Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Equivalent Measures

 I put this little list together for reference.  I have mine taped inside my cabinet for when I need it. 
Equivalent Measures

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dry Steak Rub Recipe

This is a yummy rub for any steak.  We love it!  It is simple to make, and keep ready for when you are going to BBQ.


  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Canola oil
  1. Combine all ingredients except canola oil and mix well.
  2. Baste top and bottom of steak with canola oil. 
  3. Rub in dry rub liberally.
  4. Let steaks sit for 20-30 minutes at room temperature, then grill steaks on both sides until desired doneness.
  5. Enjoy! 
  6. This would make a nice Father's Day gift (packaged in a cute jar) with a pair of grilling tools.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Canning Breads and Cakes: NOT!

Recently I went to a food storage class offered by a “pro” at our local grocery store. One of the things that she was teaching was that you could “can” sweet breads or cakes and use them in your food storage. Hmmm. Sounds good, right? WRONG. I went to the food experts at USU extension (my favorite resource), and this is what they said:

Food Safety Bulletin No 008 (2007)

Scary! I like the dry mix alternative! A lot of crazy ideas are floating around that simply aren’t safe: Canning butter, waxing cheese, storing eggs smothered with mineral oil, etc. Lets remember, we are trying to prepare for disasters, not make them.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sun Oven Seminar... UTAH

For those who live in Utah.....

The president of Global Sun Oven is coming to Utah for a seminar!!  I have been researching these ovens for the past year, and this is a great opportunity for purchasing a solar oven kit at a great price.  Also, this is a great opportunity to LEARN!!  Here is the information:

Global Sun Oven Solar Cooking Seminar
(also see special sun oven pricing below)
Saturday May 8th at 3:00 PM
Lindon City's Hollow Park
(click on address link above for map)
SUN OVEN Cooking Essentials SeminarAn increasing number of families have obtained a SUN OVEN to have on hand in the event of an emergency and have been pleasantly surprised by the improved taste of sun-cooked foods and the lifestyle advantages of cooking with the sun. Paul Munsen, of SUN OVENS International, will teach on how to harness the power of the sun to bake, boil and steam foods. He will show how practical and easy it is to cook in a SUN OVEN and discuss the many economic, health and environmental benefits of cooking with the sun.

Learn how to never have to worry about burning dinner again. Discover how to use a SUN OVEN to naturally dehydrate fruits and vegetables, and enhance winter sprouting. Find out how to reduce your utility bills and the amount of fuel you need to store for emergency preparedness while helping families in deforested developing counties around the world.
For the seminar I'm offering special pricing on the Sun ovens and options. Included is an extra 3 Qt cooking pot (total of 2), a WAPI (water pasteurization indicator) and set of cookie sheets or loaf pans for about $5 extra than normal the normal price.
However, I do need your order by noon on Tuesday (April 20th) to secure the special pricing.
Feel free to pass this info to others.
Cash, check or money order is needed too. The credit card fees are too high at this price.
Discounted price offered for seminar:


Sun Oven Seminar Package includes:
1 - Sun Oven w/thermometer
2 - 3 Qt pots
1 - Set of two cookie sheets  OR a set of two loaf pans (choose one set or the other)
1 - WAPI (water pasteurization indicator)
* - I pay the sales tax
* - I pay shipping here to Utah
The purchased Sun Ovens can be picked up at the seminar on May 8th or at my home that same week.
Bring a friend and tell a neighbor and join us on
Saturday May 8th 3PM
at the pavilion at the Hollow park in Lindon
Contact: Grant Johnson 801-999-0709

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pantry Mixes

Pantry Mixes are a fabulous way to utilize your food storage, while cutting down on time in the kitchen. Before starting on mixes, make sure you have some great storage containers to store your mixes in.  I like the square ones that stack neatly, because my pantry is not very big.   You can even store the mixes in large Ziplok bags if needed. 

This booklet was compiled by the USU Extension..  They recently offered a class on Master/Pantry Mixes, and all of the recipies are in the booklet.  Give them a try!  Enjoy!

Master Mixes Booklet - 1pg

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Financial Peace University: Week 9: Of Mice and Mutual Funds

This week was about the basics of investing.

Yay! By this point in the Financial Peace University program, we are learning about Baby Step #4, INVESTING! Dave advocates investing 15% of your household income in mutual funds.  By this baby step, you have paid off all consumer debt (except the mortgage), and have a 3-6 month emergency fund saved.  Now it is time to start building some wealth.  Dave Ramsey teaches that mutual funds are a great way to invest.  Of course, in an hour long lesson, we will not know all of the in's and out's of investing, but he points us in the right direction.

His first rule of investing is to never buy something you don’t understand. Only invest in companies and products that you can explain to a seventh grader. Stick to things that are easy to understand, or in other words, use the "KISS" principle: KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID! Often times, financial planners or investment counselors use such complex terms that we don't know what we are getting into.  Keep it simple, and understand everything you buy.  Investing is methodical, week by week, month by month.

Dave begins by covering the basics of risk versus return. In other words, the safer and more liquid (accessible) that you want your money to be (low risk), the lower the potential return will be.  Safe investments are typically CD’s and money market mutual funds.  However, they tend to often time not even come close to the rate of inflation.  Riskier investments (with generally higher rates of return) include single stocks (Dave says DON'T DO THAT), bonds, mutual funds, and real estate.  Real estate is one of Dave's favorites, but only when he can pay cash for it.  Real estate takes a lot of money to get into, and also to maintain. It should not be used for short term investments, but has a great return for the long term.

He spent quite a bit of time talking about diversification, or not "putting all of your eggs in one basket". This protects your investment more than about anything.  Diversification is investing your money in many different products, companies, and levels of aggressiveness. You don’t want to have all of your money in one company’s stock (even if it’s the company you work for), or one mutual fund.  If for some reason that company crashes, you will lose all of your money.  Investing in multiple funds, stocks, and industries makes sure that even if one company or product tanks, your others will take up the slack. This makes it much less risky. Dave’s standard mutual fund diversification is as follows:

25% in Growth (mid cap): These are mid-sized companies that still have a lot of room for growth.
25% in Growth and Income (large cap): These are big, well established companies that grow a little but mostly stay stable.
25% in International: These are overseas and foreign companies.
25% in Aggressive Growth (small cap): These are small companies and emerging markets that have a lot of potential to grow, but alo have a lot of potential to crash.

Dave then tells us that your money will need to earn at least a 6% return in order to compensate for inflation and taxes. With that you simply break even. Dave shoots for an average of 12% return with his mutual funds. With the down markets we have had over the last several years, that would be hard to come by. He also recommends funds that have a strong track record for the past 10 years.

All in all, this class was an eye opener for me (and the class). When we looked at how debt has robbed us from earning real wealth, it was sickening.

Click here for a visual representation of what saving 15% of your income can look like. This is from, and it puts it all in perspective.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Knowing Your Grains

 Whenever I come across a grain that I not really familiar with, I always say to myself, "Hmm, I wonder what that is like...".  So, here is some information that may be helpful to someone besides me :)
  • Ancient Aztec grain with superior nutrition
  • Rich in lysine & high quality protein
  • 60 mg calcium per ½ cup
  • Gluten-free
  • Pop like popcorn
  • Add to cookies or stews
  • Goes well with buckwheat, millet, & brown rice
  • Not a grain, but a fruit seed of a rhubarb relative
  • Gluten-free
  • High in 8 essential amino acids
  • High in calcium, vitamin E, & B vitamins
  • Great substitute flour for things like pancakes
  • Roasted Buckwheat known as Kasha
Bulgur Wheat
  • Made by cracking parboiled whole wheat berries & drying them
  • Star of the Middle Eastern dish Tabouli
  • Dates back to 2800 B.C.
  • Can be prepared very quickly
  • Great substitute for converted rice
  • Excellent as meat extender for substitute vegetarian dishes
  • Has been a mainstay of Tuscany, in Northeastern Italy
  • Looks like brown rice
  • Has a nutty taste
  • Unlike wheat, farro husk adheres to grain
  • Fiber content is high
  • High in vitamin A, B, C, E, magnesium, & protein
  • About 90% of people allergic to hybridized wheat can tolerate farro
  • In Italy used as a pasta wheat
  • Needs to be special ordered
Hard White Wheat
  • High in protein
  • A cross between Hard Red Wheat & Soft White Wheat
  • Retains good qualities of both: easily digestible, alkaline grain that makes great light bread
Hard Red Wheat
  • High in protein
  • Can be sprouted
  • Great for bread
  • A heavy, acid based grain
  • Causes many people digestion problems
  • An Egyptian wheat from 4000 B.C.
  • Buttery flavor, great texture, no cholesterol, & easily digestible
  • Compared to wheat: 30% higher in protein, higher in eight of nine minerals, including magnesium & zinc
  • Considered a “high energy grain”
  • Many wheat sensititive people eat it without reaction
  • Can be used in salads, soups, cereals, or ground into flour

  • Gluten-free
  • Alkaline & easy to digest
  • Rich in lysine & a high quality protein & B vitamins
  • 2/3 of worlds population depend on Millet
  • Highly recommended for babies & small children
  • Great rice substitute
  • Excellent as meat extender for substitute vegetarian dish
  • Considered to be a very versatile grain
Oat Groats
  • Hulled, whole oat kernels with bran & germ intact
  • High in seven B vitamins, high quality protein, & minerals
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • 4x the fat of wheat & a natural antioxidant
  • Great for breakfast
  • Combines well with rice
Pearled Barley
  • Pearled means lightly milled, or refined
  • Less nutritious than whole barley
  • Mild flavor & chewy
  • Ranges in size-the finer it is the more it has been milled and less nutritious
  • Cook as a breakfast cereal or in stews & pilafs
Quinoa (Keen’wa)
  • An ancient Incan grain
  • High in lysine
  • Contains 50% more protein than wheat
  • Higher in iron, vitamins A, E, B, & phosphorus than wheat
  • More calcium & fat than any other grain
  • Kernels have waxy protective coating that leaves bitter taste unless thoroughly washed
  • Quadruples in size upon cooking
  • Use in cereals & breads
  • Not very flavorful
  • Caraway seeds give “Rye Bread” it’s distinctive flavor
  • Low in gluten
  • High in lysine, fiber, protein, phosphorus, iron, & potassium
  • Has a special long chain of 5-carbon sugars which digest slowly & provide long burning energy & fullness
  • Use rye in breads, pastries, cookies, pancakes, & waffles
  • Nutty Flavor
  • 30% more protein than wheat
  • Considerable amount of B vitamins, magnesium, & fiber
  • Tolerated by many wheat sensitive people
  • Easily substituted in wheatrecipes
  • Use around the world for at least 5,000 years

Soft White Wheat
  • Low in protein
  • Low in gluten
  • Used in making pastries
  • Easier to digest than Hard Red Wheat
Sweet Brown Rice
  • A short grained brown or white rice
  • High in carbohydrates
  • Cooks up very sticky
  • Also called glutinous rice, but it contains no gluten
  • Delicious in puddings & Asian type desserts
  • Smallest grain in world
  • Name literally means: “lost”
  • Gluten-free
  • Rich source of minerals: Calcium, boron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, & zinc
  • The “rice & wheat” of Ethiopia for years
  • Can be used alone hidden in salads or added to any dough
  • First human-engineered grain in history
  • A cross between rye & wheat
  • High in protein, lysine, & some B vitamins
  • Low in gluten
  • Use the same as soft white wheat
  • Use in soups, cakes, breads, pancakes, & waffles
Whole Barley
  • Contains germ, bran, & endosperm
  • Higher in protein, potassium & calcium than pearled barley
  • Expands 4x its dry size
  • Very satisfying comfort food
  • One of the richest sources of soluble & insoluble fiber
  • Was the staple of Roman gladiators

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Must Have Fridge/Pantry Items

Must Store Pantry/Fridge Items:

Soy Sauce
This is a must have. It can be purchased at any grocery store, oriental store, or Wal-Mart. It costs less than $2.00. It supplies flavor in so many recipes. It lasts forever in the refrigerator. Oriental stores also carry a mushroom flavor that is fabulous in meat and vegetable dishes. Most stores also carry the “light” version with reduced sodium.

Minced garlic
This is a staple in my fridge. A huge 48 oz container only costs $4.00 at Costco or Sam's Club! Of course, smaller quantities can be purchased at the grocery store in the fresh food section (for about the same cost). It must be refrigerated after opening but will store for a very long time- once opened, it will store for a whole year! It is an excellent substitute for fresh minced garlic. I grow fresh garlic in my garden, but when I am in a hurry, or it is Winter, this is the answer. A huge “must have”!

Worcestershire Sauce
This is a must have in any pantry! This is especially good in beef and pork dishes, as well as most bean dishes. A couple of teaspoons goes a long way in meatloafs, beef casseroles, etc. It deepens the flavor of what you are cooking. It lasts at least a year in the refrigerator regardless of the expiration date.

Lemon Juice
This is an invaluable ingredient in food storage cooking. I use a ton of lemon juice- mainly, for making bread, homemade buttermilk, and of course for lemon flavoring! Once again, at Costco or Sams Club, you can get a two-pack of large bottles for about $5.00. This is one thing that I store a LOT of.  It lasts a long time in the refrigerator so don’t worry about it going bad.

Bottled Ginger
How many times have you gone to make a recipe that calls for ginger, only to remember that you don't have any? This is one of those items that I don't use a lot of, but love having it for when I do need it. This product can be found in the fresh food area of your store along with the vegetables and fruits although it is a bottled item. It usually costs about $2-3.00 for a 4 oz container. This is much easier than fresh, because you don't have to peel and grate it! Ginger gives many Asian dishes a wonderful flavor, as well as enhancing the other ingredients. It stores in your refrigerator for long periods of time. I probably only use about 1 jar per year but couldn’t live without it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Re-hydrating Dried Fruits

The following information came from Sunset magazine, 1986.  This is a great reference:
To soften or rehydrate dried fruit

1. When fruit needs a little added moistness, place it in a zip-lock plastic bag or glass jar; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon water for each 1 cup fruit. Mix or shake well, seal container, refrigerate overnight.

2. For soft, pliable fruit, rinse pieces with cold water; drain well. Put fruit in a zip-lock plastic bag or glass jar. Seal container and refrigerate overnight.

3. To soften fruit quickly, use steam. Rinse pieces with water and place no more than 2 layers on a steaming rack over about 1 inch of boiling water. Cover pan and steam fruit until soft (suggested times for each fruit follow).

4. For evenly moist rehydrated fruit without much extra liquid, put fruit in a bowl or jar and add 1/2 cup cool water for each 1 cup dried fruit. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate overnight, mixing well several times.

5. To rehydrate some fruits that absorb more liquid or to make fruit sauces, put fruit in a bowl or jar; for each 1 cup of dried fruit, add 1 to 1 1/2 cups water or other liquid (as specified, following, for each fruit). Refrigerate, covered, overnight. To prepare more quickly--usually in 1 to 2 hours--use boiling liquid and let stand at room temperature.

Dried apples make tasty snacks. If you prefer them softer, use method 1. For adding to baked foods (like muffins), soften by method 2 or 3 (steam 3 to 5 minutes); snip with scissors. To use like fresh apples (to top a coffee cake, for example), rehydrate by method 4; to prepare more quickly, use method 5 with 1 1/4 cups boiling water to 1 cup dried apples.
Quick uncooked applesauce. In a blender, mix 1 cup dried apples with 1 cup apple juice or water; whirl until smooth, adding more juice or water if desired, and honey or sugar and ground cinnamon to taste.

If they're soft, snip the dried slices with scissors into baked goods (such as muffins); if hard, soften by method 1. Soften the dried halves by method 2 or 3 (steam about 3 minutes).
To use like fresh apricots, rehydrate the slices or halves by method 4; to prepare more quickly, use method 5 with equal amounts boiling water and fruit.
Apricot sauce. Rehydrate the slices or halves by method 5, using 1 1/4 cups water and 1 cup dried apricots. Add about 1 tablespoon cherry-flavored liqueur (such as kirsch) or almond-flavored liqueur (amaretto) to taste, optional. Before serving, add sugar or honey to taste and more water, if desired. Serve cold.
Apricot spread. In a blender, combine 1 cup dried apricot slices or 1 cup softened halves (use method 2 or 3; steam about 3 minutes) with 1 cup water; whirl until smooth. Add sugar to taste and more water if needed for spreading. Mix in to taste about 2 teaspoons almond-flavored liqueur or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional.

They need softening to eat as snacks; use method 2 or 3 (steam about 2 minutes). For blueberry muffins or pancakes, rehydrate dried berries by method 4; to prepare more quickly, use method 5 with 1 1/4 cups boiling water to each 1 cup berries.
Blueberry topping. In a blender, combine 1 cup dried blueberries, 1 1/4 cups water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and about 1/4 cup sugar (to taste). Whirl until smooth, adding more water if desired.

Softened dried cherries are best for snacks and to add like raisins to baked goods; use method 2 or 3 (steam about 3 minutes).
To use like fresh cherries, rehydrate by method 5, using 1 1/2 cups water to 1 cup dried cherries; refrigerate overnight.
Cherry sauce. Rehydrate by method 5, using 1 1/2 cups water and 1 cup dried cherries. Add about 1 tablespoon cherry-flavored liqueur or orange-flavored liqueur to taste, optional. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, add sugar or honey to taste and more water if desired.

Eat dried fig slices as sweet snacks, or snip them with scissors into baked goods (such as muffins). Soften larger pieces and too-dry slices by method 3 (steam slices 2 to 3 minutes, larger pieces 6 to 8 minutes). To serve like fresh figs, rehydrate the slices (slice larger pieces) by method 4.
Fig spread or filling. Soften 1 cup dried figs by method 3 (steam slices 2 to 3 minutes, halves 6 to 8 minutes). In a blender, combine figs, 1 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel, 1/4 cup orange juice, and about 2 tablespoons honey or sugar (to taste). Whirl until smooth, adding more water if desired.

Home-dried grapes make extra-flavorful raisins. If too dry, soften by method 1. To use like fresh grapes, rehydrate using method 4.

Enjoy the chewy strips as sweet confections. If hard to chew, soften slightly by method 1. To use like fresh melon, rehydrate by method 4, but refrigerate only 1 to 2 hours.

For nibbling or for baking (such as snipped pieces to add to muffins), use fruits dry, or softened by method 1. To use like fresh fruit (with cream and sugar, for example), rehydrate by method 4.

Pear slices, dry or softened by method 1, are delicious for snacks; snip them in pieces with scissors for baking (as in muffins). To use like fresh pears, soften by method 2 or 3 (steam 1 to 2 minutes).
Pear sauce. Rehydrate pears by method 5, using 1 cup cold water and 1 cup dried pears; refrigerate only 30 minutes to 1 hour, and add about 1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur or cherry-flavored liqueur to taste, optional. Before serving, add sugar or honey to taste, and more water, if desired.

For snacks or to snip in small pieces for baking (as in muffins), soften the dried slices by method 1; soften thicker pieces by method 2 or 3 (steam about 3 minutes). To use like fresh plums, rehydrate slices by method 4; rehydrate thicker pieces by method 5, using 1 cup water to each 1 cup dried fruit.
Plum spread. Soften 1 cup dried plum slices or larger pieces by method 2 or 3 (steam 2 to 4 minutes). In a blender, combine plums, 2/3 cup water, about 1/4 cup sugar (to taste), and 1 tablespoon tawny port or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Whirl until smooth, adding more water if needed for spreading.

These berries (including Boysens, Logans, and Olallies) are too seedy to eat dry, but they make delicious sauces and syrups. Or make berry granules to flavor whipped cream (directions follow) or to sprinkle on ice cream or pudding.
Berry cream. Whirl dried raspberries or blackberries (they must be dried until crisp) in a blender until finely ground granules. Add about 3 tablespoons of the granules (to taste) to each 1/2 cup whipping cream. Whip until stiff peaks form, adding sugar to taste. Serve on angel food cake, to fill a meringue shell or cream puffs, or to top fruit desserts.
Berry syrup or topping. In a blender, combine 1 cup each dried raspberries or black-berries and water. Whirl until pureed, then press through a fine strainer; discard seeds. Add sugar to taste and more water if desired. Mix in about 2 teaspoons raspberry-flavored liqueur or 1 teaspoon lemon juice to taste, optional.

For nibbling, enjoy the slices dry or softened by method 1. To serve like fresh berries (on cereal, for example), soften by method 2.
Strawberry sauce (best for shortcake). Rehydrate dried strawberries by method 4, except let stand only 30 minutes to 1 hour. Add sugar to taste and let stand 10 to 20 minutes longer.
Strawberry syrup or spread. Combine in blender 1 cup each water and dried strawberries. Whirl until smooth; add sugar to taste and more water, if desired.

Simmered Dried Fruit
Cooking dried fruits gives a delightfully different dimension to their flavor.
In a 2- to 3-quart pan, bring 2 cups water or other liquid to boiling. Add 1 cup dried fruit (apricots, apples, plums, figs, cherries, or a mixture of fruits); cover and simmer until tender when pierced, 6 to 10 minutes. Add sugar or honey to taste and simmer 2 to 3 minutes longer. With a slotted spoon, transfer fruit to a bowl. If desired, boil remaining liquid to reduce and concentrate the flavor; pour over fruit. Chill.

Sugarless apples. Prepare simmered dried fruit (above) with dried apples. Use apple juice for liquid, omit sugar, and add ground cinnamon to taste, optional. For smooth applesauce, whirl mixture in a blender.
Figs in pineapple sauce. Prepare simmered dried fruit (above) with dried figs; use unsweetened pineapple juice (refrigerated or canned) for liquid.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dehydrating Strawberries

Strawberries were on sale this week for $6.99 a case- Yay!  We are approaching the time of year when strawberries will be in abundance.   When they are at a great price, I love to stock up and do some fun things.  One way to enjoy the fruit for long after you purchase it is to dehydrate it. Strawberries are easy to dehydrate, and they taste delicious as a snack, or can be packaged for your long term food storage.

1.  Choose ripe, firm strawberries.  If you are lucky enough to grow your own, pick before they are over-ripe. Wash, and remove stems.

 2. Slice about 1/4 inch thick.  I use a meat slicer to get them all the same thickness.  Lay in a single layer on your dehydrator.  Note: If you are just going to be snacking on them, you can add a sprinkle of sugar at this point.  For long term storage, do not add sugar.

3. Load dehydrator.  If your dehydrator has a temperature control, set it between 125-130 degrees F.  Let dry for approximately 10-12 hours until strawberries are dry and pliable.

4.When Strawberries are done, let cool for about 10-20 minutes before bagging them.

For long term storage, vacuum seal with an oxygen packet.  For shorter term storage, dried strawberries do well in a ziplok bag, or in a mason jar.

The finished product.    What can dehydrated strawberries be used for?  Many things! To name a few:
  • Snacking (we love them just like this)
  • Pies (rehydrate berries first)
  • Granolas
  • Add to instant oatmeal
  • Syrup over ice cream (rehydrate, blend with sugar)
  • Smoothies (rehydrate)
  • Quick jam (rehydrate)