Mixing up your Kitchen
By: Desiri Wightman, RD, CD
Two years ago, I took a plate of Christmas goodies to a friend. Containers of cookies and homemade candies from other well-wishers already occupied every inch of her kitchen. Her husband said, "We'll never be able to eat all of this." He found an empty paper plate, loaded it up with treats from all the other plates in the kitchen, and handed it to me with a "Merry Christmas!" He then pulled out a few more paper dishes and started loading them up. "I'm taking these to the neighbors," he stated decidedly. His wife suddenly became quite interested, "No, don't put those cookies on that plate. The Wilson's brought us those. I'd rather just throw this stuff out than offend our neighbors by giving it back to them!"
Sometimes it's easy to overwhelm our friends' willpower and weight goals with all of our ready-to-eat holiday treats. Here you'll find ideas for gifts that won't compete for your neighbors kitchen space or sweet-tooth. These mixes will outlast the holiday "sweetson", calling to mind homemade goodness and your thoughtfulness far into the New Year! Mix up a few of these recipes, and fill holiday tins, gift bags, canning jars, bowls, boxes, or resealable bags. Trim with fabric, ribbon or raffia, and attach the recipe or instructions. Or, use Cook'n and print your recipes on decorative recipe cards. Then, deliver a gift that won't be given away or tossed out as soon as you leave the doorstep!
Click on a mix to view the recipe:
Hot Cocoa Mix
Rush'n Delight Drink Mix
Quick Chip Dip
Chicken Flavored Rice Mix
Trailblazer Bean Soup Mix
Turkey Noodle Soup Mix
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Dan's Fluffy Potato Wheat Bread
When I read this month's newsletter, I was particularly interested in the feature article. I praised Desi for the outstanding job she did and shared a personal experience I recently had with my own wheat bread mix. She thought you might be interested in hearing it so she encouraged me to include it in the newsletter. I think she just wants my recipe! The truth is, she was probably just humoring me since I am the President. She knows who butters her bread...did someone say bread? OK...twist my arm.
We bought a bread maker a couple years ago because we needed something to gather dust in the kitchen. Sure, making a loaf of homemade bread is simple with a breadmaker and healthier too. But, for whatever reason, we just didn't take the time to do it. Until recently, that is.
My wife, Kathy, purchased some Wheat Bread mixes from a local flour mill. I discovered that dumping the mix in the bread maker and adding some water and some yeast was something I could do! So, I did this from time to time and we enjoyed fresh, warm...awful tasting wheat bread. I am not sure why, but it tasted...just plain bad!
Despite the poor taste, I thought the idea had merit, so I experimented with several different wheat bread recipes. One of the recipes called for a boiled, mashed potato. This particular ingredient really made the bread nice and moist. However, who has time to boil and mash a potato? I decided to use potato flakes instead. I also found that mixing in just a little white flour improves the texture and makes a big difference.
Once I got it just the way I liked it, I opened up the breadmaker and about ten ziplock bags. I incorporated (as Martha Stewart would say) each of the dry ingredients (except the yeast!) into the breadmaker and ziplock bags and made my own mixes. It was easy!
Now, four hours before we feel like we might want a delicious loaf of homemade wheat bread, we just dump Dan's Fluffy Potato Wheat Bread into the breadmaker, crack an egg and add a little water, yeast, honey, butter...and voalla! The bread comes out nice and fluffy, moist, and has a great flavor. Kathy and I like the idea of including more wheat in our diet but don't care for the typical, heavy, loaf of bread that wheat flour usually makes. We have found this one to be particularly enjoyable.
I am willing to share this recipe, but there is only one thing that I ask in return. No, you do not have to keep it a secret...in fact, what I'm asking you to do is share it with someone else. Click here and type in a friend's e-mail address. I will send both of you my recipe. Your friend will enjoy a new recipe and we can introduce our newsletter to more people. Is that fair enough?
Whoops! Now my message is longer than the feature article. This is probably the last time Desi will ask me to add my thoughts to a newsletter...unless you rally in support. So, fire off a quick e-mail message and let us know what you like and what you don't. Your feedback will shape future issues!
Merry Christmas everyone!!
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Leftover Pie Dough Appetizers
If you're baking holiday pies, here's a new way to use up that leftover pie dough. Roll out; cut into strips and sprinkle with some Parmesan and Gruyere cheese. Bake it for 5-10 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp. Serve as an appetizer. Experiment with different seasonings, too: garlic powder, parsley, herb blends, and so forth. You may end up mixing up pie dough just for these!
* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions!
Email us and we'll post your hints
and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *
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Mitzi's Mom's Cookies
This recipe grabbed a prize in our recent My Friend's a Good Cook contest. This story will warm your heart and these cookies may end up becoming a new Christmas tradition. Submitted by Bradley Creer, he writes:
"I got this recipe from Mitzi's mom. Mitzi is my wife, sooo that would make Mitzi's mom my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law's name is LaRue Morris, and she lives in Cedar City, Utah. Grandma Morris always has a batch of these ready when we go down for a visit (if we warn her that we're coming). I've always had--from what I gather listening to others--a unique relationship with my mother-in-law. We get along unusually well; we confide in each other, we've gone on family vacations with she and grandpa, and I honestly feel like she loves me like a son. Every friend I've ever shared this recipe with loves it. One short bittersweet story: A friend/neighbor/church member of ours was in the cabinet business. While he was building cabinets for our kitchen, I made him a batch of these cookies. He had to have the recipe. I willingly obliged, although he grumbled about the price of the cardamom. Not long after, he was diagnosed with cancer and not long to live. In his last days, he asked a family member to make him "Mitzi's Mom's cookies."
Click here to see the recipe.
* Do you have any fabulous recipes to share with other Cook'n readers?
Email your recipes to us. Include
any preparation or serving hints and/or tell us about you and your family.
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Three Wise Women
Do you know what would have happened
If it had been Three Wise Women
Instead of Three Wise Men?
They would have asked directions,
Arrived on time,
Helped deliver the baby,
Cleaned the stable,
Made a casserole,
Brought practical gifts and
There would be Peace On Earth.
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Thanks, Michelle Peek, for this twist on an old favorite!
Our children love to play games--especially those you can play outdoors. One winter night, they wanted to play hide and seek but due to the chill factor we decided to change the rules. We turned out every light in the house and gave each pair (we have six people in our family so we paired everyone up to make it more difficult) a flashlight. One pair was "it" while the other two pairs had to hide together. After counting to 100, the "it" pair had to search for the others using their flashlight. We had a blast! One side note, however, if you decide to do this activity and are close friends with your neighbors, you might want to let them in on what you are doing. Our neighbors saw the flashlights and called while we were playing. They figured if we were home, we would answer the phone, and if it was a burglar and no one answered, they would call the police! Good thing we chose to answer the phone!
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Notes from Folks
Hi there! Thanks for the great newsletter! Just a helpful hint for those making the gingerbread houses featured last month: you can use a small milk carton as a "foundation" and then glue the graham crackers and candy to that - it's easier than trying to glue the crackers to themselves.
*I bet it's a whole lot easier! Thanks for the tip, Cara!
We got our Cook'n for Kids software.... and my daughter loves it! She printed out her favorite recipes, and at the dinner table informed all of us how to use proper table manners! Hee hee! It was a riot! What fun! Thanks again!
I am glad I received the newsletter, and look forward to the next one.
*Thanks for the note, Susie! Sounds like you may have a future teacher on your hands . . . likes to read and share!
Thank you for your newsletter. I use Tickler daily and believe it is the Best on the market. My version is probably about 2 years old and I was wondering if there has been any changes or upgrades to this great software. Really don't know how you can improve it but I didn't want to be left behind.
*Thanks Bill. Keep an eye out for the new version of Tickler within the next two weeks. In addition to replacing the "Haaaappy Biiiiirthday" sound clip with about twenty new sounds, we've added several new features...like greeting cards. Stay tuned!
I have a question: How often do you send out the "Dan Oaks recipes?" The reason I like your web site is because the recipes and hints are so down to earth. They fit right into my middle-class kitchen. Which means -- nothing too fancy -- but nutritious and sounds good. Keep up the good work.
* Great question, Rita. There are so many newsletters out there, we had to find a way to make ours unique. The Cook'n Monthly Newsletter is the only monthly newsletter that gets sent out once each quarter. I wish I was kidding, but unfortunately, we were so swamped with the development of the eight new products that the newsletter got put on the back burner for a little while. I am pleased to say that we are back on track. You should expect to receive a sizzling issue each month.
If you are not aware, we also have a WEEKLY newsletter which gets sent out...about once a month. Sorry. We are still not caught up on that one. However, subscribe today! It's free! Just click here and soon you will enjoy this refreshing newsletter each week!
*We've received letters asking us to clarify last month's winning recipe Marinated Tri-Tip Roast. A tri-tip roast is a lean, boneless, and economical cut of meat from the round and bottom sirloin of the cow. Generally, a cooked, trimmed tri-tip roast will yield four 3-ounce servings of meat per pound. For this recipe, use a 3-pound roast to get twelve 3-ounce servings or six 6-ounce servings of beef.
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Here's another great gift idea! Check out our delicious Snickerdoodle mixes. I have tried them and they are GREAT!
Many of you decided to filter the foul language and put a TV Guardian under the tree this Christmas. What a response!! We were almost overwhelmed by the large number orders that came in. I am pleased that we were able to save you $40 off the $129.95 list price by ordering in bulk. I bought extras for the stragglers so if you would still like to get a TV Guardian for your family at the awesome, discount price of $89.95, click here and order now...before they are all gone.
Decorative Recipe Cards
If you haven't seen the new recipe card designs we created, check them out today. Rather than the water mark style with the image in the background, we decided to put the creative design in the bottom left corner. They look GREAT!! We modified the software accordingly and posted the updates on the internet for you to download for free. Check out the cards by clicking here.
Magnetic Recipe Card Holders
Special thanks to Larry Doppelmayr. He noticed that recipes printed on 3x5 cards often get damaged by cooking splatters and spills and came up with a great solution. He took a clear plastic badge from a recent trade show, put a 3x5 recipe card in it, glued a magnet to the back and sent it to us. The plastic protects the recipe card and the magnet holds it to the fridge or stove for easy reference while cooking. It was such a great idea that we decided to manufacture them in bulk for our customers. Click here and get yours today! Thanks Larry for saving everyone's recipe cards!!
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