Tip o’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

Ready, Set, Calibrate!

A thermometer is only useful in the kitchen if it’s correct! They can get off just like a clock but more often. You want to check yours every 2 months or so, depending on how often you use it. There are quite a few different types but they are typically similar enough that this should help you figure out how to calibrate yours. This is called the ice point method.

Fill a tall glass all the way to the top with ice. Then fill with water and let stand for 3 minutes. Insert your thermometer. If it reads about 32 degrees, you're done!

With a small pair of pliers or a wrench, grip the nut below the reader. Slowly turn the head of the thermometer to 32 degrees while keeping the stem in the ice water.



May 30, 2010. Tags: , , . Cooking tips, Tip O' the Week. Leave a comment.

Egg Ninja

The past 12 years of my life have been all about eggs. Here’s what I know.

O.K. This is the beginning. I am going to try to teach you everything you need to know about cooking breakfast style eggs. 12 years for me, a handful of videos for you.

My first tutorial is all about how to flip your eggs (without a utensil) whether they be over medium or as an omelette. Whether there are 4 or 1. “Why would I want to learn how to do this” you may ask?

  1. You will no longer be fumbling around for a spatula.
  2. You save time.
  3. You save dishes.
  4. Your friends will think you’re cool.
  5. Your kids will think you’re cool.
  6. It’s easier.
  7. Your eggs are less likely to break.
  8. You can react faster.
  9. It’s simply nice to know.

I also wanted to do the flipping first because in the tutorials that follow, I will not be using a utensil (I never do) so I didn’t want you to feel lost.

There are just a few points I forgot to mention in this brief video demonstration. I suggest reading the following once before viewing and maybe once after.
(I would have re-recorded it but my movie editing software is not so super [as in I can’t figure it out].)

Remember: We are mimicking the movement of an ocean wave. Seriously.

Ahhh. Pretty.

O.K. Imagine you are looking at the profile of a wave. This is EXACTLY the motion you will be mimicking with your hand/pan and what your eggs are going to be doing in the pan. They simply flip over themselves. They just get a little air. Less time in the air=faster flip.
(This means they should not be hitting the ceiling in your kitchen nor should they be going any higher in the air than you are tall. Don’t be a show-off.)

One more note I forgot to mention: Yes. You may use butter also. I just don’t usually mention it because it tends to burn on beginners. With the oils mentioned, you can spend as much time as you need getting up the courage to toss food into the air.

So, grab a carton of eggs (they’re cheap) and maybe a sponge and get to crackin’! You will be amazed at how easy it really is.

Thanks so much to my wonderful assistant and videographer, Islay!
This is how I have always taught in person so I am curious to know if it all translates well into video and words. I’d love to know if you’ve used this to teach yourself. Thanks and good luck!

May 27, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Cooking tips, Eggs. 1 comment.


My awesome hubby, RPK, managed to score a job in one of the greatest cities in the U.S.! We also managed to snag the rental house of our dreams. It’s across the street from the lake!

This is what we’ve been doing for the past week:

The capitol building in Madison. I heard that it is, room for room, identical to the U.S. capitol...haven't confirmed yet. State Street runs diagonally through the grid of streets downtown and right up to the capitol. Only feet, bikes, cabs, and buses are allowed. (This is another road.)

This place (Mother Fool's) is a few blocks from our new home. Everything in Madison is dirt cheap with the exception of this place for some reason. It's good coffee but nothing mind blowing. It's unfortunate b/c it's very cute. It will just have to be a once a week visit.

This is our new street! Our home is the bottom floor of the red brick home on the right. That's Lake Monona on the left! The house is a historical landmark called the John George Ott house.

This is the entrance to Lazy Jane's. We were in Madison for 6 days and ate here 3 or 4 times. That's incredible as I can be a bit hypercritical of cafe's similar to ones I have worked in but we already adore everyone who works there. Good thing it's a few blocks from our place!

also Lazy Jane's

We also went to 2 different botanical gardens: one on campus and the other across the lake.

Totally delicious sandwich shop! Great whole wheat pita bread. (Something I never thought I'd say.)

click to read about it!

Bye Madison! See you in July!

If you want to see more of my possibly boring, little photos of Mad town, go to my Flickr!

May 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Me and Mine. 7 comments.

Tip o’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

Make your own sprinkles!

*Next time your kiddos try to talk you into spending five bucks on sparkly sprinkles tell them they can make their own!

I recommend using Sugar in the Raw (or raw sugar). It is larger and sparklier! Plain white sugar works o.k. too though. Put about 3 Tbsp. of sugar in a container with a lid. Small jars or tiny tupperware containers work really well.

Add one drop of food coloring, immediately put on the lid, and give to your kiddo to shake vigorously! When you take the lid of they will be stoked! Add one drop at a time until desired color is achieved.


*disclaimer: Adults are totally allowed to love sprinkles and want to make them too.
(I could have sworn I did this post already but it had disappeared from my
blog so if you have been with me from the beginning, please excuse the repeat.)

May 23, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Cooking tips, Tip O' the Week. 3 comments.

Rhode Island Fiber Festival!

I’ve been away a bit lately as I have been preparing to visit my soon new home of Madison, Wisconsin. We are leaving on Monday and will be there for about 6 days to scope out the areas and look at apartments and houses. I wanted to get my egg tutorial videos up but I am having a few problems with my video program…I’m really trying though! Soon.

In other news, I went on an awesome field trip today! I went to a beautiful farm in Bristol, Rhode Island called Coggeshall Farm Museum. I went for the 4th annual Rhode Island Fiber Festival. It was a gorgeous day to wander around on a farm surrounded by animals and luxurious roving and yarns. There were so many awesome booths there. I ended up buying 1,200 yards of 100% alpaca yarn, in 2 gorgeous natural shades of brown for a sweater for RPK. I can’t wait to make it for him. It’s going to be a sort of “thank you” to him for being such a responsible, amazing husband and man. Anywhoo….here’s some photos of what a fiber festival may look like!

This man was a pro. The sheep was like putty in his arms and seemed so comfortable with him. He sheared her completely in about 10 minutes.

I got to pet this amazing creature. I wanted to bury my face in it. It was adorable and exactly what a bunny should look like.

I loved these yarns and Christa, the proprietress as well!

I hope your day was just as pretty!

May 15, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Art and Neat stuff, Knitting. 2 comments.

Little Grey Dress

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

There is a time and a place for faded black like on your original Iron Maiden Killers tour t-shirt or your favorite black jeans that you wore 5 days a week in your early 20’s because you were too broke to go to the laundromat.

You’re a bit older now though and you officially own one of those “little black dresses” you’ve been hearing so much about. You need to keep it looking fresh.

Here’s what you do:

♦As soon as you purchase an article of clothing with some rich, solid color (not just black), soak it in your sink overnight with cold water with 2 cups vinegar.

♦If your black has already faded, try redyeing your fabric with RIT dye. Follow their directions and then follow-up with the vinegar bath.

♦Also, try running your washing machine with a healthy addition of vinegar, minus the laundry. Often, your clothing isn’t faded but instead has soap scum on it! This vinegar wash will really help break up the soap in the washer that is being redistributed onto your clothing, making them look dull and dingy.

May 9, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Cleaning tips, Tip O' the Week. Leave a comment.


A fellow blogger and Flickr friend of mine made a post today and it reminded me that I can post pictures of my bridesmaids’ gifts now! I’ve waited a year to show off my first major sewing projects! I basically taught myself to sew JUST to make these.
I was having a very difficult time finding a gift for all of them that was similar but personalized that didn’t come from some crappy wedding website. I was coming across too many overpriced pewter something or others with “free engraving!” So I put on my thinking cap. The main thing all my lady friends had in common was cooking (or eating). I had well worn my Jessie Steele apron as I felt the cut is very flattering so I made knock offs! I spent HOURS in the store on each trip for each apron trying to pick everything I thought each lady would love. I really think each apron represents each of them quite well. I also made each neck strap adjustable! (That is my biggest complaint with aprons. I’m 5’3″ and tiny chested. An apron that is meant to be wrapped around the true waist is not going to fit me the same way it would a woman who is 5’9″ and has a C cup, right? It don’t work!)

Luckily, they loved them.

I had such a wonderful time making these I went further. I have had a love for aprons of all styles for many years now and this gave me the confidence to jump in and create my own designs. After the big move in July, I will be making loads of them and they may be available for purchase.


May 6, 2010. Tags: , , , . Art and Neat stuff. 3 comments.


So pretty!

More like….EASY-nators!…

O.K. That was awful but really, you don’t need much instruction. I think you may just need someone to say, “Don’t buy that! You can make it!” Here are couple pointers!

you will need:

hot glue gun
good thread (or dental floss!)
plastic or metal hair combs
some pretty thingies (flowers, lace, broken jewelry, feathers, seashells, beads, etc..)
netting or tulle
felt squares

First, lay out the items you want to use. Practice putting them together and layering them. I usually start by putting down the feathers I want to use. Then I fill in any gaps with my other items. Think of it like flower arranging. Look at pictures online and try to mimic ones you like.

Play with your feathers. Try shaping and trimming them.

Next, cut a piece of felt into a shape that resembles your layout. I usually use a closed “V” shape like the black one below. That shape is particularly good on headbands as well. When it has everything on top of it, it lays very well. You can also use a rectangle. This is going to depend on how you want the comb to sit in your hair. Keep in mind you can trim it after all your pretties are in place.

To glue feathers in place, I squeeze a drop of glue from the hot glue gun onto a paper sack and then dip one side of the shaft down into the glue. If you have fabric flowers or beads you may want to sew them to the felt instead of glue.
When you have everything on your felt, you can glue it down onto your comb. If you decide you’d rather sew your felt to your comb, you will have to do that first, then add your decor.

Keep in mind, no one but you will be able to see the side that will be against your hair. Also keep in mind that it really just takes practice and experience to make them look clean underneath.

After one day and just a few pointers from me, my friend went home and was on a roll!

She immediately had a knack for this don’t you think?

This is my favorite one!

She also made these adorable little bobby pins while she was at it!

eek! So cute!

Don’t forget the tulle or netting! Play with different sizes and shapes and try gathering it and glue rhinestones to it! Hell, bust out that bedazzler!

Here are some inspiring examples to get your juices flowing or to buy from if you just don’t have the time to take on another project.

Stay tuned for a real step by step on how to craft fabric flowers.

May 3, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Art and Neat stuff. Leave a comment.

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