5 Cooking Related Resolutions to Lose Weight

Losing weight is the most common new year’s resolution, but it’s also the one that’s broken the most. Surprising? Ha! No! After all, we make such resolutions on the very day that we say “diet starts tomorrow!” and then call out “cheers!” clutching our first drink tighter than our first born before it’s even midday. To think we’d reach for carrots and celery on the 1st of January instead of the leftover party food (or the toilet bowl) is ludicrous.

Beyond the 1st though, perhaps it would be more helpful to not regard losing weight as being our resolution, but instead the by-product of our resolution/s. When we say things like we want to “lose weight” or “be happier” or “be more giving”, we are stating the what but not the how, but it’s the how that should be our resolution if we have any chance at succeeding with our broader goals. Working out the how is what forces us to put an action plan in place. Without action, our goals are ‘as useless as tits on a bull,’ as the saying goes.

So if losing weight is your broader goal, here are some tips for what your 2017 resolutions could be:

  1. Throw out all the junk food in your fridge and your pantry

This will be harder than you think but you need to be cutthroat. If you’re like me, most of the junk food in your pantry was purchased because it was on sale. The rest was purchased because you always say “there’s nothing to just pick up and eat in this house!” (you can’t be arsed spending 5-10 minutes preparing a healthy meal but will happily add butter, milk and hot water to a packet of alfredo and then wait 10-12 minutes for the microwave to do the work). When the thought crosses your mind that you’re wasting money and food, remember that your health is priceless.

  1. Incorporate vegetables into every meal

Who else gets to dinner time and thinks uh oh, I need to pack 5 serves of vegetables into this meal…? Why not try spacing these champions out across the day. Skip the vegemite toast and have eggs with a side of veggies for breakfast instead (sautéed mushrooms, asparagus, wilted spinach, roast tomato). Skip the ham and cheese sandwich for lunch and opt for a veggie packed salad (roasted pumpkin, beetroot, carrot or sweet potato). For dinner, skip the convenient sides of pasta or rice and have nutrient dense sides (steamed/grilled broccolini with oyster sauce, ricotta-stuffed portobello mushrooms, corn cobs with lime juice and chili flakes). Vegetables have so many vitamins and minerals in them, plus they’re filling. If you eat the right amount of them, you won’t find yourself craving the sugary and salty alternatives so quickly.

  1. Do your groceries online

I’ve been doing my groceries online for a couple of years now and I’ve noticed a massive difference in the types of food I buy, the time I spend shopping and the money I save (otherwise I walk down every aisle, chuck things into the trolley saying “Oooo on sale!” and end up spending as additional $100 to save $20). Online, I always scroll through the entire fresh fruit and fresh vegetable aisles to view the specials because this is how you know what’s in season and what’s freshest (which is also what tastes best). The cart viewable the whole time so you can see whether you’ve got fruit and veg of all colours (eat the rainbow they say!).

If you want to avoid buying junk food, you simply avoid clicking on those aisles. Likewise, if you want to buy junk food but want to control yourself, just type in your desired product (you don’t have to view the entire aisles if you don’t want to).

  1. Wash and chop all your fresh produce in advance

The number of times I’ve bought an array of fresh fruit, vegetables and meats only to throw them out at the end of the week is ridiculous. It is the height of laziness, but all too often I’d get to a meal time and have microwave rice because I couldn’t be bothered washing and chopping vegetables. Now, when I have my groceries delivered, I leave everything fresh on the bench. I then wash it all at the same time, cut it up and store it in airtight containers. I also cut and store meats in portion sizes to make life easier. That way, I can mix and match at meal times and don’t have to do any chopping – just cooking! I’d rather spend 30-60 mins doing food preparation in one hit than doing it every night when I’d rather be relaxing. Plus, it means fewer dishes to wash after every meal.

  1. Do a weekly meal plan

Planning meals is not for everyone, but I’m a huge fan. The second I’m not organised is the second all my good intentions disappear and I’m having ice-cream for entrée (even though entrée was never on the cards!). What I like about planning meals is that it gives me a visual of what foods I’ll be consuming that week. It allows me to map out the right portions of fruit, vegetables, meat and grains. I also really like having different themes to take some of the the thought out of planning – e.g. stir-fry night, seafood night, vegetarian night etc. If I don’t plan meals, I buy the same foods every week and have the same meals – it’s this boredom that has me reaching for treats like chocolate and wine after dinner.

goals

Adopting one or all of these tips as your resolutions for 2017 will make you feel like you’re actually doing something to achieve your broader goal of losing weight. Always remember that big change is the result of a number of small actions. These tips are about getting you to consciously carry out small and simple actions every week that will give you more control and more motivation to reach for the healthier version of you that you have identified you want to become.

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8 tips for an easier Christmas Day

  1. Do as much as you can before Christmas Day

If you’ve done all or part of your grocery shopping by now, you deserve a medal. Now it’s time to assess what can be prepared early.  Start by sorting your fridge because there’s no doubt it’s overflowing. Separate your vegetables, fruits and meats. Then go through each category and see what can be done early. For instance, chop your vegetables and coat them in oil to avoid browning. If you’re making your own breadcrumbs for stuffing, do it now and freeze them in a bag. Chop nuts for recipes that need them and store them in airtight containers. Prepare salad dressings and sauces that will keep for a few days in jars. Basically, look at all of your recipes to see what steps can be done days in advance – you’ll be surprised how many there are.

  1. Set the table the night before Christmas

Christmas morning goes so fast that my debate is whether to shave the ham or my legs (not where to position figurines on the table).

So why not make it a ritual to set the table while watching Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve? First lay the plates, cutlery, glasses and napkins. Then put all of the platters on the table with the bags of lollies, chocolates, nuts and glace cherries in them – all you have to do is open the bags in the morning. Then spend some time putting some nice decorations on the table – bonbons, leftover tree decorations, candles or a vase with some greenery from the garden. Voila!

  1. Prep that bird!

Take the turkey out of the fridge a couple of hours before it goes in the oven. If it’s room temperature when you put it in, it will cook faster and taste nicer. And don’t forget to stuff the turkey well before it’s time to cook it – if you fart about and do it last minute, you may have cost yourself crucial cooking time and be on the receiving end of comments later like “no, it’s fine, the other dishes aren’t cold… I mean they’re not hot but they’re not cold cold.”

  1. Write a menu

It’s good to have a visual of the dishes you’ll be serving so you can map out what needs to be cooked and what it’s going to be cooked in. Most of us only have one oven, but I’m guessing most of us are also unrealistic in our expectations of how much can fit in there… This is when you may also realise you don’t have the appliance you need for a dish that you’ve chosen because the photo of it looked ah-mazing.

  1. Parboil your vegetables

Give yourself the best chance of cooking everything perfectly. If you’re oven space is limited, help it out by parboiling your potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin first. If you want to go one step further, you can even roast them until they’re nearly cooked and then finish cooking them just before the meal.

  1. Do something different to make the day memorable

An opportunity to make something more fun or sentimental is never wasted, so why not do something different every year to this end? Bring paper and pens out during lunch and get everyone to draw their funniest family memory, get a piñata for the kids, give everyone 2 minutes to come up with an original joke to share, organise funny boob aprons or something similar for the cooks to wear, do Christmas trivia or play a slideshow with previous family Christmas photos. Some of this sounds lame, but you know what, when you see family members on Christmas Day that you only see once or twice a year, it can be invaluable to do something that brings respite from the usual “so what’s new with you?”

  1. Delegate!

For those already shaking their heads, let me tell you that I’m a perfectionist so the word ‘delegate’ sounds like nails on a blackboard to me. However, the reality is that if you insist on doing everything, you’ll spend the entire day being a hot sweaty mess in the kitchen on the one day you’ve been looking forward to all year. And you’re crazy if you think that the champagne, those rum balls and all the other fancy hoo-ha that you made will be around when you’re ready…think of the blood, sweat and tears you put into that jolly gingerbread house only to have the children what….pull apart, lick the lollies and put them back?! If there’s one day of the year to delegate, it’s Christmas Day.

  1. Celebrate!!!

You know why we look forward to Christmas all year? Because it’s family time, it’s friend time, it’s food time, it’s cocktail time! Take a minute to remember what you envisioned Christmas this year to look like and make sure you follow through on it. Relax. Enjoy. Celebrate.

 merry-bright

Wishing you a very merry Christmas from everyone here at L & M Gold Star!

In 2017 our blog will bring you lots of cooking inspiration, home appliance information, refurbishment tips and more!

In the meantime, we’d love you to come to our showroom to see our appliances. We are located at 2584 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach QLD and we are only closed on public holidays over the new year.

“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” -Alan D. Wolfelt

Keep the above quote in the back of your mind until you finish reading okay? It’s part of my punchline!

For me, Christmas is the most exciting time of the year. I can hardly wait until the 1st of December (ok fine, late November!) to put the tree up and hang the fairy lights. I start my shopping months before Christmas just because I love dragging out the festive feeling. I listen to Christmas carols while wrapping presents and as I sit in my lounge room every night looking at the lit up tree, I can’t help but feel overwhelming love and thankfulness for my family and friends.

Christmas is a time fuelled by sentiment – it’s meaningful, it’s happy, it’s optimistic. The holiday season is about giving, sharing, celebrating and loving (but heaven forbid our loved ones to expect us to say the same things in person as we do in a card!). 

Every year however, I can’t help but think of those who don’t feel the same way about Christmas as me. For some people, it’s sad, or stressful, or lonely. Some have lost loved ones recently, or the memory of long lost loved ones detracts from the festivities. Some are struggling financially and the pressure to buy gifts and nice food with all the trimmings is just too much. Some are battling with an illness themselves or of a loved one. Some have family who are away or live elsewhere. Some are segregated from their families simply because of who they are (you know, that one, the black sheep) or because family conflicts haven’t been resolved in time, or never will be. Hek, some mums are just so exhausted by the end of the year because they’ve been doing everything for others and not for themselves (even though it’s bikini season and those legs are in need of shaving!). And hey, let’s not forget about our teeny boppers who worked their arses off all year to get into their desired university course, but have fallen short with their exam marks (or done nothing, but hoped for 99.5 nonetheless…).

This Christmas, I encourage everyone to not just spare a thought, but to actually do something for someone that you know that needs it (that’s right, I’m not just talking about donating to a charity because the Salvos guys are at the pub with a bucket).  It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time; it’s just about showing that someone that you care. For those struggling for ideas, I have just the thing!

Your mission is to prepare a meal for someone that has a special touch…

  1. Set yourself a budget
  2. Decide what you’re going to make (or what you’re going to buy and claim that you made) – whether it’s lobster or a Vegemite sandwich, it doesn’t matter!
  3. Apply a personal touch like some handpicked flowers in a vase (I’m not condoning “stealing” but if you don’t have flowers and your neighbour has lots……) or a balloon tied to the meal, or a tea light candle on the serving tray, or even your favourite photo of the two of you if you have one.
  4. Deliver the meal in person, tell that person that they’ve been on your mind and wish them a merry Christmas.

Before entering the family business, I was a Social Worker working with children in foster care (the job that gives you a bigger heart but more grey hairs). I have a good friend who used to leave single tea bags on my desk with a post-it note on them – sometimes just with a smiley face drawn on it, sometimes with a short message. What cost sometimes only a few cents for my friend  gave me something priceless – that single tea bag told me that I was thought of, loved and cared for. Now that my friends, is the sentiment that you can leave someone with this Christmas that will last well beyond Christmas Day and the New Years celebrations that follow.

Here at L & M Gold Star, we’re about more than kitchen appliances – we have a passion for cooking and believe that food brings family and friends together in a way that other things can’t. Always remember that “food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate” – that one simple meal you prepare with thought for someone may mean the world to them. Whoever said that the way to a mans heart is through his stomach was only half-right – it’s the way to everyone’s heart! (think how much males and females alike love the taxi driver who takes them through Drive Thru on the way home from the pub). 

Merry Christmas all… May it be the best one yet!

breakfast-in-bed

 

Cooking Turns Me Into A Psycho

Growing up, my mum cooked meat well done, and then cooked it some more. My husband, on the other hand, will eat his steak even when there’s not enough doubt about its’ ability to get up and walk off the plate.
The way we like our meat is a very individual thing, but the fact is that cooking meat can turn the very best of us into a psycho; a revolving door with a different emotion at each turn.
If you’re like me, these are the stages you pass through:
1. You spend an age on recipe websites. You cull the recipes with ingredients you’ve never heard of. Then you cull the ones that use fahrenheit and  ounces.  Next comes the ones that reference the level of difficulty as being 4 or 5 stars. The difficulty is that you’re now left with recipes that rely on butter and cream to taste good, or that are so simple they rely on you actually being able to cook to make the meat shine.
2. You go to the butcher and drop names of meats, pretending that you know the bleep a spatchcock is. You settle on the most expensive cut in the shop, because it must be the best….. and as the butcher is explaining his way of cooking to it you, you’re walking out the door, thinking “whatever buddy, I got this!”
3. You call someone on the way home, bragging about how good dinner is going to be saying things like “it’s so lean, and don’t get me started on the marbling.”
4. You start prepping your animal. You herb it, oil it, stuff it, tenderise it – whatever lights your candle. You fight the urge to coat it in every herb and spice, but restrain yourself thinking “no, the recipe knows best.” (I lie, I always add something extra for good measure).
5. You shove it in the oven with a smile. You’ve got hours till your guests arrive, and you honestly contemplate applying for next years Masterchef.
6. You know the meat will take hours, but you defy logic and check it every 10 minutes. You have absolutely no idea what you’re looking for, but just looking makes you feel like you’re cooking.
7. Your paranoia increases. What if, in an unprecedented way, your 3kg lamb roast goes from raw to overcooked in 45 minutes?! You start checking the oven every 5 minutes, all the while still knowing you have no idea what bloody colour that meat is on the inside.
8. You start talking to yourself…..“Just take it out, cut into it and check if it’s cooked”….. “Don’t make a cut in it, people will know you had to check!”….“Have faith in the recipe”“The recipe doesn’t know my oven”…
9. It’s time to get dressed. You get yourself looking fabulous and then you set the table. You put some music on and pour a wine (ok fine, the wine was opened when cooking started).
10. The guests arrive. They comment on your outfit, how relaxed you looked, how amazing the kitchen smells. They ask if you’ve been cooking all day and you respond “no, don’t be silly, I just whipped a couple of things together last minute!” 
11. The oven timer goes off. IT’S TIME. You open the door, grinning from ear to ear as you pull your pride out of the oven to rest. But the next 10 minutes have you questioning the need to do a nervous poo or have a Xanex. You settle for a wine refill.
12. You don your apron and you make the cut. It’s overcooked. You want to cry. You joke by offering takeaway…even though you can’t afford it after the cost of the meat. People say it’s fine, that it looks great. Your partner says “don’t worry there’s gravy that will cover the dryness….
13. You spend the entire meal apologising for how meat the tastes. You blame the oven. You blame the butcher. You blame the recipe. And then you resolve to cook your guests the best damned vegetarian meal they’ve ever tasted for the next dinner party.
Moral of the story? Take the guessing out of cooking with a food probe. Simply set the desired internal temperature, shove the probe into the meat and walk away. From rare to well done, the food probe has you covered, literally to the enth degree. Many of our ovens come with food probes, including Asko, AEG and Vzug.
Watch this quick 45 second video to find out more about the probe.

 

Make energy efficiency a top priority

This article written by House & Garden explains why energy efficient appliances are worth investing in. Better for your wallet, better for the environment and made using technology that is smarter and more durable than ever before – what’s not to love?

http://www.homestolove.com.au/why-you-should-invest-in-energy-efficient-appliances-1887

We carry a number of energy efficient appliances including washing machines, dryers, fridges and induction cooktops. Visit us today to find out energy consumption and savings information for specific appliances.

H & G kitchen

 

Size Matters… And We Are Big.

Time and time again, we have customers walk into our showroom and say “oh it’s so big, we had no idea!” Many say that they drive past all the time, and have always wondered what we do but have never come in…. well it’s time for us to remind you of that old saying “don’t judge a book by its’ cover”

The front of our shop may give the impression that our showroom is small…. but our premises actually takes up a whole large block. And don’t stress about finding parking on the street, we have a carpark out the back just for our customers.

We have enough stock in our showroom to rival even the biggest retailers – ovens, cooktops, fridges, rangehoods, washing machines, dryers, TV’s, InSinkerators, Zip Taps, mixers, sinks and more.

And don’t forget that our prices include the following:

  • Free delivery
  • Free removal of your old appliance

For a small business, we have big benefits. But don’t take our word for it – come and size us up for yourself.

Pork Belly with Caramel Dressing

This recipe is in the ‘Top 50 Highest Rated’ recipes on Taste.com.au. Cooking this in one of our combi-steam ovens would take the flavour and texture to another level – crunchy crackling with nearly all the moisture retained in the meat…. Heaven!!!

Pork belly with caramel dressing

Ingredients

  • 1kg boneless pork belly (skin on)
  • 1/2 firmly packed cup (110g) brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) red wine vinegar
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cup (250ml) Campbell’s Real Stock Chicken
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges to serve
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup coriander leaves
  • 1 cup Thai basil leaves (see note)
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded, thinly sliced
  •  SAXA Pink Himalayan Salt Flakes, to season

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.

  2. Score the pork belly skin at 1cm intervals. Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan, skin-side up. Rub 2 tablespoons of salt into the skin, then pour in enough water to fill the pan to just under the rack. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes or until the skin is crispy, then reduce the oven to 180°C and roast for a further 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender, topping up with water as necessary.

  3. Meanwhile, place the brown sugar, red wine vinegar and star anise in a saucepan over low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the mixture has reduced by half. Add the lime juice and continue to reduce for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is syrupy. Allow caramel dressing to cool slightly.

  4. To serve, transfer the pork belly to a board, carve into bite-sized cubes and arrange on a platter.

  5. Drizzle the pork with the caramel dressing, then scatter with the mint, coriander, Thai basil, spring onion and red chilli. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over.

Here’s why air conditioning is essential for your investment property

We’ve been air conditioning specialists for many, many years and if there’s something we can’t emphasise enough, it’s how essential air conditioning is for your investment property.

Holiday makers are spoiled for choice with accommodation on the Gold Coast & Sunshine Coast… so what is it that makes people choose your property for their holiday?

Yes, of course it’s the look of the place and the location, but a huge factor is comfort.

We’re known for our hot, hot summers and one of the first questions holiday makers ask is “does the property have air con?” If the answer is no, you’ve likely lost income immediately to a similar property. This isn’t just in summer, it’s all year round (we are called the Sunshine State for a reason).

From quotes to installation, we have you covered.

Call our air conditioning specialist Simon Bright today on 0438 460 800.

hot summer

 

 

 

 

 

Why shop with L & M Gold Star instead of a big retailer?

There’s no denying that customers are spoiled for choice when it comes to kitchen and other electrical appliances on the Gold Coast & Sunshine Coast. So why choose to shop at L & M Gold Star? Indeed, why choose any small business over its’ larger chain competitors?

The fact is that small businesses are able to deliver on the factors that customers consider the most important, and for us, these factors are our bread and butter:

We’re here to serve you, not the other way around:

We all know how nice it is to deal with the same staff member every time you contact a business. Hallelujah, there’s no need to repeat your story a million times! Here at L & M Gold Star, we get it. Our team is small but has bucket-loads of experience. We are dedicated to making things easier for you and we can guarantee that you’ll never be transferred from person to person, be waiting on hold for an eternity or have someone not return your call.

Our service is in the details. Our team often spend hours on end with customers in the showroom to make sure they are making the right choices for their needs. We provide super fast quotes and deliver for free. Hek, we even remove the old appliance for free! Plus, our service doesn’t end with the sale – if you need information about your product after the sale, just give us a call. And if there’s an issue with the product, we take care of the service call so that you don’t have to deal with the manufacturer at all. Will the big retailers do all that for you?……… ahhhhh no.

You’re part of our family:

L & M Gold Star is a family business and it has been since the day it started. The leading lady, Trina Hockley, has invested blood, sweat and tears to get the business to where it is (oh, and the capital!). From the outset, L & M’s focus has been on relationship building. We’re not just here to sell you stuff… we genuinely want to get to know you, help you and be there when you need us. Call or visit once, and you’ll be remembered the second time.

We’re closer to you than the big retailers: 

Imagine calling a big retailer, making an order at lunchtime and asking for it to be delivered that afternoon, and for it to be delivered for free….. please, what a joke! Here at L & M, we do same day deliveries and delivery is included – if we have it in stock, it’s yours, end of story.

We run lean: 

With L & M Gold Star, there isn’t red tape. We can give you the information you need and we make decisions without having to call our boss, and the boss’s boss and then their boss, only be to directed back to beginning…. it was exhausting just typing that.  Our staff are a close-knit team that operate on the same level… although we have job titles, everyone pitches in where they are needed – we aren’t pretentious; we’re fluid.

We change when we need to: 

If something isn’t working, we change it. Simple. We don’t have to lodge proposals, send them up the never-ending chain, and then have to wait months for a change to filter down the line that has minimal impact anyway. This also goes for responding to customer feedback…. some customers said that it would be great if we did bathroom renovations, and in the blink of an eye, now we do!

Come and experience what we have to offer. Our showroom might look small from the outside, but our customers often exclaim “it’s so big in here, I had no idea!”

Our case is straightforward. We serve you. We remember you. We value you. 

We now do bathroom & kitchen renovations!

LME Logo

LME Refurbishments is a joint venture between two highly successful and long standing Gold Coast companies, Eximm and L & M Gold Star.

For over 10 years Eximm and L & M Gold Star have maintained a strong and mutually beneficial working relationship in the marketplace with Eximm holding solid experience in the building sector and L & M Gold Star being are an electrical appliance retailer, wholesaler and bathroom product supplier.

Due to client demand, the CEO’s of both companies have agreed to come together in a way that would provide clientele with a more simplistic approach, fully managed projects under one roof that in turn create a bigger offering to the marketplace at a highly competitive price.

LME Refurbishments offer unit/apartment renovations including all aspects of design and installation with a particular focus on kitchens and bathrooms.

One business under the one roof delivering multiple solutions.

Call us today on 5592 3344!