This week's recipe is a simple lower-sugar syrup we love at our house.  Try it as
written, then reduce sugar further if you like.  We often make it with only 1/4 c. sugar.
For comparison, regular syrup has 2 cups of sugar to  1 cup of liquid.

 Did you read last month's Ensign article about food storage?  It was called "Two
Cans of Corn: Home Storage for Newlyweds".  (Or for anyone else just starting their
food storage.)  Remember Julie Beck's Relief Society address from a couple years ago,
where she talked about the Relief Society working toward being the best at righteous
living?  The three categories she mentioned were Faith, Family, and Relief.  I thought it
was interesting that when she gave details for each category, food storage was grouped
under "Faith".   Building your food storage is exercising faith in the Lord's
advice to us.  If you're overwhelmed, start with the advice in that Ensign article.  It's
simple and easy to begin.  I know I've been blessed as we've built our food storage-
blessed to have enough in those money-tight times, blessed to know how to cook with it,
blessed with a feeling of added security.

Apple Cider Syrup

 1/2 c. sugar                           1 c. apple cider or apple juice
1 Tbsp. cornstarch                1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon                 2 Tbsp. butter

 Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon.  Stir in apple and lemon juices.  Cook
and stir until thickened and bubbly, then cook 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat and stir
in butter until melted.  Makes about 1 1/3 cups.  This is so delicious!  If it gets too
thick, stir in a little more juice.  If you want it thinner next time, use 2 tsp.
cornstarch instead of 1 Tbsp.

 We've made all kinds of flavors with this recipe- whatever kind of juice I have works
well, though I often leave out the lemon juice, cinnamon, and butter.  We also make it
into maple syrup- use water in place of apple juice, 1/4- 1/2 c. sugar (brown sugar is
yummy), and 1/2 tsp. maple flavor (a capful).  Try making it maple, then stirring in
chopped pecans and butter....  aren't you hungry now?
  This week has been an exciting one for our end of the Salt Lake valley, with the large fire in Herriman and the evacuations there.   It really makes us stop and think about what we would do if a catastrophe occurred in our own homes.   (Nice timing, September is National Preparedness Month.) 

Could you grab all your important documents if you only had five minutes?  Could you list, at the drop of a hat, what physical things are most important to you?   I recommend spending some time making a list of what to grab if you only have a few minutes.  What would you get if you had an hour or two?  It’s better to figure it out ahead of time and never actually have that emergency, than to forget something in your rush.

 I dropped in at the Red Cross evacuation center (an LDS stake center), and learned a couple things.  When I was there on Tuesday, one family had been there since Sunday.  They’d gone three days without a shower or a change of clothes, and the children were expected to be back in school.   I rounded up clothes for the family (thanks to those who donated!), which they appreciated.  The thing that really surprised me, though, was what I brought that they got EXCITED about….    The 8-yr-old was ecstatic about having pajamas to wear at bedtime, but the mom and 11-yr-old  were happiest about Chapstick, fingernail clippers, and hair elastics.   Those are such simple, inexpensive things.  

 Do you have extras of these in your home storage? Would you be ‘up a creek’ if you couldn’t get to a store?  Think about what little things would make a difference to you, and store some.  A great inventory list to help you expand your storage, if you’re at the year’s supply stage, is found in the back of the  Church booklet, “Essentials of Home Production and Storage”. If you’re not that far yet, that’s okay, keep moving toward it.

 “Maintain a year's supply. The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year's supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days. How many of us have complied with this? We strive with the Lord, finding many excuses: We do not have room for storage. The food spoils. We do not have the funds to do it. We do not like these common foods. It is not needed -- there will always be someone to help in trouble. The government will come to the rescue. And some intend to obey but procrastinate.” -The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.375

Now the recipes- dinner and dessert, all using zucchini.  One of the beauties of zucchini is that it doesn’t really taste like anything.  This means you can put it in recipes and taste the OTHER ingredients instead of the squash.  The zucchini pizza may sound strange, but my mom (who invented this recipe) fed it to 150 college students recently, and all but one liked it a lot.  Pretty good odds.  My kids and husband liked it, too.  The photos above show the finished pizza and the just-cooked crust before adding toppings.  I used yellow squash in mine.

Zucchini Pizza

3 eggs
3 cups shredded zucchini or yellow squash
1 cup biscuit mix (or pancake mix or flour with 1 1/2 tsp baking powder mixed in)
1/4 cup of chopped onion (or more if you like onion a lot)
salt and pepper to taste-few sprinkles of each

 Mix the biscuit mix into the shredded zucchini and chopped onion. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl with the salt and pepper, then mix into the zucchini.  Spread batter onto a 12 inch pizza pan that has been sprayed with vegetable oil spray.  Bake at 375 until edges are slightly brown and center is firm and springs back nicely. Spread about 8 ounces of pizza sauce on top, then top with favorite cheese and meat, just like any pizza.  For pizza sauce, I use a can of tomato sauce and add a little each of: garlic, pepper, oregano, basil, and thyme.
It does still stick a bit to the pizza pan,unless you use a pizza stone or parchment, but it's allright if you use a pancake turner and are careful.



 1 ½ cups peeled, seeded and grated zucchini (yellow squash works too)
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
¾ cup – 1 cup sugar (adjust to taste)
2 eggs
3 T. flour
1t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. salt
2-4 Tbsp. butter, optional.
1 unbaked 9 – 10" pie crust
½ t. ground cinnamon
½ t. ground nutmeg

 Steam or microwave grated zucchini on a microwave safe dish until very soft,
about 2-3 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid and cool. Preheat the oven to 425
F. Place the evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla and salt in a
blender and blend, adding the butter if you’re using it.  Add the cooled zucchini and blend again until smooth. Pour custard into unbaked pie crust and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Place on
a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 F. and bake for
another 30 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 8 servings.
 Happy Constitution Day!   It was signed on September 17 in 1787. For a wonderful article on it, see “The Divinely Inspired Constitution”, Dallin H. Oaks, at http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?locale=0&sourceId=729d94bf3938b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD     It has three main sections: its amazing creation and ratification, inspiration (what parts in it are divinely inspired?), and citizen responsibilities.  You’ll finish it with a renewed sense of appreciation and wonder.

 Shifting over to food now, are you finding enough things to do with all the wonderful produce right now?  I had to laugh when I saw a big, abandoned zucchini right in the middle of the road last week.  All those urban legends came to mind about people’s desperation to get rid of the squash.  (Freeze it!  Dry it!  Slice it and pretend it’s pasta in recipes!)

 I have two main recipes I make when I need to use up odds and ends:  soup, and pizza.  You can make pizza just about as fast as running down to Little Caesar’s, and it’s much better.  I make a batch of bread every week (the six-loaf batch holds us, and fills the oven), and as often as not, bread-baking day is Pizza Day.  This way I already have the dough, so it’s a no-brainer for dinner.  If you make the dough in the morning, you can keep a chunk in the fridge until almost dinner time.  If you’re making the dough that afternoon, you can let it rise, punch it down, let it rise, punch it down,….repeat until you’re ready for it!  Or even just use it without letting it rise first.   One loaf’s worth of dough (1 to 1 ½ lbs) is a good amount to fill a 12x18 cookie sheet.  To keep it from sticking to the pan, either grease or oil it, or sprinkle it with cornmeal or Cream of Wheat (coarsely ground wheat).  If you like a crispy crust, preheat the cookie sheet with 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil on it.  Or bake it on a  pizza stone.  Roll the dough out, and bake it at 425 degrees (really, any temperature between 325 and 450) until it’s just set (no longer doughy), then add toppings and bake or broil until the cheese is melted.  You can even bake some crusts ahead of time; bake for 5-10 minutes at 425, cool, wrap, and freeze.  The Basic Bread recipe is also posted on this site.

My basic pizza sauce is:  

one (8 oz) can tomato sauce

garlic powder (1/2 tsp.) or minced garlic (1-2 cloves)

a couple shakes of black pepper

spices: total of around 1 tsp. of whatever sounds good- oregano, basil, thyme, fennel seeds (great but go LIGHT on this one), rosemary

But what it really looks like, when I cook, is: open one can of tomato sauce, and to the top of the can add a couple shakes each of garlic powder and black pepper (if I feel like it), and then a few shakes each of 2-3 kinds of my ‘green spices’ (the ones listed, above).  Stir it, kind of, then spread it on the baked crust.  Sometimes I have part of a jar of spaghetti sauce sitting in the fridge.  That makes a good pizza sauce, too. So does barbecue sauce.  Or Alfredo.  Whatever you have that needs used.

If you have a bunch of tomatoes, you can use a bunch of them on the pizza, sliced or diced,  and skip the sauce.  You already know the standard toppings; other topping ideas are:

-       Shredded zucchini (yes, really.  Especially if it’s hidden under the cheese)

-       Shredded carrots (hides  especially well under Cheddar)

-       Chopped up spinach or chard leaves

-       Onions or green onions,  bell peppers

-       Leftover bits of meat  (whatever lonely thing is sitting around gets added to our pizzas)- ham, deli meat, bacon, summer sausage from last Christmas (those things last forever!), crumbled hamburger patties, chicken, etc.

And of course you can always look at your favorite pizza chain’s menu to get more topping ideas.

You can also make breadsticks or dessert sticks/pizza out of the dough.   To make simple breadsticks, roll out the dough, cut into strips with your pizza cutter.  Bake, then brush with melted butter, sprinkle with Parmesan and garlic powder.  Dip in spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce.  For dessert sticks, roll and cut them the same, but roll in melted butter and then in a mix of cinnamon and sugar.  Then bake.  Dip in applesauce or drizzle with glaze (1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1-2 Tbsp. milk or water)