Saturday, October 26, 2013

Look where I went....

This is an actual parking lot in Shipshewana Indiana.  Actually this is the parking lot on one side of a store with automobiles on the opposite side of the building

This town certainly did have some really "Neat Stuff".

I like the "Seven Sisters Eatery" (in light of the popular "Six Sisters" wonderful info we all see on the Internet as of late)

I am telling you, these businesses are "the best" for having resources for those with a preparedness mindset.

Look was on the shelf!  I have never seen Tattler lids on a store shelf.

Look how cool this stove is!

I like this Compost Trash Can....

Things were reasonably priced!

Nearly every grain or flour you can think of.

I took my time going down the spice aisle....I just wished I had more space in my luggage to bring many of these home!

I found these metal lids (on the right) that are the same size as the lids I use with my gallon jars.  I use these to store my food storage staples.

You might ask why I would replace the lids....well it is a simple reason.  The metal lids have a gasket in them where the plastic lid does not.  These fit perfectly on my existing containers.

These are Airlock devices for fermenting foods like Sauerkraut etc.  I have paid over $6.00 a piece for these. In these stores, they were just under $2.00.  I nabbed a few.

Although not pictured here, there was the largest selection of Lodge Cast Iron ware (and huge pieces as well), crocks, bottles, canning supplies, and baskets that I have ever seen.  

One thing that I really loved is the fact that they did not accept credit cards or debit cards....absolutely none!  However, they had an ATM nearby so that customers could retrieve cash for their purchases.

Take home message:

  • If you live near an Amish community, you are very fortunate.  You can access Food Storage Staples and Preparedness items all in one place.
  • I love that customers were required to pay cash and cannot use debt.
  • It is a way of life for these great folks.  They practice what they preach every day.  

These are lessons that we all can take advantage of....

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Making Wonder Oven

I posted the results of my Sunday Meal using my Wonder Oven.  However, I promised to share how to make your own Wonder Oven or Wonder Cooker as it is referred to.  If you do any search on the internet, you will find many versions of the same pattern. I laughed when I repeatedly saw the same handwriting on various patterns reportedly made by several authors.  I guess it is good enough idea that it is being duplicated.

Making the pattern was certainly the most difficult part of this process, by far.  I printed off the instructions and pattern from this link.   I like the clear instructions, photos, and suggestions in making this device.  I even like the suggestions on how to fill the device with polystyrene beads.

The directions are simple, cut 4 pieces of the top and bottom. Sew the side seams together (2 at a time) and then put right sides together and sew all around the perimeter but leave an opening to turn the parts inside out.  This opening is also used to fill the pieces to the oven.  

Speaking of filler....I priced out the pellets online.  I didn 't need the amount that most suppliers were trying to sell.  So, I went to Wally World and bought a cube filled with the pellets.  It looked like it was supposed to be a type of an ottoman and it cost $15.00.  This is a far cry away from the price that distributers were asking.

Well, it is important to remember that I am married to Rooster Senior....who is really great at figuring out mechanical things.  He also hates styrofoam peanuts and beads. When I asked for his help to fill the Wonder Oven pieces, he started to cringe.  Just the thought of free-flowing styrofoam was too much for him.  Soooo, he went out to his garage and scrounged up a device.

I had never seen this 'air gun' type of device.  I asked him where he got it and he said he couldn't get another one.  It allows 'stuff' to be sucked into one end and shoot out the other.  It also connected to his air compressor.  

My job was to hold the other end of the hose in the cube of pellets.  I am not kidding, those pellets flew into the hose and from the cube and into the wonder oven in no time flat.  Then, Rooster Senior quickly pulled out his Shop Vac and vacuumed up any errant pellets that were in his beloved garage.  (I only wished that he would use this mindset to keep our home uncluttered).

As brilliant as the pellet filling system was, there was a major drawback.  He put the Wonder Oven parts....on a table that had a light coat of sawdust on it...that I didn't see. So, this beautiful black fabric was now covered in sawdust. I just sewed the opening closed and took the pieces into the house and cleaned the sawdust off.  

I took it in a put one of my largest pots inside....and it fit!


So, what did this cost me?  

  • $15.00 for a cube with pellets from a big box store. This is a great time of year to get something like this as they are trying to sell off the last few pieces because school has started and all the College students are now settled in.  This cube was marked down by $5.00.
  • Fabric was something that I had already from a project that I never finished.  It is heavy weave.
  • The ribbon that I sewed in the small openings (so that I can store this item either on hooks or hanger) came from remnants that I had in my sewing supplies.  
  • Total Cost..."$15.00!".  On line, these devices are being sold from between $39.99 to $49.99.
It was inexpensive.  The sewing level in my opinion is at the beginner level.  

  • This device worked just as it is promoted.  It is a great addition to your Supplies and it is also fun.  Consider using it on a camping trip or when you are going to be gone for a few hours.

Try it!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Experiment on the Word.....the Wonder Oven

What's in the 'box' you ask?  It's a Wonder Oven.  I have had the pattern for some time, but just haven't taken the time to do anything with it.  

I will be teaching a class on Powerless cooking this week and decided to 'experiment' with this device.

For me, the most challenging part was to make the pattern from the instructions. (I will be doing a post just on assembling this device in the near future).  Once the pattern was made, sewing took only minutes.  Filling it with pellets was an adventure that only Rooster Senior to come up with...but it was brilliant.  I will show you that process soon...I promise.

Here is a view inside the bottom piece.  

Here is the top.

Soooo.....does it really work?  I decided to experiment and see.

Since Rooster Senior is under the weather, I decided to make Chicken Soup.  Here I have used my own Canned Chicken, and then added the water.

The seasonings were added (from my Pantry)

I used raw carrots and celery on purpose.  I wanted to see if they would get cooked in this device.

I even added Pearl Barley...again to see if it would cook all the way through.  I brought the Soup to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

I put the pot inside the bottom of the Wonder oven. As it is filled with Styrofoam-type pellets, I just molded the bottom around the pan.

Then I placed the lid on top.  I did this at about 10:00 in the morning and then left for a long day of Church meetings.

I left it on the counter just like this.  Rooster Junior got home first.  He didn't mess with it even thought he knew dinner was inside.  When Rooster Senior and I returned home (at about 5:00 p.m.), our son quickly set the table as my Visiting Teacher came over for a few minutes.  I heard my son take the pan out of the device.  I wanted to quickly measure the temperature, but again I had company.  I decided I could wait to do that.

It may not be the best picture, but hopefully you can see Cooked Celery and Cooked Carrots as well as Cooked Pearl Barley.  After my Visiting Teacher left, I quickly checked the temperature.  It was above 140 degrees F.  The Pan was hot, the soup was delicious.

My son also sliced up some Rosemary-Garlic Sourdough Bread that I made yesterday.  It was all really yummy.  I will do another post featuring this.  It was delish to say the least!

Take-away points:
  • This device does not require any fuel.  Think about that in a time of emergency.  Once the food is warmed, it will hold the heat and continue to cook the food over time.  I can't say enough about how important the fuel issue is.
  • This device is really, really easy to make once you have the pattern drawn to scale.
  • It worked like a charm.  I plan to use it again on days when I know that I won't be home for a long time.  I know that the food will be cooked and at a safe temperature.
  • I won't wait for an emergency to use this.
  • I hope you noticed the 'loops' of ribbon on each piece. These are to hang up the 'oven' in the closet when it is not in use.
  • My husband and son didn't even pull funny faces when I used this today.  I guess they are getting used to me.

Consider getting one for your family.....soon!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Need something to keep the younger crowd "on topic" during General Conference?

Image courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I love General Conference, don't you?  I also love how creative some folks are when they are trying to involve their children in the process.

I recently made a "Guess Who" game inserts for my Grandchildren for General Conference.  I had seen several folks talk about doing it, but did not ever find the 'end product'.  

If you would like to print this out, please use this link.  

I would suggest that you print 3 sets on card stock. Two sets will be used in the device or holder.  The third set is to be used as a draw pile.

If you would like to know more about the General Conference held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please go here.  It is a beloved time of year for the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Announcement from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding the Home Storage Centers.

Photo courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The following article comes from the Church's newsroom. If you recall, there was a significant amount of speculation as to what the changes to the Home Storage Center (aka Canneries) were and what it would mean.  Please see the information directly from this link:

Within the last couple of months, the Church has made some significant updates to their welfare centers.
Now it’s even easier for members to get and maintain food storage items, as the LDS home storage centers have changed from self-packaging to prepackaging (already packaged and available for purchase). 
“We wanted to make it easier, safer, more convenient, and more available for our members that don’t have some of these [food] products in their own areas,” said Don Johnson, director of production and distribution for LDS Welfare Services. “More products are available in prepack to save members time, so they can use their time to volunteer in other ways.” 
Now members can visit their local storage center and purchase what they need without the additional time and labor that comes with self-packing food items. 
With this change, it also allows for expansion of the products. Brother Johnson explained that by November 1 they intend for all 101 storage centers in the U.S. and Canada to have nine new products for a total of 17 that will be prepacked and available for members to purchase. Some of the 17 products include apple slices, macaroni, powdered milk, hot cocoa mix, and sugar. 
According to the Church’s Providing in the Lord’s Way pamphlet, “Members should build a three-month supply of food that is part of their normal diet; store drinking water in case the water supply becomes polluted or disrupted, and gradually build a longer-term supply of food that will sustain life.” 
“We’re trying to help members prepare their food storage to follow principles for a long-term basic storage in a way we can help them best fulfill becoming self-reliant,” said Brother Johnson. 
Self-reliance is an important aspect of the gospel, as members are counseled to provide for themselves and their families. President Spencer W. Kimball said, “The responsibility for each person’s social, emotional, spiritual, physical, or economic well-being rests first upon himself, second upon his family, and third upon the Church if he is a faithful member thereof” (“Welfare Services: The Gospel in Action,” Oct. 1977 general conference). 
On June 17, the Church released an article explaining that home storage centers were not closing down but were changing canning methods. It stated, “These changes have been considered for some time as the Church has looked at the best way to provide home storage goods to Church members efficiently.”

The Church produces prepackaged food, such as white flour, at Deseret Mills in Kaysville, Utah. Photo courtesy of Welfare Services.
As such, these changes will reduce cross-contamination, freight and sanitation costs, facility space requirements, and complexity for volunteers while increasing safety to volunteers and patrons, customer satisfaction, regulatory compliance, food safety, and efficiency.
Despite the packaging change, there are still 12 storehouses located in the western United States and Canada that will continue to offer self-packing.

What a tremendous blessing for us all:

  • New Product lines
  • Being able to purchase what you need without investing the time to pack the food.
  • Having 17 products prepackaged will make the availability of food items more universal to more people world-wide.
I hope you take advantage of this tremendous resource.  To find the nearest facility to you, please go to here  

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