Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Garden Lettuce

It seems to be taking forever for the garden to get going this year! We finally started harvesting lettuce a couple of weeks ago. When picking lettuce, don't actually pick it - use a knife to cut if off close to the ground. It will continue growing and you can keep cutting it this way until the temperatures get too hot and it goes to seed. Here in the Boise area, you can actually plant lettuce twice in each season. Plant it in early March and then again in August so you can harvest until the frost comes. You really don't need to plant much or else you will have an overabundance of lettuce. 

You can see how I cut the leaves off instead of waiting for it to grow into an entire head of lettuce.

A lettuce spinner is important when washing garden lettuce. You really need to wash the individual pieces to be sure you've got it clean. This makes for a lot of water on your leaves so the spinner helps take care of that.

Chill in the fridge to crisp it up. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge for 1-2 weeks while you are waiting for more to grow.

Be sure to get as much air out as possible for longer storage.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Your wheat will be more valuable than money

The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of wheat.
~~~~ President Brigham Young

Anyone who has ever been in a situation to rely on their food storage or 72-hour kit will agree with this statement from long ago. All the money in the world can't provide for your family in an event that all the supply lines are cut off.

As James and I have considered the amount of money we need to have saved for our 6 month Emergency Fund, we keep in mind that we have our food storage so we do not need to save enough to cover the cost of groceries every month. This significantly reduced the overall amount we needed to save and helped us reach our goal must faster.

I am also confident that our family likes what we would be eating and I know how to cook it. An organized food storage meal plan really brings a lot of peace.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Spots Remaining in the Dehydrating Class

Thursday, August  4th 1:00 pm Dehydrating Fruit
Cost $1.00 per family
Dehydrating fruit is a simple way to preserve food for later use. We will cover the basics of making your own healthy fruit rolls/snacks for your family and what to look for when purchasing a dehydrator. There will be tasting samples.

All classes will be taught by Tammy Price in her home. Children are always welcome to come and play while you learn. Your older children are welcome to come learn with us. Space is limited to the first 12-15 people so send me a quick email at tamaraprice@lightningcreekpress.com and I will save you a spot. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Raspberry Freezer Jam With Ultra Gel

Raspberry season is here! We have a bumper crop this year so we are so excited! My parents have quite the patch after all these years. Luckily, we live close enough to help with the picking and to enjoy the berries. The kids have a hard time collecting very many in their buckets since they eat 3-4 for every one they put in. My little Emma was especially having fun snitching from the box of picked berries while the rest of us were picking more. I wish I had remembered my camera so I could have taken a picture catching her "red-handed"! I finally had to give up on helping with the picking and just keep her out of the berries - she was eating handfuls at a time! I knew I wanted some we could take home to make jam with - plus I had a cheesecake cooling in the fridge to be our "bedtime" snack with some of the fresh raspberries. I definitely wanted berries for that!

Whenever I pick raspberries or eat the jam we make with them, I think of my grandpa. He developed this particular strain of raspberries when he was working on his Master's Degree at Utah State University. My parents would gather starts from their home every Spring we would visit them until we also had a good size patch.

My grandfather passed away many years ago, but we still all enjoy raspberry jam anytime we stop in for a visit with Grandma. She'll be 92 this year. I'm thankful that raspberries always make me think of them.

Anyway - on to jam making.  I use the same recipe that I do for strawberry jam. You will find that posted here

A potato masher works great to mash the berries. This year I actually stretched the amount of applesauce I used and tasted as I went to make sure it was still tasting like raspberries. I ended up putting almost double the amount of applesauce in and the jam is still delicious! That just means more raspberry jam and more memories for me.

My son, Tim, loved being my helper in the kitchen. The kids always love to use the potato masher. He also loved licking the bowl and spoon when we were done.

If you haven't picked up some Ultra Gel yet, stop waiting. I promise you'll love this jam.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fruit Salad Using Plain Yogurt

For all those who have started making yogurt, here is a quick and delicious fruit salad you can make with it. (For those of you who haven't braved making your own yogurt yet, store bought plain yogurt works just as well.)

Begin with canned peaches, pineapple chunks, and mandarin oranges. You can decide how much of each you would like. 

Drain the fruit. (Freeze the fruit juice to make delicious smoothies later. You'll find the instructions here.)

Place a double layer of paper towels in a colander with a bowl below it. Fill the paper towel with plain yogurt. Allow the yogurt to drain until it is the consistency of sour cream.

Add the yogurt to your bowl of fruit. Sprinkle in a little powdered sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla. Mix. 

If it is a little runnier than you like, stir in a bit of Ultra-Sperse (or Ultra Jel) until it is how you like it.

This salad is cool and refreshing on a hot summer day. It is well liked by kids and adults.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Develop a "Thrifty" Attitude

There is a wise old saying " Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without". Thrift is a practice of not wasting anything. Some people are able to get by because of the absence of expense. They have their shoes resoled, they patch, they mend, they sew, and they save money. They avoid installment buying, and make purchases only after saving enough to pay cash, thus avoiding interest charges.
~~~~ President James E. Faust

This quote is meant to give us an opportunity to reflect on how we are doing as we work to develop a "thrifty" attitude. Those of you who know anyone who was growing up during the Great Depression in America will agree that as a whole, that generation lives this quote. They grew to understand the importance of us making everything last. We can learn a lot from individuals who have adopted this attitude.

Good memories in life are not made of "stuff." They come from the experiences we've had and the people we have grown to love.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This post is for all those out there who missed my bread making class. The ladies who came learned the simple secret to delicious homemade cinnamon swirl bread as well as some tips and tricks for making bread of any kind.

For cinnamon swirl bread, you can use any basic bread dough recipe. You'll find one of our favorites here. Once the dough is finished with its first rise, roll it out into a rectangle that is about as wide as your loaf pan.

Spray the dough with Pam or spread with melted butter.

Sprinkle brown sugar on the dough.

Be sure to get it out almost to the edge.

Sprinkle with Cinnamon and Sugar mixture. (Just mix a little cinnamon with some sugar. I always keep some mixed in one of my old cinnamon bottles so it is ready at all times to make cinnamon toast or sprinkle on a pie or whatever.)

Roll up tightly, beginning on the short side.

Pinch the seam to seal tightly.

Tuck the end under so it will fit your pan and give a nice rounded look to your loaf.

Here it is with both ends tucked under.

Place in a greased loaf pan. Spray the top of the loaf with oil to keep it soft as it rises.

Cover with a towel until it has reached the top of the pans. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy a little slice of heaven!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Popsicles help beat the heat

Much of America is dealing with intense heat - everyone is looking for a great way to cool off. Homemade popsicles are a quick and easy way to have fun with your kids and cool off at the same time.

There are many recipes online for making popsicles. A quick search for popsicle recipes will give you more than you will ever have a chance to make. We've made many different kinds over the years. One of our favorites is pudding pops. You'll find the instructions here. We also freeze leftover yogurt smoothie which makes great popsicles. Use 100% fruit juice and add chopped fruit to make your own fun combinations. We love pineapple juice mixed with mashed bananas. We also stir in some homemade yogurt sometimes to make it creamy.You are only limited by your imagination and your room in the freezer.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Is summer keeping you so busy running that you are out of energy by the time making dinner comes around? That is how I am beginning to feel - My solution is to make a few larger batches of certain items so they can be waiting in the freezer for just one of these nights. "But, I'm feeling that way every night, " you think. I am too quite frankly. These mashed potatoes can be a side dish with many meals so they can come to the rescue many nights in a row if you need them too. You can also load them up like you would a baked potato and have them pass as the main dish. My kids never complain when I put them on the table.

Peel and dice your potatoes. (Many times we leave the peels on and just scrub well.) Boil in water until tender. Drain and place in your mixing bowl. My Kitchen-aid is great for this. I use the wire whip attachment.

Add homemade yogurt, milk and seasonings until it is the consistency you like. Because I never measure my potatoes anymore, I just do it until it looks goods. (My original measurements can be found in the recipe below.) Allow to cool, and package in freezer bags or containers. 

You've heated your kitchen up once and have quite a few nights covered. Next time you grill any meat, this can be your side dish or like I mentioned above, load them up when you reheat them and call them dinner. You won't get any complaints from us.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
These are nice to have in the freezer ready to go for a busy night. They are also great for a holiday dinner. You can just reheat in the crockpot on low for 5–6 hours.

5 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
½ cup reconstituted powdered milk
8 oz cream cheese (plain yogurt)
2 tsp onion powder
1 cup sour cream (plain yogurt)
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain and mash. Mix in remaining ingredients only using enough milk to achieve the consistency you desire. Serve immediately or store in the fridge or freezer for later. Just package in ziplock bags or meal size containers. We also like to add grated cheese, chives, and bacon bits sometimes to dress them up.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fit Those Sealed Cans Wherever You Can

Relief Society stands for self-reliance. The best food storage is not in welfare grain elevators but in sealed cans and bottles in the homes of our people. What a gratifying thing it is to see cans of wheat and rice and beans under the beds or in the pantries of women who have taken welfare responsibility into their own hands.
~~~~ President Gordon B. Hinckley

Don't rely on others to take care of your family if calamity occurs. Hard times of some sort will hit all of us. Find spaces to stash food storage wherever you can until you know you have enough to feed your family for a minimum of 3 months.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mixed fruit juice smoothie

Here is a great use for all the juice you drain off of canned or bottled fruit. I put it in ice cube trays and freeze it. Once it is frozen, I move it to a gallon ziplock bag. When we are ready to make a "Jamba Juice" style smoothie we fill the blender 2/3 of the way up with frozen juice cubes and then add a spoonful of homemade yogurt and some additional fruit juice that has not been frozen. Add a little powdered sugar or honey to sweeten your smoothie, if needed. You can also add fresh or frozen fruit such as bananas, berries, peaches, etc. Be creative and mix and match flavors - we've never had one we didn't like. 

They are especially great for summer time since they are slushy and cold - my boys always fight over who gets the last drop!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

There are a few spots remaining in the Bread Making Basics Class

Monday, July 11th 1:00 pm Bread Making  Basics
Cost $2.00 per family
Bring a loaf pan or a baking sheet. Everyone will leave with a loaf of bread to bake for dinner.

This is a great opportunity to review the steps if it's been awhile since you made bread. If you are new to bread making, you'll walk away thinking it is easy and wonder why you waited so long to give it a try. Join us for a fun-filled afternoon. You'll be taking your loaf home to bake it so your whole house will smell like fresh baked bread - yea!

Children are always welcome to come and play while you learn. Older children are welcome to come learn with us. Space is limited to the first 12-15 people so send me an email at tamara.e.price@gmail.com  if you are interested and I will reserve you a spot

Money Saving Picnic Ideas

We've been out of town spending time with family. We always enjoy the time to visit and and feel recharged when we return. (My kids are sleeping in this morning - they got entirely too little sleep over the weekend. I'm actually amazed that only our little Emma was in meltdown mode by the end of the 8 hour drive yesterday.) Hopefully, all of you built some good memories over the 4th of July weekend as well.

When it comes time for a picnic, many of us automatically think, "Grab something from the drive-through and head to the park." Although this is a fun thing to do every now and then, it can get costly over time.

There are lots of inexpensive, quick options when it comes to packing a picnic. If you want some creative ideas for a new sandwich take a peek at my post here. One thing we like to do is pack sloppy joe filling or taco meat in a thermos to keep it warm. This allows us to have a warm meal at the park.

Last summer we went to Yellowstone for our family vacation and we often packed lunch and dinner to eat as we were out and about. It was nice to have at least one warm meal so the thermos trick worked great for us that whole week.

The other meal that actually works great for a picnic is the Chicken Bistro Twist. Just bake it at home and then wrap in foil to keep warm as you drive to the park. Don't forget to take your knife so you can slice and serve it once you have found your picnic table.

Any of these main dish ideas can be paired with cut up melon, grapes or other fruit for a balanced meal that works well at a park. Carrot or celery sticks are a quick vegetable option as well.

Take a little time to plan ahead for your next outing and know that you'll have a great nutritious meal for a fraction of the cost of take-out!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sour Cream/Cream Cheese Substitute

Once you have figured out making your own yogurt (which is very easy by the way. You'll find a great picture tutorial here.) you will want to experiment with this trick. Line a colander with a double thickness of white paper towel. You can also use cheese cloth or muslin fabric. Place a bowl under the colander to catch the whey that will drain through.

For a sour cream substitute, fill the colander with plain yogurt and allow it to drain 30-45 minutes. It all depends on how thick you would like it. Many casseroles call for sour cream and milk. When this is the case, I actually just use the plain yogurt and don't even drain it. I then omit the milk or only add just a little to get the consistency the casserole needs.

For a cream cheese substitute, allow the yogurt to drain for a few hours or overnight. The yogurt will reduce in half if you leave it long enough. You can then use this in recipes calling for cream cheese. I have not yet tried a baked cheesecake with this substitute, but the no-bake variety works just great! I also use it in vegetable dips or fruit spreads as well as casseroles or mashed potato recipes that call for cream cheese. I have had success every time. You may want to search online for recipes using "yogurt cheese" that is the technical term for this substitute.

This substitute is completely fat free and is much less expensive to make using your powdered milk. So you can feel extra provident by using your powdered milk and saving money at the same time. 

What to do with the whey that you drain off ? This is a high protein liquid that works great to add to bread or muffins in place of the water that is called for. Freeze it if you'd like or just store it in the fridge for a few days and work it into the next recipe that you can.