Cream of Tartar, Recipes and More

If you ever bought a can labeled cream of tartar and got a powdery stuff inside, don’t worry, there is nothing wrong with either your eyesight, or the product. That’s the way it is supposed to be. Cream of tartar is an acidic substance that also goes by the names of potassium bitartrate and potassium hydrogen tartrate.

This powdery substance is actually, a by-product of the process of making wine. Who would have thought, right? Well, I wouldn’t be so keen on writing about cream of tartar and its many uses if it hadn’t been for an article I read the other day. It contains everything there is to know about cream of tartar, from culinary uses to those that go beyond the kitchen.

Prepare the Perfect Dessert with Cream of Tartar

When preparing a dessert like cakes, cookies and meringue pies. Because, let’s face it. Preparing a delicious meringue pie is not enough if it doesn’t look inviting. And to look inviting the topping should be fluffy. The answer to achieving this fluffiness lies in whipping the egg whites. More precisely, you should add a 1/8 teaspoon for each egg white while you are whipping. So if the recipe calls for 3 egg whites you add 1/8 teaspoon x 3. This will help the formation of air bubbles and you can rest assure your topping won’t be flat. What’s more, cream of tartar when added to eggs will increase their tolerance to high temperatures.
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Johnsonville’s Spark the Season #FirstBrats #ad

Warmer weather is on the way, get your grill ready! If you are like us, and on the older side of millennials- one of the over 80% of “mature millennials” – you might also rank grilling as one of your favorite summer activities.People who love to grill can’t wait to grill – and these extreme grillers may even do it when it’s not quite time yet.

Johnsonville’s Spark the Season is ready to come out of the “dark period” of winter and get grilling. Spring, and new chances to cook and eat outdoors, signifies Spring beginning just like flowers and warmer weather.

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher helped Johnsonville grill and serve bratwursts at Sunday’s Chicago Polar Plunge on March 5, 2017, in Chicago. (Jean-Marc Giboux/AP Images for Johnsonville)

To kick off this new beginning, Johnsonville has partnered with former pro linebacker Brian Urlacher and is sponsoring the 2017 Chicago Polar Plunge, so shivering participants can warm up with our piping hot Johnsonville #FirstBrats of the season, fresh off the burners of the Big Taste Grill.  What could be better? Other then a warm beach somewhere, LOL.

The Big Taste Grill is a 20-foot tall, 65-foot long grill, which cooks 2,500 brats an hour or 750 bratwurst at a time on its 40 square feet of grilling surface.

The Plunge is hosted and benefits Special Olympics Chicago, which aligns directly with the charitable mission of the Big Taste Grill. If these extreme plungers are willing to jump in freezing water for a good cause, Johnsonville should be a part of it, as we don’t let weather get in the way of what we love – grilling brats.

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher helped Johnsonville grill and serve bratwursts at Sunday’s Chicago Polar Plunge on March 5, 2017, in Chicago. (Jean-Marc Giboux/AP Images for Johnsonville)


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Sharks and Ninjas to Help You Clean Up Your 2017

Now that the holidays are done and gone, what do you do with all the leftovers? Cleaning up after the festivities can be quite a project. Here are some of our favorite finds to clean up our acts in 2017.

Everyone has been in and out of your home for months now. The floors are a mess, and you could really use a deep cleaning.  From winter mud and snow and salt to all the random foods prep and holiday wrapping and decorations, there is just more mess then usual. The Shark Rocket Complete  is beast of a vacuum, with two powered brush rolls to make sure all the debris is picked up.  It’s good for hard floors or carpets, as well. The soft roll and gets into things by grabbing large, small, or stuck on items off hard flooring while grabbing large particles and piles on carpets.  The second brush roll has a bristle head, which on hard flooring accelerates large, small, and stuck on particles into the vacuum while on carpet deep cleans and pulls stuck on and small particles into the vacuum.  These two brush rolls working together make short work of just about any dry mess you can think of as well as regular vacuuming around the house.  It really gets in there, and you can tell the difference. About $200 on http://direct.sharkclean.com

For those sealed hard floor messes which a vacuum isn’t built for, check out the Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop System.  This mop system is built to deep clean your floors using steam as the main agitator. The steam releases most messes and spills with minimal effort through the pad, lifting away the mess without you every having to touch it.  The stem can also be delivered directly to the floor with the Steam Blaster, which was created for stuck on or greasy messes, where steam is applied directly to the mess and can be wiped away with the pad secondarily.  The pad itself grabs 99.9% of common household bacteria (according to the manufacturer).  The best part is the amazing clean you get- the second best is the hands off approach to cleaning it gives you.  The pad detaches right into the laundry without ever having to get your hands dirty with a simple button push. That’s the third best part- no more pads to buy. About $120 on http://direct.sharkclean.com
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Instantly Fresh Herbs from Litehouse

Disclosure- We received the items below in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own and honest.  Because we prepare meals as a family, we hoped that the Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs would be an flavorful addition to recipes.  We discovered that the herbs are easy to add and delicious.

Since watching cooking shows is wildly popular in our home, we were eager to try the Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs.  We learn about ingredients and combinations of flavors while cheering on our favorite home cooks as they challenge chefs with years of training.  We watch as the chefs mince and chop herbs wondering if we could learn to chop with such finesse. As a result, we research recipes to prepare as a family.  Recipes often call for a pinch of fresh herbs but keeping fresh parsley, ginger, mint, or cilantro on hand to add to our favorite dishes is a challenge.  Because fresh herbs can be expensive, spoil quickly, and require a bit of knife skills, we often leave out these ingredients.  Also, dried herbs lack flavor and aroma.  Therefore, having Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs on hand makes it easy to prepare delicious family meals at home.

About Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs

Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs are freeze-dried without preservatives. The herbs are gluten-free and made from non-GMO crops.  Since moisture in the fridge can rehydrate the herbs, it is best to keep opened jars in the cabinet with other spices.  Herbs are available as single ingredients
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The Radio City Christmas Spectacular #GreenGiantXRockettes @GreenGiant

radio city

This past week, we went into New York City to see the The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. It’s one of those things that you need to do at least once in your life, if not more often (if you are close enough that you are able).

radio city mucic hall

Running through Jan.2, 2017, you and your family and friends can go see one of NYC’s iconic show’s (and some of the world’s most iconic dancers) to really get the holiday season started. The Rockettes have been performing at Radio City since 1932, and during the Christmas season they preform 7 days a week. The Rockettes also perform every year at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC and America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. They also lit the Empire State Building red and green for Christmas. Gotta love those hard-working ladies!

pic8The kids were enthralled- my son’s favorite scenes were the Rockette- reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh, the many dancing Santa’s, and the Radio City version of “The Nutcracker”, with teddy bears.

He loved the surprise streamers and snow that fell on the audience as well. We all enjoyed the ending, the true meaning of Christmas. It was a beautifully done “walk” by the 3 Wise Men and their entourage, as well as live animals, as they went to pay tribute to the new born King. At the end, traditional hymns and Christmas songs were sung and the whole group was in front of the Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
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George and Martha’s Morristown, NJ

morristown nj

If you are looking for a modern home cooked meal with a sophisticated yet delicious flavor profile, George and Martha’s is for you.

When we walked in, the first thing I noticed was the smell. Not food- it was a holiday smell, like Christmas trees and spice. It carried through the entire restaurant- not in an overpowering way, but subtle, a nice note.  The menu was cool (and the prices were reasonable, nothing crazy) with fun options, as well as interesting twists on traditional favorites.  Choices were varied, but everything we tried was better then average, with a few that were real standouts.

maple bacon

The first thing (and possibly the best) that we tried was the cornbread. Not just any cornbread, though this one has “Bourbon Maple Glaze, Served with Sweet Butter and Roasted Corn Jam”.  Right? It was as good as it sounds, and served warm. At 7$, worth every penny. My son wanted appetizers as his meal, and that was fine with me. He had calamari rings and a side of macaroni and cheese. He orders both of these often, and enjoyed both. Dad very much liked the calamari- because, of course, he had to try them out, and the mac and cheese was home made, smelled wonderful, and was ultra gooey.
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Tucson Tamales – Unwrap Happiness @tucsontamale

Tamales are one of those comfort foods that, when done right, are exactly what you are craving. Good, simple, yet so flavorful.  If you do not know what a tamale is, it is a corn husk filled with masa, or a corn meal dough (often with another filling in the middle as well) which is then steamed or boiled in the husk and unwrapped and eaten when they are done.  These little pockets of Mexican tradition have the taste of home made, and the warm feeling you get from home made dishes as well.  Tucson Tamale offers these corn based envelopes of awesome to you wherever you are, no matter your prowess in the kitchen.

order tamales

They have options for everyone- meat lovers, vegetarian, omnivore- even dessert.  One of our favorites was the Blue Corn, made from organic blue corn masa and filled with summer squash, tomato, onion, peppers and cheese. We also loved the Black Bean and Cheese made of black beans, roasted corn, red peppers and cheddar cheese. There are also meat filled varieties, like Green Chile Pork with Cheese, Green Chile Chicken and Red Chile Beef.  There is sure to be a favorite for everyone in your house.
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Hoboken Farms for Almost-Home Made Pasta Sauce @hbknfarms

Winter is on its way – and you know what that means – comfort food season is upon us. It’s the time of year to indulge in hot meals that warm us up and fill us up. Nothing brings families together quite like a big pasta dinner, and maybe you don’t always have the time to make your sauce from scratch. It can’t hurt to have some on hand for “those nights” when it all just gets away from you and you need to throw together dinner, and fast.
pasta sauce
What makes each pasta dinner unique? The sauce, of course. Perhaps you have a family recipe or even a go-to store brand sauce that you swear by. Have you ever tried Hoboken Farms? Right outta NJ,  Hoboken Farms has a trio of sauces that will make you re-think what it means to eat sauce from a jar. With the simplest ingredients, this locally crafted sauce may fool you ­or your guests ­as being homemade. The purveyors of the coolest line of BIG PASTA SAUCES offers three staples to choose from; BIG RED marinara, BIG BOSS vodka and the latest, BIG BASIL.

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