If you are new to this blog . . .

If you are new to this blog you may want to check out the post on putting together a food storage meal plan so you can better understand how this blog is organized.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

On Being Provident and Teaching our Children

To be provident means to plan with the future in mind.

It is not just about food storage. Living these principles prepares us to be of better service to our Father in Heaven. If the choices we make today relieve stress tomorrow or in the future, then we are much more capable of reaching out and serving those around us. 

Learning skills and getting good at doing things builds confidence which also makes us more able to serve. These principles are so important for us as adults to learn, but also for us to teach to our children. Here is a list to get you thinking about what you could do with your children to teach them some of these priniciples.

Think: Basic Skills

Perfect for Activity Days and Cub Scouts  or Young Men and Young Women
But also great for summer fun or FHE at your own home with kids or grandkids!

1. Bread making or pizza dough from scratch.
2. Make pancakes, cupcakes, cookies, or no-bake items from scratch, instead of a mix.
3. Make lasagna, manicotti, or baked ziti. Make a couple of extra batches to share with new moms in your ward that they can freeze and use when needed. Choose a different freezer meal, if desired
4.  Have a baking talent show complete with judges. Youth bring items they have baked as entries.
5. Create a recipe collection of simple, easy to make recipes that youth can take with them on missions or to college. These recipes should be from scratch using basic ingredients available in all countries. This could be something done over a few months. Each month, one or two youth could teach how to make a certain item and the class could include it in their books. These need to be main dish items, not just desserts.
6. Teach basic laundry techniques. Create a game out of seeing how quickly they can sort the clothes into loads. Teach how to do laundry at a laundry mat or in a bin full of water knowing that many will serve missions where washing machines are not available.
7. Basic sewing skills can be taught. How to sew on a button, repair a seam, hem some pants, etc. This could be done in stations at an MTC night. Include some basic cooking, cleaning, ironing, and laundry stations in the rotation.
8. Sew quilt squares together to make a humanitarian quilt or tie a quilt already put together.
9. Sew aprons out of dishtowels or scripture totes out of placemats.
10. Sew simple skirts with elastic waistbands or PJ shorts.
11. Learn basic car, bike, or home repairs.
12. Create a sample budget for meals for 1 week for 1 person. See if you can come up with nutritious meals for $30 or less. This is a good limit to set  when serving a mission or in college. It is possible!
13. Have a financial discussion showing what happens when you take out a loan or use a credit card. Perhaps invite a special speaker. Discuss creative ways to get through college without any debt and why that would be such a blessing.
14. Have a career night. Talk about what a minimum wage job will allow you to have in life. Talk about what the minimum salary is to be able to pay tithing and have a basic home, proper insurances, a reliable car, buy groceries, etc. Then invite members of your ward to talk about what they do and what the expected salaries are in their fields.
15. Build basic 72-hour kits for youth to take with them to college.
16. Put together backpacking food for high adventure. Young men can help dehydrate snacks or price check pre-made meals compared to inexpensive alternatives from the regular grocery store.
17. Repair or clean camping supplies after the big event, including seasoning the Dutch ovens.
18. Have the youth plan meals and rotate through cooking and cleaning assignments at camp. Some of them can be paired with leaders to help purchase items and stay within the budget.
Remember that it takes a little more time and planning to teach the youth these skills instead of just doing it for them, but they will be better off their whole life through because of the lessons learned!



Photo source: http://eat2live4life.com

Information taken from a Pacific Northwest Extension Publication, PNW 214

Freezing is one of the simplest and least time consuming methods of food preservation.

Freezing Fruits
Select fully ripe fruit that is not soft or mushy.  Carefully wash and sort fruit.  Trim and discard parts that are green or bruised.  Peel, trim, pit and slice fruit as desired.  Prepare fruit by packing with or without sugar or syrup.  Pack in containers and store in freezer.  To serve, thaw fruit at room temperature or in the refrigerator.  Serve while a few ice crystals remain.

Any fruit can be frozen without sugar.  However, the texture may be softer than that of fruit frozen with sugar.
Some fruit such as berries, cherries, and grapes may be frozen in a single layer on cookie sheets before packing in containers.  This prevents them from sticking together.  Serve them frozen as snacks or thaw and use as a topping for salads or desserts.
A water pack (without sugar) can be used for fruit such as peaches.  Fruit juice can be used.  Orange and berry juices are suitable.
Fruits can be packed in syrup made from sugar, corn syrup or honey.  Light syrup is made from 4 cups water to 1 cup of sugar.  Medium syrup is 4 cups water to 1&3/4 cup of sugar.  Allow about 2/3 cup of syrup for each pint of fruit.  Dissolve sugar in hot or cold water.  If hot, cool before using.
Juicy fruit and those that will be used for pies or other cooked products are often packed in sugar.  Use about 1 cup of sugar for each 2 to 3 lbs. of fruit.  Sugar and fruit should be gently but thoroughly mixed until the sugar has dissolved in the juice.
Ascorbic acid can be added to light-color fruit to inhibit browning.  For syrup or liquid packs, add ½ tsp. powdered or crushed ascorbic acid to each quart (4 cups) of cold syrup.  For sugar or sugarless packs, dissolve ½ tsp. ascorbic acid in 3 Tbs. cold water and sprinkle over 4 cups of fruit just before adding sugar.

Freezing Vegetables
Select top-quality vegetables.  Prepare them as soon as possible to avoid loss of quality.  Wash and sort vegetables in cold running water.  Peel trim, and cut into desired pieces.  Prepare vegetables for freezing by blanching.  This stops enzymes that cause changes in flavor, texture, color, and nutritive value.

Blanching in boiling water
Put water in a large kettle with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a rolling boil.  Put a small amount of vegetables in a wire basket, strainer, or cheesecloth bag, and immerse in water.  Cover and boil at top heat for required time.  Time varies from 2 to 5 minutes depending on type and size of vegetables.  Don’t over cook.  Vegetables should be heated through and slightly tender.  Check a manual or on line for specific times.
Cool immediately in cold running water or ice water for about the same length of time used for blanching.  When thoroughly cool, drain and pack.

Blanching in steam
Put 1 inch of water in a kettle and bring to a rolling boil.  Put a small quantity of vegetables in a steamer basket or in a colander with legs.  Suspend over boiling water.  Cover kettle and heat vegetables for required time.  Steam blanching takes longer than water blanching.  Cool immediately in cold running water or ice water, drain and pack.

Packing in containers
Food should be packed in suitable containers for freezing.  Plastic freezer bags, vacuum packaging designed for freezing, rigid plastic containers or even glass canning jars with wide mouths can be used.
Pack foods tightly into containers.  Allow ample headspace between the food and the lid to allow room for expansion during freezing.  To keep fruit covered with liquid, put a crumpled piece of waxed paper between the fruit and the lid.  This will keep the surface from darkening and drying out.
When food is packed in freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible.

Label containers with name of product, type of pack (sugar, syrup  or ascorbic acid) for fruit, and date.
Load food in the freezer soon after packaged.  Put no more unfrozen food into a home freezer than will freeze within 24 hours.  After freezing, packages may be stored close together.

Most fruits and vegetables maintain high quality for 8 to 12 months.  Unsweetened fruits lose quality faster than those packed in sugar or syrup.  Storage for longer periods will affect the quality of the frozen foods, but they will be safe to eat.

Dating packages will help to rotate the supply.


Source of information for this newsletter came from:  “Drying Fruits and Vegetables,”  A Pacific Northwest Extension Publication, PNW397.

Drying is a wonderful way to preserve excess garden produce.  It is a low cost method to preserve and requires less storage space than other methods.

Electric dehydrators produce the best quality dried products.  They don’t depend on dry, sunny days or take over your oven.  Drying in the sun requires proper screens, and insects can cause problems.  Oven drying uses a lot of energy and can cook food instead of drying.  Food dried in an oven takes longer and usually ends up more brittle, darker and less flavorful than food dried in a dehydrator.

Electric dehydrators should have a heat source, a thermostat with dial setting between 130 to 150 degrees F., and some method of air circulation.  Shelves should be made of stainless steel (galvanized screening is not food safe) or food-grade plastic.  A manual with directions for your specific dehydrator is also very helpful.

Select high quality fruits that are firm and fully ripe.  Use overripe or bruised fruits in leathers.  Vegetables should be fresh, tender, and just mature.

Prepare fruits and vegetables by gently washing in cold water just before drying to remove dirt, bacteria and insects.  Don’t soak for an extended time because it can cause nutrient loss and waterlog the fruit.  Core or pit the fruit and cut it into uniform halves, quarters or slices.  Trim away diseased or soft spots.

Many foods can be dried without pretreatment; however, pretreatment generally improves quality and can make food safer to eat.  Treating fruits and vegetables with an acidic solution (citric or ascorbic acid) or with sodium metabisulfite solution helps destroy harmful bacteria.  Reasons for treating food before drying are: 
1.      preserve color and flavor
2.      Minimize nutrient loss
3.      Stop decomposition (enzyme action)
4.      Ensure more even drying
5.      Extend storage life
6.      Enhance destruction of harmful bacteria during drying

Pretreat with ascorbic acid/citric acid dip, salt solution, syrup blanching, honey dip, or sulfating procedure.  Soaking fruits in water solution will increase drying time.

Blanching is the best pretreatment for vegetables.  It destroys the enzymes that make vegetables deteriorate.  Blanching keeps vegetables from browning, becoming bitter or developing off-flavors.  For water blanching, fill a kettle with enough water to cover the food.  Bring water to a rolling boil and gradually stir in the food.  Cover the kettle and boil.  The water can be reused when blanching more of the same food.  Vegetables should feel and taste firm yet tender, not fully cooked, but heated all the way through.  Drain vegetables and put into dehydrator immediately so drying can begin while vegetables are still warm.

Distribute food on trays in single layer, not over-lapping.  Dry similar sized pieces together.  Different food can be dried at the same time.  Strong foods like onion or peppers should be dried separately.  Follow directions for your dehydrator for specific times.  Generally, start with setting of 140-150 degrees F.   After 2-3 hours lower temp. to 130-140 degrees F.

Monitor drying process and rotate trays.  Drying times vary.  Vegetables are dry when brittle or leathery.  Fruits are dry when pliable and leather-like and have no pockets of moisture. Herbs are dry when brittle.  When you think food is sufficiently dry, remove a piece and allow it to cool completely.  Then check for dryness.

Conditioning fruits is a process of distributing moisture evenly in the dried fruit.  It reduces the chance of spoilage.  To condition, loosely pack cooled, dried fruit in plastic or glass containers to about 2/3 full.  Cover container tightly.  Shake daily for 2-4 days.  Excess moisture in some pieces will be absorbed by the drier pieces.  If you notice water forming on the container lid, place food back in the dehydrator.  Conditioning vegetables is not necessary.

Containers for dried food should be clean, nontoxic, moisture resistant, airtight, and protective against light.  One good method of storing dried food is to place sealed plastic bags inside a larger glass or metal container with a tight-fitting lid.

Labeling each package with the type of food, pretreatment method, and date is a good idea.

Storage area for dried food should be cool, dark and dry.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Using the Church Orchard

We have been blessed with having a church orchard close to us in the Caldwell/Sunny Slope area on the way to Marsing. This orchard supplies our cannery as well as other canneries with fruit for the church welfare program. The fruit is used all around the world. Our stake does not have official assignments with the orchard like we do the cannery, but we can still go out and pick or purchase surplus fruit. This makes a great family or youth group activity. Call first to see the hours they are picking and what the schedule is. You can take your children out morning or evening depending on the shifts.

Caldwell Idaho LDS Orchard
(Where you pick fruit)
19491 Apricot Ln, Caldwell, ID 83605 (208) 459-3993
   Take I-84/ID-55 S toward Nampa Caldwell (11.9 mi)
   Take exit 33A toward ID-55 N/Nampa/Marsing (.4 mi)
   Merge onto ID-55/Midland Blvd. Continue to follow ID-55 (10.4 mi)
   Turn left on Chicken Dinner Road (Yes, that really is the name) (1.0 mi)
   Turn right on Apricot Ln ( .5 mi)
   Turn left - Caldwell Orchards are on the left.
   Go up the road and you will find the packing houses, orchard manager’s house, and paths to the orchards.

Ranch 2 (Robison Fruit Ranch & Wholesale Packing House)
(Where you purchase already picked fruit.)
15515 Frost Rd, Caldwell, ID 83605 (208) 459-3993 (The corner of Pear Ln. and Frost Rd.)
A few years ago the church bought Robison's orchards as well as the packing house. This is used for a staging area for fruit brought from other orchards and they do more of the church's pears.

How do I find out what fruit is in season?
1.    Call the orchard answering machine 208-459-3993. They leave a message about the picking schedule.
2.    Go to the website www.caldwellidahoorchard.com. They post what is happening and what they are currently picking.
3.    Go to the facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/caldwellorchard

What is a General Schedule for the Picking of Fruit?
The actual schedule depends on the season and weather. This is an approximate.
Cherries--June 20-July 4 (They sell to public until gone. They do not process at canneries.)
Apricots--June 27-mid July (They sell to public until gone. They do not process at canneries.)
Plums--Mid August-first week of September (15, 30, & 70 cents/pound depending on grade)
Peaches--Mid August-Mid September
Apples--Mid August-November
Pear--Mid August-September (15, 25, & 35 cents/pound depending on grade)
Typical Apple Season Order-- Gala>Jonathon>Golden Delicious>Rome>a few Fuji
The orchard does not have a lot of peaches this year. However, they just planted 8,000 trees and so there will be more peaches in future years.

How Do I Volunteer to Harvest Fruit?
1.    Call up and see what is in season and what they are picking and the hours of operation 208-459-3993.
2.    Go to the main sheds and see where they are picking. There is usually a sign pointing the right direction or someone might be around.
3.    Go to the orchards that you are directed to go to.
4.    Get a picking basket for everyone picking. They are usually located in bins by the areas where they are picking.
5.    Ladders and bins are usually where you are instructed to pick.
6.    Pick fruit and put into bins throughout the orchard.
7.    Report volunteer hours and number of people picking at the packing sheds buy the house. This is important. They report this for tax purposes.

How do I Buy Fruit for Myself?

Buying Fruit I have Picked.
Ask someone who works there if you are allowed to purchase some fruit you have picked. (This sometimes depends on how heavy the crop is and if they will be able to deliver the quota they need to supply the canneries.) After you have performed your volunteer hours, you can pick for yourself. Be sure to bring your own boxes. On the way out you can stop at the packing shed and weigh your fruit. Be sure to bring a check or cash to pay them. They do not take credit cards.

Buying Fruit I have not Picked.
Go to the Pear Lane and Frost Location. They usually have pears, plums, and a variety of apples. The hours are 9-4 M-F. Bring boxes. They have a few boxes to purchase, but you can bring bags or other containers from home and just fill them out of the large fruit bins.

Can I Take the Fruit on the Ground?
After you have given volunteer hours, you are allowed to pick the windfall or fruit that has touched the ground. Be sure to bring your own boxes. Remember, however, that the reason you are allowed to take the “windfall” on the ground is because it spoils faster because of possible bruising or being contaminated by anything on the ground. That is why you cannot put it in the bins. Much of it is still good fruit. You will have to sort through it more regularly at home and will need to preserve or use it in a timely manner.

Volunteer Opportunities
You can contact the orchard manager Steve Baird at 208-573-6400. There are so many great opportunities for Activity Days, Scouts, Young Men and Women, Priesthood, and Relief Society.
1.    Planting trees--March, They will be planting red delicious trees next spring.
2.    Thinning fruit--April on (We have taken Boy Scouts out to camp in the orchard. They thinned the fruit the next morning. They had a great time.)
3.    Picking Fruit--June 20 to November (This makes a great family and youth activity.)
4.    Cutting Firewood-- They have wood 2-4 inches in circumference and about 4 feet long. It is free - you must cut into shorter pieces. Scouts can cut wood to raise money or supply a widow or people in need. People can get wood for themselves also.
5.    Eagle Projects--Call Brother Baird for available projects.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Using Up Your Garden Harvest

Here are a few tasty recipes to reduce your bounty of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and yes, even zucchini.  Your efforts in the garden have paid off, and a bumper crop of vegetables is the reward for a job well done.  If you’ve shared your green thumb jackpot with family, friends, and neighbors, but the veggies keep coming, try these tasty recipes that make the most of your end-of-the-season harvest.

Three-Hour Refrigerator Pickles
This quick recipe uses regular cucumbers and can be done without the hassle of canning. 
6 pounds cucumbers
4 medium onions
4 cups sugar
4 cups white vinegar
½ cup salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon mustard seed

Slice the cucumbers ¼ in thick.  Slice onions 1/8 in thick. Place both in a large nonmetallic bowl.  Combine the remaining ingredients; pour over cucumber mixture.  Stir well for 5 minutes.  Cover and refrigerate 3 hours before serving.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months, stirring occasionally.  Yield: 2-1/2 quarts. 

Three-Pepper Salad
Fresh-picked peppers form the foundation of this colorful salad.  If you can’t find yellow peppers, use only red and green varieties.
2 medium green peppers, julienned
2 medium cucumbers, sliced
2 jars (4-1/2 ounces each) whole mushrooms, halved
1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, julienned
1 can (6 ounces) pitted ripe olives, halved
½ cup chopped onion
2/3 cup Italian salad dressing
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon salt

In a large salad bowl, combine the first seven ingredients.  In a small bowl or jar with tight-fitting lid, combine dressing ingredients; mix or shake well.  Pour over salad.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Serve with a slotted spoon.  Yield: 16 servings.

Garden Casserole
This delicious cheesy casserole uses lots of veggies and herbs from your garden.  The dish includes a sunny medley of eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes.
2 pounds eggplant, peeled
5 teaspoons salt, divided
¼ cup olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini, sliced ½ in thick
5 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, sliced
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
¼ cup minced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup grated Romano cheese
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut eggplant into ½-in-thick slices; sprinkle both sides with 3 teaspoons salt.  Place in a deep dish; cover and let stand for 30 minutes.  Rinse with cold water; drain and dry on paper towels.
Cut eggplant into ½ in cubes; sauté in oil until lightly browned.  Add onions, garlic and zucchini; cook 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes, celery, parsley, basil, pepper and remaining salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat; stir in Romano cheese.  Pour into a greased 13-in x 9-in x 2-in baking dish.  Combine crumbs and butter; sprinkle on top.  Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.  Yield: 12 servings.

Broiled Tomatoes
This is a very quick and tasty side dish.
Several medium tomatoes, sliced ¼ in
Spike seasoning
Mozzarella, Pepper Jack, Swiss, Provolone cheese

Cover a shallow baking pan with the sliced tomatoes.  Generously sprinkle Spike on the tomatoes.  Cover the tomatoes with squares of your desired cheese.  Low melting point cheeses are best.  Broil until the cheese is lightly brown.  Serve with your meal or eat as appetizers.

Corn Salsa
1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels, thawed (or kernels cut from 4 ears lightly cooked fresh corn)
1 cup minced sweet red pepper
½ cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup peeled, seeded, minced cucumber
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

  Combine ingredients in a bowl.  Makes about 3 cups.  Eat with tortilla chips.

Fresh Salsa

2 cloves garlic
1 ½ jalapeno
I lb. tomatoes, seeded and quartered
½ medium onion, quartered
¼ cup cilantro
Juice of one lime

Take garlic, onion, jalapeno and cilantro and blend in a food processor or blender, then add lime juice.  Add tomatoes and lightly pulse.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


What are beans:
Beans are legume vegetables that carry plant protein and fiber. They are versatile and commonly eaten in many different ways.  They are easy to prepare and great to store. There are many different types and uses for them and they provide great nutritional value. 

They are low in fat and high in fiber, high in protein, rich in vitamins and minerals. To meet the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans it is said we should eat 3 cups of beans each week. It will help our body fight against obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Black beans, black-eyed peas, cannellini, chick peas, great northern beans, kidney, lima, pinto, and navy.

Beans can be stored in many different ways. Dry beans will last the longest and you get more for your money.  They can last 1 or more years in the bag from the store. To store longer, package them in #10 cans with oxygen absorbers. Doing so will allow them to last 30 or more years. 
For more information on this visit. (Usu.edu/foodstorage/htm/dry-beans.org.) Type beans. Grocery stores have canned beans that will last 1 year. Once cooked, beans can also be stored in the freezer. Defrost and use as needed. Pureed beans can also freeze well.

All beans require rinsing, soaking, and cooking.  It is important to do each step to help your body digest them better. The older the bean is, the longer it will require to re-hydrate and cook. If they do not re-hydrate use them for bean flour. Just grind in a wheat grinder. While rinsing, make sure you look for rocks and broken parts to discard. Put beans in a large enough saucepan because the beans will expand 3 times larger.
1 c. of dry beans to 3 c. water.
One 15 oz can= 1 1/2 c. cooked beans
One cup of dry beans = 3 c. cooked beans, drained
1 lb. dry beans=6 c. cooked beans, drained
Follow recommended cooking on the back of the package. Or follow these simple instructions:  http://www.theleangreenbean.com/how-to-cook-and-freeze-beans/

Dry beans can be ground into flour to add to baked goods.
Cooked beans can go in many different styles of recipes. 
Puree beans to add to baked goods for extra fiber, and protein. Pureed beans will replace oil and some of the eggs. Using pureed beans, I like to use navy or great northern. They hide in every recipe. You can use pinto or black beans for darker colored recipes such as banana bread or chocolate cake. The pinto beans would hide well in the bread and the black beans would hide in the chocolate cake.


Chickpea Stuffed Shells
18 cooked jumbo pasta shells                                          1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 can(15 oz) garbanzo beans                                            1 small onion
2 egg whites                                                                         1 garlic clove, minced
1 carton (15) oz ricotta cheese                                          1 jar (28 oz) spaghetti sauce
1/2 c minced fresh parsley                                                 1 1/2 c. Mozerella cheese

In food processor, combine beans and egg whites until smooth. Add ricotta, parsley Parmesan cheese, onion, and garlic. Blend. Pour 1 1/4 c. spaghetti sauce in 9x13 greased pan. Stuff the shells with bean mixture and place on top of spaghetti sauce. Once all shells are stuffed, cover with remaining spaghetti sauce. Bake uncovered at 350° for 30 min. Sprinkle with cheese and bake an additional 5-10 min until cheese is melted and bubbly.

 Quesadilla Casserole
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (8 3/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (4 1/2 ounces) chopped green chiles, undrained
2 teaspoons McCormick® Chili Powder
1 teaspoon McCormick® Cumin, Ground
1 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic, Minced
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Oregano Leaves
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Red Pepper, Crushed
6 flour tortillas, (8-inch)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Brown beef and onion in large skillet on medium-high heat; drain. Add tomato sauce, beans, corn and green chiles; mix well. Stir in all of the seasonings. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Spread 1/2 cup of the beef mixture on bottom of 13x9x2-inch baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top with 3 of the tortillas, overlapping as needed. Layer with 1/2 of the remaining beef mixture and 1/2 of the cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas, beef mixture, and cheese. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.

Zucchini Brownies
1/4 c. oil
3 c. sugar
4 eggs
1/2 c. black beans, pureed
1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 c. cocoa powder
3 t. vanilla
2 t. salt
3 t. baking soda
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. white flour
4 c. zucchini, grated
2 c. melted milk and semi chocolate chips

Mix oil, sugar, eggs, beans, applesauce, cocoa, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. In another bowl, combine flours and baking soda, combine with liquid mixture.  Add zucchini, and melted chocolate chips until combined. Pour in large sprayed cookie sheet till desired thickness. There is usually extra so I put some in a 9x9 pan to bake. Bake 350° 30-40 min.  They are done when a tooth pick comes out clean.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Food Storage - Where do I begin?

Do you grow food in a garden? Do you have an extra jar of peanut butter or an extra can of diced tomatoes somewhere in your house? Do you have food in your 72 Hour Kit? If you said yes to any of these questions, you’ve already begun your food storage!

To me, there are two sides to food storage: “insurance” food storage and “to live” food storage. Both ways are good.

What is “insurance” food storage? “Insurance” food storage is buying a three month supply of food for your family from an emergency preparedness type store (think MREs--Meals Ready to Eat) and calling it good. You have your three months of food in case something crazy happens and you are following the prophet. All is well.

How to start “insurance” food storage?
· Look for Deals: Some of the stores have newsletters or emails announcing upcoming sales. Sign up for them.
· Try them: If it tastes nasty, don’t buy a 3 month supply of it!
· Make sure you have a way to eat them: Do the meals need water? Do they need to be heated? Will you need/want utensils?
“To live” food storage is incorporating the bulk (rice, beans, and grains) and canned foods you already use in your normal meals into your three month supply. This method is more time consuming than “insurance” food storage, but it usually costs less.
How to start “to live” food storage?
· Start Small: Build up a week supply of meals, then a month, two months, etc. Or build up one meal at a time. Work on having all the ingredients to make spaghetti six times in three months. When you finish that, then work on having all the ingredients to make tacos six times in three months, etc. Until you have a three month supply of meals.
· Buy in Bulk/Look for Deals: If something you normally eat is on sale, buy a case of it!
· Learn how to cook from scratch: If you are not familiar with cooking rice, grains, and beans, learn how! Cooking or baking with whole grains takes a little practice, but it is much healthier than processed foods. Did you know you can make your own yogurt, evaporated milk, sour cream, etc. from powdered milk? You can! There are so many areas to improve and become more self-reliant.

Don’t forget there is more to food storage than just food! It’s also important to store other things you use all the time.
· Water: Are you relying on your water heater as part of your water reserve supply in a crisis? Do you have a way to get the water out of your water heater? Have you practiced getting the water out of there?
· Financial Reserve: We all can see the wisdom in having some money set aside.
· Health and Hygiene Products: soap, baby diapers, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, dental care, etc.
· Health Care: First-Aid, medications, etc.
· Fuel: candles, matches, wood, coal, kerosene, propane, diesel, etc.
· Clothing: cold/warm weather, children’s clothing, sturdy shoes, etc.
· Tools: food mills, generators, camping gear, etc.
· Essential Records: birth certificates, marriage license, social security cards, bank account numbers, etc.

There is no wrong place to start. The important part is to start! Keep it simple and work on your food storage a little every week.