Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mabel White's Hashbrown Cassarole Recipe

I recently posted Turkey Brine Blend, Corn Casserole recipe, and how to make your own Cran Raspberry Jelly...but the most coveted recipe I am posting is the "Hash brown Casserole recipe." It is a year round favorite recipe acceptable at any time of day. You can add to this recipe, such as cooked sausage, bacon and/or ham. The true secret seems to be the cream of chicken soup. I have not tried rice as a substitute for the shredded potatoes but I will very soon. This is also the dish I like to make for busy people. I use a food processor to just shred a bag of potatoes quickly as well as block Colby jack cheese. I tend to use thin skinned potatoes if I do not feel like peeling them - meaning I just leave the nutrients on.

1 Cup of Onions Sautéed
2 Pounds of shredded potatoes (frozen is fine)
2 - 10 ounce cans cream of chicken soup
8 ounces shredded Colby jack cheese

Sdalt & Pepper

Grease an 8" by 12" pan. Mix everything together. Bake 40 minutes at 400 degrees.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mabel White now on Amazon's Whispernet

The Mabel White series, written by author Deborah Dolen is now on Amazon's Kindle Whispernet DPT platform. DPT is short for digital text platform. Click here to see the Mabel White Amazon page created for the author. The first of 27 DIY books offered on Amazon's Kindle was the two most popular The Bathroom Chemist and The Self Apothecary.

The ever popular Mabel White's Christmas was offered on Amazon Kindle the first week of October 2010. In case you missed them, here are some free recipes from the book excerpts;

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Easy Dip Mix Recipe for Autumn 2010 by Deborah Dolen

Many people love dip mixes because they feel they are "cooking." I say that with a big smile on my face because perhaps they are. I look at dip mixes in an abstract way. Basically throwing a few spices in sour cream, giving them a spin with a spoon - grabbing decent crackers and the meal is ready. Meal? Sure. I am an author. Dip mix and cold coffee can constitute a meal for two days if need be.

Dip Mixes are easy to prepare and they are also just wonderful as gifts. In my Kitchen Art's Book coming out on Amazon's Kindle (Whispernet platform) in mid October of 2010, I list hundreds of recipes to make as gifts. I think Kindle is great because the Kindle tablet can be in the kitchen and the recipe right there without pages flipping all over. I do use a plastic slip cover over my Kindle because batter does go flying around in my kitchen.

Dip Mixes are so easy to make the only real issue to contemplate is the packaging. Little glass shakers and bottles can be secured at most Dollar Stores, and the giver can simply tie card with a piece of raffia around the neck. I create cute cards from a business card, folded in half and punch a hole in it to secure the card with the raffia. You will need to figure out how much your basic recipe weighs and then how many servings are in your final container. It is better to make the recipe for one use because spices tend to settle and it would be hard to divide the gift to make two servings.

Beyond little shaker bottles, spices are very easy to get at the dollar store also. I feel they are the best value. And just so you know, dried parsley really does look like spinach when allowed to sit over night, so a definite consideration when making a bacon-spinach type dip. All variations of my dip mix recipe taste far better when allowed to rehydrate in the sour cream base, such as in the fridge over night.

So here is my basic recipe for dip mix that you can amend to make your dip mix as you like:

Mabel White’s Basic Dip Mix Recipe
Copyright Deborah Dolen Kitchen Art's

Per Pound of Dip (Sour Cream, Cream Cheese or both)

1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp onion powder
1 tap paprika
1 tsp chives
2 tsps salt

Finely grind the ingredient and add natural or artificial flavors if you want at about 1 tsp or to taste. This recipe is designed to go into 16 ounces of sour cream and/or warm cream cheese. Variations can include Clams, Dill, Green Chile spice, Cajun, or even complimented with real avocado or bacon. I prefer the mildest chili peppers for color.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dry Wassail Mix Recipe by Deborah Dolen Editor Mabel White DIY

Dry Wassail Mix Recipe by Deborah Dolen

Dry Wassail Mix for Entertaining or Gift Giving
2 cups Sugar or Splenda
1 Cup brown sugar (or plain sugar)
1 cup Tang
1 1/2 cup Country Time Lemonade Mix
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Cloves
1 tsp. Ginger
1 tsp Allspice
½ teaspoon Nutmeg

Thoroughly mix all ingredients. Separate into air tight jars.4 heaping TBSP. of wassail mix stirred in 1 cup of water and 1 cup of apple juice or apple cider makes 2 cups. Other juices can be exchanged or blended with the apple part such as pineapple and cranberry juice and/or dry sherry or any dry wine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to Make the Best Vanilla Extract - Great Gift Giving!

Making your own vanilla extract is a great way to make neat gifts for others while enjoying your own “stash.” Vanilla extract is made with a low proof vodka but some people make it with rum. Before you “think it,” just know a higher proof alcohal does not render a deeper extract from the bean. The formula needs some water to act as a “solvent” to the bean. Water is a little known solvent. Real connoisseurs of vanilla extracts will make a few variations to have their own “collection” such as one with a vodka base and another with a rum base.

It takes a good six months to have a dark quality vanilla and a year to have the maximum richness a vanilla bean can offer. So, you may want to start in January of each year your gifts for the following December. Beyond vanilla beans, attractive bottles and little funnels may be the only primary components you may want to secure to make your own vanilla extract. To make for gifts you can create a “hang tag” with a business card folded in half, whatever story or graphics you want on it, and a string through it. Regarding the use of colored bottles, I personally do not feel a colored bottle makes a difference over a clear bottle. It needs to be stored in a cool dark place and the color of the glass has no impact. However, glass is important as plastics in circulation are having endless questions come up – specifically with phthalates.

Commercial vanilla extract is usually 35% alcohal and the rest water and propylene glycol. The purpose of the alcohal is most likely for preservative value. 13.5 ounces of vanilla beans are used to make a gallon of normal strength on the grocery shelf kind of extract. This means to make five fold you can do 13.5 ounces of vanilla beans to 25 ounces of alcohal. You can also vary your beans like I do. I order them from all over the world to make a “blend.” Mexican vanilla is outrageously priced because it competes with the “tourist” vanilla beans it becomes not worth the price. Fake vanilla, the clear stuff, is made with resins from trees.

In regards to vanilla beans around the home as a raw material-you can do many other projects. Stick a few beans in your sugar to make “Vanilla sugar.” In fact, if I was making vanilla extract as a gift I would probably package it up with a canister of vanilla sugar. Vanilla beans can also go into honey and permeate that over time.

The way to prepare you vanilla beans for extract and other infusions such as vanilla sugar is to slit them all of the way up so the beans inside are exposed. There is no way to make vanilla extract without alcohal or it would not be called an “extract.” You can, however, focus more on vanilla sugar or honey if your religious preferences forbid any kind of alcohal.
SOURCE: I get most of my beans on e-Bay from "VanillaProducts" I find they are very competitive and offer a great variety of fresh beans.

Monday, August 9, 2010

How to Make Clarified Butter & Shelf Life for Food Storage

Butter in Long Term Food Storage: It Can be Done!

I have often thought if I were to ever need my food storage for a long length of time, such as weeks without electric, I would truly miss butter.

Recently I figured out I do not have to miss it and perhaps I should be using it on a daily basis. Butter has been around long before refrigeration. How is that? The key is “clarified” butter. Julia Child’s is a huge fan of clarified butter. Clarified butter enjoys a good shelf life and does not require refrigeration. It withstands higher heats when cooking and does not turn brown. Simply separating the milk solids from the healthy “fat” does the trick. The more certain you are the milk fat is out, and no water has entered the scheme of things -the more you will enjoy a long shelf life. Adding sea salt also helps extend longevity but is not required. Clarified butter shelf life is 6 months if stored in a stable vessel such as glass. It has a year life in refrigeration. So, ideally, you have up to six months if you experience loss of electric.

Making clarified butter is so neat I determined to make it with only organic butter or butter from Ireland which I think is totally cool and relatively hormone free. Cultured butter is best so try to find that. Cultured butter means that the cream sat in a cool place for a day prior to being churned into butter. I pour my clarified butter into a sterile glass for storage or easy pouring. Dishwashers usually can be set at a high enough temp to help make things sterile. For everything else there is 190 proof Everclear which is my germ killer of choice. Naturally you must wait for all alcohol to evaporate before something can be figured as sterile.

Method to Clarify Butter

The best way to clarify butter is simmer it in a pan. Allow the water to evaporate and the milk solids to coagulate together. (Butter does have some water content.) Skim any “foam” off the top first. Strain through a fine sieve. Strain a second time if in doubt. I use coffee filters because I have them from my laboratory where we make flavors. You could also use a turkey baster to just siphon the clear butter off. Experienced chefs simply pour it off-but I find milk solids float up into the pour. You cannot allow that to happen. Water content is about 18% so you should capture 80% of the butter you bought into a final clarified product.

Clarified Butter: A Global View

The word actually comes from the French “clarifier” meaning to clear something up. The English use clarified butter to store their shrimp in a process known as “potting.” Indian Ayurvedic cooking calls it “Ghee” and is a pivotal part of their diet. Africa adds really neat spices such as ginger and nutmeg. South Asia and the Middle East cook it a little longer to actually caramelize the milk solids which lends it a nutty flavor. The Scandinavian cheese “Ski Queen” is from this process in part. Ski Queen is my absolute favorite cheese and I go cross eyed just thinking about it! It is as addictive as a fine dark chocolate.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Water Conservation by Dolen Syndicated

Water Conservation by Dolen Syndicated

Deborah Dolen on Crafting Perfume: How to Make Perfume

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Make Your Own Edible Color Wheel! by Deborah Dolen 2001

Make Your Own Edible Color Wheel! Photo Dolen Images

Materials:Vanilla wafersPillsbury Vanilla FrostingPackage of food coloring Styrofoam bowls/platesNapkins/paper towelsPlastic knives/craft sticks/spoons. Cup cakes work much the same way!


1. Scoop frosting into three bowls and use food coloring to dye one each red, yellow, and blue. Cover (hide) and set aside.

2. As students come into room, have them sit in groups of three or four.

3. Begin introduction or review of color theory by asking them to name the three primary colors.
Once they have correctly identified these, uncover the bowls.

4. Using a spoon, scoop frosting of each color onto a Styrofoam plate, one for each group of
students. While doing this, continue to ask students questions (i.e. "what are the secondary colors and how do you mix them?" etc. Adapt questions according to age group and prior exposure to color theory concepts.)

5. Pass out plastic knives or craft sticks, one per person. Ask MORE questions about color theory (i.e. "what are complementary colors and what is their relative position on the color wheel?" etc.) Give each group a plate with frosting on it, and either a second empty plate or a large paper towel.

6. Produce a box of Vanilla wafers from a bag, and pass out at least 13 cookies to each group, placing cookies on empty plate or paper towel.

7. At this point, the light will probably begin to dawn for the students and they will understand what they are to do! Explain that they will be working as a team to produce a color wheel, using Vanilla wafers and frosting to create primary, secondary and tertiary colors, as well as a neutral.

8. Remind students to wipe off the stick (DON’T LICK IT!) in between colors so as not to contaminate the purity of the primary colors.

9. Once the color wheels have been finished and have been checked for color accuracy and correct placement, students may eat their work!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Water Based Color Project Charts by Deborah Dolen

Color Mixing Chart and Guide by Deborah Dolen

Being populated right now :) Content being moved from:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to Make Your Own Vitamin Water by Deborah Dolen, Editor

How to Make Your Own Vitamin Water by Deborah Dolen, Editor
(Photo owed by Dolen Images/API The petals were from edible impatiens that grow abundantly in Florida shade)

DIY Vitamin Water

As the heat beats down with summer approaching the need for us to hydrate kicks up a notch making the pastel colored vitamin waters look more and more inviting. The fact bottled vitamin water contains some vitamins and minerals makes us feel less guilty about the price-we had to hydrate anyway, so we look at it as a big bonus. More clever marketers like BORBA are focusing in on vitamin related results such as “Face Firming” “Age-Defying” and “Skin Toning” as they prominently display the vitamin attributes on their labels. Although I have no clue as to their claims of efficacy, I just see a lot of “B” vitamins and know they help greatly with stress. Vitamin B is known as the “transitional” vitamin. I also know vitamin “C” helps with the immune system, I know I do not take enough and so I buy them. The BORBA bottles are so nice I save them to recycle and pour my own home made vitamin water in. I am far from the only one that has succumbed to vitamin water. Vitamin water is so popular Coca-Cola just bought Glacéau Vitamin Water for a cool $4.1 billion. Ten bottles [a gallon] is about $30 retail. Unfortunately the plastic count on the environment is surreal.

With distilled water approximately .88 cents at Wal-Mart, you can make a gallon of your own vitamin water for under $3 a gallon. Buy distilled when possible. Oddly it is the same price as “purified” and I know what can be in purified. When making your own vitamin water you can even make ice cubes and in just about any flavor you want! Easiest to use pre-mixed, just mix up pre-measured powder packets with the sweetener, flavor and vitamin elements so you can add to a gallon of distilled water on demand, or split a gallon and make two flavors in two 64 ounce pictures. For uniformity I would blend all ingredients dry in a magic bullet b

ut that is not necessary. I work in a laboratory so I enjoy personally buffering things together. Select water soluble vitamins and minerals-sources discussed below. Also keep in mind some people say the sugar in vitamin water negate any nutritional value. That makes sense, and sugar does turn to acid in our bodies. For this reason I use stevia, a zero carb herb 3,000 times sweeter than sugar. I am not even crazy about fructose crystals used to make most vitamin water, but I would think second best to the zero calorie stevia. Always buy Stevia in bulk. I think small amounts of stevia or liquid stevia are far can be far over priced.

Flavor ideas can include lemon, lemon-lime, lychee, acai berry, strawberry, banana and or coconut-pineapple. Cherry & coconut works well as a blended flavor, so does raspberry and blueberry. The flavor possibilities are truly endless. Since coconut rarely comes as a “flavor” I will usually add 16 ounces of coconut water to my gallon formula. It is great for the kidneys, naturally anti-microbial and a little sweet. Some people do facilitate Kool-Aid flavoring and coloring and use stevia for sweetener. They buy the kind you add sugar. I am OK with this since I also use flavors and color in my lab and I know they are well under 1% of the formula. I know it is the 99% percent rule that matters. Such as drinking 99% questionable water sources can far outweigh any use of color or flavor-and many people do not question their water source. I only use distilled unless I know the mountain source of any water. There are few pure sources anymore. In my research someone did a funny and in-depth report of Kool-Aide flavors. I smiled they were “so into it”- go to this link for that!

Sweetener choices include stevia, which is my favorite, crystalline fructose, or just plain cane sugar as the popularity of unrefined sugar is escalating. You can also use Splenda, I am just leery of any artificial sweeteners these days. Stevita is another way to secure flavor and color, a stevia product. I am still OK with a little Kool-Aid and adding my own stevia. The point of vitamin water is that it is not as flavorful and more like water. Stevita makes a Strawberry [God I adore strawberry!] and 2.8 ounces is reported by users as making 3 + gallons. The company does not stress how much 2.8 ounces makes is the only issue. Amazon does seem to be the cheapest right now at $4.80 a jar. Bonus – it seems to have 183% daily recommended vitamin C in it. Unclear what shipping would be. 16 ounces sizes are available and more economical by far.

Vitamins, here is the great news! If you buy powdered vitamins they will last a long time in a dark area of your fridge. You can use them in skin care preparations. I think Vitamin B6 is just awesome in lotion for rashes or hives. This is the operating ingredient in Gold Bond itch cream. That and menthol. Typically $10 an ounce retail I opt to just make the effective cream for myself. I can make 16 ounces for under $5. Vitamin C can be used to easily make Vitamin C “serum.” Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. Again, it is on the acid spectrum so take care as to the dosage when you make that.

As far as vitamins in Vitamin water-understand your vitamin palette. Buffered C powder is ascorbic acid whose sourness is balanced by calcium, magnesium, and potassium—in other words, electrolytes. So, Buffered vitamin C powder is the basis of making any vitamin water. People do use Emergen-C brand to make their own vitamin water. If you plan to use Emergen-C do your calculations. Do not consume too many vitamins, you could potentially over tax the kidneys. So, weigh out in your mind how much you would drink a day of your vitamin water and gauge your dosage accordingly. You can modify the recipes below. When just starting cut your batches by 1/10 to make sample batches. It is usually easy to calculate a recipe down to 10%. Here you are just trying to figure out your comfort level on vitamin taste. Your local vitamin store may be the best way to secure buffered vitamins. I will post some sources on the internet once I use and like my sources.

For best suspension mix your powder with a few ounces of the water before you add that to the whole gallon. I always mix a few ounces in my Magic Bullet before I stir it into the gallon.

Kool Water Recipe
Each recipe makes a gallon. You can half the recipe to make ½ gallons.

1 gallon distilled water
2 Teaspoons buffered C powder
2 teaspoons liquid super vitamin B complex [Twin labs is one brand]
1/2 ounce stevia powder or 6 ounces crystalline fructose, splenda, and/or sugar
Optional - Flavor and color

Optional 1 capsule Guarana seed extract (Usually $8 for 90 capsules) Guarana is known as a Dietary Supplement from the Maple family that has twice the caffeine of coffee. When it comes to herbal supplements you can get as weird as you want! The main key is to secure powers that do not have overbearing flavors in and of themselves.

*The crystalline fructose is about $1.20 per pound in bulk

Other interesting links:

Making Your Own Vitamin C serum

Making your own energy drinks

Read about Ringo a dog flown in from Katrina. Official Bio of his owner and short Bio. RSS Syndicated Feeds on the environment. How Twitter is best used. Deborah Dolen Books on Amazon. Review of her books on Open Library, Paperback Swap, Good Reads and ReviewScout. You can also read Google Profile. Deborah Dolen on MySpace Facebook, and Flickr. This is our favorite blogspot. See Deborah Dolen on YouTube and her last book written London Apothecary and book.