2014 How-to Guides & Instructions

How to Compost in your Kitchen

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Composting is easy. You can easily turn food scraps, grass clippings, fallen leaves, and shredded paper into beautiful compost.

The ideal ratio for composting is 1/3 green (or nitrogen) products mixed with 2/3 brown (or carbon) products.

Green/Nitrogen Products
Grass clippings
Food scraps (no meat but egg shells are okay)
Animal manure
Coffee Grounds

Brown/Carbon Products
Wood chips
Fallen Leaves
Shredded paper
Cardboard
Corn Stocks or Dead plants from the Garden in the fall
Straw

Recipe for Perfect Composting
1/3 Green/Nitrogen products
2/3 Brown/Carbon products
Oxygen – Be sure to turn/tumble your compost every week or so.
Moisture – Compost with too little moisture won’t work

*Starter Tip – When you first start composting add a little dirt. This will introduce the micro organisisms you want in your compost.

What is composting?

 

How to Peel Garlic really fast and easy – two step process

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Step one: Squash the whole bulb (or head) of garlic with your hand (thus releasing all of the individual cloves).

Step two: Put the individual cloves into a large metal bowl and use another bowl as a lid.

Step three: Now shake the devil out of those little cloves.

Now you have a bunch of peeled garlic cloves! How easy is that?
easy way to peel garlic cloves

 

How to Fillet a Fish – The Best Way to Flay

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To properly fillet a fish you’ll need a few items:

  • A fillet board with a clamp to hold the fish in place.
  • A fillet glove (this is a must if you value your fingers, tendons, and not spending time in the emergency room).
  • A sharp fillet knife.
The steps involved are to
  1. Clamp the fish down on the board by the nose or front of the fish.
  2. Cut behind the gills for an access to the next cut.  Don’t cut through the backbone.
  3. Run your blade from the access cut to the tail of the fish.  Keep the knife as close as possible to the backbone without cutting into it.  Don’t worry if you are getting some guts in the cut (you’ll remove that later).
  4. Trim the fillet of fish of any guts, stray bones, or fins that may have gotten on the fillet.
  5. Cook it on the grill or freeze pack it for later eating.
Be sure to take all safety precautions.  If you don’t feel comfortable wielding a fillet knife (which are sharp) ask someone else to fillet your fish.
Don’t use a dull knife as the extra pressure you exert may damage the meat or even be dangerous to yourself or others.
Don’t use a knife that is too small for the fish you are filleting.  You should be able to cut through the entire width of the fish without multiple cuts.

 

How to Make a Brick Oven on a Trailer

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This portable pizza oven was seen in Cedar City Utah. For all the details on building your own wood fired pizza oven visit the FornoBravo.com forums. These ovens reach 800+ degrees and can cook a pizza in a two minutes or less. The style of pizza these ovens make are from Italy and are called Neapolitan Pizzas. They have a this, rubust, crust that has crispy charred crust which is light and fluffy on the inside. The dough needs to be high gluten, high hydration, and prepared in a specific manner. Visit this detailed pizza technique tips to perfect your recipe. The right technique can help you achieve great results and the best tasting pie you’ve had in a long time.

These type of ovens are called Pompeii style ovens. They are heated by wood or a special type of coal called anthracite coal, mined from Pennsylvania.

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New York City Tips for a First Time Visitor

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If this is the first time you’re visiting New York get ready for an experience of a lifetime! Al the sights, smells, and experiences will make you feel like you’ve come to a place you’ve already been to and leave a deep impression on you. You would need a lifetime to truely see and do everything but you can sure try in the short time you’ll be there.

If you fly into JFK take the AirTrain then transfer to the subway (the E train) to save $60 or more in Taxi fares, its also quicker. When you exit the AirTrain you will need to pay $5 to get off the train. Don’t try to buy your week long subway pass here (that’s a mistake I almost made). Wait to buy your subway pass until you are actually in the subway (if it smells bad you’re in the right place).

You can check bags at a hotel, even if you aren’t staying there. This can make your trip very nice for a few hours while you’re in between spots or just needing to drop your bags off for a little while. Every hotel is different but most will check luggage no matter what your situation is. They charge around $3.50 per bag, per day.

When buying tickets to any event remember to avoid known problem areas in the venue you’re buying tickets for. For example, avoid being behind the foul pole for a Yankees game. If a venue is sold out but some seemingly good tickets are available be sure to read the fine print (as most places will warn you before you buy) and do some extra research before buying.

For discount tickets (and tickets to events that are sold out) try going to stubhub.com. You’ll be surprised at how much of a discount you can get by shopping around a little bit online. For events that are sold out, check out stubhub were there are still tickets available.

Ride the subway instead of using cabs. Get an extended (unlimited) subway pass for the time you’ll be there. NYC subways are safe and you’ll find children (with their parents), single women, and old people riding the subway with you. You’ll save a lot of money if you can master the subway routes and how they work. Plus, they are much faster than cars on the surface streets.

Bring cash. Most of the ‘real’ New York eating joints and other activities are cash only. You’ll also want cash on hand when shopping on Canal street, chinatown, or time square.

Wear good shoes. You will be surprised how much you actually walk. Because there is so much going on around you and ‘a few blocks’ here and there doesn’t sound like too much you’ll end up doing a lot of walking. Your feet and legs will be very sore if you’ve tried to fit everything you wanted to do in. Take some good walking shoes and be sure to wear socks.

Get some good deals on Groupon.com. To the NYC Manhatten area of Groupon each day or better yet, sign up and get daily deals in your inbox.

Group similar things together. Many attractions in New York are very close together. Get the most out of each area by grouping the things that you want to do in one area.

Try to hit attractions on their off times or get to them early. Every attraction will have its busy times. Getting their early will ensure you get a seat in the restaurant you want or allow you to see things before the crowds get too thick.

Try to mix travel times and rest times. Plan your days where you’ll have times where you watch a play or relax during part of the day.

If you plan on visiting most of the common attractions you should get a CityPass. Their are two types of city passes. One is called CityPass which is $79/person has a nine day expiration period and includes the statue of liberty ferry, the CirleLine cruises around the island (or the Beast Jet boat tour, Empire State Building observatory, the Guggenheim, top of the Rock observatory, The Metropolitan Museaum of Art, the MoMA, and the Natural History Museaum (with a ticket to one of their shows). If these things are on your list you should get the New York City Pass. You can buy the Pass at any of the places listed above. The other option is the New York Explorer Pass, which includes everything from the CityPass but also includes a ton of other attractions like the Wax Museum, the Aerospace Museum (on the air craft carrier), BODIES the exhibit, and much more. The three links are

  • NYC City Pass – 4 dedicated tickets and 3 either-or tickets $79
    (9 day expiration, pick 6 events)

    http://www.citypass.com/new-york

  • New York Explorer Pass – Pick your events pass $69 – $170
    (3,5,7, or 10 attractions)

    http://www.smartdestinations.com/new-york-attractions-and-tours/_d_Nyc-p1.html?pass=Nyc_Prod_Exp

  • New York Pass – Time Based Pass $80 – $170
    (unlimited events for 1,3, or 7 days)

    http://www.newyorkpass.com/

 

What’s included in the New York Explorer City Pass?

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The New York Explorer Pass is a great deal if you plan on hitting all the major attractions in New York in a short amount of time. As each event costs an average of $30 this pass will quickly pay for itself.

Included in the Pass:

  • Hop on Hop off Downtown Tour by City Sights
  • Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour
  • Madame Tussauds General Admission
  • NBC Studio Tour
  • Top of the Rock Observation Deck
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art (includes same day admission to Cloisters)
  • BODIES…The Exhibition
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Empire State Building Observatory
  • Bike and Roll Bike Rental
  • Bike and Roll Brooklyn Bridge and the Hudson River Tour
  • Bike and Roll Central Park and the Greenway Tour
  • Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Central Park Movie Tour by On Location Tours
  • CitySights NY Brooklyn Tour
  • CitySights Uptown Treasures & Harlem Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
  • Clipper City Tall Ship Sails
  • Cloisters Museum (Metropolitan Museum of Art) – same day admission to Met
  • Dave and Buster’s $20 Value Power Card
  • Food On Foot Tours
  • Gossip Girl Tour by On Location Tours
  • Ground Zero Museum Workshop
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • Harry Potter Exhibit at Discovery Times Square
  • Historical Cruise by NY Waterway
  • Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
  • Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Guided Tour
  • Madison Square Garden Tour
  • Multilingual Upper and Lower Manhattan Tour by City Sights
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Museum of Sex
  • NEW! Wall Street Movie Tour
  • NY Botanical Garden All Garden Pass
  • NY TV and Movie Sites Tour by On Location Tours
  • NY Water Taxi 1-day Hop-On Hop-Off Pass
  • Pompeii Exhibit at Discovery Times Square
  • Ripleys Believe it or Not! Odditorium
  • Rockefeller Center Tour
  • SHARK Speedboat Thrill Ride
  • Sex and the City Tour by On Location Tours
  • Shearwater Schooner Sails
  • Skyline Cruise by NY Waterway
  • Statue of Liberty Express Cruise
  • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Ferry Ticket
  • Traces & Places: Harlem Walking Tours
  • Twilight Bus Tour by City Sights
  • Twilight Cruise by NY Waterway
  • United Nations Guided Tour
  • Woodbury Common Premium Outlets Day Trip
  • ZEPHYR Seaport Liberty Cruise
 

Disney World Tips

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Parks

  • Wake up early and take advantage of the parks early hours. You’ll do more in one hour than you’ll do all day fighting the crowds.
  • Be sure to get a fast pass to the more popular rides while the park numbers are few.
  • Call you hotel a few weeks before you go and request maps for each park.  Plan what you’ll do each day

Eating

  • Pack water in ice filled thermoses.  This ice water is delicious. Get the ice from your hotel.
  • Even if you are staying in the park you can order take out from outside the park.  The front desk of your hotel has the phone numbers for the places you’ll want to order from.  Get better food without paying an arm or a leg.
  • Some of the best snackfoods (or food you carry with you each day) are: Jerky, Cheetos, Almonds, Individually wrapped pastries, Dried Fruit, Trail Mix, and don’t forget the ZipLoc Bags!
 

How to keep radishes from splitting.

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Radishes that split don’t clean up as well as others that stay together. When a radish is under watered it will preserve all the water in the cells of the plant to try to survive. If the radish starts to get regular water again it will send all the water to the root, thus splitting the root.

Regular watering will stop radishes from splitting.

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How to Plant a Green Pepper Plant

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Sweet peppers are notoriously slow growers and you’ll need to give them a boost. To help you pepper plant take off give it plenty of nitrogen when you plant it. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Fish or Blood Meal or other organic nitrogen fertilizer in the hole when you plant it. WARNING! Do not use Miracle Grow or other non-organic fertilizers because it will burn the plant’s roots and kill it. Add a small amount of bone meal in the soil when you plant it as well.

Once you see flower add some high phosphorus fertilizer (phosphorus is the second number in the three numbers you see on a fertilizer bag). Be careful not to burn it.

Keep it well watered (but not over watered).

Make sure the plant is in full sun.

When to Plant
Plant two weeks after you plant your tomatoes or two weeks after your latest frost date.

Where to Plant
Plant in the part of the garden with the most sun. Black plastic help warm up the soil and help the roots grow faster.

Tip: Try to find the pepper seeds with the shortest growing season. If you choose the seeds with 90 days or more you’ll probably never get your pepers.

Tip: Your pepper plant will need to be under stress for it to change colors (if its the color changing variety). Stop watering your plant a week before you would like to harvest your peppers.

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How to Watch Movies and DVDs In Your Car

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If you have kids or travel a lot having a movie you can watch is a nice luxury to have. While portable DVD players are nice they can be troublesome and the DVDs can get ruined. For the best selection and options this is the best setup.

Portable Media Player

These players will replace your traditional DVD player and support a wide range of video files, MP3s, and other media you want to watch. These screens have a built in battery and provide high definition video watching. When you select your media player make sure it has an RCA or component video out. This allows you to expand what you’re watching to the other monitors or screens in the car. Many personal video screens don’t have any type of output so be careful when selecting your player. With this particular model you will need a small monitor to see what the other screens are seeing.

 



This player holds 500GB of video, audio, and images. This unit is small and plays almost all file formats. Once you load this puppy up you won’t have to worry about DVDs getting scratched or ruined.

 

Monitors

Next, you’ll need some monitors. I was surprised to see the wide array of monitors available at a low cost. You can get two headrest monitors (pre-installed) for less than $300 for both of them. I was also amazed at how inexpensive in dash DVD players had become.

 

Headrest monitors have a few advantages since they are easy to install, have large screens, and run the wires in the middle of the seat. Hooking up power and the video connection are fairly easy. The only downside is that the basic colors, grey, dark grey, black, and tan can be slightly off from your original leather or upholstery.

 


Visor monitors are handy for passengers that want to watch video. I’m not sure on this but I imagine most states don’t allow drivers to watch movies while they’re driving.

 


Flip down monitors are nice because everyone in the back seat(s) can watch the same monitor. The downside is the installation can be more difficult and some drivers complain that the flip down screen obstructs their rear view sight.

 


Backup cameras serve two purposes 1) Helping you see what’s behind you when you’re backing up and 2) they can help you see what the rear view passengers are seeing if you’ve bought a personal media hard drive (like the Argosy above).

 

Extra A/C Power

If you want to plug in regular plugs from your house hold products you’ll need an inverter. An inverter changes DC to AC power. These are a good idea because they power laptops, video game consoles, chargers, and other appliances. The best way to install these is to take power straight from the battery. You can also run it from the cigerette lighter but it only allows you to draw 150 Watts that way.

 

Stand Alone Media Players

For single people, or those that want to watch something entirely different than everyone else the,re are players like this. These are also nice because they can be taken on planes and other trips without any problems.

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