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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cooking With Stainless Steel Cookware

by Riley Hendersen

In most stainless steel cookware, the stainless steel is only used as the cooking surface and not the entire product. In most instances, aluminum is used as the primary ingredient in making the cookware mold, because aluminum heats faster. Stainless steel is added as the coating to make the final product safe, easy to clean and durable.

Iron is the main ingredient in steel. To make stainless steel for cookware, additional alloys are added to the iron. Titanium, Copper and Nickel, among other ingredients, can be added in various percentages. However, to be considered stainless steel, a minimum of 12% Chromium must be in the mix.

In most cookware, the stainless steel is only used as the cooking surface and not the entire product. In most instances, aluminum is used as the primary ingredient in making the cookware mold, because aluminum heats faster. However, aluminum is not a good product to be used as cookware because it can be unsafe for humans to digest. So, it is added as the coating to make the final product safe, easy to clean and durable.


In 1913 a man was working on a project to reduce rust in rifle barrels. During this project, he was mixing different metallic compounds and accidentally discovered what we know of today as stainless steel.

There are many different types and configurations with different levels of metal alloys added. One type could be a very different mixture than another type.


To understand the compositions available, it is best to understand the rationale for adding the different metal alloys. Although other compounds, such as Titanium and Copper could be added, as well as non-metallic compounds, the ingredients of Chromium and Nickel are primary in determining quality.

Chromium is added because it is an ingredient that resists rusting and corrosion. It also provides the high gloss normally associated with cookware.

Nickel is added because it has the ability to withstand higher heats and makes the final product more durable.

When looking at stainless steel cookware, quality is easy to recognize. Manufacturers usually add the Chromium/Nickel concentration in the iron as a notation on the cookware. When looking at cookware for sale, one will see the notation of 18/10. This means that 18% of it is Chromium and 10% is Nickel.

Other notations include 18/0, which means that 18% of the it is Chromium, but no Nickel has been added. Because Nickel adds additional properties of durability and ability to withstand higher heat, the highest quality for cookware is 18/10.

Cleaning and Using

Chromium works by mixing with oxygen in the air. For this reason, the storage of leftovers in it is not recommended. When chromium cannot mix with oxygen, bacteria can trap within the steel itself. When used properly cookware can be very hygienic.

To help spread heat evenly, it is best to find cookware with a heat diffusing base. This alleviates any negatives associated when the heat does not always distribute properly.

Cleaning with dish soap and water is best, but one can use dishwasher if approved by manufacturer. It can scratch so abrasive cleaning products and bleach are not recommended.

Fun Breakfast Recipe - Bubble Loaf

by Jill S

A fun breakfast recipe that looks like it is made of bubbles!

This breakfast recipe is gooey but tasty and can be a lot of fun to make. It was always a challenge for mom to keep us from picking, prodding, and poking at this fun breakfast treat while the bread dough was rising. And even more of a challenge to keep us from burning our hands and mouths on it after this sticky, gooey treat came out of the oven. It gets its name from the fact that the pieces you put into it look like bubbles. It is a good recipe to make for brunch since the dough takes some time to rise.

Bubble Loaf

2 loaves partially frozen bread dough
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 package butterscotch pudding
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter

Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Mix together the butterscotch pudding and brown sugar and set aside. Cut each loaf into 2 pieces. Cut 2 pieces lengthwise again. Cut each strip into small pieces. Roll each piece into the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Pile (toss, throw – this is where it can get fun) all of these pieces into a well-greased bundt or solid tube pan. After all pieces are in the pan, take the butterscotch pudding and brown sugar mixture and sprinkle it over the bread dough pieces. Melt the butter and drizzle over the bread dough, pudding, and sugar mixture. Cover the pan with wax paper and a towel and let rise for 1 1/2 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool for a while, turn over pan, and shake the bread out.

For making this into a quicker breakfast recipe: If you don’t want to have to wait for it to rise, substitute 3 cans of buttermilk biscuits (10 to a can) for the bread dough. You’ll also need to increase the cooking time to 30 to 35 minutes.

Memorial Day Recipes To Help Make Memories

by Donna Hager
Old Glory Does Not Wave By Accident. Use These Memorial Day Recipes To Help Make Memories

My family and I know that "Old Glory" does not wave by accident. We have lost loved ones to war. Memorial Day is special.

Memorial Day is for remembering the sacrifices made by others - for us - for our continued freedom. But I believe the day should also be used to create new memories.

Having lost family to war, I believe I am able to put this particular holiday in perspective. It is a day, in fact an entire weekend, for us to accomplish two things: remembering and appreciating the ultimate sacrifice made by others and exercising those won freedoms in a way that creates fond memories with those we still have to love.

Memorial Day should certainly be more meaningful than simply a three day weekend or mini vacation. It is a sacred day of remembrance ...but it should also be a time for the living to celebrate each others company while time permits. I especially like to totally surround myself with family and friends on this day, or even on this entire weekend, to celebrate what we (still) have because of those who gave their lives.

Memorial Day was born out of the horror of war - first the Civil War - and now for all those who have departed as a result of war. The purpose of this holiday may seem to be fading from some peoples' consciousness. Is it now simply a three day vacation? Is it simply the unofficial start to summer and the barbecue season? Is it an excuse to go shopping since many businesses promote Memorial Day sales? Has the original meaning of the day been lost?

My family and I know that "Old Glory" does not continue to wave by accident. We take time throughout the Memorial Day weekend to remember the fallen. We go to the cemetaries and place the flags. Old Glory flies at half mast at home. We tell stories, some sad - some happy, about those that cannot be at our family party. We remember them with reverence.

We also remember my first husband's last words as his Cobra helicopter was on fire and about to explode: "Tell my family I love them. Tell them to live for me."

So family and I celebrate our freedom - and life. We live our lives together. We do this best by being together and enjoying great recipes and the food they create.

One of the things my family and I do is talk about how to support our troops today. We put together a "care package" or two or three or four. We send the packages to soldiers somewhere in this world. We don't care where they are stationed or what branch of the service they serve.

As one soldier wrote recently, "All soldiers need the simple knowledge of one thing...someone must want them to come home. If a soldier has that...they may be able to make it through anything!!!!"

After the package(s) are wrapped and sent, we do as ordered by our missing loved ones - we celebrate with food and beverage and memories - and we create new memories to be enjoyed forever (see link below). What a gift they have given us!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

3 Quick and Easy Healthy Recipes for Kids

by Tanner Bradstreet

We, as parents, have a lot of competition out there when it comes to trying to get our kids to eat healthy. Instead of caving in and throwing our hands up in frustration, let's get creative shall we and make healthy recipes for kids?

Junk food just looks good doesn’t it? I mean it’s colorful, cream-filled, and just down right pleasing to the eyes. Take for example what my kids want for breakfast every morning. Without doing any name dropping here – it’s cream-filled, has sprinkles and has the word sundae in it. I mean come on, what kid wouldn’t want that first thing in the morning, right?

We, as parents, have a lot of competition out there when it comes to trying to get our kids to eat healthy. Instead of caving in and throwing our hands up in frustration, let’s get creative shall we and make healthy recipes for kids?

Think about the foods that your kids beg you to buy at the grocery store. How can you make the same thing that is fun and yummy looking, right at home with healthy ingredients instead? It is possible! Part of it is just the packaging. Oh, those cute little characters they throw on there that our kids just can’t resist. Or those free little toys that you have to buy 5 boxes AND send in money for shipping and handling. You just gotta love those advertisers!

So, maybe we can’t create cute little boxes and bags with free toys inside. (Well, I guess you actually could if you wanted to, but who has the time for that!) What we can do is make food fun. Here are 3 quick and healthy recipes for kids that I think your little ones will eat up in no time. They can also make these with you, which in their eyes will make it taste better already.

Fruit Kabobs - Now this is one colorful recipe and so much fun to make!

Small cluster of green or red grapes
Apple (any kind)
Wooden Sticks

Take the grapes off of the stem, split the tangerine into sections, slice the apple and banana. Alternate pushing each piece of fruit onto the wooden stick. Lay the sticks on a decorative platter and serve.

Monkey Mix – This is an on-the-go snack. It’s great for kids’ lunches too.

3 cups Cheerios
1 cup banana chips
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chocolate chips (substitute raisins if you’d like)

Mix all the ingredients together. Keep it stored in a gallon Ziploc bag.

Fish in a Pond – This is such a fun recipe to eat. Finally kids can play with their food!

Goldfish crackers
4 celery stalks, cut off leafy tops
½ cup cream cheese (low-fat is good to use)
1 drop blue food coloring

Put the cream cheese into a bowl and add the drop of food coloring to make it look like a pond. Put goldfish in a separate bowl. Give the kids a piece of celery and let them dip it into the cream cheese pond and then go fishing by sticking it into their bowl of goldfish. Make it a game to see how many fish they can catch.

Those are some fun recipes aren’t they? Try them out and definitely get your kids in on the action. Next time your little monkeys gets hungry, tell them to go grab a scoop of monkey mix.

Outdoor Fun Foods - Baked Potatoes

by Anne Clarke

There are some family favorites in every family that some outdoor events, or any other festive occasion simply can not do without. It is as though the absence of the taste of this dish would make the event itself less than complete. Here is one I would love to share with you. Simple to make and extremely delicious, this is a dish with thick shrimp sauce to pour on top of your baked potatoes.

Probably on the top of my list for favorite family recipes, is my mother’s recipe for a thick shrimp sauce she uses as a topping or filler for baked potatoes. A patio dining family favorite, one of the best things about baked potatoes is their versatility. So many things taste so great with a baked potato. When you’re planning a dinner such as salad, steak and baked potatoes (a personal family tradition) you probably already have a list of things to go with your potatoes.

For example: most people purchase butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, vegetables and more when they are planning to serve baked potatoes. People also love to make twice-baked potatoes with their favorite toppings. This delicious recipe is a favorite not only for topping baked potatoes, but even as a sauce (instead of gravy) for mashed potatoes, and it makes a great topping for twice-baked potatoes. Our family has even altered this shrimp sauce so that it can be used as a pasta sauce as well.

Shrimp Sauce and Baked Potatoes

For this recipe you will need the following items:

2 cans of tiny shrimp (4 ½ oz cans)
2 tablespoons of butter (margarine can be used as a substitute)
2 egg yolks
1/8 cup of nutmeg (freshly ground)
½ cup of heavy whipping cream (you can use up to 1 cup if you are trying this as a pasta sauce, plus extra spices)
½ teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of chili sauce
1 tablespoon of parsley
1 teaspoon of ginger

This recipe will make sauce for four baked potatoes. Adjust as necessary for your meal or special occasion.

Here is how you make these Shrimp Sauce Baked Potatoes. First, drain the cans of shrimp, but set the liquid aside – do not discard it. Also, set the shrimp aside momentarily. Combine only ¼ cup of the shrimp juice with the butter or margarine. Once the pan is heated you will slowly stir in the egg yokes and slowly (at the same time) cook the mixture. You should never stop stirring until thickened. Let the heavy whipping cream reduce significantly for the desired effect.

Next remove the sauce pan from the heat. This is when you stir in the spices: nutmeg, ginger, salt, chili sauce, parsley, and pepper (optional) to taste. Stir in the rest of the shrimp and cook for another four to seven minutes over low heat. Then, when the potatoes are baked and / or ready you will slice them in half lengthwise and mush the potato, spoon the sauce over your potatoes and enjoy!

When you make this recipe for twice-baked potatoes, sometimes people like to add shredded cheese across the top and place the potatoes in the cooling oven until the cheese melted. Timing is very important for this recipe, whether once or twice baked potatoes are on the menu. This is because you want your potatoes as well as your sauce to be warm at the same time.

If you are cooking pasta, the shrimp sauce recipe above is also great. However, I usually substitute the chili sauce with a tablespoon of lime juice – I also like to be sure I use fresh ground nutmeg . . . especially with the pasta sauce. Often, I will also drain and dispose of the liquid from the cans of shrimp and make up the difference with extra heavy whipping cream. Nonetheless, the cooking of the sauce is virtually the same. You should reduce and thicken the heavy whipping cream a bit more than you would with the baked potato sauce, and I highly recommend using bowtie pasta. Use about four servings worth of pasta (i.e. four cups or so) if you want to use this recipe for a shrimp pasta sauce.

Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake

by LeAnn Ralph
The taste of strawberry Jello goes well with the rhubarb in this coffee cake.

Be sure to use at least 4 cups of cut up rhubarb, otherwise the cake tends to be on the dry side. Also, if you want, you can substitute 2/3 cup of Canola oil (or another vegetable oil) for the butter in the bottom layer.

Bottom Layer:
~ 1/2 cup butter or margarine (or 2/3 cup of Canola oil or another vegetable oil)
~ 1 cup sugar
~ 2 cups flour
~ 1/2 teaspoon salt
~ 1 teaspoon baking powder
~ 1/4 cup milk
~ 2 eggs
~1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs and stir in milk. Add dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. (Batter will be stiff.) Spread in the bottom of greased 9x13 pan.

Middle Layer:
~ 4 to 5 cups of rhubarb (cut up into small pieces)
~ 2 eggs
~ 1/4 cup milk
~ 2 cups sugar
~ 1 cup flour
~ 1 three-ounce package strawberry Jello

Measure rhubarb into a mixing bowl. Stir in eggs, milk, sugar and flour. Spread over bottom layer. Sprinkle the dry strawberry Jello over the rhubarb mixture.

Top Layer:
~ 1 cup flour
~ 3/4 cup brown sugar
~ 1/2 cup butter or margarine

Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Use a fork to cut the butter/margarine into the flour and brown sugar. Continue mixing until crumbly. Sprinkle over the rhubarb layer.

Bake at 350 degrees for 70 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

For an added treat, serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Online Recipes - Making Cooking Easier

by Gary Kingston
Online recipes have made cooking more fun for many people. This article explains why you should try something new in the kitchen!
The number of recipe sites offering free recipes and cooking guides is increasing all the time, meaning more and more of us are attempting extravagant meals.

In the past we would have got out the cookbook that was 20 years old, dusted it off, laughed at some of the outdated faded photos then set about trying to make a dish from it. Nowadays however we can simply access the internet, go to one of the thousands of websites offering free recipes and found a dish that really suits us down to the ground. Getting recipes off the web has great advantages from the old cookbook way of creating a meal.

1. Access to the internet is easy and plentiful. You do not have to wait to be back at home to get your recipes, you could be at work, print out a recipe and head to the shops to get the ingredients. This was you can be back in the house with all the ingredients, the recipe and you are ready to go.

2. The choice is much better on the web. Your old recipe book is likely to have a theme or if it doesn’t, will only have a certain number of recipes in it. The internet has literally millions of recipes for you to choose from, so you can always be sure you will be able to find something you are after.

3. You can often find recipes with ingredients you have never heard of. Many recipe sites these days come from foreign shores where fruits and vegetables you may have never heard of could be the main ingredients. It’s fun to try new things especially when it comes to food.

Online recipes have created chefs out of many of us. There are an endless amount on the web, from the bland to the sensationally weird. Whatever you want to cook , you can be sure to find a recipe for it on the web, somewhere! So next time you are thinking of trying something different in the kitchen, make sure you look up something new and one of the many recipe sites available today on the world wide web.

Honey Cakes for Mother's Day!

by Jennifer Oakley

In the ancient times honey cake was baked to celebrate the mother goddess deities. In modern times we only enjoy it in Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot -- that's why Mother's Day is a great excuse to bake honey cake so mothers and the whole family can enjoy.

Mother's Day is just around the corner and the best way to remember the times you've spent together in childhood is to bake together. A lot of us have baked cookies since we were kids and we all like our mother's best pudding or carrot cake. Something you might want to try baking together or make for your mother this Mother's Day is honey cake.

Normally we have to wait for Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot in order for us to have honey cake but Mother's Day is a good excuse to bake and have one too! During the ancient times honey cakes were made in Asia Minor in honor of a mother deity that the ancients celebrated. You might want to make is a day or so before Mother's Day though because the flavors in honey cake tends to deepen. The following recipe makes 8-10 servings.

To make honey cake this Mother's Day you'll need the following ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup honey (preferably buckwheat)

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup freshly brewed strong coffee, cooled

2 large eggs

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon

You'll need the following utensils:

A 9x5x3 inch loaf pan

An oven

An electric mixer

2 small bowls

1 large bowl (or the bowl the comes with the electric mixer)

1 rubber spatula

1 wooden pick or skewer

1 knife

Here are the direction for your Mother's Day honey cake: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F. Oil loaf pan well and dust with flour, knock out any excess. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and ginger in a small bowl. In another bowl whisk together honey, oil, and coffee until they're mixed well.

In a large bowl beat together eggs and brown sugar with an electric mixer at high speed for 3 minutes. Afterwards, reduce speed to low, and add honey mixture and whiskey and mix until blended. It'll be about 1 minute. Add flour mixture and mix until they're just combined. Finish mixing batter with a rubber spatula -- make sure you scrape the bottom of bowl.

Pour batter into the loaf pan (don't worry because the batter will be thin). Bake for 30 minutes and cover the top loosely with foil. Continue to bake until the cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and the wooden pick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean -- that's about 30 minutes more. Once that's done, cool on a rack for 1 hour. Run a knife around side of cake, then invert rack over pan and invert cake onto rack. Turn cake right side up and cool completely. If you keep the cake tightly in plastic wrap or in an airtight container at room temperature it'll last for about a week.

Egg-cellent Recipes For Your Favorite Outdoor Activities

by Anne Clarke
Improve it all with the sweet taste of great foods, the outdoors scenery- the good times that your friends and family members will always remember! From entrées to side dishes, outdoor events such as picnics or barbeque get-togethers require excellent food to enhance the fun and the ambiance of the occasion. There are several recipes for pot-luck get-togethers, outdoor barbeque's and outdoor home parties. You will love the taste of your food, and you will love the enjoyment you get from your outdoor furniture, landscaping and overall design of your home even more with great tastes to accentuate - foods like traditional or distinctive hardboiled egg recipes.

Below I will mention a few, distinctive hardboiled egg recipes for your outdoor parties, picnics and other kinds of get-togethers. If you have an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit or barbeque grill you may consider some of these recipes for at-home, outdoor entertainment. The highlight of many occasions, or at least a significant part of the event (virtually never excluded in America) is the food. Despite the fact that we as a nation are growing more and more concerned about our health and good eating habits, we always want to have a nice selection of snacks on the side. This article will also introduce you to some healthier (but just as delicious) foods to cook and serve at outdoor (or even indoor) special events.

First we will start with deviled eggs, an incredibly popular outdoor treat. Popular at poolside parties, barbeque's, pot-luck events, picnics and much, much more, deviled eggs are delicious. To make the proposition even tastier, I have two recipes for you. One is a less healthy deviled egg recipe for you, and the other is a lighter, healthier version of deviled eggs. Your guests will love to have the option, because some people especially when trying to loose weight – have few options in such circumstances.

Mamma’s Deviled Eggs
This recipe makes twelve deviled eggs altogether, in halves, lengthwise. Therefore, if you choose, you can use the other six eggs in the carton to make the lighter version of deviled eggs.

You will need the following items before you begin:

6 eggs
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of mustard
3 tablespoons of fried, real bacon bits
Chives (optional)
Paprika (optional)

The procedure is simple. First you hard cook the six eggs and let them chill. Peel the eggs. Slice the eggs in half, lengthwise. Remove the yolks. Prepare the yolks for mixture by whipping them up. It is simpler to create a more creamy mix once you add the mayonnaise and mustard. Mix the bacon bits in with the mixture. Taste the mixture and add salt, pepper, and / or paprika to taste. Add a spoonful of the mixture into each of the deviled eggs. For appearance and / or presentation, garnish your deviled eggs with chives. You can also choose to garnish with the bacon bits instead of using them in the deviled egg mixture. Some people also prefer to use a kind of spicy mustard instead of regular mustard.

A delicious as well as a beautiful treat to add to any occasion is the deviled egg tray. Whether you are serving a meal, or simply offering appetizers, these quite traditional snacks are perfect for any outdoor occasion. On the lighter side, you may consider making an alternative and healthier type of deviled eggs for your guests to choose from. Here are the ingredients you will need for the lighter recipe:

New Light Deviled Eggs
This recipe actually calls for 8 eggs. Therefore, if you purchase a carton of eggs for the party you will need a couple extra . . . or you will need to alter the recipe a bit. Many cooks, such as my self and my mother and her mother before her, like to make their own little alterations to popular recipes. You will need the following ingredients for this new, light deviled eggs recipe:

8 eggs
1/3 cup of fat free, plain yogurt
1/3 light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of pickle relish
1 teaspoon of dried, ground mustard
Paprika (optional)

Take 8 hardboiled eggs chilled. Peel the eggs in halves. Extract the egg yolks. Combine all ingredients together, with the exception of the paprika. Spoon the mixture into the halved, hardboiled egg whites. Sprinkle paprika over the eggs, adding spice and a lovely presentation as well. They are still delicious, and they are definitely still deviled eggs. This great new recipe offers the wonderful taste with about half of the fat and less calories than those you will consume by eating most other kinds of deviled eggs.

You will love the taste of your food, and you will love the enjoyment you get from your outdoor furniture, landscaping and overall design even more with great tastes like traditional or distinctive hardboiled egg recipes. From entrées to side dishes, outdoor events such as picnics or barbecue get-togethers require excellent food to enhance the fun and the ambiance of the occasion. There are several recipes for pot-luck get-togethers, outdoor barbeque's and outdoor home parties. Improve it all with the sweet taste of great foods, the outdoors scenery, the good times that your friends and family members will always remember.