Posts filed under ‘Useful Tips’

Our Favorite Biscuit Recipe

Since it is close to Christmas day, I decided to share a few very delicious and simple recipes with everyone. Dennis and I are certainly going to make these on the 24th.

The first of the two is our favorite southern biscuit recipe. It is a very simple list of ingredients, but the key to making them turn out fabulous is in the kneading. I do have to admit I am certain that the type of milk we use has quite a bit to do with it as well. Here is the recipe below. If you decided to use it, let me know how they turned out.

Ingredients

2 cups of all purpose flour

2 tbsp of granulated sugar

4 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp of salt

1/3 cup of butter

3/4 cup of whole milk ( I use Gold Top Jersey and Guernsey Milk. I really think this makes the biscuits.)

biscuits

First, you want to combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Next, add the butter and cut into it with a fork until the butter turns into small balls of flour. (This part can be a bit tricky. Just make sure that there aren’t large clumps of butter in the bowl. You are looking for small balls of flour and butter. Make sure not to mix them too much as well.)

Then, add the milk and stir the dough until you make a ball. (The dough will be a bit sticky. Just sprinkle some flour on it so it won’t stick to your hands.)

Sprinkle flour on a cutting board, spoon in the dough onto the board, and lightly knead.

Flatten dough until it is about 1 inch thick, rub some flour on the rim of a drinking glass, and cut out the biscuits.

Place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake them for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on top, at 425 F. Serve hot with butter.

December 19, 2008 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

5 Minute Chocolate Cake

This recipe is one of our favorites as well. It makes one serving, but it is big enough to share with someone else. You can choose to put icing on top, but it is just as delicious without it. Let me know if it turns out well for you.

Ingredients

4 tbsp flour

9 tbsp your favorite hot chocolate mix

1 egg

3 tbsp water

3 tbsp olive oil

cake1

cake2

First, combine the flour and chocolate mix in a large, lightly greased coffee mug. Add the egg, water and olive oil. Stir well making sure there are no clumps in the mixture. Place the mug in the microwave for 3 minutes on high heat, and watch it rise. It will settle back down when it is cooled. Serve hot with or without frosting.

December 19, 2008 at 6:59 am 3 comments

Bovetti Chocolatier

I had the fabulous opportunity to go to the Whole Foods in London this week, and I am so grateful my friend invited me. I purchased some very needed groceries there, and I picked up a few chocolate bars as well. I can’t say no to chocolate. Among them was a beautiful chocolate from Bovetti Chocolatier. It’s absolutely beautiful packaging caught my eye, and the presentation of the chocolate itself was not disappointing either.

The one I brought home was a dark chocolate with ginger bar. When we tried it we were quite amazed. I am usually not too fond of dark chocolate or ginger flavored sweets, but this was wonderful. It wasn’t too bitter or spicy. It was quite smooth and just the right amount of sweet. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I am only sorry I didn’t bring home more of a variety. Bovetti chocolates are Artisan Chocolatier and Agriculture Biologique Certified.

October 8, 2008 at 12:25 pm Leave a comment

The Food Doctor

This range of products is healthy and delicious. Dennis and I made a promise to encourage each other to get at least 25 grams of fiber a day and more Omega 3s. It was a bit difficult to source these foods, but then we found The Food Doctor products. I have to admit we had actually given up. I am just glad we happen to come upon their high fiber cereal pita bread. Their Omega 3 products taste fabulous, and their cereals are formulated to support blood sugar levels.

September 16, 2008 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment

Berry Iced Tea Recipe

For some reason I had a craving for iced tea the other day. I searched around various recipe sites, but most called for iced tea powders or pre-made tea bags in their ingredient lists. I was searching for a more natural recipe. I just wanted to use ingredients I had around the house. After about an hour of looking I found it. It was a raspberry tea recipe. I didn’t have any raspberries or limes so I used blackberries and strawberries instead. Additionally, I did not have the tea they called for so I used lemon grass tea instead. I thought I was going to royally mess it up, but it turned out fabulous. Dennis and I quickly became addicted to it. I highly recommend trying it on those hot summer days.

Berry Iced Tea

• 9 cups water

• 1/3 cup of sugar

• 5 tsp lemon grass tea ( you can use tea bags for this but I just add loose leaves.

• 2 cups blackberries

• 2 cups strawberries

First you are going to bring 4 cups to a boil. Then add the sugar and lemon grass tea to the boiling water and simmer for 6 minutes stirring occasionally. Use a strainer to separate the tea leaves from the water and set aside. Next, boil the remaining 5 cups of water. When the water has reached boiling point add the blackberries and strawberries to the pot. Simmer the berries in the water for 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Now grab your favorite pitcher and mix the strained tea water with the berry water. You can strain out the berries if you would like. I leave them in. It gives the tea a stronger flavor after a couple of days. Enjoy with ice.

June 8, 2008 at 11:35 pm 3 comments

Delicious Way of Getting Daily Omega-3s

My doctor told me I needed to start consuming more Omega-3 fats. I asked what the easiest way of consuming them was, and he let me know it was by eating fish specifically salmon. I am not very fond of fish. It kind of makes me break out. He suggested I just take cod liver oil or fish oil pills, but they made me feel sick as well. Dennis suggested I take flax seed oil instead of fish oil pills. I tried it and it didn’t taste that bad. I am sure some of you have experience with the wonderful flavor of cod liver oil. Eww… Flax seed oil has this nice nutty flavor to it. I actually liked it!

I don’t take it in pill form. I purchased flax seed oil in a bottle. Yesterday, I had the wonderful idea of mixing my flax seed oil daily requirement with a little bit of vinegar and pepper to make a dip similar to the Italian bread dipping oils they serve at restaurants. I figured it would taste pretty good since the only difference is the type of oil used. I tried it and it tasted wonderfully. Now, I get my Omega-3s in a very delicious and quick way without having to eat fish. I know there are more people that love fish that don’t, but this quick recipe is for the ones that just don’t care for it too much.

Flax Seed Daily Omega-3 Bread Dip

• 1/2 ounce of Flax Seed Oil (Daily recommended amount from your doctor)

• 1/4 ounce Balsamic Vinegar

• Black Pepper to taste

• 1 slice of toasted Dark Rye Bread

You are going to mix the flax seed oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper in a flat plate and serve. I actually take quite a bit of Omega-3s daily, but everyone should consult their own physician before they decide on how much to take. This is just how much my doctor asked me to take daily.

May 29, 2008 at 8:10 pm 8 comments

Clipping Mask in Photoshop

This is actually a very useful trick I discovered in Photoshop quite a few years ago. I have been asked several times how to create this effect so I decided to make a quick little tutorial on it. I hope it helps.

Step 1: Create a new document of any size as long as it is reasonable. Then you are going to select the type tool and type just one letter. Make sure the font you choose is pretty bulky. It will show much better in the end if you have more area.

Step 2: Next, select any pattern you wish. It doesn’t have to be a pattern, but I am using this snazzy leopard print below. Make sure that the layer with the pattern on it is above your letter layer.

Step 3: Now go to your layers palette and position your cursor in-between the two layers like the image below illustrates.

Step 4: Now press Alt (option) and click in-between the two layers while holding down the Alt (option) key. You should now see a little arrow next to the layer with the pattern in it and that same layer should look like it is indented in the layers palette.

Step 5: Below is what you should have. This can work with any image and any shape.

This has been a fantastic trick to use for everyday design work. Let me know if this was helpful.

May 20, 2008 at 6:53 pm 2 comments

Compound Shape in Illustrator

This is another trick I’ve been asked about quite a few times as well. This tutorial is about creating a compound shape in Illustrator. It is a very useful trick. I would say it is one of the foundations of many projects I have worked on in Illustrator.

Step 1: Create a new Illustrator file and draw a square on the canvas with the shape tool. It can be any color.

Step 2: Now, draw a star and make it any color you want as long as it is a different color from the square. You can honestly use any shape you want here.

Step 3: Now, place the star in the middle of the pink square like below.

Step 4: Now go to Object > Compound Path > Make.

Step 5: Your square should now look like the one below. It should have the star shaped cut out in the center.

I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions below.

May 19, 2008 at 6:53 pm Leave a comment

Spreadshirt Digital Printing Requirements Tutorial

I figured it was about time we should write a Photoshop tutorial on how to create a design file ready for Spreadshirt’s digital printing service. If you are looking for an Illustrator tutorial explaining how to set up a vector file for Flex / Flox printing, please look in the Illustrator Tutorial Category. There you will find our step by step tutorial for setting up vector illustrations for Spreadshirt in Illustrator. Below I explain how to make a .png file with an already created design.

Step 1: You will want to open up Photoshop and create a new document with the settings below. Make sure to select CMYK mode for your file.

Step 2: Once your file is open you can start creating your design. Be sure to make your design as big as you can without going outside the white space. This will ensure your design can be made smaller without pixelating. I am using a design I already had on hand. My design was brought into Photoshop from Illustrator as a Smart Object. You can either create your design in Photoshop or Illustrator. Just make sure to bring it into Photoshop so you can follow along with the rest of this tutorial.

Step 3: Go to your Layers Palette and click on the eye icon next to the background layer. You will notice that it disappears. You need to make sure this is done so your file will have the background cut out for the transparency.

Step 4: After you have hidden the background layer, go to File > Save for Web & Devices as shown below.

Step 5: The Save for Web & Devices window should now be on your screen. Make sure to select a PNG-24 for your file type and to check the Transparency box. Click Save.

Step 6: You should now see the Save Optimized As window on your screen. Navigate to the folder you want to save the file in, and give the file a new name. I named mine Design1. Click Save. You should now have a file with a .png extension. This is the file you will want to upload to Spreadshirt for approval. Make sure to save your file as a Photoshop (.psd) file as well so you can edit it, or use it to save out other .png designs for upload.

There you have it. I hope this helps. If anyone has any questions please post them below. I will be happy to answer them as soon as possible.

April 16, 2008 at 1:34 am Leave a comment

Spreadshirt Plot-Printing Requirements Tutorial

I have been a very busy lady this past week. I have been trying to get our store up and our products ready for sale. We decided to use the Spreadshirt’s store front this first year, but I was having a few problems with customization. I immediately hit the forums trying to find solutions. Thankfully, I quickly found the answers I was looking for, but while browsing the forums I realized there were quite a few store owners that were having a large amount of trouble getting their designs approved for plot printing. I looked around and noticed there weren’t many visual tutorials out there to help these guys out so we decided to make one. I hope this helps.

This tutorial uses Illustrator. First, we have to make sure that our design is no bigger than 11.8 inches wide and 11.8 inches high. Make sure to get your design as big as you can without making it bigger than 11.8 by 11.8 inches. Furthermore, make sure that your design has only one, two or three colors. Do not exceed three colors. The illustration below uses 1 color. Additionally, this tutorial assumes that you created your artwork in Illustrator, or that your brought in vector artwork into Illustrator.

Step 1: Open up your design in Illustrator and select it.

Step 2: Next go to Object > Flatten Transparency. When the Flatten Transparency window shows up make sure to select the settings shown below. After you make sure the settings are accurate click OK.

Step 3: Now we are going to want to open the Pathfinder tab so we can merge the object. To open the Pathfinder tab go to Window > Pathfinder. You will see the Pathfinder tab pop up. With your design still selected, go to the Pathfinder tab and press the Merge button. It is the one shown in the Illustration below.

Step 4: Once your design has been merged you are going to want to use the clean up option. Essentially, this gets rid of any extra vector points you don’t need. With your design still selected go to Object > Path > Clean Up.

Step 5: The Clean Up window should be on your screen now. Make sure to have all three options selected. Press Ok.

Step 6: Now your design is ready to save. You will need to save it as a .eps file. To do that just go to File > Save As. The Save As window should be on your screen now. Name the design anything you want. I decided to call mine logo.eps. After you have named your document go to the Format drop down list and choose Illustrator EPS. Click Save. After you click Save the EPS Options window pops up. I just leave these settings at their default and click OK.

There you have it. I hope this helps some of you out. I know this can be a frustrating process, but if you follow these steps you shouldn’t have issues getting your designs accepted for Plot-Printing. Please let me know if anything is unclear, or if you have any other solutions or advice for this issue.

April 11, 2008 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

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