Monday, August 30, 2010

Homemade Country Style Gravy

Want to know how to make simple country style gravy?  Listen up!

Ofcourse the best gravy is made with grease from bacon or sausage... but that comes later.  The basic know how to make country gravy comes first and then when you get the hang of it there will be no need to measure your ingredients anymore and you'll be able to make your gravy from your bacon or sausage grease.

Here's what you will need:

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil (I prefer canola for the saturated fat content)
1 cup self rising flour (bleached or unbleached, doesn't matter)
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste
A wire or teflon coated whisk
Frying Pan

Do these steps BEFORE (very important) you place your pan on the hot stove eye....
First pour oil into pan and then the flour, whisk ingredients together until you get a smooth batter.  If it's lumpy, keep whisking.  If it's very pasty, add a little more oil, careful not to add too much!

NOW you can place your pan on the hot stove eye, I usually make my gravy on medium-high heat and normally already have the stove top on and hot.  Don't put the whisk away yet.  Wait just a second and then add the milk, whisk the ingredients as your pouring the milk in.  The gravy needs to be constantly stirred so the bottom doesn't get scorched and trust me scorched gravy is pretty gross... you have to pour it down the drain and start over.  As you are stirring you will notice your gravy starting to boil, excellent!  Your almost done!  As it boils the gravy thickens.  Now here's the point at which you can make the gravy any way you would like.  If you like thick gravy you can remove it from the stove now.  If you like thinner gravy add a little more milk and keep stirring until you reach your desired consistency.  After it's removed from the stove you can add your salt and pepper to taste.  I rarely season my gravy if I'm using grease from bacon.

Eat up!

Tips on making gravy:
  • Always add the milk last to have smooth and creamy gravy
  • If your gravy is too thin, you can't fix it... adding flour at the end well, it just won't work
  • Remember if it's too thick you can add more milk while cooking
  • To reheat leftover in the microwave... use a bowl with a covered lid and add a small amount of milk and stir.  Loosely cover with lid and heat at one minute intervals stirring inbetween

Friday, August 27, 2010

DIY: Scented Candles

If your like me, you love scented candles.  But my budget just doesn't allow this luxury.  Great smelling candles are not cheap... to me some cheap candles smell like toilet water with those little fresh thingys hanging in them.  Gross... reminds me of those long rode trips to the Smoky Mountains as a kid and stopping at the gas stations for a bathroom break.

Here's what I do:

Buy a bag of tealight candles from walmart, unscented.  A bag of 50 for a mere $2.50.  I always keep a bottle of some sort of essential oil.  For me, my smell of choice is lavender.  Take your tea light candle, straighten the wick so the oil doesn't dampen it making it hard to light, place about 5-6 drops of essential oil on the candle wax and it will absorb into the wax or drain to the bottom, not sure which of the two happens, and light it.  You can add as much oil or as less oil as you need depending on the type of smell you like.  Me, I like to use a bit more.

I do not recommend placing the oil on the candles until you are ready to burn them.  The essential oils are expensive and if they are draining to the bottom of the candle that means they would be easily spilled into the bag and you would be waving bye to about $8.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Light A Match...

Run out of air freshener?  Ever had that happen to you?  You have a housefull of guests and someone made a deposit in your bathroom and the bad smell is overwhelming?

Smelling an unpleasant odor in your bathroom, and you need to cover it up fast, simply light a wooden match in the middle of that room. Lighting a match produces sulfur dioxide. This chemical is so strong that it hides most other odors from our noses for a short time.  Not a permanent fix, but a remedy for an embarrassing situation.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spiced Apples

Delicious, easy and simple... need I say more?

1/2 cup butter or margarine
8 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add apples and remaining ingredients.  Saute 15 to 20 minutes or until apples are tender.

Yields 8 servings

It did not take the full 20 minutes for the apples to become tender.

Tip: careful to not overcook, this will cause the juice or sauce to caramalize.  Place apples in water after cutting to prevent them from turning brown until they are ready to be sauted.

According to my children... Cracker Barrel has been outdone!

These are easy peasy to freeze... use a quart freezer bag, don't forget to write the date and name and Voila!

Serving Suggestions:

Spoon warm spiced apples over vanilla bean ice cream... Yum!
Use to top pancakes... oh boy!
Use as fried pie filling... Delicious and probably not nutritious.
Serve as a side dish... feel my hips widening... oh dear.