How to Frost a Cupcake Like a Pro?

Frosted Cupcakes
Frosted Cupcakes

Cupcakes are inexpensive and easy to make, but making them look professional requires a bit more effort. This recipe is for a classic American buttercream, and the directions are for a basic cupcake swirl. Feel free to experiment with tips and icing flavors for cool new designs.

Classic American Buttercream

3/4 unsalted butter

4-5 cups icing sugar, sifted

3 tbsp cream (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar, one cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Add the cream if the icing needs to be creamier.

Frosting Directions

Place cupcakes on a level surface.

Attach a large icing tip to a pastry bag, and fill 3/4 full with frosting. Twist the end to avoid spillage.

Starting in the middle of the cupcake, gently squeeze the bag to get a slow flow of frosting. Bring it to the edge of the cupcake, and gently swirl upwards, like an ice cream cone.

Top with sprinkles, cocoa powder, or candy bits.

How to Save Money by Making Your Own Seasoned Croutons?

Seasoned Croutons
Seasoned Croutons

Store bought croutons are so expensive they almost feel like a scam, especially once you realize how easy they are to make. I like to save the ends of bread and stale bread in the freezer until I’ve accumulated enough to make a batch of croutons. Not only do you get delicious croutons for a fraction of the price of store-bought ones, but you cut down on food waste, too.

Ingredients

2 cups cubed stale bread

2-3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 275F.

Combine spices in a large plastic freezer bag. Gently drizzle the cubed bread with olive oil, tossing to coat evenly, and add to the bag. Seal the bag and toss the contents, ensuring the bread is well seasoned.

Pour croutons onto a large baking sheet in a single layer, and bake, watching carefully and flipping occasionally, until the croutons are golden brown, about 20-40 minutes.

How to Add a Closet To Your House Or Garage For Additional Storage Space?

This article will assist you in adding a closet for additional storage space within your house or garage. It is a fairly simple process and rather quick to complete. However if you decide to use drywall it will take 2-3 days to complete due to dry times of seam/joint treatment, floating and texture and painting. If you use a material such as wood paneling the whole project can be completed within 6-8 hours.

Before you start you will need the following tools:

  • Screw gun (and #2 Phillips head driver bit)
  • Level
  • Square
  • Fine Tip Marker
  • Straight edge (4’ft if possible)
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust Mask
  • Utility knife & blades
  • Hand saw, skill saw or cordless saw

NOTE: Anytime you are using motorized tools or equipment read all safety manuals, safety information and USE EXTREME CAUTION at all times. Never allow children to play around work area. DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THE ITEMS SHOWN ABOVE!

You will also need materials of course, How many will depend on the size of the closet you wish to build. But here is a list of the most common things you will need. (This is based on a 2’6” x 6’ closet using existing ceiling and two existing walls.)

I will insert images of our work as we advance for directions and to assist you better in seeing the project before it is completed.

Okay, The most important part of this project is the framing and connections to the existing structure.

So it is critical that you base the size of the closet to match existing framing that you will connect the new walls too. The good thing about “ADDING” a closet is that it can be removed later with very slight damage to the existing walls (Will only require caulking or minor drywall texture to repair)

1. Locate the existing studs in the corner of the room which you wish to install the new closet space. This can be done with an inexpensive stud finder or by lightly tapping the wall with a hammer and listen for a SOLID sound, This means there is a stud directly behind the drywall in that location. (Test the stud location by driving a small nail in the wall and see if you do hit the stud. Once the stud is located measure 14.5” away and try another nail and see if you hit a stud. You may have to try this a few times to find the center
2. The reason the stud location is important is this is the location that you will “CENTER” your new stud wall to so that it will be secure to hold the wall in place.
3. After locating the studs in BOTH walls in the corner, Mark the studs with a pencil for later reference
4. Now using the MARKS on the wall hold a level to the mark, ensure that it is level and direct it to the floor, Draw a light line beside the marks towards the floor
5. Now at the bottom of the wall next to the floor place another mark, This will be the center line of your BOTTOM PLATE studs. (See sample below)

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My center lines are 6’ 7-1/4” x 2’ 8-3/8” (Approximate size of closet.

6. These lines match up with the existing studs in the LEFT and RIGHT wall
7. If you have cove base or cove molding (Leave it in place so that the closet can be removed later if desired. You can work around this

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NOTICE: See how the marks on the floor match the existing studs in this X-Ray view. This is the best method to ensure that the closet walls will be sturdy

8. Next we will layout the BOTTOM PLATE studs – See below

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DO NOT NAIL OR ATTACH THESE PIECES OF WOOD AT THIS POINT

 9. Notice my line marks are now in the center of the two boards laying on the floor. This will line up the two new walls with the studs in the existing walls
10. We will now mark the long board to make cuts for the doorway
11. See the picture below (We are going to use a 2’0” door, which will need a rough opening of 2’2” x 6’9” tall

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12. Find the center of the long board and place a mark then measure 1’1” on both sides of it placing a mark on both points.
13. Using your square place a line across the stud to give you a straight line to cut the board for the door opening (See below)

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14. Now that the door way is cut you will mark the bottom studs where each upright stud will be installed. Pay special note to the corner board marks above. These need to match the drawing above so that the drywall or paneling will have a stud behind it for attachment in the corners
15. You will duplicate the same pattern of the BOTTOM PLATE STUDS for TWO levels on the top plates, The only exception will be you will NOT cut an opening for the door way.
16. You are now ready to attach the TWO layers of top plates (1 at a time) to the ceiling, Make sure that they are directly in line with the bottom plate studs
17. You are now ready to measure the distance between the TOP and BOTTOM stud plates. Take an additional 1/8” – 1/16” off the wall studs to allow you to stand them between the two plates.

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18. Notice there are two smaller studs in the door way, these should be 6’ 7 ½” above the floor
19. Screw each stud in place and make sure they are straight, flush and level
20. Next you will install the header boards above the door way,

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21. You are now ready to install the door frame, door
22. After the door way is installed install wall covering such as drywall, or paneling

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The following images are for more detailed measurements

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How To Make Spiced Stovetop Applesauce?

Spiced Stovetop Applesauce
Spiced Stovetop Applesauce

Applesauce is great on its own or in baking as a healthy substitute for oil and fat in recipes. Keep the homemade applesauce refrigerated for one week, or store in the freezer to have it on hand when you need it.

Ingredients:

4-6 apples, any variety, cored and cut into large chunks.

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

dash of cloves

2 tsp brown sugar

lemon juice, splash

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and give them a quick stir. Cook on low until the apple pieces can be easily mashed down with a fork, about an hour to two hours.

Remove from the heat, and mash down the apples, then strain to remove skins and any spare seeds.

How to Grill a Pizza to Perfection?

Grilled Pizza Dough
Grilled Pizza Dough

Nothing kicks a meal up a notch quite like the barbecue, and pizza is no exception. Barbecuing pizza takes half the time it does in the oven, and creates a unmistakably grilled flavor that’s reminiscent of summer cookouts. This recipe is for a basic pizza dough that will make two medium-sized pizzas that bbq wonderfully and quickly. Just follow the directions to grill the crust, then add your own toppings!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water (hot water will kill the yeast)
2 packets active dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tsps salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
Pizza toppings

Directions:

Place the warm water and sugar in a large bowl, and stir in the yeast. Let stand for about 5 minutes until the mixture is foamy. Whisk in the oil, and salt, then stir in the flour until a dough forms. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead several times on a floured surface. Oil the bowl, and place the dough back in, covering once to coat with oil. Cover with a cloth and let stand for at least 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Once the dough has doubled, begin to heat your grill to 350/400F and prepare your toppings. Cut the dough in half, rolling each half into large pizza rounds. Place them, one at a time, on the barbecue until the bottom turns a golden brown and large bubbles form on top. This will take only a few minutes, so watch closely!

Once the crusts are grilled, flip them over and place the toppings on the freshly grilled side. Place them back on the barbecue, close the lid, and cook for 10 or so minutes, until the toppings are melted and heated to perfection.