Saturday, December 31, 2011

How quickly was that help supposed to come?

I hope everyone has had a great week and a happy Christmas! The day after Christmas we headed south for a road trip, and fortunately, everything went well for us. We could put a big question mark on how it went for whoever was parked next to us in one location we went, however.

We had arrived in large parking garage, and had finally found a place to park, only to find that the vehicle next to us had one of its rear doors left open. This would be fine if, say, the owner were there taking something out of the backseat, but the problem was that there was absolutely no one there. Kind of eerie, really.

And since the car was at the edge of a row, on the pillar nearby was a security box flashing its blue light like crazy. We looked around the car, and directly into it, to make sure that no one had passed out or something right next to or right inside the car, but there was no one to be seen. When we looked more closely at the security box, it indicated that if the light was activated, security would respond. We didn't touch the car, but looked around for the (hopefully) arriving security as we went on our way.

 By the time we got back to our vehicle, the car door was closed. The blue lights, however, were still flashing. Or flashing again. Hard to know. Just like it's hard to know when help will come whenever there's an emergency. Granted, there's not enough information here to know what happened. The person who left their door open could have activated the security light themselves and made their way to help afterwards. Someone could have activated the light for another reason altogether, and the door could have been left open by a forgetful youngster. (Hey, it happens.) I guess my point is that even though the light was flashing, there was none of the advertised help immediately visible.

 Hopefully, none of us will be in a situation where we need help, but emergencies happen, (in all probability not something even vaguely related to what happened with the person with the open car door) and for many of them we can be prepared in such a way that we don't immediately need help if one happens where we are. Having at least 3 days of emergency supplies ready, like this list of supplies at can make our lives easier if we have to wait for help we hope will come. (I do think that I have linked to this site before, but it does give a basic list that newer readers may find helpful.) It will also make it less urgent for help to get to us, which might especially help anyone who is in more need of assistance than we are...

 In any case, hope everyone will make (or perhaps update) a 72-hour kit for emergencies, and hope no one will ever need it. The link above gives some ideas, but everyone's needs will vary, so it is likely that no two 72-hour kits will look the same. The open car door thing was a reminder to me that help might not always arrive as quickly as one would hope...better to have one and not need it than to not have one and need it...

 Take care, and Happy New Year, everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours all the best for Christmas and throughout the holiday season!

Monday, December 19, 2011

If you're still needing ideas...

...for inexpensive "neighbor gifts" or the like, you might want to check out this post: I have no idea why all the options for inserting links are gone as I write this post, but they are, so here's hoping I figure it out (or the options come back) before the I write the next one... Thanks to Fabulous Finds for the ideas!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Giving food, getting food...

Well, that was about the most cohesive title I could think of, given that I am about to relate a bunch of experiences that are semi-related...

--I had the opportunity to prepare a meal for a large family and deliver it--thing is, my typical "go-to" meals wouldn't necessarily work in this circumstance, given I didn't know how much food was actually needed. There were a variety of ages represented, and, well, I wanted to make sure there was enough food taken in. Sooo, I went looking on the internet and found this recipe for a ground beef casserole. Thing is, I used ground turkey, and omitted the green pepper, and made it for my own family the day before I made it for the other family. It went over ok with my family, although it wasn't a huge hit. What I liked about it is that with these ingredients, it's easy to manipulate the measurements to make it larger by doubling, and I'm pretty sure if you wanted to stretch it with a little more pasta, it wouldn't hurt anything, and would be more to serve. Anyway, not strictly a food storage recipe, but it is easy, and readers remember how much I love easy when it comes to recipes. :) Just thought I'd share. I think it would be great to take to a potluck dinner, as well.

--Many thanks to the kind "Christmas Elf" who left the homemade cinnamon bread ring (reminded me of what I have seen called "monkey bread") and ran away before we opened the door. It was still warm, and enjoyed by all!

--And speaking of "getting food", I thought I should share this link about legislation that was recently passed, as I understand it, without the amendment that was suggested at the beginning by Senator Paul. Storing food is particularly mentioned, so I include this link in the interest of spreading more information, and because people need to make informed decisions whenever possible. You may have already seen/heard about this, but wanted to include it here for those who have not.

--Picked up some boxes of potatoes at a local farm for my parents and took them down at Thanksgiving--they were requested so that they could be given as Christmas gifts. Ahh, Idaho potatoes, fresh off the farm. Gotta love food for gifts. Saw on the internet elsewhere a suggestion of giving a case of toilet paper for a "white elephant gift"--I think it may come across as funny, but no question would be useful....

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and is enjoying the Christmas season!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank you, Veterans!

Can never say thanks enough to all those who have served our country and protected our freedoms--but the thanks is heartfelt. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Some things are worth repeating...

I imagine by now that many if not all of my readers have heard about the peanut butter companies raising their prices in a major way--soon, if they haven't already. I wrote about and posted this article over on my other blog on Monday, and it gives details on when some of the prices are going up with some of the major peanut butter companies. Looks like there is some time left before some companies raise prices, but not much, so you may want to stock up on peanut butter, if it is one of your preferred preparation items. Since time is of the essence in this case, I hope you will pardon the repetition...

And since I am repeating myself, you may want to check out my post here that includes links to a great site that I don't think I have ever mentioned on this blog....

And, speaking of repetition, I can't say thanks too many times for coming back to read... :) Hope all is well with everyone!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Update on the watermelon, etc....

Yes, these watermelon came from our garden--my husband brought them in last night because there was an expected freeze. (The first expected freeze, even though last week we got, from one neighbor's account, 5 inches of heavy, wet snow. I can't verify the five inches (have to say I believe my neighbor) but I can verify the wet, heavy part-- from when the children and I cleaned off the driveway :) Anyway, yay, we grew watermelon in Idaho! Don't know how it will taste, but there is a certain happiness in having seen it get bigger and bigger.

Bigger and bigger, but not exactly huge. When the above picture was sent to relatives, an e-mail was returned asking about size, because it was hard to judge from the picture. So, the following e-mail was sent out:

Yeah, my husband's hand gives you a point of reference. Hope they taste as good as they look, and as to the size, you're always supposed to leave people wanting more, right? :)

We got a lot of carrots, our zucchini thrived, and we got a lot of peas from our garden this year. We had more ears of corn, but we waited too long to pick them. Our pumpkins are still out there, and looking good--how did your garden do this year? Hope everyone had/is having a great harvest...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Grapefruit juice...or the lack thereof

We don't buy grapefruit juice all that often, but recently, since it is one of my children's favorites, I went looking for some. The bottled variety was available, but there was no frozen concentrate. Ok, this didn't happen at the store I shop at the most often, but it does seem to have the best price on cheese that I've seen around, and the butter prices are better than most as a rule, and really good with the occasional coupon. So, I thought, it's a fluke. It's just this store.

Until, out of curiosity, I checked to see the availability of frozen grapefruit concentrate at our local national chainstore. There was none.

Then there is the bag-your-own variety of store that my husband needed to stop by because of something we had forgotten to purchase. When he called to tell me that he would be stopping by, I asked him to check to see if there was any frozen grapefruit concentrate available.

Again, nothing.....

Anyone else notice this in their area? I guess I can't really claim that there is no availability when it comes to grapefruit juice, since the bottled variety is still available, (at a somewhat hefty price) but I was surprised at the lack of the frozen variety, and am wondering--is it too expensive to produce in this form anymore, or have there been weather problems, crop problems, or something else that makes it impossible (at least as far as I have seen) to find now?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Paying attention at the cash register...

Can pay off if you actually are paying attention at the cash register, or really cost you if you aren't. Take today for example--I picked up a package (1.25 lb.) of ground turkey (would have picked up a 3 lb. package, but more on that later) and made my way to the cash register with other purchases. I thought the price on the package was $2.98.

Imagine my surprise, when, as the last product scanned, the turkey rang up at $4.58.

So I asked about it. The poor cashier, who had just put the closed sign on her register, asked me if I wanted her to check it. I did. So off she went. And she was gone quite awhile. When she returned, she said that the turkey at a different fat content level was the one at $2.98, but since there was no sign posted for the package I wanted to purchase, they decided that they would let me have it at the price of the other type. Quite the savings, if the $4.58 was the price it will be when they do find the sign...

I had planned to pick up a 3 lb. package, since I usually brown it and freeze it, and since we had been using our frozen meat, I had not noticed until now that there were no 3 lb. packages available. And no space marked for 3 lb. packages, making me wonder how long this had been going on, and if there were any plans to bring back the more economical package sizes. The turkey available was a different brand. So, I asked someone pulling a stocking shelf out from the back what the deal was--were we ever to see the 3 lb. packages again at this shopping location? The long and short of it was that he didn't know.

And hence, I don't know either. I do have one back up location for buying the 3 lb. packages, so I certainly hope it is stil available, and at a better price than $4.58 for 1.25 lbs...what are prices like where you are at?

And on the first note, makes me wonder how many times I have been overcharged without realizing it--through my own fault (misreading or misattributing signs) or otherwise...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Price check

Just wanted to mention a couple of prices that I have seen go up recently:

--The candy in the cashier lane.
Sometimes when my children go shopping with me, I will let them choose a treat from the shelves next to the checkout stand. Alas, I found out this week that the price on such treats has gone up nearly 50% when you consider the treats that are usually the ones being considered-- $.50 or less. Now, for the same treat, the price is $.74. Still under a dollar, but 50% is a big jump...

--The 12-pack Ramen noodle package

For quite some time, the price on this product has held steady at $1.68. Then, recently I saw that these boxes are now priced at $1.98. Granted, you might be able to find it at a lower cost, but I'm just talking about comparisons in the same store where I remember the previous price--prices are going up, up, and up... Still, not a high-priced item, but more is more...

Any price increases that have particularly caught your eye lately?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A new recipe tried, and the importance of good utensils...

I got a message in my comments recently about a new food blog called My Food Storage Cookbook. You gotta love food storage recipes that include the actual directions for using things like powdered milk/eggs, etc. So, one of my children and I tried out the German Spaetzle recipe today...

And that's where the importance of good utensils come in. Those, or at least expect to need a lot of practice if you're going to attempt to use the alternative method of preparation. We used powdered milk, powdered eggs, followed the excellent directions, and everything went well, including the test tablespoon in the boiling water. I loved the fact that the directions included the option of using a food storage bag with a corner stripped off to make the noodles if you don't happen to have a pastry bag handy.

Just turns out that I'm not that proficient of forming noodles via food storage bag. Yet.

The flavor of our version of the German Spaetzle was great, it's just that I had short, stubby "noodles". I'm sure that a pastry bag would have worked better--as sure as I can be, considering that I haven't used one that much. But my guess is that if I practice these some more, which I am planning to do, I will get better at the food storage bag alternative, or at the pastry bag method, if that's the route I choose to go. Can't underestimate the importance of practice...

Anyway, saw a couple more recipes over there I'm looking to try in the future, among them the Creamy Chicken Enchilada Recipe (which I will wait to try until it gets cooler, since it needs to bake for an hour) and the Italian Chicken Recipe, which looks like it would be a good option any time of the year. And that's only a couple of many recipes, with the author supplying sources, and a great way to organize your preparation efforts. There's a lot to check out if you are interested, so you might want to check it out. I know I'll probably head back for more info soon...

Hope that everyone is having a great summer, and that your garden is going well--in ours the radishes have done well, and there is great hope for the carrots. Looking forward to our raspberries ripening. Take care, and if you are in an area that is hot, hot, hot, try to stay cool, cool, cool..... :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, America!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July! Sending gratitude to all who defend and uphold our freedom, because freedom is never free...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wheat: a recipe, and cooking options

A great big thank you to Kristen at Harried Homemaker, who posted a recipe for Wheat Berry Spinach Salad, which looks really, really good. (Makes me wish I had planted spinach this year--wondering if it's too late at this point...) Gotta love more ways to use those wheat berries than just grinding them into flour.

When I saw that the salad recipe required cooked wheat, the first thing I thought of was the thermos method of cooking wheat, directions for which can be found here, at the Hillbilly Housewife website. Still, gotta love more options, so I e-mailed Kristen to ask how she cooked her wheat. She uses a pressure cooker, (which I don't have) but was kind enough to also include the following links on how to cook wheat:

---If you prefer to use a crockpot, you might wish to look here. (Thanks again, Hillbilly Housewife!)

---If you prefer to use a saucepan, you might wish to look here. I'm not familiar with this website, but sure appreciate the recipe!

Oh, yeah, gotta love having more options! Especially when it comes to wheat berries--and gotta love that people with expertise will share information!

Changing the subject, our little jalapeno pepper plant disappeared--the one that one of our children named "Jeff". As in, there is literally no sign of it anywhere, so it's not that it shriveled up due to mistreatment or bad weather or the like. Supposition around here is that one of the animals ate it, though why they would want to is beyond my understanding... We will probably return to the Farmer's Market and get another plant to try again. I hope everyone else's plants are still in their garden... :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What would you do?

At our local national chainstore, they've been doing quite a bit of remodeling lately. Not too long ago I was in line at the cashier and an alarm went off--really screechy, accompanied by flashing lights up in the ceiling. I was second or third in line, and briefly wondered if I should just abandon my cart and run like crazy out of the door. It had all the classic signs of being a fire alarm system going off.

Everyone, including the cashier, acted like nothing was happening. So I stayed in line.

Yeah, but not exactly being the shy type when it comes to asking questions, when I did get the chance to get my purchases rung up, I asked the cashier what that alarm had been, because if memory serves, it had finished going off by then. She basically said that they had been having problems with the system, but if it had been the real thing (i.e., there actually had been a fire) someone would have come over the intercom and said so.

Interesting. Interesting, too, that when I went to pull my car out of my parking space a couple of minutes later, I had to wait as two massive fire engines went by in front of me...

In a conversation that I had with someone soon after, the person pointed out that the logic that the cashier used was backward--that it would make more sense if, after the fire alarm started going off, that it was the policy to come on the intercom only to announce that it was only a test, if that was what it was. If there were a fire, there would be a good chance that the intercom wouldn't work at all. This person said they would have left the cart where it was and exited the building.

What would you have done in this situation?

I never heard of any fire and/or fire damage associated with the alarm going off that evening. There have been a couple of times that an alarm has gone off while I've been in that store since then, and one was because someone leaned against a secured exit or something, and that time there were no lights flashing as the sound went off. It's something that has made me think twice about shopping there, because if it goes off that many times when I have actually been there, how many times does it go off?

Fires are tricky, and can spread quickly. I have heard about a casino fire in the 1980's where people died because, as I understand it, they were sitting in the casino, and the fire spread so fast through the ceiling that it just collapsed. The person that was talking about that fire said they weren't even sure if the alarm had gone off in that situation. Sometimes, there is no warning. But if there is a warning, there is no telling how fast the flames are going through the building, and that's why acting quickly to get out of harm's way (even if it is not immediately evident) is crucial. It seems like it would be best to have decided before you ever get into such a situation what you are going to do if that situation arises.

Yeah, standing around acting like there was nothing wrong was not the best choice in the situation outlined above, but it was made all the easier by the fact that no one else seemed worried about it. But just because you aren't worried about it doesn't mean nothing will happen---in fact, it seems to be human nature for everyone to think that nothing like a store fire will ever happen to them....

So, would love to hear any responses, but hope that at least everyone will take the time to figure out so they know for their own personal benefit what they would do if a fire alarm went off while they were shopping. The emergency would be a lot less devastating in this instance if people knew what to do to avoid being caught in a store/hotel/building that is not home fire. What would you do?

Monday, June 13, 2011

If you like easy soup recipes....

May I direct your attention to this link? 50 easy soups, a copy of which has been printed out and is now in my hot little hand. Haven't tried any of them yet, but I'm all about the easy (and I love the fact that there are variations on the bean theme in some of them, like #37 and #38... :)

Readers may recall that I am not into sewing, but I have decided that it is time to fix that if possible and have been eyeing my sewing machine tentatively recently. (With me, sewing is really about the baby steps, since sewing and I just really don't get along. And in this relationship, it's not the sewing, it's meeee...) But, in a positive step forward, when I went garage-saleing on Saturday, I came across a garage sale that was mostly fabric, at really good prices. So, I picked up a couple of pieces. I then went back a little later with one of my children and bought a few more. I figure if I'm going to practice on fabric, I should buy it at the best price possible, considering that most likely it's going to take me a few tries to get things right. (I write this not as a pessimist, but based on logical conclusions reached based on past experience.)

Before I went back to the garage sale, I gave my best source (Mom) a call, to see if the pieces of fabric were big enough for what I wanted to make, and found out that sewing can be an even more expensive skill to develop than I had originally imagined. I thought the fabric was expensive based on passing the posted prices occasionally in a store, but imagine my surprise when she told me that patterns can cost more than $10.00! (I don't remember the exact numbers she quoted, it must be the shock... :) But she also said that there is a sale this week at JoAnn's on patterns where they are closer to $3.00, so I plan to check that out. (As usual, if this interests you, please check with your local store to see if the offer is there--don't want to waste a trip there just to find out that what you want isn't available in your location. My mom lives in Utah, so it may not be here in Idaho, but I will probably go in any case to get at least one pattern while I am working up my desire to sew.... )

Yeah, I went looking for clothes, and came back with fabric...I'll let you know how that goes.... I will be looking for patterns along the lines of "super-duper easy for the reluctant sewer" brand.

Hope everyone is doing well! Weather varies around here from cold to rainy to warmer--just hope the garden thrives this year....

Monday, May 16, 2011

How does your garden grow?

Well, I'm actually talking literally, as in the size of the garden, since it hasn't been consistently warm enough to actually plant anything yet, but soon, soon, soon, or we won't have much of a growing season at all. As for the size of our garden, it grew significantly on Saturday because my husband expanded it. Less room for the children to play, but more room for growing food...

Also visited the farmer's market for the first time this season on Saturday, and the most exciting purchase was a jalapeno plant one of my children named Jeff. The name has since changed to something else, but hey, I'm still going to call it Jeff. :) Now that the garden is bigger, we are going to put the children in charge of sections that they can plant and take care of themselves. They have helped plant in the past, but there is general excitement about getting to pick what they will plant in their section. Of course, we haven't reached the weeding stage yet... :)

So, are you growing anything new this year? Jalapeno peppers are new to our garden, and we are going to try watermelon because the children want to, though I don't have great hopes for it in our climate. Oh, well, hope I'm the one that's surprised, and we turn out with a great watermelon harvest. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

A tale of two coupons...

Well, more accurately, two types of coupons, but I thought that way the title sounded better....

First, there is the tale of the cheese. Readers may remember that I have had sticker shock about buying cheese for a while now anyway, but I had found a grocery store that put out coupons for cheese in the Sunday paper every couple of weeks that I was pretty happy with: 2 lbs cheddar cheese, 2/$7.00, limit 2. I would go and take advantage of this deal when it came up, and it seemed to be pretty consistent.

Then, not too long ago, there weren't any coupons for what seemed like quite awhile. I would look for the cheese coupon, but alas and alack, it didn't seem to appear. Then one day it was back, but it was different: 2 lbs cheddar cheese, 2/$7.00, limit one. Ok. Sad, but similar.

Fast forward to yesterday: 2 lbs cheddar cheese, $3.99, limit one. $.49 increase per package, and you can only get one, now. The prices are going up everywhere, and while cheese may not be on everyone's list, I hope that everyone is getting some food into storage while the prices are even as low as they are now (read: not very low, and rising....)

Ah, and then there is the other type of coupon alluded to in the title: the Walgreens coupon. I must admit to a certain type of glee when I would peruse the Walgreens ad on Sundays, and they would have a particularly good deal, limit (insert number here), followed by the words, except in ID or NM. (Idaho or New Mexico) Imagine how I felt yesterday when (yes, it started yesterday, because I still have last week's ad to rub it in...) I saw this change: great deal, (insert number here), followed by the words, except in NM. Yes, the days of gleefully going through their coupons and thinking I can get more than the stated limit if I so desire are gone, gone, gone. And that is sad to me...and perhaps a little irritating, as I don't know why it changed....

Well, before I get any negative comments (please be kind), I realize that it doesn't seem fair that Idaho got the exemption in the first place, but here's how I look at it--take advantage of the great deals you can find, whatever they are. As I read other blogs, I hear about stores that we don't have in our area where they are doing a promotion that I would love to be able to take advantage of, or prices that are much better than what I can find around here. Every place has its advantages--here, in an emergency in the dead of winter we wouldn't have to worry about power outage of the freezer because we could put things in a cooler in the garage, but say, down in Florida, I would think that they could use more firewood as a cooking fuel rather than to survive below zero temperatures, for example--so it's different everywhere. One of the things that isn't different is that everyone's gotta eat...

Yeah, sad for me, but also another indicator that prices are going up, coupon or no coupon....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A two for one recipe link, and substitutions, part 3

Well, we had this soup, posted over at Mangiabella for dinner tonight. Thing is, if you keep reading past that recipe, you will see that there is a recipe for "Quick Peanut Butter Cookies" that takes only three ingredients. I haven't tried it yet, but with only three ingredients, it doesn't seem like it would take that long to try... :)

I made the soup a little differently, although it was mostly the same. I thought this might work in a 12-week rotation, so I used canned chicken, more than what it called for. Turns out the cheese soup I ended up using was something like "Fiesta Nacho Cheese" soup, and used canned green chiles as well. I cooked 1/2 cup rice, so ended up adding considerably more than 1/2 cup cooked rice, and the result was what one of my children said was more like stew than soup. It was very thick, very tasty, and very filling. Some members of the family liked it better than others, but it's a keeper! Thanks Mangiabella!

With the same disclaimers mentioned here, (and just in case you were looking, there are more substitutions here), even more substitutions that are found in my emergency notebook:

Flour, white (1 cup)
1. 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2. 7/8 cup rice flour
3. 1 cup corn flour
4. 1 cup corn meal
5. 3/4 cup buckwheat
6. 1/2 cup barley flour
7. 3/4 cup rye flour

Flour, self-rising
1. 1 lb. flour, 2 tsp salt, and 2 tablespoons baking powder

Green pepper (1 medium)
1. 1/4 cup dehydrated green pepper

Half and Half (1 cup)
1. 7/8 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon butter
2. 1/2 cup coffee creamer and 1/2 cup milk

As always, thanks to any and all who posted this information!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Some noodle ideas

My thoughts and prayers go out to the people affected in the recent events in Japan. I hope that all the help needed gets where it is needed as quickly as possible.

In terms of food storage, I thought you might be interested in this link, which gives a large variety of recipes so you can vary your instant noodle meals. Variety can be wonderful when using your storage items, and you can never have too much variety when it comes to your 12-week rotation...

Monday, March 7, 2011

More substitutions...finally. Part 2

With the same disclaimers as my previous post , and without further ado:

Corn Starch (1 tablespoon)
--2 tablespoons flour

Cream (1 cup)
--1/3 cup butter plus 2/3 cup milk

1) Combine 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin with 3 tablespoons cold water and 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon boiling water.
2) Dissolve 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water, then add 2 tablespoons boiling water. Beat vigorously until frothy.
3) 2 egg yolks plus 1 tablespoon water
4) 2 tablespoons dehydrated eggs plus 2 1/2 tablespoons water
5) 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, 3 tablespoons water (or other liquid). Stir together until thick and gelatinous.

Evaporated Milk
--1 cup water, 2/3 c. powdered milk

--Applesauce (subtract some sugar), or beans (cooked and mashed)

Sorry for the delay--more coming. This time sooner--time sure flies.... :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

A page from my emergency notebook: Substitutions

I have gathered many substitutions in my "recipe substitutions" section of my emergency notebook, from more than one place. I entered these substitutions so long ago that I don't remember everywhere I got them from, so thanks to all who have shared their expertise with these on other blogs, because I certainly didn't come up with them on my own. However, I thought it was a good time to put this up, because even if you find that you need to make substitutions, you have to have the ingredients to substitute with:

Baking Powder (1 teaspoon):
1. 1 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 cup buttermilk (to replace 1/2 cup liquid in recipe)

Butter or margarine (1 cup)
1. 1 1/2 cup margarine or butter powder
2. 2/3 cup vegetable oil
3. 1 cup shortening plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
4. 2 sticks softened margarine plus 1/3 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup buttermilk. Beat until liquid is absorbed. Refrigerate.

1. 1 tablespoon vinegar (or 1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar) mixed in 1 cup milk.
2. 1 cup water, 1/3 cup powdered milk, 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice.
3. 1 3/4 dry milk in 3 cups slightly warm water (shake or beat until blended). Cover and allow to stand at room temperature until clabbered (6-12 hours). Refrigerate.
4. 1 cup water, 1/3 cup powdered milk, 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Let mixture stand in a warm place until thickened (18 hours). Stir until smooth. Refrigerate.
5. A buttermilk freeze-dried culture can be purchased at a grocery or health food store, and kept indefinitely.

Ok, I am the first to admit that I haven't tried all these substitutions. Some I would actually be wary of using, like the one that says to leave the mixture standing in a warm place until thickened for 18 hours. I probably wouldn't use that one, but with the list that I have, at least I have the option to pick and choose what I like.

That's one page, with a little over to finish the buttermilk section. Not interested in buttermilk because you don't use it? I didn't used to use it--I didn't buy buttermilk. However, the add vinegar or lemon juice (I prefer lemon juice personally, but use vinegar when needed) method is great for the following recipes I have linked to before:

Coffee Cake That Tastes Like Donuts???
Angel Biscuits (The recipe is a little further down in the linked post)
Best-Ever Buttermilk Biscuits
Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits

Thanks to all of the authors of the blogs that supplied these links! I have linked to them in the linked articles where applicable...

So, as always, decisions to use the information (or not) on this blog are your sole responsibility--I got the information (though in this case I don't remember exactly where) from sources that I thought were reliable, so I thought I would share them. If you have different substitutions to share, feel free (especially if they're easier--I love easy :) I'll be sharing a few more pages on substitutions from my emergency notebook this week. Gotta love options, especially if you find yourself in a situation where you can't just run out to the store....

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A matter of supply....

Just a quick link to this article on food prices going up. Um, yeah, not good news, and another reason to get some food into the pantry before the prices go up even more--wheat, sugar, and rice prices are mentioned specifically. The article also talks about supply and demand of nations, weather and crop issues, etc., so thought you might want to take a look....

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Does your road look/feel/damage your car like an ice rink??

Sorry, couldn't resist the post title. It is cold here, (as in -21 this morning, with no windchill) but watching the news it appears that elsewhere there is mega-snow, so we (almost) all have weather issues to deal with in the winter... :) Unfortunately, I wasn't really kidding about the "damage your car" issue--our road is iced over and the lack of adequate plowing earlier in the season has led to huge ruts, and where there are no ruts, there is usually a really thick and inconvenient layer of ice. When it's warmer, there is the occasional standing puddle/pond/bottomless black hole of water, but that's not today. Fortunately, our road is right off a more valued road that is better plowed, so as you are driving out, you can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel....

Anyway, in terms of emergency preparedness, I made enough different kinds of breads recently that one of my children commented on it. When we had spaghetti last week, I made Herbed Bread Sticks, a recipe I found over at Harried Homemaker. They were really good, and so much more substantial than frozen breadsticks that we have had in the past, but I have found that in general it takes me longer to actually make the recipes than what is expected. Ah, well. That's what practice is for, right? :) It is great when practice makes perfect, but absolutely convenient when it makes a task go more quickly....

Also wanted to share this link about first aid from, that I received and read about in an e-mail sent to my inbox recently. Makes me realize (again) that there is so much more that I have to learn, and more supplies that would be good to have in case of an emergency. Knowledge and supplies are a great combination for emergency preparation....

I hope that everyone has had a great start to February, and that your road is in better condition than ours. Speaking of cars, I would suggest, as has been suggested by many before me, I'm sure, that you attempt to keep your tanks as full as possible. For one thing, there is concern that the prices of fuel may go up, up, up in the near, near future. And more money used on fuel means less money available for other emergency preparation activities...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ah, banana bread and winter outerwear...

Well, in this case at least, the title of the post pretty much says it all when it comes to my emergency preparedness efforts last week...

First, as promised, comes the banana bread recipe. The time was ripe (pun totally intended) to use the bananas we had, so I looked for the simplest recipes with the most common on-hand ingredients that I could find. It may have been the very first time ever I had made banana bread, because if I had ever made banana bread before, it was apparently long ago and not very memorable. This banana bread was tasty, although not all of my children wanted to actually taste it. And, despite the fact that Idaho is not exactly the place to expect great access to bananas in an emergency situation, in normal circumstances I figure it would be cheaper to make this recipe than buy a loaf somewhere....

And then came later in the week, when I saw in a flyer that one of the major clothing chainstores in the area was having a sale (if I recall correctly, 60-70% off was advertised) on winter outerwear. I was basically looking for coats for next year for my quickly growing children. Apparently I was not alone, because on the first evening of a three-day sale there wasn't that much to choose from on the racks. Then I figured I would check out a few other stores to see if they had things on sale, and they did have some items on clearance racks, or items on sale that were still too expensive for my taste and/or wallet. So not an entirely profitable outing, but I did get some shopping done. I'm just sharing this info because you might have a better selection in your area, and apparently the best time for winter outerwear sales is now. I gather this from the fact that one of the cashiers, when asked if what they had out was all that was available, replied to the effect that what was out was all there was, that now was the time for Spring merchandise, and they already had some Spring items out. One of the (really disappointing) things that I saw in the outerwear selection of items is that many of them didn't seem to offer that much in terms of warmth. Even if the price is right, if the item is not going to accomplish the desired goal of actually keeping you warm, it doesn't really interest me. That kind of criteria can greatly affect your range of selection... :)

Lastly, and really as an aside, has anyone else noticed that the price of tortillas has gone up? I made tortillas last week (the recipe I use is here) but when I saw more recently that a large package was closer to $5.00 than $4.00, I didn't buy them. Mine aren't as pretty as the ones in the store, (or as uniform in shape, quite frankly) but it's hard to rationalize that they're worth that much more....

Friday, January 14, 2011

Easy biscuit recipe

I found this cornmeal buttermilk biscuit recipe over at Liv Life. They were good and disappeared shortly after they were taken out of the oven. Mine didn't come out as fluffy-looking as the ones on the blog, so I'll have to work on that aspect, but hey, my children and husband liked them, and they have been declared a "keeper". I substituted 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice in 1/2 cup of regular milk for the buttermilk.

I found this recipe through a link on the Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker website, which I tend to visit a lot. I actually have a few recipes that I'm hoping to get to from that site, such as these Panini all'Olio rolls, or these Spoon Rolls, since we're on the subject of breads. And as an added bonus, I have now told you about the recipes and you don't have to wait until I get around to making them to try them yourselves.... :) Thanks to those over at Liv Life and Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for sharing their recipes!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How many hoops would you go through to get a recipe?

For me, it depends on the ease of the recipe. Oh, yeah, and if I think that I will like what I'll be cooking/baking....

You can almost get a recipe by going here. I say almost because when you go to the linked website, it's actually a children's game about muffin-making. I suppose it is geared to help younger children with coordination, etc., because there are girls decorating muffins on a conveyor belt. Ah, everyone needs a little computer-animated fun, right? Thing is, after you decorate a level of muffins, when they show a rack of finished muffins, when you press on it, your prize is a muffin recipe. There are three levels to play, and each finished rack with different colored ribbon will give you a different recipe. Though I don't remember the order that you win which recipe, the three recipes available at the time of this writing are: corn muffins, applesauce muffins, and chocolate muffins. I can't speak for the other two recipes, but I did make the chocolate muffins on Saturday and they were received well by all. They all use pretty basic ingredients and the chocolate ones were easy to make. Ah. You gotta love easy..... :) And for the buttermilk ingredient in the corn muffins I would just substitute regular milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in it....

I tried to just link to the recipes, but no luck. So, while it may be a little annoying to have to go through the game to get to the recipes, I hope you find it worth the effort if you do. (Of course, this could be the way to get your children involved in thinking about recipes if you wanted... :) Anyway, I have found that children's books and websites sometimes have useful, easy recipes that could be useful for food storage because the recipes aren't complicated, and the ingredients are basic. So, a little weird to put an almost link in a post, but it does add variety to my bread-type recipes--and I'm always looking for variety in the flour, oil, and salt category...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

For those who like to win preparedness-y things...

Yeah, you gotta love it when someone just blatantly makes up words in the titles of their blog posts.... :)

But sometimes, you just gotta love it more when you get a chance to win free things (in this case, at least once a month this year) over at Preparedness Pro. The post with all of the helpful and pertinent information is here. It helps your chances if you have a facebook account, but apparently, leaving a comment on the blog's articles will enter you as well.

If you enter, I hope you win--there's a lot of good information and a lot to think about on the blog, so I guess everybody wins.... good luck!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Another recipe for that ground turkey (or beef)

I have mentioned somewhere before that one of the things we do to make the most of our dollars is to buy ground turkey in 3 lb. packages and brown and freeze it for future meals. Sometimes when it is first opened, I make a meatloaf (recipe here). And sometimes I make a recipe passed down from one of my grandmothers, which I will put below for your consideration. I love it because it has few ingredients, and is one of my favorite "comfort foods". Thanks to my best source (Mom) for compiling the family recipe book, and here is the recipe :

Swedish Meat "Balls"
1 1/2-2 lbs ground meat
1 medium onion, chopped
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup bread crumbs or quick oats
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix thoroughly. My grandmother always made them into patties about palm size and 1 inch thick.
Heat skillet and add a little oil or shortening. Brown on med. high about 5 min. each side. Remove from pan. Melt 3 TBS shortening (or use oil) in pan. Add 1/3 cup flour and brown, scraping loose browned meat crumbs. Add 1 cup cold milk and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 minutes. Add water to desired consistency. Return meat to gravy and simmer 20 minutes.

Editorial note from the cookbook: If you don't like the meat soaked in gravy, cook 12 minutes each side and serve separately.

End of recipe.

Ok, well--I haven't exactly made them like my mother does (and my meat "balls" aren't as good as hers, either) but my children like them. Mine have differed in the following ways:

--I have yet to add poultry seasoning to the meatballs. I will fix that.
--I browned the meatballs and made the gravy as directed. Then I put the meatballs into a crockpot, poured the gravy over the meatballs, and let it cook for a few hours.
--I used onion powder instead of fresh onion.

My family loves these. Just thought I'd share because they are easy, not many ingredients (I would use powdered milk if fresh weren't available), and hey, I found a way to use my crockpot, for them too, so win-win-win. If you try them, I hope you enjoy them...and I hope everyone is having a great New Year!