* I found another great resource for helping families be prepared for emergencies. It includes ideas for avoiding debt, How to Make an Emergency Communication Plan, getting an adequate education, and keeping a reserve of food. Links and videos are included. Emergency Preparedness
** Some ideas for diagnosing garden problems:
THIS is the story of my garden: Something is wrong. I spend time worrying and researching. When I finally decide what it is, the problem has exploded and then I frantically prune, spray, and babysit the plants until I can get it under control, cursing myself for letting it go so long. Really, you need to be in the garden often to monitor what’s going on.
LONG TERM FOCUS: Dehydrated Hash Browns
Several months ago, I bought some of these: Idaho Spuds Premium Hashbrown Potatoes 4.2 oz, 8 Pack. I liked how you just fill up the container with boiling water, let them sit 12 minutes, then dump in the frying pan. Well…… I found the same thing in the bulk section of Winco and bought a BIG bag. The dehydrated potatoes are sold by weight, and they weigh next to nothing. I took a baggie of the dehydrated hash browns with us camping. I filled a red cup 3/4 full with dry potatoes, poured boiling water in the cup and let it sit for 12 minutes. I poured off the water and dumped the potatoes right into the frying pan. I fried them in a little butter. They were perfect! I’m going to go back and get more. I’ll probably seal them in mylar bags. Trying to vacuum shrink them won’t work because they are “pokey” and will poke holes in the plastic as it shrinks. Another idea is to cut off the tops of 2 2-liter soda bottles, cut a slit in one so it will slide into the other one, and store potatoes that way. OR, any kind of bug-proof container.
The product above from Amazon only has 8 containers and is over $16. In essence, it is 2 pounds of potatoes for $16. THAT’s a lot of money.
SHORT-TERM FOCUS: Green Chiles
I have a few recipes that call for green chiles. Watch for them to go on sale, and pick up 4-6 cans. Write the date on them (I do month and year 8-21) and put them in the pantry, or under your bed, or in the closet.
72-HOUR KIT FOCUS: Emergency Contacts
I still remember my phone number from grade school. But I can barely remember my husband’s cell number and I have to check it EVERY TIME! You don’t need to include all phone numbers ever. But on a 3X5 card – better a 4X6. One side can be for personal numbers. All immediate family members, a close relative, maybe a neighbor or best friend. Be sure to include an out-of-state number as well. AND make sure to put your address on this card. On the other side, including police, poison control, emergency doctor, or any other emergency number you can think of.
Get your kids to fill out their own cards for their own kits. Talk about what kind of emergencies they might have. 1) At the school I taught at, there was a sighting of an armed gunman. The school locked down as police patrolled the area. It was super scary for the kids and a little nerve-wracking for the teachers as well. 2) There could be an earthquake during school. Let the kids know their teachers will take care of them. 3) One time my kids got lost at the beach. Of course, they didn’t have a 72-hour kit with them, but it gave us a good chance to talk about getting lost and what to do. 4) One time I drove home and left one of my kids at the store. Ditto above. LOL
What happens if they are home alone (because you ran to school to pick up someone, or dashed next door to borrow sugar, or whatever) and there is an accident.
What if YOU have an accident? What should the kids do?
The reason we practice disaster response at school is so this doesn’t happen: Kindergarten Cop-Fire Drill – YouTube You should also talk about and have practices at home so kids will be calm and know what to do.
MISC FOCUS: Hand Can Opener
It IS possible to open cans without an opener. This only works if you are in the city, or can find a sidewalk or piece of concrete. How to Open a Can without Can Opener – Zombie Survival Tips #20 – YouTube
You can search on YouTube for other videos of opening cans with knives or sharp instruments.
Your easiest option, however, is just to purchase a good can opener. In fact, I hardly use my electric opener anymore. For #10 cans, I invested in one of these: Swing-A-Way Easy Crank Can Opener, One Size Fits All, Black: Kitchen & Dining
It doesn’t fit in my drawer, so it is with my emergency stuff.
FOOD STORAGE RECIPES
I like this one because it is totally shelf-stable. I have NOT yet learned how to dehydrate my own stuffing from leftover bread, but how hard can that be??? For now, I just buy stuffing, then vacuum seal the bags so the pantry moths don’t get into them.
4 c. stuffing
1 c. melted butter
Mix together. Put 1/2 of the stuffing mix on the bottom of a 13 X 9 casserole dish.
1 1/2 c. peas
1 c. milk
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 can Cream of Celery soup
3 c. chicken (I usually use 1 jar which is only 2 c.)
2 TB dry onions
Simmer in a small pan until mixed and heated.
Pour filling over stuffing.
Top with remaining stuffing.
Bake 375˚ for 30 minutes.
Chicken & Broccoli
Although I use fresh or frozen broccoli in this recipe, you can easily substitute freeze-dried broccoli. Just rehydrate it first. Cook broccoli and set aside If you boil a fryer, debone and keep the broth. If you use canned chicken, you will need bouillon for chicken broth.
Melt 1/4 c. butter
Blend in 1/4 c. flour It will be thick. Let it bubble a little to dampen the flour taste.
Add 2 c. chicken broth. Stir and heat to make a nice sauce.
Add both cans of soup and blend
Add 1 c. cream.
In a 13 X 9 pan, layer broccoli, a little sauce, chicken, more sauce
Top with 1 c. cheese
It’s really good served with mashed potatoes
From Cookin’ With Home Storage by Peggy Layton
It doesn’t specify, but I’m thinking this will feed 4 people? 3/4 c. dry beans = 2 1/4 c. cooked beans
3/4 c. dry beans – soak overnight and pour off the water.
3 c. water
1 1/2 tsp salt
Cover and boil until almost done, about an hour.
3/4 c. diced potatoes (Can use canned or dehydrated)
1/2 c. chopped onion (or 1 TB dry)
Cook 30 minutes more.
In a separate bowl, mix 1 TB butter and 1 1/2 tsp flour. Stir into the beans.
3/4 c. diced tomatoes (about 1/2 jar)
1/3 c. green pepper, or 2 tsp dehydrated
Cover over low heat for about 10 more minutes until thickened.
1 1/2 c. milk – Stir in and serve.
Doesn’t this sound like one of those recipes you can add just about anything to? Add some meat? Some corn, beans? Whatever you have on hand. Throw some barley or lentils into the mix.
Serve with warm biscuits or bread.
Let’s be kind to each other this week. Let’s assume we’re all doing the best we can. Make “being prepared” part of something you think about all the time – especially every trip to the store. Just a little at a time. Baby steps.
Be consistent. Be committed. Be prepared.