long-term food, Recipe Challenge, Thrive

Recipe Challenge #7: Sour Cream & Cheese Potatoes

I decided to grill Filet Mignon for dinner tonight, so I wanted to make a recipe that would go well as a side.  The THRIVE Sour Cream & Cheese Potatoes looked like the perfect solution.

As I was making this recipe, there were a couple of things that stood out:  First, I’m SO glad that I bought 3 sets of mixing bowls.  There is no way that I could easily make most of these recipes without them.  I’m sure that is typical with most recipes, I just never cooked much before now.  

Second, the recommended soaking (i.e., rehydration) times are WAY off.  The cookbook recommended soaking the THRIVE Potato Chunks in very hot (or pour in boiling) water for 15 minutes.  Based on previous experience with rehydrating some of the THRIVE foods, I decided to add 10 more minutes to the time.  I should have added about 30 minutes. I have no doubt that the food would be perfect with the appropriate soaking time though. 

Ok, back to recipe…this one was relatively simple, just took alot of bowls & utensils.  Basically, all I had to do was soak the THRIVE Cheddar Cheese, THRIVE Potato Chunks, & THRIVE Chopped Onions in hot water until rehydrated.  Then I whipped up some THRIVE Sour Cream, which was pretty good.  I love sour cream, so I’m going to make some more and try it once it’s cooled in the fridge. 

The recipe called for cream of chicken soup but I was out, so I used some cream of onion soup instead.  I didn’t want to have an overwhelming onion taste, so I cut the THRIVE Chopped Onions from 1 cup to 3/4 of a cup. 

The next step was to mix the onions, sour cream, soup, 2 tbs butter & 1 1/2 c of the cheese in a sauce pan & warm it on med-high.  The cheese was sort of clumped together and there was no way I was going to be able to “top with remaining cheese”, so I used the full 2 cups of the cheese in the sauce pan and then sprinkled some of my “regular” shredded cheese on top.  I know that was sort of cheating but the point of trying these recipes is to see how they work in real life, not just in an emergency situation.  It also saved me from using all of my $6.00 Whole Foods bag of shredded cheese, so I saved money by just using a small handful on top of the dish.

From there, I combined the potatoes with the mix from the sauce pan and then spread it out in a 9×9 cake pan, sprinkled with a little shredded cheese and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. 

It was really very good but more like a slightly firm potato cheese casserole than cheesy mashed potatoes, which is what I was expecting.  I think if I had let the potatoes soak a while longer, it would have turned out closer to my expectations.  I’m taking it to work tomorrow so it will “marinate” overnight in the fridge, which might soften the potatoes a bit more. 

Overall, it went very well with my steak and tomato and I plan on making the potatoes for our upcoming family dinner this weekend… I’ll just be sure to start the potato soaking early.  🙂

On another note, I’m making some crockpot chili to take for lunch tomorrow and used the THRIVE Red Kidney Beans in it.  I also decided to try the THRIVE Fudge Brownies again, but this time adding an egg for a “more cake like” brownie.  I’ll let you know how they turn out.

As always, stay safe & may you & yours be Blessed,

long-term food, Recipe Challenge, Thrive

Recipe Challenge #3: Homemade Cornbread

Update on THE CHICKEN SALAD: While it was really tasty (especially if I had some pickle relish for it) the night before, it was incredible the next day and needed nothing at all.  I took the leftovers to work for lunch and 3 others tried it.  They couldn’t believe it was made with THRIVE freeze dried ingredients.  In fact, I am bringing a double recipe to work tomorrow for everyone for lunch…. It’s THAT good. 🙂  So, if you make the Chicken Salad Sandwich recipe, make it the night before and people will RAVE about it!

My first observation while making tonight’s recipe was that I need a bigger kitchen.  AND more mixing bowls. AND a set of actual measuring spoons.  But aside from that, it was a breeze.  If you can follow directions (having the right kind of mixing bowls & measuring spoons will make it easier), then you can make this recipe.  I tend to burn bread, so I was a little apprehensive about attempting this one.  But since the other ingredients I ordered haven’t been delivered yet, it was one of the few options available. 

Side Note: I know I make it sound like I am missing a huge amount of THRIVE products, but in reality, it’s only a few staple items that are called for in a good deal of the recipes in the THRIVE Cookbook.  Once those arrive (I received the shipping notice today), I’ll be all set for the whole book! 🙂

Back to the recipe:  The only two things I substituted tonight were the salt & the sugar.  The recipe called for a cup of THRIVE sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon of THRIVE salt.  I figured sugar is sugar & table salt is table salt, so I opted not to open my cans of these two items and used my regular Publix brand of both.

Although this recipe had more ingredients than my first two recipes, it really wasn’t difficult.  It called for some buttermilk, which I didn’t have, so I followed the simple recipe in the cookbook for homemade buttermilk: 3 tbs THRIVE powdered milk, 1 c water, 1 tbs lemon juice and it was perfect. Be sure to mix it THOROUGHLY if you make your own.

After making my own buttermilk (which I thought was really very cool considering my lack of aptitude for cooking), I continued with the recipe as described.  After mixing everything together, I popped it in the oven for 30 minutes (max recommended time).  When the timer went off, I felt it wasn’t quite as done as I would like, so I added 5 more minutes to the cook time. 

I pulled it out of the oven after a total of 35 minutes.  I thought it needed more browning on the top but I was afraid to bake it any longer than 35 minutes, so I went ahead and let the cornbread cool for about 20 minutes.  I cut a small piece to try and it was just moist enough that, with it still being warm, it almost melted in my mouth.  I thought it a bit sweet but then I’m one of those people that likes coffee black – no sugar, no cream – and unsweetened tea (a huge faux pas as a born Southerner).  Basically, most things with any noticeable amount of sugar taste a little too sweet to me. 

My son came home shortly after and I asked him to check it out for me.   He agreed that it was too sweet for cornbread – almost dessert like.  That may be why the top didn’t brown as much as I thought it should.  I’m going to try again using less sugar.  Although the recipe calls for 1c sugar, I think that 1/2 c or even 1/3 c would be enough.  That should make the end result a little lighter and not near as sweet.

Bottom Line: If you like your cornbread sweet and moist, this recipe as is would be perfect for you.  If you like it a little fluffier & more bread-like, try cutting the sugar.  I’ll attempt this one again and post a revised review soon.

Goodnight and have a great weekend!

long-term food, Recipe Challenge, Thrive

Recipe Challenge #2: Chicken Salad (Sandwich)

FIRST: FOLLOW UP ON THE BROWNIES!  I was afraid that I would wake up to dry, hard brownies that crumbled when I took them out of the pan to take to work.  I am happy to report that this was not the case!  They were still perfectly chewy & moist.  Everyone that tried one commented on how great they tasted!

Ok, onto tonight’s challenge:

I know I’m starting my THRIVE Recipe Challenge off with ridiculously easy recipes but there is a reason (besides the fact that I like easy recipes): I took inventory and realized that I didn’t have all of the THRIVE products that I needed to complete many of the recipes without using outside resources.  So, I ordered the remaining items I needed to complete every recipe in the cookbook last night.  In the meantime, I’ll have to stick with the really simple stuff.

Getting home a little later than usual tonight, an easy recipe was just what I was looking forward to “tackling”.  After making it, I honestly think my 8 year old nephew could have done just as well.  It was super easy and required very little effort.

Basically, the recipe called for 3 c water, 1 1/2 c chopped THRIVE chicken, 1/2 c diced THRIVE celery, and 1/3 c of THRIVE chopped onions.  I brought everything to a boil, reduced the heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes.  Draining the mixture was as simple as pouring it into a strainer & then placing the strainer on top of the empty pot for 10 more minutes. 

While all of this didn’t take very long at all, (just over 22 min), the recipe called for placing the mixture into the fridge “until cooled”.  My thought was, “Umm, No. I’m hungry now”. 

So, I sped up the process by placing it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.  This cooled the mixture enough to add in the 1/2 c Vegenaise.  We don’t use mayonnaise (which is what the recipe used), so anything that calls for mayo gets Grapeseed Vegenaise instead.  It is MUCH healthier for you and we like it better than the taste of mayo.

I did a quick taste test and determined that it needed something else.  So, I added a little himalayan pink salt & ground black pepper.  While this made it almost just right, I still felt that it needed either chopped pickles or sweet relish to round it out.  Since I didn’t have either of these items, I cut up some fresh tomatoes and added some tortilla chips to the dish.  If my diet wasn’t sans gluten, a butter croissant would have been perfect with it.

Bottom line: I was pleasantly surprised that freeze dried chicken could be this tasty but next time I make the recipe, I’ll have some pickles or relish on hand to try with it. 🙂

BTW, almost all Thrive products contain 100% NO GMO ingredients!

long-term food, Recipe Challenge, Thrive

Recipe Challenge #1: Thrive Fudge Brownies

I left work fairly late tonight, so I wanted to make something quick & easy for my first recipe challenge.  In all fairness, this one really wasn’t a challenge – even for a culinary novice like me. 

I decided on the THRIVE Desserts: Fudge Brownies.  This was just about as easy as it could get.  Just the Thrive mix, water & my oven.  The instructions said to use 1/2 c of hot water & 3 c of the brownie mix.  This took almost all of my pantry can contents.  Brownie lovers would definitely need the #10 can and at just $14.39 per can (makes 60+ brownies), it’s very affordable.

The recipe said to mix the water & brownie mix for 1 minute but I used a small handheld electric mixer, so it only took about 20 seconds.  I turned the oven on and set it to 360 degrees, then let the mix “rest” for 10 minutes, per the recipe.

Ready to Bake

Although the recipe said to use a non-stick pan, I used one of my natural stone dishes and lightly sprayed it with a little Publix brand spray butter.  When the timers went off, almost at the same time, I popped the dish in the oven and set the timer for 22 minutes.

After 22 minutes, the center still looked a tad soft, so I reset the timer for another 3 minutes and then texted my son to ask him to come down for a taste test.

Baking for the full 25 minutes did the trick.  I let it cool for a couple of minutes and cut a piece.  It came right out of the dish with no sticking at all.  Brandon looked it over like it was a foreign object (yes, it looked like a brownie) and asked me “where did you get it?”  I told him it was a Thrive product as he took the first bite.  Nodding he said, “It tastes like the real thing” (yes, it is the real thing).  He commented that the texture was just right, chewy but still a really good consistency.  His rating: a big thumbs up.

Ready to Eat!

It was my turn to try it out – Now, what you have to understand is that I’m allergic to chocolate (and perfume…. it’s a good thing I’m not allergic to flowers or jewelry!).  My allergy to chocolate is not in that send me to the hospital kind of way, but it does create an unpleasant allergic reaction for several days after ingesting it.

I have to admit, I considered not trying the brownies.  But after Brandon’s review – and since I want to be able to give my personal opinion on the Thrive products & recipes – I decided to go ahead and have a very small piece.  It was just as Brandon described, perfectly chewy and delish.

This would make a perfect dessert to take to a party or whip up when you are in a pinch for time and ingredients.  I’m definitely going to keep a #10 can of this on hand for guests and party treats!

My first Thrive Recipe Challenge recipe was a great success and now I have a tasty treat for everyone at work tomorrow! 🙂  Coming up – Recipe Challenge #2: Chicken Salad Sandwich.

long-term food, Product testing, Thrive

Thrive Recipe Challenge

I recently received my THRIVE COOKBOOK from Shelf Reliance.  Because I signed up as a consultant, I received some nifty pantry cans (quart sizes of all of the #10 can products) so that I could demonstrate the food at “Parties”.

Now, I wasn’t born a good cook.  In fact, I’ve been known to burn water…more than once.  So, while I was excited to receive my new cookbook and try it out, my family was very apprehensive about the whole thing.

I decided that if I was going to make a serious “go” at this business, I better learn to cook with it and actually become good at it.

So, this is my personal challenge to myself:  I’m going to make at least one recipe, if not two or three, each week and blog about my experience with it.  I figure, if I can make it work then I’ll be able to show others how to make it work for them.

I’ll attempt my first recipe tonight, so check back later this evening for the start of my “Thrive Recipe Challenge!”

Blessings and Sleep Well,

do-it-yourself, long-term food, projects

Aquaponics Project

We have started another project, a really cool one in our opinion, at Ready Outdoors.  It’s called Hydroponics. Aquaponics (pronounced: /ˈækwəˈpɒnɨks/) is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.    If you’ve never seen one, check out the link above.

We picked up our first base recently and will be working on putting it together for “show and tell”.  Wayne has also discovered a really great “greenhouse” for it.  He will be making a dome shape “cap” that will act as a greenhouse for the system.  

If anyone is familiar with this, we would love some input!