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If you’re looking to spruce up your kitchen, an easy way can be updating your refrigerator door décor. I’ve seen everything from using chalkboard paint to create an interactive writing surface for kids, to using flowery contact paper for a vintage look. But the simplest solution is often just some funky magnets. I love these super strong zipper magnets by Amalia Versaci Design. They come in sets of six in shades of blue, green, orange, and purple. They’d also make a great gift, as the designer ships them in a cute box with wrapped in a vintage zipper tape ribbon. $18; etsy.com.

I’ve always admired this line of modern wire baskets available only at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), and now the online shop is currently having a 50% off sale. The basket is made by Alessi and comes in a red (in a square shape), or yellow (in a round shape). It’s perfect for fruit. You could also use it as a bread basket, or even line it with a towel and fill it with tortilla chips.  It would be a bright, sophisticated touch to any kitchen counter top. $39.95 (the usual price is $85) at moma.org.

I usually use my microwave to keep track of cooking times, but there’s something much more satisfying about using an actual kitchen timer. Maybe it’s that the ring is less jarring than the mechanical beep of the microwave. Not long ago a friend of mine bought this old-fashioned vintage timer, and not only is it a funky kitchen gadget that looks great on the fridge (it’s magnetic), but it has a nice ring to it, too! It comes in four colors: light blue, red, black, and yellow. $10.95 at wrapables.com.

I became addicted to roasted broccoli a few years ago, and since then roasting is my favorite way to prepare it (and many other vegetables). Normally, I roast it with a little olive oil and salt and pepper at 400-450 degrees for twenty minutes or so (with the broccoli cut into large florets) until it turns slightly golden brown and crispy. But recently I saw this recipe in the New York Times that turns what is usually a side dish into an entire meal: roasted broccoli with shrimp. After seeing it got nice reviews on several food blogs, including The Wednesday Chef, I decided to try it out. It combines roasted broccoli with shrimp and a handful of spices including chili powder and cumin, as well as a showering of freshly grated lemon zest. The result is a recipe that’s easy to prepare and so delicious. Also, for an even quicker version, keep some frozen, peeled shrimp on hand in your freezer so that the only ingredient you need to pick up at the grocery story is the broccoli (assuming you have all the spices and a lemon on hand). This meal is one more keeper I’ll be adding to my list of old reliables! The exact recipe is here.

In honor of Earth Day, I thought I’d tout these gorgeous and eco-friendly lacquerware bowls.  Handmade in Vietnam, they’re created from 100% organically-grown bamboo, non-toxic water-based adhesive, and natural lacquer derived from cashew nut trees. In other words, they’re all-natural. Not only that, but they come in a collection of vibrant colors that will just make you feel happy while you eat.  I think they’re perfect for cereal, but of course they can be used for anything from ice cream to pasta to soup. The only catch is that it’s best not to put them in the dishwasher or microwave–though perhaps that’s a good thing, as it’s one more way to better the environment. The bowls are $17 each and available at branch.com.

I love the idea of livening up your dining table with some whimsical napkins. These polka dot napkins from World Market come in four different colors–black, orange, yellow, and pink–and can easily be paired with solid color place mats. You can also mix and match the napkins themselves so each plate setting gets a different color. They’re on sale starting at $8.88 for a set of six at worldmarket.com.

Even though we’re all online these days, I like to believe the printed word will never go out of style—and that includes recipe cards. There’s something sentimental about a recipe card, written in the hand of someone passing down one of their favorite dishes to you. That’s why I was happy to discover that Cosa Verde has a recipe card that you can download for $5 and print as many copies as you like of. Use them for yourself, for friends and family, as hostess gifts, etc. The 4×6 inch cards have space for the recipe ingredients and instructions on one side, while the reverse side features a lovely illustration of whisks in gray and robin’s egg blue. The card design is sent as a PDF file via e-mail, and comes with printing instructions and paper recommendations. $5; cosaverde.com.

When you’re cooking it just feels nice to prep your ingredients in bowls that happen to look great on your counter top, too. This gorgeous set of blue melamine bowls by Martha Stewart is on sale for half off the original price at Macy’s. I love the different shades of blue and the fact that they’re a great space-saver.  On sale for $17.50 (marked down from $34.99) at Macy’s.

My mother-in-law introduced me to this great spice rub for salmon, created by James Beard award winner, Tom Douglas. Normally I don’t like shortcuts like pre-mixed spices or sauces, but this one is worth adding to your cabinet if you make salmon fairly often. It has a sweet and tangy flavor, and all you do is mix it with olive oil, rub it on top of your salmon fillets or steaks, and bake or broil until the fish is done to your liking. The “Rub With Love” line also includes rubs for steak and chicken (pictured here) but I can only vouch for the salmon. $6.89 at amazon.com and $7 at Sur La Table.

I love to entertain, but all the planning tends to stress me out. Which is why I was so glad when I stumbled upon this easy appetizer of goat cheese, lemon and thyme in the July 2008 issue of Gourmet that takes all of 10 minutes to prepare and looks and tastes delicious.  It’s  become one of my staples (I think the lemon zest makes it memorable). The exact recipe is here.