Saturday, May 30, 2009

A few more Q & A's

Hand Sanitizer is great to have in the car, but I have trouble with bottles melting or exploding in warmer temperatures especially over 100 outside (inside the car is way over that). Any suggestions on how to keep that from happening?

I'll admit, I've never heard of that happening - maybe some of our readers can help us out and leave some comments!  My only suggestion would be to maybe empty out some of the sanitizer so that the bottles aren't completely full (maybe it's expanding too much??), and put the bottle in a plastic baggie to protect your other things, just in case.  Any other tips?

Hi, can you suggest a type/brand of pocket knife? How much should I spend? Also, what is the purpose of the pocket knife in the car kit, versus scissors or something similar?

Scissors are probably just as handy to have in the car.  I've seen lots of emergency kits that include pocket knives, though, so I figured it would be a good idea to have one in the car.  Pocket knives could come in handy for a number of reasons - cutting something, fixing something with the screwdriver part, etc.  You shouldn't have to spend much.  Right now, our kit just has one of those little cheap ones that was lying around our house.  I've added an Amazon link on the right side of the page so that you can see what's out there.  There are lots of different prices to choose from.

Did you rotate your food storage this week?  I made pancakes this week, and added fresh berries on top since I'm rotating and don't need to use ALL food storage, like I would in an emergency.  And, of course, I forgot to take a picture with the berries....

What did you make this week?  Blog about it and add a direct link in the comments!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Food Storage Friday-Fruit Pie

Today we're making pie. You can choose any sort of pie filling to go in it, of the canned fillings, I prefer cherry. You know the stuff you stick on cheesecake? Oh boy I could eat a whole can of it.

When you're rotating, use the crust, but put fresh ingredients in the pie.

Ingredients: Flour, salt, oil, 2 cans of pie fillings and hot water (not pictured)

You won't see many pictures at this point because I don't have three arms and these steps have to be done quickly. Turn on your tap to hot water and let it run til it gets really hot. Add the oil to your mixing bowl. Start mixing the oil with a fork and then gradually add the hot water while you are mixing.

The hot water and mixing motion, combines the oil/water so there is no separation.

Immediately add your flour and continue mixing with your fork. Add a dash of salt.

Keep stirring until your dough combines into a ball. You're done! You're pie crust is done! How easy is that? Seriously, this pie crust will change your life it's so easy and so good.

Separate into two balls of dough.

Layer the one ball between two pieces of wax paper and roll out to a circle. You can dust the top and bottom with flour if you need too. You want the dough to be a little sticky so that it will say together, but use a little extra flour if you're really have trouble.

When the pie crust is large enough, gently remove the top layer of wax paper by slowly pulling back on it. This pie crust is super light and flaky when baked, so it's very fragile during the making process, so take it slowly.

Now that you only have wax paper on the bottom-

Pick it up and flip it over onto your pie dish. Gently peel back the wax paper until the pie crust is sitting in the dish.

You can take the pieces of crust that are overhanging-

And fix the sides that are short.

Dump your pie filling in,

And get to work on the top layer of crust.

Roll it out-

Remove the top sheet of wax paper, lay it over the pie, and GENTLY remove the wax paper.


Crimp the edges and then pierce the top with a sharp knife several times to create vents for the steam.

Almost done.

I like a really crispy crust, so I mixed up some powdered milk quick,

And brushed it on the top, all over the crimped edges and everywhere. You can sprinkle sugar over the top too if you want.

Bake until golden brown. I think I needed a few more venting holes!

Whenever you bake pies, always put a cookie sheet on the oven rack underneath the pie. Nine times out of ten your pie will leak, and it's easier to clean a cookie sheet than the bottom of your oven.

Now all I need is some cheesecake!

Fruit Pie

1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup hot water
dash salt
1 and 3/4 cups flour

2 cans pie filling
milk (optional)
sugar (optional)

Put oil in mixing bowl, add hot water while mixing with a fork. Still mixing, add salt and flour until the dough forms a combined ball. Dough will be a little sticky. Divide dough into two equal balls. Place one ball of dough in between two pieces of wax paper and roll out large enough for a pie plate. Remove the top layer of wax paper by pulling back gently. Invert pie crust onto pie dish and remove bottom layer of wax paper by pulling back gently. Fill with pie filling and then roll out top crust just as the bottom crust.

Crimp edges and make several slits for the steam to vent. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar if desired. Bake at 375 degrees F. until golden brown (45-50 minutes).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Self Reliance

A little while ago I attended a training meeting on welfare for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Church takes care of their own poor and needy through its own welfare and humanitarian aid program. The Church provides temporary assistance with food and other supplies while helping individuals find jobs or relief from natural disasters. The emphasis is on the word temporary. While we each may find ourselves going through rough times in life and may at one point or another need outside help, the goal of the Church is to help individuals become self-reliant and not dependent upon the Church's resources for survival. According to the new booklet on welfare, self-reliance "is the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the necessities of life for self and family."

The act of gathering food storage is a self-reliant element. We are preparing for the unknown by stocking up on food and other basic necessities of life so that we can take care of ourselves and our families even during economic upheavals, job loss, or natural disaster. Is that all self-reliance is? Gathering food storage? No! There are many elements of self-reliance, these include: education, health, employment, home storage (THAT US!), finances, and spiritual strength.

*chart from "Providing in the Lord's Way" welfare booklet from LDS church

During this training meeting I attended, it was brought up that there were two basic skills that are crucial in the journey of self-reliance. One was budgeting and the other basic cooking skills.

This has never been, or never will be a finance blog. But if you need help working your way through your finances, I recommend Dave Ramsey's advice: his books or podcasts (which you can listen to for free through itunes). Or this free online Personal Finance course offered through Brigham Young University.

On the other hand, we do basic cooking every week--so why not more? Beginning after our blog anniversary week (next week--lots of prizes!) we will be starting a basic cooking skill series which will run every other Thursday. This series will use perishables as well as non perishables and highlight, well, basic cooking skills. You know, like making quesadillas and stuff.

The more you cook at home and avoid restaurants and prepackaged foods, the more confidence you will have in your own abilities (aka self-reliance), and as a side benefit: you will have more money to spend on food storage. Plus, they've proved that sitting around the table for dinner each night as a family decreases the risk of teenagers using drugs or having eating disorders.

If you have suggestions for what you would like to see in the basic cooking series please email us at safelygatheredin @gmail.com (remove spaces). If you know of someone who could benefit from this series, please point them in this direction.

"Human beings are responsible for their own spiritual and temporal well-being. Blessed with the gift of agency, they have the privilege of setting their own course, solving their own problems, and striving to become self-reliant. People do this under the inspiration of the Lord and with the labor of their own hands."

*From "Providing in the Lord's Way." I took the liberty of changing "Church members" to "human beings" and "members" to "people." I hope nobody minds. If you do mind, just note that I don't have any money--just food storage--so suing me would be futile.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Every Tuesday, we post specific items you should gather in order to supplement your emergency car kit, your 3-month supply, and your longer-term storage. If you are new to our blog, don't worry! You won't be left behind. Just start up where we are and follow along. You will eventually have everything completed! Once the car kit is complete, we'll be putting together 72-hour kits again (week by week). Once those are done, we'll gather the car kits again. So don't worry, just jump on in and join us where we are today!

Are you done with your car kits? Last week we finished up the list of items to gather, but we're going to leave this week open so that you can add things that you missed, or maybe some extras that you may want to add. Next week, we'll be starting the 72-hour kits, so get ready for that! If you follow along with us, you'll have your 72-hour kits completed in just a few months, step by step.

How is your three-month supply coming along? Don't forget to store drinking water!! At least 2 weeks of water is recommended.

What are you gathering for your longer-term storage this month? This is your last week to gather it, before we move on to a new item (we'll be gathering wheat next month).

Next week is the one year anniversary of Safely Gathered In! The week will be full of giveaways, so be sure to come back for that!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Inspirational Thought

"We are all self-reliant in some areas and dependent in others. Therefore, each of us should strive to help others in areas where we have strengths. At the same time, pride should not prevent us from graciously accepting the helping hand of another when we have a real need. To do so denies another person the opportunity to participate in a sanctifying experience."

Marion G. Romney, “The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance,” Ensign, Mar 2009, 61–65

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A quick Q&A and a What's Cookin'?

What happened to your "Safely gathered in" Button, The picture seems to be gone.

We had some issues with our bandwidth. I have no idea what bandwidth is, but what I understand happened, was that so many people uploaded our button and we didn't have enough 'bandwidth' (mystery word again) to support it.

The issue has been fixed and if the button hasn't reappeared on your blog, you may need to re-upload it using the instructions on the right hand side of our blog.

When you said, storing enough food and clothing to the extent the law allows: what does that mean. Is there a law as to how much food a person can store?

In some countries it is against the law to store more food than you can eat. If you don't know about a law in your country, you are probably okay to store as much as you want/can.

I have a few questions about your pasta purchases? Do you buy it from the grocery store? Do you process, mylar bags and O2 absorbers, the pasta or leave it in the cardboard box?

Pasta for my 3 month supply is constantly being rotated through my kitchen so I don't bother to do anything with it other than stack it on a shelf when I get home from the store. Pasta for my longer-term storage I generally buy from the cannery, where it is packaged in #10 cans or mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Properly packaged pasta will last 30 years.


Now onto the exciting part!
I made chicken salad for dinner this week as part of my weekly goal to rotate my 3-Month supply. I added some chopped green onions, since I was rotating, and I never make chicken salad without curry now. It's delicious.

I topped it with cashews instead of almonds, just because, and served it with naan, Indian flat bread, instead of pitas--because naan can be cooked on the stove top and I didn't want to heat up my whole house.

Ahh, food storage is delicious.

What did you make this week from your food storage? Post about it on your blog and leave your link below!

Note: Please remember that this rotation link is to share what meal you or your family cooked out of your food storage this week. Links promoting merchandise or websites will be deleted. Please link directly to your 3-Month Supply Rotation post.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Food Storage Friday: Steel Cut Oats

Steel cut oats are a great alternative to regular oatmeal. I'll admit, I don't really like oatmeal, but these steel cut oats were really good, and so easy! The only problem is that they take quite a while to cook, but I have heard that if you soak them overnight (similar to beans), they'll cook much faster in the morning. I didn't do that this time, though.

Ingredients: Steel cut oats, powdered milk, honey (or sugar, optional), and dried fruit (optional).  Oh, and cinnamon (optional, not pictured).

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then add your oats. Let them simmer, uncovered, for about 25 minutes (2 pictures above).

Next, prepare 1 cup of powdered milk (mix with water), and add to the simmering oats (above picture). Simmer for another 10-15 minutes, or until the oats have reached your desired consistency.

Dish up! Add honey or sugar for sweetness (brown sugar is great!), and some dried berries as well. Enjoy!

Steel Cut Oats (serves 3-4)
1 cup steel cut oats
1 cup milk (1/3 cup powdered milk and 1 cup water, mixed)
Honey or sugar
Dried berries

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add your steel cut oats and let simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes. No need to stir. Next, stir in 1 cup of milk, and let it simmer another 10-15 minutes. Serve with honey/sugar and dried berries.

When you're rotating this meal, fresh berries would be a delicious alternative to the dried ones!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How To...Store Water in Plastic Bottles

One of my biggest challenges with food storage, actually, has nothing to do with food. It's the water storage part.

My problem is a mixture of no space and basic marital discord. You see, Mountain Man doesn't see the need for water storage. His argument: we live near a large body of water and we own several water purifying systems. My argument: what if our legs get cut off and we can't walk to get the water?

Just kidding. But I do feel strongly about having some drinking water in the house, and so I'm finally taking steps to have a water storage.

Because space is an issue, I am diversifying the types of storage and spreading them throughout the house in different areas according to what will fit where. I plan on having my water storage in three types of containers:

1. Store bought bottled water, for convenience when traveling.
2. Some 7-gallon containers like these. I don't have a lot of space for these, but I want some anyway.
3. Mainly in 2 liter soda and juice bottles, because they are readily available (as in, free).

So, let's walk through how to prepare 2-liter soda bottles and juice bottles to store water. I encourage you to check out the Provident Living website about water storage and purification. I've noticed that they've updated it quite a bit and I found it very informative. Even if I found it after I had cleaned out my bottles.

What you'll need is water (ha ha), bottles, and household bleach. Make sure your bottles are PETE plastic, and rinse them out in soapy water when you've finished drinking whatever is inside.

Fill up your kitchen sink or a VERY large bucket with water and add bleach. I added about a cup of bleach to a full sink of water (I have shallow sinks).

Gently insert your empty bottle into the water. You want to fill up as much of the inside as possible so the bleach solution can kill any microorganisms inside the bottle.

You won't be able to keep the bottles completely full of bleach water, so whenever you think about it roll the bottles so the bleach water has time to sit on each side of the bottle. If that made any sense.

Yes, you should use gloves.

I filled a bucket with some water and a higher concentration of bleach for the lids because the juice/soda inside the lids can be harder to get out.

I used to run my juice bottles through the dishwasher then fill them up with water and call it good. Then I noticed things growing on the inside of the lid.

Let them sit for several hours. I usually let it go all day. I like the smell of bleach.

After several hours of soaking, let the water out of the sink and rinse the bottles and lids. It doesn't have to be completely rinsed, a little bleach won't hurt you.

Nothing on the inside of these guys.

Fill the newly bleached bottles up with water. If your water comes from a reliable source (chlorinated tap water) you don't need to add extra bleach (source).

Clearly label your water bottles. You still need to rotate these regularly and having the date on them with help you rotate in a timely manner.

Store in a cool, dry space, away from direct light. Like your daughters' closet. They can't have that many clothes right? You aren't supposed to store your water directly on the ground. Anyone know why?

Start all over again. My goal is a 2 week supply for each member of the family. Wish me luck.

If you don't drink a lot of soda or juice, ask around to your friends and neighbors. I inherited my soda bottles from a soda-drinking family.

For more information on water storage, check out our series here.