Friday, February 5, 2016

No-flour Blender Pancakes turning Wheat to Pancakes Without a Grain Mill

So another crazy thing I do...among other things, is make pancakes from the whole grains of wheat, without flour
You read that right too. Chef approved!  This one uses soft wheat, so that you get fluffy pancakes. Soft wheat is lower in protein, so it makes delicious light pancakes. It's worth trying at least once, but I think you will be pleased with how easily they come together. 

Soaked wheat goes from soaked grains of wheat...
to these delicious pancakes!

With your blender ...and some goodies. The batter cooks up just amazing!

  Chef Tess Blender Whole Wheat Pancakes

You will need:

  • 1 cup soft wheat (red or white)
  • 1 cup milk or soy milk
  • 2 eggs, or 1/2 cup egg replacements
  • 2 T cold pressed oil--or the oil of your choice
  • 1T honey (or 2 T sugar)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest
1. Soak 1 cup soft red or white wheat in 3-4 cups warm water overnight, about 8 hours.
Soft wheat has a lower protein content and will make light pancakes,while hard red works, but it is a little tricky to get a fluffy end result. I love these with soft white wheat if you can find it.
2. Drain wheat well. Don't soak longer than 18 hours, or it will be funky!
3. Put drained wheat and 1 cup organic vanilla soy milk/regular milk in a blender
4. Blend 3 minutes on Liquefy setting Leave blender on, just open the little top thing (sorry this is so technical).
5. Add remaining ingredients: 2 eggs,2 T oil ,2tsp baking powder.1/2 tsp salt, 1T honey, 1/2 tsp vanilla, dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and fresh orange zest (micro plane)Continue to blend about 2 minutes. Total 5 minutes blending. If you don't blend long enough, the wheat will be chunky instead of a smooth batter.Pour right from blender onto a hot griddle. Yields about 12 4 inch pancakes.

There you go! Try these!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Saturday, January 30, 2016

How to Cook Amaranth on the Stove Top

If you've been with me in the past you know of my absolute obsession with grains and getting to contribute here on Preparing Wisely's blog, I am going to be sharing a lot of those well as preparedness tips. The grain obsession started as a mild crush and now I'm totally addicted. Grain and seeds add such a remarkable depth to your meals. I'm a huge fan. So, it won't come as a surprise if I share some more basics here right? Meet Amaranth. My darling friend on the left. On the right we have brown teff.
If you've never had Amaranth, it's an amazing super-grain and one of my favorites. Now I call it a grain, but technically it's a seed. Not all seeds are grain. Only seeds that are members of the grass family can technically own the name of grain. It's a very fun and technical thing. The good news on amaranth is that it's gluten free, high in protein and has all necessary amino acids to be considered a complete protein...30% more protein than rice, wheat or oats. In it's glory, it can grow a million-ka-billion seeds (give or take). I find it  absolutely delightful and mild in flavor. It's become one of my favorites for breakfast. 
I'll simply cook it on the stove top and when it's cooked, drizzle it with a smidge of honey or even better, fold in some yogurt and fruit to the cooked grain.

It's simple to cook on the stove top. You will need a quart size sauce pan with a tightly fitting lid. Bring 3 cups water to a boil. I add a pinch of salt to the water. Add 1 cup of amaranth to the pot. Reduce heat to very low. Cover with a lid and allow the amarnath to simmer 25 minutes. The seeds are still rather small when cooked, but they look so ding-a-dang crazy-cool.
I love a little drizzle of honey. My personal favorite is a maple hazelnut honey.
Even though it looks like caviar, it doesn't taste like it. Hooray for that! you can see it really close up.
My final note. My most recent love...freeze dried yogurt bites and freeze dried fruits folded into the cooked grain. Oh my stars. It's a creamy little nugget of joy in a sea of goodness. How's that for a cool new happy food?
There you go. Make some amaranth! 

  Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Amazing Baked Oatmeal!

Hey y'all! This is Chef Tess again, ready to share another great recipe for food storage.

I love oatmeal.  It is a fantastic addition to food storage and wonderfully versatile for baking and cooking.  I've often taught How to cook oatmeal 101, along with some of my Top 10 Ways to Cook Oatmeal in several cooking and baking applications.  However, I have been working on this recipe for baked oatmeal for a while. 
Let's talk baked oatmeal.  I've been long on a search for the best baked oatmeal recipe.  I've tried a few that a bad way. They were glorified glue in a pan.  Disgusting! I wanted chewy, hearty, baked oatmeal that was fast and easy. I wanted something we could eat a few times a week and never get bored.  
I stopped looking for a few years.  
 Then  two years ago, a dear friend shared her recipe with me for baked oatmeal.  It was the most perfect baked oatmeal I'd ever had.  For the last couple of years, I've made her recipe again and again. Still perfect every single time.  So, now it gets a place of glory here on the blog. I've added my own touches and made it my own, but I think you'll be pleasantly in love with it from the first batch.  It's really quite perfect. Change out the berries for whatever you have on hand. Add crushed pineapple or shredded carrots in place of the fruit for a carrot cake baked oatmeal. It's incredibly versatile. 
This is it.
 Simple Baked Oatmeal 
  • 2 eggs (or 1/4 cup powdered egg plus 1/2 cup water)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3 cups rolled oats or 6 grain rolled cereal (gluten-free oatmeal works)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chef Tess Wise Woman of the East Spice blend
  • 1 cup fresh chopped cranberries, cherries or blueberries
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
  • Brown sugar for topping
Directions: In a large bowl,beat eggs and brown sugar until they are thoroughly mixed.  Add coconut oil, milk and vanilla.                  

Add the remaining ingredients (except the additional brown sugar for topping). 
 Pour the oatmeal mixture into a greased 9 by 13 inch casserole pan.
 Sprinkle with brown sugar on top.
   Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes uncovered.
Do not over-bake.
There you go my darlings. Delicious, hearty and wholesome baked breakfast. 

See you soon at one of our Preparing Wisely Classes! Most of them are free and always very informative!

144 S. Mesa Drive Suite G, Mesa AZ 85210     (480) 964-3077

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Monday, January 11, 2016

Perfect Quinoa Cookery!

Hello darlings! This is Chef Tess!  The good folks at Preparing Wisely have asked me to start adding my thoughts and recipes to their blog and I'm excited to be back to my roots.  This is where I got started teaching classes, and yes, I will be back in the store soon for more cooking with food storage adventures.  This week I thought I'd share my thoughts on one of my favorite super-grains and give you the basics on how to cook with it.

What in the world is quinoa anyway? 2013 was declared the The International Year of Quinoa. Did you miss the memo? Are you three years late?  If you haven't yet tried this remarkable super-grain you're going to be in for a few surprises.  I hear a lot of questions about how to cook it and what to do with it.  Here's what you should know about the nutrition of Quinoa.
It is a complete protein and a wonderful source of fiber.

How do you cook it?
 You will always need to rinse and drain quinoa thoroughly in cold water before cooking, unless it is in a package that says, "pre-rinsed". I made the mistake of thinking that the rinsing was optional, and boy was it a mistake! The grain tasted bitter an horrid.  Come to find out, that it was a natural part of quinoa.  It is easiest rinsed in in a  finer meshed colander. This is a smaller grain and it will easily slip through the cracks. 

Rinsing is not an optional step. Why?

 In its natural state quinoa has a coating of saponins, which gives it a bitter taste. This bitterness can have beneficial effects in terms of cultivation, as it is a crop that is relatively untouched by birds and thus requires minimal protection. The presence of saponin is obvious by the production of a soapy looking "suds". This also represents the major antinutritional factor found in the grain. Fortunately, most of these saponins are concentrated in the outer layers of the grain (seed coat, and a cuticle-like layer) which facilitates their removal industrially by washing the grains with water. (See more here)

Basic Quinoa

2 cups red or white quinoa, rinsed well
4 cups water or chicken broth
salt to taste


Pressure Cooker: In a 2 1/2 liter pressure cooker add the Basic Quinoa ingredients. Bring to a boil. Seal lid and pressure at high for 5 minutes. Allow pressure to drop on its own. Store cooled quinoa in the fridge for up to a week. 

Conventional:  In a 1 and a half quart (6 cups) capacity heavy pot with a tight fitting lid, boil the water and the salt, that is when the bubbles don't stop even when you stir it. Add the grain, cover the pot, and turn the burner to the lowest setting. Set your timer for 15 minutes. Don't stir it. Just let it simmer. This will produce perfect grain every time if you follow the instructions.

Now, if you feel pretty crazy and confident, try using chicken or vegetable broth in place of the water. It will add a lot of flavor. Some people don't like a flavor to their grain, beside the grain. We also like using coconut milk in place of the water in Hawaiian dinners, along with 1/4 cup minced onion. Garlic adds a nice touch too, even just one or two cloves pressed into the broth as you add the grain.

One final note. You can use quinoa anywhere you use rice. It is also remarkable added to your baked goods in small amounts. Keep it to about 1/2 cup of cooked grain to every dozen muffins or pan of quick bread.  

See you soon at one of our Preparing Wisely Classes! Most of them are free and always very informative!

144 S. Mesa Drive Suite G, Mesa AZ 85210     (480) 964-3077

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July and August Upcoming Classes!

The Simple Basics of Turning Wheat Into Bread

Tuesday July 31st, 6:30 PM

Can you start with wheat and turn it into bread simply? This is an amazing skill to have! This is the bare-bones basics for beginners who want to know how to make bread from wheat without a lot of fuss and fancy techniques. In fact, this is the latest sensation... Whole Wheat 4 Ingredient Bread No knead bread! This bread is exploding in popularity around the country! Is it even possible that bread be simple? No mixer needed. It can be made with 4 ingredients by virtually anyone anywhere! Seems almost too good to be true right? You’ll be surprised how easy bread making can be using the no-knead method and how wonderful your bread will taste! I'll show how to grind wheat into flour as well as include my simple method for making “everlasting yeast” that isn’t a sourdough! It’s an outstanding skill to have for everyday bread and for emergency preparedness long-term food storage. We’ll cover baking it in a solar oven as well as some tips and techniques for forming great sandwich loaves.
Breakfast meals in a Jar/Mylar Bag
for Camping and More!

Tuesday August 21st, 6:30 PM

Are you planning a camping trip, hiking adventure or simply planning your week's groceries? Chef Tess is here! This is a wonderful class on the basics of making meals in a jar for breakfast meals like carrot cake six grain pudding, savory sausage quiche, delicious omlets in a bag, country breakfast skillets and more! You'll find out the secrets to making your own meals and saving money on those convenient meals that make camping and hiking so much fun! Join me for some new skills and some new ideas! These are all new recipes to add to your food storage and emergency preparedness menu as well! You won't want to miss it!

Preparing Wisely
144 S Mesa Drive Suite G
Mesa, AZ 85210
(480) 964-3077


Monday, July 18, 2011

Four New Convenience Meals in A Jar!

We had a class Thursday night and I added 5 new recipes to the seven meals that I have already shared for the    in a jar that are "just add water". The blessed part of these new additions is that they are still the same homestyle food that my husband calls "normal people food". I think it's a cut above normal...but not so gourmet that it will intimidate my in-laws who prefer mild food.  I don't use a lot of sodium or go too crazy on the seasoning here, so adjust as you need for your family. I like to add more to my personal jars.  
 The best part of adding the new meals is that now we have enough to do a 2 week menu plan instead of just one week. So one can do 24 jars of each meal and have dinners for a "years supply" of dinners...give or take. I know a lot of folks try to keep at least a year's worth of grain and personal supplies on hand for things like unemployment, family tragedy or natural disaster.  It's their own insurance against hard times. As for these jar recipes, when you plan, if you keep it in denomination of 12 it's simple... because canning quart jars come in 12 jar cases! One can be certain it's easy to organize.  Last Monday I added the first of the five new recipes. 
It was 

Creamy Chicken Veggie Casserole in a Jar

 The next four are here today.

Side note...have you ever used freeze dried cheese? It's amazing! It's crazy stuff...and totally real cheese...just freeze dried to preserve it's freshness.  
Meal 1: Saucy Baked Ziti with Sausage and Mushrooms
Saucy “Baked” Ziti with Sausage and MushroomsIn a quart jar:
2/3 cup tomato powder
1/3 cup dehydrated onion
1T Chef Tess Italian Seasoning
1/3 cup freeze dried sausage or sausage TVP
2/3 cup Freeze dried Hamburger or beef TVP
1 cup Ziti (3 ounces)
1/3 cup freeze dried mushrooms
2/3 cup freeze dried Mozzarella cheese (in a snack baggie)
Directions: Place contents of jar (except for cheese) in a covered skillet or pot with 4 ½ cups water. Simmer 15-20 minutes until pasta is tender and sauce is thick. (Solar oven 30-40 minutes covered). Place contents of cheese bag in a bowl and spray lightly with water. Sit for 5 minutes. Uncover cooked pasta mixture. Top with cheese. Cover again and allow cheese to melt, about 5 minutes.Serve hot.

Meal 2: Beefy Spanish Rice

Beefy Spanish Rice
 In Quart jar with oxygen eater:
1 ½ cup freeze dried hamburger
1 ½ cup long grain rice
½ cup Honeyville freeze dried bell pepper trio
½ cup dehydrated onion
1 ½ tsp Chef Tess All Purpose seasoning, 1 tsp dehydrated minced garlic
1 T dehydrated minced ancho chilies
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ cup tomato powder
1 bay leaf
Directions: Add contents of jar to 5 ½ cups boiling water. Cover and simmer low 25-30 minutes until tender. Top with cheese or sour cream if desired.

Meal 3: Been and Rice Fajita Casserole
Bean and Rice Fajita Casserole
2 cups THRIVE instant red or black beans
1 cup long grain rice
½ cup Honeyville bell pepper trio
½ cup honeyville dehydrated onion
1T Chef Tess All Purpose Seasoning blend
½ tsp cumin seed
½ tsp oregano leaves (or 1 drop oil of oregano)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 bay leaf
½ cup Honeyville cheese sauce powder
¼ cup powdered tomato
Place contents of jar in a deep covered casserole and add 6 cups of very hot water. Place covered in a solar oven or conventional oven 30-35 minutes.

Meal 4: Golden Cheese and Sausage Potato Casserole 

Golden Potato, cheese and Sausage Casserole
In a quart jar:
1 cup Honeyville  cheese sauce mix
½ cup dehydrated sour cream
1/3 cup dehydrated onion, 1 ½ tsp dehydrated minced garlic
1 cup freeze dried sausage (or ham)
2 cups (4 ounces) dehydrated hash brown potatoes
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp cracked fresh pepper
1 bay leaf

Combine contents in a deep casserole with 5 ½ cups hot water. Cover 10 minutes. Bake in solar oven 1 hour covered or in the microwave 15 minutes uncovered. May top with additional cheese, crushed corn flakes or crushed crackers if desired.

printable version of all 12 recipes for convenience meals in a jar are Here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Creamy Chicken Veggie Casserole in a Jar

I will be teaching a FREE class at  Preparing Wisely on Thursday night at 6:30 in Mesa  on  these Convenience Meals in a Jar.   This class is  always well attended and in high demand, especially  in  light of recent emergency events that have happened around the world and the demand people have for good quality homemade meals.  People prepare for family emergencies in different ways. Some prepare for an earthquake, fire or natural disaster.  Some prepare for financially difficult times and unemployment.  Some just prepare meals in advance so that mom or dad are not too entirely stressed out at the end of a hard work day. Whatever your reason for preparing convenience meals, this is a simple method of keeping track of what you have on hand and keeping it an organized location.  This method is one anybody can use. I don't claim the method of planning a menu this way to be mine, I do however claim these recipes as ones I have developed through personal trial and error. We've heard it called a "year's supply" of food. Insuring that should anything catastrophic happen, your family will be fed.

Recently someone asked me to write down a few of my recipes for long term storage and what I recommended. I have a method that I like to recommended to  those starting out on food storage use that isn't new, but it was a little bit exciting when I heard it. One plans 7 meals, one for each night of the week and then figured getting 52 of each meal.  My method of containing each meal entirely in ONE  jar is different than others who have planned the meal in a 52 week method, but didn't keep it this simple or concise. I wanted it all in one spot. In this way one would easily be able to have a year's supply of food that a family of four would eat should they need it. One wouldn't  have to search through things to find the corresponding can of meat or sauce to go with the starch.   It sounds "simple stupid"...but sometimes that's how I roll. It's a good simple way to calculate a family's needs. It's also a good way to get back to the basics of what a normal family will eat. Without getting into a lot of canning details and crazy stuff here, I do want to say that I don't want anyone to have to worry about canning meat or rotating cans of beans and vegetables. This gets into methods of pressure canning that some may not be prepared to practice proper rotation or sanitation while home canning. No they are not safe on the shelf longer than one year.  PERIOD. (Please see Home Canning Safety 101 for specific details in this matter) If you would like the original 7 recipes I used, see this post:  here .

  Today I'm adding another casserole that has become a fast favorite here.  I already posted one that's a cheesy turkey noodle casserole. While this one is similar, I realize that sometimes it's the comfort food we serve during times of distress...and I'm planning accordingly.  That being said, this one is different in it's composition and flavor.  It's a lot more creamy and has more vegetables. 

In a quart Jar fit with a funnel:
1 3/4  cups wide egg noodles
½ cup Honeyville freeze dried vegetable mix
1 cup freeze dried chicken chunks
1/2 cup freeze dried peas
1/4 cup freeze dried mushroom slices
2 T dehydrated onions

1/2 cup Honeyville  cheese sauce powder OR my homemade condensed soup mix  
1/3 cup powdered milk
1/3 cup powdered sour cream
¼ cup dehydrated butter

For long term 8-10 year storage, combine all ingredients in a sealed mason jar with an oxygen absorber packet.  These will cause a vacuum seal. is important if you are doing these jars to open the freeze dried meat and bottle it again within a few hours. If you're worried about it or want a vegetarian alternative, you may use 1 1/2 cup Freeze Dried Zucchini instead of the chicken. You'll need to add 1 tsp no msg chicken bullion to the mix as well.

The chicken is really cool. 

To Prepare:

In a casserole, combine the entire contents of the jar with 4 cups hot water. Let sit 5 minutes.  Cover and bake in a solar oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. OR microwave in covered deep dish casserole for 15 minutes.  
While the casserole is baking, I make bread crumb topping. This is optional but adds a lot of texture and flavor. I prefer, when cooking with the solar oven to do the topping on a separate burner or if the topping on the stove to crisp it. This saves a lot of time and with the solar cooker, gets a crispy topping I can't normally get.   I'm using  homemade 9 grain ciabatta (if you missed that post it was freakin' fun!).  Put a few pieces in a food processor or finely grind in a hand-powered  processor.
Add 2 T olive oil 1/2 cup of  the crumbs and 1/2 tsp of my Romantic Italian Seasoning
Mmm. Now that's a crumby job right there. 
Put the crumbs in a hot skillet and stir until toasted. How easy is that?! Where you expecting rocket science?!

Remove casserole from the oven or microwave (especially important with microwave to let the casserole sit 10 minutes so it get's thick). Top with 4-5 slices of cheese. I use homemade mozzarella cheese  or you can also use freeze dried mozzarella from your food storage.  Top with crumbs.
Spread out the crumbs.  Cover until cheese is melted. 
Usually while the cheese is melting I saute some fresh green beans to go on the side...
Season them well and drizzle with olive oil...and waaahlaaaa! The casserole is now ready. Brace yourself for the reveal...
The casserole is now ready. Brace yourself for the reveal...

Creamy delicious...not too glue-like and thick...

Are you hungry yet?

There you go. Make some veggie casserole!