Grate your own cinnamon
photo by fotoosvanrobin
DEAR SARA: Can ground cinnamon be substituted for sticks? If so, what’s the conversion? — Missy, Colorado
DEAR MISSY: Yes it can. It’s tedious, but you can grate the sticks using a basic microplane. There is one type of microplane that has a storage compartment and shaker, too. Visit http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/microplane-spice-grinder-with-built-in-storage-and-shaker. One cinnamon stick yields about 1/2-teaspoon ground cinnamon.
DEAR SARA: Can you freeze Rice Krispies Treats? I have been buying pre-made Rice Krispies Treats for my kids’ lunches. I want to start making them from scratch to save money. I have noticed that in the past, they get stale or old pretty quickly. Can these be cut, packaged and frozen? I’m thinking they might get soggy when thawed, but I haven’t tried it so I don’t know. Thanks in advance! — Whitney
DEAR WHITNEY: Yes, you can freeze them. Wrap them in plastic wrap or wax paper and place into a freezer bag.
DEAR SARA: Oops! I’ve overstocked tomatoes. Help! OK, I admit it, I went overboard on my purchases of canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. What do you suggest I do with them? I know I can donate them. That’s one option. Or should I re-can them? Or water bath them? Can I home dehydrate them, or would I lose the juice in the diced tomatoes that way? Or would you just ignore the best-buy date and not worry about it? I’ve read that tomatoes are an item not to ignore that date because the acid eats away at the can lining. What to do, what to do. Thanks for your input! — B.B., Tennessee
DEAR B.B.: You can’t safely re-can them. I use diced tomatoes in a lot of dishes, such as soup, chili, stew, pot roasts, poultry dishes, omelets, wraps, rice dishes, dips and salsa, casseroles, pizza and sauces. I’d open the cans, place the contents in freezer storage bags and freeze them. Use them as needed. Check manufacturers’ Web sites such as Hunt’s (www.hunts.com), for recipes.
DEAR SARA: Can you freeze slices of cheese like Kraft or Borden slices? Does it keep its flavor or get hard and yucky? — Jennifer V., Kentucky
DEAR JENNIFER: Yes, you can freeze them. But the texture can change once frozen. Some people don’t mind the difference once they’re thawed. Freeze one slice and see what you think. You might find it completely acceptable or good only for cooking and not in sandwiches. In my opinion, these cheese singles last a long time in the refrigerator. It’s better to store them there.
DEAR SARA: I was wondering if you had any ideas about what I could do with extra egg yolks. I often use the white (coating on breads/angel food cakes) and am left with the yolks. Health-wise, I should just toss them, but I can’t bring myself to just waste them. — K.B.
DEAR K.B.: You can use them to make custard, hollandaise sauce, sponge cake, homemade mayonnaise, lemon curd (www.globalgourmet.com/food/ild/2005/0905/curd.html), creme brulee, aioli and ice cream. Or chop them up and add them to a tossed salad.