So, want to know how I used my tomato powder?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
This week I've used the tomato powder to make tomato paste for crock-pot lasagna - love that stuff!

I also used it the next night in making freezer pizzas to be taken to some neighbors.

And then we made pizza for us two days later to use up the rest of the cheese and pepperoni.  It turned out great and so yummy!  It was WAY better than the stuff we've gotten at Pizza Hut recently (long story, and we'll just say that PH isn't allowed in our house anymore).

The crust is a recipe from Our Best Bites HERE.  Follow the recipe through the first rise.

Preheat oven (with pizza stone in it) to 425F.  Punch down dough and roll out into a circle on a floured countertop.  Then take the outer inch and fold it over on itself to make a double layer crust.  Then carefully flip the entire thing over so the crust seam is on the underside.  Using a fork, prick holes in the crust every inch or so (to prevent the crust from bubbling up).  Drizzle with a little olive oil and spread it with a pastry brush all the way out to the edges.  Sprinkle with a little garlic salt.

Sprinkle cornmeal on your pizza stone and carefully transfer dough to the hot stone. Bake 10-12 minutes or until just starting to turn golden.

Remove crust from oven and prepare your pizza sauce (recipe HERE).  [Note that for this pizza, I was completely out of tomato paste, so I used 6 T tomato powder mixed with 3 T water, which is equivalent to a 6oz can of tomato paste.] Spread crust with thin layer of sauce, then add toppings and cheese in any combination that suits your fancy!  You can't really see it under all that cheese, but there was a nice layer of pepperoni under there - the shelf-stable kind of pepperoni that I keep in my food storage!  :)

Return pizza to the hot stone in the oven and bake an additional 10-12 minutes until cheese it nice and melty and gooey and the crust is golden.  Remove from the oven and enjoy!

More tomato powder rescues!

Do you have it happen that you go for months and months without using something in your pantry that you always keep on hand, and then the minute you need it you're all out?!?

Ha ha - this is so me this week!  Thank goodness for the tomato powder!  I mean, seriously, what a strange coincidence.  I am NEVER without tomato paste in my pantry and food storage.  And I don't use it all that often - once or twice a month.  But in the last week I have needed tomato powder THREE times, and the shelves are still bare because I haven't gotten a chance to go to Costco to get more to restock.  Really, thank goodness for the tomato powder - it was worked beautifully this week.  For the third recipe I needed it in, my husband was helping make pizza sauce, and when we got to the part for the tomato paste I had to explain to him that we'd need to use the powered stuff because I was all out of the regular cans.  We mixed it up according to the correct ratio, and it looked, smelled and tasted just like the stuff in the small cans.  He even said, "Hey, this is handy stuff - why don't we keep this around all the time?"  Well, honey, we will definitely be keeping it around now.  :)

So, for any curious minds out there who want to know how to use this stuff, here is the handy-dandy mix chart:

For Tomato Paste:
2 pts powder to 1pt water (2:1)
6 T tomato powder + 3 T water = one 6oz can tomato paste

For Tomato Sauce:
1pt powder to 3pts water (1:3)
1/3 cup powder + 1 cup water = one 8oz can of tomato sauce
2/3 cup powder + 2 cups water = just a bit more than a 15oz can of tomato sauce

For Tomato Juice:
1pt powder to 10pts water (1:10)
3/4 cup powder + 8 cups water = one 64oz bottle tomato juice

Now, most of these types of food storage items are manufactured by only one or two companies, but are sold under various labels.  I don't know that one "brand" is necessarily better than another.  I've kinda just gone on price.  But so far I've only tried the stuff from Emergency Essentials.  I do have a #10 can of the tomato powder from Augason Farms, so when the little can runs out I'll open the bigger one and we'll see if we can tell any difference.  But for right now, I'm going to assume that they will be pretty much the same.  So for this, at least right now, don't worry about the brand - focus on price and size (whether you want it in small can or large can, price per ounce, etc.).

Tomato Powder to the Rescue!

Friday, May 10, 2013

I had been planning to do a series of posts this month on recipes using tomato powder because it is one of our group buy specials this month.  I've been researching and gather info, but hadn't gotten around to putting anything together yet.  (I did, however, come up with a recipe for make-your-own mac & cheese using all food storage ingredients!)

After lunch today I was looking through my fridge and realized that I had 3 small tubs of cottage cheese that I had bought to make lasagna and which were about to expire.  Since I needed something for dinner tonight anyway, it was great timing to put together a crock-pot lasagna.

The lasagna is easy and basic - noodles, sausage, mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, tomato paste - and I keep most of the ingredients on hand in food storage.  Except, imagine my surprise when I went downstairs to get cans of tomato sauce and tomato paste and realized I was totally, and completely, out of tomato paste!  How can that happen?!?  I always have cans of tomato paste on hand - use it for everything (pizza sauce, marinara sauce, soups, chili, stew, etc.).  Or, maybe I should change that to "I DID use it for everything" because that's apparently what happened and I forgot to restock.  Ugh.

Now, I love my family, and want them to have a good meal, but I am just too lazy to get three kids in the car and drag them to a grocery store 10 min away just to get ONE can of tomato paste.  And I couldn't ask my husband to grab one on the way home from work because the lasagna needed to be in the crock pot for about 3 hours to cook.  So I needed to improvise.  I was sitting at my computer about to type in a search for ideas on substitutes for tomato paste when I remembered this little guy seen above, who was sitting on my kitchen counter.

He came in the mail about a month ago.  It is the small "MyChoice" size can from Emergency Essentials, and they sent it to me with our group's last group buy order, as a sample.  And sure enough, there on the label were instructions for using this to make tomato sauce AND for making tomato paste!  Hooray!!!  So I opened the can and made some up.  Worked fabulously!  Of course, I can't exactly comment on the taste, since the lasagna is currently still in the crock pot, but it had the same texture, color and smell as your normal tomato paste. 

I do happen to have a large #10 can size of this stuff in my food storage.  I picked it up several months ago intending to use it in some meal-in-a-jar recipes (which I still will).  But I remember thinking that I wasn't so sure there would be much of a use for it outside of that specific application, at least for me, because I prefer to store canned tomatoes in my food storage (I go through them fast enough that they are easily rotated, and they have a year shelf-life).  However, today's little "emergency" has me thinking otherwise, and I can see where it would be handy to have a can of this stuff on-hand. 

Here's what it looks like.  Pretty basic, nothing fancy.  The ingredients listed on the can are "Tomato.  Contains less than 2% silicon dioxide (to prevent caking)."  You just add hot water to make tomato sauce or paste (more water for sauce, less for paste).

If I remember correctly, the #10 can of this stuff ran me about $19 last year when I bought it.  The group buy this month is for #10 can for $16.  I believe the shelf-life is 5-10 years.  This would be a good flexible option in your food storage for those that don't want to have to worry about lots of little cans or rotating out regular canned stuff, because this would give you meal options for things like spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, tomato juice, stew/chili, etc. and all you have to do is add water. 

[I'm not paid or compensated to write any of this.  I just wanted to give some ideas on how to use this stuff for those who were interested in adding this to their food storage.  Be watching for additional posts - I'm going to put together some meals-in-a-jar recipes with more tomato powder, just as soon as I can find my sausage TVP that has disappeared in the basement...  ;)  Oh, and I COULD have substituted BOTH the tomato sauce AND the tomato paste with the tomato powder, but since I've never tried it before, I though I'd better stick with substituting just the tomato paste today so we get a chance to make sure it tastes/works okay.]

What I'm Buying - Smiths, 5/1

Thursday, May 2, 2013
I know I haven't posted one of these for a long time...

I have still been doing coupons.  But couponing has changed a LOT in the last three years!  So many new rules, smaller values, less deals...It's still a good way to save money, but you won't be able to find the items for pennies on the dollar like you could have several years ago (or like some television shows would have you believe are totally realistic).  The shows have had a devastating impact on coupon usage, not only from coupon users, but for stores and manufacturers as well.  Oh well, I suppose that is just how things go - always changing, always evolving, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad.

Here's what I picked up at Smith's last night, to take advantage of their P&G Buy 4 Save $4 Promo:

(4) Satin Care shave gel, on sale 2.00 (1.00 after promo, .45 after coupon)
(4) Gain fabric softener, on sale 4.99 (3.99 after promo, 3.49 after coupon)
(4) Tide Boost 18ct, on sale 5.99 (4.99 after promo, 2.99 after coupon)
(1) Charmin 12ct double rolls, on sale 6.99 (5.99 after promo, 4.99 after coupon)
(3) Bounce dryer sheets, on sale 4.99 (3.99 after promo, 2.99 after coupon)
(5) Crest toothpaste, on sale 2.69 (1.69 after promo, .69 after coupon)
(3) Downy fabric softener, on sale 4.99 (3.99 after promo, 2.99 after coupon)
(8) Pantene ProV shampoo/conditioner, on sale 3.79 (2.79 after promo, 1.29 after coupon)
(4) Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal, on sale 1.88 (1.13 after coupon)
(1) Quaker Big Chewy granola bars, on sale 1.88 (1.13 after coupon)
(1) gal orange juice, on sale 2.50
(2) gal whole milk, on sale 2.69 (2.44 after coupon)
(1) Almond Breeze almond milk, on sale 2.99
(2) Kraft Fresh Take, 3.29 (2.29 after coupon, 1.29 after Catalina)
(2) Zote pink soap, 1.19
(1) Arm & Hammer washing soda, 3.59
(1) White King water softener, 4.29

Total:  $102.96 + $2 Catalina coupon good off of next purchase

I kinda cried when I saw the total.  There were times in the past when something like this would have cost me well under $60.  I miss the days of Albertsons.  But hey, savings is savings.  It doesn't seem to be keeping up with inflation, but what can you do? It's still better than paying full price for all of this.  My receipt says I saved $100.88 - $54.88 of that was Fresh Values savings (we all know the regular non-sale price is totally over-inflated, so this one is kinda null and void), but $46 of that was from manufacturer coupons, and that IS quite a big savings!  That pretty much covers the costs of my newspaper subscriptions for almost a full year!  :)