Sunday, November 15, 2009

Get your Baking Supplies Stock Up at Walmart

For the last month, I have been stocking up on Walmart brand flour that has been $1.54 a bag, which I thought was really good until I found the Gold Medal brand at Walmart for $1.50 a bag. I have a ton of flour now and continue to stock up on it, while it is that price. I have not seen it that low for awhile for the 5 lb bag. Also some people have reported to me that 5lb bags of sugar are on sale at Walmart for $1.89 a bag which is the cheapest I've seen it for awhile, but that's not at all Walmart's. My Walmart is $2.24. Also, I found mini marshmallows the Kraft brand for $0.75 cents a bag and the small bag of chocolate chips for $1.80 something. They are usually almost $3.00. There were also $0.40 cents a pound turkeys, Stove Top stuffing for $0 89 cents a box and many more sales on Thanksgiving type food. Tis the season for stocking up on baking supplies at Walmart!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back to School Food Storage Basics-Whole Wheat

Today Crystal is talking about whole wheat on her Everyday Food Storage website during her Back to School Week series. You can see her full whole wheat article here. Everyday I plan to list things I learned from that series on my blog to help me better understand it. I am pretty new to the food storage area so I hope these really help me! I have never really owned any whole wheat. I did go to an enrichment activity where the person showed us how to use a wheat grinder and she gave us so of the flour she had ground and I used that in a couple of recipes. Our church is planning to take an order for the LDS cannery and several people are going to go down and bring back the stuff for us and whole wheat is definitely something I want to buy. As I was looking over the order form, I was thinking to myself what's the difference between hard red and hard white wheat. I think I got my answers today.

Here's what I learned today:
1. Wheat gives you fiber, cuts down on cavities, keeps you fuller, saves you money, and keeps you regular.
2. There are two types of wheat hard red and hard white. Hard red has a nutty strong some people say bitter taste and it is harder to get your family to eat. Hard white has some things added to it that make it have a softer flavor but can still be stored for a long time.
3. You have to use hard wheat not soft because it will store for a long time.
4. Red Wheat has more protein.
5. Look for recipes that have equal brown sugar and white sugar, recipes with chocolate. recipes with strong spices like cinnamon, recipes with applesauce or other fruits and vegetable, and recipes with oats to help disguise the whole wheat.
6. Cook with whole wheat gradually and get your family used to it. You may need to use 1/2 whole wheat and half white for some recipes.

Some things I found on Crystal's website that I find helpful with whole wheat:
1. Wheat handout- this handout give information and recipes about wheat
2. Cracked Wheat video- this shows you how to crack wheat in your blender
3. How to make homemade video- shows step-by-step how to make homemade bread
4. Tips for making bread in your bread machine- gives great ideas for getting great bread from your bread machine.
5. Dough enhancer video- shows you how and why to use dough enhancers in bread making.

Some recipes I want to try using whole wheat:
1. Brown Sugar Zucchini Bread
2. Blender Wheat Pancakes
3. Wheat Thins
4. Graham Crackers
5. Whole Wheat Carrot Cake Muffins- found on another blog and copied but forgot where it was.
6. Whole Wheat Banana Bread- I made this last week the one on Crystal site, so yummy and it really is better the next day!

What I take away from this lesson:
I want to buy some hard white whole wheat and start trying it in my cooking. I also want to experiment with the dough enhancers.

Questions I still have after this lesson:
Will my family notice the difference? I made the Whole Wheat Banana Bread and my kids loved it so I think they might try some and I can't wait to do it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back to School Food Storage Basics-Powdered Eggs

Today Crystal is talking about powdered eggs on her Everyday Food Storage website during her Back to School Week series. You can see her full powdered egg article here. Everyday I plan to list things I learned from that series on my blog to help me better understand it. I am pretty new to the food storage area so I hope these really help me! Recently our church took a group order for whole powdered eggs. We also had an Enrichment meeting that focused on using our food storage. They made an egg casserole that I would like to try. I have not even opened my #10 can of whole powdered eggs so I was ready to learn a few things.

Here's what I learned today:
1. Powdered eggs last 5-7 years. You should keep it in a cool dry place with the lid on after opening.

2. Powdered eggs will save you money. Most #10 cans have about 226 eggs and the average price is $17.00 which makes 1 dozen 94 cents. We did a group order and with shipping and all we paid $16.00 a can so my eggs are an even better value!

3. 1 Tbsp.= medium egg and 2 Tbsp. = extra large egg

4. Benifets of using powdered eggs are no egg shells, they are pasteurized so no worry if you want to lick the batter, save you time because you do not have to wash your hands after cracking an egg, and you can half an egg if you need to half a recipe and have an odd number of eggs.

Some things I found on Crystal's site that I find helpful about powdered eggs:

1. Breakfast handout- great information and recipes that use eggs.

Some recipes I want to try uing powdered eggs:

What I take away from this lesson:

I need to order some more powdered eggs to use with my regular recipes because it really saves money! I also learned how long they last. When our church ordered them someone asked that question and nobody knew the answer.

Questions I still have after this lesson:

After reading my new Emergency Essentials catalog, I noticed that there are seveal different powdered egg products like egg whites, scrambled eggs, etc that I need to look into more.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School Food Storage Basics-Powdered Milk

Today Crystal is talking about powdered milk on her Everyday Food Storage website during her Back to School series. You can see her full powdered milk article here. Everyday I plan to list things I learned from that series on my blog to help me better understand it. I am pretty new to the food storage area so I hope these really help me! I bought some powdered milk from an order we took up at church and it was the instant powdered milk. I think that is all I have ever used. My family never noticed when I made some and put it into my empty milk carton. But I never really knew about non-instant powdered milk, so this was a good lesson for me.

Here's what I learned today:
1. There are lots of things you can do with powdered milk besides drinking it. Like making your own sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream soups and just cooking with it. The benefits of doing that are that you will save money if you use the non instant kind.

2. As of August 2009, if you buy non instant powdered milk you would only spend about $1.00 for a gallon of milk made with it. If you made sweetened condensed milk you would spend about 60 cents a can where as at the grocery you would find it for $2-$3 a can. If you made evaporated milk it would cost you 25 cents a can whereas it is usually about $1.00 at the grocery. Those are some big savings!

3. There are two types of powdered milk: instant and non instant.
Instant is puffed with air and it would take 2 #10 cans to = 1 #10 can of instant. So, it is more expensive and takes more room to store. Instant also mixes better for drinks. I have found that I like instant better for drinking.
Non instant does well in baking and is cheaper and takes less room to store.

4. There are milk alternatives which are like a flavored milk drink. They add shortening, corn syrup and other stuff to it so it really is not as healthy of a drink as milk. You can use it in baking but most say you need to use less shortening because it is already in the milk alternative.

Some things I found on Crystal's site that I find helpful about powdered milk is:
1. Powdered milk conversion sheet- this will help you know how to mix the milk.
2. Powdered milk handout- this gives lots of information and recipes on using powdered milk
3. Making Powdered Milk Drinkable - This gives you some great tips on getting your family to drink powdered milk.
4. A video on mixing powdered milk- this video gives tips like using sugar or vanilla to help family members like the taste better and to make sure and serve powdered milk cold.

Some recipes I want to try using powdered milk are:
1. Sweetened Condensed Milk
2. Evaporated Milk
3. Magic Mix
4. In other recipes I already make that call for milk

What I take away from this lesson:
I need to buy some non instant powdered milk and use it in my baking to save money. I probably will still use the instant for drinking because my family seems to really like it, but I might have to try it on them too and see how they react.

Questions I still have after this lesson:
1. If you do not live near an lds cannery are your only other sources to buy it from emergency like companies and how much more expensive are they? I need to go check that out. I wonder why stores do not carry non instant milk.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back to School Food Storage Basics

Crystal from Everyday Food Storage is hosting a Back to School week for Food Storage. She will be going over uses and info for basic long term food storage items. I started really working on my food storage last year and I have mostly been getting canned goods etc. This year my church took up an order for powdered milk and powdered eggs. We ordered from Emergency Essentials and I just love the powdered milk. So, anyways I really need to learn more about food storage so I am planning to go to the site each day to learn more. I plan to write up what I learn, more questions that I still have etc. Kind of like my school notes. lol. Come along with me and learn something new about food storage.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Using Beans in Desserts

Beans are a great thing to have in your food storage. They can be substituted for oil in your favorite cake and brownie mixes. You just have to match the color of the bean with the cake mix.
Black Bean Brownies
1 Box Betty Crocker Low Fat Fudge Brownie Mix
1 (15 oz) can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup Water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Puree the beans and water together until smooth in a blender or food processor. Stir into the brownie mix until combined. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 2 inches from the side of the pan comes out clean. Cool completely and cut in to 24 pieces. Serve with whipped topping.

Food Storage Brownies
3/4 cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup bean paste
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 eggs (2 TBSP dry eggs + 1/4 cup water)
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Pregheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine cocoa and baking soda in mixing bowl. Blend in 1/3 cup bean puree. Add boiling water and stir until thickened. Stir in sugar, eggs, and remaining 1/3 cup bean puree until smooth. Stir in flour, salt, and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Fold in chopped nuts and chocolate chips. Pour into greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan on rack.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, beaten (or use dry eggs)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 heaping cup mashed, cooked pinto beans
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Whipped cream, whipped topping, or scoop of ice cream
Beat until creamy the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and
butter. Add pinto beans, blend well. Pour into unbaked pie shell and
bake at 375o for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350o and bake an
additional 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out
clean. Serve with whipped cream, whipped topping, or scoop of ice

1 cup cooked soft pinto beans (drained and mashed)
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp. vanilla
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate
6 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 lbs. powdered sugar
Nuts (optional)
In large bowl stir beans and milk together, adding enough milk to
resemble mashed potatoes; stir in vanilla. Melt chocolate and butter
or margarine and stir into bean mixture. Gradually stir in powdered
sugar. Knead with hands until well blended. Spread into lightly
greased 9-inch baking dish or form into two 1-1/2 inch rolls. Chill 1-2

Friday, August 21, 2009

Got Bananas? Make Banana Bread!

Recently I was at the grocery store and they had a ton of bananas reduced and I decided I wanted to make some banana bread. I only paid $1.00 for all of those over ripe bananas. I had a Weight Watchers recipe I wanted to try and decided to also try a whole wheat banana bread while I was at it. I love banana bread and this one is low fat and made with whole wheat flour. That is good because it will keep you fuller longer. I got this recipe from Everyday Food Storage, I love that site! This was pretty good. Super easy recipe. I also made some mini loafs. So cute and I plan to freeze those to use for visiting teaching gifts.

Low-Fat Whole Wheat Banana Bread
4 T margarine (or butter), softened
¼ C applesauce
2 eggs (2 T. Dehydrated Eggs +1/4 C. Water)
2 T skim milk or water
¾ C packed light brown sugar
1 C mashed banana (2-3 medium bananas)
1 ¾ C Whole Wheat Flour
2 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
¼ t salt (optional)
¼ C coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans(optional)
Beat margarine, applesauce, eggs, milk, and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until smooth. Add banana and blend at low speed; beat at high speed 1 to 2 minutes. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix into batter. Mix in nuts. Pour batter into greased loaf pan, . Bake at 350º F until bread is golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (55 to 60 minutes). Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool to room temperature.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Powdered Milk...Will They Notice?

Yesterday, my kids ran out of the 2% milk they use and since I will not be able to buy anymore for the next couple of days, I decided to mix up some powdered and pour it back in the milk carton. I had an Enrichment Activity group meeting so I left them as they were eating dinner. When I came home, I ask dh if he gave them milk and he said yes. So, they will drink powdered milk without knowing that's what it is. Now since powdered milk is nonfat, I won't be doing that all of the time, but it is cheaper and can get me through some tight spots.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dry Powdered Milk and Mexican Chocolate Drink

We recently had an Enrichment Meeting in our branch on Cooking With Food Storage and we used dry milk in several recipes. I have been using some powdered milk in some recipes that I bought at Save-a-Lot. It really was not seeming to dissolve and actually looked like little balls. I bought some recently from Emergency Essentials when my church did a group order, but had not opened any because I was trying to get rid of the other box first. At the meeting they made a Mexican Chocolate drink. It was bought at Big Lots on clearance for $1.00. (I bought a bunch.) I was really shocked to see how well the powdered milk from Emergency Essentials dissolved so well and tasted so good in the Mexican Drink. The Mexican Chocolate Drink tasted like hot chocolate with a hint of cinnamon. I made it yesterday because I have a chest cold and my kids and dh loved it. My dh and oldest kid were shocked when I told them it was made with powdered milk. So, now I know 2 things.
1. My family will drink powdered milk.
2. I must buy a better brand of powder milk than I was buying.

With the savings you get from using powdered milk, I know I will be using it more in my baking and sometimes as our regular milk.

Mexican Chocolate Drink
2/3 cup powdered milk
1 quart water
1 capsule of Nestle Abuelita (Mexican Chocolate Drink Mix)
sugar to taste
Add powdered milk to water and stir until dissolved. Microwave until hot. Add 1 capsule of chocolate to blender and sugar (I used 1/4 cup) and then add milk. Pulse until chocolate is broken up and blend until chocolate blended well.

Note: A friend of mine said she got the Chocolate mix at United Grocery Outlet for 50 cents each.

Weekly Food Storage Stock Up

He are some items I have added to my food storage in the past few weeks.
1- A case of tomato soup
2- A box of Bisquick (had a coupon and it was on sale)
3- A #10 can of Whole Egg Powder (My church did a group order)
4- 2 boxes of Carnation Dry Milk (found at a store that was discontinuing them)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Edible Play Dough From Food Storage

I have been watching a lot of reruns of Jon and Kate plus 8 and I saw the Valentine's Day one where she made edible play dough and I knew I wanted to try that out with my kids. We have played with lots of other homemade play dough and the kids love it. So, I knew they would love this and we would also have a snack! I did not tell my kids that it was edible, but they figured out. Actually my 2 year old figured it out first. This lasted about an hour and half of playing with and eating. Make sure you get your kids to wash their hands before playing with the edible play dough. My kids also loved helping make it! This recipe uses 3 ingredients, all things found in my food storage.

Here's the recipe:

Jon and Kate plus 8 Edible Play Dough
Mix equal parts of powdered milk, honey, and peanut butter.
Add flour to reach play dough consistency.
Play and enjoy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Easy Pizza Sauce

Easy Pizza Sauce
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
4 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups water
Combine tomato paste, garlic, parsley flakes, onion, oregano, basil and water in 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Cool a little and spread on your pizza crust and proceed with remainder of your toppings.
Makes 4 servings
Calories 80 Fat 0.5 Fiber 4.5
This was really good on the pizza. I don't know about the serving size, but I can get at least 2 pizzas out of this one batch of sauce and maybe a third one.
Note: This pizza sauce freezes really well too.

Basic Pizza Dough

This is a new pizza dough recipe that I thought I would try. I found this recipe on Mom Advice.

Basic Pizza Dough (from"How to Cook Everything,")
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea slat, plus extra for sprinkling
1 to 1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
To make this dough in food processor: Combine the yeast, flour, and 2 teaspoons salt in the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons of oil through the feed tube. Process for 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl with the remaining olive oil, and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm draft-free area until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. You can cut this rising time short if you are in a hurry or you can let the dough rise more slowly in the refrigerator for six to eight hours.
To make this dough by hand: Combine half the flour with the salt and yeast and stir to blend. Add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons olive oil; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add remaining flour a bit at a time; when the mixture becomes too stiff to stir with a spoon, begin kneading, adding as little flour as possible- just enough to keep the dough from being a sticky mess. Knead until smooth but still quite moist, about ten minutes. Proceed as above.
To make this dough with a standing mixer: The machine must be fairly powerful or it will stall. Combine half the flour with the salt, yeast, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 cup water; blend with the machines paddle. With the machine on slow speed, add flour a little at a time until the mix has become a sticky ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl (switch to the dough hook if necessary). Knead for a minute by hand, adding as little flour as possible, then proceed as above.
To make this dough with the bread machine: Add ingredients as follows- warm water, olive oil, flour, salt, and then add yeast at the top. Turn machine on and select the dough setting. When the machine beeps, you can roll out the dough onto your pizza stone/pan.
I made this dough in my bread machine. I watched it and it seemed really wet so I added some more flour to it. It was still a little sticky when I took it out of the machine so I added some more flour. This was really good and once I took care of the stickiness, it was easy. I added a sauce, cheese and other toppings and cooked for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Some people like to pre-bake there crust before putting on toppings and you can do that too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Getting Prepared for a Power Outage

I enjoy reading a lot of preparedness blogs. Preparedness Pro had and article last week called, "Thirty Minutes, Do you feel lucky today?" Basically, her article stated that stores only have enough stuff on hand for 30 minutes and then it would be all gone and would you have what you needed if that was the only amount of time you had in an emergency. That article got me thinking this weekend after we had several bad storms cutting our power off for most of the weekend starting on Friday morning. Late Friday afternoon, I noticed that we did not have much oil in our oil lamp and remembered that we only had 1 oil lamp now since my kids had broken one beyond repair. I decided to go to the Dollar General Store in the small town that I live. I felt good that I was going to be prepared with the stuff I needed for the evening to survive the dark. When we got to the store though, it was closed. Pretty much everything in our little town closed down due to no power. So, I wonder do we really have even 30 minutes? The storms and the lack of my preparedness made me know I had to get the stuff to be ready if we would have another outage like that. We went to Walmart in the next county and bought a new oil lamp and 2 bottles of oil and a flashlight. We have had trouble keeping a flashlight in our house because the kids like to play with them. The new flashlight has a home and I think it will be less likely to disappear. I know we need some more oil and maybe some more flashlights and batteries. For now though, it will have to go on a list until we get some more money. So, hopefully my little story will make you think about things you need to put on your list to be better prepared if you could not get to the store at all in an emergency.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

April Food Storage Buys

This is my food storage for April. I know it's not a lot, but a lot of our money was spent on dry milk. We bought in bulk with our church and got a really good deal. I also found sugar on sale for 5 lb bags for $1.99 which is the lowest price I have found. My dh picked up the water when he heard about the flu scare. He said he would feel better with some water. lol. We need to work on water storage since our city water just barely passes the test.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Using Old Blinds as Plant Markers

If you have kids and blinds, you might know that blinds don't always stay as nice as you want them too. My kids like to look out our windows and pull back the blinds and they crease and fall off. We have a huge front window and after 10 years the blind had seen its better days, so we bought a new one. My husband put it up yesterday while I was napping our youngest one and he said to me that he did not know how he was going to get rid of the old one. I remembered seeing something on the web about using old blinds as plant markers. When I started my seeds, I wrote down a chart in my gardening journal so I'd know what each plant was and I actually looked at Walmart for some but they were like $3 a bag and I decided I could find a cheaper route. Wow! Did this new blind come at the right time! Here are the instructions for making your plant markers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mom Advice Experiment- Who Bread:White vs Wheat

Bread 1: Bread Flour

Bread 2: All-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour

So, I decided to give the Mom Advise Notebook Experiments a try. Amy has a notebook where she list all kinds of great ideas she finds online. Many of them are projects that I really want to do. I've looked through her past notebooks and have booked marked lots of things to try. So, I'll be back for the weekly experiments. I really like how Amy makes them look like an experiment when she post them, so hopefully she won't mind if I do mine the same. I got a bread machine with our income tax refund this year and I love it. Although I still have a lot to learn! This is the first recipe we tried and really love, Low-Fat Bread Machine Italian Bread . I was really excited to try a different one.

Experiment: Can I make Who (pronounced hooo, like an owl) bread and will my kids and husband will still like it if I substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the bread flour?

Experiment taken from: Notebook Entry 02.14.07

Materials needed: Here's the recipe that I used from SouleMama.

WHO Bread
(makes 1.5 lb loaf, set to 'basic' with medium crust)
1 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter @ room temperature
1 tsp salt
3 cups of flour (we do 2 cups unbleached white, 1 cup whole wheat pastry)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or, one package)
Add ingredients to pan in order listed according to bread machine instructions. Makes 1.5 lb loaf, set to medium crust and basic.

Part 1: The first loaf we made was with just the bread flour. This bread rose quite a bit in my machine and looked more like a 2 lb loaf. I was worried that my lid would come off of the top of my machine, but it did not. I thought maybe I did something wrong, but I followed the instructions exactly! So, I thought? After rereading the recipe, it called for plain flour and not the bread flour, which is probably what made it rise more. My kids ate the bread fine and said they liked it okay. I liked it.

Part 2: The second loaf I made was the one that I substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the white flour. Now why would I want to do this? Well, first it is healthier for my kids and second since being on Weight Watchers, I noticed that using the whole wheat flour lowered my points sometimes and after running the recipe through the recipe builder (you have to be an e-tools subscriber to get this service) on the Weight Watchers Website, I found that it did indeed lower it by one point. If it tasted just as good, that was the one I wanted to use. The bread rose more like it was suppose too since I used the all-purpose flour. (I did not have any unbleached white.) The top fell, but the results were that my bread's crust was crispier and the bread really did taste better to me than the first one I tried. But how did my kids like it? Well, my oldest one said it's okay. I asked him what he did not like about it and he said it taste like wheat. The others are 4 years old and 2 years old and basically they will eat warm bread with butter on it.

Conclusion: Well, I guess my kids will eat the bread with the wheat in it, although they seem to like the white flour bread better. My dh and my 9 year old refuse to eat wheat bread. I don't have any other answers as to how to get them to eat healthier and to eat wheat. Personally, I liked the second one and if I make this bread again, that will be the one I choose. This however is not my first pick for my favorite bread.
For more experiments go here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday-Starting Seeds

My tackle was actually done on Saturday. I wanted everyone in the family to be involved and that was the day we were all here and it was a beautiful day outside! This is a project that we had been putting off. The project was starting our seeds. We are going to be doing container gardening so if our crop is late, I guess that's okay too. We used a Jiffy Greenhouse. This was $6.00 at Walmart and allowed for 72 plants. My kids had a great time and what made it even better was that last week and this one my twins theme at head start was gardens. We even took them on a trip to Walmart to look at all of the plants and gardening stuff and buy the stuff for this tackle. My kids had a great evening and I have my containers ready to transplant when they are ready. Here are some pictures from our tackle.

For more tackles, go to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Make Your Own Seed Starting Pots

This year I am doing container gardening in our home. I know this will save lots of money on produce this summer and the great thing about container gardening is that I can do it year round! I am starting my seeds this week. I don’t buy plants because most are priced 200% more than it would be to start your own. There are lots of ways to start your own seeds. I have used the Jiffy pellets and really like those. They seem to be pretty reasonable to buy too. I also found a way to make your own pots out of newspapers. This can save you even more money. Here are the instructions and you can find a wonderful video here to get you started.
How To Make Your Own Seed Starting Pots
1. Take a single full sheet of black and white newspaper (color paper can have chemicals that may leach into your soil so it’s best to avoid it also avoid the sleek paper ads).
2. Fold the paper on its seam. Fold in half one more time. If your paper is larger in size you may have to fold it once more. Make a good crease on folds.
3. Take a glass and place it on its edge halfway onto the newspaper. Wrap the newspaper tightly around the glass and then shove all the edges down inside the glass.
4. Pull the newspaper off of the glass. Take the inside edges that you had previously folded into the glass and unfold them a bit to make the base of the pot. Press them down hard (you can use the base of your glass to really get it sealed down in there.
5. Transplant (or plant) your seeding into the newspaper pot with some good potting soil and place it in a tray and put it into direct sunlight.
6. When ready to move the plants into your garden simply remove the newspaper and place the plant in your garden.
Thanks to Food Storage Made Easy for this great money saving idea!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Storing Spices

This month one of the storage areas I am working on is spices. We all love spices, our food would not be the same without them, so we need to store some in our food storage. When trying to decide what to store, we need to go look at our spice cabniet to see what we seem to use most and then make a list of those spices. I also think it is important to go through your spices as you are looking up there. Growing up, I remember my parents always saying spices last forever. So, I guess I have lived like that too since I have lots of 10 year old spices in my cabniet and on my spice racks. The frugal in me just cringes when I throw something out, but most spices do have expiration dates on them. If you can't find a date on the spice look at it. Does it still have a smell? Spices should have a smell. What is the color of the spice? Spices that should be green should not be beige. Time will make them become discolored. Ground spices quickly lose flavor, which is why whole peppercorns last longer than ground pepper. To keep your spices fresh longer, store them away from heat, light, and moisture. That will help to preserve flavor and color, and prevent clumping.

So what’s a reasonable storage time? McCormick shares these guidelines for how long spices can be expected to last:
Seasoning blends: 1-2 years
Herbs: 1-3 years
Ground spices: - 2-3 years
Whole spices (such as cinnamon sticks and peppercorns): 3-4 years
Extracts: 4 years (except for pure vanilla, which lasts indefinitely)
If your spice bottle is missing an expiration date, you can check it online:
Check dates for McCormick spices
Check dates for Spice Islands, Durkee, Tone’s, French’s, Dec A Cake, and Trader’s Choice
I think the big thing with storing spices is that you need to rotate as you buy new stuff. The hard thing about that is I don't buy new spices enough to go and make time to do a spice cleanout. We got 5 spice racks when I got married 10 years ago. I took all of them back, but 2. I still have those spices in my spice racks and I have only change out a few of the jars and a few are empty. So, I am going to throw all of those away. Actually, when I am all done, I will probably throw half of my spices away.
Here are the spices I use a lot that I plan to store for my food storage:
Garlic Powder
Seasoning Salt
Chili Powder
Taco Seasoning
Vanilla Extract
Almond Extract
Onion Soup Mix
Dehydrated Onions
Dry Mustard
Italian Seasoning
I don't know if I will buy all of those this month because spices are not cheap, but I will try to get some of them. I already bought all the salt I need for my family for one year. When buying spices, buy in bulk to lower your price, especially on things like salt.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thinking About Container Gardening

Well, I have never had a garden since I have been on my own. We have always rented and my lifestyle just did not give me time to plant and raise a garden. I know excuses!!! Well, this year I feel this need to plant something. I am looking at container gardening, but need to do some more research on it because I do not have a lot of money to spend on the containers. Anyone know of the cheapest route to go? I saw on a blog I read that Gayle learned to make some containers out of newspapers. You can check that out here. I don't know if I have convinced my dh to do this and I think that is what makes it hard. We just put it off until we do not do it at all each year. At our Stake Conference this year, we were encouraged to plant a garden. Our Stake president talked about President Kimball's admonition for everyone to have a garden. Our Stake President felt everyone in our stake should make this a goal. Our Stake Relief Society also has encouraged sisters to get back to the basics and they also want us to think about planting an extra row for the hungry. So, I know it is important and I LOVE fresh produce! I just got to get it together!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Whole Wheat Cookies

Whole Wheat Cookies
Lots of times people are scared to stored long term food storage items, like wheat, because they are not used to cooking with it. I really think if you are going to store it, you need to know how to use it and every now and then, make some of the recipes so your family can get used to them. I started with cookies because I knew my kids would be more likely to eat them. I also like to make my own cookies. Not only are they cheaper to make, they are also so much better! Guess what? My family loved them! So, here are a couple recipes you can make and try out on your family with some of your food storage items. They only thing I had to buy was the butter.
The Whole Wheat Tollhouse Cookie
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup old fashioned rolled oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup nuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or cover with parchment paper (I used nonstick cooking spray.) In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cream the butter with the brown sugar until light in color, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg until incorporated. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend well. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until brown. Cool on a wire rack.
From Bob’s Red Mill Baking Book, a recipe from 1937.
Note: I used margarine instead of butter and omitted the nuts just to make these cookies more affordable.
Easy Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup peanut butter
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup honey
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1¼ cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking flour
½ cup old fashioned oatmeal
In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, honey, brown sugar, and egg until smooth. Combine the whole wheat flour and baking powder; stir into the batter until blended. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. Roll into small balls, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly using a fork. Bake for 13-15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven, or until cookies are slightly toasted at the edges.
Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles
1 cup shortening, butter, or margarine
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp cream of tarter
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine together 1 ½ cups sugar and shortening. Add eggs and beat well. Combine flour, cream of tarter, salt, and soda. Add to sugar mixture and mix well. Roll into approximately 1 inch balls. Combine 2 Tablespoons sugar and cinnamon. Roll dough balls in cinnamon /sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Slightly flatten. Bake 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on rack. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Bars
½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup oil
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups quick oats
1 cup nuts (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips
Cream together margarine, oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add nuts and chocolate chips. Place in a 9x13 inch cake pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

$8.00 A Week Food Storage

So, I have been working on collecting $8.00 of food storage items a week. Here is what I have collected so far.

Week 1: 6 pounds salt
Week 2: 5 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
Week 3: 8 cans Tomato Soup
Week: 4: 8 cans Tuna
Week 5: 8 cans Chicken Noodle Soup