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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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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
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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

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Beef being cooked in a frying pan.

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

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A can of Contadina tomato paste.

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Cooking spaghetti. Photo by Eloquence.
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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.

Dear Ford Motors,
Thank you for your candor in reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It isn’t often I see the decency that you have displayed in your summation of this faith.  You have given me another reason to shop Ford in the future.  If I were a betting person, I’d buy Ford stock about now 🙂  What the heck, it’s a sucker bet.  Buying Ford stock after the publication of this article isn’t a gamble at all.  You’re gonna get some Great business in the coming years from members of this faith.

I wrote this as a comment on another blog published by Alan Osmond (Alan, I hope you don’t mind my re-posting it here – it’s going to show up twice in my Facebook page now, as that is where I saw it first) who posted the following article:

Following is an interesting article written by Ford Motor Company for its employees. It was presented by the ‘Ford Interfaith’ group as a message about the LDS Church .

The Ford Interfaith group promotes unity by sharing information about all faiths and features these types of articles about various religions and faiths.

QUICK FACTS & INTERESTING TIDBITS about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Fleeing continued mob attacks 158 years ago, the first Mormon
pioneers desperately started their Westward trek from Illinois in the dead of winter. Of the 70,000 who began this 1300-mile journey, 6,000 were buried along the way, including many children. The following are quick facts and interesting tidbits about this now flourishing church.

OVERVIEW

* Named “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”; informal
nicknames are “LDS” or “Mormon” -named after the prophet-historian

* Believes it is the Lord’s restoration of original Christianity as
foretold to occur before Christ’s Second Coming.

* Core focus is that Christ and His teachings bring happiness in this
life and exaltation in the next.

HISTORY

* In 1820 14-yr-old Joseph Smith told of a vision of God and Christ
foretelling a church restoration.

* Organized in New York in 1830, the church moved to near Cleveland, then near Kansas City, then Illinois .

* Fleeing Illinois , Mormon pioneers founded Salt Lake City in Utah and over 600 other Western communities.

SALT LAKE CITY

* Temple Square in Salt Lake has over 5 million annual visitors, more
than the Grand Canyon .

* The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is the world’s most famous choir and has the world’s oldest radio program.

* The Salt Lake Temple is the most famous, but there are 128 other
temples built here and around the world while
others are under construction.

* Home of the world’s largest genealogy database; visit it online or
through 3,700 free branch libraries.

ACTIVE CONGREGATIONS

* Sunday services entail a three-hour block of three meetings; about
27,000 congregations exist worldwide.

* Highly vibrant programs exist for youth, children, singles, men, and women; very strong family focus.

* Everyone has a calling; some surveys show LDS have the highest U.S. attendance and service rates.

* Families receive personal fellowship visits at home from other members on a monthly basis.

FINANCES

* Members tithe 10 percent, plus donate generously to the needy the first Sunday of each month.

* Clergy and all other congregational positions are unpaid (however, much of the janitorial is paid).

* The church has no debt; all buildings are paid for in cash (average of two new congregations a day).

* The paid positions in Salt Lake are famously low-salaried; funds are frugally used and tightly audited.

HEALTH CODE

* With a health code from 1833, LDS avoid alcohol, tobacco, illegal
drugs, coffee, and tea (herbal tea is ok).

* This 1833 code also teaches grains (especially wheat), fresh fruits and vegetables, and sparing use of meat.

* A UCLA study showed that active LDS live longer than most Americans, men by 11 years, women by 8.

* Utah is 50th in smoking, alcohol consumption, drunk driving, heart disease, cancer, and sick days.

EDUCATION

* With four colleges, Utah ‘s BYU with 30,000 students is the largest
single-campus private college.

* BYU Independent Study with 130,000 students is North America (340 web courses, 530 via mail).

* Seminary, a daily class usually held around 6:00 A.M., serves 376,000 high school students.

* There are Institutes of Religion at 1,950 colleges worldwide that serve 367,000 college students.

* The church operates schools in parts of the Pacific Ocean and Mexico for 10,000 students.

* Utah is 50th in spending per pupil, but first in adults that graduated from high school and attended college.

WOMEN

* In 1842 the “Relief Society” was organized; it’s the largest women’s
organization in the world.

* Wyoming was first to allow women to vote; Utah was second, two months later, in 1870.

* Women preach from the pulpit and serve as organization presidents, teachers, committee chairs, etc.

SHARING CHRIST’S GOOD NEWS

* 61,000 missionaries serve in 165 countries; 93 percent are college-age; 22 percent are female.

* Unpaid and paying their own way, most work 65 hours a week for two years, often in a new language.

MEMBERSHIP DISTRIBUTION

* LDS are 70 percent of Utah, 30 percent of Idaho; after Catholics, LDS are the largest sect in 10 states.

* The church has 5.5 million members in the U.S., making it the fourth largest individual U.S. denomination.

* Some memberships: New Zealand 95k, Japan 115k, UK 175k, Philippines 500k, Brazil 900k, Mexico 925k.

* Worldwide 51 percent are female; about 55 percent are not Caucasian; about 70 percent are converts.

MEMBERSHIP GROWTH

* For the last 15 years, every day an average of 800+ people worldwide joined the LDS church.

* Half of the growth is in Latin America, but the rate of growth is
highest in Africa and the former Soviet bloc.

* Worldwide membership just passed 12 million, a tenfold increase in 50 years.

* In 1984 a non-LDS professor estimated 265 million members by 2080; so far growth has been faster.

* As this growth has been steady, it will be the next major world religion since Islam.”

CHARITY/SERVICE

* Members in need obtain welfare from the LDS Church (thus Utah
government welfare spending is very low).

* LDS donate time at 220 welfare storehouses or canneries and about 400 farms.

* There are 210 employment centers placing over 175,000 people annually, and 64 family service centers.

* The church operates 46 thrift stores, in part to provide employment for the disadvantaged.

* The 61,000 missionaries spend half a day each week doing

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

* Over 200 million pounds of food, clothing, and medicine were donated in the last 20 years in 147 countries.

* Almost all of this help is to non-LDS; LDS charities also work with and donate to many non-LDS charities.

* Very rapid disaster relief has been given in 144 major disasters since 1986.

* Almost 3,000 welfare “missionaries” work without pay in 55 countries (farm instructors, doctors, teachers, etc…).

* LDS charities fund a wide variety of projects like drilling water wells or funding small business startup loans.

* New in 2001, members in poor areas can get low-rate college loans;
10,000 loans have been made to date.

GRAB BAG

* Utah is first in: charitable giving, producing scientists, household computers, children with two parents, and birth rate.

* Noted LDS included five senators, and other famous dignitaries
(click on link)
the Osmonds, Gladys Knight, Steve
Young, and the inventor of TV -Philo T. Farnsworth.

* LDS played a key role in the 2002 Winter Olympics; the chair was the former governor of Massachusetts .

* Hawaii ‘s #1 tourist site is the LDS Polynesian Cultural Center ( Tonga and the Samoas are one-third LDS).

* LDS have sponsored Boy Scout troops since 1913; 23 percent of all Scout troops are LDS.

* The BYU Women’s Cross Country were national champions or in second place each of the last seven years.

DETROIT AREA

* The Detroit metro area has 30 congregations; the Dearborn chapel is on Rotunda by Ford’s Building #5.

* Detroit has a temple, storehouse, cannery, employment and family
service office, and family history libraries.

* LDS include former Governor Romney, three former Lions quarterbacks,
and hundreds of Ford employees.

A member of Ford’s Interfaith Network,
the author of this note sends out monthly interfaith notes to thousands of Ford employees who have asked to receive them.

I have been pondering this for a while.  A recent article that oddly mixed news of whale bones and Hooters waitresses in the same article got me thinking about it again.  Someone at a Career day in a special needs school got offended that a person who was a waitress at a Hooters restaurant was speaking to the children about her type of work; that is, serving tables in a Hooters restaurant.

Wow.  I thought.  What is her problem?  Does she never go out to eat?  Maybe she only eats in fast food restaurants, or buffets, and doesn’t let anyone wait on her.  Or maybe she only cooks at home and does all her own serving.  Still, even if that were the case, why look down on someone who is taking food orders and delivering it to people who want it that way?

If this is because of the pay scale…..  again, I say Wow.   This is a subject that seriously needs addressing.  The inequalities present in our system are there because we put them there.  We choose to place one person’s type of work above another’s, in spite of the fact that we want all those different types of work to exist within our society.  We choose to assign different levels of pay to those different types of work, in spite of the fact that all the types contribute to the smooth functioning of all our lives.

Does the person who works in the tall buildings with the corner window office actually believe they would be able to do their job as well without all the things provided him or her by all those people interacted with on a daily basis?  What makes you think that the  person serving you your coffee at the drive up window, to help you be alert and ready for your job,should be paid less than you?  Or the person who cleans your suits to make you look presentable for your other interactions. Why is their  job considered less valuable than yours?   The arbitrary dollar value someone places on the different jobs is not actually a good indicator of the worth of either the person doing the job, or the necessity of the job being done.

The fact that some people had to pay large amounts of money out for a required education is sometimes used as a justification for charging higher fees for services.  That is a subject for another day, but suffice it to say, that the founding fathers wanted our nation to be educated in order to compete with other nations.  A College education should be free for all our people, all the way through a Bachelors degree, since that is what is required to be competitive.

If we take out the need to repay the educational dollars as a reason to assign an arbitrary dollar value, that leaves just the expense of doing the job.  For doctors, that would mean more, since their equipment is more expensive (shared offices help with that),  and the liability issues become another factor (torte reform).

Some people believe that the number of people served is a justification for an increase in pay scale.   Does the person who thinks this live on an island, entire of itself?  Yes, that is a reference to Don John.  We do not exist without each other.  There is no real independence except for hermits who live in caves in the hills or holes in the desert, and they don’t get paid by anyone.

The garbage collectors in New York city proved that they are a necessary and valuable part of your existence.  They had to stop doing their job to make you acknowledge it, but you finally gave them their dues.  Now they get paid a better wage.  The person who harvests the food that you eat is also worthy of the same consideration.  Alabama is now finding out just how valuable that job should be.  No one who is Not an “undocumented worker” will stay with the job at it’s current pay scale.  The tomatoes are rotting in the fields because there is no one to pick them.

The person who drives the bus to carry so many people to work is valuable, and so is the person who drives the bus that carries your children to school so that they may have the ability to properly co-exist with others both in the now, and in the future. Why should their pay scale be so low?   Or the teacher who shapes their views of the world?  Why should you think that the advertising executive should get paid so much more than the street sweeper?  Does the advertising executive actually improve the most people’s live’s?   The street sweeper keeps the streets in a state of clean that makes it possible for many people to walk about or drive on it in a reasonable condition.  The successful advertising executive only improves the lives of  those who work inside the firm that they work for.  Why should you respect the advertising executive, and not the street sweeper?

Why should the worker who serves you the hamburger be despised for their work?  Are they not giving you something you want?  Are they not providing you with a valuable service?  If you wanted to be serving yourself, you’d be in a different restaurant, or at home, making your own food.  If you don’t directly benefit from someone who serves hamburgers for a living, then you benefit indirectly.  The hamburger server provides a service to many people.  All of them members of your society, in one context or another.  When someone, anyone, provides any service to you or any member of your society, that you could not, or did not want to do for yourself, that service is valuable to you, and should not be dismissed as beneath you; neither the work, nor the worker. They have added value to your life, they are worthy of your respect.

I’m still pondering the ways and means of how we could change things in a fair way, to raise the pay of one type and lower the pay of another type of work until we all get paid the same for an hours work.  Maybe this isn’t possible, given that no one would then harvest the food, being as it is harder work than sitting at a desk writing.

Hah!  Wouldn’t  that be something, when the food harvester gets paid more than the advertising executive.

© 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.

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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