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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Freezer Afternoon

Whew, the kids and I spent most of the afternoon defrosting the old freezer. We had everything out and I took a pic, but the camera is still in the basement. I put everything back in neatly and there is a ton of extra space in there now! I could probably fit half a cow in there (if only they were free, lol!). So now I can open the freezer, grab what I want and be on my way. I also tossed some stuff. You know it has to be bad if I toss it.

I can't decide if we're having ham or turkey for Thanksgiving (we have two turkeys in the freezer). If we get our smoked ham in time, maybe that :). I have to find out what MIL is making and plan accordingly. I also found a nice beef roast that needs to be used up.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Big Post Today!

Well, it has been a busy week here. We made candy apples the other day. I'm soon going to make caramel apples if the family doesn't eat all the caramels first. Here's Ethan enjoying a big ol' candy apple:



This is a bag of bananas that I got for free. Yeah, free! There were about 40 big bananas and most of them weren't even that smooshy. I bagged them up to put in the freezer for banana bread and smoothies:



I've been busy with our new breadmaker. I made a deicious brown bread today. Here is the recipe:

New Brunswick style brown bread
(make a 2lb loaf in your bread maker)

* 1 1/4 cup warm water
* 1/4 cup molasses
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 2 1/2 Tbsp butter
* 1 1/2 tsp. salt
* 3 1/4 cups flour
* 1/3 cup rolled oats
* 2 1/2 tsp. yeast

I also made pizza dough in it that was very yummy but I don't feel like getting the recipe right now :)

Now, here is what I have been putting off posting, a nearly full view of our food storage. I did not include the freezers and there are some things which aren't put away, but it represents a good chunk of what we have. I didn't include another pic of our TP ;).

I call this our "snack trolly", although I am trying to move away from our unhealthy snacks. It was a Bits n' Bites display and it is good for things which are not stacked:



Here is our cereal rack. It has most of our dry cereal on it and our 55lbs bag of baking soda on a plank underneath:



Here is my "canning cupboard". It has most of what I have canned this year, although most of it is in boxes. I have not put my chow chow on it yet, which I made today. I also have some mixes and dry goods in jars here. I have an 11.6L bucket of brown sugar, a container of wheat berries, more cereal, 4L jug of ACV and some other things on top:



This is a wide view of a couple of shelves. One has most of our condiments on it. We also have corn meal, barley, cocoa and oats on top. Under we have a layer of squash and pumpkins, a shelf with a box of apples and a case of sugar and a cabbage and a case of sugar on the bottom. We then have cleaning and household supplies on the next shelf over:



This is our canned goods coke rack. We have lots of canned milks, veggies, fruits, soups, pasta, beans and more. I haven't been buying much in the way of canned goods lately:



Our little stash of individual bottled water and molasses. We keep bigger jugs of water elsewhere and try to limit the small bottles but like to have them on hand for traveling:



Cases of pureed food (sounds better than baby food, lol!), which I use in baking and may use in smoothies. Lots of boxes of beans. Each one has from 20 to 50lbs of beans in them. I have lots of navy beans, lentils, chick peas, kidney beans, barley, soup mix and more. I have more in the kitchen which I have close at hand for sprouting. I also have about 100 cans of tuna, chicken, ham, turkey, clams and salmon. I also keep a few rice mixes for quick meals as well as a few things of pickles, mixes, sauces and some shortening in the back. Oh and that bag hanging in the front is full of pretzels:



Here I have a shelf of various grains, flours, rice, some canned goods and kraft dinner in the back:



The upper corner with a huge container of pizza sauce, a box of juice packs (for emergency kits) and some cans of soup mix in the back. There are 4 or 5 big bags of powdered skim milk, a couple jugs of oil and two big cans of ham on the middle shelf. I also keep some sugar back there as it used to be my storage spot for it:



The ceiling is further away than it looks in this pic. It kind of looks like the fiberglass is right by the food, but it isn't. I keep some rice cakes on the top as well as a few jars of apple sauce and lots more oats. Then a full shelf of tomatoes, more tomatoes, lots of Oriental veggies, cans of pasta sauce, more tomatoes and lots of canned beans. The chick peas are very versatile. I have a cake and a cookie recipe which calls for them I need to try some time :) :



Ooops, tomatoes and beans again ;). A 20kg bag of flour and various juices. We used to keep the beans here but there just got to be too many so boxes were better:



Here's our stash of popcorn, a favorite snack as of late. I also have more corn meal here, about 10 jars of peanut butter, some pasta sauce, jarred tomatoes, then our goodly hoard of pasta, lol! The kids will only eat spaghetti lately, although we occasionally have Mr. Noodle. More juice on the bottom:



Ethan's favorite, Hamburger Helper. I also have a bunch of taco shells, lemon juice, various Kraft Dinners, some mixes, corn starch, and salt on the top. Then we have some soup mixes, baking soda, stevia and powdered egg. And of course, tons of pasta sauce to go with all our pasta:



Here we have a box of freezies (good for sick kids ;) ), some pectin, cuppa soup, stuffing mix, syrup, more pasta sauce, juice mix, and various sauces, oils and dressings:



And here we have our cracker shelf. I have more in the car to put away. Then we have jellos, puddings and other dessert mixes followed by herbal teas and hot chocolate. Odds and ends fill the rest of the shelf:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Busy Friday

First off, I tried our new bread maker and it works great! I made a couple of mistakes but the bread still turned out so great I could of ate it all. Best of all, it looked like bread, rounded top instead of in a tube, one of the things I didn't like about bread maker bread (we used to have one, but the heating coil eventually died). It also has 10 settings so you can make about anything in it.

I also canned pears. What a lot of work for few pears. Most of them were too rotten to do anything with. I may see if Wallace Brothers still have pears as I'd like to can more.

Yesterday was a busy day in the kitchen. I canned grapes! I did 4 quarts and 7 half pints. I had to scrounge for jars. I was keeping grains and spices in them, but I transferred them to other containers. Then I found a couple cases I forgot about, which I don't mind. Our water bath canner is kind of small for quarts, I was only able to do 4 at a time and by the end, I realized that the tops weren't covered when the water boiled off, but I got good seals.

I also made green tomato mincemeat. Mmmmmm!! It is so good! I didn't put the suet in or use any fat/oil to substitute and I didn't use as much sugar as it called for (called for 6 cups and I used 4). I did put more raisins and fruit peel in as they make it super yummy. It was all I could do not to crack a jar open to have some last night, but I know it will improve with age. I may make more since I have a ton of green tomatoes, plus I'd like to give a jar to my IL's since they gave me the tomatoes :)





We got our side of pork yesterday, yay! So, what does a side of pork look like (minus the hams and bacon which were sent away for smoking):



It took quite a while to get it all ready for the freezer. There was a lot of meat! I couldn't believe all the back fat! Mark will be in his glory, lol! He likes to fry it up for snacks. I've been trying to find out how to properly salt it with no luck, so I froze all but 3 slabs, which I put in a brine in the fridge for the time being. I'd like to do it a la Little House by layering it in a barrel with salt, but I fear poisoning my family, lol! Everything I read has a warning to keep in fridge no more than two weeks. Well how did the Pioneers ever survive since salt pork was a staple and they didn't have fridges in those days (other than the fortunate ones who had ice houses).

I bought the kids a pack of popcorn chicken last night and in my getting the pork ready for the freezer, I forgot to stick it in the freezer. I didn't remember until this morning and it was too late. I hate it when I do that. $3.50 down the drain :(

When I finish get my food storage in order (well, everything put away at least), I'm going to have an other updated post with pictures. It has grown a lot since the last time I wrote about it. Shoppers has an excellent sale today so I'll be stocking up even more. Real butter for only $1.99! Mark and I will each try to go a couple times each to load up since there is a limit of only 2 per customer. They have other great things on sale too.

If you're interested in Food Storage, here is a series of great food storage videos on YouTube. They also have a website called Simply Living Smart. I think the guy is a food storage specialist for my church, so a lot of the information I am already aware of. There are 7 key categories of food plus water, which is something you cannot exist without (1 gallon of water per day, per person for two weeks is basic, plus purification for water beyond the two weeks). The categories are: Wheat & grains, Sprouts, Legumes, Oils, Salt & Seasonings, Honey & Sweeteners and Powdered Dairy. I have all those categories well covered! Well, more whole wheat would be great, but I will be putting an order in soon. I hate to keep oil on hand as it usually goes rancid before we use it (not as much of a problem since we got our deep fryer though), but I keep lots of peanut butter and frozen butter on hand since I feel the oil category should really be "fats and oils". I also keep nuts in the freezer to grind for nut butters as the freezer keeps them fresh.

I love food storage. I would love to be a food storage specialist. It's such an interesting topic for me.

I should have a meal this weekend in honor of Little House; baked beans, cornbread and fried up salt pork. Ahhh to live in a simpler time when you didn't care if every meal was the same, you were just grateful to have something to eat!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Manic Monday

Well, not really manic.

Ethan just said he wanted falafel. I wish! That's one of my favorite foods, yummy! They feature food on CBC kids and the kids sometimes tell me they want to try what they have but I don't think they would actually eat it. They say they want to try, so maybe I'll make some. I usually use a mix but someday I need to get adventurous and make them from scratch if I can find a good & easy recipe.

My side of pork is all ordered up. I had to tell them what cuts I wanted. I wanted lots of chops and steaks. I know the kids will eat those. I was all "huh?" half the time. I told him I never ordered one before so I had no clue. I probably won't next time either, lol! I'm getting my hams and bacon smoked, mmmm! Those will take a little longer but we'll get the fresh stuff on Friday. He said it would be around $100, not including the smoking.

Apparantly there is a potato crisis going on. I don't know if it will affect Canada or not, but Red & White has 50lbs bags of new potatoes for $7.99 so I think I'll pick one up. We have about half of a 50lbs bag, but you can't go wrong with potatoes. After we have our meat, I am going to do the assembly line cooking thing for fries. Every time I shop, I go to grab frozen fries but what's the point when I can make them for pennies and the kids like the ones I make better. I need to get more oil in storage. The price of that has shot up.

I made a delicious smelling casserole for someone yesterday. I fried up some green peppers and onions with lean ground beef. I put in some fresh tomatoes when they were nearly done so they didn't overcook. I then mixed sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce with milk to thin it out a bit. I stirred this into the ground beef mix. I put a layer of whole wheat rotini in a casserole dish, layered with some marble cheese and topped it with the ground beef/Alfredo mix. It smelled so GOOD! I was drooling over it. I am definately making this for us sometime. I wanted to do something with gravy but tomato goes better with pasta, but Alfredo kind of seems in the middle.

I have decided to make more sit down meals with more veggies but it's so hard to work around Mark's schedule. I need to figure out a way to use up all our potatoes and carrots before they go bad. I also have lots of apples and pears. I am going to can the pears when I can get a hold of the pressure canner. I am going to water bath them, but my pot is not big enough for quart jars. If I could get a hold of some peaches I would make fruit cocktail as I have lots of grapes. I could just can them. I got a ton of organic red grapes for only 99 cents a pound last week!

I have been in super stock up mode and it's making Mark crazy! I am concerned about hyperinflation happening due to the economy crisis in the USA. I'm not freaking out about it, I just think we need to buy now while prices are reasonable. I figure if we buy now, we can save money while we are eating our storage. That's how we managed to save a lot of money last time.

Well, I need to take advantage of this beautiful day :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blech!!

I had to wait to dehydrate the peppers since the tomatoes were taking so long. I tasted on and they were gross! I don't know what is up with them (edit to add that Shayee was playing with cleaning supplies around the sink and I think some got into the peppers). Most of them were from Sobeys. I may have to go to the Fruit and Veggie stand to get some fresh ones because I was looking forward to having dried ones over winter. The tomatoes are fabulous! I had to stop myself from tasting them, lol! It's amazing that you can take about 6lbs of something and dry it to something that will fit in a quart mason jar (roughly).

There is a buy one get one free sale at Sobeys starting tomorrow. I need to go through the flyer. I got to the BOGO whole wheat pasta and got too distracted, lol! The kids go through a lot of pasta and I'm getting low. I bought a 5lbs bag of regular but I prefer whole wheat. I'll probably load up and they won't like it anymore, lol! That happened with the macaroni and Kraft Dinner, now Ethan won't touch it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Triumphs and Losses


I forgot to mention I bought a new food processor. I broke mine a while back while I was trying to make relish, but it was just a tiny little thing so it was pretty useless. I mostly only used it for hummus as it wasn't big enough to do much else with. I borrowed Veronica's but I haven't gotten around to using it. I've been meaning to make more relish. Well, I was at Walmart the other day to see if there were any cheap kids clothes and went through the housewares department. They had a really nice General Electric 11 cup food processor for only $19! That's not much more than I paid for my little one. I hadn't gotten around to using it yet, but last night I had a pile of peppers I needed to chop, hot peppers and green peppers. I just had to seed them and chute them through (looks like I missed a few seed :o). It took less than a minute to chop up 11 cups worth! Wow! That would of taken me all night and I would not of had them cut uniformly. I think the food processor may just win a spot on my counter :)

Well, I made bread yesterday. I don't know what went wrong but my bread was hard as a rock and my banana bread was soggy, even after cooking it twice as long as I should (I baked the banana bread for the proper amount of time, but I tried a different banana recipe this time; I won't use it again). I think I need to get new yeast. I buy it bulk at the health food store and keep it in the freezer. At least the bread dough made delicious pizza crust, which is what we had for lunch. We need to get our oven looked at as the temperature is wonky and I can't trist it to cook things properly. I've been saying it for ages but if I want to start making more bread, unless I get a bread machine, I need a good working oven.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Behind

I am really behind in keeping this food blog up. I am terrible lately with blogging anyway. Sometimes I sit to write and draw a blank.



I wrote in our main blog about our Valley Day, which resulted in all the food in this picture here. I have been kind of lazy and haven't done much food processing since. I did cut up all the peaches and froze them as they were on the verge of total ruination (they make wonderful smoothies, but not good for much else) and froze some other things. I need to do something with the rest soon as it will spoil otherwise. I was going to make green tomato mincemeat but the tomatoes turned red before I got a chance, lol! I think I'm going to dehydrate them instead.

I did get my carrots all buried in sawdust. Shaylee had a lot of fun helping me. I think I am going to do the same with my beets as I haven't had the energy to can them and this method is good for all root vegetables (or so I've read).

Today I'm also making bread. I want to stop buying it from the store, even though it's more convenient. Eventually I'm going to start buying our own wheat berries and grinding our own flour, but things keep coming up which makes it hard to budget a couple hundred bucks for wheat.

I was looking at a website called Living On A Dime and this thing popped up at me: "Five Simple Steps To Save $500 A Month On Your Grocery Budget". It totally doesn't apply to me as I try to spend a lot less than that (except when I'm building up my food storage). I can't possibly imagine a way to spend less than I do except if I were to raise and grow everything myself and right now I'm willing to pay for that convenience living in an apartment and all.

Speaking of food storage, I have been totally stocking up. I want to be ready to face the winter. My goal is to try and only spend about $100 a month over winter for groceries but also have an extra $100 a month in reserve in case there are good buys (although the sales have stunk lately!). I have really been putting a lot of effort into having enough and getting our storage in. I even bought a side of pork; they are $1.39/lbs at Red & White but I have no idea how big or how much. I was going to go with a quarter side of beef, but that would of ran us around $500, which is a little pricey. I want to try to budget for it to buy one next year as it would be soooo good. So I've been making room as with all the frozen fruit and veggies, one freezer is solid full and the other is about half. At least if the economy crashes, we'll have enough to eat ;)

One really good dish I made this week was just fried peppers, onions and tomatoes with a can of chili beans served over rice. I also made a really yummy cornbread in the microwave which went well with everything (especially homemade jam). It's good kept in the fridge with pieces sliced off to serve with soup/stew/chili or eggs for breakfast. I have probably said that I have given up the microwave but it is in the basement. With the oven not so reliable, sometimes it's better, especially for brownies and frozen foods/dinners.

Here's the recipe for Microwave Cornbread:

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. corn meal
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into ungreased 9 inch pie plate or round microwaveable cake pan. Microwave at HIGH 5-6 minutes, or until surface appears dry, rotating pan after 2-3 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's this?


So, what do you get when you mix 50lbs of carrots with a big bag of sawdust? Carrots that will last all winter long! I heard about this at a food storage meeting ans thought I would give it a whirl. For $10, it's not an expensive experiment. It was only $4.99 for the carrots and $5 for the shavings! Wow, that's like 10 cents a pound for the carrots, 20 with the shavings. They were sold as deer carrots but they're just smaller than the ones they sell for a lot more. They are good, sweet, crisp and very tasty! I'm going to either put them in a big box or tote (haven't decided yet) and they should stay well and crisp until next year.

I have really been on a buying kick. I am getting my larder in for winter. Things are so cheap now that I hate not to take advantage. We got 50lbs of new potatoes for only $8.99! I am going to try to bury them in the sawdust too. They're supposed to keep well.

I'm thinking of turning part of my basement into a cold storage room. The far side of the basement would be a great since there is a window that opens to the outside. I just need to find a cheap way to cordon it off. I'm also going to try to store apples and lots of squash. I have read about different ways to store things so I'm open to try. I'll still do up some apples, like applesauce and pie filling, maybe more chutney. I'm also going to dry some more this year. Apple chips are so yummy :) I'm also going to dehydrate some green peppers.

I need to read over the Little House books to see how Ma Ingalls and Mother Wilder did things. I love reading what they did. Of course it was a lot colder back then and they could rely on hanging meat outside and in the attic in the winter where we couldn't do such a thing today (thanks global warming, lol!). But we also have a global system of food transport where you can eat fresh strawberries in the dead of winter, but I want to try to eat more seasonally and locally.

Well, I have things to do before bed but I'll try to write more. Autumn is such a yummy time of year!

Canning Tons

I have been meaning to write here, but I keep putting it off. Part of it is the last post I wrote. I honestly don't know if I'm gluten intolerant and feel bad making such a big deal of it. I don't know what's going on with my body and I should see the doctor, but I'm scared. Just being honest.

Well, I have been canning up a storm. I've made tons of salsa, chutney, relish and sauces plus jams. I've probably done close to 150 pints of preserves so far. I love canning! It's hard, hot work but so worth it!!

Here are some images of what I've been up to:



Fresh, local Fred Kingsbury tomatoes. I've gone through more than 30lbs of these babies :)



My part of my first batch of salsa. I also did more.



The chopped up ingredients of one of my batches of chutney.



mmmmm!!! Yummy, simmering tomato chutney. I love this stuff! I went through a jar in one day, it was so good.



My zucchini relish ingredients. Looks like little fingers got into it, lol! My food processor broke halfway through, so I had to use the blender, which didn't work too well since the zucchini was on the dry side. I'm going to borrow Veronica's food processor so I can make cucumber relish.

I thought I had more pictures of the canning I've been doing but sometimes I just forget. My counters have been covered but I'm finally getting things put away. I wish I had more counter space, but I make do with what I have :)

I've also been up to more yummy things but I will save things to write about later.

Ta!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Aggghhhhhh!!!

**edit to add** I think I was overreacting as I eat "normally" and am fine. **end edit**

Oh no! I am almost 99% certain that I have Celiac Disease. I have suspected it for a long time but this past weekend pretty much confirmed it. I have to avoid many of the foods I love so that I will no longer be in agony. Up to this point, I could live with many of the symptoms that I had, but the pain and feeling like I'm going to die, I can't live with. Food, no matter how yummy, isn't worth it.

Thankfully there is tons and tons of great info online about living a gluten free lifestyle. I have been reading all day. My eyes are tired and my brain hurts but it will be worth it. Since I'm used to low carb diets, it should be pretty easy since I can have some of my tempting foods like corn, potato and rice as well as a ton of other things. It will take me a while to get into the swing of things and it will be hard watching the family eat things that I can't. I need to look at the positive. It may not be forever. There is still tons of stuff I can have. I will not be deprived and I will be healthier and should hopefully lose weight as my body is healed.

So what is my gluten free day looking like so far? I had an apple for breakfast and a couple of chocolates (a no-no, but they didn't bother me). For lunch I had a couple of eggs, a big salad and I tried to make a corn tortilla but it didn't turn out. It was still good. The kids keep waving things I can't have under my nose but remembering the pain makes it easy to avoid.

Which would you rather have:



Oh yeah, we spent some money on groceries yesterday. $6.97 at the Fruit and Veg for apples, grapes, a cucumber, a pepper, some potatoes and something else I can't remember (we didn't get large quantities of anything). I'm going to have to start going there more often. We also spent $11.46 at Bulk Barn for some chia seeds, spelt flakes (which I can't have :( ), dates, millet and other things I can't remember. We also bought chips, $8 worth. So we spent $26.43 and there will probably be more since I need lots more fruits and veggies if I'm going to do this!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Saturday Savings!

Sometimes things just seem to go a little too well. I am starting to wonder when the bad luck will come as it seems for the last few months we've had tons of good fortune (well, we've had some but it seems trivial in comparison).

I was all set to go to M&M Meat Shops as I have a gift card and they had some things I wanted to get. They also had a scratch and save event today where you could save up to 50% off. I had a feeling I may get it, but I didn't get my hopes up. So we go, get a couple of boxes of meatballs and some hamburgers. She handed over a stack of scratch cards and I ask Shaylee to pick one. Well, she picked three so I almost picked the top one but decided to go with the bottom one. I used my gift card to scratch it and saw a 5, then a 0 then I realized that I won 50% off! Oh my gosh!! For a non-gambler that's like winning the jackpot, lol! Mark says "What else can we get!!" So we get more meatballs and hamburgers plus a huge box of chicken breasts and a big bag of spicy curly fries. We ended up paying only $10.46 after the gift card, whoo hoo! Then we spent the day wishing we had got more stuff. There are so many things I'd love to try but it's so expensive. I was also sooo grateful we had the freezer space! A month ago we couldn't of done that.

So that accounts for $10.46 of our grocery spending, lol! It will go a long way.

Yesterday's amount was another flat of strawberries and 5 packs of shredded cheese.

$4.99 of today's grocery money come from grapes, a bag of pickling cukes, a red pepper and turnip from Dayton Fruit and Vegetable. The remaining $30.16 is from the South End Red and White where I got 3 small packs of top sirloin steak (yum!), a few pounds of lean ground beef, 2 small black forest hams, 2 packs of pizza pepperoni, a case of 24 pepperoni sticks, a big bag of chips and 2 cans of pop for the park. I think I'm forgetting something as well. You can often get a ton of great deals on meat from the Red and White. The Dayton didn't have much, but I'm kicking myself for not buying the 20kg bag of flour they had for $23. I'm holding out for the Speerville co-op.

So that's where our grocery money has gone.

Right now I'm dehydrating strawberries and the house smells so nice! I'm also freezing whole berries. I'm not doing any more jam, lol! I may make some all-fruit roll ups though. Of course I can always do that with frozen berries when I can get cheap apples since I'm getting pretty tired of working with strawberries.

Earlier I made a big pot of chili for lunch and I assembled a lasagna which we will have for supper tomorrow. I was going to cook it, but didn't want to smell it all day. The leftovers for both will make their way to the freezer for future meals.

I guess I should get a menu plan done up for the next week. I'm fasting right now (from food, not water) so although I can't eat, I'll fill my thoughts of what we'll be nourished with next week. There was a great article in the Ensign (a magazine my church puts out) about healthy eating. I would like to try harder. I also need to try harder to stick to my menu plans! I'm going to try to minimize my shopping this week. I am going to stick to one day for shopping and do it all in one day and try not to buy so much. We're so blessed to have so much that we should be ok for a while ;)

Menu Plan for Week Starting July 6th:
Sunday:
Lunch: Chili and biscuits
Supper: Lasagna and salad

Monday:
Lunch: Soup and Sandwiches
Supper: Baked ham, green or yellow beans, sauteed cabbage, baked potato and baby carrots

Tuesday:
Lunch: Rice and stir fry
Supper: Hamburgers and salad

Wednesday:
Lunch: Spaghetti and meatballs
Supper: bean burritos or tacos, salad and other raw veggies

Thursday:
Lunch: Fries (baked homemade or curly), baby carrots, cukes, turnip sticks
Supper: Haddock chowder (kids will probably have tomato), garlic biscuits

Friday:
Lunch: Leftovers or something else (running out of ideas, lol!)
Supper: Hamburger helper (kids fave), cukes and another veggie

Saturday:
Lunch: Falfel, rice, steamed California veggies
Supper: Homemade Pizza

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Blessings Flow!

I don't know if I wrote about my pressure cooker desire. I want one so bad! I spent days scouring the internet for one and checked all the stores in town. I was even ready to send off $300 to a crappy website that wouldn't even load or show the shopping cart to get one but just couldn't justify spending sooooo much money. That's basically when I decided to get the freezer.

Well, we have a friend who is moving away and she ~gave~ Veronica her pressure canner. Can you believe it? GAVE! And I can use it when I want, whoo hoo!! I also found out there are several ladies at church who have them and probably don't use them. I'm in canning heaven! Last night all the things I could can were dancing in my head; pumpkin, squash, beans, peas, meat, soups and on and on. I can't wait! I'm defiantly going to need more jars, lol!

I also found out earlier this week that I can use the grain mill at church any time I want. No one uses it anymore so it's basically free access! Of course I'll let people know I have it in case anyone wants to use it, but it has not been touched in the 11+ years I have been going to church.

This morning I labeled and boxed up most of the jam after checking the seals and taking the rings off (only one didn't seal, but I think it was the jar). Here is a great site for free labels (you can even type your info onto them and print them off). I want to put little circles of fabric with ribbon on them to make them look homey :)

Later today I plan to do some freezer cooking. Mark can never find anything to take to work and there are plenty of days that I don't feel like cooking and want something easy. I am going to make lasagna if I have noodles. If not, I am going to make Mexican lasagna. Can't remember if I posted that recipe or not but I will when I make it. I also want to make chili, tortillas, and lots of dough. I may freeze some pre-made pizzas, pizza pockets and maybe some plain dough as well. We sometimes like garlic fingers too :). I posted a donair sauce recipe below.

I just got off the phone with Veronica. Strawberries are $1.99 a quart at a local Fruit and Vegetable stand! I'm going to get another flat, whoo hoo! I think these I will mostly cut up to freeze and dehydrate some of them since they make a nice snack. This way we can have good cheap berries all year (although nothing compares to the taste of fresh).

Yesterday I made some unbaked cookies. The kids LOVE these. Ethan couldn't stop eating them, lol! They're great for chocolate cravings since they're so quick to make, even though they aren't the healthiest but when you really want chocolate, you don't care! BTW, I've heard these called many names but I always think of them as "Frogs". I don't call them that because the kids look at me funny and it may be offensive without my knowing it :o

Unbaked Cookies

1-1.5 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter/margarine
1/2 c. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix the above ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from stove. Add in 3-4 cups of oatmeal. Drop on lined cookie sheets or put in muffin tins (this is what I do). Keep in fridge.

--------------

Alternate SUPER-THICK Sauce Recipe (confirmed to be excellent)

* 2/3 cup canned sweetened condensed milk
* 1/4 cup white vinegar
* 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Follow the same instructions as above, except that you really need to stir for a long time to get the condensed milk and vinigar mixed properly. Do not be alarmed. Stirring this recipe for a long time will not make it thin. Leave set for a few minutes and you will be able to turn the bowl upside down and none of it will pour out.

This is the best donair sauce ever! It is my favorite, but we don't always have sweetened condensed milk on hand. I can't find the recipe I was using but this makes a good substitute for the milk:

MAKE SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK

Commercial sweetened condensed milk is made by evaporating a mixture of whole milk and sugar until a creamy, thick consistency, much like that of honey, is achieved. It is used in pies, candies, frosting, and ice creams to add extra richness. Now you can make sweetened condensed milk at home using nonfat dry milk solids. This recipe yields about the same amount as 1 (14 oz.) can of the commercial type and can be made for a fraction of the cost. Preparation is suprisingly easy. You can make it in an instant in your blender and keep a supply stored in the refrigerator until needed. 2/3 c. sugar 1/3 c. boiling water 4 tbsp. melted butter

Combine all ingredients in container of electric blender; process until smooth. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Yield: about 1 1/4 cups.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Marshmallows

I have been wanting to make homemade marshmallows. I found a recipe I want to try but I don't know when I will, so I will post a recipe until I get a chance:


Homemade Marshmallows

Recipe created by Martha Stewart

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar (for dusting)

Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Let it stand 30 minutes.

Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup of water in a small heavy saucepan; place over low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.

Clip on a candy thermometer; raise heat to high. Cook syrup without stirring until it reaches 244 degrees (firm-ball stage). Immediately remove pan from heat.

With mixer on low speed, slowly and carefully pour syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase speed to high; beat until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla; beat to incorporate.

Generously dust an 8 x 12-inch glass baking pan with confectioners' sugar. Pour marshmallow mixture into pan. Dust with confectioners' sugar; let stand overnight, uncovered, to dry out.

--------------------------------

Here's one for Strawberry Marshmallows (and other variations):

Strawberry Marshmallows


4 envelopes gelatin
1/2 c strawberry puree (frozen is actually better than fresh unless you have access to very flavorful local strawberries)
1-1/4 c water
3 c sugar
1-1/4 c light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp orange flower water (optional)
powdered sugar and potato starch for dusting


Line a sheet pan with a 1" rim with aluminum foil. coat the foil with vegetable oil or non-stick spray. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment.

Mix the strawberry puree, orange flower water (if using) and 1/2 cup of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the gelatin over to soften.

Put the sugar, corn syrup, remaining 3/4 cup water and salt in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until it reaches the soft-ball stage (234-240 F).

With the mixer at full speed, pour all of the hot syrup slowly down the side of the bowl. Be careful as the mixture is very liquid and hot at this point and some may splash out of the bowl - use a splash guard if you have one. whip until the mixture is very fluffy and stiff, about 8-10 minutes. pour mixture into the foil-lined pan and smooth with an oiled offset spatula so that it's level with the top of the rim (it won't completely fill the pan). Allow the mixture to sit, uncovered at room temp for 10 to 12 hours.

Mix equal parts powdered sugar and potato starch and sift generously over the rested marshmallow slab. Turn it out onto a cutting board or counter, peel off foil and dust with more sugar/starch mixture. Slice with a thin-bladed oiled knife or oiled cookie cutters. Dip all cut edges in sugar/starch mixture and shake off excess. Marshmallows will keep several weeks at room temp in an air-tight container.

Variation - Chocolate Marshmallows:

Replace strawberry puree and initial 1/2 cup of water in mixing bowl with 1/2 cup of cocoa disolved in 1/2 cup boiling water in a separate bowl. Soften gelatine in an additional 1/4 cup cold water in mixing bowl. Add cocoa mixture to mixing bowl and procede with recipe as above. This will produce a marshmallow with a strong chocolate flavor, but somewhat denser than the strawberry version. To get a lighter texture as well as a lighter chocolate flavor, reduce cocoa to 1/4 cup.

Variation - Vanilla Marshmallows:

Replace strawberry puree and initial 1/2 cup of water in mixing bowl with 3/4 cup water and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or the seeds scraped from 2 vanilla beans.


-------------------------------

Since I don't keep corn syrup on hand, I will use this to substitute for it:

Simple Syrup- Light Corn Syrup Substitute

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Instructions:
1. Combine ingredients.
2. Over medium heat, bring to full boil.
3. Boil for one minute, or until all sugar particles are dissolved.
4. Transfer mixture into airtight refrigerator container.
5. Use to replace corn syrup in recipes or to sweeten iced tea or other beverages.

----------------------

I haven't been doing too well with sticking to our meal plan. That seems to happen often when I create one. I end up switching things around or I get tired and make something easy. I want to make more of an effort in the future though.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Jam Is Made!!

Whew! Nearly 40 jars of varying sizes all containing home canned cooked jam :). It is sooooooo good! Oh my goodness! I was going to make more freezer jam but the cooked was so much better, richer and divine that I decided to make it all cooked.

I didn't realize how much work it was going to be, lol! I have never made so many of any preserves at one time. It was 6 batches of jam, almost the whole flat of berries (there is still one quart left over). I had to have the fan blowing at the stove or the smoke detector would of been going off constantly.

I have to say that one of my most favorite parts of canning is when you take the jars out and the lids pop, confirming the seal. With one batch they all popped as soon as I took them out, lol! It was a wonderful sound :)

Here are some pictures of my jamming day:

Everything ready and set to go. I could sure use an extra few feet of cupboard space!



My first batch getting ready to go in the canner.


Ready to take the plunge!


Making jam is hot work!


The beautiful results of all my hard work!



Grocery shopping for today. I should not be allowed into Superstore! I cannot walk in without buying tons of stuff I didn't mean to. I was going to go, get 4 boxes of pectin and get out. I ended up spending almost $30 :o. I got 2 bottles Classico Alfredo sauce ($1.99 each; Mark is tired of tomato based sauces), 3-4pk of pre and probiotic yogurt drinks (99 cents each; Shaylee LOVES these! They're usually $2.49), 4 packs of400g shredded cheese ($2.99 each, regularly $5.00!), a turnip (84 cents), some ginger root (20 cents), a sweet onion (37 cents), a tub of mixed melons (half off, so $1.75), tray of mushrooms (half off at 99 cents), a package of donuts (1.60, it was half off) plus the 4 boxes of pectin I went in for in the first place, which were 99 cents each. Sigh. I have to add $28.79 to my total. I also sent Mark back in for 5 more boxes of pectin. I wasn't going back, lol!!

And then there is Bulk Barn. I was planning for this though. We got a little more than 5lbs sultana raisins ($9.18), half a pound of chili powder ($2.08), a pound of black turtle beans (81 cents; I want to try to sprout them), 1lbs raw hulled sunflower seeds (99 cents, for sprouting), 75 cents worth of Montreal Steak Spice, 44 cents worth of dill weed, 1.35lbs of honey ($3.39) a pound of licorice all sorts (2.37; for when dad comes over , if they last that long, lol!), 4 Jolly Rancher candies (26 cents) and some blue gummy sharks (1.01) for a grand total of $21.79, bringing today's total up to $55.54. I wasn't planning on the candy, but the rest is good. It's so easy to pick up stuff and the kids always want a treat.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Whew!


Happy Canada Day!

Today I bought a flat of strawberries, 12 big quarts, yum! So nice and fresh. Then I spent more than two hours tonight cutting them up and hulling them (I actually only cut up 7 quarts as I was getting so tired that I ended up just hulling the rest for the time being). I forgot how much work it was to prep the berries but then I've never had more than a few quarts before (although I used to help mom, I think. She may remember differently ;) ).

I got my canning stuff out and I am going to get up bright and early to make jam! That's not my stuff at the top. My pot is big and white, enamel coated steel, but I would prefer stainless steel. I guess it all works the same and there's no point in whining about getting a new one. I had one but didn't have a cover. Oh well!

I am going to keep a running total this month on what we spend on food. I think it will be helpful in deciding what we should budget and to see what we're buying. Plus if people see what we buy, I may be a little more careful, lol! I will keep the running total in the sidebar if I can figure out how to do it.

July 1st: $30.53 for strawberries and a slushie.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Butter Bell Tutorial

I love picture tutorials. I love finding them in blogs. So I decided to do one for a butter bell. Actually it's not a real butter bell, but more of a butter crock. I found it at Dollarama and it's a great way to keep butter fresh and spreadable on the counter. They always have plenty and I would not of known what it was if I hadn't seen it online somewhere. If you use margarine, I'm sure it would also work well, but margarine is easier and cheaper to find in spreadable form than butter is.

First, make sure your crock is nice and clean. Then take the amount of butter you want to use and put it in the top half. It is better to use salted as it seems to keep longer. Oh and don't mind the crumbs as I had just cut bread and banana bread for the kids to put in the toaster while I prepped the butter:


Then you spread it out so that it's somewhat smooth and packed in (maybe do a better job than I did, lol! I didn't let it soften before spreading it out. I also stuck the pack of butter there so you could see that it really was butter). Fill the bottom half about 1/2 to 3/4 full of cold water. Tap water cold is fine.


Then put the top over the bottom. Yes, the butter is upside down but it will not fall down unless it's not packed in very well. It will form a seal keeping the butter fresh. Change the water every few days. Enjoy nice, spreadable butter! Especially on toast right out of the toaster, mmmm! I'm not sure how long it will last as ours usually doesn't last longer than a week since I don't put much, but I have heard that it should keep up to a month.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Banana Bread...meh...

I made some banana bread and muffins this morning. I made some of my usual changes and since the recipe called for nutmeg, I added a bit. Not too much, not even as much as it called for (since I doubled the recipe), but enough that Ethan didn't like them and enough that it kind of overpowered the banana taste. So no more nutmeg for my banana bread!!

Here's the recipe with my tweaks in()

The Best Traditional Banana Bread Recipe

For the purists. A traditional banana loaf recipe with a touch of spice. Feel free to toss a cup of nuts in this recipe. No chocolate for this one as the spice will compete too much.

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, soft (1 cup pear puree for double batch)
3 bananas (ripe) (added one extra per batch)
2 eggs (2 eggs and 1/4 cup flax for double batch)
1 tsp soda, dissolved in 1 Tbsp cold water
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla (added extra as we like vanilla)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (did not add)
1/4 tsp nutmeg (this much for a double batch)


Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. Combine and mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Place batter in a greased bread pan (bottom only) or in muffin tins.
  4. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (took longer for bread, but our stove is slow. Muffins took about this long)
  5. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan. Complete cooling on a wire rack
Makes one good sized loaf


Here are a couple of links I found that I really enjoy that I found:

http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/recipes (actually, the whole site is interesting with other useful information. As most sites, take some and leave some :) )

http://www.homesteadblogger.com/quiverfull This is the blog of the aforementioned site. Lots of step by step recipes that look very good!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Menu Plan starting Sunday

Menu Planning...it's something I know I should be doing and often fail to. I think with our current food situation it would be to our benefit to start planning what we eat as to rotate everything. We also have a great abundance in our fridge that needs to get used up, so that too :)

So I will cobble together a menu plan for this week starting Sunday. I won't do breakfast as we all have our breakfast preferences. I also may shift things around according to how Mark works. He gets tired of some of the things the kids like to have a lot.

Sunday:
Lunch: salsa salad and bread with jam
Supper: Supper at Dave and Veronica's

Monday:
Lunch: leftover split pea soup and biscuits
Supper: Baked chicken, corn on the cob and mashed potato

Tuesday:
Lunch: Family BBQ at Port Maitland (bring curried pasta salad)
Supper: Church BBQ (bring hot dogs, buns and curried pasta salad)

Wednesday:
Lunch: Hot Dogs
Supper: Pork chops and corn on the cob

Thursday:
Lunch: French fries
Supper: Ham, tomato zucchini dish and salad

Friday:
Lunch: Soup and sandwiches
Supper: Homemade Chili (kids will probably want something different though) and biscuits

Saturday:
Lunch: Baked chicken quarters, mixed veggies, rice or potatoes
Supper: Homemade Pizza

Now as always, this is subject to change and I will change it as we go to reflect what we actually had. Sometimes I just plain don't feel like making what I have planned or there may be protests about what I am going to make. But I am going to try and stick to it the best I can :)

Freezer Fun!

I'm going to write about this here since I sometimes wonder if people are getting tired of reading about food storage in my main blog, lol!

We got a second freezer last night! I can never again complain that we have nothing to eat, lol! It may just take some time and preparation, but I plan to really take advantage of our new situation.

I spent some time sorting the freezer out this morning and boy, were there some treasures! A gallon of organic milk! (yay! Our favorite. It's one of the few things I can really tell the difference between conventional and organic) Raspberries, yum! Chicken strips. Our poor turkeys stuck on the bottom. Tons of ham, chicken, bacon, hamburger I forgot about, hot dogs galore, tons of veggies and on and on.

I am dividing the different types of food into bags. I have a bag of single type frozen veggies, a bag of mixes (like California, winter, peas & carrots, ect..), a bag of hot dogs, chicken, ham and so on. I tried boxes and baskets, which were hard for me to get a hold of and shopping bags break. So I'm using some of our reusable shopping bags since they have handles, can hold a lot and are flexible.

Even if I don't buy anything for a while, we'll be good. I was thinking of buying a side of beef (actually a quarter), but I think it will just be too expensive. It would be about $900 for 300 lbs of hanging weight, which works out to under 200lbs of meat. First of all, that's a lot of meat! Second, that's a lot of money and a lot per pound. I'll keep buying the store stuff and try not to think about where it came from, lol! When Emin's has another side of pork sale, I think I will take advantage of that. $99 for a side of pork is much more doable and a greater value. Plus Mark likes pork products a lot better, I think.

So I'll probably be busy sorting for a while. I also want to keep a list on the freezer of what we have and keep track of what we use. That way we will no longer have any lost food.

I also plan on making lots of freezer meals. That way when I don't feel like cooking, I can just pop something out of the freezer and we have something good quick! I just need to find a day where I feel like cooking large quantities of food ;)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Yummy Food Links

I want to post some blogs that have yummy things in them. Mine is probably not really up to par but I'm always looking for ideas :)

http://familieseatinghealthy.blogspot.com/

http://yumfunandthensome.blogspot.com/

http://lentilsandrice.blogspot.com/

http://frugalabundance.com/

Pioneer Food (from the Mormon Pioneer Trek west)

Not necessarily recipes but this is extremely interesting about the time line of American food : http://www.foodtimeline.org/fooddecades.html

Some of my commonly used Recipe sites:

Allrecipes

Recipezaar

Epicurious

Rachel Ray

I know there are tons more out there but I mostly wanted to add these for safekeeping and potential future use :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Strawberry Freezer Jam


Veronica brought me some nice fresh strawberries around noon time so I decided to make some yummy strawberry freezer jam to go with our delicious fresh homemade bread. I found this on the Canadian Living site and decided to share. I am just letting it sit with the pectin and first amount of sugar but I'm sure it's going to turn out great! Even if it doesn't, it will still be good for strawberry shortcakes or as a sauce for ice cream or a million other yummy things :)

BTW, this is a picture of my bread and jam...yummy!!

Strawberry Freezer Jam


By The Canadian Living Test Kitchens

Here's a preserve that kids love from our August 2004 "Perfect Summer Preserves" collection. Invite them to help make this no-cook freezer jam using light pectin crystals.

Servings: 6 cups (1.5 L)

Ingredients:

    8 cups (2 L ) strawberries, hulled
    1 box (49 g) light pectin crystals
    3-1/4 cups (800 mL ) granulated sugar

Preparation:

In large bowl and using potato masher, crush strawberries, 1 cup (250 mL) at a time, to make 4 cups (1 L). In small bowl, whisk pectin crystals with 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the sugar. Add to strawberries and stir to combine; let stand for 30 minutes.

Add remaining sugar and stir until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour into six 1-cup (250 mL) airtight containers, leaving 1/4-inch (5 mm) headspace. Cover with lids. Let stand undisturbed at room temperature until set, about 24 hours. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 8 months.

Family Bread


I used to visit http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/ a lot. She has a lot of great ideas, recipes and frugal menu plans, even if they don't exactly work cost-wise here. I have made this before and decided to make some today. I wasn't able to get to the bread store, so why not. The differences I made were I used 1.5 cups of 12 grain cereal and 1.5 cups of flax meal and a little more water and maybe some more flour. It made 3 loaves and 2 pizzas for me. It's not done cooking yet but it sure smells yummy!

BTW, the commentary is all from the website, not mine :)

Family Bread
  • 4 cups warm tap water (not hot)
  • 2/3 cup non-fat dry milk powder (instant powdered milk)
  • 1/3 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 packets or 4 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/3 cup melted margarine or oil
  • 12 cups (approximately) white or whole wheat flour or a combination

The first thing you need is a big bowl or clean dish pan to mix this up in. Mix the water, dry milk powder and sugar in the dishpan or bowl. Add the yeast, sort of sprinkled on top. Allow the mixture to sit until the yeast dissolves some, this will only take a couple of minutes. Add the salt, margarine or oil, and flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until it gets too stiff and then dig in with your hands. When the dough is in a nice cohesive ball, turn it out onto a floured kitchen table or counter. Or if you are using a dish pan, you can just leave it in there.

Now start kneading the dough with all of the love you have for your family. Press the dough and send big love vibes into it. Stretch the dough and impress all of your compassion and generosity into it. Remember why you love your kids, and your spouse and your mom or you dad, and just put it all into the dough. Knead it like this for a full ten minutes. Add more flour if you need to as you go along.

Coat the dough with oil, about 2 tablespoons of it, and put it into the bowl or dishpan. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap and let it set in a warm place to rise for about an hour or so. It should double in bulk. It may take up to two hours on cool days, or in the air conditioning, so be patient.

Punch down the dough by literally pressing your fist into the center of it. Divide the dough into 4 equal lumps. Coax them into loaf shapes and place them into large (9 by 5-inch) well oiled loaf pans. If you don't have enough loaf pans, use casserole pans or cake pans, or whatever. Cover the dough with a cloth or more plastic wrap and let it rise again. It should take less time for the second rising. When the dough is risen up enough, bake the loaves at 350° for 40 minutes.

You can tell the dough is done if you turn it out of the pan and thump the bottom with your finger. It should make a dull hollow sound. If it doesn't sound hollow, put it back into the pan and cook it some more. Makes four loaves.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Simple Lasagne?

I came across this recipie and I want to try it: http://www.kraftcanada.com/EN/Recipes/RecipeTemplate?recipe_id=88326

I love lasagna but it's so time intensive to make. I usually end up chopping up tons of veggies, making an awesome sauce and so on, which means I never make it. If I can get the ingredients together I think I will make this sometime this week.

By the way, the oatmeal cake was a hit! I served it to anyone who visited and they loved it. It vanished so fast I never got a chance to take a picture, lol! I will definately make it again :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pasta Salad

Mark is really tired of pasta. We have tons of it. Then I found out he was just tired of all the pasta sauce. No problem! Let's jazz up that pasta with different things. The kids can eat up the pasta sauce :)

Curried Pasta Salad

This is not really a recipe but general instructions as the amount would vary since you may want a single serving or enough for a potluck meal.

Cook a pot of pasta of choice (any kind would do. I've used shells, gemelli, fusilli, macaroni and more. Here's a list of different dried pastas :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pasta ). Drain and rinse with cool water and put in a bowl. Add cubed ham and vegetables of choice. Cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, celery, zucchini and whatever else you enjoy are good choices. The more the merrier. Make a dressing of either mayo (light is best) or a vinegrette (vinegar and sugar with a spash of oil) and stir in curry powder to taste as so it's not overwhelming but tasty. Toss everything together in a big bowl and serve chilled, although it is nice warm too.

This is good for using up leftover pasta and vegetables. It's also nice to keep in the fridge as it tastes better after the flavors have a chance to mingle for a while.

yum yum!!

Oatmeal Cake

Ok, I had a ton of trouble finding a recipe for an oatmeal cake. They were all the same! A cake with broiled coconut topping. I wanted something different that had items I keep in storage for something different as a dessert. Mine is still in the oven but here is what I have done (and am doing)

Oatmeal Cake

1 1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats

Combine these 2 items and set aside to cool

1 large baby food bottle of peaches (about 1 cup of puree)
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
generous squeeze of molasses
1/2 cup sweetening equivalent of stevia (could just use 1/2 cup white sugar)
1 egg

Mix these items well. Add in:

1/4 cup ground flax
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
a few shakes of salt
1/2-1 tsp nutmeg

Mix well and add in oatmeal. Stir until everything is well mixed. Bake in a 350 preheated oven for 34-40 minutes (the original recipe says 8x8 pan but I accidentally put it in a 9x13 pan, which would need less baking).

This is the original topping recipe:

  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
But I am thinking of trying coconut milk mixed with icing sugar. I have a dented can that needs to get used up. I don't know if the kids would go for actual coconut. I will update with a picture and what I did about the frosting :)

Edit to add: The cake came out DELICIOUS!! It was a welcome change from the usual chocolate or vanilla. It was dense and moist and oh so yummy! It tasted like raisins would be in it but oddly had the texture of raisins in it. My nutmeg was organic and I think that made a difference (I never thought it would). My frosting didn't turn out; it was more of a glaze so next time I may try what was given (instructions are to mix ingredients, spread on cake and broil until coconut is browned). I put a bit of canned frosting on the kids pieces and Ethan asked for a second piece....with no frosting! I couldn't believe it! Definitely a must make again, maybe muffins next time :). I'll take a pic tomorrow if I can find the camera batteries.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chocolate Muffins


Ok, this is a highly tweaked recipe so I wanted to make sure I had a copy of what I did since I was just kind of adjusting as I went along. The batter is super yummy!! Ethan has been asking for muffins since I made the first one. I didn't tweak it as much and it had pureed squash instead of pear, but I thought pear would be more subtle.

I'll update after they're done!

Edit: These were really, really good! They puffed up a lot in the oven but deflated a little when they came out but still a good muffin. They had a very cakey texture and smelled soo fudgey and taste delicious! Mmmmmmmm!! The lighter bits are just the oats, which add a nice texture (I added rolled oats to the ones I made before; steel cut definately have a different texture). Ethan even ate one without asking to put frosting on it, which is a big deal, lol! Shaylee is waiting for pie. I don't feel like making banana bread today anymore but will do it tomorrow.


Chocolate Muffins


Preheat oven to 350.

1 cup flour
1/3 cup ground flax
1/3 cup protein powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix these dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir in:

1 cup pear puree
1 cup vanilla soy milk
1/4 cup steel cut oats soaked in 1/2 cup hot water (add oats and water)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional; I only had 1/4 cup)

Stir until just moistened. Fill lined muffin cups and bake at 350 for 20 to 30 mins (my oven isn't heating right but this is from the original). Top with favorite toppings to eat!

Banana Banana Bread

I love this recipe. It's so good and moist! I think I will make a triple batch today as I bought a ton of very ripe bananas. I am also going to try using flax instead of the eggs since I'm running low on eggs. Apparantly 3 Tbsp flax + 2 extra tbsp of liquid should work. I like adding flax anyway since it's virtually pure fiber. I will also substitute most of the butter for pear puree. I like tinkering with my recipes ;)

I am also going to make the chocolate muffins I blogged about here. Ethan keeps asking for them as he LOVED!!! them so much. I didn't tell him about my secret additions, lol!!!

Banana Banana Bread



INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe
bananas
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Apple Pumpkin Muffins

I found this in another blog and wanted to secure it in my food blog since I love pumpkin and I think it would be awesome in a muffin with apples :D

Apple Pumpkin Muffins
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (we substited a shake of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
1/2 vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped apples
In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin and oil, stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in apples. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full.
For a crumbly topping, combine 2 tbsp of sugar, 2 tbsp flour, a shake of cinnamon and 4 tsp of cold butter or margarine. Use a fork to combine and sprinkle over the tops of muffins. This recipe made 12 muffins, plus had enough batter left over to make a little cake.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Honey Baked Lentils

I haven't actually made these but I've been hearing praise about them for ages. I will post it so when I actually get around to making them, I will know where the recipe is :)

Honey Baked Lentils
1 cup lentils
2 cups water
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soysauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger (optional)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
salt & pepper
In a baking dish (or a loaf pan) combine all ingredients. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 until tender, about an hour. Stir at least once during baking because the onions tend to rise to the top. Serve with rice; it is good all stirred together.

Doughnut Holes


Ok, ok, I never got to the cookies. This weekend was busier than expected but I do plan to make them sometime this week.

Last night there was mention of doughnuts but the kids went to sleep before I could get them together so I made some this morning. Very easy! Even easier since I made the dough too wet and instead of adding more flour, I just dropped them in for doughnut holes (or Timbits as we Canadians call them :) ). And while not the healthiest thing in the world, I tried to add a little nutrition to them.

Click on the picture for a larger view. The top ones are sprinkled with icing sugar, the lower left ones have cinnamon sugar on them and the bottom right were maple and have a maple glaze on them; all were very good! The maple ones got a little more brown which I attribute to adding maple syrup to the mix.

Doughnuts/Doughnut Holes

Beat together:
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup sugar and the rest equivalent stevia)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp oil, butter, margarine or shortening (I used an olive oil/canola blend)

Mix together:
1 cup ww. flour
1/2 cup flax meal
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup powdered milk

Mix the wet and dry together and add enough warm water to make a kneadable dough. Knead for a couple of minutes, roll and cut out (or shape by hand). Drop into oil heated to 350 degrees. Cook until a golden brown. If desired, roll in sugar, icing sugar, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or coat with a glaze.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Peanut Butter (and bean) Cookies

I made these before and the kids just loved them. I cannot remember which recipe I used so I am going to find another and convert it. I have not made them yet, but I will post if they are a success :)

Original with my adjustments on the side in bold:
INGREDIENTS:

* 1 1/4 cups flour, sift or stir before measuring (1 cup whole wheat, 1/4 cup bran and 1/4 cup flax)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 cup shortening (1/2 cup cooked mashed white beans)
* 1/2 cup peanut butter
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar (1/2 equivalent of stevia
* 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed (1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup molasses)
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 egg

PREPARATION:
Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside. Cream shortening, peanut butter, and sugars; beat in vanilla and egg. Stir in flour mixture, blending well. Shape mixture into 3/4-inch balls; place on greased baking sheets.
Flatten each cookie with the tines of a fork; dip fork in flour periodically to keep it from sticking to the peanut butter cookie dough.
Bake peanut butter cookies at 375° for about 10 to 12 minutes.

So we'll see how it goes. I'm sure it will be something that is cookie-like, lol! I'll be sure to take pictures. As long as the kids will eat it, that is what I consider success :)

Banana Bran Muffins

Ok, it's been a while since I posted anything here. I am trying (again) to get the family to eat healthfully and that means I have to find yummy things they will eat that have good nutritional benefits.

This muffin recipe is one I changed quite a bit. It may look intimidating but it is really quite easy and very healthy after the changes I made. It originally called for 2 cups of sugar but I wanted to cut that down some.

Banana Bran Muffins

3 eggs (or equal substitute)
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup sugar
Stevia equal to 3/4 to 1 cup, depending on sweetness desired
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sour cream and 1 cup milk or water (or use 1 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup water)
5 ripe bananas, mashed
3 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. vanilla

Mix these ingredients together. Beat well then add dry ingredients:

1 tsp. salt
2 cups natural bran
1 cup rolled oats
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup of add ins (raisins, chocolate chips, nuts, ect... *optional*)

Mix until blended. Fill 48 medium or 36 large muffin tin cups that are lined (silicone cups work great!) or make mini muffins or even a cake/bread (cooking time will vary). Let stand for 30 minutes before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.

The kids loved the mini muffins. DS ate about 20 mini muffins the first day, lol! I really liked the cake. I just cut a slice off for breakfast and serve with jam or peanut butter. Next time I make it I think I will use 1 cup of flax meal to substitute for another cup of flour.