Saturday, August 1, 2015

Self-Reliant Saturday-Healthy Meal In A Jar

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Many food storage fanatics love the meals in a jar concept.  They are simple to make, save time and money, and are a great option for cooking without having to plan an entire meal.  I came across a very healthy freeze-dried camping meal that makes a great meal-in-a-jar recipe.  (click here to see the original recipe) 

Healthy Chicken & Veggies with Couscous
1 C freeze dried chicken pieces*
1 C whole wheat couscous
3 t chia seeds
1 1/2 C freeze dried mixed vegetables
3 t dried onion flakes
1 T + 1 1/2 t bullion of choice (or 1 1/2t Shirley J bullion)
3/4 t EACH dried thyme, sage, parsley 
3/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t pepper
3/4 t salt (or less depending on your taste)

Layer all ingredients into a quart mason jar. (wide mouth is the easiest to make jarred meals in) Shake gently to allow settling so all ingredients fit in.  Place canning lid on and seal with a food saver jar attachment, or place an oxygen absorber in the jar and tighten with the canning lid and ring.  Serves 4-6 people. Shelf-stable for 3-5 years.

Reheating Instructions:
Make sure to label each jar with recipe name and cooking instructions.  Boil 4 1/2 cups of water in a pot.  Pour in jar ingredients and stir.  Turn off heat and allow to sit at least 10 minutes.  

*to make vegetarian use 1 C TVP or leave out the chicken all together.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Chicken Update--Our Broody Hen

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The chicken adventure has been going pretty smoothly.  We even went out of town for 2 weeks and the girls seemed just fine with their babysitter. But the day after I got home, one of the hens insisted on sitting in the nesting box and hogged all the eggs in there.  I looked it up online and it seems that Hawk Eye is broody.  She thinks she has to incubate her, or anyone else's egg.  We purchased our hens to be layers, so to have one hen that won't lay an egg because she wants to sit on them 24/7 was a problem.  Back to the internet I went, and searched for a solution.  The solution from several sites was to put Ms. broody Hawk Eye in chicken jail. 

 The goal is to keep her from sitting on comfy shavings.  She spent all of day one by herself, but we let her back in the coop for sleeping.  During the day we gave her some alone time in the backyard as well to encourage foraging for bugs, etc.  She was really freaked out and paced back and forth along the main coop at first, but we didn't cave in to her begging, and she calmed down and acted like a non-broody hen.  After her night in the coop she was again hogging the nesting box and so she is currently in jail again for today.  The main problem was all of our hens like to lay in one specific box and they were picking on Hawk Eye because she wouldn't move.  This also lead to less egg layers.  It's a whole chicken drama! Using the chicken jail remedy, Hawk Eye should be cured in a few days, but she might not lay an egg for a week or so after.  Kind of a bummer!  But even though there has been drama and we are learning by trial and error, they are so fun to have and my kids really enjoy taking care of them.  I am also glad that we are learning all about chickens now and not in a survival situation.  

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Self-Reliant Saturday-- I Can't Afford Food Storage

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It's all about PRIORITIES. As with most things in life that we can't seem to get to, or finish, it's all about how important it really is in our lives.  Maybe take a minute and reprioritize the things you feel are most important in your life, and see how to fit food storage in.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Prepare Today Homemade- Chickpea Nuggets

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This is a recipe re-post from 2011 and it is still one of my favorite ways to use Garbanzo beans!! Enjoy!

I know that title sounds a little weird, but go with me on this one!  They are really good!  For those that don't know I am a vegetarian and I am always looking for more ways to incorporate beans into my family's diet.  This recipe made great "chicken" nuggets for my kids and a great salad topper for me.  You have to try the honey mustard dipping sauce (or as a salad dressing, yummmmmy!!), from a previous post HERE, with your nuggets!  We have been dipping everything in this sauce, from these nuggets to sweet potato fries, and as a salad dressing.  (my next experiment is to make it with yogurt to try to cut the fat out)

Chickpea Nuggets 
(from  Makes 15-18 nuggets depending on how large you make them
1 can chickpea (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained
1/2 onion
1 t parsley
1 clove garlic
1 egg
1 t cumin
1 t salt
dash pepper
1 t lemon juice
1 t baking powder
1 C bread crumbs
1 T oil
To be honest I threw it all in a food processor and gave it a whirl until it was smooth.  (my kids won't eat chunks of onion so it had to be pretty smooth)  

There are two ways to bake these:
Stove top:  heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan.  Shape the "dough" into nuggets shapes and pan fry until golden brown on each side. We cooked them this way and loved them!

Oven method:  Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes, turning over half way through the baking time. I would have baked them this way, but my oven isn't working right now.  :)

My older kids ate them up, but my 3yo (being totally truthful here) gagged on them :D  She does not like the texture of beans and so I guess this was too much for her.  I whipped up a salad using greens from my garden, some craisins,strawberries, the honey mustard sauce, and the chickpea nuggets on top.  My kids asked for this two nights in a row for dinner!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Prepare Today Homemade- Applesauce in the Saratoga Jacks

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This is a yummy recipe re-post from's easy and smells sooooo good....I hope you enjoy it!

Applesauce in the Saratoga Jacks Thermal Cooker is simply delicious!  I have made it several times and my kids love it!  I also made it for a class I taught at Honeyville Grain and they loved it too!

 Cutting up the apples is the hardest part of this super easy recipe.  The spices and sugar slow cook with the apples and it smells like Christmas.  My kids kept thinking I was baking something for them and it was the applesauce.

 Just like all the other Saratoga Jacks recipes I boiled the apples for 2 minutes and also had the smaller pan boiling.  The apples didn't quite fill the larger pan enough, so the smaller pan used up the air space.

 After slow cooking for several hours the apples were ready to be mashed.  I wish you could smell this picture because it smelled just like the holidays.

My daughter used a potato masher and smashed the apples into applesauce.  You could also use an immersion blender.

3lbs (8-9) apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 1/2" chunks (dehydrated or freeze dried also works!!!)
1 C apple juice or apple cider
2 T sugar, plus more to taste
pinch salt
2  (3") cinnamon sticks or 1/4 t ground cinnamon- optional but so good!  (remove sticks before mashing)

Combine all ingredients in the larger Saratoga Jacks pan.  Bring to a boil with the lid on for 2 minutes.  Also fill the smaller pan with water and bring it to a boil.  After 2 minutes place the pans together and put into the cooker base.  Cook for 2 or more hours.  When apples are soft, mash using a potato masher or immersion blender.  Add more sugar or apple juice if desired.  Serve warm, room temp or chilled.  Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

*This recipe was originally for a slow cooker and would work just as well.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Self-Reliant Saturday-- Travel Medicine Bag

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Traveling with five children I need to be prepared with several kinds of medicine.  Mostly for "what if", but I would hate to need a fever reducer in the middle of the night in a hotel.  

 My trip medicine bag is nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.  I used a plastic zipper bag that a set of twin sheets came in.  I added adult and children's medicine, and also basic first aid.  We are renting a beach house and you never know what is supplied until we get there.  So I have band-aids and neosporin just in case.  Last year we needed both so hopefully now that I came prepared we won't need them :) Don't let the unexpected illness, sunburn, headache, or fever catch you off guard.  Pack a medicine travel bag for your family!
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