Household Hints – Part 2

Here are more household hints to add to those that I started on 15 October.

  • For a crisp crust  on chicken, rub with mayonnaise before baking.
  • Use a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol to remove water spots from stainless steel.
  • Club soda will shine up stainless steel in a jiffy.
  • Add sliced green pepper to fried potatoes to give them a fine flavor.
  • To freshen left over mashed potatoes, put milk in a skillet, add the potatoes and heat; then whip them well and they will taste like fresh ones.
  • Boiled potatoes will stay white if a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar is added to the water.
  • To extinguish a grease fire on the stove, quickly sprinkle a lot of baking soda on the flames.
  • To make marshmallow creme, dissolve 10 oz. of marshmallows in 1/2 cup of milk. Makes 1 cup.
  • Use your potato peeler to shave chocolate. It makes long curled shavings, perfect for use in decorating tops of cakes, pies and puddings.
  • When baking drop cookies, try having a cup of very hot water handy to dip the spoon into. The batter will cut off easily and drop from the spoon without sticking.
  • When baking cream puffs, do not remove them from oven as soon as they are done, but let them stand in the closed oven until they are cool. This prevents them from falling.
  • Baking soda removes fish odor from hands and cooking utensils.
  • Thaw fish in milk for a fresh caught flavor.
  • To prevent edges of pies from browning too much, brush them with water before baking.
  • Household cleaner: put 1 pint rubbing alcohol, 2 tablespoons household ammonia and 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent into a gallon of water. A few drops of bluer coloring may be added to let you know that it is not water.
  • Try using honey instead of sugar in your fresh cucumber salads the next time you make them. It gives them a pleasant but different flavor.
  • Use a can of asparagus soup to cream your asparagus.
  • Homemade cake flour: Use 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon of regular flour. Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and sift together.
  • To make brown sugar: Blend 1/2 cup white sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses. This equals 1/2 cup of brown sugar.
  • To double whipped cream: Add 8 marshmallows to 1/2 pint of whipping cream the night before. Refrigerate. Next day, whip until stiff. No sugar or flavoring is needed.
  • To make bananas stay fresh looking in jello, add a teaspoon of vinegar to the jello.
  • Pour pineapple juice over fresh fruits, such as apples and bananas, to keep them from darkening.

Keep your fork



Back in May I had several posts on dried beans. Here is a hummus recipe that is made with chick-peas. If you have someone who says they don’t like hummus, tell them that this isn’t hummus, it’s pureed chick-peas. Hummus is usually served with Arab or pita bread, but use it with whole wheat bread or as a vegetable dip.

2 c cooked chick-peas
1 clove garlic
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c olive oil
cold water
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Using a food processor, blender or food mill, puree the chick-peas. Mix in the lemon juice and olive oil. If needed, add a little cold water to make a soft mixture. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top and chill at least an hour before serving.

Keep your fork

Mid-Atlantic States Succotash

Seeing all of the vendors who have lima beans at the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market reminded me of this Mid-Atlantic States Succotash recipe.

1 c dried lima beans
1 Tbsp finely minced salt pork
Salt and pepper to taste
2 c cooked corn
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp butter

After washing the lima beans, cover with cold water and let stand overnight. Simmer in the water in which they were soaked until they are tender but not broken. Drain. (Fresh or canned lima beans could be substituted for the dried beans.) Add the corn, salt pork, sugar and butter. (Canned corn could be used in place of the cooked corn.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. You can add cream or water if the succotash is not moist enough.

Keep your fork

Pumpkin Cake Roll

There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of pumpkins this fall that I can see. Our crop has done great. The only two left in the garden are getting bigger by the day, as long as I remember to water them. Here’s a recipe for an easy to make pumpkin cake roll I think you will enjoy.


3 eggs, beaten
2/3 c pumpkin
1 c sugar
1 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together and spread into a well-greased jelly roll pan lined with waxed paper. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the roll from the pan onto a tea towel. Remove wax paper and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Roll up the cake from narrow end and cool or let stand for 1 hour.


2 Tbsp butter
1 c sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
8 oz cream cheese
1 c powdered sugar

Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients and add chopped nuts if desired. Unroll the cake and spread with mixture. Roll up again and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Chill for 2 hours before slicing to serve. This pumpkin roll also freezes well.

Keep your fork

Fruit and Vegetable Powders

If you are getting tired of grabbing various spices to flavor various dishes, consider making your own vegetable or fruit powders to use as food flavorings. These powders, depending on what you dried and ground, could be added to cereals, gravies, meat rubs, icing/frostings, candies or many, many other dishes. If you have these powders on hand, you will find yourself experimenting, trying to tempt your taste buds with new flavors.

These powders are easy to make. After drying the fruits and/or vegetables, freeze them. You can process these frozen items in a food processor, spice or coffee mill, blender, mortice and pestle or what ever other method you can come up with that will give you a powder. Store these powders in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.

This is an excellent way to make use of your over dried fruits and vegetables or excess garden produce that you haven’t canned, frozen or otherwise preserved.

Keep your fork


Squash Relish

This growing season has been excellent for squash. We have three shelves full of squash in the fruit cellar and have been eating squash twice a week. We just returned from a short three-day visit to Amish country in Pennsylvania and almost every farm stand and other food outlet had many varieties of squash for sale.

Here’s a recipe I came across for squash relish that may help you use some of your squash if you also have more than you know what to do with.

6 c squash (your favorite)
2-1/2 Tbsp salt
3 c sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric
1-1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 peppers (your choice)
1-1/4 c vinegar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Grind the squash and pepper together. Mix well with the salt and let stand overnight, then rinse with cold water. Drain. Mix well with the other ingredients. Cook on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.

Keep your fork

Thoughts on Picking Your Own Fruit

It’s apple picking time and a lot of orchards have a pick your own option as well as orchard picked apples. These thoughts are not only for apples but could apply for berry type fruits as well as tree fruits.

  • The first thing you definitely want to do is to call the orchard before hand. Ask about the condition of the fruit and grounds, the supply available to be picked, the prices and if handicapped accessibility is available if needed. If you have any other concerns, ask.
  • You may also want to check if bathroom facilities are available.
  • Don’t rely on computer mapping programs for directions to the orchard. Ask when you call or get the directions from their website if available.
  • Pack a lunch with plenty of water/tea/soda and make a day of it.Also bring a blanket or tarp to spread your feast on.
  • Make sure you bring bug spray, sunscreen, first aid kit, wet wipes, medications, testing supplies and other necessities.
  • Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and dress accordingly. Throw in a jacket, rain jacket, wide-brimmed hat, etc. as well.
  • We all have an excess of canvas shopping bags. Bring them along to pick in and/or carry your pickings as they won’t tear easily.
  • If you have a small little red wagon, stroller or wheeled whatever, bring it along to carry the fruit or tired little pickers in.
  • If you don’t need #1 fruit, and you don’t for baking/cooking, ask if they have discounted pre-picked seconds/blemishes available.
  • Check for worms, bird pecks, bruises or whatever may be objectionable to you.
  • When they are weighing your pickings, make sure you are not paying for the weight of the container as well.
  • Don’t plan of the orchard accepting debit or credit cards. Bring cash along, preferably small or medium bills.
  • Check their website to see if all fruits/varieties are PYO or if some are only pre-picked.
  • School groups are often taken on ‘field trips’ to orchards in the fall. If you plan on picking a lot of fruit, check to see when groups are scheduled or festivals are planned. You don’t need the competition or frustration. This is an enjoyable experience.
  • Peel the cell phone off your ear and leave it in your vehicle while picking. Communicate face to face with your picking partner(s).

Keep your fork