House cleaning is like stringing beads with no knot at the end of the thread.

"Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us to work out most of the details and methods." -Ezra Taft Benson-

Friday, April 30, 2010

Breakfast Pack Give Away!!

How cool is this??  Angela over at Adventures in Self Reliance has an amazing give away. It's the NEWEST product from Augason Farms or Blue Chip Group, and it is called the  "Breakfast Pack".
It comes with scrambled eggs, farina (cream of wheat), bacon TVP,  freeze dried strawberries and pancake mix!  Wow you can make some great breakfasts with that! Head on over the Adventures in Self Reliance and enter the drawing!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The First Priority

I was thinking about some stuff this past week, and was just about to post about it when I saw that my friend Kellene just happened to post what I have been thinking about, and because she wrote it so very well, I am not going to rewrite it, but I will direct you to her blog, and let you read her terrific article! Read her article, ponder it and then act ... Please!!!   

Thank you Kellene!! You are fabulous as always!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yogurt!! easy to make!!

Yogurt is easy, cheap, yummy and good for you!

   Do you like and eat yogurt regularly? Do you buy it or make your own? If you buy it, no matter the brand, it's expensive! Did you know you can make it for much less?

   Now wait, I forgot something... oh, are you getting plain or flavored yogurt? That will change nutritive value and cost!! Yogurt with out live cultures is junk food, kind of like eating a milk shake with less fat but still lots of sugar.  Live cultures make all the difference!

   So can you guess my next project in the kitchen? No not canning... no not painting (yet).. no not re-arranging the room.. it's learning to make my own yogurt, yogurt cheese and then make fantasy cheesecake.  How will I do this? Well first I am going to buy a tub of greek plain yogurt and a tub of Nancy's plain yogurt. I am also going to get some 2% milk from the grocery and if possible some raw milk. Then the experiment will start.

   Make sure all your equipment is CLEAN!! Yogurt culture is like sourdough culture (starter) and it is effected by natural molds in the air.. OK, we'll need a glass quart jar with lid; candy thermometer; yogurt starter (store bought yogurt); cooler; milk (fresh or powdered)..  The hardest part about making yogurt is cleaning all the equipment, does that tell you how hard this will be?

First add hot, NOT BOILING, water to your cooler where you are incubating your yogurt so it is nice and warm.

Ok, heat 1 quart (4 cups) milk to 130 degrees F; or heat enough water to fill quart jar 3/4 full to 130 degrees F, then add powdered milk for one quart, then add enough hot or cold water to make one quart of milk. Do not heat above 130 degrees F !!!  UNLESS  you are using RAW milk, then heat to 164 degrees, then cool as below.

Cool to 105 to 110 degrees.

ADD 2 HEAPING tablespoons of yogurt to jar.

Stir it in until it is dissolved in milk.

Put the lid on jar, then wrap in towels and put in a small cooler (pour out hot water from cooler first!).

jar wrapped in warm towel.

hot pad in bottom of warm cooler for insulating

snug as can be :) topped with a towel and closed.
Wrap the cooler in blankets or towels too.

cooler wrapped in towel then blanket.

Let sit 12 - 18 hours. IF not thick enough or sour enough, let it sit in warm place a bit longer.
Refrigerate or eat warm.

   Yogurt can be frozen. To use as a starter for next batch, put in ice cube trays and measure out 2 TBS. Pull a cube out and defrost for next batch :)
   IF a layer of white mold grows on your yogurt, you can skim off that mold and use the yogurt in baking recipes. ONLY the top layer was contaminated as mold only grows where it has access to air.

   I have made both yogurts, using the powdered milk recipe and the grocery milk recipe. It works!! and it is good! I put my jars in a cooler that had been warmed with hot water and drained just before I added the yogurt jars. I also put warmed towels in there and wrapped the closed coolers in towels and blankets. I am very happy with the results!  I also made the yogurt cheese, but I will have to make more before I have enough to make the cheesecake :)

  Yogurt Cheese

Place yogurt on a piece of cheesecloth (not the cheap stuff you find in grocery stores, a 90 ct. muslin (butter muslin) or cheesecloth with a fine mesh). Draw the sides of the cheesecloth up to make a bag and hang the bag over a container overnight. What drips out is "whey", as in the Little Miss Muffett story. You figure out what to do with that (try using it in baking)! What's left is yogurt cheese. It has the consistency of cream cheese and can be used as a cream cheese. Try doctoring it up with garlic or chives or even pineapple. It's a great spread for crackers or bread.


Friday, April 16, 2010

How do I make my bread taste sweet with out sugar?

Good question don't you think? When you think about it, do you really think the pioneers used sugar as much as we do? If they did, they would have needed 2 or 3 wagons just for sugar for their families!!  We American's eat so much sugar it is sickening.. TRULY!  We should only take in about 5 tsp. of sugar maximum a day. This is just the kind you add, not the naturally occuring sugars in fruits and veggies. So, are you using margarine on your store bought bread you turned into toast? The amount of sugar in your storebought bread and 2 to 4 teaspoons of margarine is enough sugar for 1 1/2 days! Again, margarine is not permitted in our home, we use butter. When out of butter, I know it may seem gross, but I go back to my quaker heritage and use bacon drippings (lard) by browing my bread in that to use as toast.

Ok, so how to make bread with out using a ton of sugar. Honestly, you don't really need to add sugar to your bread. You don't need it to make bread. BUT, our palates have gotten so used to too much sugar, that you wouldn't eat bread with out it in there. So here it is.. ready..

You're in luck because you can do what the Europeans have been doing for years. Sweeten  your bread with diastatic malt -- a malt you can make yourself at home! Diastatic malt adds a little extra flavor that is really appealing, it also helps bread stay fresher longer.
In order to make the malt, place one cup of wheat grains (wheat-berries) in a wide-mouth glass jar with a netting cover (I use old nylons or tights). Rinse the berries twice a day to keep them damp. Leave the jar on your counter or windowsill until the wheat has sprouted to the lenght of the dry berry, or a little longer. It should take about 2 to 3 days. At this point, drain the sprouts well and spread them out evenly in a thin layers on two baking sheets. You can dry them in your oven in about 8 hours at a maximum temperature of 150 degrees F.  OR use your excalibur dehydrator and set it for a low to medium temp like 100 to 125 degrees F.
Using a blender or grain mill, grind the dried sprouts into a fine meal, (one cup at a time in the blender). This will make enough diastatic malt for about 100 to 150 loaves. Use about ONE teaspoon per loaf when making your dough. Store the malt indefinetly in a tightly closed glass jar in the fridge or freezer. Not necessary to warm to room temp to use.
I substitute the sugar or honey with equal amounts water and one-half teaspoon of malt per loaf.  (water is for the honey).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Menu 4.12 - 4.18

I was going to start putting my menues on here for the week, but totally got sidetracked.  OOPS.. Guess life happens. So here is our menu plan for this week. And it is nothing special. We are having a lot of avocado this week as I found it for an awesome price. Also salads. I love salad. I could be very happy with soup and salad 3 nights a week and beans 4 nights a week. Or combine that and have a bean soup with salad night.. hmm.. I'm hungry. So here it is!

Monday: cream of onion soup (recipe in BH&G cookbook) and salad
Tuesday: Spaghetti with beef kielbasa and 2 sauces: marinara and alfredo; salad ; strawberries and poundcake
Wednesday: Wings with 3 different sauce choices: hot, teriyaki & orange; baked spuds; watermelon
Thursday: LEFTOVERS, cleanout the fridge; salad... um so we are having spaghetti,  browned spuds, green salad with avocados and cucumbers and carrot sticks  and a fruit salad
Friday: Hot dogs and fruit or whatever the kids make.. I won't be here
Saturday: Soft tacos : chicken or beef (haven't decided yet) taco meat, homemade refried beans, homemade WW tortillas and all the toppings.
Sunday: Butternut squash soup, WW rolls, salad and mud

See, not so special. We love squash soups.. or any soup really. I have made soup out of things Russ didn't know you could make soup out of. AND he is learning, so now he can throw a pretty darn good soup together now.
What about roasts?  NOPE, I just don't care for the hassle. We don't eat that much meat. I will do a pork roast occasionally, but I have to find the meat for a great price, and I cook it in the smoker. We eat a lot of chicken here. Why?? CHEAP.. I would love, LOVE to have cod daily, but that is really expensive yummy protein.
Sometimes I menu plan around what is fresh at the markets.. but not often. Or I will change a menu because I got meat at a good price and I don't have to thaw it. I do not like to have to wait for meat to thaw, one reason I can a lot of meat.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Medically Compromised

Ok, I was going to write this huge article on the medicine world, the natural meds and herbology and natural foods. But my friend Kellene must have been reading my mind as she posted just before I got online! And her article is on almost all I was going to talk about. So here is Kellene's article. I am going to add to it it below, but please read her article first! Or mine might not make much sense.. Also, check out these awesome articles on Evaluating what your family eats and Raise Healthy Eaters blog. VERY good info!!

Ok, so now that you have read Kellene's article, I will go forward on my thoughts on this subject. First off, THANK YOU Kellene for writing what you have, and helping me with this. ok, ok, I'll get to it.. if I remember what I am writing about.. Ha HA.. ya it's been one of those days.

I am currently on a ton of herbs, vitamins and  meds.. Why?...
I went in for my yearly exam in July 2009. I hate these exams.  Four days later my doctor calls and wants me in immediately for more blood work.. I find out later it's because I have super low Red Blood Count and VERY iron poor blood, ok, not just iron poor, they couldn't find any.. AT ALL! In fact they wanted me to have a blood transfusion!! But my doctor knows me so well, she knew I wouldn't do that, so I am on some major iron supplements. Red blood cells are supposed to be a beautiful rich red, very plump circulars and shiny!..  Mine were, um, light pink, tiny and shriveled. They couldn't believe I could even get out of bed! 

Next, my white blood count was TOO LOW! My doctor wanted me in the hospital for a blood transfusion for the red blood cells, and wanted me in quarantine so I didn't catch any illnesses. She truly thought if my kids so much as sneezed I would get super sick and die.
Well, I didn't go to hospital, I didn't get a transfusion, and I didn't get super sick when my kids came down with influenza. Infact, I just got more tired is all. ok, exhausted!  I was in bed more than I was out, but I had 4 kids in bed with me, and I was the only one not sick with flu.

They still haven't figured out where I am bleeding to cause such a low blood count, but I finally after 6 months have my ferritin (iron stores) up to 2..WOO HOO A whoppin 2 !!  That's more than 0. But still you'd think it'd be higher.

Herbs I take??? lots!!  Iron complex (from my doctor!!), RRL (red raspberry leaf tea), cranberry (kidney infection that I have been dealing with since December '09), Adrenal support herbs, GSE (grapefruit seed extract) which is AMAZING!!!, Redmond Clay (to clean out buggies and toxins), Melatonin (to help me get to sleep as I don't very well), OXYGEN (for migraines, yes I include this in my HERBS as it is ALL NATURAL).

Meds: Synthroid for low thyroid
Vitamins: Multivitamin;  magnesium ; calcium; Ester-C

The hard part is trying to eat between all this stuff!  My goodness. So what to eat?  Well, as the WONDERFUL AWESOME IN YOUR FACE HONEST ABOUT FOOD  JAMIE OLIVER says, You are what you eat!! So what do I eat? Well, most of it is made at home from scratch. Whole Wheat bread (NO AP flour in it!!); avocados (we eat them like candy over here!); fruits and veggies; pastas, spuds, rice, homemade tortillas, meat, beans, beans, beans, quinoa, millet, beans, and um BEANS!! 
Yes I love LOVE LOVE beans!!!!  pinto, black, navy, lima, baby lima, cranberry, adzuki, anasazi, black-eyed, split green peas, lentils, etc.. Legumes are much loved here. Mostly by Dev and I. BUT everyone eats them! If I make taco soup or chili I make Peach's bread (millet bread! tastes better than nasty corn bread!) .  If I roast a whole chicken, I serve it with rice or spuds, salad. If I make baked lentils, I serve it with rice and whole wheat tortillas and toppings. Split pea soup gets honored with fresh french bread (ya, AP flour there owell...) and salad.  BBQ limas get served with roasted chicken and salad.  We do have desserts, but we limit them and what they are. Sometimes dessert is apples or oranges.

Brigham Young told us to eat wise. He warned us that certain foods would be detrimental to our health. We have been advised many times to eat veggies, fruits whole grains, and sparingly - meat. We do that here. I heard in California that a certain town has made it so you have to have a meatless day. I just laughed, how are they going to enforce that one? good luck. We do not eat meat daily, well unless you count eggs, but I am sorry we don't.. eggs are eggs. not a muscle (meat). I completely believe the food pyramid to be leading our country to obesity. I'm sorry but white rice and white bread are NOT healthy! They are pure starch and when they hit your saliva, become sugar! And I'm sorry but 11 servings of grains a day DOES NOT MEAN processed grains!! It means WHOLE GRAINS! Processed means turned into flour.

Ok, so what does food have to do with health? EVERYTHING! We did an experiment here. We served cold cereal that was corn free to our kids for a week. Guess what happened? Do you know? They got sick! Between the diarhea and other things it just isn't worth it! What do we do for breakfast? oatmeal, cream of wheat, eggs and toast, egg burritos, toast and tea, fruits, yogurt, granola, muffins, pancakes, waffles, egg mommuffins, etc.. all cooked at home. Burritos are made from just ground whole wheat flour or oat flour. Granola, again made at home. No we don't do juice often, it's just sugar and the fiber from a whole orange is better for them than a large glass of OJ. Plus it's better on their blood sugars.
Lunch: chicken salad sandwiches, or on lettuce; lettuce wraps; leftover soups; fruits, yogurt, veggie sticks, leftover dinner stuff; PBJ, stir fries, quesadillas...
It does matter what you eat. Eating better will improve your health. Sure it's not a fix all, but taking some or all of the processed foods out of your diet will help you a ton!

What about fats????  Margarine is not permitted in my home. for any reason. Why? Well, I have a problem with eating something that is ONLY ONE molecule different from plastic!!  Plus it is made with soy and corn, both of which we don't eat here. Unless you are a woman going through menopause, you shouldn't eat soy very often.  Why? VERY EXTREMLY high in estrogen. Infact they have found some children developing early due to soy! Like what? how about a 3 year old with breasts (both girls AND boys!!) and  5 to 8 year old girls with their monthly?!  Due to intake of soy!
Ok, so good oils:
Grapeseed oil, great to cook with, can withstand high heat
Olive oil, more for salads, high heat can actually make it toxic!
Canola oil, um ok, if you have to (we do as it's cheap), but rapeseed where they get canola poisons the ground
Avocado oil, if you can afford it, use wisely! This amazing oil is $$$$ but so yummy for you
Hazelnut or Almond oil, if no nut allergies is again $$$$ but very yummy
Coconut oil, Wow, yummy! good for you, they make different grades for cooking and baking
Palm Oil, I use palm oil shortening. It is solid at room temp, NOT hydrogenated, can be used instead of crisco.

I know there are more oils out there, but honestly I have only used the ones above. And the $$$$ I only bought once. What's in my pantry? Honestly? Grapeseed oil, olive oil, Coconut oil, Palm Oil Shortening, and Canola. I hate using canola, but right now my budget says I have to.

Well this has gotten long!!!  So do this for me. Change the way you eat, eat better.  Also, make sure you are taking your meds, herbs, vitamins correctly and at the right times!!  You know so they aren't cancelling eachother out like taking calcium and iron together, might as well throw both in the trash as your body will absorb nothing!  Take Vitamin C, or drink a high vitamin C drink with your calcium and iron to absorb them better!  So now that your butt is numb from sitting here reading this long post, get up, stretch, take a walk while chewing on some celery or carrots, and think about all this info.. Hopefully you didn't get information constipation, I hate that!

sales 4.14 - 4.20

Short list this time, and I bet you are all surprised I am doing it!! Well, I saw a couple of good deals so thought I would share. Please learn to use coupons. I am!!  Still not as well as I like, but way more than I used to! 

Fryer Drums $0.88/#
Quaker sale with card and coupon select varieties $1.00 EACH must buy 5
Cantelope $0.58/#

Foley's Produce
large avocado's $0.99 EACH
strawberries $0.79/#
lemons 2/$1.00
limes 3/$1.00
and more!!  Love this place!

Fred Meyer
BOGO Colgate Toothpaste with card and coupon

Red Apple (front street market)
Dulcinea's Pureheart or Cantelope Melons 2/$5.00
Dole Premium Extra Large Gold Pineapples $2.99 EACH
Kraft Mac & Cheese $0.69 each (small box)
Country Grain Bread $0.99 each LIMIT 2
FRESH All-Natural Whole Fryers twin pack $0.69/#  LIMIT 2
BEEF Tenderloin, boneless whole in the bag, $3.99/#
BEEF Bottom Round Roasts, boneless, $1.99/#
All Natural Country Style Pork Ribs, bone-IN, value-pack $1.49/#
Lean Ground Beef 80%    $1.99/#
Wright's Ends and Pieces Bacon, 3-pound pkg.  $0.99/#  = $2.97 each!
Extra Large Shrimp $3.99/#

Draper Valley natural WHOLE Fryers $0.77/#  LIMIT 3
Select Kellogg's cereals $1.77 each

Foster Farms Whole Chickens $0.79/#  LIMIT 3 (birds)
Haas Avocados $0.69 each
Pork Shoulder Blade Roast or Country style ribs $1.29/#

Ragu pasta sauce, select varieties, $0.99 EACH !!!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Foley's Produce
Hurray!!! Sean opened his wonderful fruit stand and guess what? His prices are as good if not better than the grocery!!  Also, Nancy has done a wonderful job with the herbs and fruit and veggie starts. Here is a sample of what he has:

large avocados $0.99 each !!!
lemons 2/$1.00
limes 3/$1.00
Apples (all sorts) $0.49 - $0.99 / pound !!!!!!!!!!
strawberries $0.79/ pound
4-inch potted herbs and flowers $2.49 each
cantelope 2/$3.00
dulce watermelon 2/$5.00

sweet potatoes
tomatoes (nice variety!)
and more!!!

What else does he have? vegetable starts: onions, strawberries and more
4-inch potted herbs: rosemaries, lavendars, sages, oreganos and more

This fruit stand is awesome, I am almost always impressed!  Please check it out:

Foley's Produce
21419 Renton-Maple Valley Road SE
Maple Valley, WA 98038

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pillow Case Dress

Ok, I love to sew, can, cook, bake, garden, snuggle, hike, swim, camp...etc.. But right now because it is cold outside I am in sewing mode. I saw the CUTEST pillow case dress. Does anyone have a pattern for these? I would love to make one for the Princess. Also how about A-line elastic waistband skirts?  Let me know please :) 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Food Storage Book GIVEAWAY!


No I am NOT kidding!! She has experimented like crazy to make this book. And yes the recipes do use your food storage which makes it easier to use and rotate your food storage! How great is that?!