Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What is a Relief Society Meeting Coordinator?

(Image courtesy of latterdaychatter.blogspot.com)

What is a Relief Society (Weekday) Meeting Coordinator?  Well, that was the question I asked when I was recently asked to fill this calling.  The Bishopric member was very patient with me as he attempted to explain.  With the recent change in terminology, I just hadn't realized that this calling corresponds to the former Enrichment Leader position.  You would think that someone who has served on our ward Relief Society Board for a few years now would have had a slight clue.........

Well, I decided that I needed to learn more about this quickly, so I started searching.  If you recall, Sister Julie Beck introduced the "Additional Relief Society Meeting" concept to us all in one of her fabulous talks.  I love the fact that we are to call the meetings what they are....Relief Society Meetings.  I love this quote from Sister Beck:  “It is time to get out of the entertainment business and into the business of salvation."  Did you know there were guidelines that are given to guide wards in holding these weekday meetings?  Here are some highlights from http://www.lds.org/

The Relief Society president counsels regularly with the bishop to help meet the needs of sisters. Relief Society leaders prayerfully counsel together about topics to be taught and how to teach them. Questions such as the following will bring insight during the planning process and help keep the proper focus:

What issues and problems are interfering with sisters’ preparation for the blessings of eternal life?

What do they need to learn and do in order to be strengthened?

What strengths and gifts do they have that could be used in service?

What would we like to happen in our sisters’ lives as a result of Relief Society meetings?

What are priorities for Weekday Relief Society Meetings?


Marriage and family.

Provident living and self-reliance.

Temples and family history.

Sharing the gospel.

Compassionate service.

Each of these 6 areas comprise many opportunities for learning and service.  We all can be a part and participate. 
Finally, time is a real issue.  Many of our sisters have heavy burdens that they bear.  It can sometimes be a quandary for our sisters when they have to choose between precious time with their families and these opportunities to learn and serve.  This is where good planning, great input from our sisters, and the inspiration and direction from our leaders applies.  If we are inviting you to come, please know that the meetings will be well researched and planned. 
I would like you to consider this quote from President Hinkley as he referred to the Relief Society Sisters:
"Relief Society. . . . gives [women] opportunity for growth and development. It gives them status as queens in their own households. It gives them place and position, where they grow as they exercise their talents. It gives them pride and direction in family life. It gives them added appreciation for good, eternal companions and children.

"What a glorious organization Relief Society is. There is nothing to compare with it in all the world.

"May the Lord bless each of you with these marvelous qualities that come of activity in the great Relief Society organization."  ("In the Arms of His Love," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 118).

So get your crowns out of storage, polish them up, and let's get busy!

For your crazy coupon folks.....

Hi everyone, I got this notice from the Savvy Shopper about Smiths Coupon Event – Wed. 7/28 – Sat 7/31 (6 am -- Or Normal Opening hours if they don't open a 6 am).  Here are the details:

All coupons under $1.00 = $1.00


$0.25 coupon = $1.00

$0.50 coupon = $1.00

$0.75 coupon = $1.00

$1.00 coupon = $1.00

So, get ready and take advantage!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's a matter of preparing your vehicle....

Many of you know that our family has had a recent run of.....medical stuff!  We have been to many different facilities attempting to get all the medical care that was needed from various specialists.  One day, I came out of one hospital (far from my home) and found that I had a flat tire.  "Oh yea" I thought......it fit with the day.....and many of you know how that goes.

I was thinking that I would have to use the Jack and change the tire myself, which I have done before.  However, I really wasn't looking forward to it.  So, in my trunk, while looking for the Jack, I found this can of "Quick Flat Fix" that I know I didn't put in there.  It must have been my sweet husband who did.

So, I took out the can and read the directions.  "I can do this" I kept telling myself.  I attached the tubing to the can and spout on my tire.  At first, I held the can as above.  However, it wasn't moving along very quickly.  So, in desperation, I let go.

It worked very well after that and my tire inflated.  It stayed inflated with this solution for another 6 weeks until I got new tires.  So, guess what I will always have in my trunk?  You guessed it..."Quick Flat Fix" which can be found at most hardware stores or the automotive sections of your big box stores.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lindon Home Storage Center is going digital!

Here is great news from the "Cannery" in Lindon:

Dear Subscribers:

I know most of you are excited about the Online Registration possibilities…but that is only the beginning of the wonderful changes happening at the Cannery.

Now, when you are purchasing product from the Cannery, you can use all forms of payment including your debit and credit cards! We now accept VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

We are doing lots of training on the new system so we will be as prepared as possible, but you may have to be a little patient until we get everything fully learned…(There is always a price, isn’t there?)

Those who have Welfare Assignments—see you in August. Those who are waiting for Family Canning—see you in November!!! Hope you can contain your joy until then!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I realize that most people think of candlelight as a ambiance-setting item.  Who doesn't like a candle-light dinner with a special someone.  Think of how we use candles for Halloween, Christmas, and other special occasions.  As fun as these special events are, our discussion around candles is more functional in nature.

The LRH has been around long enough to have used Candles for a source of light during extreme events.  We used them during a Hurricane, blizzards, thunderstorms, and other natural disasters.  The hardest part was to locate both the matches and the candles.  They often were not kept near each other. 

The National Candle Association offers the following information on safe practices with Candles:

Candles are safe products, but unless they are used safely and watched carefully, they can lead to an accidental fire.

More than 15,000 candle fires are reported annually. According to fire experts, the bulk of candle-fire incidents are due to consumer inattention to basic fire safety or to the misuse of candles.

The National Candle Association urges consumers to be careful when burning candles, and to following these rules for burning candles safely.

Always keep a burning candle within sight. Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep.

Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire. Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc.

Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets. Do not place lighted candles where they can be knocked over by children, pets or anyone else.

Trim candlewicks to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks cause uneven burning and dripping.

Always use a candleholder specifically designed for candle use. The holder should be heat resistant, sturdy and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax.

Be sure the candleholder is placed on a stable, heat-resistant surface. This will also help prevent possible heat damage to counters and table surfaces and prevent glass containers from cracking or breaking.

Keep the wax pool free of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times.

Always read and follow the manufacturer's use and safety instructions carefully. Don't burn a candle longer than the manufacturer recommends.

Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents, ceiling fans and air currents. This will help prevent rapid, uneven burning, and avoid flame flare-ups and sooting. Drafts can also blow lightweight curtains or papers into the flame where they could catch fire.

Always burn candles in a well-ventilated room. Don't burn too many candles in a small room or in a "tight" home where air exchange is limited.

Don't burn a candle all the way down. Extinguish the flame if it comes too close to the holder or container. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when 2 inches of wax remains or ½ inch if in a container.

Never touch a burning candle or move a votive or container candle when the wax is liquid.

Never use a knife or sharp object to remove wax drippings from a glass holder. It might scratch, weaken, or cause the glass to break upon subsequent use.

Place burning candles at least three inches apart from one another. This is to make sure they don't melt one another, or create their own drafts that will cause the candles to burn improperly.

Use a candle snuffer to extinguish a candle. It's the safest way to prevent hot wax from splattering.

Never extinguish candles with water. The water can cause the hot wax to splatter and might cause a glass container to break.

Be very careful if using candles during a power outage. Flashlights and other battery-powered lights are safer sources of light during a power failure. Never use a candle during a power outage to look for things in a closet, or when fueling equipment - such as a lantern or kerosene heater.

Make sure a candle is completely extinguished and the wick ember is no longer glowing before leaving the room.

Extinguish a candle if it smokes, flickers repeatedly, or the flame becomes too high. The candle isn't burning properly and the flame isn't controlled. Let the candle cool, trim the wick, then check for drafts before re-lighting.

Never use a candle as a night light.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Where did Matches come from?

(Image courtesy of rei.com)

Have you ever wondered where matches came from or who invented them?  This is just the type of thing that the LRH contemplates at times....yes it's sad isn't it?

I came across an article from http://www.coolquiz.com/ with the information.  You most likely will be as surprised as I was with all the drama and intrigue.  See my paraphrase below.

It seems that in 1669, an Alchemist was experimenting with creating gold from base metals.  In the process he invented Phosphorous, but cast it aside as it was not his intended goal.

Then, Mr. Robert Boyle produced a coated paper that when a stick coated in sulphur was pulled through it, it would ignite.

In 1826, a Mr. John Walker stumbled upon a mixture that left a lump on a stick he was using to stir his concoction.  In an attempt to wipe the lump off when scraping it across the floor, it ignited.  Mr. Walker was very excited and began to demonstrate this to various groups.  Unfortunately, he did not patent it, and someone else did.

Samuel Jones did see one of Mr. Walker's demonstrations and capitalized on it by patenting it.  Appropriately so, he called his matches "Lucifers".  They were very smelly and even included a warning label that the odor could be harmful to one's health.

In 1830, Charles Sauria added phosphorous to do away with the stench.  Unwittingly, his modification lead to a near epidemic disease that poisoned human bones.  Workers in the factories and children who sucked on matches (why anyone would let thier children do this  is beyond me) were most susceptible.  In 1910 there was a campaign to ban them.

In comes the Diamond Match company to the rescue as they substituted the harmless chemical sesquisulfide of phosphorous in place of the deadly white phosphorous.  Congress subsequently raised taxes so high on phosphorous matches that they became too expensive to buy.  President Taft requested that the Diamond Match company forgo their patent to make this process available to the masses to decrease the reliance on the Phosphorous matches.  The company agreed to do so in 1911.

The matchbook itself was invented in 1892 by John Pusey.  However, he placed the striking surface inside of the book which caused all the matches to light at once.  The Diamond Match company bought the patent, and then placed the striking surface on the outside for safety.
Wow, it is like a "Match" soap opera of some type isn't it?

It's a new week, and the focus items are.......Matches and Candles

(Image courtesy of caaneo.ca)

Well, we are more than halfway through the year and have made some significant strides in obtaining our long-term storage and emergency supplies.  This week the focus is upon stocking up on matches and candles.  This should be a very simple task to complete.  So, if you have missed items on other weeks, perhaps you could add them to this week. 

Get ready!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

With a Grateful Heart...

In the event that you have a loved one who is hospitalized, it is important to be grateful for the staff members who are caring for your family member or friend.  You have placed a great deal of trust into these individuals, and in a stressful moment, it is important to take inventory of what your are feeling. 

There are many people that make a hospital run, and you personally are not going to see them all.  However, without this team, your family member cannot receive the care they require.  So, remember to thank each individual that encounter for their participation in the overall care of your loved one.

Medical Staff:  These are usually the front line staff that most of us think of. 

-Physicians:  The Physician is the gatekeeper for the care of your loved one.  They are having to make decisions about the course of treatment and plan for the future.  They are often very busy as well.  Before you ask questions.....listen and take notes.  Most Physicians will then ask if you have questions.  Try to consolidate your thoughts and ask your questions. Sometimes, the hospital will have 'time out' periods when family and friends are asked to stay in the waiting room while they do Rounds.  When the Physician and staff go on "rounds" they often will go into the patient room and discuss the current status of the patient.  It is not that you cannot know what they are saying, but they need to speak freely and problem solve.  You will get to hear the summary of their discussion, so be patient. 

Questions that are appropriate to ask in general are:  "What is care plan for my family member?"  "What is the projected discharge date?"  Sometimes you also need to ask where the discharge location will be, it may not always be to the home depending on the circumstances. 

Thank the physician for caring for your family member.  They really are doing just that. 

-Nursing Staff:  These individuals are the eyes and ears for the physician.  They often have very technical training as well and can often answer questions for you as well.  If they defer your question to the physician, it is not because they are avoiding it.  It is because they need to let the gatekeeper do it. 

Nursing staff can include RN's, CRRN's, LPN's, PCT, etc and other various alphabet soup acronyms.  They have to take data from many sources and are required to multi-task.  If they are in the middle of something, try to wait if you need to discuss something.  It is okay to let them know you would like to visit with them.  They will administer medications, care for wounds, use diagnostic machinery etc.  They also provide many of the 'Activities of Daily Living" such as bathing, bringing meals etc.  Call them by name and thank them.  It goes a long way.

-Rehabilitation Staff:  This could include Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech-Language Pathologists, and Specialized Physicians.  They aren't always the most popular folks, because their job is to appropriately progress the patient.  This means, that your family member is going to have to most likely get out of bed and do things that are needful and challenging.  They should communicate clearly what the goals of treatment should be for your family member and also update you as to the status of that plan of care.

-Social Workers and Counselors:  These folks help with the emotional needs of the patient and family.  They also help with the discharge process and ensure that needed equipment, services, etc are in place when it is time to go.  Most hospitals also offer Chaplain services to address the spiritual side of care.  These folks are trained in family dynamics, grief counseling, and other specialized areas.
Backbone of the building staff:  These are the folks that make it possible for everyone listed so far to operate.  I"m not kidding about this.  Without them, none of it would be possible.  Who are they people?  Let's list some. 

-Dietary is where specialized meals are prepared 7 days a week.  They also stock all the refrigerators and cupboards so that you family member can have a snack or a soda when they ask for it.  They are required to ensure that any patient's special dietary needs are met, and there are a myriad of diet types that they need to careful prepare.  They deliver the meals to the floor, take the dishes back to the kitchen and clean all dishware in a highly specialized manner with very strict guidelines.  If you see one of these individuals, be sure the thank them....they are often unsung heroes. 

-Environmental Services (Housekeeping):  How ever grateful am I to these folks who quietly keep the hospital clean and sanitary.  They are often called upon to do the most unpleasant of tasks....with a cheerful attitude.  The other day, a very sweet housekeeper stopped mopping the floor to ask me how I was doing.  She asked me about my family member and just has a very sweet conversation with me.  I can't tell you how much I appreciated that little act of kindness.  You can be assured that I thanked her very much for coming into help in the care of our loved one.

-Maintenance & Engineering:  These folks make sure the specialized equipment, and the building are operating appropriately.  This includes HVAC, Fire code, power, repair, maintenance, etc.  The regulations are significant, so again, without these individuals, you loved one could not be cared for.  They also make sure your loved one has a television to watch.  Think about how any stay at the hospital would be without that service.

-Information Systems:  So many medical procedures, billing systems, and medical charting methods are computerized.  These folks ensure that the information is available and current 24/7.  You most likely will not see these folks, but know they are there. 

-Admitting and Billing:  These are the folks you meet at the beginning and will most likely continue to interact with you after the hospital stay.  They will interact with your Insurance Provider and also send you statements and help arrange payment plans if you need them.   Be courteous with these folks, they are trying to make things go according to plan as well.

-Volunteers:  These folks certainly are not last, but they often fill in the gaps with sweetness, kindness, and patience.
I apologize if I have missed anyone, but by now I hope that you can see why you need to be grateful to the many individuals that make the care of your loved one possible.  Not every hospital stay is ideal for all.  Sometimes there are outcomes that nobody wishes.  However, these folks who are working to help make the outcome as positive as possible.  A verbal 'thank you' or a note are always appropriate.  They are there to serve you and your family member. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A trip to the hospital, and you are......the family member

(Image courtesy of i.thestreet.com)

Let's say that you have a family member who will be admitted to the hospital.  Your family member will be given very specific instructions about what to eat, what medications to take, and what to bring with them when they arrive at the hospital.  Let's say you get your family member registered and he or she is taken away for the scheduled procedure.  Now....what did you come prepared with for yourself?  Maybe the hospital has some magazines, perhaps there is one television that everyone from children to senior citizens are trying to watch.  Maybe the gift shop has something you can read....

Take it from a veteran who has worked in, and had too many family members make a trip to the hospital.  You have to come prepared to engage yourself.  Here is what I suggest that works very well for me.

If you have a laptop....BRING IT!  This is a very functional item for both you and the family and friends who are concerned about the individual requiring hospitalization. Here are things you can do with your Laptop:

-Start an email group with all the folks who have asked you to let them know how the 'Family Member' (aka FM) is doing.  As you get updates, go into your sent file, open the last email, press forward, cut and paste the email addresses or enter them again.  Give the update in the body of the email.  As you do this through the inpatient stay, people can see the progression of events that have taken place with your FM.  It saves you from answering the same question multiple times for others who are concerned.

-Some people start a blog and post directly on the blog for others to access.  Use the camera in your cell phone to take pictures that may be appropriate....and use wise judgement here.  You can send the pictures to your email account, save to your picture file, and then post it from there.

-Bring movies on DVD!  Now, since your computer bag only has so much room, take the disc's out of the hard plastic case, and put them into a paper case.  These paper cases are similar to the ones that CD's come in when you purchase new software. Be sure to bring Earbuds with you as well.  You don't want to disturb other's by being too noisy. 

-Social Networking:  Sites like Facebook are a place to post cryptic notes for your family and friends to see.  They often will make short comments with well wishes or email you privately.  It is nice to share the well wishes with the family member who is receiving needed care.  It is wonderful to see the bounty of well wishes that are offered to loved ones when they are in the hospital.

-Don't forget your power cord!

(Image courtesy of www.walyou.com)

Bring your cellphone along.  You will need this for several reasons.  When individuals are coming to the hospital for scheduled surgeries, the admitting staff member will most likely ask for a cell phone number.  For a recent hospitalization for my family member, they asked for the number so that they could call us when it was his turn to go into get his blood drawn.  They also used the number to locate me when they wanted to find me and update me several times during the inpatient stay whether I was in the building of not. 

I used it to text my children...who are very tech-savvy and had a good number of questions.  This happened even though they also received the emails.  As indicated before, you can take tasteful and appropriate pictures.  Sometimes family members will not remember a particular staff member who was very helpful, but with a picture they can and may wish to write a special note of thanks to them at a later time.  And finally, I did play a game on my phone as well! 

Some smartphones will let you download movies, and do all the emailing from the phone.  It's something to consider if you don't want to take your laptop.

If you will be spending the night, be sure to include your power cord!

(Image courtesy of www.runutsco.com)

 Bring Snacks!:  Healthy snacks are a great idea.  I usually pack dried fruit such as apple slices, and raisins.  I also pack some other snacks that I fool myself into thinking are not too fattening!  It is usually things like Sweethearts and Licorice.  I also have packed fresh celery sticks, grapes, etc.  Why would you do this?  Because you are in an enclosed environment....and there is not a lot of price competition there!  Plus, you may be tempted to purchase and eat something that you may regret later (like those chocolate covered almonds I bought the other day!).  If you wish to eat in the snack bar, you could, but your can count on meals costing at least $3.00 if you just get a salad and water.  If you brought things for yourself, you could save the money for other things.

(Image courtesy of www.state.me.us)

You will need a drink!  You could use a Nalgene bottle, or bring a single bottled water.  There will most likely be many drinking fountains or sources of filling up the bottle when you need it.

(Image courtesy of www.dontforgetyourhomework.com)
As you are in a hospital, you will need to make sure you keep yourself clean as well.  It is possible to purchase Hand sanitizers in small containers that can fit into a purse or your laptop bag.

(Image courtesy of pro.ganil-spiral2.eu)

Consider bringing a book or scriptures.  There will be times that it will be cumbersome to use your laptop. 

Finally, bring some gum and or breath mints......you sure will appreciate anyone else who does!

Lastly, bring a prayerful heart.  I hope this helps you prepare for the next time you take a family member to the hospital.  Good luck!

It's a matter of....The Advance Health Care Directive Act

(Image courtey of www.davidsreport.com)

I realize that we traditionally focus on Food Storage, and I have been meaning to post more about other issues as well.  Today, we are going to talk about Advance Health Care Directives.  These are  very important things to have addressed before you are in a position to need them.  Here is some information directly from the Utah Commission on Aging:

An Advance Health Care Directive (also known as an “Advance Directive”) is a form that helps others give you the care you would want when you cannot make decisions. The first part of the form lets you name your health care agent. The second part of the form tells others how to make end-of-life care decisions for you. Other names for parts of the form are “Special Power of Attorney for Health Care,” “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care,” or “Living Will.”

You can benefit from having an Advance Directive at any age. You could have an accident or get sick. You might live with a mental or physical illness that leaves you without the ability to make decisions at times. Without an Advance Directive, those making decisions for you may not know what you want. Worse still, your family and friends could argue over the care you should get. Or they could disagree about who gets to make decisions for you. Help your family and friends to help you: name an agent and tell your agent and family about your health care wishes.
This document if for anyone at any age.  This is an important document that is very simple to complete.  It will require that you consider who you wish to serve as your Agent in the event that you are not in a position to make decisions for yourself.
Here are several links to help you complete this important document.  Remember to keep it with your important papers and in the event of an emergency, take it with you.....just like you would your 72 hour kit.


Advance Directive Form

Advance Directive Fill-in On-Line Form

Provider Guide

Take a few moments today and talk with your family.  Make these decisions when you are not under pressure to do so.  Give yourself and your family the "Peace of Mind" that you all will need in times of health care emergencies.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gourmet Cupcakes!

(Image courtesy of therestisjusticing.com)

Hi all!  There has been a resurgence in the fine art of making Cupcakes, and our target item this week surely requires sugar.   In the past couple of years, I have seen Cupcake trees at receptions, for Birthday Parties, and just for fun.  They are a quick treat for gatherings as no one has to wait for the cake to be cut! 

Here are some recipes to consider trying and some lovely looks to try to emulate.  Your family will think you are a genius and you most likely will be surprised how easy it is to do.

Equipment needed:  Cupcake pans, liners, a Couple of Cake Decorating tips, optional: Cake decorating bags (can use a Ziploc bag).

Look at how simple this is to do:

In the video above it suggests using a purchased cake mix, which you certainly can do.  But, since we are all trying to be Food Storage conscience, consider making your own Cake Mix out of your supplies.  Here is a mix to consider:

Cake Mixes from Scratch and Variations

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 35 Minutes Ready In: 55 Minutes (for a large cake), 15-18 minutes for Cupcakes

Servings: 24

"A convenient substitute for commercial mixes. Quick, easy, and yummy. Best of all, YOU control the ingredients!"


2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1/2 cup shortening

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. For a Yellow Cake: Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in shortening until fine crumbs are formed. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Beat at low speed for 1 minute, then high for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl frequently.

2. Pour batter into greased and floured 9x13 inch pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Variation for a White Cake: Prepare as for the basic cake except use 3 egg whites for the 2 whole eggs. Whites may be beaten separately and added for a lighter cake.

4. Variation for a Chocolate Cake: Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the basic cake mix prior to adding the milk.

5. Variation for a Spice Cake: Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice to the basic cake mix.

6. Variation for a Pineapple Upside Down Cake: Melt 1/2 cup butter in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Add 2/3 cup brown sugar, stirring into the butter. Arrange pineapple slices in the pan. Top with the basic (yellow cake) mix recipe. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, cool 5 minutes, and invert to serve.

Buttercream Frosting

A list of ingredients you will need:

1 - (1 lb.) pkg. Domino® Confectioners Sugar (approx. 3 3/4 cups)

1/2 cup - butter or margarine, softened

3 to 4 tablespoons - milk

1 teaspoon - vanilla

Instructions »

Combine in large bowl, with mixer at low speed, confectioners' sugar, butter, milk and vanilla.  Beat at medium speed 1-2 minutes until creamy. If desired, add more milk until frosting is spreading consistency. 
Makes enough to fill and frost 2-layer cake, 13x9x2-inch sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes.
For those of you who just have to have Chocolate Frosting, in my opinion there is not a better recipe anywhere than from Hersey's.
"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Now, here are some recipe ideas to try!

Boston Creme Cupcakes 

100 Cupcake Recipes

Cupcake Recipes.com

Our Best Cupcake Recipes

Let's look at the creativity of others who have embraced the easy art of making cupcakes!

And finally, one I really liked!

So, try some today!  They are quick and most can be embellished without much time or skill at all!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It's week #3 in July and our target item is.....Sugar!

(Image courtesy of www.yes-zim.com)

The focus item for this week is a very basic one....it is sugar.  As you most likely are aware, there are many different types.  The difference between most is the size of the crystal.  You may or may not have heard of all of the following:

Baker's Sugar (Used in the baking industry for things like sugaring doughnuts etc)
Confectioner's Sugar (Used for making frosting etc)
Course Sugar (Use for decorating)
Granulated Sugar
Sugar Cubes (remember using these for the various science fair projects your kids had to complete?)
Brown Sugar (retains some of the Molasses, can come in light or dark)

Of course, these will fit into the "Sugar" category of your long terms storage.  We have already added Corn Syrup, Jello, Jelly, Jam, and Honey to this category this year.

Think of all the fun things you do with sugar. 
Try a new recipe and expand your horizon's!

It's a matter of......Peanut Butter Powder!

With one of our focus items being Peanut Butter this week, I thought I would also introduce Peanut Butter Powder.  Here are two different brands.

This is PB2 Peanut Butter Powder from http://www.bellplantation.com/.  I had to order this on line.  My thanks to Sandy D. for introducing it to me.  She states that she loves it and that if she wants a quick spoonful of Peanut Butter just to snack on, she can without all the fat.  Bell Plantation states that they remove 85% of the fat before it is in it's final form.  The cost works out to be $.61/ounce. 

This is Peanut Butter Powder from Emergency Essentials.  The information from the packaging states that it has 0.5 g of Saturated Fat with a total fat of 3.5 g or 6% of the Daily Value.  The cost works out to be $.29 per ounce.

How does it reconstitute?  It is a 2:1 ration of Powder to Water

Here I put in 1 Tablespoon of powder.

Next I placed in a half-tablespoon of water and then mixed with a small whisk.

It made about 1 Teaspoon of Peanut Butter.  I did taste it and it did taste like peanut butter, but with a difference I cannot put my finger on.  I believe this product would be well used in mixes, sauces and main dishes.  It could be used for PB & J, and I would certainly use jam, jelly or honey.

The benefits:

-It takes less space on your shelf
-It can easily be used in mixes
-It reconstitutes quickly
-There are many recipes for Weight Watchers that can be made with this type of  product.

What would I do with it?  You can make wraps, Thai chicken, dips, pies, cookies, snacks, etc.  Here are some links that give many suggestions:

Here is a quick snack that I made.  This recipe comes from Bell Plantation:

Banana Peanut Butter Dips

Peel a firm banana

Slice it up.

Put in a about a Tablespoon of Peanut Butter Powder

Put in a few slices of banana and shake

Remove from the bag.  This is a fast treat that imitates the taste of bananas spread with peanut butter....but without the fat.

Consider it!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Peanut Butter.....

Can you believe all of the different types of peanut butter?  I took this picture in a large grocery store....and I didn't get all the different choices of Peanut Butter all in one picture!  However, choice is a great thing!  There are not only different brands, but different types of Peanut Butter ranging from Old-Fashioned  to smooth and my personal favorite....Chunky!

The history of Peanut butter varies depending upon who's source you are reading.  Some state that it make have originated in Africa, others say it came from an unknown physician  who was attempting to find a way for his endentuous (toothless)  patient's to eat.

(Dr. John Kellogg)
Image courtesy of www.todayinscience.com)

Most seem to agree that Dr. John Kellogg (of cereal fame) addressed peanut butter as a source of vegetarian protein and referred to it as "Nutmeal". 

(Dr. George Washington Carver)
Image courtesy of www.famousquotes.com

Another famous name appears in Peanut Butter history and that is Dr. George Washington Carver. He researched the humble Peanut and developed hundreds of uses for peanuts. 

(Image courtesy of www.wikimedia.com)

In 1904, over $700.00 worth of a new treat, Peanut Butter, was sold at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis. 

Early Brands of Commercial Peanut Butter were:

(image courtesy of nancyfriedman.typepad.com)

(Image Courtesy of lifesaversbest.com)

(Image courtesy of 2.bp.blogspot.com)

Early attempts of Peanut Butter resulted in the oil separating from the rest of the ingredients and mixing was required. So a manufacturer in California that began selling "churned" Peanut butter.  This brand eventually became the Skippy Brand.

Then, we get back to present day....where we have so many choices of Peanut Butter, that they all cannot fit into the same picture.

Finally, here is an up and coming favorite....Nutella made from Hazelnuts.  My grandsons love it!

So, stock up today.....and get a spoonful for yourself now!

Alright Class....Pop Quiz Today!!!!!

(Image courgesy of http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/)

Yes....this is a Pop Quiz!  So, ready or not....here it comes!

Question #1:  What is the beautiful image above depicting?   Here's a hint, it is something very familiar!

For all the remaining questions, there is a general answer for all and specific answers for each question as well.  Try your hand at it.  And, because I am not completely heartless, the answers are at the bottom of the post.  Good luck.....see if you can get an A+!

Question #2:  Identify this substance.  (Don't I sound so scientific?)

Question #3:  Identify this substance.  (I decided to stick with this winner question....)

Question #4:  Identify this substance.

Question #5:  Identify this substance.

Question #6:  Identify this substance.  (How are you doing?  Do you need to cheat off your neighbor's paper?)

Question #7:  Identify this substance.

Question #8:  Identify this substance.  (It's nearly time for recess...keep going!)

So, are you ready to score your own papers?  Okay....if you do well you can be the line leader to go out to recess!

Question #1:  This is the crystallin form of salt.
Question #2:   Did you guess Canning and Pickling Salt?  And, by the way, this is a good type of salt to have when you wish to can....and I do mean you when I said..'can'.
Question #3:  Wow, Kosher Salt!  This is good for baking wonderful things, like those giant pretzels that you buy at the Mall!
Question #4:  Who can live without Rock Salt!  I mean seriously, how wonderful is home made ice cream?
Question #5:  This is RealSalt.  The producers of this product state that it is very healthy for you as it contains additional minerals that are in place when they mine the salt.  And, it is my understanding that it is mined in Redmond Utah.  See http://www.realsalt.com/   for more information.
Question #6:  I can't live without my Garlic....or for that matter....Onion Salt.  There are many 'gourmet' salts that are wonderful to have when grilling as well.
Question #7:  Recognize it?   It is your traditional Iodized Salt that you probably have in your salt shaker right now.
Question #8:  This is Sea Salt.  It is the result of the sea water being dehydrated away.  As you can see, there is not "commercial" container.  I bought this in the bulk area of a store to try it.  I didn't have to purchase much just to see if we as a familiy like it.
So, those were the specific answers.  The general answer is SALT!  This is a essential item for life.  In the past, this has been a very valuable commodity and has even been traded as currency.  We are fortunate to have it available to us in many forms. 
So, go load up on your own types of Salt today!
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