As women, we are expected (and put a lot of pressure on ourselves) to do many things well. Some things come easier than others and often times a crash-course here or there is all that one needs to acquire the extra skills. Maybe you'd love know how to make the perfect bed? Perhaps you wish you could arrange flowers like the pros or you may just be wondering how to break open and enjoy a delicious lobster.
According to Martha Stewart, there are 30 things that everyone should know. Since this blog's audience is women-only, I changed the post title accordingly. I thought I'd post my favorite 5 for you and you can check out the other 25 on Martha's website. I love lists like this, they force me to brush up on my skills. I hope you will find them equally beneficial. :) *All how-to content below from MarthaStewart.com.
1. Make a Bed- Begin with a good-quality mattress and box spring. Protect the mattress with a cotton cover; Martha adds a wool pad.
Unless you're using a fitted sheet, make hospital corners with the bottom sheet, starting at the bed's head: Drape the sheet evenly over the bed, leaving about 1 foot of fabric hanging beyond the head. Stand beside the bed, toward its center, and pick up a side hem. Pull the hem toward you into a taut crease, then raise the creased section over the mattress so the sheet makes a triangular tent over the bed. With your other hand, smooth the sheet flat along the mattress's side. Then fold the creased section down over the side, and tuck the sheet snugly under the mattress. Repeat the process at the foot and other side of the bed.
Add the top sheet, and make hospital corners at the bed's foot.
Leave the sides untucked for easier sleeping. Finish with a blanket, quilt, or down comforter.
*If you are a visual person like me, click HERE for Martha's video on how to properly make a bed
2. Eat a Lobster- To get the most meat with the least effort, have nutcrackers and small forks or picks on hand. (Get even more out of your lobster by using a rolling pin to ease the meat out of each of the eight legs. Apply pressure from tip to base.) Some people enjoy the green liver, or tomalley, from the lobster's carapace, or body; mix it with lemon juice or butter and spread it on crackers.
Remove lobster from pot with tongs; let cool. If you like, snip the tips of claws and let liquid drain out. Remove rubber bands. Twist claws with their knuckles from the body. Separate knuckles from claws. Crack knuckles open; remove meat.
- Grasp "thumb" and bend it back to snap it off.
- Crack claw in half; remove meat.
- Pull off legs. Twist tail from the joint where it meets the body.
- Pull off tail fins. Bend tail backward to crack off end of shell.
- Use your fingers to push tail meat out opposite side; remove with fork.
3. Arrange Flowers- Flower arranging is an art, but the art is easy to master when you follow a few simple techniques. This technique, courtesy of wedding designer Karen Bussen, uses kale, ranunculus, viburnum, and lamb's ear to create an elegant and unforgettable arrangement.
Tools and Materials
Clear rubber bands
Arranging Flowers How-To
- Embellish a vase with wide double-satin ribbon. Cut with pinking shears and secure using double-sided tape. Wrap a contrasting narrow ribbon over first ribbon. Secure with a simple knot and clip ends at angles.
- Fill a vase with water and add floral food; set aside. Start with three to four stalks of kale to create a basic structure. Add clusters of viburnum and ranunculus; secure flowers with rubber band.
- Create a collar with lamb's ear so it drapes over vase; secure with rubber band.
- Trim stems short enough to be hidden by ribbon on vase. Place flowers in vase.
4. Cooking a Turkey
Have ready the following equipment:
Large, heavy roasting pan (not nonstick)
Roasting rack (V-shaped or flat)
Toothpicks or small metal skewers
17-inch square of four-ply cheesecloth
Remove giblets from the body and neck cavities, and reserve them; you can make Giblet Stock while the turkey is roasting.
Rinse the turkey under cool running water, and pat it dry with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body to prevent them from burning.
STUFFING THE BIRD
Insert the stuffing just before the turkey goes into the oven; never do it ahead of time. And don't pack it too tightly, as the stuffing won't cook evenly and bacteria may grow; also, don't forget to stuff the neck cavity.
SECURING THE NECK FLAP
Pull the flap of skin at the neck down, and use toothpicks or small metal skewers to fasten it.
Pull the legs together loosely, and tie them with kitchen string; a bow will be easy to untie later. Any kind of sturdy white string or twine will do, as long as it's made of cotton, not polyester (which may melt in the oven's heat). Rub the turkey with butter, and season it with salt and pepper.
THE BASTING PROCESS
Cover the turkey with cheesecloth that has been soaking in butter and wine; the cloth should cover the breast and part of the leg area. Make sure the cheesecloth never dries out or comes into contact with the inside walls of the oven; in either situation, it may ignite.
Every 30 minutes, use a pastry brush (better than a bulb baster) to baste the cheesecloth and exposed area of the turkey with the butter-and-wine mixture. (The turkey pictured here is out of the oven, but basting should be done in the oven and as quickly as possible, so the oven temperature doesn't drop.) Watch the pan juices; if they are in danger of overflowing, spoon them out and reserve them for the gravy.
After the third hour of cooking, take the turkey out of the oven. Carefully remove the cheesecloth, which will have turned quite brown, and discard it. Baste the turkey with pan juices, taking care not to tear the skin, and return it to the oven
After the fourth hour of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (if you poke a bone, try again); when the temperature reaches 180 degrees, the bird is ready.
Use a thin-bladed, flexible carbon-steel knife to carve the meat into thin slices.
5. Pack a Suitcase- There are a few ways you can pack efficiently for your next trip. Start by putting your shoes on the bottom of your suitcase. Shoe bags help protect your shoes from the stress of travel. Place jeans on top of the shoes, followed by underwear and socks. Buy several pairs of identical socks; this way, if a single sock gets lost, you'll have another to match. Next, pack sweaters of different weights in large, resealable bags. Shirts and pants go in last; place them inside garment bags (your dry cleaner should be able to supply you with extra bags) and fold them on top of the suitcase. Don't forget to include a sewing repair kit, books, and perhaps a portable stereo, an electronic game, or other entertaining items.
If you haven't got a chance to read them, here are some of my previous travel tips which share some great info on how to make your life much easier while preparing for your next trip, and what you should never leave home without.
What do YOU believe is one of the most important things a WOMAN should know how to do? Whether it's on this list or not, I'd love to hear what you think!