Tag Archives: gift

Spice It Up for Your Love

After yet another brief (ha) hiatus, I’m happy to be back! Without further ado. . .

My family and friends aren’t big on gifts, so when it comes time for them, I’m the kind of gal who would much prefer to think creatively and put together a less expensive gift that comes from the heart. Going to the store and buying something is so risky (as far as the person liking it as well as it being a possible waste of money on your part). I’d much rather risk a “. . . Thankkkkks” from something I made than something I bought, because I think with the love that goes into it, the odds are better they will like it even if it’s a little quirky.

My boyfriend loves dousing his food with hot sauce, so I thought making him his own blend from scratch would be something he’d enjoy. My talented mother has made her own using this method several times, so I knew what kind of results to expect. It’s so simple. Ready?

Pick out whatever chilies you like at your local produce market. There’s a range of heat and flavors and the wonderful Google can help you narrow down your choices. You might want to consider color, as well. A mix of green and red will yield a brownish sauce, so I opted for all green. I wanted options for flavor, so I chose thai peppers, jalapeños, and serranos.

Chop off the tops and toss them into a blender with a healthy dose of salt. I did each variety in its own batch so I could custom blend after they fermented.

Chilies to Blender

I added two cloves of garlic for a little flavor boost.

garlic, blended, chilis

This next step is key to expediting the fermentation process. My mom is super into this immune-boosting process, so I’ve had some time to get used to the idea. It’s a weird concept at first, but it’s how people have been preserving and eating food for thousands of years. In fact, even Tabasco is aged three years before being cooked, blended, and bottled. Back to the next step, which is to add a small amount of starter to the pepper blend. There are quite a few options, like whey, liquid from kefir, or in my case sauerkraut brine. I added about 1 tablespoon to each batch.

sauerkraut juice fermentation

I labeled my jars to keep track of flavors for future sauces, and it was interesting to see how they fermented differently.

hot sauce ferment raw

I added loose plastic wrap and lightly put on the lids (maybe 1/4 turn) to allow any excess gasses to escape.  The below picture is how they looked after about seven days. It’s not very pretty, but all the stuff you see in stores is filtered and filled with coloring/preservatives to look appetizing to the masses.

fermented chili pepper, jalepenos

The jalapeños actually ended up being my favorite, flavor-wise. I used all of that mixture and then a little of the other two (which were somewhat bitter) for their heat. I blended it all to a fine consistency and added a small amount of homemade vinegar to lighten it up and add some tang.


This is the point where store-bought sauces would be cooked, but I chose not to do that to leave all the good bacteria in there. Your gut will thank you for it! Just make sure to store your sauce in the fridge; the cold temperature will slow the fermentation to a tiny crawl and it will keep for a long time.

diy hot sauce label

My final step was to bottle it up and add a silly label. Don’t judge my design skills; it was 3 a.m. and I had to get up three hours later. 🙂 Obviously, I was hamming it up. I found this adorable bottle at Marshalls.

hot sauce bottle custom

See? Made with love. (And a little bit of orange nail polish.)

Homemade hot sauce diy heartI was pressed for time, so I only fermented the peppers for a week before blending and bottling them. I plan on doing it again with other kinds of peppers and letting them ferment for a few weeks to yield a better flavor. S has already requested a spicier version using ghost peppers (ouch). More fun ahead!



Filed under Nosh

Specialized Ties

Lately, I’ve been doing a little college graduation gift hunting and came across this amazing Etsy site that sells hand screen-printed neckties. There are many amazing options for those in your life with specific majors, careers, interests, hobbies, etc. Here are some of my favorite designs (click the store images to go to the specific product’s page):

Food /CocktailKnife and fork silkscreened microfiber necktie. Eat Me.

Classic Cocktail necktie, "Old Fashioned." Mens drink recipe tie. Silkscreened microfiber.

Meat Grinder necktie. Bacon and sausage lovers tie, screenprinted microfiber. Pink ink.

Black "Whiskey Business" necktie. Silkscreened microfiber. Choose tan or muted orange print.Geography/Topography

Bermuda Triangle silk necktie. Old maritime map, screenprinted men's tie, antique brass ink.

Topographical Error tie - NARROW silkscreen microfiber necktie. Seafloor contour map.Science/Chemistry

Science Affair necktie. Silkscreen microscope tie. Black ink.

Posion gas screenprinted necktie, "Chemical Warfare." Microfiber tie, black ink. Choose standard or narrow width.

Experiment necktie, science and chemistry silkscreened tie


Gear Shift silkscreen necktie - 6 speed manual transmission. Microfiber woven sharkskin tie.

Tread Lightly tie. Tire track silkscreened microfiber necktie.


Resistor. Circuit board necktie, screen printed design. Men's tie with dove gray print. Choose standard, narrow or skinny.

Short Circuit black necktie. Silkscreened circuit board, silver ink. Choose standard, narrow or skinny.

Rocket Science/Astronomy

Rocket Science red silk necktie. As worn by astronaut Al Worden, Apollo 15. Apollo cockpit silkscreened tie. Black ink.

Rocket blueprint necktie, Mercury spacecraft. "Rocket Science II" men's tie. Navy screen print.Cosmonaut tie, Apollo-Soyuz red necktie - Soviet Red edition. Choose regular or narrow width.Medicine

Caduceus, medical symbol necktie. Silkscreen design, microfiber tie. Steel blue ink.

Brainwaves necktie, "Insomnia." Sleep cycles silkscreened tie, white ink. Choose standard, narrow or skinny.

Rx Prescription necktie. (Fancy edition) Choose standard or narrow microfiber.

OK, and these are just pretty:

3 custom silk neckties. Groomsmen ties - wedding/group multiple discount

3 wedding silkscreen neckties. Groomsmen group discount, matching microfiber ties, same design

Mid-Century Ampersand necktie. Fancy Caslon font "and symbol" screen printed typography microfiber tie. Standard width.

There are so many more beautiful designs available, both themed and neutral. Kind of glad I’m not a guy or else I’d go a little nuts on this site! Which ones are your favorites?

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Filed under Grab Bag