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5 Tips from Brand Director Brooklyn Maple

  1. Read the recipe.

Do your homework before you hit the kitchen – a little thinking goes a long way! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve jumped into a recipe without understanding it first (we’ve all done it, right?!). Cue the frustrating mix-ups and consistency issues that are tough to fix! Although you can usually salvage a dish, save yourself the heartache and simply follow directions. This will help you prepare all the items you need. Think about it – the wrong sized pan can make or break a casserole. It’s all in the details and preparation.

  1. Keep your knives sharp.

I promise, I live by this one – keeping your knives in tip-top condition saves so much time in the kitchen and allows you to be precise. Remember, sharper knives require sharper responsibility…I’ve fallen victim to mine as I maneuvered the pit of an avocado and somehow sliced my finger instead. Luckily, everyone made it out alive. Another pro tip? Use a spoon on the avocado pit.

  1. Everything expires (well, almost everything) …do a monthly cleanout.

This is something I didn’t learn until recently, but it’s a game changer! Meat is an obvious “eat or get rid of before things start to stink,” but condiments and seasonings expire too. Most seasonings last about a year and then begin to lose their punch. If you’re not ready to let go, you can toast in the oven or bust out your mortar and pestle and grind those bad boys back to life. You can test them by smelling them – if they’ve lost their fragrance, that’s a sign they’re expired. This revelation inspired me to do a monthly cleanout of my kitchen – gather all the old condiments, spices, and anything that’s run its course. When you cook often, it’s easy to wind up with five jars of Dijon mustard in the fridge. (I kid you not…FIVE). Just say no.

  1. Practice important recipes before “the real deal”.

If your goal is to impress guests, this one’s for you – practice recipes before making them for a special occasion! Cooking is always harder in a high-pressure situation (hello, TV segments…), so give yourself some time to feel comfortable and make tweaks based on your preferences. Be sure to print your recipe and write your own notes so you don’t forget down the road. Not enough garlic? Too much onion powder?! #FreeWill #SelfLove

  1. Remember the date you take meat out of the freezer.

I’m all for freezing meat, especially considering my line of work. (Let’s be honest, hams tend to rack up and there isn’t always space in the fridge.) Freezing meat is perfectly fine and a great way to extend the life of your purchases, but make sure you remember when you take it out of the freezer. Grab a sharpie and write the freezer removal date from the package so you don’t forget! Meat only lasts a few days after this, so don’t stop the efficiency now. You’ve come this far.