Quark: a cheese adventure

Quark cheese is kind-a sort-a like cottage cheese. Easy to make and delicious to eat.

Gardener's Kitchen

Never fear, I am not talking about the elementary particle here (though those are known to have “flavors”…). Quark is simply the easiest cheese you can make. A mild, unsalted white cheese that is denser than yogurt, slightly tangy, and richly creamy, it is wonderful as a spread on hearty bread drizzled with a little honey or quince jelly. Traditional recipes that use Quark as an ingredient also include German cheese cake, fruit quark, and herb quark dip.

I grew up eating Quark in Germany, where it is a staple. A few disappointing trips to a local European deli (quark was not meant to be frozen for a year before selling) motivated me to start looking into making quark myself. Fortunately, it is even easier to make than yogurt, as the cultures involved are mesophilic (i.e. they work at room temperature). Since it also tastes better than any purchased Quark…

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Police don’t have balls!

This is just to good not to share.


Happy Holidays

Health tips that may be not be that beneficial

’12 healthy habits’ you’re better off giving up
Using a standing desk A recent long term study looking at data on nearly 4,000 US adults found no benefit in terms of overall risk of dying from standing as opposed to sitting.
In the short term, however, standing does burn more calories per minute, so if losing weight is all you’re worried about, keep standing!

Avoiding gluten Unless you’re one of the 1% of Americans who suffer from celiac disease, gluten probably won’t have a negative effect on you. In fact, studies show that most people suffer from slight bloating and gas when they eat, whether they consume wheat or not. So go ahead and eat that bagel and baguette.

Drinking almond milk. Alternatives to dairy milk have been surging in popularity in the last few years, chief among them almond milk. Yet almond milk is practically devoid of nutrients.
By themselves, almonds are protein powerhouses. But a typical glass of almond milk, by volume, is just about 2% almonds and contains almost no protein. And all the vitamins inside are added. So if you’re looking for a truly healthy alternative, opt for skim, or low-fat milk.

Juicing. When you juice fresh fruits and veggies, you remove all of their fiber, the key ingredient that keeps you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal.
What you keep is the sugar. In the short term, a high-sugar, low protein diet means constant hunger pangs, mood swings, and low energy. In the long term, you can lose muscle mass since muscles rely on protein.

Microwave. Rumors about how “nuking” foods robs them of their nutrients. Fortunately for most of us, this is entirely false. Microwave ovens cook food using energy waves. The waves cause the molecules in food to vibrate quickly, building up their energy as heat.
Of course, some nutrients begin to disintegrate when heated, whether it’s from a microwave, a stove, or something else. But since microwave cooking times are typically much shorter than oven cooking times, microwaving something often does a better job of keeping its vitamins intact than other cooking methods.

Hand sanitizer. If you wash your hands regularly throughout the day, hand sanitizer is unnecessary. Plus, it can’t kill all the germs that plain old soap and water can.
Norovirus and C. difficile, for example, are immune to sanitizing gels.

Avoiding MSG. Monosodium glutamate is an ingredient added to many foods to enhance their flavor. It’s completely safe to ingest.
MSG is often associated with a series of symptoms, from numbness at the base of the neck to a general sense of fatigue, that are commonly lumped together and called ” Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.”
Eating too much is the more likely culprit here, not eating MSG.

Detox diet. No one needs to detox. Unless you’ve been poisoned, you already have a super efficient system for filtering out most of the harmful substances you eat. It’s made up of two toxin bashing organs, the liver and the kidneys.
While our kidneys filter our blood and remove any waste from our diet, our livers process medications and detoxify any chemicals we ingest. Paired together, these organs make our bodies natural cleansing powerhouses.

Make life easy and it will taste better

20 Things You’ve Been Doing Wrong in the Kitchen
Roasting Potatoes The best roasted potatoes are boiled in salted water and roasted in the oven for a perfectly soft interior and super crunchy exterior. The other secret ingredient is whole grain mustard takes their flavor to the next level.

Scrambling Eggs Protein, including eggs, hates heat. If you’ve always ended up with overcooked and rubbery scrambled eggs, you’re probably cooking them too quickly at too high a heat. Low and slow is the only way to go for soft tasty scrambled eggs.

Peanut Butter Cookies You only need four ingredients (peanut butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla) for perfect peanut butter cookies. Get the recipe: Easy peanut butter cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies Adding salt to the top of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. A sprinkling of good quality flake salt completely transforms the flavor of chocolate chip cookies and immediately elevates them to special status.

Cooking Bacon Sizzling bacon on the stove top results in greasy splatters and painful burns. You should try roasting bacon in the oven on a cookie sheet lined with foil so that the bacon cooks evenly and the cleanup is effortless.

PB&J Sandwiches Elevate PB&J sandwiches to the next level by using a combination of creamy and crunchy peanut butter, Nutella, strawberries, bananas, marshmallow fluff, jelly, and honey.

Happy Holidays

Sunshine Is The Best Medicine

Sometime your doctor gets it wrong.

Most people under 70 need 400 international units of vitamin D per day, while those over 70 need 600.
But to make sure the RDA covered everyone, researchers set Iu levels at 600 to 800 units. Now, some doctors mistakenly believe patients are vitamin D deficient if their levels don’t fall within the 600 – 800Iu range.
Less than 6 percent of Americans ages 1 to 70 are deficient and only 13 percent are in danger of not getting enough.

The nutrient is crucial for strong bones and may play a role in other health conditions, though that is far less certain.
However Too much vitamin D can lead to high levels of calcium in the blood, which can cause nausea, constipation, kidney stones, an abnormal heart rhythm and other problems.

Happy Holidays

Turkey Cooking and Safety Hints

USDALet’s Talk Turkey—A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey You are the last line of defense in protecting your family from food borne bacteria that can sicken your family. Your best tool in food safety is a food thermometer. If you don’t have one Get One, most food markets and department stores will have an assortment for you to choose from.

Fresh Turkey Few people will know where to buy or how to select Fresh Turkey for this years Thanksgiving or Christmas meals. However birds bought from the grower or those that have raised their own birds need to know:

Fresh Turkeys
Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
Buy kill and process your turkey only 1 to 2 days before you plan to cook it.
Keep it stored in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or lower temperature until you’re ready to cook it. Place your bird on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak.
Do not buy fresh pre-stuffed turkeys. If not handled properly, any harmful bacteria that may be in the stuffing can multiply very quickly and may not be killed when you bake or roast your Big Bird…
REMINDER: Remove the giblets from the turkey cavities after thawing. Cook separately.

Frozen Turkeys
Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
Keep frozen until you’re ready to thaw it for roasting.
Turkeys can be kept frozen in the freezer indefinitely, however, for best quality, cook within 1 year.

Frozen Pre-Stuffed Turkeys
USDA recommends only buying frozen pre-stuffed turkeys that display the USDA or State mark of inspection on the packaging. These turkeys are safe because they have been processed under controlled conditions.

Thawing Your TurkeyThaw your turkey in the refrigerator.
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds
4 to 12 pounds 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 to 6 days

Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.

In Cold Water
Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound
4 to 12 pounds 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours

Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping. Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.

Roasting Your Turkey
Set your oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
Place your turkey or turkey breast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.

For optimum safety, stuffing a turkey is not recommended. For more even cooking, it is recommended you cook your stuffing outside the bird in a casserole. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing. The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.

If you choose to stuff your turkey, the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time, however, keep wet and dry ingredients separate. Chill all of the wet ingredients (butter/margarine, cooked celery and onions, broth, etc.). Mix wet and dry ingredients just before filling the turkey cavities. Fill the cavities loosely. Cook the turkey immediately. Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.

A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.

Even if your turkey has a “pop-up” temperature indicator, it is recommended that you also check the internal temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer. The minimum internal temperature should reach 165 °F for safety.

For quality, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. The turkey will carve more easily. Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities.

Timetables for Turkey Roasting (325 °F oven temperature)
Use the timetables below to determine how long to cook your turkey. These times are approximate. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing.

4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours

4 to 6 pounds (breast) Not usually applicable
6 to 8 pounds (breast) 2½ to 3½ hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3½ hours
12 to 14 pounds 3½ to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4¾ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4¾ to 5¼ hours

It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey. Remember to remove the giblet packages during the cooking time.

Optional Cooking Hints
Add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pan.

If your roasting pan does not have a lid, you may place a tent of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the turkey for the first 1 to 1-1/2 hours. This allows for maximum heat circulation, keeps the turkey moist, and reduces oven splatter. To prevent over browning, foil may also be placed over the turkey after it reaches the desired color.

For information on other methods for cooking a turkey, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854)

Storing Your Leftovers
Discard any turkey, stuffing, and gravy left out at room temperature longer than 2 hours, 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.
Divide leftovers into smaller portions. Refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling.
Use refrigerated turkey, stuffing, and gravy within 3 to 4 days.
If freezing leftovers, use within 2 to 6 months.

Reheating Your Turkey
Cooked turkey may be eaten cold or reheated.
In the Oven Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F. Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. To keep the turkey moist, add a little broth or water and cover.

In the Microwave Oven Cover your food and rotate it for even heating. Allow standing time. Check the internal temperature of your food with a food thermometer to make sure it reaches 165 °F.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

Why is Common Sense so Uncommon?
Don’t be Shy. Leave me your Comment(s)

Walk down memory lane – Do You Remember?

Damn I feel so, so ‘old’.
Do you remember when and why we did and say something our kids and grand kids don’t have a clue about?

Phones used to have two parts to them, a base and a receiver. In order to end a call, the receiver had to placed or “hung” on the base.

To call someone on an old phone, you had to stick your finger in a rotating dial at number positions that would turn the dial for various lengths of time when released. You had to do the entire number every time.

Now phones and alarm clocks can make any kind of sound to catch the attention, but a long time ago, phones and alarm clocks had little bells inside them for this purpose.

Cash registers also used to have little bells in them. Cashiers would enter the price of each item on a set of mechanical levers, when they pressed the button to get the total, the total price would pop up in a window and the bell would ring.

People used to travel with big, heavy bags that had no wheels or collapsible handles. They had to “lug” these bags around from place to place.

Clocks used to be a circular array of numbers, with pointers mounted on a controller in the center that moved around the circle over the course of the day. The direction that the pointers moved, beginning towards the right at the top of the circle, was referred to as clockwise.
Tell a young person to turn a knob clock/counter clock wise and you will most likely be confronted with a blank stare. Grin … you know the deer in the headlights look.

In the early days of computing, when one machine needed to communicate with another, they had to be attached with a physical cord or “line.” Processes that could be completed without this communication were “off line.”

Video and audio used to be on strips of tape that moved across a reader in order to be played. A gear on one side would wind the tape, pulling across it the reader from a wheel on the other side. When you wanted to re-play a section you had just heard or seen, or go back to the beginning, you had to re-wind the tape in the other direction.

When you cc someone, you send them a copy of your message. It comes from carbon copy, an old method of creating copies of paper documents by transferring lines via carbon paper.
Young kids and adults don’t have a clue what your talking about when you say you need a sheet of carbon paper.

Advice on cooking your Thanksgiving bird

Q. Discovering a turkey from 1969 in his dad’s freezer, an Alabama man called the Talk-Line to ask about the best way to cook the 30+ year-old bird.
A. Butterball hot line recommended ‘buying a ‘younger’ bird.

Q. A few hours after his wife had give birth, a new dad called to make sure the turkey hadn’t been thawing too long while he’d been at the hospital.
A The Talk-Line staffer asked how much it weighed, to which the flustered father replied, ‘The turkey or the baby?’ After determining the turkey’s weight and thawing time, she assured him he would be able to deliver a safe, delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

What! A woman in her seventies, cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, called for help because her mother said she was tired of cooking and it was time her daughter learned how to prepare the Thanksgiving meal.

Q. A gentleman called to tell the operator he cut his turkey in half with a chain saw and wanted to know if the oil from the chain would adversely affect the turkey.
A. ????

Q. A disappointed woman called wondering why her turkey had no breast meat.
A. After a conversation with a Talk-Line operator, it became apparent that the woman’s turkey was lying on the table upside down.

Q. With no answer. A lady from Colorado called about ‘how to thaw’ her frozen Butterball. She proudly shared the fact that her turkey was stored in a snow bank outside! It had snowed the night before and it then dawned on her that she didn’t have a clue which snow bank her turkey was in. At that point, the conversation was really over because she was now on a mission to go find her turkey.

Q. One caller had always cut the legs off the turkey before putting it in the oven thinking that was how you had to cook a turkey.
A. She later learned that the only reason her mom had been doing that was because their oven had been so small that that was the only way to get the bird into the oven!

Soapy turkey. A first time Thanksgiving chef called Turkey help line in tears Thanksgiving morning last year. She was so proud to have thawed the turkey successfully and continued to rinse the turkey with dish soap! The tears started flowing when the turkey wouldn’t stop sudsing. If only she called before she would have found out you don’t have to rinse the turkey just pat it dry with paper towels.

Q. One mom called in and told us about how her little girl had asked if they could slow-roast the turkey for three or four days because she liked how it made the house smell.
A. The experts at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line told her that the turkey should only stay in the oven for a few hours and that it wasn’t a good idea to leave it cooking for four days!

Small oven solution. A gentleman called to tell how he wrapped his turkey in a towel and stomped on it several times, breaking the bones so it would fit in his roasting pan.

Happy Holidays

Trip to the Doctor’s office


Happy Holidays

All About Chickens – A Young Persons Observations

This is just to good not to share.