Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crockpot Chili

I've been playing with this chili recipe. It's a good recipe because it can be made completely from stored items, assuming you have meat in the freezer.

3 cans pinto beans and 1 can kidney beans (I drained and rinsed 3 cans).

1 quart home-bottled tomatoes AND 1 small can diced tomatoes (could use 1 lg and 1 small can diced tomatoes if you don't have any home-bottled quarts).

1 small can of tomato sauce

1 pound hamburger, cooked with onion (I used dried onions)

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

4 teaspoons chili powder

1 bay leaf

more dried onions (about 1/4 cup)

water, amount to be determined once everything is in the crockpot.

Instructions: Put all ingredients in a crockpot. It will be a little thick because it won't have much fluid in it. Add water to reach desired thickness. Cook on low setting for about 6-8 hours.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bread Pans

I've been needing to buy 2 more bread loaf pans. I chose an expensive pan (Abt $15 each) sold at my local Bosch kitchen store. I couldn't be happier with what I chose. The bread cooked evenly, browned a little on the sides and bottom (but not too much), and came out easily.

This is an aluminized steel pan, NOT a non-stick pan. It is heavy duty and has a 25-year limited warranty. And, it can go in the dishwasher.

It's called Chicago Metallic Commercial. Here are the specs on the pan from

(I think Chicago Metallic also makes a nonstick pan, as well as a lot of other baking items. I'm happy enough with it that I'd buy again!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tip Abouty Oxygen Packs

I've learned a lesson from the School of Hard Knocks, and I thought I'd pass it along.

As you know, an oxygen pack has to be used in each #10 can when dry pack canning (except in those cans which contain sugar). The last two times I have bought my dry pack canning supplies at my local LDS Cannery for use at home with the home canning machine, I have made a HUGE mistake.

The mistake is that I had the volunteer vacuum seal ALL the oxygen packets in ONE of those airtight dry pack pouches. Once that pouch had been opened, the oxygen packs needed to be used quickly or they would have been rendered useless by having been activated. Thus, I was forced to can all my stuff at one time even though I had use of the home canner for 3-4 days.

So, the lesson I learned is that when doing large amounts of dry pack canning at home, I will ask the volunteer at the cannery to divide up my oxygen packs into smaller bunches and then seal each bunch in a separate pouch. This will allow me to open each pouch as needed and spread my canning out over the 3-4 days that I have use of the at-home canning machine.

Brilliant, eh?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vital Wheat Gluten in Bulk

I have been very happy with the way Vital Wheat Gluten makes homemade whole wheat bread very light and fluffy. Initially I started using it as an experiment, so I only purchased it in small containers. Now that I know that I like it, I'm ready to buy in bulk.

I have found two places that carry it in bulk.

50-pound bag for $78.99 from Kitchen Kneads (Ogden, Utah).
50-pound bag for $91.03 from Blue Chip Group (Salt Lake City, Utah).

I'd like to find it in a 25 pound bag, if possible, or split and order with someone. My bread recipe calls for 2/3 of a cup, so even 25 pounds will take a while to go through.

What I don't know is the shelf life of the product or how well it would can in a #10 can. I do know that milled grains have a shorter shelf life than whole grains. I may opt to put it in a bucket with a Gamma lid.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Corn Muffins & Egg Powder

I just got whole egg powder at the preparedness store. I thought it would be a nice thing to store. I wondered if it would change the quality to recipes. So far I have tried a cookie mix and corn bread from scratch. Both have turned out great. What kind of powder have you bought and do you like it?

Corn Muffins

1 cup flour

4 tbsp sugar

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup corn meal

1 egg or (1 tbsp of egg powder with 3 tbsp water)

1 cup milk

¼ cup vegetable oil


Sift flour with sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in corn meal. Beat egg slightly. Add milk and oil. Combine with dry ingredients, stirring until moist.

Bake at 425’ for 10 minutes

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dry Packing with Kids

The last time we dry packed at home, the kids wanted to help a lot. That was fine, except we had sugar everywhere (that's the point at which the kids got banished from the kitchen!) I got smarter this time and planned some kid-friendly tasks!

Putting the can inside a wheat-filled bowl allowed Abby to scoop the wheat into the can without getting wheat everywhere. She was happy, and I was happy.

Abby's job was to put the labels on all the cans.

Abby was a very good box organizer. She'd line empty boxes up for her dad and hold down the flaps for me while I taped up the boxes. She really did help a lot that day and she made the job go by faster.

Monday, March 9, 2009


My mom has been experimenting with sprouting. She has a sprouting kit but she told me I could do it with a canning jar, a canning ring, and a clean cut-up nylon. I got online and found this site. And, I've been trying it out.

In one jar I used 1/2 cup white wheat (soaked overnight in water beforehand) and in the other jar 1/2 cup dry lentils (soaked about 4-5 hours in water beforehand). I only soaked the lentils about 4-5 hours because they started to crack open and I wondered if they had had enough water.

I've been rinsing them twice a day as instructed. The nylon assists with draining the water.

My mom told me to cover them up to limit sunlight.

Here are the lentil sprouts after 12 hours. After 2 days, their tails were about 1/2 inch long.

The wheat didn't progress as quickly as the lentils (photo at 12 hours). The wheat tails were about 1/4 inch after 2 days.

What I've learned so far:
  • After 2 days, the lentils have expanded and now fill 3/4 of the canning jar. I suspect that my initial 1/2 cup of dry lentils was too much to begin with. They are not finished sprouting yet, so I anticipate that I'll have to remove some.

  • The lentil sprouts taste a lot like the typical salad sprouts that you buy in the store (alfalfa?) I like the taste and want to try using them on salads or in wraps.

  • Wheat sprouts taste like wheat. So far I'm not too impressed with their taste.

  • Mung beans are the type of sprouts used in Chinese dishes. So, now I'm on the hunt for mung beans. Blue Chip Group sells them in bulk (in Salt Lake). I am hoping to find a distributor closer, maybe at a specialty store.

Mom's Homemade Granola

I decided to make granola today but didn't have all the ingredients to experiment with Debi's new recipe.

So, I just went with the one I've always used. This is my mom's recipe, and I've always liked it. You can certainly improvise if you want by substituting your favorite items in it.

Put dry ingredients in a very large bowl and mix together:
14 c. rolled oats (use mainly whole oats but a few cups of quick won't hurt)
2 c. wheat germ
2 c. oat bran
8 oz. package sliced, unsalted almonds
(If I am out of wheat germ and oat bran, I just use 18 cups of oats; you could also use seeds or whatever else you wanted to try).

In a separate bowl, mix the following together:
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon each of salt and vanilla
3/4 cup oil (I use canola)
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup honey or molasses (I use honey)
Almond extract. Amount used depends on how much you like the flavor of it. I have found that 1 Tablespoon gives the granola a hint of flavor, 1 1/2 Tablespoons gives more than a hint, and 2 Tablespoons makes the flavoring pronounced. I tend to stick with 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons.

When the wet ingredients are all mixed together, pour over and mix into the dry ingredients. Spread onto 2 cookie sheets. Bake at about 285. I rotate the pans from top to bottom about every 20-30 minutes and stir the granola each time. Total baking time is about 2 to 2 1/2 hours; You want it golden and a little crunchy but not dark.

Other ideas: I have put about 1 pound of raisins in AFTER baking. I have found that baking the raisins makes them too hard. You could experiment with dried apples, coconut, Craisens, or other nuts and fruits. Debi put Craisens in her batch and I really liked it, so I am going to try that as soon as I buy some!

Update: This is the second time I've made this granola since moving into our new house (thus a different oven). I think it bakes differently in an electric oven than in a gas. I'm almost 2 hours into baking and it's looking almost done and I've just dropped the temp to about 240 degrees. So, if you make this recipe, watch it closely and adjust cooking time and/or temp if you feel it is needed, and stir more frequently as it nears the end.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

South of the Border Sandwiches

This recipe is easy and the sandwiches taste great

French bread, cut into 1" thick slices (I made mine with whole wheat bread)
½ cup olives chopped
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup lite mayo
1/3 cup nonfat sour cream
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
¾ to 1 lb. turkey, thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 ripe avocados, sliced
¾ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
¾ cup pepper jack or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Directions:In a bowl, combine olives, chili powder, cumin, and salt; set aside 2 T. of this mixture. Add the mayo, sour cream, and green onions to the remaining olive mixture. Place bread on an ungreased baking sheet and spread 1 T. of the mayo mixture on each slice. Top w/slices of turkey and tomatoes. Spread w/another T. of mayo mixture. Top W/ avocados and cheeses. Sprinkle w/the reserved 2 T. of olive mixture. Bake @ 350 for 15 min. Makes 8-10 serv.

Panko-Crusted Pork Chops with Creamy Herb Dressing

I made these the other night and LOVED them!

Makes 2 servings


2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 large egg white
1/3 cup panko (I found panko at smiths in the oriental section)
2 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1 teaspoon canola oilcooking spray


1 tablespoon chopped green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonaise
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

To prepare pork, preheat oven to 450°. Combine first 6 ingredients in a shallow dish. Combine soy sauce and egg white in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place panko in a shallow dish.
Dredge pork in flour mixture; dip in egg mixture. Dredge in panko. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan; cook 1 minute on each side. Place pork on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 6 minutes or until done.
To prepare dressing, combine onions and the remaining ingredients. Serve dressing with pork.