Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Pricing from the Home Storage Centers (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Image courtesy of lds.org
There has been 'a lot' of information regarding the Home and Family Storage Centers (offered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) as of late. There has also been a lot of confusion as to what you can get, can, order etc.

There are 2 distinct opportunities to order product:

There is a new pricing list for Packaged and Bulk Products that was published as of February 1, 2014

The second option is Home Storage Centers with Opportunities to Package Products (selected locations). This was also published as of 2/1/14

If you are wondering where the facilities that you can package your own are located, look here.

I also love how 'current' the church is with their media.  They have QR codes for each of these forms!

For the Price List for Prepackaged foods.

For the Price List for Packaging your own product. 

At any rate, there are still foods that you can purchase through the Home Storage Centers.  If you would like more information, please go here.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

There were a lot of moving trucks across the street...

I came home from the Temple this morning and saw a lot of activity across the street.  "Big deal" you may think.  Well, it really is.  The beautiful home across the street has been vacant for about 5 years.  What happened 5 years ago? The economy and some difficult business issues for the family who lived there. And, as we all have seen across the country, the family just walked away from their beautiful home.  We have seen glimmers of hope over the years.  Folks who say they have purchased the home, but the banks just couldn't find a solution to make everyone happy and thus it was dark again.  

However, I saw moving trucks today with real people moving real furniture into the home!  I thought about what I could take to them as a house-warming gift.  I decided to make one of my favorites.....Pumpkin bread with Chocolate Chips.  It's as good as it sounds....trust me.

I decided to use my Canned Pumpkin that I did a few weeks ago.  

So, I put some of the chunks into my little blender.

One Quart of pumpkin chunks gave me just under 2 cups of pumpkin puree.  Just for your information, a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree yields about 1.75 cups of puree.

This fabulous recipe recommends adding the pumpkin puree and eggs....

Vegetable Oil....

and the Sugar.  Mix well.

In a second bowl, I added the flour baking soda and salt (isn't this little measuring spoon great?  I got it at the recent Build Your Own Blog Conference held in SLC a couple of weeks ago).  I also added the spices as well.

Mix all the dry ingredients together.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  

Even though this step takes a few minutes, it is totally worth it.  I trace the bottom of the bread pan on to parchment paper.  I cut them out and place them in the bottom of the bread pan (after I have sprayed the pan with cooking spray).  This allows me to easily remove the bread from the pan without it tearing.

This recipe made 6 mini loaves of delicious Pumpkin Bread.

This recipe does not call for Chocolate chips.....but my Ghirardelli chips were screaming for me to throw them in!

After baking, I let the loaves cool.

I took a loaf over to meet the new neighbors.  Then we came home and ate some ourselves....delicious!

The recipe comes from here.

Sooo, what is the take-home message?
  • I had everything at home to make this quick and delicious bread.
  • I figure that this quart of pumpkin cost be about $.30 versus  $3.33 for a 15 ounce can.
  • The pumpkin chunks performed just as well as the commercially packed pumpkin puree.
Just another benefit from canning pumpkin.  I would encourage you to put 'canning pumpkin' on your list next fall.  It is totally worth it!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Baby It's Cold Out There...

It seems that Winter has struck everywhere. This was my Backyard not to long ago.

Image courtesy of J Carroll

A family member's home in the South East with the Power line down.

Courtesy of Josh Lott

And a Midwest bitterly cold photo.  I remember shoveling sidewalks when I was growing up in Michigan.  My face froze and the snow would sting my face as well as I shoveled the powdery white precipitation.  The sad part was that in a short time, the snow often blew back across the driveway or sidewalk requiring you to go out and do it all again.  

No doubt you have heard the news about all the strange winter weather going on all round the country.  However, it is severe in many parts of our nation.  I have checked in on several family and friends in various parts of this frigid country and wanted to share what they have learned or found that they need to work on..

  1. It's cold...it's cold...it's cold.  Having alternate fuel sources available when needed is a must. Propane prices have jumped nearly $2.00 per gallon. Wood is useful if it has been kept dry and away from the elements.  Do you have access to Natural Gas?  I am sitting here writing this post by the fire....powered by Natural Gas.  In an emergency, our Natural Gas rarely goes out, so I can be warm and safe in my home.  
  2. Sheltering in place.  Many school districts have cancelled school a lot! This means that the parents must have a plan to care for their children if they work outside of the home.  It also means that there needs to be some form of 'entertainment' that is not dependent on power.  How is your stash of cards and board games?
  3. Feeding the family:  I have seen news stories that showed shelving in stores that were nearly bare.  Are you in a position to feed your family with the food reserves that you have in place?  Do you have fuel and a means to cook it without power? Do you have experience cooking with a Dutch Oven, Wonder Oven, Reflector Oven, etc?  
  4. Power:  I messaged with one family member in the South East. She said they were watching TV by Generator.  I messaged her and asked what type of generator they had. She reported that it was a portable one. She also stated that after the storm dies down that they were going to get an additional one.  What plans do you have in place for a power outage that may be prolonged? 
  5. Light:  Check your current supplies.  Flashlights are often the first thing that one thinks of when the power goes out.  But they require batteries....and a lot of them at that.  Candles are also often thought of.  Do you have enough candles, matches, and batteries etc to serve you over several days?  I have a solar powered light that I can also use.  Think outside of the box, what do you have access to and what should you store. Consider using the solar lights that you have in your garden or along your walkway.  They can charge during the day and be brought in to provide light during the evening.  
  6. Communication:  Without power, how are you going to communicate with the rest of the world?  How will folks contact you?  I recently purchased a powerbank for a conference that I attended to charge my phone, tablet, and laptop.  It lasted for days.  I plan to keep it in my car for emergencies.   Consider looking into various types of equipment to keep you in contact during emergencies.  
  7. Water:  Are you pipes in danger of being frozen?  Do you let a little water drip from your faucets to protect your plumbing?  Do you have enough water on hand to drink and use for hygiene if you traditional supply were to be interrupted?
The time to prepare for anything is now.  Here are some important questions that you need to answer for yourself and your family:  
  • What have you thought of doing?  
  • Have you made a list? 
  • What is your time-line?  
  • How much money can you set aside for preparedness items.  
  • Who do you share your plans with and who do you keep your plans from? 
  • How do you plan to respond if others come to you for shelter etc because they have not taken the necessary precautions.
  • Do you know how to use the equipment or food that you have stored?
  • Is your family used to the types of foods you may have to eat during an emergency?  Just for your information, there is research that shows that children will decline to eat if they are not familiar with the foods being offered...even if they are hungry.  The old adage that "they will eat when they get hungry" just isn't true.  I don't want to be the helpless parent/grandparent trying to offer substance to a child who just doesn't want it because they have never had it.
  • Do you have pets?  Have you made emergency plans for their care?
  • How is your transportation?  Do you have a vehicle that can travel in snowy weather?
  • What medical supplies do you have on hand?  Can you handle a bout with a cold or flu without running to the store.  What about ailments like Diarrhea or constipation.  What do you have on hand to deal with these common discomforts.  Do you have the knowledge and supplies to deal with broken bones, wounds and the like?

Hopefully you will be in a position to start a conversation with your spouse or significant other using these questions.  Make a plan today...especially if you are really stuck at home due to the winter weather.

Post comments about your thoughts and plans.  Lets learn from each other!  

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Delicious and Easy Valentine's Treat!!!

Mmmmmm, these are so good!  It's a great Valentine's treat that you can easily make at home.  How did I make them?  Take a look!

I cooked Tortillas in my cast-iron pans.

Wait for them to start to bubble, then flip!

See the little golden brown 'spots'?  That means you are well on your way to a nicely toasted tortilla.

I stacked the cooked tortillas on a plate.

Here I pulled out Cinnamon and sugar.  I made a mixture and put it into a shaker. I used a piece of parchment paper to make a little funnel so that I did not miss any of the sugary deliciousness!

Place the cooked tortilla's on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Do not use your Silpat type inserts for this.  You will see why later!

Coat the tortillas with melted butter.....yum!

Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture....double yum!

Now, using your pizza cutter, cut the tortilla in to triangular-shaped chips.  I cut the tortilla into wedges, then cut the wedges into smaller pieces.  (Now do you seen why you don't use your nice Silpat mats?)

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes....they smell so good when you take them out!

Quickly remove from the cookie sheet and place on a towel.  Allow them to cool.  (If you leave them on the cookie sheet, they continue to cook and can get burned spots).

Aren't the chips yummy-looking?

 Now, make your Strawberry Nacho's.  Begin with a layer of Cinnamon-Sugar chips.  Place your sliced (and sugared) strawberries as your next layer.  Grab your Whipped Cream (I was lazy, I used the can-type) and finally drizzle with melted chocolate.

Did you gain 5 lbs just reading this recipe?  I think I did!

This recipe comes from here from "Best Bites".

Let me know what your fans think after you make them!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Charging you phone while cooking? It's possible!

During December, I was dying to tell you about this great little device. However, I didn't because I gave it to some special folks as a gift.  They read this blog, so I didn't want to "spill the beans".  Well January came and went and I realized that I still have not shared this great device with you.  So, I will finally take that opportunity today. (Just for your information, I purchased this device and have not had any financial consideration for this review).

The photo above is not a photoshop creation.  Would you like to see more:

Yes, this is a small pot cooking on the device.

You can also use a large pot on the device.

Image courtesy of Amazon

You can also get a 'grill' that stands over the device to use for cooking.

It uses twigs. Here we are using newspaper to start a file.

What is this neat little device?  The Biolite Wood Burning Campstove.

Here are some important facts:
  1. It weighs about 2 lbs and is about the same size as a Nalogene bottle.
  2. As it burns, it powers a fan the helps keep the fire burning and also transfers the heat into power to charge your small devices.
  3. You do not have to carry fuel when you use this.  Instead, pick up dry tinder as you hike or camp.  Some folks who have reviewed this product state that you can get 15-60 minutes of charge time on your phone while cooking a meal. It can charge your light source as well.  This is on-demand power.  
  4. Some reviewers stated that this device can be difficult to use if you live in a humid climate. However, these photos were taken in Michigan where it is very humid.  We had no issue starting the fire and burning tinder that we found lying around on the ground.  It burned quickly and efficiently.  It actually charged the phone, which was amazing to behold.
  5. You can carry a portable power bank to charge your phone, but that is an additional 6-10 ounces depending on what you are packing.  This can supply you with a heat source and power your small devices.
  6. The feet collapse and it fits into a small draw-string bag for easy transport.
  7. Some reviewers stated that ash can build up and impede the performance of the fan.  In my use of the device, this was not an issue, but I could see if you used it for an extended time for one meal how that could be possible.
  8. The Fan has 2 options, low and high to help you manage your flame for cooking.
  9. When the indicator light is lit, you can charge your small device.
  10. The power module is stored in the cooking chamber for transport making it very
  11. This uses clean energy.
  12. If you have a power-outage at home, this could power your phone while you cook your meal.

BioLite CampStove Demo & Story from BioLite on Vimeo.

I love this technology.  It works and it a seriously great option not only for hiking and camping but for emergency preparedness as well.  If you are sheltering in place, or if you had to use your 72 hour kit, this would be a welcome addition to your preparedness plans.

You can purchase this directly from Biolite, or from Amazon (with Prime there is no shipping fee).

My motto is that Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness are skill sets supported by food and tools. This device certainly fits in that realm.  Consider adding this important device to your plans.  

Consider it!

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