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Your kitchen can be a warm spot on a cold day

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As much of the nation sinks into freezing temperatures this week, your kitchen can be a source of warmth in more ways than one.

The kitchen is one of the easiest rooms in which to raise the humidity level-- and humid air is easier to heat. If you have an eat-in kitchen, consider having the family gather around the kitchen table, not just to eat, but perhaps to play cards or a board game, or do homework or handiwork like sewing, quilting, embroidery or needlepoint.

Keep the room warm by cooking from scratch: boil pasta and make sauce from scratch, or simmer a pot of soup. Steam vegetables. All of these will raise the humidity in your kitchen (and the rest of the house if you leave the kitchen door open).

Make chili or gumbo or stew. Then do the dishes in a sinkful of hot water, or run the dishwasher and stop it before it gets to the dry cycle, and just open its door.

And while it is never a good idea to heat the house with the oven, using the oven for baking or roasting will contribute heat to the kitchen. Consider a roasting turkey (not just for holidays anymore) or a chicken, or make a roast beef. Bake a cake or muffins or cookies. Even broiling a steak can warm the room as well as cooking your meal.

Home cooking warms the house and warms the heart.

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