Monday, February 28, 2011

Thank You Grandma!

Our grandma passed away recently, and while we miss her, we are happy in knowing that she is now free from pain, and with all of her loved ones that have passed on before her.

Grandma left us a wonderful legacy of faith, family, hard work and making lots of delicious food. She and Grandpa were always working. When I would go stay with them, it was always fun to help out in the garden or orchard with Grandpa, and then prepare wonderful food with Grandma in the kitchen for the meals of the day, or to can and preserve for later use. I remember working alongside Grandma canning vegetable soup, grinding wheat for bread, making raisin filled bars, carrot cakes and rolling out pie dough with a couple of my cousins over to help. Grandma always did things in a big way. If she was making pie, it never was just one or two. It was always a lot for a big crowd (our family). She made great use of her freezer, working on days when she had time for baking, and then freezing the goods to pull out later--usually when company stopped by. Company was always offered some kind of refreshment, whether it was a slice of pie and ice cream, cookies, or a full blown meal. In her later years it got harder for her to get around, with constant pain in her feet and back, but she was ever the gracious host, having plenty of ice cream in her freezer and ice cream cones in the pantry for her guests.

Thank you Grandma for taking the time to teach me, and letting me work alongside you. I am so grateful to be a part of your family.


Grandma's Pie Dough
3 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups shortening
Cut in shortening with flour until pea size. Then make a batter with:
3/4 cups flour
3/4 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
Add to shortening mixture. Roll out for pies.

Homemaker's Menu for the last week of February

I just wanted to give you a quick run-down of the menu that we had this previous week.

Saturday--Pizza (**Check back on Friday for my awesome pizza dough and sauce recipes!)

Sunday--Chicken hindquarters, rice, salad and then in the evening Ice cream for dessert.

Monday--Quiche Lorraine, fresh rolls and salad. For dessert for Family Home Evening we had brownies.

Tuesday--Tuna pinwheels, green beans. If you have never made these before let me give you a quick rundown on what I do. Take your favorite biscuit recipe and roll it into a rectangle (mine is usually 10"x14") with the dough about 1/2" thick. **I will be posting my biscuit recipe probably in 2 weeks. In a separate bowl mix together 2 cans of drained Tuna fish, 1 tsp. of lemon juice, onion powder and 1/2 can of Cream of Mushroom soup. Spread on top of the biscuit rectangle. Roll up the long side Jelly-roll style, and then slice in 1/2" slices. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 380 (F) until golden brown--15 to 25 minutes. To serve, warm up 1 1/2 cans of Cream of mushroom soup, with 1 1/2 cans of water. Ladle soup over hot pinwheels--enjoy!

Wednesday--I don't know what we ate on Wednesday. It is our errand and lesson day so it's super busy, and I forgot to write it down.

Thursday--Gumbo and whole wheat bread. We ate 1/2 for dinner, and then 1/2 for lunch on Saturday when everybody was home.

Friday--Bacon & Eggs, toast and juice

Saturday--Chili Cheese Fries (Breadmaker posted the recipe here on the blog on Wed. Jan 26, 2011 under the heading Down Home Cookin')

Sunday--Hawaiian Haystacks, juice.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Yummy Hummus!

Every so often I make food from other cultures (Finisher does is all the time!). It is so interesting to experience new tastes, fun to buy spices I've never tried before, like Cardamon, and learn about other ways of life. One of my favorite recipes that I "discovered" was hummus. My favorite recipe can be found at --I've also posted it below. I like it because some recipes have too much lemon juice in them. It is so yummy with veggies or chunks of pita or whole wheat bread. The most expensive ingredient is the Tahini (ground up sesame seeds)--but a pint bottle makes several batches and keeps forever in the fridge, so it's worth getting. Hummus with veggies and pita bread is a very fun Friday meal! The only trouble I'm going to have is keeping my teenager from eating all of it by himself!



  • 2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch paprika
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley


  1. Place the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the garbanzo bean mixture. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Be Prepared

Lately I have been thinking a lot about emergency preparedness and what I would do in a disaster. I have been asking myself questions like... How would I contact my family? If I couldn't contact my husband where would we meet? Where would I evacuate to if I had to, and would I take anything besides a 72-hour kit?

The reason I have been thinking so much about this is because I am in a class right now at BYU that is all about disaster response and emergency preparedness. Last night we had a panel of experts come and answer questions. We had people from the Red Cross, Provo City, Police, Hospitals, and BYU. It was such a great class! One really cool thing I learned last night is that contrary to popular belief BYU doesn't have huge amounts of food storage on campus for their students and families. BYU would just use food from its several food service locations (Cougareat, Cannon Center, BYU Creamery, ect.) that they currently have on hand for a disaster and it is only for the students, not the students' families.

I got some really great hand-outs last night. One was called "Plan 9." It's a simple guide about some items you might need in an emergency situation. I thought I would focus on that guide in this post and tell you about the things they suggest.

1. Water: Bottled water. One gallon, per person, per day, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Keep the water in a cool, dark place and change to a fresh supply every six months
2. Food: Nonperishable food. A supply of 3.5 days of food per person.
  • Ready to eat canned meat, fruit and vegetables
  • Canned or boxed juices
  • Powdered milk and soup
  • Crackers, granola, trail mix
3. Clothes: Collect one change of clothes and footwear per person.
  • Consider packing blankets, rain gear and outerwear in case of inclement weather.
4. Medications: Collect three days worth of any prescription medications you're taking.
  • Be sure to note the expiration date so you don't keep them past their date.
5. Flashlight: Keep a bright flashlight in case there's no electric power.
  • Consider getting a lantern-style light for hands free use
  • Don't use candles! They're a fire hazard and are easy to lose track of when the lights come back on.
6. Can Opener: Make sure it's a manual can opener in case there's no electric power.
  • Consider buying items with a pull-top opening. You won't need a can opener at all!
7. Radio: A battery-powered radio for listening to news and weather.
  • Consider buying a crank-operated or solar-powered radio
  • Don't forget extra batteries! Buy them in advance in case they're in short supply.
8. Hygiene Items: Just the basics like soap, toilet-paper, and a toothbrush.
  • Moist towelettes can be useful for quick sanitation.
9. First Aid: Basics such as antiseptic, gloves bandages and non-prescritption medicines.

Here are some good web sites for more information about emergency preparedness:

Cool things I have learned from my class:
  • Cell phones are the first communication to go down in a disaster so we shouldn't rely on them.
  • If your water is turned off, here are a couple of ideas for a toilet: 1) Use your current toilet but place two heavy plastic bags in the bowl of the toilet to line it. Replace the bags every night or as needed. 2) Use a 5 gallon bucket. Line it with two heavy plastic bags and put kitty litter or sawdust in the bottom. Keep the lid on while not in use. The bagged waste should be securely tied and placed in a protected container for temporary storage until the waste can properly be disposed of as directed by the health department.
  • If you want to volunteer when a disaster occurs prepare now. The Red Cross won't accept volunteers unless they have had a background check and are registered with them.
  • If your cell phone does work text, don't call people, since texting doesn't tie up the lines and your more likely to contact them.
  • If your drinking water is contaminated, disinfect it using one of the following methods: 1) Boiling - Boil water vigorously for one full minute. (3 minutes at altitudes over 6500 ft.). 2) Bleach - "Regular" unscented chlorine bleach may be used to disinfect water: 1 quart of water use 2 drops of bleach for clear water and 4 drops for cloudy water. 1 gallon of water use 8 drops of bleach for clear water and 16 drops for cloudy water.
  • Gather emergency documents and have them by or in your 72-hour kit so you can leave quickly in an emergency. Some documents you may need are copies of insurance and medicare cards, operating instructions and serial numbers of critical medical devices you use, copies of family records, birth certificate, passports, charge accounts, social security cards, insurance policies, bank accounts.
  • Know the emergency plans for your children's schools.
  • Pick two meeting places, close-by and one that's out of the neighborhood.
Well I have probably rambled on long enough. If you have any questions about emergency preparedness I would be happy to try and answer them if I can!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chest Re-do

For my first post I'd like to talk about an old chest of mine. I got it for Christmas one year when I was in High School.

It's an o.k. looking chest. I love that it's cedar lined, but I didn't love how it looked so much. I decided to put it in my son's room to help with toy storage for awhile.

While it was in there - I decided to make a quick and easy cosmetic change to it, so it would match the room decor a little more. I unscrewed the cushion from the lid and stapled some fabric to it and viola!
A quick and easy change. It only took about 3o mins or so and updated the look quite a bit.

Well about a year later we moved. In our new apartment my son's room is quite a bit smaller, so the chest didn't fit anymore. I didn't really know where to put it. My room was full of other furniture and I didn't really want it in the main living areas looking the way it did. So I decided a major overhaul was needed. With the help of my husband (well he did most of the work actually...), we stained & recovered it, put new hardware on, knocked off the legs and put on new ones. And here is the result:

I absolutely love how it turned out! And now I'm proud to display it in any room of my house.
Tip Junkie handmade projects SimpleTransformation Thursday Tatertots and Jello

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Last Week of Feb Menu

Here is my menu for the last full week of February.  I spent $30.53 at the store.  My money for food is always on the short end the last of the month!  Only basics made the shopping list.  We will be able to end the month in budget though, and that is always rewarding!

Sunday: Roast with potatoes, carrots and onions
The commissary usually has great prices on meat.  I bought a small roast, under $5 (and it was gone in one sitting!). We were going to eat the roast on Valentine's Day, but I ended up being out of town for my grandmother's funeral. The week I bought the roast and carrots the grocery bill was $48.76.

Monday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, rolls

Tuesday: Fettuccine with white sauce, peas

Wednesday: Meat Pie
Right before Christmas I went crazy with pies and made about 14 of them, and about 4 pie crusts to freeze. I will use my last pie crust from the freezer for this meal  My mom made us meat pie growing up.  I am sure there are many variations. And I think even we sisters, who make it, do our own take too. 

I brown some beef -1/4 to 1/3 pound-and usually with onions.  Then I add in some cream of mushroom soup, frozen corn, frozen peas, sometimes green beans and of course flavoring--salt, pepper, garlic powder. (Put in whatever you like really!)  In the bottom of a baking dish I place frozen shoestring french fries. (This time I will be using homemade fries or potato slices.)  I put the meat mixture on the fries, and place the pie crust on top.  Put slits in the pie crust to help release steam.  I bake it at about 350 for 30 or so minutes till the crust is golden brown and everything else is heated through.  I don't use many recipes when I cook, so there is my best guess.  I can post pictures tomorrow.

Thursday: Rice & Milk

Friday: Fried Rice, broccoli

Saturday: Mac-n-cheese, corn

Hope the grocery budget is going well for everyone!  Under a week and March begins!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pancakes, muffins and waffles--oh, my!

When I make pancakes, I like it over with as quickly as possible.  I also want them as nutritious as possible with as much whole grain as I can get--so a pancake mix with white flour off the shelf isn't my first choice.  My favorite recipe is for a Basic Multipurpose Mix.  When I make this ahead of time I can have pancakes on the table in five minutes or less.  Here is the recipe:

9 c. Flour (I like to use 100% whole wheat, but you can use 1/2 white, 1/2 whole wheat or even all white)
1/3 c. Baking Powder
1 c. + 2 Tablespoons Milk Powder
4 teaspoons Salt
1 3/4 c. Shortening (don't substitute with oil--I've tried it and they don't turn out as well)

Mix together dry ingredients.  Cut in shortening until it resembles coarse cornmeal.  It may be stored at room temperature for up to six weeks. Yield: 13 cups mix.  (If you double this recipe when you make it, only mix in 1/2 the flour with the dry ingredients, do everything else and then mix in the other 1/2 of the flour.  That way everything can get well mixed before your mixer gets too full.  I have a Bosch, and can--if I do it like I just mentioned--do a double batch).

Biscuits:  2 cups mix and 1/2 cup water.  Add liquid to mix and stir 20-25 times.  Knead gently on lightly floured board about 14 times.  Roll out to 1/2" thickness.  Cut out.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 425 F for 10 - 12 minutes.

Pancakes and Waffles: 2 cups mix, 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon sugar (I never add the sugar).  Stir about 25 times (not smooth).  Bake on preheated griddle or waffle iron.  For pancakes turn when bubble appear on surface.  NOTE:  I just eyeball it when I make pancakes--just get it the right consistency.

Muffins:  Ok, so I do use this to make muffins but I don't have an exact recipe.  Roughly it is 2 cups mix, 1 cup water and any other ingredients I want.  If I am making sweet muffins I will also add 1/2 cup sugar and then apples and cinnamon, or lemon juice and blueberries.  For savory muffins, like herb & cheese I just throw in any ingredients for the flavor only.

For dinner tonight we are going to have pancakes--a great, fun, Friday meal!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lemon Squares

I made Lemon Squares Monday afternoon.  Bread Machine shared this recipe with me about a year ago--YUM!  I didn't want to use 1 whole cup of butter, for money reasons, so I used 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup margarine.  The crust still had that nice buttery flavor and it saved me a few pennies too!

Feb 7, 2011 lemon bars

This recipe come from
The recipe for these "melt-in-your-mouth" squares comes from Peg Hurley, an old Lexington, Massachusetts, friend of the Sands'. She says they are even better sprinkled with confectioners' sugar after they've cooled.
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup (1 ounce) confectioners' sugar

2 large eggs
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) lemon juice
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
a pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Cut the butter into the flour and confectioners' sugar and press into a 9-inch square pan. Bake 20 minutes or until light brown.

Combine the topping ingredients. When the bottom is done, and still hot, pour the topping over it and continue baking for about 25 minutes.

Sprinkle top with confectioners' sugar.

~Enjoy the recipe!  Ramen Queen 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Another Budget Menu

I know I recently posted a budget menu, but I read my niece Sara's blog last night and it inspired me per se, to go ahead and write up my menu that I will be using this week.  I will include my grocery shopping receipt too. (I should have done that in my last post!)

-Homemade Pizza (1/2 cheese, 1/2 pepperoni)
-A&W Rootbeer
We were going to have the pizza Saturday night, but the first weekend of every month Lee and I fast for 2 meals.  The money we would have spent on those meals, we donate to a Fast Offering fund and the local Bishop uses the funds to care for the poor and the needy.  More details, read about it here.
Anyway, we fed the kids mashed potatoes instead because we didn't want to miss out on pizza!  Also, the A&W I purchased during a food storage trip.  I would like to build up a 2 week supply of water. I figured we might as well enjoy some pop in the process and wash and refill with water when done!

-Bean Soup
The soup I will make with black beans, canned tomatoes, ground beef, frozen corn and a packet of taco seasoning.  The black beans, beef and tomatoes I already had on hand.

-Stuffed Shells
-Homemade French Bread
I knew this meal was coming up, so I purchased the shells last month when I had a little extra grocery money. I already have mozzarella cheese in the freezer, but I did have to buy cottage cheese and ricotta cheese.  About once a month I go to Aldi and stock up on things that I know are cheap there, like spaghetti sauce, crackers, and tortillas.  I bought the spaghetti sauce already, but did use February grocery money to purchase it.

I have the ground beef on hand (Lee bought a LOT with his spending money back in November.  Yes, we're pathetic, but there you go). Got the tortillas at the afore mentioned Aldi run, plus have the cheese on hand--I bought a lot of cheese at the commissary back in November when I got it for about $0.80 a bag.  That is where all this cheese is coming from.

-Ruffles pasta with Lee's white sauce

-Homemade Fries

-Box mac-n-cheese
I bought the mac-n-cheese at the same February Aldi run. 

At the Aldi trip I've mentioned several times, I spent $27.27.  Here is my receipt for this week's menu. I was excited to buy two Corn Chex, get one free.  It made them $1.19 a box. Plus I had a coupon for the butter.  Also I don't make my own bread.  Someday I probably will.  The kids are small and we go through about five loaves a week.  It's pretty cheap at the commissary, so I just buy it.

2nd receipt

Thanks for indulging me. I made some lemon bars this afternoon for FHE tonight.  I will be posting a picture later.

~Ramen Queen

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Valentines Day

Whenever I think of Valentines day I think of the first Valentines day I had with my husband Andy when we were engaged. For a Valentines present I made him an Ultimate Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie since his favorite pie is pecan pie and I love to make pies :) I found the recipe on Kraft Recipies.

what you need

3 cups chopped PLANTERS Pecans, divided
1/4 cup  granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 pkg.  (14 oz.) KRAFT Caramels
2/3 cup whipping cream, divided
1 pkg.  (8 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp.  vanilla

make it

HEAT oven to 350°F.
BLEND 2 cups nuts in blender until finely ground, using
pulsing action. Mix with granulated sugar and butter;
press onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate. Bake
12 to 15 min. or until lightly browned. (If crust puffs up
during baking, gently press down with back of spoon.)
Cool completely.
MICROWAVE caramels and 1/3 cup whipping cream
in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2-1/2 to 3 min. or until
caramels are completely melted and mixture is well
blended, stirring after each minute. Pour into crust. Chop
remaining nuts; sprinkle over caramel layer.
COOK chocolate, remaining whipping cream, powdered 
sugar and vanilla in saucepan on low heat just until 
chocolate is completely melted, stirring constantly. Pour 
over pie; spread to cover top of pie. Refrigerate 2 hours.
-Olive Oil

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sweets for my Sweetie!

It's that time of year again when the days are nice and frosty and turning on the oven helps to get our kitchen all warm and cozy. My sisters and I will be posting some yummy dessert recipes that we love to have for Valentine's Day.

When I think of Valentine's Day, I always think of nice, soft sugar cookies with Butter Cream Frosting. Sugar Cookie Recipes that contain sour cream, will give you the softness you love.

Yesterday school got out early, so after cleaning up bedrooms and practicing piano the kids and I rolled out sugar cookies. I made the dough when I was baking on Saturday and kept it in the fridge until I was ready to use it. You can also freeze cookie dough for up to three months. Freezing already baked cookies works well too.

We decorated ours with colored sugar sprinkled on top before we baked them. That way I didn't have to frost them. If you choose to frost your cookies, Buttercream Frosting is the way to go. Here is my favorite recipe:

Buttercream Frosting
2/3 cup butter-softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 to 5 Tablespoons milk or cream

In a large bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered suage, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and milk a tablespoon at a time; beat to desired spreading consistency.

To make chocolate buttercream frosting, add 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder with the powdered sugar.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Budget Meals

For some, an easy way to trim up the monthly budget is to spend less on groceries.  One has to be careful though because without a plan for the food budget (or any budget I will argue) he or she might spend even more than planned. Having a menu or shopping list in hand at the grocery store is a great start to staying within budget.  Going in the store with cash only is very helpful too!

Don't get me wrong, my husband and I love food, especially desserts--see the cookies in the background?  But we're willing to sacrifice on food to put some money to other goals--like the kids' college fund we will open next month. 
Ruth and Paul B at Wymount
But, if you asked us to cut back on utilities--air conditioning and heat in particular--no way.  We'd rather eat rice and salt then cut back on air and heat.

In January I spent about $217.  Since we bought a LOT of food for Christmas, we were able to use the surplus in January.  For example, last week we had split pea soup for dinner.  I bought some dried, split peas at the store for about $0.70 a bag and used the ham hock from the Christmas ham.  I just bagged it up and put it in the freezer till we used it.  I added an onion and some celery to the soup and made some rolls.  Dinner cost just a few dollars.

Here is my dinner menu from the last week of January:

Sunday: Fried chicken,  frozen green beans--but of course heated up before we ate them!, jello while listening to a Conference talk
Monday: Grilled cheese sandwiches, baked beans, homemade cinnamon rolls for Family Home Evening dessert
Tuesday: Beef stroganoff, broccoli
Wednesday: Split pea soup, rolls, pudding for bedtime snack
Thursday: Rice with gravy, canned green beans, applesauce for bedtime snack
Friday: Linguine with alfredo sauce (or white sauce), corn, chocolate chip cookies and popcorn for game night 
Saturday: Spaghetti (ran out of veggies!)

Here is the break down of the menu items I didn't have to buy for that week.  Lee and I each allotted ourselves some "play money" before Christmas. I don't buy very much meat as it saves money and occasionally he will buy some with his play money.  He saw the chicken and wanted to try his hand at fried chicken.  Also the baked beans that we had with our sandwiches I had bought a few months back, along with the canned green beans we had with rice and gravy (I just used 2 cans of cream of chicken soup--bought them at Target for $0.50 each--added milk and seasonings to taste).  I will admit rice and gravy isn't my favorite meal, but it filled the belly and the kids liked it.

Here is the recipe for the split pea soup.  My kids liked it--they ate it all!  Lee and I of course really liked it.

Split Pea Soup
1 1lb. bag of dried, split peas
1 medium onion
1 cup chopped celery (or however much you want!)
ham hock or bacon
9 cups water
olive oil
for taste: thyme, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper

I sauteed the onion and celery in olive oil, then added that bag of peas, 9 cups of water and the ham hock. I just put in some thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  I rarely measure, but a rough guess would be 1/4 tsp. of thyme, 1/2 -1 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1-2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper.  Of course you could throw in some fresh minced garlic at the beginning along with the onion and celery.  Bring to a boil and turn to medium heat, cooking for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, stir occasionally.   If you use bacon, I would cook it first in the pan before you add in the onions and celery.  I think the ham or bacon gives it a nice smoky flavor. Would serve about 6 adults.

For February I will spend about $230 for groceries. I am saving my receipts and will post them on the blog so if interested, you can see exactly what I will buy/have bought.