Do you always burn the garlic or turn pasta into a gummy mess? Learn how to avoid these all-too-common cooking mistakes.
By Melissa Clark
Arthur MountBoiling Pasta in a Pot That's Too Small
Why it's bad: For starters, if you use long noodles, they might not fit unless you break them first. But regardless of the pasta's shape or size, it will probably end up sticky and gummy. "When you add pasta to a small amount of water, it lowers the temperature of the water substantially more than if you added it to a large amount of water, so the water will take longer to return to a boil. In the meantime, the pasta will sit at the bottom of the pot and start to clump up and become mushy unless you are vigilant about stirring," says chef Michael Symon, the owner of five restaurants in Cleveland and an Iron Chef on the Food Network's Iron Chef America. Also, your ratio of pasta starch to water will be too high--another cause of sticking.
Do this instead: Unless you are cooking a single serving of pasta (in
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Do you always burn the garlic or turn pasta into a gummy mess? Learn how to avoid these all-too-common cooking mistakes.Read More »from How to Fix Common Cooking Mistakes
Christopher BakerBy Marjorie IngallRead More »from How to Let Go of Sentimental Clutter
When my dad died, several years ago, he left behind a legacy of love and a terrifying number of frogs. Part of me wanted to keep every last one. These things were a connection to my dad, a connection to my childhood. But I live in a New York City apartment. Had I kept all those frogs, my life would be an all-amphibian episode of Hoarders.
I know I'm not alone in my desire to hang on to objects with emotional value. How many of us have boxes of unsorted photos in the corners of our homes? How many of us struggle with the desire to preserve each painting, Popsicle-stick creation, and pinch pot cranked out by our kids?
See More: The Top 6 Causes of Clutter
Julie Holland, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, assures us that the urge to hold on to meaningful possessions is normal. "These are transitional objects. Sentimental clutter is the adult equivalent of a teddy bear," she says. "We worry--consciously or
Bad habits are made to be broken. Learn easy tricks to help you eat better every day.Read More »from How to Break Bad Eating Habits
By Sally Wadyka
Anna WilliamsIf You're a Serious Snacker
The fallout: You may end up overeating. A healthy snack or two between meals is fine. Snacks can keep blood sugar steady as well as allow you to rack up more servings of fruits and vegetables. "It's when you snack in place of eating real meals that you're more likely to lose track of how much you're eating," says Tara Gidus, R.D., an Orlando, Florida-based spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Of course, what you eat matters, too. Typical snack foods (chips, cookies, pretzels) aren't that nutritious or satisfying, so it's easy to overdo them.
The fix: To keep your energy up and hunger at bay, allow yourself two snacks a day of 100 to 300 calories each. "Rather than a cookie or a candy bar, opt for something that feels like real food―half of a small sandwich, whole-grain crackers with cheese, a handful of nuts, baby carrots with hummus, or
- Real Simple Magazine | Healthy Living – Fri, Dec 23, 2011 8:56 AM EST
Gregg SegalAre you undermining your workout? Fitness experts weigh in on common exercise infractions--and how to correct them easily.Read More »from 10 Things Trainers Wish You Knew About Your Workout
By Karen Asp
1. You Need to Switch Up Your Workouts
"After doing the same cardio or strength routine three to six times, your body adapts and you burn fewer calories," says Michael Sokol, the owner of One-on-One Fitness Personal Training Services, in Chicago and Scottsdale, Arizona. Eventually your results--weight loss, muscle definition--will slow down. Also, repeatedly placing stress on the same muscles and joints could lead to an overuse injury.
See More: The 15-Minute Interval Training Workout
Action plan: Once a month, change one thing about your cardio and weight-training regimens: Take a Zumba class in lieu of your Saturday walk, for instance, or use a resistance band instead of dumbbells. Bonus: Mixing things up may help you stick with exercise. A 2001 study conducted at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, found that people who varied their
Tom SchierlitzThis favorite holiday drink is easier to make than you think; simply simmer together heavy cream, sugar, and nutmeg, then gradually combine with eggs in the blender.Read More »from Easy Blender Eggnog
Serves 4 | Hands-On Time: 05m | Total Time: 20m
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 large eggs
3/4 cup brandy
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the heavy cream, sugar, and nutmeg just to a simmer.
2. In a blender, blend the eggs on low speed for 1 minute. With the motor running, gradually add the hot cream mixture. Blend until frothy, about 30 seconds more. Add the brandy and blend to combine. Serve warm.
Related: 10 Tasty Holiday Cocktails
Tip: Grate fresh nutmeg on top for a festive, fragrant garnish.
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Creamy Eggnog Custard
The Stress-Free Holiday Party Plan
Norah Levine Photography/Getty ImagesThe holidays are a festive time, but the season brings added dangers for pets. Keep your furry friends away from these items to ensure a merry holiday for all.Read More »from 9 Holiday Pet Hazards
By Brigitt Hauck
Keep Your Pets Safe
It's the most wonderful time of the year--until your pet ingests some tinsel or decides to drink from the Christmas-tree water. René Carlson, a veterinarian and the president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and Tina Wismer, a veterinarian and the medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, share nine common holiday items that can be hazardous to pets. If you think your dog or cat has been harmed by or consumed one of these, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) immediately.
See More: 13 Creative Gifts for Pets
Even if your dog looks at you with pleading eyes, resist the urge to throw holiday table scraps his way. Rich, fatty foods can cause illness, and ingested turkey bones can splinter and puncture
John LawtonSurprising new uses for ribbon, cookie cutters, wrapping paper, and more.Read More »from New Uses for Old Things: Holiday Edition
Cupcake Liner as Decorative Snowflakes
Create a winter wonderland in the entryway. Flatten white paper liners (foil ones will work, too), fold into halves or quarters, then snip out shapes along the folds. When you open them back up, voilà: snowflakes you can string from the ceiling.
See More: Elegant and Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas
John LawtonBook as Misleading Gift Box
To foil present-guessers, hide the real gift in a hollowed-out book. Using a box cutter carve a space just large enough to hold the small item.
See More: 21 Easy Holiday Gift-Wrapping Ideas
John LawtonConfetti as Packing Material
Don't ditch excess confetti or shredded paper. Use it to cushion breakable items so they arrive in one piece.
See More: Throw the Easiest New Year's Eve Party Ever
John LawtonCake Stand as Soap Dish
Glam up a bathroom or vanity. Stock soaps and washcloths on top, or showcase your prettiest perfume bottles.
See More: Timeless Home Decorating
Follow this advice to enjoy a little holiday indulgence without sacrificing your health goals.Read More »from 17 Healthy Holiday Tips
By Elizabeth Passarella; additional reporting by N. Jamiyla Chisholm, Kaitlyn Pirie, and Rachel Shelasky
Justin FantlIndulging Without Overindulging
Relax. You won't gain 10 pounds. It's a misconception that you'll need to go up a pant size in January. The average person gains only about a pound during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's. That's no excuse to eat with abandon, though. (After all, gaining one pound every year can add up in the long run.) But a study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology notes that people who had an attitude of forgiveness and self-compassion after one high-calorie setback were less likely to give up and keep bingeing. So if you lose control with a dish of chocolate truffles, don't think, I've blown it. Might as well move on to the eggnog. Just forgive yourself for the truffles.
See More: 9 Healthy Holiday Eating Strategies
Don't skip meals.
Experts in the art of parrying criticism--from a comedian to a chef--share their best strategies for developing thick skin.Read More »from 5 Ways to Develop Thick Skin
John Rowley/Getty ImagesBe (a Little) Egotistical
For some, having a thick skin means preparing for the worst-arming yourself for a huge battle. But that notion allows negativity to define you. Rather, I work to maintain an unwaveringly extra-positive self-image. Even when my contract wasn't renewed on Saturday Night Live, I remained 100 percent confident in my abilities. One decision on someone else's part, whether they're affirming or rejecting you, is ultimately minor. You are the constant, and your own opinion of yourself is what matters most.
Jenny Slate is a Brooklyn-based actress and comedian. With Dean Fleischer-Camp, she recently cowrote the book Marcel the Shell With Shoes On: Things About Me ($19, amazon.com).
See More: How to Get What You Want
Remember: It's Not You; It's the Situation
During a game, coaches and players can yell and scream and make very personal
Broccoli & Goat Cheese PizzaTake your frozen pie to the next level with these easy, upscale topping ideas.Read More »from Upgrade Your Frozen Cheese Pizza
By Emily McKenna
Broccoli and Goat Cheese Pizza
Why stop at just one type of cheese? Crumble goat cheese over the pizza's mozzarella for a decadent veggie slice.
See More: The Best Frozen Pizza
Serves 3 | Hands-On Time: 05m | Total Time: 20m
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 13- to 15-ounce frozen cheese pizza
2 ounces fresh herbed goat cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1. In a medium bowl, toss the broccoli with the olive oil and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Scatter over the frozen pizza, sprinkle with the goat cheese, and bake according to the package directions.
See More: Best Pizza Recipes
Chorizo & Roasted Red Pepper PizzaChorizo and Roasted Pepper Pizza
Thinly sliced chorizo (cured Spanish sausage) gives a spicy, meaty boost to this meal.
Get the recipe.
See More: 18 Easy Upgrades for Convenience Foods
Fennel, Olive & Onion PizzaFennel, Olive, and Onion Pizza
For an even