Legally, laboratory animals form a special category of animals and are not currently protected from ordinary animal abuse and cruelty laws.
But if enough of us speak up loudly enough, perhaps this fact could be changed.
Making positive changes and choices--one decision at a time, one individual at a time–always impacts more than just that one individual. Any act of kindness, no matter how small, has a ripple effect.
Making the decision to change to a cruelty-free lifestyle–one product at a time, one individual at a time–eventually could have enough of an impact to convince large companies to stop animal testing altogether.
Make this lifestyle change gradually. Switching over one product at a time, instead of going all out and buying everything at once, will make the the transition more manageable and cost effective.
Take an inventory to see what products you already have on hand–makeup, skincare, shower essentials, toothpaste, deodorant–that are already “cruelty-free.” However, don’t feel like you need to replace everything all at once.
This will help you know which products you can continue to purchase and which ones you may need to re-evaluate for more conscious options.
…But instead of simply throwing everything isn’t found to be “cruelty-free,” replace particular product with a cruelty-free alternative as you are almost finished with it.
If you do find that one or more of your favorite products are made by a company that does still do animal testing, take the time now to find a cruelty-free alternative that works well. Researching brands and products before you’re desperately out of it gives you time to find the right brands, products, and shades.
Do not wait until the last minute to find an alternative for that product(s). If you do, you will probably end up reaching for the same non- “cruelty-free” product out of habit.
This carbon dioxide being released serves many purposes, such as…
causes the batter to expand
adding a lightness to the final fried product
allowing passages for steam to escape
keeping the breading from being blown off during cooking.
But what IS the difference between the two…and which should you be using?
Baking powder is actually baking soda…but combined with cream of tartar and about one-third as strong as baking soda.
How Do I Use Baking Soda?
Being the minimalist that I am…and given the fact that baking soda can last quite a long time whereas baking powder can ruin within three month.
So throw away, or don’t buy baking powder…just substitute baking soda for baking powder whenever called for in a recipe.
In order to substitute baking soda for baking powder, you must use more of your acidic ingredients and less of your baking soda that you would have used in baking powder because baking soda is about three times as powerful.
Plan on using 1tsp vinegar or lemon juice for every 1/2tsp baking soda. For example, if your recipe calls 1Tbsp baking powder, use 1tsp baking soda instead.
Another choice is to make your own baking powder ahead of time and store it.
To do this, you will need to first buy “cream of tartar” from the spice section of your grocery store…(or, if you’re like me, find the canister that has been sitting in your spice cabinet unused for how long now…
Mix one part baking soda and two parts cream of tartar.
If you will be storing your homemade baking powder instead of using it right away, add 1tsp cornstarch.
Finally, to test your baking soda and makre sure that it is still good, put some in a small bowl and add a little vinegar. If it bubbles up, it’s still good.
So far we have covered three cooking methods—sauteeing, stirfrying, and pan frying—Now we begin our fourth cooking method—deep frying.
So far in your minimalist kitchen, there are several things that you should have either kept, updated, or bought…
As far what you should have in your minimalist kitchen at this point, you should have…
Wire Cooling Racks
Now that we are starting to learn how to deep=fry, there are a few more things that you might need. These includfe…
One of the most obvious things that you will need when you’re deep-frying is something to deep-fry in.
Of the pans that you already have, your wok is your best option.
Another great option would be a large Dutch oven or a deep sauté pan with a heavy bottom, sides that are deep enough to allow you to fill the pan with a few inches of hot oil, and a long handle.
Finally, you could choose to use a deep fryer. This is a great choice for people just learning to deep-fry because most deep fryer come equipped with min/max lines, temperature controls, and wire frying baskets.
It is important that you have a good candy thermometer with a clip that sticks over the side of the pan, unless you buy a deep fryer that already has a thermostat. This will help you make sure that you are frying your food at the right temperature.
If you still haven’t bought such a thermometer, check to see if the oil bubbles around the stick end of a wooden spoon whenever you put a wooden spoon into the oil…or see if a popcorn kernel pops in hot oil whenever you put it into the pan. If one of these two things happen, then your oil is somewhere between 325 and 350 degrees…and you are ready to start cooking.
2. Tongs…You will also want to have a decent set of tongs on hand for removing food from whatever it has been cooked in.
3. A large slotted spoon…You will need these to help you remove and drain the food from the hot oil. Other great options to help you do this would include a wire basket or a kitchen spider.
4. Paper towels…You will be using these to drain the food once it has been cooked.
5. Other…Other important utensils that you already have on hand include wooden spoons, sieves, and fry baskets.
Okay, that was simple enough…not let’s learn what to do with all this “stuff” when it comes to deep-frying.
After the breading material are set up and you have finish3d breading your food you can finally start cooking.
You should have already set up and start heating your oil by now…perhaps I shouuld have posted this earlidr, but let’s talk about which oiil you should be using to fry your food in.
When choosing which oil to use whenever you are frying, you need to think about the smoke point of that partcular oil.
It is important that you use an oil with a high smoke point.
But first, I guess you need to know what a smoke point is, if you’re gonna pick your oil wisely.
The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil can be heated to before it begins to smoke and burn…makes sense huh>!
Once your oil has reached this point, the oil will start to break down into its fundamental components—glycerol and fatty acids—and no longer be good for frying.
The oil will also start losing its flavor and nutritional value.
Once it has passed the smoke point, the oil can also be very dangerous, because it is much more likely to ignite when exposed to an open heat source.
Usually whenever you are frying, you want the oil to be somewhere between 350°F and 375°F, so your must have a smoke point that is high enough to survive this amouint of heat.
So which oils shoul you NOT be using?
Butter…has too low of a smoking point to be used for frying.
Lard...has a low smoke point
Olive oil...Sure, you could use oil for frying, but I’d stick to using olive oil for sauteeing your foods since that olive oil usually costs more.
Shortening…also has too low of a smoking point to be used for frying.
Sunflower oil…This oil tends to burn more quickly than most other oils.
Unrefined oils of any kind…These have too low a smoke point and can also be very expensive. Note that many of the oil that we will be learning later on that are good fort frying are sold in both refined and unrefined versions, so check the label before you use it.
Your fanciest or priciest oils…Frying reuires a whole lot of oil…using these here would simply be a waste of money. Also, thhe frying process can dim the flavor of, making it no more flavorful than any other given oil.
And which oils should you be using?
Whenever you are choosing which oil to fry in, there are several things to consider. In addition to the smoke point, which should be slightly higher than the temperature at which you will be cooking, your oil should have a neutral flavor that won’t impart iany flavor on whatever you are cooking.
Also it is important that youu hoose a good quality oil.
Each of the following oils can be a smart choice for frying because they all have a neutral flavor, perform well at high temperatures, and have a smoke point somewhere between 440° and 450°F….which is definitely above the typical temp required for frying, which tends to be around 350°F.
(Note that there are obviously more oils that are commonly used for fryiung—such as vegetable and peanut, but I have limited my list to those oils that we have already talked about being best for type-2 diabetics.)
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
2. 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
3. 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.
You can either reuse your oil or dispose of it after you finish frying.
To reuse the oil…
Let the oil cool down to room temperature.
Filter through a cheesecloth…whatever the heck that is…
Return to its original container.
Add a small amount of fresh oil to have extend the life of the oil that you have just used.
Store it in a cool, dark place.
You will not want to use the same oil more than two or three times in a row because each use will release more andf more fatty acids into theoil, reducing the smoke point and making it less and less appropriate to use at the high temperatures required for frying.
If your oil starts to look thick or brown, throw it out.
Never pour oil down the drain…lesson learned the hard way…never pour hot candle wax down the drain either…another lesson learned the hard way…
My husband and I have been married, and most night making dinner for about thirt-five years now..but there’s one thing that I have noticed. I tend to gravitate toward those cooking methods that do not require you to stand by the stove for forty-five minutes “keeping an eye” on something…and actually lean more towards stirring some stuff together, putting it in a 9×13, and walking away.
I guess there are two reasons for this.
First of all, I have this terrible fear ofr being burned.
But secondly, I am plain out lazy and just don’t want to stand up.
But that won’t get your fried okra or fried squash or fried anything else on the table, so I am determined to learn how to master these “stove-top” cooking methods…e ventually making it my goal to be like one of those impressive home chefs that can cook without using a recipe…kinda like those people who can sit down and play piano by ear, having not one day of the way-too-many piano lessons to count.
So far in this attempt to create not only healthier eating habits and cooking skills, I have been thinking about what I should, or would< keep in my kitchen if I totally gutted everything and started all over., we have collected a few things along the way…
Even though frying is considered a quick and easy cooking method, there are still issues that come up—such as ruined meals, messy oily splatter, burned fingers, and even minor kitchen fires.
But half the battle is having the right equipment and knowing how to use it the right way.
1.Pan…Items that you should have in your kitchen so far based on the cooking methods that we already talked about—sauteeing and stirfrying–you should at this point only have two pans—a saute pan and a wok.
Now we need to add two more pans to our collection—one for panfrying, and the other for deep frying.
As far as pan frying, many people like to fry with cast iron skillets because they retain heat well, cook evenly, and are just the right weight.
Enamel or stainless-steel would also be a great option.
As far as non-stick pans, some people will tell you not to buy them because the coatings are not always able to stand the high heats required for certain types of frying….while others will tell you that they are a good option because they help keep the breading on the food, rather than on the pan.
The size pan that you need will obviously depend on what you will be cooking.
If you’re making fried chicken, you will need something like a large cast iron skillet,but if you are making something more like apple fritters, you will need to grab your taller stock pot or something similar.
The pan that you decide to use for any type of frying should be
deep enough to keep most of the “oil splatters” that happen as your food fries, contained in the pan itself
heavy-bottomed so that the pan will distribute heat evenly without hot spots.
large enough to avoid overcrowding your food…always choose a pan that is bigger than you might think you need
If you are buying a pan for deep-frying…(more on this later)…you will need to find a pan that will be able to hold 4 to 6 quarts of liquid…deep enough to hold at least 3″ of oil with another 3 inches space between the top of the oil and the top of the pan…something like a 6-quart, or even larger, Dutch oven or cast iron skillet
So at this point, you shoulld have four different types of pots in your kitchen…
Sautee pan…for sauteeing
Skillet…at least a 12” cast iron or similar…for panfrying
Dutch oven or something similar…for deep frying
2. Cookie Sheet/Wire Cooling Racks…A cooling rack like the one that you probably use whenever you’re making cookies placed over a sheet pan to drain fried food is a much better option than using a paper towel-lined plate.
Setting hot food on paper towels can make your food even more soggy and greasy. Having the food lifted up from the counter onto a rack will keep steam from forming between the paper towel and the hot cooked food.
Using a cooling rack and cookie sheet will also allow you to keep one batch warm in the oven on low heat while another batch cook.
Line the cookie sheet with paper towel, and then set the cooling rack on top. The paper towel will collect any excess grease that may drip from the food.
3. Spider…A “spider” is a wok tool with a wooden handle and a wire mesh basket designed to drain excess oil from foods when removing them from hot grease…and turn food while “hanging out” in the hot oil.
Because spiders are originally designed to be used with a wok, they are generally larger than what you need to be using when pan frying…so choose a smaller one out of the selection.
4. Spatula…You will need some sort of spatula for flipping your food. Metal works so much better than either rubber or plastic, which might melt under the heat.
5. Thermometer…Knowing the exact temperature of the oil that you are frying your food in is so very important.
As more food is added to the skillet, the oil will drop in temperature…and you may need to adjust the heat on your stove.so tthat that every single cutlet is cooked to the same golden-brown perfection.
There are two different types of thermometers that you can use when frying food—candy thermometers that clip to the side of the pabn…’or probe thermometers.
Regardless which type of thermometer you are using, It is important that the be able to nake accurate measurements, especially in the temperature range of 350-400 degrees.
The candy thermometer simply clips onto the side of the pan as the food is frying so that you cacn keep an eyer on exactly how hot your grease is.
This type of thermomemter allows you to control the temperature of the oil that the food is frying in. If the oil is too hot, your food can burn, but if the oil isn’t hot enough, your food can burn on the ourside bvurt still not br cooked through on the inside.
The proble thermometer can be stuck into each piece of food as it is taken out of the pan to get an exact measurement of its internal temp. You at least want the inside of your meat to read 165°F.
6. Tongs… You will need to use long-handled tongs to lower food into the hot oil and to flip items so that you can evenly fry both sides.
Use a second pair of tongs to remove the cooked meat from the oil. It is never a good idea that the same utensils touch both raw meat and cooked meat…might make you sick of something..(another reason not to go eat Korean barbecue.perhaps(?!__…
Sichuan cuisine is the most unique of the eight main regional cuisines.
Famed for its bold flavors and use of strong spices, this cuisine was strongly influenced by Indian cuisine.
As foreigners, including Buddhist missionaries and Spanish traders, began travelling through this landlocked, mountain-ringed province along China’s famous “Silk Route.” they introduced the locals to the characteristic spicy flavors of Indian cuisine. The people of the area eventually developed their own unique cuisine based on these influences, a cuisine that is so very different and distinct from any other Chinese cooking styles.
Even though this cuisine is famous for being spicy, not all Sichuan dishes are spicy., many Sichuan dishes taste like fish or fried tangerine.
Let’s take a look at some of the conventional Sichuan ingtredients…
—As far as meat, Sichuan cuisine gives you your typical meats—such as chicken, freshwater fish, and pork…but you will also find more unconventional ingredients—such as shark fins and bear paws. You will also find that air-dried meats are commonly used.
—As far as sauce, Sichuan cuisine tends to use more sesame paste, fish sauce, ginger juice, sweet-sour sauce, garlic puree, red chili oil….(and soy sauce, of course)….
—As far as spices, Sichuan cuisine uses Sichuan pepper…lots and lots of Sichuan pepper…as well as chili peppers and garlic.
—As far as other ingredients, Sichuan cuisine leans more toward pungently flavored vegetables such as garlic and onions. Nuts and seeds are also commonly used in Sichuan cuisine.
A few of the most popular Sichuan entrees that you might find on the menu, kook for…
Cantonese cuisine is the most familiar type of Chinese cuisine and one of the most widely served styles of Chinese cuisine in the world.
One reason for this is the fact that so many people from this region have immigrated to the United States, London, Calcutta, and many other countries.
Cantonese cuisine was the first type of Chinese regional cuisine introduced to the world
Cantonese cuisine gave birth to what we know as dim sum—bite-sized portions of hearty dishes traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates and designed to give the diner a sampler of a variety of different dishes.
In general, Cantonese cuisine tends to be mild and focuses less on spices, and more on using the absolute freshest and and most natural ingredients.
As far as meat, Cantonese cuisine uses a wide variety of meats, poultry, and seafood…including roasted and barbecued meats, dried meats, and lots of seafood. Another commonly used meat is pork—basically all of the different parts of a pig cooked in basically all imaginable ways.
As far as sauces…Cantonese cuisine uses a variety of sauces—including hoisin, oyster, and plum…as well as various marinades and time-intensive broths
As far as apices…Cantonese typically has a subtle flavor, Rarely will you find overpowering seasonings.as in the Sichuan cuisine explained below..
Examples of Cantonese recipes that you will find online include…
Recently we talked about the method of cooking called sauteeing, which is a type of frying…but did you know that there are actually several different types of frying…
Let’s take a quick look at each of these different methods, before exploring these different methods even further…
1.Sautéing…As we previously learned, sautéing involves cooking small pieces of food over medium-high to high heat until browned on the outside and cooked through, all the while keeping the ingredients moving around in the pan, either by using a wooden spoon or by moving the pan back and forth. This method is typically used for cooking onion and garlic, but can also be used to cook fish, beef, shrimp, and tender vegetables such as mushrooms.
2.Stirfrying…Stirfrying is very similar to sauteeing…except stirfrying is typically done in a wok and usually is done before adding any sauce and additional ingredients such as meat and veggies.
3. Shallow Frying…Shallow frying is another type of frying, but involves cooking food that has been partly submerged in oil at a high temperature. The main goal in this method is to brown the food. Shallow frying is the method used to make such foods as fried chicken, fritters, and eggplant Parmesan.
4. Deep Frying…Deep frying involves completely submerging the food in lots of hot fat or oil and then cooking over high temperature. The main goal of this method is to cook food very quickly.
Now that you’ve gotten rid of whatever it might have been making your kitchen smell terrible and taken the time to clean out the fridge and shelves from rotten food, it’s time for a more fun thing to do…enhance the odors around your home.
Here are a few ideas…
Air Freshener…Use plug-in air fresheners, stand alone air fresheners, or spray air freshenera.
Air Vents…Clip a car deodorizer to the metal slats of your air vent. As the air blows through the vent, the scent will waft throughout the room
Baking…The aroma of warm baked goods—such as cinnamon rolls or banana bread—will fill the house with a pleasant scent quickly.
Baking Soda…Leaving a box of baking soda open in your fridge actually does absorb any smells in your fridge.
Candles…Candles are almost a given in any room, right?
Charcoal....Putting a piece or two of charcoal in a bowl in your fridge will absorb smells, just as baking soda does.
Citrus…Collect any orange, lemon or lime peels. Bake them at 350 degrees for a few minutes. When you open the oven door. they will make your kitchen smell wonderful.
Cleaning…Use great smelling products, such as Dr Bronner’s,
Diffusers…Diffusers, both electric diffusers and reed diffusers, can be used along with your favorite essential oils to create a more pleasant smell.
Dryer Sheets..Tape a new dryer sheet to the back of your buffet or china cabinet. Also could stash one where you store your kitchen towels and stuff.
Floors…Soak a cotton ball with something that you really like the smell of…such as your favorite perfume or essential oil. Then drop it into the vacuum cleaner bag. As you do your regular chores, the vacuum will gently release the scent into the room.
Houseplants…Houseplants—such as geraniums, Arabian jasmine, eucalyptus, gardenias, corsage orchids, and Cuban oregano—are not only attractive but also clean the air.
Lights..Before turning your lights on, place a couple drops of vanilla extract on your light bulbs.This will gently spread the scent once you do flip the lights on and make your home smell like fresh-baked cookies.
Sachet…Use scented sachets—little fabric sacks filled with cinnamon sticks, dried lavender, dried herbs, potpourri, or scented rice—to give your drawers a more pleasant, yet natural, aroma.
Simmer…Another easy way to freshen the air would be a “simmer pot.”
To do this, fill a small pan with a cup or two of water. Next add what you are going to simmer. Bring to a boil for a few minutes. Then let simmer for a few hours on your back stove eye, adding more water as needed. As the water heats, the scent will be permeated throughout your kitchen and house.
Some good ideas as to what to simmer include…
a drop or two of essential oil
a handful of cloves
fresh herbs—such as lavender or mint
lemon and orange peels
Tea…Make a pot of homemade chai tea by first boiling 3C water with 20 cardamom pods, 15 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 1Tbsp ginger. Simmer 5 min. Add 3 tea bags. Brew and then strain. Finally add milk and sugar as needed.
Vinegar… Set a small bowl of vinegar on your counter whenever you are cooking something with a definite odor, such as fish…honestly think that I’d rather smell the fish than the vinegar though right?
Wreaths….Buy or make your own kitchen wreath using fresh herbs…such as this wreath Creek Side Farms.
I have heard so many women advise new brides that If you haven’t started dinner before your husband comes home from work, start cooking some onions…and they will think that you have been cooking for hours.
I know that times have changed…
But onions haven’t changed…
And neither have odors throughout your home…unless you do something about them.
So I thought this would be a good time to talk about eliminating and enhancing the odors throughout your home, mainly your kitchen.
Here are a few of the areas around your kitchen that you might want to consider if you want your kitchen to not smell like rotten eggs…
1.Windows…If you have a window in your kitchen, one of the easiest ways to start making your house less stinky is to open the windows so that smells don’t linger.
2. Kitchen Surfaces…If you are going to keep your kitchen smelling great, it should be kinda obvious that your kitchen should be clean, including your cutting boards and other areas where you prepare your food. This will not only get rid of any smells left behind, but also kill bacteria.
3. Garbage Disposal…There are many things that you could run through your garbage disposal on a weekly basis to eliminate any smells. Not only will this keep it from smelling, but it will also kill bacteria.
These “things” include…
Essential oil, such as peppermint, lavender or rosemary
Lemon or orange peels
Lemon-scented dish soap
Fridge…One of the main things that can start making your fridge stink is the residue on your fridge shelves that are left from bottles and containers. Fridge mats, such as these, are a great way to catch these drips. Once they easily clean them, instead of having to waste time scrubbing those shelves.
Freezer…Set fresh coffee grounds to get rid of the smell of rotten food in your freezer.
Garbage...Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your trash can every time that you take out the trash to help neutralize the smell of kitchen scraps and keep nasty garbage odors at bay,
Microwave…Pour some vanilla extract into a bowl and microwave on high for one minute.