Kitchen & Food Tips

Kitchen tips:

Tip 1.

I get asked how my sink stays shiny, and its simple I do as my mom did (and does) baking soda and vinegar! Takes even the toughest stains out! As for my mirrors and glass/windows get yourself a spray bottle from the dollar store and fill it with vinegar if its too strong you can add some water, I keep it on my counter and spray away! :) I can honestly say I have never used Windex or any glass cleaner in my life, nor has my mom….trust me vinegar does the job:)

Baking tips:

Tip 1.

When making chocolate chip cookies, or any type of cookie that you want to stay soft and moist. Place in a tight lid container with a piece of bread!

Tip 2.

If you dont have any buttermilk, you can make your own. For 1 cup milk mix with 1tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice. let stand for 5 mins. Or you can use yogurt

Tip 3.

For baked goods use unsalted butter.  When I was a kid and started to bake , I always used the butter in my moms fridge, and as I got older I still would use the same butter. I always wondered why my baked goods were a bit salty than usual. Well it took me awhile to figure it out. I never knew they had unsalted butter! I guess though if thats all you have in the fridge, I would just use less  salt thats asked for in the recipe!

Tip 4.

When cutting brownies use a plastic knife

Tip 5.

Halal Vanilla

As many of you notice its hard to come by vanilla without alcohol….but it is available! You can use vanilla sugar or Vanilla flavoring in the bottle it will read alcohol free vanilla some are available online and some at the grocery store. You can also make your own vanilla sugar recipe is posted here on the blog vanilla-sugar ! :)

Tip 6.

Halal Gelatin:

You may have notice I have recipes that call for flavoured gelatin, you can find halal gelatin at your nearest Mediterranean or Middle eastern stores.

Tip 7.

Everything in moderation! I love my sweets but I can’t have them all the time! Baking your own treats is better than store bought! You can control what is going in the baked goods and whats going in your body! I newly started to use Organic flour, I have been using Organic cane sugar for a while now, but I don’t always use it for baking as its very expensive. The way I see it is I am trying to get healthier and at least what ever it is that I am baking ‘I’ am making it! :)

Tip 8. When I mention unbleached flour or unbleached white flour, its all purpose flour that is unbleached, I try to avoid bleached foods when possible! Now a days I use organic white and wheat flours.

Food tips:

Tip 1.

When rinsing parsley let it sit in cool water in a bowl or plastic container, the sand and dirt will fall to the bottom, lift the parsley out and drain the water, rinse bowl and repeat till no more sand or dirt appears.  You can clean spinach the same way

Tip 2.

To softened cream cheese, remove from packaging, cut into squares and place on a microwave safe plate and “cook” for 1 min, cream cheese will be soft and ready to use for any recipe your following.

Tip 3.

Don’t throw away your left overs! Freeze them! You never know when you will be in need for a quick dinner!  Or make extra food if you know ahead of time that you will busy, so that way instead of going through the drive through and feeding your family an unhealthy meal, you planned ahead and have something that just needs to be warmed up and ready to eat:)

Tip 4.

Read ingredients! If you cannot pronounce it don’t buy it! That is something I keep in mind when buying food items at the grocery store!

Tip 5.

Got left over coffee in the pot? Don’t throw it down the drain! Instead turn it into coffee ice cubes! Great for making Ice capps and Iced coffee! Or you could just make Tiramisu! :)

Tip 6.

Try to get organic when possible! Especially when it comes to fruits and veggies without a thick peel, for example ; berries, peaches,grapes, apples, carrots, lettuce/greens, potatoes, spinach. Bell peppers is an item that you should consider buying organic as well, I would if they had that here, I have never seen organic peppers or peaches in my town…boo hoo!

Other food items to consider to purchase organic are: milk & milk products, eggs, flour, chicken, and sugar.

Tip 7.

Try to buy in season and local when possible! When something is in season buy in bulk and preserve by freezing or canning. For example in June I go strawberry picking, and make jam with it, and the rest I lay on a tray freeze then add to freezer bags and then I have strawberries all year round.

This is a short list of items that are in season in southern Ontario.

June; asparagus, cherries, rhubarb, strawberries

July; raspberries

August; peaches

September; corn

August-October;  eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and apples in my area, you get the point :)

Here are some albums I share on Facebook:

Roasted peppers facebook, Tomatoes facebook, Corn facebook 

Tip 8:

I mention salt in many of my recipes, just to let you know that I only use sea salt and Kosher salt even though I don’t specify that in the recipes.

Tip 9:

You may have noticed that I have ‘maggi cubes’ as an ingredient in some recipes, I now have switched over to Organic ‘Chicken’ and ‘Beef’ Bouillon (All Vegetable) it is MSG Free, No Artificial Colours or Flavours. I have limited my use of it though due to the sodium content.


  1. Hello, I enjoy your website. My husband is Albanian and we frequently travel to Macedonia. There is a spice we get there that I think is called mirodi, but I don’t know what it is or if we can get it in the US. (It is green like dried parsley and it is often mixed with paprika and/or salt. Very aromatic) do you know anything about this spice? I cant find it on the internet either. Thank you for your help.


    • Hi Susan, thank you very much! I asked my mom as she was born in Macedonia, but hasn’t been back since she was a kid, she didn’t know about it, sorry. I tried looking for it on the internet as well and no luck. Do you have any European stores in your city, maybe they carry it. Good luck! ~Donika

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