Tag Archives: mouthful of food

All About Raisins…..

12 Sep

As you may already know last week I was on the hunt for muscats. Before last week I had never even heard of a muscat. Learning about them came about when my dad told me his mother used “larger raisins” when making a Blackberry Jam Cake. I did know what he was talking about and because it had been so long since he had one he could not remember what the “larger raisins” were called. He called my aunt and she remembered that they were called something that began with the letter “M”. That’s all I needed to begin my search on the internet.  After a few clicks of the computer mouse some creative google searches I found out what the “M” word was. Muscat or Muscats.

After learning that muscats were not readily available in the grocery stores in our area, we bought some online from California and they arrived quite swiftly. Packaged in bulk, fresh and tasty. Before ordering from the internet, my dad and I were in and out of stores looking for muscats and; in our search I discovered they were several varieties of raisins. Now raisins might not sound overly exciting to read about but they are a great snack and go well in many baked goods, cereals and, salads. I use baking raisins specifically in my soft Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and traditional raisins in my delicious Coleslaw recipe which you can find here.

Here is a little more info on raisin varieties:

Baking Raisins: These are a must for me when I bake. They are not always available everywhere so stock up if you bake a lot. Baking raisins come in 6 ounce pouches filled with the traditional raisins and small amount of a sweet syrup that I believe partially rehydrates them which will leave your baked goods even tastier.

Dark Seedless: Raisins that are made from Thompson seedless grapes that are dried for several weeks. These raisins are good for almost anything.

Golden Seedless: Also from Thompson seedless grapes treated with sulphur dioxide to prevent darkening. These grapes have a shorter drying time. Use these for cooking and snacking.

Zante: Zante grapes produce tiny, dried currants often used for baking.

Last but not least:

Muscat: Muscat grapes yield large, fat, dark, very sweet raisins. Use muscats for snacking and baking too. Beware of the edible seeds inside the muscats. The seeds may be left in or out when baking but, I would suggest cutting the muscat in half and taking the seeds out one by one.

This concludes today’s lecture on raisin varieties. Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Talking with my Mouthful of Food. 😉

Kim Cherie

#Septemberwritingchallenge

day12

Something to make you laugh out loud…

11 Sep

I made the mistake of getting hungry while getting baking supplies tonight. I had already finished up shopping at one grocery store but, I still needed some pecan pieces to finish  out the list. All this shopping getting done tonight was to fill cake orders that are to be ready on Friday morning for delivery. Anyway, my plan was to run inside Meijer and pick up the pecans, another pound of butter and then get right back out of there and head home…… I didn’t think I was hungry or need to eat another meal. I just wanted to get home.

But, when I walked in the door of the Meijer (my favorite grocery store btw), a lady I did not know was walking out the doors with a fat juicy tomato and a receipt in her hand and she was telling the store greeter that she was making BLT’s and she didn’t have a tomato. Why did I have to hear that? Just hearing “BLT” had awaken my taste buds and my belly up and you would’ve sworn I hadn’t ate all day.

And here’s what happened next:

I went to get my 2 bags of pecans and then thought maybe I can just get a Honey Crisp Apple and be satisfied. I grabbed it. And since I was in the produce section and meat department that BLT was sounding better and better. So, I began to talk to myself….  Let’s grab some lettuce. Ok, just get the bacon too….I don’t know if I’m going to want to make one or two ( but it would definitely be two) this late. Well, if you don’t get it you’ll regret it and you will be thinking about it all night. Well, where is the tomato?….Here I am walking around the store no grocery cart, both hands full….. Just let me make it to the line. Thank God the bread is near the registers… Awww shoot, I didn’t get the butter yet. Hmmm, maybe I can just make a grilled cheese? Ok, get Texas Toast and Wheat Bread too…. I’m going to drop my tomato. Please don’t let me drop the tomato… Grabbed the butter. Now on to the bread. Set the tomato down. Pick up the wheat bread. Pick up the tomato. Almost there Kim. Oh, there’s the Texas Toast. Ugh, put the tomato down. Put the wheat bread down. Pick up, both loaves of bread by the tail and grab the tomato!! Now, GET IN LINE!!!!……. There is probably about eight people in the self service line and everybody is has major groceries. This isn’t going to be quick. I run over(walk briskly) over to the greeter and ask for a basket. By then I wasn’t so sure that anything was getting made tonight. Because I would probably be in line for the next 20 minutes. This whole event was way too stressful. Finally when it was my turn to ring myself up I decided PB &J would be suffice. But, those BLT’s will be delicious tomorrow.

Thanks for listening to my eventful night at the grocery store.. I didn’t plan on another grocery store story again so soon.

To show you my appreciation I will try to make you laugh out loud by sharing a joke I read somewhere:

A taxi passenger tapped the driver on the shoulder to ask him a question.

The driver screamed, lost control of the car, nearly hit a bus, went up on the footpath, and stopped centimeters from a shop window.

For a second everything went quiet in the cab, then the driver said. “Look mate, don’t ever do that again. You scared the daylights out of me!”

The passenger apologized and said, “I didn’t realize that a little tap would scare you so much.”

The driver replied, “Sorry, it’s not really your fault. Today is my first day as a cab driver; I’ve be driving a funeral van for the last 25 years”.

Goodnight,

Kim Cherie

#Septemberwritingchallenge

day11

 

 

I want to get better at…..

7 Sep

Public speaking and enunciation of my words. I want to become a great speaker while interacting one on one and in front of large groups of people. Speaking with authority and articulating my thoughts without getting nervous and tongue tied is like my current obsession.  I already know that I can do this because I have done it before. Hey, I do it now… but, I do it in comfortable spaces. Where there is no need to be afraid. The problem is being confident in unknown places and company, such as online, on camera, in front of large groups of people I might want to show how to bake a three layer cake without fail or, just with one person I want to get to know better or I want them to know me. Also, I want to enunciate my words better when talking. I don’t mumble or anything like that, but when I hear people speaking clear and sharp I pay more attention. That’s the effect I want on my listeners.

Frankly, I get nervous and tongue tied all the time. I am mostly an introvert I think. I say hello to everyone I see but, I don’t usually engage in a full conversation until I feel them out for a bit. The funny thing is, in my imagination I am a social butterfly and I engage with everyone and can talk about anything and everything. I can actually visualize it. This is what tells me that my selective semi-mutism doesn’t have to be. I just have to snap out of it. And, by that I mean PRACTICE. It’s going to take practice and patience to get to the place where I’m comfortable walking up to an unknown person and starting a conversation even if it’s just small talk. Big things start out small.

In just a few weeks I hope to begin developing my speaking skills and my confidence by joining a group of like minded people who have the desire to do the same. I am excited and nervous to get out there and push past the fear.

Until tomorrow,

Kim Cherie

#Septemberwritingchallenge

day7

My Grocery Shopping Routine… Yes I really do have one!

6 Sep

Actually, it is more like a plan of action. And, it’s usually planned out weekly; mostly on payday when I see how much money I do not have. This is something I have been doing for several years now and has become somewhat of a game to me.

Well first let me preface this post by stating that I enjoy the grocery store probably more than anyone I know. Even though I know where every item is (even the ones I don’t buy) in my favorite store, I still push a grocery cart up and down every aisle to see what is new in grocery food.  My only exception to that rule is probably the frozen isle because, I don’t buy a lot of frozen foods. In addition to knowing exactly where the food items I wish to buy are located. I also know the regular retail price of it (Disclaimer: this is only in my usual choice grocery store).  And that’s where the fun part comes in…..

Every week after I decide how the money will be spent for life bills; I see how much money is left for food and other essential living items. From that left over money, I create a weekly menu that can feed my family for the next 7 days. Even though I get paid bi-weekly now, the weekly thing still works for me because I can only plan for food for the week. My taste buds and cravings cannot be planned out 2 weeks in advance. (REAL LIFE FOODIE HERE!!).. After planning the weekly menu, I make the grocery list based off the menu I have created. Everything on the list will be used to make meals and eat this week. Not next week or next month… Just this week. This is so you only spend what money you have for groceries. As you write your list, write down how much each item cost at regular price.. Add it all up. This is how much you will probably spend at the store unless something is on sale. Which is totally awesome when you can get food on sale!!! Once your grocery list is made, go to through your cabinets, pantry and, refrigerator and freezer to see what you already have on hand. (If you’re the only cook in your household you may already know what’s on hand and can skip the pantry check because, you already know what you have.) What can you cross off of your list? That’s money you don’t have to spend at the grocer. Yay! That’s money you can put in a piggy bank or buy yourself a small treat for staying with your list! Once you are all done shopping and in that check out line, pull those coupons out if you have them. You’re doing great! Watch the cashier ring up your items and see if the prices match your prices you have wrote down already. Does her grand total match your grand total.. Did you get away spending less than YOU have wrote down on you grocery list? If so, YOU WON THE GROCERY GAMES!!! 🙂

Yes, I get excited about things like this. It’s the little things that count. But winning at my grocery budget is totally a big thing with me… Mostly because I spend soooo much money on food and I have to reel myself in when it comes to groceries and/or going on a food adventure.

So, to recap:

  1. Decide how much $ you want to spend on groceries this week. Create your menu for the next 7 days.
  2. Draft a grocery list. Write down the regular retail price also.
  3. Check your cabinets, pantry,  refrigerator and, freezer for items already on hand.
  4. Get shopping! If you have coupons use them!! Bonus points if your items are on sale!
  5. Lastly, go check out…. hopefully with good knowledge of food costs and your grocer you can spend as much cash as you have allotted or less. And, that’s how you win at the Grocery Games!!!

Hmmm, maybe I should’ve title today’s post: Grocery Games. LOL.

Goodnight….

#Septemberwritingchallenge

day6

My Top Ten Must Have Kitchen Tools

4 Sep

I am constantly stocking the kitchen with tools to make my cooking and baking experiences better than the last. Other than the grocery store a kitchen supply store would be my favorite place to go for a shopping spree. Having the proper tools in the kitchen for the task(s) can make preparing breakfast, lunch, dinner, and/or dessert a breeze. Everyone’s picks for top tools I’m sure are different based on the type of cooking/baking/grilling is going on in their own home kitchen. Today, I’ll share with you my top tool must haves for a great cooking/baking event.

Wooden Spoons:  I love wooden spoons. Heavy wide ones are my favorite and the ones I get dreamy eyed for. These wonderful creations are good for mixing anything from Kool-Aid to pound cakes. You can crumble ground beef or make scrambled eggs in a hot skillet and, wooden spoons are safe for non-stick skillets so there will be no scratching hazzards on that nice teflon. This favorite tool of mine is always on deck and always at arms length when I need it.

Rubber Spatulas: Rubber spatulas are priceless, I love them so much because they are good for mixing and blending and for allowing me to scrape every drop of blueberry batter into the muffin pans. They are flexible and reliable to bend their way into a can of thick tomato paste.  Stock up on these.

Box Shredder: Oh my goodness!! Shredding carrots for carrot cake and zucchini breads takes only a few seconds. I never have had too much of either to think about taking out the food processor.  I also use a shredder regularly to shred cheese for tacos and macaroni and cheese.  Believe me when I tell you that self shredded cheese is life. It tastes like real cheese and melts like a dream.

Salad Spinner: Ok, I have had an unopened salad spinner in the basement for years. It was still in the box until this year when a bag of lettuce turned up with something very unappetizing. It didn’t take me long to go downstairs and pull my salad spinner right on out. And, let me tell you I looooovvveee it!!!! This is another tool that is definitely worth every penny.  All you have to do is buy the lettuce cut it on the board as large or small as you’d like, put it in the spinner, run water over the chopped lettuce,  put the top on and spin the water out using the button or crank on the top. This is wonderful. It basically dries the lettuce out. No more wet lettuce. Yes!… You can even store it in the same container for a few of days. It will stay green and crisp for at least 3 days after the cutting and spinning.

Portion Scoops: These life savers are everything. They promise to deliver uniform cookies, muffins and, cupcakes every time. I first learned of these before the millinum while working at a bakery. And, ever since I have not made cookies, muffins or cupcakes without them. Oh and they are good for meatballs too!

Measuring Spoons and Cups (Dry & Liquid): I’m going to say you need two full matching sets of each.  Dry measuring cups are where you would want to measure flours, sugars or any other dry ingredients. They are usually plastic or metal and come in a set of 4 to 5 cups. The standard basic measures for cups are 1, 1/2, 1/3 and 1/4 cups. Measuring spoons come in sets also and are best when the spoons are matched. Matching sets allow for accurate measuring based on that particular set. Liquid measures usually come in see through glass or acrylic and are clearly marked and lined for clear and concise measuring of your wet ingredients. They too come in different measurements from 1 cup and up to 4 cups for basic home use.

Potato Masher: When I watched Rachel Ray use a potato masher to crumble cooked ground beef  I said to myself “She is a genius!”. And, since then I use a potato masher to crumble my ground meats when cooking. Using the masher cuts the time in half to crumble the meat into very small crumbles for tacos, sloppy joes, and chili. Using the masher this way is making the tool a multi use product. Awesome!

Large Metal Mixing Bowl: My most valuable tool in the kitchen is my large metal mixing bowl. I use this bowl to mix almost everything from cake batter to meatloaf and, I also use it as a cake cover in a pinch. It has been with me for 18 years. It was my mother’s. I don’t know how long she had it prior to my take over of this valued heirloom. When I moved out at 24 years of age the bowl came with me. It still it the number one pick in the kitchen for me even with at least five other bowls jockeying for the number one spot.

Heavy Wire Whisk: Anything beginning with eggs, sugar and oil needs a wire whisk. Anything ending with a dry mix going in with the eggs, sugar and oil needs a wire whisk. I pull this out anytime I don’t need butter to bake. A whisk will build arm muscles and will relieve you from having to pull out a hand mixer or stand mixer. Neither of which I will do if I can handle the job with my trusty wire whisk.

Chef’s Knives: Always, Always, Always have a good chef’s knife. As a matter of fact have two. I say this because you may prefer one knife for a particular cutting or chopping job and another for something more delicate or challenging. I am not an expert with the knives but I tend to use at least 2 knives when chopping my raw veggies.

Stocking your kitchen with these very basic cooking tools will make you look and feel like a pro in no time flat. This list is my top ten in no particular order; I could very easily make it an infinite list. I value my kitchen items so very much. Now that I am thinking about it more, I guess I am fond of all my kitchen tools for one reason or another. Even though I am well stocked on cooking and baking utensils and tools, I still have a never ending kitchen tool wish list. And, that’s a whole other story. 🙂

What kitchen gadgets top your list in your kitchen?

Are any of my top ten on your top ten?

 

Chat with you tomorrow,

Kim Cherie

#septemberwritingchallenge

day4

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