Chat Room/Questions

Feb 25, 2014

Does alcohol turn into sugar in your body?

Aspasia asks… Hi Jenny, Am fairly new to your site, I want to try some of your recipes. Question: I love  to drink red wine preferbly dry to semi dry, I’ve heard alcohol turns into sugar, is this true? I grew up in a Greek household we always had wine with dinner, why is alcohol getting a bad rap..please explain… Thank you AF 🙂

My response… According to nutritionist Joy Bauer MS, RD, CDN, not only is it impossible for alcohol to turn into sugar in the body, it also tends to lower blood sugar levels.

“This effect is so well documented,” says Ms Bauer, “that people with diabetes are advised to adjust their insulin and oral medications if they drink alcoholic beverages. Of course, this only refers to straight liquor and wine. Cocktails made with sugary mixers are another story. Alcohol is the only food component other than fat, protein, and carbohydrate that contains calories, and like these other nutrients, excess alcohol calories can be stored. The storage form for alcohol is triglycerides, which is a fancy name for fat. In other words, alcohol acts more like fat in your body than sugar! This is why one of the first things I recommend for my clients with elevated triglyceride levels (a known risk factor for heart disease) is an immediate reduction or elimination of alcohol.”

Her advice is to keep it moderate. That’s a five-ounce glass of wine, 12-ounce beer, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor per day. And try your best to avoid sugary mixers like syrups, tonic, juices and regular soda.

Feb 10, 2014

Gluten-free pancakes

IanzGurrl asks… Just found out the hubby is gluten-intolerant. Could I make your blueberry buttermilk  pancakes (and would they still be yummy) with rice flour?

My Response… The short answer is yes. I had never used gluten-free flour before so I bought some at the grocery store and made my pancake recipe using King Arthur Gluten Free Flour… this one…

img_8566I did some research and they say you have to add xanthan gum to rice flour to add body for baking but this flour made really good pancakes. It does contain some added starches so maybe that’s all it needed for pancakes. I made plain buttermilk pancakes and one with blueberries and they came out great. I ate all three!

IMG_9332If your rice flour has no starches added, you may need to add some or just try the flour I used or one with added starches. Next, I’m going to try baking a cake with gluten-free flour. Fingers crossed!

Feb 1, 2014

How Long to Keep Spices

Vicki asks… How long should spices be kept? I never know when to throw out and replace so I seem to have multiples. I don’t know if they are any good when I need something.

My response… They say not to keep spices for too long because they lose potency over time, but I have had some for almost ten years! So when I use the older ones, I just use more. I probably should replace some of my older ones but it’s hard to throw away an almost full bottle. (Btw, I still have 25-year old bottles of makeup!) Sure, there are guidelines for spices but I go by how they smell and as long as it smells like it’s supposed to, I use it. There is clearly no definitive answer to this quandary. Here’s a guideline I found on the Spice Islands website:

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But on the Spice Hunter website they say:

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Here are some tips:

1. Lose the spice rack. Store your spices away from direct light or heat. The worst place would be out in the open on the back of the stove. I store mine in a drawer.

2. It’s a good idea to mark the bottle or tin of spice with the date you opened it.

3. Never shake herbs or spices out of the bottle directly into something you’re cooking – that’s the quickest way to steam and spoil your spices.

4. To test a spice’s potency, rub some in the palm of your hand. If it smells good, it’s good. That’s what I do.

Jan 29, 2014

Substitute Turkey in Meatloaf

Lisa asks… Love this site!  I was searching for a website like this for a while.  You have great recipes and I’m constantly checking for new ones. I was wondering if I can substitute the lean ground beef with ground turkey for the meatloaf, leaving everything else the same.

My response…  If you use ground white turkey meat I’m not sure you would like the result because it is extremely lean and does not have a lot of flavor so with my recipe, the meatloaf might be dry and not as tasty.  You could try using regular ground turkey but since I never have, I’m not able to tell you if any other changes should be made to the ingredients. You might be better off looking for a recipe that is created specifically for turkey. By the way, according to Cooking Light,  regular ground turkey contains more saturated fat than ground sirloin.

Jan 20, 2014

Brown spots on biscuits

Patrizia asks… I made your buttermilk biscuits, they are fantastic. I would like to kow why the outside of the biscuits have little brown dots. I cut the butter into the flour and I put the mixture in the kicthen robot to knead.Also I would like to know how to re-heat the biscuits once I freeze them (I cut them in half), do I have to thaw them out or put them in the oven frozen and at what temperature. Thank you !

My response… I sometimes get spots on my biscuits too but it doesn’t affect the taste. I suspect it may be from over-working the dough so you could try just kneading it gently by hand 8 or 10 turns and not using the robot. The less that biscuit dough is handled, the better. You can reheat frozen biscuits by wrapping them in foil and place in a preheated 300 F degree oven for about 20 minutes. (I sometimes remove the foil at the end and leave them on the rack for a couple more minutes to crisp up the top and bottom)

Dec 2, 2013

Plain buttermilk pancakes

Emily asks… I don’t know how long it was but you did a video on how to make Buttermilk Pancakes. They were so light and fluffy. I have lost the reciepe and I was wondering if you could send it to me. They were so easy to make. They were plain with nothing else with it. Thank you.

My response… Just use my recipe for Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes and leave out the blueberries. It’s super easy to make pancakes from scratch. There is a video here to watch or just click here for the printable recipe.

Oct 27, 2013

More whole wheat pastry flour in desserts

Jennifer asks… I was wondering if more of your dessert recipes can use all whole wheat pastry flour in place of all purpose flour? Would there be any changes needed to ingredients or baking times if using all whole wheat pastry flour? The only one I’ve found that does is the chocolate brownies.

My response… Your question is timely because every time I cook or bake, if I can make something even healthier than the last time, I always try.  And because I love to bake, that means using more whole wheat flour in my desserts. Just tonight I made 100% whole grain chocolate chip-cherry cookies and they were fantastic (that recipe is coming soon). With desserts 100% whole grain is always best but not at the expense of texture and taste. That’s why I still make my pizza crust and cinnamon rolls with all purpose flour. I’ve tried using whole wheat but in those cases, it just didn’t deliver.

We all know it’s better to eliminate white flour and you will find a lot of my upcoming baking, especially cookies, will be made with 100% whole wheat pastry flour. It’s not that I haven’t been trying to use it more, I just haven’t always loved the results. Otherwise, I would use nothing but whole wheat. Currently, besides my brownies, my chocolate French toast, kitchen sink cookies and my crispy crunchy oat cookies are 100% whole grain. I have also made my apple muffins with 100% whole wheat pastry flour and my tortillas too. Coming soon will be my: 100% whole grain chocolate chip-cherry cookies, my crunchy munchy cookies with crisped rice, a delicious apple cake, and my farm bread – all 100% whole wheat. Rest assured I am on the case!

UPDATE/Nov. 7th: I made my apple muffins again this morning using 100% whole wheat pastry flour and they were great. So I am changing the recipe. Thanks, Jennifer, for the nudge I needed!

Sep 12, 2013

Polish Pate or Babka

Paula asks… Do you have a recipe for Polish chicken pate? and one for Polish Babka for Easter?

My Response…

I have never made pate but I do love to bake. I will probably have a babka recipe next year but I will be posting my Polish Poppy Seed Roll (Makoviec) in the next few weeks, definitely in time for Christmas. – Jenny Jones

Sep 9, 2013

Frozen Dumplings

Johnny asks… I have a question about making homemade frozen dumplings. Every Time I boil them in water and take them out they taste a bit wet, heh. I want to know how to make them properly, so they can taste more meaty and less wet. Kinda like the restaurant version. Also what brand are good and meaty ? God Bless. Take care. Bye 🙂

My Response…

At first I thought you made your own dumplings and froze them but it looks like you are buying them frozen and when you boil them, they are kind of soggy. I can tell you that making your own gnocchi with my recipe will give you a fantastic, meaty dumpling but if you’re buying them frozen, be careful not to overcook them. I have never used store-bought but I do freeze my own so when you put them in boiling water, don’t let the water stop boiling or they will get mushy. I usually turn up the heat at the same time to keep the water boiling, and stir them right away so they don’t stick. Then I turn the heat down to a nice gentle boil until they rise to the top. You could also try removing them from the water as soon as they rise to the top. – Jenny Jones

Sep 5, 2013

Sinking Cupcakes

Patrizia asks… Hi Jenny, I have a question on cupcakes. I use to make them perfect but after my husband bought me the kitchen robot they seem to raise and at the end they sink a bit in the center,they also stick to the paper liners. Could it be i beat them too much with the kitchen robot and the baking powder an baking soda is worked too much. I use the oven on top and bottom heating. Thanks

My Response…

Let’s talk first about the cupcakes sinking. I suspect the oven is too hot, especially if you are using heat from the top. With too much heat, the cupcakes will cook from the outside and will appear done but the inside is not done so they sink. The same applies to the tops. Heat from above will make the tops cook too fast and the cupcakes will appear done but the inside is not done so there’s no support for the top and it sinks. I would suggest you avoid any heat from the top and that could solve the sinking problem. If not, then reduce the oven heat and test the largest cupcake with a toothpick inserted deep into the center. If it comes out dry, they are done all the way through and should not sink.

As for the cupcakes sticking to the paper liners, there are several possible solutions. The easiest is to use foil-lined paper liners which should release much easier. If you can’t find them, you might try spraying the inside of the paper liners with a cooking spray or grease them by hand. If there’s not enough fat in the recipe, you may have to grease the liners or not use liners and grease the pan. I’ve also read that you should not let the batter sit in the liners or the liners will absorb too much moisture, so put in the batter and put them in the oven right away. Finally, I’ve noticed that letting my cupcakes cool completely makes it easier to remove them from the paper. I hope this helps. – Jenny Jones