Friday, November 25, 2011

Sweet Potato Balls with homemade sweet potato orange syrup

I hope you all had a very wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was great, and we are excited for more fun holiday times ahead as the season rolls along. Just a reminder that the Black Friday deals from Shelf Reliance started this morning, and last through the end of the day on the 28th. The prices are the lowest sale prices I've seen, so you really don't want to miss out. Freeze-dried food, shelving, cookbooks, and even consultant start up kits are on sale (if you have ever wanted to become a consultant, its the best time to do so!).  Food storage makes GREAT Christmas gifts, very practical and appreciated in this economy. So look over the Thanksgiving Sale Prices, and then contact me to get your order placed before the sale ends.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would share with you a recipe I created and took to our family gathering. Now, we had about 50 people there, so I made a pretty big batch. This will make about 35 sweet potato balls, so you may want to halve the recipe to fit your needs.

I started by using my THRIVE Sweet Potatoes. Remember, this item is being discontinued at the end of the year, so if you want some, let me know and we can get you stocked up.

So here's what you'll need to make the Sweet Potato Balls.

6 cups THRIVE Sweet Potatoes
12 cups water
1/2 cup melted butter
6 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
25 large marshmallows
2 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
zest of 1/2 a medium orange
3 Tbsp melted butter

Bring 3 quarts (12 cups) of water to boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add 6 cups sweet potatoes. Return to a boil and cook about 15 minutes or until tender. Strain the potatoes out of the water, but do not discard the water. When I did this, I had 9-10 cups of cooked sweet potatoes, and about 1 3/4 cups of starchy sweet potato water.

To make the balls, either puree the potatoes in a blender/food processor, or whip them with a hand mixer. My blender died half way through the puree process (it's been on its deathbed for a while), so I had to finish up with the hand mixer in a large bowl. I still had a few small chunks, but that's fine. THRIVE makes the dices pretty small to begin with, so this part of the recipe is pretty forgiving.

In a large bowl, add 1/2 cup melted butter, 6 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp salt to the sweet potatoes and mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Take your big marshmallows and tear them in half.

Take a scoop of sweet potato mixture and form it around the marshmallow piece to form a ball about 3" in diameter. Do your best to get the marshmallow as centered in the middle as you can, but don't stress about it. Just as long as the marshmallow is completely surrounded by potato filling.

Then you'll roll the ball in the crushed cornflakes and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. These won't melt or expand at all, so you can space them fairly close together. Repeat until all your balls are done. You should have about 35.  You'll notice there's about 15 marshmallow pieces left over. Fear not, it's all part of the plan!

Now, on to the syrup. Yum! Pour your starch water into a sauce pan (you should have about 1 3/4 cup of starch water).

Add 1/3 cup white sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar and the orange zest. Mix well and turn on high heat. Once it starts boiling, you'll really need to stir it constantly for 15 minutes. The first 6-7 minutes of rapid boiling will look like you're just stirring lots of fast boiling orange bubbles.

But stick with it because around the 7-9 minute mark, the magic happens! It will start to thicken and darken into a lovely deep burnt orange colored syrup. You can reduce the heat a little at this point, but keep stirring for the full 15 minutes. Once its thickened, add 3 Tbsp of butter and stir until all melted and combined. (The butter improves the consistency for pouring over the balls).

Now you can spoon the warm syrup over the top of the balls. You should have enough syrup to cover about 20 of them. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 for 40 minutes. For the last 20 minutes, place the 15 marshmallow pieces on top of the 15 non-syrup covered balls and continue baking. When you're done you'll have a fun twist on an old classic Thanksgiving recipe, with a traditional topping as well as a more elegant topping, to please everyone in your crowd.

When these bake, the marshmallow melts and soaks up into the surrounding sweet potato, leaving a little bit of an empty cavity. If it's too close to the side, your ball may break open when baking and have some marshmallow ooze out, with some minor imploding. But have no fear. Like I said before, its a pretty forgiving recipe. When this happen to a few of mine, I just scooped it up with the spatula, pinched the two ends together, and it held its shape as a ball again.

Also, if you have little ones at home, consider saving aside some cooked sweet potato dices for soft finger foods that are bound to make your baby happy. They sure made a smile appear on my little Evan's face.

Remember, if you want to order sweet potatoes or any other item (like our Thanksgiving sale items!) just call me at 714-683-7562 or e-mail me at: Have a great holiday weekend!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Shelf Reliance Black Friday Deals - 4 days to save BIG!!!

Happy Thanksgiving! In the spirit of the season, Shelf Reliance is giving us all something to be grateful for - their thanksgiving sale with prices up to 50% off retail value!

There are tons of food items on sale, for example: freeze-dried peaches and rasberries, pancake mix, cornmeal, tons of veggies, beans, tvps, milk, macaroon mix, seriously tons of items. Take a look at the link below for the flyer with all the details.

They also have Black Friday sales on their Cansolidators, Harvest food storage rotation racks, non-electric wheat grinder, THRIVE cookbook, Emergency kits and more. Whether you're looking for the perfect Christmas gift, or to get a jump start on your New Year's Resolution to be more prepared, eat healthier, or get more organized, Shelf Reliance's 4 day Thanksgiving sale is the perfect answer.

To see everything on sale and the great low prices, look at the Thanksgiving Sale flyer.

Also, if you have ever wanted to become a consultant and earn extra income on your own schedule, all while building your own home store, now is the time to enroll because their consultant starter kits are even on sale! Talk to me if you have questions about enrolling as a consultant.

The sale goes from Nov 25th-Nov 28th. Once you know what you want to order, call me (714-683-7562) or e-mail me ( and we'll get it taken care of. I can even take your order this week before the sale starts, and will wait to place it until prices go into effect, if that works better for your busy holiday schedule.

Again, happy holidays and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reconstituting with steam - an experiment

I love steamed veggies. They taste better than boiled (in my opinion) and they keep more nutrients. So here's some nutrition 101 info for you: The different vitamins and minerals found in fruits and veggies are what give them their color. The general rule is: the richer and deeper the color, the more nutrition it gives you. Perfect example: iceberg lettuce vs. spinach. Iceberg is such a light shade of green, it's almost white on many leaves. Not a lot of nutritional value. Spinach on the other hand is a rich dark green -- leaves, stems, all of it. You guessed it;  that rich, dark green color means it's packed with nutrients. So much so, spinach is considered a "super food". Now, when you boil veggies and drain off the water, you'll notice that the water you drain off is not clear, but rather colored according to whatever you were boiling. So really, when you drain off the color, you're draining off the nutrients. But with steaming, veggies aren't surrounded by water that leeches off their nutrients, so they retain more nutritional value.

Okay, the food science lesson is over. Now on to the science experiment. I wanted to try the FD Broccoli and Cauliflower, and I wanted to steam them in order to reconstitute them. So I got my big pot boiling, placed the steamer insert on it and threw in a few handfuls of veggies. Here's what the Freeze Dried Broccoli and Cauliflower look like straight from the can.

I popped on the lid, and walked away for a few minutes. When I came back to check on it, here is what I found:

The heat cooked the dry product faster than the moisture could reconstitute it. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes: Steaming veggies provides little moisture, but high heat, which heats cooks veggies by heating the moisture in the veggies themselves. Since Freeze Dried veggies have no moisture in themselves, if you cook them, the dry portions will burn quickly.

So how DO you reconstitute your THRIVE veggies?
You can boil them or let them sit in hot water for 3-5 minutes, or let them sit in cold water, but plan on it taking quite a while longer. This is what Shelf Reliance recommends. Personally, if I'm putting them in a dish that's already cooking, (like my Pot pie filling, or my lentil chili) I just throw them in and let them boil with the rest of the recipe. If I am going to use them separately, like in my mini quiches or on top of pizzas, I just put them in a Tupperware with hot water and let them sit for a few minutes. Here's the great news: when I let them sit in hot water for a few minutes and then drain it off, I typically find that I am not draining off too much water, nor too much color. Because it's freeze dried, it doesn't take long to reconstitute, so there's not much time for the heat of the water to take away any nutrition. I did a second batch of the veggies by throwing them into the boiling water I had used under my steamer. After a few minutes, I drained off the water (practically no color lost), and here's what the FD Broccoli and Cauliflower look like, correctly reconstituted.

I've pureed these in a soup, used them with baked potatoes, and topped them with great cheese sauce (cheese blend and magic mix) that people seemed to love. So I give the Broccoli and Cauliflower an A++, as long as you follow the instructions and reconstitute correctly.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tropical Morning Muffins

So first of all, I have to do a special shout out to fellow consultant Lindsey Mote. She has an AMAZING blog with tons of great recipes I've been trying lately. One such recipe is her Tropical Morning Muffin Recipe. I've tweaked it a little to my personal tastes, but to see her original recipe, pictures, suggestions, visit her blog. 

This recipe is great because it is moist and healthy with lots of fruits, not a lot of sugar, and NO OIL OR BUTTER! I have tried it with all white flour, and again with all whole wheat flour. I must admit, this was my first time making anything with all whole wheat flour, and it was a bit much for me. There wasn't enough sweetness to balance out the grain for my taste. That said,  the people who usually eat whole wheat everything said they loved them, and my toddler still loved them and they were a life saver of a breakfast before our 8 am church on Sunday morning. I will personally only use all white, or half wheat/half white flour from now on, but let your health and taste preferences be your guide.

The best part of this recipe, aside from the taste, is that you can put everything in a jar and give it as a gift! I raffled one away at a party I did recently, and it was a hit. I have been using the pre-portioned individually sealed apple sauce containers that you can buy for your kid's lunch, because it's the right amount of sauce, and it rests at the top of the jar perfectly, still allowing me to fit on the lid and band to close the jar up. But since Shelf Reliance has just come out with applesauce powder, as soon as I get mine, I plan to use that in this recipe instead. I'll post an update once that happens.

If you want to make this recipe for yourself, just dump everything in a bowl, add 1 cup water, mix and let it rest while you preheat your oven to 350. Grease your muffin tins (1 batch yields 12 regular or 36 mini muffins). Spoon  the batter into the tins, and bake at 350 for 15-22 minutes, depending on the size of your muffin.

If you want to give it as a gift, use a wide mouth quart jar (the taller ones), and start layering items in the order listed below, with flour first and apple sauce last. Add a cute bow, e-mail me for a copy of the label to include, stick it on, and voila! Your thanksgiving hostess will love it, and your gift will ensure you are invited back for many a turkey in years to come.

So without further ado, here's the recipe for my version of Lindsey's Tropical Morning Muffins:

1c Thrive White Flour (or Whole Wheat Flour)
1/4c Thrive Brown Sugar
1T Thrive Whole Egg Powder
1t Thrive Baking Powder
1/4t Thrive Baking Soda
1/4t Thrive Salt
1/4c Thrive Maroon Cookie Mix
1/2c Thrive Pineapple Chunks
1/4c Thrive Mangoes
1/4c Thrive Banana Slices
1/2 cup of applesauce (in sealed container).

Just add 1 cup of water, mix it all together, bake in greased tins at 350 for 15-22 minutes, and enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nov. 3rd - New Items Now Available for Ordering!

The new fruits and veggies, and all the new emergency supply items are now available for ordering! Hooray! To see a list of the 30 new products, click here.  To place and order and get the best pricing, just contact me.

The November specials are also available for ordering, and for those on the Q, your November Q-pon is for the gluten free Cornmeal.  To order, simply add the cornmeal to your November Q Shipment and the low price will show in your Q. If you're not on the Q and want to have your food storage shipped to you on a monthly basis, within a budget you set, just contact me and we'll get you set up right away. If we set your Q up before Thanksgiving, you will qualify for free Platinum level membership, which means in addition to Q-pons like these each month, you'll also get recipes, reward points for free products, and occasional free gifts sent to you. So what are you waiting for?