Thursday, May 31, 2012

Starting the book

I am getting funding for my book now. I am using kickstarter since I can't afford the thousands of dollars for editing, and publishing. Hopefully soon I'll be on a semi-regular posting schedule. If you'd like to help out please go to and for a $10 donation you'll get a free copy of the book.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pork roast

Ok I am finally cooking something tonight, decided to do a small pork roast since everyone is sick. Somehow I managed to not get the Pepsi, or my pork stock in the picture, but the stock was homemade and everyone knows a can of cola I think. For sides we are having some kernel corn, and Mac n cheese.

1 pork roast
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 can cola (mine's Pepsi)
2 cups pork stock
2 cups water
Garlic salt (or garlic powder, I'm out of garlic powder, may need to add a dash of salt)
Chili powder
Italian seasoning
Bay leaves

Cut onion in quarters, and peel and slice garlic. Place in bottom of roasting pan. Place roast on top of veggies, and apply seasonings to all sides (let a bit hit the bottom of pan too). Add liquid use water to bring just to bottom of roast. Cook at 350 for an hour or until done (temp of 160) let rest 10 minutes to get to final temp. Slice and serve.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why I've been MIA

Sorry haven't posted much. The in laws had a flood, damaging the floor in living room, bedroom, hallway, and everything got moved to the kitchen, so we haven't been doing much cooking. I'm also hoping to get pictures of the dishes while I'm fixing them so there is a little something to go along with the recipe. Hopefully soon I'll be back cooking (maybe grilling)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Philly Cheesesteak, and possible cookbook

Well I have gone and applied for disability, kinda stinks, but I haven't been able to be a reliable employee for quite a while due to my abdominal issue (bosses don't like when you miss a week a month, and haven't been able to work since June) so to supplement my income I am thinking of writing an e-book cookbook, of course knowing me, I'll be through the whole disability process before I get done, but hey, it's an idea. I have seen a few people on their blogs, and on pinterest doing Philly cheesesteaks, and it made me crave one, I hadn't really made a decent one before, I always used the steakum things (convenience won, and it's not like I was trying to eat healthy at that point), but since I had to cut back on greasy food, I figured might as well give it a shot. I am still no baker, so I buy hoagie rolls from the bakery, but may soon try making something (my ex does have a bread machine in storage hmm). The cut of meat to me doesn't matter, but the more marbling the harder it is to get decent slices, but the more tender it is, flank steak or skirt steak works well, but can be a bit tough for some people. I am still trying to find a steak marinade better than the store bought one, but to me it is just too good. I also use provolone most of the time, but cheez whiz is the proper way, and both also works well.

Sub roll
1 steak sliced thinly across grain, and on a bias (helps if you put in freezer for 15 minutes or so before cutting)
1 bottle Moore's steak marinade
dash cumin
1 small onion (sliced)
2 jarred jalapenos (use a little of the liquid to cook the meat in with the oil) chopped, optional
olive oil
4 slices provolone

Marinate your meat for at least an hour (I do mine prior to cutting)
In a large skillet add oil, and pepper juice, add onion, and saute over medium heat, add meat, and cumin and cook through, add peppers, and cook additional minute.
slice roll, and add mayo, fill with meat, top with cheese.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Been feeling rotten again, so haven't been doing much in the kitchen, but thought I'd share this one with you. A very basic salsa, but it works, and tastes pretty good too. You can use any type of pepper depending on how much heat you like (I like jalapeno for the whole family, and habenero for me)

2 cups chopped tomato (just cut into pieces for food processor)
1 small minced onion
3 tablespoons cilantro
1 tablespoon oregano
1 chopped stemmed, and seeded pepper of choice
1 tablespoon canola oil
Salt to taste

Blend all but salt in food processor, add salt small amounts at a time just prior to serving, as it will make the salsa weep.

Works great on corn tortillas, or in many recipes. I've been playing with baked tortilla chips, but they keep coming out either rubbery, or too brown.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Slow Cooker Pulled pork

Something I love making because it's so easy, but we don't do it often because it's also time consuming. We are having the Elders over for dinner tonight so it's been planned, and makes a bunch. Goes great with some baked beans (which sadly I don't have a good recipe for yet, my mother in law doesn't let me make them).

3 lb pork roast
1 cup vinegar (I use white, but apple cider is also really good)
garlic powder
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf (I crumble mine but could be left whole, just remove it before shredding pork)
Hamburger buns
bottle bbq sauce (mine, one batch is pretty close for us)

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder all sides of the roast, and put in slow cooker. Add 1 cup of vinegar, and fill remaining with water (make sure it will stay covered during cooking). Cook on low for 12-20 hours (for 2 we do 20, with one we start checking at 12) or until tender and shreds easy

Remove pork to large bowl, and using 2 forks shred (just so there are no big chunks). Empty liquid from slow cooker, and replace meat, mix in bbq sauce, and heat until hot.

Serve on buns with pickles, if too dry add more sauce (ours are fairly wet, but does vary with brand of sauce)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Super easy chicken casserole

We had a whole chicken we needed to use up, and wanted something different, but easy. So we threw this concoction together, and it was a real hit (the kids and I ate half the pan). We boiled the chicken, but I bet it would be great with a rotisserie chicken, or whatever you have left over. We used peas, which were ok, but we want to try broccoli next time.

1 whole chicken cooked, and removed from bone and shredded
2 large packages yellow rice
1 can peas
2 cans cream of chicken soup
garlic powder
shredded cheddar cheese

Boil chicken with salt and garlic powder (or use whatever chicken you want, but this makes some broth to use to make rice), once cooked set aside to cool.
Once cool shred chicken.
Prepare rice per package directions, I use chicken broth for the water
Prepare soup using about 1/2 liquid normal (again use some broth instead of water)
mix chicken, rice and peas in a large bowl (best done by hand)
pour mixture into a greased casserole dish
pour soup over top
top with cheese
bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until cheese browns slightly
let stand for 10-15 minutes to thicken

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Buffalo chicken wings

My brother in law has an annual dinner for his birthday, he gets buffalo wings that his mother and I prepare. Takes a few hours ( we did 12 pounds today very little trimming) they then get treated like fried chicken with salt pepper, garlic, and flour. Fry them up until golden brown and remove to a drain pan while next batch cooks. Once they are all cooked and drained put them in a large bowl, put on some rubber gloves, and coat. If still warm let sit 30 minutes and recoat. The sauce I prefer is from moore's we buy it at the local market, and all the concoctions have failed to meet what it gives. Once fully covered let them sit a few minutes to bind (seem to taste better after setting ) serve with a bit of blue cheese dressing and extra milk. Great meal just takes us forever to fry up, and sure no pictures available. Hopefully in the near future i'll be doing the cooking in my apartment, so I may get to some images taken. I am posting this at 3:30 am after taking all me meds so I may be sluring my typing a bit, think of it even better than a drunk text, this is a medicated Mormon blog, so that it weird in its self. Hope everyone enjoys your days, and if you have something you want tried let me know I'm open to ruin a good idea(I just request the pointing and laughing is done not on the blog, maybe on Facebook)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Making steak

I was reading on another blog yesterday, and she commented about how restaurants do it, and it's very similar to what my grandma did (who was a professional chef). All you do is use a cast iron skillet (really hot) to sear on both sides with a little butter. Then you put the whole thing in a 400 degree oven for 5-7minutes turning once until done. Now the spice concoction for topping the steak prior to cooking. Mine is garlic, cumin, kosher salt, pepper, and a little red pepper. Be sure the steaks are cut 1- 1 1/2 inch thick for best flavor, plus much thinner and it may as well be shoe leather. Play with your favorite spices, and just think no buying propane and cleaning the grill outside.The outside grill is great for hot dogs, hamburgers, and maybe even some chicken. Now the questions come of no cast iron, substitute a good stainless steel (check the handle is oven proof) non stick won't work due to temps, will tear up the coating, and depending on if the bloggers are right they give off bad fumes. A decent stainless pan is about $40 cast iron about the same.Cast iron has a bad reputation on glass top stoves. It's partially earned they are heavy and could if dropped hard may crack the glass (saw it twice working in a service center) they also hold heat against the burner that may lower its lifespan a couple years (15 instead of 20 type thing) I use stainless because I own it, I want good cast iron, but haven't needed it myself yet (mother in law makes corn bread)
Now serving the steak you put a tablespoon of butter on it (herbed is good) and will taste very close to your favorite restaurant makes. And clean up is one pan, and maybe just a rinse out for the cast iron. Something I am noticing is it is really hard to post the blog after taking me sleep meds. Hopefully this all makes sense. If you are unsure on trying it, and are local to Mobile I'll bring my pans and cook you a steak(you buy the steak). Hope you enjoy

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kielbasa with sauerkraut

One of my favorite dishes is also one of the easiest ever. If you can cut some sausage into chunks, and open a can (or jar) of sauerkraut, you can make this.All you do is take a package of kielbasa, cut into chunks about 1/2 inch thick or so, put in a skillet and cook briefly (just a little carmalization) add a large can of sauerkraut, and mix, cook on medium heat until heated through, serve. Not much easier than that, and my kids devour it (last time I made it for myself, I was surprised to have finished it all off). Bonus use the left over sauerkraut on your hot dogs, it's gets a little flavor from the sausage, and is great for topping. I like to make my mac and cheese to got with it

Monday, March 5, 2012

Caring for Knives

I'm slacking, sorry. Haven't felt well all week, so living off simple stuff (hamburgers and the like). I figure this might be a good time to talk about knives, especially since I just sharpened all of mine last night. The biggest mistake we all make is buying bad materials, a good knife won't be stainless steel (not to be confused with stain free) they won't hold an edge, and don't sharpen well. The biggest issue is go to the store and try and buy a knife that isn't stainless or an arm and a tank of gas. I buy high carbon steel. Now storage, the worst place is the silverware drawer, they bang together, and dull, plus you could get cut reaching in. If you have to use a drawer put some type of sheath over the knife, just keep in mind they can still get bumped, and the sheath will dull the knife a little (just like cutting with it). Next is the old wooden blocks, they are handy, and do protect them, but they can hold dirt, and if you happen to put one in damp, nasty stuff can grow. The best option is a magnetic strip, they are kept away from bumps, and open air so they dry nicely, downside, is you could knock another one down getting one. Now washing, this is one of the items that should never go in the dishwasher, they bang against other stuff, and if the handles are wood they will dry out and split, plus they will loosen up and eventually fail. Also don't drop them in your soapy water, you could get cut, and it's too much water especially for the handles.  Ideally you should use a honing steel before you use a knife (I don't with my paring knives) except serrated knives of course. Your cutting board is also important, a nice marble or glass one that looks really pretty is horrible for the knives. I use a wood one for veggies, and a plastic one for meats. Sharpening the knife when it dulls is important, if you are experienced a whet stone works great (every butcher I met uses them, and I do too), one of the sharpening gadgets will also work, although I don't think they are all created equal, and I rarely trust pitchmen (I don't own any), finally there is always a professional, but that can get expensive, so if it's not a high end knife I'd stick with one of the other options. I don't have any ceramic knives, but I want one, so I don't know the care of them, but since they are glass, you need to be careful. Hopefully I can post a bit more this week

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pot Roast

Have you ever noticed that people cook a roast so long at such a high heat that it may fall apart, but you can't chew it, and the flavor is somewhere near an old rockport? I love roast beef, but could never stand a traditional pot roast, mostly because all the flavor gets cooked out in the relatively hot oven, and long cooking time (when I first started playing with this I found my meat hit well done in about an hour, most recipes say cook for 3  hours), so I took a cue from the Bar B Que people, low and slow. Some cooks like to sear theirs first, and it does make it look pretty, and may impart some flavor, but it was more effort than it was worth to me (I'm lazy).

3 lb beef roast (I prefer leaner cuts)
10 cloves garlic peeled, and halved
1 large onion quartered
2 bay leaves
4 cups beef stock
Herbs de Provenance (a wonderful spice blend that should be in every kitchen)
Kosher salt

place onion, garlic, and bay leaves in bottom of roasting pan. Sprinkle the herbs de provenance, salt and pepper on all sides of roast, and lay on top of onions. Add stock to pan, may need more so just covers bottom of roast. Cover and cook in a 275 degree oven for 3-3 1/2 hours or until tender. A real lean roast may require more liquid (add water to keep level) you will have a flavorful, and juicy roast

Friday, February 24, 2012

Vegetable beef soup

This is a simple soup that my mother in law makes, is really easy, makes a ton, and tastes pretty good. Another plus is there are no rules on what veggies get used.

3 lb stew beef
4-6 cloves garlic
1 medium onion sliced
1 large can whole tomatoes
3 cups green beans (fresh or frozen, could use canned, but add them later)
3 large potatoes (cut into chunks)
2 cans kidney beans
4 carrots sliced
4 stalks celery cut into chunks
3 cans corn
2 packages frozen cut okra
Italian seasoning
2 cups beef stock
Hot sauce

in a large pot brown the meat lightly (just the outside seared), then add stock, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and corn, add water  to fill pot, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste (adjust during cooking, I add early, and add more later).  Bring to boil, and cook for 1-2 hours, add beans, and okra, and cook for additional hour or 2 until meat and potatoes are tender.
Serve in large bowls with crackers, and a dash of hot sauce. You can add more veggies, just put them in long enough ahead that they cook, but not fall apart.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Growing up in Michigan paczkis were a yearly treat. They are basically deep fried jelly doughnuts, and always available for Fat Tuesday (or as they call it here Mardi Gras). You can use just about any fruit filling, but rosehip, prune, apricot, strawberry, raspberry or sweet cheese filling are considered traditional (raspberry are my favorite, and we also would get lemon). All the ones I ever had are coated with powdered sugar as well. I went on a quest to find some, and found that they all added alcohol, I don't cook with alcohol, and don't see a need for it in a doughnut (and doubt my local bakery went and bought rum just for this)

  • 1 stick butter melted
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm (room temperature) milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbs. vanilla
  • 4 ½ to 5 cups white flour
  • Fruit filling jam works best, will vary depending how full you make them
  • Powdered sugar to coat
 Dissolve yeast in warm milk, and set aside.
In large bowl combine nutmeg, eggs, sugar, and vanilla
Add butter, and mix until well blended
Add yeast mixture, and mix well
Slowly add flour, until dough is no longer sticky (after about 4 cups or so)
Knead gently
Place in bowl and cover with tea towel and allow to rise for a couple hours until doubled
punch down, and then allow to rise again
Dump onto lightly floured surface, and roll out to a 1/2 inch thickness, and use a canning jar lid (or a cookie cutter about the same size) to cut dough
let dough rise again
Fry in 325* oil until deep brown (turning while cooking)
Allow to drain, and then using a piping bag fill each with fruit, and then coat in powdered sugar, they don't keep well so either eat them, or freeze them (eating is much better of course)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pepper Sauce

Ok I talked about pepper sauce yesterday, it's something in almost every southern kitchen, even the restaurants keep it on the table. I had never had it before I moved south, but making it is extremely easy, as a matter of fact it's 2 ingredients vinegar (white) and hot peppers (store bought uses thai chilis, I use habaneros). Just get a jar that has a large enough opening for the peppers (I use salsa jars, but we have a nice decorative one too) fill it as full as possible with peppers (don't be afraid to press them in) then fill with vinegar, put the lid on and keep in the cabinet, let it sit for a couple of weeks, the peppers will lose their color, then pour on whatever you like (great on black eyed peas, and green beans).

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Mexico Taco Skillet

While looking for something for me to eat tonight, I came across a seasoning mix in a liquid pouch. The chef on it is one of my favorite Mexican cookbook authors Rick Bayless. It's all natural and the only thing I don't normally use that's in it is agave nectar. So I bought it, some chicken thighs, and a pack of corn tortillas. I don't make my own tortillas very often, I can never get them as thin, and the ones I get are really good. Now this isn't really a recipe as much as a review since I just followed the package directions (really easy) I did have to add just a little salt, and some hot sauce. It has a roasted pepper flavor, and I actually ended up having to share with my son (who ate a concoction of my mother in laws of hot dogs in tomatoes over mashed potatoes before I fixed mine) it wasn't bad at all, but could use just a bit more spice, if I make it again I'll probably add some fajita mix to the chicken while it browns. I should note that I have not been contacted by the manufacturer at all. Sorry the pics are fuzzy, had to use my phone since I'm at the in-laws (I don't like the hot dog stuff). Enjoy

Red beans and rice a Southern thing

This is a dish I love, but sadly it is banished from my diet since it causes my stomach pain to flare up to a point where I if lucky sleep all day, and feel like I have the flu, and at it's worst has sent me to the ER. My kids can't get enough though, and my ex and her family love it as well, so it gets made, and I find something else. It is also a very easy recipe, and there seem to be as many variations as there are people. The important thing is good quality sausage, and always start with dry beans, canned ones just turn to mush.

2 lbs dry red kidney beans
1 lb smoked kielbasa sliced into chunks
1 lb conecuh sausage sliced into chunks (a good spicy sausage works if the real stuff isn't available)
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
about half a pack of smoked pork jowls (thick bacon will work, it's just for flavoring the beans)
rice (we use instant and use 2 packs, basically you make a bed of the rice so amounts will vary based on individual tastes)

The night before you make it soak the beans (cover with water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, and let sit overnight, but a minimum of 4 hours)
Drain soaking liquid (makes beans easier to digest)
Transfer beans to crock pot (can be done in a regular pot, but tends to stick) add pork, salt to taste (start small and add later) and cook on medium heat for 2 hours.
Add onion and garlic, and cook an additional 2 hours.
add sausages, and let cook for 1-2 hours or until beans are tender.
Serve over rice with cornbread, and pour a little peppersauce (recipe tomorrow) over top

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is organic meat free from chemicals?

Following up my post from yesterday about the produce, I said I'd cover livestock today.  Chicken is marketed as being hormone free, but if you read the label on the package it will tell you that all chicken has to be hormone free. Now organic meat is not supposed to get any hormones, or antibiotics (except as directed by a vet, who may prescribe them like a Hollywood Dr. for all we know). Here is a list of allowed synthetics:
In accordance with restrictions specified in this section the following synthetic substances may be used in organic livestock production:
(a) As disinfectants, sanitizer, and medical treatments as applicable.
(1) Alcohols.
(i) Ethanol-disinfectant and sanitizer only, prohibited as a feed additive.
(ii) Isopropanol-disinfectant only.
(2) Aspirin-approved for health care use to reduce inflammation.
(3) Atropine (CAS #–51–55–8)—federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:
(i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian; and
(ii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 56 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 12 days after administering to dairy animals.
(4) Biologics—Vaccines.
(5) Butorphanol (CAS #–42408–82–2)—federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR Part 205, the NOP requires:
(i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian; and
(ii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 42 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 8 days after administering to dairy animals.
(6) Chlorhexidine—Allowed for surgical procedures conducted by a veterinarian. Allowed for use as a teat dip when alternative germicidal agents and/or physical barriers have lost their effectiveness.
(7) Chlorine materials—disinfecting and sanitizing facilities and equipment. Residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
(i) Calcium hypochlorite.
(ii) Chlorine dioxide.
(iii) Sodium hypochlorite.
(8) Electrolytes—without antibiotics.
(9) Flunixin (CAS #–38677–85–9)—in accordance with approved labeling; except that for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires a withdrawal period of at least two-times that required by the FDA.
(10) Furosemide (CAS #–54–31–9)—in accordance with approved labeling; except that for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires a withdrawal period of at least two-times that required that required by the FDA.
(11) Glucose.
(12) Glycerine—Allowed as a livestock teat dip, must be produced through the hydrolysis of fats or oils.
(13) Hydrogen peroxide.
(14) Iodine.
(15) Magnesium hydroxide (CAS #–1309–42–8)—federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian.
(16) Magnesium sulfate.
(17) Oxytocin—use in postparturition therapeutic applications.
(18) Paraciticides. Ivermectin—prohibited in slaughter stock, allowed in emergency treatment for dairy and breeder stock when organic system plan-approved preventive management does not prevent infestation. Milk or milk products from a treated animal cannot be labeled as provided for in subpart D of this part for 90 days following treatment. In breeder stock, treatment cannot occur during the last third of gestation if the progeny will be sold as organic and must not be used during the lactation period for breeding stock.
(19) Peroxyacetic/peracetic acid (CAS #–79–21–0)—for sanitizing facility and processing equipment.
(20) Phosphoric acid—allowed as an equipment cleaner, Provided , That, no direct contact with organically managed livestock or land occurs.
(21) Poloxalene (CAS #–9003–11–6)—for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires that poloxalene only be used for the emergency treatment of bloat.
(22) Tolazoline (CAS #–59–98–3)—federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:
(i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian;
(ii) Use only to reverse the effects of sedation and analgesia caused by Xylazine; and
(iii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 8 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 4 days after administering to dairy animals.
(23) Xylazine (CAS #–7361–61–7)—federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:
(i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian;
(ii) The existence of an emergency; and
(iii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 8 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 4 days after administering to dairy animals.
(b) As topical treatment, external parasiticide or local anesthetic as applicable.
(1) Copper sulfate.
(2) Iodine.
(3) Lidocaine—as a local anesthetic. Use requires a withdrawal period of 90 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter and 7 days after administering to dairy animals.
(4) Lime, hydrated—as an external pest control, not permitted to cauterize physical alterations or deodorize animal wastes.
(5) Mineral oil—for topical use and as a lubricant.
(6) Procaine—as a local anesthetic, use requires a withdrawal period of 90 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter and 7 days after administering to dairy animals.
(7) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s–42922–74–7; 58064–47–4)—in accordance with approved labeling.
(c) As feed supplements—None.
(d) As feed additives.
(1) DL–Methionine, DL–Methionine—hydroxy analog, and DL–Methionine—hydroxy analog calcium (CAS #–59–51–8; 63–68–3; 348–67–4)—for use only in organic poultry production until October 1, 2012, at the following maximum levels of synthetic methionine per ton of feed: laying chickens—4 pounds; broiler chickens—5 pounds; turkeys and all other poultry—6 pounds.
(2) Trace minerals, used for enrichment or fortification when FDA approved.
(3) Vitamins, used for enrichment or fortification when FDA approved.
(e) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.
(1) EPA List 4—Inerts of Minimal Concern.
(2) [Reserved]
(f) Excipients, only for use in the manufacture of drugs used to treat organic livestock when the excipient is: Identified by the FDA as Generally Recognized As Safe; Approved by the FDA as a food additive; or Included in the FDA review and approval of a New Animal Drug Application or New Drug Application.

The scary one is the list of specifically banned, because an unscrupulous farmer may use the fact it's not explicitly banned as being ok to use. There is only 1 chemical named as banned:

The following nonsynthetic substances may not be used in organic livestock production:
(a) Strychnine.
(b)–(z) [Reserved]

I don't tend to buy organic, especially chicken, but I buy from stores I know, and have talked to the butcher (I'm picky about meat anyway since we always had our own cows we butchered). If you can go to the slaughterhouse, they may be able to tell you about the farm (they'll know the farmer), plus it will be cheaper, and they aren't typically getting the corporate farm stuff that uses the hormones, and over-medicating (can you tell I'm not a fan of those huge farms) Now all the organic farms are supposed to keep organic, and non-organic separate, but again the inspection isn't done constantly (and just look at what has gotten overlooked on the regular side that is supposed to be inspected regularly). Not all farms that grow organic are certified either (they pay a fee that may be too high for them) so again buy local, and know who you buy from, if they have to look you in the eye on a regular basis they are more apt to be safe.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is that organic food free of chemicals?

Everyone is on the organic bandwagon, and I understand the reasoning, but people are also assuming that organic means chemical free, and sorry but that just is not the case. Generally they can use natural chemicals, and even a few synthetics. This list is from the US governments website listing allowed synthetics. Also keep in mind that not all organic farms will use this stuff, the big corporate ones may (if it means more money they will do it, a small farm is less likely since they are eating it too). Anyway here's the list :
§ 205.601   Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production.
In accordance with restrictions specified in this section, the following synthetic substances may be used in organic crop production: Provided, That, use of such substances do not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water. Substances allowed by this section, except disinfectants and sanitizers in paragraph (a) and those substances in paragraphs (c), (j), (k), and (l) of this section, may only be used when the provisions set forth in §205.206(a) through (d) prove insufficient to prevent or control the target pest.
(a) As algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation system cleaning systems.
(1) Alcohols.
(i) Ethanol.
(ii) Isopropanol.
(2) Chlorine materials— Except, That, residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
(i) Calcium hypochlorite.
(ii) Chlorine dioxide.
(iii) Sodium hypochlorite.
(3) Copper sulfate—for use as an algicide in aquatic rice systems, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to those which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.
(4) Hydrogen peroxide.
(5) Ozone gas—for use as an irrigation system cleaner only.
(6) Peracetic acid—for use in disinfecting equipment, seed, and asexually propagated planting material.
(7) Soap-based algicide/demossers.
(8) Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate (CAS #–15630–89–4)—Federal law restricts the use of this substance in food crop production to approved food uses identified on the product label.
(b) As herbicides, weed barriers, as applicable.
(1) Herbicides, soap-based—for use in farmstead maintenance (roadways, ditches, right of ways, building perimeters) and ornamental crops.
(2) Mulches.
(i) Newspaper or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.
(ii) Plastic mulch and covers (petroleum-based other than polyvinyl chloride (PVC)).
(c) As compost feedstocks—Newspapers or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.
(d) As animal repellents—Soaps, ammonium—for use as a large animal repellant only, no contact with soil or edible portion of crop.
(e) As insecticides (including acaricides or mite control).
(1) Ammonium carbonate—for use as bait in insect traps only, no direct contact with crop or soil.
(2) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #–1312–76–1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.
(3) Boric acid—structural pest control, no direct contact with organic food or crops.
(4) Copper sulfate—for use as tadpole shrimp control in aquatic rice production, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to levels which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.
(5) Elemental sulfur.
(6) Lime sulfur—including calcium polysulfide.
(7) Oils, horticultural—narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.
(8) Soaps, insecticidal.
(9) Sticky traps/barriers.
(10) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s—42922–74–7; 58064–47–4)—in accordance with approved labeling.
(f) As insect management. Pheromones.
(g) As rodenticides.
(1) Sulfur dioxide—underground rodent control only (smoke bombs).
(2) Vitamin D3.
(h) As slug or snail bait. Ferric phosphate (CAS # 10045–86–0).
(i) As plant disease control.
(1) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #–1312–76–1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.
(2) Coppers, fixed—copper hydroxide, copper oxide, copper oxychloride, includes products exempted from EPA tolerance, Provided, That, copper-based materials must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation in the soil and shall not be used as herbicides.
(3) Copper sulfate—Substance must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation of copper in the soil.
(4) Hydrated lime.
(5) Hydrogen peroxide.
(6) Lime sulfur.
(7) Oils, horticultural, narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.
(8) Peracetic acid—for use to control fire blight bacteria.
(9) Potassium bicarbonate.
(10) Elemental sulfur.
(11) Streptomycin, for fire blight control in apples and pears only.
(12) Tetracycline, for fire blight control only and for use only until October 21, 2012.
(j) As plant or soil amendments.
(1) Aquatic plant extracts (other than hydrolyzed)—Extraction process is limited to the use of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide; solvent amount used is limited to that amount necessary for extraction.
(2) Elemental sulfur.
(3) Humic acids—naturally occurring deposits, water and alkali extracts only.
(4) Lignin sulfonate—chelating agent, dust suppressant, floatation agent.
(5) Magnesium sulfate—allowed with a documented soil deficiency.
(6) Micronutrients—not to be used as a defoliant, herbicide, or desiccant. Those made from nitrates or chlorides are not allowed. Soil deficiency must be documented by testing.
(i) Soluble boron products.
(ii) Sulfates, carbonates, oxides, or silicates of zinc, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt.
(7) Liquid fish products—can be pH adjusted with sulfuric, citric or phosphoric acid. The amount of acid used shall not exceed the minimum needed to lower the pH to 3.5.
(8) Vitamins, B1, C, and E.
(9) Sulfurous acid (CAS # 7782–99–2) for on-farm generation of substance utilizing 99% purity elemental sulfur per paragraph (j)(2) of this section.
(k) As plant growth regulators. Ethylene gas—for regulation of pineapple flowering.
(l) As floating agents in postharvest handling.
(1) Lignin sulfonate.
(2) Sodium silicate—for tree fruit and fiber processing.
(m) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.
(1) EPA List 4—Inerts of Minimal Concern.
(2) EPA List 3—Inerts of unknown toxicity—for use only in passive pheromone dispensers.
(n) Seed preparations. Hydrogen chloride (CAS # 7647–01–0)—for delinting cotton seed for planting.

Then you have a list of "nonagricultural" things allowed:
The following nonagricultural substances may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” only in accordance with any restrictions specified in this section.
(a) Nonsynthetics allowed:
Acids (Alginic; Citric—produced by microbial fermentation of carbohydrate substances; and Lactic).
Animal enzymes—(Rennet—animals derived; Catalase—bovine liver; Animal lipase; Pancreatin; Pepsin; and Trypsin).
Calcium carbonate.
Calcium chloride.
Calcium sulfate—mined.
Dairy cultures.
Diatomaceous earth—food filtering aid only.
Egg white lysozyme (CAS # 9001–63–2)
Enzymes—must be derived from edible, nontoxic plants, nonpathogenic fungi, or nonpathogenic bacteria.
Flavors, nonsynthetic sources only and must not be produced using synthetic solvents and carrier systems or any artificial preservative.
Gellan gum (CAS # 71010–52–1)—high-acyl form only.
Glucono delta-lactone—production by the oxidation of D-glucose with bromine water is prohibited.
L-Malic acid (CAS # 97–67–6).
Magnesium sulfate, nonsynthetic sources only.
Microorganisms—any food grade bacteria, fungi, and other microorganism.
Nitrogen—oil-free grades.
Oxygen—oil-free grades.
Perlite—for use only as a filter aid in food processing.
Potassium chloride.
Potassium iodide.
Sodium bicarbonate.
Sodium carbonate.
Tartaric acid—made from grape wine.
Waxes—nonsynthetic (Carnauba wax; and Wood resin).
Yeast—nonsynthetic, growth on petrochemical substrate and sulfite waste liquor is prohibited (Autolysate; Bakers; Brewers; Nutritional; and Smoked—nonsynthetic smoke flavoring process must be documented).
(b) Synthetics allowed:
Activated charcoal (CAS #s 7440–44–0; 64365–11–3)—only from vegetative sources; for use only as a filtering aid.
Ammonium bicarbonate—for use only as a leavening agent.
Ammonium carbonate—for use only as a leavening agent.
Ascorbic acid.
Calcium citrate.
Calcium hydroxide.
Calcium phosphates (monobasic, dibasic, and tribasic).
Carbon dioxide.
Cellulose—for use in regenerative casings, as an anti-caking agent (non-chlorine bleached) and filtering aid.
Chlorine materials—disinfecting and sanitizing food contact surfaces, Except, That, residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act (Calcium hypochlorite; Chlorine dioxide; and Sodium hypochlorite).
Cyclohexylamine (CAS # 108–91–8)—for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.
Diethylaminoethanol (CAS # 100–37–8)—for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.
Ethylene—allowed for postharvest ripening of tropical fruit and degreening of citrus.
Ferrous sulfate—for iron enrichment or fortification of foods when required by regulation or recommended (independent organization).
Glycerides (mono and di)—for use only in drum drying of food.
Glycerin—produced by hydrolysis of fats and oils.
Hydrogen peroxide.
Magnesium carbonate—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.
Magnesium chloride—derived from sea water.
Magnesium stearate—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.
Nutrient vitamins and minerals, in accordance with 21 CFR 104.20, Nutritional Quality Guidelines For Foods.
Octadecylamine (CAS # 124–30–1)—for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.
Pectin (low-methoxy).
Peracetic acid/Peroxyacetic acid (CAS # 79–21–0)—for use in wash and/or rinse water according to FDA limitations. For use as a sanitizer on food contact surfaces.
Phosphoric acid—cleaning of food-contact surfaces and equipment only.
Potassium acid tartrate.
Potassium carbonate.
Potassium citrate.
Potassium hydroxide—prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables except when used for peeling peaches during the Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) production process.
Potassium iodide—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.
Potassium phosphate—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specific ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.
Silicon dioxide.
Sodium acid pyrophosphate (CAS # 7758–16–9)—for use only as a leavening agent.
Sodium citrate.
Sodium hydroxide—prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables.
Sodium phosphates—for use only in dairy foods.
Sulfur dioxide—for use only in wine labeled “made with organic grapes,” Provided, That, total sulfite concentration does not exceed 100 ppm.
Tartaric acid—made from malic acid.
Tetrasodium pyrophosphate (CAS # 7722–88–5)—for use only in meat analog products.
Tocopherols—derived from vegetable oil when rosemary extracts are not a suitable alternative.
Xanthan gum.
(c)–(z) [Reserved]
[68 FR 61993, Oct. 31, 2003, as amended as 68 FR 62217, Nov. 3, 2003; 71 FR 53302, Sept. 11, 2006; 72 FR 58473, Oct. 16, 2007; 73 FR 59481, Oct. 9, 2008; 75 FR 77524, Dec. 13, 2010]

My opinion is buy local, don't worry so much about organic, there will always be big corporate farms pushing the rules, and finding ways to make healthy, well unhealthy. If you have a local organic farmer, by all means buy from them, they deserve a little extra. Something else to keep in mind is pesticides travel on the wind (ever see a cloud after they spray?) so if an organic farm is close to a no-organic one the pesticides very well are on the produce (although not as much, well unless right next door). I've only touched on the produce side, the livestock side has some regulations too, that I'll try to make a post about tomorrow (if my memory is good enough that is). What I hope this does for you is makes you more aware of what you are buying.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vidalia Onion Dip

Found this recipe and it sounded so good I had to try it. Pretty easy. It really needs to sit in the frige for a day or 2 to be it's best. Adapted from The Neelys. Vidalia onions are a little sweeter than regular onions, bu would still be good with whatever type you have.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 Vidalia onions, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Dash hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives 
Heat olive oil and butter in large pan over medium heat, add onions and saute until caramelized, takes about 20 minutes, be sure to stir often or they will burn. Salt and pepper to taste, and set aside to cool.

Mix sour cream, mayo, hot sauce, garlic, and chives in a medium bowl. Add onions and stir to mix, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Food Storage

As a Mormon we are instructed to keep an emergency supply of food. I know the first thing everyone thinks of is the survivalist bunker full of MRE's, but it doesn't have to be that way (unless of course you really like MRE's). What we do is have enough of our staples (flour,pasta, beans,sugar, canned goods including canned meat) to use, and for a year, and when we buy groceries we rotate from our storage space to pantry. You need to make sure you have a variety for a couple of reasons, first is shear boredom, but the more important especially with flour, is that we develop a sensitivity to gluten (if you don't already have it 1 in 100 people is suspected of having a sensitivity). You also need to keep some basic spices in your storage (mine are salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin). You also need a method of heating whatever you are going to use. A cheap camp grill, and a bag of charcoal is great to have, plus keep a lighter with it, just be sure to check them periodically, or you may find when they are needed most they won't work. Don't forget your sweet tooth either, gelatin stores well, and a treat always feels better. Now back to MRE's, there are many places that have very good freeze dried foods that don't taste like freeze dried foods. Make sure you have water as well, we have bottled water delivered, and always keep a couple extra bottles (20 gallons or so).  I keep some powdered milk in my food storage, as well as instant potatoes, they don't taste as good as fresh, but they work when you can't get fresh. You will also need some form of cooking oil, or shortening, as well as sugar or honey. Rice is another item that is easy to store and makes a basic meal. Don't forget all those preserves Great Aunt Marguerite made you either. There are many other things you can store, it's really up to you, and what you would eat, there is no sense storing something that you'll never use. Also be sure to have adequate storage containers, they need to be airtight, and some items fair better if kept from light.

Here are a couple of links for information:

This place sent me some samples, and the food was awesome:

This one has a list of gluten free items:

Remember food storage isn't just about the end of the world, it could be just a power outage, or a storm. It could even be a financial issue, something happens where you don't have income, you'll be happy to have food so you can worry about all the other things that go with that.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Biscuits without added sugar

Last night we had stew for dinner (just a basic one, I'll share later) and I wanted some drop biscuits like my mom used to make. I realized I didn't have the recipe, and all the ones I did have had sugar in them, I now see why we eat so much sugar, we put it in everything. I asked my mother in law, and she said she never heard of adding sugar. I asked her for her recipe, and it used self rising flour, which we are out of, so to the internet I went. Alton Brown came to my rescue, he has the recipe that is what I remember (he shapes them, I used a spoon and dropped them). You have to use shortening, oil won't work (they end up not rising, and very hard don't ask how I know).


  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk, chilled

Preheat oven to 425
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Mix the butter, and shortening in until well mixed, and mixture looks like crumbs (don't be afraid to use your hands) slowly add milk and stir until it all comes together.

Use a large soup spoon and drop a dollop (golfball size almost) onto a well greased baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Holy cow I didn't do a breakfast food yet.

I was just reading back on m y posts, and realized I haven't included anything for breakfast. I myself am not a big breakfast eater, due to my stomach issues. When I do I make French Toast about 60% of the time, nice and easy, and the kids devour it (although my kids are just as happy to eat a bowl of cereal, they may be a little weird). The important thing is make sure the pan you use is hot, and lightly greased (I use cooking spray).

5 Slices of bread
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I sometimes use allspice instead, depends on mood)
butter, syrup, and powdered sugar for topping

Preheat greased pan
Using a fork beat eggs, milk, vanilla and nutmeg in  a shallow bowl.
Lay a piece of bread in mixture, and flip, quickly place on pan and cook until egg at edges gets just dry, and flip, should have a dark golden brown color. Cook until other side is done, remove to plate, and apply butter. If making more than 5 can just add a little more milk, doing over 8 and add another egg.

Friday, February 3, 2012


We've all had a recipe we were dying to try, but didn't want to buy something just for one dish, or you ran out of something. You could also have my dilemma where all these new dishes use coffee and or alcohol, I don't use either one (or tea for that matter). So do we just not make something, and stick with the same old recipes? Of course not, that's what substitutions are for. Some work better than others, and the dish itself may change what gets used, play with flavors a bit and see what you think. I have gathered a few lists (and have The Food Substitution Bible in the kitchen at all times). Some make sense, others (chicken broth for beer just doesn't seem right) well maybe we'll find something eventually. so here's the list, and no it's not a complete list, just highlights of stuff I run across, and alcohol (I have a copy of that substitution list saved to my computer). Feel free to comment and add your own substitutes.

Amaretto   Almond extract (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for 2 tablespoons of Amaretto) or Italian soda syrup, marzipan.

Applejack or Apple Brandy   Apple juice, unsweetened apple juice concentrate, apple cider, or apple butter.

Apricot Brandy   Syrup from a can of apricots in heavy syrup, or apricot preserves

Beer or Ale A strong chicken, beef or mushroom broth

Beer or Ale (Light) Chicken broth, white grape juice or ginger ale

Bourbon  Vanilla extract (1 to 2 teaspoons for 2 tablespoons bourbon), sparkling apple cider, sparkling cranberry juice, or sparkling grape juice.

Brandy   Brandy or rum extract (1/2 to 1 teaspoon for 2 tablespoons of Brandy). Raspberry extract. For recipes calling for exact amounts substitute water

Champagne  Ginger ale, sparkling apple cider, sparkling cranberry juice, sparkling white grape juice, soda water, or champagne extract.

Cherry Liqueur or Cherry Brandy  Syrup from a can of cherries in heavy syrup, or cherry Italian soda syrup, or cherry preserves. 

Cognac  Apricot, peach or pear juice.

Crème de menthe  non-alcoholic mint extract, mint Italian soda syrup, spearmint extract, or spearmint oil with a little water added. If green color is needed, add a drop of green food coloring.

Kahlua  Chocolate extract (1 teaspoon per 2 tablespoons Kahlua)

Red Wine, sweet or dry  non-alcoholic wine with a tablespoon of vinegar added to cut the sweetness, grape juice, cranberry juice, grape jelly, tomato juice, beef broth, liquid drained from vegetables, or water. Use equal amounts of liquid as called for in the recipe.

Riesling White grape juice with a pinch of powdered sugar added.

Rum White grape juice, pineapple juice, or apple juice in equal liquid amounts as called for in the recipe. Can also use these juices with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of non-alcoholic rum, almond or vanilla extract added.

Sherry Apple juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, non-alcoholic vanilla extract (1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract for 2 tablespoons sherry).  To substitute sherry in a marinade use ¼ cup vinegar plus ¼ cup water and 1 tablespoon sugar, or 1 tablespoon vinegar plus chicken stock or water to make up the ½ cup.

Vodka White grape juice or apple cider combined with lime juice or water.

Whiskey If a small amount is called for, it can be eliminated.

White Burgundy Non-alcoholic wine, white grape juice combined with white wine vinegar.

Wine, White, Sweet< Non-alcoholic wine with a tablespoon of vinegar added to cut the sweetness, white grape juice, apple juice, apple cider, tomato juice, chicken broth, vegetable broth, ginger ale, or water. Use equal amounts of liquid as called for in the recipe.  
Wine, White, Dry Water, chicken broth, bullion , ginger ale, white grape juice, diluted cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

Wine, Red Add water, white grape juice, apple juice or broth to match the amount of wine in the recipe.  Or grape juice, vegetable stock, cranberry juice, tomato juice or concord grape jelly

Wine, Heavy Equal amounts of unsweetened orange juice or apple juice plus 1 teaspoon of corresponding flavored extract or non-alcoholic vanilla extract.

Now some other substitutions

Allspice          1 teaspoon     * 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon
                                   ground cloves

Baking powder     1 teaspoon     * 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 5/8
                                   teaspoon cream of tartar
                                 * 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 cup
                                   sour milk or buttermilk or yogurt
                                   (decrease liquid called for in recipe
                                   by 1/2 cup)
                                 * 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2
                                   tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice used
                                   with sweet milk to make 1/2 cup
                                   (decrease liquid called for in recipe
                                   by 1/2 cup)
                                 * 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/4 to
                                   1/2 cup molasses (decrease liquid in
                                   recipe by 1 to 2 tablespoons)
                                 * 1/3 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2
                                   teaspoon cream of tartar

Cocoa             1/4 cup or     * 1 ounce (square) chocolate (decrease
                  4 tablespoons    fat called for in recipe by 1/2

Coconut Milk      1 cup          * 1 cup milk

Corn Syrup        1 cup          * 1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid (use
                                   whatever liquid is called for in the
                                 * 1 cup honey

Cornstarch        1 tablespoon   * 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
(for thickening)                 * 4 to 6 teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca

Cream cheese                     * Part skim milk ricotta cheese or lowfat
                                   cottage cheese beaten until smooth

Cream,            1 cup          * 7/8 cup whole milk plus 1/2 tablespoon
half-and-half                      butter or margarine
                                 * 3 tablespoons oil plus milk to equal
                                   1 cup
                                 * 1 cup evaporated milk

Cream, heavy      1 cup          * 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup butter or 
(36 to 40% fat)                          margarine (for use in cooking and baking)
                                             * 2/3 cup buttermilk plus 1/3 cup oil
                                            * Evaporated skim milk or equal parts of  part-skim milk ricotta cheese and    nonfat yogurt beaten until smooth
                                   (this mixture cannot be heated because
                                   of separation)

Cream, light      1 cup          * 1 cup undiluted evaporated milk
(18 to 20% fat)                  * 14 tablespoons milk plus 3 tablespoons  butter or margarine

Cream, sour       1 cup          * 3 tablespoons butter plus 7/8 cup sour  milk
                                               * 7/8 cup buttermilk plus 3 tablespoons butter

Cream, whipped                   * Chill a 13 oz. can of evaporated milk
                                   for 12 hours. Add 1 teaspoon lemon
                                   juice. Whip until stiff.
                                 * Beat until stiff: 1/2 cup ice-cold
                                   water and 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk. Add
                                   1/2 cup sugar, slowly, while beating.
                                   Then add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and
                                   beat until mixed well.

Cream, whipping   1 cup          * 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2
                                   tablespoons sugar, 1 cup evaporated
                                 * 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup butter (for cooking only)

Cream of tartar   1/2 teaspoon   * 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar

Flour, cake       1 cup sifted   * 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sifted
                                   all-purpose flour

Flour, pastry     1 cup          * 7/8 cup all-purpose flour

Flour,            1 cup          * 1 cup minus 2 teaspoons all-purpose
self-rising                        flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking
                                   powder and ½ teaspoon salt

Herbs, fresh      1 tablespoon,  * 1 teaspoon dried herbs
                  finely cut     * 1/2 teaspoon ground herbs

Milk, buttermilk  1 cup          * 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon sweet milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice or
                                   vinegar (allow to stand 5 to 10

Milk, evaporated  1 can (about   * Whip until smooth:
                  12 ounces)         1 cup nonfat dry milk
                                     1 3/4 cups warm water
                                     Keep refrigerated

Milk, sweetened   1 can (about   * Heat the following ingredients until
condensed         1-1/3 cup)       sugar and butter are dissolved:
                                     1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons
                                     evaporated milk
                                     1 cup sugar
                                     3 tablespoons butter or margarine
                  1 cup          * Heat the following ingredients until
                                   sugar and butter are dissolved:
                                     1/3 cup evaporated milk
                                     3/4 cup sugar
                                     2 tablespoons butter or margarine
                                 * Add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry milk
                                   powder to 1/2 cup warm water. Mix
                                   well. Add 3/4 cup sugar and stir until

Molasses          1 cup          * 3/4 cup sugar plus 2 teaspoons baking
                                   powder (increase liquid called for in
                                   recipe by 5 tablespoons and decrease
                                   baking soda by 1/2 teaspoon)
                                 * 3/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/4 teaspoons
                                   cream of tartar (increase liquid
                                   called for in recipe by 5 tablespoons)

Mustard, dry      1 teaspoon     * 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
                                 * 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

Sugar, brown      1 cup, firmly         * 1 cup granular sugar
                                   packed         * 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses

Sugar,                        1 cup          * 3/4 cup granulated sugar
or powdered

This is not an entire list of course, but hits the high points. Don't be afraid to experiment, and make sure and taste before serving especially if substituting. I haven't come up with a good coffee substitute yet, but eventually I hope to find something.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fried rice

Ok I said I'd come up with a fried rice recipe, and I finally did. It's just basic, and needs a little tweaking, but hey it's there. I stole it from a Chinese cooking mailing list, and tweaked a couple of ingredients

  •  2 green onions
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
  • 4 cups cold cooked yellow rice
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons  soy sauce
Wash and finely chop the onions
Lightly beat the eggs, add salt and pepper
Heat a wok, add 2 tablespoons of oil, once oil is hot add eggs, and scramble. Remove egg and clean out pan.
Add remaining oil and rice, stir fry breaking up rice with a wooden spoon, stir in soy sauce.
Once rice is heated through, add egg and onion. Serve. If desired add some diced cooked pork, or chicken when stir frying the rice

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Proper doneness for meat

Do you have someone that insists that all meat be cooked for hours until it is a dull grey color? Want the most flavor from a steak, or roast? We all know that raw meat is not good for you with all the pathogens and what not, but for beef the worst culprit is e. coli, and found mostly in ground beef (it remains on the surface of the meat, and grinding mixes it). Beef cooked to medium or beyond (140 degrees and up) will start to dry out and get tougher. I know "grandma's roast was always tender and falling apart" that's because there is little connective tissue in a roast, and cooking it long enough to cook it out makes it fall apart, but those stringy strands are always tough. We also tend to overcook pork due to fears of all kinds of stuff, but the fact is the diseases we fear have been bred out of hogs since the '50s. I cook my pork until it is just slightly pink, and have never been sick from it. Chicken, and ground meat I cook to about 160 degrees, and keep in mind that when you pull the meat from the heat source you get what they call carry over, and the temperature will rise about 5 degrees. There are also some studies that suggest eating overcooked meats can be detrimental to your health, it changes them on the molecular level, and they have seen increased risk of cancer from it. It is also harder for your body to digest, and the nutrients get cooked out. This chart is great for what temps are best for each meat:  if you want to make your tough meat tender, cook at a lower temp for a longer time (like the best bar b que places do) If your pork is too tough brine it (I like to brine anything that isn't beef personally). Now wild game is different (that's where most of the average 40 cases of Trichinosis in the US a year come from) but even trichinosis is killed at 138 degrees, so why cook the life out of it? Invest in a good digital meat thermometer, and use it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Myth about cooking with alcohol

We've all been told that it's ok to serve kids rumballs, or what have you because the alcohol burns off in cooking. Well that's not entirely true. The USDA had a couple colleges (the University of Idaho, and Washington State University) study it, and what they found was there will always be some alcohol as long as their is liquid (alcohol bonds to water) how much depends on the dish, and cooking time.
  • The highest rates of retention were with alcohol added to boiling liquid and then shortly after removed from heat.  In this case, the alcohol retention rate was around 85%.
  • The second highest alcohol retention rate came when using the flaming method of cooking, which resulted in around a 75% retention level.
  • When using no heat and storing overnight, about 70% of the alcohol was retained.
  • When baked for 25 minutes with the mixture not being stirred, the retention rate was 45%.
  • When baked/simmered where the mixture is stirred, produced the following results:
    • 15 minutes 40%
    • 30 minutes 35%
    • 1 hour 25%
    • 1.5 hours 20%
    • 2 hours 10%
    • 2.5 hours 5%
    Now you can see in a cake nobody will get drunk (well maybe if they eat the whole cake), but since alcohol is a toxin (that's what makes you feel drunk) do you really want your kids eating it? A little food for thought. There are substitutes for most alcohol, apple juice, grape juice, and orange juice are all popular, and vinegar will substitute for some wines.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blue cheese dressing

Ok my kids absolutely love salad, and both want blue cheese dressing on it, so when I got an email with this recipe today I had to save it (don't have the yogurt to make it today). Can't wait to try it. The recipe calls for low fat buttermilk, and fat free yogurt, neither of which do I use (growing up on a dairy farm we had more fat in milk than whole milk so fat free stuff tastes funny, plus is WAY too processed). Comes from Ellie Krieger at food network

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Fold a full sheet of paper towel into quarters and put it into a small bowl. Spoon the yogurt onto the paper towel and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to drain and thicken. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk and thickened yogurt into the mayonnaise until smooth. Add the vinegar and sugar and continue to whisk until all the ingredients are well combined. Stir in the blue cheese and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year

I figure since it's Chinese New Year, I should have Chinese food, and my favorite is General Tso's chicken. I've never made it myself, but found a recipe I want to try. It's hard to find one without alcohol for some reason, and I really want to avoid the alcohol if possible (it doesn't cook off no matter what you've been told). We shall see how it is.


1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 cups hot chicken broth
3 lbs. uncooked, chicken breast, cut in chunks
 1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup salad oil
2 cups green onions, chopped
16 small, dried hot peppers

Mix 1/2 cup cornstarch with water, add garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce  vinegar, and broth. Stir until sugar dissolves, and set aside.
In a separate bowl mix the chicken, soy sauce, and pepper. Stir in egg, then add cornstarch mixing until coated, add oil to help separate pieces. Deep fry until crispy, and drain well.
In a wok stir fry onions, and peppers in a little oil. Stir in sauce, and chicken. Stir to coat. Serve on fried rice (recipe hopefully coming soon)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Shredded pork tacos

Making this tonight to use some pork roast we have. Use your favorite taco seasoning (I'm still working on perfecting my homemade one so I use ortega for now) Does take a little bit since you really need to brine the roast for best flavor, and tenderness. To brine you need a gallon of water, 1/3 cup salt, a couple bay leaves, 2 tablespoons cumin, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, and a ziptop bag. Let the roast sit in the brine overnight. Rinse before cooking

1-2 pound brined pork roast
water (enough to cover roast in a large pot)
2 packages of taco powder
1 jar salsa
shredded cheese (I use cheddar, and shred my own)
sour cream

put roast in large pot, and cover with water. Boil until fork tender (about 2 hours) be sure to keep water level above roast. Remove from water, and shred with 2 forks. Mix in seasoning, warm tortillas, and serve with sour cream, and cheese.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Homemade hamburger helper

Decided we needed to use some of the ground beef that we had, and everyone asked for hamburger helper. Of course we don't have any, so I looked for some ideas. I found a recipe that worked great with a little modification.


1 pound ground beef
1 1/4 cup hot water
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Brown the meat, and drain. Add spices water (original recipe was only 1 cup water, but was a bit dry), milk, and noodles. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Cook about 10 minutes, and stir in cheese. Cook additional 2 minutes or until pasta is tender, and cheese is melted. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to thicken. You can add more cheese when serving.

Monday, January 16, 2012

real corned beef

I have been dying for some real corned beef, like you get in a real deli. I can't get it around here (at least not that doesn't taste horrid) Now the stuff in a can is not corned beef, it tastes like dogfood, and typically comes from South America, where it was illegal to import beef from due to health concerns (although the ban was lifted last year in order for us to import cotton, the health concerns such as hoof and mouth, and mad cow are still present there) This is not a fast process, and you need a place to keep a large hunk of beef for a couple of days submerged in the brine (in a zip top bag, but in a waterproof container to catch any leaks). For that pink color you use either saltpeter (potassium nitrite) or pink curing salt (sodium nitrite) the saltpeter seems to be more  available (check the pharmacy). Notice too no corn in corned beef, corning is just another term for pickling

1 package  pickling spices
1 gallon water
2 cups kosher salt
2 tablespoons saltpeter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 5 lb beef brisket
boil the water,3 tablespoons of the pickling spices, salt, saltpeter, and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool completely (refrigerate overnight)
Add brisket to ziptop bag, and pour in brine. Refrigerate for 10 days, turning daily.
Rinse under cool water, place in a pot just large enough for the meat. Cover with water, and add a teaspoon pickling spice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook 3-4 hours, or until tender. Slice thin

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Vegetable storage

Since I did a big spiel about buying produce, I figure we need to also say something about storing it. Some things are fine stored on the counter, apples, bananas,citrus, pears are all fine on the counter for a while, putting them in the frige does extend their shelf life some also.  Fresh herbs should be stored in the frige wrapped in a damp paper towel, and put in a zip top bag. Lettuce should be refrigerated before washing (wash it just before you use it). Potatoes should be kept in a dark cool spot, but not with onions (onions will quicken the rot because of offgassing). Tomatoes should never be refrigerated, as it causes them to lose flavor. Onions also need a cool dark place, but not with other veggies. Mushrooms should be removed from the plastic wrap, and have a damp paper towel placed over them in the frige. Nothing should be stored wet (as a matter of fact that spray they do at the store actually hurts the veggies, not help, but it makes you think they are fresher yay marketing) there are a bunch of others, but this hits the highlights. I know I for one was storing potatoes and onions together, but we go through a ton of onions and potatoes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's Mardi Gras time, so time for king cake

Since I live in the town where Mardi Gras originated (nope New Orleans didn't create it) I figure I better do something about a king cake. There are a few different ones depending on who you ask, but traditionally it's a roll similar to brioche, and covered with colored sugar, with a plastic baby inside. It is served from 12th night (Epiphany)and goes through Mardi Gras day (Fat Tuesday). It is to represent the 3 wise men, with the baby being Baby Jesus. My favorite is made using a simple cinnamon roll twisted (they say braid it, but everyone that sells them here just twists them) with the icing topped with the 3 colored sugars. To make it easy I use the store bought tube rolls (the ones I make don't taste that much better, especially for the time it takes) to make the sugar just add purple, green and yellow food coloring to some sugar. I do make my own powdered sugar icing

3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.
3-6 tablespoons of milk

add sugar, butter and vanilla to a mixing bowl, add milk and stir to desired consistency.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cheese crackers

Ok the ex found a recipe to try for some cheese crackers, and made me make some. They are actually in the oven now, and I will update with flavor opinion tomorrow.


1/2 cup BUTTER (margarine doesn't work well) at room temperature
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups ap flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Preheat oven to 325
Place all ingredients in food processor, and pulse until well mixed
On lightly floured surface form into a ball of dough
Roll out to very thin layer, about 1/8 inch thick
Use pizza cutter to cut into cracker sized pieces
place onto foil lined cookie sheet, and bake for 11 minutes, or until edges get golden
cool on cooling rack

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cooking vegetables

We all know veggies have lots of nutrients, but so many people cook all the good stuff out. Basically if your water changes color those are the nutrients. So how do we cook them, and not lose too many? Microwave is great, except cauliflower, steam, and then shock until just tender, roasting works well for many also, and adds some flavor. Boiling should be a last resort, but is really convenient. Remember most veggies when cooked should still be fairly crisp, and never limp. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Antibiotics in your food

Did you know that most of the meat you eat is treated with antibiotics from birth? It's in the feed, and doesn't matter if the animal is sick. What this does is makes the animal grow faster, but causes resistant bugs, the big one being staph. It has been banned by Europe and Canada. Studies are ongoing, but they are finding a higher rate of resistant bacteria in meats. I also have an issue because I am not sure if the drugs completely leave the meat after such high doses, other antibiotics have been found in the meat, and warnings given. I have loved ones who are allergic to antibiotics, so if there are even trace amounts it could be deadly, there is actually a tolerance level allowed, and the animals are supposed to be kept separate for a set amount of time to let the drugs leave the system, but doesn't always happen, especially with the way checking is done. Some more information can be found here

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mac and cheese

This is the simplest macaroni and cheese, and my kids devour it. You can use almost any cheese you like, but it has to be real cheese. It helps to let the cheese warm a little (I pull it from the fridge while I cook the noodles) I don't bake it, never saw a reason to, it just makes a crust of cheese, and I don't care much for that.
8 oz (about a half a box) elbow macaroni
water (enough to cook macaroni)
tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
1/2 pound cheddar cheese (I use block, but good shredded works ok, cheap stuff will separate and be oily)
boil water add a little salt, and macaroni. Cook until tender, and drain. Return to pot add milk, and butter, and stir in cheese slowly (add a little and stir until melted) add a little more milk to make creamier, salt to taste.

That's it, pretty easy, and takes about 30 minutes or so.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Honey that isn't honey

I read an article yesterday that talked about honey that had the pollen removed. Seems that in order to be called honey in the U.S. it has to have pollen. They got some from different places, and tested it, and quite a few came up without. The process they use to extract the pollen was started in China, where they also add antibiotics to the honey that isn't allowed here. The food safety divisions of the  World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others also have ruled that without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.The only reason to remove the pollen is to hide it's origin, so it is safe to say that the pollen free stuff came from China, and should be avoided."The FDA -- either because of lack of interest or resources -- devoted little effort to inspecting imported honey. Nevertheless, the agency had occasionally either been told of, or had stumbled upon, Chinese honey contaminated with chloramphenicol and other illegal animal antibiotics which are dangerous, even fatal, to a very small percentage of the population." Not to mention that it is subsidized by the Chinese government, and therefore is cheaper here than "homegrown" honey. It is subject to tariffs, but unscrupulous suppliers get around that by doing what is called transshipping which means it goes to a country without tariffs, and is then sold to our suppliers. Here is a list of the brands that failed so you can make a semi-educated buying choice. One thing to look for also is if the honey is really clear it probably isn't honey, and if it doesn't crystallize it sure isn't.

More info can be found here