Household Hints – Part 1

Some of these may be old hat to you while others may be new. I learned a few new tricks.

  • If the juice from a pie runs over in the oven, shake some salt on it which causes the juice to burn to a crisp so it can be removed.
  • To prevent a one crust pie shell from shrinking, make a little tuck across the middle of the crust when fitting it in the pan.
  • When an egg white is beaten, adding 1 tablespoon cold water to it will increase the bulk considerably.
  • Juice saved from cooking a sausage makes an excellent base or broth for vegetable soup.
  • Cauliflower cooked in water with a little vinegar or lemon juice will keep it snowy white.
  • Cutting marshmallows may be simplified by dipping scissors in powdered sugar after each cut.
  • Tough meat can be tenderized without affecting the flavor by the addition of several drops of vinegar while cooking.
  • Onion odor may be removed from your hands by rubbing the hands with damp salt.
  • Add a teaspoon of vinegar to frosting to prevent breaking when cut.
  • To take odor out of Tupperware, stuff with newspaper and cover for a while.
  • Potatoes soaked in salt water for 20 minutes before baking will bake more rapidly.
  • When making cake icing or candy consisting of milk or cream and sugar, add 1 teaspoon of ordinary table syrup for each cup of sugar used. Boil in the usual way. Your finished product will be much smoother and not so apt to become sugary.
  • A tablespoon of ammonia added to the final rinse water will keep most blankets fluffy after laundering.
  • When making refrigerator or rolled cookies, keep them crisp by sprinkling with crushed peanut brittle while still hot from the oven. The brittle melts slightly giving the cookies a delightful topping.
  • Dark corn syrup removes grass stains. Pour the syrup full strength on the stain and let it stand for a few minutes, then wash as usual.
  • Use leftover suntan oil as a moisturizer to keep your skin soft and smooth in cold weather.
  • To clean a canvas handbag, don’t wash it. Use dry baking soda, rubbing it on with a small brush. Soil will come off easily.
  • Spraying shaving cream directly on a wood tick will make it let go.
  • Liquid floor wax will preserve those autumn leaves that are so colorful. Pour the wax in a flat dish, dip the leaves, than hang or set them aside to dry.
  • Vinegar removes fruit stains from your hands.

Household Hints – Part 2 to come later.

Keep your fork


Crock Pot Pheasant

Although this is a recipe for crockpot pheasant, it works well for other wild game birds as well.

Cut up 1 or 2 pheasants into chunks. Coat with flour and fry in olive oil to brown and then place in crock pot. Put 1 cup chopped onion and 1 clove of garlic into the reserved olive oil and sauté. Then add:

1-1/2 c chicken broth
1 c white wine
1 c mushrooms
1 small can chopped black olives
2 Tbsp butter

Simmer 5 minutes. Add to meat in crock pot and cook on low for 7 hours.

Keep your fork

I Can Relate To This Old Man

If you don’t think of Steve Urkel who starred in Family Matters after reading this, you didn’t watch much TV years ago.

A young man who is an avid NASCAR fan is so taken with auto racing that he buys the fastest and most expensive street legal car, a five-hundred-thousand-dollar Cosmo Quad Turbo RX-7. Driving it home from the dealership, he stops for a red light, when an old man on a run-down moped pulls up beside him. The old man looks over at the young man and says, “What’s that you’re driving there, sonny?”

The young man tells him and adds, “It just cost me five hundred thousand dollars.”

“Wow,” the old man says, “that’s a whole lot of money. Why does it cost so much?”

“For one thing,” the younger man says, “it can go two hundred miles an hour.”

The moped driver asks, “Can I have a look inside?” Upon receiving permission, he leans over and sticks his head in the window. After looking around, he leans back,  and exclaims, “That’s a real nice ride, all right!”

As the light finally changes, the RX-7 driver decides to show the old man just how much speed his car has. He floors it and within a matter of seconds the speedometer reads 200 mph. “That should show the old fart,” he mumbles to himself.

All of a sudden he glances into his rear view mirror and notices a dot that seems to be getting closer to him all the time. Then, whooosh!, it passes him going more than 200 miles per hour. He mumbles to himself, “What on earth can be going faster than me?” Looking through the windshield at the dot vanishing ahead of him, he sees the dot suddenly change directions and is coming toward him. Whoosh! It goes by him in the opposite direction it had been traveling. It looks like the old man on the moped. “How can a moped outrun an RX-7?” he wondered.

Looking behind him, he sees the same dot coming toward him at full speed once again. It plows into the rear end of the RX-7, demolishing the entire rear end. As he jumps out of the RX-7, to his surprise he sees that it is indeed the old man on the moped, with blood running down his head. “You hurt bad?” he asks the old man, “Is there anything I can do for you?”

Groaning, the old man replies, “Yes, sonny. Unhook my suspenders from your side mirror!”

Keep your fork

What Makes Meat Tough?

I’m sure you have had a steak or other cut of meat that has just melted in your mouth. Likewise, you probably have had a like cut of meat that chewed like old shoe leather.You may not have asked out loud why the meat was so tender or so tough but somewhere in the back of your mind your inner voice was wondering what was going on. Let me shed a little light on this subject.

If you have processed a domestic animal, a deer or other large game, or if you’ve closely examined a cut of meat you will recognize what I’m writing about. The major muscle(s) tissue are surrounded by a mucous membrane (connective tissue or silver skin) which holds these various parts together. This makes it possible for you to separate the various muscles and keep them looking somewhat professionally ‘butchered’. These connective tissues are tied together by white strands (tendons) that connects the muscles to the bones. The more connective tissue and tendons the meat has, the tougher it is going to be. Another way to look at it is, the less connective tissue and tendons, the more tender the meat will be.

If the meat contains a lot of connective tissue, cook it for a long time to get the tissue to become gelatin. This will make the potentially tough meat soft and very tender. I can still remember eating a pot roast that Grandma had in the oven for hours. The seam fat and connective tissue melted in your mouth. The ole taste buds didn’t know whether to tell you to spit it out when you first encountered the softness or to savor the taste. Braised beef will give you the same experience.

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

A Visit To The Nephrologist

Any resemblance between the man in this story and myself is purely a coincidence.

An aging gentleman went in to visit his nephrologist as he hadn’t been feeling well lately. After examining the gentleman, the doctor left the room, and returned shortly carrying three different bottles of pills.

“Take the green pill with a big glass of water when you wake up,” the doctor said. “Take the blue with a big glass of water after you’ve eaten lunch. Then just before going to bed, take the red pill with another big glass of water.”

Startled to be put on so much more medication the man said, “Boy! Doc, you’ve got me worried. Exactly what is my problem?”

The doctor replied, “You’re not drinking enough water.”

Keep your fork

Nutrient Terms

You have probably seen fellow consumers pushing their shopping cart (down here, it’s called a ‘buggy’) up and down the isles trying to pick out the healthiest food choices. You can read all the food labels you want and every other form of ‘help’ provided and still may have to stand there scratching your head, trying to figure out which product to purchase. Let me add my 2 cents worth to the dilemma by providing these descriptive terms for you to remember.

  •  Free – a serving contains very little or no amount: 5 calories, 5 mg of sodium, 0.5 g of fat, 0.5 g of saturated fat, 2 mg of cholesterol, or 0.5 g of sugar.
  • Low – a serving contains no more than 40 calories; 140 mg of sodium; 3 g of fat; 1 g of saturated fat and 15 % of calories from saturated fat; or 20 mg of cholesterol; not defined for sugar; for “very low sodium”, no more than 35 mg of sodium.
  • High – a serving contains 20% or more of the Daily Value (DV) for a particular nutrient.
  • Good Source – a serving contains 10-19% of the DV for the nutrient.
  • Less – a food contains 25% less of a nutrient or 25% fewer calories than a referenced food.
  • Light – has three descriptions: 1) an altered product contains one-third fewer calories or 50% of the fat in a referenced food;(if 50% or more of the calories come from fat, the reduction must be 50% of the fat) or 2) the sodium content of a low-calorie, low-fat food has been reduced by 50% (the claim “light in sodium” may be used or 3) the term describes such properties as texture and color, as long as the label explains the intent (e.g. “light brown sugar,” “light and fluffy”).
  • Healthy – a food is low in fat and saturated fat, and a serving contains no more than 480 mg of sodium and no more than 60 mg of cholesterol.

Keep your fork