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Category Archives: Food Prep

Hooray! It’s spring again!  The lovely flowering trees dot the landscape, brightening the days as much as the additional sunshine does.  We bask in the glorious new colors, budding leaves, and the vibrancy of renewed life bursting onto the scene.  Everyday a new surprise as urgent new life unfolds overnight.  Sure, there are the inevitable pollen issues, as our eyes water, and our noses run, but heck, all those beautiful flowers are more than worth it.  When we can see through our swollen eyelids, they’re gorgeous. Plus, let’s not forget, those flowers on those fruit trees mean fruit! Right?

Oh.  Maybe not.  After all, most of those fruit trees in everyone’s front yards are all about the flowers, and don’t actually produce fruit. How sad is that? We get the watery eyes, and runny noses, but no satisfaction of the fruit itself.

I have a proposition for you.  What if everyone who has a flowering fruit tree that doesn’t produce fruit chop it down right after the flowering is over, and cut it up for barbecue smoking wood.  Fruitwood smoked barbecue is delicious! Then, replace the non-fruiting tree with two fruiting trees.  A pair of your favorite type of fruit, or your second favorite type, depending on your yard conditions.  After all, you shouldn’t put cherry trees into places that are mostly wet, because they don’t like getting their feet wet (apple trees love wet yards).  Most fruit trees need a pollinator to give you the fruit you like (plums, pears, apples); unless it’s a self-pollinator.  You can check with a nursery about what types they have in stock, and whether the one’s you want need a partner or not.

I purchased a self-pollinating apricot tree, and a purple fig tree this year.  I have some confidence that both of them can survive this Ohio valley climate, because I saw a full grown fig tree surviving in the mountains of West Virginia a couple of years ago. I just want to plant them somewhere that is a little protected with good southern sun exposure.

I need to find a partner tree for my apple tree that I planted last year.  I bought a scraggly looking apple tree on clearance last year, because I felt sorry for it.  Half of it’s root ball was completely exposed and it was suffering.  I planted it last fall and it survived the winter. It’s putting out new leaves this spring. Yeah!  Now I need to go find it a partner.  It would be joyous to see it producing fruit.

There are a lot of what look like fruit trees in the neighborhood.  They produce lots of flowers in the spring, but I’ve been here for a couple of years now, and they don’t produce any fruit.  I’m going to cut down the non-fruiting trees that are in my property area, and replace them with real fruit trees.  Even if I don’t do the whole farming-pruning-fumigation thing to keep the worms out of the developing fruit, at least they’ll produce fruit for the birds and squirrels, and the bees.

Did you know that bees can use the rotting fruit on the ground to feed on?  Those overripe fruits are producing sugars that the bees can use to make more honey.  Since our yards have so frequently stopped producing fruit, the bees have lost a source of late season sustenance.  Putting real fruit trees back into our yards would add valuable resources to help save our bees. And taking the non-fruiting wood to use for barbecue…  delicious!  I’m going to enjoy that fruit wood smoked flavor this fall.

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The title of this post is a bit tongue in cheek.  This  post is really about the weather, or the effects the weather is having on my brain, or both.  You remember that commercial about drugs, and what your brain looks like on drugs?  Well, it turns out that the weather can have the same effect on your brain as a harsh chemical.  There are definitely days when my brain feels like it is frying. Of course, that may be owing to my part-time job.

I currently work as a seasonal employee at Lowe’s, in their outdoor lawn and garden section.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the work; I love this job.  In fact, I love working with the plants so much, that I went back three times to apply for the position, until I finally got hired on.  The fact that I love the job, does not negate the fact that, on hot, sunny days, my brain sometimes feels like it’s frying. It helps some, that there are hats to wear, and I usually have a watering hose in my hands, that frequently leaks, and keeps me cooled off some on the outside.

Even so, I get so involved in watering and cleaning up the plants and flowers, that I sometimes forget to take a break.  Even with all the water in the air, and on my cloths, I still get dehydrated when I forget to take a break.  It’s this sneaky dehydration, from sweating out the liquids and minerals, even though there is a cooling flow of leaky water, that puts my brain in jeopardy, and makes me feel like my head is on fire. But I have experience in the military, and am good at monitoring my own vital signs.  I do remember to take a break, when dehydration symptoms start showing up.  Perhaps it is this which keeps me from a visit to the emergency room, as so many others this summer have found themselves doing.

For instance, my youngest daughter came down with a summer cold, and somehow, it turned into bronchial spasms, just prior to becoming bronchitis.  My youngest daughter is 21 years old, and has never had bronchial spasms before, in her life.  None of my daughters, to my knowledge, have ever had bronchial spasms before. This health malady was a new experience for both of us.  Because the health card was not currently working (that’s another story), we ended up being sent to the hospital emergency room.

On the way to the emergency room, we ended up on a crowded bridge where the traffic wasn’t moving very fast.  My car, this summer, is without air-conditioning.  The lack of speedy forward motion prevented us from getting a good flow of air through the car windows, and it got pretty warm. The warmth and humidity in the air was exacerbating my daughters condition.  She told me she felt like she had a tight collar around her throat, and she couldn’t get it off.  We finally made it to the hospital and got checked in at the desk, and were directed to the waiting area. While waiting, several gurneys came in from the ambulance services, with additional patients. Once checked in at the desk, some of these were also directed to take a seat in the waiting room.  There were several people with heat related maladies. They, as we, waited for hours before being admitted to the emergency services personnel.

Some of us chatted with each other, sympathizing with the situation, and encouraging each other to hang in there. I don’t know if their brains felt fried, but one, who worked at a car wash, had stomach cramps and vomiting so severe that he couldn’t keep anything down, including the water he was trying to drink, and another one, who had been working outside for the previous two days, had muscle cramps in his arms and hands, which caused his fingers and wrists to turn inward and lock up. So many suffering with fried muscles, fried stomachs, and fried lungs,  from excessive exposure to heat, and profuse sweating, (with and without external applications of water)  without enough internal hydration, or replacement of vital minerals and salts.

Whatever is causing this years weather, ozone holes (which they say is healing, now) pre-volcanic earth crust heating, extra moons, or wobbly, eccentric planetary orbits,  it’s hot and humid this summer.  Watch out for yourselves, and each other. Stay hydrated. Add more salt to your diet, to help your body hang on to your water, and eat or drink more foods with high mineral contents, (milk, bananas, potatoes, melons, etc.)  to replace what sneakily gets sweated out, even when you don’t notice it.    Try not to let your brain fry, like eggs on a hot summer sidewalk.

 

Other links you may like:

https://lukeatkins.wordpress.com/about/comment-page-3/#comment-602

https://themusicofpoetry.wordpress.com/category/poetry-2/stanzas/

© Ellen M Lattz and emariaenterprises, llc 2016.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Ellen M. Lattz, and/or blog owner, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M. Lattz, and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

First, I want to thank all my followers.  You are wonderful.  The joy I get from seeing that little notification that someone else has liked and is following my blog is matched only by the joy of seeing someone’s face light up when I’ve done something for them.   Thank you for checking out my work.  I do go to your sites and check your’s as well.  I hope I have remembered to push the little button each time, but I confess, that sometimes I get lost in perusing the material, past and present, and then get distracted by some ordinary everyday thing that demands my attention and I might miss doing that once in a while.

So of course you are wondering why I have that title up there?  I know that title sounds ominous.  What kind of person asks that kind of question?  It’s not that I don’t appreciate being able to locate things because they’ve been put in likely locations.  In this instance, it’s because nobody Else knows where to look, or maybe they really don’t care to look.  I’m a little afraid to find out.

In this instance, I’m talking about being organized as a blogger.  You see, I split my blog up into parts, to make it less diverse.  I have a recipe section now, (but it’s mostly about taking care of your thyroid) and I have a poetry blog, and one that’s pretty much all about political values.

I know that I sometimes get people on the poetry blog because I now have some followers there.  I don’t have so much going on with the other two.  Maybe it’s because there isn’t any interest in looking at them.  I suppose that’s fair.  Perhaps my followers here are more interested in the personal aspects of my life, and less about what I have to say about political things or health things.  Still, I can’t help be disappointed that those sites aren’t getting viewed as well, or maybe that’s greedy of me.

Perhaps I should just be very contented that I have followers on two sites.  When I consider it that way, that is pretty awesome to me.  Wow.  How could I want for more?  Is it worth it being organized?  Perhaps.  If only so that I don’t bore my followers with things they aren’t interested in.

Thank you for reading my musings and rants, and have a great day!

 

Thank you to Ifindkarma for the lovely picture of organizing boxes.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, llc 2012.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gallon milk jug

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I wrote a rant a while back when a gallon of milk that I brought home didn’t taste like the usual 5% butter fat “Whole Milk” that I was used to.  It tasted more like the 2% milk, only a little richer.  I noticed then, that none of the milk jugs I had purchased recently had the fat values on the labels anymore.  What’s up with that, anyway?

Which brings me to this new piece of information.  I was in a store last week talking to the guy who stocked the milk.  I mentioned to him that I had noticed that sometimes the milk didn’t taste like whole milk anymore.  He told me that was because the fat value for whole milk isn’t 5% anymore.  It’s been changed to 3% now.  He said he didn’t think the cows were making the milk as fat anymore.  I was aghast, not just for the fact that my Milk is being systematically reduced in value, but also because this national anti-fat push is actually harmful.

We need our milk fat.  It’s part of our balanced natural fat source diet.  When we don’t balance our fats,  when we limit our fat intake to only one type, and little enough of that as well, we are actually doing more damage to ourselves than people who eat bacon fat in everything.  Fats are necessary for a whole life well being.  Your body is designed to use fats as part of it’s overall system, and the glands appreciate the type of slow, even release of energy that the body’s conversion of fat to sugar provides.

Fats are what helps you be happy.  Literally!  Without fats, your metabolism is entirely dependent on immediately available sources of energy and vitamins and minerals.  We would have to be snacking all day long on mixed salads to give our body what it needed to operate properly, if we remove the fat content from our diets.  Without a Balance of the two types of fat, your arteries get clogged and damaged. You need both types to counter each other.  Natural sources of fat are the best type.

Milk fat isn’t harmful. It’s helpful.   Put the butter-fat back in the Milk!  5% was low enough!

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Economy

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I was listening to my daughter and her friend as they talked about their homework.  They had been given a list of movies to watch about wars.  We had just watched Pearl Harbor.  It was a well made movie that neither promoted nor ridiculed war, but simply told a story that gave a decent impression of some of the real human suffering that occurred here in the states, and told some of the reasons for what happened. The fact that Japan had Imperial ambitions in China and needed the oil that was being embargoed was the main reason for their attack on Pearl Harbor.

A world war is never started by just one thing, though there is often enough a catalyst for it.  We have many of the factors in place now for another one to blossom; we are just waiting for the catalyst now.  So let’s look at some of the factors that make for a road to world wide ruin and destruction.  Some of you are probably thinking that the bad economies all over are it, but that’s not enough by itself; in fact, that won’t do it at all, if people are sensible and pull together, but we have a Much more solid reason than that hanging over us now, and it has been for at least a decade.

We have become a bloodthirsty people.  We are all looking for a fight.  We are all ready to pick a fight over the stupidest things.  The rhetoric for it has been in place for a while.  You can see it in the comments after news articles, and entertainment pieces, and sports stories.  We Want to Hurt each other. People all over the world want to hurt each other.  We want to do it here in our own country, and when you throw a reason to hurt someone in another country at us, we have all kinds of people ready to jump on that as well.  It doesn’t have to be a good reason, just any reason.

Then you add a bad economy into it.  Not enough jobs, and those that are available are too low paying to make the rent, let alone the other bills.  Two paycheck households are becoming a necessity, and three or more is becoming more popular, as families move in with each other.  Tensions run high under these circumstances.  Rats in a cage… lobsters in a pot ready to boil.

Now we get to throw in radical weather patterns that squeeze people in all kinds of new ways (and I’m not talking about global warming).  Too cold or too hot requires larger and larger amounts of energy to power an electric grid or a heating oil demand that shoves the price up for lack of ability to meet it fast enough.

Because oil prices go up, food prices go up with them.  Prices that we Have to meet, because we have to have this to survive.

Now we get to add in a nuclear fear.  One emanating from a country that has had at it’s core for many years, the ideal of wiping off the map another country.  One that it restates almost daily, like a mantra, to pacify it’s people, so they won’t blame their own poor government for the mess they are in.  Now the world, that is, most of the European neighbors, Israel, and the United States, and maybe a few others as well, want to impose economic sanctions against this country, because they think that if they choke it enough, it’ll cry uncle and give up it’s nuclear ambitions.

I’d like to point out,that Europe tried that with Germany after World War I.  They were choked good and solid.  As it happens, squeezing a country until the economic life is nearly choked out of it, does Not prevent a country from being able to develop a military, nor prevent it from creating weapons, nor stop it from wanting to get back at it’s neighbors who are choking the economic life out of it.

As it happens, this country is in an ideal location to put a hurt on not only it’s neighbors, but the rest of the world as well, should we think of opposing it in it’s mad rush to get strong enough to actually follow through on it’s rhetoric of wiping out another country; never mind that in doing so, it would also wipe out people it claims to support (Palestinians).   Iran is situated in such a way that with only  a little effort on it’s part, it can close a small shipping passage that happens to carry a large amount of crude oil traffic through it out to the broad, broad world.

Now the brilliant minds out there are thinking, the price of oil will go up, and we have oil here, and I could just buy shares in oil stock and get rich off this dastardly result (heh, heh, heh…).; But this isn’t all folks, yes, just like the famous Ginshu knives, there’s yet another sharp blade in this package.  If you look at a picture of the map where the Straight of Hormuz is, you might notice that on the other side of that large land mass that is the Arabian Peninsula, there is a little country called Yemen.

I don’t know how many of you have noticed any of the news out of there lately, but I have, and it’s not pretty either.  They are a poor country, and as a result, they have a serious problem with terrorists.  The government of Yemen is working closely with other governments to keep the problem in check, but as we have seen more than a few times before, the more we try to stifle a problem, the more it struggles to rise up and bite us.  If this one rises up and bites, it could put another whole lot of hurt on us all, and wouldn’t you know it, but they might get some help for their struggle from someone else we are trying to stifle.

Yemen also sits on an oil shipping  choke point.  At the point where the Gulf of Aden buts up to the Red Sea is another narrow passage of water.  Now Yemen isn’t by itself perhaps such a threat, but what if it gets help from a bigger, more well equipped neighbor?  How long would a stand-off at those two choke points take to bring the rest of the world to the overheated boil that always signals war?  I’m betting it wouldn’t be as long as anyone would like to think.  Probably not as long as any of the government think tanks would give us either.

The repercussions of a sudden choking off of regularly delivered and expected flows of oil into countries that had ordered it, and were waiting for it would be devastating in a very short amount of time.  It wouldn’t Just be gas rationing. Not Just long lines at the gas pumps.  It would be shortages of such magnitude that it would imperil the shipping of food supplies, vital repair parts, needed and necessary supplies to finish projects already underway, and would utterly prevent any new projects from being started.

Public transportation would be affected.  Labor difficulties and job layoffs would be exacerbated by it, housing difficulties would expand, and riots would occur as food became more difficult to obtain because no one has the gas to get where they need to go; not consumers, not retail suppliers, not wholesalers, and not even the farmers could get their product to the market.

Sure, you could make a killing in the oil shares, but what good would that do you when the food riots will destroy the city you live in?  Better make sure you have what you need to eat first, then make a killing in oil and natural gas futures.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Bishops' Storehouses

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There have been people who complained that the reason they became non-religious, was because the people in the churches were so imperfect.  I too have seen the imperfections of humanity, and once upon a time, I too withdrew my support from official religions because I was incensed that the people weren’t more perfect.

I could have continued in this path of indifference, being perfectly right in my position of “the people aren’t perfect enough”, and it would have gotten me exactly nowhere. Nor would it have changed anything within the church except to leave it one body shorter of those who Could have been doing something to assist each other.

God saw fit to withdraw His support from me during this time (turn about is fair play).  I was allowed to suffer the full effect of the buffetings of the world.  Without His protection to keep me from harm, without His spirit to guide me in my choices, without His angels to watch over and protect me in my efforts, I became just another casualty of a dog-eat-dog world.  I met the man who would become my husband during this time.  Things went well for a while, but then, I changed jobs, and some issues which hadn’t been issues until then, suddenly became issues.

Once brought down low, and in need of assistance (no work,no money to pay bills, no food) my husband suggested that we turn to the local food banks at the local Christian churches.  When he said this, I looked at Him, and with a sinking heart I said, “If we are going to do that, we might as well go to the one that does it the best.”  He asked me what I meant by that, and I told him about The Church welfare department.

So we went to church together, and he met the congregation of people that I had left some five years before.  It was only a little changed since I had been there.  Some people had moved out, and others had moved in, but it was largely the same human family. We asked the Bishop for some food assistance.  He said gladly, but also, the ward could help us with some other bills as well, like utilities.   We were overjoyed at this blessing.  Thank you.

Even though I had told my husband about the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he was still surprised at the extent of it.  He held up a can of Chicken noodle soup and exclaimed, “They have their own canning factory?”

Actually, the members do that themselves with volunteer labor.  I have been part of groups that volunteered time in both canning chicken noodle soup, and wrapping cheese for shipping before.  It is a balance between a very efficient human chain, and a mechanical process.  It is very well managed.  The whole process is very efficient.

There are many Bishop’s storehouses scattered all over; tucked away in small industrial neighborhoods mostly. They are centers for charitable giving, both temporal and spiritual.

I am grateful beyond belief for this eye-opening experience; to have finally understood my place in the chain of service; to have been able to see, finally, that I was just as imperfect as the ones I was pointing fingers at; to understand that our imperfections are the very reason for Christ’s atonement; and the reason that we all finally stand before God with fear and trembling to work out our eternal salvation; and to know, without a shadow of a doubt that God loves even me, imperfect as I am, and that His love is so all encompassing that He will show me the error of my ways, if I am but willing to look, and set my feet back on the path to home.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Ginger tea
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Oh Joy!  I have a cold.  Is this something to make a post over?  I don’t know, but I feel like complaining.

Colds are miserable things to have.  I have the fever, the headache, the stuffy, dripping nose (with chapping) and my ears are stopped up too.   And sneezing!  Ouch!

So what do I normally do when I get one of these things?  Ginger Tea!

Not the dried in a packet variety; but a chunk of fresh ginger root cut up in water and boiled to make a strong tea. It’ll be a golden color when it’s ready. Add honey, and cool to a drinkable level, and down the hatch.

It usually takes about three cups a day to keep the cold from defeating me.  I’ve known this formula to  be Very efficacious in dealing with even a severe bout of Bronchitis while I was pregnant.  It was already hurting in my chest when I began the treatment.  After three large cups of tea, within 24 hours it was already on it’s way out, and I was well over it within three days.

This isn’t my personal discovery.  This has been around for millenia.  It’s a staple in Chinese home remedies.

Be warned though.  It’s a flushing formula.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
Tim Allen

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I feel like making those famous Tim Allen grunting noises (huhhh, huhhh, huhhh). Not for extra powerful motors on ordinary home improvement tools, but for extraordinarily successful experimenting in the kitchen.  I’m so pleased with the way it turned out.  It all started with a thawed out, cut up chicken, and a desire to eat it fried, but I was out of eggs.  Without an egg in the milk, the flour batter would fall off too easily…. 😦  What to do, what to do…..

I looked around my kitchen for some kind of substitute batter solution.  In the refrigerator there was a half a can of condensed Cream of Mushroom soup.  Hmmmm….  and I had an open bag of instant potato flakes.  Would it work?

Potato flakes can be used to make potato pancakes…..

I turned on my stove and put the large wok on the burner with a cup and a half of corn oil in the bottom of it.  I made sure I had my largest pot lid ready to cover it.

I quickly put the condensed cream of mushroom soup in a bowl large enough to dip my

Cream of Mushroom Soup

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chicken quarters into, and added some water (about a the same amount of water as the soup in the can) and stirred it up; just enough to get it to a thick creamy texture, so it would stick to the chicken.  I got a second bowl out to put the  potato flakes in, also large enough to roll the chicken quarters in.  I had a lot of potato flakes, which is good, because you want it to have plenty of flakes to create the  crust.  The creamy mushroom soup was just right for absorbing the flakes and getting it all to stick to the chicken pieces.

I also put a three quart sauce pan on the back burner with lots of water and some butter in it to boil to use up the mashed potato flakes after I was done with the chicken pieces, and I put on a smaller pan for some green beans that I added seasoning salt to for flavor.

 
 

I had my large wok pan with plenty of oil in the bottom set on a good medium temperature (between 5 and 6 on an electric stove) already hot before I put the chicken quarters in and a good large lid to hold the heat in while the pieces were frying.  

 
 

The oil was just about half way up the chicken pieces so they were steaming on the top while they were frying on the bottom.    After about ten minutes, I flipped the pieces over to fry on the other side.  The Mushroom Potato crust stayed on!  And it looked good too. 

 

Another ten minutes on the second side and I took the pieces out and put them on a plate with some paper towels to absorb some of the oil, and then popped them into the microwave for a couple of minutes to make sure these heavy chicken pieces were cooked all the way through.

I repeated this for a second set of chicken pieces as they don’t all fit in the pan at the same time.  I actually had enough pieces of chicken that I filled the wok pan a third time before I was finished.  

 

For the third set of chicken pieces, I just put the pieces in the still heating oil, and let them fry themselves while we ate.  The portions of potato crusts that had fallen off the previous chicken pieces adhered themselves to the third set of frying chicken parts, and they turned out delicious, as well.)

Rachel had fried chicken. Delicious and sweet....

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Add iodized table salt over the tops of the still hot chicken pieces, just before you put them on the table.

 

An added bonus to this cooking experiment was the left over cream of mushroom soup went into the already cooking season salted green beans, and the left over potato flakes went into the boiling water pot to become Mushroom and Chicken Seasoned Mashed Potatoes.  There was no waste and it was all delicious.  Even my picky eater who doesn’t like mushrooms liked it all.

I have the privilege of helping to shepherd the children ages 3 through 11 at my church.  We have a two hour block of time to teach basic scriptural principles and have fun.  The two hours covers one hour of Sunday School class time and 1 hour of singing and sharing a fun activity as a larger group.  This Sunday was the Children’s Christmas Party.  We didn’t actually do much different this week than we usually do in sharing time, but the story was Christ’s birth and the children got to stick paper presents on the tree whenever they answered a question.  They loved it.  And there were favorite songs sung as well.  The main difference this week was that we added a food treat.

Food treats for any group can be challenging when you factor in allergies and philosophical preferences.  We have some who are allergic to dairy, and some allergic to wheat (gluten), and some who can’t have any nuts.

I managed to find a treat that could fit those criteria.  I used a basic Crispy Rice treat and modified it for taking out the dairy and still retaining a wonderful flavor. It only required a simple substitution of Coconut oil for Margarine or butter.

You’ll need:

1 – Large (preferably non-stick) pot

1- very large bowl or pan (spread a tiny little bit of coconut oil in it to keep the mixture from sticking to the sides)

1- large (preferably wooden) spoon

6 cups of Crisped Rice product

4 1/2 cups little marshmallows

1/2 cup of coconut flakes

4 tablespoons of Coconut oil

(Wal-Mart has the cheapest food grade coconut oil available – though you can pay way more for it at a health food store)

Put a large pot on low heat and put three tablespoons of coconut oil in the pan.  Add 4 cups of the little marshmallows. Stir it until all of the marshmallows are evenly melted.  Add 2 cups of the Crisped Rice, and 1/2 cup of coconut flakes, and stir until you have picked up as much of the marshmallow mixture as you can scrape off the sides of your pot.  Turn this out into a very large bowl or large pan (spread a little coconut oil in it if you don’t want anything to stick to the sides) with the rest of the crisped rice already in it. Mix the contents together until all the marshmallow mixture is evenly distributed through the crisped rice.  At this point decide if you want to pat it all down into an even layer  to cut up later, or as in our case, we made little individually wrapped snow balls out of it with the coconut flakes added into the mixture.  It was a hit with the all the kids but one (I have a vegan I didn’t know about)

Next time I will find or create a recipe that works for her as well.

Hooray for the new challenge!!!   😀

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bread
Image by ulterior epicure via Flickr

I love fresh baked bread.  More than that, I love actually making it myself.  It’s therapeutic to mix all the ingredients and feel the dough in your hands, and finally to “Know” when it feels “just right”, and it’s ready to place in a warm spot to let rise.  And the Smell of it…..  Ahhhhh ……  so wonderful, from the yeast growing in the bowl to the actual baking in the oven.  It’s such a heavenly aroma that fills the whole house.

My favorite recipe is derived from a “Redbook”, magazine back in the mid-70’s of all places and times.  It works every time, and it’s so easy to modify and still get great results with.  I believe the key ingredient, and the reason for the delicious taste in this recipe, is the molasses.  You can use golden molasses for a light sweet flavor or full dark (but not black strap) molasses and get a full bodied, robust flavor out of your wheat bread.  It doesn’t hurt to have an extra dab of butter put on just before it finishes baking either, as this makes the crust deliciously chewy and moist.  This recipe makes two full size loaves of  sweet wheat Bread that isn’t too heavy or dense.  My family loves it.  It’s Just right.

You’ll need:

1 – really large bowl (to mix it all up in)

1 –  two quart bowl (to measure the flour and salt into initially)

1 –  small sauce pan for heating the milk, butter, sugar and molasses in

1 – one cup measuring scoop

1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon

2 – bread loaf pans ( or two large baking pans depending on whether you want to make loaves of bread or dinner rolls)

a surface suitable for punching your bread down on (it helps if this surface is lower than your waist)

This can be done inside the really large bowl if it’s large enough to fit both your hands easily into the bottom of it.

Ingredients list:

1 cup of lukewarm water

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of white granulated sugar

1 –  8 ounce stick of margarine or 1 cup of butter

(plus an extra stick of butter or margarine for the little extra bits of butter on the tops 0f the baking bread, and for eating it after it’s baked)

1/4 cup plus one tablespoon of full dark or golden molasses

1 cup of milk

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups white all-purpose flour

3 cups whole wheat flour

In the really large bowl, mix together:

1 cup of warm (not hot) water (Remember, heat kills yeast, so cool everything down to lukewarm to mix it together)

1 tablespoon of molasses

1 tablespoon of granulated sugar

2 packages of active dry yeast (1/4 ounce each) or 1/2 an ounce of active dry yeast from a jar (That’s the equivalent of 1 1/2 tablespoons)

Stir this together till all the yeast is melted into the sugar/molasses water, and let it sit (and grow) while you mix and cool the other ingredients.

In the small sauce pan mix together and bring Just to a boil (some recipes prefer to “scald” the milk – that’s what happens when you boil it a little):

6 ounces of margarine or butter

1/2 cup of white granulated sugar

1/4 cup of molasses

*If you don’t have molasses, but you do have brown sugar, you can substitute 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar for both the molasses and the white granulated sugar.

1 cup of milk (preferably whole milk)

Then let cool off while the yeast is growing in the bowl.

(do Not add these ingredients Hot to your yeast mixture – it would immediately die if you did, and your bread wouldn’t rise then)

While the other ingredients are cooling, get out the two quart bowl and  measure into it:

Three cups of white flour

1 teaspoon salt, and

Three cups of wheat flour.

Mix these ingredients together thoroughly.

*If you don’t have whole wheat flour , you can use all white flour but you will need an extra cup of it. This substitution would result in a sweet, light golden bread.

When the milk/butter/sugar /molasses mixture is cooled off, pour into the really large bowl

Add one cup of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and stir in thoroughly.

Add another cup and repeat this step until five cups of flour are stirred in.

It will get quite stiff when you are nearly there.

Put some flour on your hands and begin to knead the dough in the bowl.

(you can do this on a flat surface like a table but put some flour down on it before you put the dough down on it or the dough will stick to the surface)

Add some more flour to the mixture as you are kneading it.

Knead in the remaining flour until the dough feels a little less sticky and a little more elastic.

It should spring back when you poke it with your finger.

Knead for at least 5 minutes, then cover the top of the dough with a little butter or margarine, and put some in the bottom of the bowl too so the dough will not be impeded in it’s rise and won’t get dried out.

Cover with a clean dish towel while it’s rising to keep things out of the dough.

Place the bowl in a slightly warm location while it’s rising for the next hour.

Prepare the loaf pans by buttering the bottoms and sides with one of the remaining two ounces of butter.

When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down again and knead for another five minutes (if you don’t knead it for five minutes it will get a large bubble under the top crust when it bakes),  then divide the dough in two parts and place in the buttered loaf pans.  Butter the top of the dough again.   Let rise undisturbed for another hour.

When it has doubled in bulk again, place the twice risen bread dough in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

During the last five minutes, pull out the oven rack with the loaves on it and use the last ounce of butter on the top of the still baking loaves, and put back in the oven for a couple more minutes to make a nice chewy crust.

It’s always nice to have the people who want to eat the bread available when it is just getting done, as there is just about nothing better to eat than freshly baked bread with butter on it.

To store this bread, wrap it in plastic wrap while it is still hot, and it will stay moist until you are finished eating it.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ever have to throw out a whole bag of flour because it got bugs in it?  Or corn meal, or oatmeal, or any of the many grains you bring home from the store.  I have finally found a way to stop the eggs from hatching, and keeping the grain from being ruined.

I had heard of freezing the grain overnight before using it, but that only works if you are going to use it all up really soon.  If you really want to prevent the eggs in the grain from hatching out Ever, freeze it for a whole month.

I had the definitive proof of this recently when I went to make bread.  I had to throw out a whole ten pound bag of white flour because the eggs had hatched inside the bag even before it was ever opened; and it was a sealed plastic bag.

All I had left were a couple of partial bags of white flour and a half a bag of whole wheat that had been opened in my shelf for a while.  They were 5 pound bags that I had left in the freezer for a long time before opening them and using some of it for cookies, etc.  I did not put the partially used bags back in the freezer, and had not used the grain again in at least a month.  I was really afraid that they were going to have bugs in them too.  But when I unfolded the tops, and looked inside, not only did they not have any bugs showing up, they didn’t have any evidence of bugs in them either.  No webbing, no stringy stuff, no worms, no little moths.  The flour was clean.

Yippee!  I had enough flour to make four loaves of wheat bread.  Mmmmmmmmm…….I’ll post the recipe for my fantastic Sweet Wheat Bread recipe next.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Spaghettis

Image by HatM via Flickr

Beef being cooked in a frying pan.

Image via Wikipedia

Beef being cooked in a frying pan. It has been...

Image via Wikipedia

A can of Contadina tomato paste.

Image via Wikipedia

Cooking spaghetti. Photo by Eloquence.
Image via Wikipedia

I know, I know…. good spaghetti is supposed to take forever to cook.  All the herbs have to simmer the flavor into the sauce, yada, yada, yada.  Well, be that as it may, sometimes you just don’t have time for all of that, and this recipe works Really well in a fifteen minute pinch.  For those of you who already know how to cook this stuff, don’t mind all the little details.  I will write it for those who may not have had a lot of experience in the kitchen, just in case this gets read by someone new to cooking spaghetti.

Things you need:

One large skillet

One two or three quart pan for boiling the noodles in (or you can use that upright  noodle cooker thing)

Two or three quarts of water (depending on how many people you are serving – this recipe can stretch a little)

If serving three people, enough spaghetti to fit inside a ring made by your thumb and middle finger (if you have small hands like mine)

If serving four add a little more spaghetti.

(and a tiny bit of oil for the cooking noodles to keep them from sticking to each other while they cook)

1 pound ground beef  * (can be frozen – but then you have to keep cutting it off as it cooks in the pan)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or one crushed garlic clove

Half an onion, chopped fine, or 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder (onion powder is fairly potent)

1 teaspoon iodized salt (where else are you going to get your necessary trace iodine?)

1 tablespoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon powdered summer savory

1/4 teaspoon powdered thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

(Or you can use two tablespoons of your favorite Italian Seasoning mix)

1 small can of tomato paste

1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce (you need both of these)

Start the noodles cooking first.

Put the water on to boil, add a little salt here if you want, and the little tiny bit of oil (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon added into the water)

While you are waiting for the water to boil put the ground beef into the skillet and start it frying (turn the temp between 6 and 7 on an electric stove)  If the meat is frozen, you can also add a little water to help keep it from browning too much while all the parts cook, but then you need to cover it some to keep all the heat in (add a little iodized salt onto the cooking meat, it smells better) (You really do need your trace iodine to make your thyroid function properly).

When the water is almost to a boil, add the noodles.  It can stick out of the pot initially.  As the noodles cook, keep poking them down.  They will sort of bend/melt into the pot of water as they start cooking.  Stir them up as they bend into the water to get the little bit of oil to coat them all evenly.  The noodles are done when they turn almost white.  They Won’t look translucent (sort of see through) anymore.

When the ground beef is all browned, pour some of the grease off of it.  How much depends on how much there was in it before you started cooking (some ground beef doesn’t have much to begin with).  You don’t have to get All of it off,  just most of it.  Don’t pour this in your kitchen drain, it has a tendency to harden down in the pipes and make everything stick to it, and then you’ve got yourself one heck of a clogged drain.  If you have rose bushes, save the grease for them.  They love the fat from your cooking  (don’t pour it over them hot). Pour the cooled grease around the base of the roses.

When the grease is off the meat, add the tomato sauce into the skillet with the browned meat (I did say a large skillet), then the tomato paste.  Then add the salt, onion, garlic and herbs.  Let this simmer together for a bit.  If you are serving four people, add a  1/2 cup of water to it. If it is going to be a little while (maybe someone is late), add a little more water and let it simmer down.  When finished, the sauce should be just a little thinner than a good ketchup.

While this is simmering together check on the noodles.  They should be getting about done by the time you have added all the ingredients together.  Drain and rinse the fully cooked noodles in a colander under cold water.  The cold water stops the cooking process so your noodles don’t get all gooey ( If your spaghetti has to sit for awhile, leave the noodles in some cold water to keep them moist).

If you have some ready salad fixings this goes well with spaghetti.  Red leaf lettuce, baby spinach,  and a chopped tomato,  some halved radishes, and thinly sliced cucumbers, with a little salt and a little Italian dressing…  Yummmm…

If you still have some time, butter some bread on one side, sprinkle lightly with salt and garlic powder, and slip this on a cookie sheet under the broiler for a little bit (watch it like a hawk, so it won’t get burnt).

Place a portion of the cooked noodles on a plate and ladle the finished spaghetti sauce over them.  Serve hot, with the salad on the side and garlic toast.  This meal goes well with milk, dark grape juice,  mulled cider, or a dry red wine if you like it.

Note*  If you are working on disaster preparedness, this recipe can be used with a 16 oz can of beef chunks substituted for the ground beef.  All the rest of the ingredients can be part of your food storage.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I love a beautiful, lush garden in the front yard of any home.  Some neighborhoods aren’t allowed to have vegetables in the front yards, but did you know that there are a lot of edible flowers?  Some of them used to be grown for food, but people have forgotten that they were good for that too, and just grow them for their beauty instead.  The salad garden used to be full of edible flowers.  Roses were used for salads, including the rose hips, which are known for their vitamin C content.

Lilies.  All the true lilies are edible, root, stem, leaf and flower.  And they are delicious. I especially love the short  little yellow lilies that are grown so often in clumps as a favorite of landscapers.  They bloom all summer long, and their flower petals are  slightly sweet, and ever so slightly spicy.  You can grow several different kinds of Lilies and have different colors blooming all summer long.

Don’t include in that group the Lilies of the Valley which are not actual members of the same family.  They are more a cousin of Foxglove and both provide forms of digitalis.  The little flowers have a smaller amount than the larger flowers.  They are good for people with heart problems, but not for people who have a healthy heart beat.

Chrysanthemums are used in a variety of ways in China, including as a form of tea.  Sometimes they are used as a fancy garnish on food plates.  Their flowers are edible.

Speaking of fancy teas, Jasmine flowers make a wonderful, relaxing  tea.  I just love the smell of Jasmine tea.

Hibiscus flowers also make a great drink.  Take the flowers and dry them. Crush the dried flowers into water and let steep.  Serve hot or cold with as much sweetener as suits your taste buds.

Grow peppermint in your garden. You can harvest it about three times a year.  My peppermint started from one sprig that got chopped up by a weed-eater.  Since it rained a lot right after that, all the pieces took root.  I soon had a garden full of peppermint. It has lovely little purple flower stalks on it in the late summer. The bees love it .  My daughter uses it for her digestion.  She puts a little sugar in it for sweetening.   She also likes it with lemon juice added to make a Peppermint Lemonade.  It’s especially refreshing on a hot summer day, and you can’t beat it served hot for helping ease your breathing when you have a cold in the winter.

Of course there are some fruits that are also good for growing in your gardens.  Strawberries make a great ground cover, and they are one of the earliest  fruiting  plants.  Raspberries are early bearers too.  Their canes are tall and have thorns so be sure to grow them in the very back, and they grow well in shade.  If you grow them under your windows, they are a natural deterrent for thieves.  If you want a later bearing fruit, blackberries also grow on thorny canes, and they don’t mind shade or boggy ground, but don’t cut them during the growing season.  They will spread out along runner roots all over your garden.

Tomatoes are a fruit too, and used to be grown only for their decorative effect, back in the days when it was thought that their red fruits were poisonous.  They are worthy of being grown in the front yards in the sunny corners.  And I just love the beauty of a watermelon vine. the leaves on them are so gorgeous, who wouldn’t want to see them twining their way through a patch of other assorted flowers, like nasturtium, which has a spicy flower and leaves, or around the base of your rose bushes.

I know some of you are thinking, “Why is this silly woman writing about this now?”  “This is the wrong time of year for planting!”

That’s true, but it’s the right time of year for planning what you want to grow next year.  This is a great time to buy gardening books as presents,  and don’t forget to order the seed catalogs. Happy garden planning everyone!

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dressing, whether made from chicken or turkey bits, is a wonderfully variable and easily adaptable snack. Today, partially because I didn’t shop in time for the ingredients I listed on the last post (the stores were all out of raw sunflower seeds – go figure), and partially because things otherwise never go as planned, I made several substitutions and variations in the recipe for the Pecan, Mushroom, Sunflower Seed, Turkey Dressing.    Dressing is a very forgiving kind of food.  It doesn’t mind if you change things up a bit. When you vary things, use your nose to decide what goes together.  Use an extra fork or spoon and your tongue to determine how much of something is needed.

1) I didn’t spread the butter and spice mixture on the bread before it got dried out.  I added it to the cooked turkey giblets instead.

2) I didn’t leave the all the giblets in the pot as my cats were begging, and I took pity on them (the smell was driving them crazy).  I gave them the liver and heart, and other small bits from the neck bones.(there was plenty of meat left as I did have the two turkey wings in it).

3)  I added a whole cup of chopped Hazelnuts to it.

4) My turmeric had previously been combined with some curry powder, thus, my recipe now had added ginger and some other unidentifiable spices into it.

5) To compensate for the ginger, etc., I added more of the full bodied Molasses, all total, about 1/4 cup full bodied type.

6)  I added a little more iodized salt (salt to taste)

7) I toasted the bread to get it dried in time.

8)  I used hot dog buns instead of bread slices.

9) I used 1/2 cup of roasted in the shell sunflower seeds, painstakingly taken out of their shells by me and my youngest daughter ( it was so hard not to eat them while doing so).

10) I added  a little more butter to the pot of cooking meat and all, etc.( It makes so much difference in the way things taste).

As the meat, nuts and seeds cooked down I added water along the way to maintain enough moisture to be able to stir it all into the dried bread chunks.  All in all, I had a whole sauce pot of ingredients when I finally added it all to the dried bread in the pan.  I had enough left over that I added the rest into the already slow cooking turkey in the crock pot (I have a 6 quart crock pot that I used for the turkey, hence, no wings on my bird).

Yummmmm….. it smelled so good, I could hardly stand to wait for it.  It’s a good thing I’m the cook, I got to taste test things all through the process  🙂

This happens to be another great way to use up turkey left overs.  Make several different types of dressing out of it.   It tastes good with many different meals, and works well as a cold refrigerator snack as well.  Happy cooking to you all.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I told my family that I didn’t want the usual sage type dressing. This year I want something yummier. So this is my new turkey dressing recipe for the year 2011.
Also, since my oven is broken, I’m using a toaster oven for all my baking. This is going to be baked in a pan that happens to fit inside it. My turkey is being de-boned and cooked in a slow cooker as a turkey roast.

The day before you cook this, lay out a full loaf of sliced bread. Brush both sides of each slice with a combination of:
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1 tablespoon paprika,
1 tablespoon turmeric,
1 pinch of saffron,
1/2 teaspoon salt.
Make sure all these ingredients are smoothly combined before brushing onto the bread slices. Let the bread slices dry out over night.
When bread slices are dry on both sides, but not all through the middle yet, tear or slice into little pieces. Then let the pieces finish drying all through.
If there is any spice mix remaining after brushing onto the bread, save it for the next days mixture.
When bread chunks are dry through.
Cook the turkey giblets in a large saucepan.

In a 2 quart saucepan combine:
The turkey neck, gizzard, wings (if you are roasting the whole bird, leave out the wings), liver and heart with 1 1/2 quarts of water.
Add1/2 teaspoon iodized salt. Boil down until the meat comes off the bones.
When done take the bones out, but save the meat and the broth. There should be about two cups of liquid remaining.

While the meat is boiling:
dice 1 whole onion, and
crush 1 garlic clove
(if you don’t have these you can substitute:
1 tablespoon onion powder and
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
Chop and combine:
1/2 cup of pecans,
1 cup of diced Portobella mushrooms
1 cup raw sunflower seeds.
1/4 cup Golden Molasses, or 1/8 cup dark molasses.
Combine all these ingredients with the turkey giblets and remaining broth.

Place your dried bread chunks in the pan you are going to bake them in.
Add the two cups of turkey broth with the other ingredients added to it and stir thoroughly. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour, or until dressing is the consistency of a heavy bread pudding. The time may vary some depending on the oven you cook it in. The mixture should hold together when sliced, but not be dry.
Serve in the same pan it was baked in.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I had the privilege recently of guest writing on my daughters blog.  So I’m introducing her to you and it’s her turn to be a guest on my blog.  After reading the post I just published, she was laughing, and wanted to comment on the value she thinks milk brings to my life.

Here she is, Just call her Naomi:

Well, I know that my mother definitely drinks more milk than I do. She was able to open up the pickle jar earlier when I could not.

I definitely know not to mess with my mom. She could easily break my arm if I ever tried to oppose her physically. But of course I’m never going to do that and she will never break my arm, even if I did physically oppose her. She’d more likely smack me down since it’s quite effective when it comes to me 🙂 otherwise all she has to do is yell.

Now she’s ranting about the milk again (lol) and pacing the kitchen. This is how much she loves whole milk. I myself love whole milk but can occasionally settle for 2%. I hate 1% and skim. You give either to me in a glass and I won’t touch it. Skim milk just tastes like water. Yes people, we love our whole milk and don’t like it when it’s been tampered with.

Don’t reduce the fat to 3% and call it whole milk. It won’t work. Us whole milk lovers will most definitely notice. And don’t try to replace it with something else because again we will notice.

My opinion, whole milk is sacred and should not have to be changed. If it is changed it is not whole milk.

I’m going to apologize up front.  This is going to be a rant.  A Milk Rant.  I love whole milk.  It’s my favorite drink.  I grew up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and whole milk.  They were the main staple in my picky-eater diet.  Milk is still my mainstay.  Whole milk. It’s my go to food when I’m in a hurry.  It’s my re-hydrater after a really hard work out. It’s my snack between meals, and my treat when I get home from work.

For a while there, when I was a child, we even had real, whole, un-homogenized milk straight from the dairy farm.  That milk had a Lot of cream in it.  It would rise to the top when the milk sat for a little bit.  We would skim part of it off and put it into a quart jar and shake it for about 45 minutes and turn it into butter.  Even after we did that, there was plenty of cream left in the milk to make it taste good.  It was wonderful milk.  And I never got fat on any of it.  We just didn’t have the total caloric intake to make that happen. Not for any of  the 13 of us (including step siblings).  We weren’t starving, but we didn’t any of us get heavy.

The milk at the grocery store had to have at least 5% volume of cream left in it to qualify as whole milk.  It tasted pretty good.  Then they came up with 2% Milk.  Yechchch!   And then 1% milk.   Bleh!   And the final insult was the even worse skim milk, which had no taste of milk at all, just awfulness. Ptuie!!!!

So Ok, I bought 5% pasteurized homogenized milk my whole life.  Until lately.  What is this stuff?  I bought a gallon of milk with the red cap on it, like it always had when it used to say it had 5% milk fat in it.  My mouth was watering for it.  I was all set to quench my thirst with that rich cool liquid food.  I filled a mug with it and raised it to my lips, poured it over my tongue and swallowed.  “What,  I thought, is wrong with this?”   I tried it again, savoring the liquid for a bit to sort out what was different.  “It tastes like it doesn’t have enough fat in it”, I thought.  I called my teenage daughter over and asked her to try it. She likes milk almost as much as I do.  She raised the cup to her lips and tasted the milk.  A puzzled expression came over her face.  She tried it again.  Yep. she said, it’s 2%.

We both looked at the labeling, in case we accidentally bought some that said 2% but had a red cap on it.  Nope.  There’s no indication at all of the percentage of total milk fat.  They have changed the labeling.  It doesn’t say what the cream percentage is anymore.  It has a whole lot of percent daily value per serving going on in it, but nothing about the volume of cream in the milk.  I compared the new jug of milk to an older jug that I bought from a different store.  We had drunk that milk and then cleaned out the jug and put water in it for emergency storage.  Surprise, it too had no indication of the total percent volume of milk fat in it.  That gallon of milk, though, didn’t taste like 2%.   It  tasted normal.

So, what is the deal?  Why the change in labeling?  Are you trying to change over all the milk to a lower fat volume without us noticing it?  It’s not going to work for those of us who are true milk lovers.  I never liked the 2% milk.  It’s barely recognizable as milk.  It’s tolerable if it’s added to sugary cereal, or if you add chocolate to it, but otherwise I’d just as soon not drink it.  By the way, adding 2% milk to sugary cereal doesn’t reduce your total caloric intake.  It raises it. No fat, plus sugar does not equal a diet food.  And who wants to drink a glass of reduced fat milk with a carrot or an apple anyway?  No one.  It’s wholly unsatisfying and therefore will not work.

Stop the nonsense and get back to real food.  The milk fat levels for whole milk should remain at 5%.  And put it back on the label!

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A report on the Fox news channel in Michigan highlights the progress we’ve made as a nation, or lack of it, in the last 60 years.  It  has never been made more evident than by the threat from a city in Michigan to a woman growing a vegetable garden in her front yard how much freedom we’ve lost to the never ending cycle of create legislation to appease the complainers.  Imagine the effrontery.  How dare she attempt to feed her family with home grown vegetables, and then flaunt it by planting the garden in her front yard.

Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan used her front yard to showcase a very orderly vegetable garden.  Someone in her neighborhood complained that she shouldn’t have it in the front yard.   The city of Oak Park decided to interpret a city ordinance that stated that a front yard should have suitable live plant material in it, to mean it should only have grass, trees, and flowers.  No vegetable garden allowed.  At least, it’s willing to spend a lot of taxpayer money to go to trial over that.  I guess they didn’t get the memo from the First Lady.  Vegetable gardening is good.

In my opinion, the woman should be given an award for community service.  Her garden will help those around her who may not have as much knowledge of gardening, to understand more about where our food comes from; not only that, but growing her own food may be helping her stay off of food stamps.  If she can help teach others how to grow food, maybe some of them could avoid food stamps too; or at least, not need as much help from the state.

I’ll go a step further and say that we should require that people who live in government housing grow vegetable gardens in their front yards, and give them the seeds and the assistance from the county agricultural extension agent to succeed at it.  In a time where every state and city and community is stretched to it’s max for tax dollars, we should be encouraging people to grow their own food where ever a garden can be grown.  Front yard, back yard, side yard, or roof-top garden.  It’s all good.  It’s all food that helps people live better.

We should support her efforts.  Create your own community protest and spread the gardening.  If your front yard gets good sunshine plant some vegetables in it.   A little border of lettuce, some radishes, a cucumber growing up the trellis.  Tomatoes in pots on the doorstep (they used to be grown for their decorative quality).  Put onions in the planters with Marigolds, and potatoes up against the porch.  Grow a pumpkin around a corn stalk, or a patch of Sunflowers with squash in between.

Do you like flowers better?  Look up the plants for an edible flower garden.  All lilies are edible except Lilies of the Valley.  Hibiscus flowers dried and powdered and added to water make a great drink. Hardy Kiwis are beautiful green and pink vines (you need a male and a female) to grow over an arbor. Plant some real fruit trees, dwarf or full size,  instead of the flowering only decorative kind (coordinate with a neighbor if you need both a male and a female tree and you don’t have the room for both).

Use this coming winter to plan and prepare your protest garden.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Well, it’s that time of year again.  It’s getting colder, and the days are shorter.

It’s high time for a warm bowl of chili with some crunchy spiced  popcorn in it.

This is an easy treat to make.

You ‘ll need:

1, 2 or 3 cans of chili.  However many will feed your group, and a pot or crock pot big enough to heat it up in.

Heat the chili on low heat while you cook the popcorn.

Add the required amount of water to the canned chili mix while heating (my youngest daughter likes to forget this part).

1 popcorn popper or a large pot that you can cook popcorn in.

(Preferably a heavy  aluminum one ’cause the popcorn doesn’t burn as fast in that).

3/4 cup of popcorn kernals

some light cooking oil (can be peanut, or cocanut,  sesame, or sunflower if you like a more distinctive flavor)

Onion Powder

Mild Paprika or New Mexico Chili Powder

Chili powder

Cayenne Pepper

Salt

Butter  or margarine if possible, if not use some light flavorful cooking oil instead.

(I don’t recommend olive oil for this though.)

1 saucepan to melt butter and add spices to.

Three bowls for spiced  popcorn

Serving bowls for the chili.

optional Shredded Cheese of your choice.

Preparation:

Cook 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in the popcorn popper.  Put popcorn in a separate bowl.

Melt 1 cube of butter or margarine in pan on low heat. ( If you don’t have butter or margarine you can  use 1/4 cup of the light cooking oil instead)

Add 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon Paprika and 1/3 teaspoon salt.  Stir thoroughly until all mixed together and you can smell the spices.

Pour over popped popcorn.  Mix thoroughly.

Pop another 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels.  Put in separate bowl.

Repeat melting 1 cube of  butter or margarine or 1/4 cup of light cooking oil,  but add 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder,  1 teaspoon paprika, and 1/3 teaspoon salt.

Pour over second batch of popcorn.  Mix thoroughly.

Pop the last 1/4 cup of popcorn. Put in a separate bowl.

Repeat the melted butter or margerine, but this time add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper,  and 1/3 teaspoon salt.

Pour over the last of the popped popcorn and mix thoroughly.

Ladle heated chili into serving bowls.  Add your choice of spiced popcorn into the bowl.

As an option, you can top the chili with shredded cheese.

Eat and enjoy 🙂

These ingredients are good for disaster food preparation too.

You can successfully store popcorn, canned chili, light cooking oils, including coconut oil, sesame seed oil, peanut oil,  and all the spices for this recipe.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I’ve long stated that the best investment you can make is in canned goods, and other necessities.  You can’t eat gold, or stock certificates, or even real estate (though you can grow gardens on that last).  In the wake of all the repeating disasters, it seems even more important and more sensible.

So, all right you say, I’ll stock up, but what are the best things to stock up on?  The answer isn’t as obvious as it might seem.  There are some things that last well, but you won’t eat them, and some things that you eat regularly, but that don’t last well.  So storing disaster food and resources can be kind of tricky, unless you have lots of extra money to spend on the pre-packeaged ready made disaster food supplies.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any extra cash laying around for things like that.  My disaster storage shopping comes out of my regular budget.  I just buy a few extra cans of food each time, and stash them in the back, the oldest stuff up front, so I’ll always use the canned goods before they go bad.

A good can will last at least five years (yes, I’ve tested this with some very well canned peaches).  Some will last longer, depending on the contents, and the way the can is made. So how do you know if it’s a good can?  Test it.  Buy two or three different kinds of any type of canned goods your family likes to eat.  Taste is even more important than can type, because if you and your family don’t like the flavor, or texture, you won’t eat it, and the canned goods will spoil from disuse.   Look at the inside of the can.  Does it have a plain tin can interior?  It’s shelf life is more like two years.  If it has a sort of yellow/gold coating on the interior, it will last longer.

How do you know if a can of something has gone bad?  If the can is leaking any sort of fluid, it’s bad.  If it’s visibly rusting around the rim, check the seal.  If the can lid is movable (that is, it can be pressed inward), it’s bad.  If the can is bulging anywhere, it’s bad.  Throw out bad cans immediately.

The next thing to consider when shopping for disaster storage is what does the meal need to be prepared?  If your recipe calls for something to be added that may not be available during a disaster, due to electrical failures, or road closures or some other form of shortage, then you’re going to have a problem.  Consider storing things that go with each other, so you will have all the ingredients together to make your meals.  I have a few favorites that work for my family.

One of them is Chili Mac.  You guessed it, a box of  macaroni and cheese and a can of chili.  You have to also have canned milk and be able to make this without butter, just in case butter isn’t available at the time.  It’s not bad and it’s easy to make.  Also store water.  Noodles need some of that to cook in.  I re-use milk jugs with the screw on caps, and the heavy plastic Apple juice jugs with screw on caps are even better.  I just wash them out thoroughly and refill them with tap water.  It already has all the additives it needs to keep for a while (not years, but months).  I store the milk jugs in the basement or around the bathroom floor, because milk jugs sometimes break down too fast, but the heavy plastic apple juice jugs can be washed out, refilled and stored anywhere.  They hold up longer.

The other thing you have to consider when storing things for disasters is how to cook it.  A hibachi grill is pretty good.  You need to store charcoal and fluid (please store lighter fluids in an Outside storage area).  Or some of the camp stoves and their accompanying fuel cylinders (again, please store these in cool, dry spaces away from your living/sleeping areas).   I have found that a three wick candle under a coffee can can cook a meal as well.  A three wick candle is easy to store and won’t accidentally blow up, so I like to store these.  You do have to keep the candles and matches out of the reach of children.  I recommend a locked storage, or child safe cabinet if you have small children around.

In case you fear you’ll get tired of chili mac, here’s another recipe for food storage items that work for us.

Beef stroganoff:  You’ll need

1 two quart sauce pan

1 small skillet

6 cups water to cook in

1 lb. package of egg noodles

1 16 oz. can of cream of chicken soup

1 16 oz. can of beef chunks

1 tablespoon of your favorite seasoning mixture

(mine are a mixture of salt, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, new mexico chili powder/Paprika)

Cook the noodles in the six cups of water till done and then add the cream of chicken soup.

Open the beef chunks and drain the water into something else (don’t use it in the cooking, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the flavor of the water in the beef chunks)

Put the beef chunks in a skillet and add the seasoning mixture.  Let simmer for a few minutes, then add the seasoned beef chunks to the noodles and soup mixture. Stir together and serve.

*If you have butter, or margarine, you can simmer the beef chunks in that before adding to the noodles.

My family loves this meal.  You can also use cream of mushroom in this recipe if your family like mushrooms.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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