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30 Blogs with the Best Tips for Canning Your Own Foods

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Canning your own foods is one of the easiest and most environmentally friendly ways to save money and food. If you have a vegetable garden and grow large crops, or simply do not like wasting food, canning is the solution you’ve been looking for. However, there is more to canning food than just putting pickles in jars; you have to ensure that you use safe methods that will preserve the food and keep it free from contamination. If you are new to canning your own food, these 30 blogs will teach you everything you need to know.

Canning 101

Before you begin canning your own food, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the concepts and basic rules. This will give you a good foundation for canning all types of foods so that you don’t make unnecessary and costly mistakes. By following the advice of experienced canners, it won’t take long for you to learn the craft. These five blogs will take you through the entire canning process, and provide you with essential tips and advice to get you started.

Canning Safety

Although canning food is a great preservation method, there are dangers if you do not seal the containers correctly. Food-borne bacteria can cause serious illness, so make sure you observe the correct safety and hygiene steps for canning food. Due to variance in acidity, natural bacteria and other elements found in different types of food, no two canning processes are the same. Before canning any type of food, check out these five blogs for guidelines on health and safety.

Canning Equipment

Canning is a craft all of its own, so using the right tools for the job is essential. Again, each type of food will require the use of different equipment. You may already have much of the equipment you will need in your kitchen; as for the rest, it’s time to go shopping. For some ideas on what you should buy, read these five blogs.

Canning Recipes

Some foods are better suited for home canning than others. There are some excellent recipes that will leave your mouth watering, and even allow you to can foods for longer. This is your chance to test out your culinary skills, so put on your chef’s hat and get creative in the kitchen. To help inspire you, there are some great examples of perfect canning recipes in these five blogs.

Canning Storage

Proper storage is extremely important when canning your own food. The type of container you use, temperature and how you stack your containers will all determine how long your food stays fresh. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste because of improper storage. To learn the correct methods for storing canned foods, make sure to follow the tips in these five blogs.

Canning Labels and Gift Ideas

Once you have canned your food you will want to label the containers. Not only will this allow you to date each container, it makes your canned foods look much prettier, too. Canned foods are great for gifting, so the more effort you put into dressing your containers the better. Family and friends will really appreciate a gift with such a personal touch. Whether you want to create your own labels or print free labels, these five blogs cover everything you will need.

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30 Blogs with the Best Tips for Organizing Your Craft Room

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Anyone who crafts knows that it’s easy to amass a vast collection of crafting supplies and materials in a relatively short amount of time. Setting up a dedicated craft room is one way to control the chaos, but that only tackles the first hurdle. The next? Organizing all of those beads, glue sticks and paper products so that they are easy to find. To help get your craft room organized and up and running, read through these 30 blog posts. With the help offered here, finding those specific tubes of glitter or packet of colored pencils will never be a problem again.

Planning

When you’re in the planning phase of your craft room, it can be helpful to draw out a rough layout of how you want the room to flow. Doing so will help you pinpoint the different types of furniture and containers you’ll need. Browse through these five blog articles to learn how you can plan out your craft room so that it looks and functions the way you want it to.

Going Vertical

While furniture is necessary for closed storage, there is a finite amount of floor space in every room, your craft room included. Because of this, it’s important to find ways to maximize the vertical space you have. You can accomplish this by hanging shelves on the walls, using tall bookcases and mounting storage space on the backs of doors. For more ideas on vertical storage, read these five blog entries.

Using Recycled Items

Storage containers can get pricey, especially when you’re purchasing them in bulk. However, you can help reduce the amount spent on storage by saving old jars, cans and boxes and repurposing them into storage space. These five blog postings will show you how you can put recycled containers to work in your craft room.

Outside the Box

Boxes are often the go-to when organizing, but seeing rows and rows of boxes on your shelves isn’t the most visually appealing way to display your different organization containers. Instead, try to think about unique items that you can use to organize things, like a cup tree for pens and pencils.  Take a look at these five blog posts for some unique storage ideas.

Budget-Friendly

Buying matching furniture and coordinating storage containers can get add up quickly, and you can end up spending a fortune if you aren’t careful. While those craft rooms may look amazing, not everyone has that kind of budget to work with. You don’t have to break the bank when creating a craft room, though. For budget friendly decorating and organizing tips, check out these five blog entries.

Labeling

Using clear boxes and containers in your craft room makes finding things easy, however not everyone likes the aesthetics of clear storage containers. Labels can help you keep everything organized and easy to find while still allowing you to use more decorative boxes and baskets to store all of your supplies. Take a look at these five blog entries for plenty of labeling ideas.

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10 iPhone Apps That All Gardeners Could Use

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Not everyone is lucky enough to be born with a green thumb, and many would-be gardeners give up on the prospect of tending their land because they simply don’t know how to do it and gardening seems too complicated. Luckily, thanks to technology, having a gardening guru in your pocket has become a reality. Others may be skilled in growing and landscaping, but could use more organization and time. It can be frustrating to have to leaf through several books to remind yourself when to plant and harvest each crop. Thankfully, there are iPhone apps that can store all of this information in one place. Whether you are a gardening expert or someone who is just starting out trying to grow a few plants, there is an app for you to help you both learn and enjoy gardening.

  • Garden Pro- Garden Pro helps you to remember all the tasks you have to do for each plant in your garden. It allows you to upload pictures so you can see how much your plants have grown and changed over time. It has a quick reference guide to access the information you need to care for your garden quickly while you are out there working. There is also a complete pest and disease guide included in the app to help garden lovers treat most common problems. Price: $3.99.
  • Garden Compass/ Disease Identifier- This app has a really handy feature: if you are not sure what is growing, you can take a picture of it and the app will identify it for you. It will also recognize problems with the plant and give you recommendations for fixing it. Price: Free
  • Garden Bugs- Garden Bugs is an app that helps you figure out what insects are destroying your plants and how to keep them away. You can even buy the pest control needed from within the app. It also identifies common diseases. Price: $0.99
  • Garden Time Planner- This app was developed by Burpee, a leader in garden supplies. It lets you know when to sow, transplant and harvest your vegetables and herbs. It also keeps track of the weather in your area and tips are personalized accordingly. This app even has a database full of plants and how-to videos. Price: Free
  • Organic Gardening- This guide will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about gardening and will have you up and running in no time. The guide is easy to read and makes organic gardening simple, even for the beginner. It will have your flowers blooming and your vegetables sprouting perfectly, the natural way. Price: $0.99
  • Gardening Toolkit- This app will let you know, according to your location, the best times to plant and harvest and when the frosts are likely to occur. It also lets you know which plants will grow best in your area. Once you know what to plant and when, it will guide you through the process and keep to-do lists for you so you never fall behind in your work. It even has a built in encyclopedia with over a thousand plants. Price: $1.99
  • Vegetable Garden Calculator- With this app you will never wind up with too many or too few vegetables again. This app tells you exactly how much to plant in order to feed your family. Price: Free
  • A Garden Life- A Garden Life is a magazine app with articles from professional gardeners who write about everything from creating meaningful garden spaces to food and health. This app will allow you to appreciate gardening as a lifestyle and to fully enjoy the experience of nourishing life. Just ask its many readers, who have given it rave reviews. Price: Free
  • Vegetable Tree- This app will give you everything you need to know about vegetable gardening in one place. It has pictures, times for planting and harvesting, seed depth and temperature information and much more. Additionally, you can share notes on Facebook and Twitter, use the “Plant Now” feature to find which plants you can start with based on the date and location and access their huge catalog. Price: $1.99
  • Landscaper’s Companion- Landscaper’s companion is the most comprehensive plant reference for the iPhone. This guide covers over 26,000 plants, including trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. It has an excellent search feature, and once you find the plant you are looking for, it will tell you everything you need to know about it from growth rate to deer resistance. It also has a Pro-Version that allows you to add your own plants and photos and to keep track of current projects. Price: $6.99
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27 of the Best Blogs Explaining How You Can Cook Once and Eat All Week

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With today’s fast pace and the increasingly busy schedules people keep, it’s not uncommon to find yourself eating out more often than not. However, while frequenting restaurants and fast food joints may seem like a faster option than cooking at home, there are ways to cut back on the time spent in the kitchen and the money spent from your wallet. Meal planning ahead of time, making one large grocery trip each week and taking a few hours on the weekend to prep your food for the upcoming week can help ensure that you have dinner on the table no matter how busy your weeknights get. These 27 blog entries are full of tips and tricks for cooking once and eating all week long.

Tips and Tricks

There are several different ways to cook once and have enough food for the rest of the week. Making dishes in bulk and freezing them, repurposing leftovers into new meals and cooking up a big batch of protein and incorporating it into several different meals are all ways you can make a day in the kitchen stretch into meals for the week. For more tips and tricks to make your meals last, take a look at these nine blog entries.

Healthy

Frequently dining out doesn’t just affect your wallet, it can also adversely affect your waistline if you aren’t careful. Prepping healthy meals ahead of time can help you beat the belly bulge that can come with numerous nights of fast food eating and help save you some money. Having food already prepared makes it easy to choose to stay home instead of dine out, and these nine blog posts will help make your meal planning a snap.

Kid-Friendly

Sitting down to a family dinner may seem like an impossible task, but by planning out meals and cooking once for the week you can carve out more time to sit down together as a family and enjoy a meal. These nine blogs are full of kid-friendly recipes that will please the entire family, and will eliminate all of those pleas for drive-through kids meals.

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What’s Behind the Mustache Trend?

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For adults under the impression that mustachioed movie stars enjoyed their heyday in the ‘70s, the seemingly overnight appearance of so much highly stylized facial hair is baffling. The mustache trend isn’t restricted to the faces of men, either. From candles shaped like handlebar mustaches to greeting cards and any novelty you can imagine, there’s very little that can’t be emblazoned with a mock-up mustache. When walking down the street feels more like a trip down a dusty alley in the Wild West, the curiosity can be overwhelming. How, after so many years of languishing on the stylish shelf, is this particular trend beginning to proliferate again? To determine the answer to that hairy question, it’s necessary to first understand the trend itself.



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The Fingerstache

Growing a mustache isn’t always an option. When you’re just not blessed with the ability to grow flowing upper-lip locks, missing out on such a hot trend isn’t necessarily a given, thanks to the inventor of the fingerstache. What began as an actual practice and evolved into an online photo-based meme, the fingerstache was the brainchild of Columbus, Ohio tattooist Giovani. Women and sparsely-fringed men have been able to maximize their trend-following potential by resorting to the fingerstache, in which the side of the index finger is mocked up as a mustache to be stretched across the upper lip. Most people go for the humble ink marker fingerstache variety of faux facial hair, but the truly daring have been known to have the meme permanently emblazoned on their phalanges through the indelible art of tattooing.

Movember

Breast cancer awareness is promoted through the wearing of all things pink, but until recently there was no such gimmick for the very serious conditions threatening men’s health. If you seem to find a proliferation of facial hair during the month of November, what you’re actually witnessing is activism in action through the growth and maintenance of a mustache. The seemingly silly trend has sparked a new level of awareness surrounding what’s certainly no laughing matter, the tendency of men to neglect their health. With a focus on testicular and prostate cancer screening and encouragement for men everywhere to get educated about their health, Movember is partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Before you laugh off a particularly healthy specimen of a mustache as little more than a passing trend, realize that it may actually be a visible sign of something much more.

The Etsy Takeover

One surefire way to determine the reach of a trend is to peruse the listings on Etsy. The haven of ultra-hip crafters with a do-it-yourself ethic, the self-starting artists who make up this worldwide marketplace seem to have their collective finger on the very pulse of what’s hot. Proof that the mustache has reached a cultural saturation point is the sheer volume of mustache-adorned objects available through Etsy. One search brings up more than 41,000 results, with everything from party invitations to fingernail art bearing the trendy symbol.

Social Media Mustaches

There’s no denying the fact that the mustache has reached its peak of mainstream appeal when quickly scrolling through your newsfeed leaves you with the impression that all of your friends have been replaced by the Monopoly mascot. From the fingerstache to the real thing, crumb catchers are ubiquitous in the realm of social networking. Arguably the first facial hair trend to go viral, both online and in real life, the mustache is definitely a part of today’s social media landscape in very real and somewhat puzzling ways.

Understanding the Hipster Ripple Effect

To understand what lies behind the mustache love that’s so common these days, it’s essential to first understand the hipster ripple effect. These counter-culture gurus have, over the years, adopted a variety of ironic fashion choices. Intended to be odd rather than attractive, they eventually reach mainstream fashion and, as such, are immediately abandoned by the very hipsters that started the trend. Much like a pebble dropped into a pond causes far-reaching ripples, hipsters lie at the epicenter of the mustache boom and are quickly beginning to abandon their high-maintenance facial hair as the rest of the world adopts the look.

From Burt Reynolds to the modern hipster and beyond, the mustache is an interesting blip on the style radar. With time, it will fade as other trends before it, a fact that’s unfortunate for those who have chosen to tattoo it on an index finger or emblazon it upon their wedding invitations at the peak of the craze.

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24 Blogs that Will Help You Find Hidden Storage Solutions in Your Home

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Storage space is something that most people covet, and something that there never seems to be enough of. Unfortunately, you can’t just expand rooms to create space where this none. In order to create more storage space in rooms, sometimes you have to get a little creative. These 24 blog entries are full of different ideas for maximizing the space you have so that storage space is at a premium. With a little help, you’ll never be searching for extra storage space again.

In Your Bathroom

Bathrooms by their nature are inherently small, but there are ways you can increase your storage space in these rooms. Adding a medicine cabinet to the wall and fixing a shelf above the door are two easy ways you can create new space to store different items. For more bathroom storage ideas, take a look at these six blog posts.

In Your Kitchen

When it comes to odds and ends, the kitchen is the place where most end up. From rarely used cooking utensils to junk drawers stacked with stuff, this space is usually the most disorganized – even if you can’t tell from the surface! For ideas on how you can organize this space and create more storage solutions, check out these six blog articles.

Under Your Stairs

The space under the stairs is rarely utilized to its fullest extent, however, it’s the perfect place for extra storage solutions. These six blog entries share how you can turn this neglected space into a reading nook, storage room or a secret hiding place in case of emergencies.

In Your Walls

The walls in your house are ripe for modification when it comes to creating more storage space. For example, adding a hidden bed to a wall in your office can create the perfect space for out of town guests. For more hidden wall storage ideas, look at these six blog posts.

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27 Blogs Featuring Healthy Summer Salad Recipes

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When the days and nights are hot and muggy, the last thing you want to do is heat up the kitchen by turning on the oven. However, despite this, you likely still need to get a meal on the table that is both filling and nutritious. One way to accomplish this is by serving up healthy summer salads. For some crisp, refreshing recipes, check out these 27 blog entries, which are stocked with delicious, filling salads that will have your mouth watering.

From the Grill

While grill masters may disagree, the grill isn’t solely reserved for burgers and hotdogs. In fact, you can grill up everything from fruit to lettuce for an interesting twist on the classic salad. If you need some tips on how to use the grill while you’re crafting up your next salad, read these nine blog posts.

Make it a Meal

By adding some protein to your salad you can take it from a starter dish to the main meal. No time to cook? Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the market and add some chicken to your salad, or allow the chicken to cool and make some chicken salad sandwiches for a light supper. For more recipes for main dish salads, check out these nine blog entries.

Put it on the Side

Salads are the perfect quick and healthy side dish to almost any meal, whether its soup, sandwiches or tacos. From green dinner salads to potato and pasta salads, your salad side dish options are endless. For healthy salads to serve on the side of any meal, take a look at these nine blog entries.

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30 Blogs with Creative Ways to Serve Roasted Chicken

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Roasted chicken, whether prepared at home or bought at the grocery store, is the perfect addition to almost any savory dish. From appetizers to casseroles, this versatile poultry is a great way to beef up a dish with some extra protein. These 30 blog entries will give you recipes that will have you whipping up chicken dishes in no time flat, whether you are having last minute guests, making lunch for your spouse or getting dinner on the table on a busy weeknight.

Appetizers

There’s no shame in taking a little help from the super market when you are putting appetizers together for a party or last minute dinner guests. Rotisserie chicken is usually a safe bet because most people like it, it’s a healthy option and it’s incredibly versatile. These six blog articles will describe how to make tasty appetizers that are perfect for any get together.

Casseroles

Casseroles usually make good weeknight meals because they typically only takes a few minutes to throw together the ingredients and toss in the oven to bake, allowing you to spend quality time with your partner or family instead of slaving away in the kitchen all evening. Round out the meal with a tossed salad and you’re ready to eat! For some tasty casserole recipes that feature roasted chicken, take a look at these six blog posts.

Make-and-Takes

From packed lunches to meals on the go, chicken salads, wraps and sandwiches are perfect make-and-take options. Using roasted chicken allows you to get in a hefty dose of protein and is a tasty substitution to the usual deli meat. These six blog entries detail how you can put together lunch in minutes.

Soups

When it comes to comfort foods, there’s not much that beats a hearty bowl of soup. From a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup when you’re sick to a warm and filling chicken pot pie on a cold winter day, these six blog articles are full of chicken soup recipes that will have you salivating.

Entrees

Roasted chicken, while delicious, tends to take a while to make. Rotisserie chicken bought at the grocery store is an easy way to pull together an entrée featuring roasted chicken without going through the hassle of roasting it yourself on a busy night. These six blog entries are packed with chicken entrees that the whole family is sure to enjoy. Whether it’s pasta you’re craving or a crisp, fresh salad, you’ll find the recipe here.

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30 Blogs with Tips for Beginning Bakers on How to Make Your Own Bread

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There’s not much that rivals the smell of freshly baked bread, however many people shy away from baking a loaf of homemade bread because they mistakenly think it’s too big of a task to take on. There are an array of ways that you can bake your own bread at home, from traditional yeast bread to quick bread to muffins and more! These 30 blog entries will give you some basic instructions and recipes that will help get you started baking homemade bread; after you get started, you may never go back to store-bought again!

Yeast Breads

There may be no better stress reliever than pounding and kneading bread dough. Many people find bread making to be a cathartic experience. If you’re nervous about kneading, try a recipe that doesn’t require a heavy amount of it. Take a look at these six blog posts for a variety of yeast bread recipes.

Quick Breads

If you can follow a recipe, you can make a quick bread. There are thousands of various quick bread recipes. Quick breads can be both sweet and savory, and you can also use a quick bread recipe to make muffins by adjusting the baking time.  Check out these six blog articles to find some tasty quick bread recipes for beginners.

Muffins

As a beginner baker, the muffin is probably one of the easiest breads to make. Most muffin recipes are pretty forgiving, and you can make sweet and savory muffins that are perfect for pairing with breakfast, dinner or dessert! Look at these blogs for six stellar recipes for interesting and different muffin recipes.                  

Friendship Bread

Amish friendship breads are made using a sourdough starter instead of yeast. Friendship breads, also known as starter breads, require making a starter and then stirring and feeding the dough for 10 days before making bread. Then the starter is separated and you can give some of it away to your friends.  If you are interested in recipes to make the starter or recipes to make with the starter, you can find some great places to start on these six blog entries.

Bread Machine

Bread machines take a lot of the legwork out of baking bread, making them a great starting point for beginners. Follow the directions in your bread machine manual about how to layer the ingredients into your machine, then turn it on and let it run. Bread machines can also be used just to make dough.  Once the dough is ready you can use it to make things like cinnamon rolls and pita bread.  These six blog articles will help you get started.

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24 Blogs with Tips for Making Your Home Look Bright and Airy

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Brightening up your home can breathe new life into worn furniture and drab walls. Fresh paint gives rooms a clean, fresh look. Minimizing furniture opens rooms up and makes them feel more spacious. Taking advantage of natural lighting whenever possible helps to give rooms an airy feel. There are a number of ways you can take advantage of these tips, so if you’re trying to transform your own home take a look at these 24 blog posts.

Paint Color

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to paint your walls white in order to achieve a bright and airy room. Ice blue, light green and other muted, neutral colors can achieve a brighter space. To balance the color, keep the woodwork white. For more painting tips take a look at these six blog entries.

Bedroom Ideas

To achieve a bright, airy feel in your bedroom, let in as much natural light as you can. Avoid using heavy blinds or curtains to cover windows, and make sure the furniture size complements the size of the room. By creating as much visual space as possible you can open up a room of any size. Check out these six blog articles for more tips on decorating a bedroom.

Lighting

While natural light is very important, there are times when there just isn’t enough. When adding lighting to a room, avoid harsh fluorescent lights, which don’t achieve the same feeling as natural light. These six blog posts will explain the different types of lighting that will help brighten up a room and mimic or enhance natural light.

Decorating

Sometimes achieving a bright and airy look can be accomplished with the right furniture and accessories. Light, sea-inspired colors and white furniture are great for decorating rooms that you want to achieve the open, airy feel in. Read these six blog entries to learn more about how to decorate a room, even a bathroom, to make it bright and airy.

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