Monday, January 24, 2011

Ah, banana bread and winter outerwear...

Well, in this case at least, the title of the post pretty much says it all when it comes to my emergency preparedness efforts last week...

First, as promised, comes the banana bread recipe. The time was ripe (pun totally intended) to use the bananas we had, so I looked for the simplest recipes with the most common on-hand ingredients that I could find. It may have been the very first time ever I had made banana bread, because if I had ever made banana bread before, it was apparently long ago and not very memorable. This banana bread was tasty, although not all of my children wanted to actually taste it. And, despite the fact that Idaho is not exactly the place to expect great access to bananas in an emergency situation, in normal circumstances I figure it would be cheaper to make this recipe than buy a loaf somewhere....

And then came later in the week, when I saw in a flyer that one of the major clothing chainstores in the area was having a sale (if I recall correctly, 60-70% off was advertised) on winter outerwear. I was basically looking for coats for next year for my quickly growing children. Apparently I was not alone, because on the first evening of a three-day sale there wasn't that much to choose from on the racks. Then I figured I would check out a few other stores to see if they had things on sale, and they did have some items on clearance racks, or items on sale that were still too expensive for my taste and/or wallet. So not an entirely profitable outing, but I did get some shopping done. I'm just sharing this info because you might have a better selection in your area, and apparently the best time for winter outerwear sales is now. I gather this from the fact that one of the cashiers, when asked if what they had out was all that was available, replied to the effect that what was out was all there was, that now was the time for Spring merchandise, and they already had some Spring items out. One of the (really disappointing) things that I saw in the outerwear selection of items is that many of them didn't seem to offer that much in terms of warmth. Even if the price is right, if the item is not going to accomplish the desired goal of actually keeping you warm, it doesn't really interest me. That kind of criteria can greatly affect your range of selection... :)

Lastly, and really as an aside, has anyone else noticed that the price of tortillas has gone up? I made tortillas last week (the recipe I use is here) but when I saw more recently that a large package was closer to $5.00 than $4.00, I didn't buy them. Mine aren't as pretty as the ones in the store, (or as uniform in shape, quite frankly) but it's hard to rationalize that they're worth that much more....

Friday, January 14, 2011

Easy biscuit recipe

I found this cornmeal buttermilk biscuit recipe over at Liv Life. They were good and disappeared shortly after they were taken out of the oven. Mine didn't come out as fluffy-looking as the ones on the blog, so I'll have to work on that aspect, but hey, my children and husband liked them, and they have been declared a "keeper". I substituted 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice in 1/2 cup of regular milk for the buttermilk.

I found this recipe through a link on the Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker website, which I tend to visit a lot. I actually have a few recipes that I'm hoping to get to from that site, such as these Panini all'Olio rolls, or these Spoon Rolls, since we're on the subject of breads. And as an added bonus, I have now told you about the recipes and you don't have to wait until I get around to making them to try them yourselves.... :) Thanks to those over at Liv Life and Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for sharing their recipes!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How many hoops would you go through to get a recipe?

For me, it depends on the ease of the recipe. Oh, yeah, and if I think that I will like what I'll be cooking/baking....

You can almost get a recipe by going here. I say almost because when you go to the linked website, it's actually a children's game about muffin-making. I suppose it is geared to help younger children with coordination, etc., because there are girls decorating muffins on a conveyor belt. Ah, everyone needs a little computer-animated fun, right? Thing is, after you decorate a level of muffins, when they show a rack of finished muffins, when you press on it, your prize is a muffin recipe. There are three levels to play, and each finished rack with different colored ribbon will give you a different recipe. Though I don't remember the order that you win which recipe, the three recipes available at the time of this writing are: corn muffins, applesauce muffins, and chocolate muffins. I can't speak for the other two recipes, but I did make the chocolate muffins on Saturday and they were received well by all. They all use pretty basic ingredients and the chocolate ones were easy to make. Ah. You gotta love easy..... :) And for the buttermilk ingredient in the corn muffins I would just substitute regular milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in it....

I tried to just link to the recipes, but no luck. So, while it may be a little annoying to have to go through the game to get to the recipes, I hope you find it worth the effort if you do. (Of course, this could be the way to get your children involved in thinking about recipes if you wanted... :) Anyway, I have found that children's books and websites sometimes have useful, easy recipes that could be useful for food storage because the recipes aren't complicated, and the ingredients are basic. So, a little weird to put an almost link in a post, but it does add variety to my bread-type recipes--and I'm always looking for variety in the flour, oil, and salt category...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

For those who like to win preparedness-y things...

Yeah, you gotta love it when someone just blatantly makes up words in the titles of their blog posts.... :)

But sometimes, you just gotta love it more when you get a chance to win free things (in this case, at least once a month this year) over at Preparedness Pro. The post with all of the helpful and pertinent information is here. It helps your chances if you have a facebook account, but apparently, leaving a comment on the blog's articles will enter you as well.

If you enter, I hope you win--there's a lot of good information and a lot to think about on the blog, so I guess everybody wins.... good luck!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Another recipe for that ground turkey (or beef)

I have mentioned somewhere before that one of the things we do to make the most of our dollars is to buy ground turkey in 3 lb. packages and brown and freeze it for future meals. Sometimes when it is first opened, I make a meatloaf (recipe here). And sometimes I make a recipe passed down from one of my grandmothers, which I will put below for your consideration. I love it because it has few ingredients, and is one of my favorite "comfort foods". Thanks to my best source (Mom) for compiling the family recipe book, and here is the recipe :

Swedish Meat "Balls"
1 1/2-2 lbs ground meat
1 medium onion, chopped
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup bread crumbs or quick oats
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix thoroughly. My grandmother always made them into patties about palm size and 1 inch thick.
Heat skillet and add a little oil or shortening. Brown on med. high about 5 min. each side. Remove from pan. Melt 3 TBS shortening (or use oil) in pan. Add 1/3 cup flour and brown, scraping loose browned meat crumbs. Add 1 cup cold milk and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 minutes. Add water to desired consistency. Return meat to gravy and simmer 20 minutes.

Editorial note from the cookbook: If you don't like the meat soaked in gravy, cook 12 minutes each side and serve separately.

End of recipe.

Ok, well--I haven't exactly made them like my mother does (and my meat "balls" aren't as good as hers, either) but my children like them. Mine have differed in the following ways:

--I have yet to add poultry seasoning to the meatballs. I will fix that.
--I browned the meatballs and made the gravy as directed. Then I put the meatballs into a crockpot, poured the gravy over the meatballs, and let it cook for a few hours.
--I used onion powder instead of fresh onion.

My family loves these. Just thought I'd share because they are easy, not many ingredients (I would use powdered milk if fresh weren't available), and hey, I found a way to use my crockpot, for them too, so win-win-win. If you try them, I hope you enjoy them...and I hope everyone is having a great New Year!