Posts Tagged ‘budget’
January 22, 2014 by Jenn
Managing your bar will be a new addition to the blog where I give you cheap and fun ways to create your own additions to your bar cart including bitters, simple syrups, and even liquors. A new segment for our blog was born out of sheer frustration. Two things happened recently, 1. I couldn’t find any interesting bitters flavors that I wanted and 2. When I found them, they were dumb expensive. There is a fancy liquor store in town and they wanted 19 dollars for blackberry bitters…. WHAT?! So I decided that I don’t need their stinkin’ bitters. I will make my own. Guess what? It’s SO easy.
There are a lot of posts that say you can make bitters from vodka but this just isn’t true. Vodka is not grain alcohol which is what you need in order to suck out all the flavors of whatever you are turning into bitters. If you soak a fruit in vodka, it will sort of taste like what you want but Everclear on the other hand will suck out all the flavor and make your bitters pretty colors to boot.
For those who don’t know: Everclear is a clear distilled grain alcohol that is bottled at both 151-proof and 190-proof. I used the 190-proof to get high octane result. Don’t worry about the grain alcohol having an affect your cocktails alcohol-wise or taste-wise, the amount of bitters used in a cocktail is so small that the grain alcohol won’t make a difference, it’ll just add really great flavor since it’ll be so concentrated. The bitters I created are Orange Cinnamon Bitters and Blueberry Bitters. Let’s get started!
To make these bitters you will need:
- 1 bottle Everclear
- 2 jars with tight fitting lids
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange
- vegetable peeler
The amount of Everclear you use is really up to you. I know I would use the Orange Cinnamon Bitters more often than the Blueberry Bitters, so I made more of the Orange Cinnamon. I used 1 1/2 cups of Everclear for the Orange Cinnamon Bitter. I poured the Everclear into my jar then I dropped in the 3 cinnamon sticks and the peels of 1 orange. (I ate the orange as a bitters making snack after I peeled it) For the Blueberry Bitters, I used 1 cup of Everclear and 1 Cup of blueberries. Really, the amount of product you put into the Everclear really depends on how strong you want the bitters to be. Once the fruit is in the Everclear, screw on the lids tightly and put them in a cool dark place (I used a kitchen cabinet) and let them sit for 25 days. You might be thinking 25 days?! It takes a while for the alcohol to suck out all the flavor. After the 25 days, unscrew the lid and taste the bitters. If the flavor is right, remove the fruit with tongs or a fork will do just fine. If the bitters are not strong enough, leave them be for another 3 days and taste them again. Keep checking in 3 day increments until they are perfect. My bitters sat for a total of 31 days. Depending on how much alcohol you use, you could easily make 6 different kinds of bitters from one bottle of Everclear. SO much cheaper!
What’s super weird is that once I took out my blueberries, they were really hard! Like rocks. All the juice had been infused into the bitters!
The same happened with the orange peels, they were colorless and hard once they were removed. The grain alcohol totally did it’s job.
Once you’re finished you can bottle them or leave them in the jars. As long as they are tightly sealed, the bitters will last up to 6 months. Label them and poof! You’re ready to have a delicious cocktail with a great flavor!
April 6, 2013 by Emily
Jenn has talked before about quick and easy ways to update small elements around your home or apartment, injecting some of you personality without spending a lot of cash!
I’ve been wanting to replace our icky beat up mailbox since we bought our house, and THEN I unpacked my spray paint… quickest facelift ever:
A few coats of paint and I have a brand new mailbox, and one that has a pop of color that you wouldn’t find in a mailbox bought new from a hardware store!
To remove wall mounted mailboxes like these all you need to do is lift up and off the screws (yeah, you don’t need tools!) I wiped off the grime and went to town with my spray paint! I chose to go with a hammered metal paint finish because I knew that the texture would cover any pitting on the surface of the metal, if you want a smoother paint job just lightly sand off bumps and your good to go.
Now instead of spending $20 to $150 on a new mailbox, I spent pennies to give what I already had an awesome facelift!
March 18, 2013 by Jenn
Lemons are both inexpensive and a lot more useful than most people think. They also look super cute in a bowl on your dining room table. Here are 5 ways to use em that will help you cut costs and steer clear of some harsh household cleansers.
1. Keep your cutting boards germ free. Cutting boards get smelly and weird even if you wash them in soap and water. Next time you wash your board, cut a lemon in half and wipe the surface with the lemon. It will make it smell lovely and keep germ counts down.
2. Nasty upper toilet cleaner. Everyone pays attention to the toilet bowl but not so much to the upper part. This is probably because no one sees it but what you might not know is that if your upper toilet is grimy and gross, the bowl will become dirtier faster. Do yourself a favor and put a cup of lemon juice in the upper part and let it sit for a half hour. you can use a little scrubby brush to help remove the darker stains. Flush and enjoy, much better than chemicals.
3. Hand sanitizer. Don’t put chemicals on your hands. I know everyone LOVES that stuff but I just don’t feel right about it. You put hand sanitizer on and then you eat a sandwich? I don’t want anything on my hands that has the poison control center’s number on the back of the container. Next time just rub your hands with some lemon juice and rinse. This also works for removing the odor from garlic hands or fish hands.
4. Bring old paintbrushes back to life. We paint, our tiny humans paint, we paint canvas and houses and god knows what else but maybe we aren’t so good at cleaning up right away and now your paint brushes are hard. Put a generous amount of lemon juice into water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and hold your paintbrush tips into the water for about 10 minutes then wash with hot soapy water.
5. Brighten your nails. Rubbing lemons wedges on your nails will make them whiter and shinier!!
December 27, 2012 by Emily
Tis the season to dress festive! With holiday parties of all kinds happeneing every weekend I need to look fancy! While my wardrobe can work it, my go-to ponytail doesn’t make the “fancy” cut.
Being the rough and tumble tomboy most of my life I’ve had chopped pixie hair cuts for most of my life, so it’s no surprise that I’m pretty terrible at styling my now shoulder length hair. What’s a girl to do when they have no idea how to do anything beyond a ho-hum pony tail? Dress that pony tail up!
Just like when I had short hair, I ususally dress up my normal hair style with a glitzy hair accessory! Headbands are your friend…especially when they’ve gotten a facelift.
Here’s how to jazz up a regular headband with a few dollars worth of supplies from the craft store:
Option 1, ORNAMENT headbands:Here’s a quick, cheap and easy option. I took a quick look in my local craft stores clearance section the day after xmas, and what did I find? These glittery golden snowflakes and ribbon wracking up a grand total of $1.50! I wrapped a headband I already owned with the ribbon, being careful to hot glue the ends down, then I glued the two snowflakes slightly off centered on the headband. A total of 5 minutes of work for a super cute and festive hair piece!
Take a look around you the next time you’re out scouting for supplies you may find your crafting inspiration in surprising places!Option 2, Rocking some Rhinestones:What you’ll need:HeadbandLarge “Rhinestones” (I found these in the jewelry section for $2)1 piece of felt in the same, or similar, color as the stonesScissorsHot Glue GunMethod:1-Cut the felt into the size and shape you would like your adornment to be, I like the way the football shape tapers on both ends and made it about 6 inches wide.2- Arrange your stones on top of the felt, allowing a little bit of space around each stone to allow it to bend over the headband. Once you’re happy with the arrangement hot glue them securely to the felt.3- carefully trim the excess felt from around the stones, I got fairly close (1/8in) to the stones.4-Glue to the headband.Now I have a pretty, sparkly accessory to wear to my parties without having to stress over how to style my hair. I can swoop my hair into an easy bun or ponytail, add my headband and run out the door!