The Best Way to Color Easter Eggs – Monthly Food Column

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By Dennis Weaver From The Prepared Pantry

It’s fun to color Easter eggs. Pink and yellow and lavender eggs are part of the Easter tradition. And of course, kids love colors and you can now choose from 41 colors.

In this article, you’ll learn the best way to color eggs plus how to boil an egg and avoid the green on the yolk

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How to Dye Easter Eggs

1 Choose fresh eggs free from cracks.

2 Commercial egg producers coat their eggs with an oil to help seal them. Wash the eggs in a mild detergent to remove the oil and to let the color adhere more readily to the eggs.

3 Boil the eggs to the “hard boil” stage.

4 To one cup of hot water, add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and the desired food coloring or dye. Be sure to get enough food coloring in the water to make it a darker shade than the desired shade for the eggs.

5 Dip the eggs in the colored solution until the desired shade is reached. For darker shades, let the eggs sit in the dye for up to two hours.

6 If the eggs are to be eaten, keep them refrigerated.

Use professional food color gels from Americolor, or equal. Professional gels are not expensive, they are nine times more concentrated so it takes a lot less, and the colors are brighter and prettier. Gels just make prettier eggs.

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Tip for blown eggs


If you are going to use blown eggs for Easter (those with the egg blown out through a hole in the end of the shell), color the eggs before blowing. If you blow the egg from the shell before dying, the empty, fragile shells will be difficult to immerse and handle in the dying water.

How to Boil an Egg so that is Perfectly Cooked

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Would you like to avoid that green coating on the yolks of your hardboiled eggs? You can do so if you time your cooking carefully. It’s a matter of temperature. Always use an egg timer.

1. Use only clean, fresh eggs. Discard eggs that are cracked.

2. Lay the eggs in a heavy saucepan, one layer deep.

3. Cover them with cold water just to cover the eggs.

4. Bring the water in the pan to a rapid boil.

5. Remove the pan from the heat, cover it with a lid, and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 14 minutes.

6. Remove the eggs from the pan and place them in ice water until they are cool enough to handle.

Colored egg timers are pretty amazing. There is a built in gauge that tells you how hard boiled your egg is. It takes the guess work out.

Dennis Weaver and his wife, Merri Ann, are the founders of The Prepared Pantry. Dennis is a baker and a writer. Dennis is the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking.

He is a food columnist and has written articles for websites, newspapers, and magazines. You can follow Dennis and get his articles and recipes by subscribing to The Prepared Pantry’s newsletters or See What’s Cookin’, a log of recipes and methods from The Prepared Pantry’s test kitchens.

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Copyright © Dennis Weaver :: The Prepared Pantry :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

Suggestion​s for Valentines​ – Recipes and More – Monthly Food Column

 

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Suggestions for Your Sweetheart

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From Dennis Weaver Of The Prepared Pantry

I’ve been married for 33 years to Merri Ann. She’s the light of my life. My joy is to please her. She can’t eat wheat but I can make her a Legendary Flourless Chocolate Cake. I’ll drizzle it with raspberry sauce and top it with raspberry whipped cream with a touch of cream cheese added.

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Make a chocolate pie. See these recipes. A chocolate pie is a great choice for your sweetheart. Choices include a French Silk Pie, a Mississippi Mud Pie, and more. (You can make a Mississippi Mud Pie from a mix.)

FULLRASBERRYCHOCSKONE

Make Raspberry White Chocolate Scones. Here’s breakfast on Valentine morning, absolutely divine. Read the reviews. “The tastiest, flakiest scone I’ve ever baked/eaten . . . worth every calorie!” Make Raspberry White Chocolate Scones for only $4.99, Regular $7.25

FULLMAKECUPCAKES

Make Cupcakes. Yesterday we made raspberry chocolate cupcakes with raspberry filling and raspberry cream cheese frosting. The day before, we made the cherry version. If you want to go really special, make Maple Bacon Cupcakes. See how to make these cupcake recipes.

FULLCHOCOLATELOVERSMUFFINS

Make Chocolate Lover’s Muffins. These are a breeze—just add water. They’re made with famous Ramstadt Breda cocoa and mini chocolate chips. Make Chocolate Lover’s Muffins for only $4.99, Regular $6.99.

FULLCHEESECAKE

Make a cheesecake. Cheesecakes are easier than they look. We have dozens of recipes including no-bake cheesecake recipes. Our favorites include White Chocolate Cheesecake and a German Chocolate Cheesecake


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Copyright © Dennis Weaver :: The Prepared Pantry :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

My Mom’s Recipe For No-Bake Cookies

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Photo Source Smart Balance

These cookies are my absolute FAV of my mom’s recipes! 🙂

No Bake Cookies

Ingredients

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. cocoa (unsweetened)
1 stick margarine
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. quick oats

Directions

Combine sugar, milk, cocoa in small saucepan. Bring to boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat, add remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Drop by tsp. onto waxed paper.

(May need to refrigerate)

You can find more articles and recipes, along with grandparenting and parenting tips at Grandparenting Articles and Tips

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Six Easy Ways to Delight Your Family With Leftover Turkey -Monthly Food Column

By Dennis Weaver of The Prepared Pantry

What do you do with all that leftover turkey? I welcome it. It’s a busy time of year and I use it to ‘jump start” some great meals. It just takes a little planning. Here’s my strategy:

1. Peel the meat from the carcass. Divide it into portions, a pound or so in each depending on the size of your family, place it in zipper-type bags.

2. Set aside enough meat for a few turkey sandwiches. Of the remainder, freeze all but what you’ll use in the first three days.

3.Save the gravy and the bones with meat attached for soup. If I’m going to make soup right away, refrigerate it or else freeze it for later use.

4.Find a half dozen turkey recipes you would like to try. You won’t use all of them, but having them available will give you options and something to look forward to for diner over the next several weeks.

Turkey sandwiches. Instead of using slabs of turkey for sandwiches—which is certainly good—I think I’ll make turkey salad sandwiches

Turkey salad. I love club sandwiches and I want something very simple. This turkey club salad is made with club sandwich components. The bacon is cooked in the microwave.

Turkey soup. We don’t have snow yet but there’s a chill in the air. I want a hearty soup. This turkey white bean chili is very quick and simple to make . . . and good.


Turkey pot pies. This is easy comfort food. You can make them in the ovenproof bowls you have in your kitchen. If you use our just-add-water pie crust mix, you’ll have the crust made in a minute and the pies in the oven in less than fifteen. See how to make quick turkey pot pies.

Turkey enchiladas. My mother made chicken enchiladas; we loved them. We morphed her recipe to use leftover turkey and gravy. In fifteen minutes and with the microwave, you can have these turkey enchiladas ready for the oven. Add a tossed salad and open a can of beans or refried beams and you’re ready for dinner.

Turkey wraps. Wraps make quick, easy, fun meals and you can be as creative as you want to be. Grab some tortillas from the store or make your own tortillas. Spread them with mayonnaise, a sandwich spread, or salad dressing and load See how to make a wrap with wrap ideas.

About The Author

Dennis Weaver and his wife, Merri Ann, are the founders of The Prepared Pantry. Dennis is a baker and a writer. Dennis is the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking.

Copyright © Dennis Weaver :: The Prepared Pantry :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

How to make Halloween Cookies – A Delightful Video About a Grandson Making Cookies With His Grandmother

 

 

 

 

Picture Shared From http://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/ 😉

I received a lovely email message a couple of weeks ago about an awesome video featuring a grandson making cookies with his grandmother. This young man -Alex Aiono; also gave me a great compliment about my blog here 🙂

I just wanted to share this sweet video with you all! (Includes Recipe as Well)

Quoted From Alex:

So for my first Halloween tradition, I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with my sassy Grandma! Be sure to comment below with your Halloween traditions for me to try out!

Please Note: Don’t comment here on the blog, however, on the site of the actual video.  😉

Thanks for watching! And be sure and check out his other videos!

Check It Out HERE And Enjoy!

A Manual for Making Lighter, Thinner, Healthier Pizzas – Monthly Food Column

 

 

From The Prepared Pantry

 

 

Years ago, probably when we still lived in Alaska, I bought this little cookbook called, The Weekend Chef. In it was a recipe for an everything-on-it pizza. It turned out to have a big thick crust and a boatload of toppings. The crust was partially baked and the meats precooked and the toppings loaded on and the pizza pushed back into the oven. It really good but with all that prep and rising twice, it seemed like an all-afternoon project. It was too big and too rich and I still remember the heavy feeling after dinner.

I don’t eat pizzas like that anymore. Over the years, our pizzas have become lighter and thinner, certainly healthier. The crusts are thin and crisp. The toppings are much fewer, often with fresh veggies, and with a light layer of cheeses. I’m enjoying these pizzas and I don’t have to look away if I see my doctor in town.

Thin Crusts

Debbie Frantzen, our daughter and operations manager, is the queen of thin crust pizzas. She takes our pizza dough mixes, adds the water, mixes them, and then divides them in half. She uses a pizza stone and a pizza peel and makes two 14-inch pizzas out of one mix. She rolls them very thin and bakes them crispy on a preheated pizza stone.

I’m lazy. I just roll about two-thirds the dough out in a dark colored pizza pan. I have enough dough left for a couple calzones. I have two pizza pans, an old battered relic that’s nearly black from use and a newer perforated pizza pan that is perfect. I sprinkle a little cornmeal on the greased pan and roll the dough in pan using a pizza roller. The dark pans absorb heat and the thin crusts bake quickly and crisply.

Quick and Easy

Debbie taught me that you don’t have to stop and let the crusts rise. If you make and roll the crusts first, they’ll rise enough while you’re prepping and loading the toppings. Plus you’ll get oven spring, a rise in the oven, and the crusts will be crispy by the time the toppings are done. It makes for a very quick and simple pizza.

If you grease the pans well and sprinkle them with cornmeal, the pizzas will slip right off the pan. Slip a spatula under the pizzas and twist it around the pizza to make sure that it is not sticking anywhere, clasp the pizza with the spatula underneath and your thumb on top of the edge of the crust, and quickly slip it off the pan onto a cooling rack. You need to remove the pizza from the pan immediately so that it doesn’t sweat.

Making the Dough

The enemy of thin crusts is “springback.” The gluten in the dough makes the dough elastic. As you try rolling it thinly, it springs back. It has a memory and doesn’t want to roll out thinly and smoothly. It’s almost impossible.

When we first started developing our pizza dough mixes, we added rye flour to dilute the wheat gluten. We still couldn’t get the dough soft enough. So we started experimenting with commercial dough relaxers. We found one that was like magic. We could make the dough just s soft and pliable as we wanted and absolutely eliminate springback. We now use this in all our pizza dough mixes and tortilla mixes.

Since we absolutely love this relaxer, we now package and sell it. If you are going to make pizza dough from scratch, buy this dough relaxer. It’s essential to your thin crust pizzas.

We also sell a pizza flour blend with the dough relaxer already added. The amount of relaxer in this blend is just right.

White Sauces

Debbie discovered a white sauce pizza in the little one-service-station town where she lives, Ririe, Idaho. It had a white sauce made with minced onions and topped with new red potatoes sliced thinly. She brought some to work; it was very good.

Since then, we have experimented with all kinds of white sauces. Alfredo works well but there are a hundred other choices. Here is a list of those we have tried:

White Alfredo pasta sauce

French onion chip dip (You can make a great pizza with this.)
Ranch salad dressing (Doesn’t ranch make everything better?)
Chip dip made with dry onion soup mixes (quick, cheap, and surprisingly good)
Elki dips and spreads (These cost a little more but make some very fine pizzas. Debbie likes the creamy roasted red pepper spread; I like the pineapple cream cheese spread.)

You can see the possibilities. Just keep experimenting

Light Toppings

We mentioned the potato pizza above. Consider fresh veggies on your pizza. I’m particularly fond of fresh tomato slices
but we’ve made pizzas with green beans, with zucchini, and broccoli—often with no meat. Top the veggies with a thin layer of cheeses.

Dennis Weaver is the founder of The Prepared Pantry. He is the author of How to Bake, a 318 page book about the art and science of baking. You can download a free copy of How to Bake Here!

Kindle, Nook and iPad versions available. I personally have the free “How To Bake” book on Kindle and it’s a 100% excellent resource! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Dennis Weaver :: The Prepared Pantry :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

Baking With My Granddaugh​ter – Guest Post

This is a compassionate story by Marjorie Newton about baking along side her granddaughter. 🙂

“Gramma, Gramma. Are you awake?
Gramma, Gramma, I want to bake!
I want to make some cookies…or cake…

Right now! Please, Gramma! I wanna bake!

Slowly my eyes open searching for the clock…almost 7 a.m. and, heavens, a little female creature peeks around my bedroom door to see if I’m awake. Now, of course, anyone knows that 7 a.m. is a great time, maybe the best time, to make cookies, even if you’re not quite awake. But if you have a little four year old, red haired, curly headed granddaughter insisting on making cookies NOW, it is definitely the best time. So, I roll out of bed not resisting this little eager child as she leads me from my bedroom. What a sight I must be in baggy pjs and uncombed hair. She doesn’t care how Gramma looks. We are headed for the kitchen to get the baking action started for the day.

Baking has played a huge role in my life. As a child, whenever my mother baked, I stood on a chair next to her at the kitchen counter. Watching her every move, I begged her to let me crack the eggs, blend the sugar and butter together, sift the dry ingredients together, and mix it all in the bowl. In spite of the clouds of flour and the puddles of milk on the counter and floor, I think she enjoyed teaching me the various stages of creating a cake.


The exception to the fun, I am sure, were all the times I found it important to check the batter. The frequency I dipped into the mixture with my little sticky fingers had to be frustrating for her, but if so, she never mentioned it. She was very patient with me. By the time I was nine, she suggested I bake alone, either because she really felt I was ready for my solo flight or she had had enough batter tasting.

The tradition of baking and batter sampling continued with my own daughter as she took to baking as obsessively as I did. Like I had done, she stood next to me at the counter begging to help, especially when it was time to crack the eggs. As I remember, she was much more insistent about doing it “by myself” than I had been, so at a younger age I allowed her to take over the baking process with her own exuberant style. Her creations were new and not found in any recipe book. Fearlessly she unleashed her wild imaginative baking techniques which of course included testing the batter often…so often in fact little was left for the pan and the oven. The final product was camouflaged and oozed with icing, leaving her father and me to guess just what she had made. No matter….whatever it was, naturally, was delicious.

So, now this morning the family baking tradition is again unleashed. I am in the kitchen at 7 a.m. with a large mixing bowl, measuring spoons, wooden mixing spoons, and a cookie sheet spread before me on the counter. I guide my little granddaughter’s cookie making enthusiasm as best I can, but she has her own ideas.

And so I hear, “I can do it myself, Gramma!” and she does as she cracks the eggs with a flair getting them in the bowl and not on the floor. This is her favorite part of the process so it always gets done first even if the recipe doesn’t require it first. The chocolate chip cookie mixture is tossed into the bowl also, some of it missing its mark, but I am still told,

“Gramma, I can do it myself!”

Water is poured into a measuring cup she now claims as her own and poured precariously into the bowl. With a grand flourish she stirs vigorously with her own wooden spoon saved for these occasions. But never, never fear, she does not forget the very necessary sampling of the batter time and time again. With already sticky and often licked fingers, she begins to form the cookies on the sheet.

Suddenly, she stops, pauses a second or two, and then with a huge sigh says, “Gramma, I’m bored. You finish the cookies. I want to garden. I want to plant flowers! Common, Gramma! Now!”

The cookies are abandoned. She drags me to the patio where pots of fresh potting soil wait to be planted with flower seeds….and….and….but I’m afraid our gardening adventures are another story for another day.

Article By Marjorie Newton

The Easy, Foolproof Way to Make Omelets – Monthly Food Column

By Dennis Weaver at The Prepared Pantry.

 

 

 

 

 

We set off to make the best and easiest omelet. We bought ten dozen eggs, scoured the text books for methods. At the end, we were making five minute omelets a little unorthodox but very good and nearly foolproof.

 

 

 

That was three years ago. Since then, we’ve made hundreds of omelets. The method hasn’t changed—with one minor exception. When it’s time to let the eggs set and cook through, I place the plate over the top of the pan to capture the heat. The eggs cook more quickly with less of a crusty bottom. As a bonus, I have a hot plate on which to serve the omelet. I only leave the plate on for a couple minutes, until it’s time to stack on the filling.

Watch the imbedded video and study the easy steps. The video doesn’t show putting the plate over the pan but it is an easy step to insert.

How to Make a Five-Minute Omelet

Choose the right size of pan. A three-egg omelet requires an eight-inch pan. The pan should be nonstick.

Put a pat of butter in your nonstick pan. Place it on medium-high heat. On our stovetop, a high BTU gas burner, that’s 6 out of ten.

Heat the butter to just short of brown and swirl it around the pan.

Pour the eggs into the hot pan. Salt and pepper the eggs.

Scramble the eggs with a soft silicone spatula scraping the bottom and sides of the pan. The eggs will cook quickly and curds will form.

When the eggs approach the consistency of cottage cheese with mostly solids but some liquid eggs, stop stirring. Use the spatula as a paddle to pat the eggs down into an even layer. Place a plate on the pan, right side up, to capture the heat and cook the top of the eggs more quickly. Let the eggs continue cooking until the liquids are set and the top of the omelet is cooked. Remove the plate.

Place the fillings across half of the omelet. If you are right-handed, put them on the left side of the omelet. For most fillings, you will want them pre-cooked. Let the heat from the pan heat the fillings for a minute.

The omelet should slip around in the pan without a hint of sticking. Move the pan to a plate, tip the pan on an angle over the plate, and gently shake the omelet onto the plate filling side first.

When the omelet is about half onto the plate, twist the pan with your wrist folding the remaining omelet over that on the plate. The omelet should be folded over with the bottom edge protruding about one-half inch.

Your omelet should be golden brown and puffy with the interior set and any cheese melted. For larger omelets, use larger pans.

There you go. With just a little practice, you’ll be an omelet pro

What You’ll Need


Unless you’re going to make larger omelets, you’ll need an eight-inch skillet which is the perfect size for a three-egg omelet. It needs to have a good nonstick surface so that it will slide out of the pan easily.

You’ll also need a good silicone spatula to stir the eggs as they begin to cook and to slide under the omelet and loosen it if it starts to stick.

About The Author

Dennis Weaver and his wife, Merri Ann, are the founders of The Prepared Pantry. Dennis is a baker and a writer. Dennis is the author of “How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking.” He is a food columnist and has written articles for websites, newspapers, and magazines. You can follow Dennis and get his articles and recipes by subscribing to The Prepared Pantry’s newsletters

Copyright © Dennis Weaver :: The Prepared Pantry :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

Coconut French Toast

This recipe from Weight Watchers, (the WW Points Plus Cookbook) was delicious and so very easy to prepare. And only ( 4 points ) 🙂

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 large egg
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
2 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 small slices whole wheat bread (baguette)
2 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoon sweetened coconut

Directions

Whisk together egg, pineapple juice, brown sugar, and cinnamon in large shallow bowl or pie plate. Dip bread into egg mixture, once slice at a time, until evenly soaked.

Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add soaked bread to skillet, in batches, and cook until browned, about 2 minutes each side.

Transfer French toast to plate. Drizzle evenly with maple syrup and sprinkle evenly with coconut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe From Weight Watchers

 

 

The Story Of The Last Zucchini Cookie – Monthly Food Column

By Dennis Weaver From The Prepared Pantry

 

 

 

Zucchini squash grow to the size of boats. That’s not the real problem; there are so many of them. It seems that everyone in the valley is awash with them. And every year, we wish we had more zucchini recipes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mother made an applesauce cookie that was cakey and moist. She loaded it with raisins and nuts sometimes and sometimes chocolate chips. I loved those cookies. I wanted to make a similar cookie, a zucchini cookie, like my mother’s applesauce cookie, one that could be loaded with different ingredients to create different cookies. Today, we have more ingredients to work with. I don’t ever recall my mother having white chocolate chips or dried cranberries. I figured that with a very good basic cookie, we could make hundreds of variations. It would be the last zucchini cookie recipe we would ever need.

So I set off to the test kitchen to make a new cookie recipe. This would be a do-it-yourself cookie recipe, one that you could customize it any way you want. One day, it could be a chocolate chip cookie recipe and the next, you could make tropical fruit cookies—all with the moist, chewy goodness of zucchini. There would always be more zucchini cookies to make.

And it’s just so darned good. No wonder it’s the last zucchini cookie recipe you’ll ever need.

The recipe worked. The cookies were darned good—cakey and moist like my mother’s applesauce cookies. We made hundreds of them in a half dozen variations and served them to people in our store. People asked for the recipe.

Working with Zucchini: Helpful Lessons


When you develop a recipe, you want the same results time after time. That wasn’t happening. Sometimes the cookies were perfect but others spread too much. I was using exactly the same ingredients and baking them exactly the same way. Why weren’t they turning out the same? Finally, I gave up and went home.

That night it hit me: I wasn’t mixing the batter the same way each time.

Zucchini is 95% water. With my cookies, I was mixing my batter for different lengths of time, sometimes at different speeds. With more mixing, I was wringing more water from the batter. That batter was wetter and the cookies spread more. As soon as I was consistent with my mixing, my results were consistent and I was able to complete my recipe.

There were three lessons:

Always treat your shredded zucchini gently and if you have water standing in the bottom of the bowl of shredded zucchini, drain it out before adding it to the batter.

Add the zucchini right at the end. Don’t pound the zucchini as you mix in the nuts or the spices.

Treat your zucchini gently; don’t mix any longer than is necessary to disperse the zucchini through the batter.

With these lessons learned, I always had consistent cookies.

Cookies may be the most sensitive to hydration, the amount of water in the batter, but it makes a difference with other recipes to. Now, regardless of what the recipe says, I now always add the zucchini at the end and mix only until combined.

This post was excerpted from “The Last Zucchini Cookie Recipe” – Free Ebook Get Your Copy Here

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Copyright © Dennis Weaver :: The Prepared Pantry :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved