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Archive for October, 2008

We all need to laugh more – this whole election and economic situation has all of us stressed more than normal.  If you can watch this without cracking a smile, I want to know.   😀

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I’m not sure what else to call this, but it is great stuff, makes a lot, and makes great gifts!  For Christmas, I have packaged it in holiday-themed cello bags, and tied with a bow.   I also make it for our kids at church on Wednesday nights as a snack, and have also served it for VBS.  For the Wed. night crowd, I double the recipe and it makes plenty to feed around 50 people.  For VBS, I multiplied everything by 4 and had TONS left over (needless to say, everybody went home with a bag!  LOL).

3 regular sized packages popcorn – popped (I normally use butter flavor, but use whatever you have)
1/2 to 1 whole bag of pretzels (any shape you prefer)
1 package vanilla almond bark, melted (microwave for 2 – 2 1/2 minutes, stir well)
1 – 2 cups of any of the following: M&Ms, pecans, peanuts, etc. (for the kids, I use M&Ms)

I mix this in a large dishpan so there’s room to stir.   I also pour the popcorn into a separate bowl, then scoop it out so the unpopped kernels remain in the bottom.  You do not want to chomp down on a kernel in this – ask me how I know!   🙂

Mix all ingredients together very well, then pour out onto wax paper (or freezer paper) to harden. Store in ziploc bags (or new large brown paper grocery sacks).

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I make a BIG batch of this and either can or freeze it.  It’s wooooonderful!  We eat it in enchiladas, over tacos, burritos, etc.  The smell as it’s cooking is simply divine.    🙂

Very easy to make!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2-3 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic (love garlic!)
1 – 8oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Saute onions in oil, add spices and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add other ingredients and simmer on low for at least 30-45 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick. Adjust seasonings to your taste. If you like really hot food, you could add red pepper flakes to this too. (I like a little spice, but not heat!)

I process this in my blender after it cools (kiddo doesn’t like onions), and the consistency is excellent.

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1 – recipe of my enchilada sauce
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 – 8oz container sour cream

Mix this well. Reserve about 2 cups for sauce – set aside. To the remaining mixture, add:

2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast
1 cup shredded cheese (we like cheddar best) (you’ll need 2 cups of cheese total – see below)

Mix well. Spoon about 1/4 cup of mixture into 12 flour tortillas. Roll tortillas and place seam side down into a 9×13 pan. (Preheat oven to 350 degrees.)

To the reserved mixture, add 1/4 cup milk for sauce. Stir until smooth. Spoon sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Makes 12 enchiladas. YUM! 😀

(Please note – this is an original recipe by me, and may not be posted elsewhere or sold in a collection. Copyrighted by me, 2008 to current.)

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My old GE 2lb horizontal loaf bread machine finally bit the dust after almost a decade of service.  Let’s have a moment of silence, shall we?   :o)   It was a true workhorse in the kitchen, and the heat-resistant o-rings finally disintegrated out of the bottom.  I have searched all over for a replacement and am about at my wit’s end.  I need your help!

I’m asking for your suggestions for a new bread machine.  I did buy a Breadman Ultimate and will be returning it shortly.  Maybe I’m spoiled from using the GE, but this Breadman is very poorly made.  The pan will not stay seated in the clips unless you stand over it and keep pushing it back down (and yes, I’ve tried bending the clips, tried putting the pan in differently, etc. – it does no good).  I am not an expert, but I am a seasoned cook and baker, and am familiar with bread machines.  This machine bakes the bread very well, it just knocks the cheap pan around way too much during the kneading.  Even hubby is complaining about the racket it makes.  I’m not keeping it.

Suggestions on a different brand?  I will not purchase another Breadman again, and GE no longer makes bread machines.  I have read that the Zojirushi is an excellent brand, but the thing is expensive.  I don’t buy store bread, so I know I’ll save a bundle in the long run, but would appreciate hearing some input from others.

Help!   :o)

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I have a few tips for things people don’t normally think of to use for food storage, plus you’re recycling items that would normally be thrown away.

Save #10 cans, wash and dry them very well, and either reuse the plastic lid that comes on some, or buy extra lids to use for this purpose (www.beprepared.com has them very cheaply).  It makes a great container to put either ziploc bags of food or vacuum sealed bags.  I label the outside of the can with masking tape for easy identification of the contents.

Save cardboard flats that cans come in or cut cardboard boxes to fit.  You can reuse the cardboard to stack #10 cans, or the canned food you buy at the store.  That way there is no wasted space on your shelves since you’re storing “upward”.  (Example:  cardboard, layer of canned food, cardboard, layer of canned food, etc.)  Utilize every inch of storage space you have.

Save 2 liter soda bottles,  wash and dry completely, then fill with rice, beans, sugar, etc. (use a funnel).  Add a bay leaf or two and seal the top with tape.  The only problem is the 2 liters don’t stack, but you can stick them almost anywhere (in a closet, under the bed, behind the couch – get creative!).

Save old peanut butter jars, spaghetti sauce jars, grape jelly jars, juice containers, etc. and use for food storage.  Look at every container before you throw it in the trash and try to think of another use for it.  You’ll be surprised how quickly your storage collection will grow.

Two-liter bottles and juice containers are large enough to store water extremely well.  Tap water will stay safe for use for literally years.  If safety is in question, you can always boil it first.  It does go “flat” after a while, so pour it back and forth between two containers to oxygenate it again – it will taste fresher.

Ice cream buckets are super for reuse and they stack very well.  I would seal whatever you’re going to put in them first just as an extra precaution, and throw in a few bay leaves.

5 or 6 gallon buckets are outstanding for storing flour, sugar, oats, rice, beans, etc.  For added protection, you can buy mylar liners for $2.50 each (again from beprepared.com), fill with food, then seal the top with a hot iron (use a piece of 2×4, scrap wood, or even a wooden ruler laid across the top of the bucket to have a firm surface on which to seal the mylar).  The mylar gets a bit sticky when it’s hot, but it will seal and firm up when it cools.  Fold the top of the mylar down and pound the lid on with a rubber mallet.

Be sure to label the outside of all containers with the contents and date.  You’ll be glad you did.  🙂

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I heard about this a few days ago, and thought it was an awesome idea.

What you need:

a Rubbermaid tote with a lid (or a 5/6 gallon bucket with lid)
toilet plunger with red rubber suction cup on end
laundry soap
water
dirty clothes

Cut a hole in the top of the lid big enough for the wooden handle of the plunger to go through.  A friend of mine suggested also drilling a few holes in the rubber part of the plunger to make the washing more efficient (haven’t tried this yet though).   Add water, detergent, and clothes.  “Plunge” the handle around 200 times (you don’t have to do this at a fast pace, and could even sit in a chair and plunge away!). Rinse the clothes, wring, and hang on a clothes line.

Be sure to stock up on extra clothes pins and clothes line. Also, something to use as a wringer (such as a mop bucket with wringer attached) would be helpful.

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