2. Next time you need to chop sticky ingredients (dried fruit, etc.), coat a pair of kitchen shears with nonstick cooking spray and snip away.
3. Bookmark your favorite recipes in your cookbooks with a paper clip for quick and easy access.
4. If recipe printouts are taking over your kitchen, invest in a simple 3-ring binder. Organize the recipes into categories and store it with your cookbooks. Flag favorites with a Post-It® note and be sure to jot down comments and modifications as you experiment!
5. To soften butter, let it stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. No time for that? Place it between sheets of wax paper and pound with a rolling pin.
6. To speed the process of whipping cream, chill the mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes beforehand.
7. If you're not ready to invest in a professional vacuum sealing machine, try this low-budget tip. Fill a bowl with water and immerse the bag, but do not let water enter the bag. Pressure will force air up and out of the bag. When the bag has collapsed, seal it and place it in the freezer. You can also remove air from a bag by sucking it out through a straw.
8. Oil measuring cups or spoons before filling with syrup or honey and the ingredients will pour easily.
9. It's a good idea to replace kitchen sponges often, since they provide a comfortable home for bacteria. Spruce up existing sponges by tossing them into the dishwasher with your next load. Detergent and high temperatures will help keep bacteria at bay.
10. To keep bugs out of your flour and pasta, place a few bay leaves in the container or on the cabinet shelf. (Bugs hate them!)