Saturday, November 28, 2009

Free Book Downloads at Deseret Book

Who doesn't love FREE?  For a limited time, you can download some great books from   Some of the included titles are:

1.       Please Pass the Scripture (John Hilton III).

2.       What I Wish I Would Have Known When I Was Single (by John Bytheway).

3.       Women at the Well (by Richard and Jeni Holzapfel).

4.       Digging Deeper (by Robert Eaton).

5.       10 Secrets Wise Parents Know (by Brent Top and Bruce Chadwick).

6.       Growing Up: Gospel Answers About Maturation and Sex (by Brad Wilcox).

7.       Saving Kristen (by Jack Weyland). (fiction)

8.       The Hidden Path (by C.B. Andersen). (fiction)

What a great opportunity!  

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pie Crusts

Several weeks ago I attended a class on "Holiday Pies and Candies".  With Thanksgiving just 2 days away, and my sister and I making all of the pies, I thought I would share some things I learned, as well as some GREAT crust recipes!  We started out with a taste test of 6 different crusts, rating them according to taste, flakiest, etc.  The #1 winner in my book was very similar to the recipe I use at home (go figure!).  I still prefer my crust, so I will give you mine, and the two top winners from the class.  Enjoy!

Pie Crust (my favorite)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups Crisco
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 pinch cream of tartar
1 egg, beaten lightly
1 TB vinegar
4-6 TB ice water

Mix together flour, Crisco, salt, sugar, and cream of tartar with a pastry blender or with hands (I use my food processor).  Mix egg, vinegar, and water and add to dry ingredients.  Knead lightly, being careful to not overmix.  3-4 single crusts.

Pie Crust II
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 TB vinegar
About 7 TB ice water
Combine dry ingredients and cut shortening in with a pastry blender or two knives.  In electric blender:  mix egg, vinegar, and water.  Add to other ingredients, stirring with a fork until pastry forms a ball.  DO NOT OVERMIX!  Divide dough for crusts and form into balls.  Allow to rest in refrigerator, if desired, but warm to room temperature before rolling.  Roll 1/8" thick, starting from center using light strokes. Roll pastry over rolling pin; unroll over pie plate, fitting loosely onto bottom and sides.  Trim and crimp edges as desired.  Makes 3-4 single crusts.

Pie Crust III (Trans-Fat free)
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup oil
1/3 cup milk
Gently mix all ingredients together being careful not to over mix.  Form into two balls and flatten each abll slightly.  Roll dough between 2 pieces of waxed paper. Peel off top sheet and fit dough, paper side up, into pie plate.  Remove paper.

For single crust pie, trim 1/2 inch beyond edge of pan, fold under, and flute edge.  Prick bottom and sides well with fork.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or till golden.

For double crust pie, trim lower crust even with rim of pie plate.  Tuck top crust under edge of lower crust.  Flute edge of pastry as desifed.  Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.  Bake according to individual recipe.

Soggy Crust: 
  • Do not let the pie sit too long before baking.
  • Keep the amount of water in the crust to a minimum.
  • Preheat the filling.
  • Spread the surface of the lower crust with melted butter.
  • Chill the dough for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before adding the filling.
  • Set pie pan on a metal baking sheet during baking.
Flour and butter mixture becomes pasty (butter starting to melt):
  • Proceed as quickly as possible to moisten the dough and force the dough to accept at least 3/4 of the liquid called for by gently stirring the liquid in with a fork.  The dough may be excessively soft.  Flour the outside of the dough generously.  Wrap and chill.
Large lumps of butter left int dough after moistening:
  • Flour work surface and turn out dough.
  • Press dough into a rectangle about 3/8" thick. This will help flatten the lumps of butter.
  • Fold dough over on itself; gently mold it into a ball, wrap and chill.
Dough is still dry after moistening:
  • Return the dry dough to the bowl; gently tear into pieces using two forks.
  • Scatter drops of water on it and toss with a fork till the dough adheres better.
  • Wrap and chill.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

6-Month Daily Quote Calendar from LDS General Conference

I have been working non-stop the past two weeks getting Christmas Eve presents ready.  We have a great tradition in our family (all my siblings, their kids, and my parents) that we have been doing as long as I can remember.  We draw names usually in July or August.  It remains a secret whose name we have drawn.  Then, we hand make a gift that costs us less than $10.00.  I think I speak for our whole family that we look forward to our Christmas Eve gathering even more than Christmas itself!   My mind is going full gear on Christmas now. 

I have also been working to finish (by request) a 6 month daily calendar with quotes from LDS General Conference.  I gave this to several friends last year, as well as my sister-in-law and mother-in-law.  The week after conference they both asked me if I would give them one for this year!  So, if this will help someone for a thoughtful gift, please feel free to use it!  Click here for the .pdf to download.  I have sent this to BYU for printing, so the whole thing is not put together yet.  When it is completed, I will post the picture.  I just felt good having the quote part done!

  1. I emailed the .pdf to BYU printing (you could email it to any print store), and asked them to print it, put cardboard behind it, cut it in 4, and glue the top, so it is in a pad.   This makes a nice binding so you can rip off the paper each day. Each file makes 4 calendars.
  2. Cut an 8.5x11" piece of heavy cardstock (or cardboard, or chipboard)  in half so you have two 8.5x5.5" pieces.  Glue each piece with cute scrapbook paper.  I bought pressboard from Home Depot, which my hubby cut for me.
  3. Hot glue calendar to the center of covered cardstock or cardboard.
  4. Tie with sheer ribbon
  5. Wa-lah!  A great gift for a friend, sibling, or neighbor.  If you want it to stick to the fridge, put magnets on the back.  These turn out so cute!

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    72 Hour Kit: Week #9: Special Items

    This is a reminder to remember family members with special needs: infants, elderly, and persons with disabilities:

    For Baby:
    Formula and powdered milk
    Medication and toys

    For elderly:
    Denture care

    For pets:
    Extra water
    Leash, collar and tags

    You could do a food bucket for your pet and keep them together with the family food buckets. 

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Slow Cooker: Chicken Cacciatore

    Chicken Cacciatore

    A 4-pound chicken, cut into individual pieces (or can use b/s chicken breast)
    2-3 TB flour
    1/4 cup olive oil
    2 TB chopped shallots
    1 minced garlic clove
    1/4 cup Italian tomato paste
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    1 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp white pepper
    3/4 cup chicken stock
    1/2 bay leaf
    1/8 tsp thyme
    1/2 tsp basil
    1/8 tsp sweet marjoram
    1 cup sliced mushrooms

    • Dredge chicken pieces into flour.  Heat olive oil in a skillet and saute chicken until golden brown. 
    • Place chicken and the rest of the ingredients into a 5-6.5 quart slow cooker.  Cook on low for 7-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
    • Serve with rice or potatoes

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    Slow Cooker Stew- YUMMY!!

    This is one of our family's favorite cold weather dishes.  It is easy, and I usually have everything on hand. I make a big batch because my kids love to take it in their lunches the next day, and I love it as leftovers as well.  Give it a try!  This recipe was handed down from my husbands family. 

    2 pounds boneless stew meat (brown in a small amount of oil)
    2 medium onions, diced or sliced
    1 cup celery, cut in large pieces
    6 cups carrots, cut in bite size pieces
    4-6 potatoes, cut in large chunks

    Place in slow cooker in layers in order given.  Sprinkle top with:
    2 TB Minute Tapioca
    1 TB sugar
    2 tsp salt
    1 1/2 tsp pepper

    Mix 1 can tomato soup with 1 can of water.  Pour over top of ingredients.  DO NOT STIR.  Cover tightly and cook on Low for at least 5 hours.  Can also cook in the oven at 275 degrees for at least 5 hours.  YUMMY!

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    72 Hour Kits: Week #8: Important Family Documents

    So, hopefully before starting this week's assignment, your food buckets, backpacks, and equipment tote is finished.  We jumped for joy when we finally finished the equipment!  Yay!

    Our finished equipment duffel.

    The finished food bucket (of course there is one for each person, and our dog).

    Now, to week #8: Important Family Documents
    Keep copies of these records in a waterproof portable container.  Keep originals safe in safety deposit box. Hopefully you have been gathering and copying these in the past few weeks.   Add this waterproof box to tote.

    • Wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
    • Bank account numbers
    • Inventory of valuable household goods
    • Important telephone numbers
    • Genealogy information
    • Cash ($50 per person). In an emergency, there may be no ATM access!
    • Credit card
    • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
    • Credit card account numbers and names
    • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
    • Flash drive with important information

    To do at home this week: Check fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Slow Cooker: Mexican Style Pot Roast

    1 TB salad oil
    3 medium garlic cloves
    1 (3-pound) beef chuck or rump roast
    4 medium, hot red or hot green peppers, diced
    2 medium onions, diced
    1 (16 oz) can tomato puree
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    1 TB sugar
    2 tsp salt
    1 tsp oregano
    4 medium green peppers, cut into quarters
    1 (10 oz) package frozen whole kernel corn

    Slow Cooker: 5-5.5 quart or 6-6.5 quart size

    In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add roast to skillet and brown on all sides. Remove meat to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, add onions and hot peppers and cook until tender.
    Combine all ingredients except corn into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or high for 5-6 hours. Add frozen corn during the last few minutes of cooking time.

    Recipe used with permission by Ginger Hack (presenter of Gourmet Crock Pot class)

    Sunday, November 8, 2009

    Turkey Cake-Pops

    My kids and I had so much fun making these!  We gave them out to the Relief Society sisters after I taught the lesson today.  They were a huge hit!  These were modified from  They are lots of fun, and so cute!!!  I can't wait to try some Christmas ones!

    1.  Bake a cake in a 9x13 pan until done.  I used a spice cake mix. Cool.
    1. Crumble cake into a large mixing bowl.
    2. Add 3/4 tub of prepared frosting (I used cream cheese flavor).  
    3. Mix well.  Mixture should hold together well when rolled in hand.
    4. Roll mixture into balls that are approximately 1.25 inches.  I used a small scoop to get the right amount, and then rolled it in my palms.
    5. Put a paper sucker stick into the ball, and place on waxed paper (or even better, a Silpat mat)
    6. When all balls have a stick in them, place in freezer for about 15 minutes or until they are more solid.
    7. In the meantime, melt dipping chocolate, or chocolate bark coating according to directions.
    8. Dip each ball, lightly tapping any excess back into the bowl.
    9. Place in strofoam to harden.
    To decorate:  Use your imagination! I went to the grocery store and in the bulk section, found a fruit/nut trail mix.  I picked out a few pieces of orange fruit (I cut them at home into small triangles) for the beak.  I used a raw almond for the head.  I used a small Christmas Light sprinkle for the waddle (is that even what it is called?), sugar eyes (on some, I just used an edible marking pen), and clearance candy corn (Indian corn) for the feathers.
    1.  Make up the heads.  Use the melted chocolate as a "glue".  Put the pieces on the head (beak, waddle, eyes) and let harden. In the picture they don't have eyes yet.

    2.  Take the top 1/3 off the candy corn.  This helps it stick better onto the body. Once again, use the chocolate as a "glue".  I found that the cooler the chocolate is, the better (right before it is too hard to use). This helps the candy corns stay in place better.

    3.  Attach the head.  Stick back into strofoam until hardened.
    4.  Put in sucker bag and tie with ribbon.
    5.  Enjoy!

    Electrolyte Drink Recipe (like Pedialyte)

    Last night my ward had a meeting on provident living for all adults. A wonderful dvd was shown on preparedness (very motivating- more info to come), and a "Flu Homecare Guide" was given out. The guide was quite informative. Click here to view. One thing I really liked from it was the recipe it contained for making your own Electrolyte drinks (Pedialyte; AdvoCare Rehydrate). I guess this impressed me because just 2 days ago, we had my daughter into the doctor for dehydration. Electrolyte drinks are very expensive in the store, so this seems like a great way to save some money.

    Electrolyte Drinks
    1 quart water
    3-4 TB sugar
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp salt substitute containing potassium chloride

    Mix well and flavor with lemon juice or sugar free powdered fruit drink mix.

    Friday, November 6, 2009

    72 Hour Kit: Week #7: Equipment Part 3 of 3

    This week we are finishing gathering our equipment and supplies for our kits. Yay! If you have not done so, you will need a tote, rolling duffel or other container to put your equipment in. Remember, it does need to be portable!

    • Shut off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
    • Medicine dropper
    • Hand warmers
    • Towel
    • Paper towels
    • Flat sheets sealed for medical purposes
    • Map of the area (for locating shelters and alternative routes)
    • N-95 masks
    • Portable toilet seat (that can be used with a 5 gallon bucket)
    • Water purification tablets
    • Garbage bags for sanitation
    • Small Clorox or Lysol

    To do this week at home:
    Video-tape contents in your home for insurance purposes
    Secure in safe deposit box, or other secure location

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    Slow cooker: Classic Swiss Fondue

    Classic Swiss Fondue
    1 garlic clove, halved
    1 1/2 cup dry white wine
    1 TB lemon juice
    1 pound natural Swiss cheese, grated
    3 TB all purpose flour
    1/8 tsp pepper
    1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

    Slow cooker: 3-3.5 quart, or 4-4.5 quart

    1. Rub inside of stoneware with garlic; discard garlic.
    2. In a saucepan, heat wine until hot but not boiling. Add the lemon juice.
    3. Thoroughly mix the flour into grated cheese. Drop cheese mixture by handfuls into hot wine while stirring constantly. Add pepper and nutmeg.
    4. Place cheese mixture into stoneware and heat on high for 30 minutes. Decrease heat to low.
    5. Serve fondue by spearing chunks of bread into cheese using long forks.

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    Slow Cooker Artichoke Cheese Dip

    Artichoke Cheese Dip
    1 lb. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
    1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (not the canister type)
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
    1 red pepper, seeded and finely chopped (or a 4 oz can chopped green chilies)
    2 cloves garlic, minced

    Recommended size of slow-cooker: 3-4.5 quart

    1. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.
    2. Cover; cook about 1-2 hours on low.
    3. Serve on sliced baguettes (toast them with butter under the broiler), or with crusty sourdough bread.