Preparation Day Linky #14





I know I have not done this in a while and on Friday there will be an explanation of why I stopped for a while. I have been trying to cook ahead a bit and this can work well for nay Shabbat meal. Instead of spending a weekend or one day a month doing marathon cooking, I take a simpler approach. I cook two meals at a time-one for that night or the next night and one to freeze. This way I am not taking a whole weekend or day to do it which for me is not practical.

Here is a tip from Values Driven Family that I have tried and it works well. After the meal is frozen in the pan, put a 2-3 inches of hot water in your sink and let your pan sit in it for a few moments. Take a knife and go around the edges of the pan and lift it out-it will come out in one solid piece. Then wrap in a double layer of foil and stick in the freezer-this frees up space and lets you use the pan again.

She suggests using wax paper but I suggest using parchment paper to line your pan. When I wrap, I wrap the meal in the parchment paper first, then, double wrap in foil. This way there is no aluminum sticking to the food.

More tips are here.


Fudge and a Challah

Preparation Day Link Up #3

Here is a fudge recipe that is delicious. It can be made at any time of year.

This recipe is for a cinnamon and cranberry challah.

Enjoy and if you do use these, please let me know how you liked them.

A Word on Traditions

This is my post for Preparation Day Link up #2.  Click here to join us.

There are a lot of traditions regarding Sabbath and how one should prepare for it.   Traditions are not necessarily all bad, but we need to be careful in how we approach them.

For instance, Sabbath traditions would be lighting two candles, making challah, having a challah cover, using a pure white tablecloth, making cholent so you have food for the next day, saying the traditional prayers.  (Cholent is a type of stew that uses beans and meat and served on Shabbat afternoon).

I know we have people fairly new to keeping Shabbat and I want to say that you do not need nor have to do any of these traditions.  Do them if you like,  but you do not have to.  And we should not feel guilty or let others make us feel guilty because of which traditions we follow and which we don’t.

I do light candles because I like it, but it is not a command.  My challah cover is a flour sack towel that has designs on it.  I have never used an all white tablecloth…sometimes I don’t use one at all.  Other times I use place mats, or a table runner, or leave the table bare.  Whatever floats my boat or what I have time for that day.

In the summer I don’t bake challah or anything else in the oven for that matter-it’s too hot.  That’s what the bread machine and slow cooker are for!

I do not get special Shabbat candles, nor do I care if they burn for one hour after lighting.  I use what I have on hand whether it be tapers or votives or tea lights.  The point is this-do not let the fact that you may or may not have all the accouterments tradition says you need.  If you want some of those things, great…if not great.  Do what you want to make Shabbat for you.

Usually my Shabbat meal is lasagna-becuase it is quick and my blessing likes it.  Works for me! It is supposed to be a joy for us-that means all of us, women included.  Tradition should never carry the same weight as “Thus the Lord said” even though many people treat it that way.  Don’t let that stop you from doing, preparing, enjoying Shabbat.

Shiny Challah

A completed challah.

Image via Wikipedia

Some friends and I were wondering how to get that shiny challah coating.  We know how to get it brown, but the shine was alluding us.  I have figured out the secret-it’s all in the wash.  If you use only the egg white, you get the brown.  If you use all of the egg for your wash, you get the challah both brown and shiny.

One caveat: I do not use aluminum foil to place my bread on.  I use parchment paper.  In fact anything that says it needs to be wrapped in foil, I will wrap it in parchment paper first, then put the foil over the parchment paper.

This post is part of  Shabbat Shalom ~ Link Up #11. Other posts can be found here.

Canning Without a Canner

Preserved food in Mason jars

Image via Wikipedia

I successfully canned turkey broth (I think :)) the other day-without a pressure cooker.  I searched and found that as long as you keep the broth boiling while ladling it into the jars, you don’t need a canner-which is good as I don’t have one and getting one is not in the budget right now.

It is sealed when you hear the pop or as I describe it, the light thwock! sound of the jars sealing.  I went to bed while they sealed and heard a couple of them seal before falling asleep.  When I got up I pressed on the tops to be sure they sealed.  If you can feel the top move while pressing on the lid, it did not seal properly.  At that point you can store it in the fridge for quick use, reboil and put it back in a jar or pitch it.  Supposedly they can last for a year this way, but I don’t see mine lasting that long as I will use them in soups and stews.  I will have to see if this method works for other things too as it would make my life easier.

I must say I was so excited to see that this worked-I had one jar I had to reseal out of the 24 I did.  Not bad for a first timer!

Orange Honey Chicken

I have finally caught up with most things from my time away and can now blog.  I made this for dinner the other night and it was delicious.  I adapted it from this recipe.  I did not get a whole chicken as I have plenty of chicken legs. I used four large ones and basically the adaptation was that I sliced one whole orange to put around the chicken before baking and then where the recipe says to add the sliced orange around the roast, I added another whole sliced orange around the legs.  It was delicious.

I did not measure the honey-I poured some on the basting brush and then brushed it on the legs.  When I make this again, I will use more honey-will pour it directly on the legs and then brush it to make sure it gets all over the legs.  We like honey here and don’t mind extra but if you would like less, go with the amount recommended in the original recipe.

Get Rid of Pests Organically

It is summer time and that means bugs in the home and worse-in the kitchen.   If you have ants you can try putting vinegar or lemon juice outside their entryways.  I have done this and it works, but sometimes their entryways are not in a place you can do this.  If this is the case for you, try dryer sheets layered at their points of entry.  I have done this too and it does seem to work-others have not found it successful.  I have not found this successful with my countertops.

There is something else you can try for that and this will also work for pantry moths.  If you have had them you know how hard it can be to get rid of them, and of course still be able to use the space for food storage.

One caveat-this will not kill them, but it will make them go away, which is what most people want anyway.  And getting glass containers will not prevent them from hatching if they are already in the foodstuffs-just so you know.

Remove all grocery products (boxes and bags) from cabinet shelves. Check thoroughly and throw away any and all containers that have telltale signs of bugs, and wipe down all shelves with warm soapy water.

Then mix a 1 oz. bottle of pure peppermint oil (sold in drug stores or health food stores for approximately $8) with 2 quarts of distilled water. Note: This is not the peppermint flavoring sold in grocery stores, for candy and cake making.)

Pour mixture into a pump spray bottle; and store the remainder in a sealed glass jar for later usage, as it will keep indefinitely.

Spray each shelf or drawer lightly with the mixture, as it is quite strong, but with a refreshing scent. Matter of fact, you might want to leave home for a few hours.

After shelves have completely dried, put unaffected groceries back into cabinets. Oh, by the way, other areas of the house can be sprayed at any time, for any type of critters, as insects absolutely hate the smell of peppermint. This is non-toxic, and will not bother or harm humans or pets, other than perhaps clearing up your sinuses.

Another remedy to keep insects out of cabinets is to place whole bay leaves on the shelves and leave them there. Another scent that bugs don’t like.

Pass this information to others who might need it.  Lastly, I must give credit where it is due-a wonderful person sent me this information and you know who you are!  Many thanks to you, my friend.

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