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  1. Does anybody know where to get vanilla baking chips? I found a recipe called "kitchen sink cookies" on allrecipes.com and have looked in several places but can't find them. Most people think I mean white chocolate and at first I though maybe the recipe author meant that, but she mentions them in more than one place. I even went to a cookie specialty store that sells nothing but cookie cutters, decorating supplies, etc. and she didn't know. The site isn't set up so you can message another member. From the looks of the reviews, people just wildly improvised with this recipe, making all kinds of substitutions according to their whims, anyway, and that's probably what I'll end up doing, but I'd like to get the vanilla chips if I can. None of the reviewers mentioned the difficulty of obtaining vanilla chips. I'm expanding my cookie repetoire, which was always pretty big, because I go to blues dances on Thursday nights and they let me in free if I bring food. So far one of the best new ones I've tried is triple chocolate chip from the Williams -Sonoma baking cookbook, which my cousin gave me for Christmas.
  2. The pumpkin pie recipe from the Libby's can and the 5 Minute fudge recipe from Carnation milk are good ones. Although when they say "5 minute" they mean actual cooking time, not including the time measuring things, chopping nuts, etc.
  3. There's definitely a good chocolate cake on the back of the Hershey's cocoa can, if it's the one that calls for boiling water. It's almost as easy as a mix. I discovered it in the eighties and seldom make any other chocolate cake.
  4. Trader Joe's often gives samples of things made from their mixes and convenience foods and only rarely do I buy those. I often get ideas for things to make from scratch. I often have samples when I'm in there for something else, like milk. Sometimes I make a mental note in case it's something I might want later. I do get coffee from TJ's even when I'm not buying anything, I'm ashamed to say. They do have samples every day, and so does CostCo. QFC only does it on weekends, but it's usually something really good,like steak, or else a new product they're trying to interest people in.
  5. Just my mother--cornbread, potato soup, chocolate chip cookies, country gravy, fruit pies, potato salad. She was basically a midwestern farm cook--simple middle American meat-and-potato menus, nothing too sophisticated, and even bland by some peoples' standards. I envy the person who learned to cut up a chicken. By the time I was born, my mother had stopped doing a lot of the farm wife stuff like baking bread, having a big garden, putting up jams and jellies and things like that, so I didn't learn as much as she did from her mother.
  6. I sort of combined a recipe from a pasta cookbook by Flora and Robert Alda(Alan's dad)and a recipe from Parade magazine. I lot of times I will do that when I make something new--look up 3 or 4 recipes and take the features I like best from each. Naturally you don't do this for something like chiffon pie where precise measurements are important. But I've cooked enough that I usually have a feel for what will work. Capers, anchovies and red pepper flakes do seem to be a common denominator for this one though. They all have colorful stories for how the recipe came to be called that. One says that prostitutes did not go out to do their marketing when respectable women were out, so they invented a recipe that doesn't call for a lot of fresh ingredients. On the Savage Nation, Savage claimed that they believed in the antiseptic properties of the garlic.
  7. We've had a spell of cold, snowy weather and I hope that it doesn't prevent guests from getting here. But this year I'm getting a turkey from the CO-OP so it should be extra good. I discovered a recipe a few years ago for a rub made of olive oil, herbs, etc that makes it good. I use the simple bread stuffing from Good Housekeeping cookbook. I'm making a cranberry sauce from Better Homes and Gardens. It has port wine and raspberries that give it bright crimson color. I'm trying a mashed potato recipe I found on allrecipes.com. I make buttermilk rolls from a recipe in Fannie Farmer. I make giblet gravy. For the vegetable I'm having brussels sprouts with some lemon pepper on them. I'll probably be the only who will eat them. I make pumpkin pie from the Libby's recipe and serve it with real whipped cream. I got some cheap wine at Trader Joe's (no, not Charles Shaw, but almost that cheap. This one has surfboard and woodie drawing on the label, not very Thanksgivingy, but very Traders Joes-ey.)I will probably be the only one to drink that too. The others are pretty much teetotallers.
  8. That King Arthur flour book is pretty darn good.
  9. I have a can of artichoke hearts I got because they were marked down. I use them in pasta salad but it didn't occur to me that I usually use marinated ones. I will probably use them eventually.
  10. Just making Hollandaise is enough for me. Come to think of it, that's something I've only done once, and am not in a hurry to do again.
  11. My favorite is the Robin Hood Flour cookbooklets, probably because they are the only Canadian cookbooks I own. I don't know if Robin Hood flour even exists any more, or if it was regional brand. There is a good black bottom pie recipe which I can post if anybody's interested.
  12. My friend who likes British cuisine usually wants goose at Christmas. I warn people that it's dark, fatty and gamey compared to supermarket turkey. You will have an ocean of grease, which you can save and use for frying and stuff if you want, but you need to skim it off before making gravy or whatever. I use the same stuffing I would for turkey and the same accompaniments. Score the bird with a sharp knife before roasting and prick it with a fork from time to time during roasting.
  13. You can get fairly good deals(maybe $3 and something a pound) just before Christmas here if you don't mind frozen. They come from place in South Dakota. When I lived in Montana, Hutterite(Anabaptist, our version of Amish)farmers would come around and sell them. People said you could get even better quality if you went to their farms. This was back in the eighties.
  14. Yes, shooting one of those is probably illegal, even when they're pooping all over the parks and beaches.
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