Kitchen Helpers

SPICES

How long will the spices in your pantry last? 

Liquid extracts (vanilla, almond, etc.) should last up to 4 years.
Ground spices should last 2 to 3 years.
Whole spices should last 3 to 4 years.
Dried herbs should last up to 3 years.
Spice mixtures should last 3 to 4 years.

HOW LONG WILL IT KEEP?
With the prices we pay at the grocery these days, it's more important than ever to use up what we buy rather than have to throw it out. Here are a few of the most common grocery items with their average "life" span.
Pantry Items (unopened):
Bread (5 to 7 days)
Cereal (12 months)
Pasta (2 years)
Canned goods (up to 2 years if undamaged)
Jam/jelly/honey/syrup (1 year)
Peanut butter (6 months)
Bottled Salad Dressings (1 year)
Refrigerator Items (opened)
Milk (5 to 7 days past printed date)
Eggs (3 to 4 weeks past sell-by date)
Margarine (1 to 2 months past printed date)
Cottage Cheese (5 to 7 days past printed date)
Sour Cream (7 to 10 days past printed date)
Cream Cheese (1 to 2 weeks past printed date)
Freezer Items:
Ground Meat (3 to 4 months)
Beef Steaks (6 to 12 months)
Fish (2 to 6 months)
Whole Poultry (up to 1 year)
Lunch Meats (1 to 2 months)
Fresh Vegetables (up to 1 year)
Fresh Fruits (up to 1 year)

Use it up....don't throw it out!
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With the holidays well under way, it's time to pull out those treasured recipes for cookies, candies and cakes. Here are a few tips to help make everything turn out perfect!

1) Parchment paper makes those cookies slide right off the pan without sticking. And it can be used several times before having to be replaced.

2) Be sure to let the cookie sheets cool before putting cookie dough on them - if too warm the dough will start to melt and cook on the sheet.

3) To melt chocolate easily, use a double boiler. If you don't have one, place a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Just be sure the water does not touch the bowl.

4) If using chocolate for dipping, keep it from setting up by placing the bowl of chocolate over warm water. Again, be sure the water doesn't touch the bowl.

5) I use unsalted butter to avoid having too much salt in cookies and cakes.

6) Toasting nuts gives them much more flavor.

7) It's always a bit difficult to roll cookie dough out to exact thickness needed. There are some rolling pins out there with bands to help, but they are expensive, especially if you don't need a new one. You could use cardboard or thin pieces of wood the proper thickness and covered with plastic wrap or foil. Just place on sides of dough and roll away!

8) I read this one somewhere the other day, and it's a good idea. Put flour in a container with holes in the lid, such as a cheese or spice container, and use it to flour your surfaces. It would be much easier to get just the right amount.

Happy baking!





COMMON MEASUREMENTS





3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
1.5 teaspoons = 1/2 tablespoon
dash = 2 to 3 drops or less than 1/8 teaspoon
16 tablespoons = 1 cup = 1/2 pint = 8 fluid ounces
8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup = 4 fluid ounces
5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 1/3 cup
4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup = 2 fluid ounces
2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup = 1 fluid ounce
2 cups = 1 pint = 16 fluid ounces
1 quart = 2 pints = 4 cups = 32 fluid ounces
2 quarts = 1/2 gallon = 8 cups = 64 fluid ounces
4 quarts = 1 gallon = 16 cups = 128 fluid ounces
1 ounce = 2 tablespoons
16 ounces = 1 pound
8 quarts = 1 peck
4 pecks = 1 bushel

 
COMMON FOOD EQUIVALENTS

2 cups butter = 4 sticks = 1 pound
4 cups flour = 1 pound
2 1/3 to 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar = 1 pound
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar = 1 pound
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar = 1 pound
3 medium (3 cups sliced) apples = 1 pound
3 medium (1 1/3 cups mashed) bananas = 1 pound
1 cup shredded cheese = 1/4 pound
8 ounces sour cream = 1 cup
1 cup uncooked regular rice = 3 cups cooked
1 square baking chocolate = 1 ounce chocolate
1 cup sour cream = 8 ounces
1 cup whipping cream = 1 cup whipped cream
1 large onion = 3/4 to 1 cup chopped onion







COOKING PAN SUBSTITUTIONS





4-cup baking dish = 9" pie plate = 8"x 1 1/4" round pan = 7 1/2" x 3" x 2" loaf pan
6-cup baking dish = 10" pie plate = 8" or 9" x 1 1/2" round pan = 8 1/2" x 4" x 2 1/2" loaf pan
8-cup baking dish = 8" x 8" square pan = 11" x 7" baking dish = 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan
2 8" round pans = 1 9" x 13" pan = 1 9" tube pan = 2" square pans
1 9" round pan = 1 8" round pan
(sizes approximate)
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11" x 7" baking dish = approximately 2 quarts
13" x 9" baking dish = approximately 3 quarts




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