Life in the Kitchen

What I Learned Between My First & Fifth Batches of Kombucha — Tips from The Kitchn

I thought about making my own kombucha for a long time. The thing that finally threw me over the edge was seeing Kitchn's recently published videos for making both a scoby and kombucha. I pored over the written instructions more times than I care to admit, but actually seeing someone go through the steps made it seem easy and gave me that extra bit of confidence I needed.

Nevertheless, I approached my first batch with all the uncertainty (and panic) I'm sure first-time brewers feel: Should those floaty things really be in there? Is that brown splotch okay or is it mold? But five batches later, I'm way more laid-back about brewing kombucha, and I learned a few lessons along the way.

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How I Pulled Off My First Adult Dinner Party (on a 20-Something Budget) — Life in the Kitchen

I've always been in love with the idea of hosting dinner parties. My mother used to host game nights at our house when I was a kid, and she'd also throw parties for milestones throughout the year. As a 20-something adult, I've loved venturing into the playful, well-appointed world of hosting. But working with a tight budget, mismatched flatware (I know we have another fork somewhere around here), and small spaces means the way you go about it looks a little differently.

Here's the thing: That's OK.

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The 5 Foods I Think New Moms Desperately Crave — Life in the Kitchen

I thought once I'd finally had my baby, once pregnancy was over and I was no longer building a human being from scratch, I would perhaps stop eating like it was an Olympic event.

It's cute when people think those things pre-kid, right?

Between the lack of sleep, fluctuating hormones, and learning to take care of this tiny being who needed me for survival, I was a beast — constantly ravenous, yet also very picky. Plus, I wanted to eat a variety of foods so the baby could taste it through my breastmilk and I could hopefully introduce flavors ASAP. I was a difficult diner for my poor husband and family who were also all sleep-deprived and riding the incredible emotional roller coaster that is "OMG, we have a baby."

Although we lived it up big time ordering in, after a week I was positively craving homemade food. Here are some foods that would really have satisfied so many of my cravings (or at least one at a time), while sustaining me through 17 million nighttime wakings.

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Next Week’s Meal Plan: 5 Shortcut Suppers for the Week Ahead — Next Week’s Meal Plan

Instead of spending my Friday night meal planning, cocktail in hand, I made a Trader Joe's run. To be honest, I went for peonies and to get out of the house by myself, as my husband has been out of town for the last few weeks. I walked out $100 poorer and peony-less (they were out). What I did gain was a freezer full of shortcuts to get me through another 10 days of solo parenting while my husband is gone again.

This week's meal plan is inspired by some freezer shortcuts that I stocked up on at Trader Joe's, but none of the recipes here require TJ's-specific ingredients — many of these shortcuts can be found at any store. Plus these meals still make the most of summer produce while making dinnertime faster.

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I Made My Own Wedding Favors and Here’s What I Would Have Done Differently — Homemade Weddings

When my now-husband, Lucien, and I started planning our wedding we didn't initially set out to include any favors at all. They just seemed like an added expense that didn't feel totally necessary to us.

Then we stumbled upon the idea of leaving our guests with a homemade sweet treat to remember our special day. It felt so perfect and we were too excited about the idea to resist. With that, I ordered some cute treat bags on Etsy and set out to make about 200 rosemary shortbread cookies.

Buy the same bags: Wedding Favor Bags, from $30 for 20 at Mavora

There was flour, sweat, and tears, and while I'd bake my own favors again in a heartbeat, there are a few sanity-saving things I'd definitely do differently.

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10 Ways to Find Joy in Cooking for the Family — Make More Good

(Image credit: Alicia Macias)

During the weekday crazies, getting dinner cooked and onto the table can feel chaotic and chore-like. But it's actually pretty special when you think about it, and there are plenty of things you can do to make it so much more enjoyable.

Here are some ideas.

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