Friday, February 27, 2009

New easy spelt recipes - spelt crackers and spelt bread

Today is a day for research. I am researching new recipes and new ingredients. My main search today deals with Xanthan Gum (as you may have noticed on my Twitter/Tweet - in case you follow me).

I have found a couple of interesting recipes I want to try. Haven't tried them yet, but they look so incredibly simple and like something my blog and website friends might enjoy that I am just going to share them with you here:

This one is whole spelt flour crackers - make your own crackers at home!
The article is from the New York Times by a Heidi Julavits. Check it out here:

Spelt-Flour Crackers from the New York Times Magazine
someone else's variation - same basic recipe

AND DON'T FORGET you can get spelt berries from us to make you own very nutritious spelt flour at

And this one is a new spelt bread recipe with no yeast, no gluten (other than fragile spelt gluten) and it is super simple to make. Check it out on - Very Simple Spelt Bread

I am looking forward to trying these out. Let me know if you beat me to it and how it works. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Allow me to take a moment...

to make note that my new friend Heather is going to help me write some blog posts for a few weeks. She has some great food storage ideas and has done an awesome job on the posts she has done thus far. (Canning butter and bringing the canner home.)

So, watch - at the bottom of the post it will say who wrote it (if you are interested).

I appreciate Heather for being willing to share some of her expertise with us. I can't wait to learn more from her and I am looking forward to learning from a few other special blog guests I am hoping to have.

Stay tuned...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bring the Cannery Home!

Ever rented the can sealer before? Did you know you can do A LOT of canning in your own home? The cannery is a wonderful place to get food storage items and can them in a quick orderly fashion. However, they are limited in the foods they offer. Renting the can sealer is free and is very user friendly; it's really a great way to customize your food storage for your family! I have so many things that we actually eat (in my storage) and it gives me a lot of comfort knowing that I know how to use & cook with (most) of the things in my storage, so I don't have to learn in the midst of a crisis. I'm still working on a good rotation system, haven't figured that one out yet.......

Here's what they look like set up:

I rented a can sealer last week and did the following items: spelt rotini, quinoa, spelt flakes, rice, brown rice, various pastas (sm shells, bowtie & penne), soup mix, granola and buttermilk pancake mix. I've rented can sealers several times and I've pretty much gotten my "years' supply" so that's why I've started some things that have shorter term shelf lives (granola, pancake etc). I can rotate these things within 1-2 years and then do more of them as I run low. But my pastas, soup mixes & rice will last 25-30 years!

I usually order my food in bulk from a local grocery store (Winco), they typically take 1-3 days to get my order in and they have a HUGE variety of things to order. I've also gotten some good deals from Sams Club. I pick up the can sealer, cans, lids, oxygen absorbers from the cannery and I'm good to go! Please note, the can sealers have to be scheduled in advance.

Here's my spelt rotini- I was soo excited to add this to my storage, I don't do well with whole wheat products, so this is a fabulous option for me.

Please keep in mind that there are many ways to add to your food storage and learning new things can be fun and empowering, especially in times like we're facing today, it's always good to be as independent from society as you can be!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Recipe with Food Storage Ingredients

I've had requests for recipes to use food storage, so I'll share one of my favorites with you now. Ready? It is so simple.

Taco soup.

All ingredients are in storage - including short-term freezer storage. I don't have to run to the store for strange ingredients. I just open bottles and dump the ingredients into a pot. Boil, simmer, done!


1 lb ground beef (from my freezer), browned
1 bottle/can/freezer package sweet corn (undrained)
1 can pureed tomatoes
1 can/bottle stewed tomatoes
1 can olives (drained)
1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 package taco seasoning (or 3 Tablespoons from a bulk seasoning container)

Dump together, boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes - more or less - done. Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream (optional).

My picky eater will even get excited to eat this if I call it chips and dip. =)

Sorry - no photo. I eat it too fast.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

February is Potato Lover's Month

Did you know we are potato farmers as well as spelt and grain farmers? It is true. We grow famous Idaho potatoes - the good ones (Burbanks). Yes, there are other varieties, but the Burbank is a good, solid, reputable, all-purpose potato. It will hold up if you are looking to mash, bake, french fry, slice, dice, or use it in a potato gun. (What? Haven't seen those? They are pretty funny.)

Anyway, I wanted to mention how wonderful potatoes are to have in your food storage. Short term storage. I can keep fresh poatoes from early October until about May in my basement. It has a great atmosphere for potatoes - it is quite cool in my fruit room, dark (plus I keep them covered), and dry.

We love to eat potatoes here. Our favorite method, currently, is to eat them as hash browns. We just bake a few extra (or share the big potatoes) and whatever is left over in the morning, we dice up (skins on) and fry them up into hashbrowns - dousing them with lots of ketchup for my family. My boys think that is a fantastic treat!

I have recently discovered a fantastic cheesy potato chicken vegetable soup that is divine! Or baked potato soup is great on a cold day. And a baked potato bar is always delicious. (Hints: top baked potatoes with hamburger stroganof gravy, or cheesy broccoli, or sour cream and bacon bits or chives, or chili, or cheese, or a combination of the above. YUMMY! I'm getting hungry for a baked potato bar.)

So? Check your grocery stores and make sure they have their potato lovers displays up. Find a farmer or a potato warehouse and buy some potatoes! Have a party - serve baked potatoes. It will be fun.

p.s. Have you heard the hype about the Albertsons sales and super savings... check that out soon. There are great deals to be had for stocking up your food storage.

Talk to you again soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Follow up for butter canning

Thanks for the great questions ladies. Here's the Q&A on the butter canning:

Q: Why would you can butter if you can freeze it?
A: The purpose in going to the trouble of canning butter is to add to your food storage in the event of the following types of emergencies/situations:

  • Job loss- butter can be expensive, it would be nice to have some on hand!
  • Oil freeze or super inflation!- trucks/transport vehicles wouldn't be able to get foods to stock grocery store shelves for a period of days, weeks etc?
  • Pandemic- what if you were confined to your home for weeks to months?
  • Natural disaster- no power (again probably no food in stores for periods of time)
  • Evacuation- it would be nice to have portable food!
I don't count the food in my freezer as long term food storage, I use it in my rotating 3-9 month supply, so it fluctuates a lot. Something with a long shelf life would be far more valuable depending on the type of crisis that could occur.

If you canned butter once/year or every other year, you'd be in good shape for having some fats that you can cook with if the need arises. Fats are a great source of much needed calories in a food shortage and also you need them to cook with! But keep up on storing your oils too! I recommend & have) the following fats in my storage: canned butter, butter powder, oil, canned cheese, frozen butter, crisco.....

Q: More of a comment, butter that has melted & then "set" again has an undesirable texture- although the taste is okay.
A: Yes, that is true. However, butter that has melted or been caused to melt doesn't go through the same "shaking" process as outlined in the instructions. Doing this re-distributes the fats & solids so they don't separate and lose that texture, I know it's not perfect and nothing will have the same taste/consistency as fresh butter, but this is a great method and addresses that concern to some degree.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The canning of butter is extremely dangerous and should NEVER be done for home consumption. The National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia-Atlanta says that it is not an acceptable way to preserve butter. You aren't "processing" the butter to kills the are only heating the jars to form a seal. This still allows botulism to grow and flourish in the butter....and because botulism is odorless, tasteless and colorless, it can be toxic to your family! Check out their website for more information.

I hope this information is helpful to you all. Keep up on your food storage, it truly is a lifelong commitment, so keep it up- every little bit helps!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How to can butter?

IMPORTANT NOTE: The canning of butter is extremely dangerous and should NEVER be done for home consumption. The National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia-Atlanta says that it is not an acceptable way to preserve butter. You aren't "processing" the butter to kills the are only heating the jars to form a seal. This still allows botulism to grow and flourish in the butter....and because botulism is odorless, tasteless and colorless, it can be toxic to your family! Check out their website for more information.

Yes! You can do this at your home with just 3 things: butter, canning jars & your range/oven! I actually did this just a few weeks ago, and although it takes a bit of time, it's definitely worth adding to your food storage!

Storing fats are tricky because of the rancidity factor, but canned butter can last 3-5 years (on the shelf!) in correct conditions: cool temp, no direct heat or light. I keep mine in boxes on my storage shelf in my basement.

1. If you are going to do this, block out a couple hours so you won't be rushed (maybe while kids are at school or napping), this takes a bit of patience with minimal interruptions. I did this while my husband was gone, my 2 & 4 year old children woke up from their naps an hour into my "canning session" and were crabby, whiny & was not an ideal environment; however, I managed complete it and all my jars sealed successfully. But next time I will plan differently!

2. I used 10 lbs butter for this "trial run", I have 20 lbs more in my freezer. Butter freezes wonderfully! I buy good quantities when it's on sale (2/$3) during Holidays or promotions and freeze it until I have enough to make a batch or two.

3. Butter expands when it warms, so your 10 lbs will "grow" while you're doing this, be sure you have a large enough pot, or use 2. I found out the hard way and had to pour melted butter from one large pot to another, what a mess........

4. Be sure you have cleared a shelf in your fridge for the cooling process so you're not scrambling at the last minute.

With that in mind, here are the step by step instructions:

1. Use any butter that is on sale. Lesser quality butter requires more shaking (see #5 below), but the results are the same as with the expensive brands.

2. Heat pint jars in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes, without rings or seals. One pound of butter slightly more than fills one pint jar, so if you melt 11 pounds of butter, heat 12 pint jars. A roasting pan works well for holding the pint jars while in the oven.

3. While the jars are heating, melt butter slowly until it comes to a slow boil. Using a large spatula, stir the bottom of the pot often to keep the butter from scorching. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes at least: a good simmer time will lessen the amount of shaking required (see #5 below). Place the lids in a small pot and bring to a boil, leaving the lids in simmering water until needed.

4. Stirring the melted butter from the bottom to the top with a soup ladle or small pot with a handle, pour the melted butter carefully into heated jars through a canning jar funnel. Leave 3/4" of head space in the jar, which allows room for the shaking process.

5. Carefully wipe off the top of the jars, then get a hot lid from the simmering water, add the lid and ring and tighten securely. Lids will seal as they cool. Once a few lids "ping," shake while the jars are still warm, but cool enough to handle easily, because the butter will separate and become foamy on top and white on the bottom. In a few minutes, shake again, and repeat until the butter retains the same consistency throughout the jar.

6. At this point, while still slightly warm, put the jars into a refrigerator. While cooling and hardening, shake again, and the melted butter will then look like butter and become firm. This final shaking is very important! Check every 5 minutes and give the jars a little shake until they are hardened in the jar! Leave in the refrigerator for an hour.

A lovely glow seems to emanate from every jar. You will also be glowing with grateful satisfaction while placing this "sunshine in a jar" on your pantry shelves.

I have not tasted my finished product (took too much work, I didn't want to open one!), but I've heard from those whom have and they say it's wonderful! Since you don't add anything to it, it should taste just like butter. Once opened, you treat it as you would an open stick of butter- refrigerate upon opening or keep tightly sealed on pantry shelf.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

p.s. WonderMill Wheat Grinder

I was reminded that the WonderMill price is going up on Feb 15 - so if you are anxious to get one - lock in the price soon before it goes up!

WonderMill Wheat Grinder

Have you ever tried to shop for a flour mill so you could make your very own wholesome flour? It isn't always easy finding the information you need. I also think it is harder to know what I want when I cannot touch and feel the item I want to purchase.

My twitter friend told me about this article (hubpage) which is very informative about the WonderMill. If you are at all interested in flour mills, this is a must-read! (Especially since the author actually uses the WonderMill herself.)

Before I refer you to the article, let me just tell you that if you need more information on comparative grain mills or just want to know where to purchase a WonderMill - you can always find them on the website.

So? Happy reading...

(Link to the article about the WonderMill:)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Apple Pie Filling Recipe, plus Bonus Recipe

For those of you who loved that pie crust for the deep dish apple pie - I am reminding you of the link for the yummy apple pie filling recipe. (of if you are new to the blog this is where to find it.)

I love to bake in the winter. So, I've been using my jars of peach pie filling, apple pie filling, and cherry pie filling more than I should. (So much for that new year's resolution to lose weight - besides, baking heats the house!)

My favorite uses for my pie fillings is a good basic crisp topping. Do you have the recipe?

Here is my favorite:

Crisp topping
(good with any pie filling you are craving)

makes an 8x8 pan.

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal (I use a heaping 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup butter, softened but not melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Cut ingredients together. Sprinkle over pie filling in an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan.
Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees until brown and crispy.

(Serve with vanilla ice cream)

That makes my mouth water. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

By the way - I am hoping most of these ingredients would be in your food storage. This is the time of year when I sit back and use some of my storage and keep it rotated. I haven't noticed any wonderful sales in my area (other than cereal) to keep building my food storage.
So, my plan? just make sure I don't run out of the basic food items (and toilet paper necessities) I love - keep at least one or two packages on the shelf always - until a good sale comes... then I will really stock up.

Happy eating!


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