May 142012
 

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For various reasons in our society it is now more common than ever to find people that only need to cook for themselves. Use this as a time to try new and exciting cuisines. I have found that it’s best when cooking for one to continue to use the amount of ingredients called for to serve 2-4, then you can freeze the leftovers and have individual meals for later. This allows you to enjoy the fruits of your effort several times. Remember you are what you eat; so allow this to be a time to spice up your mealtime. I think you’ll find this adventuresome spirit will translate into other areas of your life, too. Pre-mixed rubs and seasonings are an extremely easy and help keep life simple and food delicious.

So Buena Petit to you as you set off on your adventure.

May 082012
 

Two of my favorite things – Rachael Ray and Dancing With The Stars. Did you know that my hubby & I took ballroom dancing lessons – once upon a time. She is so amazing. I don’t watch her talk show but maybe I should record it. I just happened to stumble across this video while practicing embedding video into my posts! Enjoy.

Here is a coupon for her site.Rachael Ray Free Shipping On All Orders!

 Posted by at 2:09 pm
May 022012
 

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Cast iron cookware has been used for centuries to cook meals, wash clothes and as wall ornaments in a home. The benefits of using cast iron cookware are truly evident to people who love the outdoors because cast iron cookware holds up well when exposed to all weather elements. Any rust that forms is easily removed and the strong metal surface is often not affected by any type of cooking temperatures.

Most people love cooking with cast iron cookware because of the resilient cast iron metal promotes even heat distribution. Some people enjoy cooking with cast iron cookware because it can be used inside the oven and can withstand a variety of heating levels without causing damage to the shape of the cooking pan. Cast iron cookware is also liked because it travels well and can produce many edible items.

The various shapes of cast iron cookware allow people to bake, boil and roast foods without fear that any foods will be over cooked. Cast iron cookware shortens the cooking process and allows cooks to utilize the interior space of an oven more effectively because cast iron cookware sets are manufactured for this purpose.

Many people enjoy cooking cornbread in large cast iron skillets because the corn meal browns evenly on top and on the bottom. There are many styles of corn bread that can be cooked at one time and this is especially helpful if a family prefers to eat wedges of cornbread for an evening meal and sconces for an afternoon snack. The pre-shaped forms for sconces allow cooks to provide elegant morsels for guest at a dinner party.

Cooks truly appreciate the benefits of using cast iron cookware when it is time to clean up after dinner. Even the hardest baked on foods can be easily removed with a limited amount of soaking. Maintaining a smooth interior surface in a cast iron pan can be accomplished with a steel wool pad. Many cooks have learned through years of use that cleaning all surfaces of cast iron cookware will render better results if a consistent circular motion is used on the cooking surface.

Cast iron cookware maintains a pitch black metal surface at all times. Since cast iron is prone to rusting, cooks have found that oil will keep rust from forming. Any type of oil can be used on cast iron cookware and many cooks will choose to store cast iron cookware with a rich layer of oil on it so that it will be ready for use each day. Cast iron cookware is a good value for the money because it will last for many years and many cast iron pieces have been passed on to many generations of families.

 

 

 

If you are interested in shopping for a set click here http://cookingqueen.com/product/1385-2/ and here http://cookingqueen.com/product/lodge-elements-8-piece-cookware-set-silver/

Apr 232012
 

Please check out this interesting article by my friend Carolyn Thomas http://fengshuiarqitect.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/optimal-kitchen-feng-shui-the-chi-of-the-hearth/ . It is so true. Whatever you want to call it. It is important that we love our space and that it makes us feel good. You can buy under the cabinet lighting at any home goods store and they can be plugged into any outlet. You will be amazed what this one little change can do for your attitude. It is also a simple add for dimmer switches. You won’t be sorry.

 

While there’s not much you can do to change a kitchen location or its interior layout in an already built home, great Feng Shui always aims for the optimal and then makes recommendations to achieve the best case scenario for your specific situation.  So, here are some tips for optimum kitchen Feng Shui:

  1. The Kitchen as the Hearth of the Home – The word hearth is synonymous with home and according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary it’s a vital or creative center”. The kitchen is where you cook nourishing meals for yourself and your family and it’s the center of activity for the home. The optimal location for a kitchen is in the central area of the home’s floor plan. This creates a balance in the central Health Quadrant of the home and is equidistant to all the other areas. Good Feng Shui = Good Floor Plan Design.
  2. The Triangle as Optimum Function – The shortest distance between two objects is a straight line. Placing the sink, stove and refrigerator in a triangle configuration not only creates the most functional use of kitchen space, it also separates in Feng Shui terms the Fire and Water Elements represented by these important functions. Water is a destructive Element for Fire and placing the stove next to the sink or the refrigerator will diminish the positive energy needed for cooking nourishing food. Also, in purely functional terms, the cooling capacity of a refrigerator will also be affected by the heat radiated from a stove in close proximity. Good Feng Shui = Good Energy Conservation.  For the rest visit her site http://fengshuiarqitect.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/optimal-kitchen-feng-shui-the-chi-of-the-hearth/ . I particularly like the next paragraph A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place . If you need any help with this one, I bet I know a good website with some kitchen items LOL.
 Posted by at 7:59 pm
Apr 102012
 

Whether you are grilling in your own back yard or in a park, nothing says summer like the flavor of barbecuing. Barbecues are a great way to bring friends and family together to enjoy the long summer nights. I thought I would share a few quick food tips with you. First, marinating your meats really adds flavor and make the meat mouth-watering tender. A marinade is comprised of an acidic ingredient,such as vinegar or wine; an oil, such as olive or canola; and a blend of herbs and spices. Barbecued meats freeze well and reheat easily. To add zest to your cookout, use colored plates, hang lanterns, or blend a signature cocktail. From my back yard to yours, enjoy!

Jan 032012
 

Most of us have found some sort of Italian cuisine that has become a favorite for our families and ourselves. Unfortunately, far too many of us discount the possibility of bringing Italian cooking into our very own American kitchens for fear that many of the recipes are far too difficult. Learning to cook Italian food just might make your home the favorite drop in dining spot for friends and family all over.

Believe it or not, most great Italian recipes have an easier version that can be made with very similar effects when it comes to flavor and aroma. Also, despite the commercials of old, all Italian cooking does not require an entire day of simmering in order to achieve great flavor. You do not have to let your friends and family in on that little secret though.. You do not have to let anyone in on your best-kept secrets when it comes to preparing these often simple dishes.

The biggest challenge that most Americans face when it comes to Italian cooking is basically learning a new set of essential ingredients. The cheese, meats, or grains that are used in their creation most often identify or define Italian cuisine. It’s the combination of these primary ingredients that create some of the most distinctive flavors on earth. Learn about these ingredients. Identify the flavors and study the combinations of flavors and you should be able to not only follow many great Italian recipes but also to invent a few of your very own Italian inspired recipes.

The greatest thing when it comes to cooking Italian food is that most of these dishes are rather difficult to destroy. This of course does not indicate that it cannot be done, only that it isn’t as simple as with some of the more delicate cuisines around the world. Italian food is durable and flavorful but for the most part not too terribly delicate when it comes to flavor. You can go a little heavy with some spice or cheese without completely ruining the dish in most instances. If you are anything like me, this is a regular occurrence when cooking and one of the reasons I enjoy cooking Italian food so much. Fresh ingredients is the key to an authentic Italian meal. Fresh herbs like basil can be purchased in most chain grocery stores. You don’t have to grow it yourself or even stop by a farmer’s market. Fresh basil, fresh garlic and some good quality extra virgin olive oil and you are well on your way to success.

Another thing you should keep in mind when cooking Italian food is that nothing seems to bring out the flavor of Italian food better than a good bottle of wine to match. Perhaps this is the reason that it is difficult to ruin an Italian meal, no matter how bad it is, the good wine paired with it, will erase all ill will and tastes in very short order. You will want to spend a little time researching and studying the science (though some will argue that this is truly an art form) that goes along with pairing a good bottle of wine with the right flavor combination when it comes to Italian cooking. Once you’ve mastered this, there is nothing to prevent you from being the diva of all things Italian when it comes to food preparation.

The most important thing for you to remember when cooking Italian food is not to take the cooking too seriously. Good Italians know that the enjoyment of the meal is far more important than the process of preparing the meal. Make your meal an event with plenty of time for pleasant conversation and enjoyment of your company in between courses. You should also never rush a good Italian meal or you will find that all your efforts cooking Italian will be for naught as the true pleasure of Italian cuisine has been lost somewhere in translation. For now check out this extremely easy “Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco” that is posted on my site – more will come later.

Sep 032011
 

noodlesWhy do I want do to this? Well,  I can recognize its importance first hand. A favorite memory from my childhood was eating my mom’s homemade noodles. The recipe for which was only in my mother’s brain. It was not written anywhere. At 81, my mother had a stroke. She is unable to cook on her own now but she still knows her recipes.

We were given a chance to capture this recipe and other special recipes before they were lost forever. Now, my kids have made those same homemade noodles from my childhood with their grandma and me. Three generations working together to create a delicious memory. A recipe that would have been lost with grandma will now be passed on to future generations.  They have now become a holiday tradition in our home. By the way, they are just as delicious as I remember them. It is however, a family heirloom recipe that I will keep a secret – at least for now.