Tip of the Week

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wishing each of you and your families a very Merry Christmas.  May your spirit be bright and peace be with you.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday's Tip of the Week: Cherish the small things

For some you might already know that it's really the small things in life that we cherish. The saying "stop and smell the roses" does truly hold meaning in it.  If you have ever lost someone or know someone battling cancer than you begin to realize that the small things in life are truly meaningful.  Racing through each day just to get by is not living life.  And with the holidays around the corner we really need to stop and appreciate all that we have and cherish each moment with our family and friends.

In the words of Charles Schulz "Happiness is . . ."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Is it really easy to poach an egg?

Well, is it really easy to poach an egg?  For me I find hard-boiling is easier, but then this was my first attempt at actually poaching an egg.

I have only had eggs Benedict a handful of times either at my Aunt's or out at a restaurant.  It's just something I don't normally cook or eat.  But I have a bounty of Meyer lemons from my tree and a recipe for Meyer Lemon Hollandaise sauce.   Finally this year I decided to give it a try.  The recipe was from William-Sonoma's  Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch. (and I really do love this cookbook).

I followed the recipe and I was not happy with the technique used to make the hollandaise or poaching the eggs.  I've seen different techniques used on the Food Network and there has to be an easier way then this recipe.  I did love the taste and flavor of the Meyer lemon hollandaise, I would follow the list of ingredients again.  What I didn't like was that if you stop whisking for a second you will have a lumpy, separated hollandaise sauce.  Which is not what I want.

The double-boiler method for making the hollandaise was not easy and required too much hand whisking for me.

Now for poaching the eggs, I have seen chefs crack the eggs directly into the water, but this recipe was different here as well.  First crack the eggs into a separate container then place slightly into the water, finally slid gently into the water.  Cook.  I ended up finding that the egg whites separated farther from the egg yolk that they should of.  I will have to try some other techniques and see what works for me.  This is the biggest part of cooking (besides reading a recipe and measuring).  I experiment with techniques and find what works best for me and there really isn't one technique most of the time.

Finally after cooking I was ready to assemble and eat.  I already baked the bacon in the oven and toasted the English muffins.  I highly recommend homemade or fresh from a local bakery.  The English muffins I splurged on were from a bakery in Napa and they were the best ever.  I can never eat store packaged, processed English muffins again. (and why would I anyways).

Here's the final result before the hollandaise.  These were delicious!  Next time I will try actual Canadian bacon.

The best Green-Bean Casserole

I don't know about you but I am not a fan of the "traditional" green bean casserole.  If you asked me what I don't like about the recipe, I could not tell you one (or two) things, it's the whole recipe.  As a result, I was not a big eater of green beans.  A bad recipe can quickly make a kid dislike a vegetable.  Plus I don't want to use all these processed and canned ingredients.

Mushrooms browning

Luckily, Guy Fieri had a new recipe for the green bean casserole on his show.  After watching, I knew I had to give this a try and maybe I could be a convert to a new green bean casserole.  And sure enough, it was a hit!  I love it.  I even splurged on gourmet mushrooms for the recipe and some were ones that were not called for in the recipe.  This would be where you can make it your own.  Mix it up!

Here's the recipe

The end result with fried shallots

Monday's Tip of the Week: Health 101 duing the Cold/Flu Season

It always amazing me that people still Do Not cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze.  In the last few years the only times have gotten sick (which is a handful in total) is because someone didn't cover their mouth.  With all that we know about how viruses, bacteria and germs are spread, we (as a society) cannot remember to do the basics.

Wash your hands
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze

So please remember to cover your mouth and let's make sure we pass this message on to kids and adults alike.  Minimize your risk of catching a cold or the flu this holiday season.

And as a side note, I find, after having my Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor recommend it, that the NetiPot (or ceramic versions) do really help.  Basically you use warm water and a packet of salt (this is not your normal table or sea salt) you pour it into each side of your nose while leaning over a sink.  It might feel weird, but it is worth the awkwardness when you can clear your sinuses and shorten the time to recover.  It's great for allergies as well.  It washes the mucus and clears your sinus passages. 

Stay healthy this year!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday's Tip of the Week: Adding Kale to your Diet

Kale is something I have learned to add to my cooking.  I know the "rage" is kale chips, which are surprisingly easy to make at home, but I find that after awhile kale chips can become boring.  Of course you can add kale to many soups like minestrone, tortilla, etc.

Recently I have found that you can add kale to your smoothie drinks.  I love adding blueberries and cherries with some kale.  Try using almond milk for a nutty taste.  For a healthier version add some flax seeds or bran.
You may be surprised how easy it is to add kale to your diet.

December Already?

Can you really believe it's December already?  I've been super busy since Thanksgiving and I'm hoping things will settle down soon.  So be prepared to see more posts of the projects I have been working on.

I have mentioned crochet hats several times, and I will finally get the pictures posted.  And I already have new crochet projects in the works.  Now I have been working on some sewing and those will be up soon too.

If you are looking for gardening and cooking ideas, tips and such I have those too to post.  Especially since I have a ton of green tomatoes!!

Finally, I have some new reviews of some recent outings to share with you.  I'm always looking for new traveling ideas.

So much to post and so little time at the moment.  Stay warm out there, it's been freezing temperatures this week here in Northern California.