Don't get me wrong, my dad was a wonderful man and I love him dearly, but he said what he meant and meant what he said. He battled cancer for over twenty years and I never heard him complain. That's right, three full rounds of chemo., radiation, part of a lung removed, etc., etc. but he was always trying to encourage and help others. He was a voracious reader, loved people and good conversation, but was never one to mince words when expressing an opinion he was passionate about. As he progressed in life, his favorite saying was; 'Al (as he affectionately called me), my give-a-shit-factor is at zero.' Needless to say, his life was not the easiest, but he met it head on and gave it his all to the very end.
I realize now that his comments about taking the easy way out or doing things the easy way weren't affronts to common sense but admonitions to not do things half-way or avoid challenges. To strive to be the best and give life my all. In fact, I'm sure he'd be proud of the tips I'm sharing to make your life in the kitchen, The Easy Life.
So, to kick off my journey as a food blogger, and to honor my dad, I'd like to share a few money and time saving tips that I've gleaned from my life as a professional baker and avid amateur cook. It kicks off with a trip to my local restaurant supply house. (This is my very first post and I only have a cheap camera at the moment, so please cut me some slack! ) :-)
1) Quilon Pan Liners - If you use parchment paper, and I'm sure you do, these make a much more cost effective substitute. They're readily available from local restaurant supply houses and a case should last the average cook a lifetime (hint: share with friends and split the cost!).
These are your frugal alternative to Silpat mats! They come 1000 per case and cost less than $60.00. They do everything parchment paper does but are much more cost effective than buying expensive little rolls of parchment at the cake/candy supply store. Consider that by cutting in 1/2, then again in 1/2 diagonally, you could get 4000 triangles for making decorating bags!! How much would 4000 parchment triangles cost from Wilton? See what I mean? =)
But that's just the tip of the iceberg, they can also be used to bake cookies, line cake pans, transfer pizza, roll dough on, protect your counter, etc.,etc.,etc. Truly, they are one of my favorite 'go-to' items in my kitchen and SO cost-effective.
2) Plastic Bowl Scrapers - These are also super verstile, multi functional tools. After working in a full line retail bakery for many years, grabbing one of these is like second nature when cleaning out a bowl, leveling brownie batter in a pan, scraping a counter, or scooping up chopped items like onions. Also, they're much cheaper than spatulas. If you're a young homemaker or beginning cook, one of these for $1.50 can replace $20 worth of spatulas and metal dough scrapers. In fact, if you attend any kind of bakery workshop or convention, most of the suppliers give them away as advertising:
3) Plastic Squirt Bottles - Sure, fancy dispensers and gourmet bottles are pretty and wonderful to look at when company comes, but for pure practicality and functionalness (I might be making up words now!) these are hard to beat for $.75ea. Just be sure to label them properly and never use the same style bottle for hazardous liquids!
4) Heavy Duty Oven Pads - STOP BURNING YOUR HANDS!! Buy some large, heavy duty oven pads. They don't have to be mitts that you stick your hand in, but a strap on the back to go around your wrist is a plus. Buy these from your local restaurant supply house and you'll spend less for twice the quality and versatility. I'd show you mine, but they need a good run through the washing machine right now =)
As I walked around the supply house, I realized this post could go on forever, so I'll leave you with the above tips to ponder. In case you wondering, I went to Sam's when I left to compare what I could, and the supplier was cheaper. So, what you save over your local party shop is pretty substantial.
Now that you know a little about me and my frugal ways, next time I promise to cook up some fancy fare to tantalize your taste buds! Remember, everything I cook is 'Cooke'd With Luv' =)
If you have questions or would like to know more, feel free to comment or email. Thanks for visiting.