Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

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I want to wish you all a Happy New Year and thank you for reading this blog.  It is something I really enjoy doing and I hope to bring you much more in the new year.  Have a save and happy holiday!!

Be thinking of a few new preparedness goals that you can accomplish during 2013.  They can be as small as adding a few cans to your storage every week, or as big as a generator purchase. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

How The Sun Oven Saved Christmas Dinner!

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I hosted my first Christmas dinner for my family this year.  It wasn't hard to come up with recipes but getting it all cooked at the same time had me worried.  

My sister brought over a ham for our dinner and I was also making a turkey.  I only have one oven and I still had the sweet potato casserole to bake. I didn't know how I was going to get it all cooked in my oven and it was on my mind all morning. After the Christmas morning festivities we were getting ready to head over to my in-laws when I had a light bulb moment.  Why don't I put the ham in the sun oven to warm while we are gone and then it would be ready for dinner later, and then I could use the oven for the turkey.  I was so excited.  My husband thought I was looney.  It was about 24° outside with quite a bit of snow on the ground from the storm the night before.  But I knew it didn't matter what the temperature was, just as long as there was sun, and we had a lot of sun on Christmas day.

I had to dig out my sun oven from all of the boxes we have for moving, and then I had my husband shovel off the deck so I could get to where the sun was.  I am totally kicking myself for not taking a photo but we were so late in getting to my in-laws that I totally forgot to take a picture. So here is a picture of some corn cooking in the sun oven, just to give you an idea of what I did. Just picture a lot more snow and a ham ;)

 I put the ham in an oven bag and tied it closed.  The ham didn't fit on the leveling tray inside the oven, so I took the tray out and placed one of the sun oven baking racks inside the bottom of the oven.  These are sold wherever Sun Ovens are sold.  They are for cookies, pizza, etc. and now ham.  To cook food properly in the sun oven you have to have air flow around the food.  The rack kept the ham of the bottom of the oven so it cooked evenly.
The sun in winter is so low in the horizon that I needed to lift my sun oven with the back leg all the out.  I had the leg on the last possible notch.  I turned it a little to the south so the sun would still be on it when I got home and we left for grandma's house.

When we returned home 3 hours later the ham was still cooking at 250 degrees.  My only problem was the loss of the sun so early in winter.  After about 4:30 I had to keep the ham warm in my oven inside until dinner was ready.  I forgot that I had a roaster oven for the turkey, so I only had the casserole to bake in the oven and then dinner was done.  I was so excited that I figured this all out and my emergency preps had saved my day.  I don't know why I think so literally and don't go outside of the box when it comes to cooking, but I was so excited that I thought to use my sun oven.  (humor me, I have a lot going on right now ;)    

Monday, December 24, 2012

Prepare Today Homemade- Sweet Potato Casserole

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This sweet potato recipe is a family favorite!  It is almost like dessert it is so good.  Even my husband, who hates sweet potatoes, loves this dish!!  

This is before it went into the oven.  I didn't have time after to remember to take a picture.

Sweet Potato Casserole
4 C sweet potatoes peeled, diced, and cooked
1/2 C white sugar
2 eggs beaten
1/2 t salt
4 T butter softened
1/2 C milk
1/2 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Drain the sweet potatoes and mash.  Mix the sweet potatoes with remaining ingredients.  Stir well and pour into a greased 13x9 pan.  

1/2 C brown sugar
1/3 C flour
3 T butter
1/2 C oats
Mix the sugar, flour, oats, and cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle over the potato mixture in the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.  

Make this a food storage dish:
-use canned or freeze dried sweet potatoes
-use powdered butter and eggs in place of fresh{2 T powdered eggs + 4 T water=2 fresh eggs, 3 T powdered butter added to recipe = 3 T butter}
-use powdered milk in place of fresh milk  {1/2 C water + 1 1/2 T powdered milk = 1/2 C fresh milk}  
-cook it in a Sun Oven or Volcano Stove 

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!  May your holiday be filled with joy, laughter, and yummy food!     

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Goal Zero Solar Generator

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The holidays on top of selling/buying a new home, and moving have taken all of my time recently.  This post will be short and sweet.  

I was so excited to get a Goal Zero generator for Christmas this year.  My husband bought it for me and I was so excited to have a way to light our home in an emergency, but it will also be so useful in keeping our sanity in an emergency.  I learned this first hand the other day.

Part of selling your home is going through an inspection and one of the things we had to fix was an electrical issue.  For the issue to be fixed the power had to be shut off for about an hour.  Now, I know, that isn't that long, but for a 4 year old it was torturous.  She didn't understand what electricity was and why the computer and tv weren't working.  She likes to play math games on the computer and she was so frustrated that it wasn't working.  

  I know, I know, there are many things we could have done instead of the computer.  BUT it was 20° outside, all her toys are packed up in the garage, and I was on my way out the door to an inspection of our new home.  Let's just say the computer saved my day, and the Goal Zero saved hers.  You'll notice that it isn't even out of the box yet.  It arrived fully charged and kept the computer charged.  It worked perfectly and when I move I can't wait to try it on other things. 

Click HERE to see the unit that I bought. 

And click HERE to visit the Goal Zero website to see everything they have.  They have small units all the way up to a unit that will power your fridges and big tv's.  Plus  you can get 20% off the entire site right now, see their website for more details!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Prepare Today Homemade- Spinach Orzo Salad

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Spinach Orzo salad is my go-to salad.  It is simple to put together, tastes great, and feeds a crowd.  What really makes this salad taste so good is the balsamic vinegar.  Don't use a cheap balsamic, go for the good stuff.  I love the Lucero brand from California that I bought at Honeyville Grain, but there are many places you can find a good quality balsamic vinegar. 

 Spinach Orzo Salad
16oz Orzo pasta cooked and drained
10oz baby spinach finely chopped
1/2lb feta cheese crumbled
1/2 red onion finely chopped
3/4 C pine nuts (I left these out due to a nut allery)
1/2 t dried basil
1/4 t white pepper
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C balsamic vinegar

In a large bowl add the orzo, spinach, feta, red onion, and pine nuts.  Stir to combine.  

In a small bowl whisk together the basil, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Pour over salad and mix to coat.

Chill in the fridge for 2+ hours.  Serve cold.  Serves 8-10.  It tastes really good the next day for lunch :)

Make it with Food Storage:
  • The spinach would have to come from a garden in a situation where a grocery store wasn't available.
  • Switch out the feta cheese for freeze-dried mozzarella.        

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Are You Ready For The Stomach Flu?

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The stomach flu hit our home this past week. Of course sickness seems to happen in the middle of the night.  A child wakes me up and says they don't feel well, or they come in to tell me they already were sick in their room.  In either scenario I can't help to think at the time, how would I deal with this if we had no indoor plumbing or electricity??  I don't want to think about washing sheets in the dark in a bucket, but really, how would this play out in an emergency situation?  Do you have the necessary supplies to deal with a sick family member? 

There are several items I feel are a necessity when someone has the stomach flu.  These items are needed whether it's an emergency or not, so stock up on them and have them in your home.  

We always keep a few unused buckets on hand for when our children are sick.  Towels come in handy for keeping the floor from getting soiled, and I would also include paper towels or toilet paper to clean up any messes.  Having a few plastic grocery bags, or garbage bags, on hand will also keep the germs from spreading when you throw out the mess. Disposable gloves and face masks will also help the germs from spreading, and should be changed when dealing with more than one person who is sick.

 Disinfectants and cleaning products will be necessary in a situation like this.  I try really hard to keep the virus from spreading to all 5 of my children. One problem with being a germaphobe is the compulsion to sanitize everything in sight when one of my children has the stomach flu.  I like to have my cleaning supplies stocked at all times. Clorox wipes are probably the easiest thing to clean with, but homemade cleaners work just as well.  Cleaning all areas where someone is sick will keep the germs from infecting other family members. Hand sanitizers are a great way to clean hands without a lot of water.  Whatever works for you is what you need to have on hand. 

Fluids and simple snacks will be necessary for anyone who is throwing up.  Notice that the drinks I chose are not darkly colored, who wants to clean up dark red off of the floor?  Water is also needed to clean out buckets and other messes.  Keep enough on hand for drinking and cleaning.  And remember the BRAT diet when someone is sick.  Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast....All are available in a long term form.  Bananas come dehydrated, and so does applesauce.  If you have the ingredients to make bread then toast could be made.  Rice is a long-term storage item and shouldn't be hard to keep on hand.  Chicken noodle soup is something my kids ask for when they are starting to feel better, and not the homemade kind.  They want the canned version :)

My children got over the flu pretty quickly this time, but I can forsee a situation where sanitation does not involve indoor plumbing, and keeping everyone healthy will be a top priority.  A few other suggestions for dealing with illness in an emergency situation are:

  • Have a variety of pain relievers for adults and children to help with fevers and body aches.
  • Have all the supplies to be able to wash sheets, blankets, towels, and clothing Click HERE to see how to make a manual washing machine.
  • Have a portable toilet.  I would suggest having more than one of these on handClick HERE to see more info on a luggable loo.    
  • Any comfort items that your family may be used to when they are sick.
  • If you can keep the sick person (or persons) in one area of the house, the illness will hopefully not spread to other family members. If there isn't a way to keep the ill in separate room, have sheets or blankets that can be hung to partition off the sick from the healthy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Grocery Deals 12/12-12/18

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These are the deals I feel are stock-up worthy.  The prices are good in the Salt Lake City area.

  • APPLES .99LB
  • KROGER 24PCK WATER $2.50

  • APPLES .99LB

Monday, December 10, 2012

Prepare Today Homemade- Butterscotch Quick Bread

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Butterscotch Bread is a slightly sweet quick bread.  I was experimenting with the Mix-A-Meal powdered flavors and I was trying to find a way to use the Butterscotch flavor.  This bread was simple to throw together and made a very cute little loaf of bread.  

 These are some of the powdered flavors made by the Mix-A-Meal company.  They are great to use in bulk mixes but they also work in everyday cooking.  The Honeyville retail locations carry these, and they can also be ordered from Mix-A-Meal HERE.

Butterscotch Quick Bread
1 C white flour
1 C wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 T powdered eggs + 4 T water (or 2 eggs)
1 1/2 T butterscotch powdered flavor OR 1 C butterscotch chips (or both!)
1 t vanilla flavor (or 1 t vanilla extract)
1 C buttermilk (1 C milk (1 C water + 3 T powdered milk) + 1 T vinegar- let sit 5 minutes)
2 T butter melted (2 T powdered butter + 1 t water) no need to mix before adding to recipe)

Preheat oven to 350°In a bowl mix the flour through the vanilla flavoring.  (If using the butterscotch chips, add after the butter and buttermilk) Add the buttermilk and butter all at once.  Stir just until moistened.  Pour into loaf pan and bake 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool and remove from pan.  

This also makes delicious toast! And it bakes up beautifully in a Sun Oven! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Grocery Deals 12/5-1211

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These are the deals I feel are stock-up worthy this week.  All deals are good in the Salt Lake City area.

  • APPLES .99LB
  • KROGER 24PCK WATER $2.50
  • SMITHS BREAD $1.00

Monday, December 3, 2012

Prepare Today Homemade- Stuffed Pasta Shells

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This is a recipe that I have had for quite some time and it has gone through several changes over the years.  We seem to eat it more often after Thanksgiving when we have boxes of stuffing in our storage, but it is just as good during those long winter months too.  

You can see the changes I have made to this recipe over time. The original recipe called for mayonnaise to be mixed with the stuffing, which is really good, but also really unhealthy.  Now I use the light cream of chicken soup instead.  Still just as tasty, but a little healthier. 

Stuffed Pasta Shells
1 box stuffing mix
2 C diced, cooked chicken or turkey (freeze dried or bottled works great!)
18 jumbo pasta shells cooked, drained
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
2/3 C chicken broth (water or milk works too!)
Paprika and Parsley for garnish on top

Cook stuffing mix according to the directions on the box.  Mix stuffing, 1 can cream of chicken soup, and meat.  Stir well.  Stuff each shell with 1-2 T of stuffing mixture and place in a 13x9 pan.  Stir together remaining can of cream of chicken soup and chicken broth.  Mix well and pour over shells.  They don't need to be completely covered.  Sprinkle with Paprika and Parsley for garnish.  Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  It could also be baked in a Sun Oven or Volcano stove.

We love to eat this dish with cranberry sauce to make it kind of a mock Thanksgiving dinner.  I love how my kids like boxed stuffing mix and jellied cranberry sauce over the homemade stuff.  :)  I also served Easiest Pumpkin Muffins Ever and dinner was on the table in under an hour!  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

We Become Self-Reliant......Julie Beck

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Beautifully said....
 We become self-reliant, through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education, and literacy; by managing money and resources wisely, being spiritually strong, preparing for emergencies and eventualities; and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being." -Julie Beck
Read more HERE..

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Grocery Deals 11/28-12/4

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These are the items that I feel are stock up deals.  They are for the Salt Lake City area.  Fresh Market has some amazing prices on baking goods this week!  Chocolate chips and brown or powdered sugar are definitely stock up deals!!!

  • KROGER 24 PACK WATER $2.50


  • WF 10LB FLOUR $3.49

Monday, November 26, 2012

Prepare Today Homemade- Chicken {Turkey} Noodle Soup

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What to do with all that leftover turkey?  We have been eating turkey everyday since Thanksgiving and tonight we had Chicken Noodle Soup, but with turkey instead.  This soup only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish and is creamy, warm, and delicious.

Chop the carrots, onion, and celery, simmer all the ingredients, add the noodles and cook until the noodles are done.  While the noodles were cooking I decided to make this a creamy noodle soup.  I brought to a boil a 1/2 C of Shirley J Whisk Bliss and 2 C of water, and then added it to my soup.  This step could've been done at the beginning of the recipe but I didn't think of it until I was almost done.  It's a good thing the Whisk Bliss is so easy to whip up and add to anything!!

Creamy Chicken {Turkey} Noodle Soup
4 C water
2 cans chicken broth (14oz size)
1 1/2 C shredded turkey (or chicken)
1/2 C Shirley J Whisk Bliss
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4-1 C chopped celery (fresh or freeze dried)
3/4-1 C chopped carrots (fresh or dehydrated) 
1 small onion chopped (1/4 C dehydrated onion, reconstituted)
1 1/2t parsley flakes    
1 t Shirley J Chicken Bullion (or 2 t chicken bullion granules)
salt and pepper to taste
3 C pasta (egg noodle work great, I used rotini)

Whisk together 2 C of the water and the Shirley J Whisk Bliss.**  Bring to a boil then reduce heat.  Add remaining water and all ingredients, expect the pasta, and bring to a boil while stirring.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for 10 minutes, or until the veggies are cooked through.  Stir in the noodles and cook 5-8 minutes or until noodles are tender.  Serves 8

**To make soup without the Whisk Bliss.  Leave out 2 C of water and 1/2 C Whisk Bliss and make as directed.  Serves 6 without the added water and whisk bliss.

Serve with warm French bread.          
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