Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Food Storge Week In Review- Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, & Bulk Spices

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This week I was able to bake a little and add a little to my food storage.  Having basic baking ingredients on hand, like powdered milk, keeps me from running to the store for that one ingredient I need for dinner.  And buying spices and other basic ingredients in bulk really does save money, especially when I can save the bulk of it in mason jars with my foodsaver. 

Here's what I did this week that related to my food storage.

My kids have been begging for lasagna for dinner so we finally got around to having it.  I started the noodles cooking and then realized that I didn't have enough cottage cheese for the filling.  I only had about 1/4 C left and I needed a whole cup.  Not to worry....making a quick batch of cottage cheese is easy.  Plus, it uses powdered milk!


Easy Homemade Cottage Cheese
I followed this recipe in the link from Tactical Intelligence

I warmed the milk, added 1 T vinegar, let it sit to create curds, and then drained the curds in cold water.  You are left with basic cottage cheese type curds.  When I added them to the store bought cottage cheese you couldn't tell the homemade from the store bought.  It only took a couple of minutes for the whole process!

I must have had powdered milk on my mind because I made yogurt too this week.  I haven't used acidophilus as a starter for awhile, so I wanted to make sure that this process would still work for me. Usually a small amount of yogurt is used as a starter for a batch of yogurt, but I have found that acidiphilus tablets also work because they have the live active cultures in them.  I followed the recipe HERE from my previous post on yogurt, except I used my yogurt maker and not my thermal cooker.   I blended the powdered milk and water in my blender, added sugar, vanilla flavor, and three crushed acidophilus tablets.(using powdered milk also eliminates the need to heat up the milk and cool it back down because it is already pasteurized) Then let it incubate in my yogurt maker.


It took about 12 hours for the yogurt to set up in my Yogourmet yogurt maker and then I cooled it in the fridge overnight.  

 This picture is after I scooped out a little bit to make yogurt cheese.  The finished yogurt is smooth and creamy, perfect!


The yogurt that I scooped out is now draining over my sink in a cheese bag that came with my yogurt maker.  Cheesecloth or a clean t-shirt would also work over a sieve.  I only tried a little of the yogurt to see if we really liked it as yogurt cheese.  This cheese will be soft like a cream cheese, hopefully. We're going to eat it on bagels...yum!

Update on the cream cheese, aka yogurt cheese.  As I was putting the yogurt into the cheese bag I remembered that I had flavored the yogurt with sugar and vanilla.  So the yogurt cheese came out a little sweeter then I would like on crackers.  And I am also thinking that making yogurt cheese will take some practice.  I let it drain too long and was kind of dry.  It was still spreadable, but not as moist as cream cheese from the store is.  Next time I will check the yogurt cheese sooner.  But it was edible and kind of cool to know it works!  Especially knowing that it started out as powdered milk, water, and acidophilus tablets!


Spices in your food storage are almost as important as the basic ingredients.  Have you ever had to eat plain rice, or potatoes, every night without any flavoring.  It would be beyond bland and the family would probably rebel!  I like to keep many spices on hand for a variety in our cooking.  I finally made it to Winco this week to stock up on spices, and a few bulk items that I was running low on.  I bought basil, cinnamon, cumin, cocoa powder, and garlic powder. After refilling my smaller spice containers I sealed up the extra with the foodsaver to keep them fresh for much longer then sitting in my spice drawer.

Transferring from bag to bottle. 




Notice that I use more than just mason jars.  Old spaghetti sauce jars and any other glass jar with a metal lid will work with the foodsaver. 

It may not seem like a huge deal, but these small things make my food storage usable and manageable.  It takes a little organizing and some time to get used to a food storage system, but when you find what works for you, food storage becomes part of your every day life. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Are We Prepared?

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This month in the Ensign Magazine (LDS monthly magazine) President Monson's message was very timely.  It is titled "Are We Prepared?"  (click HERE to read the entire article)

Image from lds.org Ensign magazine Sept. 2014




There haven't been too many talks or articles on food storage in the past few years.  But recently I've noticed more and more people are talking about being prepared.  Our leaders don't proclaim to know the future, but they do warn us and help us to be ready for whatever may come our way.  We would be very smart to listen to their advice.

President Monson-  "We live in turbulent times. Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties. When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past.

Are we prepared for the emergencies in our lives? Are our skills perfected? Do we live providently? Do we have our reserve supply on hand? Are we obedient to the commandments of God? Are we responsive to the teachings of prophets? Are we prepared to give of our substance to the poor, the needy? Are we square with the Lord?"

Monday, September 8, 2014

Emergencies and Sanitation

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After a natural disaster, or any other emergency, clean up will begin and people will try to get their lives back to normal.  But there will be one area of concern.....sanitation.   The after effects of a disaster will be more deadly then the actual event because of the sanitation situation.  Contaminated water equals disease! Be prepared with a portable toilet, cleansers, sanitizers, toilet paper, manual washing machine, soaps, towels of all sizes, and of course water!


 September is National Emergency Preparedness Month and it would be a great time to gather sanitation essentials and add them to your storage.  



Cleaning your clothes without electricity will be more time consuming, but see how we did our laundry at our house when the washer was broken.  Click HERE to read that post




picture from preparednessnibblesandbits.blogspot.com

Have you thought about the aftermath of no public utilities?  No working toilets?  I don't want to thing too much about that, but we do need to be ready to deal with human waste.  Portable potties, or luggable loos, are a must-have item in everyone's storage.  They are cheap and simple to put together.  Tough garbage bags, kitty litter (to absorb the waste), and a snap on toilet seat are a must in your kit!!  Click HERE to view my post on the portable potty.




One thought I have when my kids are ill is how I am going to help them feel better if there were no modern conveniences, or even modern medicine.  Many people in this day in age still die from diarrhea.  Third world countries are where this is still happening, but in a situation where our sanitation is compromised we will see an increase of people with diarrhea.  Keeping a person, especially a child, hydrated will become very necessary.  Click HERE to see how to make an electrolyte drink from items you probably already have in your storage.    



When sickness does hit, be prepared with all the essentials.  Click HERE to read my post on being prepared for the flu (or any sickness). 



AND THE MOST IMPORTANT ITEM THAT YOU NEED IN YOUR STORAGE, FOR SANITATION, AND IN GENERAL......IS WATER!!!  You will need more water when someone becomes ill and for cleaning in general after a disaster.  Stocking up on Clorox wipes and other cleaning supplies will help tremendously in a situation where there isn't indoor plumbing.  Washcloths and extra towels would also be great to have on hand.

There are many non-food essentials to have in your storage, but hand sanitizers and other cleaners are very important.  You don't want to survive a disaster to then succumb to sickness because of contaminated water.  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Prepping In September: My Week In Review

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September is...

What are you doing to become more prepared?

This week in Utah several grocery stores are having case lot sales.  We are able to by food by the case for a discounted price. I was running low on several things and I purchased:
  • tuna
  • pasta sauce
  • creamed soups
  • black beans
  • bottled water
  • chicken broth
  • paper towel 
  • toilet paper

We were running low on toilet paper so I have been buying a few every time I go to the store.  The sale goes for two weeks so I'll have plenty of time to stock up!

After shopping I had a baking day.


My kids love bagels and bagel sandwiches in their school lunches, so I cooked up a batch.  Click HERE to see the recipe that I use

A big money saver is making my own crackers. Wheat thins are a hit at my house and making them is pretty simple.  My issue with making crackers was always getting the dough uniform so they cooked evenly.  My friend Megan over at myfoodstoragecookbook.com is a genius!  She uses her pasta roller to roll out the cracker dough so it will be the same thickness and cook evenly.  It's the only way I make crackers now!  Here is the recipe that I have been using lately for wheat thin crackers.

Wheat Thin Crackers
1 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. white flour
1/2 C. sugar (or 1/2 C. honey, use less milk when mixing)
1/4 t salt
2 T. butter softened
approx. 1/2 C milk
salt for the tops
 ranch dressing mix, cheese powder, garlic powder, etc for seasoning the crackers*

Combine the flours, sugar, and salt in a bowl.  Cut in butter until it looks like coarse meal.  (I use my hands for this) Add the milk a little at a time and mix the dough until it forms a ball and the dough holds together.  (I have never used all the milk, so slowly add it in) If you are using honey, the dough will be slightly sticky and you'll need to work it a little more to get it to stick together.

*if you would like to make a flavored cracker this is the point to divide the dough and add in the spices.  I added a package of ranch dressing mix (homemade) to one batch, and cheese powder to another batch.  Start with a tablespoon or two and see how cheesy you like them.  Mix the dough with the desired flavor until incorporated.

Divide the dough into fourths and roll the dough using a pasta roller, or rolling pin, to 1/16-1/8" thick.  Lay the pieces of dough on a sprayed cookie sheet.  Cut into cracker sized pieces. (no need to move the cut squares apart, they will separate a little on their own) Spray with cooking spray and add salt to the tops, if desired.  (I use the tool on the right to cut my crackers.  Very easy and takes only seconds to cut a whole tray of crackers)


Bake at 325° for 15-20  minutes.  Really watch the oven after about 12 minutes.  All ovens vary and they will burn very easy.  The tops should be slightly browned.  Cool on the cookie sheets a few minutes.  The crackers will harden as they cool.  Remove to a cooling rack.  Store in airtight container or bag.
 

I cooked up part of the dough in my Global Sun Oven and they were delicious!  Perfectly cooked.  Don't walk away from them though.  Even though the sun oven won't burn most foods, crackers and cookies will burn.  These took about 11 minutes to cook.

I love the feeling of being well stocked after shopping at the case lot sales and baking all day. Now, I only wish the food didn't disappear as easily as I accumulated it.  :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"It Started Like Any Other Day"

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Natural Disasters can happen at any time, with little warning.  Other natural disasters do come with warnings.  We need to take those warning seriously.  Watch this short 4 minute video about 3 families whose lives were changed by natural disasters.  


September is National Preparedness month.  Be aware of what nature could throw at you in your area and be ready before the disaster strikes.  

On the FEMA website you can click on the natural disaster that is most likely to affect your area, and it will give you steps to take to be prepared for it.  CLICK HERE to see that page of information.

Monday, September 1, 2014

National Preparedness Month

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Did you know that September is National Emergency Preparedness Month?  

What can you do to make sure you and your family are more prepared?  



The Red Cross has a great handout that outlines the most important things you need to do to be prepared.  Click HERE to view it.

Also, look for preparedness fairs put on by your county or city.  We have one coming up on September 15th.  It's a great time to familiarize yourself with your local fire department, health departments, police, and different preparedness retailers.  There will most likely be printed information available from your local gas and electric companies on how to turn off power and gas.  Last year I received a booklet on what to do in an emergency in my area. It is all great info to have on hand and it's personalized for where you live.  

Ready.gov has also listed a weekly preparedness theme.

Week 1 – How to… Reconnect with Family After a Disaster.
Week 2 – Know How To plan for specific needs before a Disaster.
Week 3 – How to… Build an Emergency Kit.
Week 4 & 5 – How to… Practice for an emergency.
For more details about National Preparedness Month visit: www.ready.gov/september #NatlPrep


Are there any goals that you have been meaning to accomplish and have been putting off?  Take the time this month to do at least one!  It can be as easy as buying extra water at the store, or making a plan with your family.  It doesn't have to be all or nothing.  Preparedness is not a one time event.  It's a way of life and living.  I know everyone can do this, and I hope you will do it, and find the peace that comes with being ready!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Earthquake Preparedness Reminders

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The earthquake in northern California last weekend can now be added to the growing list of natural disasters our world is experiencing.  If you haven't learned from these disasters and started storing away food and water, you may want to take a good, long look at your priorities right now.  Take a few moments and make a plan for your family.  Have water, food, shoes under your bed, flashlights in every bedroom, BE READY!!  

Say what you will about FEMA, but they have a great printout that you can use to start your emergency family plan.  Click HERE to print your copy and start your plan today!


 Earthquakes are unique because we don't know when they will hit.  There are few warning signs, if any, of an earthquake happening.  But those of us who live in areas that have earthquakes have no excuse to not be ready for one.  Having food and water is so important, but another important part of earthquake preparedness is to prepare your children.  Show them where to go in your home during the quake.  Call your children's schools and find out what their emergency plans are.  Decide on a meeting place outside of your home.  All members of your family should know where this meeting place is if they are not home during a disaster.  I have 5 children in 4 different schools.  If I am not able to get to the schools, my two oldest will walk to the two schools by them and collect their siblings and proceed to walk home, if able.  We've decided to meet at our church building down the road.  Once decided, your family plan needs to be talked about often so it becomes common knowledge for your family. A Plan....it's so important!!!!

After a quake there will be mass confusion, property damage, and probably chaos for awhile. 

-Try not to tie up phone lines, use text messages instead.  

-Don't light a match or lighter until you are positive there are NO GAS leaks!  If you must turn off your gas don't try to turn it back on, leave it to a professional.  

-Be prepared for after shocks.  They could happen for a week, or longer, after a quake.  

-Be careful if the quake happened at night.  Glass will most likely be everywhere.  Always keep a pair of sneakers under your bed, along with a flashlight.


Power Surges
Power Strips only protect from one surge.
 While listening to the radio after the California quake last week, I learned a great tip.  There will most likely be power surges following a quake.  The easiest thing to do would be to unplug all your electronics, but having a surge protector is smart too.  But did you know that a power strip surge protector will only work once!  I had no idea!  So if you do experience a power surge, you will most likely need to purchase new power strips for your electronics.  Oh, and there isn't a power strip strong enough to withstand a lightning strike.  If you are experiencing lightning go around and unplug everything. Just as a precaution.


Please BE PREPARED!!!   This is why I have this blog, to help all of you NOW, before the disaster strikes!
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