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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Super Mommy Secrets: Measuring for Success

The other day my bloggy bud Heather of 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs were having some tea at Starbucks when the topic of measuring ingredients for recipes came up...

What? Is that not your typical Starbucks convo?

Well, as it turns out, Miss Heather is a by-the-book measurer, while I am more of a dash of this and a scoop of that kind of gal... which tends to lead to my baked goods (read: bread baking) to go a little astray... 

So, when Heather told me that she had to measure things out to a "t", I begged her to share her Super Mommy Secrets with us!

Measuring for Success

I started 4-H in the 4th grade.  I had waited my whole life, up to that point, for the day I could join 4-H.  I’m a third generation 4-Her so joining 4-H was a pretty big deal for me and my family as the oldest grandchild on both sides of the family.

During that first year of 4-H, my mom made me do the demonstration contest.  So for a 1st year member, I had 3-5 minutes to give a demonstration on whatever I wanted.  My mom came up with the idea of “Measuring for Success” where I would demonstrate how to correctly measure different baking ingredients:  sugar, brown sugar, shortening, and a liquid. 

At age 10, I hated my mother for making me participate in the demonstration contest as it was scary to get up in front of a room full of strangers and give a memorized demonstration as she would not let me use note cards.  However, I must admit, as I got older, I thanked her every day as I have never been afraid to talk in front of a crowd or take a speech class so for that… Thank you, Mom. 

I also wanted to thank her for the actual measuring skills she taught me during that demonstration that I am passing down to Big Sissy and Bubby and eventually Little Sissy.  I do think this is where my fear of not following recipes started. J

So here’s a brief version of Measuring for Success…

Sugar and most dry ingredients
Measure sugar with a dry ingredient measuring cup/spoon and use a knife to cut through and level off prior to adding to other ingredients to ensure exact measurement.

Brown Sugar
Use a spoon to pack brown sugar into dry ingredient measuring cup/spoon and level off when completely packed into cup/spoon.  Brown sugar will keep shape of the measuring container when added to other ingredients if properly packed and measured.

Shortening/Peanut Butter
Use a spoon to pack shortening into dry ingredient measuring cup/spoon and level off when completely packed into cup/spoon.  Be sure to scrape out all contents of cup/spoon when adding the shortening to your other ingredients.

Use a measuring cup specifically made for liquids and always measure liquids at eye level.

If you follow these quick, easy steps, you will be ahead of the game when it comes to baking.  Good luck!

Thanks Heather! 

BTW, Dear Reader... Heather's daughter is starting an adorable cooking series on her blog called Cooking with an 8 Year Old! You will have to go check it out!!!

Do you have a Super Mommy Secret? Email me and I might just feature your tip in a future post!

Linked to: Works for Me Wednesday


8 GOODe Thoughts:

I was taught (via 4-H) to level off my dry ingredients with a knife...still ingrained in me today. I think that's why I'm scared of the "dash of this" method of cooking...I know it's OK, but it's hard for me!

Wow, the things our mothers "forced" us to learn. I don't think they make moms like that too much anymore. So, you learned some important measuring skills, you overcame a fear, and you can speak in front of a large group, tremendous! As a teacher who always had the speech component as part of the curriculum. let me just say that I applaud the fact that you memorized the speech, so many of my students use notes and then proceed to read them - not a speech!

Those ideas sounds very familiar to the tune of my mother's voice chanting! Great reminder. I measure my brown sugar by putting the cup in the bag and pushing it all down with the heal of my hand so there is less mess.

As a 4H Cooking Leader, I love your story. We measure also:) And I hope my now, 6 year old, who is in 4H and has done demonstrations, will feel the same way about the experience when he's older! 4H is such a great organization, it certainly helps kids to develop great presentation skills.

Great pointers!
My parents owned a bakery, and my mom was an executive chef, so luckily, I learned a lot about baking and cooking , during my growing up years.
I can still remember being taught that "baking is a science", and "cooking is an art".
Words I've lived by :)

hey Heather...one more tidbit for measuring pb/shortening....spray cup with pam first and it will come out much easier!! That is one of the many tips I taught Anya last yr for 4-H.

Yeah, I agree with Cristi. OR you can first rinse the measuring cup with water and then fill it with shortening/pb. It slides out.

Such an interesting comment from Kerin: 'baking is a science; cooking is an art.' Never thought of that, but I believe it's true!

I refuse to measure dry ingredients. HATE IT! My best friend and I make pies together once or twice a year. I make the crust, without measuring, and peel the apples. She cuts the apples and measures the dry ingredients. And we each share a pie with our husbands. Yum.

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