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  1. My shameful defaults: Pasta with Karam's garlic sauce and a salty cheese (parm/asiago/feta/etc). Rice with ranch dressing, canned tuna, and black pepper. Rice with sauteed summer sausage, cheddar cheese, and green olives and/or jarred jalapenos.
  2. This is slightly off topic, as it's not about a holiday menu, but it is Christmas and food related. I'm planning on a smallish tree decorated primarily with dehydrated pretty slices of lemons, limes, kumquats, blood oranges, and tomatoes (and popcorn garlands). My question is what else can I do with the butt ends of the citrus fruits beyond stashing them in vodka for a spell? Tomato ends will go into a salsa, and assuming that I buy (small) bags of citrus any non-decorative slices with be salt preserved, but what about the pithy end pieces?
  3. And I would never judge a book by one recipe.
  4. I bought a Weber Q last year, thinking that it would be a good solution to my living situation not allowing a charcoal grill without a 3 floor trek down and up to check on any progress. I had significant issues getting a Coleman propane tank (the small, squat ones) attached, and was always a little nervous about the connection. Once I got it going, it worked fairly well for most high or medium heat things, which was nice. As BBQ season finally is ramping up here in the PNW, I am finding myself just committing to just schlepping downstairs for the afternoon because it's less daunting than rep
  5. Wait, have I been rude all my life? I've only ever stayed in US hotels while in transit, rarely for more than a day. I've also only stayed at utility level places. It never would have occurred to me that I should have been tipping the housekeeping staff for doing what I have little active interaction with. I've also never asked for any "extras" - I tend to travel at minimal maintenance levels.
  6. I don't have a magnet habit, nor did I grow up with one (outside of the ubiquitous letter-shaped magnets for teaching reading skills). However, many years ago when I was partnered with a general contractor/woodworker and assisting him with most aspects of his life, I got the idea of take some of the otherwise useless off-cuts, squaring them off, and doing the finishing work to convert them to fridge magenets as low-cost meaningful gifts. I almost never gave them away - it was too fun to have them around to play with while I was tending to kitchen projects. Hundreds of
  7. I've done similar excursions, most often with my ex and our two big dogs. We/I found that having a quick way of sourcing hot coffee in the morning was REALLY important. He was always the early riser and got a fire going first thing, but later when I was solo (plus dog), a Turkish coffee pot with a small butane camp stove did the trick. What worked best for us/me was a staple list of bacon/summer sausage/cheddar/eggs/rice/potatoes/frozen broccoli/frozen spinach. Kind of monotonous in the long term, but tasty and satisfying. I also brought a small kit of spices/herbs/hot
  8. Agree with Darienne. Phyllo freezes beautifully. I've had the best luck with folding up the spanakopitas, brushing them generously with butter, letting the butter set up in the fridge, and then portioning them out as desired into bags before freezing. The butter acts as a protective coating during handling, and eases just sliding them from the freezer to a baking sheet.
  9. I'm pretty sure this isn't 100% accurate. This last spring I came down with a horrible cold much faster than usual, and I woke up in the morning absolutely miserable and realized I was lacking in any cold remedies (antihistimines, kleenex, chicken soup or the means to make any, etc), cat supplies (kibble or litter), or comfort beverages (lemon/ginger tea, whiskey for toddies). I briefly considered going to the store myself, but I was SO miserable and SO clearly contagious that I was racking my brains for an alternate solution. Turns out my past self had enrolled in Am
  10. Mrs. Renfro's Jalapeno Green Salsa is a pantry staple for me. Not for the spice wary, but tasty more than blowout hot/
  11. I was in a similar position (very limited storage for a seemingly unlimited number of spice) and I landed on LizD518 solution, more or less. It works for me rather well, and I will probably keep the same system even when I move to a situation with more space available. As an example, I have one container that holds the daily or near daily spices (oregano, lemon pepper, salt, black pepper, a greek blend that I use on popcorn, etc), one that holds the hot peppers and paprikas, one that holds more infrequent western flavors (thyme, saffron, tarragon, dry mustard, sumac, specialty salts, etc), o
  12. This afternoon I had a craving for Beef Stroganoff from scratch, and far more time than money to spend available. I also was reading this thread, and followed some of the links promoting water over prepared stock (homemade or commercial). So, I tried an experiment. Instead of using a can of stock from the pantry, I started some water to simmer before I started prepping, and tossed the offcuts of each ingredient there as I went (the beef trimmings, the mushroom stalks, the onion skins/root, the garlic skins/roots. etc.) By the time everything was sauteed in sequence and deglazed with wine, th
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