Happiness Hacks for Life In and Out of the Kitchen

Every now and then we get a request to share our tips and tricks; “kitchen hacks” if you will. I finally starting writing a few in my journal and have compiled a list of 20 of the best. Clearly it is not comprehensive, but you may find a few helpful. Some of these gems have been around for several lifetimes, and a few come directly from our kitchen to yours.

1. There are some things that will always make you happy if you have them in your home: flowers, good olive oil, an excellent knife and a cat.

2. When you’re sad, don’t fight it - accessorize it. Get a fancy handkerchief, pour some gin and play Edith Piaf until the CD player overheats.

3. Knowing how to roast red peppers will impress more people than you'd think.

4. Take the time to actually read recipes through before you begin.

5. Recipes are only guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Get comfortable replacing ingredients with similar ingredients that you like.

6.  Unless it’s a recipe for cake or bread, then don’t make substitutions and measure accurately. There are no shortcuts in pastry: It's a science.

7. You can substitute white wine for vermouth in a martini.

8. Everything tastes better when served by candlelight.

9. If your plates and glasses don’t match, no matter. It’s just another reason for the candlelight.

10. Take your shoes off, put on some Coltrane, pour a glass of your favorite beverage and enjoy your time in the kitchen.

11. Do not try to order in French at a French restaurant unless you are French.

12. After making an omelet, deglaze the pan with sherry, then drizzle the sauce over the top to add another dimension to the dish.

13. Never try a new recipe and a new ingredient at the same time.

14. The cheap caviar is still quite good.

15. If you must leave a party and you don't have a good excuse, spill something on yourself.

16. Cook pasta 1 minute less than the package instructions and cook it the rest of the way in the pan with sauce.

17. When you make a mistake, own it.

18. Fix it, or deal with it, but stop whining about it

19. Clean as you go. Sounds obvious, but people rarely do it.

20. The best way to end a conversation is "I'm sorry to let you go."

I'm sure there are many, many, many more. So far, these have worked for us. Please feel free to share your simple rules for life, happiness and cooking in the comments section. We would love to hear them!