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My teenaged son and I were talking about the crazy economic week the nation (world!) is having.  I mentioned that the DOW had lost a fourth of its value in a weekend, and gold had gone from $1400/oz to $1800/oz.  He stared at me, and said, "I told you we should have bought gold!" 

Nah, I'm not interested in it- if I pooled all available resouces, I'd be able to buy about one handful of gold.   Wheat, on the other hand, is two cents an ounce (already in a bucket for you at Macey's this week).  And I can eat that.  The line I've repeated to my older children over the last couple years is, "I can't afford gold, but I can afford wheat.  And I can eat wheat."

Are you feeling concerned about the future?  The Lord told us, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear."  (D&C 38:30).  More on that below.  The biggest part is being prepared spiritually- living with faith and trust in the Lord.  He will do what will help us become better, more righteous people.  Trials are essential to that.  Are you also prepared with food and supplies?  I do not advocate rushing out and going into debt to get everything; I do encourage you to pinch and scrape this month to get the most value out of your money, before the value changes again.  Buying the absolute basics- wheat, rice, oil, sugar, dry beans, salt, powdered milk-  will stretch your money the most.  Do you have an entertainment budget for the month?  A budget for dates?  Take that, just this month, and use it for food you can have on hand in your house.  Wheat has doubled in price since 2009; talk about a great investment!  I love eating at 2-years-ago prices. 

Here in Utah we enjoy a phenomenon called The Case Lot Sale.  As best I can tell, this is because of the high concentration of Mormons here and our unique buying habits; we have been taught since the church's early days (1800's) to have plenty of extra food and supplies at home.  The case lot sales are when the stores offer great prices on many items, usually the lowest prices of the year, and sometimes with an extra discount if you buy an entire case of something.  We enjoy the sales once or twice a year, depending on the store.  They are a big part of my budget shopping, along with the price book idea- I buy nearly all of my groceries only when on sale.  When canned green beans hit their best price, I buy enough for the coming year.  Then I don't buy any more for the rest of the year, when they're at least twice the price.  This makes for an expensive Case Lot month, but the months after are much cheaper as a result. 

This week Macey's and Fresh Market both have case lot sales.  See the Deals page for what the best prices are.  All of the long-term-storage foods I've listed there are close to, or cheaper than, the Home Storage Center prices.  The only exception is the Country Cream powdered milk, but it tastes better than the HSC's.  It's still a good deal, too.


The following excerpts from an article are from Ezra Taft Benson, then an Apostle, published in the Ensign magazine, January 1974, entitled “Prepare Ye”.  He repeats D&C 38:30 three times in it (“if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear”), and this talk has been extensively quoted.  It contains at least 12 segments I’ve quoted or heard quoted.  I recommend that you read through the whole talk, and see how many pieces of it you’ve heard before.

Here are some excerpts:

“In Matthew, chapter 24, we learn of “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes. …” (Matt. 24:7.) The Lord declared that these and other calamities shall occur. These particular prophecies seem not to be conditional. The Lord, with his foreknowledge, knows that they will happen. Some will come about through man’s manipulations; others through the forces of nature and nature’s God, but that they will come seems certain. Prophecy is but history in reverse—a divine disclosure of future events.

Yet, through all of this, the Lord Jesus Christ has said: “… if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” (D&C 38:30.)

…At the April 1937 general conference of the Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints], President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., of the First Presidency, asked: “What may we as a people and as individuals do for ourselves to prepare to meet this oncoming disaster, which God in his wisdom may not turn aside from us?” President Clark then set forth these inspired basic principles of the Church welfare program:

“First, and above and beyond everything else, let us live righteously. … Let us avoid debt as we would avoid a plague; where we are now in debt, let us get out of debt; if not today, then tomorrow.  Let us straitly and strictly live within our incomes, and save a little.

Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead. You of small means put your money in foodstuffs and wearing apparel, not in stocks and bonds; you of large means will think you know how to care for yourselves, but I may venture to suggest that you do not speculate. Let every head of every household aim to own his own home, free from mortgage. Let every man who has a garden spot, garden it; every man who owns a farm, farm it.” (Conference Report, April 1937, p. 26.)

There are blessings in being close to the soil, in raising your own food, even if it is only a garden in your yard and/or a fruit tree or two. Man’s material wealth basically springs from the land and other natural resources. Combined with his human energy and multiplied by his tools, this wealth is assured and expanded through freedom and righteousness. Those families will be fortunate who, in the last days, have an adequate supply of each of these particulars.”

 Healthful foods, proper rest, adequate exercise, and a clean conscience can prepare us to tackle the trials that lie ahead.”

 
 
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Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are counseled to have three months’ worth of everyday food on hand, and then store more, longer-term storage foods, where possible.  This has typically been defined as a “Year’s Supply”, at least in the last couple generations.  Having food on hand is an invaluable part of being self-reliant.  It’s insurance, if you will, for times of unexpected illness, disability, unemployment, power outages, or for when a neighbor down the street needs a meal.  It’s also handy for sharing with a local food bank.  (Hint, hint: right now their supplies are very low!)

Once you get three months’ worth, how much will a year’s supply of food cost you?  When you look at your monthly grocery bill, is it overwhelming to think of buying more?  I looked an emergency supply store’s catalog; they advertise a basic year’s supply of food for ‘just’ $1,299.99.  For one person.  They list options of up to $3800 per person per year.  Is it really that much money to get a year’s supply?

Adding up all the 7 essentials, purchasing them mostly at the Home Storage Center, a month’s worth of food for one person is $25.31. This provides about 2200 calories a day; the catalog’s has 2000.

A year’s worth for one adult is $303.86. 

(It was $194.76 in 2010.  That’s an increase of 56%.  How’s that compare to your 401(k)? I’m quite sure food will go up more.  It is a great investment!  Wouldn’t you like to eat at last year’s prices?)

Figure in that you’re getting your year’s supply after building your three-month supply; that knocks it down to getting nine months’worth;

$227.90 per adult

 
SO, if you really want to spend $1299.99 plus tax, you could buy a year’s supply for not just one person, but for FOUR adults.  Yes, it’s different food than the ‘gourmet’ version ($3800), but here’s the counsel we’ve been given:          "We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.” “For longer-term needs….gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time  and that you can use to stay alive (from All is Safely Gathered In, First Presidency pamphlet)

 If you’re storing food for children, plan on 50% of the amount for age 3 and under, 70% for ages 3-6, 90% for ages 7-10, and 100% for ages 11 and up.  Or store as much as you would for an adult, and have enough to share. 

For great recipes using this stored food, see my Favorite Resources page, under "Cooking and Recipes". 
____________________________________
Here is the cost breakdown:

Grains, 300 lbs- if you get 100 lbs each of wheat , rice, and oats, at the Home Storage Centers they cost between $11.45 and $15.45 for 25 lbs. depending on if you get white or red wheat,  rice, quick- or regular- oats.  If you average this out, it will cost you $13.55  per person, per month.  $162.60 per year’s worth. This category doubled in price from early 2010.  Your daily allotted amount would be about 2 ½ cups of flour, or about the size of a loaf of bread.

Milk, 16 lbs is $1.89/lb at the cannery, which is $2.52 per month, $30.24 per year.  Daily amount is just under ¾ cup of reconstituted milk.  This is enough to cook with, not enough to drink very often.  For instance, making your loaf of bread would/could use up this entire amount.

Sugar, 60 lbs is $ .85/lb there, $4.23 per month, $50.76 per year.  Daily amount is just about 1/3 cup, but keep in mind you’ll probably want to use it to help bottle fruit or make jam, as well as for making your bread or breakfast oatmeal.

Oil, 10 qts –this isn’t sold at the cannery, but the last good sale price I found was $2.50 for 1 ½ quarts (48 oz.) At that price, after tax, it’s $1.43 per month, $17.17 per year.  It’s only $14.38 if you buy it at Sam’s Club ($6.98 + tax for 5 qts.)  .)  Daily amount: about 2 ½ teaspoons; will also be used in making bread. Fat is necessary to help you digest fiber, as well as to access the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Salt, 8 lbs- 4# box at Costco or Sam’s Club is a dollar; $ .16 per month, $2 per year.  Daily amount: about 2 tsp. It never hurts to store extra salt; it is an excellent preservative for meats and more.

Legumes, 60 lbs– the cannery sells black beans, pinto, and white, from $16.00 to $18.55 for 25 lbs.  Averaging the prices, it’s  $3.42 a month, $41.09 per year.  Daily amount: about ½ cup dry, or 1 ½ cups cooked.

In addition to the above, storing some water is an essential part of your home storage.  Plan on 1 gallon per person per day, for 2 weeks (14 days).  This is enough to drink, and not much else. 
Water, 14/gal/person-   You can store this for free by using 2- and 3- liter pop bottles, or juice containers (not milk jugs- they break down).  Or use the 5-gallons square jugs or big blue barrels; they’ll run you about $1 per gallon of storage. 

Total daily food allotment: 1 loaf of bread, 1/3 c. sugar for cooking or preserving, 1 ½ cups of beans, 2 ½ tsp. oil, a little salt, ¾ c. of milk.  You won’t get fat on this, but it will keep you alive.  It also stores in a fairly small amount of space.


When you’re done storing these items, you might decide to add a few ‘gourmet’ items- spices, flavorings,  and unsweetened cocoa are high on my list here, as are non-hybrid garden seeds.  Practice growing them now; you can save seeds from what you grow, for next year’s crop.

Notice that the costs were just for food, not containers to store them in. Most of my storage containers cost nothing.   You CAN get buckets for free, with a little effort- most bakeries give them away; all their frostings and fillings come in those buckets.  Plan on washing them at home.  There are two main sizes; 5 gallon and 2 ½  gallon.  I keep packages of dried fruit in the smaller buckets, also cornmeal or other things that I don’t use as much.  They are a great size for a pantry, too.  Some of the buckets have gaskets, some don’t.  The ones that don’t seal well are still good for storing sugar.

If you want all your wheat, powdered milk, sugar, and legumes in #10 cans from the cannery, it will cost you $86 more to get a full year’s worth, $65 to do 9 months.

I don’t can my wheat, sugar, or beans because we go through large quantities; one batch of bread would use a whole can.  It’s pretty silly storage for me.  Besides, it’s easier for me to find space for 10 buckets than 60 #10 cans; they hold about the same amount of food.

 
 
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Light, fluffy, and springy homemade marshmallows.

Two quotes have been on my mind lately, they are:

“Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program."  - Spencer W. Kimball

* * * * * * *

“ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” -2 Timothy 1:7

God is aware of us, and offers his love and power, as we keep trying to become the kind of person he intends us to be.  Are we adjusting our way of life to become more self-reliant? I know he blesses us as we do.

____________________________
 


This is a recipe my mom made every Easter; she made marshmallow eggs, dipped them in chocolate, and decorated them with a flower and our name.  We made marshmallows other times of the year, too, in just a simple square shape.  There are recipes available that use less gelatin; they are egg-white based.  This recipe, however, is as simple and quick as you can get, and doesn’t require heating sugar syrup to soft-ball.  These are also egg-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free.  There’s even a version that uses honey instead of table sugar.  To get instructions for making marshmallow  eggs or chicks (“Peeps”), seehere.


Mom’s Marshmallows

2 c. sugar                                                                  
3 envelopes (2 Tbsp.) unflavored gelatin
1 c. water
¼  tsp. salt, optional 

1 tsp. vanilla
 Powdered sugar and/or cornstarch for dusting

Combine gelatin and sugar in a small pan, stir in water and salt, if using.  Heat just until sugar is dissolved, then bring just to boiling.  Remove from heat and cool about 5 minutes.  Stir in vanilla, transfer to a large bowl.  Beat at high speed about 10 minutes or until it looks like thick marshmallow cream.  Pour into buttered 9x13 pan.  Let set a couple hours.  With clean scissors dipped in hot water or shortening, cut into squares.  Roll in powdered sugar and/or cornstarch.  Store airtight, unless you like them crunchy!


Flavored marshmallows:  Instead of the 2 c. sugar and the gelatin, use 1 c. sugar, 1 big (6-oz) box of flavored ‘Jello’, and 1 envelope (2- 2 ½ tsp.) unflavored gelatin.

Naturally flavored marshmallows:  Use fruit juice in place of water, and reduce sugar by 1-2 Tbsp.  Use vanilla or any other complementary flavor.  Almond extract is great with cherry juice; orange oil, zest, or extract is good with strawberry, lemon oil/zest/extract with raspberry, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon with apple juice….  Just don’t use oils in an egg white-based marshmallow recipe; it won’t whip.  Jell-0 brand  gelatin says that it won’t set if you use “fresh or frozen Pineapple, Kiwi, Gingerroot, Papaya, Figs, or Guava.”  So be aware those might not make marshmallows, either.

Chocolate marshmallows:  Add 1/3 c. cocoa to the mixture before whipping. Use the optional salt.

Toasted-Coconut marshmallows- toast 1 ½ cups of fine-flake coconut.  Take any shape marshmallows, after they’ve set up, and spray them with a fine mist of water or roll them on a lightly wet surface.  Roll them in the coconut.   If you don’t have fine-flake coconut, put two cups of regular sweetened shredded coconut in a food processor.  Pulse until the pieces are mostly under ¼” long.

Honey marshmallows: use 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. honey instead of the 2 c. sugar.  Reduce water to ¾ c.  Or use a 2/3 batch: ¾ c. honey, ½ c. water, 2 packages unflavored gelatin.  These would be good with a little lemon extract/oil, or 1 c. fine flake (macaroon) coconut stirred in at the end.  Using a couple tbsp. of lemon juice in place of some of the water may work, but having a lot of Vitamin C prevents the gelatin from setting properly.  I wouldn’t use fresh lemon for sure, only bottled.  If it doesn’t set, you’ll know why.  If it does set, I’d love to know!
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This batch was made with tart cherry juice instead of water.  Normally the mixture is off-white before beating.

After you combine the gelatin, sugar, and water, you only need to bring it to a boil.  You don't need any particular temperature, just make sure the sugar and gelatin have dissolved.

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Prepare your pan while the mixture cools a few minutes.  For square marshmallows, just butter a 9x13 pan.  For eggs, fill couple pans with a 1-inch-deep layer of flour.  Make egg-shaped indentations to mold your marshmallow eggs.  A clean egg from the fridge, or a big spoon for big eggs.

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Pour gelatin mixture into a big bowl (a standing mixer is ideal), add vanilla, and start beating it on high speed.

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This is mostly beaten.  It will set up great at this point, but if you want puffier eggs or chicks, keep beating.


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This is thick and fluffy, perfect.  It holds its shape pretty well.  Pour into your prepared pan, and let set up, at room temperature, for a couple hours, until firm.

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Cutting square marshmallows is easiest with  scissors.   You can dip them in hot water or grease them.  A quick way is to poke them down into a container of shortening or coconut oil.  After snipping, roll them in more powdered sugar or cornstarch.  Store tightly covered.

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This is the yield of a whole batch of marshmallows.  Well, almost a whole batch.  We had to taste-test, you know...!

 
 
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Mmm...meatballs!

This quote was recently brought to my attention; it’s from some training that our General Relief Society President recently gave.  It is motivating and assuring at the same time.  I am grateful for wise and loving leaders, as well as the Spirit, to guide us.  I know they teach truth.

Below it  is a very adaptable recipe for meatballs/meatloaf.      

-Rhonda

 

“I have a sense and a feeling as we have watched some of these disasters in the world, that this is a time for us to learn and prepare from these experiences.   The preparation happens in our own homes. There are not enough tents in the world to furnish every person with a tent unless the members of the church have a tent in their own homes...a simple thing like that. And then the storehouse is pressed down, heaped over and running over in our own homes. Some of you have student apartments, how prepared are you? If an earthquake or an economic disaster happened, would you have enough water to drink for 24 hours? Would you be able to get by until help could come to you? Those are the kind of the things we need to be thinking about in our day and time, the Lord expects us to do our little part and then He can bring on the miracles and then we don't need to fear.  I bear you my testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and that these principles will strengthen us individually, and as a family, and as a people, and as a church.  As we listen to prophets of God we will be okay.  We don’t need to worry about being alive in this scary time.  The world has had scary times before and the Lord has always taken care of His people who have been faithful.

 –  Julie B. Beck  

see herefor her whole video clip, then click on Training Video: Self-Reliance


Meatballs and meatloaf are essentially the same food; only the size differs.  Burgers or patties can be the same recipe, too.  In the simplest version, you simply salt and season meat, then form and cook it.  To end up with tender, juicy results, you either use higher-fat meat, or use something to help hold the moisture in.  Many recipes call for crushed crackers or dry breadcrumbs, but the most tender results come from making a panade, which is a bread-and-milk paste.  You can also use, in the same amount as the panade,  mashed or grated potato, cooked rice, leftover cooked oatmeal (unsweetened!) or other hot cereal for this. This would make the meatballs be gluten-free.  Dry crumbs soak up more moisture, leaving you with a drier result.  Egg is usually used as a binder, to hold the meat together. And try to not squeeze the meat very much when you’re mixing it; compressed meat is tough.  Other than that, use whatever flavor additions you prefer –


Onion, garlic, ground pepper, Worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, raw pork sausage, Parmesan or other cheese, parsley, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, Liquid Smoke, bacon pieces, diced chili peppers, shredded zucchini or carrot, chopped mushrooms, bits of sundried tomatoes, chopped spinach.  

 
 For quick, simple meals later on, make a BIG batch of meatloaf, and shape it into

* a couple meatloaves

*rolled meatloaf- pat into a rectangle on some waxed paper, spread on some filling (cheese and spinach, or whatever sounds good), roll it up with the help of the waxed paper.  (Don’t leave the paper inside it!)

*some meatballs

*mini meat loaves (portions to bake in muffin tins or custard cups)
*patties

 Freeze on cookie sheets so they won’t stick together, either before or after cooking them, then pop into freezer bags, squeeze the air out, label and freeze.

For several flavor variations, click on   Tender and Moist Meatloaf and Meatballs .

Tender and Moist Meatballs or Meatloaf


2 slices good-quality white bread, cut in ¼” cubes (1 ½ c.)
3 Tbsp. buttermilk, thinned yogurt or sour cream- milk works but is less creamy
1 egg
1 ½ lbs. lean burger (may use pork sausage as part of this)
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼- ½ c. Parmesan cheese
¼ c. minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine the bread, buttermilk, and egg, or use 1/2 c. other wet starch (i.e. cooked rice, oatmeal, mashed potato), with the egg, omitting buttermilk.  Mash together until it forms a paste. Add everything else and mix gently.  Form into meatballs, 1- 2” in diameter.  If you’re cooking them right away, they’ll hold together better if you first refrigerate them for an hour. To cook, pan-fry over medium heat in 1-2 Tbsp. oil, shaking the pan often to turn the meatballs.  1 ½” meatballs should be done in about 10 minutes.  Add to sauce, or cool and freeze.

Another way to cook them is:

Put meatballs on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet back-to-front halfway through.  Partially cool, then freeze.


Meatloaf:

Mix, form into a loaf, and bake for 1 hour @ 350 F. Before the last 15 minutes, brush with
Meatloaf glaze:

1/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. cider vinegar
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This is the panade mixed with the seasonings; eggs are mixed in before adding the meat.  There are so many eggs because this is for a ten-pound batch of meatballs/loaf.

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Fully mixed.  A small icecream scoop (this is a #10) makes quick work of meatballs.   Another way to make evenly-sized ones is to pat the meat in a square or rectangle, then cut them into evenly-sized small squares.  Roll each one.  One pound of meatball mixture will give you about 30 1-inch balls.

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Put the meatballs on a lightly greased or sprayed cookie sheet.  For the roundest meatballs, roll them between your hands.  You can bake them now, and freeze them already cooked, or freeze them raw.  Put the whole tray in the freezer.  When they're solid, remove and put the meatballs in a freezer-safe bag or container.  Squeeze out the extra air, label, and put back in the freezer. 

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The individually-frozen meatballs packaged and ready to go in the freezer. They're best if used within a few months, but they'll be safe to eat for much longer.  (I've used 2-year-old meatballs before.)

 
 
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Eggs, flour, and water make delicious homemade noodles.

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Do you have most of a turkey left over? Or do you have a rotisserie or roasted chicken?  Or even some fried chicken that's nothing but bones now?   It's perfect for making soup.  Really good soup.  It's simple and easy.  There are a lot of herbs and vegetables listed in the broth recipe, which may seem intimidating, but keep in mind the old story of Stone Soup..... each ingredient makes it a little better, but if you don't have something, the soup will still be good.  You make the broth a few hours ahead of time, then add the noodles right before serving- fresh pasta takes only about 3 minutes to cook.  This makes a lot of broth- it freezes well.  Save some for another day. 

Turkey Broth- for chicken, use half as much of everything

The bones from your turkey (with a little meat on still) -   
Water to cover
1 big handful of parsley
1 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
2 carrots, cut in 1" chunks
2 stalks of celery with leaves, chopped
2 onions, quartered
5-10 peppercorns
5 whole cloves
1 Tbsp. salt to start with

I like to add a little cayenne pepper to the soup if someone is feeling  under the weather.
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The perfect ratio of bone-to-meat is 50/50, but anything will give you broth.  Combine everything in a stock pot, large Dutch oven, or crockpot.  Let simmer or bake, mostly covered, for at least one hour but preferably 4+ hours, until the broth is brown and any remaining meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.  Less time will still give you soup, just not as flavorful.  If you leave the lid off, it will steam up your kitchen windows but will reduce and concentrate the flavor.  A happy medium is to have the lid mostly-on.

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Once you decide the broth is done, pour into a colander over a large bowl.  Pour the broth back into your stock pot, and start sorting through to get the bits of meat.  Try to get every little bit and you may be surprised how much meat was left on a bird you thought was picked clean.
Plan on this taking about 30 minutes; less for a chicken but often more for a large turkey.

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I now have two bowls from the contents of the colander- meat on the left, parts I'm discarding on the right.  If you don't have any tiny bones mixed in with the well-cooked vegetables (I call them 'dead vegetables' at this point!), you can put the veggies in a blender and use it as a base for gravy or soup.

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Beautiful, rich brown broth.  A sign of a good broth, or stock, is that it will gel when cooled.  That's because the bones, with long cooking, release natural gelatin; it adds body and nutrition.

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Skim off fat.  You can save it for cooking with later.  
If you have time, it's easiest to remove when you've chilled the broth overnight to let the fat solidify on top. To make the chicken noodle soup, put it in a big pot and bring to a boil while you're making the noodles.  I usually add in a couple diced carrots and a rib of chopped celery, too.  Taste to see if it needs more salt.

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Freeze and label any leftover broth. I like to use 1-quart-sized freezer ziptop bags; the broth on the right was frozen in muffin cups, for the times I just need a little broth. It will be good at least 3-6 months in the freezer.  I've kept it longer, it hasn't ever gone bad, but may pick up a little funny flavor from whatever else is in the freezer after too long.

Homemade Noodles  -double or triple for a bigger family- my family will eat a 3-cup batch of noodles in soup in one sitting)

1  c. flour
1 egg
2-3 Tbsp. water

Put flour and salt in a bowl or on the counter, stir, and make a deep well in the middle of it.  Put the egg in the well, beat the egg lightly with a fork, add water, and stir to make a stiff dough.  Turn out onto floured counter and knead until smooth, about 3-4 minutes.   Let rest 10 minutes.  (You don't have to do this, but it rolls out more easily if you do.)  Roll out into a rectangle, very thin, about 1/8" thick or less, on a floured counter.  Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut into long strips 1/4-1/2 inch wide.  Cut crosswise so each noodle is only 2-3 inches long.  Lift off the counter using a pancake turner, dump into the boiling broth.   They'll be done in only three minutes, when they float.


Here's a quote for today:


Ezra Taft Benson

"I would respectfully urge you to live by the fundamental principles of work, thrift, and self-reliance, and to teach your children by your example.  It was never intended in God's divine plan that man should live off the labor of someone else.  Live within your own earnings.  Put a portion of those earnings regularly into savings.  Avoid unnecessary debt.  Be wise by not trying to expand too rapidly.  Learn to manage well what you have before you think of expanding further.  This is the kind of advice I would give my own, and is, in my opinion, the key to sound home, business, and government management.

"I would further counsel you to pay your honest tithes and contribute generously to the support of the poor and needy through the fast offerings.  Then store at least a year's supply of basic food, clothing, and fuel.  Then you will find these blessings will accrue: You will not be confronted with the danger of losing all you have because of inflation or depression.  You will have security that no government can provide---savings and supplies for emergencies" (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 262-263).

 
 
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You, too, can be just two minutes away from a personal-sized warm cake.   One minute to find a cake-mix box and mix 1/2 cup of it with 1/4 c. water, one minute to microwave.  This one is yellow-cake 'warm delights' with chocolate frosting.  My favorite is chocolate cake with a couple mini chocolate-almond bars broken into it.

Great for those smaller households or college students! 

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OK, I think this looks like a bowl of Cream of Wheat. It's really yellow cake with 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon sugar swirled on top before cooking.  Yum. 
I know the cake mix calls for eggs, but I made this mini version both without eggs and with the right (tiny) amount- they were nearly identical.  The batch with egg in it rose a little bit higher, but that was about it.  Not worth dividing an egg for.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for the complete recipe.

 (originally 5/21/10)

The LDS Church has a wonderful, helpful website, providentliving.org.  The name got me thinking, what does ‘provident’ really mean?  I know the general idea, but what are the details of it?  So here’s what I found.  Some synonyms for it are: careful, conserving, frugal, prepared, prudent, scrimping , thrifty, vigilant, wise.


Antonyms include careless, extravagant, shortsighted, wasteful.

So basically it means being wise with your resources and planning ahead. Right along with ‘self-reliance’, it means planning so that you “rely on yourself” in emergencies or difficulties, not on the city, or the government, or the church, or your neighbor’s food storage.  We’ll share, and you know it, but if you’re prepared, then you have the blessing of helping others instead  of using resources up faster.  We have the safety nets of family, church, and community in place, and sometimes we have to use them, but we are to plan so we have to rely on those backups as little as possible.  Don’t make your Plan A “have someone rescue me”.  That’s Plan B or Plan C.  Or D.  The Visiting Teaching message from January 2010 included this from Sister Julie B. Beck:

“‘Self-reliance means using all of our blessings from Heavenly Father to care for ourselves and our families and to find solutions for our own problems.’ Each of us has a responsibility to try to avoid problems before they happen and to learn to overcome challenges when they occur. …

“How do we become self-reliant? We become self-reliant through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education, and literacy; by managing money and resources wisely, being spiritually strong, preparing for emergencies and eventualities; and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being.”1


So there’s a lot to it, but think about this one:  are you preparing for emergencies and whatever else may/will eventually happen?  Earthquakes, job loss, sickness, car repairs…prayerfully put plans in place to avoid and overcome these challenges.  “Organize yourselves, prepare every needful thing”- D&C 88:119.  If you need any help on your journey to provident living, your visiting teachers will be glad to help; I will too. Pat yourself on the back for what you’ve already done, and figure out what’s next.   I know that the Lord will bless you as your exercise faith in this principle.

* * * * * * *  

“Warm Delights” copycat  (10 cents per serving when cake mixes are on sale….)

½ cup any flavor cake mix       
1/4 cup water

Microwave in a bowl for 1 minute, let stand a couple minutes to cool. 

If you like, add before cooking: 1 Tbsp. chocolate chips/chunks or a few Hershey’s kisses for Molten Chocolate, a few unwrapped, quartered caramels, or a generous sprinkle of cinnamon sugar lightly swirled in;   use your imagination!  After cooking, add a drizzle of caramel topping, lemon sauce, fudge sauce, whatever sounds good.  For upside-down German Chocolate, mix together 1-2 Tbsp. cream cheese, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1-2 tsp. coconut.  Dollop on top before cooking the cake. 

One cake mix will yield about 9 of these.     Or use Bisquick: 1/3 c. mix, 1 ½ Tbsp. sugar, 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa with 1/4 cup water.
 
 
Picture
from photos8.com

(originally 7/08/10)

Here in the Salt Lake Valley, we still have a couple months of the growing season left; it’s not too late to plant some things.  Beans, beets, carrots, and turnips are good ones to put in right now.  You can even grow cool-season crops like peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, and cabbage, if you wait a couple more weeks for temperatures to drop a bit.

Here are a few quick tips for growing tomatoes- 

*fertilize with 1 Tbsp. nitrogen (34-0-0) at four and eight weeks after transplanting.  For me, that’s right about now. Put the fertilizer on the ground, to the side of the plant.  Gardeners call this “side dressing”.

*Give them 1-2 inches of water per week, water deeply and infrequently.  To know how often to water, dig a 4” deep hole, feel the soil at the bottom.  If it feels cool and moist, you don’t need water yet.  Wait until the top four inches dry out, then water again.  Mulch around them to keep moisture in and to reduce weeds.  *It will take about 25-35 days for a flower to become a ripe tomato.  It seems to speed up ripening if you break off a few little branches.  This tells the plant it had better hurry up and produce seeds before something happens to it.


for more info on tomatoes, including what causes blossom end rot: http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/HG_2004-05.pdf

info on planting beans:

http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/pub__7948214.htm

and information on growing about any fruit, vegetable, or herb: 

https://extension.usu.edu/yardandgarden/htm/vegetables-fruits-herbs    

Here are a couple great quotes I ran across recently:

"Self-reliance is a product of our work and under-girds all other welfare practices. It is an essential element in our spiritual as well as our temporal well-being. Regarding this principle, President Marion G. Romney has said: “Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle. Salvation is an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation in temporal as well as in spiritual things.” - (In Welfare Services Meeting Report, 2 Oct. 1976, p. 13.), quoted in “In the Lord’s Own Way” Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, May 1986

"There is more salvation and security in wheat than in all the political schemes of the world". - Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, 2:207  Or in whatever food you end up storing.

Now for the recipes:

The two below are almost the same thing:  the first is stiff because of the large amount of milk powder and powdered sugar, the second starts with the same ratio of PB and honey, but thickens it up with cereal/oats and just a little milk powder.  Just goes to show you can do your own variations if you like.  On those days that we’re out of bread and don’t know what to do for lunch, we’ll whip up a batch of these Peanut Butter Fingers (though we usually shape them in balls) and eat those.  It’s our peanut-butter-sandwich, fun-sized.  If you go by what the PB jar says is a serving (2 Tbsp.), the PB Fingers recipes only feeds 3 people. 

 

 Edible Playdough  - makes about 2 cups’ worth, 1 ¼ lbs.

1   cup   peanut butter   
1   cup   dry milk powder   
1   cup   powdered sugar   
1/2   cup   honey   

Mix peanut butter and honey together until smooth.  Stir in milk powder, then add powdered sugar.  Stir as much as you can, then dump out on counter and knead with your hands until it all sticks together.

 
           Peanut Butter Fingers  (small batch)

Yield: about 20  (2”) "fingers"

1/3   cup   peanut butter   
3   Tbsp.   honey   
1/2   cup   corn flakes   
1/2   cup   quick-cooking rolled oats   
1/4   cup   dry milk powder   
1/4   cup   raisins or dried fruit bits    
Sesame seed, if you like   

In a medium mixing bowl stir together the peanut butter and honey until smooth.  Put corn flakes in a plastic sandwich bag.  Close the open end.  With your fist, crush the corn flakes into small pieces.  Add corn flakes, oats, milk powder, and raisins to the peanut butter mixture in the bowl.  With your hands, mix well.  If mixture is too dry to hold together, mix in a few drops of water. 

       Using a well-rounded teaspoonful for each, shape into logs 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide, or about the size of your finger.     Spread the sesame seed (if you're using it) in a pie plate.  Roll peanut butter fingers in the sesame seed.      Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.  If they don’t disappear first.

 
 
 
Picture
(originally from 8/5/10)
Do you have garden produce yet?  Or are you seeing it at farmers' markets?  We got the first yellow summer squash of the year yesterday.  This is exciting!  Unfortunately, we don’t have zucchini at all because one of my little people stepped on the plants just as they were coming up.  I replanted, but didn’t water well enough that first week…


Fortunately, I still have frozen zucchini from last year.  I used to shred it and freeze it in quart bags, which was the proper amount for a double batch of my zucchini bread, but didn’t like how it thawed.  It separated into water and strings of fiber.  That’s kind of baffling to cook with.  There’s a much better way-  puree it! Chop the zucchini into chunks small enough to fit down your blender, and buzz until smooth.  A bonus is that the texture of your baked goods will be smoother. 

Our favorite recipe to use it is Lemon Zucchini Bread.  It has a little more flavor if you use fresh lemons, but is still good using bottled lemon juice and dried lemon zest.  Or use your lemon-zest-sugar, (find it in the archives under 'homemade orange seasoning', in the Spices or Seasonings category, right. And FYI, Zucchini bread, since it’s a ‘quick bread’, is simply a variation on the muffin recipe.   To see for yourself, go look at the 'Anything-Goes' Muffin recipe.                                          

 *  *  *  *  * 
Now, for the thought of the week- a First Presidency message from 1984, reprinted in the Ensign last year as one of the ‘classics’- “The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance”.  Or, ‘what does self-reliance have to do with eternal life’? Think about it: Is food/money/water storage a suggestion or a commandment?  This article has something for any of us to work on- whether you haven’t started, are a little ways into it, making a lot of progress, or have built up all your reserves.  I HIGHLY recommend re-reading the whole article, below is a condensed piece of it:

 “Since the beginning of time man has been counseled to earn his own way, thereby becoming self-reliant. It is easy to understand the reason the Lord places so much emphasis on this principle when we come to understand that it is tied very closely to freedom itself.

Now, I wish to speak of a very important truth: self-reliance is not the end, but a means to an end.

Doctrine and Covenants 29:34–35 tells us there is no such thing as a temporal commandment, that all commandments are spiritual. It also tells us that man is to be “an agent unto himself.” Man cannot be an agent unto himself if he is not self-reliant. Herein we see that independence and self-reliance are critical keys to our spiritual growth.  Whenever we get into a situation which threatens our self-reliance, we will find our freedom threatened as well.  If we increase our dependence, we will find an immediate decrease in our freedom to act.

The key to making self-reliance spiritual is in using the freedom to comply with God’s commandments.”

For the whole article, which I know can bless everyone’s life,  go to The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance at lds.org.

If using fresh lemons for this recipe, you'll need two. 

Lemon-Zucchini Bread


1 lb. zucchini or other summer squash (4 c. loosely packed, or 2 cups pureed)
¼ c. lemon juice*
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon zest, OR ½ tsp. lemon extract, OR 1/8 tsp (16 drops)    lemon essential oil
2 c. sugar
½ c. oil
3 eggs
3 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 c. chopped walnuts, optional

Place lemon juice, zest, sugar, and oil in a bowl and beat.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Stir in flour and baking powder, then add zucchini and nuts.  Pour into two greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans.   Or use three 8x4 pans.  Bake at 375 degrees about 50 minutes (40 for 8x4 pans) or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Wrap or bag when completely cool. The flavor is even better the next day.


See the blender-mixing-method here.  

 *An acceptable substitute for lemon juice in this recipe is 1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider vinegar is better but not necessary) and a little bit extra lemon zest, extract, or essential oil.

 
 
 
Picture
Caramel Bread Pudding using leftover bread.  This batch was made from some loaves I accidentally left cooking while I went to my son's concert.  Good thing it was short!!!  I trimmed off the burnt outside, then cubed it.

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For some recipes, the drier and staler your bread, the better! 

(original date: 9/10/10)


This week I’ve got a couple recipes to help you ‘re-purpose’ some of that bread that might otherwise end up in the garbage.  If it’s dry, great!  If it’s crumbling, great! If it’s stale, perfect!  The only time you don’t use it is if it’s moldy.  Even then it’s still good for the compost pile, if it’s in an enclosed container to keep out rodents.  Meanwhile, here’s some food for thought from Brigham Young, one of the most practical of people.

My faith does not lead me,” President Young said, “to think the Lord will provide us with roast pigs, bread already buttered, etc.; he will give us the ability to raise the grain, to obtain the fruits of the earth, to make habitations, to procure a few boards to make a box, and when harvest comes, giving us the grain, it is for us to preserve it—to save the wheat until we have one, two, five, or seven years’ provisions on hand, until there is enough of the staff of life saved by the people to bread themselves and those who will come here seeking for safety. … [The fulfillment of that prophecy is yet in the future.]

“Ye Latter-day Saints, learn to sustain yourselves. …  

“Implied faith and confidence in God is for you and me to do everything we can to sustain and preserve ourselves. …  

“You have learned a good deal, it is true; but learn more; learn to sustain yourselves; lay up grain and flour, and save it against a day of scarcity. …  

“Instead of searching after what the Lord is going to do for us, let us inquire what we can do for ourselves.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, Deseret Book, 1966 ed., pp. 291–93.) , quoted in Marion G. Romney, “Church Welfare Services’ Basic Principles,” Ensign, May 1976


Today’s recipes give you a couple good ways to not waste that dried-out, stale, or crumbly bread.  We have a little problem at our house with the heels of the bread- somehow I always find a heel or two in a bag at the back of the cupboard, dried out by then, of course.  Those either get turned into croutons or French toast right away, or get stuck in my ‘old bread’ bag in the freezer.  When I have enough, we make stuffing or bread pudding.



Homemade Croutons

 Cut bread into cubes and turn it into croutons: either sauté in, or drizzle with, olive oil or melted butter (1 Tbsp. for each 1-4 slices),  sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, dill, oregano, parsley, Parmesan cheese, ranch dressing mix (1/2 pkgs per loaf of bread), or anything that sounds like a good idea. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until dry and crispy.  Spread on a paper towel to cool, store when cool in a ziptop bag.  They’ll keep for a good couple of weeks, if you don’t eat them first.

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The ideal bread pudding is custard-y and creamy inside with a little bit of crunch on the outside. 
Basic Bread Pudding

12 slices bread, cut in 1” squares, (the more stale, the better! – or bake them)
½ -1 cup raisins, soaked, optional
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
3-6 eggs (less makes it more dry, more makes more of a custard)
¾- 1 ½ cups sugar, to suit your tastes, white or brown
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tsp.vanilla
½ tsp. salt
3 c. hot milk- ideally half-and-half, or one 12-oz can evaporated milk and 1 ½ c. milk
pinch ground nutmeg

 Mix together the bread, raisins, and cinnamon.  Dump into a 9x13 pan.  Using the same bowl as before, beat the eggs, then stir in sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt.  Mix until sugar dissolves.  Slowly mix in the hot milk.  Pour all of this over the bread, sprinkle with nutmeg, and let sit for 5-20 minutes to soak.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until center is set and a knife inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.  If you bake this in a hot water bath, it will come out more custardy.  Serve warm.  Very nice with a dollop of whipped cream, scoop of ice cream, or a drizzle of some kind of sweet sauce (vanilla sauce, caramel sauce, rum sauce, maple syrup, etc.)

 Variations: Use any dried or chopped fruit in this, (this is a great way to use those two lonely, shriveled apples sitting on your countertop!), shredded coconut, cocoa or melted chocolate (2-4 squares), chocolate chips, pecans or other nuts, rum extract, orange extract or zest.

For the liquid, you can substitute eggnog, hot chocolate, coconut milk, and about anything that sounds good.  One great combination is shredded coconut with chocolate milk..... 

 Even if you think you don’t like bread pudding, you’ll probably love this one:

 Caramel Bread Pudding- fills a 9x13 pan

15 slices good-quality white bread, cut into 1” pieces (about 16 cups)- baked until crisp (about 10 minutes at 450 degrees)
1 ½ sticks butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
¼ c. corn syrup or honey
5 tsp. vanilla, divided
3 c. half-and-half, or use  the last ½ cup evaporated milk from your can (above),use whole milk for the remaining 2 ½ cups here.  
5 large eggs

 

Melt butter and sugar together in a saucepan on medium-high heat.  Stir about 4 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.  Remove from heat and stir in cream or evaporated milk, corn syrup, and 2 tsp. vanilla.  Pour one cup of this caramel into a greased 9x13 pan.  Set aside one more cup of caramel, to use as topping later.  To the remaining caramel, add the half-and-half (or mixture of evaporated milk and whole milk).  Beat the eggs together, then whisk in the half-and-half mixture a little at a time.  Add remaining vanilla.  Fold in the bread, and let sit until soaked through, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. Put bread mixture into the 9x13 pan, bake about 40-45 minutes, until the top is crisp and the custard is barely set.  Serve warm, with the reserved cup of caramel drizzled on top.

 
 
 
I keep finding myself going back to one specific talk for perspective, so here’s a piece of it.  The part in parenthesis below is from me, the rest is straight from a talk that has appeared THREE TIMES in the Ensign (the law of witnesses, anyone?)

“There is an interdependence between those who have and those who have not. The process of giving (through voluntary, not confiscatory, means) exalts the poor and humbles the rich. In the process, both are sanctified. The poor, released from the bondage and limitations of poverty, are enabled as free men to rise to their full potential, both temporally and spiritually. The rich, by imparting of their surplus, participate in the eternal principle of giving. Once a person has been made whole, or self-reliant, he reaches out to aid others, and the cycle repeats itself.

“We are all self-reliant in some areas and dependent in others. Therefore, each of us should strive to help others in areas where we have strengths. At the same time, pride should not prevent us from graciously accepting the helping hand of another when we have a real need. To do so denies another person the opportunity to participate in a sanctifying experience.

“One of the three (now four) areas emphasized in the mission of the Church is to perfect the Saints, and this is the purpose of the welfare program. This is not a doomsday program, but a program for our lives here and now, because now is the time for us to perfect our lives.” (Marion G. Romney, “The Celestial Nature of Self-RelianceEnsign, Mar 2009, 61–65.  Originally given in Conference October 1982, also the First Presidency Message, Oct. 1984

I know that we are to serve each other in whatever capacities we can, and the more self-reliant we become, the more we can emulate the Savior in serving others.  That’s the purpose of self-reliance; to more fully become like our Savior.

 

 Below is a favorite recipe at our house.  And I love knowing that my family is not getting any preservatives, bad fats, or fillers, for less money as well.  The recipe method is essentially the same as breading  any cut of meat, only you don’t need to pound the meat out thin, you cut the pieces instead.  I use scissors for this. (Clean them with bleach or peroxide afterwards!)

 Chicken Nuggets

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 whole medium)
¼ c. flour
¼ tsp. paprika (OK without)
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 beaten egg
2 Tbsp. milk
25 crackers, crushed (about ¾-1 cup; yummiest if they’re cheese crackers or Ritz-type); you can also use crushed cornflakes, or dry breadcrumbs with a little salt.

 
Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut chicken into 1 ½” cubes.  Put chicken, flour, paprika, and pepper in a quart- or gallon-sized ziptop bag.  Shake to coat. 

Mix egg and milk together, then dip the floured chicken pieces into it.  Roll in the cracker crumbs. Spread, single layer, on a cookie sheet, and baked for 10-12 minutes or until the thickest one is no longer pink in the center. Serves 4. 

Leftover flour and cracker crumbs can be frozen to use for the same thing another time, or use them as part of your ingredients in a batch of cornbread, muffins, breadsticks, or hushpuppies.  Just make sure they get cooked.

 Serve with catsup, honey, BBQ sauce, or honey-mustard sauce.

 
Honey-Mustard Sauce

1 Tbsp. cornstarch (or 2 Tbsp. flour)
½ c. water
¼ c. honey
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 tsp. Dijon mustard (OK with regular mustard too)
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder

 Stir together the cornstarch and a bit of the water, to make a smooth paste.  Add the rest of the water and the honey.  Simmer until thickened (about 1- 1 ½  minute in the microwave).  Add all else.

 Use for a dipping sauce, for a glaze on baked meats, or as a spread in sandwiches.  Keeps longest in the fridge.