Kitchen Helps and Good Ideas for You

Life is God's Gift to us
... what we make of it is our gift to God

  • Here’s a good thing to do. I made a cake and used circles cut from waxed paper to line the bottoms of the pans. Maybe you already do this... if you cut many circles at a time and keep them in the cupboard with your pans, you’ll have them ready for the next time. My mom taught me to do this and it really is helpful. I always spray each pan with pan spray and then place the paper circle in the bottom of the pan---cakes and breads slip out easily. Oh, but remember to ‘peel off’ the waxed paper from the bottom of the cake or me.
  • I recently visited a friend and as I walked though her kitchen, I was pleasantly welcomed with a wonderful aroma that filled the air form a small pot of (I think it was) cinnamon and cloves simmering on the stove. That said ‘welcome home’ to me!
  • You know that the price of butter has been quite high… but there is a very simple way to enjoy butter and cut the cost or stretch the uses. All you do is take a pound of softened butter (2 cups) and 2 cups of canola oil and blend thoroughly. You can store this mixture in ‘tupperware’ or glass jars in the refrigerator and you’ll have spreadable butter for your toast or vegetables or whatever. It also works well in cooking and baking.


  • EQUIVALENTS: For those who buy "bulk" foods:

    Have you ever wondered how much Jell-O is in a small box and how much is in a large one? If you buy Jell-O in a large bag, you may have wondered how to break it down into "family sized" portions. A small box contains a half cup and a large box contains a full cup--- you may have favourite Jell-O recipes in your card file...

    Also, when a recipe refers to a 6 oz. Bag of chocolate chips, it means 1 cup and a 12 0z. bag is 2 cups.


               According to the Food Guide Pyramid...

    ...Compare these serving sizes with familiar objects so you can get a better idea on how large of how large or small a portion should be.

    1. An ice cream scoop equals cup cooked pasta.....

    2. A baseball equals a small whole fruit such as an apple or orange.....

    3. A tube of lipstick equals 1 ounces of cheese....

    4. A golf ball equals 2 tablespoons peanut butter....

    5. A deck of cards equals 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, fish, or poultry.


BUTTER – 1 cup equals 7/8 oil or 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons solid shortening plus 1/2 teaspoon salt. Also, 1 cup equals 1 cup margarine.
– 1 cup equals 1 cup plain yogurt.
(half and half) – 1 cup equals 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter plus about 7/8 cup milk, or use 1/2 cup light cream and 1/2 cup milk.
CREAM (light) – 1 cup light cream equals 7/8 cup milk plus 3 tablespoons melted butter.
CREAM (heavy) – 1 cup heavy cream equals 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup melted butter. You cannot use this a a substitute for making whipped cream
(whipping) – 1 cup whipping cream equals 2/3 cup well chilled evaporated milk, whipped, or 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder whipped with 1 cup ice water.

Cultured Sour Cream – 1 cup cultured sour cream equals 1/3 cup melted butter plus 3/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt. For dips, 1 cup equals 1 cup cottage cheese pureed with 1/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk, or 6 ounces cream cheese plus enough milk to make 1 cup.

MILK (non-fat) – 1 cup skim equals 1/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk plus about 3/4 cup water.
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice or distilled white vinegar Added to milk to make 1 cup.
(whole-milk) – 1 cup equals 1 cup skim milk plus 2 teaspoons melted butter;
1 cup equals 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water;
1 cup equals 1/4 cup dry whole milk plus 7/8 cup water;
1 cup equals 1 cup reconstituted nonfat dry milk plus 2 1/2 teaspoons melted butter or margarine;
1 cup equals 1 cup soy milk: in baking you may substitute 1 cup fruit juice for 1 cup milk.

YOGURT – 1 cup equals 1 cup buttermilk.

For 1 cup sour cream, use 1 cup plain yogurt or 1 cup evaporated milk plus 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar.
For 1 cup butter milk or sour milk, use 1 cup yogurt. Or mix 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to sweet milk to make 1 cup; stand for a few minutes before adding to recipe.

Instead of sour cream, use 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice plus 1/3 cup buttermilk plus 1 cup smooth cottage cheese, blend until smooth in blender.

For 1 pound butter, beat 2 cups evaporated milk SLOWLY until butter forms; pour into pan and chill. Or, beat 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup salad oil and 1 teaspoon salt into 1 pound of margarine.

For thickening – In sauces and custards, 2 egg yolks equals 1 egg. Do not mix directly into hot sauce---the egg will cook too fast.
For baking – 2 egg yolks plus 1 tablespoon cold water equals 1 egg.
For measuring – 1 1/2 tablespoons stirred egg yolks equals 1 egg yolk;
2 tablespoons stirred egg whites equals 1 egg white;
3 tablespoons mixed broken yolks and whites equals 1 medium size egg;
6 medium eggs equal about 1 cup;
5 large eggs equal about 1 cup;
4 extra large eggs equal about 1 cup;
10 egg whites equal about 1 cup;
12 large yolks equal about 1 cup;


ALLSPICE – 1 teaspoon equals 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 18 teaspoon ground
– 1/4 teaspoon crushed equals about 1 whole bay leaf.
– 3 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons water equals 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate.
– For 1 square semi-sweetened chocolate, use 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter or margarine plus 3 tablespoons sugar.

CHOCOLATE – 1 ounce unsweetened equals 3 tablespoons carob powder plus 2 tablespoons water; 1 ounce unsweetened equals 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter or other kind of fat; 1 ounce unsweetened plus 4 teaspoons sugar equals 1 2/3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate.

COFFEE – 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee equals 1 teaspoon instant coffee in 1/2 cup water.

GARLIC – 1 clove equals 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or instant minced garlic.

GINGER – 1 tablespoon grated fresh equals 1 teaspoon powdered or 1 tablespoon
candied with sugar washed off.

HERBS – In general, 1 tablespoon fresh equals about 1/2 teaspoon dried.

MUSTARD – 1 tablespoon prepared equals 1 teaspoon dried. For 1 tablespoon mustard, use 1 teaspoon dry mustard plus 1 tablespoon vinegar or white wine.

ONION – 1 small fresh chopped onion equals 1 tablespoon instant minced onion or 1/4 cup frozen chopped onion; 1 tablespoon onion powder equals 1 medium-sized fresh onion

SOY SAUCE – 1/4 cup equals 3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce plus 1 tablespoon water.

WINE – for marinades, 1/2 cup equals 1/4 cup vinegar plus 1 tablespoon sugar plus 1/4 cup water.

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE – 1 teaspoon equals 1 tablespoon soy sauce plus dash of
hot pepper sauce.

For thickening – 1 tablespoon all-purpose equals 2 teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca (use only for soups); 1 tablespoon equals 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or potato starch.

CAKE FLOUR – 1 cup equals 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour.

ALL-PURPOSE Flour – 1 cup equals 1 1/4 cups cake flour;
1 cup equals 5/8 cup potato flour;
1 cup equals 1 1/4 cup rye or coarsely ground whole-grain flour;
1 cup equals 1 cup cornmeal.

SELF RISING FLOUR – 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder plus 1/2 teaspoon salt.

FOR 1 CUP ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR – 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour.


BAKING POWDER – If you don't have Baking Powder, you can make do with one of these three substitutes---depending on the recipe.
1)  1 teaspoon baking powder equals 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar;
2)  1 teaspoon baking powder equals 1/2 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt:

3)  1 teaspoon baking powder also equals 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/3 cup molasses. When using the substitutions that include liquid, reduce other liquid in recipe accordingly.


BROWN SUGAR – 1 cup firmly packed equals 1 cup granulated sugar. For 1 cup brown sugar – 2 tablespoons molasses plus 1 cup white sugar. Best used in cookies and other cooked products.

CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR – 1 3/4 cups equals 1 cup granulated sugar, but do not substitute in baking.

CORN SYRUP – 2 cups corn syrup equals 1 cup granulated sugar, but be careful when substituting. Never use corn syrup to replace more than half the amount of sugar called for in a recipe. In baking, try not to substitute at all but if you must, for each 2 cups sugar, reduce the liquid called for (other than syrup) by 1/4 cup.

HONEY – 1 cup equals 1 1/4 cup sugar. For baking, decrease liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup. If there is no liquid in the recipe, add 1/4 cup flour. Unless sour cream or sour milk is used in recipe, add a pinch of baking soda.

GRANULATED SUGAR – 1 cup equals 1 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar but do not substitute in baking;
1 cup equals 1 cup packed brown sugar;
1 cup equals 1 cup super-fine sugar;
1 cup plus 1/4 cup whatever liquid is used in recipe equals 1 cup corn syrup;
1 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/3 cup liquid equals 1 cup honey;
3/4 cup sugar equals 1 cup unsulphured molasses (in baking, decrease liquid for each cup of molasses, omit any baking powder and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.)

MAPLE SYRUP – 1 cup equals 1/2 cup maple sugar. To substitute for sugar in cooking, generally use only 3/4 cup maple syrup for sugar. To substitute maple syrup for sugar in baking, use the same proportions, but reduce the other liquid called for in the recipe by about 3 tablespoons for every cup of syrup substituted.

Sorghum or MOLASSES – 1 cup unsulphured molasses equals 3/4 cup sugar. In baking, decrease the liquid by 1/4 cup for each cup of molasses, omit any baking powder and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

TOMATO BASED: (for soups, sauces)

KETCHUP – 1/2 cup equals 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1/8 teaspoons ground cloves; 1 tablespoon equals 1 tablespoon tomato paste.

TOMATOES – 1 cup canned tomatoes equals 1 1/3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, simmered

TOMATO JUICE – 1 cup tomato juice equals 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water plus dash of salt and sugar. Or use one part tomato paste to three parts water plus salt and sugar.

TOMATO PUREE – 1 cup equals 1/2 cup tomato paste plus 1/2 cup water.

TOMATO SAUCE – 1 cup equals 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste plus 1 1/2 cans water. Or 2 cups equals 3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water.

TOMATO SOUP – 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can equals 1 cup tomato sauce plus 1/4 cup water.


BREAD CRUMBS – 1 slice bread equals 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs;
1 slice bread equals 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs;
1 cup dry bread crumbs equals 3/4 cup cracker crumbs.

YEAST – 1 package equals 2 1/4 teaspoons.



Now here are some helpful ideas for you in the kitchen. Learn to use your appliances... you know, those gadgets you "had to have" to make life easier for yourself.  Well... get acquainted with them and put them to their intended use!
For example...

The crockpot...
If you were to use the crockpot for two or three of your meals each week, you could essentially have two or three days where dinners were taken care of in the morning!   I have even heard of women using the crockpot to make oatmeal or other hot cereal to have ready in the morning.  I've not tried this as we prefer our oatmeal cooked very quickly - almost steamed and then served.

The freezer...
Yes, the freezer.  Don't overlook this great and valuable appliance! If you are not accustomed to cooking quantities then perhaps you can start small... when you plan to make a casserole, make two... one to save, and one to serve that night.  Or make three... two to save, and
one to serve.  When you are baking a pie or a cake, make two instead---freeze one and serve one.  When you see great values at the market, as you are able, you might think of stocking up on some.  If
you have a garden or fruit trees, you can save the summer harvest in the freezer for the winter.  Think of the freezer as a meal savings bank!

The Food Processor...
If you were to cut up all the vegetables you were going to need for the week... and put them in ziplock baggies you would have them ready in your fridge at meal prep time.  Things like: onions, carrots, celery, chopped olives, etc. If you were to shred a week's worth of cheese, you could use it for lasagna, pizza, nachos, tacos, quiches, casseroles.

Large frying pan...
If you were to cook up several meals' worth of ground beef, you could bag meal-sized portions and have them ready for spaghetti sauce, burritos, cabbage soup, taco soup, sloppy joe's, lasagna, tacos, beefy nachos, stroganoff, etc.  (remember your freezer!!)

Stock pot...
If you were to boil several chickens in water with celery, and onion... Then you could remove the cooked chicken, cool it, and then take the meat off the bones for soup (don't forget that whole stock pot of great broth!),  diced chicken for enchiladas, BBQ on buns, rice dishes, curry sauce with chicken over rice, stir fry, crepes, and served cold in salad or chicken salad sandwiches.

The mixer...
If you mixed up a few batches of cookies, you could roll the dough into "logs" to be refrigerated and sliced and baked later. You could make a cake to serve and one to save in the freezer for another day. Extra bread or rolls for soups.

The Griddle...
Fry bacon for scrambled eggs, waffles or BLT's, make grilled cheese sandwiches, or MonteCristo's, or fried egg sandwiches. Use it as a warming tray.

The Roaster...
Make large quantities of soup, sauces, stews... cook a turkey or a roast beef supper... warm a bunch of rolls, boil a bunch of corn...

Think of other appliances or cookware you may have and may not get the most out of them because you have sort of forgotten about them:  the juicer... the bread machine... the dehydrator... the apple peeler-corer-slicer...  the blender... the ice cream maker...

If you will not over work them and clean your appliances inside and out very well each time you use them, they will last you for years even with frequent use. For example... your coffee maker will function better and faster if you will run a pot of vinegar water followed by clean water through it from time to time.

Also, if you are not using an appliance because of a broken part, look in the yellowpages or on the net and find the local repair shop for your particular appliance.  You would be amazed at how quickly and inexpensively you can have an appliance back in operation!!

For example, our KitchenAid mixer paddle was chipped and the coating was coming off so I had stopped using it, and one of the wires to the whip was broken; so, my husband went to a local shop and got the two parts for about $40. ---this made the machine operational instantly!

Maybe you just need a new bolt or a new handle... these are so easily and quickly remedied! 
Do it today!!

  • You can keep appliance cords in a particular drawer and use a tissue paper tube around each cord or an elastic band will work well, too. Appliances are wonderful if they are useful to you and if you use them... otherwise, they are a tremendous hassle to store, and a source of great guilt if unused. Treat your family today---get out an appliance you haven't used in a while... see what you come up with!

Things only Martha Stewart would know:

1. Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.

2. Use a meat baster to "squeeze" your pancake batter onto the hot griddle and you’ll get perfectly shaped pancakes every time.

3. To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

4. To prevent eggshells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling.

5. Run your hands under cold water before pressing Rice Krispies treats in the pan and the marshmallow won’t stick to your fingers.  (OR: butter your hands before pressing the treats in)

6. To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.

7. To easily remove burnt on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stovetop. 

8. Spray your Tupperware with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato based sauces and there won’t be any stains.

9. When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won’t be any white mess on the outside of the cake.

10. If you accidentally over salt a dish while it’s still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt for an instant "fix me up."

11. Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.

12. Brush some beaten egg white over piecrust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.

13. Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it.

14. When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn’s natural sweetness.

15. To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh, but if it rises to the surface, throw it away.

16. Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.

17. If you have a problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

18. Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers. Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.

19. To get rid of itch from mosquito bites, try applying soap on the area and you will experience instant relief.

20. Ants, ants, ants everywhere ... Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line. So get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or the ants tend to march. See for yourself.

21. Use air freshener to clean mirrors. It does a good job and better still, leaves a lovely smell to the shine.

22. When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, and then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.

23. Now look what you can do with Alka Seltzer. Clean a toilet. Drop in  two Alka-Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous China.

24. Clean a vase. To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets.

25. Polish jewelry. Drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets into a glass of  water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.

26. Clean a thermos bottle. Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka-Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary).

27. Unclog a drain. Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar, Wait a few minutes, then rinse with water.