Friday, March 28, 2014

Mimosa Cocktail

One memorable Sunday morning, we remembered we had a bottle of champagne in the fridge. So I made each of us a Mimosa to go along with some muffins for a late Sunday morning brunch.  Mimosa cocktails are really good when having a group or party for brunch.


Serving size: 8 Mimosa Cocktails
  • 1 750 ml bottle chilled champagne or dry sparkling wine
  • 3 cups (750 ml) chilled orange juice
Serving size: 1 Mimosa Cocktail
  • 1/3 cup chilled champagne or dry sparkling wine
  • 1/3 cup chilled orange juice
Directions
  1. Fill champagne flutes 1/2 full with chilled sparkling wine. Top with orange juice. 
NOTES:
  • I don't mix the champagne and orange juice in a pitcher as I feel it goes flat fast when mixed. So I make them up individually before serving. 
  • I don't stir them as again it can make it flat faster
  • Keep champagne and orange juice chilled. They don't taste as good warm. 
  • If you are serving a large group you can go less on the champagne/sparkling wine, but we prefer the flavor of using equal amounts of orange juice and champagne/sparking wine
  • You can add a little splash of Triple Sec or another orange liquor for added orange flavoring. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sour Cream Cookies


 This is a family recipe. I am sure man others have a similar one in their family. My Grandma and Mom have always made these for holidays or special occasions. My Grandma passed away the end of 2013, but I always remember her when I make these cookies. She used to change the recipe up every so often - adding lemon grind or using more almond extract than vanilla. But this is the basic recipe my Mom always uses and I suggest you play around with the flavors. 

This recipe is good anytime you are wanting a sweet treat. They are my favorite cookie.

Sour Cream Cookies

Cookie:
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup sour cream

Glaze:
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cream or half and half
Optional: Sprinkles such as pastel colored sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat Oven to 350. Mix flour, baking soda and powder in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and extracts. Stir in sour cream. And then slowly add flour mixture until all added in. Drop cookies on a cookie sheet and bake 8 to 12 minutes. Cool.  Glaze cookies and let the glaze set for an hour. Store in an airtight container.



Saturday, February 15, 2014

House Cleaning Supplies

We had a question recently on the FetLife group about what do you keep in your cleaning kit?

There are lots of different ways to store cleaning supplies...in a caddy, pail, or plastic basket. You can keep supplies specific to the room you are cleaning right in the room - like toilet brush, toilet bowl cleaner and such right in the bathroom.  Or you can have one kit that everything goes into and you cart from room too room.

I kind of do both which might sound silly, but it works for me. In the end that is all that matters, if it works good for you.

This is my basic cleaning supplies:
  • 3 Vinegar solutions in spray bottles - 1) straight vinegar, 2) mixture of vinegar, distilled water, essential oils and dish soap which is my all-purpose spray, and 3) dawn dish soap, vinegar and distilled water I use in my bathroom on hard water stains in the shower so often it stays just in the bathroom.
  • 1 spray bottle of peroxide
  • 1 spray bottle of alcohol
  • 1 shaker of baking soda
  • microfiber clothes, rags, scrub brushes and tooth brushes
  • magic erasers
I also have Bar Keeper's Friend, Borax and Bleach on hand, but I don't use those as often so I don't keep in my cleaning kit. I don't have oven cleaner as my oven is a self-cleaning that doesn't use oven cleaner.  
Scrub brushes and the like: I have a toothbrush for cleaning in my kitchen (that I use on the faucet and grout around the tile) that stays in my kitchen.  I have a toothbrush for the bathroom that stays in the bathroom. The toilet bowl brush stays in the bathroom too. 

Dusting: When dusting, I use a mixture of warm water and vinegar in a bowl. I soak the microfiber cloth in the bowl and then wring it out so it is damp to the touch. I have a dry microfiber cloth or  a rag to dry any wetness left behind after dusting.   
Window/Mirrors: I use straight vinegar and a microfiber cloth

Floors: When washing the kitchen floor which is linoleum, I use a mixture of a squirt of dish soap, vinegar, warm water and essential oil - usually peppermint.  For a carpet freshener - I take some baking soda in a shaker and add some essential oils to the baking soda and mix up.  I then sprinkle that across the carpet and let sit for an hour or more. 

Commercial Cleaners: I try to avoid commercial cleaners because I have asthma and have found using vinegar based homemade cleaning products does just as well for me. I grew up with my Grandmother and Mom using vinegar to clean with and so it is a clean smell to me. Like I said I have Bar Keeper's Friend, Borax and Bleach on hand. I don't use the Borax or Bleach often because my lungs don't like them.  But occasionally I find the need for them. I will even at times get disinfecting wipes and Scrubbing Bubbles because they make it easier. But for the most 90% off the time I use the items listed under the bullet points.
Think about what you are cleaning and what you need to clean it. Use google as you can find links to clean about anything you would need to clean.

Here is a link from About.com about Choosing the Right Cleaning Product

Friday, January 31, 2014

Cocktail: Adult Milk Shake

2 cups Chocolate ice cream
3/4 milk
3 oz. coffee liqueur

Using a blender, combine ice cream, milk, and coffee liqueur. Blend until smooth. Pour into prepared milkshake glasses.

Serves 2

Variations:
* 1 cup chocolate ice cream & 1 cup coffee ice cream
*  need more chocolate add some chocolate syrup
*  want a little almond flavor add some Amaretto
* Garnish with any of the following: a drizzle of chocolate syrup, whipped cream, a chocolate covered coffee bean, or sprinkle of cocoa powder to make it a little bit more fancy

RECIPE for homemade Coffee Liqueur



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Organizing Household Appliance Manuals

Do you have a junk draw stuffed with instruction booklets and manuals for your household appliances?  I used to store them in a cupboard and every time I removed one - 10 came spilling out.

Recently we bought a new entertainment cabinet and has more storage than our old so I decided to use it for all those manuals.

I took a basket, a box of  gallon size ziplock bags and marker to organize them better. I labeled the bags with rooms in our house.  I took all the kitchen appliances manual and placed them into the coordinating bag.  Some manuals such as the one for our TV - had lots of little parts and booklets - so those I did in a single ziplock. They are all now in the basket. I have kitchen appliances first in the basket, because I tend to get into those manuals more often - such as when it is time to clean the oven or coffee maker.

Do you have a way you organize those manuals? I would love to hear how others organize them.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Potstickers

This recipe makes about 48 potstickers. I make them for parties or I  freeze them in more manageable meal size batches.  Or split the recipe in half for 24 potstickers. I have included freezing instructions on the bottom of this recipe.

1 lb ground pork (also good with ground chicken)
6 to 8  water chestnuts, diced
2 or 3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger (ground ginger does work in it's place)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce (plus some for dunking)
 2 packages of wonton wrappers
2 to 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil


In a medium to large bowl, mix  the ground pork, water chestnuts, green onions, ginger, garlic and soy sauce.


 Take one wrapper at a time and spoon a rounded teaspoon of filling in the center. Keep the rest of the wonton wrappers covered with a damp towel.

Wet the four edges of the wrapper with dampened fingers. Fold wrapper in half over filling to form a triangle, making sure the ends meet and filling is centered; press edges down firmly to seal.

Spray a platter or plate with cooking spray, place sealed potstickers, cover with a damp towel to keep moist. Fill plate and place in the refrigerator to keep cool while you continue to fill wrappers. Repeat filling each wrapper until all the filling is gone.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat  in a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Add about 12 potstickers to the pan and cook. Cook until lightly browned - turning once, about 1 minute per side. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan carefully as the oil may splatter and pop, cover, and steam until translucent and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and wontons. Serve with soy sauce.

FREEZER Instructions:
Prepare the potstickers up to the cooking stage.

Take a baking sheet and line it parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Place the potstickers on the baking sheet so that they are not overlapping or touching. Place in the freezer.

After the potstickers are frozen, place them in a freezer bag. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.

When ready to use, cook the potstickers as usual, without thawing. The cooking time will be a bit longer than usual.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Cocktail: Hot Apple Kiss


I made some wassail to sip on Thanksgiving day.  We had some left so I made what I am calling a Hot Apple Kiss based on the cold version here.

Add to mug:
1/2 oz to 1 oz amaretto
1/2 oz to 1 oz.spiced rum

Top with hot apple cider and mix. Garnish with apple or orange slices. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pans and Place-mats


I like place-mats for the table, but you know how it is...you get some new ones and those old ones sit in the drawer or on a shelf. I now use some of  the old ones to place between pans so they don't get scratched by stacking each inside the other. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Balsamic Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms


1 lb. fresh green beans 
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450F.

Wash mushrooms. Cut mushrooms into slices 1/2 inch thick. Wash green beans.  Trim green bean ends.

Place both into a zliplock bag or a plastic bowl. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour over, then squeeze bag or stir so all the beans and mushrooms are lightly coated with the mixture.

Arrange on in a single layer on a large cookie sheet. Roast 20-30 minutes.

Cook until beans are tender-crisp, mushrooms are cooked, and all liquid on the pan from mushrooms has evaporated.

Season beans to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper, then sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan. Serve.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cocktail: Toasted Almond



Last December Katie posted 2 recipes for Coffee Liqueur. I made some for gifts Christmas 2012 and I am going to again this year. It did the 3-day method last year and will again this year.  

Our ususual drink for coffee liqueur is a shot or 2 in an old fashioned glass with ice and milk. The first batch I made this year went to a new drink a Toasted Almond


1 or 2 shots coffee liqueur
1 shot amaretto almond liqueur
8 oz milk
2 tbsp chocolate syrup (optional)
ice

Mix all together. Serve in an old fashioned glass over ice.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Organize Plastic Lids


You know back in the day when you had actual ice cube trays to twist and turn out into the bin to create a stock pile of ice. I have automatic ice maker now so I use that bin to store all my plastic lids.  I place the bin on the shelves next to the stacked glass and plastic containers making it easy to find the lid for the coordinating container. I don't keep any lid that doesn't have a container matching it in the bin. I might use it for craft projects to use as a paint palette several times and then throw it out. But I try to recycle them somewhat at least.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

All About Winter Squash


Some Popular Types of Winter Squash

  • Acorn Squash
  • Autumn Cup Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  • Banana Squash
  • Carnival Squash
  • Delicata Squash
  • Hubbard Squash
  • Kabocha Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Sugar Pie Pumpkins

 

The Basics

Winter squash comes in a variety of shapes round, elongated, scalloped, and pear-shaped and have bright colors such as golden-yellow and brilliant orange. The inside flesh has a sweet, nutty flavor.  Winter squash can be stored for months in a cool basement and often available year-round, but the natural season goes from late summer to mid-winter.  They are rich in antioxidants as well as a variety of vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin A and C, fiber, and potassium.

Choosing/Buying a Winter Squash and Storage

Winter squash should have a firm skin/rind and feel heavy. Make sure to choose one without mold, sunken spots, cuts or punctures in the skin.  The stem should be undamaged as well. Don't store in the refrigerator, but just in a cool dry place for about a month. After cutting the squash, it can wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for about 4 or 5 days. Once a winter squash is cooked, the inside flesh can be frozen.

Cooking

The exterior of the squash should be washed just before using. To cut from What's America Cooking: "To cut winter squash in half, grasp the squash firmly and use a sharp knife to slice through to the center. Then flip and cut the other side until the squash falls open. Remove and discard the seeds. Hint: Place the whole winter squash in the microwave for 3 minutes; then cut it easily, remove seeds, add butter, etc, and put into hot oven to bake. (Perforate with knife before putting in microwave so it won't explode.)" The seeds can be scooped out before cooking or after, but I usually do it before cooking. Most of the winter squash varieties are great for puréeing, roasting and baking.  Pureed squash can be mashed and used in soups, entrees, side dishes, even sweets and breads such as muffins or pies.

Resources

What's Cooking America - has a list of squash and a variety of facts about each such as what they look like and when available. This link also has prepping and cooking information. 

Cooking Light Winter Squash Recipes -
a list of recipes for Winter Squash

Smitten Kitchen Pumpkin and Squash Recipes -
a list of recipes

 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Spicy Mayo

 

I like spicy hot. Master doesn't so much. When he goes out of town. I make comfort food and french fries or tator tots with a dipping sauce is always a good comfort food to me.  So I recently made a fish sandwich and didn't want tarter or chili sauce on it and made this to not only dip fries into, but add to my fish sandwich.  It was completely yummy! I now use it as a condiment on many sandwiches and hamburgers too. It is really easy to make.
 

Ingredients: 
3 Tablespoons mayo 
1 Tablespoon Sriracha, Tabasco or any chili hot sauce

Directions: 
* In bowl, combine ingredients and mix until smooth. 
* Use as dip for fries or chips or spread on your favorite sandwich

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cleaning a Coffee Grinder

Add a couple tablespoons to a handful of rice into the grinder. Grind the rice into fine particles and it will soak up the oils left from coffee beans, absorb odor and clean out residual grounds. Discard the rice and wipe clean with a dry cloth or use a clean paint brush to brush any left over particles.

Top row of 3 photos: 1) adding rice, 2) grinding rice, and 3) using a brush to clean up the left over particles
Bottom row of 2 photos:  1) Before starting this process, and 2) Clean grinder after using the rice to clean it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cold Solutions: Warm Compress & Steam Shower


Right now I have a summer cold. I hate colds, but summer colds always seem the worst. So I have a ton of pressure in my head and my chest is rattling.   I have 2 quick little tips: Homemade Warm Compress and Steam Shower Tip

Warm Compress
This first one can be done one of 2 ways...
1) I put water in a dish - a inch or 2, sometimes I add a couple drops of peppermint oil if I am needing to open up my nasal passages and clear my chest, add a hand towel and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.  (I microwave it until it is hot enough to handle with my hands as I will need to wring it out.)  Take and wring out and stick in ziplock and stick that in a pillow case.  Or if cool enough to handle then just use straight ziplock on face across nasal passages.

2) Wet a hand towel, add a few drops of peppermint oil if needing to open up nasal passages and clear chest congestion,  place hand towel into ziplock (do not zip it closed), place in microwave for 30 seconds to 1 min.  Again enough so that isn't too hot to handle.  If it is then use tongs, to take out of microwave and place in pillowcase and allow to cool slightly before laying it across your nasal passages.

DO NOT put anything too hot to handle on your body.  DO NOT keep in one position if it seems to be burning.  If just needing relief from pressure, you don't need to add the peppermint oil. Just the warm compress alone will help give some temporary relief.

Steam Shower Tip
Just add a one or two drops of peppermint oil to your shower. I just sprinkle it in one corner of the shower - where the hot water can hit.  I then turn on the water hot enough for me to be a comfortable temp shower.  Breath in.

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