Archive for January, 2011

How to Make Paneer

You’d never think that with only two ingredients and a little bit of time that you would be able to make your own cheese, would you? Well I didn’t think it was possible either, until today. In fact, you can actually make three different kinds of cheese out of the ingredients in the photo above, but today I am going to show you how to make Paneer, an Indian semi-soft cheese. Paneer is a very interesting cheese with mild flavor, but can be grilled or cooked without melting. To get started, all you will need is a half gallon of milk, one lemon, and some good kitchen tunes.

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Canning Set

Today during my lunch break I headed into one of my favorite stores in the city, which just so happens to be a block away from my office, Fishes Eddy. They are always loaded with a bundle of unique dishes, silverware, containers, butter dishes, etc. It is a house maker’s dream. If you haven’t visited yet, get moving, or at least check out their website! It is truly unlike any other kitchen store you’ve been in.

Anyway, while perusing for nothing in particular, I came across a canning set for a reasonable price and decided this would be the push I need to start canning. The set includes jar tongs, a magnetic wand (for lifting lids out of hot water), a jar funnel, a jar wrench, and a jar lifter. Clearly I need to do some more reading on what exactly the uses for all of these tools are, but I thought it was wonderful that they were all compiled into one package as opposed to hunting for each one separately. Convenience is certainly a big selling point for me. I have never canned or pickled anything as of yet, but I am determined to bring this old housewife craft back!

Stay tuned for my first attempt at canning, hopefully to begin shortly!

Ikea Rast Dresser Before and After

This weekend I finally had some time to get to work on my Ikea Rast dresser (remember that ugly thing?). It basically consumed all of my day on Sunday, with the exception of the morning, when Alex and I had a very lovely brunch with some of our besties at one of our favorite restaurants in New York, Long Island City’s M. Wells. A full stomach is always a good thing before starting a project, FYI. If I start a project hungry, chances are I won’t come back to it after pausing to eat, and then it will sit around for another day or so, waiting for me to work up the motivation to finish it.

Also, one piece of advice if you decide to attempt this project (or any other project that utilizes stain)–make sure you have plenty of space to work, good ventilation, and a drop cloth to lay down because you’re about to get a little messy.

But the time, effort, and mess factor are totally worth it. Get ready to be blown away…after the jump!

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A Trip to the Library

So often we forget about our local libraries–I know I do. I am lucky enough to have a Queens library within a few blocks of my apartment, and until recently I have never utilized this amazing community service. But the days of going to the library and hunting through stacks and stacks of books are over. The internet has changed all of this, and now you can actually reserve books online. I realize that this is basically common knowledge now, but how many of us have actually done it it? Since starting this blog I have found more books that inspire me than ever. From home cooking, to interior design, to leisure reading, books are wonderful sources of information and entertainment.  So last week I used my library’s online reservation resource and was very pleased by the results.

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A Curtain Call for Shades

I’ve been feeling a little cluttered in my living room lately and was taking a good look at our windows last week and decided they needed a change. One of the biggest improvements I’ve made in our bedroom was removing the curtains from the windows and putting up roller shades. They made the space feel much more open and made me appreciate the molding details around the window that we are lucky enough to have. I figured I could apply the same method to our windows in the living room.

In our previous apartment we kind of went for a shabby chic feel. Lots of random, broken in stuff that all worked together but always felt a little messy, though undeniably cozy/homey. I still enjoy the shabby chic look, but I’ve adopted a slightly more grown up aesthetic lately.

This past weekend I picked up two sets of Ikea Isdans roller shades, for $10 each. And in between many angry words, I put these pain in the ass shades up last night. They’re definitely a little bit of work, but I must say, in the end I think it totally payed off. Check out the after picture after the jump.

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Forcing Paperwhites

One of the worst parts about winter is the lack of fresh flowers blooming. I don’t think there is anything more beautiful, or better smelling, than a fully blossomed perennial. But just because it’s winter doesn’t mean having fresh flowers blossoming in the comforts of your own home is impossible. Bulb forcing is very popular among gardeners that desire fresh flowers throughout the year. I first learned about bulb forcing on a weekend getaway 2 years ago, in Lambertville, NJ, and came across a store that was covered in paperwhites. The smell was intoxicating and the flowers were simple and beautiful. They sold a small bag of paperwhites bulbs for a few dollars and I’ve been hooked ever since.

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Ikea Rast Dresser

This past weekend, Alex and I headed to Long Island for some much-needed suburban department store shopping. We hit the usual spots–Target, Home Depot, Ikea–and the local thrift stores. We were in search of many things, but most of all we were looking for a piece of furniture to fit our awkwardly shaped entryway. The space is really narrow and we were having a hard time finding a functional piece of furniture that fit in nicely. I had originally assumed we would find something at one of the many thrift stores, but was happily surprised when we came across the Ikea Rast Dresser. It fit our dimensions perfectly, and though it is extremely ugly as is, it’s totally DIY-worthy, due to its raw wood and replaceable knobs.

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