Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Beat It" Cooking without power!

A couple of years ago, I attended a Preparedness Fair and saw my former neighbor.  She is very well versed in Emergency Preparedness and Food Storage.  In talking with her, she stressed the importance of having hand-powered tools to use in case of a power outage.  I agreed with her thinking, but didn't really think about it until recently.  So, this is one of my first purchases.  This is the OXO Good Grips Egg Beater.  I looked at several different models, but ended up getting this one for several reasons.  

I really like the grip being upright instead of horizontal.  I feel like I have better control when I am using it.

I also like the fact that the beaters are removable, which makes for easy clean-up.  

In addition, the entire bottom section can be removed and thrown in the dishwasher, again for easy clean-up.

I decided that I wanted a snack....and decided to make a 'fat free' version.  The pudding is fat-free and powdered milk is fat-free.  (I decided not to think of the carbs!).

I substituted powdered milk and really cold water for the 'milk' requirement.  If I were to do this again, I would cut down on the water just to help it thick-up quickly.

Using this hand beater was easy and quick.  It cleans easily and fits right into the drawer.  So, in a pinch, or just when I want to do something quick, I will use this hand-crank beater.

Going Powerless!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I See RED.....In my Pantry!!!!

What a mess!  This was really my pantry just a few days ago.  It didn't get this crazy all by itself, but I have been crazy busy and people just put things down without really finding a place for them to go.  Also, Rooster Senior thinks that jackets, several of his 'glues' (for woodworking), and a bucket of "something" needed to be inside during the cold weather.  (Of course they had to go in the pantry, not in his office or downstairs in the laundry room....go figure.  It's a good thing that I love this crazy guy).

I was so frustrated by all the 'stuff' that had been place on the floor and all around that I decided to tackle this project.

See the jackets....I guess Rooster Senior also thinks the coat closet is a few too many steps away.  

I had a collection of #10 cans of various food stuffs on the top shelf...and they were not in any sort of order. They were also just stacked on top of each other.

My original storage with square gallon containers still was in place...but other things had encroached on this space as well.  Also, several big buckets were all around the perimeter of the floor...again in no particular order.

It was a big mess!!!!!!!  So, I decided to rectify it.  So, I went to, of all places, the Dollar Store.  I decided to visually make the pantry look uniform as much as possible.  So, I purchased several different red containers as I already had a few red containers in the pantry.  I bought 2 types of red bins, red oblong containers and red baskets.  I spent about $30.00.  Want to see how it came out?  Okay!

Here is the result!

The coats are gone!  The 72 hour kits are hanging on hooks ready to go.  Just below the 72 hour kits are 4 appliances.....that are plugged in.  (When Rooster Senior built the shelving for me, I asked him to provide an outlet so that I could have appliances ready to go. I hate to pull out equipment just to grind my wheat or seal my Food Saver bags).  I have 2 grain mills.  One is my beloved Nutramill and the other is an old Magic Mill.  The Nutrimill always has wheat in it so that I can grind what I need in a moment's notice.  The Magic Mill is used to grind bean flour or corn meal. This is just a convenience thing for me that I have two.  I also have my 2 Food Saver machines on the shelf as well. The flat one is better for sealing Mylar bags than the upright model.

I reorganized my gallon containers and other containers.  I put them into categories.  The top shelf of containers has cooking and baking supplies like flour and sugar etc.  The second shelves gallon containers have beans, rice, etc. The third shelf has dehydrated fruits and vegetables.  In the smaller containers, I have some of the mixes that I have made for things like Ranch Dressing etc.

I moved the Dehydrator with its extras to the top shelf along with my scale, and other items that I don't use frequently.

I re-labeled each container so that all the labels are at the same level so that I could easily read what the container holds.

The Sprouting Seeds are in the tub, basket, and the plastic bucket so that they are all easily accessed.  Again, they are all labeled.

I used bins for pastas, spices, my CHOCOLATE, and packaged side dishes.  The small stackable bins hold things like Jello, pudding, and envelopes of soups and sauces....all labeled so that they are easy to find and also fill when the time comes.

Notice the bins with little holes in them.  I used them to put lots of different snacks in so that they could be seen.  There is an oblong container just adjacent to the 'holey' bins that holds bags of chips.  The bins on the bottom hold other items such as drink mixes.  These mixes are adjacent to #10 cans of drink mixes that I use often.

Remember my shelf with plugged in appliances? Well, here are the shelves below them.  The big bins and shelves on the left hold disposable utensils, cups and napkins.  The "Red Basket" is used to hold plates and silverware when I am having a picnic or a little gathering.  The red bin has napkins, which sit next to two types of plates. (I work with the Young Single Adults and we are always serving food somewhere!) The Shelving to the right has 2  big bins with Food Saver supplies/accessories.   The other big bin holds garbage bags and ziploc bags.  On the floor, is my beloved vegetable bin and a couple of appliances that I need on occasion.  

This was the "before" picture of my # 10 cans.  Again, just a big mess!  To get one can down, I had to move, slide, transfer, a can or cans from one pile to the other.  Because of this, I had no real idea what I had up there for sure.

Here is the "after".  I don't know if you can readily see, but I used shelving to separate and provide 'shelves' for the cans.  They are also categorized (Meats, Vegetables, Fruits, Special items etc).  I can easily slide cans in and out as I need them.

I used these large stacking shelves with foldable legs. If you look at the 'after' pictures, you can see that they easily clear the height of the #10 cans.  I could get 6 cans under one (as the legs could flare) and 5 on the top of the shelf.  (I did not purchase these at the Dollar store, but I most likely purchased them at a Big Box Store a few months ago...I just don't remember).

One very big and expensive lesson to take away from all of this is the amount of  food I had to throw away.  I had duplicate cans of items open, I had expired items stored up high on that shelf.  I threw away quite a few things.  Instead of putting the contents of the #10 can into jars and sealing them with my Food Saver attachment, I just quickly put the cans away and always thought that I would get to dry sealing with my Food Saver at a later time.  Well, it's later and it was too late for a significant amount of food.

I am now allowing space for jars on this top of this shelf of this picture so that I can safely store the contents of open #10 cans in sealed jars.  Things like Egg Powder etc will be put into jars and will be sealed with my Food Saver.  Also, you can see that I am using a Lazy-Susan device in the corner to make sure that I can see and access items easily.

I used another shelf to house 4 bins. Three of the bins hold Cheese-making, Pickling, and Canning supplies. The other 2 bins stacked together are extra's for when I need to add something else...which we all knows will happen.

I used to store these heavy Canners on the top shelf.  I won't elaborate on how challenging it was to get them down every time I was going to can something.  Having them on the floor makes so much more sense!

I also cut down on the number of buckets I am keeping in my Pantry. Right now, there are only four. They contain wheat, flour, sugar, and rice. Also, each bucket has a Mylar liner and a Gamma Lid to cut down on the possibility of little 'friends' trying to live in my food as these buckets can let light shine through.

Here is a view of the finished product, including my step stool that helps me easily access...anything!  I just love looking in my Pantry now.  I have had it this way for a few days to make sure that it is working for me.  I love to "see red" now because I can also find anything I need!

Not bad for a few bucks!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dry Canning....another option

Hi all:

I have toyed with Dry Canning in the oven before, and certainly use my Food Saver attachment to dry can in jars...one by one.  However, I recently saw this option and thought it was interesting.  For those who Dry Can in large quantities, you may want to look into this. Watch the Video!  (I am in no way associated with this company/group).

Vacucanner.com.  The pricing begins at $300.00, so again this option is for those who really use Dry Canning a great deal.

I hope they call me on a mission.....

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announces that due to the recent influx of new missionaries, that 58 new missions are being created.  A news release from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints indicates that the number of missions will raise from 347 to 405.  Here is a graphic indicating the names and locations of the new missions.

New LDS Missions
Africa Southeast AreaMexico AreaNorth America West Area
Angola LuandaMexico CancunCalifornia Bakersfield
Botswana GaboroneMexico Ciudad JuarezCalifornia Irvine
Africa West AreaMexico Ciudad ObregonCalifornia Rancho Cucamonga
Ghana Accra WestMexico Mexico City ChalcoPacific Area
Liberia MonroviaMexico PachucaAustralia Sydney North
Nigeria Benin CityMexico QueretaroNew Zealand Hamilton
Asia North AreaMexico ReynosaPapua New Guinea Lae
Japan Tokyo SouthMexico SaltilloPhilippines Area
Korea Seoul SouthNorth America Central AreaPhilippines Cavite
BrazilColorado Fort CollinsPhilippines Cebu East
Brazil Curitiba SouthIllinois Chicago WestPhilippines Legaspi
Brazil Fortaleza EastKansas WichitaPhilippines Urdaneta
Brazil Juiz de ForaNorth America Northeast AreaSouth America Northwest Area
Brazil NatalVirginia ChesapeakeBolivia Santa Cruz North
Brazil PiracicabaOhio CincinnatiEcuador Guayaquil West
Brazil SantosNorth America Northwest AreaEcuador Quito North
Brazil Sao Paulo WestOregon SalemPeru Huancayo
Central America AreaWashington Federal WayPeru Iquitos
El Salvador San Salvador EastWashington VancouverSouth America South Area
Guatemala CobanNorth America Southeast AreaArgentina Comodoro Rivadavia
Honduras San Pedro Sula WestGeorgia MaconArgentina Posadas
Europe East AreaNorth America Southwest AreaChile Santiago South
Ukraine L'vivArizona GilbertUtah Area
IdahoArizona ScottsdaleUtah Salt Lake City East
Idaho Nampa
Idaho Twin Falls
(Image courtesy of KSL News)

I recall trying to read Isaiah and understanding it when I attended BYU.  Brother Fugal, my then Book of Mormon Instructor, tried to described to us what Isaiah might have been trying to describe to us from his perspective and life experience.  In looking in Isaiah, I found this scripture this morning.  I don't know that my interpretation is correct, but I find his words thought provoking and relevant to missionary service and the current influx.    

3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

4 Lift up thine eyes round about  and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from afar, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
(Isaiah 60: 3-4)

The Gospel will roll forth.  How exciting it is not only to have a son who is serving in this great work, but to also be a witness to the many Young Single Adults in our ward who are preparing to leave their educational path and serve the Lord as missionaries.  I have also found the change of the missionary age has no found its way into my workplace, which is something I could have never foreseen.

How blessed we are to see this new wave in history of the Church.  I look forward to witnessing the change in the world that is about to come forth.

This really is....the 'good stuff'!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Preparedness on a Cruise...update from the Carnival Triumph...

Image courtesy of Gerald Herbert/AP
You probably have heard about the unfortunate events surrounding the recent voyage of the Carnival Cruise Liner named the Triumph.  If you have missed it,  my understanding is that the ship suffered a fire in the Engine Room and lost all power.  These Cruise-liners depend upon power to do virtually everything.  They were floating out at sea and had to wait for Tugboats to come and maneuver the darkened vessel back to port.  The passengers and the crew had to live together in these less-than-positive circumstances for days.

Image Courtesy of Martha Hackley/AP
The passengers realized that the ATM machines still had power (isn't that interesting), so they used the machines to make temporary charging stations for electronic devices that needed power.

Image Courtesy of Don Hoggett/AP
The Crew correctly used trash bags to provide toileting  options for their passengers.  This would allow them to bag the waste and attempt to keep the bathrooms operating without water.  I would be curious how they disposed of the bags of waste however.

Image Courtesy of Don Hoggett/AP
If you have never been on a cruise, there are different 'types' of state rooms. Some have windows, but many do not.  Reportedly, many passengers chose to sleep on the decks to avoid the fumes/odors from the lower decks. (Just use your imagination....).  We have gone on a cruise twice and have always had a window.  The window would not have helped with the odor, but it would have made the room a great option because it would have had light during the day.  

Image courtesy of John David Mercer/AP
The CEO reportedly met the ship when it arrived in Alabama.  I heard him take responsibility and apologize to the passengers.  The company is refunding monies to the passengers and are trying to make it right.  As I am writing this, I am listening to a story that reports that the 'government' plans to intervene and make sure that this situation cannot occur again.  Yes, that exactly what we need right now....people who are not in the industry trying to impose new rules and regulations.

Already, one passenger has filed a law suit and I would not be surprised to if more were to come.

Really??????   I agree the circumstances were not ideal, but when the unthinkable happens (and no one was critically hurt or died....just inconvenienced), adults need to start acting like......ADULTS!  Bad things happen, the crew reportedly tried to do everything they could to make the situation better, and the passengers are getting monies back.  

We went on a cruise last summer, (see the link to see the preparations we made to go....and you do need to use the mindset of preparedness no matter where you go).  The more I learn about this unfortunate situation, I reflected on what, if anything, I would have changed about my previous plan.

We had our own drinks (and there were many in each stateroom, including liquor...which we would not have used).  We had some snacks that did not require refrigeration, and we had a room with a window.  We also brought a small lantern that could have been used for light at night if needed.  In addition, we had reading material and a couple of games (I love Scrabble Flash!)

Some smart folks figured out how to get power from the ATM's.  They were acting...like ADULTS!  

The only changes I would have made are as follows: I think I would have taken 1-2 trash bags,  

Image courtesy of the webstaurantstore
Compressed towels to keep clean,

Image courtesy of 'Go Towels'

possibly a water filter (Think of the pool and hot tubs),

Image courtesy of store.lds.org

and maybe a handheld device with a crank that would allow me to charge my phone as well as provide light without batteries.

Image courtesy of Overstock.com

None of these items weigh a great deal and they also are small.  

Most of all, it is time to be thankful that no one was mortally hurt, everyone made it home, the crew tried to care for their passengers the best that they could under the circumstances, and some folks used their ingenuity to find power.  If I could wave my magic wand, I would inject some SENSE and GRATITUDE into the those who complained that they were in danger and are now thinking of possible deep pockets that they can attempt to access through lawsuits.

Having a  prepared mindset is not only for home, but for anywhere you may be.   Seeing a situation for what it really is requires maturity and common sense.  Consider making the choice to be appropriate...and act like an ADULT when faced with unforeseen challenges.

I'm off my soapbox now....

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day...

When my children were small, I would get up early and make a special Valentine's Breakfast complete with balloons on each chair and a special Valentine's treat by their plate. Then, we would share a Valentine's Breakfast together before the hustle and bustle of school and life would kick in.  

Simple things like pancakes in the shape of hearts, strawberry syrup and whipped cream were common.  The little gifts were fun and simple.  However, the sweet smiles and expressions of affection were and continue to be the most valuable to me.

Last Sunday, I again had a "Valentine's" meal...with my adult children who live in the area. We had the balloons again, but this time I had sweet little grandchildren present.  One of them saw the balloons and kept saying "Bubble-Bubble".  Little gift bags were given and again sweet expressions of affection were shared.  The Mail has little gifts for sweet Grandchildren who live away from us.

Why do I share this with you, because making the bonds of love is very important.  It is not what you make and serve for breakfast or dinner, rather it is what you make to bind the bonds of eternity.  

Take a moment to express your appreciation for those you love.  

Take a moment to listen to this message that includes an excerpt from one of my favorite Conference Talks by Elder Scott.

Then...go out and have a wonderful Valentine's Day today!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Army of Helaman......marches forth!

Today another Missionary from our family entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo.  This amazing 19-year old Sister couldn't wait to be endowed, couldn't wait to submit papers, and couldn't wait ...... to enter the MTC.

In the Young Single Adult Ward that my husband and I serve in, I am in awe of the caliber of the young Brothers and Sisters who are choosing to postpone their education and fulfill their desire to serve the Lord in far-reaching places around  the globe.  There is great excitement and great change in the air.  

An amazing video was shared with me today.  I think it shows the scope and range that the new policy announced by President Monson in our last General Conference is having in one area of Salt Lake City.  Imagine the result of this video multiplied many-fold.  Look out World....The Army of Helaman is coming...


Monday, February 4, 2013

It's a matter of making your own...Minute Rice!

Courtesy of Minute Rice

This is a favorite for many families in America.  A good tasting product that is quick to make. What is not to like here?

Well, after feeding the Young Single Adults yesterday, I came home to a full Rice Cooker.  I had neglected to take the Rice with me. So, I had a lot of rice and not many mouths here who would eat it.  Just and FYI, Rooster Senior will not eat rice without a sauce etc.  

Well, here is my solution, and it is important to know that this was very, very easy.

I pulled out my dehydrator. I put the inserts that I use to make fruit leather on the tray to hold the rice.  

I spread the rice on into one layer on the insert.  I left it on overnight because it needs to be very dry...so leaving it overnight would not harm it.  It would also ensure that it was very, very dry.   I had 7 trays that I filled.

Here is what the dehydrated rice looked like when I opened the Dehydrator.

This is a close-up of the dried rice.  It is really crunchy!

I 'dumped' the rice onto paper towels.  This helped me to keep it in one place as well as scoop the rice from the towel into a jar.  When I had only a few grains of rice left, I lifted the paper towel by the long edges and poured the remaining grains into the container. 

I decided to put my new "minute rice" into jars and seal them with my Food Saver.  

I plan to use the following Directions directly from the Minute Rice web page:

Cooking Directions

collapse -


ServingsRICE (cups)Water (cups)
1/2 cup uncooked rice = 1 serving (About 1 cup cooked rice)

Isn't this great?  I little 'mistake' has turned out to be a time saver for me in the future.

Try it!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Transporting Food....for "Break-The-Fast".

This is a small 'sample' of the Young Single Adult Students who were attending the "Break the Fast" meal that we had today.  For those who may be unfamiliar with Fast Sunday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints  sets aside the first Sunday of the Month as "Fast Sunday". The intent is usually two-fold.  One reason to do this is for the opportunity to fast for a specific reason or for an individual or individuals who are needing special blessings which helps us to be more sensitive to the spirit. The second reason to Fast is to donate the monies that you would have spent on the two meals that you miss.  These sacred funds are then used to assist individuals or families in need.  

A tradition in our ward/congregation is for each apartment to bring food to a common area and share. The members of the Bishopric also bring food. I tend to bring a lot because I remember how meager my funds were when I was in college.  Plus, I have a lot of Food Storage and am happy to share it.

I purchased a new 'tool'.  This is a Crock pot brand slow cooker.  I love this thing.....I really do.  Here are some of the reasons why.

See this panel? It allows you to program how long you wish to cook your food and you can choose from either high or low.  Although this is great, I still love it for a couple of other reasons. See the red dial?  Well, it is a meter that shows how hot your food is inside of the unit.....whether it is plugged in or not. 

This is one of the reasons that I purchased it.  I have to 'travel' with the food I bring to "Break the Fast" as well as for other activities.  It is really important that I know if the food is still in the 'safe zone' and this device allows me to do that.

Here is the other reason I purchased it.  The lid clips on for travel.  I realize that the liner obscures the 'hook' located on the bottom portion, but just know it is there.  The silver loop in the lid is slipped over the 'hook' and the black tab snaps down to hold the lid in place. The lid also has a gasket that helps avoid little slips and spills. This is critical for me while I am transporting food in it.

I also took a second Crock pot full of Broccoli.  I used rubber bands to hold the lid on during transport. I tied 2 together.  I attached one end to a side handle (see above) and then I threaded the rubber bands through the loop on the lid and through the handle on the opposite side.  I then put a wooden skewer in the rubber band under the handle to hold the rubber band in place.  

This is a 3rd Crock pot that I had corn in.  I used 2 rubber bands to hold on this lid.  Each rubber band went over the knob of the lid and under the solid handles on each side.

There is a reason that these are encased in blankets.  All three Crock pots are in this tub.  One is covered in a blanket and the other two are about to be.

It doesn't look lovely, but it is functional.  I have essentially made a "hay box" to keep these foods warm while I drive from my home to the "Break-the Fast" meal.  Here, the tub in on my back seat.

Did it work?  Yes!  Here is the Lemon Chicken.  It made it just fine as did the Broccoli and the Corn.

Using an Emergency Preparedness mindset and skills can help you with everyday situations.  The skills enable you to do many things....like transport lots of food safely for a large group of hungryYoung Single Adults.

Try it! 

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