Chocolate Martini

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:43 am on Thursday, February 11, 2010

This Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking of foregoing the usual red wine and champagne and go for the chocolate martini instead.

Ah the chocolate martini. Is there anything more decadent? Dessert and a drink rolled into one. Which, of course, is completely awesome.

I took a look around the internet for good chocolate martini recipes and found two I’m pretty sure are delicious.

The first one is from Julie Swank’s blog:

savvyhousekeeping chocolate martini by julie swank

Heart of Dark Chocolate Martini

Ingredients (makes 2 cocktails):

    1 c 2% milk
    2 Tbs unsweetened coco powder
    2 Tbs sugar
    2 jiggers (3 oz.) of vodka
    Ice

Directions:

Stir milk, coco and sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat, using a whisk to combine.

Remove from heat, and let cool. You can pour mixture into a heat proof measuring cup and set over an ice bath to quicken cooling.

Pour cooled mixture into a Martini shaker filled with ice. Shake, shake, shake. Strain into two Martini glasses.

And then the other is from GarnishBar’s Flickr Stream:

savvyhousekeeping white chocolate martini bailey's mint

Mint Bailey’s Chocolate Martini

Ingredients (makes one cocktail):

    1/2 oz vodka
    1 1/2 oz mint Baileys irish cream
    1/2 oz Godiva white chocolate liqueur
    Chocolate syrup
    Ice
    Mint leaf for garnish


Directions:

Chill martini glass by placing ice in empty glass and let stand. Mix mint Baileys irish cream, vodka, and Godiva white chocolate liqueur over ice in a shaker. Shake well or until frost develops on outside of metal shaker.

Remove ice from chilled martini glass. Drizzle chocolate syrup along the inside edges of the chilled martini glass. Strain cocktail from shaker into chilled martini glass and garnish with a mint leaf. Enjoy.

There will be no entry tomorrow–taking the day off–so have a great Valentine’s Day.

Want Want BookBook

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:40 am on Wednesday, February 10, 2010

savvyhousekeeping laptop case from book

This is just too awesome for words: The BookBook. It is a laptop case for your MacBook made out of a hardback leather book. I love this. Too bad I don’t have a MacBook and my laptop would never fit.

savvyhousekeeping laptop cast from recycled book

$80 from Twelve South.

Chickens and Your Pets

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:25 am on Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One of the questions people are asking me about getting chickens is: how do I think they will get along with our two cats? My answer: not very well! The cats are going to want to eat the chickens, especially when they are little. However, I think we can handle it because:

a. Cats can be trained not to do something and
b. Full-grown chickens are bigger than cats and tend to intimidate them.

So once the chickens are grown up, I think the cats will know to leave them alone. Dogs, however, are a different story. They can be relentless in their desire to kill and eat your pet chickens.

However, there is hope. The Dog Whisperer recently dealt with a dog that had killed two of the family chickens. In the below clip, he goes over a basic technique for training your pet to leave the chickens alone:

To tell the truth, I’m not so sure how successful the Dog Whisperer was here, but hey, at least he got an egg for his troubles.

A Romantic Bedroom for Valentine’s Day

Filed under: Cleaning/Decorating — Savvy Housekeeper at 10:09 am on Monday, February 8, 2010

savvyhousekeeping valentine's day romantic bedroom decor decoration

Romantic bedroom decor is an important part of Valentine’s Day. After all, who doesn’t want a clean, calm, lovely oasis in which to end the evening?

Well, there’s no need to check into a hotel. There are ways to make your own bedroom more romantic. The key is to start with a clean, uncluttered space and then add romance on top. Here are some tips on how to spice up the bedroom for Valentine’s Day:

First, the basics:

1. Clean the bedroom. Vacuum, hang clothes, dust blinds, polish wood, etc.

2. Remove clutter. Shove it in the closet if you have to, just get it out of sight.

3. Change the bedding. Clean sheets are a must.

4. Remove the TV. Cover it or take it out of the room. There is nothing less romantic than an ugly TV.

5. Hide Family Photos. As much as we all love our relatives, no one needs to look at their faces during romantic time.

Okay, the room is clean. Now it’s time to consider the extras:

1. New Bedding. If you are planning to get a new duvet or sheets for the bed, Valentine’s Day is a good time to inaugurate them.

2. Candles. Candles equal instant romance. You don’t need that many, either. One or two does the trick. If you like scented candles, only burn one at a time so it isn’t overwhelming.

3. White Christmas Lights. Use them as lighting by weaving them on the bed frame or along the ceiling or anywhere that would add a sense of romance. Here’s an example from furniture for small spaces:

savvyhousekeeping valentine's day romantic bedroom decor decoration

4. Extra Pillows. By putting all the pillows in the house on the bed, you get a look of luxury and excess. Use similar pillowcases for a sense of uniformity. Alternately, splurge for some new throw pillows or make them.

5. Canopy. You can rig a canopy over the bed for increased intimacy. Here’s an example from Home Interior Decorating:

savvyhousekeeping valentine's day romantic bedroom decor decoration

6. Flowers. To tell the truth, I’m not a fan of putting rose petals on the bed because they are annoying to clean up afterwards, but I would be remiss not to mention it. Alternately, you can just put some flowers in vases by the bed. The more the merrier in this case.

That’s all I have. The rest is up to you.

DIY Maple Syrup

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:27 am on Friday, February 5, 2010

savvyhousekeeping make your own maple syrup

Apparently, you don’t have to live in upstate Vermont to make your own maple syrup. Ava Chin of this NYTimes blog decided to tap a maple tree in Brooklyn to make her own syrup…and it worked.

You do need certain weather conditions, namely “a period of hard frost, followed by warmish days of 40-plus degree weather with evening temperatures that dip to freezing,” says Chin. If you live in these conditions–New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania also have sap-giving maples–you can make your own syrup. All you do is harvest the sap from the tree and then boil it into syrup. The process is called sugaring.

Chin tapped the tree using equipment from the hardware store, and was rewarded with 2 gallons of sap:

I held my breath in anticipation, but seconds later the sap began overflowing, even spilling onto the drill. Tree sap is watery and slightly sweet, not hard and stiff like resin, and reminded me of the way I had imagined rivers tasted in novels, where after a long day’s journey, horseback riders drinking from the running water always invariably said, “That sure is sweet!”

After getting the sap, she goes over how to turn it into syrup. Looks like it is a matter of boiling it. And the resulting syrup?

A warm spoonful of it revealed a concentrated sweetness that felt fully realized, old-fashioned, and mellow, without the cloying heaviness of store-bought, which is sometimes just glorified corn syrup.

savvyhousekeeping make your own maple syrup

Read the rest here.

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:06 am on Thursday, February 4, 2010

savvyhousekeeping triple chocolate cake

I am obsessed with this cake. It is on the cover of The Best of America’s Test Kitchen, which is on newsstands now. However, Christopher Kimball’s America’s Test Kitchen Blog also has the recipe. Hurrah!

This cake looks like the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert. Foodie Stuff tried the recipe too, and it looks like it comes out beautifully:

avvyhousekeeping triple chocolate cake

Yum.

Green Tea and Ginger Cocktail

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:59 am on Wednesday, February 3, 2010

savvyhousekeeping ginger green tea gin cocktail

Here’s another good cocktail that I made up with Drink of the Week. This time we used green tea as inspiration. And what goes with green tea? Ginger, of course.

And so the Green Tea and Ginger Cocktail was born. We used regular green tea, Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur for the ginger element, and gin to make a cocktail that is light and soothing with just a hint of ginger spiciness. Here’s the recipe:

Green Tea and Ginger Cocktail
(makes one cocktail)

Ingredients:

    1 1/2 oz gin (preferably the slightly herb-y Tru Gin)
    1 oz Ginger Liqueur
    3/4 oz green tea, brewed
    Lots of ice
    Lemon for garnish


Directions:

Brew 1 tea bag in 1 cup of water. Combine 3/4 ounce of tea with gin, ginger liqueur, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Swirl the cocktail in the shaker until it is cold. Don’t over-shake or you might bruise the gin.

Fill a martini glass with ice. Pour in the cocktail and garnish with a slice of lemon. Enjoy.

5 Cool Coat Hooks

Filed under: Pretty/Cool — Savvy Housekeeper at 10:03 am on Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It’s the details that make your house interesting. Therefore, here are five cool coat hooks that I like:

savvyhousekeeping anenome cool coat wall hooks

Sea Anemone wall hook from Uno.Design.

savvyhousekeeping drip wall coat hook cool

It’s melting… Drip wall hook from Up To You Toronto. $32 CAD.

savvyhousekeeping ninja star wall coat hook cool

Ninja star coat hooks! $20 from ThinkGeek.

savvyhousekeeping coat wall hook tree branch cool

Bring a little nature in, literally, with these tree branch coat hooks from Live Wire Farm. Prices start at $20.

savvyhousekeeping hand coat wall hook

And finally, this hand wall hanger is begging to hold your coat. $75 from UMA.

Cold Frame from an Old Window

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:58 am on Monday, February 1, 2010

savvyhousekeeping cold rame recycled window

Every January, we get a burst of good weather for a few days and it feels like spring all of a sudden. And even though I know it’s not gardening time, it is so tempting to plant. (I weeded instead.)

But you can start seedlings around now, either indoors or in a cold frame like this one from Instructables, which is recycled from an old window. The window acts like a little greenhouse to protect the seedlings from the cold. (Via Permie.net)

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