Cooling melted butter seems to take years when I’m in a hurry. To cut corners, reserve a tablespoon or so of chilled butter, and stir it into the melted butter. But why cool melted butter in the first place? Adding ingredients of a different temperature often yields a lumpy batter as they quickly try to reach a common temperature. Butter turns back into its solid state, eggs cook, etc.

Need room temperature butter? Check out this tip. 

A couple weeks ago as I was doing my pumpkin pie recipe research, I stumbled across a genius tip from Aimee of Simple Bites. Before pouring your pumpkin pie filling into the pan (or any other filling of that matter), place the prepared tart (or pie) pan in the oven. Carefully pull out the rack, making sure it’s still secured, and pour filling into the pan, being careful not to spill. Slowly push the rack back into the oven. Also, don’t forget to add a baking sheet underneath.

When baking, use your nose. Without fail, my baked treats are almost always done or near done once I can smell their aroma seeping from the oven. As always, test doneness with a toothpick.

Are you as guilty as me of always having to throw away once fresh herbs well past their prime? I’ve starting drying half the bunch when I buy them since it’s inevitable they’ll end up in the trash. Wash, dry, and chop the herbs. Allow them to sit out and dry overnight in an even layer on the cutting board. Store in an empty spice jar. Speaking of spices, I bought all of mine originally from Target (Archer Farms) for their uniform in size glass jars with labels. I refill them either with bulk spices or self dried spices. They keep my shelves looking pretty and organized.

More often than not, my limes are hard as a rock and yield little juice and a very sore hand. Maybe I should start picking out my own rather than buying the bag? Making dinner the other night, trying to come up with a solution, I remembered a tip my friend Meghan taught me a couple years ago. And it worked like magic. Using the tip of a sharp knife, poke a small slit in the lime and microwave for about 30 seconds. The lime will come out juicy and maleable. Same rule also applies to lemons.

For the perfect slice of cake, use a long, serrated knife (not a steak knife) and slowly cut straight down, skipping the urge to saw. This works even better on a chilled cake as the icing is firmer and will not drag down the side of the cake as you cut.

For extra flavor, brine your turkey this year. I use this recipe. Instead of searching stores high and low for a brining bag, use an oven roasting bag leftover from last Thanksgiving in your pantry. Allow the turkey to soak in the brine overnight to 24 hours ahead of time. Discard the brine and cook as you normally would.

Roasted pumpkin purée makes all the difference. Preheat oven to 325°. Wash sugar pumpkin clean. Cut three 1-inch slits in the pumpkin to allow it to breath. Add pumpkin and an inch of water to a shallow pan. Bake for about an hour or until pumpkin is soft. Cool completely. Peel and discard seeds. Mash pumpkin meat and store covered in the refrigerator, or measure out 1-cup bags and store in freezer.