Do you want to try making homemade pasta? Whether you’re making classic spaghetti and linguine or more creative pasta varieties, here are seven essential kitchen accessories.
1. Rolling pin. A wooden rolling pin will help you flatten your dough before passing it through a shaping machine.
2. Pasta machine. This gadget has rollers that can be hand-cranked or attached to an electric stand mixer. It allows you to get your pasta dough to the perfect thickness. It can also cut your pasta sheets into different noodle shapes like fettuccine and spaghetti.
3. Molds. It’s a good idea to invest in a few pasta molds or stamps so you can quickly make dishes like ravioli and tortellini.
4. Pasta wheel. This small cutting tool may come with a straight edge or a variety of fluted edges. Depending on the blade, you can make pasta in various shapes like mafaldine and pappardelle or create your own.
5. Colander. It’s important to drain your pasta properly using a colander. Look for a model with small holes, so your spaghettini doesn’t fall through.
6. Spaghetti spoon. This kitchen utensil allows you to pick up cooked pasta with ease. The forked edges prevent the noodles from slipping.
7. Drying rack. You can use this tool to spread your fresh noodles, allowing them to dry quickly and evenly without sticking together.
Visit your local kitchen-gadget store to stock up on useful pasta-making accessories.
How the envelope budgeting method works
The envelope budgeting method uses a cash-based approach to help people who struggle with sticking to a budget to be more mindful of their spending. It allows you to see how much you spend physically.
Start by dividing your income into different spending categories, such as bills, groceries, savings, gas, and entertainment. You can tailor your categories to your specific situation. However, don’t forget to create envelopes for irregular expenses, such as taxes, insurance, and gifts.
Then, assign a certain amount of cash to each category. There’s no set amount. Your dollar amount in each envelope should reflect your needs and personal goals. For example, if you spend $100 weekly on groceries, put $400 in the monthly grocery envelope.
Once the envelope is empty, you can’t spend any more money in that category until the new budget period begins. If you have money left over in any of the envelopes, you can either keep it in that envelope for next month or remove it and add it to your savings account or emergency fund.
This method can easily apply to a budgeting app if you no longer use cash to pay bills.
Touchless appliances for the kitchen
If you have a smart speaker in your home, you may already benefit from hands-free technology while you cook. You can use voice commands to set a timer or listen to an online recipe. Today, there are plenty of touch-free appliances that promise to optimize hygiene while increasing efficiency in the kitchen.
Indoor motion detector lighting offers the same convenience and security as the lights you install on your home’s exterior. In the kitchen, you have the added benefit of keeping messy hands off of light switches. The automatic shut-off feature saves energy, too.
Touchless faucets are available in various styles, finishes, and price points. Some even have voice control to let you adjust water volume and temperature.
Hands-free dishwashers come with doors that you knock to open. They include safety features to prevent accidental activation when a person or pet bumps into it.
Handleless refrigerators open with the touch of a knee or elbow. Since current models are built-ins, you must hire a professional to install them.
The classic touch-latch cabinet door is a simple hands-free solution you can install yourself. Get a professional to build a sophisticated electronic cabinet closure system for a more high-tech approach.
Get in touch with a local contractor to ensure your new appliances are installed and working correctly.
Four perfect locations to hold your wedding
Are you looking for a wedding venue that reflects your spirit as a couple? Here are four venue ideas that may inspire you.
1. Yacht. Space limitations may force you to limit your guest list to your absolute nearest and dearest. However, the fresh air and breathtaking views will ensure your intimate wedding at sea is truly memorable.
2. Public building. The stunning architecture of older buildings lends itself well to the decorum of a wedding. Imagine a couple of book lovers getting married in a stately library or a pair of art lovers tying the knot in the gallery where they had their first date.
3. Converted industrial building. Many old factories and warehouses have been given new lives as event spaces. Although you may need to spend more on decorations to offset the industrial backdrop, the funky surroundings will give your celebration playful energy.
4. Vineyard or brewery. Are you particularly fond of a local brewer or winemaker? A romantic vineyard is perfect for a sophisticated celebration. Go with a casual brewery space for a laid-back vibe.
Don’t leave your venue booking to the last minute. Take time this week to explore options near you.
When booking a unique venue, don’t forget to check with local authorities regarding crowd size, noise restrictions, and alcohol service regulations.
Four things to know before buying an induction cooktop
Traditionally, gas ranges have been the first choice for dedicated home cooks, but that’s likely to change. Induction cooking is gaining steam in the U.S. market, and according to Forbes, it will overtake gas and electric ranges and cooktops within a couple of decades. But before you make the switch to induction, there are a few important things you should know.
1. Induction stoves are more expensive to purchase than gas or electric. The higher price often pays off in the long run since induction models use about 10 percent less energy. Induction users save time, too, since cookware heats faster and more evenly.
2. You might need new cookware. Induction works by activating iron particles to create heat, which limits users to stainless steel or cast iron. Copper, ceramic, glass, or aluminum cookware will stay stone cold.
3. Induction is safer than gas or electric. If safety is a concern — think small children or curious pets — then induction might be a good pick, with no open flames and a cooktop that always remains cool since only the cookware heats up.
4. It takes some getting used to. Induction burners require precise placement of the cookware to activate the heating element, and shorter cooking times mean that you’ll have to adjust your usual routines.
Five ways to add a tropical twist to your decor
Does the cold winter make your dream of a sunny getaway? These five decorating tips will make you want to throw on a bathing suit, sandals, and sarong despite the sub-zero temperatures.
1. Choose evocative materials and textiles. Transport yourself to a picturesque fishing town on the coast by decorating your space with furniture and rugs made of materials like rattan, driftwood, linen, and bamboo.
2. Dress your walls and windows in summer colors. Purchase artwork and window coverings in tropical colors like pure white, azure blue, bright yellow, fuchsia pink, emerald green, and turquoise.
3. Use outdoor furniture in your home. Turn your home into a beachside resort with outdoor lounge chairs, picnic tables, and hammocks. You can also use your prettiest beach towels as throws.
4. Accessorize your space. Utilize ocean-inspired accent pieces like buoys, fins, surfboards, anchors, lobster cages, and seashells to create a vacation-like atmosphere.
5. Arrange a variety of plants. Create a beachy vibe with natural or artificial tropical plants and flowers like palms, cacti, and hibiscus. Arrange a basket of exotic fruits as a centerpiece.
Visit your local stores to find summer vacation decor.
Expert tips for managing an inheritance
The gift of inheritance almost always comes with a loss. Consequently, it’s normal to feel confused, upset, and overwhelmed. The last thing you want is to make financial decisions while in shock. If needed, put the assets in a high-interest savings account to give yourself time to grieve. That way, you won’t regret rushing into any major purchases.
Once you’re ready to take the next step, hire a financial adviser to help you create a plan about how to work your inheritance into your life. For example, you could pay off debt, save for retirement, or put money into your children’s higher education fund. You may also want to establish an emergency fund with at least three to six months of living expenses.
Moreover, don’t feel bad about using some of the inheritance money to treat yourself. After all, your loved one wanted the best for you. For instance, you could use some money to take a trip or buy your dream car. The most important thing is to be intentional about how you spend money.