Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Than One Way to Grow a Garden

We've got four different kinds of gardens growing this year: container, traditional, raised bed, and a Square Foot Garden.

Raised Bed Gardens

We've had the raised bed gardens for at least 10 years. These have a shorter amount of sun-time because of a large neighboring tree. The cooler weather crops like peas and spinach do really well in these - except this year the birds got to them before they could get off to a good start. About 8 spinach plants survived and we enjoyed our first picking a couple nights ago.
Each year, at the beginning of the garden season, my husband tills in a couple bags of Nutri-Mulch into the raised bed gardens. It helps refill the boxes and gives the plants an extra boost. The broccoli, cabbage, and onion plants are thriving there. Thankfully, the birds have left those plants alone.

Container Gardening

Because I am unable to fit everything I'd like to grow in our raised bed gardens, I've tried growing cucumbers, green peppers, and tomatoes in pots I used to only have flowers in. They did especially well last year when my husband installed a separate drip irrigation system into each pot. This year I decided to plant radishes in a window box container and some green peppers, too.

My Version of Traditional Gardening -
Vegetables in the Flower Beds

Instead of planting annual flowers along the back of the house in between my perennials, I've planted some tomato plants, green pepper plants, Anaheim pepper plants, onions, and carrots this year. It's like traditional gardening because the seeds and plants are put directly into the ground. (I did mix a little Nutri-Mulch into the soil to help condition it before I did the planting.)

Square Foot Garden

This year we decided to add a Square Foot Garden to our backyard. Opting to leave our automatic sprinkling system in place - which comes out about 15" from the fence - my handy husband was able to fit a 1' x 46' Square Foot Garden between the back fence and the sprinkler heads. Other bonuses, this spot has full sun all day and an optional trellis (the fence).

I'm going to be keeping watch to see whether the onions do better in the raised bed garden, traditional garden, or Square Foot Garden. I've got them planted in all three this year. Yeah, we like onions. :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Upcoming Episode on Solar Ovens

BYU Television will be airing an episode of Living Essentials where they will talk about solar ovens on Tuesday, May 26 at 1:30 pm.
"We all know we need to have food storage set aside in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, but the reality is that we may not have electricity to cook the food. So today we’ll talk about an alternative solution-- solar ovens. We’ll discuss how to use a solar cooker to prepare a complete meal or even to purify water. We’ll also learn about the different kinds of solar ovens out there for purchase or those we can make ourselves."
Learn more here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Looking for a Wheat Grinder?

Here's something you may want to check out before you purchase a wheat grinder. The good folks at Emergency Preparedness have done their homework and put together a Grain Mill Comparison Chart. They've compared:
  • approximate prices
  • warranties
  • hopper capacity
  • clean-up
  • weight
  • grinding speed
  • coarseness variations
  • ease of turning wheel
  • if it can be motorized
  • nut butter quality
  • clamping power
  • outer finish quality
  • stone quality
  • burr quality
on five (5) different hand grain mills and four (4) different electric grain mills. They've also listed some places to purchase grain mills. All this information is available for download on their site at Thanks guys!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Radio Channel

"Mormon Channel, a new radio service of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, launches 18 May and can be accessed via the Internet or HD radio affiliates. The newly created 24-hour, 7-days a-week format is available live online at, but content may also be downloaded."
For the rest of the article, click here.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Soakin' Up the Sun

Today I tried making a Windshield Shade Solar Cooker.
It was pretty easy to put together
with things I already had at home:
  • reflective windshield shade
  • large binder clip
  • empty 5-gallon bucket
  • empty smaller bucket
  • clear pyrex bowl
  • brown-tinted glass casserole dish with lid
I used the smaller bucket
(my "weeding bucket" - please excuse the dirt)
inside the 5-gallon bucket
to keep my clear pyrex bowl in place.

To test the temperature of my solar oven I filled my brown-tinted glass bowl with water about 2/3 full and covered it with the lid. The water temperature was 76.5 degrees F. when I began at 1:45 pm.

Here are my results:
1:45 pm - 76.5 degrees F. (began cooking)
2:45 pm - 120 degrees F. (intermittent cloud cover)
3:45 pm - 133.3 degrees F. (left for a soccer game)
6:30 pm - 106.5 degrees F. (area shaded when I returned)

Solar Cooker at Cantinawest has some great information if you'd like to learn more about solar cooking. Here's what they have to say about the best time to use a solar cooker:
"The most ideal time of the day for cooking in a solar cooker is between the hours of 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM, this being possible in the summer time when the sun is directly overhead for a longer period of the day.In the middle of Winter your "ideal" time will be reduced to between roughly 11:30 to 2:30 PM."
They also have some solar cooker recipes on their website that sound good.

So, there you go. It was kinda fun. I'll try, try again -- getting an earlier start in the day next time. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Windshield Shade Solar Cooker

Would you believe you could "bake breads, granola, brownies, lasagna, all sorts of vegetables, and to purify water" with a reflective accordion-folding car sunshade and a few other simple supplies?
"Kathy Dahl-Bredine developed the Windshield Shade Solar Funnel Cooker while experimenting with various designs of cookers to introduce in the indigenous communities where Kathy lives and works in southern Mexico. She hit upon an utterly simple way to make an instant portable solar oven. Taking a reflective accordion-folded car windshield shade, you can turn it into a version of the solar funnel simply by attaching little Velcro tabs along the long notched side. Here’s how:"


Also worth checking out is a post entitled "How to Make an Easy Solar Cooker...with materials you probably already have at home" by Our Twenty Minute Kitchen Garden. This looks so easy! I'm going to give it a try.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Growing Potatoes in a Trash Can

Learn how to grow potatoes in a trash can. Love this idea! Thanks Mike C.!

For a printer-friendly version with pictures, click here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Real Life -- Living It

Don't you just love Spring?! Do you find yourself outdoors every chance you get just to enjoy the fresh air and warmth of the sun? I know I have (another reason for my lack of recent posts.) I've been out "playing" in the dirt, attempting to grow yet another year's garden.

There's something exciting about carefully placing a seed into the fertile soil and keeping watch 'til the first new signs of life appear. We can experience the "feelings of accomplishment, and inner peace" in our persistent efforts to grow "obedience gardens".

"Several years ago, our newly married daughter and her husband began a series of moves from one place to another—graduate school, first job, and so on. These moves took them to various parts of the country. In each place the climate and soil conditions were different, but they determined they would follow the prophet’s advice and have a garden. Their first attempts at gardening were pathetic. The weeds grew much better than the vegetables. The gardens were “obedience gardens.” However, with continued effort, each year the gardens improved. They learned new techniques and developed skills. As children came to their family, each was taught to work and take responsibility in those “obedience gardens.” Now their gardens are attractive, worthwhile “survival” projects, as the family enjoys and shares the produce. They preserve the excess for later use. Besides the practical lessons they learned, they found peace and assurance in keeping the commandments. Surely the promise was fulfilled for them: the prophet’s advice had been for their good always.

Sometimes we think that because our circumstances are difficult, it is not practical to keep all the Lord’s commandments. There are those, for instance, who feel they cannot afford to pay tithing. But as we obey the commandments, we have the evidence of blessings, feelings of accomplishment, and inner peace."

Barbara W. Winder, “Draw Near unto Me through Obedience,” Ensign, Nov 1985, 95

Friday, May 8, 2009

How to Make Bread Without an Oven

Have you ever wondered how you would make bread without an oven? Wonder no more.

Check out this "Emergency and Outdoor Bread Manual" prepared by Prepared Pantry and learn how to bake bread in a dutch oven and bake bread on the grill. Yummy recipes for biscuits, steamed bread, flatbread, sopaipillas, pancakes, and Trail Syrup are included.

They've also shared food safety tips when living without refrigeration, what to do when the power goes out, and campfire cooking tips.

Thanks Prepared Pantry!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Basic Food Storage Cookbook Now Available in Two Forms

Just finished typing the last of the recipes from the "Basic Food Storage Cookbook" onto this blog. Many thanks for the efforts of the kind people of the South Jordan Utah River Stake in compiling this cookbook and being willing to share with all of us!!!

Best wishes to each of you in your food storage efforts! :)

Recipes, Ideas, Tips, & Information
South Jordan Utah River Stake

Recipes in this cookbook are based on the food products
available at the Home Storage Center.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook",
South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003)

You can also access this cookbook in .pdf form by clicking on the link below:

"BASIC FOOD STORAGE COOKBOOK - Recipes, Ideas, Tips, and Information," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003 - .pdf

Using Powdered Milk

Foods made with powdered milk will have fewer calories and less cholesterol than those made from whole milk. Adding additional milk to the recipe will enhance the nutritive value of the recipe.

In any recipe calling for milk, simply add the dry milk to other dry ingredients. Sift to blend, then add water for the milk called for in the recipe.

Recipes call for many types of milk. All of the following can be made from powdered milk.

1 cup water
1/3 cup powdered milk

1 cup water
2/3 cup powdered milk

1 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Thoroughly chill evaporated milk. Add lemon juice and whip until stiff. Sweeten and flavor as desired. Makes 3 cups.

1/2 cup hot water
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered milk

Blend thoroughly in blender. Can be stored in refrigerator or frozen.

To improve the flavor of powdered milk, mix it half and half with whole or 2% milk. Another suggestion would be to try adding a little sugar or vanilla to enhance the flavor. Let it chill several hours before drinking.

1 cup water
1/3 cup powdered milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 34)

Update on Milk Storage

Ensign March 1997
Welfare Services

Following are questions often asked about long term storage of powdered milk for a family's supply of food:

What kind of milk is best to store? Non-fat milk, either regular or instant, stores well when packaged properly and kept at room temperature or cooler. In the past, many felt that non-instant milk would store better. There is actually no difference in shelf life between instant and non-instant powdered milk.

What are the best containers? Milk stored in airtight, low-oxygen cans has been found to last longer and stay fresher tasting than milk stored in boxes or plastic bags.

How long can powdered milk be stored? Optimal storage life on non-fat dry milk stored in cans at room temperature is two years before noticeably stale flavors begin to develop. However, when stored at cooler temperatures, it can be kept much longer. Rotation of powdered milk may be accomplished through personal use or by giving it to others who will use it promptly.

How much powdered milk should be stored? Guidelines for quantities of dry milk to store are found in the 1979 booklet published by the church called Essentials of Home Production and Storage. The booklet recommends that members store an equivalent of 300 quarts of dry milk, or approximately 75 pounds of dry milk per person per year. However, since that time, as a result of a US government study on maintaining nutritional adequacy during periods of food storage, a second option has been recommended that suggests 64 quarts, or 16 pounds per family member per year. Equivalent to approximately one glass of milk a day, that amount will maintain minimum, health standards. Keep in mind, however, that the needs of children and pregnant or nursing mothers will require more than the minimum amount of stored milk. It is recommended that families who opt to store only the minimum 16 pounds of milk per person should also increase storage of grains from the recommended 300 pounds per person to 400 pounds per person to compensate nutritionally for this change.

How can it be determined if milk is past its prime shelf life? Milk develops off-flavors as it ages. However, it still retains some nutritional value, and unless spoilage has occurred from moisture, insects, rodents or contamination, it is still safe to use.

What can be done with milk that is too old to drink? It is important to think of milk in terms of optimal shelf life rather than waiting until it is too old to use. Older non-fat dry milk can be used in cooking as long as it has been protected from spoilage. If powdered milk has spoiled, however, it can be used as fertilizer in the garden.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 35)

Magic Mix

Magic Mix is a white sauce variation you may make and use to moisten and flavor casserole dishes, vegetables or meat, and may be used in place of canned soups in many recipes. Made ahead and stored in refrigerator, it is fast, easy and economical.

1 1/3 cups (4 cups instant) nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup flour or 1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter

Combine dry milk, flour, and butter or margarine into a large bowl and mix until it looks like coarse ground corn meal. Keep this mix tightly covered in the refrigerator. Makes 5 cups.

White sauce with Magic Mix:
Makes 1 cup
2/3 cup magic mix
1 cup cold water
In saucepan combine Magic Mix and cold water. Stir rapidly over medium heat until it starts to bubble.

White sauce:
There are numerous white sauce variations you may make to moisten and flavor casserole dishes, vegetables, or meat. Try using these in place of canned soups. They are almost as fat and much more economical. The following chart gives the proportions for basic white sauces:

1 cup water
1 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoons dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup water
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 cups water
4 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoons butter or margarine

Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Blend the flour, dry milk powder, salt and pepper and beat into boiling water. Reduce heat, and cook one minute, stirring constantly. Add butter and stir.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 36)

Magic Mix

2 1/3 cups dry milk
1 cup flour or 1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine

Combine dry milk, flour, and margarine in a large bowl and mix until it looks like cornmeal. Keep mix tightly covered in the refrigerator. (Makes 5 cups magic Mix)

NOTE: Magic Mix can be used in many recipes to make food preparation easy and economical. Use Magic Mix for all recipes calling for a white or cream sauce.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 37)

White Sauce

2/3 cup Magic Mix
1 cup cold water

In sauce pan combine Magic Mix and cold water. Stir rapidly over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Makes 1 cup.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 37)

Cream Soup

4 cups water
2 cups Magic Mix
1 cube or 1 teaspoon bouillon granules

Add one or more of the following:
3 cooked carrots, mashed
3 potatoes, cooked and chopped
1 tablespoon cooked chopped onions
1 can chopped spinach
1 can cream style corn
1 tablespoon chopped onion

Combine water, Magic Mix, and bouillon in saucepan. Stir over medium heat until slightly thick. Add desired vegetables. Heat thoroughly. Serves 4.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 37)

Macaroni and Cheese

1 cup white sauce from Magic Mix
1 cup uncooked macaroni
4 to 5 oz. grated cheese (about 1 cup)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt or garlic salt (optional)

Cook macaroni in boiling water until tender. Drain. Combine macaroni, white sauce, cheese and seasoning. Heat through. Serves 4.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 38


1/2 cup sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons cocoa (optional)
1 cup Magic Mix
2 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine Magic Mix, sugar, and cocoa in saucepan and mix well. Add water; stir over medium heat until pudding bubbles. Add vanilla and beat. Cover and cool. Makes 4 1/2 cup servings.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 38)


1 pudding recipe (see above)
1/2 cup milk

Prepare pudding according to directions. Stir in milk and beat until smooth. Pour mixture into ice cube trays or small plastic cups. Insert plastic spoon and freeze until solid.

There can be no friendship without confidence;
And no confidence without integrity.
Samuel Johnson

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 38)

Spice Milk

3 cups dry milk powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 quarts water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Chill. Serves 6.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 39)

Grape Milk

3 cups water
1 1/2 cups dry milk powder
2 1/4 cups grape juice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Chill. Serves 6.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 39)

Tropical Shake

1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, with juice
1 medium banana
1 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons dry milk powder
1 cup water
crushed ice
mint (optional)

Chill all ingredients thoroughly. Blend undrained pineapple for 2 minutes. Add banana and blend until smooth. Blend in milk, then orange juice. Pour over ice. May garnish with mint.

Testing comment: A very refreshing shake.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 39)

Fruit Smoothies

(A good way to use bottled fruit)

2 cups bottled fruit with juice
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup dry milk
1 to 2 drops almond flavoring or 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Put in blender and blend until smooth. Add 1/2 tray ice cubes and blend until smooth. Serves 4.

Variation: To use fresh fruit, use 1 cup of fruit and 1 cup water and sweeten to taste. (Use almond flavoring with cherries and large stone fruits, lemon juice with berries.)

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 40)

Cocoa Mix

15 cups INSTANT powdered milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Makes enough for 10 quarts or 40-1 cup servings. To use the mix, stir 1/2 cup of mix into 1 cup hot water for a warm drink or ice cold water for chocolate milk.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 40)

Orange Banana Milk

1 can (6 oz.) frozen orange juice concentrate
1 medium banana
2 1/2 cups ice water
3 tablespoons dry milk
1 tablespoons sugar or honey

Put in blender and blend until foamy. Try this nutritious drink for breakfast or as a great summertime snack. Serves 4.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 40)

Orange Julius

2 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup crushed ice

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until ice is totally crushed. Makes 3 (6 oz.) servings.

Testing comment: This was quick and easy and a great drink.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 41)

Honey Mints

1 cup warm honey
4 drops oil of peppermint
green food coloring
2 3/4 cups powdered milk

Mix ingredients and knead until all milk is absorbed.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 41)

Tootsie Rolls

1 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup powdered milk

Cook honey to 255 degrees (hard ball). Do not over cook. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Mix cocoa and powdered milk well and stir into honey. Pull like taffy until gloss is gone and roll in rolls.

Stick to your plan until it sticks to you.
Beginners are many, but finishers are few.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 41)

Chocolate Pudding from Dry Milk

1 cup dry milk
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cocoa
dash salt
2 eggs, well beaten
4 cups water

Sift dry ingredients into a heavy saucepan. Mix beaten eggs and water and gradually add to dry mixture, whisking until smooth.

Remove from heat and stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Serve hot or cold.

Testing comment: Very good, especially considering the fact that, except for the eggs, it is fat free.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 42)

Peanut Butter Chews

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup powdered milk

Put all ingredients in a plastic zipper bag and knead until blended. Add more powdered milk if it is not stiff enough. Cut into bit-sized pieces.

Testing comment: Fun for kids to make or to take camping.

Thank goodness for dirty dishes,
They have a tale to tell,
While other folks go hungry,
We're eating very well.
With home and health and happiness
We shouldn't want to fuss,
But by this stack of evidence
God's very good to us.

(Source: "Basic Food Storage Cookbook," South Jordan Utah River Stake, 2003, pg. 42)