Monday, February 28, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup -

Broccoli Cheese Soup

For a celebration, I bought a requested meal of Broccoli Cheese Soup from a restaurant for my daughter.  She was delighted.  It would have cost $40 dollars for 3/4 of a gallon.  I decided to make a gallon at home to feed the family while my daughter enjoyed someone else's cooking.  The homemade soup passed the taste test.  This recipe uses all items in my food storage.  The cost was less than $5.00 for the whole gallon. Victory again!  Thank goodness.

1 gallon water
2 cups white sauce mix
2 cups cheddar cheese ( or flavors you like - 1/2 pizza cheese and 1/2 cheddar)
2 TBS Parmesan cheese
1 can canned milk
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp salt
2 cups steamed chopped broccoli

I used broccoli pieces from our garden last year that were harvested after I cut the main head.  The little flowerettes that kept sprouting - I kept cutting, steaming for 3 minutes and freezing.

To avoid lumps, blend 2 cups white sauce with two cups of the water first.  Mix with the gallon of water as it is heating.  Stir constantly because it will burn easily as it thickens and heats.  Add all other ingredients.  When the cheese is melted and the broccoli heated, serve. Delicious.

White Sauce mix:
2-1/3cups non instant dried milk /4 cups instant dried milk
1 cups flour
1 cup margarine

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fortitude - a Parental Must

This post has been milling in my mind for weeks.  Time to get at it!  Amy Chua is a Chinese mother who wrote an article entitled "Why Chinese mothers are Superior" for the Wall Street Journal published 8 January 2011.  The world has been in turmoil ever since.  Asian parents hate and resent her portrayal of Chinese parenting.  Western mothers are defensive.  Leaving the controversy, I find much to be said for the reasons behind the "stereotypical successful" Asian student: Asian Mothers are "in the trenches" with their children.  She clearly shows how Mothers Matter - mothers can "prepare their children...for the future by letting them see what they are capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits, and inner confidence that no one can ever take away."  The methods are debatable and up to each individual parent but of little debate is that when Mothers care enough - it "requires fortitude." Too many parents from the western mindset have shown that mothers matter as well by their absence in aiding a child to be the best he can be.  They blame society, peers, or teachers for less than stellar performance  instead of taking responsibility.  Too many legislators and school personell want to create another program instead of expecting the best of our parents.

Last week we arrived home from the grocery store at 4:30, the children were starving and snacking on yogurts I had just purchased as they ran in and out of the kitchen searching for food - there was nothing else available to eat.  Hungry and exhausted myself, I fought a mental/emotional battle and decided I would be strong and I would try even though it would have been nice to call in a pizza or send someone out for hamburgers.  I threw some macaroni into water to boil.  In the next 15 minutes I decided what to do with the macaroni, cleared the kitchen, put groceries away and started setting the table.  My six year old ran into the kitchen, peered into the pot "What are you cooking. Mommy?"  Seeing the macaroni she exclaimed  " Oh! macaroni and cheese! I love macaroni and cheese!  I love you Mommy."  She hopped down, ran away and miraculously, the foraging in the kitchen ceased.   A calm prevailed and I prepared macaroni/ hamburger/tomato  (my from scratch version of hamburger helper).  We enjoyed a wonderful family dinner.  That is fortitude.  

Apple Muffins

This is an Applesauce Bread recipe that I make into muffins.  I often substitute pumpkin for the applesauce for variety.

2 cups shortening (melted butter, margarine, or oil.  If using oil the amount can be cut to 1-1/2 cups for a lower calorie version.)
1-1/2 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs (increase to 6 if trying to boost nutrition)
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp salt
2 tsp  each vanilla and almond flavoring
8 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
4 cups applesauce

2 cups raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, etc..

Top with Crisp topping and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Bake ahead of time and freeze or make batter and refrigerate ready to bake fresh.

Granola Bars

This recipe for Granola bars was emailed to me.  It is the best combination I have tried.  The children like lots of chocolate chips but I make them with lost of different add ins with wonderful results.  These are soft and chewy.

4-1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup melted butter
1 cup honey
1/3  cup brown sugar

Optional add ins for better nutrition or flavor

1/4 cup flax seed meal
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup wheat germ
2 cups chocolate chips
2 frozen and then thawed bananas

Mix all the ingredients.  Bake at 300 degrees for 18 minutes until lightly golden brown.  Do not over bake.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vegetable Shortage

The newspaper reported a freeze in Mexico killed 60% of the vegetable crop.  Since most of our fresh vegetables come from Mexico this time of year, the market impact is significant.  Wholesale prices for a case of tomatoes rose from $21 to $64.  I am taking the hint.  I am planting a garden and bottling tomatoes, freezing green peppers, and increasing my reserves.  We can enjoy healthy vegetables from home preserves until the prices stabilize.

A webnar broadcast that teaches gardening skills and features 18 webcasts with an average length of nine minutes each was recommended to me. The innovative gardening techniques will encourage anyone to try.  This is inspiring enough to provide a living for homeless in Chicago and create beautiful, efficient living space in St. Louis helping people live without government aid.  It is worth a peek.

Breakfast: Rice pudding
Lunch: granola bars/ apple muffins
Dinner:  homemade Pizza

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Snowed in - What are the Basics?

One third of the nation was buried in snow and ice last Monday.  We reveled in the excuse to stay home and make a memory.  We started with a candle light dinner on Monday night - spaghetti, homemade French Bread, lettuce salad, and eggless chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  Tuesday morning the challenge was to prepare pancakes that had been on request for several weeks with no eggs.  Again I pulled a couple of frozen banana's, thawed them in the microwave, added 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 cup extra flour (for a recipe that called for 2-1/2 cups of flour.)  They were delicious and stayed together.

Deciding what to store:

As an exercise in deciding what would be best to put in food storage, look at the ingredients in these basic foods:

Sandwich bread:
water, yeast, sugar, flour, salt, oil

Dinner rolls:
milk (can use water), yeast, sugar, flour, salt, oil or butter

Pizza crust:
water, yeast, sugar, flour, salt, oil

French Bread:
water, yeast, sugar, flour, salt

Pie Dough:
flour, butter, water, salt, sugar

Naan (Indian bread)
water, yeast, sugar, salt, flour, flavoring of choice (onion, garlic, almond)

Water(milk), yeast, sugar, flour, oil, salt, Butter to roll between layers of dough

Irish Soda Bread:
buttermilk, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, eggs, Additives as desired (raisins, caraway seeds, etc)

Flour, salt, oil, water

Chapati (Indian tortillas
flour, water, salt, oil

Unleavened Flat Bread (Passover style):
Milk(or water), Flour, salt, butter, eggs yolks

Four, baking powder, salt, butter or margarine, egg(optional)
flour, butter/margarine, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs

Flour, (eggs), water,  salt ( if the pasta is to be dried use water instead of eggs) olive oil can add flavor

If our shelves have Flour, water, oil, salt, sugar, yeast,  baking powder, and baking soda, butter or margarine... In most any combination, our children won't go hungry.

Using 45 minutes

Last Saturday I had 45 minutes to do cooking before the mad dash began-our whole family would be coming and going in different directions for the whole day.  I started onions frying for Joe's Potatoes; pork tidbits frying for pork fried rice, and water boiling for diced potatoes (turned into hash brows the next morning.)  While these items were browning, I peeled 10 pounds of potatoes - scraping off the cut and dark areas while leaving most of the skin intact (most of the vitamin C is in the skin and if the restaurants can serve potatoes with skin so can I).  I cut 5 pounds of the potatoes in rounds and diced 5 pounds to boil.  By the time I was finished peeling, the onions and pork was ready for the next ingredient.  I added the potatoes to the onions and water to the pork.  I added water to yield the finished amount of rice that I wanted then added to rice:  6 cups of cooked rice needs 6 cups of water and 2 cups of regular rice.)  I added spice, salt and pepper and turned the pans off leaving the raw ingredients to cook in the hot water on stove top while we were away before lunch.

When I returned, the house smelled wonderful and I felt an instant security that food was ready.  My husband and a couple of children were there sampling the goods.  The morning had been a success.  I finished the pork fried rice by adding some garlic paste, ginger paste and soy sauce.  Leftovers from that 45 minutes preparation would feed us over the next few days with a lunch of fried rice to put in the freezer for next week as well (yes it was a lot.)