Kitchen Happenings (the equation edition)

by Kristen on March 25, 2013 · 50 comments

in Kitchen Happenings

Every now and then, I share bits and pieces of what happens in my kitchen. Because the kitchen is where a lot of frugality goes on. ;)

Scraps + Water + Heat = Liquid Gold

(Ok, maybe it’s not gold, but it IS yellow.)

I’ve become slightly obsessed with making my own chicken broth.

homemade chicken broth

It’s very easy, costs almost nothing, squeezes out nutrients from what would be trash, and tastes a whole lot better than the stuff you can buy.

Ooh, and it’s zero-waste, because I put it in Mason jars and freeze it. Whee!

What is not to love??

Shrinkydinks + Oven = Entertainment

It’s so much fun to watch them curl up and then flatten out.


Bread + Jam = Heaven.

If there’s a better pairing than fresh bread and jam, I’ve yet to find it.


Of course, I think that when i spread jam AND cream cheese on toast.

Or when I eat an apple with cheese.

Or when I spread peanut butter on a banana.

Or when I eat fresh basil with fresh mozzarella.

Or when I eat cream, whipped or not, with almost anything (Oh, how I love cream!)

There are just so many ridiculously simple and delicious things to eat, aren’t there??

Lisey + Baking = A Happy Girl


It’s a sure-fire way to cheer her up if she’s having a bad day. ;)

Speaking of which, she and I made a delicious Dutch Baby (that link will open in a new window, so you can click it and still finish reading this post!)

Hot Pizza Stone = Really Good Homemade Pizza

Learning to use a pizza peel to slide dough onto a preheated stone has been the single most helpful pizza-making skill I’ve come across. It’s taken my pizza from meh to delicious, and since I learned this years ago, I haven’t done it any other way.


Planning Fail = Improvisation

When I made my last batch of homemade yogurt, I sent Joshua down to the laundry room to get my cooler, which I use to incubate the yogurt.

He couldn’t find it, and I was about to give him a speech about looking a little more carefully when I remembered that it really wasn’t there. You see, Mr. FG had had to go out of town for some training, and I’d packed some meals for him in the cooler.


Fortunately, we do have another (larger) cooler, so I ran out to the shed, brought it inside, dusted it off, and put the jars in. I had to add a lot more water to fill it up, but it did work fine in a pinch.


And finally…

Cooking = Dishes (duh!)

Sometimes more than can fit in the dishwasher.



Joshua’s 365 post: Tangly Trees

Leave a Comment

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maureen March 25, 2013 at 7:18 am

So how do you use a pizza peel to slide dough onto a preheated stone? That is where we have difficulty and our pizzas often times, do not turn our round because of this. Thanks!


2 Kristen March 25, 2013 at 7:46 am

I put it on a round piece of parchment paper. I’ve tried flouring the pizza peel or using cornmeal, but that produces less consistent results.

I don’t really like using parchment, since it’s disposable, but I can usually use the same piece for several pizza baking sessions, and I do compost it afterwards, so there’s that. ;)


3 Battra92 March 25, 2013 at 11:01 am

Parchment paper is a godsend for the modern cook. I’ve tried silpats and other such mats and they work okay for some things but not for cookies and pizza and other things that need a crispy bottom.

I get mine from restaurant supply so it’s not that expensive.


4 WilliamB March 25, 2013 at 1:22 pm

There’s a sort of permanent parchment paper you can get. My sheets have lasted, er, 15 years?


5 Kristen March 25, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Link?? Where can one buy this?


6 WilliamB March 25, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I can’t even remember what they’re called! I’ll nose around Sur La Table and WS, since that’s probably where they’re from.

7 WilliamB March 25, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Well whadda’kno. I may have found it – same color as mine, description is consistent. Too tired to get up and measure, though.

Amazon isn’t the only supplier but it does have the best pix and feedback.

8 Elizabeth March 25, 2013 at 7:42 am

So what kind of “scraps” will you put in your liquid gold? Mine always tastes like onion flavoured water!


9 Kristen March 25, 2013 at 7:45 am

Usually carrot ends, celery ends, and onion ends. And plenty of chicken bones.


10 WilliamB March 25, 2013 at 8:34 pm

If I may join in…

Two questions:
1) Are you using bones from cooked chicken, raw bones, or raw bones that were roasted before making stock? Best is the last, wimpiest is the first. If you roast bones, add a quartered onion, and 1-2 carrots and 1-2 stalks celery to the roasting pan. Then be sure to scrape the drippings into the stockpot!

2) How much stock are you making from the bones? The usual rule of thumb is 1 lb bones = 1 qt stock, but for soup I use 1 lb = 1 pint.

Finally, there’s a labor-intensive method that makes stock that’s out of the world. From Cook’s Illustrated, of course. Chop 3 lbs raw chix wings or thighs into 2″ pieces (that’s the labor intensive part) (not cheap, either). Brown then sweat the chix in a large pot, remove but don’t clean the pan. Sweat 1-2 onions in the pan. Add back the chicken and any accumulated juices, 3 pints water, and the spices you want in your stock. Simmer 20-30 min. Strain. In theory this should be good with chopped raw bones but I haven’t put it to the test.

I use my stock for both Asian and European stock so I make a Universal version – I use onion, celery, fresh ginger, and peppercorns. No carrots because they make the stock too sweet for me; YMMV.


11 Kristen March 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Yeah, that’s the method Cook’s uses for their Chicken Noodle soup, which Mr. FG has declared to be out of this world good. I kinda hate hacking up all the chicken, though! It’s sort of time consuming.


12 WilliamB March 26, 2013 at 6:00 am

If you buy chicken parts from a store that cuts chicken, and they’re not crazy busy, they may cut the chix for you. But that’s a lot of caveats.


13 Melissa March 25, 2013 at 8:14 am

Check out the “Super Peel” for transferring your pizzas. We love it at our house, works great and is made in the USA. (We are not affilated with the company in any way.)


14 Melissa March 25, 2013 at 8:14 am

affiliated…. :)


15 Lisa T. March 25, 2013 at 8:23 am

I’d *LOVE* a more detailed post on your pizza making – especially if you have homemade dough and pizza stone tricks! I’ve been using pre-made store bought crusts, and it’s OK, but not as good as I imagine homemade crust tasting. And I’m sort of intimidated about using a pizza stone. So just a thought! Thanks! :-)


16 GrannyL March 25, 2013 at 9:05 am

I would like also like a post on the pizza making.


17 karenkl March 25, 2013 at 11:05 am
18 Lisa T. March 25, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Thanks! I figured there might be!


19 The Norwegian Girl March 25, 2013 at 8:52 am

It`s amazing how some basic kitchen skills can save you so much money!
I`ve been making this italian pizza with ham, mushrooms and mozarella, which I`ve perfected over a couple of times, and now it`s just so delish I want to make it every day!


20 Malika March 25, 2013 at 9:40 am

Let me say that I love your blog. Many tip have been implemented in my home. Anyway, I don’t have a pizza stone. When I originially researched buying one I got a little frustrated because it was an investment and all piza a stones did not seem equal. Can you recommend a pizza stone? Thanks for all you share.


21 Chris March 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm
22 Libby March 25, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Mine stays in 24/7 too. I think it helps even out the heat in the oven and let’s me turn the oven off 5-10 minutes earlier than some baking recipes call for.

I use cornmeal to help the pizza roll off the paddle. When the oven is cool I vacuum the excess cornmeal off the pizza stone!


23 Economies of Kale March 25, 2013 at 9:41 am

I’ve just started making my own chicken broth recently (after being vegetarian) and I’m loving it. It’s so much better for you than the stock cubes and is free to make :) Because I live alone, I just save all of my chicken bones in the freezer until I have enough to make a batch.

I had to google shrinkydinks, but I remember doing something similar with chip packets as a kid, it was great fun.


24 Brianna March 25, 2013 at 9:47 am

I’ve been thinking about making my own vegetable/chicken broth too, because we use so much of it, but it seems so intimidating!


25 Lili@creativesavv March 25, 2013 at 9:48 am

I love homemade chicken stock for soups and sauces. I roasted a chicken this week and cooked the bones into stock yesterday. I didn’t add any veggie scraps, but added pepper, salt and dried herbs. I slid the whole pot into the fridge and need to pick the remaining meat off the bones this morning.

Has anyone else heard this before, but you can use US recycle no. 5 for homemade shrinky dinks?


26 Carin March 25, 2013 at 9:49 am

What is a pizza peel?


27 Chris March 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm
28 KimN March 25, 2013 at 10:00 am

I agree about the pizza stone! I’m so thankful that you blogged about how great they are because they really do make all the difference. Thanks! I also agree about the chicken stock, which reminds me I should make some.


29 Donna March 25, 2013 at 10:58 am

One quick note about the stock — I’ve been making my own for ages, but now I make mine overnight in our crockpot. I keep a “stock bag” in the freezer for bones, bits of corn/leftover vegetables/celery tops/etc. It cooks overnight (usually on a Friday or Saturday), so that I can either can and freeze the next morning or make soup early to boil and simmer until lunchtime.


30 Chris March 25, 2013 at 11:27 am

Hell-to-da-yeah on the pizza stone! I have NO idea how I have survived making pizza AND bread for that matter without one. It stays in my oven 24/7/365.


31 Beth March 25, 2013 at 11:34 am

This whole post is making me hungry. I attempted making pizza on a stone the other day, but mine resulted in half the cheese falling off onto the bottom of the oven…do you keep your parchment paper under the pizza the whole time? This may have been my problem.


32 WB March 26, 2013 at 11:12 am

I roll out the dough on parchment, then slide the dough and parchment onto the stone un-topped to bake for about four minutes. I take out the dough and parchment, then flip the dough and top it. I then use the parchment to slide the dough only back on the stone to finish up the pizza. But you could do it all in one step leaving the parchment under the dough the entire time.

IF you make smallish pizzas you can use a ‘cake lifter’ instead of a pizza peel. They take up less room in the kitchen and are thinner than wooden peels I’ve seen. I have this 12 inch ‘oven spatula’:


33 Jen March 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Yes, I make both chicken and vegetable broths in the crockpot with leftover bits. Makes homemade soup taste much better than using stock cubes. And it’s a lot cheaper than canned broth.


34 WilliamB March 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm

“Because the kitchen is where a lot of frugality goes on.”

So true! Which makes me wonder, what other spaces are frugality-dense?


35 Margaret March 25, 2013 at 1:36 pm

great question! the sewing room? the laundry room? the garage/driveway?


36 EcoCatLady March 25, 2013 at 1:45 pm

The garden!


37 Jaclyn March 25, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I also make my own chicken stock. I use the crockpot and then freeze using muffins tins! Makes it easier to just grab a small portion of stock when I only need a cup or so.


38 janknitz March 25, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I use ice cube trays–same idea. ;o)


39 Stef March 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm

WOW someone has been busy! I too, by-the-way! When do you have YOU* time and what do you do? Besides blog and post* achem…


40 Live and Learn-Toss and Turn March 25, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I don’t have a pizza stone. Does it really make that big of a difference?


41 Jasmine March 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Great post, love “stocking up”. I’ve just started making my own vegetable stock by roasting celery, carrot onions, mushrooms and toms in the oven for 30 mins and then simmering with some thyme and bay leaves for 40 mins.

Have been freezing them in silicon muffin trays and then transferring to snap lock bags.


42 Karen March 25, 2013 at 8:20 pm

I’ve thought about using a pizza peel, but I have a Pampered Chef pizza stone and they specifically say “do not preheat”. I’ll be contacting them to ask why not.


43 Renee March 25, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I strain the broth from the pot through a regular strainer into a pitcher. Then it’s easier to pour through a finer tea strainer into jars.


44 Karen March 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm

FYI, Pampered Chef replied to me and said that the temperature difference between a preheated stone and the food going onto it can make it crack.


45 Kristen March 28, 2013 at 9:50 pm

I know that’s a concern when you’re putting, say, a frozen pizza onto a hot stone, but I have never had an issue putting room-temperature homemade pizza onto a very hot stone (and I’ve made somewhere around a bajillion pizzas on my stones!)


46 Samantha March 25, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Yum…my kitchen is where all the good stuff happens also…bread and jam, ha, you should try bread, pears, jam and cheese spread :droolL


47 Ma March 26, 2013 at 8:43 am

I have one shelf of my oven lined with unglazed clay quarry tiles. They serve as my pizza stone and since they cover the whole rack I don’t have to worry about getting it on just right:)


48 Chris March 26, 2013 at 9:31 am

*jealous* I wouldn’t even BEGIN to know where to look for quarry tiles that are unglazed in my area. I saw that one Alton Brown and have been pseudo looking. I’d LOVE to do those instead of the large stone I have, but it works.

LOVE baking bread on it, too. Just gives it that nice artisan crust! nomnomnom


49 Ma March 27, 2013 at 8:06 am

My husband got them at Lowe’s I think. I’ve been using them for several years.


50 Leah March 26, 2013 at 9:44 am

I’ve made yogurt for years, and I just wrap mine in two layers of heavy towels and leave it on the kitchen counter overnight. In the morning, it’s perfect. Using a cooler probably makes for more consistent results (when my kitchen is cold, sometimes the yogurt it a little runnier), but should you ever find yourself completely cooler-less, all is not lost. :)


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