Getting bored in your kitchen? Feeling like it's time for something new, but you don't want to spend the money or go through the hassle of a major renovation?
Your kitchen cabinet doors provide an interesting opportunity for you to liven up your kitchen and show off your creativity.
Don't underestimate the importance of your kitchen cabinets - they accentuate your walls, floor, and countertops. New cabinets can give a whole room a like-new feeling, and you can get a similar effect from just giving your cabinets a makeover.
So let's take a look at three ways you can spruce up your kitchen cabinets: replacing those old fixtures, adding some stylish wallpapering or trim, and installing some cool LED lighting.
Replacing Your Cabinet Fixtures
The fixtures on kitchen cabinet doors are often one of the most overlooked aspects of a kitchen's aesthetic. When were they last changed?
Some new metal fixtures, whether they are bright and shiny or dark and elegant, will add a fresh touch to your kitchen. There are more options than ever - copper, yellow brass, oil-rubbed bronze, stainless steel, brushed nickel, and more.
There are also many shapes to choose from, although they're usually based on a classic and practical knob or rod design.
You can replace all the fixtures on your kitchen cabinet doors with the same style, or you can go with different colors and types of metal in different places. This is a more modern look, using different fixtures to accentuate certain parts of the kitchen.
Adding Some Wallpaper
If you thought paint was the only option for adding color to your kitchen cabinet doors, you may have been missing out. Instead of having to deal with all the hassle of painting, consider wallpapering your kitchen cabinet doors and sides.
Wallpapering cabinets is easier and cheaper than painting them, and you also get a surprising, unique look in your kitchen. You can continue a color scheme you have going on, accenting the floor, walls, and trim, or go for a contrasting look.
Patterns of food, flowers, or leaves can give an inviting and homely look. Alternatively, a shiny metallic wallpaper can create a sleek, modern feel.
You could also use contact paper or vinyl decals, which may be easier to remove later on.
Easy LED Lighting
Installing new lights used to take an electrician, but today there are options for LED lighting you can easily install yourself. They're inexpensive, very bright, and a great alternative to those big, flickering, fluorescent bulb tubes.
LED lights come in several types. You can buy them in thin strips of various sizes, or as small hockey puck shapes.
You can usually wire together several of these lights in sequence, so you only need to plug them into one outlet. There are also battery-powered lights that don't need to be plugged in.
LED lights usually come with adhesive that allows them to be stuck anywhere you want. Most people put them underneath their cabinets to light up their countertops, but you can also put them inside cabinets to light them from within. This will give your kitchen cabinet doors a nice glow, and can look warm and inviting at night.
While installing new kitchen cabinet doors is a great way to give your kitchen a makeover, there are more simple ways to achieve the same aim. Replacing familiar old fixtures with new ones, adding some wallpaper to liven up the scene with color and designs, or installing some pleasant and practical LED lighting are all options.
You can even consider combining all three, leaving your guests wondering when you got that new kitchen.
The Vegetarian's Survival Guide to Christmas
Christmas is a time of indulgence. For some this seems to be about consuming as much meat as possible. Whenever I read through Christmas cookbooks, I notice an inordinate amount of recipes that seem to include cooking every animal under the sun. So if you are a vegetarian, this time of year can be tricky for you. You may come under a lot of pressure to eat meat, or people may give you a hard time when they notice you are not eating meat. Or perhaps you are worried about what to cook or whether you will go hungry - especially if you are to be a guest in someone else's house. These issues can be particularly tricky if you only recently became vegetarian. Hopefully the following will make your vegetarian Christmas a happy time for all.
Dealing with the pressure
When friends and family gather at Christmas there's a chance that you being vegetarian crops up. Whether in conversation or when they see you not eating meat. So it's entirely possible that you start feeling the pressure to eat meat. It may pay to remind yourself that what you eat has nothing to do with anybody else. Do such people pay as much attention to all the other aspects of your life? What I am saying is being vegetarian is just one of the hundreds of choices you have made in your life. It is a small part of who you are but it is an important part. Don't let pressure from others derail you.
Sometimes you may also feel the pressure to eat meat when it feels like you don't have any good food choices. There are many options out there and it's a great opportunity to head into the kitchen and create something amazing. It can help if you think back to why you became a vegetarian in the first place. I remember arriving in Australia and there were barely any choices for vegetarians. It was in stark contrast to the UK where vegetarians were much more catered for. However, it never occurred to me to start eating meat again. Instead I got stuck into cooking from scratch and was soon easily able to convert many meat recipes into something vegetarian.
What to eat
If you are cooking for yourself this Christmas there are a number of directions you can take and your personality may come into it. Are you a traditionalist or are you happy to move away from the norm?
I personally love tradition. Or rather, the tradition of roast potatoes since they're the best bit and the rest are just accompaniments! If you would prefer a traditional dinner, think about how a traditional dinner can be tweaked to make it vegetarian. Mock meats are widely available and can be easily substituted for the meat other people are eating. It may be worth trying out different brands before Christmas and see what your like. If you don't fancy meat alternatives, there are many other tasty options out there that go well with all the trimmings. Nut roasts, and delicious things wrapped in pastry can be fantastic (I'm thinking pies, Wellingtons, en croute and strudel). Just remember to make a vegetarian gravy and ensure your stuffing balls are vegetarian if you are having them. I often do pigs in blankets - just wrap vegetarian bacon around vegetarian sausages.
If tradition doesn't work for you - don't be afraid to ignore it all together. It's always nice to create new traditions when you find something that works for you. My traditional Christmas breakfast is Nigella Lawson's Christmas morning muffins. I've done them for so long, I can't remember what I used to do and even what a traditional Christmas breakfast would look like. One thing you could do is look at the different dishes people eat around the world at Christmas and take inspiration from them. Or you could just eat your favourite meal. Perhaps primp it up a bit by using the best ingredients or adding some festive flavours or garnishes. When I first moved to Australia I had to get used to Christmas in summer and spent a few years trying out different things, until I found something that worked for me, the climate and made it feel like Christmas. So as well as my traditional dinner I enjoy things like mango salads and the abundance of fresh fruit available - especially cherries.
If you are after recipe ideas - the internet is a fantastic source. The vegetarian society always puts up a Christmas menu and I look forward to checking this out each year. If you like cookbooks, I love Rose Eliot's 'Vegetarian Christmas' and have used it for years. There are some good magazines out there that feature seasonal fare for vegetarians - Good Food magazine is great and also there are some good vegetarian cooking magazines around.
Cooking for others
I know some vegetarians will cook meat for other people. However I've never been one of them. When I left home I became a vegetarian and moved into a flat with my vegetarian boyfriend. So my kitchen has always been vegetarian. Last year I had family for Christmas and warned them beforehand that the meal would be vegetarian. They were happy with this and loved the meal. On Christmas day I made a tasty en croute filled with delicious things like Stilton and chestnuts. With all the trimmings of course. On New Year's Day I did a traditional roast dinner - Yorkshire puddings and all, but instead of beef I used a mock meat. Since I knew my meat eating guests probably wouldn't like the mock meat I told them to bring some slices of cooked meat to add to their meal. This worked well and everyone was happy. Some people will be more open than others to trying mock meats - you'll probably have a fair idea who they are.
Being a vegetarian guest
Some people are more than happy to accommodate the vegetarian, whereas others go into panic mode and draw a blank. So try to make it easy on your host. If your host is worried about what to do, an easy solution is to prepare and take your own main that can be served with the trimmings. Depending on what you are eating, you can also prepare a gravy to take with you. This doesn't have to be a weird thing - tell them it will ease their burden and save them having to worry about you. I've done this before and cooked up a nut roast and taken it with us.
I've found being a guest over the years quite easy. I'm not the activist type - being a vegetarian is a personal thing to me. Although it would be great if everyone was a vegetarian, it's not my role to preach to them. If you do like to be quite vocal however, maybe Christmas (which can be stressful enough anyhow) isn't the time to discuss your beliefs. This way you can enjoy your meal and your family and feel good about yourself.
Finally, you may dread the digs about you being vegetarian - which can become tiresome. One quick solution to this is to smile politely and then change the subject. If you want a winning subject - make the conversation about them. Most people are quite happy to talk about themselves and will soon forget about you.
Now happy eating and happy Christmas!
Top Six Free Online Tools a Digital Content Writer Should Use
Whether you are a budding writer or a veteran trying to craft an evergreen piece of art there are various kinds of free online tools that you could use.
Let's have a quick-look at the top six free utility based online tools for writers:
Dropbox - This free service allows users to store up to 2GB worth of data on a folder. With a multiple number of word documents and edited versions become a common feature in the life of a writer, this tool is an excellent way to maintain consolidated files within groups of people. Whether you are freelancing or working within a company, this folder is easily shared with clients, colleagues and other stakeholders allowing participants to get access to information on the go. Available on PCs as well as smart phones, this surprisingly prompt to configure tool is rather convenient to use.
Red Room - It is considered as a social network primarily for writers who can maintain pages and get acquainted with their readers. This is packed with various kinds of blogs, videos, events and essays. The intoxication of Red Room increases with your access to it. The more you access, the more engaged you would feel.
Evernote - Evernote is one such effective online tool that allows users to take notes as well as clip some parts of certain websites from the computer. This can be used even in case you want to use it through a cell phone. Another feature about Evernote is that it has unique search tool which makes it easier for the user to source photographs or notes from the desktop.
The Imagination Prompt Generator - This is a right type of inspirational tool for writers who are at times faced with problems like writer's block. You can find a solution to such kinds of writing obstructions by making use of online prompts of ideas. All you need to do is to click through imagination prompt generator and generate various ideas to your set of questions like "Whether God exists?" or "If your pet could speak to you?"
EssentialPIM - This is yet another important tool for content writers to manage their events, notes, to-do lists, writing ideas and reviews. This acts like a comprehensive tool that plays a multi-functional role of syncing up your writings with an iPod, or Palm device or even for that matter with Google Calendar Outlook.
Google Calendar - Google Calender is where a writer can share events. Whether it is your editor or some partners, you can share information or zero in on an event with an online calendar. This works well with other productivity as well as CRM tools. Here the events are stored online, and they can be viewed from any location that has an internet access. This is basically promotes sharing and collaboration amongst groups.
While there are a number of online tools for writers of various types, what is important is to use them properly. Right from blogging platforms to networking websites, the supply of such tools is ample. The only requirement from a writer is to have an observer's eye.
Ayesha is a seasoned writer, and part of http://www.futureofdigitalcontent.com wherein she helps clients and agencies with their writing needs. You can reach her for content related to websites, newsletters, SEO content, article writing, essays, social calendars, LinkedIn postings and more.