Tag Archives for " kitchen tips "

8 Why do Cupcakes sink?

Why Do Cupcakes Sink?

If you are anything like me, you sometimes have trouble making the perfect cupcake, right? Fear no more!

Why do Cupcakes sink?

There are many mysterious questions in life that plague us…

Do fish sleep?

Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?

What came first: the chicken or the egg?

Why do donuts have holes?

And most important, why do cupcakes sink?

We’ve all been there. Baking for a class treat or birthday party. You picture the perfect round cupcake emerging from the oven, that will then be beautifully frosted and decorated. Everyone smiles and says they’re delicious.

Except, once you snap out of your daydream, you pull your muffin tin from the oven to discover your wonderful cupcakes have caved in and look as though your child made them in their Easy Bake Oven instead.

Need more baking, breakfast, or lunch ideas? MOMables has TONS of options! —join us!

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Why does this happen??

  • Over-beating the batter: By doing so, it can cause too much air to get into the batter. The air then collapses, along with your cupcakes.
  • Oven temperature: If your oven temp is too high, this can cause the cake to rise too rapidly. A good idea is to buy an oven thermometer and keep an eye on it.
  • Opening the door: In the early stages of baking, opening the door to check on the cakes before the batter has set can cause them to sink. Keep it closed!
  • Chemical reaction: Make sure your baking powder and/or soda are not too old. Baking powder typically expires within 3 months after opening. To test it, you can take a small spoonful and put it in a little water. If it’s good, it should fizz up rather quickly, otherwise, it’s time to buy some new baking powder! Baking soda will typically begin to clump up, letting you know it’s time to replace it. You can sometimes get away with still using it by adding a small amount of vinegar to your recipe to help.
  • Loco Cocoa: The type of cocoa powder you use in baking chocolate cupcakes is equally important. Dutch or alkalized unsweetened cocoa powder is treated to neutralize its acids. Because of this, it does not react with baking soda, so it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder. Natural unsweetened cocoa powder is an acid and should be used in recipes calling for baking soda.

Now that you know the tips, go back in there and conquer those cupcakes!!

75

The Trick To Making Fresh Berries LAST! {video}

Want to know the secret to making your berries last longer?

How to keep berries fresh in the refrigerator so they last longer MOMables.com

This is exactly how the Chief MOM of MOMables manages to pack 3-4 days of school lunches without her berries spoiling!

Berry season is upon most of us these days, and all of those vibrant, sweet fruits are calling to us from road-side stands, farmer’s markets, and grocery stores.

While my children may attempt to devour the berries as soon as they are purchased, I try to hold a few back to use in our fresh school lunches and in easy summer desserts.

In the past, my refrigerator shelf life for berries was pretty short, especially if I was dealing with strawberries or raspberries.  It seemed I would bring them home from the store and find them spoiling within a few short hours.

Now, thanks to a quick kitchen trick, I know how to keep berries fresh, giving me more time to use them as needed. 

The secret to extending the life of fresh berries?  White Vinegar. Check out this short video that shows you how to wash your berries or read step by step directions below. 
Wasn’t that so easy? Wash strawberries, blueberries, and even blackberries! Note: I don’t recommend washing raspberries, washing them will actually cut their lifespan. With raspberries, refrigeration is key. 

how to keep berries fresh so they last longer in the refrigerator MOMables.com

How To Keep Berries Fresh

  • Once you bring your fresh berries home, the key to keeping it fresh is to kill any spores on the fruit.  The pH of vinegar does that job.
  • Place the berries in a large bowl and wash them in a vinegar-water bath:  1 cup of white vinegar and 8 cups of water.
  • Let the berries sit in the vinegar-water bath, gently moving them to help dislodge any dirt, grime and letting the vinegar kill spores and bacteria.
  • Drain the berries in a colander and then thoroughly rinse the fruit (to remove any vinegar flavor).
  • Thicker skinned fruit (like strawberries or blueberries) can be dried in a salad spinner but delicate berries such as raspberries and blackberries should be dried on a towel, patting them with paper or cloth towels.
  • Store the washed and dried fruit in a sealed container that has been lined with paper towels — if using an air-tight container, leave the lid slightly open to avoid natural moisture build-up.  When I handle fruit I have purchased from my grocery store, I wash the original container and then re-use it, making sure to line it with paper towels.

How-To-Store-Berries-In-The-Fridge so they last longer MOMables.com

Other Options To Keep Berries Fresh

  • A quick hot-water bath (30 seconds in 125 degree water for strawberries, raspberries and blackberries; 30 seconds in 140 degree water for blueberries) has been shown to kill bacteria, resulting fewer berries going bad.
  • Commercial produce cleaner, such as EatCleaner, are another good option for cleaning fresh berries and elongating their life in the refrigerator. This is one of those multi-use products because it also happens to keep your apples from browning.

How to keep berries fresh in the refrigerator so they last longer MOMables.com

 

60

How To Keep Apples From Browning in the Lunchbox {Video}

Wondering How To Keep Apples From Browning in the Lunchbox? Look no further – here are three ways to keep sliced apples fresh!

Apples are a favorite school lunch addition for many children and moms love their year-round availability and budget friendly prices.  But, one question we often get when we share school lunch menus is “How do you keep the apples from browning?”

How To Keep Apples From Browning MOMables.com

Fortunately, there are several options for preserving fresh apples, keeping them as crisp and white as the moment you cut them.  AND, these methods will let you cut and store sliced apples for the entire week, saving you time as you pack lunches for your children.  Who doesn’t love that idea?

The main ingredient to preserving apples and keeping them from oxidizing is simple: citric acid.  In its very basic, natural form it is found in lemons, limes, oranges, pineapple and other citrus fruits.  It is also dehydrated and crystalized for a shelf-stable preservative and, in a variety of forms, is perfect for keeping sliced apples ready for lunch or an easy snack!

Here is just one method that I use to pack apples for the week and make fruit cups for school.

Three Ways To Keep Apples From Browning

1) Citrus Fruit Juice: lemon juice is our family’s favorite as we love the flavor combo of tart lemon and sweet apple.  But, if your children don’t like lemons, any fresh citrus fruit juice will work.  Pineapple juice is yummy on apples!

Lemon-Juice-keeps-apples-from-turning-brown MOMables.com

Simply squeeze the juice of one lemon (or other citrus, if desired) into a bowl of sliced apples.  Toss lightly to coat and then store the apples in a sealed container within your refrigerator.  With this method, apples stay ready for 4-5 days worth of use.

2) Fruit-Fresh: this powdered, natural preservative is made from citric acid and is most often used by home-cooks when canning fruits and vegetables.  It can also be used on fresh produce to halt the oxidation process.

 Citric-Acid-works-for-preserving-apple-slices

If using it on a few sliced apples, simply sprinkle it lightly on the fruit.  To preserve up to two cups of sliced apples, mix two teaspoons of Fruit-Fresh with two tablespoons of water, and then toss the sliced fruit with the liquid.  Store in an air-tight container in your refrigerator.

3) Eat Cleaner: an all-natural, tasteless and odorless produce and food cleaner that was created by a family dedicated to creating a safe product that would remove wax and residue from the items sold at our grocery stores.  Because it has citric acid in it, it also keeps produce and fruit from browning! This is a 2 in 1 product: you can clean your produce from nasty pesticides, waxes and dirt (even organic!) and use it to keep the food fresh. Win win.

EatCleaner-product-for-cleaning-fruits-and-vegetables

There are a variety of wipes and products in the Eat Cleaner family; follow the package guidelines for spraying and keeping your apples fresh.

Yeah, you say it all works but how about some proof?

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In the interest of science (of course), our family tried out the three afore-mentioned methods for keeping apples fresh.  After six hours of sitting on the kitchen tables, the treated apples were all brighter and whiter than the apples that had been left untreated.  I now cut my apples on Sunday night, treat them and then I have easy “grab-n-go” apples for the duration of the week!

Regardless of which method works for your family and budget, you will find each to work perfectly at saving your apples from turning brown!

7 10 Kid-Friendly Kitchen Tool Must-Haves

Want to get your kids involved in the kitchen? Here are 10 of our favorite kitchen tools to have handy.

10 Kid Friendly Kitchen Tools MOMables.comWhether it’s to help make fresh school lunches or to prep dinner, kids seem to constantly ask: Can I help?

Sometimes, finding something simple for them to do can be a bit difficult, that is, if you don’t have some of these simple tools.

It’s no secret. Cooking with your kids is the perfect opportunity to get them involved in making healthy food choices. My daughter is 5 years old now, but she has been in the kitchen helping out since she was 2.

I usually get asked “couldn’t you just cook faster without her in the kitchen?” And the answer to that is yes. Of course, I could get things done faster. However, I like having her involved in the kitchen.

While she is busy drying the lettuce with the salad spinner, or sifting flour, I quickly do some of the steps that she cannot help me with yet.

Every child is different, and while some of these gadgets my daughter could use at the age of 2, they may not all be appropriate for a different 2-year-old. As always, be cautious while cooking in the kitchen with your children.

Here are our top 10 kitchen favorites and how we get our kids to help in our MOMables kitchens:

1. Salad Spinner. A salad spinner can be used to dry lettuce and herbs, but what it can also do is occupy your little one for up to 10 minutes! At age 2, my daughter loved to play with the salad spinner. I would have her spin the salad while I would quickly go through the rest of the steps that she couldn’t help me with.

Now that she is 5, she’s learned how to stop the salad spinner, and her favorite thing to do is to check the lettuce in order to make the executive decision if the salad is dry enough.

2. Garlic Chopper. I bought a rolling garlic chopper right around the time my daughter turned 2.  With this gadget, you open the compartment to put a couple of peeled garlic cloves inside. You then roll it around on your kitchen counter (or floor, like a toy car). The blades inside chop the garlic and allow you to cut garlic without a knife. Your child has to be of the age to understand that he/she cannot open up the contraption without an adult, but they can roll the garlic chopper all by themselves! My daughter at the age of 2 understood not to open it and absolutely loved to use it.

3. Egg Slicer. An egg slicer can not only be used on eggs, but on strawberries, olives, bananas, and other soft fruits. Give these items to your child for them to cut.

4. Mini Chopper. A mini chopper can be used to chop nuts, make salsa, make breadcrumbs, dice onions, etc. The blades are enclosed in a cup, and your child can help make a meal with just a push of their hand!

5. Peeler. A peeler can be used with older kids. You can use a peeler to peel fruit and vegetables, or to shave chocolate or hard cheeses.

6. Garlic Press. With a garlic press, you’ll need a good grip, but you can easily set up your kids to press a few cloves of garlic on their own.

7. Flour Sifter. Some flour sifters have easy and simple cranks that resemble a child’s jack in the box. This gadget often keeps kids entertained for a while even after all the flour is sifted. Some sifters come with an attached measuring cup so that the worry of dropping flour all over the floor isn’t as high.

8. Potato Masher. Making mashed potatoes? Let your kids use their muscles and mash them for you. You can use a potato masher to mash avocado or hard-boiled eggs, too.

9. Citrus Juicer. A simple old-fashioned citrus juicer, where you place half of a citrus fruit on top to squeeze the juice out into the bowl is the perfect gadget to have! Not only will you get some freshly squeezed orange juice, your kids will love making it (and drinking it) themselves!

10. Egg Beater. An egg beater has a crank that is easily doable for older and younger kids to help make scrambled eggs in the morning. A whisk could be used instead of an egg beater as well.

130 how to make easy to peel hard boiled eggs every time

How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs that are Easy to Peel

Have you ever boiled eggs and discovered that they weren’t “pretty” once you peeled them? What about nicking off half the egg because you couldn’t get the shell off?

How to make easy to peel hard boiled eggs MOMables.com

You can watch this 1 minute video on how to make easy to peel hard boiled eggs or read the step by step directions below.

Note: 13 minutes is for LARGE eggs. If you are using medium or fresh yard eggs, you might want to do 11 minutes.

Refrigerated hard boiled eggs will not peel well. Peel your eggs once they’ve cooled down to room temperature. 

These are the two most frustrating things about cooking hard-boiled eggs.  The yolk isn’t pretty and the shell is difficult to get off. Now, before you decide to head over to the grocery to purchase those overpriced and convenient hard boiled eggs; check out how easy it is to get them perfect at home-every time. Before my husband met me (or so he says), he had no idea that hard-boiled eggs COULD be over-cooked.

That dark gray-green ring around the yellow center of an egg?  He thought that was supposed to be there.  The poor boy didn’t know that ugly ring was a sign of an over-cooked egg. Perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs aren’t difficult — and, when you do it right, not only do you have an exquisitely yellow center but you also have a hard boiled egg that is easy to peel. There are 3 things / tricks to keep in mind:

  1. Eggs must not be fresh (10+ days)
  2. Don’t let them boil forever, and
  3. After cooking, let the eggs rest in an ice-bath to “shock” them.

If you remember to do this, you’ll have perfect, beautiful eggs every single time for your child’s lunch, an after-school snack or your favorite recipes.The-Trick-to-an-Easy-Peel-Hard-Boiled-Egg

Word to the wise: super fresh eggs are going to be hard to peel regardless of what you do, so it’s best NOT to hard-boil eggs the same day they are purchased.  The best eggs for boiling are at least a week to ten days old.

For best peeling results, wait to peel your eggs when they have cooled down to room temperature. Fully chilled eggs don’t peel as well. You can peel your eggs ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator. 

How To Make Perfectly Cooked and Easy-Peel Boiled Eggs

how to make easy to peel hard boiled eggs every time
  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: How to

Ingredients

  • Large Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • Water

Instructions

  1. Place your raw eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of salt.
  3. Place the pan over high heat until it reaches a boil.
  4. Turn off heat, cover and let it sit for 13 minutes.
  5. After exactly 13 minutes, remove the eggs from the pan and place them in an ice-water bath and let them cool for five minutes.
  6. Carefully crack the eggs shells (making sure the majority of the shell is cracked).
  7. Gently begin removing the shells. The ice-water bath will “shock” the membrane in between the egg-white and the egg shell, loosening the shell and allowing you to peel it off in nearly one piece.
  8. As needed, you can dip the egg (as you are peeling it) in and out of the water to remove any slivers of shell.
  9. Serve immediately, use in a recipe or store in your refrigerator for three days.

Notes

The salt won’t affect the flavor of your eggs; it helps solidify the proteins within the egg, helping create an easier to peel egg! I have used both iodized (table) salt and Himalayan rock salt (the pink salt in my photo) and both have worked perfectly.
Test one egg first, if for some reason it’s a bit undercooked, put eggs back and bring to boil, turn off heat.
You need to fully cover eggs with at least 2 inches of water for this to work. less water means that it will cool down quicker and your eggs won’t cook throughly.

 

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