Mar 012007

Cookin’ at the Keyboard with Shelley

Farewell to Chemistry

ShelleyOur oldest daughter, Sarah, graduates from high school this spring and hopes to be accepted into a nursing program next year. As part of the prerequisites, she completed two quarters of sophomore-level chemistry at the community college. For those of you who home school like we do, you really can make it through the twelfth grade!

Her excellent performance was applauded most by her grandfather, pictured below, who taught her high school chemistry class. It really wasn’t that long ago when I was the one sitting in my dad’s science classes, and now he’s teaching my daughters.

On the day of her last exam, I was looking for a simple, but meaningful way to celebrate her success; one that would include the entire family. My husband remembered that we had a set of laboratory flasks in the garage, left over from science experiments years ago. After removing any chemical residues inside, we mixed Italian Creme Sodas (recipe below), slipped in a decorative straw, and voila…we had ourselves a “Farewell to Chemistry” celebration that everyone will remember.

One of the greatest treasures of family life are the celebrations and traditions we share, and some of the easiest and least expensive traditions revolve around food and books. We have certain books or stories that we read over and over again, or once a year at Christmas or Easter. When my husband and I celebrate our anniversary, the girls get to share in the event by making a Butterfinger Ice Cream Pie, commemorating a certain event that helped to bring us together. It doesn’t have to be fancy or impressive, just create a tradition or find something to celebrate and tie the heart-strings of your children to their family.

Recipe Section

SarahGpaItalian Crème Sodas
Although not usually served in a laboratory flask, Italian Crème Sodas are an Easter tradition in our home. While the girls and I finish the dinner preparations, my husband, Gaylen, makes the sodas. They look lovely on a table decorated with spring colors. We typically use raspberry syrup, as pictured here. Experiment with other flavors to find your favorite.




Carmel-CornMicrowave Caramel Corn
Here’s a fun recipe to share. Be prepared; everyone will ask for it! I was delighted to find that freezing and thawing didn’t effect its crunchiness. Carmel corn in the kitchen quickly disappears, but caramel corn in the freezer actually stays there until I’m ready to serve it.



Software Suggestions

Conversion Questions


A few weeks ago, I received this email from a software user who was working to make sense of packaging and conversions so that her Grocery Report would show meaningful quantities. She did an excellent job of describing the problems she was having; maybe you’ve had some of the same questions.

“Hi! I purchased the software and I am getting ready to cook tomorrow. I have been working on trying to get the software set up and am having trouble with some of the packaging and conversions.

For example, ‘sweet potatoes, canned’. On the grocery list it has ‘total needed 80 ounce’…BUT it has another listing for sweet potatoes, canned with ‘384 teaspoons’ needed. Packaging is ‘Can (40 oz)’, no conversions.

‘Potatoes, diced’, has ‘216 teaspoons’ needed. Packaging is ‘Bag (5 pound)’; no conversions.

‘Vegetables, cooked’ has two lines: one listing is ‘1 each’ needed, a second listing is ‘144 teaspoons’. Packaging is ‘Bag (1/2 pound / 8 oz)’; no conversions.

Milk, has two lines: one listing is ‘1 1/2 quart’ needed, a second listing says ‘1 each’. Packaging is ‘1 gallon’ and ‘1 quart’; no conversions.

There are a few others like this, but these are some that hopefully, with your help, can get me going in the right direction.”

For an explanation of how to diagnose conversion issues, read my article:
Cleaning Up Your Grocery Report

If you need to grocery shop before you can remedy all the items on the Grocery Report, I suggest that you print an Ingredients Report and take it along. When you get to a confusing item on the Grocery Report, check the Ingredients Report for the same ingredient. It will tell you the recipes that use each ingredient, and the measures that are required. You’ll be able to make some quick calculations in your head and purchase the right amounts.

  Download a trial version of the software! It’s free!

Closing Comments from Shelley

Blessed are those for whom Easter is…
not a hunt, but a find;
not a greeting, but a proclamation;
not outward fashions, but inward grace;
not a day, but an eternity.

May God bless your Easter celebration. He is risen!

Until next time, 

Carol Santee

Carol is the co-author of the Big Book of Freezer Cooking and the author of 30 Day Gourmet’s Slow Cooker Freezer Favorites, Freezer Lunches To Go and Healthy Freezer Cooking eBooks. She is a computer information specialist and works for a computer software company.

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