Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cream Soups Mix

Having a grandson who is soy intolerant and sensitive to dairy, can create some challenges in the kitchen! Add some women who are needing to cut down on their salt, and it makes it even tougher. That is why you will be getting lots of "healthier for you" recipes on this blog. Reading all the gook that are added to so many of your prepared foods is also a good reason to get creative and feed your family a more healthy diet.

Last night I tried making a cream soup mix that I found on Chef Tess's blog. Click HERE to find lots of great cooking and baking recipes.

The soup was great and this morning I will be making it up as a master mix along with the cream of mushroom soup so that I will be ready in a moment's notice! Yes, I will be making some adjustments so that they will be completely from pantry ingredients . . . come on now!! I am getting back into the groove, finally

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Let's Talk Sugar Cookies!!!

I love a good sugar cookie! I have had good ones over the years and always get the recipe when I can. I had these one of my most favorite people, Sweet Wendy, years ago when we were both working with the Young Women at church. It has stayed my favorite ever since. I call them:

Wendy's Soft Sugar Cookies
Cream together:
  • 1 lb. butter
  • 2 C. sugar
  • 3 eggs
Blend in:
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 t. lemon extract
Sift together and add:
  • 1t. soda
  • 1 1/4 t. salt
  • 6 C. flour ( I add just use 5 C. flour to start with and then add the last cup if it is too soft.
Mix the dry mix in and chill. They can be made without the chilling, but if you make shapes, they hold better while baking because the dough is so soft. Bake for 10 minutes at 325 degrees.

Now for the variations!

I just can't leave anything alone, it's against my nature.

If you are making some cute cutter cookies, you can use color and flavors to go with the shapes.
  • I use red coloring and strawberry, cherry, or raspberry extract when making hearts, flower, or candy cane shapes.
  • Trees, wreaths, holly, I go green and use mint extract.
  • Bears, deer, gingerbread men, gingerbread houses, if you aren't making them ginger bread cookies, substitute some cocoa powder for some of the flour and make chocolate cookies. You can also just add brown food coloring. You get to decide how much cocoa, according to how chocolaty you want them to be.
When making gold, orange, brownish autumn leaves, I have been known to sneak in a little mapeleine. You know, as in maple leaves.

Now let's talk about cute detailed cookie cutters.

I used to collect the darling ones that came from all the Hallmark Stores, back in the 60's and 70's. I got so tired of the cute little lines disappearing while the cookies were baking. I tried cutting the baking soda or baking powder in half and the lines stay in the cookie!

I'm not making any promises of when I will have pictures of these because I am hitting up on some deadlines in the sewing dept. I WILL make some before Christmas with my grand darlings, if it is the last thing I do . . . If you would like to try some of these and I haven't been clear enough, just ask in the comments. My editor, terribly honest daughter, is busy making up finals for her students, writing a paper for her class, and just life in general with three wild little boys doesn't have time to read and "critique" my writings these days.

These cookies really do turn out darling with the candies, sprinkles, etc. available these days, think about it for some wonderful memories for you and yours!

Let

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Store Items With Multiply Uses to Save Space

With space being a premium luxury for all of us who try to prepare, I have been gathering ideas to use what we have already in our homes for other uses.
  • Time is also something we all seem to be short on, so I have been trying to document those ideas as well. Watch for these ideas to show up as I try recover my life, home and sanity after helping with a couple of weddings!
  • A sealed envelope - Put in the freezer for a few hours, then slide a knife under the flap. The envelope can then be resealed.(hmmmmmm...)
  • Use Empty toilet paper roll to store appliance cords. It keeps them neat and you can write on the roll what appliance it belongs to.
  • For icy door steps in freezing temperatures: get warm water and put Dawn dish washing liquid in it. Pour it all over the steps. They won't refreeze. (wish I had known this when we lived up North!)
  • To remove old wax from a glass candle holder, put it in the freezer for a few hours. Then take the candle holder out and turn it upside down. The wax will fall out.
  • Crayon marks on walls? This worked wonderfully! A damp rag, dipped in baking soda. Comes off with little effort (elbow grease that is!).
  • Permanent marker on appliances/counter tops (like store receipt BLUE!) rubbing alcohol on paper towel.
  • Whenever I purchase a box of S.O.S Pads , I immediately take a pair of scissors and cut each pad into halves. After years of having to throw away rusted and unused and smelly pads, I finally decided that this would be much more economical. Now a box of S.O.S pads last me indefinitely! In fact, I have noticed that the scissors get 'sharpened'' this way!
  • Blood stains on clothes? Not to worry! Just pour a little hydrogen peroxide on a cloth and proceed to wipe off every drop of blood. Works every time! (Now, where to put the body?) Sorry, bad joke . . . I repent!
  • Use vertical strokes when washing windows outside and horizontal for inside windows. This way you can tell which side has the streaks. Straight vinegar will get outside windows really clean. Don't wash windows on a sunny day. They will dry too quickly and will probably streak.
  • Spray a bit of perfume on the light bulb in any room to create a lovely light scent in each room when the light is turned on.
  • Place fabric softener sheets in dresser drawers and your clothes will smell freshly washed for weeks to come. You can also do this with towels and linen..
  • Candles will last a lot longer if placed in the freezer for at least 3 hours prior to burning.
  • To clean artificial flowers, pour some salt into a paper bag and add the flowers.. Shake vigorously as the salt will absorb all the dust and dirt and leave your artificial flowers looking like new! Works like a charm!
  • To easily remove burnt on food from your skillet , simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stove top.
  • Spray your TUPPERWARE with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato based sauces and there won't be any stains.
  • Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.
  • When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn's natural sweetness
  • Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half, and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.
  • Don't throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces ......... Left over wine? What's that?
  • To get rid of itch from mosquito bites, try applying soap on the area and you will experience instant relief.
  • Ants, ants, ants everywhere .. Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line. So, get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march. See for yourself.
  • Use air-freshener to clean mirrors. It does a good job and better still, leaves a lovely smell to the shine.
  • When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, and then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.

Now look what you can do with Alka Seltzer........
Clean a toilet. Drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous China

Clean a vase.
To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets.

Polish jewelry.
Drop two Alka Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.

Clean a thermos bottle.
Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary)

Unclog a drain.
Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar. Wait a few minutes, and then run the hot water.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Making Your Own Stuffing, Cornbread, and Make-A-Mix Cornbread

Sharron's Favorite Cornmeal Mix-----Make-A-Mix coming next couple of days

1 C. flour
1 C. Cornmeal ( I like yellow because it has more flavor, or at least makes me feel like it does because it's a pretty color :-D
1/4 C. sugar
4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 beaten eggs
1 C. Milk
1/4 C. oil, melted shortening or lard

Put all of the dry ingredients into a bowl, mix thoroughly with a mixer or whisk. Make a well in the middle of the dry stuff. Put two eggs into well, mix up and then add oil and milk. Mix just into smooth . . . do not over beat! I actually leave some small lumps, especially if I plan to make muffins. Pour into a 8"X8" pan that has been greased. If you want to make sure that it doesn't stick in the pan, dust with corn meal. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.

Now for the variations!

Cornbread Muffins--I usually add another 1/4 C. sugar, bake for 12-15 minutes
Corn Sticks--Spoon into greased corn stick pan filling each pocket 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Cornmeal Pancakes--- I made these for the first time while camping. I just added milk to the batter until I had the consistency to make my pancakes the thickness I like. I add close to another 1/2 C. to make thin pancakes.

Cornbread Dressing or Stuffing
OK . . . . I know this is ridiculously late, but hopefully it will be helpful sometime during the holiday season. I made my own dressing/stuffing this year. Not by buying the mix at the store and adding the broth, eggs, and other goodies, I made it all from scratch. OK I cheated one time. I had some baguette loaves in the freezer and cut some of those up to for the bread in my dressing. I did make my own cornbread with the seasonings, etc. in it. Had to chase my hubby off a couple of times while it was drying out in the oven, so it must have been pretty tasty. OK I
confess, it snitched too, it was tasty!

1. First I made regular cornbread with some 2. Added flavors. I also added a couple of teaspoons of chicken broth powder. Since that is salty, I eliminated the salt in this batch.I I had to look poultry seasoning on the internet because I was out of it. It is mainly sage with marjoram, thyme and a dash of pepper and cloves. I skipped the cloves. 3. To tell if your cornbread is done or not, check to see if it has pulled away from the sides of the pan slightly. It should also have the cracks that you see here. This is a double batch spread out in a cookie sheet to dry more quickly for making the dressing.


4. Break the cornbread and set back into the warm oven let it dry out. You can cut or break it into what ever size you want for your dressing. I guess I did it this way because that is how my dad always did it. Next time I will just let it cool and then dice it up. 5. I used some left over baguettes for the bread. Cut or break it up as you did the cornbread. 6. Now for the really tasty stuff. Dice onions and celery, saute in butter or I used olive oil.

This year I also added some scrambled some sausage and chopped some craisins (dried cranberries) at my daughter's request. They did add some great flavor. I mixed all of this together, covered it tightly, put in the back of the fridge a couple of days before Thanksgiving. On the big day, I just had to beat a couple of eggs, add the chicken and turkey broth and toss it into the oven for half an hour. Great little time saver!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fun Website . . . A Must see!

I was just cruising around on my friend's blog and saw this link in her side bar. I am always looking for ideas to keep the grand kids have fun and hopefully learn something in the process. This is well worth the time to check it out, lots of fun stuff!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pumpkin & Pie Crusts

I was going to do a post making pie crusts but others are more on the ball, so . . . I will direct you to theirs!

Click HERE to see Sabrina's post. While your there, be sure to check out the pumpkin pie made with cream cheese. They are yummy! If you forgot to buy some pumpkin, try cooking up some of those sweet potatoes and use them!

You can also click HERE to see the one on Martha Stewart"s pic baking champion.

I can't believe that I just did that, sent you to a Martha Stewart anything, but the tiny little ole' lady who is the champion is pretty funny and knew how to handle MS pretty well . . . . and yes, I do plan to try the pecan pie with toffee, two of my favorites pecans and toffee, YUM! No kids, I still won't add chocolate chips . . some things may not be quite sacred, but come on, give me a bu-r-reak!!

English Toffee Pecan Pieby Marjorie Johnson

Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup Crisco
2 TBS cold butter
3-4 TBS ice cold water

Combine flour and salt in bowl. Cut in Crisco and butter until particles are the size of small peas. Sprinkle with water, 1 TBS at a time over mixture, mixing lightly with a fork umtil all mixture is moistened. Gather into a ball. Flatten dourgh to a 5" pancake-size disk and wrap in plastic. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Roll out dough into a circle 1/8" think and 12" in diameter. Wrap dough around rolling pin and unroll into a 9" pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate. Trim to 1/2" beyond edge of pie plate; fold under extra and flute edge. Pour filling into the unbaked pie crust.

Filling

3 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup white corn syrup
1/4 cup-1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup Heath toffee bits
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup pecan halves for garnish

In a large bowl, combine eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, salt, vanilla, almond extract and toffee bits. Pour filling into unbaked 9? pie shell and bake pie in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40-50 minutes. (Be sure to cover with foil after 20 minutes) Bake until knife inserted off-center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Decorate on top with pecans in an attractive pattern. I do 14 pecan halves around edge, 7 in the next row in and 1 in the center.

Don't think so Marjorie, you need to cover that pie with pecan halves!!!

    Sunday, November 22, 2009

    If you have been picking up Bountiful Basket deliveries, you know how much has to be stored all at the same time. I found this handy information at this website.

    GARDEN TO TABLE STORING FRESH GARDEN PRODUCE

    • Fresh fruits and vegetables require different storage methods and can be stored for various lengths of time.
    • Some fresh produce (onions, potatoes, tomatoes) is of better quality when not refrigerated.
    • All storage areas should be clean and dry.
    • Fruits and vegetables stored at room temperature should be in a cool, dry, pest-free, well ventilated area separate from household chemicals.
    • Keep your refrigerator at 40􀁱 F or less.
    • If your refrigerator has a fruit and vegetable bin, use that, but be sure to store fresh produce away from (above) raw meats, poultry or fish.
    To wash or not to wash?
    Even the experts disagree when giving advice on washing garden produce. Some tell you not to wash before storage and some will tell you to wash off any garden dirt before even bringing produce into the home. At issue is this:
    • If you bring in garden dirt on your fresh produce, you may be introducing pathogenic microorganisms into your kitchen—while, if you wash your produce before storage, you run the risk of increasing the likelihood that your fresh produce will mold and rot more quickly.
    • If you choose to wash produce before storage, be sure to thoroughly dry fruits and vegetables with a clean paper towel.
    • If you choose to store without washing, take care to shake, rub or brush off any garden dirt with a paper towel or soft brush while still outside.
    • Never wash berries until you are ready to eat them.
    • Storing fresh produce in plastic bags or containers will minimize the chance that you might contaminate other foods in the refrigerator.
    • Keep your refrigerator fruit and vegetable bin clean.
    • All stored produce should be checked regularly for signs of spoilage such as mold and slime. If spoiled, toss it out.
    • All cut, peeled or cooked vegetables or fruits should be stored in clean, covered containers in the refrigerator at 40􀁱 F or less.
    Fruit/Vegetable Storage Method/time Tips
    • Apples-- Room temperature: 1-2 days; refrigerator crisper: up to 1 month. Ripen apples at room temperature. Once ripe, store in plastic bags in the crisper. Wash before eating.
    • Asparagus-- Refrigerator crisper: up to 3 days. Once picked, asparagus loses quality quickly. Wrap the base of a bunch of asparagus with a moist paper towel, place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Wash before using.
    • Beans, green or yellow-- Refrigerator crisper: up to 3 days Store in plastic bags. Do not wash before storing. Wet beans will develop black spots and decay quickly. Wash before preparation.
    • Broccoli-- Refrigerator crisper: 3 to 5 days Store in loose, perforated plastic bags. Wash before using.
    • Beets, Carrots, Parsnips, Radish, Turnips-- Refrigerator crisper: 1 to 2 weeks Remove green tops and store vegetables in plastic bags. Trim the taproots from radishes before storing. Wash before using.
    • Berries-- (Blackberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries) Refrigerator crisper: 2-3 days Before storing berries, remove any spoiled or crushed fruits. Store unwashed in plastic bags or containers. Do not remove green tops from strawberries before storing. Wash gently under cool running water before using.
    • Brussels sprouts-- Refrigerator crisper: 1-2 days The fresher the sprouts, the better the flavor. Remove outer leaves and store fresh sprouts in plastic bags. Wash before eating.
    • Cabbage-- Refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Store, after removing outer leaves, in perforated plastic bags.
    • Chard-- Refrigerator crisper: 2-3 days. Store leaves in plastic bags. The stalks can be stored longer if separated from the leaves. Wash before using.
    • Collards-- Refrigerator crisper: 4-5 days Collards store better than most greens. Wrap leaves in moist paper towels and place in sealed plastic bag. When ready to use wash thoroughly. Greens tend to have dirt and grit clinging to the leaves.
    • Corn-- Refrigerator crisper: 1 to 2 days For best flavor, use corn immediately. Corn in husks can be stored in plastic bags for 1 to 2 days.
    • Cucumbers-- Refrigerator crisper: up to 1 week Wipe clean and store in plastic bags. Do not store with apples or tomatoes. Wash before using.
    • Eggplant-- Refrigerator: 1-2 days Eggplants do not like cool temperatures so they do not store well. Harvest and use them immediately for best flavor. If you must store them, store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Be careful as it will soon develop soft brown spots and become bitter. Use while the stem and cap are still greenish and fresh-looking.
    • Herbs-- Refrigerator crisper: 2 to 3 days Herbs may be stored in plastic bags or place upright in a glass of water (stems down). Cover loosely with plastic bag.
    • Lettuce, Spinach and other Delicate Greens-- Refrigerator crisper: 5 to 7 days for lettuce; 1 to 2 days for greens Discard outer or wilted leaves. Store in plastic bags in the refrigerator crisper. Wash before using.
    • Melons: Watermelon, Honeydew, Cantaloupe At room temperature until ripe Refrigerator: 3 to 4 days for cut melon For best flavor, store melons at room temperature until ripe. Store ripe, cut melon covered in the refrigerator. Wash rind before cutting.
    • Nectarines, Peaches, Pears-- Refrigerator crisper: 5 days Ripen the fruit at room temperature, and then refrigerate it in plastic bags. Wash before eating.
    • Onions-- ( Red, White, Yellow, Green) onions: Room temperature 2 to 4 weeks; green onions: Refrigerator crisper: 3 to 5 days Store dry onions loosely in a mesh bag in a cool, dry well-ventilated place away from sunlight. Wash green onions carefully before eating.
    • Peas-- Refrigerator: 2-3 days The sugar in peas quickly begins to turn to starch even while under refrigeration, so eat quickly after harvesting. Store peas in perforated plastic bags. Wash before shelling.
    • Peppers-- Refrigerator crisper: up to 2 weeks Wipe clean and store in plastic bags. Wash before using.
    • Potatoes-- Room temperature: 1 to 2 weeks Store potatoes in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from light, which causes greening. Scrub well before cooking.
    • Summer Squash, Zucchini, Patty Pan-- Refrigerator: 2-3 days Wipe clean and store in plastic bags. Wash before eating.
    • Tomatoes-- Room temperature; once cut, refrigerator crisper: 2 to 3 days Fresh ripe tomatoes should not be stored in the refrigerator. Refrigeration makes them tasteless and mealy. Wipe clean and store tomatoes at room temperature away from sunlight. Wash before eating. (Refrigerate only extra-ripe tomatoes you want to keep from ripening any further.) Store cut tomatoes in the refrigerator.
    • Winter Squashes, Pumpkins-- Room temperature for curing; then cool, dry storage area for 3 to 6 months. Most winter squash benefits from a curing stage; the exceptions are acorn, sweet dumpling and delicata. Wipe clean before curing. Curing is simply holding the squash at room temperature (about 70 degrees) for 10 to 20 days. After curing, transfer to a cool (45 to 50􀁱F), dry place such as the basement or garage for long term storage. Do not allow them to freeze. The large hard rind winter squash can be stored up to six months under these conditions. Warmer temperatures result in a shorter storage time. Refrigeration is too humid for whole squash, and they will deteriorate quickly. The smaller acorn and butternut do not store as well, only up to 3 months. Store cut pieces of winter squash in the refrigerator.

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    More Ideas for BB Produce

    If the usual sweet potatoes with all the brown sugar and marshmallows are too sweet for taste, here is what I am going to try this year. It came from a Pillsbury website.

    TWICE BAKED SWEET POTATOES

    INGREDIENTS
    6lb dark-orange sweet potatoes (9 large or 12 medium)
    8oz bacon (8 to 10 slices)
    1/4cup Progresso® panko crispy bread crumbs or Progresso® plain bread crumbs
    1tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
    1/2cup sour cream
    1/4cup butter or margarine, softened
    2medium green onions, chopped (2 tablespoons)
    1/2teaspoon salt
    1/4teaspoon pepper


    DIRECTIONS
    1.Heat oven to 350°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with foil; spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Pierce sweet potatoes several times with fork. Place in pan. Bake about 1 hour 15 minutes or until tender. Cool 10 minutes. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel potatoes and cut out any eyes or dark spots.
    2.Meanwhile, cook bacon as desired until crisp; chop. In small bowl, mix bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon butter; set aside.
    3.In large bowl, mash potatoes with potato masher. Stir in chopped bacon, sour cream, 1/4 cup butter, the onions, salt and pepper until well blended. Spread mixture in baking dish, or form individual servings in dish with 1/2-cup ice cream scoop or measuring cup. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over top.
    4.Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated and bread crumbs just begin to brown.

    If you want to make your own bread crumbs, this is the time to clear out your cupboards. These are some of the random foods that I have run through the food processor to make mine. All kinds of breads, crackers, chips, some seasonings. The parmesan cheese was because I was making chicken parmesan. Don't think that would be good on these sweet spuds! Trust me on this one, you can make much better crumbs than you can buy. If you want to just use breads, start drying it out now!

    Bountiful baskets strikes again! This morning someone looked over at the cauliflower and asked, is that really the color or is it the lights? Oh, it's just the lights . . . NOT! We had orange cauliflower . . . . really! A few months ago, we got the green and I quite enjoyed it, in fact, I have tried to find it in stores since then. We got a kick out of the color and tonight I finally got the time to look it up. Pretty interesting reading, and can you believe the purple?



    The orange, purple and green cauliflowers that scientists claim could be healthier for you

    By DAVID DERBYSHIRE

    Last updated at 09:41 19 February 2008

    Cauliflower cheese will never be the same again.

    Scientists have developed amazing variants of vegetable where the traditional white florets have been changed to a garish orange, purple and green.

    The "rainbow cauliflowers" are said to taste the same as the normal varieties, but add a splash of colour to the dinner table.

    Some scientists have even claimed that they are healthier for you.

    Andrew Coker, a spokesman for the plant company Syngenta - which is developing the plants in Europe - stressed that the colourful cauliflowers were not the result of genetic engineering, but came after decades of traditional selective breeding.

    Scroll down for more...

    Colourful cauliflower

    Cauli-ful: The green, orange and purple varieties of cauliflower

    Although its not the first time that orange and green cauliflowers have been seen in Britain, their creators say they will be the first to be commercially available in supermarkets and markets.

    They retain their colour even after cooking. "The pictures may look garish, but they are really are this colourful," said Mr Coker.

    "Consumers are looking for ever new experiences on their dinner plates and colour features very large in their desire for different things.

    "These are the results of traditional selective breeding - where different strains have been cross breed and cross bred until these strains have been created.

    "We are now trying to ensure that we have the consistency of colour, taste and size before bringing them to the mass market. But you will find them in smaller outlets from this year."

    In tests, the garish cauliflowers have proved a hit with shoppers.

    While traditionalists may baulk at the unusual colours, it is not the first time that plant breeders have changed the appearance of vegetables.

    Until the 17th century most carrots eaten Europe were white, yellow or purple. The orange pigment was added by Dutch plant breeders looking for a way to celebrate Holland's royal family.

    The last few years has seen the introduction of purple carrots to supermarkets in Britain, along with yellow tomatoes and purple potatoes.

    In America, where colour cauliflowers have been available for several years, they have been a big hit with foodies. The orange cauliflower has higher than normal levels of beta carotene, a form of vitamin A that encourages healthy skin.

    The purple colour comes from anthocyanin, which may help prevent heart disease by slowing blood clotting.

    Tests of the orange cauliflowers in America found that they contained 25 times the concentrations of beta carotene in normal cauliflowers.


    For some ideas using your funny colored cauliflower or even your boring white stuff, look HERE.

    Friday, November 20, 2009

    Brownies . . . WWII Style ! Update with Candy Frosting

    I made these three times and they passed the test with my kids, their kids and my hubby. He is the only one with the candy frosting on top. Check out that recipe at the bottom of the post!! It is the one that I usually put on my Texas Sheet Cake, but we all love it on all kind of "cakeish" desserts.

    I am working on converting this to an "all pantry" item and keeping the chewiness. When I am satisfied with them, I will post it and the make-a-mix version!!

    Finally, the brownies that I promised from my mom's 1944 wedding gift, a Better Homes & Garden Cook Book. These turn out nice and chewy. If you want the cake style . . . . well, I guess you could turn them into that, but, why would you want to?

    Original Recipe

    1/2 c. butter + 2 T.
    3-4 T. cocoa powder
    3/4 C. flour
    1/2 t. baking powder
    1/2 t. salt
    2 eggs
    1 C. sugar
    1 t. vanilla
    1 C. chopped nuts

    Melt butter and cocoa, set aside to cool. Sift dry ingredients. Beat eggs until light; add sugar, then add chocolate and blend.

    Add flour mixture, vanilla and nuts. Mix well. Bake in wax paper lined pan for 30 - 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 16 in 8 " pan . . . I know pretty funny, they were on rations at the time . . . Mom and I could wipe this out in no time!

    Candy Frosting (Use half recipe for 8X8 pan.)

    1/2 C. butter or margarine
    6 T. milk
    1/4 C. cocoa
    1 t. vanilla
    1 lb. powdered sugar
    1 C. chopped nuts (skipped nuts since I put them onto the brownies themselves)

    Five minutes before the cake or brownies are done, mix the margarine or butter, milk, and cocoa in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and stir in the powdered sugar, vanilla and nuts. Spread on hot dessert as soon as you take it out of the oven. This will easily cover a cookie sheet cake or brownies. I often spread half on the cake and then mix nuts with the second half to finish up the dessert.

    To double this and bake in 13 X 10 " pan . . the middle had trouble getting done with out over baking the edges . . . . which of course became my favorite for dunking . . had to fight Mom for them :-)

    ***Little story about these brownies. I was expecting my second baby, 7 days overdue, hot and really tired of it all. I made these to drown my sorrows. I had returned from riding my bike with my daughter on the back, was hungry and that was all that I could just stuff n my face and lay down for nap. When I woke up an hour later, with my contractions only two minutes apart, I was so nauseated! Those brownies just sat in my stomach with the ice cream, trying to decide if it was going to come on up or not. Blah! I didn't eat them again for several years. the moral of this story . . . . don't eat them when you are about to have a baby!!! I know . . . TMI! ****

    Working on the pictures!

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Can You Sleep When the Wind Blows?

    I first heard this story while living in Northern Arizona. where the wind blows . . . sometimes for months on end, especially in the Spring when you are trying to get your gardens in. It would be so cold that if your baby goats were being born, a large puppy box became a baby goat box at night to save them. Yes, it was in the kitchen, with lots of old newspapers (=+}


    I just ran across it on the Preparedness Pantry blog. Check it out HERE.

    A farmer needed an extra hand to help on his farm. One young man came to interview for the job. "What are your qualifications?" the farmer asked. "I can sleep when the wind blows," the young man said. This simple reply confused the farmer, but he was desperate for help and the young man was hired.


    The young man was a diligent worker through the harvest season, but the farmer still questioned his answer.

    Autumn ended and the first cold storm of winter came late one night. The farmer panicked as the winds began to blow. Calling the young man for help, the farmer grabbed his coat and pulled heavy boots on his feet. He was disappointed to find the young man asleep in bed at a time like this. Grudgingly he ventured out alone planning to shuffle all of the animals in the barn and then fix that last hole in the roof. He mumbled about the young man sleeping and was sure all the farm equipment was left standing in the field, collecting rust from the snow.

    However, when the farmer reached the barn all the animals were tucked safely inside. In fact, clean hay had already been set out for the new day. Not a single hole could be found in the roof, and the tractor was parked perfectly in the shed.

    "Who could have done it?" the farmer wondered. And then, he realized what the young man's answer meant, "I can sleep when the wind blows."

    Are You Stocking Up?

    Have you noticed that there are times of the year that certain food items seem to go on sell? right now is the time to stock up on many of your favorite canned vegetables! How about that evaporated milk . . . . if you don't want to make your own.

    Here is a partial list that you may want to watch the adds for:

    • sugar
    • flour
    • powdered sugar
    • canned milk
    • sweetened condensed milk (AKA Eagle brand)
    • all kinds of canned vegetables. check the ads and then go to Wally-World. they often cut just a few cents off.
    • nuts
    • corn syrup
    • chocolate chips, variety of flavors
    • canned pumpkin
    • butter, you can freeze it
    • beef, look for the boneless cuts. If you want wonderful gr. beef, have them trim surface fat and grind it!
    • pineapple and fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges and other canned fruits
    • Fresh produce, you can find wonderful bargains for the holiday cooking that can be (pressure) canned after Thanksgiving, yes! I said the "C" word! My daughter's idea, we're going to do potatoes together to make it go fast!
    Now to go and make the corn bread for the stuffing next week! . . . . . . and yes, some brownies . . believe it or not.

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    I FOUND THE RECIPE!! Brownies On The Way!

    I just found the recipe for the yummy brownies made from all pantry ingredients. Will it posted in a couple of days. I will make a batch this morning so that I can take some to my grand daughter for her birthday. It's today, but we're in the process of getting them moved to a new house, so the big party will be in the new house on Saturday evening.

    I made a batch of the Orange Chicken, didn't turn out quite right, but I am working on that one as well and should post it soon. Fortunately, my family are willing guinea pigs!

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    SHARRON'S FAVORITE QUICK BISCUITS--Make-a-Mix & Pictures


    Many times, I didn't have the time to make bread and let it rise, etc. Since necessity is the "mother of invention", I had to come up with some other ideas. If you want to review my favorite muffins click HERE.

    So here are my favorite quick biscuits!
    SUPREME BISCUITS (from Better Homes & Garden cookbook)
    2 cups sifted flour (if youdon't want to sift it, remove 2 T.)
    4 t. baking powder
    1/2 t. salt
    1/2 t cream of tartar
    2 t. sugar
    1/2 c. shortening or butter
    2/3 c. milk
    Sift or mix the dry ingredients together using a whisk. Cut the shortening or butter in. (I use the hand mixer to do it quickly). When it looks evenly crumbly, add milk all at once and mix with a fork until it is evenly moist and you can push it into a ball that will hold together loosely. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it just enough to make it hold shape a little better. DO NOT OVER KNEAD!!
    Roll it out to about an inch thick and cut the biscuits. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Makes about 12 average size biscuits. I usually use a larger cutter, even have used a tuna can if I think we might use some of them to make sandwiches later.

    BUTTERMILK SUPREME BISCUITS
    To use buttermilk, add 1/4 t. baking soda to dry ingredients. Use same amount of buttermilk or soured milk. If you are going to sour milk with lemon juice or vinegar, add the souring agent first thing, stir and set aside for it to sour while you do the rest of the recipe. It will make a bigger difference.

    GARLIC CHEESE BISCUITS (like Red Lobster's!)
    Mix 1/2 c. finely grated cheddar cheese with the dry ingredients.
    Half way through the baking, brush with melted garlic butter. When you take them out, brush them once again with the garlic butter. To make the garlic butter, mix 1/3 c. melted butter with 1/2 t. garlic powder. This will make it fairly mild flavored. Some recipes call for 2 - 4 cloves of garlic, which would ward off cold germs for a day or two . . . maybe even vampires or amorous husbands ;>}

    MAKE-A-MIX
    10 C. Flour
    3/4 C. + 1 1/2 T. Baking Powder
    5 t. Salt
    5 t. Cream of Tartar
    3 1/2 T. Sugar
    5 C. Butter or Shortening

    Sift all dry ingredients or mix with a whisk. Cut butter or shortening in until you have a consistency like the picture "4".
    To make a batch of biscuits, add 2/3 C. liquid to 2 3/4 C. Biscuit Mix. Follow directions below.
    1. This is what I use to make my favorite Buttermilk Biscuits. I don't use shortening because it is usually made of soy, my grandson can't have that. It is a great excuse, since I like butter better anyway . . . If I don't have buttermilk, I just sour some milk with some vinegar or lemon juice. (ha! a rare occasion in this house!) 2. This is the kitchen stuff that I use. The table cloth is in this picture to remind us that a little love goes a long way in making something special for our families. It was embroidered and edged by my paternal grandmother. I had it my room for years on a little card table made by my uncle Both were made with love by some of my favorite people.














    3. Tools I have used to cut the shortening into the dry ingredients. As I grew up, my mom would use two bread & butter knives to cut the shortening into the dry ingredients by holding them towards each other and cutting away from each other. If I can, I will do a video demonstrating this, my explanation doesn't make much sense. It has saved me when camping or at someone else's house. The funny thing is that she had a pastry cutter in the drawer and didn't think it was worth the bother. while in college, a roommate showed me what they were for! Marriage, a family and way too many demands on my time brought the use of the electric mixer. It is so nice to get it done so quickly. My one problem is to stop on time. I tend to mix it too long and cutting the butter or shortening in too much and the texture is to fine. 4. This is about the way you want it too look. This is also how it should look when making pie crust. The larger pieces are what will "pop" in the baking and make it nice and flaky.



















    5. The directions always say to mix with a fork. I am not sure why, but it does make a difference. When I have used a spoon, it isn't as fluffy when I get done mixing. 6. When you get through mixing the liquid in, it should look like this. You don't want it to be very smooth. 7. It should be just moist enough to gather up into a loose ball in the bowl.


    8. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and press it into a ball. This is where most recipes say to knead gently up to 10 times. That will give you a prettier biscuit that will hold together for making sandwiches later, but not as light and flaky. This is what I do if I will be baking them on top of shepherd's pie or chicken pot pie. 9. As a side bread, I just press it into a ball that holds together better. 10. Now it is time to roll them out. That is the way to give you a smoother texture and appearance. I just press it out with my hands to the right thickness, 3/4 to one inch.

    11 & 12. After pushing the dough out, I scrunch the edges back in to make sure all of the dough is the same thickness. 13. I use the biggest cutter that I could find in the stores, but actually prefer a tuna can so that they are big enough to make sandwiches later!
    (Lost picture 11 and 13, just takes talent!!) Sorry, I am not starting over getting those two pics back . . . yo all have imaginations, have to use them?!?!?


    I try to take my biscuits out when they are just lightly browned so
    that they can be reheated without drying out.

    I learned years ago that the prettiest pastries and biscuits were
    not always the flakiest. These biscuits proved the theory. They
    were so flaky, even when reheated the next day. Made me wish I had some garlic butter ready and I could have made a terrific treat for dinner that night.

    Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

    Wonder Box or Thermal Box Cooking Recipes


    I just found this site with quite a few recipes using the Wonder Box. Enjoy it HERE.

    Now that we are only hitting temperatures in the high 80's, I haven't been as motivated to use it, but will probably for Thanksgiving, it could make a good second oven for something that needs to cook slowly . . . like maybe the green bean casserole ?!?!?

    THEN I found this site that has recipes like we would be more familiar with!! Check it our HERE. This is using quite a fancy doo-dad of a thermal cooker, pretty sleek gadget, but it would also work with my gizmo made from styrofoam beads and old sheet.