Salad tips plus a dressing recipe

saladSummertime is Salad Time! Here are some tips for making a delicious salad:

First, buy the freshest greens you can find and buy a variety to add interesting tastes and textures. Farmers Markets are a great source for greens this time of year.

Store your salad greens correctly. Remove any excess water from the greens when you bring them home. Head lettuces can be shaken out, wrapped in paper towel, and stored in a plastic bag. Loose greens can be put through a salad spinner or wrapped in a kitchen towel and shaken. Storing all greens in a plastic bag with a paper towel in the crisper keeps them fresh longer.

Make homemade dressing if possible. Many take five minutes or less to make and do not contain preservatives. Spend Smart. Eat Smart. has a wonderful video and some dressing recipes.

Use your hands to toss the salad to prevent bruising and crushing tender greens.

Toss vegetables separately and place on top of tossed greens. This prevents them from ending up on the bottom of the salad bowl where they may or may not get coated with dressing very well.

If you prepare your favorite protein to add to the salad you have a quick and easy Summertime meal!

 

Marcia Steed

Marcia Steed

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling.

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Experiment with White whole wheat flour!

white whole wheat flourAre you looking to increase the servings of whole grains in your diet but don’t enjoy the strong flavor that comes with whole wheat flour? You may want to try white whole wheat flour. It is milled from 100% hard white wheat and has the same nutritional value as traditional whole wheat but is lighter in color and flavor. It has a softer feel and sweeter taste. Because of its milder taste it is often called “sweet wheat” by the farmers who grow it. What white whole wheat is missing is the pigment that makes the outer layer of bran the traditional reddish color. That pigment contains an acid which is associated with the stronger, astringent taste of whole wheat.

How do you bake with white whole wheat flour? For best results substitute 100% in recipes calling for whole wheat flour; 50% in any recipe calling for all-purpose flour; and 25% in light-colored baked goods like cake and bread.

Whole grains are a great source of antioxidents, vitamin B, magnesium, iron and fiber. You might want to buy a bag and store it in your freezer and experiment! I experimented with some cookies this week and everyone in the office is enjoying them!S'mores cookies

 

Marcia Steed

Marcia Steed

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling.

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Caring for your quilts

Quilt2

Quilting is my favorite hobby, and the one that consumes most of my time. Since quilting has been popular for quite a few years now (I got started in 1980) it seems possible that you may have a quilt in your home that you need to clean.

If you have been using the quilt on a bed, it is possible that the quilt has stains from food or body oils. A quilt that has only used for display will probably have more dust and dirt from the air than stains.  Quilts can best be cleaned using one of two methods.

You can choose to vacuum a quilt or wash it with water. Vacuuming the quilt puts the least stress on the quilt.  You will want to use a small screen and a small vacuum.  The screen will be placed between the vacuum and the quilt.  The screen prevents damage to the quilt from the suction of vacuum on the quilt as you clean it.  You should vacuum both the front and the back of the quilt.  Pay special attention to the creases in the quilt and try to remove all dust from those areas.  Resist the urge to give the quilt a good shake outdoors.  The shaking can stress both the quilting stitches and the piecing stitching.  Additionally, if the fabric in the quilt is old and delicate, shaking can damage it, too.

If you must wash the quilt, you will want to check to be sure that all the fabrics in the quilt are color fast.  If the dyes run while washing, you will have more stains to clean than just oils and dirt.  Use the largest place possible to wash the quilt.  This may mean washing it in the bath tub.  Avoid over agitating the quilt and wringing it out.  Be sure to use a very mild soap, preferably use one designed for washing quilts.  Rinse the quilt well and allow it to drain as much water as possible before moving it to dry.  You can dry the quilt outside, in the shade on a sheet.  If you want to use the clothes line to dry it, make a hammock out of a large sheet and lay the quilt on it.  You may want to lay it over several different clothes lines to spread the weight of the quilt out over a larger area.  If the wet quilt hangs by itself, you may cause irreparable damage to the stitching in the quilt.

If you have more questions about cleaning your quilts, please call or email us at AnswerLine.  We would love to help you.

 

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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Make your own Biscuit Mix or Master Mix

sourdough starter pictureWe sometimes get calls this time of the year from people who want to make their own baking mix.  It is readily available at the store, but much more economical to make it yourself.  Just remember to use clean surfaces and measure carefully.  These mixes are great for a camping vacation or a weekend at the cabin.

 

 

 

BISCUIT MIX

This baking mix contains less sodium than the commercial kind.             Yield:  15 cups

10 cups flour

1 2/3 cups nonfat dry milk powder

1/3 cup baking powder

2 1/2 teaspoons salt (optional)

1 2/3 cups vegetable shortening

In a 6 to 8 quart container thoroughly mix the flour, dry milk, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until well mixed.  Store tightly covered in a cool dry place and use within 3 months.  Stir lightly before measuring.

Recipe from  Homemade Convenience Foods Made with Nonfat Dry Milk, Pm-1183 March 1985.

 

MASTER MIX                                                                                     Yields 13 cups.

9 cups sifted flour

1/3 cup baking powder

4 teaspoons salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons instant nonfat milk crystals

1 3/4 cups vegetable shortening

Stir baking powder, dry milk and salt into sifted flour. Sift all dry ingredients together until well mixed.

Cut fat into flour mixture until all particles of fat are thoroughly coated and mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Store in tightly covered container.  Mix will keep for 6 weeks in refrigerator.

 

To make Muffins use 3 cups master mix

1 egg or 2 1/2 tablespoons dried egg mix plus 1 tablespoon warm water

1 cup milk or water

2 tablespoons sugar

To make Pancakes use 2 cups master mix

1 egg or 2 1/2 tablespoons dried egg mix plus 1 tablespoon warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

butter or margarine for the skillet

Recipe from the USDA

Remember to store either mix in an airtight container.  It should be kept in a cool, dark place.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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Treating cast iron cookware

One of my children is interested in purchasing cast iron cookware and is wondering how to treat it. Cast iron pan

Season new cast iron by rubbing lightly with vegetable shortening. You will want to coat the interior where the food will touch. The vegetable oil will leave it sticky.

After coating, heat the pan in a 250 degree F oven for 2 hours. It may be necessary to add extra shortening to the pan. Do not let it dry out.

Let the cast iron get stone cold and wipe out with a paper towel.

Remember when you need to wash the cast iron, don’t let it soak in the water for an extended period of time or you will need to re-season.

If you find some older cast iron pieces at a garage sale that you would like to use, simply scour and scrub them with steel wool.  Then season and enjoy.

Marcia Steed

Marcia Steed

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling.

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Selecting and ripening melons

imageMelon season will soon be upon us.  It is so disappointing to buy what looks like a great melon, take it home, and discover that it isn’t ripe enough to enjoy.  Be prepared that after purchasing a melon you may need to allow it to ripen at room temperature. Melons are ripe when there is a softening at the blossom end and an aroma of ripe melon. Ripe melons should be stored in the refrigerator below 40 degrees F until ready to serve.  They will not continue to ripen after being refrigerated.

Wash melons thoroughly with tap water before cutting. A vegetable brush is helpful for melons with netting.  Even though you will not be eating the skin of the melon, the knife used to slice it will cut through both the melon rind and flesh.  This can possibly contaminate the melon if there is bacteria left on the outside of the melon that contacts the melon flesh during cutting.

Always use a clean, sanitized knife and cutting board and wash and sanitize again after using.

Discard cut melon portions that have been at room temperature for four hours or longer.

Now prepare to enjoy all the fresh melon available at the store.

Marcia Steed

Marcia Steed

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling.

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Roasting Bananas

How many times have you wanted to make banana bread, but the bananas were not quite ripe baking banana breadenough? Did you know you can roast them? Roasting the bananas will soften them so that they can be mashed and added to your banana bread batter. The roasting process also intensifies the flavor of the bananas so you will not know that they were initially not quite ripe enough to use in banana bread.

If you want try this for yourself, simply roast thembananas roasted in their skins on a baking sheet until black  This should take about  20 to 30 minutes.

 

I was curious so I tried it over the weekend with great success!  Try this the next time you want to make banana bread but don’t have any ripe bananas on hand.

Marcia Steed

Marcia Steed

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling.

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Summer Food Stain Removal

BBQSummer is here and we have shed our dark winter clothing for our light colored clothing. Spills and stains are inevitable but they can cause laundry challenges when it comes to stain removal.  Remember the sooner that you treat the stain the easier it will be to remove.  Here are some common food stains and some suggestions on how to remove them.

  • Kool-Aid: Dye stains are difficult to remove. First, pretreat the stain with a liquid laundry detergent. Allow it to work for several minutes than rinse the spot in hot water in your sink. If it is still there a colored garment can also be soaked in a dilute solution of enzyme pre-soak like Biz or Clorox 2. If the garment is white, soak in a dilute solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water. Be sure that your bleach is fresh and soak no longer than 15 minutes. When using bleach if the stain is not removed in 15 minutes it can’t be removed and further bleaching will only weaken the fabric.
  • Catsup or barbeque sauce: Scrape off any excess. Rub liquid laundry detergent into stain before washing in warm or hot water if safe for the fabric. If stain remains, soak colored fabrics in an enzyme pre-soak which are color safe and rewash. Make sure stain is gone before putting in the dryer.
  • Butter: Pretreat with liquid laundry detergent. Allow to work for several minutes then rinse the spot in hot water in your sink. After, treat again with detergent then wash in the temperature that is safe for the fabric. Do not put in the dryer until you are sure that the spot is out.
  • Watermelon: Make sure that these spills are rinsed out as quickly as possible. Many times as the spots dry the stain seems to disappear. Unfortunately if left over time, the stain oxidizes into pale yellow or brown stains. To make sure this doesn’t happen launder it in the hottest water that is safe for the fabric.
  • Berries: Berries are tannin stains. Fresh tannin stains can usually be removed by laundering the fabric using detergent (not natural soap) in hot water, if safe for the fabric. If hot water is not safe for the garment rinse the spot in hot water in your sink before washing. Natural soap (bar soap, soap flakes, or detergents containing natural soap) makes tannin stains more difficult to remove. Old tannin stains may need a bleach solution.

So enjoy the warm weather. Eat and drink knowing that if you spill something we are here to help you get the stain out!

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Artichokes

photo by Sharon VanHorn Reuter

photo by Sharon VanHorn Reuter

A goal for many people in the summer is trying a new fruit or vegetable they have not seen or eaten before. If you have not tried an artichoke, I encourage you to do so. In a study done by the USDA, artichokes rank as the number one vegetable in antioxidant count. Production occurs year round but 1/3 of the crop is harvested between March and May. 99% of all commercially grown artichokes are grown in California.

The artichoke is considered an edible thistle and was prized by ancient Romans as food of the nobility according to The New Food Lover’s Companion book. Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean region of the world.

When purchasing artichokes choose those that have a tight leaf formation, a deep green color and that are heavy for their size. In general, the smaller the artichoke the more tender it will be and the rounder it is, the larger its heart. Artichokes are best used the day of purchase but can be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator up to 4 days. Wash just before cooking.

Cook artichokes in stainless steel, glass, or enamelware only to prevent discoloration and off flavors. Artichokes can be steamed, boiled, or microwaved and are done when the bottoms can be pierced with a knife tip.

Artichokes are low calorie, fat and cholesterol free, low in sodium, and a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate and magnesium.

Try some this week.

Marcia Steed

Marcia Steed

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling.

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Cleaning oven racks

Dirty ovenPart Two of oven cleaning addresses how to clean oven racks and the oven window. Again, always remember to remove the oven racks before cleaning your oven.  Failing to remove the racks can cause permanent damage to them.

You are going to want to cover the oven racks with hot water. Many people put them in the bath tub to do this. Once the racks are covered with very hot water, add ½ cup powdered or liquid dishwasher detergent to the water. Swish around until the detergent is dissolved. Let soak 4 hours or overnight. Rinse, dry, and replace in your clean oven!

Enjoy clean oven racks without all the hard work.

Of course, no oven is clean without a little attention to the window.  Harsh cleaners or scrubbing pads can damage the surface of the window.  You may want to try warm sudsy water  or a solution of vinegar and water to clean the oven window.

It won’t take long and your oven will be sparkling like new.

Marcia Steed

Marcia Steed

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling.

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