Helpful Hints I

* Fresh lemon juice will remove onion scent from hands. Normally, I must admit, I do not have fresh lemons on hand, so I keep a little squeeze lemon bottle in the fridge for occasions like this, especially since I cook so much with onions and garlic.

* To save money, pour all leftover vegetables and water in which they are cooked into a freezer container. When full, add tomato juice and seasoning to create an “easy soup”. For seasonings, you can use powdered onion and garlic along with salt and pepper. Always save the water, because a lot of flavor and nutrients are here. I prefer to keep a lid on whatever vegetables I am cooking.

* Instant potatoes are a great thickener for stews, soups and chili stews. There are many days that life is too hectic and I admit I will make instant mashed potatoes. It’s not my preference, but I usually will add more milk than I add water and I always add butter, salt and pepper to enhance the flavor. Any leftovers of potatoes, I freeze by putting them into a Ziploc sandwich baggie and pop it in the freezer. These work great when something I have made needs a little help in thickening

* The word is that celery stalks chopped and added to every 2 cups of beans (brown, navy, pinto, white northernmy favorite by the way for ham and beans) will help make them easier to digest. I did not know this, but I always add celery to my ham and beans for the extra “wonderful flavor”. If I don’t have fresh celery stalks on hand, I use the bottle from my pantry, celery flakes for the flavor.

* An old rule of the homemaker is that when you are cooking vegetables that grow above ground, you should never cover them. I agree with this and automatically think of potatoes. When I boil potatoes for mashing, no lid. When I fry potatoes, I never use a lid. When I cook hash browns, no lid, even though the directions on the package tell you to cover the potatoes. Covering the potatoes will only make them mushy. My family prefers crispy hash browns, so no cover and always add butter to your oil! See my recipe for hash browns and fried potatoes.

*They say, “ To cut down on odors when cooking cabbage, cauliflower, etc…, add a little vinegar to the cooking water. Okay. I have something to say about this. I am not a friend of vinegar unless I am canning and even then, I prefer to use as little as possible, which of course, pickles, you cannot ignore, along with pickling peppers (for my son-in-law). I would not add vinegar to my cabbage and I am not a fan of cauliflower as my family can attest. I will put up with the smell of cabbage for a certain dish that my mom taught me to make, Runzas.

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