My Mom, Food Processors, and Norene Gilletz

zucchini crustless quiche

When Ilana-Davita mentioned Healthy Helpings in her reader interview, author Norene Gilletz came by to comment. She even joined my Facebook fan page. I wrote to Norene to let her know that I would be dedicating today’s post to her.

My mother loved gadgets. She wasn’t the first to get a microwave, but when she did she read every book and article on microwave cooking she could find.

My mother loved food processors best of all. She had three Cuisinarts: One fleishig (meaty), one pareve (neutral) and one for Passover. When she wanted to make cheesecake, she called the rabbi to approve using the pareve one. Her hand movements were so limited that chopping and mixing were painful. Food processors enabled her to continue to cook for the family. If she couldn’t do it in the food processor, she couldn’t do it at all.


Simple Microwave Recipes

In my recipes, I like to include instructions for using a variety of cooking methods. Some people don’t own microwaves, but in a dorm or hotel room, that may be the only cooking tool available. Different methods work better for different people and situations.

Reader Ilana-Davita’s stovetop broke, and in the absence of a crockpot she requested microwave recipes. Here are a couple of simple ones. They all require microwave-safe utensils, like toughened glass, ceramic, or silicon.


10 Tips for Saving Money, Water and Energy with Your Dishwasher


It’s often said that dishwashers save water over washing by hand. I’m not convinced, because it’s possible to hand wash dishes using very little water. And dishwashers use more electricity, and require costly supplies. My mother never used hers because she found it too difficult to bend down to take dishes in and out. Still, they are convenient for most and I have ten tips for saving money and resources when you wash by machine.


Ten Tips for Cutting the Cost of Running Your Refrigerator

fridge / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 I could live quite well without a dishwasher, crockpot or oven. But no one wants to go back to the days before refrigerators. Because refrigerators work day and night, they use large amounts of electricity. Here are tips to keep your food fresh and your electric bill low. Avoid leaks. […]


Don’t Stir the Pot: Make It in the Microwave Instead

Hot Chocolate in a Pot

image: Sifu Renka When I see certain words in a recipe, I know I will be cooking it in the microwave.  “Stir constantly” or “Place in a double boiler” (see note) are two that set off alarm bells for me. Recipes call for these instructions when a food has little moisture, and is likely to […]


Six Low-Tech Kitchen Tools to Save Time and Money

Plastic Spatula

When I’m cooking, I find myself using the same inexpensive tools again and again. I like gadgets as much as the next person, but I try not to clutter the kitchen with rarely used items.

These are my favorites:


How to Defrost Your Freezer

Icy Freezer[caption id="attachment_399" align="aligncenter" width="448" caption="Icy Freezer"]Icy Freezer[/caption]

When Should You Defrost Your Freezer?

Once your freezer has a quarter-inch or 6 millimeters of ice on the walls, shelves or coils, it is losing efficiency and should be defrosted.

Freezer ice comes from moisture in the air that enters when the door is open. If you open your freezer frequently or the seal is poor, you will need to defrost it more often. No-frost freezers have a costly mechanism that draws out the moisture from the air and keeps ice from building up. But this uses more electricity and food dries out faster. Almost every freezer on top of a refrigerator is no-frost, so these instructions are for a stand-alone freezer. If you buy a stand-alone freezer, compare costs carefully and be sure to get the kind you want.

Before You Defrost


What Size and Brand Pressure Cooker Should I Buy?

fagor 10-qt pc

Sunday is appliance and equipment day at CookingManager.Com. Commenter David asks: What size cooker would you recommend? How about brand? Thanks. David, I’ve owned a 12-liter Italian Lagostina for about five years and just bought an 8-quart Fagor. (Liters and quarts are about the same.) I can’t recommend a particular brand, but I can give […]


Five Basic Recipes for the Food Processor

food processor filled with purple ice cream

On Sundays I write about cooking appliance and equipment. This is the third in a series on food processors. Click for Part I and II. Here are a few examples of techniques I use to adapt any recipe to the food processor. All can made in the main bowl with the “S”  or helicopter blade. […]


Food Processor Basics

chopping cranberries in the food processor

A food processor can save you loads of time in the kitchen. The more you cook, the more time you save. It won’t peel or wash your vegetables, but it chops, slices and mixes. You can use it for salads, casseroles, cakes, breads and more. Mine even has an attachment for beating eggs, eliminating the need for a mixer. A mixer is the food processor’s only real competition and only useful if you separate eggs on a regular basis.