Book Review: A Practical Guide for Food Storage

What? It’s been a while?

Yes, yes it has been.

While I love writing about what I do as a homemaker and a mom and sharing it with the world, sometimes I have to step back and remember that being a homemaker and more importantly a wife and mom, is my most important job, and sometimes it’s hard to do both. It’s been one of those times for me. I forgot how busy it gets when kids get older and start to have lives of their own…and now with three teens, I’m running many different directions at once trying to get them to their events, and cooking and cleaning, church responsibilities, littles and all of that good stuff.

But, I’m back. And I had the opportunity to read a great little book that I wanted to share with you today. Charisse Merrill is a wife, mom, blogger, author, and preparer (I can totally make up words, right?) who has written a guide on food storage that anybody can read.

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There is so much peace of mind involved in being prepared for the possibilities of life. Some of these could be major big things like natural disasters, terrorist attacks, pandemics, etc. It is more likely, however, that life will happen….illness, job loss, divorce, car repairs, and other things that can effect our financial situations. These things are easier to navigate if one is prepared and the best way to do that is by beginning to accumulate food storage.

It’s really not enough, at least in my {humble} opinion, to become a “couponer” and buy hoards of items at the store for very little cents…..taking all these things and making them work into MEALS that your family will actually eat….that requires a system.

A Practical Guide for Food Storage by Charisse Merrill is a quick read with lots of good basic information, as well as recipes, lists, and a system for obtaining and tracking your food storage. For the beginner, this is a great place to start. Charisse began her system with 4 months worth of food, but you could even break that down further and focus on ONE MONTH of food, by following the steps outlined in her system, scaled for a month’s worth of meals. Then work up to 3, 6, and even 12 months of supplies.

There IS some initial work involved in any comprehensive food storage system, but Charisse spells it out and makes it easy to get started.

Some of her greatest advice:

  • Try recipes BEFORE the crisis hits -Not only does every family have their own likes and dislikes, but being familiar with the recipes and foods BEFORE you are under significant amounts of stress because of life circumstances is CRITICAL to well-being. I know this from experience. The first time we lived on food storage, I had a lot of great basic items (wheat, milk powder, rice, oats, etc). But actually making FOOD that people would EAT with these items….that was a whole other thing. It took some time and a significant toll on me to learn how to do so under pressure. Charisse has several recipes that you can try for your family if you need help getting started.
  • WATER WATER WATER! – This is one of the easiest and most neglected areas of preparedness. STORE WATER! Remember you need water for drinking, water for cooking, water for cleaning and washing. Include amounts needed for cooking as well as needed for drinking in your food storage plan. More on storing water HERE.
  • Spices! Good seasonings can take food from awful to amazing….remember to store spices, herbs, and seasonings. More HERE, as well as ideas on drying your own herbs, and making your own onion or garlic powder,.
  • A master list of where items are stored….this is one of the big excuses I hear when I talk to people about food storage….”I don’t have anywhere to put it.” There are SO MANY places to stash your food storage and making a list of where everything is makes it easy and stress free to use.
  • Have a little redundancy….for example have an electric wheat grinder to rotate your wheat and make homemade bread like this HERE, as well as a hand grinder in case there’s no electricity.

A couple of points that I wanted to make from my perspective and experience:

  • I only buy Tomato Powder now instead of cans of tomato sauce, tomato paste, and tomato juice. I can use the exact amount that I need and I don’t end up throwing away bulging cans of tomato sauce (which has happened, unfortunately).
  • As a Thrive Consultant, I would tell you BEFORE YOU BUY THRIVE AT COSTCO (I love Costco, by the way), to FIND A THRIVE CONSULTANT! Your Thrive Consultant will NOT ONLY MATCH the Costco price on any Thrive item, BUT ALSO set you up so you can earn 10% back in free product and sometimes even additional 1/2 off product…MUCH BETTER DEAL! GO THROUGH a CONSULTANT! If you’re reading this, and you’re interested in more info…well, click on the little envelope in the right side bar.
  • You can absolutely adapt your food storage to what your family eats. Our family lives in a state of rotation. We live on our food storage and are constantly rotating and replacing. That way, I know what my family will eat, they are used to eating it, and I have it on hand. We’re a little different than some families in that we don’t do a lot of prepackaged food. We make almost everything from scratch. This means that my list is a little longer since I would need to include ingredients to make spaghetti sauce, cream of mushroom (or whatever) soup (click here for recipe), refried beans (recipe here, home-canned bean directions here), tortillas, etc, but that’s ok. It’s all achievable.

All in all, this is a GREAT book for beginners who are looking for guidance in starting one of the best investment and insurance policies a family can have.

You can find Charisse’s book, “A Practical Guide for Food Storage” at Amazon HERE, and read more about her preparations at The Merrill Project, where she is also running a food storage challenge so check it out.

No matter where you are in your preparedness journey, make a plan to do a little more today. Times are tough and the more prepared we are, the more peace we can feel in our every day lives. So if you’re new, check out Charisse’s book. If you’re a veteran of preparedness, leave a comment with one or two of your BEST ideas gained through experience for preparing.

Have a wonderful day, and see you soon with some recipes and plans for making peace and preparedness a part of every day life.

*Although I received a free copy of this book to review, all opinions are my own.

Thrive on Black Friday 2015

Today is the day!!

The BLACK FRIDAY sale at THRIVE is well underway and there are DEALS galore to be had! Take a look at the deal sheet for Black Friday below, and then visit my site to order. There are also some packages that can be ordered only through me, so if you have interest in some great meat packages, fruit or veggie variety packs, or even a smokin’ years supply package for your family, you can call or text me at 801-367-1607 or email me at

Email me!

 

 

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I hope you’ve all had a spectacular holiday and made lots of unforgettable memories with your loved ones! I pulled out a new game that I had been saving for Christmas and my kiddos have had loads of fun with it.

You know how to reach me if there’s anything I can help you with!

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, and welcome to the holiday season!

Tricks for Banishing the WITCHING HOUR

TEH-witchinghourMy eyes glance at the clock. My breathing starts to speed up and my heart starts to race. It gets harder to breathe…..My muscles tighten and then I hear the garage door open. Hyperventilation. Panic.

Don’t get me wrong….I LOVE my kids. LOVE them. I honestly believe…..

“Children are an heritage of the Lord and . . . happy is the man [and woman] that hath [their] quiver full of them” (see Psalm 127: 3-5 ).

And boy do I have a quiver full,….thankfully. And I absolutely agree with Ezra T. Benson, who said,

“Yes, blessed is the husband and wife who have a family of children. The deepest joys and blessings in life are associated with family, parenthood, and sacrifice. To have those sweet spirits come into the home is worth practically any sacrifice.”

Although many would try to convince me to be somewhere else, to get a job and avoid this trying block of time, as a mother and homemaker, I know the importance of this: “First, take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are either coming or going–when they leave and return from school–when they leave and return from dates–when they bring friends home.” (Ezra T. Benson, To the Mothers In Zion, Feb. 1987)

I KNOW this is where I’m supposed to be. But I still inevitably suffer from being at the crossroads, also known as

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Every day about 3:15 p.m., I suffer from extreme anxiety and overwhelm and stress. It lasts until about 8 p.m. EVERY WEEK NIGHT.

The kids come in and they don’t say hi, they say “what can I eat?” And bless their hearts, they all want to talk to me at the same time and tell me about their days, and lists of things they need me to spend $$$$ on, and things they WANT me to spend $$$$ on. And homework, and reading, and dinner, and choir concerts and church youth group meetings, and visiting and home teaching, and on, and on, and on……

Is it a rough time of day for you, too? Rough might be downplaying it, yeah? And while Xanax is lovely when needed, taking it every single night…..not a good thing.

Here’s a few ideas that have been helpful for me, and hopefully will be helpful for you, to get through the Witching Hour….who knows, maybe you’ll avoid it all-together.

TEH-menuPlanMenu Planning: I shop once a month, which is hard sometimes, but that’s what works for us. So it is essential…ESSENTIAL that I have a meal plan. So I sit down once a month and plan out what we will eat. In addition, I have 15 meals (times 6) that I have stuff on hand for all the time (more about that in another post coming soon).

PM Planning: I find it really helps if I look at what is going on the next day, before I go to bed. It helps me carve out my time to prep, so that I can avoid that witching hour.

TEH-AMPrepAM Prep: I like to do as much meal prep as I can in the morning, when things are quiet, and my little XY is doing his online preschool work. Whether it’s getting all the ingredients chopped and measured, and assembled, or putting a meal in the crock pot to be done when dinner rolls around, I find the more I can do in the morning when things are slow, the easier it is on me later in the day.

 

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Bulk Cooking/Bulk Prepping: When I go to the store and come home with a ten pound bag of carrots, but best thing for me to do is chop, slice, (etc) that whole bag, then and there. Not only does that make my day-to-day easier, but I (and the minions) end up eathing alot more veggies if they are prepped and ready to go. In all honesty, this doesn’t always happen, BUT when it does….things go much better.

Prep ahead Veggies, Prepping and freezing in portion sizes, Home Canned Beans, Frozen Cookie Dough Balls, Home Canned Chicken Stock

Homestore: Having a home store means I have the ingredients for at least 15 meals on hand at any given time. I am working on having three months worth of foods we regularly eat on hand so I can provide in times of economic hardship, or some other disaster, or simply just have what I need for a quick meal so I don’t have to run to the store. Some of the meals on my list are: Spaghetti, Hawaiian Haystacks, Homemade Pizza, Burritos, Fried Rice, Southwestern Chicken & Rice Soup, Macaroni & Cheese, and more.

 

IMG_4237Mixes: Having my own “convenience foods” ready to go makes meal time so much easier. Not only can I control the food we eat, but I can do most things cheaper than their grocery store counterparts.

Pancake Mix , Instant Oatmeal Mix, Muffin Mix, (if you’re doing “Breakfast for Dinner”), Pizza Sauce and Seasoning Mix, Cream of Anything Soup Mix, Tortillas, Bouillon

TEH_BCN1Freezer Meals: By bulk cooking and freezing the extra in portion sizes, I can have meals ready to go in the freezer that just require a few minutes in the microwave, or can go from freezer to oven in a snap.

Bean & Cheese Burritos, Homemade Chicken Nuggets, make and freeze Homemade Pizza Dough,

TEH-tomatobasilsoup1Meals with 5 Ingredients or Less:  Something quick and easy, with few ingredients like Tomato Basil Soup which is awesome with grilled cheese sandwiches, helps make dinner quick and easy, and lets us get on with the rest of the evening crazy.

TEH-MIJvarietyMeals In Jars: Taking an hour or so on a slow day to put ingredients together in a jar, makes dinner come together in 20 minutes.

Prepping Meals in JarsSouthwestern Chicken & Rice Soup, Summer Porridge,

TEH_scHamPot_8Crockpot/Pressure Cooker: Slow Cooker Ham & Potatoes, Rosemary Chicken, Turkey Breast, Roasts, Dry beans…..all things that can be cooked in a fraction of the time in a pressure cooker, or cooked on low heat all day in a slow cooker, for spectacular mealtime results.

By using these tricks, I can focus on what’s really important FOR ME as a mother and a homemaker. Being at the crossroads. Because I am a mother who knows how important it is for me to overcome my anxiety and be there for my children. Finding ways to eliminate and avoid stress during the Witching Hour is one way that I try to make peace and preparedness a part of my every day life.

What things do YOU do to avoid the crazy stress of the Witching Hour?

 

Recipe: Southwestern Chicken & Rice Soup-In a Jar!

Last month I went to my mom’s house and helped her fix a bunch of meals in jars. Using shelf stable Thrive ingredients to create some meals put together in advance, are just the thing to make life a little easier. It’s incredibly lovely to have a yummy, healthy dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less.

TEH-MIJvarietyWe did Zuppa Toscana, Chicken Noodle Soup, Southwestern Chicken & Rice Soup, Lasagna Soup, Penne with Chicken & Asparagus, and Beef Stroganoff. Now she has 12 meals on the shelf in the pantry that she can get on the table in a jiffy.

I LOVE THRIVE!!!

Not only are these quick and easy, but Thrive freeze dried ingredients also make them healthy and delicious.

Simply add your ingredients to your jar, usually with all powdered ingredients on the bottom and larger pieces on top…I will usually tap the jar gently on a towel to help settle the ingredients and make sure everything fits in.

 

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Then you can seal it with the jar lid and ring, or you can use a Food Saver to remove all the oxygen from the jar and seal it. These will last several weeks in your pantry with no loss of quality or nutrients, but are not meant for long term storage.

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Today I’m sharing my Southwestern Chicken & Rice Soup in a Jar recipe with you. This recipe originally was one I made with my canned food storage and called it 6 Can Chicken Soup. And it was pretty good. But after tweaking it and adding good stuff like Thrive Instant Brown Rice, and Thrive Veloute Sauce and Classic Tomato Sauce, it’s evolved into a whole new set of deliciousness.

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TEH-MIJsouthwesternRecHeadPRINTABLE RECIPE CARD

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
Add to quart sized mason jar, in order:

  • 1/2 cup Thrive Instant Brown Rice
  • 1/2 cup Thrive Sweet Corn
  • 1/2 cup Thrive Instant Black Beans
  • 1/2 cup Thrive Tomato Dices
  • 3/4 cup Thrive Seasoned Chicken Slices
  • 1/4 cup Thrive Green Chili Peppers

In a plastic zip-top bag, place:

  • 2 Tbsp Thrive Chicken Bouillon
  • 2 Tbsp Thrive Veloute Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Thrive Classic Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tsp Thrive Cilantro
  • 1/3 cup Thrive Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat soup pot to medium high heat. Add jar contents except for sauce mix. Toast in pot, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
  2.  Add two quarts water and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Add Sauce mix and simmer another 10 minutes.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.

This is a delicious, quick, easy meal that you can have on the table in 20 minutes. One you can feel good about. I’d love to know if you make it!

Have a happy Halloween this weekend. Can you believe Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner!??!!?

 

Peace: Who is the Essential Homemaker???

Several months ago, during a horribly difficult time, one of my incredibly sweet and well-meaning friends paid me a compliment and said something about how I know how to do anything and have it all together….in the middle of this HUGE mental and emotional breakdown….and I thought…”oh my goodness, I’m a fraud!” I’m falling to pieces, and people think I have it all together…..or worse, do they see that I’m going to pieces, and think that I THINK I have it all together??

So I descended into this pit of stress paralysis* (yes it IS a thing….) and could not blog for months. I did stuff in and around my home to continue to learn and become better at “making peace and preparedness a part of every day life” ….barely…but I couldn’t say one word about it. And I didn’t do as much of it as I used to…I was just stuck. Fortunately, my stress paralysis passed…funny enough, right about the time my incredibly difficult time passed…funny enough, right about the time my legion of wonderful children went back to school. Suddenly, I was productive again and could think about sharing what I was learning with others. And so I began blogging again.

 

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But it got me thinking….who is the Essential Homemaker?? Is she perfect? Does she have it all together? Is she a paragon of virtue and ability? (And I’m only writing “she” because it’s easier and looks better than “he/she” but guys, know that you’re included.)

I decided it was of the utmost importance to me, to define who the Essential Homemaker is.

So typically, when I want to figure something out, I turn to good old Webster. I find out what the accepted definition of a word is, and go from there. Therefore, consult Webster’s Dictionary with me.
Essential:
   a: of, relating to, or constituting essence :  inherent
  
b: of the utmost importance :  basic, indispensable, necessary

So far, so good. I can work with that…..next…
Homemaker:
a wife who does work (such as sewing, cleaning, or cooking) at home and usually does not have    another job outside the home
Wha??? Now, that I must take issue with. It seems outdated and a little too gender specific. Because I don’t know about you, but I do LOTS of jobs outside the home. I am an Independent Consultant for Thrive Life, I volunteer doing work at the school, and in my church. And I really believe that Homemaking has come to encompass more than just sewing, cleaning and cooking. Additionally, I know MEN who are the homemakers for their family. Perhaps Webster was thinking along the lines of a “Housewife” when he created that nifty little definition.
Homemaking is defined by dictionary.com as a person who manages the household of his or her own family, especially as a principal occupation. NOW we are getting somewhere.
Incidentally, the word Homemaker has somewhat of a negative connotation in the world we live in, where one’s ability to amass  money, determines their worth. This, I definitely take issue with. My worth is not determined by how much money I get paid for what I do. My worth is inherent in me, as a daughter of God. It has nothing to do with anything I do. However, my calling in life, that I am privileged to be able to do, is to be a homemaker. To manage my home and raise children, create a safe place for my family, and to do all I can to prepare my family for the future and life that can change at any moment. To create good citizens and Christians who will grow up to raise MORE good citizens and Christians. And here’s the cool thing….homemaking is INHERENT (see above under Essential definition) in me, because of who I am….again, a daughter of God. It is the ESSENCE of my existence. Because of what I believe and what I know. And is is indispensable…I know lots of people manage to survive without a homemaker in the home, whether by choice or necessity and I’m not criticizing anyone who has chosen that path, because that decision is up to each of us. But for ME, I have the INHERENT ability, created in my very ESSENCE, that leads me to be a homemaker, the roll of which is INDISPENSABLE to my family. The Essential Homemaker.
(no my house doesn’t always look like this…it’s just a bad day, haha)
So, am I perfect? Uh….sadly, no. Do I have it all together?? Not even a little. Am I a great guru of amazingness….no. Well, maybe. Uh……no. But I’m open to doing what I feel prompted to do by my Heavenly Father…and THAT is where the amazingness comes in. Being willing to be led by one greater than myself…and performing what I have been called to do…which really means I can’t take any credit for any of it. I’m more of a sink full of dirty dishes while I try to experiment to see if I can make jello with no artificial ingredients/colors/flavors, etc kind of gal. Ninety-eight percent of the time. So, really more of a mess, than amazingness. I haven’t given up, though…I’m still working on perfection.

But I am SHE. The Essential Homemaker. And if you are reading this humble little blog, then chances are you are the Essential Homemaker as well. Because we are trying to do what we feel we’ve been called to do. And that is enough.

*If you have no clue what I’m referring to, go watch Moms’ Night Out….you will die laughing….or sit in a puddle and sob, depending on how close to real life it is at that moment…but either way, you’ll love it. You can thank me later.

Please, please, please (and on and on…yes, this IS me begging) leave me a message. Let me know you’re out there, and that you read my blog. Let me know if you’ve seen Moms’ Night Out and if you can relate.

Recipe: Homemade Pizza…Toppings, Toppings Galore

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photosource: morguefile

We’ve got you squared away with an amazing crust, and a delicious sauce…now you just need to know what to top your pizza with! Certainly you can go to the store and buy all the produce and meats and cheeses to do all of the things I’ll suggest, but consider how great life would be if you didn’t have to. Did have to get coats and shoes on the kids and load them into the car to make a run to the store. Didn’t have to wash and peel and chop and shred. Didn’t have to cook and sanitize. That’s a good life. And it’s all possible using your HomeStore ingredients.

Truly, the possibilities here are really endless. Have purists at your table? Then you need CHEESE! I like to do a blend of different cheeses when I make pizza at my house. Especially if I have any little bits and pieces of parmesan, or cheddar hanging around. What about if you don’t have cheese and don’t want to run to the store???

Here is where the HomeStore concept really comes in handy. Right now in my HomeStore, I have Thrive Mozzarella, Cheddar, Colby, and Monterey Jack cheese. These freeze dried cheeses WILL melt if prepared properly! I’ve found that the trick is to VERY slowly trickle water into your bowl of freeze dried cheese, WHILE STIRRING. STOP once the water begins to collect on the bottom of your bowl. Then, I transfer to a zip top bag and lightly flatten it, and put into the fridge for a couple of hours. I took some of this cheese, prepared as detailed above, to a Pampered Chef party to use on one of their yummy dishes, and it melted like a dream and NOBODY could tell the difference! So yeah, it’s amazing.

If you have traditionalists, there’s pepperoni, which freezes great so you can stock up when there’s a good sale and freeze it. Or how about Thrive Sausage Crumbles… a guaranteed win. No cooking or draining. No nitrates. This is one of my favorite products…use it several times a week…a tablespoon here, a 1/4 cup there. Extremely versatile and easy to use. Simply add enough water to ALMOST cover your amount of crumbles, give it a stir and let sit for a bit (5-10 minutes usually, while I prepare other things) and it’s ready to go. The trick with freeze dried foods, I’ve found is that you don’t want to drown them.

pineapple pizzaTEHLike Hawaiian? Thrive Ham Dices and Pineapple Chunks to the rescue. Like mushrooms on your Hawaiian? We’ve got that, too. Or canned olives that you store in your HomeStore. Or Green Onions?

What about those of us who like everything but the kitchen sink on our pizza? There is Spinach, Chopped Onions, Green Onions, Tomato Dices, Green Bell Peppers, and Red Bell Peppers.

Or you can get all fancy and do a:

alfredoTEHChicken Alfredo Pizza with Seasoned Chicken Slices, alfredo made from Bechamel Sauce Mix, Green Onions, Tomato Dices…you could even use some Bacon TVP if you wanted!
Mexican Pizza with Ground Beef, seasoned with Taco Seasoning, Green Onions, Tomatoes, Olives, Instant Pinto Beans (cooked and mashed) OR Instant Black Beans, Green Chili Peppers
Meat Lovers pizza with Sausage Crumbles, Pepperoni, Ham Dices, Ground Beef
cheesesteakTEHPhilly Cheesesteak Pizza with Beef Dices, Mushrooms, Green Peppers, Onions, Ranch Dressing and a combination of cheeses.
and just about anything else your imagination can come up with!

Hopefully I have shared some ideas that will help you make good use of your HomeStore. It’s really empowering to have everything you need at your fingertips, because of planning and intention.

What’s YOUR favorite pizza topping? Is it something you can store in your HomeStore and have to use at a moment’s notice??

 

Recipe: Homemade Stuffed Crust Pizza

Wanna Save $$$ and Be on Santa’s Nice List???

Well, at least on your FAMILY’s nice list.

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This great pizza recipe will keep you from going out when the weather outside is frightful, and it tastes…well,  utterly delightful.
Even better, you’ll know every single thing that goes into it, and will be happy to provide your family with good food without all the scary words, additives, and fake colors.
And as if that wasn’t enough, this is something  you can make 100% from your HomeStore….oh yeah.

Over the next three posts, I’ll share my tips for making a top notch homemade pizza, right there in your home, in less than an hour. So in case you didn’t realize just how cool this is….you can have homemade pizza on the table in less time than it usually takes to do delivery or take out. You can thank me later.

The first part of a great pizza is the crust. This crust is so versatile and delicious that you can do almost anything with it!
This recipe will make 4 medium pizzas, 3 large pizzas, or what we sometimes do is make two large pizzas, and save some dough in the fridge for cinnamon sticks or individual pizzas for lunch the next day. See, versatile already.

Let’s get cookin’!

When making your stuffed crust pizza, shape each piece onto an oil covered cookie tray or pizza pan. If making a stuffed crust, push the crust up the sides of the pan. If not, you can just push to the edge.

 

TEH-pizza2 Put cheese sticks, either purchased, or cut, around the edges of the pan and fold the crust over the top, pinching/pressing to seal. OPTIONAL: at this point you CAN let the dough rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. I never do.

 

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Get some butter and melt it, add some garlic salt, and maybe some italian seasoning to taste…you can just go crazy here….or not.

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Brush crust, especially edges, with butter seasoned to taste with garlic salt.

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Bake in a 450ºF oven for 7-8 minutes. Pull out of oven and top with sauce and favorite toppings. The pan is hot so be careful not to burn yourself. Brush the edges again with the butter/garlic salt mixture and return to oven until cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, about 7-8 more minutes.

Folks, it really is that easy. And all this time, BIG PIZZA had you thinking that you had to get good pizza from THEM. Here’s the recipe and printable recipe card for the Stuffed Crust Homemade Pizza.

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Makes 4 medium pizzas
printable recipe card

Ingredients:

10-12 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 scant tablespoons instant dry yeast
4 cups warm water
1/3 cup oil

Directions:

1. Put 7 cups flour, milk powder, salt, sugar, and dry yeast in a mixing bowl. Add water and mix one minute.
2. Let stand about 2 minutes. Add oil and remaning flour, until mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Knead 5-10 minutes (5 in a kitchenaid type mixer, 10 by hand). Divide into four pieces. (If you don’t want to make 4 pizzas, you can make breadsticks/cinnamon sticks, you can cook up the extra dough on your pizza pan and then freeze, or you can freeze the uncooked dough.)
4. Shape each piece onto an oil covered cookie tray or pizza pan. If making a stuffed crust, push the crust up the sides of the pan. If not, you can just push to the edge.
5. Put cheese sticks, either purchased, or cut, around the edges of the pan and fold the crust over the top, pinching/pressing to seal. OPTIONAL: at this point you CAN let the dough rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
6. Brush crust, especially edges, with butter seasoned to taste with garlic salt.
7. Bake in a 450ºF oven for 7-8 minutes.
8. Pull out of oven and top with sauce and favorite toppings. The pan is hot so be careful not to burn yourself. Brush the edges again with the butter/garlic salt mixture and return to oven until cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, about 7-8 more minutes.
*The possibilities with this really are endless. You can mix in 1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning into the dough, in step one, or you can mix in 1 teaspoon garlic powder.

 

In my next post, I’ll be posting the yummy sauce that we use on our pizza!
Have YOU tried making pizza? What are your favorite things to put on it?

Recipe: Cauliflower Soup with Chicken and Curry

I am a vocal advocate of comfort foods….they are so….comforting.

Today I’d like to share one of my family’s favorite recipes (no small thing when you’re feeding 8 people, to be in unanimous agreement), perfect for chilly fall and snowy winter days. Perfect for serving with fluffy Parmesan breadsticks.

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This is Cauliflower Soup with Chicken and Curry….so good…so comforting and delicious.

Make up a big pot and hide in the closet with a bowl full  enjoy your family’s delight.

 

Cauliflower Soup with Chicken and Curry
The Essential Homemaker

Serves 9

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 9 Tablespoons flour
  • 9 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups milk or light cream
  • 3 cups chopped chicken
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • curry powder to taste

Directions:

  1. Brown chicken till no longer pink. Add onion and saute until translucent.
  2. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile in soup pot, cook cauliflower in 3 cups of the chicken broth. Cook until tender. Remove from pot and set aside.
  4. Melt butter in pot. Stir in flour and a dash of pepper. Let cook, stirring frequently, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add broth and cream, whisking until smooth. Cook and stir until bubbly.
  6. Cook and stir 1 minute more.
  7. Stir in onion, chicken and cauliflower; heat thoroughly.
  8. Add curry powder to taste and sprinkle with parsley.
  9. Adjust liquid as needed to reach desired consistency, by adding more cream or broth.

 

If you’re in a hurry and don’t want to go to all those steps, you can take a little shortcut. This gets a yummy meal on your table in as little as 15-20 minutes, with convenient and nutritious items from your own Home Store.

In a Hurry Cauliflower Chicken Curry Soup
The Essential Homemaker

Ingredients:

 

Directions:

  1. Whisk soup mix into 7 cups of cold bouillon/water mixture in a soup pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  2. Reduce heat, and add chicken. Simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower and onion and simmer another 5-10 minutes til chicken, cauliflower and onion are softened.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and curry powder to taste.
  5. Add remaining 2+ cups bouillon/water mixture to bring to desired consistency.

I hope you enjoy!
I’d also love to hear about YOUR favorite comfort foods! Post a comment telling me what says “comfort food” to you.