I Need White Flour!

I need to spend a couple of hours baking and the recipe calls for white flour! I notice there are a couple kinds. The flour made from white wheat would be the healthiest but it might not be the texture you want!  The flour you chose probably depends on what you are baking!

So… what are you planning on baking and do you know what gluten is?

Ah!… Gluten is the protein part of the of grain and is the reason bread can rise. The yeast grows and gives off some  gas. As it grows in the dough it stretches the dough. Your bread is rising! Gluten is found in sufficient quantity to allow the dough to rise in hard wheat! Hard wheat  makes a delicious wheat breads!

You can make cookies, muffins, pancakes, quick breads with hard wheat! They are alright but the quality isn’t quite as good as they will be with soft wheat flour.

Soft wheat has less gluten and makes a poor loaf of bread but you can make good delicious cookies, cakes, pies, muffins, pancakes and waffles and baking powder biscuits.

There are often several kinds of flour. So if you are making bread use a hard grain whole wheat flour. This provides you with a good texture healthy bread.  Or, you might want to try a bread made from half whole wheat gluten flour and the other half one of the white flours.  You can use all white flour for a loaf.

You can make rye bread by using a third to a half the required flour and stir well. Then add the other half of the rest of the flour.  You can try different amounts of the different flours.  Over a period of time you will learn how to feel the dough consistency and know when you have the right amount of flour and how long to knead it!

The white whole wheat flour is decidedly healthier than the other flours which is whole wheat with the germ and other dark parts removed.

Next time we will chat a bit about what and how to use your bread dough.  Do you like cinnamon rolls?





















Prepare Your Food


Mary Jane came in  today to stock up on the herbs she uses most frequently. She said she likes to have everything she needs when she starts to prepare a recipe so she buys extra to have on hand!

I asked her if she bought in bulk. She said no, but  wondered if it really saved to buy in bulk. It turns out if she can save at least 10% it would be worth it to her. She can save more than 10 %! Then she wondered how much she would have to order at once.  Most grains, nuts and beans come in 25 pound bags. Nuts also come in 5 pound bags. They are not quite as inexpensive as 25 pounds but they are less then by the pound. Canned or bottled foods are usually in cases of 12… or sometimes 6.  Since she is used to having extra food around the house the quantities seemed very doable.

Mary Jane can buy anything from the Produce Department if she wishes.  Talk with the produce manager.  This summer fruit has been very plentiful with many good buys. It helps them plan their buying if you ask ahead of time or at least let them know you are interested.

I am always amazed how much fruit is available during the winter months – like pineapple and mangoes.

Produce can be used fresh, canned, frozen or dehydrated for later use!

When the potatoes,  sweet potatoes and onions are ready this fall I will buy a box of each and keep them in the garage all winter. I usually throw an old blanket on top of the boxes.

Mary Jane can save even more if she buys when the items she wants are on sale and  twice a year the store has a Member Appreciation Day and the prices are good!

Ask the “front end” folks at the store if you need help finding what you want in the catalogs.

So there are really ways to buy your food for less. It means some work on your part the first time you order, but I venture to say no worse than chasing to the store every time you are out of something!

Yes, you did it! You have what you need at home and you saved money doing it!











Asian Pears Galore!

We have 2 Asian Pear trees and they are producing as usual!  I suspect I have dried at least 100 lbs of fresh pears so far.  Maybe more. You have to cut them in half, take out the seed area, slice the pears and dry them. It probably takes about 15 hours to dry.  It takes us longer to dry them because we have had rain and fog all day most days. The first few days my hands and fingers knew they were having a workout. But they are used to it now!

We prefer them dry or fresh rather then canned or frozen. The fruit falls apart when we try to can them. You could drink them, I guess!!! (But no thanks)

Dried pears take a lot less space to store than canned pears do. besides the grand kids like to have the dried ones to munch on. Thank goodness!

They will make a great addition for Christmas giving!  …and maybe happy Thanksgiving besides.








I Learned from My Parents

I really didn’t know how much I learned from my parents until I had children of my own. But I was blessed to have chosen the parents I did (as if I had any say so!)

I think I was fortunate and blessed to get to grow up during the Great Depression. We always had enough to eat and share with others.

Dad always had a job. He was supposed to have a set salary but more often than not he did not get the full amount. One time he apparently had not gotten all his salary and mother was wondering what she was going to feed us. A  young couple wanted to get married and Dad married them. The groom gave him $2. That was what they used for food. But mom didn’t tell us until many years later.

When we lived about 2 blocks from the railroad that carried products in and out of Southern California we sometimes had hobos ask for food in exchange for work. Dad found a job for them to do while mom fixed food. Mom always fixed a hot meal.

We were told they have some way of leaving a message for others to tell them which houses will provide food.

There were probably several reasons why  we always had enough for our family and whoever else…         Dad was a great shopper.  One place we lived there was a big farmers market where fresh products were a good price and made available to all.

In the town with the railroad there were three grocery stores within about   one block. Dad knew the prices of the the products we used regularly and bought from the least expensive store. We walked between the three stores.

The folks also bought products in season. There were quite a few small farmers trying to make a living.  We bought from them and sometimes picked our own which was even less. Dad and I went out early in the morning and gleaned several boxes of tomatoes for 25 cents a lug box (20-25 pounds). It was very inexpensive and the owner piled a bunch more on top!

They smelled so good. The weather was clear and there was dew on the plants. The tomatoes were the naturally occurring tomatoes. They tasted as good as they smelled!

Sometimes Dad saw a basket or a box of cheap bananas. He would buy them for 25 cents  and bring them home. Mom would sort them out. Some she’d saved for us kids to snack on. She’d make fruit salad for supper, a banana cream pie, a dish of banana pudding, a couple of loaves of banana bread and probably another fruit salad or two!  All for 25 cents.

Of course prices were much less than but  the tomatoes and bananas were very good deals even then.

This was the days of the ice box. No refrigerators or freezers.  The ice truck came by and you bought a piece of ice to go in your ice box.  They froze the ice in 400 pound blocks. The men had ice picks to chop it off in 25 and 5o pound blocks. We liked the ice trucks because there were usually pieces about half the size of your hand you could have. It was a hot town and no air conditioning — ummm—ice!

Dads idea of relaxing in the evening was making tomato juice. He would bring home a new lug box of tomatoes and tell mom “don’t worry, I’ll take care of them”. And he did!  He had developed a very good tomato juice recipe and he had found, washed, sterilized and filled the bottles with juice. He bought a hand bottle capper.

Mom said every box of tomatoes he saw had his given name on the end of the box.

Different people have different mediums in which to show their artistic  ability. Mom would stand back and look at the shelves in the basement holding her cans of fruit and tomatoes. Finally she would say” they look so beautiful”.  She was so delighted with what she had done. So were we!

Her sewing ability was another way to use her artistic talent. At the time it was mostly with mending. She was good! No, terrific!  She repaired a wool skirt with a hole in it. She unraveled a few strings along the seams to darn it with. You could not see where the hole had been!

And all this to say you can live well if you learn to do some things for yourself and others!  Do them as near perfectly as you can! Be proud of what you do.

I learned so much from my parents. I hope I can pass it on. Thank you Mom and Dad!





Can You Spend Less for Food?

Are you wondering how you can spend less for food?  Is it possible we need to change some habits? Do we change what and how we eat? But what do we eat that is less expensive?

Let’s figure out what we need and then figure out how to get it for less. We need fats, proteins and carbohydrates. That sounds simple!  The fats must be good fats which are butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Eat as much protein as you want. Your body tells you when you have enough fats and proteins . Vegetables, some fruit and even less grains are the carbohydrates to eat.

Are you surprised?  We were. The fats are higher in calories but last longer too. If we eat the three items we find we feel better. Has anyone eaten this way for long periods of time?  Yes, for sure, your great- or great, great grandparents. The Swiss who live in the high mountain villages  still  do.  Their diet is basically homemade rye bread and homemade summer/green grass  milk cheese. Their teeth and bones are excellent and the children can run around barefoot even in the evening. They run through icy cold mountain streams too!

It might be good for us to change what we eat!  Two hundred pounds of sugar  – or almost 3/4 cup – per day is a lot.  It is in almost every thing you buy! My mothers family of eleven  shared 2 to 3 pounds a year! No money to buy it.  They all lived quite long!

If you could ask your great- great- grand parents what they ate you would find fats, proteins and carbohydrates were eaten. They were healthy enough to have progeny and make many of their foods, raise a garden, make clothes and still have energy to go to the community dance on Friday or Saturday evening!

They could have made pie crusts, cookies  with a good deal less sugar than we put in, baking powder biscuits and homemade bread. They just did not use as much!

Yes, you bet we can  buy the basics and learn how to make the rest of what we want.   As  your energy level goes up we will learn to make some of our needed foods like bread.  Bread may cost $1 a loaf to make and $5 or $6 to buy. That means more savings!

You can learn how to make your bread. Most of the time is waiting for it to rise. Isn’t it great to know you can do something about your food and have a good time doing it?