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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Recipes From the Relief Society Broadcast Dinner

Jeannie's Strawberry Cake

Mix one package Pillsbury yellow cake mix according to package directions.  Bake using the guidelines for your pan size (Lasagna pan size is best, measuring 10-1/2 X 14-3/4 inches.

Cream Topping:
One pint whipping cream, very chilled
One 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
Just whip this all together and chill.  I promise, it will work!

Fruit Topping:
Mix one package Danish Dessert - strawberry flavored - according to directions on box for pudding.
Rinse, hull and slice 1 pint fresh strawberries.

Assembling it all:
Spread cream topping on cooled cake.  Arrange sliced strawberries over top of cream filling.  Carefully spoon, then spread cooled Danish Dessert over the top.  Chill until serving time.

Chicken Gravy

1 quart chicken broth (no salt added)
1/4 cup butter
5 Tblsp flour
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
4 oz cream cheese

Melt butter in large skillet over medium high heat.  Add flour, salt, garlic powder and thyme.  Whisk until flour is lightly browned.  Pour in the stock and whisk until thickened.  A general rule of thumb is that when the gravy comes to a boil it has thickened as much as it's going to.  Reduce heat to low.  Add the cream cheese and let it soften, still gently whisking the gravy.  When cream cheese is fully melted, whisk more vigorously to combine well.  Serve hot.

Sweet and Sour Sauce - mild

I used Emeril Lagasse's recipe for Sweet and Sour Sauce.  You can find the recipe here.  It's a little over halfway down the page.  The only modification is I left out the chili-garlic sauce so it would be mild.  If you like it hot, do add that.  :)

Thai Spicy Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 cup rice (or white) vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp chili-garlic sauce
1 Tbsp chopped garlic

Heat the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan on high heat for 3-4 minutes, until the sugar dissolves.  Add soy sauce and salt and stir.  Continue cooking at moderately high heat for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens somewhat.  Remove from the heat*.  Add chili-garlic sauce and the garlic.  Stir to blend and let cool.  Serve.

*I actually cooked my sauce for a minute or two after I added the chili-garlic sauce and the garlic.  This tempered that hot, raw garlic taste a bit. 

Thai Peanut Sauce

5 oz roasted unsalted peanuts
4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
2 Tblsp red curry paste
2 Tblsp sugar
3 Tblsp lemon juice
3 tsp fish sauce

Blend or process the peanuts until they are fine meal.  Reserve.

Heat half the coconut milk in a saucepan at high heat and add the red curry paste.  Stir to dissolve and continue cooking at high heat for 10-12 minutes, until the oil from the coconut has risen to the surface.

Lower the heat to medium-high and add processed peanuts.  Stir and add the rest of the coconut milk.  Bring to bubbling boil.  Lower heat to medium and add sugar, lemon juice, and fish sauce.  Cook stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened somewhat and the oil has returned to the surface.

Take off the heat and let rest for a half hour.  Stir to blend oil that has risen to the surface.  It should be the consistency of thick cream.  If thicker than that, add a cuople of tablespoons of water or coconut milk and blend.

The sauce can be served lukewarm or reheated to piping hot.  Leftover sauce can be refrigerated (where it will solidify) and then reheated on a low heat, thinned down with some water or coconut milk.  It can also be frozen and reheated another day the same way.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Snow Dye

They say if you want to be happy in a northern climate you need to find something you love to do in the snow.  I've finally found it!  Snow Dyeing!  It's so much fun to unpack the dyed yarn or fabric and see what random beauty nature has provided. 

I first heard about snow dyeing last spring when it was almost too late but, knowing Montana, I knew I had a pretty good chance of a heavy, late spring snow storm.  I was right!  April 19, I looked out my window and what did I see?

6 inches of snow on my adirondacks!!  Sweet!  I had gathered all my supplies just in case, so I was ready!

What you need:
Wool yarn or fabric (or other animal fiber, such as silk, llama, alpaca, etc.)
Plastic wrap
Plastic tub
Acid Dye (don't worry, the acid part refers to the vinegar you need to fix the dye)

For instructions on how to snow dye plant fibers, such as cotton, linen, etc., click here.  You will need an alkaline fixative and a dye suited for plant fibers.

The Method:

Soak your yarn or fabric in a solution of vinegar and water - 1/2 cup vinegar to 1 gallon of water - for about 30 minutes, pushing it down into the water to thoroughly saturate the fiber.  Allow most of the water to drain off the yarn and pack it in one layer in the bottom of a rubber or plastic tub.

Pack snow tightly on top of the yarn about 4 inches deep. 

Sprinkle your dye lightly over the snow.  

I used Jacquard Acid Dye:  Golden Yellow, Saphire Blue, and Crimson.

Bring your tub in the house - hopefully it is watertight and has no cracks! - and let the snow melt. When the snow is melted (hopefully overnight), lift your yarn out of the tub and let the excess water drain out.  Don't let it drip onto the yarn in the tub; hold it over a sink or another bucket.  Wrap the yarn in plastic wrap.  (You don't need to unskein it, as in the picture below, just wrap it up the same way you had it in the tub.)


Place wrapped yarn in one layer in a steamer and steam for 30 minutes.

Rinse the yarn and hang it up to dry.

When your yarn is dry (1-2 days), you can twist it back into a skein for storage or wind it into a ball for immediate use.  The skeins on the left were originally teal, and the ones on the right were a rather drab yellow. 

I love my snow dyed yarn!  I especially love the burnt looking spot on that rather plump teal skein.  That side was down in the tub and sat in a pool of dye.  It's so unpredictable and beautiful!  Here's what one of the yellow yarns looks like knit up in a little stockinette hat. 

It's really incredible how many colors you get just from red, yellow and blue. 

Now as the weather is turning to fall, go find yourself something to love about the cold months ahead!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

General Relief Society Broadcast

The General Relief Society Broadcast is September 24, 2011, at 6 p.m.  You can watch it on the BYU channel or come to the church and watch the satelite broadcast with your sisters.  If you come to the Billings East Stake Center (1640 Broadmoor Dr.), we will have a delicious dinner at 5 p.m. and the broadcast at 6.  Hope to see you there!

See complete information about the broadcast here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Have you ever run out of dishwasher detergent at a bad time?  Did you know that you can easily store all the ingredients you need to make more?  It's true!  I've been using homemade dishwasher degergent for a few weeks, and the only difference I see between the commercial detergent is that mine doesn't have those food eating enzymes so I have to rinse my dishes.  Big deal, right?  You probably rinse your dishes anyway. 


1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup citric acid*

Mix together and store in an air-tight container.  It may clump up due to the citric acid, but no worries!  Just scoop it out and use it anyway.

To Use
Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.

*Double the citric acid if you have really hard water (you'll notice a white film on your dishes if you need to do this).  You can find this in the canning section of your grocery store or hardware store.  You can substitute LemiShine or 10-15 packets of lemonade Koolaid (make sure it's regular and not presweetened).  DO use lemonade and not other flavors, as they will stain your dishes.

Interesting facts about the ingredients
Washing soda - also called soda ash and sodium carbonate.  You can find soda ash at swimming pool cleaning supply stores.  It is also used as a mordant in tie dye (the mordant is what sets the color in the fiber so it won't bleed out).  I found mine (washing soda) in the cleaning supplies section of a local hardware store.

Borax - also called sodium tetraborate.

Kosher salt - also called pickling salt. This is basically salt with no iodine. 

I find it interesting that three of the four ingredients here are sodium.  Anybody out there who studied chemistry and can tell me why?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Canning Chicken

Are you intimidated by pressure canning?  I know I am!  My little sister has recently been canning meat, though, and I'm starting to think maybe I can do it too.  One reason my sister likes to can meat is that they often have ice storms where she lives and they can be without power for a week or more at a time.  Canned meat won't go bad if your freezer defrosts!  Here's a link she posted to a YouTube video that makes it all look so easy!

My niece also recently posted a recipe on facebook that she uses to can pork.  She calls it Chili Verde.  She just opens a bottle and uses it as enchilada filling.  How cool is that?!?  Homemade taste, health benefits, and economy with store bought convenience! 

Chili Verde
3 lbs boneless pork – cubed
1 Tbsp oil
1 onion – chopped
6 cloves garlic –chopped
1 Tbsp fresh oregano
2 jalapeños – chopped
8 oz whole green chilies – chopped (I have used up to 4 whole chilies per batch)
3 c beef stock

Sautee onion, garlic, and jalapeños in the oil till onion melts. In a stock pot brown the pork with a splash of oil. Once it is browned on all sides add sautéed mixture. Add green chilies and beef stock. Bring to boil. Reduce to lowest setting and simmer, partially covered for 2 ½ hours. Add water if needed as it evaporates. Simmer till it reduces and pork easily breaks apart.

Process jars in small pints at 15 pounds of pressure for 1 hour and 15 min or 1 hour 30 min for quarts. When ready, open the jar and use as filling for tamales, enchiladas, tacos, salad, quesadillas or serve with beans and rice on the side. Amazing!

You should use a pressure canner whenever what you're preserving is low in acid.  Fruit and tomatoes are high in acid and so can be done in a water bath canner.  Always be sure to add all acid (lemon juice or vinegar) your recipe calls for.  You can do vegetables in a water bath canner if they are pickled

Things you can do in a pressuer canner:
Beans (legumes)
All vegetables

You should take your pressure canner lid (they only need the lid) down to the County Extension Office once a year to have the pressure guage tested.  You can also pick up charts of processing times for your elevation.  They're phone number is 256-2828.

Here's a link to the chart on their website: (scroll down to pages 3 & 4 for processing times and elevation by county seat for Montana)

Here's a good one on canning meat, fish, and poultry:

Here's their page that has tons of useful home canning links:

Happy canning!!