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Monday, August 23, 2010


1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5 Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6.. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

Sent to me via e-mail from Mom and Aunt Shirley. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dried Hot Peppers

I love spicy food. I use hot sauce and hot peppers in many things I eat! I am fortunate enough to have a father who grows plenty of hot peppers. I grew some on the deck, but they are no where near as impressive as his. With plenty of hot peppers, I like to stuff them with hot sausage or pickle them for a great topping on pizza and salads. Another great idea is drying your peppers.

If you grow or buy hot peppers in quantity, drying them is a great way to store them long term for use in recipes all year long. After all, you don't want to waste any. Peppers have lots of health benefits - and so do most other vegetables.

Dried hot peppers are great to keep on hand for cooking your favorite spicy recipes. When stored properly, hot peppers will stay fresh and delicious for many months. Proper storage is the key to maintaining high-quality peppers and the foundation for delicious tasting recipes.

For lasting freshness, store dried chili peppers in airtight containers or storage bags
away from heat and light. Dried peppers should be leathery to brittle in consistency. Discard all containers of dried peppers that are questionable.

Use dried hot peppers the same as you would in recipes calling for hot peppers, but keep in mind that dried peppers aren’t as sizable as fresh peppers. One half cup of dried peppers equals approximately one cup of fresh ones. Reconstitute the peppers and grind them when necessary. When using them in hot dishes containing a lot of liquid such as soups and stews, it isn’t necessary to reconstitute them first. Just drop them in when the liquid begins to boil, and turn the temperature down so they can simmer until the food is thoroughly cooked and the peppers are tender and hydrated. Also crumbled on pizza is delicious!!!!!!!

Dehydrator method:

Take your dehydrator to a well-ventilated area. The fumes from very hot peppers will make your eyes water, and since this process can take several days, you'll want to make sure that the location is closed off and well ventilated. Outdoors would be even better, if possible.
Let the peppers sit in the dehydrator for several days at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, checking to see how they're progressing. The peppers must be very dry before they're done, as any moisture left over will invite mold .


Put the peppers in the oven and heat to 100 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the oven door open a bit to provide air circulation.
If you're using baking sheets, turn the peppers frequently to provide even drying.
Allow the peppers to dry well, with no discernible moisture left over.
Whole peppers will take about 6 hours, sliced peppers about 3 1/2 hours. Check frequently!

Air dry:

If you want to learn how to dry peppers in the air, leave the peppers whole, and leave the stems attached.
Using a long, sharp needle and strong thread or fishing line, string the peppers together. Leave enough room for the air to circulate between each pepper.
Hang your stringed peppers in a warm, dry place, preferably in direct sunlight.
Peppers may take a few weeks to dry completely. If you want the pepper seed intact, this is the method you'll need to use when drying hot peppers.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan and Pancetta

This is a yummy side dish. My daughter loves it and wants me to make it all just for her.


1 head cauliflower, cut into pieces (about 6 cups)
4 ounce piece pancetta, diced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 clove garlic, whole
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the cauliflower for 2 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower to a buttered 9 by 13-inch baking dish and let cool, about 5 minutes.

In a small skillet over medium-high heat, brown the pancetta. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until combined. Continue stirring for 2 minutes to cook the flour. Slowly add the milk, stirring continuously until the milk has incorporated and there are no lumps. Add the garlic clove and red pepper flakes and stir the sauce over low heat until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add the Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and the reserved pancetta. Stir to combine. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower to cover. Top with a sprinkling of bread crumbs.

Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cauliflower is cooked, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis