Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Years ago, Grandma Stoddard was famous in Salmon, Idaho for her bread.  The story goes that when the members were asked to raise money to build the first church building in Salmon, Grandma made bread to sell, and it always went first.  My sister-in-law asked for her recipe before she passed away, and Grandma wrote it all out--I think it was 6 pages long.  Sometimes Jeff will pull out our copy of the handwritten recipe, but luckily another sister-in-law simplified it so I can make bread quickly for our everyday use.  About 10 years ago, I started making bread on a regular basis to help stretch our grocery budget.  Now, except for a bought loaf here or there, it's about all we eat.


6 c. water
3 T yeast (4 T if whole wheat) + 1 T sugar
*Put in mixer, stir with spoon and let sit for a few minutes
1 c. oil
10 c. flour (can be whole wheat, or half wheat/white)
1 c. sugar
1 c. potato flakes
1/2 c. dry milk
4 eggs
3 T salt
 *Mix for 4-5 minutes or until smooth like cake batter
*Add wheat flour (about 6-10 cups, depending on humidity) until not sticky
Let rise for 30 minutes, shape into loaves and let rise (covered) in loaf pans for 30-45 minutes (until it is the size you want your loaves to be)
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  Makes 5-6 loaves.

Now, I realize that bread-making is sometimes overwhelming.  Here's a few hints I have learned over the years:
Use good yeast.  The best yeast I have found is SAF Instant yeast (found at WinCo, Costco Business Center or online.  Red Star from Costco works almost as well)  Keep your yeast cold, I keep mine in the freezer in an air tight container.
Wheat!  I find that newer freshly-ground flour works best.  If you have older wheat, never fear!  There is a product called Vital Wheat Gluten, available at several sites online, and probably at Sprouts (I haven't looked recently).  Substitute 1/2 c. vital wheat gluten for 1 c. flour.  It works wonders and helps your bread be more light and fluffy!
Practice:  Just like anything else, good bread takes some practice.  The ingredients are cheap and bread-fails can easily be made into french toast.  AND, if the loaves turn out rock-hard and totally inedible, I'm sure the missionaries would appreciate them to chuck at mean dogs as they are out and about.

I challenge you to make bread once between now and the new year.  It is a great thing to know how to do, and if you already know how, I promise it will be a great treat for your family.

Friday, November 24, 2017


Thanksgiving is an amazing day.  I love not being expected to be anywhere or to do anything, except cook all morning and visit with friends and family.  Yesterday was a day like this.  Jeff's parents and a nephew were in town and we had our new-member friend Mike over also.  After dinner, I surveyed the food...there was a TON left, it hardly looked like we put a dent in anything!  I then realized that I subconsciously cooked for our former neighbors--that amazing family of 14 that just moved.  We have had Thanksgiving with them for so many years now, that I guess it was just ingrained.

Thanksgiving dinner is great, but after a couple of days it feels like it is time to mix things up a bit.  Here are a few recipes and ideas to use up those Turkey Day leftovers.

Turkey Pot Pie: 
 3 Cups Chopped Turkey
 Leftover Gravy
 Leftover Veggies
 Leftover Stuffing or Potatoes
 Combine Turkey, Gravy and veggies and put in a 9x13 pan, top with stuffing or potatoes.  Bake at 350* until bubbly (about 30-45 minutes).
Turkey Noodle Soup:
  In a stockpot, boil the turkey carcas or neck for about an hour.  remove meat and skim fat.  Add 1 chopped onion, 2-3 chopped potatoes, 4-5 chopped carrots and 2-3 cups of cooked turkey.  20 minutes before serving add noodles of your choice.

Smashed Potato Soup
1/2 c. coarsely chopped carrot
1/2 c. coarsely chopped celery
3-4 cups mashed potatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1/2 c. milk
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 c. sour cream
2 T fresh snipped parsley
Optional toppings: sliced green onions, cheese, bacon
1.  Place potatoes in medium saucepan.  Gradually add broth and milk, whisking until mixture is smooth.  Stir in carrot, celery, garlic, salt and black pepper.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
2.  Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and parsley.  Serve, top with desired toppings.
Yield:  4 servings.

Use the Freezer:  Debone your turkey and bag meat into portion-sized freezer bags.  Use as a substitute for chicken in recipes.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


I think my dad is one of the hardest people to shop for.  And if that isn't bad enough, he always tries to guess what the gift is before he opens it...and he is right 99% of the time!  One year for his birthday, I came up with a great idea while I was at a field trip with my kids at the Denver Mint.  I got him the never-been-touched-by-human-hands collector's edition coins for that year.  It was all packaged up so nicely and just a fun unique gift that I knew he would love.  I wrapped it up and told my kids that they absolutely could not tell grandpa what was in the package.  The day of gift-giving came and after inspecting the present, he looked up and said, "I have absolutely no idea what is in here."  YES! I was so excited to finally see a surprised look his face when he opened a gift!  But before he could unwrap it, a little voice said, "Grandpa, I can't tell you what it is, but we got it at the Denver Mint!"

If you have a hard-to-shop for person on your list this Christmas, why not give them the gift of preparedness?  There are so many items in any price range that would come in useful for everyday use or in case of an emergency.  Here are a few ideas:
FOOD STORAGE: sells cases of food in #10 cans.  You can get anything from wheat to spaghetti all packaged up and ready to go. also sells a myriad of food, from freeze dried to whole year packages.  And, if you are a super generous giver, Costco also has full year supply pallets.
72 HOUR KITS:  So many places have pre-packaged kits, there are several different kits (and prices!).  I have always thought the backpack kits would be great gifts.  I found kits at Costco, be, and Amazon.
WATER:  Whether it is a filtration bottle, 55-gallon drum, accessories, or packaged water, do not leave this out of your emergency kits!  Check out Emergency Essentials, our local Be Ready Store and Costco.
KITS:  A car kit, first aid kit, or even a basic tool kit can come in handy for everyone!
GEAR:  Sleeping Bags are always useful and a flashlight can make the difference between getting where you need to go, or being left in the dark.
GREAT TOOLS TO AID IN EVERYDAY PREPAREDNESS:  Some great items to help your loved ones become more self-reliant can include a steam canner, wheat grinder, applesaucer, or dehydrator.
GIVE A CUSTOM GIFT:  These buckets from Costco are a pretty good deal (the Gamma lids are amazing!).  You could fill them with your own 72 hour kit items or choose a single food storage item you know they will use.
OTHER EMERGENCY OR FOOD SUPPLIES:  Some of the best places I have found to buy all kinds of useful things are Emergency Essentials, Lehmans, and Walton Feed.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully enough to get your mind working to check off that Christmas List!

Thursday, November 9, 2017


On Saturday, I spent 4 hours attending a regional preparedness conference.  My mind is swimming.  I have so many ideas, but (as always) the limitation is time and resources.  I have been thinking a lot about my "job" to help you all become prepared--not only with preparedness items and food you have in your home in case of an emergency, but also to help you gain the skills to function if you and your family are truly on your own.

I will continue my weekly Grapevine snippet (and as a reminder, past snippets can be found at  But as we head into this new year, I really want to know what YOU want!!  Do you want to learn how to make jam, can fruit/veggies/meat, or start a garden?  Do you want to do group food storage orders, and make 72 hour and first aid kits?  Would you like to have classes in finance, spiritual preparedness, gardening, breadmaking etc?  Would you like me to include in my weekly snippet what to buy to build a 3-month storage, would you like recipes and tips to use your food storage?  I would love to hear from YOU!  I do not want to send out a survey...I figure if there is something you want help with, you will let me know! Please email me at to tell me what you want.  Because, when one person speaks out, it usually means there are 5 more that wanted to, but didn't.   May the emails pour in!

2 weeks ago, I gave the challenge to get me a freezer meal by November 4.  Sister Shari Kooyman wins the prize as she was the only one to get me not only a meal, but also some freezer-friendly tips!  I will share these with you!  Thanks Shari!

Herbs in the Freezer
When there is a sale buy these and chop up and put in freezer.  Then break off a chunk to add to Denver scrambled eggs, meat loaf, casserole, stews, etc.
Chop up bell peppers and/or onions.  Put in ziplock bags.  Sunset freezer cookbook says do not blanch.
Freezer PARSLEY LOGS which is simply tightly rolled parsley foliage you can slice a wedge off anytime:  Rinse, put in salad spinner to dry thoroughly.  Wet foliage does not freeze nicely.  Start compressing the mess into log shape at bottom of ziplock bag and gradually squeeze out the air as you go.  The log should be firm.  You can really pack a lot in.  Secure with elastic band or bull clip and freeze.  Packing densely means that even one slice will yield a lot of parsley.  Rewrap tightly, moving elastic band in from edge to eliminate air pocket and return to freezer.  (more hints on freezing Basil-Rosemary-Thyme-Oregano-Cilantro:  genius
Too Many Tomatoes
No need to can!  Chop up slightly (enough to allow to lay flat in ziplock bags.  Fill bags with the amount you might use in a recipe that calls for canned tomatoes.  You could even add bell peppers or onion at this time.  Date, Label, lay the bags flat and stack up in the freezer.

Chile Relleno Breakfast Casserole
2 14.5 oz cans whole mild green chiles or fresh green chiles roasted and skinned.
1 lb monterrey jack cheese, whole brick cut into finger-sized long strips
1 lb cheddar Colby cheese shredded
5 large eggs
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. powdered dry mustard
cooking spray
1.  Preheat oven to 350* and spray a large rectangular glass baking dish (9x13) with baking spray
2.  Open and drain each can of chiles.  Stuff each chili with finger sized pieces of Monterey Jack cheese and arrange in the bottom of the baking dish.
3.  Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar colby jack over chilis
4.  In a separate medium sized bowl combine eggs, flour, milk, salt, and dry mustard and whisk until most of the clumps are gone (some may remain)
5.  Pour egg mixture over chiles.
6.  Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.  Add remaining cheese to the top of the casserole and return to 350 * oven for an additional 5 minutes or until firm.
7.  Remove and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes:
You can order Hatch Green Chiles and other varieties from  It is the only site I trust for fresh and flavorful chiles.  Canned chillies will give you anywhere from 8-12.  If you prefer to use cream of tarter to fluff up the eggs instead of four, use 1 tsp.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Pumpkin--Not in a can

My aunt and uncle have been in the foreign service for almost 20 years.  It is fun to hear about all the amazing places they have lived.  But, it is also fun to see the perspective that the United States is a pretty amazing place too!  Several years ago, they were "home" doing a training in Washington, D.C. before they went to their China post.  We were living in the DC metro area at the same time, and we had such fun together as their youngest kids are the same age as our oldest ones.  One autumn day we all went the pumpkin patch and I loved watching all 6 of their kids scout out their perfect pumpkin.  As it was the first Halloween they had celebrated in the states in several years, my aunt planned a fall party and when we showed up, it was so festive!  8 big Jack-o-lanterns met us, carved into amazing faces.  We also ate soup out of hollowed-out mini pumpkins on a table topped with black plastic bags and fall leaves.  A few days later, they left for Bejing, but just before they went, my aunt told me to turn all the jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin bowls into puree.  I had never heard of doing that before, but we did it, and we have done it every year since!  And it was amazing!  Here's how it is done:
  • Wait to carve your pumpkin until no more than 3 or 4 days before Halloween.  After it is carved, keep it in the fridge as much as possible.
  • Cut up your Jack-o-lanterns and bake the pieces on a cookie sheet at 375* for an hour.  Let it cool.
  • Scoop pumpkin out of skins and puree with a blender (or mash with a potato masher) until smooth.
  • Freeze 2 cups of pumpkin in ziplock bags (or process in jars using a pressure canner).
  • Use your pumpkin to make pies, bread, muffins, pancakes, etc.
As an extra treat, make salted pumpkin seeds after you gut your pumpkin.
  • Remove seeds from as much of the pumpkin strings as you can (sometimes rinsing the seeds helps).
  • Spray a cookie sheet with baking spray and arrange seeds in a single layer. Spray the tops of the seeds with a light mist from the baking spray and sprinkle the seeds with salt.
  • Bake at 400* until seeds are brown (anywhere from 5-20 min, depending on the size of the seeds).
I challenge you to use your Halloween pumpkin in a way you haven't before!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ah Nuts!

As a 5 and 6-year old I would overhear my grandma talk about making candy.  In my little mind, I imagined packages of Now & Laters, Skittles, and Milky Way candy bars all packaged up; and I wondered how she did that!  By the time I was about 10, I realized that making candy meant fudge, caramels, divinity, and hand-dipped chocolates.  This realization came when she invited us kids to help her "make candy" by dipping chocolates.  I had never seen anyone melt chocolate and use fondant, nuts, and caramel like that before.  It was amazing!

So whether you are into making your own candy, or just buying yummy nuts, raisins, or already-made chocolate; this month's stake bulk order is for you!
Money is due to me by OCTOBER 22.  Order forms are in the RS binders (and a few are going around Primary and YW), but you can also email me your order.

NUTS--2 lb bags
Raw shelled Walnuts $18
Raw shelled Almonds $17
Raw shelled Cashews $23
Raw shelled Pecans $21
Roasted Salted in shell Pistachios $20
Shelled roasted salted Cashews $23
Shelled Roasted Salted Mixed Nuts $23
(These nuts prices are higher than you may find in other bulk storage places, but there are several differences.  The walnuts, almonds, pistachios and pecans have not been fumigated with Bromide which preserves their nutritional value.  The walnuts have not been soaked in chlorine.)

5 lb box $13

CANDY--1 lb bags
Milk Chocolate Turtles $19
Milk Chocolate Almost Clusters $19
Milk Chocolate English Toffee $19
Dark Chocolate Turtles $19
Dark Chocolate Almond Clusters $19
Dark Chocolate English Toffee $19
Solid Carmel pecan Log Roll (3/4 lb roll) $17

You can email orders to me ( or give me the form.  Make checks payable to RaeLyn Stoddard.  Questions?  Call/Txt me at 760-224-7217.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


When we lived in Aurora, Co (elevation 5471 ft), a family from Northern California moved into our ward.  The brother asked my husband what we plant for our winter garden in Colorado.  Jeff just stared at him, not quite knowing what to say....  We could only grow our garden from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Our "summer garden" was the same as California's "winter garden."  We wondered what it would be like to be able to plant year-round.  Little did we know then that soon we would be living it!  Hurrah for So Cal!
Hopefully you have your garden spot all prepared (I'm still working on  mine) because the WINTER GARDEN Season has begun!

According to Mr. Ledgerwood, the best things to plan in October are:  Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Cauliflower, Endive, Kale, Kohl Rabi, Leek, Lettuce, Mustard, Parsley, Parsnip, Peas, Radish, Rutabaga, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Turnip, Collards, Favas, Winter Zucchini.


(um, can anyone tell me what Kohl Rabi and Favas are?)