Friday, October 31, 2008

Baking Powder- Stuff to Know

Baking Powder is a leavening agent that consists of a combination of baking soda, cream of tartar, and a moisture absorber (like cornstarch).

It has the action of yeast but it acts much more quickly. It's used in batters where there is no acid present. such as many baked goods: cookies, cakes, pastries, pies, quick bread, etc.

Make Your Own Baking Powder:
If you have run out of baking powder you may be able to
make a substitution by using the following:
For one teaspoon baking powder = mix 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
Use immediately.

Why does it matter which Baking Powder you use?
Some have added aluminum, some don't.
It is easy to find out which ones don't by reading the label... but if you just want to know, I will tell you:

RUMFORD brand is the only one I have found in our area, that DOES NOT have ALUMINUM in it. Ironically, it is owned by the same company that makes another popular baking powder that DOES have it: CLABBER GIRL ! Read here as to why you may WANT TO AVOID ADDED ALUMINUM in your diet.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chili Dogs With Creamy Coleslaw

Chili Dogs With Creamy Coleslaw
Tyler kicks up some standard dog toppings with a pinch of chili powder and rounds it all out with a side of creamy, tangy slaw.
This short video gives basic tips on making "dog'' night exceptional!
I am trying it this weekend at a 'work-day' at my grandmother's home.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Meat Thermometers

My mother was pleased the other night when she seen that I actually use a MEAT THERMOMETER. I asked why & she said it just did not seem like many people owned one or utilized one these days.
So, I thought I would post the benefits of using a meat thermometer on here, to benefit others who may have been wondering about this ever-so-interesting subject!! :)

My "twin" Garlic Encrusted roasters turned out great, at a perfect temp. of 185 degrees.
So, WHY use a m.t.? It takes the guesswork out of cooking. A meat thermometer can help you:

  • Prevent food borne illness;

  • Prevent overcooking; and

  • Hold foods at a safe temperature.

If you don't regularly use a meat thermometer, you should get into the habit of using one. A meat thermometer can be used for all foods, not just meat. It measures the internal temperature of your cooked meat and poultry, or any casseroles, to assure that a safe temperature has been reached and that harmful bacteria like certain strains of Salmonella and E. Coli have been destroyed.
A meat thermometer should not be a "sometime thing." Use it every time you prepare foods like poultry, roasts, ham, casseroles, meat loaves and egg dishes.

Check this link to see EXACTLY how to use one & what kind to buy.

Minimum Internal Cooking Temperatures
Now comes the part that is most important—the minimum internal temperatures that foods must reach to be considered safe to eat, no matter how you prepare them.

Fresh ground beef, veal, lamb, pork
160 degrees F

Beef, veal, lamb-roasts, steaks, chops
Medium rare
145 degrees F
160 degrees F
Well done
170 degrees F

Fresh pork-roasts, steaks, chops
160 degrees F
Well done
170 degrees F

Cook before eating
160 degrees F
Fully cooked, to reheat
140 degrees F

Ground Chicken, Turkey
165 degrees F
Whole Chicken, Turkey
180 degrees F
Breasts, roasts
170 degrees F
Thighs and wings
Cook until juices run clear.

Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)
165 degrees F

Egg dishes, casseroles
160 degrees F

Leftovers 165 degrees F
Information courtesy the U. S Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

$5.00 dinners??!! It CAN be done!

Check out $5 dinners for some great menu ideas & recipes for, you guessed it, FIVE dollars.

She breaks it down like this:
1 lb Chicken Thighs ($1.85)
1/8 cup Olive Oil Dressing ($.10)
1 large Butternut Squash ($.69)
2 T butter ($.10)
1 small onion ($.20)
1 celery stalk ($.05)
2 small potatoes ($.20)
3 cloves garlic ($.15)
1/4 cup apple juice ($.10)
Spices: Dash of cinnamon, ground cloves and ground ginger ($.10)
2 cups chicken broth (free or $1)
1-1 1/2 cups whole milk ($.20)
Salt and pepper to taste1 cup frozen peas ($.50)

Cost $4.24 or $5.24 depending on if you used store bought broth!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Menu Planning Monday 10/27-10/31

Mon- Garlic Roasted Chicken; Stuffing, Fried Green Tomatoes

Tue- CrockPot Tuna Noodle Casserole

Wed- Corn & Salsa Tortilla Soup

Thu- Garlic Chicken Pasta, Salad, Garlic Bread
Fri- Tater Tot Casserole

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kitchen Myths

Kitchen Myths found on the net... useful & sensical.
  • Searing meat seals in the juice
  • "Real" chili cannot contain beans or tomatoes
  • Microwave cooking destroys nutrients more than other cooking method
  • All thickening agents are created equal
  • Use water instead of milk when making scrambled eggs and omelets
  • Sushi means raw fish
  • When you add alcohol to a recipe it all evaporates during cooking so there is none in the final dish
  • Hot pan, cold oil
  • Heating a pan prevents sticking by closing cracks in the metal
  • You can make a baked potato in the microwave
  • Gas stoves are better than electric
  • Cold water boils faster than warm water

& many more at the link above!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Best Pico de Gallo ever!

We had many tomatoes last week, last of the season.
I needed recipes for them, I made Pico de gallo.
Here is the recipe, complete with a pic that really does turn out like this.
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced tomato
  • 1 to 5 serrano peppers (depending on taste) finely diced--remove the seeds if you want to decrease the heat a bit (I used jalepeno)
  • Minced cilantro to taste
  • Juice from 1 lime(or lemon)
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Stir ingredients together until well mixed and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes, if possible, before serving.
Stir well before serving, the minced peppers like to sink down to the bottom of the bowl.
Speaking of which, you can always slice them thin across the width of the pepper instead of mincing them to make pretty little pepper circles in your Pico.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I will be posting Menu Plan Monday on this blog & my personal family blog every Monday.
But that will be the only time the posts will be duplicated.

Mon- Pretzel-crusted Chicken Breasts w/ a Cheddar Mustard Sauce (Rachel Ray's Recipe)
Slaw Salad

Tue- Sloppy Joe's, Fries, Spinach Salad
Wed- Shepherd's Pie, Brussel Sprouts, Rolls

Thu- Spaghetti w/ Bacon & Veggies

Fri- Potato Soup, Grilled Cheese

Sunday, October 19, 2008

German Dinner

Our German Dinner

We had a German Dinner on Saturday Night for our Home Learning Group.
We had a great variety of contributed dishes. We had a child's game for the younger ones to play, a geography lesson & a trivia game, too!
Fun, fun!

I made Red Cabbage with Apples & a Beef/ Tomato/Cabbage soup, like a goulash.
We also had:

  • spaetzle
  • sauerbraten
  • sausages & more cabbage
  • 2 other kinds of soup/stews; one with ham/potato & one with pork & root vegetables.
  • Meat in fried dough, kinda like bierocks
  • fried dough with powdered sugar
  • oatmeal cookies w/ raisins
  • Apple Turnover Cake
  • cucumber/onion salad

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Frito Burrito"

Son named this one, too.

Frito Burrito inspired by Sonic Drive-In Restaraunt called a Chili Cheese Wrap. Ingredients for the easiest meal ever!

  • Chili
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Pepper Jack Cheese
  • or Cheddar
  • Fritos
  • Lettuce & tomato to make it a well rounded meal... not really, but we can pretend!

We used to eat this combo, minus the Pepper Jack when I was living in Arkansas in my 4th grade year of school. We would go to the Skating Rink in the big town of Batesville... .order their chili, which they served in an individual bag of Fritos, with cheese melted on top!! Neat & yummy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Favorite "OLD" Cookbook & Pancake Recipe

My fav cookbook is the Better Homes & Gardens NEW COOK BOOK, from like the year I was born! (seventies, maybe??!!) My mother actually used this cookbook *(see the mess on the pages & the cover? Shows it is a good cookbook, like I said!!) & it has *THE*BEST* Pancake recipe ever!

Favorite Pancakes Recipe
1 & a 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour (use unbleached, for health)
3 t. baking powder*
1 T. Sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 T. vegetable oil
Sift dry ingedients together (which I never do).
Combine egg, milk, & oil; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until mositened.
Cook on hot griddle # When it bubbles, it is about done.
Makes about 12 dollar-size or eight 4-inch pancakes
(which is why I triple this recipe for our growing children!)

#Hot Tip:(when you sprinkle drops of water on it & they sizzle into oblivion, then it is the right temp.)
*Hot Tip:
Always use baking powder with NO Aluminum... and by the way, All baking powders in the grocery stores contain aluminum, that we have in around here,
except Rumford Brand, which is owned by Clabber Girl, which HAS alum. in it!! Go figure!

Cooking According to my 5 y.o.

Thanks to all my "experimenting" in the kitchen, my 5 year old has been "experimenting" himself.
Though so far, anything he has "cooked" is unedible!! :)

For proof of this, see youtube video below!


(So, my son dubbed this recipe) Crater Taters

is essentially it is meatballs placed on top of a hashbrown casserole.
I got it off of
Menu-Plan-Monday's website… which they, in turn got it from
Taste of Home’s site.

The "frying of the meatballs" session was easy enough...
END RESULT: It looked yummy & tasted yummier.