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3 Ways That A Water Softener Can Make Kitchen Chores Easier

If you are like many people, you might not like spending any more time on kitchen chores than you have to. However, if you have hard water in your kitchen, your chores might be tougher than they have to be. These are a few ways that a water softener can make kitchen chores a whole lot easier and more pleasant. 1. Get Cleaner Dishes Did you know that hard water can make your dishes look dirty, even if you have run your dishwasher or washed them carefully by hand? This is because the mineral deposits in the hard water can leave themselves on your dishes, which can cause glasses and silverware to look “streaky” and can prevent dishes from looking nice and clean. In the past, you might have blamed not-so-clean dishes on a faulty dishwasher, your dish soap or your own dishwashing routines. Once you install a water softener in your home, however, you might find that your dishes look better with less work…and you don’t have to worry about re-washing dishes anymore. 2. Avoid Drying Out Your Hands Have you found that your hands get really dry, itchy and uncomfortable when you wash dishes? If so, it could be because of hard water. Once you install a water softener, you might find that washing dishes or rinsing vegetables isn’t nearly as unpleasant as it once was and that your hands don’t feel as dry when you’re finished. You’re sure to notice a difference when you take a shower or bath, too. 3. Reduce How Often You Have to Clean Out Your Dishwasher Do you find yourself having to clean the inside of your dishwasher often to get rid of gross mineral deposits that can clog the lines? If so, you’ll probably notice a big difference once you install a water softener. A water softener can help get rid of these mineral deposits, so even though you’ll still have to clean your dishwasher out sometimes, you should not have to worry about these same clogs. This means that your dishwasher can work easily and more efficiently, you won’t have to worry about it wearing out as prematurely and you won’t have to clean...

Three Homemade Caramel Sauces to Top Ice Cream and Other Desserts

Caramel sauce makes ice cream and other dessert items even more delicious. If you want the ultimate indulgent experience, why not try making your own caramel sauce at home? These three recipes all make unique caramel sauces, each with their own flavor profiles and nuances. Try one, or try them all—but be prepared to ask for seconds! Quick Vanilla Caramel Sauce This sauce is made with caramel candies, so it comes together in just a few minutes. It’s great when you’re in a rush, but it certainly does not taste like you took a shortcut. Ingredients: 20 soft caramel candies, unwrapped 1/2 cup milk 2 tablespoons butter 1 vanilla bean 1 pinch salt Place the caramel candies, butter, milk, and salt in a saucepan. Use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean down the center, and scrape the pulp out if its center. Add this to the saucepan. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until the caramels are completely melted. Then, continue heating and stirring until the caramels incorporate into the other ingredients, forming a uniform sauce. Serve immediately or store in a jar in the fridge. Raspberry Caramel Sauce The addition of fresh raspberries makes this sauce something really special. Plus, the purple-pink color adds a pretty look to your desserts. Ingredients: 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup half and half 1/4 cup butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup fresh raspberries Press the raspberries through a sieve or strainer. Discard the seeds, and set the juice aside. In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, half and half, and butter. Bring to a simmer, and continue whisking as you simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. The mixture should thicken and become brown and caramel-like. Add the vanilla and raspberry juice and stir well. Remove from the heat, and serve or store in the fridge. Quick Butter Pecan Sauce Stirring toasted pecans into this sauce gives it a really balanced flavor as well as a hint of texture. Ingredients: 20 soft caramel candies, unwrapped 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup milk 2 tablespoons butter a pinch of salt 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup pecans, chopped finely Spread the pecans...

Have a Homemade Baked Good You’d Love to Sell? Consider Renting Out a Commercial Kitchen for Your Fledgling Business

A lot of professional bakers get their start at home; a favorite family recipe and an entrepreneurial spirit can combine to make a successful start from almost nothing. However, once you start selling your food products, there are a lot of legal restrictions that you will face. In some states, selling food baked in a residential kitchen is illegal. Instead, consider renting space in a commercial kitchen until you build a big enough revenue to support a storefront and commercial kitchen of your own. Here are some things to consider. Opening your own professional commercial kitchen is expensive. When you’re just starting out, building a kitchen that can accommodate commercial food preparation is prohibitively expensive. As of 2013, experts estimate that it costs between $25,000 to $100,000 to outfit a commercial kitchen with the type of equipment that you need.  Instead, consider renting out the commercial kitchen space that you need by the day or hour. This is a smaller investment, by far, and you can even try out the kitchen equipment in order to learn what you do and don’t like long before you have to make equipment-purchase decisions on your own. There are plenty of existing kitchens available for rent. There are commercial kitchens in many areas that are designed as rentals. As of 2013, some offer per-hour pricing at the rate of $10–$25 per hour. If you’re still in the market-testing phase of your production, that’s a very minimal expense. If your market starts to increase, you can often rent the same places by the month for a while instead. But there are other options that you can look at instead if such a kitchen isn’t available within a reasonable distance from your home. Look around for breakfast-only restaurants that have the baking equipment that you need and see if you can rent the space in the evenings for your production. Other potential options include local or family-owned restaurants that are closed on the weekend or one day a week, caterers that may be looking for extra revenue during times when their kitchens aren’t in use, churches, co-ops, community centers, and even actual bakeries (as long as your product isn’t in direct...

Have a Homemade Baked Good You’d Love to Sell? Consider Renting Out a Commercial Kitchen for Your Fledgling Business

A lot of professional bakers get their start at home; a favorite family recipe and an entrepreneurial spirit can combine to make a successful start from almost nothing. However, once you start selling your food products, there are a lot of legal restrictions that you will face. In some states, selling food baked in a residential kitchen is illegal. Instead, consider renting space in a commercial kitchen until you build a big enough revenue to support a storefront and commercial kitchen of your own. Here are some things to consider. Opening your own professional commercial kitchen is expensive. When you’re just starting out, building a kitchen that can accommodate commercial food preparation is prohibitively expensive. As of 2013, experts estimate that it costs between $25,000 to $100,000 to outfit a commercial kitchen with the type of equipment that you need.  Instead, consider renting out the commercial kitchen space that you need by the day or hour. This is a smaller investment, by far, and you can even try out the kitchen equipment in order to learn what you do and don’t like long before you have to make equipment-purchase decisions on your own. There are plenty of existing kitchens available for rent. There are commercial kitchens in many areas that are designed as rentals. As of 2013, some offer per-hour pricing at the rate of $10–$25 per hour. If you’re still in the market-testing phase of your production, that’s a very minimal expense. If your market starts to increase, you can often rent the same places by the month for a while instead. But there are other options that you can look at instead if such a kitchen isn’t available within a reasonable distance from your home. Look around for breakfast-only restaurants that have the baking equipment that you need and see if you can rent the space in the evenings for your production. Other potential options include local or family-owned restaurants that are closed on the weekend or one day a week, caterers that may be looking for extra revenue during times when their kitchens aren’t in use, churches, co-ops, community centers, and even actual bakeries (as long as your product isn’t in direct...