Category Archives: Kitchen Tips

Turkey Gravy


Last week we talked about cooking the turkey. Now we need gravy to go with it. It’s easy to make. Honest. Just follow these directions.

Turkey Gravy

2 cups drippings from roast turkey
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the cornstarch and milk together in a small bowl or a glass jar with a lid until there are no lumps. Pour this mixture into the two cups drippings from the turkey in a saucepan.

Slowly heat until boiling. As the gravy thickens, add a little more milk if consistency isn’t right.

If the gravy gets too thin, add another tablespoon cornstarch to a small amount of milk to thicken.

See, it’s just that easy!


Pumpkin Processing


Do you have some left-over pumpkins? Don’t throw them out. Cook them. They make the most delicious pumpkin pie.

Stab it a few times with a knife around the top. Put it in a glass dish and pop it in the microwave for 20 to 30 minutes. Take it out and let it cool.

Cut it in half, dig out the seeds, then scoop out the meat. Blend it in the food processor until it’s smooth.

Put 1 1/2 cups in freezer bags until you’re ready to make the pie. When you’re ready to make the pie follow these directions:

Thaw 1 ½ cups of pumpkin
Add ¾ cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ to 1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
½ to 1 teaspoon ginger
¼ to ½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ to ½ teaspoon cloves
3 slightly beaten eggs
1 ¼ cups milk
1 6-ounce can evaporated milk
1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell

Thoroughly combine the pumpkin, sugar, salt, and spices. Blend in eggs, milk, and evaporated milk. Pour into unbaked pastry shell (have edges crimped high—filling is generous). Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 50 minutes, or until knife inserted halfway between center and outside comes out clean. Cool.

If you have trouble making pie crust, my cookbook Family Favorites from the Heartland has a pie dough that’s as easy to roll out as play dough, but tastes heavenly.

Homemade Ketchup


Although I’ve canned and created many things in the kitchen, I’ve never made my own ketchup. I ran across this recipe at I think I’ll try it.

Let me know what you think if you try this stuff.

Quick Homemade Ketchup
o 12-14 ounces tomato paste (my favorite tomato paste comes in 7 oz jars)
o 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup (Grade B is best – it has more minerals than Grade A)
o 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
o 2 tablespoons onion powder
o 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
o 1/4 scant teaspooon allspice
To Make:
1. Place all ingredients in a small pot/pan and whisk together.
2. Place on the stove and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until reduced to the consistency you prefer. Store in the fridge.
Shelf life: Many online recipes for homemade ketchup say they last in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Food Allergies and their Remedies

food allergies.2Last week I posted a sugar cookie recipe which contained lime juice and lime zest.

I received a message from a reader who said, “No! Please do not promote the use of citrus in new and unusual places. Many of us are allergic to citrus. Last week I was in a restaurant in Estes Park where we had eaten many times in previous years. New owner. Lime in everything!!! The waitress said the kitchen said all I could have from their entire menu was a chicken breast they would cook individually for me and lettuce. We had waited twenty-five minutes for a table so I had an unseasoned grilled chicken breast, lettuce, and a Diet Coke.”

My apologies. I was not aware of citrus allergies. My post the week before was for peanut butter cookies which I know for some is a culprit. From here on, I’ll try to take that into consideration when posting.

The peanut allergy came front and center to my attention recently when we went out to dinner with friends. We ordered chicken wraps for an appetizer. After a few bites the lady who was with us asked if anyone tasted peanuts in the wrap. We agreed. Soon her ears began to itch, then her eyes. After we left the restaurant, we headed for their home for desert.

My husband and I rushed to the drugstore for some Benadryl to counteract her reaction. I asked the pharmacist which product to buy. She advised me that if my friend’s throat was swelling closed to buy the children’s liquid. If she experienced other reactions, to buy the pills.

By the time we got back my friend had lost her lovely dinner. She took the pills which seemed to help. We left and she went to bed.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of Benadryl sooner. When one of our sons was small, he seemed to be allergic to many things including food coloring, additives, and preservatives. In the course of treatment for those allergies, the doctor instructed me on the use of Benadryl to combat any allergic reaction.

For those of you allergic to any substance, please carry a supply of Benadryl with you at all times. You never know when an offending ingredient might pop into your palate.