One of the subjects that I am focused on right now is my Gratitude Journal so I decided to share a bit about what my real life is like outside of social media. I am usually a pretty private person and I don’t share all of the details and drama in my life. Even in this post I will be playing it on the down low. I guess i just want everyone to know my life isn’t all sunshine and a bed of roses. I am human, I struggle as a single woman, I am extremely busy and I try to be positive and enjoy life to the fullest..even though I have a lot of trials.
A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF STACY
Mother in-law apartment
Tuesday July 10th
I was still in Boise when the back to school sales started. I needed to buy 100 Composition notebooks for the November LDS Relief Society Gratitude Activity so i went around to 3 Office Max stores and then Walmart so I could buy them for $.50 each instead of $2.each.. isn’t that a fun way to spend your vacation? I then took pictures with Kevin of the mother in law apartment (the Shed) and we had lunch at Firehouse before I drove home. The drive to Salt Lake is 5 hours plus two pit stops.. I spent an hour unpacking my car. I brought back 40-50 moving boxes, and 100 Composition notebooks so my car was packed! It wouldn’t be a road trip in the life of Stacy… if I didn’t have a full Toyota 4Runner!
Here is the story about the Mother in law apartment:
MOM’S NEW PLACE
I had to take these pictures to go in my #journal. This story was 3 years in the making…so here it goes.
Every since my dad passed away 3 years ago, I’ve been driving to/from Vernal to help my mom. I started teasing Kevin that someday he would have to take care of his mom, and that he needed to be paying attention to what I’ve been going thru while taking care of my mom long distance. I said.. “do yourself a favor and when you buy a house make sure you get one with a mother in law apartment”.
In June, Kevin bought his first house in Kuna Idaho..and one of the first things he told me was that he even got a house with a place for his mom.. I could stay in the shed in the back yard.
He wasn’t very happy about me showing up with a sign to hang above my door.
Thank goodness his cute wife is a good sport! What I am most grateful for today is for the amazing son that I have. I’m so grateful we have fun together and that he loves me.
Wed, July 11
Back to the real world…No one does my work when I go on vacation so I have to work overtime until I make up those hours taken. I wake up at 5:30 AM.. shower and start my 12-13 hour day by eating my homemade yogurt at the computer. I worked 12 hours on Wed. Thank goodness Ive been working at home because sometimes I take a break and put in a batch of laundry. When I was working in the office I never even took a break and I rarely left the office to take lunch. It makes for a very long day! The other advantage of working at home is that I don’t have to waste my time on the boss’s girlfriend drama.
My job is harder than anyone would guess but what I’m grateful for today is having a job! I’m grateful for a boss who will let me take some of my work to Boise so that I won’t have to do so much overtime when I come back. I’m grateful my job has been portable so I can help my mom. As part of my income my boss makes the payment on my Toyota 4runner and I’m very grateful that I have a reliable car to load up and drive to the places I need to go.
On Wed after work I went grocery shopping and bought the ingredients to make my yogurt. As I write this journal page I realize that I didn’t even eat Wed until I came home from the grocery store. Making Yogurt is very easy and I’m planning to do a class on this subject so I’m always trying to make new recipes with yogurt. I also bought some vegetables to snack on and I make a good yogurt dip that is kind of like ranch salad dressing. = low fat and very healthy! I’m also planning to do a class on the Thermal Cooker that I make the yogurt in so this is a bonus day
Too much yard work
Thur July 12
Thursday after working 13 hours I had to face my over grown grass and I pulled weeds in the yard for 3 hours. The problem with my yard this year is that I hired a 24 year old girl to help with my yard last year and she decided to take a 3 month vacation. I would ask her if she was coming to mow the grass and she would say something like ” of course, I will come Monday when I get home” and then another week would go by. I would get mad and mow the grass and then she would show up and mow it again. She put per-emergent in my flowerbeds the past 3 years and this spring all of those weed seeds sprouted and I have a huge mess on my hands! I learned that pre-emergent is expensive and even though it works good the season it is used, you have to keep using it or pay the price. The picture on this post is actually a picture from last year. My plan of attack this year is “Ground Clear”. That is all I’ve been doing this year is spraying weeds and then pulling them after they are dead. My yard is finally looking better and I have to say… I’m proud this old woman can do a better job than a 24 year old!
One problem with me doing yard work is I can’t handle being out in the sun so I came in with a headache, took my shower and crashed and burned in bed.
What I’m grateful for today is that I even have a yard. Its been hard to keep my yard up since Ive been driving to help my mom but I know it’s a blessing in a single woman’s life to be able to own a house with a yard. Occasionally I sit on my deck in the evening, looking at all the weeds that need to be pulled, and I just think back to the New York apartment days and it snaps me back into my thoughts of gratitude of being a homeowner.
Friday July 13
Friday after work I spent 3 hours doing the grout in the upstairs shower. I’m trying to fix up this bathroom so that I can sale my house. I’ve needed to redo this bathroom for about 5 years but I haven’t been given a cost of living raise in 3 years so I don’t make enough money to fix my house. Someone had left over tile for sale on KSL so I got it for $30, I paid $45 for the border tile and $15 for the grout. The plumber will put new handles in the shower for $550, I am going to paint the bath tub for about $60. Someone said to me once that I was really brave to learn how to do tile and I explained to them.. when a single woman doesn’t have enough money to hire someone to repair things.. a single woman has to learn how to do a lot of things she never thought she would have to do.
What I am grateful for today are the talents that God gave me! I usually can tackle about anything I set my mind to do and its kind of easy for me to be brave and try something new because God blessed me with so many talents. I also have a determination to win the battle! If I get nervous to try something, I just think.. if a man can do it I certainly can too! I love the challenge of trying to be a strong woman!
This is the 3rd bathroom that I’ve done tile in and I kind of like it doing it now. The picture marked FIRST is the first bathroom I did (and the best job I’ve done so far) I did it with beige marble and I love natural stone. the picture marked SECOND is my mom’s bathroom that I did with marble in 2015 and the picture marked FRIDAY is my $30 ceramic tile and I am currently working on. I’m so grateful for the lessons on Youtube and for the employees at Lowes who helped teach me how to do tile!
Dollar Ridge Fire
Saturday July 14th
I slept in until 6:30 today YaHoO! I cleaned up some of the grouting mess, packed my suit case and car. I filled the SUV with 9 – 5 gallon buckets and gas …and I hit the road again. I drove thru an area in the mountains that is very dear to my heart. On July 1st a fire started and I witnessed the devastation as I drove thru the Dollar Ridge Fire area. It was so sad to think about the 90 homes that were lost and all of the other damaged property.
After 3 hours of driving I reached Vernal in time to take my cute mom to lunch. I still feel bad I was in Boise for the 4th of July instead of Vernal because it is my Mom’s birthday and I usually spend it with her. I enjoy every day that I get to spend with my mom.. I am so grateful for her! She has always been my loyal supporter and my #1 fan. She has been thru the thick and thin.. and all the bad and good times of my life.
After lunch we drove around Vernal for a couple of hours looking for an apartment for my brother. He has been living at my mom’s house for a 6-7 weeks but he can’t stay there anymore because mom wants to put her house up for sale. It’s really sad he can’t be respectful to my mom’s property and stay in the house while we have it listed. This whole situation has been very upsetting.
Mom and I then went to Dinner with Carol and Diane. We have so much fun with them! I appreciate them so much for all the love and support they have given to our family. I’ve been staying at Diane’s house this past month when I go out there and we have such a great time. Diane is like a sister from another mother. We stayed up until midnight talking and laughing.
Sunday July 15
I started my day the same way I ended Saturday night.. talking and laughing with Diane. I got ready for church and was almost late. I enjoy going to church with my mom at the Beehive House (an assisted living facility). Church is a different experience there, it is very spiritual and more intimate because there is a smaller crowd.
I ate lunch with mom there and the staff are so wonderful to us.. no wonder my mom loves staying there. I thought she would miss her house but she hates being alone and all of the staff are willing to help her with anything she needs. I love and appreciate them for taking good care of my mom!
I went back to mom’s house and packed 2 boxed of genealogy papers that we had from my grandmother Robin’s house. My cousins, Susan and Annette, and my Aunt Marilyn are going to help me scan the family histories and pictures. We’ve been trying to get together to do this for a while now and I’m so grateful they have time to work on this project this month. That date is sent to be written in next week’s journal…I am always thinking about what I want my journal to say about my life
I also loaded up 9 -5 gallon bucks of rock (I will explain that little project on Monday’s Journal post) My 4runner is full again and it’s time to hit the road. When I get home I will have put 700 + miles on my SUV this week. No one ever said that I get bored!
On my way home I will be dropping off some toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning products at the LDS church in Fruitland to help the people who were affected by the Dollar Ridge Fire. Now that’s the way I love to spend Sundays!
Today was a little different.. I was too tired to get out of bed. I only worked 10 hours.. I went out in the yard to work but only pulled 10 weeds. The good news was that I only had 10 weeds in my flowerbed so something must be working. The mood of the day is described as …I finally ran out of steam.
Ok.. so I was going to tell you about my obsession is with 5 gallon buckets and rocks. About 4 years ago my brother brought a belly dump of rock and dumped it in my mom’s driveway at the side of her house. My other brother helped him put all the rock in the front flowerbeds and the yard was coming along really nice. I know the story got off to a good start but now.. here we are 4 years later and there lies the rock. My brothers wouldn’t finish the job and have tons of excuses. Well ..my flower beds need rock. I would load it in my dad’s trash trailer to bring the rock home but the trailer is trapped behind the pile of rock. So lets talk a minute about my flower beds with the drip system. I use to have bark in the flower beds but the 24 year old girl who slowly trashed my yard, over the past 3 years, she blew all the bark out of the flowerbed with the fall leaves. My idea was that if I got rock then I could blow out the leaves and the rock would be too heavy and would stay put. So what did a broke single woman do? I took all the 5 gallon buckets I could find and I took them to Vernal to bring some of my mom’s untouched rock. After two trips home from Vernal with rock.. I wasn’t making a dent in the pile so I borrowed 6 more buckets from Carol and now every trip home from Vernal I bring 9 buckets of rock. OK..OK I know I am weird. I’ll be the first one to say it. Stop and think about it.. Rock in the city is expensive to buy so I think it was pretty cleaver for a country girl to haul rock in her 4runner. (I tried to make it sound better)
Anyway, tonight I only spent about 15 minutes dumping rock in my flowerbed until I broke a sweat and I figured out that I need to fix a section of my drip system before I can put the rock down. That’s when I clocked back in at 8:00 to work, I drove to the office to pick up my work for tomorrow, and I got some ice cream on the way home.
There you have it… A week in the Life of Stacy. My week wasn’t glamorous, It wasn’t filled with a bunch of overhead pictures of nice shoes (because most of mine are worn out), I didn’t paint my nails or do shots of my makeup.. in fact if the truth be known, I probably only wore makeup a few days this week. I would rather focus on “Quality Time” and living life than spending time in front of the mirror stressed about my appearance. Being a single woman is hard work! You have to try and save every dime because every dime counts. I get thru each day because I am close to God and I know he helps me every step of the way, God doesn’t care that my shoes are worn and well traveled, he only cares about what path I’m going on.
The main reason why I am posting some webpages about fixing a Vintage Camp Trailer is because I want to show women that if I can buy and fix a Vintage Camp Trailer.. so can you! Men can come along for the ride too but I wanted to write a post from a woman’s point of view.
Fixing things around the house, truly isn’t my strength but I at least try, and sometimes I give up and hire the work to be done or ask for help. With that in mind, my past history played a big part in the decisions that I made in purchasing a Vintage Camp Trailer. This page is going to tell you about how I selected the trailer and then at the bottom of the page I will put links to the different things that I did to fix the trailer.
I first needed to decided what I was going to do with the trailer and if the work was worth it. I came up with 3 different reasons why I wanted a camp trailer. 1) First and most importantly, I knew I wanted to make a series of 4-5 Outdoor Cooking/Emergency Preparedness classes and I could use the trailer as a back drop for the classes and take the trailer anywhere. 2) I wanted to go camping with my son and 3) I found a woman’s group called “Sisters on the Fly” and I decided that since I can’t find a Single Man to go camping with me I would just join the women. Those were the Pros in my decision but the Cons of buying a trailer were.. I had never pulled a camp trailer before and I was very intimidated!! I have pulled a Uhaul trailer before and already knew that backing up a trailer is something I am not very good at. I have gone camping most of my life and I love it.. but I seriously had never set up a trailer nor did I know how to start the water heater, fridge, heater, etc. Know this is not a strength of mine, I had to ask the question…Could I over come these fears??
Before You Buy A Camp Trailer
1) DO YOUR RESEARCH! I began doing some research on how to fix up Vintage Trailers so I would know what I was getting myself into. This step was not only the most important step I took, but it helped me pick out the right trailer! I learned two important facts 1) don’t buy a trailer that has water damage because I am not skilled enough to repair that kind of damage and 2) make sure the roof is in good condition. When I was doing my research the following youtube video was very helpful. How to Spot a Lemon when Buying an RV
2) KNOW WHAT YOU WANT AND NEED. I love the look of the 50s-60s trailers but most of them don’t have a bathroom and I knew that was more important to me. I also knew I wanted a trailer with a good fridge and heater, etc and that I didn’t want something so old that I felt like I was tent camping. Buying a 1991 trailer turned out to be a good decision because I learned that a lot of people don’t know they are supposed to redo the seals on the trailer and my 26 year old trailer was just starting to get water damage.
3) KNOW HOW MUCH WEIGHT YOUR VEHICLE CAN PULL. Check with your vehicle manufacturer to see how much weight you can pull. Learn the difference between the Tongue weight and Gross weight and how to distribute weight when you pull a trailer. After you know how much weight you can pull, don’t take the word of the seller about how much the trailer weights. Do some research on the year/make and model of the trailer that you find to make sure you know the correct weight.
4) FIND A REPAIR SHOP THAT FIXES VINTAGE TRAILERS. There are a lot of places that repair trailers but the key here is to find one that fixes Vintage Trailers. The main problem with Vintage trailers is trying to find parts and you want to find a business that knows what to do if they can’t find the part. In the Salt Lake City, Utah area the trailer repair business I found was “Best Way Trailers” located in West Valley. They are so awesome to work with! I called them before buying a trailer to see if they would inspect a trailer before I purchased it. I also had them help me select the right hitch for my Toyota 4Runner and they installed it. When I found my trailer I asked the seller to pull it to Best Way Trailers so they could inspect it. The seller wasn’t very happy about it because he knew anyone would buy a trailer that size. 19 foot trailers are in big demand in Utah. If I could have pulled something larger than a 19 foot trailer I could have purchased something a lot cheaper and bigger, but it seems most people are looking for the size of trailer I bought. Every time I would make an appointment to go look at a trailer the seller would sell it out from under me and it was gone before I even could look at it. I was glad I did my research and knew what to look for because I had to make a fast decision.
One thing I learned when I was sitting in Best Way Trailer’s waiting room was that I wanted to start with an Aluminum Roof. Someone walked in the business just head of me and he asked about repairing the roof on his trailer. I learned that a roof made of EDPM rubber needs replaced about every 10 years and Best Way trailers said it only costs a little bit more to replace his roof with Aluminum and he wouldn’t have to replace it again. It was that day that I decided to buy a trailer that already had an Aluminum Roof.
When I was doing my research I copy and pasted some information into a word document and I didn’t keep the link where I found the information (otherwise I would give the gentleman credit for his webpage). His site was very helpful so I am going to copy and paste some of his tips here that he wrote about knowing if the roof is in good condition:
A few tips:
1. Most entry priced trailers will have a roof made of EDPM rubber. These trailer roofs need maintenance each 1 to 2 years. Cleaning and removing old caulk and resealing with Dicor self-leveling caulk. But SILICONE IS A NO-NO!
2. The EDPM rubber has a white coated finish. If that white coating is dry, crackly, chalky, or grainy, the coating needs to be power-washed off and re-coated.
3. Corners are usual suspects for roof leaks. Go to each corner of the roof with your ladder and gently press down on the roof in a few areas. If the roof feels soft, spongy there has been damage to the wood already.
4. Look across the roof for low spots that might pool water. If it has an A/C unit on top, make sure the roof doesn’t sag there. That’s an easy spot for a leak. Look for seams in the middle of the roof. The roof was put on as one piece. Seams mean there has been partial repairs.
5. The caulking that seals all edges and vents and metal pieces on the roof is a self leveling compound (Dicor is most common brand). If you see silicone on the roof there is likely a problem. If you see sloppy gobs of any sealant there has been and may still be a problem. Look to see that the sealant edges appear to be stuck down like they flowed onto the roof. If they look like the caulk has shrunk away at the edges, or if it shows signs of cracking it is old and should have been replaced already.
One of the tips I learned along the way is to inspect the inside of the trailer in the corners for water damage. In the trailer that I found, there were cracks in the wood paneling inside that were under two of the windows. It looked like water had gotten inside of the wall and expanded when it froze and cracked the wood paneling. The owner claimed he fixed it but all he did was put silicone around the outside of the window. This was the only red flag I had so I felt like the trailer was in good enough condition that I asked the seller to take it to Best Way Trailers for an inspection.
After the inspection the employee pulled me aside away from the seller (because he was representing me, not the seller) He told me that a common thing that happens with trailers is the box (the top, walls and roof) separates from the frame of the trailer (close to the tongue). It happens when the trailer is moving down the road because the trailer rocks back and forth. He said If I have them fix something like that it would cost about $2,000. They have to lift the skin of the trailer, (siding) and look to see how much repair the trailer would need. He talked to the seller about this issue and the seller explained he had put a metal plate inside the front by the tongue of the trailer to help secure this and stop the box from separating. My only thought about this subject is that if this is a common problem then I was glad I understood this is an issue and that I will have to deal with this subject on about any trailer that I buy.
After I started taking out the windows and putting new butle tape I realized a good tip to share with you is to take a screw driver with you when looking to buy an older trailer and remove a few screws from the trailer. It seems pretty normal for the screw heads to rust if they weren’t painted. The head of the screw might look very rusty (along with the top of the screw shank) and you’ll think there is probably water damage, but to see how sever the water damage is in the walls, take the screw out until you start seeing silver. The screw will kind of give you an idea.how deep into the trailer the water damage is. The only rusty screws I found were just those 2 windows that had a little bit of water damage on the paneling inside. The screw weren’t rusted all the way down the shank of the screw, but only about half way. When I took the window completely out there wasn’t even any mold on the wood and it was in good shape and I didn’t have to replace any of the wood.
I also wanted to share that everyone I talked to, that works in the industry to repair camp trailers. all said they personally would never own a newer trailer because they are not made as well as the older trailers. I have to respect their opinion because they are the ones who repair trailers all day. I learned the roofs and siding have more upkeep on newer trailers. We have a friend of our family who pulled his 10 year old trailer on the interstate and the siding started coming off. He had to stop in the next town and screw the siding back down so he could get the trailer home. (then he had to file an insurance claim). My son who helped me remove the corner beads on my trailer said his friends trailer didn’t have staples in the siding as close as the staples were in my trailer. He observed his friends trailer had staples every 3-4 inches and that my trailer staples were about every inch…. Im just saying do your homework and read reviews on the newer trailers before you buy one.
I learned the whole secret to keeping a vintage trailer in good condition is to replace all of the butel tape on the vents, windows, corner beads, doors, etc about even10 years. In the following webpages I will teach you how I did those steps and how I updated my vintage trailer… but first here are some pictures of my trailer before I began the journey.
Vintage Camp Trailer 1991 Terry rear
Vintage Camp Trailer 1991 Terry front
Vintage Camp Trailer 1991 Terry side
When using Russet Potatoes in this Freezer Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes recipe they turn out light and fluffy. This recipe is a winner all the way around because can be used in two different ways. 1) It can be made months ahead of when you want to serve them and the potatoes can be frozen. Or 2) they can be cooked a couple of days before the day you want to serve them and then any left overs can be frozen. You can also package them with the number of servings you want.
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes - Freezer Recipe - YouTube
When I prepare these for Thanksgiving or Christmas I thaw the frozen potatoes in the fridge for a couple of days and then I put them in the slow cooker on the day of the meal to warm them up. When they reach the desired temperature I reduce the heat and keep them warm in the slow cooker until it’s time to eat. I was a little nervous the first time I did this in the slow cooker because they got a little bit runny but by the time they were warm they snapped out of it and thickened to the right consistence again.
You can click on this link below for a printable recipe (for larger batches) and printable labels that can be placed on the freezer bag. I tape the label on the freezer bag with shipping tape or freezer tape.
This recipe can be made ahead of time and Frozen, or you can make extra mashed potatoes for a meal and freeze the leftover potatoes.
5 lbs. Russet Potatoes
½ tsp Garlic powder
3 TBL Butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp Salt
8 ounces Cream Cheese
Assembly Directions: Peel and quarter potatoes. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover completely with water. Bring to a boil, and then gently cook until tender. Drain well. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, cream cheese, egg(s), garlic powder and salt. Mash well by hand or with an electric mixer. Spoon potatoes into spray-treated or greased 3-quart casserole or 9 x 13 pan. Drizzle or brush melted butter over potatoes. Sprinkle with Chives (optional)
Place in freezer bags or rigid containers. Seal, label and freeze.
Thaw completely. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown. Slow cooker: Reheating with the slow cooker works best when the mashed potatoes have been thawed in the refrigerator. Add the potatoes to the slow cooker and heat on low for 2 to 4 hours and then turn on warm to hold the temperature
Note 1: These can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Options: ¼ C. of crumbled, crisp bacon may be stirred in for great flavor. Potatoes may also be topped with ½ C. shredded cheddar cheese, or sliced almonds.
Note 2: Use High-starch, thick-skinned potatoes, like Russets Potatoes. They fall apart during the cooking process, mash up light and fluffy, and absorb butter and cream like a dream. Mashing the other types of potatoes will result in a gummy, gluey texture. One Batch makes 14 - ½ cup servings
Serving size: ½ cup size Calories: 227 Fat: 10g Carbohydrates: 30g Sodium: 243mg Fiber: 3g Protein: 6 g Cholesterol: 31mg
When making a meal for dinner, when the pots and pans will already be dirty, the recipe can be doubled or tripled to make extra meals for the freezer. At cooking time it will take a little bit more time to make the additional meals, but when the frozen meal is pulled from the freezer time will be saved because you won’t have all the pots and pans to clean up and there will be less time spent cleaning the kitchen.
Ingredients can be purchased in large amounts when they are on sale. You can also buy ingredients in bulk at wholesale warehouse stores such as Sam’s Club, Costco or BJ’s. Ingredients can be cheaper in Bulk sections at stores such as Windco.
I watch for Spices, Dehydrated or Freeze Dried ingredients to go on sale and buy them at these locations:
The LDS Home Storage Center never has a sale on their products because they are already priced to low. To find a location near you or to order online https://providentliving.lds.org/self-reliance/home-storage-centers Items I buy the most are dehydrated onion and diced carrots, rice, oatmeal, potato pearls, powdered milk, beans, and apple slices.
Augason Farms brand can be found at Walmart or Windco or you can order online http://www.augasonfarms.com/ I love the Morning Moo brand of non-fat dry milk, I buy powdered eggs here, freeze dried and dehydrated fruits and vegetables such as diced potatoes and green pepper flakes.
Honeyville locations or to order online http://honeyville.com/ (this is the only place that I have found shredded dehydrated carrots and I love them. I also use a lot of their freeze dried ingredients)
Emergency Essentials locations or to order online http://beprepared.com/ They cost a little bit more and I only buy sale items but they have a good selection.
Pick the Right Freezer Recipe
Freezing a meal changes the consistency of the ingredients so you want to find a good recipe that has been tried or tested for the freezer. If the recipe is new to you just make one recipe for the freezer the first time you make it so you’ll know if it’s a good recipe when the meal is heated.
You can click on a link that will give you a PDF printable file with all of the blanching times of each the fruit and vegetable. If you want to save time by avoiding this process you can use Dehydrated or Freeze Dried ingredients or you can buy vegetables from the grocery store that are already frozen. The only vegetables that can be frozen without blanching or cooking are diced onion and tomatoes, so if you see a recipe that uses more fresh vegetables than those two, and they don’t give instructions to cook or blanch the vegetable, then don’t use that recipe.
You can save a lot of money if you buy dehydrated vegetables but personally I don’t like all of the dehydrated vegetables because it seems like some of them won’t hydrate soft enough, not even in the slow cooker. I usually buy Freeze Dried Celery and Mushroom instead but these cost about the same as using fresh vegetables. The advantage of using Freeze Dried celery and mushrooms is to save time. You can also use canned mushrooms and tomatoes. When I use canned items I leave them in the can and add them at cooking time so that if I lose my freezer food (to some unfortunate accident or tragedy) those items will be safe in my food storage.
Packaging Freezer MealsLabel the container:
Write the cooking instructions on the container with a sharpie marker or print instructions and tape them on the container with a good brand of clear shipping tape. ( l look for brands that are waterproof).
Short Freezer Life:
Some freezer recipes encourage you to freeze individual meals or pieces of food without wrapping them first but storing food this way will give you a very short freezer life because it will start to form ice crystals on the individual pieces. An example of this is when the recipes has you cook meatballs, freeze them individually then package the meatballs in a freezer bag. The problem is that you won’t be able to remove all the air from the bag and the ice crystals continue to grow, filling the air pockets.
Long Freezer Life:
The proper way to store a freezer meal is to fill the container or bag and make sure there isn’t any air in the package. Foil pans need to be full. Freezer bags need all of the air pushed out before sealing them. To continue the Meatball example the best way to freeze them is to put them in a freezer recipe for the sauce that you want to serve the meatballs with and then the sauce will fill the air pockets and there won’t be freezer burn in the package. The freezer food has an indefinite freezer life as long as there isn’t any ice crystals.
Another way to properly package a freezer meal is to use the FoodSaver or Seal a Meal. If the meal has a lot of liquid in the recipe the liquid can get sucked out of the package as the machine removes the air so I find the best way to package the meal is to freeze the recipe in a pan lined with parchment paper, remove the meal after it has been frozen (you might need to heat the pan a little bit in the oven to help you remove it from the pan), and then place the frozen food in the special plastic bag that is designed to be used with these types of machines. The parchment paper will help keep ice crystals off the meal and then the machine removes 99% of the air so these meals have a very long freezer life. A loaf size pan works well for 2-3 servings and an 8 x 8 pan can be used for 5-6 servings.
At cooking time, remove the meal from the FoodSaver bag and place it back in the pan that it was originally frozen in. Let the meal thaw overnight and all the next day and then cook the meal.
Tip: When I cut the plastic bag for the FoodSaver, I cut them a little bit larger because I reuse the bags. Start with a little bit extra plastic so that when you cut the seal off the bag at cooking time you will still have a decent size bag to use next time. I prefer to tape the instructions on the bag because the marker instructions will be permanently on the bag. You can also wash and reuse quart and gallon sized freezer bags.
As a side note: if you are going to purchase a FoodSaver make sure it comes with a hose attachment. I use my foodsaver to vaccum pack and seal canning jars more than I use it for freezer meals.
Make Ahead of Time for a Large Meal
Using freezer recipes will help free up time on big cooking days like Thanksgiving or Christmas. 1) You can make extras a couple of days before the meal and then leftovers can be frozen. 2) you can make the recipe months ahead of time, freeze it and then the day before the meal thaw the recipe. My favorite recipes to make ahead of time are: Mashed potatoes, I make when potatoes are abundant in the fall and cheaper, and I warm them in a slow cooker on the holiday. Make Ahead Cherry Salad, This is easy enough to make the day before the meal and then freeze leftover salad.
Freezer Recipe are Great to Use at Harvest Time.
In the Fall, at Harvest time, I have a collection of freezer recipes that I use. In fact, I place extra butternut squash so that I can make soup to freeze and I make pumpkin cake rolls with butternut squash instead of pumpkin. I also love the Freezer Apple Crisp recipe so I plan around this time of the year and during the summer I start to empty my freezer so that I will be prepare with extra room for freezer recipes in the fall.
I’ve made Pumpkin Cake Rolls every November for years. I’ve tried every recipe and had a lot of problems with them cracking or falling apart and then I found this recipe at Taste of Homes for Butternut Squash Cake Roll. Thank you Elizabeth Nelson!! (no relation to me, Stacy Nelson by the way) I went back into her recipe and even found a review that I left in 2012 so I’ve been making this recipe for 5 years now.
I noticed a couple differences from this recipe than the other recipes I tried; one big difference was that it had roasted Butternut Squash instead of canned pumpkin and the other major difference was the time that I whipped the eggs and sugar. All I know is that I have never had this cake crack and fall apart. The Best Pumpkin Cake Roll in my opinion doesn’t have Pumpkin at all.. it has Butternut Squash!
Pumpkin Cake Roll - Freezer Recipe - YouTube
Bake Extra Cakes and Share the Love!
When I make Pumpkin Cake Rolls I usually make 6. I buy a box of cream cheese from Sam’s Club, which has 6 boxes of cream cheese, that is where the magical number of 6 came from. I bake 2 Butternut Squash to make Butternut Squash Soup and then I bake one more squash for my cake rolls. A 3 pound butternut squash makes 4 cups of mashed squash = 6 cake rolls. Also the magical 6 number. I actually weigh the squash at the store and make sure to buy them weighing over 3 lbs.
I mix one cake, put it in the oven and then I start the next cake while it is baking. I put the rolled cake in the fridge to cool while I bake the next cakes. The timing easily flows and I have 6 cakes baked in no time. (well it actually takes about 1 1/2 hours to bake 6 cakes, which doesn’t include the time it takes to bake the squash) I have let the cakes sit in the fridge until later that day to put the filling but I found if I let the cakes sit overnight then that’s when the cake will crack because the cake became too hard and dry. You can fill a cracked cake anyway if the crack is on the inside of the roll but don’t bother filling the cake if the crack is on the outside edge of the roll.
When making the filling for the cakes I mix all of the ingredients for all 6 cakes in one batch. I use to measure the filling into separate bowls to make sure I was filling the cakes with the same amount of filling but last time I made cakes I was smart enough to measure one of the bowls = 2 cups. Now I just take the filling from the mixing bowl and measure 2 cups of filling on the cake roll. You will have about 1/3 cup of filling left over at the end so you could put a little bit of extra filling in the last two cake rolls.
The cake rolls have 10-12 servings so I cut the cake rolls in half when I want to give the smaller cake to a smaller family.
The Best Pumpkin Cake Roll doesn't have pumpkin in it at all, it has roasted Butternut Squash!
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup mashed cooked butternut squash
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Confectioners' powdered sugar
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1¼ cup confectioners' powdered sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional confectioners' sugar, optional
Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with waxed paper or parchment paper; Spray the pan and paper with non stick spray. Spread 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans evenly over paper.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs on high for 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar; beat for 2 minutes. Mixture will be thick and lemon-colored. Stir in squash. Add flour, baking soda and cinnamon. . Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. The cake will start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then loosen cake around the edges with a butter knife.
Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners' sugar. Gently peel off parchment paper. Roll up cake in the towel, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Store in the fridge while making the filling.
Filling: In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Unroll cake; spread filling evenly over cake to edge. Roll up again, removing towel.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Just before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar if desired. Yield: 10 servings.
I’m always trying to cut calories and buy reduced fat cream cheese but don’t buy reduced fat for this recipe because it makes the filling too runny.
1 Butternut squash that is 3 pounds will give you 4 cups of mashed squash, which will make 6 cakes. Make sure the butternut Squash weights a little more than 3 lbs.
Good Freezer Recipe!
I make cake rolls in November and placed them in the freezer to give to neighbors for Christmas. If you plan of freezing the cake roll longer than a month then you will want to wrap it with the plastic wrap then then with freezer paper.
All the tastes of fall definitely come together in this Butternut Squash Soup! Butternut Squash has a naturally sweet flavor that really emerges when roasted, that’s why I prefer to roast the butternut squash before making the soup. Putting apples in this recipe also adds a little bit of sweetness but at this point its still has a savory flavor. Sometimes I like it on the salty side, but when I want the soup to be a little bit sweeter I add a package of the Alpine Brand Apple Spice Drink at the end of cooking. The Apple Spice Drink gives this soup a pop of flavor that is simply delightful! When you top the soup with the Pepitas (Pumpkin Seed Kernels) that have been roasted and salted, it gives the soup a salty and sweet combination that is heavenly!
Butternut Squash Soup - Freezer Recipe - YouTube
Butternut Squash Soup is Nutritious and Low in Calories
This awesome Butternut Squash Soup recipe only has 83 calories per 1 cup serving. It is very nutritious and is full of vitamins A and C. The Brown Sugar can be substituted with Splenda Brown Sugar making this recipe a good Diabetic recipe. I also use the non sugar Alpine Apple Spice drink to keep the calories and carbs low.
A Great Freezer Recipe!
This soup is a great freezer recipe! When preparing the soup for the freezer make sure to get all of the air out of the freezer bag. If you can eliminate air pockets this soup will last indefinitely in the freezer. In the video clip you can see the 3 different methods that I use to freeze this soup. 1) Single serving portions in a freezer container. 2) It can be prepared with the FoodSaver or 3) it can be frozen in a Ziplock freezer bag.
The squash is very easy to cook and there really isn’t a better method of baking that is better than the others because all methods work well. You can bake the squash with the cut side up or down. You can cover the squash with aluminum foil but you don’t need to cover it. If you don’t want to roast it before making the soup then you can peel the butternut squash and cube it and throw the ingredients in the slow cooker.
1 Tbl Augason brand chicken broth powder (or if using a different brand enough granules that would make 8 cups of chicken broth)
Cut squash in half; discard seeds. Place the squash in cake pan skin side down. Brush squash with olive oil and then add about 1 inch of water to the pan. Bake at 400° for 50-60 minutes or until tender.
Cool slightly; scoop out pulp or remove the peeling. Put the squash in a bowl and mash with a potato masher. Set aside.
Soup: Put squash and the remaining ingredients In a 5 quart pot (do not add Pepitas). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes, until apple is tender.
Discard cinnamon stick. Blend soup until smooth using an Immersion blender or in a regular blender, process soup in batches. Return blended soup to the pan and heat through. To serve soup put in a bowl and top with Pepitas.
Alternative cooking- slow cooker method: Peel and dice raw butternut squash and cut into 1 inch cubes. Put in slow cooker with remaining ingredients (except Pepitas). Cook on low 6 hours or high 4 hours until squash is tender. Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Blend soup until smooth using an Immersion blender. To serve soup put in a bowl and top with Pepitas.
If you add 1 TBL of Pepitas to bowl of soup it adds 40 calories and 4 grams of fat
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 83 Fat: .4 G Saturated fat: 0.4 g Carbohydrates: 22.4 g Sugar: 9.0 g Sodium: 487.2 mg Fiber: 4.3 g Protein: 1.7 G Cholesterol: 2.5 mg
Spiderweb Butternut Soup for Halloween
This is a fun recipe that can be used for a Halloween theme meal by adding a swirl of sour cream to the top of the soup instead of putting Pepitas. Use a toothpick to draw lines in the sour cream to make a spiderweb. (View video to see demonstration)
Serve Butternut Squash Soup to a Group of People
If you’re serving this soup to a group of people you can keep the soup warm in a slow cooker. Put someone in charge to ladle the soup into the bowls and draw the spiderweb. Also, when making this recipe for a group you can make it weeks in advance and frozen it to take the pressure off the prep time before a party. To figure out how much soup needs to be cooked for a group first decide on the bowls you want to serve it in. Measure how many ounces or cups is need per bowl and then times that number by the number of people you are inviting. Always make extra soup because the greatest thing about making this recipe is that when you have left over soup you can just freeze it! I love serving freezer recipes to a group because I can make a lot of extra food and then I don’t have to throw away the leftovers.
Planning Ahead will save time
I bake 2 Butternut Squash to make Soup and then I bake one more squash for my cake rolls. I found the best Pumpkin Cake Roll doesn’t have pumpkin at all, it has Butternut Squash! The Best Pumpkin Cake Roll A 3 pound butternut squash makes 4 cups of mashed squash = 6 cake rolls. I actually weigh the squash at the store and make sure to buy them weighing over 3 lbs.
A Festive Ham and Cheese Ball recipe that reduces calories and fat but not taste
2 (8-oz packages cream cheese) ⅓ less fat
1 package dry ranch salad dressing
8 slices cooked ham
½ onion diced fine
3 T real bacon bits
Stick of celery
2½ cups finely grated cheddar cheese (put ½ cup in the cheese ball and 2 cups used outside)
Remove cream cheese from packages and place in med. bowl. Warm cream cheese in the microwave on the defrost setting for about a minute to soften. Stir in diced onion, 1 cup of the cheese and ham. Fold in all ingredients (Except 2 cups of cheese). Wet hands and form cream cheese mixture into a ball shape. Roll the cheese ball in the finely grated cheese and place in serving plate. Cut celery stick and a celery leaf to size (to use as a pumpkin stem) and put in the pumpkin shape cheese ball.
Serving size: 2 Tablespoons Calories: 83 Fat: 6.4 g Saturated fat: 3.6 g Unsaturated fat: 1.4 g Carbohydrates: 1.8 g Sugar: 1.0 G Sodium: 289.9 mg Fiber: 0 Protein: 4.4 g Cholesterol: 22.5 mg
Beware! Your taste buds and witching imagination are sure to fly with eclectic Halloween Treat recipes and holiday ideas. Spice up your Witchy activities with the creative Halloween treat ideas that are easy to prepare in advance.
Plan a party with your girlfriends, watch the fun Bewitching Video and then make some of the treats. You could then send them off flying with a printable handout so they can re-create the treats for their boo crew. Inviting the gals to dress up in their Witchy attire will add to the fun flavor of this magical affair.
These pretzels take a little longer to make but they store well in the fridge up to a couple weeks before the event.
Green Wilton Candy Melts
Put one inch of water in a slow cooker or an electric frying pan turn on low heat. Put candy melts in a glass bowl and set the bowl in the water. The candy will slowly melt.
Cut the pretzel rods in half. Dip the cut end in the melted chocolate and then use a spoon to coat ¾ of the pretzel rod.
Lay the pretzel on a piece of parchment paper and then place a sliced almond on the end of the finger (making a fingernail) let the pretzels sit to cool.
I usually go to a local bakery to buy some of the disposable plastic gloves but many of the bakeries are using latex gloves now and I had a hard time finding them. I am going to put a link on Amazon so you will have a idea which kind to buy. I also found some at Sam’s club but I had to buy 4 boxes of 500= 2000 gloves.. which is 1950 more gloves than I needed. For that reason I will sell them on here at cost plus shipping materials. I found the spider rings at the dollar store, and I also bought a couple of bags of popped corn there also.
For about a year now I’ve been converting my recipes into dehydrated ingredients so I could store them in canning jars. Last year was the first time in my life that I entered anything in Utah State Fair. I learned a lot and won 3 ribbons on my canned items. This year I decided to be brave and try some baked items in the fair. I wanted to see how 4 of my dessert in a jar recipes would compete with recipes that have fresh ingredients. I didn’t have enough self confidence to think I would ever place first, but I thought if I could just get a ribbon on anything I entered I could at least have enough bragging rights to say the jar recipes are just as good as using fresh ingredients. To much of my surprise.. I got a ribbon on everything I entered.
As I have been learning about the ingredients used in these recipes I’ve learned some important facts that I wanted to share with you.
I replaced butter in a couple of recipes and discovered it doesn’t act like oil in the recipe. You can add water to butter powder and make a spreadable butter but when you use it in a recipe it changes the way the recipe bakes. When I made chocolate chip cookies with butter powder it made the cookie puff up the way pumpkin cookies do. I also used it when baking bread sticks. I spread the hydrated butter on the dough and when I baked the bread sticks the water evaporated out of the butter powder and it left a burned powder on the bread sticks. For this reason I now leave butter out of the jar and add the butter when making the dessert.
Baking powder only has 1-2 year shelf life (the date of expiration on the container is the shelf life of baking powder and can shorten the shelf life of the recipe) Baking soda shelf life is indefinite and cream of tarter shelf life is indefinite. Here is the secret.. 2 parts cream of tarter + 1 part baking soda = baking powder. I’m thinking if the recipe calls for baking powder I can substitute the baking soda and cream of tarter in the place of baking powder and separate the two ingredients in the jar. It seems the chemical reaction of the two ingredients is what makes a shorter shelf life. When I write recipes I calculate the shelf life and if the jar will have about a 2 year shelf life because of other ingredients I use baking powder. If the recipe has a longer shelf life but the baking powder shortens the life of the Jar I use cream of tarter and baking soda instead.
Powder Egg Products
Egg products are different among the different brands. Each brand takes a different amount of water to hydrate the eggs. Each brand has a different shelf life. Each brand reacts differently after the can is opened… for example: Some brands tell you to store the eggs in the refrigerator after the can is opened and to use the product within 30 days. Other brands tell you it’s safe to keep the opened can on the shelf (unrefrigerated) for 1 year. It is VERY important to understand the powder egg product that you purchase so that you don’t get sick. In my recipes that take powdered whole egg I use Augason brand because it doesn’t have to be refrigerated after the can is open and when the egg is sealed in a Jar it has a 10 year shelf life. I am not a sales representative for any products but I put the link to the Augason website so that you can find the produces I use in my recipes. I have found Augason brand eggs at Windco, Walmart and Macey’s Grocery stores. I watch for the product to go on sale and usually buy it at Macey’s when they have case lot sales.
Ingredients in a Can
Some ingredients purchased at the store in a can is better to keep in food storage that way than it is to buy it in a dehydrated or freeze dried form. The Pumpkin Bread recipe is a perfect example of this. Dehydrated pumpkin powder is pretty expensive so I put this ingredient in my food storage in a 15 ounce can and then I put the other dry ingredients for the recipe in a jar. My #1 goal is make food storage as cheap as possible. Shortening
I use shortening powder in some recipes and other recipes I don’t use the powder. Usually my decision is based on the amount of space I have in the jar for the ingredients. I purchased a DVD by Wendy Dewitt about food storage and I learned you can store shortening in half pint sized jars and it will have a 10 year shelf life. It was extremely easy to do and I like having shortening in smaller quantities because I don’t use it very often and my shortening would go rancid in larger containers. You can purchase a large can of shortening from Sam’s club or Costco.
1) Place the shortening in a pot and melt it on the stove.
2) Pour the shortening in clean half pint canning jars
3) Clean the glass rim to make sure there is no shortening on the jar
4) Place a new canning lid on the jar and screw on the metal ring
5) Set the jars aside until the shortening cools and the jar will automatically seal. You do not need to process the jar in a hot water bath cannier.
Feb 2014 I purchased a large can of Crisco at Sam’s club for $7.48. It cost $.53 per cup of shortening. (1 half pint sized jar). Butter flavor Crisco is a great item to have in food storage for cookie recipes that call for butter. Because the jar measures 1 cup I don’t even get a measuring cup out when I make the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, I simply just take half of the shortening out of the jar for 1/2 cup.
Store Oatmeal Cookies in a Jar for food storage
The first place ribbon I received in the 2014 Utah State Fair was on the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I also won the C & H Sugar award on this recipe.. so there you have it, I have proof this recipe is an award winning recipe and can be stored on the shelf in a jar for 3 years. The cookies I entered in the fair had been stored in a jar for 1 year. The raisins weren’t as soft as when I placed them in the jar so I put the baggie of raisins in a little bit of hot water and let them soak for about 5 minutes. I then drained off the water and poured the raisins on a paper towel and blotted them dry before adding them to the cookie dough.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies in a Jar
Raisin Oatmeal Cookies in a Jar
Recipe Type: Recipe in a Jar for Food Storage
Author: Homemaking Divas
Cook time: 13 mins
Total time: 13 mins
Serves: 18 cookies
[img src=”http://homemakingdivas.com/app/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/label-picture2.jpg” width=”400″ height=”257″class=”aligncenter”] This Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe has a 3 year shelf life when its sealed wide mouth canning jar. Put ingredients in a wide mouth canning jar in the order given. Clean the glass rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth and make sure the canning lid is also clean. To remove the oxygen from the jar either place an oxygen absorber in the top of the jar or use a Food Saver to remove the oxygen. See detailed instructions to seal the jar on this weblink http://homemakingdivas.com/mealinjar_intro/
In the jar:
Put ingredients in a quart wide mouth canning jar in the order listed above. Clean the glass rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth and make sure the canning lid is also clean. To remove the oxygen from the jar either place an oxygen absorber in the top of the jar or use a Food Saver to remove the oxygen. See detailed instructions to seal the jar on this weblink http://homemakingdivas.com/mealinjar_intro/
The class teaches how to prepare the meals for long term storage and also when its ok to use a zip lock freezer bag for 1 year storage for some recipes. The class teaches how to calculate the shelf life of the recipe. This class teaches the difference between Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Ingredients, and how to customize a recipe for dietary needs.
The Oatmeal page teaches about the Health Benefits of Oatmeal and the 3 different kinds of oatmeal that can be used in meals in a jar recipes. The file highlights products such as powdered milk, chicken broth powder, powdered flavorings, freeze dried and dehydrated fruits that are used in the oatmeal in a jar recipes.