Tipnut's Food Library: Advice / Recipes / Kitchen Tricks

The home kitchen in today's world is on a whole 'nother level. Only until recently has the average person had easy access to thousands of different ingredients (assorted spices, herbs, seafood, fresh produce). An item may be impossible to grow locally, but it's likely to be found at the corner grocery store or available by delivery (shopping online). That's not something previous generations enjoyed, this is a wholly new experience.

Our grandmothers passed down wonderful, traditional family dishes we definitely want to keep and continue serving to our families (especially those tried & true favorites demanding to be prepared "just right" for big gatherings)...but now we're rapidly expanding our collective food knowledge and culinary techniques. We're inventing new appliances and better tools, exposing ourselves to exotic flavors, using a myriad of seasoning blends, experimenting with new techniques...we're delivering on taste like never before!

Countertop With Whisk, Book & Kitchen Gadgets

This section on Tipnut is currently archiving general cooking tips and advice. We may be advancing in our skills, but the basics will never go out of style and it's important to master them before moving on to more advanced culinary adventures.

You'll find neat-to-know information shared by busy housewives in the 1930's, 40's, 50's and on as well as plenty of clever stuff applicable to today's current food scene. Lots compiled from my own notes plus expertise culled from terrific bloggers and websites found around the net. Please enjoy spending time browsing through all the information, there's plenty here and a few new goodies are sure to be added to the recipe box!

In This Archive

  • Baking
  • Cooking
  • General Tips
  • Preserving
  • Recipes

TN Recommends

The best new small appliance purchase for the kitchen I've made in several years, really! With so many Instant Pot models & capacities it's hard to know which one to buy. I researched like crazy & determined this was the one to get (most recipes I come across recommend this size).

If you enjoy authentic Indian food, this is definitely a book to get...the butter chicken dish is restaurant quality! It's the cookbook I refer to most frequently when firing up my Instant Pot.



Huge Batch Of DIY Mixes & Seasonings

Looking for money saving methods to apply on the next grocery bill? Assembling DIY pantry supplies is one opportunity to shave those dollars! It's surprising what can be whipped up: Cake mix, Bisquick, Hamburger Helper, dry soups plus more.

Creative Fun With Jello & Unflavored Gelatin

For something so inexpensive and simple to produce, Jello sure can be a crowd pleaser (for both kids and adults). If a fan of gelatin treats, you may want to bookmark this page for future reference...I'll be adding more goodies to the page as I find them.

Pulled Pork A Favorite? 14 Variations To Test & Tweak

Such a tasty meal and ingredients can vary from just a few simple items to over ten (mainly spices) depending on the method. Whether pork is done slowly in the oven or in the crockpot, it's pretty much a hands-free delight!

15 Sweet & Sour Dishes For Assorted Meats & Poultry

A simple s&s sauce to start off...one my family enjoys but if wanting something different, I've also added over a dozen variations to try (for chicken, pork and meatballs)…includes a couple crockpot suggestions.

Preparing Lentils & Packing 'Em With Flavor!

A versatile food item that can be used in a variety of dishes and a great budget saver too. Lentils are a pantry staple for frugalites and survivalists alike since they are so inexpensive to buy and…

Munchies That Are Tasty: Crispy Veggie Chips

Got the urge for Potato chips? Here's a solution for enjoying a crispy snack just as tasty and satisfying…make DIY varieties of chips by baking them in the oven!

18 Trifle Desserts: Oh So Many To Try!

Wanting something gooey and chocolate-y or fruity and creamy? Trifle fits the bill perfectly! A popular year-round dessert both refreshing on hot summer days and impressive during the winter holiday festivities.

Cooking Help

Quick & Easy Meal Idea: Quesadillas

Looking for a quick dish to whip up for dinner tonight? Quesadillas are not only a satisfying meal, they transform leftovers wonderfully…and so simple to put together too! Two different methods are provided (plus filling suggestions).

Advice Shared By Retro Housewives {1940s – 1950s}

Here's a bunch of snippets collected from old magazines and cookbooks, there might be a new suggestion or two in the batch you find helpful. Enjoy!

20 Kitchen Secrets For Those That Love ‘Em

I haven't posted a handy hints list in ages and thought it was about time we had one! A little change in format this go around: a selection of vintage notes collected from old cookbooks, several shared by readers and a few goodies found online.

Easy-Peasy Bruschetta & So Delicious Too!

Looking for a superb appetizer sure to please or maybe on the hunt for a light lunch idea? Bruschetta is just the ticket! Prepped with a few basic ingredients and served on slices of lightly toasted bread or crackers, even an inexperienced chef can tackle this!

How To Prep, Serve & Eat Crab Legs (Like A Pro)

These are quite the treat and so straightforward to whip up too! Likely purchased already prepared (and frozen), so keep in mind all that's needed is to thaw & heat in preferred method (4 approaches listed).

Success With Bamboo Steamers: Use & Care

Bamboo steamers are inexpensive to buy and turn out a delicious meal in minutes. If veggies aren't your thing, try steaming them! Results are not only delicious, more of their vitamins and nutrients are retained (when compared to boiled).

Directions For Mustard, Collard & Beet Greens

Like most vegetables, leafy greens are loaded with vitamins and can be a welcome addition to any meal, but how to prepare so they are flavorful and not bitter? Provides step-by-step directions.

Vintage Illustration Start a pork roast in a very small amount of apple juice instead of water; it improves the flavor greatly and gives it a sweet taste.

Save the cooking water, which contains minerals and vitamins, and use to flavor soups, gravies or for part of the liquid to mash potatoes.

Meringue will always stand up high and perfect if a generous pinch of baking soda is added while beating whites.


80+ Recipes For Home Canning: {Fruits & Vegetables}

Mainly focused on long term food storage, this compilation highlights garden fresh produce that is pickled, packed in syrups or just in water. Sorted alphabetically (by vegetable or fruit item) for convenience.

35+ Canning Jar Labels

Lots of goodies to check out! The page now features snapshots of the free printables plus a few new labels to add to the list. More will be added as I find them.

10 Delightful Homemade Pie Fillings

Enjoy favorite fruit pies all year long by stocking the pantry with jars of these goodies! Apple, peach, blueberry, cherry & interesting twists included.

Thick & Delicious: An Assortment Of Apple Butters

A delicious reduction of apples & spices put up in jars to be enjoyed during the off-season. Think "applesauce" but cooked down darker, thicker & intense in flavor. Yum!

Plentiful Garden Harvest? Let's Make Relish!

Quite a mix to check out in this batch, find traditional favorites highlighting cucumbers and tomatoes, but I've also found some using carrots, zucchini, corn and more.

Scrumptious Preserves Please: Pear Butter Keepers

A bounty of fresh pears on hand? What to do with them all? Preserve for year round use by preparing this lovely spreadable fruit. Enjoy on toast, waffles, ice cream, yogurt & more!

Traditional Method For Making Sauerkraut + Pointers

The production of sauerkraut is a method of preserving good cabbage and the resulting "fermented" vegetable is not only a good source of some important food values, but has a fine distinctive taste. Hard head cabbage varieties are especially good for this purpose.

Baking Tips

Design & Create Your Own Cookie Cutters + More

Showcasing a few retro cutter shapes to print out for the holidays and a fun poinsettia design how-to. Then I've listed a bunch of resources outlining instructions for making DIY cutters as well as project ideas for use.

Creative Cake Cutting Ideas: {Neat Examples}

A compilation of fun concepts displaying cakes sliced in clever shapes, these have been snipped from my vast collection of vintage cookbooks. The intention of the illustrations was to show how to economize by producing increased servings.

Look & Learn: 14 Nifty Ways To Shape Rolls

Instructions and illustrations for a variety of options to shape a myriad of rolls, sourced from a favorite vintage cookbook (credit below). Butterfly Rolls: Roll dough only 1/8" thick into an oblong 6" wide.

40+ Cake Baking Tips & Tricks

A MASSIVE assortment of notes I've accumulated over the years for troubleshooting problems and improving results. Keep in mind different recipes will provide varied outcomes, but overall these have proven to noticeably improve most or simplify things.

Holiday Helper: Managing A Cookie Assembly Line

It's that time of year again when kitchen activity is at its peak, filling dainty trays and gift boxes with fresh homemade goods to give as gifts. Here are a few timesaving tips I have for getting things done.

Kitchen Q&A: {Holiday Edition}

An assortment of over two dozen quick tips & tricks for ensuring this year's baking goes smoothly and has the best chance of big success.

How To Test Baking Powder For Freshness

Found a can tucked away in the back corner of the pantry but not sure if it's stale or still good to use? Here's a quick and effective test for freshness.

Save time chopping herbs & green onions by setting aside a small pair of scissors just for kitchen use (not for meat or poultry)...simply snip off amount needed.

Onions, held under water while being peeled, will not trigger tears because the fumes are thus prevented from rising.

New cake tins should be greased and put in a moderate oven for fifteen minutes to prevent burned bottoms.

If boiling slightly "over mature" vegetables, add a little sugar to the water to improve the final outcome.

Open canned asparagus at the bottom to remove them by the ends without breaking the soft heads.

Avoid stinky cabbage odor by dropping two English walnuts (uncracked) into the kettle while boiling.

Cauliflower will remain white & give off no odor while done in half milk and half water. Use liquid to enhance the taste in soup or cream sauce.

Celery: To ensure crispness, place in a pan of water with half a lemon for an hour or two before serving.

Head lettuce leaves may be removed without breaking by first cutting around the core with a knife and then holding the head under running water.

Improve the flavor of old potatoes: add a little sugar to the pot of water.

To keep frosting from sticking to waxed paper, rub a small amount of butter over part of paper that covers the frosting.

Clean a coffee grinder by grinding up a handful of uncooked white rice.

Keep expired store reward cards handy, they make excellent pot scrapers and dried splatter removers.

Food - General

11 Meat Tenderizers & Why They Work

Ever wonder why certain ingredients are regularly called for in marinades? Or are you forever on the hunt for a clever way to improve the texture of that cheap cut of meat? Presenting several different ingredients to try and some are surprising!

Sunday Afternoon Simmering Stock: {Budget Friendly}

Cooped up in the house during the long winter months on cold Sunday afternoons? Bring warmth and comfort that fills the house by simmering a batch of delicious stock on the stove utilizing bits of vegetable trimmings gleaned from the week before.

25+ Snack Mixes & Munchies For Casual Entertaining

Over two dozen tasty recipes that are a hit for movie nights, children's parties, tailgating and casual entertaining...some sweet, some spicy and all crunchy...lots to choose from! Work well for gift-giving too.

Developing Unique & Flavorful Infused Vinegars

Infused vinegars can be made with so many different items and have a variety of functions. Depending on the ingredients, try as a salad dressing, meat or vegetable marinade, laundry rinse, household cleaner and even beauty care.

Tart, Tangy or Sweet: {Flavored Sugar Instructions}

A nice homemade batch of this gourmet-style sweetness is so easy to make and such a delight when added to tea and coffee, sprinkled over fresh from the oven goodies. So many different varieties to mix and experiment with.

Assorted DIY Syrups & Extracts To Try

Presenting several ways for making yummy extracts and syrups (oranges, lemons, lavender, mint and vanilla). Suitable in all sorts of baking, to enhance beverages and also to drizzle over treats such as ice cream.

Crystallized Honey: Why It Happens & Reviving It

We don't consume a lot of honey in our home so it's not uncommon to find crystals develop in the jar before we get a chance to use it all. Is it still safe to eat? You bet! Learn how to bring it back to syrupy goodness.

Extra Cherry Tomatoes? Wash, pat dry, remove stems & leaves then spread out on a tray & place in freezer. When frozen solid, pack them into bags. These can be popped into soups and sauces as desired.

Never plan to bake moist, steamy foods with roasting meat; they take the crispness out of your roast.

Stale cookies can be crushed with a rolling pin (put them in a plastic bag to hold the mess) then used in graham cracker crusts.

Cutting boards stay put if a thin damp cloth or paper towel is layered underneath before beginning to chop.

Place a quarter of an apple in a tight container with sugar that has become hard. Softens the hardest lumps.

Greens are made quickly available by planting an onion or two in a small pot & parsley in another pot then placing in the window. These plants add a pretty touch to the kitchen & are at hand when making salads & other dishes.

Onions, Turnips or Carrots should never be split, but sliced in rings. Cut across the fiber and they cook quicker and more tender results.

Swift chocolate frosting can be made by melting chocolate candy (or chips) on the cupcake. Put in a warm oven. When chocolate is soft, spread with a knife.

First coat potatoes with olive oil or butter before placing in the oven (skins on). This helps prevent them from becoming hard and crusty.

To help rid the house of cooking odors, put a little vinegar in an open saucepan on the stove.

Add a few drops of vinegar to icing while beating and you will find it stays soft and not grainy.

Sweet potatoes and apples will not turn black if placed in salt water immediately after peeling.

Keep an old Ketchup squeeze bottle, fill with pancake batter & use as a dispenser. Seal cap tight & leftover batter can be kept in fridge for a few days.

Different Egg Sizes: Peewee: Less than 42g; Small: at least 42g; Medium: Minimum 49g; Large: Min. 56g; Extra Large: Min. 63g; Jumbo: 70g or more. Unless instructions indicate otherwise, always use Large eggs.


  • Favorite Eggnog + A Few Variations To Try

    My husband is happy to drink purchased eggnog by the carton…me? I'm a little more fussy and only homemade will do, yum! Here's the recipe we tried last year and it was a big hit.

  • Home-Brewed Liqueurs: {Cranberry & More}

    Learn how to make flavored liqueurs utilizing assorted fruits, herbs, citrus peels and flowers (as long as they are edible), it's so easy to do too! Ideal for gift baskets but give yourself enough time for steeping.

  • Shirley Temple & Roy Roger Mocktails

    Here's a couple fun, refreshing drinks to offer youngsters at special events. These two classic recipes are just the ticket, one version that the lil cowboys will rally around…and another pretty, fizzy pink one for the starlets.

  • DIY Flavored Coffee {Creamer, Syrup, Beans}

    Delicious, gourmet-style dairy sweeteners & coffee enhancers like those you buy in the stores can actually be whipped up effortlessly in the kitchen. Plenty of options to experiment with too!

  • 15+ Holiday Beverages For Cheery Celebrations

    A delightful treat! A compilation of festive beverages to round out the merrymaking, contains alcohol and non-alcohol options. Also note there is a collection of Hot Apple Ciders that feature 20 different suggestions and sources.

  • Comfort On Chilly Nights: Hot Apple Cider

    Steeped with a peppering of comforting spices that compliment the natural sweetness of the fruit, it's not hard to develop a mugful of deliciousness. Discover how following these helpful instructions!

  • Steeping Tea Outdoors In The Sun?

    The packaged or bottled iced tea widely available to buy is typically filled with loads of sugar and artificial colors, but a DIY home brew skips all that junk without turning on the kettle.

  • New To Brewing Green Tea? Here's How It's Done

    I discovered there's an art to making green tea and the process is a bit distinct from brewing a regular batch using bags. Once you start dabbling with good quality loose teas, a whole new world opens up!

  • Try It & Tweak It: Iced Cappuccino & Mochacchino

    Hot summer days require cold refreshing drinks. A "slush/slurpee" kept me content as a child or a cold glass of soda. Nowadays? It's just gotta be something "coffee". These slushy iced drinks can cost a pretty penny in...

Holiday Favorites

  • Crave-Worthy Cheese Balls: {Basic & Gourmet}

    Another effortless appetizer that's a sure hit at parties and holiday gatherings. Serve alongside assorted crackers and toasted baguettes…leftovers are delicious the next day as a bagel spread. Most can be prepared a day ahead (refrigerated).

  • 16 Festive Candy Cane Delights For The Holidays

    Don't have a big budget for gifts this year? No problem! Highlighting over a dozen approaches for transforming candy canes and peppermint sticks into delightful confections.

  • 12+ Gingerbread House Designs: {Inspiration}

    On a mission to create a masterpiece? Plenty of sweet ideas and inspiration in this collection that includes decorating pointers, free templates to download and even a few recipes!

  • Oh My Sweetness! Candy Making Help Sheet

    Any room on the to-do list for whipping up a few batches of candy? These delectable bonbons are sure to please! A nice, handpicked assortment of goodies from around the 'net (plus advice too).

  • Squares, Slices & Tarts Ideal For Dessert Trays

    Getting ready to do some holiday baking? You'll want to check out these suggestions! Dozens of squares, slices and tarts–perfect for gift giving and trays (always a hit).

  • Delightful Cookie Trays: Inspiration & Recipes

    Featuring delights that will fill festive trays nicely (ideal for gift exchanges too). Many traditional favorites included but lots of new treasures to try as well.

  • Free Gifts In A Jar Recipes, Tags & Tips

    Gifts in a jar typically include all the dry ingredients to make or bake something that are stored in jars and presented as gifts. They can be mixes for cookies, cakes, bath & beauty products (like bath salts and foot…

  • Fun & Festive Peppermint Bark: 8 Variations

    Such an easy treat that's especially popular during the holidays since it looks so pretty and seasonal. You won't believe how simple this is to prepare!

  • 100+ Fudge Recipes: {A Variety Of Flavors}

    Features a massive list of ideas for whipping up diverse types of fudge. This creamy candy is a sure favorite on the party tray, every sweet tooth craving should be satisfied.

  • Sweet & Salty Chocolate Covered Pretzels

    Terrific idea for a Valentine's Day treat or Christmas package and they're so quick and simple to whip up. Prepare ahead of time and package right before gift giving for best results. Bring out the fancy & embellish as you like!

  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Tutorial & Tips

    Presenting a handy guide sharing an assortment of chocolate covered strawberries. These are not only an impressive (and romantic) treat, they are so easy to assemble. Don't miss the big list of pointers shared at the bottom to help get the best results possible.