Tips & Techniques

5 Things That Make a Small Kitchen Look Bigger — Small Space Kitchens

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Whether you live in a small apartment, an older (pre-island fetish) home, or just an average house, you probably wish your kitchen was a little bit bigger. Or at least wish it looked bigger, right? We can't help you increase the square footage, but we can help with the second part of that.

Here are five things that'll make your kitchen seem bigger than it really is.

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The Secret to a Better Lentil Salad — Tips from The Kitchn

For the longest time, I struggled with lentils. I used to think, Give me chickpeas, white beans, or really any kind of bean before lentils any day. I never felt they tasted like much, even after I cooked and spiced them lovingly in the kitchen.

I wanted to be the girl who ate, and enjoyed, lentil salads, but I really just couldn't get there. After many attempts I gave up, and haven't had a bag of the legumes in my pantry for years. Well, it turns out I was preparing them wrong all those times: I should have been marinating those lentils.

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Why You Should Always Preheat Your Slow Cooker — Tips from The Kitchn

Arguably, the most crucial flavor in a dish comes from the very first moments, when you sauté a few aromatics like chopped onions and garlic before proceeding with the recipe. That's when those simple flavors start to build, which eventually enhances your final result.

Some slow cooker recipes that call for you to sauté these aromatics separately on the stove before adding them to the appliance require it for this reason; it's a chance to give as much flavor to the dish as you can. But then they have you dump the sautéed items into a cold slow cooker, along with everything else, before turning it on.

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6 Things You Should Never Recycle — Recycling

I feel like I am a person who is reasonably educated about recycling. I've been doing it since I was a kid, and reporting on it for at least a decade. But to this day, I pause when it's time to put select items in the trash. The rules keep changing and can vary depending on where you live, because everything's recycled at the local level. Plus, very few recyclable-looking things have just one element to them — aluminum cans are wrapped in paper, paper cartons are coated in plastic, plastic containers have cardboard in them. It's confusing.

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The Best Way to Recycle All Your Amazon Boxes — Recycling

Recent estimates put the number of Amazon Prime members at 80 million. Even if each Prime member only ordered one package per year, that adds up to tons (literally) of cardboard and other types of packaging material. Never mind the fact that it's typical for Prime members to make purchases weekly (or even more often!) — and that's before you even consider other services like Prime Pantry. Great for convenience's sake, but not so great for the planet — especially if you're not reusing or recycling your boxes.

If you're looking to minimize the footprint of your Amazon habit, here's what you need to know.

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To Carve Pumpkins Safely, You Only Need These Two Tools — The Great Pumpkin

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/The Kitchn)

While those inexpensive pumpkin carving kits you see at the grocery store may seem appealing (they promise everything you need — and when is the last time a plastic saw ever hurt anyone?), they're actually not your best bet.

"I don't use them," says expert pumpkin carver Hugh McMahon, who heads a team that makes 300 jack-o'-lanterns a season (including portraits of Michael Jackson and Albert Einstein!). Not only do those chintzy orange knives break too easily, but they'll also never give you very detailed results. They're not always the sharpest, and you know what they about using dull knives (they're more dangerous than sharp ones!).

Instead, McMahon says there are only two tools you need to carve a pumpkin safely.

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