Friday, May 30, 2008

Test results on whole wheat master mix

I'm happy with this mix so far. At first I wasn't sure. Whole grain really drys out recipes. I haven't had to add but a tiny bit of extra liquid and the biscuits have been amazingly fast and very good. As with any biscuit they are dry the next day. I'd say these are a bit dryer than regular biscuits. I made a dinner from the Bisquick site and it had hamburger and cheese etc on top of the biscuits dough, padded into an 8X8 pan. It was odd on first bite but after a moment I found it crunchy and good.
Did you make a batch? How is it working for you? I am very happy with the oil in the master mix. Doing the blending in the mixer with the whisks was a perfect way to really blend this in nicely. I think we will end up using this whole grain mix a lot. Think I'll make a 2nd one and add some chopped sunflower seeds and some sesame seeds and what ever else I think of. That should make a really healthy breakfast! I rolled the biscuits out on corn meal and they were really good that way.
It's now Oct. and I have been using this whole grain mix for a good long time. We really like it! The crunch is becoming more common to our mouths and for two of us I have now made 4 big batches. It's ready for most any thing you need, however the cinnamon rolls were better with the traditional white flour mix. Do make and use this!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Sorry everyone. This blog system seems to take my carefully placed spacing and put it all in one lump. So the recipes are coming out all a mess. Any hints? Is there a setting on the blog I need to change? Thanks

whole grain master mix

Hello ladies,
How is life going? What do you need? We should talk about what everyone is thinking about lately. Winter seems over, spring peeks its head out in some places and summer has arrived in others. Let me hear from you a bit.
In the April Fools Basic cd I questioned how good the master mix with oil would be. I hadn't tried it yet but included it because it seemed such a good idea. Remember I learned in high school to make the master mix with tons of shortening. Very bad for us. This week I have been testing the oil done master mix. I have been using the whole grain master mix to improve my health!
Here is what I have learned. The master mix is quick to make and easy to use in recipes. I said it may not save money. True, wheat products are so expensive. But what it does is allows us to remove extra chemicals from our food. We know what is in it and it is pure and simple.
I made the whole grain mix in about 5 minutes. I put it all in my mixer with the whisk attachments on. As the mixtured turned I very slowly poured in my oil. It worked perfectly! The oil was mixed thoroughly in just a few moments. Then I put it in my Tupperware pour container and that night I made dinner with it. The difference with the whole grain is that it is WHOLE. It's heavier, but not too heavy. The biscuits were still nice the crust crisp. Because I didn't use dry milk in my master mix I used milk instead of water to make the biscuits. I will test other recipes and see how it goes and report to you.
If you didn't get a Basics Cd here is the recipe. If you did get the cd the recipe for master mix, whole grain and plain and recipes to go with them are in the hints file, then cooking hints and then master mix folder and you will find two master mix folders. Use your index. Is that helping? Who didn't get one? I can e-mail you one. With over I think 400 entry's you need an index!
You can go to the Bettycrocker recipes at the address above for recipes using both of the master mixes on your cd. If you make a pudding master mix, a snack cake master mix and a master mix for all the other bread things you are set for a month of great easy additions to your meals.
You will find all those mixes at this college site. And don't forget colleges are my favorite places to find great thing of all subjects.
When my children were pre-teens and teens I had a lot of different mixes in containers and the recipes were blown up and put on cards so they could make their own yummies. A lot of fun and like I said fast to make.
Give this healthy recipe a try.
Whole Grain master mix Servings 12 half cup 2 cups white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
¾ cup nonfat dry milk (opt)
½ cup oats
½ cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt (opt)
½ cup vegetable oil
Mix as in recipes above. Whole wheat flour also can go rancid so long storage should be in the fridge.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cleaning up messes my way

This is the reality of life. There will always be messes to clean up. After 50 plus years I know that. Sorry but it's true. Different kinds of messes. Today we will start with the easiest. If I smell a mess and go to clean it up, I puke. Yes sadly. My husband taught me to use perfume under my nose to manage the smells of the dentist and I found it worked to trick my brain for messy, smelly clean ups. I've not only had those little kid clean ups to do but after years of the animal kingdom I've had bad wounds, sick horses, I won't go on, I'm sure you are getting the picture, kinds of clean ups.
So I use my imagination. Sure this is what it was made for. A mess should be addressed fast. In your mind it gets worse with age. I dab that perfume and grab the cleaning tools and consider that an imaginary guest is at the end of my drive way and how fast can I clean it. Or I figure It must be diamonds and if I don't get them fast someone else will........IF ONLY.
The next great tool is Costco's Kirkland brand small wastebasket size bags. They come in a million in a box or so it seems. They are hard to unroll and sticky to open but when they are open they are magic. Light weight they can be used to clean up anything! It protects your hands and your arms if you wish. when you are done you just take your other hand and pull the bag inside out, over the paper towels, or rags or what ever was used to clean up. Now everything is in a bag you can quickly seal (to keep the smell away) and off to the trash it goes.
If it's carpet you need to clean you must get the liquid as fast as possible. There is a pad under your carpet. What ever soaks in there stays. I get an old bath towel, nice and thick (we call them horse towels as my middle child used them to dry her horses after their pre-show bathes) I lay that towel over the mess and stand, hop and put as much weight on the area as I can. Move that towel every few seconds to let the dry areas soak up what it can. Now take a peek. what do you have left to deal with? If the mess has color to deal with it you best take a cup of clear water, a fresh horse towel and pour that over the mess and lay the towel down and do the hop again. Is the color gone? Keep doing it until it is. I know a lot of towels, but it is better then other ways to pull wet messes up. (got a shop vacuum?)
Now for smell. Human, urine, animal smells all respond to an enzyme found in several brands of cleaners. We get ours by the gallon at the feed supply (farm supply) but you can try a pet store they just sell it in smaller bottles for more money. We buy the brand Natures Miracle. You need a sprayer and read if it needs diluting, some do, some don't. Put that bit of miracle in your sprayer and moisten the spill area. Only do this at the end when all moisture is pull up into the towels and nothing else needs to be done. Let it dry and try to keep family and pets from walking on a wet spill. They will make the spot dirty. My kids would see me put a towel over it until they went to bed so they couldn't leave dirt on the spot. I think they thought that is how to clean up a mess! Nope that towel came off at night so the spot could dry un-walked on.
Remember the key to cleaning up messes is the right tools, a bit of perfume and your imagination. Do it's always better. Don't think much about it, its a reality of life and being a Mommy is hard enough so don't add the messes to your stress! Save your frustration and concern for the people not the messes.

Happy Memorial day

Who are you thinking of today? Our freedom's have never been ours without sacrifice. I know who sacrificed for me to live free. My dad, my uncles they took seriously this need to protect the freedoms I enjoy now.
My dad went into the Army as a teen. His dad signed the papers to let him go in early. Right away my dad was in a mess. The day he flew out 3 of the planes that took off that day crashed because of bad weather over the south. Survives were put back on another plane and off to Africa, from there to Italy where he landed in the most brutal winter they had ever seen. His unit was the first to reach the German border, held back to let the Russian's in first he must have been horrified once he saw what was over that border. He never talked of it, but we have photos with striking reminders of WWII.
My husbands dad stayed in the states and trained dogs. The dogs took messages around the battlefield. We are both proud of the flags put over their caskets at their burials.
My husband served during the Vietnam war in Korea. Our family has a history with freedom. Phil's family came from Ireland around the revolutionary period of the U.S. My family, the whole of it left Sweden for religious freedom. Phil's Moravian family left a troubled country to find freedom here in the U.S. Their immigration papers are precious to us.
We would not be the people we are without the freedoms of this county and the people who worked to serve it. I also think of Charles, a Canadian friend who flew some really important flights during WWII. Flights to save life, to preserve freedom.
I hope you will say a prayer of thanks today, remember all those who have served our country. Put a flag on a grave. Let your children know there is something so valuable, so precious, so vital to our lives that many have given much to protect it. Enjoy this freedom we love, it came at a great cost.
Happy Memorial day, have a joyful day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Index for the April fools Basic Cd

Well it's time to get back to business! There are always little brakes in our lives. Time to herald something that helps us mark time. Anniversaries, birthdays, accomplishments, but now it's time for me to get back to the business of a women's life.
I made an index for your basics cd. A few phone calls asking for recipes already on the cd told me I needed to do more. I even burned a few extra Cd's last night and added the index in. If you want to give one as a gift or know someone who still wants one I'd be happy to mail it out.
That piece of rich chocolate cake is double chocolate cake made from the make-a-mix recipes. You'll find them in the Treats/cake/snack cake. It makes several different fast cake recipes all made right in the pan you'll bake in. I made this snack cake for my husbands after swim treat. It's not your light and fluffy cake, it's hearty and can be eaten right out of your hand.
I've e-mailed the index to as many of you as I had e-mail for. If you want a copy it's a word doc. and you can send your e-mail in a comment and I won't post any of them as before.
Next blog will be on the messes we encounter. I have some thoughts on what to do with those!
It's memorial week-end.
A time to honor those who have left us. I hope you will take time to think of someone who made life better for you in their passing and give thanks for them. I'm putting my flag out on Monday, maybe you will too.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

June 12 1981 I can still remember it!

Tonight at midnight our local theater is showing the new "Indiana Jones and the crystal skull" My midnight movie days aren't as exciting as they once were so you will see me at the first matinee tomorrow. My childhood was full of all day, Saturday, at the El Monte theater. We'd watch exciting movie after exciting movie, all on one price ticket. This included some great cartoons in between each. Now keep this in mind as I tell you the next story.
In 1981 we had 3 children and were 8 months along with #4. Getting a baby sitter was a major deal. A thirty minute drive each way, over the hills of Ukiah, to reach our sitter. We needed a brake, seriously a brake. Our friends the Fawsons worked out a sitter and we met them at the theater. We were just a tad late and hurried into a filled, old fashion, sticky floored, theater. We found seats way off to the side past lots of people. The movie looked to be in full swing, Harrison Ford was running for his life. Already? We must have missed a lot of the film. Thought maybe we'd stay for the start of the next showing. I didn't have much time to think about it. I was suddenly caught up in the story. I was suddenly back to saturday afternoon at the El Monte Theater. Oh my what a treat for a weary mother of 3 3/4. As it turned out we didn't really miss but a moment of the movie, the action was there from the beginning. It was sure a pleasant change from the serious movies of the time. Thank you Steven Spielberg!
Well the biggest surprise is that our son, oldest child, worked on the movie that will be released tonight at midnight. He added some of his creative juice to this movie. He is a pre-viz artist and maybe someday I'll explain what that is. We are deeply proud of him. He was always such a great artist and to get to work with Steven Spielberg on such an exciting movie is so neat. I will be proudly clapping loudest when his name passes by on the screen! On a side note, as he worked on the film he was given little bits and never got to know what or where it was placed in the movie. Guess he'll be surprised when he sees it too.
Look for me tomorrow in the darkened theater!

Happy Anniversary

Today is our daughter and son-in-laws 9th anniversary. The first wedding in our family. Our 2nd child. It was a wonderful occassion. We decorated in her beloved garden forest scene. Everyone pitched in, Jana sewed pale green place mats, her dad made a heart shaped back drop from trees in the forest around us, he also made wooden boxes we filled with moss and little handmade dragonflies, Yoko made flowers for everyone to wear, I made her dress, Katherine sewed ivy lace down the dress.
Grandma Reagan flew up to join us, middle sister flew home, it was a wonderful day! We did a luncheon at a nice Hotel and all the women gathered in the free room we had that came with the luncheon and helped Shannon dress and get all ready for her wedding. what fun that was with young, old, friends, family and sisters!
Kind ladies I know did all the kitchen work, the slide show was a laugh and before we knew it everyone was gone and the kids were heading off to the east coast.
The beginning of a family is so nice to reflect back on. They are now raising 6 little children, their oldest just turned 8 years old.
Happy Anniversary kids!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A childhood dream of mine

I was imaginative child. Too bad my mom is no longer here to attest to that. She'd tell you about my imaginary friends and my thinking at 2 I was a horse.
There was a lovely song that goes as so...
White coral bells upon a slender stock
Lilies of the valley deck my garden walk
Oh don't you wish that you could hear them ring?
That will happen only when the fairies sing.
I didn't look these words up. They have been firmly planted in my head all my life. About 6 years ago Anna Rose gave me a bag full of lilies of the valley. They were taking over her yard. I was delighted, couldn't think of anything better to take over a northwest mossy yard! I planted them and today they deck my front walk. After a day of heat I noticed a strong heady fragrance as I walked into the house and to my amazement the lilies of the Valley are all in bloom.
Oh how I love these flowers, I hum this song in my head as I pick them. My home fills with their presence. I love their waxy sturdy bells. And I still listen for the Fairy's to sing so my bells will ring!
Enjoy wish I could share their deeply rich smell

Monday, May 19, 2008

beating the system

Life is getting harder. Don't you all agree? Grocery's are way out of whack, gas is high and believe me when I say "it will stay high". Wages are not getting higher to help and on top of all that my property tax goes up yearly higher and higher.
But it's not a downer I am sharing today, nope! It's clever, tricky beating the system ideas. It started with the yogurt. Yes we are back to Yogurt sort of. I wanted to settle an on going tummy upset. Stress maybe but I knew yogurt would help if I just ate some each day. WELL! Those tiny cups of yogurt were much too expensive so I began making my own on a regular basis. Very satisfying and with a 1/2 gal of milk I can make a lot of yogurt. (I keep an orange and a lemon in a baggie in the fridge and give my yogurt a zip of peel and a few squeezes of juice)
Next came the Buttermilk. A friend ,who's a great cook, make blueberry scones for our book club. They were so good I wanted to make some for husband. To save gas I had him stop at stores on his way home from swimming. Trip after trip didn't yield any buttermilk. Why? I wanted a quart and no one sold it in quarts any more and it was all non-fat and runny and expensive. How can you make anything work without thick, sour buttermilk. I began applying the yogurt principle to the buttermilk. I bought one of the expensive little pints and a half gallon of whole milk and I went online and found a buttermilk recipe. (this is not the same as adding lemon or vinegar to sour milk, this is thick wonderful stuff)
I always find my favorite and more trusted web sites are colleges, they end in edu in the web addresses. In this case most rural colleges have dairy programs. Our middle daughter went to our states agricultural college in the East. We always treated ourselves, on visits, to some ice-cream and a can of cheese at the dairy shop at the college. Wonderful stuff. Before I get off subject with my mouth watering, I found a buttermilk recipe, the dairy proffesor's recipe, it was perfect. You make it very much like yogurt, heat the milk, cool the milk add a cup of cultured buttermilk. When I opened the jar I had thick, clotted buttermilk. Just as it should be. The Blueberry scones were heavenly. I have enough for pancakes or even chocolate cake!
So with one half gallon of whole milk I made a quart of buttermilk, and two quarts of yogurt. Amazing. Read your Basics cd to discover why cultured milk is so good for you. I am a happy lady to beat the system once again.
In the 70's it was hard like this and my sister and I shared all kinds of ideas on how to save money by doing it ourselves. We made our own bagels, our own sausage, our own soap (still do!) and all kinds of things. You have to judge when the ingredients might cost more than the end product, it's not always better to do it yourself. Soap I make because my skin is happier with handmade. Cereal in the morning is ever so much cheaper for me to make my own. (Check the basics cd for all kinds of grain cereal recipes and granola.
I will make this Beating the system an on going blog. Pass along your ideas, ask your questions. We can smile in the comforts we ourselves can have despite the lack of money in our lives!
Laughing as I go down the grocery isles

Friday, May 16, 2008

I looked out the window and what did I see?

click on music to enlarge
Popcorn popping on the apricot tree. This is the first line of a delightful children's song we teach to the little ones as soon as they can reach their hands up to do the pop pop of the popcorn. The hand motions come natural. Make that popcorn ball and smell that nice ball you make. I'm including the music for those who play an instrument. It's a wonderful sing along song!
Enjoy the nice weather if you are having what the Northwest is enjoying today!
Sing along:
I looked out the window and what did I see? Popcorn popping on the apricot tree
Spring has brought me such a nice surprise, blossoms popping right before my eyes.
I could take an arm full and make a treat, a popcorn ball that will smell so sweet.
it wasn't really so, but it seemed to be, popcorn popping on the apricot tree.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Yogurt hints

Guess I better redeem myself.
No more hot dog art.
I had a question about scalding milk and the bits of browned milk, what to do? It's funny when you make a food or recipe, so long you don't use a recipe any more, you forget that others don't know those little things you do that make it work better. Guess I should say "I'm sorry" I didn't think of this hint. I do all my scalding in the microwave. Nothing ever burns to the bottom of the bowl. Well I take that back, I have burnt chocolate chips trying to melt them with too much time!
Take a nice glass bowl bigger than the amount of milk you use for the yogurt. That's a lot of milk so a big bowl. Put it in the micowave and put a piece of wax paper over it (you don't want to let anything drop into the bowl this is a process to kill any bacteria we don't want to culture)
I start heating the milk at 3 minute intervals. It can take a while to boil milk. Remember we are trying to get to about 190 to 210 degrees. My next hint is buy a little thermometer at a kitchen area in your grocery or home/linens store. They are not fancy and are not expensive but so useful for yogurt and testing things like meat when it comes out of the oven. You don't leave these in the oven you just put them into the milk to cover the little bump on the stem (that is how high you must cover to get a correct temperature. I've taken up to 12 or 14 minutes in my microwave to get to the higher temperature. You don't need to stir. Just lift the wax paper and put in the thermometer, you can stir it around a bit to blend the heat of the milk. Wait and watch the temp rise. When it stops you'll know how much more heat you need.
One other hint that is on your basic Cd is to remember to add the semi-cooled milk to the room temperature yogurt culture and really stir it well. I take a little whisk and really mix this up. You don't want to make bubbles in the yogurt but right at this point it is only the yogurt starter and about 1/4 a cup of milk and you can't make much in the way of bubbles. If you don't get this culture all the way through the milk you can't make yogurt. It's not hard just keep stirring gently once you've got it all together.
Do you have any other questions? I love a good question like this was!
to Max who just started walking before his 1st birthday
and to Natalie who is just now 2 weeks old
and to all the others, 10 total!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

For my amusement mostly

I'm so sorry. I know we don't eat hot dogs twice a week as I did growing up. I came upon this 1971 women's day article called "putting on the Dog" I wasn't even married at this time but I kept this article for the creative spin on an every day food. Maybe you know of some healthy hot dogs and can put this to use. If not do as I am and have a good laugh at nostalgia!
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha......................................

Welcome any new readers

I've had people asking if they can tell their friends about my Blog. Well of course you can! I welcome all readers. Your questions are welcome as are your comments. We are just women looking to improve and enjoy our lives. If you have older or younger children let me know. I have a wealth of things to do with children. I'd like to make this site reflect what you can use. I found having a lot to do, to brake up the stress, the mundane, the loneliness of life, made living with my five children fun and enjoyable. Let me share what I have with you. You are all welcome.
Tomorrow I will answer a question about making yogurt. If you have tried my recipe on the basics Cd you may find these hints helpful. It seems the more you practice a craft, like cooking, the easier it is for you and the more you forget how hard it is for someone else. So I will add all the little hints I didn't even realize I knew! Be sure to check it out, you can save a bundle making your own yogurt.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

frogs frogs every where

Remember to click on this diagram to enlarge.
I love this project! I was on the hunt for an Amish doll pattern I used for Girl Scouts. This had me pulling out all my Girl Scout note books, real treasures in my mind, and I found the frogs.
Made from 3x5" recipe size cards. They now come in such delightful colors, even green. Don't forget to add eyes. I know many of you are seasoned Origami folders so this will be easy for you. Once you are done let the kids push down the bums and off the frogs hop. Yes make a dozen and have races. Set a low bowl or basket out and let them try to hop those frogs into it. If you need step by step directions just let me know. Can do!
Happy frogging.
Step #1 fold point to point at just the top of the card
Step #2 fold bottom of card up over the X of the last folds
Step #3 This is one of those steps that is easier to show than do push in the sides to make a pointed nose on your frog.
Step #4 Take that folded nose and fold up the points of the top triangle
Step #5 Fold in long sides of whole card making sure you don't fold into the nose. Then take the back of the nose and fold down "legs" using the bottom of the diamond shape
Step #6 do a zip zag fold. If your card is green on one side and white on the other be sure you are folding the back legs so they show the top as green. Don't crease this zip zag too much it is what gives the frog it's hop so leave it bouncy.
Oh were any of you in the GS troop when we made the Amish dolls? I can't remember where this pattern came from, does anyone have a doll I can copy? Thanks

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A birthday and a birth

What delights there are in the Spring. Life blooms everywhere!
We have a new baby in the family. Natalie Elise born on Wed. April 30th. She was a surprise and not expected until the end of May, but she is so lovely and sweet as you can see.
Our oldest granddaughter had her 8th birthday on Sunday May 4th. She is growing into a nice young girl and I know she must be looking forward to all that special stuff that happens when you are eight years old.
Happy birthday to both of you!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Gas, what, why and who?

Daughter in law asked a very good question about beans and gas. I do have an answer but let us digress a bit. When I was learning to cook and, that would have been high school home-ec, we were taught to soak the beans in baking soda. It turns out what that removed was a lot of the vitamins in the beans.
Now science has jumped forward and we can give some names to what happens with certain foods. There are several foods that are at fault, cabbage, onions, peas, soybeans and the other legumes. It's a carbohydrate, yes a sugar that is at fault, called raffinose sugars. oligosaccharides are the family of sugars this carbo comes from. Sadly our enzymes in the small intestine do not know how to brake up this sugar. All these carbohydrates can do is move through the small intestines into the large where bacteria, what ever is there at the time, takes over and that produces gas.
What can we do? There is a way to prepare the beans that removes a lot of this sugar, I will include it for you. This is how I prepare beans. I haven't had trouble with the canned beans so it maybe in how they were processed before canning. We eat tons of bean with no ill effect. Aside of preparations there is a product called Beano that really can help. They have made drops from an enzyme that will do what your small intestines aren't doing. Try it see what you think.
How to prepare beans for reducing gas gotten from the University of Washington (our local extension) can answer question about most any thing.
WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY:Beans are full of starch including some that do not digest easily. Digesting this starch can produce gas, giving rise to the rhyme Beans, beans, the musical fruit.... There are several ways to quiet this music so you can enjoy the health benefits of beans.
Soak beans overnight then discard the soaking water. Some, but not all, of the hard-to-digest carbohydrates dissolve into the water and are then poured off.
This quick method also helps reduce gas: Cover beans with water. Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Let set at least one hour, but preferably four hours. The longer beans soak, the more gas-causing substances are removed.
Dry beans also are easy to prepare. They have, however, gained a reputation for being hard to digest and are known to cause a little flatulence or "gas."
To help eliminate this problem, try cooking dried beans like this:Soak dried beans overnight or at least for five hours. (This isn't necessary for dried peas and lentils.) Discard the water, add fresh water, cook for half hour and discard the water. Rinse beans thoroughly until water runs clear. Cover with fresh water and cook until tender.
This method will help prevent "gas," which is caused by complex carbohydrates (raffinose sugars) that are not broken down in digestion. If you want to include more beans in your diet, but increase your "comfort zone" with them, you should: Start slowly by eating beans only a couple of times a week at first. This helps your body adjust to digesting them. Drink lots of fluids to help the digestive system handle the increased dietary fiber.
Soak and cook thoroughly to eliminate the raffinose sugars that make beans hard to digest. Other helpful hints for cooking beans are to add one tablespoon of oil to beans to keep the foam down while cooking. If your recipe calls for tomatoes, lemon juice, vinegar or other acidic foods, add these items after beans are tender. The presence of acid keeps beans from softening.