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Showing posts from 2011

Sneaky Tip #8 for Home Chemical Accidents

Well, hello again my dear readers.  Today's message was prompted by my own clumsiness.

See I have furlough today. I have finished up my last-minute Christmas shopping and came back home to wrap and clean. I have laundry running, dishes in the machine, mildew spray-treated the shower, and put toilet cleaner in the toilets.

In the melee, toilet-cleaning gel chemicals got all over my hands.  I got a faulty squirt lid on the toilet cleaner bottle so oops.

Bad, bad, bad thing to have happen, you know?

Rinsing and rinsing under cold water didn't get it all off and I could feel my thumb really starting to burn. Not good.

So I run to the kitchen and grab the box of baking soda and pour it into my hands so I can stop the chemical reaction. I rubbed it in really well. Then I rinsed under freakishly cold tap water until my hands no longer felt slippery.

Chemistry lesson of the day: baking soda also known as sodium bicarbonate + nasty things like toilet cleaner or drain unclogger (which c…

Curious Jenny Strikes

Ok, no recipe today. Instead, Justin and I have been pondering something.

McDonald's are so widespread, is there anyone in the US who has NEVER eaten, drank, or purchased anything from this fine purveyor of fast food?

I said probably Amish people or people with dietary restrictions, religious or otherwise, avoid eating there.

I know I have eaten there more times than anyone should, out of convenience, today included. (I have to say that the location we visited today was clean, the cashier was really friendly, and the food was served up fast and actually tasted good.)

Please post a reply!

Chicken and Dumplings

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This is probably going to sound really silly, but I never tried Chicken and Dumplings until I was about 22 years old. My mom never made it. We had lots of homemade chicken noodle soup, but never chicken and dumplings.

I think they are very much alike so if you have a chicken soup recipe you love, it's very easy to leave out the noodles and add dumplings.


My story for this goes back about 10 years. I was at work one day, talking to my boss about food. She told me about her favorite cold-weather comfort food, chicken and dumplings. So I had a total lightbulb moment and tried it myself. I started out like I was making chicken soup, made a few alterations, and ended up with a happy combination.

You may have noticed from the recipe index that I don't have much for chicken recipes. My dear hubby is not crazy for chicken. This is one of the few ways he will actually eat chicken and like it. Blame him for the chicken recipe shortage. (wink wink, love you sweetheart)

Ingredients
about …

Brandied Sweet Potatoes and Pecans

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If you like sweet potatoes, I think you will love this. Mom's way of making these has been one of my favorites for ages. Honestly, I like it this way much better than the marshmallow way.


If you want to use canned sweet potatoes, I guess go ahead. I have never used them myself. Let me know how they work out.

If  you're wondering what the difference is between sweet potatoes and yams, in the US, the difference is moot. True yams are not available here. We have all sweet potatoes with different skin and flesh colors. I found some very cool reading on this from TAMU. Other cool things about food are available on Food Timeline.

Ingredients
2 sweet potatoes
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons brandy
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons butter, diced
1/3 cup pecan halves (or more or less to your liking)


Method
1. Boil whole sweet potatoes until tender, about 30 minutes. When done, remove from water and let cool until cool enough to handle.


2. Peel sweet potatoes and slice…

Sweet Cinnamon French Toast

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French toast is one of my favorite things for breakfast. Of course, I love most breakfast foods covered in maple syrup.

I learned the basics of French toast from my mom ages and ages ago. Oh wait, that makes me sound old. I'm not old. I'm experienced.  (Ha ha! Just kidding!) Anyhow, as a kid, my mom normally made French toast using white bread, like for sandwiches. Once I moved out on my own, I started using different breads and experimenting with quick-dip or long soak in the egg mixture.

I have heard people absolutely rave about "overnight French toast." Ahem. Excuse me. That is not French toast. What you have in that case is actually bread pudding. Yeah. Bread soaked in egg mixture and baked in a pan is bread pudding.

Sheesh people.

I have held onto the concept that True French Toast must be made from French bread and dipped in eggs. (My husband likes me to use sourdough occasionally. It's good too.) Of course, I have strayed from what is in the eggs, so mine i…

Basque Flan

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Flan is such a treat!  If you're unfamiliar with flan, you must try this.  It's simply custard with caramel in the bottom of the baking dish. It's smooth, cool, sweet, and beautiful.

Now, I've had some bad flan. Let me tell you. There is one very popular Mexican eatery in Downtown Reno that I just don't like. Their flan is very firm, not very sweet, and tastes almost cheesy. Yuck.

And then there are times you get flan that is so good, so amazing that it's like your mouth has found paradise. There is one particular person from the church back in my hometown that made pans and pans of amazing flan for church functions.  Amazing isn't even descriptive enough as a word.

A lot of the flavor has to do with the caramel.  If your caramel is very dark, your flan will take on a toasty flavor with a bitter nutty, coffee-like aftertaste. I like my caramel a bit lighter, so there are hints of that toastiness, but it's not so noticeable. Those flavors will mellow an…

Jenny's Caesar Salad

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Here is a recipe with some history I can relate to. Back in the 1920's this dish was created at Caesar Cardini's restaurant after he was running low on food. Someone there started throwing things together and made a tasty salad.

I can totally relate to this, and I know I'm not the only one. Sometimes you go home and look in the fridge. Then you look in the pantry. Then you look in the freezer. Finally, you think "Damn. I have all kinds of weird things that don't go together!"

So kudos to Mr Cardini and his staff for this. It's a fine example that sometimes you just start tossing things together and see what happens.

Thinking back, I believe the first time I ate a Caesar salad I was a "tween", probably 11 or 12. I recall eating at a place in Carson City that has long since closed down. Mom and Dad ate something normal, probably grilled chicken sandwiches. They looked at me funny for ordering a Caesar salad, like "no way will she like that.&q…

Bacon Wrapped Grilled Pork Chops

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This meal has been floating in my mind's eye for a while now. To see it finally come together, it was really a sense of accomplishment. This picture just does not do it justice. The colors were beautiful. The flavors really complimented each other, some sweet, some tangy, some savory. Excellent combination!


Back in the early summer, I was on a grilling kick. I think it's a seasonal thing for me.  I wanted a grilled pork chop, but it's easy to go wrong on the grill. Sometimes it's hard to judge how hot to get the grill, how long to let the meat cook, and if you've hit it right or ruined it.

The first time I made this, I tried two layers of bacon and basting the chops with apple juice. So it was OK. Just OK. As you know, for me just OK is never good enough.

So back to the kitchen and lots of brainstorming and testing. I figured brining was the next logical step. I wanted a warm apple topping. Then, this came together. It was really good. I think I just had to wait fo…

Cranberry Apple Chutney

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Well, this little gem of a recipe is going to become one of my new Thanksgiving additions. Instead of just regular cranberry jelly, and Cran-Raspberry Mousse, I can add chutney to the table.
It was nice to have the sweet, tangy, spicy and nutty flavors all together. This went especially well on top the Acorn Squash. Just saying if you want to avoid adding butter and sugar to your squash, give this a try. It's also really pretty together. The colors were attractive, the soft orange of the squash, the creamy apples, the little red jewel cranberries.

To make this, it's super easy. If you have ever cooked apple pie filling before putting it in the pie, this is technically the same.

I used three types of apples. Eric helped pick them at the store. He chose one green (Granny Smith), one red (Red Delicious), and one in between (Fuji). Honestly, I liked the combination. Some pieces were tangy, some were really soft and sweet. I think the variety was an unexpected positive thing.

Than…