Tag Archive | How To

How to Get The Most Out Of Your Kitchen!

Woman in Kitchen
Image Source

Your Kitchen should be so much more than a space for chores and microwave meals: it should also be a place in your home that you go to for fun and relaxation. It  If you feel guilty about leaving your kitchen in neglect, now is the time to turn things around. There are plenty of exciting ways for you to engage with this space. Below are four suggestions to get you started!

Making Cocktails

Prepare Your Own Cocktails

If you are someone who loves to spend time socializing with your friends, you should think about making your own cocktails. This is a brilliant way for you to save money and to create drinks that are perfectly suited to your tastes. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be a complicated process. You can start off with incredibly simple recipes and then work your way up to more complicated concoctions. If you have an eye for interior design, you could even treat yourself to a vintage drinks cart or invest in beautiful glassware. Many Los Angeles custom closets are made of glass, not just for the kitchen but even in the bedroom. Just imagine how impressed your loved ones will be if you are able to prepare their beverages from scratch.

Home Brewing

Make Your Own Beer

Another great idea, for lovers of alcohol, is to use your kitchen to brew your own beer. Home Brewing is a wonderfully creative opportunity for you to make a product that you are truly proud of. Once you are happy with your recipe, you should consider sharing your beer with your loved ones. You could even think about setting up your own business. Why not start by designing custom beer labels online? This is a free and simple way for you to upgrade your bottles.

Prepare Your Meals From Scratch

Even if you are far from a culinary expert, you should still have a go at preparing your meals from scratch. There are plenty of cost-effective and simple dishes that you can prepare in under ten minutes. Once you have mastered the basics, you can start experimenting with unusual flavors and ingredients. You could also start to create your own recipes instead of following someone else’s. Then, you could celebrate your progress by hosting a dinner party or throwing a party!

Edible Gifts

Make Your Own Edible Gifts

Alternatively, you could spend time in your kitchen making edible gifts. Home-made gifts the perfect option for anyone who is operating on a tight budget. However, even if money is no object, home-made gifts are still a brilliant way for you to show your loved ones just how much you care. You could start by preparing do-it-yourself kits for hot chocolates, gingerbread houses, and cookies. Then, you could have fun completing your own projects. Finally, you should have a go at combining all of your skills. Why not create a gift basket that is filled with a DIY cocktail set, a selection of your home-made brews, your favorite recipe cards, and a generous helping of edible treats? What better way to get the most out of your kitchen?

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Pop Artist Jim McKenzie Announces Art Tutorial Video Series: Makin’ Things!

Jim McKenzie With Scarecrow
Artist and “Young Paul McCartney” Impersonator Jim McKenzie, with his Scarecrow Creation (Image Source)

Regular readers of this rad blog may already be familiar with the New York Art Scene’s Favorite Teen Idol, AKA Jim McKenzie, because we’ve written about his amazing art Here and Here. Jim creates sculptures of whimsical hybrid creatures not entirely dissimilar to the work of Ron English, whom we also love. Now, Jim is bringing the love back to his fans with a weekly how-to video series called Makin’ Things With Jim McKenzie. Check out the Video Preview below:

Oh boy oh boy, this sounds like fun. Jim will debut the first episode of Makin’ Things with Jim McKenzie this coming Saturday, December 3rd, 2016, which will be airing on his personal pages at Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram! Produced by Aardman Nathan Love and Aardman Animations, Makin’ Things is an informative art web series that dives deep into the processes of creating wondrous works of art. Jim will be covering all sorts of art-making topics, such as sculpting, drawing, painting, and even how to critique your own work. Get your clay, paints, and pencils out and follow along at home every Saturday morning at 8AM EST.

Watch and participate in Makin’ Things at any of the Internet-based locations listed below:

http://www.youtube.com/user/JimMcKenzie
http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJimMcKenzie
http://www.instagram.com/JimMcKenzie

Even if you don’t want to make any art, you can watch it with the sound off, and still enjoy Makin’ Things, because, gee wiz, what a handsome man he is. Jim McKenzie!

Cooking With Gail Presents: Chicken Stifado

Kaldi Sauce and Bag of Rice
All Photos By Gail

Hello and welcome to another exciting installment of Cooking with Gail: the series that is all about me making a delicious dish from whatever I already have on hand in my apartment! Today we are making something I call Chicken Stifado, mostly because it features the Stifado variety of Kaldi’s All-Natural Mediterranean Cooking Sauces, which I was turned on to at a recent Editor Showcase.

Kaldi Olive Oli

Shortly after meeting the nice folks at Kaldi, they sent me a care package of sauces, and a bottle of both their lovely Extra Virgin Olive Oil and also one of their Organic EVOO. Excellent.

Kaldi’s Stifado cooking sauce, made from a traditional Greek recipe, contains a delicious blend of Red Wine, Onions and Allspice, along with other natural ingredients, and while it is generally suggested that this sauce best compliments a Beef dish, we are using chicken because that is what I had in the freezer.

What’s really great about these Kaldi sauces is that you just add meat or vegetables, and it makes an authentic tasting dish that people will think you slaved over instead of just opening a jar — which is my kind of cooking! So, this is how we do easy Chicken Stifado ala Gail!

(Note: before you even start your chicken, put a pot of rice on to cook, because that takes about 45 minutes, and you want the dishes to be done at the same time. Time management!)

Raw Chicken

Whatever type of chicken you are using, make sure it is washed, thawed and ready to go in the oven. I cut up a chicken breast into a few pieces, sprinkled some salt on it and put it in a 425 degree oven in a pan with a little EVOO in the bottom to prevent sticking. I let the chicken spend about 10 minutes in the oven before I took it out and then poured the sauce on it. No particular reason, it just seemed like the thing to do.

Chicken with Sauce

This is what the chicken looks like with the sauce on it. That’s right: yummy. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how to cook a piece of chicken, but for this dish I stuck to about 30 minutes (cooking time will depend on the thickness of your cut of meat) in a 425 degree oven, turning each piece at the halfway mark and basting it with more sauce. It smelled amazing!

Chicken with Green Olives

Garnish with sliced green olives, if you like, and throw it on the plate with some brown basmati rice, or the starchy side of your choice.

Chicken Dish on Tray

And don’t forget a glass of wine! I like a Cab-Shiraz myself.

I want to add that the way the allspice mingles with the tomatoes really gives the sauce, and whatever it cooks with, a fantastic, old world gourmet taste. I want to try it next with beef, because if it tastes this great on chicken, Beef Stifado would probably be mind blowing. Each jar holds 16 ounces of sauce, so that’s enough for a few meals at least!

Find out more about Kaldi Products, get recipes and shop their 50% Off Greek Sumer Sale at Kaldi Tastes Dot Com!

Duncan Hines Spring Velvets Cake Mixes Make Your Perfect Easter Cake!

DH Spring Velvet Front Box

Do you like cake? I sure do. Just recently, I was introduced to two fantastic new cake mixes from Duncan Hines® – a brand you know and trust – Blue Velvet and Pink Velvet, both of which I had the opportunity taste at Winter Food Fete. These mixes really elevate the quality of desserts that you can make conveniently at home.

DH Pink Velvet Cake Mix

Pink Velvet Cake (With Cake Balls) is Introduced at Winter Food Fete in February 2014

Just in time for Easter, Duncan Hines® has introduced Limited Edition Spring Velvets™ Cake Mix as a part of their new velvets line; the first in the baking aisle to extend velvet cake beyond the traditional red velvet. As you can see by these beautiful and tempting photos, Spring Velvets™ provides a uniquely colorful way to brighten up any spring time occasion!

Duncan Hines® Spring Velvets™ Cake Mix will be available at limited retailers nationwide only until May 2014, and has a suggested retail price of $1.99. Check out these two recipes for inspiring, lovely and delicious cakes you can make in time for Easter!

Spring Velvets Checkerboard Cake

Spring Velvets Checkerboard Cake

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 10-12 servings

Ingredients:
1 package of Duncan Hines® Spring Velvets Cake Mix
1 container Duncan Hines® Creamy Home-Style Cream Cheese Frosting

Baking Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 9×6 loaf pans with shortening or oil spray.
2. Prepare the batters according to the package directions and scoop each batter into each pan.
3. Bake 30-33 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out free of crumbs. Cool completely.
4. Slice the pink velvet in half lengthwise. Then take each half and slice it in half vertically. You will have 4 strips of cake.
5. Repeat the above process with the yellow velvet.
6. Place a pink slice next to a yellow slice onto a plate. Ice the top with frosting.
7. Next place a yellow slice on top of the pink slice and a pink slice on top of a yellow slice, Ice the top.
8. Repeat the above process until there are no more remaining cake slices.
9. Frost the entire cake upon completing the 4-layer checkerboard.

*Tip – You can build as many checkerboards as you want; you just need to cut smaller slices of cake – refer to picture for guidance.

Spring Velvets Blossom Cake

Spring Velvets Bundt Cake

Hands on time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour and 40 minutes
Servings: 10-12 servings

Ingredients:

Cake
1 Box of Duncan Hines® Spring Velvets Cake Mix
1 (3.4 oz.) box of Lemon Instant Pudding and Pie Filling Mix, divided in half
4 eggs
1½ cups water
½ cup oil

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2Tbsp. lemon juice

Baking Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour 10-inch Bundt* pan or tube pan
2. Combine 2 eggs ¾ cup of water, ½ cup of dry pudding mix, and ¼ cup oil with first velvet cake mix.
3. In a separate bowl, combine 2 eggs, ¾ cup of water, ½ of dry pudding mix, and ¼ cup oil with second velvet cake mix
4. Beat each mix at medium speed with electric mixer for 2 minutes.
5. Pour Yellow Velvet batter into pan
6. Pour Pink Velvet batter on top of the Yellow Velvet batter.
7. Insert a butter knife halfway into the batter when all of the batter is in the pan. Swirl the batter by gently moving the knife in a circular motion around the pan.
8. Bake at 350° for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out free of crumbs.
9. Cool in a pan for 25 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Cool Completely
10. Make glaze by adding lemon juice to powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

Celebrate National Cheese Fondue Day on April 11th!

Fondue Party

With our well-publicized love of cheese and home entertainment, we never need an excuse to throw a Fondue Party. But did you know that this classic Swiss meal has its own holiday? Yes, it is true!

April 11th is National Cheese Fondue Day; a time to fire up the fondue pots for food, fun, friends and good conversation. To celebrate the day, Emmi Roth USA, the US division of the premier Swiss dairy company, is sharing the must-know fon-DO’s of fondue – everything from tips for when you dip to the new ways to do fondue.

Be A Delightful Dipper

While fondue is all in good fun, there are a few basic guidelines to follow in consideration of other guests.

  • Skewer like a pro. Be sure your food is secured to your fondue fork or skewer before dipping to avoid losing it in the cheese.
  • If you missed the first step and drop your dipper into the fondue, Swiss tradition says a woman must kiss the person next to her, and a man must buy a round of drinks for everyone. You could also just politely remove it to ensure the pot remains clean for all.
  • Perfect your twirling and swirling. It is polite to make one to two small swirls before removing your food.
  • Resist the urge to double dip. Food that has been bitten should never return to the communal pot.
  • Be a little adventurous by tasting everything you are served (the exception to the rule is a dietary restriction, in which case you may politely decline).
  • Sample before salting. Fondue is already seasoned with spices and wine, so it might be perfect just the way it is. If you do add salt, make sure you do it after you’ve dipped.

Fondue Dipping

Tasting Notes

It’s all in the details, and these simple suggestions will ensure that you keep it classy, but still casually cool, when indulging.

  • Wait your turn. Allow one person to dip at a time and proceed in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion around the table.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Dip larger pieces and then cut them into smaller bits on your own plate.
  • A moment on the lips is frowned upon. Your fondue fork or skewer should never directly touch your mouth. Transfer your food to your plate before indulging.
  • Let it cool. Never blow on freshly dipped hot food. Avoid splatters and allow your food to cool slightly on your plate.

The New Way to Fondue

Fondue is always fun in its traditional form, but these new takes offer creative ways to enjoy the cheese and make it more accessible for everyday meals.

  • Fondue is a fun party meal for special occasions, but also a great weeknight meal for the family. Not to mention it will get your kids to eat their vegetables.
  • It’s great to pay homage to this Swiss dining tradition, but be creative with using the cheese sauce as a dip or in a macaroni and cheese.
  • Feel free to add your own twist with a few dashes of hot sauce or some prepared taco meat.

Shop online for Emmi Fondue Products at This Link!

Emmi Fondue Box

Pink Thing of the Day: Pink Pig Pumpkins!

Pink Pumpkin Pigs
Image Source

Ahh, these little guys are so cute, and even sort of Halloween-like! Instructions of how to make your own Pumpkin Pig family can be found at This Link!