You know the basics. The onions and carrots. The potatoes, rice and noodles. The salt and pepper. The goods that can help accompany fresh proteins and vegetables into a proper meal. But today, we're talking those "secret ingredients" — those back-of-the-lazy susan bottles and powders that improve anything they come in contact with, and take food from being simply filling to truly satisfying. Keep them on hand, understand and respect their powers, and you can use them to blow any dish out of the water.
I'm a big fan of a glass of DIY fire cider to help keep your system in prime fighting condition during the winter months. It's the single best way to keep your immunity up as best can be. (We love you, too, flu shot!)
But, still, sometimes you get sick. And you feel terrible. And all the OTC bottles in your medicine cabinet just don't seem to be doing anything.
This week they're predicting record-breaking winter storms in my area which means, aside from braving my drive to and from work, I'll be stuck inside. So, instead of heading to the grocery store for bread and milk I'm headed to the hardware store to get some supplies to keep myself busy under the snowpack.
There are plenty of times when a small wooden board is all you need to set out or serve something when entertaining. And it's even better when they look awesome and make whatever you're sharing look that much tastier. If you have a few scraps of wood lying around after a project, this is exactly what you should do with them.
In the summer, it's easy to get those deep, blackened and charred flavors in your weeknight meals. During grill season, you simply head outside, and cook your meal over an open flame.
And then comes January, where the produce is poor, and everything lacks that certain zing that the warm sun and fire-seared foods provide.
At this point in the season, the big gifts have already been decided. And if you're on your game, they're boxed, wrapped, and under the tree. But this week is all about the little bits: the practical things, the accessories, and the stocking stuffers. If you or someone on your list is a maker, DIYer, woodworker, tinkerer, or just a general creative type who likes to build and fix things, here's our list of quality stocking stuffers that are just as good as whatever's in that huge box with the bow on it.
Everyone loves pizza and brick oven pizza is about as good as it gets. The whole point of the brick oven is to bake pizzas between 800 and 1000 degrees giving you that crispy layer of thin char over an airy breaded crust. Much better than the paltry results you can get with a conventional oven that only runs about half that heat.
Instructables.com user IDEAforWOOD really earns his title with this unique stainless steel plum wood knife. Plum heartwood is known for its cornucopia of beautiful internal colors and IDEAforWOOD found a way to highlight them all just right by extending the wood grain to cover the majority of the blade in a truly elegant way. Take a look.
Looking for a warm drink that will give you energy without the jitters? You need to try this brewed South American tea.
For years, coffee has been my go-to AM brew, and I've been dedicated to grabbing a cuppa joe to get me through the morning. Sure, I mix it up with an espresso drink every now and then, but for the most part it's a few milligrams of caffeine that powers me through the mid-morning slump.
Baking bread is one of those hard to qualify skills if you're looking at it from the outside with no real experience. On the one hand, people have been doing it for thousands of years in all sorts of climates with all sorts of varying available ingredients. On the other hand, it seems like a hard science that requires potentially its own baking contraption and yeast (who has baking yeast lying around?), meaning another trip to the grocery store. But here's the thing: it's not really that hard...
Friends, it's time to step up your home cocktail game. But it's not about procuring a special bottle of small batch spirits, or some crafty house-made infusion, or even an obscure, esoteric bitter liqueur made by monks in the mountains of Europe. In fact, it's not about the ingredients of the drink at all. It's about texture.
Carbonating cocktails adds effervescence, tingling the tongue and bringing out new flavors and drinking experiences. Club soda is traditional, and it works, but waters down the drink, and often just floats on top, never fully integrating with the heavier alcohol.
About once a year, I give my go-to cutting boards a good once over to make sure they stay in top shape along the way. Our cutting boards take a lot of abuse in the kitchen. Most of the time care looks like simply wiping them down and storing them back safely into the cupboard.
I'll admit it: when I was 24, and thinking about hosting friends for Thanksgiving for the very first time, I probably wouldn't have used a guide like this. For one thing, I was stubborn and willful, and liked to think I could figure everything out on my own (wrong!). For another, that was 2006, and the internet was a much newer, smaller place then: this type of guide probably wasn't out there.
But you, my friends! You youngsters with your illogical catch phrases and shrug emojis and your ability to understand how to use Snapchat! You can be better! You can do what few young men before you have ever done! You can host an awesome Thanksgiving meal at your house, and it can look amazing, and you can even have fun doing it. C'mon, it's not going to be hard ...
When we were young men, we turned to boxed pasta and jarred sauce as a crutch. It was cheap, it was filling, it was hard to screw up, and, it was good enough.
But it's time to liberate pasta from the fallback of the less mature. To take back covering the starch in piles of flavors that cover its lackluster...uh, ness. In Italy, pasta courses are about the noodle, not the sauce. In fact, they refer to whatever get's mixed into the pasta as "a condiment" - just a little some extra to highlight the excellence of what's already there.
Done right, a good pasta dish doesn't need to be drowning in sauce. Done right - pasta stands on its
I have this one tall ceramic thermos with no handles that tends to heats up so much when I pour coffee in that it's barely functional. My girlfriend knit an adorable cozi sleeve for it but unfortunately it stretches out too much and just slides right off. Which brought us to our next solution: leather.
Sometimes, the best DIY projects are also the simplest. This rustic cheese board takes less than an hour to whip up, and costs less than $10.00 in materials. Plus, it's easy to create even if you don't have access to a huge forest or wood pile, and doesn't require a chainsaw or any fancy power tools.
Let's make one!
Whenever I do a magazine or book or blog interview, one of the most frequently asked questions, besides the standard "how did you get started?" is always along the lines of: what would you recommend to someone who's just beginning to develop their DIY skills?
My answer to both questions is more-or-less the same: find something you need in your life, and try to make it. Whether it's something that doesn't exist, or you can't afford, or needs some personalization, the beginnings of the handmade life always lie in finding the practical, everyday solutions you need in your life, and making them. The joy then comes from the inherent meaning of knowing your creating something with real value, and hopefully, the process itself becomes the goal.
I did not grow up in a "crock pot" family. We had one, an old avocado green job my parents got from their wedding registry. And, though I'm sure it got used, it wasn't something that characterized the food in our house. My wife's parents, on the other hand, were both doctors working day shifts, and according to her, nearly every thing her mom cooked came from the slow cooker. And, says my wife, protein + a mix of canned foods = dinners, all which tasted basically the same... like "crock pot food."
One of my favorite cocktail mixers is the spicy ginger beer, used for the summer favorite "Moscow Mule", or evening sipper, the "Dark and Stormy." But I've had enough of the spendy, over-sweetened bottles from the supermarket, so I figured: it's time to make our own. Here are three ways to make an extremely tasty version happen at home.
Right now, you can find more tutorials on how to use vinegar to clean your toilet than you can find to use vinegar with a delicious dinner. This is a travesty for such an amazing and delicious liquid! Unlike most condiments, vinegar is one that you can make yourself and will taste better than anything you can buy in a store. I guarantee it! Here is a simple tutorial on turning leftover wine into homemade vinegar.