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.

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.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

#9 What If . . . BEANS-- 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.
oops! I goofed on the series numbering. So, there is not a #7

BEANS (or legumes) are an inexpensive and nutritious protein food.

They are high in fiber, low in fat, a good source of protein, carbohydrates, folate, and many trace minerals. There are many different beans in the legume family. The different types can be interchanged in most recipes. Often their names are also interchanged.

Beans store well, cost little, and provide a punch for the nutrition dollar.

Varieties and Suggested Uses

Baby Lima - Mild flavored. Serve as a vegetable or in casseroles.
Large Lima - Rich, buttery flavor. Cook with smoked meat or cheese.
Light Red Kidney - Excellent in any recipe calling for cooked beans.
Dark Red Kidney - Colorful salad bean, mainly sold in canned form.
Split Peas - Dried peas are produced by drying pea pods that have been harvested when fully mature. Once they are dried and the skins removed, they split naturally. Generally green, but also available in a more delicately-flavored yellow.
Black-eye Peas - Also called black-eyed bean, it is a subspecies of the cow-pea, grown around the world for its medium-sized edible bean. They are pale colored with a prominent black spot. Cook with pork or chicken.
Small White - Their firm texture holds up under long, slow baking.
Navy - Medium-sized white pea-bean. Great for baked beans and soups.
Great Northern - Larger than small white or navy beans. Good for baking.
Pink - Great barbecue style or cooked with other spicy seasonings.
Red - Dark red, and pea-shaped. Use in any colored bean recipe.
Black Bean or Turtle Bean - A favorite in southern Mexico and the Caribbean. Great with rice.
Pinto - Popular in chili, refried beans, and other Mexican dishes.
Garbanzo or Chickpeas - Nut-like flavor. Ideal for salads and appetizers. Hummus, a dip or spread, is made from these. They were used quite frequently over 7,000 years ago and Hummus is one of the oldest foods dating back to ancient Egypt.
Anasazi or Ancient Ones - Cook in about half the time, sweeter flavor, mealier and cause less gas.
Lentils - a cousin of the bean. Relatively quick and easy to prepare. Readily absorb a variety of flavors from other foods and seasonings. Great boiled just until crunchy, and sprinkled on salads or as a snack.
Very nutritional.

Dried vs. Cooked Equivalents
There is a significant difference in the cooked yield from one pound of the different beans.
Great Northern: 2-1/3 cups = 1 pound = 6 cups cooked beans
Kidney: - 1-1/2 cups = 1 pound = 9 cups cooked beans
Lentils: 2-1/2 cups = 1 pound = 5 cups cooked
Large Lima: - 2-1/2 cups = 1 pound = 6 cups cooked

Cooking Beans and Legumes - Facts and/or Folklore

  • Rinse all beans and legumes in cold water. Remove all dirt, pebbles, or bad beans.
  • Soak the beans in 3 times as much water as beans. They can be soaked overnight. Discard soaking water before cooking. Lentils and split peas do not need to be soaked.
  • Quick soaking method: For each pound of beans, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add the washed beans to the boiling water and boil for 1 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and soak for 1 hour. Discard soaking water.
  • Add 1/8 tsp baking soda and 1 T cooking oil to each cup of beans while soaking. This will shorten the cooking time and decrease foaming.
  • If you need to add liquid to your beans while cooking, use boiling water or the beans will be tough.
  • The slower the beans are cooked, the easier they are to digest.
  • Add meat, onions, celery and herbs during cooking to add more flavor. Add tomatoes, catsup, vinegar and other acid foods after the beans are tender, as the acid prevents softening of the beans.
  • beans will increase double to triple during soaking and cooking.
  • Cooked beans freeze well and will keep up to 6 months in the freezer.
  • Stored beans should be rotated if possible. They continue to lose moisture and will not reconstitute satisfactorily if kept too long.
  • Beans can be cooked in the crock pot. Because temperatures of crock pots differ, you may need to experiment with yours for exact cooking times.
  • Soybeans can be used as a meat substitute.
Protein Compliments
Animal protein contains all the essential amino acids and can stand alone as a protein choice. Due to the lack of one or more amino acids in plant proteins they need to be paired with either an animal protein or another plant protein to improve their nutritional quality. For example: Legumes or dry beans may be paired with seeds and nuts or with a grain (wheat, cornmeal, rice, oats, etc.). This combination of a grain with the beans provides a complete protein.

Digestive Distress is an undesirable side effect of eating beans. The body lacks enzymes t digest some sugars int he beans. Since the sugars are not digested, they ferment in the digestive tract, creating gas. Following are ways to help alleviate this.
  • Soak beans a minimum of 3 hours (8-12 hours is better) and discard soaking water.
  • Sprout beans by soaking them 2 to 3 days, changing water 3 to 4 times, until beans begin to sprout. Then proceed to cook them.
  • Add the lacking enzyme to the diet in the form of tablets or liquid; one commercial product is called "Beano."
Increase the Consumption of Beans by adding whole or mashed beans to meatloaf, soups, stews, and casseroles. Do this is small amounts to begin with and increase over time. Also, you can used cooked and pureed beans in baked goods.

Beans as a Fat Substitute
Cooked beans may be pureed and used in place of part of the fat in baked goods. They help provide moisture to the recipe but since the pureed beans will not act the same way as fat in baking, the final product will be changed. Do not replace all fat with pureed beans. Begin by replacing 1/4 to 1/2 and test the quality of the product.

Quick and Easy Hummus
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained with liquid reserved
1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 to 2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 T olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
Combine all in a blender or food processor. Blend on low speed, gradually adding a little reserved bean liquid, until desired consistency is achieved. Refrigerate to meld flavors. Serve with pita or other chips, crackers, cucumber slices, pepper strips, etc. Refrigerate leftovers.

Bean and Bacon Soup
2 strips bacon, browned
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T flour
2 cups bean puree
2 cups milk or meat stock
salt and pepper
Fry bacon, remove from pan and drain on paper. Cook onion in bacon drippings until golden color. Blend flour with onions and fat. Add puree and milk or stock gradually. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Cook 2-3 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble bacon; sprinkle on top of soup before serving.

Black Bean Brownies
1 brownie mix that requires eggs and oil
1 (about 15 ounce) can of black beans
Rinse the black beans; add just enough water to cover the beans that are in the can. Pour the water and beans into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add the pureed beans to the brownie mix instead of the eggs and oil. Bake according to directions on brownie mix.

Apple Spice Pinto Bean Cake
2 cups cooked pinto beans, mashed
1 egg
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each cinnamon, cloves and allspice
2 cups applesauce
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 tsp vanilla
Cream honey, egg, oil and beans together. Mix with dry ingredients. Add applesauce, raisins, nuts and vanilla. Bake in greased 9x13 pan at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Celebrating the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

O come let us adore Him
If only...                           we would keep the Spirit of Christmas in our hearts all 365 days!
     Times and circumstances of our growing and spreading (distance-wise) family, have naturally brought about changes in some of the ways we carry out the following but most are constants being carried on one way or another, according to our individual and family circumstances. 
     Following are ways our family celebrates this most wonderful time of the year. There are never too many ways to honor Him and the season, I'd love to have you e-mail me so I can share with others the way you celebrate.

  • We rejoice in the birth of our Savior and the blessings that come to us as a result of this most wonderful of all gifts.
  • We bask in the warmth and love that surrounds all aspects of this season -- regardless of the temperature.
  • We delight in the jolly rotund man in the bright red suit.
  • We display a handmade Santa kneeling before the infant Jesus.
  • We soak up the beauty of this time of year---the music, the programs, the decorations and the beautiful lighting displays---and try to avoid the harsh commercialism that threatens to engulf it.
  • We bake (and devour) the baked goods and candies that are so abundant.
  • We renew friendships and acquaintances through visits and correspondence.
  • We draw names for family gift-giving, and stay within a designated budget.
  • We scurry in search of the perfect gifts.
  • We seek those that are less fortunate and offer our help.
  • We gather together with family members.
  • We read the Scriptures surrounding His birth, and Christmas stories.
  • We celebrate Christmas eve, with our children and grandchildren, reenacting the story of Christ's birth while the Biblical account is read.
  • We bake a birthday cake for the baby Jesus, and sing Happy Birthday to Him.
  • We leave cookies for Santa.
  • We open our gifts Christmas morning, taking turns and taking time to watch one another.
  • We respect the beliefs of others and their methods of worship, knowing that we are all sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.