Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

On Chicken Stock and Becoming My Mother

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“3 – 2 – 1…”

I’m told that I have become my mother.

I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I think it might be true.

I blame the kids.

When in doubt, always blame the kids.

Really, I’ve had no choice. After all, someone needs to warn the kids that the fun and games will end promptly when an eye is lost… Or that the car will be pulled over without hesitation. And, let’s not forget the drama that is counting backwards from three. Continue Reading

Roasted Applesauce

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I’m convinced that toddler’s are bottomless pits.

When the kiddo finds something that she likes to eat, she can just eat and eat and eat and… Well, you get the idea. One day last week, she ate 5 clementines with breakfast. Yes, five. She also had a pancake. She’s been known to devour pretzels like she hasn’t eaten in days.

Her favorite, though, happens to be those squeeze packets of flavored applesauce. It started as baby food.  We didn’t do a lot of pureed baby food, but there was a time when she wasn’t such a voracious eater. Squeeze packets of baby food (i.e. flavored applesauce) got us through. The thing is, she never dropped the habit. Continue Reading

October. Unprocessed.

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October. It’s almost here.

It’s my favorite month of the year… There are birthdays, falling leaves, and pumpkins. Oh, the pumpkins. The air gets that chill in it that makes me crave a latte. Or spiced cider. I’d even settle for a nice cup of tea.

This year, though, October is going to be more than just leaves, pumpkins, and lattes. I’m going unprocessed. Continue Reading

How To Roast Peppers

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I’ve been making roasted peppers for years. Until recently, I always made them under the broiler. That was the way I learned to do it (most likely from someone on the Food Network 6 or 7 years ago), so that’s how I’ve always done it.

Sometimes my pepper roasting method worked well, but there were plenty of times when it didn’t. I’d end up with mushy peppers that completely fell apart when I tried to peel the skins off. I am one who tries to roll with the punches in the kitchen, so I’d always just throw them into a soup and blend it up. Problem solved.

But, what about those times when I really wanted nice roasted peppers?

I decided it was time to try a new method. I’ve heard of people using a kitchen torch on their peppers… And, some others have put a pepper on a fork and roasted it marshmallow-style on their grill or gas burner. Both sounded like good ideas, but I wasn’t in the mood to burn the house down (or give the toddler any ideas… she’s in the “monkey see, monkey do” stage).

I decided to roast the peppers on my stovetop in a skillet. It takes the direct heat idea from torching or grilling on a fork, but keeps it a bit more hands-off. Perfect. Continue Reading

White Balance for Perfect Cookie Color Palettes

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Want to know a secret?

I hate to color icing. I know, hate is a strong word… But, I’ve been known to go to great lengths to come up with cookie ideas that use only white icing. (Remember my Christmas cookies from this past year?)  Seriously, though… Who wants to spend an hour coloring icing when you have cookies to decorate?

I think part of the reason I dislike the icing coloring process is that I’m picky. When I set out to decorate cookies, I have an idea in my mind of exactly how they will look. I know how each color should look. If I am decorating a beach cookie, the water has to be the perfect seafoam blue… Not sky blue, not aqua, and certainly not royal blue.  Since I do not have an endless variety of food coloring for my icing, I often find myself mixing up my own custom colors, which can be a bit of a hassle.

So, I’ve developed a trick for faster color mixing that ensure that my icing color palettes work together… I white balance my icing.

(Please note – The only thing worse than the wrong color blue for beach cookies is a color palette that doesn’t work together. Actually, I lied. A color palette that doesn’t work together is worse. Much worse.) Continue Reading