Ok, I am trying to
Hubs and I have been looking at ways to reorganize and so we made several purchases. Since I am trying to cook more from scratch and less from processed, boxed foods, I am looking for storage for more raw ingredients. I had several of these jars in the past, gave them away and realized lately that they were really good so I have purchased more.
We have a reasonably large pantry with L-shaped shelves. That is all fine and good except for those pesky corners which are very difficult to deal with because things get lost in them. When you are shorter, like I seem to be getting, the third shelf up is just too high for me to get into the corner so we bought three of these for two of the corners.
We bought two large ones -- one for bottles and one for baking supplies. I seem to constantly lose that little tin of baking powder. You can't imagine how much I was able to put on these whirly gigs and clear off much shelf space. The smaller one we use for meds. We don't have medicine cabinets in the bathrooms so we keep those things in the kitchen but want them up out of the way of curious children. So, they have worked well so far.
I have been paying close attention to our food and what is in it so I am making more of an attempt to cook from scratch. My husband doesn't like my cooking -- much prefers restaurant fare -- so I thought he would really like home cooked meals from scratch. Wrong! Again -- he prefers restaurant food. I, on the other hand, am tiring of it. As I find myself harkening back to a different time (makes my childhood sound eons past) I realize that I really like my cooking, such as it is. I like easy, simple meals -- mostly cooked in an oven because the stove top and I don't seem to play nice together. ( A couple of months ago I actually started my first ever grease fire but that is another story.) However, I don't like all the junk that is in most of our foods -- from the unrecognizable ingredients in boxed goods to the linings of the cans. I mean, seriously, why do they have to screw up the green beans -- those cute little diagonally cut morsels we all put in green bean casseroles? So, in an effort to find scratch recipes that will successfully replace the boxed varieties and get rid of the poisonous cans, I have been doing lots of research and lots of playing in the kitchen. Fortunately, Hubs has been a willing taste tester although he doesn't like much of what I am doing but at least he is honest.
My first attempt was to make a hot cocoa mix that would rival Swiss Miss. I found a recipe online that was DIVINE! It consisted of powdered milk, unsweetened cocoa, powdered sugar and white chocolate chips. Basically you grind it all up together in the food processor and mix 1/3 of a cup of the mix to a mug of hot milk. It was perfect and entirely too sweet. I am making an effort to cut sugar out of my diet but I am realistic and know that is going to be difficult so I am going about it slowly. If I am going to eat something sweet I want it to be worth it. Today I tried to make it one cup at a time, without the powdered sugar. It was really good but it didn't mix up well so I am going to concoct my own recipe and try again.
Then, I tried to find a recipe for brownies that were as good as a boxed mix. I googled "chewy brownie recipe" and picked from the numerous sites that came up. They were chewy all right -- as in not done even though I cooked them longer than the recipe called for. I will be revisiting that with a recipe I found from Rachel Ray's site. It calls for three types of chocolate so we will see. I will probably have to rely on somebody else's opinion of these because I am pretty sure there will be too much sugar for me.
Then, there was the cornbread. I like my cornbread to be a bit cakey rather than crumbly and I found a recipe that I thought would work to replace my favorite Pioneer Corn Muffin mix. I had read a couple of other recipes that called for brown sugar in them and so I thought I would divide the sugar using white sugar for half and brown for the other half. The recipes said "it made the cornbread". Well, not for me. The bread rose up beautifully and had a lovely texture. It was a little darker due to the brown sugar but it tasted really -- well -- brown sugary. Too much molasses. So, I will try it again without the brown sugar and I will probably swap the milk with buttermilk and cut the sugar in half.
Fortunately my regular white bread recipe has turned out to be a winner. I did substitute butter for the shortening but that was the only change I made and it is the only bread we have had in the house for weeks. It makes a lovely full loaf and it lasts for several days unlike the bread made in the bread machine. I also used one of these pans for the last loaf I made and I loved the results although most breadmakers will tell you to just use a regular aluminum loaf pan. I have been using that sort of pan and it turns out great but I ran across this pottery pan in the back of a bottom cabinet -- I forgot I had bought it -- and it was really good.
So, I can't believe I am having all these culinary adventures in my old age but I am . My three year old granddaughter wants to be a "cooker" and loves to get in the kitchen so I am having thoughts of trying to influence her to cook from scratch, something I could never achieve with her mother. She already has a good sense of "good food" versus "bad food" so maybe with a little encouragement from me her interest in cooking will grow. Of course, for that to happen, I have to work at it myself so maybe I will have some recipes to pass on to her when she gets that restaurant of her own she says she wants. Or, maybe she will just be able to feed herself which is a good goal as well.