Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011!!!


2010 Has been a great year.  Thank you for stopping by and maybe reading a post or two.    Here's hoping 2011 is a fantastic year for family and friends.  God bless.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Apricot Nut Bread

Here is a nice recipe to use your buttermilk powder and dried apricots.

Apricot Nut Bread
  • ½ cup dried apricots, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup sour milk, or buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Butter a 9 by 5 by 3 inch loaf pan.
  3. In a small saucepan, simmer apricots in the water until the liquid is absorbed.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and nuts. Beat in the milk, egg, and butter until blended completely. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Can be frozen.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Week 37

This is a great week to stock up on canned items that the stores usually put in a "holiday island". Look for sales on cans of pumpkin, cranberry, canned milk and anything else that might be thought of as strickly holiday foods. Cranberry sauce goes great with pork loin anytime of year. How about pumpkin bread for a summer picnic? How about your favorite sweet potato recipe with the summer BBQ. Think outside the marketing box to what you can add to your everyday food storage.

We have a produce store that is a small family owned business close to where I live. They are the go to store when you want local produce or just good quality produce. They aren't the cheapest, by any means, but they do have a set of shelves where they package produce that is past it's prime, but still useable. DH put in an order for banana bread. I like to use bananas that are black. The back shelves had two packages of bananas for .69 each. Most of them were onesies that were still green. Both packages were over 3 lbs. each of great bananas. I took both packages and put them in the hot water heater closet. It is one of the warmer places in the house and a great spot to raise dough or ripen fruit.
Those will make a lot of banana bread. Bargins are all around if you keep your eyes open.

Here is my great banana bread recipe.

Banana Nut Bread
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom of 9 x 5 or 8 x 4-inch loaf pan.  Blend sugar, bananas, butter, milk, vanilla and eggs.  Beat 1 minute at a medium speed.  Stir in the remaining ingredients until all are moistened.  Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.  Cool 5 minutes, remove from pan, cool completely.  Makes one loaf.

Cooks Notes: I usually add more bananas.  I let them get black and then freeze them.  I might be able to get 4 or 5 bananas in a cup that way.  It's a very concentrated sugary flavor that people just love.  They would probably throw up if they saw what the bananas looked like before they go into the bread.  I also add 2 tsps of vanilla and 3/4-1 cup of finely chopped pecans.  I also bake this recipe in very small loaves.  This recipe is very easy to double and triple and the bread freezes well.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All!

I received an email the other day from our California Assemblyman.  He had sent out an invitation to a Christmas party at his office.  Apparently, some of his constituents were offended that he actually called it a Christmas party.  How utterly ridiculous!  If someone wished me Happy Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, I wouldn't be offended. I'd wish them Merry Christmas and delight in the spirit of the greeting. So in that same spirit, I wish all of you the joyous tidings this season offers us, Merry Christmas, whatever your religion or beliefs may be.  May God watch over you and your family at this lovely time of year! Peace on Earth, good will to all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pam’s Cranberry Pomegranate Relish

Thanks to Kelly for posting this holiday fav on her site.

Pam’s Cranberry Pomegranate Relish

1 (3 oz.) package orange jello
1 (3 oz.) package raspberry jello (you can replace these 2 little jello’s for 1 big 6 oz. package (I hear the 3 oz. packages are hard to come by now), a nice alternative is the new cran raspberry flavor, but stick with orange, raspberry, or cran-raspberry, don't do cherry or strawberry, or anything else!)
Dissolve above in 2 cups of boiling water (You'll need to add about ¼ cup of sugar to this, read the explanation above)
Add: 2 (10 oz.) packages of frozen raspberries and stir until thawed (You'll probably have to do the 12 oz. bags because I can't find 10 oz. cans sweetened raspberries anymore)
Add: 1 bag fresh cranberries finely chopped (food processor makes this fast and simple)
1 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans or almonds
Seeds from 1 (large) pomegranate, or 2 small pomegranates
Mix well, refrigerate overnight or several hours in jello molds. To get the relish out of the jello molds, still looking pretty. I like to dip the jellp mold in a hot water bath for about 5 - 10 seconds, then take place my pretty dish upside down, on top of the relish, then flip the whole thing over and let the relish fall out on to the plate. I prefer to use the plastic flexible jello molds that you can sort of squeeze the suction out of a little to get it to all fall out nicely. This little process makes it easy to travel with, then you can flip it for the presentation when you get to your location. Also, if you are traveling with it un-refridgerated for some time, you may want to skip the hot water part.


Pam’s Cranberry Relish, Updated and Tripled 

3 (6 oz.) packages orange jello, and/or raspberry jello, or cran-raspberry
1/2 – ¾ cup sugar (I think it just depends on how tart your cranberries and pomegranates are and how sweet you like your relish, just try it before you set it, and if you have to stir in a little more sugar---go for it!)
Dissolve above in 6 cups of boiling water
Add: 60 oz. frozen raspberries and stir until thawed [5 (12 oz). bags]
Add: 3 bags fresh cranberries finely chopped (food processor makes this fast and simple)
3 cups chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds
Seeds from 3 large pomegranates
Mix well, refrigerate overnight or several hours in jello molds.

New Camera

DH gave me an early Christmas present. My camera gave up the ghost in Peru. So, I snapped a few shots while I was out droppping off gifts. The rainbow pic is for DH since this double rainbow ends at the Home Depot. The perfect pot-of-gold for DH!

DH Put His Order In...

DH put in an order for Raspberry Jalapeno Jam.  So guess what I'm doing today?

Sale Items

I picked up some great information from Home Storage Skills blog.  It's a chart showing the best months to purchase both food and non-food items.  Here is the list for this month.  I have also posted the entire year on the Yearly Sales page. I was in a discount store yesterday to get some curling ribbon and they already had Valentine items out!

December
Food:
Ham
Butter
Cheese
Baking supplies (flour, sugar, yeast chocolate chips, baker’s chocolate, sweetened condensed
milk, cooking oil)
Pie crusts
Ready-made dough
Dinner rolls
Frozen pies
Cake mix
Cake frosting
Pie filling
Refrigerated cookie dough
Spices
Nuts
Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, cranberries)
Oatmeal
Soda

Non-food:
Disposable baking pans
Aluminum foil
Plastic wrap
Electronics
Computers
Carpeting and flooring
Tools
Toys
Winter clothes
Cars
Motorcycles

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ham Stock, Part 2

Make sure to refrigerate the stock before using or canning.  The first pic shows the layer of fat on the chilled stock.  The middle pic is the lovely layer of grease.  The last pic is the gelled stock, full of flavor, not fat!

Update: 12/23/10  I botttled the stock today and got three quart sized jars.  I pc'd the jars for 25 minutes at 10 PSI @ sea level.  They are now ready to go into the cabinet to await some terrific bean or lentil soup.  The stock makes a great base for any of the bean soups.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Week 36


I put on a pot of water today and started the ham stock.  I used dried onions, garlic and parsley from my storage to flavor the the broth.  It's been going for about 5 hours, and is beginning to concentrate the flavors.  I was gently simmering, while at the dentist, but have moved it on to a boil to really boil off some of the water.  It should be a very tasty stock, when finished.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Picture Saved in Provo Tabernacle Fire

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Ham Stock

If you have been to family party for Christmas, chances are you have had ham.  My B-i-L was nice enough to save me a Honey Baked Ham bone.  I used to be one of those people who wondered why people take turkey carcasses or ham bones home?  Now I that I am canning I know.  You can make a rich stock to serve as the basis for many a meal.
Ham Stock
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium carrots,cut into 1-inch chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 to 3 pounds ham bones (shank, hock, or left over from spiral ham)
1 cup loosely packed parsley leaves (about 4 sprigs)
10 black peppercorns
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
4 to 5 quarts cold water

Heat oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables just begin to brown. Pour in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to release the browned bits. Add the bones and the parsley, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaf and water. Bring the liquid to a boil, then drop the heat to medium and simmer for at least 2 hours, preferably more. Strain the liquid through a mesh strainer into a clean pot, discarding the solids. Use immediately, or cool and transfer the stock to the refrigerator or freezer (or pressure can it) for later use.

Cook's Notes: The longer you simmer the more flavor you get.  Some people will do it 6-7 hours.  It all depends on your time frame.  For a frugal tip, save the outer celery leaves and the bottom you usually cut off.  Carrots that are a bit past their prime and onions that are starting to sprout, can be frozen along with the celery, until you are ready to make stock.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What a Week to Get Sick



I'm giving myself some lilacs because they are one of my favs and because I am sick.  I'm not usually one to stay in bed, but I have needed it.  This has been a week I've spent sleeping and trying to breathe!  My DH has been wonderful and kept me in food and videos.  Thanks, honey.  And a special thanks to my little Cozy girl for keeping my feet warm and snuggling with me.  I'm staying in bed one more day, then back to the salt mine on Monday.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

100 Items To Disappear First In A Panic

Last Night, DH had a meeting with others from our church who are in charge of Emergency Preparation for their wards(congregations). One of the leaders said he isn't going to try to store food storage items because they will 1)never use them, 2)don't have room for it, and 3)his wife couldn't bake bread to save herself. Another leader said they aren't going to store food, but a year's worth of money, instead. Are they missing the point or what?  Prophets have been asking us for YEARS to store items to get us through lean times.  Now they have pretty much said they are done warning us.  I see it as an act of faith that we listen to the advice and heed it.  Like many people I looked at the food storage and thought "what if I actually had to eat it".  Hence my commitment to this blog and to do something with my food storage.  Hopefully, I'm not around to see it needed, but if we do I think my wheat & turkey casserole will taste a lot better than a stack of paper money!  Stepping off the soapbox now...

I don't agree with the rankings on some of these items, but it seems like a great starter list.

100 Items To Disappear First In A Panic
By Joseph Almond

#1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. Noisy. target of thieves; maintenance, etc.)
#2. Water Filters/Purifiers (Shipping delays increasing.)
#3. Portable Toilets (Increasing in price every two months.)
#4. Seasoned Firewood (About $100 per cord; wood takes 6 - 12 mos. to become dried, for home uses.)
#5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
#6. Coleman Fuel (URGENT $2.69-$3.99/gal. Impossible to stockpile too much.)
#7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots
#8. Hand-Can openers & hand egg beaters, whisks (Life savers!)
#9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugars
#10. Rice - Beans - Wheat (White rice is now $12.95
- 50# bag. Sam's Club, stock depleted often.)
#11. Vegetable oil (for cooking) (Without it food burns/must be boiled, etc.)
#12. Charcoal & Lighter fluid (Will become scarce suddenly.)
#13. Water containers (Urgent Item to obtain. An size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY)
#14. Mini Heater head (Propane) (Without this item, propane won't heat a room.)
#15. Grain Grinder (Non-electric)
#16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur by September, 1999.)
#17. Michael Hyatt's Y2K Survival Guide (BEST single y2k handbook for sound advice/tips.)
#18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)
#19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula/ointments/aspirin, etc
#20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
#21. Cook stoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
#22. Vitamins (Critical, due 10 Y2K-forced daily canned food diets.)
#23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item.)
#24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products
#25. Thermal underwear (Tops and bottoms)
#26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets & Wedges (also, honing oil)
#27. Aluminum foil Reg. & Hvy. Duty (Great Cooking & Barter item)
#28. Gasoline containers (Plastic or Metal)
#29. Garbage bags (Impossible to have too many.)
#30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, paper towels
#31. Milk - Powdered & Condensed (Shake liquid every 3 to 4 months.)
#32. Garden seeds (Non-hybrid) (A MUST)
#33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
#34. Coleman's Pump Repair Kit: 1(800) 835-3278
#35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
#36. Fire extinguishers (or.. large box of Baking soda in every room...)
#37. First aid kits
#38. Batteries (all sizes... buy furthest-out for Expiration Dates)
#39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
#40. BIG DOGS (and plenty of dog food)
#41. Flour, yeast & salt
#42. Matches (3 box/$1 .44 at Wal-Mart: "Strike Anywhere" preferred. Boxed, wooden matches will go first.)
#43. Writing paper/pads/pencils/solar calculators
#44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime)
#45. Work boots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
#46. Flashlights/LIGHT STICKS & torches, "No. 76 Dietz" Lanterns
#47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (Jot down ideas, feelings, experiences: Historic times!)
#48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water transporting - if with wheels)
#49. Men's Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc
#50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)
#51. Fishing supplies/tools
#52. Mosquito coils/repellent sprays/creams
#53. Duct tape
#54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
#55. Candles
#56. Laundry detergent (Liquid)
#57. Backpacks & Duffel bags
#58. Garden tools & supplies
#59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
#60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.
#61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
#62. Canning supplies (Jars/lids/wax)
#63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
#64. Bicycles... Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc.
#65. Sleeping bags &; blankets/pillows/mats
#66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
#67. Board Games Cards, Dice
#68. d-Con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
#69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & cockroach magnets
#70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks...)
#71. Baby Wipes, diapers, tampons, oils, waterless & Anti-bacterial soap (saves a lot of water)
#72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
#73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)
#74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
#75. Soy sauce, vinegar, bouillon's/gravy/soup base
#76. Reading glasses
#77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
#78. "Survival-in-a-Can"
#79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
#80. BSA - New 1998 - Boy Scout Handbook (also, Leader's Catalog)
#81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)
#82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
#83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
#84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
#85. Lumber (all types)
#86. Wagons & carts (for transport to & from open Flea markets)
#87. Cots & Inflatable mattresses (for extra guests)
#88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
#89. Lantern Hangers
#90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws, nuts & bolts
#91. Teas
#92. Coffee
#93. Cigarettes
#94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc.)
#95. Paraffin wax
#96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
#97. Chewing gum/candies
#98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
#99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs
#100. Goats/chickens

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Make Your Own Pudding

The recipe is from More Make a Mix Cookbook:

2 1/3 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients. Store in container with tight fitting lid.

To use: Combine 2/3 cup mix with 2 3/4 cups milk in a saucepan.
Stir and cook till mixture thickens and begins to boil. Add 2 beaten egg yolks now and cook one more minute. Remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Let cool.

Cook's Notes: The egg yolks can be omitted.  If you are making pie filling, use 1 1/2 cups milk. Flavorings can be added to change the taste.

Goals

One of my goals has been to read (or listen to) the top 100 all-time best books as chosen by 'real' people.  I listen to most of the books while walking my amazingly cute dog or doing mundane tasks like laundry or cleaning.  I just finished listening to Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.  In my never to be humble opinion, that is one of the worst group of characters I have ever come across.  Maybe it was because most professed to be atheists or at the very least, because Rand was. The characters had such a negative vision of life, friendship, love and just about anything else mentioned.  They could be swayed by the mere suggestion of an idea. This book was written before anti-depressants.  Too bad there wasn't a communal bowl of Prozac available.  Maybe, I found it so unbelievable because I have such strong opinions. I don't tolerate wishy-washy folks very well.  After listening to that I needed something I can enjoy.  I'm listening to Vince Flynn's American Assassin.  Mitch Rapp would have shot all the Rand characters just to get them to shut up!

Week 35

Does it feel like soup time, yet?  Here is a very simplified version of Italian Wedding Soup that can use a lot of pantry ingredients, including dehydrated spinach.

Italian Wedding Soup
Mix together in saucepan & bring to a boil:

5 to 6 cans low sodium chicken broth
1 box frozen, chopped spinach (thawed & drained) ~substitute fresh spinach whenever possible
Grated carrot
Dash pepper

Reduce heat to a slow boil. Cook 10 – 20 minutes while you roll the meatballs.

Mix well:
½ lb. ground beef or turkey
½ tsp. basil
½ tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten

Form mixture into very tiny meatballs (about the size of a big fat green pea). Drop meatballs into slowly boiling soup. Stir. Cook 5 minutes.
Stir in:
½ cup Orzo pasta

Cook pasta in soup at slow boil about 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese – about ¼ cup to begin with, add more if desired. You can sprinkle in more Parmesan on individual servings.

If you'd like to can it, try this:

6 cans chicken broth
1/2 carrot, grated

1/8 tsp pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 tsp basil
1 tsp onion powder
1 egg
1 pint canned spinach
1 cup orzo

Mix chicken broth, carrot and pepper. Bring to a boil. Form tiny meatballs with beef, basil, onion and egg. Add to broth.
Process in pressure canner 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts.

To serve, bring to a boil. Add drained spinach and orzo. Cook pasta in soup at a slow boil about 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Serve with fresh bread and lots of Parmesan.




Saturday, December 11, 2010

Make Your Own Evaporated Milk

It always seems to start out this way.  Your DH reminds you that you have to make a dessert for the company Christmas party, tonight.  You then get the brillant idea to make a dump cake.  No, not a regular dump cake, but a pumpkin dump cake.  Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Dump Cake
•1- 15 ounce can pumpkin
•1- 12 ounce can evaporated milk
•3 eggs
•1 teaspoon nutmeg*
•1/2 teaspoon ginger*
•1/2 teaspoon cloves*
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•3/4 cup sugar
•----
•1- 18.25 ounce yellow cake mix
•1 cup walnuts
•3/4 cup or 1-1/2 sticks butter, melted
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 9x13 pan. Completely combine 1st set of ingredients. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with cake mix. Gently pat down with spoon. Sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle with butter. Bake for 50 minutes. Cool and cut in squares.
* Or use 4 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice or Mixed Spice.
Cook's note; I used pecans, because I had them.  I also skipped the melted butter and just cut the butter into pats.

That's when you go shopping in the pantry for the ingredients.  I had all of them.  Then I looked at the label of the evaporated milk.  It was yellowing.  Not a good sign.  That's when I remember that I have a trusty tupperware box of instant milk.  How difficult can it be to make evaporated milk?  Turns out it is very easy!
Here's that recipe:

Easy Evaporated Milk:
To make this you only need dry milk powder and water. Measure 1-1/3 cups water into a jar or bowl. Add 1 cup of instant dry milk powder. Stir or shake to combine. This is the equivalent of a 12-ounce can of evaporated skim milk. To make evaporated whole milk, you will need to add some fat to replace the milk fat in whole milk. Do this by preparing evaporated skim milk and then adding 2-tablespoons of vegetable oil to the milk. Stir it up vigorously to emulsify the fat with the milk. It will separate on standing, so mix it really well right before using it. This is best used in cooking and baking. A spritz of nonstick spray will help the emulsification process.

Check out this website for more powdered milk recipes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix & Marshmallows

From the Deals to Meals site.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. cocoa powder
2 1/2 c. dry powdered milk
1 t. salt 2 t. cornstarch
Dash cayenne pepper (sounds weird, but gives it a little more dimension of flavor)
1 t. vanilla (if making in a large pot)
4-6 c. hot water (or more if you don't like it so rich)

In a large bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, dry powdered milk, salt and cornstarch. Keep cocoa mix in an airtight container. When making cocoa, add 3 T. cocoa mix to 1 c. of hot water. If you like your cocoa more chocolatey, add more cocoa mix. For a really creamy hot chocolate, add warmed milk instead of water. Serve with marshmallows or whipping cream. For a fun holiday twist, add crushed peppermints on top of hot chocolate and a drop of peppermint extract to the cocoa.

And the marshmallows...
Ingredients:
Vegetable oil for brushing
4 pkgs unflavored gelatin
3 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Check out the above site to see the terrific pictures and directions to make your own shaped marshmallows.  As if you already didn't have enough to do in your life!
(I knew I made homemade corn syrup for some good reason.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Homemade Vanilla

I was at the store the other day and saw some vanilla beans.  I wondered what to do with them if I purchased them.  Now I know.

To make homemade vanilla, you'll need:
750 milliliter bottle of vodka
12 whole vanilla beans (more if you want)
dark rum (optional)

Using kitchen scissors, cut vanilla beans in half lengthwise, leaving about an inch connected at one end. Pour out about a cup of the vodka before you add the beans to the bottle because the beans will displace some of the liquid. Now simply push the beans into the bottle. Add about 1/4 cup of dark rum, if using, then add back as much vodka as will fit.

Screw the lid on the bottle tightly and store in a cool, dry location. Shake the bottle once or twice a day at first, then just whenever you think about it. It will take a month or two to steep, but you can use it sooner if you need to. Stored properly, it will be good for years, and in fact, get better as it continues to steep.

Use a small funnel to transfer the steeped vanilla to smaller bottles or use straight out of the big bottle. Tie raffia or ribbons around small bottles to give as holiday gifts. Add a homemade or home-printed label. Or, if an avid baker is on your list, give them a whole big bottle, and be sure to make one for yourself.

You can also poke a split vanilla bean into a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar, which makes a nice treat for your coffee. Give jars of vanilla sugar as gifts! Real vanilla beans are great to keep on hand for all sorts of baking uses. Nothing tastes like real vanilla.

First Presidency 2010 Christmas Message

First Presidency 2010 Christmas Message

An Eye Opener

I have been attending an Institute class for several weeks now.  For those of you that are not LDS, an Institute is where 18-30 year-olds can go for religion classes, luncheons and activities such as playing pool or just kicking back in a safe place. They are usually located in close proximity to colleges, like across the street.  Most Institutes don't teach 'adults' over 30.  Thankfully the HB Institute does and I have been in that class.  Jack Briggs is the teacher, and he is marvelous. Yesterday we spent an hour and a half going over a few scriptures in the old testament and comparing them to the Savior.  I was enthralled.  We broke into groups and looked for the similarities between the life of Joseph and Christ.  From the class handout:

Joseph A Type of Christ
"Moses like Isaac, Joesph and so many others in the Old Testament was himself a prophetic symbol of the Christ who was to come." Jeffrey R. Holland...Christ and the New Covenant; p.137

-Read and Identify...Types/Parallels/Similarities to Christ

Easier to do:
Gen. 37:26-27
Gen. 37:28/Matt. 27:3
Gen. 37:2-3
Gen 39:2 & 21
Gen. 41:42-43
Gen. 43:24

Intermediate to do:
Gen. 37:12-14
Gen. 37:23,Matt. 27:28
Gen. 37:31
Gen. 39:14-18
Gen. 41:46
Gen. 41:57,Matt. 14:20-21

Difficult to do:
Gen. 40:12-19
Gen. 44:1-3,12-13
Gen. 37:26-27, Gen. 44:14,18-33
Gen. 45:25-28, Gen. 46:28-30

What do you learn from that verse/similarity that is vital or important to you?
How could you apply this to your life today?

Using Stevia as a Sugar Substitute in Canning

Stevia is one of the 'new' sweetners and I wondered about using it in canning.  Ehow offers this advice:
http://www.ehow.com/how_7431005_canning-preserving-stevia.html

Monday, December 6, 2010

Week 34

Did I ever mention I used to do a lot of mystery shopping?  That's right, a dream job, shopping, eating, watching movies and staying in hotels on someone else's dime.  It is fun, until you have to write the detailed reports with names, descriptions and timings for everything you eat.  I used to do it quite a bit.  The joke with my family was "entree served 8:06 pm".  I would use a small digital recorder and make notes to myself for the later reports.  I was doing so many of the shops I burned myself out.  I've taken a couple of years off and did a couple of simple shops the past few days.  Basically I got paid to buy a drink and watch the movie. Why am I telling you all of this?  Because I can't believe I am still keeping up this blog and haven't gotten too bored with it.  I figure as long as I can keep learning useful things, I'll keep writing. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Food Storage Program for $5 a Week

I ran across this on another blog. By the end of the year you will end up with this:

500 pounds of wheat
180 pounds of sugar
40 pounds of powdered milk
12 pounds of salt
10 pounds of honey
5 pounds of peanut butter
45 cans of tomato soup
15 cans of cream of mushroom soup
15 cans of cream of chicken soup
24 cans of tuna
21 boxes of macaroni and cheese
500 aspirin
1000 multi-vitamins
6 pounds of yeast
6 pounds of shortening
12 pounds of macaroni

Each week you will spend about $5 per week, some weeks more, some less. By checking weekly ads you can buy the items listed during sales.  Print out the PDF file and post it somewhere you will see it each week.  When the weekly ads come out spend a few minutes looking for the sale items and match them up with one of your weeks.  Or better yet, give this assignment to the kids and tell them it's a treasure hunt!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Apple Juice

I finished picking apples from our trees and am steam juicing them today.  We have 3 different varieties of apples planted in one hole.  See info here.  We have Fuji, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious.  I picked what was left on and threw them together to get the juice.  Most were small apples, so it was easiest to throw them all in a sink, rinse them and slice in half for the steamer.  In these times, I'm trying to use everything instead of letting the birds pick the rest.  In the spirit of self-reliance, I am trying to be more aware of not wasting food.  Another reason for the blog...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Still Have Leftover Turkey?

I Dare You to Eat ItI used a recipe I adapted from Liesa Card's book, to finish off the rest of the edible turkey bits.  Her recipe is Hot Chicken and Wheat Casserole.  I subbed turkey for the chicken.
Hot Chicken & Wheat Casserole
Fresh Ingredients:
1/2 c butter
1 c. celery, diced
1 c. onion, diced
1 c. green pepper, diced
2 Tbl. butter
Storage Ingredients:
6  c. cooked wheat berries
2 cans (12.5 oz.) chicken chunks
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1 can sliced water chestnuts (6 oz)
1 c. bread crumbs

Saute the diced veggies in 1/2 cup butter until partially cooked and bright.  Add wheat berries, chicken chunks, soup, mayo and drained H20 chestnuts.  Stir to combine.  Pour mixture into an oiled 9 x 13 pan and sprinkle the top with browned bread crumbs.
Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes.

She says it is better prepared a day ahead of time.  I skipped the water chestnuts. I browned the bread crumbs in a pan with butter after I did the veggies. 

Verdict: DH said, "Yeah it wasn't bad. I'd eat it again." 
I liked it, personally.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 33

It's Granola Monday!  I opened a #10 can of 6-grain mix and doubled the granola recipe.  I've decided I like the all maple syrup flavor best, so I buy the Kirkland bottled pure maple syrup @ Costco. I also added puffed millet and puffed wheat at the end of the cooking.  I've found that the puffed cereals get hard if you mix them in at the beginning and let them bake.  I mix the puffed cereals and dried fruits (raisins, cranberries and pineapple) in during the last ten minutes of cooking.  I add in flax seed and coconut with the six-grain mix.  It makes quite a tasty cereal and for a fraction of the cost of store bought granola. Plus I know exactly what has gone in it!

I also pulled a can of long spaghetti from the the shelves.  It's as old as my daughter! I think I will try to make spaghetti pie.  It's a comfort food and I'll be able to see if the pasta is eatable.

And I am also making whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread.  Just the usual recipe, but I added cinnamon sugar and raisins to it when I shaped the loaf.  Another experiment...while listening to Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, on my MP3 player.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Chicken Sumi Salad with a Twist

I have turkey leftovers so that's the twist.  Here's a simple, tasty recipe with probably most of the ingredients already in your fridge or pantry.
Chicken Sumi Salad 
1 (3 oz.) package of chicken flavored Top Ramen    
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 cups chicken, cooked, chilled & shredded
1/2 cup oil
1 flavor packet from the ramen
2 TBl vinegar
2 TBl sugar
salt
pepper
Remove flavor packet from ramen and reserve for the dressing.  Crush ramen noodles into 1/2 inch pieces.  Set aside.  Toss together cabbage, onions, almonds, sesame seeds and chicken.  Add noodles and toss again. Just before serving, add dressing and toss again.
Dressing:Blend flavor packet, oil, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Before using, beat with a whisk to blend well.
Cook's Notes:I also add dried cranberries to the salad. I buy bulk cranberries and almonds when they go on sale.  I store them in the freezer until I use them in my granola recipe or any other recipe I like.  I used dried white onions, instead of green.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Stock for Soup



 
I think I will be following this recipe and then canning turkey soup.

Making Stock

1 Remove all the usable turkey meat from the turkey carcass to save for making sandwiches later or for adding to the soup.

2 Break up the leftover bones of the carcass a bit, so they don't take up as much room in the pot. Put the leftover bones and skin into a large stock pot and cover with cold water by an inch. Add any drippings that weren't used to make gravy, and any giblets (except liver) that haven't been used already. Add a yellow onion that has been quartered, some chopped carrots, parsley, thyme, a bay leaf, celery tops, and some peppercorns.

3 Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to a bare simmer or just below a simmer. ( If you would like to have a clear stock, do not bring the stock to a boil, but keep the stock below a simmer, as the more you simmer, the more cloudy the stock will be.) Skim off any foamy crud that may float to the surface of the stock.

4 Add salt and pepper, about 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper. It sort of depends on how big your turkey is. You can always add salt to the soup later.

5 Cook for at least 4 hours, uncovered or partially uncovered (so the stock reduces), occassionally skimming off any foam that comes to the surface. To help maintain a steady, even heat, you can cook the stock in a 180-200°F oven.

6 Remove the bones and veggies and strain the stock, ideally through a very fine mesh strainer.

7 If making stock for future use in soup you may want to reduce the stock by cooking it longer, uncovered, at a bare simmer or just below a simmer, to make it more concentrated and easier to store.


Making the Turkey Soup

Prepare the turkey soup much as you would a chicken soup. With your stock already made, add chopped carrots, onions, and celery in equal parts. Add some parsley, a couple cloves of garlic. Add seasoning - poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram and/or a bouillion cube. Cook at a bare simmer until the vegetables are cooked through. (Or you can sauté the vegetables in a little fat rendered from the soup first, and add back to the soup right before serving.) You can add rice, noodles*, or even leftover mashed potatoes (or not if you want the low carb version). Take some of the remaining turkey meat you reserved earlier, shred it into bite sized pieces and add to the soup. You may also want to add some chopped tomatoes, either fresh or canned. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes a dash or two of Tabasco gives the soup a nice little kick.

Happy Thanksgiving




I'm grateful for this fabulous country that we live in.  I'm so thankful for wonderful family and friends and the ability to worship freely as I see fit.  I am in awe of the bounteous blessings I have each day in my life.  I have a roof over my head, food on my table and a comfortable bed to sleep in each night.  Thanks for letting me  share my journey with you and hope you are learning a little bit along with me.  Thanks for the support and encouragement you give me along the way.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Scary...

I finished reading this book while on our recent vacation.  It made me think I don't have enough toilet paper and bullets.  Mind you. DH and I have been preparing for years because we have been asked to and because it makes sense.  In this story, the premise is about an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) bomb that is detonated over the U.S.  It wipes out any electronics from a can opener to cars to ATM's.  If it happened a hour from now, how would you and your family fare?  Would you be able to cook? Heat your home? Do you have cash on hand?  Could you shot someone breaking into your home because they know you have food and they want all you have?

I feel we are better prepared than probably 95% of people around us.  We have food and water stored. Most of our house runs on solar panels.  We have a garden and fruit trees. We've taken CERT (Citizen Emergency Response Team) classes and have an understanding of what we face when 'the big one' hits So Cal.  Those classes were taught by a fire captain who told us we would be on our own for at least a week.  The fire trucks will be out making sure neighborhoods aren't burning, but they will NOT be stopping to help citizens.  The same with police and any other emergency responders.  It will be up to our families to take care of ourselves.

In an earlier post, I showed some items in my emergency car kit.  One thing to have in your cars ladies, are a pair a broken-in shoes and socks.  If you have to hoof it home from work, church, etc. your Jimmy Choo's ain't going to make it.

This book is worth the read.  Even though it is a fictionalized account, the technology is real and viable.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Week 32

Yes, I know it's more than week 32, but I couldn't do much from Peru!  I'm back.  What a trip.  Here's a couple of pics.  More later...

The Amazon River

A view through the Machu Picchu Ruins

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hola from Cusco, Peru

We spent a couple of days in the Amazon. Everything was incredible including the humidity.  More on that later.  We´re in Cusco and are taking the train to Machu Picchu in the morning. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Green Sauce Canning Recipe

This recipe is taken directly from Cyn @ http://creativecanning.blogspot.com/2010/11/green-sauce.html

Green Sauce
5 lbs tomatillos washed and cut into small hunks
2 lbs anaheim chili's roasted and prepared or 1 lg can roasted green chili
6 jalapenos chopped
3 large onions chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice or to taste
2 cups water
8 cloves garlic chopped
1 TBS Lawry's seasoned salt, or to taste
2 TBS Cumin or to taste

Bring all to a boil and boil covered on low for about 20 minutes. I then took my stick mixer (immersion blender) and blended all.

Pour into jars, wipe rims and I pressured this at 11 lbs for 25 minutes.

This sauce may have to have some thickening before using. I will be using it as a sauce for enchiladas and as a soup base. I really like the color and the flavor. You can add tomatoes if you want as well. If you like spicier add more jalapenos or a pinch of cayenne powder. I have made this using lime juice insted of lemon and really liked it as well. The tomatillos keep this sauce mild.

Week 31

 This is going to be a short week.  We are leaving for Peru on Thursday.  I don't know if I'll have time for any updates on the road, but maybe.  I am reading a couple of books at the moment that you might find interesting. Both books are small paperbacks that include fs strategies and recipes. 

Liesa's site:
http://www.idareyoutoeatit.com/

Crystal's site:
http://everydayfoodstorage.net/

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thanks, Whitney

Here's a shout out to my friend Whitney for taking pity upon me and my bread making plight.  For those that don't know or remember, I made one loaf that was edible and that was it.  Whitney invited me over for a lesson in making a decent loaf of bread (and being able to repeat the process).  The recipe we used is actually from Crystal Godfrey's site. Crystal has a terrific site with all kinds of food storage recipes and how to videos.  We baked one loaf and I brought the second loaf home to raise overnight in the fridge.  They both
turned out wonderfully.  Let's see if I can repeat the results on my own.  I also wanted to mention that my DH dragged out some sugar that had been sitting in our garage and asked me to use it.  What's the big deal you say?  It was packed in a bucket in 1975.  I will admit I was skeptical about using it. I mean it's older than my kid!  It was in a sealed bag in a plastic bucket that had also been sealed with some sort of tape.  I had imagined it would be rock hard, but it wasn't terribly solid. I tasted it and funny, it tasted just like sugar.  Imagine that.  I did use it today in some of the pomegranate jelly I'm making for DH's work.  Will I never see the end of the poms?  I didn't tell you did I about all the pints I made yesterday that did not set up?  Yep, 4 dozen pints are going to have to be redone as it is pom syrup not jelly.  The ones I did today, I added extra pectin to, so hopefully they will set up firmly.  I'm trying to get all this done before we leave on our trip next week.  I feel like I have no time left...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Yesterday

Yesterday was a loooong day.  We were at the polling place at 5:40 am.  We met with all the other poll workers and finished the set up process that DH and I did the night before. We had everything ready to open the polls @ 7 am.  It was a busy day and since I served as the inspector, I was in charge of the provisional ballots.  Normally you would have to cast 3 or so, but for some reason a lot of voters did not receive their vote-by-mail ballots.  I had to process over 30 voters with provisional ballots.  It kept me busy.  Since I was the last word on helping voters I  was on my feet most of the day.  We closed the polls at 8 pm and finished the repacking and tallying about 9 ish.  From there it was off to drop the ballots and materials back to the drop off location at our local police station.  We finally made it home about 9:45 last night. Maybe that is why I am dragging today!  That and the fact that Cali is full of idiots that voted for Moonbeam Jerry, again.  It wasn't bad enough the first time... Maybe if we vote to have Orange County secede from the rest of the state....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Week 30

Can you believe I'm still juicing the pomegranates?  I am soooo over pomegranates.  I'm not even going to juice them all!  Anybody want the rest?  This is going to be another busy week.  DH and I are going to set up a polling place tonight.  I am working as a polling place inspector tomorrow.  We have to be there at 6 am and work all day until polls close at 8 pm.  I have to break everything down, tally equip., etc. and drop off the ballots @ 9-9:30pm.  That will be a long day.  We are anticipating a heavy turn out.  If you don't vote, you have no right to complain, so GO VOTE!!!  (I'm stepping down from the soapbox now...)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Week 29

Guess what I've been doing?  BTW, the first pic shows all the poms I have yet to juice!  I made the mistake of telling DH that I saw a tree loaded with big, red poms, while I was walking the dog.  He went over and got permission to pick the entire tree if we wanted.  They were nice and juicy.  I steam juiced almost five quarts last night.  At $1.99 each in the stores and $6 for a pom juice, this is a score!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just had my blood drawn. I HATE NEEDLES!!!

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pomegranate Jelly

Here is the recipe from my friend Robin:

Pomegranate Jelly
3 3/4 cups pomegranate juice (approx. 4 lbs or 10-12 poms)
1  pkg. pectin (use sure-jell, not mpc)
4 1/2 cups sugar

Sterilize jars and lids. Strain juice, add pectin to juice.  Heat to boil. Add sugar and boil 2 minutes.  Skim, and fill jars to within 1/8".  Invert 2-3 minutes. Turn upright. Cool.
DO NOT double this recipe!
Makes (6) 1/2 pints

I don't know about you, but not BWB jelly, especially for gifts, does not appeal to me. It is too easy for whatever to start growing in jelly. I will be using this recipe instead. I'll use Pomona Pectin and a BWB canner.

Pomegranate Jelly
Pomegranates - 8 or 9 large fully ripe pomegranates (or 5 cups prepared juice) That also about 5 lbs of fresh pomegranates. If you want to start with pomegranate juice (5 cups bottled, without sugar added or reconstituted from frozen, without sugar.
Pectin
Lemon juice - The Ball Blue Book recipe does not include lemon juice, but adding 1/4 cup per batch can help improve the set and reduce spoilage.
Sugar - About 4.5 cups of dry, granulated (table) sugar.

More later.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Busy Day

Yesterday, I was removing pomegranate seeds and juicing them.  Kudos to my friend Robin for telling me she removed the seeds under water.  Much cleaner, although juice still made it out into a few random spots.  DH brought home a bag of poms from someone at work.  Actually he had asked if anyone had any, and he would take them off their hands.  That's where I have to take the kudos back from Robin.  You see, she gave me a jar of her pomegranate jelly and DH loved it.  "Couldn't you make some jelly like that"?, says he. So yesterday I did a sink full of poms and juiced them.  Then he brings me home another bag when he gets home from work.  "Thanks, dear".  Oh course, he doesn't realize what a time consuming and messy proposition dealing with this fruit is. So today, I had to go to a refresher course for working at the polls on 11/2.  Then I had visits with the RS presidency, then home to process this other bag of poms, and later another meeting I have to go to. I'll post the jelly recipe later.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lemon Curd

Does everyone know what lemon curd is?  It is a mixture of lemon, sugar and cooked eggs that is fabulous when made correctly.  It really isn't a difficult process, although about half way through the cooking you'll think it's ruined.    The consistency is a creamy, custardardy (it's a word in my world) glob of goodness that can be used on toast or in a dessert.

If you thought you couldn't BWB dairy and eggs you're correct, except for this lemon curd. The University of Georgia has come up with a very specific recipe to make lemon or lime curd. The recipe should be followed to exacting standards when dealing with eggs.  The canned curd has a short shelf life of 3-4 months, but Christmas is coming up.  This would make a great gift to the neighbors with a loaf of fresh bread.

Speaking of Christmas, is everyone done shopping? In my world it is, unfortunately that doesn't translate into the real physical world...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Week 28

Making French Onion Soup

DH had jury duty today, so I stayed home and canned pineapple and french onion soup.  As the weather is cooling down, and it was drizzily, today was a great day for it.

Here's the recipe:
12 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons butter
7 medium onions sliced (I used 5 large)
3/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp steak sauce (any kind)
2 tsp salt if desired (My broth was salty so I did not use)

I cut the onions and cooked in the butter until slightly limp.
I divided the onions evenly among the jars. I added the seasoning to the broth, stirred well, and poured into the jars to the fill line. (add water if needed) I pressured canned at 11PSI for 75 minutes for quarts.

To serve, heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast french bread slices. (1 per bowl)
Then set oven to broil. Use an ovenproof bowl, place on baking sheet, and add soup, then a slice of the toasted bread, then cheese, I use mozzarella and provolone, then sprinkle with parmesan. Put under broiler till the cheese turns brown and serve.
My Notes on the soup.
I used a combination of water, bouillion and marsala wine for the broth.  I used a combination of chicken and beef bouillion.  The onions I browned in olive oil in a cast iron skillet.  They didn't cook long enough to carmelize, but they did brown.  I also used 5 large brown onions, instead of 7.  It made more than enough onions.I used a very generous Tbl. of garlic powder with parsley and 2 Tbl. of Worcestershire Sauce and 1 of A-1.