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5 Great Stocking Stuffers For Your Liquor-Loving Friend

If you have a loved one who loves indulging in a glass of whiskey, bourbon or another favorite liquor every now and then, you should consider looking for a related gift for the holiday season this year. Even if you’re looking for something small and affordable, there are plenty of options. For example, try one of these five great stocking stuffers. If you do, your liquor-loving friend is sure to appreciate it. 1. Liquor Flask Every liquor drinker needs a good liquor flask. You can look for a simple one at most department stores, or you can check online for more specialized options. Since they generally come in all different patterns and colors, you should be able to find a personalized choice that will fit your friend perfectly. 2. Shaker Set A lot of people who only mix cocktails for themselves at home don’t invest in fancy barware, but it’s always nice to have these things on hand when mixing drinks. Consider investing in a shaker set for your liquor-loving friend or family member; these sets are generally quite affordable, and they often come with accessories that can be used to make mixology even easier. 3. Shot Glass Shot glasses come in just about every shape, size and style, so consider looking for a few shot glasses to tuck in your loved one’s stocking. You can look for practical shot glasses, or you can search for options related to your loved one’s favorite hobbies. 4. Drinking Game There are tons of cool drinking games on the market nowadays, so consider checking out the options online to choose a fun one for your friend. For example, there are tic-tac-toe sets that use shot glasses and that involve taking a shot each time that someone “jumps” one of your pieces. These can be quite unique and fun, and they’re sure to be well-received by your loved one. 5. Memorabilia Many people who drink liquor or even beer and wine are very partial to their favorite brands. Find out your loved one’s favorite liquor brand, and consider looking for a T-shirt, hat or other piece of memorabilia with a logo on it. As you can see, there are...

5 Signs that You Should Repair Your Old Stove Instead of Replacing It

If you are like a lot of homeowners, you probably assume that you’re better off replacing appliances after they break down. Although it is certainly true that repair costs can add up, it isn’t always a smart idea to replace all of your appliances as soon as they stop working properly. Instead, look for these five signs that you should repair your old stove instead of replacing it. If you make the right decision, you could save yourself a lot of money in the long run. 1. Your Appliance is Still Under Warranty A lot of people don’t even think about it, but many appliances come with a warranty that lasts for several years. Plus, many retail stores that sell these appliances offer their own warranties. Before shelling out the cash for a repair or replacement, make sure that you consult your paperwork and the store that you bought the stove from. Many people are surprised to find that they don’t have to pay for repairs at all, particularly if their appliances are only a few years old. 2. You Can Find a Good Deal on Parts Believe it or not, a lot of stove parts are surprisingly affordable. Check online, call local appliance stores such as Mountain Sales & Service Inc and get a few price quotes. You might just find that the parts that you need are cheaper than you think. If you describe what’s wrong with your appliance, someone from an appliance repair or parts store should be able to give you a quote on the parts that you need. 3. It’s Relatively Energy Efficient Conserving energy can help you save money over time while doing your part for the environment. Although stoves aren’t sold with EnergyStar labels on them, newer models can be more energy efficient than older ones. If your oven doors seems to seal tightly and if your stove heats evenly and relatively quickly, you probably won’t save much energy by switching. If it takes a long time for your stove to get hot, however, or if your home begins to warm up significantly when you use your oven, you might want to switch out your existing appliance...

A Buyers’ Guide To Maple Syrup

What is the difference between breakfast syrup and maple syrup? If you are a breakfast connoisseur, this is an important distinction. While you can easily go down to any grocery store and buy breakfast syrup, real maple syrup can be hard to find. Breakfast syrup is also much cheaper than maple syrup. Thus, while you might be tempted to go with breakfast syrup because it is more readily available and cheeper, you need to know that it is also fake. If you have a taste for the finer things in life, your only choice should be maple syrup. What Goes into Breakfast Syrup? The main ingredient in breakfast syrup is high fructose corn syrup. The other ingredients in breakfast syrup depend on the brand that you buy. Each brand has its own blend, but you can expect a healthy dose of artificial flavors that approach the taste of real maple syrup, but real maple is inimitable. Because breakfast syrup is nearly ubiquitous in grocery store aisles and on restaurant tabletops, most people are more familiar with the flavor of breakfast syrup than with real maple syrup.  What Goes into Real Maple Syrup? Real maple syrup is a purely natural product. It is made by natural processes. The starch in maple trees slowly turns to sugar. When the time is right, maple growers then tap into the tree and extract the sap. This sap is then boiled down to make a syrup. It can take as much as 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.  Is There Just One Type of Maple Syrup? Maple syrup comes in various grades. You have two main division: grade A and Grade B. Grade B is so thick and has such an intense flavor that it is basically only used for baking. Grade A comes in three sub classes: light amber, medium amber, and dark amber. As indicated by the names of the categories, you might guess that these grades are based on the color of the syrup. The darker colored grades have a much more intense flavor than the lighter grades. To know which category you prefer, you might want to do some experimenting. The...

5 Secrets To A Flavorful Chinese Stir-Fry

There are many recipes you can find for Chinese vegetable stir-fry; however, it is very difficult to know which recipes are really authentic. Authentic Chinese cooking is not done with measuring cups or written recipes but is memorized or passed down through generations by visually watching the food being made. Since measurements are more like estimates in Chinese cooking, focus on implementing these 5 secrets for a more flavorful stir-fry dish: Secret (#1) Well-Seasoned Oil The most important technique for flavorful stir-fry is seasoning the oil and not just the food itself. After you add a generous layer of oil to the bottom of your pan, and start heating it up, start by adding these 3 basic ingredients: Fresh minced garlic cloves Fresh chopped ginger root Dried Chinese red chili peppers (whole) for a little kick Secret (#2) Fresh, Authentic Ingredients In China, fresh vegetables are purchased daily for meals. Common Asian vegetables include: Mini bok choy Chinese eggplant (that is long and skinny) Bean sprouts Using fresh, authentic ingredients will give you the best taste for your stir-fry. If you don’t have access to an Asian market of some kind, most local grocery stores sell fresh ginger root, garlic, and traditional vegetables in the produce section. Also, they usually have a separate Asian section with good quality basics, such as Soy sauce Rice vinegar Sesame oil Chicken bouillon (in granulated form)  For more information on vegetables, contact S K Produce Co.  Secret (#3) Good Tossing Technique Chinese stir-fry is made using a technique that is just as its name suggests: stirring as it fries. In order to get the best flavor from a stir-fry, you need to keep the food consistently moving in a circular motion by tossing it in the pan. Experienced chefs do this by holding the pan handle and flipping the food like a pancake without using any utensils; however, a slotted spoon or long wooden cooking chopsticks will work just fine. Secret (#4) The Right Portion for Your Pan One of the biggest mistakes in cooking stir-fry is getting too much food in your pan without enough room to keep it rotating evenly. Make sure you leave plenty of room for...

3 Potential Benefits To Drinking Coffee During Your Work Day

For many years, the water cooler has been the go-to source for drinking refreshment in offices across the country. While water is essential for life, you could be making a mistake by making it your only drink choice while in the office. Coffee is another great drink that can help your health and your work. Here are three potential benefits to drinking coffee during your work day. 1. It is good for improving your cognitive function. Whether you had a long night or you just didn’t sleep well, there are some days when you can’t get going when you are at work. Drinking coffee can help with that because of the fact that it is a stimulant. That means it will stimulate your mind and body and make you much more productive. And, if you add sugar to your coffee, the caffeine and sugar together will help improve your memory and attention span. Just be sure that you don’t drink too much coffee during your work day as an excessive amount of caffeine can cause negative symptoms like headaches and tremors.  2. It provides the best source for antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecular compounds that help fight the oxidation of tissues in your body. Because of the way they work, antioxidants can work to prevent health problems such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease. Coffee contains a high amount of antioxidants and, as long as it is consumed in moderation, can be beneficial to your health because of that fact. Of course, that is not to say you won’t still develop these health problems even if you do drink coffee on a daily basis. However, it can certainly help lower your risk of developing them. 3. It can help if you have gallbladder issues. If you are one of the many people in the U.S. to have problems with your gallbladder, you may be interested to know that drinking coffee every day can help. Studies have shown that drinking coffee every day can aid in the contracting of the bladder, which then prevents gallstones from forming. The reason coffee has this effect on the gallbladder is because of the amount of caffeine that is in...