February 26, 2011

Vetetable Bouillon

A while back I mentioned that I cook with chicken bouillon quite a bit.  One of my readers told me about a vegetable bouillon recipe at a blog called Simple. Healthy. Tasty.  I have to admit that I was a little skeptical.  First, the main ingredient is nutritional yeast.  I had never heard of this.  And second, the blogger claims that it tastes like chicken bouillon in recipes.  Turns out I didn't have anything to fear!
Nutritional yeast is described here on Wikipedia.  It can be bought in bulk bins at WinCo, Smith's Marketplace, and natural food stores.
I like using this bouillon!  So far I have used it in stroganof, enchiladas, and vegetable soup.  I will post more about each of these later.  I am not going to use this bouillon exclusively right now.  I just bought a mega-huge container of Knorr chicken bouillon for only $4.98 (WalMart).  So I need to use that.  But I really do like the idea of making my own bouillon.  I like knowing what's in the food I eat.  Part of the beauty of cooking from scratch.
My one suggestion.  The recipe says to add 1 tablespoon to every quart of water.  I would recommend using 1 tsp. to every cup of water.
 And by the way:  My husband liked this too!  He just thought some of the recipes weren't quite flavorful enough.  (Note the hint above.)

February 17, 2011

Follow-Up on Smith's Deals

This is a continuation to this post.

I went shopping at Smith's, and bought a whole lot of convenience foods.  My family doesn't typically eat a lot of convenience foods, but when they're cheap I like to stock up.  Simple is good sometimes.
Anyway, just had to post that according to the $3 coupons I got at the end of my trip, I can only use one coupon per transaction, and I must spend more than $3 per transaction.  This is really annoying since my plan was to use them to only buy milk, and anything else that is such a great deal I just can't pass it up.  Since I will now have to do 5 transactions, I will end up spending more money than I hope.
Here's what I recommend doing if you plan to buy more than 1 batch of 10 items:
Split each set of 10 items into separate transactions.  Use your first $3 off coupon on your 2nd transaction.  Repeat.  This way you only take home 1 $3 off coupon.
Hopefully this makes sense.  Just wanted to pass on the news.

Smith's Ad Clarification

This post is updated here.

This week at Smith's they are running a Daytona 500 Promo; when you buy 10 participating items, you get $3 off now, and a $3 coupon at checkout.  Essentially this means you are getting $6 off, and thus $.60 off per item.  In the ad it only takes $.30 off per item.  So there are actually some really good deals.  A few examples:
  • Banquet Brown 'n Serve Sausage: $.28
  • Banquet Entree: $.28
  • Campbells Chunky Soup: $.69  with online coupon $.29
  • Cereal $1.69 (with online coupon $1.19)
I could go on.
Visit grocerysmarts.com to see more great deals.

February 16, 2011

Krazy Daze Sale

Smithfield Implement is having their annual Krazy Daze sale next week, February 21-February 26.  I love this sale!  It is a great time to get preparedness/camping items.  You should be getting their ad in the mail soon, if you haven't already.  Or you can email me to get more information.
I love their crank flashlights (on sale for $3.97).  I will be getting enough more so that I can have one in every room of the house.
I also love the Dynamo Radio.  This is a crank-powered FM/AM radio, flashlight, and siren.  They are on sale for $10.97.  I have one in my 120 hour kit, in the car, and in my bedroom.
Lots of other great things on sale!

February 12, 2011

Water Storage Saves the Day!!!

Last week my husband was fixing the bathtub (isn't he wonderful?!) so he had to shut off the water in the house.  Fine.  We can handle that.  Unfortunately, the problem was going to be harder to fix than he initially thought, and the water was off for about 5 hours.  Everything was fine until my potty-training child peed on the couch.  My baby had just woken up from his nap, so I went into their room to get the older child some new underwear and pants.  And the baby had taken off his diaper and pooped.  (That's what I get for not duct taping the diaper!)  I am so grateful that I had this on hand:
filled with water

Thank you to Food Storage Made Easy for this idea a while back!  I put the baby in the sink, and was able to wash his dirty hands and feet very nicely with the spray tip on this old soap container.
See, being prepared really does help me nearly every day.  Sometime I'll have to write more about powdered eggs.  Those save me nearly every day!

February 10, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

pretty cute, huh?
they stuck together
this one turned out pretty nice

I found this idea on Frieda Loves Bread.  Mine didn't turn out as well as hers.  Part of the problem was because I put the rolls too close together in the pan, so they stuck together as they raised.  Anyway, I used the dough recipe from King Arthur Flour, and then just used a whole bunch of melted butter, cinnamon, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and raisins in the filling.  And of course I put cream cheese frosting on top.  Yum!

February 9, 2011

White Chili

White Chili

Printable Version

½ medium onion, chopped
½ cup green pepper
1 4 oz. can green chilies
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tab butter or margarine
2 Tab flour
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup milk
2 cups navy beans
2 cups corn
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
¼ cup sour cream
1 tsp poultry seasoning (or combination of thyme and rosemary)
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
cilantro, if desired
tortilla chips

Sauté onion and green pepper 1 Tab oil until just tender, adding chilies and garlic for the last minute. Set aside. In soup pot, melt butter; blend in flour and cook briefly. Remove from heat, and stir in broth and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until sauce thickens. Add remaining ingredients and vegetables. Heat through. Season to taste with cilantro, salt, and pepper. Serve with cheese and tortilla chips.

Salsa Variation:  Omit green chilies.  Add 1/2 cup salsa when putting all ingredients together at the end.

February 7, 2011

Lay Up In Store

"Lay Up in Store" is an excellent talk given by Bishop McMullin, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in 2007.  He addresses putting God first in our lives, work, industry, and frugality.  Click here to go to the talk.

February 5, 2011

Rising Food Prices revisited

There is a lot of talk about rising food prices, both in the news, and in blogs.  This is one of the many reasons that I believe in food storage.
I have noticed that prices fluctuate up and down, with a gradual rise.  So, stock up when the price is low.  For example, when I find refried beans for $.59 per can, I buy 12 or more.  That way I never have to buy refried beans when they're $1 per can!  (I used to always wait for them to be $.50 per can, but I haven't seen that price for at least 2 years.  And, yes, I should probably learn to make refried beans so that I can avoid this purchase all together.)
Want more?  Check out this 2008 Wall Street Journal article.
Now, how do I afford this?  I budget $50 per month as my "emergency preparedness fund."  This money goes toward my bulk food purchases (i.e. 25 pound bags of wheat, oats, etc.), items on sale (chicken, refried beans, toilet paper, etc.) that I can't afford in my regular food budget, and emergency preparedness items (wind-up flashlights, items for 120 hour kit, etc.).  If I don't spend any of it one month, then I'll have $100 the next month.  When I first started using this category in my budget, I found that I spent significantly less in the regular shopping category of my budget.  It really all just evened out.
I mentioned the sale at Maceys last week.  You may be interested to know what someone crazy like me ended up purchasing.  I bought:
50 lb bag Morning Moos' milk alternative
2 cans powdered eggs
45 lb. bucket white wheat
50 lb. bag all-purpose flour
7 3 lb bags pasta

The milk was $60, so yes I went over budget.  But I had money left over from December, and I'll have less to use in February (bad idea to use next month's money).  But I have the peace of knowing that my family has plenty of milk to drink (although it's not real milk).
By the way, all of the bulk food items are going in buckets with gamma seal lids.  These are air tight.  The flour will last a long, long time, and the milk should last at least a year or two.

February 4, 2011

100 Posts!

This is my 100th post!  I can't believe it!
I know I've learned a lot.  Even when information is in my head, it helps me to put it in writing, to learn even more.
Anyway, have a great day!

February 3, 2011

Cooking Dry Beans

Cooking Dry Beans

Note: Times may vary based on the type and size of the bean, as well as how old they are.

1. Sort the beans. In other words take out all foreign material, especially rocks.
2. Rinse the beans.
3. Long Method: Cover the beans in water, at least 2 inches above the level of the beans, and let
soak for 6-8 hours (or overnight). Short Method: Cover beans with water, boil for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour.
4. Drain the water, then rinse.
5. Cover the beans with water, at least 2 inches above the level of the beans, bring to a boil, and
then simmer for 1-3 hours. Add more water if necessary so that the beans stay covered in
6. Drain the water, then rinse.
7. Now your beans are recipe ready.

Beans may also be cooked in a crockpot (I have never done this), or in a pressure cooker (I did this for the first time last week-more to come!)

I typically cook a pound of beans at a time, use however much I need in a recipe, then freeze the rest for
later use. Beans can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.  Also last week I canned beans in my new pressure canner (more to come!)

A recipe for how to restore very old beans may be found here.

February 2, 2011

Dry vs. Canned Beans

The biggest differences between cooking with dry and canned beans is the convenience factor and price.  You can buy a a pound of dry beans for anywhere from $.50-$2.  Each pound makes approximately 6 cups of beans, or the equivalent of 3 cans.  You can buy a can of beans usually for $.50-$1.50.  As you can see, it is a lot cheaper to buy dry beans than canned beans.  But dry beans require time (and generally speaking, a lot of it) to make recipe ready.  Dry beans also take a lot less space to store.
I like to have both canned and dry beans on hand.  Canned simply for the convenience factor.

Coming Up:  Cooking dry beans

February 1, 2011

February: Evacuating Part II

First, I have to admit that I didn't do everything I set out to do in January.  All I did was my family plan.  So, I do have a few things to carry over into February.

In February I will continue to get ready to evacuate.  Or rather, have things ready to evacuate if I ever have to.  Here's what I want to accomplish:
  • Make sure my husband and I know how to shut off the gas line, water line, and electricity.
    • If you have older children, you'll want to know they know how to do this, along with when to do this.
  • Make a car kit.
  • Make a kit for my husband to have at work.
    • What you put in an office kit will depend a lot on the size of the work place, and what supplies are already on hand there.