Sunday, May 11, 2014

Homemade Pudding

Recently I have become very interested in increasing the amount of food cooked from scratch that we eat as a family. There are many reasons for this, reasons that I hope to explore with you in later posts, but two of the biggest are, of course, cost and health. Foods cooked at home from scratch are often cheaper than their store bought siblings, and since you can control the ingredients going in, and don't have to worry about shelf life and other such things, they are far better for you and your family. And they are so much tastier!

Part of learning to cook most of our meals from scratch has involved new thinking patterns, and yesterday was a great example.

Yesterday afternoon I was struck by a craving for something cool and creamy and sweet. Mother's Day brunch had already eaten up (no pun intended) our weekly Restaurant allowance, and I had already done the week's shopping, so ice cream (my first choice) was off the list. Then I thought of pudding, chocolate pudding in particular. Having no pudding or pudding mix in the cupboards, I was tempted to dismiss it too as a possibility. But then it occurred to me that I should try to make pudding from scratch. A quick internet search found a recipe that looked promising, using ingredients I already had, and I gave it a whirl. And the result? Well, let me just say that I am never, ever going back to pudding from a box again! Try the recipe below and see if you agree!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding
Servings: 3-4 (depending on bowl size)
2 tablespoon corn starch (or a bit less)
4 tablespoons sugar
4 cups milk
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
Stirring the Milk, Cornstarch, and Sugar Until Boiling
1. Mix cornstarch and sugar in sauce pan, blending well. Slowly add milk, stirring well as you go. Heat on medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is at a boil. Heat and stir 1-2 minutes more, or until thickened.  (Note: I actually only went 20-30 sec more after it started to boil)

Mixing in the Chocolate Chips until melted

2.Add chocolate chips, stirring until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, stir. Pour into serving bowls. Serve warm or cool.
Yummy Pudding!

Note: It is best to add the milk a little bit at a time, and to stir really well, to prevent the cornstarch from clumping. This recipe is actually double the original, and it doubled nicely. It does take a while for the mixture to heat to boiling, so bring a book, music, or a partner to help.
And that's all there is to it. It was a huge hit for dessert with the big people and the little person alike. Enjoy!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Vintage Goodies

 A few years ago I was introduced to the joy that is the vintage educational film. Thanks to YouTube and the Prelinger Archives many of these little gems are available for our viewing enjoyment. Most of these are from the post-war era of the late 1940's through the 1950's, and generally they were made for junior and senior high school home Ec. classes. And they are lovely. The vintage clothes and d├ęcor alone make them worth watching, but I have actually found a fair amount of wisdom in the earnest, old-fashioned advice given in these films. And so I thought I would occasionally share one or two of the best that I've found with you. Enjoy!
Today I thought I'd share three of my absolute favorites:
This first just might be my very most favorite of them all. It is a short video from the late 1940's on good grooming habits, full of great advice from a far more fastidious age.
(Click title if video won't play)

The second is a nice overview of some basic cooking terms-- some of them so "basic" that I didn't know what they meant exactly until a few years ago!
(Click title if video won't play)

The third film is a preview of sorts of the topic of my next post, so stay tuned.... (and check out the patronizing narrator!)
 (Click the title if video won't play)