible!

Next, stuff to the max with marshmallows and chocolate chips. I try to stay a bit healthy and use dark chocolates chips. But choose the kind you enjoy, you are the one eating it after all. We also experimented with milk chocolate, and decided semi-sweet chocolate chips are the best way to go with this recipe. 

Wrap the banana in foil and throw it on the grill for 10 minutes for the goodies to melt. TIP: Make sure to cover the whole banana. If the whole banana is not covered it will burn, making the dessert less enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing to your guests. Other recipes add a handful of crushed Cinnamon Toasted Crunch cereal to the top, but we thought the banana was just a good as it was. Then ENJOY!!!!

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If you do not have a grill, don’t fret! You can still try this Banana Boat using just your oven. Just throw the banana wrapped in foil in the oven for 10 minutes at a temperature at 400 degrees. If you have a convection setting, adjust the temperature to 375 and only keep it for 7 minutes.

If you find a great addition to this recipe please contact us and let us know. We are always up for some new ways to spice up recipes. – Nikita@hhappliance.com

Faster Snacks Made Faster: Kale Chips in 15 minutes or less

Kale has been regarded as a “superfood” for some time and is readily available at most supermarkets. It is relatively easy and inexpensive to get a big ole’ bag of kale at your local grocer, but many stay away from the vegetable because they do not know the best way to cook with it. kale can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, sauteed, but today we would like to introduce you to baked kale, more commonly referred to as “kale chips”.

Before you get excited, please note that kale chips do not taste like actual chips, but for someone on a diet looking to improve eating habits, they are a healthy and hearty snack. We believe they are definitely worth a try! Although some do claim it’s a chip replacement, we at H&H voted in the majority that these are different type of snack.

Now let’s get back to the origin of this post – faster snacks made faster. How can we make kale chips faster? Easy. Cook them using a convection feature. When we cooked our kale chips in our live Miele oven, they were finished in less than 10 minutes! If you do not have a convection feature in your oven you may have the feature in your microwave. Make sure to check the user manual or call your local appliance store (H&H Appliance Center) to ask about your product.

Here’s our recipe for an easy kale chip batch. Total time: 10 minutes or less

1 bag Kale

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons sea salt (by preference)

1 teaspoon black pepper

Place the kale in a baking pan (we used a Pyrex glass pan) as evenly as possible. Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper over all of the kale, and place the pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

 

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