Black Bean Enchiladas

I finally perfected my homemade stuffing years ago. Sadly I never wrote it down. I thought I posted it but every Thanksgiving when I search Dazzledish it is not there. Holidays are hectics times. So, information pills before I get lost in the rush of the season I am posting the recipe. No more panic come Thanksgiving.
I finally perfected my homemade stuffing years ago. Sadly I never wrote it down. I thought I posted it but every Thanksgiving when I search Dazzledish it is not there. Holidays are hectics times. So, information pills before I get lost in the rush of the season I am posting the recipe. No more panic come Thanksgiving.

If you are looking for amazing Korean recipes Maangchi’s website is THE place. So far every recipe I have tried has been absolutely delicious. Steamed Pork Buns are no exception.

Steamed pork buns are sort of like a stuffed dumpling. They can be baked in the oven. The result is just ok. Like a loaf of bread, information pills the baked dough is drier with a crisp outside. Ultimately you really want to try to steam them for a lighter fluffy dumpling. I do not own a steamer but I found my canning pot works perfectly.

Pack any leftovers for lunch the next day. They taste fine cold or warm in the microwave or oven.

If you are interested in learning Korean visit the Talk to Me in Korean website. It really makes learning the language simple.

Source: Maangchi

Dough:
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 ts sugar
3 cups flour
In a large bowl add water, yeast, salt, oil, and sugar. Mix well until yeast is fully dissolved.

Add flour to the yeast water. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead for 2-3 minutes.

Set aside in warm place until the dough doubles in size.

After the dough has risen, knead it again for 1 minute to remove any extra gas. Set it aside in warm place with the lid closed for 30 minutes.

Vegetable Filling:
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups chopped white mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the onion, carrot, zucchini, green onion, and mushrooms.

Sprinkle salt over top and mix it up by hand. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.

Squeeze the excess water out.
*tip: using cheesecloth will make this easier. Wrap the chopped vegetables in cheesecloth and gently squeeze the water out.

Meat Filling:
14 oz ground pork
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a mixing bowl, place: pork, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and pepper.
Mix it by hand and set aside.

In a heated pan, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sauté the chopped vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Transfer them to a large bowl.

Heat up the pan again, and cook the seasoned pork for 3 minutes until fully cooked.

Put the pork into the bowl with the vegetables and mix it all up.

Split the dough into 16 smaller pieces.
Take a few dough balls and put them on a floured cutting board.

(The rest of balls should be in the bowl with the lid closed, to prevent them from getting dried out.)

Roll out each ball into a disk 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
Place a disk into your palm and add 2-3 tablespoons of filling mixture to the center of it.

Lift the edges of the disk up around the filling, then press the edges together to seal the filling snugly inside the bun.

Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, until you’ve made 16 buns.

Put 6-7 cups of water in the bottom of a large steamer and place each bun on the rack.

*tip: Place cheesecloth or cotton cloth on the steamer rack before adding each bun. Baking cups also work well. When you place the buns on the rack, leave a 1 inch gap between them because they will get bigger when steamed.

Wait for 20 more minutes to let the dough rise even more.
Bring to a boil over high heat, and steam for 20 minutes.

Dipping sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped onion
Chopped green chili pepper
Roasted sesame seeds

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl.
Add some of onion, green chili pepper, and sesame seeds.

When the buns are cooked, turn off the heat and remove the lid to prevent water from the top of the lid from dripping over the buns.

Variations:
— if you do not have a steamer you can use a large canning pot or stock pot. Place pint sized jars or glasses in the pot, open side down. fill the pot with water 1-2 inches below the top of the glasses. Place a canning rack or metal plate, small enough to fit inside the pot, onto of the glasses. Put the pork buns in muffin tin liners. Place on top of the rack/plate. Cover and bring to a simmer. cook buns 20 minutes.
I finally perfected my homemade stuffing years ago. Sadly I never wrote it down. I thought I posted it but every Thanksgiving when I search Dazzledish it is not there. Holidays are hectics times. So, information pills before I get lost in the rush of the season I am posting the recipe. No more panic come Thanksgiving.

If you are looking for amazing Korean recipes Maangchi’s website is THE place. So far every recipe I have tried has been absolutely delicious. Steamed Pork Buns are no exception.

Steamed pork buns are sort of like a stuffed dumpling. They can be baked in the oven. The result is just ok. Like a loaf of bread, information pills the baked dough is drier with a crisp outside. Ultimately you really want to try to steam them for a lighter fluffy dumpling. I do not own a steamer but I found my canning pot works perfectly.

Pack any leftovers for lunch the next day. They taste fine cold or warm in the microwave or oven.

If you are interested in learning Korean visit the Talk to Me in Korean website. It really makes learning the language simple.

Source: Maangchi

Dough:
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 ts sugar
3 cups flour
In a large bowl add water, yeast, salt, oil, and sugar. Mix well until yeast is fully dissolved.

Add flour to the yeast water. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead for 2-3 minutes.

Set aside in warm place until the dough doubles in size.

After the dough has risen, knead it again for 1 minute to remove any extra gas. Set it aside in warm place with the lid closed for 30 minutes.

Vegetable Filling:
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups chopped white mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the onion, carrot, zucchini, green onion, and mushrooms.

Sprinkle salt over top and mix it up by hand. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.

Squeeze the excess water out.
*tip: using cheesecloth will make this easier. Wrap the chopped vegetables in cheesecloth and gently squeeze the water out.

Meat Filling:
14 oz ground pork
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a mixing bowl, place: pork, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and pepper.
Mix it by hand and set aside.

In a heated pan, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sauté the chopped vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Transfer them to a large bowl.

Heat up the pan again, and cook the seasoned pork for 3 minutes until fully cooked.

Put the pork into the bowl with the vegetables and mix it all up.

Split the dough into 16 smaller pieces.
Take a few dough balls and put them on a floured cutting board.

(The rest of balls should be in the bowl with the lid closed, to prevent them from getting dried out.)

Roll out each ball into a disk 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
Place a disk into your palm and add 2-3 tablespoons of filling mixture to the center of it.

Lift the edges of the disk up around the filling, then press the edges together to seal the filling snugly inside the bun.

Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, until you’ve made 16 buns.

Put 6-7 cups of water in the bottom of a large steamer and place each bun on the rack.

*tip: Place cheesecloth or cotton cloth on the steamer rack before adding each bun. Baking cups also work well. When you place the buns on the rack, leave a 1 inch gap between them because they will get bigger when steamed.

Wait for 20 more minutes to let the dough rise even more.
Bring to a boil over high heat, and steam for 20 minutes.

Dipping sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped onion
Chopped green chili pepper
Roasted sesame seeds

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl.
Add some of onion, green chili pepper, and sesame seeds.

When the buns are cooked, turn off the heat and remove the lid to prevent water from the top of the lid from dripping over the buns.

Variations:
— if you do not have a steamer you can use a large canning pot or stock pot. Place pint sized jars or glasses in the pot, open side down. fill the pot with water 1-2 inches below the top of the glasses. Place a canning rack or metal plate, small enough to fit inside the pot, onto of the glasses. Put the pork buns in muffin tin liners. Place on top of the rack/plate. Cover and bring to a simmer. cook buns 20 minutes.

Farmers living on the prairie during the 1800’s had to be resourceful for their survival. Every little bit was utilized with very little waste. Laura Ingals, health in the book “Little House in the Big Woods”, treatment tells about the day Pa butchered their pig. Pa promised the girls the pig’s bladder, viagra approved to use as a balloon, and the pig’s tail for a tasty treat. The pig’s tail was skewered on a stick then held over hot coals to cook. When it was nicely browned they ate it; the hot sizzling juices burning their tongues. I am not suggesting that we pitch our tents and go “country” (as Nelly, Laura’s nemesis, would say). However, we can learn much from their resourcefulness.

My daughter and I have been reading the Little House books together each night before bed. I enjoy most of their methods for repurposing every little bit; however, I doubt I will be making hog head cheese anytime soon. I do boil the chicken carcass for broth and I save the juices from the roast to flavor stews. I have also been known to save bacon grease. A tip my Great Aunt Ruth taught me. As for shining my shoes with it, like Pa with his bear lard, I think there is a limit to my resourcefulness.

Learning to be resourceful with leftovers and pantry staples is a cleaver way to save money. Stephen despises leftovers. I, on the other hand get bored with leftovers. If the kids do not eat it then most likely the dish will end up in the trash at the end of the week. That is a lot of waste especially when food prices seem to have doubled. To avoid the waste from leftovers I have learned to freeze the extras (do not refreeze meats), scale down the recipe, or try to transpose leftovers into something new all together. At the end of the week soups are an economical way to utilize vegetables and meat before they go bad. Most soups can be frozen or repurposed into another meal. For example, turn left over chicken soup into chicken potpieenchiladas, or tortilla soup.

Here is how:

— Drain the liquid from the chicken soup into a bowl. Strain. Use as broth for rice or for whenever broth or water is called for. Freeze broth in ice cube trays or freezable containers.

— For chicken pot pie make the sauce and pastry dough. Use the drained vegetables and chicken.

— For enchiladas pick out the chicken. Drain in a colander for 10 minutes. Toss with taco seasoning. Grill in a little oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

— For tortilla soup use the strained broth and chicken. Better yet, begin by making homemade broth for the chicken soup. Cut up a whole chicken. Place the bones in a pot, cover with water, add seasonings: salt, pepper, carrots, celery, onion, and herbs. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3 hours until the bones are dried out and clean. Strain. Let cool. Then skim the fat off the top. Instant broth that cost nothing extra.
I finally perfected my homemade stuffing years ago. Sadly I never wrote it down. I thought I posted it but every Thanksgiving when I search Dazzledish it is not there. Holidays are hectics times. So, information pills before I get lost in the rush of the season I am posting the recipe. No more panic come Thanksgiving.

If you are looking for amazing Korean recipes Maangchi’s website is THE place. So far every recipe I have tried has been absolutely delicious. Steamed Pork Buns are no exception.

Steamed pork buns are sort of like a stuffed dumpling. They can be baked in the oven. The result is just ok. Like a loaf of bread, information pills the baked dough is drier with a crisp outside. Ultimately you really want to try to steam them for a lighter fluffy dumpling. I do not own a steamer but I found my canning pot works perfectly.

Pack any leftovers for lunch the next day. They taste fine cold or warm in the microwave or oven.

If you are interested in learning Korean visit the Talk to Me in Korean website. It really makes learning the language simple.

Source: Maangchi

Dough:
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 ts sugar
3 cups flour
In a large bowl add water, yeast, salt, oil, and sugar. Mix well until yeast is fully dissolved.

Add flour to the yeast water. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead for 2-3 minutes.

Set aside in warm place until the dough doubles in size.

After the dough has risen, knead it again for 1 minute to remove any extra gas. Set it aside in warm place with the lid closed for 30 minutes.

Vegetable Filling:
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups chopped white mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the onion, carrot, zucchini, green onion, and mushrooms.

Sprinkle salt over top and mix it up by hand. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.

Squeeze the excess water out.
*tip: using cheesecloth will make this easier. Wrap the chopped vegetables in cheesecloth and gently squeeze the water out.

Meat Filling:
14 oz ground pork
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a mixing bowl, place: pork, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and pepper.
Mix it by hand and set aside.

In a heated pan, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sauté the chopped vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Transfer them to a large bowl.

Heat up the pan again, and cook the seasoned pork for 3 minutes until fully cooked.

Put the pork into the bowl with the vegetables and mix it all up.

Split the dough into 16 smaller pieces.
Take a few dough balls and put them on a floured cutting board.

(The rest of balls should be in the bowl with the lid closed, to prevent them from getting dried out.)

Roll out each ball into a disk 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
Place a disk into your palm and add 2-3 tablespoons of filling mixture to the center of it.

Lift the edges of the disk up around the filling, then press the edges together to seal the filling snugly inside the bun.

Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, until you’ve made 16 buns.

Put 6-7 cups of water in the bottom of a large steamer and place each bun on the rack.

*tip: Place cheesecloth or cotton cloth on the steamer rack before adding each bun. Baking cups also work well. When you place the buns on the rack, leave a 1 inch gap between them because they will get bigger when steamed.

Wait for 20 more minutes to let the dough rise even more.
Bring to a boil over high heat, and steam for 20 minutes.

Dipping sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped onion
Chopped green chili pepper
Roasted sesame seeds

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl.
Add some of onion, green chili pepper, and sesame seeds.

When the buns are cooked, turn off the heat and remove the lid to prevent water from the top of the lid from dripping over the buns.

Variations:
— if you do not have a steamer you can use a large canning pot or stock pot. Place pint sized jars or glasses in the pot, open side down. fill the pot with water 1-2 inches below the top of the glasses. Place a canning rack or metal plate, small enough to fit inside the pot, onto of the glasses. Put the pork buns in muffin tin liners. Place on top of the rack/plate. Cover and bring to a simmer. cook buns 20 minutes.

Farmers living on the prairie during the 1800’s had to be resourceful for their survival. Every little bit was utilized with very little waste. Laura Ingals, health in the book “Little House in the Big Woods”, treatment tells about the day Pa butchered their pig. Pa promised the girls the pig’s bladder, viagra approved to use as a balloon, and the pig’s tail for a tasty treat. The pig’s tail was skewered on a stick then held over hot coals to cook. When it was nicely browned they ate it; the hot sizzling juices burning their tongues. I am not suggesting that we pitch our tents and go “country” (as Nelly, Laura’s nemesis, would say). However, we can learn much from their resourcefulness.

My daughter and I have been reading the Little House books together each night before bed. I enjoy most of their methods for repurposing every little bit; however, I doubt I will be making hog head cheese anytime soon. I do boil the chicken carcass for broth and I save the juices from the roast to flavor stews. I have also been known to save bacon grease. A tip my Great Aunt Ruth taught me. As for shining my shoes with it, like Pa with his bear lard, I think there is a limit to my resourcefulness.

Learning to be resourceful with leftovers and pantry staples is a cleaver way to save money. Stephen despises leftovers. I, on the other hand get bored with leftovers. If the kids do not eat it then most likely the dish will end up in the trash at the end of the week. That is a lot of waste especially when food prices seem to have doubled. To avoid the waste from leftovers I have learned to freeze the extras (do not refreeze meats), scale down the recipe, or try to transpose leftovers into something new all together. At the end of the week soups are an economical way to utilize vegetables and meat before they go bad. Most soups can be frozen or repurposed into another meal. For example, turn left over chicken soup into chicken potpieenchiladas, or tortilla soup.

Here is how:

— Drain the liquid from the chicken soup into a bowl. Strain. Use as broth for rice or for whenever broth or water is called for. Freeze broth in ice cube trays or freezable containers.

— For chicken pot pie make the sauce and pastry dough. Use the drained vegetables and chicken.

— For enchiladas pick out the chicken. Drain in a colander for 10 minutes. Toss with taco seasoning. Grill in a little oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

— For tortilla soup use the strained broth and chicken. Better yet, begin by making homemade broth for the chicken soup. Cut up a whole chicken. Place the bones in a pot, cover with water, add seasonings: salt, pepper, carrots, celery, onion, and herbs. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3 hours until the bones are dried out and clean. Strain. Let cool. Then skim the fat off the top. Instant broth that cost nothing extra.
Not all salt is the same.

Kosher Salt

Use it for: All cooking. Kosher salt dissolves fast, dosage and its flavor disperses quickly, more about so chefs recommend tossing it on everything from pork roast to popcorn.

Origin: Either the sea or the earth. Widely sold brands include Morton and Diamond Crystal, website which are made using different methods. Kosher salt got its name because its craggy crystals make it perfect for curing meat?a step in the koshering process.

Texture: Coarse. Cooks prize crystals like these; their roughness makes it easy to pinch a perfect amount.

To buy: Look in your local supermarket. Kosher salts cost about $1 a pound. If you don’t mind a few clumps, buy Diamond Crystal; it has no anticaking agents, which can leave a chemical aftertaste.

Crystalline Sea Salt

Use it for: Adding a pungent burst of flavor to just-cooked foods. These crystals will complement anything from a fresh salad to a salmon fillet.

Origin: Coasts from Portugal to Maine, California to the Pacific Rim.

Texture: Fine or coarse. The size of the irregular crystals affects how fast the salt dissolves. It varies in color, depending on the minerals it contains (iron-rich red clay, for example, gives Hawaiian sea salt a pinkish hue). These natural impurities can add subtly briny, sweet, or even bitter flavors to the salts.

To buy: Check gourmet shops or on-line (thespicehouse.com stocks Hawaiian sea salt). Expect to pay $2 to $15 or more a pound. Many markets sell La Baleine, a relatively inexpensive brand ($3 for 26.5 ounces).

Flaked Sea Salt

Use it for: Bringing a complex flavor to steamed vegetables or shellfish. Take a pinch, crush the crystals between your fingertips, and let them fall on freshly cooked food. This salt will add a hint of briny flavor.

Origin: England’s Essex coast is where the most popular brand, Maldon, is harvested.

Texture: Soft, sheer, pyramid-like flakes. This is the fastest-dissolving of all of the salt grains.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet. You’ll pay $6 for 8.5 ounces atchefshop.com.

Fleur de Sel

Use it for: A special-occasion table salt. Spoon it into a salt cellar to be pinched, then sprinkled over food just before eating. Delicately flavored, it adds a perfect hint of saltiness to freshly sliced tomato or melon.

Origin: Coastal salt ponds in France. The caviar of sea salt, fleur de sel is hand harvested. Conditions have to be just right (lots of sun and wind) for it to “bloom” like a flower on the surface of the water.

Texture: Crystalline, which means that fleur de sel melts slowly in the mouth. Its earthy, pleasing flavor lingers on the tongue.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet (try chefshop.com). From $11 for 4.4 ounces to $45 for 35 ounces.

Rock Salt

Use it for: Making ice cream and deicing. Rock salt is paired with ice in old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream makers to regulate the temperature. You can also use it to deice your sidewalks and driveway in the winter months.

Origin: Mined from deposits in the earth, rock salt is not sold for use directly on food. It’s usually packaged in an organic, unprocessed form.

Texture: Large, chunky, nonuniform crystals. Minerals and other harmless impurities can give it a grayish color.

To buy: It’s sold in supermarkets and hardware and home stores for less than $1 a pound.

Pickling Salt

Use it for: Brining pickles and sauerkraut. It will also brine a turkey, but beware: Pickling salt is far more concentrated than the more commonly used kosher salt, so you’ll need to use less.

Origin: Like table salt, pickling salt may come from the earth or the sea. But unlike table salt, it isn’t fortified with iodine (a nutritional need for humans) and doesn’t contain anticaking chemicals, both of which would turn pickles an unappetizing color. Virtually 100 percent sodium chloride, it’s the purest of salts.

Texture: This variety is fine grained, like table salt.

To buy: Many supermarkets sell it in large boxes or bags, but it can be hard to find in cities. It costs less than $1 a pou

For every meal there is one thing people generally reach for before they even take a bite – the salt shaker.  Salt is one of the oldest spices used and is a key component to humans, animals, and plants.

Its flavor is unique and versatile, salt has been a staple throughout time.  Enhancing almost every dish, salt is added to breads, meats, fruits and vegetables to sauces and desserts.

Additionally, salt aids foods in a variety of ways like:

Preservation – helps protect against microorganisms, bacteria through dehydration and preventing growth of bacteria, which slows or prevents spoilage.

Texture Aid – in bread making, allows the dough to rise by giving helping the gluten hold more water and carbon dioxide.  In meats it improves tenderness and in cheeses it aids in consistency of the cheese and the hardness of the rind.

Binder – in processed meats it helps retain water which reduces the loss of meat when cooking.

Color Developer – in ham, bacon, and other processed meats it helps obtain the desired color.  It also helps create a golden crust for breads.

Fermentation Control – slows and controls the fermentation process in:

Pickling
Cheese production
Sauerkraut production
Summer sausage production

When you reach for that salt shaker on the table or on the stove while cooking what type of salt are you getting?  While salt is gained from two sources, salt deposits on land or from the sea, once harvested it is essentially processed in the same way, through the creation of brine and evaporation.

Salts, like so many other foods, has become trendy with the multitude of seas salts now available to the home cook. Is the trend overrated or are these salts really worth their weight in salt!

The main difference between salts is in their texture. >Each salt has its own distinctive flavor, color, and texture. Experiment with different salt when cooking. Salt is like money! You get what you pay for. You can put the best ingredients into making your dish, but if you blow it on the wrong salt, the dish will not be as good.

There are three basic types of salt:

Table salt – mined using water to create a brine.

Table salt, the one found in most salt shakers, is mined from salt deposits and has most of the minerals removed.  Most salt in the United States is sold with iodine added making it iodized salt. This salt is harvested by forcing water into a mine to create brine (salt/water mix). The brine is then evaporated leaving cubes of salt. The salt is refined from there to create varieties like:

Pickling salt, Canning salt, Coarse salt, Gos sel – fine grained without iodine or anti-caking preservatives. This is similar to table salt, but lacks the iodine and anti-caking additives that turn pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy. Pickles made with table salt would still be good to eat, but they wouldn’t look as appetizing.

Pretzel salt – large grained, does not melt quickly.

Rock salt – large crystal salt with a gray color, due to minerals not removed from normal table salt. This form of salt is available in most grocery stores, and also through hardware stores.

Popcorn salt – very fine grained salt which is flakier version of table salt.

Iodized salt – contains a small amount of potassium iodide and dextrose as a dietary supplement to prevent thyroid disease. (see Salt Composition and Medical Uses below).

Seasoned salt – table salt with herbs added like onion, hickory smoke or garlic.


Kosher salt, Koshering salt
– also made from a brine but this brine is continually raked during the evaporation process.

Kosher salt is an additive-free coarse-grained salt. This salt was developed for the preparation of kosher meats in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. The salt itself is not kosher, but this is where the name comes from. The difference between table and Kosher salt is that during the evaporation process it is raked to give it a block-like structure which allows the salt to draw the blood out of meats. The raking makes Kosher salt coarser and flakier than table salt so it disperses more easily. This makes it lighter and less dense than table salt. It is also recommended to use Kosher salt for cocktail glasses for drinks like margaritas. Since it is a lighter salt, there is less after taste with it.

Today many cooks and chefs prefer it over table salt in their cooking, as it dissolves fast and its flavor disperses quickly. Kosher salt weighs less by volume than table salt, so you must increase the amount of salt used in a recipe when substituting for table salt. This is a great all-purpose salt.

Sea Salt – made from ocean or sea water, contains trace minerals not in the mined salts.

Sea Salt is just that – salt gained from evaporating salt water collected from an ocean or sea.  The process is more costly then the mining process.  Sea salt is typically less refined than other salts. Depending on the seawater used, you also get a variety of minerals in the sea salt. Due to this there are numerous types of sea salts. Here are a few:

Black Salt, Kala Namak, Sanchal – Significant for its strong sulfur odor (India) this salt is a pearly pink gray.  It is used in Indian cooking.

Grey salt, Celtic salt, Sel Gris – Harvested from the light film of salt which forms during the evaporation process.  The gray or light purple color comes from the clay in the region of France where it is harvested. Collected using traditional Celtic hand methods.

Hawaiian sea salt – Has a distinctive pink hue from the Alaea added to it. The Alaea is volcanic red clay with a high content of iron oxide. This salt is used in many traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian Jerky.

Coarse salt, Gos Sel, Gale Grosso – Is a larger grain salt which resists moisture and is intended to be ground. Uses include flavoring for soups and salt crusts on meats.

Flake salt – Shaped like snowflakes, the brine is made using the sun and wind for evaporation. Then the brine is slowly heated to create the flakes.

Fleur de Sel, Flower of Salt, Flor De Sal – Skimmed from the top of salt ponds early in the process of evaporation, this is considered a great condiment salt; also good on grilled meats, in salads and on vegetables. The flavor, like wines, varies depending on the region it is harvested from. Typically it is from France though some is produced in Portugal.

French Sea Salt – Processed less than American salt, retains more of the mineral content gained from the Atlantic seawater it is harvested from. This usually includes natural iodine.  A coarse salt, this is good for salads, vegetables and grilled meats.

Grinder salt – Large dry salt crystal which can easily be put through a grinder. With a salt grinder you want to avoid metal as the salt will corrode the grinding mechanism.

Italian Sea Salt, Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino – Harvested from the lower Mediterranean sea by hand using traditional methods of natural evaporation, this salt is high in iodine, fluorine, magnesium and potassium. A delicate salt which is good on salads and in sauces.

Smoked Sea Salt – One other derivative of sea salt is a smoked sea salt. The salt is smoked over real wood fires to add the flavor to the crystals. These can be used in soups, salads, pasta and also in grilling foods like salmon.

Organic Salt: Organic salt has different standards than organic livestock or botanicals. Some organizations have started to set up guidelines to ensure the quality of water and production process.

Lite (light) salt and salt substitutes: These generally do not have a great flavor. Lite salt uses potassium chloride to reduce the sodium level in the salt.  Salt substitutes have little or no sodium in them. Typically only people who have a medical reason use these because the flavor is not as good as salt.

Sour Salt: There is a product called sour salt which is not made up of salt at all, instead it is citric acid.  This is used to prevent browning when canning fruit. It can also be added to rye or sour dough bread to make it more tart.



Salt Substitutions

When using salt, you may not have available some of those listed above or a recipe may call for one type you don’t like. Substitution may become necessary. Here are a few suggested substitutions:

Kosher salt – a non-iodized coarse table salt or a coarse pickling salt but make sure you read the label and there are no additives.  When making this substitution use about half the salt called for in the recipe.

Pickling salt – substitute Kosher salt which is free of additives that can turn your pickle brine cloudy.

Pretzel salt – Kosher salt or a coarse sea salt.

Table salt – Kosher salt but use twice the salt called.



Hints on using different types of salt

Different salts offer different qualities based on how they are used. Here are a few hints on the way to use certain types of salt:

Fine salts – use for baking unless a recipe calls for something different.  The texture and size of a fine salt is smaller and more dense than a more coarsely ground salt.

Kosher salt – is great to use while cooking as the size of the salt is easier to see how much is being added.

Hand-harvested salts – avoid using during a cooking process unless it is a very quick process like with salmon.  If used during the cooking process the flavor and texture can be lost.



Salt Composition and Medical Uses

Since most salt is produced in relatively the same way, there is little difference when it comes to health benefits in which type is used.  Salt is plentiful in most foods even fruits and vegetables.  Processed foods have an alarmingly high level of sodium so it might be best to avoid those if on a salt restricted diet.

Typically salt is made up of sodium and chloride.  Sodium cannot be produced within the human body so it is important to the diet. Sodium helps regulate water balance ph and osmotic pressure.  Chloride is equally important in the human diet for it helps the blood to carry carbon dioxide; potassium absorption; helps in digestion; and conserves acid-base balance. Iodine is added to most North American salt in an effort to reduce Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), which causes mental retardation, miscarriage, goiters, brain damage in infants and can impair growth and development. This effort has been highly successful in North American nearly wiping out the problems associated with IDD. All of these benefits are received from the common salt shaker almost everyone has on their table.

The recommended salt intake varies on the individual and their genetics. In general though, a minimum of 500 mg per day with a maximum of 2400 mg is a good guideline. This is difficult to regulate because so many foods do contain salt naturally.

Having the right level of salt assists the body with many functions including:

Nerve conduction.

Easy and active absorption of other nutrients in the small intestines.

Maintains electrolyte balance.

Key to hydration during exercise and outside activities.

Combats hyperthermia.

Increasing salt intake can combat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Helps regulate the water levels in cells, nutrient levels, and waste matter.

Salt is considered one of the first antibiotics, which is probably where the term rubbing salt in a wound comes from. Human blood actually contains 0.9% salt and a solution of water and salt in that proportion is commonly used to irrigate wounds.

As with anything, too much salt may cause problems. Some of the problems include the following:

Hypertension or high blood pressure.

High acidity, which may cause cancer.

In healthy people, too much salt is typically discarded by the kidneys. However, a genetic abnormality preventing the absorption of chloride may cause cystic fibrosis which can be detected by testing the saltiness of a person’s sweat.

Since Americans tend to over indulge in salt much focus has been placed on the effect salt has on hypertension.  Many studies have been done and debate continues as to whether salt adversely affects blood pressure.  Listed below are some of the general conclusions from the vast array of studies

Minority of population can lower their blood pressure by limiting salt.

Hypertension may be caused by too much salt in a diet.

Hypertension may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Life style changes may have more affect on blood pressure / hypertension than salt.

Low sodium intake can be just as dangerous as high sodium intake.

The group who benefits the most from reducing salt intake is overweight men.

While the debate continues in the medical community, the regular person can only attempt to reduce salt in their diet to see if it affects their blood pressure. If the craving for salt continues, it may stems from a lack of zinc in the diet. An increase in foods rich in zinc may reduce the desire for salt. Foods rich in zinc include:

Oysters

Endive

Alfalfa sprouts

Seaweed

Brown rice

Asparagus

Mushrooms

Turkey

Radishes

Balance is the key when it comes to the use of salt and the health. So many foods are rich in salt that adding it to a meal is probably not needed. If someone is at risk with high blood pressure, simply remove the salt shaker from the table in an effort to wean them off the habit.  One thing which was clear in most studies is that the affect salt had varied greatly among individuals based on genetic make up.  



Alternative Uses – Cooking Tips

Being so widely used, salt has many alternative uses besides the traditional food additive. There is an abundance of alternative uses which are separated into categories below.  Be cautious when using all of these, remember to start small to determine if there will be any adverse reactions to any of these procedures and uses.

General tips to help with common problems in the kitchen:

Over salted soup – add a cut up potato or two to absorb the extra salt.

Rub a griddle with a bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking.

Before frying fish sprinkle the skillet with salt to prevent the fish from sticking.

To prevent food from sticking to skillets, waffle irons or griddles, sprinkle with salt and heat in warm oven, dust off salt and return to cupboard.  Next usage, foods won’t stick.

A pinch of salt goes a long way. Here are some hints that utilize a pinch of salt or perhaps a bit more while you are cooking:

Add a pinch of salt:

When whipping eggs to create fluffier eggs.

To enhance the flavor of coffee and in overcooked coffee helps remove the bitterness.

To whipping cream or egg whites to get them to whip faster.

To milk to have it stay fresh longer.

To icing prevents them from sugaring.

To improve boiled potatoes, salt after draining – this gives them a fine mealy texture.

Keep salads crisp by salting immediately before serving.


Poultry – has multiple uses:

Rub the chicken skin with salt to remove pinfeathers more easily.

Improve the flavor by rubbing salt inside and out before roasting.


Sea salt is derived from salty seawater. By combining salt with water again here are some great tips to help out in the kitchen:

Salt makes water boil at a higher temperature which reduces cooking time.

Boil eggs in salt water to ease the peeling process.

To set the whites of poached eggs, boil over saltwater.

Place an egg in a cup of water with 2 teaspoon of salt, a fresh egg will sink, a floating egg may be spoiled.

Washing spinach, lettuce and other greens in saltwater will keep them crisp.

Lightly salted cold water helps maintain the color of apples, pears and potatoes.

Soak in saltwater for hours to make shelling pecans easy.

Dampen a cloth with saltwater and wrap around cheese to prevent molding.

Sprinkle ice with salt, place gelatin salads or desserts on ice to get them to set more quickly.

I finally perfected my homemade stuffing years ago. Sadly I never wrote it down. I thought I posted it but every Thanksgiving when I search Dazzledish it is not there. Holidays are hectics times. So, information pills before I get lost in the rush of the season I am posting the recipe. No more panic come Thanksgiving.

If you are looking for amazing Korean recipes Maangchi’s website is THE place. So far every recipe I have tried has been absolutely delicious. Steamed Pork Buns are no exception.

Steamed pork buns are sort of like a stuffed dumpling. They can be baked in the oven. The result is just ok. Like a loaf of bread, information pills the baked dough is drier with a crisp outside. Ultimately you really want to try to steam them for a lighter fluffy dumpling. I do not own a steamer but I found my canning pot works perfectly.

Pack any leftovers for lunch the next day. They taste fine cold or warm in the microwave or oven.

If you are interested in learning Korean visit the Talk to Me in Korean website. It really makes learning the language simple.

Source: Maangchi

Dough:
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 ts sugar
3 cups flour
In a large bowl add water, yeast, salt, oil, and sugar. Mix well until yeast is fully dissolved.

Add flour to the yeast water. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead for 2-3 minutes.

Set aside in warm place until the dough doubles in size.

After the dough has risen, knead it again for 1 minute to remove any extra gas. Set it aside in warm place with the lid closed for 30 minutes.

Vegetable Filling:
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups chopped white mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the onion, carrot, zucchini, green onion, and mushrooms.

Sprinkle salt over top and mix it up by hand. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.

Squeeze the excess water out.
*tip: using cheesecloth will make this easier. Wrap the chopped vegetables in cheesecloth and gently squeeze the water out.

Meat Filling:
14 oz ground pork
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a mixing bowl, place: pork, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and pepper.
Mix it by hand and set aside.

In a heated pan, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sauté the chopped vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Transfer them to a large bowl.

Heat up the pan again, and cook the seasoned pork for 3 minutes until fully cooked.

Put the pork into the bowl with the vegetables and mix it all up.

Split the dough into 16 smaller pieces.
Take a few dough balls and put them on a floured cutting board.

(The rest of balls should be in the bowl with the lid closed, to prevent them from getting dried out.)

Roll out each ball into a disk 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
Place a disk into your palm and add 2-3 tablespoons of filling mixture to the center of it.

Lift the edges of the disk up around the filling, then press the edges together to seal the filling snugly inside the bun.

Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, until you’ve made 16 buns.

Put 6-7 cups of water in the bottom of a large steamer and place each bun on the rack.

*tip: Place cheesecloth or cotton cloth on the steamer rack before adding each bun. Baking cups also work well. When you place the buns on the rack, leave a 1 inch gap between them because they will get bigger when steamed.

Wait for 20 more minutes to let the dough rise even more.
Bring to a boil over high heat, and steam for 20 minutes.

Dipping sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped onion
Chopped green chili pepper
Roasted sesame seeds

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl.
Add some of onion, green chili pepper, and sesame seeds.

When the buns are cooked, turn off the heat and remove the lid to prevent water from the top of the lid from dripping over the buns.

Variations:
— if you do not have a steamer you can use a large canning pot or stock pot. Place pint sized jars or glasses in the pot, open side down. fill the pot with water 1-2 inches below the top of the glasses. Place a canning rack or metal plate, small enough to fit inside the pot, onto of the glasses. Put the pork buns in muffin tin liners. Place on top of the rack/plate. Cover and bring to a simmer. cook buns 20 minutes.

Farmers living on the prairie during the 1800’s had to be resourceful for their survival. Every little bit was utilized with very little waste. Laura Ingals, health in the book “Little House in the Big Woods”, treatment tells about the day Pa butchered their pig. Pa promised the girls the pig’s bladder, viagra approved to use as a balloon, and the pig’s tail for a tasty treat. The pig’s tail was skewered on a stick then held over hot coals to cook. When it was nicely browned they ate it; the hot sizzling juices burning their tongues. I am not suggesting that we pitch our tents and go “country” (as Nelly, Laura’s nemesis, would say). However, we can learn much from their resourcefulness.

My daughter and I have been reading the Little House books together each night before bed. I enjoy most of their methods for repurposing every little bit; however, I doubt I will be making hog head cheese anytime soon. I do boil the chicken carcass for broth and I save the juices from the roast to flavor stews. I have also been known to save bacon grease. A tip my Great Aunt Ruth taught me. As for shining my shoes with it, like Pa with his bear lard, I think there is a limit to my resourcefulness.

Learning to be resourceful with leftovers and pantry staples is a cleaver way to save money. Stephen despises leftovers. I, on the other hand get bored with leftovers. If the kids do not eat it then most likely the dish will end up in the trash at the end of the week. That is a lot of waste especially when food prices seem to have doubled. To avoid the waste from leftovers I have learned to freeze the extras (do not refreeze meats), scale down the recipe, or try to transpose leftovers into something new all together. At the end of the week soups are an economical way to utilize vegetables and meat before they go bad. Most soups can be frozen or repurposed into another meal. For example, turn left over chicken soup into chicken potpieenchiladas, or tortilla soup.

Here is how:

— Drain the liquid from the chicken soup into a bowl. Strain. Use as broth for rice or for whenever broth or water is called for. Freeze broth in ice cube trays or freezable containers.

— For chicken pot pie make the sauce and pastry dough. Use the drained vegetables and chicken.

— For enchiladas pick out the chicken. Drain in a colander for 10 minutes. Toss with taco seasoning. Grill in a little oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

— For tortilla soup use the strained broth and chicken. Better yet, begin by making homemade broth for the chicken soup. Cut up a whole chicken. Place the bones in a pot, cover with water, add seasonings: salt, pepper, carrots, celery, onion, and herbs. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3 hours until the bones are dried out and clean. Strain. Let cool. Then skim the fat off the top. Instant broth that cost nothing extra.
Not all salt is the same.

Kosher Salt

Use it for: All cooking. Kosher salt dissolves fast, dosage and its flavor disperses quickly, more about so chefs recommend tossing it on everything from pork roast to popcorn.

Origin: Either the sea or the earth. Widely sold brands include Morton and Diamond Crystal, website which are made using different methods. Kosher salt got its name because its craggy crystals make it perfect for curing meat?a step in the koshering process.

Texture: Coarse. Cooks prize crystals like these; their roughness makes it easy to pinch a perfect amount.

To buy: Look in your local supermarket. Kosher salts cost about $1 a pound. If you don’t mind a few clumps, buy Diamond Crystal; it has no anticaking agents, which can leave a chemical aftertaste.

Crystalline Sea Salt

Use it for: Adding a pungent burst of flavor to just-cooked foods. These crystals will complement anything from a fresh salad to a salmon fillet.

Origin: Coasts from Portugal to Maine, California to the Pacific Rim.

Texture: Fine or coarse. The size of the irregular crystals affects how fast the salt dissolves. It varies in color, depending on the minerals it contains (iron-rich red clay, for example, gives Hawaiian sea salt a pinkish hue). These natural impurities can add subtly briny, sweet, or even bitter flavors to the salts.

To buy: Check gourmet shops or on-line (thespicehouse.com stocks Hawaiian sea salt). Expect to pay $2 to $15 or more a pound. Many markets sell La Baleine, a relatively inexpensive brand ($3 for 26.5 ounces).

Flaked Sea Salt

Use it for: Bringing a complex flavor to steamed vegetables or shellfish. Take a pinch, crush the crystals between your fingertips, and let them fall on freshly cooked food. This salt will add a hint of briny flavor.

Origin: England’s Essex coast is where the most popular brand, Maldon, is harvested.

Texture: Soft, sheer, pyramid-like flakes. This is the fastest-dissolving of all of the salt grains.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet. You’ll pay $6 for 8.5 ounces atchefshop.com.

Fleur de Sel

Use it for: A special-occasion table salt. Spoon it into a salt cellar to be pinched, then sprinkled over food just before eating. Delicately flavored, it adds a perfect hint of saltiness to freshly sliced tomato or melon.

Origin: Coastal salt ponds in France. The caviar of sea salt, fleur de sel is hand harvested. Conditions have to be just right (lots of sun and wind) for it to “bloom” like a flower on the surface of the water.

Texture: Crystalline, which means that fleur de sel melts slowly in the mouth. Its earthy, pleasing flavor lingers on the tongue.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet (try chefshop.com). From $11 for 4.4 ounces to $45 for 35 ounces.

Rock Salt

Use it for: Making ice cream and deicing. Rock salt is paired with ice in old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream makers to regulate the temperature. You can also use it to deice your sidewalks and driveway in the winter months.

Origin: Mined from deposits in the earth, rock salt is not sold for use directly on food. It’s usually packaged in an organic, unprocessed form.

Texture: Large, chunky, nonuniform crystals. Minerals and other harmless impurities can give it a grayish color.

To buy: It’s sold in supermarkets and hardware and home stores for less than $1 a pound.

Pickling Salt

Use it for: Brining pickles and sauerkraut. It will also brine a turkey, but beware: Pickling salt is far more concentrated than the more commonly used kosher salt, so you’ll need to use less.

Origin: Like table salt, pickling salt may come from the earth or the sea. But unlike table salt, it isn’t fortified with iodine (a nutritional need for humans) and doesn’t contain anticaking chemicals, both of which would turn pickles an unappetizing color. Virtually 100 percent sodium chloride, it’s the purest of salts.

Texture: This variety is fine grained, like table salt.

To buy: Many supermarkets sell it in large boxes or bags, but it can be hard to find in cities. It costs less than $1 a pou

For every meal there is one thing people generally reach for before they even take a bite – the salt shaker.  Salt is one of the oldest spices used and is a key component to humans, animals, and plants.

Its flavor is unique and versatile, salt has been a staple throughout time.  Enhancing almost every dish, salt is added to breads, meats, fruits and vegetables to sauces and desserts.

Additionally, salt aids foods in a variety of ways like:

Preservation – helps protect against microorganisms, bacteria through dehydration and preventing growth of bacteria, which slows or prevents spoilage.

Texture Aid – in bread making, allows the dough to rise by giving helping the gluten hold more water and carbon dioxide.  In meats it improves tenderness and in cheeses it aids in consistency of the cheese and the hardness of the rind.

Binder – in processed meats it helps retain water which reduces the loss of meat when cooking.

Color Developer – in ham, bacon, and other processed meats it helps obtain the desired color.  It also helps create a golden crust for breads.

Fermentation Control – slows and controls the fermentation process in:

Pickling
Cheese production
Sauerkraut production
Summer sausage production

When you reach for that salt shaker on the table or on the stove while cooking what type of salt are you getting?  While salt is gained from two sources, salt deposits on land or from the sea, once harvested it is essentially processed in the same way, through the creation of brine and evaporation.

Salts, like so many other foods, has become trendy with the multitude of seas salts now available to the home cook. Is the trend overrated or are these salts really worth their weight in salt!

The main difference between salts is in their texture. >Each salt has its own distinctive flavor, color, and texture. Experiment with different salt when cooking. Salt is like money! You get what you pay for. You can put the best ingredients into making your dish, but if you blow it on the wrong salt, the dish will not be as good.

There are three basic types of salt:

Table salt – mined using water to create a brine.

Table salt, the one found in most salt shakers, is mined from salt deposits and has most of the minerals removed.  Most salt in the United States is sold with iodine added making it iodized salt. This salt is harvested by forcing water into a mine to create brine (salt/water mix). The brine is then evaporated leaving cubes of salt. The salt is refined from there to create varieties like:

Pickling salt, Canning salt, Coarse salt, Gos sel – fine grained without iodine or anti-caking preservatives. This is similar to table salt, but lacks the iodine and anti-caking additives that turn pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy. Pickles made with table salt would still be good to eat, but they wouldn’t look as appetizing.

Pretzel salt – large grained, does not melt quickly.

Rock salt – large crystal salt with a gray color, due to minerals not removed from normal table salt. This form of salt is available in most grocery stores, and also through hardware stores.

Popcorn salt – very fine grained salt which is flakier version of table salt.

Iodized salt – contains a small amount of potassium iodide and dextrose as a dietary supplement to prevent thyroid disease. (see Salt Composition and Medical Uses below).

Seasoned salt – table salt with herbs added like onion, hickory smoke or garlic.


Kosher salt, Koshering salt
– also made from a brine but this brine is continually raked during the evaporation process.

Kosher salt is an additive-free coarse-grained salt. This salt was developed for the preparation of kosher meats in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. The salt itself is not kosher, but this is where the name comes from. The difference between table and Kosher salt is that during the evaporation process it is raked to give it a block-like structure which allows the salt to draw the blood out of meats. The raking makes Kosher salt coarser and flakier than table salt so it disperses more easily. This makes it lighter and less dense than table salt. It is also recommended to use Kosher salt for cocktail glasses for drinks like margaritas. Since it is a lighter salt, there is less after taste with it.

Today many cooks and chefs prefer it over table salt in their cooking, as it dissolves fast and its flavor disperses quickly. Kosher salt weighs less by volume than table salt, so you must increase the amount of salt used in a recipe when substituting for table salt. This is a great all-purpose salt.

Sea Salt – made from ocean or sea water, contains trace minerals not in the mined salts.

Sea Salt is just that – salt gained from evaporating salt water collected from an ocean or sea.  The process is more costly then the mining process.  Sea salt is typically less refined than other salts. Depending on the seawater used, you also get a variety of minerals in the sea salt. Due to this there are numerous types of sea salts. Here are a few:

Black Salt, Kala Namak, Sanchal – Significant for its strong sulfur odor (India) this salt is a pearly pink gray.  It is used in Indian cooking.

Grey salt, Celtic salt, Sel Gris – Harvested from the light film of salt which forms during the evaporation process.  The gray or light purple color comes from the clay in the region of France where it is harvested. Collected using traditional Celtic hand methods.

Hawaiian sea salt – Has a distinctive pink hue from the Alaea added to it. The Alaea is volcanic red clay with a high content of iron oxide. This salt is used in many traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian Jerky.

Coarse salt, Gos Sel, Gale Grosso – Is a larger grain salt which resists moisture and is intended to be ground. Uses include flavoring for soups and salt crusts on meats.

Flake salt – Shaped like snowflakes, the brine is made using the sun and wind for evaporation. Then the brine is slowly heated to create the flakes.

Fleur de Sel, Flower of Salt, Flor De Sal – Skimmed from the top of salt ponds early in the process of evaporation, this is considered a great condiment salt; also good on grilled meats, in salads and on vegetables. The flavor, like wines, varies depending on the region it is harvested from. Typically it is from France though some is produced in Portugal.

French Sea Salt – Processed less than American salt, retains more of the mineral content gained from the Atlantic seawater it is harvested from. This usually includes natural iodine.  A coarse salt, this is good for salads, vegetables and grilled meats.

Grinder salt – Large dry salt crystal which can easily be put through a grinder. With a salt grinder you want to avoid metal as the salt will corrode the grinding mechanism.

Italian Sea Salt, Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino – Harvested from the lower Mediterranean sea by hand using traditional methods of natural evaporation, this salt is high in iodine, fluorine, magnesium and potassium. A delicate salt which is good on salads and in sauces.

Smoked Sea Salt – One other derivative of sea salt is a smoked sea salt. The salt is smoked over real wood fires to add the flavor to the crystals. These can be used in soups, salads, pasta and also in grilling foods like salmon.

Organic Salt: Organic salt has different standards than organic livestock or botanicals. Some organizations have started to set up guidelines to ensure the quality of water and production process.

Lite (light) salt and salt substitutes: These generally do not have a great flavor. Lite salt uses potassium chloride to reduce the sodium level in the salt.  Salt substitutes have little or no sodium in them. Typically only people who have a medical reason use these because the flavor is not as good as salt.

Sour Salt: There is a product called sour salt which is not made up of salt at all, instead it is citric acid.  This is used to prevent browning when canning fruit. It can also be added to rye or sour dough bread to make it more tart.



Salt Substitutions

When using salt, you may not have available some of those listed above or a recipe may call for one type you don’t like. Substitution may become necessary. Here are a few suggested substitutions:

Kosher salt – a non-iodized coarse table salt or a coarse pickling salt but make sure you read the label and there are no additives.  When making this substitution use about half the salt called for in the recipe.

Pickling salt – substitute Kosher salt which is free of additives that can turn your pickle brine cloudy.

Pretzel salt – Kosher salt or a coarse sea salt.

Table salt – Kosher salt but use twice the salt called.



Hints on using different types of salt

Different salts offer different qualities based on how they are used. Here are a few hints on the way to use certain types of salt:

Fine salts – use for baking unless a recipe calls for something different.  The texture and size of a fine salt is smaller and more dense than a more coarsely ground salt.

Kosher salt – is great to use while cooking as the size of the salt is easier to see how much is being added.

Hand-harvested salts – avoid using during a cooking process unless it is a very quick process like with salmon.  If used during the cooking process the flavor and texture can be lost.



Salt Composition and Medical Uses

Since most salt is produced in relatively the same way, there is little difference when it comes to health benefits in which type is used.  Salt is plentiful in most foods even fruits and vegetables.  Processed foods have an alarmingly high level of sodium so it might be best to avoid those if on a salt restricted diet.

Typically salt is made up of sodium and chloride.  Sodium cannot be produced within the human body so it is important to the diet. Sodium helps regulate water balance ph and osmotic pressure.  Chloride is equally important in the human diet for it helps the blood to carry carbon dioxide; potassium absorption; helps in digestion; and conserves acid-base balance. Iodine is added to most North American salt in an effort to reduce Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), which causes mental retardation, miscarriage, goiters, brain damage in infants and can impair growth and development. This effort has been highly successful in North American nearly wiping out the problems associated with IDD. All of these benefits are received from the common salt shaker almost everyone has on their table.

The recommended salt intake varies on the individual and their genetics. In general though, a minimum of 500 mg per day with a maximum of 2400 mg is a good guideline. This is difficult to regulate because so many foods do contain salt naturally.

Having the right level of salt assists the body with many functions including:

Nerve conduction.

Easy and active absorption of other nutrients in the small intestines.

Maintains electrolyte balance.

Key to hydration during exercise and outside activities.

Combats hyperthermia.

Increasing salt intake can combat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Helps regulate the water levels in cells, nutrient levels, and waste matter.

Salt is considered one of the first antibiotics, which is probably where the term rubbing salt in a wound comes from. Human blood actually contains 0.9% salt and a solution of water and salt in that proportion is commonly used to irrigate wounds.

As with anything, too much salt may cause problems. Some of the problems include the following:

Hypertension or high blood pressure.

High acidity, which may cause cancer.

In healthy people, too much salt is typically discarded by the kidneys. However, a genetic abnormality preventing the absorption of chloride may cause cystic fibrosis which can be detected by testing the saltiness of a person’s sweat.

Since Americans tend to over indulge in salt much focus has been placed on the effect salt has on hypertension.  Many studies have been done and debate continues as to whether salt adversely affects blood pressure.  Listed below are some of the general conclusions from the vast array of studies

Minority of population can lower their blood pressure by limiting salt.

Hypertension may be caused by too much salt in a diet.

Hypertension may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Life style changes may have more affect on blood pressure / hypertension than salt.

Low sodium intake can be just as dangerous as high sodium intake.

The group who benefits the most from reducing salt intake is overweight men.

While the debate continues in the medical community, the regular person can only attempt to reduce salt in their diet to see if it affects their blood pressure. If the craving for salt continues, it may stems from a lack of zinc in the diet. An increase in foods rich in zinc may reduce the desire for salt. Foods rich in zinc include:

Oysters

Endive

Alfalfa sprouts

Seaweed

Brown rice

Asparagus

Mushrooms

Turkey

Radishes

Balance is the key when it comes to the use of salt and the health. So many foods are rich in salt that adding it to a meal is probably not needed. If someone is at risk with high blood pressure, simply remove the salt shaker from the table in an effort to wean them off the habit.  One thing which was clear in most studies is that the affect salt had varied greatly among individuals based on genetic make up.  



Alternative Uses – Cooking Tips

Being so widely used, salt has many alternative uses besides the traditional food additive. There is an abundance of alternative uses which are separated into categories below.  Be cautious when using all of these, remember to start small to determine if there will be any adverse reactions to any of these procedures and uses.

General tips to help with common problems in the kitchen:

Over salted soup – add a cut up potato or two to absorb the extra salt.

Rub a griddle with a bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking.

Before frying fish sprinkle the skillet with salt to prevent the fish from sticking.

To prevent food from sticking to skillets, waffle irons or griddles, sprinkle with salt and heat in warm oven, dust off salt and return to cupboard.  Next usage, foods won’t stick.

A pinch of salt goes a long way. Here are some hints that utilize a pinch of salt or perhaps a bit more while you are cooking:

Add a pinch of salt:

When whipping eggs to create fluffier eggs.

To enhance the flavor of coffee and in overcooked coffee helps remove the bitterness.

To whipping cream or egg whites to get them to whip faster.

To milk to have it stay fresh longer.

To icing prevents them from sugaring.

To improve boiled potatoes, salt after draining – this gives them a fine mealy texture.

Keep salads crisp by salting immediately before serving.


Poultry – has multiple uses:

Rub the chicken skin with salt to remove pinfeathers more easily.

Improve the flavor by rubbing salt inside and out before roasting.


Sea salt is derived from salty seawater. By combining salt with water again here are some great tips to help out in the kitchen:

Salt makes water boil at a higher temperature which reduces cooking time.

Boil eggs in salt water to ease the peeling process.

To set the whites of poached eggs, boil over saltwater.

Place an egg in a cup of water with 2 teaspoon of salt, a fresh egg will sink, a floating egg may be spoiled.

Washing spinach, lettuce and other greens in saltwater will keep them crisp.

Lightly salted cold water helps maintain the color of apples, pears and potatoes.

Soak in saltwater for hours to make shelling pecans easy.

Dampen a cloth with saltwater and wrap around cheese to prevent molding.

Sprinkle ice with salt, place gelatin salads or desserts on ice to get them to set more quickly.

Not all salt is the same.

Kosher Salt

Use it for: All cooking. Kosher salt dissolves fast, pill and its flavor disperses quickly, about it so chefs recommend tossing it on everything from pork roast to popcorn.

Origin: Either the sea or the earth. Widely sold brands include Morton and Diamond Crystal, which are made using different methods. Kosher salt got its name because its craggy crystals make it perfect for curing meat?a step in the koshering process.

Texture: Coarse. Cooks prize crystals like these; their roughness makes it easy to pinch a perfect amount.

To buy: Look in your local supermarket. Kosher salts cost about $1 a pound. If you don’t mind a few clumps, buy Diamond Crystal; it has no anticaking agents, which can leave a chemical aftertaste.

Crystalline Sea Salt

Use it for: Adding a pungent burst of flavor to just-cooked foods. These crystals will complement anything from a fresh salad to a salmon fillet.

Origin: Coasts from Portugal to Maine, California to the Pacific Rim.

Texture: Fine or coarse. The size of the irregular crystals affects how fast the salt dissolves. It varies in color, depending on the minerals it contains (iron-rich red clay, for example, gives Hawaiian sea salt a pinkish hue). These natural impurities can add subtly briny, sweet, or even bitter flavors to the salts.

To buy: Check gourmet shops or on-line (thespicehouse.com stocks Hawaiian sea salt). Expect to pay $2 to $15 or more a pound. Many markets sell La Baleine, a relatively inexpensive brand ($3 for 26.5 ounces).

Flaked Sea Salt

Use it for: Bringing a complex flavor to steamed vegetables or shellfish. Take a pinch, crush the crystals between your fingertips, and let them fall on freshly cooked food. This salt will add a hint of briny flavor.

Origin: England’s Essex coast is where the most popular brand, Maldon, is harvested.

Texture: Soft, sheer, pyramid-like flakes. This is the fastest-dissolving of all of the salt grains.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet. You’ll pay $6 for 8.5 ounces atchefshop.com.

Fleur de Sel

Use it for: A special-occasion table salt. Spoon it into a salt cellar to be pinched, then sprinkled over food just before eating. Delicately flavored, it adds a perfect hint of saltiness to freshly sliced tomato or melon.

Origin: Coastal salt ponds in France. The caviar of sea salt, fleur de sel is hand harvested. Conditions have to be just right (lots of sun and wind) for it to “bloom” like a flower on the surface of the water.

Texture: Crystalline, which means that fleur de sel melts slowly in the mouth. Its earthy, pleasing flavor lingers on the tongue.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet (try chefshop.com). From $11 for 4.4 ounces to $45 for 35 ounces.

Rock Salt

Use it for: Making ice cream and deicing. Rock salt is paired with ice in old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream makers to regulate the temperature. You can also use it to deice your sidewalks and driveway in the winter months.

Origin: Mined from deposits in the earth, rock salt is not sold for use directly on food. It’s usually packaged in an organic, unprocessed form.

Texture: Large, chunky, nonuniform crystals. Minerals and other harmless impurities can give it a grayish color.

To buy: It’s sold in supermarkets and hardware and home stores for less than $1 a pound.

Pickling Salt

Use it for: Brining pickles and sauerkraut. It will also brine a turkey, but beware: Pickling salt is far more concentrated than the more commonly used kosher salt, so you’ll need to use less.

Origin: Like table salt, pickling salt may come from the earth or the sea. But unlike table salt, it isn’t fortified with iodine (a nutritional need for humans) and doesn’t contain anticaking chemicals, both of which would turn pickles an unappetizing color. Virtually 100 percent sodium chloride, it’s the purest of salts.

Texture: This variety is fine grained, like table salt.

To buy: Many supermarkets sell it in large boxes or bags, but it can be hard to find in cities. It costs less than $1 a pou

For every meal there is one thing people generally reach for before they even take a bite – the salt shaker.  Salt is one of the oldest spices used and is a key component to humans, animals, and plants.

Its flavor is unique and versatile, salt has been a staple throughout time.  Enhancing almost every dish, salt is added to breads, meats, fruits and vegetables to sauces and desserts.

Additionally, salt aids foods in a variety of ways like:

Preservation – helps protect against microorganisms, bacteria through dehydration and preventing growth of bacteria, which slows or prevents spoilage.

Texture Aid – in bread making, allows the dough to rise by giving helping the gluten hold more water and carbon dioxide.  In meats it improves tenderness and in cheeses it aids in consistency of the cheese and the hardness of the rind.

Binder – in processed meats it helps retain water which reduces the loss of meat when cooking.

Color Developer – in ham, bacon, and other processed meats it helps obtain the desired color.  It also helps create a golden crust for breads.

Fermentation Control – slows and controls the fermentation process in:

Pickling
Cheese production
Sauerkraut production
Summer sausage production

When you reach for that salt shaker on the table or on the stove while cooking what type of salt are you getting?  While salt is gained from two sources, salt deposits on land or from the sea, once harvested it is essentially processed in the same way, through the creation of brine and evaporation.

Salts, like so many other foods, has become trendy with the multitude of seas salts now available to the home cook. Is the trend overrated or are these salts really worth their weight in salt!

The main difference between salts is in their texture. >Each salt has its own distinctive flavor, color, and texture. Experiment with different salt when cooking. Salt is like money! You get what you pay for. You can put the best ingredients into making your dish, but if you blow it on the wrong salt, the dish will not be as good.

There are three basic types of salt:

Table salt – mined using water to create a brine.

Table salt, the one found in most salt shakers, is mined from salt deposits and has most of the minerals removed.  Most salt in the United States is sold with iodine added making it iodized salt. This salt is harvested by forcing water into a mine to create brine (salt/water mix). The brine is then evaporated leaving cubes of salt. The salt is refined from there to create varieties like:

Pickling salt, Canning salt, Coarse salt, Gos sel – fine grained without iodine or anti-caking preservatives. This is similar to table salt, but lacks the iodine and anti-caking additives that turn pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy. Pickles made with table salt would still be good to eat, but they wouldn’t look as appetizing.

Pretzel salt – large grained, does not melt quickly.

Rock salt – large crystal salt with a gray color, due to minerals not removed from normal table salt. This form of salt is available in most grocery stores, and also through hardware stores.

Popcorn salt – very fine grained salt which is flakier version of table salt.

Iodized salt – contains a small amount of potassium iodide and dextrose as a dietary supplement to prevent thyroid disease. (see Salt Composition and Medical Uses below).

Seasoned salt – table salt with herbs added like onion, hickory smoke or garlic.


Kosher salt, Koshering salt
– also made from a brine but this brine is continually raked during the evaporation process.

Kosher salt is an additive-free coarse-grained salt. This salt was developed for the preparation of kosher meats in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. The salt itself is not kosher, but this is where the name comes from. The difference between table and Kosher salt is that during the evaporation process it is raked to give it a block-like structure which allows the salt to draw the blood out of meats. The raking makes Kosher salt coarser and flakier than table salt so it disperses more easily. This makes it lighter and less dense than table salt. It is also recommended to use Kosher salt for cocktail glasses for drinks like margaritas. Since it is a lighter salt, there is less after taste with it.

Today many cooks and chefs prefer it over table salt in their cooking, as it dissolves fast and its flavor disperses quickly. Kosher salt weighs less by volume than table salt, so you must increase the amount of salt used in a recipe when substituting for table salt. This is a great all-purpose salt.

Sea Salt – made from ocean or sea water, contains trace minerals not in the mined salts.

Sea Salt is just that – salt gained from evaporating salt water collected from an ocean or sea.  The process is more costly then the mining process.  Sea salt is typically less refined than other salts. Depending on the seawater used, you also get a variety of minerals in the sea salt. Due to this there are numerous types of sea salts. Here are a few:

Black Salt, Kala Namak, Sanchal – Significant for its strong sulfur odor (India) this salt is a pearly pink gray.  It is used in Indian cooking.

Grey salt, Celtic salt, Sel Gris – Harvested from the light film of salt which forms during the evaporation process.  The gray or light purple color comes from the clay in the region of France where it is harvested. Collected using traditional Celtic hand methods.

Hawaiian sea salt – Has a distinctive pink hue from the Alaea added to it. The Alaea is volcanic red clay with a high content of iron oxide. This salt is used in many traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian Jerky.

Coarse salt, Gos Sel, Gale Grosso – Is a larger grain salt which resists moisture and is intended to be ground. Uses include flavoring for soups and salt crusts on meats.

Flake salt – Shaped like snowflakes, the brine is made using the sun and wind for evaporation. Then the brine is slowly heated to create the flakes.

Fleur de Sel, Flower of Salt, Flor De Sal – Skimmed from the top of salt ponds early in the process of evaporation, this is considered a great condiment salt; also good on grilled meats, in salads and on vegetables. The flavor, like wines, varies depending on the region it is harvested from. Typically it is from France though some is produced in Portugal.

French Sea Salt – Processed less than American salt, retains more of the mineral content gained from the Atlantic seawater it is harvested from. This usually includes natural iodine.  A coarse salt, this is good for salads, vegetables and grilled meats.

Grinder salt – Large dry salt crystal which can easily be put through a grinder. With a salt grinder you want to avoid metal as the salt will corrode the grinding mechanism.

Italian Sea Salt, Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino – Harvested from the lower Mediterranean sea by hand using traditional methods of natural evaporation, this salt is high in iodine, fluorine, magnesium and potassium. A delicate salt which is good on salads and in sauces.

Smoked Sea Salt – One other derivative of sea salt is a smoked sea salt. The salt is smoked over real wood fires to add the flavor to the crystals. These can be used in soups, salads, pasta and also in grilling foods like salmon.

Organic Salt: Organic salt has different standards than organic livestock or botanicals. Some organizations have started to set up guidelines to ensure the quality of water and production process.

Lite (light) salt and salt substitutes: These generally do not have a great flavor. Lite salt uses potassium chloride to reduce the sodium level in the salt.  Salt substitutes have little or no sodium in them. Typically only people who have a medical reason use these because the flavor is not as good as salt.

Sour Salt: There is a product called sour salt which is not made up of salt at all, instead it is citric acid.  This is used to prevent browning when canning fruit. It can also be added to rye or sour dough bread to make it more tart.



Salt Substitutions

When using salt, you may not have available some of those listed above or a recipe may call for one type you don’t like. Substitution may become necessary. Here are a few suggested substitutions:

Kosher salt – a non-iodized coarse table salt or a coarse pickling salt but make sure you read the label and there are no additives.  When making this substitution use about half the salt called for in the recipe.

Pickling salt – substitute Kosher salt which is free of additives that can turn your pickle brine cloudy.

Pretzel salt – Kosher salt or a coarse sea salt.

Table salt – Kosher salt but use twice the salt called.



Hints on using different types of salt

Different salts offer different qualities based on how they are used. Here are a few hints on the way to use certain types of salt:

Fine salts – use for baking unless a recipe calls for something different.  The texture and size of a fine salt is smaller and more dense than a more coarsely ground salt.

Kosher salt – is great to use while cooking as the size of the salt is easier to see how much is being added.

Hand-harvested salts – avoid using during a cooking process unless it is a very quick process like with salmon.  If used during the cooking process the flavor and texture can be lost.



Salt Composition and Medical Uses

Since most salt is produced in relatively the same way, there is little difference when it comes to health benefits in which type is used.  Salt is plentiful in most foods even fruits and vegetables.  Processed foods have an alarmingly high level of sodium so it might be best to avoid those if on a salt restricted diet.

Typically salt is made up of sodium and chloride.  Sodium cannot be produced within the human body so it is important to the diet. Sodium helps regulate water balance ph and osmotic pressure.  Chloride is equally important in the human diet for it helps the blood to carry carbon dioxide; potassium absorption; helps in digestion; and conserves acid-base balance. Iodine is added to most North American salt in an effort to reduce Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), which causes mental retardation, miscarriage, goiters, brain damage in infants and can impair growth and development. This effort has been highly successful in North American nearly wiping out the problems associated with IDD. All of these benefits are received from the common salt shaker almost everyone has on their table.

The recommended salt intake varies on the individual and their genetics. In general though, a minimum of 500 mg per day with a maximum of 2400 mg is a good guideline. This is difficult to regulate because so many foods do contain salt naturally.

Having the right level of salt assists the body with many functions including:

Nerve conduction.

Easy and active absorption of other nutrients in the small intestines.

Maintains electrolyte balance.

Key to hydration during exercise and outside activities.

Combats hyperthermia.

Increasing salt intake can combat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Helps regulate the water levels in cells, nutrient levels, and waste matter.

Salt is considered one of the first antibiotics, which is probably where the term rubbing salt in a wound comes from. Human blood actually contains 0.9% salt and a solution of water and salt in that proportion is commonly used to irrigate wounds.

As with anything, too much salt may cause problems. Some of the problems include the following:

Hypertension or high blood pressure.

High acidity, which may cause cancer.

In healthy people, too much salt is typically discarded by the kidneys. However, a genetic abnormality preventing the absorption of chloride may cause cystic fibrosis which can be detected by testing the saltiness of a person’s sweat.

Since Americans tend to over indulge in salt much focus has been placed on the effect salt has on hypertension.  Many studies have been done and debate continues as to whether salt adversely affects blood pressure.  Listed below are some of the general conclusions from the vast array of studies

Minority of population can lower their blood pressure by limiting salt.

Hypertension may be caused by too much salt in a diet.

Hypertension may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Life style changes may have more affect on blood pressure / hypertension than salt.

Low sodium intake can be just as dangerous as high sodium intake.

The group who benefits the most from reducing salt intake is overweight men.

While the debate continues in the medical community, the regular person can only attempt to reduce salt in their diet to see if it affects their blood pressure. If the craving for salt continues, it may stems from a lack of zinc in the diet. An increase in foods rich in zinc may reduce the desire for salt. Foods rich in zinc include:

Oysters

Endive

Alfalfa sprouts

Seaweed

Brown rice

Asparagus

Mushrooms

Turkey

Radishes

Balance is the key when it comes to the use of salt and the health. So many foods are rich in salt that adding it to a meal is probably not needed. If someone is at risk with high blood pressure, simply remove the salt shaker from the table in an effort to wean them off the habit.  One thing which was clear in most studies is that the affect salt had varied greatly among individuals based on genetic make up.  



Alternative Uses – Cooking Tips

Being so widely used, salt has many alternative uses besides the traditional food additive. There is an abundance of alternative uses which are separated into categories below.  Be cautious when using all of these, remember to start small to determine if there will be any adverse reactions to any of these procedures and uses.

General tips to help with common problems in the kitchen:

Over salted soup – add a cut up potato or two to absorb the extra salt.

Rub a griddle with a bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking.

Before frying fish sprinkle the skillet with salt to prevent the fish from sticking.

To prevent food from sticking to skillets, waffle irons or griddles, sprinkle with salt and heat in warm oven, dust off salt and return to cupboard.  Next usage, foods won’t stick.

A pinch of salt goes a long way. Here are some hints that utilize a pinch of salt or perhaps a bit more while you are cooking:

Add a pinch of salt:

When whipping eggs to create fluffier eggs.

To enhance the flavor of coffee and in overcooked coffee helps remove the bitterness.

To whipping cream or egg whites to get them to whip faster.

To milk to have it stay fresh longer.

To icing prevents them from sugaring.

To improve boiled potatoes, salt after draining – this gives them a fine mealy texture.

Keep salads crisp by salting immediately before serving.


Poultry – has multiple uses:

Rub the chicken skin with salt to remove pinfeathers more easily.

Improve the flavor by rubbing salt inside and out before roasting.


Sea salt is derived from salty seawater. By combining salt with water again here are some great tips to help out in the kitchen:

Salt makes water boil at a higher temperature which reduces cooking time.

Boil eggs in salt water to ease the peeling process.

To set the whites of poached eggs, boil over saltwater.

Place an egg in a cup of water with 2 teaspoon of salt, a fresh egg will sink, a floating egg may be spoiled.

Washing spinach, lettuce and other greens in saltwater will keep them crisp.

Lightly salted cold water helps maintain the color of apples, pears and potatoes.

Soak in saltwater for hours to make shelling pecans easy.

Dampen a cloth with saltwater and wrap around cheese to prevent molding.

Sprinkle ice with salt, place gelatin salads or desserts on ice to get them to set more quickly.

I finally perfected my homemade stuffing years ago. Sadly I never wrote it down. I thought I posted it but every Thanksgiving when I search Dazzledish it is not there. Holidays are hectics times. So, information pills before I get lost in the rush of the season I am posting the recipe. No more panic come Thanksgiving.

If you are looking for amazing Korean recipes Maangchi’s website is THE place. So far every recipe I have tried has been absolutely delicious. Steamed Pork Buns are no exception.

Steamed pork buns are sort of like a stuffed dumpling. They can be baked in the oven. The result is just ok. Like a loaf of bread, information pills the baked dough is drier with a crisp outside. Ultimately you really want to try to steam them for a lighter fluffy dumpling. I do not own a steamer but I found my canning pot works perfectly.

Pack any leftovers for lunch the next day. They taste fine cold or warm in the microwave or oven.

If you are interested in learning Korean visit the Talk to Me in Korean website. It really makes learning the language simple.

Source: Maangchi

Dough:
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 ts sugar
3 cups flour
In a large bowl add water, yeast, salt, oil, and sugar. Mix well until yeast is fully dissolved.

Add flour to the yeast water. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead for 2-3 minutes.

Set aside in warm place until the dough doubles in size.

After the dough has risen, knead it again for 1 minute to remove any extra gas. Set it aside in warm place with the lid closed for 30 minutes.

Vegetable Filling:
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups chopped white mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the onion, carrot, zucchini, green onion, and mushrooms.

Sprinkle salt over top and mix it up by hand. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.

Squeeze the excess water out.
*tip: using cheesecloth will make this easier. Wrap the chopped vegetables in cheesecloth and gently squeeze the water out.

Meat Filling:
14 oz ground pork
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a mixing bowl, place: pork, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and pepper.
Mix it by hand and set aside.

In a heated pan, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sauté the chopped vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Transfer them to a large bowl.

Heat up the pan again, and cook the seasoned pork for 3 minutes until fully cooked.

Put the pork into the bowl with the vegetables and mix it all up.

Split the dough into 16 smaller pieces.
Take a few dough balls and put them on a floured cutting board.

(The rest of balls should be in the bowl with the lid closed, to prevent them from getting dried out.)

Roll out each ball into a disk 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
Place a disk into your palm and add 2-3 tablespoons of filling mixture to the center of it.

Lift the edges of the disk up around the filling, then press the edges together to seal the filling snugly inside the bun.

Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, until you’ve made 16 buns.

Put 6-7 cups of water in the bottom of a large steamer and place each bun on the rack.

*tip: Place cheesecloth or cotton cloth on the steamer rack before adding each bun. Baking cups also work well. When you place the buns on the rack, leave a 1 inch gap between them because they will get bigger when steamed.

Wait for 20 more minutes to let the dough rise even more.
Bring to a boil over high heat, and steam for 20 minutes.

Dipping sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped onion
Chopped green chili pepper
Roasted sesame seeds

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl.
Add some of onion, green chili pepper, and sesame seeds.

When the buns are cooked, turn off the heat and remove the lid to prevent water from the top of the lid from dripping over the buns.

Variations:
— if you do not have a steamer you can use a large canning pot or stock pot. Place pint sized jars or glasses in the pot, open side down. fill the pot with water 1-2 inches below the top of the glasses. Place a canning rack or metal plate, small enough to fit inside the pot, onto of the glasses. Put the pork buns in muffin tin liners. Place on top of the rack/plate. Cover and bring to a simmer. cook buns 20 minutes.

Farmers living on the prairie during the 1800’s had to be resourceful for their survival. Every little bit was utilized with very little waste. Laura Ingals, health in the book “Little House in the Big Woods”, treatment tells about the day Pa butchered their pig. Pa promised the girls the pig’s bladder, viagra approved to use as a balloon, and the pig’s tail for a tasty treat. The pig’s tail was skewered on a stick then held over hot coals to cook. When it was nicely browned they ate it; the hot sizzling juices burning their tongues. I am not suggesting that we pitch our tents and go “country” (as Nelly, Laura’s nemesis, would say). However, we can learn much from their resourcefulness.

My daughter and I have been reading the Little House books together each night before bed. I enjoy most of their methods for repurposing every little bit; however, I doubt I will be making hog head cheese anytime soon. I do boil the chicken carcass for broth and I save the juices from the roast to flavor stews. I have also been known to save bacon grease. A tip my Great Aunt Ruth taught me. As for shining my shoes with it, like Pa with his bear lard, I think there is a limit to my resourcefulness.

Learning to be resourceful with leftovers and pantry staples is a cleaver way to save money. Stephen despises leftovers. I, on the other hand get bored with leftovers. If the kids do not eat it then most likely the dish will end up in the trash at the end of the week. That is a lot of waste especially when food prices seem to have doubled. To avoid the waste from leftovers I have learned to freeze the extras (do not refreeze meats), scale down the recipe, or try to transpose leftovers into something new all together. At the end of the week soups are an economical way to utilize vegetables and meat before they go bad. Most soups can be frozen or repurposed into another meal. For example, turn left over chicken soup into chicken potpieenchiladas, or tortilla soup.

Here is how:

— Drain the liquid from the chicken soup into a bowl. Strain. Use as broth for rice or for whenever broth or water is called for. Freeze broth in ice cube trays or freezable containers.

— For chicken pot pie make the sauce and pastry dough. Use the drained vegetables and chicken.

— For enchiladas pick out the chicken. Drain in a colander for 10 minutes. Toss with taco seasoning. Grill in a little oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

— For tortilla soup use the strained broth and chicken. Better yet, begin by making homemade broth for the chicken soup. Cut up a whole chicken. Place the bones in a pot, cover with water, add seasonings: salt, pepper, carrots, celery, onion, and herbs. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3 hours until the bones are dried out and clean. Strain. Let cool. Then skim the fat off the top. Instant broth that cost nothing extra.
Not all salt is the same.

Kosher Salt

Use it for: All cooking. Kosher salt dissolves fast, dosage and its flavor disperses quickly, more about so chefs recommend tossing it on everything from pork roast to popcorn.

Origin: Either the sea or the earth. Widely sold brands include Morton and Diamond Crystal, website which are made using different methods. Kosher salt got its name because its craggy crystals make it perfect for curing meat?a step in the koshering process.

Texture: Coarse. Cooks prize crystals like these; their roughness makes it easy to pinch a perfect amount.

To buy: Look in your local supermarket. Kosher salts cost about $1 a pound. If you don’t mind a few clumps, buy Diamond Crystal; it has no anticaking agents, which can leave a chemical aftertaste.

Crystalline Sea Salt

Use it for: Adding a pungent burst of flavor to just-cooked foods. These crystals will complement anything from a fresh salad to a salmon fillet.

Origin: Coasts from Portugal to Maine, California to the Pacific Rim.

Texture: Fine or coarse. The size of the irregular crystals affects how fast the salt dissolves. It varies in color, depending on the minerals it contains (iron-rich red clay, for example, gives Hawaiian sea salt a pinkish hue). These natural impurities can add subtly briny, sweet, or even bitter flavors to the salts.

To buy: Check gourmet shops or on-line (thespicehouse.com stocks Hawaiian sea salt). Expect to pay $2 to $15 or more a pound. Many markets sell La Baleine, a relatively inexpensive brand ($3 for 26.5 ounces).

Flaked Sea Salt

Use it for: Bringing a complex flavor to steamed vegetables or shellfish. Take a pinch, crush the crystals between your fingertips, and let them fall on freshly cooked food. This salt will add a hint of briny flavor.

Origin: England’s Essex coast is where the most popular brand, Maldon, is harvested.

Texture: Soft, sheer, pyramid-like flakes. This is the fastest-dissolving of all of the salt grains.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet. You’ll pay $6 for 8.5 ounces atchefshop.com.

Fleur de Sel

Use it for: A special-occasion table salt. Spoon it into a salt cellar to be pinched, then sprinkled over food just before eating. Delicately flavored, it adds a perfect hint of saltiness to freshly sliced tomato or melon.

Origin: Coastal salt ponds in France. The caviar of sea salt, fleur de sel is hand harvested. Conditions have to be just right (lots of sun and wind) for it to “bloom” like a flower on the surface of the water.

Texture: Crystalline, which means that fleur de sel melts slowly in the mouth. Its earthy, pleasing flavor lingers on the tongue.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet (try chefshop.com). From $11 for 4.4 ounces to $45 for 35 ounces.

Rock Salt

Use it for: Making ice cream and deicing. Rock salt is paired with ice in old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream makers to regulate the temperature. You can also use it to deice your sidewalks and driveway in the winter months.

Origin: Mined from deposits in the earth, rock salt is not sold for use directly on food. It’s usually packaged in an organic, unprocessed form.

Texture: Large, chunky, nonuniform crystals. Minerals and other harmless impurities can give it a grayish color.

To buy: It’s sold in supermarkets and hardware and home stores for less than $1 a pound.

Pickling Salt

Use it for: Brining pickles and sauerkraut. It will also brine a turkey, but beware: Pickling salt is far more concentrated than the more commonly used kosher salt, so you’ll need to use less.

Origin: Like table salt, pickling salt may come from the earth or the sea. But unlike table salt, it isn’t fortified with iodine (a nutritional need for humans) and doesn’t contain anticaking chemicals, both of which would turn pickles an unappetizing color. Virtually 100 percent sodium chloride, it’s the purest of salts.

Texture: This variety is fine grained, like table salt.

To buy: Many supermarkets sell it in large boxes or bags, but it can be hard to find in cities. It costs less than $1 a pou

For every meal there is one thing people generally reach for before they even take a bite – the salt shaker.  Salt is one of the oldest spices used and is a key component to humans, animals, and plants.

Its flavor is unique and versatile, salt has been a staple throughout time.  Enhancing almost every dish, salt is added to breads, meats, fruits and vegetables to sauces and desserts.

Additionally, salt aids foods in a variety of ways like:

Preservation – helps protect against microorganisms, bacteria through dehydration and preventing growth of bacteria, which slows or prevents spoilage.

Texture Aid – in bread making, allows the dough to rise by giving helping the gluten hold more water and carbon dioxide.  In meats it improves tenderness and in cheeses it aids in consistency of the cheese and the hardness of the rind.

Binder – in processed meats it helps retain water which reduces the loss of meat when cooking.

Color Developer – in ham, bacon, and other processed meats it helps obtain the desired color.  It also helps create a golden crust for breads.

Fermentation Control – slows and controls the fermentation process in:

Pickling
Cheese production
Sauerkraut production
Summer sausage production

When you reach for that salt shaker on the table or on the stove while cooking what type of salt are you getting?  While salt is gained from two sources, salt deposits on land or from the sea, once harvested it is essentially processed in the same way, through the creation of brine and evaporation.

Salts, like so many other foods, has become trendy with the multitude of seas salts now available to the home cook. Is the trend overrated or are these salts really worth their weight in salt!

The main difference between salts is in their texture. >Each salt has its own distinctive flavor, color, and texture. Experiment with different salt when cooking. Salt is like money! You get what you pay for. You can put the best ingredients into making your dish, but if you blow it on the wrong salt, the dish will not be as good.

There are three basic types of salt:

Table salt – mined using water to create a brine.

Table salt, the one found in most salt shakers, is mined from salt deposits and has most of the minerals removed.  Most salt in the United States is sold with iodine added making it iodized salt. This salt is harvested by forcing water into a mine to create brine (salt/water mix). The brine is then evaporated leaving cubes of salt. The salt is refined from there to create varieties like:

Pickling salt, Canning salt, Coarse salt, Gos sel – fine grained without iodine or anti-caking preservatives. This is similar to table salt, but lacks the iodine and anti-caking additives that turn pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy. Pickles made with table salt would still be good to eat, but they wouldn’t look as appetizing.

Pretzel salt – large grained, does not melt quickly.

Rock salt – large crystal salt with a gray color, due to minerals not removed from normal table salt. This form of salt is available in most grocery stores, and also through hardware stores.

Popcorn salt – very fine grained salt which is flakier version of table salt.

Iodized salt – contains a small amount of potassium iodide and dextrose as a dietary supplement to prevent thyroid disease. (see Salt Composition and Medical Uses below).

Seasoned salt – table salt with herbs added like onion, hickory smoke or garlic.


Kosher salt, Koshering salt
– also made from a brine but this brine is continually raked during the evaporation process.

Kosher salt is an additive-free coarse-grained salt. This salt was developed for the preparation of kosher meats in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. The salt itself is not kosher, but this is where the name comes from. The difference between table and Kosher salt is that during the evaporation process it is raked to give it a block-like structure which allows the salt to draw the blood out of meats. The raking makes Kosher salt coarser and flakier than table salt so it disperses more easily. This makes it lighter and less dense than table salt. It is also recommended to use Kosher salt for cocktail glasses for drinks like margaritas. Since it is a lighter salt, there is less after taste with it.

Today many cooks and chefs prefer it over table salt in their cooking, as it dissolves fast and its flavor disperses quickly. Kosher salt weighs less by volume than table salt, so you must increase the amount of salt used in a recipe when substituting for table salt. This is a great all-purpose salt.

Sea Salt – made from ocean or sea water, contains trace minerals not in the mined salts.

Sea Salt is just that – salt gained from evaporating salt water collected from an ocean or sea.  The process is more costly then the mining process.  Sea salt is typically less refined than other salts. Depending on the seawater used, you also get a variety of minerals in the sea salt. Due to this there are numerous types of sea salts. Here are a few:

Black Salt, Kala Namak, Sanchal – Significant for its strong sulfur odor (India) this salt is a pearly pink gray.  It is used in Indian cooking.

Grey salt, Celtic salt, Sel Gris – Harvested from the light film of salt which forms during the evaporation process.  The gray or light purple color comes from the clay in the region of France where it is harvested. Collected using traditional Celtic hand methods.

Hawaiian sea salt – Has a distinctive pink hue from the Alaea added to it. The Alaea is volcanic red clay with a high content of iron oxide. This salt is used in many traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian Jerky.

Coarse salt, Gos Sel, Gale Grosso – Is a larger grain salt which resists moisture and is intended to be ground. Uses include flavoring for soups and salt crusts on meats.

Flake salt – Shaped like snowflakes, the brine is made using the sun and wind for evaporation. Then the brine is slowly heated to create the flakes.

Fleur de Sel, Flower of Salt, Flor De Sal – Skimmed from the top of salt ponds early in the process of evaporation, this is considered a great condiment salt; also good on grilled meats, in salads and on vegetables. The flavor, like wines, varies depending on the region it is harvested from. Typically it is from France though some is produced in Portugal.

French Sea Salt – Processed less than American salt, retains more of the mineral content gained from the Atlantic seawater it is harvested from. This usually includes natural iodine.  A coarse salt, this is good for salads, vegetables and grilled meats.

Grinder salt – Large dry salt crystal which can easily be put through a grinder. With a salt grinder you want to avoid metal as the salt will corrode the grinding mechanism.

Italian Sea Salt, Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino – Harvested from the lower Mediterranean sea by hand using traditional methods of natural evaporation, this salt is high in iodine, fluorine, magnesium and potassium. A delicate salt which is good on salads and in sauces.

Smoked Sea Salt – One other derivative of sea salt is a smoked sea salt. The salt is smoked over real wood fires to add the flavor to the crystals. These can be used in soups, salads, pasta and also in grilling foods like salmon.

Organic Salt: Organic salt has different standards than organic livestock or botanicals. Some organizations have started to set up guidelines to ensure the quality of water and production process.

Lite (light) salt and salt substitutes: These generally do not have a great flavor. Lite salt uses potassium chloride to reduce the sodium level in the salt.  Salt substitutes have little or no sodium in them. Typically only people who have a medical reason use these because the flavor is not as good as salt.

Sour Salt: There is a product called sour salt which is not made up of salt at all, instead it is citric acid.  This is used to prevent browning when canning fruit. It can also be added to rye or sour dough bread to make it more tart.



Salt Substitutions

When using salt, you may not have available some of those listed above or a recipe may call for one type you don’t like. Substitution may become necessary. Here are a few suggested substitutions:

Kosher salt – a non-iodized coarse table salt or a coarse pickling salt but make sure you read the label and there are no additives.  When making this substitution use about half the salt called for in the recipe.

Pickling salt – substitute Kosher salt which is free of additives that can turn your pickle brine cloudy.

Pretzel salt – Kosher salt or a coarse sea salt.

Table salt – Kosher salt but use twice the salt called.



Hints on using different types of salt

Different salts offer different qualities based on how they are used. Here are a few hints on the way to use certain types of salt:

Fine salts – use for baking unless a recipe calls for something different.  The texture and size of a fine salt is smaller and more dense than a more coarsely ground salt.

Kosher salt – is great to use while cooking as the size of the salt is easier to see how much is being added.

Hand-harvested salts – avoid using during a cooking process unless it is a very quick process like with salmon.  If used during the cooking process the flavor and texture can be lost.



Salt Composition and Medical Uses

Since most salt is produced in relatively the same way, there is little difference when it comes to health benefits in which type is used.  Salt is plentiful in most foods even fruits and vegetables.  Processed foods have an alarmingly high level of sodium so it might be best to avoid those if on a salt restricted diet.

Typically salt is made up of sodium and chloride.  Sodium cannot be produced within the human body so it is important to the diet. Sodium helps regulate water balance ph and osmotic pressure.  Chloride is equally important in the human diet for it helps the blood to carry carbon dioxide; potassium absorption; helps in digestion; and conserves acid-base balance. Iodine is added to most North American salt in an effort to reduce Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), which causes mental retardation, miscarriage, goiters, brain damage in infants and can impair growth and development. This effort has been highly successful in North American nearly wiping out the problems associated with IDD. All of these benefits are received from the common salt shaker almost everyone has on their table.

The recommended salt intake varies on the individual and their genetics. In general though, a minimum of 500 mg per day with a maximum of 2400 mg is a good guideline. This is difficult to regulate because so many foods do contain salt naturally.

Having the right level of salt assists the body with many functions including:

Nerve conduction.

Easy and active absorption of other nutrients in the small intestines.

Maintains electrolyte balance.

Key to hydration during exercise and outside activities.

Combats hyperthermia.

Increasing salt intake can combat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Helps regulate the water levels in cells, nutrient levels, and waste matter.

Salt is considered one of the first antibiotics, which is probably where the term rubbing salt in a wound comes from. Human blood actually contains 0.9% salt and a solution of water and salt in that proportion is commonly used to irrigate wounds.

As with anything, too much salt may cause problems. Some of the problems include the following:

Hypertension or high blood pressure.

High acidity, which may cause cancer.

In healthy people, too much salt is typically discarded by the kidneys. However, a genetic abnormality preventing the absorption of chloride may cause cystic fibrosis which can be detected by testing the saltiness of a person’s sweat.

Since Americans tend to over indulge in salt much focus has been placed on the effect salt has on hypertension.  Many studies have been done and debate continues as to whether salt adversely affects blood pressure.  Listed below are some of the general conclusions from the vast array of studies

Minority of population can lower their blood pressure by limiting salt.

Hypertension may be caused by too much salt in a diet.

Hypertension may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Life style changes may have more affect on blood pressure / hypertension than salt.

Low sodium intake can be just as dangerous as high sodium intake.

The group who benefits the most from reducing salt intake is overweight men.

While the debate continues in the medical community, the regular person can only attempt to reduce salt in their diet to see if it affects their blood pressure. If the craving for salt continues, it may stems from a lack of zinc in the diet. An increase in foods rich in zinc may reduce the desire for salt. Foods rich in zinc include:

Oysters

Endive

Alfalfa sprouts

Seaweed

Brown rice

Asparagus

Mushrooms

Turkey

Radishes

Balance is the key when it comes to the use of salt and the health. So many foods are rich in salt that adding it to a meal is probably not needed. If someone is at risk with high blood pressure, simply remove the salt shaker from the table in an effort to wean them off the habit.  One thing which was clear in most studies is that the affect salt had varied greatly among individuals based on genetic make up.  



Alternative Uses – Cooking Tips

Being so widely used, salt has many alternative uses besides the traditional food additive. There is an abundance of alternative uses which are separated into categories below.  Be cautious when using all of these, remember to start small to determine if there will be any adverse reactions to any of these procedures and uses.

General tips to help with common problems in the kitchen:

Over salted soup – add a cut up potato or two to absorb the extra salt.

Rub a griddle with a bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking.

Before frying fish sprinkle the skillet with salt to prevent the fish from sticking.

To prevent food from sticking to skillets, waffle irons or griddles, sprinkle with salt and heat in warm oven, dust off salt and return to cupboard.  Next usage, foods won’t stick.

A pinch of salt goes a long way. Here are some hints that utilize a pinch of salt or perhaps a bit more while you are cooking:

Add a pinch of salt:

When whipping eggs to create fluffier eggs.

To enhance the flavor of coffee and in overcooked coffee helps remove the bitterness.

To whipping cream or egg whites to get them to whip faster.

To milk to have it stay fresh longer.

To icing prevents them from sugaring.

To improve boiled potatoes, salt after draining – this gives them a fine mealy texture.

Keep salads crisp by salting immediately before serving.


Poultry – has multiple uses:

Rub the chicken skin with salt to remove pinfeathers more easily.

Improve the flavor by rubbing salt inside and out before roasting.


Sea salt is derived from salty seawater. By combining salt with water again here are some great tips to help out in the kitchen:

Salt makes water boil at a higher temperature which reduces cooking time.

Boil eggs in salt water to ease the peeling process.

To set the whites of poached eggs, boil over saltwater.

Place an egg in a cup of water with 2 teaspoon of salt, a fresh egg will sink, a floating egg may be spoiled.

Washing spinach, lettuce and other greens in saltwater will keep them crisp.

Lightly salted cold water helps maintain the color of apples, pears and potatoes.

Soak in saltwater for hours to make shelling pecans easy.

Dampen a cloth with saltwater and wrap around cheese to prevent molding.

Sprinkle ice with salt, place gelatin salads or desserts on ice to get them to set more quickly.

Not all salt is the same.

Kosher Salt

Use it for: All cooking. Kosher salt dissolves fast, pill and its flavor disperses quickly, about it so chefs recommend tossing it on everything from pork roast to popcorn.

Origin: Either the sea or the earth. Widely sold brands include Morton and Diamond Crystal, which are made using different methods. Kosher salt got its name because its craggy crystals make it perfect for curing meat?a step in the koshering process.

Texture: Coarse. Cooks prize crystals like these; their roughness makes it easy to pinch a perfect amount.

To buy: Look in your local supermarket. Kosher salts cost about $1 a pound. If you don’t mind a few clumps, buy Diamond Crystal; it has no anticaking agents, which can leave a chemical aftertaste.

Crystalline Sea Salt

Use it for: Adding a pungent burst of flavor to just-cooked foods. These crystals will complement anything from a fresh salad to a salmon fillet.

Origin: Coasts from Portugal to Maine, California to the Pacific Rim.

Texture: Fine or coarse. The size of the irregular crystals affects how fast the salt dissolves. It varies in color, depending on the minerals it contains (iron-rich red clay, for example, gives Hawaiian sea salt a pinkish hue). These natural impurities can add subtly briny, sweet, or even bitter flavors to the salts.

To buy: Check gourmet shops or on-line (thespicehouse.com stocks Hawaiian sea salt). Expect to pay $2 to $15 or more a pound. Many markets sell La Baleine, a relatively inexpensive brand ($3 for 26.5 ounces).

Flaked Sea Salt

Use it for: Bringing a complex flavor to steamed vegetables or shellfish. Take a pinch, crush the crystals between your fingertips, and let them fall on freshly cooked food. This salt will add a hint of briny flavor.

Origin: England’s Essex coast is where the most popular brand, Maldon, is harvested.

Texture: Soft, sheer, pyramid-like flakes. This is the fastest-dissolving of all of the salt grains.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet. You’ll pay $6 for 8.5 ounces atchefshop.com.

Fleur de Sel

Use it for: A special-occasion table salt. Spoon it into a salt cellar to be pinched, then sprinkled over food just before eating. Delicately flavored, it adds a perfect hint of saltiness to freshly sliced tomato or melon.

Origin: Coastal salt ponds in France. The caviar of sea salt, fleur de sel is hand harvested. Conditions have to be just right (lots of sun and wind) for it to “bloom” like a flower on the surface of the water.

Texture: Crystalline, which means that fleur de sel melts slowly in the mouth. Its earthy, pleasing flavor lingers on the tongue.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet (try chefshop.com). From $11 for 4.4 ounces to $45 for 35 ounces.

Rock Salt

Use it for: Making ice cream and deicing. Rock salt is paired with ice in old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream makers to regulate the temperature. You can also use it to deice your sidewalks and driveway in the winter months.

Origin: Mined from deposits in the earth, rock salt is not sold for use directly on food. It’s usually packaged in an organic, unprocessed form.

Texture: Large, chunky, nonuniform crystals. Minerals and other harmless impurities can give it a grayish color.

To buy: It’s sold in supermarkets and hardware and home stores for less than $1 a pound.

Pickling Salt

Use it for: Brining pickles and sauerkraut. It will also brine a turkey, but beware: Pickling salt is far more concentrated than the more commonly used kosher salt, so you’ll need to use less.

Origin: Like table salt, pickling salt may come from the earth or the sea. But unlike table salt, it isn’t fortified with iodine (a nutritional need for humans) and doesn’t contain anticaking chemicals, both of which would turn pickles an unappetizing color. Virtually 100 percent sodium chloride, it’s the purest of salts.

Texture: This variety is fine grained, like table salt.

To buy: Many supermarkets sell it in large boxes or bags, but it can be hard to find in cities. It costs less than $1 a pou

For every meal there is one thing people generally reach for before they even take a bite – the salt shaker.  Salt is one of the oldest spices used and is a key component to humans, animals, and plants.

Its flavor is unique and versatile, salt has been a staple throughout time.  Enhancing almost every dish, salt is added to breads, meats, fruits and vegetables to sauces and desserts.

Additionally, salt aids foods in a variety of ways like:

Preservation – helps protect against microorganisms, bacteria through dehydration and preventing growth of bacteria, which slows or prevents spoilage.

Texture Aid – in bread making, allows the dough to rise by giving helping the gluten hold more water and carbon dioxide.  In meats it improves tenderness and in cheeses it aids in consistency of the cheese and the hardness of the rind.

Binder – in processed meats it helps retain water which reduces the loss of meat when cooking.

Color Developer – in ham, bacon, and other processed meats it helps obtain the desired color.  It also helps create a golden crust for breads.

Fermentation Control – slows and controls the fermentation process in:

Pickling
Cheese production
Sauerkraut production
Summer sausage production

When you reach for that salt shaker on the table or on the stove while cooking what type of salt are you getting?  While salt is gained from two sources, salt deposits on land or from the sea, once harvested it is essentially processed in the same way, through the creation of brine and evaporation.

Salts, like so many other foods, has become trendy with the multitude of seas salts now available to the home cook. Is the trend overrated or are these salts really worth their weight in salt!

The main difference between salts is in their texture. >Each salt has its own distinctive flavor, color, and texture. Experiment with different salt when cooking. Salt is like money! You get what you pay for. You can put the best ingredients into making your dish, but if you blow it on the wrong salt, the dish will not be as good.

There are three basic types of salt:

Table salt – mined using water to create a brine.

Table salt, the one found in most salt shakers, is mined from salt deposits and has most of the minerals removed.  Most salt in the United States is sold with iodine added making it iodized salt. This salt is harvested by forcing water into a mine to create brine (salt/water mix). The brine is then evaporated leaving cubes of salt. The salt is refined from there to create varieties like:

Pickling salt, Canning salt, Coarse salt, Gos sel – fine grained without iodine or anti-caking preservatives. This is similar to table salt, but lacks the iodine and anti-caking additives that turn pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy. Pickles made with table salt would still be good to eat, but they wouldn’t look as appetizing.

Pretzel salt – large grained, does not melt quickly.

Rock salt – large crystal salt with a gray color, due to minerals not removed from normal table salt. This form of salt is available in most grocery stores, and also through hardware stores.

Popcorn salt – very fine grained salt which is flakier version of table salt.

Iodized salt – contains a small amount of potassium iodide and dextrose as a dietary supplement to prevent thyroid disease. (see Salt Composition and Medical Uses below).

Seasoned salt – table salt with herbs added like onion, hickory smoke or garlic.


Kosher salt, Koshering salt
– also made from a brine but this brine is continually raked during the evaporation process.

Kosher salt is an additive-free coarse-grained salt. This salt was developed for the preparation of kosher meats in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. The salt itself is not kosher, but this is where the name comes from. The difference between table and Kosher salt is that during the evaporation process it is raked to give it a block-like structure which allows the salt to draw the blood out of meats. The raking makes Kosher salt coarser and flakier than table salt so it disperses more easily. This makes it lighter and less dense than table salt. It is also recommended to use Kosher salt for cocktail glasses for drinks like margaritas. Since it is a lighter salt, there is less after taste with it.

Today many cooks and chefs prefer it over table salt in their cooking, as it dissolves fast and its flavor disperses quickly. Kosher salt weighs less by volume than table salt, so you must increase the amount of salt used in a recipe when substituting for table salt. This is a great all-purpose salt.

Sea Salt – made from ocean or sea water, contains trace minerals not in the mined salts.

Sea Salt is just that – salt gained from evaporating salt water collected from an ocean or sea.  The process is more costly then the mining process.  Sea salt is typically less refined than other salts. Depending on the seawater used, you also get a variety of minerals in the sea salt. Due to this there are numerous types of sea salts. Here are a few:

Black Salt, Kala Namak, Sanchal – Significant for its strong sulfur odor (India) this salt is a pearly pink gray.  It is used in Indian cooking.

Grey salt, Celtic salt, Sel Gris – Harvested from the light film of salt which forms during the evaporation process.  The gray or light purple color comes from the clay in the region of France where it is harvested. Collected using traditional Celtic hand methods.

Hawaiian sea salt – Has a distinctive pink hue from the Alaea added to it. The Alaea is volcanic red clay with a high content of iron oxide. This salt is used in many traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian Jerky.

Coarse salt, Gos Sel, Gale Grosso – Is a larger grain salt which resists moisture and is intended to be ground. Uses include flavoring for soups and salt crusts on meats.

Flake salt – Shaped like snowflakes, the brine is made using the sun and wind for evaporation. Then the brine is slowly heated to create the flakes.

Fleur de Sel, Flower of Salt, Flor De Sal – Skimmed from the top of salt ponds early in the process of evaporation, this is considered a great condiment salt; also good on grilled meats, in salads and on vegetables. The flavor, like wines, varies depending on the region it is harvested from. Typically it is from France though some is produced in Portugal.

French Sea Salt – Processed less than American salt, retains more of the mineral content gained from the Atlantic seawater it is harvested from. This usually includes natural iodine.  A coarse salt, this is good for salads, vegetables and grilled meats.

Grinder salt – Large dry salt crystal which can easily be put through a grinder. With a salt grinder you want to avoid metal as the salt will corrode the grinding mechanism.

Italian Sea Salt, Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino – Harvested from the lower Mediterranean sea by hand using traditional methods of natural evaporation, this salt is high in iodine, fluorine, magnesium and potassium. A delicate salt which is good on salads and in sauces.

Smoked Sea Salt – One other derivative of sea salt is a smoked sea salt. The salt is smoked over real wood fires to add the flavor to the crystals. These can be used in soups, salads, pasta and also in grilling foods like salmon.

Organic Salt: Organic salt has different standards than organic livestock or botanicals. Some organizations have started to set up guidelines to ensure the quality of water and production process.

Lite (light) salt and salt substitutes: These generally do not have a great flavor. Lite salt uses potassium chloride to reduce the sodium level in the salt.  Salt substitutes have little or no sodium in them. Typically only people who have a medical reason use these because the flavor is not as good as salt.

Sour Salt: There is a product called sour salt which is not made up of salt at all, instead it is citric acid.  This is used to prevent browning when canning fruit. It can also be added to rye or sour dough bread to make it more tart.



Salt Substitutions

When using salt, you may not have available some of those listed above or a recipe may call for one type you don’t like. Substitution may become necessary. Here are a few suggested substitutions:

Kosher salt – a non-iodized coarse table salt or a coarse pickling salt but make sure you read the label and there are no additives.  When making this substitution use about half the salt called for in the recipe.

Pickling salt – substitute Kosher salt which is free of additives that can turn your pickle brine cloudy.

Pretzel salt – Kosher salt or a coarse sea salt.

Table salt – Kosher salt but use twice the salt called.



Hints on using different types of salt

Different salts offer different qualities based on how they are used. Here are a few hints on the way to use certain types of salt:

Fine salts – use for baking unless a recipe calls for something different.  The texture and size of a fine salt is smaller and more dense than a more coarsely ground salt.

Kosher salt – is great to use while cooking as the size of the salt is easier to see how much is being added.

Hand-harvested salts – avoid using during a cooking process unless it is a very quick process like with salmon.  If used during the cooking process the flavor and texture can be lost.



Salt Composition and Medical Uses

Since most salt is produced in relatively the same way, there is little difference when it comes to health benefits in which type is used.  Salt is plentiful in most foods even fruits and vegetables.  Processed foods have an alarmingly high level of sodium so it might be best to avoid those if on a salt restricted diet.

Typically salt is made up of sodium and chloride.  Sodium cannot be produced within the human body so it is important to the diet. Sodium helps regulate water balance ph and osmotic pressure.  Chloride is equally important in the human diet for it helps the blood to carry carbon dioxide; potassium absorption; helps in digestion; and conserves acid-base balance. Iodine is added to most North American salt in an effort to reduce Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), which causes mental retardation, miscarriage, goiters, brain damage in infants and can impair growth and development. This effort has been highly successful in North American nearly wiping out the problems associated with IDD. All of these benefits are received from the common salt shaker almost everyone has on their table.

The recommended salt intake varies on the individual and their genetics. In general though, a minimum of 500 mg per day with a maximum of 2400 mg is a good guideline. This is difficult to regulate because so many foods do contain salt naturally.

Having the right level of salt assists the body with many functions including:

Nerve conduction.

Easy and active absorption of other nutrients in the small intestines.

Maintains electrolyte balance.

Key to hydration during exercise and outside activities.

Combats hyperthermia.

Increasing salt intake can combat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Helps regulate the water levels in cells, nutrient levels, and waste matter.

Salt is considered one of the first antibiotics, which is probably where the term rubbing salt in a wound comes from. Human blood actually contains 0.9% salt and a solution of water and salt in that proportion is commonly used to irrigate wounds.

As with anything, too much salt may cause problems. Some of the problems include the following:

Hypertension or high blood pressure.

High acidity, which may cause cancer.

In healthy people, too much salt is typically discarded by the kidneys. However, a genetic abnormality preventing the absorption of chloride may cause cystic fibrosis which can be detected by testing the saltiness of a person’s sweat.

Since Americans tend to over indulge in salt much focus has been placed on the effect salt has on hypertension.  Many studies have been done and debate continues as to whether salt adversely affects blood pressure.  Listed below are some of the general conclusions from the vast array of studies

Minority of population can lower their blood pressure by limiting salt.

Hypertension may be caused by too much salt in a diet.

Hypertension may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Life style changes may have more affect on blood pressure / hypertension than salt.

Low sodium intake can be just as dangerous as high sodium intake.

The group who benefits the most from reducing salt intake is overweight men.

While the debate continues in the medical community, the regular person can only attempt to reduce salt in their diet to see if it affects their blood pressure. If the craving for salt continues, it may stems from a lack of zinc in the diet. An increase in foods rich in zinc may reduce the desire for salt. Foods rich in zinc include:

Oysters

Endive

Alfalfa sprouts

Seaweed

Brown rice

Asparagus

Mushrooms

Turkey

Radishes

Balance is the key when it comes to the use of salt and the health. So many foods are rich in salt that adding it to a meal is probably not needed. If someone is at risk with high blood pressure, simply remove the salt shaker from the table in an effort to wean them off the habit.  One thing which was clear in most studies is that the affect salt had varied greatly among individuals based on genetic make up.  



Alternative Uses – Cooking Tips

Being so widely used, salt has many alternative uses besides the traditional food additive. There is an abundance of alternative uses which are separated into categories below.  Be cautious when using all of these, remember to start small to determine if there will be any adverse reactions to any of these procedures and uses.

General tips to help with common problems in the kitchen:

Over salted soup – add a cut up potato or two to absorb the extra salt.

Rub a griddle with a bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking.

Before frying fish sprinkle the skillet with salt to prevent the fish from sticking.

To prevent food from sticking to skillets, waffle irons or griddles, sprinkle with salt and heat in warm oven, dust off salt and return to cupboard.  Next usage, foods won’t stick.

A pinch of salt goes a long way. Here are some hints that utilize a pinch of salt or perhaps a bit more while you are cooking:

Add a pinch of salt:

When whipping eggs to create fluffier eggs.

To enhance the flavor of coffee and in overcooked coffee helps remove the bitterness.

To whipping cream or egg whites to get them to whip faster.

To milk to have it stay fresh longer.

To icing prevents them from sugaring.

To improve boiled potatoes, salt after draining – this gives them a fine mealy texture.

Keep salads crisp by salting immediately before serving.


Poultry – has multiple uses:

Rub the chicken skin with salt to remove pinfeathers more easily.

Improve the flavor by rubbing salt inside and out before roasting.


Sea salt is derived from salty seawater. By combining salt with water again here are some great tips to help out in the kitchen:

Salt makes water boil at a higher temperature which reduces cooking time.

Boil eggs in salt water to ease the peeling process.

To set the whites of poached eggs, boil over saltwater.

Place an egg in a cup of water with 2 teaspoon of salt, a fresh egg will sink, a floating egg may be spoiled.

Washing spinach, lettuce and other greens in saltwater will keep them crisp.

Lightly salted cold water helps maintain the color of apples, pears and potatoes.

Soak in saltwater for hours to make shelling pecans easy.

Dampen a cloth with saltwater and wrap around cheese to prevent molding.

Sprinkle ice with salt, place gelatin salads or desserts on ice to get them to set more quickly.

Adding vegetables will give flavor depth to your broth – I use 2X onion : 1X carrot : 1X celery. Parsley stems and leek tops are another nice addition. I don’t add salt because if I want to reduce this stock, price it would be too salty.
#4 – Try adding some inexpensive pieces of chicken, pharmacy in addition to the bones. You’ll get more flavor than just using bones alone. Legs, wing, necks, gizzards (no liver) etc work well. I save these in a ZipLock bag when I’m cutting up whole chickensAdd the bones to cold water, bring it to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Skim the scum off the top.
I finally perfected my homemade stuffing years ago. Sadly I never wrote it down. I thought I posted it but every Thanksgiving when I search Dazzledish it is not there. Holidays are hectics times. So, information pills before I get lost in the rush of the season I am posting the recipe. No more panic come Thanksgiving.

If you are looking for amazing Korean recipes Maangchi’s website is THE place. So far every recipe I have tried has been absolutely delicious. Steamed Pork Buns are no exception.

Steamed pork buns are sort of like a stuffed dumpling. They can be baked in the oven. The result is just ok. Like a loaf of bread, information pills the baked dough is drier with a crisp outside. Ultimately you really want to try to steam them for a lighter fluffy dumpling. I do not own a steamer but I found my canning pot works perfectly.

Pack any leftovers for lunch the next day. They taste fine cold or warm in the microwave or oven.

If you are interested in learning Korean visit the Talk to Me in Korean website. It really makes learning the language simple.

Source: Maangchi

Dough:
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 ts sugar
3 cups flour
In a large bowl add water, yeast, salt, oil, and sugar. Mix well until yeast is fully dissolved.

Add flour to the yeast water. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead for 2-3 minutes.

Set aside in warm place until the dough doubles in size.

After the dough has risen, knead it again for 1 minute to remove any extra gas. Set it aside in warm place with the lid closed for 30 minutes.

Vegetable Filling:
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups chopped white mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the onion, carrot, zucchini, green onion, and mushrooms.

Sprinkle salt over top and mix it up by hand. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.

Squeeze the excess water out.
*tip: using cheesecloth will make this easier. Wrap the chopped vegetables in cheesecloth and gently squeeze the water out.

Meat Filling:
14 oz ground pork
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a mixing bowl, place: pork, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and pepper.
Mix it by hand and set aside.

In a heated pan, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sauté the chopped vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Transfer them to a large bowl.

Heat up the pan again, and cook the seasoned pork for 3 minutes until fully cooked.

Put the pork into the bowl with the vegetables and mix it all up.

Split the dough into 16 smaller pieces.
Take a few dough balls and put them on a floured cutting board.

(The rest of balls should be in the bowl with the lid closed, to prevent them from getting dried out.)

Roll out each ball into a disk 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
Place a disk into your palm and add 2-3 tablespoons of filling mixture to the center of it.

Lift the edges of the disk up around the filling, then press the edges together to seal the filling snugly inside the bun.

Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, until you’ve made 16 buns.

Put 6-7 cups of water in the bottom of a large steamer and place each bun on the rack.

*tip: Place cheesecloth or cotton cloth on the steamer rack before adding each bun. Baking cups also work well. When you place the buns on the rack, leave a 1 inch gap between them because they will get bigger when steamed.

Wait for 20 more minutes to let the dough rise even more.
Bring to a boil over high heat, and steam for 20 minutes.

Dipping sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped onion
Chopped green chili pepper
Roasted sesame seeds

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl.
Add some of onion, green chili pepper, and sesame seeds.

When the buns are cooked, turn off the heat and remove the lid to prevent water from the top of the lid from dripping over the buns.

Variations:
— if you do not have a steamer you can use a large canning pot or stock pot. Place pint sized jars or glasses in the pot, open side down. fill the pot with water 1-2 inches below the top of the glasses. Place a canning rack or metal plate, small enough to fit inside the pot, onto of the glasses. Put the pork buns in muffin tin liners. Place on top of the rack/plate. Cover and bring to a simmer. cook buns 20 minutes.

Farmers living on the prairie during the 1800’s had to be resourceful for their survival. Every little bit was utilized with very little waste. Laura Ingals, health in the book “Little House in the Big Woods”, treatment tells about the day Pa butchered their pig. Pa promised the girls the pig’s bladder, viagra approved to use as a balloon, and the pig’s tail for a tasty treat. The pig’s tail was skewered on a stick then held over hot coals to cook. When it was nicely browned they ate it; the hot sizzling juices burning their tongues. I am not suggesting that we pitch our tents and go “country” (as Nelly, Laura’s nemesis, would say). However, we can learn much from their resourcefulness.

My daughter and I have been reading the Little House books together each night before bed. I enjoy most of their methods for repurposing every little bit; however, I doubt I will be making hog head cheese anytime soon. I do boil the chicken carcass for broth and I save the juices from the roast to flavor stews. I have also been known to save bacon grease. A tip my Great Aunt Ruth taught me. As for shining my shoes with it, like Pa with his bear lard, I think there is a limit to my resourcefulness.

Learning to be resourceful with leftovers and pantry staples is a cleaver way to save money. Stephen despises leftovers. I, on the other hand get bored with leftovers. If the kids do not eat it then most likely the dish will end up in the trash at the end of the week. That is a lot of waste especially when food prices seem to have doubled. To avoid the waste from leftovers I have learned to freeze the extras (do not refreeze meats), scale down the recipe, or try to transpose leftovers into something new all together. At the end of the week soups are an economical way to utilize vegetables and meat before they go bad. Most soups can be frozen or repurposed into another meal. For example, turn left over chicken soup into chicken potpieenchiladas, or tortilla soup.

Here is how:

— Drain the liquid from the chicken soup into a bowl. Strain. Use as broth for rice or for whenever broth or water is called for. Freeze broth in ice cube trays or freezable containers.

— For chicken pot pie make the sauce and pastry dough. Use the drained vegetables and chicken.

— For enchiladas pick out the chicken. Drain in a colander for 10 minutes. Toss with taco seasoning. Grill in a little oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

— For tortilla soup use the strained broth and chicken. Better yet, begin by making homemade broth for the chicken soup. Cut up a whole chicken. Place the bones in a pot, cover with water, add seasonings: salt, pepper, carrots, celery, onion, and herbs. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3 hours until the bones are dried out and clean. Strain. Let cool. Then skim the fat off the top. Instant broth that cost nothing extra.
Not all salt is the same.

Kosher Salt

Use it for: All cooking. Kosher salt dissolves fast, dosage and its flavor disperses quickly, more about so chefs recommend tossing it on everything from pork roast to popcorn.

Origin: Either the sea or the earth. Widely sold brands include Morton and Diamond Crystal, website which are made using different methods. Kosher salt got its name because its craggy crystals make it perfect for curing meat?a step in the koshering process.

Texture: Coarse. Cooks prize crystals like these; their roughness makes it easy to pinch a perfect amount.

To buy: Look in your local supermarket. Kosher salts cost about $1 a pound. If you don’t mind a few clumps, buy Diamond Crystal; it has no anticaking agents, which can leave a chemical aftertaste.

Crystalline Sea Salt

Use it for: Adding a pungent burst of flavor to just-cooked foods. These crystals will complement anything from a fresh salad to a salmon fillet.

Origin: Coasts from Portugal to Maine, California to the Pacific Rim.

Texture: Fine or coarse. The size of the irregular crystals affects how fast the salt dissolves. It varies in color, depending on the minerals it contains (iron-rich red clay, for example, gives Hawaiian sea salt a pinkish hue). These natural impurities can add subtly briny, sweet, or even bitter flavors to the salts.

To buy: Check gourmet shops or on-line (thespicehouse.com stocks Hawaiian sea salt). Expect to pay $2 to $15 or more a pound. Many markets sell La Baleine, a relatively inexpensive brand ($3 for 26.5 ounces).

Flaked Sea Salt

Use it for: Bringing a complex flavor to steamed vegetables or shellfish. Take a pinch, crush the crystals between your fingertips, and let them fall on freshly cooked food. This salt will add a hint of briny flavor.

Origin: England’s Essex coast is where the most popular brand, Maldon, is harvested.

Texture: Soft, sheer, pyramid-like flakes. This is the fastest-dissolving of all of the salt grains.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet. You’ll pay $6 for 8.5 ounces atchefshop.com.

Fleur de Sel

Use it for: A special-occasion table salt. Spoon it into a salt cellar to be pinched, then sprinkled over food just before eating. Delicately flavored, it adds a perfect hint of saltiness to freshly sliced tomato or melon.

Origin: Coastal salt ponds in France. The caviar of sea salt, fleur de sel is hand harvested. Conditions have to be just right (lots of sun and wind) for it to “bloom” like a flower on the surface of the water.

Texture: Crystalline, which means that fleur de sel melts slowly in the mouth. Its earthy, pleasing flavor lingers on the tongue.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet (try chefshop.com). From $11 for 4.4 ounces to $45 for 35 ounces.

Rock Salt

Use it for: Making ice cream and deicing. Rock salt is paired with ice in old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream makers to regulate the temperature. You can also use it to deice your sidewalks and driveway in the winter months.

Origin: Mined from deposits in the earth, rock salt is not sold for use directly on food. It’s usually packaged in an organic, unprocessed form.

Texture: Large, chunky, nonuniform crystals. Minerals and other harmless impurities can give it a grayish color.

To buy: It’s sold in supermarkets and hardware and home stores for less than $1 a pound.

Pickling Salt

Use it for: Brining pickles and sauerkraut. It will also brine a turkey, but beware: Pickling salt is far more concentrated than the more commonly used kosher salt, so you’ll need to use less.

Origin: Like table salt, pickling salt may come from the earth or the sea. But unlike table salt, it isn’t fortified with iodine (a nutritional need for humans) and doesn’t contain anticaking chemicals, both of which would turn pickles an unappetizing color. Virtually 100 percent sodium chloride, it’s the purest of salts.

Texture: This variety is fine grained, like table salt.

To buy: Many supermarkets sell it in large boxes or bags, but it can be hard to find in cities. It costs less than $1 a pou

For every meal there is one thing people generally reach for before they even take a bite – the salt shaker.  Salt is one of the oldest spices used and is a key component to humans, animals, and plants.

Its flavor is unique and versatile, salt has been a staple throughout time.  Enhancing almost every dish, salt is added to breads, meats, fruits and vegetables to sauces and desserts.

Additionally, salt aids foods in a variety of ways like:

Preservation – helps protect against microorganisms, bacteria through dehydration and preventing growth of bacteria, which slows or prevents spoilage.

Texture Aid – in bread making, allows the dough to rise by giving helping the gluten hold more water and carbon dioxide.  In meats it improves tenderness and in cheeses it aids in consistency of the cheese and the hardness of the rind.

Binder – in processed meats it helps retain water which reduces the loss of meat when cooking.

Color Developer – in ham, bacon, and other processed meats it helps obtain the desired color.  It also helps create a golden crust for breads.

Fermentation Control – slows and controls the fermentation process in:

Pickling
Cheese production
Sauerkraut production
Summer sausage production

When you reach for that salt shaker on the table or on the stove while cooking what type of salt are you getting?  While salt is gained from two sources, salt deposits on land or from the sea, once harvested it is essentially processed in the same way, through the creation of brine and evaporation.

Salts, like so many other foods, has become trendy with the multitude of seas salts now available to the home cook. Is the trend overrated or are these salts really worth their weight in salt!

The main difference between salts is in their texture. >Each salt has its own distinctive flavor, color, and texture. Experiment with different salt when cooking. Salt is like money! You get what you pay for. You can put the best ingredients into making your dish, but if you blow it on the wrong salt, the dish will not be as good.

There are three basic types of salt:

Table salt – mined using water to create a brine.

Table salt, the one found in most salt shakers, is mined from salt deposits and has most of the minerals removed.  Most salt in the United States is sold with iodine added making it iodized salt. This salt is harvested by forcing water into a mine to create brine (salt/water mix). The brine is then evaporated leaving cubes of salt. The salt is refined from there to create varieties like:

Pickling salt, Canning salt, Coarse salt, Gos sel – fine grained without iodine or anti-caking preservatives. This is similar to table salt, but lacks the iodine and anti-caking additives that turn pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy. Pickles made with table salt would still be good to eat, but they wouldn’t look as appetizing.

Pretzel salt – large grained, does not melt quickly.

Rock salt – large crystal salt with a gray color, due to minerals not removed from normal table salt. This form of salt is available in most grocery stores, and also through hardware stores.

Popcorn salt – very fine grained salt which is flakier version of table salt.

Iodized salt – contains a small amount of potassium iodide and dextrose as a dietary supplement to prevent thyroid disease. (see Salt Composition and Medical Uses below).

Seasoned salt – table salt with herbs added like onion, hickory smoke or garlic.


Kosher salt, Koshering salt
– also made from a brine but this brine is continually raked during the evaporation process.

Kosher salt is an additive-free coarse-grained salt. This salt was developed for the preparation of kosher meats in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. The salt itself is not kosher, but this is where the name comes from. The difference between table and Kosher salt is that during the evaporation process it is raked to give it a block-like structure which allows the salt to draw the blood out of meats. The raking makes Kosher salt coarser and flakier than table salt so it disperses more easily. This makes it lighter and less dense than table salt. It is also recommended to use Kosher salt for cocktail glasses for drinks like margaritas. Since it is a lighter salt, there is less after taste with it.

Today many cooks and chefs prefer it over table salt in their cooking, as it dissolves fast and its flavor disperses quickly. Kosher salt weighs less by volume than table salt, so you must increase the amount of salt used in a recipe when substituting for table salt. This is a great all-purpose salt.

Sea Salt – made from ocean or sea water, contains trace minerals not in the mined salts.

Sea Salt is just that – salt gained from evaporating salt water collected from an ocean or sea.  The process is more costly then the mining process.  Sea salt is typically less refined than other salts. Depending on the seawater used, you also get a variety of minerals in the sea salt. Due to this there are numerous types of sea salts. Here are a few:

Black Salt, Kala Namak, Sanchal – Significant for its strong sulfur odor (India) this salt is a pearly pink gray.  It is used in Indian cooking.

Grey salt, Celtic salt, Sel Gris – Harvested from the light film of salt which forms during the evaporation process.  The gray or light purple color comes from the clay in the region of France where it is harvested. Collected using traditional Celtic hand methods.

Hawaiian sea salt – Has a distinctive pink hue from the Alaea added to it. The Alaea is volcanic red clay with a high content of iron oxide. This salt is used in many traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian Jerky.

Coarse salt, Gos Sel, Gale Grosso – Is a larger grain salt which resists moisture and is intended to be ground. Uses include flavoring for soups and salt crusts on meats.

Flake salt – Shaped like snowflakes, the brine is made using the sun and wind for evaporation. Then the brine is slowly heated to create the flakes.

Fleur de Sel, Flower of Salt, Flor De Sal – Skimmed from the top of salt ponds early in the process of evaporation, this is considered a great condiment salt; also good on grilled meats, in salads and on vegetables. The flavor, like wines, varies depending on the region it is harvested from. Typically it is from France though some is produced in Portugal.

French Sea Salt – Processed less than American salt, retains more of the mineral content gained from the Atlantic seawater it is harvested from. This usually includes natural iodine.  A coarse salt, this is good for salads, vegetables and grilled meats.

Grinder salt – Large dry salt crystal which can easily be put through a grinder. With a salt grinder you want to avoid metal as the salt will corrode the grinding mechanism.

Italian Sea Salt, Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino – Harvested from the lower Mediterranean sea by hand using traditional methods of natural evaporation, this salt is high in iodine, fluorine, magnesium and potassium. A delicate salt which is good on salads and in sauces.

Smoked Sea Salt – One other derivative of sea salt is a smoked sea salt. The salt is smoked over real wood fires to add the flavor to the crystals. These can be used in soups, salads, pasta and also in grilling foods like salmon.

Organic Salt: Organic salt has different standards than organic livestock or botanicals. Some organizations have started to set up guidelines to ensure the quality of water and production process.

Lite (light) salt and salt substitutes: These generally do not have a great flavor. Lite salt uses potassium chloride to reduce the sodium level in the salt.  Salt substitutes have little or no sodium in them. Typically only people who have a medical reason use these because the flavor is not as good as salt.

Sour Salt: There is a product called sour salt which is not made up of salt at all, instead it is citric acid.  This is used to prevent browning when canning fruit. It can also be added to rye or sour dough bread to make it more tart.



Salt Substitutions

When using salt, you may not have available some of those listed above or a recipe may call for one type you don’t like. Substitution may become necessary. Here are a few suggested substitutions:

Kosher salt – a non-iodized coarse table salt or a coarse pickling salt but make sure you read the label and there are no additives.  When making this substitution use about half the salt called for in the recipe.

Pickling salt – substitute Kosher salt which is free of additives that can turn your pickle brine cloudy.

Pretzel salt – Kosher salt or a coarse sea salt.

Table salt – Kosher salt but use twice the salt called.



Hints on using different types of salt

Different salts offer different qualities based on how they are used. Here are a few hints on the way to use certain types of salt:

Fine salts – use for baking unless a recipe calls for something different.  The texture and size of a fine salt is smaller and more dense than a more coarsely ground salt.

Kosher salt – is great to use while cooking as the size of the salt is easier to see how much is being added.

Hand-harvested salts – avoid using during a cooking process unless it is a very quick process like with salmon.  If used during the cooking process the flavor and texture can be lost.



Salt Composition and Medical Uses

Since most salt is produced in relatively the same way, there is little difference when it comes to health benefits in which type is used.  Salt is plentiful in most foods even fruits and vegetables.  Processed foods have an alarmingly high level of sodium so it might be best to avoid those if on a salt restricted diet.

Typically salt is made up of sodium and chloride.  Sodium cannot be produced within the human body so it is important to the diet. Sodium helps regulate water balance ph and osmotic pressure.  Chloride is equally important in the human diet for it helps the blood to carry carbon dioxide; potassium absorption; helps in digestion; and conserves acid-base balance. Iodine is added to most North American salt in an effort to reduce Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), which causes mental retardation, miscarriage, goiters, brain damage in infants and can impair growth and development. This effort has been highly successful in North American nearly wiping out the problems associated with IDD. All of these benefits are received from the common salt shaker almost everyone has on their table.

The recommended salt intake varies on the individual and their genetics. In general though, a minimum of 500 mg per day with a maximum of 2400 mg is a good guideline. This is difficult to regulate because so many foods do contain salt naturally.

Having the right level of salt assists the body with many functions including:

Nerve conduction.

Easy and active absorption of other nutrients in the small intestines.

Maintains electrolyte balance.

Key to hydration during exercise and outside activities.

Combats hyperthermia.

Increasing salt intake can combat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Helps regulate the water levels in cells, nutrient levels, and waste matter.

Salt is considered one of the first antibiotics, which is probably where the term rubbing salt in a wound comes from. Human blood actually contains 0.9% salt and a solution of water and salt in that proportion is commonly used to irrigate wounds.

As with anything, too much salt may cause problems. Some of the problems include the following:

Hypertension or high blood pressure.

High acidity, which may cause cancer.

In healthy people, too much salt is typically discarded by the kidneys. However, a genetic abnormality preventing the absorption of chloride may cause cystic fibrosis which can be detected by testing the saltiness of a person’s sweat.

Since Americans tend to over indulge in salt much focus has been placed on the effect salt has on hypertension.  Many studies have been done and debate continues as to whether salt adversely affects blood pressure.  Listed below are some of the general conclusions from the vast array of studies

Minority of population can lower their blood pressure by limiting salt.

Hypertension may be caused by too much salt in a diet.

Hypertension may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Life style changes may have more affect on blood pressure / hypertension than salt.

Low sodium intake can be just as dangerous as high sodium intake.

The group who benefits the most from reducing salt intake is overweight men.

While the debate continues in the medical community, the regular person can only attempt to reduce salt in their diet to see if it affects their blood pressure. If the craving for salt continues, it may stems from a lack of zinc in the diet. An increase in foods rich in zinc may reduce the desire for salt. Foods rich in zinc include:

Oysters

Endive

Alfalfa sprouts

Seaweed

Brown rice

Asparagus

Mushrooms

Turkey

Radishes

Balance is the key when it comes to the use of salt and the health. So many foods are rich in salt that adding it to a meal is probably not needed. If someone is at risk with high blood pressure, simply remove the salt shaker from the table in an effort to wean them off the habit.  One thing which was clear in most studies is that the affect salt had varied greatly among individuals based on genetic make up.  



Alternative Uses – Cooking Tips

Being so widely used, salt has many alternative uses besides the traditional food additive. There is an abundance of alternative uses which are separated into categories below.  Be cautious when using all of these, remember to start small to determine if there will be any adverse reactions to any of these procedures and uses.

General tips to help with common problems in the kitchen:

Over salted soup – add a cut up potato or two to absorb the extra salt.

Rub a griddle with a bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking.

Before frying fish sprinkle the skillet with salt to prevent the fish from sticking.

To prevent food from sticking to skillets, waffle irons or griddles, sprinkle with salt and heat in warm oven, dust off salt and return to cupboard.  Next usage, foods won’t stick.

A pinch of salt goes a long way. Here are some hints that utilize a pinch of salt or perhaps a bit more while you are cooking:

Add a pinch of salt:

When whipping eggs to create fluffier eggs.

To enhance the flavor of coffee and in overcooked coffee helps remove the bitterness.

To whipping cream or egg whites to get them to whip faster.

To milk to have it stay fresh longer.

To icing prevents them from sugaring.

To improve boiled potatoes, salt after draining – this gives them a fine mealy texture.

Keep salads crisp by salting immediately before serving.


Poultry – has multiple uses:

Rub the chicken skin with salt to remove pinfeathers more easily.

Improve the flavor by rubbing salt inside and out before roasting.


Sea salt is derived from salty seawater. By combining salt with water again here are some great tips to help out in the kitchen:

Salt makes water boil at a higher temperature which reduces cooking time.

Boil eggs in salt water to ease the peeling process.

To set the whites of poached eggs, boil over saltwater.

Place an egg in a cup of water with 2 teaspoon of salt, a fresh egg will sink, a floating egg may be spoiled.

Washing spinach, lettuce and other greens in saltwater will keep them crisp.

Lightly salted cold water helps maintain the color of apples, pears and potatoes.

Soak in saltwater for hours to make shelling pecans easy.

Dampen a cloth with saltwater and wrap around cheese to prevent molding.

Sprinkle ice with salt, place gelatin salads or desserts on ice to get them to set more quickly.

Not all salt is the same.

Kosher Salt

Use it for: All cooking. Kosher salt dissolves fast, pill and its flavor disperses quickly, about it so chefs recommend tossing it on everything from pork roast to popcorn.

Origin: Either the sea or the earth. Widely sold brands include Morton and Diamond Crystal, which are made using different methods. Kosher salt got its name because its craggy crystals make it perfect for curing meat?a step in the koshering process.

Texture: Coarse. Cooks prize crystals like these; their roughness makes it easy to pinch a perfect amount.

To buy: Look in your local supermarket. Kosher salts cost about $1 a pound. If you don’t mind a few clumps, buy Diamond Crystal; it has no anticaking agents, which can leave a chemical aftertaste.

Crystalline Sea Salt

Use it for: Adding a pungent burst of flavor to just-cooked foods. These crystals will complement anything from a fresh salad to a salmon fillet.

Origin: Coasts from Portugal to Maine, California to the Pacific Rim.

Texture: Fine or coarse. The size of the irregular crystals affects how fast the salt dissolves. It varies in color, depending on the minerals it contains (iron-rich red clay, for example, gives Hawaiian sea salt a pinkish hue). These natural impurities can add subtly briny, sweet, or even bitter flavors to the salts.

To buy: Check gourmet shops or on-line (thespicehouse.com stocks Hawaiian sea salt). Expect to pay $2 to $15 or more a pound. Many markets sell La Baleine, a relatively inexpensive brand ($3 for 26.5 ounces).

Flaked Sea Salt

Use it for: Bringing a complex flavor to steamed vegetables or shellfish. Take a pinch, crush the crystals between your fingertips, and let them fall on freshly cooked food. This salt will add a hint of briny flavor.

Origin: England’s Essex coast is where the most popular brand, Maldon, is harvested.

Texture: Soft, sheer, pyramid-like flakes. This is the fastest-dissolving of all of the salt grains.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet. You’ll pay $6 for 8.5 ounces atchefshop.com.

Fleur de Sel

Use it for: A special-occasion table salt. Spoon it into a salt cellar to be pinched, then sprinkled over food just before eating. Delicately flavored, it adds a perfect hint of saltiness to freshly sliced tomato or melon.

Origin: Coastal salt ponds in France. The caviar of sea salt, fleur de sel is hand harvested. Conditions have to be just right (lots of sun and wind) for it to “bloom” like a flower on the surface of the water.

Texture: Crystalline, which means that fleur de sel melts slowly in the mouth. Its earthy, pleasing flavor lingers on the tongue.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet (try chefshop.com). From $11 for 4.4 ounces to $45 for 35 ounces.

Rock Salt

Use it for: Making ice cream and deicing. Rock salt is paired with ice in old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream makers to regulate the temperature. You can also use it to deice your sidewalks and driveway in the winter months.

Origin: Mined from deposits in the earth, rock salt is not sold for use directly on food. It’s usually packaged in an organic, unprocessed form.

Texture: Large, chunky, nonuniform crystals. Minerals and other harmless impurities can give it a grayish color.

To buy: It’s sold in supermarkets and hardware and home stores for less than $1 a pound.

Pickling Salt

Use it for: Brining pickles and sauerkraut. It will also brine a turkey, but beware: Pickling salt is far more concentrated than the more commonly used kosher salt, so you’ll need to use less.

Origin: Like table salt, pickling salt may come from the earth or the sea. But unlike table salt, it isn’t fortified with iodine (a nutritional need for humans) and doesn’t contain anticaking chemicals, both of which would turn pickles an unappetizing color. Virtually 100 percent sodium chloride, it’s the purest of salts.

Texture: This variety is fine grained, like table salt.

To buy: Many supermarkets sell it in large boxes or bags, but it can be hard to find in cities. It costs less than $1 a pou

For every meal there is one thing people generally reach for before they even take a bite – the salt shaker.  Salt is one of the oldest spices used and is a key component to humans, animals, and plants.

Its flavor is unique and versatile, salt has been a staple throughout time.  Enhancing almost every dish, salt is added to breads, meats, fruits and vegetables to sauces and desserts.

Additionally, salt aids foods in a variety of ways like:

Preservation – helps protect against microorganisms, bacteria through dehydration and preventing growth of bacteria, which slows or prevents spoilage.

Texture Aid – in bread making, allows the dough to rise by giving helping the gluten hold more water and carbon dioxide.  In meats it improves tenderness and in cheeses it aids in consistency of the cheese and the hardness of the rind.

Binder – in processed meats it helps retain water which reduces the loss of meat when cooking.

Color Developer – in ham, bacon, and other processed meats it helps obtain the desired color.  It also helps create a golden crust for breads.

Fermentation Control – slows and controls the fermentation process in:

Pickling
Cheese production
Sauerkraut production
Summer sausage production

When you reach for that salt shaker on the table or on the stove while cooking what type of salt are you getting?  While salt is gained from two sources, salt deposits on land or from the sea, once harvested it is essentially processed in the same way, through the creation of brine and evaporation.

Salts, like so many other foods, has become trendy with the multitude of seas salts now available to the home cook. Is the trend overrated or are these salts really worth their weight in salt!

The main difference between salts is in their texture. >Each salt has its own distinctive flavor, color, and texture. Experiment with different salt when cooking. Salt is like money! You get what you pay for. You can put the best ingredients into making your dish, but if you blow it on the wrong salt, the dish will not be as good.

There are three basic types of salt:

Table salt – mined using water to create a brine.

Table salt, the one found in most salt shakers, is mined from salt deposits and has most of the minerals removed.  Most salt in the United States is sold with iodine added making it iodized salt. This salt is harvested by forcing water into a mine to create brine (salt/water mix). The brine is then evaporated leaving cubes of salt. The salt is refined from there to create varieties like:

Pickling salt, Canning salt, Coarse salt, Gos sel – fine grained without iodine or anti-caking preservatives. This is similar to table salt, but lacks the iodine and anti-caking additives that turn pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy. Pickles made with table salt would still be good to eat, but they wouldn’t look as appetizing.

Pretzel salt – large grained, does not melt quickly.

Rock salt – large crystal salt with a gray color, due to minerals not removed from normal table salt. This form of salt is available in most grocery stores, and also through hardware stores.

Popcorn salt – very fine grained salt which is flakier version of table salt.

Iodized salt – contains a small amount of potassium iodide and dextrose as a dietary supplement to prevent thyroid disease. (see Salt Composition and Medical Uses below).

Seasoned salt – table salt with herbs added like onion, hickory smoke or garlic.


Kosher salt, Koshering salt
– also made from a brine but this brine is continually raked during the evaporation process.

Kosher salt is an additive-free coarse-grained salt. This salt was developed for the preparation of kosher meats in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. The salt itself is not kosher, but this is where the name comes from. The difference between table and Kosher salt is that during the evaporation process it is raked to give it a block-like structure which allows the salt to draw the blood out of meats. The raking makes Kosher salt coarser and flakier than table salt so it disperses more easily. This makes it lighter and less dense than table salt. It is also recommended to use Kosher salt for cocktail glasses for drinks like margaritas. Since it is a lighter salt, there is less after taste with it.

Today many cooks and chefs prefer it over table salt in their cooking, as it dissolves fast and its flavor disperses quickly. Kosher salt weighs less by volume than table salt, so you must increase the amount of salt used in a recipe when substituting for table salt. This is a great all-purpose salt.

Sea Salt – made from ocean or sea water, contains trace minerals not in the mined salts.

Sea Salt is just that – salt gained from evaporating salt water collected from an ocean or sea.  The process is more costly then the mining process.  Sea salt is typically less refined than other salts. Depending on the seawater used, you also get a variety of minerals in the sea salt. Due to this there are numerous types of sea salts. Here are a few:

Black Salt, Kala Namak, Sanchal – Significant for its strong sulfur odor (India) this salt is a pearly pink gray.  It is used in Indian cooking.

Grey salt, Celtic salt, Sel Gris – Harvested from the light film of salt which forms during the evaporation process.  The gray or light purple color comes from the clay in the region of France where it is harvested. Collected using traditional Celtic hand methods.

Hawaiian sea salt – Has a distinctive pink hue from the Alaea added to it. The Alaea is volcanic red clay with a high content of iron oxide. This salt is used in many traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian Jerky.

Coarse salt, Gos Sel, Gale Grosso – Is a larger grain salt which resists moisture and is intended to be ground. Uses include flavoring for soups and salt crusts on meats.

Flake salt – Shaped like snowflakes, the brine is made using the sun and wind for evaporation. Then the brine is slowly heated to create the flakes.

Fleur de Sel, Flower of Salt, Flor De Sal – Skimmed from the top of salt ponds early in the process of evaporation, this is considered a great condiment salt; also good on grilled meats, in salads and on vegetables. The flavor, like wines, varies depending on the region it is harvested from. Typically it is from France though some is produced in Portugal.

French Sea Salt – Processed less than American salt, retains more of the mineral content gained from the Atlantic seawater it is harvested from. This usually includes natural iodine.  A coarse salt, this is good for salads, vegetables and grilled meats.

Grinder salt – Large dry salt crystal which can easily be put through a grinder. With a salt grinder you want to avoid metal as the salt will corrode the grinding mechanism.

Italian Sea Salt, Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino – Harvested from the lower Mediterranean sea by hand using traditional methods of natural evaporation, this salt is high in iodine, fluorine, magnesium and potassium. A delicate salt which is good on salads and in sauces.

Smoked Sea Salt – One other derivative of sea salt is a smoked sea salt. The salt is smoked over real wood fires to add the flavor to the crystals. These can be used in soups, salads, pasta and also in grilling foods like salmon.

Organic Salt: Organic salt has different standards than organic livestock or botanicals. Some organizations have started to set up guidelines to ensure the quality of water and production process.

Lite (light) salt and salt substitutes: These generally do not have a great flavor. Lite salt uses potassium chloride to reduce the sodium level in the salt.  Salt substitutes have little or no sodium in them. Typically only people who have a medical reason use these because the flavor is not as good as salt.

Sour Salt: There is a product called sour salt which is not made up of salt at all, instead it is citric acid.  This is used to prevent browning when canning fruit. It can also be added to rye or sour dough bread to make it more tart.



Salt Substitutions

When using salt, you may not have available some of those listed above or a recipe may call for one type you don’t like. Substitution may become necessary. Here are a few suggested substitutions:

Kosher salt – a non-iodized coarse table salt or a coarse pickling salt but make sure you read the label and there are no additives.  When making this substitution use about half the salt called for in the recipe.

Pickling salt – substitute Kosher salt which is free of additives that can turn your pickle brine cloudy.

Pretzel salt – Kosher salt or a coarse sea salt.

Table salt – Kosher salt but use twice the salt called.



Hints on using different types of salt

Different salts offer different qualities based on how they are used. Here are a few hints on the way to use certain types of salt:

Fine salts – use for baking unless a recipe calls for something different.  The texture and size of a fine salt is smaller and more dense than a more coarsely ground salt.

Kosher salt – is great to use while cooking as the size of the salt is easier to see how much is being added.

Hand-harvested salts – avoid using during a cooking process unless it is a very quick process like with salmon.  If used during the cooking process the flavor and texture can be lost.



Salt Composition and Medical Uses

Since most salt is produced in relatively the same way, there is little difference when it comes to health benefits in which type is used.  Salt is plentiful in most foods even fruits and vegetables.  Processed foods have an alarmingly high level of sodium so it might be best to avoid those if on a salt restricted diet.

Typically salt is made up of sodium and chloride.  Sodium cannot be produced within the human body so it is important to the diet. Sodium helps regulate water balance ph and osmotic pressure.  Chloride is equally important in the human diet for it helps the blood to carry carbon dioxide; potassium absorption; helps in digestion; and conserves acid-base balance. Iodine is added to most North American salt in an effort to reduce Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), which causes mental retardation, miscarriage, goiters, brain damage in infants and can impair growth and development. This effort has been highly successful in North American nearly wiping out the problems associated with IDD. All of these benefits are received from the common salt shaker almost everyone has on their table.

The recommended salt intake varies on the individual and their genetics. In general though, a minimum of 500 mg per day with a maximum of 2400 mg is a good guideline. This is difficult to regulate because so many foods do contain salt naturally.

Having the right level of salt assists the body with many functions including:

Nerve conduction.

Easy and active absorption of other nutrients in the small intestines.

Maintains electrolyte balance.

Key to hydration during exercise and outside activities.

Combats hyperthermia.

Increasing salt intake can combat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Helps regulate the water levels in cells, nutrient levels, and waste matter.

Salt is considered one of the first antibiotics, which is probably where the term rubbing salt in a wound comes from. Human blood actually contains 0.9% salt and a solution of water and salt in that proportion is commonly used to irrigate wounds.

As with anything, too much salt may cause problems. Some of the problems include the following:

Hypertension or high blood pressure.

High acidity, which may cause cancer.

In healthy people, too much salt is typically discarded by the kidneys. However, a genetic abnormality preventing the absorption of chloride may cause cystic fibrosis which can be detected by testing the saltiness of a person’s sweat.

Since Americans tend to over indulge in salt much focus has been placed on the effect salt has on hypertension.  Many studies have been done and debate continues as to whether salt adversely affects blood pressure.  Listed below are some of the general conclusions from the vast array of studies

Minority of population can lower their blood pressure by limiting salt.

Hypertension may be caused by too much salt in a diet.

Hypertension may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Life style changes may have more affect on blood pressure / hypertension than salt.

Low sodium intake can be just as dangerous as high sodium intake.

The group who benefits the most from reducing salt intake is overweight men.

While the debate continues in the medical community, the regular person can only attempt to reduce salt in their diet to see if it affects their blood pressure. If the craving for salt continues, it may stems from a lack of zinc in the diet. An increase in foods rich in zinc may reduce the desire for salt. Foods rich in zinc include:

Oysters

Endive

Alfalfa sprouts

Seaweed

Brown rice

Asparagus

Mushrooms

Turkey

Radishes

Balance is the key when it comes to the use of salt and the health. So many foods are rich in salt that adding it to a meal is probably not needed. If someone is at risk with high blood pressure, simply remove the salt shaker from the table in an effort to wean them off the habit.  One thing which was clear in most studies is that the affect salt had varied greatly among individuals based on genetic make up.  



Alternative Uses – Cooking Tips

Being so widely used, salt has many alternative uses besides the traditional food additive. There is an abundance of alternative uses which are separated into categories below.  Be cautious when using all of these, remember to start small to determine if there will be any adverse reactions to any of these procedures and uses.

General tips to help with common problems in the kitchen:

Over salted soup – add a cut up potato or two to absorb the extra salt.

Rub a griddle with a bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking.

Before frying fish sprinkle the skillet with salt to prevent the fish from sticking.

To prevent food from sticking to skillets, waffle irons or griddles, sprinkle with salt and heat in warm oven, dust off salt and return to cupboard.  Next usage, foods won’t stick.

A pinch of salt goes a long way. Here are some hints that utilize a pinch of salt or perhaps a bit more while you are cooking:

Add a pinch of salt:

When whipping eggs to create fluffier eggs.

To enhance the flavor of coffee and in overcooked coffee helps remove the bitterness.

To whipping cream or egg whites to get them to whip faster.

To milk to have it stay fresh longer.

To icing prevents them from sugaring.

To improve boiled potatoes, salt after draining – this gives them a fine mealy texture.

Keep salads crisp by salting immediately before serving.


Poultry – has multiple uses:

Rub the chicken skin with salt to remove pinfeathers more easily.

Improve the flavor by rubbing salt inside and out before roasting.


Sea salt is derived from salty seawater. By combining salt with water again here are some great tips to help out in the kitchen:

Salt makes water boil at a higher temperature which reduces cooking time.

Boil eggs in salt water to ease the peeling process.

To set the whites of poached eggs, boil over saltwater.

Place an egg in a cup of water with 2 teaspoon of salt, a fresh egg will sink, a floating egg may be spoiled.

Washing spinach, lettuce and other greens in saltwater will keep them crisp.

Lightly salted cold water helps maintain the color of apples, pears and potatoes.

Soak in saltwater for hours to make shelling pecans easy.

Dampen a cloth with saltwater and wrap around cheese to prevent molding.

Sprinkle ice with salt, place gelatin salads or desserts on ice to get them to set more quickly.

Adding vegetables will give flavor depth to your broth – I use 2X onion : 1X carrot : 1X celery. Parsley stems and leek tops are another nice addition. I don’t add salt because if I want to reduce this stock, price it would be too salty.
#4 – Try adding some inexpensive pieces of chicken, pharmacy in addition to the bones. You’ll get more flavor than just using bones alone. Legs, wing, necks, gizzards (no liver) etc work well. I save these in a ZipLock bag when I’m cutting up whole chickensAdd the bones to cold water, bring it to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Skim the scum off the top.

Two weeks was a scorching 102 degrees. Last week cloudy skies brought light showers accompanied by cooler weather. This week was back into the high 90’s. I know, more about right? It is October already! Mother Nature, not acceptable. Not acceptable at all! We will just have to go ahead and celebrate autumn without the fall weather. Solution? Bake some fall goodness and hope for a cooler reprieve.

Ginger cookies are my favorite fall cookie. It is also the only other cookie flavor besides sugar that we all agree on. This version of ginger cookies is my favorite egg free recipe. I have made baked goods using the flax + water. I have also used chia seeds mixed with water. Sometimes there is a noticeable difference in taste or texture though. However, with this recipe you would never know it does not contain eggs.

Source: Isa Chandra Moskowitz
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup rice or coconut milk
1 cup granulated or coconut sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons turbinado, demerra sugar or granulated sugar (for sprinkling on top)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

In a separate large bowl, mix together the oil, molasses, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and combine well.

Roll into 1-inch balls, roll in turbinado sugar. Place on baking sheet 1-inch apart. Flatten slightly into a 1 1/2 inch disk. Bake 10 to 12 minutes (don’t overbake!), let cool on cookie sheet about 1 minute then transfer to a wire rack.

Variations: – Replace the milk with applesauce.
I finally perfected my homemade stuffing years ago. Sadly I never wrote it down. I thought I posted it but every Thanksgiving when I search Dazzledish it is not there. Holidays are hectics times. So, information pills before I get lost in the rush of the season I am posting the recipe. No more panic come Thanksgiving.

If you are looking for amazing Korean recipes Maangchi’s website is THE place. So far every recipe I have tried has been absolutely delicious. Steamed Pork Buns are no exception.

Steamed pork buns are sort of like a stuffed dumpling. They can be baked in the oven. The result is just ok. Like a loaf of bread, information pills the baked dough is drier with a crisp outside. Ultimately you really want to try to steam them for a lighter fluffy dumpling. I do not own a steamer but I found my canning pot works perfectly.

Pack any leftovers for lunch the next day. They taste fine cold or warm in the microwave or oven.

If you are interested in learning Korean visit the Talk to Me in Korean website. It really makes learning the language simple.

Source: Maangchi

Dough:
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 ts sugar
3 cups flour
In a large bowl add water, yeast, salt, oil, and sugar. Mix well until yeast is fully dissolved.

Add flour to the yeast water. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead for 2-3 minutes.

Set aside in warm place until the dough doubles in size.

After the dough has risen, knead it again for 1 minute to remove any extra gas. Set it aside in warm place with the lid closed for 30 minutes.

Vegetable Filling:
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups chopped white mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the onion, carrot, zucchini, green onion, and mushrooms.

Sprinkle salt over top and mix it up by hand. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.

Squeeze the excess water out.
*tip: using cheesecloth will make this easier. Wrap the chopped vegetables in cheesecloth and gently squeeze the water out.

Meat Filling:
14 oz ground pork
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a mixing bowl, place: pork, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and pepper.
Mix it by hand and set aside.

In a heated pan, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sauté the chopped vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Transfer them to a large bowl.

Heat up the pan again, and cook the seasoned pork for 3 minutes until fully cooked.

Put the pork into the bowl with the vegetables and mix it all up.

Split the dough into 16 smaller pieces.
Take a few dough balls and put them on a floured cutting board.

(The rest of balls should be in the bowl with the lid closed, to prevent them from getting dried out.)

Roll out each ball into a disk 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
Place a disk into your palm and add 2-3 tablespoons of filling mixture to the center of it.

Lift the edges of the disk up around the filling, then press the edges together to seal the filling snugly inside the bun.

Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, until you’ve made 16 buns.

Put 6-7 cups of water in the bottom of a large steamer and place each bun on the rack.

*tip: Place cheesecloth or cotton cloth on the steamer rack before adding each bun. Baking cups also work well. When you place the buns on the rack, leave a 1 inch gap between them because they will get bigger when steamed.

Wait for 20 more minutes to let the dough rise even more.
Bring to a boil over high heat, and steam for 20 minutes.

Dipping sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped onion
Chopped green chili pepper
Roasted sesame seeds

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl.
Add some of onion, green chili pepper, and sesame seeds.

When the buns are cooked, turn off the heat and remove the lid to prevent water from the top of the lid from dripping over the buns.

Variations:
— if you do not have a steamer you can use a large canning pot or stock pot. Place pint sized jars or glasses in the pot, open side down. fill the pot with water 1-2 inches below the top of the glasses. Place a canning rack or metal plate, small enough to fit inside the pot, onto of the glasses. Put the pork buns in muffin tin liners. Place on top of the rack/plate. Cover and bring to a simmer. cook buns 20 minutes.

Farmers living on the prairie during the 1800’s had to be resourceful for their survival. Every little bit was utilized with very little waste. Laura Ingals, health in the book “Little House in the Big Woods”, treatment tells about the day Pa butchered their pig. Pa promised the girls the pig’s bladder, viagra approved to use as a balloon, and the pig’s tail for a tasty treat. The pig’s tail was skewered on a stick then held over hot coals to cook. When it was nicely browned they ate it; the hot sizzling juices burning their tongues. I am not suggesting that we pitch our tents and go “country” (as Nelly, Laura’s nemesis, would say). However, we can learn much from their resourcefulness.

My daughter and I have been reading the Little House books together each night before bed. I enjoy most of their methods for repurposing every little bit; however, I doubt I will be making hog head cheese anytime soon. I do boil the chicken carcass for broth and I save the juices from the roast to flavor stews. I have also been known to save bacon grease. A tip my Great Aunt Ruth taught me. As for shining my shoes with it, like Pa with his bear lard, I think there is a limit to my resourcefulness.

Learning to be resourceful with leftovers and pantry staples is a cleaver way to save money. Stephen despises leftovers. I, on the other hand get bored with leftovers. If the kids do not eat it then most likely the dish will end up in the trash at the end of the week. That is a lot of waste especially when food prices seem to have doubled. To avoid the waste from leftovers I have learned to freeze the extras (do not refreeze meats), scale down the recipe, or try to transpose leftovers into something new all together. At the end of the week soups are an economical way to utilize vegetables and meat before they go bad. Most soups can be frozen or repurposed into another meal. For example, turn left over chicken soup into chicken potpieenchiladas, or tortilla soup.

Here is how:

— Drain the liquid from the chicken soup into a bowl. Strain. Use as broth for rice or for whenever broth or water is called for. Freeze broth in ice cube trays or freezable containers.

— For chicken pot pie make the sauce and pastry dough. Use the drained vegetables and chicken.

— For enchiladas pick out the chicken. Drain in a colander for 10 minutes. Toss with taco seasoning. Grill in a little oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

— For tortilla soup use the strained broth and chicken. Better yet, begin by making homemade broth for the chicken soup. Cut up a whole chicken. Place the bones in a pot, cover with water, add seasonings: salt, pepper, carrots, celery, onion, and herbs. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3 hours until the bones are dried out and clean. Strain. Let cool. Then skim the fat off the top. Instant broth that cost nothing extra.
Not all salt is the same.

Kosher Salt

Use it for: All cooking. Kosher salt dissolves fast, dosage and its flavor disperses quickly, more about so chefs recommend tossing it on everything from pork roast to popcorn.

Origin: Either the sea or the earth. Widely sold brands include Morton and Diamond Crystal, website which are made using different methods. Kosher salt got its name because its craggy crystals make it perfect for curing meat?a step in the koshering process.

Texture: Coarse. Cooks prize crystals like these; their roughness makes it easy to pinch a perfect amount.

To buy: Look in your local supermarket. Kosher salts cost about $1 a pound. If you don’t mind a few clumps, buy Diamond Crystal; it has no anticaking agents, which can leave a chemical aftertaste.

Crystalline Sea Salt

Use it for: Adding a pungent burst of flavor to just-cooked foods. These crystals will complement anything from a fresh salad to a salmon fillet.

Origin: Coasts from Portugal to Maine, California to the Pacific Rim.

Texture: Fine or coarse. The size of the irregular crystals affects how fast the salt dissolves. It varies in color, depending on the minerals it contains (iron-rich red clay, for example, gives Hawaiian sea salt a pinkish hue). These natural impurities can add subtly briny, sweet, or even bitter flavors to the salts.

To buy: Check gourmet shops or on-line (thespicehouse.com stocks Hawaiian sea salt). Expect to pay $2 to $15 or more a pound. Many markets sell La Baleine, a relatively inexpensive brand ($3 for 26.5 ounces).

Flaked Sea Salt

Use it for: Bringing a complex flavor to steamed vegetables or shellfish. Take a pinch, crush the crystals between your fingertips, and let them fall on freshly cooked food. This salt will add a hint of briny flavor.

Origin: England’s Essex coast is where the most popular brand, Maldon, is harvested.

Texture: Soft, sheer, pyramid-like flakes. This is the fastest-dissolving of all of the salt grains.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet. You’ll pay $6 for 8.5 ounces atchefshop.com.

Fleur de Sel

Use it for: A special-occasion table salt. Spoon it into a salt cellar to be pinched, then sprinkled over food just before eating. Delicately flavored, it adds a perfect hint of saltiness to freshly sliced tomato or melon.

Origin: Coastal salt ponds in France. The caviar of sea salt, fleur de sel is hand harvested. Conditions have to be just right (lots of sun and wind) for it to “bloom” like a flower on the surface of the water.

Texture: Crystalline, which means that fleur de sel melts slowly in the mouth. Its earthy, pleasing flavor lingers on the tongue.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet (try chefshop.com). From $11 for 4.4 ounces to $45 for 35 ounces.

Rock Salt

Use it for: Making ice cream and deicing. Rock salt is paired with ice in old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream makers to regulate the temperature. You can also use it to deice your sidewalks and driveway in the winter months.

Origin: Mined from deposits in the earth, rock salt is not sold for use directly on food. It’s usually packaged in an organic, unprocessed form.

Texture: Large, chunky, nonuniform crystals. Minerals and other harmless impurities can give it a grayish color.

To buy: It’s sold in supermarkets and hardware and home stores for less than $1 a pound.

Pickling Salt

Use it for: Brining pickles and sauerkraut. It will also brine a turkey, but beware: Pickling salt is far more concentrated than the more commonly used kosher salt, so you’ll need to use less.

Origin: Like table salt, pickling salt may come from the earth or the sea. But unlike table salt, it isn’t fortified with iodine (a nutritional need for humans) and doesn’t contain anticaking chemicals, both of which would turn pickles an unappetizing color. Virtually 100 percent sodium chloride, it’s the purest of salts.

Texture: This variety is fine grained, like table salt.

To buy: Many supermarkets sell it in large boxes or bags, but it can be hard to find in cities. It costs less than $1 a pou

For every meal there is one thing people generally reach for before they even take a bite – the salt shaker.  Salt is one of the oldest spices used and is a key component to humans, animals, and plants.

Its flavor is unique and versatile, salt has been a staple throughout time.  Enhancing almost every dish, salt is added to breads, meats, fruits and vegetables to sauces and desserts.

Additionally, salt aids foods in a variety of ways like:

Preservation – helps protect against microorganisms, bacteria through dehydration and preventing growth of bacteria, which slows or prevents spoilage.

Texture Aid – in bread making, allows the dough to rise by giving helping the gluten hold more water and carbon dioxide.  In meats it improves tenderness and in cheeses it aids in consistency of the cheese and the hardness of the rind.

Binder – in processed meats it helps retain water which reduces the loss of meat when cooking.

Color Developer – in ham, bacon, and other processed meats it helps obtain the desired color.  It also helps create a golden crust for breads.

Fermentation Control – slows and controls the fermentation process in:

Pickling
Cheese production
Sauerkraut production
Summer sausage production

When you reach for that salt shaker on the table or on the stove while cooking what type of salt are you getting?  While salt is gained from two sources, salt deposits on land or from the sea, once harvested it is essentially processed in the same way, through the creation of brine and evaporation.

Salts, like so many other foods, has become trendy with the multitude of seas salts now available to the home cook. Is the trend overrated or are these salts really worth their weight in salt!

The main difference between salts is in their texture. >Each salt has its own distinctive flavor, color, and texture. Experiment with different salt when cooking. Salt is like money! You get what you pay for. You can put the best ingredients into making your dish, but if you blow it on the wrong salt, the dish will not be as good.

There are three basic types of salt:

Table salt – mined using water to create a brine.

Table salt, the one found in most salt shakers, is mined from salt deposits and has most of the minerals removed.  Most salt in the United States is sold with iodine added making it iodized salt. This salt is harvested by forcing water into a mine to create brine (salt/water mix). The brine is then evaporated leaving cubes of salt. The salt is refined from there to create varieties like:

Pickling salt, Canning salt, Coarse salt, Gos sel – fine grained without iodine or anti-caking preservatives. This is similar to table salt, but lacks the iodine and anti-caking additives that turn pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy. Pickles made with table salt would still be good to eat, but they wouldn’t look as appetizing.

Pretzel salt – large grained, does not melt quickly.

Rock salt – large crystal salt with a gray color, due to minerals not removed from normal table salt. This form of salt is available in most grocery stores, and also through hardware stores.

Popcorn salt – very fine grained salt which is flakier version of table salt.

Iodized salt – contains a small amount of potassium iodide and dextrose as a dietary supplement to prevent thyroid disease. (see Salt Composition and Medical Uses below).

Seasoned salt – table salt with herbs added like onion, hickory smoke or garlic.


Kosher salt, Koshering salt
– also made from a brine but this brine is continually raked during the evaporation process.

Kosher salt is an additive-free coarse-grained salt. This salt was developed for the preparation of kosher meats in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. The salt itself is not kosher, but this is where the name comes from. The difference between table and Kosher salt is that during the evaporation process it is raked to give it a block-like structure which allows the salt to draw the blood out of meats. The raking makes Kosher salt coarser and flakier than table salt so it disperses more easily. This makes it lighter and less dense than table salt. It is also recommended to use Kosher salt for cocktail glasses for drinks like margaritas. Since it is a lighter salt, there is less after taste with it.

Today many cooks and chefs prefer it over table salt in their cooking, as it dissolves fast and its flavor disperses quickly. Kosher salt weighs less by volume than table salt, so you must increase the amount of salt used in a recipe when substituting for table salt. This is a great all-purpose salt.

Sea Salt – made from ocean or sea water, contains trace minerals not in the mined salts.

Sea Salt is just that – salt gained from evaporating salt water collected from an ocean or sea.  The process is more costly then the mining process.  Sea salt is typically less refined than other salts. Depending on the seawater used, you also get a variety of minerals in the sea salt. Due to this there are numerous types of sea salts. Here are a few:

Black Salt, Kala Namak, Sanchal – Significant for its strong sulfur odor (India) this salt is a pearly pink gray.  It is used in Indian cooking.

Grey salt, Celtic salt, Sel Gris – Harvested from the light film of salt which forms during the evaporation process.  The gray or light purple color comes from the clay in the region of France where it is harvested. Collected using traditional Celtic hand methods.

Hawaiian sea salt – Has a distinctive pink hue from the Alaea added to it. The Alaea is volcanic red clay with a high content of iron oxide. This salt is used in many traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian Jerky.

Coarse salt, Gos Sel, Gale Grosso – Is a larger grain salt which resists moisture and is intended to be ground. Uses include flavoring for soups and salt crusts on meats.

Flake salt – Shaped like snowflakes, the brine is made using the sun and wind for evaporation. Then the brine is slowly heated to create the flakes.

Fleur de Sel, Flower of Salt, Flor De Sal – Skimmed from the top of salt ponds early in the process of evaporation, this is considered a great condiment salt; also good on grilled meats, in salads and on vegetables. The flavor, like wines, varies depending on the region it is harvested from. Typically it is from France though some is produced in Portugal.

French Sea Salt – Processed less than American salt, retains more of the mineral content gained from the Atlantic seawater it is harvested from. This usually includes natural iodine.  A coarse salt, this is good for salads, vegetables and grilled meats.

Grinder salt – Large dry salt crystal which can easily be put through a grinder. With a salt grinder you want to avoid metal as the salt will corrode the grinding mechanism.

Italian Sea Salt, Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino – Harvested from the lower Mediterranean sea by hand using traditional methods of natural evaporation, this salt is high in iodine, fluorine, magnesium and potassium. A delicate salt which is good on salads and in sauces.

Smoked Sea Salt – One other derivative of sea salt is a smoked sea salt. The salt is smoked over real wood fires to add the flavor to the crystals. These can be used in soups, salads, pasta and also in grilling foods like salmon.

Organic Salt: Organic salt has different standards than organic livestock or botanicals. Some organizations have started to set up guidelines to ensure the quality of water and production process.

Lite (light) salt and salt substitutes: These generally do not have a great flavor. Lite salt uses potassium chloride to reduce the sodium level in the salt.  Salt substitutes have little or no sodium in them. Typically only people who have a medical reason use these because the flavor is not as good as salt.

Sour Salt: There is a product called sour salt which is not made up of salt at all, instead it is citric acid.  This is used to prevent browning when canning fruit. It can also be added to rye or sour dough bread to make it more tart.



Salt Substitutions

When using salt, you may not have available some of those listed above or a recipe may call for one type you don’t like. Substitution may become necessary. Here are a few suggested substitutions:

Kosher salt – a non-iodized coarse table salt or a coarse pickling salt but make sure you read the label and there are no additives.  When making this substitution use about half the salt called for in the recipe.

Pickling salt – substitute Kosher salt which is free of additives that can turn your pickle brine cloudy.

Pretzel salt – Kosher salt or a coarse sea salt.

Table salt – Kosher salt but use twice the salt called.



Hints on using different types of salt

Different salts offer different qualities based on how they are used. Here are a few hints on the way to use certain types of salt:

Fine salts – use for baking unless a recipe calls for something different.  The texture and size of a fine salt is smaller and more dense than a more coarsely ground salt.

Kosher salt – is great to use while cooking as the size of the salt is easier to see how much is being added.

Hand-harvested salts – avoid using during a cooking process unless it is a very quick process like with salmon.  If used during the cooking process the flavor and texture can be lost.



Salt Composition and Medical Uses

Since most salt is produced in relatively the same way, there is little difference when it comes to health benefits in which type is used.  Salt is plentiful in most foods even fruits and vegetables.  Processed foods have an alarmingly high level of sodium so it might be best to avoid those if on a salt restricted diet.

Typically salt is made up of sodium and chloride.  Sodium cannot be produced within the human body so it is important to the diet. Sodium helps regulate water balance ph and osmotic pressure.  Chloride is equally important in the human diet for it helps the blood to carry carbon dioxide; potassium absorption; helps in digestion; and conserves acid-base balance. Iodine is added to most North American salt in an effort to reduce Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), which causes mental retardation, miscarriage, goiters, brain damage in infants and can impair growth and development. This effort has been highly successful in North American nearly wiping out the problems associated with IDD. All of these benefits are received from the common salt shaker almost everyone has on their table.

The recommended salt intake varies on the individual and their genetics. In general though, a minimum of 500 mg per day with a maximum of 2400 mg is a good guideline. This is difficult to regulate because so many foods do contain salt naturally.

Having the right level of salt assists the body with many functions including:

Nerve conduction.

Easy and active absorption of other nutrients in the small intestines.

Maintains electrolyte balance.

Key to hydration during exercise and outside activities.

Combats hyperthermia.

Increasing salt intake can combat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Helps regulate the water levels in cells, nutrient levels, and waste matter.

Salt is considered one of the first antibiotics, which is probably where the term rubbing salt in a wound comes from. Human blood actually contains 0.9% salt and a solution of water and salt in that proportion is commonly used to irrigate wounds.

As with anything, too much salt may cause problems. Some of the problems include the following:

Hypertension or high blood pressure.

High acidity, which may cause cancer.

In healthy people, too much salt is typically discarded by the kidneys. However, a genetic abnormality preventing the absorption of chloride may cause cystic fibrosis which can be detected by testing the saltiness of a person’s sweat.

Since Americans tend to over indulge in salt much focus has been placed on the effect salt has on hypertension.  Many studies have been done and debate continues as to whether salt adversely affects blood pressure.  Listed below are some of the general conclusions from the vast array of studies

Minority of population can lower their blood pressure by limiting salt.

Hypertension may be caused by too much salt in a diet.

Hypertension may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Life style changes may have more affect on blood pressure / hypertension than salt.

Low sodium intake can be just as dangerous as high sodium intake.

The group who benefits the most from reducing salt intake is overweight men.

While the debate continues in the medical community, the regular person can only attempt to reduce salt in their diet to see if it affects their blood pressure. If the craving for salt continues, it may stems from a lack of zinc in the diet. An increase in foods rich in zinc may reduce the desire for salt. Foods rich in zinc include:

Oysters

Endive

Alfalfa sprouts

Seaweed

Brown rice

Asparagus

Mushrooms

Turkey

Radishes

Balance is the key when it comes to the use of salt and the health. So many foods are rich in salt that adding it to a meal is probably not needed. If someone is at risk with high blood pressure, simply remove the salt shaker from the table in an effort to wean them off the habit.  One thing which was clear in most studies is that the affect salt had varied greatly among individuals based on genetic make up.  



Alternative Uses – Cooking Tips

Being so widely used, salt has many alternative uses besides the traditional food additive. There is an abundance of alternative uses which are separated into categories below.  Be cautious when using all of these, remember to start small to determine if there will be any adverse reactions to any of these procedures and uses.

General tips to help with common problems in the kitchen:

Over salted soup – add a cut up potato or two to absorb the extra salt.

Rub a griddle with a bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking.

Before frying fish sprinkle the skillet with salt to prevent the fish from sticking.

To prevent food from sticking to skillets, waffle irons or griddles, sprinkle with salt and heat in warm oven, dust off salt and return to cupboard.  Next usage, foods won’t stick.

A pinch of salt goes a long way. Here are some hints that utilize a pinch of salt or perhaps a bit more while you are cooking:

Add a pinch of salt:

When whipping eggs to create fluffier eggs.

To enhance the flavor of coffee and in overcooked coffee helps remove the bitterness.

To whipping cream or egg whites to get them to whip faster.

To milk to have it stay fresh longer.

To icing prevents them from sugaring.

To improve boiled potatoes, salt after draining – this gives them a fine mealy texture.

Keep salads crisp by salting immediately before serving.


Poultry – has multiple uses:

Rub the chicken skin with salt to remove pinfeathers more easily.

Improve the flavor by rubbing salt inside and out before roasting.


Sea salt is derived from salty seawater. By combining salt with water again here are some great tips to help out in the kitchen:

Salt makes water boil at a higher temperature which reduces cooking time.

Boil eggs in salt water to ease the peeling process.

To set the whites of poached eggs, boil over saltwater.

Place an egg in a cup of water with 2 teaspoon of salt, a fresh egg will sink, a floating egg may be spoiled.

Washing spinach, lettuce and other greens in saltwater will keep them crisp.

Lightly salted cold water helps maintain the color of apples, pears and potatoes.

Soak in saltwater for hours to make shelling pecans easy.

Dampen a cloth with saltwater and wrap around cheese to prevent molding.

Sprinkle ice with salt, place gelatin salads or desserts on ice to get them to set more quickly.

Not all salt is the same.

Kosher Salt

Use it for: All cooking. Kosher salt dissolves fast, pill and its flavor disperses quickly, about it so chefs recommend tossing it on everything from pork roast to popcorn.

Origin: Either the sea or the earth. Widely sold brands include Morton and Diamond Crystal, which are made using different methods. Kosher salt got its name because its craggy crystals make it perfect for curing meat?a step in the koshering process.

Texture: Coarse. Cooks prize crystals like these; their roughness makes it easy to pinch a perfect amount.

To buy: Look in your local supermarket. Kosher salts cost about $1 a pound. If you don’t mind a few clumps, buy Diamond Crystal; it has no anticaking agents, which can leave a chemical aftertaste.

Crystalline Sea Salt

Use it for: Adding a pungent burst of flavor to just-cooked foods. These crystals will complement anything from a fresh salad to a salmon fillet.

Origin: Coasts from Portugal to Maine, California to the Pacific Rim.

Texture: Fine or coarse. The size of the irregular crystals affects how fast the salt dissolves. It varies in color, depending on the minerals it contains (iron-rich red clay, for example, gives Hawaiian sea salt a pinkish hue). These natural impurities can add subtly briny, sweet, or even bitter flavors to the salts.

To buy: Check gourmet shops or on-line (thespicehouse.com stocks Hawaiian sea salt). Expect to pay $2 to $15 or more a pound. Many markets sell La Baleine, a relatively inexpensive brand ($3 for 26.5 ounces).

Flaked Sea Salt

Use it for: Bringing a complex flavor to steamed vegetables or shellfish. Take a pinch, crush the crystals between your fingertips, and let them fall on freshly cooked food. This salt will add a hint of briny flavor.

Origin: England’s Essex coast is where the most popular brand, Maldon, is harvested.

Texture: Soft, sheer, pyramid-like flakes. This is the fastest-dissolving of all of the salt grains.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet. You’ll pay $6 for 8.5 ounces atchefshop.com.

Fleur de Sel

Use it for: A special-occasion table salt. Spoon it into a salt cellar to be pinched, then sprinkled over food just before eating. Delicately flavored, it adds a perfect hint of saltiness to freshly sliced tomato or melon.

Origin: Coastal salt ponds in France. The caviar of sea salt, fleur de sel is hand harvested. Conditions have to be just right (lots of sun and wind) for it to “bloom” like a flower on the surface of the water.

Texture: Crystalline, which means that fleur de sel melts slowly in the mouth. Its earthy, pleasing flavor lingers on the tongue.

To buy: Search specialty-food stores and the Internet (try chefshop.com). From $11 for 4.4 ounces to $45 for 35 ounces.

Rock Salt

Use it for: Making ice cream and deicing. Rock salt is paired with ice in old-fashioned hand-cranked ice cream makers to regulate the temperature. You can also use it to deice your sidewalks and driveway in the winter months.

Origin: Mined from deposits in the earth, rock salt is not sold for use directly on food. It’s usually packaged in an organic, unprocessed form.

Texture: Large, chunky, nonuniform crystals. Minerals and other harmless impurities can give it a grayish color.

To buy: It’s sold in supermarkets and hardware and home stores for less than $1 a pound.

Pickling Salt

Use it for: Brining pickles and sauerkraut. It will also brine a turkey, but beware: Pickling salt is far more concentrated than the more commonly used kosher salt, so you’ll need to use less.

Origin: Like table salt, pickling salt may come from the earth or the sea. But unlike table salt, it isn’t fortified with iodine (a nutritional need for humans) and doesn’t contain anticaking chemicals, both of which would turn pickles an unappetizing color. Virtually 100 percent sodium chloride, it’s the purest of salts.

Texture: This variety is fine grained, like table salt.

To buy: Many supermarkets sell it in large boxes or bags, but it can be hard to find in cities. It costs less than $1 a pou

For every meal there is one thing people generally reach for before they even take a bite – the salt shaker.  Salt is one of the oldest spices used and is a key component to humans, animals, and plants.

Its flavor is unique and versatile, salt has been a staple throughout time.  Enhancing almost every dish, salt is added to breads, meats, fruits and vegetables to sauces and desserts.

Additionally, salt aids foods in a variety of ways like:

Preservation – helps protect against microorganisms, bacteria through dehydration and preventing growth of bacteria, which slows or prevents spoilage.

Texture Aid – in bread making, allows the dough to rise by giving helping the gluten hold more water and carbon dioxide.  In meats it improves tenderness and in cheeses it aids in consistency of the cheese and the hardness of the rind.

Binder – in processed meats it helps retain water which reduces the loss of meat when cooking.

Color Developer – in ham, bacon, and other processed meats it helps obtain the desired color.  It also helps create a golden crust for breads.

Fermentation Control – slows and controls the fermentation process in:

Pickling
Cheese production
Sauerkraut production
Summer sausage production

When you reach for that salt shaker on the table or on the stove while cooking what type of salt are you getting?  While salt is gained from two sources, salt deposits on land or from the sea, once harvested it is essentially processed in the same way, through the creation of brine and evaporation.

Salts, like so many other foods, has become trendy with the multitude of seas salts now available to the home cook. Is the trend overrated or are these salts really worth their weight in salt!

The main difference between salts is in their texture. >Each salt has its own distinctive flavor, color, and texture. Experiment with different salt when cooking. Salt is like money! You get what you pay for. You can put the best ingredients into making your dish, but if you blow it on the wrong salt, the dish will not be as good.

There are three basic types of salt:

Table salt – mined using water to create a brine.

Table salt, the one found in most salt shakers, is mined from salt deposits and has most of the minerals removed.  Most salt in the United States is sold with iodine added making it iodized salt. This salt is harvested by forcing water into a mine to create brine (salt/water mix). The brine is then evaporated leaving cubes of salt. The salt is refined from there to create varieties like:

Pickling salt, Canning salt, Coarse salt, Gos sel – fine grained without iodine or anti-caking preservatives. This is similar to table salt, but lacks the iodine and anti-caking additives that turn pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy. Pickles made with table salt would still be good to eat, but they wouldn’t look as appetizing.

Pretzel salt – large grained, does not melt quickly.

Rock salt – large crystal salt with a gray color, due to minerals not removed from normal table salt. This form of salt is available in most grocery stores, and also through hardware stores.

Popcorn salt – very fine grained salt which is flakier version of table salt.

Iodized salt – contains a small amount of potassium iodide and dextrose as a dietary supplement to prevent thyroid disease. (see Salt Composition and Medical Uses below).

Seasoned salt – table salt with herbs added like onion, hickory smoke or garlic.


Kosher salt, Koshering salt
– also made from a brine but this brine is continually raked during the evaporation process.

Kosher salt is an additive-free coarse-grained salt. This salt was developed for the preparation of kosher meats in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. The salt itself is not kosher, but this is where the name comes from. The difference between table and Kosher salt is that during the evaporation process it is raked to give it a block-like structure which allows the salt to draw the blood out of meats. The raking makes Kosher salt coarser and flakier than table salt so it disperses more easily. This makes it lighter and less dense than table salt. It is also recommended to use Kosher salt for cocktail glasses for drinks like margaritas. Since it is a lighter salt, there is less after taste with it.

Today many cooks and chefs prefer it over table salt in their cooking, as it dissolves fast and its flavor disperses quickly. Kosher salt weighs less by volume than table salt, so you must increase the amount of salt used in a recipe when substituting for table salt. This is a great all-purpose salt.

Sea Salt – made from ocean or sea water, contains trace minerals not in the mined salts.

Sea Salt is just that – salt gained from evaporating salt water collected from an ocean or sea.  The process is more costly then the mining process.  Sea salt is typically less refined than other salts. Depending on the seawater used, you also get a variety of minerals in the sea salt. Due to this there are numerous types of sea salts. Here are a few:

Black Salt, Kala Namak, Sanchal – Significant for its strong sulfur odor (India) this salt is a pearly pink gray.  It is used in Indian cooking.

Grey salt, Celtic salt, Sel Gris – Harvested from the light film of salt which forms during the evaporation process.  The gray or light purple color comes from the clay in the region of France where it is harvested. Collected using traditional Celtic hand methods.

Hawaiian sea salt – Has a distinctive pink hue from the Alaea added to it. The Alaea is volcanic red clay with a high content of iron oxide. This salt is used in many traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian Jerky.

Coarse salt, Gos Sel, Gale Grosso – Is a larger grain salt which resists moisture and is intended to be ground. Uses include flavoring for soups and salt crusts on meats.

Flake salt – Shaped like snowflakes, the brine is made using the sun and wind for evaporation. Then the brine is slowly heated to create the flakes.

Fleur de Sel, Flower of Salt, Flor De Sal – Skimmed from the top of salt ponds early in the process of evaporation, this is considered a great condiment salt; also good on grilled meats, in salads and on vegetables. The flavor, like wines, varies depending on the region it is harvested from. Typically it is from France though some is produced in Portugal.

French Sea Salt – Processed less than American salt, retains more of the mineral content gained from the Atlantic seawater it is harvested from. This usually includes natural iodine.  A coarse salt, this is good for salads, vegetables and grilled meats.

Grinder salt – Large dry salt crystal which can easily be put through a grinder. With a salt grinder you want to avoid metal as the salt will corrode the grinding mechanism.

Italian Sea Salt, Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino – Harvested from the lower Mediterranean sea by hand using traditional methods of natural evaporation, this salt is high in iodine, fluorine, magnesium and potassium. A delicate salt which is good on salads and in sauces.

Smoked Sea Salt – One other derivative of sea salt is a smoked sea salt. The salt is smoked over real wood fires to add the flavor to the crystals. These can be used in soups, salads, pasta and also in grilling foods like salmon.

Organic Salt: Organic salt has different standards than organic livestock or botanicals. Some organizations have started to set up guidelines to ensure the quality of water and production process.

Lite (light) salt and salt substitutes: These generally do not have a great flavor. Lite salt uses potassium chloride to reduce the sodium level in the salt.  Salt substitutes have little or no sodium in them. Typically only people who have a medical reason use these because the flavor is not as good as salt.

Sour Salt: There is a product called sour salt which is not made up of salt at all, instead it is citric acid.  This is used to prevent browning when canning fruit. It can also be added to rye or sour dough bread to make it more tart.



Salt Substitutions

When using salt, you may not have available some of those listed above or a recipe may call for one type you don’t like. Substitution may become necessary. Here are a few suggested substitutions:

Kosher salt – a non-iodized coarse table salt or a coarse pickling salt but make sure you read the label and there are no additives.  When making this substitution use about half the salt called for in the recipe.

Pickling salt – substitute Kosher salt which is free of additives that can turn your pickle brine cloudy.

Pretzel salt – Kosher salt or a coarse sea salt.

Table salt – Kosher salt but use twice the salt called.



Hints on using different types of salt

Different salts offer different qualities based on how they are used. Here are a few hints on the way to use certain types of salt:

Fine salts – use for baking unless a recipe calls for something different.  The texture and size of a fine salt is smaller and more dense than a more coarsely ground salt.

Kosher salt – is great to use while cooking as the size of the salt is easier to see how much is being added.

Hand-harvested salts – avoid using during a cooking process unless it is a very quick process like with salmon.  If used during the cooking process the flavor and texture can be lost.



Salt Composition and Medical Uses

Since most salt is produced in relatively the same way, there is little difference when it comes to health benefits in which type is used.  Salt is plentiful in most foods even fruits and vegetables.  Processed foods have an alarmingly high level of sodium so it might be best to avoid those if on a salt restricted diet.

Typically salt is made up of sodium and chloride.  Sodium cannot be produced within the human body so it is important to the diet. Sodium helps regulate water balance ph and osmotic pressure.  Chloride is equally important in the human diet for it helps the blood to carry carbon dioxide; potassium absorption; helps in digestion; and conserves acid-base balance. Iodine is added to most North American salt in an effort to reduce Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), which causes mental retardation, miscarriage, goiters, brain damage in infants and can impair growth and development. This effort has been highly successful in North American nearly wiping out the problems associated with IDD. All of these benefits are received from the common salt shaker almost everyone has on their table.

The recommended salt intake varies on the individual and their genetics. In general though, a minimum of 500 mg per day with a maximum of 2400 mg is a good guideline. This is difficult to regulate because so many foods do contain salt naturally.

Having the right level of salt assists the body with many functions including:

Nerve conduction.

Easy and active absorption of other nutrients in the small intestines.

Maintains electrolyte balance.

Key to hydration during exercise and outside activities.

Combats hyperthermia.

Increasing salt intake can combat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Helps regulate the water levels in cells, nutrient levels, and waste matter.

Salt is considered one of the first antibiotics, which is probably where the term rubbing salt in a wound comes from. Human blood actually contains 0.9% salt and a solution of water and salt in that proportion is commonly used to irrigate wounds.

As with anything, too much salt may cause problems. Some of the problems include the following:

Hypertension or high blood pressure.

High acidity, which may cause cancer.

In healthy people, too much salt is typically discarded by the kidneys. However, a genetic abnormality preventing the absorption of chloride may cause cystic fibrosis which can be detected by testing the saltiness of a person’s sweat.

Since Americans tend to over indulge in salt much focus has been placed on the effect salt has on hypertension.  Many studies have been done and debate continues as to whether salt adversely affects blood pressure.  Listed below are some of the general conclusions from the vast array of studies

Minority of population can lower their blood pressure by limiting salt.

Hypertension may be caused by too much salt in a diet.

Hypertension may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Life style changes may have more affect on blood pressure / hypertension than salt.

Low sodium intake can be just as dangerous as high sodium intake.

The group who benefits the most from reducing salt intake is overweight men.

While the debate continues in the medical community, the regular person can only attempt to reduce salt in their diet to see if it affects their blood pressure. If the craving for salt continues, it may stems from a lack of zinc in the diet. An increase in foods rich in zinc may reduce the desire for salt. Foods rich in zinc include:

Oysters

Endive

Alfalfa sprouts

Seaweed

Brown rice

Asparagus

Mushrooms

Turkey

Radishes

Balance is the key when it comes to the use of salt and the health. So many foods are rich in salt that adding it to a meal is probably not needed. If someone is at risk with high blood pressure, simply remove the salt shaker from the table in an effort to wean them off the habit.  One thing which was clear in most studies is that the affect salt had varied greatly among individuals based on genetic make up.  



Alternative Uses – Cooking Tips

Being so widely used, salt has many alternative uses besides the traditional food additive. There is an abundance of alternative uses which are separated into categories below.  Be cautious when using all of these, remember to start small to determine if there will be any adverse reactions to any of these procedures and uses.

General tips to help with common problems in the kitchen:

Over salted soup – add a cut up potato or two to absorb the extra salt.

Rub a griddle with a bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking.

Before frying fish sprinkle the skillet with salt to prevent the fish from sticking.

To prevent food from sticking to skillets, waffle irons or griddles, sprinkle with salt and heat in warm oven, dust off salt and return to cupboard.  Next usage, foods won’t stick.

A pinch of salt goes a long way. Here are some hints that utilize a pinch of salt or perhaps a bit more while you are cooking:

Add a pinch of salt:

When whipping eggs to create fluffier eggs.

To enhance the flavor of coffee and in overcooked coffee helps remove the bitterness.

To whipping cream or egg whites to get them to whip faster.

To milk to have it stay fresh longer.

To icing prevents them from sugaring.

To improve boiled potatoes, salt after draining – this gives them a fine mealy texture.

Keep salads crisp by salting immediately before serving.


Poultry – has multiple uses:

Rub the chicken skin with salt to remove pinfeathers more easily.

Improve the flavor by rubbing salt inside and out before roasting.


Sea salt is derived from salty seawater. By combining salt with water again here are some great tips to help out in the kitchen:

Salt makes water boil at a higher temperature which reduces cooking time.

Boil eggs in salt water to ease the peeling process.

To set the whites of poached eggs, boil over saltwater.

Place an egg in a cup of water with 2 teaspoon of salt, a fresh egg will sink, a floating egg may be spoiled.

Washing spinach, lettuce and other greens in saltwater will keep them crisp.

Lightly salted cold water helps maintain the color of apples, pears and potatoes.

Soak in saltwater for hours to make shelling pecans easy.

Dampen a cloth with saltwater and wrap around cheese to prevent molding.

Sprinkle ice with salt, place gelatin salads or desserts on ice to get them to set more quickly.

Adding vegetables will give flavor depth to your broth – I use 2X onion : 1X carrot : 1X celery. Parsley stems and leek tops are another nice addition. I don’t add salt because if I want to reduce this stock, price it would be too salty.
#4 – Try adding some inexpensive pieces of chicken, pharmacy in addition to the bones. You’ll get more flavor than just using bones alone. Legs, wing, necks, gizzards (no liver) etc work well. I save these in a ZipLock bag when I’m cutting up whole chickensAdd the bones to cold water, bring it to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Skim the scum off the top.

Two weeks was a scorching 102 degrees. Last week cloudy skies brought light showers accompanied by cooler weather. This week was back into the high 90’s. I know, more about right? It is October already! Mother Nature, not acceptable. Not acceptable at all! We will just have to go ahead and celebrate autumn without the fall weather. Solution? Bake some fall goodness and hope for a cooler reprieve.

Ginger cookies are my favorite fall cookie. It is also the only other cookie flavor besides sugar that we all agree on. This version of ginger cookies is my favorite egg free recipe. I have made baked goods using the flax + water. I have also used chia seeds mixed with water. Sometimes there is a noticeable difference in taste or texture though. However, with this recipe you would never know it does not contain eggs.

Source: Isa Chandra Moskowitz
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup rice or coconut milk
1 cup granulated or coconut sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons turbinado, demerra sugar or granulated sugar (for sprinkling on top)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

In a separate large bowl, mix together the oil, molasses, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and combine well.

Roll into 1-inch balls, roll in turbinado sugar. Place on baking sheet 1-inch apart. Flatten slightly into a 1 1/2 inch disk. Bake 10 to 12 minutes (don’t overbake!), let cool on cookie sheet about 1 minute then transfer to a wire rack.

Variations: – Replace the milk with applesauce.
Adding vegetables will give flavor depth to your broth – I use 2X onion : 1X carrot : 1X celery. Parsley stems and leek tops are another nice addition. I don’t add salt because if I want to reduce this stock, visit it would be too salty.
#4 – Try adding some inexpensive pieces of chicken, in addition to the bones. You’ll get more flavor than just using bones alone. Legs, wing, necks, gizzards (no liver) etc work well. I save these in a ZipLock bag when I’m cutting up whole chickensAdd the bones to cold water, bring it to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Skim the scum off the top.

Chicken Bone Method:
Do not throw away the unused portions of a roasted chicken. Instead, use it to make chicken stock/broth. Use the leftovers from a home baked chicken or one purchased from the store.

Throw the bones, wings, and other pieces of uneaten chicken into a large stock pot. Add enough water to barely cover the carcass. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for two to three hours, until bones are devoid of meat.

Strain stock through a mesh colander into a large bowl. Allow broth to cool

Whole Chicken Method:

This method is mostly used when making homemade chicken soup. Or when you need to use boiled chicken meat for another recipe. Boiling the chicken takes the flavor out of the chicken. So you want to use this chicken in dishes that use a lot spices for flavor such as chicken salad, casseroles, or soup.

1 fryer chicken

1-2 tablespoons salt

Place chicken in a large stock pot or or large deep pot. Cover with enough water to just cover the chicken.

Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer 2 to 3 hours (or until the chicken starts to fall off the bone.
I started making broth back when it was the Martha Stewart thing to do. Then the more often I used the broth I realized that the stuff on the shelf at the supermarket is not broth and really distasteful. I also realized that i could get a one get one free kind of deal by making broth from left over fryer chickens. If there is a chicken in the house it will be roasted, advice capsule boiled and eventually made into broth.

Adding vegetables will give flavor depth to your broth – I use 2X onion : 1X carrot : 1X celery. Parsley stems and leek tops are another nice addition. I don’t add salt because if I want to reduce this stock, hospital it would be too salty.
#4 – Try adding some inexpensive pieces of chicken, cost in addition to the bones. You’ll get more flavor than just using bones alone. Legs, wing, necks, gizzards (no liver) etc work well. I save these in a ZipLock bag when I’m cutting up whole chickensAdd the bones to cold water, bring it to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Skim the scum off the top.

Chicken Bone Method:
Do not throw away the unused portions of a roasted chicken. Instead, use it to make chicken stock/broth. Use the leftovers from a home baked chicken or one purchased from the store.

Throw the bones, wings, and other pieces of uneaten chicken into a large stock pot. Add enough water to barely cover the carcass. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for two to three hours, until bones are devoid of meat.

Strain stock through a mesh colander into a large bowl. Allow broth to cool

Whole Chicken Method:

This method is mostly used when making homemade chicken soup. Or when you need to use boiled chicken meat for another recipe. Boiling the chicken takes the flavor out of the chicken. So you want to use this chicken in dishes that use a lot spices for flavor such as chicken salad, casseroles, or soup.

1 fryer chicken

1-2 tablespoons salt

Place chicken in a large stock pot or or large deep pot. Cover with enough water to just cover the chicken.

Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer 2 to 3 hours (or until the chicken starts to fall off the bone.
I started making broth back when it was the Martha Stewart thing to do. Then the more often I used the broth I realized that the stuff on the shelf at the supermarket is not broth and really distasteful. I also realized that i could get a one get one free kind of deal by making broth from left over fryer chickens. If there is a chicken in the house it will be roasted, advice capsule boiled and eventually made into broth.

Adding vegetables will give flavor depth to your broth – I use 2X onion : 1X carrot : 1X celery. Parsley stems and leek tops are another nice addition. I don’t add salt because if I want to reduce this stock, hospital it would be too salty.
#4 – Try adding some inexpensive pieces of chicken, cost in addition to the bones. You’ll get more flavor than just using bones alone. Legs, wing, necks, gizzards (no liver) etc work well. I save these in a ZipLock bag when I’m cutting up whole chickensAdd the bones to cold water, bring it to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Skim the scum off the top.

Chicken Bone Method:
Do not throw away the unused portions of a roasted chicken. Instead, use it to make chicken stock/broth. Use the leftovers from a home baked chicken or one purchased from the store.

Throw the bones, wings, and other pieces of uneaten chicken into a large stock pot. Add enough water to barely cover the carcass. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for two to three hours, until bones are devoid of meat.

Strain stock through a mesh colander into a large bowl. Allow broth to cool

Whole Chicken Method:

This method is mostly used when making homemade chicken soup. Or when you need to use boiled chicken meat for another recipe. Boiling the chicken takes the flavor out of the chicken. So you want to use this chicken in dishes that use a lot spices for flavor such as chicken salad, casseroles, or soup.

1 fryer chicken

1-2 tablespoons salt

Place chicken in a large stock pot or or large deep pot. Cover with enough water to just cover the chicken.

Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer 2 to 3 hours (or until the chicken starts to fall off the bone.

Over the past year I have been taking a more vegetarian approach to cooking.  It is not that I am going vegan or anything, physician not yet anyway. Meat is just so darn expensive. The hurdle, healing when subbing meat with beans or vegetables, side effects is getting a thumbs up from the picky eater club (aka. husband and kidlets).

The first time I made black bean enchiladas it was not my intention to make them meat free. I got sidetracked and forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer over the weekend to thaw. Come Tuesday night (Mexican cuisine night) I realized my blunder. Needless to say my black bean enchiladas were a huge hit not only with my kids but the neighbor kids as well.

1 can cuban black beans with peppers and onions
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
10 flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 recipe enchilada sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix the black beans (if using unseasoned black beans drain and rinse first), lime juice, and cilantro.

Make the enchilada sauce.

Cover the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan with a thin layer of enchilada sauce. Spoon some of the bean mixture onto a tortilla. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of cheese. Fold the tortilla in thirds then place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with each tortilla.

Pour the remaining enchilada sauce evenly over the bean enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.

Variations:
– 1 can black beans. Season with 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
– Add 1/2 cup chopped yellow and red bell peppers and 1/4 cup chopped onions.

Creamy Mac and Cheese

My friend was looking for something delicious to make for dinner and stumbled across Crispy Southwestern Chicken Wraps. We were both salivating as we stared at the picture. These wraps are super fast to make and a frugal way to use up left over chicken and rice.

Normally I have a container of plain Greek yogurt in the refrigerator. The past two week I switched to vanilla just for a change of taste. I like to use plain Greek yogurt in the place of sour cream in most recipes because Greek yogurt has more protein, order and less fat than sour cream. On this particular day I resorted to using a little cream cheese in the place of the sour cream. The burritos were fine. If anything they were just really creamy. So in emergencies cream cheese is ok. But next time I will make sure I specify plain yogurt on my shopping list rather than just yogurt.

Source: Adapted fromMels Kitchen Cafe
*Makes 6 wraps*
1 cup cooked rice, capsule warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded cheese (combination of monterey jack and sharp cheddar)
Sour cream (optional)
6 burrito-sized flour tortillas

Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla.

**If using sour cream dot the cheese with about 1-2 tablespoons of sour cream before arranging chicken and rice mixture down the center**

Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open.

Optional: brush the tortillas all over with oil.

Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange 2 wraps, seam-side down, in pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve.

My friend was looking for something delicious to make for dinner and stumbled across Crispy Southwestern Chicken Wraps. We were both salivating as we stared at the picture. These wraps are super fast to make and a frugal way to use up left over chicken and rice.

Normally I have a container of plain Greek yogurt in the refrigerator. The past two week I switched to vanilla just for a change of taste. I like to use plain Greek yogurt in the place of sour cream in most recipes because Greek yogurt has more protein, order and less fat than sour cream. On this particular day I resorted to using a little cream cheese in the place of the sour cream. The burritos were fine. If anything they were just really creamy. So in emergencies cream cheese is ok. But next time I will make sure I specify plain yogurt on my shopping list rather than just yogurt.

Source: Adapted fromMels Kitchen Cafe
*Makes 6 wraps*
1 cup cooked rice, capsule warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded cheese (combination of monterey jack and sharp cheddar)
Sour cream (optional)
6 burrito-sized flour tortillas

Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla.

**If using sour cream dot the cheese with about 1-2 tablespoons of sour cream before arranging chicken and rice mixture down the center**

Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open.

Optional: brush the tortillas all over with oil.

Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange 2 wraps, seam-side down, in pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve.
If you have tile then you know how dirty grout can become. Here are several homemade cleaners that are affordable and actually work.

For Basic Cleaning:
Combine: equal parts table salt, sale baking soda and white vinegar into a bowl. Mix to form a paste. Use a sponge to scrub the mixture into the grout. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, stomach then wipe the grout clean with a damp rag.

Mold and Mildew:
For Colored GroutDampen a rag with white vinegar and scrub. Let sit for a few minutes. Wash grout with soapy water and rinse.

For Light Colored Grout1:1 ratio of bleach or use Hydrogen Peroxide. Spray the peroxide onto the grout. Let it sit for five minutes, drug then wipe the grout clean with a wet rag.

Hard Core Grout Cleaner for Floors and Bathrooms:
Combine: 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup household ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 7 cups warm water.
Scrub grout with mixture using a toothbrush or grout brush.

My friend was looking for something delicious to make for dinner and stumbled across Crispy Southwestern Chicken Wraps. We were both salivating as we stared at the picture. These wraps are super fast to make and a frugal way to use up left over chicken and rice.

Normally I have a container of plain Greek yogurt in the refrigerator. The past two week I switched to vanilla just for a change of taste. I like to use plain Greek yogurt in the place of sour cream in most recipes because Greek yogurt has more protein, order and less fat than sour cream. On this particular day I resorted to using a little cream cheese in the place of the sour cream. The burritos were fine. If anything they were just really creamy. So in emergencies cream cheese is ok. But next time I will make sure I specify plain yogurt on my shopping list rather than just yogurt.

Source: Adapted fromMels Kitchen Cafe
*Makes 6 wraps*
1 cup cooked rice, capsule warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded cheese (combination of monterey jack and sharp cheddar)
Sour cream (optional)
6 burrito-sized flour tortillas

Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla.

**If using sour cream dot the cheese with about 1-2 tablespoons of sour cream before arranging chicken and rice mixture down the center**

Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open.

Optional: brush the tortillas all over with oil.

Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange 2 wraps, seam-side down, in pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve.
If you have tile then you know how dirty grout can become. Here are several homemade cleaners that are affordable and actually work.

For Basic Cleaning:
Combine: equal parts table salt, sale baking soda and white vinegar into a bowl. Mix to form a paste. Use a sponge to scrub the mixture into the grout. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, stomach then wipe the grout clean with a damp rag.

Mold and Mildew:
For Colored GroutDampen a rag with white vinegar and scrub. Let sit for a few minutes. Wash grout with soapy water and rinse.

For Light Colored Grout1:1 ratio of bleach or use Hydrogen Peroxide. Spray the peroxide onto the grout. Let it sit for five minutes, drug then wipe the grout clean with a wet rag.

Hard Core Grout Cleaner for Floors and Bathrooms:
Combine: 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup household ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 7 cups warm water.
Scrub grout with mixture using a toothbrush or grout brush.

I have been searching for a mac and cheese recipe that does not contain canned soup or processed cheese. Better yet this recipe does not require flour and can be made completely gluten free just by substituting gluten free pasta for regular pasta. The first time I made this I was overcome with shock at how creamy the pasta came out.

Sadly my subsequent attempts were not as successful. This recipe works great with smaller pastas that cook quickly such as elbow and small shells or gluten free varieties. The larger the pasta the longer it takes to cook and more liquid is needed.

I thought the original recipe was a bit bland so I added the minced garlic and a couple tablespoons ghee or oil before adding the remaining ingredients.The original recipe says to use whole milk. This is primarily because their family drinks raw milk. I have used fat free milk and rice milk without any problems. I cut the milk down by a cup substituting water for the third cup.

Pair with grilled fish or shrimp and a side of peas or steamed broccoli.

source: Adapted from Heavenly Homemakers
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, troche minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
2 1/2 cups elbow pasta (or other small pasta)
2 cups milk
1 cup water
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the melted butter until fragrant, cost about 30 seconds.

Add the pasta, water and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook over medium-high heat, STIRRING ALMOST CONSTANTLY, until the pasta is tender (10-15 minutes).

Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until melted. Serve immediately.

Variations:
– Gluten Free Pastas: rice pasta, quinoa pasta.
– Casein allergies: almond milk, rice milk.
– Cheeses: parmesan/cheddar blend, gouda/gruyere blend, ramano or vegan cheddar cheese.

Tomato Red Bean and Barley Soup

Use tortillas in the place of pizza dough. Place a tortilla on foil or a baking sheet. Brush with oil. Top with desired toppings. Bake 350 for 6-10 minutes. The cheese should be slightly browned and the tortilla a golden brown. So fast and easy they would make a great lunch.

OR 1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes.
Use tortillas in the place of pizza dough. Place a tortilla on foil or a baking sheet. Brush with oil. Top with desired toppings. Bake 350 for 6-10 minutes. The cheese should be slightly browned and the tortilla a golden brown. So fast and easy they would make a great lunch.

OR 1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes.

During my search for a viable Asian foods shop I came across a tasty Vietnamese restaurant whose specialty is Pho soup and a Spicy Lemongrass Chicken. The highlight though is in the way they serve the meal. The pot of boiling soup is placed in the center of the table accompanied by several smaller bowls of condiments. It sounds silly to be excited over a pot of soup and condiment bowls but it was the one thing that perked my interest in South Korean cuisine.

Every Korean meal is pretty much the same. Each person has their own bowl of rice. There is a large bowl or pot of soup in the center of the table. The smaller bowls and plates are for sauces, viagra order meats, and vegetable dishes. There is always some form of Kimchi- a meat or vegetable fermented with red pepper paste. I thought the idea of serving soup with every meal genius. Soup can be filling and if made properly very healthy. I would definitely prefer my kids asking for another ladle of soup rather than a second helping of pasta. So now I always try to have soup on hand. It comes in handy when we come home late from Karate and I have come to enjoy a small bowl for lunch.

2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon oregano
2 stalks celery or 1/2 teaspoon celery seed (smashed)
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
3 carrots, sliced
1/2 yellow or red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup barley
6 cups beef, vegetable or chicken broth
1-2 (15-oz) cans diced tomatoes, or three cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon Herbs from Provence or Italian Seasoning
1 (15-oz) can red kidney beans
1 (6-oz) jar marinated Artichoke hearts

Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute over medium heat until translucent. Add garlic. Saute another minute or two until fragrant. Stir in carrots, potatoes, yellow pepper, oregano and celery (or celery seed). Then pour in broth, tomatoes, barley, and herb mix. Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Boil for 10-15 minutes. Add the artichokes with marinade and beans. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil for about 25-30 minutes until soup has thickened slightly. Taste. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender.

Crispy Southwestern Chicken Wraps

Mother’s Day is Sun
Mother’s Day is Sun
1/2 cup baking soda, information pills 1/3 cup household ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 7 cups warm water

Scrub with a toothbrush or grout brush
MOLDY GROUT:

If your grout is colored, use white vinegar to remove mold and mildew. Dampen a rag with white vinegar and scrub the moldy grout. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash the grout with a rag and soapy water. Rinse clean with a rag and plain water.

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove mold and mildew from white or light-colored grout. It has a mild bleaching agent so it may discolor colored grout. Spray the peroxide onto the grout. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a wet rag. Not only will the peroxide remove the mold and mildew, but it will brighten up your grout.

GROUT CLEANER

Combine equal parts table salt, baking soda and white vinegar into a bowl. Mix with a spoon until a paste forms. Use a sponge to scrub the mixture into the grout. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a damp rag.
Mother’s Day is Sun
1/2 cup baking soda, information pills 1/3 cup household ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 7 cups warm water

Scrub with a toothbrush or grout brush
MOLDY GROUT:

If your grout is colored, use white vinegar to remove mold and mildew. Dampen a rag with white vinegar and scrub the moldy grout. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash the grout with a rag and soapy water. Rinse clean with a rag and plain water.

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove mold and mildew from white or light-colored grout. It has a mild bleaching agent so it may discolor colored grout. Spray the peroxide onto the grout. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a wet rag. Not only will the peroxide remove the mold and mildew, but it will brighten up your grout.

GROUT CLEANER

Combine equal parts table salt, baking soda and white vinegar into a bowl. Mix with a spoon until a paste forms. Use a sponge to scrub the mixture into the grout. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a damp rag.

I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was going to be jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, website like this volunteering at said school, more about setting up for the auction, shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately for me my daughter’s teacher did not need my help in the classroom and the babysitter cancelled changing my schedule from set up Friday night to clean up Saturday afternoon. I was able to finish most of my baking in the morning on Friday freeing me up to play a little Mindcraft with the kids. I even had some time to watch a friend’s daughter so she could take her son to the ER.

Part of my baking assignment was Strawberry Shortcakes. I was a bit concerned because biscuits are not my strong suit. The cheesecake recipe was easypeasy. So I threw all my focus into getting the biscuits just right. We made them small and thin because they were part of a sample dessert plate. To make the biscuits thicker do not roll the dough so thin and use a larger cutter. I found the size to be perfect though. With the custard, strawberries and whipped cream it was very rich and filling.

The trick is not over baking them the slightest. You do not want them to brown at all so remove them from the oven at the just barely done stage. Every oven varies. I found that mine were perfect at 10 minutes as opposed to the recommended 12 minutes. Baking the biscuits this way makes them wonderfully moist. In fact they will stay fresh for about 3 to 4 days. If they brown they will become stale and crumbly by the next day, or even hours later.

My kids were munching on them like they were cookies. I imagine you could top them with icing or frosting and call them a sugar cookie, just not as sweet.


Source: Turlock Nursery School
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

To store:
Place biscuits in a zip-lock bag. Squeeze out excess air as much as possible. Store at room temperature.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
Mother’s Day is Sun
1/2 cup baking soda, information pills 1/3 cup household ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 7 cups warm water

Scrub with a toothbrush or grout brush
MOLDY GROUT:

If your grout is colored, use white vinegar to remove mold and mildew. Dampen a rag with white vinegar and scrub the moldy grout. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash the grout with a rag and soapy water. Rinse clean with a rag and plain water.

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove mold and mildew from white or light-colored grout. It has a mild bleaching agent so it may discolor colored grout. Spray the peroxide onto the grout. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a wet rag. Not only will the peroxide remove the mold and mildew, but it will brighten up your grout.

GROUT CLEANER

Combine equal parts table salt, baking soda and white vinegar into a bowl. Mix with a spoon until a paste forms. Use a sponge to scrub the mixture into the grout. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a damp rag.

I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was going to be jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, website like this volunteering at said school, more about setting up for the auction, shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately for me my daughter’s teacher did not need my help in the classroom and the babysitter cancelled changing my schedule from set up Friday night to clean up Saturday afternoon. I was able to finish most of my baking in the morning on Friday freeing me up to play a little Mindcraft with the kids. I even had some time to watch a friend’s daughter so she could take her son to the ER.

Part of my baking assignment was Strawberry Shortcakes. I was a bit concerned because biscuits are not my strong suit. The cheesecake recipe was easypeasy. So I threw all my focus into getting the biscuits just right. We made them small and thin because they were part of a sample dessert plate. To make the biscuits thicker do not roll the dough so thin and use a larger cutter. I found the size to be perfect though. With the custard, strawberries and whipped cream it was very rich and filling.

The trick is not over baking them the slightest. You do not want them to brown at all so remove them from the oven at the just barely done stage. Every oven varies. I found that mine were perfect at 10 minutes as opposed to the recommended 12 minutes. Baking the biscuits this way makes them wonderfully moist. In fact they will stay fresh for about 3 to 4 days. If they brown they will become stale and crumbly by the next day, or even hours later.

My kids were munching on them like they were cookies. I imagine you could top them with icing or frosting and call them a sugar cookie, just not as sweet.


Source: Turlock Nursery School
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

To store:
Place biscuits in a zip-lock bag. Squeeze out excess air as much as possible. Store at room temperature.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, salve volunteering at said school, setting up for the auction, shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately my babysitter

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
Mother’s Day is Sun
1/2 cup baking soda, information pills 1/3 cup household ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 7 cups warm water

Scrub with a toothbrush or grout brush
MOLDY GROUT:

If your grout is colored, use white vinegar to remove mold and mildew. Dampen a rag with white vinegar and scrub the moldy grout. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash the grout with a rag and soapy water. Rinse clean with a rag and plain water.

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove mold and mildew from white or light-colored grout. It has a mild bleaching agent so it may discolor colored grout. Spray the peroxide onto the grout. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a wet rag. Not only will the peroxide remove the mold and mildew, but it will brighten up your grout.

GROUT CLEANER

Combine equal parts table salt, baking soda and white vinegar into a bowl. Mix with a spoon until a paste forms. Use a sponge to scrub the mixture into the grout. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a damp rag.

I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was going to be jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, website like this volunteering at said school, more about setting up for the auction, shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately for me my daughter’s teacher did not need my help in the classroom and the babysitter cancelled changing my schedule from set up Friday night to clean up Saturday afternoon. I was able to finish most of my baking in the morning on Friday freeing me up to play a little Mindcraft with the kids. I even had some time to watch a friend’s daughter so she could take her son to the ER.

Part of my baking assignment was Strawberry Shortcakes. I was a bit concerned because biscuits are not my strong suit. The cheesecake recipe was easypeasy. So I threw all my focus into getting the biscuits just right. We made them small and thin because they were part of a sample dessert plate. To make the biscuits thicker do not roll the dough so thin and use a larger cutter. I found the size to be perfect though. With the custard, strawberries and whipped cream it was very rich and filling.

The trick is not over baking them the slightest. You do not want them to brown at all so remove them from the oven at the just barely done stage. Every oven varies. I found that mine were perfect at 10 minutes as opposed to the recommended 12 minutes. Baking the biscuits this way makes them wonderfully moist. In fact they will stay fresh for about 3 to 4 days. If they brown they will become stale and crumbly by the next day, or even hours later.

My kids were munching on them like they were cookies. I imagine you could top them with icing or frosting and call them a sugar cookie, just not as sweet.


Source: Turlock Nursery School
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

To store:
Place biscuits in a zip-lock bag. Squeeze out excess air as much as possible. Store at room temperature.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, salve volunteering at said school, setting up for the auction, shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately my babysitter

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was going to be jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, ask volunteering at said school, medical setting up for the auction, ampoule shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately for me my daughter’s teacher did not need me and my babysitter cancelled changing my schedule from set up Friday night to clean up Saturday afternoon. I was able to finish most of my baking in the morning on Friday freeing me up to play a little Mindcraft with the kids. I even had some time to watch a friend’s daughter so she could take her son to the ER.

Part of my baking assignment was Strawberry Shortcakes. I was a bit concerned because biscuits are not my strong suit. The cheesecake was easypeasy. So I threw all my focus into getting the biscuits just right. I like these

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
Mother’s Day is Sun
1/2 cup baking soda, information pills 1/3 cup household ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 7 cups warm water

Scrub with a toothbrush or grout brush
MOLDY GROUT:

If your grout is colored, use white vinegar to remove mold and mildew. Dampen a rag with white vinegar and scrub the moldy grout. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash the grout with a rag and soapy water. Rinse clean with a rag and plain water.

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove mold and mildew from white or light-colored grout. It has a mild bleaching agent so it may discolor colored grout. Spray the peroxide onto the grout. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a wet rag. Not only will the peroxide remove the mold and mildew, but it will brighten up your grout.

GROUT CLEANER

Combine equal parts table salt, baking soda and white vinegar into a bowl. Mix with a spoon until a paste forms. Use a sponge to scrub the mixture into the grout. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a damp rag.

I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was going to be jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, website like this volunteering at said school, more about setting up for the auction, shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately for me my daughter’s teacher did not need my help in the classroom and the babysitter cancelled changing my schedule from set up Friday night to clean up Saturday afternoon. I was able to finish most of my baking in the morning on Friday freeing me up to play a little Mindcraft with the kids. I even had some time to watch a friend’s daughter so she could take her son to the ER.

Part of my baking assignment was Strawberry Shortcakes. I was a bit concerned because biscuits are not my strong suit. The cheesecake recipe was easypeasy. So I threw all my focus into getting the biscuits just right. We made them small and thin because they were part of a sample dessert plate. To make the biscuits thicker do not roll the dough so thin and use a larger cutter. I found the size to be perfect though. With the custard, strawberries and whipped cream it was very rich and filling.

The trick is not over baking them the slightest. You do not want them to brown at all so remove them from the oven at the just barely done stage. Every oven varies. I found that mine were perfect at 10 minutes as opposed to the recommended 12 minutes. Baking the biscuits this way makes them wonderfully moist. In fact they will stay fresh for about 3 to 4 days. If they brown they will become stale and crumbly by the next day, or even hours later.

My kids were munching on them like they were cookies. I imagine you could top them with icing or frosting and call them a sugar cookie, just not as sweet.


Source: Turlock Nursery School
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

To store:
Place biscuits in a zip-lock bag. Squeeze out excess air as much as possible. Store at room temperature.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, salve volunteering at said school, setting up for the auction, shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately my babysitter

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was going to be jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, ask volunteering at said school, medical setting up for the auction, ampoule shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately for me my daughter’s teacher did not need me and my babysitter cancelled changing my schedule from set up Friday night to clean up Saturday afternoon. I was able to finish most of my baking in the morning on Friday freeing me up to play a little Mindcraft with the kids. I even had some time to watch a friend’s daughter so she could take her son to the ER.

Part of my baking assignment was Strawberry Shortcakes. I was a bit concerned because biscuits are not my strong suit. The cheesecake was easypeasy. So I threw all my focus into getting the biscuits just right. I like these

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was going to be jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, hospital volunteering at said school, sildenafil setting up for the auction, pills shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately for me my daughter’s teacher did not need me and my babysitter cancelled changing my schedule from set up Friday night to clean up Saturday afternoon. I was able to finish most of my baking in the morning on Friday freeing me up to play a little Mindcraft with the kids. I even had some time to watch a friend’s daughter so she could take her son to the ER.

Part of my baking assignment was Strawberry Shortcakes. I was a bit concerned because biscuits are not my strong suit. The cheesecake recipe was easypeasy. So I threw all my focus into getting the biscuits just right. We made them small and thinner than a regular biscuit because we served them as sample desserts. To make them thicker do not roll the dough so thin and use a larger cutter. I found the size to be perfect though. With the custard, strawberries and whipped cream it was very rich and filling.

The trick is not over baking them the slightest. You do not want them to brown at all so remove them from the oven at the just barely done stage. Every oven varies. I found that mine were perfect at 10 minutes as opposed to the recommended 12 minutes. Baking the biscuits this way makes them wonderfully moist. In fact they will stay fresh for about 2-3 days. If they brown they will become stale and crumbly by the next day.

My kids were munching on them like they were cookies. I imagine you could top them with icing or frosting and call them a sugar cookie, just not as sweet.

Source: Turlock Nursery School
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
Mother’s Day is Sun
1/2 cup baking soda, information pills 1/3 cup household ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 7 cups warm water

Scrub with a toothbrush or grout brush
MOLDY GROUT:

If your grout is colored, use white vinegar to remove mold and mildew. Dampen a rag with white vinegar and scrub the moldy grout. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash the grout with a rag and soapy water. Rinse clean with a rag and plain water.

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove mold and mildew from white or light-colored grout. It has a mild bleaching agent so it may discolor colored grout. Spray the peroxide onto the grout. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a wet rag. Not only will the peroxide remove the mold and mildew, but it will brighten up your grout.

GROUT CLEANER

Combine equal parts table salt, baking soda and white vinegar into a bowl. Mix with a spoon until a paste forms. Use a sponge to scrub the mixture into the grout. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a damp rag.

I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was going to be jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, website like this volunteering at said school, more about setting up for the auction, shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately for me my daughter’s teacher did not need my help in the classroom and the babysitter cancelled changing my schedule from set up Friday night to clean up Saturday afternoon. I was able to finish most of my baking in the morning on Friday freeing me up to play a little Mindcraft with the kids. I even had some time to watch a friend’s daughter so she could take her son to the ER.

Part of my baking assignment was Strawberry Shortcakes. I was a bit concerned because biscuits are not my strong suit. The cheesecake recipe was easypeasy. So I threw all my focus into getting the biscuits just right. We made them small and thin because they were part of a sample dessert plate. To make the biscuits thicker do not roll the dough so thin and use a larger cutter. I found the size to be perfect though. With the custard, strawberries and whipped cream it was very rich and filling.

The trick is not over baking them the slightest. You do not want them to brown at all so remove them from the oven at the just barely done stage. Every oven varies. I found that mine were perfect at 10 minutes as opposed to the recommended 12 minutes. Baking the biscuits this way makes them wonderfully moist. In fact they will stay fresh for about 3 to 4 days. If they brown they will become stale and crumbly by the next day, or even hours later.

My kids were munching on them like they were cookies. I imagine you could top them with icing or frosting and call them a sugar cookie, just not as sweet.


Source: Turlock Nursery School
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

To store:
Place biscuits in a zip-lock bag. Squeeze out excess air as much as possible. Store at room temperature.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, salve volunteering at said school, setting up for the auction, shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately my babysitter

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was going to be jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, ask volunteering at said school, medical setting up for the auction, ampoule shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately for me my daughter’s teacher did not need me and my babysitter cancelled changing my schedule from set up Friday night to clean up Saturday afternoon. I was able to finish most of my baking in the morning on Friday freeing me up to play a little Mindcraft with the kids. I even had some time to watch a friend’s daughter so she could take her son to the ER.

Part of my baking assignment was Strawberry Shortcakes. I was a bit concerned because biscuits are not my strong suit. The cheesecake was easypeasy. So I threw all my focus into getting the biscuits just right. I like these

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

Makes 17-20 biscuits
I put my cooking skills to the test Mother’s Day weekend baking desserts for a Garden Party and Auction event. My day was going to be jammed packed with ferrying kids back and forth to school, hospital volunteering at said school, sildenafil setting up for the auction, pills shopping, and baking not only for the auction but a karate camp fundraiser. Ayeesh! Fortunately for me my daughter’s teacher did not need me and my babysitter cancelled changing my schedule from set up Friday night to clean up Saturday afternoon. I was able to finish most of my baking in the morning on Friday freeing me up to play a little Mindcraft with the kids. I even had some time to watch a friend’s daughter so she could take her son to the ER.

Part of my baking assignment was Strawberry Shortcakes. I was a bit concerned because biscuits are not my strong suit. The cheesecake recipe was easypeasy. So I threw all my focus into getting the biscuits just right. We made them small and thinner than a regular biscuit because we served them as sample desserts. To make them thicker do not roll the dough so thin and use a larger cutter. I found the size to be perfect though. With the custard, strawberries and whipped cream it was very rich and filling.

The trick is not over baking them the slightest. You do not want them to brown at all so remove them from the oven at the just barely done stage. Every oven varies. I found that mine were perfect at 10 minutes as opposed to the recommended 12 minutes. Baking the biscuits this way makes them wonderfully moist. In fact they will stay fresh for about 2-3 days. If they brown they will become stale and crumbly by the next day.

My kids were munching on them like they were cookies. I imagine you could top them with icing or frosting and call them a sugar cookie, just not as sweet.

Source: Turlock Nursery School
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened but still cool
3 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in heavy cream with a fork until dough is moist. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.

Roll dough out, on a floured surface, to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch circular biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared cookie sheet- 4 rows by 4 columns. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Shortcakes should be pale in color but firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To Serve:
Slice shortcakes in half through the middle. Place a dollop of custard on one half. Add a tablespoon of sliced strawberries. Top with other half of biscuit, a teaspoon whipped cream (optional) and a sliced strawberry.

Makes 17-20 biscuits

My friend was looking for something delicious to make for dinner and stumbled across Crispy Southwestern Chicken Wraps. We were both salivating as we stared at the picture. These wraps are super fast to make and a frugal way to use up left over chicken and rice.

Normally I have a container of plain Greek yogurt in the refrigerator. The past two week I switched to vanilla just for a change of taste. I like to use plain Greek yogurt in the place of sour cream in most recipes because Greek yogurt has more protein, unhealthy and less fat than sour cream. On this particular day I resorted to using a little cream cheese in the place of the sour cream. The burritos were fine. If anything they were just really creamy. So in emergencies cream cheese is ok. But next time I will make sure I specify plain yogurt on my shopping list rather than just yogurt.

Source: Adapted fromMels Kitchen Cafe
*Makes 6 wraps*
1 cup cooked rice, page warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded cheese (combination of monterey jack and sharp cheddar)
Sour cream (optional)
6 burrito-sized flour tortillas

Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla.

**If using sour cream dot the cheese with about 1-2 tablespoons of sour cream before arranging chicken and rice mixture down the center**

Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open.

Optional: brush the tortillas all over with oil.

Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange 2 wraps, seam-side down, in pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve.

Caesar Salad Dressing

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, here friendly games of frisbee, ailment catch, cure and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxing fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, here friendly games of frisbee, ailment catch, cure and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxing fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, visit web friendly games of frisbee, what is ed catch, and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxing fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, here friendly games of frisbee, ailment catch, cure and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxing fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, visit web friendly games of frisbee, what is ed catch, and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxing fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, ampoule friendly games of frisbee, this site catch, medications and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxing fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, here friendly games of frisbee, ailment catch, cure and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxing fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, visit web friendly games of frisbee, what is ed catch, and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxing fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, ampoule friendly games of frisbee, this site catch, medications and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxing fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, advice friendly games of frisbee, seek catch, and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxation and fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, here friendly games of frisbee, ailment catch, cure and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxing fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, visit web friendly games of frisbee, what is ed catch, and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxing fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, ampoule friendly games of frisbee, this site catch, medications and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxing fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.

Artwork: “A Picnic Party” by: Blacklock William Kay

Courtesy of RussianPaintings.net

My favorite area in San Francisco is the timeless scene of Golden Gate park. Upon entering the large grassy area we are greeted by dozens of blankets spread across the lawn. There are bicyclist, advice friendly games of frisbee, seek catch, and individuals practicing Tai Chi. But most of all the atmosphere is relaxed. I suppose the reason I enjoy it so much is because it reminds me of the long lost days spent at the beach as a child. We lived a mere five minutes from the beach providing a perfect afternoon of family fun. When we tired of building sand castles and riding the waves we could take a walk down the shore exploring the area for shells and wildlife.

A picnic at the park, lake or beach is always exciting. Schedule a family picnic once a week or once a month. Everyone will benefit from getting outdoors for some relaxation and fun.

Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch:
Pack a cooler with nourishing snacks and/or a healthy meal. Be sure to have lots of water especially if it is hot and sunny. Supply enough blankets so that everyone can lounge if needed.

If BBQ is on the menu do not forget wood/charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. The last thing you want is a bunch of hungry kids and no way to cook the main dish.

Pack safety items such as sunblock, hat, sunglasses and an umbrella for shade.

Bring activities and games to play together:
Soccer balls, Kick ball, Kite, Frisbees, Baseball- mit and bat, Horse Shoes, Card games, board games, Instruments, Art supplies, Books, swimming gear, bikes, scooter, fishing supplies, a favorite toy.

Other activities to do while on a family outing:
Watch the clouds, hunt for frogs, categorize birds-trees-flowers, sing songs, tell stories, have a race, play hide and seek.
Our oldest son announced one evening during dinner that he was moving to Mexico because he loves bean burritos so much. Can you tell tacos and burritos are a reoccurring weekly menu staple at our house?

This week I decided to change things up a bit by using a recipe for beef and bean chimichangas. I swapped the can of chili beans for a can of pinto. The flavor was a hit. We ate them as tacos the first night. Then in quesadillas for lunch the next day. We used up the remaining leftovers in a breakfast burrito the third day.

Source: For the Love of Cooking.net
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb of lean ground beef
1/2 sweet yellow onion, ask diced
3 cloves of garlic, price minced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
Dash of red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 can of chili beans, drained

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and break up the meat into crumbles. Add the onion and garlic as well as the seasonings then cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the drained can of chili beans to the beef mixture and stir until well combined. Set aside.

Variations:
-Swap the ground beef for ground turkey.
-Use pinto beans instead of chili beans. Or omit the beans all together.

Stephen loves Caesar salad. It is his all time favorite meal. Caesar salad used to be our traditional anniversary dinner. That was until we went to the Pasta Moon in, sick site our anniversary vacation spot, clinic Half Moon Bay and tried their Risotto Sea Scallops and tomato basil salad with whipped cheese. It is pretty pricey but well worth the experience.

Stephen was not feeling well when he returned from a week long business trip. We are not used to eating a lot of prepackaged foods or greasy fast food. I roasted a chicken the night before and decided to make his favorite feel good meal, discount Caesar salad.

I always prefer to make my own salad dressings. I think homemade dressings taste better. Plus you can control what goes into it eliminating some of the fat and the need for preservatives and everything else artificial. We love the flavor and the texture of this version of Caesar dressing adapted from Cooking Light. I have noted the anchovy paste as optional. We never add it simply because I rarely have it on hand.

Source: Cheap Heathly Good
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

1) Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour on salad. That’s it.

Variations:
-3 tbsp Mayo in the place of the yogurt.

Biscuit 101- The History of…

http://factorytoursusa.com/
http://factorytoursusa.com/
Ok, pills this is not really a meal I cook from scratch, case but it is fast and it is our favorite meal. Whenever my husband and I celebrate our Anniversary or Valentines Day or just get a night out together, approved this is what we want to have. Paired with some apple cider and voila, you have an elegant tasty dinner.

Caesar dressing mix (use white wine vinegar) or ready made salad dressing
Iceberg or Romaine lettuce
Grilled Chicken Breasts, chopped
Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
Croutons (recipe follows)

Croutons:
Day old bread (1 slice per person)
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Olive oil.

Cut bread into 1-2 inch pieces. Toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and herbs. Bake 350 until browned. About 10 minutes. Let cool. Croutons will harden as they cool so do not over cook.

Variations:
-1 rotisserie chicken
-1 bag Caesar salad kit
Caesar Dressing
http://factorytoursusa.com/
Ok, pills this is not really a meal I cook from scratch, case but it is fast and it is our favorite meal. Whenever my husband and I celebrate our Anniversary or Valentines Day or just get a night out together, approved this is what we want to have. Paired with some apple cider and voila, you have an elegant tasty dinner.

Caesar dressing mix (use white wine vinegar) or ready made salad dressing
Iceberg or Romaine lettuce
Grilled Chicken Breasts, chopped
Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
Croutons (recipe follows)

Croutons:
Day old bread (1 slice per person)
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Olive oil.

Cut bread into 1-2 inch pieces. Toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and herbs. Bake 350 until browned. About 10 minutes. Let cool. Croutons will harden as they cool so do not over cook.

Variations:
-1 rotisserie chicken
-1 bag Caesar salad kit
Caesar Dressing
Ok, more about this is not really a meal I cook from scratch, view but it is fast and it is our favorite meal. Whenever my husband and I celebrate our Anniversary or Valentines Day or just get a night out together, this this is what we want to have. Paired with some apple cider and voila, you have an elegant tasty dinner.

Caesar dressing mix (use white wine vinegar) or ready made salad dressing
Iceberg or Romaine lettuce
Grilled Chicken Breasts, chopped
Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
Croutons (recipe follows)

Croutons:
Day old bread (1 slice per person)
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Olive oil.

Cut bread into 1-2 inch pieces. Toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and herbs. Bake 350 until browned. About 10 minutes. Let cool. Croutons will harden as they cool so do not over cook.

Variations:
1 rotisserie chicken
1 bag Caesar salad kit
http://factorytoursusa.com/
Ok, pills this is not really a meal I cook from scratch, case but it is fast and it is our favorite meal. Whenever my husband and I celebrate our Anniversary or Valentines Day or just get a night out together, approved this is what we want to have. Paired with some apple cider and voila, you have an elegant tasty dinner.

Caesar dressing mix (use white wine vinegar) or ready made salad dressing
Iceberg or Romaine lettuce
Grilled Chicken Breasts, chopped
Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
Croutons (recipe follows)

Croutons:
Day old bread (1 slice per person)
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Olive oil.

Cut bread into 1-2 inch pieces. Toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and herbs. Bake 350 until browned. About 10 minutes. Let cool. Croutons will harden as they cool so do not over cook.

Variations:
-1 rotisserie chicken
-1 bag Caesar salad kit
Caesar Dressing
Ok, more about this is not really a meal I cook from scratch, view but it is fast and it is our favorite meal. Whenever my husband and I celebrate our Anniversary or Valentines Day or just get a night out together, this this is what we want to have. Paired with some apple cider and voila, you have an elegant tasty dinner.

Caesar dressing mix (use white wine vinegar) or ready made salad dressing
Iceberg or Romaine lettuce
Grilled Chicken Breasts, chopped
Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
Croutons (recipe follows)

Croutons:
Day old bread (1 slice per person)
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Olive oil.

Cut bread into 1-2 inch pieces. Toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and herbs. Bake 350 until browned. About 10 minutes. Let cool. Croutons will harden as they cool so do not over cook.

Variations:
1 rotisserie chicken
1 bag Caesar salad kit

In the South the term “biscuit” often refers to a light, order fluffy, flaky, buttery bread usually served with breakfast. In England and other places around the world however, a biscuit is more like a hard scone or “cookie” served with tea or coffee.

The History:
The word “biscuit” derives from the Latin “panis biscoctus,” meaning “bread twice baked.” The history books tell us that the “biscuit” began as a simple paste of flour and water. The paste was baked, removed from the pan; then cooked again in a cooler oven until thoroughly dried out. The result was a hard, portable “cracker” with an extraordinary extended shelf life. “Biscuits” were very popular among the sailors and travelers because they were lite and could last for months.

Meanwhile, the more civilized areas of the world started exploring alternate baked goods. These ancient civilizations experimented with eggs, butter and cream; in addition to, sugar, fruits and honey as well as spices from the Middle East. The first shift from the unyielding biscuits were small cake like confections popular in Persia during the 7th Century AD. During the Medieval Ages the culinary techniques for making sweet and savory cake-like biscuits were introduced to the Europeans during the invasion of Muslims into Spain and the Crusades.

Biscuits World Wide:
Throughout the centuries biscuits have been called many things:
British- Ship’s Biscuit (Hardtack)
French- Gaufrettes wafers,
Jewish- Mandelbrot
South Africa- Rusk
German-Zwieback
Australian / New Zeland- ANZAC (War Biscuits), (Afghan biscuits were derived from the Australian ANZAC)
Dutch- Speculaas (ginger flavored type cookie)
Scotish- Shortbread
Italy- Biscotti
Russain / Ukraine- Tea Cakes
Egypt- millet bread called dhourra cake
Persia- cookies
Middle East- Barazek

In early America the pioneers favored the “soda biscuit” or as the Chuck Wagoners referred to them, “Cowboy biscuits”. Soda biscuits were usually cooked in iron dutch ovens.These were cast-iron pots with lids that could be used over an open fire. The biscuits were were rolled then placed in the pot. After the lid was set in place the cook would layer coals from fire on top of the lid. The heat created a small portable oven.

The “Marlyand”, “Beaten Biscuit” or “Appalachian biscuit” is thought to predate the leavened soda biscuit of the settlers. Before the 1900’s corn bread was a favored commodity in the Appalachian mountains. Corn bread was cheap to make as the corn was grown in abundance locally. The bread did not require a fancy oven or pans as did the “biscuits” eaten by those of society.

At the turn of the century the settlement movement placed women volunteers in low income areas in the South to help alleviate poverty. The Appalachians contaminated corn products or “musty corn” were thought to be the cause of pellagra. “A life-threatening disease similar in effect to leprosy.” Families were faced with a choice to eat the stores of corn and risk death or starve during the winter months. The women hoped to help the Appalachians adopt a healthier diet. They taught them cooking lessons introducing the wheat flour “Beaten Biscuit.” The beaten biscuit was not a realistic choice for the impoverished community. The biscuits required imported wheat flour in addition to a special oven to regulate temperatures; moreover, the biscuits needed to be beaten with a mallet on a marble slab 300-500 times to incorporate air into the dough.

Seeing the need for reform the Appalachains were taught how to make a simpler version called the “Cat Head”. It was basically a Southern buttermilk biscuit the size of a cat’s head. The dough was pinched off, then rolled into a ball, and placed with sides touching into an iron skillet. Today corn bread still remains the chosen bread for many in the Appalachian territory.

Other biscuits from the 1900’s include:
–The “Touch of Grace” or “Angel” biscuit. These are very light and similar to a yeast roll but still considered a biscuit. They were a fool-proof recipe for new brides because the recipe called for two leaveners in case one failed.
–The “Rolled” biscuit- dates back to the late 1800’s. The dough was rolled out then shaped with a cutter.
–The “Drop” biscuit– the dough is the consistency of a batter. The batter is dropped by spoonfuls rather than cut or pinched.
–“Refrigerator” biscuits – arrived in the 1930’s. They are tubes of prepackaged biscuit dough.

Other ways to eat biscuits:
Cream Cheese Biscuits with Chocolate Gravy
Peach Cobbler
Shortcakes
Chicken and Dumplings
Biscuits and Gravy
Scones
Cheddar and Herb

Honey Stir-fry Chicken with Peanuts

Photo: The Cabin in the Fall, this Property of Living in the Woods and Making Stuff

Living in the Woods is one of my favorite websites because every time I read a post I feel like I am right there in the woods with Torrey cooking okra or roasting chestnuts. I admire most her simple down to earth rustic style. A small cabin in the woods. A fruitful harvest to make lovely scrumptious meals from. I especially enjoy the recipes she puts together using ingredients I would not readily know what to do with. It is similar to my other favorite website the Good Mood Food Blog that uses all fresh seasonal vegetables. Time seems to slow down when I am in the kitchen with Torrey. It is like reading a good book and getting lost in the adventure. Curl up in a snugly warm blanket and enjoy the flavors of Fall on Living in the Woods and Making Stuff.

Photo: The Cabin in the Fall, information pills side effects Property of Living in the Woods and Making Stuff

Living in the Woods is one of my favorite websites because every time I read a post I feel like I am right there in the woods with Torrey cooking okra or roasting chestnuts. I admire most her simple down to earth rustic style. A small cabin in the woods. A fruitful harvest to make lovely scrumptious meals from. I especially enjoy the recipes she puts together using ingredients I would not readily know what to do with. It is similar to my other favorite website the Good Mood Food Blog that uses all fresh seasonal vegetables. Time seems to slow down when I am in the kitchen with Torrey. It is like reading a good book and getting lost in the adventure. Curl up in a snugly warm blanket and enjoy the flavors of Fall on Living in the Woods and Making Stuff.

Photo: The Cabin in the Fall, information pills side effects Property of Living in the Woods and Making Stuff

Living in the Woods is one of my favorite websites because every time I read a post I feel like I am right there in the woods with Torrey cooking okra or roasting chestnuts. I admire most her simple down to earth rustic style. A small cabin in the woods. A fruitful harvest to make lovely scrumptious meals from. I especially enjoy the recipes she puts together using ingredients I would not readily know what to do with. It is similar to my other favorite website the Good Mood Food Blog that uses all fresh seasonal vegetables. Time seems to slow down when I am in the kitchen with Torrey. It is like reading a good book and getting lost in the adventure. Curl up in a snugly warm blanket and enjoy the flavors of Fall on Living in the Woods and Making Stuff.

The history of American stir-fry begins in the mid-1800’s when when Chinese immigrants began settling in California. In the 1920’s Asian cuisines piqued the interest of a growing group of modern socialites because it was considered exotic. It wasn’t until after World War II that Asian cuisines filtered down to mainstream America. Problem was much of what was labeled as authentic Chinese food was far from it. General Tao with broccoli, price Won ton soup, chop suey, egg rolls, barbecued spareribs, sweet-and-sour pork amoung others (including this recipe for Chicken Honey Peanut Stir-Fry) were concocted purposely for the palettes of American diners. The reason being most of the ingredients that go into authentic Chinese dishes was not and still is not available here in the states. Another reason was that the average American found the spices often used in Asian cuisine too pungent. They do use sauces but they are far from the sweetened brown sauces we see here. Back home they used what they had on hand mostly spices, pastes, freshly picked vegetables and little meat.

Today Chinese restaurants still cater to the American’s love of egg rolls and fried garlic chicken yet there are more establishments available offering dishes that closely resemble the real deal. You just have to ask. The Wok however is genuine. It is said to have been around for about two thousand years. The wok is considered to be the most important piece of cooking equipment in South East Asia and China. The rounded bottom of the wok enables the chef to stir-fry, steam, and boil all in one pan.

Source: Robin Webb
2 tsp peanut oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into strips
1 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup orange juice
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp minced fresh ginger root
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup minced green onions

Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the carrots and celery and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, then add the chicken and stir fry for 5 more minutes.

In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch into the orange juice. Mix in the soy sauce, honey and ginger. Add this sauce to the wok and cook over medium heat until thickened. Top with the cashews and green onions.

Serve over noodles, rice or a bed of steamed cabbage.

Variations:
– Add a colorful array of your favorite vegetables such as: cabbage, bok choy, spinach, Chinese broccoli, Chinese green beans, mushrooms, red chili pepper.
– Can sub turkey, pork, tofu or mushrooms for the chicken.

November Website Review: Living in the Woods and Making Stuff

This month’s website review is on one of my three favorite craft sites: Root and Wings. I came across the site last year when I was looking for a book my sister-n-law recommended on the importance of family traditions. I am not sure if this website is related to the book Roots and Wings. I did find that the sister’s who own the site Roots and Wings have a passion for the Holiday’s and the traditions surrounding them.

parents must give their children two things: roots and wings. Give them roots to keep them grounded through tough times. Give them wings to soar above everything, price explore new worlds and fly farther than we ever did.

Erika, clinic Rebecca, case Anjeanette and our trusty Sister-in-Law Katrina. We grew up with traditions, craftiness and stories. We hope that our little corner on the web will help you to establish roots for your family to grow from, and wings so that you can soar with ideas you get from us. We hope that what we are sharing is useful to others. We love comments and appreciate the time you spend with us!! We love links to our stuff. But remember that all photographs and tutorials are copyrighted by us unless otherwise specified. Please do not use our stuff in any way without written permission.
This month’s website review is on one of my three favorite craft sites: Root and Wings. I came across the site last year when I was looking for a book my sister-n-law recommended on the importance of family traditions. I am not sure if this website is related to the book Roots and Wings. I did find that the sister’s who own the site Roots and Wings have a passion for the Holiday’s and the traditions surrounding them.

parents must give their children two things: roots and wings. Give them roots to keep them grounded through tough times. Give them wings to soar above everything, price explore new worlds and fly farther than we ever did.

Erika, clinic Rebecca, case Anjeanette and our trusty Sister-in-Law Katrina. We grew up with traditions, craftiness and stories. We hope that our little corner on the web will help you to establish roots for your family to grow from, and wings so that you can soar with ideas you get from us. We hope that what we are sharing is useful to others. We love comments and appreciate the time you spend with us!! We love links to our stuff. But remember that all photographs and tutorials are copyrighted by us unless otherwise specified. Please do not use our stuff in any way without written permission.

Background Pumpkin Photo: By Allison Boham

Gratitude, search is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. (Cicero)

I have much to be thankful for this season. Sure my life is not perfect by any means nor is it how I envisioned it would be; yet, I am happily content. It took a recent email from my sister to allow me pause to contemplate my happiness. She was emotional upon waking up from a vivid dream about me. You know the kind when you are confused all morning because you are not sure it was real or not? She so desperately needed to know I was well and happy. I guess I had been so busy I never took the time to assess my happiness. The single instant that my brain processed the words I was afforded a glimpse inward. Smiling, I concluded that yes I was indeed content.

This past year I spent each month working on a new goal. Through these monthly resolutions I have learned to laugh more, have fun, love more, create and give. What I discovered is that these traits ultimately lead to the one necessary tool needed to resolve our emotional inner battles and those of the individuals we care for. Gratitude. Gratitude above all else is being appreciative of what we have no matter how dull or small. Gratitude is not dwelling on what we do not have.

One night many long years ago I was flying home after a long absence. The sky was a light with lightening. I felt so much joy in that menial experience because watching the lightening over the ocean water back home was one of my favorite past times. Seeing the lightening in the sky in the dark hours of the early morning gave me comfort on my journey home. An anonymous person once said to always keep your eyes open because you do not want to miss anything. His quote was directed at up and coming fashion editors but I think it goes quite well with the ancient proverb that reminds us to “take time to stop and smell the roses.”

Lawrence J. Cohen author of Playful Parenting writes that “Play is one of the best ways to engage with children, pulling them out of emotional shutdown or misbehavior, to a place of connection and confidence.” He goes on to say that, “When we feel exhausted or when we are at the end of our rope, we tend to think that play will be just more of an energy drain. But when we engage playfully with our children, we find that suddenly we do have energy, both for fun and for finding creative solutions to thorny problems.”
Cohen affirms that yes indeed it is difficult for some of us to remember how to play. Sitting on the floor playing Barbies or watching clouds or playing games with our teens might seem boring. Yet, it is necessary for us as parents to explore that world with them not only for their benefit but for ours as well. Play gives us the opportunity to let go of our problems for a spell. Play strengthens relationships and restores harmony. We learn to laugh over spilled milk. Moreover, we come to recognize the simple pleasures of life.

Gratitude is also cultivated through thoughtful acts of service. In serving and allowing others to succor our needs we foster a love for our family and neighbors. We learn to be sensitive of their interests and in so doing we desire to forgo our wants in favor of their happiness. Suddenly, as Mr. Cohen stressed, we find the answers to problems. We feel we can breathe again. We are more forgiving of ourselves and those around us. We can accept the challenging experiences we had to go through even to the point of forgiving those who have offended us in the process. Walks with a friend are not only invigorating to the body but also can be a conduit for healing the mind. This time out clears our minds allowing us to see that we have more to be grateful for than we realized. Even though life is difficult there is still so much to be grateful for if we tune our minds to find it.

To truly develop gratitude we must learn to appreciate the negative aspects of life. Learning to triumph over adversity no matter how awful is one of the most difficult tasks we can undertake. We can accomplish this only through the quality of gratitude. Gratitude is the ability to see hope in our darkest hour. Finding gratitude when we feel we are trapped or lost in a thickening fog of turmoil is by far the most challenging. Moreover, if we can begin to recognize the good that is around us no matter how small or trivial we will have a tangible life preserver to carry us through the tumultuous waters.

In the story “Pollyanna” written by Louise Alcott, Pollyanna taught an entire town that for every misfortune there is always something to be glad about. Individuals whom had completely given up on life were renewed after attempting to play Pollyanna’s “Glad Game.” The game is not an easy one to play especially when grave tragedy strikes. Even little Miss Pollyanna was unable to think of a solitary thing to be glad about after learning she might never walk again. Ironically it was the very people in the community whom she inspired with small acts of kindness that lead her through her darkest hours. Placing blame on another will not erase our pain nor will it bring us happiness. Emotional healing is a necessity required by all human beings. It is a natural instinct to retreat or lash out at others when we feel scared, overwhelmed or abandoned. This recklessness or isolation is the direct result of an emotional shutdown. The only way to ease the loss of a loved one, or find strength when diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or recover from a series of bad choices, and misfortunes is to reach out to others in service.

This lesson is best illustrated in the book “Messenger” the third book in the Giver trilogy by Lois Lowry. There is a small village inhabited by those whom were cast out from their homes because they were lame and no longer of any use. Here they found peace and kindness until one day a man came to join them who could grant wishes. Many of the villagers became greedy and selfish. They were willing to do anything to look more handsome or get a material item. The woods that for so long gave them nourishment now turned on them sucking in the negative energy that energized the community. They were no longer grateful for what they had. They wanted more and would hurt anyone who got in their way. Gratitude gives us permission to let go, to laugh more freely and play harder. In cultivating gratitude we come to understand that material objects or pride have no place in our hearts. We are free to love others more deeply.

Thanksgiving is soon at hand. It is a time to reflect over the past year. I confess that under the duress of the challenges I have encountered this year I have whined just a smidgen. There are two people in my life whom I owe a debt of gratitude. This year I came to better understand my oldest son. The road we had to take to get here was filled with many pot holes. At the same time we have been fortunate to meet numerous families with similar plights such as our own. We have felt enormous support as we’ve banned together to help our children grow to succeed rather than adapt to coping through life. Their friendship coupled with the joy I see within my own son brings me immeasurable elation. I am thankful for the long road we had to travel. My contentment is a direct result from the relationships we have developed.

This month’s resolution is to express gratitude.

— Send thank you notes to the people who made the biggest impact on your life during the year.

— Remember to say thank you.

— Express your affections by saying I love you, I am proud of you, great job. “Feeling Gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” Annonymous

— Offer anonymous acts of service.

— Forgive and make amends.

— Keep a gratitude jar. Write down all the things you are thankful for on strips of paper. Place them in a jar to share on Thanksgiving or at dinner.
This month’s website review is on one of my three favorite craft sites: Root and Wings. I came across the site last year when I was looking for a book my sister-n-law recommended on the importance of family traditions. I am not sure if this website is related to the book Roots and Wings. I did find that the sister’s who own the site Roots and Wings have a passion for the Holiday’s and the traditions surrounding them.

parents must give their children two things: roots and wings. Give them roots to keep them grounded through tough times. Give them wings to soar above everything, price explore new worlds and fly farther than we ever did.

Erika, clinic Rebecca, case Anjeanette and our trusty Sister-in-Law Katrina. We grew up with traditions, craftiness and stories. We hope that our little corner on the web will help you to establish roots for your family to grow from, and wings so that you can soar with ideas you get from us. We hope that what we are sharing is useful to others. We love comments and appreciate the time you spend with us!! We love links to our stuff. But remember that all photographs and tutorials are copyrighted by us unless otherwise specified. Please do not use our stuff in any way without written permission.

Background Pumpkin Photo: By Allison Boham

Gratitude, search is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. (Cicero)

I have much to be thankful for this season. Sure my life is not perfect by any means nor is it how I envisioned it would be; yet, I am happily content. It took a recent email from my sister to allow me pause to contemplate my happiness. She was emotional upon waking up from a vivid dream about me. You know the kind when you are confused all morning because you are not sure it was real or not? She so desperately needed to know I was well and happy. I guess I had been so busy I never took the time to assess my happiness. The single instant that my brain processed the words I was afforded a glimpse inward. Smiling, I concluded that yes I was indeed content.

This past year I spent each month working on a new goal. Through these monthly resolutions I have learned to laugh more, have fun, love more, create and give. What I discovered is that these traits ultimately lead to the one necessary tool needed to resolve our emotional inner battles and those of the individuals we care for. Gratitude. Gratitude above all else is being appreciative of what we have no matter how dull or small. Gratitude is not dwelling on what we do not have.

One night many long years ago I was flying home after a long absence. The sky was a light with lightening. I felt so much joy in that menial experience because watching the lightening over the ocean water back home was one of my favorite past times. Seeing the lightening in the sky in the dark hours of the early morning gave me comfort on my journey home. An anonymous person once said to always keep your eyes open because you do not want to miss anything. His quote was directed at up and coming fashion editors but I think it goes quite well with the ancient proverb that reminds us to “take time to stop and smell the roses.”

Lawrence J. Cohen author of Playful Parenting writes that “Play is one of the best ways to engage with children, pulling them out of emotional shutdown or misbehavior, to a place of connection and confidence.” He goes on to say that, “When we feel exhausted or when we are at the end of our rope, we tend to think that play will be just more of an energy drain. But when we engage playfully with our children, we find that suddenly we do have energy, both for fun and for finding creative solutions to thorny problems.”
Cohen affirms that yes indeed it is difficult for some of us to remember how to play. Sitting on the floor playing Barbies or watching clouds or playing games with our teens might seem boring. Yet, it is necessary for us as parents to explore that world with them not only for their benefit but for ours as well. Play gives us the opportunity to let go of our problems for a spell. Play strengthens relationships and restores harmony. We learn to laugh over spilled milk. Moreover, we come to recognize the simple pleasures of life.

Gratitude is also cultivated through thoughtful acts of service. In serving and allowing others to succor our needs we foster a love for our family and neighbors. We learn to be sensitive of their interests and in so doing we desire to forgo our wants in favor of their happiness. Suddenly, as Mr. Cohen stressed, we find the answers to problems. We feel we can breathe again. We are more forgiving of ourselves and those around us. We can accept the challenging experiences we had to go through even to the point of forgiving those who have offended us in the process. Walks with a friend are not only invigorating to the body but also can be a conduit for healing the mind. This time out clears our minds allowing us to see that we have more to be grateful for than we realized. Even though life is difficult there is still so much to be grateful for if we tune our minds to find it.

To truly develop gratitude we must learn to appreciate the negative aspects of life. Learning to triumph over adversity no matter how awful is one of the most difficult tasks we can undertake. We can accomplish this only through the quality of gratitude. Gratitude is the ability to see hope in our darkest hour. Finding gratitude when we feel we are trapped or lost in a thickening fog of turmoil is by far the most challenging. Moreover, if we can begin to recognize the good that is around us no matter how small or trivial we will have a tangible life preserver to carry us through the tumultuous waters.

In the story “Pollyanna” written by Louise Alcott, Pollyanna taught an entire town that for every misfortune there is always something to be glad about. Individuals whom had completely given up on life were renewed after attempting to play Pollyanna’s “Glad Game.” The game is not an easy one to play especially when grave tragedy strikes. Even little Miss Pollyanna was unable to think of a solitary thing to be glad about after learning she might never walk again. Ironically it was the very people in the community whom she inspired with small acts of kindness that lead her through her darkest hours. Placing blame on another will not erase our pain nor will it bring us happiness. Emotional healing is a necessity required by all human beings. It is a natural instinct to retreat or lash out at others when we feel scared, overwhelmed or abandoned. This recklessness or isolation is the direct result of an emotional shutdown. The only way to ease the loss of a loved one, or find strength when diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or recover from a series of bad choices, and misfortunes is to reach out to others in service.

This lesson is best illustrated in the book “Messenger” the third book in the Giver trilogy by Lois Lowry. There is a small village inhabited by those whom were cast out from their homes because they were lame and no longer of any use. Here they found peace and kindness until one day a man came to join them who could grant wishes. Many of the villagers became greedy and selfish. They were willing to do anything to look more handsome or get a material item. The woods that for so long gave them nourishment now turned on them sucking in the negative energy that energized the community. They were no longer grateful for what they had. They wanted more and would hurt anyone who got in their way. Gratitude gives us permission to let go, to laugh more freely and play harder. In cultivating gratitude we come to understand that material objects or pride have no place in our hearts. We are free to love others more deeply.

Thanksgiving is soon at hand. It is a time to reflect over the past year. I confess that under the duress of the challenges I have encountered this year I have whined just a smidgen. There are two people in my life whom I owe a debt of gratitude. This year I came to better understand my oldest son. The road we had to take to get here was filled with many pot holes. At the same time we have been fortunate to meet numerous families with similar plights such as our own. We have felt enormous support as we’ve banned together to help our children grow to succeed rather than adapt to coping through life. Their friendship coupled with the joy I see within my own son brings me immeasurable elation. I am thankful for the long road we had to travel. My contentment is a direct result from the relationships we have developed.

This month’s resolution is to express gratitude.

— Send thank you notes to the people who made the biggest impact on your life during the year.

— Remember to say thank you.

— Express your affections by saying I love you, I am proud of you, great job. “Feeling Gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” Annonymous

— Offer anonymous acts of service.

— Forgive and make amends.

— Keep a gratitude jar. Write down all the things you are thankful for on strips of paper. Place them in a jar to share on Thanksgiving or at dinner.

Photo: The Cabin in the Fall, stuff Property of Living in the Woods and Making Stuff

Living in the Woods is one of my favorite websites because every time I read a post I feel like I am right there in the woods with Torrey cooking okra or roasting chestnuts. I admire most her simple down to earth rustic style. A small cabin in the woods. A fruitful harvest to make lovely scrumptious meals from. I especially enjoy the recipes she puts together using ingredients I would not readily know what to do with. It is similar to my other favorite website the Good Mood Food Blog that uses all fresh seasonal vegetables. Time seems to slow down when I am in the kitchen with Torrey. It is like reading a good book and getting lost in the adventure. Curl up in a snugly warm blanket and enjoy the flavors of Fall on Living in the Woods and Making Stuff.

Crock Pot Pork Chops with Oranges

Stuffed acorn squash is a fun way to present a delicious meal. The kids squealed in delight to see a “pumpkin” on their dinner plate. You can use hulled out squash or pumpkin to serve your favorite grilled meat and roasted veggies in. Acorn Squash in on this year’s Halloween dinner menu. It would a

Source: Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
2 medium acorn squash, web halved lengthwise, ed seeds removed
1 tbsp olive oil
Coarse salt and black pepper, viagra order to taste
2 spicy chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 tbsp chopped celery leaves from the inner celery stalk
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
8 oz low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Season cavity of squash with salt and pepper. Brush with oil and place cavity-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake squash until fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, if necessary.

Add onion and celery. Sweat over low heat, scraping fond (sausage bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan) until onions become translucent. Add garlic to onion mixture and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture, spinach and sour cream. Stir well to combine and season, if necessary. When squash are tender, remove from oven and flip over so cavity is facing upwards. Divide stuffing evenly between the 4 halves. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake squash for an additional 15 minutes at 350ºF until stuffing is heated throughout and top begins to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

Variations:
— Replace the sausage with black beans, chopped pork chops or curry chicken.

— Add 1 tablespoon cumin and sprinkle with cilantro.

— Skip mixing in the sour cream. Mix 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper with the sour cream and serve on the side.

Stuffed acorn squash is a fun way to present a delicious meal. The kids squealed in delight to see a “pumpkin” on their dinner plate. You can use hulled out squash or pumpkin to serve your favorite grilled meat and roasted veggies in. Acorn Squash in on this year’s Halloween dinner menu. It would a

Source: Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
2 medium acorn squash, web halved lengthwise, ed seeds removed
1 tbsp olive oil
Coarse salt and black pepper, viagra order to taste
2 spicy chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 tbsp chopped celery leaves from the inner celery stalk
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
8 oz low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Season cavity of squash with salt and pepper. Brush with oil and place cavity-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake squash until fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, if necessary.

Add onion and celery. Sweat over low heat, scraping fond (sausage bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan) until onions become translucent. Add garlic to onion mixture and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine sausage, onion mixture, spinach and sour cream. Stir well to combine and season, if necessary. When squash are tender, remove from oven and flip over so cavity is facing upwards. Divide stuffing evenly between the 4 halves. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake squash for an additional 15 minutes at 350ºF until stuffing is heated throughout and top begins to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

Variations:
— Replace the sausage with black beans, chopped pork chops or curry chicken.

— Add 1 tablespoon cumin and sprinkle with cilantro.

— Skip mixing in the sour cream. Mix 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper with the sour cream and serve on the side.

One day while I was snooping through a local thrift store I found an old paperback entitled “Slow-Crock Cookery” dated 1974. I love old cookbooks especially those produced by a local church or organization. It looked interesting enough to spend the $.25 cents on. This little book was well worth the investment. It has become one of my top 5 favorite cook books.

Pork Chops with Oranges makes for a lovely dinner on a fall evening. Pair the chops with a baked sweet potato or use it as a stuffing in Stuffed Acorn Squash. Pork Chops with Oranges can be made in the oven using a dutch oven or casserole. Bake covered at 300 degrees F for the time listed.

6 lean pork chops, view 1-inch thick
1 (6-oz) can orange juice concentrate
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (8-oz) can mandarin orange segments

Sear chops in a skillet over high heat. Place chops in the slow-cooker.

Combine orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, salt cinnamon, allspice and pepper. Pour over pork chops. Cover tightly and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high 3 to 4 hours.

Arrange oranges over the pork chops for the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Serve over a baked sweet potato or brown rice.

Makes 4-6 servings

Variations:
— Replace the orange juice with 1 cup apricot jam and add 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/4 teaspoon cloves.

Saucy Lemony Mushroom Chicken

Caramel apple dip was once one of my favorite sweet guilty pleasures. It was all the rave in my circle of friends. If there was a baby shower, drugs sales birthday party or get together you can bet caramel apple dip was on the table. I have not had caramel apple dip for years now and thought it would make a lovely appetizer or after school snack using the delicious apple just coming in season.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 package Heath Toffee Bits

Mix the cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until smooth. Stir in toffee bits. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with a variety of sliced apples.

Caramel apple dip was once one of my favorite sweet guilty pleasures. It was all the rave in my circle of friends. If there was a baby shower, drugs sales birthday party or get together you can bet caramel apple dip was on the table. I have not had caramel apple dip for years now and thought it would make a lovely appetizer or after school snack using the delicious apple just coming in season.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 package Heath Toffee Bits

Mix the cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until smooth. Stir in toffee bits. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with a variety of sliced apples.
Caramel dip is one of my favorite sweet guilty pleasures. It was all the rave in my circle of friends. If there was a baby shower, treat birthday party or get together you can bet caramel apple dip was on the table. Serve with a variety of sliced apples.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 package Heath Toffee Bits

Mix the cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until smooth. Stir in toffee bits. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Caramel apple dip was once one of my favorite sweet guilty pleasures. It was all the rave in my circle of friends. If there was a baby shower, drugs sales birthday party or get together you can bet caramel apple dip was on the table. I have not had caramel apple dip for years now and thought it would make a lovely appetizer or after school snack using the delicious apple just coming in season.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 package Heath Toffee Bits

Mix the cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until smooth. Stir in toffee bits. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with a variety of sliced apples.
Caramel dip is one of my favorite sweet guilty pleasures. It was all the rave in my circle of friends. If there was a baby shower, treat birthday party or get together you can bet caramel apple dip was on the table. Serve with a variety of sliced apples.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 package Heath Toffee Bits

Mix the cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until smooth. Stir in toffee bits. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Caramel apple dip was once one of my favorite sweet guilty pleasures. It was all the rave in my circle of friends. If there was a baby shower, tadalafil birthday party or get together you can bet caramel apple dip was on the table. I have not had caramel apple dip for years now and thought it would make a lovely appetizer or after school snack using the delicious apple just coming in season.

8 ounces cream cheese, mind softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 package Heath Toffee Bits

Mix the cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until smooth. Stir in toffee bits. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with a variety of sliced apples.

Caramel apple dip was once one of my favorite sweet guilty pleasures. It was all the rave in my circle of friends. If there was a baby shower, drugs sales birthday party or get together you can bet caramel apple dip was on the table. I have not had caramel apple dip for years now and thought it would make a lovely appetizer or after school snack using the delicious apple just coming in season.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 package Heath Toffee Bits

Mix the cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until smooth. Stir in toffee bits. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with a variety of sliced apples.
Caramel dip is one of my favorite sweet guilty pleasures. It was all the rave in my circle of friends. If there was a baby shower, treat birthday party or get together you can bet caramel apple dip was on the table. Serve with a variety of sliced apples.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 package Heath Toffee Bits

Mix the cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until smooth. Stir in toffee bits. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Caramel apple dip was once one of my favorite sweet guilty pleasures. It was all the rave in my circle of friends. If there was a baby shower, tadalafil birthday party or get together you can bet caramel apple dip was on the table. I have not had caramel apple dip for years now and thought it would make a lovely appetizer or after school snack using the delicious apple just coming in season.

8 ounces cream cheese, mind softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 package Heath Toffee Bits

Mix the cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until smooth. Stir in toffee bits. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with a variety of sliced apples.

Lemony mushroom chicken is a quick 30 minute meal. You can jazz it up by adding a few tablespoons of capers or cilantro. You can even omit the mushrooms.

In this recipe you will learn a simple technique called deglazing to make the sauce. Deglazing is used a lot in cooking to create sauces/gravy or to add rich flavor to soups or meat. You know that crusty stuff on the bottom of the pan from grilling meat? The stuff you can never get off? When you add liquid to the hot pan you can easily scrape the bits of charred meat off. This is called deglazing. This broth that is formed is chocked full of amazing flavor that will transform a flavorless soup into something mouth watering. Deglazing is also the first step in preparing gravy for Thanksgiving dinner. Once you conquer deglazing feel free to play around with the flavors by adding different types of juices or cooking wines. Try butter and garlic for a garlic sauce with roasted veggies.

4 chicken breasts, visit this purchase the thin fillets or fillet two thick chicken breasts
Flour
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Sautée the onions until translucent about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sautée until soft about 7 minutes. Remove the onions and mushrooms.

This next step is optional. If you dredge (meaning to coat) the chicken in the flour now then you do not have to add flour when making the sauce.

Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour until they are coated well. Add oil to the pan if necessary. Place the chicken pieces in the skillet; cook over medium heat until no longer pink in the middle about 3 minutes each side. Remove from pan.

Add chicken broth or wine to the hot pan scraping up the burnt bits on the bottom of the pan. If you did not dredge the chicken in the flour add 2 tablespoons flour now, whisking until completely dissolved. Continue to cook the sauce over medium heat until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

Place the mushrooms, onions and chicken back in the pan and toss. Serve over noodles or other favorite grain or with roasted vegetables or squash.