Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts


My daughter just loves to cook. Of course she likes to bake cookies, pies and cakes, but she'll help with just about any task I give her. I jokingly call her my sous chef. One project she is especially fond of is making donuts. I'm not especially fond of mixing up a bowl of dough, so I thought it was just brilliant when my husband told me that his Pap used to make donuts using refrigerated biscuit dough. That's pure genius! You get yummy, "homemade" donuts and you don't even have to slave away in the kitchen. Here's how you do it:

Ingredients:

1 tube refrigerated homestyle biscuit dough (Don't get fancy on me, you just need the cheap stuff)
1/4 c. sugar
1 T cinnamon
enough shortening or oil to fill a small saucepan up about 1 in.
itty, bitty cookie cutter (This may require a trip to a specialty store. We use a little heart)

Directions:
1) Heat shortening or oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
2) While oil is heating, use cookie cutter to cut out a hole in the center of each biscuit. Save the middles. They can be used to make donut holes. My kids actually fight over the donut holes.
3) Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
4) When a drop of water sizzles in the oil, then it is ready. Toss in your donuts. I usually fry the donut holes first. They need to be constantly turned so they turn a golden brown on all sides. The other donuts will need to be flipped after the first side has turned a golden brown.

5) Remove donuts from the oil and allow some of the excess oil to drain on a paper towel.
6) Toss donuts in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Use a spoon to make sure all sides are coated.

Sometimes we'll get fancy and, instead of coating them in cinnamon-sugar, we'll put icing on then and then add sprinkles. One time I mixed the seeds from a vanilla bean with sugar and made vanilla-sugar donuts. Be creative and have fun!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fabric Ghosts


This weekend the kids and I found ourselves at the fabric store. I went in for elastic, because our stupid Walmart decided to cut back on their sewing section, and came face-to-face with the true horror that is Halloween...tacky crafts.
In college I majored in art education. My professors spent years deprogramming us of the kind of holiday crafts we grew up making in elementary art class. You know, hand turkeys, paper snowflakes and bunny rabbits with cute little cotton ball tails? We learned how to teach art by focusing on technique, art history, criticism and aesthetics. There is simply no time in the curriculum for papier-mache ghosts. And yet, this is exactly what was standing before me...cute little ghosts made by soaking fabric in fabric stiffener. Oh no! Hurry up and pass them before the kids see them. Too late. "Awwww!! Mama look how cute. Can we make them? They have directions hanging up right here." Crap. So I ended buying the fabric stiffener. We made the ghosts and they ARE cute. So, as an art teacher, I'm absolutely horrified. As a Mom it was a fun activity to make with my kids. You should do it too. Here are the directions:

Supplies:
fabric stiffener
small balloons
scraps of white cloth or cheesecloth
cups
fishing line or thread
assorted craft items for decorating your ghost

Directions:
1) Dilute stiffener in a bowl using 50%water, 50% stiffener.
2) Blow up balloons, set them in cups for support.
3) Cut fabric so that, when draped over the balloons, it just reaches the table surface.
4) Place cloth in stiffener, covering the entire surface with the mixture. Wring out the fabric so that it is not dripping.
5) Drape fabric over the balloons.
6) Let fabric dry, then remove balloons and cups.
7) Decorate according to your tastes.
8) Place a knot on the end of a desired length of thread. Using a needle, pull thread through the top of the ghost starting inside the ghost.

You may want to work on a surface covered with newspaper, as this project can get pretty messy.

Have fun!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Turkey Stock

My in laws were visiting this weekend. I usually cook one meal for us to eat together. The other night we usually go out to eat. With a picky father-in-law and finicky kids, it is always a challenge to think of a meal that everyone will enjoy. This time I decided to roast a turkey breast.
Well, it turns out that the in laws left early this morning, so they missed my dinner. I figured since I had already bought the turkey, I would roast it anyway. It turned out very good. The leftover meat will inevitably become a turkey pot pie, but I'm still left with a carcass. Most people would toss it in the garbage, but since I am incredibly cheap, I like to take it one step further. Tomorrow I will submerse that bad boy in pot of water and turn it into turkey noodle soup. It's really not that hard. You just need to put the carcass in water until it is covered, then simmer it (covered) on the stove top for about an hour. I usually strain out all the crap that comes off of the turkey, then put the broth back into the pot with celery, onions, carrots, garlic and a few chicken bouillon cubes. Pick off all of the loose turkey meat from the carcass and throw that into the pot, too. After the vegetables are tender I add a few handfuls of noodles, then boil (uncovered) until the noodles are done. My kids love homemade soup. It will last them for days. If you leave out the noodles, you can even freeze the soup to use when someone comes down with a cold. Nothing like a nice bowl of homemade soup when you are sick.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gravy

For a short time, after moving to Cleveland, we lived with my Grandmother on her farm. She's a good cook. She makes a lot of home style cuisine. The kind of stuff you would expect from someone in their eighties...roast, pork chops, soups, etc. She also makes some traditional Ukrainian food...borscht (Google it, if you don't know), perogies, and cabbage rolls. One of the most important things I learned from her is how to make gravy. What most people don't realize is that gravy is easy to make. I guarantee once you learn how to make it you won't ever want to buy the canned stuff again.
Basically gravy is just butter, flour, broth and seasoning. Here's a basic recipe:
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 cup broth
salt and pepper to taste
All you do is melt the butter over medium heat, add the flour and simmer for a minute or so (see pic), then whisk in the broth. Let everything simmer until it thickens, stirring occasionally. Then add salt and pepper to taste. That's it. The end result...gravy that you will want to drink by the gallon.
For dinner we had Beef Stroganoff. I put stew meat and a can of beef broth in the crock pot in the morning, so that it had all day to simmer. At dinnertime I sauteed mushrooms and onions in butter, then added the flour. After it simmered for a minute, I added the strained broth from the crockpot. I also added some additional broth because I tripled the above recipe. Lastly, I threw in the meat from the crockpot. Voila! I served it over noodles with a dollop of sour cream.
Some days, when I feel really motivated, I will make my own broth to use. But that's another post.











Introduction




First an introduction: I'm a 34 year-old mother of two who lives in Louisville, but grew up in Pittsburgh. Thus the name "Hey Yinz! Make this..." I can be found on Twitter offering up my opinions on any number of issues, most of which I know nothing about. I decided to create a blog when I realized that PEOPLE CANNOT DO SHIT FOR THEMSELVES ANYMORE! No one gardens, cooks, sews, knits, crochets, fixes things, etc. Basically, people shop and eat. So, being a helpful person, I asked myself, "What the hell can I do about this?" The resulting answer...help people be more useful.


So you may be asking yourself, "What are this broad's qualifications?" Well, I don't really have any. I consider myself to be a Jack (or Jill, if you're like that) of all trades, master of none. I went to school to teach art, but have stayed home to take care of my kids for the past 5 or so years. During that time I have experimented with cooking, sewing, crafting, gardening, and just about anything you can think of (Not THAT!!). I guess it runs in the genes. My grandmother came from Ukraine. She knows how to make everything. For her it was kind of a necessity. She and my grandfather came to America after WWII and bought a farm in rural OH. My Dad was the oldest of 4. He grew up helping around the farm. He will try just about anything. I've seen him cut down trees, build an addition on the house, fix a car, etc. He's 63 years old and still going strong. My Mom is another story...although she does not appear to be extremely domestic, there was a time when she would sew us play shorts, make crafts and she always had dinner prepared when my Dad came home from work at 5:00. Her catch phrase is "Bite me!" so you can see where I got my personality.


In my blog I will be offering up little pieces of wisdom that I have learned over the years. I do not claim to offer the absolute correct way of doing some of the things that I will demonstrating, so if you want to learn things the right way, go watch Food Network or Martha Stewart.


I'll end by offering this advice: Get off your lazy ass and learn how to do something useful, because the economy sucks right now and you might just need to know some of this stuff in the event we are all left penniless.