Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Low tech kitchen gadgets and home cookin'

I thought I would share two of my handy dandy kitchen gadgets with you...
 My trusty mortar and pestle - I use the same one for grinding bread crumbs, herbs, crackers/cereal or whatever else I need to grind.  I was laughing at my own self this weekend while making up a batch of bread crumbs.  I used to buy bread crumbs in a package.  I guess I just thought it would be a big job to do a whole container full at a time.  Now, whenever I have that last slice of bread that is going stale - I chop it up into crouton size pieces, and toss them into a bowl to dry.  When I need bread crumbs for dinner, I just grind what I need.
And this...it is actually and old wood working mallet, but I use it for smashing my potatoes.  I cook the potatoes (in the microwave - I know...still working on eliminating the microwave cooking) and then smash them flat with my mallet, drizzle on some olive oil and a little salt and roast them in the oven until they are nice and crispy on the outside.  Even picky pants N (who does not like potatoes-or anything else it feels like some days) will eat these.

Do you have any low tech kitchen gadgets you just love to use?
Both were used Sunday to make our "smashed pork tenderloin" - a dish I save for weekends, but which really only takes an hour to make the whole dinner.  Not sure why I always think of this as a labour intensive meal.

And since I was in the kitchen...here are some easy peasy home-made chewy granola bars:
 In a large bowl, mix 2 cups quick oats, two cups puffed millet (or puffed rice, or rice crispies or whatever you like that is kind of light and fluffy), one cup of nuts (I used pecans here but almonds are delicious), one cup flaked coconut - unsweetened, 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or more), one cup dried fruit of any kind you like, one 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tbsp butter.  Pat it into a 9" x 13" pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Wait a few minutes for it to cool and then cut into bars.
Mmmm.  These are so great in the lunchbox...if they make it that far.

And if you are in the mood for baking:
I finally got around to making the 100% whole wheat bread from old world garden farms and it was indeed delicious.  It doesn't need to rise for nearly as long as my old recipe, and it is really nice and fluffy...not at all dense like most whole wheat breads.  I will be making this again.

And here is something disturbing:
While grocery shopping the other day, I was in the baked goods aisle which I seldom visit.  I was in the mood for biscuits with dinner and wasn't sure I would have time to make them after finishing the groceries.  There was a package with 6 little biscuits for $4.99!  $4.99 for 6 biscuits???  Yesterday, I made 16 for about $2.00.  Half went into the freezer for the next time I get a hankerin' for a biscuit.

It was a re-fill the freezer kind of weekend (yay for new stat holidays).  What did you do with yours?

Linking up with: The Backyard Farming Connection
                         Keep calm craft on over at Frontier Dreams because I'm creating in the kitchen.
                         Homestead Barnhop over at The Prairie Homestead
                         Homemade Mondays at Frugal By Choice, Cheap by Necessity
                         Eco Kids Tuesday at Like Mama Like Daughter 
                         What I am Eating over at Townsend House


  1. That meal looks so delicious, I could eat it right now, at 10:30 am!

    I think I might try your smashed potatoes. I've got a picky eater, too. Maybe "Picky Pants Potatoes?"

    And I have been wanting a good homemade granola bar recipe for a long time. I will try yours. Thank you!

  2. dang! i wanna come to your house for dinner. what a wonderful looking meal. :)

  3. I have been wanting a mortar and pestle! Please come share your post with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday. http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/02/melt-my-heart-eco-kids-tuesday.html

    1. Thanks for sharing this with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! Hope to see you again today! http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/02/bunnys-bento-box-eco-kids-tuesday.html

  4. those granola bars look great! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Yum, yum and yum. I want all of it now. I think that I shouldn't be reading food blogs this close to dinner!!! Those potatoes are a great idea and super easy. I saved the bread that doesn't get eaten in bags in the freezer and make it all at once food processor. Almost the only job that I bring out the food processor for still, maybe because I don't have a motar and pestle. I think that I have most of the ingredients for the granola bars so I might have to make those soon!

  6. I love your low tech gadgets :) I would love to have you share this on The HomeAcre Hop tonight!

  7. All these helps in adding extra flavour to your recipe. Low-tech and helpful :)