Apr 29, 2017

Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category


Monday, August 11th, 2014

Thanks very much to the Mormon Channel Daily, and the very welcoming Jennifer Stag, for the fun opportunity to be interviewed and discuss a bit of food storage philosophy. If curious (thanks to timely tech support from Elizabeth) all you need to do is click on the highlighted link to hear the broadcast titled “Preparing Your Own Home Storage.”

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Building food storage for yourself or family that helps to simplify part of the daily process is actually pretty easy, when based on the inspired direction from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m so grateful for the specific guidance which has consistently helped me to get meals on the table, in less time and with less money!


Friday, March 7th, 2014

Do you have cleaning products in your storage? I do!

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Multiples of these two products are always on hand at my house because I’m using them every single day. I found this recipe online years ago and it’s become my all time favorite, secret weapon, for basically cleaning every surface, and it costs practically nothing.

I write the cleaning recipe right on the spray bottle. Labeled “granite cleaner” to help my family remember what works safely on our counters…and hopefully what doesn’t.

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Just in case that’s not very clear…here’s the recipe.

1/4 cup rubbing alcohol

few drops Dawn dish soap (like maybe a teaspoon)

1 quart water

That’s it. Fill your bottle with those three ingredients and then start spraying!

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I’ve been using this cleaner on our dining table and white leather chairs every day, for over a year, with absolutely no damage to either finish:)

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Love how it makes the cupboards shine and removes finger prints in one quick swipe.

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P.S. This is where I stash all my food storage meal bins. Using my three-month supply every day means I want to have all those canned, dried, and bottled ingredients real handy. Soooo nice to not have to trot down to the basement when I’m struggling to throw down a meal.

P.S.S Mike’s First Vision painting in the background. Love that too!

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As I said before, this cleaner is perfect for granite counters. In fact, it was after one of my granite suppliers told me that Windex was too harsh for granite that I did my research and learned about this very mild, but highly effective, solution.

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For cleaning, oh endlessly cleaning, the refrigerator doors, I wipe the messiest areas near the handles with a bit of straight Dawn to quickly break down the grease. Then I spritz on some of my magic spray and wipe dry. Suddenly the fridge is streak free and sparkling clean for then next…twenty to thirty minutes.

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It also works great on our stainless steel counters and tile. (This is what happens if your backsplash takes steroids.) (So sad.)

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I also use it to clean and polish the bathroom mirrors, counters, sinks, and faucets. Cleans AND kills germs!

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Plus, the outside of that…er…everything but the inside bowl.

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We use it for our windows.

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Last but certainly not least, come the hardwood floors. I have no idea why vinegar is still so often suggested as the perfect cleaner for wood. The acetic acid in vinegar eventually dulls the finish. Who needs that? I lightly spray a small area and then quickly run a dry mop over the damp section to clean and shine in one easy step. Works. So. Well. The floors are clean and shiny with zero residue or film that could attract dirt. Honestly makes me so happy.

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So there it is! My testimony of a super inexpensive multipurpose cleaner, which can safely be used throughout the entire house, and costs almost nothing. Really nice to not have to fuss around with multiple products. A big Saturday style cleaning, including numerous windows, inside and out, used only half of the bottle.

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I wish everything were this easy!

Peanut Butter Meltaways

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Little background: Dearest friend, Melanie, tells me all the time, and I mean ALL THE TIME, that she doesn’t cook. Then she emails me this recipe with glowing reports about “so easy” and “so good”  stating that she had made almost 70 of these little pups.  Right then, I KNEW. I had to stop what I was doing, march straight into the kitchen, and start baking. Besides, she had me at four ingredients!

Fresh Ingredients

1 egg

Storage Ingredients

1 cup peanut butter (I used Adams 100% Natural Crunchy PB)

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

*How is this even possible? I was sure Melanie had forgotten to mention the flour, but nope, it really works!

Cream peanut butter and sugar.

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Add the egg and baking soda.

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Mix and don’t worry that it looks like, well, nothing. (I was really worried.)

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Form into small balls, press with a fork and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Be really careful when moving them to a cooling rack. Delicate as shortbread, twice as yummy. Using peanut butter with no added salt, I experimented with sprinkling a tiny bit of sea salt on top, just before baking.

Oh man.

THIS is one dangerous cookie!

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I’m going to need more peanut butter in my food storage.


Monday, February 4th, 2013

Hey dear friends! Sorry to have been MIA for so many months. All sorts of excuses, but only the top three, and clearly in order of importance, include the sudden passing of a loved one, a robbery, and total remodel of our home. I’m happy to be back in the swing of things and hopefully able to share a bit, now and again. Maybe on a more regular basis. Thank you for your patience.

Today, my wonderful friend, Monique, made a house call, just to show me how to make her absolutely PERFECT salted caramel popcorn. No kidding, this is for sure the best flavored popcorn I’ve ever tasted and way more interesting than the typical variations of caramel, white chocolate, or anything cheese. Please.

From your food storage you’ll need a little of this

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and one of these options.

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First time I made Monique’s recipe I air popped my own good quality corn, adding plenty of butter and salt. Now that I’ve experimented a couple of times, I can definitely say that the commercially prepared salted popcorn is for sure the best way to go with this recipe. Turns out all that weird-artificiallyflavored-badforyou-saltandbutter-coating tastes incredible when paired with Monique’s PERFECT caramel. AND IT’S SO STINKIN EASY. (Bwaaaahahaaaa)

Yes,  I am really going to suggest that this, salted caramel popcorn, should be part of any viable food storage. Today’s emergency was that I wanted to take a little family home evening treat to my visiting teaching sista’s and this recipe saved me!

Fresh Ingredients

1/2 cup butter

Storage Ingredients

11 cups of popped, buttered and salted, popcorn. If you’re using microwave popcorn you should probably pop two packages per recipe.

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2  cups mini marshmallows

Carefully melt the butter on medium heat and then add the brown sugar and marshmallows.


Stir just until barely blended and quickly remove from heat.


Butter a large mixing bowl, fill with your popped corn, and then drizzle on the hot caramel sauce.

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Preparing Monique’s caramel and mixing it with the popcorn will take about 5 minutes.

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And today, that’s about all the time I had:)

*If you want to be especially thoughtful, and who doesn’t, make sure to sift out all the un-popped kernels of corn before you stir in the caramel sauce. (Sort of ruins the experience when you almost crack a tooth.) Quickest way to do this is to simply pour your microwave corn into a bowl, give it a little shake, gently stir it around a couple of times, make a wish (jk) and then spooning from the top, measure out your 10 cups. All the little duds will have dropped to the bottom. Safety first!


Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I totally forgot to prepare a dessert for a dear friend’s open house. It was Sunday morning, with zero fun ingredients on hand, and exactly one hour before we needed to leave for sacrament meeting. Never mind that I still had the last minute details to pull together for my Relief Society lesson. Been there? Of course not.


Food storage and Teresa’s terrific recipe saved the day! The first step was to get my trusty dehydrated apples softening and the oven preheating to 350 degrees.

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Loosely measuring out 3 to 4 cups of apple chips, I poured in boiling water and then covered the bowl with foil to hustle the re-hydration process.

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Basic dry ingredients were whisked together in one bowl with wet ingredients in another.

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A softened stick of butter was quickly smooshed into the dry ingredients,

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and then everything was combined, barely mixed together, and dumped into an oiled 9 x 13 cake pan.

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Apples were drained and spooned on top of the batter.

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Then I tossed together the streusel topping and spooned it over the apples. 45 minutes in the oven and the fruit cobbler looked like this and we bolted for the door.

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This version of Teresa’s fruit cobbler tastes like warm, fluffy, pound cake with a layer of apple pie on top. When I asked Lizzie she said, “That’s intense!” and “I like it!”

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Fresh Ingredients

1 cup butter, divided

2 eggs

1 cup milk

Storage Ingredients

3-4 cups dehydrated apples *or substitute with 3-4 cups canned or fresh fruit

3 1/2 cups white flour, divided

2 1/2 cups sugar, divided

2 teaspoons baking powder

2/3 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cover dehydrated apples with boiling water. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix 2 cups flour and 1 cup sugar with baking powder and salt. Cut in 1/2 cup butter. Whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla and lightly stir into the dry ingredients and butter mixture. Ignoring all the lumps, pour batter into greased 9 x 13 pan. Drain fruit and layer on top of batter. For streusel, mix remaining 1  1/2 cups of flour and 1  1/2 cups of sugar with 1/2 cup butter and cinnamon until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter and fruit. Bake 45 minutes, until cake layer tests done and top is lightly toasted.


Friday, June 15th, 2012

This summer I plan to focus on salads for our Sunday family dinners. Trying to develop some healthier habits. Adding a side of fish, grilled chicken, or shredded pork will hopefully make satisfying meals, but much lighter than the standard meat and potatoes.

You can see our version of an Asian salad meal if you go here.

A few weeks ago I found another great salad recipe on Food Network. It’s called Massaged Kale Salad and even though the name is a tiny bit weird, the salad is INCREDIBLE! Read the original comments and you’ll see that this recipe is often referred to as “salad crack”. Honestly, I have no idea what they’re talking about…but…I’m pretty sure I agree:)

Because three of us can easily polish off a single recipe, I’ve learned to always double the original. In case you’re like me, and haven’t prepared kale before, I’m going to walk you through the steps.

Wash a large bunch of fresh kale and then shake or spin dry the leaves. Snap off the long stalks and discard.

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Fold each leaf in half lengthwise and trim out the center rib.

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Bundle leaves together and cut into 1/2″ thin slices.

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Next, mix together the simple, wonderful, nummy salad dressing. Note: most of these ingredients could be found in your awesome food storage!

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Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Fresh Ingredients

1 bunch kale

1 lemon, juiced

Storage Ingredients

1/4 cup light olive oil

2 teaspoons honey

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon course ground black pepper

Lightly whisk all dressing ingredients together and drizzle over the bowl of cleaned and chopped kale.

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Toss like crazy.

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Lots more than that, please.

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Keep going. Remember, they called it massaged kale. Ew.

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Every piece has to be covered…

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Then, you just add sliced mango, or any combination of fruit, plus some nuts, if you like.

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Fresh mangoes, red grapes, and glazed pecans were tonight’s combination. The glazed pecans were prepared using this recipe. Mangoes, strawberries, avocado, and toasted almonds makes another excellent variation. If you love feta or gorgonzola, by all means throw some cheese on top!

Besides the fact that this salad tastes soooo great, is loaded with healthy color and vitamins, and always gets rave reviews, THE WHOLE THING CAN BE MADE AHEAD OF TIME! Can you believe it? It’s true! Finally! A wonderful green salad that can be fully prepared and even dressed ahead of time. Like 24 hours! I could weep. At first I couldn’t believe it but after enjoying the leftovers on the second day (which incidentally has only been possible one time, because it’s that good) I found that the leaves were just as nice, and the richness of the overall flavor maybe even improved, having had more time to marinate.

So there you have it! Big thanks to Aarti at the Food Network. My family thanks you, my friends thank you, and all the guests at the last baby shower thank you.


Thursday, March 1st, 2012

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Oh baby.

THIS has become our VERY favorite “roll” recipe. I make the dough up into these round braids just because I like the lovely presentation. It’s something a little different, maybe fancier, than a typical knot or crescent roll, and in less time. Just over a year ago, I shared the original recipe here. But I’ve made a few changes that have improved the texture so that now each bite is

a      pillow     soft      morsel      of      heaven.

Too much? Hey, survey says! The less romantic detail is that now the recipe uses a bit more of my food storage and I swear they taste better. And speaking of taste, most people are not aware that there is corn meal in the mix. They just love the richness of the flavor, and don’t know why. Are you drooling yet?

Last thing, before I get into the recipe, and this may be the most important detail of all, is that this recipe is idiot proof. You know me and my many sad baking adventures. A big big part of why I love this recipe is that it works EVERY TIME. Even I can’t seem to ruin it! Children can make them.

These specific gorgeous wreaths were made by Lizzie (15) and her chum, Sarah, to be served a few days later at a special YW dinner. In spite of Lizzie being on a ridiculous whining and complaining jag that day, the two teenagers were able to knock out the whole production and get the formed dough into the freezer in no time. Our plan was that we/they in the teaching-moment-jungle (as it turned out) would get the wreaths prepared ahead of time. Regardless of my schedule, I could manage pulling the dough out of the freezer, late morning, on the day of the event, so that the dough would have plenty of time to thaw and rise. In spite of a crazy busy day, we were able to share piping-hot-beautiful-yummy-wonderfulness with no mess, no dishes, and no hassle. Hallelujah!

Fresh Ingredients

1/2 cup butter

*extra butter for brushing on the dough, before and after baking, and you would be dumb not to:)

2 eggs, whisked

Storage Ingredients

6 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup powdered milk

1 cup instant potato flakes

5 cups flour

1 cup cornmeal

2 tablespoons instant yeast

1. Heat 2 1/4 cups of water in a pot on the stove.  (Microwave would probably work.) Add the sugar, salt, powdered milk, and butter. When the mixture is almost ready to boil stir in the instant potato flakes. As soon as the potatoes have rehydrate, pour them into your mixer and allow to cool completely. This is when you can work on preparing the other ingredients…and changing the laundry…and emptying the dishwasher…while the teenagers waste time on Face Book. You know.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients: flour, corn meal, and instant yeast.

4. When the potato mixture has cooled, stir in the 2 whisked eggs. Then add the flour/cornmeal/yeast combination and knead for 15 minutes. Form as you prefer and brush with melted butter.

5. Allow to rise for about 90 minutes, or cover with plastic and freeze for later use.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, depending on how the dough has been formed. Brush with additional melted butter (or frost*) before serving.

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*Just thought I would mention that this dough makes a bangin’ cinnamon roll.

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And here we have the frozen wreaths,

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and after they’ve been thawing and rising in a nice warm spot for about 4-6 hours,

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and straight from the oven, ready to be brushed with butter, and then off to our event.

When Lizzie came home that night she seemed genuinely surprised that the girls and adult leaders had enjoyed the wreaths as much as they did. She said they went a little nuts. Respectfully. Isn’t that what we’re after, after all? Bread that just makes people SUPER HAPPY!

Peace out


Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

I’m always encouraging (badgering) people to make room for their food storage, even if it means parting with some of the endless craft supplies. But throwing things out can be difficult. Here’s a suggestion for re-purposing and using up some of those miscellaneous odds and ends.

This idea came to me in the grocery store while I was shopping for some wrapping supplies. Can you believe the cost of fancy gift bags and ribbons? Yikes. Completely put off, I headed home, determined to find something that would work just as well.

In the spirit of “brown paper packages tied up with string” I settled on using up a little hem tape, ric-rac, and bias tape to trim this box.

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Then I remembered my stash of old buttons. I’m keeping them because “I might really need them later” but really, I’m just keeping them.

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These seemed like a close enough match and I found random little felt guys to coordinate. Wrapping angels!

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Now, a normal person would KNOW where their 3 glue guns were stored, but I actually had to get out a needle and thread.

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Totally insecure about my crafting abilities, the compliments from friends at the baby shower were greatly appreciated.


Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Thanks to my daughter, Sarah, our new favorite salad is this spinach and blueberry number.

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The dressing is so simple and yet I get asked for the recipe every time it’s served:)

I think Sarah found the recipe for the salad dressing somewhere on Pinterest. I found the ingredients in my food storage.

Basic Balsamic Salad Dressing

Storage Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1-2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Blueberries and Pears Spinach Salad

Fresh Ingredients

baby spinach leaves

Gorgonzola cheese crumbles

toasted pine nuts


pears, thinly sliced


Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

A friend, with a lactose intolerant husband, sent in a message today asking if I had any suggestions for substitutions in recipes that call for cream of whatever soups. I shot back something I read only last night about using instant potato flakes prepared with chicken broth as a general thickener, gravy base, or soup substitute.

Then, I told her I would ask YOU.