Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This is by far my family's favorite "fast food" food storage meal. It is so quick and easy, uses powdered milk, and is much more healthy than any canned cheese version you can buy.

It all begins with my famous white sauce mix.

Whisk together white sauce mix and hot tap water.

Stir constantly while cooking until it begins to boil and thicken.

Add remaining ingredients. To rehydrate the onion, put it in a small bowl with a little water and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Do this before you begin cooking the meal since you have to be stirring the white sauce mix and you won't have a free hand.

This is a motion shot when I am stirring in the cheese. You really can play with the flavors of cheese that you add. If you like a spicy cheese, use pepper jack or stir in a little hot sauce. We go for the mild version most often at our house since that is what the kids prefer.

Continue to stir over the heat until it is the thickness you desire. It usually takes 1-2 minutes of boiling time to thicken up.

This is still a little too thin.

Serve over chips and top with your favorite nacho toppings. It is also delicious over broccoli or as a dip for bread. The leftovers will thicken quite a bit in the fridge. Just add a bit of milk, heat up, and mix for another round another day.


5 Tbsp white sauce mix
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup hot water
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
⅛ tsp pepper
½ cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
1 tsp dried, minced onion reconstituted

In a saucepan, whisk white sauce mix and water together and cook until smooth. As sauce begins to thicken, add remaining ingredients. Serve over tortilla chips. Top with chili, spiced hamburger, sliced black olives, salsa, etc. You can use pepper jack cheese for a more spicy sauce.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Reviews

I thought I would share some of the kind words people have sent me since reading a copy of my new book. I am so grateful to learn it is encouraging others to prepare just a little more and actually use that food storage they have been storing for so long. I do have just a few copies left here at my home just send me a quick email if you would like one. Otherwise, it is available on for anyone else who may be reading this from somewhere other than the Boise area.

From Carina -

Yeah!! I made my first batch of White Sauce mix last night AND my first "dinner experiment" with this sausage gravy and biscuits - they were great!! I've always been afraid of gravy - always lumpy or never sets up - but this worked out so well and tasted great. I still have to convince my kids that it's good, but at this point in my pregnancy, if I like it, it's a keeper :-) Thanks Tammy!

From Steph - 

I received your book yesterday afternoon and I have already read through the entire book.  It is wonderful!!!  I think I mentioned to you I joined the church when I was 18 and not having grown up with food storage or emergency preparedness it can seem overwhelming at times.
You put things in a very simple and straightforward manner.  I feel like I am able to accomplish the necessary steps for my family without feeling overwhelmed.  Thank you so much for the effort you put into this book. 
I love the recipes!!!  I am so anxious to try the recipes.   This will sound silly but the cannery has always been a bit intimidating to me.  I have never been and the way it works has never been fully explained to me.  I seem to get confused on if I can just go purchase already packed items or if I need to work for a couple of hours before purchasing items.  I now know I just need to dig in and find out! 
You should see my book!  I have different colored tabs all over the book now for reference!  I already warned my husband that we are going to get even more prepared!  I have been working on our food storage and water storage for the last several years, but the food storage is still meager.  The ideas you gave have helped me jump start my own program for my family.  I am really excited to go forward and get my family more prepared!

From Claire - 

I dropped by your house and your kind husband gave me a copy of the book.  I immediately made a white sauce mix with some powdered milk I've had for 15 years.  I added cheese and other ingredients and we had your nachoes for dinner.  The kids loved them.  So glad you wrote this book.  Thanks!

From Gwen - 

I'm LOVING it! Thanks for writing this book!  In fact, I just picked up some freeze-dried fruits today so I can see what ones my family likes, and start trying to reconstitute them in my cooking... oh, and Pamela and I made a batch of rainbow dehydrated apples today... so yum! Thank you so much for the jello idea... I have always stored lots of jello because it's a great substitute for sugar in sugar cookies, and now I have one more use for it... Yay! You are awesome! I can't wait to get the garden planted next week.  I have so many wonderful plans for my dehydrator this fall!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gardening Teaches Great Lessons

President Spencer W. Kimball counseled: “I hope that we understand that, while having a garden, for instance, is often useful in reducing food costs and making available delicious fresh fruits and vegetables, it does much more than this. Who can gauge the value of that special chat between daughter and Dad as they weed or water the garden? How do we evaluate the good that comes from the obvious lessons of planting, cultivating, and the eternal law of the harvest? And how do we measure the family togetherness and cooperating that must accompany successful canning? Yes, we are laying up resources in store, but perhaps the greater good is contained in the lessons of life we learn as we live providently and extend to our children their pioneer heritage.” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1977, p. 125; or Ensign, Nov. 1977, p. 78.) This heritage includes teaching our children how to work.

You don't have to have a lot of space to grow a garden. You can plant many vegetables right in your flower beds. My sister even planted tomatoes in 5-gallon buckets on her small patio when she was in college. Stop dragging your feet, if you have been, and plan a garden this week as a family. Get everyone involved - it's much more fun that way!

Source: James E. Faust, “The Responsibility for Welfare Rests with Me and My Family,” Ensign, May 1986, 20

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Canned and Frozen is Healthy!

Here is a great article written in response to a question sent in by someone who was basically needing to live on storable meals because of the distance to the grocery store. It helps to remind us that frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are healthy and we are perfectly fine feeding our families these items as we rotate our stored food. It helps to make sure that we can prepare them in a manner our families will like and it can save a lot of money in the process that can be put toward other preparedness goals.

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist.
Asked by Nate, Yellowstone National Park
I live in a very remote location: Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. I have a hard time buying groceries that are healthy. There is no way I could get to the store even once a week. I end up buying in bulk: frozen (limited space), cans, dry just-add-water type stuff. Any suggestions for better eating?
Expert answer
Hi Nate. I answered a similar question not too long ago from a woman who could not get to the store often due to physical limitations, but I feel that this is so important, particularly with so many nutrition professionals encouraging us to eat fresh fruits, vegetables and meats from the local farmer's market, that it is worth discussing in even more detail.
I don't mean to imply at all that there is anything wrong with eating fresh and local. It is without a doubt incredibly healthy and environmentally friendly. It is just not practical, affordable or even possible for many people in this country like you who still wish to eat as healthy as possible.
Here are a few ideas for bulk frozen, cans, and just-add-water type stuff.
Frozen fruits and veggies are great
As I've mentioned before, they are loaded with nutrients as they are often frozen very quickly after being picked. Just avoid boiling vegetables in water, as this could deplete some of the nutrients. Try microwaving with only a couple of tablespoons of water or steaming.
Frozen fruit could be used to make smoothies (even though it's cold out) by adding protein powder that could be bought in bulk and would not take too much room while adding high-quality protein to your diet.
Cans are OK too
Canned beans are a terrific source of fiber and a good source of protein. Drain the water and rinse the beans to remove a good deal of the sodium. Other canned vegetables such as green beans, tomatoes, corn, peas, carrots, even pumpkin (and more) are good too.
Just try to choose lower-sodium options if possible and drain when you can. Here is a great link for ideas on using canned vegetables. Canned fruit is a healthy, nutrient dense choice too, as long as you choose varieties that are canned in their own juice without added sugar.
Finally, canned chicken is a good lean protein option, and canned tuna and salmon packed in water are an economical way to get protein and heart healthy omega 3s twice a week as recommended by the American Heart Association.
Remember nuts, seeds, dried fruit
These can be stockpiled in bulk and provide healthy fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, all of which are essential for optimal health. They work great as snacks (or toppings for oatmeal or cereal). Just watch portions sizes (consider pre-portioning out several servings) as they are calorie dense and could lead to weight gain if over-consumed.
Try shelf stable milk
Non-fat dry milk is an option as are shelf-stable milks like almond milk and soy milk. Just make sure to avoid those with added sugar for optimal health.
Whole grains are great
Whole grain pasta, barley, brown rice, oats, and whole grain cereal (make sure the word whole grain is first on the ingredient list when it comes to cereal) can all be bought in bulk, so make sure to stock up on these to get your minimum daily three servings of whole grains.
If you want to add protein to breakfast and can't get to the store to buy eggs, try adding the protein powder I mentioned above to your oatmeal (plus a little extra water) to boost your morning protein intake.
So as you can see, even if you can get to the store only once a month and don't have access to fresh food very often, you can still eat a healthy, balanced diet full of whole grains, a variety of vegetables and fruit, lean protein, healthy fat and low-fat dairy. And if you want to throw in a little dark chocolate for a small after-dinner treat, you'd be following this doctor's orders (even with your shopping limitations) quite well.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My books are here!

They made it - all 100 of them! I will be home Tuesday afternoon and evening as well as Wednesday afternoon and evening for anyone who pre-ordered a copy to pick yours up.

I do have a few extra so if you missed out on the pre-order stop by and grab one before they are gone.
They cost $15.90 each.

I hope they inspire you to go home and cook something with your food storage!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Money for a TRUE emergency

It is very important that everyone has some money saved for those unexpected emergencies. It is a hard and fast rule that emergencies will occur. One thing to think about is the need to have a certain amount of your emergency fund in cash stashed at home or in your 72-hour kit. People who have lived through natural disasters have learned that when the power is out for weeks at a time, cash is a necessary requirement. Stores are often willing to sell their goods, but can't access your funds through a debit or credit card. You'll have to decide how much to keep in cash, but be sure and have smaller size bills since people may have difficulty making change.

We've learned to hide it in hard-to-get places so we aren't tempted to raid the stash to pay for a babysitter or to give our kids allowance. We want it to be there if there ever was a TRUE emergency.

Just something to think about -

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lessons from Japan

Watching all the news reports about Japan this week, I couldn't help but ask myself, "Would we be ready?"

I don't think there is any amount of preparation that would make you feel ready for the huge tsunami that wiped out entire cities. Any food storage or preparations would be washed away for sure. If something like that were to happen and we were to survive, we would be relying on others for help. I can't help but think we would see miracles as people stepped up to help us. Heavenly Father always blesses those who are obedient to counsel.

All the other families in Japan who still have their homes are facing other dilemmas at this point. They are facing shortages in gas, food, electricity, etc. It is for these families that advance preparation would have been very helpful. The families that took steps to have a 72-hour kit are ready to quickly evacuate if radiation levels require it. The families with food and fuel storage who live far from the nuclear plant can wait out the disaster in the safety of their own homes. The families who had talked through an emergency plan are able to peacefully act and carry out their plan.

I'm sure more lessons will come out of Japan in the next few weeks and months. As for me, I  am taking this as a reminder to go through my 72-hour kit and get it updated. I also want to inventory the food and fuel we have on hand and make sure we have the amounts we will need.

I may never be in a situation like those in Japan, but if I ever am, I want to be one of the families with a plan. Most importantly, I want to be one of the families that can pray to Heavenly Father knowing we have kept his counsel so I can in all confidence ask for His help to pull us through.

I hope these thoughts can motivate you to create a plan for your own family.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sausage Gravy

Sausage gravy has two main ingredients - White Sauce Mix and Sausage - so easy!

Use frozen sausage you have precooked to speed up prep time.

Mix 1 scant cup (that means not quite full) of White Sauce Mix with 3 cups of hot tap water. Use a whisk to get all the lumps out.

Cook or heat your sausage in the frying pan. Add the white sauce mixture to the frying pan and heat until thick. Stir constantly with a spatula so the milk does not scorch. Add some pepper if desired.

Enjoy over fresh baked biscuits - Yum!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rainbow Cookies

Rainbow Cookies and gold Coins are the perfect treat for St. Patrick's Day!

They take a bit of work, but it is worth the smiles from the kids.
First, mix the dough according to the directions in the recipe that follows.
Next, divide the dough into 6 almost equal portions. You need just a little more red and orange than the other colors. Use gel food coloring to make the colors of the rainbow. I didn't do indigo, but you can try it if you want to - you'll just need 7 portions of dough. Allow the dough to chill an hour or more.

Begin by rolling the violet into a log about 10 inches long. Then roll out the blue into a flat rectangle so that it can roll around the violet log.

Notice my little helper - the kids were really excited to help. I had a pretty sleepless night last night so with my foggy brain I switched the order of my colors. Green should really be next, but our cookies have yellow. Continue doing this with all the colors. Finishing with the red. Red and orange need a little more dough in the beginning because your rectangles need to be a little wider for them to fit all the way around the log.

I carefully pinched the dough so it would fit. I also stole some off the end that was hanging over to fill in the gap you see here. When you have all your colors rolled into a layered log, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm. Slice into thin circles - about 1/4 of an inch and place on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 5-6 minutes - you don't want them to brown on top at all.

Cut in half immediately after removing from the oven and then cool on a wire rack.

Fun for St. Patrick's Day or any spring day. They would be great for a letter R preschool day also.
This dough can be made a few days ahead and stored in the refrigerator or you can also freeze it and make it a few weeks ahead. The cookies can also be frozen after cooking.

Cookie Dough

  • 1-1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • gel food coloring

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well.

I was tempted to try substituting white bean puree for half of the butter, but I was baking them for someone who cannot have beans so that experiment will wait for another day.

Since you can freeze the butter and the eggs these can be part of your 3 month supply. To freeze eggs, crack them out of their shells and put each egg in a small freezer container. Thaw by placing the container in a sink of warm water. Frozen eggs work great in baking.  You can also fry or scramble them without being able to tell they were frozen first.

White Sauce Mix

Somehow this post disappeared off the blog so here it is again. I well be referring to this often - 

This is one of my very favorite time-saving mixes using powdered milk! I use this in so many recipes, especially for cream soups through the winter months. The original recipe that I found had butter in the mix which required that it be refrigerated. I decided to make the recipe without the butter and then just add the little bit of butter each time. I was making a large batch of Broccoli Cheese Soup one day because we were having company and I just didn't feel right adding 1 1/2 cubes of butter to the top of my soup and then watching it melt in! I decided I would taste the soup first and then add just enough butter to make it taste good. It turns out that we loved the soup without any butter. Now we use this fat free mix all the time.

You can see that I taped the recipe right to the side of my container to make it quick to mix up another batch when I am running low. I also included the recipe for making Country Gravy using the mix. Originally that was what I was using the mix for most often, now I have adapted many other recipes to use the mix and I don't have room on the side of the container for all the recipes. 

I will share White Sauce Mix recipes a little at a time here on the blog. I'm sure you will come to love this mix as much as I do.

White Sauce Mix
Mix up a large batch—believe me, you'll find a million uses for it. It will become a great time saver.

3 cups non-instant dry milk powder
2 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Mix together and store in an airtight container. Use in any recipe that calls for making a white sauce using milk, butter and flour. It is a completely fat free alternative and tastes great! It will store for up to 5 years on the pantry shelf.

Basic White Sauce
Many recipes ask for 1 cup of milk, some flour and a little butter. You can use this white sauce in any of those recipes.

5 Tbsp white sauce mix
1 cup hot water

Whisk white sauce mix with hot tap water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick. Use in any recipe calling for 1 cup white sauce. Don't add any butter - it is not necessary.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Additional Blog Started

I have started an additional blog to focus solely on food storage. The URL is After making the decision to not do any marketing on this blog, I received a good number of responses that helped me know that many of you want to see my book made available here. It really is meant to be a great resource that you can have in your kitchen drawer or cupboard to refer to often as you prepare your family. I also felt a desire from many of you to have me share sources for items I stock up on and good emergency preparedness items. With this in mind, I think the best thing to do is write 2 blogs.

This blog will cover all areas of provident living and continue to share insights that will help you do a little at a time. My other blog will focus on supporting you through building a food storage meal plan that will be customized to your family's needs. I have started just posting breakfast ideas for now. I will follow up with lunch, dinner and snack ideas a little at a time. Some of the content will be repeated on both blogs but I will also share new things both places so you may just want to get in the habit of checking both sites.

Please feel free to check out this new blog and share the link with family and friends who may be interested. My underlying desire has always been to help families learn how to help themselves. I know that these blogs and my book can do just that in a way that will not feel too overwhelming or daunting. I am also hoping that more of you will begin sharing ideas or recipes with everyone through the comment section of both blogs so we can all support each other in this great endeavor.

Interest Never Sleeps or Takes a Vacation

Paying interest can greatly increase the cost of what you actually pay for an item. There are a few things in America that you can justify buying on credit. These would be a modest home, possibly a basic car, and limited expenses for higher education.

It is very easy to be talked into borrowing more than we truly need. Whenever we borrow money, we need to already have a plan in place for paying it back as quickly as possible. Any prepayments (paying more than the minimum payment due) will reduce the total interest you pay in the end.

This is one of my very favorite quotes on interest. Here it is shared by President Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also shares some other thoughts worth pondering. This talk was given in 2005 when the housing market and all the creative lending was just beginning to go a little crazy.

This is a day of borrowing, a day when multiple credit card offers arrive in our mailboxes each week. They generally offer a very low rate of interest which may apply for a short period of time; but what one usually doesn’t realize is that after that period has expired, the rates increase dramatically. I share with you a statement made by President J. Reuben Clark Jr., who many years ago was a member of the First Presidency. Its truth is timeless. Said he:

“It is a rule of our financial and economic life in all the world that interest is to be paid on borrowed money.
“Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours. … Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you.”

My brothers and sisters, I’m appalled at some of the advertising I see and hear advocating home equity loans. Simply put, they are second mortgages on homes. The promotion for such loans is designed to tempt us to borrow more in order to have more. What is never mentioned is the fact that, should one be unable to make this “second” house payment, one is in danger of losing his house.

Avoid the philosophy and excuse that yesterday’s luxuries have become today’s necessities. They aren’t necessities unless we ourselves make them such. Many of our young couples today want to begin with multiple cars and the type of home Mother and Dad worked a lifetime to obtain. Consequently, they enter into long-term debt on the basis of two salaries. Perhaps too late they find that changes do come, women have children, sickness stalks some families, jobs are lost, natural disasters and other situations occur, and no longer can the mortgage payment, based on the income from two salaries, be made.
It is essential for us to live within our means.
Thomas S. Monson, “Constant Truths for Changing Times,” Liahona, May 2005, 19–22

He offers sound advice that will bring blessings to our lives if we follow it.

I encourage all of you to look to your finances and determine how much is being paid out in interest each month. Create a plan to pay these items off faster than their required payment, if possible. The peace that comes from being out of debt is amazing!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Each Family Must Do Their Part

Last Sunday I shared a thought from Elder James E. Faust. Today I have chosen another one of his thoughts. It is important for us to understand that Church and Government Organizations can only do so much. As we have watched the news come in about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I couldn't help but wonder how many of those families had an emergency plan and enough food stored to survive until help could come. If you were in Japan at this time, would you have been ready? Just something to think about -

The Church cannot be expected to provide for every one of its millions of members in case of public or personal disaster. It is therefore necessary that each home and family do what they can to assume the responsibility for their own hour of need. If we do not have the resources to acquire a year’s supply, then we can strive to begin with having one month’s supply. I believe if we are provident and wise in the management of our personal and family affairs and are faithful, God will sustain us through our trials. He has revealed: “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.” (D&C 104:17.)

James E. Faust, “The Responsibility for Welfare Rests with Me and My Family,” Ensign, May 1986, 20

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chocolate Crinkles

I have had fun experimenting with these cookies until I got them just right. My grandmother always had a cookie can at her house. It was an old gallon can with a plastic lid - definitely not fancy, but always full of cookies when we came to visit. If we emptied it during the few days we were there, we would get to bake more cookies with her. This is one of the recipes she wrote down to share with our family. She passed away when I was only 9 so the few things I have from her are precious. Making these cookies always makes me think of her and the special memories I have of being in her home.

I have finally figured out a way to make these cookies fully storable and more healthy by replacing the egg and oil with mashed black beans. I hope your family enjoys them as much as mine and that you can build some special memories as you bake them together.

Chocolate Crinkles

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup + 2 Tbsp thick black bean puree
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
6 Tbsp cocoa
2 Tbsp oil
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp baking powder
 ¼–½ cup water
1 tsp baking soda

Combine dry ingredients. Puree black beans with just a little bit of water to make a thick paste. Add to dry ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients. Add just enough water to make a sticky dough. (The amount of water you will add will depend on how thick your bean puree was.) Form into balls and roll in powdered sugar. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° F 8–10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for a couple of minutes on baking sheet before removing to a wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hot Cereal

Hot cereal is inexpensive and easy to store. You can often buy it in bulk and then you can dry pack it in cans from the LDS cannery with the oxygen packs if you want to. We actually store oatmeal that way, but these other varieties I have just picked up at the grocery store. They store for 3+ years in their original packaging so I haven't worried about dry packing them. It also helps me feel I can have a variety of different kinds.

My kids actually request hot cereal on cold mornings. Some like to add brown sugar and others add white sugar once I put some in their bowls. Then we pour a little milk on it to make it creamy. Breakfast is done in about the time it takes to boil water.

As you think about breakfasts for your food storage meal plan, hot cereal is a great option! It does not cost very much per serving and it doesn't take much space to store. Try a few kinds and figure out which ones your family likes before stocking up on them. Also store some sugar and powdered milk to serve with it.

If you are trying to find money in your budget to purchase food storage, shift to eating hot cereal for a few weeks and spend the money you save on other food storage items.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Rice is something that stores very well (30+ years) and we serve it alongside many dishes. I am always a little surprised to hear it when someone has never cooked conventional (regular) rice. There are many out there who use the minute rice on a regular basis. Learning to cook regular rice will save you lots of money and increase your nutrition. You can use a rice cooker. I don't have room in my cupboards for lots of small appliances so this is one I do without. A regular pan with a lid works great!

I thought I would share the simple directions for cooking rice. Place 1 cup of white rice in a pan. Add 2 cups of water and a bit of salt. Cover and turn burner to high. When it begins to boil, turn it down to low. Watch it closely so you don't boil it over. (I often boil my rice over - my husband teases me a bit about it. I'm getting better at remembering to watch it.) Once it is on low, cook until all the water is absorbed. The whole process takes about 20 minutes. If you double the batch, plan on closer to 30 minutes. 

I always put the rice on to cook and then prepare the rest of the meal. Twenty minutes passes quickly in our kitchen and the rice is done in time to eat.

Rice also freezes well so I often cook a large batch and freeze the leftovers to use another time.

Brown rice does not store as long, but I have successfully kept brown rice in my pantry for over a year just in a plastic container. You cook it the same way, but it requires a little more water and a longer time to cook. Add 2 1/2 cups of water for 1 cup of brown rice.  It takes 35-40 minutes to absorb all of the water. Brown rice freezes very well also.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pudding Pops

My son, Ben, requested that we make Butterscotch Pudding Pops the other day. They are quick and easy and don't require a lot of supervision once your kids get a little older. It was an easy request to grant. They are a snack that you could easily include in your food storage meal plan.
Mix pudding (any flavor works) with 2 cups reconstituted powdered milk.

Pour into popsicle molds or small Dixie cups.

Once it begins to set up, you can position popsicle sticks in the center of the cups, or like us, you may have lost a few popsicle tops over the years. Place on a flat shelf in the freezer for a few hours and enjoy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Report For Duty

It's Money Monday here on the blog when I try to share a little something about helping your dollar stretch or how to teach your kids, etc.

As a parent of younger children I am always looking for ideas to help teach my kids about money. This is a fun little game my mother-in-law played with the kids one time when she was here for a visit. The playroom was especially messy and I was on bed rest on the couch - fully out of ideas on how to motivate the kids from a distance. I noticed how much fun they were having and thought to myself, "This is something you should do more often with them even after Grandma goes home." It has evolved a little over the last five or so years since we've been playing it. I hope it adds something to your bag of tricks to break up the monotony a little.

How to Play "Report for Duty" - Have the kids stand at attention and salute you while saying, "Reporting for duty." At this point, assign each kid to do something different such as pick up all the toys that have yellow on them, pick up all the books, put away your clean laundry, etc. Be sure they count how many items they put away. Each time they finish the task, they report back and you pay them a penny for each item. This game works especially well with young children. After playing, I always pull out a few snack items and assign an amount to each one. They can then use their pennies to buy their snack of choice from Mom's store. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

We are the Family's Storekeepers

From James E. Faust
“Every Father and mother are the family’s storekeepers.
They should store whatever their own
family would like to have in the case of an
emergency...”If we do not have the resources to
acquire a year’s supply, then we can strive to begin
with having one month’s supply. I believe if
we are provident and wise in the management of
our personal and family affairs and are faithful,
God will sustain us through our trials.
--April 1986

James E. Faust served as an Apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until his death in 2007.

I love this quote because it reminds us that each family is unique and we really need to think about what our own family will need and want if an emergency hits. By putting together your own meal plan of storable meals and then storing the ingredients to be able to make them, you can know you have what your family will want and need whatever challenge comes.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Seafood Pasta Salad

Spring is coming - hooray!! We are all feeling a little bit of Spring Fever around here these days. With the warmer days, I began craving a more summertime meal. Many of us don't stop to realize that there are quite a few salads that can be food storage meals. I made this one a few nights ago for dinner and served it with pulled pork sandwiches. I came up with this salad recipe after having a similar one at a local restaurant. I have had many requests for the recipe. The secret is to use a lot of dill. Celery stores quite a while in the fridge so I had some on hand this time, but I have also made this salad with dehydrated celery that I had rehydrated to give it the similar flavor. By using plain yogurt in the dressing, you significantly drop the fat content in this salad and it also has a lighter flavor in my opinion. Enjoy!

Seafood Pasta Salad

8 oz rotini pasta
Canned tuna, salmon, or shrimp
Plain yogurt
Black olives, sliced
Dill, onion powder, garlic powder,
Cucumbers, diced, if available
salt, and pepper to taste
Celery, chopped, if available

Cook pasta until tender. Drain and rinse in cold water. Mix vegetables with pasta. To make dressing, stir equal amounts of mayonnaise and plain yogurt with the seasonings. Stir dressing into salad and serve. I often use imitation crab meat in this salad also since it freezes so well and I can have it on hand. There are no amounts for this recipe because I never measure. I just mix it until it looks and tastes good.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Focaccia Bread

This is a simple bread to make that is just delicious! We love it with bean soup or just as breadsticks to dip in pizza sauce.
The kids have fun helping to push it out on the tray. It doesn't really matter what is looks like so it is easy to turn over to them.

Bake until it is golden brown.

Cut into sticks and enjoy!

Focaccia Bread

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp dried basil
1 ½–2 cups white bread flour
1 pinch black pepper
¼ cup gluten flour
1 Tbsp yeast
1 tsp salt
¼ cup dry milk powder
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 ¼ cups hot water
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

Mix according to basic bread making instructions. Once dough has completed the first rise, place on greased baking sheet. Push out into a ½ inch thick rectangle. You do not let it rise a second time. Spray top of loaf with oil and sprinkle with additional dry herbs if desired. (I like to sprinkle some rosemary on top along with some other herbs. Many times I bake it without adding anything though.)  Bake at 400° F for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 1 loaf.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Making Bread

Basic Instructions That Work with All Recipes:

Mix all dry ingredients only adding half of the flour in your mixer bowl.

Add wet ingredients and begin mixing using the dough hook following the suggested speed in your mixer 
instruction book for bread. (Water should be about 115°–120° F to allow the yeast to rise.)

If using a Kitchen-aid mixer, set it on 2 for the entire bread mixing and kneading process

Gradually add additional flour until dough cleans the sides of the bowl. The exact amount of flour you will add will depend on the humidity in the air and whether you are using all whole wheat flour. Be patient as you add the flour. Only add ¼–½ cup at a time and watch to see if the dough pulls together and leaves the sides of the bowl basically clean. Remember that when making bread by hand, you are to knead the dough for 6–8 minutes. The mixer doesn't necessarily do it any faster, it just does the work for you. The mistake that often 
makes bread too heavy is adding too much flour.

There is not enough flour yet - the sides of the bowl are not clean.
This is good - stop adding flour and allow the mixer to knead 2-3 minutes.

Once the dough is pulling together and leaving the sides of the bowl clean, stop adding flour and just allow the 
mixer to knead the dough until smooth, elastic, and resistant. (About 2–3 minutes.)

Lightly oil top of dough (or spray with cooking spray), cover with a cloth and let rise until double in size. You can speed this step up by turning your oven to 150° F. Once it is hot, turn the oven off and set your bowl of dough into the oven. (If your mixer has a plastic bowl, you will want to transfer the dough to an oven safe bowl first.) On the counter, it usually takes an hour or more to let your dough rise. In the oven, it is double in size in about 20 minutes.

I spray the bowl before removing the bread hook so it can rise without sticking to the sides.

Remove the dough hook and spray the top of the dough as well.

Cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled in a warm oven or on the counter.

I use the oven method most of the time.

Punch dough down and remove from bowl. (You can allow the dough to rise multiple times. Sometimes you just can't get to it when it's ready. Maybe the turkey is still in the oven or the baby needs to be fed or the phone rings. You know you have days like this. Just keep punching it down each time it is double in size. 
Letting it rise a few times actually makes for a fluffier, lighter texture.) When you punch the dough down, turn the oven on to preheat to the right baking temperature for your recipe.

My kids love to be the ones to punch it down - they always wind up a little before giving it their best punch!
Pour it out on the counter - it should leave your bowl pretty clean.

Shape into loaves or rolls on an oiled countertop and place in greased pans.
I oil the counter tops by just spraying them. You can spread a little oil with your hands if you want to. I love my solid surface counter for bread making, but we had laminate counters at our other homes and they were good to.

Grease your pans using pan spray. I store pan spray in my food storage for bread making. It makes it much more convenient.

Divide your dough into the number of loaves you will be making.

Make them as even as possible - some people actually weigh them with a kitchen scale. I don't get that technical.

Shape by grabbing and rolling back and forth a little to lengthen it into a loaf shape and round out the top. You want to manhandle the dough a little to get the air out so you don't end up with large bubbles in your bread.

Here's what it looks like on the top.

Place into greased pans.

Spray the tops of the loaves.

Cover with a cloth and let rise until almost double, about 20 minutes.

I like to pop them in the oven when they reach the top of the pans. You can see the my third loaf was a little smaller - I didn't use a scale.

Bake according to specific recipe instructions. Bread is done when it is golden brown and sounds hollow 
when you tap it.

Take bread out of pans when done and cool on a cooling rack. Spread melted butter over the tops of the bread if you want a soft crust.

Take a step back and admire your work - go ahead feel provident today! Homemade bread costs less than $.50 a loaf to make and you can control the ingredients. Find a favorite recipe and make up a few mixes to keep in your pantry to speed up the process another time. Only put half the flour in your mix along with the other dry ingredients and then you are ready to just dump it in your mixer and begin.

I'll post some of my favorite recipes soon.

Making Bread by Hand - you don't have to have a mixer!

Follow the basic instructions as above. You are just going to do the work the mixer usually would. It will take a few times of trying bread to determine just how much flour to add. It is better to add a little less flour than a little too much. Many women who bake bread all the time for their families find that they can do a larger batch by hand than they can do in a mixer so they prefer doing it by hand all the time. Don't let not having a mixer be an excuse not to bake bread!