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Sparklebright's Profile

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What's the healthiest oil for deep frying?

I recently learned that refined Avocado oil is great for deep frying.
Smoke point 500 plus if I recall correctly.
Plus when it's refined it basically just adds a rich buttery flavor. Not avocado-flavor like cold pressed would.

I have a jug of it from Costco that I bought to make my mayo with but found it didn't get very firm in the fridge.

So I'm trying avocado oil the next time I make French fried.

Dec 10, 2013
Sparklebright in General Topics

Kraft Dinner (blue box)

My dislike of Kraft Dinner was changed when a friend told me she adds a can of stewed tomatoes.
No butter. No milk. Just the cheese packet and a can of stewed tomatoes.
I just mix the cheese with some of the juice from the tomatoes.

The tanginess of the tomato cuts down on the richness of the cheese....stuff
Haven't had it in years though.

Aug 09, 2012
Sparklebright in General Topics

Breakfast Cereal from Your Childhood

My fave was definitely Puffed Wheat.
In those days it came in a ginormous bag that lasted forever.
The best parts were the last few bowlfuls that had a lot of bran and salt settlings from the entire bag.

Aug 09, 2012
Sparklebright in General Topics


Guylian Seashells
Lindt Truffles, especially the dark chocolate truffles.
And Russell Stover makes chocolates that tasted way better than I expected.

Jul 28, 2012
Sparklebright in General Topics

Food packaging that you love/hate?

Containers I will reuse, especially those glass jars that use a standard Mason lid.
I reuse specialty Tea boxes occasionally as well.

The Cheez Whiz jar!
Especially the 2 pound size. Unless I use a LONG handled wooden spoon I can't get the last of the cheese out of the jar without getting cheese on my hand, wrist.. Etc
I don't buy much Cheez Whiz any more but I used to.

Containers that are a combination of plastic and cardboard or metal and cardboard.
Examples; Pringles, Fry's Cocoa, frozen orange juice.

Over packaging like the Tassimo T-discs.
Coffee sealed in a pod, then packaged in cardboard boxes, THEN sealed in shiny stiff techno plastic stuff.

Jul 28, 2012
Sparklebright in General Topics

Homemade Ice Cream Troubleshooting

I make simple ice creams with instant pudding mix, milk and cream.

I just mix a packet of instant pudding with a cup of milk and and then add 2 cups of cream.
Pistachio is my favorite pudding ice cream flavor right now.
No cooking, no custard, no eggs.

I also add a couple tbsps of coconut rum but my ice cream still turns out like a rock.
Could be my freezer is set really low.

Jul 27, 2012
Sparklebright in Home Cooking

Any advice on making Kombucha?

My favorites are mango strawberry. Both of which I thaw before adding.

An ounce of pineapple juice added to the bottle is awesome.

Also when I find black currant concentrate in the store. Yum!
It's made somewhere in Europe and comes in a glass bottle about a liter in size.

Have also enjoyed adding bottled blueberry juice.
I want to try adding some elder flowers if I ever order them from Mountain Rose Herbs again.

Good luck with the maple syrup.

Jul 27, 2012
Sparklebright in Home Cooking


If they are wild and fresh my favorite is a dish of blueberries with cream and about a spoon of white sugar.
Not very imaginative but to me this is the taste of childhood and summer and feeling blessed by the gifts of the forest.
With all those lovely blueberries popping in my mouth and staining my teeth.
No pie, cake or muffin could even come close.

If I have lots my next option is blueberry pie.
I love to experiment in the kitchen and try new things.
But when it's fresh wild blueberries--I just won't mess with perfection.

Jul 27, 2012
Sparklebright in Home Cooking

Breakfast smoothies that keep you full till lunch

Raw Chicken Livers :-)
A number of years ago I found a recipe that was called something like Mug of Superman.

It had raspberries, a banana and honey and some raw chicken liver.
Honestly i couldn't taste liver. It just had an extra bit of smooth richness.

I put raw organic chicken livers in the food processor first and then put it all through a strainer in order to remove any gnarly bits.
Then I just added a spoon or so of it to my smoothie.

It tastes more like the title rather than raw liver.
If that's your style.

Jul 27, 2012
Sparklebright in Home Cooking

Looking for great coffee maker

An overnight soak in powdered dishwasher soap will clean it too.

Jul 24, 2012
Sparklebright in Cookware

Restaurant:Impossible w/ Robert Irvine

Lol I love the parts where Robert smashes stuff!

Why do you drink milk?

I am experiencing a little cognitive dissonance here.

Is Mark Bittman also the guy who has published recipes for ice cream?
Was just reading elsewhere in CH where people were raving about his egg free ice cream recipes.
Sorry I'm on my iPod and can't post a link.

Ii I'm out to lunch on this one, feel free to tell me.
For now I'll continue to snicker into my home made ice cap, thick with milk and ice cream.

I Want to Make Apple Cider

lol..Been there.
Already have a bottle corker--Kombucha.
Gallon glass jugs from Grape Juice--lacto fermented sodas.
5 gallon glass carboys show up at my local Vallue Village occasionally.
tsk tsk

So many fun things to try! Yes!

Jul 22, 2012
Sparklebright in Cookware

I Want to Make Apple Cider

Say What?
Sounds awesome!
I will definitely check the book out.
Thank you!

I make lacto fermented pickles, relishes, sodas etc which are always in my fridge so I'm still not sure how many opportunistic micro organisms were involved in the production of my sparkly bubbly.
Would love to experiment more if I had enough refrigerator real estate.

Jul 22, 2012
Sparklebright in Cookware

I Want to Make Apple Cider

I just want to make about a quart or two at a time.
Hadn't thought too much about hard cider.
Once I bought a couple of gallons from a roadside vendor.
Drank one and the other gallon kind of got lost in the back of the fridge.

Several months later I discovered that it had turned into the most delicious sparkling bubbly cider.
I'm not sure it had much alcohol in it, think it was more lacto fermentation cuz I do quite a bit of that.

With all the labor saving products out there I just wondered if there was some home appliance made for pressing cider.
Or if some clever kitchen bunny had discovered an EASY way to do it.

Jul 21, 2012
Sparklebright in Cookware

I Want to Make Apple Cider

Thank you.
I have seen those.
Was just hoping there might be something that allows me to grind and press with the same machine and be relatively easy to clean up.
I love me some fresh apple cider--I just don't want to have spend an hour cleaning up from making a quart of cider.

Jul 21, 2012
Sparklebright in Cookware

I Want to Make Apple Cider

I don't know if an appliance exists that will give me clear apple juice from fresh apples.

I have worked at a winery and pressed fresh orchard apples into the most delightful apple cider I have EVER had.
The machine grated/ground the apples into a bag and then squeezed the juice/cider out of the bag.

My juicer, an Omega auger type will make some foamy cloudy apple juice and if I juice strictly apples eventually I just get mush that will not go through the auger.

I know bigger machines exist.
But I want something that will press, say a quart at a time.
Does something exist which will do this fo rme?
Or am I just dreaming?

Jul 21, 2012
Sparklebright in Cookware

peeling FRESH eggs

Lol. Have you?
I did.
I suppose it is an option if you are only doing a few and if it's your kind of thing.

The place where I bought them had a no return policy and rather than curse someone else I pitched them in the garbage!!!
I have bought some very cool and useful gadgets.
Eggies was certainly not one of them!!

Jul 20, 2012
Sparklebright in Home Cooking

Scrambled eggs: A lost short-order art?

I'm pretty sure I saw it on Dirty Jobs when Mike Rowe worked at an egg farm and processing facility.
If not there then from the Nourishing Traditions book.

Jul 20, 2012
Sparklebright in General Topics

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

Bologna--err "baloney" as we always called it--WAS poor food.
Back in the day it was cheap meat. As were weiners.
And we had tons of it.
School lunches, sliced thin and fried crispy.

The poor foods I miss the most are "pluma mouse" a German dessert made by cooking prunes, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, water and cornstartch.
In summer my Mom would make it with wild blueberries plus a little cream.

And fried bread.
If Mom made bread that day she would save about a loaf's worth for supper; roll it out thin-ish, slice some holes so it would stay flat and fried it in lard.
We ate it with margarine(!!) and corn syrup.

Oh yeah, and pancake suppers.

Jul 20, 2012
Sparklebright in General Topics

favorite fries?

Back home we had this chip truck that made their fries very dark and greasy. And I LOVED them. They were also very potatoey! That is; flavorful.

I have never been able to duplicate this in my home, no matter what season or what kind of potato or technique.
Any of the chains fries--tasteless!

I tried a bag of fries from the freezer section of my grocery store once.
What a dissapointment!
It's just a potato for heaven's sake! How can you take ALL the flavor out of it?

2 years ago at a high end restaurant/club Christmas party I ordered Herbed Butter french fries.
I didn't taste any herbs OR butter but my goodness! They were the most flavorful salty potatoey fries EVER!

Is it just my experience or do all grocery stores just label their potatoes as red, white or yellow? C'mon--I'd like to know the variety of potato, so if my fries are a success I can buy the same variety again.

Jul 20, 2012
Sparklebright in General Topics

Al dente or soft

I like my pasta *fully cooked*
Not mushy (overcooked) like canned ravioli or speghetti.
But certainly not al dente.

I don't think I have EVER timed my pasta and only once tried to throw it against a wall.
Most people I know like their pasta al dente.

I have never ordered pasta in a restaurant. I think: "pasta! That I can cook at home and it's one of the cheapest foods going. If I'm forking out for a meal, I prefer to at least get my money's worth."
Now this might be different if I knew I was at a place where they made their OWN fresh pasta.

Jul 20, 2012
Sparklebright in General Topics

Scrambled eggs: A lost short-order art?

I agree with that. We all like what we like how we like it.

Personally I will NOT order scrambled eggs in a restaurant because I know of at least 2 restaurants locally that use "egg product" rather than whole egggs for making their scrambled eggs.
It's either a commercial version of Egg Beaters or the whole eggs that didn't survive the processing plant and the shells broke or cracked.

I know it's still technically *egg*, just not how much other stuff they add to the bucket to keep it shelf stable.

Jul 20, 2012
Sparklebright in General Topics

What Foods Do You Hate/Dislike that Most Hounds Probably Love?

Top of my list; GARLIC!!!
And it seems that everybody else has to put it in everything savory!
My husband teases me about being a vampire!

The rest of my dislikes have already been presented here.
Olives, olive oil
Shellfish except crab and imitation crab.
Stinky cheeses

Jul 19, 2012
Sparklebright in General Topics

Your REAL thoughts on super-processed, horribly delicious food...

I can eat a whole box of Ruffles by myself. You know those lovely sweet coconutty morsels dipped in chocolate.
Especially the caramel version.
Same with a box of Wafflekuchen. Really thin sugarcone rolled up like a cigar and then half dipped in chocolate.

But then Velveeta is pretty hard to beat.
Sliced as thin as possible and eaten on the spot.
Like tiny cheese wafer heavan!
Thank goodness I'm not going to the grocery store right this minute!

Jul 19, 2012
Sparklebright in General Topics

Are you using a bread machine?

I agree with Queen.
First I gotta say I wasn't impressed with the no knead bread.
Hard crust and large crumb just isn't my cup of tea, no matter how fashionable Artisan style breads may be.

In years past I was all over the home made bread thing.
Baked 8 loaves at a time.
The first bread machine I had got used about a dozen times and that was it.
Because I guess I had more time for the most part.

Now if it's 5:00 pm and there's no bread in the house I can spend 3 minutes max to measure ingredients and spend the evening hanging out with my husband.
1 half cup measure and a teaspoon and a tbsp go in the dishwasher.
I also mentioned above that it's likely more energy efficient than heating up the oven and the kitchen.
I understand people want different things in their bread making experience.
And I'm really glad we have so many choices.
I prefer my bread machine. That's all.

Jul 19, 2012
Sparklebright in Cookware

Best lazy-man's Marinara Sauce?

I add just a little tomato sauce, maybe a half cup or less.
And then usually a little cream.
The tomatoey sauce adds a little to the tangy side of the profile.
And then the cream balances it out AND adds extra richness.
It's how I like it anyway.

I think I was inspired by something on Triple D or You Gotta Eat Here on Food Network.
Started off with chicken gravy and some tomato sauce then cheese, cream and some peppers like adobo or pablano or something like that.
It was for some Mexican dish.

I don't know if that helps you.
But it's the way I like it.
And I am always asked to make the gravy at family suppers.
I just add small amounts of each so that we can still taste the gravy.

Jul 19, 2012
Sparklebright in Home Cooking

What do you Store Your Homemade Bread In?

Lol *ding ding*!!!!
We HAVE a winner!

Best answer yet!!
But I'm STILL going to check my options out at the store.

Jul 19, 2012
Sparklebright in Cookware

Stand mixer recommendations?

I'm not telling you that you *should* but if you are using a hand mixer now you would probably love a stand mixer!

I have a Kitchenaide Artisan and love it!
I keep it in my kitchen counter. Not only is it too heavy to be hauling around much, it gets used more because it's already there and ready to go.

I chose KA because I kept seeIng them on Food Network.
Most especially on Iron Chef.
If chefs are using them, that is a better recommendation than tons of advertising.

I chose the Artisan because the Pro was too tall to fit under my top kitchen cupboards.

I can have whipped cream in seconds, literally.
Probably in about the time it would have taken me to dig my hand mixer out of the cupboard.

For decades I had been mixing ground meat for meatloaf of patties.
But with the KA paddle it mixes it so much faster and easier.

I'm still looking at attachments.
No it's not about what I need. It's about what will bring more fun to my kitchen and cooking.
If you love to cook I think you would love a stand mixer.

Jul 19, 2012
Sparklebright in Cookware

What do you Store Your Homemade Bread In?

Thank you for the helpful suggestions everyone!

Jul 19, 2012
Sparklebright in Cookware