a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The "Coop" ---- Almost Literally!

In yesterday's post I mentioned our kids having "flown the coop" ---
left the nest ----
moved out ----

And the significance of that term hit me.

Many posts ago I included a picture of me and my pet chicken (when I was four or five). I didn't realize that laying dormant all those years was my love of the feathery critters.

Fast forward many years to the home that was finally large enough to hold our brood----and you'll see what I mean.

When we bought this house it was in "like-new" condition. Windows had never been opened during a storm --- the ledges lacked rain drop spots! This house hadn't lived.

It was great looking --- normal and formal --- neither of which described us but, we were determined to conform until . . .

one day, a couple of months later, when I came home from a shopping trip with a roll of wallpaper that was on sale for 50 cents. "Please, Dave," I begged. "Can I at least paper the basement laundry room with this?" One look at the paper  ----- A second look at the price ----- A return to the store and the house became our home!

This wallpaper was so realistic people
would actually come right up to it to see if it was real.

A wide variety of chickens (and other farm-type stuff) followed. We had so many chickens Dave had a friend of mine cross-stitch "I've never met a chicken I didn't like" for me to roost among the others.

The house had lots of dark paneling and cupboards.  The chicken wire lead to their demise.  We painted the wall white and then used a well-worn whisk broom to streak it with country blue. You can see a little of it on the left side of the above photo. The cabinets also became country blue--although it looks brighter in these pictures.

Looking through the living room into the dining room
These two photos are dark and difficult to see but I have included them because
I want to point out a couple of things.  It was a busy home (walls and people) and no one could
enter without having an opinion ---- good or bad.

  • I mentioned in yesterday's post that many rolls of toilet paper were stored under our couches. This is the couch. 
  • In the dining room, on the right of the kitchen door, is an old wooden file cabinet. The finish was terribly worn so we just painted it black and added an old wooden church hymnal holder (also painted black) on the side to hold our phone book. Four card catalog drawers filled the top section of the cabinet----absolutely perfect for recipe cards and address cards! The next three were full size file cabinet drawers. It was a wonderful and cheap find.
  • Across from the file cabinet, flanking the other side of the kitchen door is a solid oak unit divided into sections. In it's previous life it hung horizontally in an old doctor's office (the office was old, I am not sure about the age of the doctor) to hold patient files.  It was $5 at a country yard sale. I wouldn't tell Dave what I wanted to do with it but I knew exactly. He trusted me.  He liked the price ---- I loved the cabinet.  It held mugs, plates, tablecloths, napkins, etc. perfectly!
  • Hanging on the chicken wire on the back wall is an old pair of size 0 Levis.  My parents had five granddaughters before their first grandson was born. That was back in the days when wee sizes of adult clothing were very rare. My dad was usually stoic but he was so excited to have a grandson that he brought these to the hospital!  My sister and brother never produced a son but the four little boys that followed Romm in our family wore these in turn. The seat and knees were out when Brin finally inherited them. They hung on this wall until Romm had his first son and now they hang in their home. We bought six pairs and stored them away for our kids' boys who have now passed them down in their families. 
I don't know if this has been fun for you but digging out these old pictures sure has been fun for me. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

#13 What If. . . ? If you can't "hide" your food storage then . . .

Flaunt it!

That's what we have done, occasionally, throughout the years. And we think it works! 

If the ideas seem unusual or weird --- remember the blog you are reading. I am Simply, Gail: the Creative Cheapskate. I love the challenge of making do . . . of making the most of what we have.

Here are some of our ideas for your consideration. . .

Many posts ago I  suggested the many benefits of having a small wooden rocking chair in the kitchen. If you can't remember the benefits I listed at that time, I am sure it won't take you long to come up with your own list.

The kitchen, in our 900 square foot home, was too small to hold the table, but that smallness was a blessing in disguise when we brought in the rocking chair.

Another issue was lack of cupboard space. We found a large wooden bookcase for cheap, painted it and used it as an open cupboard.  It held numerous kitchen goods in a variety of baskets and fun containers, as well as small groupings of canned foods. (Nothing ever got lost in the depths!)

Fast forward many years. The children have flown the coop and we are once again in a small home with minimal cabinets and storage space. There is a small dining area off the kitchen with two corner cupboards (with glass doors on the top half) --- pretty useless in to us since we aren't currently into "show" shelves --- and were never into china and crystal.

Since I use much of our "food storage" on a regular basis, I wanted it convenient. So off came the glass doors and up went the #10 cans---staples and dehydrated vegetables.

The photo at the beginning of this post are cans that I prepared as a wedding gift for one of our kids--- in the event their first home didn't have storage to hide them away. I made theirs before I made ours.

Some of the cans in the top photo are #2-1/2 cans for things that aren't used as often or items I wanted to "introduce" to the newlyweds. "Elliott" holds biscuits for their dog.

How I Did It

I covered all the cans in scrapbook sheets I found in variety packages on a clearance table. Some of the cans are covered in horizontal "stripes" from the leftover pieces.

You can use whatever suits your decor---you are limited only by your imagination. (We have papered a kitchen wall with pages from a reproduction from an old Sears catalog and a border in an early bedroom for our daughter from colored construction paper--covering them with "Modge Podge" coating.)

Back to the cans: I made the labels on the computer...and instruction labels for the back of the cans that needed instructions.

Lastly, just to help them last, I covered the covering with clear no-name-brand "contact paper."

I purchased the white plastic lids and put them on both ends of the cans so the metal wouldn't leave rust marks on any surfaces. It was a bonus that the bottom one added to the overall look.  At least I think so!

Yes, it was fairly time-consuming but it was simply great fun and quite cheap.

  •  The ones we have in our corner cabinets are only covered 2/3 of the way around (only the part that shows) and the left-uncovered-part is where the directions are.
  • The ones that aren't used as often are unadorned and out of sight.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Six months ago I didn't know what a blog was and honestly, I wasn't interested in knowing. How things have changed!

Blogging, for me, has become an international friendship --- a means of reaching out and helping one another. Sharing. Learning from one another.

It doesn't matter that our situations differ, our customs differ, our environment differs, and the way we worship differs. What matters is that we are all striving for the same fundamentals --- peace and safety, raising righteous children, having shelter and enough to eat, good health, and happiness. We all love and need to be loved. We all want to serve and to be served when the needs arise. Blogging allows us to connect and I hope we are.

We are all children of a Heavenly Father who also wants these things for all of us, even if our individual situations have us doubting at times. He is always there. We just need to prayerfully and sincerely seek Him. And live as best we can so we can hear Him when He reaches out to us. His is usually a still small voice, feeling or thought.

His help usually comes through others. I have mentioned before that I do not believe in coincidences. I have been taught that coincidences are helps from Him when "He wants to remain anonymous." As 2011 draws to a close, try to take a minute to reflect on all the good that has come to you --- even among the sorrows and the bad. When you do so, can you recall "coincidences?"

Before we say good-by to 2011 and hello to 2012 I want to take a minute to "tie up some loose ends."

  • I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to make comments. I try to respond to all of them but some have come in the form of e-mails without easily identifiable-identification! and I haven't figured out how to respond. I answer personally when it is something I know how to do and until I learn, please know that I greatly appreciate your remarks.
  • I welcome your input and suggestions.
  • I was away from the computer for a few weeks in October and I prepared the posts ahead. It went smoothly and I was pleased with my accomplishment. When I was back posting on a daily basis I found I had forgotten how to do a couple of important things----what is amazing (at least to me) is I can't remember how I did the pre-posting!!! 
  •  I also forgot how to add the recipes I put in the blog to the list on the right hand side resulting in a bold Pie: Eggnog Pie --- from December 5th --- and nothing since. They are listed below in case you want to find them. 
  • I will work on how to list them correctly---all over again. I think it will also be helpful  if I can learn how to put them in categories also.
December 7th - Homemade Potpourri (simmering, dry, and price comparisons of spices
December 8th and 13th - Substituting one ingredient for another
December 12th - Four-layer, four-flavored "Rainbow" cake
December 14th - "Speciality" pancake syrups
December 16th - Cooking equivalents
    When you reach my age, retention and memory are not what they used to be and while I have twice the amount of time I used to have---it takes me three times as long to do anything!!

    What If . . .? Posts
    I started the "What If . . .?" preparedness posts as Tuesday and Thursday regulars---13 of them! After the first of the year, I will just post them whenever they come up, not waiting for a specific day of the week.

    Obviously this blog is a work in progress. Thanks for your patience.

                    Simply, Gail

    Tuesday, December 27, 2011

    #12 What If . . .Making Room for Food Storage

    Yesterday I presented bagging ideas for toys. Since today is the day for a preparedness post I am continuing with the storage theme ---- this time for storing the extra food you are hopefully acquiring for a time of need.

    Continuing the series to prepare you for a time when the store
    shelves are empty and you have to get by on what you have on hand.

    Over the years I have collected storage ideas from a variety of Internet sites. Today I am going to present some of them. Hopefully they will give you good ideas or spark other ideas to meet your own needs.

    Storage Ideas from the Internet

    My son (the only boy among a gaggle of girls) also has his own room. Some of the extra space is dedicated to a large shelf filled with cans and boxes.

    A few cases of food can take up some less-than-necessary-room under a desk.

    I have decorative shelves near the ceiling in my great room. Many houses have such shelves. On these shelves, I store sugar in #10 cans (one gallon). I put decorative wallpaper around the cans. In front of the cans I have placed greenery and white "Christmas" lights. Several guests have commented on my pretty decorations. They are always surprised to find it is disguised sugar. I use sugar since it stores for a long time and takes heat well. (Note from Simply, Gail: While this sounds really cute, I would worry about earthquakes or other incidences that could cause the cans to topple---and cause serious injury. Can you think of something lightweight that you store and disguise in a similar way? Toilet paper?)

    I am a professional organizer. One of my specialties is food storage. I have found that lack of space is usually not the big problem many people think it is. Once I help my clients realize what they value most and why, they typically find or make space for what is important in their lives.

    Pull a dresser or couch away from the wall a couple of feet and you can fit lots of cans or buckets behind it where they won't be seen too easily. We put food in Mylar pouches in rolling boxes that go under beds and in giant 55 gallon metal drums in the carport (the drums keep the insects/rodents/critters away from the food. Make a table with a board on top of a couple of cases of canned goods and cover it with a cloth. I've stacked 2-liter pop bottles, cleaned and filled with water, horizontally between my filing cabinet and the wall.

    Identically-sized boxes fit nicely between the wall and my couches. Every piece of furniture in my living room and family room has boxes containing food storage behind it. I stack them about three boxes tall, and then extend them as long as the couch. It leaves just the perfect amount of space between the wall and the furniture---nobody would even guess there was anything back there. (Note from SG: Cover it with a cloth or a finished board and it will appear to be nothing but a regular table that is designed to go behind couches.) Boxes can also be stacked to form a table---my telephone sits on one such table. It's just boxes with a cloth over them.

    We converted our coat closet into another food pantry. Since this closet is not directly in the kitchen and it is carpeted we store our #10 cans, case lot sales items, and items purchased in bulk. I stock my main pantry from this converted coat closet. Also the coat closet had a built-in shelf above the rod so that shelf is for unopened boxes of food like our case of tuna and our 72-hour  kits (grab-and-go kits near a door exiting the house).

    We put short bookshelves in our son's closet and use them for food storage. Since his clothes are small they fit great over the top of the boxes. We also stacked boxes of #10 (one gallon) cans in the ends of the closets. Just make sure the boxes are labeled with what's in them and put the things you will need to get into most often on the top or it can be a real pain to find things.

    What I am planning on doing is curtaining off two feet or so along one wall of the dining room (Ikea has curtain rails you can mount on the ceiling) and putting all my food storage on shelves behind it.

    If you have a couch that has a "skirt" to the floor, you can store a lot of toilet paper unseen!

    Have any of these ideas given you ideas? 

     “We have no room” is the excuse voiced most often. An excuse is exactly what it is. 

    The comment from the professional organizer says it best when she wrote "once I help my clients realize what they value most and why..."  

    Unfortunately, sometimes it needs to be what they should value most and why. You can't eat stuff in an emergency, and since I am simply cheap I'll add --- 

    you shouldn't need a professional organizer! 
    • Be creative
    • Organize your space yourself 
    • Use the money you would have paid for the advice to--- 
    • Buy the food to store in your created space!

    And, one final thought, if you do not have one inch of space to disguise a minimum three-day supply of food, will that prevent you from being prepared?  Should that prevent you from being prepared?

    Being prepared "just in case" provides immeasurable peace. Even though it will take some money to be prepared, it is highly probable that no amount of money can help you---at the actual time of need.

    Monday, December 26, 2011

    Tidying up Toys

    I hope yesterday was a wonderful day for you, no matter how you celebrated. Unfortunately, if being completely honest, it was probably also a day for collapse---after all the preparation!

    How's that for an introduction to a periodic confession, from long ago (approximately 1964--1993), I am now going to admit to. . .

    While "wifehood" and motherhood are of immeasurable worth, there have been occasions, usually at the end of a particularly long, hard day, when I have told Dave that "I am tired of this game!"

    On a more positive note, with the new year approaching ---- along with our goals for getting organized looming---- I thought this might be the appropriate time to let you know that I have been known to exclaim that I was . . .

    While I no longer have to deal with the yearly challenges of where do you put it all , we saw the predicament through grandparent eyes --- and it brought it all back.

    • Bags are one answer to the clutter of things and stuff
    • When toys and games are sorted and in place, it is easier to play with them
    And, most importantly     
    Visual elimination of stuff is a huge aid to a mom's peace and tranquility!
    Bags can be stitched up in almost any fabric---new or old, in all sizes, for a multitude of out-of-sight purposes.

    Don't sew? No problem!
    Use your imagination-----and your grocery bags, mesh vegetable bags, baskets, ice cream buckets, or whatever you have that will hold and hang safely. Or, trade some simple chore with a neighbor who does sew in exchange for having her stitch up a few straight seams.

    Creative individuals can identify bag contents with applique, embroidery, or fabric paints. The rest of us can make do quite well with marking pens or pictures cut from magazines or---keeping in mind that kids can remember anything they want to--- just let them memorize the contents of the various bags.

    The key to the success of this method is finding the proper location for this container assortment, and that is-----out of the children's reach. (Unless you have exceptional children that automatically pick up one toy before playing with another --- in which case you wouldn't even be reading this post!)

    I had Dave make a "shaker rail" out of a pine board and some cut-from-dowel pegs, and hung it fairly high on the wall. If you are not up to making such a thing, or have no one to make it for you, they can be purchased unfinished at a hobby store quite reasonably (especially if it is on sale or you use a coupon.)

    Any type of hooks or nails will work. Even those multi-hook holders that fit over a door do the job.
    Don't want hooks? Sort the toys into boxes, baskets, or other containers and place them on a shelf out of reach.

    I admit it is a little bit of work retrieving bags for the kids throughout the day but I can use the exercise and I prefer that workout to bending over picking up the toys or working the jaw muscles with frequent pick-up requests. As the kids get older and learn (unfortunately getting older and learning aren't necessarily synonymous), the containers and be moved to where they are more accessible for them.

    Additional Benefits. . .

    • With this method you will probably find that some toys are played with more than when all the individual parts had to be dug out from among everything else in the toy box.
    • On the other hand, I must admit that some toys weren't played with as much as they were previously---
    • And that was okay with me, too, since they were hanging neatly on a hook and not strewn all over the floor.

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    On the First Day of Christmas . . .

    Best wishes for both a wonderful Christmas and happy 2012.

    Thank you for visiting the creative cheapskate. I hope I have offered something of value.

                                                                         Simply, Gail

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    On the Second Day of Christmas . . .

         And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.          
         And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
         And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
         For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. . .
        Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
                                                                                             St. Luke  2:8-11, 13

    We often hear the phrase, referring to the wonder of the Second Coming of our Savior that the "lamb will lie down with the lion.

     When I went searching for the scriptural reference I found the following:

    "This is not an exact quote from scripture but rather a combination of thoughts from a couple of verses.
    Isaiah 11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fattling together; and a little child shall lead them.
    Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.
    Both of these passages deal with the kingdom age on the earth after the Lord Jesus Christ returns to reign on the earth as King of kings. The ferocious beasts (like the lion) will live peaceably with the gentle animals (like the lamb). Certainly, this will be a literal reality on the earth. However, this picture is also symbolic of the peace that will pervade the entire earth. When preachers speak of the lion and the lamb lying down together, they are referring to the time of peace when Jesus will reign as King over the earth."     
    David Reagan

    The inside of this card simply states
    Christmas is Love

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    On the Fifth Day of Christmas. . .

    For those reading this blog who may not share our beliefs or traditions, I hope that you will feel the love we have for you and all mankind --- and our prayers for peace on earth for everyone.  Jesus Christ loves us all.

    For the next five days I am going to post six of my favorite Christmas cards ---- four we received over the years, and two Dave designed, cut from linoleum blocks and individually printed. I wish we had noted the date on the back of the blocks-----but we didn't. It was a long, long time ago, that much I remember.

    Having said that, I can't find my special Christmas card of Santa Claus reverently kneeling at the manger. When our children were small we were given a statue similar to the one pictured here. We loved it and thought it was a wonderful way to combine the fun of Santa Claus with the true meaning of Christmas----something that can be difficult to do.

    Jesus IS the reason for the season

    When I couldn't find the card, which was sent to us by our son Romm in 1984 I started searching for a picture of it on the internet. I was amazed at the vast number of sites portraying different characterizations of the kneeling Santa worshiping the Baby Jesus.

    I also discovered three different poems combining the two aspects and have selected one to share.

    A Mother's Christmas Wish

    Come dear family, gather 'round our Christmas tree:
    Let us spend a little time in love and harmony.
    Tomorrow we will celebrate the birth of Christ our Lord,
    But I've a wish this year to see it's meaning's not ignored.

    The gifts are neatly set about with names and tags and bows.
    And Christmas goodies are in sight, the stockings are in rows.
    But as I look into your faces, what I wish to see,
    Is a love for Christ our Savior, not "What's Santa bringing me?"

    Each time one of you were born and laid here in my arm,
    I thought about the Christ child in the manger safe and warm.
    I thought of how His life began, and all the things He taught.
    I thought of how He died for us --- that death could conquer not.

    I wonder how His face would look, if these gifts to Him we gave---
    a shirt, a train, a story book, which of these would He save?
    I think He'd rather see us give kindness to one another,
    To say our thinks and give our love to Him, our oldest brother.

    So, as the colored Christmas lights are blinking in your heads,
    I hope to find you each with love, kneeling at your beds,
    And giving him a birthday wish that will be sure to please:
    And vow to love your fellow man, and promise from your knees.

    Then in the morning when you pass your Christmas gifts around,
    Give the gift of love and joy. . .let true peace here be found.
    For Jesus will be here to join, he's told us so, you see.
    "If you do it unto the least of these---you do it unto Me."

    by Suzanne Dean

    I hope that by now you have completed your holiday busy-ness and are taking time/making time for the beauty of the true reason for the season.

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Equivalents: Have you ever needed to know how many smooshed bananas are in a cup....plus more

    There are 3 smooshed bananas in a cup
    What about the number of teaspoons in a packet of active dry yeast?

    Or how many graham crackers are needed to produce 1 cup of crumbs?
    Or how many cups do you end up with when you grate a pound of cheese?
    Or many other equivalents?

    Ponder no more!

    • YEAST: 1 packet active dry yeast = 2-1/4 teaspoons
    • GRAHAM CRACKERS: 14 graham cracker squares = 1 cup fine crumbs
    • CHEESE: 1 pound cheese = 4-1/2 cups grated
    • CORN FLAKES: 3 cups corn flakes = 1 cup crushed
    • SALTINE CRACKERS: 28 saltine crackers = 1 cup crumbs
    • BREAD: 3 slices bread = 1 cup crumbs
    • CHOCOLATE WAFERS: 19 chocolate wafers = 1 cup crumbs
    • VANILLA WAFERS: 22 vanilla wafers = 1 cup crumbs
    • NUTS: 4 ounces chopped nuts = 1 cup
    • CHOCOLATE CHIPS: 12 ounces chocolate chips = 2 cups
    • BUTTER OR MARGARINE: 1 stick butter or margarine = 1/2 cup or 1/4 pound
    • MARSHMALLOWS: 10 miniature marshmallows = 1 large marshmallow
    • OATS: 1 pound rolled oats = 4-3/4 cups
    • FLOUR:1 pound flour = 3-3/4 cups
    • GRANULATED SUGAR: 1 pound white sugar = 2 cups
    • BROWN SUGAR: 1 pound brown sugar = 2-1/4 cups, firmly packed
    • POWDERED/CONFECTIONER'S SUGAR: 1 pound powdered sugar = 3-1/2 cups
    • EGG YOLKS: 1 large egg yolk = 1 T + 1 tsp and 12-14 egg yolks = 1 cup
    • EGG WHITES: 1 large egg white = 2 T = 2 tsp  and 8-10 large egg whites = 1 cup
    • EGGS: 1 large egg = 4 Tablespoons
    • EGG SUBSTITUTE: 1/4 cup egg substitute = 1 egg
    • CHICKEN: 3 pounds cooked chicken = 4-1/2 cups chopped
    • CHICKEN BREASTS:1-1/2 pounds chicken breasts =3 cups cooked and chopped
    • CHOPPED MEATS: 1/2 pound cooked boneless ham, beef or turkey = 2 cups chopped meat
    • RICE: 1 cup uncooked white rice = 3 cups cooked white rice
    • PASTA: 1 cup uncooked pasta = 2-2/3 cups cooked pasta
    • HERBS: 1 tsp dried herbs = 1 T fresh herbs
    • LEMONS: 1 lemon = 2 to 4 T juice and 1 tsp grated rind
    • ORANGES: 1 medium orange = 6 to 8 T juice and 2 to 3 tsp grated rind
    • BANANAS: 3 medium bananas = 1 cup mashed
    • CHERRIES: 1 pound cherries = 2-1/2 cup pitted
    • RAISINS: 1 pound raisins = 2 cups
    • TOMATOES: 1 pound tomatoes = 1-1/2 cups chopped
    • SPINACH: 1 pound fresh spinach = 12 cups fresh or 1-1/2 cups cooked
    • ONIONS: 1 large onion = 1 cup chopped  
    • ONIONS: 1 pound onions = 3 cups chopped

    'til we eat again
               Simply, Gail

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    #11 What If . . . Putting Together a "Grab-N-Go-Bag" or. . .

    • backpack 
    • duffle bag
    •  wagon
    •  fisherman's vest
    •  5-gallon bucket  or
    • whatever works for you

    It is likely that sometime you'll be in a situation*  where immediate help of some kind will be needed over a wide-spread area. 
        *Earthquake *Flooding *Tornado *Wildfire *Act of War. . .

    It usually takes three days for official assistance to arrive. That could be a life-threatening or, at the very least, miserable 72 hours!

    A Grab-N-Go-Bag is a quick and reasonably priced "insurance" for each member of your family. And, just like any other type of insurance, hopefully it will never be needed.

    The toughest part of assembling a 72 hour kit is deciding what items are ESSENTIAL.

    It would be much easier if we could know what the emergency will be, the time of year, whether we are confined to our home or whether we have to leave our home and area, and if we have to leave---will it be on foot or vehicle. We have to do the best we can without that knowledge.

    Please be up to the challenge and prepare now because "when the time of need has arrived---the time of preparation has passed."

    I, and many places on the Internet, can give you things to consider and suggestions but the deciding is up to you---and your individual family situation.

    Things to consider

    • Your family situation---ages, health, specific needs if any--- 
    • Physical abilities of the different members of the family --- how much can each carry/will some need their supplies carried or, will someone need to be carried---
    • Does your household include infants or elderly or pets---

    Suggestions for Basic Bare Minimum Food to SUSTAIN one person for 72 hours: 

    • Water! A MINIMUM of 6 liters  is recommended
    • Tang powdered drink  -- 1/2 cup (divided into two servings)
    • Instant Oatmeal* -- two packets
    • 2 granola bars
    • Cocoa mix -- 1/2 cup (divided into two servings) or 2 packets
    • 1 single serving stew or pasta with "pop top" lid
    • 10 sticks of chewing gum
    • 9 pieces of hard candy
    • 1 single serving can of beanie-weenies or similar with "pop top" lid
    • 3 fruit roll ups
    • 2 envelopes single serving noodles
    • 1 one-ounce package raisins
    • 2 one-ounce packages of beef jerky
    • 3 plastic spoons
    • 1 package matches
    • 4 snack-size zip lock bags for divided Tang and cocoa mix
    • wing stove or similar to heat water and fuel for same 
    Menus using above
    Day 1: Breakfast: Tang, oatmeal, 
                Lunch: Beanie Weenies, 1 fruit roll-up
                Dinner: 1 granola bar, 1 beef jerky, hot cocoa
                Snacks: 3 pieces hard candy and 3 pieces gum
    Day 2: Breakfast: hot cocoa, 1 granola bar
                Lunch: soup and raisins
                Dinner: stew/pasta, 1 fruit roll-up
                Snacks: 3 pieces hard candy and 3 pieces gum
    Day 3: Breakfast: Tang, oatmeal
                Lunch: soup
                Dinner: 1 beef jerky and 1 fruit roll-up
                Snacks: 3 pieces hard candy and 4 pieces gum
    • The above menu requires 2 liters of the bottled water.
    • Save and reuse the Beanie Weenie can to heat other foods if no other container is available.
    • Mix 3/4 cup water each with the Tang and hot cocoa mixes.
    * Homemade Instant Oatmeal packets
         3 cups quick cooking oats - divided
         snack-sized zip-lock baggies
    1. Put 1/2 cup oats in a blender and blend on high until powdery. Set aside in a small bowl and repeat procedure with an additional 1/2 cup oats. If you are using a food processor you can do the one cup of oats in one batch. 
    2. Into EACH baggie, put the following ingredients: 1/4 cup un-powdered oats, 2 Tablespoons powdered oats and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
    You can make a variety of flavors, if desired, and store the filled baggies in an airtight container.
    To serve: empty packet into a bowl. Add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir and let stand for 2 minutes. For thicker oatmeal use less water, for thinner, use more water.

    Note: I often eat commercial instant oatmeal by just tearing open the package and stirring in a little room-temperature water to the consistency I want--it works fine!

    Variations are limited only by your personal tastes and your imagination. Artificial sweeteners can be used in place of sugar if desired, although I would recommend it for the 72 hour kit unless real sugar is a dietary problem. The measurements are what you add to the above recipe for each packet.
    • Sweetened Oatmeal - 1 T sugar
    • Brown sugar-cinnamon - 1 T brown sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • Apple-cinnamon - 1 T sugar, 1/4 tsp and 2 T very finely chopped dried apples (I use a blender)
    • Raisins-brown sugar - 1 T packed brown sugar and 1 T raisins
    • Health Nut - 2 T wheat germ, any type
    • Fruit and Cream - 1 T powdered non-dairy creamer and 2 T finely chopped dried fruit
    • Confetti - 1 tsp decorative cake/cookie sprinkles
    • S'More - 6 mini marshmallows and 1 T milk chocolate chips
    • Cookies 'n Cream - 1 crushed Oreo (or similar) cookie and 1 T powdered non-dairy creamer
    • Exploding - 1 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp 'Pop Rocks' candy. (This one is fun for birthdays and other celebration days)
     Homemade (civil defense recipe) survival ration bar 
    Each bar contains 1000 calories and will provide sufficient food for a one day ration.
    2 cups whole grain cereal (oatmeal or wheat flakes)
    1 cup white sugar
    2-1/2 cups powdered milk
    3 T water 
    3 T honey
    1/2 of a 4 ounce package of orange gelatin

    Combine first three ingredients and set aside. Combine honey and water and bring to a boil. Add gelatin, stirring until dissolved and then add to the dry ingredients.

    Mix well, adding up to 3 more Tablespoons water as needed. Shape into four 1-inch thick bars. Dry in 200 degree oven for two hours. Turn over and dry another 2 hours. 

    Make sure the bars are completely dry so they will not sweat and mold. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Then wrap again in aluminum foil, and store. They should keep indefinitely. They can be eaten dry or cooked with about 2/3 cups water.

    After Christmas I will continue with other items to consider for your 27 hour kit.  

    These would be a fantastic Christmas gift for your loved ones, a great start in preparing for a New Year. Please consider getting started now because. . .


    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Replicating Specialty Pancake Syrups --- Coconut, Caramel, Apple and. . . Jello!?

    Looking to dress up simple  pancakes and waffle-type foods simply and cheaply?
    There are many specialty syrups  available ---
    all at specialty prices!!! 
    Most you can easily replicate at home.

    Note: Use very large pots for the first two recipes because the baking soda initially foams up and expands.

    Coconut Syrup
    1 cup butter or margarine
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup buttermilk*
    1 tsp coconut extract
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    In large pan combine first three ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in coconut extract and baking soda. 

    Confession: This next recipe is officially called "Buttermilk Syrup" but a name like that can discourage many. It's "subtitle" is rich and caramel-like which I find much more appealing.

    Caramel Syrup
    6 Tablespoons butter or margarine
    1-1/2 cups sugar 
    3/4 cup buttermilk*
    1-1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
    1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    In large pot, combine the butter or margarine, sugar, buttermilk* and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once at a rolling boil, boil and stir for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.While continuing to stir constantly add the baking soda and vanilla.

    * If you do not have buttermilk, you can add 1/4 to 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk and let sit for 5 minutes to sour it.

    Apple Syrup
    1 cup sugar
    2 Tablespoons cornstarch
    2 teaspoon cinnamon
    2 cups apple juice
    2 Tablespoons lemon juice.
    2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
    Combine first 5 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the butter or margarine.

    I can't personally vouch for this next one but I have to admit it is intriguing. Here are the comments from the contributor--- "I should say first that this is a real working recipe. It might seem like a child's experiment, but I'm 52 years old and have used this for many years. . . You might consider cutting the ingredients in half if you're only serving a small group. This syrup doesn't store well -- it becomes too thick over time. . .Enjoy as many flavors of pancake syrup as there are flavors of gelatin with this easy recipe. "

    Jell-o Pancake Syrup
    (12 servings) 
    1 small box flavored gelatin
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 Tablespoons cornstarch
    Combine the gelatin, sugar, cornstarch and water together in a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Pour into pitcher and let cool until syrup thickens slightly. Serve over pancakes or waffles while still warm.

    'til we eat again,
              Simply, Gail

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    #10 What If . . . MORE SUBSTITUTE INGREDIENTS---when the grocery shelves are empty!

    There may be times when, although  the store shelves are full, your personal pantry is out of an ingredient.

    Continuing the series to prepare you for a time when the store
    shelves are empty and you have to get by on what you have on hand.

    This post continues with substitutions, beginning with a guide for substituting natural sweeteners for refined sugar in recipes (from wholefoodsmarket.com).

    Substitutes for one cup of refined white sugar

    • 1-3/4 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) for each cup of sugar. Do not reduce liquid in recipe.
    • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar. Do not reduce liquid.
    • 1 cup Turbinado sugar. Do not reduce liquid.
    • 3/4 cup maple syrup. Reduce liquid in recipe by 3 T.
    • 3/4 cup honey. Reduce liquid by 1/4 cup.
    • 3/4 cup barley malt or rice syrup. Reduce liquid by 1/4 cup
    • 1-1/4 cups Molasses. Reduce liquid by 5 Tablespoons.
    If you need _________ you can substitute _________
    • 1 cup brown sugar ----> 1 cup granulated sugar + 2 T molasses
    • 3/4 cup cracker crumbs ----> 1 cup bread crumbs
    • 1 cup cake flour, sifted ----> 7/8 cup all purpose flour, sifted (which is 1 cup minus 2 T)
    • 1 cup powdered sugar ----> 1 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cornstarch, blended until very fine
    • 1 tsp lemon peel ----> 1/2 tsp lemon extract
    • 1 cup dark corn syrup ----> 3/4 cup light corn syrup and 1/4 cup molasses
    • 1 cup of molasses ----> 1 cup of honey
    • 1 cup light corn syrup ----> 1 cup sugar and 1 cup liquid*
    • 1 cup honey ----> 1-1/4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup liquid*
    * may be water or whatever other liquid, i.e. milk, cream or juice the recipe calls for.
    • 1 cup margarine or butter (for cooking or baking) ----> 1 cup hard shortening or 7/8 cup vegetable oil + possibly a bit of salt.
    • 1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate ----> 3 T. cocoa powder + 1 T vegetable oil
    • 1 square (1 ounce) semi-sweet chocolate ----> 1 oz unsweetened chocolate + 4 tsp sugar
    For 1 cup white flour substitute any of the following:
    • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
    • 7/8 cup rice flour
    • 1 cup corn flour                                       
    • 1 cup cornmeal
    • 1-1/2 cups rolled oats
    • 3/4 cup buckwheat
    • 1/2 cup barley flour
    • 3/4 cup rye flour
    Corn Syrup
    2 cups granulated sugar
    3/4 cup water
    1/4 tsp cream of tartar
    dash of salt
    In a heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan, combine all ingredients over medium heat. Stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover pan and cook 3 minutes, just to reduce crystal build-up on the sides of the pan. Uncover and cook, stirring often to "soft ball stage" or when you drop a little from a spoon into a glass of cold water and it drops to the bottom of the glass in a soft ball. Cool the syrup completely and store in covered container at room temperature. Makes about 2 cups. Use within 2 months.

    Whole-Milk Substitute for Baking and Cooking
    This recipe makes one cup of whole-milk substitute to be used in baking and cooking. You can adjust the portions according to the amount of milk you need for your recipe.

    Combine 1 measuring cup water with 1/3 cup powdered milk. Stir well to dissolve all the milk powder. Use a blender or mixer for best results. Add 1 T oil or about 2 T melted butter after the powdered milk mixture is well blended. Mix or blend the mixture thoroughly. The oil replaces the amount of fat removed from the milk during the drying process. 

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Nurturing an Attitude of Gratitude . . .

    . . .by making the most with what we already have --- no matter how little that may seem. And, some thoughts on being happy no matter what your current situation.

    • The key to real wealth is being satisfied with what you already have.

    • In most cases, for most people, most of our things are just "stuff" and we could do without most of it. 

    • Things that used to be considered luxuries are now considered not only necessities but -----absolute necessities.

    • No matter how little you have, if you are reading this on a computer or a cell phone or any other piece of electronic gadgetry, you are among the wealthiest in the world. If you can read, you are among the wealthiest. 

    "To be alive, to be able to see, to walk...it's all a miracle. I have adopted the technique of living life from miracle to miracle." Arthur Rubinstein

    Then I met a Man
    I once had no food to eat
    Then I met a man who had no teeth
    I once had no shoes to wear
    Then I met a man who had no feet

    When you’re down on your luck
    and you just spent your last buck
    There’s always someone else
    who has it even worse

    I once had a mirror on the wall
    Then I met a man
    who was lucky after all. --- Selected verses from a folk song by Earl Vickers 1995

    While there are "things" we cannot change, we can choose our attitude in every situation. 

    The following is a challenge, written by John Hilton III and Anthony Sweet, and taken from the Youth section of our Church magazine, the Ensign.

    Take A Gratitude Challenge
    Let's not just talk about counting our blessings --- let's do it!
    Make a list of 100 things you are thankful for. If that sounds like it is too many, try this.
    1. Write 10 physical abilities you are grateful for.
    2. Write 10 material possessions you are grateful for.
    3. Write 10 living people you are grateful for.
    4. Write 10 deceased people you are grateful for.
    5. Write 10 things about nature you are grateful for.
    6. Write 10 things about today you are grateful for.
    7. Write 10 places on earth you are grateful for.
    8. Write 10 modern inventions you are grateful for.
    9. Write 10 foods you are grateful for.
    10. Write 10 things about Jesus Christ that you are grateful for.
    During this most wonderful time of the year, and always, please realize and remember 

                          The best things in life are not things

    I am Simply, Gail

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Rainbow 4-layer cake---elegant and deceptively cheap and simple

    When I first started this blog, I told you that, except on very rare occasions, all the recipes would be simple and cheap.

    This elegant cake's look is deceptive! It is, in
    keeping with the blog title and author, really
    cheap, quick and simple! And looks even
    better in "real life" than in the photo.
          At this very moment I am baking this rainbow cake for a party tonight. Looking at the photo you will think this is one of those rare occasions----and when I decided on posting this cake----that is how I remembered it.
         Actually it is cheap and simple and just fits in the elegant category---deceptively.  I have been making this cake for special occasions for 33 years and it always gets oohs and aahs!

    The recipe and the photo comes from my well-worn and taped together 1978's Make-a-Mix Cookery book as "Mom's Spumoni Cake." I simply call it Rainbow Cake.

    The cake can be made from your favorite chocolate cake recipe or from a boxed mix, baked in two 8" cake pans.  The elegance is in the frostings.

    After baking layers according to recipe directions. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then cool on wire racks. Cut each cake with a serrated knife (I use a long piece of thread) to make two layers from each. Frost each layer with a different color of Rainbow Frosting. Stack layers. Do not frost sides.

    Rainbow Frosting
    1 cup milk
    2 T flour
    pinch of salt
    1/2 cup (1 cube) butter or margarine, at room temperature
    1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
    1 cup granulated sugar

    2-3 drops each green, yellow and red food coloring
    1/4 tsp each almond, lemon, peppermint and vanilla flavorings
    3 T cocoa powder

    In a small saucepan, combine milk, flour and salt. Cook over medium heat about 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened. Set aside and allow to cool.

    Combine butter or margarine, shortening and sugar in a medium bowl. Beat well. Add to cooled milk mixture, beating constantly for about 7 minutes, until smooth.

    Divide mixture among 4 bowls and flavor each as follows:

    1. Add the green coloring and the almond flavoring
    2. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla flavoring
    3. Add the red coloring and peppermint flavoring
    4. Add the yellow coloring and lemon flavoring.
    When I first came across this recipe it was one I had to try because it sounded so intriguing (weird!). I have done that with a few other recipes that struck me the same way. Maybe I'll have to hunt them up and share them.

    In the meantime, enjoy this one.

    'til we eat again,
              Simply, Gail

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    #9 What If . . . SUBSTITUTE INGREDIENTS---when the grocery shelves are empty!

    Continuing the series to prepare you for a time when the store
    shelves are empty and you have to get by on what you have on hand.
    Has this ever happened to you?
    Right in the middle of making something you discover you are out of an ingredient!
    When that happens, it is helpful and handy to know what you can substitute in its place. Imagine how helpful it will be when the shelves are empty.

    While these substitutions come in handy, the finished product may not be exactly the same as when you use the original ingredients called for in a recipe.  Again, experimenting is the best way to discover what works best for you. Sometimes the substitute regularly becomes the "original" ingredient!

    Generally use only one substitution in a recipe. The more ingredients you substitute, the more chances of the finished product being "off."

    Usually the substitute ingredients can just be added to the other ingredients. Rarely is there a need for them to be combined before adding to the other items----if making brown sugar, you do not need to combine the white sugar and the molasses before you combine them with the other ingredients.

    Need  --- Substitutions

    • 1 T fresh herbs --- 1/3 to 1/2 tsp dried herb of same kind
    • 1 clove fresh garlic --- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp garlic salt --- 1/8 tsp garlic powder + 7/8 tsp salt
    • 1 small fresh onion --- 1 tsp onion powder OR 1 T dried minced onion
    • 1 T prepared mustard --- 1/2 tsp powdered mustard + 2 tsp vinegar
    • 1 tsp lemon juice --- 1/4 tsp cider vinegar

    • 1 cup whole fresh milk --- 1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water OR 1/3 cup dry milk + 1 cup water
    • 1 cup buttermilk --- 4 tsp vinegar or lemon juice + milk to make one cup (may need to let set a few minutes) OR 1 cup plain yogurt
    • 1 cup "half and half" --- 1 T melted butter + whole milk to make one cup
    • 1 cup cream --- 1/3 cup butter + 3/4 cup milk
    • 1 cup sour cream for baking --- 7/8 cup buttermilk or sour milk plus 3 T butter
    • 1 cup sour cream for dressings or casseroles --- 1 cup plain yogurt or 3/4 cups cup sour milk + 1/3 cup butter
    • 1 cup butter for use in recipes --- 2 sticks softened margarine + 1/3 cup vegetable oil + 1/2 cup buttermilk (beat until liquid is absorbed and refrigerate) OR 1 cup vegetable shortening + 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 cup tomato sauce --- 3/4 cup tomato paste + 1 cup water
    • 1 cup catsup --- 1 cup tomato sauce + 1/2 cup sugar + 2 T vinegar + choice of spice

    Next Tuesday the post will continue with more substitutions.

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Making Spicy Scents for Cents

    NEVER leave the pot unattended!
    You can quickly, easily and 
    for just a few cents. . .fill your 
    home with simmering, spicy and welcoming scents.

    Simmering Potpourri #1
    3 T ground cinnamon
    2 T ground cloves
    1 T anise seed (optional)
    1 tsp ground nutmeg
    1 tsp ground ginger
    1 quart water
    Combine all ingredients in large pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat. Add additional water as needed. Can be stored in refrigerator and reused several times.

    Simmering Potpourri #2
     3 four-inch cinnamon sticks
    3 bay leaves
    1/4 cup whole cloves
    1/2 lemon, sliced
    1/2 orange, sliced

    Combine above with 2 to 4 cups of water in a pot. Simmer over low heat. Add additional water as needed. Will keep several days in refrigerator.

    Renewing the Scents of Dry Potpourri
    Add new life to dried commercial potpourri mixes by simply stirring or shaking the ingredients. When that loses its effectiveness, sprinkle the mixture with a small amount of matching scented oil.

    This method also works well with the commercial cinnamon-scented pine cones.

    Price the Spice!
    Spices can be expensive, especially when purchased in small bottles at the grocery stores. You can save lots of money by buying them in bulk.

    Don't let the word "bulk" scare you off. You can purchase any amount from one ounce up. And, most spices and dried herbs are very light-weight.
    A little research in your area will pay off in large savings.
    Check around for bulk products at health food stores. This is a great time to let your fingers-do-the-walking. Following is a comparison of four of the spices used in the above recipes to let you see the varying prices. Each price is the price per ounce. The first price is the name brand price, the second number is the discount brand (or store brand) price and the last is the bulk price.

    Ground Cinnamon 
    Name brand---$1.89
    Discount or store brand---$1.03
    Bulk---45 cents
    Ground Cloves
    Name brand---$6.01
    Discount or store brand---$1.54
    Bulk---70 cents
    Ground Ginger
    Name brand---$3.20
    Discount or store brand---$1.54
    Bulk---45 cents
    Ground Nutmeg
    Name brand $3.02
    Discount or store brand---$1.03
    Bulk---45 cents

    Note: These prices are from my "$imply Centsational Gifts" bookette from 1996. The prices have probably risen dramatically but the comparisons are comparable. If you can't find a place to buy in bulk, at least consider the store or discount brand.

    And lastly---something they don't want you to know.  We are encouraged to throw out spices after one year. Most will usually last much longer than that but if you have older spices that have lost some potency,  just add a little more than called for to get the same results. When that is no longer effective then you can throw them out and replace them----hopefully from bulk sources!

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Simply Yummy Eggnog Pie

    Looking for a quick and simple elegant-seeming holiday dessert? 
    Look no further!

    Eggnog Pie
    4-serving box of instant vanilla pudding
    2 cups commercial eggnog
    8 ounce carton frozen non-dairy topping, thawed

    1. Prepare the instant vanilla pudding, using the eggnog as the liquid. 
    2. Fold in the thawed topping, creating a marbled effect.
    3. Pile high into baked or graham cracker crust
    4. Sprinkle with nutmeg
    5. Chill
    Flaky No-Roll Pie Crust
    This recipe works for both baked and unbaked crusts. It doesn't lend itself to the creation of a pretty crimped edge but it is flaky, delicious, quick and easy. Most of those who have tried it call it their crust of choice.

    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    2 T milk
    1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp granulated sugar
    1/2 tsp salt

    Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

    1. With a fork, in a small bowl, beat oil and milk together until milky-colored.
    2. In a 9-inch pie pan, thoroughly combine the flour, sugar and salt.
    3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the oil-milk mixture.
    4. Mix with a fork until combined.
    5. Using fingers, press the dough to cover the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
    6. Prick with a fork in a few places.
    7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
    8. Let cool before filling.
    If using as an unbaked crust, do not prick, add filling and bake according to recipe directions.

    Get ready for the compliments from eggnog lovers!

    'til we eat again,
              Simply, Gail

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    #8 What If . . . EGGS---when the grocery shelves are empty!

    Continuing the series to prepare you for a time when the store
    shelves are empty and you have to get by on what you have on hand.

    Safety: Eggs are among the most nutritious foods and should be part of a healthy diet. However they are perishable and some unbroken, clean, fresh shell eggs may contain Salmonella, a bacteria that can cause food-borne illness. While the number of eggs affected is quite small, the incidences seem to be increasing.

    It is highly recommended that foods that contain raw eggs should not be eaten uncooked. This includes "health food" milk shakes made with raw eggs, Caesar salad, Hollandaise sauce, and any other foods like homemade mayonnaise, ice cream, or eggnog made from recipes in which the egg ingredients are not cooked----as well as cookie dough! and cake batters!

    To make a recipe safe that specifies using uncooked eggs, heat the eggs in a liquid from the recipe over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees. Then combine it with the other ingredients and complete the recipe.

    Substitutes: Many common pantry items can be used in place of eggs in baked goods, even though the nutritional value of the eggs will be lost.  It is a good idea to experiment now, before need arises and a variety of items are available, to see which you prefer. Each recipe equals one egg. If two or three eggs are called for, increase the recipe accordingly. Do not make up a batch to keep on hand. 

    FLAX: For each egg needed, place 1 heaping Tablespoon whole flax seed in a blender and blend until it becomes a fine meal. Add 1/4 cup cold water and blend 2 to 3 minutes until thickened and has the consistency of eggs.

    UN-FLAVORED GELATIN: For each egg needed, combine 1 teaspoon un-flavored gelatin (like Knox) with 3 Tablespoons cold water and 2 Tablespoons+1 teaspoon boiling water.

    The following information was taken from pioneerthinking.com. For each egg called for, replace with one of the following combinations:

    • 1 heaping Tablespoon soy powder + 2 Tablespoons water
    • 1 Tablespoon soy milk powder + 1 Tablespoon cornstarch + 2 Tablespoons water
    • 1 ripe banana replaces an egg in cakes
    • 1 Tablespoon milled flax seed + 3 Tablespoons water for light, fluffy cakes
    Homemade egg substitutes are less expensive and just as satisfactory (as commercial products). They also have few calories.  

    Low Cholesterol Egg Substitute

    1 Tablespoon non fat dry milk powder
    2 eggs whites from large fresh eggs
    4 drops yellow food coloring
    Sprinkle powdered milk over egg whites, then beat them with a fork until smooth. Add food coloring and beat until blended. This makes 1/4 cup which is equal to one large  egg. If you use this for scrambled eggs, cook it in vegetable oil or margarine so the eggs won't be too dry.

    Eggs are an inexpensive source of high quality protein but to store long-term they need to be in powdered form. They are a welcome addition to a pantry and in a rotated, well-rounded food storage. Store in a cool room of your home, powdered eggs in unopened cans will store for up to 10 years. Once they are opened
    you should try to use them within 12 months.

    If you make any baked goods from a mix, you are likely already using powdered eggs. Once you try using them, you'll find they aren't just for emergencies. They are less messy than fresh eggs and the possibility of the Salmonella bacteria is eliminated.

    Commercial bakeries use them to get consistent results from their baked goods.

    To use them in your favorite recipes, just add the appropriate amount of egg powder to the dry ingredients, and then add the additional water to your liquid ingredients. Since powdered eggs are pasteurized, they can be used to make your own mixes without worrying about spoilage. They are perfect for camping also.

    1 egg = 1 T whole egg powder + 2 T water
    2 eggs = 2 T whole egg powder + 1/4 cup water
    3 eggs = 3 T whole egg powder + 1/3 cups water
    4 eggs = 1/2 cup whole egg powder + 1/2 cup water
    6 eggs = 1/3 cup whole egg powder + 2/3 cup water
    8 eggs - 1/2 cup whole egg powder + 1 cup water

    Powdered egg whites are also available. They are great for meringues and decorating icing.

    Remember, it is good to experiment and learn which works best for you before the time of actual need.

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Keeping a Journal in a Recipe Box or . . .


    Mom's are busy!
    Time is precious!
    Memories are jogged randomly!
    And, unfortunately, unrecorded memories fade!

    Journal-ing in a box allows you to write a journal----
    a minute at a time.

    Using 3x5 or 4x6 "index" cards allows thoughts or memories to be recorded as they occur without needing to find an effective way to fit them into a journal or getting a journal out of chronological order.

    File cards can easily become permanent inhabitants of your purse, immediately at the ready for jotting down something one of your children said or did, a quote, an idea, a memory from the past, or notes from an inspirational talk.

    Usually one card will hold your thoughts but if you occasionally need more room,
    just number a card #2 and keep going.

    If more than one of you are using this system, each can use a specific color card
    for personal entries and white to record general items or happenings of the family
    and children.

    We kept our cards in one inexpensive plastic file box (like the type you use to hold
    recipe cards), although separate boxes could be used.

    We labeled blank index file dividers with a variety of topics, and filed the cards under the appropriate topics.  At the end of this post, to give you some ideas, are categories we had in our box.

    NOW . . . and LATER
    These journal cards are ready to be enjoyed at any time just as they are. Or ideally, at a later date when time commitments are less hectic, they can serve as effective memory-joggers for writing your life or family history.

    Possibilities for DIVIDER LABELS

    • My birth
    • Early childhood
    • Brothers and sisters
    • Baptisms and confirmations
    • School Experiences
    • High School activities
    • Dating days
    • Employment
    • Military service
    • College activities
    • Courtship
    • Marriage
    • Early marriage experiences
    • Our children
    • Fun times with family and friends
    • Accomplishments
    • Church involvement
    • Community involvement
    • Vacations
    • Holidays
    • Traditions
    • Goals
    • Retirement
    • Family vital statistics (birth weight, length, time, illnesses and injuries)
    • Relatives and ancestors
    • Grandchildren
    • Favorite books and authors
    And, maybe even a section labeled "memory joggers" where you can write one or two lines on something that comes to mind at a time when you don't even have 3 to 5 minutes to get it all down. Warning: If you use this category be very careful not to let too much time pass or let this section get too full!)

    Please don't let your memories pass you by.