Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Herbs and their Uses

Here is a quick guide to herbs, you can also Google cooking with herbs and
it will give you quite a few sites to look at.

Soups, salads, salad dressings, eggs, dips, vegetables, chicken, soft cheese
spreads, butters, white sauces, and fish.

English Thyme
Game, beef, soft cheeses, fish, chowders, pâté, vegetables, and tomato sauce

(French or Spanish)
Chicken, fish, eggs, tomato juice, butters (especially nice on steak),
vinegars, salads, mustards, sauces (hollandaise, béarnaise and tartar),
Soups (chicken, fish, mushroom and tomato) and marinades for fish, lamb or

Greek Oregano
Sauces (white and tomato), stews, soups, fish, lamb, pork, vegetables,
butters, and vinegars.

Beef, lamb, fish, poultry, stuffings, soups, stews, fruit cups, soups
(chicken, pea, and spinach), vegetables, and marinades.

Stuffings (for fish, poultry, and meat), pâté, eggs, poultry, pork, beef, lamb, pasta, cheeses (cheddar, cream, and cottage), sauces (brown and meat), soups (cream and chowder), beef stews, and vegetables.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Newton Fruit Thins

As a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher and a Tastemaker, I have the pleasure of testing some of the newest products as well as publish my own comments and feelings about the product.  There is no monetary award for this through Foodbuzz, Tastemaker nor the product manufacturer but the pleasure of tasting some of the newest products on the market make it worthwhile. 

This review is for Newton's Fruit Thins. They are wonderful!  I tried the Blueberry Brown Sugar and the Fig and Honey.  These are OH MY Good!  The cookie part is crispy yet the fruit is chewy.  The combination making them perfect.  The cookie sizes are large and only 140 calories for 3.  They are whole grain with REAL fruit.

Now, these are great with a glass of milk or even by themselves, but...think how great they would be with a little vanilla ice cream spread between two of them.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dryer Sheets

OK, I can't tell you the good without telling you the bad.  This was sent to me by someone who read my post regarding the many uses of Bounce.

Most commercial dryer sheets are impregnated with all sorts of toxic chemicals including Benzyl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Chloroform and Linalool; none of which are good for the environment - or you. Some of these compounds are known carcinogens.

Aside from the chemicals in the sheets winding up in your clothing and therefore next to your skin, when heated, the fumes are also toxic.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Newest Review for Stir, Laugh, Repeat

I was checking my cookbook Stir, Laugh, Repeat on Amazon and found this new review posted.  This one is GREAT!!!! 
I had to share.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Cookbook!, June 23, 2011
I found myself going through this entire cookbook, taking notes in between. I've always struggled making gravy and just gave up and brought packets of gravy from the store. Thanks to Martha I went into the kitchen and followed her recipe and my gravy was perfect.

I loved the stories she shared and the tips such as keeping lemons and lime fresh,making your own breadcrumbs, peeling tomatoes and many more are lifesavers. I found so many receipes that I wanted to try for the longest such as Monkeybread, chicken Pot Pie, and many others.

I really enjoyed the stories and tips. They were lifesavers.

Stir, Laugh, and Repeat by Martha A Cheves is the BEST cookbook I have read. You get more than just receipes; You get tips and stories.

Get this cookbook. You will Enjoy it.

Reviewed by AOTR: Dee Dee M. Scott

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shrimp & Scallops Over Rice

This is a quick dish to make for seafood lovers.  The flavor of the finished product is a combination of Shrimp Scampi and Shrimp and Grits.  Changes you might add would be a little nutmeg and maybe a splash of Sherry.  Also, you can serve this over grits.  It's rich, creamy and delicious!  Find the full recipe by going to Martha's Recipe Cabinet.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Freezing Vegetables

A friend sent this to me and since its that time of the year when veggies are coming in I decided to share.

Freezing our bountiful harvest is an easy way of preserving our produce, but the foods will not keep as long. In freezing the organisms that cause spoilage become inactive. However, they don’t die. The bacteria can’t grow as long as the produce remains frozen, but once it is thawed, they will begin growing once again.
You should be aware of some changes in your vegetables before you start freezing. Foods may become mushy when thawed because ice crystals cause damage in the cells of the foods. If you keep foods frozen for too long or if they are frozen in improper containers, it will cause freezer burn. This will cause the color and taste of the foods to be changed for the worse. Such food is still safe to eat in this condition, but it is not be as appealing.

Freezing is a simple process, and not much equipment is required to get started – just your household freezer and containers. The easiest containers are common freezer bags found in your local supermarket. You can also freeze in your canning jars, plastic containers (such as butter or cottage containers), aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and freezer paper. You will need to allow for the food to expand as it freezes, so be sure to leave plenty of space for this process. Not leaving this room for expansion will cause your containers to leak in your freezer and make an icy mess to clean up later.

Freezing Veggies

Freezing Vegetables is much like freezing fruits, only you won’t be adding sugar. Instead you will be blanching them (heating in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes and then immediately cooling in cold water) before packing into containers and freezing. Blanching kills the enzymes that age vegetables. Blanched foods will taste fresher when taken from the freezer. Submerging in cold water stops the cooking process.

You will need to leave a headspace on some of your vegetables.

Some vegetables darken after they are cut, and to prevent this darkening you will need to use an anti-darkening agent. A natural anti-darkening solution that can be used is a teaspoon of lemon juice to a quart of water. Soaking your veggies for five to ten minutes prior to placing them in the containers for freezing will prevent this. You can also use commercial anti-darkening, such as “Fruit Fresh” by following the instructions on the package. Using either will work with great results.

Veggie Freezing Instructions

  • Asparagus: wash and cut off tough stems. Blanch small stalks 2 minutes, large ones for 4 minutes. Cool, drain, and pack into containers, alternating tip and stem ends. No headspace needed.
  • Beans, Green and Wax: pick when young and tender (beans with strings are too tough). Remove stems and break into 1-2 inch pieces. Wash. Blanch 3 minutes, dip into cold water to cool. Drain, pack, and freeze. Leave ½ inch headspace.
  • Beets: When trimming beets leave 1 inch of their tops to prevent them from bleeding. Not leaving the stems will cause them to bleed out and turn white during cooking. Wash beets and cook for 25 minutes. Cool in cold water. Rub off peels when cool—skins should slip off easily now. Cut into cubes or slices, pack into containers, leave ½ inch headspace, and freeze.
  • Broccoli: Wash and peel stalks. To remove insects, soak in a solution of 4-5 teaspoons salt to a gallon of water for half an hour. Blanch three minutes, cool in cold water, drain, pack into containers leaving no headspace, and freeze.
  • Brussels Sprouts: Trim and remove outer leaves. Wash and blanch 3 minutes for small heads, 5 minutes for large heads. Cool in cold water, drain, pack into containers leaving no headspace, freeze.
  • Cabbage: Remove outer leaves and cut into quartets. Wash. Blanch for 2 minutes. Cool in cold water, drain and pack into containers leaving ½ inch headspace. Once frozen cabbage is only suitable for use as a cooked vegetable, not for coleslaw.
  • Carrots: Remove tops, wash, and peel if desired. Leave small carrots whole; slice large ones. Blanch whole carrots 5 minutes, sliced carrots 2 minutes. Cool in cold water and drain. Pack into containers leaving ½ inch headspace, freeze.
  • Cauliflower: Break into 1 inch pieces and wash. To remove insects soak in a solution of 4-5 teaspoons salt to a gallon of water for half an hour. Drain and rinse. Blanch three minutes and cool in cold water. Pack into containers leaving no headspace, freeze.
  • Corn: Husk and remove silk from ears. Blanch ears five minutes. Cool in cold water and drain. Cut kernels from cob and cover with water, pack into containers leaving 1-inch headspace.
  • Corn-on-the-cob: Husk and remove silk from ears. Blanch ears five minutes. Cool in cold water and drain. Wrap each ear in plastic wrap, pack into freezer bags and freeze.
  • Mushrooms: wash in cold water. To remove insects soak in a solution of 4-5 teaspoons salt to a gallon of water for several hours or overnight. Rinse well. If mushrooms are larger than 1-inch, slice or quarter them. Soak mushrooms in anti-darkening solution for 5 minutes, drain. Steam for 5 minutes, cool in cold water and pack into containers leaving ½ inch headspace, freeze.
  • Okra: Pick young, tender pods. Wash and cut off stem ends, being careful not to open seed cells. Blanch for 4 minutes, cooling promptly in cold water. Leave whole or slice, pack into containers leaving ½ inch headspace, freeze.
  • Onions: Wash and peel. Chop and place into containers, leaving NO headspace.
  • Peas: Shell peas and wash to remove blossom ends and pod particles. Blanch 2 minutes, cool in cold water. Drain, pack peas into containers leaving ½ inch headspace, freeze.
  • Pea pods: Wash. Blanch for 2 minutes. Pack into containers and freeze.
  • Peppers: Wash, cut out seeds and chop. Pack into containers leaving no headspace, freeze.
  • Pumpkin: Wash and cut into quarters. Cook until soft by baking, steaming or boiling. Press through sieve. Cool, pack into containers leaving ½ inch headspace, freeze.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Wash and cook until almost tender. Cool in cold water and peel. Slice, mash, or leave whole. To prevent darkening dip in anti-darkening solution for 5 seconds. If mashed, add 2T lemon juice to each quart of sweet potatoes. Pack into containers leaving ½ inch headspace, and freeze.
  • Tomatoes: Wash, remove stems and blanch 3-4 minutes*. Cool in cold water and remove skins. Can quarter, halve, or leave whole. Pack into containers leaving ½ inch headspace and freeze.
  • Stewed tomatoes: Wash, remove stems and blanch 3-4 minutes*. Cool in cold water and remove skins. Quarter and cook about 20 minutes or until tender. Place pan into cold water to cool, pack into containers leaving ½ inch headspace and freeze.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hashbrown Chicken Casserole

This "recipe" was given to me by a man I work with.  He had no measurements, just ingredients which were:
Colby cheese
cream of chicken soup
1/2 can water
cheddar cheese for top

So, after making a few additions and guessing at the measurements this is what I came up with:

In a large bowl mix together
3 cups hashbrowns
1/2 cup frozen seasoned onions & bell peppers
3 chicken breasts cooked & cut into bite size pieces
2 cups Colby cheese, shredded
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Bake 30-35 minutes.  Top with pats of butter and bake another 5 minutes.  This easily feeds 6.

I didn't add the cheddar cheese to the top because I felt it had enough inside but that is an option when you make this dish.  The taste of this reminds me of a loaded baked potato so you could leave out the chicken and use bacon.  Use your imagination for this dish.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Catch All Snacks

This is another of my "clean out the cabinet" snacks.  I used shredded wheat, honey flavored cherrios, pretzels, left over M&Ms, mini-marshmallows, about 3/4 can of salted mixed nuts and I cut up about 1/2 bag of toasted coconut covered marshmallows. I put all of this into a LARGE bowl, drizzled melted white chocolate over everything, tossed to coat.  So good!
And I feel it is actually healthy due to the shredded wheat and cherrios.  Right?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chili Cheese Pockets

Of course, this is easy.  I used egg roll wraps filled with canned chili & beans topped with a piece of cheese.  They are deep fried just as you would an egg roll.  So, think out of the roll and create your own egg rolls.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

7-Up Blueberry Pineapple Pudding

After making the 7-Up Pound Cake I was left with extra 7-Up Soda.  I'm not a cola drinker but hate to throw anything away so I found another use for 7-Up.  This is my recipe for

7-Up Blueberry Pineapple Pudding

1 pkg. Instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup 7-Up
1/2 cup blueberries
4 pineapple rings cut into small pieces and drained

Whisk together the pudding and 7-Up.  Stir in blueberries and pineapple chunks.  Spoon into serving dishes.  Top with cool whip and garnish with pineapple and blueberries.  Serves 4

This is another one that I'll be playing with using other soda/cola flavors.  With the 7-Up you actually taste the flavor of the drink which compliments the blueberries and pineapple.  You can always change the fruit, change the soda flavor, for diabetics use sugar free pudding mix and sugar free soda.  This is not just delicious it's also a pretty dish.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bounce This Along

Sent to me by a friend and I felt this might just benefit all of us.

U.S. Postal  service sent out a message to all letter carriers to put a sheet of  Bounce in their uniform pockets to keep yellow-jackets  away. 

Use them all the time when playing  baseball and soccer. I use it when I am working outside. It really  works. The insects just veer around  you. 

All this time you've just been  putting Bounce in the dryer!

It will chase ants  away when you lay a sheet near them. It also repels  mice.

Spread sheets around  foundation areas, or in trailers, or cars that are sitting and it  keeps mice from entering your  vehicle. 

It takes the odor out  of books and photo albums that don't get opened too  often. 

It repels mosquitoes.  Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during  mosquito  season. 

Eliminate static  electricity from your television (or computer)  screen.

Since Bounce is  designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen  with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from  resettling.. 

Dissolve soap scum  from shower doors. Clean with a sheet of  Bounce.

To freshen the air in  your home - Place an individual sheet of Bounce in a drawer or hang  in the closet. 

9. Put Bounce sheet in  vacuum cleaner.

Prevent thread from  tangling. Run a threaded needle through a sheet of Bounce before  beginning to  sew. 

Prevent musty  suitcases. Place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage  before storing. 

To freshen the air in  your car - Place a sheet of Bounce under the front  seat.

Clean baked-on foods  from a cooking pan. Put a sheet in a pan, fill with water, let sit  overnight, and sponge clean. The anti-static agent apparently  weakens the bond between the food and the  pan.. 

Eliminate odors in  wastebaskets. Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the  wastebasket. 

Collect cat hair.  Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract  all the loose hairs. 

16. Eliminate static  electricity from Venetian blinds.. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of  Bounce to prevent dust from  resettling. 

Wipe up sawdust from  drilling or sand papering. A used sheet of Bounce will collect  sawdust like a tack  cloth. 

Eliminate odors in  dirty laundry. Place an individual sheet of Bounce at the bottom of  a laundry bag or  hamper. 

Deodorize shoes or  sneakers. Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers  overnight. 

Golfers put a Bounce  sheet in their back pocket to keep the bees  away. 

Put a Bounce sheet in  your sleeping bag and tent before folding and storing them. It will  keep them smelling  fresh. 

Wet a Bounce sheet,  hose down your car, and wipe love bugs off easily with the wet  Bounce. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

7-Up Pound Cake

When I first saw this recipe I almost rejected it because I found no leavening.  What will make it rise?  I then found that the ingredient 7-Up would make it rise.  So today I gave it a try.  Of course I did make a couple of changes and will point them out along the way.  So here is a wonderfully delicious recipe for a

7-Up Pound Cake.

3 cups sugar
2 sticks margarine (I used butter softened)
1/2 cup shortening (I used butter flavored Crisco)
5 eggs
1 tsp. coconut extract (I had imitation so I used 1 Tbsp.)
1 tsp. lemon extract (Didn't have this ingredient so left it out)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon juice (I used 1 Tbsp as a replacement for the lemon extract)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup 7 Up (Measure this 1/2 cup at a time due to foaming)
3 cups sifted all purpose flour

Do not preheat oven.  Cream sugar, margarine and shortening.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add extracts, lemon juice and salt.  Add flour and 7-up alternately, beginning and ending with flour.  Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan.  (I used baking non-stick spray which has the flour mixed in.  I also used an Angle food pan.  Place in a cold oven.  Set oven to 325 degrees.  Bake about 1 hour.  Test for doneness.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  (I ended up baking mine for 1 1/2 hrs. so the timing will depend on your oven.  If you find the top is browning too quickly, place a loose sheet of foil over the top.  You probably won't have that problem with this low of a setting.) 

This cake is so good.  It's moist and by using the butter and butter flavored Crisco you get a strong butter flavor.  This cake can easily be made using vanilla flavoring if you don't have the lemon and coconut extracts.  This is a cake I really want to play around with using different soda/cola flavors.  I see this as a basic recipe that would be delicious made with orange, strawberry, Dr. Pepper, etc. sodas.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Smores and More

This one came to me while walking through a variety store of all places.  The store has a food section and I spotted marshmallows and decided to come up with a new recipe using them.  So here is what I did.

I used (1) 1 lb. pkg of coconut cookies, these I placed in a plastic bag and pounded them until they were crumbs.  I melted 1 stick of butter and mixed it in with the cookie crumbs.  I pressed the crumbs into the bottom of (2) 9 x 13 baking dishes (I planned on taking them to a cookout so I needed a lot).  I had (2) 7oz. bags of chocolate covered peanuts and sprinkled them over my cookie crumbs.  Then I sprinkled everything with chocolate chips (picture on left).  And topped everything with mini-marshmallows.  The only thing left was to bake in a 350 degree oven until the marshmallows melted and browned.  The picture on the right is the finished product.  I think most of you know that I don't like chocolate but even I liked these.

Changes - change the cookie - chocolate cookies, sugar cookies, etc.  Change the chips to maybe caramel or butterscotch.  Just get creative.