Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cooking with Charcoal - Making a Cardboard Box Oven

One of the most important storage items you need to consider is fuel. Today we are talking about one type of fuel used for cooking. Charcoal briquettes are a great storage item. You can store them in airtight containers or bucket with a lid in a shed or garage so that they stay dry and are easily accessible.

There are many different ways to cook with briquettes. Today we are discussing just one of these methods – a Homemade Cardboard Box Oven.

This oven is easy to make and can be used to bake in the event of a power outage. It is a good idea to learn how to make an oven and especially how to use it BEFORE the need arises. It isn’t complicated or difficult and if you involve your family it can be a fun activity. Here are the instructions for making a Cardboard Box Oven:

What you need:
1 cardboard box with a slide-on top (like a box that holds reams of paper

Charcoal Briquettes
Matches (or a lighter)
Aluminum foil
1 round aluminum pie or cake pan (to place your charcoals in)
3 wire hangers
Scissors or a knife
The food you want to bake

Line the inside of your box and the inside of your lid with aluminum foil. If you'd like, dab some Elmer's glue around the inside and cover to hold the foil in place (this is a good idea if you want to keep your box oven, and not just make a new one in an emergency).

With scissors or a knife, poke three holes in a straight line on each end of the box, about halfway down from the top. Try to make the holes on one end of the box line up with the holes on the other end of the box. You'll see what these are for in just a minute.

Straighten out your three hangers. Put the three straightened hangers through the holes. These will act as a shelf to place your food on.

Next, bend your wires so that they will remain tight inside the oven. You don't want heavy food bending the wires and sitting directly on the charcoals. This step might be kind of difficult, so you may want an extra pair of hands and some pliers. It doesn't have to look pretty, it just has to work!

Next, poke some other small random holes in your box so that oxygen can get in and gases can get out. If your holes on the side remain small, use your knife or scissors and poke a few holes on the top of the box, and maybe one or two on each side. If the three holes you poked in each side are larger than just big enough for the wire to fit through you probably won’t need extra holes. If they have become fairly large, they are probably all you need.

Now you are ready to cook. Place some charcoal briquettes in your round aluminum plate. Each charcoal briquette supplies 40º of heat, so 9 briquettes will give you a 360º oven.

Light your briquettes with the matches or a lighter (it will probably take a few matches. Be sure that each briquette burns). Let the briquettes burn for a while... Until they look like this! Then you're ready to go.

With your tongs, pick up the hot plate of charcoal and slide it carefully between your wire shelf onto the bottom of your box.

Use the tongs to straighten out the charcoals and spread them out a bit. Have your food prepared when the charcoals are ready to go. Try baking a cake first if you want an easy experiment.

Place your food on the wire racks and cover with your oven top with the foil lined box lid. Time your food as you would in an oven. *Note: If your recipe calls for a longer baking time (more than 45 minutes to an hour), you will probably have to switch out your charcoals with new charcoals around the 45-minute mark.

Do not use your oven on a wooden deck or on grass, or anything flammable. It needs to be placed on concrete or blocks. Never use this oven indoors.

Carefully life the pan out of your oven (use hot pads!) and enjoy! You can eat well with no electricity. Cooking with charcoal in your homemade oven can allow you to bake as you would in your home oven. Try several different items and become proficient at baking in your cardboard box oven. Some people have even cooked a turkey in their ovens! This would be a great family activity to do during the summer to learn more preparedness skills and have fun at the same time. *Note: when learning to use your cardboard oven, try baking with disposable foil baking pans. Experiment with cakes, cookies, quick breads for a fun learning experience.

If you want to save your oven for an emergency, keep it inside a heavy duty garbage bag and place on a shelf or in a storage tote to keep it from getting moisture damage or becoming smashed or damaged.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Food Storage Friendly Friday – Meal Idea and Tip of the Week

Here is a fun tip that I recently started doing. It has always been so easy to buy bread crumbs already seasoned that I never really bothered making them. Now I have found that not only do I save money making my own but I have a new use for that bread that we don’t eat up before it goes bad. I like that! And I like the flavor of the homemade crumbs better. I use seasoned bread crumbs for many recipes that I make. One of my favorite uses is for breading fresh vegetables to bake or fry. I love how easy it is to make your own. Here is how I do it:

Bread Crumbs
Preheat oven to 250º. Using stale bread, arrange bread in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes until crisp. Cool. Break into small pieces and feed, slowly, into a blender or food processor. Store crumbs in an airtight container. They will keep for several weeks on the shelf and for a very long time in the freezer.

Italian Bread Crumbs
2 c. bread crumbs
¼ c. parmesan cheese, grated or powdered
2 T. parsley
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. *Note: If using grated parmesan, crumbs must be refrigerated. With powdered parmesan, they can be stored in your pantry.

This week I’m posting another dessert recipe (my favorite kind) that was sent to me by Marie C. of New Mexico. This looks so good and as I was posting this I had the thought that I bet the Raisin filling for these bars could also be made with dried apples. If anyone tries it let us know how it is. I will be making these bars for dessert very soon. They look so good. Thanks for sending the recipe Marie.

Cinnamon-Raisin Bars
½ c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
½ t. salt
½ t. soda
1½ c. flour
1½ c. quick oats
Raisin Filling
Cinnamon Icing
Cream Butter and sugar. Sift together dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture. Add oats and 1 Tbsp water. Mix until crumbly. Firmly pat half the mixture in greased 9 x 13 pan. Spread with Raisin Filling. Mix remaining crumbs and 1 T. water; spoon over filling; pat smooth. Bake about 35 min at 350º. Cool. Drizzle with Cinnamon Icing. Makes 2 ½ dozen.
Raisin Filling:
Combine ¼ c. granulated sugar and 1 T. cornstarch in saucepan. Stir in 1 c. water and 2 c. raisins. Cook over medium heat till thickened and bubbly. Cool.
Cinnamon Icing:
Mix 1 c. sifted powdered sugar with ¼ t. ground cinnamon. Stir in enough milk, about 1 T. for drizzling.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dehydrating Hash Browns

I have a good friend who I talk to on a regular basis. One of the first things she asks whenever we talk is, “What are you canning today?” or “What project have you got going on now?” She and I share ideas and discuss new things we have tried.

I was telling her last week about our potato abundance this year. We live in “potato country” where we can buy fresh potatoes from the farmers in 50 pound bags during harvest every fall. We buy several bags for family or friends and for ourselves which we store in our basement where it is cool. This year we ended up with a couple of large bags left. It has been a cooler spring than normal so they have not started to sprout as much as usual.

For those of you who are not familiar with fresh potatoes, the potatoes we buy are very large, beautiful russets that stay firm and fresh until the weather starts to warm up and then they start to sprout. When the sprouts start to grow, the potatoes start to become soft and are not as easy to use.

I was telling my friend that when the sprouting starts, I have to either use the potatoes quickly or spread them out on newspaper or in boxes and keep the sprouts broken off until I can use the potatoes up. I mentioned that it was going to be hard for my husband and me to eat over 100 pounds of potatoes before they go bad.

Her reply was, “You need to dry those potatoes! With all the flooding and disasters around the country this year, who knows what kind of a harvest of potatoes or any food for that matter, there will be next fall? I realized that she was right. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before. So I started the process of making homemade dried hash brown potatoes.

These potatoes are easy to dry and store well in a small amount of space. I am so excited to get the rest of these potatoes dried and stored as part of my food storage. I can’t believe I didn’t even consider drying these potatoes before. I’m grateful to my friend for the suggestion and also to have the potatoes available to do this. Things don’t look very good weather-wise and so many people are in such a sad situation with the tornados, devastation and with many entire farms being underwater without much hope for a crop of any kind. Take advantage of any abundance you may have now and prepare for the time when you or someone you know is in need.

Here are the easy directions for making homemade dehydrated hash brown potatoes.

1. Peel the potatoes and put them in a large pot of cold water. 2. Grate them using a grater, the grater attachment on a food processor, salad shooter or other appliance you use for grating.
3. Using a colander or large strainer, rinse the grated potatoes well until the water runs clear and no starch remains.
4. Immerse grated potatoes into boiling water for 3-4 minutes.
5. Immediately drain water from potatoes and put potatoes in a pan and cover with cold water.
6. Add 1 c. lemon juice; stir the lemon juice into the potatoes and water.
7. Let potatoes sit in lemon water for 45 minutes. The lemon juice with not affect the taste of the potatoes.
8. Drain off the potatoes.
9. Spread grated potatoes on dehydrator sheets. Dry several hours or until crispy.
10. Store potatoes in sealed containers. For long term storage, seal with oxygen absorbers in Mylar bags or #10 dry pack cans.
11. To rehydrate: Use 2 c. dried hash browns; cover with boiling water and let set 15-20 minutes. (Optional: add dried onion flakes in with your potatoes to rehydrate and make “taters and onion” hash browns.
12. Cook for hash browns, add to soups or casseroles of your choice.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dessert – A fun food storage idea

Photo by Peggy Clyde

As you know I have loved doing dry pack at home with Mylar Bags and my iron. It has been so fun to be able to store little bits or big bunches and seal them with oxygen absorbers for when I want to use them. While looking at some of my favorite blogs, I found a new fun idea for dry packing food in quart canning jars. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities. I can’t wait to see what I can do with this new information. This information is from Peggy Clyde. Here is what she says:

“I have been storing comfort food for times of need. Use a clean canning jar with new lids and rings. Put the food into the jars to within ½” to ¼” from the top. Add an oxygen absorber to the top of the food, put on a new lid and screw the band down tightly. Within several hours, the jar will be sealed and will last many years. The food inside will be like new when opened.”

“I have stored M&M's, chocolate chips, brownie mix and cake mixes. With the brownie mixes and cake mixes, I added one unflavored gelatin pack per egg required with the mix. Water plus the gelatin is equal to an egg when baking. I write the directions and what the mix is on the lid. Oxygen absorbers can be purchased from Amazon for a little around 10 cents each. Or, if you live near a Home Storage Center, you can also purchase them there.” – Peggy Clyde (http://peggyspantry.blogspot.com/)

This idea really intrigued me. I have not tried it yet but I will. I think the possibilities are endless. The only thing I think you would have to remember is that the jars would have to be very full so that the new lid would seal. Too much oxygen and it wouldn’t seal. All the more reason to store lots of extra new canning lids!

One idea that I want to try is to store a chocolate cake mix, (just take it out of the box but leave it in the bag it comes in, and stuff it in a quart jar; add 2 envelopes of Knox gelatin (you could also use powdered eggs or fresh eggs if you have them). For each chocolate cake mix I bottled I would also store a can of cherry pie filling. Here is one of my favorite recipes. Other variations you could store include; chocolate cake with raspberry pie filling, spice cake with peach pie filling, spice cake with apple pie filling and yellow cake mix with lemon pie filling, or strawberry cake with strawberry pie filling. White cake mix works but you come up with funny colors.

This is, hands down, one of my very favorite desserts. This would be awesome to have on your shelves for whenever you want a little pick-me-up! If you have not tried this recipe, you must. It is so quick and easy and tastes heavenly. I just mix with a wooden spoon so that you can taste the cherries too. I promise you will love this delicious desert. You don’t even need to wait for an emergency to make this.

1 chocolate or fudge cake mix
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
2 eggs, beaten
Combine all ingredients together and stir by hand until mixed well. Pour into greased and floured baking sheet. Bake at 350º for 20-30 minutes or until done. For frosting combine:
1 c. sugar
5 T. butter
1/3 c. milk
Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add 1 c. chocolate chips. Stir until smooth. Pour over chocolate bars. *Can also be baked in a 9x13 pan or used for cupcakes.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Food Storage Friendly Friday – Meal Idea and Tip of the Week

I know that everyone is trying to make their money go further these days. I’m more careful when shopping to make sure I really need the products I put in my cart. I also try to be careful when cooking that I don’t cook more than what we can eat. Sometimes this means cutting the recipe in half and other times it means using less meat and more of the other ingredients and still trying to achieve the same taste and quality.

Here is an idea that one reader suggested when submitting one of her recipes to me. She said she stored “tons” of rice because they love it and she uses it often in her cooking. Here is her tip for making her ground beef go further with her young family. Thanks for the great suggestion, Megan.

Stretching Ground Beef
When I am browning ground beef for anything, Taco’s, Chili, Sloppy Jo’s I add one cup of cooked rice for every pound or pound and a half of meat just after draining the grease off. This works really well and my family never knows. The rice (brown or white) takes the seasoning very well. I try to freeze left over rice from meals that way there is no waste. If I am having a meal with rice then I try making a little more and then plan a meal with ground beef for the same week.

This week’s recipe for French Bread is from Laura P. in Arizona. Thanks Laura for sharing this recipe.

French Bread - Laura P.
2 ½ c. warm water
2 T. yeast
2 t. sugar
Soften in Bosch Mixer bowl (or any bowl if kneading by hand) for 1 for 2 minutes
1 T. Crisco
6-7 C. flour
1 T. salt
Put on level 2 and knead and set timer. This dough will be stiffer than you regular wheat bread recipe. After it turns off, let rest 10 min. Place in greased bowl and rise till doubled. Punch down. Form into 2 logs; slice 3 slashes across tops of loaves with a very sharp knife. Let rise till doubled. Bake at 425º about 15 min. or till lightly browned on top. *I slice it when warm, add butter and garlic salt and put back in the oven for 5 min.

One of my husband’s favorite things is homemade garlic bread. I use this recipe from Our Best Bites for their Garlic Bread Sprinkle. We love it! After trying it, I was determined to make sure I have plenty of these spices on hand so I can always make it. *I love buying the cheese and most of the spices in bulk from Winco!

Garlic Bread Seasoning“Our Best Bites”
½ c. powdered Parmesan cheese
2 t. Kosher salt
2 T. garlic powder
2 t. oregano
2 t. basil
2 t. marjoram
2 t. parsley
Combine ingredients in a jar (preferably one with a sprinkle top) and shake.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Making a Buddy Burner

These are fun little “stoves, ovens or heaters” for camping or an emergency. It could save the lives of your family in a winter no-heat emergency. Make them and store them until needed. These can be made with mostly materials you have on hand. It is a good idea to make up several of the wax filled cans and have them on hand for an emergency.

If you have not used these before, then you should try them. They are fun for kids to cook their own meals on. You can improvise and use empty tin cans to cook in but it is much easier if you have small sauce pans for fry pans to cook with. Check to see what you have that you could use in an emergency so that when you need something you don’t have to search for it. Just like with everything else in preparedness, planning ahead will be much easier than trying to figure things out in the middle of an emergency.

Materials needed to make a buddy burner:
Plain corrugated cardboard (not printed with bright inks or coated with wax or plastic)
Flat tuna cans, flat pet food cans, and/or flat pineapple cans with their lids (Pineapple cans work best because they are a little taller)
#10 cans (the large institutional size)
Candle wax or paraffin

Tools needed to make a buddy burner:
Rotary can opener
Punch type can opener
Tin Snips

Materials needed to use a buddy burner:
Concrete block or bricks
Small clean cans or pans for cooking or baking on top of the #10 can
An additional #10 can if you wish to turn your stove into an oven
Pliers, aluminum foil (optional), pot holders

Step 1)
Cut the cardboard in strips whose width is the height of the tuna or pineapple can you are using -- across the corrugations, so that the holes in the corrugated cardboard show. Roll the strips until the cardboard roll fits snugly into the can. You want a very tight fit.

Step 2)
Melt the wax. It is great if you have an old pan you can use just for melting wax. It is best to use a double boiler, as if the wax gets too hot, it can burst into flame. You can improvise a double boiler by putting water in a large pan, and then setting a smaller pan (or even a large clean empty tin can (vegetable size) with the wax, into the water. Each tuna can will take about 4 ounces of wax.

Step 3)
When the wax is melted, slowly pour it into the buddy burner so that it runs down into the holes and saturates the corrugated cardboard and fill the can to the rim. You can put a small piece of cardboard sticking up or a candle wick in the middle to help start it, but this isn't required. Let it cool and harden. Your burner is ready to go.

Step 4)
Cut out one end of the #10 can. Use the tin snips to cut a 3" high and 4" wide "door" on one side of the can at the open end. Cut across the top of the door. Bend this flap of metal so the door is "open". Take the punch-type can opener, and make 3 or 4 holes on the other side of the can at the top (this is your chimney). Gather the rest of you supplies for cooking and you are all set.

Safety Precautions:
This is very important: Make sure to set the burner on a brick or concrete block. It produces a lot of heat and the flame can be 6-8” high. It isn’t unsafe if you use it carefully. Do not set it on the floor where it can be kicked or where it can catch carpeting on fire. Set it on a concrete block or bricks and set it on a table or stand. If using indoors make sure you have adequate ventilation – keep a door open to the rest of the house and if cooking, open a window just a bit because of the smoke. Don’t let kids play with it; however it will be fun for toasting marshmallows.

To light your buddy burner:
To light it, set it on a brick or concrete block. Put a lighted match in the middle of the can or light the wick. The flame will spread across the top of the can; that's OK, that's what it's supposed do.

To use for cooking:
Place the #10 can over the Buddy Burner and place a pan with whatever you want to cook on top of the #10 can.

To use for baking:
Using tuna cans as little pans, anything you would bake in a regular oven can be baked on top of the #10 can stove. Simply place another #10 can over your baking pan and it’s an oven!

To regulate the flame:
For heating or cooking, use the can lid as a damper but be very careful. Place the lid over all of the flame to extinguish the fire, or cover it partially to regulate the amount of flame. You can also use a piece of aluminum foil (several thicknesses folded), that is larger than the tuna can. Handle the damper with a pair of pliers (ideal), or a pot holder, or punch a couple of holes in the edges of the lid and use some wire to make a handle.

To refill the buddy burner:
Place small amounts of wax on the cardboard while the burner is operating. As long as it has wax, it will function.

To use for Emergency Heat:
Don't put the #10 can over the buddy burner, as it makes more smoke with the #10 can than without. Light the buddy burner; let it warm up a room and remember that it is easier to heat a room than a house, and it is easier to heat a room if you are bundled up warmly. This means a winter no-heat emergency is not a time to expect that you can walk around the house barefoot and in shorts. As soon as the room is warm, extinguish the buddy burner.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

72-Hour Kit Wednesday - Protect your hands & 200th Post

A Personal Note - Today is a milestone for me; a big milestone. This is my 200th post. I’ve been doing this blog for over a year now. I guess I never really thought I would actually do 200 posts, or last even close to a year. Oh my how time flies, especially in the blogging world. I have to say that sometimes knowing you have a blog post to do is like knowing you have a sink full of dirty dishes to wash! It’s always there staring you in the face. However, I have learned so much over the course of the last year and I hope some of you have learned a thing or two also. I have also accomplished so many things towards my preparedness that I have put off doing for years. It has made me scramble to get things completed, learn more about things I was totally unfamiliar with and experiment with recipes and processes that I didn’t even know existed.

I don’t necessarily have much more food storage than I had a year ago; remember it isn’t about the quantity of food storage that you have as much as it is learning how to use what you do have. However, I look at the variety of things I have canned, the new rotating can racks in my storage room, and the different things I have learned to make with my food storage and it really does make me happy that I’m at post #200. I’m not sure how many more posts I will do, but there are things I still want to learn and hopefully more successes I’ll have that I want to share.

I always love hearing from each of you; finding out what you are doing – what you like or what you hate about preparedness. Please send a message or email and let me know what you are up to. If there are any questions you have or things you want to learn about, I may not know but I’ll do my best to find out. Have you made progress this year? Are your 72-hour kits ready to go? What is the biggest difference in your preparedness right now from this time a year ago? Are you cooking with your food storage? Have you met all your goals and set new ones? Let me know what you think.

One of my big goals this year was to redo my 72 hour kits. It has been fun sharing my weekly posts as I upgrade and revamp my kits. Hopefully I never have to use them, but if I do, they’ll be ready.

We have talked in a previous post about a change of clothing, including gloves. We even talked about having an extra pair of gloves for each person to sleep in if extreme conditions exist. I don’t know about you but I hate having cold hands. If my hands are cold the rest of me is cold too.

Another thing to consider is gloves for working. Considering that we do not know what the conditions in an emergency might be, I think it is safe to assume that a good sturdy pair of work gloves for each person might come in handy. Whether we need to use them to gather firewood or kindling, help clear a camping spot, carrying rocks for a fire pit or just plain doing stuff that gets our hands filthy, we might just be glad to have something to protect our hands.

Another thing that we might want to consider for our kits, are hand warmers. They are quite inexpensive and given the climate you live in, you might be glad to have them. I can’t even imagine being forced from my home in some of the extremely cold winters we have here but it could happen. In a case like that we would certainly welcome hand warmers. I would secure plenty for each person for a three-day period.

Make sure that your kits also contain a good pair of fingernail clippers, tweezers for slivers and plenty of Band-Aids and first aid ointment in your first aid kits.

If you live in extreme cold areas like idea, it may be worth looking into glove liners which add extra warmth when needed. Better to be well prepared and able to protect all those valuable hands in your family.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Recycling – Leftovers

Do you love leftovers? I do, sometimes, if it was good the first time around it will probably be good the second time around too. Besides, one less meal to cook; who can complain about that. However, after the second time around those reruns – as my kids used to affectionately call leftovers – may not be so appealing.

The problem at our house now that there are only two of us here for mealtimes, is that we have a lot of leftovers. I really try to cut down the amount I prepare or freeze part of it, but sometimes that is just hard to do. Enter my phobia about wasting perfectly good food and we have a situation.

Last fall when I was dehydrating everything I could find I had some leftover homemade spaghetti sauce I needed to get rid of. The problem was, it was still very tasty and not that old and because I had my dehydrator running anyway, I poured it onto one of my fruit leather sheets and dried it.

I will admit at the time I was thinking what will I do with it. Turns out I have almost used it all up. When I pulled the sheet of dry spaghetti sauce out of my dehydrator, I tore it in pieces and stored it in an airtight storage container. Whenever I made homemade soup during the winter, I threw some on. It was so good. I added some to some pizza sauce I was making and it added wonderful flavor. It tastes great added to vegetable soup too. I even crumbled some into a meatloaf I was making. I love the idea of adding the flavor of peppers and onions and great spices to any dish without actually cutting and chopping.

The point of this whole post is that it is a good practice to learn to recycle as well as to not waste food. My grandma, who didn’t have much as she was growing up in a large family used to say when we threw something out that was still good, “Someday you’ll wish you had that.” Yes, occasionally I hear voices in my head.

I have a recipe for Spaghetti Sauce that I love. It is originally a spaghetti casserole recipe. I make it several different ways. This time I made it and added meatballs and served it over spaghetti. The next day I plucked out the meatballs and made Meatball Sub Sandwiches, leaving most the sauce. Today, I’m drying the sauce, spread thin on my drying trays for use in many different recipes later on. Remember, when you dehydrate something, you are just removing the water. So to reuse it all you have to do is add it to water. Just a note: I have not yet tried drying the meat with the sauce though I know you can, I have not tried it yet.

Just for fun I’ll include the recipe today for the Spaghetti Casserole/Spaghetti & Meatballs/Spaghetti Sauce/Dried Spaghetti Sauce. Maybe you have a favorite recipe of your own. I hope this will inspire you to find different ways to recycle and maybe add to your food storage repertoire in the process.

Spaghetti Casserole
1 lb. hamburger
2-4 T. green pepper, diced fine
½ c. chopped onions
2 t. dried parsley flakes
4 c. tomato juice
1 t. salt
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 ½ t. oregano
1 package spaghetti seasoning mix (or homemade sauce mix)
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. ketchup
1 t. mustard
1-2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 package spaghetti cooked and drained and rinsed in cold water.
Brown beef with onion and peppers. Stir in next 9 ingredients and simmer. Mix in spaghetti and put in casserole dish and cover with grated cheese, heat in oven till heated through.
*Variation #1: Omit hamburger and cheese and add precooked homemade meatballs. Use leftover meatballs in sub sandwiches adding fresh vegetables & cheese.
#2: Make up the sauce, without the cheese, and serve it over cooked spaghetti noodles, enabling you to freeze the leftover sauce without the noodles.
#3: To dry leftover sauce, remove meatballs. Spread sauce very thin on slightly oiled drying trays. Dry until sauce can be peeled from the trays and turned over. Continue drying until no moisture remains. Store in airtight container with sheets of sauce separated by wax paper or plastic wrap. Use as a flavoring in soups, stews sauces or crumbled in meatloaf for extra flavor.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Homemade Cleaning Products

I don’t know about you but every time I buy a bottle of spray cleaner, I am a little disappointed at how much cleaner you actually get for your money. We do pay quite a bit for those fancy spray bottles that they come in. Some of the best advice I ever received was to buy some good quality empty spray bottles and make my own cleaning solution.

There is just something about making it yourself, that is satisfying; especially if it works good and you are saving money. One thing that really makes me feel good is when I am able to use regular household products that I already have and don’t need to run out and buy.

I also like, being the preparedness geek that I am, being able to have all the ingredients on hand. I’m sure I’ll just be itching to clean in the event of an emergency. However, I do know that with the rising cost of everything, there are so many things I’d rather spend my money on than cleaners.

When I was growing up, Saturday was cleaning day. My mother always said that if you have the right cleaning products, and they work well, cleaning is much less stressful. I know that each of us have cleaning jobs that we hate or maybe detest is a better word. Maybe it’s cleaning the toilet, the oven, washing walls or doing dishes. I have said for years that I would rather do any of those than dust. However, a good duster or even furniture polish changes my thinking on that.

There is so much emphasis today on the environment. If you can use a cleaning product that is good to the environment, as well good to your health, that’s even better. Besides, think how much less garbage we’d have without all those empty cleaning product bottles.

I’ve found so many versions of homemade cleaning products and I am sure some of you have some of your own. We’ve talked about the homemade laundry detergents which I love as well as some other things that work but today here are a few other recipes you can try to save a little money. If you have a favorite, tell us about it.

I love using spray cleaner in the kitchen, especially on my stove. It makes cleaning so much easier. Here is a good one that cuts grease or spaghetti sauce easily. You can also use it in the bath on counters and mirrors.

Homemade Cleaning Spray
16 oz spray bottle (better yet use a 32 oz bottle and doubled the ingredients)
1 T. rubbing alcohol
½ c. of vinegar
1 t. dish soap
Add enough water to fill spray bottle. Spray on anything that you wish to clean and wipe with a soft cloth.

Homemade Dish Soap Recipe
This takes a little longer to make, but is even very frugal
¼ c. soap flakes or Ivory or Fels Naptha soap shavings (any bar soap will do)
2 c. water
1 t. lemon juice or white vinegar
Get out a sturdy sauce pan. Pour the water and soap flakes in and slowly heat it over medium heat. Stir the mixture and keep heating it until all the soap flakes melt into the water. DO NOT let the mixture come to a boil. Turn down the heat if needed. Allow the soap mixture to cool a bit, and then stir in the lemon juice or vinegar. Let it sit in the pot until it is completely cooled, then pour it into an old dish soap bottle. If you like, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to make it smell better. If you use the lemon juice, you probably don’t need the essential oil. Bottled lemon juice works just fine.

Homemade Furniture Polish
Mix the ingredients well, apply to the wood and let sit a few minutes, and then buff smooth.
The juice from 1 lemon
1 t. olive oil
1 t. water

A while ago we made homemade fabric softener sheets for your dryer. Here is a recipe for liquid fabric softener if you prefer.

Liquid Fabric Softener
6 c. water
3 c. vinegar
2 c. hair conditioner (a regular bottle is 15 oz, just use that)
Either use an old fabric softener bottle or a big clear plastic juice jugs and mix all ingredients in one of those, and store. Use the same amount as you normally would. Experiment with different scents of conditioner till you find one you love. Also, you can almost always find VO5 or Suave conditioners for around $1.00 a bottle so this is very economical. Vinegar is a great rinsing agent so don't be afraid of the smell. Your clothes won't smell like vinegar.

Fake Febreze
Take one part of that handy dandy fabric softener that you just made and mix it with two parts tap water, shake, and put in a cute colored spray bottle, and spritz on fabric for a fresh scent. It's that easy and it saves a lot of money.

Oven Cleaner
Simply mix a couple tablespoons of cream of tartar with a small amount of white vinegar. There are no exact amounts; you want to end up with a thin paste. Start with about half a capful of vinegar and adjust accordingly. After doing it once you’ll discover the right consistency.
Apply it to the glass with a paper towel, a sponge or your fingers, close the door and wait two to three hours. Remove it — and the gunk — with a damp sponge and dry with a towel. If some stubborn spots remain, just do it again. This costs mere pennies per application and cream of tartar is one of the few things in the baking aisle with an indefinite shelf life. It will still be good five years from now.

Window Cleaner
2 c. water
¼ c. of white distilled vinegar
Up to ½ t. Dawn in a spray bottle
It cleans windows beautifully!

Floor Cleaner
1 c. white vinegar
1 gallon hot water
Mix together and mop!

Bathroom Cleaner
To a spray bottle add:
½ c. Dawn
Finish filling bottle with as much vinegar as the bottle holds. It works as good as any commercial tub cleaner!

Toilet Cleaner
¼ c. baking soda
¼ c. Dawn
¼ c. water
Mix above ingredients. Let sit on the toilet bowl for a couple of hours, swish with a toilet brush, and flush.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Food Storage Friendly Friday - Meal Ideas and Tip of the Week

Many years ago, when I first started working on preparedness, I had a friend who shared some shopping tips with me that I have never forgotten. She said, “If you want to have more money to spend on food storage, go shopping less often.” What she meant by this was that if you can shop for 2 weeks or even a month at a time, you’ll spend less on groceries than if you go every week or even more often.

My first question to her was, “What about milk? I have to go buy milk every week.” She then asked if I had a freezer and told me to buy as much milk as I needed for a month and freeze the extra until I needed it. She told me that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the frozen milk and the unfrozen milk.

I was skeptical at first but I bought a gallon and tried it. She was right. I found that I could buy most of my milk for the month at one time and avoid returning to the store for milk and picking up other things. You still may have to pick up produce or an occasional item you forgot, but for the most part you’ll save money by avoiding the store as much as possible.

This is a great tip if you have room in your freezer. If you don’t buy gallons of milk, or if you have milk go bad because you don’t use it fast enough, this will also work for you, enabling you to have milk on hand at all times without spoilage.

For anyone who hasn’t tried this, here is the way she explained how to do it to me. Buy as much milk as you need for a month or 2 weeks, whichever you feel is better for you. You’ll need to take a little milk out of the gallon jugs so that they don’t freeze and break in the freezer; just enough so there is room for expansion. Then you date the lid with the date you put it in the freezer – the date on the milk will be invalid after you have frozen it. When you are out of milk in your fridge, take a jug out of the freezer and set it in your kitchen sink to thaw. As it starts to thaw, shake it occasionally when you walk by the sink. Let it stay in your sink until the majority of the milk is unfrozen. Shaking the milk helps to return it to the consistency it was when you bought it. After it is mostly unthawed and liquid, put it in the fridge and use as normal.

I’m hoping that some of you have found new food storage recipes that you would like to share with us. Send them in if you have. I’d love some more quinoa recipes as well as some salad recipes that can be made from shelf stable items. Once spring comes I’m always looking for new salad recipes. Any recipe that you have that uses food storage would be fun for the rest of us to try. Email it to me at preparedness365@gmail.com and I’ll print it here.

This week’s recipe was sent to me by Gayle P. from Utah who said she was looking for a recipe for a chocolate cake that she could make with whole wheat flour from her new wheat grinder. She wanted to see if her family would notice the whole wheat as well as find a good recipe that she would want to make again. She searched the internet and found a recipe that she loves and has made several times now. She included her favorite buttercream icing recipe also. Thanks for sharing Gayle. (The comments are Gayle's)

Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake
1 ¼ c. finely ground soft white wheat, sifted
1 t. soda
¼ t. kosher salt
1 T. shortening
8 T. cocoa powder
¼ c. butter, softened at room temp
1 ¼ c. brown sugar, lightly packed
2 eggs (I use powdered eggs, reconstituted)
1 ½ t. vanilla
½ cup sour cream (One day I substituted mayonnaise when I had no sour cream)
½ c. boiling water
Sift flour, soda, and salt together in a bowl. Melt the shortening in a small saucepan over low heat, stir in the cocoa powder and mix well. Allow to cool slightly. In another bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar for 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and cooled cocoa mixture. Add about a third of the flour mixture to the bowl, along with ¼ c. sour cream, and stir. Add another third of the flour mixture along with the remaining ¼ c. sour cream, and stir again. Finish up by adding the rest of the flour mixture, and stirring until well combined. Stir in the boiling water. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8×8 pan. Bake at 375º about 35 min., or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Yummy Buttercream Frosting
I’ve used this recipe for years; I could eat it with a spoon.
1/3 c. butter, very soft
4 ½ c. sifted powdered sugar
¼ c. milk; more if needed
1 ½ t. vanilla
Beat the butter till fluffy. Gradually add 2 c. powdered sugar, beating well. Slowly beat in 1/4 c. milk and vanilla. Beat in the rest of the sugar, a little at a time. Add more milk a tablespoon at a time, if needed, to desired consistency.

Potato Pearls

How many of you have Potato Pearls in #10 cans in your food storage? Are you using them? I love the idea that Mashed potatoes are just a couple of minutes away. These are a great storage item and can be purchased at most food storage providers. These continue to be a cannery item if you dry pack at the cannery however, they can only be purchased in boxes now (then you can dry pack if you wish). Here are some recipes for using your potato pearls.

I think these are a great food storage item and are very versatile in other recipes as well. If you don’t have any pearls, think about getting some. They are economical and a fun addition to your storage.

Potato Pearls
Basic Recipe for making Mashed Potatoes from Potato Pearls
Bring 2 to 2 ¼ c. water to a boil Remove from heat. Stir in 1 c. potato pearls with a fork just until potatoes are wet. Allow to stand until water is absorbed. Stir once more just before serving. Y: 4 servings

Shepherd’s Pie
Quick and Easy! It's all out of a can, and especially when you use potato pearls for the top!
Heat in a skillet:
1 Can Ground Hamburger (Or cook & drain your fresh ground beef)
1 C Cooked Rice
1 Pint of tomatoes, tomato soup, or tomato sauce – thin with milk
1 can drained Green Beans
1 can drained corn
Salt and pepper to taste
pour hot mixture into 9x9” baking dish
Top with thick mashed potatoes and shredded cheddar.
Microwave for 4 or 5 minutes to melt the cheese or heat in the oven or under the broiler until warm and cheese is melted and bubbly.

This recipe for Tater-Dogs came from a friend. These tater dogs are her boys’ favorite after school snack. Using potato pearls instead of regular mashed potatoes, makes them quick and much healthier than other sugary snacks. A great idea!

After School Tater-Dogs
Potato Pearls
1 wiener per person
Grated Cheese
Ketchup & Mustard
Prepare 1 serving of potato pearls per person
Cook 1 wiener and split in half lengthwise. Top with 2 scoops potato pearls on split wiener (use an ice cream or cookie scoop) and sprinkle with cheese. Heat in oven or microwave to melt the cheese. Serve with ketchup and mustard.

Baked Mashed Potato Omelet
Serves 4
1 green or red peppers chopped fine
1 c. finely chopped onion
1 ½ c. sliced mushrooms
4 T. oil
8 eggs
3 c. mashed potatoes
½ c. Parmesan cheese, grated
Heat oven to 325. In a 12" non-stick skillet cook peppers, onion and mushrooms in 2 T. oil over medium heat, stirring, for 5-10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender (and all liquid is evaporated.) In a large bowl whisk eggs, potatoes and Parmesan cheese until mixture is combined. Stir in vegetable mixture. In skillet heat 2 Tbs. oil over moderate heat until hot, pour in egg mixture and bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until it is set. (If skillet handle is plastic, wrap it in a double thickness of foil.) Cut in wedges. Serve with Salsa.

Mashed-Potato Potato Pancakes
2 cups prepared potatoes pearls
1 Egg (lightly beaten)
6 T. All-purpose flour
1 ½ T. Onion (fine chopped)
2 T. Green Onions (chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a bowl, combine potatoes and the egg. Stir in the flour thoroughly, and stir in the onion, green onions, and salt and pepper to taste. In a large heavy skillet, heat 1/8” oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Fry heaping tablespoons of the potato mixture, flattening them slightly with the back of the spoon, for 1 minute on each side, or until they are golden brown. Transfer the pancakes as they are cooked to paper towels to drain and if desired, keep them warm on a rack set on a baking sheet in a preheated 250º.

Potato Pearl Bread
5 c. milk
½ c. shortening
½ c. sugar
½ c. potato pearls
2 T. salt
2 T. yeast
9-11 c. flour
Microwave milk until hot. Place shortening, sugar, salt and potato pearls in a large bowl. Pour hot milk over shortening mixture and stir until potato pearls are dissolved. Cool. Add yeast. Mix in enough flour to form a soft dough, then knead 6 minutes. Cover and let rise. Form into loaves and place in four loaf pans. Let them rise. Bake at 350º for 35 minutes.

Potato Rolls
2 pkg. yeast (5 t.)
¼ c. warm water
2 c. milk
¾ c. sugar
½ c. shortening
1/3 c. potato pearls
2 eggs
2 t. salt
8 c. flour (approximately)
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Scald milk, sugar and shortening and set aside. Mix potato pearls with hot water to equal one cup. When milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, mix with potato water, yeast, eggs and salt. Add about 8 cups flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. Raise until double. Punch down, roll out ½” thick. Cut in 3 to 3 ½” circles. Fold in half, pinch edges together. Place on greased cookie sheet. Raise until double (approx. 45 minutes). Bake at 375º for 10-15 minutes. Y: 3 ½ dozen.

Potato Cinnamon Rolls
Roll out Potato Roll dough (above) into a rectangle. Spread with butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, nuts. Roll dough up into a roll and pinch the seam closed. Cut in 1 1/2 inch slices. Place in greased 9x13” pan and bake at 375º for 10-15 minutes.

Potato Candy
½ c. mashed potatoes
Powdered (confectioners’ sugar)
Peanut butter
Combine ½ c. mashed potatoes and powdered sugar till it is firm enough to roll. Mixture will become very wet; keep adding powdered sugar. Roll out on powdered sugared surface like noodles. Cover with peanut butter. Roll into jelly roll and cut into small pieces. Very rich!

Other Ideas for Potato Pearls:
-Use as a side dish of mashed potatoes.
-Use to thicken soup, stew or gravy; simply add a handful to your dish and stirring until dissolved.
-Use as the crust for shepherd's pie or other main dishes or casseroles calling for mashed potatoes.
-Use in recipes for doughnuts (spud nuts) or breads or candies calling for mashed potatoes

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

72-Hour Kit Wednesday - Toilet Facilities

This is the most distasteful part of the 72-hour kit preparation but definitely a necessity. There are several different theories on the best way to prepare toilet facilities if you are forced from your home during an emergency. You can buy porta-potties with disposable bags or you can make your own. Either way, this is something you MUST plan for as part of your kit.

We have already included a roll of toilet paper for each family member’s kit, so that is one less thing you have to worry about now. We have also discussed a small pointed shovel for digging and trenching and this too you should already have in your kit. It is definitely a necessity. If you don’t have a portable toilet (and if you do, be advised they don’t support a lot of weight), you can use a 5 gallon sturdy bucket with a lid as your toilet.

It is very hard to consider the possibility of having to leave your home and then rough it even to the point of having to be responsible for the disposal of your wastes; however, the possibility exists and this information will help you to take care of this unpleasant task in the proper and safest manner.

You will need:

12 to 18 large brown paper bags for each person for each day. This allows the use of 4 to 6 bags each time for 3 times per day. You will place the bags 4 to 6 thick (one inside the other).

Spray Disinfectant (Lysol)

Newspapers and Toilet Tissue


Pointed Shovel

The bags are called soil bags. Paper is preferable to plastic because of their biodegradable properties. You will place these bags one inside the other and spray with a disinfectant. Then
fold up 2 sheets of newspaper and place in the bottom of the bag. Place this bag in the hole that you will use.

After use pour 1/4 cup bleach into bag or douse with Lysol then tie the bag shut with a piece of twine and spray the bag with insecticide. If you are moving on, dig a hole 30 to 36” deep and bury the bag. Make sure that you cover it well with dirt and then stomp on the dirt to make sure that there aren’t any air-gaps in the hole.

If you have made camp and will be staying you can place all the soil bags in a large plastic bag with a tie on it and place it in a large trash can that is not being used for garbage. Then at the end of the day, all the paper bags can be buried at one time.

You can also perform this same function using a 5 gallon bucket to hold your bags if it is lined with a plastic bag. Then, when you are ready to remove the waste, empty the paper bags and bury them as instructed above.

If you decide to use a 5 gallon bucket, all your supplies can be carried inside the bucket and stored with your kits until needed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


One of the things that is awesome to make from your food storage is pudding. There are several variations and you can for sure come up with some of your own.

You can buy pudding mix in #10 cans and put them in your storage or you can make your own pudding mix from your powdered milk. Or you can do both. Here are some recipes for you to try. Experiment a little and see what you like and what works for your family and what doesn’t. There are some recipes for homemade pudding mix as well as several puddings made from scratch (no mix). Give them a try. It may change your mind about the amount of powdered milk you want to store. Not to mention the cocoa!

Pudding Mix (for Vanilla or Chocolate Pudding)
1 ½ c. sugar
2 ½ c. non-fat dry milk powder (non-instant)
1 ¼ c. flour
1 t. salt
Stir ingredients together until well mixed. Store in a tightly covered container in a cool place. Makes enough mix for 24 servings.

To make vanilla pudding:
1 ¼ c. pudding mix (above)
2 ½ c. warm water
¾ t. vanilla
1 T. margarine or butter (substitute powdered butter or margarine, reconstituted)
1 egg, beaten (substitute powdered eggs, reconstituted)
Combine mix with water in top of double boiler. Place over boiling water and cook till thickened, stirring constantly. Cover and cook 5 minutes longer. Add the butter or margarine. Remove from heat and beat half of the hot mixture into the egg. Blend slowly into the remaining hot mixture. Cook over hot water for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and chill. *Note: for extra creamy pudding, substitute milk for the warm water in the recipe.

To make chocolate pudding:
1 ¼ c. pudding mix (above)
¼ c. sugar
¾ c. cocoa
2 ½ c. warm water
¾ t. vanilla
1 T. margarine or butter (substitute powdered butter or margarine, reconstituted)
1 egg, beaten (substitute powdered eggs, reconstituted)
Combine mix with sugar and cocoa. Add water in top of double boiler. Place over boiling water and cook till thickened, stirring constantly. Cover and cook 5 minutes longer. Add the butter or margarine. Remove from heat and beat half of the hot mixture into the egg. Blend slowly into the remaining hot mixture. Cook over hot water for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and chill. *Note: for extra creamy pudding, substitute milk for the warm water in the recipe.

Caramel Pudding Mix
1 ½ c. brown sugar, firmly packed
2 ½ c. non-fat dry milk powder (non-instant)
1 ¼ c. flour
1 t. salt
Stir ingredients together until well mixed. Store in a tightly covered container in a cool place. Makes enough mix for 24 servings.

To make Caramel Pudding:
1 ¼ c. pudding mix (above)
2 ½ c. warm water
¾ t. vanilla
1 T. margarine or butter (substitute powdered butter or margarine, reconstituted)
1 egg, beaten (substitute powdered eggs, reconstituted)
Combine mix with water in top of double boiler. Place over boiling water and cook till thickened, stirring constantly. Cover and cook 5 minutes longer. Add the butter or margarine. Remove from heat and beat half of the hot mixture into the egg. Blend slowly into the remaining hot mixture. Cook over hot water for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and chill. *Note: for extra creamy pudding, substitute milk for the warm water in the recipe.

Lemon Pudding
1 c water
Dash of salt
½ c. water
1/3 c. flour (white or wheat)
1/3 c. dry milk powder
2/3 c. sugar
½ c. water
1 t. knox gelatin (1/3 of an envelope)
2 T. cold water
1 pkg. lemonade Kool-aid (unsweetened)
Bring 1 c. water and salt to a boil. Using a jar with a lid or a shaker bottle, add ½ c. water and flour to the jar and shake till creamy and smooth (no lumps). Slowly pour mixture into boiling water, stirring constantly. Let cook on low heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring conastantly. Remove from heat. In a small mixing bowl combine dry milk powder, sugar and ½ c. cold water. Set aside. Soften gelatin in 2 T. cold water, put on low heat and stir till dissolved. Add gelatin to milk mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed. To this mixture add Koolaid. Mix until dissolved. Combine with cooked flour mixture and mix well. Using a blender or wire whisk, whisk in ¼ c. milk until smooth and creamy. Serve warm or chill slightly.*Note: For Lemon Pie,omit the last 1/4 c. milk that you whisk in and pour into prepared crust as soon as you finish the cooking process.

Coconut Cream Pudding
1 c water
Dash of salt
1 T. small cracked wheat (or flaked coconut)
½ c. water
1/3 c. flour (white or wheat)
1/3 c. dry milk powder
2/3 c. sugar
½ c. water
1 t. knox gelatin (1/3 of an envelope)
2 T. cold water
½ t. coconut flavoring (or to taste)
Bring 1 c. water and salt to a boil. Using a jar with a lid or a shaker bottle, add ½ c. water and flour to the jar and shake till creamy and smooth (no lumps). Add cracked wheat to water with salt and slowly pour flour-water mixture into boiling water, stirring constantly; let cook on low heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. In a small mixing bowl combine dry milk powder, sugar and ½ c. cold water. Set aside. Soften gelatin in 2 T. cold water, put on low heat and stir till dissolved. Add gelatin to milk mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed. To this mixture add coconut flavoring. Mix until dissolved. Combine with cooked flour mixture and mix well. Using a blender or wire whisk, whisk in ¼ c. milk until smooth and creamy. Serve warm or chill slightly. *Note: Cracked wheat will taste like coconut when pudding is finished. *Note: For Coconut Cream Pie,omit the last 1/4 c. milk that you whisk in and pour into prepared crust as soon as you finish the cooking process.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding (not from a mix)
4 c. nonfat dry milk
2 2/3 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. cornstarch
2 c. unsweetened cocoa
½ t. salt
2 c. water
1 T. butter
½ t. vanilla
Combine dry milk, sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt in a bowl and mix. Transfer to a medium size sauce pan. Pour in water and bring to a boil for 1 minute; making sure to stir constantly. Then remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Place in refrigerator to chill. If you substitute milk for the water, it makes the pudding extra rich and creamy.

The pudding recipe below is for anyone who may have gone a little overboard in storing hot cocoa mix (this is not necessarily a confession!)from the cannery or any hot cocoa mix you buy. A fun way to use some of that hot coca mix any time of the year.

Pudding from Hot Cocoa Mix
¼ c. corn starch
¼ c. sugar
Dash of salt
¾ c. hot cocoa mix
1 c. cold water
1 c. hot water
½ t. vanilla
In saucepan, mix together cornstarch, sugar, salt and cocoa mix. Add cold water and stir till dissolved. Add hot water. Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Stir in vanilla. Chill and serve. May be poured into individual dishes after cooking if desired. Y: 4 servings

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hydrogen Peroxide

With everything so expensive these days, it’s nice to find something that costs less money and has many varied uses. Do you have hydrogen peroxide (3% solution) in your home? If you do are you using it often or are you like me, it sits on the shelf and I hardly ever open it. Here are some great ideas that might make you grab an extra bottle or two for storage next time you shop. I’ve tried several of these and they worked great.

The many benefits and uses of Hydrogen Peroxide
Ideas from Becky Ransey and Linda Cobb
1. Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle) and hold in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out. No more canker sores and your teeth will be whiter without expensive pastes. Use it instead of mouthwash. (Small print says mouth wash and gargle right on the bottle).
2. Let your toothbrushes soak in a cup of "Peroxide" to keep them free of germs.
3. Clean your counters with peroxide to kill germs and leave a fresh smell. Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe, or spray it on the counters.
4. After rinsing off your wooden cutting board, pour peroxide on it to kill salmonella and other bacteria.
5. One man reports, “I had a fungus on my feet for years - until I sprayed a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry. All gone.”
6. Soak any infections or cuts in 3% peroxide for five to ten minutes several times a day. A nurse reports that she has seen gangrene that would not heal with any medicine, but was healed by soaking in peroxide.
8. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water and keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming your septic system like bleach or most other disinfectants will.
9. Tilt your head back and spray into nostrils with your 50/50 mixture whenever you have a cold, or plugged sinuses. It will bubble and help to kill the bacteria. Hold for a few minutes then blow your nose into a tissue.
10. If you have a terrible toothache and cannot get to a dentist right away, put a capful of 3% peroxide into your mouth and hold it for ten minutes several times a day. The pain will lessen greatly.
11. If you like a natural look to your hair, spray the 50/50 solution on your wet hair after a shower and comb it through. You will not have the peroxide burnt blonde hair like the hair dye packages, but more natural highlights if your hair is a light brown, reddish, or dirty blonde. It also lightens gradually so it's not a drastic change.
12. Put half of a bottle of peroxide in your bath to help rid boils, fungus, or other skin infections.
13. You can also add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them. If there are protein stains on clothing, pour it directly on the spot, let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with water. Repeat if necessary.
14. I use peroxide to clean my mirrors with, and there is no smearing which is why I love it so much for this. I could go on and on. It is a little brown bottle no home should be without! With prices of most necessities rising, I'm glad there's a way to save tons of money in such a simple, healthy manner.
15. Use 3% Hydrogen peroxide for removing blood stains – especially if they are fairly fresh. Pour directly on the soiled spot, let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary. It is a great bleaching agent for stubborn stains on white clothes. Combine ½ c. hydrogen peroxide and 1 t. ammonia for a great stain removal combination.
16. Use hydrogen peroxide to bleach delicate items such as wool or wool blends. Soak them overnight in a solution of one part 3% hydrogen peroxide to eight parts cold water. Launder according to care instructions.
17. Always use 3% hydrogen peroxide for cleaning. The other one – that you use to bleach your hair – will remove the color from carpets or clothing.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Making an Emergency Heater!

Here is a fun and easy project for you to try. Homemade emergency heaters are an awesome idea and they are easy to make. They can be used as a heater in your home, a heater in your car during the winter months, a heater for camping or a heater for your 72-Hour kits. You only need three things and just a few minutes to make them.

Something else you might consider is that these heaters would make an awesome gift for friends or family who are working on preparedness. Gift giving instructions are included below.

Here is what you need:
1 empty quart can with lid (purchase at any paint store – Under $3 at Home Depot)
1 pint bottle rubbing alcohol - 70% isopropyl alcohol (store with an extra bottle of alcohol to refill; the alcohol burns, not the toilet paper)
1 roll toilet paper – cardboard removed
Paint can opener (optional, or use screwdriver)

How to make your emergency heater:
1. Remove core of toilet paper
2. Fold the roll of toilet paper in half and stuff into the empty quart can.
3. Slowly pour 1 pint alcohol into can. (Pour alcohol in just before lighting)
4. Light with a lighter or match.
5. To extinguish, replace the lid.
6. Put the following instructions in with the rest of the items.

Instructions for using Emergency Car Heater:Use 70% isopropyl alcohol-any higher percent the flames could be too high. Do not use scented alcohol, it will smell awful in your car. 4 pints of isopropyl will keep a car 60 to 70º for 24 hours. They are extremely safe and don’t produce carbon monoxide.

Warnings: Be careful! The can rim will be hot to touch during and for a while after burning, although the can could be held from the bottom even while the heater is burning. It is suggested that you carry a metal pan or cookie sheet or fold a square of tin foil into fourths to set the heater on. Do not pour more alcohol on the heater while burning. Wait for it to burn out or smother with metal lid. **It is recommended that you keep a window cracked open while burning the heater. Burning anything in an enclosed space depletes oxygen. ** This heater is NOT recommended for cooking!

To make as a gift: Remove core of toilet paper. Fold the roll of toilet paper in half and stuff into the empty quart can. Put the can, the alcohol, paint can opener and a box of matches or a lighter in a Ziploc bag separately so the recipient may pour the alcohol in the can when heat is needed. Copy the information above and include it with the kit.*Optional: Include a small ceramic tile or folded aluminum foil to set the heater on when lit.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

72-Hour Kit Wednesday - Matches

Whenever I think of camping I think of matches. The ability to build a fire is one of the most important survival skills. Campfires are great for cooking food but they are also important for keeping warm. Depending on the nature of an emergency, the season of the year, the area or situation you are in, Matches may be essential not only to boil water or cook food, but also to keep warm, especially during a long cold, dark night.

Many people recommend waterproof matches and that is not a bad idea. You can, however, use regular matches if they are stored in a waterproof container, but you always run the risk of the matches getting wet. There would be nothing worse than having matches but being unable to use them because they wouldn’t work. You never know when they’ll get something spilled on them, or something in your pack might leak or they might just get dropped.

Because making fire is so important to survival it is recommend your survival kit contain at least three ways of starting a fire. For example matches, lighter, and a magnesium firestarter or steel match. Should one or two of these fail, the third could very well save your life or at least make the time you spend outdoors more livable.

Maybe the best thing you can do, however, is to make your own waterproof matches. This is cheaper and insures you won’t be in trouble when you need a dry match. Here is how you do it:

First of all, buy GOOD matches. No matchbooks! I prefer wooden strike anywhere matches, so you do not need to rely upon a special striker surface to light the matches with. In survival situations the fewer working parts that can fail the better. You can find wooden strike anywhere matches at your local hardware store or wood burning stove dealer.

Use a double boiler for the melting of wax; you can also use an old pan or even a pie plate set over boiling water. Be very careful. Hot wax can cause serious burns.

Once the wax has melted dump in your matches and stir, making sure that the wax has completely coated the matches. Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the waterproofed matches one by one and set them aside to cool so that they are not touching one another.

That’s it! The thin layer of wax all around the match ensures the match will catch fire even if it has been immersed in water. As an added bonus the wax will help the match burn longer and hotter. Store your homemade waterproof matches in a waterproof match case and you have gone far toward ensuring you can start a fire when you need to even if your matches get wet.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rita's Natural Meals In Minutes – A Book Review

Many years ago I bought three paperback books from Rita Bingham entitled Natural Foods, Sprouting Book, and Milk Cheeses. She has now combined her books into this one; Rita’s Natural Meals in Minutes. The individual books are hard to find now, but her new book is easy to buy here; http://www.internet-grocer.net/ritanatl.htm.

Here is some info on what each of the original books contained; now all combined into one easy resource:

Rita's Introduction to Natural Foods:
An introduction to basic foods and recipes for every meal of the day. Learn how to make delicious Quick Wheat Patties, Pita Pockets, Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas, Pineapple-Orange Fruit Cubes, Vanilla Yogurt, Honey Maple Nuts, Seafood Salad, Fresh Graham Crackers, and much more.

From Rita's Sprouting Book:
Fast Sprout Recipes for every meal of the day. Prepare nutritious meals from natural foods in 30 minutes or less! How to sprout in a variety of containers, valuable sprouting information and nearly 70 fast recipes: Eggs Ole', Sprout-filled Won Tons, Enchilada Casserole, Hearty Sprout Stir-Fry Salad, Pita Pockets and Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas, Frozen Banana Haystacks, No-Bake Cream Cheese Bars, and much more.

Rita's Powdered Milk Cheeses with Yogurt and Other Milk Recipes:
Nutritious meals from natural foods in 30 minutes or less. All you ever wanted to know and more about making non-fat cheeses from powdered milk; cheeses in only 8-15 minutes! Learn to make Cottage Cheese, Firm White and Pressed Cheeses, and an all new, original " cheese-burger" (a non-fat meat substitute made from powdered milk, used to make hamburger), Breaded Chicken Tenders, Fish Stakes, and much, much more.

Today, since we have been talking about making cheese, I want to talk a bit about the cheese making book (book 3 of the original series) entitled; Rita’s Powdered Milk Cheeses – with Yogurt and Other Milk Recipes.

In her original book Rita wrote: “Cheese making Made Easy might be a better title for this booklet, because the cheeses are so fast, easy, versatile and most often fail-proof. The tastes and sometimes the textures of powdered milk cheeses are slightly different than commercial cheeses, which makes them infinitely more versatile and definitely worth the small amount of time necessary to make them.”

I’ve been fascinated by this concept for 2 reasons: First, to be honest I never plan to drink the powdered milk I have stored. I will cook with it and use it to make Yogurt, soups and gravies, but I won’t drink it. So obviously, I am thrilled at the prospect of making cheese with it.
Second, I love the basic idea of being to have cheese available to me at any time just by using this book as a resource to make it.

I also love that Rita referred to the cheese-making process as not only easy, but also fail-proof and inexpensive. What a great resource to have at our fingertips.

In her book she talks about the different kinds of cheeses that can be made from powdered milk. These include cream cheese, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, sour cream, evaporated milk substitute, and cream soup substitute; not to mention the basic cheeses such as cheddar and mozzarella. These are just the beginning of what you will learn from this book.

Not only does she teach how to make cheeses, she teaches how to use them. The book includes over 139 recipes for different meal and cheese ideas. This book contains such a great variety of recipes and I can guarantee you will learn to make something you never even considered before.

She also tells you about the tools you will need to have on hand to make the cheeses as well as other items in this book. She talks about the importance of cheese cloth, strainers and colanders, pots, pans and other cooking essentials. She suggests a thermometer, food grinder and many other items you probably have on hand. She also tells you which seasonings you might want to have on hand to try different varieties of cheese.

If you want to learn how to use the powdered milk in your storage as well as enrich your meals and save money on buying expensive cheese, this is the book for you. Check it out!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Say Cheese!

In a few upcoming posts, we are going to be talking about making cheese. I want to share a helpful book I have as well as some methods and recipes that may be helpful. If you are interested in learning how to make cheese or cottage cheese, or just want to learn how to use some of your powdered milk in cheese making, you’ll need to gather some supplies.

One of the most important things you’ll use in cheese making is Cheese Cloth. Sometimes it is hard to find. If you have a fabric store close to you that sells cheese cloth, grab some for your storage. It is also helpful in making jams and jellies. It is pretty inexpensive if you can buy it by the yard so grab a bunch and put it away so that you’ll be prepared to make your own cheese.

If you can’t find it by the yard, you can usually find it in a store that sells sewing notions and supplies prepackaged in the notion section. Make sure you have some on hand in your storage. We’ll talk about other supplies you need later on.

I came across the coolest articles the other day. Are you a big fan of cheese sauces in your dishes or on your vegetables? Home canned “soft cheese” has better cooking properties than store bought bottled cheese meant for snack food. It contains no preservatives and is more economical than commercial products for cooking purposes. These instructions yield a product that is similar to “Cheese Whiz”, yet better tasting for a recipe of macaroni and cheese. This simple to do recipe for home canned cheese will keep for 2 years plus.

Here is the recipe which uses Velveeta or similar cheese. Velveeta does have a relatively long shelf life, if you want to store it in a cool dry place, but if you want to have some canned on your shelf here is how you can do it. This recipe is better than just using strait Velveeta and can be easily canned to become part of your food storage. This recipe comes from the End Times Report (.com).

Homemade Canned “Cheese Whiz”
1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 T. vinegar
½ tsp. salt
1 lb. Velveeta cheese or any processed cheese
½ tsp. dry mustard
Melt milk and cheese in double boiler. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Fill pint jars about 1” from top of jar and seal. Place in Boiling Water bath for 10 minutes.

Here are a couple of recipes for homemade cheese. The first is for Buttermilk cheese. This can be used like a spread on toast or crackers or topped with fruits or jams or jellies and used as a dip.

Buttermilk Cheese
Yields: 6-ounces of cheese
1 quart whole milk
1 ½ cup low-fat buttermilk
2 t. kosher salt
Line a colander or a medium strainer with three layers of cheesecloth and set in sink. Combine ingredients in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and cook until mixture reaches about 180º and separates into white curds and translucent whey, about 8 minutes. Ladle contents into prepared colander and drain completely. Gather corners of cheesecloth together and gently twist to press out excess whey. Serve immediately, or cool to room temperature before serving, about 10 minutes. For firmer cheese, transfer cheese, still in the cloth, to a small flat-bottomed covered bowl and chill in refrigerator until cool, about 10 minutes. Unwrap and gently invert onto plate. Cover again with lid or plastic wrap and chill until serving. And toppings if you wish. Cheese will keep for up to 2 days.

Home Made Farmer's Cheese
My friend Christine gave me this recipe years ago. She has been making this cheese forever and learned how to make it from her Grandmother. This is not a cheese that you make and store; it must be eaten in a few days. You can use it in your baking (It melts well) or as a soft cheese for snacking. Makes about 1 pound of cheese.
1 gallon whole milk
1 pinch salt
1 large lemon, juiced
Pour milk into a large kettle; add salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring regularly to prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom. When milk begins to get small bubbles around the edges and starts to boil, turn off the burner. Stir lemon juice into the milk; the milk will curdle. It may take a few minutes. Line a colander with a cheese cloth, and pour the milk through the cloth to catch the curds. What is left in the cheesecloth is the cheese. The liquid that you are pouring off is the whey. If you wish to save the whey to drink or use in your cooking or baking, put colander over a large pot to catch the whey (the liquid you are straining out). Gather the cloth around the cheese, and squeeze out as much of the whey as you can. After it is drained, wrap the cheese in plastic, or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. At this point you can “doctor” up the cheese anyway you wish. Try adding finely chopped jalapenos, ground salami, chopped peppers or just leave it plain.