Bonus- this fudge can be made dairy-free and still have that creamy, melt-in-your mouth text ure!

This week in Joyschool I taught the kids about the process of making chocolate.  I had a library book that had pictures of each step, from cacao tree to wrapped chocolate bars, and I brought hands-on things, as well.  They got to see, smell, and taste bits of roasted cocoa beans (didn't like them!- it's like eating unsweetened chocolate but crunchier.), see and smell cocoa powder, see, smell, and have cocoa butter rubbed into their skin, we melted and molded chocolates (cute little Easter shapes).... and then made this baggie fudge.  If you're making it yourself or have careful children, a single bag is fine, but for this group that includes a few 3-year-old boys, I double-bagged it. :)  This could be a fun Family Home Evening activity AND treat. 
Our batch was made using the coconut oil and coconut cream, since 3 of the kids can't have dairy.

I had brought walnuts in the shell to use in the fudge, but the kids had so much fun cracking the nuts first and eating the bits inside that they were all gone before the fudge was ready.  It's good fudge either way!

Baggie Fudge
1/2 c. coconut oil or butter, softened or melted
1/2 c.  cocoa powder
1/3 c. coconut cream, OR 1/4 c. water and  1/2 c.  nonfat dry milk powder
a pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla 
1 lb. powdered sugar (about 4 cups unsifted)
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Put the ingredients in a gallon-sized ziptop bag.  Put this bag inside another bag if  it seems like a good idea.  Squish, knead, or pound the bag until everything is well mixed.  (Giving the kids 30 -second turns seemed to work the best- and gave them practice counting.)  

Once it's mixed, squish the mixture into a rectangular shape near the top, making the rectangle about an inch narrower on each side than the bag.  Put the bag on a cutting board or similar surface.  Cut down one side of the bag and across the bottom with scissors. Cut fudge into squares, or use small cookie cutters to make cute shapes.  Makes about 1 1/2 pounds.

If fudge is a little too soft, let it chill in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to firm up.



 
 
I've been neighbors with a few Brazilians; they have been warm, kind people who have a strong affinity for desserts made with cooked sweetened condensed milk, or 'dulce de leche'.  There's a plum-caramel filling for cakes, another cake filling made with crushed pineapple and the caramel, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.  

One Christmas my Brazilian neighbor Celia brought over a plate of these creamy, sugar-coated dulce de leche balls.  When I next saw her, I asked for the recipe and what they were called.  She shrugged her shoulders, then said, "little bears, I guess".  This is a simplified version of hers, which contained strained egg yolks and 'crema media' (half-and-half), but the results are just as delicious.  Best of all, these are cooked and ready to shape within ten minutes of starting!

Ositos
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
unsweetened cocoa powder
about 1/2 cup sugar, for rolling


Pour the sweetened condensed milk in an ungreased, very large microwave-safe bowl.  Cover the top with plastic wrap  to help avoid boilovers: this boils much higher than you would expect!, Microwave it for 2 minutes.  Stir.  Microwave for 2 more minutes.  Stir, scraping sides down.  Repeat in 2-minute intervals for a total of either 6 or 8 minutes, stirring every two minutes.  It should thicken and darken some. To see if it has cooked enough, drop a little in a cupful of icy water, then pull out after about five seconds.  However hard it gets is how hard it will be when completely cool.  It needs to be able to hold its shape.  Put the sugar in a cereal bowl and set aside.

With buttered hands, pinch off a bit and roll in a ball, about 3/4" across.To get the brown side, drop into unsweetened cocoa powder, then pick it up and drop it  into the sugar.  After you have a few in there, roll or toss to coat, then set on another dish.

Makes 30-36 balls, about 3/4" each.
 
 
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Yogurt Cheese

This is 'strained yogurt', the same thing as authentic Greek yogurt;  use it like cream cheese in recipes, or eat it with a little jam or fruit.   Add a bit of salt if subbing this for cream cheese.  
Since the whey- which contains the lactose, or milk sugar- is drained off, you end up with a product that has twice as much protein and quite a bit less milk sugar.

All you do is pour plain yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined colander, set it over a bowl overnight, and check on it in the morning.  You can either leave it on the counter or do this in the fridge. The longer it drains, the thicker it gets.  It works best with homemade, unthickened yogurt, since added thickeners make it hard for the whey to separate away from the solids.  If you don't have cheesecloth, use something else that liquid can drain through but the solids won't, like the superstrong paper towels, or a clean flat-woven dish towel.
16 ounces of plain yogurt will yield about 8 ounces each of yogurt cheese and whey.  You can substitute whey in place of buttermilk in recipes.  I use it for part of the liquid when making bread.


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Sweetened Condensed Milk- use it to make my favorite, Two-Minute Fudge recipe.  For the closest version to a 14-oz can, use

1/2 c. (non-instant) powdered milk
1/2 c. water
1 c.  sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, optional
To read more about making it or how to use it, see here.
If you happen to need it, here's a recipe for dairy-free sweetened condensed milk 

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Easy No-Bake Cheesecake  

Another great way to use sweetened condensed milk!

 
 
Actually, some of the newer "instant" powdered milks taste pretty good.  However, the non-instant dry powdered milk is generally less expensive.  It's just not so great for drinking straight.  There's more on that in the printable.

The first couple recipes are below and the next blog post will have the others.  You can get all of them without waiting, plus some extra stuff, in a two-page printable format right here.  For even more great powdered milk recipes, download the Bee Prepared Pantry Cookbook or the Wooden Spoon class booklet (see here for corrections & notes for the Wooden Spoon booklet.)
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Lasagne using powdered milk?  You bet!  You can make homemade cottage cheese in 5-10 minutes.  There's even a recipe for a mock mozzarella that melts beautifully, in the Bee Prepared book.

All cost estimates are based on paying $1.89/lb for powdered milk, which is the 2013 price at the LDS Church's 'Family Home Storage Center'.

Homemade Cottage Cheese- makes about 16 oz., $ 1.00/batch

4 c. hot water                                                                          6 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 ½  c. non-instant dry milk powder                                           ½   tsp. salt, to taste

            Stir together water and powdered milk in a saucepan, heat until it starts to steam, stirring.  Drip vinegar around the edge of the pan and gently stir; it will immediately start to separate into curds and whey.  If it doesn’t, heat it up some more.  Let rest one minute.  Pour into a cheesecloth-lined colander over a bowl. Save whey, then rinse with hot water, then with cold water and break apart into the size curds you want.  Rinse for one minute or until all the whey is out. Add salt. To make it creamy, add 4-6 Tbsp. sour cream, yogurt, evaporated milk, or cream.

  The whey may be used in place of liquid (milk or water) in baking.  It has vitamins, minerals, some protein, no fat, and some milk sugar (lactose- very low on the glycemic scale.)  Since it has the acidity of the vinegar in it, you can add a little baking soda to neutralize and get extra leavening power- use 1 tsp. baking soda per 2-3 cups of acid whey; reduce any baking powder by three times the amount:  if using 1 tsp. baking soda, the baking powder is reduced by 3 tsp.

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Yogurt – makes 2 quarts of plain yogurt at $ .57 per quart if using your own starter
1 ¾ c. regular nonfat dry milk, or 3 c. instant                         7 c. hot water (not over 120 degrees)
1/3 c. plain yogurt, with active cultures

Combine dry milk and 4 cups of the water.  Whisk or mix in a blender.  Add yogurt and whisk.  Add remaining water or divide the remaining water evenly between your containers; stir well after adding the milk mixture!  Pour into containers, cover, and incubate in a warm place for 4-8 hours or until set.  Tip a container after 4 hours to see if it has set.  If the yogurt is still liquid, wait 1-2 more hours.  It will set up a little more when chilled.  Store in fridge.  The ideal temperature range for culturing yogurt is 105-120 degrees.  The lower of these temperatures you begin culturing at, the sweeter the yogurt will be.  The higher, the more tart. Above 120 degrees will kill the bacteria you’re trying to grow.  Save 1/3 c. for culturing your next batch.

To flavor your yogurt after it’s made, add fruit, jam, juice concentrate, chocolate milk mix, etc., before eating.

To flavor it before culturing, use 6-8 Tbsp. of sugar per 2-qt batch,  or 4-6 Tbsp. honey (dissolve this in your water first, or it will sink to the bottom), or a 3-oz. box of flavored gelatin, or 1/3-1/2 c. jam, or 1 c. chopped or mashed sweetened fruit. The syrup from canned fruit can be used in place of part of the water.  If it’s not sweet enough, you can always add sugar when it’s done.  1-2 tsp. vanilla added to the batch is also a nice addition.  Make your own combinations- chopped cherries with some vanilla and a little almond extract, blueberries with cream cheese added, toasted coconut with caramel sauce swirled in… let your imagination run wild!

To make firm yogurt that doesn’t become thin after stirring, use 4-6 tsp. unflavored gelatin, or two envelopes, per two-quart batch.  Soften it in part of the recipe’s water, then heat gently on stove, in microwave, or over hot water, until the gelatin melts.  Add along with remaining water.

 
 
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Most grocery stores start having 'baking sales' right about now.  I usually stock up for the coming year whle these baking ingredients are cheaper.  This year the sweetened condensed milk price hasn't been as low as usual. 

What can you use if you don't have sweetened condensed milk? (If you want one without dairy or table sugar, see here.)

While playing with it in recipes, I've learned a couple things about it.  One 14-ounce can is roughly the same as adding 1 cup of evaporated milk and 1 cup of granulated sugar (more accurate is 7 oz. evaporated milk and 7 oz- which is 1 cup- sugar).  You can also use half-and-half, whipping cream, coconut milk, coconut cream, or powdered milk mixed to double strength.  If you need it to be rich and are using powdered milk, add a couple tablespoons of butter.  Cream of coconut is a pretty good substitute; use the same amount.  Coconut cream is my favorite to use in this when cooking for dairy-sensitive people.  You can find it, and sometimes coconut milk powder (mix to double strength for coconut cream consistency), at Asian markets.    See photo at bottom of post.

Note-Cream of coconut and coconut cream are NOT the same. Cream of coconut can be found with the drink mixers in any grocery store. It's made of coconut milk, sugar, and stabilizers.  Coconut cream is the thick liquid extracted by crushing or grinding coconut meat. -  I've found that this homemade "sweetened condensed coconut milk" does NOT set up in the no-bake cheesecake recipe.  The homemade stuff made with actual dairy does work.  I suspect it has something to do with dairy curdling- and coconut not- when mixed with citrus juice.

If your recipe is not going to be baked, as when you're making Two-Minute Fudge, stir together the milk and sugar, then bring it to a boil to dissolve the sugar crystals.  If the food you're making will be baked, the sugar will dissolve as the food cooks.

This substitute also works in reverse: when you have a recipe that calls for 1 cup milk/cream/half&half and 1 cup sugar, you can add a can of sweetened condensed milk!

To see how to make delicious thick apple-wedge-dipping caramel, see the instructions for Making Tres Leches Cake.  Just cook the sweetened condensed milk, don't add anything else to it.

Here's a recipe for sweetened condensed milk using powdered milk:

Sweetened Condensed Milk
– for the closest version to a 14-oz can, use

1/2 c. (non-instant) powdered milk
1/2 c. water
1 c.  sugar
0-2 Tbsp. butter

 If you like to be precise, use 1 1/2 Tbsp. less than 1/2 c. water (this also gives a slightly thicker result, like the can), but the first way is very close (yields 14 3/4 oz)    Other recipes use more -or less- of any of those ingredients.  Really, they all work. That said, the 'closest' version costs $ .39 if you use no butter, and $ .53 if you use 2 Tbsp.  What a deal! One important thing to know- these recipes call for hot or boiling water so the sugar gets completely dissolved. Otherwise you get grainy condensed milk.  I usually put my sugar with the water, then microwave and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Then blend with the milk powder and butter.

For more recipes using powdered milk, see the post from 10/25/10

or the recipes from
The Wooden Spoon Cooking School.  For the class handouts for all the Wooden Spoon classes, see myFavorite Resources page.
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Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are counseled to have three months’ worth of everyday food on hand, and then store more, longer-term storage foods, where possible.  This has typically been defined as a “Year’s Supply”, at least in the last couple generations.  Having food on hand is an invaluable part of being self-reliant.  It’s insurance, if you will, for times of unexpected illness, disability, unemployment, power outages, or for when a neighbor down the street needs a meal.  It’s also handy for sharing with a local food bank.  (Hint, hint: right now their supplies are very low!)

Once you get three months’ worth, how much will a year’s supply of food cost you?  When you look at your monthly grocery bill, is it overwhelming to think of buying more?  I looked an emergency supply store’s catalog; they advertise a basic year’s supply of food for ‘just’ $1,299.99.  For one person.  They list options of up to $3800 per person per year.  Is it really that much money to get a year’s supply?

Adding up all the 7 essentials, purchasing them mostly at the Home Storage Center, a month’s worth of food for one person is $25.31. This provides about 2200 calories a day; the catalog’s has 2000.

A year’s worth for one adult is $303.86. 

(It was $194.76 in 2010.  That’s an increase of 56%.  How’s that compare to your 401(k)? I’m quite sure food will go up more.  It is a great investment!  Wouldn’t you like to eat at last year’s prices?)

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;

$227.90 per adult

 
SO, if you really want to spend $1299.99 plus tax, you could buy a year’s supply for not just one person, but for FOUR adults.  Yes, it’s different food than the ‘gourmet’ version ($3800), 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 (from All is Safely Gathered In, First Presidency pamphlet)

 If you’re storing food for children, plan on 50% of the amount for age 3 and under, 70% for ages 3-6, 90% for ages 7-10, and 100% for ages 11 and up.  Or store as much as you would for an adult, and have enough to share. 

For great recipes using this stored food, see my Favorite Resources page, under "Cooking and Recipes". 
____________________________________
Here is the cost breakdown:

Grains, 300 lbs- if you get 100 lbs each of wheat , rice, and oats, at the Home Storage Centers they cost between $11.45 and $15.45 for 25 lbs. depending on if you get white or red wheat,  rice, quick- or regular- oats.  If you average this out, it will cost you $13.55  per person, per month.  $162.60 per year’s worth. This category doubled in price from early 2010.  Your daily allotted amount would be about 2 ½ cups of flour, or about the size of a loaf of bread.

Milk, 16 lbs is $1.89/lb at the cannery, which is $2.52 per month, $30.24 per year.  Daily amount is just under ¾ cup of reconstituted milk.  This is enough to cook with, not enough to drink very often.  For instance, making your loaf of bread would/could use up this entire amount.

Sugar, 60 lbs is $ .85/lb there, $4.23 per month, $50.76 per year.  Daily amount is just about 1/3 cup, but keep in mind you’ll probably want to use it to help bottle fruit or make jam, as well as for making your bread or breakfast oatmeal.

Oil, 10 qts –this isn’t sold at the cannery, but the last good sale price I found 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.)  .)  Daily amount: about 2 ½ teaspoons; will also be used in making bread. Fat is necessary to help you digest fiber, as well as to access the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Salt, 8 lbs- 4# box at Costco or Sam’s Club is a dollar; $ .16 per month, $2 per year.  Daily amount: about 2 tsp. It never hurts to store extra salt; it is an excellent preservative for meats and more.

Legumes, 60 lbs– the cannery sells black beans, pinto, and white, from $16.00 to $18.55 for 25 lbs.  Averaging the prices, it’s  $3.42 a month, $41.09 per year.  Daily amount: about ½ cup dry, or 1 ½ cups cooked.

In addition to the above, storing some water is an essential part of your home storage.  Plan on 1 gallon per person per day, for 2 weeks (14 days).  This is enough to drink, and not much else. 
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. 

Total daily food allotment: 1 loaf of bread, 1/3 c. sugar for cooking or preserving, 1 ½ cups of beans, 2 ½ tsp. oil, a little salt, ¾ c. of milk.  You won’t get fat on this, but it will keep you alive.  It also stores in a fairly small amount of space.


When you’re done storing these items, you might decide to add a few ‘gourmet’ items- spices, flavorings,  and unsweetened cocoa are high on my list here, as are non-hybrid garden seeds.  Practice growing them now; you can save seeds from what you grow, for next year’s crop.

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 ½  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 $86 more to get a full year’s worth, $65 to do 9 months.

I don’t can my wheat, sugar, or beans because we go through large quantities; one batch of bread would use a whole can.  It’s 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.

 
 
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Merry Christmas!

Here is a simple thing to make with your family- hot chocolate.  There are a few different ways to make it-  you can add chocolate syrup to milk, or you can melt a chocolate bar into milk, or you can make it the old-fashioned way, starting with unsweetened cocoa.  It’s really fast and easy.

May you have a wonderful Christmas, full of the spirit of love and of God.

-Rhonda

Homemade Hot Cocoa

1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. sugar or honey
1 cup milk
Pinch of salt, ¼ tsp. vanilla, optional
 
Stir together the cocoa powder and sugar.  Stir in 2 Tbsp. milk, mix until smooth.  Bring to a boil, either on the stove or in a microwave.  This is to dissolve the sugar and bring out the flavor of the cocoa.   Stir in the remaining milk, the salt, and vanilla.  Heat to the temperature you like. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream if you have them.

This recipe can be sized up to whatever you like.  I usually make a 4-cup batch, using the microwave, and a canning jar for my cooking container.  

This makes a ‘milk chocolate’ flavor.  If you like it darker, use 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp. cocoa.  If it’s bitter, add the same amount additional sugar.

 For mint chocolate, use whatever form of mint you have- mint extract, peppermint patties, or crushed candy canes.

For raspberry flavor, you can use 1 Tbsp. of raspberry Jello powder instead of the sugar.  Orange is another good flavor to make this way.

If you like richer cocoa, use whole milk, or a bit of cream, evaporated milk,  or half-and-half.   

To make it frothy, use a blender, or an immersion blender, to whip it.  This works especially well if you used powdered milk!
 
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The cocoa and sugar, ready to be stirred.

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Add as much milk as you have of the sugar and cocoa- in this case, 2 Tbsp.  You want to make a smooth, pancake-batter-consistency slurry.

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Bring it to a boil to dissolve the sugar and 'bloom' (bring out the flavor of) the cocoa.  Once it's at this point, add the rest of the milk, along with salt and vanilla if you want them.

 
 
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If you've never had a Tres Leches cake, you're in for a treat!  It's very moist, with a Dulce de Leche flavor throughout.  It's soaked with a mixture of 'three milks'- whole milk, evaporated milk, and cream, normally.  I tend to use whatever's on hand, though.  If you don't have cream, replace with an equal amount of evaporated milk.  You can even whip evaporated milk, if it's very cold.  30 minutes in the freezer usually does the trick.

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This is how you get the Dulce de Leche flavor- caramelize a can of sweetened condensed milk.  It takes two hours if you let the unopened can boil, ALWAYS completely covered by water (or it could explode). Or if you open up the can and pour it in a bowl,  it takes 7-15 minutes in the microwave.  It really boils up, though, so use the biggest microwave-safe bowl you own!  And cover it with plastic wrap.  The condensed milk on the left is caramelized; the condensed milk on the right is what it looks like beforehand.

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The baked cake, a sturdy hot-milk sponge cake.  Let it cool for ten minutes, then poke holes all over, using a skewer or similar.  (My 'skewer' is the bottom of an instant-read thermometer.)

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While the cake is still hot, but the 'milks' mixture is cool-ish, pour all over the cake.  It will start soaking in.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, to let the liquid totally soak in and start to set up a bit.

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You know how food blogs make it look like everything is always perfect?


Well... 
 a doubled recipe + the same size bowl = scrubbing!

For an easy-to print version, click on one of these, below.
Tres Leches Cake recipe
, or Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free version here.

To get the milk mixture to soak in properly, the cake should be hot and the milks room temperature: make the milk  mixture first so it can cool during cake baking time. This was modified from the Cook’s Country recipe.  I live at 3500 ft. elevation, and their version kept falling in the center.  If you live around sea level, you might need to increase the sugar back up to 2 cups, and the baking powder to 2 tsp.  

Tres Leches cake

Milk Mixture:
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (or use the powdered-milk version)
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 c. heavy cream (sometimes I just add 1 c. more evap. milk instead)
1 tsp. vanilla
           Caramelize the sweetened condensed milk by either boiling the can (covered at ALL TIMES by water) for two hours OR in the microwave:  pour into a large microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 7-15 minutes, until slightly darkened and thickened.  Stir every couple minutes, especially at the end.  This takes 7 ½ minutes in my microwave.  If it looks a little burned, it’s still OK.  Stir in about half of  the evaporated milk, then set aside 3 Tbsp. for the top of the cake. Whisk in the remaining evaporated milk, cream, and  vanilla.  Set aside.

Cake:
½ c. unsalted butter (if using regular butter, reduce salt by ¼ tsp.)
1 c. milk
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 ¾ c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, optional (I prefer the cake without)
           Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat together the butter and milk until the butter melts; set aside.  Beat the eggs for about 30 seconds, then slowly add the sugar while beating.  Beat on med-high for 5-7 minutes, until they become very thick and glossy.  Mix in vanilla and hot milk/butter.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt  (I dump them on in that order, then mix them with my fingers a bit before beating them into the batter.)  Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until cake tests done with a toothpick.  Let sit on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Poke holes every half inch all over the cake with a skewer; pour milk mixture over top.  Let sit for 15 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24.  Frost right before serving.

Frosting:
1 c. whipping cream
3 Tbsp. reserved cooked sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
           Beat all together until whipped and thick enough to spread.
 
 
(originally from 7/29/10)
At the beginning of the year we had the ‘three month challenge’.  Where are you now in your home storage program?  Which step are you ready for?  I know some of you are done with all of them, congratulations!  The more self-reliant you are, the more of service you can be.  Here’s the four-step program the Church has published.


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.

Of the new guidelines, Presiding Bishop H. David Burton says, “Our objective was to establish a simple, inexpensive, and achievable program that would help people become self-reliant. We are confident that by introducing these few, simple steps we can, over time, have more success.”  

I know that following this will bless you and your family temporally, spiritually, and physically.  For more information, see “Family Home Storage: a new message”, March 2009 Ensign, or the “All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage” pamphlet. 

* * * * * * *
Need something to keep your kids entertained?  There’s nothing more fun than watching paint dry….   Well, maybe not actually watching it dry, just looking at the crystals after the paint HAS dried (see Crystal Paint, below.)   The following paints were found at http://bluebonnetvillage.com/recipes.htm    They have other ‘kid craft’ recipes as well, including several versions of ‘play-dough’ , edible dough, finger paints, poster paints, …..

 

Monet’s Water Color Paints

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon glycerine
food coloring


Do like the famous impressionist painters did and bring your watercolors outside to paint.
To make your own watercolors, first mix vinegar and baking soda.
Next slowly add cornstarch and glycerine to the mixture. Pour into small paper cups to let dry.
Add food coloring. The color is not as intense when it is dry so remember to add a lot of food coloring.
When dry peel away the paper cups.


Shiny, Glossy and Shimmery Paints

Moooo Paint 
1 cup condensed milk (or make your own with powdered milk)
Food coloring


Mix one cup condensed milk with a few drops of food coloring. This makes a very bright, glossy colored paint, great for fingerpainting.

Egg Yolk Paint
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp. water
Food coloring


Mix egg yolk with water and lots of food coloring. Use a paint brush to paint on baked cookies. Return cookies to oven until egg has solidified.


Non-edible paints:

Artist Quality "Oil" Paint 
Tempera paint
Liquid dish washing soap


This paint has a smooth, glossy effect and holds color well. Mix together tempera paint and soap. Store in glass jars.


Crystal Paint
1/4 cup hot tap water
3 teaspoon epsom salts


Sparkle and Shine! Mix hot tap water and epsom salts. Brush the mixture onto a dark colored paper. When dry the salt will form crystals that shine in the light.  Photos are at http://unplugyourkids.com/2008/10/05/salt-crystal-paint/
 
 
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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.

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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.