April 30, 2011


Here is the promised information on using the toilet without an operating toilet.  Lovely, I know.  I posted on this topic here, as well. What I have learned through my reading on this topic, is that there are several methods.  I have determined (this is simply my thoughts-if you have other ideas, please feel free to argue) that it doesn't much matter what method you use as long as you have a method.  Human waste running down a river, or in someone's backyard is not a good method, and could lead to wide-spread dysentery.  In other words, people would die.  So, here is one method.
First, it must be said that a composting toilet is the best option.
Otherwise, here are the steps:
  • Sanitize and dry your toilet.
  • Plug the hole in toilet bowl with a foam-filled rubber ball to prevent gases and critters coming into your home.  If no ball is available, plug the hole with a cloth saturated in shortening.  Repeat this step in every drain and toilet in your basement.
  • Line the toilet with a heavy-duty plastic bag.  Use the toilet bowl only for solid waste.
  • Liquid waste should go in another container.  Dilute with water and pour on soil.
  • After using the toilet, cover completely with dry dirt, sawdust, wood chips, or some other similar substance.  It is helpful to keep this in a bucket next to the toilet.  An old soup can and stick can help with the spreading.
  • When bag is full, carry outside in something sturdy, such as a cardboard box.
  • Dig a 3-4 foot hole.  Dump contents of bag into hole, and throw bag on top.  Cover with about 2 inches of dirt.  
  • Place a board over the hole between each bag dump to keep animals and humans out.
  • When the hole is filled to 6-8 inches from the top, cover with about 2 inches of soil.  Cover with about 1 inch of lime (to help keep dogs out), then a layer of newspaper.  Mound the rest of the soil on top.

April 27, 2011

Sanitation Without Running Water

Toileting Without Running Water
A friend of mine has an excellent article on sanitation following earthquakes, or other emergencies.  It involves a lot of the gross issues like bodily waste.  I should be able to get a copy of it soon, and then I will share it with you.  In the meantime, I found this site.  It talks about make-shift toilets, disinfecting, and some good basics supplies to have around.

Showering and Washing Hands Without Running Water
Don't plan on getting a full blown shower very often.  Use a little of your stored water to clean your face and teeth clean (I know I feel a lot better after brushing my teeth, even if the rest of my body is dirty!) as needed.  Wash hands as frequently as needed/possible.  It wouldn't be a bad idea to store some of those face wipes that have cleaner already on them.  Have extra toothbrushes and toothpaste on hand, including in your 120 hour kit.  Store water in old liquid dish and hand soap containers.  Store extra soap and hand sanitizer.

I don't have any suggestions on washing clothes, other than don't plan on keeping them very clean, have extra, and locate other sources of water that you can use for non-drinking purposes.  Do you have any ideas?

April 26, 2011

Wheat Bread revisited

Nearly a year ago I posted my wheat bread recipe.  Since then I have made some minor adaptations, so I thought I would post it again.  If you don't have powdered eggs, just use a regular egg, and realize that you may need to add a little extra flour.  With regard to the molasses and honey, I fill a 1/3 cup measuring cup with oil, pour it into my bowl, then use that same measuring cup to measure my molasses and honey.  I fill it about 2/3 full of molasses, then fill it the rest of the way with honey.  The measurements below are not exact, nor do they equal exactly 1/3 cup.

Whole Wheat Bread
about 6 ½ cups whole wheat flour (I like to use 2 cups red wheat, and the rest white)
1 ¼ T yeast
2 1/3 cups lukewarm water
1 T salt
1 T powdered egg
1/3 cup oil
3 T  molasses
2 T honey
1 ¼ T bottled lemon juice
Mix 3 ½ cups flour and yeast together in an electric mixer with dough hook attached. (On a KitchenAid, you should never exceed speed 2 when using the dough hook.) Add water all at once, and mix for one minute, scraping sides as needed. Cover with a dish towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Add salt, powdered egg, oil, molasses, honey, and lemon juice, and mix for one minute. Add a little less than 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time, mixing between each cup. Beat until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl (mostly), about 10 minutes. If after 11 minutes dough has not come away from the edges of the bowl, you may add additional flour, a couple of tablespoons at a time. The dough should feel a little sticky, but soft.
Preheat oven for 1-2 minutes (at any temperature), then turn off oven. Divide dough, and, with oiled hands, place in 2 oiled 8x4 inch bread pans. (You may shape the dough if you wish, but it is not required.) Let rise in warm oven for 15-20 minutes, or until dough reaches the top of the bread pans. Do not remove bread from oven. Turn oven on to 350ºF, and bake for 35 minutes. Remove bread from pans, and cool on racks.

April 20, 2011

Cooking with Powdered Milk

If you have powdered milk in your possession, and you are not using it, you should be.  Just a quick cost comparison:
  • gallon of milk at the store:  $2.28
  • cost of powdered milk from Home Storage Center reconstituted into one gallon of milk (current price-I bought mine when it was cheaper than this):  $2 
  • Morning Moo's milk I bought in January reconstituted into one gallon of milk:  $.87
I use powdered milk for making yogurt, in all of my baking, in my homemade cream of chicken soup mix, buttermilk, and in white sauces.  I estimate I average about 1 1/2 gallons of reconstituted powdered milk each week, saving about $1.60 each week.  While this may not sound like a lot, if the price of milk stayed constant through a whole year, I would save over $80 during the year.  If I were to calculate in how much I save by making yogurt with powdered milk versus buying yogurt, my savings would be a lot higher.  (But that's really a completely different topic.  I just brought it up since it's a dairy product.)

April 18, 2011

Drinking and Cooking Without Running Water

Can you believe it?  I'm actually going to post on a topic that I said I would!

Drinking without running water:  follow these instructions and have water on hand to drink.  Have drinking water to last 2 weeks per person. 

A few thoughts on cooking without running water:  First, avoid cooking foods that require large amounts of water, such as dry pasta or beans.  Second, use the water in canned foods you are using, such as canned vegetables or meat.  Third, keep foods on hand that do not require water, and are not salty.  If all you eat is chips and crackers, you will be increasingly thirsty, and drinking more water than you should be.  Fourth, if you must cook pasta, use just enough water to cover it, and put it on the stove to boil after adding the pasta.  This takes a little longer to cook, but saves water and fuel. 

Do you have any other ideas on cooking without running water?

April 14, 2011

Cereal at Smith's

I'm so excited about my shopping trip at Smith's, that I have to write about it.  I just bought 20 boxes of cereal, 4 bags of chocolate chips, 2 small jars of spices, 2 gallons of milk, and grapes.  I paid $38.53, plus brought home a gift card for $5.  Essentially $33.53.
How did this work?
Buy 4 General Mills items, get a $5 gift card.  I chose to buy each set of 4 cereals as separate transactions, so that I could use the $5 gift card on the next transaction.  Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Honey Nut Chex, Wheat Chex, 2 types of Total, several types of granola bars, and a few other types of cereal are on sale for 4/$10.  Buy 4, get $5 gift card, essentially it's $1.25/box.  Great deal on 14 and 15 oz. cereals.  Add a coupon to that, and the the box of cereal costs between 70 and 92 cents per box.  Yeah!  So I bought 20 boxes!  You can find coupons here and here.  You can usually print twice.  If you use Swagbucks, you can also get coupons through your account, and you get 10 swagbucks per coupon used!  Yet another reason to sign up!  If you get the newspaper, there are a lot more coupons on these items there.
I bought 4 bags of chocolate chips, because if you buy 4, you get a catalina for $3 off your next purchase (I used it today).  The chips were on sale for $2.  Thus I essentially paid $1.25/bag.  If I had coupons for this I could have paid less.  Not a horrible price.  I prefer to get them for $1/bag, but when's the last time I've seen that price? 
The spices were in the discount cart at the back of the store.  Milk I needed.  Grapes were 99 cents/pound.  I like grapes.

April 12, 2011

What Do You Do Without Indoor Plumbing?

Now that April is half over, I am finally looking at the goal I set for the month of April back in December.  The topic is "Water Outage."  In other words, what would I do if I could not have water instantly come into my home by simply turning or lifting something.  While I love indoor plumbing, and honestly "don't know what I would do without it," people lived without indoor plumbing for thousands of years, and some people still do.  I think I will survive if I have made a few preparations before hand.
I have had very few instances in my life when I have not had running water at the tip of my fingers.  Two funny stories of when the water has been shut off for short periods of time can be found here and here.  If these very short periods of time (just a few hours each) without running water were difficult for me, what would I do if I had to go without it for days, weeks, or months?
So first I will address the question of what I use water for.

1.  Drinking
2.  Washing hands
3.  Showering
4.  Laundry
5.  Cleaning
6. Toilet
7.  I feel I'm missing something...
8.  Edited to add:  Cooking

Throughout the rest of this month I hope to address these topics.  This is definitely an area that I need to prepare for.  You can find information on storing water here.

April 7, 2011

Yogurt Update

Last week I tried making yogurt in a crockpot, according to the recipe at Everyday Food Storage.  At first I thought the idea was kind of silly.  Why heat milk for hours in the crockpot when I can heat it on the stove in a fraction of the time?  The only reason is because this makes it a great one pot dish.  I used far less dishes by making it start-to-finish in the crockpot.  The other great thing was that I didn't have to worry about balancing jars in water in the cooler or my kids dumping the cooler over.  The best part of all was that I only let the yogurt sit and cultivate and breed all of that good bacteria for 7 hours.  In the past I've always done that for 12.  The result was that the yogurt wasn't nearly as tart.  It tasted so good!  My husband even admitted that "it's good for plain yogurt."  My mom liked it better than the plain yogurt she buys at the store.  This is a keeper method!  Check it out here.

April 4, 2011

Case Lot Sales

Smith's, Maceys, and Fresh Market are in the midst of their case lot sales.  I have to admit that I'm not too impressed with them.  A lot of the prices are the same at all 3 stores.  To find good prices, check out grocerysmarts.com.

Here's what I bought:

Pinapple-case at Smith's
Cheese-3 5 lb bags of shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese at Smith's
Rice-3 20 lb bags of Botan brand Calrose rice
Lentils-25 lb bag at Maceys

April 1, 2011


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