Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Food Storage Tuesday... er, Wednesday!

Every Tuesday, we post specific items you should gather in order to supplement your 72-hour kit, your three-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!

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!  

We are a day late with our normally scheduled Tuesday post - I hope it doesn't mess up anyone's schedule! :)

This week for your 72-hour kits, add any pet food that you will need.  Also consider adding anything else your pet may need, such as any medications, an extra leash, some treats, etc.

Also this week, add some candles and waterproof matches.  Don't forget to include candle holders as well!  You will want to use these as light sources, so you don't have to use up battery power if you don't need to.

How's your three-month supply coming along?  Once you buy items for your three-month food storage supply, don't put them away in a closet and forget about them.  Use them, and practice making some of the food storage meals that you have planned!  Make sure your family likes them!  Just keep good track of what you are using so that you can replace the items next time you are at the grocery store.  I try to fix one food storage meal every week or two - both to rotate my items, and also to make sure my family enjoys them and that the recipe makes enough food for one complete meal.

This month for our longer-term storage, we're still gathering wheat!  We'll be moving on to oats in December.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Motivational Monday

Avoid debt. … Today everything is seemingly geared toward debt. “Get your cards, and buy everything on time”: you’re encouraged to do it. But the truth is that we don’t need to do it to live. We wonder what our people will do who have been spending their all and more. If employment and income should reduce, what then? Are you living beyond your means? Do you owe what you cannot pay if times became perilous? Are your shock absorbers in condition to take a shock? Plan and work in a way that will permit you to be happy even as you do without certain things that in times of affluence may have been available to you. Live within your means and not beyond them. … Purchase your essentials wisely and carefully. Strive to save a portion of that which you earn. Do not mistake many wants for basic needs.

“Chapter 11: Provident Living: Applying Principles of Self-Reliance and Preparedness,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, (2006),114–23

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Come, ye thankful people, come; Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in Ere the winter storms begin.
God, our Maker, doth provide For our wants to be supplied.
Come to God's own temple, come; Raise the song of harvest home."

Come, Ye Thankful People
a harvest hymn written by: Henry Alford, 1810-1871

Friday, November 18, 2011

Food Storage Friday: Garlic Black Beans

I'm fudging the rules of food storage Friday a bit to share this recipe with you, because it's a real winner. I think a lot of problem with storing beans is realizing you're going to have to eat them! A lot of bean recipes can be super bland, and you may have people in your family (kids, spouse) who don't like beans at all. It's important to eat the food storage before you NEED to eat the food storage so your family is used to it. Especially foods like beans and wheat. 

This recipe uses a "fresh" ingredient, garlic, and it is simple and delicious! I found the recipe/guidelines for this recipe from yet another healthy living blog, Fitnessista. I tell ya, they know how to make healthy good.

Ingredients:  dry black beans, oregano, cumin, head of garlic, lots of water!

First, rinse your beans. Rinse all the dust/dirt off and sift through for any rocks or nasty looking shriveled beans.

Then dump them in your slow cooker and cover them with water.

Add the cumin, oregano and the WHOLE HEAD OF GARLIC.

Note: I used two heads of garlic because they were itty bitty heads
That's right, you put the whole head of garlic in. I don't know if you need to, but I slice off the tiniest part of the top where the "stock" part is. Don't peel. Don't peel. Don't peel. Just dump.

Put a lid on your slow cooker and cook on high for four hours and on low for four hours.  It doesn't take nearly that long for the beans to be done, but the longer the beans are cooking, the better the garlicky flavor.

When you serve the beans, ladle them into a bowl and top with goodies like cheese, sour cream (or plain yogurt) avocado, tomato, chips.  Don't serve the garlic, you can fish that out and toss it when dinner's ready.
Or just plain old salsa!

This recipe is so good, that my "picky-eating age kids" will have 2-3 bowls of it for dinner.  The garlic flavor is amazing, and it's such a simple yet hearty meal.  If you have any leftover beans, you can just measure them into portions and freeze them to use in other recipes as needed. 

Even the baby approves!

Garlic Black Beans

2 lb bag of dried black beans
head of garlic
1 Tbsp cumin 
1Tbsp dried oregano
salt to taste

Rinse your beans and add to slow cooker, cover with water. Add head of garlic, cumin and oregano. Cook on high for four hours and on low for four hours. Add water as necessary. Add salt to taste before serving.

Top with salsa, sour cream, avocado, cheese, tomatoes, and/or chips.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Preparing for Sick Days


One of my earliest memories of Hannah is when Mountain Man and I both had food poisoning (ground turkey not cooked all the way?).  We had one little baby and we were so sick. I called Hannah and she brought us over some gatorade and crackers. Ever since then I have been a firm believer in having sick foods on hand!

We've talked a little bit about being prepared for "sick days" and including "sick foods" in your three-month supply.  I decided this year that I was going to allot some money, and make a list for stocking up my "sick foods" in preparation for winter and the inevitable sicknesses that will come. 

On my list:
-orange juice concentrate (my favorite juice when I'm sick with a sore throat)
-a few varieties of soup (so I won't have to cook--also easy on the stomach of who is sick)
-7-up (or Sprite) for an upset stomach
-Gatorade!  Do you know they make clear gatorade now? Genius! It's still flavored (this one is watermelon-strawberry), but if your kid throws it up, it won't stain!

Something I still need to get is hand sanitizer. I like to keep a large container that I get from Sam's Club around in the winter time for refills of the little bottles I keep in the house and the car.  I also really love the chlorox/lysol wipes for wiping down door knobs and faucets and other things so germs don't spread.

After I get my sanitizer, the total for my "sick food prep" will be just under $20.  So for twenty bucks I've given myself a little peace of mind.   I kind of hide these foods so we won't use them just because they're there, and I'll be sure to restock them as needed.

Don't forget to get extra fever and pain relievers too! You don't want to have to run to the store at 3am if you or your kid develops a fever.

What are some other must-haves for sick days? 
 Mountain Man's mom always fed him warm jell-o water.  

Are you planning on stocking up on sick food for the winter?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reader Question: Car Kit in Extreme Temperatures

Karen (Canadian Soldier's Wife) writes in:

Question for you about car kits.

We live in an area with a wide range in temperature... -40C (-40 degrees F) in the winter, up to +40C (104 degrees F) in the summer. This makes it a challenge to keep food/water in the car - which became very evident when the bottled water in the trunk froze into solid bricks! And in the summer, the temperature inside the car gets so high that most energy food will turn into melted goo.

Any recommendations for food/water to keep in the car in an area with these rather extreme temperatures? (We moved here from an area where the temperature from January to August only varied by 10-20 degrees, so this has been an adjustment!

My thought is in the winter to just fill up water bottles as you go places and bring them with you. Or maybe putting the bottled water by someones feet instead of in the trunk where it is by the heater.

About the food, I would look for food that doesn't have chocolate in, or is soft. So think nuts, crunchy granola bars, things like that.

What are your suggestions for Karen? Do any of you live in such extreme temperatures?

More car kit questions and information here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Food Storage Tuesday

Every Tuesday, we post specific items you should gather in order to supplement your 72-hour kit, your three-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 mosquito repellent and sunscreen.  Pretty straightforward! 

How is your three-month supply coming along?  I feel like I am running out of things to say about this! :)  I guess all I can really do is just keep reminding you and encouraging you to keep at it.  I don't think it ever gets "easy" to do... you just have to make it a habit to keep track of what you eat from your supply, and make sure you replace it as soon as you can.  Make a food storage plan, and make your shopping list!

We are gathering wheat this month for our longer-term storage.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Motivational Monday

"One of the better ways to simplify our lives is to follow the counsel we have so often received to live within our income, stay out of debt, and save for a rainy day. We should practice and increase our habits of thrift, industry, economy, and frugality. Members of a well-managed family do not pay interest; they earn it."

L. Tom Perry, "Let Him Do It In Simplicity" (LDS General Conference, October 2008)

Friday, November 11, 2011

FSF from the Archives: Rosa Pasta

Here's a super easy dinner idea, a twist on spaghetti, and our very first food storage Friday post.

This is the first in a weekly series where we will share recipes that are only made with nonperishables. As Latter-day Saints we have been asked to store a three-month supply of food, but a food storage isn't only important for members of the Church, it is important for everyone. You never know when the primary breadwinner will lose a job, or another emergency will come up where money will be tight. The last thing you want to worry about is feeding your family. One struggle with food storage is finding recipes that don't use milk, eggs, or other perishable items. These recipes are easy, budget friendly and food storage friendly.

Tonight's dinner is Rosa Pasta with Soda Bread.

The ingredients!

The original recipe for soda bread had to be modified since it called for buttermilk, we are going to use powdered milk and sour it with vinegar. Two tablespoons of vinegar and add enough milk to make two cups.

Make this first so it can sit while you get the rest ready.

The really nice thing about this bread is that it requires no rising, so you can make it right before you start the pasta and it will be done when you're ready for dinner.

The sauce is a mix between equal amounts of Alfredo sauce and marinara sauce. The amount you mix depends upon the size of your family, or how much you like to eat pasta. You can use spaghetti sauce or plain canned tomato sauce. If you use tomato sauce be sure to spice it up a little. I used basil, oregano, pizza seasonings (or parsley would be good) and garlic powder. You can even add a pinch of red pepper flakes to give it a little kick!

Your sauce should be a creamy orange or red color (hence the name "Rosa").

To make the sauce really creamy try this: instead of draining your noodles with a colander, use a slotted spoon and transfer the pasta directly into the serving dish. Add the sauce, and the starchy water that came into the bowl with the pasta will make the dish really creamy.

Any pasta can be used with this dish, that is the beauty of it. Penne is my favorite, but I use whatever I have on hand. Today I had shells and rigatoni!

Add a can (or more) of vegetables for a side and you have a delicious, hearty meal made completely from food storage. Enjoy!

Rosa Pasta (adapted from Hannah's recipe)

1-1/2 cups tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce
1-1/2 cups alfredo sauce
spices and herbs (if using tomato sauce)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions
2. Mix sauces together and heat
3. Drain water from noodles and add to sauce, mixing until pasta is all covered
4. Serve while hot

Mummy's Brown Soda Bread (adapted from Cooking Light)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk*
cooking spray
*Made from powdered milk and white vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Follow instructions on your powdered milk package to make 2 cups of milk. Pour one cup of milk into a measuring cup and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar, then add more milk to equal two cups. Let sit.
3. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in the center of mixture. Add buttermilk to flour mixture; stir until blended (dough will be sticky). Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface; knead lightly 4 to 5 times. Shape dough into an 8-inch round loaf; place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut a 1/4-inch-deep X in the top of the dough.
4. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 (do not remove bread from oven); bake 15 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Originally posted June 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Preparedness Gift Guide

It's time for our annual preparedness gift guide!

Not sure what to give your parents/kids/siblings for Christmas?  Well, you've come to the right place!  Each year we post a gift guide to (hopefully) give you some great ideas for gifts to give the people you love.  I'll admit, it may not be that fun to give or receive food storage or preparedness items for Christmas, but I truly can't think of anything more realistic to spend money on.  Plus, giving someone the gift of preparedness is really a thoughtful gift, if you ask me! (And, I'm being totally honest when I say, I do have some food storage items on my Christmas list this year!  Sure, it's a little boring and I hope I also get something more "fun", but I just couldn't really, in good conscience, ask for fun things when my food storage is so lacking right now!)

Anyway, some items are listed under two price brackets because they may be different sizes or of a different quality. 

*Note: these prices listed below are based on quick online research. Shopping around or buying used will help you find the best deal on any of these items.

Under $20
this awesome food storage e-book :)
Small first aid kits (this is a pack of two... a great deal!)
Crank Flashlights (get ones for the whole family!)
Jumper cables
Fuel for you r camp stoves or grills
water storage containers
spices and herbs
$20 - 60
Dutch oven
Solar (or crank) powered radio (or solar radio/flashlight combo)
Wheat grinder (very small, hand cranked - useful if you lose electricity!)
rotating systems from Shelf Reliance

Ready-made 72-hour kits (this one's a 4-person kit)
Wheat grinder (small - hand cranked or automatics)
Pressure cooker (small)
Dehydrator (large)
55-gallon drum for water storage

Rotating shelf systems (small)
Wheat grinder (small electric)

Rotating shelf systems (small to large)
 Electric wheat grinder (I hear this one is great!)
Pressure cooker (huge)
You could also just ask for some actual food storage - #10 cans of wheat, rice, beans, oats, powdered milk, etc.  Besides Amazon, there are many companies you can browse through as you make your wish list (or as you make your gift giving list). 
Any other gift ideas you can think of?? Share them with us!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Food Storage Tuesday

Every Tuesday, we post specific items you should gather in order to supplement your 72-hour kit, your three-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 silver foil emergency blankets.  These here on Amazon come in a 10-pack for a great price, but shop around of course.  You should have one emergency blanket per person.  It might be a good idea to put any extras in your car kits, especially if you live in colder climates!  They don't take up a lot of space but they could save lives.  I know it is common in some parts of the country to be stranded in snow drifts during this time of year, so make sure your car kit is stocked up!

How's your three-month supply coming along?  I know I mentioned this last month, but just in case you missed it... be sure to stock up on "sick" foods and medicines!  Gatorade (powder or bottles), cold/flu medicine (for kids & adults), canned soups, crackers, etc.  Stock up on your comfort foods, and maybe some easy frozen dinners in case you are sick and you just want to throw something in the microwave.

How's your longer-term supply coming along?  We're gathering wheat this month!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Motivational Monday

"Though we never know when we will face a challenge that will require us to depend on the resources we have stored, we know that the Lord has said, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).

"President Gordon B. Hinckley reminded us in October 2005 general conference of our need to be prepared: 'We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. This is a first priority. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments. … I have faith … that the Lord will bless us, and watch over us, and assist us if we walk in obedience to His light, His gospel, and His commandments.'

"Let us do all in our power to 'walk in obedience' and be prepared."

“Are You Prepared?,” Ensign, Aug 2007, 30–33

Friday, November 4, 2011

Food Storage Friday: Creamy Tortilla Soup

Aleasha is here with our Food Storage Friday recipe of the week!

  This soup was so fast and amazing! Ready to eat in 10 minutes or less
and my family LOVED it! One of the comments at the table was "I would
even eat this even if I wasn't starving!"

Canned Chicken, 1 Can of Corn, 2 Cans of beans- I had kidney and pinto (I would have loved black
beans in mine, but I was out), 1 can Rotel (tomatoes with peppers), 1 can of Cream of Something Soup (I had mushroom. I am sure any kind would work) Spices-Cumin, Chili powder, Garlic powder, Salt and Pepper-not pictured

Pour olive oil  in pan on medium heat. Add spices and saute.

Drain chicken and add to seasonings. Pour all other cans into pot and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.  I did not add the whole can of Rotel. My family does not really like things spicy. Adjust for your family.

Serve with tortilla chips. When rotating through your food storage,
serve with sour cream and avocado. YUM!

Creamy Tortilla Soup

Canned Chicken
1 Can of Corn
2 Cans of beans
1 can Rotel (tomatoes with peppers)
1 can of Cream of Something Soup
Spices-Cumin, Chili powder, Garlic powder, Salt and Pepper
olive oil

Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil into pan on medium heat. Add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp chili powder and saute.

Drain chicken and add to seasonings.

Pour all other cans into pot and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add salt
and pepper to taste.

Serve with Tortilla chips.

Tip:if using black beans, drain and rinse before pouring in soup.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How To Make and Can Homemade Applesauce

Growing up, my grandma had an apple orchard. After picking, sorting and selling most of the apples, we would gather in her kitchen to make applesauce. I remember standing over the steamy cooked apples and stirring, and doing other jobs that little girls could do.

This year was the first year that I've made my own applesauce.  Apples are abundant here in upstate New York and I was able to find a great deal on some freshly picked, local apples.

We used two (and maybe three, I can't remember) varieties of apples: Cortlands and Jonah Golds for sure.  First up was washing the apples.

We used an outdoor table for the peeling and chopping. Even though it was cold, it was worth it because the mess stayed outside.  And the peeling and chopping is MESSY!

My in-laws brought two of these apple corers/peelers with them for us to borrow to make the applesauce. They clamp onto a table top, and you stick the apple into the skewer and turn the lever, and with a few exceptions, it peels the apple and removes the core.

When I made applesauce with my mom and grandma growing up, I remember cooking the apples with peels and cores in, and then when they were soft and cooked, pushing them through a device that strained the seeds and skin off. I remember it being very sticky and hot.

After peeling and coring the apples, we chopped them into loose fourths.  Not an exact science, just to help them cooked down faster.

 Then we piled apples into pots with some water and started the cooking process.  We stirred every once in a while (to make sure the bottoms weren't burning) and added more water as needed, cooking on medium heat.

I didn't get many pictures of all the steps because I didn't even think about documenting it until we were halfway through! So these are just the pictures of what we thought to get, and you'll have to fill in the blanks.

 When the apples were soft and really cooked down, we added sugar. Not too much (although that is personal preference) maybe a cup or so per pot.  We also left out cinnamon, just personal preference.  With everything stirred together, we used an immersion blender to blend up the cooked apples. It's up to (you guessed it) personal preference to decide whether you like the applesauce chunky, semi chunky or really smooth.

After the apples were cooked down, mixed and blended, we laded the sauce into clean jars, leaving an inch or a half of head space near the top. Remember you need to have the lids in boiling water before you place them on the jars, and DON'T FORGET to clean the tops of the jars with a clean wet dishcloth before putting the lids and rings on, you don't want any bacteria growth.  For a more detailed step-by-step canning process check out the pear canning tutorial here. 

After the jars were filled, cleaned and lids were put on tightly, we filled up our water canning pot and started processing the applesauce.

In our area and altitude, we processed the jars for 20 minutes.  Be sure to check with your local co-op extension service for processing times in your area.

When the jars were processed, we lifted them out, let them cool, and waited for the "pop" to let us know it had sealed! There's nothing more satisfying than hearing a chorus of jars sealing after a long days' work.

Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labors all winter long!

There are great canning books, and you can read tutorials all you want, but I really believe that the best way to learn how to can is by canning with someone who has done it over and over again.  In this case, Mountain Man's parents were visiting and made the applesauce with me. I learned more from their canning experience than I would have just following some written instructions. So cozy up to a neighbor or family member who has canning experience and see if you can learn some tricks of the trade which are passed down from generations.

Anyone else make applesauce this fall, or are planning to?