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!

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
Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, cranberries)

Disposable baking pans
Aluminum foil
Plastic wrap
Carpeting and flooring
Winter clothes

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.


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
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...
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:

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...