Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's Tuesday... Rotate!

It's that time of year again... it's General Conference weekend! For those of you who aren't LDS, General Conference is a Churchwide meeting that happens twice a year. It's an all-weekend event and is a time when we receive instruction and counsel from our Prophet and twelve apostles.

Anyway, since it happens every 6 months, it's also a great reminder to rotate the food and other perishables in our 72-hour kits and car kits, which should be done about twice a year. We reminded you last April, and we're doing it again.

So this week, instead of reminding you to buy things for your 72-hour kits and your three month supply this week, it's time to rotate. Take out the food from your kits and replace it with fresh stuff. Some families like to eat through the old food during this weekend while they watch Conference. Don't forget to rotate out your water, medicines, food, and anything else that may go bad. Obviously, if you have canned goods or other food that doesn't expire for another year or so, you don't need to rotate it out yet - you can do it when we rotate again in April (we'll remind you!). Be sure to check your water, though. The water that has been sitting in your car should probably be replaced, especially if you live in a hot climate.

Also, check the clothing in your kits. You may need to change it all out since your kids wear different sizes. Or, even if your kids are the same size, you will probably want to switch things out for long sleeves and pants if you had previously packed shorts and t-shirts for the summer months.

Anything else I'm missing? Make a comment! Good luck, everyone, and have fun! You can even do this for Family Home Evening next Monday night - involve the whole family.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Motivational Monday

This is an unofficial quote, but yesterday in my Relief Society meeting, a sister mentioned that she and her family had been affected by Hurricane Katrina and that it had literally taken THREE days for the Church to come in with water, food and supplies. She said that if she hadn't had their 72 Hour Kits, they would have been in real trouble.

72 Hour Kits are important, make sure yours is ready for whatever comes!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Roundup: Argh! It be scurvy!

iPrepared had a couple of great posts this week. First up, making sure you have enough vitamin C stored away in your food storage. Vitamin C is the one vitamin that is not covered by the grains and beans we store.

Also, check out her great idea to have an earthquake family home evening lesson, it never hurts to prepare your children in a way that doesn't incite fear. This was a great exercise to teach older children (able to write) how to handle different situations. Often times we are more scared of the unknown, and when we think through situations before being exposed to them we are better able handle them when needed.

A thoughtful walk through of what could be missing in your food storage should you have to stop going to the store for whatever reason: Gaps in our Stockpile by The Prudent Homemaker. Via Self-Reliant Sisters.


This week as part of our goal to constantly rotate our 3-month supply, our family had Aleasha's food storage pizza. Delish! It worked great because I split the jar of alfredo sauce between the pizza and another pasta meal later that week. And to make it an even easier meal, I used this pizza crust mix from Jiffy. It wouldn't work for a large family, but for us it's a fast, simple, and food storage friendly way to have pizza.

What did you do this week to rotate your food storage?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Food Storage Friday: Half whole wheat bread

Brittany here. This recipe is photo-less again, but fortunately my camera has been repaired so future posts will be more interesting. I wanted to share with you another bread recipe. This was one that my mother made for our family growing up, and while it isn't 100 percent whole wheat, it is still a good way to use your wheat and provide a more gentle introduction of wheat into your family's diet.

There are so many different versions of whole wheat bread--my philosophy is to keep trying them until you find one that you like best.

Half Whole Wheat Bread

4 c. all-purpose flour
2 pkgs. active dry yeast (4 1/2 t.)
2 3/4 c. water
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. shortening
1 tbs. salt
4 c. whole wheat flour

1. Combine 3 1/2 c. of the all-purpose flour and yeast in a mixing bowl.
2. In a saucepan, heat water, brown sugar, shortening, and salt until warm, stirring constantly.
3. Add the water mixture to the dry mixture in your mixing bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer (I have a Kitchenaid, not a Bosch, sadly) for 1/2 minute, scraping sides of bowl frequently. 4. Beat for 3 minutes at high speed.
5. Stir in 3 c. whole wheat flour and enough of the remaining all-purpose flour to make a moderately stiff dough (not too sticky). Turn out onto floured surface and knead for 10-12 minutes or knead in mixer until smooth and elastic.
6. Shape into a ball and place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface of the bread.
7. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).

8. Punch dough down and turn out onto lightly floured surface. Divide in half.
9. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
10. Shape dough into 2 loaves and place in 2 greased 9x5x3 loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost double (about 45 minutes).
11. Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes, covering loosely with foil during last 20 minutes of baking if needed to prevent overbrowning. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Brush with shortening to soften if desired.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Powdered Eggs

We haven't talked much about powdered eggs on this blog for a couple of reasons. The main reason is, we don't think they are necessary in your food storage. We consider them a perk, certainly, but we just hate to tell you to go out and buy something you simply don't need, especially since they are so pricey. That being said, they really are great to have and they open up many doors when it comes to baking. For example, you know all those boxed dessert or muffin mixes that call for oil, water, and eggs? If you have powdered eggs, you can add these foods to your food storage without worry.

I used powdered eggs from Shelf Reliance's THRIVE line. This was my first time cooking with powdered eggs so I didn't really know what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised.

I have heard of many people using powdered eggs for making omelets or scrambled eggs, so first I tried scrambling them. I reconstituted the powdered eggs using 2 Tbsp of powder and 4 Tbsp of water (according to the package, this is the equivalent of 2 eggs). I scrambled them up on a non-stick pan.

Out of 5 stars, I would probably give the scrambled eggs about a "3". They ended up making about 1 large egg's worth of scrambled eggs, and the consistency was a little mushy for my tastes. They tasted okay but they would have been better with some more seasonings or with salsa (all food storage friendly!).

Next I used the powdered eggs and baked my favorite cookie recipe, making it completely food storage friendly. I completely reconstituted the eggs and added them right in when my recipe called for the eggs. I baked a few cookies last night to see how they tasted, but we ate them before I could take a picture (they were great). So I threw another batch in while I was writing this post and didn't hear the timer go off, and they burned... so I still have no pictures to show you. But let me tell you, they were delicious last night!

Out of 5 stars, I would give the powdered eggs (for baking) a 4.5. The cookie dough was a little bit dry, so I wonder if maybe I should have added 3 powdered eggs instead of 2 (even though my recipe called for 2 eggs, it called for 2 large eggs, so I wonder if these powdered eggs are "medium" or "small". I did add a little water to my cookie dough at the end so it wasn't as dry, and that really helped.

All in all, I definitely recommend having a package of powdered eggs in your pantry, but only if you have the extra money for them. Having a package of powdered eggs will really add a lot of depth to your food storage, allowing you to bake so many more things. You can shop around to find what will work best for you, but I can definitely recommend the THRIVE eggs from Shelf Reliance.

Do you like powdered eggs (if you've tried them)? Do you have them in your food storage?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How to Make and Bottle Salsa

If your garden is giving you a plethora of tomatoes and peppers, how about canning some salsa for the winter months? If your family loves salsa, finding some inexpensive tomatoes and canning some salsa is a great way to stock up.

Ingredients: green peppers, onions, jalapenos, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and cayenne pepper. Are we missing something?

Oh yes. Tomatoes. Make sure you have a lug of tomatoes. A lug is roughly translated to be 30 pounds of 'maters.

First up is to round up some help. With all canning, the more hands you have to help, the better. Especially during cleanup! This particular batch of salsa is brought to you by the unwilling hands of my teenage siblings.

Chop up all your veggies. I never chop up jalapenos without gloves. I did once. And I accidentally touched my eye. I will never chop up jalapenos again without gloves. And glasses. And a good nights sleep. And a non-itchy eye.

To get the skins off the tomatoes so we can chop them, heat a big pot of boiling water and drop the tomatoes into it in small batches of 3-4 tomatoes each time.

After one minutes of boiling time, transfer the tomatoes to a sink or bowl full of ice water. There should be ice in here---but, you know, teenagers.

After this heating and cooling, the skins will easily peel off just using your fingers.

Put a rough chop on the peeled tomatoes--we just quartered them because all these veggies are going to have time to really cook down.

Then throw all the veggies you chopped, plus the spices and seasonings, into a large pot.

Simmer on the stove for four hours. Do you see how the top is mostly just liquid? Drain a few cups of the liquid off the top and chuck it. This will make our salsa a bit thicker. Yum.

The veggies will cook down, and at that point you can stick in an emulsifier and blend up the salsa a bit. If you don't have an emulsifier, you can transfer the salsa in small portions to a blender or food processor. Be careful though, because this is hot! If you like chunky salsa, leave this step out.

After your salsa has simmered for four hours, get ready to bottle. Heat your canning lids in boiling water.

And, put your bottles on a tray to catch the spills. My mom is clever like that. Ladle the salsa into the jars, leaving a 1/4 inch of head space.

Wipe off the top of the jars with a clean, damp towel. Pull a lid out of the boiling water and place on the jar. Screw on a ring, making sure it's tight.

Careful, it's hot! Turn the jars over (upside down), and let them sit overnight. Salsa is so acidic that it doesn't need to be processed in a water bath or pressure cooker.

Now you will have salsa all winter long. Or my mom will because I couldn't take glass bottles in my suitcase across the country. But I'll be thinking of this delicious salsa every time I eat scrambled eggs, burritos or open a bag of chips. Ah.

Where can I get me some cheap tomatoes?

P.S. Note: There has been some concern in the comments over the lack of processing the salsa after cooking. This recipe has been made for over 20 years without any incidence of botulism. The high levels of vinegar and tomatoes create an acidic environment which prevents the botulism toxin from being released. That being said, it is never wrong to be too careful. The Utah and Georgia extension services both recommend water-bath processing with their salsa recipes and you can check with your local extension services for more information in your area.

Also, I am "html-dumb" and can't figure out how to fix the recipe text. I hope you'll all still come back tomorrow.

Ann’s Salsa
1 lug tomatoes – peeled and chopped
1 c. sugar

1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper (add another Tbsp if you really like it hot.)
4 onions chopped
4 green peppers chopped
4 jalapenos chopped
1 c. apple cider vinegar
5 Tbsp. salt

Chop all veggies. Scald tomatoes, peel and chop. Add all veggies and other ingredients in a large pot. Simmer for 4 hours. Drain a few cups of liquid off the top. If you want a less chunky salsa, stick in the immersion blender for a couple of pulses. Pour into clean bottles and seal (put lids in boiling water for a couple of minutes first). Turn upside down until cool. Makes at least 12 pint jars. More if you don't drain the liquid off.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Tuesday!

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 some small entertainment items. Coloring books and crayons are great for kids. You may also want to add some card games - Uno, Phase 10, etc. They don't take up much space but can provide hours of entertainment.

How is your three-month supply coming along? The best way to plan your three-month supply of food is to make a menu plan for what you will eat during that time. It can be as simple as coming up with 21 different dinner ideas (three weeks worth), then buying each meal 4 times (giving you 12 weeks of dinners). For more details, check out Abbie's post about this from last year. Don't have time to plan out all your own meals from non-perishables? Don't worry - we've already done it, including the master shopping list for three months of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. It's in the e-book!

We're still gathering rice this month for our longer-term storage. I love rice, it's so versatile! Click here to check out our rice recipes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Inspirational Thought

As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect. And, above all, my brothers and sisters, let us move forward with faith in the Living God and His Beloved Son" (Gordon B. Hinckley, in Conference Report, Oct. 2001, 89; or Ensign, Nov. 2001, 73).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday Roundup: Car kit revamp edition

One of the most important things to realize about food storage and emergency preparedness is that its not something you can finish and cross off a list. Food storage and emergency preparedness is ever changing and evolving, there's always rotating to be done, always clothes to update in the 72 hour packs and in my case this week, a car kit that needed to be re-done:

I glanced into the back of my car after taking a load to Goodwill and thought, what a mess!

I don't know that I'd even want to use anything from that kit.

So I cleaned it all out and repacked it, and this time, I took Hannah's advice and grabbed a box with a lid so no dirt or dog hair could get in on my emergency car kit.

What have you done this week to keep on top of your food storage?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Food Storage Friday: Rice Krispie Treats

When I told Mountain Man my plan to try rice krispie treats without butter he was worried about how the oil would affect the taste. But we were all pleasantly surprised at how great these turned out. And all food storage friendly, baby!

Ingredients: rice krispie cereal, marshmallows, and oil (I don't think it matters whether you use vegetable or canola, but I would definitely NOT use olive--olive oil has a very strong taste to it).

Pour the oil into a large pot over medium high heat. After a few minutes of warming the oil, add the marshmallows.

Keep stirring so the marshmallows don't get brown on the bottom.

I took the time to spray/grease a 9 x 13 " pan, but I really don't think it needs it. The oil really kept the marshmallows soft and it almost seemed like too much oil with the cooking spray too. But for cleaning purposes, it's always handy.

When the marshmallows are completely melted, turn off the stove top.

Pour in the pre-measured cereal...

...and mix until it's totally combined.

Grease your spatula, so it won't stick, and spread the mixture into the pan.

Let it cool and set up for a few minutes before you cut into it.

I would have had to have rice krispie treats made with butter right next to me to be able to tell a difference. I couldn't taste the oil at all! These treats were also extra moist and chewy. The taste-testing team (aka bookclub) all heartily approved.

What a great treat to have on hand to make whenever you want!

Food Storage Rice Krispie Treats

2 1/2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 pkg large marshmallows
6 cups rice krispie cereal

Heat oil in a large pot. After a few minutes, add marshmallows. Stir until the marshmallows melt completely. Turn off stove heat and stir in cereal. Stir to completely combine. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 " pan and press down. Cool and then cut up in to squares and serve.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Basic Cooking Skills: Easy Cheesy Enchiladas...and chicken too

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.

Sometimes we need to get dinner on the table fast! Sometimes we need to take a meal to someone last minute. This is no time to slave over the stove to make something good.

This is a simple, fast recipe that is absolutely delicious. We are using the method we talked about last time to cook our chicken. Check it out here. Ten minutes and you're ready to roll!

Ingredients: cooked, shredded chicken (3 breasts), tortillas, cheese, enchilada sauce (I hear "Rosarita's" is the best, but I can't find that in the South.)

Start by grating your cheese. Buying cheese in blocks is usually cheaper and resolves in much fluffier cheese. Monterey Jack cheese is the best for enchiladas but I generally just use what's in my fridge. Today was a combination of mozzarella and cheddar. I would say that's between 3-4 cups (2 quarter ends of a lb block of cheese).

Pour a can of sauce onto a deep plate. Dip the tortilla on both sides into the sauce.

Put the dipped tortilla into an oven safe pan and add a layer of cheese and chicken to the inside.

Roll up the tortilla

And put seam side down in a pan.

You can generally fit seven in a 9 x 13 pan. I'm using one of those plastic "bake in the tupperware" things, so it only fit six.

I've used almost a whole can of sauce and only half the chicken.

Still got a bit of cheese left, let's keep going and fill another pan.

When all the tortillas are rolled up, pour the leftover sauce over the top of the enchiladas.

And sprinkle with any leftover cheese.

This is a quick, easy meal that makes a lot, so you can take to a friend or neighbor who is sick or just stick one dish in the freezer for a meal for next week! I love meals that make enough for us to eat twice. Cook once, eat twice!

At this point you can stick it in the oven, OR freeze it for a later time OR take it over to a friend. They can warm it up in their oven and it will be even "fresher" for them.

This one was for our family. I baked it at 350 degrees F. for about 30 minutes, just until the cheese was good and melted. The chicken is already cooked, so the oven is just for heating it up to make it extra delicious.

How fast and easy was that? And let me tell you....it's delicious. Don't let the cheese and chicken limit you, you can stuff anything you want into these enchiladas--even making them vegetarian by putting in beans and veggies, the possibilities are endless!

Easy Cheesy Enchiladas...and chicken too

2 10-oz cans of enchilada sauce (Rosarita's if you can find it)
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3-4 cups shredded cheese (monterey jack or any kind you have on hand)

Dip tortillas into enchilada sauce on both sides. Place a couple spoonfuls of chicken and cheese in the middle of the tortilla and roll up into a burrito. Place stuffed tortilla seam side down into a 9 x 13 baking pan. Repeat until the pan is full. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the tops of the tortillas and sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and enchiladas are warm.