Saturday, May 2, 2015

Self-Reliant Saturday-- Car Kits

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Inventory and organizing have been my thing lately.  Once I get on a roll I tend to organize everything in sight.  I finished with the storage room and decided to pull out our car kit to update it as well. 

I should be embarrassed to tell you that I hadn't updated the car kit since we moved two years ago.  It was kind of scary.

I pulled everything out of the dirty bag and then checked the dates on the granola bars and fruit snacks.  They were years beyond their expiration dates.  And with them stored in a heated/cooled car all the time, I decided it was best to dispose of them.  
Reason #1 to go through your car kits every six months:  food does expire.  It seems that the kids also eat the food in the car kits.  I have 7 people in my family and only 1 fruit snack and 5 granola bars remained in my car kit.  In an emergency I would have to pick my favorite kid to feed.  (kidding)

Everything got sorted and cleaned and I decided to put "like" things in resealable bags.  Mittens/gloves in one bag, toilet paper, diapers, sanitizer in another bag, etc. 


Then it all got tucked away into the back of the car again.  I hid the food at the bottom of the bag, now maybe my backseat riders won't be able to reach it so easily. 

Items to have in a Car Kit 
  • Water
  • Food (granola bars, emergency bars, no chocolate-it melts)
  • Cold weather gear (hats, mittens, blankets, tarp)
  • Small shovel
  • Took kit
  • Flashlights
  • Baby supplies
  • Wipes, sanitizer, toilet paper
  • Paper and pens
  • Map of your area with multiple ways out of where you live
  • Hand heaters
  • Can heater (click HERE for instructions on how to make one)
  • First aid kit (we always have ibuprofen in ours!)
  • Poncho
  • Emergency blankets (the shiny mylar ones)
  • Emergency radio
Any other personal items that you may need or want can go in your kit.  Personalize it to fit your family's needs.  Take a few minutes and update your car kit, or put together a car kit for the cars in your household.  My husband drives down a canyon to get to work everyday.  I don't want him stranded and not have a way to survive.  I usually have 4-5 kids with me when I am driving around and we inevitably need water or snacks or baby wipes.  Emergencies big and small can be remedied by having a well stocked car kit.  

(click HERE to view a previous post on using your car as a shelter)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baked Cheesecake in the Thermal Cooker

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You're going to think I am obsessed with cheesecake but I came across a recipe for cheesecake in a slow cooker and I wanted to try it out in my Saratoga Jacks Thermal Cooker ( Click HERE to see what a thermal cooker is.) using the smaller cake pan insert for the cooker.  I haven't had the best of luck baking cake in the cake pan so I was hoping this cheesecake recipe would break my losing streak.  

All good cheesecakes start off with a graham cracker crust.  I used homemade graham crackers from this recipe HERE.  Melt 3 T butter and mix with the graham cracker crumbs.  I mushed it all together in the bag...less mess...easy clean up.


Three ingredients...that's it...three!  That's all this recipe needs. 

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, and eggs, pour over the crust and it's all ready for the boiling stage. 

 The thermal cooker is all about the hard boil.  Bring the food to a hard boil, place in the thermal base, and it will slow "cook" for hours.  
  1. Fill the larger pot with water to about 1 cm above the trivet (it comes with the cake pan).
  2. Place the covered cake pan on top of the trivet and bring the water to a hard boil.
  3. Lower the heat but keep the water boiling and boil for 20 minutes. 
  4. Place the pot into the thermal base.
The directions I used were given to me by Amy from Saratoga Jackes for baking a cake in the thermal cooker, but I felt a cheesecake was close enough to a cake and needed similar instructions.  If that rings true the cheesecake should've been done in about an hour and a half, and I put the cake pan in the cooker at 9:30 am. What is really cool is that I wasn't home all day and the cheesecake didn't get taken out until 4:40 pm and it was not overcooked.  The thermal cooker will keep your food warm and ready to eat, even when the "done" time was hours before. 

  This cheesecake was DELICIOUS!!!  It was creamy and had just enough sweetness!  My husband and kids loved it!  It's a keeper!!

Thermal Cooker Cheesecake
3 packages cream cheese, softened (I used low-fat)
3/4 C white sugar
3 Eggs
6 graham crackers, crushed
3 T melted butter

Mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter and press into the bottom of a greased Saratoga Jacks cake pan.  Blend the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl using a hand mixer.  Mix in each egg one at a time, blending well after each egg.  Pour mixture over graham cracker crust. Place the cover on the cake pan and lock.  Put the cake pan into the larger cooking pot with the trivet in place and water filled to just 1 cm above the trivet.  Cover the cooking pot and bring to a boil.  Keep boiling for 20 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and place in thermal cooker base and close the lid.  Let sit for at least 1 1/2 hours or up to 8 hours.  Remove the cheesecake from the large cooking pot and let cool on the counter for 30-60 minutes.  Then cool for several hours in the fridge.  Slice and serve with fruit toppings. 

My next challenge will be making this with shelf stable cream cheese powder, butter, and eggs :)

For the slow cooker recipe click HERE

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Self-Reliant Saturday-- Storage Room Inventory

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Inventory....it's a dreaded word....but it had to be done!  I finally got around to taking inventory of my storage room.  In January I challenged all of you to organize your food storage  and I knew that right on the tales of organization rides the dreaded inventory. I may have procrastinated this job until almost May :)

 This week's goal is to really take a good inventory of what you have in your storage area or pantry.  

I focused on my longer-term #10 cans and buckets.  These are the two items that I have for extreme emergencies and not really every day use.  I counted all of my #10 cans and all of my buckets and it only took 2 hours :)  I decided that my smaller soup can size cans get used much quicker, and I would be updating the inventory list almost every day to keep track of them all.  That is just too much work for me.  But with this inventory I at least know exactly how many #10 cans and buckets I have on hand.  

 Now I need to calculate exactly how long we could live off of this food.  That is the scary part...it probably isn't as long as I would hope.  But it is a starting point and I can add to this list every month.  Slow and steady wins the race :)

Oh, and I also finally put together my rotating can thingys (real technical).  I have put this off for over two years because I really don't like dealing with all the parts and snapping them together.  One part always seems to be just off enough that the can won't rotate fully down.  But it got done and I love how organized it all looks! (FYI:  the technical name of the rotating can thingy is the Cansolidator from Thrive Live.  Click HERE to see their products.)
It feels good to get this project done but the real challenge will be keeping it updated.  I also discovered a really cool food storage calculator on the Thrive website. Create a Thrive planner just for you and your family.  Type in your family info, how many calories per person, and the length of time that you would like to be prepared for, and it will calculate how many cans you will need.  Click HERE to set up your planner. I thought it was a really great resource to know exactly how many cans I will actually need to feed my family a well balanced diet for a whole year!  Let's just say....I have some work to do :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LDS Cannery Powdered Milk....Now Online!

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Every month I try to order one or two items for my food storage from the LDS Church online. (lds.org) When I got online to order my oats guess what is now available..... non-instant powdered milk!!!  It wasn't previously available online.  I am sooooo excited!  I make yogurt with this milk and many other things, but I am so happy that it can be delivered right to my door, instead of driving all the way to the cannery in Salt Lake....it comes in a case of 12 28-oz pouches for $67.00.

Click HERE to see the milk.  Some don't care for this powdered milk as a drink, but there are so many other ways it can be used.  I use if for...


And any recipe that calls for milk. For 1 cup of milk= 1 cup of water + 3 T of powdered milk.  There have been so many nights of making dinner and I am out of milk.  Powdered milk to the rescue.  It's a great, affordable, powdered milk!!!
 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Self-Reliant Saturday-- We Cannot Allow Oursleves To Slumber

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Do we find it hard to wait and be prepared always? Sometimes it is hard to not really know why we prepare.  Sometimes it is just best to obey.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Great ShakeOut Happened!

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Did you practice for the "big one" at 10:15 this morning?  In Utah we had a statewide earthquake drill and most schools, businesses, and homes participated.  At my home all my children are in school, except for my oldest, who only has one class at the high school.  So she got nominated to be my earthquake drill model :)

So if the big one happens.....remember to DROP....COVER...& HOLD ON to the closest big piece of furniture.  Practicing the drills now will hopefully become second nature when you need it in an emergency!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Great Utah ShakeOut 2015

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Thursday, April 16th at 10:15 am there will be a statewide earthquake drill in Utah.  It's a great way "to prepare and survive and recover quickly from an earthquake."  

Check out the Great Utah ShakeOut website HERE and sign up for the ShakeOut on Thursday. Many schools and local businesses all participate and I love knowing that we, as a state, are preparing for "the big one" here in Utah.  

The main message for the ShakeOut is to....
So wherever you are at 10:15am on Thursday morning...drop...cover...and hold on.  Click HERE to view a great PDF of what to do in an earthquake, it outlines what to do in many different scenarios. And click HERE to view a previous post on earthquake readiness. The planning and practicing of drills is what will make a difference in survival during an earthquake.  Don't become passive in this type of preparedness!  We never know what will be in our future and it will only bless our lives to have prepared before anything happens!!!
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