Thursday, March 31, 2011

Make Your Own Cleaning Wipes


I love cleaning wipes. They are so handy and I really like using the disinfectant ones, especially during cold and flu season; on my computer keyboard, phones and door knobs. They are not always the most economical way to clean; naturally it’s cheaper and greener to use a cloth that can be washed and reused, but sometimes when you have a really tough cleaning job, you just want to think disposable. Cleaning wipes have become hugely popular, and some people keep a container of them in every room. They’re pretty nice for a quick, easy cleanup. But they can be expensive. So here’s how you can make your own, and take away some of that guilt.

First you need a roll of paper towels and a container. For best results, select an extra-large roll of good quality paper towels for this project. Less-expensive towels fray or shred when pulled through the holder; thicker quilted towels have greater cleaning strength and withstand more scrubbing. Even at $1.39 per roll, cost for homemade wipes will be less than 75 cents, not including the storage container.

If you have an empty wipes container, that is perfect. Look around your house for other containers that can be used. Some people even use a new Rubbermaid or Tupperware Container with a hold drilled in the lid. I used an empty powdered drink mix container which was a large round plastic jar with a lid; it isn’t that important for me to be able to pull them thru the lid and I think they will stay “damp” longer if they have a lid. I’ve seen empty ice cream cartons (plastic) used as well as plastic coffee containers and large pickle jars. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as it works.
You are going to use a roll of paper towels, cut in half to make 2 shorter rolls. I like the Bounty towels that can be used as actually a half a sheet of paper towel instead of a full one. So – for example, when you cut the roll in half it will be 5½”high and each towel will be 6”wide. If your towels are full sheets instead of half, that will still work, you’ll just use more.

Depending on the size of your roll of paper towels, and the size of the container you are using, a full roll may be too big. That’s okay too. Just remove some of the towels from the roll and use for another use, or use a half-used roll that fits your container.

First, cut your roll of paper towels in half. Use a serrated knife or electric knife if you have one. A fine-toothed hack saw blade will also work. It takes a few minutes to saw thru it but when you finish you will have 2 halves, one for this time and one for next. Don’t get discouraged.

You can now remove the cardboard tube from the center of the towels and thus your wipes will feed from the center out. If you have a hard time removing the tube, go ahead and pour the cleaning solution over the towels in the container and let it saturate then remove the tube and start the towels feeding from the center. I cut the inner tube with scissors when it was dry and thought it was easier to get out dry but many people like to wait till it is wet and remove it in pieces, your choice.

You can use any cleaning solution you like; a window cleaner, vinegar and water solution, the large bottles of 409 type stuff. I personally like the cleaning fluid I buy from Don Aslett called “Organic Orange Soil Master” which can be purchased at any of his cleaning outlets. If you don’t live near one, you can go to any cleaning product outlet and buy your favorite in bulk. This one is mixed 1 part cleaning solution to 20 parts water for cleaning counter tops etc. Whatever cleaner you normally like you can use. It can be very economical to make your own.

Pour your favorite cleaning solution over the towels to saturate. This takes less than you think it will. When it’s wet, you can now take out the inner cardboard tube if you have not done so already. If, occasionally, your wipes dry out a bit, just pour a bit more cleaning solution in as necessary. Allow wipes to stand overnight before continuing to use them after adding more solution.

If you use ½ of a roll of paper towels and about 1-2 cups cleaning solution, (start with ½ cup) your cost will be 50-75 cents per container. Some people even make their own baby wipes; of course the cleaning solution is different for those cute baby-bums. I’ve added are recipe just for fun.

Here are some recipes for homemade cleaning solutions for your wipes. They make 2-3 cups per batch so adjust the amounts as you want. Mix the solutions before pouring over towels. You may vary the strength of the cleaning solutions as necessary for your household, using more cleaning agents for a stronger wipe, less solution and more water for a milder product. If you have a favorite cleaning solution, try that one too.

All-purpose cleaning:
1½ c. white vinegar
1½ c. water

Disinfectant Cleaning:
¼ to ½ c. pine cleaning solution such as Pine-Sol brand
2 ½ to 2 ¾ c. water

Window and Glass Cleaning:
½ c. rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
2½ c. water
1 T. white vinegar
Place the lid on the plastic food storage container, and allow paper towels to absorb cleaning solution for 4 hours to overnight.

Baby Wipes Wash Recipe
2 T. Baby Wash
2 T. Olive Oil or 1 TBSP Calendula Oil
2 Drops Tea Tree Oil (Optional)
2 c. warm water
Mix well; swish solution around over wipes if using a wipes box or bottle. Tea Tree Oil is optional but has lovely disinfectant properties along with its wonderful, clean smell.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

72-Hour Kit Wednesday – Snacks



Snack foods in your 72 hour kits are very important, not only for your physical well-being but also for your mental well-being. Granola bars are great and there are so many varieties that you have lots of choices. Remember though, that you may be dealing with intense heat in the summer which may melt chocolate so keep that in mind when choosing. Also remember we will rotate the food out of the packs every 6 months, including the snacks, so if you want to choose chocolate for the winter months and something else for summer that is doable.

Nuts and crackers are also a great choice. Just keep in mind that eating salty foods will make you thirstier. There are options for cheese and cracker or cheese that do not require refrigeration.

Protein powder is a good thing to have in a stressful situation but you will need to keep in mind that you need something to mix it in. Also, if you are familiar with the Emergen-C packets, you know they are a good source of vitamins and minerals and also pack a little energy punch.

Dried fruit and jerky are also great options as us trail mix. If you have access to a vacuum sealer, you can save money by purchasing the larger sizes and making your own vacuum sealed individual size servings. I think this is a great way to not only save a little money but also to have the snacks divided into different packs so kids (or adults) aren’t tempted to eat tomorrows snacks today.

Hard candy is always a morale booster but remember it will melt. Make sure it is packed in either vacuum sealed bags or Ziploc bags and kept separately from everything else. No one needs a huge sticky mess on top of an already stressful situation.

I noticed the other day that there are other things that would be great to include; pepperoni sticks are fun and different and as long as they are rotated out and the packs are kept in a cool place, they will store well. The same goes for dry cereal. If you can vacuum seal it, there are many options to choose from. As you shop around, you will notice many other items that would be easy to pack and a fun snack in a tough situation.

Just make sure when you are choosing, that you avoid any greasy, extra fatty foods that would go rancid or spoil. I had mentioned before that I like one woman’s idea about a small jar of peanut butter in each pack with some extra plastic spoons. I think that anyone who likes peanut butter wouldn’t mind having a few spoonfuls of peanut butter when having a hard day, and it is a good protein food.

Many people choose to include some packets of lemonade mix or crystal light in their kits for a snack. These are great if your water is unlimited, however, you might be tempted to drink more lemonade that you can really afford is water supplies are tight. Something to think about though. I do like the idea, if you have room in your kits, of choosing some small cans of pineapple, V-8, Orange or grape juice for a snack or breakfast.

One of the best things you can do as you plan your kits is to make a menu for these three days. As you write things on paper, it’s easier to see what you have, how filling it is, if it is empty calories and more. You can put your food kits together on paper first, and see exactly what you need to add or subtract.

I’m including a link to a 72-hour kit meal planning worksheet put together by Jodi and Julie from foodstoragemadeeasy.net. If you haven’t checked out their site, do it! It is a great resource for all your food storage planning. I think it would be a great idea to print out one of these worksheets for each member of your family – especially if some have different dietary needs or likes and customize each kit to each family member. Here is the link to the worksheet.

Below are some suggestions to include for snacks in your pack. I’m sure you can come up with more on your own. Just a tip here; if you are choosing chewing gum, mints etc. that is peppermint or has a strong smell, remember if they are not wrapped well or separated from other foods, all your food will taste like peppermint. I do think that chewing gum may be one of the best options you can choose for your kits. It helps with hunger, helps thirst and makes you feel fuller. You may want to put plenty in your packs.

Remember you probably want at least 2 snacks per day, maybe three. The days can be pretty long if you are away from home and in a tough situation. If you have any great snack options you’d like to tell us about, we’d love to hear.

Snack Options:
Protein powder
Granola bars
Dried fruits (Apples, bananas, blueberries, etc.)
Trail Mix
Nuts
Crackers and cheese
Jerky
Chewing gum
Peanut butter
Hard candy or suckers
Gummy candies
Fruit snacks
Laughing cow cheese wedges (do not require refrigeration)
Raisins or craisins
Packets of Emergen-C
Larabars
Rice cakes
Fruit roll-ups
Any protein bars
Snack pack size cereal boxes or vacuum sealed cheerios or chex cereal

Friday, March 25, 2011

Food Storage Friendly Friday – Meal Idea and Tip of the Week


Well, spring came and now it’s gone again. We had the biggest snow and wind storm we have had all winter long on Monday night and into Tuesday. We are now back into a snowy/rainy pattern again. I was just thinking about all kinds of warm weather things and now I’m back to thinking about keeping warm again.

This week’s tip is about matches. Do you have matches in your long term storage? Make sure to store plenty and store them where they will be safe and dry. I like a metal box, possibly with a lock if you have young children, because I feel safer that they won’t be disturbed or get wet.

When we first decided to put matches in our storage, we had a terrible time finding them. We could find book matches everywhere, but no regular match stick matches. Every store we’d go in and ask, we were told that the matches sold out as fast as they could get them in. (Who knows why?) We ended up buying a box here and there until we finally got what we needed. When Y2K came around in 2000, there were no matches to be found anywhere. Interesting.

Remember you will need matches for your stove or fireplace to keep warm, matches for candles and lanterns, matches for campfires or fire-pits to cook with and who knows how many you’ll need. Have plenty on hand and store them well.

The recipe of the week is sent in from our friend Jeri B. in Arizona. She has been so good to send food storage recipes and loves to experiment with different types of food storage and try making different dishes from her food storage, being careful not to use any fresh ingredients that would not be available if she were forced to live on her storage of any length of time.

Her recipe for homemade pizza is something that I’d love to be able to make if I were living on my food storage. She mentions dehydrated cheese in her recipe. Do you have dried cheese in your storage? We’ll talk more about the different “cheese” options in another post – storing cheese as well as making homemade cheese.

Think also as you read her recipe, about your favorite pizza toppings; have you tried pepperoni or bacon TVP? They taste pretty good and I think that using them on a pizza would be my favorite use, especially the pepperoni. Also remember that any dried veggies that you like on your pizza can be reconstituted and added to your homemade pizza. Thanks for the recipe, Jeri. Keep them coming!

Homemade Pizza - Jeri B. – Arizona
Make a batch of white bread dough
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (don't use the whole jar)
Dehydrated cheese (if you have it – or homemade cheese)
1 pint of sausage or hamburger (TVP works well too)
Olive oil
Make a batch of white bread dough and let it rise. Make a crust on a pizza pan and put sauce, and toppings as desired. Bake at 400º or 425º until done. Sometimes I bake the crust halfway without the toppings on it, then put the toppings on it and continue for another 6-10 minutes.
Variations:
For a White pizza:
1 jar of alfredo sauce
Canned artichoke hearts
1 pint of chicken chunks
For a BBQ pizza:
Combine equal parts pizza or spaghetti sauce & BBQ sauce and spread on crust. Top with canned chicken, rehydrated onions, peppers or any toppings of your choice. (Chicken TVP would work well here also.)
Note: If desired, brush edge of pizza crust with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic bread sprinkle (homemade) for an extra special tasty crust.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Using Dried Apples


Do you have dried apples from the cannery in your storage? Are you using them to cook with or just to snack on? They are an excellent snack right out of the can but there is so much more you can do with them. Homemade dried apples are also wonderful (if you can keep them on hand long enough to do anything with them). Hopefully you are doing snacking on them as well as using them in your cooking and baking too. You just may decide you need more in your storage. Make sure that you have plenty. Here are some ideas for using them.

To reconstitute them use equal parts dried apples and boiling water. For example: 2 c. dried apples and 2 c. boiling water. Pour boiling water over apples and let set at least 5 minutes before using in recipes.

Applesauce from Dried Apples
2 c. dried apples
2 c. boiling water
Pour boiling water over apples. Let stand 5-10 minutes. Mash or blend well. For cinnamon applesauce add 3 T. Red Hot Candy to the apples before adding boiling water. For sweet cinnamon applesauce stir in ½ t. cinnamon mixed with 2 t. sugar; blend well.

Apple Pie Filling From Dried Apples
1 2/3 c. Dry Apple Slices
2 ½ c. Water
2 T. Cornstarch
¼ t. Salt
½ t. Cinnamon
2/3 c. Sugar
2 t. Lemon Juice
¼ t. nutmeg
Mix all dry ingredients together, then add water and mix well. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Heat oven to 425º and place mixture in a pie shell. Top with crust or strudel topping. Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Apple Crisp using Apple Pie Filling (above)
¼ c. Flour
¼ c. Rolled Oats
3 T. Sugar
¼ t. Salt
¼ t. soda
1/4 c. Butter
Spread pie filling in greased square pan. Mix together flour, oats, sugar, salt and soda. Cut in butter till crumbly. Sprinkle over pie filling. Bake at 350º for 25 minutes.

Finnish Apple Cake
½ c. soft butter
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
2 c. wheat flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
dash of salt
1 c. light sour cream
3 apples; peeled, cored, and sliced about ¼” (or about ¾ - 1 c. dried apples, reconstituted in boiling water)
3 T. sugar mixed with 1½ t. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350º. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add one cup of flour, baking powder and salt. Add cream. Add one more cup of flour. Mix until batter is velvety. Spoon batter into well-greased 9x13 baking pan. (Grease pan, then sprinkle with a layer of flour. Be sure to shake off the excess flour). Insert apple slices close together in two rows so rounded edge stands upright in the batter. Sprinkle the top of the cake evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixtures and bake at 350º for 40-50 minutes.

Applet Candy
2 ¼ c. dried apples
2 c. sugar
3 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
1 t. vanilla
2 c. boiling water
5 T. cold water
1 c. walnuts, chopped
Powdered sugar
Break apples into small pieces about ½”x ½ “; do not grate. They should not look like applesauce when cooked. Pour boiling water over the apples and let stand at least 5 minutes in a 2 quart saucepan. Add sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Boil 1 minute. Turn the heat to simmer and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. While this mixture simmers, put the cold water into a small bowl and add gelatin. Grease a square pan. At the end of the 30 minutes, turn off the heat and add the gelatin to the apple mixture and stir until it is dissolved. Add vanilla and chopped nuts. Stir well and pour into greased pan. Let cool for 2 hours. Cut into squares, roll in powdered sugar to coat and let set awhile before wrapping in plastic wrap. These will store up to 2 weeks in an air-tight container.

Cinnamon-Apple Popcorn
1 c. dried apples, chopped
5 c. popped popcorn
1 c. pecan halves, broken
2 T. butter, melted
½ t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
1 T. brown sugar
¼ t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 250º. Place apples in a large baking pan. Bake 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and stir in popcorn and nuts. In a small bowl combine remaining ingredients. Drizzle butter mixture over popcorn mixture, stirring well. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Pour onto waxed paper to cool.

Chewy Cranberry-Apple Granola Bars
3½ c. quick-cooking oats
½ c. whole almonds, chopped
½ c. sliced almonds
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 c. butter, melted
½ c. honey
1 t. vanilla extract
½ cup sunflower kernels
½ c. shaved sweetened coconut (regular coconut will do)
½ c. chopped dried apples
½ c. dried cranberries
½ c. packed brown sugar
½ t. ground cinnamon
Spray a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with cooking non-stick cooking spray. Add oats and almonds to the pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally. In a large bowl, mix the egg, butter, honey and vanilla together. Then add the sunflower kernels, coconut, apples, cranberries, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir to coat. Stir in oat mixture and press into a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 13-18 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container.

Apple and Raisin Scones
½ c. dried apples, chopped
1 ½ c. wheat germ
½ c. whole wheat flour
1 T. baking powder
1/3 c. butter
½ c. raisins
1/3 c. milk
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 400º. Coarsely chop apples; set aside. Combine wheat germ, flour, sugar and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins and apples. Combine milk and beaten egg whites; add to dry ingredients, mixing just till moistened. Turn dough out onto an ungreased cookie sheet; pat into a 9” circle. Cut into 8 wedges; do not separate. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Break apart; serve warm with butter, jelly or honey butter.

Apple Fritters
Adapted from www.butmamaimhungry.blogspot.com
1 c. flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. salt
2 T. sugar
½ to 1 t. cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
½ c. plus 1 T. milk
1 ½ cups (about 3) apples, peeled and diced (1 c. dried apple slices diced, reconstituted)
Oil for frying
Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl with a wire whisk. Add egg and milk to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add apples to the batter and blend well. Drop by spoonfuls into hot oil and fry until dark golden brown, about two minutes per side. Once done frying, let cool on paper towels. Dunk in glaze (recipe follows), covering fritters liberally. Place fritters on a wire rack with parchment paper underneath it, for easy cleanup. Let glaze harden and enjoy! Y: 12 small fritters.
Fritter Glaze
2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T. milk (or more to desired consistency)
Mix all ingredients together until desired consistency is acquired, adding more powdered sugar or milk if need be.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

72-Hour Kit Wednesday – Drinking Water


Water is probably the most important item in your 72-hour kits. We can get by with little food but not without water. If you listen to the news, you know that whenever there is a disaster, water is usually always in short supply. When drinking water becomes contaminated, you are at the mercy of others to bring drinkable water in to your area. If you live in a highly populated area, there will be many others needing water also. If you live in an area of low population, you may not get water as soon as those in the more densely populated areas do.

I remember the story of an area that had an earthquake years ago, which caused a small dam to fail. One area was particularly affected and they had no drinkable water. The people in the next village over wanted to help and were bringing in water in a large tank for the people to drink. It wasn’t long before people started getting very ill and they soon discovered, that the tank that was being used to haul drinking water had also been used to remove animal waste. The water volunteers had washed it out and thought it was safe for carrying drinking water. They were only trying to help. Makes you sick right? I’d rather store my own water than depend on someone else to get water to me.

There are several different methods for putting water in your kits. There are water pouches that are very slim and fit in small spaces. These pouches are 4.2 oz for about 35¢. They easily fit into packs and last up to 5 years. However, they don't hold very much water, are hard to open without spiling and must be held while drinking. Another problem is that they could easily be punctured.

The next option is the fancy little water drink boxes, or Aqua Blox. You could purchase these for each kit; they are small and don’t take up much space, and these are great if your little ones are going to be carrying their own kits. These hold 8.45 oz of water and cost about 85¢, or the larger ones hold 33.8 for around $2.95 The advantages are that they are small, durable and lasts up to 5 years. They can however be bulky, pricey, and harder to find. (If you have to buy them online, that is an added expense.

Your next option is the regular drinking water bottle that can be purchased individually or by the case. These are the most inexpensive so far. They hold between 16.9 oz and 20 oz. and cost 10-15¢ if puchased by the case. They are easy to find and cheap. One advantage that you might want to consider is that you can buy individual size servings or Country Time Lemonade or Crystal Light which can be added directly to the bottle for a different drink. The problem with these bottles is that they are bulky and heavy to carry (if you have too many in your pouch, and they need to be rotated regulary. (Of course we will rotate the food in our packs every 6 months anyway.

Another option is a water filtration bottle. There are many brands and sizes on the market. They vary not only in size but in price as well as the price of the filters. You can find a bottle that holds about 28 oz. for $16.50; with 2 filters that price is $22.00- $25.00. These particular bottles will filter 100 gallons of water per filter,making them the most economical The disadvantage with these is that you have to find the water to filter.

Many people advocate having a water filter in your kits to filter water if you are caught without drinkable water. This isn’t a bad idea but make sure that the filter you have is sufficient for whatever water you may have to filter. There are many kinds of filters on the market, each of different kinds and strengths. Evaluate what you think your needs may be and check them out. You can also get pills that will purify your drinking water. Find out what these items will do and what they won’t protect you against. If you are at home when a disaster hits, you may have water available but it too could become contaminated.

Empty 2 liter sprite bottles work well, but they are heavy for little ones to carry. I mention sprite because the bottles themselves are tinted and will help avoid the growth of algae, especially if stored in a dark place. Years ago, we were encouraged to make a strap that would fit around the neck of a 2 liter bottle so that we could carry it over a shoulder if we had to walk. You can buy bottled water to put in each kit and those are a good option – you’ll need several for each person, or you can do a combination of any of the above. The large 5 gallon containers are awesome to store water but just too hard to transport in an emergency.

Let me just mention a few things to consider when storing water in your kits: First, the water in your kits will be used for drinking, cooking and washing. One recommended amount is for a gallon per person, per day. If you have a large family, that’s a lot of water to carry or take with you.

In an emergency, we would probably be able to conserve greatly on the water for washing – as long as we could wash hands and faces. We don’t want to conserve on the drinking water though. And if you have a baby, it requires a certain amount of water to take care of baby’s needs.

Look at the foods you’ve put in your kits; do they require water to prepare such as hot chocolate or oatmeal? What utensil are you using? If you have a mess kit to eat or cook in, it will have to be washed after each meal. Do you have dried foods that need to be reconstituted? How much water for that. If you can choose foods for your kit that require minimal preparation and disposable utensils (even better if you can eat or drink it right out of the container it came in)you’ll need even less water in your kits.

Evaluate your situation. Gather first, enough drinking water for each person for 3 days. You may want to have drinking water bottles in each kit and 2 liter bottles for cooking and washing also stored in an accessible place.

Once again evaluate what your situation might be. If you have to leave on foot, who can carry what? If you are carrying a child or two you may want to find a container with wheels that you can pull with your supplies in it. Every family will be in a different situation and especially because we never know what kind of disaster or emergency we may face, whether we’ll be on foot or in a car or just in our homes, we need to think ahead about how we’ll manage what we have. We have been cautioned to not store any 72-hour kit stuff in the trunks of a car, because one family member may have the car away from home when a disaster hits and the rest of the family would be without. We’ll talk more about car kits later on.

One thing I do want to mention about water though is that it is a good idea to always have bottled water on hand. Have water with you in the car, in your 72-hour kits, in your homes for your short term food storage in addition to the water you have stored for long term usage.

I believe that the water storage/filtration/purification part of preparedness may be one of the most complicated there is, yet the most important. There are specialists who sell the filters that can help you know exactly what you might need for your situation. Do some research and decide what your needs for your family are and get prepared so that when the time comes that you need good water to drink, regardless of where you are or what your situation is, you’ll be prepared.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Garbanzo Beans


Today we are talking about another variety of bean, the Garbanzo Bean also known as the chickpea, common gram, Bengal gram, pea bean, ceci bean, Indian gram and gram pea. This bean is probably more like a large pea and less like a bean in its shape than other beans. It could very well be one of the most versatile varieties of bean.

Garbanzo beans are very inexpensive. If you buy them in bulk you can get them for between $.75 and $1 per pound. These beans are packed with dietary fiber that helps reduce the bad cholesterol and are great source of protein.

To cook garbanzo beans, pick over beans discarding rocks and stones or any dried, withered and discolored beans. Rinse the beans well. Place in a bowl, and add triple the amount of water as beans and soak overnight. Drain the beans and place in a saucepan with water to cover by 2” or more. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 1½ to 2½ hours. Cooking time will vary depending on your altitude, hardness of your water, etc.
Garbanzo beans are used in so many different ways. We’ve talked before about using them for Hummus or roasting them to eat as a snack or in salads. I’ve posted recipes for these again if you have not tried them before.

Garbanzo beans are great in salads and soups as well as many main dish recipes. They are especially prevalent in Indian cooking. I’ve posted some fun recipes for salads and soups and main dishes as well.

One use for Garbanzo beans or any bean for that matter, that we have not discussed yet is sprouting. We will go more in depth into sprouting in a latter post but just for variety, I’ve also posted the instructions for sprouting Garbanzos. If you have not tried sprouting yet, you may be interested to give this a try. You don’t need any special equipment, just beans and a wide mouth quart jar and some cloth to cover the mouth of the jar. I’ve found that sprouting just takes experimenting to find what you like and what you don’t like. Everyone’s tastes are different and what you like other’s may not. This takes very little work and effort but if fresh vegetables were unavailable, sprouting might be something that would bridge that gap. Beans themselves are nutritious, but sprouted beans are even more nutritious. Give this a try!

Hummus
2-3 cloves garlic
½ t. coarse salt
1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
3 T. tahini (sesame-seed paste)
3 T. lemon juice
2 t. honey
½ t. cumin
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
1/8 t. black pepper
3 T. water, or as needed
4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
Mash garlic with the salt in a small bowl. Place into a blender or food processor along with the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, honey, cumin, red and black pepper, and water. Process till smooth; with processor running, pour in 2 T. olive oil. Process until smooth. If it is too thick for your liking, add more water until desired consistency is reached. Chill. Spoon into a serving dish, and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with fresh parsley to serve. Serve with pita chips.

Roasted Chickpeas from Dried Beans

1 c. dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 t. chili powder
1½ t. salt
1 T. lime juice
Pick over and rinse beans. Cover with water 2” above the level of the beans and let soak overnight. Drain & rinse. Put in a pot with water to cover; bring to a boil. Lower heat; add 1½ t. of the chili powder and simmer 15 minutes; drain. Put beans in a bowl and toss with the lime juice. Preheat oven to 400º. Lift beans out of the bowl with slotted spoon & put in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Stir after 15 minutes, brushing them with the lime juice remaining in the bowl Repeat 3 times, the last time sprinkling with remaining chili powder and salt. When they are golden brown and crispy (50-60 minutes total), remove from oven. Cool completely. *Watch carefully – beans can go from golden brown to burned black in just a couple of minutes.

Roasted Chickpeas from Canned Beans
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed well and drained well
½ t. curry powder
¼ t. cumin
1/8 t. cayenne
¼ t. salt (optional)
Heat oven to 400º. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Spray a baking sheet with canola or olive oil and spread beans in a single layer. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes until golden and crunchy, about 45-50 minutes. *Watch carefully the last 15 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Bean Salad
1 can wax beans
1 can green beans (French Style)
1 can Garbanzo Beans
1 can Kidney beans
1 small onion, diced fine
1/3 c. sugar
¼ c. salad oil
½ c. white vinegar
Drain all beans and combine in a bowl. Add onion. Combine sugar, oil and vinegar and mix till sugar is dissolved. Pour over beans. Cover and chill several hours to marinate.

Southwestern Chickpea Salad
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, diced
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1/3 c. chopped green pepper
2 green onions, chopped
1 T minced fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped fine (optional)
1/3 c. prepared Italian dressing
Combine all ingredients and toss to coat. Serve with slotted spoon. *Note: Avocado can be added to individual serving bowls. Don’t store avocado in leftover salad.

Olive Garden Minestrone Italian Soup
1 c. finely minced celery
1 c. finely minced onion
1 c. finely minced carrot
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. garbanzo beans
1/2 c. kidney beans
1/2 c. whole dried peas
3/4 c. sliced carrots
3/4 c. sliced celery
3/4 c. chopped bell pepper
1/2 c. rice or barley
1 c shell macaroni
2 T. minced parsley
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
2 t. soy sauce
Pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese
Slowly sauté finely minced celery, onion and carrot in butter until very brown. Add the peas and beans and 3 quarts water. Cook slowly until beans are almost done (check garbanzos-they will take the longest) about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Add the remaining vegetables, rice and spices and more water if necessary and cook another hour. About 20 minutes before serving time add macaroni and more water if needed. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with crusty garlic bread.

Garbanzo Bean Pasta Soup
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 quarts chicken broth or make your own
½ t. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ t. crushed basil
¼ t. crushed dried parsley flakes
12 oz. Angel hair pasta- broken in thirds (can use noodles or macaroni as well)
2 (15.5-oz) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh grated parmesan shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large pot, heat olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil and parsley. Sauté for a few minutes, then add broth. Bring to a boil, over high heat; stir in pasta. Lower heat to a simmer and add garbanzo beans. Simmer 6-8 minutes until pasta is cooked to your liking (less if you like it Al dente) and a little longer if you are using a different variety of pasta. Top individual servings with fresh ground pepper and shredded cheese Y: 6 servings

Chi-Chi beans
1 stick butter
1 small onion - chopped fine
2 cloves garlic - chopped fine
2 cans Chi-chi beans (Garbanzo beans)
Sauté onion and garlic in butter till tender. Add chi-chi beans and simmer 1 hour. Cook a box of your favorite pasta "Al Dente". Drain and rinse. Toss with Chi-Chi sauce and serve.

How to Sprout Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, are a popular food around the world, offering a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and proteins. However, the nutritional value of garbanzo beans goes through the roof when they sprout. Sprouted garbanzo beans are not only fun to grow, the taste delicious in dips, salads, sandwiches, mixed into soups and more.

½ to ¾ c. Dried garbanzo beans
Wide-mouthed glass jar
Sprouting lid or cloth to cover jar

1) Choose dried garbanzo beans that have been picked over to remove any pieces of rock and any deformed beans. While you can sprout any type of garbanzo bean, green channa, a miniature chickpea found in Indian food stores, is the fastest and most flavorful, but any variety will work.

2) Rinse beans very well and soak garbanzo in clean water overnight, for about 8 to 10 hours. After soaking rinse the garbanzo beans well and then drain all of the water possible from the beans. Place them into a wide-mouthed glass jar in a cool, semi-lit location. Use a clean, large-mouth quart jar and a lid with holes (a sprouting lid – or make your own using a canning jar ring with a nylon stocking, cheesecloth held in place with a rubber band, a piece of wire mesh or plastic canvas, available at fabric stores). Air circulation is crucial during the sprouting process.

3) Check the bean sprouts every 6 to 8 hours, rinsing, draining and returning them to the jar. Garbanzo bean sprouts are generally tender and ready after about 1½ days; however, you can leave them up to 2 full days for longer sprouts.

4) Finish the sprouting process by giving the garbanzo beans a final rinse, removing as much water as is possible so the sprouts are almost dry to the touch, and then placing them in the covered jar in the refrigerator. Eat your sprouts within about 1 week.

Notes: Not all of these seeds will sprout at the same time. They are close enough to mix together though. You don’t have to wait for all of them to actually pop a root (sprout) - it isn't necessary and it can cause some of your seeds to over-sprout, but it is your choice. Depending on your climate and the time of year you are sprouting and most importantly your personal preference - You may Rinse and Drain again at 8-12 hour intervals for up to 6 days. However - we prefer to sprout only to the point where most of the seeds have sprouted tiny (¼“) roots, which is typically after just 3 Rinse and Drain cycles. Just for fun, taste your crop at EVERY RINSE - including the very first - just after the soak period. The soaked seeds are already alive and though they may not be their most nutritious they are still very nutritious - they are already without enzyme inhibitors (a very good thing) so they'll digest themselves and nourish you. Grow them for as long as you like (as long as you continue to Rinse and Drain every 8-12 hours) and find out for yourself when they are most delicious! If you grow for a week you'll get some plants growing as well as roots. Experiment! Have Fun! It's All Good!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cooking your Food Storage


Imagine for a moment that your family is without power or running water. This situation will last for an indeterminate amount of time, until the power grid is restored or a disaster is remedied. You are now living off of your food storage. How will you cook your food?

If you are a camper or a Dutch oven-er you probably have some idea how you would prepare food. If you have a cook stove or a stove in your home with a cooking surface or maybe even a baking oven, you wouldn’t worry. Unless it’s 90º outside.

If you know the answer to this question, then you are prepared. If you aren’t sure then maybe it’s a good idea to look at some of the options.

I’ve heard many say that they have a camper that is equipped with cooking utensils and a stove and that they could cook in their camper for a few days. If you fit into this category then that is wonderful. Please make sure, though, that you have enough fuel stored for an extended period of time, not just a few days. And, maybe you could have some other options as well.

Dutch oven cooking is a great option. If you are familiar with the process of cooking with Dutch ovens and can successfully do that at your own home, then that is a great option for you. If you have Dutch ovens and equipment to prepare meals you will do well in an emergency. It’s a good idea to have some extra charcoal briquettes stored for use in the event of an emergency.

Most people today have an outdoor grill that uses either propane or briquettes as well. If you are one of these, then you are probably prepared with extra propane and/or briquettes. Hopefully you know various ways of cooking on your grill and could prepare food for your family to sustain them in the event of an emergency.

There are also various other camping or emergency cooking tools that let you prepare food. Maybe you have a Cache cooker (a propane cooker with 2 burners – or more) just one of several brands.

You might have a Volcano cooker that uses wood, charcoal or converts to propane, and the tools to go with it. And you know how to use it and have experimented and cooked with it.

If you are prepared with any of these various cooking tools, then you probably know that storing 15 – 20 lb. bags of charcoal will be enough to provide 1 hot meal for your family per day. The charcoal should be stored in buckets or barrels to protect it from moisture. Remember this is a minimum recommended amount.

Maybe you just have the small folding stoves that use canned heat or pellets. These are great for a short term emergency but not sufficient for extended use.

If you have a sun oven, you are in good shape for baking casseroles or breads, unless there are lots of clouds and wind. A great option for sunny days regardless of cold, cold temperatures, but not reliable as your only source of cooking.

One of the mistakes many people make is not so much that they don’t have a cooking source, but that they aren’t prepared with enough fuel to last in a long term emergency. Evaluate what you have on hand. How long would it last? Do you have more than one option, such as propane, wood, briquettes’, sun oven etc. Don’t make the mistake of having a great food storage but no way to cook the food over a long period of time.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Food Storage Friendly Friday – Meal Idea and Tip of the Week


Has this been a really long week for anyone else or is it just me? So many crazy things going on in my little world not to mention the big world picture. Such a long list of things to do that didn’t get done this week. I have been doing some cooking and trying some new recipes and that’s always a fun thing for me. We’ve had lots of internet connectivity issues this week which is frustrating and is not yet resolved. Better luck next week.

The tip of the week is more of a reminder than a tip. One of the first things to remember to do in this electronic age, is a computer back-up. Take some time to back-up your important information this weekend. If you use an online backup program and do it on a regular basis that is great. We have a tendency to be too trusting, not only of people but also of equipment. I always tell myself that I’ll get to it soon, but when you lose important information, it’s gone. Ask yourself this question, "If there were an earthquake or other disaster, and I couldn't get online for an extended period of time, would there be anything I couldn't live without?"

Decide what method you will use for backing up your information on a long term basis and get it done. I’m still part of the old school that likes things on paper, in black and white. You may wish to send copies to other family members elsewhere to store for you and they may do likewise in case of an emergency or long term power outage. With everything going on these days we just can’t be too careful or too prepared.

The recipe of the week was submitted by Julie B. from Colorado. She says it was her mom’s favorite recipe that is Food Storage Friendly. I’ve seen this recipe or similar versions in several cookbooks and tasted one like this at a luncheon. This recipe – Any Old Fruit Cake – is a great way to use bottled fruit that may need to be used up. It isn’t a typical fruitcake, just a very nice moist cake that is very enjoyable. Julie said that this is the recipe she uses if she is out of eggs or saving her eggs for something else because this recipe uses NO eggs. Thanks for sharing, Julie.

Fern’s Any Old Fruit Cake
1 quart of any old bottled fruit
2 c. sugar
1 c. oil
4 c. flour
4 t. soda
1 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
1 t. nutmeg
Raisins, Chocolate Chips, Nuts (Optional)
Use a quart of any fruit you wish, and pour it in the blender – juice and all, and blend till smooth. You can add any leftover fruit you may have in your fridge or ripe bananas if you wish, to make 1 quart total. Add sugar and oil to fruit. Stir in dry ingredients and anything else you might like to add, such as nuts, raisins, chocolate chips or etc. Bake in 1-9x13” pan PLUS 1-8” square pan. Bake at 350º for 40-50 minutes. Frost while warm.
Frosting:
1/3 of a square of butter
½ c. brown sugar
¼ c. canned milk
2 ½ c. confectioners’ sugar
Bring butter, brown sugar and milk to a boil. Remove from heat. Add confectioners’ sugar and spread on cake immediately.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Survival Bread


The name pretty much says it all about this bread. This recipe is recommended for anyone who likes to do a lot of camping and overnight outdoor activities. This recipe is for one loaf. Double it, triple it, whatever your needs may call for. This may be a good addition to your 72-hour kits. Totally up to you. I believe though, that it might be something to think about in the event of no electricity or evacuation or whatever. Think about it!

Survival Bread
2 c. oats
2 ½ c. powdered milk
3 ½ oz pkg. Jell-O (orange or lemon)
3 T. honey
3 T. water
1 c. sugar
Combine oats, powdered milk and sugar. In a medium pan, mix: water, Jell-O and honey. Bring to a boil; add dry ingredients and mix well. (If the mix is too dry, add a small amount of water a teaspoon at a time). Shape dough into a loaf (about the size of a brick). Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350º for 15-20 minutes; cool. If you increased the recipe for multiple loaves you can place several at a time onto the cookie sheet for baking. Don't place them too close together.
Once the bread is baked remove from the cookie sheet and allow to cool completely. The bread can be wrapped whole in the foil for storage. This bread will keep indefinitely and each loaf is the daily nutrients for one adult. I recommend the use of this recipe for anyone who likes to do a lot of camping and overnight outdoor activities. This recipe is for one loaf.

Now, this is just for any obsessive-compulsive-Altoid-tin-savers who may be reading this. Put your Altoid tins to good use. Not only can you use them to store small things like matches or a fire starter or any other small and important item, you can also cook in them. Don’t believe me? Here is a link for a recipe for making Altoid tin bread. Really. Serious. Who knows? This knowledge might come in handy someday! Below is the basic recipe for Altoid tin bread. Learn more about it at this site including different cooking methods for your bread.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Altoids-Tin-Bread-Bake-Survival-Bread/

Making bread in an Altoid tin
½ c. Self Rising Flour (½ c. all purpose flour + ½ t. baking powder + ¼ t. salt + 1/8 t. soda) per serving
Water (2-3 T. water per serving; go by consistency)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil ( just a drizzle)
Salt (Just use a dash since the flour already has some in it)
An Altoid tin, clean of decoration (Use a wire brush and scrub. It takes about two minutes to get the entire tin clean.
A mixing bowl and a mixing utensil. Use a small bowl and a whisk. (If you’re in the woods, the Altoid tin and a clean stick will work just fine.)
Mix flour and a touch of olive oil in the bowl, drop a pinch of salt in to taste if you want. Drizzle water in as you stir the mixture. You want the consistency to be more dry than wet, but not powdery. Stir until you have a little doughy ball.
(Altoid tins are not non stick!) Use is a dab of olive oil and lightly coat the interior. Put a little flour in the tin, close it and just shake it up a bit to get an even coating inside. (This is to coat the sides and bottom of the tin so the bread won't tear when you pop it out.) Take your dough and scoop it into the tin and spread it evenly throughout. Make sure to only fill the tin about halfway up. Anymore and the mixture will overflow and you'll have an incredible mess to clean up. *The dough will be very, very sticky. Powder your hands with flour if you’re using them to scoop it out.
You have some choices here. You can cook your bread several different ways. Here are two of my favorite compact ways. 1) You can use a penny stove or any homemade stove
2) Use A large size tea candle. You can also use two small ones side by side.
Either way you choose to heat the tin, you will have to have a way to keep the tin raised off of the flame. If the fire is too close to the tin (touching it at all), it will burn the bottom of the bread and leave a nasty char on the inside of your tin. You can take a wire hanger (non painted or covered in plastic), and bent it into a shape that will hold your tin and allow it to sit over the heat source. You want it to be wide enough to accommodate the tin and flat enough that it won’t slide off when you open it, If you are interested in building your own penny stove, here is a link to the instructions http://www.instructables.com/id/Pocket-Sized-Camp-Stove-The-Improved-quotPenny-/

Once everything is ready to go, set your stand up on a flat surface. Place your choice of heat under the stand and ignite it.
Place the Altoid tin on top of the rack and let the lid of the tin rest on itself so that if pressure builds, it won’t explode.
Depending on how much dough you put in the tin, the process of cooking your bread should take 12-15 minutes. The cooking time also takes into account how close or far away your flame is from the bottom of the tin. It should be just under the tin without actually licking the bottom of it.

After about ten minutes of cooking look at your bread. The top of it should be starting to firm up. At 12 minutes take a toothpick and stick it in the center of the tin. If the toothpick comes out smoothly, with no batter stuck to it, then it’s safe to say your bread is ready! If your toothpick gets stuck, close the lid again and let it cook for another two or three minutes.

It is a good idea to let the tin cool for about 25-30 seconds. That should be enough time to cool it off if your flame wasn't touching the tin. Turn the tin over and tap the bottom of it until your bead pops out. If you didn't use olive oil, you may have to pry it out with a small stick or your fingers.

Quickly clean up your messes, the less you have to do later! Remember to clean out your tin if you had anything stick, so that it can be reused again. That's It! Hopefully your bread is tasty and you had fun making it. Remember if you have a couple of extra ingredients with you, wherever you may be, throw it in there! Cheese? Bacon? Garlic? The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

72-Hour Kit Wednesday – Lunch & Dinner


What a sad and interesting week this has been; so much destruction and devastation. As I’ve read about the tsunami and earthquakes, among other things, one thing keeps popping up; the emphasis on EVERYONE EVERYWHERE having a 72 hour emergency kit.

As I listened to an interview with a family who had relatives in Japan, how happy they were to hear that their family there had survived, but how worried they again became to learn that there was no food or water available where they were at in Japan and they furthermore stated that they were hoping food and water would be delivered soon. What a sad situation to be in; to be dependent on others for your survival.

This situation has really brought home to me the importance of emergency supplies of our own. Regardless of how meager, something is better than nothing. I wouldn’t mind so much being without any food, but watching my children or grandchildren go without would be devastating.

I also realize that so many people who give suggested lists of food and other items to put in a kit really try to make it a minimal list, with just the basics. I’m all for putting in what you absolutely need to have to survive, then putting anything else you can fit it your kit so that there is plenty of food. Three-days isn’t really a very long time in a disaster. Hopefully if we were in an emergency we would only need three day’s worth but you never know.

I hope you have decided what kind of food you are going to put in your kit; foods that need to be cooked or heated to be prepared or the basic foods-to-sustain-life supplies. I will list a few suggestions which hopefully will spark other ideas as well as you put your kits together. Choose one main food (like canned meat) and another food to go with it (such as canned soup or fruit or a granola bar or jerky) for each person for lunch and another for dinner for three days – that’s 6 lunch and dinner meals for each person’s kit. As you decide which foods to gather, think about the protein content, the calories and how filling it will be if that is all there is to eat. Also remember to make sure it is something your family will eat. One of my favorite suggestions was to include an individual jar of peanut butter in each person’s kit which I think is a very good option.

One thing to remember is that this is a survival kit. You will want to be comfortable but not extravagant. The food you place in here, due to its convenience, will cost more than you desire to spend, however, you can keep the cost very reasonable. Below are some suggestions. Choose carefully, trying to put mostly the same things in each person’s pack except for young children or those with special dietary needs.

Canned albacore tuna (solid pack)
Saltine Crackers
Canned chicken
Corned Beef Hash
Soup-for-One
Roast Beef Hash
Beef Stew
Chili
Ravioli
A Jar of peanut butter
Vienna Sausages
Cheese & Crackers
Oyster Crackers
Dried Beef
Fruit Cups
Applesauce Cups
Pudding Cups
Bread Sticks
Cookies
Canned Milk
Powdered Milk
Fruit Rolls
Fun Fruits
Beef Jerky
Packages of Raisins
Packages of Peanuts
Granola Bars
Beef Sticks
Box Juices

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Book Review - Wheat Cookin' Made Easy


Wheat Cookin’ Made Easy by Pam Crockett
I was first introduced to this book when I went to a class presentation using some of the methods in this book. It has been several years since I attended the class but I still remember so many things I heard that night which for me, means it was very interesting. One of the things I remember first of all was that as the presentation was given, the large group gathered was constantly given samples of different things prepared from recipes in this book. This was where I was first introduced to cooked wheat berries served in juice concentrate – a pleasant surprise. Everything that was prepared and demonstrated was very good.

I also remember that after the class was over, there was a very long line waiting to purchase the book and sign up for the soon to be released DVD which is a great accompaniment to this book.

The book itself is a fantastic cookbook full of recipes for cooking with whole wheat, but it is also a great resource book. It is chock full of recipes for things I never imagined making with whole wheat. This book takes cooking with whole wheat to a higher level than just making whole wheat bread.

One of the things I remember most from the class which is well illustrated in the book, is that with a little variety you can do so many different things with wheat and they all taste good.

This book has over 300 pages of recipes in several different sections such as; breads and biscuits, breakfasts, crackers and pastas, desserts, sourdough, kid’s corner, main dishes, muffins and sweet breads and Soups and salads.

There are also instructions for sprouting wheat, growing wheat grass, making bulgur wheat and making gluten. The recipes themselves are also extremely varied. Recipes included are for Old Fashioned Corn Bread, Whole Wheat Soup Bowls, Soft Pretzels, and Homemade Whole Wheat Noodles with detailed instructions for those who have not made noodles before.

Lots of recipes for sweets too including Gumdrop Bars, Homemade Wheat Brownies and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. In the Kid’s section there are recipes for Salt Dough Ornaments and Salt Map Mixture. And as I mentioned before there is a whole section of Sourdough recipes that look tempting.

The main dish section has some very interesting recipes such as Boston baked wheat and broccoli wheat casserole as well as several Pilafs, Mexican and Italian main dishes too. From the Soup and Salad Corner there are recipes for Carrot, Pineapple and Wheat Berry Salad. This one was very good!

If you have some wheat and want to start using it, then buy this book. If you just want to get started in Preparedness and Food Storage and plan to buy some wheat you better buy this book so you will know what to do with it.

I am very impressed with this cookbook and whenever I have a question about wheat or what to do with it, this is my go-to book. This book has so many more ideas on how to cook with wheat besides just using it to make bread. Pam Crockett's DVD that goes along with this book is a treasure as well (you can find it through Emergency Essentials at www.beprepared.com) or www.amazon.com .

I would recommend this book along with its DVD to anyone interested in adding wheat to their diet! One warning however, when you read and study this book you’ll find yourself getting more excited to use wheat in so many different ways. I’m including one of my favorite recipes from the book below.

Whole Wheat Soup Bowls
Pam Crockett
1 c. milk
2 eggs
¼ c. butter
4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
4 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1¼ t. yeast
¾ c. shredded cheese; Colby jack, cheddar, Swiss or Monterey Jack.
Preheat oven to 350º. Add the first 7 ingredients to your bread machine, following the manufacturer’s directions. Select basic white bread cycle on your machine. When the cycle is complete, remove dough from machine. Punch down. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Generously grease the outside of 6 – 10 ounce bowls. Place them upside down on greased cookie sheets, allowing 3” between bowls. Divide dough into 6 portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough into a 12x6” rectangle. Sprinkle about 2 T. cheese onto half of each rectangle to within ½” of the edges. Moisten edges; fold each rectangle in half to form a 6” square. Seal edges. Drape dough squares over the bowls, pressing lightly. Immediately place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. These bowls are wonderful for soups, stews, beans or chili. For a great dessert bowl; omit the cheese and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Fill with ice cream, fruit or rice pudding. *This dough can also be made by hand without a machine.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Food Storage Friendly Friday and Tip of the Week


The tip of the week this week is about onions. Are you using dehydrated onions in your cooking and food preparation? If not, this is a good way to save some money. Dehydrated onions are very economical and are wonderful in most dishes you used fresh onions in (with the exception of fresh onion dishes like salads, etc.). They are a great way to spend less on fresh veggies. You can buy them in bulk for a lot less that what you spend on fresh onions. One #10 can will last for an extremely long time.

If you are using fresh onions in your cooking here is a great tip that I just heard about recently. If your red onion, or any fresh onion, is strong or you just want a milder flavor, cover the thinly sliced onion with cold water for 30 minutes, and then drain well. This takes some of the bite out of the onion for a milder taste.

This week’s food storage friendly recipe was sent in by Karen W. from Utah. She says this may not seem like a food storage recipe but she remembers her grandma Nessie making these on an old cook stove when she was just a little girl. Karen says that if these can be made on a cook stove, they can be made anywhere! She says she will never forget how good these tasted when her grandma made them and it is still a family tradition in their entire family. She says she remember going to her grandma’s house in the fall when all her cousins were there and they would double or triple this recipe and make hundreds of donuts! Awesome! Karen, thanks so much for sharing the recipe and the memories.

Grandma Nessie’s Spudnuts
2 c. Milk scalded and cooled
Dissolve 3 ½ T. yeast in
½ c. warm water with
½ T. Sugar (don’t use a real small bowl for this part)
In big bowl cream:
4 T. shortening and
½ c. sugar
Add:
2 beaten eggs
1 c. mashed potatoes (can use instant)
1½ t. salt
Add cooled milk, yeast mixture, and approx. 7 c. flour a few cups at a time, stirring after each addition. Don’t be afraid to add more flour to the dough. I usually add a little bit more; you’ll get a feel for it. You want the dough to feel like bread dough. If it’s too wet, add more flour.
Let rise, then punch down and roll out about ½” thick.
Cut out in donut shapes and let rise again on cookie sheets.
Fry in hot oil; dip in glaze made of:
1 lb. Powdered sugar
½ c. hot water
½ t. vanilla
Y: about 50 spudnuts. (Plus donut holes – the best part!)
Wooden dowels make the perfect drip-dry hangers for the doughnuts. Once you get good at it, you can use a wooden dowel to scoop the doughnuts out of the hot oil, and to dig them out of their powdered sugar glaze bath.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yummy Wheat & Honey Rolls


Today has turned out to be a crazy busy day. Seems these come along more and more often. As I was thinking about a blog post today, I've had one in mind for awhile now, I realized it isn’t ready to post. I still need to add some more information. So…another day for that. I was without electricity a good portion of the morning (Do you know how many things we do require electricity???) so I am really running behind. On top of that, my computer picked today to take a small fit! I can’t really get into anything that I need to…wondering now if I’ll be able to get into my blog to post this, hmm…guess we’ll see.

I’ve been thinking lately about whole wheat in our diets. I’m not very good at this. I do well for awhile then slack off. One of my goals for this year though is to use more whole wheat in my baking and cooking. I think I may have found the perfect recipe to help me do this. If you struggle with this too, you may want to give this recipe a try. This recipe for “Yummy Dinner Rolls” has been in my “recipes to try” file for some time (along with hundreds of others) but this one had made it to the top 10 list and was just waiting for me to get after it and get it done.

I love homemade rolls. I also love cinnamon rolls and I always claim that they are my weakness. However, I just may have multiple weaknesses. I’ve been thinking about making cinnamon rolls lately but I wasn’t planning to make them – I told myself I had to finish using up some stuff in my freezer before I could make and freeze cinnamon rolls. I have a recipe I love that I have used for years but it makes a huge amount so I planned on making some, freezing some of the rolls baked and some unbaked but not now.

I made sure I had all the ingredients for this about a month ago and still nothing happened. But on Tuesday afternoon as I was pondering what to have with our supper I knew I had to try to make this “Yummy dinner rolls” recipe. When I first looked at the recipe, I decided I would cut it in half because it makes a big batch, so that is what I did. The unique thing about this recipe is that it uses Krusteaz Honey Wheat Pancake mix as part of the flour. The recipe also says to add additional flour but does not specify an amount. I thought I had added too much flour. The rolls were very light but had a different texture when they were rising than the rolls I usually make. I was a little disappointed. When I started working with the dough, I realized that it had a wonderful texture; still a little nervous about how the finished product would be. They turned out wonderful!

I’m glad I only made half the batch. I still got 16 large crescent rolls and 14 large cinnamon rolls – yes, I caved in and made cinnamon rolls too – mostly because there was so much dough I didn’t know what else to do. These rolls were heavenly! Not only that, they were still very light the next day. They had such a good texture and I loved every bite. They are a little whole wheatish (I know that isn’t a word, but that’s what they were) a good mix. Next time, I’ll add an extra cup of whole wheat flour and the time after that a little more.

This recipe is a good one to experiment with. If you aren’t using much whole wheat in your bread and roll making, or even if you are, give this a try. I loved this recipe. Even though I usually use a sweet roll recipe for my cinnamon rolls, they were wonderful with this dough and glazed with caramel icing. I did increase the rising times on my rolls from what the recipe specified.

Yummy Wheat & Honey Rolls
In a separate bowl mix
6 beaten eggs
1/2 c. warm water
2 T. instant yeast
Set aside.
In large mixing bowl or Bosch, mix the following:
2 c. warm mashed potatoes
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. shortening
1 T. salt
3 c. hot water
Add 3 c. Krusteaz wheat and honey pancake mix and blend well.
Add yeast and egg mixture.
Add enough white flour for a nice dough and mix for 5-10 minutes until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Let rise until double. (30 minutes)
Punch down and let rise again. (30 minutes)
Form into rolls, put on a greased pan and let rise again.
Bake at 400º for 15 minutes or until done.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

72-Hour Kit Wednesday - To cook or not to cook?


We have our breakfast meals prepared and before we do lunch we need to gather utensils. You can go as basic or elaborate as you want to; your choice. We’ll talk about what is available and you can choose, based on your budget, time constraints and other available resources. You know best what your family needs.

Necessities:One of the basic necessities you’ll need to put your kit together is the Utensils for each person’s kit and a cheap can opener for each kit. Buy sturdy plastic utensils for each person’s kit and plan on at least one set for each meal for three days plus some extra’s for snacks, etc. Calculate how many utensils you need to buy and get them.

Next you need to decide if you are going to include just basic meals that require no cooking, such as granola bars, tuna, beanie weenies etc or if you want to purchase something to heat with. There are several different types of heating units available such as a wing stove or a flat fold stove. These range in price from about $5 up. You could get by with one stove per family, however, if you have many mouths to feed it would be a good idea to have one per person or at a minimum 1 for every 2 people. Then you will also need to buy the fuel cells or fuel tablets for each. If you have a large family you can invest quite a bit of money. However it may turn out to be very important to your family’s survival. You need to decide what you want to do.

If your family is avid campers, chances are you already have a camp stove. If this is what you choose to use in an emergency, make sure it is in a place that is easily accessible, that you will be able to take it with you in a hurry if needs be, and that you have plenty of fuel on hand to use it.

If you are interested in purchasing a stove or heating unit, check out emergency essentials (www.beprepared.com) or amazon.com on the web. Other preparedness suppliers also have these stoves. I know that in some areas Wal-mart also carries with wing stoves in their camping section. As you decide which route you want to go, you can plan your food accordingly. A little bit about some different types of stoves:


The Flat fold stove folds flat for easy storage. Easy setup in seconds; it is a great little stove that folds up to less than 1/2" thick. Using canned camp heat as fuel. It will hold an aluminum pot to boil water. You can use it to make 16 oz. of water hot enough for hot chocolate or oatmeal, or to heat freeze dried pouches in 12 min. The 4 oz camp heat will last up to 4 hours. This is a well made, sturdy product that delivers. This is a good survival stove too. So if this interests you figure out how many cans of fuel you would need for your family for 3 days and how many stoves you would have to buy. There are a couple of different makes of the flat fold stoves. One uses the cans of fuel while another uses the fuel bars. Either works great.


The Wing Stove is a little harder to find these days, although it is still available. It is around $3 and uses fuel bars. If you want to investigate it further it can be seen at this site (http://www.disasterkits4u.com/product/CK-S090) and it too will support a pot for cooking or boiling water.


The portable butane stove is a little more expensive, a little more sturdy and uses a can of butane fuel. Most come with a carrying case which is very handy. It is a good way to cook your meals if you want to invest the money. However, the price is still around $15 for some brands of this stove. The cans for fuel are a little more expensive but again, they last a little longer than other cans. Check these stoves out too if you like.


The MRE Heater is a little bag designed specifically for heating MRE entrees. It is self-contained, and all you need is water (or any liquid for that matter)! It is an aluminum-lined polyethylene bag with a magnesium-combination filler at the bottom of the pouch. I’ve personally used these bags a many times and they are wonderful (and HOT!)! These heaters are perfect for heating entrees, and with how hot they get I’d say you might even be able to stretch it for 2 entrees or your side dish!
How does it work? At the bottom of the MRE heater pouch is smaller sealed pouch that contains magnesium. The chemical reaction with the magnesium and the water starts to work immediately after you add the water. This generates a lot of heat when water is added. You start by cutting off the top of the bag (there is a tear notch if you don’t have scissors). Next, you pour the water in the bag, making sure not to pass the fill line (it takes about 1 ounce of water). Then take the MRE out of the cardboard box and slide it in the MRE heater pouch. Fold the pouch so the open flap is on top and the heater is on the side of the entree. Slide the whole MRE pouch with the meal back inside the cardboard box, and let sit for the designated time, usually about 10 minutes, and enjoy a delicious and hot meal. It’s that easy!

If this is the route you want to go, you can do anything you want as far as meals go. Heating the food won’t be a problem. One workshop I attended many years ago was hosted by a preparedness expert. She made the statement that if you really believe that you will actually need your 72-hour kits, you’ll put out the time and money to make them useful and well stocked. Those who believe nothing will ever happen will either not put a kit together or it will be filled with granola bars and empty calorie foods. Good food for thought.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gardening Ideas


Yesterday I talked about Jan Shepard and her ideas for gardening. One of the things that she strongly promotes is Square Foot Gardening. She says especially if you only have a little garden space, you should learn about square foot gardening, to make the most of your space. I think that this is a fascinating concept. I want to talk a little more about this today as well as some other methods of gardening.

First: Square foot gardening. This method of gardening was invented by a man named Mel Bartholomew. He wrote a book about it called simply “Square Foot Gardening”. He has also had a show on PBS and his website is www.squarefootgardening.org. This method of gardening has really caught on and many others are promoting it as well.

Square Foot Gardening is the practice of planning small but intensively planted gardens. The square-foot gardening concept is simple: It’s a system of gardening that uses 4 foot by 4 foot plots subdivided into 1-foot squares. Build a raised bed, divide the space into sections of one square-foot each, and then plant vegetables in just the amount of space they need. This method is for growing a specific number of a particular type of vegetable to maximize space and facilitate ease of maintenance. The advantages of this system include reduced workload, less watering, easy weeding (and not much of it), and easy access to your crops. This is a great way to learn to grow some of your own food.

One particular site that has really good information is found here. Another good site is this one.If you have not tried this method of gardening before you will find great information and pictures at this site. Also, Mel’s book is available for purchase online, in most bookstores and probably in your public library. If your library does not have it, they can order it through the inter-library loan program.

Second: Container Gardening. If your vegetable gardening is limited by insufficient space or an unsuitable area, consider raising fresh, nutritious, homegrown vegetables in containers. A window sill, a patio, a balcony or a doorstep will provide sufficient space for a productive mini-garden. Problems with poor soil conditions can be easily overcome by switching to a container garden. Pest and weed management is easier. Container vegetable gardening is a sure way to introduce children to the rewards of vegetable gardening.

Almost any vegetable that will grow in a typical backyard garden will also do well as a container-grown plant. Vegetables that are ideally suited for growing in containers include broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green onions, green beans, leaf lettuce, squash, radishes, spinach and parsley. Pole beans and cucumbers also do well in this type of garden, but they do require considerably more space because of their large vines. Variety selection is extremely important.

Most varieties that will do well when planted in a yard garden will also do well in containers. If this is something you are interested in doing, here is a site that will guide you through the process from planting to harvesting and all the steps in between. It is a very informative site from Utah State University.

Third: Potatoes in a barrel. My newest project this year is planting potatoes in a barrel. I’ve never done it but already have my seed and my barrel. You can even use an old large garbage can or even a burlap bag. I’m excited to try it because you can produce so much food in such a little bit of space. If you missed the post I did on this last fall, you can find it at www.preparedness365.blogspot.com/2010/07/taters-in-barrel.html

Fourth: Seeds. As I'm writing this I am thinking that this should be #1 instead of fourth on the list. An ESSENTIAL part of food storage is storing garden seed. One thing that you need to remember is that the seeds you store should be Non-Hybrid seeds so that they can reproduce themselves.

My grandma lived through the depression and was careful with every resource she had, including garden seed. Each fall, we would spread the last picking of green beans out on a blanket and let them dry. It was my job to remove the beans (seed) from the pod, and save the beans in a bottle to plant the next year. This is a vivid memory for me. If you plant hybrid seeds, you cannot save your bean seed for another year because it will not reproduce again. Therefore be very selective in the seeds you buy. Unless the seeds specifically say on the package that they are non-hybrid, they usually are not.

Emergency Essentials has a non-hybrid garden seed on now. To see their prices and information go to this site (Sorry I can't get my links to work today.) http://beprepared.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_FG%20S011_A_name_E_Heirloom%20Seed%20Combo%20Pack

You can also order from Heirloom Seeds website for high quality Non-Hybrid seeds. The website for Heirloom seeds is http://www.heirloomseeds.com/

If you are starting your plants yourself, you may already have them planted. If not, don’t give up. You can purchase starts for any greenhouse We are fortunate that there are so many resources available to help us learn and study about gardening. It’s a good time to make a plan and prepare for what could be a great success for your family. Getting your family involved in your gardening plans can help ease your work load as well as teaching other members of your family about becoming more self-sufficient.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Grow It Yourself!


I had a strange experience over the weekend. Maybe some of you had the same one. I went grocery shopping. I live in a small town with a very small grocery store but the next town over has a nice sized store – not huge but pretty well stocked. At least it used to be. I hadn’t been there for awhile and was surprised at what I saw. The produce was – well mostly missing. You all know about the shortages and the huge price increases on what there is. Close to $3 for a head of lettuce – a small one. Green peppers almost $2 each. I could go on and on. The thing that struck me the most was that most of the produce bins had very little in them. It was almost eerie. There was a sign that read, “Due to shortages, produce is limited and the available produce reflects the higher prices due to the shortages. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

I totally understand the store’s position. It isn’t their fault. What bothered me the most was some comments I heard from two other shoppers. They were discussing this “inconvenience” and I heard the one say, “At least it’s only temporary. In a few weeks, as there is a new crop, things will be back to normal.” I really wanted to ask if she was delusional. We all know that it will be awhile before things are back to “normal” and I believe that “normal” is gone. Does she not realize that when they do have a new crop the prices will reflect the losses of the grower’s last crop? Because of the shortages everyone is experiencing, the producers will be able to charge whatever they want for their new crops. Not only that but it requires fuel to grow crops and with the increasing fuel prices will come increasing crop prices. What is a growing season for most things anyway? Three to four months?

I’m not trying to be an alarmist we all know what a mess we are in with the gas prices, food price increases, cotton prices, petroleum prices for anything made with petroleum – the price for new tires has jumped 50% in just the last month or so. Unfortunately we can’t sit around waiting for prices to go down – most likely they won’t. The only thing we can do is be cautious with how we spend our money and maybe learn how to make better use of our resources.

This brings us to the topic of one thing that we could do to help ourselves out. A vegetable garden. I have heard so many people in the last few weeks talk about growing a garden. Even people who have not grown a garden for a few years are going to this year. I read an email from a preparedness supplier that emails me regularly about a woman named Jan Shepard who had written about her gardening experiences.

She said in the article that she is older now and her family is raised and she had decided that her days of growing a huge garden were over. She has changed her mind. To make a long story not quite so long, she tells of the things she has learned about gardening and gives suggestions to anyone who can plant a garden this year. Here is a summary of what she says:
1) Plant something. Even if you don’t have a garden spot, plant some containers of something that you can eat that will save you money. Tomatoes, squash, carrots, beans, etc. She says you can grow quite a bit on a little apartment balcony if you are wise in what you plant.

2) Use your resources wisely. She tells about her past mistakes in gardening; planting lots of lettuce, green onions, radishes, two small tomato plants, a few cucumbers, enough peas to eat fresh, some corn that never matured and lots of beautiful flowers. She said when the gardening season was over, she realized that all they had gotten from their garden was salad; lots of salad. So much salad that the rest of her lettuce went to seed. She says this year, she will plant something she can preserve. Potatoes, green beans, beets, squash, peas for her freezer, lots of carrots, plenty of tomato and pepper plants and enough cucumbers for pickles, lots of fresh herbs, as well as the salads they love. She said there is nothing wrong with growing “salads”; just make sure that the time you spend working a garden is worth your trouble.

3) Plan ahead. Decide what is most important to you and how much of it you need to plant to preserve some. Make sure you plant early and make a vegetable garden a high priority instead of just a hobby. It can save you a lot of money if you plan and prepare carefully.

On tomorrow’s blog we’ll discuss some different gardening methods as well as seeds. Meanwhile, start planning to grow something, anything.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Food Storage Friendly Friday – Meal Idea and Tip of the Week


This week’s tip is for your laundry. Did you know that there is a little secret to help your whites stay white longer? It works! If you are like us, you have a whole load every week. We all hate when they start to look dingy.

Here’s the tip: Let whites soak in a bucket with 1 cup Cascade Dishwasher Detergent and 1 cup Clorox II in 5 gallons (a 5 gallon bucket works well or you can do this in your washing machine) of really hot tap water. Have the water be the hottest it can be for that fabric type. Let soak overnight or for several hours then wash like normal. No need to do this every wash, just when you think they need it. We have also learned over the years, that you shouldn't use bleach - only color safe bleach-because some whites are dyed white. When they are bleached with regular bleach, they get yellow.

I’m still looking for favorite food storage recipes to print here. I know you have some; email them to me at preparedness365@gmail.com. The recipe of the week is another soup recipe. I LOVE taco soup. I’m anxious for spring but I do love the soup season just because of the soups – not the snow! The recipe I use for Taco Soup is delicious but uses lots of ingredients. I’m in the process of trying other recipes to find one that not only tastes good, but doesn’t require tons of ingredients. I’ll be giving this one a try. Thanks to Jeri B. from Arizona for sending this one in.

If you have never made homemade tortilla chips, see the note at the end of this recipe and try making some to go with your next batch of taco soup.

Taco Soup - Jeri B.
1 (28 oz. can or two 15 oz. cans) of tomatoes or diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz. or two 8oz. cans) can of tomato sauce
1 pint of hamburger
1 can of black beans, undrained
1 can of corn, undrained
1 T. of dried minced onion or how much you would like
1 envelope of taco seasoning (or use garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and chili powder to taste if you have those)
1 C. of water
Put in a pan or crock pot to heat.
Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, grated cheddar or Colby cheese, sliced green onions, avocado slices, olives and jalapeños as toppings if we have them but it would be a great food storage meal without those toppings. *Note: Next time you make up a batch of homemade flour tortillas, use a pizza cutter to cut tortillas into wedges. Spray or brush one side of the wedges lightly with olive oil (any oil or spray will work) or melted butter and season with your favorite spices and salt. Bake at 350º 10-12 minutes or till golden brown and edges begin to curl up. Let cool and serve with taco soup or any dip.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Homemade Dough Enhancer


This blog post has been one of the favorite ones I have done. Not because it is a spectacular post or is very exciting, but because it is one that made me learn a lot and one that I know I will use almost every day. This information has changed the way I make bread, especially whole wheat bread

I have experimented with lots of different bread recipes and found many that I really like. However, when you are making whole wheat bread or even bread that is partially whole wheat, it is a whole different ballgame.

Many recipes make good whole wheat bread and it tastes really good, right out of the oven, but in my thinking, it’s better if you eat it up the first day. However, if your bread rises properly and the texture is good, it even tastes good after that.

Enter dough enhancer. I’ve tried several different types of dough enhancers and they work great. My problem is that I hate being dependent on dough enhancer to make good bread. Or maybe I should rephrase that; I hate being dependent on the availability of dough enhancer to make good bread. The reason for my excitement with this post: Homemade Dough Enhancer.

I have found two different dough enhancer recipes. They both work great. I’ll post both recipes here today. However my favorite one I’ll post first. The only reason it is my favorite is because the ingredient list is short and sweet however the second recipe works equally as well.

If you really want to make whole grain homemade bread light and wonderful, just like white bread, only better, dough enhancer is what you need. You can buy dough enhancer, but it’s more frugal–and fun–to make it yourself! You know I get excited about being able to make things myself rather than buying them; to me that is fun!

What is a dough enhancer? A dough enhancer is a natural product used to make a better bread product. It will make your bread beautiful, light, fluffy, and delicious. Most breads that you buy use this product and you will see the biggest difference if you use a dough enhancer in your whole wheat bread because the whole wheat flour is heavy and course unlike all-purpose flour.

When you buy a dough enhancer from a store it has basically four key ingredients. Gluten, acid, starch, and sugar (of course they are called other things but that is what they are). Those four ingredients serve key roles in developing a better bread texture by developing and strengthening the bubbles that make your bread.

1. Gluten: is the natural protein portion of the wheat grain. It is responsible for the stretchiness of dough and for the shapes that baked goods hold. You can think of it as the elastic in the balloon. I promise your breads will be softer, lighter and you will never go back to baking without it.
2. Acid: strengthens the balloon so that it doesn't pop too early (if it pops too early your bread falls.)
3. Starch: adds an extra layer to your balloon so it won't break or pop-think of it like the additive they add to helium balloons to last longer. And when you're dealing with whole wheat, the flour, is course and can pop or weaken the gluten.
4. Sugar: this is what the yeast eats. When it eats the sugar it creates the air that fills the balloon or bubbles.
This homemade dough enhancer is made from things you probably have around your house. All you need is gluten, WHITE vinegar for your acid, and potato flakes or instant mashed potatoes for the starch, and sugar which your bread recipe will already call for.

Tips for using your own everyday items in:
Homemade Dough Enhancer #1
Gluten: use ½ T. - 1 T. per cup of flour (before you measure a cup of flour put ½ T.-1 T. gluten in the bottom of your cup then measure flour as usual)
WHITE Vinegar: use the same amount of vinegar that you are using for yeast (for example 1 t. yeast - 1 t. vinegar)
Potato Flakes: use 1/8 to ¼ c. per loaf of bread you are making, experiment to see what works best in your recipe. (Do not substitute potato pearls they won’t work!)

You can buy the vital wheat gluten in almost any store; Macey’s, Whole Foods, Winco (very cheap in the bulk section), Wal-mart and Smiths or Fred Meyer as well as any preparedness supplier. It is an essential for bread making. I like to buy the gluten in bulk and dry pack it for future use also. Potato flakes can be bought in bulk or dry packed for long term storage. Sugar and vinegar you probably already have.

This gluten recipe and the bread recipe below are from Crystal Godfrey who has made my whole wheat bread making life so much simpler. Thanks Crystal!

EZ Wheat Bread recipe
1 1/4 c. warm water
1 T. active dry yeast
¼ c. honey or 1/3 c. sugar
2 ¾ c. whole wheat flour (or whatever combination white/wheat you like. I use 100% hard white wheat1/4 cup wheat gluten
1 t. salt
2 T. nonfat non instant dry milk
1 T. butter/margarine/oil
1 T. vinegar
¼ c. potato flakes (NOT potato pearls)
Mix ingredients in order listed in mixing bowl of mixer with dough hook attachment (like kitchen-aid) for 12-15 minutes. Let rise until double, 1- 1 1/2 hours. Punch down, and shape into loaf or rolls. Let rise again until double and bake 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped.

This second recipe uses a combination of wheat gluten, lecithin, ascorbic acid crystals, pectin, gelatin, nonfat dry milk, and ginger. Wheat gluten improves the texture and rise of bread. Lecithin teams up with the gluten to make bread lighter. Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) helps the yeast work better. Pectin adds moisture, as does the gelatin. The dry milk helps the dough relax, and the ginger is another yeast booster (you won’t taste it in the finished product). Most of these are also preservatives, so they help keep your bread fresh longer, and they are all natural.

Homemade Dough Enhancer #2
1 c. wheat gluten
2 T. lecithin granules
1 t. ascorbic acid crystals
2 T. powdered pectin
2 T. unflavored gelatin
½ c. nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
Mix together and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For 100% whole grain breads, use 3 tablespoons per loaf. Add to your recipe along with the flour.
I love dough enhancer so much I make it in triple batches and keep it in a quart-size jar.
*Note: While it’s not necessary to use dough enhancer in white bread recipes, you can! You’ll have higher loaves, and loaves that stay fresh longer. Especially in summer months, if you don’t use air conditioning, dough enhancer will help you keep your bread fresh longer.