Monthly Archives: March 2011

8 Clever Uses for Butter

In preparation for tomorrow’s book review, I thought I’d talk about the many helpful and crazy uses for butter…not that you’re going to have to find many other uses for it if you are a strict follower of the woman discussed tomorrow 🙂

Everything’s Better with Butter!

1.  Like it’s peanut butter cousin, regular butter can help remove glue from your hands and gum from your hair.

2.  Rub you knife down with a little  butter before slicing into sticky items, such as dried fruit or pies.  Butter (and shortening) also works great if you’re making rice crispies or anything with melted marshmallows.  Simply coat your spoon with butter and just dare something to stick to it!  🙂

3.  Hate to say Mary Poppins was wrong, but a little touch of butter does help the medicine go down.  If you’re unable to swallow pills, try rubbing them with a little butter to help them quickly glide down your throat.

4.  Butter is a great treatment for minor skin irritations.  Rub a generous amount of butter on sunburn, dry skin, and minor burns twice a day.  DO NOT pull a Kramer and cover yourself in butter before going out for a tan.  😉

5.  If you’re in a pinch for hair conditioner, use some butter!  It provides amino acids to fine hair and is a great way to get a healthy shine!

6.  SAVE YOUR CHEESES!  Coat the cut edges of hard cheeses with a little bit of butter to prevent them from getting hard and moldy.  You can also rub the cut side of an onion to keep it fresh longer.

7.  Love cooking fish but hate the leftover smell?  Rub some butter on your hands and wash them with warm soap and water and your hands will be odor free (and smooth!).

8.  Use butter to help remove those water stains from your wood furniture.  Rub about 1 TB butter on the mark and let it sit overnight.  Wipe away excess with a soapy sponge.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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Rain Boot Flower Planter

I have to thank my mom for this brilliant idea.  She came across some adorable rain boots that she just “had to have”, only to discover that they didn’t fit.  Did she return them like a normal person?  Of course not!  It’s into the garden they went 🙂

Bring Sunshine to a Rainy Day!

I sprouted some plants and grew them in little baby rain boots and put them by my entryway, which was maybe the cutest little table top ever.  You can fill boots with real flowers (make sure you place rocks or marbles in the bottom to allow for water drainage) or fake flowers, which work well for us in sun-lacking apartments.  Put them in your mud room or by your front door for a fun springtime decoration!

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.


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Lime Cilantro Rice

Love that Chipotle rice?  Well, here’s how you can enjoy all the same flavors for half the calories!

Tastes just like “the real thing”!


2 cups water

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup long-grain white rice (I used Uncle Ben’s Original Rice)

Juice of 1 lime

Zest of 1 lime

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1.  Bring the water to a rapid boil.  STir the butter and rice into the water, cover, and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

2.  Stir the lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro into the cooked rice just before serving.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Kitchen Confidential Book Review

Little Tony was vacationing with his family in France when he fell in love with food.  However it wasn’t the croissants that did him in, or the sweets.  It wasn’t Julia Child’s buttered fried fish or seared slices of foie gras.  Tony’s love of food was born when an old French fisherman offered him a half-shell oyster.  Now more than 30 years later, Anthony Bourdain is head chef at New York’s classy Les Halles restaurant.  He’s a Culinary Institute of America graduate, an author, a TV personality, and a conqueror of fine cuisine.  He has worked his way up the hierarchy of the restaurant world and has absorbed quite a few punches, drugs, and alcohol along the way.

In his rough and honest memoir, Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain pulls out all the stops, taking his readers back to his start in the world of the culinary arts.  If you’ve ever thought about becoming a chef or have wondered what it would be like to work in a gastropub, this is the book for you.  If you love Bourdain’s TV shows and get a kick out of his crude and unruly behavior, this is the book for you.  If you’re still under the impression that highly trained culinary chefs are proper and kind men who don’t spit in your food, drop your food on the floor, have intimate relations in the restaurant kitchens, sell drugs in the back alley, or arrive to work drunk or hung over 6 days a week, this is the book for you.

Kitchen Confidential, if anything, is an illuminating look at the struggles, hardships, and bulls*** that goes on in various restaurant kitchens.  Not only will this book change what you order when you go out to eat, but you’ll think twice about when you go out, where you dine, and how you order your food.  Bourdain’s personality shines through the pages as he tells the reader stories that will make you laugh, cry, and cringe.  Lovers of No Reservations will enjoy Bourdain’s quick wit and humor in Kitchen Confidential and will get a better understanding as to why this rough and tough bad guy is the way he is.

NEXT WEEK: We’re going to take a look at the private lives of the two women who changed everything about home cooking.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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5 Clever Uses for Buttermilk

Don’t you hate how you have to buy one frickin’ liter of buttermilk for a recipe that only calls for 1/4  cup of it?  What do you do with the extra, besides quadrupling whatever recipe you’re making?  😉

Look no further.  Here you will find a whole bunch of ideas to put that extra buttermilk to use.  While it does assist in making the most delicious biscuits, pancakes, and waffles, it can also be incorporated into tons of other recipes to help add flavor and depth.


1.  Like biscuits, pancakes, and waffles, buttermilk can turn your common baked goods (cakes, muffins, scones, and more) into rich and moist delicacies.  It can replace the milk and most of the butter in any given recipe, also helping to cut out some extra fat.

2.  Here’s a way to use up those frozen chicken breasts, too.  Combine 3-4 cups buttermilk with dashes of salt, pepper, and a little hot sauce.  Marinate 2-3 skinless chicken breasts in the buttermilk mixture for at least 1 hour.  When done, place on a baking pan and sprinkle them with seasoned bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, or until done (slice the chicken and if the juices run clear, the meat is done).

3.  Reinvent eggplant or chicken Parmesan by marinating eggplant or chicken in buttermilk instead of regular milk.  Bake them instead of frying them.

4.  You can also drink buttermilk (it’s a bit tangy) and it freezes well…so if you’re not going to reuse your leftovers for a few weeks, pour it in a container and freeze it until you’re ready.

5.  Add buttermilk to mac and cheese for richer and much more comforting treat!

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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Crock Pot Pulled Pork Sandwiches

A little taste of summer today…

Pulled Pork!!

Crockpot Pulled Pork Sammies

4-5 lb pork shoulder or pork butt

2 cups bbq sauce of your favorite bbq sauce

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1.  Mix all the spices together and rub the dry mixture on the entire piece of pork.  Cover and refrigerate the meat overnight.

2.  Place pork in slow cooker and add 1 cup water.  Cover and cook on low for 7-10 hours.

3.  Remove pork or push pork aside and remove 1 cup juice and set aside.  Discard the rest.  Shred the pork and return to the slow cooker.  Add reserved juices and bbq sauce.  Serve on big buns with lots of napkins!!

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Danny Boy Book Review

Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pies are calling

From glen to glen and down the mountain side

The summer’s gone and all the flowers are dying

‘Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.

But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow

Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow

‘Tis I’ll be there in sunshine or in shadow

Oh, Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so!

And if he come, and all the flow’rs are dying

If I am dead, as dead I well may be

Ye’ll come and find the place where I am lying

And kneel and say an Ave there for me.

And I shall hear, through soft you tread above me

And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be

For you will bend and tell me that you love me,

And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.

We’ve all heard it at one time…this beautiful ballad sung in both mourning and celebration.  It’s been recorded hundreds of times by hundreds of artists…and chances are, no matter who is singing it, it never fails to raise a lump in the throat of all the listeners.

While “Danny Boy” is known the world over as the ultimate Irish song, the history of this beloved ballad is anything but rooted in Ireland.  In his fascinating little volume Danny Boy:  The Legend of the Beloved Irish Ballad, Malachy McCourt (brother of Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis author Frank McCourt) explores the orgins of “Danny Boy”, going back to the lyricist, the possible meaning of the song, and the impact of “Danny Boy” in modern culture.

Written in the wake of September 11th, this book is especially meaningful to those who have lost family or loved ones in the armed forces.  There is a beautiful dedication at the end of the book to those who lost their lives when the Twin Towers fell, including a full list of every member of the NYPD, New York Fire Department, and participating squads from New Jersey.

If you’re a fan of “Danny Boy”, I highly suggest reading this little book (it’s only 88 pages).  Read the lyrics before the book and then after and see if your opinion or understanding of the song has changed at all.  It certainly changed mine.

NEXT WEEK:  We’re heading behind the scenes of restaurant kitchens…and it’s not pretty.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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8 Clever Uses for Guinness

Guinness.  It’s not St. Patrick’s Day without it.  It’s near impossible to think that us Irish folk would use Guinness for anything other than drinking, so here are some fun Guinness facts for you.  I wish you all a very happy St. Pattie’s day!  Have a Guinness…”It’s Good for You.”

1.  Guinness is not only brewed in the Land of the Green…it’s made in over 150 countries, including Nigeria and Indonesia.

2.  Hard to believe by looking at it, but a pint of Guinness is less than 200 calories.  That’s less than what most people drink on a daily basis, including milk.

3.  The old saying that Irish people have “Guinness in their blood” may not be far from the truth.  Supposedly pregnant women in Ireland drink a glass of Guinness every day to fortify themselves and their baby.

4. You can also thank Guinness for that yearly book of world records that we all enjoy reading.  In 1954, the head executive of Guinness Beer commissioned a handy reference book filled with facts as a means for him to settle disputes with friends and acquaintances.  The first edition of said book, The Book of Records, was a promotional item Guinness gave to bars to thank them for buying their beer and to use to help settle disputes before a bar fight broke out.

5.  Although nothing says Irish Pride like a good frothy pint of Guinness, Great Britain actually holds the record as the country that consumes the most Guinness.  Ireland comes in second, followed by Nigeria, the United States, and Cameroon.

6.  Despite the fact that Ireland is in a close second regarding the Guinness drinking record, it’s still the #1 drink sold in Ireland…and Guinness easily makes roughly 2 billion dollars annually.

7.  A perfect pour of Guinness should take 199.50 seconds.

8.  Guinness is an amazing addition to tons of recipes.  Try it in chocolate cake, beef stew, french toast, and much more.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my Irish and “Irish for a day” friends out there!  Slainte!

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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Irish Soda Bread

Well, today is the start of Irish Week at The Hobbee Hive!  So what better way to kick it off than with some delicious Irish soda bread!  This bread is beyond easy to make and tastes great with some butter or jelly.  Toast a couple slices the day after you make it and you’ve got a delicious breakfast.  Also makes great bread for french toast.

Luck O’ the Irish Soda Bread


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 TB brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup raisins

1.  In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg and buttermilk.  Stir into flour mixture just until moistened.  Fold in raisins.

*If you accidently use both eggs, like I did, don’t worry.  It will turn out fine…you’ll just have very moist dough…but it will taste amazing.

2.  Knead on a floured surface for 1 minute.  Shape into a round loaf; place on a greased baking sheet.  Cut a 1/4″ deep cross in top of loaf.  Beat the remaining egg and brush over loaf.

*If you used both eggs in the recipe, don’t worry about brushing another egg on top.  It will shine beautifully.

3.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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James Herriot’s Dog and Animal Stories Book Reviews

I mentioned this briefly last week, but ever since I was about three years old I wanted to be a vet.  I would practice on willing stuffed animals and my brother and I would perform surgeries on hundreds of Beanie Babies and teddy bears, as their owners (Barbies and Batmans) waited patiently outside.

Since this seemed to be my only passion between the ages of 3 and about 12, when I developed allergies to anything and everything with fur, I was given tons of animal books and veterinary stories as birthday and Christmas gifts.  Two of these books were written by James Herriot, maybe one of the most famous animal doctors ever.



James Herriot’s Dog Stories and James Herriot’s Animal Stories are just two small books in an enormous collection of animal literature.  While I was more partial to Dog Stories, I also enjoyed reading Animal Stories.  These books are no more than 100 or 120 pages and are filled with unbelievable stories of some of the most extraordinary dogs, horses, sheep, cows, and pigs you will come across.  Also included in these books are beautiful watercolor illustrations done by Lesley Holmes.

In the introduction to Animal Stories, Herriot’s son Jim Wight says, “He [Herriot] intended that the stories should simply be read and enjoyed, and this clearly shows in his books.”  This is quite true.  There is nothing under the surface of these stories…no hidden symbolism or allegories…these are just little vignettes of amazing animal tales, against a backdrop of the 1900’s English countryside.

Herriot’s collection of books has something for everyone.  Dog lovers, cat lovers, horse lovers, farm lovers, or just those who love animals will find something to indulge in by exploring this vast collection of books.  These are what I like to call “Grandpa books”, meaning there’s a sense of familiarity about Herriot’s writing, as if you’re both sitting by the fireplace in an old English cottage, curled up with blankets and hot cocoa, and relaxing to the soft sounds of Grandpa Herriot talking about Tricki Woo.

NEXT WEEK:  Well butter my potato and call me O’Brien, it’s IRISH WEEK!  Next week we’re going to discuss a little gem of a book about one of the most famous Irish (?) songs of all time.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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