Saturday, October 30, 2010

Money-Saving Tip

This is a tip I received a few years ago in my email from a friend. It was a forward and at first I didn’t pay much attention. I love paper towels and wouldn’t want to be without them but there is no way you can afford or have the room to put a years supply of paper towels in your storage. I knew I used too many, especially when we were cooking and had no running water for clean-up. That is when I remembered my email.

This email is about using coffee filters in place of paper towels. I’d never bought coffee filters before and wasn’t even sure where to look for them in the store but after re-reading the email I decided to find out.

I was headed to Costco that day and decided to check them out. Turns out they were amazingly cheap and so many in a package; something like 1000 for under $3.00 for the large cup type. It also turns out there are 2 different kinds. Not knowing exactly which to get I got some of both. They have seriously cut down my use of paper towels as well as the amount of dishes I dirty for things like sandwiches, draining cooked bacon, etc.

I’m attaching a copy of the email so you can consider saving. If not on paper towels then at least on the amount of dirty dishes you have each day. I wish I had known about these when my kids were little. They would be great for serving sandwiches and snacks.

Coffee filters .... Who knew! And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Store or your favorite Warehouse Store for almost nothing - even the large ones. Use them to:

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.
2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome... Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.
3. Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.
4. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.
5. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.
6. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.
7. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.
8. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.
9. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.. SMART!!
10. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.
11. Put a few in a plate for your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. It soaks out all the grease.
12. Use to separate fresh tortillas to keep them separated.
13. As a sewing backing. Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliquéing soft fabrics.
14. Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.
15. Serve a sandwich, hot dog or donut instead of a using a plate.
16. Great for making stir fry – slice or dice veggies into filters rather than dirtying numerous dishes.
17. Use to warm leftover pizza, French toast or almost any leftovers in the microwave.
18. Use to line a strainer or sieve anytime you need a more fine strainer
19. Include in a lunchbox for a paper plate substitute.
20. Use as a place to keep spatula or measuring spoons when baking to help cut down on messes.
21. Great to use when making crepes to keep them from sticking together while cooking remaining batter.
22. Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.
23. Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car.
24. Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.
25. Use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies. Saves on having extra bowls to wash.
26. Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.
27. Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.
28. Use them to sprout seeds. Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout.
29. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers. Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in phone book..
30. Use as a disposable "snack bowl" for popcorn, chips, etc.
31. Grate cheese or chocolate into a coffee filter rather than using a dish or plate.
32. Slice tomatoes into a coffee filter to absorb some of the juice before putting on a sandwich.
33. Place coffee filters under a baking rack to catch drips when frosting cupcakes, donuts or cookies.
34. Use to catch any spills when measuring spices, baking cocoa or other baking ingredients. Just funnel any spills easily back into original containers.
35. Put powdered sugar into a coffee filter before dipping or rolling warm cookies to prevent messes.
36. Use a filter when decorating a cake, cookies or cupcakes to catch any messy spills or to hold different tubes of icing.
37. Use a coffee filter under messy syrups, jellies or honey containers to prevent sticky table or countertops.
38. Coffee filters are great for "breakfasts on the go". Keep hands clean by putting your jelly-topped toast or greasy egg-sausage sandwich neatly tucked inside.
39. Use under mugs of hot chocolate to keep the mess off the table.
40. When making lemon, orange or lime zest, use a coffee filter. Let extra unused zest dry on the filters until thoroughly dried, then store in a tightly sealed container for future use when you don't have fresh fruit available.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Powdered Eggs

Powdered eggs, or dehydrated eggs, are very versatile. They can be added with the dry ingredients when baking and act exactly like the "real thing" would act in the recipe - this is because they are the "real thing." Following is information on the different types of powdered eggs, along with some suggestions on how to use them.

Advantages of Using Powdered Eggs vs. Fresh Eggs There are many real advantages to using powdered eggs over fresh eggs. The fact that powdered eggs are a non-perishable food when stored in an airtight container is their greatest advantage. Stored in the absence of oxygen and placed in a cool storage environment, powdered eggs have a storage life of 5 to 10 years. This means that they can be included in stored dried mixes - alleviating the need for having fresh eggs on hand.

There are several other advantages. You never have to worry about dropping and breaking a dehydrated egg - and dehydrated eggs store in a much smaller space. A dozen fresh eggs take up about 122 cubic inches in their carton. When the eggs are powdered, this is reduced to less than 22 cubic inches per dozen powdered eggs. Not only will this free up room in your refrigerator, a can of powdered eggs requires no refrigeration and stores for months in your pantry.

How Are Powdered Eggs Made?Powdered eggs are made in a spray dryer much in the same way that powdered milk is made. The finished product is a free flowing powder that reconstitutes into a product similar to fresh whipped eggs.

What Are The Different Types of Powdered Eggs?

Whole Powdered Eggs
Whole powdered eggs contain the whole egg (whites and yolk) and are very versatile in baking. They can be added with the dry ingredients when baking and act exactly like the "real thing" would act in the recipe. Whole egg powder can be used successfully to make mayonnaise. It thickens pudding just like fresh eggs, and can be used to make omelets and scrambled eggs. They can even be used to make Eggnog.

Powdered Egg Whites
Powdered egg whites contain just the white of the egg and work just as well in recipes as egg whites that have been hand-separated. A huge advantage of using powdered egg whites is that it does not require going through the tedious process of separating the yoke from the white yourself nor do you have to find an alternate use for those yokes that are left over. Egg white powder is a lot less messy than separating fresh eggs which also make them a great time saver. They are perfect for whipping into a meringue. In fact, another name for them is meringue powder.

Powdered Egg Mix
Powdered egg mix is mostly whole egg powder with a bit of powdered milk and vegetable oil blended into the powder. The powdered egg mix has been formulated to make scrambled eggs, omelets or French toast. It is especially well suited for camping trips and other outings.

Once Opened, How Long Will Powdered Eggs Last?Stored in the absence of oxygen and placed in a cool storage environment, powdered eggs have a storage life of 5 to 10 years. Once a container of powdered eggs has been opened, it is comparable to any other dehydrated dairy product and shelf-life would be measured in weeks or a month. Many people opt to refrigerate the remaining portion or only open as small a container as possible. If the goal is to keep the remaining powdered eggs long-term, it is a good idea to re-pack the remaining portion in a smaller container with an oxygen absorber. Using a food saver vacuum packer or using Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers from the cannery, you can take out small portions at a time and re-pack to make your can of powdered eggs last a very long time. Keep in mind that the eggs will only store as well as the condition of the original product - and therefore, should be free of moisture and oxygen.

Powdered eggs are also safe as well as economical if stored correctly. Depending on where you buy them, they are about $.15 per egg. Just for your information, Honeyville grain will ship any size order for just $4.49 no matter how much you order. Their whole eggs are on sale right now for $82.99 a case making them less than $15 a can which is a great price; a good storage investment. Check it out at

Monday, October 25, 2010

Carrot Pudding

I really like canning; well I love the end result and the feeling you get when it is done. I love being able to preserve things that wouldn’t keep very long otherwise. One of the things about canning season that I don’t really enjoy is the pressure. I don’t like that you have to hurry and get the peaches and peach jam done so you can do the pears or applesauce or corn or whatever. I don’t enjoy being rushed to get things done, especially when there are other things I’d like to be doing.

I do enjoy what I like to call off-season canning. This is the time when you are not so rushed and you can bottle things that you want to and have a little leeway to get it done. This year, with an abundance of carrots in my fridge (okay I admit I have way too many carrots in my fridge and need to use some up to make room for other things), I decided to bottle some carrot pudding.

For those of you who have never had carrot pudding, you really can’t tell there are even carrots (or potatoes) in it. It tastes a little like a spice/chocolate cake even though there is no cocoa in it. It has the texture of a baked pudding and is awesome served with warm sauce or even better with vanilla ice cream AND warm sauce.

My mom used to make carrot pudding all the time and I admit I never wanted to try it much because it has raisins in it but I’ve grown up now and raisins are okay. (I really think I'll try a batch of this with chocolate chips in it instead of the raisins.) The recipes I’ve seen and the one Mom made were “steamed” in a 2-3 lb. metal can like a shortening can (yes, they used to be metal) or a coffee can. It can also be steamed in any container which will fit inside a large kettle of simmering water.

I’ve canned carrot pudding before using quart jars (though I can’t really remember just how I did it but wanted to use pints this year. I tweaked the recipe a bit and tripled it as well to make several pints instead of just 2 or 3 (and to use more carrots). It is a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas recipe but making it now and sealing it in jars gives me the option of opening it anytime for a nice dessert.

I’m going to include the original recipe in case you want to make it in a large can and I’m also including the recipe I used to bottle it. You can use quarts or pints – your choice. I’ll also include some recipes for the sauce, although it’s good with any sauce, even the buttermilk syrup recipe that we use on pancakes.

Carrot Pudding
1 c. grated carrots
1 c. grated potatoes (rinse well with cold water)
¾ c. oil (can replace with a cube of softened butter)
1 c. flour
1 t. soda
½ c. nuts
1 c. brown sugar (can use granulated sugar)
1 c. raisins
½ t. cloves
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. salt
1 egg beaten
Combine all ingredients (egg may be omitted, but if used, cuts down on cooking time). Pour into 2 pound empty shortening can. (Can also be steamed in covered canning jars – adjust time). Cover with waxed paper. Steam in large kettle with lid on for about 2-3 hours (depending on the size of containers used. Serve with Carmel sauce.

Carrot Pudding to bottle – triple recipe
3 c. grated carrots
3 c. grated potatoes
2 ¼ c. oil
3 c. flour
3 t. soda
1 c. nuts
3 c. brown sugar
3 c. raisins
3 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
1 t. allspice
1 t. salt
3 eggs
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Distribute evenly into 8 pint jars (I assume 4 quart jars would work as well). Don’t fill more than ½ to 2/3 full or pudding will go over top of jars. Cover top of each jar with wax paper. Steam in large kettle with lid on using about 2-3” of water in the bottom of kettle and simmering till pudding is done for about 2 hours (depending on the size of bottles used. Wipe bottle rims, put new flats on and secure rims and continue steaming about 5 minutes longer. Remove bottles and watch for a good seal. *Note: The carrot pudding does not have to be to the top of the bottle as in other canning recipes. It still seals even if it isn't full. The original recipe called for filling the jars 3/4 full but I found that the pudding rises up over the tops of the jars and makes a huge mess.

Easy Caramel Sauce for Carrot Pudding
1 c. brown sugar
7/8 c. canned milk
Put in a pint jar and finish filling with white corn syrup. Let sit overnight. Stir and it is ready to use.

Buttery Sauce for Carrot pudding
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a medium-size pot, combine butter, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Heat until the mixture is liquid and sugar is dissolved. Spoon mixture over the warm carrot pudding to serve.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Most Important Meal of the Day

I was talking to another food storage blogger through email a few weeks ago. It is always interesting to me the approach different people take towards food storage. Her theory is, and she has fairly young children, that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. I’ve never really been a breakfast person, but she says when you have a good breakfast you start the day with lots of energy and aren’t as hungry the rest of the day. For her storage she plans good, sturdy breakfasts and one larger highly nutritious meal for the late afternoon. She claims that sandwiches or snacks will do well in-between in emergency situations.

I thought about this a lot and I’m sure it is a very good idea. She is a strong believer in the “short term food storage plan” as well, and started with her breakfast meals to begin her storage. She chose 7 breakfast meals, making sure they were all able to be made from food storage items. Then she planned to have these 7 meals each 4 times a month and shopped for all the ingredients for these 28 meals and put them in her food storage. Then she doubled that amount and had 2 months storage of breakfast meals. She told me she was excited because it was fairly inexpensive to do, buying things for homemade pancake mixes, oatmeal mixes, powdered eggs, milk and etc. Eventually she chose another 7 breakfast meals and doubled her storage. She now has and KEEPS the ingredients for almost a full year of breakfast meals on hand. She is also working on food storage for other meals but says that having the breakfast meals in her pantry was a big relief to her.

She tells me they rely on lots of pancake recipes, oatmeal varieties (which her kids love) as well as many other variations she has come up with. She loves using powdered eggs (which we need to discuss in another post) and says she uses powdered milk every day.

Her kids love cold cereal, but she limits the number of times they can have it each week. She did say that if you find cold cereal at a good price, it is a good storage item because most cereals have about a one year shelf life. But she says if your family won’t eat cereal with powdered milk, don’t bother to store it. She stores some of the real milk that is processed and packaged to store on the shelf for a year in her storage (, which she rotates regularly. She does caution though that it takes up quite a bit of room but they love having it. I have some of this also and it is good. It keeps well and tastes good. My only concern with storing too much of this is that it might at some point leak so I store what little of it I have in storage totes. (I know, I’m paranoid!)

I’m now trying to think what varieties of foods I can fix for breakfast that allow me to have enough ingredients on hand to fix breakfast for a year. Quite a challenge.

Some of my strange and miscellaneous ideas for breakfast meals would be (Many of these we have covered in other posts but just for the sake of making a list I really like):
Rice pudding
Pancakes or waffles
Quinoa Cereal
Oatmeal varieties with fruit & nuts (notice the flavored powdered creamers in the oatmeal mix)
Granola bars
Toast and jam, French toast or cinnamon toast served with fruit
Flour tortillas with eggs, sausage or bacon TVP, cheese, or other breakfast fillings
Coffee cakes
Cinnamon rolls are always good. I could eat them for any meal – or every meal.
My next experiment will be to make an omelet with powdered eggs and other food storage ingredients. If it is good, it will make a great food storage option.

Here are a few breakfast recipes I’ve collected over the years. Thanks to my friend Annette for sharing her favorite food storage breakfast meals. Try these soft and chewy granola bars, they are so good!

Cranberries And Cream Oatmeal Mix
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup French vanilla creamer
1 cup loose brown sugar
2 cups dried cranberries (try dried cherries too)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients together and store. To use: Add about 2 Tbsp of mix per serving of oatmeal or to taste

Good Morning Cookies (Annette)
¼ c. butter
½ c. brown sugar
¾ c. whole wheat flour
¾ c. applesauce
½ c. rolled oats
1/3 c. bran
¼ c. dry milk
1 egg or egg white or powdered eggs
½ t. soda
½ t. cinnamon
¼ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
1/8 to ¼ t. ground cloves
½ c. raisins
¼ c. chopped nuts
Flavored cream cheese or peanut butter
Mix butter and sugar well. Add next 11 ingredients and mix well. Stir in raisins and nuts. Using a silpat or sprayed baking sheet, drop dough by rounded Tablespoons 2-3” apart. Spread dough with back of spoon so each cookie is about 2” across. Bake at 375º for 10 minutes or until set. Cool on racks. Use flavored cream cheese or peanut butter to make “sandwiches”. Refrigerate or wrap well and freeze. Y: 8 large sandwich cookies

Spicy Apple Pancakes (Annette)
2 c. bisquick or homemade baking mix
½ t. cinnamon
1 egg (or powdered egg equivalent)
1 1/3 c. milk (or mixed powdered milk)
¾ c. grated apple (or dehydrated apple slices, diced and rehydrated)
Combine pancake mixture then stir in apples. Cook on greased griddle. Serve with Cider Sauce:
2 c. cider or apple juice
1 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
¼ t. cinnamon
¼ t. nutmeg
2 T. lemon juice
Combine dry ingredients. Stir in juices. Bring to a boil and stir 1 minute while boiling. Remove from heat and stir in ¼ c. butter. Y: 2 ½ c. sauce

Corn Fritters
2 eggs, beaten
1 can cream style corn
3 t. sugar
½ t. salt
1 ½ c. flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
Mix ingredients together and drop by ½ T. full into deep hot fat. Cook till golden brown. Serve with butter and syrup, honey or jam.

Try this overnight oven French toast with your own homemade bread, mixed powdered eggs and evaporated milk made from your powdered milk.

Oven French Toast
1 loaf French bread cut in 1” thick slices (or use unsliced cinnamon raisin bread cut in 1” slices)
6 eggs
1 c. evaporated milk
2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
1 c. brown sugar
½ c. butter
2 T. Karo Syrup
Chopped nuts (optional)
Spray a 9x13” pan with cooking spray. Arrange bread slices in pan. Mix other ingredients and pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Next day, spread with topping then bake at 350º for 40 minutes. Should be a dark golden brown. Serve with syrup.

Baked Blueberry pancake
2 c. pancake mix
1 ½ c. milk
1 egg
1 T. canola oil
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
Butter & Syrup
Combine pancake mix, egg, oil and cinnamon just till blended. Batter will be lumpy. Fold in blueberries gently. Spread into greased 15x10” pan. Bake at 400º until golden brown. Serve with butter & syrup. Y: 6 servings.

Coffee Cake is a fun breakfast option. If you have any of those mini muffin mixes in your pantry there is usually a coffee cake recipe option on those also. Coffee cake recipes are pretty forgiving. You can usually tweak them to your liking with good success.

Overnight Coffeecake
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. salt
1 c. buttermilk
2/3 c. melted butter
2 eggs, beaten (Can use powdered eggs)
1 c. fresh or frozen raspberries or blueberries or finely diced fresh or canned, drained peaches
Streusel Topping:
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. chopped nuts
1 t. cinnamon
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the buttermilk, butter, and eggs in another bowl. Mix the wet with the dry ingredients and fold in berries, if using. Pour into a greased 9x13 and sprinkle with topping; refrigerate. Bake at 350º for 45-50 minutes, or until done.

Potato Pancakes
4 c. shredded, peeled potatoes (4 large) (Or use well rehydrated dried hash brown potatoes)
1 egg, lightly beaten (can use powdered eggs)
3 T. flour
1 T. grated onion
1 t. salt
¼ t. pepper
Rinse potatoes in cold water. Drain well. Place in large bowl. Add egg, flour, onion, salt & pepper & mix well. In skillet heat ¼” oil over medium heat, drop batter by 1/3 cupfuls into hot oil. Flatten to form a pancake. Fry till golden brown, turn & brown the other side. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with syrup or sauce of your choice. Y: 6 servings

Summer Harms Healthy Chewy Homemade Granola Bars
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 c. flax seed, milled
1/4 c. quinoa
3/4 c. shelled sunflower seeds
1 c. chopped nuts (any kind or combination)
1 c. shredded coconut
1/2 to 1 tsp. cinnamon (desired amount)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
2 t. molasses
4 T. butter
2 t. vanilla
4 T. peanut butter
1 c. dried, chopped fruit (optional)
½ c. mini chocolate chips (optional)
Mix first 8 ingredients together and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in a 400º oven for 9-12 minutes. Watch it so it doesn't burn! Stir and let cool at least 15 minutes. Bring next 4 ingredients to a simmer, stirring continuously. Stir in the vanilla and peanut butter and cool for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Put the toasted ingredients and dried fruit and chocolate chips if desired, in a large bowl and pour the liquid ingredients over it. Mix very well. Place parchment or wax paper in the rimmed baking sheet and butter the top side, then place the granola bar mixture in the pan. Put another butter sheet of paper, buttered side down, on top of the mixture and press down. (I use silpats instead of parchment or wax paper and they work perfectly!)Roll with a rolling pin to make it very tight, smooth, and even. Let set for 2-3 hours and cut into desired bar size. Y: about 20-24 bars. Package in snack size bags or an airtight container. If not using within next few days, store in freezer. They keep very well, and thaw quickly.

This bread is great as it is or toasted or spread with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and broiled under the broiler until bubbly.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread Y: one 9” loaf
1/4 c. whole milk
4 T. (1/2 stick) butter, cut into ½” pieces.
2 1/4 t. dry active yeast
1/2 c. warm water, about 110 degrees
1/3 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t. salt
3 1/4 to 4 c. all purpose flour (or half whole wheat), plus more for dusting the work surface
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Milk for brushing
1 large egg
2 t. milk
Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave until the butter melts. Cool until warm. Meanwhile, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat the sugar and eggs and mix at low speed to blend. Add the salt, lukewarm milk mixture, and 2 c. flour and 1 t. cinnamon; mix at medium speed until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook. Add 1/14 c. more flour and knead at medium speed, adding more flour sparingly if the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, until the dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Turn the dough onto a work surface. Squeeze the dough with a clean, dry hand. If the dough is sticky, knead in up to 1/2 cup more flour to form a smooth elastic dough. Transfer the dough to a very lightly oiled large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours (the ideal rising temperature is 75º). After the rise, punch down the center of the dough once. (The dough can be refrigerated, covered for up to 18 hours.) Making sure not too fold the dough, turn onto an unfloured work surface; let the dough rest for about 10 minutes. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5” loaf pan. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Press the dough neatly into an evenly shaped 8x6” rectangle. With a short side of the dough facing you, roll the dough with a rolling pin into an evenly shaped 19 by 8-inch rectangle (flour the work surface if the dough sticks). Brush the dough liberally with milk. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border on the far side. Starting at the side closest to you, roll up the dough, pinching the dough gently with your fingertips to make sure it is tightly sealed. To keep the loaf from stretching beyond 9 inches, push the ends occasionally with your hands as you roll the dough. When you are finished rolling, pinch the seam side tightly to secure it. With the seam-side facing up, push the center of both ends. Firmly pinch the dough at either end together to seal the sides of the loaf. Place the loaf seam side down in the prepared pan; press lightly to flatten. Cover the top of the pan loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to let rise. Let rise until the dough is 1” above the top of the pan, about 1 1/2 hours (if the dough has been refrigerated 2 1/2 hours). As the dough nears the top of the pan, adjust the oven rack to the center position and heat the oven to 350º Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the milk. Gently brush the top of the loaf with the egg mixture. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and cool to room temperature on it's side for 45 minutes. Hand-Kneaded Cinnamon Swirl Bread (in case you don't have a mixer) Follow the recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Bread, sprinkling yeast over the water in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to incorporate all other ingredients as directed. When the dough comes together, turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. 12 to 15 minutes, adding more flour if necessary. Transfer to lightly oiled bowl and follow the rest of the instructions from this point on.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ezekiel Bread

Every once in awhile I like a challenge. Nothing too mind boggling or difficult, just something new and different to give me a little challenge. As the big boys always say, “I love it when a plan comes together”.

I have heard of Ezekiel Bread, but I never really knew anything about it.Did everyone but me know what Ezekiel Bread was? Well, a couple of weeks ago I was reading in the Old Testament in Ezekiel. I read Ezekiel 4:9 which says, “Also take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt, and put them into one vessel and make bread of them.” In this verse the prophet Ezekiel is told by God to make bread in a certain way and then he lives on water and this bread for 390 days while he resides in the desert. After reading this I remembered about the bread and so I did some looking on the internet and found a recipe for Ezekiel Bread.

Ezekiel bread is a bread made from four grains and four beans. Typically it contains wheat, spelt or rye, barley, millet, lentils, great northern beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans ground in a grain mill. The specific mixture of grains and beans has been tested by food scientists and found to be complete nutritionally.

This is kind of a fun project. If you can find all the ingredients it is worth the effort to make it. I already had most of the ingredients but I found the spelt flour and millet at the Winco in Pocatello. You need quite small amounts of the beans and most of the grains and if you can buy them in bulk, you won’t spend much. If you have trouble finding some of the ingredients, check at a health food store where most all of them should be readily available. Once you find all the ingredients and get your wheat grinder out you are ready to go.

I wouldn't want to live on just this bread and water for 390 days but it would definitely beat fasting for 390 days and it is good to try something new and different every now and then, just for fun.

Ezekiel Bread
4 c. warm water (110º-115º)
1 c. honey
½ c. olive oil
2 packages active dry yeast
2 ½ c. wheat berries
1 ½ c. spelt flour
½ c. barley
½ c. millet
¼ c. dry green lentils
2 T. dry great Northern beans
2 T. dry kidney beans
2 T. dried pinto beans
2 t. salt
1. Measure the water, honey, olive oil, and yeast into a large bowl. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Stir all of the grains and beans together until well mixed. Grind in a flour mill. Add fresh milled flour and salt to the yeast mixture; stir until well mixed, about 10 minutes. The dough will be a batter bread. Pour dough into two greased 9 x 5” loaf pans.
3. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until dough has reached top of the pan.
4. Bake at 350º for 45 to 50 minutes, or until loaves are golden brown.

This bread is different from other breads but it is very good. A fun experiment. The texture is different, a little crumbly but if that bothers you, then you can slice it and freeze it and toast the slices if you want.

This is healthy bread. It is full of protein; it makes a complete protein because of the whole grains and beans. Try it and see what you think. It is an interesting and fun recipe to try. You may want to make up some mixes to give as gifts with the scripture or story attached, and maybe throw in a bottle of jam or honey.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Chili has always been thought of as the ultimate food storage meal. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Chili has definitely gotten more popular over the years and there are tons of different chili recipes. You can make almost anything in a pot and call it chili. Some recipes have beans, others don’t. I was once told that if you drink milk with your chili you have a complete protein. Not being a nutrition expert, I won’t expound on that except to say that beans are very healthy in any form.

Some people avoid them because they have an adverse affect on the digestive system. However one thing I have learned over the years is that the more often you eat beans, the more your system becomes used to them and the less they bother you. Beans are a great storage item and keep well if properly stored.

Here are several chili recipes for you to try. Maybe you already have a favorite go-to recipe of your own. The interesting thing about chili is that it is very easy to alter the taste and consistency and a few changes create a totally different recipe. You can choose the beans you use, any kind will work and some recipes use several different varieties. You can choose the meat you add or add no meat at all. The spices can be altered according to your taste and you can serve it over cornbread (my personal favorite), with crackers, topped with onions, sour cream, ranch dressing, grated cheese, crushed corn chips or just about anything you can think of.

One of my favorite things is Navajo Taco’s. These are great made with leftover chili. Just top a scone with chili, cheese, lettuce, onions, tomatoes and sour cream or any of your favorite toppings for a quick meal. Most chili recipes also freeze well so make a big batch and store in freezer containers you can pull out for several meals later on.

Just a couple of chili tips that I’ve learned. Don’t rush your chili. The longer the flavors blend the better it is and sometimes it’s even better the next day. Don’t add salt or tomatoes until your beans are cooked because it slows the cooking process. I personally like to puree my tomatoes before adding to chili because I don’t care for tomato chunks but if you do, leave the chunks. I also love all the new varieties of canned tomatoes such as the petite diced tomatoes with chipotle chilies. They are great in the chocolate chili. There are many varieties of tomatoes, see if you find a favorite flavor blend for your own chili recipe.

It seems everyone has a favorite chili recipe. Maybe you haven’t found yours yet. My favorite chili ever was my husband’s mother’s recipe. Unfortunately she never wrote it down. She always added large chunks of ground beef with the beans and she’d say, oh you just add some chili powder and a bottle of ketchup, a little brown sugar, some of this and that but I could never really pin her down on exactly how she did it. And now that she’s gone, I could kick myself that I wasn’t more persistent. I’d really love to be sharing it with you right now but I can’t. I don’t think I could ever recreate it. So if you find YOUR perfect recipe, write it down!

I must confess that one of my best chili varieties that I’ve ever had is the Bear Creek Darn Good Chili Mix. I sometimes tweak it a bit or eat it like it is. I’ve served it to friends who’ve said they had to have the recipe. It’s that good. I have several of the mixes in my storage because they are good and very convenient, as well as being easy to store and quick to make. Many of these recipes call for canned beans but don’t be afraid to substitute dry, soaked and cooked beans instead. It’s a good way to learn which beans you want add to your storage.

Here are several recipes for chili. The first is my mom’s recipe. It’s a pretty basic chili that isn’t too spicy but can be adjusted to your tastes. Also included are my daughter’s Honey Barbecue Chili recipe, chocolate chili, pumpkin chili, chili n’ noodles, and two recipes for white chicken chili, one creamy and one spicy (I like them both).

1 ½ c. uncooked small red beans
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
3 ½ c. tomato juice
1 ½ t. salt
1/8 t. paprika
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
3 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 T. chili powder
2 c. ketchup
Soak beans in water overnight. Cook in soaking water till beans are tender. Brown meat with onion & drain grease. Add tomato juice, ketchup and seasonings. Add to cooked and drained beans and simmer for 1 hour. Serve with crackers or serve over cornbread with cheese and sour cream on top.

Jody’s Honey BBQ Chili
1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 chopped onion
4 minced garlic cloves
1 c. BBQ sauce (or less)
2 cans chili beans in sauce
2 cans kidney beans
3 cans diced tomatoes
½ c. honey
1 T. Dijon mustard (or yellow)
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. chili powder
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 T. cocoa
1 ½ t. cumin
Dash of basil
Combine all ingredients together and simmer 1 hour.

Chocolate Chili
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 red or green pepper, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans petite diced tomatoes with chipotle chilies (blend if desired)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/3 c. water
2 beef bouillon cubes (or 2 t. beef bouillon)
3 T. brown sugar
2 T. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
¼ - ½ oz. unsweetened chocolate (1/2 unsweetened baking cube), chopped (to taste)
3-4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Sour cream
Chopped green onions
Shredded cheddar cheese
Brown beef, onion, garlic, and bell pepper, until meat is cooked through. Add salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, tomatoes, beans, water and beef bouillon. Heat to boiling and then reduce to a simmer (uncovered), stirring occasionally, until thickened as desired about 30 minutes. Add 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar and a little chopped chocolate at a time until desired richness is reached. If necessary, add more red wine vinegar to contrast the sweetness of the chili. Serve with chopped green onions, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese.

Pumpkin Chili with Black Beans
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups Chicken Broth
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
2-1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large skillet, sauté the onion, yellow pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker; stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through. Yield: 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts). To cook on the stove; put all ingredients, except chips, in large stock pot. Bring to a simmer and cook 20-25 minutes. Y: 10 servings. Freezes well.

Spicy White Chicken Chili
1 c. diced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 -14 oz. can chicken broth
1 can white chicken or 2 c. cooked chicken
2-4 oz. cans green chilies, undrained
3 cans great northern beans, undrained
3 T. lime juice
1 t. lemon pepper
1 t. cumin seed
1 t. ground cumin
1 can (18 oz.) shoe peg corn, undrained
Grated cheese
Sour cream
Green onions
Cilantro, chopped
Tortilla chips
Sauté’ onion and garlic in oil; in large pot, add remaining ingredients and simmer on low 1 hour or put in Crock-pot for 3-4 hours. Garnish individual bowls as desired. Freezes well!

Creamy White Chicken Chili
1 can chicken
1 med. Chopped onion
1 ½ t. garlic powder
1 T. vegetable oil
2 cans great northern beans drained & rinsed
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
2 cans, (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
1 t. salt
1 t. cumin
1 t. oregano
½ t. pepper
¼ t. cayenne pepper
1 c. sour cream
½ c. whipping cream
Cook chicken, onion, garlic and oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add everything but the creams. Bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add sour cream and whipping cream. Stir in until cream is mixed well. Serve immediately.

This recipe for noodles n’ chili was given to me by a friend and neighbor who just lost her husband last week. I will always cherish our friendship and the things she taught me, as well as this recipe and others she shared with me. She created this recipe as a way to get her non-bean-loving children to eat chili. Years later, it’s still their favorite.

Homemade Noodles n’ Chili
1 beaten egg
1 c. flour
½ t. salt
2 T. top milk
Mix together & roll out thin. Cut into 1” squares; let dry 20 minutes or longer. Y: 3 c. noodles.
2 c. dry pinto beans sort, wash & soaked overnight. Boil beans till tender & salt to taste.
1 lb. hamburger with 1 lb. onions, chopped.
Salt & pepper
½ t. chili powder
1 qt. home canned tomatoes (or 2 cans any variety, as desired)
Any seasoning you desire.
Bring to a boil. & add noodles. Cook till tender. Let stand a few hours. They get better after the flavors blend together.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hot Chocolate Weather?

It’s almost that time of year when we start thinking about hot chocolate; in fact I went to lunch yesterday with a friend and it was almost 70º outside and some ladies came into the restaurant where we were and ordered hot chocolate with whipped cream on top. It looked delicious.

Hot chocolate is a great way to warm up when it’s cold outside. It makes a great storage item, especially if you make your own mix. Here are a couple of homemade hot chocolate mixes for you to try as well as a warm orange drink mix. If you are the warm apple cider type, there is also a couple of Wassail Drink mixes.

I especially love the flavored hot chocolate mixes, raspberry being my favorite. With such a variety of powdered flavorings and extracts available, we can have any flavor we want, any time.

The first recipe is my old hot chocolate mix standby. It is made with instant powdered milk and makes a very large batch which stores well in a tightly covered container or makes a great gift in smaller decorated bottles as part of a gift basket.

The second hot chocolate mix is made with non-instant powdered milk and makes a smaller batch. It even has a one-cup recipe if you want to try it before making a larger batch. You can tweak any of these to your liking. Try dividing into several containers and adding marshmallows, crushed peppermint candy, powdered vanilla (or any extract). One lady mentioned that she likes to use different flavored powdered non-dairy creamers to make several different flavors of hot chocolate.

The mixes are designed to just add boiling water to, but for a richer drink add hot milk rather than hot water or additional powdered milk with your boiling water. If you like a more chocolaty drink, stir in some Dutch cocoa or add grated or chopped chocolate bits to your cup when adding boiling water. No limit to what you can come up with but it’s nice to have the mix on hand throughout the winter.

Hot Chocolate Mix
10 2/3 c. instant nonfat dry milk
1 ¾ c. powdered non-dairy creamer (6 oz.)
2 c. powdered sugar
2 ¾ c. instant chocolate drink mix (16 oz.)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Put in a large airtight container. Store in cool dry place. Use within 6 months. Y: 17 cups of mix. To use, add 3 T mix to 1 c. hot water.

Maren's Hot Cocoa Mix with variations
2 c. nonfat dry milk
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. non-dairy creamer
1 dash of salt
Miniature marshmallows, optional
Combine ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Yield 4 cups mix
To use Hot Cocoa Mix: Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of mix to your favorite mug and fill with boiling water. Stir to blend. Add some marshmallows or cream.
*Sometimes we like to add some miniature marshmallows to the mix and then fill a quart jar with the cocoa mix and miniature marshmallows combination. The marshmallows dry and get firm, but soften when hot water is added.
*Use flavored creamers (Powdered) such as Hazelnut, Irish Cream and French Vanilla and the others that are available and add to the mix as part or all of the creamer called for
*Add a package of Raspberry or Cherry unsweetened dry beverage mix (like Kool-Aid) to the cocoa mix. I think it makes it a bit tart-you will need to add more sugar. You might try only part of an envelope.
*Add one teaspoon of cinnamon to the cocoa mix
*Add a couple of drops of cherry extract to each hot cup to make it taste like a cherry cordial or a drop of almond extract and two drops of coconut extract to make it taste like an Almond Joy!
*Add cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla flavored sugar
*Add crushed peppermint stick/candy cane for mint in this cocoa

Single Cup/Trial Version of this recipe to see if you like it:
2 T. nonfat dry milk
1 T. sugar
1-1/2 t. cocoa
1-1/2 t. non-dairy creamer
Add boiling water and stir to dissolve.

Wassail Drink Mix
This is a simple combination of ingredients you can add to hot cider to make a delicious and warming drink for the holidays. Also try it in warm cranberry juice cocktail.
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground allspice
1 t. dried orange peel
Combine all ingredients and store in small airtight glass or plastic container. To use, stir a spoonful into a cup of hot apple juice, apple cider or cranberry juice cocktail. Serves 8
You can increase the ingredients, keeping the same proportions, to package and gift as gifts. And add other spices if you'd like, including ground ginger and cardamom

Wassail Drink Mix Using Brown Sugar (makes a larger batch)4 c. brown sugar
3 T. cinnamon
1 T. ground orange peel
1 T. cloves
1 T. allspice
1 T. nutmeg
Mix everything together, making sure that you break up the chunks of brown sugar.
To use: Add 1/2 cup of mix plus 1 cup of water to 2 cups of cider or juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer until ingredients are dissolved and all is well combined. Enjoy!
*Note: For a single serving, use 2-3 Tablespoons to 1 cup of cider*

Russian Refresher (Warm Orange Drink)
2 c. orange powdered drink mix (like Tang)
1 envelope unsweetened powdered lemonade mix (2 qt. size)
2 c. granulated sugar
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. ground cloves
Combine ingredients and store in airtight container. Y: 4 c. mix. To use: add 1 T. mix to 1 c. hot water. Stir well.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Powdered milk

Powdered milk is an essential part of your food storage. I don’t know about you but I think I always had a fear of powdered milk. I was maybe a little apprehensive to do much with it because I was afraid it would be nasty. In fact, I have been waiting (okay, I admit, I was stalling) to do a post on powdered milk because I really want to make sure I dispel any misconceptions about powdered milk. It is not only a great and necessary item to have in your food storage but a good item to use in your everyday cooking or baking. It can save you money and increase the nutritional value of the foods you prepare.

Okay everyone, we are going to be brave now and learn how to effectively use powdered milk in our cooking and baking - I know I can certainly use the extra calcium because I’m not a milk drinker. Here are some excellent recipes to get started:

Making your own Evaporated Milk
1 1/2 C. water
1/2 C. + 1 T. non-instant dry milk powder* or 1 1/8 C. instant dry milk powder*
Mix together with wire whisk and use in any recipe calling for a 12 oz. can of evaporated milk.
*Must be REAL powdered milk not a milk alternative!

Making your own Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 C. hot water
1 C. sugar
1 C. non-instant dry milk powder* or 2 C. instant dry milk powder*
1 T. butter
Blend in blender very well. Use in any recipe calling for sweetened condensed milk. *Must be REAL powdered milk not a milk alternative!

White Sauce using powdered milk

¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
¾ cup powdered milk
2 ½ to 3 cups water (depended on desired thickness)
Salt & Freshly ground pepper
Seasonings--fresh or dried herbs of your choice. (I like to use either parsley or coriander)
Melt butter in a saucepan on low heat. Gradually stir in flour. Add powdered milk alternately with water, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper and other seasonings to taste.

Powdered Milk Facts:
•There are several varieties of powdered milk. Make sure you read the label--some may taste better but they may also have many added ingredients you don’t want to be drinking!
•Storage temperature is very important; the cooler the temperature, the longer the flavor will be preserved.
•Using a bucket or very large container for storage does work—but it must be used more rapidly than the smaller containers because of exposure to oxygen upon opening.
•Mylar pouches or cans are ideal for most people. Keep them sealed tight because once they are opened the moisture in the air will cause clumping.
•Foods made with low fat powdered milk will have fewer calories and less cholesterol than those made from whole milk. Adding additional powdered milk to the recipe will enhance the nutritive value of the recipe without increasing fat content.
•To use powdered milk in any recipe calling for fluid milk, simply add water for the milk called for in the recipe and put the powder in with the dry ingredients.
•To help your family adjust to powdered milk, use half gallon of store purchased milk with a half gallon of powdered milk. If you mix equal parts of 2% milk and non-fat milk powder, you will have 1% milk.
•Try adding a few drops of vanilla to enhance the flavor of powdered milk and let chill several hours before drinking.
•Be sure to do the mixing in the evenings, so the milk has the chill time needed before morning.
•Store reconstituted powdered milk in a milk jug for your family to use. They may not notice a difference in taste if the container is familiar . . . presentation is everything!
•Please realize that the powdered milk amount you use varies depending on the brand you purchase. Make sure you check the label on your powdered milk for mixing directions.

Instant non-fat powdered milk versus Non-Instant non-fat powdered milk versus Milk Alternatives
1. First of all, all powdered milk is nonfat; it is made by removing water from pasteurized non-fat milk.
2. Instant powdered milk and non-instant powdered milk are basically the same once they are mixed.
3. Instant powdered milk is light and fluffy and dissolves in cold water quickly just with stirring.
4. Non-instant powdered milk is denser and has to be dissolved in warm water and stirred a lot. It must be chilled before it is served.
5. Non-instant milk takes up less storage space than instant, which is why most powdered milk you buy from wholesale distributors is non-instant. Most food storage calculators which tell you how much milk to store, base their calculations on non-instant. If you choose to store instant milk, you will need to double the amount of instant milk you store.
6. Most recipes call for dry non-instant milk. If you are using instant milk, as a general rule, you will double the amount of instant milk that you use for recipes that call for non-instant powdered milk.
7. Be carefully when buying milk alternatives; they may taste better for drinking but contain other ingredients which may affect your use of them in recipes calling for instant or non-instant milk. They may taste better, but check the ingredient list to see if you want to go that route.

Tips for using Powdered milk:
*Dry milk is an excellent high-protein food that is low in cost. It is very high in calcium. When added to main dishes, it can extend the more expensive protein of meats, fish, poultry and eggs. It can also be used in combination with dried beans, peanut butter and cheese. Adding nonfat dry milk powder to beverages and other recipes is an effective way to boost the protein content of the meal. This is especially helpful for people who need to fortify their diets with extra protein and calories without adding fat.

*In cooked cereals, add 3 tablespoons of nonfat dry milk powder to each ½ cup of dry cereal (such as oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Malt O’Meal or other cereal grain) prior to cooking. Use the same amount of water as called for in the package directions when cooking the cereal.

*Add ¼ cup nonfat dry milk powder to each cup of fluid milk when making biscuits, muffins, pancakes, yeast breads, cookies and cakes. (This will cause the products to be firmer and to brown faster. Lowering the baking temperature or reducing the amount of sugar will reduce this browning effect.)

*Add ½ cup nonfat dry milk powder when reconstituting canned soup. Add ½ cup nonfat dry milk powder per can of condensed soup when making casseroles, such as tuna and noodles with cream of mushroom soup.

*Add ¼ cup nonfat dry milk powder for every pound of ground meat before browning. Add 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder for every pound of ground meat when making meatloaf or meatballs.

*Add ¼ cup nonfat dry milk powder to each cup of fluid milk, or add ½ cup nonfat dry milk powder to each cup of water or broth when making puddings, custards, gravies and sauces. (This may make the product slightly thicker.)

Here is a fun recipe using powdered milk:

Dry Milk Powder Rice Pudding
2 c. cooked rice
1 c. nonfat dry milk powder
½ c. sugar
¼ t. salt
3 c. water
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 T. butter or margarine
1 t. vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, combine rice, dry milk, sugar, salt and water. Bring to a boil; cook over
medium heat until thick and creamy, about 20-25 minutes, stirring often. Add egg, stir and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into serving dish. Serve warm or cold. Y: 6 servings. You can add ¼ cup raisins, ¼ cup drained canned pineapple chunks or ½ t. cinnamon after you stir in the butter and vanilla.

Here are some drink recipes made with powdered milk for you to experiment with:

Peach or Apricot Cooler
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
½ cup canned peaches or apricots, drained
1 cup cold water
Put ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Orange Cow
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup cold water
Put ingredients in jar with tight-fitting lid and shake.
For a purple cow: Substitute grape juice concentrate for the orange juice.

Yogurt-Fruit Smoothie
¼ cup strawberry or strawberry-banana yogurt
1/3 nonfat dry milk powder
½ banana
¾ cup orange juice
½ cup strawberries (optional)
Put ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Pumpkins just scream fall! I guess they must be the symbol of all the fall harvest of plenty. Even though we know what is just around the corner, we can't help enjoying all the sights and smells of this time of year. It's possible to make the pumpkins last just a little longer.

Pumpkins are an inexpensive for decorating and for eating. They make great pumpkin pie, but they do so much more. Please don’t feel like you have to toss the pumpkin when the Halloween season is over. The beauty of a pumpkin is that you can enjoy them in new ways each season with the addition of a new pumpkin recipe or learning how to extend your pumpkin further.

Choosing a Good Pumpkin & Making it Last
You will want to pick a pumpkin that is fresh and firm. Avoid pumpkins that are bruised or have soft spots on them. Sugar pumpkins are the best to eat and the ones you usually find in the grocery store. Pumpkins that are not carved can last until after Thanksgiving, but may require being brought in at night. When pumpkin rinds freeze, the insides deteriorate and then collapse, that is why it is important to bring them in or cover them with a blanket to keep them warm.

Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree
Everyone knows that you can make your own pumpkin puree, but most think it’s too much work. It is very easy and a great way to get your money back on the pumpkins you bought. The Tightwad Gazette recommends not cutting into your pumpkin until after October 30th. Save the cut out portions in your fridge and the day after Halloween, you can begin to process it. Simply cut the flesh away from the skin and dice it, just as you would do with squash. Fill a pot with your cubes and add two inches of water to the bottom. Simmer the pot until the pumpkin is soft. Then all you have to do is run it through your food processor and you can freeze this into two cup portions (the equivalent size of the canned stuff). How easy is that? Just as a side note, when thawed, the puree will be more watery than the canned version. Just allow the water to drain out and use the pumpkin as usual.

Pumpkin can also be canned without much trouble. Just cut peeled pumpkin in small pieces and steam, boil or bake until tender. To steam, add little or no water. To boil, add only enough water to cover. Put pumpkin and liquid from precooking through strainer or process in food processor till smooth. Spices may be added if desired; I like the pure pumpkin so I can spice it how I want to, or to just spice it lightly. Simmer until heated through, stirring often to prevent sticking. Pack loosely while very hot, into canning jars to within ½” of top of jar. Put on lid and screw band firmly tight. Process in pressure cooker 60 minutes for pints and 80 minutes for quarts, at 10 pounds pressure. (A pint jar is about the same measure as a small can of pumpkin.) This is quite an inexpensive food storage item when you can it yourself.

Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds can be a fun treat to eat with the children and can be a yearly tradition in your family. It is certainly time-consuming to separate the seeds from the pumpkin, but can be a fun activity for you to do with the kids. To toast pumpkin seeds you only need the seeds, vegetable oil, and a little salt. Preheat your oven to 375º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the clean, dry pumpkin seeds in a bowl with a small amount of vegetable oil, just enough to coat, and toss with salt. Arrange in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet. You can then bake these for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack and eat them by the handfuls. (Try different seasonings on these when you bake them.)

With the zillions of pumpkin recipes out there, you should never be at a loss of what to do with pumpkin. Here are some of my family’s favorites, from our house to yours! Thanks to my daughter for sharing her cheesecake recipe.

Jody’s Pumpkin Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Crust:
2 c. crushed graham crackers
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. melted butter
Mix and press into a 9" pie pan
2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. vanilla
Dash each of cloves and nutmeg
2 eggs
Mix everything except eggs until blended. Add eggs and mix. Pour into crust and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Chill 3 hours or overnight. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream.

I’ve made this pumpkin crumble dessert for years and sometimes it was better than others. I never was really sure how it would turn out. Then I found this recipe on “Our Best Bites” and it’s wonderful. Not too much filling, a little sweeter and it turns out the same every time.

Easy Pumpkin Crumble
Recipe from “Our Best Bites”
1 boxed yellow or white cake mix
1-2 sticks butter (see notes in instructions)
1 16 oz can pumpkin*
2 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t ginger
1/8 t cloves
1/8 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1/3 C chopped pecans
1/2 t additional cinnamon for topping
*This makes a dessert about an inch thick or less. That's because I like a high topping-to-pumpkin ratio. If you'd like it thicker, use a large can of pumpkin and double the rest of the filling ingredients (Eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and spices). Leave the rest of the recipe the same. Preheat oven to 350º. Put 2 c. cake mix in a bowl. Cut in 3 T. chilled butter. Just use your fingers to crumble the butter until it's in small crumbly pieces. Place mixture in a 9x13 baking dish and press flat with your fingers. Mix pumpkin, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and spices until smooth. Pour on top of the cake mixture in the pan. Now take the rest of the dry cake mix and mix in 1/2 t cinnamon. Sprinkle it all over the top of the pumpkin mixture. Use a measuring cup so you have a rough measurement of how much you're putting on. Here's why: Cake mixes all have different amounts in them! Different brands, different flavors, etc. Each one is slightly different in volume. I found one mix to have almost double the normal amount. Measuring the amount of cake mix you're sprinkling on top will help you get the perfect topping ratio in the last step. Here's the trick: For every 1 C of cake mix you sprinkled on top, you'll need 3 T of melted butter. Drizzle it right on top. Next, sprinkle on the chopped pecans. You'll have 3 distinct layers now. Bake it about 40 minutes or so. A knife should come out without globs of pumpkin on it and the topping should be nice and golden. You can eat it warm, at room temp, or chilled! Put a dollop of sweetened whipped cream on top. It's also great with vanilla ice cream.

A friend shared this recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes and it’s awesome. I’ve included a couple of syrup recipes but you can top them however you wish:

Pumpkin Pancakes
2 cups flour
3 T. brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground all spice
1 t. ground cinnamon
½ t. ginger
½ t. salt
1 2/3 cup buttermilk
1 c. pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 T. canola oil
2 T. vinegar
Combine buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, oil and vinegar. Mix dry ingredients well then add to pumpkin mixture just until combined. Heat your lightly oiled pan, or griddle. Brown pancakes on both sides and serve hot with buttermilk syrup or apple cider syrup.

Buttermilk Syrup
1 cube real butter
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 ½ c. sugar
2 T. corn syrup
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
Combine buttermilk, sugar, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda in a bigger pan than you think you need as this boils over easily. Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low and keep simmering. Cook, stirring very frequently, for 8-9 minutes till golden color. Remove from heat, skim foam if desired and add vanilla.

Apple Cider Syrup
3/4 C. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
2 c. fresh apple cider (or juice)
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. butter
Mix sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg well. Add apple cider and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and use within a week or two.

This recipe was handed down from my husband’s mother. He has “tweaked” the recipe a bit and loves to help me make the filling. He will always be quoted in our family for saying, “It needs just a little more molasses!”

Pumpkin Pie

4 eggs slightly beaten
1 lg. can pumpkin
2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
½ t. nutmeg
¼ t. ground cloves
2 T. Molasses (maybe more)
1 c. canned milk
2 pkgs. Knox unflavored gelatin
Mix in order given, adding gelatin last. Pour into pie crusts. Bake 10 minutes at 425º; reduce heat to 350º and continue baking 30-40 minutes or untill knife inserted near center comes out clean. Y: 2 pies

It isn’t really fall till you make pumpkin cookies. This makes a large batch and we make these at least 3-4 times each year before we get our fill. I often freeze some to eat later. I’ve even frozen the dough and baked it later.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. shortening
3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 large can pumpkin (29 oz.)
12 oz. chocolate chips
5 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
2 t. soda
2 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
2 t. nutmeg
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. cloves
2 t. allspice
Cream shortening and sugar together until smooth. Beat in eggs. Add vanilla. Stir dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture alternately with pumpkin. Beat after each addition until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 375º. Makes a large batch.

Possibly my favorite pumpkin recipe of all are these muffins. They are much too good (and easy) to just eat for breakfast:

Lisa’s Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 box Spice Cake Mix (Betty Crocker Moist)
15 oz. can pumpkin
½ c. water
1 egg
½ bag chocolate chips (I love milk chocolate chips in these – extra large chips if you have them)
Mix well and bake at 350º for 15-20 minutes or till done. Makes 12 large muffins or about 3 dozen mini muffins.

I know there are many, many more ways to use pumpkin out there. Everyone loves pumpkin bread, cakes and cookies. You can even make pumpkin milkshakes, hot chocolate, soup and pasta. I love pumpkin mousse and pudding. So, don’t you dare throw away those Halloween pumpkins. Make something good that will last through the fall.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Soup, Soup and More Soup!

Here are some recipes for soup mixes. These are great to make up and keep in your pantry. I use the chicken and beef soup mixes a lot in the winter. I make them up to send in a thermos for lunch or just as a base for leftovers I have in the fridge and need to use up. You can add anything to them for a very quick meal.

Most soup bases are made from either chicken, beef or tomato. So if you have tomato powder, chicken or beef soup base or maybe some cheese sauce powder, you can have quite a variety of soups ready to go.

The Healthy Tomato Soup is not a mix but the ingredients are very food storage friendly and the soup is so good! If you like cream of tomato soup, just add some cream to your bowls when serving.

The cream soups are great to serve in bread bowls. Cornbread, breadsticks, scone or croutons perk up any soup meal. Try some of these mixes and see what you can come up with.

Cream Soup Mix
1 ½ c. nonfat dry milk (2 c. instant dry milk)
¾ c. cornstarch
¼ c. chicken bouillon granules
1 t. onion powder
½ t. dried thyme
½ t. dried basil
¼ t. pepper
Combine all ingredients and whisk together to blend; store in airtight container.
For Condensed cream soup substitute:
Blend 1/3 c. mix and 1 ¼ c. water. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Use as a substitute for 1 can cream of chicken, celery or mushroom soup adding ingredients of your choice.

Chicken Soup Mix
4 t. or 4 cubes chicken bouillon
2 t. cornstarch
1 t. parsley flakes
2/3 c. small egg noodles
Mix ingredients and put in recloseable sandwich bag or other container with lid. To make soup:
Empty mix into a pan. Add 4 c. cold water and 1 T. butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 8 minutes or until noodles are tender. Stir occasionally. You can substitute 1/3 to ½ c. minute rice for noodles. Optional: add frozen peas or corn for variety. Y: 4 servings.

Beef Soup Mix
4 t. or 4 cubes beef bouillon
2 t. cornstarch
1 t. parsley flakes
2/3 c. minute rice
Mix ingredients and put in recloseable sandwich bag or other container with lid. To make soup:
Empty mix into a pan. Add 4 c. cold water and 1 T. butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 8 minutes. Stir occasionally. You can substitute 1/3 to ½ c. minute tiny egg noodles for rice. Optional: add frozen peas or corn or diced celery for variety. Leftover meat may also be added to this soup. Y: 4 servings.

Healthy Tomato Soup
1 can (46 oz.) Tomato Juice
1 can (8 oz.) Tomato sauce
½ c. water
½ c. finely chopped onion (or 2 T. dried onion)
1 celery rib, finely diced (or 2 t. dried celery)
2 T. sugar
½ t. basil
3-5 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
Combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low until heated through, stirring occasionally. Discard cloves and bay leaf. Y: 6 servings. For a creamy tomato soup, stir in warm milk or cream into individual bowls just before serving. Can be prepared in the crock-pot.

Palestine Stew (Using food storage)
1 c. lentils
1 c. whole wheat berries (to make wheat berries cook wheat in thermos or on low in crock pot overnight. 2 c. water to 1 c. wheat
1 large can tomatoes, chopped or 1 ¾ c. tomato powder plus 3 ½ c. water
1 lb. hamburger cooked and drained or canned beef or TVP
¼ c. dried onions
1 carrot, diced ( or dried carrots, reconstituted)
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. chili powder (or to taste)
Cook lentils and wheat till tender in 3-4 c. water for about 1 hour. In separate pan, brown hamburger and onion if using fresh meat. Mix remaining ingredients and season to taste. Let simmer ½ hour.

Alphabet Soup Mix
½ c. pearl barley
½ c. split peas
½ c. instant rice, uncooked
½ c. lentils
2 T. dried minced onion
2 T. dried parsley
2 ½ t. salt
½ t. lemon pepper
2 T. beef bouillon granules
½ c. alphabet pasta, uncooked
1 c. rotini or any pasta (Optional: Pasta can be added to soup rather than the mix)
Layer ingredients in a 1 quart wide-mouth jar in order listed. Seal the lid. To serve: Add ingredients to 3 quarts boiling water in large pot. Add 2 stalks celery, chopped, 2 carrots, sliced
1 c. shredded cabbage and 2 c. diced tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes. Reduce heat, cover and cook over medium low heat for 1 hour or till vegetables are tender. For variety add canned or fresh cooked ground beef. (I like to add the pasta during the last 15 minutes of cooking time)
Y: 10-12 servings.

Chicken Noodle Soup in a Jar
¼ cup of red lentils
2 tbsp. dried onion flakes
1 ½ tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
½ tsp. dried dill weed or dill seed
1/8 tsp each celery seed and garlic powder
1 cup medium egg noodles
1 bay leaf.
In a two-cup jar, layer from bottom in the order listed above, then seal the jar.
Instructions for making soup:
Bring 8 cups of water to boil in large saucepan. Stir in jar of soup mix. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf and stir in 1½ cups of frozen corn or mixed vegetables and 2 cups of cooked, diced chicken or turkey. Simmer for five minutes until vegetables are tender and chicken is heated through.

Minestrone Soup in a Jar
¼ c. red lentils
¼ c. green split peas
¼ c. barley
1/3 c. beef bouillon powder
2 T. parsley flakes
3 T. onion flakes
1/3 t. thyme
1/3 t. pepper
1 t. basil
About ¼ c alphabet macaroni
In a pint jar, layer from bottom in the order given, then seal the jar.
Instructions for making soup:
In a very large saucepan combine:
8 to 10 cups of water
1 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
Soup mix
2 chopped carrots
2 stalks diced celery
2-4 potatoes, diced
2 cups shredded cabbage(optional)
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for one hour or until peas are tender. Enjoy!

Instant Noodle Soup Mix
2 T. chicken-flavored instant bouillon
1 T. dried mixed vegetable flakes (try salad sprinkle in this)
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 T. dried parsley flakes
1 T. dried onion flakes
1/2 t. poultry seasoning
1/8 to 1/4 t. pepper
1 c. broken vermicelli or tiny soup noodles
In small bowl, combine all seasoning ingredients; mix well. Spoon into small plastic bag or container; add pasta. Shake and seal. Make it in a four-quart saucepan combine seasoning, pasta, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook over medium heat 5-7 minutes, or until pasta is of desired doneness, stirring frequently. Yield: 5, one-cup servings. May add one cup cooked cubed chicken, turkey or vegetables to the soup.

Tomato Soup Mix
4 T. Non-fat dry milk
2 T. tomato powder
1/8 t. Basil
Dash of salt
Dash of Pepper
Measure all into jar to store. Shake to combine.
Directions: Add mix to 1 Mug of Hot water, stir, let sit 2 minutes, enjoy.

Potato Soup Mix
1-3/4 c. instant mashed potatoes
1-1/2 c. dry milk
2 T. instant chicken bullion
2 t. dried minced onion
1 t. dried parsley
1/4 t. ground white pepper
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/8 t. turmeric
1-1/2 t. seasoning salt
Measure all ingredients in a canning jar or vacuum seal bag.
To Use: place 1/2 cup mix in soup bowl and add 1 cup boiling water. Stir until smooth.
Variations: Add 1/4 c. chopped ham & Cheese pieces Or 1/4 c. chopped broccoli Or 2 T. Minced Clams for clam chowder Or 1/4 c corn for corn chowder


1½ c. warm water
1 T. yeast
2 T. sugar
3 c. flour
½ t. salt
1 cube butter
Put water in mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over water and whisk to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Add salt to flour and mix into water with spoon and using hands to form a ball. Put in greased bowl, turning to coat dough. Cover with towel and let rise till double in size about 20 – 30 minutes. Knead a few times and roll out. Cut into bread sticks; let rise again for 10 minutes. Melt butter on large baking sheet. Dip both sides of breadsticks in butter and put on pan, with sides touching. Sprinkle all with your choice of seasonings such as garlic bread sprinkle, garlic salt, parmesan cheese or any combination of your choice. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes till golden.

½ c. mashed potatoes
1/3 c. sugar
1 pkg. yeast
1 t. baking powder
½ c. shortening
2 c. scalded milk
½ c. warm water
½ t. soda
Mix potatoes, shortening, sugar; add milk cooled to lukewarm. Add yeast dissolved in warm water. Add dry ingredients. Knead thoroughly. Dough should be sticky. Grease top of dough and refrigerate. When ready to make scones, remove from fridge and roll to 1/8” thick. Cut into strips and fry in hot oil. This dough can be frozen.

Cornbread Mix
4 c. flour
1 T. salt
¾ c. sugar
¼ c. baking powder
1 c. shortening
4 ½ c. cornmeal
Combine flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Stir to blend well. With pastry blender, cut in shortening until evenly distributed. Add cornmeal and mix well. Put in airtight container. Store in cool dry place. For 12 muffins or a square pan of cornbread use 2 ½ c. mix, 1 ¼ c. milk and 1 egg.

Delicious Buttermilk Cornbread
1/2 c. butter
2/3 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 t. baking soda
1 c. cornmeal
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
Preheat oven to 375º. Grease an 8” square pan. Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Never Fail Bread Bowls
2 T. yeast
¾ c. warm water
2 2/3 c. warm water
1 T. salt
½ c. sugar
3 T. oil
1 egg
9-10 c. flour
Dissolve yeast in ¾ c. water, and then add 2 2/3 c. warm water, sugar, salt oil and egg. Beat until smooth. Add flour. Knead for 10 minutes until elastic. Put in greased bowl, turn over. Cover with a towel and let rise until double. Punch down dough, cover, let rise again until doubled. Put in greased loaf pans and let rise until doubled. Bake at 375º for 30-35 minutes. Y: 4 loaves of bread. To make bread bowls, after the second doubling, divide dough into 8 balls, and place on cookie sheet. Cover and let double then follow the directions for baking. Y: 8 bread bowls.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Soup's On!

It’s soup weather here again. That is one of my favorite things about this time of year. I love to cook but certainly hate to heat up my house, so when fall comes it’s great to be back in the kitchen again.
I’ve always loved making soup and experimenting with different soups. I began my soup experimentation years ago when I was first starting to get serious about food storage. I had an epiphany one day and realized that soup was a great food storage meal; especially if you have a lot of mouths to feed. The lady who sold me my solar oven told me that where she lives they have a lot of power outages; some for an extended period of time and that nearly every time, several of her neighbors start showing up for meals. They know she has cooking methods that require no electricity and that she has food storage. She told me that often she will put on a large pot of soup and just keep adding to it until all the neighbors have finished showing up for dinner. What a woman!

Seriously though, soup is one meal that can be extended to feed extra people. Along with that, I have always thought that if I had to live very long without electricity, I certainly wouldn’t be cooking 3 meals a day, so a pot of soup at noon that is big enough to feed us again at night would certainly be okay with me.

When my kids were little and I was doing all this experimenting with different homemade soups, I soon learned that people don’t mind eating soup if there is something to go with it. I always tried to have fresh bread, scones and honey butter, corn bread or breadsticks to help make the soup go down better. I also love homemade croutons served with almost any soup.

One thing I always do when I get a new soup recipe is to try to convert it to food storage ingredients. It is pretty easy to do. For example, I can make Chicken Noodle soup anytime because I have dried carrots, celery, spices, noodles and canned chicken in my pantry. I love all kinds of soups and while some are delicious they just are not conducive to food storage. Today I’m including some of my favorite “food-storage-adaptable” soup recipes. I’m always looking for great soup recipes so feel free to share if you have any.

Homemade Croutons
4 c bread cubes (thick sliced homemade bread is great)
1 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. butter
¼ t. kosher salt
¼ t. onion powder
¼ t. granulated garlic
½ t. dried oregano
1 t. dried parsley
Croutons can be made in the oven or on the stovetop.
Oven method: Preheat oven to 350º. In a small bowl combine salt, onion, garlic, oregano, and parsley. Melt butter completely and then combine it with the olive oil. Place bread cubes in a large bowl and pour the butter-oil mixture over the bread cubes making sure to distribute evenly over the cubes in a small drizzle. Don't dump it all in one place. If you do that, a few lucky little bread bits will soak up all the buttery goodness and the rest will get hurt feelings from being left out. Immediately use your hands to toss making sure to coat each bread cube with the butter mixture. Sprinkle the herb mixture over the bread cubes, again, making sure to distribute it evenly and use your hands to coat well. Spread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in oven and cook for 10-20 minutes, stirring and flipping every 5 minutes so they cook evenly. The time is going to vary depending on the type of bread used and the size of the cubes. The croutons should be golden brown. Generally, they will take 15-20 minutes. When finished, remove from oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Stovetop method: Using a skillet or griddle, spray well with olive oil Pam or use olive oil and add some melted butter to the mix. Spread cubes and stir so they become evenly coated with butter and olive oil. Sprinkle generously with spices, stirring gently till well toasted on all sides. For an extra touch, sprinkle on powdered parmesan cheese and stir till evenly toasted. Store in airtight container (if there are any left)!

Tomato, Macaroni, Hamburger Soup
1 lb. hamburger (or canned ground beef or beef chunks)
1 onion, diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
4 tomatoes diced or 1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato soup
1 can V-8 juice (8oz.)
3-4 c. water
2 beef bouillon cubes
½ c. ketchup
½ c. (or less) brown sugar
1 T. parsley
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. Lowery Seasoning salt
½ t. cumin
½ t. thyme
1 t. garlic salt
1-2 c. uncooked macaroni (cook & drain)
Brown hamburger with onion and celery. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer about 20 minutes; add cooked macaroni. Check seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you want a thicker soup, add potato flakes to thicken. Makes a large pot of soup.

1 lb. ground beef
½ c. diced onion
½ c. diced celery
¼ c. diced green pepper
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes
1 qt. water
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cans (8 oz. ea.) tomato sauce
2 c. beef broth
1 T. dried parsley flakes
½ t. basil leaves
1 t. dried oregano leaves
¼ t. pepper
½ t. garlic salt
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 can green beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 ¼ c. elbow macaroni, uncooked
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Brown beef and drain. Puree tomatoes in blender. In a large pot combine beef and tomato puree with onion, celery, green pepper, carrots, tomato sauce, beef broth, parsley, basil, oregano, pepper and garlic salt. Bring to a boil. Cover; simmer over low heat about 20 minutes. Add garbanzo beans, green beans and kidney beans. Bring to a boil; add macaroni. Cook 15-20 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Garnish with Parmesan cheese. Y: 10-12 servings.

American Hamburger Soup (Uses cannery soup mix)
1 ½ lbs. hamburger
2 c. potatoes diced
3 carrots, diced
2 T. minced parsley
1 large bay leaf, crushed
1/8 t. garlic powder
¼ c. celery diced
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. sugar
2 c. tomato juice
2 qts. Water
2 t. salt
Pepper to taste
¾ c. prepared soup mix (from the cannery)
Brown meat and drain. Mix all ingredients together and simmer 2 hours or till done. Can be cooked in crock Pot.

1 lb. ground beef
½ c. chopped onion
1 package Lasagna dinner mix (Hamburger Helper or make your own)
5 c. water
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can whole kernel corn
2 T. parmesan cheese
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, chopped
Mozzarella cheese for garnish
Cook beef and onion till meat is no longer pink; drain. Add dinner sauce mix, water, tomatoes corn and parmesan cheese; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lasagna noodles and squash. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or till noodles are tender. Serve immediately. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese to serve.

2 c. split peas, washed & sorted
4 c. water
3 c. chicken broth
1 can tender chunk ham or diced cooked ham
1 c. finely chopped celery
1 c. finely chopped carrots
1 T. dried onion or 1 c. diced onion
1 bay leaf
¼ t. thyme
½ t. dry mustard
¼ t. pepper
Put all ingredients in large pan. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer about 3 hours or until peas are mushy. Stir often and watch temperature as it will scorch easily. Add milk to serve if desired.

Manti Soup
Brown together:
1 lb. hamburger
½ onion, chopped
1 can kidney beans
1 can red beans
1 can pork n’ beans
1 can white beans
1 can black beans
1 can minestrone soup
1 can diced tomatoes
You may use whatever combination of beans you like. Then add ketchup, A-1 sauce and brown sugar to taste. Make it on the stove top or in your crock pot.

2 quarts water
8 chicken bouillon cubes
½ t. basil
1 c. finely chopped carrots
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 chicken breasts or 2-3 c. diced cooked chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. corn, optional
1-2 c. egg noodles or homemade noodles
Bring water to a boil. Add next bouillon, spices and vegetables and chicken if uncooked. If using cooked chicken add later. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Add chicken and noodles and simmer about 10 minutes or till noodles are tender. Add corn. Mix cream of chicken soup with about a cup of boiling soup in another bowl and mix till creamy. Stir into pot of soup. Cook till slightly thick. Note: If serving over mashed potatoes, thicken cream of chicken soup, and boiling soup with about 1 T. cornstarch, then stir into soup base, stirring till well blended. Serve in soup bowls or over mashed potatoes.

Jen’s Fagioli Soup
1 lb ground beef (can use 1/2 lb)
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 lg. carrot, julienned (1 cup) or grated
1 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, with liquid
1 15 oz can northern beans, with liquid
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 12 oz can V-8 juice
1 T. white vinegar
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 pkg. Ditali pasta (short macaroni tubes)
Brown the beef in a large saucepan. Drain off fat, if any. Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour. About 50 minutes into simmer time, cook pasta according to directions until al dente, or slightly tough, about 10 minutes. Drain. Add the pasta to the soup and simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve. Serves 8.
If you find that it is too tomatoey, add some water until you find a consistency and taste you like. This recipe also freezes well. Enjoy

Because soup is such a great storage food, I’ll include recipes for homemade soup mixes and great soup accompaniments in a future post. I’ll also be doing a post on favorite chili recipes.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Pancakes are a great food storage meal. If I were without electricity and had to cook a meal on a cook stove or campfire, pancakes would be one of my top choices. They are filling, easy and quick to make – especially with a mix already made up – and they only require a few ingredients. However, some pancakes are definitely better than others and it’s always great to have a ready-made mix in the pantry.

Here are some mixes to choose from as well as several variations that offer many choices. There are some syrup recipes thrown in as well. Thanks to my daughter for sharing the recipe for her yummy coconut syrup, and to another daughter for her delicious crepe recipe, which is another great option.

Food storage doesn't seem so overwhelming with great ideas in mind. It is easy to have the ingredients for pancakes and waffles on hand as part of your food storage, and even some mixes made up in advance.

Basic Pancake mix
10 c. flour
2 ½ c. instant nonfat dry milk
½ c. sugar
¼ c. baking powder
2 T. salt
Mix all ingredient and stir well. Put in large airtight container. Store in a cool dry place for 6-8 months (maybe longer).
To make pancakes:
1 ½ c. dry mix
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 c. water
3 T. vegetable oil
Combine egg, water and oil. Add to pancake mix. For thinner pancakes add more water. Blend well. Let stand 5 minutes. Cook on hot oiled griddle about 3-4 minutes till browned on both sides. Y: 10-12 4” pancakes.

Whole wheat pancake mix
4 ½ c. while wheat flour
4 ½ c. all purpose flour
1 c. dry milk
1 c. sugar
½ c. wheat germ
¼ c. baking powder
1 T. salt
Optional for complete mix:
2 c. shortening or 2 c. powdered margarine
¾ c. dehydrated eggs
Combine ingredients in large bowl or container. Sore in cool dry place.
To make pancakes:
2 ½ c. mix
1 ½ c. water (or milk)
If you didn’t add eggs and shortening to the mix also add:
2 eggs
¼ to 1/3 c. oil or butter
Mix together. Add more water if necessary.

Buttermilk Pancake mix
8 c. flour
½ c. sugar
1 c. dry buttermilk powder
4 t. baking soda
8 t. baking powder
2 t. salt
Combine all ingredients and whisk together to distribute evenly. Store in a cool dry place. If stored properly this mix can last up to 5 years.*Note: Buttermilk powder is a great additive makes excellent pancakes. It is available in all the usual storage places as well as many grocery stores on the baking isle.
To make pancakes:
Measure 1 ½ c. mix into a bowl. Whisk one egg with 1 c. water and 2 ¼ T. melted butter. Add to mix and stir just till combined. Add more water if necessary to desired consistency. Bake on oiled griddle.

Sour Cream Pancake Mix
8 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
1 ¼ c. dry sour cream powder
4 t. soda
8 t. baking powder
2 t. salt
Combine all ingredients and whisk together to distribute evenly. Store in a cool dry place. If stored properly this mix can last up to 5 years.*Note: Sour cream powder is a great additive makes excellent pancakes. It is available in all the usual storage places such as Walton feed, Honeyville grain and Prepared Pantry. It may be in some grocery stores but may be hard to find.
To make pancakes:
Measure 1 ½ c. mix into a bowl. Whisk one egg with 1 c. water and 2 ¼ T. melted butter. Add to mix and stir just till combined. Add more water if necessary to desired consistency. Bake on oiled griddle.

Just for fun, here are some optional stir-ins for the buttermilk or sour cream pancakes to make several different variations:
-Chocolate Chip Sour Cream/Buttermilk Pancakes (add mini milk chocolate chips). Serve with maple syrup, coconut cream syrup, or vanilla cream syrup.
-Cinnamon Chip Sour Cream/Buttermilk Pancakes (add mini cinnamon chips). Serve with maple syrup, cinnamon cream syrup, or cinnamon apple syrup.
-Maple Chip Sour Cream/Buttermilk Pancakes (add mini maple chips). Serve with maple syrup or maple cream syrup.
-Walnut and Date Sour Cream/Buttermilk Pancakes (add chopped walnuts and dates). Serve with maple syrup, cinnamon cream syrup, or maple cream syrup.
-Apple Cinnamon Sour Cream/Buttermilk Pancakes (add grated fresh apples or Fuji dry apples plus cinnamon). Serve with maple syrup, cinnamon apple syrup, or maple cream syrup.
-Baked Apple Pancakes (add grated fresh apples plus maple flavoring). Serve with maple syrup, cinnamon apple syrup, or maple cream syrup.
-Cranberry Nut Sour Cream/Buttermilk Pancakes (add chopped walnuts and dry cranberries). Serve with maple syrup, cinnamon apple syrup, or coconut cream syrup.
-Caramel Pear Sour Cream/Buttermilk Pancakes (add diced dry pears plus a touch of nutmeg and a little cinnamon). Serve with Cinnamon Cream or Vanilla Cream syrup or a sprinkle of brown sugar.
-Blueberry Sour Cream/Buttermilk Pancakes (add fresh or individually frozen blueberries plus a touch of lemon and nutmeg). Add the blueberries at the last and don’t stir more than necessary to avoid turning your pancakes blue.
-Fresh Peach and Pecan Sour Cream/Buttermilk Pancakes (add chopped fresh peaches and chopped pecans plus a touch of lemon and nutmeg). Serve with Orchard Peach or Vanilla Cream Syrup.
-Raspberry Sour Cream/Buttermilk Pancakes (add fresh or individually frozen raspberries plus a touch of lemon). Add the raspberries at the last and don’t stir more than necessary.
-Banana Pecan Sour Cream/Buttermilk Pancakes (add a mashed banana and a little banana flavoring along with cinnamon and chopped pecans). Top with more sliced bananas. Serve with maple syrup or cinnamon cream syrup.
-Fresh Strawberry Sour Cream/Buttermilk Pancakes (add fresh strawberries thinly sliced and a touch of lemon). Serve with strawberry syrup or vanilla cream syrup.

Oatmeal Pancake Mix
Y: 10 cups of dry mix
3 ½ c. quick oats
3 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. all-purpose flour
3 T. sugar
3 T. baking powder
1 T. salt
1 T. baking soda
1 c. vegetable oil
Mix all the dry ingredients together. With mixer on slow speed (or gently by hand), drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running. When all the oil has been added, stop the mixer and squeeze a clump of mix in your hand. If it stays together, it is just right. If it is still crumbly, add another tablespoon of oil at a time until the consistency is correct). Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.
To make the pancakes:
Whisk together:
1 c. of mix
1 c. buttermilk (or sour milk or half plain yogurt and half milk)
1 egg
The mixture may seem thin at first but the oats will soak up the milk as it stands while the griddle preheats. Heat a griddle and drop the batter onto it. When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface and don't break, turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side. *1 cup of mix will make about 6-7 4" pancakes

1 c. milk
1 c. uncooked whole wheat
2 eggs
2 T. oil
2 t. baking powder
2 T. honey or sugar
1 ½ t. salt
Put milk and wheat in blender. Blend on high 4-5 minutes or till smooth. Add and blend on low, eggs, oil, baking powder, honey and salt. Bake on hot griddle.

Preheat oven to 400º. Put 6 T. margarine in a 9x13 pan and melt in oven while preheating. Don’t burn. Meanwhile in the blender combine 6 eggs, 1 c. milk, blend well. Add 1 tsp vanilla, ½ tsp salt and gradually add 1 c. flour. Blend well. Pour into pan. Bake 20-25 minutes until fluffy and golden brown on top. Serve immediately with syrup, jam, jelly, or fresh fruit, etc.

4 c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
2 c. water
1 t. vanilla
1 t. maple flavoring
Mix sugar and water, and stir till dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Then add flavorings. Stir only to mix.
Quick syrup: Pour 1 c. boiling water over 2 c. sugar and stir till sugar is dissolved. Stir in ½ t. maple flavoring.

Jenny’s Coconut Syrup
7-8 T. butter
¾ c. buttermilk
1 c. sugar
½ t. baking soda
1 t. coconut extract
Place butter, buttermilk and sugar in a pot. Then turn stove on medium and stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil one minute. Remove from heat and add soda and flavoring. It will bubble up; just continue to stir and give it a few minutes for the 'fizz' to reduce before serving.

Orange Syrup
½ c. Orange Juice
1/3 c. Karo Syrup
¼ c. sugar
4 t. butter
1 t. grated orange peel
½ t. orange extract
Mix 1st 5 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in extract. Pour over pancakes, waffles or French toast.

Fruit Flavored Pancake Syrup
1 – 3 oz. package red jell-o (Not Raspberry)
½ c. boiling water
1 qt. corn syrup
Dissolve Jell-o in boiling water. Add corn syrup and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off foam and cool. Store in covered container in fridge. Y: 1 quart syrup

Pineapple Syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice concentrate (right out of the can)
For the syrup, in a small saucepan, place butter, sugar and pineapple juice.
Heat over low heat, stirring, until butter melts. Do not boil. For a fun variation, serve over pancakes with chopped macadamia nuts in the batter. If desired, top pancakes with sliced bananas, syrup and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Jamie's Crepes
Y: About 20
4 cups flour
4 cups milk
4 eggs
1 cube butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
Melt butter in about 1 cup of the milk. Add flour, sugar, salt, milk and butter together then beat in eggs. The mixture should be like a thin milk shake. If necessary, add about a half cup of water to thin it down more. Heat frying pan on about medium, medium high heat. Two fry pans work best if available. Spray pans with Pam. Pour 1/3 cup of batter in the center of the fry pan. Immediately begin to swirl the pan around to coat the bottom with the batter. If they don’t swirl easily, add some more water. Use a plastic turner to flip the crepe as soon as the middle to the batter has cooked (you can tell), and the edges begin to turn slightly brown. Flip and cook for another minute or two. Once you get the rhythm, you will be moving back and forth between the two pans quite smoothly. You can fill the crepes with cream cheese and strawberries, strawberry jam with cool whip or powdered sugar, even nutella. Any fruit or filling you like is good. They are even great filled with chicken salad for the filling. This recipe makes a lot of crepes but you can cut it in half or in fourths.