Friday, October 30, 2009

Specialty Flours Made at Home

Have you ever had a recipe that called for self rising flour but you didn't have any?

It is really easy to make your own!

For every cup of all purpose flour sift in 1 1/2 t Baking Powder and 1/2 t salt.

Ok, that was easy. What about cake flour?

Take a  1 cup measuring cup and put in 2 T of cornstarch then fill the rest with all purpose flour. Sift multiple times (until your flour is light and fluffy - some say as many as 12 times!).

Now you never have to pass up a yummy recipe because you don't have the right kind of flour!

Voila! (which, by the way is the word you mean when you say "wala" what is up with that? I hate reading "wala"  it drives me nuts, but I digress...)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Grocery Shopping

Here is my favorite shopping assistant:
(isn't she cute?)

When I was a single working gal I didn't give much thought to shopping. It was an afterthought at best. If I needed something, I went to the store and bought it. I even kind of sneered at people who made grocery shopping an art form. Silly them, it really isn't that big-a-deal, I thought.

Now I am surprised at how much of my time and energy (and money!) goes toward grocery shopping.

I'm looking for your best tips. Where do you shop? Do you have any "rules" that you follow (e.g. my sister refuses to buy cereal for more than $2 a box)? How often do you shop? Are you organized?

I'm looking forward to your helpful hints! Thanks!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fabric Pumpkins

I made these cute pumpkins out of old shirts that Phil was giving to the thrift store (sorry Center of Hope, I snagged them first). I used the collar of the green shirt to make the leaves because that way they are stiff and have facing in them and fabric on both sides.

I cut circles out of the other shirts (ranging from about 14" to 8"). Then I basically made a large yo-yo (see tutorial here) and then instead of making it flat, I stuffed it with fiberfill. I used my glue gun to attach the leaf and then I stuck a stick (we have plenty of those around here) in the top (right into the fiberfill) for the stem.

I think they turned out really cute! I LOVE that I didn't have to buy a single item to make these cute decorations.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Broccoli Mac-n-Cheese

This is an easy recipe for those days when you maybe just don't feel inspired but aren't ready to resort to prepared or fast food.

  1. Boil some macaroni and frozen (or fresh) broccoli florets together. 
  2. When the pasta is done, drain.
  3. While still hot, add 1/2 block of cream cheese and 1 C grated cheddar cheese. Mix well until it is melted and creamy.
  4. Add crumbled bacon bits.
  5. Serve.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Chicken Kurma with Raisins

This is so good and really pretty easy and quick. Try it this weekend, you'll be glad that you did!

  • 1/4 C chicken broth
  • 1/3 C half and half (or 2% milk if you don't want it so rich)
  • 1/2 C coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 T curry powder
  • 1/2 C cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thawed)
  • 2 tablespoons Garam Masala*
  • 1/2 C raisins
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium sauce pan add chicken broth, half/half, and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer (steaming).
  2. Add curry powder and stir until smooth.
  3. Bring to a light boil, reduce heat to medium and cook (while stirring frequently) for approximately 15 minutes (liquid will reduce and thicken).
  4. Turn heat down to low and add cold butter (cut into small pieces). Stir and incorporate butter. Do not allow the liquid to boil or the butter will separate.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and set aside, keeping warm.
  6. Shake the Garam Masala onto the thawed chicken breasts and then grill or sear as desired.
  7. Cut cooled chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  8. Add the chicken and raisins to the Kurma sauce.
Serve over rice. For added color and flavor,  put some frozen peas into the cooked rice just before serving.

*Garam Masala is a combination of spices. You should be able to find it at your local grocery store by the other blended spices. Or, you can make your own blend, a recipe can be found here.