All Posts In How-to

DIY Cleaning Products for Earth Day

by in How-to, April 22nd, 2014

Homemade Natural Cleaning ProductsWhen Earth Day falls smack-dab in the middle of your spring-cleaning efforts, don’t think of it as a mere coincidence. Believe it or not, the key to a cleaner, happier home can’t be found in a name-brand aerosol spray from the store. Instead, take on a little do-it-yourself project and make nontoxic household cleaning supplies with items probably already in your home.

Having an all-purpose cleaning spray on deck is probably the most-basic way to keep your home fresh and clean. Before you grab something store-bought, try this: Stir 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda into 1/2 gallon water and transfer to a spray bottle. You can use this stuff almost anywhere except marble or granite.

For more ways to keep your house spick-and-span, be sure to refer to our list of home cleaning supplies. Using natural ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda and more to clean will make your household — and environment — a whole lot happier.

Heading to the supermarket? With these 6 tips from the top eco-experts, it’s easy to go green and eat healthy.

How to Decorate Easter Eggs with Sprinkles

by in Holidays, How-to, April 17th, 2014

Sprinkles turn regular old eggs into amazing, dye-free, edible works of art, with minimal effort and maximum fun. These hard-boiled eggs bejeweled with pastel-colored nonpareils make an extra-special addition to any Easter egg hunt or Easter basket. Here’s how to make them. Read more

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

by in Holidays, How-to, April 14th, 2014

Perfect Hard Boiled EggsDissolving little tablets of dye into vinegar-spiked water and dipping hard-boiled eggs into the bowls was a rite of passage growing up. For my own children, though, it’s a foreign experience. It’s a myth you might say, like the Easter Bunny himself. We actually ate the cooked eggs growing up, and while egg salad was never my thing, I did love eating the freshly peeled eggs with a sprinkling of salt. It’s still my favorite way to enjoy them, with my Mediterranean Tuna Salad coming in as a close second.

My girls aren’t fans of eating hard-boiled eggs, though, regardless of how they’re prepared. Because one woman can eat only so many hard-boiled eggs, we usually skip the whole ritual. This year we’re mixing things up for the Easter holiday and driving to Toronto to celebrate with friends. Egg coloring will be in full swing. The girls will get to dip, tie-dye and color away, and I’ll be ready with some of my favorite recipes to put all those leftover Easter treasures to delicious use.

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How to Make Egg Salad

by in How-to, Recipes, April 9th, 2014

How to Make Egg SaladAfter pulling on your Sunday best and competing in an old-fashioned, fight-to-the-death Easter egg hunt, chances are you’ll have worked up a serious appetite. Put leftover Easter eggs or hard-boiled fresh ones to use in a festive egg salad perfect for your Sunday brunch. Creamy in all the right ways, it does wonders served on a sandwich, over greens or simply on its own. Whipping it together is as easy as this step-by-step how-to.

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How to Make Butter — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in How-to, April 7th, 2014

How to Make ButterMy inspiration for cooking is spurred by many things, one of them being curiosity. That’s what led me to make my own butter almost five years ago. My intention was not to start whipping batches of homemade butter for cooking or baking; that would be a far too expensive endeavor. I simply wanted to know if it was as easy as it sounded, and how different it would taste compared with what I could easily buy at the supermarket.

Inevitably, making butter from scratch brings out the kid inside of us all too. Imagine pouring a container of heavy cream into a food processor and watching it magically transform from one ingredient into another. There’s no magic, of course; it’s all science, but that doesn’t take away from the wonder of it all.

What about the taste? I’ll never be able to 100 percent replicate the butter I gorge on in France, simply because the cream here in the U.S. is different in flavor. I can get pretty darn close, though. All I need are two key ingredients: good-quality heavy cream from a local farmers market and fleur de sel. The result is a rich, yellow-hued fresh butter, laced with crunchy bits of salt. It’s the perfect companion to a crusty baguette and it even elevates ordinary toasted white bread.

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5 Ways to Use Day-Old Bread

by in How-to, April 1st, 2014

5 Ways to Use Day-Old BreadWhen I was growing up, my mom always kept a stash of stale bread destined to become breadcrumbs. It’s a thrifty way to make use of leftovers, and also not waste any of your grocery budgets. I always mean to do this, but the truth is I get impatient. To make breadcrumbs, the bread must be rid of all moisture. Depending on the temperature in your house, this could take weeks of waiting. You could speed the process up by baking the bread at a low temperature, essentially dehydrating it. Once I get to the point of turning on the oven, though, I want a bigger payoff.

What starts as a journey for homemade breadcrumbs eventually turns into croutons or crisps, like the recipe for these savory, cracker-like ones below. They’re perfect for topping with some creamy ricotta cheese and a drizzle of honey, and they also lend some oomph to a charcuterie platter. If I manage to have any left, I give them a whirl in the food processor for seasoned homemade breadcrumbs, which brings my cooking endeavor full circle.

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How to Make Banana Pudding Tiramisu

by in How-to, Recipes, March 25th, 2014

How to Make Banana Pudding TiramisuTraditional banana pudding and Italian tiramisu may hail from drastically different places — compare an Italian trattoria to the kitchen of your Southern grandmother — but, trust us, these two go together without a hitch. Maybe it’s the layering, maybe it’s that inspired combination of coffee, bananas and cream. All we know is that with a comforting dessert mash-up like Banana Pudding Tiramisu, there’s never been a more pressing reason to whip out those trifle dishes.

Check out a step-by-step how-to for this banana and espresso cream bliss. Assemble yours the night before for the best results.

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Organize Your Cabinets — Spring-Cleaning

by in How-to, March 20th, 2014

Organize Your CabinetsWith the new season just beginning it’s time to start thinking about spring-cleaning, your kitchen included. Getting organized means less time spent searching through your cabinets for key utensils or ingredients. That means less time in the kitchen overall when you need to get dinner on the table on a busy weeknight. From spices to baking tools, Vivian Jao put together her top tips for getting the most out of your space.

1. Your Pantry
Make meal planning easier with a well-organized pantry. Assign designated areas for different kinds of food, like baked goods, breakfast items, boxed goods and canned goods. Label these areas or shelves as a reminder for when you’re unpacking groceries. Designate a section for quick-cooking meals, like mac and cheese or canned soup, for when you just need to grab something in a pinch.

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How to Pair Pasta with Sauce

by in How-to, March 18th, 2014

Before you pick out a pasta for dinner tonight, think about what sauce you’re craving. Different pasta shapes lend themselves better to different pasta sauces, and these perfect pairings will ensure the perfect bite.

1. Flat Long Noodles
Think of fettuccine, linguine and tagliatelle as the flat, ribbon-like pastas that pair well with creamy sauces. The surface area of a flatter noodle means that it can stand up to a rich sauce. The wider the noodle, the heartier the sauce. A meaty Bolognese is best for wide pappardelle while an Alfredo pairs perfectly with fettuccine.

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