Creating a Home, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

The Peking Order of Chinese Regional Cuisine

Every now and then I like to step back and look forward to “What’s Next”…This is one of those posts…

Lately we have been talking about the different cooking methods—specifically sauteeing and stirfrying…

 

 

But before we leave the topic of stirfrying and move on to other cooking methods, I thought that it might be a good time to step back and learn about the “Eight Culinary Traditions” of China.

These are the different cuisines that are found in different provinces of China

These cuisines distinguish the unique flavors of the different regions of the country that vary because of factors such as…

  • agricultural structures
  • availability of resources
  • climate
  • cooking methods
  • cooking techniques
  • eating habits
  • geography, such as the riverlands of the South and mountain ranges of the North
  • history
  • ingredients
  • lifestyle
  • seasoning
  • staple crops grown in each specific region
  • terrain

 

For example, Northern cuisine seems to have more of a preferencfr for salt and noodles. Whereas Southern cuisine seems to have more of a preference for sweetness and rice. Eastern cuisine seems to have more of a preference for spiciness…and Western cuisine has more of a preference for acidity.

 

 

Even though these eight cuisines are considered the most commonly accepted categories of Chinese cuisine, they only represent about a fourth of Chinese cuisine.

 

So let’s take a look at the following regional cuisines, so that whether you’re loading up your plate at the local all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet or cooking healthy meals in your brand new wok at home, you will actually know the difference between Hunan chicken and Sichual porl…(other than the fact that one consists of chicken and one consists of pork, obviously)…

Now for the “bona fide” list…

  1. Anhui
  2. Fujian
  3. Guangdong
  4. Hunan
  5. Jiangsu
  6. Shandong
  7. Sichuan
  8. Zhejiang

 

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Creating a Home, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

9 More Cooking Oils to Stick Under Your Kitchen Sink Also

So we’re getting our oil ready to start cooking—finally—but as you grab under the sink, you’re met by how many choices of oil—not to mention whatever other bottles might be down there…so choose your bottle carefully.
In the last article, we looked at olive oil and almond oil as two choices…
Here are a few more oils that would be good choices…

1 Avocado Oil 

  • Benefits…Avocado oil promotes healthy cholesterol levels and enhances absorption of some nutrients.
  • Nutrition…Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids.
  • Use…Avocado oil has a high smoke point and is one of the best oils for high-temperature cooking—such as stir-frying, sautéing, and searing.

2 Canola Oil

  • Benefits…Canola oil helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and stabilize blood pressure levels, The FDA agrees that 1-1/2Tbsp canola oil each day could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when used instead of saturated fat.
  • Nutrition…Canola oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as the alpha-linolenic acid, as well as monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that is considered healthy for diabetics. At the same time, canola oil is low in the unhealthy saturated fat that mostly come from animal products like meat and dairy.
  • Uses…Canola oil can be used safely at high temperatures because it has a higher smoke point than most other oils, but doesn’t have as much flavor as some other oils that are available and is not your best choice for certain things such as making your own salad dressing.

3 Coconut Oil

  • Benefits…Coconut oil contains minerals and vitamins that serve to lowering triglycerides levels, control levels of bad cholesterol, and help stabilize the blood pressure of the diabetics.
  • Nutrition…Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but not the same artery-clogging saturated fat found in red meat. The fat found in coconut oil is harder for the body to convert into stored fat because this fat consists of such a higher amount of medium-chain fatty acids than the normal fat found in hamburgers.
  • Use…The American Heart Association warns those with high cholesterol levels to avoid or limit their use of coconut oil because of its saturated fat content. High levels of coconut oil in your daily diet can make your diabetes worse.

Flaxseed Oil

  • Benefits…As a diabetic, flaxseed oil slows digestion, which in turn helps maintain stable blood glucose levels and improves the sensitivity of the body towards insulin. Flaxseed oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation, a fact that could lower your risk of getting cancer and reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
  • Nutrition…Flaxseed oil is a rich source of both fiber and ALA—alpha-linoleic acid—one of three omega-3 fatty acids that your body cannot make on its own.
  • Use…Flaxseed oil should not be heated..instead use as a salad dressing or add to smoothies

 

5 Grape Seed Oil

  • Nutrition…this is a rich source of both polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, and is very low in saturated fat
  • Use…nutty but mild flavor that can be used for all sorts of cooking and grilling and also works well in salad dressings or drizzled over roasted veggies

6 Rice Bran Oil

  • Benefits….Rice bran oil will reduce your levels of bad cholesterol, and so is great for diabetics and those wanting to keep heart disease at bay.
  • Nutrition…Rice bran oil is rich in both monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated fats.

7 Sesame Oil

  • Benefits…Sesame oil reduces levels of bad cholesterol and stabilizes blood glucose levels.
  • Nutrition…Sesame oil contains monounsaturated fats and is listed as one of the most ” heart-healthy” cooking oils by the American Heart Association.
  • Uses…Light sesame oil is often used for stir-frying. Dark sesame oil, on the other hand, is great for making dressings and sauces.

8 Sunflower Oil

  • Nutrition…Sesame oil has high levels of the “good” polyunsaturated fats and very low levels of the “bad” saturated fats.
  • Uses…Sunflower oil can be used for all cooking methods—such as sauteeing, frying, and roasting,

9 Walnut Oil

  • Benefits…Walnut oil helps maintain a good balance of triglycerides, improves the sensitivity of your body towards insulin, and reduces your risk of several cardiovascular conditions.
  • Nutrition…Walnut oil is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a good source of polyunsaturated fats.
  • Uses…Walnut oil is great for adding a nutty flavor to whatever you are cooking—such as desserts.

 

Creating a Home

10 Smart Ways to Hide Your Stash

   
Having and owning a good makeup organizer, where you can keep all your cosmetics, helps you find that one perfect eyeliner or lipstick that you want when you want it…and will save you lots of precious time as you get dressed each morning. 

Here is a list of ten of the best acrylic makeup organizers available…each guaranteed to make a minimalist neat freak like me as happy as a lark.

      
    1.  Beautify Extra Large 8 Tier Clear Acrylic Cosmetic Makeup Cube Organizer with 7 Drawers .

    • Design… eight tier design with seven smooth easy-slide drawers with handles…upper compartment with hinged flip top lid… two removable dividers
    • Price…$110
    • Size… 12″ x 12″ x 20″


    2.  Cq acrylic Kardashian Large Beauty Cube 5 Tier Drawers Acrylic Cosmetic Organizer

    1. Design…:1st draw- 4cm deep with 6 sections ,2nd draw- 4cm deep with 3 sections, 3rd draw- 4cm deep with 2 sections ,4th draw- 4cm deep open space ,5th draw- 7cm deep open space
    2. Price: $79.99
    3. Size…10″x10″x11″

        
    3.  Home-it Clear Acrylic Makeup Organizer

    • Design…3 large drawers for large accessories, a chest for jewelry, and an organizer at the top
    • Price…$30
    • Size…10″x 6″x 7.7”

      
     

    4.  Ikee Design Luxury Cosmetic Makeup Acrylic Organizer With Two-Sided Mirror

    • Design…compartments in a multitude of shapes and sizes…2-sided   detachable magnifying mirror 
    • Price…$48
    • Size…15″x 9″x 11.2″

        
    5. InterDesign 3 Drawer Storage Organizer.

    • Design…three pull-out drawers
    • Price…$63.28
    • Size… 6.5″x 6.5″x 6.5″  

      
    6. Ohuhu, Acrylic Makeup Cosmetics Organizer

    • Design…an organizer at the top and four drawers
    • Price…$16
    • Size…9.4″ x 7.4″ x 5.5” 

       
    7.  Organizta Chic Box

    • Design…several deep drawers that are stacked together
    • Price…$65
    • Size…7″x7″x10″

       
    8.  Songmics Cosmetic/Makeup Organizer…

    • Design…11 sections with multiple sections and 7 drawers 
    • Price…$30
    • Size.. 9 1/2″x 5 7/8″x 11 3/4″ 

        

    9.  Sorbus Acrylic Cosmetics Makeup and Jewelry Storage Case

    1. Design…four wide drawers and two small sized drawers 
    2. Price…
    3. Size…9.5″x 11.2″ x 6.2″

       

    10.  US Acrylic LLC, 2-Pack Premium Quality Stackable Cosmetic Storage…

    • Design…2-pack unit of stackable drawers 
    • Price…$30
    • Size… each drawer measures 6″x 7-7/8″x4-1/2″

    .

     

      Creating a Home

      Saving Money in the Kitchen

        
       Essential oils are great for diffusing and cleaning.
      Cleaning with essential oils will help keep your home free of toxic chemicals and leave behind a fresh, clean scent.

      It is important to remember that essential oils and green products can react with plastic, so always make and store your cleaning products in glass containers. 

      Also be sure to print and use cute and colorful labels to help you stay organized and know what each container contains.

      Moving on ahead, here are a few essential oil recipes to help keep your kitchen cleaner…

       1. All Purpose Cleaner …Combine.1 gallon water, 2tsp Dawn dish soap, 1/2C vinegar, 1/2C baking soda. Put in a spray bottle to clean showers, toilets, sinks, counter-tops, and floors.

      2. Dishwasher Detergent Tablets…Stir together 2C cups baking soda, 2C borax, 1/2C epsom salt,1/2C vinegar, and 20 drops of lemon essential oil. Transfer the mixture into a ice cube trays or silicone molds. 

      Press down until each compartment is hard packed with detergent. Put them in a dry, sunny spo and let them sit for at least 24 hours. Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.


      3. Disinfectant...Combine 1Tbsp witch hazel, 5 drops orange essential oil, 5 drops lavender essential oil,2 drops eucalyptus essential oil, 7 drops tea tree oil in 8oz spray bottle.Fill with 1C distilled or filtered water.
      Shake well before each use. To use, spray on hard surface, such as counter-top and let air-dry.

      4. Garbage Disposal Bombs…Mix 3/4C baking soda with 1/2C salt. 

      Slowly add 1Tbsp dish soap and 10 drops lemon essential oil. Scoop the mixture into Tablespoon-sized “cookies” onto tin foil or parchment paper. Let /dry 24 hours. To use, store in a jar by the sink and run a couple of bombs through the disposal as needed.

      5. Room Spray...Combine 2tsp witch-hazel, 15 drops of lemon essential oil and 4oz water in a small, fine-mist spray bottle.

      Creating a Home

      Saving Money on Cleaning Supplies

         
         
      This year I have been in the process of “detoxifying” our home and our lifestyle. Lately I have been learning to make my own”safe” cleaning supplies.

      Making your own homemade cleaning products typically involves combining specific products, such as…

       1. Baking Soda...Baking soda is an ideal deodoriser, disinfectant, anddegreaser.

      2. Borax…Borax consists of soft colourless crystals that dissolve easily in water that can be used to make a very effecti all-purpose cleaner that can clean just about everything.

      3. Detergent…Detergent helps lift dirt and grime. When shopping for detergent, look for a detergent that is PH neutral, fragrance free and septic tank safe…such as Earth Choice, Morning Fresh, and ecostore.

      4. Essential Oils...Essential oils help make both your home and your cleaning supplies smell lovely and fresh. Some of the best essential oils for cleaning are lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, and wild orange.

      5. Microfiber Cloths…Microfiber cloth are reusable. Simply throw them into the wash and then hang on the line to dry. 

      6. Salt... Salt is an effective scouring agent, deodoriser, and degreaser.

      7. Spray Bottles…Spray bottles are obviously important when you are making and using homemade cleaners.

      8. Vinegar...Vinegar, a great natural anti-fungal and antibacterial,  can be used so many different ways to clean -to disinfect, cut through grease, de-scale, clean glass, and so much more.