Food Storage

Learning to be self-reliant is more than a checklist, it is a way of life. Here at Deals to Meals, we tell you exactly how to prepare for the future. We teach how to stockpile on a budget and put together a simple emergency preparedness plan. We have hundreds of tips, free downloads and recipes that can help your family feel more prepared today!

 

DTM Giveaway: Thrive Intro Pack and Food Storage Made Easy Book {Value $125}
April 11, 2017 | No Category | Deals to Meals

For the next few Tuesday’s we will be introducing you to our new, amazing contributors. Each of them we personally selected because we feel…

 

Saved $235.35 on Groceries–Last Week of Case Lot Sales to Stock Up
April 5, 2017 | No Category | Shandra

I wanted to share a post from my dear friend Ellen Johnson (who just happens to be a contributor on this blog). Not only is she the most amazing chef, but she has become a shopping connoisseur over th…

 

Friday Food Storage Faves: Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets
March 31, 2017 | No Category | Shandra

Over 10 years ago I started this blog to help my friends and family learn to cook from their food storage. For a long while my recipes all revolved around items you could store long term, and how to i…

 

Homemade Freezer Chili
October 3, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

Chili is what we’re talking about over at our house this weekend. One of my favorite parts about fall are all of the delicious soup recipes. It’s not officially fall until I make my HUGE batch of homemade chili. There really isn’t anything better in my book…

 

Fall Favorite Recipes: Pumpkin Rosemary Rolls with Garlic Butter
October 3, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

For those that follow our Instagram feed, you might have noticed the post I made about a few new fall recipes I was excited to share with you this week. We had our annual Holiday Kick Off Party over t…

 

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Bread
August 31, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

In case you have some extra zucchini’s in your garden, here’s a delicious recipe for Triple Chocolate Zucchini Bread for you. Who doesn’t love zucchini bread? Combine zucchini with three different kinds of chocolate and you have me sold! Hope you love this …

 

Southwestern Shredded Pork Stuffed Bell Peppers
August 25, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

 Do you ever have leftover meat from a previous meal and you’re unsure what to do with it next? The other day we had tons of smoked, pulled pork that my neighbor gave to us that we had already eaten for dinner the nights before. It was amazing on a sandwich w…

 

Mimi Cafe’s Copycat Honey Bran Muffin Recipe
August 22, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

  Happy Monday everyone! I’m excited to share with you another one of my favorite things and products I would be sad to live without. This giveaway and post is all about muffins. Anyone who follows my blog knows I am a HUGE fan of muffins. I make them on a weekly …

 

Nectarine Infused Waffles and Nectarine Chicken Kabobs with CousCous
August 9, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

  Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I am still working day and night on our new blog and it’s seeming to take all of my free time to blog. Thanks for being patient with me 😉 I can&#8…

 

Beach Street Chicken Lemon Linguine
August 5, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

  I mentioned on Instagram earlier this week one of my all-time favorite meals. In case there is someone out there who hasn’t tried this recipe, you are missing out. Don’t wait another week to give this recipe a try. It is such an unusual pasta dish with dif…

 

Homemade Apricot Syrup and Fluffy Blueberry Apricot Pancakes
July 21, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

I don’t know about you, but I love fresh apricots. We are in full-blown apricot season here in Utah. We have several sweet neighbors who have been so kind and shared their harvest of apricots. I…

 

Healthy Hulk Green Pancakes {with Spinach and Bananas}
July 6, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

  No, it’s not your eyes. These pancakes are meant to be green. Before you mock them, or disregard this recipe, give them a try! We served these for a family breakfast this past weekend and…

 

America’s Test Kitchen Best Blueberry Muffins
June 25, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

  Before this week ended, I wanted to share my go-to recipe for blueberry muffins. If you are used to making your muffins from a box, look no further, this recipe is SO much better and not much m…

 

Cherry Jubilee Waffles with Cherry Syrup
June 16, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

Just when you think I’ve shared every combination of breakfast waffles and pancakes your way (yes, remember those Beet Pancakes? J), I thought I’d share another fun twist to your traditional waffle recipe. Not to mention, these could be the perfect breakfast in bed for a…

 

Thai Peanut Coconut Rice Bowl or Wrap
June 3, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

  Anyone who knows me, knows that Thai food is probably my favorite type of food of all time. There is something about a creamy, peanut coconut sauce that speaks to my heart. Pair that with some seasoned chicken, brown rice, cabbage, carrots and bell peppers and you hav…

 

Easy Creamy Rice Pudding
May 13, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

  Rice pudding is a favorite at our house. I know some people could take or leave it, but it is a breakfast or dessert that my family loves—no matter the time of year. Anytime I have extra rice on hand, I love to whip up a batch of rice pudding to have in the [&hellip…

 

Quinoa Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
May 11, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

  If you were to ask me what my number one snack is that I make for my kids, it would definitely be muffins. I LOVE making muffins! I can’t even count the number of muffin recipes I have posted on this blog. Every time I go to make one, I am surprised there is [&h…

 

Copycat Chicken & Sausage Gumbo Soup {Rib and Chop}
May 9, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

Here in Utah it is supposed to be a littler warmer than it was last week (yay!), but I can’t help but share a new soup recipe my family LOVED this past week. Now that it’s starting to warm…

 

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup
April 29, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

It seems the more that comes out about the benefits of eating a ‘clean’ diet, the more I try and steer clear of as much processed foods as possible. For my large family of 7, I know I can not get away from all processed foods, but I’m doing the best I can t…

 

3 Simple Meat Extenders to save you money! Favorite Tip to save on Beef!
April 26, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

I am SO excited to share this post with you. I have been using this technique for so long, I don’t even remember where it originated from. If you are like me, I have a hard time spending $3-$6 a…

 

The Habit Copycat Super Food Salad
April 25, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

Over the weekend we went to The Habit Burger with some family for a birthday lunch and they had a new salad they were featuring called the “Super Food Salad“.  My Grandmother got and it was delicious. I loved the idea of the healthy quinoa, all of the fresh …

 

Homemade French Bread Video
April 19, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

  Subscribe to Deals to Meals on YouTube so you don’t miss any of our cooking videos. This is our most popular recipe on our blog {Homemade French Bread}, so we thought we’d show you how simple it is to make. Hope you love it! If you do, pass it along, would…

 

Simple Blender Wheat Waffles
April 15, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

 One of my favorite food storage recipes on this blog has to be these Blender Wheat Waffles. Not only because they are fantastic, but because they are one of the best ways to use your whole-kernel wheat without having a wheat grinder. Many people store wheat but haven&#…

 

Vanilla (White Bean) Cupcakes
April 1, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

  For our Flashback Friday this week I wanted to highlight our recipe for cutting out some of the fat in one of our favorite desserts–cupcakes! Who doesn’t love a good ol’ cupcake every now and then? Well, why not cut out the fat in the cake portion by…

 

Happy National Pancake Day: 15 of Our Favorite Pancake Recipes
March 9, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

Who knew that today was national pancake day? I couldn’t let the day end without sharing with you some of my favorite pancake recipes. I have to admit, I may be biased, but I think we have a pre…

 

Homemade Granola and Yogurt Parfaits
March 4, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

A vacation is not a vacation (to me anyway) without my gallon ziploc bag of homemade granola. It makes for the perfect, healthy snack, eaten as cereal for breakfast, or used in these delicious yogurt parfaits. The Costco in California had the most amazing, large blueberries …

 

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
February 19, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

  Before baking season comes to an ed, you need to make a batch of this Cinnamon Swirl Bread. This bread has all of the flavor and texture we love about cinnamon rolls, but put together in a much easier, simpler recipe. This Cinnamon Bread is delicious with our Cinnamon…

 

Friday Flashback: 2 Favorite Healthy Breakfasts {Apple Wheat Pancakes and Blender Brown Rice Pancakes}
January 29, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

It’s the weekend and I couldn’t be happier! What a busy week. Not sure what it was about this week, but I’m just so relieved it&#821…

 

NEW Healthy Lifestyle Blog Posts: Cranberry Almond Steel Cut Oats
January 5, 2016 | No Category | Shandra

  Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for being patient as I was taking a little break from the blogging world and enjoying the week with my family. We had a great time hanging out at home, relaxi…

 

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes
November 6, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

  It is the weekend, yay! Are you as excited as I am? What a week! That means pumpkin breakfasts of some kind around our house in November. Whether it’s Pumpkin Waffles, Pumpkin Oatmeal, Pumpkin Quinoa or Pumpkin Pancakes, we are all about pumpkin this time of yea…

 

Creamy White Chicken Chili
October 21, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

    Last night was one of those nights I needed a meal that was quick and fast. One of my favorite benefits to having a well stocked pantry and food storage is you can make complete meals without having to run to the store. Most of this recipe is all about dumping …

 

{Flashback Friday} Pumpkin Monkey Bread
October 16, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

I was going through some of my favorite fall recipes (yes, we have our 3rd ebook coming out next week–yipee!), and I found a recipe for these Pumpkin Monkey Bread that I LOVE! It’s been a few years since I posted this recipe, so I thought I would bring it out of …

 

{Flashback Friday} Pumpkin Oatmeal Bake
October 9, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

  Keeping with the monthly theme of pumpkin, I couldn’t help but repost about a favorite fall breakfast that I might just make all year long. I love this pumpkin oatmeal! Not only because it is ultra healthy, but also because it tastes like everything fall all put…

 

Copycat Recipe: Costco’s Spicy Avocado Hummus Dip
October 6, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

      Are you as addicted to Costco’s Spicy Avocado Hummus as I am? I LOVE this stuff! Every time I go to Costco I can’t help but pick up a container of this good stuff. The…

 

Amazing Case Lot Deals–save $100’s on your groceries throughout the year!
September 9, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

Yes, it’s that time again! Case lot time comes every fall and spring and so all of the case lot sales here in the Western United States are in f…

 

Perfectly Peach Waffles with Peach Syrup
September 7, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

  We are all about peaches over here at our house lately. It seems the peach season seems to sneak up on me every year. I have had big, beautiful peaches falling from our tree for several weeks now and I finally decided to bottle them yesterday. Why does that never soun…

 

Sweet Thai Chicken Pizza on Whole Grain Pizza Crust
August 6, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

  You have not had the perfect homemade pizza until you have tried this Sweet Thai Chicken Pizza! The flavor is unreal good! We have a local pizza restaurant called Rock Creek Pizza. They have th…

 

Best Macaroni Salad
June 24, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

   How was your Father’s Day weekend? We had a great time and played our annual Father’s Day Challenge of Kids vs. Dads. It was a riot! One of these days when I have a few minutes, I will give you all of the details. It’s such a fun way to celebra…

 

Bruschetta Balsamic Chicken and Pasta
June 15, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

  This dish is awesome for summer!! I loved EVERYTHING about this recipe. I am so excited to share it with you! We had it last night and I was thrilled I had leftover’s for lunch today. It was just as fantastic today as it was yesterday. This dish is light, fresh,…

 

Flash Back Friday {Lemon Chicken Pesto Pasta}
May 29, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

Today’s Flash Back Friday recipe is in honor of me finally planting my garden! We have had so much rain lately that it was hard to find a dry day to get my garden in. But now that I have, I am anxiously counting down the days when I’ll have fresh basil and garden…

 

Simple Slow Cooker Baked Beans
May 21, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

      Before Memorial Day gets here and you are scrambling to figure out what to cook for your get togethers, I thought I would share with you some of my go-to, quick barbeque recipes. Most of us don’t have all day to spend prepping for weekend parties, …

 

Little America’s Bran Muffins with Caramel Glaze
April 24, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

I decided I wanted to start a ‘Flashback Friday’ post. There are so many hundreds of recipes, I wanted to highlight each week some of the posts that we might have forgotten about–but…

 

Super Healthy Granola–Chia Seeds, Flax Seed, Quinoa and Oats
April 13, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

   If you have followed my blog for awhile you know I love granola. If we don’t have a tupperware of granola in our pantry my family doesn’t know how to function. They forget tha…

 

Vegetarian Black Bean Lasagna
April 9, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

  Vegetarian. Black beans. Lasagna. What?!? Those three things don’t seem to go together, right? Well, let me tell you. They do! And they go together beautifully, as strange as this recipe sounds. My friend made this lasagna for a large gathering and sent me home …

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes
March 29, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

  This past weekend I was craving a chocolate chip cookie. I’m not sure why, it just sounded good. This morning I went on a long run and was excited to come home and make something yummy and filled with carbs (why else would I run?! :).  I decided to take my …

 

Brown Rice Blender Pancakes {Gluten Free}
January 30, 2015 | No Category | Shandra

  Just when I think I have made every type of pancake there could be, I found another one we all LOVE! The best part about this recipe too, is it’s actually quite healthy and gluten free. My sister is having problems lately with gluten and so we have been playing …

 

Parmesan Rosemary Foccacia Bread {America’s Test Kitchen}
December 18, 2014 | No Category | Diana Suker

  My sister is the queen of making great bread. She is very methodical and patient with recipes (which I am not!) and is great at following recipes exactly as they are intended (again..which I am…

 

Slow Cooker Cranberry Orange Chicken
November 12, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

If there was an award for a recipe with the most vibrant, beautiful color, I think this recipe would take home the ribbon. Look how pretty this dish is. It screams Christmas to me. Not only the fresh orange and cranberry flavor but the beautiful deep red color of the sauce, …

 

Fluffy Apple Wheat Pancakes
November 8, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

  Did this week fly by to anyone else but me? I can’t believe it’s the weekend already.  Is it just me, or do you feel like the older you get the quicker every day goes? I am still in shock that I am listening to Christmas music on the radio again. That…

 

Blender Bottled Applesauce–Easiest Recipe EVER!
October 27, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

  One of my favorite memories as a child was when my Mom would spend an afternoon making homemade applesauce.  We used to pick the apples off our tree and help my Mom core the apples, boil t…

 

Freezer Homemade Chili
October 22, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

  There is a recipe that I make once a year, every year of my adult life. I have been making this Homemade Chili recipe for over 10 years now and have never been good about keeping track of how and what I add to this recipe. A friend of mine wanted me to get […]

 

Strawberry Infused Waffles with Butter Syrup
October 9, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

  I know it’s not really strawberry season anymore, but I’m afraid that if I hide away this recipe until spring I might never find it again..and I would devastated! I’m not sure how I skipped over sharing this recipe this summer but when I found these …

 

Favorite Tip to Use and Rotate your Whole Grains
October 2, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

If I had to give people one tip on how to use up their food storage, it would be to learn to incorporate whole grains into your everyday cooking and baking. The easiest way I have found to do this is to substitute half of any flour portion of a recipe with a whole grain [&he…

 

Easy Bean and Cheese Burritos
September 19, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

  Do you ever need a super-simple-easy-peasy recipe to make for dinner? This recipe is the one for you! I can not think of a time when we have gone on vacation and I haven’t brought this meal to make for our family (or our kids). One of the ways we save a lot of […

 

10 Day Meal Plan & LOTS of food storage items for only $198!
August 15, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

I went shopping yesterday and had an absolute riot! There were SO many great food storage deals that I could hardly contain myself and the smile on my face 😉 By the end of my shopping spree I had p…

 

Simple Naan Bread
August 14, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

  Naan bread goes with Indian food like chocolate goes with strawberries. They were just made for each other. Although we don’t have a real tandoori oven to bake our bread in, we have found a simple method that makes this bread turn out perfect every time! We serv…

 

Best Buttermilk Pancakes
July 24, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

  Here in Utah July 24th is a special holiday. It’s the day we get to pay tribute to our ancestors who went before us and settled this beautiful Salt Lake Valley. I have several ancestors who crossed the Missouri plains through hardships, died along the trail and …

 

Double Chocolate Waffles with Butter Syrup
May 11, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

  Where did this week go? I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about these waffles before now. I hope you have time to try these waffles tomorrow on Mother’s Day. The women, or mother in your life, will LOVE you if you whip up a batch for her this weekend…

 

Banana Oat Muffins
April 10, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

  The other day my kids came home to the most random after school snacks in the history of Mommy-after-school-snack-dum. I was trying to clean out my fridge and so I placed several options out on the counter–hard boiled eggs from a spinach salad the night before, …

 

30 Minute Breadsticks
March 25, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

    Breadsticks are so cute, aren’t they? Who doesn’t love a seasoned, soft, fluffy white piece of bread drizzled in melted butter and salt? Nothing really better in my opinion. That is..unless you dip these soft breadstick pillows of heaven into someth…

 

Coconut Cashew Granola
March 8, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

    Coconut oil seems to be the newest and greatest health trend going around these past few months. Many people claim coconut oil is a ‘healthy’ oil, compared to some processed oils like canola and vegetable. I’m not sure I believe all of the hea…

 

Mile High Biscuit Recipe and Tips
February 11, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

  Hands down the most popular recipe on my blog is for these Mile High Biscuits. That is kind of ironic considering I don’t think of myself as a biscuit making expert, and this is a recipe my sister gave me. No matter the reason, this has become a recipe I make on…

 

Pina Colada Pancakes
January 29, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

I love breakfast food. I could really eat pancakes and waffles for breakfast, lunch and dinner if my family were up for that. There are so many delicious combinations of syrups, toppings, fruit filled yumminess that I have to be careful how often I make them. Since the New Y…

 

Healthy Triple Bean Chicken Enchilada Soup
January 28, 2014 | No Category | Shandra

Isn’t this soup pretty? I love all of the colors of red, orange, green, yellow, black and white. If color is an indication of a healthy recipe, this soup is a winner. This healthy eating challenge for me has been pretty difficult I have to admit. I tend to have a battl…

 

Christmas Wreath Bread with Peppermint Hot Chocolate
December 24, 2013 | No Category | Shandra

Only one more day until Christmas, can you believe it? I hope you each have a wonderful Christmas Eve today. I know there are many things you can make in your kitchen on this last day before Christmas…

 

Quinoa Pancakes & Pomegranate Syrup
December 13, 2013 | No Category | Shandra

  Pomegranates are in season this time of year and I can’t seem to get enough of them. Do you like them to? My husband thinks I’m crazy for liking them. The crunchy seed in the center throws a lot of people off, but I have to admit I’m addicted! My kid…

 

Blender Oatmeal Apple Muffins
November 13, 2013 | No Category | Shandra

  My family and I have been on an apple kick lately. The month’s of Sept-November are apple season. Apples are our favorite go-to snack when my kids are hungry, come home from school, for lunches and even as a side dish for dinner. We have had fun trying all the d…

 

Oatmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup
October 5, 2013 | No Category | Shandra

  This weekend is one of my favorites of the entire year. There are few times when I feel justified to sit on my couch and eat delicious food for two days straight. Our church has what’s called General Conference where the leaders and prophet of our church speak t…

 

Coconut Rice Pudding
September 28, 2013 | No Category | Ellen Johnson

        Rice pudding has always been my husbands favorite dessert.  Honestly , growing up I thought rice pudding was a sad excuse for a dessert! When it comes to dessert I dream of chocolaty layer cakes and fresh European pastries, but over the years…

 

Spongy Yeast Waffles
September 22, 2013 | No Category | Shandra

I think I could  consider myself a waffle connoisseur. I have made probably a hundred different waffle recipes, and I have to admit I am very picky. There is no such thing as an Eggo Waffle at my house. I don’t love a crispy, airy textured waffle. A good waffle to…

 

Mango Rice
September 10, 2013 | No Category | Shandra

  Yesterday I posted a recipe for Citrus Grilled Shrimp and along with those kabobs I served this recipe for Mango rice. If you loved the Pineapple Rice Ellen posted a couple months ago, this Mango Rice has the same great flavor. The sweet mango goes perfectly with the …

 

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins
May 14, 2013 | No Category | Diana Suker

    Many of you are familiar with our favorite corn bread recipe. To me, there is nothing really better. However, my sister the other night made a Jalapeno Cheddar version of our cornbread and they were the tastiest muffins around. You have the sweetness of the cor…

 

Authentic Black Beans
May 5, 2013 | No Category | Shandra

Along with the Cochinita Pibil in Mexico, they always served black beans that had so much flavor and were so much better than any you can get in a can here at home. I realized I was making a mistake when I make beans at home, that I serve them too dry and draining the [&hell…

 

Cashew Craisin Granola
April 28, 2013 | No Category | Shandra

  Since I have been gone for a week I haven’t cooked anything fun to blog about yet. So, I thought I would blog about something that saved the day on our trip. This cashew granola was a life saver on our trip for those long travel days where there is nothing to ea…

 

White Bean Hummus
December 31, 2012 | No Category | Shandra

  There will be a lot of fattening, deep fat fried appetizers at our annual New Year’s Eve party, but if you want a appetizer on the healthier side, this White Bean Hummus is just what you need.  As you know, hummus is generally made with garbanzo or chick pe…

 

KSL 6 P.M. News & Food Storage 101
September 11, 2012 | No Category | Shandra

Yesterday I got an email from the producer of the KSL news and she said they wanted to come out to my house and do a news segment on food storage for National Preparedness Month. I thought, ‘Sure, why not?!” Until…I went down to my food storage room and rea…

 

September is National Preparedness Month
September 5, 2012 | No Category | Shandra

FEMA has declared September “National Preparedness Month”. To help us kick off this month we are partnering up with the company that makes one of our favorite emergency preparedness products, the Sun Oven. We have owned our Sun Oven over a year and have loved the…

 

Mexican Rice
June 13, 2012 | No Category | Diana Suker

    Mexican rice at our house has become a touchy subject until…last night. As each good wife does when you first marry you make the standard recipes your mom used to make. Well, years go by and I finally caught on to the fact that I was the ONLY one eating t…

 

How to combat inflation
May 1, 2012 | No Category | Shandra

I received an email from a woman I thought might be worth sharing.  Here is her question and my response, in case you have similar concerns or issues. Inflation is a HUGE issue for many families and I hope I can shed some light on how you can keep inflation down, and st…

 

FIVE Items you need in your food storage!
April 13, 2012 | No Category | Shandra

It is case lot time again in Utah! Maceys, Fresh Market, Dan’s, and Lin’s are all having their semi-annual case lot sales! If you live near one of these stores, this is the time to stock up your food storage and pantry. Login to our website to find ALL of the bes…

 

Preparedness Tips
March 15, 2012 | No Category | Shandra

It’s been awhile since I have talked about emergency preparedness on our blog. I guess my love of food has taken over a little of my passion for preparedness. That…or, I feel like I have harped on all of you enough 🙂 Either way, I was sent a link to a couple p…

 

Copycat Outback Honey Oat Pumpernickel Rye Bread
February 24, 2012 | No Category | Shandra

Does anyone LOVE the pumpernickel bread from Outback or The Cheesecake Factory as much as I do? I could eat an entire loaf all by myself. I am new to the whole grain rye, but have found it has a delicious flavor that I am quickly learning to love. Rye used to be the grain [&…

 

Oatmeal Pancake or Waffle Mix
October 6, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

*I am SO late on posting this AWESOME deal, but if you have a chance before tomorrow (Oct. 7th) is over, RUN into the Augason Farms Outlet store off of 3431 S. 500 W. and pick up some bags of oats for a GREAT DEAL!! They have their oats on sale for $18.99 for a […]

 

National Preparedness Month–What you may be missing?!?
September 19, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

September is such a great time to reevaluate your family’s preparedness efforts. Summer is practically over, the nights are getting shorter, kids are in school, and I find myself having more tim…

 

Sun Oven Fun Recipes
September 15, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

I am SO excited about our giveaway this month in honor of National Preparedness Month. These past few weeks we have had our Sun Oven I have fallen in love this with this product (and so have my kids)!! I have had my eye on these ovens for a LONG time and we finally decided […

 

First Aid Kit Giveaway & Challenge
August 17, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

Get Prepared with this First Aid Kit valued over $75.00! National Preparedness month is coming up in September so we wanted to giveaway one of the most important preparedness items you can have- a heavy duty and loaded First Aid Kit. Most of us hopefully have a first aid kit…

 

My Square Foot Garden Plan-2011
June 10, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

(My garden a month in the making–these plants were planted May 14th) Welcome to my gardening journey. This past month my family and I have spent many hours trying to get our garden plan ready. After learning about square foot gardening we decided this was the direction…

 

Positively Preparing Food Storage Goal: PASTA
May 10, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

Positively Preparing Food Storage Goal: Obtain your family’s three month supply of pasta (approx. 10 lbs. per person) Pasta is a basic food storage item that many families eat on a regular basis. It is important to store in your 3 month supply foods your family is comf…

 

Cajun Red Beans Sausage & Rice
April 29, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

Last month I taught a class on beans and my friend volunteered to bring a recipe for Cajun Rice & Beans. She briefly explained the recipe and I have to say I wasn’t all that excited about the dish. I have only made rice & beans once or twice in married years an…

 

April Positively Preparing Goal: Rice 3 month supply
April 9, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

April Positively Preparedness Goal: RICE–obtain your three month supply (or more) of rice for each member of your family, 10lbs. per person It is a new month and I am excited to share with you s…

 

Southwestern Egg Rolls, Bean Dip & White Bean Soup
April 3, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

I know bean month is supposed to be over, but I couldn’t help myself from sharing with you some of my favorite bean recipes I have posted about the past couple of years. Food blogs become an aby…

 

Bean Craze!
April 1, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

I just had to show you these funny pictures because I couldn’t believe the amount of beans we picked up for our neighborhood food storage order this month. I emailed and sent around signup sheets to the families in my neighborhood and church group and was shocked when …

 

Black Bean Enchiladas
March 30, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

There are several recipes of mine that I keep as my go-to busy-night, crazy-mom meal ideas. Some nights I feel like I run around with my head chopped off and figuring out what to do for dinner is not on the top of my priority list. However, I still want to throw something to…

 

Black Bean Soup
March 26, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

I found a recipe a few months ago for a black bean soup that I have been so excited to try for ‘bean’ month. It did not dissapoint! I changed a few parts of the recipe and think I have come up with the perfect black bean soup. I have had dried black beans in [&he…

 

Black Bean Mint Brownies
March 25, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

I LOVE beans. I LOVE brownies. I LOVE our recipe for brownies. Mix our brownies with black beans and you have a combination that is more moist, more dense, more chocolaty and more delicious…WITH the added bonus of having HALF as much fat and calories as they do when th…

 

Tuscan White Bean Chicken Soup
March 19, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

Bean bonanza continues. There is only one more official week of winter, so I wanted to share with you one more of my favorite soup recipes. Of course, this one has beans in it because of our monthly focus–are you sick of beans yet? Beans or no beans though, this is one…

 

White Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies & Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
March 15, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

  Chocolate Chip Cookies (with white beans)–We used our recipe for the Perfect Chocolate Chip cookie and just substituted 1/2 of the butter with bean puree. I also added one of the cups of …

 

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Frosting
March 8, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

Would it be a surprise to you if I told you I was really excited to post about this recipe? I am sure you are stunned that I could hardly wait to post about a cupcake that is made with beans? What kin…

 

Whole Grain Pancake Mix
March 6, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

It is now March and another month has come and gone in our preparedness efforts. Does everyone have their salt and spices supply? If so, I would LOVE to hear your success stories!?! I know I had fun this week going to Costco and picking up 1,400 lbs. of salt–ah! I didn…

 

February Positively Preparing: Salt, Spices & Condiments
February 5, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

It’s a new month and a new positively preparing focus (sorry I am late, we were out of town)! This month we will be focusing on ways we can use our salt, spices and condiments in our food storag…

 

Canned Goods & a Can-Do-It Attitude
February 2, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

Tax return time can be either a stressful or an exciting time for families. My husband just finished our taxes late last night and we were ecstatic that we were getting a small refund. You never know what the outcome will be with being a small business owner. I was thrilled …

 

Sweet Breakfast Polenta
January 19, 2011 | No Category | Diana Suker

A few weekends ago my husband made breakfast for my kids. My children have a love for “Hot Cereal” as they call it. We recently used our last of Cream of Wheat and Germade so my husband decided to pull out a recipe from his childhood. Let’s just say I didn&…

 

Oil & Fats and Emergency Cooking Options
January 6, 2011 | No Category | Shandra

It is a new month and a new year and the perfect time to set those new year’s resolutions to become better prepared and to get your food storage! Becoming self reliant and better prepared is not an overnight task. Don’t become discouraged, just do a little at a t…

 

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix & more SUGAR fun!
December 9, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

Sugar, sugar, sugar! Our Positively Preparing food storage goal this month is for you to build up your food storage supply of SUGAR. Who doesn’t need to beef up their supply of sugar during the holidays. It is a little scary how much sugar (and butter) I go through in …

 

Sugar & Practical EPrep Gift Ideas
December 4, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

  PRINTER FRIENDLY HANDOUT ON SUGAR: Handout with information and recipes to help you with your sugar storage. PRINTER FRIENDLY SUGAR RECIPES: Fun holiday and food storage recipes that use the different types of sugar in your storage: molasses, honey, brown/powdered sug…

 

Powdered Milk–which to store
December 2, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

WINNER OF THE L’EQUIP HAND BLENDERNovember GiveawayKara Merrill of Mesa, ArizonaCongratulations!*Watch for another GREAT giveaway for December* Commonly asked question: What are the differences between the different types of powdered milk? I apologize I wasn’t mo…

 

Pumpkin Bread–powdered milk & eggs!
November 11, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

  I am sure everyone by now has their favorite pumpkin bread recipe. I have taken a family favorite recipe and adapted it to incorporate more food storage ingredients, and have tried to make it a little more healthy (I said a ‘little’ keep in mind :). Also, …

 

Powdered Milk & Eggs + Car Survival Kits
November 7, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

It’s a new month and another goal to work on! So far we have focused on water in September, wheat in October and now powdered milk and eggs in November. This month I also encourage you to put together a basic 72 hour kit or car kit in the case of a natural disaster, wi…

 

Food Storage: Wheat waffles, Homemade Wheat Bread
October 8, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

WHEAT 101 Handouts for this month: 1-Favorite Wheat Recipes 2-Wheat 101 Handout

 

Jalapeno Pepper Jelly, Pickle Relish and Salsa
September 21, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

This past few weeks I have spent many hours in the kitchen doing some yearly canning. My garden tomatoes have become ripe, so it was time to bottle several quarts of my homemade salsa. There is nothing better than a batch of salsa made from ripe tomatoes from your garden&#82…

 

Great Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness Resource
July 23, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

There are hundreds of websites that offer information and tips about food storage and emergency preparedness. Today I wanted to share one of my ALL time favorite food storage/eprep websites with you. …

 

Homemade Cream of Chicken or Mushroom Soup
July 14, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

Do words like maltodextrin, guanylate, inosinate, monosodium glutamate, scare you? I am far from the healthiest person in the world, but I have to admit ingredients like these even scare me! Tonight I went to make one of my favorite throw-together meals (the bambino is only …

 

Homemade Flour Tortillas
May 18, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

First off, a BIG thank you to all of you who were so kind to send me your favorite tortilla recipes (after my tortilla trauma earlier). I knew with the help of many of you I would be able to find a much improved recipe for homemade tortillas–and I did!! I am not sure w…

 

Preparedness Fair & Food Storage Handouts
May 7, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

(We had over 40 loaves of homemade wheat bread made, jam, honey butter, food storage recipes, 12 peach cobblers, and 11 gallons of vanilla ice cream–we had enough food–few!) This past weekend my husband and I were in charge of a neighborhood Well-Fair to help tho…

 

Water Storage 101
May 3, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

Store extra cleaning and washing water in your emptied out detergent containers–the extra suds will make for the perfect washing water in an emergency.Shelves that are only 6-8 inches wide make the perfect shelf to store your 2 liter bottles on. I love the look of orga…

 

Steel Cut Oat Breakfast
April 20, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

Many of you have probably heard of the new ‘oatmeal craze’ of Steel Cut Oats. What are steel cut oats you ask? Well, the life of an oat begins in the form of a GROAT. These groats look a lot like a hard red wheat kernel. These groats are tough and take a long tim…

 

Three Food Storage Items to Store
March 12, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

Here is a link for the recipe and video of our segment on Good Things Utah. You may need to scroll through the video window on the right hand side until you see the picture of the pancakes on the red plate.http://www.abc4.com/content/about_4/gtu/default.aspx(FYI–Don&#8…

 

Food storage not so crazy after all?
February 8, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

I am sure many of you have already heard these stories, but I thought they would be worth mentioning here on our ‘food storage’ blog. The idea of storing basic food and water to drink and eat doesn’t seem so crazy anymore, does it? Between the earthquake in…

 

Healthier Oatmeal Cookies and Muffins
January 28, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

The other day I was making White Bean Chicken Chili and decided to use some of the dried white beans from my storage (SO much less expensive than canned beans!). I put 3 lbs. of beans in my large roaster oven and had them simmer in the water for 4-5 hours. By the end of [&he…

 

Great Question!
January 28, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

“I have a question for you. Since you are, of course, preparing for whatever may come…..I am wondering if you have made other preparations other than food storage? I was wondering what kind of house you live in and what you do when there is no electricity for hea…

 

How to get rid of weevil
January 5, 2010 | No Category | Shandra

I receive several emails each year regarding weevil, so I thought I would share a couple of tips I have found over the years to help protect your food from weevil. Now, before I share a few of my tips, I do have to say I am NOT an expert on weevil. Although I ate […]

 

Homemade Granola Bars and Instant Oatmeal
December 7, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

Today, being the snowy & cold day that it is, I decided that I wanted to spend the day in the kitchen. This is a surprise to many who know me lately..I am three months pregnant and SICK, SICK, SICK, so for me to be back in the kitchen is not my normal self. Who [……

 

A taste of Pandemic and Panic
November 14, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

This past month has taught me many lessons. First, I cannot imagine how awful a nationwide pandemic would be, and second, ‘if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear’. ALL six of us in our family were hit by the horrible H1N1 Virus. Thankfully it is not a ‘pande…

 

Apple Pie Filling
October 12, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

One of my favorite things about fall are sweet, crisp, apples. My all time favorite apple is the Jonathan Apple. It is crisp, a little tart, and has the perfect texture for pies, cobblers, and for eating plain. We planted a jonathan apple tree four years ago, but for some re…

 

Homemade Salsa
October 2, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

If you have garden tomatoes that you need to use up, making your own homemade salsa is a great way to use those ripe tomatoes. Below is my favorite salsa recipe that can be used for bottled salsa or as fresh salsa. Both are delicious and have their own distinct flavor. I lik…

 

Build your own food storage shelves
September 8, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

Here are some quick facts about the food storage shelves my fabulous hubby built in our basement. Our storage room is not very big, but thanks to his great shelves, it actually fits a lot! Having a ‘food storage room’ really helps makes rotating and using your fo…

 

7 Ways to Store Your Food Storage
August 22, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

I know many of you do not live in Utah, and do not enjoy the benefits of having a cold storage/basement to store your food storage in. I am sorry about that! There are ways though, to help encourage a more ‘ideal’ storage condition with out having to have a basem…

 

Food Storage ‘Extras’
August 9, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

People ask me what ‘extras’ (nonfood items) I find useful (or necessary) to store in my storage. I am not sure I have a complete YEAR supply of these items, but these are a few of the necessities I think are important to keep well stocked in your food storage: *T…

 

Deals to Meals was on Studio 5 today!
August 7, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

(Sorry, I didn’t take too great of pictures 🙂 If you didn’t see our clip from Studio 5 today, check it out, it was a lot of fun!http://studio5.ksl.com/ After going to their website just scroll down until you see our logo. If you live in California, Arizona, Id…

 

Water Storage Idea for Preparedness Efforts
June 25, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

This is one of the easiest ways to store water in your home. When you are through with your plastic 2 liter pop bottles or juice containers that are CLEAR, rinse them out with water and then fill them up for your emergency water supply. If you have bottles that have colored …

 

Strawberry Freezer Jam
June 5, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

Is there anything better than homemade strawberry jam? I have been waiting for strawberries to go on sale for a $1 a pound and last night when I was at Walmart they had them all marked down to $1. Yeah!! This is not their normal price, so call your Walmart and see if they ha…

 

What Baking Supplies to Store in Your Food Storage
May 24, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

One part of our food storage that seems to be easily forgotten is the importance of having a good supply of baking essentials. Many of us focus on storing the long term food storage items, such as legumes, grains, sugar, powdered milk, etc. These items are obviously essentia…

 

Your year supply, one week at a time
April 29, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

The great thing about stocking up your food storage ONE week at a time, is that it is SO much less overwhelming! This week I was stocking up on three items in my storage…honey, tomato sauce, and marshmallows (a staple at our house..we LOVE rice krispie treats) I spent …

 

How I store my long term grains
March 22, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

MY FOOD STORAGE BASICS: FLOUR, WHEAT, RICE, SUGAR, OATS, BEANSI have still had several questions from people wondering how I store my grains (in my pantry). Well..if you read this post before Wednesday and you live in Utah, Maceys is having a great sale on their 5 gallon foo…

 

Easy Homemade French Bread
March 10, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

  This is by far one of the most pinned and shared recipe on our blog. It is also one of the most simple bread recipes you will EVER make! This French Bread comes together in just about an hour and is so delicious and versatile. This dough can be used for homemade pizza…

 

NEW favorite whole wheat bread recipe
March 10, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

    Okay…so I thought I could bake a pretty good loaf of whole wheat bread, until… I had my friend Emilies bread & WOW, she put mine to shame! For the longest time we couldn’t figure out what the difference was in our bread. Mine was great rig…

 

Quick Tip
March 10, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

  Do you ever have fresh produce go bad before you are ready to use it? For those tempermental produce items, here is a quick tip. As soon as you come home from the grocery store, cut off the stems of your produce items, quickly rinse, and put in a Ziploc bag with a pie…

 

Pantry Basics
February 18, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

Having a well stocked pantry helps make meal planning and cooking MUCH easier! One of the most frustrating parts of cooking is not having all of the ingredients you need at your fingertips. Having a well stocked pantry and food storage makes all of this EASY and fun! I get s…

 

A new & simple approach!
February 13, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

Some of you may have received the LDS Ensign Magazine in your mail boxes today. I just wanted to make you aware, LDS or not, of a great article in the March issue titled “Family Home Storage: A New Message”. This article talks about how home storage/food storage …

 

Three Easy Steps to Getting Your Food Storage
January 26, 2009 | No Category | Shandra

**Clarification: 14 gallons of water for a TWO WEEK supply..NOT 14 gallons per day 🙂 It is recommended to have 28 gallons for two weeks of drinking, washing, & cleaning water per person.

 

Great Christmas gift ideas that can help you be more prepared
November 20, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

Here are a few GREAT gift ideas for the holidays. There is something for everyone, on any budget: *A GIFT CERTIFICATE TO MY FOOD STORAGE DEALS!! (Information coming soon)*First aid kits*Flashlights fo…

 

Homemade Peach Jam & Bottled Peaches
November 8, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

                        This post is a little late in coming, now that peach season is over, I just wanted to encourage anyone that has room in their yard, to grow a peach tree. We planted two peach trees three year…

 

Vitamins-an important part of your food storage!
October 21, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

For those of you who are Costco members, in their last coupon book that was mailed out, they had a coupon for their Children’s Daily Multi Vitamins. Costco has GREAT prices on their vitamins and this is an important part of your food storage. Many people don’t th…

 

Wheat Berry Cereal
September 30, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

If you have a lot of wheat in your food storage like I do, I am always trying new ways of incorporating it into my families diet. If you have had this as a child, I would recommend trying it again. I have enjoyed it much more in my adult years than I did as […]

 

What about expirations??
September 18, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

QUESTION: I have been a member now since the beginning and am loving your service. However, a lot of times your expiration date is different than whatshows on the product. For instance, I have a bunch of ranch dressing that has expired.It would be great if you could address …

 

Long Term Food Storage Totals
August 28, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

When deciding how much you need of each item for a year supply, this can be a confusing process. The following is a commonly asked question that was sent to my email: QUESTION: Please help me solve a problem. Your 1 year supply of dry milk is _32 lbs_ for 2 people. Other foo…

 

Homemade Marinara Sauce
August 26, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

  Now, I’m not dogging on Prego Spaghetti sauce, but once you start making your own sauce–you will NEVER go back to sauce in a jar. I have several bottles in my food storage, but those are only for emergencies 🙂 Nothing gets better than a big vat of spagh…

 

How to store your grains
July 19, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

Many of us have several #10 cans in our food storage. These are a great way to store your grains and food storage. However, for a less expensive approach, here is what I do. I have talked about this before, but I get several emails of people not quite sure what to do. This i…

 

Powdered Milk made Drinkable!
July 18, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

I read about this great trick on a food storage blog http://www.everydayfoodstorage.blogspot.com/ to help your powdered milk taste better. We ran out of milk yesterday and DID NOT want to go to the store to buy more–mostly because I knew I would leave the store spendin…

 

Homemade Taco Seasoning
July 16, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

If you have never made your own Taco Seasoning, now’s your chance. It is SO good and So easy! We make several pre-portioned amounts and put in Ziploc bags for easy storage. The other best part about this seasoning is that you can get almost ALL of these spices at Walma…

 

Freeze Dried Mania! Approximate cost of a year supply.
June 19, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

It seems there is a new craze of Freeze Dried Food Storage going around. I have multiple people email me whether or not this type of food storage is a good idea. I even had a man come to my door the o…

 

Tips from fellow food storage friends!
May 30, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

Do you need something to store your food storage items in? Nancy from Springville has the answer…”I sell used 4 gallon buckets for $1.55 each. They use to have cherries in them and have been pre-rinsed. Great deal and store food well!! I live in Springville. And …

 

Storage Tips for SMALL Spaces!
May 26, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

Question from Samantha (Mesa, Arizona): I live in a 3 bedroom home with NO pantry and NO storage room. Do you have any tips? *Be clutter-free. I found that in a smaller space I could not hold on to things I didn’t use or need. I went through the house and de-junked every c…

 

SPICE IT UP! Spices in your food storage
May 23, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

An important element to your food storage is to make sure you have enough spices to last you for a year supply. We don’t know if we will ever need to live soley off of what is in our storage, but I do know if we ever needed to, I would need A LOT of […]

 

Earthquake Preparedness Tip
April 28, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

A tip from Sherry…. You may be interested to know that I attended a Sandy City Community Coordinators’ meeting yesterday. The speaker was Barbara Salsbury who is nationally and internationally known for her expertise in emergency preparedness. She lives in Sandy….

 

Food Costs Hit Home–Front Page News Article
April 21, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

Did any of you see the front page of the Desert News? Here is a link to this interesting article that talks about the rising cost of food around the nation http://deseretnews.com/article/1%2C5143%2C695271786%2C00.html. This is another GREAT benefit to having your year supply…

 

Catch the Vision!
April 19, 2008 | No Category | Shandra

Your Year Supply One Week at a Time What’s for dinner? Let’s see what’s in the basement “store”… Many people have asked to come and see my food storage room, so….here’s the big unveiling :0) There are probably many more organiz…

DTM Giveaway: Thrive Intro Pack and Food Storage Made Easy Book {Value $125}

For the next few Tuesday’s we will be introducing you to our new, amazing contributors. Each of them we personally selected because we feel they have talents that will benefit all of you. We are so grateful they’ve decided to join our team

When I started blogging ten years ago, Jodi and Julie were some of the first ladies blogging about food storage, along with myself and Crystal. We’re kind of the pioneer’s of food storage blogging and they have shared some great information to share with you.  Not only are they sharing their 10 BabySteps to building your food storage, but they are giving away some GREAT prizes! Sign up to enter to win because this giveaway ends in 8 days!!

 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take it away Jodi and Julie…

Building up a food storage supply can feel like a daunting task. What do you store? How much of it? How the heck do you use wheat? Where do you buy these items? And how do you store it all? All of these questions come to mind when you try to get started.


We are Jodi and Julie and we have been blogging about Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness over at Food Storage Made Easy for nearly 9 years! Wow that makes us feel old in the blogging world! When we started our journey we felt very overwhelmed by the entire process so we decided to split it up into ten simple baby steps which will hopefully make the task feel like less of a burden and if you do it along with us you might even find it to be a little bit fun!

Today we will give you an overview of the 10 BabySteps to give you an introduction to our plan. Feel free to take them at your own pace or sign up for our FREE BabyStep Checklists to be guided through the process one checklist at a time.

Getting Started:

Put together Disaster Kits (including 72 hour kit food kits) for your whole family, have an Emergency Plan in place, make sure your computer is backed up, and organize your space to ensure you have a large, clean storage area.

BabyStep 1:

Determine which type of shelf system you want to use and purchase one shelf to get started. You can do anything from building your own wooden shelves, buying inexpensive plastic or metal shelves from Wal-Mart, or even splurging to buy a fancy can rotation system.

BabyStep 2:

Store a 2 week’s supply of water (1 gallon per person per day). You can buy 55 gallon barrels, get several 5-6 gallon jugs, or fill up empty soda/juice bottles. Just make sure it is food grade plastic, and milk jugs don’t count (they will degrade over time and start to leak).

BabyStep 3:

Purchase a three month’s of foods you normally eat. You can come up with meal plans for the whole 90 days, or simply buy extras of the things you use a lot. If you plan to use these foods a lot, buy MORE than 90 days worth so you can use some but still have your three month supply on hand. Deals to Meals is an invaluable service as you build up your 3 month supply. Make your list and then stock up on whatever items are on sale that week until you have your entire supply purchased.

BabyStep 4:

Educate yourself on long term food storage and determine the types of foods, recipes, etc. your family will want to eat. Use an online tool or spreadsheet to figure out the actual amounts of each food you are planning to store for a year supply of food. (You can start with 3 months and move up to 1 year eventually).

BabyStep 5:

Purchase your grains and learn how to use them: wheat, corn, barley, rice, pasta, etc. You can buy these items online or at your local stores. Make sure to check Deals to Meals to see if there are sales on them. You can always re-package until bulk containers.

BabyStep 6:

Purchase your legumes and learn how to use them: dried beans, bean soup mixes, lentils, soy beans, etc. Make sure to check Deals to Meals to see if there are sales on them.

BabyStep 7:

Purchase items necessary for baking such as oil, sugar, powdered milk, salt, etc. Make sure to check Deals to Meals to see if there are sales on them.

BabyStep 8:

Purchase or preserve fruits and vegetables to supplement your core foods. You can do this in a variety of ways from growing your own and learning to can or dehydrate, buying store-bought produce, or purchasing freeze-dried items for storage.

BabyStep 9:

Purchase any comfort foods that would be pleasant to have should you be forced to live off your food storage for a long time. This could be things such as hot chocolate, pickles, jell-o, salsa, spices, etc.

BabyStep 10:

Purchase non-food item necessities such as toothpaste, deodorant, female products, diapers, etc. Also, paper products such as paper plates, plastic utensils, etc. are helpful to avoid wasting precious water by washing dishes in an emergency situation.

Beyond the BabySteps:

Once you have finished these steps you can move on to more complex survival issues such as heating and cooling, powerless cooking, long term water solutions, etc.

A lot of people avoid getting STARTED because this sounds like a huge and overwhelming task. But just remember, even accomplishing up to step 3 will put you in a far better position than most of the country should an emergency arise. Get that much done immediately and then take your time to truly figure out the more difficult long term food storage concepts.

Need more help to walk you through the food storage BabySteps?
We have put together an email series of FREE BabyStep Checklists that will guide you through building your food storage program gradually and spreading out the costs throughout a one year period. When you sign up, your first to-do list will be sent to you right away to help you get started today!

– Jodi and Julie
FoodStorageMadeEasy.NET

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Don’t forget to enter to win our Giveaway!

Saved $235.35 on Groceries–Last Week of Case Lot Sales to Stock Up

I wanted to share a post from my dear friend Ellen Johnson (who just happens to be a contributor on this blog). Not only is she the most amazing chef, but she has become a shopping connoisseur over the past four years. When I first met her she was spending WAY too much on groceries. It’s been fun to see how she’s become such a smart shopper using Deals to Meals. She did some serious food storage shopping at Smiths this past week and saved $235.35! That’s amazing. Look at her beautiful, organized, storage room. I could just stare at that all day–it’s a masterpiece and a shrine of a good-deal shopper. Here’s what Ellen had to say on Facebook:

Before I met Shandra and Todd Madsen I literally spent almost $2000 per month on groceries and now I am down to around $800 without sacrificing anything. It opens up my budget for more family activities, clothes, trips and more. If you haven’t checked out www.dealstomeals.com you need to! You won’t regret it! I stocked up this week and saved 100’s!!

Thanks Ellen for sharing with us! You are in for a treat friends because Ellen will be sharing recipes with us on this blog. Literally…a treat. She makes the.most.amazing. desserts you have EVER seen! Look at this cake she whipped out just on a whim! She’s a cooking genius! Check back next week when I show you an adorable Robin Egg Easter Layered Cake. It’s as beautiful as it is scrumptious 😉 Ellen, sure love you!Since Ellen shared her savings, I thought I would too (although not quite as impressive). I also went and bought a handful of food storage items and saved $66.67! That was nearly 50% off each of the items I bought. It’s a great time to stock up on basic, food storage items if you haven’t already. Login to Deals to Meals to see all of the best grocery deals in your area. Remember, YOU can save serious money on your grocery budget too. All for less than a $1 a week! It’s the only dollar you will spend that will pay $100’s back in dividends. Not a bad deal, right? Try a two week membership for FREE and see how much you can save.

Friday Food Storage Faves: Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Over 10 years ago I started this blog to help my friends and family learn to cook from their food storage. For a long while my recipes all revolved around items you could store long term, and how to incorporate them into your daily meal plan. As time has passed, this blog has evolved to offer more than just food storage recipes, but I really want to stay true to why I started this blog. I have such a deep rooted passion for preparedness and I know as you prepare your family for whatever trials are up ahead, you will be blessed. We have used our food storage many times in financial hard times and it has been a life saver.

This being said, I’m excited to hopefully continue to inspire you to make recipes that can be made from mostly food storage items. Since there are several places in Utah that have their Augason Farms Oats on sale, I wanted to highlight a recipe our family has been using for these past 10 years. When a recipe sticks around that long, you know it’s a keeper!

I don’t buy a lot of processed food and one item I think it about pointless calorically, as well as nutritionally are those oatmeal packets. Not to mention each little tiny packet is about $0.25-$0.35. That’s outrageous when you consider there is about a fourth of cup of oatmeal in the packet. 

There’s a better way my friends! Make up your own instant oatmeal. It is SUPER easy and will keep for a year in your pantry. I make up a large batch every 6 months and we keep it in a large Tupperware in our pantry. The kids all know how to make it on their own and it makes a breakfast that’s actually going to have some nutrients and fiber for their diets. Not to mention you cut out a lot of the sodium, sugar and nasty ingredients no one needs to consume 😉 This recipe is a win-win for everyone! Buy the oats at your local Associated Food Store, as well as the powdered milk and you’ll be able to make this oatmeal for pennies on the dollar. Hope you love this recipe like we do! 🙂 

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets
Ingredients
  1. 5 cup oats
  2. 5 cup powdered oats (explains below)
  3. 1/2 cup powdered milk
  4. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  5. 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  6. 3 tsp. cinnamon
Packet Mixture
  1. 1 cup oat mixture
  2. 1 1/3 cup milk or water
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Place the first five cups of oats in a large bowl. In a food processor or blender, pulse the second five cups of oats until mostly powder. Add this oat powder/flour into the bowl with the regular oats. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together. Keep this mixture in a sealed Tupperware or Ziploc bag in the pantry for 6-12 months.
  2. To prepare a bowl of oatmeal, measure a half cup of the oat mixture into a bowl. Add the 2/3 cup milk or water and stir. Microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Stir again and serve with extra milk, brown sugar or fruit as desired.
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Homemade Freezer Chili

Chili is what we’re talking about over at our house this weekend. One of my favorite parts about fall are all of the delicious soup recipes. It’s not officially fall until I make my HUGE batch of homemade chili. There really isn’t anything better in my book. A cool fall night, family and friends over to celebrate the beginning of fall, homemade chili with all of the toppings, Halloween decorations galore (thanks to my hubby), a Halloween movie for the kids and more pumpkin treats than you know what to do with.

We have been throwing our ‘holiday kick off party’ for over 15 years now, and it’s become a favorite time of year for us. This night wouldn’t be the same without this chili recipe and I can’t wait to share it with you as our ‘Flashback Friday’ favorite recipe. If you aren’t feeding a huge crowd, just half this chili recipe and that should be perfect for a family of 4-6 people–or, you can freeze the extras for a later meal 😉 Enjoy!1a

Best Homemade Chili
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. spicy ground pork sausage
  2. 1 lb. lean ground turkey or beef
  3. 1 large onion, diced
  4. 1 jalapeno pepper, diced and seeds removed for less spice
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 1 green bell pepper, diced
  7. 2 Tbs. chili powder
  8. 2 Tbs. cumin powder
  9. 3 Tbs. brown sugar
  10. 1 Tbs. salt, or more
  11. 1 tsp. black pepper
  12. 2 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning
  13. 2 tsp. garlic powder
  14. 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
  15. 3 cans pinto or chili beans, drained
  16. 1 can black beans, drained
  17. 1 can kidney beans, drained (or more pinto beans)
  18. 2 cans diced green chilies
  19. 4 cans diced tomatoes
  20. 2 cans tomato sauce
  21. 2-3 cups beef broth, depending how thick you like your chili
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Instructions
  1. In a large sauté pan (or soup pot), brown the sausage and beef until golden brown and mostly cooked through. Add the chopped onion and diced jalapeno peppers and continue to saute until the onions and peppers are tender. Add the minced garlic, diced bell pepper and the seasonings to the mixture and continue to saute for another 3-5 minutes. Put the meat mixture into a slow cooker and add the remaining ingredients. Turn the crock pot to low heat and cook for 3-5 hours, or until chili has thickened. If you are doubling the recipe to freeze extras for later, you can cook this recipe in a roaster pan for easier cooking if you desire. You can also use dried beans in this recipe. All you need to do is the night before you are going to make your chili, place the dried beans into the crock pot and fill the pot up with twice as much water as beans. Turn the beans to high heat and let them cook overnight, or until they are soft and tender. Drain off the bean water and use the re-hydrated beans in your chili as called for. Serve chili with shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions, etc.
  2. For the freezer chili, cook as normal and then let cool for an hour at room temperature. Once the chili has cooled down quite a bit, pour scoops of the chili into a freezer Ziploc bag or tupperware and freeze. Chili can be frozen for 6-12 months. When ready to thaw the chili, remove from the freezer and microwave for a few minutes until it begins to soften. Dump the chili into a soup pot and bring to a low simmer on medium-low heat until soup is ready to serve.
Notes
  1. This chili freezes really well. Let the chili cool and put into freezer Ziploc bags for later.
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Fall Favorite Recipes: Pumpkin Rosemary Rolls with Garlic Butter

For those that follow our Instagram feed, you might have noticed the post I made about a few new fall recipes I was excited to share with you this week. We had our annual Holiday Kick Off Party over the weekend and we had lots of yummy fall food, homemade chili, games, a movie and lots of fun being together as family and friends. Every year I like to experiment and try a few new fall recipes, seeing if there’s any recipes out there I haven’t tried yet. You know, you can really only do so much with pumpkin, right? Well, I’m excited to say I found three NEW pumpkin recipes you are going to love.

The first recipe I want to share with you is for these Rosemary Pumpkin Rolls with Garlic Butter Spread. Who would have thought to put pumpkin in a savory roll? Why didn’t I think of this sooner? The pumpkin makes these rolls super soft, moist and give them a slight, sweet texture that makes them so much more interesting than a regular, white roll. I also love that the pumpkin gives some vitamins and nutrients to an other-wise unhealthy roll. The next time I make these rolls I am going to experiment by adding even more than the cup of pumpkin. Besides the great texture, the rosemary and garlic adds a flair that goes perfectly with the pumpkin. These rolls and butter spread would go beautifully with any of your favorite fall soups or chilis. Hope you love them 😉

*Canned pumpkin, flour, sugar and butter are all on sale this week here in Utah (and many other states) for a great deal. Login to our website to find the best deals in your area.

Rosemary Pumpkin Rolls with Garlic Spread
Rolls
  1. 3 cup hot water
  2. 1 cup evaporated milk
  3. 1 cup pumpkin puree
  4. 3 Tbs. yeast
  5. 1/2 cup white sugar
  6. 2 Tbs. dried rosemary
  7. 1/4 cup canola oil
  8. 2 tsp. garlic powder
  9. 2 Tbs. salt
  10. 10-12 cups white flour
Garlic Spread
  1. 2 sticks butter
  2. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  4. Dash salt and pepper, to taste
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Instructions
  1. For the rolls, put the water and evaporated milk into a microwave safe bowl. Put it in the microwave for 2 minutes, or until the liquid is hot. Pour the milk/water into a a large mixing bowl. Add the pumpkin puree and the yeast and let mix for 2 minutes. Put a towel over the top of the mixture and let the yeast begin to grow and become bubbly (about 10 minutes). After the couple minutes, add the sugar, dried rosemary, oil, garlic powder and salt. Let it stir together and then add the flour one cup at a time while the mixture is mixing. Once you have added the ten cups of flour, turn the mixer off and touch the dough. If it is super sticky to the touch, add another cup or two of flour until the dough is begins to pull away from the wall of the bowl and is soft, but not overly sticky. Once the dough is the right consistency, put a towel over the dough and let the dough rest for 30-60 minutes. After the dough has began to rise, pour a little bit of cooking oil on a clean counter. Rub the oil around in a large circle so your hands are slightly covered with oil. Take the dough out of the bowl and place on the counter. Divide the dough in half and then cut the dough into equal parts. Each half should make one cookie sheet of rolls should make about 24 rolls. If you like your rolls extra tall and puffy, you can put 6 row of 5 on a cookie sheet (30) and put the rest of the rolls in a smaller pan or muffin tin. If you like individual rolls, you can grease the bottom of a muffin tin and place the pieces of dough into each tin. This will make rolls that look like the picture above. After you have separated the dough, you can roll them, making the top of the roll smooth and pretty. Put the rolls on a greased cookie sheet. Once all of the rolls are formed and in the pans, cover the rolls with saran wrap. Let the rolls rise for another 45-90 minutes, or until they are the size you want them to be. When they are ready to bake, turn the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
  2. While the rolls are cooking, you can make the garlic spread. Place the sticks of butter into a small bowl. If the butter is not room temperature and soft, you can microwave the butter for a few seconds. To the butter add the minced garlic, dried rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix the butter until it is smooth. Serve the warm rolls with the garlic butter for a delicious side dish to any meal.
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Triple Chocolate Zucchini Bread

In case you have some extra zucchini’s in your garden, here’s a delicious recipe for Triple Chocolate Zucchini Bread for you. Who doesn’t love zucchini bread? Combine zucchini with three different kinds of chocolate and you have me sold! Hope you love this bread as much as we did. Have a great last few weeks of summer!

Here’s some more zucchini recipes to tempt your appetite!



Triple Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups flour (I used 1 c. wheat flour)
  2. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1 tsp. baking soda
  4. 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  5. 1 tsp. salt
  6. 2 cups white sugar
  7. 3 eggs
  8. 1/2 cup canola oil
  9. 1/2 cup applesauce
  10. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  11. 2 cups shredded zucchini
  12. 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  13. 1 cup dark chocolate chips
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt, mix well. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and eggs, beat until well blended. Add oil, applesauce and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in zucchini. Add flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Add the chocolate chips to the batter and lightly stir. Pour half of the batter in each pan once they have been floured and greased. Bake the breads in a preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pans; cool completely on wire rack and then serve. If you would like, sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and sugar mixture if you'd like.
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Southwestern Shredded Pork Stuffed Bell Peppers

 Do you ever have leftover meat from a previous meal and you’re unsure what to do with it next? The other day we had tons of smoked, pulled pork that my neighbor gave to us that we had already eaten for dinner the nights before. It was amazing on a sandwich with barbecue sauce, but last night I wanted to try a little something different. We’re trying to eat a few less carbs, so I decided to come up with a stuffed bell pepper recipe that was healthy, easy and something my family would eat. These bell peppers were stuffed with a cheesy, southwestern combination of fabulous flavors that went so perfectly with the sweet pepper flavor. I drizzled these peppers with a creamy cilantro dressing that made the whole thing a perfect 10 in my book! If you are looking for a new, and flavorful way to use up your leftover pork or chicken, this recipe is a keeper 😉 Hope you love!
Southwestern Shredded Pork Stuffed Bell Peppers
Ingredients
  1. shredded pork 3-4 cups
  2. 2 cans black beans
  3. 1 1/2 cup corn
  4. 1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies
  5. 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  6. 2-3 cups shredded cheese
  7. Tops of each bell pepper, diced
  8. 1 Tbs. cumin powder
  9. 1 Tbs. chili powder
  10. Salt and pepper to taste
  11. 6-8 colored bell peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed
Cilantro Ranch
  1. 1 cup ranch dressing
  2. 1 avocado
  3. 1/4 cup cilantro
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Instructions
  1. Place the pork roast or chops into a crock pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook the pork on high heat for 4-6 hours, or until the pork is tender and will easily shred. Shred the pork and place in a large bowl. Drain the cans of black beans and add to the pork. Add the frozen corn to the bowl, along with the diced green chilies. Dice a red onion and place in the bowl. Cut off the tops of each of the red bell peppers. Remove the center portion of the peppers and rinse the peppers. Place the peppers in a 9x13 pan all standing upright. Cut the stem from the peppers and dice the remaining portion of the peppers and add to the pork mixture. Season the pork with the cumin, chili powder and salt and pepper. Add the shredded cheese to the mixture. Once the mixture is all combined, use a large spoon and spoon the mixture into each of the bell peppers. Cover the tops of each pepper with a little more cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the peppers are slightly soft and the cheese is melted. Once out of the oven, you can drizzle with a cilantro ranch if you wish.
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Mimi Cafe’s Copycat Honey Bran Muffin Recipe

 

Happy Monday everyone! I’m excited to share with you another one of my favorite things and products I would be sad to live without. This giveaway and post is all about muffins. Anyone who follows my blog knows I am a HUGE fan of muffins. I make them on a weekly basis for my kids and I love that they are a healthier snack than many prepackaged items. I always fill my muffins up with bran, wheat, flax seed and other whole grains to help my kids stay full longer. Now, if you are like me and you make a lot of muffins, sometimes it can get frustrating to always run out of muffin wrappers. I hate having to run to a store for one or two things because I always end up spending more than I want to when I shop. So, I have found that buying my muffin wrappers on line is the best and cheapest solution. I now keep hundreds of muffin wrappers in my pantry so I never run out and can make muffins to my hearts content.

Another favorite product is the Excellante 24 Muffin Tin pan. There is never a time I only make 12 muffins or cupcakes. With a large family I am always cooking at least 24 muffins at a time. I LOVE this 24 muffin tin that can cook all of your muffins or cupcakes at one time. No more having to wait for two batches to cook. Get them all cooked and cooling together to save you time.

So, for this weeks giveaway, we will be giving away two packages of the 500 count muffin wrappers as well as our favorite Farberware 12 Muffin Tin. We will ship these to your home on September 1st and can’t wait to see who wins. Hope you love these products as much as we do!
500 Count Muffin Wrappers {Only $6.49 for 500!}

Farberware 12 Muffin Tin {Currently 52% off–a great time to buy!}

Excellante 24 Muffin Tin  {Pan is on sale for 32% off–ONLY $12.88}

Now…onto a delicious muffin recipe since we’re talking about muffins. Who doesn’t LOVE the bran muffins sold at Mimi’s Cafe? If you haven’t had them, you are missing out. They are amazing! They are extremely moist because the muffins are lined in this sweet glaze that makes them to die for. If you are a muffin fanatic like I am, I can’t wait for you to try these! They are bordernline dessert, but oh-so worth every calorie!! Enjoy 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Copy Cat Mimi's Cafe Honey Bran Muffins
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cup bran flakes (like raisins bran or straight bran flakes)
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 1/2 cup baby carrots
  4. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  5. 2/3 cup raisins
  6. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  7. 1/2 cup honey
  8. 4 Tbs. molasses
  9. 1 cup water
  10. 1/2 tsp. orange zest
  11. 2 cups flour
  12. 2 Tbs. milled flax seed (optional)
  13. 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  14. 2 tsp. baking soda
  15. 1/2 tsp. salt
Glaze
  1. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  2. 3 Tbs. butter, melted
  3. 2 Tbs. honey
  4. 2 tsp. hot water
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a blender, add the bran flakes, eggs, baby carrots, vegetable oil, and raisins and blend until smooth. Pour the blended mixture into a bowl. Add to this mixture the brown sugar, honey, molasses, water and orange zest. Whisk together until smooth. Add the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined. If the mixture is too runny, add a little more flour to the batter (depending how much moisture is in your carrots and raisins can vary--so just add enough flour so the mixture is a regular muffin consistency). Once the batter is finished, let it rest for a few minutes while you make the glaze. In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, melted butter, honey and hot water. With a pastry brush, brush the bottom and sides of each muffin tin with this glaze. Pour the batter into each muffin tin about 3/4 full. Put the pans in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center is set. The muffins won't get really tall and that's okay because you are going to invert them anyway. Once the muffin is cooked, remove from the oven and let rest for 2-5 minutes. Once the muffins have cooled slightly, cut around each muffin with a sharp knife. Remove the muffins from the tins and turn upside down on a plate to serve.
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Nectarine Infused Waffles and Nectarine Chicken Kabobs with CousCous

 

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I am still working day and night on our new blog and it’s seeming to take all of my free time to blog. Thanks for being patient with me 😉 I can’t wait to show you all we have going on with our new blog!

In the mean time I wanted to share a couple recipes I’ve been making and loving this past week. First off, if you haven’t made it to your local Sprouts this past week, they have Nectarines for only $0.33/lb. I bought several bags to snack on and use in cooking. One of my favorite recipes to use nectarines is for our Nectarine Chicken Kabobs with CousCous. It has such an abundance of delicious flavor and is perfect for summer.

The other recipe I’ve made is for Nectarine Infused Waffles with Butter Syrup. I was too busy last night to make dinner, so I threw together these waffles and they were SO good! We all devoured them and loved the fresh nectarines in the waffles, as well as on top. Of course we had to serve it with our favorite Butter Syrup which took these over the top. If you have any peaches or nectarines lying around, these two recipes are ones I know you will love!!

 
Nectarine (or Peach) Infused Waffles
Ingredients
  1. 3 cup milk
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 1/3 cup sugar
  4. 2 tsp. salt
  5. 1/2 cup sour cream or vanilla yogurt
  6. 1/4 cup canola oil
  7. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  8. 5 tsp. baking powder
  9. 2 cups diced or pureed nectarines which have had the pit removed
  10. 4-4 1/4 cup flour
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and sugar. Whisk until smooth and then add the pureed nectarines, sour cream, oil, vanilla, baking powder and the flour. Whisk until the flour is combined, but don't over mix. Heat a waffle iron and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour a 1/4-1/2 cup of the batter into the waffle iron and bake until golden brown. While the waffles are cooking, make the butter syrup. Serve the syrup over the cooked waffles.
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Beach Street Chicken Lemon Linguine

 

I mentioned on Instagram earlier this week one of my all-time favorite meals. In case there is someone out there who hasn’t tried this recipe, you are missing out. Don’t wait another week to give this recipe a try. It is such an unusual pasta dish with different flavors like Cajun, soy sauce, lemon and a sweetness from some brown sugar. At first you might look at this recipe and think it is kind of strange. However, it is AMAZING! The flavors all come together so perfectly unlike any pasta dish you’ve ever had.  Hope you love it!

*Don’t forget to login to Deals to Meals to find out where you can get chicken and pasta on sale this week. Both are on sale for great deals. In fact, some stores have chicken as low as $1.29/lb. How great is that?!

 

Beach Street Lemon Linguine
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. linguini (or Fettucini) pasta
  2. 2 T. olive oil
  3. Zest from one lemon
  4. Juice from one lemon
  5. ½ c. chopped green onion
  6. ¼ c. chopped fresh parsley
  7. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. Parmesan cheese
Marinade
  1. ½ c. olive oil
  2. 2 cloves garlic, whole
  3. 2 T. Cajun seasoning
  4. 1/4 c. lemon juice
  5. 2 T. minced parsley
  6. 1/4 c. brown sugar (or more if you like it a little sweeter)
  7. 3 T. soy sauce
  8. 2 chicken breasts, sliced
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Instructions
  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Slice thawed chicken (or shrimp). Pat dry and toss in marinade to coat. Refrigerate 1-12 hours. Cook marinated chicken with the marinade sauce in a large saute pan on medium heat until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.
  2. Cook linguini in boiling salted water until done; drain well and rinse noodles. Combine juice of one lemon, zest, olive oil, green onions, and fresh parsley together. Add hot pasta into bowl and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add chicken with the marinade into the large pasta bowl. Toss in parmesan cheese to taste and serve warm.
Notes
  1. HEALTHIER OPTION: Serve on whole wheat noodles.
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Homemade Apricot Syrup and Fluffy Blueberry Apricot Pancakes

I don’t know about you, but I love fresh apricots. We are in full-blown apricot season here in Utah. We have several sweet neighbors who have been so kind and shared their harvest of apricots. I love snacking on them, but wanted to come up with a recipe for some homemade apricot syrup and pancakes. We had lots of cousins over for breakfast so it was the perfect thing to feed the hungry crowd 😉 I loved the combination of the apricots with the blueberries. It’s also blueberry season, so those are on sale everywhere this week too. Login to Deals to Meals to see where you can stock up on fresh apricots and blueberries. They also freeze great in your freezer for later breakfast recipes or smoothies. Enjoy!



Apricot Syrup and Blueberry Apricot Buttermilk Pancakes


Apricot Syrup:
6 cups pureed apricots (if you have a Blendtec, rinse them, remove the pit, and keep the skins on)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water


Pancakes:
1 1/2 cups apricot puree
3 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
2 1/2 cups milk (can use water and powdered milk)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3-3 1/2 cups flour (you can add half wheat flour)
2 cups blueberries (optional) plus more for serving

For the apricot syrup, rinse the apricots under water and remove the pits. Keep the skins on and place in a blender. Add the lemon juice and water. Puree the apricots until they are completely smooth. If you have a heavy duty blender like a Blendtec it will puree the apricots so smoothly you won’t need to strain. If you have a less strong blender, you may want to strain this portion of the syrup to get it nice and smooth.

Once you have the pureed apricot mixture, pour it in a sauce pan and add the sugar. Bring the mixture to a low boil and let it simmer until the sugar has been dissolved. Once the mixture is smooth and the sugar is melted, the syrup is ready. If it is too thick you can add more water to the syrup to thin it out. The syrup will last in the fridge for a couple weeks. Use this syrup in the pancakes.

For the pancakes, in a bowl, pour the cooled syrup, canola oil, milk, sugar and eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. If the batter is too thin, add the extra half cup of flour. Adding a little more flour will help the pancakes be extra light and fluffy. When ready to cook, heat a griddle (this is my all time favorite griddle–it’s HUGE and can make 6 pancakes at a time. I love it!). Once the griddle is hot, spray with cooking spray or butter. Pour a portion of the pancake on the griddle and cook until golden brown and then flip. Serve the pancakes with extra blueberries and the apricot syrup.

Apricot Pancakes with Apricot Syrup
Apricot Syrup
  1. 6 cups pureed apricots (if you have a Blendtec, rinse them, remove the pit, and keep the skins on)
  2. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  3. 2 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1 cup water
Pancakes
  1. 1 1/2 cups apricot puree
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 1/4 cup canola oil
  4. 2 1/2 cups milk (can use water and powdered milk)
  5. 1/2 cup sugar
  6. 3 tsp. baking powder
  7. 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  8. 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  9. 3-3 1/2 cups flour (you can add half wheat flour)
  10. 2 cups blueberries (optional) plus more for serving
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Instructions
  1. For the apricot syrup, rinse the apricots under water and remove the pits. Keep the skins on and place in a blender. Add the lemon juice and water. Puree the apricots until they are completely smooth. If you have a heavy duty blender like a Blendtec it will puree the apricots so smoothly you won't need to strain. If you have a less strong blender, you may want to strain this portion of the syrup to get it nice and smooth.
  2. Once you have the pureed apricot mixture, pour it in a sauce pan and add the sugar. Bring the mixture to a low boil and let it simmer until the sugar has been dissolved. Once the mixture is smooth and the sugar is melted, the syrup is ready. If it is too thick you can add more water to the syrup to thin it out. The syrup will last in the fridge for a couple weeks. Use this syrup in the pancakes.
  3. For the pancakes, in a bowl, pour the cooled syrup, canola oil, milk, sugar and eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. If the batter is too thin, add the extra half cup of flour. Adding a little more flour will help the pancakes be extra light and fluffy. When ready to cook, heat a griddle (this is my all time favorite griddle--it's HUGE and can make 6 pancakes at a time. I love it!). Once the griddle is hot, spray with cooking spray or butter. Pour a portion of the pancake on the griddle and cook until golden brown and then flip. Serve the pancakes with extra blueberries and the apricot syrup
Notes
  1. HEALTHIER OPTION: Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour.
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Healthy Hulk Green Pancakes {with Spinach and Bananas}

 
No, it’s not your eyes. These pancakes are meant to be green. Before you mock them, or disregard this recipe, give them a try! We served these for a family breakfast this past weekend and they were a hit (especially with all who were trying to be a little healthier). These pancakes are filled with lots of good, healthy ingredients and your kids won’t even know. Instead of using food dye, add some spinach to your pancakes and you’ll get lots of vitamins and extra goodness in your pancakes without your kids even knowing. Not to mention these pancakes are gluten free, full of protein and a great way to start your morning. If you want a healthy breakfast your family (even your kids) will love, give these Hulk Hulgan pancakes a try. TIP: If your kids are picky eaters, don’t let them see you add the spinach. My kids that saw me add it were funny about eating them. Those that didn’t know what was in them, just thought I used food coloring and were totally happy to eat them.


*Pancakes above had a little white flour in them to help them be puffy and tall. If you are not going for gluten-free, these are my favorite way to serve them. You still have LOTS of nutrients in these pancakes so I didn’t feel badly to add a little white flour.

Healthy Hulk Green Pancakes
Ingredients
  1. 6 eggs
  2. 1 cup cottage cheese
  3. 1 cup cooked brown rice or wheat flour
  4. 1 banana
  5. 1 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  6. 1 tsp. baking powder
  7. Dash salt
  8. 1 Tbs. honey
  9. 1 1/2 cup oats or white flour
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Instructions
  1. In a large blender, like a Blendtec, put the eggs, cottage cheese, brown rice, banana and spinach together. Blend the mixture until it's smooth. If you are using cooked brown rice, blend the mixture until it's totally smooth for best texture. To the blender, add the baking powder, salt, honey and the oats (or flour). Continue to blend until the batter is smooth. Heat a griddle and spray with non-stick cooking spray or butter. Pour a small amount of batter onto the griddle and bake one pancake to test the texture of the pancake. If you want a more fluffy and tall pancake, you may need to add a little more flour to the recipe. If you are trying to go gluten-free, leave the flour out and just use more oats. The pancakes will be much thinner without flour but will still work. After you get a pancake with the right thickness and texture, continue to cook the pancakes until ready to serve. Serve with fresh fruit, syrup or butter syrup.
Notes
  1. *Pancakes above had a little white flour in them to help them be puffy and tall. If you are not going for gluten-free, these are my favorite way to serve them. You still have LOTS of nutrients in these pancakes so I didn't feel badly to add a little white flour.
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America’s Test Kitchen Best Blueberry Muffins

 

Before this week ended, I wanted to share my go-to recipe for blueberry muffins. If you are used to making your muffins from a box, look no further, this recipe is SO much better and not much more difficult to make. When I was packing for our trip to Midway this week, I packed the dry ingredients for these muffins in a Ziploc bag, along with the blueberries, eggs and milk in our cooler. It was so great to be able to throw together homemade muffins in only a couple minutes and enjoy them for a simple breakfast with fresh fruit. There is only one recipe I use when it comes to blueberry muffins and that is the America’s Test Kitchen recipe. The method of boiling the blueberries and sugar together make these muffins super moist and help keep the blueberry flavor all throughout the muffins. Bookmark this recipe as a keeper next time you want to make a batch of these delightful blueberry muffins 😉


America's Test Kitchen Blueberry Muffins
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups blueberries, seperated
  2. 1 1/8 cup sugar plus 1 Tbls. for berry mixture and extra for topping
  3. 2 1/3 cup flour (can use 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat flour)
  4. 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  5. 1 tsp. salt
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 4 Tbls. butter
  8. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  9. 1/4 cup sour cream
  10. 3/4 cup milk
  11. 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
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Instructions
  1. Place 1 cup blueberries and 1 Tbls. sugar in a sauce pan and simmer until berries thicken and the sauce evaporates, about 6 minutes. Let cool. Once the sauce is cool (about 10-15 minutes) add the remaining berries and stir. While the berries were cooling, make the muffin batter.
  2. For the batter, whisk together in a mixing bowl the butter, vegetable oil, sour cream, sugar and milk and stir until combined. Add the eggs, vanilla, salt, baking powder and salt and whisk until incorporated, trying not to over mix. Fold in the berry mixture and stir gently just until the berries are mixed throughout the muffins.
  3. Pour 1/4-1/3 cup of the batter into greased muffin tins. Bake 425 for 17-19 minutes. When the muffins are done, remove them from the oven, brush with some butter and sprinkle on some sugar. Serve warm or cold with more butter or jam.
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Adapted from From America's Test Kitchen
Adapted from From America's Test Kitchen
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Cherry Jubilee Waffles with Cherry Syrup

Just when you think I’ve shared every combination of breakfast waffles and pancakes your way (yes, remember those Beet Pancakes? J), I thought I’d share another fun twist to your traditional waffle recipe. Not to mention, these could be the perfect breakfast in bed for any father’s and husbands in your life 😉 Since it is fresh cherry season I thought this would be the perfect time to add some fresh cherries to your waffles, and smother the whole thing in a fresh, cherry syrup. Oh boy! Was this combination fantastic! Add some whole wheat to your waffles for a healthier, homemade twist. Hope you are having a wonderful Father’s Day weekend. Don’t forget to check out our top 5 FAVORITE FATHER’S DAY gifts for anyone needing some last minute ideas. 
Deals to Meals, Recipe: Breakfast, Recipe: Food Storage, Recipe: Healthy, Cherry Jubilee Waffles with Cherry Syrup
 

 
Cherry Jubilee Waffles with Cherry Syrup
Ingredients
  1. 3 cup buttermilk (or fruit juice--I had apricot nectar on hand, so I used that)
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
  4. 2 tsp. salt
  5. 1/2 cup sour cream or vanilla yogurt
  6. 1/4 cup canola oil
  7. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  8. 5 tsp. baking powder
  9. 1-2 cups cherries, pit removed and cut in half
  10. 4-4 1/4 cup flour
Cherry Syrup
  1. 1 stick butter
  2. 1 cup apricot nectar or water
  3. 3/4 cup sugar
  4. 1 cup fresh cherries, pit removed and cut in half
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the orange juice (can you use
  2. fresh of from concentrate), zest of two oranges, eggs and sugar. Whisk until
  3. smooth and then add the sour cream, oil, vanilla, baking powder and the flour.
  4. Whisk until the flour is combined, but don't over mix. Heat a waffle iron and
  5. spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour a 1/4-1/2 cup of the batter into the
  6. waffle iron and bake until golden brown. While the waffles are cooking, make
  7. the orange syrup. In a sauce pan, add the butter, orange juice, zest and sugar.
  8. Bring the syrup to a low boil and boil until the sugar is dissolved and smooth
  9. and silky. Serve the syrup over the cooked waffles.
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Thai Peanut Coconut Rice Bowl or Wrap

 

Anyone who knows me, knows that Thai food is probably my favorite type of food of all time. There is something about a creamy, peanut coconut sauce that speaks to my heart. Pair that with some seasoned chicken, brown rice, cabbage, carrots and bell peppers and you have a healthy meal your whole family will love. Even my 9 year old tonight at dinner said, “I think this is my new favorite dinner.” I have to admit I was a little shocked because of all the vegetables. The great thing about this recipe is it can be eaten as a wrap, as a salad or as a rice bowl. No matter how you put the ingredients together, you are going to love them! The best part about it is you can use your pre-grilled chicken from your freezer and the rest comes together in only a few minutes. Great for a quick weekend meal. Hope you love it as much as we do 🙂 Have a great weekend!

Thai Peanut Coconut Rice Bowl or Wraps

Easy Creamy Rice Pudding

 
Rice pudding is a favorite at our house. I know some people
could take or leave it, but it is a breakfast or dessert that my family
loves—no matter the time of year. Anytime I have extra rice on hand, I love to
whip up a batch of rice pudding to have in the fridge for a snack, a quick breakfast
or a light dessert. You can adjust the amount of sugar you use in this recipe,
depending how you serve this. If I am serving it for breakfast, I cut the sugar
down quite a bit. If it’s dessert, I use the whole amount for a nice, rich
treat. You can even serve this with whipping cream for something extra special
😉 Hope you enjoy!
 
Here are some of our other rice pudding recipes in case you
want to switch up the flavors:
Recipe: Dessert, Recipe: Food Storage, Recipe: Grains, rice, easy dessert, traditional Rice Pudding, Flashback Friday, Deals to Meals,
 
Easy Creamy Rice Pudding
Ingredients
  1. 2-3 c. cooked rice (brown or white will do--whatever day old rice you have around will work)
  2. 1 1/2 t. nutmeg
  3. 3/4-1 c. sugar (depending how sweet you like it)
  4. 2 t. vanilla extract
  5. 1/2 t. salt
  6. 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
  7. 1 c. raisins (optional)
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 4 c. water (or 4 cups milk instead of the water and dry powdered milk)
  10. 1 c. dry non instant powdered milk
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Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and powdered milk together until combined. Add the 4 c. of hot water (from the tap) to the pan and bring mixture to a low boil on medium heat. Do not boil on a high temperature or you could burn the mixture. Simmer on low for 5-10 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Once the mixture is combined, add the cooked rice to the pan and stir. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and then slowly temper the eggs with some of the hot rice mixture. Once the eggs have been warmed through, add them to the rice pudding and mix continually for another 3-5 minutes. The eggs will thicken the pudding as you continue to simmer. Add the vanilla and stir the pudding. Once the pudding is to your desired thickness, you can serve warm or cold with whipped cream. Garnish with a dash of nutmeg.
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Quinoa Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

If you were to ask me what my number one snack is that I make for my kids, it would definitely be muffins. I LOVE making muffins! I can’t even count the number of muffin recipes I have posted on this blog. Every time I go to make one, I am surprised there is another combination of flavors I haven’t tried yet. The other day I had some bananas that needed to be used and some leftover, cooked quinoa from a different meal. Quinoa is so good for you, I thought it would be fun to try and add it to a muffin recipe. The combination was super moist and spongy. I loved the flavor and texture of the quinoa and the banana together. These muffins taste like a healthy breakfast in muffin form. I doubled the batch and have frozen these muffins for a quick, breakfast on the go for my kiddos. Hope you enjoy!

Quinoa Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups quinoa, cooked
  2. 4 ripe bananas
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1/2 cup sour cream or
  5. yogurt (I used vanilla greek yogurt but any would do)
  6. ½ cup buttermilk or
  7. milk
  8. 2 tsp. vanilla
  9. extract
  10. ½ cup brown sugar (or
  11. more if you like it more sweet)
  12. ¼ cup honey or agave
  13. 2 tsp. baking powder
  14. 1 tsp. salt
  15. 2 cups plus 2 Tbs.
  16. flour
  17. 12 oz. mini chocolate
  18. chips or regular chocolate chips
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Instructions
  1. Cook the quinoa if you don’t have it cooked. Let it cool
  2. slightly to room temperature. In a blender or food processor, combine the
  3. bananas, eggs, sour cream, milk and cooked quinoa. Blend until the quinoa is
  4. smooth and the mixture is combined. Add the vanilla, brown sugar, honey, baking
  5. powder, salt and blend again for just a few seconds. Add the flour and stir by
  6. hand (if you don’t have a large enough blender), dump into a bowl and mix the
  7. flour into the batter, or if you have a large, blender, just blend the flour
  8. inside the blender. Don’t over mix. Once the batter is combined, add the
  9. chocolate chips to the batter and then pour
  10. into muffin tins that have a liner in them. Bake the muffins at 350 degrees for
  11. 15-18 minutes, or until the center of the muffins are cooked through. Remove
  12. the muffins from the oven and let rest before eating.
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Copycat Chicken & Sausage Gumbo Soup {Rib and Chop}

Here in Utah it is supposed to be a littler warmer than it was last week (yay!), but I can’t help but share a new soup recipe my family LOVED this past week. Now that it’s starting to warm up outside, I’m having a hard time saying goodbye to soups and baked

goods. There is something about a warm soup for dinner that warms the belly and
the soul–anytime of year 😉 If you’re already moved onto grilled recipes and thinking of summer, just book mark this soup for an upcoming cold evening and you’ll not be sorry!

Recipe: Soup, Copycat Recipes, easy gumbo soup, Deals to Meals, rib and chop

Many years ago I blogged about a copycat recipe of
Disneyland’s Famous Gumbo Soup. I have loved this recipe for years, but yesterday
I wanted to make a soup that was a little easier to throw together, didn’t have
shrimp (because I didn’t have any) and that could be made in 30-40 minutes.
This new Gumbo soup recipe was SO good and served with our favorite Cornbread recipe, this was a hit for the whole family. In fact, it ended up tasting just
like my favorite Gumbo from Rib and Chop in St. George Utah. If you’ve never
had their soup, you need to go there if you live in the Western US (they have
this chain all over). It’s one of our favorite places to eat and I am pretty
thrilled I was able to get my gumbo to taste as great as theirs.  If you have any cooler days ahead and want a
hearty (and quite healthy) soup, this is the one to try. Hope you love it! 

 

Copycat Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Soup
Ingredients
  1. 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (if you have cooked and frozen chicken in your freezer, it
  2. works great in this recipe and will speed up the cooking time)
  3. 12 oz. pork or chicken sausage links, sliced into rounds
  4. 1 red onion, diced
  5. 1 cup celery, diced
  6. 1 green bell pepper
  7. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  8. 3 Tbs. olive oil
  9. 12 oz. frozen okra
  10. 4 cans diced tomatoes
  11. 4 cans chicken broth (or more if needed)
  12. 2 Tbs. chicken bouillon
  13. 1 tsp. black pepper
  14. 2-3 Tbs. Cajun seasoning
  15. 1 tsp. cumin
  16. 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  17. Salt and pepper, to taste
Roux
  1. ½ cup butter
  2. ½ cup flour
Garnish
  1. 2-3 cups cooked, brown or white rice
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Instructions
  1. If you are using raw chicken (and not the pre-frozen kind),
  2. dice the chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside. Slice the sausage link
  3. as well. Dice the onions, celery, and bell pepper and set aside. Add these
  4. vegetables to to a large soup pot and add the olive oil. Turn the heat to
  5. medium-high heat and sauté the vegetables until they are slightly tender. To
  6. the mixture, add the sausages that have been sliced as well as the chicken
  7. pieces. Saute the chicken and sausage until they start to cook and get a little
  8. browned. Add to the soup the garlic cloves, frozen okra, diced tomatoes, chicken
  9. broth, bouillon, and seasonings. Turn the mixture to low heat and let it come
  10. to a simmer. While the soup is simmering, and in a separate sauté pan, add the
  11. butter to the pan and bring to medium heat. Let the butter start to brown and
  12. then add the flour. Continue to whisk the mixture together until it starts to
  13. turn a brown color. The darker the color, the more of a smokey, Cajun flavor
  14. your soup will have (which is great!). Once the roux is browned, remove from
  15. the heat and add to the soup pot. Stir in the mixture and continue to simmer
  16. for 20-30 minutes, or until the soup thickens. If the soup gets too thick, you
  17. can add more tomatoes or chicken broth. Season to your liking (adding more
  18. Cajun as desired or red pepper flakes). While the soup is simmering, cook some
  19. rice in a rice cooker or over the stove. To serve the soup, put a portion of
  20. rice in a bowl. Ladle some of the soup over the rice. Serve with parsley as a
  21. garnish if desired.
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Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

It seems the more that comes out about the benefits of eating a ‘clean’ diet, the more I try and steer clear of as much processed foods as possible. For my large family of 7, I know I can not get away from all processed foods, but I’m doing the best I can to make sure we are eating as healthy as possible and cutting out foods I know aren’t great for us. One of those is creamed soups. I don’t cook with these very often, but when I do, I always try and make this from scratch. It seems like it would be a lot of work, but making cream of chicken soup from home is actually SUPER easy! Not to mention it tastes SO much better. Once you make it from scratch, you will never want to eat the stuff out of a can again. The great thing about this, is it freezes really well. So, I make up at big batch, let it cool and then you can freeze it in one and a half cup measurements (the same as what would be in a can) and then put it in a ziploc freezer bag. This way they are easy to take out of the freezer, thaw in the microwave and add to any recipes. I can’t wait for you to try this and see how much better, and healthier this recipe is. Enjoy!
 

 

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup
Ingredients
  1. 2 T. flour
  2. 2 T. butter
  3. 2 T. powdered dry milk
  4. 1 c. water
  5. 1/2 t. onion powder
  6. 1 t. instant chicken bouillon granules or chicken base
  7. 1/2 c. finely chopped cooked chicken (optional)
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Instructions
  1. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add flour, stirring with wire whisk. Add water and dry milk and whisk until smooth and thickened. Stir in onion powder, bouillon and chicken. Serve or freeze for later use.
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Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbs. flour
  2. 2 Tbs. butter
  3. 1 cup milk
  4. 1 tsp. instant beef bouillon granules or beef base
  5. 1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
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Instructions
  1. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add flour, stirring with wire whisk. Add water and dry milk and whisk until smooth and thickened. Stir in bouillon and mushrooms. Serve or freeze for later use.
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3 Simple Meat Extenders to save you money! Favorite Tip to save on Beef!

I am SO excited to share this post with you. I have been using this technique for so long, I don’t even remember where it originated from. If you are like me, I have a hard time spending $3-$6 a pound for good quality ground beef. However, I am a big fan of a traditional ground beef taco, but I don’t want to spend $12-$16 just on the meat. So, I have three simple ways you can stretch your ground beef and feed a large family for under $5! With our clan of 7 people (all big eaters btw), we need to use 2-3 lbs. of ground beef for a weeknight meal. I have found three ways to stretch this ground beef so I only have to buy ONE pound of beef and stretch it to feed our entire family. Here are three simple meat extender ideas to help stretch your dollars at the grocery store–not to mention you’ll add some nutrients along the way too. A win-win for everyone! 
 
*Bonus: Ground beef is on sale this week, so check out Deals to Meals before you go shopping and save even more money! 🙂

 

Meat Extender #1: Quinoa and Ground Beef. I LOVE this option the best. The reason is, cooked quinoa actually takes on the flavor and texture of ground beef. All you need to do is cook up some quinoa on the stove, or in a rice cooker and then add it to the ground beef and onions, as it’s cooking. Season the meat as you normally would (taco seasoning, tomato sauce, etc.) and then serve.

Meat Extender #2: Beans, Corn and Ground Beef. This is such a simple way to make your meat go twice as far. I am a huge fan of beans and all the fiber and nutrients it gives you in your diet–so why not add it to your ground beef. Besides the drained, canned beans, I love to add some frozen corn to the mixture as well. It adds a little sweetness that is awesome in tacos, enchiladas or on salads. Simple and much healthier!

Meat Extender #3: Shredded Potatoes and Ground Beef.  My Aunt has been adding shredded potatoes to her tacos for years now, and I love it! The potatoes soak up all of the beef juices and takes on all the taco flavor you want and love. It is genius! All you need to do is thaw some frozen, shredded potatoes in the microwave for a couple of minutes and then add to your ground beef and onion mixture. You will need to add a little more salt than normal as the potatoes need more flavoring than the beef. Once the potatoes are cooked and tender, the meat can be used to make delicious tacos with a healthy twist 😉

The Habit Copycat Super Food Salad

Over the weekend we went to The Habit Burger with some family for a birthday lunch and they had a new salad they were featuring called the “Super Food Salad“.  My Grandmother got and it was delicious. I loved the idea of the healthy quinoa, all of the fresh vegetables, the pesto dressing. The whole thing totally spoke to my tastebuds. I knew this was a recipe I had to recreate–and even make better in this case 😉 This salad I created was SO full of flavor and goodness that I couldn’t stop eating it. I loved that it was so healthy, yet had the sweetness, savory and tangy flavors that I love. If you love a hearty, healthy salad for a quick, spring-time meal, this is the one for you! Hope you love it 😉
The Habit Copycat Super Food Salad
Salad
  1. 2-3 grilled chicken breasts, cooked and seasoned with salt and pepper
  2. 1 cup cooked quinoa
  3. 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  4. 1-2 cups baby spinach or mixed lettuce greens
  5. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  6. 3-4 baby carrots, cut into thin strips
  7. 1 cup feta cheese (or other cheese)
  8. 1/2-1 cup dried cranberries
  9. 1 cup croutons
Pesto Dressing
  1. 1/2 cup pesto
  2. 1/2 cup white vinegar
  3. 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  4. 1/4 cup olive oil (or canola oil)
  5. 1/2 tsp. salt
  6. 2 Tbs. sugar (or less if you don't like sweetness in dressings)
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Instructions
  1. Season some boneless chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Turn on a grill and preheat until ready to cook the chicken. Place the chicken on the grill and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and it has some nice grill marks. When the chicken is cooked, cut into thin strips. If you like extra pesto flavor, you can add some pesto to the cut chicken pieces for more flavor. In a rice cooker, or over the stove, cook the quinoa until tender. Let the quinoa cool. For the salad, chop the lettuce and place in a large serving bowl. Add the mixed greens or spinach. Cut the bell pepper into small pieces and add to the salad. Cut the carrots into strips and add to the salad. Add the quinoa to the salad. Top the salad with the feta cheese, dried cranberries and croutons. For the dressing, whisk the ingredients together until smooth and serve the salad with the dressing.
Notes
  1. VEGETARIAN OPTION: Omit chicken and serve with more vegetables.
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Homemade French Bread Video

 
Subscribe to Deals to Meals on YouTube so you don’t miss any of our cooking videos. This is our most popular recipe on our blog {Homemade French Bread}, so we thought we’d show you how simple it is to make. Hope you love it! If you do, pass it along, would ya? Thanks friends!
 
Also, check out our video for Homemade Rainbow Bread--you’re going to love this video too! This bread is the perfect activity this spring.
 
Also, want to see us take on some famous couponers to answer the age old question “To coupon, or not to coupon?” See how much money we saved, and how much easier it was to shop the way we teach on Deals to Meals and STOP clipping those coupons and save BIG money! 

Simple Blender Wheat Waffles

 One of my favorite food storage recipes on this blog has to be these Blender Wheat Waffles. Not only because they are fantastic, but because they are one of the best ways to use your whole-kernel wheat without having a wheat grinder. Many people store wheat but haven’t invested in an expensive wheat grinder. and don’t know what to do with it. Well, this recipe is for you! And even if you have a wheat grinder, but don’t want to take the time to grind the wheat into flour, these Blender Waffles are a super, simple way to add some whole grain goodness into your daily diet. These waffles are also great to make up several batches and freeze them for later. My kids love to pull these out on a busy morning and are grateful to have a warm breakfast before they head off to school. I can’t wait for you to try this recipe.
Recipe: Food Storage, Recipe: Breakfast, Flashback Friday, healthy, whole wheat waffles, blender wheat waffles, deals to meals, easy wheat waffle recipe



Tip: If you don’t have a very powerful blender (like a Blendtec or a Ninja, you may want to half the batch, or blend the wheat and hot water for twice as long to make sure the kernels break down. No one wants crunchy wheat kernels in their waffles, right?)

Simple Blender Wheat Waffles
Ingredients
  1. 1 ½ cup hard red or white wheat kernels
  2. 2 ¼ cup warm water (or you can use milk instead of the water and powdered milk combo)
  3. 1/4 cup powdered milk
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 1 tsp. salt
  6. 2 Tbs. sugar
  7. 1 Tbs. baking powder
  8. 1 tsp. baking soda
  9. 1/3 cup oil
  10. 1/3-1/2 cup flour (depending how thick you like your batter--waffle batter should be a little more runny)
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Instructions
  1. Put the wheat kernels, water and powdered milk into a blender and blend on high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until kernels seem to be smooth. Then add the eggs, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, oil and flour to the blender. Blend for another 1-2 minutes on low until batter is incorporated. Pour into a greased waffle iron or griddle and cook until waffles are ready to serve.
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Vanilla (White Bean) Cupcakes

 

For our Flashback Friday this week I wanted to highlight our recipe for cutting out some of the fat in one of our favorite desserts–cupcakes! Who doesn’t love a good ol’ cupcake every now and then? Well, why not cut out the fat in the cake portion by using pureed white beans instead of the oil. I use this pureed bean trick all the time and it’s a simple way to cut back on calories and fat in some of your favorite baked good recipes. Today I used a Rainbow Cake Mix and topped the cupcakes with a buttercream frosting. We brought a couple dozen cupcakes to the park with friends and the kids gobbled them up and had no idea they were eating a ‘healthier’ version of cupcakes with some good ol’ bean goodness 😉 Enjoy!

Vanilla (White Bean) Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
Cupcakes with half the fat! Use pureed beans instead of oil to cut out half the fat in this recipe.
Ingredients
  1. White Bean Vanilla Cupcakes
  2. 1 box white or vanilla cake mix (or Rainbow)
  3. 2/3 c. sour cream
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 1 can white beans, drained and then refilled with water (about 3/4 c. water and 1 1/2 c. beans)
  6. 1 recipe buttercream frosting
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Instructions
  1. Mix the cake mix, pudding, sour cream and beans together. Open and drain the can of white beans. Keep the beans in the can and refill the can back to the top with fresh water. Puree with a food processor or hand blender the white beans and water until smooth. Pour the pureed white beans to the cake mix. Stir until completely combined. The mixture should be thick, but not so thick you can't spoon it easily into the cupcake tins (can also put this in a 9x13 pan). If you need to add an extra 1/4 c. of water, you can do that and it won't effect anything.
  2. Pour batter into greased cupcake tins and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through. Cool and frost.
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Happy National Pancake Day: 15 of Our Favorite Pancake Recipes

Who knew that today was national pancake day? I couldn’t let the day end without sharing with you some of my favorite pancake recipes. I have to admit, I may be biased, but I think we have a pretty great selection of pancake recipes on this ol’ blog! And if you don’t have any dinner ideas for tonight–whip up a batch of these pancakes for a simple, weeknight meal. I think that’s what I’m thinking 🙂

Homemade Granola and Yogurt Parfaits

A vacation is not a vacation (to me anyway) without my gallon ziploc bag of homemade granola. It makes for the perfect, healthy snack, eaten as cereal for breakfast, or used in these delicious yogurt parfaits. The Costco in California had the most amazing, large blueberries you have ever seen. Some of them were as big as a quarter. They were beautiful and perfectly sweet. Every morning I couldn’t help but splurge and have these parfaits with homemade granola, greek vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit. Talk about a great way to start your day! If you are new to making homemade granola, give it a try. It is super easy to make, and much healthier than the store bought stuff. This is a great week to make some too because here in Utah, Rolled Oats are on sale for their best prices. Buy several hundred pounds and store it for years to come–batches, and batches of granola here we come! Enjoy :)Recipe Schema Markup

Super Healthy Homemade Granola and Parfaits
Granola
  1. 10 cups rolled oats
  2. 1 cup chia seeds
  3. 3/4 cup raw sesame seeds
  4. 2 cups nuts, chopped (cashews, pecans, almonds, etc.)
  5. 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  6. 7 oz. bag flaked sweetened coconut
  7. 2/3 cup milled flax seed
  8. 1/4 cup dry quinoa
  9. 2 cups golden or regular raisins (optional--or add any dried fruit you wish, or none at all)
Sauce
  1. 1/2 cup canola oil
  2. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  3. 2 cups honey
  4. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  6. 1 tsp. salt
Yoplait Yogurt Parfaits
  1. 1 cup strawberries, diced
  2. 1-2 (6 oz.) yogurts
  3. 1 cup granola
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients. Once combined, pour this mixture evenly over the dry ingredients. With a large wooden spoon, combine together until all of the dry ingredients are moist with the wet ingredients. The more wet and sticky the mixture, the larger the clumps/pieces the granola will have when it's done being baked. On two cookie sheets, place a large piece of parchment paper. Spray the top of the paper heavily with cooking spray. Spread evenly the granola mixture over both cookie sheets. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place both of the cookie sheets into the oven and let bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the granola and stir with a spatula. Place the sheets back into the oven and bake another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven again and stir both of the pans of granola around. Place the pans back into the oven, turn off the heat and let the granola sit in the oven, drying out for 2-3 hours. If you are in a hurry you can also continue baking for 15-20 minute increments until totally dry. You will want to make sure that the granola doesn't become to golden brown or it will have a slight burned flavor. I like the leaving it in the oven method because then there is no chance of over cooking the granola and it works out perfect every time.
  2. For the parfaits, layer the granola, yogurt and fruit in a cup.
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Cinnamon Swirl Bread

 

Before baking season comes to an ed, you need to make a batch of this Cinnamon Swirl Bread. This bread has all of the flavor and texture we love about cinnamon rolls, but put together in a much easier, simpler recipe. This Cinnamon Bread is delicious with our Cinnamon Butter, or the leftovers make the most heavenly french toast. No matter how you slice it, this bread is a must this time of year. Enjoy 🙂

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Bread
  1. 5 c. hot water
  2. 3 T. yeast
  3. 1 c. white sugar
  4. 2/3 c. vital wheat gluten
  5. 3 T. lemon juice
  6. 2/3 c. oil
  7. 2 T. salt
  8. 14-15 c. white flour
Filling
  1. 1/2-2/3 c. cinnamon butter
  2. 1/2-2/3 c. brown sugar
  3. 2 T. cinnamon
  4. Dash of nutmeg
  5. Cream Cheese Frosting, drizzle (optional)
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Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl (or in your Bosche/KitchenAid mixer bowl), combine the water, yeast, lemon juice, sugar and vital wheat gluten together. Mix together and let the mixture sit until it becomes foamy and bubbly (about 10 minutes). Then add the oil, salt and flour (one cup at a time) to the yeast mixture. The dough should be sticky, but not so sticky that you won't be able to work with it. Once the dough has been incorporated, let it sit in the bowl until it begins to rise (about 15-20 minutes--you don't have to wait too long). Pour a few tablespoons of oil onto the counter and spread into a large rectangle shape. Empty the dough out onto the greased counter. Roll the dough into a very large rectangle shape (doesn't have to be perfectly rectangle). Roll until dough is about 1/4-1/2 inch thick (not as thin as a cinnamon roll dough would be).
  2. Spread the cinnamon butter all over the surface of the dough. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon all over the dough. Roll the dough into a large log, beginning with the end furthest away from you (like you would with a cinnamon roll). Cut the dough 'log' into five equal parts. Take each section and fold the sides underneath the dough piece to try and seal off the cinnamon swirl sections. Pinch the sides and bottom of the dough loaf together as best you can.
  3. Spray each bread loaf with cooking spray. Place the dough pieces into each of the loaf pans and spread the corners of the dough into each corner. Place the loaf pans into a 170 degree oven and let them rise until they are just below the top of the pan. Once the dough reaches the top of the pan, turn the oven to 350 degrees (without opening the oven). Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bread is golden brown. Remove from pans after bread has cooled. Serve with cinnamon butter or cut into thick slices and make into French toast.
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Friday Flashback: 2 Favorite Healthy Breakfasts {Apple Wheat Pancakes and Blender Brown Rice Pancakes}

It’s the weekend and I couldn’t be happier! What a busy week. Not sure what it was about this week, but I’m just so relieved it’s the weekend and we can sleep in and slow down life a little 😉 A delicious, healthy, homemade breakfast sounds like the perfect plan for a lazy Saturday morning, doesn’t it? Well, I wanted to share a couple of my favorite healthy pancake recipes with you that have been favorites in our home for a couple years now.

                                                        Fluffy Apple Wheat Pancakes

First off, these Apple Wheat Pancakes are fantastic! I debuted these on a local cooking show 5 years ago, and they continue to be a favorite recipe of our families. Apples are in season, so it’s a great time to top your pancakes with some fresh, cinnamon apples. Yum! Add the Cinnamon Butter Syrup (yes, not so healthy–but sure a nice treat) and you have a breakfast that will warm your heart and soul on a cold day.

                                           Brown Rice Blender Pancakes {Gluten Free}

If you are like me and trying to cut back on your carbs, these Brown Rice Blender Pancakes are an awesome way to start your morning. They are gluten free and have a super fun, dense, spongy texture that is unlike any pancake you’ve ever had. They are really fun to eat and topped with real maple syrup and some fresh berries is my favorite way to enjoy these. Healthy, easy and a recipe your whole family will love! Enjoy 🙂

NEW Healthy Lifestyle Blog Posts: Cranberry Almond Steel Cut Oats

 

Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for being patient as I was taking a little break from the blogging world and enjoying the week with my family. We had a great time hanging out at home, relaxing, playing and enjoying kids being out of school. This Christmas season was so wonderful. We really tried to center this Christmas on our Savior and the true meaning of Christmas and it really made for such a better, and more fulfilling Christmas season. It makes me excited for next year to try even harder to slow down a little and enjoy the simple things in life. That sure seems to be a lesson I keep needing to relearn, doesn’t it? 🙂 Hope I’m not the only one!

Well, it’s a new year now and I am so excited to continue this blogging journey with each of you. I want you to know how much I appreciate you stopping by every now and then and sharing this blog experience with me. I love sharing my recipes, meal planning tips, family traditions, food storage tips and more. If you ever have any suggestions for this blog, I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear them! I love your comments and feedback. We are in the beginning stages of totally revamping this blog and I want to mold it into something that all of you can truly benefit from. So…send me some feedback and we’ll try to get your ideas and suggestions incorporated into our new blog. I’m super excited about it!

Now..onto the preverbal New Year’s traditions of wanting to eat healthier and lose weight. I’m sure I’m not the only one anxious to lose a few holiday pounds (okay…how about 15?!?). I think I enjoyed myself a little too much this season. A few too many parties and holiday recipes has me desperate for eating healthier. I am excited to have you join me through this process of healthier eating throughout the month of January–and 2016. I will be sharing with you some of my favorite healthy recipes, new recipes I am loving, and lots of healthy habit-tips that I hope you will enjoy.

 

 

Let’s kick off this Healthy Lifestyle portion of our blog with this simple recipe for Cranberry Almond Steel Cut Oats. This is such a healthy and delicious recipe to help get you going in the morning. One tip, I used to cook my steel cut oats in my crock pot, but my new favorite tip is to cook these in your rice cooker on the brown rice setting. It comes out perfectly cooked in less than 30 minutes and you don’t have to worry about them drying out or being too sticky. They come out perfectly every time! Enjoy 😉

Cranberry Almond Steel Cut Oats
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups steel cut oats
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 1-2 cups almond or rice milk
  4. 1 cup fresh cranberry sauce (or canned)
  5. 1-2 cups fresh cranberries (or dried)
  6. 1/2 cup almonds, sliced (candied is also delicious!)
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Instructions
  1. In a rice cooker (or saute pan), add the steel cut oats and water and stir. Cook the steel cut oats on the brown rice setting until they are tender and cooked through. Once they are cooked through, stir in the fresh cranberries (or you can use dried cranberries). Spoon a good portion into your bowl. Pour as much rice or almond milk as you wish to your cereal. Top with the cranberry sauce and chopped almonds. If you need more sweetness, drizzle with agave nectar or some brown sugar.
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Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

 
It is the weekend, yay! Are you as excited as I am? What a week! That means pumpkin breakfasts of some kind around our house in November. Whether it’s Pumpkin Waffles, Pumpkin Oatmeal, Pumpkin Quinoa or Pumpkin Pancakes, we are all about pumpkin this time of year. These pancakes I have been making for as long as I can remember and I’m excited to share this recipe with you again. It’s a simple way to switch up the traditional Bisquick pancakes with a little pumpkin flair. They are easy to make and much healthier with the added nutrients of the canned pumpkin. Not to mention they are totally moist and fluffy which is just what you want in a pancake. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend and are enjoying this fun time of year!
 
If you haven’t downloaded your copy of our 90 Favorite Fall Recipe Ebook yet, it’s not too late! This ebook is filled with every recipe you need for this time of year and I know these recipes will be treasured for your family for many years to come. Enjoy 🙂
 
Here’s a sneak peak of the EVERYTHING PUMPKIN section of our cookbook–get your copy today!
Pumpkin Waffles
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Continued
Pumpkin Bread Perfection
Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Filling
Spiced Pumpkin Dip
Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin Crumb Cake
Gingerbread Pumpkin Pudding Cake
Pumpkin Pecan Fudge
Pumpkin Butter Spread
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins with Toffee Crunch Topping
White Chocolate Pumpkin Blondies
Pumpkin Caramel Pecan Cookies
Pumpkin Crepes
Pumpkin Monkey Bread
Spiced Pumpkin Steamer
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Simple Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Pie Dessert
Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup milk
  2. 1 ½ cup pumpkin puree
  3. 3/4 cup vanilla or plain yogurt (or sour cream)
  4. 2 eggs
  5. ¼ cup cooking oil
  6. 2-2 1/2 cups flour
  7. ¼ cup brown sugar
  8. 2 tsp. baking powder
  9. 1 tsp. baking soda
  10. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  11. 1/2 tsp. salt
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Instructions
  1. In one bowl mix together the milk, pumpkin, yogurt (or sour cream), eggs, and oil. To the liquid mixture, add all of the remaining ingredients and stir mixture until combined. Heat your griddle and then pour about a 1/2 cup of the pancake batter onto the heated surface. Cook until the bottom side of the pancake is nice and golden brown and bubbles begin to form along the edge. Flip the pancake. Serve pancakes with syrup and whipping cream.
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Creamy White Chicken Chili

 
 

Last night was one of those nights I needed a meal that was quick and fast. One of my favorite benefits to having a well stocked pantry and food storage is you can make complete meals without having to run to the store. Most of this recipe is all about dumping in a soup pot jars or cans of food, which makes it really simple to make. However, with a little splash of lime juice and some fresh avocados, we had a creamy chicken chili that was perfect for a busy night. It’s a little bit spicy, creamy and full of lots of great nutrients. This is a simple, easy recipe I know your family will love too! Enjoy 🙂

 

Creamy White Chicken Chili
Ingredients
  1. 2 onions, diced
  2. 2 Tbs. olive oil
  3. 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  4. 16 oz. jar salsa verde
  5. 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  6. 6 cans white beans, drained
  7. 1 Tbs. cumin powder
  8. 2 Tbs. chicken bouillon
  9. 2 tsp. black pepper
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Cayenne pepper to taste (if you like more spice)
  12. 3 cans evaporated milk
  13. 1-2 cups shredded cheese
  14. 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  15. 1 cup tortilla chips
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Instructions
  1. Dice the onion into small pieces. In a soup pot, turn the heat to medium high heat. Add the olive oil and onions into the soup pot. Saute until the onions are tender. To the onions once they are soft, add the chicken broth, salsa verde, and the chicken breasts. Bring this mixture to a boil so the chicken can cook and become tender. Once the chicken is tender, remove the chicken from the broth and shred on a plate. Add the cooked chicken back to the pot. Add the drained white beans, cumin powder, chicken bouillon, black pepper, cayenne pepper, evaporated milk and salt to taste. Stir the soup and let it simmer until you are ready to serve. Garnish the soup with shredded cheese, cilantro and tortilla chips.
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{Flashback Friday} Pumpkin Monkey Bread

I was going through some of my favorite fall recipes (yes, we have our 3rd ebook coming out next week–yipee!), and I found a recipe for these Pumpkin Monkey Bread that I LOVE! It’s been a few years since I posted this recipe, so I thought I would bring it out of the cobwebs and share it with all of you today. It’s a delicious recipe that would be super fun to enjoy this weekend! Hope you are having a great weekend!

Pumpkin Monkey Bread

{Flashback Friday} Pumpkin Oatmeal Bake

 
Keeping with the monthly theme of pumpkin, I couldn’t help but repost about a favorite fall breakfast that I might just make all year long. I love this pumpkin oatmeal! Not only because it is ultra healthy, but also because it tastes like everything fall all put together in your breakfast bowl. A great way to start your morning!
 
 
Pumpkin Oatmeal Bake
Ingredients
  1. 2 cup regular oats
  2. 2 Tbs. milled flax seed - optional
  3. 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  5. 1/2 tsp. allspice
  6. 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  7. 1/2 tsp. salt
  8. 2 tsp. vanilla
  9. 4 Tbs. softened butter
  10. 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  11. 1 1/2 cups milk
Crumb Topping
  1. 1 stick softened butter
  2. 1 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/4-1/3 cup flour
  4. 1/2-3/4 cup oats
  5. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  6. 1/3 cup chopped almonds or pecans
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Instructions
  1. Combine all of the oatmeal ingredients together in a large bowl. Spray the slow cooker and pour the oatmeal mixture into the cooker. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. While the oatmeal is cooking prepare the crumb topping by combining all of the ingredients together. If the crumble is too soft add more oats and/or flour. Once the consistency is just right sprinkle the crumb topping on the oatmeal. The oatmeal is ready to serve when it is firm and most of the moisture has evaporated from the slow cooker. Any extra topping will keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
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Copycat Recipe: Costco’s Spicy Avocado Hummus Dip

 
 
 

Are you as addicted to Costco’s Spicy Avocado Hummus as I am? I LOVE this stuff! Every time I go to Costco I can’t help but pick up a container of this good stuff. The other day my food budget was running low, so I decided I would try recreating this hummus to see if I could save me a little money each month.  I knew with some fresh ingredients on sale (yes, check out the best deals at Deals to Meals) I could make this hummus for much less.

And let me just say, this homemade version is incredible!! I had some nephews over and this batch was inhaled in less than 10 minutes. My six year old nephew licked the bowl clean and said, “Aunt Shanny (isn’t my nickname cute?), that was so good I wish I could drink it! Can you make more?” So, we did. And guess what, I didn’t care how much they ate because I calculated one batch of this hummus cost under $3. Not to mention, it makes about 4 cups (about double the size as the Costco jar).  It’s healthy, has no preservatives, and can be made in less than 5 minutes. Happy day!

Recipe: Side, Recipe: Beans, Recipe: Snack, Copycat Recipes, Costco's Hope Spicy Avocado Hummus Dip, Costco hummus, best hummus ever, Healthy, Deals to Meals






Spicy Avocado Hummus Dip
Ingredients
  1. 2 cans garbanzo beans, drained
  2. 1 large avocado (or 2 medium), peeled and core removed
  3. Juice of 1 lemon
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1/4 cup jarred, pickled jalapeno peppers (or you can use fresh)
  6. Pinch paprika
  7. 1 tsp. salt
  8. 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
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Instructions
  1. Open the cans of garbanzo beans and drain most of the juice from the beans. Pour the beans into a food processor. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice from the lemons and pour the juice in with the beans. Add the garlic cloves, jalapeno peppers, paprika, salt and the peeled avocados. Puree the mixture until smooth, while adding the olive oil slowly to the mixture until it is smooth and creamy. Season the hummus with more salt as needed and if you like more spice, add additional jalapeno peppers as well. Serve hummus with chips, vegetables in wraps or on crackers.
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Amazing Case Lot Deals–save $100’s on your groceries throughout the year!

case lot sales, food storage deals, summer stock up sales, Deals to Meals

Yes, it’s that time again! Case lot time comes every fall and spring and so all of the case lot sales here in the Western United States are in full swing. Many stores such as Smiths, Maceys, Peterson’s, Reams, Harmons, Lins, Dans, Kohlers and MANY others are currently having their case lot deals this week. It’s a great time to stock up on many grocery items your family uses on a regular basis (sugar, flour, canned beans, canned vegetables, water bottles, tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, canned fruit, canned chili, canned pineapple, mayonnaise, cooking oil and MUCH, MUCH more! Literally hundreds of great deals this week, so login to our website to find all of the best deals in your area. Have fun shopping!

*If you are into stock piling and building up your food storage, here is a link to FREE downloads I created to help organize my food storage. Hopefully they will be of help to you too 😉

Perfectly Peach Waffles with Peach Syrup

 

We are all about peaches over here at our house lately. It seems the peach season seems to sneak up on me every year. I have had big, beautiful peaches falling from our tree for several weeks now and I finally decided to bottle them yesterday. Why does that never sound fun? I’m not sure if it’s the sticky mess it creates, or the fact your feet hurt after standing for hours and hours. Whatever it is, I always know it’s worth it once I see those beautiful peach bottles filled to the brim with beautiful peach slices. I guess it’s just like in life. Anything worthwhile, takes a little extra effort and care, right?

Well, today I thought I would share with you some of my favorite peach recipes. We have been making several of these recipes the past couple weeks and they are delicious! Last night I was up to my eyeballs in peaches, so I decided to come up with a waffle recipe that was infused with lots of peach flavor. I love pureeing fruit and adding it to cakes and batters. It’s a great way to cut down on the fat in recipes and give your dishes a little extra pop of flavor. These waffles have pureed peaches in them and then they are topped with homemade peach syrup. It was an appropriate dinner for our peach extravaganza yesterday 😉 Happy peach days!

*If you don’t have a peach tree, that’s okay! Peaches are on sale nearly everywhere this week, so go buy a bunch and spend some cold, fall days in the kitchen 😉 Just login to our website to see the best deals in your area.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Perfectly Peach Waffles with Peach Syrup
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup peach puree (just pureed or chopped peaches)
  2. 1/3 cup canola oil
  3. 3 cups milk
  4. 2/3 cup sugar
  5. 1 tsp. salt
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 1 tsp. baking soda
  8. 1 Tbls. baking powder
  9. 4 cups flour (can use half wheat and half white flour)
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Instructions
  1. Puree or chop the peaches (with skins removed) and place into a large mixing bowl. Add the oil, milk, sugar, salt and eggs to the mixture and whisk together until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to whisk together until the batter is smooth and there are no longer any lumps. If the batter is too thick, add a little more milk to thin it out a little, or if it is too runny, add just enough flour to make the batter thick enough to stay in the waffle iron. Heat a waffle iron to medium heat, spray with cooking spray and pour a 1/3 cup of the batter onto the waffle iron. Cook the waffle until golden brown and serve with the peach syrup.
  2. For the peach syrup, I just puree in my food processor several peaches (that have the skins removed), add enough sugar to your liking (I like less sugar so you can really taste the peach). Let the peach puree and the sugar simmer on the stove and then add a couple teaspoons of lemon juice and a couple tablespoons of butter to help it be a little creamy. Serve the hot syrup over the waffles with more fresh peaches.
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Sweet Thai Chicken Pizza on Whole Grain Pizza Crust

 

You have not had the perfect homemade pizza until you have tried this Sweet Thai Chicken Pizza! The flavor is unreal good! We have a local pizza restaurant called Rock Creek Pizza. They have these two favorite pizza varieties that we can not get enough of–Sweet Thai Chicken Pizza and Buffalo Blue Chicken Pizza. They both are so packed with flavor that you can’t believe you hadn’t had this pizza before in your life. They are both equally different and just plain awesome! The Thai pizza has a sweet red chili base, pineapple, grilled chicken, cilantro, red onions, and lots of yummy cheese. The Buffalo pizza is equally as good with crumbled blue cheese, sliced tomatoes, grilled chicken, green onions, ranch dressing sauce and drizzled with buffalo sauce. How do you spell y.u.m.??? Next time you are whipping up some homemade pizzas, make sure and give these two varieties a try. Gone are the days of boring pepperoni! Enjoy 😉

favorite pizza recipes, homemade pizza crust, homemade pizzas, Easy Meal Ideas, Sweet Thai Chicken Pizza, Buffalo Blue Chicken Pizza, buffalo recipe, rock creek pizza, Deals to Meals

Sweet Thai Chicken Pizza
Ingredients
  1. 1 recipe homemade pizza crust (whole grain or regular crust)
  2. 2-3 chicken breasts, grilled and seasoned with salt and pepper
  3. 1 can pineapple tidbits, drained (or use fresh pineapple)
  4. 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  5. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  6. 1/2 red onion, diced
  7. 1/2-2/3 cup sweet red pepper jelly (you can buy this at Costco/Walmart or make your own)
  8. 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  9. 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
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Instructions
  1. Season the chicken breasts and grill until cooked through. Dice the chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside. Roll the pizza crust out into a circular shape until thin. Spread a thin layer of the sweet red pepper jelly onto the crust. Add the toppings and sprinkle with a thick layer of shredded cheese. Bake in a 485 degree oven on parchment lined baking stone or pan for 18-25 minutes, or until the pizza is bubbly and golden brown. Garnish with extra fresh cilantro as desired.
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Blue Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Ingredients
  1. 1 recipe homemade pizza crust (whole grain or regular crust)
  2. 2-3 chicken breasts, grilled and seasoned with salt and pepper
  3. 2-3 stalks green onions, sliced
  4. 2 tomatoes, sliced very thin
  5. 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  6. 1/2-1 cup ranch dressing
  7. 2 Tbls.-1/4 cup buffalo sauce (Frank's Red Hot Sauce is my favorite)
  8. 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
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Instructions
  1. Season the chicken breasts and grill until cooked through. Dice the chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside. Roll the pizza crust out into a circular shape until thin. Spread a thin layer of the ranch dressing onto the crust. Slice the tomatoes and green onions and add to the top of the pizza. Add the chicken pieces to the pizza as well. Sprinkle the pizza with a thick layer of shredded cheese. Add the crumbled blue cheese on top of the pizza and bake in a 485 degree oven on parchment lined baking stone or pan for 18-25 minutes, or until the pizza is bubbly and golden brown. Garnish with extra green onions as desired.
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Best Macaroni Salad

 

 How was your Father’s Day weekend? We had a great time and played our annual Father’s Day Challenge of Kids vs. Dads. It was a riot! One of these days when I have a few minutes, I will give you all of the details. It’s such a fun way to celebrate the amazing Dad’s in our life. I couldn’t have asked for a better Dad. I love him so much! He is such an amazing person and example to me. I could go on for hours of why I love him, but I will spare you 🙂 One thing I love about my Dad is his love for good food. For my gift to him on Father’s Day all he wanted was a big bowl of macaroni salad. He has always loved macaroni salad and he can make a mean batch of salad. I have a mission in life–to cure the world of disgusting macaroni salad. You can’t buy a good macaroni salad. The ones sold from grocery stores are completely uneatable. So, with this macaroni salad recipe, you will forever and always save the world from another bowl of gross pasta salad. And doesn’t that just bring a sense of accomplishment? If you need an awesome salad to bring to your upcoming 4th of July bbq’s, this is the one for you! Enjoy 😉

Recipe: Pasta, Recipe: Salad, Recipe: Side Dish, Best Macaroni Salad, Deals to Meals, perfect bbq side dish,

Best Macaroni and Salad
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. macaroni or small pasta noodle
  2. 6 oz. black olives, drained and sliced
  3. 1 cup diced tomatoes
  4. 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  5. 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
  6. 5 boiled eggs, chopped
  7. 1 cup dill pickles, diced
  8. 1 cup frozen peas
  9. 1 cup cheese cubes
  10. 1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
Sauce
  1. 1 cup mayonnaise
  2. 1 tsp. salt
  3. 1 tsp. black pepper
  4. 1 tsp. garlic powder
  5. 1/2 cup pickle juice
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Instructions
  1. Boil the pasta in a large pot until tender. When tender, drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. While noodles are cooking, prepare the other ingredients by slicing the olives, cutting the tomatoes, the pepper, onions, and pickles. Boil the eggs until the center is cooked (about 7-10 minutes). Remove egg shells and chop the eggs into bite sized pieces. Cut the cheese cubes and cook the bacon until crispy. When bacon is cooled, crumble the bacon. For the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Place the noodles in a bowl, all of the salad ingredients and toss with the sauce. Keep the salad refrigerated until ready to serve.
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Bruschetta Balsamic Chicken and Pasta

 

This dish is awesome for summer!! I loved EVERYTHING about this recipe. I am so excited to share it with you! We had it last night and I was thrilled I had leftover’s for lunch today. It was just as fantastic today as it was yesterday. This dish is light, fresh, full of lots of complex flavor and over-all pretty healthy. With the fresh basil from our garden, this dish gives you a party in your mouth! I have also never bought a pre-made seasoning mix before and I was a huge fan! I saw a McCormick seasoning mix for Tomato, Basil and Garlic and I knew this would be awesome over pasta. And it was! This chicken is marinated to perfection and then grilled and smothered with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese. The chicken is then layed on a bed of tender pasta covered in a balsamic garlic sauce and topped with fresh bruschetta. Um…how do you say yum?!? I know you will love this recipe too. It will be on our meal planner tomorrow, so get excited 😉 Enjoy!

McCormick Grill Mates Tomato, Garlic and Basil Recipe, chicken marinade, easy marinade, Recipe: Chicken, Recipe: Main Dish, Recipe: Healthy, Recipe: Pasta

 

McCormick Grill Mates Tomato, Garlic and Basil Recipe, chicken marinade, easy marinade, Recipe: Chicken, Recipe: Main Dish, Recipe: Healthy, Recipe: Pasta

 

Bruschetta Balsamic Chicken
Chicken Marinade
  1. 6-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  2. 2 packages McCormick Tomato, Basil and Garlic Seasoning Mix
  3. 1/4 cup pesto
  4. 3 cloves garlic
  5. 1 tsp. dried parsley
Pasta Sauce
  1. 2 (12 oz.) pasta noodles (I used tri colored rotini but any would work)
  2. Leftover marinade from chicken (about 2-3 Tbls.)
  3. 1 red onion, diced small (reserve 2 Tbls. for bruschetta)
  4. 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  5. 1/3 cup olive oil
  6. 1/2-3/4 cup pasta water
  7. 3 Tbls. pesto
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  9. 6-8 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese (or you can use sliced mozzarella cheese)
Brushetta
  1. 5 tomatoes, diced
  2. 20 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  3. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  4. Drizzle of olive oil
  5. 2 Tbls. red onion, diced small
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Instructions
  1. Trim any excess fat off of the boneless chicken. Place the chicken into a large gallon Ziploc bag. To the bag, add all of the marinade ingredients. Mix the marinade around to cover all of the chicken breasts (if your chicken is too thick, cut them in half horizontally). Let the chicken marinade for several hours, or overnight. When ready to grill, heat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place the chicken on the grill. Reserve the extra marinade and pour into a saute pan. Cut the red onion into small pieces. Add to the marinade liquid the red onion and saute on medium-high heat until the onions begin to be tender. Add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar to the pan and continue to cook until sauce begins to evaporate. While the sauce is boiling and the chicken is grilling, heat a large pot of boiling water for the noodles. Let the noodles boil until tender and then drain. Add a 1/2-2/3 cup of the pasta water to the sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper as needed. While everything is cooking, cut the tomatoes and basil and place in a bowl. When the chicken is nearly cooked through, place a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese onto the chicken breasts. Let the chicken continue cooking for 3-5 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center and the cheese is melted. Remove the chicken from the grill. Pour the baslmic/olive oil sauce over the drained noodles. To serve, place a generous portion of noodles on the bottom of a plate. Place the chicken on top and then garnish with the fresh bruschetta. Serve warm with extra fresh basil on top for garnish.
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Flash Back Friday {Lemon Chicken Pesto Pasta}

Flashback Friday, Recipe:  Pasta, Deals to Meals, Lemon Chicken Pesto Pasta, Easy Meal Ideas,

Today’s Flash Back Friday recipe is in honor of me finally planting my garden! We have had so much rain lately that it was hard to find a dry day to get my garden in. But now that I have, I am anxiously counting down the days when I’ll have fresh basil and garden tomatoes ready to eat. There is something about warm weather that makes me crave, fresh, pasta salads. This pasta recipe for Lemon Pesto Chicken Pasta is such a simple dish, but yet so healthy and easy. If you need a quick, weeknight meal, this is a great dish to serve the whole family. Enjoy!

Simple Slow Cooker Baked Beans

 

 

 

Before Memorial Day gets here and you are scrambling to figure out what to cook for your get togethers, I thought I would share with you some of my go-to, quick barbeque recipes. Most of us don’t have all day to spend prepping for weekend parties, and so these recipes are really fast with a few shortcuts (love the semi-homemade tricks every now and then). Not to mention, everything you need for your barbques are on sale this week (bbq sauce, mustard, ketchup, relish, hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, pork and beans, bacon, chicken, watermelon and MUCH more!). Login to our website to find the best deals in your area.

memorial day recipes, simple baked beans, best baked beans slow cooker, Recipe: Side Dish, barbecue favorites, Deals to Meals, pork and beans

Now, back to these beans. Oh, how I love a good pot of baked beans! And I even like them better when they are easy to throw together. Don’t get me wrong, if you have more time on your hands, this recipe for Famous Dave Baked Beans is the best. However, on those days you don’t have time to spend all day in the kitchen, these beans are full of great barbecue flavor and smoky, rich goodness. Throw all of the ingredients into a crock pot, set it on low heat, and a few hours later you have the perfect baked beans. Put this recipe on your upcoming menu for sure 😉

Simple Slow Cooker Baked Beans
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled (fat reserved)
  2. 1 red or green bell pepper, diced small
  3. 1 red or white onion, diced small
  4. 5-6 cans pork and beans, fat piece removed
  5. 1 tsp. black pepper
  6. Dash cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (if desired)
  7. 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  8. 1 tsp. garlic powder
  9. 2-2 1/2 cups favorite bbq sauce (I either like Famous Daves or Sweet Baby Rays)
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Instructions
  1. In a saute pan, place the bacon and let it cook on medium-high heat until it's golden brown and crispy. Once the bacon is crispy, remove the bacon from the pan and let it rest on a paper towel. Remove some of the bacon fat from the pan, leaving about 2-3 Tbls. of the fat. Add the onions to the bacon fat in the pan and saute the onions until completely tender. Once the onions are tender, add the diced bell pepper and cook for another couple of minutes. Season the pepper and onions with the pepper, cayenne pepper, liquid smoke, and garlic powder. Pour this mixture into a crock pot. Into the crock pot, pour the pork and beans as well. Stir the mixture together until combined. Crumble the bacon into small pieces and stir into the baked beans. Pour the bbq sauce into the beans, stir and place the lid on the crock pot. Let the beans simmer on low heat for 3-5 hours, or until ready to serve. Serve beans warm. If you don't wish to use the crock pot method, just add pork and beans to the sauce/soup pot and let the beans simmer on low until ready to serve.
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Little America’s Bran Muffins with Caramel Glaze

http://www.dealstomealsblog.com/2014/01/copycat-little-americas-bran-muffins.html

I decided I wanted to start a ‘Flashback Friday’ post. There are so many hundreds of recipes, I wanted to highlight each week some of the posts that we might have forgotten about–but that have continued to be a family favorite recipe. When I was thinking of which one I wanted to share today, it had to be our recipe for Little America’s Bran Muffins with Caramel Glaze. We had these muffins at one of our favorite restaurants and I knew I had to come home and recreate them. Eighteen months later this is still one of our families go-to muffin recipes. They are amazing! And you know what, I think I am heading to the kitchen right now to whip up a batch before kids get home from school. Healthy, sweet, full of fiber and deeelicious!! Enjoy 🙂

Super Healthy Granola–Chia Seeds, Flax Seed, Quinoa and Oats

 

 If you have followed my blog for awhile you know I love granola. If we don’t have a tupperware of granola in our pantry my family doesn’t know how to function. They forget that you can eat yogurt without granola in it. I have to admit, I am the same way though. Granola is not only awesome on yogurt (or in these pretty Yogurt Parfaits) but it is a healthy snack. I usually have a ziploc bag of granola in my purse for those times I need a high protein and fiber snack to grab and go. The great thing about this granola is that it is chuck-full of lots of healthy whole grains. Have you tried chia seeds yet? They are such a fun new way to add fiber and nutrition to your diet. I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for ways to add fiber to my diet (it must be an old-lady thing. Ha!). Between the chia seeds, flaxseed, quinoa and oats, this is an excellent recipe to add to your repertoire. I LOVE this new recipe and hope you do too.

Recipe: Grains, Recipe: Whole grains, Recipe: Oats, high fiber, Recipe: Healthy, Recipe: Food Storage, homemade granola, super healthy granola with chia seeds, flax seeds, quinoa and oats, Deals to Meals
Other favorite Granola recipes:
 
 

Recipe: Grains, Recipe: Whole grains, Recipe: Oats, high fiber, Recipe: Healthy, Recipe: Food Storage, homemade granola, super healthy granola with chia seeds, flax seeds, quinoa and oats, Deals to Meals

 

Super Healthy Granola
Granola
  1. 10 cups rolled oats
  2. 1 cup chia seeds
  3. 3/4 cup raw sesame seeds
  4. 2 cups nuts, chopped (cashews, pecans, almonds, etc.)
  5. 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  6. 7 oz. bag flaked sweetened coconut
  7. 2/3 cup milled flax seed
  8. 1/4 cup dry quinoa
  9. 2 cups golden or regular raisins (optional--or add any dried fruit you wish, or none at all)
Sauce
  1. 1/2 cup canola oil
  2. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  3. 2 cups honey
  4. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  6. 1 tsp. salt
Yogurt Parfaits
  1. 1 cup strawberries, diced
  2. 1-2 (6 oz.) yogurts
  3. 1 cup granola
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients. Once combined, pour this mixture evenly over the dry ingredients. With a large wooden spoon, combine together until all of the dry ingredients are moist with the wet ingredients. The more wet and sticky the mixture, the larger the clumps/pieces the granola will have when it's done being baked. On two cookie sheets, place a large piece of parchment paper. Spray the top of the paper heavily with cooking spray. Spread evenly the granola mixture over both cookie sheets. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place both of the cookie sheets into the oven and let bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the granola and stir with a spatula. Place the sheets back into the oven and bake another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven again and stir both of the pans of granola around. Place the pans back into the oven, turn off the heat and let the granola sit in the oven, drying out for 2-3 hours. If you are in a hurry you can also continue baking for 15-20 minute increments until totally dry. You will want to make sure that the granola doesn't become to golden brown or it will have a slight burned flavor. I like the leaving it in the oven method because then there is no chance of over cooking the granola and it works out perfect every time 🙂
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Vegetarian Black Bean Lasagna

 

Vegetarian. Black beans. Lasagna. What?!? Those three things don’t seem to go together, right? Well, let me tell you. They do! And they go together beautifully, as strange as this recipe sounds. My friend made this lasagna for a large gathering and sent me home with an entire pan of it, I loved it that much. It is amazing! It is unlike any pasta or lasagna dish you’ve ever had. It’s one of those dishes you you eat and wonder what you are eating. The texture of the beans makes you think it has sausage or some other type of protein. And the amount of tomato goodness and cheese makes this whole combination totally addicting. I ate this lasagna for 4 days straight and loved it even more every time I ate it. This recipe is a keeper and such a great vegetarian option for our families. Hope you enjoy!

Recipe: Main Dish, Recipe: Pasta, Recipe: Vegetarian, Recipe: Beans, Vegetarian Black Bean Lasagna, Easy Meal Ideas, favorite vegetarian dish, Deals to Meals

 

Vegetarian Black Bean Lasagnas
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 onion
  2. 1/2 green bell pepper
  3. 2 cans Rotel
  4. 2 cans black beans, drained
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. 1-2 Tbls. olive oil or butter
  8. 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  9. 8 oz. Ricotta cheese
  10. Precook 9-12 lasagna noodles, cool and ready for assembly
  11. 2-3 cups shredded Mexican Fiesta Cheese
  12. 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
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Instructions
  1. In a large pot of water, boil the lasagna noodles until tender. Remove the noodles and drain from the water and set aside to cool. Cut the green bell pepper into small pieces, along with the half of an onion. In a saute pan, add a tablespoon of butter or olive oil and heat the pan to medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until they are tender and soft. Add the garlic, season with salt and pepper and then add the black beans that have been drained. Add the can of Rotel to the bean mixture and turn off the heat.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese and ricotta cheese until smooth. Season with a little more salt and pepper.
  3. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Place a layer of the cooked noodles on the bottom of the pan, followed by 1/3 of the Rotel/bean mixture. Drop in teaspoons the soft cheese mixture and try to spread the best you can. Sprinkle with 1/3 of each of the shredded cheese. Repeat this order, ending with a layer of noodles and grated cheese.
  4. Bake covered in foil for 40 minutes. Remove the foil the last 5 minutes if the top layer of cheese needs to melt. Cool for 10 minutes and then cut into pieces. Garnish with cilantro or fresh parsley if you desire.
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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes

 

This past weekend I was craving a chocolate chip cookie. I’m not sure why, it just sounded good. This morning I went on a long run and was excited to come home and make something yummy and filled with carbs (why else would I run?! :).  I decided to take my craving for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and turn it into a simple pancake recipe. I figured with some oats and wheat flour, they might not be such a bad way to start our day. Ha! Either way, these pancakes were super fluffy, very moist and had great texture and flavor. We all gobbled them up and they were a great way to start our day. Next time you want to try a new pancake recipe, this is the one for you. Hope you’re having a great weekend!


Recipe: Breakfast, Recipe: Bread, Recipe: Food Storage, Recipe: Whole grains, Recipe: Oats, Simple recipes, easy breakfast recipes, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Deals to Meals,

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups water
  2. 1/3 cup dry powdered milk (or you can use 2 cups of water--just adjust the flour as needed)
  3. 4 Tbls. canola or vegetable oil
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  6. 3/4 tsp. salt
  7. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  8. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  9. 2 tsp. baking powder
  10. 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  11. 1 cup oats
  12. 1 cup wheat flour
  13. 1 cup white flour (or more wheat flour)
Topping
  1. Syrup
  2. Chocolate Chips or Raisins
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Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the water, powdered milk, oil, egg and brown sugar. Once the mixture is smooth, add the remaining ingredients. Fold in the flour and oats until the batter has come together and the flour is incorporated. Don't over mix. If the batter is too thin, add a little more flour. Visa versa, if the batter is too thick, add a little more milk or water to thin the batter out. Heat a flat griddle to medium heat. Spray with cooking spray or a thin layer of butter. Pour a 1/4-1/3 cup of the batter onto the griddle. Sprinkle on the top with several chocolate chips (or raisins). Once the bottom side of the pancake is golden brown, flip the pancake and cook until the second side is browned and the center of the pancake is cooked through. Serve the warm pancakes with syrup or whipping cream.
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Brown Rice Blender Pancakes {Gluten Free}

 

Just when I think I have made every type of pancake there could be, I found another one we all LOVE! The best part about this recipe too, is it’s actually quite healthy and gluten free. My sister is having problems lately with gluten and so we have been playing around with all sorts of recipes that don’t have any sort of gluten or flour. That is a challenge for me! However, these pancakes you surprisingly don’t even miss the flour! The cooked brown rice gives these pancakes a nice, light texture. If you add a little oat flour they puff up even more and make for a pancake that no one will suspect is gluten free. Whether you are gluten intolerant or not, these are a healthy and delicious way to start your morning!


Gluten Free, Recipe: Breakfast, Recipe: Food Storage, Recipe: Whole grains, brown rice pancakes, Brown Rice Blender Pancakes Gluten Free, easy breakfast, Deals to Meals

Brown Rice Blender Pancakes {Gluten Free}
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups cooked brown rice
  2. 1/2 cup almond milk or regular milk
  3. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 2 Tbls. lemon juice
  6. 2 Tbls. butter or canola oil
  7. 2 tsp. baking soda
  8. 2 tsp. vanilla
  9. 1/2 tsp. salt
  10. 1/3 cup oat or white/wheat flour (optional)..or cornstarch if you need them to be gluten free
  11. Syrup
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Instructions
  1. In a blender, puree together the brown rice, almond milk and eggs. Puree until smooth and then add the brown sugar, lemon juice, butter, baking soda, vanilla, and salt and continue to puree until smooth. Batter will be slightly thin. If you want a more fluffy pancake, add a 1/3-2/3 cup of wheat or oat flour. This extra flour will help lighten up your pancakes and make them nice and soft. Cook pancakes on a warm griddle and serve with maple syrup.
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Parmesan Rosemary Foccacia Bread {America’s Test Kitchen}

Recipe:  Bread, Recipe:  Food Storage, Copycat Recipes, America's Test Kitchen, focaccia bread, Deals to Meals 
My sister is the queen of making great bread. She is very methodical and patient with recipes (which I am not!) and is great at following recipes exactly as they are intended (again..which I am not ;). One of these examples is for this Focaccia bread. I have tried to make it several times, but I always stray from the recipe and it never turns out quite right. However, she makes this bread all the time and it is perfect every time. This focaccia bread is completely delectable. It is soft, fluffy, airy and is better than any breadstick or bread loaf you have ever had. It is salty, has just the right amount of parmesan cheese on top, a little rosemary for flavor and the entire thing is just heaven on earth. If you need a new bread recipe for any upcoming parties, this is the one to try. If you are great at following recipes, this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen hits a home run for sure! Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and enjoy this recipe.

Recipe:  Bread, Recipe:  Food Storage, Copycat Recipes, America's Test Kitchen, focaccia bread, Deals to Meals

 
Parmesan Rosemary Focaccia Bread
By Americas Test Kitchen

We follow the recipe as indicated here from madeinmykitchen.com. We cut down on the rosemary as she indicates and add a 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese to the top of the bread. Other than that, this is the recipe we follow and love 😉
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Slow Cooker Cranberry Orange Chicken

Easy Meal Ideas, meal under 500 calories, Christmas, Holiday Favorites, Recipe:  Rice, Recipe:  Chicken, crock pot recipe, Recipe:  Slow Cooker, 5 ingredient recipe, Recipe:  Main Dish, Deals to Meals

If there was an award for a recipe with the most vibrant, beautiful color, I think this recipe would take home the ribbon. Look how pretty this dish is. It screams Christmas to me. Not only the fresh orange and cranberry flavor but the beautiful deep red color of the sauce, the fresh parsley and bright green peas. This dish is almost more about eating with your eyes than your taste buds 😉 Except for the fact that this dish has lots of flavor and was one of the most simple recipes I have ever made. What is there not to love about a crock pot recipe this busy time of year.

Easy Meal Ideas, meal under 500 calories, Christmas, Holiday Favorites, Recipe:  Rice, Recipe:  Chicken, crock pot recipe, Recipe:  Slow Cooker, 5 ingredient recipe, Recipe:  Main Dish, Deals to Meals

Now, I have to give a disclaimer. If you don’t like sweet and savory flavors together, you won’t like this dish. My husband (who dispises everything about a sweet and salty combo) was not a fan of this recipe.  However, the rest of us really enjoyed it and loved the sweet chicken over a bed of rice. The chicken can either be cooked with all of the sauce, or you can reserve some and keep it’s brilliant red color and serve on top. This dish is very versatile and I even had leftovers in a wrap with cream cheese and spinach the next day. Hope you enjoy this festive and simple recipe 😉

*Bonus…all of these ingredients are on sale again this week. Feed your family this meal for under $9!
Login to Deals to Meals to find the these deals, along with all of the other deals in your area.

*Chicken $1.99/lb.–need 2 to 3 
*12 oz. bag of cranberries .99 at Sprouts
*Jar of chili sauce $1.48 at Walmart
*One orange .69/lb.
*Pound of frozen peas .79

Easy Meal Ideas, meal under 500 calories, Christmas, Holiday Favorites, Recipe:  Rice, Recipe:  Chicken, crock pot recipe, Recipe:  Slow Cooker, 5 ingredient recipe, Recipe:  Main Dish, Deals to Meals

Slow Cooker Cranberry Orange Chicken


2-3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
12 oz. jar chili sauce (found near the steak sauce on the condiment aisle)
12 oz. fresh cranberries
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste once finished)


Cooked Rice

Place all of ingredients (minus the rice and chicken) into a food processor and puree until small pieces. If you like more of a smooth sauce, then puree until smooth. If you like some texture then only pulse until the cranberries are broken up. Take out 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and pour over the chicken breasts that have been placed in a crock pot. Simmer the remaining sauce in a sauce pan for 10-12 minutes, or until thick. If you want your sauce to be a little more thin, you can add some chicken broth or water. Set aside the cooked sauce until ready to serve the chicken. Cook the chicken on low heat for 4-6 hours, or high heat for 2-3 (if chicken is thawed). Once the chicken is cooked through and can shred easily, shred the chicken into large pieces. Place the cooked chicken over cooked rice and serve with extra sauce if desired.

*This recipe is very healthy, especially when served with brown rice. Each large serving is under 600 calories.

Fluffy Apple Wheat Pancakes

 

Did this week fly by to anyone else but me? I can’t believe it’s the weekend already.  Is it just me, or do you feel like the older you get the quicker every day goes? I am still in shock that I am listening to Christmas music on the radio again. That seems like it was just yesterday. So fun, but so crazy! I am super excited for the holiday season to begin. Especially once I get all of our painting done. Once I am done with a couple rooms in our basement I will have painted our entire house…every inch. Phew! It’s a good thing I didn’t know that was my plan until I got going. Hopefully our house will be clean and ready for the holidays. That will be a modern day miracle here at our home lately 🙂

Well, if you are having a slower weekend at home and want a delicious and festive breakfast idea (or heck, make them for an easy dinner), these pancakes are one of our families favorites. I posted about them four years ago and we still eat these several times a month during the holidays. With the cinnamon, diced apples, apple pie filling and candied pecans, it is really the perfect breakfast for the fall. It is everything you want on a cold, brisk morning. Hope you love this recipe too 😉

Fluffy Apple Wheat Pancakes, Whole Grains, Recipe: Breakfast, Recipe: Food Storage, Recipe: Fruit, apples, apple pancakes, Deals to Meals, Recipe: Healthy,
Apple Wheat Pancakes
Ingredients
  1. 3 cup milk
  2. 1 cup applesauce
  3. 3 Tbls. lemon juice
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 2 apples, chopped and cored (with skins on)
  6. 1 stick butter, melted
  7. 1/3 cup sugar
  8. 4 tsp. baking powder
  9. 3 cups white flour
  10. 1 tsp. vanilla
  11. 2 cups wheat flour
  12. 4 tsp. cinnamon
  13. 1 tsp. nutmeg
  14. 2 tsp. salt
  15. 2 tsp. baking soda
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Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, applesauce, lemon juice, eggs and melted butter. Whisk until smooth. Rinse and core the apples. Cut apples into small pieces and put into the bowl. Combine and then add the remaining ingredients. Whisk until flour is incorporated and the batter comes together. Heat a pancake griddle to medium high heat. Spray with non stick cooking spray or put some butter on the griddle. Pour a fourth cup of the batter onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles pop and the bottom side is golden brown. Cook on the other side until browned. Top with apple pie filling, candied nuts and/or maple syrup.
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Blender Bottled Applesauce–Easiest Recipe EVER!

 

One of my favorite memories as a child was when my Mom would spend an afternoon making homemade applesauce.  We used to pick the apples off our tree and help my Mom core the apples, boil them and squish them through the applesauce mill. We used to spend hours, pushing through the cooked apples and scraping off the mill. The finished product was applesauce perfection, but the work was really quite a labor of love. My Mom used to guard that applesauce like it was a prized possession and now as a Mom I realize how special those jars were. Growing up I didn’t even know applesauce came in a can. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I tried canned applesauce. I was appauled that people would actually buy that stuff and think it tasted good. Well…15 years later and I am embarrassed to say I had reverted to buying jarred applesauce because I remembered the time it took to make it as a child. And as a busy mom I was intimidated by the thought.

Recipe: Canning, homemade applesauce, Food Storage Recipes, apples, crock pot applesauce, blender applesauce, Blender Bottled Applesauce, Deals to Meals

That is…until this new method I found 😉 A fellow blogger (who I adore) posted a recipe for a crock pot method of making applesauce. This intrigued me, so I gave it a try and I am a HUGE fan! Why didn’t I think of this 15 years ago? Or for that matter, my poor Mother should have thought of this 30 years ago 😉 It is AWESOME. I didn’t peel my apples, just washed them, cored them and threw them into a large roaster pan. I cooked them on low heat for most of the day and pureed them in my Blendtec blender later in the afternoon. I then poured the sauce into canning jars, threw them in the wet bath for 35 minutes and voila! Homemade applesauce with literally NO mess and in NO time at all. It was genious!!! Not only was it genious, but it was heavenly. Literally the best applesauce I have ever had. And the best part about it was there was no sugar added. Just plain, sweet, apples in all their perfect glory. And they even had the skins on still where a lot of the nutrients is. Bonus.

The only sad part about this is my family has eaten half of the bottles I canned this past week. Needless to say, I went and bought another cart full of apples to make a couple more batches. The great part about this is apples are on sale in EVERY state this week. Here in Utah (last week) fuji, gala and jonagold apples were under .69/lb. I calculated this made each jar about .60 which is .10 less per can than store bought. So…for better tasting, no sugar or additives, this was a healthy and perfect solution to better tasting applesauce. I can’t wait for you to try this! It is amazing!!

Recipe: Canning, homemade applesauce, Food Storage Recipes, apples, crock pot applesauce, blender applesauce, Blender Bottled Applesauce, Deals to Meals
Blender Bottled Applesauce
Ingredients
  1. 3 large produce bags of apples (I used a combination of 1/3 fuji apples, 1/3 jonagold and a 1/3 gala apples but any combination would work)--this equaled about 12-15 softball size apples in each bag. Depending on the size of your apple will determine how many you need. I just filled my roaster oven completely full of sliced apples to the very top. They cook down, so you can fill it nice and full. I would say about 30 lbs. total.
  2. 1/2 cup lemon juice
  3. 1/4 cup cinnamon (more or less if you like cinnamon)
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Instructions
  1. Wash all of the apples. Remove the core and stem (don't remove the stems), cut apple in half and place in a roaster pan (mine is a 16 quart pan). Fill the pan up to the top as much as you can. Drizzle the lemon juice and cinnamon over the top of the apples. Turn the roaster to medium-low heat and let the apples cook until they are soft and tender. When they are completely soft, turn off the heat and let them cool to room temperature. Place several cups of the cooked apples and sauce into a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth. Pour the pureed apple mixture into washed and sanitized canning jars (pint or quart size). Tightly screw a jar lid onto each jar (makes about 15-18 pints). Place 7 of the jars into a wet bath canner and boil for 35 minutes. Once the 35 minutes is over, remove the jars, let them cool over night and store the sealed jars in a pantry or food storage room for a year.
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Freezer Homemade Chili

There is a recipe that I make once a year, every year of my adult life. I have been making this Homemade Chili recipe for over 10 years now and have never been good about keeping track of how and what I add to this recipe. A friend of mine wanted me to get the specifics on this HUGE batch of chili that I make and so I am excited to share this recipe with you. I only make chili once a year, once my garden tomatoes are ripe and ready to be used. I then make up this monster batch of chili, we eat a lot of it at our annual Halloween party and then I freeze several gallon size bags of this chili for later. We love this chili plain, it’s delicious on Cornbread Waffles, and fabulous on Fried Dough. No matter how you serve this chili, it really couldn’t be better. The combination of spices are perfect, the kick from the chipotle peppers and the red peppers goes nicely with the undertone of brown sugar and top it all off with some sour cream and cheese and that’s what fall is all about 😉

Recipe: Freezer Meals, Freezer Meals, Recipe: Soup, Recipe: Beans, legumes, Food Storage Recipes, chipotle, Awesome Freezer Homemade Chili, Recipe: Beef, Deals to Meals

*If you have a large roaster oven, this recipe will fill it to the top and works great. If you only have a crock pot, just half this recipe and you will be fine. If you have a smaller family and don’t want to freeze this recipe for later, just fourth the recipe and that will be the perfect amount for one dinner for 5-6 people. I promise though, you will want lots to freeze for later, so make lots 😉 Enjoy!


Freezer Homemade Chili
Ingredients
  1. 8 cups dried pinto beans
  2. 15 cups water
  3. 7 cups onions, chopped (I throw all of the onions in a food processor to chop them quickly)
  4. 1/2 cup olive oil
  5. 3 1/2-4 lbs. ground beef, pork sausage or turkey (or some of all three)
  6. 12 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 6 bell peppers of any color
  8. 12-15 cans of diced tomatoes
  9. 16 oz. salsa verde
  10. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  11. 1 Tbls. black pepper
  12. 1/4 cup salt
  13. 1/2 cup cumin
  14. 1/2 cup chili powder
  15. 1 Tbls. crushed red pepper
  16. 1 Tbls. paprika
  17. 1 can chipotle peppers, chopped
  18. 1/4 cup worchestershire sauce
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Instructions
  1. Dried Beans: Cook the dried beans on low heat in a crock pot (or your roaster oven) overnight until soft and tender. Once the beans are tender in the morning, drain the bean water from the beans and rinse with water. Set aside the beans. I do my beans in a large crock pot so I can prep the other items in the roaster oven and then add the beans into the roaster once I'm done.
  2. For the chili: Saute together the onions and the olive oil in a roaster pan that is nice and hot (about 350-400 degrees). Then add the ground beef or sausage to the onions and saute until the beef is ground up and browned.
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pan.
  4. Add the cooked and drained beans to the roaster oven and bring the chili to a simmer. Simmer the chili for several hours until the flavors meld and everything comes together. Season with additional salt and pepper for flavor. Serve the chili with sour cream, cheese, avocados, cilantro and fresh limes.
Notes
  1. *FREEZER MEAL: Let the chili cool and then fill several freezer gallon bags full of chili. Freeze for later. Chili will last in the freezer for up to six months.
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Strawberry Infused Waffles with Butter Syrup

 

I know it’s not really strawberry season anymore, but I’m afraid that if I hide away this recipe until spring I might never find it again..and I would devastated! I’m not sure how I skipped over sharing this recipe this summer but when I found these pictures I was reminded of how much we all loved these waffles! I made them for several special family breakfasts and even had ladies over for breakfast and everyone who eats them can’t stop raving about them. The thing that makes these waffles special is the batter has strawberries and sour cream in the batter. Both of these ingredients help these waffles be very spongy and moist on the inside and nice and crunchy on the outside–just how waffles should be 😉 If you can find strawberries anywhere for a good deal (I know Costco still carries them), then make these waffles on the weekend for a special, end of summer treat.

Recipe: Breakfast, Recipe: Bread, Strawberry Waffles, Whole Grains, Deals to Meals,


Strawberry Infused Waffles
Waffles
  1. Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  2. 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  3. 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
  4. 3 cups milk (or you can use 3 cups water and 1/2 cup dry powdered milk)
  5. 1/4 cup sugar
  6. 2 tsp. salt
  7. 6 eggs
  8. 1/4 cup oil
  9. 2 tsp. baking soda
  10. 1 1/2 Tbls. baking powder
  11. 4 cups flour
Toppings
  1. Whipping cream, butter syrup or more fresh strawberries
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Instructions
  1. Combine together all of the batter ingredients (except for the strawberries) and mix until combined and smooth. Fold in the chopped strawberries and mix just until combined.
  2. Cook waffles in a hot waffle iron that has been greased with cooking spray or butter. Serve with extra strawberries, butter syrup or whipping cream on top of the waffles.
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Favorite Tip to Use and Rotate your Whole Grains

Whole Grains, Food Storage Fanatic, Food Storage Information, Ways to Store Food Storage, how to store your whole grains, how to use your whole grains in your food storage, wheat, Deals to Meals

If I had to give people one tip on how to use up their food storage, it would be to learn to incorporate whole grains into your everyday cooking and baking. The easiest way I have found to do this is to substitute half of any flour portion of a recipe with a whole grain flour. Instead of using all white flour in a recipe, swap out half of the flour with a whole grain flour and your family will never know! I have even used this method in cinnamon rolls and no one was the wiser 😉 Half whole grain flour (wheat, rye, oat, kamut, etc.) will add so much more nutrients than using all bleached white flour. It will also help you rotate through your food storage faster and help you use up what foods you are storing. 

Whole Grains, Food Storage Fanatic, Food Storage Information, Ways to Store Food Storage, how to store your whole grains, how to use your whole grains in your food storage, wheat, Deals to Meals
If you are knew to having ground whole grains in your storage, the easiest method to store them (I have found) is in 5 gallon buckets in your pantry. If you do not have these grains in an accessible place, they will most likely never be used. I keep flour, wheat, oats, beans, sugar and rice all in 5 gallon buckets on the bottom of my pantry (my pantry is the size of a very small closet..if they fit in mine, they should fit in yours ;). I have one bucket with wheat kernels in them and one with the ground wheat flour in it. This way, I grind up a huge amount of wheat flour and store in the bucket until it runs low. Once it runs low, I just throw some of the wheat kernels in my grinder, fill back up my bucket and away we go. Keeping both items on hand for easy use, really helps me incorporate these grains into my daily cooking. Here is a post where I go through all of the amazing health benefits of whole grains to help you see all of the benefits to using these items in your baking and cooking. Super simple, super smart.
Whole Grains, Food Storage Fanatic, Food Storage Information, Ways to Store Food Storage, how to store your whole grains, how to use your whole grains in your food storage, wheat, Deals to Meals
So, the next time you go to add some white flour to a recipe (pancakes, cornbread, rolls, bread, cookies, etc.), stop and try to replace half of it with a whole grain flour instead. I promise this one tip will help you eat healthier and use your food storage too! It’s a win, win 😉

Easy Bean and Cheese Burritos

 

Do you ever need a super-simple-easy-peasy recipe to make for dinner? This recipe is the one for you! I can not think of a time when we have gone on vacation and I haven’t brought this meal to make for our family (or our kids). One of the ways we save a lot of money on vacations is by bringing ingredients from home that can quickly be made into a meal for our family. I usually do a little ‘shopping trip’ through our food storage before we leave and grab several items I need to put together some simple meals to save us from going out to eat every night. These Bean and Cheese Burritos are one of the most simple recipes to make and are extremely kid friendly.

Money Saving Tips, inexpensive vacation ideas, Vacations, Recipe: Beans, Recipe: Main Dish, Recipe: Healthy Recipes, Saving Money, Easy Meal Ideas, Kid Friendly Food, Deals to Meals, Easy Bean and Cheese Burritos

Being on vacation with a family of 7 can quickly break the bank if you are eating out every meal. We have a rule of only going out to eat once each day…and try several days to not go out to eat at all. Even when we are going to an amusement park we always pack in a lunch to save from having to eat in the park (which always costs an arm and a leg!). Breakfast is easy to do at a hotel or a condo so we always do simple meals like yogurt and homemade granola, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, sweet breads, etc. As for dinner, there are several times we choose to just eat at the condo (or hotel). To take our family out to eat it will cost anywhere from $40-$80 depending where we go. Contrast that with the cost of these Bean and Cheese Burritos. This recipe feeds a family of 7-8 and costs (assuming you bought everything on sale) ONLY $7! That’s only a dollar per person. Serve these burritos with a simple salad or some fresh fruit and that’s a meal for 7 for less than $10! That’s a savings of over $50-$70 every time we choose to eat in. This one tip has saved us hundreds of dollars every vacation we go on. By planning a little before your trip you can save $100’s while at your destination.

Visit this post 12 Simple Ways to Save Big Money on Road Trips and Cut Your Vacation Food Budget in Half to give you some more simple tips to save you money while on vacation!

*One more tip..if you are like us, you don’t have a lot of room to bring a large cooler for all of the food you want to pack. Every trip we go on a vacation  I only have room for a small 18 inch cooler. Over the years I have learned to pack more bang for my buck. In my cooler I only put items that will save me the most money if I have to buy them at a store while away from home. These are items like butter, cheese, meat (chicken, beef, hot dogs, etc.), dairy items (like sour cream, cream cheese, etc.) and lunchmeat. Items like a gallon of milk take up too much space and we just buy that when we get to the store. I also pack a produce bag in one of those large cooler bags with all of the fresh produce I usually already have in my fridge before we leave. By having several produce items and all of the expensive items in my cooler..as well as items from our food storage, our shopping trip at our vacation location usually only requires us to get milk, bread and eggs. So, when packing your cooler, pack the right items to help you save BIG while away 🙂

Easy Bean and Cheese Burritos
Burritos
  1. 2 can refried beans
  2. 2 cans black beans, drained
  3. 2 cans (4 oz.) diced green chilies (or 1 cup salsa verde)
  4. 2 tsp. taco seasoning
  5. Juice of 1 lime
  6. 1-2 cups shredded cheese (I used half colby jack and half pepperjack)
  7. 15-20 ct. flour tortillas
  8. Butter, for brushing on burritos
Cilantro Dipping Sauce
  1. 1 cup ranch dressing or sour cream
  2. 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (or you can even use dried cilantro)
  3. 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies or salsa verde
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Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine the refried beans, drained black beans, diced green chilies, taco seasoning and lime juice. Stir until combined and then add in the shredded cheese. Fold in the cheese. Place a 1/4-1/3 cup of the bean mixture into a tortilla and then roll up as tightly as you can. Place the burrito on a greased cookie sheet. Continue until all of the tortillas are filled with the bean mixture. If you have leftover bean mixture you can freeze this for a later meal. If you would like to make these burritos as a freezer meal, you can place them all on a cookie sheet and then put the pan in the freezer until the burritos are frozen. Once they are frozen you can remove the burritos from the pan and place in a Ziploc bag so you can remove one at a time and cook for serving. If you are cooking these burritos right away, then you can brush the tops of each burrito with a little melted butter and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown and ready to serve. You can serve these burritos with salsa or with our easy cilantro dipping sauce (below).
  2. Cilantro sauce: Combine all of the ingredients together and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
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10 Day Meal Plan & LOTS of food storage items for only $198!

I went shopping yesterday and had an absolute riot! There were SO many great food storage deals that I could hardly contain myself and the smile on my face 😉 By the end of my shopping spree I had people following me to the check out aisle to see how much money I saved. Perhaps it was the 16 jars of ketchup that caught people’s eye, or the 14 jars of peanut butter. Either way, I had a great time and it was super exciting to save so much money! I figured on my purchase of $198 I saved atleast $130. I think it could have even been more, but I lost track after awhile 😉 Just to give you an idea of some of my savings, here are some of the deals that I stocked up on.

 Smucker’s Jam 18 oz. $1.50–regular price $3.28, saved $1.78. I bought 10 jars, so I saved $17.80.
 JIF Peanut Butter is on sale for $1.50, regularly priced at $2.78. That means I saved $1.28 per jar and I bought 14 jars which saved me $17.92.

There are AWESOME cereal sales at Smiths (& Kroger) stores this week. General Mills Cereals up to 22 oz. are on sale for $2.00. At Walmart they were $4 per box, which saved $2. I bought 9 boxes which saved another $18.

Just on the cereal, peanut butter and jam, I saved nearly $60. Isn’t that fun?!?! That’s not even counting my ketchup which I saved .60 per jar. At .68 a bottle I couldn’t help but buy a whole bunch. LOVE IT!!

This is a great week to do some stock piling and stocking up on items your family uses throughout the year. There are great deals in every area, so LOGIN to our website and find out where the best deals are nearest you! Happy shopping 😉

Simple Naan Bread

 

Naan bread goes with Indian food like chocolate goes with strawberries. They were just made for each other. Although we don’t have a real tandoori oven to bake our bread in, we have found a simple method that makes this bread turn out perfect every time! We served this Naan bread with the Tandoori Chicken I blogged about yesterday or this would be great as a side dish to any of your favorite pasta dishes or soups. This soft, spongy dough has such a fun texture that allows the garlic butter to seep into the bread and makes it so every bite melts in your mouth.

*If you want a more ‘traditional’ texture, roll the dough out very thin and cook in a cast iron skillet until bubbles form and the bubbles in the bread can get charred and golden brown. I like my bread a little softer and thicker, but either baking method works great 😉

Recipe: Bread, Recipe: Food Storage, Recipe: Grains, Recipe: Indian, Recipe: Side Dishes, Deals to Meals, Naan BreadTry a dessert version of this Naan bread and eat with melted butter, cinnamon/sugar and drizzled with honey. it’s like a healthier version of a deep fried scone. Super yummy! I tripled this recipe and my kids gobbled them up faster than I could get them out of the oven. A super simple way to use several items in your food storage–love it!!

Recipe: Bread, Recipe: Food Storage, Recipe: Grains, Recipe: Indian, Recipe: Side Dishes, Deals to Meals, Naan Bread

Naan Bread

Simple Naan Bread
Bread
  1. 2 3/4 cups flour
  2. 3/4 tsp. salt
  3. 1 tsp baking powder
  4. 1 Tbls. sugar
  5. 2 tsp. yeast
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  8. 1/2 cup hot milk, microwaved for 1 minute
Garlic Butter
  1. 1/2 stick butter
  2. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 1 tsp. dried or fresh parsley, chopped
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Bread
  1. In a mixing bowl add the heated milk and yeast together. Let rest for 3 minutes, or until yeast begins to bubble. Add the sugar, egg, sour cream and baking powder and mix until smooth. Add the flour, one cup at a time and continue to let dough knead for another 2-3 minutes. Add the salt and continue to knead on low speed for 5-7 minutes. Once the dough pulls away from the sides, place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a light dish towel or saran wrap. Let dough double in size (about 30-45 minutes).
  2. On a counter, place a few teaspoons of olive oil and dump out dough onto counter. Cut the dough into 8-10 equal portions. Before you start shaping the dough, turn the oven to 475 degrees and place a baking stone into the oven to heat up. To form the dough, turn one dough piece at a time, into a thin, small circle. When oven is preheated, place 2-3 dough circles onto the hot pan and put back in the oven (on a rack that is fairly close to the top of the oven). Bake for 3-4 minutes, or until the bread is lightly golden brown on top. When dough is cooked, remove from the oven and spread with the garlic butter (or butter and cinnamon/sugar mixture).
Garlic Butter
  1. Melt the butter, add the garlic and parsley and mix until ready to brush on the cooked bread.
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Best Buttermilk Pancakes

 

Here in Utah July 24th is a special holiday. It’s the day we get to pay tribute to our ancestors who went before us and settled this beautiful Salt Lake Valley. I have several ancestors who crossed the Missouri plains through hardships, died along the trail and made it so we can have religious freedom here in this wonderful state. I am so grateful for them and their sacrifices. There are many times I look to their example and it helps me plug along in my day to day life.  One of the ancestors who I love dearly is Iona Aitken. She is my grandma and I miss her like crazy! She passed away almost 10 years ago, but I am thankful I still feel of her influence and love to this day. She was such an amazing woman. Her husband passed away when she was in her fourties and she raised 7 amazing children all on her own. She had this saying that we all quote and remember to this day. Anytime she would see you, or be around you, she would always say, “What can I do for you?” Even though her life was never easy, she was always looking out for others and trying to find ways to be of service. She is such a beautiful, righteous lady I wanted to dedicate this post to her 😉 I am excited to re-post a recipe of my grandmother’s that I make several times a month. Her Buttermilk Pancakes were a favorite when we would sleep over at her house and I really don’t think you can improve upon this recipe. It is basic and practically perfect in every way…just like my grandma 😉 Happy July 24th to all of you!

 Aren’t old photos the best? Sometimes they look the way I feel 🙂

 

 



Buttermilk Pancakes
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups buttermilk
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 4 Tbls. canola oil
  4. 2 Tbls. sugar
  5. 2 tsp. baking powder
  6. 2 cup flour (can use 1/2 wheat flour)
  7. 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  8. 3/4 tsp. salt
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Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the buttermilk, eggs, oil, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk until smooth. Add the flour to the batter and mix just until incorporated. Heat a griddle to medium heat and spray with cooking spray or add a little butter to melt. Pour a 1/2 cup of the batter onto the hot griddle and heat on both sides until golden brown. Serve with your favorite syrup or fruit.
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Double Chocolate Waffles with Butter Syrup

 

Where did this week go? I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about these waffles before now. I hope you have time to try these waffles tomorrow on Mother’s Day. The women, or mother in your life, will LOVE you if you whip up a batch for her this weekend. They are a delicious way to start such a special day. I hope all of you amazing women and mothers have a wonderful day tomorrow and know I think you are amazing!!!


Recipe: Breakfast, Recipe: Bread, chocolate waffles, double chocolate waffles, strawberries, specialty syrup, butter syrup
Double Chocolate Waffles
Ingredients
  1. 5 cups milk
  2. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  3. 8 eggs
  4. 2/3 cup sour cream
  5. 1 stick butter, melted
  6. 3/4 cup sugar
  7. 1 Tbls. baking powder
  8. 2 tsp. baking soda
  9. 2 tsp. vanilla
  10. 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  11. 4 1/2-5 cups all purpose flour
  12. 2 cups wheat flour (or more white flour)
  13. 2 tsp. salt
  14. Chocolate chips
  15. Strawberries
  16. Butter Syrup or Whipped Cream
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, lemon juice, sour cream, and eggs until frothy. Then add the melted butter, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Add in the cocoa powder, flours and salt. Fold in the chocolate chips. Heat a waffle iron and grease with cooking spray. Place 1/3 cup of batter in the waffle iron and cook until tender and cooked.
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Banana Oat Muffins

 

The other day my kids came home to the most random after school snacks in the history of Mommy-after-school-snack-dum. I was trying to clean out my fridge and so I placed several options out on the counter–hard boiled eggs from a spinach salad the night before, sliced strawberries, leftover breakfast casserole from the morning, the remains of a Chex-Mix bag, grapefruit, and a half eaten yogurt someone didn’t finish from lunch. The look on my kids’ faces were hilarious. You would have thought they were at a funeral. They were all solumn and so dissapointed to come home to such a pathetic ‘feast’. I gave them the ‘kids in Africa would be grateful to come home to this much food’ and they all rolled their eyes and went on with their day.

Today after school I insisted I must redeem myself from ‘worst’ Mom award 😉 One of my favorite memories growing up was coming home to my Mom cooking up something in the kitchen. It definitely wasn’t ever day, but the days we came home to something smelling yummy and warm out of the oven just seemed to make everything right in the world. I knew I needed my kids’ help in the garden today so I decided to sweeten them up with a warm, Banana Oat Muffin straight from the oven. These muffins had the added bonus of chocolate chips which makes everything better!  These muffins were SO moist, soft, and had the added health benefit of flax seed and wheat flour–to keep us all nice and full ’til dinner. These were the perfect solution to a long day for all of us–I hope you love them to 😉

 
Banana Oat Muffin
Muffin
  1. 1 cup + 2 Tbls. brown sugar
  2. 1 stick butter, room temperature
  3. 2 tsp. vanilla
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1/2 tsp. salt
  6. 1 tsp. baking soda
  7. 4 ripe bananas, peeled
  8. 1 cup + 2 Tbls. flour (I used 1/2 wheat flour and 1/2 white flour)
  9. 1 cup oats
  10. 1/4 cup milled flax seed
  11. 1 cup chocolate chips + 1 Tbls. flour
Crumble Topping
  1. 2 Tbls. nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.)
  2. 2 Tbls. butter
  3. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  5. 3 Tbls. flour
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Instructions
  1. Muffin: Beat together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, eggs, salt, soda and bananas and continue to blend until smooth. Put the electric beaters away and fold in with a spatula the flour, oats and flax seed. In a seperate cup, put the chocolate chips and tablespoon of flour. Mix around so the chocolate chips are covered in the flour. Add the chocolate chip/flour mixture to the batter and gently fold in. Let the batter rest in the fridge for 20 minutes while you make the topping. In a food processor place all of the crumble ingredients together and pulse until combined.
  2. Place 15-16 muffin liners into a muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1/4 cup batter into each muffin tin. Top each muffin with 1-2 teaspoons of the topping mixture. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until the center is firm and the tops are browned. Remove from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes and then serve.
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30 Minute Breadsticks

 
 

Breadsticks are so cute, aren’t they? Who doesn’t love a seasoned, soft, fluffy white piece of bread drizzled in melted butter and salt? Nothing really better in my opinion. That is..unless you dip these soft breadstick pillows of heaven into something creamy and yummy (you know..like the Cheesy Cauliflower soup I blogged about yesterday 😉 If you are like me, dinner sneaks up on me before I know it. As I was making the Cauliflower Soup I realized it just wouldn’t be the same without some piece of homemade bread dipped in it. I remembered my sister’s breadstick recipe that only takes 30 minutes to put together and bake. Many people think homemade bread takes all day. I promise, this recipe comes together so quickly and even the kids can help roll the breadstick. My daughter (who’s 10) actually made the dough all by herself and we rolled them together. If a child can make this recipe, I promise you can too!

30 Minute Breadsticks
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups warm water
  2. 2 Tbs. yeast
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
  4. 1/4 cup oil
  5. 6 1/2 cups flour
  6. 2 tsp. salt
  7. 2 Tbs. italian seasoning
  8. 1 tsp. garlic powder
  9. 2 tsp. seasoning salt
  10. 4-6 Tbs. butter, melted
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Instructions
  1. Pour the warm water, yeast and sugar into a mixing bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes or until the yeast bubbles. Then add the oil and a couple cups of flour, mix together until incorporated. Then add the salt, remaining flour, italian seasoning, garlic powder and seasoning salt. Mix the dough together for 5 minutes and then let it rest for 10-15 minutes in the mixing bowl. Separate the dough into two equal portions on a greased counter. Roll each dough ball into a rectangle and with a pizza cutter cut the dough into evenly sized strips. Take each dough strip and form into a round, twisty breadstick by doubling the dough onto itself and twisting. Place the twisted breadsticks onto a greased cookie sheet. This recipe makes enough breadsticks to fill two cookies sheets. Brush the breadsticks with melted butter and sprinkle with more garlic powder and seasoning salt. Let the breadsticks rise for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown.
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Coconut Cashew Granola

 

 

Coconut oil seems to be the newest and greatest health trend going around these past few months. Many people claim coconut oil is a ‘healthy’ oil, compared to some processed oils like canola and vegetable. I’m not sure I believe all of the health benefits of coconut oil but I have to admit besides the health aspects I happen to love the flavor of the coconut. I haven’t branched out into cooking with coconut oil, but this oil is amazing in my homemade granola recipe! It gives an added slight coconut flavor that goes perfectly with the shredded coconut, the cashews, almonds and the nutty oats. If you happen to have purchased a large container of coconut oil and are trying to figure out what to do with it, this granola is the perfect option for you! I double this recipe and keep a ziploc bag of it in my car for those times I need a ‘healthier’ snack without all of the processed fats and preservatives. You can also just add milk and eat it for breakfast or serve over granola or even ice cream. It’s great no matter how you serve it!

Coconut Cashew Granola
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  2. 1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped or sliced
  3. 5 c. oats (quick or old fashioned)
  4. 1 c. shredded coconut
  5. 1 c. raisins
  6. 1/4 c. sesame seeds
  7. 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
  8. 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  9. 1/2 c. flaxseed (ground)
  10. 1/4 cup quinoa (raw, not cooked--optional)
  11. 1 cup honey
  12. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  13. 1/2 c. coconut oil
  14. 2 tsp. vanilla
  15. Dash of salt
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, place all of the dry ingredients (except for the raisins). In a microwave safe bowl, put the honey, brown sugar, vanilla and coconut oil. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir until the coconut oil begins to melt. Microwave for another 30 seconds and then stir. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until combined and all of the dry ingredients are covered in the liquid mixture. If you need more honey, add enough honey until all of the oats and dry items are coated with a thin covering. You don't want it very sticky, just enough to keep the granola together. Place granola on a baking sheet (don't spray) and put in the oven at 150-170 degrees and bake for 1-2 hours (or until COMPLETELY dry and crunchy). Every 30-40 minutes take the granola out of the oven and stir around to make sure all of the granola is evenly cooked. Let granola cool and then add the raisins or other dried fruit of your choice. Granola stores great in ziploc bags, Tupperwares or canisters. It will last for several months in your pantry, as long as it is kept dry and in a cool place.
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Mile High Biscuit Recipe and Tips

 

Hands down the most popular recipe on my blog is for these Mile High Biscuits. That is kind of ironic considering I don’t think of myself as a biscuit making expert, and this is a recipe my sister gave me. No matter the reason, this has become a recipe I make on a regular basis and continue to love! As you may have noticed there are hundreds of comments and questions about this recipe. I wanted to give a few biscuit making tips I have learned over the years to help you create the perfect biscuit. I hope you continue to enjoy this recipe like I have.

Ruth's Diners Mile High Biscuits
Ingredients
  1. 3 c. flour (I have used 1/2 white flour and 1/2 wheat and they turn out great!)
  2. 1 1/2 t. salt
  3. 1 T. sugar
  4. 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  5. 1 stick butter
  6. 3/4 c. buttermilk (I have made these with buttermilk as well as the 'homemade' buttermilk version of 3/4 c. milk + 2 T. lemon juice and they work out amazing either way--because buttermilk is more thick, add a little less flour)
  7. 1 egg
  8. 1/4 c. water
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and butter until crumbly. Mix in buttermilk, egg and just enough water to make a workable dough. Mix the dough until it is just barely combined (don't over mix). Roll the dough onto a floured cutting board about 1 inch thick. Cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter, or a 2 inch round cup. Place on a greased baking sheet (touching each other) and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 12-15 biscuits, depending how thick you make them.
Tips to make great biscuits
  1. Start with cold, cold butter. The colder the better (just not frozen).
  2. Don't over mix the dough! You want to use only two knives or a pastry cutter to cut in the dough. Don't mix the dough in a Bosch or with a hand mixer.
  3. The dough will be too tough and the dough will become dry. The less you mix the dough the better. Using a pastry cutter or knives, cut the
  4. dough going up and down not side to side. This method takes a little longer but will ensure
  5. the perfect biscuit. You want pieces of butter left in the dough,
  6. this is what keeps the dough light and flaky.
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Tips to making awesome biscuits:
   
*Start with cold, cold butter. The colder the better (just not frozen).
*Don’t over mix the dough! You want to use only two knives or a pastry cutter to cut in the dough. Don’t mix the dough in a Bosch or with a hand mixer.
The dough will be too tough and the dough will become dry.  The less you mix the dough the better. Using a pastry cutter or knives, cut the
dough going up and down not side to side. This method takes a little longer but will ensure
the perfect biscuit. You want pieces of butter left in the dough,
this is what keeps the dough light and flaky.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*In a liquid measuring cup put all of the liquid ingredients together and whisk. Once mixture is whisked, pour slowly into the flour/butter mixture. Depending whether you use buttermilk or regular milk will determine how much flour you should use. I always start with 2 1/2 cups flour and add the last 1/2 cup a little at a time if needed. It’s better to have a little less flour than too much. You don’t want the dough hard at all. Soft and pliable is the texture you are looking for.
 *Next tip is to keep your biscuit dough fairly thick. A tall
biscuit will have much better texture than a thin hard one. I keep my dough
about 1 1/2 inches thick (cooking times may vary depending how
thick you make them). 
*A tall narrow cup works best for making thick and narrow biscuit forms. Before you place the biscuits in the oven make sure the oven is preheated and at the perfect temperature. The biscuits will grow tall if the oven is at a hot enough temperature. Before you put in a second pan, make sure the oven has not cooled down before baking a second batch.
 
*Don’t over bake the biscuits. If they are cooked too long they become dry and hard. Keep them soft by baking just long enough to cook the center. If you want a more golden brown top, just brush with butter or egg whites before baking (I forgot to do this on this batch that’s why they are a little pale).

Pina Colada Pancakes

I love breakfast food. I could really eat pancakes and waffles for breakfast, lunch and dinner if my family were up for that. There are so many delicious combinations of syrups, toppings, fruit filled yumminess that I have to be careful how often I make them. Since the New Year I have been doing surprisingly well at my new year resolutions (granted, it’s only the 28th of January :). As hard as it’s been I have kept my homemade breakfasts to only Saturday or Sunday morning. This past weekend I decided to come up with a healthier alternative for pancakes and syrup–and these whole grain Pina Colada Pancakes were just the ticket! They still had all of the light airy texture that I love, and the sweet syrup but with much less fat and calories than my traditional favorite recipe. I used coconut milk instead of oil and butter, replaced the white flour with whole grain flour and used skim milk instead of heavy buttermilk. I also cut the sugar in half and surprisingly I didn’t miss it (shocking for me, I know!). Hope you enjoy 🙂

Pina Colada Pancakes
Pancakes
  1. 1/2 cup coconut milk
  2. 1 1/2 cups pureed fresh pineapple
  3. 2 1/2 cup skim milk
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1/3 cup sugar
  6. 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  7. 4 tsp. baking powder
  8. 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  9. 3 cups wheat flour
  10. 1 cup white flour (or more wheat flour)
  11. 1 3/4 cups oat flour (or more white or wheat flour)
Pina Colada Syrup
  1. 1 cup coconut milk (the remainder of the can)
  2. 1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
  3. 3/4 cup sugar
  4. 1 tsp. vanilla
  5. 2 Tbls. butter
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Instructions
  1. Puree the fresh pineapple in a food processor or blender. Pour the pineapple (or use crushed pineapple) into a large mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk, skim milk, eggs, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and combine until all are mixed together. add the flour in one cup at a time until the batter reaches a smooth, pancake texture (not too thin but not too thick). If the batter is too thick, add a little more milk or if it's too thin, add a little more flour. Heat a hot griddle and spray with cooking spray or melt some butter on the pan. Pour a 1/3 cup of batter on to the griddle and cook until lightly golden on both sides. While the pancakes are cooking, make the syrup.
  2. Syrup: Add the above ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a low boil. Boil/simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup begins to thicken. Pour the syrup over the hot cakes and top with extra pineapple and shredded coconut if desired.
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Healthy Triple Bean Chicken Enchilada Soup

Isn’t this soup pretty? I love all of the colors of red, orange, green, yellow, black and white. If color is an indication of a healthy recipe, this soup is a winner. This healthy eating challenge for me has been pretty difficult I have to admit. I tend to have a battle in my mind every night when I am deciding what to make for dinner. Everything creamy, cheesy and fattening tends to be what always sounds the best. Tonight I had to talk myself into creating something healthy and I was actually surprised when I loved this soup–without any cream and fat. I had several vegetables needing to be used up and the combination ended up being a perfect compliment to each other. The sweetness of the corn, the tender zucchini, creaminess of the avocado, brightness from the lime, the variety of beans and texture. The whole thing was deliciously healthy! If you need a low calorie, low fat meal this soup will give you that without missing any of the flavor you are craving!
Healthy Triple Bean Tortilla Soup
Ingredients
  1. 2 zucchinis, cut into quarters and sliced
  2. 1 red bell pepper, diced small
  3. 1 orange bell pepper, diced small
  4. 1/2 onion, diced
  5. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 jalapeno, diced small
  7. 2 Tbls. butter
  8. 2 cups frozen corn
  9. 10 cups chicken broth
  10. 1 tsp. black pepper
  11. 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  12. 1 Tbls. cumin powder
  13. 1 Tbls. chili powder
  14. 1-2 tsp. salt
  15. Juice of 1 lime
  16. 3 cooked and cubed boneless skinless chicken breasts
  17. 2 cans black beans, drained
  18. 2 cans white beans, drained
  19. 1 can pinto beans, drained
Garnish
  1. 1/4 cup cilantro
  2. 16 oz. sour cream
  3. 2-3 cups shredded colby jack cheese
  4. Tortilla chips
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Instructions
  1. Cut all of the vegetables into small pieces and saute in a large soup pot with the butter. Saute until the vegetables are tender. Then add the frozen corn, chicken broth, seasonings, lime juice, cooked chicken breasts, and canned beans (drained).
  2. Bring the soup to a simmer and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the soup is warmed through. Garnish the soup with the cilantro, sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips.
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Christmas Wreath Bread with Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Only one more day until Christmas, can you believe it? I hope you each have a wonderful Christmas Eve today. I know there are many things you can make in your kitchen on this last day before Christmas, but I wanted to share just one more traditional favorite my family loves. When we were young we used to dip our toast in hot chocolate. Although I still love that, I enjoy a little more grown up version of that childhood favorite, winter snack. My kids and I love to take our simple french bread recipe and twist the dough into a pretty Christmas wreath shape. We drizzle it with a cream cheese glaze and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar. The bread is soft and pulls apart into soft pieces, perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.  Now, this isn’t just any old hot chocolate. This is our homemade hot cocoa with peppermint whipping cream. Oh my! This peppermint cream on top is unbelieveably fabulous. I have to admit I ate several spoonfuls of just the whipping cream. Combine the warm, homemade bread dipped in a rich hot chocolate and a cool, peppermint topping–you can’t get any better! Wake up Christmas morning to this special treat, or serve it after the kids have been outside building a snowman. No matter when you serve this treat, your whole family will agree you are the best Mom on the block!! Merry Christmas Eve–love you all 😉

 

  

Christmas Pullapart Wreath Bread
Bread
  1. 1 recipe French Bread or Lion House Roll Dough
  2. Butter
  3. Cinnamon & Sugar (equal parts)
  4. Egg wash
Cream Cheese Glaze
  1. 8 oz. cream cheese
  2. 2-3 Tbls. milk or cream
  3. 2 cups powdered sugar
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Instructions
  1. Bread: Make the dough recipes and let the dough rest until doubled in size. Once it has doubled, pour the dough out onto a greased or floured countertop. Divide the dough in half. Take one half of the dough and divide again in two. Roll each of the two pieces into a long strip of dough (like a snake shape) about 12-18 inches long. Place the dough strips horizontal to eachother. Pinch the top two pieces of dough together and then twist the dough pieces (like a braid) one on top of the other. On a greased cookie sheet, place the dough around in a circle creating a wreath shape. Depending how long you make your pieces of dough you will either have a single or double layered wreath. Melt some butter and use a pastry brush to brush the butter all over the wreath. In a bowl, whisk two eggs together. Brush the egg wash over the wreath/dough and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Do the same thing with the second half of the dough. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, or until the wreath is nicely golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest while you make the cream cheese glaze.
  2. Cream Cheese Glaze: In a bowl, place the cream cheese and microwave for 30 second, or until cheese is soft. Whisk the cream cheese until smooth and soft. Add the milk and then the powdered sugar. Whisk quickly until glaze is silky and smooth. If the glaze is too thick, add a little more milk, or if too thin, add a little more powdered milk. Drizzle the glaze over the wreath bread. When ready to serve, tear off pieces of the bread and dip in the hot chocolate with the peppermint whipping cream.
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Homemade Hot Cocoa (with Peppermint Whipping Cream)
Ingredients
  1. Hot chocolate (homemade or storebought), warmed through
  2. 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  3. 3 Tbls. powdered sugar
  4. 1 candy cane, crushed
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Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Mix in the powdered sugar and then fold in the candy canes. Serve the whipped cream over the hot chocolate.
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Quinoa Pancakes & Pomegranate Syrup

 

Pomegranates are in season this time of year and I can’t seem to get enough of them. Do you like them to? My husband thinks I’m crazy for liking them. The crunchy seed in the center throws a lot of people off, but I have to admit I’m addicted! My kids and I love to have them on the counter in a bowl and have fun removing a few seeds every time we walk past them. Besides the fact they stain your fingers, they are really fun to eat! The other day I wanted to come up with a recipe for these sweet, juicy seeds and decided a syrup for our pancakes was just the ticket. This syrup was such a pretty magenta, purple color it looked so festive for this time of year. If you want an extra special flair to your upcoming holiday breakfast, this Pomegranate Syrup will do just that! Plus, I adapted one of my favorite Oatmeal Pancake recipes into a Quinoa Pancake and they were soft, spongy and perfect for soaking up all the delicious syrup. Just the combination I had hoped for. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Pomegranate Syrup
Ingredients
  1. 1 recipe pancakes (homemade or store bought)
  2. Pomegranate Syrup
  3. 1 stick butter
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 2 Tbls. evaporated milk
  6. 1 pomegranate, seeds removed
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Instructions
  1. Make the pancakes and cook on a hot griddle until golden brown.
  2. For the syrup, Place all of the ingredients (except the pomegranate) into a sauce pan and bring to a low boil and continue simmering until the sugar is all dissolved. While the syrup is cooking on low heat, remove the berries/seeds of the pomegranate and place in a food processor or blender. Blend them up until smooth (usually the seeds will remain and that is okay). Pour the pomegranate juice and seeds into a siv or fine mesh strainer and catch the juice in a cup. Throw away the seeds and add the pulp/juice to the butter/sugar mixture. Continue to low boil until the syrup becomes thick and creamy. If the syrup is too thick, add a little more evaporated milk until you are happy with the texture and thickness. Serve over warm pancakes.
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Blender Oatmeal Apple Muffins

 

My family and I have been on an apple kick lately. The month’s of Sept-November are apple season. Apples are our favorite go-to snack when my kids are hungry, come home from school, for lunches and even as a side dish for dinner. We have had fun trying all the different apples at our local grocery store and seeing which ones are our favorite. I am a crispy apple fan all the way. I can’t stand a mushy apple. We have fallen in love with the Pink Lady & Honeycrisp apple varieties. Our local Sprouts had every type of apple last week on sale for .88/lb. and I think I just about bought out Walmart’s selection of Honeycrisp apples. We have LOVED having them on hand. Their crisp, sweet center is as good as candy in my opinion. With the plethora of apples in my fridge I decided to play around with muffin recipes and I came up with this Blender Oatmeal Apple Muffin that is awesome! These muffins are some of the most moist muffins I have ever made. They taste like a warm, moist, apple cake in a muffin wrapper. With the cooked oatmeal (I use leftover steel cut oats), the wheat flour and 3 cups of apples I don’t feel so bad feeding these to my kids as a health(ier) snack 🙂 Enjoy!

*Remember to enter to win a $100 grocery gift certificate–this is the final week! Good luck 🙂


Blender Oatmeal Apple Muffins
Muffins
  1. 2 cups cooked oats
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 1/2 cup milk
  4. 1 stick butter, room temperature
  5. 4 eggs
  6. 1/2 cup applesauce
  7. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  8. 1 tsp. salt
  9. 1 tsp. baking soda
  10. 2 tsp. baking powder
  11. 2 cups flour (can use half wheat flour)
  12. 3 cups chopped apples (I put mine in my food processor to make it nice and quick)
Streusel Topping
  1. 4 Tbls. butter, room temperature
  2. 2/3 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/3 cup flour
  4. 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
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Instructions
  1. If you don't have cooked oatmeal (leftovers) then boil the oats in water until tender. Let the oatmeal cool to room temperature.
  2. Chop the apples into small pieces or place in a food processor. Set aside.
  3. Place the cooked oats, sugar, milk, butter and eggs, applesauce, cinnamon, and salt together in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour this mixture into a mixing bowl and then add the flour, chopped apples to the batter.
  4. Fold in the flour and apples just until mixed. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place wrappers in a muffin tin. Pour the batter into each muffin tin (makes about 24 muffins). Make the streusel topping by mixing together all of the ingredients. Place a teaspoonful of topping onto each muffin. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until centers are no longer soft.
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Cinnamon Topping:
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 T. flour
1/4 t. cinnamon
1
T. butter, melted – See more at:
http://dealstomeals.blogspot.com/2010/11/food-storage-muffins-apple-strudel.html#sthash.0LpbRumO.dpuf

Oatmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

 
This weekend is one of my favorites of the entire year. There are few times when I feel justified to sit on my couch and eat delicious food for two days straight. Our church has what’s called General Conference where the leaders and prophet of our church speak to us and they broadcast it on television and the internet around the world. Basically it’s like 8 hours of church on t.v. This may not sound fun to some, but for our family it is a special time to be together, listen to uplifting messages and eat lots of yummy food. 
 

 
The Monday before Conference begins we have our family council and each of the kids get to choose their favorite recipes/meals they want me to cook for this special weekend. They think it is so fun to be able to come up with our menu for the weekend and get to have special treats that I don’t make very often. One of the first requests was for these super spongy Oatmeal Pancakes. Of course they want them smothered in a sweet, berry syrup which makes these pancakes even better. A warm breakfast on a relaxed Sunday morning (without having to get 5 kids out the door to church by 9 a.m.) is going to be so great! Wake up to warm pancakes, turn on the fireplace, snuggle in a blanket and you have a weekend that couldn’t be better. No matter what your weekend plans are, these pancakes are a great, and healthy, way to start your day!
Oatmeal Pancakes
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups cooked oatmeal or steel cut oats
  2. 2 Tbls. baking powder
  3. 3 tsp. salt
  4. 1/2 cup, sugar
  5. 3 Tbls. oil
  6. 1/2 cup sour cream
  7. 4 eggs
  8. 2 cups milk
  9. 2 tsp. vanilla
  10. 2 1/2 cups flour
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Instructions
  1. Place the cooked oatmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar, oil, sour cream, eggs, milk, vanilla and blend until smooth. Add the flour one cup at a time until the batter is the right thickness. If your blender is not large enough to hold the flour, pour the mixture into a bowl and whisk the flour into the mixture.
  2. Heat a hot griddle and grease with butter or cooking spray. Pour a half cup portion of batter onto the griddle and cook until the bubbles in the pancake begin to pop. Flip the pancake and cook on the other side until golden brown. Serve with any of your favorite specialty syrups, apple pie filling, or maple syrup.
Notes
  1. *The great thing about these pancakes is they use leftover homemade oatmeal or steel cut oats. Every time I make oatmeal I always WAY over estimate how much my family will eat. The cooked oatmeal in this recipe is what makes these pancakes so extremely soft and spongy. If you don't have leftover cooked oatmeal you will want to microwave some oats in some water in the microwave until the water is dissolved (one part oatmeal to two times water).
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Coconut Rice Pudding

 

 
 
 

Rice pudding has always been my husbands favorite dessert.  Honestly , growing up I thought rice pudding was a sad excuse for a dessert! When it comes to dessert I dream of chocolaty layer cakes and fresh European pastries, but over the years as I have tweaked and changed rice pudding recipes over and over again trying to make it perfect for my deserving husband I feel like I finally got it right and its is now something my entire family enjoys.  I always make rice pudding the same night that I make stir fries or other dinners that include rice, that way all you have to do is double the amount of rice you cook for dinner and then you have a super easy dessert to follow.  My girls even like it cold in their school lunch or as a special breakfast.  This particular recipe is not exactly on the light side, but because I use brown rice I convince myself that that makes it healthy!


Coconut Rice Pudding
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups cooked brown rice, cooked with coconut cream*
  2. * to do this simply use once can of coconut cream as a portion of the water when cooking your rice either on the stove top or in a rice cooker. This makes a wonderful sweeter rice that you can serve with any Asian meal or instead of plain rice as a side dish! If you can't find coconut cream you can use coconut milk but the coconut flavor will be much more subtle.
  3. 3 cups whole milk, divided (I have even used heavy cream to make it super rich!)
  4. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  5. 1/3 cup sugar
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 2 eggs, beaten
  8. 1 tsp cinnamon
  9. 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  10. 2 tbsp butter (optional)
  11. whip cream (optional)
  12. fruit (optional)
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Instructions
  1. In a saucepan stir together cooked rice, 2 1/2 cups of milk, sugars and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, about 20-30 minutes. In a small bowl mix together beaten eggs and remaining 1/2 cup milk. Stir this into the thick rice pudding and continue to stir over medium heat for another 5-10 minutes until desired consistency is reached. Fold in cinnamon, vanilla extract and butter. Serve warm with whip cream and fruit of your choice.
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Spongy Yeast Waffles

I think I could  consider myself a waffle connoisseur. I have made probably a hundred different waffle recipes, and I have to admit I am very picky. There is no such thing as an Eggo Waffle at my house. I don’t love a crispy, airy textured waffle. A good waffle to me needs to be hearty, have some substance, yet still soft and made from scratch. Whether it is a Spiced Carrot Waffle, Lemon Poppseed Waffle, a Cinnamon Roll Waffle (oh my heavens, YUM!), Tropical Mango Waffle, Pumpkin Waffle, Gingerbread Waffle, Christmas Cranberry Orange Waffle, or Egg Nog Waffle, they are all completely delicious. Well, I have another amazing waffle recipe to add to your favorite list. My Mom introduced me to this recipe and the texture, because of the yeast, is different than any waffle you have ever had. There is no baking powder or soda in this recipe. These waffles rise because of the yeast. They are the most spongy, soft waffles I have ever had. This recipe has quickly become my go-to basic waffle recipe. Practically perfect!
 

 

Spongy Yeast Waffles
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups hot water
  2. 1 1/2 Tbls. yeast
  3. 3/4 cup sugar
  4. 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
  5. 1 Tbls. vanilla
  6. 3 cups milk (or you can use 3 cups water + 1/3 cup dry powdered milk)
  7. 6 eggs, separated
  8. 7-7 1/2 cups flour (I used 1/2 wheat flour and 1/2 white flour)
  9. 1 tsp. salt
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If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Place the hot water, yeast and sugar into a bowl. Let these sit for 5-10 minutes for the yeast to dissolve. To the water/yeast mixture add the melted butter, vanilla, milk, egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. If the batter is too thin you can add the extra half cup of flour. It's better to add a little less than more, so start with 7 cups and then add the other 1/2 only if needed. Let the batter rest while you whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Once the egg whites are stiff, fold them into the batter. Heat a waffle iron and bring to medium heat. Pour 2/3-3/4 cup of the batter into the hot iron. Let cook until golden brown and then remove. You can make all of the waffles and freeze them for later in a Ziploc bag if you would like. They freeze great!
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Mango Rice

 

Yesterday I posted a recipe for Citrus Grilled Shrimp and along with those kabobs I served this recipe for Mango rice. If you loved the Pineapple Rice Ellen posted a couple months ago, this Mango Rice has the same great flavor. The sweet mango goes perfectly with the lime and cilantro. The other great aspect to this recipe is you can make it almost as quickly as you can a box of Rice Roni. With a little chopping of vegetables you throw it all together and you have an amazing and flavorful side dish. Enjoy 🙂


Mango Rice
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 stick butter
  2. 1 onion, minced
  3. 2 T. marinade
  4. Juice and zest of 1 lime
  5. 1 1/2 cups rice
  6. 2 1/2 cup water
  7. 2 tsp. sugar (optional)
  8. Salt & pepper
  9. 1 mango, diced
  10. 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized pan with a lid, saute the butter and onions together until the onions are tender. To the onions, add the marinade, lime juice, zest, sugar, rice and water to the pan. Bring the rice to a low boil and then place the lid on the pan and turn heat to low. Let simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Once the rice is cooked, add the chopped cilantro and the diced mango to the rice. Season with salt and pepper and serve along side the chicken or shrimp skewers.
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Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

 
 
Many of you are familiar with our favorite corn bread recipe. To me, there is nothing really better. However, my sister the other night made a Jalapeno Cheddar version of our cornbread and they were the tastiest muffins around. You have the sweetness of the cornbread with the spicy jalapenos and the melted cheese and it was a match made in heaven! Ever since then we have loved these muffins served with any of our favorite Mexican dishes or soups. These muffins are amazing dipped in a spicy tortilla soup or served along side some pulled pork. No matter what you serve them with, they will be a hit with your whole family!


Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 c. sugar
  2. 1 c. butter
  3. 1 1/2 c. flour
  4. 1 c. cornmeal
  5. 2 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 2 teaspoon salt
  7. 2 beaten eggs
  8. 1 1/2 cup milk
  9. 8 oz. bag frozen whole kernal corn
  10. 1/2 cup jalapeno peppers, diced in small pieces
  11. 1-2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, diced in small cubes
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients. Pour batter into a greased 9x9 pan or this batter will make 12-18 muffins. Bake 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (time will vary depending what pan you cook these in--the muffins will be more like 13-15 minutes, or until light golden brown on top). This recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9x13 for approximately one hour if you prefer.
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Authentic Black Beans

Along with the Cochinita Pibil in Mexico, they always served black beans that had so much flavor and were so much better than any you can get in a can here at home. I realized I was making a mistake when I make beans at home, that I serve them too dry and draining the bean juices looses a lot of the flavor. It makes sense that this sauce is what gives the beans so much flavor. I decided I much prefer the soft, moist beans in Mexico than the dry, pasty ones here at home. After a week in Mexico the black beans ended up being some of my favorite dishes. Fresh cooked black beans in a homemade tortilla was a highlight of our trip to Cancun! I can’t stop dreaming about their food..it was SO good! It works out that we came back to Cinco de Mayo week. I think we have had Mexican nearly all week. That’s a good week!!

Authentic Black Beans
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs. dried black beans
  2. 2 quarts water
  3. 1 large onion, chopped
  4. 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped and seeds removed (unless you like more spice)
  5. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 T. salt (plus more when serving)
  7. 1 T. cumin powder
  8. Juice of 1 lime
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Place the dried black beans, water, chopped onions, jalapeno, garlic, cumin and salt into a crock pot. Turn the crock pot onto low heat and cook 8-10 hours, or until beans are completely soft. If you don't have 8 hours, you can cook on high heat for 5-6 hours. Once the beans are soft, you can season the beans with extra salt, pepper and squeeze with a fresh lime. Serve in burritos, as a side dish, a chip dip or turn into a simple black bean soup and garnish with cheese, sour cream, etc.
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Cashew Craisin Granola

 
Since I have been gone for a week I haven’t cooked anything fun to blog about yet. So, I thought I would blog about something that saved the day on our trip. This cashew granola was a life saver on our trip for those long travel days where there is nothing to eat on the 6 1/2 hour plane ride other than pretzels and soda pop. On our long excursions to the different Mayan ruins we were also hungry and needed a snack to keep us going. This granola lived in a ziploc bag in my purse the entire week, and we all loved it. It has so much nutrients and good things in it I didn’t feel guilty snacking on it whenever we were hungry. Although this granola is amazing in yogurt (with or without the chocolate chips), it is just as good as a healthy snack. My kids love to take baggies of this to school in their lunch or eat a bowl of it for breakfast with milk. A couple years ago I blogged about my homemade granola which I still love. This version is similar but there is no cinnamon or maple syrup. I love those flavors together as well, but sometimes I want something a little more traditional with more crunch and less pronounced cinnamon flavor. This granola is the perfect combination of sweet, salty and has the perfect crunch! Enjoy 🙂
Cashew Craisin Granola
Ingredients
  1. 2 c. coconut
  2. 1 c. cashews
  3. 1/2 c. almonds, slicced
  4. 1 c. milled flaxseed-optional
  5. 1/3 c. quinoa (raw)-optional
  6. 8 c. quick or regular oats
  7. 1-2 c. craisins
  8. 1-2 c. white chocolate chips
Sauce
  1. 1 c. brown sugar
  2. 1 c. honey
  3. 1 t. salt
  4. 3/4 c. canola oil
  5. 2 t. vanilla
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. in a very large bowl, combine the coconut, cashews, almonds, flaxseed, quinoa (optional), and oats together. Microwave the brown sugar, honey, salt, oil and vanilla together for 1 1/2 minutes, stiring once in between. Pour sauce over dry ingredients and coat completely. Place on 2 parchment covered cookie sheets and bake at 230 for 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours, stirring every 30-45 minutes. Bake until granola is lightly golden brown and dried. Once granola is dried, add craisins and white chocolate chips (optional).
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White Bean Hummus

 

There will be a lot of fattening, deep fat fried appetizers at our annual New Year’s Eve party, but if you want a appetizer on the healthier side, this White Bean Hummus is just what you need.  As you know, hummus is generally made with garbanzo or chick peas. However, I don’t love the texture of these beans, but I love the mild flavor of white beans. I made this dip and my children and I ate it all up in one day. It was a great way to get my kids to eat their vegetables and I will be making this again for sure for the upcoming week and many more times to come. Serve it with crackers, tortilla chips or any vegetable you choose. It is creamy, garlicky, a little spicy and full of amazing flavors!

White Beans Hummus
Ingredients
  1. 2 cans white beans or chick peas (approx. 4 cups)
  2. 1 roasted red bell pepper
  3. 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  5. 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  6. 1/2 lemon zest
  7. 1/2 tsp. cumin
  8. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  9. 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  10. 1/2 tsp. paprika
  11. 2 Tbs. parsley, chopped
  12. 1/3 cup olive oil
  13. 1-2 Tbs. water, to adjust the thickness
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, puree the white beans or chick peas. Add the seasonings and garlic to the food processor and continue to puree until smooth. To roast the red bell pepper, place the pepper on a cookie sheet and lightly spray the pepper with cooking spray. Turn your oven to broil and place the pan in the oven on the middle shelf. Watch the pepper carefully and when the top of the pepper is black and charred, remove the pan and flip the pepper to the other side. Let the other side of the pepper blacken and then remove from the oven. Place the pepper in a plastic bag, like a sandwich bag. Let the pepper steam for a few minutes until it has cooled off a little. When it is cool, remove the pepper and peel off the black skin. Remove the core and slice the pepper in large pieces and add to the bean mixture. If the hummus is too thick add a little water. Serve dip with a drizzle of extra olive oil and more fresh parsley on top. Serve with crackers, vegetables, or tortilla chips.
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KSL 6 P.M. News & Food Storage 101

Yesterday I got an email from the producer of the KSL news and she said they wanted to come out to my house and do a news segment on food storage for National Preparedness Month. I thought, ‘Sure, why not?!” Until…I went down to my food storage room and realized I had done major case lot shopping and hadn’t put anything away for quite awhile. Ah! So, with help from my hubby, we spent the entire day cleaning my food storage room and had a lot of fun today with Devon from the KSL news team. She just moved here from Seattle and she probably thought I was nuts (well, okay..I am a little :). She had never heard of food storage before so I was quite the character for her! I talked her ear off for nearly 90 minutes and told her everything and more she wanted to know about self reliance. She was super sweet and patient with my long windedness. Click here to watch or read the story 🙂

As a refresher, in our interview I explained the three EASY steps to getting your food storage. The hardest part to preparedness is starting. Once you begin you will find it all comes easily and working on your preparedness efforts a little at a time will bring BIG rewards!  Here are the basic steps to getting prepared:

1-Obtain your family’s 2 week supply of water 
(14 gallons per person)

Store as much water as you can in the space you live. Water is inexpensive if you purchase large water barrels, or fill up emptied out 2 liter soda pop bottles. Besides the 14 gallons (about 3-4 24packs of water per person) you will need lots of washing and cleaning water. I store my cleaning water in my emptied out liquid detergent containers (keep the leftover soap in the container to give you soapy water).  Besides having a sufficient water storage, have a good quality water filter. This will broaden your abilities for clean drinking water.

2-Build up your family’s 3 month supply of food you are used to eating

A common misconception to food storage is you have to have a basement filled with wheat or other grains your family will not use. Although these items are important to have in your storage, begin first by building a supply of foods your family is used to eating on a daily basis (cereal, peanut butter & jam, spaghetti & noodles, etc.). Plan your food storage around meals, so you will have complete meals & recipes to feed your family from your food storage.

3-Build up your family’s supply of long term food storage items (the ‘basics’)

Once your 3 month supply is complete, it is time to work on your long term food storage items. These basic items will help you make all of the recipes you love from scratch. These basic food storage items include the following (amounts are per person for a one year supply):
*Click on the links below to find more detailed information and recipes on how to use each of these items.

GRAINS:
Wheat 100lbs. per person
Flour  75 lbs. per person
Oats 20 lbs. per person
Pasta 40 lbs. per person
Rice 40 lbs. per person
SUGAR:
Granulated sugar 50 lbs. per person
Brown sugar 6 lbs. per person
Powdered sugar 6 lbs. per person
Jam 2-3 jars per person
Honey 8 lbs. per person
Syrup 2-3 jars per person
DAIRY:
Powdered milk 16 lbs. per person
SALT & SPICES:
Salt 8 lbs. per person
1-2 extra jars of each spice your family enjoys cooking with
Baking items (baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, vital wheat gluten, etc.)
OIL:
Cooking oil 2-3 containers per person (48 oz.)
Olive oil 1-2 jars per person
Shortening 1-2 tubs per person
Butter–as much as you can store in the freezer…it would be a sad world without butter 😉
LEGUMES:
Peanut butter 4 jars per person
10 lbs. or cans per person of EACH type of bean (black, kidney, refried, white, pinto, etc.)

For a free, COMPLETE, printable inventory sheet with all of the items you should store in your food storage, click here.

If food storage is still overwhelming, that is what our company is for! We make getting your food storage SUPER easy & FUN! Visit Deals to Meals to try our service for FREE for 2 weeks and see how much you can save & how quickly you will be able to build up your food storage supply.
What does Deals to Meals offer you?
*We tell you where all of the best deals are in your area. We rank the grocery sales from all of the grocery stores in your area (in Utah we have 12 different stores). You choose the store you want to shop at, see what items are on sale for that week, create your grocery list and go shopping! By knowing what items are on sale for the LOWEST prices, you can save $100’s each month.
*We give you a 1-2 week meal plan that is based around those great deals each week in your area. These deals create delicious and homemade meals for your family. Planning your meals around sale items will also save you money on your monthly grocery bill.
*We help you know how to use your food storage by giving you delicious food storage recipes each and every week.
*We tell you which items can be added to your food storage, how much you should store, and how long each item will last. This takes the guess work out of food storage. We do nearly all of the work for you!

September is National Preparedness Month

FEMA has declared September “National Preparedness Month”. To help us kick off this month we are partnering up with the company that makes one of our favorite emergency preparedness products, the Sun Oven. We have owned our Sun Oven over a year and have loved the great way that we can cook, boil/purify water, bake, dehydrate, etc. with it.  The best part about it is no fuel is needed and the Sun is pretty reliable.  You can use it all year long including during the winter, for camping, or for an emergency.  Here is a link to one of our several posts that we have made that shows some of the ways we have used it.

     

In honor of the National Preparedness Month, Global Sun Ovens has created a preparedness package and is offering Deals to Meals readers a great deal on the preparedness package or just the Sun Oven by itself. Click on this link or the button on the right for more details. You can also use their website for great tips on solar cooking, recipes, functionality and other preparedness tips.

Global Sun Oven is also having a preparedness contest and will be giving away 4 Sun Ovens, 8 Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Packages, and 12 Multi-Level Dehydrating & Baking Rack Sets. Click here for additional information. 

Mexican Rice

 
 
Mexican rice at our house has become a touchy subject until…last night. As each good wife does when you first marry you make the standard recipes your mom used to make. Well, years go by and I finally caught on to the fact that I was the ONLY one eating the Mexican rice at dinner. My husband admitted that he only believes in eating rice that actually has flavor. So I went on a hunt and experimenting to find a side dish that pleased me and his taste buds. Let’s just say after some tweaking and adding jalapenos this was delicious.

 
Mexican Rice
Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbs. butter
  2. 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
  3. 1/2 cup chopped onion
  4. 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  5. 1 clove garlic, minced
  6. 2 ½  cup water
  7. 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  8. 1 can green chilies
  9. 1 jalapeno, diced
  10. 1 tsp. chili powder
  11. 1 tsp. salt
  12. 1 cup shredded cheddar
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the rice, onion, peppers, and garlic. Cook until the rice is browned and
  3. vegetables are tender. Stir in the water, tomatoes, chili powder, and salt and
  4. bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender,
  5. about 17 to 19 minutes. Stir in the cheese and transfer to a serving bowl.
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How to combat inflation

I received an email from a woman I thought might be worth sharing.  Here is her question and my response, in case you have similar concerns or issues. Inflation is a HUGE issue for many families and I hope I can shed some light on how you can keep inflation down, and still eat healthy & homemade meals (on a budget!). 

Question:
“I have been a long time follower of your blog. Which I love
and enjoy all the helpful information, recipes, and resources. I have never
paid for your service because I have been a coupon-er and used other online
services. With the raising prices of groceries and the restrictions placed
on my favorite coupons; I am finding more and more that I need a new system.
I was wondering about your thoughts on adjusting your price
matching “best prices” with the inflation. Specifically, I am finding
there are only a handful of okay sales each week in comparison to a
cart-ful each week, say two years ago. I’ve noticed on your blog that your
documented fantastic shopping trips are few and far between. I guess what I am
wondering is what is your take on price matching with increasing food prices?
Have you adjusted your dollar amounts to reflect a great deal given today’s
inflated prices? When you give out your deals to your subscribers are you
finding so few deals, it’s not even worth the trip?  I am feeling sad
every time I shop and walk away with out that feeling of savings like I use to.”
Answer:
 I agree with you!  The prices of yesterday are so
different than today.  I am sure we will never see a 25 lb. bag of flour
again for $1.99 (those were the good ol’ days!!).  However, I still feel
with price matching I haven’t felt the strain on my food budget like I should
be.  I am extra careful about only purchasing the great/red deals each
week and find I am stocking my freezer more full when certain items go on sale
(meat especially).  As I am stocking up when prices are at their lowest, I
notice I don’t feel the inflation quite so much because I have a year supply in
my storage that I can turn to as prices get higher.  I then stock up when
those items go on sale for great prices (sometimes less often, but it still
happens) and that seems to help keep prices low.
As far as my grocery bargain pictures, I should be better at
posting more of those.  To be honest I never know if people think those
posts are lame, or if I should do them.  I still shop every 2 weeks and my
piles are just as impressive as they always are..I just get lazy and don’t take
pictures 😉  Thanks for the reminder to keep up on that!
As far as keeping up with the inflation prices I just compare
the prices each week to Costco, Sams & Walmart (all of which have gone up quite a bit
the past couple of years).  I do have to adjust the red deals to these new
prices, but there seems to still be several great deals each week.  Some
week’s have more great deals than others, but over all, the lost-leader
prices from each store are still rock-bottom prices (which makes me happy each
week!) and worth shopping for.
One item to watch very closely is meat prices.  Meat
prices, especially red meat, are sky rocketing!! Gone are the days of most meat
prices at $2 or under per pound.  The ‘new’ low price for red meat is more
like $2.50-$3.00/lb.  This is a lot higher than a year ago.  So…when
meat goes on sale for great/red deals, stock your freezer with as much as you
can fit and afford.  This will help you not have to get in a pinch and buy
these items at full price, or a not-so-great sale later in the month.
As far as couponing, I find I can save more money on all of the
regular food items my family eats on a regular basis–without clipping coupons.  I am a strict
shopper and don’t buy very few (if any)  pre-packaged or processed foods/snacks and so
coupons have never worked for me.  I know you can get the occasional
coupon that works for items I use, but it is not worth my time or money to clip
and organize them.  For me, using Deals to Meals is easy and saves me
hundreds of dollars!  I only shop 2x’s a month, plan my meals using our
weekly meal plan (one week’s meal plan feeds my family for 2 weeks), and price
match at Walmart.  By using this method I am able to keep my family’s
budget to $500-$550 (plus or minus a few) a month, keep up my food storage, and
stock my freezer with lots of good stuff!  We have a family of 7 with BIG
eaters and appetites, so the fact I have not increased our food budget in 2 years, makes me feel I have inflation at bay.  Just remember…be a wise shopper, don’t impulse buy, go to the store with a plan & stock up so you have extras on hand. Doing all of these things will help keep your budget low and your wallet full!  Hope this helps 😉

FIVE Items you need in your food storage!

It is case lot time again in Utah! Maceys, Fresh Market, Dan’s, and Lin’s are all having their semi-annual case lot sales! If you live near one of these stores, this is the time to stock up your food storage and pantry. Login to our website to find ALL of the best deals at your local grocery stores.

There are five items I feel strongly that every family should store in their food storage. Storing items like fruits, vegetables, and chocolate chips are awesome to have in your storage (and personally I would be devastated to live without), but we could live without them if we had to. These five items would be very difficult to live without and would make living comfortably a little difficult. Nicely enough, 3 of the 5 are all on sale THIS week, so take advantage and stock up on items that could sustain life, and prepare your family for any economic or natural disaster.

#1 WATER:

(Store water in any shape or form you can–the MORE the better!)
(Fill emptied out detergent containers with water–don’t rinse, the extra soap is great for washing/cleaning water)(Fill 2 liter pop bottles with water)

We can only live 3 days without water, so this is the ABSOLUTE, MOST IMPORTANT item you can store in your storage. You can’t have enough of it! Store it under beds, in emptied out jugs or juice containers, fill up 55 gallon drums, fill up used liquid detergent containers, etc. The sky is the limit! The more you store, the better off you will be in an emergency. If you choose to store water in water bottles (great for drinking, 72 hour kits and easy to grab & go), Macey’s has water on sale.

MACEYS: 24 pk. bottles on sale for $2.50 (they also have their 55 gallon drums on sale too!)

You will need 3-4 (24pks.) per person for a 2 week supply of drinking water. If you choose to store water other ways, you can lower that amount. Water will ‘last’ 2-3 years, so don’t worry about buying too much. *TIP: Keep drink mixes like Kool Aid, Crystal Light, etc. so when you have to drink your stale water, it will actually taste good 😉

#2 WHEAT

Wheat is the second most important item to have in your storage. Wheat is nearly a complete protein which means your body can survive long term by eating only wheat (with water and a little oil). Wheat will last nearly forever, so you can store as much as you can afford..you won’t be sorry! Wheat is important to store even if you don’t know how to use it. All you would need to do is boil wheat in water, add a little milk (powdered milk) and honey/sugar and you have a meal that will fill you up and keep you full (one cup of wheat equals approx 620 calories).

For those of you who are wanting to learn to use the wheat you are storing, our blog is full of delicious recipes to use your wheat berries and/or flour: Wheat Blender Waffles, Wheat Berry Cereal, Whole Wheat Bread, Whole Wheat Chocolate Pancakes, Orange Wheat Pancakes, and Cinnamon Wheat Waffles.

MACEYS HAS AUGASON FARMS 50 LB. BAG OF RED OR WHITE WHEAT $14.99

A year supply of wheat per person is 100 lbs., however, buy as much as you can afford (you may have to keep your neighbors alive too 😉 That’s only $30 for a YEAR supply of wheat..not too shabby!

WHEAT RECIPES

#3 POWDERED MILK

Who doesn’t drink, or use milk in your cooking, on a daily basis? Not very many of us. Many people don’t store powdered milk because they don’t know what to use it in, and they are affraid it doesn’t taste good. They don’t realize if you had NO access to milk, you (and your children) would need the nutrients and vitamin D that come from milk. Not only would your cereal be extremely dry, but your children (especially babies) would suffer without the fat & vitamins they need from milk.

Powdered milk rarely goes on sale, so the best place to purchase this is at a LDS Dry Pack Cannery. You can can their milk in #10 cans, or buy it in bulk. If you can the milk in #10 cans it will last over 30 years. Can it, store it, and don’t worry about it for a long time. You will be glad you bought it if an emergency situation happened! Visit this post to find out the different types of milks you can store (milk alternates, nonfat, instant, etc.).

POWDERED MILK RECIPES

#4 OIL

Oil
is an important item to have in your food storage for many reasons. Not only do our bodies need a small amount of oil every day for survival, but oil is what gives food flavor, keeps food moist, helps cooking & frying easier, and is needed in most bread or baked good recipes.. Oil can come in many forms: vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil, butter, margarine, shortening, etc.

Costco is the least expensive place to purchase oil in bulk. Watch the sales throughout the year for all different types of oil to go on sale for red/great deals.

OIL RECIPES

#5 POWDERED EGGS

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t go through more than a dozen eggs each week? Eggs are in nearly every baked good, many breads, a common breakfast food, and in many main dish recipes. Without eggs, we wouldn’t be able to make many of the foods we are used to eating. Powdered eggs work just like real eggs. All you need to do is mix 1 T. egg powdered with 2 T. water and you have the equivalence of one egg. This equation (1 T.+ 2 T.=1 egg) might be different than what is on your can. If your can says to add more egg powder, change the amount on your can! These amounts just went up in the last couple years, and it it bogus! The 1 T. egg powdered is still what you need, they just want you to buy more product. Use this equation and your powdered eggs will be LESS expensive than your store bought eggs which will save you money on your grocery bill! Stock up on these this week at Maceys.

MACEYS HAS AUGASON FARMS 33 oz. can $13.99

Year supply: 1-2 cans per person

RECIPES TO USE POWDERED EGGS

Preparedness Tips


It’s been awhile since I have talked about emergency preparedness on our blog. I guess my love of food has taken over a little of my passion for preparedness. That…or, I feel like I have harped on all of you enough 🙂 Either way, I was sent a link to a couple past Glenn Beck program’s that I thought you might be interested in. On his show they were talking about preparedness efforts, and ways to get your family prepared for future natural or economic disasters. The information was not new, but they might be worth watching to get you thinking of new ways to prepare. They are short clips on the importance of food storage, emergency preparedness efforts and ways to communicate in an emergency. I think a HAM radio is next on my hobby list. I think not having contact with loved ones following a disaster would be traumatizing. Something for me to think more about!

I appreciated their comments on the importance of working together as a community and encouraging friends and neighbors to get prepared. The city we live in is HUGE into preparedness and I have had a chance to work closely with our city officials in putting together a preparedness plan. There is great peace of mind when you work together to help everyone become better prepared. If you have read this blog for awhile, I hope my love and passion for this cause has helped you find practical ways to put your efforts into practice. Let’s all continue to work together to help our neighbors get involved and prepare for our family’s future!

(Has anyone watched that series Doomsday Preppers? Now that is preparedness at it’s best (a little crazy..but fascinating!)

I would love to hear your comments! What is your family doing currently to become better prepared? Let’s learn from each other and continue this important effort throughout the year 😉

Segments:
*How to start getting prepared

*Preparation 101

*Communication & HAM radios

Below are a few links to posts on our blog where we talk about preparedness efforts that we can all be working on:

*Non-food items to stock up on

*Emergency Cooking

*Putting together an advanced first aid kit

*Water storage 101


*Build up your camping supplies to help in an emergency


*Preparedness gift ideas for ANY budget

Copycat Outback Honey Oat Pumpernickel Rye Bread

Does anyone LOVE the pumpernickel bread from Outback or The Cheesecake Factory as much as I do? I could eat an entire loaf all by myself. I am new to the whole grain rye, but have found it has a delicious flavor that I am quickly learning to love. Rye used to be the grain of peasants and many people refused to eat this grain. It has quickly become popular as people are learning the nutritional benefits of rye flour. Rye has many vitamins, minerals, fibers and antioxidants, similarly to wheat.

There are many health benefits to eating rye (information from this article):
*Promotes weight loss
*Helps prevent gallstones
*Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes
*Fights cardiovascular disease and promotes gastrointestinal health
*Significant cardiovascular benefits for postmenopausal women
*Prevents heart failure
*High in fiber (about 24 g. of fiber per cup)–keeps you regular
*Anti-cancer activity equal to, or even higher than, that of vegetables and fruits
*Lignans protect against heart disease
*Helps prevent breast cancer
*Highly protective against childhood asthma

Now if that doesn’t spell healthy, I don’t know what does! This month I will be introducing new recipes and ways we can incorporate rye into our daily diet. I feel like I have wheat down pretty well, so now I am going to start trying new and different grains. I hope you enjoy this bread as much as we do! This bread is great with honey butter or with plain butter. If you do not love a strong rye flavor, leave out the caraway seeds. When I want this bread with honey butter I usually only use 1/2 t. caraway seeds. When I want rye bread for Reuben Sandwiches (recipe coming later this week), then I use 2 t.-1 T. caraway seeds. No matter what you are using this bread for, I know you will LOVE it!

Copycat Outback Honey Wheat Pumpernickle Bread
Ingredients
  1. 4 cup warm water
  2. 2/3 cup powdered milk (or use 4 1/4 c. warm milk)
  3. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  5. 2/3 cup oil
  6. 3 Tbs. yeast
  7. 1 cup molasses
  8. 3 cup wheat flour
  9. 4 cup rye flour
  10. 5 cup white flour (or any combination of 12 c. of flour)
  11. 1/2 tsp. allspice
  12. 1-2 tsp. caraway seeds (optional..more for a savory bread than a sweet bread)
  13. 1 Tbs. salt
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Instructions
  1. Mix the first seven ingredients into a large mixing bowl (Bosche or Kitchen Aid preferably--this recipes makes 4 large loaves). Mix the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth. Let this mixture sit for 5-7 minutes, or until the yeast begins to foam. To this mixture add the dry ingredients, while mixing on low speed.
  2. Once all of the flour is added into the dough (you may need a little more or less flour, just add flour until the dough is soft, but still quite sticky). Let the dough knead for 5-8 minutes and then let the dough sit for 10 minutes. Once the dough has sat for the 10 minutes, empty the bowl out onto a greased counter. Cut the dough into four equal pieces.
  3. Grease two cookie sheets with cooking spray. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of cornmeal on the cookie tray and shake the cornmeal from side to side until the bottom of the pan has a light coating of cornmeal on it. Roll each of the four balls of dough into French bread shaped loaves (about 9-12 inches long and 3-5 inches wide). Place two loaves onto each cookie sheet. Sprinkle a tablespoon of oats onto the top of each loaf of bread. Cut four slits on the top of each bread. Cover the bread with a thin cloth, or leave on the counter for 30-60 minutes, or until the loaves have doubled in size. The longer you let the dough rise, the softer and airier the bread will be.
  4. Bake bread at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until the bread is firm and cooked through.
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Let the dough rise for 10-15 minutes until it reaches the top of the bowl. The dough will be super soft and a little sticky.

Roll the dough into long french bread loaves and slice the tops of the bread 3-4 times. Bake and serve with delicious honey butter. Enjoy 😉

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Oatmeal Pancake or Waffle Mix

*I am SO late on posting this AWESOME deal, but if you have a chance before tomorrow (Oct. 7th) is over, RUN into the Augason Farms Outlet store off of 3431 S. 500 W. and pick up some bags of oats for a GREAT DEAL!! They have their oats on sale for $18.99 for a 50lb. bag (quick or regular). This is an incredible deal so hurry in and stock up while supplies last. Tell them Deals to Meals sent you and perhaps they will post pone the sale (call first to make sure 🙂 Now..if you do not live in Utah and can’t get to the outlet store, the next cheapest place to buy oats is at the LDS Dry Pack Cannery or Costco.
Now that the summer is over and our garden production is slowing down, I am excited to begin again our Positively Preparing monthly focus. Food storage can be overwhelming and sometimes it is hard to know where to start. Each month as we focus on one food storage item I hope you will be able to see how easy it is to incorporate these items into your daily cooking and meal plans. Food storage does not need to be food you keep stored in the depths of the basement. The food you store should be food you know how to use and enjoy eating as part of your diet.

Whole grains have so many health benefits I am thrilled about our food storage item this month. I love oats, I love oatmeal, I love oatmeal cookies, I love steel cut oats and pretty much I am a fan of anything that has oats in it. Oats have such a great texture and subtle flavor. For those who are allergic to wheat, or have a hard time digesting wheat, oats are a great substitute and grain to add to your diet. Oats are a little easier on your system than whole wheat.

There are SO many health benefits from eating oats. I am not going to go into a lot of detail of the benefits of oats, but if you have time, google ‘oat health benefits’ and you will be amazed at how good oats are for you.

Here are just a few of the health benefits of oats:
*Helps lower cholesterol
*Helps lower blood sugar and keeps insulin levels lower
*Anti cancer–has hundreds of phytochemicals and phytoestrogen compounds which are linked to decreased risk of hormone related diseases (breast cancer)
*Lowers blood pressure
*Helps bowel function
*Helps aid in digestion and weight control
*Research found that children who ate oatmeal were 50% less likely to become overweight
*Helps athletic performance–great source of carbohydrates which help with energy needs.
*General Health and Longevity–oats have a higher concentration of well-balanced protein than other cereals
*High in fiber–per 100 grams, oats have 11 grams of fiber and nearly 40 different types of minerals and vitamins

Shelf life of oats: 10+ years in a cool, dry place (groats and steel cut oats can last up to 30 years)
How to store oats: Keep oats away from moisture and rodents/insects. They store great in their original packaging in a large plastic tote that can close tightly.
Different types of oats: Groats, Steel Cut Oats, Regular (Rolled) Oats, Quick Oats and instant oats.
What are the differences of each oat:
Groats are oats in it’s purest form. Groats look like wheat kernels and have a hard outer shell. Groats can be ground into oat flour or boiled for a long time until softened and can be eaten as a cereal. Most people who store groats own a groat roller that can roll the groat into regular rolled oats. Groats are the healthiest way to eat an oat and give you the most nutrition per serving.
Steel Cut Oats: Groats cut into pieces. Steel cut oats are great for grinding into flour or can be boiled and eaten as a delicious cereal. Steel Cut Oats are the second healthiest way to eat an oat and have an unusual nutty texture many people enjoy. I personally can’t get enough of these!
Rolled Oats: Groats that have been rolled and processed once. A rolled oat (or old fashioned oat) have more texture than the quick oats and are great for cereals, granola, cookies, etc. The heartier texture takes a few minutes longer to cook than quick but are better for you.
Quick Oats: Rolled oats that have been processed one more time to make a finer and smaller rolled oat. Quick oats are good in recipes that need a more smooth or soft texture. They are processed more than regular oats and will lose a little nutrients along the way.
Instant Oats: Quick oats that have been processed another time to make an almost flour like texture. This fine oat powder works well in instant cereals or cookies. This type of oat has the lowest nutritional value.
Oat Flour: Oats can be ground into oats with a blender, food processor or sent through a wheat grinder. Oat flour is healthy and easy to incorporate into your favorite bread recipes, cookies, pancakes, etc.

No matter which oat you choose to store and use in your cooking, this grain is a definite super food. If the only oats you know are Quaker Instant Oatmeal and boxed granola, I am excited for this month’s oat journey. I have SO many recipes lined up to share with you, I can hardly wait!! I hope by the end of this month you find a few new (and delicious) ways to incorporate oats into your family’s diet.

Let’s start with a recipe that I have (not kidding) gone through 50+ lbs. of in the past 4-5 months. This recipe for Oatmeal Pancakes/Waffles is a staple in my kitchen and we would have hungry bellies without it. I got the inspiration from this recipe but adapted it to use more food storage ingredients and have a longer shelf life. The great thing about this recipe is you can make a large batch of this mix and keep it in your pantry for several years. I make up a large batch of this mix and keep it in large plastic containers, or emptied out #10 cans, for easy storage. My three oldest kids love to whip together a batch of these oatmeal waffles before school and feel so grown up that they can make them without my help. I post the recipe on the outside of the container so they can easily add the water, eggs and oil and away they go!

If you are looking for a healthier and heartier breakfast option, these Oatmeal Waffles are the answer to your prayers. They will fill you up and keep your energy levels high all morning long. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does. For those who don’t have a lot of room to store items in your pantry, you may want to half this recipe for easier storage. I have a huge bowl that I can mix this batch in. If you don’t have an extremely large bowl, you may also want to half this recipe. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Pancake or Waffle Mix
Ingredients
  1. 6 c. white flour
  2. 10 c. quick or regular oats
  3. 3 c. oat flour (pureed in a blender or food processor)
  4. 9 c. wheat flour
  5. 3 c. cornmeal
  6. 8 c. powdered milk (I use non-instant)
  7. 1 1/2 c. sugar
  8. 4 T. baking soda
  9. 4 T. baking powder
  10. 4 T. salt
Mix Portion
  1. 1 c. pancake/waffle mix
  2. 2/3-3/4 c. water
  3. 1 egg (or powdered egg+water)
  4. 1 T. oil or melted butter
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Instructions
  1. Mix all of the pancake mix ingredients together in a large bowl and stir completely. Keep mix in a large container for up to 2 months.
  2. Use the 'Mix Portion' to make an individual pancake batch. Place a half cup amount of batter on a hot griddle and cook until golden brown on both sides (or a waffle iron).
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National Preparedness Month–What you may be missing?!?

September is such a great time to reevaluate your family’s preparedness efforts. Summer is practically over, the nights are getting shorter, kids are in school, and I find myself having more time to think about ways I can prepare my family for the future. I think we have the food aspect of preparedness pretty much nailed down, so we decided this month to focus on some of our ‘nonfood’ needs. My husband and I for our date this weekend decided to go to Walmart to browse up and down the aisles to see if there were items we have forgotten about in our emergency preparedness efforts.

I am not sure if (or when) a natural disaster may hit our area (we all know Utah is due for a big earthquake) but we wanted to make sure we have the necessities of life in our home. Who knows how long the power, gas, phone lines, grocery stores will be shut down following an emergency situation. If we were unable to go to the store for an extended period of time, here are a few random items we found in our shopping trip that may come in handy following an emergency. If you have items that may be helpful to keep well stocked, feel free to leave a comment so we can benefit from your preparedness efforts 😉

*Toilet paper–could you ever really have enough?? Watch for t.p. to go on sale each week on Deals to Meals to know when you should stock up! Many people buy toilet paper and paper towels at Costco or Sam’s but they are NOT a good deal there, surprising I know 😉
*Paper Towels
*Cleaning supplies (409, Windex, Clorox Bleach, Pine Sol, etc.)

*

*Q-Tips
*Candles
*Thick rope
*Toothpaste and toothbrushes
*Batteries–you can’t have enough! We just had a power outage and I realized how important and comforting light is. We bought several of the 7 year batteries from Costco
*Insect repelant
*Deodorant
*Shampoo & Conditioner
*Feminine hygiene products (what would we do without these..ugh!)
*LED lanterns–these are the coolest! They will run 1,000 hours on one set of D batteries (cheapest at Cabelas)
*Flashlights
*Hand sanitizer
*Duck tape
*Matches & fire starters
*Diapers, wipes & baby formula (couldn’t live without these!!)–it is also a good idea to have cloth diapers on hand just in case you run out of diapers
*Shaving cream & extra shavers (hey..our hubbies can still look nice in an emergency 😉
*Liquid and hand soap
*Extra dishwasher and laundry detergent soap
*Carbon monoxide detector that runs on batteries
*Extra propane, camping stoves, butane stoves and other ways to cook & use your food storage
*Sun Oven–LOVE it..enter to win here

Extra medicine:
*Adult pain relievers
*Children’s & infants pain/fever reducer
*Cough drops
*Anti-itch cream
*Sore throat spray
*Cold/cough syrup
*Flu medication–TheraFlu, etc.
*Airborne
*Extra multi-vitamins
*Allergy medicine
*Neosporin
*Masks
*Thermometer

Can you think of more items? I know I missed several. Feel free to leave comments of other items you have been stocking up on. Thanks!

Sun Oven Fun Recipes

I am SO excited about our giveaway this month in honor of National Preparedness Month. These past few weeks we have had our Sun Oven I have fallen in love this with this product (and so have my kids)!! I have had my eye on these ovens for a LONG time and we finally decided it was time to make the investment. Sun Oven‘s are not cheap and that is probably why it has taken me 13 years to own one. However, I can say the peace of mind this oven has brought is well worth the price. I love knowing I could cook food (especially bread) in this oven without using fuel. We could even make cookies in an emergency..how fun is that! I wish all of you the best of luck with this giveaway–visit our recent post to find out how easy it is to enter to win.

Here’s a little more info on the Sun Oven and a few family experiments to show you how easy the Sun Oven is to use! Using the oven couldn’t get simpler (even my 4 year old has figured it out). You simply place the oven in direct sunlight, open the flaps, let the oven heat up to the temperature you want to bake your food at, place the food in, and away you go! The food cooks so quickly, evenly and even browns nicely—all without any power. SO cool!! I always wonder if we are storing enough extra propane, gas, etc. to cook our food. This Sun Oven has relieved my anxiety about storing enough fuel. One of my fears was having hundreds of pounds of grains, rice, dried beans, etc. and not having enough fuel to cook them. I don’t know about you, but hard dried beans don’t sound too appetizing?


Align Center
(I cooked dried white beans for 3 hours & made delicious White Bean Chicken Chili)

The Sun Oven has been the answer to this dilemma for me! It is amazing that I can put a pot of dried beans in the Sun Oven and under 3 hours later I have perfectly soft cooked beans. That is faster than a crock pot! The great thing about the Sun Oven is it works even on a cloudy day. One overcast evening I put in a pot of rice to see how the Sun Oven would work on a partly cloudy day and within an hour, the rice was cooked to perfection. I have found that on cloudy/colder days, the Sun Oven works just like my crock pot on medium heat. It may take a little while longer for the food to cook, but if I plan ahead like I would for a crock pot, it works perfectly!

(I cooked 1/2 white & 1/2 brown rice for one hour and then made a simple rice pilaf)

The other great part about this Sun Oven is it is so simple to use, even the kids will love it! My children have been fascinated at how this oven works. They sat for nearly 25 minutes and watched the cookies being cooked. All day I kept having the thought…’I need to go outside and turn that oven off’. Duh! There is not an on/off switch. How cool is that?


(Our favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies worked perfectly in the Sun Oven baking for 25 min.)

The Sun Oven is also my solution to making bread. Our family goes through about 5-6 loaves of bread a week and in an emergency situation I have always wondered how we would survive without wheat bread 😉 We could cook on our camping stove, butane stove or on the grill but none of those options would produce a very pretty loaf of bread. I thought for sure the Sun Oven couldn’t make a golden brown loaf of bread, but I was once again proven wrong. I baked up a batch of Herb Tomato Foccacia Bread and it came out perfectly golden, cooked all the way through and more moist and soft than any loaf of bread cooked in doors. How does it do that?? One more reason this is now my favorite preparedness item!


(Herbed Tomato Foccacia Bread came out golden brown in only 35-40 minutes)

*Remember, if you are interested in purchasing a Sun Oven of your own, they are giving a discount to our readers, so visit their website and enter DealstoMeals when checking out to receive the $50 discount. This is the lowest price on the web we have been able to find. This would make an awesome Christmas gift!!

First Aid Kit Giveaway & Challenge

Get Prepared with this First Aid Kit valued over $75.00!

National Preparedness month is coming up in September so we wanted to giveaway one of the most important preparedness items you can have- a heavy duty and loaded First Aid Kit. Most of us hopefully have a first aid kit somewhere in our home for an emergency but this is not your basic $10-$20 kit. We have spoken with nurses, medical supply stores, paramedics, EMT’s etc. to find out what items everyone needs to have in a first aid kit that typically does not come in the basic kits and created one of our own. As a neighborhood we put dozens upon dozens of these kits together for each other and it sure feels good to have these additional first aid items packaged together in a nice carrying case and ready for use. We loved it so much that we decided to give one away to one of you!



Here are some of the items included in the kit:

First Aid Kit

1 plastic carrying container

2 (6 ct.) steri strips

1 twin flat sheet (great for carrying people, cutting into strips, use for slings, etc.)

1 triangle bandage

1 pair large paramedic scissors

2 finger splints

4 latex gloves

1 hand sanitizer

12 anti diarrheal pills

1 bottle ibuprofen

2 gauze rolls

25 cotton applicators

10 cotton balls

12 alcohol towelettes

5 butterfly bandages

4 poridone iodine pads

1 microprone tape

1 ace bandage

1 3inch gauze roll

1 5×9 ABD pad

1 8×10 ABD pad

2 30×30 inch pad

20 4×4 inch gauze pads

10 3×3 inch gauze pads

10 2×2 inch gauze pads

100 assorted small bandages

6 bacitracin pkgs.

3 antiseptic wipes

80 hand wipes

5 triple antibiotic ointments

5 sheer bandages

1 first aid guide

1 first aid burn cream pouch

1 CPR mask and carrying case

*Other items we put in our neighborhood kits were Airway Kits, Splints and CPR Masks. With these items and the ones above, you would have a kit that could treat most trauma situations or injuries.

For those wanting to put together kits of your own, or put together neighborhood kits, I would recommend going to a medical supply store and asking for a discount if you buy in bulk. I went to Wasatch Medical Supply and they gave us an awesome discount because we made 65 kits for our neighborhood. For some of the items, the best prices we found were all on ebay. We got our splints, airway kits, steri strips, CPR masks, hand sanitizer, containers, and triangle bandages for almost 1/2 the price they would be at a medical supply store, online on ebay. You gotta’ love Ebay 😉 Hope that helps answer your questions on where and what to buy. Thanks!

So the final question you all have is HOW TO ENTER for this awesome kit? Here’s how:

  • Get better prepared with your food storage by trying our Free Trial at www.dealstomeals.com (Tracked Automatically)
OR
  • Go to our website and tell us which of our free downloads is the most helpful for you or your family. (Tracked by you leaving a comment on this post)
Let’s all make our goal to get a little more prepared before September ends. Good Luck!

My Square Foot Garden Plan-2011

(My garden a month in the making–these plants were planted May 14th)

Welcome to my gardening journey. This past month my family and I have spent many hours trying to get our garden plan ready. After learning about square foot gardening we decided this was the direction we wanted to go. We usually take a portion of our tax return and spend it on food storage but because our supply was at a sufficient level we decided to invest in a garden. I know a square foot garden is not in everyone’s budget, so if this won’t work for you that is totally okay! Find a method that is more suitable for your budget, yard, and needs. It can be as inexpensive as spending $10 to put together a few gardening pots with a few tomato plants in them. The important thing is to come up with a plan that works for your family and go with it.

In this post I will show you briefly what my family did and how we put together our garden. We really won’t know the outcome until the end of the summer, but for now, it seems to be working really well.

Step 1: Weed & prepare your garden area. Our garden had nearly a foot of solid weeds so we had to spend a couple days pulling out all of the big weeds and raking the ground until it was somewhat level. If your garden doesn’t have very many weeds you can skip this step, just make sure the ground is mostly flat so your beds will lay evenly.
Step 2: Purchase the wood for your square foot beds. We went to Lowes and purchased several long pieces of wood. It is recommended that your beds are filled with at least 6 inches of soil. This was our plan so we bought wood that was 8 inches tall x 8 ft. long x 2 inches thick. For every two long pieces of wood you can make one 4×4 square garden (or 2×8). There are several types of wood you can use for your boxes, we chose to use douglas fir because it was much less expensive than redwood. One board was around $8 at our local Lowes.

Once we had the wood along with 3 inch screws we were able to begin building our boxes. The boxes are easy to make. All you need to do is screw the boards into each other.

If you have a weed problem in your garden like we do, we decided to staple a layer of weed control fabric on the bottom of each box to keep weeds out of our gardens. This fabric was very inexpensive and worth the price for me to not have to weed as often.

Step 3: Place the boxes where you want them to be according to your garden plan. Try your best to make the beds flat and level. Our baby Blake was loving playing in his new playpen 😉

Step 4: Decide which type of mix you want to add to your beds. Here is a link to Emily’s website where she discusses the pro’s and con’s of each type of mix. Because we were new to square foot gardening we wanted to do the recommended mix from Mel Bartholomew, the author of the popular books Square Foot Gardening. You can buy this mix already mixed together but we found purchasing the three components separately saved us a little.

Homemade Mel’s Mix: 1/3 part compost (idealy different types of compost. We used mushroom compost, steer manure, chicken/turkey compost, and another mixed compost) + 1/3 part vermiculite + 1/3 part peat moss. We purchased our compost from IFA by the yard, vermiculite was also the least at IFA and peat moss was the least at Lowes. We ended up needing about 8-9 cubic feet of soil per 4×4 box (3 cubic feet of each product per box). The cost per box seemed to be close to $50-$60 for each 4×4 square foot garden box.
Step 5: Mix the soil. We dumped the 8-9 cubic feet per box and mixed away. This was the fun part! I felt like I was in the kitchen cooking. We began by using a rake to mix and then all ended up in the soil up to our elbows. The mix is so extremely soft and airy it was super fun to play in. I was so used to our dirt we had to chisel at in order to plant things in, it was exciting to have soft soil. Once the soil was mixed we raked the soil level and our boxes were now ready to plant!
Step 6: Plant your garden. This is the fun part! I felt like it was Christmas trying to decide what to plant and where. I love Excel so I put together a spreadsheet on my computer so I could keep track of where and what I planted. Emily has tons of information of what to plant, where to plant it and what grows best in what conditions. I read over her website as best I could and came up with my plan for my garden boxes. One disadvantage to square foot gardening is if you don’t have a lot of room, you won’t want to plant large plants like tomatoes, zucchini, squash, pumpkins, etc. in a garden box because it will take over the entire box very quickly. Large plants like that (if you don’t have several square foot boxes) can just be planted in other parts of your yard or flower beds. Since we had the space I planted these in my boxes, but you will just want to do what you can with the space you have. Next to each plant I noted how many seeds or transplants I should plant in each square (example: carrots have 16 seeds per square foot where as cabbage only has one per square foot).

If you have time and extra money for more materials you can make the cute grid lines in your boxes. We ran out of money for our garden so we decided to pass on this step. I know the gardens look better when they have the grid lines, but will have to wait for those for next year. Before we planted we just drew the square foot lines in the dirt with the end of a rake and had a good idea of where to plant the plants. It seemed to do the trick 🙂

(My first plants I planted on May 14th..strawberry transplant and cauliflower transplants)

Bonus Step: Cover the ground around the garden boxes with some type of ground cover to cut down (or eliminate) all extra weeds. We picked up cheap bark chips from our local land fill (a large truck load and trailer full for $15) to cover the ground. It may not be the prettiest, but I don’t care as long as it keeps me from weeding 😉

Six easy steps and your garden can be up and running too! This method can also be used in smaller garden areas or in pots. The key is to have good soil (combination of those three products), sunshine and adequate water. Whether your garden is in a box or not, if you have these three basic elements of a good garden, yours will be successful.


(My favorite square feet–I think the carrots are so cute in a row and the beans are finally coming up.)

(Spinach is one of my favorite foods to plant, they come up quickly and are great in fresh salads and pasta dishes.)

(This is my pepper garden..with the price of peppers lately I don’t think I can plant enough 😉

Positively Preparing Food Storage Goal: PASTA



Positively Preparing Food Storage Goal: Obtain your family’s three month supply of pasta (approx. 10 lbs. per person)

Pasta is a basic food storage item that many families eat on a regular basis. It is important to store in your 3 month supply foods your family is comfortable and used to eating. Pasta is a great option for many families. It can be made several different ways to add variety to your meal plan and diet. SHELF LIFE OF PASTA: Dried pasta will last anywhere from 5 to 30 years, depending how it is packaged and stored. Pasta in a bag or box will last up to 5-10 years. Pasta sealed or canned in a #10 can or mylar bag will last up to 30 years. If kept in a cool, dry place, pasta will not go ‘bad’, it will just lose it’s nutritional value over time. As long as the noodles are dry, and in their original container (that does not seem to have moisture damage) the pasta will be fine to eat. Pasta is a great long term food storage item because it can last for a very long time on your shelf.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHEAT & REGULAR PASTA: When possible, store as much wheat pasta as you can. White pasta is pretty much empty calories and has little nutritional value. Whole wheat pasta has a slightly different texture than regular white pasta. If your family does not enjoy the texture of whole wheat pasta, you can find high fiber pastas that look and taste like white pasta, but have added fiber and nutrients in the pasta. Most white pastas only have about 1 g. of fiber per serving. Whole wheat pastas can get up to 8 g. of fiber per serving. This is a big difference and a great way to introduce fiber into your family’s diet.
HOW TO COOK & USE YOUR PASTA If you are storing large amounts of pasta in your food storage (40 lbs. per person is approximately a year supply), it is important to store ingredients that can be made into sauces or toppings for your pasta. Pasta is dry and tasteless by itself so you will want to also store things like; spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce ingredients, asian sauce ingredients, pesto ingredients for a pesto sauce, tomatoes & spices for homemade marinara sauce, etc. These items will help give your pasta flavor and help your family enjoy eating pasta long term from storage.
FREE PASTA DOWNLOAD
Below are a few of my favorite pasta dishes we have posted on our blog in the past couple of years.CREAMY BOLOGNESE

Cajun Red Beans Sausage & Rice

Last month I taught a class on beans and my friend volunteered to bring a recipe for Cajun Rice & Beans. She briefly explained the recipe and I have to say I wasn’t all that excited about the dish. I have only made rice & beans once or twice in married years and wasn’t a huge fan. They are usually dry, flavorless and nothing to rave about. Well….was I wrong!!! I seriously couldn’t get enough of these Cajun beans. They were packed with flavor, had a great kick, were dripping in sauce, and full of meat and vegetables–a complete meal at it’s best! My friend Debi is from Georgia and she made delicious corn bread to go along with the beans. The sweet cornbread and the spicy beans were the perfect combination.

There was another addition that I loved with this recipe. We served Southwestern Egg Rolls at our bean class and had the avocado ranch dip. The creaminess of the ranch dip went perfectly with the spiciness of the beans. This isn’t technically a part of the recipe, but when I recreated this recipe this week, it was a must in my book. I didn’t have avocados, so I just used our homemade ranch dip and blended in cilantro, a little lime juice and a can of diced green chilies. The spicy ranch dip was the perfect accompaniment to the spicy beans & rice. This recipe makes quite a bit, so invite friends over (hey…great Cinco de Mayo meal) or freeze the extras for later. Enjoy 😉

Cajun Red Beans Sausage and Rice
Ingredients
  1. 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  2. 1 lb. link sausage
  3. 24 oz. dried red beans
  4. 3-4 T. butter
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 1 large stalk celery, diced
  7. 1 1/2 onion, diced
  8. 1 jalapeno, diced (or two if you like more spice)
  9. 2 T. Cajun seasoning
  10. 3 c. chicken broth (or 3 c. water & 1 1/2 t. chicken bouillon--see tip below)
  11. 1 can tomato sauce
  12. 2 cans diced tomatoes
  13. Garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, Montreal Steak Seasoning, salt, black pepper, to taste
  14. Cooked White or Brown Rice
  15. Cornbread (I made our traditional cornbread using 1/2 pureed white beans)
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Instructions
  1. To cook the dried beans, put the 24 oz. of dried beans into my crock pot, filled the pot to the top with water and let them cook on high for 5 hours. By mid afternoon they were perfectly soft and tender and ready to be added to the pot for dinner. If you don't have time to cook the beans in the crock pot, you will need to watch them carefully for 1-2 hours boiling on your stove. If you don't want to use dried beans I am sure you could use canned beans. However..red beans are NOT kidney beans. You will need to find small red beans in the can for this dish.
  2. Cook the beans in the crock pot or on the stove until beans are tender and soft. Rinse the beans from the bean water and set aside. Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. In a large soup pot, heat half of the butter to medium heat and brown the chicken pieces until they are golden brown and cook until they are partially cooked through (not all the way cooked because they will cook again later). Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining butter to the pan and add the chopped celery, onions, garlic, and jalapenos to the pot. Saute until the onions become translucent and soft. Season this vegetable mixture heavily with all of the seasonings from above. Add the sliced sausage pieces to the pot and saute until the sausage is cooked through. Add the chicken back to the pot and add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Cajun seasoning and the chicken broth. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until broth is warm. Add the cooked beans to the pot and continue to simmer until the vegetables are soft and meat is cooked through. Finish seasoning the beans to your liking. Serve beans with cooked rice, cornbread and spicy ranch dressing. Garnish with parsley or cilantro.
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(The vegetable, chicken and sausage mixture sauteing in the pan)

(I was shopping the other day with one of my good friends and she went to put a case of chicken broth into her cart. I about fell over dead thinking she was willing to spend $20 for 24 cans of chicken broth. To my horror I hadn’t shared one of my favorite cooking tricks with her and I realized I should probably share this tip again with you, my blogging friends.

I NEVER use cans of chicken or beef broth. Not because I don’t like it, just because it is SO expensive. It is like gold in a can. So…my solution is I buy a #10 80 oz. can of chicken bouillon and beef bouillon (or beef/chicken base from Costco) and keep it in my pantry for all of my recipes that call for chicken or beef broth. I purchase mine at either the Morning Moo Outlet Store in SLC, at Maceys or at my local Walmart. I have found the best price is usually during case lot sales or the everyday price at Walmart. (If you live outside of Utah, you can buy this product online). The #10 can of bouillon makes roughly 750 cans of chicken broth (for every 1 c. of water you add 1/2 t. of bouillon–there are over 1400 servings in a can). Here in Utah you can get the #10 can of bouillon for around $18. That makes the equivalent price per can only .02. That is TWO pennies…..wow!!! Isn’t that fun??? Compare 2 cents a can to .60-$1.00 a can. That is pretty good savings, huh?

You may be worried about the convenience. The nice thing is, you just add water to your recipes and then sprinkle in the bouillon. Or, you can mix it separately and then add to your recipe. Either way, it is very easy to use, very inexpensive and has great flavor! I make sure to have at least one extra can of each in my food storage. Bouillon is great to have in your food storage as well so you can flavor all of your recipes if you had to eat solely out of your storage (soups, gives flavor to rice/pilafs, stews, beans, chilis, homemade cream of chicken soup, etc.)

April Positively Preparing Goal: Rice 3 month supply


April Positively Preparedness Goal: RICE–obtain your three month supply (or more) of rice for each member of your family, 10lbs. per person

It is a new month and I am excited to share with you some of my favorite recipes that use RICE throughout the month of April. My focus on our blog this month will be to encourage you to build up your supply of rice in your food storage. With flooding in Australia and the tsunami in Japan it is inevitable that rice prices will be rising. Stock up this month before these prices continue to rise. As of now, the least expensive place to buy rice is at Costco and Sam’s Club. There are several different types of rice you can purchase and according to my research long grain, calrose, basmati and jasmine are all the least expensive at Costco/Sam’s. The only one that is NOT less than Costco is their brown rice. They only sale an organic version that is $1.12/lb. Until Tuesday (April 12th) Maceys is having a sale on a 20lb. bag of brown rice for only $10.99–that equals about .54/lb. So..if you use and like brown rice (if you don’t by the end of this month, I didn’t do my job ;), stock up in the next couple of days before case lots are over. For those not near a Maceys, stock up at the closest warehouse store nearest you!

RICE 101

PRINTABLE RICE HANDOUT
WHY STORE RICE: Rice is an important grain and a staple ingredient in many meals our families cook on a regular basis. Rice is a main source of nourishment for over half the world’s population. Rice is by far one of the most important commercial food crops. It’s annual yield worldwide is approx. 535 million tons. Fifty countries produce rice, with China and India supporting 50% of total production. Rice is great to store because it can be stored long term (10-30 years depending on how it is stored), can be cooked in numerous ways, is relatively inexpensive to purchase, and is easy to digest.
SHELF LIFE OF RICE: White rice will store for a very long time if kept in a cool, dry place and kept away from moisture. White rice is the processed form of brown rice that has had it’s outer shell and fats removed. For this reason, it will store much longer than brown rice. Brown rice will only store 1-2 years if kept in a cool, dry place (the colder the temperature the longer the rice will store-under 40’F is ideal. Some people keep their brown rice in the freezer or fridge to extend the life of the rice). Rice can be purchased in bulk for less expensive than small packaging. These large bags of rice can be kept in food safe buckets or totes to keep cool, dry and away from rodents/mice. You can also store rice in mylar bags or cans. Adding an oxygen absorber to the can will help protect from insect infestation.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BROWN RICE & WHITE RICE: Brown rice is simply white rice that has not had the brown colored bran covering removed. Brown rice is considered a whole grain. Why remove the bran? Because most people prefer white rice since it is fluffier and cooks faster than brown. Since brown rice still has the bran intact, it has more fiber than white rice.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF RICE:One cup of brown rice has 3 1/2 grams of fiber while the same amount of white rice has less than one gram of fiber. Brown rice also contains nutrients like magnesium, manganese and zinc. White rice has reduced levels of these nutrients, but is often fortified with iron, and some B vitamins. Because brown rice has more of it’s natural oils it tends to go rancid more quickly than white rice.

HOW TO COOK & USE YOUR RICE: Rice can be easily cooked in a pan on your stove, in a rice cooker or in a pressure cooker. Each method will use a slightly different ratio of water to rice, depending on what temperature the rice will be cooked at. Generally the ratio is 1 c. rice to 1 1/2-2 c. water when cooking rice on the stove top.

Southwestern Egg Rolls, Bean Dip & White Bean Soup

I know bean month is supposed to be over, but I couldn’t help myself from sharing with you some of my favorite bean recipes I have posted about the past couple of years. Food blogs become an abyss of lost recipes, so I wanted to remind you of some old, but goodies, from the past 🙂 Enjoy!!

*For those wanting to get a head start on our goal for April, it will be rice. Watch for delicious rice recipes coming soon..that is..if I can stop cooking with beans 😉

If you are running low on your supply of canned or dried beans, this week is the time to stock up!! It is case lot time throughout the western united states and the BEST time to build up your food storage supply of beans. Canned beans (along with many other items)of nearly every variety is on sale in many of the western states: Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, etc.

To view ALL of the deals for this week (and every other week), become a member of Deals to Meals and we will tell you which items this week are worth adding to your food storage. More than any other week throughout the year, case lot time is the time you can save the most money on your groceries by using our service. You will make back your $1.13 a week membership fee in the first few cans you purchase that are on sale for great/red deals. Not to mention the time you will save from scouring through all of the ads (who has time for that!!). We do all of the work for you, for a minimal fee–plus..you get the added bonus of our delicious recipes, meal planner and grocery list all for just over the price of a candy bar–not too shabby! Have fun shopping this week, it will be SOOOO fun!!!!

Bean Craze!



I just had to show you these funny pictures because I couldn’t believe the amount of beans we picked up for our neighborhood food storage order this month. I emailed and sent around signup sheets to the families in my neighborhood and church group and was shocked when we had an order for nearly 5,000 lbs. of beans to pick up. Ah! My sweet friend Camille luckily had a truck and trailer and with a lot of prayers and crossing our fingers, we made it back home without a broken axle or a trail of beans from SLC to our house. If anyone needs beans, you now know where to come 😉 

Black Bean Enchiladas


There are several recipes of mine that I keep as my go-to busy-night, crazy-mom meal ideas. Some nights I feel like I run around with my head chopped off and figuring out what to do for dinner is not on the top of my priority list. However, I still want to throw something together that is somewhat healthy and will fill my children up. My kids have stomachs that are bottomless pits, so a little frozen burrito or something from the freezer, doesn’t do the trick for them. These Black Bean Enchiladas are usually the meal I choose when I don’t have meat thawed and I need to throw something in the oven in a hurry. This recipe is another one of my favorite bean recipes because it is healthy (okay..minus all of the cheese), filled with protein, and can be quickly made with ingredients from your food storage and freezer. Enjoy!

Black Bean Enchiladas
Ingredients
  1. 2 cans refried beans
  2. 1 can black beans, drained
  3. 4 oz. cream cheese, softened (want to save calories, you can leave this out)
  4. 1 1/2 c. sour cream
  5. 2/3 c. salsa
  6. 3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  7. 4 oz. diced green chilies
  8. Flour tortillas
  9. 1 can green enchilada sauce
  10. Lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, etc.
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Instructions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, add the refried beans, black beans, cream cheese, sour cream, salsa and green chilies. Microwave for 3-5 minutes or until beans are soft and mixture is combined. In a 9x13 pan, spread a thin layer of green enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish. Once the mixture is smooth and combined, place several spoonfuls into the middle of a flour tortilla and roll up. Place all of the rolled tortillas into the 9x13 pan and then cover the tops with enchilada sauce and LOTS of cheese. If you like even more cheese, add a few tablespoons of cheese into the tortilla before you roll them up.
  2. Bake enchilada at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown on top. Serve with chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole.
Notes
  1. This meal works awesome as a freezer meal! Double the bean mixture and make up an extra pan for later. When freezing enchiladas though, DON'T cover the tortillas with the enchilada sauce and cheese until you are about to bake them, or they will get too soggy in the freezer.
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Black Bean Soup

I found a recipe a few months ago for a black bean soup that I have been so excited to try for ‘bean’ month. It did not dissapoint! I changed a few parts of the recipe and think I have come up with the perfect black bean soup. I have had dried black beans in my food storage for as long as I can remember, but I have never cooked black beans from their dried form until yesterday. They actually cooked up more quickly than my pinto or white beans. They are one of the smallest beans, so they cook up really quickly. I boiled my dried black beans for a little over an hour and they were tender and ready to be used in my soup.

The other great aspect of this soup is it is extremely healthy for you! There is very little fat in this recipe, it is filled with fiber and vitamins from the beans, and is one of those rare recipes that don’t call for any meat. I am a far cry from being a vegetarian, but every now and then I love making recipes that are meatless and yet, still satisfying. This soup was very filling and despite my children being a little nervous about the dark black color of this soup, they ended up each eating a second bowl and loving it!

Here is the recipe (as best I can remember from what I did…when in doubt, add more seasonings and chicken broth until it is to your desired liking) Once again, this recipe makes a lot so you can freeze the extras for later or 1/2 the recipe.

Black Bean Soup
Ingredients
  1. 5 c. dried beans or 7-8 canned black beans
  2. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 1 onion, cut into large chunks
  4. 1 c. carrots (I used baby carrots)
  5. 1 green bell pepper, cut into fourths
  6. 1 jalapeno pepper, cut in half and seeded
  7. 10-12 c. of chicken broth (or water plus chicken base or bouillon)
  8. 1 (16oz.) jar red or green salsa
  9. 2 cans diced green chilies
  10. 1 large red or white onion, diced
  11. 1 red, green or orange bell pepper, diced and seeded
  12. 3 long stalks of celery, diced
  13. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  14. 1/2 cube of butter
  15. Montreal steak seasoning (about 1 T.)
  16. 2 T. cumin
  17. 1 T. chili powder
  18. 2-3 t. garlic powder
  19. 1 t. red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
  20. 1-2 T. salt (may need a little more when finished)
  21. 1 T. black pepper
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Instructions
  1. Rinse the black beans in a strainer until all of the dirt and dust have been rinsed off. Place the five cups of black beans into a very large soup pot and fill a few inches from the top with water. Add the garlic, onion, carrots and bell pepper to the water and beans. Heat water and beans to a rolling boil and let boil for up to one and a half hours (or longer depending how old your beans are). Make sure you keep an eye on the pot and extra water as needed so the beans don't burn--keep them covered with several inches of water so they don't dry out. Once the beans are tender, drain most of the water from the pot, but leave the vegetables in with the beans. Remove half of the beans from the pot and place in a food processor or blender. Blend half of the beans into a puree and leave the other half as whole beans. Spoon out the large chunks of vegetables and add in with the beans that are being pureed until smooth. Add the pureed beans back to the pot, turn down the heat on the stove to low and add the rest of the ingredients.
  2. If you do not want to use dried beans and do the above method, use 7 cans of black beans that have been drained.
  3. To the beans in the pot, add the chicken broth, salsa and green chilies. Let these items simmer with the beans.
  4. Dice the bell peppers, onion, celery into small pieces. In a seperate saute pan, add these vegetables with the butter and saute until tender. Once they are tender, add these vegetables to the bean soup. Add the seasonings to the soup.
Let the soup continue to simmer on low for another 20-30 minutes to let the flavors blend together. Once the soup is thickened, add 2 T. lime juice and 2 T. apple cider vinegar. Stir together and serve with the following garnishings
  1. Diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, diced green onions, sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced avocado and tortilla chips. Squeeze another bit of lime on top of your bowl of soup if you would like.
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Black Bean Mint Brownies


I LOVE beans.
I LOVE brownies.
I LOVE our recipe for brownies.
Mix our brownies with black beans and you have a combination that is more moist, more dense, more chocolaty and more delicious…WITH the added bonus of having HALF as much fat and calories as they do when they are made with all butter. Trust me..you will NEVER know!
This is what you call a win-win!! (Problem is I ate twice as many brownies as I would have otherwise–oops!)

Black Bean Brownies with Mint Frosting
Brownies
  1. 4 c. sugar
  2. 8 eggs
  3. 2 cubes (1 c. butter)
  4. 1 c. pureed black beans (I pureed one can of black beans and there was plenty for 1 c.--I drained the bean juice out and filled almost back to the top with water and then pureed them)
  5. 1 c. cocoa powder
  6. 1 T. vanilla
  7. 1 t. salt
  8. 3 1/4 c. flour
Mint Frosting
  1. 1 cube butter, softened
  2. 1 lb. powdered sugar (3-4 c.)
  3. 3-4 T. milk
  4. 2 drops mint extract
  5. 1 t. vanilla
  6. Dash of salt
  7. Drop or two of green food coloring
  8. Andes Mints, shredded
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Instructions
  1. For the black beans, puree one can of black beans and there was plenty for 1 cup, drain the bean juice out and fill almost back to the top with water and then puree them until smooth.
  2. Cream together the sugar, eggs, butter and black beans until it is smooth. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla and flour and beat until smooth again. Spread batter into a greased jelly roll cookie sheet evenly and then bake at 350 for 32-34 minutes (at 32 minutes the brownies were still a little too soft so I kept them in for another 2-3 minutes and they were perfect--don't over cook your brownies or they will be too dry). Let brownies cool and then frost.
  3. Frosting: cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add enough milk to make the frosting a smooth and soft texture. Add the extract, vanilla and dash of salt. Add the food coloring and beat until frosting is ready to spread over brownies. Spread over brownies and garnish with shaved Andes mints.
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Tuscan White Bean Chicken Soup


Bean bonanza continues. There is only one more official week of winter, so I wanted to share with you one more of my favorite soup recipes. Of course, this one has beans in it because of our monthly focus–are you sick of beans yet?

Beans or no beans though, this is one of my all-time favorite soups! A good family friend of ours had a recipe similar to this but it was in casserole form (thanks Brenda :). I loved the flavors of the dinner, but thought I would actually like it better as a soup. The results were perfect! If you liked our Gumbo Soup from last month, this soup has a similar flavor but much easier to make. For this soup I cooked up a crock pot of white beans and let them cook overnight on low heat. In the morning the beans were tender and soft and ready for the soup. There was enough beans for the 9 cups for the Tuscan Soup recipe, and then plenty to make white bean cupcakes (recipe from yesterday), 4 loaves of white bean bread (recipe coming soon) and a batch of my favorite cornbread recipe made with white beans (details coming soon :). Cooking a large batch of beans will save you hassle in the future and allow you to cook several of your recipes with the added nutrients of beans. 

Here is the recipe for this ultra delicious soup! (You know me..this soup will feed an army, so you can half the recipe if you need, or just freeze the extras for a later meal)

 
Tuscan White Bean Chicken Soup
Ingredients
  1. 2 onions
  2. 1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  3. 1 cup chopped celery
  4. 2 Tbs. olive oil
  5. 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
  6. 16 oz. polish sausage link. sliced thin
  7. 2 garlic cloves
  8. 2 tsp. thyme
  9. 2 dry bay leaves
  10. 1 Tbs. fresh or dried parsley
  11. Garlic powder (about 2 t.)
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
  13. 3 cans diced tomatoes
  14. 5  cans white northern beans, drained
  15. 1 cup pureed white beans (of the 5 cans)
  16. 12 cup chicken broth (or, if you are like me, use water and chicken base/bouillon instead)
  17. 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream (this is totally optional)
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Instructions
  1. Dice the onions, celery and carrots into small pieces. Place these vegetables into a soup pot and saute with a little olive oil until soft and tender (if you have a food processor you can easily chop all of the vegetables quickly). Cut the chicken into cubes and the sausage into thin slices. Add the chicken and sausage to the vegetables and let saute until they are mostly cooked through. Season the meat and vegetable mixture with salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, and add the bay leaves. Add the 12 cups of chicken broth to the pot as well as the canned tomatoes. If using canned white beans, drain the juices from the can. Remove one cup of the beans and puree or mash until smooth. Add the pureed beans to the soup (this will act as a thickening agent). Add the remaining beans to the soup. Let the soup simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until everything is combined. Right before serving, pour in the heavy whipping cream (optional). Serve soup warm with bread or cornbread.
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White Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies & Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies (with white beans)–We used our recipe for the Perfect Chocolate Chip cookie and just substituted 1/2 of the butter with bean puree. I also added one of the cups of flour with one cup of bean flour–delicious!!

What is the easiest way to cook beans? This was my quest the past few days and I think I have found the solution to easy bean making. For those who have never cooked with dried beans, they can be a bit of a hassle to make sure you get them just the right texture–not too soft, but not too hard. This past week I tried pressure cooking, crock potting, boiling and soaking beans and the winner of the bean cook-off was definitely the crock pot. Yes, the pressure canner was fabulous and cooked the beans in less than an hour, but at the price tag of $200..I think my crock pot will do the trick.

One trick to making bean cooking more successful is to cook WAY more beans than you need, and freeze the extras for later. No one has time, or patience, to cook up one or two cups of beans at a time. It just wouldn’t be time effective to cook in such small quantities. If you only need a cup of beans, then you might as well open a can.

For those times however when you need a whole pot of soup or would like to make a big batch of bean cookies, these are the times it comes in handy to cook up several cups of beans at the same time. I found in my crock pot that I could cook 7 cups of hard beans at one time. I just poured the dried beans into the bottom of my crock pot and filled the rest of the pot up with water (all the way to the lid). I cooked the beans on high for 4 hours and they were perfect. I also tried them over night on low heat for 9-10 hours and they also turned out just right. Whether you have 4 hours or 10 hours, the crock pot is an easy way to start your beans and forget about them until they are done. I also tried boiling the beans at a rapid boil and they took about 1 hour and 30 minutes to cook (be careful doing this method–if your pot runs out of water, you will be left with a house full of smoke and burnt beans–ugh!–trust me, I know!)

Once your beans are thoroughly cooked and soft, now comes the fun part! You can either puree the beans into a paste for baking or cooking (above picture), or you can drain the beans and freeze them whole in freezer bags. These frozen beans are great for soups, on salads, in enchiladas, etc. They are much healthier for you because they are not coated in sodium and preservatives and have a much better fresh taste (if you hate canned beans, try making your own–they are MUCH better!) I portion my cooked beans into 2 c. measurements which is just a little more than what is in a can. This makes for easy measuring.Now..for the bean paste (which is SOOOO fun!). All you need to do is drain the beans from the crock pot of any of it’s bean goo (technical name, I know 🙂 If you want you can even rinse the beans. Either way, you will be left with soft, cooked beans. Dump these cooked beans into a food processor or place in a big bowl and beat with a hand beater or a potato masher.

Once the beans are completely smooth (you may need to add 1/2-1 c. of water for every couple of cups of beans to help them puree smoothly), you can then bag them into 1 c. portions. You want the bean puree to be the texture of soft butter when it is done.You then use this bean paste in the place of butter or oil in recipes. If you use 1/2 white bean puree for half of the butter in most recipes, you will never know it! These oatmeal cookies (above) are amazing and are 1/2 the fat of regular cookies. One cup of butter has 178 grams of fat (ugh!) compared to one cup of white beans that has ONE gram of fat. For this reason alone, you should give beans a try–let alone you don’t compromise anything in taste! FYI: Don’t substitute any more than 1/2 of the oil with beans in a recipe or your recipe won’t turn out–they will be too dry.


This below recipe makes a large batch, so roll the cookies into balls and freeze for later. There is nothing better than warm cookies out of the oven, anytime you want!

Neiman Marcus Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients
  1. Neiman Marcus Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. 1 c. white bean puree
  3. 1 c. butter
  4. 2 pkgs. chocolate chips (I like to use some milk, semi and white chocolate chips)
  5. 3 c. white flour
  6. 1 c. white bean flour (or more white flour)
  7. 5 c. oats (quick or regular)--I use 3 c. oat flour that I have ground and 2 c. actual oats
  8. 2 c. brown sugar
  9. 2 c. white sugar
  10. 2 t. baking soda
  11. 1 t. salt
  12. 4 eggs
  13. 2 t. baking powder
  14. 2 t. vanilla
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Instructions
  1. Puree the white beans (that have been drained) in a food processor or blender. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, white beans, and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and beat until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients (minus the chocolate chips) until combined. Dough should be a little sticky, but not too sticky that you can't roll into balls. Bake cookies at 350 for 7-8 minutes (depending on the size of your cookie balls). If you are using beans, don't over bake the cookies or they will be too dry.
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Enjoy! Here is another oatmeal cookie that I posted about a year ago with white beans. The options for beans are limitless 🙂

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Frosting

Would it be a surprise to you if I told you I was really excited to post about this recipe? I am sure you are stunned that I could hardly wait to post about a cupcake that is made with beans? What kind of a cook have I turned into? I think I am officially one of those ‘crazy’ food storage ladies! I know there will be those of you that read this recipe and think to yourself, ‘alright..she has gone a little too far’ Well, that may be the case, but you will just have to put this recipe to the test before you place your judgment. I hope I haven’t let you down thus far, so you should be able to trust me 🙂 These cupcakes were everything I had hoped they would be–chocolaty, moist, soft, high in fiber, and healthier than the average cupcake (NO oil–that’s awesome!).

So, onto my recipe for these Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes. Now, the original recipe I found said that all you need is one can of black beans and one chocolate cake mix. I have yet to try just these two items (why settle for anything but the best), so my version is a little less food storage friendly, but much better tasting I am sure. (If any of you have tried the 2 ingredient chocolate cake, let me know how it turns out).

I decided to soop up my cupcakes a little bit with a few additional ingredients. This will now be my go-to recipe when using a boxed cake mix–delicious! (My husband even said..’Wow! I think this is the best cupcake I have ever had’–now..that could be because they were peanut butter and chocolate, but either way..he was naive to the fact they were made with beans 🙂

One added benefit to making these cupcakes with beans is they turned out so pretty and tall. They were by far the prettiest cupcake I have ever baked–sometimes my cupcakes tend to be a little flat 🙁 One more reason to bake with beans. (I am thinking next time I will experiment with white beans in a yellow or white cake mix and then pinto beans in a carrot or spice cake–I will let you know how they turn out)

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes
Ingredients
  1. 1 box Devil's Food Cake or Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  2. 1 can black beans
  3. 2/3 c. sour cream
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 1 small chocolate instant pudding mix
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Instructions
  1. Drain the can of black beans and then refill to the top with water. Put beans and water in a food processor or blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour the cake mix into a large bowl and add the pureed beans. Add the sour cream, eggs and dry pudding mix to the cake mix and stir until smooth. Grease 18 muffin tins (or use muffin wrappers) and fill with the cake batter. Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes, or until cooked through (don't over cook or they will dry out--who likes dry cake? Ugh!). Remove from the oven and let cool until ready to frost.
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Ultimate Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 c. chunky or creamy peanut butter
  2. 1/2 cube butter, softened
  3. 1/4-1/3 c. milk
  4. 1 t. vanilla
  5. 1/3-1/2 c. cocoa powder (or more if you like it really dark chocolate)
  6. 3-4 c. powdered sugar (enough to make the frosting thick, but not too thick you can't frost)
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If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Cream the peanut butter and butter together until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and whip. Add the milk and vanilla and whip until smooth. Add enough powdered sugar to make your frosting light, fluffy and thick enough you can frost a cupcake with it. Frost cooled cupcakes. Top with broken up pieces of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups or other candy bar of your choice.
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Whole Grain Pancake Mix

It is now March and another month has come and gone in our preparedness efforts. Does everyone have their salt and spices supply? If so, I would LOVE to hear your success stories!?!
I know I had fun this week going to Costco and picking up 1,400 lbs. of salt–ah! I didn’t have my phone or camera to take a picture, but it was really quite a scene, people thought I was nuts (which I thoroughly enjoy!) My Dad and I went to pick it up and could barely even push the flat bed cart down the aisles. Don’t worry..all of that salt wasn’t for me (surprise!). I picked up salt for 30 families in my neighborhood. We are all thrilled to officially have our year supply of salt. If you have not picked up your salt supply yet, head over to Costco or Sam’s Club and for under $3.50 you can pick up 25 lbs. of salt. Fabulous!!
Now, onto another goal and food storage focus this month: BEANS (I can hear the applause already!) I am actually really excited about this new food storage item for March. I hope that by the time this month is over you will be shocked at the many ways you can use beans/legumes in your everyday cooking and baking needs. Most people think of beans as only good in chili’s. Oh contraire..beans are good in many other menu items; soups, stews, dips, appetizers, wraps, on salads, and even used in baked goods like cookies, cakes, brownies and breakfast foods. I know many of you won’t believe me now, but just wait until our month of bean-o-fun is over and then you will thank me for introducing you to such a versatile item.

For those of you new to the health benefits and storing tips for beans, here are a few Bean 101 Facts/Info:

PRINTABLE BEAN/LEGUME HANDOUT

WHY STORE BEANS: Beans are an important part of your 3 month supply and your 12 month food storage supply. Canned beans and dried beans can be easily incorporated into your family’s diet. With canned beans you can make chilis, soups, stews, dips, enchiladas, etc. Besides canned beans, it is important to have an adequate supply of dried beans. Dried beans will last up to 30 years and will provide an important source of protein to your family’s diet. Dried beans can be ground into flour, cooked and pureed, and used in the place of oil in baked recipes, or boiled and used in some of your family’s favorite meals/soups. The uses of beans are endless!
SHELF LIFE OF BEANS: Dried beans will last nearly forever! Scientific studies on vitamin loss in dried beans during prolonged storage could not be found. The other nutritional components (proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, etc) also remained unchanged during long term storage. (Info from USU Extension Services)
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEANS: Beans are an outstanding source of protein—the highest in the seed family (even more so than wheat). Wheat averages a protein level of 8-16% whereas beans have a an average protein level of 22%. They contain all essential amino acids, except methionine. Methionine can be obtained from corn, rice, or meat. When you pair beans with one of these items (such as rice) you then have a complete protein, which will sustain life. Beans are also an excellent source of fiber, starch, minerals and some vitamins.

HOW TO STORE BEANS: Canned beans can be kept on a shelf for 2-3 years. Dried beans can be stored in #10 cans (from the LDS Dry Pack Cannery), in Mylar bags or for less expensive storage they can be stored in food grade plastic containers. You can empty the dried beans into a plastic bucket or you can keep them in their original packaging within the bucket—either way will work just fine. You may also want to place an oxygen packet inside the bucket for optimal storage.
HOW TO COOK & USE DRIED BEANS: Typically, 3 cups of water is needed for every 1 cup of dried beans to hydrate. Allow beans to soak overnight and then rinse them in clean water. To cook beans, cover rehydrated beans with water in a stock pot. Simmer for 2-4 hours until beans are tender. Once tender they can be spiced and used in cooking recipes. As dried beans age the seeds become harder. This results in longer rehydration and cooking times. At some point, the seeds will no longer rehydrate and in that case must be ground as bean flour. One study found that small amounts of baking soda can help soften beans during soaking. (USU Extension Research)
Now that we know the importance of storing beans and some of the amazing health benefits, let me introduce you to a new recipe I have found for Ultra-Healthy-Whole-Grain Pancakes. If you are a fan of those light, airy, white, no-nutrition filled Krusteaz pancakes, then you may not be a fan of this recipe. If you however, are looking for a quick breakfast idea that is chuck-full of nutrients and whole grains, this recipe is for you. These pancakes are dense, filling and SO good for you! One of the benefits of eating whole grains is that you become full more quickly than if you were to eat white flour products. My son, who normally can eat 7-8 buttermilk (white flour) pancakes, could only eat two of these pancakes. He was stuffed after only a couple. In fact, all of my kids were so full after breakfast we didn’t even eat lunch until nearly 1:00. So..give these pancakes/waffles a try for a heart healthy, homemade breakfast (that surprisingly uses dried beans from your storage).
BEAN TIP #1: Dried beans can be ground into flour just like any other seed/kernel. Check with your wheat grinder specifications, but most hand or electric grinders will grind beans into flour without any problem. I prefer to grind the white beans rather than the black or pinto because they have a more mild flavor and they grind into a really pretty white flour. Feel free to experiment and grind several different kinds of beans and see what you come up with! Use this flour in any of your favorite baked good items–just be careful not to over do it–a little goes along way (No more than 25% of the flour in a recipe should be bean flour or it will be too strong) (Bean flour looks just like wheat flour–white beans work well for a white, soft flour texture)

Whole Grain Pancakes/Waffles
Ingredients
  1. 6 c. wheat kernels (red or white wheat)
  2. 2 c. oats or groats
  3. 1 3/4 c. brown rice
  4. 1 c. dried white beans (great northern or white kidney)
  5. 4 c. powdered milk
  6. 1 1/2 T. salt
  7. 1 c. brown sugar
  8. 1 c. baking powder
  9. 2 T. baking soda
Batter
  1. 1 c. pancake mix
  2. 2/3 c. water
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 T. oil
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Instructions
  1. Combine the wheat kernels, oats, brown rice and white beans together in a bowl. Then, pour this mixture a little at a time into your wheat grinder until ground into flour. Pour this flour mixture into a large mixing bowl or Tupperware. Add the remaining pancake ingredients to the flour/grain mixture and whisk until combined.
  2. Once pancake mixture is combined, place in a Ziploc bag or large tupperware and store for several months. When ready to make pancakes, add the following items to the pancake mix and whisk until smooth. Each batch of one cup of pancake mix, makes four thick pancakes or waffles. This recipe makes 12 cups of pancake mix.
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February Positively Preparing: Salt, Spices & Condiments


It’s a new month and a new positively preparing focus (sorry I am late, we were out of town)! This month we will be focusing on ways we can use our salt, spices and condiments in our food storage. Your goal before the end of the month should be to have your 3 month supply of salt and spices in your storage.

When I was first married I knew I wanted to have food storage, but because we were poor college students I decided the best place to start would be with our salt supply. I was thrilled when I came home with my husband’s and my year supply of salt–all for under $3! We didn’t have money to buy much more of everything else, but at least we had our salt 😉 If you are just beginning building up your food supply, make it your goal to get your year supply of salt. The least expensive place to buy salt is at either Costco or Sam’s Club. You can buy a 25 lb. bag of salt for under $4. For a family of 6 your year supply of salt would cost $8–not bad! The benefits of having salt and flavoring in your food storage will be well worth the $8 price tag.

Of course salt is not the only spice you should store in your food storage. There are many different types of spices that you should also store for added flavor and variety. These spices would vary depending on those meals and recipes you like to cook. I would recommend going through your favorite family meals and writing down the spices you need for each recipe. Once you have a list of those spices your family uses, make sure you have AT LEAST one or two jars extra of each spice. Spices can be bought at nearly every grocery store, but I would recommend purchasing spices at Costco, Sam’s Club or Winco (they sell spices in bulk for great prices!). Whereever you choose to purchase them, just make sure you have a good variety and enough to flavor all of the food you are storing in your food storage.

I have put together a handout that may help you with your spice list. I have listed several spices and meal ideas that go along with each group of spices. Good luck working on your goals this month and becoming better prepared 🙂

SPICES HANDOUT

Earlier post about the importance of storing spices.

Also, if you want to keep inventory of your spices, use our Food Storage Inventory Sheet.

Canned Goods & a Can-Do-It Attitude


Tax return time can be either a stressful or an exciting time for families. My husband just finished our taxes late last night and we were ecstatic that we were getting a small refund. You never know what the outcome will be with being a small business owner. I was thrilled when he gave me the good news of we didn’t owe Uncle Sam any extra money. You gotta love the forced savings plan the government gives us! So, what do we do with this money? I was excited when my husband beat me to the punch..”Shan, why don’t you go spend $200-$500 on food storage” Music to my ears!! I was so excited I could hardly sleep that night dreaming of where and what I would buy. The next morning I ran to Walmart to purchase the great deals from last week. My cart was so full it was like the leaning tower of Pisa! People were staring, laughing and snickering as I walked by. Grocery shopping really is a talent, wouldn’t you agree? Children running around, babies crying, food falling out of your cart, long lists of items to buy, people staring, price matching (that’s a feat in itself!) and somehow we have to do this in a short period of time before kids get off the bus…and then..you have the unloading of the car. Phew!

I had to laugh because I ran into a friend at Walmart who looked at me, my kids and my cart and gave me the most disgusted look of…’What, are you doing?’ I told her with a big smile on my face, food storage shopping! She then said something that I had to laugh at later…’Oh (disgusted look), I am glad that is FUN for you because I don’t want to be bothered–that type of thing is just not for me’. Fun you say? I am not sure ‘fun’ would be my word to describe the two hour event to Walmart, however..FUN is the word to describe the feeling I have when I have gotten great deals and have sacrificed and prepared for my family’s future. If you are one of those who don’t get your food storage because it is not ‘fun’, give it a second chance. All things in life worth accomplishing takes effort. However, no matter how hard the work is, the feeling of accomplishment and peace when it is done will out weigh any negative experience you have in the process 🙂 To all those mom’s with full carts, crying kids, just trying to do the best you can..keep up the good work! You have a worthy goal of self reliance in mind and you will be blessed for your efforts–maybe not today, but someday your family will thank you for your sacrifice!

I tried as hard as I could to spend the $200 but didn’t come close. My entire cart was only $127. **Remember, before you do any big food storage shopping, make sure and take inventory. Use our Food Storage Inventory Sheet to find out what areas your food storage is lacking.


When taking inventory of your food storage, don’t forget those basic items worth storing like baking soda, baking powder, yeast, vanilla, etc. These will help your long term food storage items turn into homemade masterpieces!

Here is my ‘loot’ from my food storage shopping trip:
*10 lbs. lasagna noodles
*60 lbs. long grain rice
*5 lb. dried pinto beans
*4 lbs. cornstarch
*3 baking sodas
*3 baking powders
*20 (24oz.) jars of applesauce
*10 lbs. cornmeal
*36 cans of diced tomatoes
*18 cans of green chilies
*12 cans of carrots (great for babyfood)
*12 cans of peas
*12 cans of potatoes (good to have in an emergency for pot pies, soups, stews, etc.)
*24 cans of corn
*12 cans of green beans
Total=$127

We can’t live without applesauce. I use it in baking (in the place of oil), we eat it for breakfast with toast, and it makes inexpensive baby food in a pinch.
Here are some of my favorite recipes I have posted that use applesauce–most of these recipes are lower in fat because you replace the fat/oil with applesauce:

*Apple Strudel Muffins
*Zucchini Cake
*Carrot Waffles
*Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins
*Apple Wheat Pancakes

Sweet Breakfast Polenta

A few weekends ago my husband made breakfast for my kids. My children have a love for “Hot Cereal” as they call it. We recently used our last of Cream of Wheat and Germade so my husband decided to pull out a recipe from his childhood. Let’s just say I didn’t even dare try it…corn meal for breakfast? No thank you! But my kids have fallen in love with it. Day after day for about a week my daughter has asked me to get the recipe from my husband. I intentionally forgot to ask, I did what ever I could to entice her to want a different breakfast meal from pancakes, to eggs, to cereal, anything I thought would be better than actually making this recipe. To my surprise early this morning my daughter took the initiative to ask her daddy herself for the recipe. He wrote it down before he left for work. My kids had won. I had no more excuses. I had to make it. But let me tell you, I don’t know if I was extra hungry this morning or simply a new flavor…but I found myself REALLY enjoying this new breakfast item. Or maybe it was the fact that I used items in my food storage. Which honestly just brings a gigantic smile to me! So without any further introductions, here is a new family breakfast recipe…

Sweet Breakfast Polenta
Ingredients
  1. 2 Cups Water
  2. 2 Cups Milk (I used Powdered Milk)
  3. 1 C. Corn Meal
  4. 1/2 C. Sugar
  5. 2 T. Butter
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Instructions
  1. Bring water and milk to a low boil. Heat milk and water on low heat, because the milk will burn easily. Once milk mixture is boiling add the sugar and mix. Add the corn and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir. The mixture will begin to thicken with in 1-2 minutes. Once thickened add the butter and mix off the heat. Serve immediately. The cereal will thicken as it cools add milk to loosen. I also added a little butter for extra flavor.
  2. Enjoy. Let me know if you know any additional variations or flavors that work well will this simple breakfast food.
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Oil & Fats and Emergency Cooking Options


It is a new month and a new year and the perfect time to set those new year’s resolutions to become better prepared and to get your food storage! Becoming self reliant and better prepared is not an overnight task. Don’t become discouraged, just do a little at a time and over the next year you will be amazed at where you began and how much you have accomplished. Our motto at Deals to Meals is ‘Your food storage ONE week at a time!’ Even if all you do is add one can to your storage each week, that will be 52 cans of food at the end of the year you will have. It may not be much, but it will be 52 more cans than you had the previous year. Baby steps is the answer!

I hope this year I can help you become even more motivated and excited about putting your houses in order, getting your food storage and preparing for emergencies. We can do this together and we can make it FUN (I promise!!). So, let’s get started with our goals and area of focus for this month.

PRINTER FRIENDLY OIL/FAT HANDOUT

FOOD STORAGE GOAL: 3 MONTH SUPPLY OF OIL PER PERSON (ABOUT 3 QUARTS PP)

Our food storage goal for this month is for your family to stock up on those oils and fats in your food storage. Oil is one of the next most important items to store (next to water, wheat and
powd. milk & eggs) in our food storage. Most people think of oil as being something ‘bad’ for their bodies and so they don’t store a lot of it. The truth is that our bodies need a certain amount of fat to stay healthy and energized. Now, how much fat we eat and which fats we eat are something to be careful with. However, if you are eating fats/oils in moderation and using them in your cooking, they are an important part of your food storage and overall health.

One of the most important reasons for storing oils in your food storage is it ads flavor and texture to your food. Oil makes many baked goods and breads more moist, smooth and pliable. Fats like olive oil and butter also add flavor to the food we eat. Without fats in our diet our food would be bland, dry and overall tasteless. I have done a lot of research on the earlier pioneers who came to our nation and many of them survived solely on flour (made from wheat), salt (if they were lucky), water and oil. They would make a paste or sticky dough from the flour, water and salt and fry it in a pan of oil. Without the oil they would be eating a pasty undesirable substance. When this dough was fried, they would have something that would resemble fried bread or scones, and would be much more desirable. Oil was an important item for our earlier ancestors as well as a investment to those who lived during World War II. Families were able to buy land with oil during WWII and it became almost as valuable as gold was. The reason being, it made food edible!

I am not saying we will be able to buy land with our oil any time soon (if ever!), but I hope to help you understand the importance of storing an adequate supply in your food storage. Now, is the only oil you should store vegetable oil? No! There are several different types of oil, all with different nutritional benefits. Store those oils/fats you are already used to using in your everyday cooking. Below are the YEAR supply totals per person, and shelf life of each type of oil (approximately–adjust where needed):

*Olive Oil (1 jar per person): 1 1/2-2 years (can keep in the fridge to last longer)
*Canola, Vegetable, Coconut, or Peanut Oil (2-3 jars per person): 1 year (can keep in the fridge to last longer)
*Shortening (1/2-1 tub per person): 1 year
*Mayonnaise (2-3 jars per person): 2 years
*Peanut Butter (4 jars per person): 2 years
*Salad dressings (3 jars per person): 2 years
*Sesame oil (if you do a lot of oriental cooking like I do, store a few extra bottles 😉
*Butter (5-10 lbs. per person): 1 year in the freezer
*Margarine (5-10 lbs. per person): 1 year in the freezer

Many people use the excuse of not storing oil because they are afraid it will go rancid. Although this is a valid concern, if you are buying oils/fats you use on a regular basis, you shouldn’t have the problem of having the oils go ‘bad’ before you use them. If you do, I think of oil storage as being kind of like a life insurance policy. If I don’t have to use it, great, but if I do, I will sure be glad I had it! If you have to throw out a couple of $2 containers of oil over the next few years, this shouldn’t be the end of the world. Store what you use and eat what you store and you should be just fine 🙂

Below are 10 tips to help make storing your oils easier and less problematic:
Storing oils and fats long term can be problematic. These problems occur when the oil and fats become rancid. This process is called oxidation. Eating rancid foods is unhealthy and should be avoided where possible. Although fats and oils can turn rancid somewhat quickly, there are a few tips to help your storage of oils/fats successfully:
1-Heat, air and light are the enemies of oil! Keeping oil away from these three factors will help your oils/fats last longer.
2-Store opened (and unopened) oil containers in the fridge (if at all possible). This will help your oils last MUCH longer. If your oils when stored in the fridge turn cloudy, they are still fine for cooking. If left at room temperature, the cloudiness will go away.
3-If possible, buy your oils in opaque, airtight containers.
4-Store oils in a cool place that is less than 50 degrees, instead of in a warm pantry. If stored in your kitchen, try to keep away from stoves, microwaves or other heat sources.
5-Store oils in the dark (place in a box or cabinet with a lid).
6-Buy oils in smaller containers. This way you won’t be exposing a large quantity of oil to the air after opening. This will help them not go rancid so quickly.
7-Think of your oil storage as an insurance policy. You may have to discard a portion of your stored oils and fats after 1 to 2 years, but you will be glad you had it if you needed to live long term out of your storage.
8-When purchasing oils at the store, choose the ones from the back of the shelf that have been kept further away from direct light.
9-Some oils and fats like margarine, butter and olive oil, can be frozen for later. When ready to use, just bring back to room temperature and then stir thoroughly before use. If you are storing liquid oils, you will need to pour a small portion of the oil out before freezing to allow for expansion. Butter and margarine store perfectly in the freezer for up to one year. When these items go on sale (usually during the holidays), stock your freezers full to save money!

10-Rotate your oils at least yearly. Date the containers of oils in your storage with their estimated expiration date so you know to use the older oils before the newer ones. Keep updated on your oil and fat storage every 6-12 months.

Throughout this month I will be giving you recipes and ways you can use the oil in your storage, so check bac