Back to Basics Cooking, Baking & Grilling

keeping your area clean while you cook is a chore in its self. My husband always laughs about the after math when I'm done baking. Here are some helpful ways to improve on making less of a mess in the first place. Use a bowl for your scraps and garbage as you go saving you time running to the trash making you more efficient. Using a thin flexible mat for your cutting board makes transferring vegetables to your pot much easier, by using the flexible mat as a funnel.

Getting into the habit of using a splatter screen when sauteing or shallow frying will save you a lot of time on your clean-up later. Measuring ingredients and using cooking spray over the sink will keep messes confined to an easy to clean area. Keeping a bottle of soapy water handy make it more likely that cleaning up as you go will become part of your cooking habits. Another tip is to cook more slowly. Be a deliberate in measuring, chopping and wiping between each step. but this is one tip I often do not follow my own advice, often trying to do to many task at one time.

With Spring just around the corner what better time than to take stock of what is in your pantry. Consolidate and organize and take note what you're low on. It is also a great time to check those expiration dates and dispose of any that expired. Make a list of items that you can stock in your pantry that will help make a meal quickly without a lot of planning. It is also a good time to add those family favorites.

Now that you have your pantry all organized it is time to turn your attention to the fridge. Do not be afraid to those bowls way in the back that have been forgotten about for weeks. It is a good time to check those condiments with cookouts just around the corner.

With everything clean and organized and Winter still here comfort food is the way to go. A pot of soup on the stove with grilled cheese sandwiches or a stew in the crockpot is the way to go. With Spring not too far away get those recipes out and start planning for fresh salads and garden vegetables. You will be amazed how time and clean-up will be and the fun of cooking, baking and grilling will not become a hard task but a lot of fun putting love in all the recipes for family and friends.

6 Reasons to Cancel or Reschedule a Party

Canceling or rescheduling a party is a very unfortunate event but often it happens as the result of uncontrollable circumstances. Knowing how to deal with the situation is of uttermost importance.

Party failure is disappointing and difficult to handle but a number of reasons will demand it, regardless of your intentions. Here are a number of reasons for the cancellation or rescheduling of a party and some information on addressing guests and cancellation etiquette.

People Can not Make It

You will have to reschedule or cancel your party if too many guests are incapable of attending. Everyone wants to share big events and beautiful moments in life with dearest friends. If these people have difficulties making it to the party, choosing another date will certainly be the wisest move.

You may consider informing people about the change in person. Call everyone and you may even inquire about another date for the party to be held on.

A Storm is Coming Up

Weather can play a trick on you. It may interfere with your party planning attempts. You should reschedule your celebration in case a severe storm or another kind of meteorological disaster is expected – intense rain or snowfall, thunderstorms. It certainly is wiser to organize the party in the future than to put at risk the health and life of your guests.

Personal Tragedies

P personal tragedy that you or one of your dearest friends has experienced is another reason for the cancellation of a celebration. Postpone the party in the case of death or illnesses of family members. It will be inappropriate to have fun while someone you care for is mourning or feeling sick.

That Major Event

A major event taking place on the date when you plan to have your party will be yet another reason for cancellation. Postpone the party if somebody else is getting married on that date or if it is the anniversary of a couple you love.

Important city events – concerts, gatherings or sports finals may have you thinking about moving the party to another date, as well.

Illness

Cancel the party in the case of an illness or a medical condition. This is yet another unexpected and uncontrollable factor that will interfere with your plans and the organization process.

It could be a personal condition or a disease affecting someone you love and respect. You should better have the celebrity after that person gets better – this way you will have two reasons to bring people together and to party.

The Reason for Partying Has Disappeared

Sometimes, things fail going according to plan. Such sudden changes and unexpected turns may call for the cancellation of a party.

A baby shower will certainly be canceled in the case of a miscarriage. This huge, personal tragedy changes plans and demands for rapid reaction.

Party planners should always have a backup plan. Very often, life handles us surprises that we have difficulties coping with. Party failure or rescheduling may be tough but it certainly is needed in various instances. Knowing how to be flexible will help you deal with the situation.

Common Questions in the IELTS Writing Exam Under the Academic Module

It has always been said that preparation is the key to any endeavor. Indeed, success is possible when thorough planning and preparing have been considered well. For many Filipinos planning to work and study abroad, the first thing they have to do is to prepare their requirements and one of these is by taking an English competency test – the IELTS or the International English Language Testing System exam.

Due to the test’s popularity, hundreds of Filipinos nowadays are looking for IELTS review centers to get training and courses. IELTS review centers have created class courses that enhance the examinees’ English skills in short span of time. Moreover, Filipino examinees consider IELTS review centers a good venue to learn skills and strategies they need, most especially in the writing section. Writing is one section most examinees consider challenging; hence, they need more practice in this area.

The IELTS writing section is composed of two different tasks. The first task asks the candidate to write a 150-word essay describing a process or compare and contrast data presented in graphs, charts and tables. The topics that are covered in this section are very varied. There are graphs representing age differences in countries, spending habits in shopping, or internet activities of particular age groups. In process or chart data, candidates are presented with processes like making cement, picture booth process, precipitation, or charts of deforestation. Examinees need to understand the graph or the diagrams well to be able to interpret it appropriately.

The second task of the IELTS writing section asks the candidates to write a 250-word essay in 40 minutes. Examinees are tasked to give their opinion on a given topic or statement. The topics that are usually given in the second tasks are topics about old age, globalization, science and technology, environmental issues, lifestyle, education issues, and social issues. Examinees need to be familiar with these topics. Questions on these topics are not too technical so candidates do not need to read a lot on these topics.

Coming up with a good essay on both tasks might be a little difficult at first. However, with constant practice in writing essays, candidates will be able to develop their skills in improving their writing styles. Moreover, coaches in IELTS review centers constantly give feedbacks and comments to their trainees’ essays. They will guide examinees step-by-step until their essays become effective and appropriate for the IELTS examination. Indeed, being part of an IELTS review center creates great advantages one can experience.

How To Read Jewelry Marks

The number markings on precious gold jewelry are a bit of confusion to lots of people. We are generally used to seeing a karat or silver mark like this: 10K, 14K, 18K, Sterling, etc. The numbers mean the same thing.

For 14k the number is technically 583 but most manufacturers adopted the European way and make 14k gold a tiny bit over 14k, so the mark is 585 in most 14k jewelry. 18K is marked 750. If the mark is valid and there is a makers mark also in the jewelry, the number means these items are 18k gold.

Here is where the numbers come from. Pure gold is called 24 karat. For 18k gold, there are 18 parts of pure gold mixed with other metals to make the metal suitable for use in jewelry. 24k is too soft alone to stand up or to hold stones well. 18 parts pure gold divided by 24, or 18/24 equals 750. That is where the number comes from. The jewelry is 75% pure gold, 750 parts gold with 250 parts other metals out of “1000″ parts. It is easier to think of it as a percent which is pure gold in the recipe.

Sterling silver is marked 925. Sterling is 92.5% pure silver and the rest is other metal, generally copper.

What does it mean if the ring marked 14K PR? The 14K simply means it is 14K (Karat) gold and because of the K means it would have been made in either South East Asia or The United States. The PR marks are just the Maker or Store ID or even a design mark, and have no relevance to the Value.

The basic decimal formula to work out the quality of gold content is quite simple, as they are all measured in ‘Parts per Thousand.’ This means that 9ct gold is calculated like this: 9 (for 9ct) is divided by pure gold (24) and then multiplied by 1000 (for pure gold as a decimal). ie: 9/24*1000=375 That 375 is the decimal quality for 9ct gold and is sometimes shown with a decimal point in front – .375

The old Victorian standard of 15ct gold is calculated the same way – 15/24*1000 = 625 (Not quite the numbers you have on your jewelry. Dental gold is 16ct or 666 recurring. But you can also reverse this formula by starting with the decimal and working back. ie: 375/1000*24 = 9

In your case we can use 698/1000*24 = almost 17ct

I have a platinum engagement ring and found a wedding ring that I really like but the band is made of palladium. Is it safe to wear these two metals together without one damaging the other?

It will wear the softer metal OVER TIME but that could take many years. My Grandmothers wedding ring eventually wore away the band of her engagement ring but it took over 20 years to do.

Platinum and Palladium and quite good together but I would take the advice of your local friendly jeweler and have them check both rings. Sometimes the Platinum may be a lower grade in order to make it harder – so have that checked.