Hi everyone,

Are you ready to vote? I felt I should share some statements our church leaders have made.  Below, you will find some great web resources to help you be informed on the candidates, ballot items, and judges in our area.  I’m sure there are more out there; these are the ones I’m aware of.

Joseph Smith said: "Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction."  In other places, Joseph referred to this time being when the Constitution would hang by a thread.  What is this last thread that is holding up the Constitution?  President Ezra Taft Benson told us that this “our franchise (a right granted) to vote."

John Taylor said that the Elders of Israel (remember that women couldn’t vote, yet) should “understand that they have something to do with the world politically as well as religiously, that it is as much their duty to study correct political principles as well as religious” (Journal of Discourses, 9:340)

“It is time, therefore, that every American, and especially every member of the priesthood, became informed about the aims, tactics, and schemes of socialistic-communism. This becomes particularly important when it is realized that communism is turning out to be the earthly image of the plan which Satan presented in the pre-existence. The whole program of socialistic- communism is essentially a war against God and the plan of salvation—the very plan which we fought to uphold during ‘the war in heaven.’” (Ezra Taft Benson, Secret Combinations, Conference Report, October 1961.)

Also see Ezra Taft Benson, The Constitution- A Heavenly Banner, and D&C 98:6-10 

This year there are four proposed amendments to the Utah Constitution, a number of races including the State Board of Education, a proposition for a bond, and 37 judges to vote on. If you go to https://vote.utah.gov/  you will find a box at the bottom of the page that says "What's On My Ballot?".  Click on this and it will ask you some basic questions that verify if you are a registered voter.  After this, it takes you to a screen that shows exactly what will be on your ballot when you go to vote.  There are lots of links there to learn more about everything on your ballot.

Vote.Utah.gov - you can click on race by judicial district. You can find your district at https://secure.slco.org/clerk/elections/index.cfm    

 Full Listing of Utah Candidates 

Project Vote Smart 2010 Ballot Measures,  or  Constitutional Amendments 

2010 Voter Information Pamphlet

As for voting on the judges, they each have a 'scorecard', found online on the Utah Voter Information Pamphlet, staring on page 37.  The scores are determined by the Utah Judicial Council, see http://www.utcourts.gov/committees/members.cgi?comm=1 for who this includes.  Please read what their definitions are, because that affects the judges' scores (for instance, their definition of 'integrity' doesn't completely match mine).     Good luck, do your homework, and go vote!

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Here are some simple things to do with Halloween candy, from Living On A Dime.com:

"After the kids are done Halloweening, I grab 24 candies for each child to save for a countdown to Christmas instead of buying the calendars in the stores. I usually keep them in a bag but you can get the kids to decorate shoe boxes or stick the candy to a calendar with tape."

Candy Bar Milk Shakes

1 cup mini candy bars, chopped
2 cups (1 pint) ice cream (chocolate or vanilla)
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 1/4 cups milk

Chop candies in a blender or food processor.   This is easier if they are partially frozen. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until blended. This makes a thick shake. Add 1/4 cup milk for a thinner shake. Makes 2 milkshakes, about 16 oz. each, or 5 shakes if you make them 6 oz. each!

(originally from 8/5/10)
Do you have garden produce yet?  Or are you seeing it at farmers' markets?  We got the first yellow summer squash of the year yesterday.  This is exciting!  Unfortunately, we don’t have zucchini at all because one of my little people stepped on the plants just as they were coming up.  I replanted, but didn’t water well enough that first week…

Fortunately, I still have frozen zucchini from last year.  I used to shred it and freeze it in quart bags, which was the proper amount for a double batch of my zucchini bread, but didn’t like how it thawed.  It separated into water and strings of fiber.  That’s kind of baffling to cook with.  There’s a much better way-  puree it! Chop the zucchini into chunks small enough to fit down your blender, and buzz until smooth.  A bonus is that the texture of your baked goods will be smoother. 

Our favorite recipe to use it is Lemon Zucchini Bread.  It has a little more flavor if you use fresh lemons, but is still good using bottled lemon juice and dried lemon zest.  Or use your lemon-zest-sugar, (find it in the archives under 'homemade orange seasoning', in the Spices or Seasonings category, right. And FYI, Zucchini bread, since it’s a ‘quick bread’, is simply a variation on the muffin recipe.   To see for yourself, go look at the 'Anything-Goes' Muffin recipe.                                          

 *  *  *  *  * 
Now, for the thought of the week- a First Presidency message from 1984, reprinted in the Ensign last year as one of the ‘classics’- “The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance”.  Or, ‘what does self-reliance have to do with eternal life’? Think about it: Is food/money/water storage a suggestion or a commandment?  This article has something for any of us to work on- whether you haven’t started, are a little ways into it, making a lot of progress, or have built up all your reserves.  I HIGHLY recommend re-reading the whole article, below is a condensed piece of it:

 “Since the beginning of time man has been counseled to earn his own way, thereby becoming self-reliant. It is easy to understand the reason the Lord places so much emphasis on this principle when we come to understand that it is tied very closely to freedom itself.

Now, I wish to speak of a very important truth: self-reliance is not the end, but a means to an end.

Doctrine and Covenants 29:34–35 tells us there is no such thing as a temporal commandment, that all commandments are spiritual. It also tells us that man is to be “an agent unto himself.” Man cannot be an agent unto himself if he is not self-reliant. Herein we see that independence and self-reliance are critical keys to our spiritual growth.  Whenever we get into a situation which threatens our self-reliance, we will find our freedom threatened as well.  If we increase our dependence, we will find an immediate decrease in our freedom to act.

The key to making self-reliance spiritual is in using the freedom to comply with God’s commandments.”

For the whole article, which I know can bless everyone’s life,  go to The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance at lds.org.

If using fresh lemons for this recipe, you'll need two. 

Lemon-Zucchini Bread

1 lb. zucchini or other summer squash (4 c. loosely packed, or 2 cups pureed)
¼ c. lemon juice*
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon zest, OR ½ tsp. lemon extract, OR 1/8 tsp (16 drops)    lemon essential oil
2 c. sugar
½ c. oil
3 eggs
3 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 c. chopped walnuts, optional

Place lemon juice, zest, sugar, and oil in a bowl and beat.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Stir in flour and baking powder, then add zucchini and nuts.  Pour into two greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans.   Or use three 8x4 pans.  Bake at 375 degrees about 50 minutes (40 for 8x4 pans) or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Wrap or bag when completely cool. The flavor is even better the next day.

See the blender-mixing-method here.  

 *An acceptable substitute for lemon juice in this recipe is 1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider vinegar is better but not necessary) and a little bit extra lemon zest, extract, or essential oil.

 How about another zucchini recipe?  Any summer squash can be used in the recipe.  Since I don’t have zucchini this year, (the seedlings were stepped on...) I’ve been making my lemon-zucchini bread with yellow summer squash, too. “Bisque” usually means a thick, creamy soup thickened by pureeing it, instead of by adding flour.  We made some yesterday using an immature Hubbard squash (picked by an enthusiastic child…), and it was delicious. The recipe came from the Ukraine; my sister ate it- and loved it- there on her mission.   In the bisque, the curry powder is great, but you can also  try other spices you like-   using basil or ground coriander  to taste, or a half packet of ranch dressing mix powder (Remember dressing mix is salty, so leave out the salt in the recipe).  The soup really shines when served with “Best Drop Biscuits” (archived under Quick Breads) or homemade French bread; something with some crunch to contrast with the silkiness of the soup. 

Here’s a video on YouTube about food storage, a lady from Arizona… this segment is “top 10 reasons for not starting food storage”: here if the link didn't work.  The sound doesn't work really well, but it's still worth watching!   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhGaTlwYs-s      I thought it was pretty funny, but it makes you think.  Just remember that when she says ‘year’s supply’, that you don’t worry about that part until you reach Step 4 from the All Is Safely Gathered In booklet on providentliving.org. How much you store, on that step, is up to you to study and pray about.  Here are the four:

1. Gradually build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet until it is sufficient for three months.

2. Store drinking water.

3. Establish a financial reserve by setting aside a little money each week, and gradually increase it to a reasonable amount.

 4. Once families have achieved the first three objectives, they are counseled to expand their efforts, as circumstances allow, into a supply of long-term basic foods such as grains, legumes, and other staples.

 Happy storing! 

Curried Zucchini Bisque
2 Tbsp. butter
2-4 tsp. curry powder- or use other spices you like
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ tsp. black pepper
3 c. chicken broth, or 3 c. water and 1 ½ tsp. chicken bouillon
1 (7-8 oz.) potato, cut in ½” cubes
1-1 ½ lbs. zucchini, trimmed and cubed
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ c. cream or evaporated milk (12 oz. can)  or a 12-oz. can of coconut milk

            Combine butter, curry powder, onion, and pepper in a medium saucepan.  Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.  Add broth, potato, zucchini, and salt.  Simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender.  Add cream and puree the soup until smooth.         Serve garnished with croutons if you like.  Cubed chicken is also good in this. 

I love these powders!  Left to right: tomato powder, pumpkin powder, yellow summer squash powder, dried crumbled greens to put in soups in the winter.  (These greens are pigweed leaves- one of the wild edible weeds in my yard.)

Hot, fresh pancakes are simple to make. 

What else can you do with all that summer squash you have?  Make it into leather!  Yes, I know your children won’t think that’s the best snack around, but it’s not for them.  At least not by itself.  Better yet, turn it into powder.

The idea behind this is that pureed squash can be added to soups and breads (as in Zucchini Bread), and it takes a LOT less storage space when it’s dried.  There are at least two ways to get dried pureed squash:

(1)  Puree it, pour it on food dehydrator sheets, dry, and roll up, and

(2)  Slice the squash (1/4” wide is good), dry it like that, then run it through your blender when it’s crispy-dry.   This vegetable powder takes up even less storage space than the leather, plus it reconstitutes faster. If you're doing this with pumpkin, steam it before slicing; it will dry quite a bit faster and not have that raw taste.

(3)  Store it in something fairly airtight, in a dark area.  Canning jars are great, especially if you seal them by using a new lid, the ring, and an oxygen packet. (see Dry Canning.)

Now, how do you use it in recipes?  And how much do you use?  Remember thinking in school that you’d NEVER use  math in ‘real life’?  Ha!  It’s incredibly useful in the kitchen, especially when you start doing your own thing.

Measure and write down the quantity you start with, then measure and write down what you end up with.  Write it on your storage container, trust me, you’ll forget otherwise.   For instance, I started with 2 ½ lbs of yellow squash, which is 5 cups of puree.  I ran it through the blender, poured it on my (SPRAYED) dehydrating sheets, and turned on the dehydrator until it was dry and curling up on the edges and thin spots.  My sheets can fit two cups of puree each, which is one pound, so each roll of ‘leather’ is worth that much in a recipe.  To use it in a recipe, tear it up in pieces and soak it in just under 2 cups of hot water, for probably 30 minutes or so.   Then use it just like fresh puree, in whatever recipe you have.  There are photos and more detailed information on the Zucchini Powder post.

For making the powdered squash: the latest batch, 5 cups of puree, became just 10 tablespoons after drying and powdering.  That means to make one cup of puree, use 2 Tbsp. powder along with just under 1 cup hot water.   Isn’t that amazing? Think of the space that saves!  Five cups, which would have taken up freezer space, now stores in the space of about 2/3 of a cup.  The pumpkin I dried requires 3 Tbsp. plus water to make a cup.  This pumpkin powder bakes up beautifully in pies and breads.

When I make vegetable powder, it usually sticks to itself in a big lump after storing a little while.  Normally I just whack it a couple times to break off what I need, or chop around in the jar with a butter knife.  This time something new occurred to me- sometimes a little cornstarch is added to powdered sugar to keep it from lumping.  It’s a good moisture absorber, so my most recent batch has a little cornstarch added to it.  So far, so good.  We’ll see in six months how it really works.  Just in case that quantity messes with my recipes, I wrote how much cornstarch is there, on the jar of powder.  In this case, it’s 1 Tbsp. cornstarch per 2 cups reconstituted puree.  It looks like maybe more than necessary, but so far nothing is sticking!


You can powder about anything- think what you ever use in a pureed form, and make that into vegetable powder.  Tomato powder is great, it can be used to replace tomato paste, tomato sauce,  or tomato juice, depending on how much powder you use with how much water.  Mushroom powder is nice for cream-of-mushroom soup, or for extra flavor in soups and stews, onion powder goes almost without saying, carrot powder is good, too, and beet powder is sneaky but awesome. Throw it in almost anything.  I mostly use it to color frosting, though, since one of my boys can’t have artificial colors without his eczema flaring. It’s also great way to use beets that stayed in the garden a little too long and became a bit woody.  Try this out, and see what you think!

           Foolproof Pancakes -for my size family, we triple this
Makes 10 3" pancakes        (You can also turn this recipe into Pumpkin Pancake mix.)

1   cup   flour   (white or whole wheat)
1   cup   buttermilk or sour milk   
1   tsp.   sugar   
1/2  tsp.   baking soda   
1/2  tsp.   salt   
1   egg   
2   Tbsp.   butter, melted, optional

Combine all and whisk lightly.  Cook on a greased or non-stick skillet,  on medium-high, using 1/4 cup batter per pancake.  Cook until bubbles form around outside edges, then flip and cook until other side is browned.

The original recipe called for 3/4 cup buttermilk and 1/4 cup whole milk, but what I've got above works great.
For blueberry pancakes, stir 3/4 cup of blueberries into batter. 
For banana pancakes, slice one banana into batter. 
Cook pancakes on high heat, either on a greased or nonstick surface.  When the bubbles around the edges stay 'popped' and the edges are not runny, flip the pancake.

Cook until the other side is golden as well.  The pancake will puff up when you first flip it, and then it will stop rising.  If you're not sure if it's done, poke one in the center.  It shouldn't be runny.  If you flip the pancakes a second time, they will deflate and be more dense and flat.

(originally 8/27/10)
Here's a scripture for today: Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the
tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Have you, like me, received so much that it’s hard to fit anything else into your house, budget, or calendar?  It occurred to me that, like Elder Oaks’ talk, “ Good, Better, Best “, that in order to prepare with what’s MOST important, I need to inventory, evaluate, organize, and voluntarily pass on what is not ‘Best’.  This makes a house of order and frees up more space, money, and time with which the Lord can bless me with what will do the most good. To become more self-reliant and prepare for life’s adversities.  Also see D&C 109:8-9.

Yes, it takes work.  But work is good.  Work is what God does.

Now, here’s a recipe put together by Laura Smith.  The column on the left gives you the basic ingredients, the column on the right gives you more information about them (or substitutions for them), and below tells you how to make variations.  If you want plain muffins, and you have all the regular ingredients, just use the left column and ignore the rest.  If you have some raspberries that have gone soft, and a raspberry-chocolate muffin sounds like exactly what you'd like to munch on, you will be able to make it!   This batter is also good cooked in a loaf pan, you’ll just need to cook it longer.   For instance, make the basic recipe using  mashed bananas….  and there’s banana bread for you.  I highly recommend you print this out- maybe tape it to the inside of your cupboard.  The 'Anything-Goes' Muffin recipe
 (Google Doc)
(Originally 9/2/10)

I love this time of year!  The temperatures have dropped enough that the roses are reblooming, the grass is having an easier time, and the mornings and  late evenings have the smell of earth and coolness.  The garden is in full swing, tomatoes are fragrant and sweet,  most of the lumps that come out of my garden are potatoes instead of rocks, and I get to be creative using squash again.  What a fulfilling time, enjoying the fruits of our labors (or others’ labors, if you prefer the farmers’ market or grocery store).  It brings to mind   D&C 59:18-19 “Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;

   Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.”

I’m grateful for the beauties of the earth that the Lord has given us, for the wonderful things he’s put here for us to wisely enjoy.  The recipe at the end of the email uses nothing but some of these things that grow for us. Enjoy!

Here is a bit from Elder Maxwell, from a talk he called “Be Of Good Cheer”- both sobering and encouraging. 

“We are living in a time in which we shall see things both wonderful and awful. There is no way that we can be a part of the last days and have it otherwise. Even so, we are instructed by our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, to “be of good cheer.” (D&C 61:36; D&C 78:18.)

Jesus has given that same instruction to others before, when the stressful circumstances in which they found themselves were anything but cheerful.

“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33; italics added.)

What precious perspective we obtain from the gospel of Jesus Christ concerning things that really matter—against which we measure the disappointments of the day!

Jesus calls upon us to have a deliberate trust in God’s unfolding purposes, not only for all humankind but for us individually. And we are to be of good cheer in the unfolding process. The Lord has made no secret of the fact that He intends to try the faith and the patience of His Saints. (See Mosiah 23:21.) We mortals are so quick to forget the Lord: “And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions … they will not remember him.” (Hel. 12:3.)

Given the aforementioned grand and overarching reasons to rejoice, can we not “be of good cheer” in spite of stress and circumstance?

President Brigham Young said of a geographical destination, “This is the place.” Of God’s plan of salvation, with its developmental destination, it can be said, “This is the process”!   

(from “Be of Good Cheer” by Neal A. Maxwell,  Oct. 1982 Conference) http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=1ca9c5e8b4b6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD
If you can make the time, please read the whole thing, it’s wonderful!

Now for the recipe: these fruit/nut bars are basically the same as the old-old recipe for ‘fruit balls’ or ‘dried fruit candy’, if you’ve run across those before.  The dates are there both for sweetness and stickiness to hold the whole thing together.  

Just-Fruit-and-Nut Bars (the original 'energy bar') and naturally gluten-free!

1/3 cup chopped pecans - toasting the nuts will increase the flavor
1/3 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup chopped dried apples 

 Put the pecans in a food processor (or blender?) and chop until finely ground.  Remove and do the same with dates and apples.  Add the nuts back in, add a pinch of cinnamon, and process until it holds together.  Divide into 6 pieces, mold each one into a bar, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, waxed paper, or parchment.  81 calories each, if you care.   (I’m thinking these things ought to be double-sized- plus I’ll make my batch with 1 cup of each ingredient.)

If you can’t have nuts: the nuts are there to give body and fat for shaping, digestibility and energy, so try a combination of chopped-up rolled oats and coconut oil (or butter)


Apricot-Almond: use equal amounts dried apricots, dates, and almonds

Cherry Tart:  equal parts dried cherries, dates, and walnuts or almonds

Peanut Cookie: use peanuts and only dates (2/3 cup).  Add a pinch of salt and a bit of vanilla.

Cashew Cookie: same as Peanut Cookie, except use cashews.

How about using dates, dried pineapple, macadamias, then rolling in coconut?

Or use any nut and dried fruit you have, or whatever else sounds good…..

Caramel Bread Pudding using leftover bread.  This batch was made from some loaves I accidentally left cooking while I went to my son's concert.  Good thing it was short!!!  I trimmed off the burnt outside, then cubed it.

For some recipes, the drier and staler your bread, the better! 

(original date: 9/10/10)

This week I’ve got a couple recipes to help you ‘re-purpose’ some of that bread that might otherwise end up in the garbage.  If it’s dry, great!  If it’s crumbling, great! If it’s stale, perfect!  The only time you don’t use it is if it’s moldy.  Even then it’s still good for the compost pile, if it’s in an enclosed container to keep out rodents.  Meanwhile, here’s some food for thought from Brigham Young, one of the most practical of people.

My faith does not lead me,” President Young said, “to think the Lord will provide us with roast pigs, bread already buttered, etc.; he will give us the ability to raise the grain, to obtain the fruits of the earth, to make habitations, to procure a few boards to make a box, and when harvest comes, giving us the grain, it is for us to preserve it—to save the wheat until we have one, two, five, or seven years’ provisions on hand, until there is enough of the staff of life saved by the people to bread themselves and those who will come here seeking for safety. … [The fulfillment of that prophecy is yet in the future.]

“Ye Latter-day Saints, learn to sustain yourselves. …  

“Implied faith and confidence in God is for you and me to do everything we can to sustain and preserve ourselves. …  

“You have learned a good deal, it is true; but learn more; learn to sustain yourselves; lay up grain and flour, and save it against a day of scarcity. …  

“Instead of searching after what the Lord is going to do for us, let us inquire what we can do for ourselves.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, Deseret Book, 1966 ed., pp. 291–93.) , quoted in Marion G. Romney, “Church Welfare Services’ Basic Principles,” Ensign, May 1976

Today’s recipes give you a couple good ways to not waste that dried-out, stale, or crumbly bread.  We have a little problem at our house with the heels of the bread- somehow I always find a heel or two in a bag at the back of the cupboard, dried out by then, of course.  Those either get turned into croutons or French toast right away, or get stuck in my ‘old bread’ bag in the freezer.  When I have enough, we make stuffing or bread pudding.

Homemade Croutons

 Cut bread into cubes and turn it into croutons: either sauté in, or drizzle with, olive oil or melted butter (1 Tbsp. for each 1-4 slices),  sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, dill, oregano, parsley, Parmesan cheese, ranch dressing mix (1/2 pkgs per loaf of bread), or anything that sounds like a good idea. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until dry and crispy.  Spread on a paper towel to cool, store when cool in a ziptop bag.  They’ll keep for a good couple of weeks, if you don’t eat them first.


The ideal bread pudding is custard-y and creamy inside with a little bit of crunch on the outside. 
Basic Bread Pudding

12 slices bread, cut in 1” squares, (the more stale, the better! – or bake them)
½ -1 cup raisins, soaked, optional
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
3-6 eggs (less makes it more dry, more makes more of a custard)
¾- 1 ½ cups sugar, to suit your tastes, white or brown
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tsp.vanilla
½ tsp. salt
3 c. hot milk- ideally half-and-half, or one 12-oz can evaporated milk and 1 ½ c. milk
pinch ground nutmeg

 Mix together the bread, raisins, and cinnamon.  Dump into a 9x13 pan.  Using the same bowl as before, beat the eggs, then stir in sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt.  Mix until sugar dissolves.  Slowly mix in the hot milk.  Pour all of this over the bread, sprinkle with nutmeg, and let sit for 5-20 minutes to soak.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until center is set and a knife inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.  If you bake this in a hot water bath, it will come out more custardy.  Serve warm.  Very nice with a dollop of whipped cream, scoop of ice cream, or a drizzle of some kind of sweet sauce (vanilla sauce, caramel sauce, rum sauce, maple syrup, etc.)

 Variations: Use any dried or chopped fruit in this, (this is a great way to use those two lonely, shriveled apples sitting on your countertop!), shredded coconut, cocoa or melted chocolate (2-4 squares), chocolate chips, pecans or other nuts, rum extract, orange extract or zest.

For the liquid, you can substitute eggnog, hot chocolate, coconut milk, and about anything that sounds good.  One great combination is shredded coconut with chocolate milk..... 

 Even if you think you don’t like bread pudding, you’ll probably love this one:

 Caramel Bread Pudding- fills a 9x13 pan

15 slices good-quality white bread, cut into 1” pieces (about 16 cups)- baked until crisp (about 10 minutes at 450 degrees)
1 ½ sticks butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
¼ c. corn syrup or honey
5 tsp. vanilla, divided
3 c. half-and-half, or use  the last ½ cup evaporated milk from your can (above),use whole milk for the remaining 2 ½ cups here.  
5 large eggs


Melt butter and sugar together in a saucepan on medium-high heat.  Stir about 4 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.  Remove from heat and stir in cream or evaporated milk, corn syrup, and 2 tsp. vanilla.  Pour one cup of this caramel into a greased 9x13 pan.  Set aside one more cup of caramel, to use as topping later.  To the remaining caramel, add the half-and-half (or mixture of evaporated milk and whole milk).  Beat the eggs together, then whisk in the half-and-half mixture a little at a time.  Add remaining vanilla.  Fold in the bread, and let sit until soaked through, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. Put bread mixture into the 9x13 pan, bake about 40-45 minutes, until the top is crisp and the custard is barely set.  Serve warm, with the reserved cup of caramel drizzled on top.

Hi everyone,

This week, take a minute and look back.  How is your Three-Month Challenge coming?  Have you filled out the survey with your visiting teachers?  (It would be helpful to get them to me by this Sunday - but if you can’t, don’t give up!  Just do it soon.)  Have you figured out how much you need to feed your family for 3 months?  My friend Elizabeth said the easiest thing for her was to break it down by meals-  how much cereal, powdered milk, and pancake/syrup ingredients (or whatever your family prefers)  would it take to eat for a week?  Then multiply that by 12 to get your 3 months’ worth. Write it all down.  A food storage notebook (or spreadsheet, if you like that better) is a great idea.   Then tackle lunch.  Then dinner.  Her goal was one of those per day.

To find what you still need to buy, inventory next.  I know that sounds awful, but it really isn’t that bad.  I just keep picturing Joseph keeping track of everything in Potiphar’s house.  Now there was a good steward.  “The Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” (Gen. 39:3)   I’d like to qualify for that blessing, too!  If you haven’t yet inventoried what you currently have, grab a notebook and start.  The easiest way for me is to write categories (i.e. canned vegetables, box of cake mix, bag/can of flour, etc.) and just write tally marks- or count and write down the number if you’ve got a lot.  After you inventory, sit down and compare what you need with what you have.  Remember, getting your three months’ worth is the hardest part of the whole food storage plan.  And you can do it!  You all have visiting teachers who’d love to help where they can.  We’re all here to help each other. 

This recipe is from my 6-foot-3, skinny-as-a-rail Jamaican roommate in college.  She only had time to cook once a week, so she’d make a big pot of either this or her chicken curry, then eat that all week.  Yummy stuff.  She never measured ingredients, so don’t worry about being accurate!

           Althea's "Oven Method"  Chicken     4-8 servings

8   pieces bone-in chicken (2-3 lbs., or use 1 lb boneless)   
2-3   tsp.  seasoned salt   
1   small to medium   onion,   sliced into rings
3-4   stalks   green onions,   cut in 1/2" pieces (if you don’t have this, use a little bit bigger onion)
¼   c.   butter or margarine   
2   sprigs   fresh thyme  or 1 tsp. dried  (if anyone local needs a plant, see me)
3-5    medium   tomatoes,   chopped 

hot cooked rice    

Put chicken in a bowl.  Add seasoned salt, onion and green onion.  Mix well; marinate at least 1/2 hour or overnight (or during the day). Remove onions and green onions; reserve.  Brown chicken in a skillet, or bake chicken on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish at 450  for 1/2 hour; turn chicken pieces over and cook 15-30 minutes or til juices run clear and meat is no longer pink when slashed.  Put onions and green onions in a large pot with the butter. Add thyme, chicken, and tomatoes.  Pour in about 1 cup hot water.  Cook on high til the water dries out (about 15 minutes- don't let chicken scorch!).  Add one more cup water- cook until it's HALF dried out, then it's done.  Serve over rice.

This is SOOOO good!

Once the dough is mixed, if you use a greased/sprayed 1/4 measuring cup to scoop the dough, you'll get a more traditionally-shaped biscuit.

Yum.  Tender and light on the inside, crunchy on the outside.  This batch was made with 1 cup whole wheat flour.

How much will your year’s supply cost you?  I just got an emergency supply store’s catalog in the mail; they advertised a year’s supply of food for ‘just’ $3649.95.  For one person.  Is it really that much money to get a year’s supply?

Adding up all the essentials, a month’s worth of food for one person is $16.23

                            A year’s worth for one person is  $194.76

Figure in that you’re getting your year’s supply after building your three-month supply; that knocks it down to getting nine months’worth;

                                                            $146.07 per adult.   

You CAN afford to get your home storage! 

If you really want to spend $3649.95 plus tax, you could buy a year’s supply for not just one person, but for NINETEEN people.  Yes, basic storage is different food than that ‘gourmet’ version, but here’s the counsel we’ve been given:          
"We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.” “For longer-term needs….gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time  and that you can use to stay alive(fromAll is Safely Gathered In, First Presidency pamphlet)

Here is the cost breakdown:

Grains, 300 lbs- if you get just wheat and oats, at the cannery they cost between $5.80 and $8.15 for 25 lbs. depending on if you get white or red wheat, quick or regular oats.  If you average this out, it will cost you $6.98 per person, per month.  $83.70 per year’s worth.

Milk, 16 lbs is $1.40/lb at the cannery, which is $1.87 per month, $22.40 per year.

Sugar, 60 lbs is $ .56/lb there, $2.80 per month, $33.60 per year.

Oil, 10 qts –this isn’t sold at the cannery, but the price at Macey’s last week was $2.50 for 1 ½ quarts (48 oz.) At that price, after tax, it’s $1.43 per month, $17.17 per year.  It’s only $14.38 if you buy it at Sam’s Club ($6.98 + tax for 5 qts.)

Salt, 8 lbs- 4# box at Costco or Sam’s Club is a dollar; $ .16 per month, $2 per year.

Legumes, 60 lbs– the cannery sells black beans, pinto, and white, from $14.10 to $16.30 for 25 lbs.  Averaging the prices, it’s  $2.99 a month, $35.92 per year.

Water, 14/gal/person-   You can store this for free by using 2- and 3- liter pop bottles, or juice containers (not milk jugs- they break down).  Or use the 5-gallons square jugs or big blue barrels; they’ll run you about $1 per gallon of storage. 

When you’re done storing these items, you might decide to add a few ‘gourmet’ items- but that’s just extra stuff.

Notice that the costs were just for food, not containers to store them in. Most of my storage containers cost nothing.   You CAN get buckets for free, with a little effort- most bakeries give them away; all their frostings and fillings come in those buckets.  Plan on washing them at home.  There are two main sizes; 5 gallon and 2 1/2  gallon.  I keep packages of dried fruit in the smaller buckets, also cornmeal or other things that I don’t use as much.  They are a great size for a pantry, too.  Some of the buckets have gaskets, some don’t.  The ones that don’t seal well are still good for storing sugar. 

If you want all your wheat, powdered milk, sugar, and legumes in #10 cans from the cannery, it will cost you $85.83 more to get a full year’s worth, $65 to do 9 months' worth.

Here’s the year’s worth breakdown and quantities:    51 cans of wheat $137.80, 11 cans of beans $48.95, 10 cans of sugar $46.50, 4 cans of powdered milk $28.20.

 I don’t can my wheat, sugar, or beans because we go through large quantities; one batch of bread would use a whole can.  Pretty silly storage for me.  Besides, it’s easier for me to find space for 10 buckets than 60 #10 cans; they hold about  the same amount of food.


Best Drop Biscuits
 adapted from Cooks Country
Makes 12

 1 cube butter, melted and cooled a few minutes- set aside 1 Tbsp. of this.
1 cup cold buttermilk or sour milk  (1-2 Tbsp. vinegar in 1 cup regular milk)
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½  tsp. salt  (3/4 tsp. if you used unsalted butter)
1 tsp. sugar

 Heat oven to 475 degrees, no, that’s not a typo.  Mix together the butter (except reserved) and buttermilk; stir until the butter forms clumps.  (This is a faster way of getting the same results as ‘cutting in’ the butter.)  Mix all the dry ingredients together, then pour in buttermilk mixture.  Stir until just mixed in and dough pulls from side of bowl.   Drop onto  greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.  A greased  ¼ c. measuring cup makes the perfect size scoop.    Brush with reserved butter.  Bake until tops are crisp and golden, about 12-14 minutes.    Serve warm.  These also reheat well the next day (10 minutes at 300 degrees) and freeze well, too.

You can use powdered milk in this: mix in 3 Tbsp dry milk powder when you’re stirring together the dry ingredients.  Use ice water  and 1-2 Tbsp. vinegar to make 1 cup, stir with the melted butter.


Remember  this?

"We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.” “For longer-term needs….gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time  and that you can use to stay alive (from All is Safely Gathered In, First Presidency pamphlet)

Here is what a basic supply of food includes:  it will provide about 2200 calories a day, which means you’ll probably get 1800 and your husband will get 2600.  This is less than most people are used to, especially if you're suddenly living a 'more active' lifestyle, but it will keep you alive!

300 lbs grains- includes Wheat, Rice, Rolled Oats, Dried Corn, Popcorn, Flour, Pasta Products, Dried Potatoes.  Some lists say 400 lbs per person, but the current Church site says 300.  Take your pick, according to what you can handle.  Storage-wise or hunger-wise; that extra 100 lbs provides an extra 435 calories per day.

16 lbs. powdered milk- this is just enough for cooking, about ¾ cup per day.  You can store instant, regular powder, and canned milk.  It takes about 5 (12-oz) cans to equal one pound of powdered milk

60 lbs sugar- this includes white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, honey, molasses, jam/jelly, corn syrup, fruit drink mix, gelatin.  If you have honey that crystallizes, set the bottle in the sun on a warm day, or put it in a pan of water on lowest heat overnight.  It will become liquid again.  You will want more sugar than 60 lbs. if you can your own fruit.

10 quarts cooking oil (2 ½ gallons)- yes, YOU NEED FAT.  Your brain is made mostly of fat.  Guess what happens if you don’t get any fat in your diet?  Plus, it’s a lot of calories for very little storage space.  The darker & cooler you keep it, the longer it lasts.  Fats include shortening, cooking oil, butter/margarine, mayonnaise, peanut butter.

8 lbs salt per person-  this is the cheapest of them all!   In addition to the round canisters, you can buy salt in 4-lb rectangular boxes; these stack together more efficiently.  At Sams’ Club, these boxes are just under $1.  Woo-hoo!  Two bucks and you have your personal salt for the year!

60 lbs. legumes, dried- includes soybeans, pinto beans, white beans, kidney beans, lima beans, anything that ends with ‘bean’ (unless it begins with ‘jelly’), black-eyed peas, split peas, and lentils.  These are a great, inexpensive source of protein.  Store the same as wheat- dry, clean, dark and cool  if possible. It takes 4 ½ (15 oz) cans to equal one pound of dry beans.

14 gallons water per person.  This is just 2 weeks’ supply, for drinking and a tiny bit for washing; the minimum our church leaders have counseled.  You may also want a way to purify water for longer-term use.  To purify, you can boil water for 2 minutes, or use chlorine bleach (plain only, not scented!)  If the water is clear, use ½ tsp. per 5 gallons of water.  If the water is cloudy, use double; 1 tsp. per 5 gallons of water.

Children do not need a full adult’s portion.  For them, figure age 3 and under= 50%, ages 4-6= 70%, ages 7-10= 90%, ages 11 and up= 100%.

Obviously, kids' ages are always changing, so when I calculate what to have on hand ( I inventory every Conference), I project out six months to a year. For instance, if someone is 6 years old, I count that child as 7 years. That way I'm not always slightly behind when it's time to replenish.

 * * * * *

Recipes today are for a whole meal….

Roast Chicken               FromLiving On a Dime, Jan 2010.  
Here is a very basic but yummy recipe. You can also put this in a crock pot to slow cook all day.

1 (3 lb.) whole chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tsp. onion powder
1/4 cup butter or margarine ( You may use lite margarine)
1 stalk celery, leaves removed

Season the whole chicken inside and out with salt, pepper and onion powder. Place breast side down in pan placing margarine and celery into cavity. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until internal temperature is 180° (82° C). You can baste with juices or melted margarine once or twice. Remove from oven and cover with foil for 30 minutes and let it rest before cutting.

You can easily adapt this recipe to your own likes and dislikes. For example, you might use garlic powder instead of the onion powder, you could slide slices of lemons or garlic cloves or even onion slices under the skin. Try other seasonings, too.

The main thing that makes this recipe great is cooking it breast side down, which makes it extra juicy.

Cheesy Peas and Rice

2 1/4 cups rice, cooked                                               1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen peas, thawed
1 (6 oz.) can of mushrooms, drained                          6 oz. Velveeta, cubed*

Combine all the ingredients in a greased 1 1/2 qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

I didn't used to buy Velveeta because it used to be more expensive than other cheeses, but it is the same price or less than cheddar now, so I buy it more often.

Apple Butterscotch Crisp

This recipe is good served with ice cream or, for something different, try a slice of cheese or a dollop of sour cream.

 5 large (7 small) apples, sliced and peeled                1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar, depending on your apples            1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal                                      1/2 cup butter or margarine, cold                                     
1 pkg. (3 1/2 oz.) cook and serve  
butterscotch pudding

Place apples in a greased 9x13 pan. Mix everything else in a bowl, cutting in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.* Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until apples are tender.

*Whenever a recipe says to cut in something, that means to take a pastry cutter and mix the butter, margarine or shortening in with the dry ingredients until the mix gets crumbly looking. (I just use my fingers. It is easier for me to wash them than a pastry cutter.)

Roast Chicken Leftovers:

Chicken Spaghetti Bake-  Make your favorite spaghetti, mixing noodles and sauce. Instead of adding hamburger to it or leaving it without meat, add some cubed leftover chicken. Put it in a 9x13 greased pan sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° until heated through and cheese is melted.

Make Chicken Soup with leftovers- see the recipe for turkey soup.  Use ¼ the amount of water and spices for chicken because it’s so much smaller!

Leftover Leftovers- If you have any of this soup left, thicken it with a little cornstarch or flour mixed in water. Make a batch of biscuits or use any leftover biscuits you have and pour the thickened soup (now like gravy) over it.