Hacks from my Happy Place – XVII

Although our area is officially in the ‘green’ zone, I’m not in a big hurry to be around a bunch of people for any reason. However, it’s been since Labor Day, 2019 since those of us known as “The Wentling Clan” were all together, so we were seriously passed due. All of us are in a NASCAR betting thing, where everyone picks a driver for the season and pays according to how their driver does in the race. I was the last one of the 5-member clan to get in, and knowing nothing about NASCAR racing other than a few drivers’ names being familiar, I chose Kevin Harvick. We save all of the race money in a pot and then decide to do something together as a group. Since it’s become more and more difficult to find things we can all physically do as well as all enjoy, we’ve turned our money into paying for food for our get-togethers. Obviously, we missed Memorial Day due to the lockdown, but we all decided to get together for July 4th. I, of course, can not go anywhere with food empty-handed, so I offered to bring dessert. While my “Death by Chocolate” is always enjoyed, I decided to go much lighter and make an angel food cake (from a box! Egad!). While I was getting the box out of the cupboard, I saw my box of food coloring. Now, I have used food coloring in several instances when making an angel food cake. Once the batter is ready, you simply divide it evenly into as many bowls as you’re going to use colors. I put a 3rd in one bowl and added red food coloring, a 3rd in another bowl and stirred in blue food coloring, and kept the remaining 3rd white in the original mixing bowl. Then it’s just as easy as placing dollops of batter in a random pattern as you fill your tube pan, strategically doing it in layers and varying where the colors go with each layer. Bake according to directions. When the cake is sliced, you will see the colors throughout, making it look more exciting than just a slice of a plain white cake!

For mine, I took along a can of cherry pie filling and blueberry pie filling as possible toppers since angel food cake is rather dry on its own.

Perfectly Patriotic!

This can also be done with a white cake mix, whether you make cupcakes, a sheet cake or even a layer cake. Just frost as usual (or add food coloring to your frosting if you’re feeling really adventurous!).

I made deviled eggs for a Christmas party last December, and did the same thing with the yolk mixture. I divided it in two and put red food coloring in one half and green food coloring in the other. For extra fun, I sprinkled paprika on the green ones and crushed dried parsley flakes on the red ones, then staggered them in the serving dish.

So, I began thinking about food coloring and all of the many foods in which it can be used. Kids can be picky eaters, but using food coloring to tint a food, like mashed potatoes or the macaroni in mac ‘n cheese, might help them become more open to try other foods despite their appearance. We use food coloring to color the shells of hard-boiled eggs for Easter, but what if you peeled the eggs and put food coloring in water and dropped the peeled eggs in so the white changed color? Make egg salad in batches for each color and let the kids decide what color egg salad they want on bread for their lunch. Make pancakes or waffles regularly for your kids on the weekend? Let the kids take turns deciding what color the batter will be.

I truly believe that the more you open up a child’s willingness to eat something that doesn’t look like it’s supposed to, the more open they will be to trying things they don’t like the look of by sight alone!

Think about how you can use food coloring for a dish you’re taking to a host/hostess’ dinner party that will stand out for its uniqueness. The guests will talk about how pretty or unique it was even if was the same old something someone always brings! Remember, our taste buds use sight and smell as well as taste for markers of how much we like a food. A few drops of food coloring can make a big difference in how someone reacts to the taste for the taste alone!

So, who’s got some other unique and/or fun ways to use food coloring in food?

Food coloring! Its’s not just for eggs anymore!