Monday, March 20, 2017

Menu Planning Challenge

Menu Planning helps you eat healthy, saves you time, money and reduces stressDo you want to menu planning but just can’t seem to find the time to do it?  

Could you use some inspiration to get started? 

Join our menu planning challenge. We will keep you on track with daily email support to help you succeed.

You will receive a menu planning template, shopping list and a recipe booklet with the following yummy recipes to stir some fun into your Monday to Friday dinner cooking routine:

  • Oven Roasted French Fries
  • Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
  • Cheese and Potato Soup
  • Curry Vegetables
  • Potato Salad
  • Curry Vegetables
  • Potato Frittata
  • Baked Potato with Black Bean Chili
  • Shepherd's Pie

Sometime we just need a push to get started!  Sign up today and get cooking!

Check it out here 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Yummy!  Better than a chocolate bar

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Makes 12
2/3 brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons
1/3 cup soft butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cocoa such as Fry’s 
3/4 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, beat butter, brown sugar and 1/4 cup sugar.  Add egg and vanilla. Beat until creamy.  In a separate bowl, combine baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and flour.  Add to creamed mixture and mix until well combined.  Place 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar into a small bowl.  Form cookie batter into 1-inch balls. Roll in the sugar.  Place on lined cookie sheet.  Flatten slightly.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes.  


Monday, March 6, 2017

How To Avoid Dishpan Hands

I was born with dishpan hands.  It’s embarrassing, especially when I shake hands with other people.  I’m sure it feels like rubbing against coarse sandpaper. 

I cook a lot, which obviously doesn’t help.

I’ve tried to improve this uncomfortable situation using various therapies through the years.  This includes slathering on expensive ‘rejuvenating’ ointment at night and wearing white cotton gloves to bed. Not only did I feel foolish sleeping with white gloves but my hands never did rejuvenate.   

I’ve tried using Vaseline, olive oil and various hand-crafted creams, all with no positive results. When I was told by a dermatologist to apply hand cream 6x’s a day, I started keeping little tubes in my car.  I diligently applied it when I waited at stop lights.  I thought this was a brilliant tactic, but it only left me driving with a greasy steering wheel. 

To be honest, I continually give up on all treatments after a few weeks because, well, if my hands didn’t transform and become velvety and baby-bum soft in that time then, in my mind, it doesn’t work on my cement-like hands.  It is kinda like going on a diet.  It gets boring, tedious and bothersome after a few weeks if there aren’t instant amazing results. 

The problem with my weathered hands is not only with cooking. It’s in the hot soapy water they are constantly immersed in while washing the dishes.  Plus, I also have the knack of constantly burning myself.  I’ll pull something out of the oven and, in my excitement and anticipation of looking into the pot, I’ll pick up the lid with my bare hands.  Ouch! Of course the lid is hot, it just came out of a 350 degree F oven!  I have many burn scars from my distracted cooking.  

Another peril are the oven racks.  I forget (or can’t be bothered) to wear oven mitts with the extra large cuffs when I’m pulling out a sheet of cookies or muffins. Instead, I just grab a flimsy dishtowel and, well, I think you can guess what usually happens.

So, after 30 years of cooking I’m, pretty qualified about what not to do in the kitchen if you’re trying to have queen-like hands.  

This is what I suggest:

1.  Water and oil do not mix.  If you have hot oil in a pot on the stove, and water accidentally drops into it, then the  oil will bounce out of the pot and leave a nice round flesh wound on your hands that will turn into a lifelong tattoo.  Given this, remember to dry off any food before you add it to hot oil.   

2.  Buy thick oven mitts and use them.

3.  Buy decent rubber gloves and use them whenever you wash dishes.  They need to be quite thick.  The thin ones don’t protect your hands from the heat and I find they tear after a couple of weeks.  The more expensive pairs are worth the money. 

4.  When you chop, cut, or peel any type of vegetable, I like to use disposal vinyl gloves, kinda like what the dentist uses.  I buy a big box and keep them in the kitchen. This protects my hands from drying out ( and smelling like garlic and onions), when prepping vegetables.

5.  When you do burn your hands, stop what you are doing and attend to yourself (the food can wait).  Run cold water over your burn for 10 minutes.  You want to cool off the skin and ease the pain.  If you don’t want to waste water or your hand still hurts after the 10 minutes, then wrap your hand in a clean towel that’s been soaked in cold tap water.  When the burn warms up the towel,  refresh it with cold water.

6.  I once ended up in a hospital emergency and was told to use aloe vera cream, which really did help relieve the pain.  They also told me to keep my tetanus shot up-to-date (which is still on my to-do list).  

In summary, I suggest trading in the white cotton cloves for the vinyl, rubber and oven mitts.  Of course you could always try convincing others in the house to do all the vegetable chopping and dishwashing!  As for me, I’d like to see a robot invented that will wash all my dishes and chop the veggies, and then I won’t have to worry about protecting my dishpan hands.

Monday, February 20, 2017

For The Love of Garlic

There's a twinkle in his seventy-year-old eyes.  He's madly chopping garlic on a large wooden countertop in the Rec Centre kitchen.  He purposely turns his back to me whenever I walk past him.

As I peer over his shoulder my suspicions are confirmed.

"Horst," I say, "what dish are you in charge of cooking today?"

He is one of the fifteen senior men participating in a monthly luncheon class.

"Brownies," he states.

"Then why are you chopping garlic?"

"Well... I  just thought I'd help the spaghetti sauce group and chop some extra garlic for them," he states sheepishly.

"But Horst, you have chopped at least six cloves of garlic and the recipe only calls for one."

"Well...maybe I could put a few into the brownies?"

What is it about a bulb of garlic that turns innocent, upstanding people into garlic hooligans? I can always spot them in my cooking classes.  They hold the garlic press like a concealed weapons.  They suddenly become dyslexic when reading recipes.  One clove of garlic reads to them as five cloves of garlic. 

Garlic is great!  It compliments many dishes and is used in nearly all cuisines around the world.  I love to eat garlic, but if I consume too much I notice friends and colleagues treating me as if I'm wearing cheap perfume.  Why?  It's because garlic permeates the lung tissues and its pungent smell has a way of oozing out of our pores or breath for a day or two afterwards.

When using garlic, fresh is always the best.  When purchasing a bulb, lightly squeeze it. Choose firm garlic heads and avoid soft spongy ones.  If they are sprouting green stems, don't buy them.  However, if your garlic at home starts to sprout, you can slice the clove open and pick out the bitter green growth.

Garlic should be stored in a dry, cool open place.  An intact head of garlic can last for a few months, but once the bulb is broken, expect to use it up within the week.

Enjoy your garlic but remember your friends when deciding whether to use one clove or five. As for Horst, he lives on his own!

Article from Recipes To The Rescue Newsletter Winter 2006
How to Chop Garlic from Recipes To The Rescue on Vimeo.

Friday, February 10, 2017

How To Make Hummus

This is a video I made for our on-line Cooking Reboot program.  Hummus is an easy snack to make and tasty.  Enjoy!

How To Make Hummus from Recipes To The Rescue on Vimeo.