Cooking and Baking Tips

As I spent a lot of time in the kitchen today, I thought of some cooking and baking tips I wanted to share with you.

  1. Never bake when you are tired or extremely hungry. Things will go wrong and it will not be a good experience. Plan on cooking or baking when you are not very hungry, so that you can enjoy your food when you are finished.
  2. Clean as you go. While the baking is in the oven, take the time to quickly wipe up the counters and do the dishes. Makes cleanup much easier and makes mealtime more enjoyable without mess all around where you are eating.
  3. Double Up. Usually when I cook or bake something, I double the recipe so that I will have enough leftovers for the next day. I figure that if I am going though all the trouble and making a big mess, I may as well make a little extra. Muffins and cookies freeze well too, so you can always pop them in the freezer to have on hand for when you feel the need to have something sweet and aren’t in the mood to bake.
  4. Preheat. Always make sure that your oven is preheated 10-15 minutes before you are ready to bake.
  5. No Peeking! Never peek at your grains when they are cooking, this let’s out the steam, which slows down the cooking process.
  6. Be prepared. Read your recipe over thoroughly to make sure you have all of the ingredients BEFORE you begin. There is nothing worse than having to leave in the middle of cooking to get that missing ingredient. Or worse, having to give your hubby the puppy dog face to go out and get them for you.
  7. Never dip a wet spoon. When moisture gets into baking powder it causes it to deteriorate. Always use dry measuring spoons in dry ingredients.
  8. Don’t wait to bake. When baking soda and baking powder are in contact with liquid, they begin to release gas right away. Once the dry ingredients in a baking recipe are combined with the wet, get into the oven right away.
  9. Completely Cool. Always allow your cake to completely cool off before icing it. I have made this mistake way too many times. It is not fun. 😦
  10. No More Tears. To prevent onions from making you cry, cut them in half and place them in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes before using. Enjoy chopping and dicing without risking cutting off your fingers, due to tear-filled eyes.
  11. Dead or Alive? To test whether or not your baking powder is alive, combine 1 teaspoon of baking powder with 1/3 cup of hot water. If it bubbles vigorously it’s alive.
  12. Squeaky Clean. Always wash your fruits and veggies before use. You never know where they have been, even if they are organic.
  13. Garlic-free hands. To remove the smell of garlic from your hands, rub them with lemon juice and salt, then wash them with soap and water.
  14. Salt or Oil? When cooking pasta add salt to the water instead of oil. Salt will enhance the flavor of the pasta, oil just makes the noodles slippery.
  15. Same Size Pancakes. To make sure that your pancakes are all the same size, lightly oil a measuring cup. Use 1/3 cup for medium-sized pancakes or 1/2 cup for larger ones.
  16. To Replace An Egg. To replace an egg in a recipe, substitute 1/4 cup of applesauce, 1/2 a mashed banana, or 2 tablespoons ground flax + 3 tablespoons water.
  17. Fear Not. Never be afraid to try new things. Buy a different type of vegetable and look up recipes on how to prepare it. Nearly every time I have tried something new, I have loved it. Even if the recipe turns out to be a flop, the idea of trying something new is always exciting. The majority of recipes I have tried, I have fallen in love with. I have quite the recipe collection now and it is ever-expanding.

Man I was sure busy today! I made pancakes, muffins, apple pie, tofu bacon, pasta and I have a mixed berry tart cooling in the fridge over night! We sure have a lot of food on hand.

All that food prep makes me sleepy. I am off to bed, to get a much-needed night of rest. Tomorrow is definitely a day to relax and get back to reality. I also am in need of some time with my girls and I think that I have a  husband.

Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite! 🙂