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Friday, August 7, 2009

Using up those delicious garden vegetables!

This recipe has been around the block on many food blogs lately, but I had to give it a try to use up those garden tomatoes! I loved the freshness of the tomato and the savory garlic and cheese flavor...delightful! We dipped this bread in an olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Parmesan cheese mixture. We felt like we were at Macaroni Grill. (Yes, I tripled the batch--I can't do anything in small quantities!)

Herbed Tomato Focaccia
1 ¼ c. warm water
1 T. yeast
2 T. honey
1 t. salt
3 ½ c. flour
¼ c. olive oil
2 T. fresh or dried rosemary—chopped
2 large tomatoes—sliced thin
½ c. asiago or Parmesan cheese--shredded
Kosher salt (opt.)
Olive oil to brush the top of bread

Combine water, yeast, salt, oil and honey in a large bowl and let sit until foamy. Add the flour and knead well. Place in an oiled bowl and let rise to double. Punch down and roll out to 1/4” thickness. Place on an oiled pan and lightly brush the top of the bread with olive oil. Sprinkle with cheese and rosemary and top with tomato slices. Let rise to double again. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

One of my other favorite ways to use the vegetables from my garden (or ones you buy at the store) is this quick and healthy vegetable side dish. There isn't a fancy name for this recipe, it's just something I throw together for a quick side dish and a way to get my kids to eat their vegetables. I just coarsely chop up any vegetables I have on hand in the fridge (zucchinis (there's always tons of those going around!), onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc.) and toss them in a drizzle of olive oil (or you can use butter for more flavor). I sprinkle the veggies with Montreal Steak Seasoning (my ALL time favorite seasoning!) and Johnny's Garlic Spread (my second favorite seasoning--both you can get at Costco in BULK!!) and put it in the oven on a cooking stone. I broil this at 450 degrees until the vegetables are slightly soft and have a few crispy edges (like they were grilled on the barbie). Put your pan down on the lowest rack to prevent burning. You can also just bake these vegetables, but I like the crispiness of the veggies verses the soggy-overcooked flavor baking gives. This is just a quick option to skewered vegetables without all of the skewering! I served these tonight with the Teriyaki Pork from this weeks menu planner and it was AWESOME!!


Would you like some chocolate with your zucchini?

I LOVE summer for the fresh vegetables grown in your garden. My garden is nothing to write home about, but every year we seem to be able to grow an adequate amount of zucchini and tomatoes (my two favorite garden veggies). After making stir fry, zucchini & eggs (a family favorite--try it, you will be amazed at how good it is), putting zucchini in soups and pastas, etc...I was ready for something sweet. I love the traditional zucchini bread with cinnamon, but last night wanted something chocolatey. This bread hit the spot (although I would put even more chocolate chips in it next time :)

Here is a great, moist chocolate zucchini bread recipe:

3 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 c. wheat flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 oil and 1/2 applesauce)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or more)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt, mix well. In separate bowl, combine sugar and eggs, beat until well blended. Add oil and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in zucchini. Add flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon evenly into loaf pans.
Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pans; cool completely on wire rack.

Original; http://myfoodstoragedeals.blogspot.com/2009/07/would-you-like-some-chocolate-with-your.html

Audio Podcast: Episode-220- 9 Underrated Global Threats

Today we take a look at 9 underrated threats, I refer to them as underrated because they don’t really get discussed in main stream media or when they are discussed no deep understanding of them, their historical significance or their interconnected nature. Today we discuss the following threats and what they might mean to use in [...]

Food storage accomplished through smart shopping, foraging, gardening & canning


This is the time of year to have your eyes open for wild edible plants and to begin storing up your favorites. Buy a good book and meet with knowledgeable friends to forage the woods and open spaces for the bounty the Good Lord brings forth every year.


Of the many edible plants you can select, berries are always the number one favorite, and many quarts of jam and jelly will be processed as the fruits ripen over the next few months. To can your own jam or jelly, requires the acquisition of a large number of canning jars now, for later use. Check for store sales of jars and lids, of pectin and sugar, along with specials on various fruits at rock bottom prices. Do not pass up the garage sales either which can be a gold mine on canning bottles and products.

Learn something new this year. Try different methods of canning your favorite foods and fruits.

If you wish to try some new interesting processing methods, try some of the pioneer methods of preserving foods. One such method called ‘pemmican’, is mainly meat and berries pounded together to make meat/berry cakes, which will last for several months without refrigeration, and can last you through the winter if you keep them stored at a constant cool temperature.

Improving Food Storage Temperatures:

Try improving your food storage area. Consider maybe increasing the size of your storage area and/or try improving the insulation factor of your food storage area. This can be done by adding ‘closed in cabinets or cupboards, or by simply insulating your garage door itself, or replacing your non-insulated garage door with an insulated garage door. Anything you do should have a goal of lowering the area storage temperature to below 70 degrees, which is the ideal highest temperature for best results in the longevity and saving of stored fruits and vegetables.

Work Your Garden:

Your garden should be well underway now as we are past the last frost. This year, try experimenting with some new species of your favorite crops, such as several varieties of corn, and squash.

My garden is already producing fruit and vegetables. Yeah! We have been harvesting salad on a regular basis. Two days ago I also sampled one of my very hot radishes and then I cooled off my tongue with a large fresh strawberry. Nothing tastes better than fresh produce.

It is fun to garden and it brings a sense of peace to your soul as you dig in the dark brown earth. God has been good to me this year. Almost everything I have planted is thriving. (Using Miracle grow did not hurt my odds either…)

Smart Shopping for Food Storage:

Continue to watch for food sales and store coupons that reduce your food bill costs. If you have been doing this all along, you may find that now, the only time you have to go shopping is for milk and to pickup items when something they are on sale.

The Comfort of Having Your Food Storage:

It is amazing the comfort it gives you to have a minimum of one year’s supply of food in your pantry and food storage. Personally we have two years of grains, dehydrated foods and freeze dried foods in our long-term supply stored up. We also have our regular pantry stuffed with enough fresh foods and water to easily last three to five months. It is packed full of things we like to eat all of the time in our regular diet.

Original: http://washingtonpreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/06/food-storage-accomplished-through-smart.html

Safety Starts At Home

With all of the world events going on right now, it is easy to lose focus of what is most important and what order of things in the world take priority.

I have had a few thoughts on this subject lately as I get daily bombarded with what seems to be one catastrophe after another both in the World and here at home in the United States and more directly our homes here in Washington State.

Priority Number One - Taking care of your health must come first. Without your health, you can not be much help to your family and friends. This is not ignoring the fact that many of us do have some stage of a health issue in our life, be it our own personal health issues or a member of our family’s. But we must treat the walking wounded and do all in our power to stay healthy. Diet, and exercise and possibly continued medical treatment for issues must take precedence. If you are on medications, take them religiously. Be careful if you self medicate that you do not get too much of a good thing. Also, question your prescriptions and which might be in conflict, with your pharmacist.

Recently, I had a family member that was prescribed a medication by one name, while already being on the same medication under a different generic pharmaceutical name. Fortunately a friend of the family visited her three days after her surgery and recognized that something wasn’t quite right; investigated and had enough medical background knowledge to know to check with poison control who immediately wanted 911 called and a trip to the emergency room. This medicine conflict placed her in the hospital while her liver function and kidney functions were monitored for several days. There was concern that her kidneys might stop functioning and dialysis was being considered. After several days of flushing out her system, her health was restored and she rejoined her family at home. Had the neighbor not dropped by and questioned the situation, it could have proved fatal.

Always challenge your medications and scheduled surgeries to determine if they are correct and necessary and are not in conflict to your good health. You must look out for your health; no one else has as vested an interest in you as much as you do. Your friends may not notice something is wrong.

Priority Number Two - Take care of your family by being knowledgeable of their health needs and safety. Maintain a health history and list of medications for all members of the family and have written instructions for specific needs and contacts in an emergency, including insurance coverage, doctors names and hospitals.

Priority Number Three - Stay involved with your neighbors, immediate community and schools. Getting to know your neighbors and getting them to know you and your family is very important. There are several programs already established that are available to help you in your neighborhood.

1. Neighborhood Watch – If you do not already have a neighborhood watch program, contact your local police department and get information to start one in your neighborhood. Staying active in your community and knowing your neighbors provides peace of mind and a certain amount of security and safety is established.

2. Map Your Neighborhood – This program helps blocks of neighbors to get to know each other and to find out resources that can be shared to help out each other in case of a disaster or in time of need. Contact the Washington Department of Defense, Emergency Preparedness Program at Camp Murray in Lakewood for more information.

3. CERT (Community Emergency Response Training) – Get certified in disaster training incase of the worst-case scenario. This is most excellent training and I highly recommend it for everyone in your neighborhood. Of course these numbers will never happen, but it is really good to get as many people trained as possible. Information about CERT can also be obtained from the Department of Defense at Camp Murray in Lakewood.

4. Red Cross (or equivalent) First Aid Training – One cannot have too much training in first aid. All of my family members have had years of first aid classes and have all used it at different times at car accidents, home injuries, and a few in actual life saving situations. First aid gives you confidence in yourself and a feeling of security. It isn’t being perfect or knowledgeable like a doctor might be, but a degree of self help is always a comfort.

5. Learning to Swim – If you are a noon-swimmer, stop right now and make contact with a pool and take lessons to be able to swim. It is a confidence builder and it also will save a life. In a weird twist of fate, a young man I taught how to swim in the Boy Scouts, was able to save the life of my youngest son several years later when my youngest son who had dove into Lawrence Lake off the dock and had become entangled in the mil foil water plants at the bottom of the lake. This boy recognized the danger, ran down the dock and jumped in and pulled my son to the surface and got him breathing again. This is a debt I will always owe to this young man who is now our family’s hero.

Priority Number Four – Stay abreast of the politics and government decisions being made around you and do your part by voting and making contact with your legislators when you agree and disagree. It is important that we know what is happening. We can only be prepared if we know what to prepare for. This is not a time in history for apathy. Make your voice heard.

These do not cover everything that the world may throw at us, but they will give you a great start on protecting yourself, your family and friends and neighbors, and make a great start in being prepared.

Keep Prepping


Original: http://washingtonpreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/06/safety-starts-at-home.html