DEAR SARA: We're on WIC and got all of these boxes of baby cereal, but my daughter won't eat it. I don't blame her, because it tastes like paste. Do you have any alternative uses for it? - Andrea, North Carolina
DEAR ANDREA: Here are a few recipes that were shared by one of my readers.
Baby Cereal Cookies
1⁄4 cup molasses
1⁄4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3⁄4 cup flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups infant cereal
3 tablespoons whole milk
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a cookie sheet or spray with nonstick spray. Lightly cream molasses and butter. Mix in egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and cereal. Add to the butter mixture. Blend. Add milk. Drop on the cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 24.
Baby Cereal Pancakes
1-1⁄4 cups flour
3⁄4 cup infant cereal, any flavor
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons oil
Beat eggs in a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Cook in a hot nonstick pan until top is full of bubbles, then flip and brown the other side. Serve with syrup. Makes 12.
2 tablespoons shortening
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1-1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water
1-1⁄2 cups baby cereal
Heat oven to 300 F. Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, baking soda, salt, vanilla and water. Mix until well blended. Gradually stir in cereal. Knead until smooth. Pat into rectangle. Cut into 12 1-inch bars, and smooth edges so they will not be sharp. Place on ungreased sheet. Bake 20 to 30 min or until dry. Store in uncovered container overnight.
Eggless Teething Biscuits
1 cup juice
1 cup flour
1 cup baby cereal
Mix above ingredients together. Roll out and cut into shapes. Bake for about 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees F. - Kathy, Texas
DEAR SARA: I've been wanting to get into dehydrating our own food. What is the best brand dehydrator to use? I need one that will dehydrate a lot at one time. How do you store the food afterward so that bugs won't get into it? How long can you store it before it would go bad? I'm very new to this, so any advice would be appreciated. Thanks. - M.H., Texas
DEAR M.H.: Initially, I would look for a small dehydrator (look for a fan on the back for even drying results) at a thrift store, garage sale, Craigslist or your local Freecycle.
See whether you will actually use it and whether you enjoy dehydrating enough to justify buying a bigger dehydrator.
If you love it, I would invest in an Excalibur (www.excaliburdehydrator
.com). They aren't cheap, but you won't be disappointed.
You can store dehydrated food in plastic zip-enclosure bags or glass jars (short-term storage), plastic food-grade buckets or vacuum sealed.
You can add oxygen absorbers for long-term storage, too.
Once dehydrated and stored properly, you can expect many foods to still be good for up to 30 years.
Please refer to this dehydrated food shelf life guide http://survival
acres.com/information/shelflife.html and my food preservation forum: www.frugalvillage.com/forums/oamc-homecanning-freezing-preserving for more specific information.
• Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (www.frugalvillage.com), a Web site that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016, or e-mail email@example.com.