Sunday, September 18, 2016

Using Your Jelly on Your Country-Style Ribs (in the Crockpot)....

It felt like Fall this week....I even had to wear a jacket at times!  When it begins to cool off, I like to pull out my Crock pot and make slow cooked deliciousness for dinner!  Today, I used food Storage Items to make delicious Country style Ribs. Want to see how?

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I pulled out a half-pint of Peach Jelly and Barbecue sauce from my Food Storage room.

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I took frozen Country Ribs and placed them into my Crock pot.

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I literally poured and spread the jelly on the frozen ribs....

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Pour your preferred brand of Barbecue sauce on the ribs as well.

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Slow cook on low for 6-8 hours.....that's it!

So, how did they turn out?  Really great!  So great in fact, that we do not have any left to show you (we were really hungry after Church today!).

Take Home Points:

  • I used Peach Jelly that I canned myself.  It is so easy to do and you may want to give it a whirl. You make it from skins and pits!
  • I keep a supply of Barbecue sauce in my storage.  It is convenient to make so many meals!
  • I had the Ribs in my freezer
  • I didn't have to go shopping for this delicious meal!
  • Food Storage is not boring, it is actually delicious!


Sunday, September 11, 2016

It's a Matter of making Memories



Isn't it cool?  Just like the phrase in the old commercial...."I can't believe I ate the whole thing....",  well I can truly say "I can't believe I made this thing!".

One of my family members had one of those "Landmark" Birthday's recently.  I felt that I needed to make something special and memorable for her.  About 10 years ago, I ventured out and made a memory quilt along with photo's for my In law's 50th Wedding anniversary.  At that time, I had to trust my photo's to a little Mom and Pop shop and they transferred the pictures on to fabric.  Fast Forward a few years and you now can do this yourself at home.  Want to learn more?  Let's do it!

How To Transfer Photo's onto Fabric at Home:


Before you begin, you will need to purchase 100% white cotton fabric, which needs to be pre-washed before you begin this process.  I took over a bathroom in my house to do this.  I set out a towel to protect my counter, got 2 containers that were not dear to me, and set out the supplies:
  • Clothespins
  • 2 Pie tins
  • Cotton squares
  • Latex gloves
  • ....and the solutions.

This is Bubble Jet Set 2000.  I purchased mine from Amazon. 


Soak the fabric squares in the solution.


Set up a place to hang your squares to dry.  I was able to use yarn and rig this clothesline over a bathtub.


Once the squares are dry, press them flat, then press them onto Freezer Paper.  Now, here is a quick trick that I learned.  I used my paper cutter and cut several sheets of Freezer paper to an 8 x 11 inch size.  I found that I could re-use each sheet of Freezer paper over and over.  


Place your Cloth-Freezer Paper into your printer.  I learned that I needed to slightly curl the edge of the Freezer paper (that was going into the printer) slightly upward so that the printer could grab it and feed it through.  

 
If you don't do this, you get the mess on the right!  It bunches up inside of your printer, or gets stuck.  I have to say that I ruined too many pieces of fabric and freezer paper until I figured this out!  


Next, you will need the Bubble Jet Rinse.  FYI, here are the directions on the Bubble Jet set 2000 and they state the following:

"Print on treated Fabric and let sit 30 minutes.  Take a flat pan or bowl with one gallon of cold water (add 4 caps of Bubble Jet Rinse/gallon).  Wash printed fabric by hand for at least 2 minutes.  Allow fabric to drip dry or lay flat on a towel" 


See how colorful the printed fabric is?


After the squares were dry, I ironed them and made my quilting squares.  Didn't they turn out wonderfully?  "I can't believe I did the whole thing!".

Take Home Points:

  • This can be easily done at home.
  • It is very cost effective to do. When I took my photos to the Mom and Pop shop 10 years ago, it cost over $125.00 to do this.  Also, 10 years ago, the printed fabric was only the size of the photo.  With this system, I could re-size the photo and crop it to fit before printing on the fabric.
  • Cut your Freezer Paper to an 8x11 size and reuse the sheets.
  • I learned that cutting your fabric closer to the 8" width allowed you to cut the square to fit inside the quilt square in a way that looks the best.  
  • Sometimes photos that are in landscape are difficult to crop or resize. In that case, I left strips of 'white' above and below the photos after cutting it for my quilting square. It really looked fine in the finished product. 
  • It's just amazing!
  • This project will hopefully bring joy to my family member for many years to come.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"I Don't Have Room for Food Storage" and other famous myths.....


I hate the fact that our summer is coming to a close, and pretty rapidly at that. But, I must say that we did enjoy a wonderful weekend at Bryce Canyon in Utah. This canyon has such amazing rustic beauty.  We really enjoyed it all.

While we were there, we stopped at a museum that told of the life style of the Anasazi Indians in that part of the country.  I was fascinated by so many aspects of their culture.  Outside of the museum were unearthed foundations of more than one home. They also had built a model of what the structures would have looked like.  This also fascinated me. As I learned more about how they lived, I then thought that we in our modern culture really do not have any excuses to not have enough food stores in our homes.  

Lessons in Food Storage and Life, learned from the Ansasazi Indian lifestyle....




This is the model I was speaking of.  It is an "L" shaped building made from stone, wood, and adobe.  


They used an entire wing of their structure for food storage.  Hmmm, do we really need a movie viewing room?.....


This is the view into the Food Storage area, just big enough to climb through but high enough to store food under the opening.


The Food Storage rooms were nearly as big as the living area. This is the actual foundation from an ancient structure.


Look at their vessels. They would prepare and store foods in the vessels that they made.  Contrast that with how easy it is to go to the local big box store and pick up a few needed 'vessels' for our own homes.....at a reasonable price no less.



They showed another structure that was virtually underground.  They had a belief that life came from below, or out of the earth. This Structure reportedly would reinforce and remind them of their sacred beginning.  Even in this situation, they would store food in here!


Maybe this is the first "Open Concept Kitchen".  They slept, interacted, and cooked in an area about the size of the food Storage rooms.  Each room had a small fire pit.

Summary thoughts....

So why is this history lesson so important?  The Anasazi Indians were agrarian. They planted, harvested, and stored their food.  What have we been encouraged to do time and time again?  Plant a garden, and preserve the harvest for our families.

Additionally, they dedicated a large portion of their structure to Food Storage.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard an excuse about not having space to store a food storage.  Our homes are significantly larger than those discussed above.  We are not being asked to dedicate nearly a half of our homes to store enough food and supplies for our family against future challenges. But, we should re-evaluate how we are dedicating our space.  Is there an opportunity to store foods in the foot of a closet, under a bed, in a Pantry, or in unused or underutilized space? Could we get more into our Freezer with a little organization?

The Anasazi's interacted, slept and ate all in the same space. Meal preparation was a large part of their daily routine where they lived and slept.  How could we integrate our family members more into the opportunity of food preparation? How can you take advantage of the opportunity to build memories and bonds that stand the test of time?  Consider decreasing the reliance on electronic gadgets and offer more interaction and bonding time. In the years to come, I can't imagine that our children will be relishing in the viral video as a fond memory of family. Rather, it should be of a time working together and spending valuable time together in the art of living. 

So, please take a moment and rethink your space, and your priorities.  Consider the words of President Gordon B Hinkley:

We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the best storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing” (D&C 109:8).

I encourage you to prepare every needful thing.  Our family has been blessed time and time again because we had prepared in this way.  In fact, our Sunday Dinner was all from food storage.  No one seemed to know that.  We just ate our Beef Stroganoff and enjoyed each other.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Raspberry Jam made with Clear Jel....

#amatterofprep

Yes, it is glorious Raspberry season again.  I look forward to fresh Raspberries to eat in salads, alone, and certainly in Jam!  Don't you just love fresh Raspberries?

Making Raspberry Jam with Clear Jel:

I have many folks visit my blog to learn more about using Clear Jel.  I wrote a post about making many different Jams using Clear Jel a few years ago.  Even now, this post gets a great deal of attention this time of year.  I have used it to make Salsa as well.    Additionally, I have used it in canning Pie Fillings  because unlike cornstarch, it does not separate and break down the gel portion of the pie filling.

Well, Rooster Senior likes Raspberry jam a whole lot. So, I got busy and made some Raspberry Jam:

#amatterofprep

The recipe calls for crushed berries. I use my potato masher/ricer.

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Instead of using the standard Pectin products that require copious amounts of sugar, you will use less sugar when you use a recipe that requires Clear Jel.  The secret to success is to mix your Clear Jel to the dry ingredients first.

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Although the recipe that will appear at the bottom of this post does not call for Koolaid (per the author), please consider adding a packet to each batch.  It really enhances the flavor.

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Mix the dry ingredients to the heated berry mixture slowly.  Bring to a boil.

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Ladle your mixture into clean/sterilized jars.  There is some discussion about whether jars need to be sterilized.  I choose to error on the side of caution. Process per the directions in a Hot Water Bath. 

Would you like the Recipe?


Berry Jam4 cups crushed berries or juiced
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 tablespoons Clear Jel®
Sugar to taste (approximately 1 1/2 cup)
Add lemon juice to berries. Combine Clear Jel® with 1/4 cup of the sugar. Add to berries. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add rest of sugar. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour into jars, leaving 1/4” headspace. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath or freeze.

(Don't forget to add the Koolaid, it is really delicious!)

Take Home Points:

  • Clear Jel is shelf stable and according to my research lasts indefinitely.  Compare that with traditional products that are used to make jam. 
  • Jam recipes calling for Clear Jel often use nearly half of the sugar that traditional jam recipes call for.  
  • When added to dry ingredients, it mixes well and give the jam a wonderful consistency.
  • This is a simple recipe that does not take a lot of time.  
  • Rooster Senior has already polished off one jar. Rooster Junior took a jar, and I have 2 to the neighbors already.  The magic or jam brings smiles to all those who receive it!

Where do you purchase Clear Jel?

If you use a Search Engine like Google/Chrome to find Clear Jel, be sure to click on the "Shopping" option at the top of the page. You should see many options to purchase this product.  I have purchased mine locally from a little shop in South Salt Lake that declines to get a website.  Alas I would give you a link but there is none.

Try it!


Thursday, July 14, 2016

"No Empty Chairs ......"

A Matter of Preparedness

I have been heartsick these past few weeks with all the vitriol, anger, and senseless choices of so many.  I am saddened by the loss of life in so many settings despite the circumstances. We certainly live in very troubled times. When this all began, it reminded me of the turmoil that rocked 1968, particularly around the political party conventions.  At that time, there were differing viewpoints on who was justified in their actions and who was not.  This is also the case today.  Folks....no matter what.....no matter who.....no matter when.....this senselessness is just that--SENSELESS!.  

I will not engage in a diatribe of who is right and who is wrong....that is a wormhole that many will be willing jump into with you.  Instead, I choose to share or remind, (what ever is the case with you and your family), that your family and family members are more precious than anything you own, do or say or in life.  

This seems so very basic, but as you hear reports from various venues, too many do not appear to put their family as their priority and protect them with all the resources that they may have had at their disposal.  We see family's outcries when they learn of the death of a loved one in a heated incident, (with too many who are and were so young). We see individuals claiming to have relationships with folks in the news (either dead or alive) to garner favor, funds, or fame.  As noted above....THIS IS SENSELESS....

In talking with colleagues, customers, and friends there is a sense of sadness, despair, and hopelessness.  "How could we be in this position?" "Who finds these terrible outcomes worth the choice?" These and many other questions fall from the lips of concerned citizens, neighbors, friends, and family members.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)

When I was very young, my parents moved our family to the Midwest, to a State that had recently experienced rioting and unrest.  My childhood friends, concerned for me, told me that they thought we were all going to be hurt.  Some adults's opinions and statements including gloomy outcomes for our family in a spiritual sense.   It scared me initially, but because of the choices of my parents, I felt calm and peace even when new situations did arise that I had never been exposed to before.

 But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come. (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23)

There are many categories of 'preparation'.  One category that I feel often is not even given lip service is Spiritual Preparation.  In my view, this is probably the important and needful area to have incorporated even before attempting educational, professional, and other areas.  It is the all-encompassing umbrella for all the Son's and Daughter's of our Heavenly Father, despite the circumstances that we may have been born and raised in.

When my parents made the decision to go, as I indicated before, so may of our neighbors and friends had cautious and discouraging words.  However, my Grandmother looked at our Parents and our family and said "Whatever is best for you is best for us".  We would no longer be within a 2 hour drive, it would be one or more flights for our Grandparents to see us.  No longer would I be in the majority in my community when it came to religious beliefs.  I personally was challenged, and am now grateful for the test.  Instead of following the majority, I had to learn, pray and decide for myself who our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost were...and if they were real.

Our Family Spiritually prepared with daily prayer held morning and night.  We met as a family each Monday night to spend time together. These evenings often included religious instruction, but many were just doing fun things together. These were spiritual and emotional building experiences.  Scripture study was encouraged, and attendance in a religious class outside of our Sunday Service was also valued.  Each experience, each morsel, each spiritual prompting were the building blocks for me and my siblings to handle the blessings and hardships of life while we were young and well into our adult years.

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31:20)

My Parents, siblings and their spouses recently gathered together to celebrate a major life milestone.  We spend several days together.  One evening, during dinner, I looked around at each face sitting at the table. I reflected upon how much I had admired each one.  My Sisters and Parents have chosen to remain faithful in their religious convictions.  All of my Brother-in-laws had bravely made a decision in their young lives to seek Spiritual guidance and change their lives in order to be in the service of Heavenly Father.  In particular, my husband, at the age of 12 was attending different faiths attempting to feed his Spirit.  I find this so impressive for one so young.

Our Family has endured much. There have been job loses, serious health issues, challenges with family members, and more. But it is just as important to list and count our blessings.  For example, one of my siblings recently emerged from an episode with Cancer.  I am so grateful for these good people.  

I share this with you to help you understand the phrase "No Empty Chairs".  My Parents (my Father in particular) would often use this phrase. The phrase means that we are so precious to our Parents, that they desire that as a family, we live our lives in such a way that when this life is over we will live together.  This is a great blessing that is available to all of Heavenly Father's children.


As a momento of our recent family time together, one of my siblings had both the necklace and engraved pocketknives prepared for each of us. It was one of the culminating events of the time we spent together and a reminder to seek for spiritual things and be sensitive to promptings to serve. 

It is now my charge to continue to love and encourage my children and grandchildren to become increasingly prepared in Spirit. My children have experienced life-altering challenges. Most have weathered the storm well...some have hidden battle scars (as do we all) that still are stumbling blocks for them.  It is my wish that they, and all of us, can be hopeful amidst the chaos in life.  It is my hope and prayer that "There are No Empty Chairs" in my family or in any family when we have all finished our earthly missions.

The Lord has given us a reassuring message of hope: “Fear not, little flock.” God will wait with “open arms to receive”those who give away their sins and continue in faith, hope, and charity.

And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.

Never surrender.

Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.

Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.  

(President Dieter F. Uchtdorf)


"....No Empty Chairs...."



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