Copyright©2007- 2010 Donna Goff

Monday, December 22, 2008


I have not yet attempted to make vinegar. I do know it can be made at home. I do use a variety of vinegars. All vinegars are a result of fermentation of fruit or sweet vegetables, beyond the alcohol stage, and are no longer alcoholic.

White Vinegar like Heinz White Vinegar is made from grain and clear water. I use white vinegar in baked goods like Red Velvet Cake. It has a mild flavor that works with baking soda to make a bubbling, leavening action, without leaving a vinegar taste.

Cider Vinegar also known as Apple Cider Vinegar is made from apple cider. I use apple cider vinegar in some meat dishes like Chicken Adobo because it imparts a savory flavor. \ Apple Cider Vinegar can be overpower the sweet flavor of baked goods, but blends well with seasonings to make meat dishes savory.

I also use it for medicinal purposes.

Red Wine Vinegar is vinegar that is made from red or white wine. I use this in salad dressings.

Raspberry Vinegar is a vinegar made from raspberry wine. I use it as a base for a fruity Zesty Italian and for making a fruity fajita.

Household Tips: Because vinegar is acidic it has been successfully used in a variety of home remedies and even an earth friendly solution for cleaning.

When I was young, I remember cleaning windows and mirrors with a solution of vinegar and water and using newspapers to clean the windows to a sparkle.

As a young mother I had a toddler get into a box of tide. He would scoop up tide and take it to the bathroom and pour it into a sink of running water, and then take a cup of water to the box of tide. Needless to say it was a soapy mess. I shared the story with a friend, she told me her story. Her children did the same on new carpet! The carpet cleaner told her that vinegar would cut the soap and make it easier to clean up. Her carpet was white so she used white vinegar. The day after she told me this, I dropped a bottle of bleach on a brown carpet. Remembering my friend's story I immediately I tried the vinegar, as it is acidic and bleach is base, hoping the vinegar would neutralize the bleach. and the acid in the vinegar prevented my carpet from ruin.

CAUTION CAUTION CAUTION CAUTION do not combine vinegar and chlorine bleach!!!!
I have since learned that one should not combine vinegar and chlorine bleach, as it combines and creates a dangerous gas. I consider myself tremendously blessed that I did not inhale the mixture! Boy do I keep my guardian angels hopping. I could have solved one problem and created another. Using vinegar on soap bubbles or soap scum should not be an issue. Just becareful what products you use and combined in cleaning the bathroom.

I have used apple cider vinegar as a rinse on my hair to strip shampoo and conditioner build up from my hair. Wow, my hair was beautiful.

When I go to the pool I mix 1 part apple cider vinegar and 2 parts purified water into a 25 ounce spray bottle, and spray it on my body and hair to neutralize the chlorine so my hair does not turn green and so I do not smell like a pool all day. Then I wash my skin with a aloe loofa glycerine bar, and a cranberry glycerine facial bar. I was my hair with L' Oreal Kids Sunny Splash of Orange 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner. Sounds like a fruit salad I know :).

Vinegar is a must for food storage and green living.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pulled Buttermints

My friend Joy Andrews taught me how to make these delicious creamy buttermints. These make great gifts and treats at weddings.

3 cups sugar
1 cup hot water
1/4 lbs. butter
2 teaspoons Karo syrup
2+ drops oil of peppermint
2+ drops color

Bring sugar, water, butter, and karo syrup to a boil. Boil 3 minutes with lid on pan, take lid off and bring to 252 degrees.

Pour onto marble slab, keep raising edges so they won't get brittle. Work until it is still hot but warm enough to handle. Work fast. Pull in ropes, fold, twist, pull again, and continue until the ropes lose their gloss and are getting stiffer. Cut quickly with buttered scissors or sharp knife. Place on wax paper in an air tight container to mellow (a tin) for 3 days. These mints get hard fast and then 3 days in an airtight tin turns them creamy and softens them.

Creamy Chocolate Nut Surprise

These are delightfully delicate, messy to make, but well worth the effort!

1 1/2 lbs. Hershey Almond Bars or 24 ounces Hershey Kisses and 1/8 cup chopped Almonds
9 ounces Cool Whip
Vanilla Wafers finely crushed

Optional Ingredients: Substitute other nuts, such as pecans, hazelnuts or macadamia nuts!

Wear food handling gloves for this one.
Melt Chocolate slowly so it does not burn.
Mix with thawed Cool Whip. If you do not thaw the Cool Whip first the chocolate will not mix thoroughly.
Chill in the fridge one hour to firm up mixture.
Drop into spoonfuls of chocolate mixture into vanilla wafer crumbs by rounded teaspoon full.
Roll into balls.
Roll in more crumbs.
Chill till set. 

This recipe freezes well in an freezer jar.

Roger's Hershey Kiss Marshmellow Fudge

4 1/2 cup sugar
1 large can evaporated milk
1 stick butter (1/2 cup butter), cut into half tablespoon slices
24 ounces Hershey Kisses (currently, by size, this would be about 151 kisses!)
2- 7 ounce jars of marshmallow creme
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds or walnuts
2 teaspoons vanilla

Boil sugar and evaporated milk for 9-10 minutes. Place all of the other ingredients in the Bosch mixing bowl. Pour boiling mixture over other ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix with dough hook for 2-4 minutes, until the mixture loses it gloss. Pour in buttered jelly roll pan, cool, and cut. We actually cut it and put it in the freezer!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Tonight, my friend Alex's mom, Dianna taught us how to make tortillas from scratch. Dianna is from Corpus Christi, Texas. She used to have a family Tex-Mex Restaurant. These were flavorful and I tried my hand at making a few.

Makes 20+ 8 inch tortillas. Dough can be made ahead of time but should be used within 24 hours.

6 cups unbleached all purpose flour or whole wheat flour
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil (corn, sunflower, olive oil, or canola)
2 cups of very hot water (or less)

In a large mixing bowl or Bosch place flour, salt, baking powder, and mix with your hands or sifter, or in the Bosch with the wire whisk attachment until well blended. Add oil and mix with a fork, or fingers, or with the Bosch until thoroughly mixed an crumbly like pie crust.

Add hot water slowly, and mix with hands, making sure all flour mixture mixes. If using a Bosch, exchanged whisk for dough hook. Make sure you add water slowly and make sure the flour from the bottom of the bowl gets mixed into the dough. Add a little water to collect flour from bottom of the bowl. Mix until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and forms a ball. Whole wheat flour is less smooth and pulls apart easily. Place dough on un-floured board and knead until smooth, or slam on the counter about 20 times. Let dough rest about 15 minutes.

Pull the dough into approximately 20 gulf ball sized balls. Keep covered with a damp cloth. Squeeze each ball into a flatten disc shape. Then place back under the moist cloth. Remove one disc from under the towel, and roll out into a circle. Place in a medium high pan for 30 seconds, until you see small bubbles appearing on the underside. Turn tortilla for another 30 seconds.

Cool on a paper towel, serve. Fill with desired filling.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cinnamon a Spice for Life

I have been reading about humble cinnamon and it really is a spice for life! I decided to check it out since I use it in my morning breakfast bowl.

Cinnamon is mentioned in the Bible and is one of the oldest spices known.

Cinnamon benefits:

* is anti inflammatory by inhibit the release of the fatty acid called arachidonic acid, and thereby preventing the clumping of blood platelets.
* is anti microbial and in most cases can help stop the growth of candida!
* is anti bacterial and can inhibited the growth of the food borne pathogenic Bacillus cereus.
* can cause the stomach to empty slower and therefore reduces the rise of blood sugar, thus helping regulate blood sugar levels.
* can increase the cell's ability to absorb and store glycogen.
* enhances insulin signaling.
* "not only stimulates insulin receptors, but also inhibit an enzyme that inactivates them, thus significantly increasing cells' ability to use glucose."
* can prevent insulin resistance in animals on a high fructose diet.
* Cinnamon's scent can enhance brain function.
* can bring Arthritis relief.
* can reduce the proliferation of Lymphoma and Leukemia cells.
* can fight E.coli in un-pasteurized juices.
* can be used as an effective food preservative
* can in small amounts of less than 1/2 teaspoon, help maintain a pregnancy by normalizing hormones and regulating insulin levels.
* can help with nausea

* Cinnamon in large doses (three tablespoons a day) can cause miscarriage in early pregnancy and is a uterine stimulant.
that can promote contractions in late pregnancy and labor.
* Cinnamon can cause contact dermatitis, so use gloves when grinding it.

Some sites for more cinnamon information:
This site has the list of studies done on cinnamon: The World's Healthiest Foods
BrainReady sites other studies.
10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon Health

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Grapefruit Hints

My daughter received some grapefruit spoons for a wedding gift. On the back of the package we found this gem:

Fresh Hints

Grapefruit does nt ripen after picking so look for heavy, tightly skinned fruit as a sign of freshness. A greenish color late in the season may indicate a mature fruit with high sugar content. Always chill at once as grape fruit keeps better at lower temperatures.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sherrie Goff's Salsa Bean Dip

This was the yummy bean dip that Sherrie served at Jennifer's bridal shower.

2 Cans Black Beans
2 Cans Kidney Beans
2 Cans Corn
3-4 Tomatoes
3 Avocados
1 Small Bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing, or a bottle of Zesty Italian made from the packet (I make mine with Raspberry Vinegar), or my variation of this recipe, I use Kraft's Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette.

Drain cans, cube tomatoes and avocados, combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve with chips, on a salad, or in a tortilla wrap.

Donna's Notes:

When using the Zesty Italian in recipies on this blog, I usually do not buy the bottled Zesty Italian. I but the dry Zesty Italian packets and mix it up using raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar. For those concerned about "wine" in red wine vinegar, you need to understand that all vinegars are a result of the next stage in the fermentation process of wines, cider, beers, fermented fruit, etc. and are no longer alcoholic.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

100% Whole Wheat Bread

This was the bread I made by hand, before I was married and until I bought a Bosch. I still like this recipe because it is full of flavor. I always made this with hard red winter wheat.

3 cups milk or water*
3 Tablespoons oil
½ cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
6-7 ½ cups whole wheat flour

*water brings out the flavor, milk adds protein and calcium.

Combine milk, oil, honey and molasses in a saucepan. Heat and stir until blended; remove from heat and cool until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water (if you use the cup you measured the honey and molasses in it will bubble faster. Pour liquids from the sauce pan into a large bowl and add yeast. Stir in 3 cups of flour, beating well to develop the gluten. Stir in remaining flour and turn on to a well floured board. Knead thoroughly, until dough is smooth and elastic. Turn into well oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise 1 hour. Punch down, form two loaves, place in two well greased bread tins; let rise covered, 45 minutes. Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes, or until loaf sounds hollow when thumped. Remove from pan, brush with butter or oil, cover with a cloth until cool.

This will keep for a week in the fridge if stored in a plastic bag. If it gets crumbly, just toast it.

If using for sandwiches, do not let over rise or it will have holes!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Baker's Yeast

1 cake compressed yeast= 1 package active dry yeast
1 package dry yeast= 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
active dry yeast and instant/rapid rise yeast can be used interchangeably in recipes.

What is the difference?
Instant/Rapid rise is:
* finer, so it absorbs liquid faster
* does not need to be dissolved before using, but can be added into the dry ingredients
* takes half the time to rise
* only requires one rising.