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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Parents - 7 Ideas to Get Your Reluctant Cooks in the Kitchen and Cooking

by Peg Baron
Young kids are not a problem, they always seem to want to help you in the kitchen. Heck, they'll do dishes, sweep floors, stir what's in the bowl, and reorganize your Tupperware. It's the older ones, the tweeners and early teenagers, that sometimes need a little nudge to join in the kitchen fun. Here are some ideas that just might get them interested in cooking up some food, fun, and memorable moments.

Young kids are not a problem, they always seem to want to help you in the kitchen. Heck, they’ll do dishes, sweep floors, stir what’s in the bowl, and reorganize your Tupperware. It’s the older ones, the tweeners and early teenagers, that sometimes need a little nudge to join in the kitchen fun. Here are some ideas that just might get them interested in cooking up some food, fun, and memorable moments.

Kid in Control
This one will be become a favorite -- an evening where your child is in charge. You basically change places with them. They pick the dinner and do the bulk of the work, but they get to boss you around. They can tell you to chop the carrots, peel the potatoes, set the table, or feed the dog. They're in charge. My kids love bossing me around and I love that they're showing a little confidence in their budding cooking skills. If you try this I'm guessing they'll also tell you to do all the dishes.

One Ingredient/One Meal
Challenge your children to come up with a recipe they'd like to try using any one ingredient that you name. They can pull out the cookbooks or go to the Internet for help. There are many cooking websites that display recipes when given just one ingredient. Depending on the age of your cook, you can make it an easy ingredient like poultry or pineapple, or a real challenge with curry or hoisin sauce. This might be a good time to use what's in season -- cabbage, grapes, broccoli, basil, etc. Not only will they make a dish they've never made before, but they may actually learn a little about the chosen ingredient.

Loud Music and Personal Choice
Some kids are more willing to cook if they get to pick what they want to cook, not you. They’re also more willing to cook if they’re hungry. Give them cookbooks to look through and get ideas from. Usually they’ll pick the recipe with the most appetizing picture or fewest ingredients. Try not to set rules. It’s okay if they make omelets for dinner. They’re cooking, aren’t they? As far as the music goes – let them crank it up while they’re creating in the kitchen. If that makes them a happier cook, then that makes you a happier parent.

Kids Cafe
Remember when your children were little and they liked to play restaurant? "Mommy, you sit here and tell me what you want to eat!" Then they give you a banana, hamburger, spaghetti, and milk carton, all in plastic. Now that they're older, why not recreate the fun? With your help, have them make a very limited menu with maybe one entree, two side choices, and two vegetable/fruit choices ahead of time. You are the customer at The Kids Cafe and they get to set your table, be your waiter, and also cook and serve your food. Not only do they get to practice their cooking skills, but they get to work on following instructions, organizing their time, and learning to please a customer. So sit back and have some fun at the Kids Cafe, and don't forget to leave a tip!

Kids + Friends + Kitchen = Party! How about a Bring-Your-Own-Ingredient Party? Pizza works well with this concept. You supply the crusts and every child brings a different topping. This leads to some really crazy pizzas and some (gasp) experimental tasting by the kids. If not pizza, the menu headliner can be a taco or fajita bar. For dessert start with some big sugar cookie crusts and see what the kids can bring to put on top. They're only limited by their imaginations. Can't you just picture their proud creations?

Invent a Recipe
Let your kids think outside the recipe. This is a natural for kids, they have great imaginations. They get to use any ingredients they want, which will usually lead to discussions of what normally goes together. Sometimes you might get to discuss the definition of "gross", and sometimes you might get into the realm of science and whether something will remain goo or become solid after baking.

Pick a Theme
It’s simple – your kids pick a theme, and every family member prepares a dish. The theme can be a meal from a different country or from a different time in history. Why not have a theme like all the food needs to be green or all the dishes have to have apples in them. There are so many possibilities, just look at what your kids are currently interested in for some ideas.

Great Different Pineapple Smoothies - Erase Winter Colds With Pineapple

by Katkat Jasi
Erase winter colds with Pineapple. This sweet tropical fruit contains Bromelain, an enzyme that eases congestion and suppresses coughs associated with Bronchitis and other respiratory ailments.
Erase winter colds with Pineapple. This sweet tropical fruit contains Bromelain, an enzyme that eases congestion and suppresses coughs associated with Bronchitis and other respiratory ailments.

PINEAPPLE BUTTERMILK SMOOTHIE

You can throw just about anything in a fruit smoothie to enhance its flavor such as honey, tofu, jams, any combination of fruits, peanut butter, juices, etc., but keep in mind it will effect the nutritional values.

20 ounces unsweetened pineapple chunks
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons liquid sweetener
Mint leaves--optional

Drain pineapple, reserving 1/2 cups juice. Freeze pineapple chunks. Place juice, buttermilk, vanilla, sweetener and frozen pineapple into a blender container.

Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with mint if desired.

PINEAPPLE YOGURT WHIRL

6 ounces can pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cups water
1/2 cups skim milk
8 ounces carton vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups ice cubes

Pineapple wedges, for garnish

In a blender container, combine the pineapple juice concentrate, water, milk, yogurt, sugar, and vanilla.

Blend mixture until smooth. With the blender running, add ice cubes slowly through the opening in the lid and blend mixture until slushy.

Pour into tall glasses and decorate each serving with fresh pineapple wedge.

PINEAPPLE CARROT SMOOTHIE

1/2 cups pineapple chunks
1 cup soy milk, any flavor
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1/3 cups pineapple juice
1-1" piece ginger, peeled and minced
Honey to taste

Place all ingredients in blender container and blend until everything is smooth.

The Midnight Snack of Champions


It's hard to believe that a little over a month ago I barely had time to even talk to my family, much less blog. The long days and even longer nights put in at work seem but a distant memory.

And yet it was only a month ago that I would stumble into the house, sometimes as late as midnight. And while I'm completely in love with food, it was at those times that the very idea of cooking or baking seemed next to impossible, like a distant dream not meant for me.

Wandering into the kitchen, that late at night (or should I say that early in the morning), more often than not it was nothing more exotic than a bowl of Cheerios keeping me company. That's lonely business I tell you - sitting at the table alone, with a bowl of cereal at 1:00 a.m.

But as sad as that picture may seem, as with all things, the long hours passed and I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Naturally, the desire for for food breathed new life into me.

Inevitably the night comes when the bowl of Cheerios is cast aside in favour of something sweeter and divine. It's what I like to call The Midnight Snack of Champions: walnuts with Parmigiano Reggiano and honey.

You can't have any one of these without the other two. The mellow butteriness of the walnuts is perfect against the sharp tingle of the Parmigiano, which is perfect dripping with the golden honey.

And there is no exact recipe for this snack. The proportions are entirely up to you. I like a handful of walnuts and a chunk of Parmigiano (cut into small pieces), covered in a few healthy teaspoons of honey (preferably chestnut honey).

The only rule here is that you must eat this with your fingers being sure to lick up every delicious drop of honey.

Forget the Cheerios.

In those quiet night hours, when hunger strikes, comfort yourself with the snack of champions all the while knowing that there will only be sweet dreams to follow.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Three-Cheese and Mushroom Pizza


Note: Here's the original pizza dough recipe and the recipe for the Three-Cheese Pizza with Pancetta and Mushroom Pizza. I omitted the pancetta and made my own marinara sauce.

1 batch of pizza dough
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1-1/2 cups tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fontina cheese, grated
1 cup mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
handful of basil leaves, torn
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes.
Saute over medium heat until the onions and garlic soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato puree and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer the sauce until it has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
Remove the sauce from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
While the sauce is cooling, preheat your oven to 475 degrees F.
Divide the pizza dough into two and shape each half into a rectangle that's roughly about 13 x 8 inches. The dough will be very thin. Transfer the dough to two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Divide the sauce between the two pizzas spreading it evenly but leaving a border of about an inch all the way around.
Sprinkle the fontina, mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano evenly over the two pizzas.
Sprinkle the mushrooms evenly over the cheese.
Divide the torn basil and sprinkle evenly over the two pizzas.
Bake the pizzas for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and the cheese has melted and is very bubbly.
Remove from the oven and let the pizzas cool for a minute or two before slicing and serving.
Enjoy!

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Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

Adapted from Jamie's Italy by Jamie Oliver.

Note: Pasta e ceci is one of those recipes that can be adapted to suit any tastes. You can make it as thick our as soupy as you like. Feel free to add whatever herbs you like. If you've got fresh rosemary or basil on hand, they are an excellent addition to the soup. This soup will serve 4.

2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 tsp. hot pepper flakes
1 sprig rosemary or 1 tbsp. dried rosemary
1-1/2 cups chickpeans (use canned chickpeas that have been drained and rinsed)
2-1/2 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup dried pasta (I like to use tubetti which is a tiny tubular pasta)
3 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Parmigiano Reggiano to taste
1. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil with the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, hot pepper flakes and rosemary. Cook over very low heat until the vegetables are soft and translucent (about 10 to 15 minutes). Be careful not to burn the vegetables.
2. Once the vegetables are soft, add the chickpeas and the chicken stock or water. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring often.
3. Remove half the chickpeas and place in a bowl. Set aside.
4. With an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor, process the liquid and chickpeas in the stockpot until you have a smooth and creamy mixture.
5. Return the remaining chickpeas to the pot and add the pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Let cook until the pasta is ready (about 10 minutes). If the soup gets too thick, add some water.
7. Once the pasta is done, stir in the parsley and taste again for salt and pepper. Adjust the seasoning accordingly.
8. Serve the pasta e ceci with lots of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
9. Enjoy!

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Fishing on Friday


I've heard rumours that the Easter Bunny has been seen hopping around our neighbourhood.

Perhaps.

What I do know, is that it's Good Friday and that means fish and seafood in our household. I'm often asked why it is that we eat fish on Good Friday and to be honest, I don't know the precise answer although I suspect it has much to do with this being the day that, in the religious context, Jesus was crucified. For as long as I can remember, Fridays were reserved for fish. It was a nice way to end the week, especially in preparation for the very large (and meat-filled) lunch we'd usually have on Sundays.

While we do enjoy our fish on Good Friday, it's not quite the same as the celebration on Christmas Eve. Good Friday has a more sombre tone to it and the food we eat tends to be simple. Usually, my mother will make a pasta sauce with skate and a few mussels and clams thrown in at the end. But for this Good Friday, I wanted to try something new.

Flipping through Jamie's Italy, I came across a recipe for spaghetti with shrimp and arugula. The picture made me stop. I love shrimp and pasta and the sight of the two of them with colourful bits of arugula had my mouth watering.

Preparation for the pasta was quite easy. Instead of using dried chili flakes, I decided to use fresh red chile peppers. The recipe calls for sundried tomato puree, which I didn't have. So I improvised and made my own by soaking a handful of sundried tomatoes in boiling water for about twenty minutes. I drained them and put the softened tomatoes in the bowl of the food processor. I added a few cloves of garlic and processed them until everything was finely chopped. Then, with the processor running, I poured in about a quarter cup of olive oil through the food tube. I ended up with a dark red puree that had a very concentrated tomato taste.

While the spaghetti boiled, I sauteed garlic and the red chile peppers in olive oil. I added the shrimp and then some white wine and the sundried tomato puree. Once the spaghetti was cooked, I added the pasta to the pan with the sauce and shrimp. I added lemon juice and arugula and then mixed until all the spaghetti was coated in the fragrant sauce. Before serving, I sprinkled the spaghetti with a bit of lemon zest for colour and flavour.

What a delicious plate of pasta! On this sombre Good Friday, we had a bit of sunshine inside.

Ciao!

Spaghetti with Shrimp and Arugula

Adapted from Jamie's Italy by Jamie Oliver.

Note: I used spaghetti as in the original recipe, but you could try this with any long pasta. While the original recipe indicates that it will serve 4, you could probably stretch it to serve 6.

1 lb. spaghetti (I used fresh spaghetti)
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chile pepper, finely chopped
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp. sundried tomato puree
juice and zest of one lemon
1 cup arugula leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook your spaghetti in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Cook according to 2. package directions. While your spaghetti is cooking, prepare the sauce.
2. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and then add the garlic and chile pepper. Saute for about 20 seconds, don't let the garlic burn.
3. Add the shrimp and cook for about a minute, until the shrimp have turned a pinkish/orange colour on both sides.
4. Add the white wine and the sundried tomato puree. Cook for a few minutes over high heat, until the sauce has reduced a bit.
5. Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain the pasta and then add it to the pan. Add the lemon juice and the arugula and begin mixing the pasta until it is completely coated in sauce and the arugula has begun to wilt.
6. Plate the pasta and sprinkle a bit of lemon zest on top before serving.
7. Enjoy!

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Have a Beautiful Weekend!


Spring has embraced Toronto in a huge way! It's a gorgeous day outside and for a change, I'm looking forward to being out there running errands.

I couldn't help but post these adorable cookies and wish all of you a wonderful weekend.

I'll post the recipe soon, but until then, enjoy the beautiful weather.

Bloom Tea Recipes

by Steven Kuperberg
Tea recipes using white tea rich in antioxidants.

Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Bring water to a boil. Add sugar and dissolve completely. Cover and store in the fridge for up to one week.

Iced Blooming Tea

2 cups boiling water

Tea bloom of choice

Follow instructions for blooming tea and bloom as usual. Put tea into fridge. Serve over ice when chilled with bloom in the bottom of the cup for your enjoyment.

Strong Man's Iced Tea

1 cup iced blooming tea

2 ounces vodka

Simple sugar

Ice

In a large glass cup, mix vodka and iced tea over ice with a little simple syrup. Leave bloom in bottom of cup for your enjoyment.

Red Blooming Tea

4 cups iced blooming tea

Juice of 2 lemons

1/4 cup grenadine

Ice

Combine all ingredients in a large glass pitcher with ice. Leave bloom in bottom of the pitcher for your enjoyment.

Sage Blooming Tea

1 tea bloom

4 cups water

1 bunch fresh sage leaves

4 tbsp. simple syrup

Bring water to boil. Add about half the water to bloom and the other half to the sage leaves. Bloom tea as usual. After two minutes, strain the sage leaves from the water. Combine sage water and tea with simple syrup. Serve immediately.

Iced Blooming Tea with Pear

1 cup iced blooming tea

1/2 cup pear juice

In a large glass cup, mix pear juice and iced tea over ice. Leave bloom in bottom of cup for your enjoyment.

Blooming Tea Refresher

1 tea bloom

2 cups water

2 cups pineapple juice

2 tbsp. honey

Bring 2 cups of water to boil. In a large glass teapot, pour boiling water over tea bloom. Add pineapple juice and honey. Enjoy.

Soothing Lemongrass Blooming Tea

4 stalks lemongrass

4 cups water

1 tea bloom

4 tbsp. honey

Chop bottom 4 inches of lemongrass off. Bring the water to a boil. Add about half the water to bloom and bloom tea as usual. Add the lemongrass to the leftover boiling water and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain and add to the tea. Add honey and mix to combine. Enjoy.

Blooming Tea Martini

Ice

1 tea Bloom

2 ounces Citrus flavored Vodka

Splash of Cointreau

Simple Syrup

Bloom tea as usual. Add bloom to martini glass. Fill shaker with ice. Add 1 ounce of green tea, the vodka, contreau, and a dash of simple syrup. Shake well and strain into martini glass with bloom.

Candace's Blooming Tea Punch

3 cups iced blooming tea

4 ounces white rum

2 ounces peach schnapps

1/2 cup club soda

1/2 cup pineapple juice

Ice

4 tbsp. simple syrup

Pineapple slices for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a large glass pitcher. Use pineapple slices as a garnish. Keep bloom in the bottom of your pitcher for your enjoyment. Drink up!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Great Trout Recipes

by Trevor Kugler
Fresh trout can be a delicious dinner. Try these recipies out, you won't be disappointed!
Smoked Rainbow Trout

1.5 gallons water
1.25 cups salt
5 lbs trout fillets
1 lb hickory chips
Dissolve salt in one gallon water. Place fish in salt water and marinate in refrigerator for one hour.

Remove trout, rinse and dry thoroughly. In two quarts water, soak hickory chips for several hours or overnight. Store in cool place while soaking.

Use a covered grill (charcoal, gas or electric); low heat. Cover heated coals with 1/3 of the hickory chips. Place fish, skin-side down, on well-greased grill about 4 to inches from coals. Close grill hood and open vent to circulate smoke. Add additional hickory chips as necessary.

Smoke trout at 105ºF to 175º F approximately 1 hour or at 200ºF 30 to 40 minutes. Trout is done when the cut surface is golden brown and flakes easily with a fork.

Serves 6.

Crabmeat & Prawn Stuffed Trout

4 whole trout
1/2 lb. small shelled prawns
1/2 lb. white crabmeat
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 tomatoes, skinned, seeded & diced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Clean the trout under cold running water and set aside.

Dice the onion, cube the tomato, mince the garlic and mix with the crabmeat and prawns. Set aside. Sprinkle, the salt and pepper to taste, inside of each fish. Place a sprig of rosemary inside each fish. Spoon the crabmeat, prawn, tomato, onion and garlic evenly inside each of the fish. Fish may be sewn shut, using a high quality thread to hold together if required. Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over each fish. Place uncovered under the grill for 10 minutes each side, or until done. You may wish to bake uncovered in a preheated oven 200 C (400F, gas mark6) for approximately 20 / 25 minutes. This dish is nice served with fresh boiled baby potatoes and green vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts or peas. Alternatively, you may wish to serve with a nice fresh green salad and cold potato salad and lemon wedges. The choice is yours.

Rainbow Trout & Prawn Risotto

4 Rainbow Trout Fillets, cooked and flaked
(2oz) Margarine
1 Onion Chopped
(6oz) Long Grain Rice with Wild Rice (or Brown Rice)
(4oz) thawed, frozen Prawns
(1 Pint) Water
1 Red Pepper chopped
2 sticks Celery chopped
1 Carrot chopped
2 tbsp chopped Parsley
2 Spring onions chopped
Freshly ground Pepper

Melt the margarine and fry the onion gently. Add the rice and lightly toss until all the grains are oiled. Add the water, prawns and all the vegetables (except the spring onions) and season. Bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, with the lid off until all of the liquid is almost absorbed and the rice is cooked (add a little more water if necessary). Add the trout, margarine, spring onion and herbs and heat through. Serve immediately sprinkled with parsley. This is a complete meal and requires no accompaniments.

Trevor Kugler - Co-founder of JRWfishing.com Trevor has more than 15 years of business experience and 25 years of fishing experience. He currently raises his three year old daughter in the heart of trout fishing country - Montana.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ten Tips for a Better Barbequing Experience

by Sherry Frewerd

If you are new to barbecuing, most likely you have run into some trouble when it comes to the different techniques that are common in outdoor cooking. Like anything else, barbecuing takes practice, but with time and some helpful advice, you can grill like a pro in no time. Here are ten tips for better barbecue and outdoor meal preparation:

If you are new to barbecuing, most likely you have run into some trouble when it comes to the different techniques that are common in outdoor cooking. Like anything else, barbecuing takes practice, but with time and some helpful advice, you can grill like a pro in no time.

Here are ten tips for better barbecue and outdoor meal preparation:

1. Before you begin cooking, spray your cooking surface with a nonstick cooking spray. This will keep your meat from sticking when you are turning or removing it. If your meat sticks and rips, you will lose a large amount of juice, causing your meat to dry out.

2. Never place food on the grill until it reaches the correct temperature. The fluctuation in temperatures will cause your food to dry out or burn. If you are using a charcoal grill, make sure that the coals are completely white before putting the meat on the grill. This will allow the temperatures to level out, and the majority of the lighter fluid to burn off.

3. Cooking with charcoal lighter fluid has pros and cons. The lighter fluid will cause the food you are cooking to taste different then with other types of grills.

4. Never try to cook meat on your grill when it is still frozen, or even partially frozen. Thaw your meat by sitting it out about 12 to 24 hours before you plan on cooking it, or by thawing it in a microwave. If your meat is thawed, but in the refrigerator, set it out long enough for the meat to get to room temperature.

5. Once meat is cooked, never put it back in on the same plate you had it on when it was raw. This could cause the spread of food poison and other illnesses. Do not handle cooked meat with the same utensils that you used when it was raw.

6. Poking holes in meat will cause the juice inside to leak out into the bottom of the grill. Not only will this make your food dry and unpleasant, but it also could potentially ruin your barbeque grill. At the very least, it will cause a buildup of unwanted grease and juices on your grill, making cleanup more difficult.

7. Once the meat is on the grill, try not to open the lid too many times. Each time you open the lid, you change the temperature in the grill. The constant change in temperature and the air flow will cause your meat to dry up quickly.

8. Remember that the higher the heat is not always the better. While it is ok to quickly cook food, turning the heat up will just cause the meat to dry up and potentially burn.

9. While using aluminum foil will make cleaning easier, it will cause your food to have more of a fried taste then a grilled taste.

10. If you are planning on using your favorite barbecue sauce, be sure to wait as long as possible to put it on the meat. Putting barbecue sauce on too early will not only potentially cause your meat to dry out, but it could also burn.

Papaya-Mango Salad Thai Style

by Suthep Sachasiri
Papaya salad is almost as much a staple part of my diet as rice is. For sure if I eat out and am not given any som tam, I will soon after be found at a roadside food vendor, correcting the deficiency. If you lived on a diet of som tam and not much else, it is highly unlikely you would ever become fat.

Papaya salad is almost as much a staple part of my diet as rice is. For sure if I eat out and am not given any som tam, I will soon after be found at a roadside food vendor, correcting the deficiency.

If you lived on a diet of som tam and not much else, it is highly unlikely you would ever become fat.

Some restaurants use mango instead of papaya. Generally though I find mango to be too acidic for this purpose.

Ingredients to serve 4 people

1 medium sized green papaya, 4 small plum tomatos, 1 carrot, 10ml tamarind juice, 25ml lime juice, 2 cloves garlic, 50gm prik kee noo, 10gm brown sugar, 25ml nam pla, 25gm dried shrimp, 50gm unsalted roasted peanuts.

Peel the papaya and shred the green flesh (if you don't have a suitable implement for the purpose a coarse cheese grater may work).

Also peel and shred the carrot.

Put the shredded papaya and carrot in the fridge.

Soften the dried shrimp in a few mls of boiling water.

Pound the garlic and the prik kee noo together in a pestle and mortar.

Separately pound the peanuts together with the shrimp, but only until coarsely broken up, not reduced to dust or paste.

Mix the tamarind, juice, lime juice, fish sauce and the sugar.

Chop the tomatoes into quarters.

Mix all the ingredients together and serve in a bowl. Most restaurants would drain off some of the excess juice before serving, but I usually keep it.

Easy Recipe - Strawberry Pie

by Jill S
A tasty easy recipe for cream cheese strawberry pie.
Since spring is finally here, sort of (it snowed here in Denver on Easter day, sigh), I thought I would share one of my favorite strawberry recipes with you. It is a pretty easy recipe that does not even require any baking. Start to finish, it takes about 20 minutes. As I do at my baking site, I am going to share with you here the story behind the recipe.

Cream Cheese Strawberry Pie

Strawberries are my favorite fruit. I always have them around when they come into season in the spring. It always brings back memories of going to pick berries with my family in the summer. We would all pile in the car with buckets and ice cream pails, eager to taste fresh summer berries. We would go to one of the nearby berry farms that had acres and acres of berries. I remember it seemed so huge to me as a kid and I could not believe how many rows upon rows upon rows there were. All of us kids of course ended up eating just as many berries as we picked. There is nothing that has quite as much flavor as a strawberry fresh from the field, warm with sunshine. Makes me want to go hunt down a local berry farm so I can share that memory with my daughter!


1 package (8 ounces) strawberry flavored cream cheese
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla flavored pudding
2 cups cold milk
1 (6 ounce) ready-to-use graham cracker pie crust
1 pint of strawberries

Prepare the vanilla pudding according to the package directions. (Put the pudding mix and the milk into a bowl and whisk together for 2 minutes.) Allow it to set for 5 minutes. I usually use this time to start washing and cutting the strawberries. I typically just cut them in half for this recipe. Once the pudding has set, place the cream cheese in a medium sized bowl and mix with an electric mixer for 30 seconds at low speed. Add the pudding to the cream cheese and mix for about one minute on low speed. Put the mixture into the pie crust and put it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Continue washing and cutting the strawberries while the pie is in the refrigerator. Place the strawberries on top of the pie. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ten Tips For Using Your Crockpot

by Audrey Okaneko

You'll find ten tips in this article to make your crockpot cooking come out perfect every time.

In today’s busy world, more and more people are using crockpots to prepare the families evening meal. I know some folks who have two crockpots. They use the large one to prepare meats or poultry and they use the small one to prepare side dishes and desserts.

There are many tips to make using your crockpot even easier:

1. Don’t lift the lid to take a peak. I have read over and over that if you do lift the lid, you need to add 20 minutes cooking time.

2. Vegetables and potatoes take longer to cook in a crockpot. It’s always suggested that you place potatoes and vegetables on the bottom, layering the meat and sauces on the top.

3. Regular milk can curdle in the crockpot due to long cooking times. Consider using either canned milk, or adding the milk during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Since you’ll be lifting the lid, add a bit of cooking time to the recipe directions.

4. For recipes that call for ground beef, brown the meat before adding it to the crockpot. It will have a better texture. To confirm you discard all of the grease, pour the meat through a strainer first. Of course making a meat loaf would be the exception to this rule.

5. Trim as much fat off of meats and chicken as you can. Due to long cooking times, the fat melts right into the sauces and adds a bitter taste to the finished product. If cooking poultry remove the skin to avoid the melting fat.

6. Make sure to defrost all meats and poultry prior to putting them in the crockpot. Cooking times are based on defrosted meats.

7. Very little liquid boils away in a crockpot. You can thicken your sauce by removing the cover during the last 30 minutes of cooking. If you still find the sauce is too thin, pour the sauce into a sauce pan and add a bit of cornstarch.

8. Make sure your crockpot is filled at least half way. This prevents both undercooking and over cooking. Do not overfill the crockpot, remembering that very little liquid boils out.

9. Spray your crockpot with non stick cooking spray before adding the ingredients. This will help prevent sticking.

10. If you are using less expensive cuts of meat, consider cooking them in the crockpot as the longer cooking times help make even the toughest pull apart tender.

Three Great Enchiladas From One Basic Recipe

John T Jones, Ph.D.

Enchiladas are good but a little variety helps. Here is how to make chicken, steak, and cheese enchiladas all at the same time. Oh, did I forget pork?

Meat Selection

Beef: I like steak enchiladas but you need good beef that is tender and flavorful. Some of the restaurants around here use ground meat in their enchiladas. These are the restaurants I never visit twice.

When I first started working as an engineer in Colorado (about a zillion years ago), an old industrial engineer told me this: Never buy a breaded piece of meat!

He went on to say that any old piece of meat could be breaded and you just don’t know what you are getting. It could be as old as the hills, unrefrigerated, contaminated, dropped on the floor and stepped on, or fetched out of the grease trap as far as you know.

The same goes for ground meat. Who knows it’s real history? In enchiladas it gives the wrong texture and the wrong flavor.

So buy a good piece of beef. You don’t need much because there are other things in the enchilada. Most of the good Mexican restaurants around here put in too much meat. You don’t need it.

For that matter, they use too much cheese. My heart surgeon doesn’t like that, but my wife does.

Pork is a good substitute for beef or chicken for those who prefer the flavor of pork. In 1956 when, with a fellow engineering student, I drove to Massachusetts to work for the Norton Company for the summer, we passed through Iowa. The hogs there were just like the hogs on our church welfare farm. They looked more like elephants than hogs.

I moved to Iowa in 1966 to teach in the engineering department at Iowa State University. By then, the hogs were lean and mean, still long but not fat. That change made pork an acceptable lower fat meat. And pork has a great flavor for enchiladas.

Meat and Poultry Preparation

Fresh, frozen, or canned meats can be used to prepare enchiladas. If you use frozen meats or poultry, thaw it out at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If you are like me and at times in a big hurry, then place the meat or chicken in the microwave and thaw it out. I have a freezer full of Omaha Steaks® products sold me to the nice folks there by telephone. I can’t say no! So I usually get my meat from the freezer.

I like to use a whole dead chicken so I let it stew in pomegranate juice until the chicken is ready to fall of the bones. Pomegranate juice seems to penetrate the chicken better than other juices and give a fabulous flavor, especially the next day.

If you use chicken breast, they are easy to slice even when frozen. For me, I want some brown meat so I use the whole critter.

When I say use a “dead” chicken, I mean it. Years ago my dad decided to buy a live turkey for thanksgiving. He killed it in the basement where it ran wild for the longest time and spurted blood from hell to breakfast finally creating a bloody feathered mess. When I was a kid, we chopped the heads off chickens and let them flutter hither and yon in the yard. Who needs that?

I buy Kirkland® canned chicken at Cosco®. It has a nice tecture and flavor and is very good in soups and chicken salad when you are in a hurry. I’m not much for canned meatsm but they are different now days, and there are some good choices to make. Spam® is still available but I’m not sure I would want a Spam® enchilada. Canned or prepared in the frying pan, season the chicken with poultry spice, creole spice, teriyaki sauce or whatever you want.

For other meats, slice the meat in to short strips. Keep each meat separately from the other ingredients. (You can use left over meat from that Sunday roast too and other than slicing in to short strips or small cubes, no other preparation is needed.)

Put some canola oil in a frying pan with a clove of garlic. Make sure the oil is hot. (You probably do not need much oil, so you may be able to just spray the pan and not use the garlic.) For steak, I like to use Omaha Steaks® All Natural Steak Seasoning. Another seasoning I like for about everything is Spice Island® Beau Monde seasoning. Tampa Spices® have a full range of low-cost spices (packed by M.I.S., POB 2081, Gibsonton, FL 33534). I like their creole seasoning and their meat and poultry seasoning.

Chicken Masala

by Maureen Le Couvreur

Suriname has a very mixed population with a variety of dishes - and here is one of the best recipes ever and tastes good any time of year!

The country of Suriname is located in the north of the continent. Suriname also lies in the western hemisphere. This tiny country is encased by one water body the Atlantic Ocean in the north, French Guiana to the east, Brazil to the south and Guyana to the west.

Surinam has a very mixed population. The original people of the country were the Arawaks and the Caribs(Amerindians). When the Dutch colonized the country, other Europeans filtered in. with slavery being a rampant practice, the colonizers imported African slaves. Later bonded laborers from India, Indonesia and China were also brought in.

Mixing the different varieties of vegetables which grow in Suriname with the traditional cuisine of the different ethnic groups, Surinam offers a spicy, good and colourful variety of dishes including American, Chinese, Creole, European, Indian and Indonesian.

Chicken Masala

Masala is an exotic blend of spices- cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, cardamom- that adds flavor and aroma. (Hindustany curry powder)

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

4 cloves of finely chopped garlic
3 to 4 tablespoons of masala powder
1 to 2 tablespoons of corn oil
salt and pepper to taste

For the main meal:

1 kilogramme chicken fillet cut into cubes
2 big chopped onion
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon thinly sliced celery
2 whole dry red chilli (optional)
5 hard boiled eggs
2 tablespoons of corn oil and a little bit of water
1 cup tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
a stock cube if required

vegetables :

Half a kilogramme of string beans or, if not available, green beans
6 to 7 medium size potatoes
some salt and pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons masala (Hindustany curry powder)

Directions

Make a mix of 3 tablespoons of oil, salt, pepper and masala. Add the cut meat and marinade it for at least 2 hours.
Fry the onion, garlic, tomato puree and the celery in the oil , add the meat and cook all until brown. Add some water until the meat is covered and lower the heat.

Immerse the diffuser with the 2 whole dry red chilli in it and let all simmer for about 40 minutes. If needed, season it with extra masala and a stock cube to your taste if necessary.

Cut the potatoes into quarters and cook them just like your meat and than for 10-15 minutes in water with 1-2 teaspoons of masala and some salt and pepper.
Clean the String beans, cut them into 1-2 inch-pieces and cook them as well for 10 minutes until bite-ready.

Boil the eggs until hard(8-10min.) and shell them.
Remove the diffuser with the chili pepper from the meat and season the sauce with some salt and pepper if required. Add the eggs and heat all thoroughly.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Easter Baking and Cooking Tips (Plus a Bonus Easter Recipe)

by Jill S

Five tips to help make your Easter holiday easier along with a free bonus Easter recipe.

If you’re hosting Easter this year, I’d like to share a few tips with you that have helped me keep my sanity when I have hosted this holiday.

1. Cook and bake as many dishes as you can in advance. I have an Easter baking recipe that I share with you below that is easy and can be done up to a week in advance. I highly recommend baking your Easter desserts the day before. It really helps me cut down on the stress on Easter day.

2. Organize your kitchen into baking/cooking stations the night before. I know this might sound crazy but I have found it helps me whenever I am making a holiday meal. I put out all of the ingredients for each Easter recipe that do not need to be refrigerated. I put the recipe out and put all of the ingredients that go into that recipe right next to it, along with any pans or measuring cups or spoons I may need for it. I also try to organize them from longest to shortest cooking time so that I know what to start with first.

3. Select the Easter recipes that you want to use a week in advance. This helps me make a grocery list of all the ingredients that I need. That way I can get to the grocery store and get everything that I need well in advance of the day itself.

4. Use or borrow appliances to help make the job easier. I still remember the first Easter I hosted at my house. I must have spent at least half an hour slicing potatoes. If I had just asked to borrow a food processor with a slicer from a friend, it would have made that day so much easier. If you do not have the right appliance for the job or cannot borrow it, find a different recipe.

5. Enlist helpers! The friends and family who have come to your Easter feast are usually more than happy to help out with any small last minute things. My husband has become the official potato masher for all of the holiday gatherings we hold at our house! Those last 30 minutes before your meal is ready can sometimes get a bit crazy. It is okay to ask for help.

Bonus Easter Recipe: Chocolate Easter Nests

These have been a favorite Easter baking recipe of mine for as long as I can remember. I loved helping mom put jelly beans in these for the "eggs."


1 box shredded wheat cereal (10-12 biscuits)
1 - 12 ounce package chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter

Crush the biscuits so they are fairly fine. Melt the chocolate chips in bowl in the microwave until they are soft. Add the peanut butter to the melted chocolate. Mix together, put into a large bowl, and add the shredded wheat. Put mixture by tablespoon on a piece of waxed paper. Shape each into a nest. Chill until firmly set. Store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to set them out, put a few jelly beans in each nest. It is a cute, tasty Easter treat.

Easy Vegetarian Recipe

by Charlotte Faulkner
Some great easy vegetarian recipes.
Some great easy vegetarian recipes that you can make and try for yourself.

POTATO SALAD

Boil potatoes that are firm and waxy when cooked, and cut them in slices; let them soak in ½ gill of water, grate a small onion and mix it with these; add pepper, salt, vinegar, and oil to taste. The quantity of oil should be about three times the amount of the vinegar used. Eat with Allinson wholemeal bread.

APPLE FRITTERS.

3 good juicy cooking apples, 3 eggs, 6 oz. of Allinson fine wheatmeal, ½ pint of milk, and sugar to taste. Pare and core the apples, and cut them into rounds ¼ inch thick; make a batter with the milk, meal, and the eggs well beaten, adding sugar to taste. Have a frying-pan ready on the fire with boiling oil, vege-butter, or butter, dip the apple slices into the batter and fry the fritters until golden brown; drain them on blotting paper, and keep them hot in the oven until all are done.

CELERY CROQUETTES.

1 or 2 heads of celery, a teacupful of dried and sifted Allinson breadcrumbs, 2 eggs, pepper and salt to taste.

Well wash the celery, remove the coarse outer stalks, and steam the parts used until they are a little tender. Then cut them into pieces about 2 inches long, dip them first into the egg whipped up, then into the readcrumbs, and fry them in boiling butter, vege-butter, or olive oil until a nice brown; dust with pepper and salt, and serve up very hot; eat with white or tomato sauce.

Steak Recipe - The Backyard Grill - An American Experience

by Lee Griffith
Hey folks, it's time to fire up that grill! One of the most common activities in American recreation is grilling that nice, big, juicy steak in the backyard. Here is my favorite steak recipe, along with a great grilled side to accompany it.

Hey folks, it’s time to fire up that grill! One of the most common activities in American recreation is grilling that nice, big, juicy steak in the backyard. Here is my favorite steak recipe, along with a great grilled side to accompany it:

Griff’s American Grilled Black Pepper & Garlic Steak

Ingredients:

4 lbs. (approximate) thick cut rib eye steak (four steaks)
2&2/3 cups Italian dressing (cheap is good!)
8 tbsp. butter
4 large cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper (or more, if you love black pepper!)

Instructions:

Marinate the steak in the Italian dressing for at least 1/2 hour. In a small pan, melt the butter and add the garlic, heating slowly until the garlic is golden brown. Place steaks on hot grill (preferably a charcoal grill), sprinkling half of the pepper on steaks. When the first side is done, turn the steaks over and sprinkle the rest of pepper on steaks. With a spoon, pour the butter and garlic mixture over the top of steaks while they are still on grill.

Griff’s American Grilled Potato & Pepper Pouches

Ingredients:

3 cups unpeeled, sliced potatoes
2/3 cup green bell pepper (with membrane & seeds removed), diced
2/3 red bell pepper (with membrane & seeds removed), diced
2/3 orange bell pepper (with membrane & seeds removed), diced
2/3 cup onion, cut in long, diced
2 tbsp. jalapeno pepper (with membrane & seeds removed), finely chopped
2 large cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. Lawry’s® seasoned pepper (or just black pepper)
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. butter

Instructions:

Combine everything except the butter in a large mixing bowl—really mix everything well. Cut 4 18” x 12” sheets of aluminum foil. Lay the foil flat (dull side up) and put 1/4 of the mixture on each sheet in a mound that is at the center of one end of the foil. Make sure there is space between the mound and all of the edges of the foil. Put 1 tablespoon of butter on the top of each mound. Fold the other end of the foil over the top of the mound and fold the side edges up over the top so that when you are done you have four neat pouches. Put the pouches (butter on top) on a very hot grill for about ten minutes, then flip over and grill another 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Take off grill and allow to stand a few minutes, then empty each pouch on four dinner plates.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Marinating and Cooking Your Steak For Tenderness and Flavor

by Diane Watkins

You can increase the tenderness and juiciness of your steak or other meat by marinating it. Place the steak in a ziplock bag, pour in enough marinade to just cover it, and refrigerate overnight. Marinating a steak like this will add flavor and tenderness.

You can increase the tenderness and juiciness of your steak or other meat by marinating it. Place the steak in a ziplock bag, pour in enough marinade to just cover it, and refrigerate overnight. Marinating a steak like this will add flavor and tenderness.

If you store steak or other meats in the freezer before cooking, try pouring the marinade over the steak before freezing. The steak will marinate when thawing and be tender and ready to cook.

Try a marinade made of ½ cup each good wine and olive oil mixed with 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice or a herb vinegar. Add any aromatic seasonings that you like such as garlic, freshly ground pepper, onion, or herbs. The acid from the juice or vinegar will tenderize the meat. The oil and wine add flavor and preserve juiciness.

Here is an example to get you started.

Red Wine and Tarragon Vinegar Marinade

1/2 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

1 bay leaf

1 onion, minced

1 carrot, sliced fine

1 whole clove

1 clove garlic, crushed or minced

20 peppercorns, crushed

4 sprigs parsley

Mix all together and pour over meat. Marinate for up to 24 hours.

Meat Tenderizers

There are meat tenderizers available to sprinkle onto your steak, and they certainly do tenderize the meat; however, meat tenderizers can sometimes over tenderize the meat, changing the texture of the meat into mush. If you should choose to go this route, do it carefully.

Cooking Your Steak

When ready to cook, slash through the outside fat layer on the steak in a few places to prevent curling, but do not cut into the meat. The more tender steak cuts can be broiled, grilled, or pan fried. Less tender cuts should be pan fried or slow braised. Steak should never be cooked in liquid. When pan broiling, use a very heavy skillet such as an iron skillet or griddle and heat the pan before adding the meat. The heavy metal will hold the heat for proper heat distribution and not cool down when the steak is added. A hot pan will quickly sear the outside, trapping the moisture inside.

When cooking, try to turn the steak only once. Cook the meat until browned on one side and half done, then turn and finish the other side. Turning too often will stew the meat rather than searing it and produce a less juicy steak. When the steak is done, remove from the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Quick Ways To Whip Up A Grilled Cheese Sandwich Nutrious For Kids

by Christine Steendahl

Kickin' Up Grilled Cheese Grilled cheese sandwiches are the simplest meal to make. Children can even learn to make it themselves. The ones I used to make contained regular cheese and white bread with margarine to grill it. Here are a few ways to make that grilled cheese sandwich more nutritious for your children.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are the simplest meal to make. Children can even learn to make it themselves. The ones I used to make contained regular cheese and white bread with margarine to grill it. Here are a few ways to make that grilled cheese sandwich more nutritious for your children.

First of all you need to slim the cheese. Full fat cheeses are a thing of the past. A slice of fat free cheese melts just the same with fewer calories and fat. If American cheese is too bland, try a slice of Swiss or pepperjack cheese. Mozzarella is tasty on a sandwich, also. One slice of cheese will do, but if you are using the fat free variety, you can usually get by with two slices for a creamier sandwich.

What about the bread? The bread is a key element. White bread contains a lot of that are not healthy for you. Try whole wheat or multigrain bread. Sourdough bread would make a good substitution. What you want is bread with fewer calories and carbohydrates per serving.

What about some meat? When they added bologna to a grilled cheese sandwich when I was a kid, they called it a “flying saucer”. Adding a slice of meat makes the sandwich more of a complete meal. Depending on what their favorite is, you can add roast beef, sliced ham, sliced turkey, bacon, sausage, or sliced chicken breast.

What about some flavor? Add more taste to their grilled cheese sandwich with a few choice condiments. Adding mustard gives the sandwich a tangy taste. For an even better taste add brown or Dijon mustard. Go south of the border with a bit of salsa added to the sandwich. The salsa will make the grilled cheese sandwich zesty. Roast beef goes well with a dollop of barbeque sauce added for more flavor. If your child is into the simpler flavors, add a bit of fat-free or reduced fat mayo or ketchup to the sandwich. Adding some dressing such as Thousand Island is another great alternative for adding variety.

Add some crunch to your sandwich. Slice up an apple and place it on top of the cheese. People eat a slice of cheese with apple pie and many cheese trays are served with apples, so why not on a grilled cheese sandwich? Use a Granny Smith apple maximum crunch. They will maintain their shape better than a red apple.

Our grilled cheese sandwich is really coming along. We have added meat, changed the cheese, changed the bread, and added sauces for an extra kick. What’s left to do? Let’s see if we can add some vegetables. Pickles work well on a cheese sandwich with bologna. A juicy slice of tomato would add color and flavor to any meat and cheese combination. Get a slice of green with a leaf of romaine lettuce or some spinach.

Ditch the margarine. I used to spread a thick layer of margarine on both sides of the bread before I put the sandwich in the pan. Here are a few alternatives to that. Use spray butter or non-stick cooking spray in the pan. Your kids will still have the butter flavor without all the butter calories. Another choice would be to brown the sandwich in the oven. Using a cookie sheet, spray both sides of the bread with butter spray. Bake the cheese sandwiches in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about six minutes per side.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are getting a new look. By adding meat, seasoning, and veggies, your sandwiches are now a meal all by themselves. Get your little ones involved in the preparation. Let them make their own

Green Tomato Pie Recipe, Have You Tried Green Tomato Pie?

by Diane Watkins
Here is a traditional southern pie that has long been ignored. But no more. Green Tomato Pie is making its comeback!

Here is a traditional southern pie that has long been ignored. But no more. Green Tomato Pie is making its comeback!

The tomatoes for this pie should be truly green. You might find them at the grocers, but chances are you'll have to grow your own or go to the farmer. I think that the difficulty of finding the green tomatoes is the reason that this recipe has been ignored for so long. Hopefully you have a pick your own fruit farm nearby. Be sure to tell the farmer that you want green tomatoes before you begin picking, he may direct you to a different area. While you're there get a few extra for Fried Green Tomatoes as well.

The flavor of green tomatoes is very tart. The sugar counteracts the tartness for a truly tasty pie filling.



Green Tomato Pie

4 c. green tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 or 5 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. vinegar
dough for 1 double pie crust,(top and bottom) unbaked
1/2 c. raisins
2 tbsp. butter in small pieces
2 tsp. lemon extract
Additional sugar and cinnamon

1. Mix the sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour together. Set aside.
2. Add the vinegar to the thinly sliced tomatoes and combine with the dry ingredients, stir well to blend.
3. Add the remaining ingredients except for the butter.
4. Put into the unbaked crust, dot with the butter pieces and put the top crust on.
5. Seal the edges and cut slits in the top crust.
6. Sprinkle with additional sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 425 degree for 60 minutes or until the tomatoes are done.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Healthy Recipes – Jerky Stir Fry A Great Tasting 15 Minute Healthy Dinner

by Bob Crane
Out of necessity to find a dinner that I could prepare quickly and one that would have all of the required nutrients without being full of carbohydrates or additives I came up with a recipe that is great tasting and low fat.

Out of necessity to find a dinner that I could prepare quickly and one that would have all of the required nutrients without being full of carbohydrates or additives I came up with a recipe that is great tasting and low fat. The following recipe is for two, but can easily be modified to feed more or less depending on your needs.

My work schedule was such that I couldn’t really get home before seven PM so I had to prepare dinner quickly so there would be plenty of time for it to digest before I had to go to bed. Going to bed on a full stomach never really worked out for me and it is not good for someone trying to lose weight or keep it off. So this light meal has to be made in a sequence that will allow it to be ready in fifteen minutes. Our microwave is a one thousand watt model so you may need to alter the cook times accordingly.

The ingredients include:

1 box of frozen sugar snap peas.
1 box of frozen broccoli florets
3 slices of sun dried tomatoes.
Cashews.
1 egg.
Brown rice.
Italian dressing made with olive oil.
And finally the jerky, you may substitute any flavor of jerky you like depending on your tastes, for example; natural turkey jerky, natural buffalo jerky slab style original, or the low carb tender hickory smoked natural beef jerky.

Step1) Start cooking the rice, use a brown rice and it should yield one cup of cooked rice when done.

Step2) While the rice is cooking place one frozen box of sugar snap peas in the microwave for four minutes.

Step3) As the sugar snap peas are cooking in the microwave begin scrambling one egg in a stovetop WOK pot. The egg should be finished around the same time as the sugar snap peas.

Step4) Remove the scrambled egg from the WOK and put it in a bowl. Then add the sugar snap peas into the WOK.

Step 5) After you remove the sugar snap peas from the microwave dish place one box of broccoli florets into the microwave for four minutes. Then return to the WOK and add one quarter cup of Italian dressing made with olive oil and stir the sugar snap peas in the oil. Let them simmer as you dice three pieces of sun dried tomatoes and put them in the WOK and continue stirring. Let that simmer as you cut up two pieces of low carb natural beef jerky and add that to the WOK. Around that time the broccoli florets should be done.

Step 6) Add the broccoli florets to the WOK and continue to stir. Once all of the vegetables, sun dried tomatoes, and jerky are all mixed together add one quarter cup of cashews and mix them in. The rice should be done by the time you finish stirring in the cashews so remove it from the heat and add it to the WOK.

Step 7) After all of the ingredients are mixed together add the egg back into the WOK and stir until it is all mixed together then cover for two minutes and serve.

After eating this flavor-packed meal you should feel satisfied but not stuffed like you would if you had eaten a meal loaded with carbohydrates.

Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes

by Diane Watkins

The current crisis in our pet food supply has many of us looking for homemade dog food recipes for our beloved pets. I have been cooking for our dog for many years and find that he likes mostly the same foods that we do. Each animal has his own preferences, just like we do. For instance, our Oscar will not eat tomatoes, but Bonnie loves them. Use these recipes as a starting place for homemade dog food recipes. Then, as you discover your pets preferences you can customize them more. One caution: you should not serve onion or chocolate to dogs as they contain substances that can be toxic to dogs.

Some veterinarians prefer raw meat for our pets. I prefer to cook the meat because of concerns over E Coli and other bacterial contamination. If you wish to use raw meat, do not use ground meat. The grinding process increases the possibility of contamination by providing more surface area for the bacteria to grow.

Canine Meat and Grain Menu

2 cups cooked brown rice
2/3 cup Lean beef
2 teaspoons lard -- or veggie oil
1/2 cup vegetables -- no onion*

Mix all together. You can serve the beef raw if you use chunks of beef. Do not serve ground beef raw, the grinding process increases the chances of bacterial contamination. Use any vegetables you like. You will find over time that your dog will leave any vegetables he does not like. Mix the above. Serve slightly warm, but not hot.

Chow Chow Chicken

You must remove the meat from the bones in this recipe. Chicken bones can easily splinter and cause choking problems in dogs.

2 chicken thighs -- or white meat
1 stalk celery -- sliced thick
3 carrot -- peeled and halved
2 small potatoes -- peeled and cubed
2 cups rice -- uncooked

Place chicken pieces in large pot. Cover with cold water (5 -6 cups). Add carrots, celery, and potatoes to water. Add salt to taste if you want. Cover and simmer on low heat about 2 hours until the chicken becomes tender. Add the rice, cover and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove soup from heat. Pull the chicken meat off the bone ( it will practically fall off), discard bones. Return shredded pieces to pot. Stir well. Let cool. Store in the refrigerator or freeze.



Meaty Dog Biscuits

Use beef, chicken or lamb strained baby food for these biscuits.

2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 to 10 tablespoons water
2 jars baby food meat, strained

Mix all ingredients together and knead for 3 min. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Use a dog bone shaped cookie cutter, and place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 min.

Makes approximately 2 dozen doggie biscuits

Bacon Bites for Dogs

6 slices cooked bacon -- crumbled
4 eggs -- well beaten
1/8 cup bacon grease
1 cup water
1/2 cup powdered milk -- non-fat
2 cup graham flour
2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup cornmeal

Mix ingredients with a strong spoon; drop heaping tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake in a 350 oven for 15 minutes. Turn off oven and leave cookies on baking sheet in the oven overnight to dry out.

Ace's Favorite Cheesy Dog Biscuits

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 pound margarine -- corn oil
1 clove garlic -- crushed
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup Milk -- or as needed

Grate the cheese into a bowl and let stand until it reaches room temperature. Cream the cheese with the softened margarine, garlic, salt and flour. Add enough milk to form into a ball.

Chill for 1/2 hour. Roll onto floured board. Cut into shapes and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until slightly brown, and firm.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen, depending on size.

I hope that these free dog food recipes will inspire you to cook safe and healthy food for your pet.

Chocolate Covered Fruit

by Audrey Okaneko

Get several tips and ideas for serving chocolate covered fruit as a dessert.

I think all of us have eaten chocolate covered fruit. It is one of the most wonderful taste combinations, chocolate and strawberries, or chocolate and pineapple.

Making chocolate covered fruit is not only simple but also very elegant looking when preparing desserts for guests.

The simplest way to make chocolate covered fruit is to buy chocolate chips and melt them down. I buy both brown chocolate and white chocolate. I’ll buy either chips or bars and then melt them over a very low fire.

All fruit must be dry before dipping. If you wash the fruit, make sure to paper towel off the water, so that when you dip, the fruit is dry.

I line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and after dipping transfer the fruit to the waxed paper. I then chill in the refrigerator.

Mix and match strawberries, pineapple wedges, maraschino cherries, apples and pears. I’ve also dipped dried food to add to the platter I’m making. If you don’t use white chocolate, try using marshmallows, and dipping half of the marshmallow in chocolate, so that you have a lot of white showing on your platter.

I’ve seen beautiful skewers with mandarin oranges used as spacers. Dip your fruit in chocolate and put the orange slices, un-dipped in the middle of your dipped fruit.

Try dipping strawberries or maraschino cherries and adding them to the top of pudding or ice cream for a very pretty visual look.

Make or buy a pound cake. Cut the pound cake into squares. Dip half of the square in chocolate and mix on the platter with your dipped fruit.

When you use fruits such as strawberries and pineapple you are able to have green on your dessert platter also.

Are you feeling brave? Once you dip the fruit, try sprinkling coconut or chopped nuts over the chocolate. If kids will be eating the fruit, try sprinkling M&M’s or Reeses Pieces over the fruit.

It’s fun to arrange dessert platters with assorted fruits, some in white chocolate, some in milk chocolate, some with nuts on them, and some with coconut on them. Experiment and enjoy a delicious yet very simple dessert.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes

by Diane Watkins

The current crisis in our pet food supply has many of us looking for homemade dog food recipes for our beloved pets. I have been cooking for our dog for many years and find that he likes mostly the same foods that we do. Each animal has his own preferences, just like we do. For instance, our Oscar will not eat tomatoes, but Bonnie loves them. Use these recipes as a starting place for homemade dog food recipes. Then, as you discover your pets preferences you can customize them more. One caution: you should not serve onion or chocolate to dogs as they contain substances that can be toxic to dogs.

Some veterinarians prefer raw meat for our pets. I prefer to cook the meat because of concerns over E Coli and other bacterial contamination. If you wish to use raw meat, do not use ground meat. The grinding process increases the possibility of contamination by providing more surface area for the bacteria to grow.

Canine Meat and Grain Menu

2 cups cooked brown rice
2/3 cup Lean beef
2 teaspoons lard -- or veggie oil
1/2 cup vegetables -- no onion*

Mix all together. You can serve the beef raw if you use chunks of beef. Do not serve ground beef raw, the grinding process increases the chances of bacterial contamination. Use any vegetables you like. You will find over time that your dog will leave any vegetables he does not like. Mix the above. Serve slightly warm, but not hot.

Chow Chow Chicken

You must remove the meat from the bones in this recipe. Chicken bones can easily splinter and cause choking problems in dogs.

2 chicken thighs -- or white meat
1 stalk celery -- sliced thick
3 carrot -- peeled and halved
2 small potatoes -- peeled and cubed
2 cups rice -- uncooked

Place chicken pieces in large pot. Cover with cold water (5 -6 cups). Add carrots, celery, and potatoes to water. Add salt to taste if you want. Cover and simmer on low heat about 2 hours until the chicken becomes tender. Add the rice, cover and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove soup from heat. Pull the chicken meat off the bone ( it will practically fall off), discard bones. Return shredded pieces to pot. Stir well. Let cool. Store in the refrigerator or freeze.



Meaty Dog Biscuits

Use beef, chicken or lamb strained baby food for these biscuits.

2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 to 10 tablespoons water
2 jars baby food meat, strained

Mix all ingredients together and knead for 3 min. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Use a dog bone shaped cookie cutter, and place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 min.

Makes approximately 2 dozen doggie biscuits

Bacon Bites for Dogs

6 slices cooked bacon -- crumbled
4 eggs -- well beaten
1/8 cup bacon grease
1 cup water
1/2 cup powdered milk -- non-fat
2 cup graham flour
2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup cornmeal

Mix ingredients with a strong spoon; drop heaping tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake in a 350 oven for 15 minutes. Turn off oven and leave cookies on baking sheet in the oven overnight to dry out.

Ace's Favorite Cheesy Dog Biscuits

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 pound margarine -- corn oil
1 clove garlic -- crushed
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup Milk -- or as needed

Grate the cheese into a bowl and let stand until it reaches room temperature. Cream the cheese with the softened margarine, garlic, salt and flour. Add enough milk to form into a ball.

Chill for 1/2 hour. Roll onto floured board. Cut into shapes and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until slightly brown, and firm.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen, depending on size.

I hope that these free dog food recipes will inspire you to cook safe and healthy food for your pet.

Ideal Combination Of Side Dishes Steakhouse NYC Offers The Best Taste

by Neil Folley

Side dish is that food which is accompanies the main dish. People have different tastes and it is no owner that their selection of side dishes and drinks differ a lot. Some of the most commonly loved side dishes in steakhouse NYC are baked potatoes, French fires, salads, soups, dinner rolls or bread of any type, pasta and vegetables cooked in different ways.

Steak is a dish which is hugely popular among the public. Well the reason for this are plenty but undoubtedly the top most reason is the taste of the dish. Combination of the food that one eats is vital if they want to get a feel of the real taste. NYC that is served in different steakhouses can be the ideal combination for your dish, but you have to make sure that you find the right combination. Eating out is one thing in which we do not indulge on a regular basis but when this is done all of us want that we eat our favorite food at the best places where they are served. Different people have different choices and this is why we must make sure to indulge our taste buds from time to time.

So if you are one of those people who love to eat steak, then you must know very well that a steakhouse is the destination that all of them want to be in. If you have moved to a new place, you know that the task of finding out a good steakhouse is one thing you must become involved with immediately. Well eating out in a steakhouse is something which every steak lover enjoys and there is no reason for you to not find out about the best steakhouse. Most of the steakhouses serve wonderful side dished to go with the steak. You can find a good choice from pasta to potatoes for the side dish. You just need to make the proper selection for the side dish.

Side dish is that food which is accompanies the main dish. People have different tastes and it is no owner that their selection of side dishes and drinks differ a lot. Some of the most commonly loved side dishes in steakhouse NYC are baked potatoes, French fires, salads, soups, dinner rolls or bread of any type, pasta and vegetables cooked in different ways. So a typical side dish accompanying a meat based main dish like steak can contain a starchy side dish, a salad or some vegetables. It all depends on individual choice and the ones mentioned are the popular choices for side dishes in a steakhouse. All steakhouses have different combination to offer as side dishes, you just have to order what you like and it will be served to you.

Steakhouse is the ideal destination for any individual who has fondness for eating meat based dishes like steak. Cooking steak is a tough job and this is the reason why you must find out a steakhouse which services steak which is cooked just to your liking. In fact the entire taste of this meat based dish depends on the way this is cooked. Steak cooked in varying degrees of temperatures gives it the unique taste which many people favor. You just need to tell them what kind of steak you prefer, whether it is rare steak, medium steak and any other kind. Steak is one of your favorite dishes and you must make sure that you do indulge your taste buds once a while

Find the Best Special Pizza Discounts

by Thomas Fiala

You're hungry for pizza, but can't find a coupon what do you do now? So the next time you're surfing the net and get that pizza craving, log onto your favorite pizza site and grab some coupons! Be happy, Enjoy live, Eat pizza!


You’re hungry for pizza and you don’t have any pizza coupons, what do you do know? Go hungry, eat some left over food, or just order a pizza anyways? You know the craving, if you’re hungry for pizza, then you’re going to order the pizza! Before you place that phone call, let me show you a few ways to find some special pizza coupons.

The easiest way to gain a special discount on a pizza is to simply call the pizza shop and find out if they have any specials on pizzas. Most pizza shops carry some kind of special. The big three, Papa John’s pizza, Pizza Hut, and Domino’s pizza, all run monthly (or 6 week) specials. They are always creating new pizza’s and specials to get you into their door with their television advertisements.

Another way to find pizza coupons is to search through that stack of mail that has been sitting on your counter. All of the big pizza shops spend money every month to get coupons for pizza in your door. Their coupons come in a variety of ways, some use direct mail which comes from their data base of customer’s, other pizza places use coupons in a monthly coupons book, and some pizza shops even have crew members door hang. The great thing about paper advertising, is that it is less expensive so the independent pizzeria’s have a chance to compete for your business.

The third way to locate pizza specials is to log onto your favorite pizza website. All of the bigger pizza shops have a website now a days! When you visit, you can join their mailing list and receive special pizza coupons directly to your e-mail. This is the newest form of advertising for pizza shops and I believe it is growing every month. This gives them the opportunity to take advantage of any big happening in the world! If the big game is in a few days, you may just receive an e-mail about a special pizza discount for that day only. In any case, you can obtain an online pizza coupons and simply print it out and redeem it. Pizza thrives on main events, friends and families gather and pizza shops know that pizza is the easiest food to feed a gathering!

So the next time you ‘re surfing the net and get that pizza craving, log onto your favorite pizza site and grab some coupons! Be happy, Enjoy live, Eat pizza!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Quick and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo


serves 4
1/4 c Butter
2 c Heavy Cream
pn Nutmeg
1/2 ts Salt
1/2 ts Pepper
3/4 c Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 lb Cooked Fettuccine
Combine butter, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper in skillet. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes. Toss with cheese and cooked pasta.

Red Potato Salad


serves 6
1 1/2 pounds quartered red potatoes
1/2 cup Italian dressing, light
1/2 Tablespoon mustard, spicy brown
1 Tablespoon chopped, fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced green onions
Cook potatoes in boiling water over high heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well and let cool. Place potatoes in a medium bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine dressing, mustard, parsley, and seasonings. Pour mixture over potatoes and toss well. Carefully stir in bell peppers and green onions. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Healthy Recipes – Jerky Stir Fry A Great Tasting 15 Minute Healthy Dinner

by Bob Crane

Out of necessity to find a dinner that I could prepare quickly and one that would have all of the required nutrients without being full of carbohydrates or additives I came up with a recipe that is great tasting and low fat. The following recipe is for two, but can easily be modified to feed more or less depending on your needs.

My work schedule was such that I couldn’t really get home before seven PM so I had to prepare dinner quickly so there would be plenty of time for it to digest before I had to go to bed. Going to bed on a full stomach never really worked out for me and it is not good for someone trying to lose weight or keep it off. So this light meal has to be made in a sequence that will allow it to be ready in fifteen minutes. Our microwave is a one thousand watt model so you may need to alter the cook times accordingly.

The ingredients include:

1 box of frozen sugar snap peas.
1 box of frozen broccoli florets
3 slices of sun dried tomatoes.
Cashews.
1 egg.
Brown rice.
Italian dressing made with olive oil.
And finally the jerky, you may substitute any flavor of jerky you like depending on your tastes, for example; natural turkey jerky, natural buffalo jerky slab style original, or the low carb tender hickory smoked natural beef jerky.

Step1) Start cooking the rice, use a brown rice and it should yield one cup of cooked rice when done.

Step2) While the rice is cooking place one frozen box of sugar snap peas in the microwave for four minutes.

Step3) As the sugar snap peas are cooking in the microwave begin scrambling one egg in a stovetop WOK pot. The egg should be finished around the same time as the sugar snap peas.

Step4) Remove the scrambled egg from the WOK and put it in a bowl. Then add the sugar snap peas into the WOK.

Step 5) After you remove the sugar snap peas from the microwave dish place one box of broccoli florets into the microwave for four minutes. Then return to the WOK and add one quarter cup of Italian dressing made with olive oil and stir the sugar snap peas in the oil. Let them simmer as you dice three pieces of sun dried tomatoes and put them in the WOK and continue stirring. Let that simmer as you cut up two pieces of low carb natural beef jerky and add that to the WOK. Around that time the broccoli florets should be done.

Step 6) Add the broccoli florets to the WOK and continue to stir. Once all of the vegetables, sun dried tomatoes, and jerky are all mixed together add one quarter cup of cashews and mix them in. The rice should be done by the time you finish stirring in the cashews so remove it from the heat and add it to the WOK.

Step 7) After all of the ingredients are mixed together add the egg back into the WOK and stir until it is all mixed together then cover for two minutes and serve.

After eating this flavor-packed meal you should feel satisfied but not stuffed like you would if you had eaten a meal loaded with carbohydrates.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter Baking and Cooking Tips (Plus a Bonus Easter Recipe)

By Jill S

If you’re hosting Easter this year, I’d like to share a few tips with you that have helped me keep my sanity when I have hosted this holiday.

1. Cook and bake as many dishes as you can in advance. I have an Easter baking recipe that I share with you below that is easy and can be done up to a week in advance. I highly recommend baking your Easter desserts the day before. It really helps me cut down on the stress on Easter day.

2. Organize your kitchen into baking/cooking stations the night before. I know this might sound crazy but I have found it helps me whenever I am making a holiday meal. I put out all of the ingredients for each Easter recipe that do not need to be refrigerated. I put the recipe out and put all of the ingredients that go into that recipe right next to it, along with any pans or measuring cups or spoons I may need for it. I also try to organize them from longest to shortest cooking time so that I know what to start with first.

3. Select the Easter recipes that you want to use a week in advance. This helps me make a grocery list of all the ingredients that I need. That way I can get to the grocery store and get everything that I need well in advance of the day itself.

4. Use or borrow appliances to help make the job easier. I still remember the first Easter I hosted at my house. I must have spent at least half an hour slicing potatoes. If I had just asked to borrow a food processor with a slicer from a friend, it would have made that day so much easier. If you do not have the right appliance for the job or cannot borrow it, find a different recipe.

5. Enlist helpers! The friends and family who have come to your Easter feast are usually more than happy to help out with any small last minute things. My husband has become the official potato masher for all of the holiday gatherings we hold at our house! Those last 30 minutes before your meal is ready can sometimes get a bit crazy. It is okay to ask for help.

Bonus Easter Recipe: Chocolate Easter Nests

These have been a favorite Easter baking recipe of mine for as long as I can remember. I loved helping mom put jelly beans in these for the "eggs."


1 box shredded wheat cereal (10-12 biscuits)
1 - 12 ounce package chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter

Crush the biscuits so they are fairly fine. Melt the chocolate chips in bowl in the microwave until they are soft. Add the peanut butter to the melted chocolate. Mix together, put into a large bowl, and add the shredded wheat. Put mixture by tablespoon on a piece of waxed paper. Shape each into a nest. Chill until firmly set. Store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to set them out, put a few jelly beans in each nest. It is a cute, tasty Easter treat.

All About Eggs - Fried, Scrambled, Boiled?

by Mary Santini

We use eggs all the time but have you ever wondered how long you can safely store them? How can you tell if they are fresh? What do the different sizes mean in relation to your recipe? How do you make the perfect hard boiled egg, fried egg or scrambled egg?

Did you know that the bigger and older the chicken the bigger the egg? Eggs come in six sizes but only the largest four are sold in grocery stores: jumbo, extra-large, large, medium. Most recipes call for large eggs but what if you typically buy one of the other sizes—how does that effect your recipe? When your recipe calls for large quantities of eggs you can substitute a different size by taking into account the weight:

Egg Size / Weight: Medium / 1.75 ounces; Large / 2.00 ounces; Extra-Large / 2.25 ounces; Jumbo / 2.50 ounces.

So what does this mean? Well, 4 jumbo eggs (2.5 oz each) is equivalent to 5 large eggs (2 oz each).

Storage:
Eggs degrade faster from improper storage than from age. Don’t use the egg tray on the inside of the refrigerator door. The temperature does not keep a constant 40°F as recommended by the American Egg Board. Instead keep them in the carton on the top shelf inside the ‘fridge. They will stay the proper temperature and are less likely to absorb flavors from other foods. The egg shells are coated with a thin waxy substance. This is done to prevent moisture from getting out and other flavors from getting in. Never wash eggs before storing as this will remove the protective layer causing your eggs to lose freshness sooner.

Freshness:
What does the sell-by date mean? Legally it is the last date a carton of eggs may be sold and is no more than 30 days past the carton’s pack date which, in turn, is within one week of being laid by the chicken. However, eggs are still considered fit for consumption for 3-5 weeks after the sell-by date. Another way to tell is by observation. In older eggs, the white and yolk become looser or runnier. You may have noticed that the whites are divided into thick & thin layers. The bigger the thick layer, which is right next to the yolk, the fresher the egg. A slight cloudiness in the white indicates that it is a very fresh egg.

Fool–proof Hard Cooked Eggs: Place 4 large eggs in a medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water & bring to a boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover and let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with ice water. Transfer the eggs to the ice water with a slotted spoon, let stand 5 minutes.

Peeling Hard Cooked Eggs: Before boiling the eggs prick a tiny air hole in the large end of the egg with a pin. Boil & chill as instructed above. Once they have chilled thoroughly the shells should peel off clean as a whistle!

Try this for Perfectly Fried Eggs: Heat a 10 inch heavy bottomed nonstick skillet over lowest heat for 5 minutes. Crack 4 large eggs into 2 small bowls (2 per bowl). Add 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet; when foaming subsides, swirl to coat pan (if butter browns in 1 minute, the pan is too hot). Simultaneously, pour 2 eggs on one side of pan and remaining eggs on other side. Season eggs with salt and pepper; cover and cook about 2-1/2 minutes for runny yolks, 3 minutes for soft but set yolks, and 3-1/2 minutes for firmly set yolks.

Scrambling Eggs: Using a wooden spoon or spatula, push the eggs from one side of the pan to the other. As they form curds, lift and fold the eggs until they are clumped in a single mound. Tender scrambled eggs demand high heat and a “folding” action rather than stirring.

Help! I Don't Have Any... Cooking Options To Help When You Can't Get to the Store

by Christine Steendahl

Recipes substitutions for common cooking ingredients. For many cooks, there are times when we do not have the proper ingredients on hand to make our desired dish. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t despair, many common ingredients can be used to replace recipes standards, saving the cook a drive to the store. Here are some hints.

For many cooks, there are times when we do not have the proper ingredients on hand to make our desired dish. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t despair, many common ingredients can be used to replace recipes standards, saving the cook a drive to the store. Here are some hints.

Milk
A lot of recipes require milk. If you realize yourself out of milk or short on the amount necessary to finish a specific recipe, make sure you keep a supply of evaporated milk on hand. Evaporated milk or reconstituted milk can be kept for a long time and once mixed with water and many times a bit of butter, can easily taste just as good as regular milk.

Baking Powder
If you do not have baking powder readily available, use baking soda and a dash of buttermilk. For a tablespoon of double acting baking powder, substitute 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and a 1/2 cup of buttermilk.

Self Rising Flour
Self rising flour is easy to make from scratch, just combine one cup of all purpose flour with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

Butter Milk
Out of butter milk? You can simply create your own. You can substitute 1 cup of butter milk with 1 cup whole milk and a tablespoon of vinegar. You can also substitute 1 cup of butter milk with 2/3 cup of plain yogurt and 1/3 cup whole milk.

Garlic
Ran out of garlic? Substitute garlic powder instead. About 1 clove of garlic equals 1/8 of a teaspoon of garlic powder.

Honey
You can easily replace honey with sugar and water. 1 cup of honey equals about 1 and 1/4 cup of sugar and a 1/4 cup of water.

Substituting Sugar
If you are short on sugar on hand or would like to replace it due to health issues, here are some hints to substitute sugar:

Sugar can be exchanged with with maple syrup, corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, stevia, and molasses. Although, some recipes will call for sugar or a granular sweetener and not syrup due to baking and texture requirements.

If you striving to decrease the amount of sugar you eat due to health issues, consider the many sweeteners, sometimes called sugar replacements at the supermarket. They include, Sweet and Low, Splenda, Equal, and plant based Stevia.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Benefits Of Using The Slow Cooker And Slow Cooker Recipes

by Rose Mary


The slow cooker or crock pot has become one of the most useful appliances in the kitchen for every family. The slow cooker has gained much popularity due to the many benefits of using it. If you wish to enjoy fully the advantages of slow cooker cooking, it is best to equip yourself with a book of slow cooker recipes. It can provide you with a great variety of ideas so that you can prepare delicious and sumptuous meals everyday.

The best benefit of using the slow cooker for cooking is that the dishes it prepares are nutritious. This is because mainly fresh, wholesome ingredients are used in the cooking. The ingredients are cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time, thus they become extremely tender and delicious. As there is little evaporation, the food will not dry out. The natural juices from the meats and vegetables are retained in the pot, thus, the cooked food are nutritious as well as tasty. Hence, if you are looking for healthy food, using the slow cooker to cook your meals is a way to attain it.

Although using the gas stove, electric burner or grill are fast and efficient methods to do cooking, these methods require attention and supervision. For example, if a piece of meat is left unattended on a hot grill, it will become charred. If stirring is not done regularly while simmering tomato sauce in a pot, sticking and burning will occur at the bottom of the pot. Similarly, if a tray of butter cookies is placed in a heated oven, the cookies will blacken if they are not removed on time. Hence, we see that although these methods are fast but they require monitoring and the food items need to be stirred, flipped or turned. The advantage of the slow cooker is that it is able to do the cooking without any human intervention. The cooker takes the heat and indirectly applies it to the food so that the food cooked slowly and evenly. As the slow cooker uses low heat, the food is not burned without stirring.

Due to the fact that slow cookers are safe, easy to use, and require no attention while cooking, people who use it save much time and effort in cooking their meals. Nowadays, many working adults avoid cooking because they are either too tired after a long day of work, or they have no time to do so. The slow cooker provides them with the convenience of being able to work and still can enjoy eating home-cooked food without having to spend time in the cooking process. In the morning before leaving for work, they can easily place all the food ingredients in the slow cooker and set it on low. By the time they come back from work in the evening, a tasty, nutritious, home-cooked dish will be ready for them. They can choose to add a salad or whole-grain bread to the dish and it will form a complete meal. Thus, by using the slow cooker, people can spend their time at work, in school or anywhere enjoying some recreation, and still have the opportunity to eat nutritious food.

During hot weather, when using the stove and oven for cooking may increase the heat in the surroundings, the slow cooker provides a good alternative. Furthermore, the slow cooker is an economical appliance to use for cooking. It uses as little electricity as a 75-watt light bulb and substantially less energy as compared to an electric oven.

Bloom Tea Recipes

by Steven Kuperberg

Tea recipes using white tea rich in antioxidants.

Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Bring water to a boil. Add sugar and dissolve completely. Cover and store in the fridge for up to one week.

Iced Blooming Tea

2 cups boiling water

Tea bloom of choice

Follow instructions for blooming tea and bloom as usual. Put tea into fridge. Serve over ice when chilled with bloom in the bottom of the cup for your enjoyment.

Strong Man's Iced Tea

1 cup iced blooming tea

2 ounces vodka

Simple sugar

Ice

In a large glass cup, mix vodka and iced tea over ice with a little simple syrup. Leave bloom in bottom of cup for your enjoyment.

Red Blooming Tea

4 cups iced blooming tea

Juice of 2 lemons

1/4 cup grenadine

Ice

Combine all ingredients in a large glass pitcher with ice. Leave bloom in bottom of the pitcher for your enjoyment.

Sage Blooming Tea

1 tea bloom

4 cups water

1 bunch fresh sage leaves

4 tbsp. simple syrup

Bring water to boil. Add about half the water to bloom and the other half to the sage leaves. Bloom tea as usual. After two minutes, strain the sage leaves from the water. Combine sage water and tea with simple syrup. Serve immediately.

Iced Blooming Tea with Pear

1 cup iced blooming tea

1/2 cup pear juice

In a large glass cup, mix pear juice and iced tea over ice. Leave bloom in bottom of cup for your enjoyment.

Blooming Tea Refresher

1 tea bloom

2 cups water

2 cups pineapple juice

2 tbsp. honey

Bring 2 cups of water to boil. In a large glass teapot, pour boiling water over tea bloom. Add pineapple juice and honey. Enjoy.

Soothing Lemongrass Blooming Tea

4 stalks lemongrass

4 cups water

1 tea bloom

4 tbsp. honey

Chop bottom 4 inches of lemongrass off. Bring the water to a boil. Add about half the water to bloom and bloom tea as usual. Add the lemongrass to the leftover boiling water and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain and add to the tea. Add honey and mix to combine. Enjoy.

Blooming Tea Martini

Ice

1 tea Bloom

2 ounces Citrus flavored Vodka

Splash of Cointreau

Simple Syrup

Bloom tea as usual. Add bloom to martini glass. Fill shaker with ice. Add 1 ounce of green tea, the vodka, contreau, and a dash of simple syrup. Shake well and strain into martini glass with bloom.

Candace's Blooming Tea Punch

3 cups iced blooming tea

4 ounces white rum

2 ounces peach schnapps

1/2 cup club soda

1/2 cup pineapple juice

Ice

4 tbsp. simple syrup

Pineapple slices for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a large glass pitcher. Use pineapple slices as a garnish. Keep bloom in the bottom of your pitcher for your enjoyment. Drink up!

Other Thoughts

Try mixing up your own drink by adding any of the following ingredients to your tea bloom. Additions: pear juice, honey, simple syrup, pineapple juice, orange juice, white grape juice, milk, cream.