• Tips

    Peeling, Slicing and Chopping Onions – Make it easier

    Peeling, Slicing and chopping onions sometimes feels like a chore. There are ways to make it easier on yourself. Not only are onions a core flavoring ingredient for many dishes they are also quite good for you as this facty.com article points out.       First, peeling the onion. On both ends and the same side cut through the onion almost all the way through.                 This will allow you to easily grab the inner skin and pull it off in one piece.             If you are planning to make perfect onion rings (perhaps for battering and deep…

  • Thyme and Bees

    Pruning – think of the bees and their importance!

    Think about the bees when you prune your flowers! Bees are an extremely valuable part of the ecosystem. In an article I found their importance is discussed and I’ve read numerous other sources that say the same thing. They are the pollinators for a great variety of our foods and without them we’d have to say goodbye to our apples, melons, cranberries, asparagus and many more items. Just Google “the importance of bees” and you will find many sources. Personally, I have to admit that I’m a little scared of bees because of some nasty childhood experiences. But since I love flowers and growing my own herbs, vegetables and fruits I’ve…

  • Marinate in Beer

    Marinate your sausages in Beer for an extra flavor

    Marinate in Beer for extra flavor In the Sates we use beer in cooking in a wide variety of ways. I’ve noticed it’s not as popular in New Zealand short of  beer-batter for onion rings and chips. And that’s too bad. Beer can add a lovely layer of flavor and depending on the variety chosen many different nuances. In this case I’m using Heineken.  Remember the golden rule when using any alcohol in cooking – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it! Marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight and then grill as usual. Along with some sauerkraut and peas it’s a dinner I quite enjoy. The…

  • Saving Water flowing tap

    Saving water – small things can make a difference

    Saving water is a good thing. While water doesn’t cost much in many places the principle of conserving this most precious of resources is a sound one. I have a few tips. One of the times I feel I’m wasting water is when I want to do dishes and I let the tap run until the water is hot. I realized there are things I can do with that water until it becomes the temperature I want. Some examples are:     Fill your water jug. Fill any drinking bottles you may use Fill a jug for watering plants Rinse vegetables you will be using when cooking later or before…

  • Garden Ties
    Frugal tips,  Tips

    Garden ties from old cloth strips – great frugal tip

    We use a cloth type washcloth for our dishes. They wear out over time. Instead of disposing them I cut them into strips for use in the garden as garden ties. After our dish washcloths wear out I cut them into strips. Then I use them in the garden to tie up plants that require staking. I found that twine can cut into the stems as the plants move in the wind, and using cloth is better. This way the plants are treated more gently and it’s only costing me something I would throw away anyway. As a bonus they end up decomposing.  

  • Steamer using pot and strainer
    Frugal tips,  Tips

    If you don’t have a steamer, make one – it’s easy!

    Steaming is the most healthy way of cooking most vegetables and it preserves not only the nutrients but the color. Having a steamer on hand is a great idea. There are many steamers out there, one of the most well known is the bamboo variety used in Chinese cooking. But if you don’t have access to one and/or are limited in space for too many specialist extras you can easily engineer your own. By using a standard pot with lid and a strainer that has pot hooks all you need to do is put enough water into the pan to almost come up to the bottom of the strainer, put…

  • Hummus
    Side dishes,  Tips

    Homemade Hummus – delightful & with countless options

    Making your own Hummus is quite easy and there are countless ways you can flavor it. All you need is some Tahini,  Chickpeas (which have many nutritional benefits), neutral flavor oil (such as canola), lemon juice and seasonings. A food processor will also be required. The trick to making good hummus is the order you add the ingredients. Drain a 425 g (15 oz) can of chickpeas and rinse well. Add 1/4 cup tahini and 1/4 cup lemon juice along with salt and pepper to taste into your food processor (I recommend 1/2 to 1 tsp of seasoned salt). Puree for a minute. Then add your main flavorings (see ideas below)…

  • Tahini cooking the Sesame Seeds
    Side dishes,  Tips

    Homemade Tahini – easy, healthy and practical

    You can buy Tahini but doing it yourself is quite simple and more cost effective. Tahini is a necessary part of Hummus but can also be used to mix into salad, drizzled over vegetables (I find a mixture of olive oil and tahini poured over cauliflower especially nice) so it has multiple uses. Make as much as you want but remember it’s only good for a week or so in the fridge. For Tahini all you need is raw sesame seeds and some mild flavor oil (such as canola oil).   Brown the sesame seeds lightly in a pan over medium heat. Stir frequently. When they just begin to smoke…

  • Roasted Garlic ready to use

    Roasted Garlic – soft and sweet Garlic flavor

    Roasted Garlic results in a soft, sweet and gentle Garlic flavor. Spread the roasted garlic on bread/toast or add to a variety of dishes for a delightful garlic touch without the normal intensity. Roasting garlic is a simple process and the results are amazing. The garlic becomes soft and sweet and quite mild while still retaining the garlic flavor. It takes just a bit of time in the oven and while it may seem using the oven for such a small item I usually do it while cooking something else (roasting a chicken, cooking a meatloaf, etc.) so the oven heat isn’t wasted. The individual cloves can be roasted in…

  • Tips - support plants with caps

    Tips – Keeping Plants from sitting in water in their Saucer

    Tips – when watering plants usually some water drains into the saucer and therefore the plant sits in it. This can sometimes be fatal. I have a lot of house plants and I work hard to take care of them properly. Of course they all need watering to varying degrees and it’s inevitable that some drains out and into the saucer I use to protect my furniture. And I have enough to take care of that taking them all outside to water them and then bring them back in is simply too much work. I tried using some river stones but it seems the plants always slide around a bit…

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