Cooking Conversions Made Easy

As a Canadian in my late 40′s I cook easily in both standard and metric as far as cups, tbsp, mls, etc.  Once a recipe talks about gallons, pints, sticks of butter, etc, I’m lost and turning to google.  I’ve put the most common google searches and conversions into one table for myself a few years ago and decided to pretty it up to share it.

Download a printable pdf here:

Cooking Conversion Chart – pdf

Cooking Conversion Chart – Vertical

Cooking Conversion Chart - jpg


Cooking Conversion Chart - Vertical


Japanese Village Steak Sauce Healthier Riff

I’ve taken dozens of friends to Japanese Village… not for the delicious fresh food and chef’s cooking in front of them on the Teppanyaki table.  I take them to try the Rice & Steak Sauce. Sticky rice with Steak Sauce has become such a ‘thing’ that now they offer Rice and Steak Sauce take-out!  During my two pregnancies I craved this so hard that my husband went to pick it up as takeout.  We lived 3hrs away…  Long Story…

The instant I tasted the new Miso and Ginger dressing at Epicure’s Conference in Calgary I experienced a taste bud dance.  The dressing is divine on it’s own and I knew that I could come up with something close to the steak sauce.  I didn’t want exact.  My body swells up like a hot air balloon from the salt.  I wanted a version that would allow me to wear shoes the next day.  I made mine a GF version, you can cut the sodium even more if you change the GF Braggs to a low-sodium Soy Sauce.

For the uninitiated, Japanese Village is a Iconic BC and Alberta chain found in larger cities.

Screenshot 2016-08-22 16.06.00

Here it is… one I can justify indulging in regularly:

JV Steak Sauce, Healthier Riff

•1 Tbsp Epicure’s Miso & Ginger Nourish Dressing Mix
•1 tsp Epicure’s Asian Umami Sprinkle
•½ clove Garlic minced or 1 tsp Epicure’s Minced Garlic
•¼ cup Tahini or Tahina (in the Ethnic section of your store or make your own with sesame seeds/oil)
•3-4 Tbsp Water
•1.5 Tbsp Braggs Soy Sauce (GF Soy Sauce)
•2 Tbsp Avocado Oil (or olive or peanut or …)
•2 Tbsp Greek Yogurt (my DIY recipe is here) (Optional)

Stir all ingredients together.  Add more water, if desired.  NOTE:  Some Tahini pour (as mine did) and some are the consistency of Peanut Butter, hence figure out what water you need once you mix it up.

Use with steak. Ha ha.  Just kidding. You can, of course, I guess.  Or just make rice and pour it on top!  I LOVED it as a dipping sauce for Salad Rolls too!

Healthy Grains with Steak Sauce    Photo 2016-08-16, 8 56 45 PM

Here’s two FB comments after tasting it:

JV Steak Sauce feedback – Janelle

I made this the other night and OMG it was so good the only difference was the amount of sodium

At my recent Epicure Product Launch I served TWO versions.  One a more tangy version.  Those that had never tried JV Steak Sauce overwhelmingly chose the Tangy Version.  So here it is:

Tangy Miso Ginger Steak Sauce

•1 Tbsp Epicure’s Miso & Ginger Nourish Dressing
•2 tsp Epicure’s Asian Umami Sprinkle
•½ clove Garlic, minced
•3 Tbsp Rice Vinegar (NOT seasoned)
•¼ cup Tahini
•2 Tbsp Water
•1 Tbsp Braggs Soy Sauce (GF Soy Sauce)
•1 Tbsp Avocado Oil (or Olive or peanut or ….)

Combine.  Add water to your preferred consistency.  Some Tahini pour (as mine did) and some are the consistency of Peanut Butter

This is what my ‘rice’ looks like before cooking. I can’t remember the name although I know it’s a GF grain mix from Costco.

Photo 2016-08-21, 9 53 19 PM


Here is the kind of following that JV has.  A friend in Edmonton (where they have a JV) posted my featured image & these are the comments.  Ya.  Now you understand!  Just make it already!

Jen's Customers


Fizzy Fruity Kombucha

I’m a fruity frizzy drink kind of girl.  Fruit ciders (not the beer ones!), Mojto’s, and their friends, those are my drinks!

Kombucha is a healthy fizzy fruity goodness.  You can make it without it without fruit and fizz too, of course.

Photo 2016-07-24, 11 21 23 PM

Tonight I had a BBQ with a group of ladies.  No Smirnoff Ice for me!  Instead it was BerryBoochHooch.  Berry Kombucha, Ice, Vodka.  Oh ya!

Basic Kombucha – 7-30 days Ferment


  • Gallon Jar (easiest!) – Make sure it’s scrubbed clean and rinsed well with hot water
  • A Scoby & cup of starter tea (you can grow your own (http://www NULL.thekitchn or simply ask on FB, I bet some of your friends have some to share)
  • 4 ‘bags’ of Black Tea
  • 4 ‘bags’ of Green Tea
  • Purified water, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar – I use the Unbleached Cane Sugar from Costco
  • Paper towel or coffee filter (cheesecloth can allow fruit flies in)
  • Rubber bands

Brew a kettle full of hot water.   Put your 8 bags of tea and your sugar in your gallon jar.  Steep until it cools to room temp (which means it should feel cool).  Remove tea bags with clean utensils or hands.  Add your scoby and starter tea.  Note! If your tea is still warm it can KILL your scoby.  Top up to full with more room temp purified water.  Cover with a double layer* of paper towel or coffee filter secure with a rubber band.

*I use one paper towel in winter and two in summer.  Two helps a bit with the fruit flies.

Photo 2016-07-24, 11 17 09 PM

Set your tea on a counter (never in a cupboard) where it can sit undisturbed, out of sunlight. Let it sit there and do it’s thing.  Remove the cover and check the taste starting around day 7 in warmer periods or 10 when it’s a bit cooler.  Use a non-metal spoon or a straw to remove some from your jar to taste. The longer it sits the less sweet it will get.  I prefer mine less sweet since I’m adding fruit back in.  Once it’s at your preferred taste remove your scoby and set aside with a cup of your batch so you’re all set for your next batch.  If you’re not brewing another batch right away (you really should though!) DO NOT REFRIGERATE.  I put mine in a mason jar covered with paper towel and sit it aside on the counter just like I did with the fermenting tea.

Kombucha gallon jar

Now here comes the fruity fizzy bit!  The Second Ferment:   2-14 days

Important:  The jars needs to be airtight AND you need to check it every day or two, Kombucha has been known to explode.  It’s not common although you are dealing with fizz!

  • 4-6 750ml to Litre Mason Jars (any size will work!) with lids
  • ziploc baggy sections
  • Berries – in winter I use Costco’s organic frozen

Fill your Mason Jar 1/4 full with berries.  Then add Kombucha leaving a couple inches of head space (empty space).  Having head space is important for the fizz!

Cover the top of each jar with with a square of plastic before adding the lid and ring.   The plastic does 2 things.  It ensures my kombucha won’t come into contact with the metal lid for even a second AND it gives a tighter seal to help the fizz.  The Kombucha won’t be in contact with the plastic either.  I have used flip top bottles although getting the fruit in and out and getting the bottles clean was a major pain in the butt!

Flip top bottle

Set your sealed jars of Kombucha back on the counter.  Depending on the temperature of the room it may be at your desired fizz in 2 days.  In warm summer days open EACH jar each day to ‘burp’ and check the fizz level.  If you miss a day… open over the sink with a tea towel over the lid just in case, better safe than sorry.  Once it’s as fizzy as you want it (max 14 days), strain it and put it in the fridge.

IF IT”S NOT as fizzy as you want it at 14 days, leave the fruit in and put in the fridge.  This is one of those, the fruit swelled up so much that I didn’t have enough head space for proper fizz.  I tucked it away in the back of the fridge months ago!  I had fresh and perfectly fizzed Kombuchatoavailable to drink so I just ignored this old batch.  Today I opened it and WOW!!  Barely any fermentation smell (the ‘booze’ smell my 14yo calls it) and as fizzy as could be!

Photo 2016-07-24, 1 03 50 PM

DIY Greek Yogurt

Scroll down for an update on an accidental tweak I’ve discovered that gives me EVEN MORE yogurt and less whey!!!

I haven’t done this since my 20′s and I remember it being complicated. It isn’t!  I think back then I barely even cooked, so everything seemed complicated!

There are dozens of recipes on the internet, they’re pretty much fundamentally the same.  They all make ROCKING Greek Yogurt!  I found I was scrolling and scrolling before coming to the how-to, so I have pared down to the essentials.  If you’re looking for explanations and details, here (http://www NULL.daringgourmet is one of my fav sites.

I like the crockpot version, it takes about 24hrs although the hands-on time is about 30mins.  It’s a BIG cost saver too.  $4.80 in BC for a 4L jug of milk which results in 7-8 cups of Greek Yogurt and ~8 cups of Whey.  Do not DISCARD the whey -There are dozens of great uses for it.  It’s a fab protein source for use in smoothies, creamy soups, pasta’s, etc.  I use mine as a chicken supplement, they LOVE it.  There are lots more ideas here (http://dontwastethecrumbs

You’ll need:

  • Crockpot – NOTE.  If you have an instant pot it is MUCH FASTER!  Like less than an hour.  Watch carefully.  I’ve also noted that the faster I heat my milk the more likely I am to get ‘sharper’ more ‘tangy’ yogurt similar to store bought.  I prefer the sweeter milder version.
  • 4 Litres 2% or Homogenized Milk
  • Instant Read Digital Thermometer.  I picked mine up for under $10.
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt (store bought to start, then you can use a cup of the batch to start the next batch)
  • Cheesecloth (can get at $store and can wash and re-use!)
  • Strainer

TIP!  Start your Yogurt one evening as you walk in the door, it will be ready to go to bed when you do.  :)

1.  Pour your Milk into your lg crockpot and turn on HIGH.  Set a timer for 2-3hours!  Once milk is over 180° turn the crockpot OFF.  NOTE:  Not all recipes call to heat to this temp.  It’s key to getting your yogurt to thicken properly.  WATCH CLOSELY once it gets close to 180.  Once you’ve gone over 190 the yogurt is MUCH sharper/ more tart and not as creamy.

Fresh milk getting started

Fresh milk getting started

2.  Take 1 cup yogurt out of your fridge and put into a bowl to come to room temperature.  Set your timer for another 2hrs.  Watch for the temp of the milk in the crockpot to drop to between 110° to 115°.  I typically take my liner out of the crockpot & remove the lid so it cools faster.

Almost time!

Almost time!

3. Once the temp is between 110° and 115° – mix a few ladles of hot milk into your bowl of room temp yogurt &  combine until smooth.  Then mix the bowl of yogurt into the crockpot.  Use Back/forth and side to side motions NOT circular.  I have no idea how come.  If you do, inform me!

4.  Once mixed put the lid back on and wrap your crockpot in a small blanket or lg towel.  Keep away from drafts and leave undisturbed in room temp or warmer.  Walk away and come back 12hrs or overnight (my preference).

In the blankie for the night

In the blankie for the night

5. Ready to strain!  You’ll see the whey has started to separate from the milk.  Line your strainer with cheesecloth and set over a bowl that will hold at least 8 cups of whey – I’m straining into my 12 cup Multi-Purpose Pot (https://danakayal NULL.epicure  It’s got the easy pour spout for using the whey later.  Using a big scoop, move your soft yogurt/whey to your lined strainer.  IF you have a chinois or fine bouillon strainer (https://en NULL.wikipedia you won’t need the cheesecloth!

How beautiful is this?!

How beautiful is this?!

A simple piece of cheesecloth  with a rubber band

A simple piece of cheesecloth with a rubber band

6.  Strain approx 4hrs at room temp for thick Greek yogurt!

First spoonful!  Instant LOVE!!

First spoonful! Instant LOVE!!

7.  Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

My Favorite Mix-ins – Epicure’s Chocolate Truffle (https://danakayal NULL.epicure Summer Berry (https://danakayal NULL.epicure Mix – Top either with fresh berries and you’ll be IN LOVE!

Chocolate Truffle Fruit Dip.  Get in my BELLY!

Chocolate Truffle Fruit Dip. Get in my BELLY!

This yogurt is so creamy and amazing and not as tart, so I used even less dip mix to bring it to a perfect flavor!

Now it's even better!

Now it’s even better!


So recently I’ve discovered a trick!  We accidentally missed the 110-115 window (step 3) when my sister was here, so she turned the crockpot back onto low to bring it up to 110.  Then continued on with the process.  The resulting yogurt was EVEN THICKER with much less whey to strain.  I thought it was a fluke.  Last night I had the same oops.  It had cooled to the 90′s before I caught it so I reheated to 111 and then onto step 4.  Today I’ve gotten 11 cups of thick (stand up on a spoon) yogurt!! 

Compare the whey that seeped into the ladle hole in the ‘regular’ method to the lack of whey in the ‘oops/re-heat’ method.

Regular method - check out the wheyPhoto 2016-12-18, 10 32 09 AM

The Egg Plant – my chicken coop for the laying hens

I’ve had a number of people wonder how my eggs are so clean right from the coop and how the sand based coop works.  Here’s how my coop is set up.

Coop floor

I had old wooden shed on the property so I put on a new roof, added a solid plywood floor and insulated the walls & ceiling.  I had cedar t&G from a defunct sauna that became my wall coverings and the wall behind the roost is covered with linoleum since chickens can be messy poopers while they sleep.

The ‘Floor’

  • I’ve used the deep pile method in the past and didn’t love it.  It was expensive and never really felt ‘clean’ to me.  It’s amazing for compost though!
  • I know chickens LOVE to dust bath and love to scratch in dirt/sand so I went with a sand based floor.
  • I put down a 3″ layer of sand across the entire coop floor.  The girls are continually scratching in it and get the needed grit even during winter when they may not venture out due to snow.
  • It’s SUPER easy to keep clean!  Every few days I take a couple mins & simply rake it pulling out the lumps of poop to pop into a compost pile.  I have also used a type of fork (not sure of the name) with wire across it the tines to turn it into the equivalent of a giant kitty litter scoop.  I can walk into the coop without getting icky shoes & the chickens don’t have goopy feet.  I DO LEAVE the poop that is under their roosting area (half of them roost over the sand, half over the droppings board).  That poop does it’s own ‘deep pile’ method in a corner no-one needs to walk in and every 3-4 months I scoop out lovely composted black gold.  It really doesn’t smell either once it gets going.  It will only smell for the first week or two.
  • My truckload of sand cost me $10 and will fill my coop twice compared to buying pine shavings or hay over and over.  I’ll change my sand annually putting the old sand into my garden!

Coop - poop                  Coop - no poop

The raked up poopy business             The floor after raking

The Roost/Droppings Board

  • Since chickens do a large majority of their digesting and pooping while they sleep (how weird is that!) I knew they’d create a big mess under on their roost so I mounted it over a droppings board.
  • The droppings board has linoleum stapled onto the top so it’s easy to keep clean.  Check with your local floor installing store, they often have scraps of linoleum a couple feet wide they’ll happily give you since it saves them dump fees.
  • Every few days I scrape the droppings board with a dustpan and drop it into the corner where the roost isn’t over the board so all the overnight droppings compost together.  A few times a year I scrub it down with water and a big brush.

Coop - perch over board

You can see here the roost, I need to get a better photo!  Below the roost is the droppings board.  I have only 9 hens and one 8′ roost, which is about 4′ off the ground.  My theory is that if they didn’t have to fight for the highest spot maybe there would be less fighting.  So far so good!  You can see these two huddled up.  All 9 girls fit in about half the space, lol.

Nest Boxes

  • My nest boxes are Dollar Store kitty litter pans!  Super easy to clean.  I keep them nicely filled with pine shavings & my eggs are very clean despite the mud outside.  I think the sand must clean their feet before they hit they nest boxes.  :)
  • So here’s the key… my gals would not use the nest boxes at first and dropped their eggs in the empty spots, i realized it was because as they stood on the edge of the litter pans the pans tipped up!  I put a hunk of wood at the back of the pans to stop them from tipping.
  • The roof above the nest boxes is… wait for it… the droppings board.  I do have a nicely sized coop so could have put things on various walls, although wanted them to have lots of open floor space so that on the -20 days when they stay inside they have room to hang out.
  • The droppings board/Top of the nest box cubby overhangs the boxes by 3″, that way if droppings fall off the board they don’t fall in the nest boxes.

Coop set up