Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quick Hint-Rising Bread

When I am making bread and need it to rise quickly I use this tip I am happy to say I thought up all by myself. I fill my sink about 2 inches with really hot water and stick in inverted cereal bowl in the water and put my bowl of dough on it and cover the entire sink with a towel and let it rise. The dough kind of steams a bit and since it it nice an moist and warm in there it rises in half the time. It works so well I use that trick every time I make bread.

Baked French Toast

Today we made baked french toast. It was really good. We took a few pieces of bread and ripped them up and made a mixture of 2 eggs, milk, a little bit if cinnamon, sugar and vanilla. We put it in a pie pan an baked it for 25 mins at 350. When it was done we topped it with a little butter and syrup. It was really good. I just put it together and stuck it in the oven and got the girls ready for the day. It was really simple and such a fun change a pace from cold cereal.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Summer Skirts

Every summer I love wearing skirts. This year Isabella is noticing all of my skirts and wants some of her own. So my newest project it to design and make a few skirts for her. I know I won't get them done before her birthday but I think I could have them done before it gets too warm. I am wondering if anyone has any fun pattern idea for the skirts. I already have a pleated skirt half done but I am not too creative when it come designing things from scratch. So any ideas would be great.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thoughts on fried rice and grilled cheese sandwiches

I read a really interesting article today about fried rice. I was looking for a recipe for fried rice and came upon this Asian chef's blog. He said several of his friends have asked him for a really good recipe for fried rice. And the thought amused him. In Asia when they make fired rice it is not anything special. In Thailand, their version "fried rice" translated is "leftovers". It is more of a method the an exact recipe. You have leftover rice, meat or on meat, some kind of veggie and you fry it up in a hot wok add an egg, you got fried rice. he said the only trick is to have everything kind of dry. If it is too wet the rice would stick.

It reminded me of our American grilled cheese sandwich. We all have our own way of making it but never really follow a recipe for it. This past weekend in California they had a grilled cheese sandwich contest. The Idea was really interesting to me. Check out this really fun site about the contest. I love a good grilled cheese but we have an ongoing dispute in my family on the best way to prepare one. I think butter on the outside of the bread and just plain Cheddar on the inside is the best way to make it. My mother on the other hand swears by putting miracle whip in between the cheese and bread. My Mother in law has just plain cheese on the inside and puts miracle whip in the outside of the bread. I am sure you all have your favorite way to make it as well. We might all think ours is the best. I think it might be best to agree to disagree!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hits and Misses

On this blog I am really looking forward to sharing some of the things I am good at. But I am also human and liable to make mistakes. So I thought I would share some of my misses as well as my hits.

Well tonight was a miss. I made chili in the crock pot. I soaked the beans overnight Friday and cooked the beans on Saturday. Today I put in all of the ingredients I usually do but I think I did not put in enough corn flour, which I use to help thicken the chili since I use tomato juice as a base. Well it never thickened up and was more like chili soup. Before I knew the chili flopped I decided to use a Jiffy mix for cornbread instead of making it from scratch like I usually do. Well, when I took it out of the pan it stuck. Then as I tried to scrape it out of the pan in crumbled all over the place. So for all of my shortcuts and underestimating of ingredients I had to serve my family watery chili and crumbled cornbread. I think you can imagine I was pretty disappointed. But my loving husband made the best of it. He took his crumbly cornbread and stirred it into his soupy chili and loved it.
Mental note- shortcuts on cornbread bad... supportive husband very very good!!

Quick Hint- Cutting Apples

I was making an apple pie for Sunday night dinner. I cut the apples up and needed to get something else done so I put them in a bowl of cold water to keep them from browning. The apples kept floating to the top as apples do so I put a plate on top of them and it held the apples under water. No brown apples!

What to do with leftover BBQ fixin's

On Friday we had a family BBQ. Well, it was going to be a BBQ but the baby decided to take a 3 hour nap and by the time she woke up the sun had gone down and it cooled off too much to cook outside. But we still enjoined ourselves with an indoor BBQ.

Saturday I was going to fix dinner and I had a fun idea. I am sure a lot of people have done this before but I thought I would share it anyway. We had a lot of leftover baked beans, two hot dogs 3 hot dog buns and some peas. I cut up the hot dogs into little circles and mixed them in the baked beans with a little BBQ sauce. I heated the up in the microwave. I also heated up the peas. I took the hot dog buns and turned them into garlic toast by mixing butter, garlic powder, and parsley and spreading it on the buns. I stuck them in the toaster oven and everything was done in about 5 minutes. I took some of the peas and mashed them up for the baby and after setting the table it took a total of 10 minutes to get diner done. I love leftovers!

What are some of your leftover BBQ masterpieces?

Friday, April 24, 2009

How to make bar cookies with veggies!

I know what you are thinking, but using veggies in a bar cookies is an awesome way to get your kids to eat more of the green stuff. I made these today and my kids (yes, even the baby!) LOVE them. I packed them as full of good stuff as I could. I got the original recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook. But of course I made some adjustments.

I'll post the original recipe then my substitutions.

Original Recipe Carrot Zucchini Bars

Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes
Oven: 350°F
Makes: 36 bars
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot (about 3 medium)
1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe Citrus-Cream Cheese Frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, ginger, and baking soda. In another large bowl stir together eggs,carrot, zucchini, brown sugar, raisins, walnuts,oil, honey, and vanilla. Add carrot mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Spread batter in an un greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Bake about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Frost with Citrus-Cream Cheese Frosting. Cut into bars.

Citrus-Cream Cheese Frosting: In a bowl beat one 8-ounce package softened cream cheese and 1 cup powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Stir in 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel.

Leahona's Carrot Zucchini Bars
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 T milled flax seed
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t baking soda
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c zucchini finely shredded
1 1/2 c carrots finely shredded
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c diced dried plums (but raisins are just as good, I happened to be out of them at the time)
1/2 c large apple shredded (sub. for walnuts- babies can't have nuts)
1/2 c applesauce
1 t vanilla
1/4 c corn syrup (the only reason I sub. the honey is Babies can't have honey till age 1. I have found corn syrup makes a great sub for honey in most recipes)

Prepare same as original

I must confess, I used store bought cream cheese frosting. Adding whole wheat flour, dried plums (I only call them that because it sounds way better then prunes!) flax seed, and omitting the oil and adding applesauce I think helps the bar cookies really become a bit healthier.

I hope you take the challenge and slip some veggies in you cookies! Trust me, it's great!

ps. The serving size is 36 bars per pan.

Welcome to Hona's Helpful Hints!!!


I have started this second blog because I have gotten several requests to share my hints and ideas for things. On this blog I will put my favorite recipes, recipes alterations, hints and techniques and just share what I have learned in the magical art of homemaking. I know I still have much to learn and I welcome any sharing of hints, ideas or whatever! I hope this can be a place of learning, growing and sharing. I hope to learn just a much if not more from you as you do from me.

Bon Apetites!


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