Tips & Techniques

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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3 Ways to Turn a Grocery Store Cake into a Wedding Cake — Wedding Cake

Using a plain grocery store cake and dressing it up well is an ideal wedding cake solution for any bride on a budget, but especially those who want to DIY their cake but don't have the skills — or time — to bake everything from scratch.

Choosing a grocery store cake may be a compromise in cost and customization, but it doesn't have to be a compromise in style. Here are three ideas for transforming a plain grocery store cake into a wedding-worthy cake no matter your style.

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5 Ways to Keep Flies Away from Your Patio Picnic — Patio Perfection

Eating outdoors is one of the best parts of summer — but once you get beyond the safety of your screened windows and doors, flies can be a real pain. They're mostly annoying (all that buzzing around and landing on your arms!), but they're also kinda gross considering how much time they spend flying from surface to surface (raw hamburgers to fruit salad ... ), trailing any bacteria they encounter from place to place.

Here's how to minimize outdoor flies so you can enjoy dining al fresco.

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3 Signs It’s Time to Toss Your Dates — Ingredient Intelligence

In addition to their irresistibly sweet flavor and versatility, dates, when stored properly, have a seriously lengthy shelf life. Even when they lose moisture and harden, there's still a way to revive that tender bite. But that doesn't mean they last forever. Dates can, and do, go bad.

Here are the three telltale signs those sweet dates have taken a turn for the worse.

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8 Ways to Help Your Fridge Keep Its Cool and Run Better — Fridge Fix-Up

It's hot outside, but it should be (very) cool inside your refrigerator. To keep it that way — even as the mercury rises and rises — follow these simple tips. They'll do wonders for your energy bill, help keep your food from spoiling, and just keep your fridge running nice and cold.

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How Long Should You Use Your Kitchen Sponge? — Cleaning Tips from Kitchn

A dirty sponge is just … foul. You know what I'm talking about — those flat, gray, flakey cleaning pads you find in office kitchens and bachelor apartments. And that smell! There is nothing grosser than washing a dish with a stinky sponge — aside from then having your hands smell like stinky sponge afterwards. Yuck.

Here's the deal, though: That filthy-looking sponge was dirty long before it started showing its age. It takes a while to wear down those fibers and for bacteria and grime to build up inside of a sponge so much that it would be visible. If that's what you have sitting next to your kitchen sink right now, please toss it! Then follow these guidelines so you don't ever get to that point again.

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