Hope Wissel

Marinating 101

Grilling season is upon us – does it excite you or intimate you?

Don’t just toss the meat on the grill and hope for the best…..Are you ready to add an amazing layer of flavor to your meal by simply letting food rest in the fridge?  YUP.. it is that simple.  Marinating is a versatile and fun cooking method even you can pull off if you are clueless.  I was there once too!  I actually marinate chicken and beef the most and cook in my air fryer all year long.

Why marinate?

Hey is the “technical explanation”:  Marination uses acid to break down proteins in meat, naturally tenderizing it and allowing it to better absorb the spices and other flavors. The oil seals in moisture and adds a level of protection against heat. If you eat organic grass fed like we do, this is HUGE because the meat becomes tender and juicy. 🛑WARNING: if meat is left in citrus for more than 24 hours, it will begin to “cook,” and we definitely don’t want that to happen!  It will not be good!

Experiment 

The sky is the limit with marinades!  You can let your creativity flow.  It all starts with the 3️⃣: The basic ratio is three parts oil to one part acid. The acid can be vinegar, wine, citrus or yogurt, while the oil could be sesame, canola, olive or even fish sauce. Beef, chicken, veggies and tofu can generally take the same marinades, with the variety stemming more from the flavor profile. In addition to oil and acid, you also need to consider a third component: the flavor! This is the herbs, spices, aromatics and salt.  Here is where you can really get creative!

Two reasons to marinate meat is tenderizing and to add flavor. As for beef, more affordable meats like flank or sirloin will really benefit, especially from tenderization.  No need to spend a fortune on premium cuts of meat to get a better taste, try your hand at marinating.

The key is timing

Marinating might not be ideal when you’re in a time crunch, but it doesn’t take as long as you might think. For beef and chicken, it is recommended two hours can do the job. You don’t want to go over 24 hours or so, as the marinade can toughen the meat. For fish, the general rule is 30 minutes, otherwise the fish can begin to cook. Veggies only need about 30 minutes, as they don’t need to be tenderized.

 

Put TLC into the prep

How can you help the marinade soak into the food. Start by chopping and removing skin when possible. As an added benefit, smaller pieces allow for faster cooking. As you prepare your marinade, calculate portions properly so you’ll have enough: Think a half cup of marinade per pound of meat. Be sure to reserve some sauce before you submerge the meat. Once you’re ready to start, one of the easiest ways to distribute the marinade and help with cleanup is to use a zipper-locked plastic bag (my favorite), but nonmetal covered bowls work, too. Don’t use foil, because a chemical reaction could botch your entire recipe. NEVER marinate at room temperature. Slip your food in the fridge, set a timer and enjoy the anticipation!

Share your favorite marinade with us… Looking for some more ideas, check out the recipes on my website by clicking the link.

Happy grilling and have an epic day!

Cleaning Tips and Tricks, Home Organization, Unclutter Your Life

How to Get Your Kitchen Clean and Organized

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Is storage space at a premium in your kitchen?  Do you dread cleaning the kitchen?  Or, like I used to be – dread even cooking in your kitchen?  I will admit, I was all of these about 18 months ago.  We had a small galley kitchen in the condo so I had to try to use every nook and cranny for storage.  Sometimes I even forgot I had items because they were stored in the utility room on the lower floor.   Now, we are in our forever home, with a BIGGER kitchen, I have lots of cabinet space.  Does it mean, I am totally organized?  LOL!  Definitely not but I do have a cabinet or two that is empty.  I have lots more counter space and do love spending time cooking.

Here are some tips to help you get and stay organized in your kitchen – regardless of the size…

1. Use Magnets:  Are you using your cabinet doors as a clever way to give yourself additional storage? I honestly never remember this one.. I have LOTS of cabinets and even though there is lots of counter space, I would like to “hide” some of the kitchen utensils.  Cabinets are a great to store knives so you don’t have to use a knife block or take up counter space… just make sure you use a strong enough magnet to keep the knives in place.  I think this will be one of hubby’s next projects – to install some for me.

2. Labeling System:  Labels are a great way to help you organize your kitchen or for that matter any space in your home. It takes the guesswork out of where to put things when others want to help or are looking for something.  Labeled cubes have been the saving grace in our new house.  It allows hubby to look for things by me simply telling him which closet and which cube to look in.  Putting things away is easy for everyone when they can see where things are supposed to go. Your labeling system could be as simple as plastic storage containers with small a labels OR clear containers so people can see what is inside.  Maybe it is plastic crates with labels or even just a piece of tape to say what goes in it.

3. Add Storage By Hacking “Unopenable” Drawers:  We all have those “fronts” in our kitchen, right?  I had them in the condo and this would have been a great way to gain some counter space.  Unopenable drawers look like a drawer but don’t have a handle.  What if you could make use of those un-openable drawers beneath the sink or above a counter?  We have sink drawers in our new kitchen. I was surprised I actually use them and remember things are there.  LOL.  I keep the bottle brush and extra scrubbies.

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4.  Use A Tension Rod To Hang Cleaning Products.  A tension rod can be a great way for storing and organizing spray bottles so you have additional space in an otherwise cramped under-sink cabinet.  I think I would put it a little further back in the closet so I had more space in the front.

5. Clean Your Blender Quickly.  Do you love smoothies but hate cleaning the blender?  Do you use your blender to chop up the garlic?  Here is a quick cleaning tip: pour warm water in it with a tiny bit of dish soap. Put the lid on the blender and turn it on. Now it’s all clean! Just be sure to give it a quick rinse after to get rid of the soap residue.

6. Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances With Flour.  Tired of chemical in your cleaning products?  Here is a tip from Mother Nature Network. Just apply some dry flour onto a microfiber cloth and buff it into your stainless steel appliance, sink or counter. Then rinse it off and the surface should shine like new.  If you are looking to clean your stainless steel pans………try heating some water with vinegar in the pan.  Use a wood spoon or non-stick spatula to loosen the stuck on mess.  Let it cool and then wash as usual.  I hate to admit I use this trick more often than I want to.  LOL

What are some of YOUR best tips for keeping your kitchen clean and organized?  Share them with us.  Have an Epic day!

Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

Looking for Your Sweet Spot

“There are different kinds of gifts. But it is the same Holy Spirit Who gives them. There are different kinds of work to be done for Him. But the work is for the same Lord.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NLV)

When I am looking for inspiration, I scroll through past blogs and on this day in 2014……..I was talking about finding my “sweet spot”.  I truly believe God nudges us in the direction we need to go.

Suzie Eller’s blog post on crosswalk.com has me thinking seriously (yes, AGAIN) about my “gifts”.  She talks about her Pinterest frenzy and how she tried all kinds of things.  Then one day her daughter after surveying her efforts said “Mom, you need to know your sweet spot and this isn’t it”.  YIKES!  How many times do we try things in an effort to be something we aren’t?  OR maybe our sweet spot has seasons, and it is time to move on.

WOW!  I know I have been talking about this A LOT lately but life has been changing for me.  I’m sure I am not the only one who experiences seasons with their gifts and talents, eight? I struggle with people pleasing so change is not easy.  Each of us is designed differently on purpose so we can come together to make a whole. So, what is your sweet spot? How has God gifted you for His purposes?

I struggle because although I know I have gifts and talents, Doubtful Debbie comes a knocking just when I think I am making strides.  Along with age (hitting 65 this year), recovery and MS issues all seem to play a factor.  Here are a few of my sweet spots:

  • Making a difference – I truly believe this is one of my greatest gifts.  I am a glass half full kind of person and believe in sharing it.  Don’t get me wrong, there are days when Negative Nellie is around but they are fewer and far between lately.  Whether it is as simple as a card, a kind word or an angel to brighten someone’s day – I want to bring a smile to others.
  • Crafty.  Angels have become the center of my crafting world – from sewing them to jewelry pieces to plastic canvas.  I love to share them with others and hear the stories as to why people pick certain ones.
  • Writing.  I love to write.  Crazy as it sounds,  it started with poetry as a child then it moved onto grants in my professional career.  The initial challenge to blog was scary but exciting at the same time.  It is my hope I can inspire others through my strengths, hopes and experiences.
  • Cooking.  Since moving to our forever home, I have found I LOVE cooking and sharing it with friends and family.

God can use these sweet spots for His purposes. God uses my unique design when I invite a neighbor or friend for dinner.  If your sweet spot is hospitality and making a home beautiful, then there are people who will be touched by this gift. If it’s humor and laughter, then someone needs to find that joy, too. If it’s teaching, teach.  Whatever your sweet spot, God has a purpose for you.

Time for me to focus on my sweet spots and make strides in all areas of my life.  How has God formed and fashioned you? Share your sweet spot with us.  It is not about being like someone else, it is about being ourselves and ACCEPTING ourselves including the gifts and talents God has given us.

Have an Epic day!