Those Who Care

If you really care for your friends and family, you will prepare yourself to care for your own needs and have a little extra for those less fortunate.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Preparedness Fairs

Our little community is having a preparedness fair this Saturday.  These are great opportunities to find information and resources near you.  Look around, you may find one in your area.  If you are in our area this Saturday, come to the LDS Church at 1217 Bellamy Lane QUINCY, CA.  at 8:30 am.  We are across the street from the hospital on Bucks Lake Road.   I'll be hosting the food storage workshop and my husband will be hosting our table as well as showing how to build a rocket stove.  There will also be a luncheon with food made from food storage items.  We have done this in the past and it was very informative as well as fun.  There will also be a seed exchange and a workshop on allopathic and homeopathic emergency medicine, water conservation and storage, 72 hour kits and how to find you way around the internet.  There will be plenty of other things to look at as well.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Ultimate Easy Bread

I love to bake bread!  Through the years I've tried just about every good sounding recipe I've come across with varying results.  I learned that we all have different ideas about what makes a good loaf of bread.  Many bakers insist upon special ingredients and thermometers and baskets etc.  Recently, in my effort to find a bread that did not make my blood sugar spike, I came across some interesting reasoning which goes thus: very little yeast and a slow rise forces the yeast to use the starch found in the flour for food and this will produce a product that will cause less of a spike in blood sugar.  Well, that sounded promising.  I decided to give it a try.  Yes, my blood sugar does spike less but it does still spike, even with plenty of butter to slow down the absorption rate.  The really great discovery is that it takes few ingredients, no special equipment (only a bowl, spoon and towel) and it tastes wonderful, at least to us.  So here it is.  Let me know what you think.

Slow Rise Bread

1 1/2 c warm water
1/2 t yeast (really, only 1/2 teaspoon)
1t salt
4 c flour (can use all white or a mix of whole wheat and white)

Add yeast to warm water and let bloom.  Add 2 c flour, salt and mix.  (I have discovered that, unlike many recipes, it is not necessary to mix vigorously.)  Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto board and knead, adding flour as needed.  This is a softer dough than many recipes.  Let rise in well oiled bowl until doubled, about 4-6 hours.  Punch down.  Shape.  You can make a loaf for a loaf pan or a ball for a dutch oven.  Cover (if a dutch oven just use the lid) with plastic wrap and a towel.  Let rise until doubled again, this will take less time than the first rising.  (Once, I went to town and it rose up and over the top of the loaf pan so I punched it down, clean and oiled the pan again and let it rise for a 3rd time and it was great.  A very forgiving recipe.)  Bake 350 degrees (with lid if using dutch oven for 30 min then and additional 15 without the lid)  or for 40 min for a loaf pan.

The ease of this recipe is fantastic.  I can leave the dough for hours, I don't have to haul out the heavy mixer and it really comes out great every time.  Plus, it makes great toast!  Have fun.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Are There Any Old-Fashioned Cooks Anymore?

My herb garden did beautifully this year.  I have an abundance of fresh herbs.  My two parsley plants are the size of an old style washtub.  I've used and dried and still have far more than I need.  So, of course, I have offered to share.  As prices for fresh herbs are $1.99 for about an ounce, you would think someone would be interested.  But no!  Everyone just looks at me with either a blank look or a look that asks "What cave did you just crawl out of?"  I've yet to find anyone that uses fresh herbs!  I'm not talking about unusual herbs, just common cooking herbs (I only share medicinal herbs with those who have shown me knowledge).  You know, parsley, chives, dill, oregano, sage.  Really common ones.  Once they understand what I'm talking about I get another common response.  Either "I don't cook like that" or "I just use what comes in a can."  And so I am worried.

Those little cans of herbs are very expensive, the nutrients are long gone because of age and I don't trust the ingredients.  The cheaper herbs may be sweepings for all I know.  I sure hope they aren't but how can I be sure?  With my own homegrown herbs I am sure.  I am also sure of receiving all the precious vitamins and nutrients from a living food.  Even if I dry them, at least I know how the plant was raised and that it is very fresh.

So, if any of you are new to using herbs, here is a great starter recipe.  My husband loves this salad dressing.  Although it takes a little time, it is worth it.  And the time is mostly in allowing the flavors to meld.

Mama's Ranch

Thinly slice 1 clove of garlic and 2Tlb of shallot.  Sprinkle with Redmond Salt and mash with a fork. Allow to stand for about 20 min, occasionally mashing again.  (This allows the salt to cook the shallot and garlic for a less biting flavor.)  Add to 1/4 c buttermilk. (I make my own with dried milk and a half teaspoon of lemon powder or vinegar and let stand 5 min.)  Add dill and parsley to taste. (I use about a tablespoon of dried dill and a tablespoon of dried parsley.  Less in the summer with the fresh herbs, just adjust to your taste.)  Add 1 Tlb of dried onions and a dash of onion powder.  (This is a lot of onion I know but the flavor is just not the same without these different types of onion.  Each adds its own taste.)  Add a bit of fresh or dried lemon peel.  (This lightens the whole dressing but you can do without.  Since I use a lot of lemons for medical reasons, I have a lot of dried lemon zest.)  Let stand awhile for the flavors to meld.  (This is the best point for adjusting to your own taste.)  Place 1c mayonnaise (can use a lite version or homemade) in a bowl.  Add 1/4 sour cream (or yogurt or even just more mayonnaise).  Stir and add the buttermilk and herbs.  Taste and adjust.  This has kept in my fridge for over a month without spoiling and just improved in taste as the flavors mingled.  This is such a basic recipe that any of you could improve it or change it to suit your family while allowing you to be sure of what you are eating.  It also costs a lot less than bottled dressings from the store.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Peach Pie Filling

I took the last of the peaches, a few weeks ago, and canned the most delicious peach pie filling.  Although I've canned apple pie filling before, and learned a few great tricks I'll share sometime, this is the first time for peaches.  The taste was wonderful and we are excited to make a few crunches and pies this winter. 

I found the recipe and directions here: 

I chose to use the almond extract and it really added a new dimension to the overall flavor. 

Here is the results, absolutely fantastic!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rhubarb Crisp

It has been a little hectic around here lately.  We've had tremendous thunder storms this week.  Sunday's was probably the worst I've ever experienced.  We had spent Saturday harvesting garden herbs and were we ever glad on Sunday as the remaining plants were beat into the ground. I had intended to wait until the next day so the strawberries would be perfect but alas they are no more. I still can't go into the garden as it is too muddy.  We needed to bring the awning in and were drenched, as in just a few seconds, and had to hang our clothes up in the shower to dry! 

In addition, I began teaching early morning Seminary (a religion class for high school age) this week and have been busy preparing for that new adventure.  So the blog has been a little neglected but today I want to post the best ever (in my opinion) and easiest Rhubarb Crisp recipe.  I made it just a couple of week ago as our rhubarb was finally ready.  We have enough growing for one more this year.

Rhubarb Crisp

1c flour
3/4 c oats
1c brown sugar ( I use white sugar and add 1Tlb of molasses)
1/2 c melted butter
1tea cinnamon

4c diced rhubarb
1c sugar
2Tlb cornstarch
1c water
1tea vanilla

Mix together the topping ingredients until crumbly.  Press half of the crumbs into a greased 9" baking pan.  Cover with diced rhubarb.  In a small saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla.  Cook, stirring until thickened and clear.  Pour over the rhubarb and top with remaining crumb topping.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 50-60 min. 
Yield: 8 servings

I like this recipe because there is no need to cook the rhubarb first.  That always seems to make such a mess.  I baked it in the Sun Oven with great results. 
Notice the upside down bottle of molasses.  That was the end of that bottle!

All done!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Baking With the Solar Oven

We've spent this summer experimenting with alternative cooking methods and we've learned a lot.  Today, I would like to concentrate on baking with a solar oven.  I love to bake!  I think it must be genetic as my Grandmother had her own bakery at one time and she taught her joy to me.  But baking in a solar oven is a little different.

The how-to books on solar cooking all claim that it is as easy to cook with a solar oven as a stove.  Well, if it were truly that easy, why would cook stoves be the norm all over the world?  However, it does have a lot of advantages.  Free fuel and a cool kitchen are not to be sneered at.  There are a few drawbacks though.  For proper baking (not emergency I'll take whatever I can get kind) you need to have good control of the temperature.  Especially when baking cookies.  Despite what many claim, the angle of the sun does make a difference for this type of baking.  I have found that here, even on the hottest summer days when the sun is right overhead and no clouds, that I need to bake in the middle of the day.  After 3:00 pm, forget it.  An inferior product will result later in the day or too early in the morning.  This info is important when planning your evening meal.  I've discovered that it is best to have our main hot meal at noon as it is hard to have properly prepared hot food after that magical 3:00 pm.  The sun angle (despite our adjusting of the oven) just doesn't allow the food to get hot enough unless it has had that magical middle of the day.  In fact, the oven begins to cool and so does the food.

It also helps to allow the oven to heat 25 degrees above the baking temperature you need as you will lose about 25 degrees when you open the door to place the food inside.  No matter how fast we are, we always lose 20-25 degrees.

By following this advice though, we are able to bake cookies at the right temperature for the same amount of time as in the kitchen oven.  I love that free fuel.  Have fun and experiment with some cookies.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Extra Strawberries

We were given some lovely ripe strawberries last evening.  There was about 1/2 of a gallon bag.  Well, right now we have plenty of fruit so I made some chunky strawberry syrup today.  I first washed and hulled them and then, using my pastry cutter, because tools have to useful for more than one thing, I mashed them.  Then I came up with this recipe which is delicious and has less sugar because of the clear jel.

2 1/2 c crushed strawberries
1/2 Tablespoon dried lemon peel
3c water
3/4 c sugar
3 Tablespoons clear jel

Bring strawberries, lemon peel and water to simmer.  Add red food coloring until you are happy with the color.  Add sugar and clear jel (which are mixed together, very important).  Simmer a few minutes.  Can and process for 10 min at sea level.  Here I processed for 15 min.  Yield: 8 half pints

We tried it over some butter pecan ice-cream  Talk about good!  The great thing is I now have some for us and some to give as gifts is needed.