Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Italian White Bean Soup

Funny story.  I made this recipe from my head yesterday, I wrote down the ingredients on a recipe card so I wouldn't forget, because it turned out so great, and then when I went to put it away in my recipe box, I had already written down the exact same recipe.  A few years ago, I created the exact same thing, and wrote it down.  I guess I really thought these ingredients would be great together.  There is one addition to the recipe this last time around...Balsamic Vinegar.  I am in love with balsamic vinegar.  I found a really wonderful one at Costco, it is so sweet and fragrant.  Adding a little at the end of your cooking time with this soup adds another dimesion of flavor.  This is a really simple recipe, but it is worth writing down twice.  Hope you'll try it and love it too.

Italian White Bean Soup

Fills a big crock pot, feeds my family of 7.  You could easily half this.

1 1/2 lbs Great Northern Beans, soaked overnight, drained, cooked until soft, and drained thoroughly again
6 cups chicken stock
2 small cans diced tomatoes (mine had onions, celery and green peppers in them)
Smoked sausage, cut into bite size pieces
1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
1 medium onion
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Soak, rinse and cook white beans, rinse thoroughly.  Add beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, and spices to crock pot. 

Saute' onion, garlic, and sausage in 1 tbsp olive oil until onions are translucent.  If you add onions to the pan first, it will protect the garlic from burning.  Add all to crock pot.

Cook on low for 6 hours.  Before serving, stir in balsamic vinegar. 

I serve mine with a spoonful of brown rice in the middle of the bowl on top of the soup, with a little mozzarella cheese, and on mine I like to add a little extra balsamic vinegar.  The brown rice served with the beans actually creates a complete protein.  You could easily leave the sausage out and have a fantastic vegetarian meal.

(Always make sure you cook your beans before adding them to any recipe with tomatoes, or vinegar.  They drastically slow the cooking process, and you wind up with hard beans.  Plus if you rinse your beans well after you cook them and before you add them to your recipe, it can lower the gassiness:)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Beans, Beans, Beans

We had a wonderful bean class in January for our evening Relief Society Meeting.  I will share recipes as I try them, but I did learn one thing that I think will change my attitude about using dry beans.  I am terrible about pre-planning meals, especially a whole 24 hours in advance, so I never plan far enough in advance to rinse and cook dry beans.  Did you know that you could cook up a bunch of beans and then freeze them in baggies?  Then, when you want to add them to a recipe, you just pull the amount you need out of the freezer.  Also, freezing softens the beans even more, so if you have old beans that are having trouble softening them up, pop them in the freezer after you cook them.

The last time I cooked a batch of beans, I soaked them overnight, then I rinsed them about 8 times.  Then I cooked them until soft, and rinsed them well again.  The rinsing seemed to help how they affected my family's tummies.

I can't wait to try some new recipes, or make some up on my own!!

77 Things That Will Be Gone From The Stores In An Emergency

I got this information from Adam's Aunt Angie.  Thanks so much for sharing.

The following is a list of items that get cleared out of the stores when people go into panic mode. I just thought I'd pass it along for your consideration, as you think about the things you might want to
keep in your storage. Maybe print this off and highlight what YOUR family might want in an emergency... plan now to get a few here and there. :)

Top 77 Items That Will Be Gone Before You Get There

2. batteries
3. flashlights
4. ice
5. candles
6. matches
7. toilet paper
8. paper plates & paper towels
9. heavy duty aluminum foil
10. water filters
11. flour
12. sugar
13. milk
14. powdered milk
15. Gatorade
16. canned soup
17. soup mixes
18. bouillon cubes
19. hand-held can openers
20. dry cereal
21. diapers
22. wet wipes
23. baby food
24. baby formula
25. sanitary napkins & tampons
26. bath soap
27. laundry detergent
28. waterless hand sanitizer
29. disinfectant
30. bleach
31. trash bags
32. re-sealable plastic bags
33. toothpaste
34. toothbrushes
35. shampoo & conditioner
36. shaving equipment
37. lanterns
38. lantern fuel
39. lantern wicks or mantles
40. butane igniter
41. charcoal grills
42. charcoal
43. camp stoves
44. propane for camp stoves
45. pocket knife
46. army knife
47. vitamin supplements
48. antacids
49. antibiotics
50. rubbing alcohol
51. hydrogen peroxide
52. laxative and diarrhea remedies
53. antihistamine
54. Epsom salts
55. bandages
56. sterile gauze pads
57. first-aid tape
58. portable toilets
59. 5-gallon plastic buckets
60. gas-driven generators
61. gasoline storage containers
62. duct tape
63. chain-saws
64. cast iron dutch oven
65. cast iron frying pan
66. bug spray
67. mouse traps
68. mouse bait (d-con)
69. thermal underwear
70. insulated coveralls
71. heavy work gloves
72. boots / rain gear
73. band saws
74. axes
75. solar panels
76. hand-crank radios
77. canvas and nylon tarps

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Homemade Granola Bars

I got this recipe from Destenee's Activity Days teacher. Isabel's favorite snack in the world is Quaker Chocolate Chip Granola Bars. These taste just like them, and they're homemade. All of these ingredients are things you can have on your storage shelf. They are so yummy. There are a few variations I've tried, and some work better than others.

Dry Ingredients
2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
2 tbsp flax seed

Sugar Mixture
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup or honey (corn syrup works better, but the honey is good. You could try half and half to see if they stick together better)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Final addition
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or butterschotch chips)

1. prepare a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray (my metal pans worked better than glass pans)
2. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients so they are ready for the hot sugar mixture.
3. In a sauce pan, make sugar mixture. Combine brown sugar, corn syrup and honey; bring to a full boil and allow to boil 1 minute. Turn down heat and add peanut butter and vanilla, stirring quickly until smooth.
4. Work quickly - pour the hot sugar mixture over dry ingredients and use two wooden spoons to thoroughly combine ingredients. Stir in chips LAST so they don't melt in the hot mixture.
5. Press mixture very firmly into prepared pan. Keep pressing down until your bars are dense in order to keep them from crumbling later when you cut them.
6. When cool, use a sharp knife to cut into 18 bars ( 1 cut lengthwise and then 9 cuts across)

The possibilities are endless. I wanted more nuts and no dried fruit, but you can substitute raisins, currants, etc. for the 2nd portion of nuts. We've used butterscotch chips, they are wonderful. Make them to your family's tastes. Adam hates peanut butter, so I leave the peanut butter out and add more corn syrup. If you use 1 cup corn syrup, with no peanut butter or honey, they stick together very well and closely resemble the Quaker bars. My family loves these. The peanut butter and honey mixture is more crumbly, but they are so yummy.

Wheat Mills

Part of our bread making class was discussing wheat mills. Having a good wheat mill makes all the difference to your bread because the condition of your flour affects how your bread turns out. Adam's parents gave me a wheat mill several years ago for Christmas, and it happens to be the brand our teacher recommended. It's one of the things you may need to save up for, but having the right tools in your kitchen is an investment. Here is the link to the site for the wheat mills.

Making Whole Wheat Bread

In February, our Relief Society did a whole-wheat bread making class. Most of us have mixers, and can make bread much quicker than by hand, but it is a skill we should have in our back pocket should we need it. We had sisters learning to make bread and sisters who were pros at it, working together. The mentoring made such a difference. You really have to learn what the dough feels like when it's ready, and it was so helpful to have someone there to give me tips. Here is the recipe we used at the class, it makes just one loaf of bread and works great for learning how to make bread by hand.

Whole Wheat Bread
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1 cup warm water
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp instant yeast

In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of water (at a temperature of 110 to 120 degrees) with one cup of flour and the salt, honey, yeast, oil and milk. Stir well.

Mix in the remaining flour and stir until the dough starts to pull away from the bowl.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 6 to 10 minutes. You may need to add more flour a little at a time through this process.

Shape into a loaf and put in a lightly greased loaf pan. Loosely cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 30 to 60 minutes until the doughg rises approximately one inch above pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the loaf in the center of the oven and cook for about 40 minutes. After 20 minutes loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil, test if the wheat bread is done by thumping the bottom of the bread, it should sound hollow. Let bread cool on a rack, then serve.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sanitation Kit

I am so excited! Adam had a campout this weekend, and he wanted to make sure the boys had "outdoor facilities." He went to the Army/Navy store in our town and bought a toilet seat and a 5-gallon bucket. He also got these great bags with some bio-dust that breaks down & neutralize the waste, and they seal up, so you can throw them in the trash. Now we have our alternative potty, in case the water is out and we can't flush the toilets. These are the necessities for a home sanitation kit:

5-gallon bucket
Toilet seat that fits a 5-gallon bucket
Heavy-duty trash bags
Can of disinfectant (Lysol)

This was an easy project to complete. And we discovered the Army/Navy store! They have all sorts of great survival supplies. We're going to make a list and try to get one thing every month. When planning for emergencies, don't forget your potty!