Never Deal With Expired Spices Again by Using These Mini Packs Instead

Occo, Kickstarter
Occo, Kickstarter

Adding seasoning to a dish should be a simple part of the cooking process, but too often, rummaging for measuring spoons and checking the expiration dates on spice jars (which you're hopefully doing!) just leads to frustration. Occo offers a better way by replacing oversized bottles with smartly designed, card-sized packages.

The new product, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, stores spices in packs of 12 individual ¼-teaspoon chambers, adding up to 1 tablespoon of the ingredient per card. Instead of dirtying extra utensils, home cooks can measure out seasonings by peeling open however many capsules the recipe calls for and adding the spice directly to the dish.

An Occo spice card contains much less of an ingredient than the spice jars sold at supermarkets, and that's by design. Even though some people use the same spice containers for years, dried herbs and spices do eventually go bad after prolonged exposure to light, heat, oxygen, and moisture. After enough time passes, the product can lose flavor, and in worst cases, cause food-borne illnesses.

If you want to get the most out of your spices, you should replace them every three to six months. Of course, this is easier said than done if you only use the large jar of nutmeg in your pantry 1 teaspoon at a time every few weeks or so. The spice cards from Occo are designed to be used up before whatever's inside them goes bad. (In case you're concerned with the extra waste produced by replacing one big jar with several tiny packages, each Occo card is made from aluminum, which is one of the easiest materials to recycle.)

Occo sells 12 basic herbs and spices, including oregano, paprika, cinnamon, and chili powder. You can pre-order a collection of three packs for a pledge of $15 on Kickstarter, with shipping estimated for June of this year.

These Rugged Steel-Toe Boots Look and Feel Like Summer Sneakers

Indestructible Shoes
Indestructible Shoes

Thanks to new, high-tech materials, our favorite shoes are lighter and more comfortable than ever. Unfortunately, one thing most sneakers are not is durable. They can’t protect your feet from the rain, let alone heavy objects. Luckily, as their name implies, Indestructible Shoes has come up with a line of steel-toe boots that look and feel like regular sneakers.

Made to be incredibly strong but still lightweight, every pair of Indestructible Shoes has steel toes, skid-proof grips, and shock-absorption technology. But they don't look clunky or bulky, which makes them suitable whether you're going to work, the gym, or a family gathering.

The Hummer is Indestructible Shoes’s most well-rounded model. It features European steel toes to protect your feet, while the durable "flymesh" material wicks moisture to keep your feet feeling fresh. The insole features 3D arch support and extra padding in the heel cup. And the outsole features additional padding that distributes weight and helps your body withstand strain.

Indestructible Shoes Hummer.
The Hummer from Indestructible Shoes.
Indestructible Shoes

There’s also the Xciter, Indestructible Shoes’s latest design. The company prioritized comfort for this model, with the same steel toes as the Hummer, but with additional extra-large, no-slip outsoles capable of gripping even smooth, slippery surfaces—like, say, a boat deck. The upper is made of breathable moisture-wicking flymesh to help keep your feet dry in the rain or if you're wearing them on the water.

If you want a more breathable shoe for the peak summer months, there's the Ryder. This shoe is designed to be a stylish solution to the problem of sweaty feet, thanks to a breathable mesh that maximizes airflow and minimizes sweat and odor. Meanwhile, extra padding in the midsole will keep your feet protected.

You can get 44 percent off all styles if you order today.

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Wax Paper vs. Parchment Paper: What’s the Difference for Cooking?

Wax paper is great for keeping your counter space clean (as seen above).
Wax paper is great for keeping your counter space clean (as seen above).

When it comes to kitchen accessories, there are utensils like ladles and spatulas, bakeware like cupcake pans, and then covers and wraps like aluminum foil and plastic bags. But one kitchen item can result in some confusion—paper. Specifically, wax paper versus parchment paper. Despite similar appearances, they're not the same. What’s the difference between the two?

It’s pretty simple. Parchment paper tolerates heat and wax paper does not. Parchment paper is a sturdy, kitchen-specific item made with silicone that resists both grease and moisture. It’s perfect for cake molds or for wrapping fish. (So long as you don’t reuse it for those tasks.) You can safely use parchment paper in an oven.

Wax paper also has a non-stick surface, but it’s not intended for use around any kind of heat source. The wax on the paper could melt. It’s better to use it to cover countertops to make clean-up easier. You can also use it to roll out dough or pound chicken breasts into submission.

Though parchment paper is typically more expensive, it’s far more versatile. You should opt for wax paper only if you plan on making a mess and want to discard it easily. But don’t get the two mixed up, as wax paper near heat could require another kitchen accessory: a fire extinguisher.

[h/t MarthaStewart.com]