Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Q&A Week - Tuesday - All About Water

It's Q&A week here at Safely Gathered In! We're interrupting our regularly scheduled posts to answer some of the great questions we got during our giveaway week in June.

First of all, Provident Living has some great information about water storage - check it out!

I am curious about how much bleach per liter or gallon of water.

You should add 8 drops (about 1/8 tsp) of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Only plain household bleach should be used to purify water (no additives or scents).

How often would you recommend rotating tap water stored in glass containers? And how long would you recommend rotating water stored in plastic bottles? If you had to leave in a hurry, and could only take as much food as your could fit in the trunk of a car, what would be the most important part of your food storage to take (besides water)?

First of all, I personally wouldn't recommend storing water in glass bottles. In fact, I don't like storing ANY of my food storage in glass (this includes canning jars. While canning is awesome, I just get nervous when I see a shelf full of glass bottles. If that tipped over or fell.... whoa). But anyway.

If you store water in plastic and in glass, I would recommend you just rotate the water in both at the same time. According to the Provident Living website, you should empty and refill your water containers "regularly". Hmmm.. that's pretty vague. Personally, I think once every 6 months should do the trick, but check on your water more often than that to make sure it looks and smells okay. You should be storing all your water in food grade containers only.

I was wondering if it's ok to store water in the garage? We live in Idaho Falls where the winters are freezing cold and below and the summers aren't too hot(Probably 80-90 range), but not cold either.

The temperature of where you live doesn't really affect the water you are storing - however, some water storage containers are not conducive to weather extremes. Make sure you do some research about your water storage containers to be sure they can stand the temperature differences. Don't forget to check on your water every so often to make sure it's still good, and don't forget to rotate it either.

Also, water containers should not be placed directly on the ground because chemicals from the cement or concrete can seep up into your water. Something simple like a few 2x4 's can solve that problem.

Hmm, why is water storage such a pain?

This question may have been asked a little jokingly, but I think it's perfectly legitimate. Water storage is tough! I think it's hard for many reasons:
- Water is heavy and once it's in buckets or jugs, it's hard to move around
- It takes up lots of space
- People are confused about how or when to purify water
- It takes up lots of space
- You have to buy special containers to store it in, and there are many to choose from and people don't know which ones to get
- It's overwhelming, just like food storage!
- It takes up lots of space :)

My question is, how do you come up with ideas for meals? I stuggle even using recipes! I'm very much looking forward to your cooking classes coming up.

Hannah - What I do is think of a meal my family loves, and then I find ways to tweak it to make it food storage friendly (using all non-perishables). Sometimes it's pretty easy (just using canned veggies instead of fresh, etc), and other times it takes a bit more thought. For example, when I made the food storage-friendly Fried Rice, I had to tweak a few things that we do when we make the dish normally. I completely left out the egg and onion, and I used canned veggies instead of fresh or frozen.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Q&A Week - Monday

It's Q&A week here at Safely Gathered In! We're interrupting our regularly scheduled posts to answer some of the great questions we got during our giveaway week in June.

Working on my long-term storage and am making great progress, but I am wondering about vitamin C...you know, I'd rather not have to worry about scurvy in the event I actually start living off of my long-term food storage food. So, what do you suggest for long-term storage of vitamin C? Thanks!!!

It's always a good idea to store multivitamins as a part of your longer-term storage (or at least with your three month supply). Multivitamins will help give you the nutrition you will need in case you are living off your food storage alone, especially if you don't have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

I have several #10 cans of the hot chocolate mix, and I really don't care for it. Any suggestions on making it taste better?

I'll admit - I love the cannery hot chocolate mix!

You could try storing some of that powdered coffee creamer - that could help with the taste. Or, if you like peppermint, you could store things like candy canes or peppermint hard candy, and then break it up into pieces and add that to your drink. Any other suggestions from our readers? Leave a comment if you have some ideas!

I'm really curious as to how you might use canned salmon. It was on sale for a great price and I bought a half a dozen. I opened one about a week later and yuck! It had skin and bones in it and was really gross. I expected it to be more like canned tuna.

Great question - I have a few cans of salmon in my food storage, too, and I've been meaning to create a recipe with it to share on the blog. I'm really glad that you pointed out to me that there could be skin and bones - that really does sound unappealing and I'm glad I was able to check before I was halfway through my recipe.

On my last trip to the grocery store, I checked out the canned fish items and noticed that some of the canned salmon said "No skin, no bones". So yes, salmon is a GREAT food storage item - you'll just want to be sure to buy the right stuff!

Do you have a favorite bulk pasta supplier? We eat lots of pasta at our house! Sometimes it's all that our little ones want to eat. Thanks for such a great blog!! I especially enjoy the recipe tutorials.

I don't have a favorite bulk pasta supplier, but we do LOVE pasta! It's such an easy and versatile food storage item. I usually just wait for it to go on sale and stock up then.

Have you ever cooked beans WITHOUT soaking them?

I rarely soak my beans - I just don't think of it far enough in advance. Really, soaking beans only helps them cook faster. I usually just pour my beans into a pot, cover them with a few inches of water, and let them simmer for a few hours (keep an eye on them to make sure the water doesn't boil out). Then flavor them and use them however I need. Many people also cook beans in their pressure cookers, from what I hear.

What foods would you recommend in storage for sickness (eg H1N1 or other unexpected virus)? I have canned soup, jello, bananas in freezer, rice as well as usual food storage items. If all the family were really sick & no outside help available with meals, what would be nourishing and really quick & easy to prepare? Thank you!

It sounds like you have a really good idea for what food storage meals to eat in case of sickness. For me, ready-made canned soups would be the way to go. My three-month supply menu plan already incorporates lots of canned soups for the lunches - there is so much variety for those these days! You can get low-cal soups, low sodium, etc. so that it's not such a bad thing to eat them often (and remember.... if you're living off your food storage alone, the most important thing is survival). Jello, bananas, and rice sound great too. For more rice recipes, check out our recipes page and you can search by main ingredient (rice). Many of these meals are easy - just cook the rice, open a few cans of veggies, and bake. Delicious and simple.

What made you decide to start a blog on all this preparedness stuff?

Hannah - Really, there wasn't one specific event that gave me the idea to start a food storage blog. Food storage was always something in the back of my mind - you know, that thing that just kind of nags at you because you know you should be doing it, but you just keep making up excuses for why you can put it off. My excuse was that we're poor (my husband is a medical student) and we're young. I had always thought of food storage as a commandment for other people - middle age people with kids and a house and money. However, the food storage thoughts just kept nagging at me, and I decided that if I was going to do it, I needed to jump in with both feet. So, I talked to Abbie about starting a blog where we could share our food storage progress and help other people along the way. We figured that a blog would help us stay organized, and it would also keep us motivated... and it has!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday: Rotating your food storage?

First off, next week is Q&A week here at Safely Gathered In. During our giveaway week at the beginning of June, we asked YOU what some of your biggest food storage questions are, and we'll be answering them next week. We got so many great questions that we won't be able to answer them all in one week, but we'll answer as many as we can! And whatever we don't get to, we'll answer during another Q&A week later this summer.

To rotate my food storage this week, I made a casserole to put in the freezer. I'm having a baby any day now, and it will be nice to have some ready-made meals stored up. This week I made Easy Chicken and Rice from our recipes page. Since I was rotating (not restricted to pantry-only food), I added some cheese to the top, and I used frozen chicken instead of canned.

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.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Basic Cooking Skills: Meatloaf

Every other Thursday we will post about different basic cooking skills. Knowing how to prepare meals from scratch is a very important step in becoming self-reliant, which in turn is a crucial component of being prepared. Being able to cook meals for your family will give you confidence, more family togetherness time, and lower your food budget=more money for food storage! If you have a basic cooking skill you'd like to learn, email us! These meals contain perishable food items as this is a different series than our food storage recipes.

Two factors that apply when feeding my family are: how healthy a meal is--and how many dishes it dirties. This meal is a three dish cleanup. Pretty nice.

Ingredients: ground beef, egg, ketchup, onion, bread crumbs, chili sauce, red currant jelly, salt and pepper

Combine the jelly and the chili sauce in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat to melt the jelly.

Chop up a half cup of the onion. When you have extra onion, you can chop it all up and freeze it in a freezer bag, or wrap the remaining uncut onion in plastic wrap and then in a plastic bag and stick it in the fridge. You want the extra layer of protection the plastic wrap affords so the onion doesn't stink up anything else in the fridge. Onions that have been refrigerated are less potent, meaning, you won't cry as much when you cut them.

Dump all the ingredients, except for the chili sauce and jelly, into a bowl

Mix it all up. To really combine all the meat, you have to take off your rings/any other jewelry and dig your hands in. Just don't forget to wash your hands really well afterward. Raw meat can carry a lot of bacteria and parasites that are only killed after being well cooked.

Pick up the meat mixture and put it into a loaf pan. You can do one large, or two medium and freeze the extra pan.

When your jelly/sauce mixture has melted and combined,

Pour half of the sauce over the raw meatloaf


Keep the remaining half of the sauce warm, and then pour it over the baked meatloaf. This is a great meal to stretch your buck---you only need a pound of meat to feed an entire family.

Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

1 (12-oz) jar red currant jelly
1 (12-oz) jar chili sauce

1 pound ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup ketchup

To prepare sauce, combine red currant jelly and chili sauce in a saucepan. Heat until jelly is melted and well-blended.

For meatloaf, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, chopped onions, salt, pepper, egg and ketchup and mold into a 5 x 9 loaf pan. Pour half of sauce over meatloaf and bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees F. Heat remaining sauce and serve with meatloaf.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another Whole Wheat Bread in a mixer Recipe

Are you getting tired of wheat bread recipes? Well, I've got one more for you and it's another winner. It uses hot water to really speed the process along. I like speed when it comes to bread.

Ingredients: whole wheat flour, oil, honey, salt, water (not pictured) and yeast

Dissolve the yeast into warm water

In the mixer combine the hot water with about half of the flour.

And mix.

Then add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl: honey and oil


and finally the yeast mixture. The hot water will have cooled enough by now to not kill the yeast, but it will be warm enough to speed the yeast along.

While mixing, continue to add flour until the dough comes away from the sides of the mixer.

You want the dough to be tacky---but not sticky. Meaning, when you stick it with your finger, it sticks to it a little, but doesn't leave any dough on your fingertip.

When you reach that point, set the timer and let the dough knead in the mixer for ten minutes. While you are waiting, go ahead and spray the insides of your bread pans with cooking spray so the finished loaves won't stick.

It looks like it's ready to jump into the pans, eh? Slow down there dough!

Dump the dough onto a clean counter top that you've sprayed with cooking spray or a little oil. You don't want to introduce any more flour.

I used a knife to cut the dough into four equal pieces

And shaped them into four loaves

And I'm not kidding you, this is after 30 minutes of sitting on the counter!

Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and delicious.

That was so easy, it was almost like cheating.

More wheat bread recipes: Whole Wheat Bread in a Mixer

Whole Wheat Bread by Hand

Whole Wheat Bread in a Bread Machine

Grandma’s Whole Wheat Bread
Liz Freestone

5 cups hot tap water
7 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey

2 Tbsp salt
5-6 cups whole wheat flour

Add yeast to warm water—set aside. Put hot water and 7 cups flour into a mixer and mix well. Add oil, salt and honey, mix well. Then add yeast and remaining flour—5 cups, then more until the dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl.

Beat 10 minutes

Oil counter top and divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Shape into loaves and place in greased bread pans (she used Pam). Raise to top of pans (about 30 minutes if done in warm oven).

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Makes four loaves.

One year ago on SGI: How To Plan Your 3 Month Supply

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Every Tuesday, we post specific items you should gather in order to supplement your 72-hour 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 72-hour kit is complete, we'll be putting together emergency car kits again (week by week). Once those are done, we'll gather the 72-hour kits again. So don't worry, just jump on in and join us where we are today!

This week for your 72-hour kits, add a flashlight and batteries to each pack. Each person should have their own. You may want to consider a windup flashlight so you won't even have to worry about batteries expiring or going dead - this could save you lots of money in the long run. On the right side of the page we've added an Amazon link to a windup battery that has good reviews - just a suggestion. You should be able to find them in most stores, too.

How is your three-month supply coming along? DON'T forget about the importance of storing water. You really should have 2 weeks of drinking water stored for your entire family. Abbie recently did a great post about how to store water in plastic bottles - check it out!

We're still gathering wheat this month for our longer-term storage. You can buy it already canned up in #10 cans from LDS Catalog. Price includes shipping.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Inspirational Thought

"It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude after own own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
-- Series I. Self-Reliance

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday Roundup: Are you rotating?

I've been making lots of good, plain old oatmeal this breakfasts this week in order to rotate some of our food storage (sorry I don't have a picture!). I know it's not exactly our "3 month supply" (it's technically in our "longer term storage"), but it's been great because we eat it with fresh berries, which are in season now here.

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, June 19, 2009

Food Storage Friday: Peanut Butter Pie (Guest Post)

This Peanut Butter Pie is soo darn delish AND soo easy to make ANNNND I will now ALWAYS have Oreos on hand. (husband is not fighting me on this!)

Start off with a couple Oreos-probably 30 or so. Give them a good crush. I used a mini food processor, however a Ziploc and a rolling pin would work great.

Anyway you do it, make it look like this.
Okay so this was totally a slip up. I just wasn't thinking. But you can take some shortening and melt it. You just a need a little something to make the crumbs stay together on a pie shell.
Add this butter/shortening to the cookie crumbs.
Now when I make this again (and I will!) I won't use this deep of a pie plate, however husband got this beautiful pie plate for me and I hadn't used it yet.
Now you will need to make the Pie part. When using powdered milk to make pudding you need to use less water or it doesn't set up. I made about 2.5 cups of milk. I made the jello pudding with 1/2 of the water suggested and had the other milk to work with. Once the pudding is set up a little bit add some peanut butter. This is really just up to you as to how peanuty you want it. I started with 1/2 of a cup but ended up added 1/2 more.
Mix your powdered milk with water.
Add in the pudding.
Add in the peanut butter and combine well. I had already added some peanut butter in this picture and the pudding was too thick so I added more milk.
This is how it looks once all combined.
Pour into pie shell. YUM! Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow it to set up. It will more firm.
When I was at the store getting the Oreos for this I had what I think was one of more brilliant ideas. Refrigerator pie + Magic Shell = Deliciousness!!!!!! After the pie had been in the fridge for 4 hours, I added the Magic Shell and put it in the freezer. This is optional, but if you have it on had I would Really recommend it. Enjoy!!!
  • Crush Oreos and press into pie shell.
  • Make milk with powdered milk and water.
  • Combine pudding with less milk.
  • Add peanut butter and mix well.
  • Pour into pie shell and refrigerate.

One year ago on Safely Gathered In: Jerky Curry (cooked without electricity!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How To...Whole Wheat Bread by Bread Machine

Another way to make bread is in a bread machine.

Thanks to Stephany S. for letting me borrow her machine.

It's super sweet!

I just used the recipe from the bread machine manual. Ingredients: whole wheat flour, powder milk, water, oil, brown sugar, salt and yeast.

I ground my wheat on the finest setting because the recipe actually called for bread flour.

This is the neatest part of a bread machine I think, all the ingredients go straight into the bread pan---one pot cleanup!

The little hook is a the kneading hook. If you have a bread machine though, you probably already knew that.

Add the ingredients in the order listed in the recipe, after removing the bread pan from the machine.

Set the machine according to what type of bread you are making. I choose the whole wheat quick bread. I used instant yeast in order to get it done in less than 3 hours--again, if you have a bread machine you already know this stuff.

When you turn on the machine, it will make weird kneading noises which will drive the dogs crazy. Just so you know.

When the bread is done, a timer will sound and you can pull the bread out and let it cool on a cooling rack.

How easy was that? I dumped the ingredients, turned on the machine and went on errands. When I came back--fresh bread!

Delicious too!

Whole Wheat Bread

1-1/2 cup + 1 tsp water
3 Tbsp oil
2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp powdered milk
4-1/3 cups whole wheat flour
2-1/2 tsp yeast

Add ingredients into bread pan in order listed. Cook according to your machine's directions.
Eat. Eat more.

One year ago on SGI: How to Make Croutons