Thursday, April 23, 2015

QUICK TIP: Turn Leftover Pickled Jalapeno Juice into a Tasty New Condiment

I make salsa a gallon at a time, so I typically need a full can of jalapeno peppers as one of the ingredients. A can of pickled jalapenos usually includes some carrots and onions, so I dice up all of these solids (in the Mexican aisle of the market this condiment is called escabeche). After removing the solids, there is quite a bit of juice left behind. I add a portion of this juice to the salsa because it adds some zip. And in an effort to be thrifty, I save the rest of the juice. I put it in a clean Mexican beer bottle (for effect) and use a shaker top that I removed off of an old vinegar bottle. 

The plastic shaker top fits into a standard beer bottle opening perfectly and it allows you to shake out just the amount you prefer. Use this jalapeno juice in place of a hot sauce. Having had the additional veggies in it, this juice is a bit more flavorful than just plain jalapeno juice. It adds a good zip to your dish.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DYI Repurpose Condiment Bottle Tops

Save the tops from all of your condiment bottles and discover the myriad ways you can re-purpose them. I keep a container of varying sized lids and squeeze bottle tops in a cabinet. Many of the tops are simple screw tops, but a few of them (like those on shaker salad dressing bottles) will need to be pried off. This kind typically can be just as easily popped back into the opening of the new bottle.

So where can you re-purpose these tops?

  • Barbecue sauce bottles typically have a wide, round opening that allow the sauce to pour out rather quickly. I suppose this is less of a problem in a household of adults, but around here over-pouring condiments are a regular issue. I replace our BBQ sauce lids with tops from squeezable bottles which allow the kids better portion control.
  • The plastic screw tops from mayonnaise jars fit nicely on small mason jars. Obviously, these tops won't work for canning, but they are great for storing and you never have to contend with an old rusty lid again.

How can you re-purpose a bottle top?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Feeding Fido Nutritious Whole Food: Making the Most Out of Chicken Legs

Most store bought pet foods are just as junky as the processed foods sold to humans. Read the ingredients. If the first ingredient is not meat, it's trash. Most list the first ingredient as corn meal. Also beware if the meat ingredient is something other than MEAT. Some key words to look for are animal digest (which is what was in the animal's stomach when it was slaughtered), meat byproducts (which can be organs and sinew) or bone meal (which increases the protein content of the food but provides little nutritional value to the food).

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Kefir Cream Cheese and Other Ideas for Adding Kefir into Your Diet: part 2

So now that you have made your first batch of milk kefir following my instructions, what do you do with it? I have personally found a few simple ways to enjoy it. If drinking the kefir, you can try it straight up or add a bit of honey (not too much though because honey has antibiotic properties that will kill the good bacteria). You could also add some chocolate or caramel syrup.

Wanna try something a little more impressive? Make kefir shakes or smoothies. I blend some bananas, blueberries and strawberries into a quart of kefir, adding a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar for extra sweetness. You can also blend any combination of fruit but, stay away from citrus as it will curdle the kefir. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Saving Money By Making Your Own Fermented Milk Kefir: part 1

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Have you ever tried kefir? It is like a thin yogurt. Sometimes twangy. Usually effervescent. Definitely good for you. I had heard and read about it before and then I bought a quart bottle from the store. Somewhere in the area of $3 for a quart. I liked it. My kids liked it. So the light bulb moment happened. How can I make this myself and save money on it because at $3 a quart, there is no way I can continue to buy this. I discovered that kefir is made from "grains". Not grains from a plant, but "grains" made up from a symbiotic relationship of over 20 bacteria, molds and yeasts. That may not sound appealing at first, but consider that many very enjoyable foods are made from naturally occurring bacteria and yeasts- like beer, wine, yogurt, bread and many others.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Vinegar's Many Uses: 16 Tips for the kitchen and beyond

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Vinegar is a kitchen staple. In its simple form, it is derived from wine that has gone bad (although a variety of different starters can be used). Though not seen widely in America, you can find vinegars made from such diverse items as kiwi fruit, sherry, rice wine, raisins, palm, sugar cane, beer, coconut, dates and apple cider. After the alcohol is made from the fruit or grain, it is exposed to acetic acid bacteria which convert the alcohol to vinegar, usually leaving the flavor of the original "wine" behind to flavor the vinegar. There are also the more celebrated vinegars like balsamic and East Asian Black.

For the purpose of this writing, I will focus on the use of simple white distilled vinegar as this is the most economical and easiest to find.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What to do with those St Patty's leftovers?

If you were like us, you enjoyed one of the culinary pleasures given to us by our Irish brothers and sisters- corned beef. My darling wife, being of Irish descent, requires this to be on the menu every St. Patrick's Day. Not that this is any great hardship on our family's part, as we usually fight over who gets the last piece (like a good Irish family). So what do you do if there are any leftovers?

Other than the usual repeat of the meal, (which is a fine option) what else can you do with it? Here are some tips I have come up with that I hope you can use.