Thursday, December 31, 2015

How To Make Whipped Cream

Some of you will probably think this is redundant, for anyone who knows anything should know how to make whipped cream. But does everyone really know how to make whipped cream? Maybe someone eyes up the luscious topping on ice cream and puddings but is afraid (or embarrassed) to ask.

Well, if you are just starting out in your homemaking skills or if you are a veteran homemaker of many years, here is something you may never have thought of making yourself. It is fairly easy to make whipped cream too!

Homemade Whipped Cream

1 pint heavy cream (or whipping cream)
Powdered sugar

For better whipping, freeze heavy cream for no more than 20 minutes. You can freeze the mixing bowl too, if desired.

Take the whipping cream and put it in a mixing bowl. Beat it on high speed until stiff peaks form. However, be careful to not let it go too long for it could turn into butter!

Add powdered sugar to taste. You can also make your own powdered sugar by putting granulated sugar in a blender and blending it at a high speed.

I always use organic products, and it might be hard to find organic powdered sugar, although I did see it somewhere for sale. It is not necessary to use organic products to make whipped cream with though. You can just use the confectionary sugar sold in the stores, if you prefer.

I think you would probably use around 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, but again, it is what your taste buds prefer. You don't need a whole lot to sweeten the whipped cream.

Place on item you are making or put in a bowl or jar and place in the refrigerator. Use when needed. You may also want to cover the whipped cream if you are storing it in the refrigerator. If the whipped cream is not mixed well enough, it will probably turn to liquid again.

Whipped Cream adds a nice touch to desserts
and drinks

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Why Your Kitchen Is Too Small

I hesitate to write this because I know it will be long. But it has been on my heart for many years, even before blogging became popular.

You see, your kitchen is small because of a philosophical reason, tied in with cultural preferences. I will attempt to explain with as few words as possible. I promise.

We were talking about things we complain about in a group last Sunday. One of the women said she complains about her kitchen being too small. I had to agree. That was my complaint as well. I'm sure it is a common complaint among women in America today.

But why are our kitchens so small? Let's go back several years, like 60+ years or more.

Back in the olden days, when people still feared the Lord and respected His word, women took on the task of being homemakers. Women had a lot of work to do and were very responsible in their careers of building their homes. They took their 'job' very seriously.

I don't intend on making a case against women working outside the home. Many women today, have to work outside the home for a number of reasons. But, a couple of generations back, it was not so. Women stayed at home with the children. They didn't just babysit their kids until the kids were grown. The moms spent a lot of time teaching their children about life. They taught them right from wrong. Children got spanked when they did wrong. Training children and serving our husbands was a lot of work. But then something happened in the mid to late 20th Century.

I don't know who to blame and the point isn't to put the blame on anyone, and there were probably a multitude of different reasons for this happening, but, women in more recent generations, grew weary of staying home with children and cleaning house. They wanted something more 'meaningful'. They wanted to bring an income in too, so they could add nice things to the home and their children would be assured of having nice clothing and lots of toys to play with.

The moms got tired of the 'housewife' stigma. Many went to college and got a degree. We were becoming a prosperous nation and people were having two or three cars now. No more need for carpooling or having to take the husband to work so she could have a car for the day. People were putting in pools. All these nice things were requiring an added income to the family. There was not so much a need for a job or career as much as there was the desire for one. Plus, some moms just could not stay inside a house. It drove them crazy!

So, we have a generation of people who wanted more, wanted prestige, and didn't want to sit at home playing games and reciting nursery rhymes to children. Instead, we would pay someone else to do the housework and babysit the children while mom goes to work. But what was the trade-off for all this?

Today, to live in a home or apartment, it requires the income of both the man and the woman. Couples aren't able to have children simply because they can't afford them. It is too expensive to live. It requires both the man and the woman to have jobs to pay for the bare necessities, many times.

What does this have to do with small kitchens though? When a house is being built, before the building process takes place, the plans have to be made. An architect has to be consulted and he or she has to come up with the design of the house. They have to keep in mind what people want and need. Now, there are homes that are custom made and that is ideal. The drawback is, someone else may not want the home you designed out of the needs of your family. So, when a house is being planned, they have to consider what people want. Do people want big kitchens? Would people even know what to do in a kitchen today, if they had one?

Because women have to have jobs and careers today that are outside of the home, it creates a difficult situation for her at home. Because society so strongly emphasizes convenience, it is easy for a woman to go to a store on the way home from work, and pick up dinner. Or, she can just get the meal out of a can or some boxes of prepared food.

I believe this is how most of America works today. Take for example, making spaghetti sauce or mashed potatoes. Did you know you could make your own spaghetti sauce? It is not necessary to buy it in a jar. Many have no idea that a person can actually make their own food instead of buying it already made and packaged. What's the trade-off?

Canned and boxed food lacks nourishment, plus it is full of additives, many of which are harmful to our bodies. We were not designed to eat packaged food. We were designed to eat fresh food from farms or even our own back yards.

A couple of generations back, people did not have supermarkets to go to. There were meat markets and vegetable stands, which is where many got their food from. It takes a lot of room to prepare all this food though. Plus it takes time. There is very little recognition of how much work goes into preparing a good, healthful meal. But if we want our family members to be healthy, we must work at preparing food that is nourishing.

This is why I believe that our kitchens are small today. We basically don't need them because there are enough fast food restaurants and even delis in the stores where we can pick up our meals today. We can just throw the cans and boxes away when we are finished, and we don't need to store extra items on our shelves because everything is already in the box, except the water or milk, if that is even needed. Cleanup is a lot easier as well.

So, with that in mind, with all the trade-offs, which do you prefer? A small kitchen that is used mainly as a place to store prepared foods that are picked up at the grocery store or fast food restaurant, or, a large kitchen with enough room to store appliances and ingredients to make healthful meals with? You be the judge.

The way houses are built today, we would not have enough
room to store all this food.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Homemade Gingerbread Cookies

Here is a recipe I originally found in a magazine many years ago. I make these cookies, mainly at Christmas time, but I also make them periodically throughout the year. Instead of using white or brown sugar in my recipes, I use coconut sugar. Feel free to use whichever one you desire.

Homemade Gingerbread Cookies

3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 cup coconut sugar*
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
Red hots**, licorice strings, currants, raisins, crushed candy canes for decoration (optional)

  Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl. Set aside.   Place sugar and softened butter in a mixing bowl and mix until creamy and smooth.*** Add molasses and egg and continue to blend until well combined.
   Remove dough from bowl and form into a flat disk. Cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Chill for at least 2 hours.
   Remove dough from refrigerator and preheat over to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets.****
   Roll out dough to about 1/8" thickness on a floured board or countertop. Cut out cookies according to desired shapes and decorate as desired. Place cookies on baking sheets about an inch apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool. Carefully remove from cookie sheets onto waxed paper or a plate.

Homemade Gingerbread Cookies

* Use whatever sugar you prefer or have on hand. The original recipe calls for brown sugar. If you do not have brown sugar on hand, you can make your own by adding molasses to white sugar. Add about a teaspoon or two to a cup of sugar. Add more if you want darker brown sugar.

** I get my Red Hots at Dollar Tree. I'm sure that you can find them in other places. Some brands do not have the same quality of cinnamon heat in them so try the ones you have available to you first. If you are pleased with them, just stick with that brand.

*** I used a hand mixer when I first made this recipe and just about burned the motor out. I would recommend using a stand mixer if you have one. 

**** I always keep a little crock of butter out for greasing pans and bowls with. Another good product is a shortening put out by Nutiva. I use this one a lot.

These cookies go fast. They are not hard to make and are sure to please everyone who looks at them!

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