Sunday, January 31, 2010

Homemade Soup Stock

Both Master and I enjoy soup, especially in the winter months. Generally, I make a big pot and we eat on it for two or three nights with some homemade bread. As much as we like soup, we obviously go through a lot of stock / broth. I searched everywhere for something we liked. Neither one of us found a bouillon all that good, just salty. Chicken and Beef base was ok but it was hard in our small town to find one that wasn't full of MSG. Good organic broth seemed to be the best but also incredibly expensive in the quantity that we go through.

Finally, I started making my own. It isn't all that difficult, its super frugal, and just plain yummy. I start by saving bones from various meals in freezer bags and freezing until I get enough bones to fill an entire stock pot. Save those whole chicken carcasses, whether from a home-roasted or store bought rotisserie chicken. Beef bones from roasts, steaks, the new year prime rib, etc. All that even ones that we might have gnawed on, get frozen (you're going to boil it later anyway).

When I have enough bones to fill a pot, I do so. In the pot also goes a head of garlic, with the top cut off so the cloves show a bit, an onion that has been peeled and quartered, a handful of celery, another handful of carrots, 3 bay leaves and some whole black peppercorns. I let that all simmer away on the stove for about 8 hours - a gentle simmer not a rolling boil. At the end of that 8 hours, strain out all the bones and veggies. Put the strained broth into the fridge and let it sit overnight. In the morning, all of the fat will have congealed on the surface of the broth. I skim that off, and toss it. You could leave the fat if you wanted too or save it for some other purpose (frying, etc.).

At this point your broth is ready to use or store. It stores well in the freezer or if you're not afraid of a pressure-canner, it can be canned for long-term pantry storage. Freeze the broth in quantities you're likely to use it in, 2 or 4 cups for instance. This way you can just dump the frozen broth into a pot and cook when you're ready to make soup.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Favorties

Chalk Dehumidifier - I receive Martha Stewart's organizational tips in my email daily and this one was either today or yesterday. But I am curious has anyone tried it? Does it work? It just sounds like one of those off the wall solutions that not in a million years would I have ever thought of on my own.

Chicken Paillards with Clementine Salsa - These look so good. And right now we are seeing clementines at every grocery store.

Wallpaper Maintenance - from cleaning it to to hanging it and the problems with that...just all sorts of wallpaper maintenance how-tos and suggestions.

In my Chocolate Peanut Popcorn post, I have a picture of the popcorn in ziplocks with little toppers that I stapled on to the bags. I made them in photoshop but you could easily make them in Word. The images I used for the toppers are all free vintage images from Dover. I signed up and they send me a weekly email that links to free samples. And I download the ones I like to my computer. I use them for greeting cards, gift wrap, making recipe cards, pdf files, tags and the toppers. I just find all sorts of uses for them.

Paint Your Place by - You can upload a photo of the room and then go through colors and see it on the walls of the photo. I think it would be a cool test drive before painting. (If that link doesn't take you directly to Paint Your Place: Go to the Explore Color Smart - the menu will drop down and then Paint Your Place is the last options)

Gourmet Popcorn: Butterscotch

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups peanuts (optional)

Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet (or 2) with tinfoil. Spray with cooking spray.

Pop the popcorn. Put nuts and popcorn in a very large bowl.

Bring brown sugar, corn syrup and butter to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butterscotch chips, vanilla extract, baking soda and salt until blended and smooth. It will foam up when you put in the baking soda - that is normal.

Working quickly and using two spoons, pour syrup over popcorn and nuts, stirring to coat thoroughly.

Pour mixture into pan; bake 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, cool mixture in pan about 15 minutes. Turn mixture out of pan onto foil to cool completely.
Break popcorn into smaller pieces; store in airtight containers in cool dry place up to 2 weeks.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gourmet Popcorn: Zesty

Zesty Popcorn
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups pretzels - optional

Pop the popcorn. Place in a large bowl (or 2 bowls if you don't have anything large enough to to place all the popcorn).

Combine butter, paprika, chili powder, salt, garlic and onion powder - stirring well. Pour over popped corn; stir to coat popcorn as evenly as possible. Turn mixture onto baking sheet. Sprinkle half the cheese on the popcorn. Bake at 250 degrees F for 20 minutes or until crispy; stirring once. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and toss to coat evenly. Let stand on baking sheet, stirring once or twice as mixture cools.

When thoroughly cool, store in airtight ziplock bags or container.

* I used butter but I am sure margarine would work also.
* My second batch of this I used Penzey's BBQ 3000 in place of the paprika and chili powder and it was even better. The first batch, as the recipe is above, was really good but the BBQ 3000 just gave it a little something extra.
* I added pretzels to my second batch too and that was a hit too. I am sure peanuts in it would be great too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gourmet Popcorn: Chocolate Peanut

For Christmas I had to be very creative with my gifts as we just didn't have the money to spend on gifts. And I wanted to think outside my handmade/homemade gifts. And still giving gifts I thought my friends and family would enjoy.

One of the gifts I created was "Gourmet" Popcorn. The popcorn kernels are very inexpensive as well as the ingredients to use on them. I then packaged them in ziplocks and designed and printed out little toppers for the bags.

The reason though I am posting this now is because any of these would make a great treat for a Super Bowl party. I served them at a Christmas party and they were gobbled up. And everyone was in awe that I made them...that they weren't "store bought" gourmet popcorn. I have 3 recipes but will post one a day for the next 3 days as I don't want this to be a huge long post.

Chocolate Peanut Popcorn
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 1/2 cups peanuts (other nuts would be good I am sure too - such as cashews or almonds)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoons coarse salt

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Take a rimmed large cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan or 2 smaller rimmed cookie sheets) and line it with tinfoil. Spray it with cooking spray. Pop the popcorn and place in a large bowl. Add the peanuts and set aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, butter, cocoa, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a gentle simmer, about 5 minutes.

Pour sugar mixture over popcorn and nuts; toss to coat. Keeping tossing even if it doesn't look like it is coating well. And even if you are having trouble getting it to coat "well" - it doesn't need to have chocolate on every bit of popcorn. It will be good no matter how the chocolate mixture coated the popcorn. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake until dry. Stirring every 20 minutes and cooking about 1 hour. Cool on sheet on wire racks. And then break apart into pieces. Store in airtight containers or ziplocks.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Favorites...

January's my month to nest and be crafty, so I'm including some of my new favorites.

For those who make jams, etc... here's a few cute options for packaging and printable labels/tags.

Artful Arranging
Some great ideas on different ways to arrange art in space. I love how many photos there are to inspire and illustrate examples of using the space.

DIY: Canvas Frame Inspiration Boards
Tutorial for a cute inexpensive craft project- customize with your favorite fabric. Make one, or several for a mosaic-like effect.

Refreshing Your Home- 8 tips
Timeless, easy, inexpensive tips on freshening up your home space.

Tutorial: Glossy Bookmark or Magnet
Excellent tutorial, with step by step instructions on how to make some thoughtful gifts for about $2 each. I liked how you had the option to make it a magnet, or a bookmark, with charm or without.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Maple Butterscotch Cake

We got a new oven right before Thanksgiving. And this cake was the first cake I baked in the new oven. When I made this cake in my old oven, it didn't turn out too good. But Master loves maple so I knew I needed to tackle it again for his birthday. And it turned out perfectly. Unfortunately my photo didn't. It came out blurry. The cake has amazing flavor but I have to say this frosting is to die for....really Oh my! You know the maple frosting on donuts? That is kind of what it tastes like only this is better. Trust me!

Maple Butterscotch Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (or cake flour*)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon maple extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch pan.

For the cake cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl at least once. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add the extracts and mix to combine.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. And then add to the butter mixture alternately with the milk.

Pour the batter into the pan, spread it out evenly and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is springy to the touch and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes.

For the frosting put the butterscotch chips and half of the butter in a heatproof bowl, and melt together over low heat or at low power in the microwave. Stir until smooth; if it looks a little broken, that's okay. (If you have made my maple fudge you know the same thing happens)

Put the other half of the butter in a mixing bowl with half of the confectioners' sugar. Mix until smooth and then add the melted chip mixture. Add the rest of the sugar and beat again until you have a smooth frosting. Mix in the extract. Add the milk if necessary to make the frosting a spreadable consistency - which I find I always need to add it. Spread the frosting evenly over cake. Serve.

* Cake Flour gives it just a little bit different texture to me - probably better but I usually don't have cake flour around. Though you can "make" your own. But read about subbing all-purpose flour for cake flour and how to make your own cake flour.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Favorites

Hot Coupon World - This was a link given to me by Sanna, a reader of Domestic. You have to register but it is free. And then it not only gives you coupons but has forums, chat, blogs and other resources on saving money on your grocery bills.

All You - it is a paper magazine but I found the link to the website in Real Simple. The website is full of tips on "enjoying life for less." A few articles I read and enjoyed....5 Coupon Blogs We Love, 6 Ways to Make Couponing Easy, A Month's Worth of Money Saving Ideas and 8 Surprising Foods You Can Freeze

Makes Great Leftovers from Woman's Day - We like leftovers so this link caught my eye. It had some recipes that were different to me. I am going to try to create a calendar of new recipes I want I try and hopefully add at least one of these.

Pretty Plastic Bag Organizer from Martha Stewart - I have one of these that was made by someone else and given to us. And it made from an ugly towel. But it is hung in the pantry where no one but me sees it and it works well. It is getting very old though and I think there is a little hole in the towel the cords are being worn away from how I have it hung so making a new one with a towel I like might be in order eventually.

Tie a Tie - It has how-to's for several knots, length calculator, tips and tricks, tells you about various necktie accessories and so on.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

6 Changes

After posting Friday Favorites yesterday I was reading a website that linked to this website....6 Changes. And it is a website that many of us would like and could. It is a website about creating 6 new habits for 2010. Now I am not one for resolutions but I am for setting goals anytime of the year. And so I think this website would help in creating those goals and working towards the end result.

What goals do you have set for yourself?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Friday Favorites (on Saturday Morning)

Last night our internet went out just as I was going to post Friday Favorites they are on Saturday morning instead.

Get Organized - This is a long list of tips to get organized in the new year. I repeat it is a long list. It might overwhelm so I would just read it through and pick 1 to 5 things you want to accomplish and then when you do those come back and pick a few more.

Top Ten Organizing Resolutions for the New Year - I really think 7, 8 and 9 are good for all but also a very good reminder for those of us in service.

Organized Home - also has some great tips and articles on organizing for the year.

Clickable House - Click on a room of the house and it gets you tips for organizing that room.

Storage Solutions for Your Home - some tips on creating and looking for storage solutions for your home

DIY Storage Solutions - a list of projects to create more storage in your home

and I will end with a recipe that I think I want to make for brunch tomorrow...

Brown Sugar Pancakes

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Happy New Year! I don't like to make resolutions but I do usually have a few goals for the new year and this year...I am hoping to change up my menus more this year. I have a folder that it stuffed full of "want to try" recipes and never seem to get around to it. So this year my aim is try a new recipe a month. If I try more, great! But I don't want to set myself up to do one a week and then not get around to them. So once a month should be do-able goal.

But in the meantime here is 2 weeks of menus....

Last week's menu....
Sun -nachos
Mon - spaghetti and Italian sausages with homemade tomato sauce, salad and bread sticks
Tues - frittata (potatoes, veggies and cheese) and baked apples
Wed - left overs
Thurs - grilled cheese and tomato soup
Fri - ham, creamed potatoes, green beans
Sat - ham sandwich, potato chips, pickles

This week's....
Sun - baked pork chops sprinkled with seasonings, fettuccine noodles tossed with fat-free half and half and chopped spinach and Parmesan cheese and ground pepper, steamed California veggies lemon squeezed on it and sprinkled with ground pepper
Mon - sloppy joe skillet and mixed veggies
Tues - baked potatoes loaded with veggies and cheese
Wed - patty melts and salad
Thurs - omelets and biscuits
Fri - shredded pork in the crockpot with Rotel and pinto beans - serving on tortillas with toppings
Sat - grilled chicken breasts, risotto and peas


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