kitchen hints & helps

baking cookiesfrom our cottage

We’re baking cookies right now, but we’d love to take time out to tell you about some of our favorite recipes, household hints, entertaining ideas, and Web finds. The ol’ kitchen table is the best place for sharing such things with friends – so grab a cuppa, pull up a chair, and let’s have a good old-fashioned chat.

Our kitchen can be the most wonderful place on a rainy day. Sometimes, when it’s dark ‘n stormy, with the rain making little rivulets down the window pane, it’s much too wet to go outside. So we just come in the kitchen and bake up a storm. It’s very hard to have the “Rainy Day – Nothin’ To Do Blues” with the smell of a cake or a pie making your nose twitch and your mouth water.

A well-run home is a microcosm of sanity in a world that is plainly mad. If a home doesn’t make sense, nothing does.

_Henrietta Ripperger

“Life is like an onion,
you peel off one layer at at time
and sometimes you weep.”
_Carl Sandburg

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in;
Forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
Begin it well and serenely
And with too high a spirit
To be cumbered with your old nonsense.
author unknown

This day is all that is good and fair.
It is too dear,
With its hopes and invitations,
To waste a moment on yesterdays.
_Ralph Waldo Emerson

People rarely succeed unless they have fun at what they are doing.

Dale Carnegie

Recipe for Preserved Children

Take 1 large field, half a dozen children, 2 or 3 small dogs, a pinch of brook and some pebbles. Mix the children and dogs well together; put them on the field, stirring constantly. Pour the brook over the pebbles; sprinkle the field with flowers; spread over all a deep blue sky and bake in the sun. When brown, set away to cool in the bath tub. Dry thoroughly and store in clean white linen for the night

borrowed from St. Mary’s “Treasure of Personal Recipes” copyright 1954

Supper Prayer For A Busy Family
Dear Lord in heaven,
Thank you for our family
And thank you for our food
And thank you for this time tonight
We promise to not be rude.

We’re going to share a quiet night
A simple family meal
To get in touch with who we are
To share just how we feel.
So thank you Lord for
The love we share
Please bless us all, each one
And if it’s not too much trouble, Lord
Could we hurry and be done.

Housework is something you do
that nobody notices
until you don’t do it.

A single conversation across the table
with a wise man is worth a month’s study of books.  Chinese Proverb

How to Preserve a Husband

from the Danish Lutheran Church – Bethlehem Ladies’ Aid Cookbook
Brush, Colorado, USA, 1924

Be careful in your selection. Do not choose too young. When once selected give your entire thought to preparation for domestic use. Some insist on keeping them in a pickle, others are constantly getting them in hot water. This makes them sour, hard and sometimes bitter. Even poor varieties may be made sweet, tender and good by garnishing them with patience, well sweetened with love and seasoned with kisses. Wrap them in a mantle of charity. Keep warm with a study fire of domestic devotion and serve with peaches and cream. Thus prepared they will keep for years.

One Learns Manners From Those Who Have None.

Each recipe is plain, and tried,
And some good housewife’s honest pride,
Some home’s delight.
And should your effort bring no prize,
I say not where the trouble lies—
’twere impolite.”

The most important thing about a man
is his Philosophy of Life…not his bank account.

an anti-worry recipe

_Delta Lyman Porter
Do you wish a recipe for preventing all worry.
For giving composure and freedom from flurry?
Just remember one word which is true, you will find –
When anything happens to ruffle your mind,
Just something or nothing there is to be done,
Just nothing or something that’s clear as the sun.
If something, then do it and make no delay.
If nothing – all thoughts of it cast far away.
This simplest of rules, if you’ll only obey,
Will free you from wrinkles for many a day.

handy household hints

from one of my grandmother’s old cookbooks, circa 1900.
Some are helpful, some will make you laugh out loud. And, some… well, some can only be described as… HUH…?

See if you can figure ’em out.

  • Remove the smell of onions or garlic from your hands by holding them under cold running water and passing the back of a good carving knife carefully over your skin
  • Gummed tape sticks more readily if a few drops of vinegar are added to the moistening water
  • A pinch of soda added to gravy will help to reduce the excess of grease
  • Bay leaves in your flour tin will discourage weevil from growing
  • To hang a picture – rub plaster wall with a cake of soap before driving the nail
  • Half of an apple placed in the cake box will keep the cake fresh several days longer
  • Sponge grass stains on non washable materials with wood alcohol to remove them
  • Place silverware in an aluminum pan and pour the potato water over it. Cover with a tight lid and let set for several minutes. Wash and scald, you’ll be amazed at the results.
  • Most vegetable flavors are improved by adding a tiny bit of sugar along with the seasonings
  • Add a tablespoon of salt to your starch water – your clothes will iron easier
  • Add a tablespoon of salt to the water when you boil eggs – it keeps them from cracking and helps them peel easier
  • Put a tablespoon of salt and soda in the scalding water when dressing chickens and the pin feathers will come out easily
  • If you find your scissors dull, readily sharpen it by cutting through a piece of sandpaper several times
  • If grease spills over onto the stove and starts burning – throw a handful of common salt over it
  • If something runs over in the oven and starts burning – again, throw a handful of common salt over it
  • Dip a new broom in hot salt water before using – this will toughen the bristles and make it last much longer
  • Dip the spoon in hot water to measure lard or butter – the fat will slip right off the spoon
  • Drop a leaf of lettuce into the pot to absorb the grease from the top of soup. Remove the lettuce and throw it away as soon as it has served its purpose
  • When frying meat – to prevent splashing – sprinkle a little salt into the pan before putting the fat in
  • If you need sour milk for baking and have only sweet milk on hand, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the milk to sour it
  • Heavy cakes are often caused by too slow an oven, or by too much sugar or shortening
  • Add left over corn to the pancake batter for a special breakfast treat
  • Meringue will not shrink if you spread it on the pie so it touches the crust all the way around and bake in a moderate oven
  • If a cracked dish is boiled for 45 minutes in sweet milk, the crack will be so welded together that it will hardly be visible, and it will be so strong it will stand the same usage as before.
  • No frosting is necessary if you sprinkle lots of powdered sugar on top of cake before putting it into the oven
  • Roll raisins in flour before stirring them into a cake to prevent them from going to the bottom
  • If your sauerkraut is too sour, add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, before canning
  • Hang a piece of string over the edge of jelly or jam glasses before pouring in sealing wax. This makes for easier removal of wax when you open a glass for table use.
  • Brush meat with cooking oil and season only after it has browned to keep it from drying out.
  • Cookie dough that is to be rolled is much easier to handle after it has been in a cold place for 10 to 30 minutes. This keeps the dough from sticking as too much flour used in rolling it out causes cookies to be hard and brittle.
  • When making cake icing or candy consisting of milk or cream and sugar, add one teaspoon of ordinary table syrup for each cup of sugar used. Boil in the usual way. The finished product will be much smother and not so apt to become sugary.
  • Eggs should be at least three days old before using in cakes.
  • If home churned butter is called for in cooking, use equal parts of butter and lard or other shortening.
  • When making griddle cakes, grease the pan for the first cake. After that rub a piece of raw potato over hot griddle instead of more grease. The cakes brown nicely and there will be no smoke.
  • When making fruit pie, sprinkle the sugar under the fruit instead of on top. The juice will boil up through the fruit and not out over the top.
  • When cutting cream pies dip the knife in warm water and none of the filling will stick to the knife.
  • Toast the nut meats and while hot add a little butter. Then your nut bread will take on a new aristocracy.
  • Meringue will always stand up high and perfect if a generous pinch of baking soda is added to beaten whites.
  • A few whole cloves in the kettle of frying fat will give the doughnuts a better flavor.
  • Dry biscuits are caused from baking in too slow an oven and handling too much.
  • To glaze the top of rolls, cookies or pies, brush the top before baking with 1 egg white slightly beaten with one tablespoon milk, then bake..
  • A few NEW tips and tricks
    from my Mailbox! There’s some interesting stuff here, too.
  • Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.
  • Use a meat baster to squeeze your pancake batter onto the hot griddle- perfect shaped pancakes every time.
  • To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.
  • To prevent egg shells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard boiling.
  • Run your hands under cold water before pressing Rice Krispies treats in the pan – the marshmallow won’t stick to your fingers.
  • To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.
  • To easily remove burnt on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stovetop skillet will be much easier to clean now.
  • Spray your Tupperware with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato based sauces – no more stains.
  • When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead – no white mess on the outside of the cake.
  • If you accidentally over salt a dish while it’s still cooking, drop in a peeled potato – it absorbs the excess salt for an instant fix me up.
  • Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator – it will keep for weeks.
  • Brush beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful, glossy finish.
  • Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it.
  • When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn’s natural sweetness.
  • To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh if it rises to the surface, throw it away.
  • Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.
  • Don’t throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes or future use in casseroles and sauces.
  • If you have problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
  • Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers. Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.
  • To get rid of itch from mosquito bite: try applying soap on the area for instant relief.
  • Ants, ants, ants everywhere … Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line. So get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march – see for yourself.
  • Use air freshener to clean mirrors: It does a good job and better still, leave a lovely smell to the shine.
  • When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.
  • NOW Look what you can do with Alka Seltzer:
  • Clean a toilet. Drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush, and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous china.
  • Clean a vase. To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets.
  • Polish jewelry. Drop two Alka Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.
  • Clean a thermos bottle. Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary).
  • Unclog a drain. Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar Wait a few minutes, then run the hot water.