Saturday, July 19, 2014

Filling Aqua Globes.....

I essentially live in a Desert.  This year, our city is on water rationing, so I can only water my garden and lawn on certain days and times.  I also have containers in my yard as well.  I usually water them with my cute green watering can, and try to extend the 'watering' with these Aqua Globes.  I love the colors of them, don't you?

However, I have quite a few of these.  I don't like making multiple trips from the yard into my house to fill them.  I have learned how to collect and carry all of them, but once I was in my house, they would roll around and well it was a bit too exciting for me at times!

So, I developed this method to contain my filled Aqua Globes.  If you use these devices as well, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to manage with my little method!

You will need a dishtowel that you place on your counter.  I gathered it lengthwise with my fingers and leave it on the counter with the long gathers.

Next, I use one of my metal Skewers that I use when we grill.

I don't know about you, but there always seems to be a little plug of dirt right at the end of the these globes.  This is where the skewer comes in.  I unplug it by pushing the dirt inside the globe. Now, don't worry about this dirt being inside. By the time the water has filled the globe, this dirt is either distributed in the water or floats in a suspended mixture at the top of the neck.  Once the neck of the globe is place into the planter, it is the first thing to be absorbed into the soil.

Next, fill the globes with water.

Now, this is the fun part. Stand you 'filled' globe up inside one of the folds in your towel. 

Continue this process until all the globes are filled.

Aren't they pretty?

Now, you can do that can't you?  
It is easy enough to do isn't it? 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Prepared Bloggers Network!

Guess What?  This is the closest to "One-stop-shopping" that you most likely will find.  On this blog, you will find answers to questions you may have with Food Storage (Canning, Dehydrating, Preserving), Emergency Preparedness, Frugal Living, Gardening, and Survival skills.

Some of the biggest names in Preparedness are there, including Food Storage Made Easy, GNOWFGLINS, Mom with a PREP, PreparednessMama and many others.  Of course it includes us here at A Matter of Preparedness!

We are also found on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook!

Come learn from the best!
Check out Prepared Bloggers today!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Watched Pot......

I have a weakness.....sometimes.  What is it?  It is trying to pass by or get out of a Specialty Kitchen Store without a gadget. I am getting better, but all of those fun things just tug at my heart.  I recently purchased this little device. What is it you may ask?

It is called a "Pot Minder".  The instructions state that placing this is a pot, particularly with starchy foods like Potatoes, will help keep the pot from boiling over.  If you are wondering what I paid, it was ~$1.50 as this was 'half price' the day I purchased it.  

I brought a pot of water to a boil and placed the disc in.

I then included some red potato pieces.  (I apologize for the clarity of the picture, but the steam kept fogging up my lens).  How did it work?

Actually, when I attempted to bring the pot to a rolling boil, the pan did boil over. I was disappointed.

However, when the heat was reduced, it seemed to diminish the 'foam' quite a bit.

If you are interested in this little device, you can find it here.  

Take home point:
  • Although the price point was low, I do not feel this little device lived up to the hype.  If I watch the heat/flame, I can achieve the same results.  
  • However, I will try it again to see if it performs better during my next attempt.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Freedom Comes With a Hefty Price.....

I know this Marine....personally.  He won the heart of my daughter, who is very precious to me.  To know him on a day-to-day basis, you would find a tease, a fitness nut, a friend to all, a tender father, and a OCD clean freak.  (I really love the latter when he is in my house!).  However, I have rarely ever seen him be emotional.

He has served tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Japan during the Tsunami.  At the request of my husband one time, he spoke to our Young Single Adult Ward about his experiences associated with War and his Faith.  I found that I knew very little of his experiences in combat prior to that time....he just doesn't talk about them.  I wept as I listened to the horrific choices and challenges he faced. He spoke of losing his buddies when they were involved in an explosion.  The loss of his fellow Marines has made a lasting impression on him and he has made a permanent reminder that he will always carry with him.

Today I am seeing this red-headed Son in Law of mine trending in social media. Here is what Nathan Osmond has written on Facebook that is associated with this photo:

A couple of years ago, I took this photo at one of Nathan's concerts. He was singing in the state capitol, and this soldier had been standing at attention throughout the whole show. When Nathan Osmond sang "21 Guns," this soldier's composure melted and gave way to heartfelt tears. We tracked him down later and discovered that he'd lost two of his buddies (they were being honored that day) and this song really meant a lot to him. We seriously need to remember that freedom comes with a hefty price tag... real lives of real people. Thank you, Chris North, for your service to our country.
Coincidentally, this photo is also trending.  It comes from a Memorial in Gunnison Utah:

Yes, this is my Marine Son-in-Law again.

So, as you grill your burgers and spend time with family and friends today, I encourage you to offer a prayer of thanks to our Heavenly Father for all that you enjoy.  Please remember to bless and ask for protection for our Military members who are serving far and wide. And, make an extra effort to seek out and thank a Veteran.  We owe much to these brave men and women.

The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission. 

John F Kennedy.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Beef Jerky...from your Food Storage

I love using my Dehydrator....year round.  This is one of the things I love to do, and they do no stay around long....I'm really not kidding about that!

My son loves Beef Jerky....I mean loves it.  He has asked me to pick some up at the big box store when we have been out....but has been very surprised at how little you get for the price.

I went to my local grocer and chose a Beef Roast that was on sale.  I asked the Butcher to cut it into slices, which they quickly did. The best part of this process is that there was no fee for the slicing.  Some of the big box stores do not have a Butcher on site, so if you want someone else to slice it, go to a neighborhood grocer.  It is important that you choose a roast with little fat in it. This is important because the fat can become rancid when you are making or storing your jerky.

I use the the "Food Saver Quick Marinading Canister" to which I add the beef slices and the marinade. I only let it marinade for about 2 hours in the refrigerator and it was ready to go. (Let's just say, I had errands to run, so it just marinaded away while I was gone!)

Now, lets talk about the do not have to purchase a commercial marinade!  I have used a variety of recipes over the years to make Jerky.  Did you know that you do not have to use "Liquid Smoke" in your recipe?  You certainly can, but it is not necessary. You can use a variety of marinades to flavor your jerky?

I used this one:

2 pounds flank steak sliced thin
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
6 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon ginger grated, heaping
1 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
30 grinds black pepper freshly ground
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring

Partially freeze steak to assist in slicing. Remove all extraneous fat, slice thinly (1/4 inch). Combine remaining ingredients, mix well, and marinate meat overnight. 

(Dehydrate according to the instructions of your device).

I used the Mesh screen inserts in my Dehydrator.  I like them for several reasons:  they make removal easy-just peel the screen from the jerky and they allow air to circulate around the food. The Mesh inserts and the trays clean up easily in the dishwasher.  I love that!

I placed the slices on the mesh inserts on your trays.

Here is one of the trays with the slices spaced with room around them. This is important so that the slices dehydrate more evenly.

Here in my desert climate, it takes about 4+ hours until the deliciousness is done! I would love to show you the final results.


Take Home Message:

  • This is very simple to make.
  • I made just under 2 lb. of Jerky for under $8.00.  Commercially prepared Beef Jerky costs about $.90/ounce.  I calculate that this Jerky cost $.25/ounce. This costs varies up to about $.50/ounce depending on the roast I purchase.
  • You can make any flavor you choose, which gives you tremendous variety.
  • If I had the chance to store any (not likely around here), I would have sealed it either in jars or bags with my Food Saver.
  • I have purchased Roasts, had them sliced and frozen them in our Freezer. You can also leave the Roasts slightly frozen and slice them yourself. 
  • Items like this show just how convenient and delicious your Food Storage really can be!

Try it and let us know what you think!

Postscript:  You need to check your Dehydrator settings to determine the temperature and length of time it takes for your Jerky to be completely dehydrated.  In my case, my family likes it to be a bit pliable and not rock hard. As you can see, when I make Jerky, it does not last long enough for long-term storage.  However, if the intent was long-term storage, I would dehydrate it until it was essentially brittle.  

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