Writing Down Your Recipes with Style

writing-class-your-recipies-downA popular thing to do today and has been for some time is to write down all of your favorite recipes into a cookbook. These can take many forms from a family cookbook to a church cookbook and just a group of friends getting together and exchanging recipes.

These are a great way to get new recipes that have already been vetting and tried by some of your most trusted friends so you know they’ll be good!

Depending on whether or not you are the curator of the cookbook, you might be asked to write a short little intro blurb about the book and how it came about and maybe shed some light onto the inspiration behind your group and the recipes that are found inside the book. This is what I was asked to do when I first put together a cookbook between me and some of my sorority sisters, and I had no idea where to begin. I was never very good at writing and English grammar, and now I get stuck with writing an intro to our sorority cookbook? How did I get stuck with this? Thankfully it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be and I actually had a lot of fun writing it, and I even started this blog because of the fun that I had in writing that book.

One of the things that you want to focus on in writing a book like this is to make it as specific and personal as possible. In my case, we were all in college in the same sorority. We had lots of inside jokes and we all knew certain things about each other that only we knew. These are the kind of things that you will want to include in a book like this so when you look back years later a big smile comes to your face remembering the good times that you had with your sisters in college.

Another thing that you want to be sure to avoid is spelling and grammar errors. Looking back once you’re adults, you don’t want to say, “Gee, I must have been really dumb back then.” This was the tough part for me. Grammar wasn’t a strong suit for me and I could never remember how to define apart vs. a part or any other writing problems. It really wasn’t as big of a deal as a I thought it was at the time, I was just so overwhelmed with finals and planning my spring vacation trip that it seemed like things were just all getting dumped on me one after another.

I was able to find an online writing course that helped me go through all of the basics of writing, sentences, and grammar. And it was totally free. I was just freaking out over nothing. It had answers to all of the questions I had, like how to use were or where in a sentence and how to write for a specific audience. So if you aren’t much of a writer like I wasn’t, I suggest finding a similar online writing course if you want to include a short little bio or intro for your group’s cookbook. They really do add a special touch that you will enjoy reading years later.

This entry was posted in Cooking.

The Right List for a Great Meal From Your Emergency Bug out Bag

survival cooking MREs in your bug out backpackWith the increase of severe storms both in and out of the natural season, people all across the country are making themselves prepared for these frequently occurring super storms.

Families all across the countries have gotten a spell of real survivalism in their veins, and this is a great public sentiment. It’s always good to be prepared for any and every possible situation that Mother Nature (or anything else) can throw at you.

My only problem with the rise of custom home made bail out bags is that the food in them is just awful. They are always full of protein bars, energy powders, or emergency food rations. Rarely does a hot MRE even make it into the mix.

Today I want to talk about ways to create your own emergency urban or suburban bag, but include some foods in there that you would actually want to eat. :]

The first and easiest step to preparing a better bag for your emergencies is to get some surplus hot MRE meals. These are hugely better than emergency food rations. They are still very easy to pack away in a bag, not taking up much room at all. But most importantly (in my eyes at least) is that they are hot meals. You know the old saying, never underestimate the power of a hot meal. It’s true. When you are in an emergency situation, your power is turned off, or you’re stuck outside in the elements, having a hot meal will make you feel like a king compared to three days of protein bars.

What’s great about the MREs is that they are completely self-contained, making them very easy to transport. They have a sealed packed that acts similar to a cold pack. You break the inside barriers of it and a chemical reaction takes places that releases heat and warms up your meal. These are incredible in tight situations and they keep your pack light. If you want to pack a decent meal, but don’t want to get too deep into equipment, use your resources to get a few MREs.

If you want to pack a few awesome meals, as opposed to a few decent meals, brace yourself, because I’m going to layout some great ways to do this.

The first thing and most classical way to have a hot meal in the wilderness is with the class tripod setup. This is what you usually think of when you think of camping, a kettle over an open fire held up by a tripod. Now you can do all kinds of great stuff with this setup. You can boil water, make stew, cook potatoes, sterilize vegetables, cook fish or red meat. Really the sky is the limit, but they can be a bit clunky in your bag and they require a bit more wood to get up to temperature.

If you want to get state of art with your emergency cooking, you should consider getting a miniature wood burning camp stove. With this, you can cook all of the same things, but the space used inside you bag is much smaller. Most are as small as a water bottle. Plus, you can use them to charge cell phones or other USB devices. This is another essential thing in cases of emergency.

So don’t get left eating tasteless filler foods in your emergency bags when it’s more than easy to eat healthy, hot meals.

This entry was posted in Cooking.

Being A Chef While Studying for the CPA Exam

study for the CPA and work a jobA lot of people start out in the food industry either right out of high school or even during college. It’s a fairly easy area to enter and you can move up the ranks without having to acquire a great deal of education. Many people don’t end up staying in the food industry for their entire career though. A lot of people enjoy it for a while and then want to find something else.

That is exactly what Sam emailed me about the other day. He said that he has been working as a head chef for a few years at a local restaurant and decided that he needed a career change. He went back to school and started taking finance classes. He quickly realized that he enjoyed studying accounting and wanted to going into public accounting full time. He’s almost done with his accounting degree and wanted to know what I would advise as far as studying for the CPA exam while he’s working.

I’ll have to tell you that I’m not an expert on the CPA exam by any means. I do know quite a bit about taking professional standardized tests. Lord knows I’ve taken my fair share of exams. You said that you wanted to take the FAR or financial accounting section of the exam first. The first piece of advice that I can give you, Sam, is to find the best CPA review course for FAR. Getting the best study course will make your life so much easier because it will free up your time and allow to you work.

After doing a little bit of research, I came across two great review guides. I’m sure you have already looked into this, but I’ll give you my two cents. The Roger CPA review course looks like its pretty established and has great customer ratings. It has an online and offline interface. I would look into it if I were you. The Roger cpa review discounts are also great if you have to pay for the guide yourself.

The other course that I found that looks pretty good is the Yaeger CPA review course. It also has a great online and offline software package. The exception to this guide is that it comes with USB drives and course books. The other one doesn’t have those kind of extras. I’m not sure if you want these, but it’s an added perk. Just like the other course, the Yaeger CPA Review Discounts also help make the course more affordable for you budget.

Like I said, I’m not an expert in this area by any means, but when I took the GRE I know my study course helped me study faster so I could focus on working and passing the exam at the same time. The only other tip I’d have for you is to pace yourself. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Keep it slow and steady and you will start your career in accounting soon enough. Good Luck and remember just because you are leaving your chef job doesn’t mean you can’t keep on cooking great food at home!

This entry was posted in Cooking.

The Best Grilled Cheese

the-best-grilled-cheese

Everyone likes a good grilled cheese sandwich, but believe it or not, not everyone knows how to make them. Crazy right? So in this post I want to go over the basic way to make a standard grilled cheese sandwich and then offer a few tweaks to the original in case you want to spice it up a bit.

Making a Grilled Cheese Step 1:

The first step to making a grilled cheese is the same as making any other type of meal: gather your ingredients. You will need some bread, butter, and cheese.

Step 2:

The second step to making a grilled cheese is buttering the bread. You want to take two pieces of bread and butter one side of each. The purpose of the butter is that it fries the sides of the bread to give it a nice crunchy feel.

After you butter one side of the bread you want to put cheese on the opposite side of the bread. At this point, your sandwich should have the two buttery sides facing out with the cheese in the middle.

Step 4:

Turn your stovetop on medium heat and place a frying pan on the burner. Place the grilled cheese in the pan and cook until both sides of the sandwich are golden brown and crispy.

Tada! You have a perfectly made grilled cheese sandwich that is all ready to be eaten. Easy than you thought, isn’t it? Now how about some tweak to make the sandwich a little more interesting?

Spicing it Up

As with my favorite way to make turkey clubs, I am a big fan of Texas toast. This goes for grilled cheese too. In the turkey club the Texas toast allows you to add more ingredients and stuff have the bread be of substantial size, but with a grilled cheese you don’t really have the problem. The Texas toast in this case just seems to taste better! :]

Another thing that you can do to spice up the taste is to experiment with difference kinds of cheeses. Typically I just use Velveeta cheese. This is both easy to find (almost all grocery stores carry it), its relatively inexpensive, and it melts super easy. This is great for kids who can’t truly appreciate the taste of a nice aged cheese, and to tell you the truth, they usually prefer it.

But you can experiment with different kinds of cheddar cheese. My grandmother actually used to use mozzarella cheese exclusively for grilled cheese, so you can try that if you don’t already do so. The cheese selection available is virtually limitless for grilled cheese potential.

Any although this technically removes the sandwich from the strict grilled cheese category, you can experiment with making different “melt” sandwiches. One of my personal favorite sandwiches like this to make is a tuna melt. Prepare tuna just like you would do for a tuna sandwich and then also prepare your grilled cheese as you would. One your grilled cheese is completed and of the cheese is hot and melted, split the bread apart and spread your tuna inside the sandwich. Then close it back up. It is a great sandwich that is very hearty and filling.

Turkey Clubs: the Ultimate Lunch Sandwich

turkey-club-sandwich

In our last post, we talked about making a great breakfast. Today we’re going to talk about lunch sandwiches and specifically the turkey club. I know what you’re thinking, “The ultimate sandwich? Really?” Well, maybe a little bit of my own personal bias is coming through on this post’s title. The turkey club is one of my favorite lunch sandwiches. :]

What is the turkey club, you ask? A turkey club, (at least the way I make my turkey club) is toast, mayonnaise, cheese, lettuce, turkey, bacon, and tomatoes. Sound like a lot of stuff? Let’s dig into each ingredient that makes up this delicious sandwich.

First things first, the bread. You will want to toast the bread just like you would any other type of sandwich toast. One thing that I do different on the bread is that I like to use Texas style toast for my bread. You know, the really thick bread? This adds a great bit of bulk to the sandwich that allows you to include all the other ingredients.

Next mayonnaise. I only use Hellman’s real mayonnaise. Some people prefer Miracle Whip, but I just do not like that stuff at all. Put the mayonnaise on one side of both pieces of toast.

Next I like to add the lettuce. I prefer to use Romaine lettuce, but ordinary iceberg lettuce will do.

After this I like to add the cheese. Now you can use whatever cheese you prefer, but I always use extra sharp cheddar. I find it to be the best for sandwiches. And when you get the cheese, don’t get the gross little Kraft singles. Get a nice block of cheddar cheese. That is the only way to have real cheese on your sandwiches.

Next comes the bacon. I prefer the bacon not to be crispy on my sandwiches because it allows you to taste it better and it gives better flavor to the sandwich. I have also found that putting cold bacon onto the sandwich for some reason tastes much better than putting warm bacon on it. This seemed almost counterintuitive to me at first, because most things taste better when they are still fresh and warm, like bread, cookies, chips, etc. But nope, it’s better cold. So usually what I like to do is cook the bacon and set it on a paper towel in the fridge. The paper towel helps collect any excess grease on the bacon.

Then come the tomatoes. I usually put two quarter-inch slices of tomatoes on the sandwich.

Last but certainly not least, comes the turkey. If you want to go all out you should try to get some fresh deli-cut turkey. And if you grocery store has it, get the smoked turkey. That stuff is amazing. Put a good portion of that on your sandwich and you are good to go. I’ll cut my sandwich in half and serve it with some kettle chips and you have a great lunch all ready to go in no time.

You can serve this with milk, soda, water, or just about any beverage that you think would go with a lunch sandwich.

This entry was posted in Lunch.

Advice From the Dentist: Watch Out for Those Sweets

Healthy food will prevent the need for dental implants.A phrase that I have resented for years but only recently been able to fully appreciate was the warning from my local dentist and oral surgeon to “watch of for those sweets” in your everyday diet. So today I want to go over a few ways that we can all limit our sweet intake while still creating some of the best dishes to eat.

The reason why I bring this up is I just heard a horror story from a friend who took a trip to the dentist for a check up. After going in for the visit, the dentist saw the incredible damage done to his teeth by years a poor dental care and heavy sugar intake. You see, when we eat a lot of food with sugar in it, it creates a den for all of the bacteria in our mouths to thrive. This problem becomes even more pronounced if you don’t brush and floss regularly. Long story short, this person’s teeth were in such disrepair that they needed to perform an intricate surgery on his teeth to fix them, so he’ll soon be traveling to Ann Arbor for affordable dental implant surgery in MI.

This is clearly something we all want to avoid, so I want to give everyone a few pointers in how to avoid getting your teeth like this.

One very important step to keeping your teeth in tact is watching what you drink. This goes for dieting too. Drinking is one of the easiest ways to consume calories without even noticed it. Whether it’s alcohol or soda, 12 ounces of these fluids can add upwards of 150-200 calories to your daily diet. Think about that. By drinking one glass of soda, you are consuming 10 percent of your daily caloric intake. That is huge and these sodas are filled with sugars of all kinds. So by just drinking water with your lunch instead of a soda can make a world of difference when you are trying to eat healthy and avoid sugars.

Another thing to keep an eye out for while trying to keep your sugar intake down is to avoid low-fat foods. Wait, what? Avoid low-fat foods? I know this sounds counterintuitive but many low-fat foods or dressings actually have very high sugar contents so it is debatable whether or not they’re actually at all any better for you than their normal counterparts.

The best thing to do is just eat foods that are healthy by themselves, without the need to be advertised as “low-fat.” Generally if there is a “low-fat” option to the food you are eating, it’s a good sign that it’s not the best food for you to being with.

So if you want to avoid having to get a low cost dental implant surgeries in Bloomfield Hills and want to be able to keep your clean, bright smile intact, make sure to avoid the sugary foods and eat healthy. This will not only save you a lot of money (oral surgeries are very expensive), but it will help you live a healthy live.

Cooking a Great Breakfast

great-breakfastThere are countless ways to make a great breakfast and people are experimenting with new and innovative breakfast food more and more these days, making what used to be one of the simplest meaning complicated. But have no fear! Today we are going to go over the basics of breakfast—the standard breakfast meal. We’ll talk about what that includes, how to cook them and how much you should cook.

Most traditional breakfasts are composed of a few different food groups. The first and most common group is eggs.

Eggs can be prepared in any number of different ways, and are probably the most diverse element of the breakfast meal. Eggs can be scrambled, poached, fried, made into an omelet, any many more combinations. Today we’re just going to cover the most basic and most popular way to cook eggs: fried eggs. Frying eggs is by far the most common way to prepare them for breakfast, and these can be a bit tricky once you get into cooking them at different temperatures.

There are 3 main ways to fry eggs. The first is called “Over-Easy.” This is the least cooked egg where the yolk is still runny in the middle. The second way is called “Over-Medium.” This way the yolk is halfway cooked and halfway runny. Then the third way is “Over-Hard.” As you can probably guess, this one is cooked all the way through and there is no runny yolk at all. To read a more in depth description on cooking eggs, see my full page on that.

Now that we’ve covered eggs, the second element to a traditional breakfast is some type of meat. Some common breakfast meats are bacon, ham, sausage, corned beef, etc. There really aren’t as many ways to cook the meats as there are for eggs. People will sometimes ask for “crispy” bacon or ham, but this just means that you need to cook it longer than you ordinarily would. There’s no technique for the process of making bacon crispy. One very tasty way that you can prepare your eggs is to fry them in the leftover bacon grease after you are done cooking up the bacon. This is frowned on by many health nuts in society today, but it makes the eggs sooo delicious. Even if you don’t do this regularly, you need to try it at least one time.

The third and final piece to a traditional breakfast is a starch of some kind. The most common starches that are served are toast, hash browns, potatoes wedges, or hash. Nothing too complicated about the toast, just pop it in the toaster. As for the other options, a great way to cook those is to get out a skillet or a griddle. Lay down just a tablespoon or so of butter and fry up the potatoes. Cook them at about 350-375 degrees until they are golden brown. They should take maybe 5-8 minutes.

That’s the basics of the traditional breakfast that we’re all so used to eating. The only thing you need to add is your drink of choice. Hope you learned something; be sure to come back for more tips!