Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 In Review

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This year has flown by and I really can't believe that 2012 is only hours away!  As I look back on 2011, and all the preparedness goals that I accomplished, I feel good about turning a new corner into 2012!  This year I was able to use my Sun Oven and I learned how to make bread in it.  I received a Volcano Stove and a Saratoga Jack Thermal Cooker (more on this to come!!) and I stocked my pantry with good coupon deals and case lot sales.  How did you do?  What are you going to focus on for your family in 2012??

My goals for 2012 are to purchase and have on hand a years' worth of food for my family.  I also want to do a lot more powerless cooking with all my fun new cooking gadgets.  For my Ward and here on the blog I am going to focus on getting your food storage on a budget along with basic budgeting tips.  I am also going to do many powerless cooking posts because I feel it is important to have more than one backup plan if we lost power.  Keep your eyes out for new posts all year long as we continue to prepare and lay up in store!!!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade- Corkscrew Chicken

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Corkscrew chicken is one of the recipes that I have in my dinner binder.  It is simple to make and great for those evenings when life just doesn't slow down.  It is also food storage friendly because all the ingredients could be shelf stable.  I use raw chicken when I use this recipe in my daily cooking, but in an emergency situation I would definitely use my canned chicken.

 These are a few of the ingredients that are needed and they are all things that you can have on hand for this recipe.  The garlic could easily be garlic powder or garlic flakes.  I cook all my chicken and cube it before freezing it so I can make dinner quickly.

 American Beauty Quick Cook pasta is a food storage must have for every pantry.  Once the water is boiling the pasta only takes 3 minutes to cook.  This will save a lot of fuel if you were cooking on a propane stove or using charcoal.  

 After the pasta is cooked I use the same pan to saute the onion, garlic and also to warm the chicken.

I then add the sauce and broth to warm up and dinner is ready!!

Corkscrew Chicken
4 chicken breasts cubed
1 onion chopped (1 T dried onion, rehydrated)
3 T oil
1 garlic clove
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 C chicken broth
2 C corkscrew pasta

In a large pan cook the pasta according to directions on the box.  Drain.  Using the same pot add the oil and saute the chicken, onion, and garlic until chicken is no longer pink.  Add the broth, noodles, and sauce and heat through.  Serve with Parmesan cheese.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade-Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

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The big day is less than a week away!!! Are you ready???  My children are already bouncing off the walls with excitement.  If you have any parties or neighbor gifts you need to make, then try these cookies out!!  They are flavored with candy canes so they are perfect for the Christmas season.  The original cookie recipe was called Peppermint Whoopie Pies, but I made a cake mix cookie instead just to make it easier. I did make one batch with the original recipe and they were yummy too!  You can find the original recipe HERE.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
For the cookie recipe click HERE.

Marshmallow Filling:
1 C butter, room temperature
1 t vanilla
1 7oz jar of marshmallow creme
2 C powdered sugar
6-8 drops red food coloring
1/3 C crushed candy canes

Make cookies as directed.  With a hand mixer or stand mixer beat the butter until smooth, beat in the vanilla and marshmallow cream.  With the mixer on low, gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Then on high speed beat the filling until light and fluffy. (about 3-5 min.) Stir in the crushed candy canes. 

Place the filling between two cookies.  Store covered in the fridge for several days. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas The Preparedness Way

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Christmas is an excellent time to help others start or add to their food storage and emergency preparedness.  Giving preparedness items to family and friends is like giving them a helping hand in case of an emergency.  There are so many different items you can give along with a wide range of prices.  

Under $20 Gifts
  • Preparedness cookbooks (100 Day Pantry, The Essential Food Storage Cookbook, Dinner It's In The Bag, I Dare You To Eat It, The Amazing Wheat Book, Preparedness Principles, Food Storage In A Nutshell, many more HERE)
  • #10 Cans of Food from the LDS Cannery, Honeyville Grain, and Emergency Essentials
  • Heavy Duty swing-away can opener (there is no use in having cans without a can opener)
  • High calorie food bars to keep in 72-hour and car kits.
  • MRE's- meals ready to eat (Emergency Essentials)
  • Seed sprouting kits and sprouting seeds
  • Small first aid kits
  • Gamma lids- they twist off of 4-6 gallon buckets to make long-term storage easy to us
  •  Flashlights, emergency candles, light sticks, lanterns
  • Car kit items- shovels that fold, rope, tools, gloves, tarps, Mylar blankets, wool blankets
  • Portable toilets or manual washing machine (plunger)
  • 5-7 gallon water containers 
  • Butane stove and butane canisters
$21-$80 Gifts
  • Hand Grain Mill
  • Pre-made 72-hour kits or car kits
  • Backpacks
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Solar or hand crank radios
  • Privacy tents (for portable toilets and showers)
  • FoodSaver with jar attachments (counter top FoodSaver sold at Honeyville and other retailers)
  • #10 cans of freeze dried fruits and veggies
  • Wonder Clean Washer (a 15quart manual washing machine sold at Emergency Essentials)
  • 15, 30, and 55 gallon water barrels
  • Water purifiers
  • Water bath canners
  • Dehydrators
  • Small tents
  • Cases of food from the LDS Cannery, Honeyville Grain, Emergency Essentials)
Gifts Over $80
  • Pressure Canners
  • Volcano Stoves
  • Tents
  • Higher End food dehydrators
  • Wheat grinders (Nutrimill is my favorite)
  • Bosch Mixer
  • Generators, Solar back up power packs, Goal Zero generators
  • Solar Ovens (Global Sun Oven)
  • Berkey Water Purifier
As you start checking off your Christmas list this year make sure to include some sort of preparedness gift for your family and friends!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade- Chocolate Chip Cake Bars

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Chocolate Chip Cake Bars are my go-to dessert whenever I have to make a quick, but delicious dessert.  I have had this recipe for about 10 years and I think I got it from the Taste Of Home magazine.  No matter where I found it, it is really yummy!!

Chocolate Chip Cake Bars
1 package yellow cake mix
2 eggs (2 T egg powder + 4 T water)
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C butter, melted
1/4 C water
2 C. chocolate chips, divided
1 T shortening

Combine the first 5 ingredients and beat for 2 minutes in a mixer.  Stir in 1 1/2 C chocolate chips. Spread into a 13x9 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  (the batter will be thick)  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Mix the 1/2 C chocolate chips with the shortening and melt in microwave for about 30-45 seconds.  Drizzle over the cooled cake and cut into bars.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Can You Organize Your Cans?

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Christmas came a little early this year for me :)  I have wanted to organize my storage room, and specifically all the cans I have piled up in there.  I have wanted to order some rolling can organizers for a while and I finally bit the bullet and ordered them from  and I received them 2 days later!!  I couldn't believe how fast they got here.  I ordered the pantry size organizers to fit in my shelves that are 24" deep.  They come in packs of 4 for $15.96 and I ordered 2 packs.  The pantry size that I ordered holds 16-18 soup/fruit cans.  Check out the website to see the other sizes available-

This is how the organizers arrive.
All you need to do is tear off the extra cardboard...

Extra cardboard off and ready to fold into an organizer!
It took me a few minutes to figure out how to fold the first organizer but after that I folded 8 of them in about a half hour.
One down, eight more to go!!
 This is the pantry shelf that I wanted these organizers to reside in, but (insert me thinking without measuring) they weren't deep enough.  This set of shelving is only 18" deep while the rest of my shelves are 2 feet deep.  So after a little rearranging I figured out where to place everything.  (sheesh I need more sleep, I think)
Crazy can disorganization!!
All 8 of the organizers fit onto one shelf and I love being able to see exactly what I have on hand.  I fit about 18 cans in each slot, except for the water chestnuts, they fit side by side so about 32 would fit.
All finished and I LOVE them!!!!
The organizers that I ordered are the longest size that they sell.  There are other sizes made to fit in your cabinet or pantry as well.  I am just so excited to be able to send my children down to the storage room and actually find what they were sent down to get.  I hope this gives you another option for ororganizing your storage!!

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

Monday, December 5, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade- Oatmeal Cookie Snacks

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This recipe makes a great snack or great fix for that late night craving!  I like these cookies right out of the oven when they are still warm, but they are also good the next day.  If you keep them in an air tight container they get kind of soft, but if you warm them up for a few seconds they taste great!

 Oatmeal Cookie Snacks
1/2 C butter softened
1/2 C applesauce
3/4 C honey
2 eggs (2 T egg powder + 4 T water)
1 t vanilla
1/2 C buttermilk (1/2 C milk + 1 1/2 t vinegar & let sit about 5 min.)
2 C whole wheat flower
2 T ground flax seed
2 C oats (I use quick oats)
1 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 C chocolate chips

In a mixer or large bowl add all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, and mix until blended.  The batter will be very moist.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a melon baller, cookie scoop, or a rounded tablespoon, place dough about 2" apart on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until cookies are slightly browned on the edges.  Cool the cookies for a minute or two and transfer to a cooling rack.  

You could add nuts, dried fruit, etc to these cookies to boost the nutrition, but we are allergic at my house to nuts and dried fruit is a hard sell to my kids in a cookie.  I hope you like these as much as we do!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Live Your Best Self-Reliant Life in 2011

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It's December and I am in denial!!  I really cannot believe how fast this year has flown by!! Back in January we started the year off by setting goals so we could Live Our Best Self-Reliant Lives in 2011.  My intention was to help everyone to live a self-reliant life everyday and not just in relation to an emergency.  I hope you were able to accomplish some of (if not all of:) the monthly goals that were handed out in church and also written about on the blog.  I tried to make it as simple and clear cut as I could, so everyone would be able to accomplish one or more of the monthly goals.  Don't worry if you didn't quite accomplish everything this past year, we will be continuing our emergency preparedness in 2012!!

Since it is a new month we do need a new set of goals.  December is usually the month most people do a lot of baking and the grocery sales usually reflect great prices on baking items.  In November our goal was to store baking essentials and this month we are going to focus on SUGARS.  

  • Look through your pantry and see what items you aren't using as quickly as you thought you would.  Try out a few new recipes using that stored ingredient so you don't waste your food storage.  Last year I bought a lot of canned pumpkin and I didn't use as much as I thought I would.  I have been trying out pumpkin waffles, bread, muffins, and soups so I don't waste the money I spent on the canned pumpkin.  
  • Continue to store water for your family!! Pick up a case of water bottles the next time you go to the store.  At Smith's this week (until 12/6) they have a 24 pack of water for $2.50.  
  • Look back at your budget from 2011 and see where you could make changes to improve your budget for 2012 or set in place the things that did work for you.  
  • This month we are going to store SUGAR.  This category includes HONEY, SUGAR, BROWN SUGAR, MOLASSES, CORN SYRUP, JAMS/JELLIES, FRUIT DRINK POWDER, & FLAVORED GELATIN.  It is recommended that for 1 adult you should store around 60lbs of sugar.  You can mix and match the different sugars to meet the needs of your family.  I know my family doesn't really care for flavored gelatin and so I only store a few boxes in case I need them.  We do use a ton of brown sugar and honey.  I have been making bread every week this whole year and I can't believe how much more honey we go through.  
  • Our goal for this month is LIGHTING.  This includes FLASHLIGHTS, CANDLES, MATCHES, LANTERNS, BATTERIES FOR YOUR FLASHLIGHTS, LAMPS/OIL, etc.  A great idea is to keep a flashlight inside a pair of sneakers and store it under your bed.  If an emergency happened in the middle of the night, then you would be prepared to light the way and not injure your feet stepping on glass.  I also like this tip because I always know where a flashlight is.  Emergency candles (100 hour candles) are also a great, inexpensive item to have on hand.  They would make a great stocking stuffer as well.  A really fun idea is to make a candle holder out of a mason jar.  Click HERE to see how to make one.  They would make a great neighbor gift or for your visiting teaching ladies.  If you haven't heard of Lehman's, you need to check them out!  They have anything and everything related to preparedness.  They also have great kerosene lamps and all the necessary items you would need to use them.  Click here to see their kerosene lamps.  I am sure you can find these items locally but checking online first will give you an idea of what you need to purchase.  I bought some battery operated lanterns (pictured above) that will work in a pinch, but I would have go store quite a few batteries to use them regularly. Find what lighting works for you and start from there.  I have a little of everything just in case!

** Remember to always have batteries on hand and to rotate them, they do expire. 

There you have it, the last set of goals for 2011!!!  Finish up the year on a good note and fill in the gaps of your storage if you need to.  

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

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!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade-Candy Corn Crackers

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I found a really fun recipe that doesn't use sugar and it is still a really great Halloween treat.  This recipe is from one of my favorite bento lunch blogs called Lunches Fit For A Kid.  Bento lunches are an Asian inspired lunch where the food is placed into compartments and usually has a theme.  

My kids have a kind of a bento lunch for school lunch everyday and I was looking for ways to add Halloween fun without it being sugary.  So when I saw the "Candy Corn Cracker" recipe, I was really excited to try it!!

Start off by making the dough from a recipe by King Arthur's Flour. (I followed it just as written) Click HERE to see that recipe.  The recipe calls for Vermont powdered cheese, but cheddar cheese powder (that's what I used) works just fine.  (Click HERE to see the recipe I found for the crackers) When your dough has come together you will need to divide it into thirds.  Spread out a piece of plastic wrap and place one third of the dough in a small rectangle in the middle of the plastic wrap.  With the other 2 pieces of dough you will need to color one third yellow, and one third orange.  I used regular old food coloring drops from the grocery store.  Layer the orange layer on top of the plain dough and the yellow on top.  Wrap up the dough and let it cool in the fridge for a half hour. 

Layered dough ready to go into the fridge.
After chilling in the fridge for a half hour, slice the dough very thin, about 1/16" and cut into candy corn shapes.  I didn't think that the small rectangle dough would make very many crackers, but it did!  It made a whole tray and about another half of a cookie sheets worth.  Place the crackers on a greased cookie sheet.
Ready to into the oven!!

Bake the crackers at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.  They will puff up slightly but not really spread out.  

 My crackers came out light and puffy, but I think they were suppose to be kind of crunchy.  It was hard to slice them thin enough, but I still think they are really yummy!!  Happy Halloween!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gimme Somethin' Good To Eat!!

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I don't know about you, but chocolate has a place in my home food storage.  We have been counseled to store familiar food, comfort food, food that will keep us sane in an emergency.  So maybe I took that literally :) and I found a great way to store chocolate and candy for long term storage!!

There are only a few things that you will need to be able to store candy on your pantry shelf long term.  I have talked about using a FoodSaver before and it is essential to long term candy storage.  You will also need mason jars, lids, and of course candy.  This time of year is a great time to find candy on sale.  Look for sales after Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and stock up for a great price.

The process is simple:  buy candy, place in a mason jar, and seal with your FoodSaver.  Easy, almost too easy to have candy preserved!!

I keep my FoodSaver plugged in so it's ready to use.
 There are two ways to seal your jars with the FoodSaver. The first way, and the way I like to do it, is to use a FoodSaver canister (I got mine on I place the lid and ring on my jar and set it in the FoodSaver canister and put the lid on the canister and plug in the hose.  
If you use the FoodSaver canister you have to put a ring on the jar first or it won't seal.
 Then I press the button and the FoodSaver  does all the work.  The machine will stop on its own and you will need to hit cancel, release the air with the button on top of the canister, and then check to see if your lid sealed.  You can take the ring off and if it sealed, place on your pantry shelf!  I do this with all kinds of candy;  chocolate bars, suckers, M&M's, candy canes, candy corn (leave in bag and seal the bag in the jar), Werther's, Tootsie Pops, etc. 

Another way to seal is to use the FoodSaver jar attachments to seal your jar.  In the picture of my FoodSaver above you can see one leaning against the canister.  They are a lid that fits over the mason jar (don't put a ring on your mason jar, only the lid) and you attach the hose to the top of it.  I haven't had consistent luck in sealing jars with the attachments, but sealing with the canister I rarely have a jar not seal.  And if it doesn't seal it is usually because I need a new jar lid, not because of the canister. 

What a lovely picture :)

Just at note though ***Don't store chocolate with any other kind of candy.  The chocolate will absorb the taste of other items. ***   You don't want fruity tasting Butterfinger bars, at least I don't.  This goes for chocolate chips as well.  I put my chocolate chips in mason jars and seal them up.  Ace Hardware sells the 2 gallon jars and they hold A LOT of chocolate chips!!

The 2 gallon mason jar from Ace Hardware.
After Halloween this year save some of the kiddies candy and store it for a later date.  It would be a great way to make the candy stretch so your children don't eat it all at once.  You may wonder how long the candy will last, and I know it's at least a year.  I just used some M&M's to make cookies and they tasted as fresh at when we got them on Halloween in 2010.  

"Be faithful.
Unecomber your life.
Lay up in store."  Keith B. McMullin
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