The Great Big Butter Cookbook: Because Everything’s Better with Butter

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…and I couldn’t agree more! I’m a total advocate for “the real thing.” I love what Christopher Kimball recently said on the taping of a live show for America’s Test Kitchen. Of course, this was said as he was adding 3 sticks of butter to a cake, “If you want a low-fat dessert, eat an apple.” Which only proves, yet again, the title of the book. Everything really is better with butter, aka The Real Thing.

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Calibrating your thermometer–the cheap way

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I don’t even know if my thermometer has a calibration option on it. But, no matter. I’ve got better things to spend my money on than a calibration for a thermometer. :D Such as other cool kitchen toys.

Having the right temperature is so important. If you’re temp is over-calcuating (reading too high), then you are pulling meat off the heat before it is done, and risking illness from all sorts of nasty organisms. If the thermometer is reading low, then that could explain many drastic problems in the kitchen, as well, including over-done candy, over-cooked meats, etc.

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Pressure Cooking on an Electric Stove

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…not much luck, so far. Yet, failure has never stopped me before. In fact, as my curse, it only spurs me into perfecting it, until I wander away in boredom, knowing it can’t get better than perfect. My hubby won an Amazon.com gift card (and sweetly gave to me!) so I could clear out some junk on my wish list, including a dual set of Pressure Cookers. Oh, how I have been wanting these for so long! The mere idea of making mashed pots in 8 minutes is fantastic—and not from flakes, I might add! However, I first set about to make beans for my hubby. I am a slave to learning about the art of Honduran food, which seems to be non-existent in terms of cookbook-ery (don’t you just love my made-up words)?

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Book Review :: The Christmas Pearl, by Dorothea Benton Frank

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I love, love, love to read, so when you put a book in my hands that also has to do with food, well, I generally call it a winner! One of my quirks is my love to study and read old cookbooks, and stories that include conversations of people and their recipes pre-modern day (before all of our conveniences). It fascinates me to see the changes that have been made in eating habits, food availability and more over history. The Christmas Pearl didn’t differ from this, as it talked about eating habits and having multiple foods and dishes to eat, but what struck me the most was the insistence that the “spirit of Christmas” has all but disappeared.

Though a fictional story, it poses the idea that many families have turned more to “ready-made” foods and less about the spirit and enjoyment of the holiday by preparing the meals themselves. Gone are the days of baking hundreds of cookies to take to neighbors, stopping by relatives for hours of conversation and time spent making hand-made Christmas Ornaments.

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Sands, a Recipe from The Christmas Pearl, by Dorothea Benton Frank

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The Christmas Pearl is a Christmas book with which to get you into the Holiday Spirit, complete with many family heirloom recipes, many of which the titles simply pique your curiosity. Among my most interested, were the recipe called Sands. A simple recipe (as most were, when a wooden spoon and your hands were the main kitchen tools), but seemingly familiar. I think it is so inviting because of it’s simplicity and that it doesn’t demand perfection. Just a lot of love.

In the spirit of the book, I invited my hubby to help me make the cookies, which truth be known, is something I don’t normally do. I really do display my OCD in the kitchen, especially when baking. As I said, the book commands a spirit of wanting to have the whole family help, resulting in the love and Spirit of the Holiday, not the perfect outcome. So, together we rolled the cookies and laid them on the sheet. Of course, I couldn’t totally let go of my OCD, so I would try and re-shape a few. There was an air of excitement as I pulled them out of the oven (after my yelp! from brushing my palm against the oven wall). We popped them in a paper bag full of powdered sugar to dust them and let them dry overnight.

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Dried onions versus fresh onions

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As tomorrow is Sunday, the Sabbath Day, I prefer to “rest” and cook the very least amount possible. Not because I want to rest from cooking, but rest from cleaning! :D So, I try and do most of my preparation on Saturday; thus Sunday Dinner is a quick meal, but enjoyable. Ironic, as for most families, Sunday is the “big meal.” It used to be for us, as well, but then I got jealous while hubby napped and enjoyed his Sabbath while I was in panic—not his fault, I’d rather him nap than be under my feet in the kitchen. Only for prep, though…cleaning is another matter. :D Anyhow, for tomorrow, I am making a nice Slow-Cooker meal of Chicken and Chorizo. Yummy! The recipe calls for three fresh onions…even though I have them, I tend to guard them closely when there are seven inches of snow outside my door, and I know I won’t be getting to the store to replace them anytime soon. So, I headed to my pantry to pull out my restaurant-sized container of dehydrated onions, which I keep on hand for such an occasion. As I grabbed them, I was brought back to a memory of what I might consider my worst kitchen failure, ever…

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Baked From Scratch