Friday, July 30, 2010

Food Storage Friday: Fruit Pie

Today we're making pie. You can choose any sort of pie filling to go in it, of the canned fillings, I prefer cherry. You know the stuff you stick on cheesecake? Oh boy I could eat a whole can of it.

When you're rotating, use the crust, but put fresh ingredients in the pie.

Ingredients: Flour, salt, oil, 2 cans of pie fillings and hot water (not pictured)

You won't see many pictures at this point because I don't have three arms and these steps have to be done quickly. Turn on your tap to hot water and let it run til it gets really hot. Add the oil to your mixing bowl. Start mixing the oil with a fork and then gradually add the hot water while you are mixing.

The hot water and mixing motion, combines the oil/water so there is no separation.

Immediately add your flour and continue mixing with your fork. Add a dash of salt.

Keep stirring until your dough combines into a ball. You're done! You're pie crust is done! How easy is that? Seriously, this pie crust will change your life it's so easy and so good.

Separate into two balls of dough.

Layer the one ball between two pieces of wax paper and roll out to a circle. You can dust the top and bottom with flour if you need too. You want the dough to be a little sticky so that it will say together, but use a little extra flour if you're really have trouble.

When the pie crust is large enough, gently remove the top layer of wax paper by slowly pulling back on it. This pie crust is super light and flaky when baked, so it's very fragile during the making process, so take it slowly.

Now that you only have wax paper on the bottom-

Pick it up and flip it over onto your pie dish. Gently peel back the wax paper until the pie crust is sitting in the dish.

You can take the pieces of crust that are overhanging-

And fix the sides that are short.

Dump your pie filling in,

And get to work on the top layer of crust.

Roll it out-

Remove the top sheet of wax paper, lay it over the pie, and GENTLY remove the wax paper.


Crimp the edges and then pierce the top with a sharp knife several times to create vents for the steam.

Almost done.

I like a really crispy crust, so I mixed up some powdered milk quick,

And brushed it on the top, all over the crimped edges and everywhere. You can sprinkle sugar over the top too if you want.

Bake until golden brown. I think I needed a few more venting holes!

Whenever you bake pies, always put a cookie sheet on the oven rack underneath the pie. Nine times out of ten your pie will leak, and it's easier to clean a cookie sheet than the bottom of your oven.

Now all I need is some cheesecake!

Fruit Pie

1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup hot water
dash salt
1 and 3/4 cups flour

2 cans pie filling
milk (optional)
sugar (optional)

Put oil in mixing bowl, add hot water while mixing with a fork. Still mixing, add salt and flour until the dough forms a combined ball. Dough will be a little sticky. Divide dough into two equal balls. Place one ball of dough in between two pieces of wax paper and roll out large enough for a pie plate. Remove the top layer of wax paper by pulling back gently. Invert pie crust onto pie dish and remove bottom layer of wax paper by pulling back gently. Fill with pie filling and then roll out top crust just as the bottom crust.

Crimp edges and make several slits for the steam to vent. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar if desired. Bake at 375 degrees F. until golden brown (45-50 minutes).

Originally posted: May 29, 2009

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tutorial re-post: How to Make a Cardboard Box Oven

We originally posted this tutorial in 2008, in the first couple of months after starting our blog.  It was really popular so we wanted to re-post it for all our new readers who haven't seen it yet.  It's one of my favorite tutorials and it's lots of fun, too!

Did you know that you can make a cardboard box into an oven that works just as well as your oven at home? You can! And with this type of oven, you never have to worry about what to eat when the electricity goes out.

You need:
1 cardboard box (for this method, it needs to have a slide-on top, like a box that holds reams of paper. See pictures)
matches (or a lighter)
aluminum foil
1 round aluminum pie plate (or anything to place your charcoals in)
3 wire hangers
scissors or a knife
whatever food you want to bake

Line the inside of your box and lid with aluminum foil. If you'd like, use a sponge and dab some Elmer's glue around the inside and cover to hold the foil in place (this is especially useful if you plan to keep your box oven, and not just make a new one in an emergency).
Once that's done, use some scissors or a knife to poke three holes in a straight line on each end of the box, about halfway down from the top. You'll see what these are for in just a minute.
Meanwhile, straighten out your three hangers.

Put the three straightened hangers through the holes. These will act as a shelf to place your food on (sorry if it's kind of hard to see the wires in the picture above!  It was so bright outside).

Next, bend your wires so that they will remain taut inside the oven. You don't want heavy food bending the wires and sitting directly on the charcoals.
This step might be kind of difficult, so you may want an extra pair of hands and some pliers.

It doesn't have to look pretty, it just has to work! Next, poke some other random holes in your box so that oxygen can get in and gases can get out.  Now, we actually did NOT poke extra holes in this particular oven, because by the time we finished making our wires taut, our three holes we poked in each side had become fairly large, so we figured they were enough. If your holes on the side remain small, use your knife or scissors and poke a few holes on the top of the box, and maybe one or two on each side.

Next, let's turn up the heat!
Place some charcoals in your round aluminum plate. Each charcoal briquette supplies 40 degrees of heat, so 9 briquettes will give us a 360 degree oven.

Light your briquettes with the matches or a lighter (it will probably take a few matches. Be sure that each briquette burns).

Let the briquettes burn for a while...

Until they look like this! Then you're ready to go.

With your tongs, pick up the hot plate of charcoal

And slide it carefully between your wire shelf onto the bottom of your box.

There! Use the tongs to straighten out the charcoals and spread them out a bit.
Meanwhile, put together whatever you want to bake (actually you should probably do this before you light your charcoal so that you don't waste the heat as you mix up your food). We're making an apple spice cake that my mother-in-law had in her pantry - just add water!

Place your food on the wire racks
And cover with your oven top (Note: this is not an advertisement for Office Max! :) ).
Now just set a timer like normal, or watch the clock. Note: If your recipe calls for a longer baking time (more than 45 minutes to an hour), you will probably have to switch out your charcoals around the 45-minute mark.

Do not use your oven on a wooden deck or on grass, or anything flammable. We are cooking in a concrete deck. Never use this oven indoors.
Time's up! Let's see how it looks:

And..... It's done! Carefully life the pan out of your oven (use hot pads!) and enjoy!

If your three-month supply consists solely of pantry items like we suggest, you truly can live comfortably with no electricity. Just prepare the (baking) recipes we've provided on our site, use this oven, and you're set! You can bake anything in this oven. My mother-in-law has even baked an entire turkey in one. Be creative! And don't forget, you can store this oven along with your food storage so you don't have to keep making one every time you need one.  Making a cardboard box oven would be a great family activity, or even something that your youth group could do.