Why Busy People Need the Epicure Steamer

Since marrying my husband nineteen years ago, I've survived on a few pots and pans, a crockpot, a roasting pan, a toaster, a dutch oven, and an instant pot as the leading cookware in my kitchen.  I don't have a lot of bells and whistles when it comes to cookware. So what I'm about to tell you may surprise you based on my cookware buying history. 

One afternoon while scrolling through social media,  I discovered the Epicure website. This Canadian company had recently launched in the U.S. The concept behind its time-saving cookware and non-processed seasoning ingredients intrigued me. I stalked a few demonstrations on using its multipurpose steamer on social media. Eventually, I decided to purchase its value-kit for $99, including the steamer and several quick meal solutions and seasonings. 

All Epicure seasonings and meal solutions are non-processed, gluten-free, low in sodium and sugars, and you can pronounce every single ingredient in them. Epicure even has a never-list of ingredients that you will never find in its products. When you cook with Epicure products, you know what you are putting in your body, and that is important to me, just like it is when I use clean beauty. 

Chicken Parmesan in less than 20 minutes

Considering that I don't buy much for my kitchen, especially on a whim, this purchase was very out of character. Fast forward to six months later, and no doubt, this one steamer has been one of the best kitchen cookware tools of my life.  I use it almost every day and have now purchased the round, oval steamer for soups and rotisserie chicken. 

Epicure steamer saves so much time in the kitchen. It can be used in the microwave, oven and is dishwasher safe. 

The Multipurpose steamer is a true workhorse in the kitchen. You can cook an entire meal. You can steam veggies in minutes right from the freezer. You can steam frozen chicken, ground beef, pork, seafood. You can cook rice, pasta, eggs, make soups, and so much more. It's truly spectacular. I cannot imagine not having this steamer.  It has made my life in the kitchen so much easier and has helped me get meals on the table for my family quicker. 

This past Thanksgiving in 2020 is when I truly learned of this steamer's power in the kitchen. I, fortunately, have two ovens. However, I'm Southern, and a traditional southern Thanksgiving menu calls for casseroles. Southern food requires some pre-cooking before you assemble sweet potatoes, squash, or cranberries into its main dishes for the menu.  I looked at my Thanksgiving menu, and I needed to save time because I had several things that needed to be pre-cooked before becoming the main dish, and each pre-cooking would have taken up to thirty to sixty minutes in the oven. 

I also steamed the sweet potatoes in ten minutes.  It was ready to turn into a sweet potato casserole. I cooked squash in the same amount and cooked cranberries in 20 minutes, coated in sugar. It was amazing the time I saved, and that, in truth, when I learned the power of this Epicure steamer. I knew after Thanksgiving that everyone needed to learn what this one product could do, and right then, I added the company as a blog affiliate. 

Epicure offers a bundle value of the steamer and the Good Mexican Real Fast Seasoning Kit plus the ctirus press, or you can purchase the steamer alone for $52.50 in U.S dollars. 

I use the Epicure steamer almost daily to cook one or two chicken tenderloins for my daughter.  She likes sauteed chicken in butter as her protein, so I take a frozen tenderloin, steam it for two minutes, add my favorite Epicure Souvlaki seasoning, then sautee the tenderloin in butter on the stove.  It takes no time to get her a quick meal before cheer practice.  Sometimes, she is at the cheer gym for five hours a night, so she has to eat earlier than the rest of us. The Epicure multipurpose steamer has helped us so much with our busy schedules during the week. 

I promise you that you will never look back once you purchase.  I have found I can plan meals on a whim if I keep seasonings, produce, and meat in stock at all times.  I have even lowered my grocery bill, and I'm eating nothing processed. Epicure seasonings have hardly any sugars or sodium in them, so I control my sodium by adding salt back into the cooking. 

When someone cooks with processed foods by well-known grocery store brands, they are not used to adding sodium back because most of the food contains more sodium than you need per day in one serving. I think this is the one thing you do need to get used to when it comes to cooking with Epicure meal solutions and seasonings. 

However, the reduced added sugars have helped me maintain my weight over the past six months. Some people naturally lose weight because of that, but that has to be in line with portions and exercise. 

You can make steamer mashed potatoes in under 15 minutes. 

You can make 4-minute steamer salmon and asparagus. You can cook salmon from frozen, but you would need to adjust. The entire time from prep to cooking is less than 15-minutes. 

Epicure steamer beef and broccoli pasta is a customer favorite ready in under 20 minutes. 

Do your kids like Mac and Cheese? Epicure has some of the best Mac and Cheese seasoning I have tasted. It can be made on the stove or in the steamer.  It's so easy. 

You can even make desserts and popcorn in the steamer.  I have an entire database of recipes that I share in my A Dash of Flavor with Leigh Powell Hines Facebook group.  I hope you join me there. 

Below is the value kit I purchased for $99 when I discovered Epicure. It includes the multipurpose steamer, the Great Mexican seasoning kit with digital recipes, prep bowls, a cookbook, scissors, the cutting board, a citrus press, plus your own website for sharing.  One does not have to be a blogger to purchase the kit.  Anyone can buy and buy from their own website or open an Epicure store in your community. 

Currently, I am about one out of 1500 U.S stores, and we have several states that do not even have representation. Contact me for more information. I love this company not only because it's healthy but it is a time-saver for me.  It has helped me so much with mealtime. For every Mac and Cheese Meal Solution purchased, Epicure donates a meal to organizations that help curb hunger in the U.S and Canada. 

Post contains affiliate links where I earn revenue from link clicks and/or purchases. Thank you for supporting my blog. If you want to more information about epicure, please contact me. 

5 Ways to Arrange Your Home for Productivity

For the first time in an entire year, I was in my home office alone without having kids in school in other parts of the house this week.  If you have been a reader of this blog in the past ten years, you will also notice that my productivity went way down during COVID.  I had a lot on my plate. 

I was also used to working in my home office, whereas many of you had to shift to the home office for the first time.

The remote work setup brought about by COVID-19 may have seemed glamorous at first, eliminating things like exhausting commutes to the office. However, the World Economic Forum reports that there are still apprehensions about productivity because of the shift. So due to the current climate, it’s crucial to re-evaluate and rearrange your makeshift office at home to ensure productivity. Here are a few ways you can do just that:

tidy and neat workspace

Declutter your home

Living amongst clutter impedes your cognitive abilities and has an impact on your mental health. A fast-paced culture of consumerism has only added to this problem. So it’s no surprise that Marie Kondo and her tidying methods have spiked in popularity over the last few years.

The organizing consultant’s patented “KonMari” technique encourages people to do away with items that no longer “spark joy” in their lives. While this may mean different things to different people, the underlying premise stays the same: decluttering your space — whether that’s your pantry or your work desk — spills over to other aspects of your life and can eventually lead to more productivity.

Separate work from living spaces

There are few things worse than being reminded of work as you’re unwinding for the day. But it’s a challenge to apply “out of sight, out of mind” when your work and living space are in the same house. As such, it’s a good idea to designate a “work only” area: a sacred space where work — and only work — gets done. Likewise, try not to bring your files and documents into the bedroom. This physical separation ensures that you can “shut down” and recharge properly to face the days ahead.

Hang up some art

grey chair and grey desk in home office
Art creates a productive worker, according to studies. This is a beautiful workspace from Overstock.

A happy worker is a productive worker, and research shows that surrounding yourself with art is one effective method to boost your mood. More precisely, Small Business Trends says that 53% are happier when there’s an art in the office.

To apply this to your own home, you can try putting up a gallery wall. It’s inexpensive but looks classy and elegant. An article on home improvement ideas published on HomeServe states that you can put up your own gallery wall with original art prints or even family photographs. Aside from reaping the benefits of being around art, it’s also a way to enjoy your memories and remind yourself why you’re trying to be productive in the first place.

Invest in ergonomics

Though it’s tempting to work in bed or hunched over on your couch, it can have adverse effects on your health in the long run. And during a global pandemic when hospitals are generally very busy, the last thing you want is to injure yourself.

PC Mag provides a quick rundown of what you need for an ergonomic home office. If you have the budget, consider investing in a chair with adjustable height and tilt features. A laptop riser is also a worthwhile purchase to prevent forward-flexing your neck. Otherwise, you can use typical household items like towels (for lumbar support) or books (to keep your laptop at eye level) to save money. Remember that with a comfortable work setup comes increased productivity and focus.

Work where there’s natural light.

Ranking above fitness centers and onsite cafeterias, office workers actually prefer access to natural light and outdoor views as their number one workplace perk report Harvard Business Review. In fact, 47% of employees admitted feeling low on energy when their workspace doesn't get enough natural light. For a work-from-home setup, this should be an easy problem to remedy. Consider stationing your work area near a window. Alternatively, draw the curtains back to allow sunlight to shine into your home. This can help improve your productivity by preventing eyestrain, reducing drowsiness, and lifting your overall mood.

sunlight lamp for the office
If you don't have good natural light in your office, you may want to try a sunlight lamp. 

Working is one of the few ways we can regain some semblance of normalcy during the pandemic. And while it can be difficult while working from home, that doesn't mean we should be less productive. Try out these simple home rearrangement tips, and hopefully, it will help boost your efficiency at work.

work space in the home

Post contains affiliate links. Also, don't worry about dinner slowing down your productivity. My affiliate, Epicure, can help you get healthy, affordable meals on your dinner table from raw to ready in 20-minutes or less. Check out this time-saving recipe for a weeknight meal.

chicken enchiladas made in the Epicure steamer

Cupola House Wassail Recipe from Edenton, NC


An Image of wassail in silver punch bowl and historic cupola house in Edenton, NC

Cupola House Wassail Recipe

1-gallon apple cider
2 (12 ounce) cans frozen lemonade
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
4 sticks cinnamon
5 dried apple rings
1/2 orange, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1 quart of white wine

Mix the first five ingredients in a large pot. Heat to boiling and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Place fruit in the bottom of the punch bowl. Add wine. Pour cider mixture over fruit and wine. Serve. 

Historic Cupola House decorated for the holidays

I've had the pleasure of working with Visit Edenton this December promoting it as a  #CountonMeNC travel-friendly destination in 2021. As North Carolina's first colonial capital, this charming town has been making holiday wassail for over 250 years.  The Cupola House, one of the oldest British buildings in the United States, is known for its gardens and wassail. Cupola House Wassail is always served along with delightful cookies when the home is open yearly to the public for the Edenton's Candlelight Tour. 

The Georgian-style home was built-in 1758 for Frances Corbin, an agent for Lord Granville, one of the original eight proprietors, given land by the British crown in the Carolinas. By 1918, the home was in disarray, and a group of Edenton volunteers banned together under the name of The Cupola House Association, purchased the home to preserve it. 

Before becoming the museum it is today, the house was the Chowan County library for forty-five years. In 1971, the house was designated as a Registered Historic National Landmark. 

Lady serving wassail at Cupola House in Edenton, NC

Edenton's Cupola House has seen many ships come and go in the Albemarle Sounds. The house is available for tour on one of the town's historic walking tours.  The gardens are open to the public daily.


The Cupola House Wassail Recipe is printed in Recipes From St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Edenton, NC. A cookbook printed in 1995 that I found in my mother-in-law's storage unit. I brought it back to life in 2002 and have enjoyed many recipes from this collection. It's probably one of my most favorite North Carolina cookbooks. 

Two glass-mugs filled with hot wassail

Learn more about this historic North Carolina town to plan your delightful distancing getaway  to Edenton, NC 

Want to pair your wassail with a savory cookie?  You may like these Savoury Cheddar Cookies from Epicure. It's a twist on a Southern Cheese Straw.  Edenton's cookbook recommends cheddar puffs. The recipe ingredients are about the same, but in this NC version, you bake into small balls at 400 for twelve minutes. 

Photo Savoury Cheddar Cookies by Epicure. Little Round baked cheese cookies

Easy Peppermint Bark Recipe That Your Kids Can Make

I've shared many times before that I am not really a baker. But, Liza loves to bake so that means more often than not, I have to make something sweet for the holidays. 

candy cane and white and dark chocolate peppermint bark

Peppermint Bark is probably the easiest thing to bake for a non-baker, and Liza can do it unsupervised now.  All you need are sheet pans, candy canes, white and dark chocolate.  I like to use European brand chocolates, but any chocolate will work.  

Easy Peppermint Bark Recipe 

homemade peppermint bark with crushed candy canes on top of white and dark chocolate

Easy Peppermint Bark Ingredients

2 large Lindt White Chocolate Bars
2 large Lindt Milk or Dark Chocolate  ( I mixed my chocolates for a unique twist)
25 small candy canes broken

Melt white chocolate in a double boiler. I mix in a little butter to help smooth the chocolate. Scoop melted white chocolate onto parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet. If you are using Epicure Sheet Pan Silicone liners then you do no need to use parchment paper. 

Melt dark chocolate in a double broiler. I add a tablespoon of butter for richness and to help the chocolate soften. Spread dark chocolate mixture on top of white chocolate. Mash candy canes. 

My kids love doing this (to get the candy canes as smashed as high-quality retail peppermint bark then they peppermint needs to be very fine, but you can do this version any way you like and my kids made chunky.  Sprinkle the peppermint on top of the chocolate and press some into the chocolate. Freeze for 30 minutes to an hour. Break into squares. Or let soften and cut squares neatly.

It is that simple. 

Peppermint Bark in a red, white and green gift box.

This is also great to make after the holidays as well because all candy is on sale, and it makes the new year a little more festive. 

Originally posted in December 2014 and updated December 2020. My kids do not even look like this any longer. 

How to Get Rid of the 2020 Quarantine 15 with the 90-DAY #EPICLIFE Challenge

I am about to embark on my tenth year of blogging, and once again, I'm telling you I want to lose weight. It's like clockwork. The topic of weight loss comes up about every two or three years on this blog. If we still listened to records, it would be as if I was a broken record saying, "I need to lose weight this year!"

2019 was a good weight loss year. I had lost 15 pounds and felt great for my 50th birthday in December.  I had established a fabulous exercise routine and was maintaining my weight by the end of the year.  I felt good. 

Then horrific 2020 came, and along with it came the unwanted COVID-19 in addition to the extra  "Quarantine-15." My exercise routine halted. I ate pasta as if I would never ever get to get to go to Italy again. I've eaten more rice than they have in China since being home this year. Seriously, Will bought the biggest bag of rice I have ever seen. The rice was a 25-pound bag of jasmine rice imported from Thailand.  Fifteen pounds of that rice is now out of the bag and has latched onto my stomach, thighs, butt, and boobs.

Lifestyle Blogger Leigh Powell Hines holding brown toy poodle puppy
Meet Ollie, our new baby in the family. Unfortunately, we lost our beloved 
Andy on November 13, 2020. 

Stress levels this year were at an all-time high. Somehow, my skinny husband manages to lose weight in a pandemic.  On the other hand, I basically erased a year's worth of hard work and discipline in the span of a three-month quarantine. We lost our beloved poodle, Andy, this year, too

My goal in 2021 is better portion control and regular exercise. I'm also not giving up jasmine rice either now that I have mastered cooking it to perfection in my multipurpose steamer made by Epicure.  

Graphic that says Make Good Food the New Norm. #EpicLife

Instead, I'm going to set realistic goals, eat healthier foods, use the right portions, and take the #EPICLIFE Challenge with Epicure.  It is a FREE 90-day wellness and lifestyle program that begins January 4, 2021, and is under the leadership of Registered Dieticians working with the Canadian-based company, Epicure.  All of Epicure's seasonings are gluten-free, lower in sodium, and have reduced added sugars. All you need to get started is to join my VIP GROUP,  A Dash of  Flavor with Leigh Powell Hines, on Facebook, and register online so you can have access to the program and community support.  Be sure to use me as your referral: Leigh Powell Hines  (  2201058164 )  when completing the consultant name in the field of questions. 

My Epicure website is about one of only one thousand websites in the U.S. where you can purchase Epicure cookware and seasoning blends. Epicure is a household name in Canada and is quickly growing in the U.S. I added the company as an affiliate this year because I like that it's NEVER-LIST of ingredients and the fact that I can pronounce every ingredient. Epicure's concept is simple. It helps busy families get affordable meals on the table from raw to ready in 20 minutes or less. 

I have already fallen in love with many of its products and will look forward to following this #EpicLife program for 90-days. 

green graphic that reads Make Real Results the New Norm #EpicLife

I already have many of the products offered in the Epic Life Collection, which are some of the seasonings you need to make the recipes in the challenge.  I purchased Epiure's Perfect Portion Scoops and the Epicure Good Food. Real Results Guide. This guide is filled with useful tips, grocery lists, meal plans, and recipes to help you succeed from day one and achieve long-term results. I will then buy anything else I need for the weight loss challenge a la carte.  Every Epicure products are sold separately but are often bundled together for extra savings. 

You can start slow, and only purchase the good food real results guide by Epicure and the perfect portion scoops. 

And a few key ingredients to get you started. If you do want to purchase the entire collection, I would suggest purchasing the following seasonings. 

Lemon Dilly Dip: This gluten-free seasoning is a workhorse in lower-calorie recipes. It comes in the Good Greek Real Fast Collection along with the spinach dip, Souvlaki seasoning, Greek dressing, and recipe cards. I use the Souvlaki seasoning all the time. I'm kind of like the Dad in the movie, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" with index. I sprinkle Souvlaki on chicken even when the recipe does not call for it. 

Four Epicure Seasonings and Five Recipe cards for the Greek Collection

Epicure's 3-Onion Dip replaces higher sodium Lipton's Onion Soup Mix in your pantry.  Bottled marinara sauces contain added sugars, therefore, Epicure's Marinara Sauce Mix is a good staple to have on hand. Jarred salsa is high in sodium. Epicure's Poco Picante Mix is lower in sodium, gluten-free, and absolutely delicious. 

photo of Good Food Real Results Recipe Guide by Epicure

Order your guide now. Start 2021 with better sleep, good food, mealtime wins, more energy, and real results. 

My goal is fifteen pounds for weight loss, but ten pounds will make me joyful.  What is your goal?  Real people get real results with this #EpicLife Challenge. 

Sally, a resident of Canada, is on her tenth challenge. 

Two images of a woman named Sally who has lost 73 pounds and 56 inches from The Epicure Epic Life Challenge. She has done the challenge ten years

And Brittany has a success story, too.  These are real people like you and me.

Two images of a woman who has lost 27 percent body fat and 45 pounds by using the Epicure Epic Life Challenge

Join me. I'll be with you every step of the way. My new poodle, Ollie, too. Together, we will do great things in 2021. I'll be hosting live cooking classes and tips throughout the challenge. 

Register for the Epic Life Challenge. Take the leap. It's free. 

Disclosure: Epicure is an official affiliate of HinesSightBlog, and I am registered as a consultant and an independent website, whereas commission is made on any products purchased. All opinions of the products are my own

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