Better than Breadcrumbs: Homemade Breading Recipe

 Homemade breading recipe for frying chicken


Up until about a year ago, I used to use store-bought breadcrumbs for breading chicken for chicken fingers. I thought I was doing something healthy since I was making the chicken myself rather than eating fast food chicken fingers that were fried in hydrogenated oils. That is, I thought it was healthy until I finally read through the ingredient list on the back of the breadcrumb container.

I was shocked.

The main part of the breadcrumbs was “enriched bread.” Ok, I thought, at least the first ingredient is bread, right? That’s got to be good, right? 

Wrong. This “enriched bread” is really made up of 9 ingredients, including the infamous high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. The only real food ingredients among the 9 were wheat flour (which was probably processed and bleached) and water.

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Honey-Sweetened Strawberry Sauce

Honey sweetened strawberry sauce |

Wondering what to do with leftover strawberries that have started to get a little mushy?

I was this past weekend. I had a decent amount left over from when I went strawberry picking that were still perfectly fine to eat but were getting a little soft. They still tasted great but I’m not a huge fan of foods with mushy textures so I wasn’t enjoying them as much as I did when they were nice and firm. I definitely didn’t want to waste my leftover strawberries, though, so I needed to find a way to use them.

The solution to my mushy strawberry dilemma was making strawberry sauce. It could probably almost be called strawberry jam because it’s pretty close to a jam-like consistency, especially when it’s chilled. When it’s warm, it’s more like a sauce.

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Old-Fashioned Mincemeat Pie Recipe from 1798

Slice of mincemeat pie on plate


Up until just recently, I had always thought the idea of mincemeat pie sounded pretty unappetizing. I had never actually tried it until this year, but it just didn’t sound like something I would ever want to eat. I think part of my aversion to it was the fact that I had no idea what was actually in it. And those jars of processed mystery mincemeat filling that appear on the grocery store shelves around the holiday season have always looked pretty scary to me!

I had always wondered, though, what exactly was in mincemeat pie filling and if there was actually any real meat in an old-fashioned mincemeat pie recipe. Well, I found my answer by looking through old cookbooks – a great source for any questions about what people used to eat and how they prepared their food. I found out that mincemeat pie really did have meat in it along with fruit and spices.

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Authentic Boston Baked Beans

Boston baked beans in bean pot with blue plate of beans on the side.

Boston baked beans are a delicious old-fashioned New England tradition, but most store-bought baked beans today are full of all sorts of questionable ingredients. Instead of store bought beans, I wanted to find a truly authentic recipe that used only real, natural ingredients that I could make myself at home.

The recipe I found came from the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer (published in 1896). This is the description of the recipe (or receipt if you want to use the period term) as printed in her book:

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Maple Sugar Snow Candy

Maple tree with buckets for gathering sap for maple syrup

We finally had a half-decent snowstorm here in MA, so I decided it was time for something I’ve been waiting for months to try – making maple sugar snow candy! I know it’s technically not quite maple sugaring season yet, but I just couldn’t wait any longer.

I had tried making maple sugar snow candy once before, but my maple sugar wasn’t the right temperature so it didn’t turn out well. This time, though, I did some research to find out the correct way to boil the syrup, and I found some great information from a site called Quaker Hill Farm.

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