cooking tips

Cooking Tip- How To Make Sauerkraut in Mason Jars

cooking tipsSheri SpalloneComment
 Cooking Tip: How To Make Sauerkraut in Mason Jars

Cooking Tip: How To Make Sauerkraut in Mason Jars

Are you ever curious about how things are made? Take sauerkraut for example, cabbage, salt, maybe some spices, a closed container, a little patience and within a few days, the cabbage has transformed into sauerkraut, which in German translates to "sour vegetables."  Before we became a society of modern conveniences and processed foods; and before the television, the internet, and social media, our ancestors made everything from scratch with fresh ingredients.   

Making recipes from scratch is super satisfying because you can control the ingredients that go into your recipe, and you can save money in the process.  Sauerkraut is one of those foods I would never think to make from scratch, as the idea always sounded daunting and tedious, but that was until a recent conversation I had with my mom.  We were talking about pork chops and sauerkraut, and Mom interjected, "Your Great Grandmother used to make her sauerkraut from scratch."   Hmmm, game changer!

I did a little research and found out that homemade sauerkraut is full of probiotics and healing nutrition. It's a fermented food that is good for your gut! Just from making your own, you get the benefit of fresh cabbage, full of healthy bacteria, and the satisfaction of homemade food made from scratch! Follow along as I demonstrate how to make simple and easy sauerkraut in a mason jar!


  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons (Tbsp) sea salt, Himalayan, or Kosher salt (do not use table salt)
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) Cherchies® Garlic Seasoning


  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large mixing bowl
  • 2 (2-quart) mason jars with lids (or fancy "burping tops")
  • Some sort of clean weight (either smaller jelly jars that will fit inside, marbles, or glass weights) to weigh down cabbage under brine
  • Clean towel or cloth for covering
  • Rubber bands (optional)
  • Clean hands and/or a pounding tool


Make sure all parts of the process are clean; the utensils, cutting boards, mason jars, knives, hands, weights, etc.   It is best during fermentation to provide the cleanest environment possible to allow good bacteria to thrive.

Remove the outer few loose leaves of the cabbage. Cut cabbage in half or quarters, whatever is easiest and remove the core.  

Slice the cabbage into thin shreds (a food processor would work nicely too).  Place cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and Cherchies Garlic Seasoning.  Mix with hands to combine, squeezing cabbage to release water.   Work cabbage with this method for a few minutes. 

Or, use this handy tool I found online, The Pickle Packer from to mash the cabbage and draw out the water.  Either way, cover with a clean cloth and set aside and cover for a couple of hours (more water will be removed the longer it is left out).  Salt will begin to react with cabbage, releasing the water from the cabbage and starting the fermentation process.   

After a couple of hours, add handfuls of cabbage mixture to mason jar (s).  Pack down with hand, spoon, any kitchen instrument with a dull end, or The Pickle Packer from  I stumbled across this company while searching for how to make sauerkraut.  I am all about ease, and this tool is pretty cool.  The goal is to pack the cabbage ultra-tight and let it soak in its brine.  The cabbage should be under the brine during fermentation.

You will need some sort of weight for this step; a smaller glass jelly jar that fits inside the mason jar, marbles, or these helpful glass weights I found at

Once the jar is filled (leave about an inch from the top), place your weight on top of the cabbage, making sure to submerge the cabbage under the brine.  Some folks have recommend using the discarded cabbage leaves to cover the mixture and then place weights on top of the leaves.  (I only did this for one jar.  I must have had a larger cabbage then normal this time and had extras left over). 

If you need to add a small amount of filtered water to brine to ensure cabbage is submerged, do so at this time.  Seal up your mason jar with either a clean cloth and rubber band (this will allow your cabbage to breathe, a canning lid, or a canning lid with one of these "burping" attachments that I also found at  If you use only a canning lid, you will will need to manually "burp" the sauerkraut daily (to release the built up gases) by opening the lid slightly to allow the air to escape.

Leave the sealed sauerkraut on the counter for 3-10 days depending on desired tanginess.  You will begin to see bubbles form after a couple of days.  (Taste sauerkraut as you go along).  Make sure the cabbage stays below the brine line or you may experience some discoloration, which you can easily remove.   After a couple of days you may need to pack down a little further.  I did this so as to keep the cabbage below the brine.  

Once the sauerkraut has reached desired consistency (sour), transfer the jar to the refrigerator.  The sauerkraut will continue to ferment, but at a slower rate.  If using a "burping lid", you can replace it with a regular canning lid at this point.  You can enjoy the sauerkraut right from the jar immediately. 



*Note-  I stumbled upon by accident from another blogger.  If you prefer another method or have your own tips for making homemade sauerkraut, please feel free to share it below so others can benefit:)

If you have children or grandchildren, let them help in the process. This would make a great family summer science experiment!

Happy fermenting!








Cooking Tip: Cooking Substitutions

cooking tipsSheri SpalloneComment
 Cooking Tip!  Cooking Substitutions

Cooking Tip!  Cooking Substitutions

There's nothing worse than realizing you don't have an ingredient after you've started a recipe.  I know, "mise en place", which is fancy for everything in place, but there are times when I am simply caught off guard.

I'm usually prepared with everything I need before I begin cooking, but there are occasions when a container or box is left in the refrigerator or the pantry...and it's EMPTY (my crazy teenagers left it empty...I guess they believe it will magically refill itself)!  

Have no fear, below are some emergency ingredient substitutions that may help save the day (and your recipe).  We'd love to hear your favorite substitution!

If a Recipe asks for: 


  • 1 cup of self-rising flour---substitute with 1 cup of flour and 1 1/4 teaspoon (tsp) baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon (tsp) salt.
  • 1 cup of biscuit mix---substitute with 1 cup of flour, 2 Tablespoons (Tbsp) of shortening, and 1 1/2 teaspoons (tsp) baking powder.
  • 1 cup of sifted cake flour---for every cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 Tablespoons (Tbsp) of flour and substitute with cornstarch and sift together.
  • 1 cup bread flour---substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour.

Thickening agents

  • 2 Tablespoons (Tbsp) flour---substitute 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, or 3 1/2 whole eggs, or 7 egg yolks, or 3/4 oz. bread crumbs.

Leavening agents

  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) baking powder---substitute with 1/4 teaspoon (tsp) baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) cream of tartar, or 2 egg whites, or 1/4 teaspoon (tsp) and 1/2 cup yogurt, buttermilk, or sour cream.
  • 1 package active (2T) dry yeast--- substitute 1 cake compressed yeast, or instant yeast.

Dairy- Milk and Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream---substitute with 1/3 cup of room temperature butter and 3/4 cup of milk.
  • 1 cup light cream--7/8 cup milk plus 3 Tablespoons (Tbsp) butter.
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)---substitute with 1 cup of milk and 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) of either vinegar or lemon juice.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Stir.  Or,  substitute 1 3/4 teaspoons (tsp) cream of tartar and 1 cup sweet milk.
  • 1 cup sour cream---substitute 1/3 cup butter and 2/3 cup sour milk recipe.


  • 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) fresh herbs---substitute 1 teaspoon (tsp) dried herbs
  • 1 Medium onion---substitute 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) allspice---substitute with 1 teaspoon (tsp) of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves
  • 1 clove garlic---substitute 1/4 teaspoon (tsp) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice---substitute 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp. ground allspice.
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) nutmeg---substitute 1 tsp. mace
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) dry mustard---substitute with 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) prepared mustard.
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) basil---substitute fresh basil (a couple of leave) or 1 tsp oregano.
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) fennel---substitute 1 (tsp) anise or tarragon.
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) sage---substitute 1 (tsp) thyme.
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) onion powder---substitute 1 small fresh onion.

Sugar and Sweeteners

  • 1 cup brown sugar---substitute with 1 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup of molasses.
  • 1 cup sugar---substitute 1 cup molasses plus 1/2 teaspoon (tsp.) baking soda, or 1/2 cup honey plus 1/2 teaspoon (tsp.) baking soda, or 1 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup corn syrup, or 1 cup maple syrup and 1/4 tsp. baking soda.
  • 1 cup corn syrup---substitute 1 cup sugar plus additional 1/4 cup of liquid in the recipe, or 1 cup brown rice syrup.
  • 1 cup honey---substitute 1 1/4 cup sugar plus additional 1/4 cup of liquid in the recipe, or 1 cup molasses, or 1 cup light agave nectar.
  • 1 oz. (1 square) unsweetened chocolate---substitute with 1/2 Tablespoons (Tbsp) butter and 2 Tablespoons cocoa.

Happy Cooking!

Thank you for visiting.


Cooking Tip: How to Use Leftover Herbs

cooking tipsSheri SpalloneComment
 Cooking Tip:  How To Use Leftover Herbs

Cooking Tip:  How To Use Leftover Herbs

Whether you grow herbs at home or purchase them from your local farmer's market or grocery store, inevitably you are given more than you need.  

So what is one to do with leftover fresh herbs? Here are some of our favorite tips to help you save money and waste less!

Thanks for stopping by!

  • Make herbed ice cubes-Wash and dry fresh herbs, chop them by hand or place them in a food processor and pulse.  Spoon the chopped herbs into ice cube trays, cover with water, freeze, and store the cubes in ziplock freezer bags when frozen.  Use individual cubes to season your favorite dishes.
  • Add to sandwiches- Fresh herbs such as Basil can be used in place of lettuce to liven up sandwiches. -Cook's International Kitchen Hacks
  • Dry them- Tie up bunches of herbs with kitchen twine and hang herbs to dry.  OR, for a quick dry, wash and dry herbs and place on a clean paper towel and microwave for 30-40 seconds.  Either way, crumble dried herbs and place in an air-tight container to use in your favorite meals. - Cook's International Kitchen Hacks
  • Create spice packets- For spices that need to be removed from cooking, such as Parsley or Bay Leaves, fill a clean tea filter bag (the ones used for loose tea) with the desired herbs, tie with kitchen twine, and remove the packet when finished cooking.  No more fishing for those items. - Cook's International Kitchen Hacks
  • Make infused oils or vinegar- Add your favorite herbs to olive oil or vinegar to use for cooking tasty meals.  See How to Make Infused Oils.
  • Make compound butter- Add freshly chopped herbs to softened butter to create flavorful compound butters.  See How to Make Compound Butters.  The perfect gift for the cook in your life!
  • Make herbed cream cheese spreads- Add to softened cream cheese and serve with bagels, spread on sandwiches, or dip with vegetables.
  • Make vinaigrette- Add your favorite chopped fresh herbs to vinegar and olive oil for a delightfully fresh vinaigrette.
  • Create Simple Syrups- Add herbs to equal parts of water and sugar, cook until sugar is dissolved and cool.  Add the simple syrup to your favorite beverage or cocktail.

What To Do With Muffin Tins- 25 Amazing Hacks

cooking tipsSheri SpalloneComment

What To Do With Muffing Tins- 25 Amazing Hacks

Do you know the muffin pan?  Yes, the muffin pan! The one who lives on Bakery Lane?  Sorry:)  Who knew that aside from baking, the simple muffin pan could be useful in so many ways, in the kitchen, around the house, in craft projects, etc? Re-purposing common kitchen gadgets such as muffin pans (aka muffin tins), is an amazing strategy for saving money, saving space, getting organized, plus it's just plain fun.  Amen!   Who's with me?

I had no idea when I first started this blog post, the infinite uses for a muffin tin!  I knew this was one of my favorite kitchen tools, but now I am 100% convinced, it IS my favorite!!!  I kept finding more and more uses as I researched.   Crazy! Aside from foods, (muffins, quiches, appetizers, baked desserts, etc.), muffin pans are so versatile and you we will be blown away when you read this!  Are you ready?

Thanks for stopping by:)

25 Amazing Muffin Tin Hacks

1. Doo dad (what exactly is a doo dad?) and desk organizer -

2. The perfect holder for stuffed tomatoes or peppers-

3. Use it to transport stuffed mushrooms or Festive deviled eggs- from and www.justimagine-ddoc

4. Organize ingredients while you cook, otherwise known as "mise en place".   Add a liner and clean up is a breeze.-

5. Bake eggs in the shell (What??) ( or pour into tins to make egg sandwiches.

6.  Turn muffin tin over to make cookie bowls, taco bowls, etc. - and

7.  Freeze stock, sauce, or tomato paste and then place in freezer bags for future use-

6.  Turn upside down to use as a cooling rack cooling rack- from

7.  Topping for taco or potato bar-

8.   A portable carrier for drinks

9.  Ravioli Maker??? (ok, mind blown.  I know this person used a ravioli mold, but you could easily use mini muffin tins) -

10.   Condiment holder for burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches -

11.  Ice Cubes in a pinch, filled with fruit. -

12.  Counting games-

13.  Meal tray for children -

14.  Home Decor- fill with family photos and hang-

15.  Organizer for cupcake, cake, or ice cream toppings-

16.  School supplies organizer-

17.  rustic votive candle

18.  Make new crayons using old crayons- Bake in a 350 degree oven until crayons are melted.

19.  Cup holder for the car-

20.  seed starter-

21.  Craft paint mixers-

22.  Freeze leftover pesto or tomato paste-

23.  Freeze individual portions of soup-

24.   DIT bath bombs molds-

25.  Seed

26.  Ok, one more...bonus! Taco stand-