After our popularity of the Recipe Box Overview, we decided to do the same thing with Teaboxes. Check out our Teabox Overview here, or click below for specific links:
Wow, Superbowl 54, here we come! With attention focused on the scoreboard and the commercials, there’s really no need to stress out over elaborate and expensive food for friends, family, or party guests. Instead serve a simple yet hearty supper of soups and sandwiches.
Instead of hot dogs, hamburgers or pizza, I’ve dug out some favorite recipes (from my family recipe cookbook, of course) and found some comfort foods that will fill up your team without stretching your budget!
Deviled eggs – also known as stuffed eggs, Russian eggs, or dressed eggs – are hard-boiled eggs that have been shelled, cut in half, and filled with a paste made from the egg yolks mixed with other ingredients such as mayonnaise and mustard.
This Christmas twist on this classic dish is perfect for brightening up the kid’s table – or the adults’ table for that matter!
You will need
- eggs already boiled
- food dye
1) I didn’t have any Easter Egg dye from last year, but I did have food dye. If you want really specific or bright colors, you can hit up the food dye section at a craft store, but I just have regular old 4 pack primary kit from Target. I prepped the food dye by following the box, but it was 1 tsp white vinegar and a half cup of HOT water.
2) Cut your eggs in half and remove yokes. You can prep those anyway you like. I like mine with Hellmanns.
3) Add your already boiled egg whites into the dye mixture, leave for approx 3 minutes and then rotate up. Once your eggs have the desired color, remove and pat dry with napkin.
Now if you find that your dye isn’t the color you want, I have to tell you that you can put a little on your finger (or a clean paintbrush), rub on the outside of the boiled shell and sit it down for about a minute. Then rinse off any excess. That is how I got this REALLY bright color for photos.
Done! Check out my gorgeous Dyed Deviled eggs that are sure to WOW everyone at the holiday table.
A few friends have asked what my Thanksgiving menu will be this year. As you may recall, at my house we do an international twist on traditional foods. This year the country of choice is France, and it is amazing how “normal” one can get with French food. Just goes to show how we are influenced in our daily lives by the cuisine of other countries.
Following is our French Thanksgiving menu:
Pâte de Foie Gras aux Truffles *
Apricot Chambord Brie *
Chèvre Cheese & Crackers *
Mushrooms ala Escargot
Turkey Cordon Bleu
Potatoes au Gratin
Haricot Verts Almandine w/Hollandaise
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
French Baguettes & Butter
Pumpkin Mousse Pie
Tarte Tatin *
Café au Lait
I “cheated” and bought the starred items in a supermarket. Everything else in my French Thanksgiving menu is either assembled from readily available ingredients or made from scratch, (including the Hollandaise). While a bit rich in butter and fats (in the traditional French style), this French Thanksgiving menu is not difficult and lends itself to making some dishes while watching Thanksgiving parades or football games.
Best Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving,
P.S. – Now we’re thinking about our Thanksgiving theme for 2010. Maybe Thai, Japanese, or Chinese. Hmm. Turkey potstickers, or eggrolls. Could be a winner.
I have a few recipes for homemade drinkable gifts in a special section of my family cookbook. Whenever I need an idea for a quick gift, this “Homemade Drinkable Gifts” section of my family cookbook always inspires me with the perfect solution.
Even if I don’t have all the ingredients, I can easily shop for the missing items since most recipes are made with standard measurements and readily-available package sizes.Continue reading
“Our homemade family cookbook software is going to be very popular as families buckle down for a long, cold, hard winter of scrimping and saving instead of elaborate budget-busting gift giving,” I said to Ruth a few weeks ago as we sipped a cuppa and planned our Christmas gift shopping excursions.
Traditionally, we select the same day and time each week beginning November 1 until the week before December 25 as our “shopping” day. We always try to visit a different store, mall, or shopping center for variety and to keep our gift spending under control. We like to see the holiday decorations, have lunch, and get in the holiday mood.
“Yes,” Ruth nodded. “I’m afraid it is all back to basics now with our economy what it is. Your cookbook software not only makes a great gift at a reasonable price, it also builds wonderful cookbook gifts for others, too. It’s a gift that can keep giving!”
I pondered at the wisdom of her comment (sometimes she is so smart). I asked her why she thought homemade family cookbooks created with our cookbook software could be a popular Christmas gift this year. She used all the fingers on her two hands (and then some) to explain it to me, and her reasons had nothing to do with the economy.
Ruth said that a family cookbook made with our cookbook software makes a great Christmas gift because it is a gift that is:
1. From the Heart
5. A Lasting Keepsake
6. Easy to Do
8. Under Your Own Control
11. Green (conserves gas and gift shopping time)
12. Printable at the last minute for unexpected guests
While I was thinking in terms of dollars and cents as usual, Ruth (always the more sensitive one) hit on the real importance of creating a family cookbook — the love of preserving a family’s food traditions and history.
Then our thoughts dissolved to the less fortunate, whose families may not be so lucky to have any food to write recipes about, or shelter with kitchens to warm them. We decided to do without our shopping day lunches and donate the amount we would spend on them to the local food bank. We also resolved to give an extra child’s gift to our local community toy collection drive.
Hmm, I wonder if the local soup kitchen could use a fundraising cookbook? There is still time to make one!
When the really cold weather hits at this time of year, do you know what my favorite comfort food is? Not the soups and stews of my family recipe books, but the flavorful warmth of curried dishes from India!
Indian food is one of the great cuisines of the world and I find its delectable combinations of spices compelling.
Despite what you may think, Indian curry recipes are not necessarily hot. Hot food to me is just painful without flavor, so I’m always cautious about ordering in Indian restaurants. I ask the cooks to make my dishes “tourist grade,” so I can eat them. The cooks are most happy to accommodate as they are amazed at my enthusiasm.
I’ll tell you a little story that was a little embarrassing, but was educational for me at the time:Continue reading
Thanksgiving should be a time of togetherness and good feeling. A time of sharing family recipes. The last thing you want for your holiday is an emergency trip to the veterinary hospital. Unfortunately, there are a number of dangers in the areas where you prepare and eat your food that could cause just such a scenario.
Here’s a few simple ways to avoid potential pitfalls:
- Keep your pets out of the kitchen. Counter-surfing (where your pet sneaks a lick of your worktop) can result in severe poisoning to your pet.
- Don’t let friends and family feed your pets. Make sure your guests know the house rules. Politely inform all your guests to keep their food out of reach and to ask permission before feeding any treats. Your pet may have food allergies they may not be aware of.
- Dump the trash. Somehow your dog or cat will find a way to get into it, and leftover corn-on-the-cob, yummy string that goes around the turkey legs, turkey skin, bones, moldy food, and fatty grizzle all pose a threat to your pet.
Certain Thanksgiving foods pose a particular hazard for your pets. The top 7 most dangerous Thanksgiving foods are:
- Grapes and raisins
- Xylitol (a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, including many fruits and vegetables. It is widely used as a sugar substitute and in “sugar-free” chewing gums, mints, and other candies.)
- Fatty table scraps
- Bones and turkey legs
- Onions, leeks, chives and garlic
- Unbaked yeast bread dough
Make sure you take these few simple precautions and avoid spending your Thanksgiving in the vet’s waiting room!
This Halloween, arm yourself against vampires with my good garlic mashed potatoes!
My friend, Ruth, and I used to be so confused about how to cook in a convection oven. After all, we both grew up in areas where wood-burning stoves were common. So having an oven that blows hot air around was quite a breakthrough in cooking for us!Continue reading
October – Family History Month. But how great it would be to have a Family Cookbook Month instead!
With football season coming on strong, including the return of Monday Night Football and tailgating parties, it’s time to start stocking up on those game-watching essentials: beer, popcorn, and beef jerky. Continue reading
Making a fundraising cookbook is an unusual and effective way to encourage donations for your project.
Gone are the days when people donated just to donate. They now want some form of tangible return. What better form of return to offer than creating a fundraising cookbook to sell. Continue reading
Why not make a custom family cookbook using cookbook software as a great vacation souvenir? It’s a unique memento for every family member!Continue reading
Hard to believe that we are nearly into the Labor Day holiday! The calendar pages for 2009 are flipping so fast that it seems like we are all in cartoon. If you plan to have a few friends and family members over for a Labor Day BBQ, why not make it a labor-less Labor Day BBQ? After years of hosting labor-intensive parties, I got smarter, so here are my 10 tips for a labor-less Labor Day BBQ:
1. Plan Your Menu
Scribble down all of the options you might like to include on a labor-less Labor Day BBQ menu. You know, five kinds of meats, 10 salads, 4 desserts. (Get over the panic feeling of ”will there be enough?”) Then whittle the list to two items in each category. Think smaller portions instead of gobs per person. It is much easier to make more of one dish than several different dishes.
2. Create a Countdown Timeline
Plan the ”days before” and ”day of” actions a week in advance of your labor-less Labor Day BBQ so you will take care of the dust bunnies before the doorbell rings. It also forces you to think about what dishes, bowls or trays you might want to dig out of the top cupboard and wash.
3. Shop Early in the Week
Study your labor-less Labor Day BBQ menu and break it down into individual recipe ingredients. That way you’ll buy only what you’ll need to make each recipe. Try doing your grocery shopping after dinner; the crowds are gone and you can walk off a few extra calories.
4. Use Shortcuts
There is no rule that everything must be made by you and you alone. There is nothing wrong with using convenience foods for your labor-less Labor Day BBQ. If you do choose to use bottled BBQ sauce, store delicatessen side dishes, or canned beans, just be sure you are familiar with the products to make sure they meet your personal standards.
5. Be Flexible
Don’t be afraid to change your labor-less Labor Day BBQ menu or substitute other ingredients. Who will know you really wanted to serve Auntie Clementine’s three bean salad (from the family cookbook, of course), but instead served bagged green salad with bottled dressing because you couldn’t find yellow wax beans? Furthermore, be sure to check the local supermarket ads for seasonal items; these may be on sale and less expensive than the dishes planned on your original menu.
6. Use the Slow Cooker
Cooking for a crowd can be so easy with a slow cooker. Simply dump all the ingredients into the crock and turn it on. Next thing you know, there’s a tasty dish inside that you barely worked at creating. True magic for your labor-less Labor Day BBQ.
7. Cook Outside on the Grill
We are talking about a labor-less Labor Day BBQ, so we do expect part of the menu will feature a dish prepared by charcoal or gas grill (instead of using the oven broiler). Cooking outside on the grill keeps the kitchen’s interior heat to a minimum, and keeps the kitchen cleaner, too.
8. Say Yes to Guest Participation
Whenever possible, encourage guests to bring a dish they would like to share. That way you don’t have to deal with preparing the whole labor-less Labor Day BBQ meal (and it is gentler on your pocketbook). Have a list handy (or in your head) of items that guests can bring to fill out the table when those RSVPs come in.
9. Go With the Flow
Don’t fret the small stuff. Sit down, relax, and talk with your guests so you can enjoy your labor-less Labor Day BBQ, too. You don’t have to serve everyone all the time, and I have found over the years that guests are most capable of taking care of their own needs. In fact, my party motto is: ”I’ll serve you the first drink, show you where everything is, and then you are on your own.”
10. Encourage Clean-up
When the labor-less Labor Day BBQ party is winding down, most considerate guests will help put away food, wash dishes, or fold up tables and chairs, if necessary. Some will even take out the trash! By all means, let these helpers contribute. Welcome their good intentions, even if they put the washed and dried coffee cups on the drinking glass shelf. They are just trying to make it a labor-less Labor Day BBQ for you!
With these 10 tips, a labor-less Labor Day BBQ just might become a family tradition that will sneak into the pages of your family cookbook’s new edition.
Looking for refreshing ways to cool down on these hot August nights? Try my list of super-coolers!
I am so grateful for all the nice comments we receive here at The Cookbook People.com in reference to my easy-to-use Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software. I recently received a wonderful email from Randi Levin of The Muffin Lady Inc. in Colorado who has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the special art of high altitude cooking.
Randi was kind enough to send us some suggestions for improving our high altitude cooking tips. By popular demand, she has written a cookbook about high altitude cooking so that others may find palatable success high above the ocean.
Meanwhile, here are some excerpts from her email:
Dear Erin and All at Cookbook People:
Please allow me to communicate a few differences between your high altitude cooking tips and mine. I mean absolutely no disrespect at all. MY goal is to help others find palatable success at high altitudes. Most of your tips are worthy and based on scientific information, but MINE are based on decades of experience high above the ocean.
I have been baking and adjusting recipes in the mountains of Colorado for 32 years to date in elevations between 5,000 and 8,000 feet. Many of my cookbook recipes originated from family members at sea level, and were adjusted for higher elevations accordingly. Several are actually more than 100 years old, and “to DIE FOR.” (Bless Great Grandmothers!).
I hope these adjustments help your readers.
Randi L. Levin
The Muffin Lady
Author, Publisher & High Altitude Food Specialist
Dear Randi: I am delighted that you gave us permission to include your additional thoughts and comments here on our website! The table below shows our high altitude tips placed side-by-side with Randi’s suggested comments, which we will be including in our upcoming software update.
From Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software:
Randi’s High Altitude Tips/Comments:
Water boils at a lower temperature (each 500-ft increase in altitude causes a drop of about 1Â° in the boiling point). For example, at 7,500 feet the boiling point will be 198Â°. Since it will not be as hot as it is at lower altitudes, you will have to boil it longer to achieve the same effect.
Baked goods that include yeast or baking powder will rise faster which may sound good, but it’s not. They will dry out.
Boil things longer if you are at an elevation of 5,000 feet or more.
Boil things longer if you are at an elevation of 3,500 feet or more.
Oven temperatures are affected by altitude, so it is sometimes necessary to adjust the suggested oven temperature. For batters and dough, you should increase the temperature by 25° Fahrenheit if you are at an elevation of 3,500 feet or more.
I have lived at 5,000 feet, 6,900 feet and currently at 8,000 feet above the ocean and have never raised the temperature. Actually, for some items, (roasts, biscuits, etc.), I suggest lowering the temperature by 5-25°F. For example, if biscuits call for baking at 425°F to 450°F, I lower the temperature 25 degrees: 400°F to 425°F.
Why: When raising the temperature in dry environments such as the Rockies, Sierras or Alps, all you are doing is increasing the dry heat. Sure the product will work, but it will also dry out much more rapidly. Additionally, the only reason to increase the liquid by 1/4 cup (4T) is so that the excess dry heat may absorb and then evaporate it. The product will still dry out faster when the temperature is raised!
Adjust ingredients that cause your baked goods to rise. Smaller pans work better at high altitudes.
Use more liquids (including that used in rice, soups and vegetables) slightly to allow for longer cooking times.
KUDOS, as this is an absolute.
Reduce baking powder
For each teaspoon, decrease by:
3,000 feet 1/8 teaspoon
5,000 feet 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon
7,000 feet 1/4 teaspoon
Reduce baking powder (and baking soda) a smidgen. It is easier and more effective to simply decrease these leavening agents by slightly indenting your finger into the powder when leveling the measuring spoon. You will want to decrease each by 1/4 teaspoon at 9,500-10,000 feet and above!
For each cup, decrease:
3,000 feet 0 – 1 tablespoon
5,000 feet 0 – 2 tablespoon
7,000 feet 1 – 3 tablespoon
3,000 feet has minimal adjustments, if any, according to folks I have spoken to. Elevations of 3,500 feet seem to be where the adjustments actually begin. I am at 8,000+ feet, so why would I want to decrease one of my moisturizing agents so drastically? Whenever I measure sugar, I simply measure it to just below the cup line, not by 3 or more Tablespoons. or else I would have a drier product than desired.
For each cup, add:
3,000 feet 1 – 2 tablespoon
5,000 feet 2 – 4 tablespoon
7,000 feet 3 – 4 tablespoon
Adding 1-2 Tablespoons more liquid per elevation is sufficient. You will not want to add any more until above 10,000 feet.
Additionally there is NO mention about increasing FLOUR by 1-2 Tablespoons per cup. This is one of the most important adjustments, especially when trying to avoid sunken cakes and flat cookies.
“When in doubt, add parsley,” I said wryly observing my sandwich which had just been served served with the teeniest bit of parsley ever to adorn a plate.
I’m talking a bit of a leaf. It was so small it wouldn’t have been noticed except for the bright green color that broke up the stark white plate.
Want to keep your kids or grandkids engaged with a fun and memorable project this summer? How about making a recipe book for kids using your Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software?
A recipe book for kids is a great keepsake of their summer vacation. And a great show-and-tell when classmates or teachers ask “What did you do on summer vacation?” Not many children will be able to show their own personalized recipe book for kids! Continue reading