Dec 27, 2008

Sealing Food With Food Sealer

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I know I enjoyed the day despite my horrible chest cold. After cleaning up the house for the holidays I had some dry goods that needed to be sealed away in Mylar. A lot of sisters from my ward have been asking me how I do this. So Friday we set up our assembly line and started sealing away. We did dehydrated onions, dehydrated carrots, potato flakes, oats, and apple slices.

You will want to fill your Mylar bags.

Once the bag is full give it a firm tap on the table to settle the food in the bag. You don't want to over fill the bag or it won't seal properly. Add your oxygen absorber.

Line up the top of the bag and flatten the top out holding it tightly at the top. Make sure there are not wrinkles or folds in the Mylar.

Place the bag into the sealer and seal the bag. Making sure nothing is in the path of the sealer.

This isn't the best picture but, I wanted to show you a seal that is not a good seal. If you notice that there is a crease in the Mylar. You will have to go and reseal above or below this to ensure a good seal.

Then have someone cute label the bag. You don't want it to be a mystery down the road.

Then someone handsome needs to place them into boxes.

And last but not least. Someone that is NUTS!

Dec 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. This time of year is so dear to me. I love the feeling in the air and the spirit of giving. Not presents that is but of ones self. I love this video and it sums up all the gifts our Savior has given us. I am so blessed to have the gospel in my life and to know that God lives and that he loves each one of us.

Dec 16, 2008

Christmas Hustle n' Bussel

If your like me this time of year becomes so hectic and busy. I am so sorry that I haven't posted in almost a week. I hope everyone is staying warm and not freezing like we are in Wyoming. It was so cold the last couple of days we got down to -22 degrees. And the high was only -14. It was so cold! Add the windchill in and we couldn't even go out for very long. By the time you ran from the house to the car the moisture in your nose was frozen. I love Wyoming but when it gets that cold my body sure plays a number on me. For those of you that don't know me, I have just been diagnosed with Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis and the cold weather just about does me in at times. I sure hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and I promise to do much better after the Holidays. I have some new ideas for the New Year and I just can't wait until my garden starts bearing in the summer because then we can get into canning. I love to can and put away for the winter. If you have anything you would like to share please email me. Thanks Nichol

Dec 9, 2008

Tuesday Tip Day~Homemade Coconut Milk

Have you ever had a recipe that calls for coconut milk and you go to the store to find out prices are outrageous? I know because this time of the year I use alot of coconut milk. Did you know that you can make your own coconut milk right at home? It is so simple and it tastes great. Best of all you know what is in it and the price is just right. There are two ways that you can make this milk. You can either get your coconut from a fresh coconut or from dehydrated coconut shreds.

Coconut juice is the coconut water from inside the coconut– it is used for making deserts and for drinking. Coconut milk is not coconut juice—Coconut milk is made from the meat, or nut part, of the coconut—To make coconut milk just add some of fresh coconut to a blender w/ a little hot water and blend till smooth. That is the coconut milk that we pay so much for at the stores.

To make coconut milk from dehydrated coconut shreds:

1 Cup coconut shreds
1 Cup hot water
Place in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain out any leftover chunks.

If you are feeling adventurous you can get a fresh coconut and grate it using the same ratio as above.

Coconut and Chocolate Pie
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1 cup milk
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup cornstarch
7/8 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake crust for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool. In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, coconut milk and 1 cup sugar. In a separate bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in water. Bring coconut mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer and slowly whisk in the cornstarch. Continue stirring mixture over low heat until thickened, about 3 minutes. In a glass bowl, microwave chocolate chips for 1 minute or until melted. Divide the coconut pudding evenly into two bowls. Mix chocolate into one portion. Spread on the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the remaining portion of pudding on top of the chocolate and spread smooth. Refrigerate for about an hour. Whip cream with 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Layer the cream on pie; if desired garnish with chocolate shavings.

Did you know that if you use coconut milk and place it all over the scalp and massaging it into the hair roots is also beneficial in the treatment of hair loss. It nourishes the hair and promotes hair growth. It will also leave your hair soft and shinny.

Dec 6, 2008

Food Storage Night

I got a kick out of these videoes. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Make sure you scroll to the bottom of the page and turn off the Christmas music.

Dec 5, 2008

Food Storage Friday

A few years back my Sister-in-Law Dondee brought these to a family gathering. They have now become a staple in our family. They are so easy to make and best of all most of the ingredients come from our food storage.

1 cup Light Corn Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
6 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Cook corn syrup and sugar together in a large pan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter; mix well. Add cereal; stir until evenly coated.

Pour into greased 13x9-inch pan and pat into place.

Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread over cereal. Cool at least 45 minutes, or until firm. Cut into bars.

I found this video on YouTube hope it helps.

Dec 4, 2008

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Your neighbors will think you slaved in the kitchen with these muffins. They are so good! Its like eating pumpkin cheesecake.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour 24 muffin cups, or use paper liners.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brown sugar

To make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until soft. Add egg, vanilla and brown sugar. Beat until smooth, then set aside. You will want this to still be rather thick and not runny. Don't over mix it.

Streusel Topping:
4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons white sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons chopped pecans

For the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.

Muffin batter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add eggs, pumpkin, olive oil and vanilla. Beat together until smooth.
Place pumpkin mixture in muffin cups about 1/2 full. Then add one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the batter. Try to keep cream cheese from touching the paper cup. I like to make a little indent in the muffin batter with a spoon. I then just add the cream cheese mixture on the top. Sprinkle on the streusel topping.
Bake at 375 degrees F (195 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.

Dec 2, 2008

Tuesday Tip Day

Candy Making Tips
By: Sydny Carter

Candy is a year-round treat, but it is especially wonderful during the holidays. Making fudge at Christmas can quickly become a family tradition, with the whole family coming together to make this wonderfully simple confection. Candy can also be a great homemade gift for friends and family. After all, who would not want to receive a box of homemade chocolate truffles in their stocking? Although you can spend a lifetime learning everything there is to know about the confectioners' trade, there are plenty of easy to make recipes that will delight your friends and family. All you need to get started are a few common kitchen items, some simple ingredients, and a modicum of know-how.

Tools of the Trade
Most of the tools needed to make candy can be found in a well-stocked kitchen:
  • A medium-sized saucepan with a heavy bottom and straight sides is a must. It should be large enough to hold 3 to 4 times the volume of the ingredients; this will help prevent boil-overs.
  • A bowl, large enough to hold the saucepan, allows you to cool the candy while it is still in the pan. The temperature of the sugar mixture continues to rise even after it has been removed from the heat. Immersing the pan in cold water or an ice water bath stops the cooking at just the right time.

  • A long-handled wooden spoon.

  • A pastry brush reserved exclusively for candy-making. Some recipes will call for brushing down the sides of the pan with water to prevent crystallization.

  • A good candy thermometer. Although it is possible to make candy without one, a glass candy thermometer is invaluable to the beginner, and a useful tool for the professional. If possible, buy one equipped with a metal clamp that attaches to the side of the pan.

  • If you make candy on a more regular basis, you may want to invest in a marble slab and a copper caramel pan, but these are by no means necessary.

Only the Best
Sugar is the most basic ingredient in candy. Use an unopened package of sugar; this will ensure that there has been no contamination from other ingredients commonly found in the kitchen, such as flour or salt. Use unsalted butter; the salt content of salted butter can affect your final product. Never use margarine in a recipe that calls for butter: margarine has a higher water content, which will significantly affect the cooking time and results.

Hints and Tips
Before you turn on the stove, take the weather into account. On rainy or humid days, the cooking time can increase substantially or your candy may never set up at all. Sugar attracts water, so the humidity can adversely affect your recipe; wait for a clear, dry day.

Test your thermometer to make sure it is accurate. (You will need to do this every time you make candy.) Immerse it in a pan of water, and bring the water to a boil. The temperature should read 212 degrees F (100 degrees C). If it does not, you will need to adjust your recipe to reflect this. For example, if your thermometer reads 215 degrees F (102 degrees C) in boiling water, and the recipe requires that you cook the candy to 250 degrees F (121 degrees C), you will need to cook the mixture to 253 degrees F (123 degrees C).

Last, but not least, measure all your ingredients before you begin. It takes a long time to reach 220 degrees F (104 degrees C), but after that the temperature rises quickly. You will need to have everything within easy reach.

Sugar Cooking
Dissolve sugar into liquid ingredients over low heat, and then bring to a boil. Don't stir once the sugar has dissolved, unless directed to by the recipe. Either clamp the thermometer to the side of the pan, or periodically place it in the syrup to measure the temperature. The bulb of the thermometer should not touch the sides or bottom of the pan, or you'll get an inaccurate reading. Always clean the thermometer after each testing, and keep it by the stove in a glass of warm water. Cook until the desired temperature is reached. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and cool the bottom of the pan in the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. (For peanut brittle, pour the hot candy onto a greased baking sheet or oiled marble without cooling.)
If you don't have a candy thermometer, use the cold water method to test the candy. Drop a small amount of the mixture into a glass of cold water, and then examine it closely to determine if it's at thread stage, soft ball stage, hard ball stage, etc. Remove the pan from the heat while testing to avoid overcooking the candy. Use a fresh glass of water for each test.

Cooking On High
As with most cooking at high altitudes, there are modifications that need to be made to candy recipes. For every 500 feet above sea level, decrease the temperature by one degree. If you live at an altitude of 3500 feet and the recipe calls for cooking to 234 degrees F (112 degrees C), cook it to 227 degrees F (108 degrees C).