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[sticky post] Community Design Photo Contest

Before the holidays, I was contacted by LiveJournal about working with them to create a new (professional!) design for cooking that was more user-friendly, organized and attractive. They'd also like to help us promote the community on LJ in other communities and sites (including promotional placement on the LJ homepage).

On the topic of the design, though; we'd like to hold a photo contest here so that the community is represented in the design as well! Photos will be arranged in a collage for the header of the community. We will need at least five photos for this, and the exact number will be based on how many submissions (and therefore placements) we receive.

  1. Submitted photos must be photos you took yourself.

  2. Submitted photos must be cooking/food-related and not have a promotion or advertisement of any kind.

  3. Each person may submit up to two (2) photos in a comment to this post. All comments are screened.

  4. Photos should be at least 800px wide.

  5. Retouching is permitted for things like contrast, brightening, etc. but try not to go overboard with it.

  6. Photos must be submitted before 11:59PM EST on Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 Tuesday, February 24th 2015 @ 11:59PM EST (will extend if needed).

The top 3 entrants will receive a free paid account that lasts a year! \o/

Submission form for submitting one photo:

Submission form for submitting two photos:
Scan Halal is an app, available from Google Play and the App Store, that will enable the user to scan a product and determine its halal status, with zahiba, nonzahiba, and custom options.

(If this comm has a halal tag, I'm afraid I haven't succeeded in locating it; for that matter, I've never noticed a kosher tag, either.)

Ideas for lunches on a weird schedule?

I've just been handed a weird schedule at work. I work in an Elementary School and from next week I will be working noon - 3.00 p.m. on Tuesday - Friday (previously I have worked complete days: 8.30 a.m. - 3.00 p.m. with an hour for lunch at noon. I used to take a packed lunch of sandwiches, yogurt, candy bar, fruit etc.) The thing is, it will take me probably twenty minutes to get to work (I will be walking) at 11.40 a.m. so a) there's no way I will be ready for 'lunch' at 11.00 a.m. and b) I have to have time to digest my food or else I will feel icky.

Do you have any ideas for meals/snacks for this crazy schedule? Sadly, it doesn't look like it will get any better any time soon. I've thought about having a small breakfast at say 07.30 a.m. (or earlier?) but then maybe two 'mini lunches' at 11.00 a.m. and then 3.30 p.m. I normally have dinner between 6.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m. What kind of things would work on this schedule? I want to keep it quite healthy and as low-maintenance as possible. I MAY have opportunities for some small snacks (thinking a handful of trail mix) in between working with children.

Simple recipes with few ingredients

My husband & I are going to be living out of our campervan in a little under a year.
I want to get a small book of recipes together to refer to when I'm not sure what to make. I need simple recipes that only use a few ingredients (& the less pre-packaged ingredients, the better. We're trying to stay away from convenience foods as much as possible)

So far the only ideas I have are pancakes, spaghetti sauce, & curry. I'd like more ideas for sauces to serve over rice or pasta, along with anything else that fits the criteria.

We have a fridge, but it's tiny. We have a stovetop with 3 burners, no oven, a microwave (that I'm not sure I'm going to keep), & we're also going to have a dehydrator.
Any suggestions for recipes, or suggestions for how I could find recipes, would be appreciated :D

Jul. 16th, 2013

Hi all,

not sure if this is allowed but sure do hope so!
I need to make some drastic changes to mine and my 10 month olds diet.
I'm stuck on what to prepare for the days though and was hoping to get some recipes.

Vegetarian would be preferred and and recipes for finger foods would be awesome too!
Thank you x a million.

x-posted to bakebakebake.

Pots and pans? What to buy?

Hello, cooking! I found you via the Spotlight a while ago, and I have two questions:

- My roommate and I have a pretty crummy collection of pots, secondhand or her mother's cast-offs, mostly aluminum: two saucepans, a bigger pot (not a proper dutch oven) we use for large quantities of stuff, and a (probably) stainless skillet that Roommate's previous roommate ruined.

We've got two things we'd like to keep--the non-stick wok we acquired last year, and the big enameled aluminum stockpot-sized pot (I think? It's absurdly light, much lighter than my mother's enameled cast pot of a similar size), but the rest of it needs to go away.

The pots we have do fine for "college kid" cooking, but for cooking rice or sauces or anything more delicate? Stuff sticks, doesn't heat evenly, and the pots themselves take forever to heat and don't clean up well.

We're looking at new sets, and what we need is a solid set of pots that will hold up; we don't need anything fancy, just something better than what we've got. We don't have a dishwasher, so dishwasher-safe is irrelevant, and Roommate would prefer to avoid non-stick pots.

- We had been making bread by hand after the old West Bend bread machine Roommate pulled out of her mother's basement finally bit the dust, but neither one of us is going to have the time to continue, unfortunately. Best recommendations for a mid-price bread machine, or even brands to look at? My grandmother's Black & Decker is a tank, but I have no idea what their recent quality is like.

Manual can opener maintenance.

I seem to be unable to keep a manual can opener (of this general sort) for more than a year or so before something snaps, dislocates, or whatever--I fear my mechanical illiteracy is hanging out here--with the result that the handle no longer operates the circular blade. What should be the life expectancy of such an appliance, and is there anything I need to know about its cleaning and care beyond wiping the blade clean after each use?

(Disclaimer: I'll grant that my penchant for buying el cheapo Big Lots or Dollar Store specimens may be my problem right there.)

ETA: Thanks for all the advice, everyone! (kosaginolegion, who knows me in the flesh, shares the prevalent opinion that the problem has been my choice of cheap-ass hardware and adds this observation: I tend to clench tools in a Kung-Fu Grip and exert more force than may be good for either the tools or my hands.) I'll keep my eyes out for an OXO-Grip, then.

Spice jars

So I reorganized my pantry this last weekend (I have so much more room now!) and tossed all the old stuff (from as far back as 2008!) and generally tamed the mess that was in my teeny tiny pantry. From the outside, it looks like a regular pantry, but when you open the door you see the whole bottom half is taken up with a water heater. Boo hiss.

Anyways, I'm looking at getting set up with spice jars and some kind of organizational system. Right now, I've got the assorted mismatched containers I bought my spices in. Store brand, McCormick, Spice Island, whatever. I want to chuck those and get "real" spice jars.

Do y'all have any tips, preferences, or advisories for someone just starting on this shopping? I don't have much room, and since I live in an apartment (and don't see that changing soon) I don't want anything that would be installed. I would like something that I can stack and still see what's what without having to rummage and look at each bottle to see what's in it. I do want something *nice*, but prettiness/cuteness is secondary to function. I also want to be able to label what's in each jar AND note the expiration/purchase date.

I know that's a tall order, especially since I also don't want to spend a gazillion dollars! I'm willing to compromise, and also wanting to know what YOU think is really important, if you were the one buying jars for yourself.

Travel along Taiwan and Hong Kong with me

From queer ice cream flavors in Taiwan to the cheapest Michelin star dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong, come read all about it. What I recommend and what I will steer clear of.

It's all about food and these are the countries one should visit once in his/her life for a serious food pilgrimage.

See you over at Bake Five!



i was wondering if people could recommend the best places online to buy whole spices so that i can grind them at home? what are your favorite sites?


Rice cooker?

I've been thinking of getting a rice cooker. I can never get my rice to turn out properly using a saucepan without babysitting it and adding more water here and there, etc. I've never used a rice cooker before though (or even see one be used!). Are they really helpful or would I be better off just doing what I currently do?
I was looking at some in the store, and they had basic ones, and also one that had a brown rice function, but it was a bit more expensive. We usually eat brown rice anyway, but I was wondering if that function was necessary or if we can just do some sort of adjustment on a basic one?

No fridge, no scratch, no ideas

My fridge is broken.  I had to throw away everything in there.  The only condiments I have left are mustard and hot sauce.

I am broke!  Until tomorrow when I get paid.

I am not at the peak of my mental capacities on this particular Monday.

I have probably between 10 and 15 dollars to spend and want to feed three hungry adults.  I can't really buy stuff that will be left over or anything I won't use up in about a day or two because we are using a cooler.  I have access to a store with a deli.  Any bright ideas out there? 

Meal Planning and First TIme Kitchen Help

Hello lovely people!

I am in dire need of your help. I am going to be in a summer program for six weeks this summer and I was recently informed that I would need to be making most of my own meals. I have a small weekly stipend for groceries that was described as "not enough to eat takeout all week" lol.

I would really appreciate some advice from anyone who meal plans and any all resources on the subject. I need to keep a tight budget and I would really to start good habits for myself :). Cookbooks and cooking blogs are extra appreciated! I clean eat (low to minimum processed foods) and I'm allergic to MSG if that helps.

Secondly, this will be my first kitchen and I need some help stocking it. I'll have some move-in help and funds so I want to get everything I can in the beginning. What are your stock spices? Kitchen appliances you use? Anything and everything in between, please!

Lastly, some questions on every day meals. What are your weekly dinner meals? Recipes with minimal ingredients are fab. I live in DC, so I have access to a lot of things but not the time/funds for all of it ;).

Thank you!

Crock pot issue

I was recently reminded that in its time with us, our 5-qt Crockpot, marked for two heat levels, "Lo," and "Hi," but the heat levels are incorrectly labelled; they should instead read "Boiling Hothot" and "Sunside Surface of Mercury." Nothing is wrong with our electricity and anyway, we've used it in three different places with moderately old, brand spanking new, and pretty darn new wiring, and in two electric utility districts, and our crockpot has always been like this.

We've never heard the ceramic liner offer to pop or crack, we pretty much always let it cool inside and along with the housing, and we allow it to cool to room temp before washing so that we're lessening the likelihood of such. Still - this is *not* how my Granny's crockpot runs and that thing's older than I am and still knoweth the diff between its two settings.

Has anyone else run into this problem? Were you able to fix it, and if so, how?

chicken packaging choices

I went and picked up our bulk beef package today. We got 50+ pounds of chuck mostly ground, but also a few good sized roasts for about $150.

While I was there I asked him what kind of packages he could do with chicken, and he said we could get a half case, or full case (half is 40lbs) for $1.49. This would be vacuum sealed in any combination of packages that I'd like. I'm going to take him up on this, but I'm not certain of the best way to break it down for us.

Hubs and I usually cook a pound of meat per meal (dinner for two, and lunch the next day), and neither of us really has much particularity about whether the meat is light/dark. I do like to throw a chicken in the crock now and again for a roast. I was thinking that we might just get the breasts, and then the legs and wings of two chicks in one pack and the thighs of two chicks in the other.

So basically I'd have :
1) the breast portions as one pack (2 breasts with skin and bones per pack) to roast in the crock
2) packages with 4 legs and 4 wings
3) packages with 4 thighs
4) if there is an odd number of chickens then I'll take the odd one out whole (You can ALWAYS use a whole chicken!)

I don't really make stock or anything, so I don't have use for any extra parts like spine or innards, and I don't plan to change that any time in the future. I might go to hell for it, but I'm sticking with my granulated bullion.  ;-)

Does this make sense as a plan to tell the butcher? Do you have any other ideas?

ETA: Upon further thinking (and some comments), I guess it might just be better to have all the chicks quartered and packaged that way. Then I'm guessing I'll get at least 1 pound per package (aren't 3 lbs and less birds considered cornish hens?), and I can pick light/dark or cook more than one package if we want more at one time.

Dutch Ovens

I'm looking to purchase my very first Dutch Oven and I'm wondering if all of you wonderful people have any reccomendations.



We are getting ready to buy a natural gas bbq and we both fell in love with the Solaire Grills. They are infrared and apparently get very hot (900F) in 5 minutes or so. It is all stainless steal and made in the US. They only issue is they are about 1K more than a comparable weber grill.

So my question is, does anyone have an infrared bbq and love it?


My sister saw a roadshow demonstration of Titanware cookware at Sam's Club today, and she's extremely interested in buying a set, but we've been unable to find any sort of actual reviews for them online. We are in need of a new set of pans, but my sister's unwilling to invest in such an extremely pricey brand such as Calphalon. The Titanware pans do have a 30 year warranty against damage and warping, which is also interesting to her.

Does anyone here have any experience with Titanware?

Enamel vs Castiron Dutch Oven?

I have decided I want a dutch oven. I mean.. they are endlessly useful! But, now comes the hard decision, which one? The lovely Le Crueset are a bit out of my price range and I was looking at the Lodge Enamel Dutch oven & the traditional cast iron ones. What is the difference?

I'm debating this one:


besides one is 6 qt and other is 5, why would I want one over the other? Cooking people, help!

AeroGarden Herb Seed Kit

I love using fresh herbs but hate buying them from a grocery store because they go bad before I can use them up. I was thinking about buying an AeroGarden Herb Seed Kit for growing only herbs. I know you can use it to grow flowers and vegetables but I only want to use it for herbs. I wanted to check with you to see if you've ever owned an AeroGarden and what your experience was.

Apr. 27th, 2009

 Hi guys! I'm looking for some advice because I can't make it to the grocery store very often, so I haven't been eating many fresh fruits and vegetables. I make sure to buy carrots, cabbage, daikon radishes, potatoes, onions, and apples but I'm getting sick of the same old thing. What other fruits and veggies keep well? Any tips on storing them?

And yeah, I do eat lots of frozen veggies, applesauce, and some canned things but you just can't beat fresh produce :) Thanks in advance!

Suggestions for good cookware set?

I'm looking to buy a good set of cookware as my old cheap 'non stick' set is driving me nuts. I'd love some input on your favorite or best ones. Stainless steel? Anodized? Porcelain enameled? Copper bottom?

I'm looking for something with at least 3 saucepans, 2 skillets, steamer insert, and would prefer glass lids. I'm looking in the price range of $200. Suggestions as to brands or specific sets are welcome. Thanks!

Also, if I got a more expensive set what type of tools are best to use with it? Plastic or wood?

(My family is vegan so I never cook meat, if that matters any)

Bacon: The Gift that Keeps on Giving?

I've decided that this year I want to get my boyfriend, who is a giant bacon fiend, some sort of bacon present for his birthday. I realized early on that a Bacon of the Month Club subscription would be a little too pricey for my budget, so I'm hoping for something more like a gift-basket or even just a good amount of really nice bacon--I'm willing to plunk down a decent amount, say $70 or $80 as the cap. The problem is, what's good? There are so many options when I do a "gourmet bacon" search online and I feel a little overwhelmed with choices.

So I'm turning to you guys: do any of you have a special kind of really tasty bacon that you dig? Some particular brand or cure, or maybe ostrich bacon? (He hates fatty bacon, so something lean would be preferable.) Thanks!


for those of you that shop at costco, what food items do you buy in bulk that you'd recommend and why?

Jan. 25th, 2004

Humm ok folks what do you spend per week on grocery per person? (this includes things like detergent and paper products, but not beauty items like shampoo and lipstick)

We spend about 27-35 a week per person on things. now we eat well and that's most of our meals we eat out perhaps one lunch and one dinner a week. My SO thinks this is a bit high I think its a bit low. please let me know what you spend and wear you live, and if you are including all meals in that figure.


X posted to my LJ and Hip Domestics

Jan. 22nd, 2004

Are there any shops in Seattle with a very wide variety of hot sauces?

I've been looking for a store to peruse - I love hot sauce, and am always looking for something hotter than I've had before.


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