Saturday, November 15, 2008

Everything Under the Sun by Wendy DeWitt

Here are highlights from the excellent food storage class I went to this week.

For the full transcript of the presentation go to or
check BYU-TV in February under speaker Wendy DeWitt.

Wendy has a very simple 1 year food supply. She has bought and stored all the ingredients to make her favorite 14 meals 26 times and 7 breakfasts 52 times. In addition she has stored enough food to make a loaf of bread per day for the third meal and also cakes, cookies, rolls, pies, and brownies for snacks. Her food storage has a minumum shelf life of 3 years (meats mostly, most stuff is much longer). The other clever part of her system is that she is able to cook all of it w/o electricity "under the sun" in her solar oven.

Tips for storing everyday foods your family eats.
Wheat grinder: You must have one! hand ones are nice for power outages, electric are nice for everyday use.

Food Saver w/ jar sealer attatchment: Nuts, raisins, brown rice, candy, chocolate chips, baking mixes, etc will last 3-5 years rather than just months. You can stock up when there are sales. This is really the heart of what makes Wendy's food storage so yummy. Regular things with short shelf-life now last long enough to be in long-term food storage. The Food Saver is expensive, but deals are usually available on used ones, the attatchment runs about $10.

Pressure cooker: bottling fruits and veggies is a lot of work, but meat can be raw packed. Put it in the jar. When you process it, it gets cooked perfectly. Stock up when meat is on sale, then you have all these easy meals just waiting in your food storage. Wendy uses two jars of meat a week and rotates her years supply every 3 years. She can do 50 lbs of meat in one day. That is probably enough for the year...

solar oven: These are cool and I didn't know they existed. Apparently hundreds of thousands are used world wide. This along with our propane grill would have us pretty prepared to cook food in a power outage. The solar oven cooks in any temperature of whether as long as there is sun you can cook. She says her oven preheats in about 30 minutes to 350. So she can sterilize water, boil, and bake with it. It might take longer to preheat in cold whether, but not too much. Her friends had a nice warm meal on a ski trip in 18 degree weather. The trick is to adjust it every 45 minutes so that it is always facing the sun. She cooks breakfast and then a big meal. After the big meal she does a loaf of bread and then you don't have to worry about cooking at night when there is no sun...

Friday, November 14, 2008

October pictures

J, J, and little A bobbing for apples!

I did it!

Food for a kid halloween dinner, "Mummy Dogs"

Food for the parents, "Monster Fingers", calzones with olive fingernails. Dip it in pizza sauce.

Poor baby is always so tired. Our schedule has gotten less hectic and she is back to two naps a day after skipping her morning nap for two months. Maybe now there is a chance of her sleeping through the night for real!

Uncle C gives little A her first piano lesson the day before he gets married. She thoroughly enjoys it.

words from my kids

J said this morning, if I meet Joseph Smith in the spirit world, guess what I am going to tell him? That we had a movie about him and his wife Emma at our house!

AJ is a pretty patriotic 6 year old. She really enjoyed the veterans day program at her school this week. It was one of the few times I got to hear any comments about school besides how recess went. She told all about the four visitors and the different jobs they had done in the military. She also likes the daily pledge of allegiance and Mondays, when they sing the national anthem during announcements. She often has short prayers where she prays for nothing but our family and the soldiers.

Every night before bed I have AJ and J read a book to me. little A doesn't like to be read to, but she spends lots of time pretending to read herself. She moves her finger across the pages and pretends to sound out words "ah-ah-uh-oh". She looks up at me like "see mom, its not hard at all!" Last night J read the book "I See". Little A picked up a board book, began pointing and with great pride and satisfaction and said "I-see-see!"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The story I wrote about Obama two years ago...

I was touched to see the historic moment of an african american being elected president. It hadn't really struck me how significant an event it would be until it happened. Anyway, in Februry 2006, I was writing a sci-fi story, there was a little blurb about a president. The rough outline called for a president named Joe (maybe Joe Biden, eh?), but when I actually wrote it, I used Barack Obama as the theoretical president, here is the quote:

Chapter Three
Deshawn Golightly had never even seen the President before, and now he was going to get a private interview.
“The President will see you now” announced a young aide in a crisp blue suit with lots of badges around her neck.
Deshawn, a short, young looking man with spiky straw-colored hair, followed sluggishly, struggling to be impressed by all the official mumbo jumbo he had passed through. Entering an unfamiliar conference room a handsome looking man with light brown skin and a winning smile rose to meet him.
“Hello” said the young spiky-haired man stepping forward unexpectedly and missing his cue to shake hands, “I am Deshawn Golightly and you are the President of the United States, I assume. You know I don’t normally make house calls on politicians, but your invitation intrigued me, so I thought I’d drop in. I guess since I haven’t done anything heroic lately to earn a Presidential Commendation, you probably called me in for a favor, so what can I do for you man?”
The President stared wide-eyed, the introduction he had planned on making still stuck in his throat. He had never been approached so casually in his entire political career. It felt good though. Deshawn was making this as easy as simply asking a next door neighbor to borrow a hammer. The president grinned, “Call me Barry, and yes there is something you could do for me.”
“That’s the spirit Barry. All those folks out there had me thinkin’ you were stuffy, but you seem alright man. So whacha want?”

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Tsuvan (tsoo-vahn) is a staple Mongolian dish taught to me by my dearest companion from Ulaanbataar, on Christmas Eve of 1997. A holiday season hasn't passed since then that I don't crave this meal. My family has come to enjoy it as well. The recipe isn't available by searching the web although a year or so ago I was delighted to find a tourist had made a snapshot of his plate of tsuvan during a trip to Ulaanbataar and posted it where I could find it on the web.

I made Tsuvan today to celebrate my birthday. To the best of my abilities to recreate it, here is the recipe. To be authentic, it would probably have lamb instead of beef, but oh well. Also, there would be no broccoli since it doesn't exist in Mongolia. Also, the way the noodles and veggies are steamed is an important element in what makes this taste Mongolian to me.


• 3 cups flour
• ¾ cup water (add 1-3 Tbs additional if needed)
• 1 egg

• 1 1/2 lbs steak
• ½ medium onion, diced
• 1-2 tsps salt
• ¼ -½ tsp pepper or to taste
• about ½ cup water
• 3-6 cups shredded cabbage
• 2 cups chopped carrots
• 2 cups chopped broccoli (optional)
• 2-4 Tbs oil
soy sauce

1) Noodles: make dough with 1 egg, 3 cups flour, 3/4cup water. Dough shouldn’t be too sticky or too dry. Divide into 3 fist sized balls and set aside for 5-10 minutes.

2) Stirfry: cut steak into strips. Coat the bottom of a very large pan (I used a large soup kettle) with oil (olive oil is good for the steak). Turn heat on medium and begin browning meat. (Make sure you have a tight lid for later). Season the meat.

3) Noodles: roll the balls out in thin circles like pie crust (don’t use flour though). when its thin and coat generously with oil and fold it over every 3” like cinamon rolls. Set aside.

4)Stirfry: slice carrots and onions add them to meat add 1 cup of water to cover them, maybe a bit more to avoid burning. cover and cook 4-5 minutes. Then add cabbage and with about 1 tsp of salt. More if there is a lot of it.

5) Noodles: slice the noodle dough in ¼” strips to make noodles. Add broccoli and then noodles to the pot. Drizzle with 2-4 Tbs of oil (I prefer canola for this) Season with salt to taste. Cover tightly with a lid and let it steam on medium heat 13-15 minutes. Be careful not to let the bottom run dry and burn the steak. Use a fork to separate noodles. Serve with soy sauce.