Why I Prefer Cookbooks to Online Recipes

I consider myself fortunate to have grown up cooking new recipes from cookbooks. These days food photos and recipes dominate the internet, with very few good ones to be found. Most recipes seem to be carbon copies done over and over, saying the same thing. Once I wade through the advertisements on the page and finally see the actual ingredients, I’ve lost interest.

eclair sweets dessert

Does Everyone Really Own a Food Processor?

I love to find a nice recipe and then discover the meal was made with the help of a food processor. I’m kidding. I don’t love it.

Recently I was looking for a recipe to give me ideas about what to do with some cauliflower and mushrooms I happened to have. Was there a recipe that used both? Yes, some sort of Bolognese which, according to the recipe required all kinds of work, including using the food processor numerous times.

Pumpkin soup

These days when I search for a recipe, I am usually looking for ideas and not specific directions. I’ve been cooking long enough to know the basics. Except for beginner cooks, I can’t understand why people need to follow recipes to the letter.

Which brings me to the next gripe.

Don’t Trust All / Most Recipe Blogs

Aside from the long, advertisement filled pages of recipe blogs, many times the recipes themselves are simply not that good. Some say to add salt at every turn. Some list ingredients which really don’t go together. And many make cooking and baking much more difficult than it needs to be. They lead you to believe that they are sharing their own secret ideas for success.

Let’s face it, most food bloggers are writing to make money. We all have to eat, and mostly love looking at pretty pictures of food, so bloggers have that going for them. They will link to food items, kitchen utensils, and pots and pans while kindly sharing their recipe (which is just a copy of everyone else’s). They make money off those links, and the massive amount of ads which appear on the page. I don’t fault them for that, just the massive overdoing of it.

But do we believe that these bloggers make their own recipes? I suppose some do, but others sound so bizarre and awful, I can’t believe it. Their cutesy way of writing should not distract from the real reason the page was created.

Dig Out the Old Cookbook First

Because of all the moving I’ve done in my life, I no longer have many “things”, but one thing I have kept is my old cookbooks, namely Betty Crocker. Usually I check here first when making a recipe.

It’s falling apart and as you can see the front was burned by a hot stove coil at some point, but it still holds some wonderful recipes which I still use.

Old Betty Crocker cookbook
My 1970’s cookbook

Granted, it’s old fashioned. I don’t use “lard” to make anything, and fondue is a bit unpopular these days, but tried and true cakes, cookies, pies and casseroles made from this book are still the best basic recipes out there. No food processors necessary!

Bloggers have to have a lot of words on their pages for indexing and search engine optimization. That’s why they go on and on about all kinds of boring things when you first land on their pages. We hear about their hubbies, kids and baking mistakes, and blah blah… until we finally get down to the actual recipe.

But, open a cookbook, and there you have it, the recipe ready to follow.

Okay, okay… I realize that most younger people probably don’t have old, faithful cookbooks to follow. I’m just saying be careful of which recipe blogs you choose to use.

Thanks to Pixabay.com for the food images on this page.


Ways to Use That Overload of Cucumbers From the Garden

It is mid-June as I write this and I am beginning to get an overload of cucumbers from the garden. I am the only one in the household who eats them. Since I hate to be wasteful, I’ve begun using my cucumbers in places other than salads.

Please note: Not all food here is Keto friendly.  I wrote this page before I changed my diet.

Cucumbers in Smoothies

A few years back I bought an Oster personal blender. Because of my diagnosis of poly-cystic kidney disease, I began to create healthy smoothies full of fruit and vegetables.

This morning I picked 2 more cucumbers from the garden to add to the collection of 5 I had already sitting on my kitchen counter. Cucumbers can be very good for for patients with CKD (chronic kidney disease) and of course, for everyone else as well.

I chopped one whole cucumber for my smoothie. To that I added five frozen, organic strawberries, organic red grapes, and some unsweetened cranberry juice. Once I remembered that I had bananas to use, I added a small banana too.

Cucumber smoothie
Cucumber smoothie with fruit

For those with any type of kidney problem who have to watch their potassium levels, don’t add the banana.

Of course this is my made-up-on-the-spur-of-the-moment recipe, so change it up. Adding other greens along with the cuke would also work. Throw in some kale or spinach. That goes well with strawberries. Use orange juice or iced tea for the liquid. There are many options when it comes to creating a healthy smoothie.

Screen Shot 2018-06-23 at 11.04.34 AM
Ready to drink from my House Targaryen GOT glass

Easier still, add sliced cucumber to a glass of water. Throw in sliced apple, orange, lemon or lime if you have it. Most people should drink a lot of water every day and this may help you do so.

Cucumber Sandwiches

Although I try hard not to eat much bread, I love a cucumber sandwich. When slicing the cukes for a sandwich I leave the skin on. I only remove skin from store-bought cukes.

Add mayonnaise and a little pepper and yum… the perfect summer sandwich.

cucumber sandwiches
Crustless white bread cucumber sandwiches (photo: Pixabay)

Or choose a more healthy type “bread” by spreading hummus on a (gluten free, low sodium) tortilla and fill with chopped cucumber and other veggies. Roll it up and you have a tasty meal without the bread.

Cucumbers and Hummus Dip

Cucumbers are quite delicious all by themselves, but it’s more fun to dip them into a healthy dip. I love cukes and hummus. Again, if you have no health issues, eat what sounds good. Chic peas are the main ingredient in hummus and most brands offer additional varieties along with plain old hummus.

Hummus is a wonderful and healthy dip that goes with any vegetable. It provides fiber and protein and other nutrients.

bowl of hummus

More Ideas For Using Fresh Garden Cucumbers

I can get tired of eating salad pretty quickly, but the trick is to change it up. Use a small amount of greens and add lots of cucumber, tomato, sliced onion and green pepper. I like to add walnuts and fruit to my salads too.

For a simple cucumber only salad, check out this recipe at Taste of Home.

I have a no-cook recipe link for making sweet bread and butter pickles.  Be aware that these pickles last only a couple of weeks before the slices get soggy.  Eat them quickly or they will have to be thrown away.  Still, it’s a good and easy recipe for an abundance of cukes.  Maybe give some away?

Also, cucumber slices can be used to play checkers. (Smile)

My Thanksgiving Day 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-1-48-12-pmI have to write about my Thanksgiving Day so next year I will remember what I cooked and how it turned out.  Because this year I did a couple of things differently and I want to do them again!

First, my son smoked a turkey.  He took care of the bird, and it came out yummy.  I took the  neck, kidneys, liver and neck (is that what those things are?) … anyway, the inside stuff… and made stock, or broth.  I then used that stock to make the stuffing and gravy.  It was tasty.

Because we were having our heating / AC unit replaced the day before Thanksgiving, I never got to the store to buy my wine (I drank whiskey instead), or pick up some cranberry sauce, I decided to make my own … cranberry sauce that is. Here is how I made it.

We also had mashed potatoes, and I never got around to cooking a vegetable, but my sons don’t care about that, so it was okay.  I will cook veggies to go with the leftovers.

I am in Florida now, so it was a hot and sunny day.  Not too hot, but shorts and sleeveless tops hot.  My son smoked up the neighborhood while cooking the bird, but I think all the neighbors were gone.  It was a quiet and peaceful day.

We still don’t have living room furniture, and the table was crammed with stuff that needs to be put somewhere, so we sat in chairs and watched tv.  We’ve only been living in the new house for about a month now.  Then the boys played some video games, which was fun to watch.  I called my son in Kentucky and my daughter in New Hampshire.  I’ve given up thinking that one day we can all be together for a holiday.

The thing I was most thankful for was the dishwasher.



Making Turkey Stock For Gravy and Stuffing

turkey stock broth
Boiling gizzards with veggies to make stock.

I tried something new Thanksgiving Day 2016 and added loads of flavor to the meal. I used all the inside stuff from the turkey – the neck, kidneys, etc – not the liver, throw it away (that’s what recipes said).

Brown all that stuff in oil in a large pan for 5 minutes.

While it’s browning cut up a carrot, celery stick, and onion, into bigger chunks.

Crush garlic cloves.  Pick parsley & basil from garden and rinse.

After 5 minutes add the veggies to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth – 2 cups because it tends to be too salty.  And 4 cups of water.  Total 6 cups however you want.

Boil on medium for 45-60 minutes, uncovered.

Strain through a colander and dump out veggies.  Use the broth for making stuffing and gravy.  (We used 2 Publix packets of gravy, and Stove Top stuffing.)  I had just enough stock to make both.  It added great flavor.

I also made my own cranberry sauce since no one eats it but me.  I’m not picky, and it was pretty good.  I’ve never worked with whole, fresh cranberries before.  I though they were only used to make garland for the Christmas tree!

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