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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Garden Boxes 6-2011

Here are two photos of my three garden boxes.  I'm so glad we added the second and third boxes, to increase our harvest.  I'm still not getting anywhere near the harvest that I think I should though, and for a seasoned gardener, I'm not sure why.  The plants in the new box are going crazy, but one tomato plant barely has any tomatoes on it, while the other has a ton.  I did get two tiny tomatoes off that one, with more to come.  I lost the tag for it though, so I don't know what kind it is.  I am supposed to draw a map of my garden boxes and show exactly what got put where, but I was lazy this season and didn't bother.

The old boxes are doing fairly well, but still not as good as I'd hoped, although I have taken into account the weird rain and cold weather we experienced to the first part of June.

I still have some research to do.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pasteurize Your Own Eggs

I had heard not to dedhyrate your own eggs because of salmonella.  It was said that only large companies could spray dry and heat the eggs such that the bad bugs were eliminated.

Not true!
On the USDA webpage:

To pasteurize your own eggs, stir together eggs and either 1⁄4 cup sugar, water or other liquid from the recipe in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 160°F. These eggs can be safely used in recipes and require no further cooking.

When I make my dried eggs, I put a little water in them and scramble them before drying.  Works great!  You will notice that the USDA does not say how many eggs to the ratio of sugar or water, so I add about 1 Tbl. per six eggs.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dried Chili

It's fun to take a meal that you've created, like chili, spaghetti, stew, and dehydrate it for use later.  Spread food on the flex sheets (chopping meat into small pieces) of your Excalibur dehydrator (do NOT dry meats unless you can do so at 155 to 165 degrees), and dry for 10 to 18 hours.

Adding warm or hot water for 15 minutes before eating it is all that's needed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oroweat Thrift Store

I go to the Oroweat thrift store about once a month on the way back from the temple.  Again I stopped and spent only $10 for all these items, where I would have normally spent about $30 at Bel Air, Raleys, Safeway, etc.!  Everything is just a day old and very fresh and wonderful.  I feel so blessed to have found this opportunity for our family.  If you haven't been there yet, please do! It's located on Fruitridge Drive in Sacramento, from 99 you go right past the railroad tracks on Fruitridge (west) and on the right is a vacuum cleaner store and next to that is the Oroweat store.  If you don't live in the Sacramento area, just look it up in your local phone book (try "bakeries" to see if you get more places than Oroweat).

Especially if you have a large family, you can't afford not to check out this type of thrift store.  The bargains are just too good to pass up!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I picked the last of the chard yesterday, here is a picture of it. So delicious cooked in an inch of water with some chicken bouillon in it.  Yum!  I took it all out because they are two years old and I wanted to start fresh again.  Others are growing in the first box.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Potatoes and White Beans

There is something so cool about pressure canning meats and beans, they are so tender and tasty when done.  The only thing better is then taking a meat or bean and drying it! This is a picture of dried white beans. I took a quart of pressure canned beans I'd done and dried them for about 15 hours.  Great! I also harvested most of the potato plants in my garden, and didn't find as many potatoes as I'd hoped, but still plenty, since I got about twice this amount all total, (with two more bushes to harvest).

I don't understand why I can't seem to take close up photos without blurring, though.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Food Prices and Preparations

I found this article today:

It was written by Carolyn Nicolaysen

and can be found here:


Here are some headlines from the past several days:

“2011 Tornado Season has seen increase in Storms, Record Death Toll”

“Missouri River Flood of 2011 one for the History Books”
“The recent floods and tornado outbreaks mark the most costly disaster in American history” "Food price shock ahead”.

All of these are headlines seen in the past few days in June. Is the time for preparing past? No, but it will now be much more expensive than it would have been just a few months ago.

The National Weather Service has announced the forecast for the coming hurricane season. Although the prediction is for more named storms this year, that alone is not the most interesting part of the story. What we should really be taking note of is the fact that we are returning to the weather patterns of the 1950s and 1960s. During those years there were serious weather conditions which hit the northeast coast of North America, the jet stream lowered its path, and temperatures were confused – it was much colder in normally warm areas, and much warmer in normally cool areas.

We have seen the results this spring with tornadoes not only in the Midwest “Tornado Alley”, but also in diverse places such as California and Massachusetts. All of this news means we can expect to have weather only our parents and grandparents remember well. The time for preparing has not passed, but the urgency has increased.

The winter of 2010-2011 has seen record snowfall in all the mountain ranges west of the Mississippi. Spring in these areas has been colder than normal, setting up a disastrous scenario for the remaining weeks of spring and summer. Rivers and reservoirs in some places are overwhelmed, and heat waves may follow the cool spring weather in many areas. Hot weather will eventually come to the West, and when it does there may be severe flooding. Four states not part of the Mississippi River system, where horrific flooding and loss of life and property have already occurred, - Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and South Dakota - have already declared a state of emergency due to flooding.

Are you prepared to remain out of your home for a month or more? Are you prepared to be without grocery and pharmacy supplies for weeks? This is already the case in some areas. Do you really still believe natural disasters can't happen to you?

We have heard so much about flooding and tornadoes this year that it should come as no surprise that some North American crops have been destroyed or not planted at all. The logical conclusion: prices will go up.

On the other hand - are you aware that in some regions there is still a drought?

Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Alabama all have areas of extreme drought or worse “exceptional drought.”
This is also the case on other continents:

“Several submerged sections of an imperial tomb of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) have resurfaced in east China's Jiangsu Province as a result of a severe drought that is still affecting the region. The tomb was built for the ancestors of Zhu Yuanzhang, founder and the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, in AD 1386, on the west bank of the Hongze Lake in Xuyi County of Jiangsu.
“The mausoleum was flooded in 1680, when the Yellow River broke its banks, changed course and converged with the nearby Huaihe River. Now local residents have got to take their first look at the tomb, which hadn't seen the light of day in more than 300 years.

“Stone arches and other parts of the tomb emerged on Thursday as the lake's water level continued to recede because of the recent drought. Local residents also got a look at a paved path leading to the tomb.”¹

In China, 725,000 acres of land are drying out causing not only enormous crop loss but leaving 820,000 people in the region without sufficient food and water. Where will the food come from to feed these people? Will China purchase crops normally sold to industrialized nations such as the United States, Canada and Australia, leaving them short?

Food riots have already occurred around the world. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is warning the drought conditions in China, Europe and Great Britain may lead to the worst food inflation we have seen to date. Combine this with the loss of crops in Japan due to the earthquake and tsunami and flooding, plus drought and tornadoes in the United States and the outlook is not good for food supplies and food prices. The fear is food shortages will increase the frequency and intensity of food riots in many more countries.

The price of oil has already gone up making the cost of petroleum based items rise. The price of cotton has soared making the cost of everything from clothing to camp tents rise.

Has the time for preparing passed? No, but maybe the time to ask what we are preparing for has. It is here. Now is the time to gather your family and to discuss your priorities for the coming year. Summer is almost here and it is not too late to plant a garden. It is not too late to plan a stay-at-home vacation to save money for self reliance goals. Summer vacations from school are the perfect time to clean out used items and sell them at a garage sale or online.
There will never be a less expensive time to purchase preparedness items or to learn skills that will save you the money you are now spending on them. Now is the time. Don't make the mistake of thinking this won't affect you. It will. Don't make the mistake of thinking it can wait and looking back months from now and wishing you had taken action when prices were lower.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rice, Apricots and Beans

Today I am drying rice that I've cooked up, puried apricots from a can, and white beans that I smushed so they are more like the LDS cannery dry refried beans when done.  Pix later!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Great Granola

There is something wonderful about making your own convenience foods. One of them is your own granola bars.  I honestly couldn't tell you if mine are less or more expensive than store bought, but I can tell you the taste if fantastic.  The only thing to remember is that these don't have preservatives in them, so when you wrap them up in individual servings, make sure you use them within a few days, or refrigerate or even freeze them.  You can also vacuum seal them in a Food Saver bag.

The second item is beef jerky.  Who doesn't love jerky? It's very easy to make.  The photos above are of jerky halfway dried, (not done yet) and the granola before I put it in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

The granola recipe is not one I made up, but unfortunately I didn't save who did write it.

p.s. It calls for wheat flakes if you have a flaker, which is a great way to use your wheat!

Oatmeal Wheat Flake Granola Bars

1/2 cup wheat or white flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs or 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites, or dried reconstituted equivalant of 2 eggs
2 Tbl molasses
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbl canola oil or butter or 2 tsp dried butter with 1 T oil or water
1 cup oats
1 cup wheat flakes (or oats, or forego the oats and just use wheat flakes)
1 cup dried fruit (I use dried cherries and cranberries)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or almonds
(you can also add some chocolate chips, but I didn't)

Preheat oven to 350. Coat 9 x 13 baking pan with nonstick spray.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt (use a whisk). Mix peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs, molasses, honey, vanilla and oil until smooth, add to flour mixture.

Mix really well, then add oats/wheat flakes, fruit and nuts. Plop into the 9 x 13 baking pan (I used a Pyrex 9 x 13 casserole), smooth out evenly using some plastic wrap or oil on your fingers to push it down.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes. You want them to be evenly, lightly browned. Put a knife blade into the middle to see if it's moist but not wet. Let cool a bit, then cut into squares and finish cooling. I get about 12 good size bars out of this recipe.

Beef jerk is very easy.  First you go to your local grocery that has a butcher area so you can ask the butcher to cut up meat for you for jerky.  Yes, that's exactly what you say! It's usually top round or another good meat.  You don't want too much fat on it, keep it as lean as you can, because fat won't dry well at all.

My recipe is:
  • about 3 pounds of top round, cut into jerky slices (fairly thin, a little less than 1/4 inch)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup worchestershire sauce
  • garlic powder, sprinkled lightly over all pieces as they marinade
  • garlic salt, " "
  • pepper
  • coarse pepper combination
  • red pepper flakes, in the amount you like, if any
In a 9 x 13 pan, put a layer of sliced meat on bottom, sprinkle with above spices and some of the soy/worchestershire sauce.  Add another layer, and do until done.

Let marinate overnight, turning once or twice as you can to let all pieces marinate.

Drain for a few minutes on paper towels so they're not sopping wet, and then put in dehydrator on shelves.  Dry for 6 hours or so, checking after that to make sure they are done.  They will be leathery and good!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jams and Hamburger

Tomorrow I'll be making pressure canned ground beef and multi-berry jam!