Posts Tagged ‘how to’
February 6, 2014 by Jenn
Here’s the newest installment of managing your bar! Today’s DIY will show you how you can make your own lavender simple syrup. This is a really great way to add the flavor of lavender without it being overwhelming.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3 1/2 TBSP culinary lavender*
*you can use regular lavender leaves but it won’t taste as good as culinary lavender. I purchased mine from amazon.
Bring the cup of water and the lavender to a boil. Stir in the sugar and whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved. Whisk another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool. Using a bar strainer, strain out the lavender.
That’s it! Keep your syrup in a bottle or a jar in the fridge. It will keep for 10 days.
Next time I will show you a cocktail to create from the items we’ve made so far!
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!
October 19, 2013 by Jenn
A few days ago Patrick and I carved the pumpkins we bought at the farm. This is my favorite part of fall for 2 reasons. 1. Carving pumpkins is fun, duh. 2. PUMPKIN SEEDS. Pumpkin seeds are one of my all time top favorite snacks but buying them at the store can be expensive. I started cleaning and baking my own years ago and I’m about to tell you how.
We bought 4 pumpkins altogether, 2 large and 2 small. Luckily for me, there were a TON of seeds inside. First I clean out all the guts from inside the pumpkins and put them into a bowl.
Lots of gunk. This was only from one of the large pumpkins! Next you need to separate all of the seeds and put them into a strainer. I rinse my seeds so that there are no sticky parts that might make the seeds soggy when they are baking.
Place the seeds on a baking sheet or in a pan on wax paper. I spray a light layer of non-stick cooking spray just to be safe. Make sure that the seeds aren’t on top of one another. I like to sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on mine. Bake for 25 minutes in an oven preheated to 325 degrees. After about 10 minutes of baking I stir the seeds around to make sure none of them burn and our evenly distributed.
Eventually it was time to carve our pumpkins and I tried something I have never tried before. I used a drill. Honestly, drilling into pumpkins is really fun. It feels cool and you get all these tiny little pumpkin curly pieces. I drilled mine in a offset pattern using one small drill bit and one large drill bit.
Done! This is one of the many things Martha Stewart has taught me. We are getting so close to Halloween I can barely stand it. I’ll have a post for you very soon that’ll teach you how to make a spooky front yard display! Stay tuned!
April 12, 2013 by Jenn
Now that spring is here, everyone is posting ideas on fun ways to make planters or DIYs for gardening. The problem is that no one really explains the boring part of gardening, the actual specifics of the plants and how to plant them properly. There are certain things that everyone should know in order for your plants to be their best.
1. Pick out your plants.
I picked two different succulents, a tiny fringe palm, and a zee zee plant. I chose these types of plants because they’re all typically indoor plants that don’t require a lot of light or water. The zee zee plant that I’m going to show you how to pot is actually called the eternity plant because they last a long time.
When deciding what plants you should buy think about your living situation. Are you putting the plants indoors or outside? Do you have a busy schedule or do you have the time to cater to finicky plants. Since mine were going to be inside my apartment which is usually pretty warm, I chose plants that thrive on indirect sunlight and warm temperatures. Once you decide which plants you want, there are a few more things you need such as a nice aerated potting soil and planters. Why aerated soil? In nature rocks and bugs and other roots all play a part in aerating the earth’s soil. Since your plant will be inside a pot and not exposed to natural elements, the soil needs to be aerated to insure the plant is absorbing water properly.
2. Prepare the plant for the planter.
I picked the zee zee plant first. In a separate container I mixed my potting soil with a few sticks and small rocks I found outside. The soil was already aerated with bits of materials but I add extra. Once your dirt is ready you’ll want to remove the plant from the container it came home in. Gently. Very gently. Plants are alive and they get stressed out just like people or animals. It’s important to be gentle when moving them around. Twist the plant a little to separate the sides from the pot and then lift it out.
3. Clean the plant.
Once the plant roots are exposed, remove the dirt that is clumped onto them. Expose as much of the roots as you can and very gently separate the roots from one another. You want the roots to go into the new dirt being able to spread out, this’ll help your plant thrive as it grows. The more the roots can expand, the higher your plant will grow. Be sure to make sure there are no tangles in the roots as well.
Now you’re ready to put it into the planter. I added a few inches of soil and set the plant on top. Next I filled in the sides. It’s important to remember: DON’T pack the soil. You want water to be able to reach the roots properly and packing the soil will make your pot like a brick. Make sure all roots are covered and place a little extra soil on top and done!
Most plants come with a little stick inside that tell you the name of the plant and how much water/sunlight it requires. If you’d like to go the distance, take the Latin name of the plant and google it for even more information. Good luck and happy planting!