Thursday, June 30, 2011

Potato Salad

First, Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans. This is the holiday of picnics, cookouts, and eating too much. One dish I normally prepare for the 4th is potato salad. It's one of about three dishes that I make without using a recipe or measuring any of the ingredients, which makes it a hard recipe to share with my readers. I subscribe to the Betty Crocker email newsletter. I highly recommend it. This week in the newsletter, it had a recipe for potato salad that is very close to my recipe. Here's the link to Betty Crocker Potato Salad. The only difference between my version and "Betty's" is that I leave out the vinegar and use sweet relish instead of celery.

Enjoy your holiday and please be safe.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Product testing results

Back in April, I blogged that I was participating in a product testing of Miracle Whip Salad Dressing and said I report the results back on my blog. Unfortunately, I forgot until now to do that.

To the right, you will see the two generic jars of Miracle Whip that I was sent to test. I was to use the first one for one week, recording the dishes that I prepared with the dressing. Then, do it all over again the second week with the other jar. The survey instructions said to use each product as a spread or condiment on sandwiches as often as possible. In addition, use the product in salads, such as egg salad, potato salad, dips, or heated recipes. The three questions on the survey were what I liked about the products, disliked about the products, my thoughts on the products, and finally I had to list the types of foods/dishes that I used the product on.

The first week, I used jar #1 on a ham, cheese and lettuce sandwich; chicken salad; cheese sandwich; potato salad; and tenderloin sandwich. I liked jar #1. It had the normal consistency of Miracle Whip and the taste was wonderful. There was nothing I disliked about the product.

The second week, I prepared a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich; tuna salad, egg salad, potato salad, and tarter sauce. The consistency was the same as the first product, but the taste was not as sweet. However, I liked the second jar just as well as the first and if I had to chose which one I liked the best, I don't think I could.

The only thing I did not like about the testing was the over-use of Miracle Whip. With only one week to test each jar, I had to make a lot of sandwiches, etc. with Miracle Whip. I normally don't use Miracle Whip that often in my normal making of daily meals. By the time the second week was over, I was pretty sick of making things with that product in it. My additional comments on the survey were that the testing period needed to be spread out over more than one week for each jar.

I didn't get paid for the product testing, but I did get to keep the remaining salad dressing and kept using them. I have no idea what the difference was between the two jars, but if one of them was fat-free or sugar-free, I could not tell much difference.

This was the second product testing that I have done for the survey company. The first time, I tested mascara. I'm hoping to be able to product test for them again. I enjoy taking part and hope that my opinions can help make a better product.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Popsicles are perfect for summer heat

The heat of summer is upon my part of the country, hitting over 100°f heat index today. Now I don't have kids at home anymore, but that doesn't mean I can't have some popsicles in my freezer to cool me off on this hot day. One problem I have with buying the frozen treats at the store is that by the time I drive home in this heat, they have started to melt and have become a little messy. Usually in the summer, I keep a Styrofoam cooler in the trunk of my car for those types of items purchased at the store, but I haven't put the cooler in the trunk yet and I don't want to drive all the way to town just for popsicles. Another reason is that I just don't want all of that sugar that I get in store-bought popsicles.

My solution is to make my own. I can always find fruit juice in my pantry and that is the perfect thing to use to make popsicles, especially if you have 100% fruit juice. Of course, if you don't mind the sugar, you can use lemonade or Kool-Aid. No matter what concoction you use, one thing you have to be aware of is the sugar content and how it relates to freezing. Think about how hard ice cubes are. They have no sugar in them and are hard as a rock.

Store-bought popsicles are a little softer because they have some sugar added to them. So, if you find that the popsicles that you made at home are too hard, then they didn't have enough sugar in them. If they are too soft, you made have added too much. Either way, it's a good way to cool off.


By they way, Popsicle is a trademark held by the Unilever company. No infringement intended.