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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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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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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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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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Help with Party Planning

Are you planning a graduation party, baby shower, or family reunion? At AnswerLine, we get many calls from people working on menus or other party ideas.  We are always glad to help you

Smorgasbord with a variety of choices

Smorgasbord with a variety of choices

with your planning

If you have someone graduating, It isn’t too early to start thinking about your celebration. At Iowa State University, graduation is scheduled for May 6 and 7.  High school graduation parties start in May and continue through early June.  If you are planning some sort of gathering of family or a party for friends and family, we are happy to help answer any questions.  We have lots of experience and resources that can help people know how much food will be needed for the celebration.  We also have almost any color punch recipe you could want to serve.

Some of the questions we answer often for party planners:

  • How much fruit do I need to buy to make fruit salad?
  • How many potatoes will I need for potato salad?
  • What size serving should I use for ______ food?
  • Do I have enough food on my menu for my party of ____ people?
  • How many servings do I need to feed _____ people?
  • What food can I make ahead?
  • How can I be sure not to run out of food?
  • How do I keep my food safe for 2-3 hours?

 

Please call us. We love to help!

 

 

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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Prevent Burns!

Even the AnswerLine staff is not immune to accidents in the kitchen. I thought that I was being careful while draining a pan of sweet potatoes. I was using two silicone pot holders and thought I was gripping the pan well while draining off the cooking water. Unfortunately, I had cut the potatoes into Burnsmall pieces and I was trying to make the opening between the pan and the lid a little narrower to avoid losing some of the potatoes in the sink. In a split second, the boiling water came streaming over my hand, scalding the back of it. I immediately ran the burn under cold water and iced the spot for a while. The burn was not a terribly deep or painful one, but it has been a great reminder to follow safe practices to avoid another burn in the future.

Here are some tips for avoiding burns from the US Fire Administration and FEMA:

    • Prevent spills by using the back burner when possible. Always turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge.
    • All appliance cords need to be kept coiled and away from counter edges.
    • Use oven mitts or potholders when moving hot food from ovens, microwave ovens, or stovetops. Never use wet oven mitts or potholders as they can cause scald burns.
    • Replace old or worn oven mitts.
    • Young children are at high risk of being burned by hot food and liquids. Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove.
    • Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
    • When children are old enough, teach them to cook safely. Supervise them closely.

I do try to follow these tips when I’m cooking; because I have grandchildren that are often at my home. Taking a few minutes to review safety procedures is smart.  It only took a split second of carelessness on my part to get a painful burn.

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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How Much Alcohol Is Left In Foods When Cooking

Have you ever wondered when you are cooking with alcohol how much is remaining in the foods that you are preparing? Many times people think that when alcohol is heated it disappears, but that is not the case.  Some alcohol does burn off during cooking but it depends on when it was added, how much was added, and how long the food cooks.  Cooked food can retain from 5-85 percent of the alcohol that was added.  When alcohol is added to uncooked foods, the alcohol content remains the same.  The longer a food is cooked the less alcohol remains in it.  This chart listed below shows the percentage of alcohol burnt off when foods are cooked.

alcohol

If you would prefer to not add alcohol to your recipes there are some options. Wines and Liquors do add a depth of flavor to recipes that can’t be always be matched, but there are several things that you can try.  For more specific advice use this chart from the New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.  They have a very complete list of substitutions.

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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Make your own egg noodles!

I like to make my own egg noodles when I am making a casserole. It seems to add a whole new dimension to an old family recipe.  The recipe is really pretty easy.  It doesn’t take too long, especially if you have one of these noodle makers.

Simply mix together these ingredients in a large bowl:

  • 1 ½ cups of flour
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 2 eggs

Turn them out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough sticks together.

noodles, makingCut the dough into four equal sized pieces. Flatten and roll through the widest setting on the noodle maker.  Fold the dough in half and roll again.  Repeat this step a third time.  Now set the roller distance at the next higher setting.  Roll once and then set the roller distance higher (thinner/more narrow).  After the third rolling, lay the long strips on a flat surface and cut into manageable lengths. The length of the noodles is determined by the size of these pieces.

Now roll the noodle dough through the cutters. At this point, you can either place the dough noodles, rollinginto boiling water to cook the noodles or allow the noodles to dry a bit before freezing the raw noodle dough.  My daughter likes to make 3 batches of noodles when she makes noodles.  That allows her one batch for the recipe she is making for dinner that night and two batches to put in the freezer.  The noodles can go directly from the freezer to the boiling water. This is an easy convenience food to have on hand for those nights you need a quick supper.

Enjoy!

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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Egg Safety

Easter is right around the corner and we often get calls about using eggs safely. Here are the answers to some questions regarding eggs that we often get asked.

  • What do the dates on egg cartons mean? The dates on egg cartons help the stores to know which cartons are older and which ones are newer. The recommendation is to use the eggs within 3-5 weeks after bringing them home from the store. This time will often be beyond the date on the carton. The best way to tell if an egg is bad is to crack it in a cup and smell it before using. A bad egg will have a definite odor whether it is raw or hard boiled.
  • How long can you keep hard boiled eggs? You should refrigerate hard boiled eggs within two hours of cooking them and use them within a week.
  • Can raw eggs be used in recipes? The only egg that you can use in a recipe Eggs2where the egg is not cooked would be a pasteurized egg. Many grocery stores now sell shell eggs that have been heated to a temperature that kills bacteria. These are found in a carton that states that they are pasteurized. Many times the eggs will have a P stamped on them indicating they are pasteurized. Liquid eggs are also pasteurized and can be used in recipes where the eggs are not cooked.
  • Can you pasteurize eggs at home? The equipment that pasteurizes eggs is not available for home use. There is a very fine line to cooking them long enough to kill bacteria without cooking the contents of the egg.
  • Is a brown egg more nutritious than a white one? The breed of the hen determines that color of the egg shell. Nutrient levels are not significantly different in white or brown eggs.
  • What does it mean If an egg floats? Just because an egg floats in water when you are boiling them does not mean that it is unsafe. As an egg gets older the air cell enlarges making it more buoyant.
  • Why are some hard boiled eggs harder to peel? A fresh egg is hard to peel. The air cell that is found at the larger end of the egg increases in size the longer the egg is stored. As the contents contract and the air cell increases the shell becomes easier to peel. So if you have eggs that are older use those to hard boil to make peeling easier.
  • What temperature do I need to cook my egg dishes to ensure they are safe? To make sure your egg dishes are safe use a food thermometer and make sure it is cooked to 160° F in the middle of the dish.
  • Are Easter eggs safe to eat? Be sure that dyed eggs are returned to the refrigerator within 2 hours of coloring them. Also use a food-safe coloring so that if is it absorbed through the shell it is safe to eat the egg. Do not hide hard boiled eggs where bacteria can contaminate them. That includes in the dirt outside or where pets can find them.
  • Should eggs be stored in the refrigerator door? It is not recommended that eggs be stored in the refrigerator door. When a refrigerator door is opened the foods stored in the door tend to warm up faster than foods stored in the inside. Store your eggs in the carton and put them in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
  • Can you eat eggs that are cracked? Check your eggs at the store and then again when you bring them home. If an egg has cracked on the way home from the store remove it from the shell and put it in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator and use it within 2 days. Eggs that crack while you are boiling them are safe to eat. Don’t buy cracked eggs from the store.

 

  • Using eggs safely is important. If you have any additional questions about eggs give us a call at AnswerLine.
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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