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(Silly) question about ingesting soap.

I knew two Families growing up that hand washed dishes and didn't rinse them. The dishes went straight from the soapy water (after being washed) to being towel dried. Both farming families, both hand dishwashers but their method was quicker.

about 15 hours ago
cleobeach in Not About Food

Is pasta making just time and practice?

No advice or tips but I feel your pain. I have given up on homemade pasta for now.

about 15 hours ago
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Favorite brown bag lunches that don't require reheating

I eat a lot of things room temp by choice, I think some things just taste better. The dish might be cold when I leave the house at 8am. My fridge is really cold so the sliced roasted chicken, grilled shrimp etc is usually still cool-ish at noon.

I have some grain and rice recipes at the office, I'll post those tomorrow. Those can be amped up with nuts and/or chicken and I think they are at their best at room temp. Put your chicken in the fridge if you are concerned about that and add it at lunch.

Not a recipe but an idea - I use a good bread to make sandwiches in the spirit of c Oliver's idea. I think sandwiches in general are boring but like these.

I brush the cut sides of a nice loaf (crusty breads work best) with olive oil and maybe mayo depending on the fillers. I like basil leaves, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella drizzled with a bit of balsamic. Wrapping it tightly with Saran Wrap keeps it tight and helps the bread absorb the juices.

Arugula, roasted chicken and herbed mayo or mayo with fresh herbs is good. I also like rare roast beef with horseradish sauce (I use plain Greek yogurt and prepared horseradish) and spinach or arugula.

Roasted veggies of all sorts also work well but personally, I need some protein or rich fats to get through the afternoon.

I am getting inspired for next week!

I think I saw a mouse in frying pan....throw out or clean it?

A house. I think your exterminator is correct.

about 18 hours ago
cleobeach in Not About Food

I think I saw a mouse in frying pan....throw out or clean it?

Ha! Never thought of that.

I have contemplated putting their little heads on bamboo sticks by the kitchen door as a warning for their clan to see.

I think I saw a mouse in frying pan....throw out or clean it?

We get the odd mouse once in a while but had a really bad infestation two or so years ago. The gloves came off and we went at it with all available options - snap traps, bait stations, the bucket method...

The exterminator said for every one we see, there are 10 more. No good news for you, sorry....

We spent weeks stuffing cracks with copper mesh. Mice will eat through steel wool, aluminum foil, Great Stuff (except the rodent version) regular insulation, etc. Regular mice can get through an opening the size of the tip of a finger.

I have seen evidence of them in my oven (which is why I through out the cookie sheet over the weekend). I now have traps set on the remaining cookie sheet inside the oven as well as in the drawer under the stove. Assuming the weather is cool enough, I will be running the self clean mode this weekend.

I an not a fan of the glue traps as I have seen far too many mouse parts on the traps and not enough full mice. And they are cruel, I am hardened but not heartless. They do work great for snakes and that isn't a pest problem I would wish on my worst enemy.

about 24 hours ago
cleobeach in Not About Food

Foldable grocery "tote box"

I just saw something similar at our local store. The clerk said they aren't for sale yet (I don't know why). I am interested in getting a few.

1 day ago
cleobeach in Not About Food

I think I saw a mouse in frying pan....throw out or clean it?

I have irrational issues with certain germs. I threw out a cookie sheet this weekend because I found a mouse dropping on it.

1 day ago
cleobeach in Not About Food

I think I saw a mouse in frying pan....throw out or clean it?

We use a similar method.

Ours is far more simple - fill a bucket (or similar vessel) about half full with water. lean a board against the bucket to make a ramp. The mice go up the ramp in search of water, fall in and drown.

We put a nugget of pet food in the water. Friends tell me a couple of drops of cooking oil works well.

As I was told, a little of something like food in the water helps to attract them to the water.

The "water bucket" method works especially well in conjunction with bait as mouse bait is basically blood thinner. It makes them insanely thirsty before ultimately killing them so they seek water.

The advantage of the bucket method is that it contains the smell. We have a weekend cottage and decaying mice in traps stink after a couple of days.

1 day ago
cleobeach in Not About Food

Useless clutter?

I was just talking about my former ice cream maker over the weekend. I had to practically beg someone to take it.

1 day ago
cleobeach in Cookware

Is it too soon to talk about Thanksgiving?

We did a turkey in the grill a two or three years ago and it turned out fantastic. It was one of two so I figured if it sucked, we wouldn't starve.

We are starting the thanksgiving conversation. We will be traveling to Mexico for thanksgiving so may do our meal the week before.

The upside is my husband loves to take charge. The downside is he absolutely will not considering straying from his menu. No doubt there will be a DIL on chow in 20 years complaining about her in-laws strict thanksgiving menu.

Sep 18, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Buying Meat in Bulk (quarters and sides)

Sounds like you have a lot of good reasons for going this route.

I enjoyed it while we did it but it is time for me to switch gears. The quality was excellent and it was convenient to have a freezer full of meat.

I don't think grass fed cattle is smaller as a rule but I don't know where you live, maybe they favor a specific breed that finishes out smaller than my region.

Grass fed beef tends to stay alive (for lack of a better term) longer then feed lot beef. Size can depend on how long the farmer runs out the animal, 12 mo vs. 18 months makes a difference in weight.

Sounds like your friend got a massive cow! I think our last half had a hanging weight of 500-550 pounds. My memory is hazy but I think we got about 275-285 pounds of cut meat. I do not take the fat or organs or tongue. I might have posted about it on Chow if you are interesting in searching about it.

Thats a good price for lamb. A whole lamb from the farm where we get our pork is about $275. I am considering getting a lamb next season.

Our pork runs about $450-$500 a half. This year we are buying a whole and it is a set $800 as our farmer had an odd order and wanted to round it out so she offered us a reduction.

Sep 17, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics

Buying Meat in Bulk (quarters and sides)

I agree with the pp last paragraph. We are phasing out of buying by the half in part because of the “caused us to think about meat more rather than less often in meal planning” reason.

We have purchased a half of beef (pastured, grass feed) from a friend for a number of years. We also get our pork by the half, more about that after the beef discussion.

I live in a rural farming area with many purchase-from-the-farm options as well as several processing operations. It is a common way to purchase meat so the butchers are used to working with customers as it relates to cutting instructions. I have had interesting and amusing interactions with the butcher but that is for another post.

For me, there was a definite cost savings but the trade off is a lot of cuts that I wouldn’t normally buy and “force” my family to eat. This results in us eating more meat than we probably should.

I think we paid $4.75 or $5 per pound hanging weight, including butchering costs. The friend made money on the deal (as I expected him to) but I know we were charged below market because of our relationship.

No matter how you get it cut, a half yield a lot of ground meat. Our halves averaged 50% cuts, 50% ground. There are a lot of roasts but not a lot of steaks.

My farmer friend would have his cut into as many “steaks” as possible because his family didn’t want roasts or ground and he estimates his halves yielded 45%+ ground beef.

I was surprised (and saddened) to see how little flank and skirt steak comes off a half. Right now I have several round roasts sitting on the bottom shelf (ideas are welcome!) and enough chuck roasts to feed an army.

Buying by the half taught me to cook many different cuts of meat, which was a good thing but now I am ready to go back to what I like and/or what is quick and easy. I am lucky to have options in my area to buy the cuts and quality of meat I want. I may feel differently about giving up the half if I didn’t.

We are a family of beef eaters that entertains frequently and we went through about 80%-90% of the meat within a year on average. As butchering time approached, I would give away the remaining meat to make room for the next half. We also buy whole chickens and a half of pork so I needed the freezer space. I have found stray packages that were 18+ months old and that meat tasted just fine, no freezer burn at all. Our freezer is very cold and opened no more than once a week so maybe that helps.

My husband is the pork eater in the family and he wanted more pork dishes. We started getting halves of hogs about 3 or so years ago. Our farmer does heritage breeds, which are smaller (I think) than the piggies raised for supermarket sales. Much to my surprise, I really like the meat. (my grandfather had a beef cattle operation, I rarely encountered pork growing up.) We get a half once or twice a year.

Sep 17, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics

Putting food on the table. How did your Mom do it?

>I vowed to never let another drop of miracle whip pass my lips. EVER.<

I hear you! Both my husband and I have similar feelings about certain food items as well.

Sep 12, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics

Putting food on the table. How did your Mom do it?

Before I could fend for myself, dinners were basic meat and potatoes. I grew up in a rural area where people where either farmers or had huge gardens so there was lots of fresh and canned produce. Sadly, this was not a wonderful as it might seem. No one was growing arugula and heirloom tomatoes. Think carrots, beets, string beans, zucchini, all prepared in a PA Dutch manner (boiled). I can still remember choking down furry green beans drenched in yellow sauce (maybe Velveeta?)

There was a lot of canned things like spaghetti O's and boil in bag meat slices in gravy. There was a discount grocery store about 45 minutes away and I remember making trips there. I think it was called Jewel T.

Around the time I was deemed old enough to feed myself, we moved to a different house that had room for chest freezers. Dinner was all tv dinners, all the time.

My family was atypical. My friends LOVED coming to my house because of the tv dinners and frozen pizzas. And the endless half gallons of Breyer's ice cream.

I am sure things have changed in Europe since then but my German relative were beyond delighted with the overwhelming variety of convenient meals available from the garage. (this would have been mid 80s) An extra microwave was put into duty when we had guests in residents.

The picture in my mind makes me laugh now, everyone so excited about their American microwave meals and lining up in the kitchen to stand by the microwave, the rest of us crowded around the big kitchen table.

There was one particular brand that had a meat, starch and veg on a sturdy plastic plate with a dome. My aunt packed a suitcase full of those pieces to take back home.

A while back someone posted a link to pictures of tv dinner packaging that delighted me to no end.

Today I cook from scratch nearly every night. Even if I wanted one (I don't) my husband wouldn't allow a TV dinner to pass through the kitchen door. He tv dinner childhood wasn't as pleasant as mine and therefore bad food memory triggers are to be avoided.

Sep 12, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics

Cooks Illus. April 2010 Issue Tests Staub dutch oven Against Le Creuset

I have seen Staub in used in restaurants but never Le Creuset. I wonder why?

I remember seeing Staub used on breakfast buffets at resorts in Mexico and at Sofitel hotels as well.

Sep 12, 2014
cleobeach in Cookware

Am I the only one who lives in a magic house? A lighthearted look at ourselves & food safety

I am used to eggs not being refrigerated from living in Germany. My mother, on the other hand, was raised on a commercial egg farm, would never in a million years leave eggs on the counter.

My German father would eat almost anything. There was nothing too stale, too moldy (just cut it off) or a fruit or veggie too past it's prime. I swing the other way, a 3 day limit on leftovers.

Sep 10, 2014
cleobeach in Not About Food

Empty Nester Breakfast Nook Kitchen Project

Funny, I almost referred to it as a cart but I didn't see wheels.

Sep 10, 2014
cleobeach in Cookware

Empty Nester Breakfast Nook Kitchen Project

I love the style of your hutch and the table with the microwave.

Sep 10, 2014
cleobeach in Cookware

Wheat/Dairy Free Wedding Guest Ettiquette

>Then at dessert, she just kept staring longingly at the ice cream cake I'd made from scratch. Her SO asked if she wanted some and she said "f*ck it, I'll have a little piece." <

I worked with her vegetarian sister who beat the entire office about the head with a lead pipe about her vegetarianism every single day.

Except when we ordered pizza, that woman would stop at nothing to get at the pepperoni slices.

Am I the only one who lives in a magic house? A lighthearted look at ourselves & food safety

As I stared at the mixing bowl, I thought of my dear father, who never put his cheeses in the fridge. Granted, he cheeses were eaten in a matter of days.

He would have been very proud of me.

Someone mentioned Central American in-laws leaving chicken stock (or was it soup?) on the stove for days and tamales sitting out equally as long.

I listen to a podcast and the host talks about his (ex-) girlfriend and her Mexican family's belief that leftovers stored in the fridge were not safe to eat.

Sep 10, 2014
cleobeach in Not About Food

Am I the only one who lives in a magic house? A lighthearted look at ourselves & food safety

Last night's dinner was a clean out the fridge affair. As I was making tomato mozzarella quiche, I noticed the cheese I mixed in had a use by date of Jun 10.

I thought for a minute and thought if it smells ok out of the oven, I'll eat it. It did, I did and had the leftovers for breakfast today.

5 years ago, I would have thrown it. My standards are getting looser with age.

state college yearly update

This podcast took me straight back to my college days -

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio...

I had lots of HS friends at PSU. It is a wonder we survived the visits.

Sep 10, 2014
cleobeach in Pennsylvania

Easy home cooking?

They are moving into what my 8yo describes as "bad teenage stage when they do mischief" They are 8 months old now.

They tear around the house like Tazmainia Devils (of the Saturday morning cartoons.) I swear they have wings the way they fly over the table on to the counters.

Easy home cooking?

45 minutes maybe? No doubt my opening the oven door a couple of times to poke at the meat slows down the cooking time.

I use this method when I have other things I want to do instead of tending to the frying pan. With one kid and two Siamese kittens, I cannot step away for a second.

I don't know the fat ratio of my ground beef but that is one thing I would caution to watch, I could see high fat ground beef throwing off a lot of liquid fat. You would want to be careful handling the pans. (I nearly had a wave of bacon grease wash over my arms once when taking a sheet pan of bacon out of the oven.)

Sep 08, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Easy home cooking?

I put it on heavy duty half sheet pans. I break it up the raw meat as much as i can with my fingers and chop it out as evenly as possible with a spatula.

I roast it at 375 until done. Periodically, I give it a swipe with the spatula to break up any large clumps.

The results aren't as good as frying on top of the stove but good enough for ground beef that will go into tomato sauce or chili.

I think I do a pound per sheet pan, two pans at a time.

So far, the fat has stayed in the pans as the sides of mine are sort of high.

Easy home cooking?

Precooking ground beef is such a huge time saver and something I learned only within the past couple of years. We buy our beef by the half so I have a lot of ground beef.

When I have time to work ahead, I'll do 3-5 pounds at a time and freeze it in ziploc freezer bags.

Most times I do it on the stove top but i do whip out the half sheet pans and do it in the oven if I need to do other house work while it's cooking.

I have a food processor and slice and freeze batches of peppers and onions. It is amazing how little steps like using frozen onions or garlic from a jar makes for such a huge time saver on nights when time is tight.

All the Comments on Every Recipe Blog

I had that! A close friend gave it to me as a gag gift.

Sep 07, 2014
cleobeach in Food Media & News

Easy home cooking?

I was raised on TV dinners and have come a long way. If I can do, anyone can.

I would keep it simple to start, very simple. I can't stress that enough.

Some may say roast chickens and use the meat for several meals. I never have time to do that (breaking down the cooked chicken) and I have one child. Start with breast and/or thighs. Or cook in bulk but that isn't always possible or reasonable.

Planning ahead is vital, at least until you get really comfortable with cooking. Dedicating a theme to each night of the week is one idea, like pasta on Monday, chicken on Tuesday and so on.

RelishRelish is/was a really good meal planning website. Back when I used it, I think it was $7 per month and totally worth it. It does require a bit of a commitment to get your pantry going but I found the meals for the week tended to have common ingredients. For example, three recipes might call for honey so you need to buy honey. Then a couple weeks later, honey starts showing up again. Because the ingredients were used, I didn't mind buying them. Unlike the ground cardamom that taunts me each time I look at my spice rack....

Keep a few "I am going to loss my mind" meals on hand for the nights you are at the end of your rope. In my house, it is a box of pasta, a jar of sauce and frozen meatballs. The sauce isn't homemade and the meatballs are from the grocery store but it is far better than fast food.

I don't have a suggestion for a specific cookbook to help you get started but I found Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food to be probably the most significant book that helped me learn to cook.

http://www.amazon.com/Im-Just-Here-Fo...

In it, he explains the how and why of cooking like which method is best for what you want to cook. For example, the reason why you cook certain cuts of beef quickly or slowly. And why you should let meat in the frying pan release on its own.

Learning how to sauté a protein and use the leftover "gunk" in the pan to make a pan juice was a game changer for me. I went from plain oven cooked chicken breasts (white and tasteless) to sautéing one pan meals that were faster and tastier than anything I made before.

Kale Shortage

"turned out to be a ziplock baggy full of chard"

Oh my, thanks for the morning laugh.

The deer in my backyard won't even eat kale anymore.

Sep 04, 2014
cleobeach in Food Media & News