Archive for the 'In The Kitchen' Category

Summer Grilling 04Jun12

Summer grilling is one of my favorite pastimes. I regularly center my time spent around food all year, but during the summer it’s just so perfect. Food is light and healthy and grilled (not fried). Food is fresh, crunchy, juicy, and hydrating. While I generally eat a lot of vegetables throughout the year, I really gravitate to lots of fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables in the summer.

outdoor cooking and grillingIt is so hot in the summer that hot, rich, heavy, deep fried, oven roasted food just is not what I crave. But, because it is so hot I find myself wanting fruits and vegetables that are full of water and nutrients to rehydrate my body; because even though it can be ridiculously hot outside I like to take full advantage of the warm sun, and I’d rather be hot than cold. So, with all of that said, I try to do what I can to research different summer grilling veggie recipes to make eating fun. I recently came across this recipe for Grilled Vegetable Focaccia and I cannot wait to give this a try. It’s nice to eat raw vegetables, but veggies on the grill are unbelievable! If you haven’t tried vegetables on the grill, you have got to either do it yourself, or if you live in an apartment which grills are not allowed, please befriend someone with a grill – you will not regret this decision. It has always been my belief that everything tastes better if it is grilled (this includes romaine lettuce).

So basically, in a nutshell, I love summer grilling and the food that goes along with it. I love grilling outside, eating fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables, and eating it outside as I continue to sit in the heat of the summer. What do I recommend? Well, if you have the means, I suggest picking up a portable grill, BBQ set, BBQ cover or other grilling accessories:

Grilling Accessories at Taylor Gifts

Make the most of this awesome summertime grilling season. You won’t regret cooking on the grill, and your family will love you for it.

Corn Cob Desilker 03May12

I love May! The weather is getting warmer and warmer and each night I can smell the wonderful foods my neighbors are cooking on their outdoor grills. I don’t have one and I am oh-so jealous. There is nothing like cooking fresh foods on the grill. Everything tastes better!

One of my favorite foods to grill is corn on the cob. For the longest time, I didn’t know you could grill it. I had always had it boiled. The only problem with corn on the cob is all those little silk strands that are so hard to clean off. The inevitably get stuck in my teeth and then I have to break out the floss. It’s not a problem that would deter me from eating corn, but just an annoyance.

Corn Cob Desilker” width=Hasn’t anyone found a way to get the silk strands off the cob? Yes! The Corn Desilker is an amazingly simple gadget that grabs the strands and pull them off. It’s so simple, it makes me wonder why I haven’t always had this!

I have a feeling I’ll be eating a lot of corn on the cob this summer!

Our customers rate this Corn Desilker:

4.7 out of 5 Stars (based on 3 reviews as of May 3, 2012).

Orgreenic 10 Piece Cookware Set 28Mar12

As you may know, I love to cook. I’m always trying new recipes and I become more adventurous with each meal I make. That is not to say that I don’t enjoy making simple dishes as well—sometimes you just can’t beat eggs, pancakes and bacon for dinner!

Orgreenic 10 Piece Cookware Set” width=
The biggest drawback of cooking is the cleanup. The good vibes I get from enjoying a delicious meal I’ve made myself are short lived when I see the pile of dishes waiting in the sink. Scrubbing, soaking, and scrubbing again is not what I want to do at the end of a long day. In January I told you about a frittata and a salmon filet I made with the OrGREENiC Frying Pan. I loved being able to take the pan straight from the stove top to the oven and cleanup was shockingly simple! Nothing stuck to the non-stick ceramic surface! A quick rinse and the pan was clean. I remember wishing all my pots and pans would be this versatile and easy to clean.

My wish has been granted! There is now an entire set of OrGREENiC pots and pans! The OrGREENiC 10 Piece Cookware Set is easy to use and clean, and looks great! You can easily broil, bake, braise, steam, sauté, fry, boil, and sear without adding extra oil, fat or grease! The ten piece set includes an 8” fry pan, 10” fry pan with a lid, 1.5 qt. sauce pot with lid, 2.5 qt. sauce pot with lid, 6 qt. stock pot with lid, and an aluminum steamer insert. I’m looking forward to braising a roast and tossing it right into the oven with veggies!

I can’t wait to get my new set of OrGREENiC Cookware to start cooking more and cleaning less!

Deep Frying 21Mar12

I love testing and trying new recipes. I am not afraid to fail in the kitchen…you win some, you lose some. Sometimes you spend hours attempting to bake or cook an item or a full meal to wind up throwing it away and ordering pizza or grabbing store bought cookies. I distinctly remember a time that I accidentally put in ¼ cup salt into my chocolate chip cookies instead of ¼ teaspoon…they had to go into the trash and ever since then I never really felt guilty about food fails. But, it’s also helpful to have the right tools, which I sometimes don’t have.

A few weeks ago on a Sunday morning I was watching the Cooking Channel while I ate my breakfast and drank my coffee before I started the day. I was watching Alton Brown and he made the quickest and easiest bread I had ever seen made (I am generally afraid of making bread because I am scared of yeast). This bread was perfect for me because it was just a few ingredients, only needed one bowl, and it used beer, therefore eliminating the need for yeast and/or time for the dough to rise. The problems I ran into were the following: Alton gave measurements by weight and I didn’t have a food scale, he also said the final product would be finished after it reached a certain temperature and I didn’t have a food thermometer. I estimated the measurements and the time the bread should be in the oven, and it actually turned out pretty good!

DEEP FRY THERMOMETER” width=since this was a recipe testing success, my friend and I decided to make this bread for our friends for a BBQ to use instead of buying store bought buns for burgers. With that in mind, we planned ahead and bought a deep fry thermometer and a food scale. We figured we might as well buy these items for this BBQ because we cook so much together we’ll definitely use them again.

Kitchen Organization 21Feb12

It has been something I should have addressed a long time ago. I have avoided it because I just didn’t want to think about how to go about resolving the problem. I wanted to continue to ignore the clutter, and just pretend like it would eventually be okay when I move one day. But my kitchen is small, I like to cook and serve, and I have too much stuff and not enough cabinets in the small kitchen.

I have been storing serving pieces, baking dishes, and small appliances that I do not use every day on top of the refrigerator and on top of the cabinets that don’t reach the ceiling. The other week, I opened the freezer door and a serving plate (luckily small and plastic) came tumbling down on my head. I knew at this moment that I needed a better solution to the lack of storage in my kitchen. Since it is not a home that I own and just an apartment I rent, I cannot redesign the kitchen to put in new cabinets that I like that will work for me. But I can search through different kitchen organization products to find some way to make my kitchen more manageable.

slim slide pantryThere are different ways and things to do in order to organize things better. My mom has something similar to the slim slide out pantry built into her kitchen, and she uses this for her spices – brilliant! No more digging around in search for the spice you need in a cabinet above your head! For me, I need more help in the serving pieces and appliance storage. four tier shelf” width=For this, I found the perfect product: a four tier shelf. I can keep it just outside my small kitchen, it holds everything so I can see what I have, and doesn’t take up too much space from my living area. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before!

Cutting Board with Cheese Tools 17Jan12

pencil drying rack” width=I came across an article last week that I think many of you will find fun and even useful. It was Craft of the Day, a Pencil Dish Rack
Reading the article, and the other Craft of the Day items makes me realize that I can actually do these things even though I am not crafty at all!

cutting board” width=I loved the idea of the pencil dish drying rack. It is such a neat idea, especially for those of us who may be on a budget. For Christmas I received a new cutting board with a tool drawer that can be used as a cheese board for parties. I have been hanging onto my old beat up board, but not using it. This is a great way to turn it into something useful that looks a lot better than a plastic drying rack!

Check out the article to see how to make the pencil dish rack with your old cutting board. Also, check out the other crafty items I am certain you’ll be able to do on your own!

Orgreenic Frying Pan 16Jan12

What a weekend! The weather was crisp and cold, a perfect weekend for snuggling under the blanket while watching movies, sipping on some hot chocolate, and trying out some new recipes in the crock pot. But of course, this is real life and I had things to do. I did spend a good deal of time indoors, doing laundry, cleaning, and doing some cooking, so it wasn’t a completely rush-around weekend.

CAKE POPS MAKERIn between grocery shopping and folding loads of clean clothes, I wanted to get some cooking done so I didn’t eat junk all weekend. I used the new Orgreenic Frying Pan to make a Green Chili Frittata. The Orgreenic pan is oven safe, so I could start the frittata on the stove and then place the pan directly into the oven. The aluminum core helps the pan heat evenly, so the eggs were cooked perfectly. I also used the pan to make salmon. The non-stick ceramic surface kept the fish from sticking so I didn’t have to use any extra butter or oil to keep it from sticking. I love this pan and can’t wait to make more meals with it!

Bamboo Drying Rack 12Jan12

Yesterday was a very rainy day! I don’t really like rainy days–not sure that I know of anyone who does. But I know that I’d prefer a few inches of rain over a few feet of snow, so I’ll try not to complain. While I knew it was supposed to rain and I planned for it by bringing my rain boots along, I neglected to bring my umbrella. So my feet were dry and my jacket was soaked. bamboo drying rack” width= No big deal though because as soon as I got home, I pulled out my collapsible bamboo drying rack and I hung my coat and wet clothes to dry. If it were laundry day, I would have just tossed everything in the washer, but it isn’t and I don’t want those clothes going in the hamper soaking wet and getting mildewed. Everything was dry this morning, so I collapsed the drying rack and tucked it back in the closet beside the washer. How handy!

Luckily, today is a sunny day so far…but I’m bringing my umbrella just in case!

Silicone Cookie Sheet Liners 06Dec11

I realized the other day that over the past 2 months I must have blogged about pumpkin chocolate chip cookies at least 3 times. I came across this recipe on Kelly’s blog and it has been a hit for me ever since I baked them the first time.

These cookies are amazing…hands down just great cookies. When I made them the first time I was nervous because the consistency of the cookies turned out to be cake-like instead of chewy, so I wasn’t sure how my audience would receive them. When the 5 dozen cookies were gone in just a few days and people kept asking me for more, I know this was a recipe to keep and definitely repeat. I even made a batch of these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for Thanksgiving and I divided up the large amount between me and 2 of my friends. I figured with the amount of cookies one batch makes, all 3 of our families could enjoy some for the holiday. This past Sunday I made them again for an upcoming party.

With all of this being said, I am not sure if I ever provided you with the recipe for these cookies! Here is the recipe. My recommendations are as follows: Use half semi-sweet chocolate chips and half milk chocolate chips, use more than 2 cups (no one ever complains about having too many chocolate chips in their cookies), make sure you use sheet liners, and be sure when you put them in a container to put wax paper in between the layers so they don’t stick together. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Bake Pops 29Nov11

bake pops” width=Today I am happy to report to you that I ate my first Bake Pops yesterday, and the verdict is…they are delicious!

Over the weekend my friend and her daughter were looking for an activity to keep them busy and decided they should bake something different. They are already experts on rice crispy treats, chocolate chip cookies, and brownies. So this past weekend it was time for the two of them to add a new baked good to their list—and I am sure glad they did! They made two flavors: chocolate mint with vanilla inside and vanilla outside with coconut/pecan inside. I had one of each. They were both great!

So, the review is: my friend and her daughter could make Bake Pops together and they turned out unbelievable! You can do it too!