Monday, January 31, 2011

Week 42

Welcome to week 42.  This week, I thought I would concentrate on a food storage staple, the humble potato flake. I'll be adding some recipes to help you use your potato flakes.  One note, flakes are not the same as the potato pearls which the LDS storehouses  always sold.  Potato Pearls do not react the same as the flakes. The potato flakes can be used in many different recipes, whereas the pearls are really only good as mashed potatoes.  If you have pearls older than 5 years, open a can to see if they are still palatable.

Potato flakes are potatoes that have been through an industrial process of cooking, mashing, and drying to yield a convenience food that can be reconstituted in seconds by adding hot water or milk, producing a close approximation of mashed potatoes.

You can use the flakes in many recipes, not just for mashed potatoes.  I pulled this recipe off RecipeLink.

Easy Mashed Potato and Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas
Makes 6 servings.

To speed this up, make it into a casserole.

1 head broccoli, cut into florets
8 ounces whole button mushrooms
3 small zucchini, chopped
2 cups chopped carrots
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups water
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 (7.6 ounce) package instant mashed potato flakes
1 (12 ounce) package corn tortillas
3 cups enchilada sauce
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini and carrots. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread vegetables in a single layer in a medium baking dish.

Roast vegetables in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes; stir halfway through their cooking time. When finished cooking, remove from the oven, and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Bring water, milk and butter to a boil in a large pot. Remove the pot from heat, and mix in the mashed potato flakes. Let stand two minutes, then stir the mashed potatoes with a fork until they are smooth. In a large bowl, mix together potatoes and roasted vegetables.

In a dry, nonstick skillet over medium heat, quickly heat each tortilla on both sides to make pliable. Dip the tortillas in enchilada sauce. Put a large spoonful (approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup) of potato-veggie mixture into the center of each tortilla. Top mixture with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of cheese, and roll tortillas. Place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Pour extra sauce over top, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, until the enchiladas are heated through.
Note: Many of these items you probably already have in your pantry or freezer.  If you'd like, open some dehydrated veggies and reconstitute them a little while in water.  Or use some home canned carrots or zucchini.  This is a great test recipe because you will mainly be getting your flavor from the enchilada sauce and cheese.  So go ahead and sneak more veggies in.  The kids and/or DH will never notice.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

California Honey Orange Slices

I heard one of the weathermen telling people to stock up on supplies today because this week they are expecting alot of ice and power outages.
This is a great time to use citrus.  All the trees here in SoCal are loaded.  I saw a kumquat tree in somebody's yard that that so much fruit it was weighing down the tree branches. I might get brave and ask if I can pick some of the fruit.

California Honey Orange Slices

4 large oranges
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups honey
4 tsp lemon juice
3 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 tsp whole cloves
1 1/2 tsp whole allspice

Prepare home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer's instructions.

Slice oranges, discarding end pieces; cut slices in half and place in a saucepan.

Add just enough water to cover & bring to a boil, then reduce heat.

Simmer until peel is tender, about 30 minutes (make sure to test a small bite to make sure it is tooth tender); drain.

Combine sugar, honey and lemon juice; bring to a boil.

Add orange slices and spices tied in a cheesecloth bag or a tea ball (I used mulling spices and it worked quite nicely in this recipe); simmer for 40 minutes.

Pack hot orange slices into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.

Ladle hot syrup over orange slices, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.

Remove air bubbles with nonmetallic spatula and make sure to wipe jar rim clean.

Screw band down evenly and firmly, just until a point of resistance is met fingertip tight.

Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Adjust time according to altitude.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Does a Quarter Pounder and a Bottle of Cleaning Product Have in Common?

Answer: They both contain ammonia...

From comes this excerpt from an article.

...But before even going to the contamination issue, which the press went all agog about, what about the presence of ammonia in beef? How did the USDA come to approve treating food with a substance that’s corrosive to the skin, eyes, and lungs — that literally can eat a hole through the gut?

Processed Meat & Fat "Paste"
It seems that back in 2000 or so, the executives at Beef Products Inc. felt frustrated that they couldn’t use the fatty waste in the beef for anything except pet food and cooking oil, since fat is so vulnerable to bacterial contamination and wouldn’t pass inspection. But then, someone at the company had a money-making brainstorm — if the fatty matter could be treated with large-amounts of ammonia, perhaps the contaminants would die and then the waste could be ground into a paste, added to hamburg, and sold for a far higher price. And sure enough, tests showed that the ammonia did seem to kill off E. coli and salmonella, and the company started marketing its ammonia-treated products far and wide. The FDA and USDA approved, and in fact, granted an exemption to Beef Products, Inc. so that the ammonia-infused ground beef coming out of that company didn’t have to go through regular inspections. Now, ammonia-treated beef ends up in 70 percent of all hamburger sold in the US, including meat sold at Burger King, McDonald's, through the school lunch program, and in numerous supermarket chains...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Equivalency Chart

Linda, over at My Kind of Cooking, has posted this useful chart on her blog.  She has some great recipes you also might be interested in.
Equivalency Chart

American Cheese, 1 pound = 2 2/3 cup cubed cheese
American Cheese, 1 pound = 5 cups grated cheese
Apple, 1 medium = 1 cup
Banana, 1 medium = 1/3 cup of mashed banana
Bread, 1 1/2 slice = 1 cup soft bread crumbs
Bread, 1 slice = 1/4 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
Butter, 1 stick or 1/4 pound = 1/2 cup
Coconut, 1 1/2 pounds package = 2 2/3 cups
Lemon, 1 medium = 3 tablespoons juice
Macaroni, 8 ounce package = 6 cups cooked
Nuts, 1/4 pound = 1 cup chopped
Onion, 1 medium = 1/2 cup diced
Oranges, 3 to 4 medium = 1 cup juice
Saltine crackers, 28 crackers = 1 cup fine crumbs
Spaghetti, 7 ounces = 4 cups cooked
Vanilla Wafers, 22 cookies = 1 cup fine crumbs

Monday, January 24, 2011

Week 41

How about starting off the week with easy grape juice concentrate?

1. Wash and sterilize canning jars, lids, and rings. Fill water bath pan halfway with water to boil. At the same time, fill another pan with water to boil. This water will be added to the jars.

2. Wash grapes and remove stems and any damaged fruit.

3. Measure one cup of grapes and one cup of sugar for each quart jar.

4. Add a cup of hot tap water in the jar and add the sugar, then swirl it around until the sugar is dissolved. Add the grapes.

5. Fill the jar the rest of the way with boiling water. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe jar top to clean. Screw on rings and lids fairly tight.

6. Place jars in water bath canner. Add boiling water to cover jars. Process 25 minutes.

7. Remove jars and place on rack or towel to cool. As you can see, the grapes may or may not float. Either way, the taste will be the same. Allow the jars to sit for at least 3 weeks to develop the best flavor.

8. Serve in a pitcher with a strainer or drain juice off. Add 1/2 to one jar of water to concentrate. (Taste to decide.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Week 40

I've been so busy, I forgot to let myself know, this is week 40!  Our presidency is meeting at 9 am for a meeting and to make some visits  to some of the older ladies at church.  We are bringing them fresh bread and jam.  I set the sponge out yesterday afternoon.  I got up at 4:30 to read and start the dough.  Hopefully, it will all work out!

Last night, I was helping some of the young women from our church, make a basic black skirt.  Okay, it's been a while since I have sewn, but patterns changed that much?  I was helping to make a skirt with a drop waist with a gathered bottom. I remember doing something similar a looong time ago. So, when I looked at the directions, it didn't show you how to attached the front side of the drop waist.  It took right off from it being sewn on to the next step.  I guess they figure they can save money by not putting in as many drawing as they used to.  It's kind of like what is happening with our food.  Manufacturers are making it smaller, but using the same size box, so you think you're getting the same thing as before.  I really noticed it when I bought a large frozen pizza.  I took it out of the box, which hadn't changed, only to find what I would call a small pizza.  I wonder what the small pizzas look like now. My DH also mentioned that they are only putting 20 cans of soda in a case instead of 24, but charging the same price. It's a great time to learn how to make a great pizza!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Beef Primer

Has anyone else noticed that the cost of beef is getting ridiculously high?  It behooves us to get to know exactly what we are getting when we buy beef.  I received an email from Everyday Food Storage.  It was a primer on buying meat and saving money.  Interestingly enough, we can actually get some great deals if we are willing to do a bit of research and educate ourselves on beef.  Spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with beef by reading this tutorial.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pantry Cooking

DH was at Trader Joe's last night and they were doing a tasting demo.  He brought home the recipe and a box of the cornbread mix.  When I looked at the recipe, I discovered that I already have everything either in the pantry or freezer. I am going to divide this into 3 separate containers.  I'll freeze two and cook the other for din-din tonight. Here's the recipe:

Baked  Cornbread Chili
1 pkg. 80/20 ground beef (about a lb. worth)     freezer
                      1 cup diced onions *                                 food storage
           2 cans beef chili with beans                   pantry
     1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies    pantry
             1 package shredded cheddar cheese **      freezer         
                         1 box cornbread mix                 pantry
Saute beef with onions until cooked.  Add chili and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Place meat mixture in a casserole dish and top with shredded cheese.  Prepare cornbread mix according to package directions and pour over the shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until thee top is firm and golden brown.

*Dehydrated onions will keep for a long time and come in handy when a recipe calls for onions. They can be used in soups, stews, sauces, seasonings and to add flavor. When substituting dehydrated onions for fresh onions, use 1/4 cup of dehydrated chopped onions to one cup of fresh, chopped onions.
Re-hydrate the onions only when a recipe calls for a fresh onion and its other ingredients doesn't supply the necessary moisture for hydration. For example, it isn't necessary to hydrate the dried onions when adding it to soup. To hydrate dried onions, add two cups of water to one cup of dried onions and soak for almost an hour. Do this when you are ready to use the onions.  Info courtesy of

**I buy a large 5 lb. bag of fancy shredded cheddar at Smart & Final (big box store).  I then divide the package into 8 oz. portions. (I use a kitchen scale) I place each 8 oz. portion into a freezer bag.  I take the smaller bags and place them in a larger size freezer bag.  I keep one bag out for use as needed in the fridge. 
This saves a lot of money and makes it convenient since most times the cheese is never on sale when you need that 1 cup of shredded cheddar.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Great Tip

Millie commented that you can get the shiny, smaller pans at Dollartree for guess how much?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Notes on Whole Wheat Bread

 I was talking to a couple of fellow bread makers today about the recipe I have used as of late.  I let them know that a narrower bread pan works better for ww bread.  I am currently using an 8 x 4 1/2" pan.  This size is narrower which allows the bread to rise up instead of out.  I have been using the recipe with the sponge.  I have only allowed it to sit overnight or longer, not the 5-hour window the author gives in her blog.  For some reason this has given the bread that 'flubber' feel when sliding it from the soak bowl into the mixer.

My friend Jann told me, that a shiny aluminum pan works better for bread baking, according to Alton Brown. 

 I also only use filtered water. I don't think I mentioned that to my friends.  I don't really know if that makes a difference.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bread Recipe Redo

I have successfully repeated making a decent loaf of whole wheat bread.
Instead of making 4-5 loaves, I wanted to break the recipe down to make just one loaf.  Here is the recipe I used and was very happy with the results. Here is the link to the original recipe.

To make the sponge, I used:
1 1/2 cups of ww flour
1 3/4 cup hot water. 
Mix the flour and water till the big lumps are gone. I have only left the sponge to sit overnight. The longer it rests the more it smooths out. I have not tried a shorter period of 'sponge rest'.

To the sponge I add:
1/2 Tsp. salt
1 Tbl. butter
1/4 cup honey. 
Mix for 2 minutes.

Then add:
1 1/2 cups ww flour
1 Tbl. yeast
1 Tbl. gluten 
1 Tbl. potato flakes. 
Knead for 15 minutes, roll it out to get rid of the air bubbles, shape and place in a greased pan. Allow to raise till doubled. 

Bake for 10 minutes @ 350 degrees, then place a piece of foil over the bread for the rest of the baking time.  I've found it prevents the crust from becoming too browned. Continue baking for 20-25 minutes longer. When finished, remove from pan while hot, and spread top with butter to keep the crust soft.  Place hot loaf in a bread keeper or plastic bag to keep the crust soft.  Enjoy.

Another Busy One...

Tuesday, I was at the cannery helping to fulfill our assignment.  I ended up purchasing sugar, white wheat and potato flakes.  I took off Wednesday to drive to an uncle's funeral in Fresno.  Drove back the next day.  Today I helped at a memorial that was held at church.  What a week. 

How About Sprouting Some Wheat?

What else can we do with our wheat?  We can sprout it.  When wheat berries are sprouted, it increases the vitamins such as;

•Vitamin B1 (thiamin) increase of 28%
•Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) increase of 315%
•Vitamin B3 (niacin) increase of 66%
•Vitamin B5 (pantathenic) increase of 65%
•Biotin increase of 111%
•Folic acid increase of 278%
•Vitamin C increase of 300%

How to sprout the wheat berries.
You will need a wide mouthed quart sized canning jar, or other jar, and a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth. Fill the jar half full of water, add three tablespoons wheat berries and let stand over night. The next morning strain and rinse the wheat berries using a fine mesh strainer. Cover jar with a terry cloth or mesh screen and hold it in place with a rubber band.

Place sprouts on their side facing towards a window so they receive light, but not sunlight. Rinse sprouts a couple of times a day. Within three days you will see that your sprouts have come to life. If the sprouts are not green than they need more light. It only takes a few hours for the sprouts to turn green.  Once your berries have sprouted they should be kept in the refrigerator to retain freshness. Add sprouts to salads and soups. They are good in scrambled eggs and omelets, on sandwiches and lightly sauteed in butter. Eat them with salad, as a side dish, on your potatoes or rice.

And the Winner is...

Amy.  Thanks for following my blog!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

From Australia

There used to be bottled water on these shelves Twitpic
Empty store shelves due to flooding.

Wheat Wonder Bread

 One of my favorite food storage books is, "I Dare You to Eat It" by Liesa Card.  She also has a website with the same name.  I found yet another whole wheat bread recipe to try.  She calls it, 7-Minute Bread. Well, guess what?  I made wheat bread that did not turn out like a bread brick.  Liesa starts with what she calls 'a sponge'.  No the the scrubby kind, but one that is made with whole wheat flour and water.  All you do is mix it well and let it sit for 3-6 hours. 

Since I started late in the afternoon, I allowed the sponge to sit overnight.  I covered it after mixing well and just left it on the counter.  Next morning it had separated a bit, so I stirred it together and continued with the recipe.  It was simple and turned out great.  This recipe is supposed to make 5 loaves.  I made 4 loaves in 8x4 1/2" pans.  They turned out terrific.  DH said that was one of the best I had made.  But the test is repeating the recipe to get the same results. 

Second time around I increased the yeast to 3 tablespoons.  Since I have a KitchenAid mixer, I divided the recipe in half and poured 1/2 in the mixing bowl and the other half was saved till later.  I mixed the dough on speed 4, which I'm sure KitchenAid would not recommend.  It kneaded for the required 15 minutes and came out wonderfully.  The dough was still soft, yet completely kneaded and pulling away from the bowl.  I shaped the loaves, popped them in the hot water closet and went back to  the second half of the batch.  I repeated the process and added them to the closet.  Half way through the rise, I switched two loaves to sit directly on the water heater and the other to the shelf above it.  (It's quite toasty in there).

Surprise, surprise, surprise. I think I made a very nice loaf of bread!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Yesterday's Lesson, Part 1 & 2

I am in the Presidency of the women's organization in my church. The first Sunday of each month the Presidency takes turns teaching the lesson for that organization. I switched to this past Sunday, so I could use foods as examples in my lesson. The first Sunday of the month is also a day of fasting for us, so my lesson would have been difficult to do. I've entitled my lesson, "Lessons I've Learned in 2010". I have filmed it and placed them below. I spent Saturday making whole wheat bread and turkey wheat casserole. I also served blackberry jalapeƱo jam over cream cheese with wheat thins. You Tube only allows videos to be 15 minutes, so that is why the lesson is in two parts. Enjoy!

Week 39

I was on a couple of websites and found these posts today. This is why we prepare:
I just got a facebook message from a friend of my daughter's. He lives in Atlanta, and apparently they are supposed to get a big snowstorm, with 3-5" of snow (not a lot for us in Utah, but it is Atlanta, after all), 24 hours from now. He posted pictures of the store shelves--they were completely empty! Good reason to be well-stocked. You never know what will come along to panic people into clearing the shelves at the stores.

I live in the Atlanta area. The shelves are emptying out. Most here only keep 2- 3 days of food in the pantry. The thought is with a grocery store only 5 minutes away, or you pass several on the way home from work, why buy so much at one time.

We had to pick up some hinges for cabinet doors we are building in the garage and noticed in the big box store that even flashlights and batteries were in low supply. I couldn't help wonder why people didn't already have a supply of these. I know,,, second guessing people's choices doesn't work.

If this storm does come through as they seem to be predicting, Atlanta area will be shut down. Not enough equipment for clearing roads and the biggest majority of people just do not know how to drive in this kind of weather. A blessing and a curse of living in the south :)

and from this article...
Below are items that are currently in short supply on store shelves throughout Atlanta:
Beer and wine
Batteries – especially C and D size
Rock salt
Kitty litter

Here's a video that shows what any emergency can cause:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Week 38


Once again I am trying to make decent whole wheat bread. I am using a recipe from the I Dare You to Eat It blog.  This method involves making a wheat & water sponge, then finishing the loaves.  We'll see if this is  'the one'.  I also learned that if you have doing laundry at the same time as making bread, you can place the loaves in the dryer to rise (once the clothes are out, of course).  It will cut down on the rising time.

Don't for get to register to win the bracelet.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Zucchini Marmalade

I was looking through an old bread book and found a recipe for zucchini marmalade.  I posted it on my Recipes page.  Keep this in mind this coming summer when your one plant produces enough zucchini to feed the neighborhood.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Blog

I've got a new blog!  I'm a pretty creative person, so I decided to snap pictures of anything that might inspire me.Good Muse Pix. ... And in a shameless ploy to get more followers...I am giving away a bracelet.

My loyal 15 followers get three automatic chances (yippee!!) since they publicly follow me.  If you sign up as a follower I will enter your name in the drawing.  If you sign up to follow both blogs you get two chances.  I will put the names in a hat and the lucky winner gets the bracelet.  How easy is that? I promise I will take better photos tomorrow. The colors are much nicer than this photo shows.  Last day to sign up will be January 15, 2011.

January Sales Items

Chocolate (Christmas clearance)
Diet foods
Frozen finger foods

Small appliances
Air conditioners
Carpeting and flooring
Winter clothes
Toys (on clearance after the holidays)
Christmas gift wrap
Christmas decorations
Athletic shoes
Exercise equipment
Anything from thrift stores

New Year's: Look Not behind Thee