Saturday, January 31, 2009

Snow and Ice and No Power

My part of Indiana was hit hard by an ice store this week and I was out of power for four days. Thank goodness for woodstoves. At least we kept fairly warm and no frozen pipes. We're back to full power now, but our computer monitor lost it battle with the power spikes. I'm now on a really old computer that is very limited. As such, my posts here will be cut back until we can get either a new monitor, or possibly a new laptop. We're debating on which, but leaning toward the laptop.

We were pretty prepared for the outage, but found that we lacked in canned goods to cook on our stove we use for camping. We learned a lot about being ready for no power and will be ready next time, which I hope is a long time from now.

Everyone stay warm, and if I can I'll try and get a new recipe up here soon.

(waitng for the thaw)

Monday, January 26, 2009

My trip to the Market

How can one little four-letter word cause so much ruckus at the store. It's going to SNOW tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow night, and again a little on Wednesday. The local weather says up to six inches, but the Weather Channel is saying a foot. Well okay, I can understand twelve inches of snow causing people to panic and head to the grocery store.

I stopped by there on the way home from work. We had just bought groceries last Thursday, but I wanted to pick up a few items I had forgotten. Big mistake. I drove through the parking lot one time and there were NO places to park! That's the first time I have ever seen that happen. I finally found a spot way over in the CVS parking area.

I walked into the store and there were NO shopping carts! Okay, I didn't need much, I could just shop with one of those baskets that you carry. You know what? I got the last one of those. Amazing. The place was packed and I weaved my way through praying they would have everything I needed.

I got up to the front to get in line to check-out and of course, the line was long. I was able to get into the Express Lane, but even it was pretty busy.

I made it out with everything I needed. I'm home and all that is left to wait for the snow to start falling. I can't wait.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Must Have's

When I have a day off from work during the week, there are two daytime television shows that I try not to miss, Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray.

This past Monday, I was off work for Martin Luther King, Jr. day. On Martha Stewart's show, she had a short segment on "Must Have's." This was something she felt she couldn't do without in her kitchen. Her choice was a juicer that she said her housekeeper used every morning to make fresh juice. The first thing I thought was it's your Must Have and your housekeeper uses it? She showed the audience her juicer and then announced that everyone in the audience would get one.

That segment got me thinking about what my "Must Have" would be for my kitchen. Trying to figure it out wasn't as easy as I thought. But, I finally came up with my Better Homes and Garden Cookbook.

I've had it for twenty-five years and it was my first cookbook. It's also the first one I go to when I need a recipe. As I recall, I got this cookbook right about the time I got married and only had to pay shipping and handling charges for it. I remember getting that cookbook with some proof of purchase coupons.

I've put that cookbook to good use over the years. The pages have browned with age and are stained from spills and splashes. The only thing I don't like about it is that it's bound like a paperback novel and won't lay flat on the kitchen counter. I usually have to lay my manual can opener across the pages to keep it open while I'm making something.

Recently I solved that problem by buying a new, revised edition that has a plastic spiral binding and lays flat open just perfectly. It has shiny pages that hopefully won't turn brown and can be wiped clean of any splashes. It also has wonderful color photos that my older book doesn't.

So, I choose the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook as my "Must Have" for the kitchen. Unfortunately, I'm not Martha Stewart and cannot give all my readers a copy. You'll just have to search for that bargain like I did. I found my new copy at a Dollar General Store for $10.00 and my mother found her copy for the same price at Walden's Books.

Now, I want to hear from all of you. Let me know what your kitchen "Must Have" is.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another interview

If you need a break from all the Inauguration festivities today (I know I do), please take a moment and visit the Fatal Foodies Blog where you will find an interview with me about my cookbook, Masters & Disasters of Cooking.


Monday, January 19, 2009

E-book now available

I am pleased to announce that my cookbook, Masters & Disasters of Cooking is now available in e-book format. E-books are becoming more and more acceptable format. To order your e-book or hard copy, click on the link on the right side of this page.

My cook contains humorous stories of some of my complete cooking disasters and also many of my wonderful successes, all accompanied by a delicious recipe. If you enjoy reading my stories here on the blog, you'll love Masters & Disasters of Cooking.

Thank you,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Very, Very Simple Chicken Teriyaki

My husband and I were looking for something very easy to make for supper last night. He had mentioned that he was going to make Teriyaki Chicken a few days earlier, but couldn't find any sauce. I promptly walked into our pantry and brought out a bottle. "Oh, I didn't look in there."

Normally, we bake a whole cut-up chicken and baste it with the sauce, but there wasn't time to defrost the chicken, even in the microwave. or marinate it. Instead, I defrosted boneless chicken breasts in the microwave and used them. There wasn't time to marinate and it still came out tasty, but I recommend marinating the chicken if you have the time. It's also important to line your pan with foil because the sauce will stick to the pan making it very hard to clean later. Along with our Teriyaki Chicken, we prepared Knorr's Asian Sides Teriyaki Rice, which takes only 12 minutes in the microwave. You can also serve it with steamed vegetables.


p.s., I forgot to take a picture of the chicken and couldn't find a photo online that looked like it. Sorry.

Teriyaki Chicken Breast

4-6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 C. Teriyaki Sauce

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken breasts in pan and pour the Teriyaki sauce over them. Lift each piece to let the sauce run underneath it. Bake for about 1 hour, turning chicken over half-way through the baking time. Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Coffee, Anyone?

My name is Carol and I'm a coffee-holic. Okay, I'm not really that bad, but I love to start my work day by enjoying a cup or two of coffee or cappuccino at my desk in the mornings.

It really wasn't that long ago that I was completely clueless the first time I was at a Starbucks. It was at the LAX airport waiting to fly home after visiting with a friend. We stopped at a Starbucks for a cup of coffee and I had no idea what to order. Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte. What do I do?

Then, I remember the television show Frazier. They ordered lattes on there. "I'll have a latte," I told the Barista, not having a clue about what I had exactly ordered.

Let's talk ab out the differences. Basically, espresso is a strong, dar coffee brewed under pressure in an espresso machine. Steam is forced through the ground beans for only 20-30 seconds. The term refers to the brewing method rather than the roast or the beans.

Cappuccino is equal amounts of coffee and steamed milk usually topped with a frothy milk. To make the foamy top, warm 1 cup low-fat milk over medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Always use low-fat milk because milk with a higher fat content doesn't foam as well. Pour the hot milk into a blender or food processor and blend until foamy. Top the coffee with the foamy milk and sprinkle with cinnamon. Many coffee shops serve a variety of flavored cappuccinos. One of my favorites is Starbucks Peppermint Mocha.

A latte is one part coffee or espresso to four parts steamed milk and is usually served with a dollop of foamed milk on top. If desired, serve with sugar. The difference between latte and cappuccino is the ratio of milk to coffee.

Now that you know about the three speciality coffees, you only decision is which of the three you want to try first.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

More Frosting for the Buck

How many times have we all opened a tub of frosting from the store only to find that we run out before the cake is completely frosted? Sometimes we have to do some inventive spreading to get the whole thing covered. There's a trick to getting more frosting out of that tub. If you whip it with a mixer for a few minutes, you can double the amount of frosting. You will be able to frost more of the cake or more cupcakes with the same amount. It also helps with dieting too, because you will be eating less of the whipped frosting thus less sugar per serving.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

His and Hers recipes

I think I have mentioned before that my husband does a lot of the cooking at home. Today, I wanted to share two recipes, one is his and the other is mine for the left-over ingredients from his recipe. The first one is Steve's recipe for Twice-baked Potatoes. He doesn't measure anything. Instead he just eyeball's it.

The recipe I have included is for Potato Skins and uses the skins that are left over from his recipe. This is great dish to prepare the following day. Just make sure you refrigerate the unused skins. My measurements are approximate because it depends on how many skins you have left to use. But, this makes a great appetizer and could be made on it's own anytime. In fact, if you are planning a Super Bowl party, Potato Skins would be perfect to serve.

Twice-baked Potates

6 medium size potatoes
butter or margarine
Mild Cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese, finely shredded
onion salt

Bake potatoes (my husband microwaves them) until well done. Steve does not like to let them cool because the heat melts the cheese and butter so much better. He wears an oven mitt when handling the potatoes. Scoop the potato flesh out leaving a little layer still in the skin. Put potato in a bowl and add the cheese and butter. Mix well. Add onion salt and pepper to desired taste. Spoon mixture back into the potato shells. If they have cooled, put back into microwave to reheat, and serve.

Potato Skins

Baked Potato skins
thick-cut bacon
1/2 c. Mild Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, finely shredded
1/2 c. sour cream
2 T. milk
2 T. chopped chives

Fry bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towel and crumble into bacon bits.

Turn on oven broiler and adjust rack to within about 5 inches from the broiler. Brush potato skins inside and out with vegetable oil (or the oil of your choice) and place them upside down on a baking sheet. Place under broiler for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and turn potato skins over and broil for another 5 minutes, or until skins are crispy. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese and bacon bits. Place them back under the broiler until the cheese melts.

While skins are baking, combine sour cream, milk, and chives in a small bowl and stir well. Plac the bowl in the center of a large platter and arrange potato skins around it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cabbage for the New Year

As I understand it, in the south part of the United States, they have a tradition of eating cabbage on New Year's Day which means wealth in the new year. In these economic times, we all need all the help we can get. I actually believe most people fix Corned Beef and Cabbage for New Year's Day, but any cabbage dish should do the trick.

Before I changed jobs over a year ago, I used to eat lunch everyday with a group of friends. One day when we had a pitch-in lunch, one of the ladies brought Chinese Cabbage Salad and I thought it was great. The recipe below is not hers, but it's close.

Happy New Year and I wish you much wealth in 2009.


Chinese Cabbage Salad

1 (3 ounce) package Ramon noodles, crushed
2 T. sesame seeds
1 (16 ounce) bag of cabbage coleslaw
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

In a large bowl, combine the coleslaw, green onions, Ramon noodles and sesame seeds.

To prepare the dressing, whisk together the sugar, oil, vinegar and soy sauce. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss and serve.