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Food Tips

7 Creative Ideas for Flavored Ice Cubes

When planning a menu, you often focus on imaginative and delicious foods and beverages. But have you ever considered getting creative with ice cubes? You can customize ice cube creations to suit any beverage: water, seltzer, cocktails, and even milk. Making custom ice cubes is a simple way to add flavor and flair to your drinks. No special equipment is necessary, but a silicone ice tray may be a good investment. It's much easier to remove ice from silicone than a traditional tray, and for some preparations, keeping the ice cube intact is an important part of the presentation.

Juice

One of the simplest improvements to ice cubes is to use juice in place of water. Juice cubes can jazz up almost any beverage-a cocktail, seltzer, soda, or even simple water. You can achieve a fun, layered effect by choosing 2-4 different juices. Partially fill a tray with one juice and freeze solid. Add the next juice and freeze, and repeat until all juices are used. The effect is a multi-colored cube that creates a fun boost of flavor. Juice cubes would be a really fun option for children, and they could even help with preparation!

Pureed Fruit

Fruit puree ice cubes can be a great option to infuse your beverages with flavor. You can choose a very quick method by simply buying fruity baby food pouches, squeezing them into ice cube trays, and freezing. Alternatively, you can puree your own choices of fruits in your blender at home, put them in an ice cube tray, and pop them in the freezer. Fruit quality does matter, so be sure you are choosing fruits that are very ripe, almost to the point of being overripe. Should you need to add liquids while pureeing the fruit, use fruit juice instead of water to maintain flavor.

Citrus Pieces

For a quick and easy upgrade to ice cubes, consider adding citrus pieces to your ice cubes. If you are using a muffin tin or larger ice cube tray, you can just slice up a lemon, lime, or orange, lay the slice in the bottom of the compartment, add water, and freeze. If your ice cube trays are quite small, you can cut the fruits into more of a dice and follow the same steps. Citrus cubes would be a great addition to water, seltzer, or any beverage you don't mind getting a bit watered down as the cube melts.

Coffee

Whenever you have leftover coffee, consider pouring it into an ice cube tray! Coffee ice cubes are great for cooling down your hot coffee without watering it down. Alternatively, you can use coffee ice cubes in iced or cold brew coffee for a refreshing caffeine boost on a hot summer day. For a special frozen treat, make your own coffee house style frappé! Put your coffee cubes in a blender, add some coffee, milk, sugar, and flavored syrup, and blend until smooth. Delicious and inexpensive!

Milk

Freezing milk for ice cubes is pretty simple. Be sure to check the expiration date before using the milk. Skim and low-fat milk tend to yield the best results. You can use milk cubes for serving White Russians, eggnog, or any milk based drink that needs chilling without being watered down. Chocolate milk ice cubes would be a fun addition to a glass of milk for children and adults! If you like cream in your coffee or tea, tossing a couple of milk cubes can serve a dual purpose by cooling down your beverage and adding creamy goodness.

Herbs

There are two ways to make herbal ice cubes. You can choose to do a simple infusion by placing a pinch of fresh herbs in each compartment, then filling about a third of the way, freezing, then partially filling and freezing twice more until the tray is full. Another option is to brew tea from the herbs and use it to fill the ice trays. You can add herbal ice cubes to your hot or cold drinks of the same variety to infuse more flavor, or use them to add a completely new flavor. Maybe you'd enjoy celery leaf ice cubes in your Bloody Mary or lavender tea ice cubes in your lemonade!

Flowers

An unexpected way to add beauty to your beverages is to include flowers in your ice cubes. You'll need to use a very simple layering technique to achieve this effect.

  • First, lay your flowers into the ice cube trays.
  • Then, fill your ice tray with water only about a fourth of the way full and freeze until solid.
  • Remove the ice trays, fill until another quarter of the way, and freeze again.
  • Repeat twice more until the ice cube trays are full and completely frozen.

Be sure to use flowers that are specially grown for eating, that have not been sprayed with pesticides. A few options for edible flowers are carnations, honeysuckle, marigold, and roses. Some flowers will also add subtle flavor to your beverage.

 Whether you're entertaining children, adults, or just enjoying a nice drink for yourself, using creative ice cubes is a break from the ordinary. It's a fun way to add a new flavor or reinforce existing flavors in your beverage. Artistic ice cubes are aesthetically pleasing, and who doesn't love a little more beauty at their table? Take some time today to make up a few batches of these ice cubes to enjoy!

Top 5 Tips from the Pros on Making Sausage at Home (#4 is the Most Useful)

Meaty goodness in the form of fine, chunky links sounds like a delicious idea for a quick meal, doesn’t it? The thing about sausages is that you can roast, steam, fry, bake, or grill them. They are a delightful crowd pleaser in any form, aren’t they? So here are some of the best tips from the pros on making sausage at home.

Sausages are tasty and flavorful. You wouldn’t be reading the article if they weren’t. Every culture has its unique style of cooking sausages. But just when you think of preparing them all by yourself at home, it seems like an impossible task. Am I right?

At such times, what you require are a few essentials to get started. Equipment like a refrigerator, which you already have. Then you get ingredients such as meat and casings. And lastly, some expert advice!

Tips from the Pros on Making Sausage At Home

If you want to create as well as enjoy the best homemade sausage recipe ever, then you should know how to make sausages at home. So let’s find out!

#1 Start with texture

sausage-texture-tips

Photo credit: niccooks.com

It’s always a better idea to know the basics first before moving on to the more complicated process. In this case, let’s talk about the texture of sausages. Sausages can be soft, coarse, firm, or smooth.

Each texture requires you a different method to prepare, but they all have one thing in common. And that is the use of four essential ingredients. These include meat, fat, salt, and a little bit of liquid. It’s the different ratios of the ingredients that bring about the desired change in texture.

How much of the ingredients to use depends on your formula and recipe. Once the texture and ratio are in place, you can prepare any sausage you want. So now you know one of the most useful sausage texture tips to begin with.


#2 Move on to the meat

best-homemade-sausage-recipe-ever

Photo credit: lowcostliving.co.uk

Now, the next factor to take into consideration is temperature. Place the meat on any sheet pan or plate and keep it in your freezer, uncovered. Once you spot icy, hard edges, you know the meat is cold enough. The most suitable temperature of sausages is 40 degrees Fahrenheit. So please keep that in mind when working with them.

What the cold temperature does is preserve the structure of the cells. A hard structure is crucial if you want to enjoy a juicy sausage. Otherwise, the thing becomes crumbly and dry.


#3 Get proper equipment

The first appliance you’ll need is a grinder. And a sharp one at that! If you don’t have a sharp grinder and cold meat, the chances of smashing the sausage’s cell structure are pretty high. So it’s necessary that you get high-quality, super-sharp blades.

The next and the most important appliance is a stuffer. And not just any; but the good sausage stuffer. With a vertical model, you add the sausage in the canister, pull down the handle, and that’s about it. The machine squeezes out the mixture into its casing.

Once the sausage texture problems no longer exist, it’s time to cut up the meat. Make sure that the pieces are smaller than the grinder’s opening. The goal is to drop them into the machine, not stuff them.

This is why vertical sausage stuffers are a favorite on the market. They provide better control over the appliance and the meat. On the other hand, electric stuffers just shoot out the sausages. You don’t get to keep a check on the pressure of the unit and process. More often than not, this leads to overstuffing or bursting a casing.

Check this article to find out what's the best sausage stuffer in the market right now.

#4 Use your hands and don’t rush

how-to-make-homemade-sausages

Photo credit: lowcostliving.co.uk

One of the best tips from the pros on making sausage at home is to mix small batches by hand. A grinder might create too much heat, but your hands don’t. In fact, warm hands do an excellent job at combining the liquid, salt, meat, and fat.

You can start mixing the four ingredients in a bowl. The result should be a thick, sticky paste.

Then you make a small patty from this and cook it to check the seasonings. For the procedure, use a small pan (the non-stick kind) on low heat. The patty will take about 10 minutes to cook. There’s no need to caramelize the thing as that might add additional flavors. And you don’t want that to happen now, do you?

Once the patty is ready, taste it to make sure that everything is alright. If yes, then you can begin the stuffing process.


#5 Cook the sausages right

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Photo credit: livestrong.com

Making those sausages was not an impossible task, but it wasn’t easy either. So you need to make sure that you cook them properly. It doesn’t matter what you do; keep the process going low and slow.

Preparing a sausage on high heat causes the juices to boil. This, in turn, results in the meat expanding and pushing out. So the skin of the sausage might burst. Such a tragedy usually takes place when you’re using the grill.

In that case, you need to keep some pointers in mind. When working with the grill, don’t opt for high heat. Cook the sausages on low flame while making sure that they’re not exposed to direct heat. And whatever you do, don’t cut them until after the cooking is complete.

Slow and low; that’s the way to go!


Conclusion

Sausages are delicious, juicy, meaty, and packed with flavor. Who wouldn’t want to eat that, right? And with so many diverse homemade sausage recipes exploding on the internet, you can savor different flavors every time.

All the more reason to get hands on expert tips from the pros on making sausage at home!

Do you have any more to discuss with us here? What method do you follow to create homemade sausages?

You can share your tips and recipes in the comments section below. And please don’t forget to drop in your feedback as well.

I would like to know if you found the post useful and the content pushy enough to get you started on the right track.

Thank you for reading the article. Do come back for more!

About the author:

Barbara Davis is a mom blogger that finds inspiration in every aspect of her life. As a mother, she understands the struggles of parenting. So she created this blog to share her thoughts, valuable tips, and useful baby and mom care product recommendations. Davis is also equally enthusiastic about cooking. So don’t be surprised to across many posts that talk about being both a working mom and super-mom.

Ziti vs Penne: The Difference Between Penne And Ziti

Have you ever wondered why there are so many types of pasta out there? After all, aren’t all pastas supposed to be made with the same ingredients? Is there a difference between ziti and penne? How about between spaghetti and linguini?

The answer is surprisingly simple.

In this article we’ll cover the difference between penne and ziti, but this information applies pretty much to any other kind of pasta, so keep reading!

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Is Ricotta Cheese Pasteurized: The Asnwer And Great Tips For You

Ricotta cheese is one of the world’s favorite, thanks to its creamy-soft texture and fresh, almost sweet taste.

It’s flavor, so unlike strong and salty cheeses, makes it an excellent ingredient for all types of foods: Main dishes, soups, desserts, salads and much more can be achieved with this delicious ingredient, making it a must have in almost any kitchen.

Ricotta cheese is usually made with the leftover casein from other cheeses, making it a ‘recooked’ cheese that’s gone through extra fermentation.

While this fermentation gives it its soft texture and flavor, it also causes some questions to arise.

Is it safe to eat during pregnancy? Can you eat it if you’re lactose intolerant and, the most prevalent question of them all, is ricotta cheese pasteurized?

Well, keep reading to find out!

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Substitute For Tomato Paste: Your 5 Best Choices

Tomato paste is one of those ingredients not everyone has and not everyone knows where to buy.

Sure, you can learn to make tomato paste, but when you’re planning on cooking a quick recipe that happens to have tomato paste in it, the last thing you want to do spend extra time cooking an ingredient from scratch.

It’s because of moments like that, where you need tomato paste but you simply can’t make it / can’t buy it, that we’ve compiled this list of substitutes for tomato paste that can help you out of that situation.

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What Goes Well with Cornbread: Top 7 Dishes to Make with Cornbread

Cornbread is, as the name implies, a type of bread made with or containing cornmeal. There’s not a single specific way of cooking cornbread, as there are many varieties out there, but they all taste relatively similar.

Despite the similarities, countries and cultures who enjoy this kind of bread often eat them with completely different kinds of meals, making it a rather versatile dish and explaining its popularity.

So what goes well with cornbread?​

In this article, we talk about some of the best dishes to accompany with corn bread so you can broaden your culinary experiences by enjoying this bread in as many ways as possible.

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Thyme Substitute: 5 Great Ingredients You Should Try For Your Recipe

What can you use if you don't have thyme for your recipe? Try the best thyme substitutes below.

Not many people are aware of what thyme is and how much useful it is in cooking. This herb is commonly used for seasoning as well as cooking. Plus it is a condiment and even used for pickling. Sometimes thyme is used for making fragrances and even used for making medicine and for cosmetics. Now, this herb got a minty flavor which easily complements all types of foods like meat, fish, and vegetables.

Frankly, these greenish-gray and small leaves are often chopped, dried and even crumbled. This is a common herb which is used in French as well as European cuisine. You can use a thyme substitute when there are no thyme leaves.

Do you know that the minty flavor of the thyme goes well with all kinds of recipes? Now this mild flavor gets imparted in order to make sure that the food’s flavor is not masked. In addition, this goes well with other herbs and spices. Plus, it brings out the best aspects with regard to the taste of the dish. Commonly, thymes are used in a variety of forms like fresh leaves, ground and dried leaves.

You can use the ground thyme to sprinkle on soups, sauces and baking dishes along with other types of herbs. It is interesting to keep in mind that the recipes using fresh leaves will have a different aroma. And if you really want to get the advantage of thyme the entire year, try going for the dried thyme.

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