Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tip Tuesday

Well, these Tuesdays roll around quickly, don’t they? It’s a beautiful day out there, and I’m hoping to get out to enjoy it.

And April came quickly, too! We really didn’t have much of a winter, and the spring has been warmer than normal here, so we’ll see what April and May bring us. Hopefully, lots of flowers and green, growing things. I’m anxious to get to the garden stores for some annuals and vegetables. We really don’t do a big garden now since the squirrels and deer started eating it all a few years ago, but I love stepping outside the back door to pick a tomato or cut some fresh basil so I’ll put some things in pots this year and see what happens.

Here are a few tips for you….hope you find something useful!

1) Instant mashed potato flakes are great to keep around. They will thicken up soups and add a bit of body. They also make a great coating for chicken with some added herbs and seasonings.

2) Don’t dilute your iced tea or coffee with ice cubes – freeze leftover tea and coffee in ice cube trays.

3) Wait until the end of cooking time to salt your beans. Adding the salt too early will make them tough and hard.

4) Be sure your pasta pot is large enough. Pasta needs plenty of boiling water to keep from sticking together. Stir often. Drain but do not rinse if using with pasta sauce. If making pasta salads, rinse.

5) Apples will stay fresh much longer if refrigerated in a plastic bag – the bag they came in is fine.

6) No time to make a whole meatloaf? Put the mixture into greased muffin cups or shape into small, individual loaves. Adjust the cooking time accordingly. Kids will love them!

7) When making pie crust be sure everything is cold. Handle as little as possible. Shape dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling. Handling the dough too much will warm the fat particles causing them to melt into one large fat "lump". And an easy way to get it into the pie pan once it’s rolled out - roll it around the rolling pin, place over the pie pan and unroll, then press into pan.

8) Be sure bowls and utensils are dry when making meringue. And use glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowls – not plastic. Separate eggs a few minutes before beating so whites are room temperature. Seal meringue to pie shell to prevent shrinking.

9) To unmold a jello mold, dip mold into warm water for about 15 seconds. Place on slightly moistened plate, invert, shake – mold should pop right out! If it sticks a bit, moisten fingers and gently pull the edges away from the mold.

10) Quick veggie pickles: place julienned carrots, onion slices, cauliflower, etc. into a jar of leftover  pickle juice. Let marinate in refrigerator for 2 or 3 days.

I’m off to run some errands and enjoy the sunshine. Hopefully, those ebooks will be online this week, so check back.

Comments and suggestions are welcome. Have a great day!

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