Q. Is there a technique for shoveling that won’t hurt my back? Also, I’ve been noticing snow shovels in different shapes; which kind should I buy?
A. The best method breaks shoveling into three steps, says Wellington Hsu, M.D. a spokesman for The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
1. Position feet shoulder-width apart and hands about 2 feet apart on the handle, with the shovel in front and close to your body. Scoop into the snow.
2. Bend at the knees, rather than at the waist, as you pick up the snow. Keep your spine in an upright position.
3. Turn your body so that your feet face the spot where you want to move the snow. Drop the snow rather than throw it.
When it comes to choosing the right type of shovel, it depends on the consistency of the snow and how much of it you’re dealing with, says Home Depot store manager Shane Segur, in Toledo, Ohio. Consider these four common shovels and the best conditions in which to use them:
SQUARE: A deep dish holds large amounts of soft snow.
PUSH: Best for quickly plowing away light snow.
ROUND: Cuts through thick, frozen snow banks created by plows.
ERGONOMIC: The angled handle relieves back strain from lifting heavy snow.
Q. Should meat be room temperature before I cook it?
A. Yes. Taking meat out of the refrigerator and letting it sit brings the entire cut to the same temperature — a necessity for even cooking, says Martha Stewart Living food editor Shira Bocar. Of course, the amount of time will vary depending on the size and cut (see details below). Generally, the larger the cut, the longer it takes. Keep the meat in its original packaging or covered, and place it on a plate in a cool spot far from the stove or oven (heat encourages bacteria growth). If you are planning to sear it, pat the surface dry with a paper towel beforehand.
Use these suggestions to get common cuts of meat to room temperature.
Chicken breast (5 to 7 ounces): 30 minutes. Butterfly and pound chicken breasts. They’ll come to room temperature quickly and cook in minutes.
Rib eye or strip steak (1 to 1.5 pounds): 30 minutes. Combine two steps: Marinate the steak as it comes to room temperature.
Beef tenderloin (2.5 to 3 pounds): one hour. Truss a tenderloin when it’s cold and firm, before letting it sit out.
Whole turkey (12 to 14 pounds): two hours.
Perishable foods shouldn’t be left unrefrigerated for more than two hours, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Q. What can I do to make a group of mismatched frames look nice together on my wall?
A. To give your wall a unified, gallery-like look, paint mismatched frames the same neutral hue, such as gray. Take a look at different shades to find one that’s the right “temperature” for your existing wall color: For instance, cool grays look best with other cool colors, while warm grays should be paired with other warm colors.