Sunday, November 29, 2009

Neighborhood Christmas Food Drive in Lieu of Neighbor Gifts

This year our neighborhood is trying something different...and fun. Love it!!!

Dear Friends and Neighbors

At Christmas time we like to give
to friends and neighbors dear,
but maybe we could think of those
less fortunate this year.

Instead of giving neighbor gifts
we'll fill the Food Bank's shelves. ...
Let's warm the hearts of those in need
like Santa's little elves.

As friends we'll join together
and bring food in cans galore,
non-perishables are very best
because of how they store.

Monday Night, December ____
will be the time we meet,
from 6 - 7:30
it's cocoa, donuts & heat.

is where we're going to be.
Dress up warm, we'll be outside
and bring the family.

But if you cannot make it -
no big deal, you see,
we'll still be glad to take your food
to the Food Bank charity!

Just drop it off on __________'s porch
or _____________'s will do,
up to a week beyond the date -
Merry Christmas to YOU!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Rest of the Story...

Perhaps you remember Lynn Crapo who did a guest post earlier this year. She sent me an email a few days ago and updated me on her situation. I requested her permission to share it on this blog so that other readers may be uplifted by her faith and ability to count her blessings. Thanks again for sharing Lynn! You are INSPIRING! We'll keep you and your family in our prayers.

Hi there.

I am sure you remember the guest post I did for you back in Feb. of this year.

Life has been fast paced and hectic since then and I almost forgot about it (the post and our no spend month) until just today.

My husband DID actually lose his job. A little earlier than we expected. He went to work one day back in August and was surprised to find that the entire department had been laid off..........just like that. No warning. The whole place was in a shock. They actually took all the employees jobs from that department and gave them to a company in the Philippines to do for them. It was kind of we have MANY members of our ward from the Philippines over here searching for work. They are taking any job they can to provide for their families they left behind. It's so sad. And now my husband and many others have lost their jobs to those who are there. It's so strange.

Anyway.....I just wanted to update you, as you had always asked how we were doing and were so kind with your comments.

I wanted to let you know how blessed I feel. I know. I bet you weren't expecting that.

But I do.

My dad (64 years young) just had a heart attack last Thursday. My mom has been with him every day in the hospital. She is plum worn out. But she made the drive up here (2 hours) to pick up my brother from the airport with our help, (flew in from England) to go and surprise my dad with a visit. We are so excited and can't wait to hear how that surprise went.

You brother, Mike who just came over here, is a Bishop there in his ward. Earlier this year he suffered a brain infection and went crazy. He almost lost his life. It was a horrible and scary time for the entire ward, and his wife and kids. And of course the rest of us here, feeling helpless so many miles away. But my dad and my mom did what they could to get over there to say their good byes. The doctors didn't know if he would make it.

But he did. With my dad's love and help. (And of course a priesthood blessing and loads of people praying for him.) He has come SO far in his physiotherapy. My brother had to "show" his brain how to read and write all over again.

Now here he is.....returning the "favor" for my dad. : D I can't wait to hear how that meeting went. My dad is not eating these days, as it's too hard on his heart to do anything since the attack.

However, with prayers and a blessing, my dad is also receiving a miracle. You see......his heart is creating it's only blood vessels around the area that is 100% blocked. These little tiny blood vessels that are new are working like mad to grow and mature and pump his blood for all it's worth.

I feel SO blessed.

Now for one more thought on being blessed.......

I just remembered my post for your blog tonight...........when my mom and brother and my brother in law who drove my mom up to the airport........... came over for a hot meal (it's SO cold these days) before I sent them on their way back home (2 hours drive again). I felt blessed when I realized that all I had to do was to go down to our basement and get what I needed from our food storage. IT was all there. No worries for things needed to feed others.


I have faith that things will work out. It's been 4 months now that my husband was laid off........but things will get better. We know it.

I just had to share this with you.

Thanks again for all you do.

Lynn Crapo

Friday, November 20, 2009

Edible Thanksgiving Favors

If you didn't get a chance to see Alisa Bangerter demonstrate how to make these cute edible Thanksgiving favors on KSL Studio 5, have fun watching it here:

Studio 5 Holiday, Party and Ideas Contributor Alisa Bangerter shares six fun ideas.

Fall Leaf:
Divide homemade or purchased sugar cookie dough into three or four portions. Color each portion a fall color such as red, orange, terra cotta, copper, olive green, yellow, tan, etc. using paste food color. For brown color, use cocoa powder. For each cookie, press together several colors of dough and roll out so the colors mix slightly and the dough has a variegated look. Cut using a leaf shaped cookie cutter. Bake and cool. If desired, use melted chocolate or chocolate icing and a pastry bag with a writing tip to write the name of each guest on a cookie. Place a cookie at each place setting with several candy acorns. Tip: dust cookies with gold luster dust for a beautiful sheen. Luster dust is available at baking supply stores.

Candy Acorn:
Mix together 1 cup of creamy peanut butter, ½ cup of margarine and 3 cups powdered sugar and mix well into a soft dough. Roll a 1" ball of dough into an acorn shape. Dip the top of the dough shape into melted chocolate or almond bark and press into finely chopped nuts to form the acorn cap. Break a stick pretzel in half and insert in top to create acorn stem. Set on was paper until chocolate has set. Display at each place setting with leaf cookie.

Indian Corn:
Create a dry mix of items that would resemble Indian corn with a mixture of fall colors. Use items such as: cold cereal, popcorn, nuts, candies, dried fruits, etc. Take a square (approximately 12" square for a large favor) of cellophane and place approximately 1 cup of mix in the center. Tuck cellophane around mix and fold in back if needed to wrap the mix into an oblong shape. Tie cellophane closed with tan string. Cut cornhusks (available in the Mexican food isle of grocery stores) into long strips with pointed ends. Wrap ends on corn husks around end of mix and tie with string. Wrap ends with a ribbon and tie a bow. Attach a nametag or small photograph if desired and set at each place setting.

Place sugar ice cream cones in a steamer basket over hot water. Let each cone steam for a few minutes which will soften it. Carefully bend end up to form a cornucopia shape. Cone will harden quickly. Fill with a mixture of fruit shaped candies, nuts, pretzels, etc. If desired, place a ribbon around the opening of the cornucopia and attach a tiny name tag to serve as a place card.

Pilgrim Hat:
Dip large marshmallows in melted chocolate or almond bark. Set onto flat round chocolate covered cookies (chocolate covered graham rounds, fudge-striped cookies, chocolate ginger snaps, chocolate wafers, etc.). Let set until chocolate is hardened. Wrap marshmallow "hat brim" with a black ribbon. Using a rolling pin, roll out a yellow Starburst candy and cut into a square to form a "buckle". Attach to ribbon with a tiny amount of melted chocolate or icing.

Dip the bottom of a chocolate crème drop candy into melted chocolate or almond bark. Immediately attach the candy to the bottom of a leaf shaped or round cookie (I used Dare brand maple leaf crème cookies or you can use any round type cookie). Attach a candy corn point down to the top of the crème drop using melted chocolate. Attach a red hot candy to the side of the candy corn to become a "wattle". Adhere a small pretzel under the crème drop to create "feet". (Option: Instead of a crème drop you could also use a chocolate covered cherry, an unwrapped caramel, an unwrapped peanut butter cup or any other chocolate covered candy about 1" in diameter.)

(Source: KSL Studio 5)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Preparing for Holiday Gatherings

I love this time of year with Thanksgiving fast approaching and Christmas just around the corner. Some of my happiest memories include holiday gatherings with family and friends. By planning and preparing now to entertain, we can help "make the season bright" for others as well as ourselves.

In an article entitled "Please Be Seated" by Shari Well, she writes, "People often avoid entertaining because they assume it's too expensive, too time consuming, and possibly outdated. But psychologists tell us that it is important for our mental and emotional health to gather friends at the dinner table and entertain. If you keep entertaining simple and fun, it can become a wonderful family tradition."

Shari shares tips on:
  • Getting Organized for a Party
  • Making Purchasing Decisions
  • "Painting" the Table
  • "Painting" the Plate
  • Desserts
She concludes with, "After working all week, many may not feel like entertaining. Yes, it's a little extra work, but there are many benefits. You have an outlet for creativity, you will form closer friendships and family relationships, and you'll have an opportunity to make new friends. Remember to cook with your heart and record the memories and the recipes for your loved ones."

(Source: Shari Wells, "Please Be Seated", LDS Living Magazine)

For some other fun holiday gathering ideas check out these posts from Skip To My Lou:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Great Christmas Gift List

Someone has put together a "Great Christmas Gift List" for 72-hour kits at:

Friday, November 13, 2009

One Year Anniversary

I've learned a lot about preparedness and food storage during this past year and hope you have, too. Here are some good reminders from last year's post:

Think about what you are already doing and what you have already in store.
Make an inventory of what you have.
Make a list of what you need.

Decide what you want to work on (ie. three-month supply, drinking water, financial reserve, longer-term supply, 72 hour kit, etc.)
Set reasonable goals (ie. weekly plan, monthly plan)

We can't do everything all at once, but we can do something.
Begin today!

Best wishes in your quest to prepare and enjoy the peace that preparedness brings!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Tutorial)

Got pumpkin seeds? We do! This year I decided to try roasting some (never have before.) So I got online and looked at a variety of recipes and kind of came up with one of my own.

As we were carving our pumpkins from our garden Saturday afternoon, I saved about two cups of seeds. I carefully washed and rinsed them in a colander with small holes and let them drain. Then I lined my cookie sheet with a non-stick cooking sheet and spread out the seeds to dry.

One recipe I read recommended letting the seeds air-dry for 24 hours. (My drying time turned into two days.) This step helped make it easier to clean the pumpkin residue from the seeds. Some people prefer the extra pumpkin flavor, so leaving it on is entirely optional.

2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or 1 teaspoon: cayenne, garlic powder, cumin, curry, any favorite spice)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground sea salt

Remove seeds from pumpkin and rinse with water to remove any remaining pulp.

Spread seeds on a cookie sheet and let dry 24 hours.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix oil with spices and/or salt and toss mixture with seeds.

Spread coated seeds over a baking sheet.

Bake seeds approximately 25 minutes or until crisp and very lightly browned,

tossing occasionally.

Let cool. Makes 2 cups.

2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or 1 teaspoon: cayenne, garlic powder, cumin, curry, any favorite spice)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground sea salt

Remove seeds from pumpkin and rinse with water to remove any remaining pulp. Spread seeds on a cookie sheet and let dry 24 hours.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix oil with spices and/or salt and toss mixture with seeds. Spread coated seeds over a baking sheet. Bake seeds approximately 25 minutes or until crisp and very lightly browned, tossing occasionally. Let cool. Makes 2 cups.

Do you have a favorite Pumpkin Seed recipe?