CONVERSIONS

I know many people are finding delicious recipes from all over the internet these days. Some of the most unusual and tasty ones I have come across are from Australia and Europe. These are also the recipes that give me the most pause. Mainly because I now have to think. I have to do the dreaded math and convert from metric to standard. So I’m offering this handy conversion chart for those of you having the same qualms. I have found many different charts, but these particular measurements seem the most consistent and commonly used weights and volumes for the cooking we most commonly do for our families.

U.S. METRIC
VOLUME VOLUME
½ teaspoon 2 milliliters
1 teaspoon 5 milliliters
1 tablespoon 15 milliliters
¼ cup 50 milliliters
1/3 cup 75 milliliters
½ cup 125 milliliters
¾ cup 175 milliliters
1 cup ¼ liter
WEIGHT WEIGHT
1 ounce 28 grams
1 pound 454 grams
TEMPERATURE TEMPERATURE
Fahrenheit Centigrade
325 degrees 165 degrees
350 degrees 175 degrees
375 degrees 190 degrees
PAN SIZE PAN SIZE
9X13 inches 23×32.5 centimeters
9×9 inches 22.8×22.8 centimeters
8×8 inches 20.3×20.3 centimeters
15.5×10.5 inches

Jelly roll pan

39.3×26.6 centimeters

Do it Yourself ~ Etched Kitchen Storage Jars

I found the coolest idea over at Martha Stewart years ago, but am finally getting around to doing them. The following instructions are from her site. All of my glass jars were written on with Sharpie on the rear or the bottom, but this idea of Martha’s is soooooooooooooooo much better.

Keep pantry staples organized with a set of glass storage jars customized with etched lettering.

1. Clean and dry the glass. Using painter’s tape, mark off the area you want to etch. Attach vinyl stick-on letters and decorative tape; press hard to ensure they are attached firmly.

2. Cover work surfaces (be sure to work in a well-ventilated area). Put on protective gloves and an old shirt with long sleeves. Paint an even layer of etching cream onto glass. Let stand for amount of time indicated by manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Rinse with warm water in a stainless steel sink. (Avoid porcelain sinks; the cream damages glazed surfaces.) Remove letters and tape.

TECHNIQUES TO MAKE WEEK DAY MEALS EASIER

There are many ways to make your life easier in order to still have made from scratch recipes every day of the week and not resort to hamburger helpers or take out.

By having a menu plan ahead of time you can get organized whenever you have the time. When I do the shopping, I buy in bulk to cut the cost and since I have my menu plan ahead of time, I break down the bulk package into meal appropriate sizes before freezing when I get home. During the winter, I like to spend Sunday afternoons preparing for the week’s meals. If I know we’re heading into a particularly busy time I always make double batches and freeze half for another meal. There are times we literally eat out of the freezer for the whole week, but they are all homemade meals.

Remembering to defrost your meat is key to easy meal preparation on weekdays. The most time consuming part of cooking with fresh ingredients every night of the week is the chopping and preparation of vegetables. If you are sticking to your meal plan you can do these all at once. For example if you are going to need a 1/2 cup chopped onion for each of 3 meals, then choose a large onion and chop the entire onion, storing it in Tupperware and taking out what you need for each meal as you need it. I also gather together the seasonings for each meal and have them ready to go.

The key here is to be able to start cooking immediately and just add ingredients without having to do chopping and prepping.

To recap:

  1. Menu Plan
  2. Defrost Meat
  3. pre-chop vegetables
  4. pre-measure seasonings
  5. pre-set table when/where possible
  6. prepare double batches when appropriate

STICKY GLAZED PORK CHOPS

WHY IT WORKS: LET’S SEE, it’s sticky, it’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s glazed, it’s juicy and IT’S YUMMY! Oh AND the glaze works on pork, chicken, beef and veggies too! It’s also quick and easy, but looks like it was super involved.

STICKY GLAZED ANYTHING
Protein of choice for 2 or veggie combo (I used broccoli and carrots with pork chops)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 large green onion, sliced thin on an angle
4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon Bragg’s amino acids
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons avocado oil
salt and pepper to taste
sesame seeds

  • Heat avocado oil over medium high heat in cast iron skillet.
  • Season your protein. If using vegetables, season and saute’ just until beginning to soften.
  • Generously season your protein of choice.
  • Sear your choice of meat 3-4 minutes per side, set aside and keep warm.
  • Add sweet chili sauce, Bragg’s amino acids, honey and 1 tablespoon of water to pan, whisking combine.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil and then immediately reduce to a simmer.
  • Add protein or veggies back in and coat well with sauce.
  • Turn frequently and cook until glazed well and sauce has thickened.
  • Top with green onions and sesame seeds.

 

AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE – HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

Independence Day or 4th of July as we call it has only been a federal holiday since 1941, but of course the tradition dates back to 1776 when the Continental Congress voted on July 2nd in favor of Independence. Two days later delegates from all thirteen colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, and celebrated their independence and the birth of a nation on July 4th.

Since July 4th falls in mid summer, the celebrations major focus usually includes leisure activities, parades, concerts, backyard barbecues, games, bonfires and family gatherings culminating in fireworks later at night.

When the Revolutionary War broke out back in 1775, a few colonists wanted complete independence from Great Britain. These colonists were considered to be the radicals of their time.

However, more and more colonists came to believe in favor of independence. Many because of Thomas Paine’s famous writing “Common Sense” which he published in early 1776.

In June 1776, Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion that called for the colonies’ independence. A heated debate followed and Congress postponed the vote to his resolution. At that time they appointed a committee of five men, Thomas Jefferson (Virginia), John Adams (Massachusetts), Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania), Roger Sherman Connecticut) and Robert R, Livingston (New York) to draft a formal statement justifying the break from Great Britain.

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Independence in a near unanimous vote. New York abstained, but later voted yes.

John Adams wrote to his wife that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” He believed that the American Independence celebration should occur on July 2nd since that was the day of the vote to secure it and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest.

Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson dies on the 4th of July, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Before the Revolutionary war, colonists would hold celebrations in honor of the king’s birthday. These celebrations included the ringing of bells, bonfires, parades and speeches. After the adoption of the Declaration of Independence these same colonists celebrated the birth of their independence by holding mock funerals for King George III as a symbol of the end of the British hold on America and a triumph to their new found liberty.
Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777. Festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence.

The war was still going on and George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778, and in 1781, several months before the key American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.

After the Revolutionary War and to this day, Americans continue to commemorate Independence Day every year, in celebrations that allow the new nation’s emerging political leaders to address citizens and create a feeling of unity. The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday. Over the years, the political importance of the holiday has declined somewhat, but IndepThe most common symbol of the holiday is the American flag, and a common musical accompaniment is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.

And did you know New York City has the biggest fireworks display in the United States and that three U.S. presidents died on July 4?

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BEEF STROGANOFF

WHY THIS RECIPES WORKS – This recipe is full of simple, but comfort oriented ingredients that makes for a quick week night dinner that is completely satisfying.  Just add a green salad or vegetable and you’re ready!

BEEF STROGANOFF

1 1⁄2 lbs beef, sliced thin or chopped small
2 tablespoons baking soda
1⁄4 cup room temperature water
3 tablespoons avocado oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped small
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1⁄2 lb mushrooms, sliced thin
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine
LARGE pinch sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
1 1⁄2 cups sour cream
cooked wide egg noodles

  • Slice beef very thinly across the grain, or cut into bite size pieces and place in ceramic or glass bowl.
  • Whisk together the baking soda and 1/4 cup water. Pour it over the beef. Stir well and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Melt butter into oil and sauté onions on low heat for about 10 minutes until golden. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook another 10 minutes (add a little wine for moisture if needed).
  • Remove the beef from the bowl and rinse well under running cold water in a colander; let drain.
  • Add well-drained beef to the cooked mushroom mixture and sauté another 10 minutes. When you add the beef it will make the sauce foam – DON’T PANIC — this is to be expected and will subside.
  • Sprinkle flour in and stir until everything is coated.
  • Add the broth plus the Worcestershire, bay leaf, wine, paprika, and white pepper to the meat mixture.
  • Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, tasting it periodically until any “floury” taste is gone.
  • When you are close to serving, take it off the heat and add the sour cream, careful not to curdle, and stir well.
  • Remove the bay leaf.
  • Serve over cooked buttered noodles.NOTE: The BIG “secret” in this recipe that makes it PERFECT is soaking the meat with the baking soda mixture. It ensures a wonderfully tender and velvety beef.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 27 of 2017

I hope everyone had a great week. Mine was busy and productive. We’re still not completely unpacked from the move here which is making it a pain in the butt to start packing all over again.  I’m trying to go through box after box of old paperwork and shred what I can to lighten the load, but it is so time consuming.  We’ve been trying to piece together all the missing pieces of our life that were lost or stolen during the last move.

I am trying to get back into a more regular blog schedule also and started writing my weekly wrap up with Chat Time this past Friday.  We are still trying to research and make decisions about moving, but my upcoming surgery is messing with our timelines.  We were supposed to go next week and check out an area we are interested in, but had to cancel when the only opening the surgeon had for my consultation was in the middle of our trip. So, it seems like the more we move forward, the more we stand still. BUT, at least we are NOT moving backward.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

It is sunny with fluffy clouds looking really nice – until you open the door! We need rain, but instead we are getting super high temperatures (89.2 ALREADY this morning) , super high dew points (88 degrees), super high humidity (98%)  making the heat indexes extremely high, (feels like 125° according to weather underground‘s calculations) well over 100 degree, miserable and makes you dehydrated so quickly! I do like weather underground as it gives you so much information.  We’ve been using it to compare places in our research also.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Black Cherry Yogurt and Green Tea

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE

I’m thinking all is good around here.  Just a few stray areas to be cleaned up, but I did a super deep clean over the weekend as the 4th of July celebration is here tomorrow.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRYjust a couple loads
  • LIVING AREASmostly tidy, but need to do floors (AGAIN)
  • KITCHENYAY, clean for once!
  • STUDIOI did a DEEP clean last week so all is good for now
  • YARDnot a darn thing
  • BLOGI’m doing some recipe updating and planning for future posts.  I’m even thinking ahead to BLOGMAS 2017 making some headers and lists.
  • COMPUTER… I need to do MAJOR back-up and move some of the photos on both computers to their respective flashdrives.

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

We’re still binging on The Walking Dead and are part way through Season 5. I’m really glad my brother advised us not to get too attached to any one character! I was mad when they killed Hershel!

We also started the Travelers and Between.

I’m almost done with Book #1, NORA ROBERTS LAND of Ava Miles’ series for Dare Valley. I do love to read series where you really get to know ALL the characters.

  • NIGHT SHIFT
  • SUPERHUMAN – some of these people amaze me SOOOOO much!  I wish I was this talented.
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – always a fun watch – loving the new softer side of Simon
  • DATE MY DAD
  • GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW – I just love this show – they are always so civilized and nice with recipes that make me WANT to be a better baker.
  • MASTER CHEF – there are some interesting characters this season
  • THE “F” WORD – I love this fun new side of Gordon Ramsey

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

I saw a mixed media project that really interested me when we at hubby’s military reunion a few weeks ago. It will be a multi-layered mixed media project that will need drying time between the layers because of its intricacies. I am gathering all the parts, and there are quite a few, to make my own as best I can from memory.  It’s also a project that I can do while I’m laid up so I’m hoping to finish it during that time. I tried to find a similar image online, but can’t even come close so hope the image in my mind works on the canvas and I have some pictures of the actual work soon.

I’ve also been searching pinterest boards for Christmas ideas to incorporate into our Homemade Christmas and my Blogmas posts. The link above is for my HOMEMADE CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEA BOARD. Here are a few of my current research ideas.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

We will be barbecuing for the 4th of course, but the rest of the week I will be trying new recipes wile I can.  Hubby is (in a weird way) looking forward to being able to eat bachelor style while I can’t cook or eat regular food.

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
BLT FRITATTA
PANCAKES & EGGS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP
MEAT ROLL-UPS
SALAD
MEAT & CHEESE
C.O.R.N.
??
DINNER
INSIDE OUT HOT BROWNS
MARINATED SKIRT STEAK with APPLE SLAW with CARAMELIZED CIDER DRESSING
TANGY CHICKEN FRICASSEE
SAUSAGE CHEDDAR BALLS and SALAD with PARMESAN HERB DRESSING
CHICKEN with SNAP PEAS and SALAD
HOT CHICKEN CASSEROLE
C.O.R.N.
DESSERT

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

  • No major house projects going on at the moment
  • Doctors have pin pointed the source of my health issues – now just the wait time to get it fixed and then the long recovery that will follow
  • FINALLY getting organized now that the house projects are completed on the HOUSE FROM HELL

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

Another beautiful sunset earlier this week after a storm.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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CHAT TIME ~ Life as it Happens ~ WEEKLY WRAP UP

With all the work on the House From Hell, I got away from my Life as it Happens of just chatting once a week or so.  It’s time to start doing a weekly wrap-up again.

Things have finally slowed down a bit in my life, but as it happens, just in time to get crazy again. In 2011 I had my cancer surgery and began the long trek back to health and fitness.  All in all, I was already pretty healthy and fit – I mean I cook from scratch, perimeter shop without the junk food and eat extremely little fast food.  The oncologist had said that those 3 things probably helped save my life as the cancer had nothing to feed on in my body.

But, the length of surgery caused another problem.  Turns out I had a Hiatal hernia and the stomach acid seeped up and started eating away my esophagus. So, a year later I had to have another operation to remove the shredded esophagus and rebuild the valve.  Then 9 months later an allergic type reaction to a prescription they gave me for my Fibromyalgia started lowering my potassium levels and shutting down my heart and I collapsed, literally close to death.  Fortunately, hubby insisted they take me to the hospital despite the idiot ambulance driver who was convinced I’d been drinking (strongest thing I EVER drink is iced tea) and tried to get me to sign a waiver so he didn’t have to transport me. The hospital staff work quickly to revive my potassium to a safe level and life went on.  When I came to though out on the street I became violently ill.  A few weeks later I knew something was wrong and several weeks after that I had surgery to repair my stomach and esophagus, AGAIN.

Fast forward a few years later and guess what? Here we are again.  Turns out I appear to be a statistic, a part of those late night commercials for the class action suits against products that fail.  I don’t see the surgeon for a couple weeks, but have been doing research and it appears from the last article I read that the type of mesh used to repair my stomach failed 17 out of 24 times – not very good odds in my opinion.  I’m anxious to meet the new surgeon who has gotten rave reviews from patients and doctors alike, and see what he has to say about a more permanent fix.

I have begun amassing cooking magazines and simple projects like changing over the address book, password book, etc… for when I’m laid up.  Unfortunately, this type of surgery leaves you unable to do much more than walk (no lifting, no stretching, etc…) after for quite awhile and on a very strict liquid to soft foods diet for quite a long time too.  I figured I would use the time to read, develop some ideas for new recipes and work on updating the blog compilation. I might be able to do a few simple craft projects to.

At least it is summer and since I’m relegated to the indoors during this weather anyway, it’s a good time to get well.

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PAN SEARED COD with SOUR CREAM SAUCE

WHY IT WORKS: The crushed red pepper in the crust gives you a bit of a bite while the sour cream sauce tempers it smoothly.

PAN SEARED COD with SOUR CREAM SAUCE
1 cod fillet per person
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 small shallot, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2-4 tablespoons rice flour
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons Avocado oil

  • Whisk together the sour cream, shallots and salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon juice as desired.
  • Heat oil over medium high heat.
  • Add flour, salt and pepper to a plate.
  • Pat dry the cod fillets.
  • Dredge cod fillets in flour and add to sizzling oil.
  • Cook 4 minutes on the first side and then flip for another 2 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.
  • Serve over rice or with potatoes.

 

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FONTINA STUFFED CHICKEN

WHY IT WORKS: This recipe is light and refreshing while ALSO being crisp and savory. This makes a great “company” meal.

FONTINA STUFFED CHICKEN
1 tablespoon avocado oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even 1/4 inch thin pieces
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded Fontina cheese
5 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/4 cup FRESH chopped Italian Parsley
1/4 cup julienne cut sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained, dried and chopped
2 large eggs
FRESH ground Himalayan pink salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cups Panko crumbs
1 teaspoon paprika

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • In a medium mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, fontina cheese, bacon pieces, green onions, parsley and sun dried tomatoes until well blended.
  • Season cheese mixture with salt and pepper.
  • Whisk egg with salt and pepper.
  • Spread cheese mixture over chicken breasts.
  • Roll chicken up from the shortest side and secure with toothpicks.
  • Add paprika to Panko crumbs.
  • Dip chicken in egg mixture and then in Panko crumbs.
  • Place chicken rolls seam side down in a greased baking dish.
  • Drizzle tops with the oil.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes u until golden brown and chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove toothpicks and serve.

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BBQ BACON CHEESEBURGER MEATBALLS

This is one of those fun facebook recipes that actually worked the way it was supposed to! See the how to video here. I did make a couple changes that we like better.

BBQ BACON CHEESEBURGER MEATBALLS – makes 12 metballs

1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup bread crumbs
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ onion, minced
VERY loosely packed cup minced parsley
1 egg
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey
4-6 small/medium-sized onions
4 ounces cheddar cheese (small block), cubed
16-24 pieces of bacon
1 bottle BBQ sauce (King”s Hawaiian Original)

  • Preheat oven to 425˚.
  • Cut onions in half root to tip.
  • Save onion shells suitable to wrap meatballs. Use smaller inside pieces for the minced onion inside the meat mixture.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, salt, bread crumbs, garlic, onion, parsley, egg, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and honey until evenly combined. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Remove meatball mixture from refrigerator.
  • Stuff each meatball with a cube of cheddar cheese and form into golf ball-sized meatballs around it.
  • Wrap each meatball in two onion shells and then wrap each meatball with 2 pieces of bacon until meatball is completely covered. Secure with toothpicks.
  • Submerge each meatball into the BBQ sauce before transferring it to a parchment-lined baking tray.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, brushing again with BBQ sauce every 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

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TAIWANESE CHICKEN

WHY IT WORKS: This recipe is savory and spicy with a chile sauce and tempered by fluffy Jasmine rice. The crispy shallots add a crisp bite to meld all the textures together and tempt your palette.

TAWAINESE CHICKEN
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 pound red cabbage, sliced thin
2 tablespoons rice flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 shallot
2 tablespoons Bragg’s Amino Acids
1 dried chile de árbol
2 + 1 tablespoons Avocado oil
1/2 cup Jasmin rice
1 + 1/2 cup water
Cilantro , for garnish

  • In a small saucepan heat 1 cup water with a BIG pinch of salt and the rice to boiling.
  • Once it boils, cover and reduce heat to low.
  • Cook 12-14 minutes until rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed.
  • Remove from heat and fluff rice with a fork.
  • Drizzle with avocado oil and set aside.

 

  • While the rice is cooking, prepare the sauce.
  • In a saucepan combine the Bragg’s amino acids, sugar, water and as much of the chile as you desire and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved and the sauce has reduced by half.
  • Remove the chile.
  • Pour sauce into a large mixing bowl.

 

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.
  • Pat chicken dry, season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Add chicken and cook 5 minutes and then flip to second side and cook 5 minutes more until both sides are browned well.
  • Remove chicken to cutting board for shredding.
  • Shred chicken pieces and add to bowl with sauce.

 

  • Add a scant 1/2 cup water to pan and warm.
  • Add cabbage to the pan, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Stir occasionally and cook until wilted and water has been absorbed.

 

  • Slice shallot into thing rings.
  • In a mixing bowl toss the shallot rings with the rice flour, separating the rings into individual pieces.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil over medium high heat.
  • Add shallots in a single layer to sizzling oil.
  • Stir frequently until browned and crispy, 2-4 minutes.

 

  • Divide the rice between 2 plates.
  • Top with cabbage.
  • Top with shredded chicken.
  • Top with shallots and cilantro.

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