Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas the Self-Reliant Way

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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I really can't believe that December is almost here. Time to think Christmas and what to get your family and friends for gifts this year. Food storage items make great gifts, especially for those hard to buy for people. I recommend Emergency Essentials for some great gadgets. My favorite right now is the hand crank radio that also charges cell phones and plays MP3 players. (as the mom of a teenager, this is a must for entertainment) It is called a Kaito Voyager (model KA500). I also want the solar battery charger. You supply the rechargeable batteries and the sun does the rest. Then worries over having the right amount of batteries is taken care of. They have almost every emergency item available and right now their water barrels are on sale- 55 gallon is $39.99- 30 gallon is $34.99-and the 15 gallon is $24.95. Check out their website for all the fun things-  (I don't get anything for talking about them, I really love their stuff :)

Another gadget that I recently purchased is a hand crank for my Bosch mixer. Kneading dough by hand is not my idea of fun and I am so excited to try out the hand crank. I found it at and it ran $14.99 with free shipping. I know several ward members own a Bosch and thought this would be a great gift idea.

The top item on my wish list is a Sun Oven. This handy suitcase sized box cooks your food with the sun. Cold temperatures don't affect the cooking, you only need the sun. Check out the website HERE and see what they can do. The Bosch Kitchen Center on about 6200 S and Highland Dr. carry these. They are pricey, around $300.00 but you can use them all year round. Think how great it would be to have dinner cooking outside in the middle of July.
And lastly, click HERE to read a great post from the Preparedness Pro of her gadget must haves. I really like her website and get a lot of information from her.

I know that many of us don't "need" anything, but home storage items would make wonderful gifts. I would talk to your family ahead of time to make sure the items that you want to buy are items they really want and could use. I really want "real" sleeping bags for my family this year. I think my children would be ok with that as a gift.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gear Up For Winter Driving

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"Gear up for winter driving" on page D6 of the Sunday Tribune. Just thought I would let you all know. It has a list of items to keep in your car. Get ready, the snow is coming.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Surviving The Flu

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Swine Flu, we hear these two words on a daily basis now. I hope and pray that you have not been affected by this flu. If you have been you have probably learned what would help and what didn't while you were sick. My children haven't been sick, but they get quite a few headaches and we were down to the last bottle of Motrin. It made me think about how much medicine that I would need to last a year and I realized that I definitely don't have enough. I know all moms can understand the helplessness when children are sick in the middle of the night and nothing seems to work. Well, I don't want to have to worry about getting pain reliever for my children and stocking up on medicine and sickness related items are my focus for awhile.

Click HERE and read a handout from a mom who was ill along with her children and came up with some great ideas of what to have on hand when you and your family become sick. It is labeled a Moms Survival guide, but I think it applies to all of us.

Some items that I always have on hand are hand sanitizer, sports drinks, 7-up, crackers, pain reliever, Clorox wipes, and other disinfecting cleaners. I am a germ obsessed mom and I have to be able to disinfect everything when someone becomes sick in my family. I don't want the virus to spread to everyone.

Medicine In Your Food Storage:

I have found Walmart to have the lowest prices on their store brand medicine. It contains the same ingredients as the name brands and is usually half price. Look around as you shop to catch the deals on over-the-counter medicines. October and November are the 2 biggest sale months for Rite Aid and Walgreens for medicine. So watch the ads and save big! Stock up on the medicines your family uses.

You might want to also check with your pharmacist to see if you are able to get more than just one months worth of your medications. Especially if they are medications you can't go without.

Make a list of medicines that you and your family use and decide how you will can get enough for at least a 3 month supply. Look for sales, or maybe just by one extra every other week when you grocery shop.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pumpkin Shortage

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One of my favorite vegetabl-es (or is it a fruit?) is rumored to have a shortage this fall. 

This article was in the LA Times:
By Jerry Hirsch October 10, 2009
"Pumpkin pie lovers be warned: You may not find your favorite can of pie filling at the supermarket. There's a national shortage of canned pumpkin and pie filling, a result of poor weather that reduced last year's crop. Shoppers report finding bare shelves, and the supermarkets say they have been put on an "allocation," or quota, system by Libby's, a division of food giant Nestle that controls more than 80% of the canned pumpkin market. Libby's typically uses surpluses from the previous year to stock store shelves during September and October, when the annual pumpkin harvest gets underway. Wet conditions during last year's growing season left canners without a surplus this year, said Roz O'Hearn, a Libby's spokeswoman. But this year's crop is on its way. "We began shipping Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin [filling] in late September, so it should be on grocer's shelves soon," she said.
Shoppers could find the filling a bit more expensive this year. Libby's has a suggested retail price of $1.59 for its 15-ounce can and a suggested price of $2.59 for its 29-ounce cans of pure pumpkin and pumpkin pie mix. O'Hearn said the prices represented a "small increase" over last year because of higher expenses for the steel that goes into the cans and higher grower costs. She did not provide a percentage increase."
  • So it looks like we may pay a little more for our canned pumpkin this year and one way to save some money is to puree your own pumpkin. If you still have some cooking pumpkins left over from Halloween now is the time to actually cook them. It is really quite simple. Pumpkin can be boiled, or baked and both ways you'll need to start by scooping out all the stringy stuff and then cutting the pumpkin into pieces.
  • Simmer Method: cut pumpkin into 3-4 inch pieces and remove skin with knife and boil 35-40 minutes.
  • Baking Method: cut pumpkin in half and then into quarters if too big. Place flesh side down in about 1" of water and cover with foil. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until tender.
  • After your pumpkin is cooked it needs to be mashed. A potato masher, blender or food processor will work, you pick your favorite. Now your pumpkin is ready to freeze. About 7 C of pumpkin puree will make about 2 pies so freeze according to your recipe. Remember that your homemade version will have a lot more water in it and you'll probably be able to omit the water or liquid in your pumpkin recipes. You could also strain your pumpkins before you freeze it. Cheesecloth would work in a strainer over a bowl in the fridge over night.
  • I love pumpkin bread, muffins and pancakes. I love to sneak healthy food in yummy treats. Pumpkin muffins are part of my 3 month supply menu and I need about 4of the bigger cans of pumpkin puree to last my family 3 months. Don't worry if you use pumpkin and don't have any to cook because I am going to find the lowest price on canned pumpkin and we will all get our pumpkin stored.
Pumpkin Muffins (makes 24 muffins)
from: The Essential Food Storage Cookbook
By: Tami Girsberger and Carol Peterson (great Christmas present)
3 C flour (2 c wheat & 1 C white)
2 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t cloves
1 C butter (2 sticks)
2 C sugar
4 eggs (I use powdered eggs)
1 150z can pumpkin
12 oz chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ginger together. Cream the butter and sugar and then add the eggs and pumpkin; add to dry ingredients. (fold in chocolate chips if you like) Pour into 2 muffin tins. (this recipe makes 24 muffins) Bake for 22-25 minutes. I freeze 12 of them for a dinner later in the month and they freeze wonderfully.
This example of a pumpkin shortage just reinforces my belief in food storage. We are not just storing for a disaster. We are storing food for many reasons and food shortages are one of them. I encourage all of you to look at what food storage you do have and to find the parts that you may be lacking. Keep a list of items that you need and watch the grocery lists that I post on Wednesday's to be able to stock up on your items affordably. I know we can all do this and feel the peace of having food storage.
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