Posts Tagged “food”

Brown Sugar Saver

Published on March 24, 2015
Brown Sugar Saver

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while now, because this product is as close to black magic as I’ve ever seen, even though I know the theory of how it works. My wife and I picked up a Brown Sugar Saver from Sur La Table while at our local mall a few weeks ago. We had a container of brown sugar that was literally as hard as a rock. Various metal implements were unable to pry the concrete-like material from its container, so we decided we’d give this a try.

The Brown Sugar Saver is simply a piece of terracotta pottery; nothing more. You soak the small medallion in a dish of water for 15 minutes, remove it, blot it dry with a towel, and place it directly in the container with your brown sugar. We did this, and in the morning found that our brown sugar was just as soft and pliable as it would be had you just opened a fresh bag of the stuff! Needless to say, we were really surprised. It only cost $4, and has solved an annoying problem that I’ve lived with for far too long. I highly recommend this thing (you can buy similar ones in a number of places).

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Published on April 29, 2010

This recipe comes from Quaker Oats (from the lid on their oatmeal containers, specifically). I’ve transcribed it here so I can remember it without having to keep an oatmeal lid lying around somewhere. Note that the cookie recipe on their website is slightly different from this one. These are incredibly delicious cookies!

  • 1/2 pound of margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3 cups oats, uncooked
  • 1 cup raisins

Beat together the margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Stir in oats, and raisins; mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen.

Sixteen Reasons To Be Happy

Published on October 1, 2009

There’s nothing like a fresh batch of cinnamon rolls to make any day a great one:

16 Cinnamon Rolls

Add some icing (made with powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk), and you’ve got one of the best foods of all time.

Giant Grocery Portions

Published on April 19, 2009

It’s no surprise to anyone that obesity in America is getting worse every year. This animated map shows the progression in the US between 1985 and 2007, and it’s quite a depressing sight. Lots of factors are contributing to everyone’s weight gain: poor eating habits, no exercise, etc., but part of the blame certainly lies with food manufacturers. In recent times, food portions have increased by an incredible amount, and they only seem to be getting worse. Not only are the larger portions contributing to our weight gain, they are also making it much harder for people like me to shop in the grocery store.

Before I go much farther, I must confess that I’m not a big eater. Growing up, I knew guys who could eat two or three times as much as I do at each meal. And there are plenty of my peers today who can do the same thing. So I realize that I’m already starting out on the low side of the curve. However, this doesn’t change the fact that food manufacturers have gotten out of control with portion management.

Shopping for one is difficult enough to begin with, but I’ve noticed that it’s gotten more so in recent times. While at the grocery store recently, I picked up some potato chips for lunch through the week. The bag I bought had “20% more chips free,” making it even larger than the normal bag (which is a little too big to begin with). A sign below the bags of chips offered the following deal: buy 2 get 2 free. So, you have to buy four bags of chips to get a deal! Who in their right mind eats four, full-sized bags of potato chips? Even in reasonably sized families, that’s an insane number of chips to buy at once.

Similarly, doughnut manufacturer Krispy Kreme apparently no longer sells their half-dozen doughnut boxes. Instead, they offer a new box of 9. Every once in a while (maybe once every two months), I used to pick up a half-dozen doughnuts and eat them through the week with my breakfast. By the end of that week, the last doughnuts had nearly grown stale, but were still good enough to reheat. A box of 9 would certainly not last the way I eat them.

There are plenty of other examples, but these two stick out in my mind since I encountered them recently. If food manufacturers would provide smaller portions, at somewhat lower prices, I would be able to enjoy their products more often and I wouldn’t be wasting perfectly good food. As an added bonus, I wouldn’t eat as much, and would feel better as a result. Does anyone else feel the way I do?

Burrito Filling

Published on March 8, 2009
  • 1 can (15-oz) kidney beans
  • 1 can (15-oz) pinto beans
  • 1 can (15-oz) black beans
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 green chili peppers (optional)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp vegetable seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp kelp
  • 1/8 tsp thyme
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (5-oz) tomato juice

Place all three cans of beans into a colander; rinse and drain thoroughly. Pour the beans into a large skillet and mash them. Place the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, chili peppers, and tomato juice in a blender, and blend well. Pour the blended ingredients into the beans, mixing them together. Add the rest of the ingredients, again mixing well. Simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture is warmed to your liking, stirring occasionally.

All-Purpose Meat Sauce

Published on January 31, 2009

This meat sauce recipe makes for an excellent spaghetti sauce, sloppy joe filling, or “meat pie” filling.

  • 1 pound ground turkey or beef
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small bell pepper (optional)
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 or 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper
  • Ketchup
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Mince both the onion and bell pepper. In a skillet, combine the olive oil, minced onion, bell pepper, and meat, and brown over medium-high heat. Once the meat is fully browned, reduce the heat to simmer. Add the can of tomato soup and, using the same can, 1/2 a can of water (don’t add the water if you want a thicker sauce). Add the Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and a good squeeze (or dollop) of ketchup. Mix the ingredients together well. Now add the spices: basil, oregano, dried parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, about 1/2 tsp salt, and ground pepper. Shake Parmesan cheese over the top of the sauce, and mix everything together well. Taste the sauce; more salt and pepper may be desired.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Published on January 10, 2009

Dry Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

In a bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. In a suitable measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk. Add the egg and vegetable oil to the measuring cup, and mix together well (beating the egg in the process). Pour the wet ingredient mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring until blended, but slightly lumpy. Add additional buttermilk to thin the batter as needed (not too thick, and not too thin). Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto a lightly oiled (e.g. PAM cooking spray), 325 degree griddle. Cook until the pancakes are golden brown on the bottom, turning them over when the surface shows bubbles and the sides are slightly dry. Makes around 10 large pancakes.

How (Not) to Sell Fast Food

Published on September 5, 2006

I’ve been meaning for some time to comment on several fast food commercials that have been airing on TV. I find each one quite repulsive, and each motivates me to stay away from its respective establishment.

First up is a McDonald’s ad. In it, a team of girl soccer players plays a game on an incredibly muddy field. I guess that the McDonald’s folks are trying to appeal to those who have a thing for mud-covered young women. But what really gets me is what the narrator (one of the girls in the ad, presumably) says. She tells the viewer that she is someone. And not just someone, but someone like you. So, are they trying to say that if you work at McDonald’s you’re a nobody? Or some kind of freak? I’ve certainly never thought that way of McDonald’s employees. While I do consider McDonald’s among the lower echelons of the job pool, I don’t go around each day making fun of those people. It’s sad that McDonald’s own self image is so poor. I guess it’s somewhat deserved, however.

Next up, is any Hardee’s ad that’s aired in the past few years. Hardee’s has tried vigorously to change its image, after suffering incredible setbacks a number of years ago. Their new image strives to be “tough” or “macho.” But, at least to me, they end up being homoerotic. There’s something about listening to two scruffy guys chew that’s just not appealing. I get a major case of the jibblies any time I see one of these. Jibbly jibbly.

Finally are the recent Wendy’s ads. What’s up with the off key whistling that goes on? It’s not musical and it’s incredibly disturbing. I really miss Dave Thomas; his ads were simple and to the point.

I don’t know what it is with ads these days, but the quality has really gone down the toilet. Not that ads were that good to begin with.

Where Have All the Good Candies Gone?

Published on July 5, 2005

I love sugar candy. Not that gross “chocolate” that people rave about (yes Virginia, I dislike chocolate). I’m talking about the Willy Wonka kind of candy. Gobstoppers. Nerds. Runts. These things are my crack cocaine, and I always enjoy eating a box (or two). But lately, I’ve been having a hard time finding what I want.

The big boxes of Gobstoppers are available everywhere, but I try my best to avoid those for the sake of my teeth (I can crack them open in one bite – a mark of a poorly made “jawbreaker”). Likewise, Nerds are relatively easy to find, but I don’t crave Nerds like I do the others, so I usually decide to pass them up when I see them in the store. But I have had the most awful time in locating a reliable retail outlet that stocks Runts. Nowhere locally seems to carry them. And if they do, the supply has always sold out by the time I arrive. Grocery stores, Target, Wal-Mart, drug stores … the list goes on of the places I’ve looked.

Interestingly enough, the same goes for those tiny rolls of Sweet-Tarts (the ones that look like Smarties). You essentially cannot buy those things anymore, and that really fries my egg! What is a brother to do when a sugar craving hits? Apparently, these companies would rather push their “special” versions of these aforementioned candies: chewy sweet-tarts, sour sweet-tarts – anything but the normal ones. How can such atrocities be justified?

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