12/22/10

5 Make Your Own Pancake Mix!

My husband is the breakfast cook at our house.  It is probably because he is an early bird and I'm a night owl.  You can find him most days making Peanut Butter Pancakes, corn muffin pancakes, light and airy waffles, or melt in your mouth pancakes.

He recently mentioned, "We need more Bisquick!" and I replied, "Why don't we make our own?"  If you read the ingredients on the box, they are amazingly simple.  I remember my mom making pancake mix and asked her about it.  She handed me the book, "Make-A-Mix Cookery."

I decided to cut this recipe in half, as it makes a lot!  Besides, if you are trying a new recipe, start small.  If you like it, make more!

All you need to do is combine the following ingredients into a large bowl:

All purpose flour and instant nonfat dry milk.  I used non-instant; there are a few teeny lumps, but it seemed to work just fine.

Granulated sugar ~

Baking Powder ~

Salt.  I like to use Real Salt.

Whisk it in and you mix is done!  This mix is stored in an air-tight container for 6-8 months.

To make your pancakes, add 1 egg, water and vegetable oil.  Mix till combined.  If you like your pancakes thinner, add more water.  If you like them thicker, add less.

One thing my husband likes to do is let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes until it is bubbly.

Get your griddle ready.  We use an electric one and set it at 300°F.  I think on the stove top, it would be medium high.  

Use a measuring cup, extra large cookie (muffin) scoop or pour the batter onto the hot griddle.
When you see the bubbles form, pop, and the edges begin to dry, it is time to turn it over.  It's okay to peek to see how brown you want them!

You can see we are a family of thick pancakes.  This means that we need to keep a lower temperature and cook a little longer.  If you like thin pancakes, you can cook 'em at a higher temperature for a shorter time.

This pancake is perfect.  It is cooked for about the same amount of time.  You can check the center for doneness by pushing the center of the pancake gently.  It should spring back like a done cake.

Here's a stack, ready for your favorite toppings!  Around here, we like maple syrup.


Enjoy your Christmas, everyone!  I'll see you next week!

Pancake Mix & Pancake Recipe
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12/20/10

30 Real Salt Giveaway! ***CLOSED***

Have you tried Real Salt?  Those of you who read my blog know I use it regularly and absolutely love it!

What's so special, you ask?  This is all natural sea salt from Utah.  No, it does not come from the Great Salt Lake.  It comes from an ancient sea bed that is located in Utah.   I am happy to use such a great product from my home state. 

At first glance, you will wonder why there is sand in the salt.  What you see is not sand, but natural minerals that add subtle nuances of flavor.   The ordinary table salt you get in your cardboard canister is heavily processed, bleached, and has less nutritional value than this stuff:



When I first tried it, I was amazed.  There is a subtle sweet flavor and it is almost impossible to over salt your foods.   The only way you will know is to try this yourself.  

Guess what?  Real Salt is going to give away one of these amazing gift packs to one of my lucky readers!  




This is an awesome crate gift pack the contains 4 oz. of each of the following:  Garlic, Onion, Season Blend and Regular Granular Salt.  

Sweet!

I had no clue that this company made any of these cool blends.  If you want more information on this product, check out the Real Salt Blog.

So what do you do to win?  

Simply leave a comment telling me what you want for Christmas!  

OR

If you are reading this after Christmas, leave a comment telling me what your favorite gift was ~

Please leave a contact email if your profile does not include one so I can reach you if you win!

Nitty gritty details: Giveaway is open to my U.S. readers and will end at midnight MST on December 31, 2010.  Winner will be selected by Random.org and announced on this blog shortly thereafter.  Real Salt is providing the giveaway and I am not being compensated in any way for this post.  I simply love this product and would love to invite my readers to try it.





12/17/10

7 Fast & Easy Chicken & Dumplings!






I've had Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Noodle Soup, but I've never had Chicken Dumplings.  When I saw Debby post this recipe over at A Feast For the Eyes, I just knew I had to make 'em.  After reviewing the recipe, I thought, I can make some shortcuts.  Why not?

So here's my version of easy Chicken and Dumplings, a thick and rich stew with hearty pieces of rotisserie chicken, chock full of peas and carrots, with a tender dumpling on top...

Butter, is melted, onion powder, dried thyme and parsley are thrown in. Add some all purpose flour,


Stir it all together till it forms a paste.





All at once, add your lovely homemade chicken stock (or from a box/can) and milk.  Yes, I use skim milk!



 Add some frozen veggies...  Yay!  No peeling or chopping!






Next, add your scrumptious rotisserie chicken, shredded.




At this point, stir and cook to your desired thickness.  I chose to have it thick, like a stew.

While your stew is thickening, start your dumplings by mixing flour, baking powder and salt.  I love using Real Salt.



Mash some butter in with a fork, till you can't see any big lumps.




Add milk.  Yes, again, it is skim milk....it'll do just fine!

Scoop it up with a cookie scoop and drop it in the bubbling stew.  I used a 2T. cookie scoop that made nine dumplings.

Cover with a lid, and turn down the stove to medium-low.  Listen carefully.....do not lift the lid for 12 minutes!  Don't even peek!  The dumplings need their steam bath and can't be bothered!





After 12 minutes, you can lift the lid and use a toothpick to see if the dumplings are done.  If the toothpick comes out clean, it's done.  If not, give it a couple more minutes.



And there you have it.  Chicken Dumplings.  Can you believe this is the first time I've ever had them or made them?  You will love it.



What a great way to use up your rotisserie chicken!  Here's an inside peek of the dumpling:


Light, fluffy, tender and oh, so good!  Thanks, Debby, for sharing another great recipe!

Quick Chicken & Dumplings



12/15/10

9 Chicken Stock: The FAST & EASY Way!

Ever have one of those nights that you just don't feel like making dinner?  Rotisserie chicken to the rescue!!  Come on, I know many of you buy them; even I do!  It's the best $5 I've ever spent on a dinner.

How many of you have a pressure cooker?  Stove top or electric?  If you don't have one, seriously consider purchasing one.  Foods are cooked more quickly and retain more of their nutrients.  My friend bought an electric one and she loves it!  It is truly "set it and forget it" and keeps foods warm until you are ready.  My stove top pressure cooker can't do that.  She says that you can even make risotto without stirring!?!  For a fraction of a second, I wished that my pressure cooker would just give up and die, so I could be justified in purchasing an electric one.  Then the thought came, "What if the power were off?"  I have a gas stove that works in a power outage and a stove top pressure cooker would work.

So what do you do with your chicken carcass?  Throw it away?  *Gasp*  Come on, you can make some of the best chicken stock you have ever tasted!  It is so easy!

First, dump the carcass into your pot, bones, skin and all.  I really have an aversion to touching raw meat and dealing with bones, but here goes!





Next, throw in some carrots, an onion, dried parsley, a smashed clove of garlic and maybe some dried thyme and a bay leaf or two.  Whatever you want to flavor your stock.

Pour 10 cups of water into the pan.  


See this little indentation by my finger?  That is the maximum liquid line for my pressure cooker.  You don't want any more liquid, or else it would spout out and make a big mess.



Oh, don't forget to rinse out all the good stuff from the pan the chicken came in...

Put the lid on and the round, weighted thingy.  Turn the stove to high and wait for the steam to come out of the weighted thingy.  I'm sorry, I have no idea what it's called...Once steam comes out of it, turn the stove down to medium or medium-low and forget about it for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, turn the stove off, and let the steam release on its own.  That round weighty thingy?  I can turn it 45° and a bunch of steam will come out.  When it stops steaming, I can open it and strain it.  You can see what a crumpled mess it is...eeeewwwww....

But wait!  Look folks, here it is in its full golden-brown glory.  Oh, the smell is just intoxicating!


Put the stock in the fridge overnight and scrape off any remaining fat.



Now what?  Use it in your favorite recipe, or...

Freeze it.  This stuff freezes really well ~  stay tuned to see what I made from it!


Image and video hosting by TinyPicPressure Cooker Chicken Stock                                                                                                            (4x6 recipe down load)    (full page printable recipe)

12/14/10

1 Wendy's Giveaway Winner!

Thank you everyone, for participating in this giveaway!

I enjoyed reading all your comments.  It seems like there are a lot of people who enjoy going to Wendy's for their Frosty's!

Let me share a secret.  Sometimes, I'll get their side Ceasar Salad (comes with dressing, croutons, and bacon bits) and their dollar chicken nuggets.  I'll cut up the nuggets and toss 'em in the salad and presto ... a small crispy chicken salad that is perfect for me!

O.k. Now for the winner of the $10 gift card.....drum roll.....





Comment #7 is Amanda, who said, "It's all about the frosty. I'm a total sweet tooth!"

Amanda is the creative genius behind the blog, "Simply Homemade." She has a knack for sewing some darling things!

Congratulations, Amanda!  I'll be contacting you for your mailing info!

Now, you can STILL try their new fries for FREE!  Go HERE and you can print off a coupon for a free small fry.  One coupon per person, photocopies are not accepted.  Valid at participating Wendy's only.  Offer expires January 1, 2011.  


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12/11/10

2 Food Network Favorites & Online Shopping Tips

Alton Brown
Ina Garten
Giadia
Nigella Lawson













Who's your favorite Food Network star?

I love going to the Food Network for recipes.  I read the reviews of the recipes and make adjustments based on the reviews.

Did you know they have an online store?

 

I didn't.  Until yesterday.  Ureka!

Have you been to the Food Network Store?    Imagine having the favorite kitchen tools of your favorite Food Network stars in your very own kitchen.  

For example, Alton Brown has used this...

I love my Oxo Salad Spinner.  Put your lettuce, herbs or whatever in the mesh bowl and run some water over it.  Stick it in the large clear bowl, put the lid on it, and push it a couple of times.  That's all it takes and the water comes out.   Oh, and that black button is the brake.  Push it, and it will stop spinning.  Sometimes I wish my life had this handy dandy button....

This is the bottom of the bowl.  It has a rubber base to keep your bowl from skipping across the counter.
And here's the lid.  Now your salad is in a pretty bowl with a lid to transport it or keep it fresh in the fridge.
If you read the 100+ reviews on this product, you will find multiple uses for this spinner.  Sliced, shredded potatoes and veggies are spun dry for frying or cooking.  People with arthritic hands have found this much easier to use than the crank or lawn-mower style spinners.  I agree ~

Bye, bye old cranky salad spinner!

I have to admit, I have ordered very few things online.  Here are some valuable tips:

1.  Always look for the https:// in the URL.  The "s" means that the site is secure.
2.  Look for this locked padlock symbol at the lower bottom of your screen:

This means that the credit card number you are sending to the web site is encrypted.  That means that your credit card number may be transmitted over the Internet as kj234o98ugojasfmn2wrljafour239which is not meaningful to anyone except the computer you are using and the computer that the web site uses.

3.  Look for the McAfee or VeriSign logos at the bottom of the web site.

If you click on these logos, it should take you to their page or pop up with verification that the site you are on is secure.  This means that VeriSign and McAfee have verified the site you are in to be free of viruses and malware.

4.  Check the return policy.  One of the customers of the Food Network Store was happy with the return policy.  She had a crack in her salad bowl and the Food Network store shipped her a new one and even gave her a pre-paid label to ship her defective bowl back.  Now, that's customer service!

5.  Use a credit card, preferably one that is not linked to your checking or savings account.  We have one credit card that is dedicated to online shopping only and not for anything else.  Keep your passwords safe and do not share them with anyone.

6.  Keep records.  When you are done, print out your receipt or have a copy sent to you via email.  I even take a screen shot of my statement, just in case it does not get sent to my email.  This information will be helpful if you have any questions or problems with your order or shipment.

7.  Look for coupon codes on the Internet! Currently, there is a code to use for free shipping on the Food Network Store:

I tested a few items as a guest to check out the shipping prices at this online store.  I was surprised to find out that it wasn't very much, usually around $3-$7, depending on the number of items and I'm sure, their weight. 

If you have any other tips or suggestions for online shopping, I'd love to hear them!

Happy shopping in your pajamas!





I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post.  All the opinions in it expressed are mine. 









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