Monday, March 19, 2012

Guest Post: Beef and Broccoli

     I'm so excited to announce my first guest post. A great friend of mine, Holly, approached me about writing a guest post a few weeks ago and I was curious as to what she would cook for you guys. I like her approach of a quick, easy, & healthy weeknight meal. Everyone enjoy!

     Hello to all the readers of No Utensil Unused! I'm Holly, and I'll be serving up a guest post or two. I'm always looking for recipes that are fresh and tasty for a weeknight. This is one of my favorite meals that is quick and is so much better than take out!

  • 1/2 - 3/4 lb stir fry beef strips
  • 6 Tablespoons of your favorite soy sauce, divided
  • pinch of ground Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli stir fry vegetables
  • Brown rice (boil in bag, baby!)

  1. Place uncooked beef strips in a bowl. Cover with 3-4 tablespoons of the soy sauce and let marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. Cook the rice will the beef is marinating.
  3. After the beef is done marinating, heat a wok or saute pan over medium heat,
  4. Add beef, ginger, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and cornstarch. Cook uncovered for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the bag of frozen vegetables, stir the mixture and look uncovered cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Serve over rice.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Balsamic Honey Pork Roast

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I had intentions of making pulled pork out of this recipe but it didn't make it that far! It was eaten whole as a pork roast. Don't be afraid to pour off the juice and shred to enjoy it as pulled pork! To be honest, I had trouble tasting the honey part of this recipe. Next time I will probably up the honey to 1/2 cup and go from there. It was still a very tasty roast!

  • ~ 3-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire              
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Original MSG/Sodium-free Mrs Dash (or salt)
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line large roasting pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut pork shoulder into 2-3 inch chunks. 
  3. Place onion, bell pepper & pork in roasting pan. 
  4. Whisk all other ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Pour mixture into roasting pan; mix well, and cover. 
  5. Place in oven, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 hours or until the meat is tender (the meat will fall apart and off the bone when done).
  6. Either enjoy as is OR for Pulled Pork:
  7. Pour off excess juice, remove bone, and shred meat with 2 forks.
  8. Now Enjoy!
Inspired from Six Sisters' Stuff: Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork 
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Banana Bread Cobbler

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 The only thing I can say about this is: WOW. Try it yourself and you will never want banana anything else, ever, again. BTW, this is my new go-to potluck recipe. It's that good. Enough said.

  • Streusel Topping
    • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1 cup uncooked regular oats (or uncooked quick oats)
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Filling
    • 1 cup self-rising flour
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted
    • 4 medium ripe bananas, sliced
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Yummy Goodness!
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease an 11x7" dish.
  2. Stir together streusel ingredients: brown sugar, flour, and butter until crumbly. Stir in oats and pecans. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk just until blended. Whisk in melted butter. Pour into prepared dish. Top with banana slices, then streusel topping.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until brown.
Adapted from Bake or Break. Originally from Southern Living.

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How to Make Self-Rising Flour

This may sound ridiculously self-explanatory if you've been cooking for a while. But if you are a newbie to baking at all, tragedy may strike when a recipe calls for self-rising flour and Oh no! You're out! The only thing in the pantry is all-purpose flour, and trust me, they are not the same. Never fear! This is one of those handy tricks you can bring out if you're in an ingredient bind.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking POWDER (not soda)
  1. Either stir or sift ingredients together and Presto! - Self-Rising Flour. Time to Bake!
Courtesy of conrouss at

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Homemade Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent

I bet you're wondering what liquid laundry soap is doing on a food blog. Well, homemade liquid laundry soap had peaked my interest a few weeks ago, but I haven't had both the time or the courage to try it. Until now. I figured that since it follows a recipe, is cooked on the stove, and I used an electric mixer, I could sneak it in here on my blog.

In browsing different recipes for homemade liquid detergent, I came to a few conclusions: 1) Fels-Naptha soap, Borax, and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda are the most common ingredients. 2) This is one of the most ridiculously simple and economical substitutes you can make at home. 3) You can change the concentration if you have limited space/storage containers and decent math skills.

I used the Duggar's recipe and White Silk Purse's concentrated recipe as my reference. I liked the reviews both recipes got but I did not have the room for the Duggar's version. I decided instead of the original 10 gallon yield the Duggar recipe delivered, I aimed for a 1 gallon yield. The Duggar recipe originally said that for top loader washing machines to use 5/8 cup per load. In converting down to the 1 gallon yield, this would equate to only needing 1 tbsp per load and the entire recipe yields 256 loads of laundry! For Front Load Machines, the Duggar recipe called for 1/4 cup per load. The concentrated version comes out to needing only 1.2 tsp or 6 mL per load. I would suggest either using a syringe or marking an existing scoop with a permanent marker to show the correct amount. The entire recipe would yield about 630 loads!

All of the ingredients are found on the laundry aisle of the grocery store. I want to point out that you want to use Washing Soda and not Baking Soda - NOT THE SAME! There is the option of using your essential oil of choice to scent your soap. I wouldn't worry about using separate kitchen appliances for this project because everything you use should be dishwasher safe and you use soap to clean your dishes, right?

My Adventures

I chose to start with 6 cups of hot water to dissolve the ingredients. I wanted to find out how much the ingredients displaced into the volume of water. I measured the dissolved mixture and it yielded right at 7 cups. So I only needed to add 1 more cup of hot water at that point to have my soap in easily divisible quantities to go into my storage containers. Since I did not have an abundance of same size storage containers readily available, I chose two 6 cup plastic containers, a 3 cup mason jar and a 1 cup mason jar to total the 16 cups the recipe will eventually yield (that would equal a gallon). I placed 3 cups of concentrate into the 6 cup containers, 1 & 1/2 cups into the 3 cup container, and 1/2 cup into the 1 cup container. I then added those amounts again of water into the respective containers to total out to their full capacity. (Not complicated at all, right? But a girl's gotta do, what a girl's gotta do to get it done.)

After letting it sit overnight, it separates into 2 layers - the top being much more solid and the bottom being a gel-like consistency. Take a knife to break up the solid layer. Use either a blender or electric hand mixer to cream the layers back together. While it doesn't seem to separate out again, I give mine a quick shake before I use it to make sure it's still well mixed (that's the neurotic pharmacist in me). I tried my first load start to finish today and my towels came out wonderfully! They really did not have a scent to them - just clean!

  • 1 gallon of concentrate 
  • Per Load Use: 
    • Top Loaders - 1 tbsp 
    • Front Loaders - 6 mL or 1.2 tsp
Grated Fels-Naptha
  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha soap, grated
  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super WASHING Soda (not baking)
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 6 cups water for boiling 
  • 1 cup very hot water to add to concentrate after dissolving
  • 8 cups very hot water to top off the containers
  • 4 1-quart wide-mouth storage containers (such as mason jars or old Tupperware-like plastic sealable containers)
  • Optional essential oil of choice for favorite scent
  1. Place 6 cups water in a 2 1/2-3 cup saucepan. Turn on medium heat.
  2. Grate the Fels-Naptha either using a hand-grater or food processor. If you hand-grate, you should have enough time to get the Fels-Naptha into the water before the water starts to boil. You really don't want it to come to a full boil because I read that will not be pretty and you will have a lot of soap to clean up on the stove.
  3. Slowly stir in the grated Fels-Naptha into the hot water. Keep stirring. It will take about 10-15 minutes for it to dissolve into the water.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in Washing Soda. Keep stirring. Stir in Borax. Keep stirring until all is completely dissolved.
  6. Add one more cup of very hot water to the mixture.
  7. Place equal amounts (2 cups), carefully, in each container. Add 2 more cups of very hot water to each container, where each will have a total of 4 cups per container. 
  8. Place lids on each and let sit for at least 8 hours or overnight. It will separate into 2 layers as it cools.
  9. Take a knife and slice into the top layer like you would a pie to break it up the solids.
  10. Depending on your containers, use either an electric mixer or blender to cream the layers together. Start slow, then increase the speed as the solids get smaller. If you have any "chunks" left, they should be no bigger than the size of a BB, if not smaller. 
  11. Use either 1 tbsp of soap for top-loaders or 6 mL (or 1.2 tsp) for front-loaders.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

How to Freeze Fresh Herbs - Ice Cube Tray Method

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On my last encounter with a fresh herb (see my Chicken Tortilla Soup), I was determined not to waste so much perfectly good cilantro. It is very frustrating to me to have to buy such a large bundle of fresh herbs from the grocery store, only to have it go bad before it gets completely used. I remember seeing ways to freeze herbs on Pinterest, so I was thinking, why not give it a whirl? I chose the Ice Cube Tray Method.

  • Wash herbs, picking out the undesirables. Remove the stems if needed, depending on the herb.
  • Place on cutting board.
  • Chop to desired size. 
  •  Place teaspoonful amounts into ice cube trays.
  •  Carefully fill with water. Depending on how full the compartments are of herbs/buoyancy of the herb, you may want to freeze in 2 stages. Fill halfway with water, freeze, then top off compartment with water and freezes again.  
  • After freezing, place cubes into a freezer bag or vacuum storage bag.
  • Pop out a teaspoonful at a time for soups and other recipes as you need them!
 Courtesy of -Herb Gardening - Preserving Herbs by Freezing and the Cheap Vegetable Gardener

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