Three Cookware Essentials for Every Kitchen

Whether you're a trained chef or your cooking experience is limited to burning a piece of toast, these are the cookware essentials to have in your kitchen arsenal.

1) 10-inch skillet
This particular piece will likely become your go-to piece of cookware. When shopping for the skillet, look for medium- or heavy-weight pans, and opt for pans with a non-stick finish. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet in the same size is another good tool to have; it'll enable you to create a nice sear on steak, chicken, and other proteins.

2) Two- to three-quart saucepan with lid
You'll use this pan for boiling pasta and rice, steaming veggies, heating soups, making sauces, and much more. If you regularly prepare large-batch soups and stews for freezing, consider also purchasing an eight-quart stockpot, or, for stove-to-table dining, a four-quart dutch oven.

3) Eight- or nine-inch chef's knife
Spring for the most high quality knife that your budget will allow, and note that this is one piece you'll want to shop in person. Head to a kitchen supply store to "try out" a few knives; that is, hold a few and decide which one feels the most comfortable.

The Well-Equipped Kitchen [Good Housekeeping]
Essential Kitchen Tools Checklist [Real Simple]
The Kitchn's Guide to Essential Cookware [The Kitchn]
Equipment: 9 Essential Pots and Pans [Serious Eats]

Learn to Cook with Turnips from These Online Guides

Turnips peak in October and continue to grow throughout the fall and winter, making them a delicious but often forgotten choice for warm, hearty cold weather meal planning. These online guides will teach you how to choose the perfect turnips, give you tips for preparing them, and provide you with enough recipes to last through the season.

Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart is a reliable choice for many cooking needs, and her Turnip and Rutabaga Basics guide does not disappoint. Here you’ll find what to look for when purchasing a turnip at the grocery store or farmers market, as well as how to store turnips in your home kitchen. She also provides a number of turnip recipes for side dishes, breakfasts, and nutritious salads.

All Recipes
Like the name implies, you’ll find just about any recipe you can imagine on All Recipes. The site’s section of turnip recipes is vast and packed with unique options, from Creamy Turnip with Paprika Soup to Crispy Turnip ‘Fries’ that even the kids will love.

BBC Food
The popular British television network features delicious and nutritious turnip recipes on its great food website, with many dishes that you may not have even tasted here in America. Categories like main courses, snacks, and appetizers organize the recipes, and the site features tips for buying and storing turnips as well.

Health Benefits of Low-Sodium Diets

If you want to take control of your health and your weight, one of the most important things to consider is your sodium intake. Sodium can cause you to pack on pounds and put you at risk for cardiovascular disease or hypertension, as well as a number of other health risks. These simple facts will show you how dangerous sodium can be and advise you on how to cut back on your sodium intake.

Many people should keep their sodium intake at 1,500 mg per day or less.
If you’re over 51 years old, no matter your current quality of health, you should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. You should also stick to this number if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, or if you’re African American.

The large majority of your sodium intake comes from processed foods.
While many people assume that sodium comes from adding salt to your food, this is incorrect. Processed foods include incredibly large amounts of sodium, even if you might not be able to taste it.

Follow the DASH diet plan.
DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertensions, aims to cut sodium in your diet to help you prevent hypertension and high blood pressure. By following these helpful guidelines, your low-sodium diet will become much easier.

Low Salt, Low Sodium, and the DASH Diet [The DASH Diet Eating Plan]
Low-Sodium Diet [WebMD]

Easy Ways Be More Productive at Work

Even the most model of employees is susceptible to the 3 p.m. slump. But that doesn't necessarily mean productivity has to suffer. Check out these three tips for improving your workflow at the office.

1) Let your body dictate the day.
It's likely that your energy levels take a nosedive at certain times during the workday, while other times you feel lively and awake. Take mental note of these ebbs and flows in energy, and plan your day's tasks around them. Schedule routine tasks for when your energy dips, and plan tasks requiring more brain power during the hours when you're feeling more lively.

2) Don't multitask.
If you get everything done at once, you'll have more time to complete other tasks, right? Not really. It's impossible for your brain to devote equal attention to multiple tasks being performed simultaneously; you'll be more apt to make mistakes, which will cost you valuable minutes somewhere down the line.

3) Take a break.
You probably feel pressure to soldier on through your lunch break, but staying chained to your desk is actually counterproductive. Instead, aim to take five minute breaks every two hours. Walk around, stretch, and get outdoors, if you can. This will improve blood flow and help you feel more energized.

10 Easy Ways To Be More Productive At Work [Forbes]
11 Ways To Be More Productive At Work [AskMen]
10 Ways to be More Productive at Work [U.S. News]

Short on Time? Here’s How to Clean Your Home in 20 Minutes

Whether you have guests coming over or you’re simply exhausted after a long day at work, sometimes a deep apartment cleaning just isn’t in the cards. Don’t fret, because it is entirely possible to clean your living space without spending a lot of time doing it. Here are a few tips to help you clean your apartment in 20 minutes or less.

  1. Remove clutter. The easiest way to create the illusion of a clean apartment is by removing all of the unnecessary clutter. Hang up the clothes that are lying on the floor (or at least toss them in the closet), and gather up all of the food or magazines scattered around the living room.
  2. Empty the sink. A sink full of dishes is a sure sign of an unclean apartment. Even if you don’t have time for much else, wash the dishes!
  3. Take out the trash. Nothing will blow your clean apartment cover faster than a smelly garbage can. Empty the trash in the bathrooms, bedrooms, and the kitchen.
  4. Freshen up. Spray couches and chairs with a neutral scented fabric refresher, and place some candles throughout the most high-traffic rooms. Even if you didn’t clean every nook and cranny, this will make things feel fresh.

Clean your home in less than 20 minutes [She Knows]
9 Tips For Speed Cleaning [About Home]
30 Quick and Easy Cleaning Tips [Woman’s Day]
Speed Cleaning: Tips For Fast & Efficient Housekeeping [The Inspired Room]

These Pasta Recipes Are Full of Flavor, Low in Carbs

If you’ve been paying attention to the buzz around the healthy eating world, you’ve likely heard whispers about spaghetti squash, zucchini “noodles,” and other grain-free pasta alternatives. Here’s the skinny on these low-carb dishes: They’re healthy, they’re fairly simple to make, and, if done correctly, they’re just as delicious as good old spaghetti and meatballs. Check out these three recipes to try for dinner tonight.

Smoked Mackerel and Leek Fettuccini
Low-carb spaghetti squash is substituted for traditional spaghetti noodles in this unique dish. Plus, the flavorful, aromatic blend of hearty smoked mackerel and two whole cloves of garlic creates such delicious flavor that you won’t even know that you aren’t eating real pasta.

Low-Carb Zucchini Pasta
This versatile recipe for zucchini pasta shows you how to create the perfect “noodle” base for just about any of your favorite pasta dishes. Once you peel the zucchini into the spaghetti-like strips, you can then cook it and top with marinara, Alfredo, or any other sauce of your choice.

Pasta alla Bolognese, Paleo Style
The Paleo diet is known for its emphasis on meats and veggies and not so much for things like pasta. If you’re avoiding grains to adhere to a Paleo lifestyle, this updated Italian classic will be a welcome alternative to your usual grilled chicken. The pasta is made out of spiraled rutabaga, and the clean meat sauce made of grass-fed beef is so well seasoned that you’ll just have to go back for seconds.

Train Your Brain With These 3 Apps

When trying to get healthy, there are countless smartphone apps to help keep us on track. These apps let you track your calories, workouts, and even give you healthy alternatives to junk food. While it's important to keep our bodies in shape, it's also important to keep our minds in shape. Check out these great apps to help keep your mind sharp.

Enhance your memory and attention to detail with Lumosity. This app designs a training program just for you to improve your brain function through games. You'll feel like you're just playing a game, when in reality you're exercising your mind.

Clockwork Brain
Improve your problem solving skills with the wonderful games designed by Clockwork Brain. Sprocket the Robot guides you through creative games with a steampunk design. Have fun while enhancing language, memory, logic, and more.

Math Vs. Brain
Keep your brain sharp by solving a few math problems a day. For every problem you solve, you earn a star. When you can't figure out a problem, just use a star to unlock the answer. You can keep playing and challenging your mind.

Global Kids

Melissa Morgante, a resident of Parc Rosslyn, is on the Advisory Council of Global Kids – DC.

Global Kids started in NYC and just opened in DC four years ago. This non-profit organization focuses on providing youth with leadership skills and promotes civic engagement. Global Kids goes into urban classrooms to talk with youth about global issues and provides them with opportunities outside the classroom to explore these issues further, such as sponsoring youth trips abroad to Haiti and bringing prominent leaders to speak with them.

The Huffington Post has been publishing articles written by students and former alum of Global Kids on their experiences. Here's the link if you want to check it out:

If your company is looking for a local nonprofit to donate to and you find Global Kids to be a good fit for your organization's charity initiatives, please refer them to me. As a member of the Advisory Council, I'd be happy to tell your company more about the organization and put them in touch with the management of Global Kids.

We are also holding a fundraising event on Wednesday, June 4th at the German Marshall Fund in Washington, DC. The following link is an invitation for you and to anyone you know who would be interested in attending:

If your organization would be interested in donating, they could also do so by providing a prize for our silent auction at the June 4th event. This event will be a great way to meet others who are passionate about Global Kids' mission and to share in the organization and youth's continued success.

If you want to know more about Global Kids, please let me know. Also, check out their website if you get a chance:

You can contact me at



Improve Your Entrepreneurial Knowledge With These Business Websites

Whether you own your own business or you’re just interested in the ebb and flow of the economy, reading up on business news is helpful for just about every type of person. Though many business publications are dry and difficult to read, these websites present business news in an interesting, accessible manner.

With a simple layout and a variety of business-oriented categories, Inc. is a great website for browsing or reading long-form articles. The startup section provides useful tips and tricks for budding entrepreneurs, providing insight from successful business owners and lists of the most successful industries. Whether you’re interested in salaries, leadership skills, or innovative products, Inc. has a little something for everyone.

Fast Company
Fast Company is an online business magazine focused on innovation in technology, economics, leadership, and design. It is written by a group of successful business leaders who provide helpful insight into establishing and running companies both large and small, and it also features the most creative marketing ideas from innovative brands around the world.

Public Domain/

Explore the World of Science With These 2 Websites

The world of science covers a wide range of areas, from astronomy to geography to biology. Whether you’re an experienced scientist or a student who simply loves science, these fascinating websites will provide hours of video, audio, and text devoted to your favorite subject.

Popular Science
The beloved science magazine Popular Science now has a website with just as much up-to-date scientific news. Here you’ll find the latest information about technology, cars, aviation, space, geology, and a variety of other universally appealing subjects. The Popular Science website also features high-quality video, beautiful photo galleries, and links to interesting blogs that you won’t find in the print magazine.

Science Mag
Science Mag is a science website with a more intellectual tone, covering both the latest news in the science world and new findings from various fields. High-resolution images and exciting podcasts make the site more interactive, and webinars allow visitors to really become a part of the research. Science Mag covers the worlds of medicine, geology, technology, and a number of other subjects, and it even offers aspiring scientists advice for breaking into the field of science.

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