March 28, 2011

powdered milk

I use powdered milk in all of my recipes.  I use regular milk only for drinking.  I currently store and use Morning Moo's milk alternative and non-instant powdered milk from the LDS cannery.  I hope to do a post on the pros and cons of milk alternative soon.  In the mean time, if you would like to learn more about powdered milk, I recommend the posts at Food Storage Made Easy, and  Preparedness Pro.  Food Storage Made Easy links to a powdered milk taste test at Utah Preppers, that is very informational.  I agree that Country Cream tastes good.  I would like to store this milk when I can find a good sale on it.

March 23, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

I have been making yogurt the past couple of months.  I was hesitant.  I don't like plain yogurt.  Why on earth would I make some?  Yes, I know it's healthy.  But it's sour.  It doesn't taste good.
Now that I'm 2 or 3 months into it, I like it.  My taste buds have changed.  I don't mind the sour.  When I eat it as a snack I add granola, jam (especially rhubarb pineapple jam), applesauce, canned fruit along with the syrup (especially home-canned plums), or some combination of these.  It's good.  My favorite way to eat it is with applesauce on pancakes.  I also eat it instead of sour cream on tacos and chili.  I really like it in smoothies with fresh and/or frozen fruit (if it's too sour, I add a little honey; too thick, a little milk or juice).
Yogurt is easy to make.  It takes about 12 hours to make, but only about 13 minutes of active time.
You can use any type of milk.  If you use powdered milk from the LDS cannery, it will be very sour.  Regular milk from the store is not quite so sour.  Morning Moo's milk alternative does not work just by itself.  It does work 1/2 and 1/2 with other milk (powdered or regular).
Here is a brief synopsis of how to make 2 quarts of plain yogurt:
1.  Heat 8 cups milk to 180° F.
2.  Cool milk to 115°.
3.  Add 1/2 cup plain yogurt (You want one with lots of LIVE bacteria, and no added ingredients; I use Dannon, then my own homemade)
4.  Pour into 3 clean quart-sized jars and screw on clean lids.  Try to pour even amounts into each jar.
5.  Keep milk between 90°-110° for 8-12 hours to allow bacteria to multiply.  I accomplish this by pouring lukewarm tap water into a cooler, and keeping the water between 90° and 110°.  I check the water every few hours to make sure it's still warm enough.  If it's below 95° I replace half the water with warmer water.
6.  When the milk looks like yogurt (hard), put it in the fridge for 12 hours.  I like to start the yogurt making process first thing in the morning, then let it refrigerate all night.  Fresh yogurt for breakfast!

Prior to making yogurt for the first time, I would highly recommend reading more detailed directions.  Use your favorite search engine (I love Swagbucks!) to find one.  I used this recipe without any of the sweeteners. is currently doing a series on yogurt making.  The first post has a video with a lot of good information on the health and cost benefits of making your own yogurt.  She makes yogurt in a crockpot.

March 21, 2011


Chili is great for a number of reasons.  According to my husband, you can eat chili all year around, compared to soup that you can only have in the winter.  Another great thing about chili is that you can eat it in so many different ways.  You can eat it with rice, noodles, baked potatoes, oven fries, french fries, Doritos (according to my husband), fry bread, or hot dogs; you can serve it with all kinds of toppings, such as cheese, sour cream, plain yogurt, chopped onions, tomatoes, lettuce, etc.
Here is a very basic recipe.  You can add chopped celery and/or green peppers if you like.  The recipe calls for pinto beans, but I have also used kidney, black, and great northern beans.  I like using multiple kinds in the same recipe to add variety.  This recipe freezes well.


1 lb dry pinto beans OR 3 cans beans
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
3 cans (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 1/2-2 1/2 tsp salt
1/2- 1 Tbs chili powder

Cook dry beans.  When beans are recipe-ready, cook ground beef and onions until meat is cooked, and onions are soft.  Drain excess fat.  Add remaining ingredients.  Cover and simmer 1-2 hours.

March 18, 2011

Living off of Food Storage

I found this article by a lady who fed her family off of their food storage for two years.  It's really interesting.  You can find it here at the Prudent Homemaker.
It's an interesting read!

March 15, 2011

Orange Cleaner

Have you been eating tons of oranges lately?  Here's something to do with the peels!  Just put them in a jar, cover with vinegar, let sit a couple of weeks, then use as a cleaner!  It works great!  The full recipe can be found here at Penniless Parenting.

March 14, 2011

Rice with Lentils

Another way I like to serve lentils is with rice.  I just cook rice in my rice cooker like usual, except I substitute a tablespoon or two of lentils for rice.  It is so easy, good, and adds nutrition to a quick and easy side dish.  I first learned this while living with foreign exchange students in college.  (I think the ones who did this were from Korea.  It's been a while, though, so I can't quite remember.)

March 11, 2011

Update on my Emergency Preparedness Goals

I am really failing on my emergency preparedness goals.  I thought I would do a quick update on what these goals were and how I'm doing on them:

  • Organize a family plan-DONE
  • Create a 120 hour kit-I need to add a few more things to it
  • Make a list of things to do prior to evacuating (if time allows), and place on your 120 hour kit-I need to do this still 

  • Make sure my husband and I know how to shut off the gas line, water line, and electricity.-DONE
  • Make a car kit.-DONE
  • Make a kit for my husband to have at work.-Haven't started

What are you doing to prepare yourself?


    March 9, 2011

    Mexican Pizza

    I really like lentils.  They are not a bean, but they are in the legume family, along with beans, so I just call them beans.  They only take about 25 minutes to cook, and do not need to be soaked first.  Most every recipe that I've tried them in, though, has been just okay.  Not terrific, but edible.  I've tried lentil loafs, soups, and chili.  This recipe, though, is a family favorite.  I always dream of making it healthier by using homemade corn tortillas in place of chips, but that just hasn't happened yet.
    I don't really measure the ingredients.  I just throw it together.  The measurements below are estimates.  Just do what looks good.

    Mexican Pizza

    3 cups cooked lentils
    1 can Spaghetti sauce OR tomato sauce seasoned to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder or beef flavored bouillon
    1/2 pound Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
    1 bag tortilla chips

    Lay tortilla chips on cookie sheet. Can crush for easier eating. Spoon lentils over chips, followed by
    spaghetti sauce. Or crush lentils and mix with sauce. Sprinkle cheese over top. Broil until cheese is
    melted, about 3 minutes. Serve with salsa and sour cream. You may also use olives, green onions, or peppers on top of the cheese, if desired.

    March 7, 2011

    Responsibility of Welfare

    President James E. Faust, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, gave the talk "The Responsibility of Welfare Rests with Me and My Family" in 1986.  The principles apply today.
    I wish to speak of the basic principles that keep our feet on the ground economically. This is important to our happiness.
    The old couplet “Waste not, want not” still has much merit. Frugality requires that we live within our income and save a little for a rainy day, which always seems to come. It means avoiding debt and carefully limiting credit purchasing. It is important to learn to distinguish between wants and needs. It takes self-discipline to avoid the “buy now, pay later” philosophy and to adopt the “save now and buy later” practice.
    Click here to see the full talk.

    March 4, 2011

    Vegetable Soup

    This recipe is adapted from "Cook's Country" magazine.

    Very Yummy Vegetable Soup

    Printable Version

    2 Tab. vegetable oil
    4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
    2 small onions, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    6 garlic cloves, minced
    8 cups broth (I use water and bouillon-both chicken and vegetable work well)
    3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    1/4 tsp EACH thyme and rosemary
    2 slices bread, lightly toasted (white is best, but wheat is okay; try not to use something with too much flavor)
    Spinach (I usually use frozen-just cut off a hunk of a block; fresh chopped up works great, too)
    1 can white beans (2 cups)
    10 oz. frozen peas
    Balsamic vinegar
    Salt and pepper

    1.  Heat oil in heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.  Add carrots and onions, and cook until browned and softened, 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until it smells wonderful, about 30 seconds.  Add broth (or water and bouillon), potatoes, thyme, and rosemary.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until vegetables are soft, 10-15 minutes.
    2.  Transfer 3 cups solids (estimate), 1 cup broth, and bread to blender and puree until smooth.  Stir puree back into pot.  Add spinach, beans, and peas.  Cook over medium heat until spinach is tender, and peas are heated through, about 8 minutes.  Stir in 1 tablespoon vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve, passing extra vinegar at table.

    March 1, 2011

    Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

    I have tried a number of homemade cream of chicken soup recipes.  This recipe from USU Extensions is my favorite and the easiest.  I have used both non-instant powdered milk (from the LDS cannery), and Morning Moo's milk alternative for the powdered milk.  I have used both chicken and vegetable bouillon.  All of these have produced good results.  I have used this recipe in chicken enchiladas, white chili, stroganof, and several other recipes that call for cream of chicken soup that I just can't think of right now.  The great part of making your own soup instead of using a can, is that you can season it the way you like.  When making stroganof, for example, I season it with parsley, dry mustard, oregano, pepper, and sugar.  Use your imagination!
    This is also very cost effective.  When using a #10 can of non-instant dry milk that cost $7.90, a 16 oz. container of cornstarch that cost $1, and a mega-huge 35.3 oz. container of chicken bouillon that cost $4.98, a can of cream of chicken soup costs 18.66¢. 
    USU extensions says this recipe can also be used as a soup by mixing the recipe below with cheese, potatoes, broccoli and cheese, etc.  I've never tried this.

    Basic Sauce Mix (Cream of Chicken Soup)

    2 cups powdered non-instant milk (see note above)
    3/4 cup cornstarch
    1/4 cup bouillon (see note above)

    Combine all ingredients in a plastic bag.  Seal and shake to mix well.  Yield:  Equal to 9 cans of cream soup.
    To substitute for 1 can of cream soup:  Combine 1/3 cup of dry mix with 1 1/4 cups cold water.  Stir well.  Season to taste (depending on recipe).  Cook and stir on stove top until thickened. Add thickened mixture to recipe as you would a can of soup.

    Use your imagination!