The Esoteric Domestic Goddess

zoo-zoos and wam-wams from the land of woo-woo

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Recipes frequently call for eggs as an ingredient, but the question becomes what size egg…small, medium, large or even extra large.

Unless the recipe specifically calls for extra large eggs, large eggs are what should be used.

When baking, having the eggs at room temperature is very beneficial to the texture of the batter. There should be no worries about bacteria, as eggs can sit out for a period of time -no problem.

This is one time when “large” is a good thing!

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Several parties ago, I found I had so many guests but very few lap trays for their food plates.  Remembering that I had in storage a wonderful accumulation of multi-colored wired sides, I knew I had my solution.

We have all seen those wired side, snap together boxes many college students put in their dorm for shelving. I purchased my black ones at Target and use them in my office, but somehow the multi-colored ones crept into my collection, too. Out of storage they came.

I bought a few colorful rolls of the rubber shelf liners, cut them the same size as the metal squares and done! Voila! My guests had their lap trays and I had tons of compliments for my ingenuity!



“When large numbers of people share their joy in common, the happiness of each is greater because each adds fuel to the other’s flame”…Saint Augustine

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To Brine or Not to Brine, That is the Question

Finally, we have had a break from the hundred degree temps, and I thought I would grill outdoors today. As I was preparing the brine for the chicken breasts (bone-in is best for grilling,) I thought to share with you the magic of brining. But just what is it?

Basically, it is a meat tenderizing method so simple we all should consider it for pork and chicken meats …it makes them all juicier and tender.

Here’s what I do:

In a NON-METALLIC container (I use the plastic bottom of salad greens container I had purchased,) I wash my meats with cold water, fill the container with cold water, and put in a lot of TABLE SALT – a couple of tablespoons, depending on how much meat is going into the brine.  I don’t use Kosher salt as it makes the meats too salty. Be sure all the salt is dissolved nicely, and in goes the meat for a few hours and not much longer, like over night …too long.

Sometimes, depending on your preferences, you could put into the water garlic cloves and a couple of bay leaves. But I personally don’t recommend sugar, as found in many brining recipes …the meat gets sweet.  Perhaps the only time I would consider sugar is with pork loins that I would be grilling and basting with a BBQ sauce.

When ready to grill, rinse the meats in cold water, pat dry with paper a towel and cook away.  I even do brining with turkey parts, whole chickens, and whole pork loins that will be roasted in the oven …amazing how much juicier they become.

So, be adventuresome.  Go brine and let me know how you like this technique.

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“Blessed be childhood, which brings down something of heaven into the midst of our rough earthliness.”…Henri Amiel

ImageJanuary and August are the best months to purchase sheets, towels, etc.  These are the “white sales” months and especially good to buy these items for next season’s cottons and summer towels.

I am noticing in the stores, bundles of wash clothes sold in packs of 5-10 pieces. These, of course, are not high thread count clothes but the price is right to be used as napkins for your children.

These clothes are usually smaller in size, less thin in density thus just perfect for their little hands to manage.  It is always more economical to use cloth napkins vs. paper ones and with these, you could gather up a huge supply of many colors. The children could pick their own color for the meal and the the adults could just pop them into the laundry!

Since they are of a smaller size, folding them on laundry day would be a fun experience for you and them  to share .  For the little ones, having each side of the cloth “kiss each other” in folding is great eye-hand coordination skill practice.

Learning and identifying different colors could also be part of the fun.  Not sure one would find these wash cloth packs in high end stores but I definitely have seen them in Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Walmart.

I am a stickler about table manners and etiquette, and using a napkin definitely is the place to start.


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During these hot summers days, staying hydrated especially with water, is a must but can be challenging. A fun trick I use to get myself to drink more water is, I keep changing around the glasses I use …some colored, maybe a goblet, sometimes even a fancy cup.

Water can taste so good just by itself but here is a link to give it some extra pizazz!

Be sure to use filtered or spring water. We don’t want nasty chlorine to spoil our “stylin’” with our summertime waters. Keep a pitcher cold in the ‘frig.

Some folks prefer room temperature waters not chilled, so small quantities at a time would be needed for counter storage.

Photo courtesy of

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This is an EASY recipe for those that might call themselves “non-canners.”

Sterilize jars in the dishwasher with just the jars and lids in the baskets, not other dishes, etc.
I use my Classico marinara jars I collect all year long for just this type of recipe.

The best cukes to use are what are called “pickling cucumbers.” They are smaller and have a different taste for pickling. Ask the person at the farm stands which they are and tell the attendant what you are intending to do with them.

I love farmer’s markets and farmers in general (but that is another topic!)

You might be thinking “what am I going to do with eight jars of pickles?”
Here’s an idea: Wrap a thin ribbon around the collar of the jar, cut an index card in half and punch a hole on one end to thread the ribbon through, tie a knot, write a brief message and a name with a colored thin marker and you give them as summertime presents to your friends …just because it is summer.

Recipe: Refrigerator Pickles
Yields 8 pints
Recipe from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, Boulder, CO


8 lbs. cucumbers, sliced into 1-inch pieces
12 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cup salt
4 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3 teaspoons black peppercorns
8 cups hot water


1. In a large bowl, toss cucumbers with garlic and dill.
2. In another large bowl, combine sugar, salt, and spices with hot water, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved.
3. Add vinegar to mixture.
4. Pack cucumbers into sterilized jars.
5. Fill jars with vinegar mixture.
6. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.