Stovetop Cooking Tips

You can’t call me a chef or even a great cook, but I at least enjoy cooking.  Whether it’s Bertolli for a quick meal, making lasagna, or grilling out I find pleasure in making things. Maybe it’s the making something that I’ve always enjoyed. Well, I’m here to pass on some of my limited knowledge on some cooking tips that I’ve either read, learned the hardway, or acquired from someone wiser than myself.

Since getting nice pans for our wedding I’ve had to learn a few things. It is best for cooking and cleanup if you heat the pan thoroughly before placing anything inside the pan, unless you are boiling water, heating a sauce or an oil. You can test if the pan is hot by quickly touching the top rim of pan. It should be hot to the touch. (Please be careful not to burn yourself.) Also, you can test the temperature of the pan by spreading a little bit of butter in the bottom of the pan and if it starts to brown or turn black you have the temperature too hot. If you don’t want the butter in what you are cooking, you can wipe it up with a towel.

Not every stove will heat the same either, so what may need to be cooked on a heat setting of 4 on one stove might be a 6 on another. You need to  test different settings on your stove. Also, different types of foods like eggs need to be cooked at a lower temperature than say cooking a stir fry or making bacon.

12 heat pan and add butter

And lastly I have a cleaning tip or two. Let cold food sit out for before placing them into a hot pan, it keeps it from sticking to the pan. Also, it is best if you let a pan cool off before placing cold water in or on it as the metal might warp. I like to let my pans cool off, then put some Dial soap in the pan and add water and let the pans soak for over an hour before attempting to clean it.


a few wedding gift ideas for ya.

As the summer months approach, they bring wedding season along with them. So, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the unique ideas or twists on gifts I saw last year. I do not think that any year in the future can possibly beat how many weddings I not only attended but was actually in last year. However, in the coming months I am going to quite a few all in a row. So, thinking about shower gifts has again returned to my brain, and I have found myself looking around my own apartment for ideas…

While I am totally from the school of getting a person something from a registered list, I have realized there are ways to do that and still add a little extra fun on to make it your own. I am always looking for ways to do things differently and spice them up, so in case you are too… here are some gift ideas that I saw last year that I thought were pretty clever.

The first two that come to mind were given to me by the same person… I hope Melanie Duncan will not mind me giving her secrets. This woman sure has some good gift ideas!

photo 1

write on picture frame with expo marker.

I thought this idea was genius!  And the perfect little something extra to add to a gift. Although small and simple to put together, it made for one of my favorite things that I got as a wedding gift. We actually keep ours in the bathroom, and it has turned out to be the perfect spot. While either one of us getting ready in the morning, it’s easy just to write out a little note… and in turn make the other one smile when they notice it! 🙂

Wedding Gift - Pan2

pass one of your favorite dishes onto the bride




Oh my Giada pan(s)… how I love thee! I am certain many other brides (and their grooms possibly) are going to be equally as gah-gah to open up some of their most-wanted bakeware. So if you go the bakeware route as a gift, try this add on… tape on a recipe (on a cute recipe card, of course) that your bride can make in that dish. Again, a simple gesture, but one I found to be so thoughtful! Be on the lookout for that Baked Ziti recipe to make a blog appearance soon. 



opt for a basket instead of wrapping

Onto idea number three… towels! This is an idea I am stealing from my mother-in-law. She has probably attended more showers and weddings then everyone in my 150-unit apartment building combined, so it makes since she would have some really good ideas. When shopping for wedding gifts she often goes for towels because she knows this is truly something the couple will need and get tons of use out of. But instead of bagging or wrapping them up she finds a really cute basket to put them in. This way the couple is not only gaining some towels, but also a fun basket to decorate with afterwards! And it makes for a cute gift presentation…so, tie a cute bow around that basket and be on your way!

If you are shopping for a shower in June, you are hardly thinking about Christmas. And you are probably glad you aren’t. But if you are looking for something unique to get as your wedding gift or add to it, think about something the couple could use at Christmas…ornaments of course, but also stockings, serving dishes, dish towels, door decor, the list goes on and on. Some of these things may be difficult to locate in the summertime, but keep in mind there are all-year-around Christmas stores, online sites, and folks that specialize in personalizing items (post on this to come soon) that can get you these items at any time. The bride and groom to be will be very grateful for you come December!

photo 2

big or small, totes make for fun wrapping


chalk-able wine glasses.

And lastly, think about putting your item(s) in a cute grocery tote. I would have never thought of this on my own, had I not had a gift given to me that way. Ours is a smaller tote, so we use it to carry our lunch in or to pick up small items at the store. But if you buy the couple a few things for their kitchen, what more fun way to wrap the gift (and give another gift) than to wrap it up in a cute tote they can eventually take with them to the store!

Okay, wait! I thought of one more… And this may
make you deviate from what is on “their list,” but I think most couples would agree this is good gift to receive! These chalk-able glasses are great to use when you have guests over and make drinking wine even more fun!

So, now I want your ideas! What fun wedding gift ideas have you seen or come up with. I am sharing my secrets, so please help me out and do the same. As I said, I have quite a few weddings coming up and would love some good input! Comment away…

(And yes I love raffia ribbon..I think it’s a clean and fun way to decorate gifts)

super quick dinner for two.

IMG_0650On nights when we have Grizz games to get to, or we happen to get home later than normal and are just to worn out to cook… we make this gem for a quick yet healthy meal. Okay, so it’s probably not the most healthy thing out there… but its definitely not greasy fast food and it sure tastes better than a PB&J and fills you up more than a Lean Cuisine. So, you get the picture…

Plus, these guys only take about ten minutes to cook. And we have found that if you let your pan heat up for a few minutes, while also letting the meal thaw, it will cook even quicker.IMG_0651

Although stocked full of tasty veggies, these pastas don’t always have enough protein for us ‘witzs. So, Christopher started buying a pack of diced chicken for us to add to it each time… and it makes all the difference. The one pictured here is our favorite.  This works for us as a super quick dinner, so maybe it will for you too.