This section is filled with helpful cooking tips.

Cranberry Cutouts

Playing with your food can be great fun. I make cranberry sauce from scratch but also like to serve the jellied version found in a can so I can add a little surprise. I used a small turkey cookie cutter to make these cute turkeys for Thanksgivingcranberrycutouts.

To make fun cranberry shapes:

You will need:

Can of jellied cranberry sauce
Desired cookie cutters
A knife

Remove the cranberries from the can without breaking them up. Slice the can shaped cranberries into disks about 1/2 inch thick (this depends on the size of your cookie cutters). Next cut the desired shapes from the cranberries and chill. Serve them on a plate or place one on the edge of each person's plate for a little food fun.

Happy Holidays

Measuring Bananas

Everytime there are left over bananas, I make Banana Bread.measuringbananas

But I started to notice a pattern when a few bananas, consistently were left in the bowl. It was a set-up; my family wanted Banana Bread. How could I refuse?

My first step is to measure how many cups of bananas I have so I know how many loaves to make. Each loaf takes 1 cup of mashed bananas.

I mash the bananas with a potato masher in a measuring cup, so that I can see how much I have. Since I do this first, before mixing the batter, I don’t want the bananas to turn brown. They turn brown if exposed to the air for very long. So after mashing and measuring, I place a piece of plastic wrap over the bananas. Press it down onto the surface of the bananas and up the inside of the measuring cup, eliminating as much air as possible.

Storing Button Mushrooms

White Button Mushrooms are readily available at grocery stores and add a delicious flavor to foods whether cooked or eaten raw. They come whole or pre-sliced, but I prefer to buy the whole, unsliced mushrooms. They stay fresh longer and I like to make sure they are cleaned properly.

When purchasing White Button Mushrooms look for clean, fresh looking, plump not wrinkled mushrooms. The whiter the mushrooms the better.

I've tried many times to store mushrooms in brown paper bags, as recommended, but they always shrivel up within a couple of hours. Recently, I found a way to storingmushroomskeep the mushrooms fresh, lasting longer than a week.

I buy the mushrooms that are packed in a paper or foam container and are covered with plastic wrap. If you look very closely the plastic wrap has holes to allow the mushrooms to breath and not build up moisture. When I use the mushrooms I carefully peel back the plastic, remove what I need and then stretch the plastic back in place. If the plastic tears or is the kind that is vacuum-sealed and you have to break it to get in, then cover the opening with your own piece of plastic wrap. If you cover the whole top with plastic then carefully make holes in the plastic with a paring knife or punch. The paper or foam container also has slits in the sides that help the mushrooms breath.

I've stored the mushrooms, with the plastic cover, in the main refrigerator and the vegetable drawer and have not seen any difference in length of freshness.

Working With Blueberries

Blueberries are delicious added to muffins, cakes and pancakes.  I also like to make cobblers, tortes, pies and jelly. They provide vitamins A, C, E and folic acid.  That little blue fruit is packed with a higher level of antioxidants than most other fruits.

Read more: Working With Blueberries

Quick Tips

  • For easy removal, rinse flour off of bowls and the sink with cold water.
  • Lay lasagna noodles on a piece of aluminum foil to cool before assembling lasagna.
  • Mark older eggs with a pen before adding new eggs to the bin.
  • For ease of handling and a better looking product add frozen blueberries to muffin batter or pancakes once they are on the griddle.
  • When making candy, grease the pan with the paper wrapper from the butter or margarine.

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