Monday, May 30, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade!!- Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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I recently had a request and I have been tossing the idea around and think I will do it!  What is it, you may ask?  RECIPES!  Now if you asked my husband he would probably laugh if I said I was sharing the recipes that I make.  Don't worry I am not offended :)  I admit I am not a gourmet chef, but I do like to bake {you can't survive without cookies and bread and muffins and cake too}!  I also use food storage in my daily cooking so I felt it may help someone else who needs some ideas in the food storage cooking department.

Every Monday I will publish a recipe that I use and that also uses food storage.  (Remember that food storage is not mysterious #10 cans in the basement-it is EVERYDAY food your family eats)  So look for the new Monday posts titled "Prepare Today Homemade" and get those food storage buckets out and ready to use!! :)

The first Prepare Today Homemade Recipe is.........

One of my favorite cookbooks!!
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins-Yay!!!
(from The Essential Food Storage Cookbook)
2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking soda
2 t baking powder 
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 C mashed banana (add applesauce if you don't have enough bananas)
2/3 C brown sugar
2 large eggs, slightly beaten (I use 2 T egg powder + 1/4 C water)
1/4 C oil 
2 t vanilla
1/2 C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar in a medium bowl.  In a mixer, mix bananas, oil , eggs, and vanilla.  Add the dry to the wet and mix until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 15 min.  Makes 12 

My kids LOVE these and they freeze very well.  Make a double batch and keep some in the freezer for dinner next week.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cooking Without Power

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I thought living in Utah meant sunny days and warm weather, but I guess Mother Nature is in control and she hasn't received that message yet this year.  When I received my Sun Oven I thought I would be able to cook in it about 85% of the year.  Yeah...I think there is some kind of weird connection between the clouds coming out and me using my Sun Oven.  It was sunny all morning today and I decided to get out my Sun Oven to make some brownies.  Within minutes the clouds rolled in and the sun only peeked out every half hour or so.  I did leave the brownies in the oven and it did reach a temperature of 220 degrees, but the clouds are here to stay and so I'll finish the brownies inside.  

Photo credit:
I have been noting the sunny days lately and I would probably only have been able to cook my family a meal in the sun oven about 4 times in the last 3 weeks.  This got me thinking about how I would prepare food for my family if I couldn't solely use my sun oven.  I have been trying out some of my recipes with home canned chicken and American Beauty Quick Cook pasta. Guess what?  I can get a meal cooked and served in 10 minutes!!  Those quick cook noodles are a food storage addicts dream!  If you had to use a camp stove or propane stove, conserving  fuel will be a concern.  So I boil my water and cook the noodles in 3 minutes, open a bottle of chicken and throw a quick sauce together, dinner is done!

To add variety to my meals I would need to plan on baking quite a bit in my sun oven when the sun is actually out.  This way I could have muffins or bread for those days I couldn't use the sun oven.  It all takes a little planning but I can see how I would get a system down of baking and cooking with the sun oven and having bread for my weekly meals. 

My suggestion is to learn how to bottle your own meat. (I know you can buy it at Costco, but my kids think the chicken tastes like tuna)  It is a relatively simple process and if you can find a great deal on meat you are saving a TON of money.  Watch the video below for detailed instructions on how to can chicken.  The only change you will need to make is that we live above 5000 feet and you need to vent the canner for 10 minutes before placing the weight on.  PLEASE read the instructions for your canner!!

May is almost over!! Get those goals accomplished!  Click HERE to see the goals for May!

Check out the blog on Monday's for a new series of posts titled "Prepare Today Homemade"!!  Learn some fun, new recipes using your 3-month and long-term storage.

Enjoy the journey!
Enjoy the blessings!
Feel the peace!! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sun Oven Class

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Paul Munson, the president of Sun Oven, taught a very informative class on the Sun Oven at Honeyville Grain.  If you have no idea what a Sun Oven is check out the website HERE.  They are light weight, easy to use (you can't burn anything but cookies) and use NO power outside of the sun.  The Sun Oven cooks meat until it is tender and juicy and it just falls off the bone!  I learned that you can set a cardboard carton of eggs (with the lid torn off) in the Sun Oven and in about a half hour you will have hard "boiled" eggs!!  Isn't that the most amazing fact!!  The Sun Oven retains all the moisture inside the sealed box so your food stays moist and doesn't dry out!  When cooking you will need to use 1/3 C LESS water in your recipes because the water isn't evaporating.  
  • Cooking food takes a little longer than in a regular oven.  Don't plan on eating dinner in the evening.  Plan on a midday meal.
  • Use only black enamelware to absorb the heat of the sun.  Glass and metal will work just plan on a little longer cooking time.  
  • Use lids when cooking to ensure the moisture stays inside the pot.  
  • Cookies will burn in the Sun Oven if left unattended.  The sugar in them causes them to burn.  Most other foods will be kept warm and not overcook if left in the Sun Oven.
  • The Sun Oven can be used YEAR ROUND, as long at the sun is out you can cook with it!! 
  • You can stack pans, cookie sheets and pots in your Sun Oven.  Use canning rings or small cooling rack to keep the pans off the bottom of the Sun Oven. Have beans cooking in one pot and a pot on top of it cooking the rice.  The heat is even inside the chamber and the pot and food will be the same temperature, so stacking your cookware lets all the food cook at the same temperature!
  • If you open the lid during cooking, add 10-15 minutes to your cooking time.
 There is also a way to pasteurize your water using a Sun Oven and mason jars.  Strain your water through a coffee filter or cheese cloth and then fill mason jars.  Place in the sun oven, elevated on canning rings or cooling rack.  Add a WAPI to one of the jars.  Don't know what a WAPI is? It is a water purifying instrument and it is so simple you may think it's too good to be true! Inside the WAPI the green wax will melt and when the green wax gets to the bottom of the WAPI your water is safe to drink!! Let the WAPI "dry"  for about 2 minutes and you can use it all over again!!  So simple and yet so needed in many parts of the world! Think of the ease of purifying your water over and over again with an $8 product!  Click HERE to view more information on the WAPI.  You can also purchase these at Honeyville Grain.

I filmed a few videos during the class and you will see that there is WAY more info than I could type here, so PLEASE visit the Sun Oven website for more videos and information!

Learn all about baking bread in the Sun Oven from Paul Munson, Sun Oven president.

 Learn all about cooking a whole turkey in the Sun Oven.

Cooking Corn and Boiling Water in the Sun Oven

Low-Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Sun Oven

Making Cookies In The Sun Oven

I got almost to 300 degrees
I used my Sun Oven for the first time this spring and made some chocolate chip cookies.  They were delicious and so easy to do! 

 I used this recipe HERE from Every Day Food Storage.  The butter is replaced with white beans in this recipe :)

See the goals for May HERE!

Enjoy the Journey!
Enjoy the Blessings!
Feel the Peace!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

All Is Safely Gathered In Video

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This video has been on my mind and I love the message in it! Take a peek and see what the Irvine Stake in CA are doing to heed the words of our Prophet and are actively preparing!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Building Your Ark- Debbie Kent

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I was lucky enough to attend a wonderful and amazing class today at Honeyville Grain. (they really know how to get some great speakers!!)  Debbie Kent from  taught 2 classes on food storage meals and building your ark.  The information that I received and the lessons learned were so helpful and there was so much that I can only give you a tiny sampling of what was taught.  But you are in luck because Debbie has all of the information from her classes on her website.  I highly recommend you read or even print out Debbie's handouts from the class.  The information is invaluable!!

Click HERE to view the Meals Made Easy class handout.

Meals Made Easy
Plan, plan, plan!!!  That is how you will make cooking and storing easier.  Plan a warm weather and cold weather menu (6 months of each) with theme nights (Mexican, Italian, crock-pot, pizza night, etc) and you will have the menu set for a whole year!!  This system allows you to know what you need to have in your home store to cook all of these meals. When items go on sale you can buy enough to last you for all of the meals in your plan. 

In the class we learned several different ways & ideas on HOW to store your meals.  These ideas will help you use your storage and simplify dinner. The books below are great resources for making dinner easier now and in an emergency.  See what works for you and your family and start storing!!

Mix-A-Meal-use dry ingredients to make your own mixes for muffins, tortillas, soups, pancakes, etc. Saves time, money, and less preservatives and can be adjusted to any dietary needs.  This is your fast food-food storage. :)

Dinner In A Jar-using dehydrated and pantry items to have meals ready to go in a mason jar. Add water and a few canned goods and you are all set for dinner!  Kathy explains how to use mason jars or Mylar bags to store your meals.

It's In The Bag is another great concept that you may want to incorporate into your storage.  All the ingredients for a complete meal (all spices & water) are stored together in a bag.  All you have to do is grab the bag and cook your meal.  Great for kids to learn to cook and also if Mom isn't available someone else is able to cook dinner!

Building Your Ark

What did Noah learn:  Keep The Woodpeckers In the Cage-haha
The second class that Debbie taught was entitled Building Your Ark-Lessons Learned From Noah.  Noah listened to God, had faith, gathered food, had a place for everything (storing your food storage), had water, had shelter, had light, and food.  We can learn from Noah and apply this to our lives.  What do you want in your ark?  Noah built the ark board by board and level by level.  We need to remember this when we are gathering our food and supplies.  We can not get a year supply of food and supplies over night. Take some time to ponder- What board to you need to be working on?

Debbie also had thought provoking quotes in her PowerPoint.  I suggest reading  THIS talk by President Ezra Taft Benson, entitled "Prepare Ye."  Very, very interesting stuff!!

Just like the people in Noah's time-  If you wait...It's too late!!

Right now it's not to late to begin and to learn all you can about food storage and preparing!!  On Tuesday, May 17th at Honeyville Grain the president of the Sun Oven will be demonstrating and teaching all about the Sun Oven.  The class is free and is held twice, at 11:00am and 1:00pm.  Don't put off what can be done today!!!

Enjoy the journey!

Enjoy the blessings!
Feel the PEACE!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cooking Without Power-Canned Meats

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The emergency preparedness goal for May is to be able to cook without power.  There are many different types of stoves to choose from that use fuel to cook with, but have you thought of how much fuel that would take every day to cook food for your family?  I attended a canning class this week and learned so much more about the world of canning.  

Jars of canned meat.  Chicken, ground beef, and London broil.
Afton Baxer taught the class, held at Honeyville Grain, and she focused the class on canning meats.  Knowing how to can your own meat will free up your freezer, and allow you to have dinner on the table in minutes!  When chicken goes on sale I will purchase large quantities and freeze it all.  But what would happen to my precious meat storage if the electricity went out?  If you had canned all of the meat it would be shelf-stable and safe in your storage.  I have tried canning chicken and it went so smoothly and easily!  I love the convenience of opening a jar of chicken that is ready to go for multiple recipes!! Chicken isn't the only meat that works for canning:  roast, bacon, London broil, fish, etc.  You name it and it can probably be canned!

Presto Canner
Canning meat is not complicated at all, it just takes some time.  You will need a canner (not at pressure cooker), mason jars, lids, and meat.  To can chicken you trim the fat, pack into the jars (not to tightly), wipe the rims, place the lids on and stack in your canner. No need to add any liquid to the jars!  The chicken will make it's own juice and you'll end up with delicious broth!  If you have a larger canner make sure to place a can rack in between the layers of jars.  I live above 5000 feet so I would get my canner to 13lbs of pressure for 75 minutes pints and 90 minutes for quarts.  Please read the instructions that came with your canner for the correct times and pressure for your canner!!  And DO NOT leave your canner when it is on the stove.  You have to monitor the pressure gage to make sure it doesn't go to high!

{Afton Baxter will be teaching a series of canning classes at Honeyville Grain on June 14, 21 & 28th.  To attend you will need to pay $25 for food samples and materials.  She is amazing and knows ALL about canning, so bring your questions!  I will be going if anyone would like a ride!}

All-American Canner
I own a Presto canner, which you can find for around $80 on, but I would love to own the All-American canner someday.  The All-American canner doesn't have a rubber gasket in the lid and so it won't ever need a replacement part, but they are definitely more expensive to own.  If you find a canner at a garage sale or second hand store snatch it up quick!  You can visit your cities extension services to have the gauge checked.

Salt Lake Extension Services
2100 S. State

Now I have a tip that I feel will change the world of canning.  I don't know why more people don't know this but did you know YOU CAN REUSE YOUR CANNING LIDS OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!!  As long as the rubber ring is in tact and the metal parts of the lid aren't dented you can reuse them!  All these years the canning companies have had us buying new lids!!!  So give it a try next time you are canning and save yourself some money!!

Another great idea that I learned is that you can can bacon!!  Cut your bacon into thirds and roll in strips of parchment paper and fit into the jar.  Process in the canner and now you have shelf-stable bacon!  To crisp it up when you open the jar just warm it in a frying pan.  Who knew?  Click HERE to see a great pictorial lesson on canning bacon. They use brown paper, but you could also use parchment paper.  Or click HERE to see how to can bacon after cutting it into pieces.

If you are interested in canning ground beef then CLICK HERE for more information.  I don't eat ground beef so I don't can it :)

Check out the rest of the May goals HERE!  

Enjoy the journey!
Enjoy the blessings!
Feel the peace! 
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