Monday, September 27, 2010

Baking Soda

Baking soda is an important storage item. It is used in most baking recipes. It also has many other uses. Here are some of them. Remember if you are using it as a cleaning agent, always check to make sure it is safe for the area or item you are cleaning and won't scratch. There are also many health claims about soda, such as using in the treatment of cancer, asthma and other problems. If you are interested in more information, search it out online.

Use soda to Neutralize Battery Acid - Make a paste, put it on the terminals, and watch the acid get eaten away. (My husband does this on a regular basis to keep the contacts clean. Works great.)

Toothpaste - ¾ parts baking soda with ¼ part fine ground sea salt – great for controlling breath odors

Put 1/2 t. soda and 1 t. ascorbic acid powder (Vitamin C) into water or juice. The soda will deliver Vitamin C into your system very efficiently.

For minor cuts when starting to show signs of redness or infection soak in soda and hot water for about ½ hour
Older people remember using soda instead of shampoo and conditioner your hair -- it make hair very soft.

Use it to clean your sink and wash ceramic stove tops.

Use it on your Jacuzzi bath tub, and shower.

Our favorite use if for heartburn. Just add a 1/2 t. or so in a little bit of water and drink it down!

Here are some more uses found in the internet:

- A bowl of baking soda in your fridge will help remove excess moisture and absorb odors.

- Sprinkle some in your veggies crisper and cover with a cloth or paper towel for crisper veggies that last longer.

- Sprinkle baking soda onto a damp sponge for cleaning out your refrigerator without scratching.

- Dissolve a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in water in a microwave safe bowl, then bring to the boil in your microwave. Allow to sit for a minute or two, then you should easily be able to wipe out any baked on stains, plus your oven will microwave will smell fresher too.

- Sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of trash bags will help to control odors as you add trash.

- To give your dishwasher a good clean, run it through a cycle and use baking soda instead of detergent.

- Baking soda can be thrown on stove fires to extinguish the flames. The carbon dioxide generated when the powder burns starves the fire of oxygen.

- Wash chemicals and pesticides off fruits and vegetables in a pot filled with water and 3 - 4 tablespoons of baking soda added.

- Anywhere that moisture is a problem, such as cupboards under sinks, place a bowl of baking soda to help control humidity. You'll need to occasionally stir the powder for maximum effective life.

- Crayon marks on walls? Try applying baking soda/water paste on an old toothbrush and lightly brush the affected area.

- Water stains on wooden floors can be removed with a sponge dampened in a solution of baking soda dissolved in water.

- Sprinkle some baking soda into your vacuum bag to help reduce musty/pet smells being spread throughout your house when vacuuming.

- Sprinkle baking soda on rugs and carpets before vacuuming as a deodorizing treatment. Most carpet powders you buy are baking soda based! Just a brief note on this - not recommended for areas that are very humid as the baking soda may stay in the carpet.

- Mops can really stink out areas where they are stored. If your mop is getting on the nose, don't throw it out, try soaking it in a mixture of 4 tablespoons baking soda and a gallon of water for a while.

- Stains on porcelain sinks, toilets and plastics can be removed by applying a layer of baking soda and then using a damp sponge . I found this to work particularly well on a water stain in a sink that couldn't be shifted otherwise without the use of heavy duty chemicals and scratching the surface.

- As an alternative to caustic soda for clearing blocked drains, throw a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a couple of jugs of boiling water.

- Baking soda can deter ants - pour a solid line in areas of activity and they won't cross it.

- Mix a tablespoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of (earth friendly) dish detergent and a gallon of water to make a spray for treating roses against black spot fungus.

- Work a baking soda and water paste onto stains prior to washing to help remove them from the fabric

- Half a cup of baking soda added to a full load of washing will help brighten your wash and remove odors.

- Mix a paste of baking soda and vinegar and apply with a pot scourer to remove light rusting

- A baking-soda/water paste applied to chrome surfaces, allowed to dry then buffed off will leave chrome shining!

- Baking soda applied to fresh grease and oil spills on your garage floor will draw away the oil, which can then be scraped off.

- Baking soda lightly sprinkled and mixed into cat litter will help control odor.

- Eliminate odor after you've cleaned up pet accidents by sprinkling over the dampened area with baking soda; allow to dry and then vacuum.

- Stinky shoes getting you down? Get a couple of old socks, fill up the toe sections with baking soda, place into the offending shoes and leave overnight to help remove odors.

- A thick paste of baking soda and water applied to bug bites can provide relief.

- A half teaspoon of baking soda mixed into a glass of water can act as mouthwash.

- Sprinkle baking soda onto regular toothpaste to create a whitening toothpaste

- To clean jewelry, use a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, apply the mixture the piece, allow to sit for a couple of minutes, rinse off and then polish with a soft cloth.

You can also save money on baking soda by re-using it. For example, once it has served its purpose as a fridge deodorizer you can put it down your sink to help keep your drains clear.

Baking Soda Saves a Bundle Get a big box at Costco, try it and see you can save a lot of money.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Short Term Food Storage Recipe #8 - California Ham Casserole

Here is another quick and simple, easily adapted food storage recipe. If you use cheese sauce mix instead of fresh cheese, you can make this completely from your storage. Add some vegetables and cornbread or muffins and you have a quick meal. To serve this recipe once a month for a year, stock up the ingredients you'll need to have on hand. Also included is a recipe for food storage Apple Crisp for dessert!

½ lb. cooked ham or 1 can Spam, grated
½ small green pepper, diced fine
1 medium onion, chopped
½ lb. cheese, grated
2 c. noodles (6 oz.)
1 can cream of chicken soup
Bread crumbs on top
Grate ham and cheese. Cook noodles in 3 c. salted water. Mix cooked, drained noodles with all ingredients. Pour into baking dish. Cover and bake at 350º for 35 minutes. Remove lid. Top with bread crumbs (crumbled bread mixed with melted butter) and continue baking until browned.

Apple Crisp
Apple mixture:
4 c. dried apple slices
2 c. boiling water
1/2 c. oats
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. butter
Pour boiling water over dried apples and let stand for 10 minutes. Mix 1st 4 topping ingredients together and cut in butter with pastry cutter or two knives. Put apples and any liquid into a greased 9" square baking pan. Sprinkle topping mixture over apples. Bake at 350º for about 55-60 minutes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What to store?

As we begin to accumulate food storage we soon learn the difference between essentials and non essential storage items. Unless you want to live on just wheat, rice and beans and the other basic items you’ll soon find that there are some items that might be considered essentials. Let me tell you a few of my favorite “essentials and “non essential” items.

Everyone has things that they like and things they can’t or won’t eat. The items available now for storage are incredible. It is so much easier to plan your storage than it used to be. Let me tell you what I mean. For example, do you eat a lot of foods with a tomato base such as spaghetti? How about dishes made with tomato soup as a base? Dishes that call for tomato sauce or tomato paste? I started out trying to store tomato sauce, paste and soup and soon learned that in order to store as much as I wanted I’d need a really big house. Then along came tomato powder.

Tomato powder is an amazing storage item. One can contains the equivalent of many, many cans of other tomato products. It stores well, and is adaptable to any recipe. People have told me that they hesitate to buy it because it is so expensive, but they don’t realize how expensive it would be to buy the equivalent in canned products. If you don’t have any, check into it. One thing you might remember is this; if you open a number #10 can, it will last a long time but might go hard before you can use it all. What I would do when I open a can is reseal some portions of it with a vacuum sealer or in Mylar bags so it will store good until you can use it all up. Just a thought. A few of the places you can get it are at Emergency Essentials, Walton Foods and Augason Farms to name a few. It will cost between about $23 to $29 for a #10 (68 oz) can and around $10 for a #2.5 can (18 oz.).

Beef and Chicken bouillon or soup base would probably be my number one essential storage item. If you can flavor water and have things like pasta or rice or vegetables to put in it, you can make soup and sustain life. To me bouillon is an essential. It is available in #10 cans for a lot less than you can buy it in smaller portions. I also store the bouillon cubes from Sam’s club because they are premeasured and dry out less quickly than the powdered. It is also available in bulk at Winco, for example and you can dry pack your own in any quantity you wish.

Powdered Milk is another essential. It is one of the basic storage items suggested but many people don't feel it is necessary for them. It may not be necessary to drink but it is necessary to cook with. It has gotten a bad rap over the years but there are lots of different options and choices for storing powdered milk these days. We’ll talk more about this in a later post.

Shortening Powder is not an absolute necessity but because of the problem of storing oil long term it is certainly a great alternative in your baking. I think we’d find in an emergency that it would be a very valuable item if there were not electricity.Let me just mention though, that its been found that shortening will store a very long time if it is in a cool, dry place and unopened. It is valuable too.

Powdered eggs are important if you plan to do much baking. I know many people who use these on a regular basis in their baking and talk about how much cheaper it is to use the powdered eggs as it is fresh eggs in baking on a regular basis. One lady told me she saved enough on fresh eggs to more than pay for the powdered eggs in just a few months time and now uses them almost every day, just buying fresh eggs for her family’s breakfast meals.

Butter powder is another option you might want to consider, although less important than other items. Depending on how you cook and how much butter you use and if you have other things stored such as peanut butter, you may want to check this out.

Peanut Butter powder is not an essential item but for a family with children might be something you’d want to consider.

TVP is another storage item that can be very important. Unless you have meat stored, and I don’t mean what is in your freezer, I mean canned meats, TVP would be a good alternative. Many people claim they would never use the Textured Vegetable Protein in their cooking and meal planning but generally those people have never tried it. I’ve used it and eaten it and I think it’s a great option. It stores very well and is a great meat replacer.

Chocolate is certainly not an essential food storage item. Although, I’ve thought at times I’d never be able to live without it. Baking Cocoa is something I think is important. In hard times this and chocolate chips would be a great asset to you food storage. Let me just mention here that if chocolate chips are kept in a cool, dry place they store a long, long time. The only problem I’ve found with “old” chocolate chips is that they don’t melt as well but they still taste great in cookies.

Powdered flavorings are awesome. Flavorings such as powdered vanilla, orange, maple, butterscotch, cinnamon and lemon, store well and are a great addition. They are great for making homemade syrup and adding to your hot chocolate to make flavored hot chocolate or just for use in your regular baking. These can be ordered from Mixameal also carries many other products, tools and books. I have stored maple extract in the past to make maple syrup. It stores okay but the flavor dissipates over time. With the powdered flavorings, the flavor stays very strong. If we end up without electricity for a time, I think being able to make pancakes and syrup would be a great thing.

Just a couple more things to consider. I’ve bought potato pearls in the past. They are wonderful. I’m not sure they are even available any more. Check it out. If you can find them, they are a great mashed potato substitute or great as a thickener in soups and stews. Also if you have not tried the dehydrated refried beans, you should. I like these so much better than the canned stuff. They are easier to use in recipes and I really like them. The dry soup mix is also an awesome storage item.

Hopefully if there are any of these items that you don’t have, they are already on your wish list. It seems my wish list gets a lot more items added on than taken off but that’s okay. If you don’t plan to get the things you need or want, you never will.

Here are some websites to check for storage items if you don’t have them.

Just a few notes about these suppliers. This is a pretty competitive market right now. Wal-Mart has gotten into the mix and carries limited items in many areas. Walton feed in Montpelier, Idaho ships all over the world. If you and a group place a large enough order they will send a semi to deliver it anywhere. Emergency Essentials has monthly specials if you order group amounts; usually 6-12 of a particular item.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Potato Harvest

It’s potato harvest time in Idaho. This is it for Idaho! The big finale to all the hard work through the last three months. Kids love it because in most potato growing areas they get out of school for up to 2 weeks for potato harvest vacation. Teens love it because they have a chance to get a job working in the potatoes and make money. Moms love it because finally we have fresh potatoes to get us through the next few months. And Dads love it because now they get potatoes with their meat and potatoes. And most everyone loves when it’s over!

Here are a few tips about storing and using potatoes:

Potatoes will keep well if stored in a cool place for about 5 or 6 months. The cooler place they are stored in the longer they keep. Once potatoes get below 40º though, the starch changes to sugar and the flavor of the potato changes. Once potatoes start to sprout in the spring, you can prolong their life a little by keeping the sprouts pulled off of the potatoes. If you have access to fresh Idaho potatoes from a farmer or someone who sells the potatoes, you can buy a 50 pound bag of potatoes for $10 or under. It’s a great investment. There are several different varieties such as russets, Yukon golds, Reds, and Shepodys to name a few. My favorite are the russets for baking, mashed, hash browns, scalloped or a’gratin potatoes and for general use. The Shepody potatoes make great French fries but don’t store as long. The Reds are good any way you fix them, my favorite uses are potato salads, roasted and creamed. Yukon Gold potatoes are a fun variety if you like them.

Potatoes can be bottled. I’ve done this a time or two and found that, 1) it’s a lot of work and 2) the end result isn’t as good as other potatoes but it is an option. It does provide you with bottled potatoes for a quick dinner. If canning potatoes, try to get small potatoes to can. The smaller they are the better they turn out.

Potatoes don’t freeze well. However there are a few exceptions. Twice baked potatoes (stuffed potatoes as some people call them) seem to freeze pretty good. I like to fill my oven with up to 25 potatoes and bake them, stuff them and wrap them for the freezer. This is especially a good idea towards spring if you still have potatoes left and are worried about them going soft.

I have dried potatoes and they work well. If you wish to dry potatoes you can dice or shred them, rinse well in cold water, blanch for a couple of minutes (steam blanch shredded potatoes) and they dry nicely. Leftover mashed potatoes can also be dried on a fruit leather tray until dry and powdery then used as a thicking.

Because I have always lived close to fresh potatoes, I have never grown russets in my garden so I like to buy some reds to use and to save some for seed in the spring. These are the ones I’ll use in my “potatoes in a barrel” in the spring next year.

Here are some of my favorite Potato Recipes:

5 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced thin
6 T. butter or margarine
1/3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 T. minced fresh parsley
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 c. chicken broth
Place potatoes and onions on a large piece of heavy duty foil (20”x20”) and dot with butter. Combine the cheese, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper; sprinkle over potatoes. Fold foil up around potatoes an add broth. Seal edges of foil well. Grill over coals or bake in 350º oven 40-45 minutes or till potatoes are tender.


6 medium to large baking potatoes
½ cube butter
1 c. sour cream
1 c. ranch dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
2 c. grated cheese
Scrub potatoes well and pierce with the tip of a knife. Bake (do not wrap in foil) at 350º for 1 ½ hours or till potatoes feel done when squeezed. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop pulp from center of potatoes, saving skins. Combine butter, sour cream and dressing and mash well, salting generously. Add pepper as you wish. When creamy and smooth, replace potatoes in skins and press in slightly. Top with grated cheese and heat under broiler or in warm oven till cheese is melted. To freeze, wrap individually and freeze for up to 3 months.

Hash Browns and Onions
Peel and shred 5-6 large baking potatoes. In a colander, rinse under cold running water until water runs clear and starch is gone. In large non-stick frying pan, melt 1 cube of butter. Add 1 large onion, diced and cook over medium heat about 2 minutes. Add potatoes and stir well, cooking for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower heat and cover; cook until potatoes are tender. Gently stir potatoes occasionally so that all potatoes are evenly cooked, but be careful not to make them mushy by stirring to hard. For crispier potatoes, remove lid for last few minutes of cooking.

Creamy Potato Soup
6-7 medium to large potatoes
1 cube butter (less if your are making a smaller batch)
1 large onion
4 T. flour
Up to 1 quart of milk
Cubed ham
Crisp fried bacon, optional
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Peel potatoes and shred with large shredded attachment (can slice or dice if you wish). Rinse well to remove starch. Cover with water, add 1-2 t. salt and boil till barely tender. Remove from heat and drain. Meanwhile, melt butter and sauté onion in butter till tender. Add flour to butter and onion to make thickening. Stir together well and cook a minute or so. Add milk, gradually, to flour mixture, stirring well. Cool and stir until mixture boils and thickens, adding more milk if necessary. Pour sauce over potatoes, add ham or bacon, salt and pepper to taste. Heat through, stirring to avoid scorching. If desired stir in cheese or top individual bowls with cheese and crumbled bacon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Eat Your Vegetables

One of the most important parts of your food storage is vegetables. It doesn’t matter how you preserve them as long as you do. Good nutrition is an essential part of storing food for long term use. Because our growing season here is very short and our winter is very long, we often have to rely on others to produce some of the vegetables that we consume. Since food storage is now so popular, the access to vegetables is greater than it used to be. You can buy dried vegetables from any food storage provider. Here are some of my favorites to store and the methods I store them:

Corn: I have always frozen corn because that is my favorite way to preserve it. However, because I feel the need to diversify, I have also dried it. I love it crunchy just as it is or in any number of dishes. With the easy and accessibility of frozen corn to dry it’s easy to build up your corn storage. I also have some canned corn and canned cream corn that I purchase at the case lot sales in my pantry.

Green Beans: Home canned green beans are an awesome storage item. So are the canned ones you can buy at the store. My favorite are the French cut, cooked with dried minced onion, then drained with sour cream, salt and pepper and a little sprinkling of sugar.

Carrots: One of my favorite vegetables to store is carrots. I’ve bottled them, pickled them, frozen them and dried them. I purchased dried carrot dices and canned carrots. If you have carrots in your garden you wish to store, they keep well for quite awhile tops removed and cleaned in bags in your crisper. You can also remove tops and layer them in boxes with sand and store in a root cellar. Some people leave them in the ground and put bales of straw on them. It’s your choice. I love fresh carrots so I store them as long as I can. I have shredded and dried them and they dry quickly and store well. I love carrots steamed with butter and brown sugar. Carrots are a must in stews, casseroles and soups.

Peas: I love fresh peas and frozen peas. I use them a lot in soups, fried rice, salads and just with butter, salt and pepper or with a cream sauce in served in pastry cups. I have tons of salad recipes that call for frozen peas. I have also dried them and they are great. They dry quickly, store well and rehydrate nicely.

Peppers: I didn’t grow up eating green and red peppers except in pickles and relishes but I certainly use a lot of them now. I always keep diced frozen green peppers in my freezer to throw in with whatever I’m making and I dry lots and lots of them in the fall. They are a great staple to have on hand.

Broccoli: I love, love, love Broccoli Salad. I’ve tried several recipes and they are all good. (The bacon in there certainly doesn’t hurt my feelings any). I love steamed Broccoli, carrots and onions with penne pasta and sweetened spiced tomato sauce. I love cream of broccoli soup. I usually buy frozen broccoli to keep in my freezer always but I’ve also dried a lot of broccoli. It takes up little space and will be great in soups or vegetable dishes

Cauliflower: Cauliflower is another vegetable that dries well. I mostly like the dried cauliflower for Cheese Cauliflower soup and have found that frozen cauliflower doesn’t keep a long time in the freezer. Nothing is better that steamed cauliflower with salt and pepper and butter, unless it’s the cheese sauce you serve on top. Drying cauliflower is a great option for storage.

Squash: I love all types of squash. I especially like the winter varieties that keep for a while in the basement. Sweet Meat is my favorite. Squash can be canned for use either in pies or served like mashed potatoes. Summer squash such as yellow crookneck or zucchini can also be blanched and frozen and everyone knows there are tons of things to make with your zucchini. The dried zucchini is awesome and I’m drying some crookneck squash because I think it would be a great storage item as well.

Beets: I love pickled beets. I’ve tasted a lot of different recipes but the one I got from my sweet mother-in-law is still my favorite. Sometimes we have a bottle of pickled beets in the fridge most of the time during the winter months. They are great anytime. Beets are a healthy vegetable that are great canned, either pickled or not. I loved the canned shoestring beets, cooked with a little brown sugar and cider vinegar and served with butter, salt and pepper.

A friend mentioned the other day that she still had beets in her garden to can and it made me hungry for some pickled beets. I’m also including a recipe for stewed tomatoes. I know tomatoes are a fruit but this recipe has lots of veggies in it and it is great to eat in a bowl with salt and pepper or in any recipe calling for canned tomatoes. They are really good.

Mom Moon’s Pickled Beets
Remove stems from beets and scrub with a brush well. Put just enough water to cover beets and cook whole beets in large pot until tender, not mushy. Peel (the skins just slide right off) and cube or slice and put into prepared bottles. Make a syrup of 1 c. brown sugar, 1 c. vinegar and beet juice. Increase amounts to cover beets to within ½” of top of jars. Put warm liquid over beets. Boil lids and put on jars and seal. Cold pack in canner for 10 minutes.

10 c. chopped tomatoes (about 18 medium)
1 ¼ c. chopped celery
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
½ c. sugar
2 cans (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 T. salt
Scald and peel tomatoes and chop as fine as desired. Put onion, celery and peppers in small pan with a little juice from tomatoes. Boil about 10 minutes and add to tomatoes along with sugar, tomato sauce and salt. Bring to a good boil and boil about 5 minutes. Put into hot bottles and seal. Process pints and quarts in boiling water bath.

Start thinking now about the vegetables you want to store and make a plan on how to store them and where to get them. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Homemade quick-to-fix-just-add-hamburger meals

Has anyone never had Hamburger Helper? I’m betting that if you have you don’t have it on a regular basis. There are many different names for these meals and they are made by several different companies.

These quick-to-fix-just-add-hamburger-meals are great in a pinch and for some reason kids seem to love them. The label with ingredients listed is very long. Most of them are hard to pronounce. I think we’ve all made variations of some of these meals over the years. Several cookbooks I have call it goulash and some of them are pretty good.

The main attraction of the quick-to-fix-just-add-hamburger-meals, is that they are quick and pretty much everything you need is in one little box and ready to go. Most mixes are just the same except for 2 or 3 different ingredients. Notice how similar the recipes are? Hamburger Helper is like a template. This is how Betty Crocker churns out a zillion varieties. You put in more or less milk to control the creaminess, a certain type of pasta (or rice or potatoes), sometimes tomatoes, certain herbs/seasonings, and more or less (or no) cheese.

You can make a homemade mix for any variety of Hamburger Helper that appeals to you–invent your own! Put labeled sauce packets for your family’s favorite “helpers” away in your pantry for busy days (add a little 3×5 card with directions for the water, milk, cheese, etc, per variety) and you’ll have your own quick-to-fix-just-add-hamburger meal in no time. When you’re tired, everybody’s hungry, and you need dinner that won’t make you think hard, grab your sauce packet and your bag of pasta (or rice or potatoes) with your little cheater 3×5 card and you’re set.

If you want to make your own mixes remember this: most packages include about 1 1/2 cups of pasta or dried sliced potatoes, or about 1 cup of rice. They include a packet of sauce seasonings, dried tomatoes or a packet of dried cheese. After browning and draining 1 lb. of ground beef, in the same skillet you add water and/or milk, about 3 cups total, seasoning packet, and simmer (about 12-20 minutes). Add cheese near the end for some varieties.

Here are the rules for creating your own mixes:
Pasta, potatoes or rice: Generally use 1 ½ c. pasta or dried potatoes or 1 c. rice.
Milk: to add powdered milk to the seasoning packet, figure 2/3 c dry milk and water to make 2 c. liquid
Cheese: to add cheese powder to seasoning packet, experiment with your brand of cheese powder to see how cheesy you like it. If you have cheese powder in Storage this is a great way to learn how to use it. All brands are different and depending on the mix you are making you can learn to use the cheese powder in case fresh cheese is not available.
Tomatoes: Many of the mixes call for tomatoes. If you have tomato powder stored this is a great way to use it in your mixes. If you have canned tomatoes add them when called for.
Hamburger: All of the recipes call for browned ground beef. If you have canned hamburger in storage this is a great way to use it. You can also make these mixes with the beef chunks or any canned beef you may have.
Seasoning Packet: Includes cornstarch, a variety of spices such as onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper, sugar, paprika, chili powder, Italian spice mix, parsley and basil, depending on the variety.

Here are some varieties you can try for yourself. When you make your own mixes you are cutting out tons of preservatives and several processed dyes. Give some a try. If you like them, make up some mixes to have on hand for an emergency or just for a quick lunch.

Homemade Chili Cheese Hamburger Helper
1 ½ c. elbow macaroni
Seasoning packet:
1 T. corn starch
1 T. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
½ t. paprika
2/3 c. dry milk powder + 2 c hot water or (2 c. milk)
1/3 c. cheese sauce powder OR 1 cup cheese, shredded on cooked dish
Add in:
1 lb. ground beef
1 c. hot water
2 c. milk (or 2 c. water if you added powdered milk in the sauce packet)
Brown ground beef in a large skillet; drain. Add hot water, milk, pasta, and your homemade sauce packet . Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender. In the last few minutes of cook time, stir in the fresh cheese; cover the pot again for the final few minutes of cook time. When the pasta is tender and the cheese is melted, turn off heat and uncover. Let mixture stand, uncovered, about five minutes. It will continue to thicken as it stands.

Chili Mac Hamburger Helper
1 pound ground beef
2 1/4 cups hot water
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
1 cup stewed or diced canned tomatoes
Sauce packet:
1 T. corn starch
1 T. chili powder
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
Stir in 1/2 cup cheddar or jack cheese, shredded, near the end or use cheese powder in seasoning packet.

1 lb. ground beef
2 1/4 c. hot water
1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. medium egg noodles
1 c. stewed or diced canned tomatoes
Sauce packet:
1 T. corn starch
1 T. mixed Italian herbs
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded, near the end, then sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese during the 5-minute standing period.

Cheesy Beef Taco
1 lb. ground beef
2 1/4 c. hot water
1/2 c. milk
1 c. rice
1 c. stewed or diced canned tomatoes
Sauce packet:
1 T. corn starch
1 T. chili powder
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, near the end, then top with another 1/2 cup cheddar plus 1 cup of Fritos during the 5-minute standing period. (Can use cheese powder in the sauce packet)

Beef Stroganoff
1 lb. ground beef
1 c. hot water
2 c. milk (if you have sour cream, replace 1/2 cup of the milk with sour cream or use sour cream powder)
1 ½ c. small egg noodles
Sauce packet:
1 T. corn starch
2 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1 t. parsley
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
½ t. pepper
Add-in of 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms.

Potato Stroganoff

1 lb. ground beef
1 cup hot water
2 cups milk (if you have sour cream, replace 1/2 cup of the milk with sour cream)
1 ½ c. very thinly sliced or diced potatoes
Sauce packet:
1 T. corn starch
2 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1 t. parsley
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
½ t. pepper
Add-in of 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms.

1 pound ground beef
1 cup hot water
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups small egg noodles
Sauce packet:
1 T. corn starch
1 T. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. pepper
Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce.

Cheesy Italian Shells
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. hot water
2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. small pasta shells
1 c. stewed or diced canned tomatoes
Sauce packet:
1 T. corn starch
1 T. mixed Italian herbs
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
Stir in 1 c. cheddar, shredded, near the end.

Cheesy Jambalaya
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. hot water
2 c. milk
1 c. rice
1 c. stewed or diced canned tomatoes
Sauce packet:
1 T. corn starch
2 t. chili powder
1 t. basil
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, near the end.

Cheeseburger Macaroni
1 lb. ground beef
1 c. hot water
2 c. milk (If using powdered milk, add more milk than water to make this one creamier)
1 1/2 c. elbow macaroni
Sauce packet:
1 T. corn starch
2 t. paprika
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, near the end. (You can toss a 1/2 cup cheddar on top at the end, too, if you want. We’re going for cheesy here!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

What if?

Imagine being without running water or electricity. Imagine you have only several gallons of water to use. What would you use the water for? Drinking? Absolutely! Cooking? Of course? Washing dishes? Well, if you must. However, how much better it would be if you could save the water for an absolute necessity.

We’ve experimented with living without running water just to see what we would do first. If you have a baby or young children in the home, they definitely need water for their care. We all need water to drink and to cook with. But laundry and washing dishes would be a luxury. Here are some things that we have learned:
1) One of the hardest things to do without running water is brush your teeth. Experiment and see how much water it takes to brush your teeth.
2) You can take a sponge bath or clean up with a wash cloth and a cup or two of water.
3) Plastic knives, forks and spoons (sturdy) and paper plates will be a lifesaver so you don’t have to wash dishes. It's also a good idea for everyone to have a plastic cup with their name on it that they can use more than once.
4) When you know there is no running water, it is surprising how much thirstier you are. It’s a great idea to store bottled drinking water as well.
5) Paper towels, though not a necessity, are very helpful.
6) Baby wipes or anti bacterial hand wipes are an awesome way to make sure your hands and face are clean. Especially if you are the one preparing the food. It’s is surprising how many times we turn on the water just to rinse or wash our hands.
7) Aluminum foil is a great aid in cooking or baking. Food can be cooked in it, eliminating the need to wash another pan. Baking sheets or pans can be lined with it as well.
8) If showering or bathing is limited, extra socks and underwear can be helpful.
9) It is extremely important that you have alternate cooking methods. A cook stove is probably the most efficient. If you have a way to heat a can of soup or make pancakes, etc. you can survive okay. This will also help to keep you warm. Think of the different weather extremes as you plan your cooking and heating sources. You may be able to build a fire outside to cook your dinner, unless you have extreme wet or snowy weather. Do you have fuel stored such as firewood, matches etc.?
10) Do you have lighting, like oil lamps etc.? It gets dark awfully early in the wintertime.
11) Make sure that you have extra warm blankets for every member of your family. The blankets and quilts, warm socks, slippers and warm clothing that we normally wear would not be adequate in extreme conditions. Take an inventory to find out what you have on hand for each family member and how much more you need. Does each member of your family have their own warm sleeping bag in case you were forced to leave your home or even if you are just at home without electricity?
12) Keep on hand some high energy foods that require no cooking for an emergency. If the emergency lasts for an extended period of time this will give you an opportunity to get yourself ready for an extended emergency, if you and your family have some snacks that will keep them from being hungry and scared until you get things figured out. Granola bars, beef and cheese sticks, peanut butter crackers, cereal bars, etc. are great for the first while in an emergency.
13) Keep your 72 hour kit up to date and the food in it rotated for when you actually need it. A flashlight for each child is reassuring. Chewing gum is comforting. Plan for each person in your family’s individual needs.

Plan for the worse and hope for the best. One of the most common reasons that we struggle with being prepared is that because we are basically optimistic, we don’t really believe that anything is ever going to happen that we’ll need what we’ve prepared. Having been through a disaster myself, and having to evacuate with just a few moments notice, I can tell you that one of the hardest things when you are left with only the clothes on your back and the things that you took with you, is that little voice in the back of your mind that keeps saying, why didn’t you take this or grab that. How come I didn’t prepare for this? I wish I had….the list will be a mile long, I promise.
I can almost guarantee at at some point in your life you will face some kind of emergency. It may be a short term one and things will quickly get back to normal or it may be life changing. But the worst part, other than seeing your kids go hungry or without, will be your feelings that you have failed your family by your lack of preparedness.
*I have included the link to one of my favorite sites for buying snacks (beef and cheese sticks) for our 72 hour kits and just to have on hand for an emergency. These are good and provide some protein. I scroll down to the “Trail's Best Vend” section and get the 1.125 oz. beef and cheese stick combo. These are great for any occasion. The more you buy the cheaper they are. A great idea is to go in with several friends and buy them by the case. I think you even get free shipping depending on how much you buy. Check it out!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I can’t believe it is that time of year already. Where did the summer go? Where did all the fresh fruits of summer disappear to? I’ll really miss them this year. It seems to me that summer just didn’t last quite long enough. I guess autumn is okay too though. I didn’t used to like autumn because I knew winter was lurking right around the corner, but I have to admit I love canning season. I love the little nip in the air that says soup, pumpkin and hot chocolate weather are coming. And I have to admit I love apple season.

Another thing I love about this time of year is all the case lot sales. I need to put a plug in for shopping at these sales. Not only do you get some of the best buys on cases now, it is also a great motivator. Sometimes that’s all we need to work on food storage is a little motivation. There is nothing that makes you feel better than seeing some cases in your storage room. It just makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. Whether you can it yourself or buy it, it makes you feel good every time you see it.

Even though apples are one fruit you can buy year around, there is just something about this time of year that makes them special. I used to can a LOT of applesauce when my kids were little. I’ve kind of gotten away from that but I have a new appreciation for using applesauce in baking. It also makes a great base for dried fruit leathers. If you have access to cheap apples or want to can applesauce do it! I’m including my favorite applesauce recipe. It doesn’t make too many pints so depending on the price of apples you may choose to shop the sales for applesauce. My favorite things to make with apples are as I’ve mentioned before, the dried apple slices with cinnamon and sugar, canned apple pie filling, apple cake in a jar, which I often use in gift baskets for people who live alone and would like a smaller dessert and this chocolate chip applesauce cake which I bet everyone makes and likes as much as I do. I’m also including the recipe for my favorite applesauce muffins. These are just plain old muffins, nothing special except they are good and easy. Add chocolate chips, raisins or a streusel topping if you wish.

20 large apples
4 c. water
2 ½ c. sugar
Cinnamon to taste (if desired)
Wash apples; quarter, peel and core and remove all bruised or decayed parts. Put apples in a heavy pot. Add water and cook over medium heat till soft. Put cooked apples in food processor and blend till mostly smooth. If you don’t have a food processor, press the apples through a colander or sieve. Return to pot and add sugar. Bring to a boil. Pack into hot canning jars while sauce is boiling hot, leaving a 1” head space. Wipe jar clean. Put lid and rim on jar, tightening by hand. Process in boiling water bath 25 minutes for pints and quarts. This recipe makes about 4 pints.

2 c. applesauce
2 c. flour
1 ½ c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
2 T. cocoa
½ t. salt
1 ½ t. soda
½ c. oil
2 eggs
Combine all ingredients and blend well. Pour into greased and floured 9x13” pan. Sprinkle with 2 T. brown sugar combined with ½ c. chocolate chips. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes. This is a cross between brownies and a cake. Very good.

Apple Cake In A Jar
2/3 c. shortening
2 2/3 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 t. cinnamon
2 t. soda
1 ½ t. salt
½ t. baking powder
½ t. nutmeg
3 c. flour
2/3 c. water
3 c. grated apples
1 c. chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350º Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into mixture all at once. Stir in water, apples and nuts and mix well. Using 6 or 7 wide mouth pint canning jars; grease bottles with shortening, using a paper towel. Fill each bottle ½ full with batter. Bake on a cookie sheet for about 45 minutes or longer until all the bottles are browned all thru. If it rises too high, slice off the top with a knife. Take out of oven one bottle at a time. Put a new canning lid and rim on and tighten. Jars will seal and keep for several months or up to a year. These make great gifts.

Applesauce Muffins
1 c. butter or margarine softened
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 c. applesauce
4 c. flour
2 t. soda
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. allspice
½ t. ground cloves
1 c. chopped nuts
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in applesauce. Combine flour, soda and spices. Stir into creamed mixture. Fold in nuts. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups ¾ full. Bake 350º for 25 minutes or until muffins test done. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture if desired. Y: 2 dozen.

I can't believe I almost forgot the reason I did this post in the first place. Whenever I go into a bakery to buy rolls or doughnuts my first choice is always the apple fritters, even before the maple bars. I was so excited when I found this recipe so that I can make them at home. See...the way I figure it is, if I make the apple fritters at home then I can buy the maple bars and have the best of both worlds. Yup, always thinking!!

Apple Fritters
1 c. flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. salt
2 T. sugar
½ to 1 t. cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
½ c. plus 1 T. milk
1 ½ c.(about 3) apples, peeled and diced
Oil for frying
Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add egg and milk to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add apples to the batter and stir well. Drop by spoonfuls into hot oil and fry until dark golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Once done frying, let cool on paper towels. Dip in glaze, covering fritters well. Place fritters on a wire rack with wax paper underneath, for easy cleanup. Let glaze harden! Y: 12 small fritters.
2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 T. milk (add more for desired consistency)
Mix all together until fairly thin but not too runny. Add more powdered sugar or milk if necessary.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Review – “It’s in the bag” by Michelle and Trent Snow

"It's In The Bag" by Michelle and Trent Snow is a great book that presents very well another concept of food storage. The premise of this book is that you gather everything you need for either a dinner meal or a breakfast meal and put it in a bag. When she says everything is in the bag she means it; even the cooking water. Some recipes require “pantry items” which she always has on hand such as peanut butter, vinegar or vegetable oil. The bag she uses is a square bottomed plastic gift bag with ¾” handles for carrying. On the outside of the bag, the recipe is slipped inside a plastic CD sleeve or one with a clear window. Next to the sleeve is a ¾” removable color-coded label which is written the expiration date or the date to use the meal in the bag before. She says the reusable bags cost about 18¢ each, and the CD sleeves range from 1¢ to 18¢ each. She also uses snack size and regular size baggies for the ingredients in the bag meals.

She makes several claims in her book, including:
1) You’ll always have meals at your fingertips and each bag meal serves 6-8 people
2) The bag meals save time and money
3) There is shorter prep time for meals – all meals 20 minutes or less and all ingredients are pre-measured
4) Bag meals save space
5) You have security because you know you have meals on hand
6) In times of disaster if you must leave your home, each family member can grab several bags or meals, and you have more substantial food than just a granola bar or crackers.

One of the statements that she makes in her book is this, “Let’s say I have 365 dinner and 365 breakfast bag meals. In hard economic times or during a disaster, I know my family will have at least 2 complete meals a day”. What an awesome thing.

She prefers this way of food storage to just buying lots of food in bulk; this way she already has meals prepared that she knows her family likes. She has storage shelves that measure 16’x4’ and store 422 bag meals.

The only downside I can see with this method is that because you use many canned vegetables and beans as well as fruit in your bags, it might preclude you from using your beans and other food storage items instead of convenience foods but maybe after using the system awhile you can learn to incorporate both. I think it is awesome to know that your meals are ready and all the ingredients for a particular meal are already assembled. No more wondering if you have everything you need to make a specific meal.

Her book contains many of her recipes for both dinner and breakfast. The back section of the book is dedicated to basic canning recipes and instructions, including vegetables, pickles and relishes, fruits, meat, poultry and fish as well as a section on dressings. It also has a sprouting section. It even has instructions on building a chicken coop and raising your own chickens and eggs.

If you think making some dinners in the bag might be something you’d like to try, check out this book either online or at Deseret Book.

I bet that you would find you have some favorite recipes of your own that you could use to make your own dinners.
Here is a recipe from her book:

Coconut Pancakes
Michelle Snow

1 c. water
Resealable bag:
2 c. flour
½ c. granulated sugar
½ t. salt
4 t. baking powder

Resealable bag:
1 c. sweetened coconut flakes

Pantry Items:
1 t. vanilla
1 (13.5 oz.) can coconut milk

In a large bowl stir all ingredients, especially coconut flakes, until batter is smooth. Add coconut. Ladle pancake batter onto a hot oiled griddle. Turn pancakes when bubbles appear and edges are golden.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I have not planted Zucchini for several years. I've missed it. I also never thought I'd say that. If you have Zucchini you have a lot of Zucchini and sometimes too much Zucchini. I have found a few uses for it that I love and I miss all that Zucchini.
I have always loved slicing the Zucchini, dipping it in beaten eggs and then in bread crumbs and frying or baking the slices then dipping them in ranch dressing for a fun side dish.

I've always grated Zucchini and frozen it to make Zucchini bread through the winter.

A friend gave me an awesome recipe that uses Zucchini and or summer squash that I love to make often when I have squash on hand and even sometimes when I have to buy it because the recipe is such a good comfort food and a great side dish.

This year I tried drying Zucchini and making Zucchini chips. I'm in love. They are so good and fun to eat. I want to make more and eat them. I am also going to try grating zucchini, rinsing and drying the grated squash in my dehydrator to see if I can rehydrate it and use it in Zucchini Bread without having to dig through my freezer trying to find what I grated in the fall. I'll let you know how it works.

Here are the instructions for making the Zucchini chips and the recipe for the Spicy Squash Casserole:

Zucchini Chips
Choose small zucchini to dry. If you wish to dry larger zucchini, you will need to peel and seed them
Slice very thin. 1/8” thick or less. Dip in a mixture of ¼ c. Soy Sauce mixed with ½ c. water. Leave in the mixture for 3-5 minutes. Drain. Lay slices on dehydrator trays and sprinkle with your choice of spices. I did some with lemon pepper and some with Nature’s seasoning blend. You could use garlic powder, cayenne or any combo you like. Dry till crisp and store in a tightly covered jar or storage container. Eat like potato chips only with less guilt and calories. After I dipped the first batch, I added some barbecue sauce to the soy sauce mixture and soaked them for 5 minutes then dried them. They were awesome too. If using large Zucchini, halve the squash, scoop out seeds and halve again if desired then slice very thin. These are a fun snack.

4 eggs, beaten
½ c vegetable oil
1 c. biscuit mix
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies, undrained
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. (8 oz.) shredded cheese, divided
4 c. coarsely chopped summer squash or zucchini or a combination of both, diced fine
Combine eggs, oil and biscuit mix. Stir in chilies, onion and garlic and half the cheese. Stir in squash. Pour into greased 13x9” pan. Bake at 350º for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved cheese and bake 5 minutes more. Y: 8-10 servings.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Fruits of your Labors

Every once in a while I do something good. Something I’m glad I did. I've been canning, dehydrating and freezing everything I can get my hands on this fall. Lately I have tried not to rely on my freezer as much in case of a power outage (and it is a very old freezer)! I still try to buy in bulk but I’ve tried to do more drying and canning than freezing. However…. We have really enjoyed having smoothies this summer so I’ve frozen sliced bananas and strawberries, fresh blueberries, diced peaches and cantaloupe as well as tons of frozen red grapes just to use in our smoothes, all in 1 cup quantities in baggies. And they have all been delicious. However, I was thinking that I may have gotten carried away with all the fruit in my freezer. Then I made blueberry muffins and changed my mind. They were the best thing I’ve made in a long time. Well, the smoothies have been pretty good too.

Every once in awhile it’s time to just sit back, take a break from your hard work and enjoy the fruits of your labor, or in this case, the fruits of your freezer. Here are the recipes for the blueberry muffins and one of my favorite smoothies, the Purple Cow Smoothie. If you have a chance to freeze any of your favorite fruits before the season is over, do it. Not much preparation required, just cut them up, spread on a wax paper lined tray until frozen and store in 1 c. quantities to use in your favorite smoothies or muffins.

Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins
1 ½ c. flour
¾ c. sugar
½ t. salt
2 t. baking powder
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries (unthawed)
Streusel topping:
½ c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
¼ c. real butter, cubed (not too soft)
1 ½ t. cinnamon
Stir together dry ingredients. Whisk together egg, milk, oil and then add to dry ingredients. Stir just till blended. Gently stir in blueberries. For streusel topping: mix flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add cubed cold butter with a pastry blender or fork till crumbs for. Line muffin tins with liners. Fill ¾ full then sprinkle with topping. Bake 400º for 20-25 minutes. *Tip: For ease in removing muffin from muffin paper, spray paper liners with Pam before filling with muffin batter.

Purple Cow Smoothies
1 c. grape juice
1 c. frozen red grapes
1 c. vanilla ice cream
Blend frozen grapes and juice till smooth. Blend in ice cream. And yes, if you like you can substitute Vanilla yogurt for the ice cream.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Book Review & Fruit Leather Recipe

The name of the book I have been reading is “Mary Bell’s Complete Dehydrator Cookbook”. It is awesome. I can’t believe all the things this lady can do. The book is almost 300 pages, fairly small print and packed with ideas.

She goes through all the fruits and vegetables known to man, well to me anyway, and tells the different ways you can dry them and how to use them after they are dried. She has a section on different meat jerky’s, food leathers, homemade pet food (I skipped that one) , dried flowers and potpourri, homemade spices and seasoning mixes, backpacking trail mixes and about 150 pages of recipes for all these things.

Did you know you can dry yogurt? How about chocolate pudding? How about different punches and beverages? She even dries rice dishes and macaroni and cheese, among other things, for a quickly rehydrated meal while camping or hiking.

I checked this book out from the library and just thought I’d try what I wanted but I’m ordering this book. It is awesome. Check your library if you want to preview the book or check it out on

Remember the biggest advantage of drying foods is that they require little storage space and if you are cramped for storage space, this is a great alternative.

Here is her recipe for Rhubarb leather (just like the fruit rollups you buy in the store only fresher and preservative free). I made this last night and it is so good.

Rhubarb Fruit Leather
4 c. chopped fresh Rhubarb (1” pieces)
½ c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon (I did not use this much. Start with ¼ t. and add till it tastes right to you)

Put Rhubarb pieces in a heat resistant bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drain. This process softens the texture of the rhubarb and removes some of the acidity so less sweetener is needed. In blender or food processor, puree softened rhubarb (in batches to avoid overtaxing blender and having to use too much water). I did it in the food processor and had to add no extra water. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and taste it. Adjust flavorings as needed and puree mixture till very smooth. Spread puree in a smooth even layer on a lightly oiled solid leather sheet that came with your dehydrator or you can use plastic wrap spread over your tray. Drying time depends on the thickness of the puree and the type of dryer you have. Allow anywhere from 8 to 20 hours. (Mine was done in less than 10!) Peel leather off the sheet and store. This can also be done on the lowest setting in your oven. Experiment on times etc. Always use a light layer of oil so that the sheets of fruit can be easily removed. Also, if you are in a hurry, you can turn the fruit over part way thru the drying time (as soon as you can lift the leather off the sheets) to speed it up.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Honey Powder

I’m excited to tell you about a new product….well, new to me. I’ve talked in the past about honey and how much I love it. My only problem with honey is that it has drastically increased in price from when I first started storing it. It stores forever but I find myself rethinking about how I use it sometimes. I always want to have honey on hand to eat, but I have wondered if I want to use it in all my bread recipes or if I’d rather use it on top of the warm bread with butter. In other words, I’m a little stingy with my honey at times.

My point is that I don’t really know how much honey I would use if I couldn’t replace it or if I didn’t have any other sweetener. Well…I heard some time ago, talk about honey powder. It really made me curious. I have looked at several of my regular food storage suppliers but couldn’t find it. This weekend, totally by accident, I found it. In a grocery store near my home. And the best part is that it was on sale. It is regularly priced at about $10.69 for a #10 can and was on sale for $7.99 a can with a $1 off coupon attached to the can. You can bet I was all over that one. I’m excited to use this and have it in my storage.

This Honey Powder is distributed by Augason Farms (formerly Blue Chip Group) of Salt Lake. They have quite a few sales on now. Check out their site at Here is a great recipe to try with the honey powder or just regular honey.

1 c. warm water
1 T. active dry yeast
½ t. sugar
1 ½ c. white flour (plus more if needed)
1 ½ c. wheat flour
3 T. Olive Oil
3T. Honey (or reconstituted Honey Powder)
Put yeast into bowl of a bread mixer (you can also mix by hand). Sprinkle yeast with sugar and whisk together. Add 1 cup warm water and whisk together with yeast. Let mixture proof for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 of the flour, salt, honey and olive oil. Turn mixer on low, combine well. Add the remaining flour; if dough is still very sticky add more flour, a little at a time, but careful not to add too much. Once combined, turn mixer up and let dough knead for 5 minutes. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover; the dough should be soft and almost sticky; you should just barely be able to place in bowl without it sticking to your hands. Let rise until TRIPLED in bulk- about 2 hours. The secret to really good pizza dough is not to rush it. Make sure it has plenty of time to rise. Shape dough into a round ball, adding flour to your hands if necessary till you can work with it. Begin to flatten dough by hand into a disc. Put on lightly floured board and roll or stretch into a pizza size. Dough turns out best when placed on a slightly heated pizza stone (use what you have). Put the dough on whatever you are going to bake it on, then add pizza toppings
Bake at 400º for 12 to 15 minutes

Sunday, September 5, 2010


One of the most versatile food storage items is rice. It can be used in many main dishes as well as desserts, such as rice pudding. Rice is a great meal extender. You can use it in soups to make them go farther or as a base to serve under any number of sauces. It is easy to store and keeps a long time. Rice a great thing to add to your food storage. Here are some ideas to use your rice:

Hawaiian Haystacks: Layer rice with any of these toppings or those of your own choosing from each catagory:
Fruits: diced apples, pineapple chunks, sliced bananas, mandarin oranges – drained, sliced strawberries or grapes
Vegetables: fresh mushrooms, grated fresh carrots, sliced celery, diced onion or sliced green onion, chopped green pepper, shredded cabbage, or diced tomatoes
Misc: Grated cheese, raisins or dried cranberries, Chow Mein noodles, croutons, slivered almonds crunchy salad topping, salted peanuts – use your imagination
Layer rice, choices of toppings and cover with cooked chicken (Canned chicken works great) mixed with gravy (Again diluted cream of chicken soup with a little Worcestershire sauce and spiced to your liking) works great. These sound weird but are seriously so delicious.

Mexican Rice Casserole: Combine instant rice and water needed for rice (minus any liquid from tomatoes if using canned tomatoes, tomatoes, corn, black beans (drained and rinsed), olives, taco seasoning. Cover and simmer until rice is tender. Add shredded cheese and stir until melted. Serve as a casserole, over chips, or as a filling for tortillas. For regular rice, cook rice then add remaining ingredients.

Fajitas: – Stir fry together your favorite meat, sliced onions and peppers; serve on tortillas with rice, cheese, sour cream, chopped avocados or any of your favorite toppings

Fried Rice: Fry 2 beaten eggs in 3 T. butter and stir with 1/3 c. diced onion and ½ c.diced celery and till cooked, a few minutes till celery and onion begin to brown, stirring well to crumble eggs. Add frozen peas if desired. Add cooked rice and 2-3 T. soy sauce mixed with ½ c. water (More if you are making a large batch). Heat till liquid is dissolved. Y: 4 servings.

Mexican Haystacks: layer rice with any or all of the following: lettuce, chili, meat, beans, black beans, refried beans, cheese, sour cream, olives, salsa, tomatoes, green onions or corn. Serve with crushed corn chips on the top or scoop like a dip.

Stir Fry: Make your favorite stir fry using a little extra sauce. Serve over rice for a great meal extender.

Vegetable rice: (A great side dish with any meat) Finely chop 1 small onion, add 1 c. grated carrots, 1 c. diced celery, 1 c. tiny cauliflowerets or other vegetable (optional: your choice) and 1-2 c. cooked rice Sauté’ vegetables in butter till tender. Stir into warm rice. Serve with teriyaki sauce. (Teriyaki Sauce: 2 T. brown sugar, 2 T. Soy sauce, 3 T. Rice wine vinegar. Heat till sugar is dissolved and mixture boils. Cool. It will thicken slightly as it cools.)This can also be served with any meat that has sauce on it such as ribs or sweet and sour dishes

Sweet and sour meatballs: Cook meatballs; In the skillet add 1 can tomato soup, 14 oz. beef broth, 3 T. brown sugar and ¼ c.vinegar. Put meatballs in the sauce, Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or till thick like a gravy consistency. Serve over cooked rice.

Teriyaki Chicken:
5 chicken breasts cut into 2” pieces
2 c. water
1/3 c. soy sauce
1 1/2 t. garlic powder
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 t. rice vinegar
¼ t. ginger
1 t. sesame oil
1/4 C cold water + 4 T cornstarch
Green onions (optional)
Place all ingredients but the 1/4 C water and cornstarch into a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is done. Remove chicken from the liquid and set aside. Mix cold water and cornstarch in a small cup until smooth. Pour it into the sauce pan and stir well. Bring to a boil; cook till thick. Pour over chicken on serving platter. Serve over rice!

Chinese Hamburger Casserole
1 lb. hamburger (canned beef works well)
2 onions, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 ½ c. water
¼ c. soy sauce
½ to ¾ c. rice
1 c. diced celery
¼ c. chopped green pepper
1 can Chinese noodles
Pepper to taste
Brown hamburger and add onions and peppers. Drain. Combine all other ingredients in casserole dish except Chinese noodles. Cook, covered for 30 minutes at 350º. Uncover and cook 20 minutes. Add noodles on top and cook 10 minutes more until noodles are heated.

Grandma’s Rice pudding:
3 slightly beaten eggs
2 c. milk
1 ½ c. cooked rice
1/3 c. sugar
½ t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. raisins (optional)
Combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Stir in rice. Pour into square baking dish. Bake at 325º for 25 minutes. Stir. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 25 minutes more.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Emergency Substitutions

Ever have a cooking emergency? You get something almost mixed up and discover you are out of one of the ingredients. Frustrating. Here are some emergency substitutions. Some of these I've even found I like better than the real thing. I never buy tomato juice for recipes anymore, I just use tomato sauce mixed half and half with water. I like the recipe for tartar sauce better than the kind I've tried from the store. I usually make my own broth unless I happen to have some freshly made broth. I have some unflavored gelatin in my storage to use in place of fresh eggs. If you have a favorite substitute, let me know.

Emergency Substitutions:
Brown Sugar - ¼ c. brown sugar = ¼ c. sugar + 2 T. maple syrup OR ¼ c. sugar ½ T. Molasses Put sugar in the blender. Start with ½ t. molasses and add up to ½ T. to desired darkness of sugar.
Baking Powder - 1 T. baking powder = 1 t. baking soda + 2 t. cornstarch OR 1 t. baking powder = ¼ t. soda + ½ t. cream of tartar
Barbecue Sauce - 1 c. barbecue sauce = 1 cup ketchup + 2 t. Worcestershire sauce
Broth – 1 c. broth = 1 c. hot water plus 1 t. bouillon granules or 1 bouillon cube
Butter in baking – 1 c. butter = 1 c. solid vegetable shortening + 2 dashes salt
Buttermilk - 1 c. buttermilk = 1 T. vinegar or lemon juice & finish filling cup with milk
Canned milk – ¼ c. canned milk = ¼ c. milk + 1 T. dry milk
Chocolate, unsweetened – 1 square (1 oz.) = 3 T. cocoa + 1 T. butter, shortening or vegetable oil
Corn Syrup (Karo) light - 1 c. light corn syrup = 1 c. sugar + ¼ c. water
Corn Syrup (Karo) dark – 1 c. dark corn syrup = 3/4 c. sugar + ¼ c. molasses
Cornstarch (as a thickener) 1 T. cornstarch for thickening = 2 T. flour
Cream – ¼ c. cream = ¼ c. canned milk
Cream (Whipped)- 2 c. whipped cream = 1/2 c. nonfat dry milk + 1/2 c. ice water, sweetened
Cream of Chicken Soup - ½ c. soup = 1/3 c. white sauce + ¼ c. chicken stock
Cream of Celery Soup - ½ c. soup = 1/3 c. white sauce + ¼ c. chicken stock + ¼ c. chopped celery
Cream of Mushroom Soup - ½ c. soup = 1/3 c. white sauce + 3 T. chopped mushrooms + 3 T. beef stock
Eggs – 1 egg = 1 t. unflavored gelatin + 3 T. cold water and 2 T. plus 1 t. boiling water OR
1 egg =3 T. mayonnaise in cakes, cookies, etc. OR
1 egg = 1 T. white vinegar – if there are other leavening agents in the mix (self-rising flour, baking powder or yeast) OR
1 egg = ½ banana or ¼ cup applesauce in baked goods - muffins, pancakes or yeast-free quick breads, recipe must have baking powder or soda
Flour – 1 c. cake flour = 1 c. all-purpose flour minus 2 T.
- 1 c. self rising flour = 1 c. all purpose flour + 1 t. baking powder + ½ t. salt + ¼ t. baking soda
Fresh Herbs – 1 T. fresh herbs = 1 t. dried herbs, crushed
Garlic – 1 clove = 1/8 t. instant minced garlic OR 1/8 t. garlic powder
Honey (In Baking) - 1 c. honey = 1 ¼ c. sugar + ¼ c. liquid – milk, water or juice
Italian Seasoning – 1 t. Italian seasoning herb = ½ t. dried oregano + ¼ t. each of basil and thyme
Milk (In Baking) – 1 c. milk in baked goods = 1 c. water + 1 T. butter
Molasses – 1 c. molasses = 1 c. dark corn syrup OR 1 c. honey
Mustard – 1 T. prepared mustard = ½ t. ground mustard + 2 t. vinegar
Onion – 1/3 c. raw, chopped onion = 2 T. dried instant minced onion OR 1 t. onion powder
Poultry Seasoning – 1 t. poultry seasoning = ¾ t. rubbed sage + ¼ t. dried thyme
Powdered Sugar - ¼ c. powdered sugar =¼ c. sugar blended to powder in blender
Pumpkin Pie Spice – 2 ½ t. pumpkin pie spice = 1 ½ t. cinnamon + ½ t. ginger = ½ t. nutmeg + a dash of cloves
Sour Cream - ¼ c. sour cream = 3 T. milk + 1 T. vinegar + 1 T. butter OR 1 c. buttermilk + 3 T. Cornstarch
(if not using in dessert recipes add 1 t. onion powder and dash of paprika blend & refrigerate OR 7/8 c.
buttermilk plus ¼ c. butter blended till smooth
Tarter Sauce – ¾ c. Tartar Sauce = ½ c. real mayo or miracle whip + ¼ c. sweet pickle relish + 2 t. dried minced onion, reconstituted + 1 t. mustard
Tomato Juice – 1 c. Tomato Juice = ½ c. tomato sauce + ½ c. water
Tomato Sauce – 1 c. (8 oz.) Tomato sauce = 3 oz. tomato paste + 1 c. water
Walnuts in Baking - ¼ c. walnuts = ½ c. rolled oats
Red Wine Vinegar - 1 T. red wine vinegar = 1 T. apple cider vinegar
Spaghetti Sauce – To perk up canned sauce add 2 T. Balsamic Vinegar to the canned sauce
White Wine Vinegar - 1 T. white wine vinegar =1 T. white vinegar OR 1 T. Rice Wine Vinegar
Worcestershire Sauce - 1 T. Worcestershire sauce = 2 t. soy sauce + 1 t. vinegar
Homemade Flexible Ice Pack - Pour 1 c. rubbing alcohol and 2 c. water into a 1 quart Ziploc freezer bag. Squeeze air out, press closed and freeze. Double recipe for gallon size bag. Keep in freezer.