Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tip Tuesday

Hello all! I hope the day is as lovely where you are as it is here. All the blooming trees and flowers are gorgeous, and the grass, trees and everything green are just so brilliant. And the yard work has begun! I can hardly wait to start planting flowers, but it’s still a bit early here.

Today I have something a little different. Do you ever look at foods, condiments, etc. and wonder how long they’ll be good? Here are just a few answers…

1) Salad dressings – in refrigerator up to 6 months.

2) Coffee – in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze.

3) Flour – stored airtight up to 15 months.

4) Granulated sugar – stored airtight up to 2 years.

5) Commercially canned foods – up to 1 year.

6) White rice – stored airtight will keep indefinitely.

7) Dried herbs – stored in cool, dark place up to 1 year.

8) Pasta products – stored airtight up to 1 year.

9) Oils (both olive and vegetable) – up to 1 year.

10) Peanut butter – up to 6 months (refrigerate in warm weather).

I hope you find this to be helpful. As always, if you have comments or questions, please send them to me.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tip Tuesday

Happy Spring! What a gorgeous day it is, too. It’s too nice to be inside working, but that’s what I do.

There are dozens and dozens of uses for plain old vinegar, but here are a few that apply to the kitchen:

1) To clean microwave, place a mixture of 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water inside. Heat on High for 2 minutes – mixture should be boiling. Let stand with door closed at least 15 minutes, then wipe clean with damp cloth or sponge.

2) Rub wooden cutting boards with vinegar to disinfect.

3) Add a little white vinegar to water when poaching eggs – they will hold their shape better.

4) When boiling fresh vegetables, add 1 to 2 teaspoons white vinegar to the water. This will help keep their color and crispness.

5) Use vinegar in meat marinades for tender meats.

6) To clear kitchen sink drain, add 1/3 cup baking soda, then 1/2 cup vinegar. Flush with boiling water. Doing this on a regular basis will help keep drains running free.

7) A good natural kitchen cleaner – equal parts vinegar and water.

8) When making molded gelatin, add 1 teaspoon vinegar. It will be more firm and hold up better, especially in the warm weather.

9) Per owner’s manual instructions, run vinegar through your coffeemaker to remove mineral deposits. Be sure to rinse well with water.

10) Add about 2 tablespoons vinegar to water in which you are boiling eggs. It helps keep them from cracking.

That was the “sour”, now for the sweet. I bought fresh pears a few days ago, and they all decided to get ripe at once. Last night I peeled them, cut them in half and cored them. Then I rubbed them all with soft butter, leaving a small portion in the cavity. On top I placed a mixture of Splenda brown sugar, a little cinnamon and some toasted slivered almonds. They baked in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Delicious! Especially with a scoop of ice cream. Give it a try.

I hope you all have a very good week. Take care.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tip Tuesday!

Hello, everyone. What a busy day it’s been…I almost missed working on this. But I wanted to keep the momentum going, so here goes.

A few tips that I’ve found helpful:

1) After cooling brownies completely, cut with a plastic knife. It won’t drag through and tear up the brownies, making them much more attractive.

2) When baking, be sure cream cheese, butter and eggs are at room temperature. They’ll blend much better.

3) To prevent strong odors when cooking cabbage, put a piece of lemon into the saucepan.

4) If you have fresh vegetables that are slightly wilted, pick off any blemished portion; soak in ice water with a little lemon juice for about an hour. They’ll come out nice and crisp.

5) When making an omelette, use water instead of milk. It will turn out fluffier and more tender.

6) Place carrots, potatoes and onions in the bottom of the roasting pan, then put the meat on top – all will be tender and flavorful, including the pan drippings. The vegetables make a great roasting rack for your beef or pork.

7) Place fish on a bed of onions, celery and chopped fresh parsley before placing in the oven. Again, a great and flavorful roasting rack. A few lemon slices would be great, too!

8) When freezing fresh berries, do not wash. Just place on a flat pan so they freeze individually. When frozen, store in freezer bags. Wash just before serving.

9) Roasting a whole chicken in the slow cooker is very easy. Make a ring of crimped aluminum foil and place in 5- to 6-quart slow cooker (big enough to hold chicken flat). Prepare chicken for cooking as usual, then place on top of foil ring. Season as desired. Cover and cook on Low heat for 4 to 8 hours (depends on size of the chicken), making sure to cook it to 165 degrees. After cooling, the meat can be pulled from the bones and placed in containers for immediate use or frozen for later.

10) Be sure to leave 1/2 inch of headspace in freezer containers. Contents will expand slightly when frozen.

I hope there’s something here of interest. Give the chicken a try – it’s juicy and delicious! And the aroma in the kitchen is mouthwatering.

The warm days are bringing out the blossoming trees and flowers. The winter wasn’t terrible, but we’ve been closed up so long – it’s great to open up the house and let fresh air in!

Have a great week! Please leave comments or suggestions if you’d like.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tip Tuesday

Hello everyone! I hope you are all well, and that the terrible storms over the last several days didn’t bring you harm. My thoughts go out to all those who lost loved ones and/or property, and I hope they receive all the resources and help they need to survive and move on. We were blessed and lucky here in our area – those storms were predicted, but didn’t come near us.

Today I have a little different list of tips. It’s a list of common food substitutions. I’m sure we’ve all been in the same boat – you start to prepare a recipe and don’t have an ingredient but don’t have the time or desire to make an unscheduled trip to the grocery. The list here is just a portion of those that will soon be posted on my “Kitchen Helpers” page. Please check it for more helpful information.

1) For 1 cup buttermilk = 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar and enough milk to make 1 cup. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir.

2) 1 whole egg for baking = 2 egg whites.

3) 1 tablespoon lemon juice = 1 tablespoon vinegar.

4) 1 cup unflavored yogurt = 1 cup sour cream OR 1 cup buttermilk.

5) 1 tablespoon baking powder = 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda + 1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.

6) 4 ounces baking chocolate = 3 tablespoons shortening + 1/3 cup sugar + 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

7) 1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

8) 1 cup granulated sugar = 1 cup packed brown sugar OR 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar (not recommended for baking).

9) 1 small chopped onion = 1 teaspoon onion powder OR 1 tablespoon dried minced onion.

10) 1 tablespoon prepared mustard = 2 teaspoons vinegar + 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder.

I hope you find something here that is interesting and helpful. As always, your comments and input are welcome. And be sure to “join” the blog. Until next time, take care!