Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Time to Die

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).

This topic may sound morbid but I really became interested after my beloved grandma passed away at age 93.  Grandma was ready to die.  She mentioned it many times.  She had a large family and was always there for her children and grandchildren.  Though of modest means, Grandma was rich with unconditional love and caring.  My children, her great-grandchildren, also loved her deeply.  But Grandma was one of the last survivors of her people and her generation.  It can be lonely to be the last.

After Grandma fell the first time, she was never the "same" grandma.  I think we all knew it would be the beginning of the end.  She insisted that she live in her home--in case anyone needed a place to stay, and she cooked and cleaned, entertained, attended church, continued to travel to relatives homes and live as normally as possible.  However a couple of years before she died, she had an episode like a mild stroke that seemed to change her personality.  Whenever I was around her she was very much the same and recognized me, but I knew that some of her behaviors were not right.

Grandma talked to me about her loved ones now gone, and how she was the last of her very large family.  Even some of her twelve children had died and a few of the grandchildren.  It seemed like life had become more of a struggle than she could bear.  This was sad for me because I couldn't imagine a time without Grandma.  Even now as I write this, I want to reach out and hug her small, bent and fraile figure once more.

I knew that it was Grandma's time to die and I wish I could have done more to help her through it.  I was sad for my aunts and uncles who seemed to not deal well with her slow demise.  They almost seemed to resent Grandma for leaving them--I think we all depended on her more than we knew.

However, I think I can accept the death of an elderly loved one more than the death of someone in the prime of life.  That's what I fear the most.  What I learned from this experience is to get my affairs in order in a clear and concise manner.  I need to let my loved ones know what I want so that they can help me die with dignity and peace whenever that time comes.  I recommend reading  It's OK to Die, by Monica and Kris Murphy for anyone who needs help preparing for the eventuality of death.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Honey Wheat Pizza Dough (rotation recipe)

This is one more way I'm able to rotate my food storage wheat.  I love this pizza dough--it's easy enough for a beginner and always turns out great!  You can use whatever oil and salt you have on hand, but I prefer the taste of olive oil and sea salt.  I like to let my yeast sit for about 3 minutes and make sure it's active.  (Keeping an opened jar of yeast safely in the fridge will keep it fresh).  It's so good, I barely got a shot of the pizza :0)

Honey Wheat Pizza Dough
1-1/2 teaspoons yeast
3/4 cup warm tap water (not scalding)
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons honey
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/4 teaspoons sea salt
Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, honey, olive oil, and salt; mix well. Knead for several minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.  Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat.  Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free space for one to two hours or until double in bulk.  Punch dough down and roll to shape.  Yield:  dough for one 15-inch pizza.

Here's a good tip on Storing Wheat, from an old Ensign magazine:
We purchased four shelf boards, and by stacking the three-pound cans we made a wall bookshelf.  These we painted the same color as the wall.  The total cost was seven dollars.  We have a lot of fun when friends compliment us on our new bookshelf.  We tell them there is more there than meets the eye--food for the body as well as food for the spirit.  They are amazed when we tell them about the 420 pounds of wheat stored there.  ~Bernice Ketner  Below is a picture found on Pinterest (originally which gives a similar idea:

Back of the loaf is the snowy flour, 
And back of the flour, the mill, 
And back of the mill is the wheat and the shower,
The sun and the Father's will.  ~Anonymous

My teenage son sticks his nose up at homemade pizza even though I think I do a pretty good job.  However, I'm looking for really great pizza recipes and have been collecting some on Pinterest.  Do you have a killer pizza recipe that you think my son would like?  Send me the recipe today!

Follow Heather Allen's board Cook: Pizza on Pinterest.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Use-It-Up Whole Wheat Bread (rotation recipe)

This is a great food storage rotation recipe :0)
This great-tasting bread helps me rotate my food storage wheat supply so the wheat (if stored properly) will maintain it's optimum nutrients.  This uses only wheat and yet the loaf is soft, easy to slice, and tastes delicious--like buttery honey.  You shouldn't need any dough enhancer with this recipe as long as your wheat is in good condition (not too old).  As shown, I like to make mini-loaves to share or to make a meal of soup or stew special.  Mellowed cheese and a mini-loaf of bread can turn even canned soup into a gourmet treat.

Use-It-Up Whole Wheat Bread
2 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
2 c. warm water
1/4 c. honey
2 t. salt
3 T. oil
5-1/2 to 6 c. whole-wheat flour, divided
1 T. butter, melted
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water, (hottest tap water, 105 to 110 degrees).  In a large bowl, combine 2 cups warm water, honey, salt and oil.  Stir in 2 cups of whole-wheat flour, mixing well.  Stir in yeast mixture.  Now the mixture should be the consistency of cake batter.  Add more flour, 1/2 cups at a time, to make a fairly stiff dough.  Don't put too much flour in because you can knead in more, if necessary.  
  2. Sprinkle a little flour on a board or clean counter or pastry cloth; knead dough 10 minutes.  
  3. Shape dough into a ball.  The dough should be fairly smooth.  
  4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray; place dough in bowl and spray the top of the dough. Let rise 45 minutes or until double in bulk.  This can be done by placing plastic wrap loosely over bowl, and placing in an oven that was briefly heated at 175 degrees, (turn oven off before placing dough inside).  Place a small bowl of water in warmed oven to keep it humid.  After dough has risen, punch down, divide in half and knead a little; let rest 10 minutes.  
  5. Shape dough into 2 loaves and place in two 8" x 4" greased loaf pans.  (see below one way to form a loaf of bread).  
  6. Split top; drizzle with melted butter.  
  7. Cover each loaf with plastic wrap, and let rise in oven with bowl of water until double in bulk, about 30 minutes.  
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes for metal pans, and 325 degrees for glass bread pans (adjust time for smaller loaves).  Cook slightly longer for glass pans.  About half-way through, loaves may need to be vented with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.  Bread should sound hollow when tapped on the top and bottom of the loaf.  Remove loaves from pans and cool on wire racks.  Yield:  2 loaves or 5 mini-loaves.

1.  Mixture is ready to knead.

2.  Knead with the palm of your hand.

3.  Place in a greased bowl.

4.  Spray dough with nonstick spray and cover with plastic (forgot to take the after photo!)

5.  After punching dough down and letting it rest for 10 minutes, split the dough into two or more loaves and form it into a loaf or roll it out as shown.

Then roll it up like a jelly-roll.

Pinch ends under.

Place loaf in a greased pan.

6.  Split the top with a sharp knife and drizzle with melted butter.

7.  With sprayed plastic on top, return to oven and let loaves rise double in size.

8.  Now the loaves are ready to go into a preheated oven.  I put the little loaves on one large cookie sheet so they are easier to take in and out of the oven.  Smaller loaves do not take as long to bake.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wheat Quick Baking Mix (rotation recipe)

I use this baking mix recipe as a basis for so many other recipes.  It is just like Bisquick, only better!  Though it lasts for six weeks, I go through it pretty quick because I have so many great recipes.  It's one of the main ways I use up my wheat and POWDERED MILK purchased from the Cannery.  That is why I call it a rotation recipe because this recipe helps to use up my old food storage which I replenish on a regular basis.

"All grain is good for the food of man...Nevertheless, wheat for man."  Doctrine and Covenants 89:16-17

I grind several #10 cans of wheat at a time.  I store these in doubled freezer bags in the freezer.  I also keep a container of ground wheat in my fridge.  When this container is empty, I refill it with wheat from the freezer.  I try to make whole wheat bread and Bread-for-Beginners wheat rolls as well as my Honey Wheat Muffins on a regular basis.  I've tested a lot of recipes for whole wheat and choose only the best-tasting for my family so we'll eat lots of it.  This recipe helps to use up wheat and it also tastes great made with butter-flavored Crisco :0)

Wheat Quick Baking Mix
8 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup non-instant powdered milk
1/3 cup baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups Crisco shortening (or butter-flavored Crisco)
Combine dry ingredients; mix well.  Cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.  (Mix may be stored up to 6 weeks).  Package for gift giving and present with the following recipes.  Yield:  15 cups.

Wheat Quick Biscuits
1 egg, beaten
1 cup water or milk
2 cups Wheat Quick Mix
Combine egg and water in a mixing bowl; mix well.  Add Wheat Quick Mix; stir just until moistened.  For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle.  Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges are brown.  Serve with syrup.  Yield:  Eight 4-inch pancakes.

See these fabulous Quick Mix Recipes!

Wheat Quick Christmas Coffee Cake
Wheat Quick Sausage Balls 
Wheat Quick Pancakes
Perfect, Easy Biscuits (7 Up Biscuits)

How I store my Wheat Baking Mix in the fridge.

Do you have a favorite baking mix recipe to share?  I am always looking for more to try out and include in my collection.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Quick and EASY Bierocks

I decided to share my Desperized Bierocks (or bieroch) recipe for St. Patrick's Day even though this is traditionally a Germanic food.  It essentially has the same flavors as Irish-American Corned Beef and Cabbage--both are even served with mustard. Instead of corned beef, there's kid-friendly ground beef.  To stay true to Irish-American tradition, the dish could be served with a side of potatoes as well.  
Shredded carrots have been added to this mixture.
Desperize, meaning in desperation, is taking a complicated recipe and simplifying it for a busy schedule.  Bierocks, pronounced "brocks," is a simple meat pie.  Typically, the bierock is filled with cooked and seasoned ground beef, shredded cabbage and onions, then oven baked until the dough is golden brown.  Some variants include grated carrots.  My recipe (found in the newspaper 6-7 years ago), combines ground beef and angel hair cabbage in a crescent roll tart.  This makes a terrific finger food (also appetizer).
A little water in the empty spaces might help.
Desperized Bierocks
Use 2 muffin tins (12 openings) use outside 8 slots
2 T. oil
1 large onion (1 c. chopped)
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
10 oz. pack thinly shredded green cabbage (3 c.)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
cooking oil spray
2 (8-oz.) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough (I prefer the buttery kind)
deli style mustard for serving if desired
Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Place in skillet with lid, onion and ground beef.  Stir and cook till browned and crumbled (6 minutes).  Add coleslaw, salt and pepper.  Stir and cook until wilted (2 more minutes).  Remove from heat.  Spray muffin pan.  Place wide side of each crescent triangle over the muffin tin opening, allowing the wide part of the dough triangle to dip into the tin, (may hang over edge).  Place 1/4 cup meat filling over each triangle.  Fold point of triangle over each other to enclose, (don't need to seal).  Place in oven uncovered, 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve immediately with mustard for dipping or swirl over tops.  Makes 16.  Yield 6-8 servings.

Create your own Pot of Gold Coins and play a fun game of Scavenger Hunt for Family Night this month.

Easy Meat Pies :0)


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