Monday, August 23, 2010


This recipe makes a mild salsa which can be made spicier by the addition of more peppers, and thicker by the addition of more tomato paste. Depending on how finely you chop the ingredients, it can be more or less chunky. It uses Roma tomatoes because they are less juicy than other tomatoes and therefore the salsa needs less cooking time. This recipe is courtesy of Lori B.

1-2 gallon cooking pot
tongs, colander, or a plastic basket to fit in the above pot
3-gallon pot
food processor or knife and cutting board
rubber gloves
jars, lids, and rings (perhaps 24 - we didn't count)
pressure canner
long-handled mixing spoon
measuring cups and spoons
can opener
hot pads

28-32 cups of Roma tomatoes (about 16 pounds)
6 onions
5 cloves fresh garlic cloves
4 green peppers
1 cup jalapeño peppers
2 chili peppers
3 yellow banana peppers
1 relleno pepper (or buy the hottest pepper you can find)
3 bunches cilantro
3 large (12 oz.) cans tomato paste
5 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper, ground
4 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons brown sugar

The Process

Heat water to boiling in 1-2 gallon pot. While it's heating, wash the tomatoes, removing any bad spots.

When the water boils, blanche the tomatoes, a few at a time, by immersing them in the boiling water to the count of 20, then remove them from the boiling water. This blanching process helps the skins come off easily. (You can also leave the skins on if you like your salsa with skins.)

Peel the skins off the tomatoes.

Chop the tomatoes as finely or as coursely as you'd like your salsa to be using either a food processor or a knife and cutting board or any other chopping method you prefer.

Measure the chopped tomatoes as you finish each batch and put them in the large, 3-gallon pot.

--->It's very important that you wear gloves when cutting peppers to avoid the chemical burns caused by the peppers.<---
With rubber gloves on your hands, cut the peppers, remove all the seeds, and rinse the pepper pieces in cold water. Chop them and add to the pot with the tomatoes.

Peel the onions and garlic cloves. Chop and add them to the pot with the tomatoes and peppers.

Wash the cilantro, removing any discolored leaves and stems. Shake off water or pat dry with a towel , then chop. Add to pot with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic.

Add salt, pepper, vinegar, cumin, brown sugar, and tomato paste. Stir all ingredients together.

Simmer (cook on low) the ingredients in the pot for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until reduced by 1/4, or until it's as thick as you'd like it.

When the salsa is almost finished simmering, wash the canning jars in hot, soapy water. Carefully examine the jars and if you find a crack or chip on a jar, do not use it for canning. Rinse jars in hot water and turn upside-down on a dish drainer or a clean dish towel.

At this time you should also wash the rings and lids. Soften the seals on the lids by placing in boiling water for about one minute or follow directions on the box for preparing the lids.

This is also a good time to begin boiling water in the bottom of pressure canner. There should be 2" of boiling water when you put the jars in.

Use a plastic canning funnel to fill the jars.

Fill the clean jars to 1" of the rim (1" lid space). Remove any salsa from around the rim of the jar with a clean, damp cloth. Place lid on jar, then twist on the ring. Stop twisting when the ring gives resistance. You do not need to tighten further.

Gently place jars in the pressure canner. If your canner is tall enough, you can stack another layer of jars on top of the first layer.

Place lid on canner and tighten. Bring water to a boil and boil for 7 minutes. Steam will escape during this time and allow all the air to vent. At the end of 7 minutes, put the the weights (or, as some folks say, "a jiggler") to the top of the canner. Use 15# weights. Continue to boil until the weights start to jiggle, then begin to gradually lower the temperature, keeping it high enough to keep the weights jiggling.

Begin timing when the weights begin to jiggle. Process the jars on 15# of pressure for 20 minutes. Never leave a pressure canner unattended because it can explode.

At the end of the processing time, remove the jars from the canner and cool overnight on their lids. Clean the jars and store upright for use throughout the winter.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Preserve the Bounty from Your Garden. Make Salsa

We invite you to come to our next food storage meeting and learn how to make and preserve salsa.

The recipe we have will make (to the best of our calculations) approximately 24 pints of salsa. That's a lot of salsa and a lot of ingredients, which is why we are asking for contributions from your garden (or, if you are able) from the grocery store.

If you can bring any of the following vegetables, please leave a note in the comment section and tell us the quantity you can bring. Below is a list of the vegetables we still need.

for Wednesday night:
11# Roma tomatoes (They MUST be Roma!)
2 chili peppers
4 jalapeño peppers
2 banana peppers
1 yellow pepper

for Thursday morning:
2 green peppers
2 chili peppers

So come join us
on Wednesday night, August 18, at the stake center (where we usually meet)
on Thursday morning, August 19, at the Grove City building.

Please remember to bring a knife and cutting board, and two large zip-lock freezer bags.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Year in Review

The following dozen posts review the activities and classes we've held over the past 12 months. We hope you'll browse through them and give us feedback in the comments section. You can comment anonymously (though we hope you'll at least give us your first name and last initial) or if you have a google account, you can sign in and use that so we'll know who you are. You can also send us an email at westlandwelfare [at] gmail [dot] com (minus the spaces and using "@" and "." in place of the words).

Please don't be put off by the lack of photos. We hope to improve and may add photos to these posts or create separate posts with hotos for some of the activities from the past year.

Please give us your feedback so we can learn what will best help you with your food storage.

Thank you for your support over this past year. We sincerely appreciate it.

Bread and Samples in July 2009

Our efforts this month began with a Relief Society Enrichment Meeting devoted to food storage. The Relief Society board planned most of it and the food storage people contributed by helping with information and displays. An important part of the meeting was sampling foods sisters had made from their food storage. Displays included 3 month supply; water; grains; grinders; and varieties of storage methods.

Later in July we had two meetings in which different sisters showed bread-making techniques. Julie G. demonstrated using a Bosch mixer. Jill S. showed us how to make bread by hand, including heat-and-serve rolls. We learned how to make both flour and corn tortillas, and Janni O. demonstrated several storage methods for wheat.

Were these meetings helpful to you? Have you made bread? Did the enrichment meeting encourage you to make progress with your food storage?

Learning from Others in August 2009

This month we had a panel discussion on food storage - how to, when to, where to store, etc. We invited several ward members to be panelists. Few attended this meeting but those who did learned a lot from our more experienced and/or more successful food storing members.

For the second meeting of the month we prepared to discuss nutrition and menu planning. Only one sister attended so we had a small discussion.

If you attended either of these meetings, did you learn helpful information to put to use in your own food storage plan? What questions would you have asked if you didn't attend the meetings but wanted to?

Seasonings and Our Own Food Storage Resource Manual in September 2009

At our first meeting of the month we learned about organizing our food storage resources. Lois M. showed us her food storage binder, organized by category, which she uses as her own personal resource manual. Janni O. taught us how to make yogurt and yogurt cheese.

On September 16 & 17, Rebecca A. shared her knowledge of herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of foods, an especially helpful thing to know if we ever have to live on only our stored foods.

This month we put together a bulk order of herbs and spices at wholesale prices. Sisters ordered as little as 2 ounces or as much as a pound of dozens of different herbs and spices.

Did you organize your food storage information into a manual like Lois'? Has it been helpful? Did you try your hand at some new seasonings for your food? Did you place an order with the bulk herb/spice order? Did you like the herbs/spices you received?

Canning Apples in October 2009

Janni O. taught us how to can apples and applesauce at the first meeting of the month on October 1.

At the meeting on October 15, Mary A. taught us how to put our gardens “to bed” for the winter. Jim O. also shared his method of making compost.

Did you learn anything helpful at either of these meetings? Did you try your hand at canning apples? Did you start a compost pile? Did you put your garden safely to bed for the winter?

Bean Month in November 2009

We proclaimed November “Westland Ward Bean Month” and invited ward members to accept either of two challenges: 1) eat beans once a week for the month, or 2) try a new bean recipe every week. During the month we provided a price comparison chart for different kinds of beans from different stores; a nutrient profile for dried cooked beans; and a cooking chart for a variety of beans.

Because the class on November 5 was cancelled, our only meeting for the month, on November 17, was our Westland Ward Bean Fair. We opened the meeting with a bean bag toss in which everyone told something they knew (or didn’t know) about beans and/or a bean story, memory, or experience. Janni O. and our stake food storage specialist taught us about types of beans and how to store, pick, cook, and can beans. We had samples of a variety of beans for attendees to taste. We also invited ward members to bring a bean dish to share so we could try out different beans and recipes. Many contributed their recipes so that we could make them available to ward members. We had a judge who chose “the best” of several different varieties of foods made with beans and we awarded prizes. We also took orders and payments for a “Bean Run” to the storehouse, bringing back many pounds of beans, dividing them, and making them available for ward members. Looking back, we think this was probably the most successful meeting of the year.

On November 19th, the focus of our activity was “A Food Storage Christmas.” We made Christmas gifts from our food storage. Several sisters showed us how to make the gifts look beautiful for gift-giving.

Beans! Did you attend the Bean Fair? Did you learn anything new about beans? Did you accept either of the challenges for the month? Do you regularly cook with beans these days?

Our Heart's Desire in December 2009

Because December is such a busy month and many people are gone from the middle of the month on, we had only one meeting.

David C. taught a class to help us identify our “heart’s desire” - in any aspect of our lives - and how to achieve our heart’s desire. He taught based on a book by Robert Fritz, The Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life.

During December we also asked ward members to complete a (too long) food storage survey. We learned that all we need to know is what ward members are interested in learning about concerning food storage.

Did the presentation help you identify and achieve a heart's desire in your own life? Did the presentation give you a new way to succeed at something you want to do, be, or have?

Water Storage in January 2010

The meeting on January 21 and 22 focused on water storage. Br. P. explained the physiological needs for water and mentioned some of the side-effects of lack of water.

We learned about quantities, methods, and containers for water storage.

We also discussed water conservation plus a little about purifiers and filters.

We challenged ward members to have enough water stored for each member of their family by April General Conference so they can begin a regular rotation system every six months at conference time.

Did you accept the challenge to store water? Did this meeting encourage you to begin a water storage program, or continue and improve one you already had in place?

Learning about Gardening in February 2010

February was our first gardening month with both meetings focused on the topic. Our stake food storage specialist taught us about choosing and starting seeds; preparing the soil; deciding what and how much to plant; and container gardening. She encouraged us to buy our vegetable plants from a nursery (instead of a local discount store) and explained which plants not to buy. She also gave us a recipe for a natural bug repellant. Tom T. showed us how to make rain barrels.

What did you learn at these meetings that helped your garden grow? Did you learn anything new, try it, and had a successful outcome?

Evaluating, Organizing, and Rotating in March 2010

This month we focused on evaluating, organizing, and rotating our food storage.

Jill S. shared her method for deciding how much she needs to store for her short- and long-term food storage and included details about how her family plans menus.

Tina S. showed us a method she devised to keep track of her nearly-out-of-date foods so she can use them before they expire.

Laura C. shared her method of keeping track of her food storage and explained her method for meal planning.

Did you try out any of the food storage systems that were presented at these meetings? Did they inspire you to make a system of your own? Were these presentations helpful to you?

Gardening Again in April 2010

In April we learned more about planting summer vegetables and how to plant strawberry pots.

In many ways these meetings were so full of information that there's too much to write about.

Did you learn anything about gardening that helped your garden grow better this year? How IS your garden growing?

Lessons from May 2010

May 2010

In our first meeting in May Linda B. taught us how to dehydrate fruits and vegetables and showed us how to make beef jerky. Candace R. told us about seeds for sprouting and explained how to sprout them. We tasted the jerky and several kinds of sprouts.

The second meeting in May was devoted to mixes, both wet and dry. Janni O. showed us how to make bread dough that can be refrigerated for 2 weeks, Six Week Bran Muffins, and shared a recipe for a cornbread mix. Melanie E. shared a brownie mix. And Sherrida U. taught us how to make refrigerated flour tortilla dough so we can make fresh tortillas as often as we choose. Laura C. taught us how to adapt our own recipes to turn them into mixes.

Have you used any of the things you learned at these meetings? Did you try any of the mix recipes? What did you think?

What We Did in June 2010

June 2010

Patty O. taught us how to make strawberry jam, both canned and freezer jams. We tasted jams made with sugar, made with low sugar, and made with “splenda.” Some of us tried our hands at stirring, cooking, and filling jars.

We organized a “Storehouse Saturday” for the ward. About 8 members went to the storehouse together where they purchased and canned foods they wanted to add to their food storage.

At the last meeting in June we learned about canning meat and chicken from Brian S. It was great to have a man teach us about something that some folks think of as “women’s” work.

Did you participate in any of these activities? Did you learn something that you put to use in your own food storage at home? Were they a worthwhile use of your time?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Herbed Flatbread

These are much more like crackers than bread. You could serve them plain, with cheese, or with a vegetable topping like pico de gallo. While these are made with white flour, they would be healthier if made with whole wheat flour.

1 c. warm water

Sprinkle on:
1 tsp. yeast

Stir in:
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 c. flour
2 tsp. coarse salt (less if you use table salt)
1 tsp. sugar

Stir until dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead with floured hands until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Trasnfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough stand in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1/4 c. fresh rosemary or thyme or a combination (or 1/8 c. dried)

Mix together:
1 large egg
1 tblsp water

Divide dough into 16 equal pieces and cover with the plastic wrap. Roll out 1 piece of dough to roughly 4" x 10" on a lightly floured surface. Trasnfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Waxed paper does not work!)

Brush with the egg/water wash.

Sprinkle with:
sea salt
rosemary and/or thyme

Repeat with remaining dough, arranging 4 pieces per baking sheet.

Bake, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until crisp and golden, 18-22 minutes. Let cool on sheets on a wire rack.

from Nancy M. who found it in Martha Stewart Living, June 2010, pp. 115, 172.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Mix together:
1/2 c. margarine
1/2 c. oil or shortening
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c. peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. wheat flour
1 1/2 c. white flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (or more if desired)

Spoon onto cookie sheet and make a criss cross pattern with a fork.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

from Lois M.

"Healthy Snacks from Your Food Storage"

We met for "Healthy Snacks from Your Food Storage" on Wednesday, July 21, and Thursday, July 22, 2010. If you wanted to come but weren't able, here's part of what you missed. (And we missed you!)

Chasten R. shared some ideas and tips about choosing and making healthy snacks for our families and ourselves. In her home their children choose what they want for breakfast and lunch (within reason), but eat what is served at dinner. The children can eat fruits and vegetables whenever and however much they want (but are still expected to eat a full meal). In their pantry they keep a snack basket with foods like popcorn, trail mix, fresh peanuts, raisins, etc. The children must ask permission before eating from the snack basket.

Read labels. She doesn't like to eat prepared foods when she doesn't know what the foods listed on the label are. When you read a label, the ingredient with the highest quantity is listed first, the least ingredient listed last.

Chasten had samples of and recipes for granola, graham crackers, granola bars, Hawaiian bread, and power bars. Chasten's daughter, Cora, demonstrated how to make peanut butter balls, which we sampled.

Resources for her presentation came from Wheat Cookin' Made Easy by Pam Crockett and from Super Healthy Kids. I think her sisters also offered some ideas and her children and some of their friends sampled, reviewed, and gave suggestions for changes to some of the snacks she tried.

Several other people brought snacks to share. You can find many of the recipes from this activity below this post.

BIG THANKS to Chasten and Cora for their time and effort in planning, preparing, and sharing their expertise.

If you came to one of the meetings, is there anything you remember that wasn't included in this post? Did you try any of the recipes?

Granola Bars Basic Recipe

2 c. oats
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. peanut butter
dried fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc., as desired

Press into greased 11" x 13" pan. Dough will be very dry and crumbly, but press until dough forms with pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges are browned. Take out and let cool entirely. Cut into strips and store in snack size bags.

from Chasten R. who found it at Super Healthy Kids.


6 c. oats
1 c. chopped almonds
1/3 c. sesame seeds
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1-2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. olive oil (or canola oil)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. honey
2 tblsp. vanilla

Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
Pour onto cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-27 minutes.

from Chasten R. who found it at Super Healthy Kids.

Whole Wheat Graham Crackers

While these crackers are not thin like store-bought graham crackers, they are healthy, pure, and delicious. Though graham flour is slightly different from regular whole wheat flour, regular whole wheat flour is a substitute for graham flour.

Graham flour is made from whole wheat flour but it is ground differently. The OSU Extension explains that the "germ, bran, and endosperm are separated and ground separately. The bran and germ are ground coarsely, the endosperm is ground finely, and then they are mixed together. Since graham flour and other whole-wheat flour contain the wheat germ, bran, and endosperm, they are higher in nutrient value than regular all-purpose flour and enriched or self-rising flour."

In a small bowl mix:
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. water
2 tblsp. lemon juice

In a large bowl beat well:
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla
2 beaten eggs

Add the following and mix well:
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
8-10 c. whole wheat pastry flour

When well mixed, divide into four equal portions. The dough will be the consistency of thick cookie dough.

Place each portion on a greased and floured cookie sheet and roll out to 1/8 inch thick. (It's important to roll it out ON the pan, not before and try to transfer.)

Prick with a fork and bake in 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Immediately cut into squares and remove to cooling rack.

from Chasten R. who modified the recipe found in Wheat Cookin' Made Easy.

Did you try them? What did you think?

Snack Ideas

These are some ideas for healthy snacks that Chasten shared with us

whole wheat pretzels
whole wheat graham crackers
granola -- mix in yogurt, eat plain, as cereal
peanut butter balls
power bars
Hawaiian bread
granola bars
dried fruit
trail mix
scoop of peanut butter
coconut milk smoothies

These ideas came from Wheat Cookin' Made Easy and Super Healthy Kids.

What other ideas for healthy snacks can you share with us? What do you and family like to eat?

Fruit Pops

Fruit Pops #1
Pour canned fruit cocktail with juice into small paper dixie cups. Freeze overnight. Peel off paper and enjoy.

Fruit Pops #2
Mix powdered milk, add frozen or canned fruit and 1/4 c. sugar. Blend in blender. Enjoy the smoothie. Freeze for 3 hours for a thick slushie. Pour into popsicle mold and freeze overnight for popsicles.

from Chasten R.

Cereal Power Bars

The directions say to cool before eating. Chasten wrote, "We didn't cool... We ate, and ate them pretty hot and pretty fast." I guess that tells you something about how good this recipe is. If you buy these ingredients in bulk or stock up on them when you find them on sale and keep them in your food storage, it will be an easy choice to make this healthy recipe.

Line a 13" x 9" pan with foil and spray.

Mix together:
1 2/3 c. cereal (any bran flake type should work)
8 dates, chopped and pitted
1/2 c. coconut
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 can white beans (white kidney or Great Northern) pureed or chopped

Mix in:
1/3 c. honey
3 tblsp. melted butter
2 tblsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
dash salt
1 c. cinnamon chips (This was the best part!!)

Spread in lined pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until edges are browned. Cool completely.

From Chasten R. who found it at Super Healthy Kids.

What did you think? Did you finish off the pan before the bars had cooled?

Whole Grain Breakfast Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine and cream till fluffy:
5 tblsp. butter, softened
3 tblsp. canola or vegetable oil
1/2 c. brown sugar

Add and mix in:
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

Stir in:
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Stir in individually and mix after each:
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1/2 c. wheat germ

Stir in:
1 c. combination cranberries and raisins, minced

Roll into 1" balls and place on cookie sheets with at least 2" between them.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Don't let them get too brown unless you like them crunchy. Cool on cookie sheets for a few mintues before transferring to a cooling rack.

Notes from the baker: When I baked these, I check them halfway through the baking time and they were still round balls with no indication of flattening. I removed the cookie sheet from the oven, flattened the balls with the bottom of a glass, and returned them to the over until finished. Yours may flatten just fine.

Other dried fruit would work, too.

I think these would work well pressed into a jelly roll or cake pan, scored into granola bar shapes, baked, then broken apart or cut while warm.

I didn't have wheat germ on hand so substituted whole wheat flour.

from Nancy M. who found it at Prudence Pennywise.

Hawaiian Bread

This is a very moist cake which keeps for several days.

Mix together:
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter
2 eggs
1 can crushed pineapple with juice (12-20 ounces)
1/2 c. grated coconut
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tblsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Put in a bread pan. Sprinkle the top with extra coconut, a little brown sugar, and some nuts.

Bake in oven set at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until cooked all the way through. (Test by poking a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, it's finished. If not, let bake a little longer.)

Recipe shared by Chasten R. who found it at Super Healthy Kids.

Did you try this recipe? What did you think? Did you make any substitutions and if so, how did they work?

Peanut Butter Balls

This is a super easy recipe that children may enjoy making. Though you freeze the balls for a brief time, store in the refrigerator (if they last that long) and allow to stand at room temperature a few minutes before serving. The added bonus of this recipe is that every ingredient is probably part of your food storage. If you run out of everything else, you and your family can still have a healthy, slightly sweet snack.

Mix together:
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 c. powdered milk
1 c. quick oats
1/2 c. honey

Form into 1" balls and place on a plate. Freeze for 10-30 minutes.

From Chasten R.

Did you try these? Did your family like them? How long did they last?

Molasses Coconut Lunch Box Bars

Beat together until well mixed:
3 eggs
1/2 c. honey

Gradually beat in:
1/2 c. light molasses
1/2 c. butter, melted

Mix and sift together:
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. mace

Blend the flour/spice mixture into the molasses mixture.

Stir in:
4 oz. flaked coconut
1 c. raisins

Turn into greased 15" x 10" jelly roll pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Spread with powdered sugar glaze if desired. Cut into bars.

from Chasten R.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

While yogurt is not exactly quick to make, it is very easy and requires very little hands-on time. And by making it yourself you can control the ingredients.

It's best to use a stainless steel pan to make yogurt but enamel or glass will also work. Glass can go into the microwave and the oven.

You do not have to sterilize your equipment but it helps to make sure all cookware is really clean and rinsed well. (The extension service suggested that you wash everything in bleach water using 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water.) If foreign "things" get into the yogurt, the quality will not be what you would like it to be. (If you have "redippers" (people who eat out of the container) in your family they can spoil your yogurt with one dip of a spoon with saliva on it. )

1 gallon whole milk (2% will also work but the yogurt will be thinner)
1 cup start (unflavored yogurt with live and active cultures or reserved from a previous batch or yogurt)

Put the stainless steel pan on the stove and add water to cover the bottom.
Put the lid on and bring water to a rolling boil. This helps prevent the milk from scorching and film does not form on the bottom of the pan, which makes cleaning easier. When cleaning this pan later, use cold water to clean it first. (You can use a double boiler to heat the milk if you prefer.)

When the water boils, pour in the milk. Bring milk to a temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit (F.) over low/medium heat. You can cover the pot with a lid. If a skin forms on the milk, remove it.

When temperature reaches 185 degrees F., remove the milk from the heat and let it cool to 120-110 degrees F. You can let it cool naturally for best results or if you're in a hurry, you can place it over a pan of cold water, in which case the texture may change a little.

When cooled, add a little of the milk into the yogurt start, then stir that mixture into the larger batch of milk.

Incubate the yogurt by putting it in a jar or other large, lidded container. Put this in a draft-free place to incubate. The environment for incubation should be fairly warm. You can 1) heat your oven to 170 degrees F. then turn it off and keep the pilot light on with the yogurt inside; 2) pour hot tap water into a cooler to 3-4" deep, then place the jar/container into the cooler; or 3) pour the yogurt into a large thermos.

Incubate the yogurt for about 3 hours. The longer you leave it, the more "bright" the flavor will be - not ruined, just more "bright."

After incubation put the yogurt in a lined colander and let sit until it drains to the consistency you like. I drain mine in the refrigerator but it drains faster at room temperature. The longer you drain it, the firmer it becomes until you get a soft cheese.

This yogurt keeps in the refrigerator about a week.

The liquid that drains from the yogurt is whey and can be stored for about a week. It can be used in baking to replace the liquid. It's excellent for use in bread.

Instant Powdered Milk Yogurt

Mix together:
2 1/2 cups powdered milk or 4 1/2 cups instant powdered milk
3 cups tepid water

1 quart tepid water

Incubate and check after 3 hours. (This took longer to ripen than fresh, whole-milk yogurt.)

Here is a link to another yogurt recipe and suggestions for ways to use it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Flour Tortilla Mix

from Sherrida U.

This is a wet mix which can be stored in the refrigerator at least a week. You can have fresh tortillas every day!

Flour Tortilla Mix
2 cups hot water
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup oil
2 cups whole wheat flour

Mix and add to above mixture:
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour

Add flour until the dough becomes soft and elastic.

Roll dough thin.

Cook in a non-stick or cast iron frying pan heated to sizzling hot. (You can tell it's sizzling hot when a drop of water splashed onto the pan sizzles.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Six Week Muffins

This is a wet mix for bran muffins which can be stored up to six weeks in the refrigerator. This recipe comes from Janni O. who altered the original recipe to make it healthier, more moist, and definitely more delicious than the original. Below you can find both versions.

Original Six Week Muffins

Combine in a large mixing bowl:
1 quart buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil

Add & let soak in the liquids until moistened:
1 package raisin bran cereal (17 ounces)

In another bowl, combine:
3 cups granulated sugar (or sweetener)
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons baking soda

Add dry ingredients to cereal mixture, then stir just until everything is moistened.

Stir in:
1 cup dried fruit or nuts (or stir in just before baking to add more variety)

Line muffin pans with cupcake papers or grease pans well. Fill cups almost full. Let sit 15 minutes before baking.

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until they test done.

Store leftover batter in a covered container and refrigerate for up to 6 weeks. To make muffins from refrigerated batter, dip out the batter into muffin tins without stirring. Bake as directed above.

Over-mixing can cause tunneling (air holes) in the muffins.
To sour milk, add 1 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar to a measuring cup, then add milk to equal one cup. Let stand till it coagulates, about 10 minutes, then use to replace the buttermilk.

Janni's Healthy Version of Six Week Muffins

Combine in a large bowl:
2 cups hot apple juice
1 quart buttermilk
2 large eggs (or 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute)
7/8 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add & let soak till moistened:
1 package raisin bran cereal (15 ounces)

Combine in another bowl:
3 cups granulated sugar (or sugar substitute) (or 1 cup brown sugar + 1/2 cup honey)
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (less if using table salt)
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Add above dry mix to wet cereal mixture, then stir jutil till everything is moistened.

Fold in:
1 cup dried fruit or nuts now (or add just before cooking for more variety)

Line muffin pans with cupcake papers or grease pans well. Fill cups almost full. Let sit 15 minutes before baking.

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until they test done.

Store leftover batter in a covered container and refrigerate for up to 6 weeks. To make muffins from refrigerated batter, dip out the batter into muffin tins without stirring. Bake as directed above.

Notes: Over-mixing can cause tunneling (air holes) in the muffins.
To sour milk, add 1 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar to a measuring cup, then add milk to equal one cup. Let stand till it coagulates, about 10 minutes, then use to replace the buttermilk.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chocolate Brownie Mix

from Melanie E.

This recipe is as good or better than store-bought mixes. It may not be less expensive, but you know exactly what's in your mix.

Chocolate Brownie Mix

Combine and stir well:
4 cups flour
1 tablespoons + 1 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
8 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups cocoa

Mix (cut in) until it resembles course meal:
2 cups shortening

Makes 16 cups. Store in airtight container for up to 6 weeks.

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Quick and Easy Brownies

Combine and stir until well mixed:
3 cups brownie mix (from above)
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Spoon into a greased and flowered 8-inch pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Add-A-Crunch Oat Topping

Serve as a topping over fruit salad, fruit, yogurt, frozen yogurt, ice cream, or pudding. Also great on bran muffins.


Combine and mix well:
1 1/4 c. uncooked oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup wheat germ or processed bran or nuts
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cook in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Spread onto ungreased cookie sheet to cool. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator up to 3 months.

Makes 2 cups.

A note from Janni: I put my Add-A-Crunch in the oven at 270 degrees for 15-20 minutes and skip burning it in a skillet when I get distracted.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Whole Wheat Tortillas

We tried those whole wheat tortillas again last night and I found them just as good as the first time. They are really flexible after being cooked so you can make wraps easily. I don't know if they remain soft like that as we never have any left to store. I am trying Sherrida's method of storing them in the frig before cooking and will let you know how they do.

Anyway I promised to give this recipe to the sisters the night we learned mixes. Below is the video I watched. You can also see the video and detailed, step-by-step photos and instructions at
Novel Eats. I made them without the machine, though the blender is needed to process the oat and walnuts. I like this especially with white wheat.

Whole Wheat Tortillas
This recipe makes about 16 8- to 10-inch tortillas

2 cups hot water
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts (I think you could probably also use pecans)
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups white flour
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Blend together the hot water, rolled oats, walnuts and salt for a couple of minutes. If you have a high power blender you can probably get away with less time, but lower powered blenders probably need a full two or three minutes.

While your liquid mixture is blending, stir together the white and whole wheat flours in a large mixing bowl.

Pour your liquid mixture into the flour and mix. Mix by hand until you can knead it. Knead until soft and everything is incorporated 3 to 4 min. Let sit 10 min and roll out golf ball size dough balls. This is very easy to roll and can be made really thin.