Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Dessert

Yummy! This dessert is a hit at our house, especially this time of year.

I realized that I didn't take a picture.  By the time I remembered, we had finished it!

Pumpkin Dessert
1 package yellow cake mix, 1 cup reserved
3 eggs, separated, beaten
1/3 cup + 3 TB butter, softened, separated
3 cups canned pumpkin
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves, ground
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

Mix cake mix (not reserved 1 cup) with 1 beaten egg and 1/3 cup butter.  Press into bottom on 9x13 pan.  Beat remaining eggs, pumpkin, sugar, spices and milk.  Pour over cake mix.  Mix reserved cake mix and remaining 3 TB butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over batter.  Bake 350 degrees for 60 minutes.  Chill.  Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

CERT Training

This past week we finished our 7 week CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).  It was fabulous!  In the course they teach about first aid, search & rescue, fires, etc.  In the event of a community emergency or natural disaster, CERT members will be called upon to help.  Here is the link to the CERT website.  I urge everyone to become certified! Make a difference in emergency preparedness in your home and in your community.... AND you get the awesome green vest and hard hat upon completion!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mini Quiches

This is one of my favorite appetizers.  Each time I take them to an event, I get multiple requests for the recipe. Now that our chickens are laying, I love to make things to use them up!

Mini Quiches
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sifted flour
Combine all ingredients and chill one hour.  I use a food processor with cold butter and cold cream cheese.  I mix it until it forms a ball.  I do not chill for the hour if I use cold ingredients in the processor- only if the butter and cream cheese are room temperature.

  • 1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled (or use precooked bacon)
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash cayenne pepper or Tabasco
Spray mini tins with Pam.  Form balls of dough and place in mini muffin tins. Use a tart shaper to form shells (or press dough into muffin pans with your fingers.

Mix together eggs, cream, salt and cayenne pepper.  Sprinkle bacon then cheese in tart shells.  Pour egg mixture over cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Quiche can be made ahead and frozen.  If you are planning to freeze them, slightly under bake them.  They will finish cooking when they are reheated.   Makes about 36 quiches.  Yummy!

Roll little blobs of dough and place in sprayed pan.

Use a tart press to make the shells.  Or, you can just press it in with your fingers.

The tart shells ready to be filled.

Filled and ready to be baked.

The finished product!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tips for Canning Pears

My family loves, loves, loves canned pears.  However, I have never loved, loved, loved canning them because pears are so much work!  Well, my friend Missy gave me a trick that has revolutionized canning pears!! I really think this trick made my 41 quarts of canned pears go twice (or more) as fast.

What you will need:
  • A 4-6 inch piece of tuelle (fabric with little holes in it- think ballet tu-tus!) If you can find the slightly larger holes, it works better.  It is sort of a stiff, nylon mesh.
  • Large pan to blanch the pears
  • Large bowl of ice water
What to do:

Choose ripe, firm pears.  When they start to turn yellow, they are ready!  You can also press lightly right by the stem- if it is hard, they are not yet ready.  If it "gives" a little, they are done.  Put pears in boiling water for 22 seconds (depending on ripeness- this amount of time was perfect for my pears).  Immediatly put in ice water.
Take tuelle and wrap it around your thumb (I am right handed, so I used it on my right thumb).  You don't have to wrap it around your thumb, you can just use the tuelle with all your fingers to scrub.  I just found the thumb trick to work the very best. The thumbs are the strongest finger- you will use mainly the thumbs as you get rid of the skin!  Hold the pear with both hands so your thumbs are free to scrub!

Under running water, use those thumbs! Press hard enough that the skin just comes off.  The tuelle will get it started, and it will also remove any brown spots. Each pear takes about 5-10 seconds to scrub.

Put whole, peeled pears in bowl of water with Fruit Fresh or ascorbic acid to prevent browning.

Halve, and remove core.  A melon baller or metal measuring spoon does a great job. Prepare a light or medium syrup or pack pears in apple juice, white grape juice, or water. 

Process in Boiling Water Bath Canner, and ENJOY!

For processing times:
For Hot Pack:

Pints: 1-1000 ft: 20 min; 1001-3000 ft: 25 min; 3001-6000 ft: 30 min; Above 6000 ft: 35 min
Quarts: 1-1000 ft: 25 min; 1001-3000 ft: 30 min; 3001-6000 ft: 35 min; Above 6000 ft: 40min

For Raw Pack:
Pints: 1-1000 ft: 25 min; 1001-3000 ft: 30 min; 3001-6000 ft: 35 min; Above 6000 ft: 40 min
Quarts: 1-1000 ft: 30 min; 1001-3000 ft: 35 min; 3001-6000 ft: 40 min; Above 6000 ft: 45min

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Canning Peaches

I love friends that have mature peach trees that like to share their crop....
This past week has been fun with all the canning.  For anyone new to canning, hopefully this will be a good resource as what to do.  The information comes from USU Extension, as well as the USDA recommendations for canning.  We do want to be safe!

1.  Select firm, ripe peaches of good quality.
2.  An average of 17½ pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 48 pounds and yields 16 to 24 quarts – an average of 2½ pounds per quart.

Procedure: Dip fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until skins loosen. Dip quickly in cold water and slip off skins. Cut in half, remove pits and slice if desired. To prevent darkening, keep peeled fruit in ascorbic acid solution. Prepare and boil a very light, light, or medium syrup or pack peaches in water, apple juice, or white grape juice. Raw packs make poor quality peaches.

Hot pack – In a large saucepan place drained fruit in syrup, water, or juice and bring to boil. Fill jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving ½-inch headspace. Place halves in layers, cut side down.

Raw pack – Fill jars with raw fruit, cut side down, and add hot water, juice, or syrup, leaving ½-inch headspace.

Adjust lids and process in Boiling Water Bath Canner.

For Hot Pack:
Pints:   1-1000 ft: 20 min; 1001-3000 ft: 25 min; 3001-6000 ft: 30 min; Above 6000 ft: 35 min
Quarts  1-1000 ft: 25 min; 1001-3000 ft: 30 min; 3001-6000 ft: 35 min; Above 6000 ft: 40min

For Raw Pack:
Pints: 1-1000 ft: 25 min; 1001-3000 ft: 30 min; 3001-6000 ft: 35 min; Above 6000 ft: 40 min

Quarts 1-1000 ft: 30 min; 1001-3000 ft: 35 min; 3001-6000 ft: 40 min; Above 6000 ft: 45min

Peaches in boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Slip off the skins.

Slice peaches, and then simmer for 3-5 minutes (for hot pack method).

Fill Jars with fruit and hot syrup.... And Process!

The Finished Product!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mom's Peach Pie

Time for peaches! Yay! We had an unfortunate event where TWO of our laden peach branches snapped in the windstorm the other day.  Luckily, the peaches were perfectly ripe.  So, we got to make a couple of pies.  This recipe was the one my mom used to make growing up.  Yum!  A perfect ending to some wonderful peaches.

Mom's Peach Pie
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 TB flour
1 TB instant tapioca
1/2 tsp cinnamon
5 cups sliced, peeled fresh peaches
2 TB butter
Additional 1 TB tapioca
Pastry for a 2-crust pie

Combine sugar, flour, 1 TB tapioca, and cinnamon.  Add to peaches and mix lightly.

Fit pie crust to pie pan.  Sprinkly with 1 TB tapioca.  Pour in peach mixtrue and dot with butter.  Place top crust on pie, flute edges, and cut slits in the top crust.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 12 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 F and bake additional 30-40 minutes until pie is golden brown.  Serve with fresh whipped cream, or ice cream. 

Our fresh peaches- Yum!

The dry ingredients mixed together

Pie Crust with the tapioca sprinkled in.  This helps thicken the sauce.

Dot the peach mixture with butter.

Flute the edges- don't forget to slit them!

The finished product.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Zucchini Cake- Yum!

What better way to use up your zucchini than in this rich, moise, super yummy, fantastic cake? We had some friends over this past weekend and they were in charge of the dessert. WOW!! It was sooooo good. She was nice enough to share the recipe (thanks Vanessa!!) In the past 3 days we have made it twice more.

Chocolate Zuccini Cake Recipe

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup oil
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups grated zuccini (if the zucchini is large, remove seeds first)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 TBS cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt

Mix all wet ingredients first, then dry ingredients.
Grease a 9X13" pan (I also tried it in 2 (9 inch) pans- works perfect- keep one and give one away)

3/4 Cup Pecans-chopped
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Chocolate chips
Mix together and sprinkle on the top. Pat it down just a little.

Bake at 350 for 40-45 min.

Serve warm with vanilla Ice Cream!

Our new favorite cake!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Apple Bread

There are so many yummy things to do with apples.  This is a favorite recipe when you have a few apples that need to be used up.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups chopped peeled tart apples 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup cold butter


In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl,  whisk the eggs, applesauce, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray, or about 5-6 mini loaf pans coated with spray.

For topping, combine the flour, sugar and walnuts; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. This bread is really good without the topping as well.  So, if you are trying to save a few calories, leave it off :)

Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dehydrating Apples

If you are lucky enough to have an apple tree, or access to some yummy apples, you may want to try this!  Dehydrating apples is fantastic.  The apples will last a long time if stored properly in your food storage, or they make great snacks.  I will be putting some recipes up on some great ways to use dried apples. 

1.  Choose apples that are firm and ripe.
2.  Wash apples. 
3.  Using an apple peeler/slicer/corer, remove skins and core.  Although you can dehydrate apples with the skins on, they (the skins) tend to be tough when dried.  If you choose to leave the skins on, you may want to use a corer tool, then a meat slicer to slice.  See corer below.
4. Put a clean spray bottle top into a bottle of lemon juice.  This will be used to spray the apples.

5. All apples need to be pretreated before drying.  This can be done by soaking apples in a citric acid solution (Fruit Fresh), or simply spraying with lemon juice.  Soaking the apples tends to make them more mushy.  I prefer to just spray with bottled lemon juice.  After the apple is cored, peeled, and sliced, cut in half.  Fan the pieces as shown, and squirt with the lemon juice.
6. Spread apple slices in a single layer on the dehydrator tray.  Spray again with lemon juice.  Dehydrate for about 16 hours, at between 125-130 degrees.  Any hotter than that you may get "case hardening" where the outside is dry, but the inside is still moist.  This will cause quick spoilage.  Note: if you are going to use these slices for snacking, you can sprinkle a bit of sugar and cinnamon on them prior to drying.  However, for long term storage, don't add the sugar and cinnamon.
7.  When apples are done and cool, remove and put in a ziplok bag. Wait a few hours before vacuum sealing them with an oxygen packet.  If any moisture condenses on the ziplok, the apples are not fully dehydrated and will need to go back in the dehydrator for a couple of hours.

Corer tool.  I bought this at Williams-Sonoma for about $10.  They can also be purchased on

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Homemade Granola

Once you try this recipe, you will be done buying granola from the store.  It is that good.  Really!  Even my kids who have always turned their noses up at granola LOVE it.  We can't keep enough of it made!  The nice thing about this recipe, is that it is a "skeleton" recipe.  You can add different grains, fruits, etc. You can also switch whatever nuts you prefer.   Use whatever you have on hand.  I will list some combo's at the end that seem to be really yummy.
Homemade Granola
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup ground flax seed (optional)
1 cup chopped or slivered almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
1/3 cup (heaping) packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 TB maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut and brown sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the syrup, oil, cinnamon and salt.  Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans.  Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color. 
  4. Remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed.  
  • My absolute favorite combo is omit the raisins and add chopped dates.  It is fabulous!  I DO add the flax.  You can also add wheat bran or other grains (sunflower seeds etc).  Use your creativity!  I have yet to make a batch that isn't heavenly.
  • You can substitute honey for the maple syrup for a different flavor. 
  • I use pure maple syrup, but the bottled stuff works too. I have even used the "lite" pancake syrup.  It was good, but not as good as the real stuff.
  • I have also added dried apricots, dried pineapple, and dried apples.
  • Try substituting cashews for the almonds, or mix and match all the nuts.
  • If you have any flavored packets of oatmeal that are close to expiring, use them!  This adds a whole new dimension of flavor as well (thanks for that tip, Lori!)
  • This granola is not super clumpy.  It is also wonderful added to yogurt.

Wet Ingredients

Dry Ingredients
Spread on sheets... Bake!
Finished Product!  SUPER YUMMY!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Gas, Water, and Power Shut Offs

At our last emergency preparedness meeting, our hostess, Jenni, gave an assignment to a) find our shut offs and b) learn how and when to shut them off.  She also showed us her emergency binder which had the instructions for each.  In the event of an emergency, each of us should have the knowledge how to find and turn off our meters if necessary.  Below is the assignment that I completed for my  house.  This will now be placed inside my emergency binder.  Now, the assignment is yours.....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Re-using/Refurbishing/Remodeling things

One of the best ways that we save money on furniture items is to transform something old into something new for us.  I have been wanting to purchase a food server for our patio.  We like to entertain, and there is never enough room for the food.  We end up going in and out of the house multiple times.  Recently I saw at a yard sale an old computer desk.  It cost me $5.00.  It was the perfect height, and the perfect width for where I wanted it to go.  So, my husband and I went to work. We painted the metal to match our patio set.  We then tiled the top and shelves.  It turned out perfect for what we want to use it for!  And, it only cost about $30 total!  Can't beat that.
We painted the metal to match our existing patio set.
We then started placing the tiles.  We used the fake tiles that just stick on.  No hardi-backer, or grout!

The finished product

Like Grandma Mazie used to say, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!"