MmM..my Cookin..

Mashed potatoes..

Mashed Potatoes

  • 8-10 fist sized or larger potatoes (I use russet) peeled if preferred then diced into 1/2″ by 1/2″ pieces, keep in mind the smaller they are the faster they cook. I estimate potato need by how many people. 2 per man, or growin teenager that eats as much as Dad; and 1 per young child, woman, or small eater.
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 stick to 1 stick butter, add last half as needed to make creamier taters
  • any add-ins you family enjoy: shredded cheese, garlic, salt and pepper, sour creams, bacon bits, etc.

Serves about 6

After dicing your potatoes you want to rinse well under cold water to remove extra starch released when cut. Next add the diced potatoes to a pot of cold water coverin the potatoes with at least 2″ of cold water. Cook potatoes on med to high heat for about 30 mins until they reach your desired tenderness. I enjoy them pretty much fallin apart. Drain potatoes in a strainer then put potatoes into a large bowl to beat potatoes with a mixer. Add butter and milk and smash the potatoes before you turn the beaters on to ease the mixers work, then turn on mixer and beat the potatoes until well blended, unless you like chunky mashed taters. Last fold in any add-ins your family might enjoy! Serve hot. Store left overs in fridge up to 1 week in a tightly sealed container. Ever had Irish potato candy? Check out my post on it here!

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MmM..my Cookin..

What is she talkin about?

Ok, some of you might know what I’m talkin about if you have the same cookin techniques as I do. Most of you don’t so I have some explanations for the recipes I have. Any questions please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you with an answer as soon as I can!

For starters..who knows what the spice Adobo is? It is used mostly in Latin cookin and those who have tried a Latin recipe. I would like to consider it like an all spice, a little of everything! I use the red one that says con pimienta (black pepper). Some will just hold the seasonin bottle upside down for a couple seconds or rotate in a full circle. I will use the circle version. It is probably close to 1 tsp. per circle or second.

Denver mix you say? It is diced sweet onions with diced green peppers even portions of both mixed together. Of course you can remix it how you want, maybe you enjoy red peppers and red onion..no problem! That’s the beauty in cookin, you can always make it how you like instead of what the recipe calls for.

Recaito could look different or be called different dependin on where you get it. It can also be called sofrito. What your lookin for is the green mix not red. The green season is based with culantro the red is tomato. Very different taste.

Sazón is a packet of magic! I use Goya, it comes in many variations. I prefer the all orange box. It has the writin ‘con culantro y achiote’. The achiote is what give the food the color, be careful it will stain!

That should be most of the weird stuff you see. If needed I will update this post for new things I come across. Unfortunately I’ve done most of my cookin for the month already and the pictures that I took to post for this was accidentally erased when the phones memory filled up and I uploaded to the computer. I am not technology savvy lol. Also I just figured out I can’t post videos or if I can I can’t figure out how lol..again, technology!

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MmM..my Cookin..

Freezer advice..

Good mornin! I hope your all ready, I’m off for the day and I have all my house work and cookin caught up, I am gonna flood my blog! To start off I have some simple freezer tips I would like to share with ya’ll. First off it is very important to properly cool your cooked food to 34-40 F before freezin and make sure you only take 4 hrs. to cool to this temp any longer and bacteria can and will start.

To keep your freezer organized you can take a few cheap easy steps to keep your head from spinnin. The first step to take would be labelin your packages. You could use a sharpie on a piece of scotch tape to write on each item what it is, when it expires, and even heatin instructions. Next step would be keepin an inventory list to simply keep track of items you have on hand that way when its time to grocery shop you wont have to root thru the freezer/s. To save space you can lay your freezer bags flat or punch your ground meat flat. Once they freeze you can stand them up or move where wanted. Last step I take is labelin a bin ( or plastic grocery bags ) and puttin all the same items in it so you can pull the whole thing out and not one thing at a time.

Flash freezin- To lay food out evenly in one layer without touchin on a cookie sheet and freeze. After you freeze for about 2 hrs the food can hold its form and can be placed in a larger bag without the food freezin together. Say for instance you go and pick fresh blueberries with your kids and you have a lot you would want to wash the blueberries then lay them on a cookies sheet,  after you gently press to dry with a paper towel, in one layer without touchin too much, freeze them for 2 hrs than you can transfer them into a freezer bag. When you want to use some blueberries simple scoop out how much you will need, no need to defrost them all. And defrostin is as simple as runnin them under cool water for about 5 mins.

Things I would not freeze would include any water based produce like lettuce, kale, romaine, etc. Any fried foods would never heat back up like the original day it was cooked. Shelled eggs is a no go unless you want to clean up eggs from your freezer walls lol. Most spices get bitter after bein froze like garlic, pepper, herbs, etc. If needed to be frozen just lay in the bottom of ice tray cube and cover with olive oil, pop one cube out as needed for cookin. Block cheese will crumble after bein frozen.

Things I would freeze includes fruits like grapes, sliced bananas, etc. Also soups, precooked meals, flour, leftover buttermilk, breads, etc. Pretty much you can get away with freezin the items not to be froze by cookin them into a dish that will be froze later, just not in its original state.

Your imagination is the limit! Don’t get carried away and freeze everythin, be practical if your family didn’t enjoy the new recipe you just tried chances are if you freeze it and try to feed them it again a month later..they still wont like it! Depenin on what your freezin most food will stay good in the freezer any where from 4-6 months. That’s why labelin is important. Also dependin on how well you did at wrappin the frozen food depends on how much freezer burn will ruin your food, so be careful not to let too much air in.

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Our new deep freezer..

I’ve been wantin a deep freezer for a while now.. Found one on craiglist and went to pick it up only to learn it won’t fit up the stairs from the basement. Let alone would the people we went to pick it up from open the outside doors .. Soo.. Needless to say we never got it. A couple months go by and I still can’t find a decent one on Craigslist. As the days pass by it tortures me, wantin a deep freezer, needin more room in our small fridge/freezer. We signed up for a gym membership ( very time consuming), after a week of eatin out because I didn’t have time to cook ( leave work by 3ish, get boys off bus and finish homework about 4:30ish, going to the gym for about 2 hours beacuase they have an indoor pool, countin drivin time and shower time we would be done about 8:30ish. Boys bed time is 9, where is dinner??) so I realized I needed to do something about it…and I did!! I begged my butt off to my darlin Hubby to get us a deep freezer, it’ll basically pay for itself! Yay, I got, I mean, we got a deep freezer!! So I spent all last Monday cookin and portionin food for homemade frozen dinners. I have lots of pics and recipes to share with you all!! Please sit by and be patience for more and more to come for this is a BIG  and very time consuming hobby/shortcut to help your self with dinner! I am still in the learning process but think I’ve got it! I will be cooking again this Wednesday, with different recipes than last week and will have recipies and hints for days! See ya soon!!

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Bakin bread..

Whew..I’ve been tryin to bake the “perfect” loaf for 2 weeks, about every other day I would try again. Yeast is very tricky but well worth the end result! I have the texture I’m lookin for but can’t seem to get the color, I don’t know if I’m scared to leave it in that long after it’s finished or somethin I’m doin wrong. However, I’m pretty confident that every time I bake a loaf I get closer and closer to the “perfect” loaf. Join me as I take you on my journey of trial and error on bread bakin.

Here are the ingredients and tools required:

Non-stick spray, pans, TBSP, TSP, liquid measuring cup, pot holder, salt, sugar, yeast, flour, mixing device, mixing bowl, and lukewarm water.

Bread bakin necessities..

Don’t forget your daily dose of coffee 😀 and good music to help pass the time..

Coffee :-DGood tunes..

It is very important that you use warm liquid with bakin bread. Yeast is live, so if the water burns you..it will burn your yeast which will not allow your bread to rise. Same happens when usin too cold of water. Preferred temperature would be around 100 F. Just don’t drop your thermometer into the water and break it 😦

Oops..

Any ways.. I will be showin you how to make a double batch. Dependin on your shape and size depends on how much it will yield. I’m making a couple 9″ round loaves and some regular shaped 8″ bread pan. It can yield 6 nice sized loaves, or 3 french bread sized. I was off today and decided I would make 5 batches of bread. I got 21 loaves out of it and split it between my mom, sister-in-law & family, and my brother & family. I also played around a lil bit and make some sesame and cinnamon loaves.

Back on subject, add 4 cups of lukewarm water into mixing bowl. Add 4 tsp. and 1/2 tsp of yeast and stir until dissolved. Dependin on what kind of yeast you have (active, instant, live) depends on how you need to activate the yeast. The instant yeast I’m usin here you can add into your flour and mix with warm liquids to activate the yeast. I am used to activatin my yeast in the steps I am listin below. The sugar is what allows the yeast to become active.

lukewarm water is the trick..

Make sure to read what kind you have.

Make sure to read what kind you have.

Like so..

Add yeast and stir..stir until dissolved..

Add 2 tbsp. of salt and stir until dissolved. Next add 3 tbsp. of sugar and stir until dissolved. If you have instant yeast you can move on to addin flour, otherwise you will need to wait about 10 mins or until the mixture becomes foamy. (This step will not be pictured, next time I bake bread I will add one)

SaltSugar

Next, you will need to add 6-10 cups of all-purpose flour. Yes, you can substitute with whole wheat flours. You want the dough to remain in tack without crumblin apart. When you get enough flour in it to knead the dough you will want to spray your work area and your hands with non-stick spray and only use flour as needed in sticky situations, lol. Sometimes the middle isn’t getting enough flour when it’s still in the bowl so as your kneading the dough you will find sticky batches, add flour there. Continue to knead the dough for about 5 mins. Before you put the dough back in the mixin bowl you will need to spray the bowl. Put the dough back in the bowl and flip it so the now greased part is on the top.

. Add flourspray bowl

Cover it with a clean dish towel and let proof for about 1-1/2 hrs or until doubled in size. Make sure your room is at least 75 F for best proofin, I turn my oven on 350 F and set bowl on door. Now is when good music comes in handy, you can dance the time away..also helps you stay in shape. Don’t forget to spray your pans ahead of time.

cover in heated roomSpray your pans..

Get your work area ready again by sprayin it with non-stick spray in advance.

Seperate dough..

Time to check the dough. And it has doubled in size…Now its time to take our anger out..spray them hands and punch that dough down!

Doubled..Punch your dough..

Let’s split the dough, be creative..if you want french bread make a 6″ log and make 3 cuts in it, to make dinner rolls make 1″ balls, if you want to make bagels just accidentally put extra flour in the dough and simply cut out 3″ circles and a 1″ middle. However, I tried out sesame seeds on top. Just lay out the seeds on a plate and place dough of top of seeds to coat the dough and place that side up in pan. Otherwise flip the dough to the greased size up again. One more waitin period for the last proofin stage. Only a short 30-60 mins or until doubled in size.

Split the dough..Last proof..

Bake breads at 400 F for about 20-30 mins dependin on size. Rotate breads around in the oven about half way thru cookin time. I rotate mine every 10 mins to try to equal out the cookin.

Bakin bread..

Flip the bread out of the hot pans immediately after removin them from the oven, the bottoms will get soggy. Let cool at least 5 mins before you cut into them, bread is definitely best when hot and smothered in butter..mMmM..

Finish product.. Cinnamon bread..

I tried out somethin new. My Hubby had an amazin idea with cinnamon bread. When shapin the bread I simply pressed the dough out and sprinkled 1/8 cup of cinnamon sugar on the dough. Gave the dough a quick knead to spread the cinnamon in the dough. It was sooo goood!! Gonna try it with some icin drizzled over top heated.

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My style of cookin..

I love to cook different food and try new techniques in the kitchen. I will continue to cook that item until I perfect it in my families eyes. Right now I am stuck on bread. What better than fresh, warm, fluffy, flaky, crusty bread. The creations are endless!! You can make a sandwich, dip in soup, eat with a spread, and on and on.. I don’t usually follow a recipe’s ingredients list, my kids are pretty picky, as much as I do the procedures to create the dish. This is the fun and creativity in a kitchen. My down side.. baking.. you have to follow measurements to the ‘T’. If you don’t your bread wont rise. Patience and measuring is the key to the perfect cake. Join me as I share my families favorite dishes, my childhood favorites, and my own creations.

Dinner is served

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