Bread Omelet

Have you heard the talk about a Bread Omelet? I was not familiar with it but one of my children discovered it so I thought I would check it out. I thought it came together quickly and was quite tasty!

Bread Omelets are common street food in India. To me they are like French toast, because you dip the bread in eggs and then cook, with an omelet in the middle. In some places it is called “egg on toast”.

Most recipes I found used 3 eggs and 2 pieces of bread. I thought that was a lot for me so I cut the amounts in half and it worked great.

For the process you whisk the eggs together with salt and pepper and add to melted butter in a preheated skillet. It is important to use a skillet large enough to hold the two pieces of bread you are using side by side. Depending on the amount of eggs you are using, let the eggs sit 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then add the bread dipping one side in the eggs and turning it over so both sides have egg mixture on them like you were making French toast. Let the egg mixture with the bread in it cook for a couple minutes then flip the entire thing over to cook the other side. While the second side is cooking you add your filling ingredients and the options are endless. I added only cheese but any meat or vegetable or other omelet filling ingredients you enjoy would work.

After you have added your filling ingredients, flip the cooked egg edges in over the bread and then close the sandwich – fold one piece of bread onto the other. Let the bread omelet cook until it is brown on both sides and enjoy!

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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Freezing Blueberries

I will quit picking my rhubarb very soon and am looking forward to picking blueberries. I do not have any blueberry bushes on my own property but I have traveled to some wonderful blueberry farms to pick. Blueberries are so easy to freeze and when picked at the peak of their season add wonderful flavor to anything you add them to.

The National Center for home Food Preservation has two ways you can freeze blueberries. One is the dry pack which involves laying the unwashed blueberries out on a cookie sheet, freezing them til they are like little marbles then packaging them in freezer bags or containers. You wash them right before using. Washing them before freezing can cause the skins to get tough if there is any moisture left on them.

The second way to freeze blueberries is crushed or pureed. For this process you wash the berries first then use a food processor, blender or sieve to crush or puree them. For each quart of berries you add one to one and an eighth cups sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved then package in your freezer containers and freeze. Frozen blueberries will remain safe indefinitely as long as they are continuously frozen but will lose some quality over time. It is recommended to use them within one year.

Spend Smart Eat Smart offers some great recipes for using your blueberries. You might want to try Blueberry Pancakes or a Smoothie.

Enjoy Blueberry Season!

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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Canning meat

Due to some grocery stores limiting the amount of meat that can be purchased per visit, we at AnswerLine have been receiving calls about canning meat. If you decide to purchase and can meat you will want to follow the directions from the National Center for Home Food Preservation to make sure you have a safe product.

Meat is a low acid food and needs to be processed in a pressure canner. The pressure canner needs to be large enough to hold 4 quart sized jars regardless of whether you plan to can pints or quarts. You may use a dial gauge or weighted gauge pressure canner.

If you have a dial gauge canner it is recommended you have the gauge tested once a year before you use it. Typically your County Extension and Outreach Office can test the dial gauge at their office. Some canner manufacturers will also test gauges if you mail it to them. If you want more information on where to have your dial gauge tested please contact us at AnswerLine. We would love to help! If your dial gauge reads high or low by more than 2 pounds at 5, 10, or 15 pounds pressure, replace it. If it is less than 2 pounds off in accuracy you can make the adjustments needed to be sure you have the required pressure needed for the safety of your product. If you are using a weighted gauge pressure canner you do not need to have the weight tested. You will continue to listen for the jiggle or rock.

Meat can be pressure canned in strips, cubes, chunks, ground or chopped.


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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Kitchen Shortcuts

I feel we have all been doing a little more meal preparation due to our stay-at-home orders recently. At least I have. It has been good to use some of the kitchen shortcuts I have learned over the years.

Here are a few of my favorites and most used:

Ice cream is a favorite at our house so I use this shortcut on a regular basis but it is also very helpful if you are serving ice cream for a gathering. Pre-scoop ice cream and return it to the freezer so it will be ready to go when you need it. You can put the scoops on a cookie sheet or in individual muffin cups in muffin papers.

Use muffin cups to freeze stock or broth to use in soups at a later date. You can also use ice cube trays to freeze the stock. Once the stock has frozen, you can transfer the cups or cubes to a freezer bag to take up less room in your freezer.

Freeze fresh mozzarella cheese to make it easier to grate. In addition, to save yourself time and money, shred your own cheese from a block and store it in the freezer.

If you have a baking project you want to do right away and you don’t have time to allow the butter or eggs to come to room temperature you can soften the butter more quickly by cutting it up in small pieces or shredding it. To warm eggs up put them in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes.

Chop herbs with a pizza wheel.

Use an ice cream scoop to portion out muffin batter. It is much faster than using two spoons and prevents you from having to add or subtract batter from cups already filled. Adding or subtracting batter causes overmixing which leads to tunnels in muffins.

If you have accidentally gotten a fragment of egg shell in with your bowl of unbeaten eggs, using half an egg shell to dig it out is very helpful. The fragment clings to the egg shell half.

An egg slicer works nicely to slice fruits like strawberries and bananas.

A melon baller works well to seed tomatoes. Seeding tomatoes makes your sauce thicker.

I know it is not quite sweet corn season yet but an easy way to cut corn off the cob is to use a bundt pan. Place the ear of corn on the raised center section and as you use a knife to cut the kernels off they fall directly into the pan and make for easy and neat retrieval.

To peel a ripe kiwi cut both ends off the fruit then insert a spoon between the skin and the flesh and turn the kiwi. The fruit will come out in one piece and be ready to slice.

I’m sure you all have favorite kitchen short cuts you like to use that you learned from a mother, grandmother, friend or favorite Family and Consumer Sciences teacher. Be sure to pass them along to others!

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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How to store bread

Many of us may have been finding time recently to do more baking. If you were fortunate enough to be able to find a supply of yeast, you may have been baking your own bread. It tastes delicious right out of the oven but can become stale very quickly. So where is the best place to store bread to keep it the freshest the longest?

If you want to keep your bread for more than a day or two, the freezer is your best option. Make sure your bread is completely cool before packaging it so moisture is not trapped which affects the texture and quality of the crust. Freezing greatly slows down the staling process and reheating the bread in an oven or toaster makes the bread springy and chewy again.

To freeze bread, wrap it in plastic then again in foil. Place it in a freezer bag or some other airtight packaging and use a straw to suck out extra air in the bag before sealing it. Bread stored in the freezer will remain safe indefinitely but for best quality you will want to use it within 6 months.

When you are ready to use your bread, defrost it at room temperature in it’s wrapping. If you unwrap the bread while it is still cold, condensation will form on the exterior compromising the texture. The bread will thaw at room temperature in about 3 hours. When the bread is fully defrosted you can unwrap it and reheat it at 300-350 degrees F for @10 minutes to crisp up the crust.

We have callers who want to store bread in their refrigerator to keep it fresh. Storing bread in the refrigerator is not a good idea however. The refrigerator draws moisture out of the bread causing it to go stale faster.

If your bread does happen to go stale before you were hoping – never fear! To revive it try flicking a little water on the crust, wrapping it in foil, and heating it in a 300 degree oven for 5-10 minutes. Or consider using the stale bread to make bread pudding, French toast, or croutons.

If you are not going to be able to use your whole loaf of bread at one time out of the freezer you may want to consider slicing it before freezing it so you are able to pull out smaller amounts. You can defrost individual slices in the toaster.

If you are interested in trying to make your own bread, Spend Smart Eat Smart has a recipe for No Knead Whole Wheat bread. It is easy, delicious, and less expensive than purchasing whole wheat bread at the store. Enjoy!

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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Iowa Made Candies

Did you know there are several companies in Iowa that make candy? If you enjoy traveling around the State it is fun to stop and enjoy the homemade candies!

Here are a few of my favorites:

Monastary Candies: Their candy products are made by the contemplative nuns of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey in Dubuque. The nuns support themselves through manual labor with the main means of support being the production and sale of their candy. They are probably best known for their Trappistine Creamy Caramels which they began cooking and selling in 1965. They come individually wrapped or coated in light or dark chocolate.

Palmer Candy: Their motto is “Making Life Sweeter Since 1878”. They are one of the oldest family owned and operated companies in the country. One of the candies they are best known for is the Twin Bing. They introduced them in 1923 and they are still produced by hand.

Drew’s Chocolates: Helen Drew began making chocolates in the basement of her home in 1927. That basement business is still there utilizing the original recipes and much of the original equipment. Drew’s continues to fork dip each truffle, toffee, and chocolate-covered caramel daily.

Betty Jane Candies: This candy maker has been  family owned and operated since 1938. They are probably best known for their Gremlins which are chocolate-covered nut clusters.

If you are interested in learning about more homemade candy shops in Iowa, traveliowa has put together a list for you. Enjoy!

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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2020 Food Trends and “Superfoods”

It is hard to believe we are already several weeks into 2020. I am just now taking the time to look into what some of the food trends were predicted to be for this year.

Some registered dietitians and nutritionists predicted popular food trends for 2020 would include coconut-based yogurts, puffed snacks, foods “stuffed” full of vegetables, and coffee “stuffed” with milk, cream and protein additions.

“Superfoods” predicted included beets, ancient grains, and avocados. “Clean eating” and the keto diet were also predicted to be popular.

So what is a “superfood”? The dictionary defines it as a food that is rich in compounds considered to be beneficial to a person’s health (i.e. antioxidants, fiber, fatty acids). Even though “Superfoods” are often nutritious it is important to not just focus on a few specific foods and forget about other equally nutritious options.

Grocery stores will be bringing in new trends for 2020. They are predicted to include fusing soda and beverage flavors, zero-waste cooking methods, speedy check-out, meat-plant blends, and more fresh produce from countries around the world.

Chefs will be looking to serve more healthy foods, whole grain breads made of ancient grains, and smoky flavors. Restaurants will be offering more vegetables including greens such as broccoli rabe, blue peas, and purple potatoes.

I think the bottom line is food trends will be dominated by better nutrition and food choices. It is interesting to see what the predictions are but also to remember variety in our diets gives us the benefit of getting a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals and helps prevent us from eating too much or too little of a particular nutrient.

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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Iowa Ingredient

One of my favorite TV shows to watch on Saturday morning is on Iowa PBS. It is called Iowa Ingredient. Each week they focus on a single Iowa ingredient and how it gets from farm to table. There are always guest chefs who prepare various dishes using the ingredient.

I have a few favorite chefs I like to watch on the show although one of the recent episodes I was watching introduced me to Iowa Girl Eats. Many of the recipes she includes in her blogs are gluten free as she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a few years ago. I have several friends who are gluten-sensitive and just feel like they feel better if they limit the gluten in their diets and several friends who have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. In addition to the gluten-free recipes she shares on her site she also has recipes for light-and-healthy and crock-pot.

If you are curious I hope you will take the time to search for Iowa Ingredient on Iowa PBS! I think you will find it very interesting!

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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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Hasselback Technique

baked potato stuffed with cheese, bacon and sour cream. loaded hasselback potatoes

If you have not tried the Hasselback technique it is really a fun and fancy way to dress up many vegetables, fruits and even poultry! It is a cooking method that involves thinly slicing the food about three quarters of the way through, accordion style, and leaving the bottom intact, before cooking. This creates more surface area and the cuts you have created can be stuffed or topped with additional flavorings. It also adds additional texture to the food. 

The Hasselback technique is typically thought of as being used on baking potatoes. The technique was introduced as a Swedish side dish at a Stockholm restaurant, named the Hasselbacken, where it was first served. Although potatoes are the most typical many other foods lend themselves nicely to the technique: eggplant (leave the skin on), sweet potatoes, apples, butternut squash (peel and seed), zucchini, chicken and tomatoes (leave raw and add a slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf in each cut before drizzling with balsamic vinegar and oil!).

You do not need a bunch of fancy kitchen tools when using the Hasselback technique. All you need are chopsticks or wooden spoons and a very sharp knife. Laying the chopsticks or wooden spoons on each side of the food really helps keep you from cutting all the way through and keeps the cuts a uniform depth. You may also want to lay a ruler beside the food so you can make evenly spaced cuts 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart. The thinner you make the cuts the faster it will cook.

Fat will be your friend with this technique especially if you try it on potatoes as it will help the edges crisp up nicely. If you are using zucchini however there won’t be as much crisping as the zucchini doesn’t contain as much starch. Using your favorite oil, or butter, will create a golden carmelized top on the food. Coat the entire top with the fat and use a pastry brush to add some in between layers. 

If you would like to try this technique the University of Tennessee has a great recipe using sweet potatoes . Hope you enjoy and experiment with other foods!




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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Happy Galentine Day!

I have to admit – this was a new one to me. My sister was planning a Galentine outing for friends and I had no idea what she was talking about! Apparently this is a widely celebrated fake holiday invented by Amy Pohler’s character on the show “Parks and Recreation”. 

Galentine Day is recognized on February 13th and celebrates platonic friendships, usually among women. It’s a day for showing some of the most important people in your life how much you care about them.

Some Galentine Day celebrations center around brunch or a wine and cheese happy hour. Others celebrate by making a reservation at a fancy restaurant or going as a group to get manicures and pedicures. Whatever you choose to do, it’s a nice way to celebrate friendship.

Happy Galentine Day!

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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