Monday, November 28, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade- Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

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When the temperature drops I feel like baking all the time.  I freely admit I am not a good cook, but I do know how to bake.  I love baking muffins, quick breads, bread, cookies, pretzels, brownies, you name it I like to make it!  My kids have been complaining that there is nothing to eat in the house and so I baked up a storm today, and now they will have food for snacks and lunches all week.  I also dehydrated and froze the zucchini from my garden this year so I could make zucchini breads all winter long.  My kids were quite skeptical when they saw me making these, but they all ate them and said they couldn't wait to have them in their lunches tomorrow.

 Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
3 C flour (I used whole wheat flour)
2 C sugar
1/4 C cocoa powder
3 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1/2 baking powder
1/2 t allspice
2 eggs (2 T egg powder + 4 T water)
1 C oil
3 t vanilla extract
2 C grated zucchini (dehydrated or frozen works great!)
1 C chocolate chips (we used about 1/2 C mini chocolate chips)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and allspice.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs, oil and vanilla.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in the chocolate chips and zucchini.  

Pour into muffin pan (makes about 18, we made 14 large muffins and 12 mini muffins) and bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.

Or pour into 2 loaf pans and bake at 325 degrees (yes it is different than the muffin temp) for 60-70 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.

These were really good!!  Almost like chocolate cake!!  You could also add some ground flax seed and maybe substitute some pureed black beans for half of the oil.  I'll have to try that out and see how it turns out.  

"Have Faith, Unencomber Your Life, Lay Up In Store" -Keith B. McMullen

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Your Car As A Shelter

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There are many stories of people who have been stranded in their cars and had to survive with only the supplies they had in their vehicles.  How well could you survive right now with what is in your car??  I have suggested making a car kit before (check it out HERE), so get those car kits assembled and placed in all of your vehicles.  If you have college students that travel back and forth on weekends and holidays, they especially need to have a car kit with them.  

If you do get stranded and have to use your car as a shelter there are a few things that you can do that will help you stay warm until you are rescued.
  • First and foremost, stay where you are!!  Don't start wandering off!!  You will most likely get lost and make a rescue even harder.
  • Only run your car heater every 10 minutes out of every hour and only do this if your exhaust pipe is clear.  Crack a window open as well.
  • Don't place your head right against the window.  Use a blanket or other item to block the cold.
  • You can use the stuffing from the seats of your car to keep warm.  Stuff them in your socks, sleeves, and pants to stay warm.
  • If you have enough blankets, use one to make a partition between you and the back seat to keep the most heat around you.
  • If you can't access the trunk from inside your car, you will need to get out quickly and get everything you'll need from your trunk.
  • If you travel in rural areas you may consider carrying a common flare so aerial searchers will be able to see you. 
  • Tie something to your antenna so searchers will see you.
  • Staying warm is important, move your arms and legs to keep the circulation going. 
  • This one is for the ladies:  keep a pair of hiking or running shoes in your car.  Your cute heels will only get you so far :)
  • Always be driving on the top half of a tank of gas.  This is great advice not only for winter driving, but for all year driving.  If there was an earthquake or other disaster you would want to have a full tank to be able to drive to safety.

One way to stay warm is to make a heater out of a #10 can or a new paint can.  They are cheap and simple to make.  They also make great gifts.  Follow the instructions HERE or HERE to make one for your car. The second link even has a great printout label to use if you are making your heater as a gift.  

If you need blankets for your car kits, IKEA sells some inexpensive fleece blankets for around $2.30. They aren't fancy but will work great for a car kit.  Keep one for every person that normally travels in your car.  Click HERE to see where I heard of them.

Planning ahead will save your life!!  I can't imagine I will ever be driving in the middle of nowhere during a snowstorm and get stranded, but stranger things have happened!!  I have used my car kits for first aid (kids go through so many band aids),blankets for cold kids in the back seat, water bottles for my kids after soccer, a diaper for the baby (totally an emergency when I realized I didn't have one in my purse!!) and even food for a snack when I have forgotten the kid's snacks.  I have needed my kit for everyday "emergencies"  and have been grateful for it every time I have used it!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade- Homemade Yogurt

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My sister and I are both active preppers and she will send me links to fun new preparedness ideas.  This time she sent me a link to a yogurt starter that once you start it, it goes on forever.  I thought it sounded too good to be true so I had to purchase it and try it.  Normally when you make yogurt you have to buy plain yogurt at the store with active yogurt cultures in it to use as a starter for making homemade yogurt.  You then heat milk, cool it, add the starter and then incubate for 8-12 hours.  So when I found out about Viili yogurt starter I couldn't believe that all you had to do was mix the powder starter (only 1/8th of a teaspoon) into 1 cup of milk and after incubating for 8-12 hours you have yogurt!!

 Let me introduce you to Viili Yogurt Starter.  It comes from the Cultures For Health company.  Click HERE to see the website.  When you get the starter it has a tiny amount of powdery stuff that you need to make into your forever starter.  

 That is the actual amount that comes in the package!!  Measure out 1/8th of a teaspoon and stir it into 1 C of milk.  Pour into a mason jar and use a coffee filter and rubber band to cover the jar.

 The only requirement of the yogurt is that it needs to stay around 72 degrees for it to cultivate.  The easiest way to do this is to put your jar in the oven with the light on and the oven door cracked open.  I do this overnight and the yogurt is set up in the morning.  

Once the yogurt is set (the yogurt will pull away from the side of the jar in one single mass) you need to use a mason jar lid to cover it and place in the fridge for about 6 hours before you will want to eat it.  

Now you have a starter that will go on and on, kind of like a sourdough starter.  You do need to use the starter about once a week to make new yogurt or it will get old, but other than that it is so simple.  To make your yogurt just use 1 T of the starter to 1 C of milk and stir, then incubate in the oven just like the starter.  You can do up to 4 T and 4 C of milk at one time.  The 4 C of milk will fit nicely into a quart mason jar.  Just remember to take out your 1 T for each cup of milk to use for your next batch before you eat it.  Every Sunday night I make at least one more cup of yogurt to have ready to go.  Watch the video for detailed instructions.

 I have used this yogurt in baking and it works so well!  My kids also loved it.  My 3 year old even ate it when I didn't set it long enough and it was soupy.  My only advice in making this yogurt is to not let it get to hot or too cold or it won't set up.  To order the starter click HERE.

"Have Faith, Unencomber your life, Lay up in store"  Keith B. McMullen

Monday, November 14, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade- Yogurt Pancakes

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I love to make yogurt, but sometimes we don't eat it as fast as I think we will.  That is when I turn to one of my favorite food storage cookbooks, The Essential Food Storage Cookbook, and make Yogurt Pancakes.  I really like these pancakes because they are not just white-flour-fluff pancakes, but nutritious pancakes.  The yogurt adds some added protein so you won't feel hungry 20 minutes later. 

Yogurt Pancakes
(from The Essential Food Storage Cookbook)

2 eggs
1/4 C sugar
1 C white flour
1 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/3 C oil
1 t vanilla (if you use vanilla yogurt omit the vanilla flavoring)
1 C water
1 C plain yogurt (or vanilla flavored)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and combine until blended.  Cook on preheated griddle at 350 degrees.  

Cook until bubbles form and flip over. These are so yummy with fruit, peanut butter, or homemade syrup!! My kids love to eat these as an after school snack.  (I feel like a lot of these posts involve after school snacks, kids are always hungry:)  I found a great way to make yogurt that doesn't involve buying yogurt at the store to use as a starter.  I will post about it next week.  I am still trying to get the consistency that I like in yogurt before I share it with you.  Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rub-A-Dub-Dub Laundry Without Electricity

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The emergency preparedness goal for November is all about sanitation.  Fun..I know!!  But in all seriousness in most cases it isn't the emergency that kills people, it's the sanitation afterwards.  Our goal is to have emergency portable toilets with all necessary items stored inside. Read more about luggable loos HERE.  For this post I want to focus on having the supplies on hand to be able to do your laundry if there was no electricity, or if the water mains were broken.  I have written about the porta-potty before and doing our laundry, but reviewing never hurt anyone, right?  There are actually several options that will help make doing laundry by hand easier.  

One way is to use a contraption that looks a lot like a toilet plunger, but it is made for your laundry.  It has sections throughout the bottom to help the water and soap move through the clothes.  It is quite simple and inexpensive.  Add a bucket, gamma lid (with a hole for the handle) and you are ready to do the laundry.  The washer plunger costs about $14 and can be found at Emergency Essentials or in a complete bucket set at Honeyville.

After the plunger, the only other item you will need will be the laundry detergent.  Making your own laundry detergent is easier than you think, and it is a lot cheaper too!  There are many recipes and videos online.  I found a video that is easy to follow, but feel free to google and find what works for you.
If you feel finding all the ingredients for a laundry bucket kit are too time consuming.  There are several options out there for you.  Tami Girsberger has an amazing company of preparedness items all ready to go!  You don't have to hunt for all the items you will need for a porta-potty or wonder how to decide which bags or sanitizer are the best.  Tami has tested and compared all the products in her kits and has selected only the very best.  Tami has done all the research for you.  Check out her porta-potty HERE and her laundry bucket HERE.  She really has found the best products to go in her kits.  Take a minute to look through her site, it is amazing the time she has spent in her research to find the best products.  Her website is and Tami was also at the Self Reliance Expo that I attended in Oct.  Click HERE to see the cool products she is coming out with next!!
Tami Girsberger's complete laundry bucket!!
Honeyville Grain also sells Tami's complete buckets for laundry and portable potties for $69.95 each.  You can see the buckets in person and look at exactly what goes in them.  Check them out at the Salt Lake Honeyville location 635 N. Billy Mitchel Rd. 

One other option would be the manual washer from Emergency Essentials.  It is called the wonder washer and you would be able to wash several items at once.  It runs about $47.00.  Click HERE to see more info on the wonder washer.

Doing laundry and having a portable toilet are not hard to put together but you do need to see what works for you and your family.  Don't wait for an emergency to try and make laundry detergent or assume you'll have garbage bags for your toilet.  Have all the items for these kits put together and ready to go!!!

"Be faithful, Unencomber your life, Lay up in Store"  Keith McMullin

Monday, November 7, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade- Squirmy Wormy Sandwiches

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This recipe comes from our Halloween stash, but my kids LOVE it and they are also able to make it themselves!!  My children took a few cooking classes during UEA in Oct. at Honeville Grain , and this was one of the recipes they learned to make.  My 10 year old made this for her whole classroom on Halloween and they devoured it!

Squirmy Wormy Sandwiches
1 package hot dogs (16oz)
1 T oil
1/2 C Ketchup
1 T brown sugar
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t spicy brown mustard
Dash liquid smoke (opt.)
6 hamburger buns

Cut each hot dog lengthwise into 8 strips (worms:)  and saute them in the oil until lightly golden brown.  In a small bowl mix together the ketchup, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and liquid smoke.  Stir in the sauce with the hot dogs and heat through.  Serve on buns.  Enjoy!!
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