Saturday, May 30, 2009

Storing your Food Storage

I keep looking for ways to store all the cans. I have seen a number of solutions for the smaller cans and a few for the large #10 cans. However, they are expensive and generally take more room then I have available. This site has an idea for a #10 rotator that does not take up a lot of room. The closet rotator would not be difficult either.

It looks as if he had planned on selling these but never got finished with the site. This would not be too difficult to fabricate, you would have to make sure you had access to both ends to put the newest can in the back, or setup a double track. Still an interesting idea.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Square Foot Gardening

Square foot gardens seem to be all the rage. This may the way to go especially if you have become discouraged trying the traditional methods. The tradition garden in Mesa can be very challenging with our poor soil, hot sun, and myriad of insects. I know of several people using the square foot method with much success, both with raised beds and directly in the soil. 

By using this method, you are reducing the area you have to be concerned with and are able to reach just about everything. It is easier to irrigate and provide any shade necessary. I know in our garden that the sun it just to intense for some of our plants. especially the tomatoes. And instead of trying to improve the soil throughout the entire garden, you only have to concentrate in the specific area.

There are a number of sources for Square foot gardening. If you want a complete system, including plants and soil, Rob at A&P Nursery sales a complete package including a pre-cut wood frame. On-line there are several sources: The Frugal Dad, plans, and an official website Square Foot Gardening Foundation (who would have thought). If you would like even more information, just Google "square foot gardening" for more then you can read.

Have fun.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cooking Rice

I am really fussy about my rice. I learned to cook rice in Korea while serving in the USAF as a Korean linguist. I like my rice sticky, sticky enough that it holds together. To get my rice that why I do the following:

1. Add twice as much cold water as rice in a pot, or dutch oven.
2. Give it a quick stir.
3. Bring it to a boil.
4. Turn down to a low simmer, cover.
5. Cook for 20 minutes.
6. Do not peek.

At the end of the 20 minutes it is ready to serve, do not stir! This breaks up the starch and it will not be sticky. If you insist on fluffy, go ahead and stir with a fork.

While cooking dutch oven dishes that require rice, I usually cook the rice first, even if the recipe does not call for it. I have found that rice will kick your behind if you are not careful with it. (Don't you just love crunchy rice?) So I have found it easier just to cook it first. I usually use a broth instead of water, this way the rice absorbs the flavor of the broth as it cooks. I use chicken, beef, turkey, just depends on what the dish is.

One of my families favorite recipes in a Dutch Oven is Chicken and Rice Casserole.

Dutch Oven Chicken and Rice
14” Dutch Oven
350 degrees

Cook 1.5 to 2 cups rice

After rice is cooked mix in:
Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
Can of Cream of Celery Soup
Can of Cream of Chicken Soup
6-8 Chicken breasts, or thighs

Sprinkle of top of mixture
Package Dried Onion Soup Mix

Cook until chicken is done, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Free "Cultural" Things to Do

Take the kids and visit a museum. All you have to do is get a Culture Pass from your local library, you have to have a valid library card. Check out the Culture Pass website for more information. Just click here.

Get passes to the The Bead Museum, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Zoo, and others.

Have fun.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Each of us faces challenges and tests each day. It is hard to see these as blessings when in the midst of the crisis. But when we look back with our spiritual eyes, we can see that each trial, each test, each challenge was in fact a blessing. It was a opportunity for us to get closer to the Lord, to strengthen our spiritual muscles, and come close to Him that loves us.

Most importantly, the Lord has provided us the opportunity to repent. The opportunity to clean the slate and try again. Some give up trying to be better, thinking that the Lord is tired of their attempts at repentance. But Brigham Young taught differently,

“Do not throw away a man or a woman, old or young. If they commit an evil today, and another tomorrow, but wish to be Saints and to be forgiven, do you forgive them — not only seven times, but seventy times seven in a day, if their hearts are fully set to do right. Let us make it a point to pass over their weaknesses and say, ‘God bless you in trying to be better in time to come."

The Lord wants us to keep trying, to face each challenge as an opportunity to strengthen our spirituals and draw closer to Him.

Robert M. Wilkes gave an excellent talk on Opportunity at the BYU-Idaho Devotional, Feb. 10,2009. You can read it here, or listen to it here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Weekend Fun

This is Memorial day weekend. Why not plan on doing something fun with the family on Saturday? This Saturday is the fourth annual Payson Dutch Oven Gathering (PaDOG) in Payson at Rumsey Park, ramada 5. Come on up and enjoy some great company, there is playground equipment for the kids and even a dog (the 4-legged kind) park, and some great food. You may even learn a thing or two about how to use a dutch oven. If you don't want to cook, that is not a problem, just bring a salad, chips, or whatever. If you can't think of anything, just show up hungry. Dinner will be served, potluck style, at 6pm.

While in Payson, check out the Sawmill Festival. Payson used to be a big sawmill town. The Sawmill theater stands at the site of the original sawmill. Activities start at 9am, with a pancake breakfast at 7am. Those of you who know the scouters up in Payson know the food will be great.


A garden can be a great source of relaxation and accomplishment. Of course, in our weather and insect issues (read this as those really mean ants) it can also be very frustrating and disappointing also.

One of the challenges is what to plan when. We are blessed with the opportunity to grow things year around. The website at Phoenix Gardening offers a monthly calendar of things we can do and plant by month in our area.

Are vegetables cheaper at the store then growing them? In most cases, yes. However, home grown fruits and vegetables have better flavor and you have control of what is put in, and on, them. They sell these red things at the store they call tomatoes, but they taste nothing like the tomatoes out of the garden. Canned tomatoes are good, but there are added chemicals and the last time I planted a tomato can all I got was rust.

Go out and get your fingernails dirty, you might be surprised how much you enjoy it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Food Storage Recipes

One of the biggest challenges when storing the basics, e.g. wheat, rice, etc, is how to use them to make something our families will eat.

There are a lot of recipes websites on the internet and the Provident Living website even have recipes for the basics storage items. Here is a quick recipe for beans:

Chicken Soup from Beans

1 Cup Navy Bean Flour (Lima beans or Garbanzo beans will also work.) 
4 Cups Water or Milk 
1 Tablespoon Chicken Bouillon 
1/8 teaspoon pepper 
1/4 cup dehydrated onions or 1 small onion optional 

Grind the dry beans in a wheat grinder. Usually, 3/4 cup of beans will make 1 cup of flour. Add the other dry ingredients to the bean flour. Stir 1/2 cup of water or milk into the bean flour until it is mixed then add the rest of the water or milk and heat it in a medium sized sauce pan, constantly stirring. As it reaches the boiling point it will thicken. Boil it for about a minute. If it gets too thick add a bit more water/milk until your soup thins down to what cream of chicken soup should be. If it lacks flavor, add a bit more chicken bouillon. Garnish with dry parsley flakes. 

Serves 4.

Recipe from

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Employment Postings

I just found out yesterday that the Provident Living website has a job search feature that allows you to enter your Job Category, city and state, and shows jobs openings that have  been posted through the LDS resource centers. In fact, local Ward Employment Specialists can even post job openings they are aware of. This option allowing local Specialists to post is a great feature that keeps the database current and localized. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday - Family Day!

Have you checked out the Maricopa County Library at Guadalupe and Greenfield. It is a great library, nice air conditioning, and kid friendly. They even have a pajama storytime on Monday nights, check their calendar.

Also, right next door is the Riparian Reserve. Great wildlife to see, a nice trail around the lake. You can even go fishing (if you have a license).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Apostolic Voice of Warning

When I read the talk by Elder Bednar in the Church News (May 9, 2009) entitled "Devices that distract from 'things as they really are'" I was impressed that both my family and friends needed to read the article and pay particular attention to the his warning -

"I plead with you to beware of the sense-dulling and spiritually destructive influence of cyberspace technologies that are used to produce high fidelity and that promote degrading and evil purposes."

When I searched for the talk to print it for a friend of mine, I found that that the the Church News article is the Readers Digest version of that talk given at the CES fireside. The entire talk can be read here or listen to here.

He warns that both men and women in the Church today are ignoring "things as they really are" and are neglecting eternal relationships for digital distractions, diversions, and detours that have no lasting value.

He offers two questions we need to ask:

1. Does the use of various technologies and media invite or impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?

2. Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve in meaningful ways?

We all need to heed this warning so that we will not forfeit the blessings that are made "possible through the Father's plan of happiness and the Atonement of His Only Begotten Son."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually

"When we live providently, we can provide for ourselves and our families and also follow the Savior’s example to serve and bless others."

"What is a provident provider?

"All of us are responsible to provide for ourselves and our families in both temporal and spiritual ways. To provide providently, we must practice the principles of provident living: joyfully living within our means, being content with what we have, avoiding excessive debt, and diligently saving and preparing for rainy-day emergencies. When we live providently, we can provide for ourselves and our families and also follow the Savior’s example to serve and bless others."

Elder Robert D. Hales - April 2009 General Conference

Earthly Debts, Heavenly Debts

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught:

“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress”

("Earthly Debts, Heavenly Debts," Ensign, May 2004, 42).