Food tips

1 cup buttermilk can be replaced by 1 Tbsp vinegar (or lemon juice) plus milk to make 1 cup

"Dutch" cocoa has a milder, mellower flavor and a darker, richer color.


  1. Cover the eggs with water and boil on low for about 12 minutes
  2. Cool the eggs by placing them in cold water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and ice. The baking soda raises the pH level and reduces adherence. If you choose not to use baking soda, be sure to move the eggs into cold water with plenty of ice immediately after boiling
  3. Crack the top of the egg and remove a small piece
  4. Crack the bottom (wide end) of the egg and remove a small piece
  5. Hold the egg in your hand and blow vigorously into the narrow end of the egg, which will expel it out the wide end


  1. Burn your tongue? Put sugar on it!
  2. Wine stains, pour on the salt and watch it absorb into the salt.
  3. When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered which is the freshest, so you "squeeze" for freshness or softness?  Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week?  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Each day has a different color twist tie.  They are: Monday = Blue,  Tuesday = Green, Thursday = Red, Friday = White and Saturday = Yellow.  So if today was Thursday, you would want red twist tie; not white which is Fridays (almost a week old)!  The colors go alphabetically by color Blue- Green - Red - White - Yellow, Monday through Saturday.  Very easy to remember. I thought this was interesting.  I looked in the grocery store and the bread wrappers DO have different twist ties, and even the ones with the plastic clips have different colors.  You learn something new everyday!  Enjoy fresh bread when you buy bread with the right color on the day you are shopping.

GENERAL SHELF LIVES FOR COMMON ITEMS (From The Food Marketing Institute in Washington, DC)

  1. Flour unopened: up to 12 months
    Flour opened: 6-8 months
  2. Sugar unopened: 2 years
    Sugars do not spoil but eventually may change flavor
  3. Confectioners sugar unopened: 18 months
  4. Solid shortening unopened: 8 months
    Opened: 3 months
  5. Whole spices: 2-4 years.  Opened or unopened
  6. Ground spices 2-3 years.  Opened or unopened
  7. Paprika, red pepper, and chili powder: 2 years when kept in refrigerator.
  8. High acid canned items such as fruit juice, tomato soup, and things in vinegar unopened: 12-18 months.
  9. Cornstarch: 18 months. Opened or unopened.
  10. Salad dressing unopened: 10-12 months.  Opened: 3 months if refrigerated.
  11. Low acid canned items such as soup, meats, gravy, and vegetables unopened: 2-5 years.
  12. Honey: 1 year, opened or unopened.
  13. Worcestershire sauce: 1 year, opened or unopened.
  14. Instant coffee in jars or tins unopened: 12 months.  Opened: 3 months.
  15. Bottled water unopened: 1-2 years.  Opened: 3 months.
  16. Pudding mixes unopened: 1 year.  Opened: 4 months.


    Fresh herbs, including basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme, are often used as spices or garnishing. Aphids, thrips and other insects may often be found on the leaves and stems of these herbs. Insects tend to nestle in the crevices between the leaves and branches of herbs. These insects can curl up and stick to the leaf once they come in contact with water.

    In order to determine if a particular bunch of herbs is infested prior to washing, bang it several times over a white cloth. This is most important when checking oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. If only one or two insects are found, proceed with the steps below. If three or more insects are detected in a particular bunch of herbs, it should not be used.

  1. Soak herbs in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.) (I probably wouldn't do this, unless I buy vegetable wash. I've seen it in the supermarket).
  2. Agitate the herbs in the soapy water, in order to loosen the sticking excretion of the bugs. ( I'd probably use the spinner)
  3. Using a heavy stream of water, thoroughly wash off the soap and other foreign matter from the herbs.
  4. Check both sides of each leaf under direct light.
  5. If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.
  6. If any insects are found after repeating the agitation process twice, the entire bunch must be discarded.