Saturday, January 30, 2010

Orange Zest & Marmalade

Do you ever have oranges start to shrivel and dry out? Turn them into marmalade, even if the peels are hard as leather. You can use marmalade as the sweetener in recipes; a cup of it has about ¾ c. sugar. I love it in muffins.

Easy Orange Marmalade

1 orange, washed well

Cut the orange into quarters, and put it, peel and all, in a blender or food processor. Turn on and let it chop as fine or coarse as you like your marmalade. Look at how much puree you have, and use that same amount of sugar. Put the puree and sugar in a saucepan and heat on high until it boils. Simmer for 5 minutes, until everything is translucent. You’re done. Makes 1- 1 ½ cups, depending on your orange. Or make a big batch. Pour into jars, seal if you like. I’ve kept it in unsealed jars in the refrigerator for 8-9 months before.

It’s also delicious to make lemon or lime marmalade, or a mixture. The lemon is my favorite, especially using just a bit of salt and vanilla – 1/8 tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. vanilla per cup of puree.

Homemade Orange Flavoring
(preserving orange zest; this works for any citrus as well)

Wash and dry 3-4 oranges (or as many as you like). Use a vegetable peeler to peel all the orange off the outside. (eat the oranges!) Spread the peels on a plate, and let dry out for a couple days, until they’re thoroughly dry. Drop them in a blender or food processor, add 1 Tbsp sugar for each orange you had, and run on high until peel is very finely chopped. Store in an old spice jar, baby food jar, or a small jelly jar. Label it. 2 Tablespoons gives you the zest of one orange, enough to flavor a batch of about anything; muffins, cakes, cookies, pancakes, whatever. Use it in place of part of the recipe’s sugar.

You don’t really need to add sugar, but it seems to help the zest hold its flavor longer, and makes it easier to have enough in the blender for it to chop well. If you leave it out, 1 Tbsp is all you need for a whole oranges' zest.

Thank you Rhonda (Melissa's sister) for sharing this!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Self Reliance in All Things - Career Development

Career Development

Each of us should hone our skills and ourselves. Even if we are not currently or do not plan to be in the work force anytime soon, we should have a "back-up plan" and develop marketable skills and virtues that will help us should economic needs change. Any opportunity you may have within your time and means to attend a workshop, seminar, online course, etc. jump at the opportunity to train yourself in a field that interests you or even find a way to volunteer in that area.

President Boyd K. Packer has said, "We ourselves are responsible to seek out and take advantage of every opportunity to improve ourselves. There are ordinary virtues which influence our careers even more than technical training among them are these: Integrity, Dependability, Courtesy, Respect for Others, and Respect for Property. Family responsibilities and tight budgets sometimes prevent us from obtaining all the schooling we desire. We can, however, improve ourselves. The only tuition required is the time it takes, the work required and the desire to build into our lives the ordinary virtues so much in demand and so short in supply."
-The Gospel - The Foundation of Our Career," Ensign, May 1982, 84

Is there a field that you have always been curious about or been interested in? Challenge yourself to find out more about it. That's the first step.

Thanks to Stephanie for this post!

Introduction post here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Give us this Day our Daily Bread - SRS Meeting January 7, 2010

This month we are talking all about wheat!

Buy it: Wheat is very cheap to buy and can be stored indefinitely. You can buy wheat from the LDS Cannery or from other online sites such as Emergency Essentials, Lehi Roller Mills or Honeyville.

Store it: Wheat can be stored in almost any airtight container. I have my wheat in #10 cans and 5 Gallon Buckets. Here is the original post on Storage Containers.

Use it: Besides making bread, Did you know that you can use wheat without grinding it? Wheat makes an amazing breakfast and is perfect to use as a meat extender. Click here to find out more.


The entire newsletter can be downloaded here. Click on the links to view our posts on Diagram of a Wheat Kernel, Why Whole Grains?, Wheat & Dietary Fiber, What Would 400 lbs of Wheat Make?, Whole Wheat vs. White Flour, 3 Different Ways to Cook Wheat Berries, Green Living & Recipes (Wheat Meat, Wheat Sweets, Wheat Berry Recipes, Blender Pancakes, Cracked Wheat Cereal, & Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day). The link to last years class (April 2009) on wheat can be found here.

Diagram of a Wheat Kernel

Sometimes called the wheat berry, the kernel is the seed from which the wheat plant grows. Each tiny seed contains three distinct parts that are separated during the milling process to produce flour.

Endosperm – about 83 percent of the kernel weight and the source of white flour. The endosperm contains the greatest share of protein, carbohydrates and iron, as well as the four major B-vitamins, such as riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine. It is also a source of soluble fiber.

43% of the pantothenic acid
32% of the riboflavin
12% of the niacin
6% of the pyridoxine
3% of the thiamine
and 70-75% of the Protein

Bran – about 14.5 percent of the kernel weight. Bran is included in whole wheat flour and can also be bought separately. The bran contains a small about of protein, large quantities of the three major B-vitamins, trace minerals and dietary fiber – primarily insoluble (or roughage).

86% of the niacin
73% of the pyridoxine
50% of the pantothenic acid
42% of the riboflavin
33% of the thiamine
and 19% of the protein

Germ – about 2.5 percent of the kernel weight. The germ is the embryo or sprouting section of the seed, often separated from flour in the milling because the fat content (10 percent) limits flour’s shelf-life. The germ contains minimal quantities of high quality protein and a greater share of B-complex vitamins and trace minerals. Wheat germ can be purchased separately and is part of whole wheat flour.

64% of the thiamine
26% of the riboflavin
21% of the pyridoxine
7% of the pantothenic acid
2% of the niacin
and 8% of the protein.

Green Living - Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

1 bar Fels-Naptha Soap, finely grated
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (DO NOT substitute baking soda)
1 cup Borax

5-gallon bucket

Pour washing soda and borax into a 5 gallon plastic pail. Pour and stir in just enough hot water to dissolve. Stir Fels-Naptha into the pail and whisk until mixed. Add very hot water (I boil several pots on the stove at once) until pail is filled within a couple of inches from the top (3-5 gallons total) and whisk again. Add a few drops of scent (essential oil) or not. Let stand for 24 hours. The mixture will thicken and mostly likely have a consistency resembling "egg soup". Carefully pour into empty laundry detergent containers that have been rinsed. Use 1 cup (using the lid of the detergent container) for light washes or 2 for extra dirty or super sized washes. (As it is a suspension liquid, shake the container before measuring out the amount for each load.)

A few notes:
This soap will not suds up, but don't worry, it's not the suds that are doing the cleaning. You still eed to pre-treat any stains just like you would with any laundry soap. Here are a few websites that will answer any and every question you could possibly have on the subject.

The Family Homestead - A great website with a Q and A section towards the bottom
The Simple Dollar - Another website with various laundry soap recipes
You Tube Video - A video on making liquid laundry soap
Powdered Laundry Soap - A previous post on Self-Reliant Sisters for powdered laundry soap.

Where to buy ingredients:

Borax: Wal-mart, or the laundry aisle in any grocery store
Washing Soda: Albertson's laundry aisle or Buy Harware
Fels-Naptha: Ace Hardware or Hard to Find

Prices vary, but ultimately it will come out at 3-10 cents a load for the homemade soap compared to the Tide Liquid Detergent 2x concentrated, 26 loads at $14.99 (sometimes upwards of $17.99) which breaks down to $0.58 a load.

Start saving your liquid laundry containers instead of throwing them away. Or you can try using several clean, empty milk cartons. One other option is to just store it in the five gallon bucket you made it in.

Why Whole Grains?

Why do you want whole grains? They contain the bran and the germ of the grain, which have more nutrients than the endosperm—those are the real names; we didn't make them up—that you get with refined or enriched grains. Whole grains are absorbed more slowly than foods made from enriched or bleached flour, so they raise glucose and insulin levels less and keep you feeling fuller longer.

A diet rich in whole grains may also help steer you around cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, even gum disease—not to mention the pain of having to buy bigger pants.

But not all foods that tout whole grain or whole wheat provide it in the healthiest form. You want the grain to have all of its original components. Here are a few fake-out label words to watch for:

Made with whole grains. - It may have a pinch of whole grains, but unless it's 100 percent, you won't reap most of the potential benefits.

Multigrain - This tells you nothing about whether the grains are whole or refined. Even if you're getting 38 different grains, that isn't much good if they are all refined.

Whole grain - If the label doesn't say "100 percent whole grain," it may have many grain blends. Bad words to see paired with "flour" are: "enriched," "bleached," "unbleached," "semolina," "durum" and "rice."

The bottom line? Here is what it should say: "100 percent whole grain" or "100 percent whole wheat."

Source: Dr. Oz from

Refined flour looses between 48-98% of the many naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.

There are estimated to be 26 vitamins and minerals in a kernel of wheat.

Only Vitamins B-1, B-2, and B-3 and folic acid and iron are added to white flour in a synthetic form and this is called enrichment.

3 Different Ways to Cook Wheat Berries

Cooked wheat may be bagged and stored in the refrigerator for at least a week or in
the freezer for months.

Stovetop Wheat Berries

1 cup wheat berries
4 cups water

Boil for 60-70 minutes, topping with water as needed. You can reduce cooking time to 50-60 minutes if you pre-soak your wheat overnight (you can boil them in the same water you soaked them in). Drain after cooking, when wheat is tender.

Crockpot Wheat Berries

4 cups raw whole wheat
10 cups water
1 TBSP salt

Oil a large (4 quart or larger) slow cooker and fill with wheat, water, and salt. Cover and cook on low all night, 8-10 hours.

Pressure Cooker Wheat Berries
by Alton Brown

2 cups wheat berries
4 cups water
2 TBSP salt

Place all ingredients into a pressure cooker and cook on high heat until hissing begins and pressure rises. Lower heat to maintain hissing and cook for 45 minutes.

What Would 400 lbs of Wheat Make?

I received this in an email and now can't find the source. If anyone knows the original creator of this information please let me know.

What will 400 pounds of wheat make?

I believe it will help you get a better idea of what you can do with your storage and why you need so much wheat. Remember that sprouting increases the nutrition and variety as well. You need all the other ingredients to make the bread and pancakes, etc., but you already know that! I found this interesting and very important information that all need to know about regarding what can be produced with 400 pounds of wheat. Measurements are approximate.

Here goes:

400 lbs. wheat = 67 #10 cans

1 #10 can of wheat = 6 lbs. or 14 cups of wheat
1 #10 can wheat = 21 cups of flour
1 #10 can wheat = 7 large loaves of raised bread
1 #10 can wheat = 10-12 loaves of "quick" bread
1 #10 can wheat = 10 batches of pancakes (15-4" size pancakes per batch)
1 #10 can wheat = 10 batches of biscuits
1 #10 can wheat = 10 batches of chocolate chip cookies

Just multiply 67 by the number of loaves of bread, pancakes, cookies, etc. and that is what can be produced with 400 pounds of wheat.

Hope this is useful in your planning and preparing storage

Whole Wheat vs. All-Purpose (White) Flour

Whole Wheat Flour is a coarse-textured flour containing the bran, germ and endosperm. The presence of bran reduces the gluten development, therefore, baked products made from whole wheat flour tend to be heavier and denser than those made from white flour. Whole wheat flour, however, is rich in B vitamins, vitamin E and protein, and contains more trace minerals and dietary fiber than white flour. It also contains only five percent fat. In most recipes, whole wheat flour can be mixed half and half with white flour.

All-Purpose (White) Flour is the finely ground endosperm of the wheat kernel separated from the bran and germ during the milling process. After bleaching for further brightness in color, it is enriched with some of the vitamins that were stripped in the first place, however white flour still does not come close to the amount of fiber and nutrients as its whole wheat counterpart. The greatest single cause of iron deficiency – anemia – is connected to the refining of breads, cereals and sugar. Now that our breadstuffs are refined, no foods rich in the B vitamins are ordinarily eaten on a daily basis. Enless the package says “whole wheat” first, it is not truly a whole wheat product, but refined and enriched.

So why do we even have white flour? Because it was engineered to have a longer shelf life. The wheat germ contains fatty, essential oils which oxidize once milled and shorten the shelf life of whole wheat flour. In the olden days, they couldn’t process and use the flour quickly enough to keep it from going rancid, so this was their solution.

White flour is thus better for longer storage use of pre-milled wheat, although it has less nutritional value. That is why the Church encourages us to store wheat kernels instead. They store almost indefinitely (much MUCH longer than white flour) and still retain their nutritional value.

Wheat and Dietary Fiber

A kernel of wheat is made up of three parts: the endosperm which is the inner part of the wheat kernel, the bran or outer layers of the kernel, and the germ or embryo part of the kernel. All three are necessary to gain the full nutritional benefit of wheat. Wheat bran is an excellent source of dietary fiber.

According to the Mayo Clinic, dietary fiber, or roughage, includes all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. Unlike other food components such as fats, proteins or carbs – which your body breaks down and absorbs – fiber isn’t digested by your body. Therefore, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, colon and out of your body. It might seem like fiber doesn’t do much, but it has several important roles in maintaining health.

1. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it, decreasing your chance of constipation.
2. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease).
3. Soluble fiber helps lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels, as well as reducing blood pressure and inflammation of the heart.
4. Fiber can slow the absorption of sugar, which reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as helping balance blood sugar for diabetics.
5. High-fiber foods also aid in weight loss by making you feel fuller longer, consuming fewer calories for the same volume of food.

Good sources of fiber include: grains and whole-grain products, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas and other legumes, nuts and seeds.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Upcoming Gardening Classes

Acacia Demonstration Gardens

Here are some great FREE gardening classes starting in March at the Acacia Demonstration Gardens (50 Casa Del Fuego Street, Henderson, NV).
  • Indoor Plant Care - Saturday March 6, 9:00 am to 10:00 am
  • Backyard Wildlife Habitat - Saturday March 20th or April 17th, 9:00 am to 10:00 am
  • Growing Vegetables 101 - Saturday April 3rd, 9:00 am to 10:30 am
  • Putting Worms to Work, A Family Project - Saturday April 17, 9:00 am - 10:00 am
  • Ask a Master Gardener - Saturday May 1, 9:00 am to 10:30 am
  • Acacia Tree Tour - May 1, 9:00 am to 10:00 am
  • Sprinkler Clock Demonstration - Various Saturdays from March - April, 9:00 am to 11:00 am
You can register for all classes now at

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Self Reliance in All Things - Literacy & Education

Literacy & Education

"The prepared person reads, writes, and does basic mathematics; regularly studies the scriptures and other good books; and uses local resources to teach these skills and habits to all family members. Parents and children should take advantage of public and other educational opportunities."
-A Little Bit of Planning, a Lot of Success," Ensign, Jun 1977

We are blessed to live in a country where most of us are literate, however the scriptures have reminded us to "seek y diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith." Our education is never done. We must strive to be life-long learners and encourage our families to do the same. The more we know, our quality of life is improved and we are more prepared for the future. Resources like the public library are invaluable.

Challenge yourself to try to learn one new thing everyday - whether it is a new word, a geography fact, or a scripture.

Thanks to Stephanie for this post!

Introduction post here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Self Reliance in All Things

The church has a new section on called "Self-Reliance" and I was very excited to see our Visiting Teaching Message this month is "Becoming Self-Reliant". The following is an excerpt from a talk by Lane Johnson which explains the 6 different areas of self reliance. Each month Stefanie will be highlighting a different aspect of becoming "Self Reliant in All Things".

"President Marion G. Romney has said that welfare is the essence of the Church. Personal and Family Preparedness is an essential part of welfare. Its purpose is to encourage the economic, intellectual, physical, and spiritual preparedness of family and members.

What is this Personal and Family Preparedness that is so central to the purposes of the Church?

Personal and Family Preparedness encourages families and individuals to become self-reliant in six different areas: 1) literacy and education, 2) career development, 3) financial and resource management, 4) home production and storage, 5) physical health, and 6) social-emotional and spiritual strength. (see the model attached)

Welfare in the family is by no means food storage alone. Home storage is an important part of family welfare, but it is only a half of a sixth of the whole program.

Personal and Family Preparedness isn't just preparation for some kind of disaster; it's preparation for life - the foreseen, anticipated, almost expected needs which can be met through wise preparation.

You can scarcely think of a problem that could arise in the life of any family member-or the family as a whole-that could not be taken care of if preparation were solid enough and early enough in one or more of these six areas. Through this kind of 'provident living', families in most cases really can live happier lives because economic, physical, and emotional problems are held to a minimum and the things that make life worth living are encouraged to a maximum."

(Lane Johnson, "A Little Bit of Planning, a Lot of Success," Ensign, Jun. 1977, 6)

Thanks to Stephanie for this post!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Lose 10 lbs in 2 Months

It's time for a new year and a new you! Last year our ward/church group participated in the "Lose 10 Pounds in 2 Months" Challenge created by Jamie. You not only get points for losing weight, but also for eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep and saying prayers. It was so much fun and we lost weight while doing it. Another ward in California did this program, and as a whole, lost a total of 273 pounds and 211 inches!

Here are the Rules, Personal Weekly Chart and the Team Charts available for download. Here are a couple other clarifications that came up during our challenge last year.

1. Small Children Interrupting Your Sleep (no, husbands don't count as small children) - If you are a nursing mom and up with a baby in the night, then I think we need to be a little more fair in your points. If you are trying to go to bed at a decent time and you are up to nurse/feed, then you go back to bed - as long as you are getting close to that sleep time, then go ahead and count your points (cause really we know you are half asleep anyway). But use your best and "honest" judgment with that. If you were up for a long period of time and didn't really get a full nights rest, then maybe don't count that. Just do what you think is fair.

2. Fast Sunday - We have a few weeks for this one, but on Fast Sunday (or if you need to fast on another day for other personal reasons) here are the rules for fasting days. If you do an "honest" fast then this will be a freebie day where you can count all your points for fruits/veggies and water regardless if you got them in or not. Again let me stress "honest" fast. This does not mean that you all of a sudden decide to make each day a fasting day and starve yourself to get the points! Ha. (I know where some of you were going with that one...especially those of you who struggle with the fruit/veggie department). If you don't fast or if you can't fast (nursing moms, pregnant ones, or health restrictions to fasting, etc.) then you are still accountable to get them all don't get a freebie. Sorry

3. Points for Reading Scriptures - Feel free to add this one in!