Help Me Help You: Sharing the Cooking Load

Written by Danny.

This post was birthed a few weekends ago when Aimée was gone to BSP in Pennsylvania.  I had the kids for an extended weekend – on holidays – and it was both wonderful for the bonding and closeness I got with my boys and terrible as I realized that I rely on Aimée for so much.

You see, we both rely on each other for so many things: I believe that Aimée has filled the car with gas exactly twice in the 9 years that we have been married.  Each time comes with a story of exasperation and woe that I listen to with a bemused smile. Why? It’s just no big deal for me. For her, however, it is unfamiliar territory.

If I were to coordinate a Thanksgiving dinner, though?  The shoe would be on the other foot (and the pre-dinner snacks would be whole, raw apples).  I may be able to contribute to one of the side dishes, desserts or appetizers (I’ve improved since the apples), but to orchestrate an entire meal?

In my defense, I usually get our standard breakfast offering  ready for the family: coffees, APPLE juice (no other kinds tolerated, apparently) and some kind of cereal – oatmeal, cornmeal, flakes-from-a-box. But a cohesive, timely, organized lunch or supper? That’s different from day to day? Her territory.

You see, even though she wrote an awesome list of what to eat and when (mostly for the kids, of course) for the weekend she was gone, I nevertheless felt a bit out of place in the kitchen, and I realize that I have a basic skill set that I need to hone: cooking.

Perhaps you have a partner like me? Here’s what we need to be able to help share the cooking load effectively on a regular basis or in an emergency situation. [Read more…]

Kitchen Safety Tips Everyone Should Review

I’m currently kicking up the surf in Mexico with my family and -count them- fifteen of my in-laws! As my kitchen is temporarily closed, I thought I’d share excerpts from this archival post. It’s an important one and well worthy of a review.

I believe that safety awareness is a very important first step for the home cook, rather like reading a manual before you operate a new appliance. Safety in the kitchen was a topic that was discussed on my very first day of culinary school, although at first I didn’t understand why.

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Homemade Vegetable Stock 101

Your response to my recent post on Homemade Substitutes for Grocery Staples was explosive, encouraging and thrilling. I’m excited that so many of you wish to move away from pre-packaged items and invest in making more pantry ingredients from scratch.

As the comments showed, plenty of you are already on this journey. You are discovering that self-sufficiency is the way of both the past AND the future and are reaping the rewards of home preserved food.

And so, I want to share another really quick, basic pantry staple – homemade vegetable stock. Making your own vegetable stock serves two main purposes: it uses kitchen scraps that might otherwise go into the garbage (or hopefully the compost) and it yields a fragrant broth that is suitable for a myriad of dishes.

Need another reason to make your own vegetable stock? How about to control the sodium content of your food? Added salt: not necessary.

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Demystifying Rubs and Sauces {Recipe: Lemon Pepper Grilling Rub}

Written by Kristen of Dine and Dish.

Warm weather is finally here, which means it is time to get up close and personal with your grill. When it comes to grilling do you like plain chicken, fish and beef, or do you prefer to get a little spicy with your meat? If plain is your norm, allow me to introduce you to the difference a dry rub, wet rub or sauce can bring to your grilled food.

Dry rubs, wet rubs and sauces are similar in nature but have three distinctive purposes. You may be wondering what the difference is between the three and how they are best used when grilling.
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How to Make Soup From Scratch

This is a guest post from Kate Tietje of Modern Alternative Mama. Welcome, Kate!

Do you love soup?  I do. It’s a delicious, simple meal that can be tailored to any season, and contain almost any flavors.  There are even chilled soups and dessert soups.

Most often, when people want to make soup, they go look for a recipe.  “Do you want chicken noodle…vegetable beef…or clam chowder?”  But you don’t really need a recipe to make a great soup.  Even less experienced cooks can learn how to make soup at home; it’s very easy!

So next time you want to make soup, try this method.  You’ll be able to use whatever you have on hand (no last-minute trips to the store for one ingredient!) and you just might love the result.

[Read more…]