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-

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stasha's story part 3

Another segment of the story of Stasha.. Here are links to Part 1(overview) and Part 2 (water).

Stasha's Story: medicine   

This is a story of what it was like living in war-torn Bosnia.... read and learn..  Love you all

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tools, candles, and???

Some things come to mind as we enter the cold season. Do you have a light source? Hammer? Axe? Hatchet? Saw? Screw driver? Wrench? Allen wrenches? Wire cutters? Nails? Screws?

IF not, you may want to invest now while you can! All of these basic tools are much needed during a natural disaster! Well, that axe, hatchet, machete, or knife might need some sharpening. Do you have a sharpening stone? With tools you can make all sorts of stuff make do.. You know the saying right?  Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.  That said, can you do it? Yes you can!

Light source?
Well there are candles and aladdin lamps. You will need matches for both, but for aladdin lamps, do you have extra wicks? extra oil? You may want to stock up. How about extra wicks for candles so when you get to the bottom of your favorite candle you can melt the leftover wax and make a new candle.

What happens when a tree limp, branch, or the whole tree comes through a window or your roof? Do yo have a tarp or tarps to  help cover the hole? Tarps make for good emergency shelters!
BUT, do you have rope to tie the tarps up? Yes I am serious. We went camping for a family reunion a few years ago, it was fun. But the last day, the heavens opened up and we were drenched!!  Brother T just happened to have a HUGE GIANT tarp and rope and was able to put up a shelter for everyone to be under for the last meal, and to keep kids dry while we packed up camps (something like 5 or 6 tents plus mess tents). Sure the ranger came by and said it was against the rules, but we told them we'd take it down when we left in an hour or so.

If the power goes out, what is your heat and cooking source? How long will it last? Will you need help? Do you have a supply of medications you might need?

What?? You want me to eat the guts?!?!


What am I talking about? Well it's that time of year again, you know, pumpkin carving, baking and unfortunately wasting... makes me sad. Pumpkin is a powerhouse of goodness!

Ok, here is the disclaimer: I am not a doctor or ARNP, or naturopath. Although the information I provide is true and accurate to the best of my abilities, there is always the possibility of allergy, intolerance or distaste. And you should always discuss diet changes with your doctor incase you are taking medication that reacts to foods. That said, now one with my message.

Winter squashes are so yummy! You can make soups, stews, pies, stir fry and salads. They also have some great health benefits: seeds are high in protein, a great source of zinc( A study of almost 400 men ranging in age from 45-92 that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a clear correlation between low dietary intake of zinc, low blood levels of the trace mineral, and osteoporosis at the hip and spine), and good for prostate health; high in fiber; naturally sweet.


Here are the most common varieties:
Buttercup squash:  There are two kinds, each with its unique shape. One looks like a parachute, whereas the other looks more like a crown. It has a thick skin, can be green or orange, and weighs about 1 kg. The flesh is smooth, sweet and dense.
Hubbard squash:  These ones are large, bumpy and oval, ranging from dark greens to vibrant reds to blue. Its flesh is dry, thick, and not very sweet. This large variety weighs in at an impressive 5kg.
Pumpkin:  Pumpkin is a Fall favourite – one that shouldn’t just be used out of the can. Luscious orange and not as meaty as other squashes, the best eating pumpkins are the smaller varieties.
Butternut squash:  One of the most popular varieties, this pear shape variety has a smooth skin and is cream in colour. Its best to eat when about 25cm long and 10cm wide. It also boasts one of the highest beta-carotene amounts, with a sweet and very deep orange flesh.
Acorn squash:  The acorn shaped squash is smooth with thick ridges and dark green with a hint of orange. It’s tastiest when about 12cm in height and 20cm across, and has a delicate, nutty flavour.
Spaghetti squash:  Brighter yellow in colour, spaghetti squash has a mild, nutty flavour that is less starchy than it’s other winter friends. It’s name comes from the texture; once cooked, the flesh separates into spaghetti-like strands.

One of the best parts of squashes are the seeds!!  Oh yummy seeds. All you have to do is separate them form the strings and "guts" into a colander. Rinse with cool to warm water, drain.. and kind of dry a bit with a towel. Next melt some butter in a baking dish that is large enough to hold all the seeds in a single layer. Pour the seeds on, stir in the butter until all the seeds are covered. Spread the seeds out on the pan then sprinkle with salt, and put into the oven at the lowest temperature over night. So around 150 to 200 degrees. I did mine at 170 degrees. You know they are done when they have lost that green taste. When done they taste nutty and to me a little like popcorn. We love to eat the "guts".. I serve these on the side of any squash dish I serve at home.. well, except zucchini as those seeds are too small and soft.

Friday, October 28, 2011

More to Stasha's story

Crystal talked with Stasha, and she shared more info about her experience. So here is the second edition of her story living in war torn Bosnia.  If you have time, please read the story. The first installmant is under the It will never happen to me, this is were our introduction and story of Stasha begins.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It will never happen to me.

Ok I have a story for you to read. My friend Crystal posted this on her site. Please read it.. I hope it opens your eyes.  There is a recipe, but more importantly read the story under the recipe. We are running out of time.

Crock-Pot Challenge Week 3

My goodness time flies, even when I am not working 40 hours a week :(  ...  Ok, well what did I make the third week? I honestly don't remember!  Pretty sad I know. I have been working on a few other things this week.
BBQ Pulled Pork
Ok, so I smoke my pork butts then freeze them for when I want to use them. So I pulled one out of the freezer and defrosted it in my fridge for 3 days, then threw it into my crock pot with some Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce (NO there is not any alcohol in it). Cooked it on low alllllll day. Then pulled it apart on plates and shredded it then put it back into the CP and mixed with the yummy sauce. Yummers!! Served this with Asian Cabbage Salad.

Well, then my Saratoga Jack Thermal Cooker came and I was so excited!!! Instead of making dinner in the Crock pot on Sunday, I made it in the SJTC !!!  WE had Butternut Squash Soup, Artichoke Spinach Dip, toasted bagettes and biscuits and for dessert mud made in the CP.  I love my Saratoga Jack Thermal Cooker. I will be doing a demonstration on it Nov. 5th at the Super Saturday.

If you look in the side bar, mud will either be under crock pot or desserts or chocolate. The soup this time is below, I never make it the same, and this was devine!

Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash, seeded and baked or roasted until fork goes through
1/2 sweet onion, diced small
2 TBS butter
1 bay leaf
1 quart chicken stock
2 large baker potatoes, baked, peeled and cubed
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3-4 cups water (optional)
2 TBSP rice, uncooked

While squash is roasting in oven (or baking) until fork can go all the way through easily, melt butter in large pot; add onion and let it sweat then start to carmelize. Add the garlic and let it also slightly brown and then add potatoes, chicken stock and bay leaf. Scrape butternut squash out of the it's shell into the pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally so nothing burns and let boil for 5 minutes. Stir well, then sprinkle rice over the top. Place lid on top and put in outer liner. Before serving remove bay leave and puree with stick blender. IF too thick add a little water and again bring to a simmer.

Artichoke and Spinach Dip

2 cups parmesan cheese (I used a cheese shredder) OR 1 cup parmesan and 1 cup white cheddar
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeeze out the extra moisture
1 (14-ounce) can or jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cream cheese
2 teaspoons garlic, minced (I sprinkled on some dehydrated garlic chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together parmesan (or grated cheese mix), spinach and artichoke hearts. Combine remaining ingredients and mix with spinach mixture. Pour into small pan and bake for 20 minutes. Cover and put in outer liner over full hot large pot. Serve with crackers or toasted bread.
***My kids literally licked the pan clean!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What's in your bread??

I have been making bread for our family for over 10 years now. I love it and so does my family. What do I not use in my bread? Dough enhancers. I have never found a need to, and my tummy totally agrees with me. I found an article today about dough enhancers that solidifies my way of trying to cook with out chemicals, and things I can not pronounce. Here is a copy of the article:

True fact: A common ingredient in commercial breads is derived from human hair harvested in China 

"(NaturalNews) If you read the ingredients label on a loaf of bread, you will usually find an ingredient listed there as L-cysteine. This is a non-essential amino acid added to many baked goods as a dough conditioner in order to speed industrial processing. It's usually not added directly to flour intended for home use, but you'll find it throughout commercial breads such as pizza dough, bread rolls and pastries.

While some L-cysteine is directly synthesized in laboratories, most of it is extracted from a cheap and abundant natural protein source: human hair. The hair is dissolved in acid and L-cysteine is isolated through a chemical process, then packaged and shipped off to commercial bread producers. Besides human hair, other sources of L-cysteine include chicken feathers, duck feathers, cow horns and petroleum byproducts.
Most of the hair used to make L-cysteine is gathered from the floors of barbershops and hair salons in China, by the way.
While the thought of eating dissolved hair might make some people uneasy, most Western consumers ultimately have no principled objections doing so. For Jews and Muslims, however, hair-derived L-cysteine poses significant problems. Muslims are forbidden from eating anything derived from a human body, and many rabbis forbid hair consumption for similar reasons. Even rabbis who permit the consumption of hair would forbid it if it came from corpses -- and since much L-cysteine comes from China, where sourcing and manufacturing practices are notoriously questionable, this is a real concern. In one case, a rabbi forbade the consumption of L-cysteine because the hair had been harvested during a ritual at a temple in India."

Oh GROSS!!!!  Yuck... so glad I had homemade bean soup for dinner.. much more appetizing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Grain mill, cooking source??????

OH CRUD!!!!  What can you do? I STRONGLY, no, I VERY STRONGLY suggest you get a Family Grain Mill. I am still willing to put together a group buy on this. This awesome grain mill is awesome (hee hee). You can do so much with it. .... Flake grains, grind meat, grind spices, slice veggies

Grains.. with out a grain mill there is only really two ways to use it. Sprout it and boil it.  Ok, So that is one thing you can do with your wheat. IF you have your grain mill you can grind your wheat into flour, cracked wheat or even farina (cream of wheat). So right there you have 3 different textures to work with. Now if you have the flaker, WOW you can make wheatmeal or oatmeal because if you have wheat or oats you can flake them.
StoveTec Deluxe Metal Lined Wood Stove
Here we are talking about heating and eating cereals and such and how on earth will we cook them??? IF you have access to electricity or natural gas, then it is easy peasy.. but what if it is like we expect, no power, no gas.. And not at home?  Well there is always fires ... but I have found something really neat called a Rocket stove, it uses wood or coal to heat. It is really  neat and will fit just about anysize pan. Again, trying to do a bulk buy on these!!!!  Here is a picture of the 3 wood models available. These are great as you can also make charcoal in them.
StoveTec Eco Ceramic One Door Woodstove

StoveTec One Door Economy Stove (The Original!)

Ok, so lets say we have a way to cook, now you can make your cereals. You could also use your Saratoga Jack Cooker for some things if you had one.

Saratoga Jack Cooker

Also, butane single burners are a neat thing, and the fuel is not expensive if you know where to get it.

So here it is, I am willing to do a bulk buy on the Family Grain Mill, Saratogoa Jack Cookers and Rocket stoves, I just need everyone to let me know. I plan on doing this as our Christmas gift to our family. And yes with a group buy we do get much better pricing!!  Saratoga Jacks is an LDS company.

How will your food storage taste??? Appetite fatigue?

Imagine, you have to live by eating off your food storage... hmmm... 365 days of wheat, rice, honey and dry milk... yuck!  What will you flavor it with? How will you change the taste? First off, you can change the wheat, you can grind it fine for flour, crack it with your grain mill for cereal, and sprout it for eating or making . Wow, three different things you can do with the wheat to change the texture. With your rice, you can use it as is, grind it fine to make a flour, or grind it like corn meal and have cream of rice !!!  Unless you know how to make natural sourdough, or natural sprouted wheat dough, you won't be able to make bread with your wheat !! 

I know the basics to start with are wheat, rice, dry milk and honey; but honestly, unless you use it daily or weekly, if you really have to try to all of a sudden survive on this you will get major intestinal upset! Not kidding, people not used to eating wholewheat will get diarrhea which then causes dehydration. Not a good option. So start using your whole wheat now, get your body acclimated to the wonderful grain.

Powdered milk does and will go rancid. Is the powdered milk in your storage whole, half fat or non fat, instant or regular? It truly makes a difference. I suggest non fat, it keeps the longest.

Honey, yes it can and will crystalize, no big deal really, you will just have to cut it out of the jar or jug. It happens when the honey loses moisture, but it does not mean it is bad!!  Infact honey is a natural disenfectant. Did you know you can put raw honey on a cut and it will help prevent it from getting infected? The trick is finding true raw honey.

Rice... most of the rice I canned at the cannery is parboiled which = par gross!!! The texture is nasty, the flavor is dull, and the nutrients are lacking. If you want full nutrient rice, then you would need to get brown rice, problem is, brown rice is high in natural oils and hence goes rancid faster than white rice. AND brown rice, unless you are used to the flavor, is hard for some to like. 

Ok, so far we only have the 4 things in our food storage.. How will we change the flavor? What will we make? How will we cook it?

Changing the flavor can honestly be changed by how you treat the grain. Get a family grain mill (you won't regret it) and you can now make flour, cracked wheat, and farina (cream of wheat). Did you know if you sprout your wheat the nutritional value goes up exponentially and it changes from a starch to a vegetable?  Yup, very true, what a bonus. Easy to do, grab a clean peanut butter jar, or glass jar, put your 1/2 cup of wheat in there, soak in room temp water for about 18 hours, then drain. Rinse the grains 3 times a day for about 2 to 3 days or until you have little tails about 1/3 the length of the wheat kernal. Now you can grind it up fine and make sprouted wheat bread. OR grow it until the tail is 2/3 the length of the kernal, cook up and you have a nice chewy grain to eat. OR let it go until full length of kernal, and dry it and grind it fine and you have demalt (great way to get a good rise out of your yeasted breads).   I will post a recipe for sprouted wheat bread in a bit.  Ok, cracked wheat is a common cereal, easy to do in your family grain mill, set your mill so it cracks the wheat or breaks it in half. Cook 1 part wheat to 2 or 3 parts water depending on how you like it. Boil until all liquid is absorbed.  Go a little further and set your mill to grind the wheat so it comes out like corn meal or cream of wheat, ta da, a different textured cereal.
Want a different taste? Instead of using water to cook your wheat cereals, use milk.. Yup, good ol' fashioned porridge!!  yummers
Turn your rice into pudding. How? Make up your milk, and cook your rice in the milk. As it absorbs the milk, it releases natural sugars which will help to thicken up the milk..So use a ratio of 1 part rice to 3 parts milk.
You can also do something really fun with left over farina or cream of rice cereal, pour into 13x9 pan and let cool, you will want it atleast 1/2-inch thick. When cold, cut into squares and fry up in your cast iron pan, serve with a light drizzle of honey... of course you can only fry it if you have some fat..but that is an entire other blog post.  You could also cover with gravy if you happened to cook up some meat and were able to make gravy.

So now after this looooong post about how to use some of the basics my question remains, Could you really handle eating only wheat, rice, honey and powdered milk for 365 days with nothing else?  Think hard, I doubt it. Infact I think many of you would starve from either getting sick from eating things you aren't used to, or starving from refusing to eat it.. again..and again.. My point???? 

Add to the basics. Herbs can really go a long way, and if you buy them from the bulk bins you can get them for cheap. Great herbs to get???? Thyme, rosemary, marjoram, minced dried onion, minced dry garlic, oregano, basil, poultry seasoning, SALT, pepper, chili powder, paprika, celery seed, dill, ground CINNAMON (has health benefits too!!!!), nutmeg, juniper berries, alspice berries, vanilla, ground ginger, ground cloves (health benefits!!), bouillon cubes.. Spices are there to keep the palate from getting bored. You can also dry your own veggies to add: zucchini, carrots (blanch first!), potatoes (blanch first), peppers, oranges, orange peel, lemons, lemon peel, limes, lime peel, apples, bananas, raisins, peaches, pears.. Dried fruits and veggies take up less room than canned, can be rehydrated and used, or simply eaten as is, but remember to drink plenty of water.
So there you have it... what has been on my mind now for over a month. If you only have the basics, will you get appetite fatigue?

A big upset..

I just wrote a long awesome post.. and it disappeared. I am a bit upset. I will try to right it again... later after I get kids in bed.   :(

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crock Pot Challenge Week 2

Wow.. second week with some yummy stuff!!!  Again no pictures... I promise I will post them when I take them!!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken breast (boneless skinless)
Ham, sliced, cut up or cubed
Carmelized onions and garlic
Thick cream of chicken soup or white sauce (homemade)
Shredded swiss cheese

Place chicken in bottom of crock, top with ham, then onions and garlic. Spread white sauce or cream of soup over meat. Cook on high 4 hours or low for 7 hours. IF frozen chicken used, cook on high. About 20 minutes before serving, stir in swiss cheese (OR reserve and serve over each serving).

Chicken with Beans and cream sauce

4 - 5 boneless chicken breasts
1 (15-ounce) can black beans
1 (15-ounce) jar salsa, any kind you like
1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained *****
1 (8-ounce) pkg. cream cheese

Place frozen chicken in bottom of crock pot. Pour everything else over the top, EXCEPT cheese!! Cook on high 4 hours or low 7 to 8 hours or until chicken is done. Place brick of cream cheese on top and replace lid, let sit for about 30 minutes until ready to serve. Stir cheese into the rest of sauce. Serve over rice or noodles.
*****Obviously due to allergies, we did NOT use corn, and we used home made salsa, and homecanned beans. We also used a lot less cream cheese, and used sour cream for those who needed more creaminess.

Crock Pot Apple Cheesecake

BUT we used blueberries instead. I cooked them with some lemon juice and a splash of vanilla to make a compote of sorts. I also stirred in a teaspoon or two of butter at the end to make the blueberry sauce really sing.  So instead of using apple pie filling (homemade of course) I used the home made blueberry sauce.  So darn good!!!!!

Crock Pot Mystery Meat Meal
Potatoes, peeled, large cubes (raw)
1/2 onion, diced
Meat, cooked mystery meat from freezer
Chicken stock

Cook on low for 4 hours- 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
Ok, so yes this was a guess.. ha ha .. I wasn't sure if it was pork roast, roast beef or what.. It turned out to be roast beef that I had smoked during the summer. It was so yummy. So this proves you can throw almost any good food in the crock pot and end up with a winner. Granted Bo and Princess didn't eat much of it, they don't care for meat and potatoes (weirdos), but everyone else loved it.

So guess what happens when you fill your crock pot 3 or more times in a week? You only "cook" 3 times a week, and reheat the rest !!!!  Tonight we are having leftovers, and we will be having them until I have room in my fridge. And I promised myself some cod this week, or smoked salmon.. I am trying to figure something I can do for fish in the crock pot.

I love my crock pots!!!  Tomorrow mornings breakfast will be porridge in the crock pot, I can't wait!!! I love porridge in the crock pot!  BUT, this will be made most likely dairy free so Peaches can have some too.. so I will make some rice/coconut milk tonight too. mmmmm good.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Crock-Pot Challenge Week 1

First, I'm sorry. I forgot to take pictures!  UGH.. Owell, we had some wonderful yumminess this last week.

Split Pea Soup
2 cups cubed ham or a meaty ham hock (or a kielbasa cut up, or italian sausage cooked and cut up)**
2 cups split peas, rinsed and checked for rocks
small onion minced
2 carrots, cut into chunks
1 bay leaf
2 cloves of garlic, minced
fresh ground pepper
1 and 1/2 quarts of chicken stock

Place all in crock pot and give a stir to break up the pea clumps, for some reason they like to stick together when wet. Put the lid on and set it to low and let it go all day. Stir well before serving. If we use a meaty ham bone, then we will pull the bone out and take all the meat off and put it in the crock pot. The dog usually gets the bone when I am done with it. Then stir the meat in well and serve.
**I use just about any kind of high flavor meat. I have used smoked ham hocks, the bone from the spiral cut ham from costco, kielbasa sausage, italian bulk sausage, brats.  The key is to have a good flavor meat.

We also had a new "chili", one we liked quite a bit! It's from the Taste of Home Casserole book. This is thick, not a soupy chili.  The rice kind of makes it creamy. The kids must have loved it because when I got home from work I got praises and there was only a little left for DH and I to share.

Chili Casserole
1 pound bulk sausage (we used hamburger)
2 cups water
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) chili beans, undrained (I used home canned black beans)
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained (I used homemade mexican soup base, salsa that didn't turn out)
3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice (I used cal-rose as it is what I have)
1/4 cup chopped onion (I used half an onion, and cut it up fine)
1 Tablespoon chili powder (I used 2 tsp. as I ran out of chili powder)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon prepared mustard (French's)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (I used 2 cloves garlic minced)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese (oops forgot this)

In a skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Transfer to slow cooker. Add the next 10 ingredients; stir well. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or until rice is tender. Stir in cheese; cook 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.
**We did not use the cheese. Infact we try not to use a lot of dairy or rely on it as it is hard to keep cheese good when the power is out. Besides, it didn't need it.

We also made chicken stock.
Baked chicken bones (bones from dinner the night before, and no, I pulled the meat off of them and only served the meat)
Salt, 2 to 3 teaspoons
Bay leaf
Carrot peelings
Onion, 1/4 to 1/2 of an onion
1 to 4 cloves garlic, smashed or minced

Put all in crock pot, cover with water; Cover and turn on low for 8 to 10 hours or overnight. Strain, and transfter to quart jars or a bowl and put in fridge. When cold, scrape off the fat. Bring to boil if going to can it. IF not using right away, you can wait to scrape off the fat for when you will be using it.

We also had Crock-Pot Mud Cake, it is a favorite!

So for the first week, we used our crock pot 4 times. I hope to have a day where everything is cooked in a crock pot.. Maybe this week.

I will try to update these with pictures when I make them again :) 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crock-Pot Challenge

Wow, it's October already!!   I mentioned recently a crock pot challenge. In this challenge, I will be making as many meals as possible in the crock pot.. How many crock pots do you have? I don't know about you, but I love the crock pot, bbq, and cast iron dutch ovens; that said, I have 1 bbq, 1 dutch oven  (I'm saving for more!!) and 4 or 5 crock pots (not sure, I can't remember if I bought one I wanted or not, and it is too cold in my house to get out from under my blankie to go look).

So this challenge will be for breakfasts and dinners and some desserts, not lunch as my family is not home for lunch.  Crock pot cooking is as easy as you make it. I am NOT saying use processed foods, I am simply saying preparation is key, but I think it is key with cooking any meal.

So as I make a crock pot meal, I will try to post it on here, I am hoping to do this daily, but on days where I am working long shifts I do not think I will have the energy to post until the next day or so.  BUT I will update :) 

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Women's Conference was amazing and President Uchtdorf always knows the perfect thing to say. He just happened to mention one of my favorite flowers, and I found it odd because I was just thinking about them this week and how with being so busy with school and work, I didn't see them this year. And then President Uchtdorf said what he did about these petite lovely flowers that I love to draw. If you look closely, they have a star in the center of each flower..Remember, you too have been touched by our Lord and he knows you by  name.. Below I have what each of the five petals are to help us remember.

Forget Not: {5 Petals} be patient with yourself....the difference between good sacrifice and foolish be happy now....the why of the Gospel....and....Forget Not that the Lord loves you.

I love these sweet flowers, and I love ladybugs. Now these flowers remind me even more of how much the Lord loves me. And the ladybug reminds me that even though I am only one of many, I can do all things through Christ.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What have you done this month?

Wow it is mid-September, what have you done for preparedness this month? Personally with working over 40 hours a week this month I haven't done as much as I would like, but I have done some.

I canned pears, got wood for fires, froze blueberries, planted peas and checked to see how much wheat I have in storage. I also would like to do a complete inventory; plant onions, garlic, beets, lettuce and spinach; get some quilts done; and spray for spiders. Of those three I am not sure what will get done.

The weather has changed dramatically these last two weeks. Sunny and hot to sunny and warm to suddenly cloudy and very cool (almost cold). With that coldness things start coming inside: spiders, ants, yellow jackets and rodents!!!  Yuck! Are you ready?

A heads up, Foley's has some deals on produce, I am not sure how much longer he will be providing for us as this has been a weak season. Sorry I didn't have any deals through my co-op, but the prices weren't very good, and I haven't had time to drive outside of Monroe to I think Sumner or Gold Bar to pick up stuff. I hope we have a warehouse sale again soon.

I am hoping to do a crock pot challenge in October.. I will post more on that later.

Love you all! Have a safe weekend!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Blackberry (or any fruit) Cobbler

Ok, first let me say this is yum! I got this from a friend a long time ago, and it is a cherished recipe. I miss her dearly.

6 cups blackberries, rinsed or frozen  (or any berry or fruit)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
Mix berries, sugar and flour and place in 15-inch dish.

2 cups flour
1 cup plus 1 TBS sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
8 TBS (or one stick) butter, melted
1/4 tsp nutmeg (or cinnamon depending on fruit)

Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk and butter; beat until smooth. Spoon batter over berries, make sure you spread it out and don't have any fruit showing. Combine 1 TBS sugar and nutmeg. Sprinkle over batter. Bake in center of oven for 1 hour until bubbly and cake is cooked through.

Hello?? Hello? Yes, I'm here!!

I'm done!! I am done with school !!!  YeeHaw!  I am now working, love my job, just wish it paid a bit more. But I love it. What I don't love is being gone all day every day. I thought a part time job was 20 - 25 hours a week, NOT anything under 38 hours a week. Ridiculous! I am not sure how long this will last, but for now, I am having to do it.
Not many deals on food going on right now. With the droughts in some areas, flooding in others, it makes for a bad year for harvest. That said, I hope you all babied your gardens, even if it was only a pot of mint or basil. Be greatful for what you can grow yourself!  My beets bolted this year, so were hard as rocks and we did not can any. I am hoping to plant some more this week or labor day weekend. My lettuce in the front yard did not survive the chickens or wild rabbits. The peas were prolific!!!  I froze as many as I could keep the kids from eating. My spinach bolted, we fed that to the chickens. The lettuce on the back deck however did very well. It did get a little neglected from water so it is a bit tough, but the kids don't seem to notice so don't tell them. I will also be planting more green onions, beets, lettuce, spinach, peas and maybe chives... we'll see.

Hey, are you having a problem with an herb or flower taking over your garden??? Trying banding it. Take a #10 can and cut both ends off, put it into the ground around the plant trying to expand, this way it won't. I will be doing this labor day weekend with a few of my plants.

I did manage to get some chicken canned in August!  I hope to can more stuff as I find good prices on it. But that has been extremely rare!!

This will be the first week of school for the kids. I am not looking forward to that. We had a fabulous vacation this last week with the family in Leavenworth, and it was so relaxing and fun, none of us wanted it to end. I hope we are able to focus more on family this year.

Ok, I will be posting a few recipes in separate posts, you know, to try to use some of your food storage. But I am working full time (unreal!!!) so I will post as I can. Remember family first! 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Zucchini Cake

I got this from my sister in law, and we LOVE this cake!!!  I make bigger cakes for our family, but this is the original recipe.

2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup oil
4 eggs
4 cups shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. In large bowl combine oil, eggs and zucchini. Add dry ingredients. Pour into greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake 35 - 40 minutes or until done. Cool. Frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting
3 or 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 TBS milk, optional
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat all except powdered sugar until smooth. Add sugar. Beat until smooth. Spread on cooled cake.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


(WARNING: Recipes towards the bottom of this post)
Who knew you could make rice milk at home? Nut milks? I didn't until I saw a demonstration for a vitamix at Costco!  I have wanted a vitamix for about 10  years now, so what did I do? I got one. Why? Well the price of a case of rice dream at costco is about $16 per case which is only 12 quarts. If you buy an individual quart at Safeway or and grocery store, you are looking at $3.79 per quart or MORE!!! Super crazy! Why pay that much when you can make it at home for pennies per quart?
First thing I made when I got home with my new toy was make a smoothie, spinach, blueberries, bananas, carrots, apples, oranges and ice. The kids LOVED it.. of course we always loves smoothies, but this blender, er vitamix thing makes them really smooth.
Next I made a batch of cashew, almond rice milk. DD#2 was in heaven! Thick like cow milk, yummy and good for her too! She begged me to never buy rice dream again! That sealed it, this vitamix thing was not going to go back to the store!!  I use my vitamix atleast once a day now! Crazy, but so easy to use, and clean!  .... oh woops off track, I am supposed to be posting the recipe.. ha ha.. I just had to explain why I have the vitamix (justification?).. Love it, I hope the power doesn't go out so that I can still have my daily spinach smoothie :) or spinach sorbet (kids love it with cottage cream!!!)

3 cups cold water
1/4 cup (50 g) cooked rice
1/4 cup (35 g) raw cashews
1/4 cup (35 g) raw almonds
2 TBS to 1/4 cup (17 g to 35g) coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
dash of salt
2 pinches of sugar to 1/4 tsp.
splash of vanilla extract up to 1/2 tsp.

Place all in vitamix in order, secure lid
Select variable 1.
Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to variable 10, then HIGH.
Blend for 3 to 4 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Store in refrigerator. SHAKE well before using.

Rice Milk:
1/2 cup (100 g) cooked rice (whatever kind floats your boat)
2 cups (480 ml) cold water
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp sugar (brown or white)

Place ingredients into the Vitamix in order listed and secure lid.
Select Variable 1.
Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to variable 10, then HIGH.
Blend for 2-3 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.
Store in refrigerator.
Shake well before using.

Almond or Cashew Milk
If you desire to strain away sediment, place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl. Pour almond milk slowly into sieve and allow to filter through, or stir the milk in the sieve with a spatual to encourage it to pass through more rapidly. Do not strain if using cashews.

3 cups (720 ml) water
1 cup (140 g) raw almonds or cashews
pinch of salt, optional
sugar or sweetener to taste, optional

Place all in Vitamix containter in order listed, secure lid.
Select Variable 1.
Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to HIGH.
Blend for 2 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.

Coconut milk
Strain through a fine mesh sieve for a smoother drink.

2 cups (480 ml) water
1 cup (75 g) shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened

Place ingredients in Vitamix, secure lid.
Select variable 1. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to 10, then high.
Blend for 3 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Chill.

Hillbilly Housewife Award Winning Chili

This recipe is amazing. And because the Hillbilly Housewife is so bogged down with hundreds of emails daily, I am simply going to put a link here for you to go to her site for the recipe instead of waiting weeks for permission to put it here on my blog. This is the one I used for activity days daddy daughter western dinner, and the one I took to the RS meeting where crock pot recipes were brought..

My changes to HH's recipe:

I used HOT Italian sausage (instead of Jimmy Dean)
NO celery 
6 cloves garlic (you can never have enough)
1 TBS cayenne (PLENTY)
1 TBS chili powder (WHOA!!!)
1 can stewed italian and 1 can stewed mexican tomatoes, drained into crock pot and I chopped the tomatoes up more.
1 can pinto beans and 1 can canellini or black beans 2 HOURS before serving (so the pintos burst and make the chili thicker)
I also added water!!

Prussian Pot

I was really surprised by this recipe. Super easy!!

1 lb. fresh sauerkraut or 1 lb canned sauerkraut
1 lb smoked sausage (I used beef kielbasa)
3 tart cooking apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I used granny smiths)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup apple juice or cider

Rinse sauerkraut and squeeze dry. Cut sausage into 2-inch pieces (I cut them smaller so I wouldn't have to cut them while trying to eat them).  Put 1/2 the sauerkraut in the crock-pot. Add 1/2 the sausage on top, then 1/2 the apples, salt and pepper and half the brown sugar. Then the rest of the sausage and apples and brown sugar and top with remaining sauerkraut. DO NOT STIR THE LAYERS. Cover and cook on high 3 to 4 hours or low 6 to 7 hours. Stir before serving.

Crock-Pot Apple Cheesecake

This was a quick throw together, pray it tastes good thing I made today. Well it was AWESOME!!  So Here is it for you :

2 TBS butter, melted
7 or 8 graham crackers, the whole biscuit with 4 sections, crushed
12 ounces cream cheese
3 eggs
1 TBS powdered sugar
1 TBS granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
apple pie filling (I used my home canned apple pie filling)*
1/2 to 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 TBS butter

Combine the 2 TBS butter and graham crackers. Spread in bottom of 5-quart crock pot. Turn crock pot onto HIGH.
In a bowl mix cream cheese and sugars with hand mixer until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and mix until smooth. Add vanilla and almond extract, mix smooth. Spread over graham crust. Combine pie filling with 1/2 to 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 TBS butter, and warm gently on stove, spread over cream cheese mix. Cook on HIGH for 2-hours. Turn off and let sit.

*I canned an amazing apple pie filling using tapioca that is super yummy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Adventures in Self Reliance has moved!!

A friend of mine who owns "Adventures in Self Reliance" has moved her blog off blogger and changed her site's name. Although it's more like she added to the name. Please check out her blog, she is having a huge give-away to celebrate  her move. Angela provides some amazing information! 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Something the Lord Made

Ok, I don't usually watch movies or even do reviews of them, but this movie was amazing!  Mos Def and Alan Rickman did an amazing job portraying Drs. Blalock and Thomas in this historical dramatization. This movie was well, done, although I wish they would have showed the time lapse better. This is a tear jerker, but not so much that you can't watch the movie.
This movie is about how these two men discovered how to perform surgery on the human heart to help blue babies, and opened the doors to heart surgery. PLEASE SEE !!! 

"Something the Lord Made" with Alan Rickman (ya know, SNAPE, or Prince John from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) and Mos Def (and I know I've seen him in other movies but can't remember what.)  This was the best work either of these two have done that I have seen.