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!

Topics
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.


Disclosure

Recipes

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).

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…

9 Brussels Sprouts Dishes That Will Win You Over

Brussels sprouts were never on the menu in my family and I have to admit, I didn’t feel I was missing out on much. That all changed when I met my husband’s family, it was a staple during their get-togethers…

5 Easy-Peasy Ways To Make Baked Brie: {Crowd Pleaser}

Here’s an easy appetizer that you can serve at parties or small gatherings and is quite the crowd pleaser. Serve with toasted cubes of crusty bread (such as French bread or baguettes), breadsticks or crackers. This treat takes just minutes…

Fondue Party Guide: 30+ Recipes, Dippers, Toppings & Tips

Not sure what to serve at your next party? How about fondue! It may take a bit of work to prep all the food beforehand, but it’s well worth the effort and sure to be a hit with guests. Ingredients…

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.

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.

Cooking Help

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

Preserving

Blanching Vegetables 101: {Kitchen Q & A}

Many times you’ll find instructions to blanch vegetables first before freezing them. If you’re wondering why this is required and how it’s done, here’s a tip sheet with information to get you started. First, here’s an introduction: Vegetables are blanched…

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.

Drying Cherries: Yes You’ll Want To Pit Them First!

Fresh cherries are a favorite summertime treat, but did you know this delicious fruit will be enjoyed all year long when you dry them? And it’s easy to do too! Here’s a simple way you can do this yourself… Select…

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.

Important Step: Safely Sterilizing Jars For Preserves

Home canning has been practiced for generations since it’s a great way to preserve the garden harvest or to take advantage of the bounty of in-season produce from local markets. It may be time consuming, but very rewarding.

Transform Cucumbers Into Pickles: Easier Than You Think!

One of the most popular ways to take advantage of a bounty of cucumbers is to can homemade pickles since they’re always appreciated on the dinner table. If you’re a little inexperienced when it comes to home canning, making pickles…

Baking Tips

KitchenAid Fixes & Maintenance Advice

If stand mixer is on the fritz & needs a little tinkering to get working 100%, this is the page for you! Dozens of fix-it tricks and techniques offered (includes the famous Beater Level Dime Test).

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.

25 Slice ‘n Bake Refrigerator Cookies: {Recipes}

These are a real hit since the dough can be prepared when you have a few minutes then rolled into logs and wrapped in wax paper. Chill until needed (most freeze well too) and once firm, simply slice and bake…

How To Make Amish Friendship Bread

Here’s a brief introduction plus a few tips and recipes below to help you get started… Intro This bread is made with a sweetened sourdough starter that you typically receive from a friend (that’s why it’s called Friendship Bread). The…

Free Cupcake Wrappers: {Patterned Templates & Blanks}

Here’s an assortment of over two dozen free printable cupcake wrappers that I’ve collected from around the net (blank templates and plenty with pretty patterns and designs too). It’s really easy to make your own using decorative paper, a bit…

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).


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

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.

Ready At A Moment’s Notice: Double Boiler In A Pinch

Oops! Trying a new recipe, get halfway through it and realize that the use of a double boiler is required...but don't have one tucked away in the cupboard? A simple substitute can be whipped up at a moment's notice.

7 Ways To Loosen A Jar Lid That’s Stuck Tight

Occasionally a lid just won't budge, even after bringing some serious muscle power to the job...so how does one remove them? Lists a few different solutions to conquer the problem.

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.

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.

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).

10 Tips For Chopping Onions Without Shedding A Tear

Have a big batch to chop and not looking forward to the crying session ahead? Here are a few little tricks that just may help you avoid those tears. First, why do they make us cry? Science Focus shares this…

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.

Beverages


  • 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.

  • Steps For Best Success: Delicious Coffee In A French Press

    Some time ago I began experimenting with grinding my own beans and brewing them in a french press. Results? Fantastic! I much prefer this to what I previously made with an automatic machine. French presses (also known as a cafetiere…

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Green Tea Info Page: Benefits, Varieties, Storage & More

    Did you know that when tea was first discovered, it was mainly used for medicinal purposes? Over time it became better known as a daily beverage (it’s second only to water), but we’re now rediscovering its health benefits. I’m a…

  • 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


  • 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).

  • 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.