Life blogs, MmM..my Cookin..

Depression cake..

This cake was created by our grandmothers and great grandmothers when times of war were wreaking havoc on our world. In some countries the Great Depression started in the late 1920s and lasted till the late 1930s. During this time food like dairy were scarce. Women had to come up with ways to feed their families off of $5 a week.

This cake is called many things. Wacky cake, depression cake, grandma’s cake, boiled cake, boiled raisin cake, the list goes on and on. I will refer to it as depression cake, being this is where it originated from. This cake is safe for anyone with dairy allergies, because it has NO dairy! Wait, what?!? Yes that’s right, no eggs, milk or butter! It will still be very moist and filling!

Because I wasn’t sure if our kids would enjoy the cake I made a half batch, but this recipe will be a full batch. My mother remembers eating this cake when she was a child. You can use pretty much any dried fruit you want, but the normal is raisins. This is a spiced cake. Soo I told my youngest, it’s like pumpkin bread without the pumpkin lol.

This cake is most enjoyed with a cup of coffee, milk, a dusting of powdered sugar, or just plain.

2 cups water

2 cups raisins

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup oil

2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Cloves

1/2 tsp. Nutmeg

2 tsp. Water, separate

1 tsp. Baking soda

1 tsp. Salt

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. Baking powder

Powdered sugar, optional

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In a medium saucepan over med-high heat combine sugar, water, raisins, oil, and spices. Bring to a boil and continually stir for 3 mins. Remove from heat and let cool down 20 mins or so. You should be able to put your fingers it it before using it. In a small dish add 2 tsp. Warm water and dissolve salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl mix flour and baking powder. After raisins cool down, add your salt/soda mixture into the raisins. The batter may bubble a little. Next add wet mixture into dry and mix and stir until raisins are equally distributed. You may either grease a 9×9 pan or line with foil and leave an overhang on all sides. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325* F for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. After it’s done baking let rest for 5-10 mins and either flip upside down or use foil handles to remove and further cooling.

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I left mine sit too long after I flipped it and it has lines, but that does nothing to the flavor and the lines are not normal lol.

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Platano fried chicken cutlets..

Platano? Plantain. A cooking banana, you can eat many different ways. In a lasagna type dish, as a side fried with salt, a side nicely sweetened. When their nice and bright green they make great chips! Or tostones, twice fried chips. Or maduro, when they turn darker in color almost going black, they are soo sweet!


Down the international isle you can find a green bag of Goya plantain chips. Already fried, seasoned, and ready to go! Soo I’m going to cheat and use them, just adding more season the way we like!
Yields: 10 cutlets

2 breast cut thinly into 10 cutlets

Garlic & onion powder

Salt & pepper

Oregano

Adobo with pepper

1 egg

Frying pan with about 1″ of oil

2 bags of Goya plantain chips crushed relatively well

You will need 3 shallow containers that will easily fit the cutlets. In one dish put about a cup of flour seasoned with onion powder, adobo, and some garlic powder. In the next dish softly scramble 1 egg with milk and salt & pepper. Last dish mix crushed chips with oregano and more garlic powder.

After you cut your breast into cutlets, wash the chicken with some white vinegar and water. I like to get two plates ready, one lined with napkins for cooked chicken and one for the battered raw chicken. Take your chicken and drench in it flour, followed by the egg, last dipped heavily in the crushed chips. I batter all the chicken ahead of time while the oil is getting hot. Also after each batch of chicken I slightly raise the heat, it does cool down significantly. I use a medium then a medium high heat towards the end.


Depending on how thick you cut your cutlets depends on how long their in. Usually about 3-4 mins on each side for thinly cut pieces. A golden brown color will also work. Or take the chicken out with thongs and slightly pierce with the tong to see if the inside is cooked.


I served our chicken with white rice, pink beans and corn! Be ready, because this will be everyone’s favorites! 馃崡馃構

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Beans, beans the magical fruit the more you eat the more you, better not!

Sorry havin boys I couldn’t help myself, just not at the dinner table! We love our beans, we always have beans with our rice..it’s just the best way to go!

Black Beans

Frijoles negros

Serves 4 as a side

  • 1 can of black beans with every drop of juice in the can
  • 1/2 pkt. Saz贸n聽
  • 1 circle adobo
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. denver mix
  • 1/2 tsp. recaito
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic
  • 1 can of water
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan add oil, denver mix, garlic, and recaito on med heat gently saute the veggies. Add in beans, and all seasonings raise heat to med high. Use the water to rinse the can to ensure you got every drop of juice into the saucepan. Bring to a slight boil, then reduce the heat to right under med and simmer for about 20 mins.

Pink Beans

Habichuelas Rosadas

Serves 4 as a side

  • 1 can of pink beans with every drop of juice in the can
  • 1/2 pkt. Saz贸n聽
  • 1 circle adobo
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. denver mix
  • 1/2 tsp. recaito
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 can of tomato sauce (I use Goya’s seasoned tomato sauce)
  • 1 small potato (smaller than fist) peeled and diced into 1/4″ pieces, then rinsed
  • 1 can of water

In a medium saucepan add oil, denver mix, garlic, and recaito on med heat gently saute the veggies. Add Saz贸n and tomato sauce then stir, add in potato, and stir. Add in beans, and the rest of the seasonings raise heat to med high. Use the water to rinse the can to ensure you got every drop of juice into the saucepan. Bring to a slight boil, then reduce the heat to right under med and simmer for about 20 mins.or until the potatoes are soft.

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Main veggies..

We don’t eat a variety of vegetables, I no..it’s horrible..we don’t eat healthy, we’re tryin tho! But until then, here are the main veggies we eat and how I ‘cook’ them.

Canned Corn

  • 1 can of corn drained almost empty, leave a little juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp.butter

Serves 4 as a side

Add corn into a microwavable bowl, add butter and salt and pepper on top, mic. for about 2-3 mins, dependin on the power of your microwave.

Canned Green Beans

  • 1 can of french style green beans drained almost empty, leave a little juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • add-ins: some ham, onions, season all, etc.

Serves 4 as a side

Add green beans into a microwavable bowl, add butter and salt and pepper, and season all mic. for 2-3 mins. dependin on the power of your microwave. If you want to add meat or onions you would drain the juice into a small saucepan add meat, onions, butter, and seasons. Simmer until you reach desired tenderness of onions add green beans, heat until warm.

Peas

We don’t eat them often, but when we do it’s just a simple recipe..I don’t try new things because we don’t have them as often.

  • 1 can of peas drained almost empty, leave a little juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. butter

Serves 4 as a side

Add peas into a microwavable bowl, add butter and salt and pepper on top, mic. for 2-3 mins. dependin on the power of your microwave.

Broccoli

Serves 4 as a side

  • 1 head of broccoli, cut to bite sizes or 1/2 bag frozen broccoli peices
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c. cheese sauce

Add broccoli and water into a medium sauce pan with butter and salt and pepper cover with a lid and steam on med to med high heat for about 5-10 mins. dependin on your desired tenderness, Drain extra water and add cheese.

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Yellow rice..

Again, I am not talkin about minute rice! This is my version of Puerto Rican arroz amarillo.

Yellow Rice

  • 6 c. water
  • 3 c. medium grain rice
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 packet Saz贸n
  • 2 tsp. recaito
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 circles of adobo
  • dash of pepper
  • add-ins: ham, denver mix, gandules (little green peas), bacon pieces, beans, etc.

Serves 6

In a large pot add water and all seasonin. If you are using add-ins you would want to saute the meat or veggies first with the oil called for, you can add the beans in with the seasons. Let the water come to a boil over med high heat. Before the water is boilin you would want to taste the seasoned water to make sure it is to your liking. Once the water is boilin add the oil and stir to break up the oil. Slowly add the rice while stirrin. It is very important that you stir the rice very thorough or you will have tie dyed rice lol tho it will taste good, it’s not the look were goin for. Bring the water and rice back to a boil, stir one more time just to make sure there isn’t any clumpin of rice. Cover the pot and lower the heat to low on a larger burner and med low on a small burner. If you lid doesn’t fit tightly, cover the pot with a layer of aluminum foil before you put the lid on. DO NOT touch the lid for at least 45 mins! When that time has passed, turn off the heat and use a fork to fluff the rice, cover and let sit another 5-10 mins. Enjoy!

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White rice..

No, I am not talkin about minute rice, this is medium grain regular rice that requires time and proper measurin for the right end product!

White rice

  • 3 c. medium grain rice
  • 6 c. water
  • 4 tbsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil

Serves 6

In a large pot add water and salt then bring to a boil at med high heat, stir until salt dissolves. Taste the water to see if it is salty enough for you, or if you think it will be too much don’t add all of the salt. Once the water is at a good boil add oil, stir to break up oil. Slowly add rice while stirrin. Once all rice is added, stir very well to reassure there is no large clumps of rice remainin. Bring back to boilin point, when you have a good boil goin give it one more stir, reduce heat to low on a large burner and med low on a small burner, cover and DO NOT touch for at least 45 mins! If your lid is not sealed tightly simply put a layer of aluminum foil between the pot and lid, squish the lid on tight. After 45 mins turn off the burner and remove the lid use a fork to fluff the rice then replace the lid and let sit another 5 -10 mins. Enjoy!

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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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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.

Saz贸n 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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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,聽 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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Life blogs, MmM..my Cookin..

Some basic advice for everyday cookin..

Hello, how is everyone? I have been very busy but good. Between workin doubles, strength trainin at the gym, and everyday life my days off just can’t seem to come fast enough. Soo today’s post is goin to be聽some hints, advice and general food safety.

If if your anythin like me you will start off processing what your about to accomplish in your head about a week in advance. A few days into thinkin I start to google and seek my advice. Then it migrates to paper. My notes could be a list, a web (think back to elementary school where the subject is in the middle of your paper in a circle with lines going away to other smaller circles like a sun with the subtopics, mine even go further to include some recipe hints) or even saved Google searches. Once I figure out what I am going to be doin I will gather another list with items I need to get to finish my project. I try to space out my deadlines due to work and life. For instance: I went meat sale shopping Friday, seasoned my whole chicken Saturday, went grocery shopping today while my chicken cooked slowly. Tomorrow I will pick the chicken and season the other meat I plan to start cooking Tuesday with the intentions of cooking all day Wednesday (until it’s gym time) and portionin everythin Thursday into Friday.

Cleanin…yes unfortunately you have to clean. But there are a few tricks to make it easier! To start off you will want to make sure there are no dirty dishes to start off with. Next grab your Clorox spray and goto town. Clean the sinks, counters, table, and all other surfaces your food and cookin utensils will come into contact with. Keep the dish strainer on the counter with a small amount of hot water in the sink with a high concentrate of dish soap. Not so hot your burnin your hands, but hot enough to dry the dishes quickly and safely put your hands in. Wash the dishes as you go! When ever you get a break to wash them..do it. Spray your counters when you move on, don’t wait! When needed add more hot water to freshen the sink but PLEASE make sure to change the water as needed.

Cross contamination happens when raw items get mixed and create a bacteria. You should not cut your steak where you just cut your chicken or even use the same knife without sanitizing your work area and tools includin your hands. No you should not use the bloody knife you just used to cut your pernil to cut your child’s apple with.

F.I.F.O. – First In First Out..rotate your stock. If you got 2 loaves of bread and not sure if you will start the second in time..pop it into the freezer..stop the aging process until needed. Put the new gallon of milk into the back of the fridge ( in case no one could see the half empty one beside it ;-P ) Yes cans count too!

Properly coolin food is a very important step In food preparation. If not done properly it could create a bacteria leadin to sickness of loved ones. You should spread food out flat on a cookie sheet or use an ice bath ( fill sink with ice water and dip bottom of bowl with the hot food in it try to mix while waitin).

To to defrost food you should plan ahead and pull frozen meats at least one day in advance. If you got home early from work that day and decide to prepare a dinner you were not ready for simple run the frozen meat in its package under runnin cold water. The process should only take a few minutes depending on the amount of meat, keep rotatin if it’s that big.

Last but but not least…stay organized! Weather that means you have to keep and inventory list of items聽you have on hand (we use a chalk board) or you portion your food to help food waste. Don’t let food get the best of you!

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