Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday Message

Chicken broth from my food storage, used in the Rice-A-Roni make a mix listed below in the message.

“When we really get into hard times, where food is scarce or there is none at all, and so with clothing and shelter, money may be no good for there may be nothing to buy, and you cannot eat money, you cannot get enough of it together to burn to keep warm, and you cannot wear it.  You can’t eat money, but you can eat your three-month supply of food – IF YOU HAVE IT AND KNOW HOW TO USE IT." President J. Reuben Clark (Church News, 1953) - worth watching. While watching this I was reminded of the floods of '93.  

Here in Iowa we went to church that Sunday knowing it would be bad. We had sacrament meeting and we were all excused to go fill sandbags. Also, when Woodward had the November tornado, we worked with other churches and helped clean up. And the youth would walk in a line in the fields to pick up anything they could find, pictures... anything.

Things happen everywhere. Disaster can happen everywhere. If we are prepared, we are more able to help others, so get cracking on your storage! Often it strikes unexpectedly. It never happens when it is convenient. We must not wait!

If you have been following the blog you know I have been doing make-ahead mixes of some of our recipes that we have already liked. I measure the dry ingredients into pint jars. If you are making one batch for supper and are getting out the ingredients, you might as well measure out more for future meals. It is very little work and helps to have on hand ready to make.

I have been sick for a month with a stomach bug only to get better long enough to do the kitchen face-lift and then to go down again for three weeks with a head cold. Not fun at all. Many times I put my head on the counter while fixing our meals, wishing I had things like this for ready to make meals. I had things ahead but those were way too long and I ran out of my casseroles in the freezer so this is a wonderful solution.

I have other things I want to try before I do this to see if we like them first.

Today I made seven pints of Rice-A-Roni. This I have made many times but I decided to do it in pints.


In the pint jar I put one cup of rice (regular, uncooked)
Then I put ¼ tsp garlic, dry of course
In a piece of plastic wrap I put ¼ c. vermicelli, wrapped it in the wrap and set it on top. Put on the lids and write the directions on it to fix this.
Brown the vermicelli in a fourth c. butter. Once browned, add rest of jar ingredients with a can of chicken broth and fill that can with water and add it… that is it, simmer for 20-25 minutes and serve, yum!

It is nice to use my empty jars for this good cause.

Much like from a box, but way cheaper and tastes better. I suppose you could use baggies but I had empty jars. They will keep long but if I needed longer I could vacuum seal them. But I have seen baggies used as well, then use a box to keep them organized.

I just think with gardening on its way and kids home for summer, we need all the help we can get. I was able to make these without a trip to the store as they are things we already eat so I store the ingredients.

This has been a frugal thing to do. Think about the store aisles, there are mixes for everything... muffin mixes, cake mixes, snack cake mixes and tons more. But you can have your own family favorites made in a mix ready to make a quick snack, breakfast, etc. You will thank yourself in the future for making these now. And remember if you are getting out to do it anyway, just measure several with the dry ingredients. Also, write on the bags or jars what to add so you don’t even have to stop to look up the recipe.

How are you coming with your storage?? Are you watching your sale flyers? The time of this writing peanut butter is on sale, good time to stock up get a few ahead. Use the coupons also, even if it is a limit of one you saved money and added to your storage.

Have you been trying new recipes? Be mindful of storage when trying those out. For example, what are the ingredients? Are they things you can store? Or are they frozen things? Always be on the look out for food storage recipes, these don’t have to be awful and punishing…

Like my green bean casserole for example, missionaries always want the recipe and since it freezes well I make two and freeze one. It calls for hamburger and we always seem to have leftover taco meat so I make it into this casserole, gives it a great variety…

Green Bean Casserole - my food storage friendly recipe for sure

Brown and drain your hamburger, or use leftover taco meat  (how is hamburger food storage? I can meats) so I could be spoiled by using my canned hamburger and skip the browning step as it is cooked from pressure canning already. Our little market in town has pints of canned meats from the Amish - $7 for a pint, ouch! Much cheaper to make your own, each pint holds about a lb.

To the hamburger you add a can of tomato soup and a can of drained green beans and a tbsp. of dried onion, mix this together and top with mashed potatoes, either leftover or I use potato purls or any instant potato that you store, you can put it in plops on top or spread it over all and I will sometimes add cheese. Bake at 350 degrees till golden about half an hour. You would need to double for larger families.

So if you stored to make this and did not can meat yet you need to keep in the freezer, outside of that you store green beans, tomato soup and dehydrated onions and instant potatoes... but you should not forget water as well in storage, but in a pinch you could use the liquid off the beans to make up potatoes.

So let's say you have this once a month for three months you would need to store:

Three lb pkgs of hamburger in freezer or three pints canned
Three cans tomato soup
Three tbsps. of dry onion
Three cans green beans
Instant potatoes, one large box or three little ones

This would be more for larger families

So for a year take all and multiply by twelve.

See? Food storage isn’t so hard.

Easy to store ingredients and tastes soooo good, how could this be punishing?

So I encourage you to go through your recipe files, see what recipes you already use that could be made food storage friendly and start storing those things. This is simple math. There are many wonderful recipes out there so keep the old favorites and build by trying something new.

When you have to rely solely on your storage you don’t want everyone turning up their noses because it is new. No, you want to pull out recipes you have been doing all along plus some homemade bread and cake from scratch…

Build your skills, they build on each other. - these would be fun to do with kids. - this shows on rice a good food storage item, keep scrolling down - a wealth of info. - many good recipes

Part one -

Part two - this isn’t eeeew food storage.

Keep working on your storage and your skills, easy peasy, right?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Orange zest

Free food with little effort. You can wash your oranges and zest with a zester (shown in pic) or use a grater and grate the outside of the orange, the white part is bitter you just want the orange part.  

I do this on a plate, as in the picture, and let it dry. This takes about 24 hours of just letting it dry on the plate. 

When dry I put it in a jar for recipes calling for orange peel. We eat the orange after I zest it so it isn’t done ahead, just as we eat the oranges. But this is free, how much are you spending for the tiny jar at the store?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

One Pot Spaghetti

One Pot Spaghetti

Brown your hamburger and add..
Dry onion tbsp. or chopped fresh
It calls for green pepper but I didn’t, though I think it would be good
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp garlic powder

1  16 oz can tomato sauce
1 can water
Half an 8 ounce dry spaghetti, I broke noodles in thirds

I cooked all together with lid on, stirring now and then.

I dumped all dry ingredients in pint jars. I made eight today, my own “hamburger helper.”

I labeled the jars and then wrote what to add to the dry ingredients.

This will be easy to fix when I need it. We loved it.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday Message

Find out how I make my favorite pasta - CLICK HERE.

"The little gardens and a few trees are very valuable. I remember when the sisters used to say, `well, but we could buy it at the store a lot cheaper than we could put it up.' But that isn't quite the answer, is it, Sister Spafford? Because there will become a time when there isn't a store." - President Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference April 1974.

This is why we are working on our skills and building our storage... not to waste our time, not for busy work, not to be old-fashioned this statement should make us think.

When a crisis is upon us is not the time to learn, it is time to put what we learned into action.

I love to get a fruit tree for mother’s day, it is my favorite. Down the road it gives us food. If you can plant trees I suggest fruit trees, berry bushes, rhubarb, etc. - this is why last week we talked about one pot meals, can you imagine this with homemade bread right from the oven?

I am sixty and I will tell you that you just get busier, life doesn’t really slow down so once you find these - easy and frugal recipes, how wonderful it is.

I picked up oranges on sale this week. I thought I would tell you what I do. When ready to have one I wash it then I zest it onto a small plate. We eat the orange and the zest dries in a day or so then I put it in a jar and use in recipes calling for orange peel. just thought this a good use for the orange rind, orange rolls - yum!

Celery - you can wash the leaves and pull them off and dry on a plate, when dry put it in a jar. - this gives you a visual. I do lots of buckets, I get them from bakeries and wash them and dry overnight before I load them. this has 52 ideas on how to save a $100 a year, you have to scroll down to see them and each is a link, so click on them for more info, this one is important - being content. I think you will be surprised to see how many you are already doing. - this is an excellent article to read if you have special health needs you had better make sure you have what it takes for the need. If you have issues and have not upgraded your storage, you need to get on it - this has great ideas and great for anytime gifts. - this would be a fun family night activity.

I once knew a lady who had many children she adopted. She taught each boy and girl alike how to make bread - a very useful skill. Could you teach your kids?

What skills do you have yet to learn?

Sewing a hem
Knitting a dishcloth
Sew a skirt

How to make laundry soap -

How to make a garden
How to cook spaghetti noodles in less water
How to make bread

To make cakes from scratch

How to make pasta from scratch

How to knit mittens
How to knit a hat
How to can

how to dehydrate food

How to cook from scratch
How to make a menu and stick to it
How to plan a budget
How to live off very little

Can you live a month without going to the store with what is in your storage? 

Work on skills. Make a list of what you want to learn. There are so many things. Just make your first five on the list and under them plan how you will learn. Once those are done pick five more.

I am proud of you. Keep at it and tell me your successes and your failures, we can work out what went wrong. - email me and let me know how I can help!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Message

“When we really get into hard times, where food is scarce or there is none at all, and so with clothing and shelter, money may be no good for there may be nothing to buy, and you cannot eat money, you cannot get enough of it together to burn to keep warm, and you cannot wear it.  You can’t eat money, but you can eat your three-month supply of food – IF YOU HAVE IT AND KNOW HOW TO USE IT." - President J. Reuben Clark (Church News, 1953) okay, I put this in as I watch her blog and I wanted you to see these missionaries doing a wonderful service, indeed they make their mamas proud. this is a good thing to have. I myself have been mixing up what I call mixes. 

I showed you a few weeks ago bread mixes, oh how they help me as I am now sick with a cold flu and we still have to eat and this helped a lot -

I like her ideas. Having them on hand is sooo helpful. I say look at your favorite recipes and put the dry ingredients in the jar, keeping in mind a quart jar holds four cups. I write the name of it on the jar and what I need to add to mix it on the jar like in the picture at the top of the post. These are our favorite recipes in these jars. So look through your recipes. I bet you find a ton you can do this and the next time you are in a hurry or are sick, how easy it is to pull this out?

To make multiple mixes in jars like this is so fast and easy and so much cheaper plus there's no added chemicals.

Here is a recipe that we like:

Chili mac hamburger homemade helper

Brown and drain one lb hamburger
1 tsp chili powder
¾ tbsp. dried onion
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp sugar
2- 15oz cans tomato sauce
1 of the previous cans filled with water
1 cup uncooked macaroni which you add at end

Put everything but macaroni in pan, cook uncovered, simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the uncooked pasta, simmer slowly for 15 minutes. If needed you can add another can of water, sometimes I need to, other times I don’t.

So to make this as a kit, and since I know we like it, I would get more than one pint, probably six or eight pints, you with large families will double the recipe.

I would put the pasta in my jars then I would put the dry seasonings and sugar in a piece of plastic wrap, insert on top. Write what to add and then I have my own hamburger homemade helper. - this shows you the ingredients in the mix on shelves, interesting right?

Once you see how this is done you probably have your own recipes that you can do this with as well.

Even on sale it is cheaper to make your own. - if you need ideas try here, this is a favorite site of mine.

We are asked to be prudent so here is a way to cut costs. The other thing is I store the ingredients to make the recipe and they can be stored for a long long time, but once I got some Hamburger Helpers for my storage before a year was up whatever was in them turned drastically salty…

Pasta goes on sale often you should stock up… So do the math. - this is a good way to plan your meals as well as starting your storage. - she has some good points, of course look past the sales stuff. I think those who have the money and like the product that is one thing but you can store, being frugal too, also learning to can meat is priceless but can correctly. I actually think canning meat is easier than growing, picking and cleaning green beans, but I do that too.

But I think the story of the mother not able to go get food hits us too that we don’t want to be in that position, add to that how I would want to have been a neighbor with storage to be there for her.

I live about seven blocks from a market or two blocks from a convenience store/gas station. I have been here in an ice storm and it would have been very dangerous to attempt to go to either. If you fell (highly likely) and broke something you put others at risk coming to help you… just food for thought. Get stocked up so you can be of help to others. - here is a few more ideas. - interesting, we all had the same idea. - more info on this.  this is priceless, never pay high price for creamed soup again... much savings here.,1-0,make_ahead_mixes,FF.html - there are good things here several pages worth.

This is just to get you started. I think once you start incorporating the SOS mix and the other things you soon find out whyever did you not do this before? Doing these things are huge savings.

Ignore the ones trying to sell things, you are just looking for the ideas.

Keep working on your storage. If you can’t get to Omaha often then pick up wheat at Walmart to store in a bucket with two bay leaves date and label…

If you are not starting or even working on your storage, take it to prayer should I do this.

If you have a tight budget pray for opportunities and be amazed.

You're doing great, keep working on this. Be there for a neighbor who has a need.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday Message

"Recent surveys of Church members have shown a serious erosion in the number of families who have a year’s supply of life’s necessities. Most members plan to do it. Too few have begun. . . . It is our sacred duty to care for our families, including our extended families." (Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, Sept. 1986, 4; emphasis in original)

"Let us be in a position so we are able to not only feed ourselves through home production and storage, but others as well." (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1980, 48; or Ensign, Nov. 1980, 34)

Hopefully you did your assignment from last week, if not then get on it! - have you wondered what to do with beans you have in your storage?? do you have water stored? this my favorite gal and her mother, watch the several ways to make bread - it is made simple by them, wonderful! how can making these be boring? Comes out of your storage.  these are things that if you do your storage right you can have fine things. - tips for supper - wheat? - shaping your homemade dinner rolls. - storage presentation, you need to watch her presentation - do it for homework. organized spices or make your own. I use old half pint jars with a homemade rack. - what to know on pasta machine

I love the site www.storethisnotthat. This gal knows what she is doing.

The week prior to this I worked all week on giving my kitchen a free makeover using no money. You can check it out HERE. I just wanted you to know it can be done. I live a frugal lifestyle the best I can.

I just want you to know I choose to live frugally to stretch what we have and this has truly been a blessing to my family.

Having hard times in my life has honed skills. I feel blessed to have them, sure we don’t have what everyone else has. I opted to store food rather than have things others did. I feel truly educated in how to handle hard times.

I had a friend talk to me this week, she could not understand how our storage will help if things get bad. I told her I think bad times are here at least for us. Look around, gas is going up again, grocery prices have not come down, they are going up and that our storage offsets the higher cost for us now. 

So look at your budget, is it getting squeezed??

I think the here and now is pretty tough.

You can make do when we are in need to do so. Being happy with what we have and not miserable for that which we don’t have makes a happier home and you teach your children that too.

Is it a wonder our Prophets want us to live prudently? No, it is a lifestyle that blesses us.

So there is no shame in following the Prophets. Be happy in what you do and me who hates to garden will sing the children’s song "..the Prophet said to plant a garden so that’s what we’ll do..."

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Frugal Kitchen Facelift

I was inspired by my friend Liza's kitchen upgrade and decided to see what I could do for mine with no budget and only using what I had on hand.

The facelift started with painting the lower cupboards using a can of paint I already had.

I gave away one of the tables I had in the kitchen and left these two smaller ones.

I moved an oven that can go on top of my woodburning cookstove and placed it on the floor next to the tables. It's over a hundred years old and I got it at a yardsale a long time ago for $3. I use it to store my bread pans.

We took off the doors and I painted the faces of the cupboards to have nice open shelving.

Without the cupboard doors it made the kitchen a lot bigger.

I moved the spice jars over to the shelf on the other side of the kitchen closer to the mixers.

On one of the nicest days we had so far, we took down the oven hood, scrubbed it up and let it dry. Then we sprayed it black with spray paint we had on hand.

These curtains above the windows are the old curtains. I made them out of napkins years ago. The sun has since faded them so new curtains were in order.

I moved my gallon jars to the shelves so I could have them all together by the mixers. I was inspired to keep all the baking things together based off my friend Liza's baking nook. A lot of rearranging had to take place to get all the jars together.

I made my "new" curtains out of an old shower curtain. To prevent fading I lined the curtains for the main window with a white sheet.

In the right of this above picture you can see the black spray painted oven hood. You can see it better in the picture below.

I used every bit of the shower curtain until nothing was left over.

Homemade bread is in the toaster ready to be toasted for breakfast.

In order for me to move the gallon jars to the kitchen I had to take them off this shelf and then filled it back up with cookbooks, a person can't have too many cookbooks!

Overall, I'm super happy with the kitchen face lift. From this angle you can see the door frame where we mark how tall our grandkids are. Opposite that you can see the beautiful aprons my dear friend Liza made, fitting as she was the inspiration throughout the whole project.

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