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
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