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, 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 :)