Home and Living general advice thread

Home and Living general advice thread
#1
Home and Living general advice thread
-Helping Make Domestic Bliss a Piece of Piss-

Hello! With a new school year and a large number of young adult forumites, we've been having more discussions on #eagletime about useful life skills they never seem to teach in schools. Seeing as some topics (what kind of staples are useful in a pantry on a budget, how do I write a CV and/or cover letter) could prove useful advice for many, I thought a forum thread would be useful.

This thread is open to all! Anyone may ask questions, or: if you would prefer anonymity, you can PM me questions and I will post them in-thread on your behalf. Similarly, anyone with relevant experience can answer questions; it's not just my shoutbox.

Here's to everyone becoming more accurate approximations of functional adults! McCoffee
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#2
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
Functional adulthood? What's that?
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#3
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
it's where I'm ostensibly an adult by ostensibly doing all of (or a decent chunk of) the things adults ostensibly do.

Ostensibly.
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#4
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
How do i make non-tasteless pasta/rice?

How do i stop being a terrible cook?
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#5
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
I don't know about rice tips, because I use a rice cooker which does all the work for me.

Pasta on its own tastes a lot better if you add a dash of salt to the boiling water before putting the pasta in. The simplest pasta condiment I can think of is garlic (chopped or sliced, heated in a pan with oil). Most tins/bottles of pasta sauce can also be improved by frying up some extra garlic and mixing it in, although I usually make pasta sauce from scratch when I do bother cooking.

A blob of butter and a dash of soy sauce also kind of works for pasta flavouring. I normally add basil rice seasoning to that, but that's probably not an easy/cheap thing to find outside Japan. Maybe chili flakes/powder would be a good lazy condiment too?

Soy sauce and butter also works as the laziest flavouring ever for a bowl of rice, but there's not much to it nutritionally except carbs so make sure to add protein+vegetables.
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#6
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
I only ever cooked rice with water but if you have chicken broth handy, using that (or any sort of stock or bouillon cubes) helps make rice less bland, I've heard. Depending on if vegetables are available maybe also add like, some onions (diced, cooked in a pan with a bit of oil)? For pasta, a lot of it depends on what you have available. Adding parmesan and olive oil (or butter, I guess) would be pretty basic and make it less non-tasteless but olive oil's mad expensive.
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#7
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
Cook more! You'll get it with practice. If you have people in your family that are good cooks, they'll probably be happy to give you tips or help you practice. I haven't met a grandma yet who rolls her eyes at being asked how she makes such good pies or tamales. Just try to find a new recipe or two a week and make it; if it talks about a technique you don't know or aren't good at, ask someone you know or read an online tutorial. There's loads of videos out there about practical cooking skills, too.

In terms of rice, if you don't want to season it or make it fancy, just try using different rice. Long grain and wild rices (and especially blends thereof) often have a nice, nutty flavor and can be eaten on their own. White rice is going to be pretty bland without fixins, and brown rice is often tough and starchy. Quinoa is also a tasty rice-alternative; I love the stuff.

Pasta is mostly a matter of sauce and preparation. If you boil it too long, it'll be gummy and flavorless; test a strand (or whatever kind of pasta you're using) every few minutes, and drain it when it's just slightly firm in the middle. Jarred pasta sauces are mostly pretty good, but I generally recommend making your own or adding your own ingredients to really make it good; buy or make a simple Alfredo or cream sauce, then sauté some mushrooms and tomatoes and spinach until they're soft and add that to the sauce, then top with pine nuts. Stuff like that.
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#8
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
Pasta goes well with peas or other simple vegetables. "Pasta with peas and shredded cheddar" is one of my easy meals to make - throw the frozen peas in halfway through the usual process of boiling the pasta and then proceed as usual. Then toss shredded cheddar on top afterwards for a little extra flavor.

I'm not a great cook.
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#9
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
A simple white sauce with a little salt and basil is suuuuper nice too. And easy enough to make while the pasta is cooking!
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#10
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
How to cook basmati (long-grain) rice.

For 2 cups of basmati rice:
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Rinse your two cups of rice in a bowl in the sink twice. Gotta make absolute sure it's clean.

Drain the bowl of the water. Pour a little less than 2 cups of water into the bowl. Maybe 1 and a half? Pour one quarter of a tablespoon or one half a teaspoon of salt into bowl.
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Put two tablespoons vegetable oil in a small pot. Heat for 1 minute. (There's rancidity in all oils; this process gets
rid of it so your rice doesn't smell like crap)

If your stove has a range of 1 to 10, it should be on 5.

Pour bowl's contents into pot as soon as that minute ends.

Keep heating at 5. Wait until rice has absorbed water. When that happens (you'll know), turn heat down to minimum.

Leave for 15-20 minutes on low heat. Consume with vigor.
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#11
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
Hey would anyone care to share some one person meal ideas? I feel guilty how little I actually cook for myself that isn't just packaged noodles with some extra spices thrown in (or the lazy spaghetti and tinned tomato sauce meatballs) , but all my past cooking experience was for way more portions that I'd be able to keep (tiny fridge/broken freezer)

Tips, amounts and alternate ingredients would be appreciated.
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#12
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
(08-25-2014, 06:54 PM)Rivenforge Wrote: »Hey would anyone care to share some one person meal ideas? I feel guilty how little I actually cook for myself that isn't just packaged noodles with some extra spices thrown in (or the lazy spaghetti and tinned tomato sauce meatballs) , but all my past cooking experience was for way more portions that I'd be able to keep (tiny fridge/broken freezer)

Tips, amounts and alternate ingredients would be appreciated.

remember the cooking thread? And how I killed it with my recipe? Look there.
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#13
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
My stepmom taught me a pretty simple one.

Basically, take 1-2 eggs per person, some chopped up tortillas (or tortilla chips), some shredded cheese, some seasoning (just salt and pepper works, but I've found that garlic salt works really well), and some vegetables. It's easier than making an omelette and if you use chips you get some pretty good texture.
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#14
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
Thanks for the soup tips, guys. I think my main problem is my lack of practice, since i live with my parents (my dad makes the best rice i've ever tasted), i only get to cook when necessary, that is when nobody else wants to/i'm home alone. I'm a big fan of garlic, i don't know why i didn't try to use it before; consider this my garlic appreciation post.

I definitely want to try making some white sauce now.

(08-25-2014, 08:59 PM)MrGuy Wrote: »tortillas

You mean chilaquiles, right? They're the fucking tits, simple to make and extremely delicious.
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#15
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
Apparently I do pretty much mean chilaquiles, yeah. Tho usually I don't put salsa on 'em.
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#16
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
But salsa goes with everything!

Ok here's a real tip for the thread: When in doubt, put salsa on things. It'll make them better.
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#17
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
i don't like salsa #umadbro

i don't like spicy things or garlic though so that's generally the case.

unless it's steak... *relishes thought of peppercorn steak*
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#18
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
Most of what I can cook without looking at a recipe is breakfast. Let me teach you CREPES!

Two eggs
1 cup of milk
1 cup of flour
1 tbsp of butter
1 dash salt

Crack the eggs into a bowl! Smush them up!
Put milk in the bowl with the eggs and mix that mess up!
Throw in some salt!
Take the flour, and add it in a bit at a time while stirring! This is to keep the lumps to a minimum!
Turn on the stove to like medium heat, put a smush of butter in a pan!
Let it melt!
Pour whatever moves into the batter and mix it up!
Put some batter in the pan, pick the pan up and swirl the batter around so it coats the pan!
Once it turns not gooey, flip it over and cook the other side!
Put it on a plate!
OPTIONAL: Spread something yummy on it!
Repeat the last few steps as many times as desired/until the batter runs out!
~◕ w◕~
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#19
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
my trite statement is that arming your kitchen with sauces and spices will go a long way towards making cheap food attractive to your food hole, and vegetables palatable so that you can keep yourself alive

also there is this budget cookbook pdf that actually has food that you would enjoy eating

as for learning how to cook, the magic of internet videos makes things a lot easier to understand and every dang person with a camera and a kitchen seems to be clamoring for your attention these days

i would put forth onions next to garlic as another thing that is both cheap and makes things very appetizing

(would second chicken powder as an easy way to fill out flavor profiles of dishes that you aren't putting meat in but are still not vegetarian, but you should use it carefully and try not to overdo it)

unrelated statement: if you are looking for pie tutorials, the King Arthur Flour company devotes a terrifying amount of researchers to pie science and technique, among other baking things

you can ease into brown rice a bit easier (especially if it's in a rice cooker) by SOAKING IT before you cook it, at least a few hours, and after one successful batch you'll be wondering how people managed to screw it up at all
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#20
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
(08-25-2014, 08:03 PM)ICantGiveCredit Wrote: »remember the cooking thread? And how I killed it with my recipe? Look there.

I do not. Sorry.

Also guy in what way are you suggesting I cook those eggs I'm not finding it clear.
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#21
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
Depending on where you live lentils can be cheaper than rice, and since they don't normally come enriched they're normally more nourishing. If you're really opulent you can make a great soup using both.

Take your lentils, stick them in a pot with water, and let them cook for thirty to forty minutes. Make sure you keep enough water in with the lentils, since it will boil off if you don't keep watch over it. When the lentils are soft and the water is boiling add as much rice as you want. Normally I keep it at a cup of rice for every pound of lentils, but with this recipe I'm used to cooking for a group of people rather than for myself. It's a fairly cheap thing for a party, and you can spice it up if you want to.

As for beef, here's a fairly inexpensive marinade you can make for steaks that gets the job done. I'm assuming most people have olive oil on hand, and what you'll want to do is throw some of that in a dish. After this take a lemon, roll it around a bit to soften it up, and then cut it in half and squeeze it into the olive oil. After you've done this take your lemon half and use it to mix the two. Leave the lemon slices in, add some pepper, and saturate the steak you have in it. It usually works best with thinner cuts. Instead of grilling you'll also want to fry any steak you use this for in a skillet.

If you're cool and Orthodox like I am you can also get cheap to do recipes from here: http://www.serbiancookbook.com/

As for other general things I've learned from babysitting my friends because they can't hold down apartments by themselves: Keep your plastic bags from shopping to use as trash bags, learn how to make your own bread, don't mix ammonia and bleach unless you're a fan of trench warfare, and learn how to keep herbs and spices growing around the house.

That second to last one is surprisingly common for people to do apparently. Also if you do have some plants around don't baby them. Just water them every once in a while, maybe get some plant food if you really want to. Plants aren't overly fond of dying.
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#22
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
Oh yeah, my family has been using the plastic shopping bag bin concept for as long as i can remember, back when we had a fridge to stock we never ran out.
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#23
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
Also if you're like me and too lazy to boil water for pasta (because shitty stove) or rice (because ugh timing) then cous cous is your friend

No need for a pot even, just some boiled water from the jug and 3 minutes later, bam. Half the meal done
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#24
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
I'm also guessing most people here aren't incredibly fond of harsh cleaning chemicals. Vinegar or citric acid diluted in water is an effective cleaner if it's in a spray bottle as well, especially for windows.
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#25
RE: Home and Living general advice thread
(08-26-2014, 03:51 AM)Rivenforge Wrote: »I do not. Sorry.

Also guy in what way are you suggesting I cook those eggs I'm not finding it clear.

Guy obviously means This way because it's delicious yes

And apparently it's not dead
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