December 30, 2010
True Story: Last February I made a 72 hour kit. The best and most complete I had ever made. Then in August I wanted to work on it some more, since I had learned a lot more about 72 hour kits during that 6-month time (like they should be 120 hour kits), and because some of the food needed to be rotated. I worked on my 120 hour kit a little bit during the last week of August. And..it's still not complete! I decided that I need a whole month to dedicate toward my 120 hour kit. Not just a few days.
I believe that some of my readers are this same way. (Not you of course!) People need time to work on something. The problem with a blog is that it has new information so quickly that it is impossible to keep up with everything. So each month in 2011 we will focus on a new emergency preparedness topic.
But I need your help! I don't profess to know everything, or to be able to build the "perfect" 120 hour kit. And I want this to be fun! So I need your input. Leave comments on each post introducing the topics. Email me pictures, questions, or comments about what you are doing and creating. The end of each month I will post pictures and stories from both my own ventures and yours on how we have become more prepared.
This will be fun! So invite your neighbors, friends, and family so that we can all "Be Prepared in 2011."
January: Evacuating Part 1 (Family Plan and 120 hour kits)
February: Evacuating Part 2 (Office and Car Kits)
April: Water Outage
May: Work Clothes and Tools
June: Emergency Cooking
July: First Aid
August: Prepare for Fire
September: Prepare for Earthquakes
October: Emergency Heating
November: Preparing for Financial Emergencies
December: Preparing for Other Natural Disasters
December 29, 2010
|red wheat (left) white wheat (right)|
Wheat ground into flour looks like this:
|red wheat (left), white wheat (right)|
To test how the flours differ when cooking, I made my bread recipe using all white wheat flour in one batch, and all red wheat flour in a second batch.
|Bread made with red wheat|
|bread made with white wheat|
|red wheat (left), white wheat (right)|
When I use wheat flour in every day recipes such as cookies, pizza dough, or pie crust, I like to use white wheat, because it is lighter in color and texture. It blends in with all-purpose flour better.
Coming Up: Gluten Free Cooking
December 23, 2010
December 18, 2010
Fast Stove-top Method: Heat 2 1/2 cups water and 1 cup wheat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 50-60 minutes. Makes about 3 cups of wheat berries.
Slow Stove-top Method: Heat 3 cups water and 1 cup wheat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 1/2 hour. Turn off heat and allow wheat to stand, covered 8-12 hours. Drain off any remaining liquid.
Thermos Method: Place 1 cup wheat and 2 1/2 cups boiling water in quart-sized thermos. Screw the top on lightly and leave until morning.
Slow Cooker Method: Place 3 cups water and 1 cup wheat in slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours. Turn off slow cooker and let sit overnight.
So now what do you do with this wheat? I will admit that I don't use wheat berries a whole lot. I have eaten it as a breakfast cereal, warm, with milk and brown sugar or honey. I have put wheat berries in my meat loaf. That's my extent of wheat berries.
From what I read, though, you can use them in most any recipe to stretch the meat or other grain. Some ideas: use in chili, stroganof, noodle or rice salads, or stuffing.
Most important part: Introduce wheat into your diet slowly. If you do not, you will have severe pain. I believe this is the most important reason to introduce wheat into your diet now in slow amounts.
How do you cook wheat berries? Does anyone cook them in a pressure cooker? How do you eat them?
Coming Up: Red vs. White Wheat
December 17, 2010
December 13, 2010
It's easy and nutritious!
Coming Up: Cooking wheat kernels into berries. This is how you can use wheat if you don't have a grinder!
December 8, 2010
December 6, 2010
Check out GrocerySmarts to find out what you can get for free. Even if you don't get the newspaper, you can print off coupons to get several items for free or cheap.
Mexican Bridal Cakes
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup pecans, very finely chopped (a food processor works well for this)
2 cups powdered sugar
Mix all ingredients, except powdered sugar, together until mixed well and crumbly. Make tiny balls (about the size of a large marble) and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 325° for 20 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are light brown. Pour powdered sugar in gallon-size Ziploc bag, set aside. Transfer cooked cookies on cooling rack. When cookies are almost cool, place in bag with powdered sugar, a few at a time. Shake to cover cookies in powdered sugar.
December 3, 2010
My mother-in-law makes these date balls every Christmas, and I just love them.
December 2, 2010
I have two wheat grinders: a manual grinder, and an electric. I don't use the manual one very often, because it takes a long time, and manual labor, to grind the wheat. But I have it in case of emergencies. They cost less than $100, most around $60. I have seen them on sale for around $40.
I love my electric grinder, when I use it correctly. I have a Blendtec K-Tec Wheat Grinder. I bought it several years ago because a friend recommended it to me. She had one, and her mom had one that she used for 15 years before she had to get a new one. The other reason I chose this grinder is because of the price. I bought it for less than $200. Most electric wheat grinders cost closer to $300.
I made the comment that I love my grinder when I use it correctly. The reason I say that, is because I have not used it correctly two or three times, and I have had wheat flying around. One time I did not put the lid on all the way, and so the wheat was flying out instead of into the holding container.
Since buying this grinder, I have found this video, and this video that I would recommend watching if you would like more information on this wheat grinder.
Coming Up: Using wheat flour in your recipes.
November 27, 2010
I love Gamma Lids. They are air-tight, and easy to open and close, and install onto buckets. The usual price is around $8, but I have bought them several times on sale for less than $5. I have even seen them less than $4 a few times.
November 24, 2010
November 22, 2010
You can keep your car kit in a backpack or duffel bag in your trunk. You may purchase a car kit, or you can create your own. It should include the following items:
- Jumper Cables
- First Aid Kit (including medications)
- Kitty Litter (in winter)
- Emergency Candles
- Extra set of clothes, boots
- Diapers (if you have a young child)
- Cloth in bright color (to attach to antenna if you are stranded)
|My car kit. I also put a shovel and salt in the car before long trips.|
November 20, 2010
Wheat is high in fiber, which will help you keep regular, and it contains a large number of vitamins and minerals.
November 19, 2010
2 cups flour (I have used up to ½ cup wheat flour successfully)
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter (not margarine)
½ cup ice water
1 egg yolk, beaten and mixed with 1 Tbsp. water (if making something with a top crust)
Mix flour and salt together in a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour using two knives or a pastry blender, until the butter bits are the size of peas. Add ice water, starting with a few tablespoons and adding more as needed to moisten all the dough. (If you are using whole wheat flour, you may need to use a little extra water.) Stir with a fork until mixture forms a loose ball. Divide dough in half and make two equal patties. Roll one ball of dough out on a lightly floured surface into a large enough circle to fit in your pie plate. Place crust into pie plate and trim the edges with a knife. Roll out second pie crust in the same way. Place prepared filling into the pie and put top crust on. Trim edges and seal using your fingers to pinch, or a fork dipped in flour. Cut vents in top crust. Brush egg yolk over the top. If making a sweet pie, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, if desired. Bake according to pie recipe directions.
November 16, 2010
- Who wants to eat 30 year old food? Bluck!
- You should know how to use it before you have to use it.
- It's nutritious! Eat it every day!
- If you start eating a lot of wheat suddenly, you will get very sick. You need to build up your tolerance gradually.
Coming Up: Nutritional properties of wheat--Why you should eat wheat today (and tomorrow)
November 15, 2010
If you have never created a 3 month (or 1 month, or whatever), I would highly encourage you to do so. This is a good exercise, as it allows you to see what your family really eats, and what foods go into those meals. If you don't know how to create this chart, or have no clue what I'm talking about, visit my directions on how to do so: Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, and Examples. I will also keep my in-progress example in my left side-bar.
If you have any questions, just type it up in a comment, and I will address the issue.
Thank you for your patience!
Coming Up: Wheat!
November 12, 2010
Another thing that I like about Grocery Smarts, is that it rates each item, using stars, telling you know how good of a sale it is. You can find stores in your state by clicking on your state in the drop down menu on the top left side of the main screen. There is a tutorial on how to use the site here.
Coupon Mom offers a similar service. It has some features, like sorting, that I really like.
November 5, 2010
Edited to add: I put 1/2 cup of pumpkin instead of oil in waffles, and it turned out great. Just make sure it gets stirred in well.
November 4, 2010
So, here is the start of my new 3 month supply chart. All I have done so far is write the meal across the top, and the ingredients required along the side. Then I fill in how much of that ingredient is required to make the meal. Ingredients that are only used in small quantities (like dry mustard) or that are staples (like flour) go in my ingredient list in the second tab.
November 1, 2010
Black Bottom Cake
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 oz. chocolate chips
1 package chocolate cake mix
Combine cream cheese, egg, sugar, and salt together; mix until well blended. Mix in chocolate chips and set aside. Prepare cake mix according to package directions.
To make cupcakes: Fill paper cupcake liners 1/3 full with cake batter. Top with heaping teaspoons of cream cheese mixture. Bake 30-35 minute, in preheated 350° oven.
To make 9x13 cake: Pour cake batter into greased 9x13 pan. Dot the top with cream cheese mixture. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in cake is clean and cream cheese mixture is set, in preheated 350° oven.
October 28, 2010
Here is our 2 week menu:
Barbecue chicken with macaroni & cheese
Meat loaf with potatoes
Spaghetti and meatballs
Sweet & sour chicken
Chicken with white sauce and pasta or potatoes
Chili OR White Chili
Vegetable soup OR Tortilla Soup
Breakfast for dinner OR beef taco bake
We'll have these meals, with a few others of my choice mixed in, over and over again.
Pros of this menu method:
- It will be easy to decide what to have for dinner
- It's really easy to make a 3 month food storage plan (I will post it soon!)
- I can easily freeze meals ahead of time when I buy large quantities of meat
- My family will enjoy dinner all the time, since these are all meals we all enjoy
Con of this menu method:
- I will get a little bored cooking and eating the same foods
How do you plan your menu?
October 18, 2010
For this experiment I made 3 batches of cookies. The first was my control group, and was made with a regular egg. The second batch was made with 1 1/2 Tablespoons egg powder and 3Tablespoons of water, as I learned from Everyday Food Storage. The third batch was made according to the container's directions, with 2 1/2 Tablespoons of both egg powder and water.
Here were my observations of the dough:
- The two batches made with powdered eggs were dry. The third batch (made according to the egg powder package directions) did not hold together completely.
- The two batches with egg powder tasted the same. Yes, egg powder is pasteurized, so it is safe to eat cookie dough!
Observations of the cookies:
- I thought all 3 batches tasted the same.
- Several people noticed that batches 2 and 3 had a slight different flavor than the first batch, but thought they were all good.
- Several people thought that batches 1 and 3 tasted just the same except 3 was a little more salty.
- One person thought the third batch was a little more moist, and one person thought it was a little dry.
My final thoughts:
- Why follow the package directions and use 2 1/2 tablespoons of egg powder when 1 1/2 tablespoons will do the trick?
- I will try using a little more water next time.
October 15, 2010
Here's what I learned: Applesauce has multiple steps, but is easy! With a Victorio Strainer, you don't have to peel the apples or remove seeds. All you do is wash the apples, quarter them, remove the stem, heat on stove in a pot to soften, put through the strainer, fill the jars, and put filled jars in the boiling water bath.
October 13, 2010
- Put the cube in the microwave for about 5 seconds
- Turn the cube over, so that the side that was on the bottom is now facing up and cook for 5 seconds
- Turn the cube so that one of the sides is now on the bottom and cook for 5 seconds
- Repeat step 2
October 11, 2010
My friend and I made peach applesauce! The peaches growing in my backyard are not very flavorful, but they are sweet, so my sister gave me the idea to put them in with my applesauce. It was delicious, and I didn't have to add any extra sugar! Here was the problem, though: I didn't soften the fruit enough prior to putting it in through the strainer. When making applesauce, you're supposed to cook the apples (peeled and cored) on the stove just enough to soften them, then stick them through a strainer machine to get anything out that may have slipped in (such as a little peel, a seed, etc.). Because the fruit wasn't soft enough, it ended up shooting out quite a bit of good fruit with the little bit of stuff I don't want in my applesauce. I didn't realize that this was the problem until a day later, though, and ended up throwing away a lot of good fruit.
The next mistake was that the jars weren't warm enough before going into the boiling water. So one of the jars broke in the boiling water bath.
So there's my mistakes. I intend to not make the same mistakes next time, and I hope that you won't either.
October 8, 2010
October 5, 2010
Why Food Storage?
Why should I store food? Because you never know when you might not be able to get food at the store, and food is essential to your survival. There could be a trucking strike. You could lose your job. You could get sick and not want to leave home. A reverse quarantine could be put in place due to a wide-spread illness in your area. There could be a natural disaster (where you live, or where the food you eat is grown). The government could put rations on what you're allowed to buy at the store. I think you get the idea.
What should I store?
What do you eat? This is what you should store.
How do I rotate the food?
One method is to put new food in the back, and eat from the front. More details below under “How can I afford food storage?”
How can I afford food storage?
Here is my method:
1. First I determined an amount of money that I could afford to spend on food storage each month. This amount was higher than what I originally supposed, because I saved so much money on groceries.
2. The amount of money I budget for food storage revolves from month to month. So, if I don’t spend the money one month, I can spend it the next, or the following one after that.
3. Next I made a list of canned/packaged food that my family eats regularly, and estimated how many of each of these we eat in a 3-month time period. See all my 3 month supply posts.
4. When each of these items is on sale, I inventory how much I have, and how much more I need to complete my 3-month supply.
5. I purchase this amount of the item, plus enough to last until the next time I expect this item to go on sale (usually 6 months). For example, my family eats approximately 6 cans of refried beans in 3 months. When refried beans go on sale, I look in my cupboard, find that I only have 2 cans, and then buy 16 cans, because I don’t expect them to be this price for another 6 months (12 cans to last 6 months, plus 4 cans to make a 3 month supply). I pay for these 16 cans using money that I have saved up in my food storage fund.
6. When I have a good supply of food for my 3-month supply, and/or don’t expect any good sales at the grocery store soon, I go to the cannery to work on my year supply items (wheat, oats, etc.)
7. I use the food that I store for both my 3-month and year supply regularly, so that the food doesn’t go bad, so that I know how to use the food, and so that I save money on groceries.
October 4, 2010
September 28, 2010
One method for developing a 3 month supply is to use what I call the pantry method. What's in your cupboard, fridge and freezer? Store more of that. Examples can be seen here, and here.
You can find a wonderful example of the very organized approach (what I explain in my 3 month supply posts) here (under Helpful Tools).
I do a combination of the two methods. Here is my example. Sheet 1 is the Very Organized Approach (it's organized to me--I hope it makes sense to you), and Sheet 2 is the Pantry Method. Please keep in mind that this is my worksheet and it changes regularly. I only make changes on what I have and need when there is a great sale on the item and I plan to purchase some. No, my family does not only eat meals with cheese. The list of meals is just an example of some of my family's favorites. This list provides ingredients that my family uses the most, allowing me to usually have more than enough for me to make any meal I choose.
September 25, 2010
If you live in Utah, check out the deals at Maceys. Click here. The deals mentioned below are good through October 5 (I'll update that date if I find out otherwise).
Dried whole eggs are $11.98 per #10 can. 1 Tab is the equivalent of a medium egg. 2 Tab is an extra large egg. So, there are about 236 medium eggs in the container. That equates to about 61 cents per dozen medium eggs.
Morning Moos Milk Alternative (which is not real milk, but does contain milk ingredients, and it tastes good) is on sale for $8.88. This equates to $1.58/ gallon. Remember, though, it is not real milk. (I'm sure I'll post about this later.)
There are also great deals on 50 lb bags of flour, and 45 lb buckets of wheat, along with many other items.
Case Lot Sale runs from September 29-October 12. This is usually a great time to stock up.
September 23, 2010
September 20, 2010
September 18, 2010
Here's what I made for dinner last night:
3 medium tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups sliced vegetables of your choice (onions, zucchini, eggplant, peas, carrots, broccoli, peppers, etc.)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp basil
1/4 tsp pepper
Cook heartier vegetables (such as onions, zucchini, eggplant, etc.) and garlic until crisp tender in a little oil. Add tomatoes, peas, and seasonings until warm. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles, and top with Parmesan cheese.
September 17, 2010
Today's challenge, though, I think I can, and should do. The idea is that a family of 6 is coming to live with me for a few days. So I need to cook for them, and provide them with somewhere to sleep. So today I get to make extra food and freeze it. I also get to prepare for my sister's family to visit next week.
September 16, 2010
The onion experiment did not go as well. It took forever to cut and separate the onion onto the dehydrator. And then I ended up with only a small amount of dehydrated onions to show for my labor. I think that I will buy some dehydrated onions from the LDS Cannery.
Today I'm canning plums, so I already know that I will fail today's task of no electricity or water. I am also supposed to not drive at all (I think I may do that part), and I should also take my 120 hour kit, all my valuables, and my family and go to my family's meeting place for 2 hours. I don't think I'll do that. Probably should, though. It would be a good exercise. How can I get 2 kids (2 and under), the computer, financial binder, money, safe, and 120 hour kit (in a rolling suitcase) to the park? I need to work on that one.
September 15, 2010
Well here is today's challenge: cook everything from scratch. This is more my style. I think I can do this one. I've already made oatmeal. I just put oats, water, powdered milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and raisins in a bowl, and stick it in the microwave.
September 14, 2010
September 13, 2010
No-Fear Pie Crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened but cool
2 ounces cream cheese, softened but cool
Lightly coat 9-inch Pyrex pie plate with cooking spray. (I don't use a glass pie plate, but it would be helpful.) Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in bowl. With electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese in large bowl, stopping once twice to scrape down beater and sides of bowl, until completely homogeneous, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture and combine on medium-low until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 20 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat until dough begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds. Reserve 3 tablespoons of dough. Turn remaining dough onto light floured surface, gather into ball, and flatten into 6-inch disk. Transfer disk to greased pie plate. (I skip this last part, and just throw the dough straight from the mixing bowl into the pie plate.)
Press dough evenly over bottom of pie plate toward sides, using heel of your hand. Hold plate up to light to ensure that dough is evenly distributed. (I skip this part, and just eye-ball it from the top.) With your fingertips, continue to work dough over bottom of plate and up sides until evenly distributed.
On floured surface, roll reserved dough into 12-inch rope. (I just take the dough and make a bunch of snakes.) Divide into 3 pieces, roll each piece into 8-inch rope, and form fluted edge. (I just take all my "snakes" and put them together on the top of the pie plate, making sure to connect them to the rest of the pie dough. Then I flute.) Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325. Lightly prick bottom of crust with fork. Bake until golden brown, 35-40 minutes. Cool on wire rack. If large bubbles form, wait until crust is fully baked, then gently press on bubbles with kitchen towel. Bubbles will settle as crust cools.
Rhubarb Meringue Pie
2 Tbs. butter
2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk or cream
2 Tbs. corn starch
2 beaten egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
Meringue (Betty Crocker recipe below)
1 baked pie shell
Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Add rhubarb and 1 cup sugar. Cook on medium low heat, until sugar is melted and rhubarb is soft. Mix 1/4 cup sugar, salt, cream, corn starch, and egg yolks together. Add to hot mixture and cook until thick. Pour into baked pie shell and top with meringue, being sure to touch the pie crust all around. (If you don't, the meringue will shrink to the middle of the pie.) Bake at 400 for about 5-7 minutes, or until meringue is golden.
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with electric mixer until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not underbeat. Beat in vanilla.