A Matter Of Preparedness

The latest posts from A Matter Of Preparedness

I have a number of sweet little Grandchildren....sprinkled all over the United States.  Yes, I really mean all over.  I kind of want to agree with my neighbor Vicki who says that "It should be against the law for Grandchildren to move far away from their Grandparents".  If only it could be like that....

Our little Grandchildren love music in many forms.  I love to hear their sweet voices when they talk and when they sing.  Being a Speech-Language Pathologist, little voices are very intriguing to me.

Family Home Evening, spending time together as a Family.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a number of auxiliaries and programs that support the family. Today, I want to highlight "Family Home Evening".  This is an opportunity for the family to gather one night a week and spend time together in a variety of activities.  There may be nights with games or recreation, religious instruction, service to others, etc.  The purpose is to build strong families, understanding of our Father in Heaven and his Son Jesus Christ, and the Gospel.  It's a great idea isn't it...in fact it was inspired.  

As early as 1915, the Church of Jesus Christ encouraged families to set aside one evening a week to spend valuable time together.  In 1970, President Joseph Fielding Smith and the First Presidency designated Monday nights as Family Home Evening night and encouraged no other activities etc to be held that would interfere with this valued time with the family.  

Singing Songs and Hymns for Family Home Evening

One special aspect for me during our Family Home Evenings together is singing songs for fun and for worship.  As such, I have made binders for many of my adult children and their families.  I wanted to make it fun, so let me show you what I did and how I organized it.

Although these are not published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I think the graphics are really fun for our Family Home Evening singing time.  You can purchase these in many areas, with Amazon being only one source.

I printed, cut and laminated the different graphics for various songs from the CD's.

Singing a Song is "Fun to Do"...

and, "Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam". There are many more that I have prepared in the same manner.

When you follow these links above, you will be directed to a screen like this one...

You can see the sheet music, can play the audio, learn about the composer and see this song in various languages.  However, what I was pleased to learn is that you can print the song as a "PDF". Look in the upper right hand corner of the screen and download the song.  I printed a copy of each song in color.

I put the graphics and the song into plastic sleeves.

I used a Sharpie to label each plastic sleeve and put them into a binder. Now, you have everything you need to add music to your home.....and your Family Home Evening.

Music adds such a positive element to our family. I hope you consider putting together a binder similar to this one to make your time together organized and fun!

Try it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: October 20, 2014, 1:54 am

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  As such, we have a world-wide series of meetings every 6 months called "General Conference".  Well, it is that time again and I love to hear what I consider inspired messages from our Prophet and Apostles.  Since it is world-wide, it is broadcast over television, radio, and the Internet.  We are watching in the comfort of our living room.

Every General Conference time, I publish a recipe that is made from Food Storage staples.  I think this is a perfect time to 'practice' and share the 'yumminess' with my family members.  Here is my current offering....pumpkin pancakes.  Doesn't the name alone conjure up delicious thoughts?

Making Pumpkin Pancakes from Food Storage items:

I have actually canned my own Pumpkin. Yes, I really did it.  It has been a great blessing over the past year and I have used it in so many of my recipes.  Today's recipe is no different.  I placed the golden chunks of canned pumpkin into a blender and made my puree. So quick and easy to do!

I got my bowls and spoons/cups out.  Did you know that they all come in one system and are stored inside of the green bowl?  I love this set!  

You start by adding the dry ingredients beginning with the flour.

...White Sugar

....add the Brown Sugar

.....don't forget the baking powder and cinnamon, pumpkin spice and the nutmeg!

Mix all the dry ingredients together.

In a separate bowl, begin to add your wet ingredients starting with an egg.

.....add the milk

...the Pumpkin puree

....and yummy Mexican Vanilla and Molasses

Mix the wet ingredients together.  Then add the wet and dry ingredients together.

Spray your favorite oil product onto a hot griddle.  Because these pancakes have a darker color already, they will be dark when they are finished cooking.  Just watch your heat and you will be fine.  At first, I thought I had burned them, but  that wasn't the case.

Don't they look yummy?  I used butter that I have stored in the freezer and syrup which I had in my pantry.  This is a surprisingly simple and delicious dish.  I plan to do this again. Why would you ask?

Because Rooster Senior said, "We should have these again".  That's good enough for me.

Take home message:

  • All the items were in my pantry, refrigerator, or freezer.  I did not have to purchase anything special for this.
  • Although I am not sure how I would calculate the cost of this meal, the most expensive ingredient would have been the pumpkin puree.  Well, last year I canned a large pumpkin that cost me $2.00 and another that was free.  I calculated that I canned an equivalent of the canned pumpkin (15 oz can) for $.28 versus the cost of a commercially priced can of over $3.00.  You can save money by preserving your own foods as well as know what had been added to the food.  
  • This is a filling and warm breakfast on a cool fall morning.
  • Time together with my family.....priceless!

Try it!

Here is the recipe from Averie Cooks:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 large egg
3/4 cup Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (I used whole milk) 
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 to 2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
maple syrup for serving, or your favorite topping (try Vanilla Maple Syrup or Ginger Molasses Maple Syrup)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the first 9 dry ingredients (through optional salt); set aside.
In a  small bowl, whisk to combine all remaining wet ingredients (except maple syrup for serving).
Pour wet mixture over dry, and stir gently until just combined; don't overmix.
Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Using a 1/4-cup measure or  large cookie scoop, scoop batter onto warm skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until small bubbles form on the surface and pancakes are set enough to flip. I cook covered for better results, but cook the way you normally cook your pancakes.
Carefully flip over and cook for about 2 to 3 more minutes, or until done and cooked through.
Add more cooking spray to wiped skillet before starting next batch.

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: October 5, 2014, 5:22 pm

September marks a few important things.  For mother's, it often means a new school year for their children.  For some it is the month focusing on preparedness.  Still, for me, it is a month marking some important birthdays for my Mother and Mother-in-law.

Embroidering Hand Towels:

I was given a new toy a few months ago.  It came with classes that were scheduled during my work hours.  I didn't figure a way to take the classes right away, I had a wedding, family reunions, was hiring up for work, and just trying to stay afloat with all the other aspects of life.

Well, I finally figured a way to go to the classes to learn how.... to.....use ....my new Embroidery Sewing Machine! Yes, I got something I had never really looked into. I have always admired the beautiful things my sisters had made with their machines. However, with the very busy schedule I keep, I couldn't even justify it. Well, apparently my husband did not get this cryptic message I had stored in my head.  With the help of my daughter, they purchased one for me.  Would you like to see one of my first projects?

I ironed "wonder-under" on to my cotton fabric (the one with the circles) and cut out a circle after tracing a bowl from my cupboard.  I appliquéd the circle on to the towel after ironing the circle on.  

Then I typed in my font and the name "A...n,,,n", tried to center the item...and..... then.....

I pushed the "Green button".  It magically moved the hoop all over the place as it embroidered the name.

I also just tried an initial to see how that would look.  I kind of liked it!

I made ruffles for the bottom of each towel. I used a rolled hem to finish the edges (using my serger).

Didn't they turn out really cute?

What is the cost break-down:

  • A set of 4 towels with 2 washcloths from the "Ross" store was $6.00. A second pack of 4 towels and one washcloth was $4.00.
  • The Thread I had, but the cost would have been minuscule
  • Stabilizer I calculate cost about $.75
  • Wonder-under ~$.50
  • Cotton Fabric $6.50 for a yard (I used 3/4 of a yard for 6 towels)
  • The look in the eyes of my Mother and Mother-in-law...Priceless!

So, I will be venturing out more and trying to make other projects using this new tool.....    More to come!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: September 28, 2014, 9:01 pm

The Benefits of setting up an Outdoor Kitchen...

I have a new neighbor.  Actually, she is a friend from long ago who has moved just down the street from me. As I was visiting with her, we discussed her newly acquired apple tree....that was heavy laden.  Some of the branches were touching the ground as they were heavy.  She asked me if I wanted some.....well of course!!!!

I decided to make Apple Juice among other things.  However, I needed many burners and I really didn't want to heat up my kitchen.  So, I set up an outdoor kitchen.  

I have a bar outside.  I set up our Camp Chef Stove.

There are advantages to canning outside. See how easy it is to wash the apples.  No spilling on the floor!

Making Apple Juice

I quickly sliced the apples into wedges.  I did this because this tree was left to its own all summer.  Some of the apples were bound to have 'inhabitants'.  By slicing in wedges, I could move quickly and check for unwanted guests.  That way I could toss the wedges I did not want and keep the rest.

Making Apple Juice and Apple Sauce

Again, using my garden sprayer I filled the bottom container of the Steamer Juicer.  No hauling water...anywhere!  I turned on the burner and brought the water to a boil while I continued to slice the apples. 

Apples for Apple Juice

I filled the middle container of the device with the apple wedges.  I placed the apple-filled container on top of the boiling water and placed the lid on top.  Then I continued to fill the second device as well.  

Setting up a table with supplies

While the apples were processing, I set up a table with the lids (that I had heated in water and set on a hot pad), and a basket of rings.  Do you want to see what is under the towel?

Keeping the sterilized jar safe

I have my clean and sterilized bottles (from the dishwasher) under the cloth.

Juice flowing into bottles.

When the time came, I started to fill the jars with the fabulous golden liquid.

Using the Food Strainer to make Applesauce

So what do you do with the steamed apples after juicing?  I put them through my Strainer.

Mixing applesauce with Jello Powder

Lots of beautiful applesauce was extracted.  And, it wasn't runny!  So I decided to make flavored Fruit leather.  I chose my favorite Jello Flavor and mixed them together.

Making Fruit Leather

I spread the red deliciousness on my fruit leather tray and put the trays in the dehydrator.  

Take Home Message:

  • I was blessed enough to have a lovely gift from my neighbor who was stressing about what to do with all her apples. As she was just moving in, she didn't want to deal with them. She also didn't want any of the juice etc as she said she cannot think of bringing another thing into her new house.  I have been there and done that.  I can relate.  
  • I was able to can inside my house while I had apples processing in my 'outside kitchen'.  
  • Clean up was a breeze.  I just used my garden hose and sprayed down all the surfaces.  It took minutes!
  • I was able to add golden apple juice and fruit leathers to our Pantry.

Consider putting together an outdoor kitchen for canning.  It was really simple and is something I will do again.

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: September 15, 2014, 1:58 am

What to do with Old Bottled Fruit....

It's that time of year again.  I am referring to Canning Season, which is in full swing!  I was recently was reorganizing my storage room.  I had several bottles of "fruit somethings".  My family's tastes and preferences seemed to have morphed over the past few years.  It was very evident because of the bottles of fruit that were left behind.  I needed the space for this years harvest, so I decided to 'morph' these older bottles of fruit.

In particular, I had peaches and Apple Pie Filling.  I decided to try to make fruit leather from them.  I poured the contents of the bottles into the blender.

A quick whirl of the blend made a beautiful puree.

I poured the contents on to fruit leather trays (which are sprayed with a cooking spray).

I decided to add some variety to these leathers.  Here I added sesame seeds.

On this Peach leather tray, I added some cinnamon.  

Into the dehydrator it all went!

Once the fruit was properly dehydrated, I needed to repack it.  I cut a sheet of wax paper.

I removed the leather from the tray and placed it on the wax paper.

I cut the leather into sections.  Initially I cut the leather into fourths, but later decided on eighths.

It is important to work with the leather when it is warm.  I rolled the leather in the wax paper.

I then wrapped it into plastic wrap.

This is easy to do, just take the rolled fruit and roll it on an angle into the plastic wrap.  Tuck the edges along the length of the rolled fruit.

I needed to label the jars, but I hate removing adhesive from jars. So, I just printed off these 'labels' which are actually pieces of paper.

I laid the jar on its side, placed a paper label on the bottom of the jar and started to place the rolled leather into the jar.

Using my Food Saver, I vacuum-sealed each jar.

These jars of fruit leather are equivalent to 9 jars of canned fruit.  

Take home message:

  • What I like about this system is that you can take out one jar at a time and eat the leather.  
  • Or, you can take out a piece of different leathers from their respective jars and vacuum-seal them again.  
  • Also, you are using your old fruit in a new way.  Around here, leather does not last too long.
  • You can also embellish your fruit with seeds, flavor, and things like granola to make it more appealing.
  • This leather was essentially free to me as I had everything already.
  • Rethinking your bottle fruit and making it into something new is a frugal choice for your family.
  • The Apple-Pie-Filling was very scrumptious.  The added crunch of the seeds is a pleasant surprise as well.
  • I can take pureed fruit and add Jello to it to add new flavor to the leather and increase the variety of the leathers I have.  

Try it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: September 8, 2014, 12:19 pm

The Following Post is written to celebrate National Preparedness month in September by focusing on a different topic for the "30 Days of Preparedness " sponsored by the amazing folks at Prepared Bloggers.  Please watch Prepared Bloggers every day in September to learn about many different aspects of being prepared and how you can begin, or add to your existing knowledge and skills sets.  This post is Day #8

Isn't it a beautiful setting?  Wouldn't you like to spend a few relaxing days or weeks here?  Perhaps you could view this in a different light, perhaps this might be a destination not for relaxation, but to seek shelter in light of an emergency. I believe that we all would like to think that we could quickly seek shelter in such a wonderful cabin, but in reality this may not be an option.

Many different things in life can happen, and too many are unforeseen. Although we cannot always know what the future holds, we can take steps to be prepared for the unforeseen not only for ourselves individually, but also for those we love and care for.  Take a minute to look at this video and see if any of it sound familiar.

Having had to live through several natural and man-made disasters, I have learned to appreciate the peace of mind that comes from having Emergency Kits.  Today, I will touch on a few for you. The purpose of this article is to get you thinking and to get you to spring into action.  When you are in the throws of a challenging situation, trying to locate all the parts and pieces is nearly impossible. We will start with 'doable' and then I will suggest 'suggested items' that you may want to consider and gather over time.  (The lists that I provide overall will be from a public source that allows sharing without violating copyright laws).

72 hour kit:

Hopefully you have heard of a "72 hour kit". The premise behind this kit is to have the supplies to survive for up to 3 days while waiting or seeking additional help from private or public resources.  These kits can be purchased from commercial suppliers, but you may be surprised at how easy they are to put together and customize for yourself.  

The following list is a good, but basic list that comes from "Be Ready Utah"

Note that there are suggested items for food, water, clothing, hygiene, and shelter.  As you look at the list, I am guessing that you may be pleasantly surprised that you have many of these items around the house. Although the suggested containers to hold the kit vary in this list, I would encourage you to consider using a container that is easy to carry and move. For example, if you use a chest to store your items, how difficult will this be to move and carry by foot if you cannot drive.

I am going to show you some of the items I have included in our 72-hour kits that you may want to consider.

First of all, we have ours in individual Backpacks for each family member. Hopefully you can see that we keep these in our pantry, which is near our garage door.  In an emergency, we can quickly grab our kits and go.  They are ready and we do not have to spend extra time looking for needed items.  Would you like to see some of the things we have inside?

In an outside pocket, we have many hygiene items.  In the green container, we have a toothbrush that comes with toothpaste on the bristles. We have enough for 3 days. See the razor?  There are wipes as well. See the small zippered pocket on the upper right of this picture?  Let me show you the contents:

These are travel sized soap and deodorant.  They are small and fit very well into this small pocket.  

Each kits contains medications etc.  This kit has "Dental gum" which also can be used to 'brush' your teeth as well.  It is a very small compartmented box traditionally used for small fishing lures.  It works well for this purpose.

Although I preferred to use a wool blanket, I have included a Mylar blanket. The orange item is a small tent that can be set up for a basic shelter.  It is small and easily fits inside the large compartment of the Backpack.

Because space is minimal, I have included "Tooblite" in addition to a small flashlight.  These tubes absorb light during the day and glow all night.  They can be used over and over again.  See the chain, I can hang the tube on the outside of my Backpack to allow it to 'charge' during the day as I move along.

I have included this Fresnel lens, which is essentially a large but flexible magnifying glass. This can be used for a variety of uses including starting fires. Matches are important as are lighters, but they require fuel to work.  This device can be used again and again to start a fire in the daylight hours.  

Each 72-hour kit has a small military type stove.  This is light-weight fuel that can easily be carried and is dry.  If you are traveling during the rain or snow, finding dry fuel may be very difficult.

I am including these photos of the "Universal Portable Urinal Unisex". Although unpleasant to think about, you really need to think of the hygiene aspects of the 72-hour kit. The red part is for males. The bottom picture shows the attachment that you would place on top of the red part of the device for females to use.  Also, don't forget to include toilet paper and or baby wipes.

You will need copies of your important documents.  Although this information from "Be Ready Utah" suggests paper copies, I have chosen to use a Memory Stick/Flash Drive to keep these important documents.  Remember, space is at a premium.  You will also need cash, in small bills and some change. Remember, in the case of an emergency no one is going to have lots of change. If you have large bills, you may have to trade the bill for a needed items and loose the change you normally would get back.  You should also consider maps and a First Aid/Emergency Preparedness book such as a Boy Scout book.

Finally, you cannot be to careful about water.  Our 72-hour kits do have water, but carrying 72 hours worth (1-2 gallons a day) is impractical.  We have two items in our kits. This is a type of water-bottle with a filter.  We also have "Life Straws" which are compact, light-weight and can filter some pretty nasty water.  

Car Kits:

There will be times that you won't be home....just think about your daily routine. Few of us are able to be home all day.  This is why having a Car Kit is very important.  Here is a list from Be Ready Car Survival and Emergency Kit.

Again, notice that there are items for emergencies of all types, including car related emergencies.  As stated above, this list is a good starting point and you most likely have many of the items on the list.  I would like to highlight a few items for you to consider:

I have a number of things in my car kit.  It is contained in one container and I often have a wool blanket that covers the top.  

I have 2 very small 72-hour kits in the boxes, water, a tent, life straw, wipes, whistle with matches, paper, pen, and shoes with socks in this side of the kit.  I often wear heels to work, and walking miles in them does not appeal to me.  

The back section has a Battery Charger, jumper cables, oil, a foldable shovel, "Fix a Flat", WD-40, an air pump and other items. I plan to add a container of light-weight Kitty Litter to help me during the winter should I need it. 

Sanitation Kit:

If you have the luxury of traveling in a car, or don't mind hauling yet another item, consider a Sanitation Kit.  

This is the "Waterless Gotta Go Toilet".  It collapses into this flat container and has 7 bags to catch the 'waste'. The green circular item behind it is a pop-up tent for this item to provide privacy. Again, it is light-weight and could be carried if desired. There are other options as well such as the "Luggable Loo", but it is a bit more awkward to carry if you are on foot.

Other items that you will need for Sanitation are a collapsable shovel to bury waste, toilet paper or baby wipes, bleach, Feminine hygiene products, hand sanitizer, and possibly paper towels.

School Kits:

It is that time of year again.  Our children are going back to school.  Students spend 6 hours or more a day at school and are away from their parents. Although schools are encouraged to have emergency plans for various scenarios, it is still important to have individual emergency kits in your child's Backpack.  These could be placed in a Zip Lock baggie.  However, I would encourage you to seal the kit in a "Food Saver" type bag to hopefully deter inquiring minds from playing with the whistle, and getting the funds you may put in there for emergencies.

Here is a list form Be Ready Utah:

  • 1 7" x 8" size zip lock bag to place emergency items in
  • 1 emergency (Mylar) blanket
  • 1 emergency poncho (one size fits all and children's sizes also available at any stores with a camping section)
  • 1 or more hand/body warmer (usually comes 2 per packet at any stores in the camping section)
  • Trial size tooth paste and toot brush (great to use if you are checking them out of school and going to the dentist!)
  • Trial size hand/body moisture lotions.
  • 4 moist hand wipes/small package of baby wipes
  • 4 sterile alcohol swabs to clean wounds or cuts
  • variety size band aids
  • 2 pocket size facial tissues
  • Various sized safety pins (in case you pop a button or a broken zipper)
  • 1 blow whistle with lanyard to hand on Backpack).
I would add, some food items like granola bars, and a few dollars in cash.  

So, take the challenge to get started today.  Gather items that you may have around your home already and begin to put your 72-hour kit together first. Teach your family members not only to help put these kits together, but also when to use them.

The time to prepare....is now!  Good Luck!


Thanks for joining the Prepared Bloggers as we work our way through 30 Days of Preparedness. September is National Preparedness Month so you will find everything you need to get your preparedness knowledge and skills into shape. Take one post each day, learn as much as you can about the topic and make it a part of your preparedness plan.

Day 1 - Ready, Set, Get Prepared! Welcome to 30 Days of Preparedness from PreparednessMama 
Day 2 - The Family Meeting Place and Escape from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 3 - I'm Safe! How to Communicate with Family in an Emergency from PreparednessMama
Day 4 - Does Your Family Have a Fire Escape Plan? from Home Ready Home
Day 5 - Preparedness For Pets from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 6 - The Escape Exercise from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 7 - It all Falls Apart Without Mental Preparedness from PreparednessMama
Day 8 - It's a Matter of Emergency Kits from A Matter of Preparedness
Day 9 - Nine Great Emergency Light Sources Other Than Flashlights from Food Storage & Survival
Day 10 - Cooking Without Power from Mama Kautz
Day 11 - The Importance of a Shelter & Staying Warm and Dry from Trayer Wilderness
Day 12 - The Importance of Having The Right Tools In Your Pack from Trayer Wilderness
Day 13 - Practice Living Without Electricity from Food Storage Made Easy
Day 14 - How We Choose The Right Gear - (including the MultiFlame Tool) from Trayer Wilderness
Day 15 - Water Storage & Purification from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 16 - Food and Water for a 72 Hour "Go Bag" from Homestead Dreamer
Day 17 - 8 Foods You Should Be Storing and How from Melissa K Norris
Day 18 - Planning Your Pantry from The Organic Prepper
Day 19 - Stocking Up on Non-Food Items from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 20 - Dutch Oven Cooking: Off-Grid Before Off-Grid Was Cool from The Backyard Pioneer
Day 21 - Pressure Canning the Harvest from Timber Creek Farm
Day 22 - Personal Protection & Awareness from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 23 - KISS First Aid from Herbal Prepper
Day 24 - Mommy, I have to go Potty! from Mom With a Prep
Day 25 - Fire Starting 101: The Why and How of Lighting a Fire for Survival from Food Storage & Survival
Day 26 - How to Filter and Purify Water from Prepared Housewives
Day 27 - How To Make A Shelter from Trayer Wilderness
Day 28 - Put Your Preps to the Test with 24 Hours Unplugged from The Organic Prepper
Day 29 - What Is Char and Why You Should Have It To Start A Fire from Trayer Wilderness
Day 30 - How To Utilize Bushcraft Skills and Forage From The Wild from Trayer Wilderness
Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: September 1, 2014, 1:00 pm

What a mess!  The sad part is that this is only a sample of the DVD's we were sorting through.  As it turns out, the DVD's and Videos (Yes we still have some) were taking up a great deal of space in one of our closets. It was getting to the point that we were having a difficult time trying to even see what movies we had.  So, my wonderful daughter took on the task. 

Here is another view of the mounds of cases. Just for perspective, these are the sweet feet of my three year old grandson.  He kept asking why we had towers of videos to knock over...and he did knock them over.

I had several 3-ring binders that were not being used.  I also had about 100 DVD Refill pages that each hold 8 CD's or DVD's.  We she separated the DVD's by category:  Church, Children's, Drama, Comedy, Documentary....and one of her final categories was.... "Old Geezer".  This is for my husband's shows and movies that....let's just say were from his childhood.  The one's that the Grandkids politely sit and watch with Grandpa because he asked them to.

In the 3-ring binder, you can see 8 different disks at a time.  

You can see that we used file folders (cut in half). I labeled them with my trusty labeler.  

Look at this!  These 2 trash bags are full of DVD cases and all the disks fit conveniently into thee 2 binders.  

Soooo, the next time someone wants to watch a movie, they don't have to wade through shelf after shelf to see what we have. They can conveniently flip a page.  Just for your information, these DVD's took up several shelves in  the closet. When I went to put these binders in the closet, they took about 8" of shelf space.  

Now we are deciding what we can do with all those DVD cases!  We have found some good ideas already.

Take Home Message:  
  • The DVD's and Blue-Ray's come in protective cases.  However, these cases take up a lot of valuable space.
  • Placing the disks into sleeves also protects them and takes up a fraction of the space.
  • You can easily see what you have rather than scavenging through shelf after shelf looking for the movie you wish to watch.
  • When you go traveling, these sleeves will take very little space in your vehicle or bag.
  • For me, this was all free because I already had the supplies already. However, if you wish to do this, I guesstimate that purchasing the supplies may be similar to the purchase price of your next movie!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: August 25, 2014, 12:25 am

I got a bit adventurous today.  I actually (all by myself), made.....Ravioli!

Last fall, I bought this Ravioli Form when I went shopping in an Amish Community.  I have looked at this device over and over again, but today just decided to get it out and try it.  

I made the dough from scratch.  The directions were to place 3 cups of flour either on a board or in a bowl.  I decided to play it safe and put it in a bowl.  I made a well in the middle of the flour to accept the eggs.

Next, I placed 3 eggs (at room temperature) in the well.

I slowly began to incorporate the flour and the egg mixture together.

The mixture gets to the point that you have to begin to use your hands to knead the flour in.  The recipe calls for up to 1/2 Cup of water if needed.

I put most of the water in and made this lovely ball of dough.  Let the dough rest in a covered bowl for 30 minutes.  If you push your finger into the dough, it should return relatively quickly after the 30 minute time period.  

Slice the dough ball.

Begin using your pasta roller.  Start at the widest setting and gradually reduce it down with each pass of the dough.  Notice how I am catching the dough with the back of my hand. This helps prevent tearing.  If you grasp it with fingers, there is a higher probability that the dough will get rips or tears.

Flour the metal part of the form very generously.

Although this sheet isn't 'lovely', it is functional.  Cover the metal part of the form.

Take the plastic part of the form and gently press indentions into the dough.  Remove the plastic tray.

Because there is a certain 3-year-old that will not eat meat at the moment, I decided to add Mozzarella Cheese.  I decided to make it easy on me and cut string cheese sticks into small disks. 

I put 2 small disks and a little spaghetti sauce into each indention.

Next I put a second sheet of pasta on the tip.

Use a Rolling Pin and roll in many directions across the top of the form.  You can see the 'zig-zag' of the metal form emerge as you use the rolling pin.

Again, not lovely but functional. Turn the form over. If you floured the metal form well, the Ravioli's should fall out.  You may have to coax a few though.

Put the fresh Ravioli pouches into boiling water.  When they float, they are finished.

Add the sauce, garnish with Parmesan Cheese ( I grated it myself!), and add a sprig of Parsley if you like (it was straight out of my herb garden!).  

What was the verdict?  Everyone from the 3-year-old to the Silver Fox liked it. The Silver Fox said he couldn't taste the meat.....I had to inform him that there wasn't any this time.  I will try different fillings in the future.

Take Home Message:

  • This device costs less than going out to dinner to a sit-down restaurant.  It is called a Grandpa Dante's Ravioli Form.  This one costs just under $15.00.
  • I literally made this entire dish out of food storage (with the exception being the Mozzarella Cheese.  However, I often have this type of cheese in my freezer, so it could have been totally made from food storage staples).
  • I need to practice this again. I know I can get faster each time I do this.
  • I can put in a variety of fillings.  If you have meat left over from a meal, dice it into small pieces and combine it with cheese or sauce.  That way, one meal help make a second meal.
  • It gives my family a variety.  I can make pasta noodles, but the Ravioli is a nice change.
  • It costs very little to make this pasta.  

Try it !

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: August 18, 2014, 1:59 am

No, that is not the "Great Brain"...it's Play Dough that my little Grandson is playing with.  He is busy making monsters, cutting sea horses, and trying to keep his dog away because she likes to eat it!

Why did I make this Play Dough?  Because, a lesson that I taught to the 7-year-olds last Sunday called for some.  Soooo, I thought I would again use my Food Storage Staples and voila!  It turned out really great!

Start with 1 Cup of flour.

Add 1/2 Cup of Salt.

Add 2 Tablespoons of Oil and Cream of Tarter. Then add 1 Cup of Water.

Add a 3 ounce package of Jello. I decided to try Watermelon today....it smelled so good!

Heat over Medium Heat.

Until it begins to come together and pull away from the sides of the pan.

The instructions recommend you kneed the dough.  I decided to put it into a bag and kneed it in this way. I didn't want a 'mess' on my counter.

Let it cool...then make fun things!

Jello Play Dough comes from this recipe. 

What is the Take Home Message?

  • Flour:  $.72
  • Salt:  $.84
  • Cream of Tarter: $1.44
  • Vegetable Oil: $0.7
  • Water:  Free!
  • Jello:  $1.45
Total cost is  $4.52 for  one pound of Play Dough!  On Amazon.com, it traditionally retails for $10.00 to $16.00 for one pound of Play Doh.  This home made version costs just under 30% of the national brand. It took minutes to make and uses staples from your Food Storage.

Try It!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: August 16, 2014, 12:18 am

It's summer grilling time.....  Don't you just love the casual aspect of grilling?  I sure do.  Here, you see that we had Teriyaki Shrimp on skewers.  They were delicious and were quickly gone.

Teriyaki sauce is nothing new, but I learned that I could easily make it and can it from Food Storage Staples.  I decided to 'experiment on the word' from the SB Canning Store.  I was amazed at how simple and delicious this recipe really is.

You will need 2 cups of Soy Sauce

Add 2 cups of light Brown Sugar.  Add 1 cup of white vinegar.   

Add 4 T of fresh ginger. (As I used ground ginger, I added half of this amount). Also add 2 Tablespoons of bottled lemon or lime juice.  Bring this mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Then lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes.

In the last 2 minutes, remove 2 Tablespoons of the mixture and add Clear Jell until it is well incorporated.

Add the Clear Jel to the boiling mixture.  Increase the heat to medium and whisk until the mixture gets thick.  Remove from the heat.

Sterilize your jars and lids.  Place a funnel in the jar to accept the Teriyaki  Sauce.

Place the jars in a hot water bath ensuring that the jars are immersed by at least 2 inches of water.  Process for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat.  Allow the jars to sit in the hot water bath for several more minutes.  Remove the jars and place on a dishtowel. Allow the jars to cool overnight. Do not touch or more them until the morning (~12 hours after processing).

So, how did it taste?


How much does it cost?

  • 2 Cups Soy Sauce:  $2.14
  • 2 Cups Brown Sugar:  $.99
  • 1 Cup White Vinegar: $.14
  • 2 Tablespoons of Ground Ginger:  $.32
  • 2 Tablespoons of bottled Lemon Juice:  $.12
  • 2 Tablespoons of Clear Jel:  $.62
(This recipe yields 2 jars of Teriyaki Sauce-1 Cup/jar)

Total cost for  pint (1 cup) jars of Teriyaki Sauce:   $2.17/jar

An equivalent of Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce (10 ounces which is the equivalent of 1.25 Cups) costs $6.49.

This means this home version costs one third of the cost of a commercially sold equivalent.

Consider it!

Teriyaki Sauce

2 cups soy sauce (There is a gluten free version that doesn't have wheat)
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup white vinegar
4 T. fresh ginger, chopped finely or grated 
2 T. bottled lemon or lime juice
2 T. Clear Jel  

Preparation : Prepare 4 half pint lids, and rings. Sterilize the jars and keep them in the hot water till it’s time for processing. Make sure to fill your water bath canner and get the water to a simmer.

Cooking: In a stainless steel or enameled dutch oven combine soy, brown sugar,
teriyaki sauce made with Clear jel
lemon/lime juice, ginger, and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes. In the last two minutes remove 2 tablespoons of the mixture and the Clear jel and mix till it’s incorporated. Bring up the heat to medium and add to pot and whisk till the mixture gets thick. Remove from heat.  

Filling the jars:  Using your funnel in each jar ladle the mixture into the jars leaving 1/4" headspace. Taking a clean papertowel wet it with warm water and wipe the rims of the jars removing any food particles that would interfere with a good seal. Using your magic wand extract the lids from the hot water and place them on the now cleaned rims. Add your rings to the tops of each of the jars and turn to seal just "finger tight".

Processing: Place the jars in the water bath making sure that the water covers each of the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add hot water to the canner if it doesn't measure up. Cover the pot and turn up the heat under the canner and wait for the water to start boiling. Once the water has come to a boil start your timer for 15 minutes. When complete turn off the heat and remove the cover and let the jars sit for another few minutes. Remove the jars and place them back on the dishtowel in a place that they will sit overnight to cool. Do not touch or move them till the next morning.

Sealing: Sometime in the next hour your jars will be making a "pinging" or "popping" noise. That is the glass cooling and the reaction of the lids being sucked into the jar for proper sealing. Some recipes may take overnight to seal. Check your lids and reprocess any jars that did not seal.

Labeling: Make sure to label your jars after they have cooled with the name of the recipe and the date canned. If you want to use the shrink labels in the picture you can order them Here!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: August 4, 2014, 1:19 am

I love having options when I preserve food.  Certainly many people use Canning, Dehydrating, Smoking, etc.  I use many of these methods myself.  However, when it comes time to package some of the foods I wish to preserve, one of my favorite ways is to use Mylar Bags.

You can purchase these bags (individually, or an entire box) from your local LDS Home Storage Center (i.e. Cannery). You can also order a box from the LDS Distribution center. The box contains 250 bags, so you will have plenty on hand. There are also other distributors that you can find by doing an Internet search.

Traditionally, these come in a 10x14 inch size from the LDS sources. However, the bags do not have to remain in this size to be useful. You can re-size and seal these at home. Please see the following for a "tour" through photos:

Begin by folding your bag in half and to make a crease. You can fold it again to make quarter-sized bags, or can fold again to make them 1/8th the size of the full-sized bag. We will discuss reasons why you might want to do this later in the post.

Now cut the bag along the crease(s).

See the different sized bags I have made from one 10x14 inch bag? The next logical question is...."How do I seal them?" Many of us do not own a sealer outright, but you may be surprised about your options. Some of the LDS Home Storage Centers will let you check one out and use it at home for a short period of time. However, if you don't wish to do this please know that there are other options. You may be surprised that they may already exist in your home!

This is a Food Saver. Now, traditionally, a Food Saver is used to vacuum-pack foods in specialized bags and then seals them. For our current purposes, we will just use the sealing function. You will need to seal the edge 2-3 times with just a little space between the seals. If you do not have a Food Saver, there really are other options.

If you want to use "Oxygen Absorbers" during the filling of your bags, after sealing them, they will typically shrink and wrinkle a bit after these packets have activated. 

How do you seal them?

Yes, that really is my Flatiron that I used to "try" and style my hair daily. Please practice with the different temperature settings on your Flatiron to find the right temperature that will work successfully with the Mylar bag. Also, you can use a traditional clothes/pressing Iron to seal the bags as well. In that case, consider using the side of a Construction level (they often have texture) or something like it and place the edge of the bag on it. Press with your iron. Again, practice using the settings on your iron to find the correct heat setting for this task. There is even more options which I will show you at the end of the post.

Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

This is an Impulse Sealer.  As with anything, you can purchase a basic model such as this one all the way up to the Automatic Impulse Pouch Sealer, 110 Volt

Why Re-size bags?

Now, why would you want to resize the bags? In my case, I use them to seal mixes that I have made. I seal soup mixes, spice mixes in individual bags within the mix, and I even used the 1/8th sized bag to put samples of sprouting seeds in and included them with a Sprouting set that I gave as a gift. The 1/8th sized bag is also great for putting in spices.

Mylar protects your food from light and moisture. They are also very inexpensive. This is why they are a great option for storing food. However, if you live in an area where rodents are a problem, you will need to put them into a very sturdy container that is pest-proof.

Here is an example of using a resized bag to store a soup mix that I made.

I cut the bags in half lengthwise and sealed them. I then put them into tall containers with the top open. Using a canning funnel, I put the contents of each mix into a bag. I later sealed it and put a label complete with directions of how to prepare the food right on the bag. My labels are really very simple. I make a document in a Word Processing program. I make a table. The instructions are written in one cell and copied and pasted into the other cells on the page.  I print, cut and use packing tape to put the label/instructions on the bag.  

Here is my "mix" sealed in my Mylar Bag. You can use these mixes for yourself, as a gift, or to give to a neighbor in need.  If, as a parent, you were not able to cook for your family, your children could hopefully follow the directions and make the mixes.  Wouldn't this be a huge relief for you as a parent?

Sealing Mylar Bags is really not difficult. These bags come in different sizes. Some are large enough to line your plastic buckets. At a class taught by Leslie Probert at Education Week (at BYU Provo) taught that plastic buckets are porous and do not fully protect the food. She recommended lining buckets with Mylar bags to protect your food investment. Now, some Mylar liners are now coming with a Zip lock closure, so they are easy to open and close. However, the price is often considerably higher, so decide what works for you.

There are many 'methods' of sealing a Mylar Bucket liner.  You can find many videos on-line that show how to use a flat iron, a clothes iron, a Food Saver, and an Impulse Sealer.  Here is one video, although a bit rough, that shows a good method and the way to check to see if the seal is holding before closing up the bucket.  You can find that video here. 

Please know that you will get a better seal with an Impulse Sealer instead of the Food Saver. Oxygen Absorbers will activate when they encounter air.  Even with multiple sealing lines with the Food Saver in a small area, over time the seal did not hold as well and at times failed. Knowing this fact, you can still use Mylar to preserve your food stuffs at home. Primarily, you can still use this method with very, very dry foods such as mixes for short term storage.  Pliable dehydrated fruits would not be a good option using the Food Saver only.  Use the Impulse Sealer or make a very good seal (up to 1/2 inch) with one of the other methods mentioned to ensure the food is protected.

Beware, try methods of sealing with Mylar before counting on them.

Finally, I have seen several video's online that show a how to use a Food-Saver bag insert to attempt to seal Mylar Bags.  Here is my attempt at it.

You need a Food Saver, a Mylar Bag, Scissors, and a length of a Food Saver bag that can slip into the width of the Mylar Bag.

The instructions say to cut a piece of the Bag "fabric".  I cut one about 3.5 " in width.

I choose to use Chocolate Chips because I have a lot of them on hand right now. Fill your Mylar Bag.

Next, insert the Food Saver piece inside of the Mylar Bag.

Line up the Mylar Bag edge over the Seal Bar.  I tried to seal this bag multiple times without success.

Here is the result.  The Food Saver Bag insert sealed, but the Mylar did not.  The lesson I learned with this experiment is that you need to try methods yourself before relying on them.  

Take Home Message...

  • Mylar is an inexpensive method that can be used for Long and Short-term storage.  There are many sources to purchase Mylar. It comes in different thicknesses, so be sure to get a good quality Mylar when you purchase it.
  • To get a good seal, test you equipment before you seal a large amount of food stuffs.  The best sealer is an Impulse sealer, all the other methods that you can find require practice.
  • Using your Food Saver can help you re size bags for things like mixes. However, after putting in the Oxygen Absorbers and using double seals, not all of the seals were air tight.  This is a concern for Long-Term storage.  However, for Short-Term storage such as mixes or camping trips, this is a great option.
  • Mylar liners are a great option for your buckets.  I would recommend a seal of at least 1/2 Inch in width and then waiting to ensure your bag is sealed and the Oxygen Absorbers have worked well.  Waiting 12-24 hours should allow you to observe to see if the seal is holding.
  • Mylar keeps light out, which is necessary for food storage.
  • Foods in Mylar bags need to be stored in a sturdy container (preferably metal or really thick plastic) to protect your food from vermin.
  • Mylar is readily available to purchase.
  • Mylar can be re-used if the food is not protein based.  Cutting the sealed edge to have access to the food will make the bag smaller, but it can be re-used knowing that a smaller amount of food will be stored in this re-purposed bag.

Try it!

The Prepared Bloggers - How We Preserve Foods 
Join us as we share different reasons and methods of how we preserve food to create a long-term storage plan for our families. Click on each link to be taken to a new blog with helpful information and tips. 

Mom with a PREP - How to Dehydrate Ginger and Make Ginger Powder Preparedness Mama - Make Jam Without Pectin
Mama Kautz - Dehydrating
Busy B Homemaker - Freezer Jam
Ed That Matters - Anyone Can Do It: Fool Proof Food Storage
The Apartment Prepper - Easy Marinated Mushrooms
The Homesteading Hippy - How to Use Your Pressure Canner
Montana Homesteader - Making and Preserving Cherry Pit Syrup
Are We Crazy or What - How to Dehydrate Cherries
Your Thrive Life - How I Preserve Food: Meals in a Jar 
Melissa K Norris - Re-Usable Canning Tattler Lids-Do They Really Work?
Real Food Living - Preserve and Store Grains wiith Dry Ice
Cooke's Frontier - Smoking
Homestead Dreamer - Water Bath Canning
Evergrowing Farm - How to Preserve Red Chile
Survival Sherpa - Modern Mountain Man MRE's
The Backyard Pioneer - Fermentation
Trayer Wilderness - How We Preserve Food
Living Life in Rural Iowa - Vegetable Soup
The Organic Prepper - How to Make Jam without using added Pectin Homesteading Mom - How I Preserve Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup
A Matter of Preparedness - How I Preserve Using Mylar Bags
Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: July 29, 2014, 1:00 pm

I essentially live in a Desert.  This year, our city is on water rationing, so I can only water my garden and lawn on certain days and times.  I also have containers in my yard as well.  I usually water them with my cute green watering can, and try to extend the 'watering' with these Aqua Globes.  I love the colors of them, don't you?

However, I have quite a few of these.  I don't like making multiple trips from the yard into my house to fill them.  I have learned how to collect and carry all of them, but once I was in my house, they would roll around and well it was a bit too exciting for me at times!

So, I developed this method to contain my filled Aqua Globes.  If you use these devices as well, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to manage with my little method!

You will need a dishtowel that you place on your counter.  I gathered it lengthwise with my fingers and leave it on the counter with the long gathers.

Next, I use one of my metal Skewers that I use when we grill.

I don't know about you, but there always seems to be a little plug of dirt right at the end of the these globes.  This is where the skewer comes in.  I unplug it by pushing the dirt inside the globe. Now, don't worry about this dirt being inside. By the time the water has filled the globe, this dirt is either distributed in the water or floats in a suspended mixture at the top of the neck.  Once the neck of the globe is place into the planter, it is the first thing to be absorbed into the soil.

Next, fill the globes with water.

Now, this is the fun part. Stand you 'filled' globe up inside one of the folds in your towel. 

Continue this process until all the globes are filled.

Aren't they pretty?

Now, you can do that can't you?  
It is easy enough to do isn't it? 

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: July 19, 2014, 9:07 pm

Guess What?  This is the closest to "One-stop-shopping" that you most likely will find.  On this blog, you will find answers to questions you may have with Food Storage (Canning, Dehydrating, Preserving), Emergency Preparedness, Frugal Living, Gardening, and Survival skills.

Some of the biggest names in Preparedness are there, including Food Storage Made Easy, GNOWFGLINS, Mom with a PREP, PreparednessMama and many others.  Of course it includes us here at A Matter of Preparedness!

We are also found on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook!

Come learn from the best!
Check out Prepared Bloggers today!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: July 18, 2014, 1:23 am

I have a weakness.....sometimes.  What is it?  It is trying to pass by or get out of a Specialty Kitchen Store without a gadget. I am getting better, but all of those fun things just tug at my heart.  I recently purchased this little device. What is it you may ask?

It is called a "Pot Minder".  The instructions state that placing this is a pot, particularly with starchy foods like Potatoes, will help keep the pot from boiling over.  If you are wondering what I paid, it was ~$1.50 as this was 'half price' the day I purchased it.  

I brought a pot of water to a boil and placed the disc in.

I then included some red potato pieces.  (I apologize for the clarity of the picture, but the steam kept fogging up my lens).  How did it work?

Actually, when I attempted to bring the pot to a rolling boil, the pan did boil over. I was disappointed.

However, when the heat was reduced, it seemed to diminish the 'foam' quite a bit.

If you are interested in this little device, you can find it here.  

Take home point:
  • Although the price point was low, I do not feel this little device lived up to the hype.  If I watch the heat/flame, I can achieve the same results.  
  • However, I will try it again to see if it performs better during my next attempt.

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: July 14, 2014, 2:03 am

I know this Marine....personally.  He won the heart of my daughter, who is very precious to me.  To know him on a day-to-day basis, you would find a tease, a fitness nut, a friend to all, a tender father, and a OCD clean freak.  (I really love the latter when he is in my house!).  However, I have rarely ever seen him be emotional.

He has served tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Japan during the Tsunami.  At the request of my husband one time, he spoke to our Young Single Adult Ward about his experiences associated with War and his Faith.  I found that I knew very little of his experiences in combat prior to that time....he just doesn't talk about them.  I wept as I listened to the horrific choices and challenges he faced. He spoke of losing his buddies when they were involved in an explosion.  The loss of his fellow Marines has made a lasting impression on him and he has made a permanent reminder that he will always carry with him.

Today I am seeing this red-headed Son in Law of mine trending in social media. Here is what Nathan Osmond has written on Facebook that is associated with this photo:

A couple of years ago, I took this photo at one of Nathan's concerts. He was singing in the state capitol, and this soldier had been standing at attention throughout the whole show. When Nathan Osmond sang "21 Guns," this soldier's composure melted and gave way to heartfelt tears. We tracked him down later and discovered that he'd lost two of his buddies (they were being honored that day) and this song really meant a lot to him. We seriously need to remember that freedom comes with a hefty price tag... real lives of real people. Thank you, Chris North, for your service to our country.
Coincidentally, this photo is also trending.  It comes from a Memorial in Gunnison Utah:

Yes, this is my Marine Son-in-Law again.

So, as you grill your burgers and spend time with family and friends today, I encourage you to offer a prayer of thanks to our Heavenly Father for all that you enjoy.  Please remember to bless and ask for protection for our Military members who are serving far and wide. And, make an extra effort to seek out and thank a Veteran.  We owe much to these brave men and women.

The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission. 

John F Kennedy.

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: July 4, 2014, 1:13 pm

I love using my Dehydrator....year round.  This is one of the things I love to do, and they do no stay around long....I'm really not kidding about that!

My son loves Beef Jerky....I mean loves it.  He has asked me to pick some up at the big box store when we have been out....but has been very surprised at how little you get for the price.

I went to my local grocer and chose a Beef Roast that was on sale.  I asked the Butcher to cut it into slices, which they quickly did. The best part of this process is that there was no fee for the slicing.  Some of the big box stores do not have a Butcher on site, so if you want someone else to slice it, go to a neighborhood grocer.  It is important that you choose a roast with little fat in it. This is important because the fat can become rancid when you are making or storing your jerky.

I use the the "Food Saver Quick Marinading Canister" to which I add the beef slices and the marinade. I only let it marinade for about 2 hours in the refrigerator and it was ready to go. (Let's just say, I had errands to run, so it just marinaded away while I was gone!)

Now, lets talk about the marinade....you do not have to purchase a commercial marinade!  I have used a variety of recipes over the years to make Jerky.  Did you know that you do not have to use "Liquid Smoke" in your recipe?  You certainly can, but it is not necessary. You can use a variety of marinades to flavor your jerky?

I used this one:

2 pounds flank steak sliced thin
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
6 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon ginger grated, heaping
1 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
30 grinds black pepper freshly ground
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring

Partially freeze steak to assist in slicing. Remove all extraneous fat, slice thinly (1/4 inch). Combine remaining ingredients, mix well, and marinate meat overnight. 

(Dehydrate according to the instructions of your device).

I used the Mesh screen inserts in my Dehydrator.  I like them for several reasons:  they make removal easy-just peel the screen from the jerky and they allow air to circulate around the food. The Mesh inserts and the trays clean up easily in the dishwasher.  I love that!

I placed the slices on the mesh inserts on your trays.

Here is one of the trays with the slices spaced with room around them. This is important so that the slices dehydrate more evenly.

Here in my desert climate, it takes about 4+ hours until the deliciousness is done! I would love to show you the final results.



Take Home Message:

  • This is very simple to make.
  • I made just under 2 lb. of Jerky for under $8.00.  Commercially prepared Beef Jerky costs about $.90/ounce.  I calculate that this Jerky cost $.25/ounce. This costs varies up to about $.50/ounce depending on the roast I purchase.
  • You can make any flavor you choose, which gives you tremendous variety.
  • If I had the chance to store any (not likely around here), I would have sealed it either in jars or bags with my Food Saver.
  • I have purchased Roasts, had them sliced and frozen them in our Freezer. You can also leave the Roasts slightly frozen and slice them yourself. 
  • Items like this show just how convenient and delicious your Food Storage really can be!

Try it and let us know what you think!

Postscript:  You need to check your Dehydrator settings to determine the temperature and length of time it takes for your Jerky to be completely dehydrated.  In my case, my family likes it to be a bit pliable and not rock hard. As you can see, when I make Jerky, it does not last long enough for long-term storage.  However, if the intent was long-term storage, I would dehydrate it until it was essentially brittle.  

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: June 30, 2014, 12:54 am

I love to use my Food Storage Staples for a Sunday meal.  With the exception of the Fruit Salad, the rest truly did come from....my Pantry and my Freezer.  For this post, I would like to focus on making Focaccia Bread.  

I love making this, because the hard work is done in my Bread Maker.  I mixed up the Little Caesar's Pizza Dough recipe in my Bread Maker on Saturday night. I put the dough into a Ziploc bag and placed it in the refrigerator overnight.

The dough is very bubbly and light.  I lined a large cookie sheet with Parchment Paper.  

Next, brush a layer of Olive Oil on the Parchment Paper.  This keeps the bread from sticking to the paper.

Essentially, you dump the dough out of the bag on to the oiled parchment paper. With your fingers, stretch the dough out evenly. This amount of dough covers about 7/8 of the sheet.  Set her timer for 5 minutes to allow the dough to rest once you have stretched it in the pan.

Press your fingertips randomly into the dough.

Drizzle more Olive Oil on top of the dough and brush it all over the top.

Although this does not look beautiful, it is actually Italian Seasoning sprinkled all over the top of the dough.

Then, sprinkle Kosher Salt over the top as well.

Lastly, I shredded Parmesan Cheese over the top of the dough.  You can you the shredded type in the jar as well.  I just love the taste of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.

Bake the bread in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees.  Bake from between 15-20 minutes until it is done.

Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool.  Once it is cooled, slice it into generous squares.

For our meal today, I sliced the bread squares in half.

Today, I made Shredded Beef in my Crock pot. I placed some between the pieces of Fococcia Bread.....it looked great!

And with that, dinner was served.

What is the take-home message?

  • Food Storage staples do not need to be .....boring!!!!
  • I had all the ingredients for the Focaccia Bread in my Pantry of in my Freezer (yeast).
  • I made the process easy on myself by using the Bread machine.
  • You can make this bread for sandwiches or as a bread for any meal.
  • Cost comparison:  The flour cost just under a quarter, yeast is $1.28, Sugar is $.12, Honey is $.07, Olive Oil is $.23, Salt $.11 for the basic bread. Total cost is $1.81.  I had Cut enough squares for 15 Sandwiches which works out to $.12 per sandwich for the bread only.
  • You can use white flour or have white and half wheat which allows you to use your whole grains.
  • This is just for fun. I hosted a shower with a "Princess theme".  Look at how fun this was!  I cut the bread into Castle shapes!
Using your Food Storage Staples is convenient. I say this all the time, but I think it bears repeating. 

I encourage you to try it soon!  Let us know how it worked for you!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: June 23, 2014, 2:13 am

It is second nature to go to the sink and get a glass of water.  It is just as easy to turn on the faucet to brush your teeth or get water to prepare a meal.  We do it without even thinking about it.  But, what if your water supply had been compromised?  Would you know what to do?  How would you keep your family from habitually going to the tap to get water? Here is what my brilliant Niece shared with her neighbors recently. She is exactly in this situation....right now. Out of her concern for her neighbors and friends, she shared the following information to help them.  

For those in the Greenville/Edwardsville area, a little more info on the water situation, and some tips on how to deal with it. Some routine samples were taken on Monday, and results on those samples came back Wednesday as positive for E Coli. They are taking more samples and waiting for the results on those. They are also looking for a source of the contamination. Officials are anticipating 6 days of being on boil order.
All water for drinking, cooking, and washing dishes with should be brought to a rolling boil for 1 full minute. You're dishwasher will sanitize dishes on it's own (it heats the water hot enough to sanitize), but all hand washed dishes should be washed with boiled water. It's safe to bathe in (don't get it in your mouth) and wash your clothes in. Make sure to use clean/boiled water to brush your teeth with.
In our house, we are putting signs on all the faucets saying not to use them. I'm having the kids bring their toothbrushes down to the kitchen so that it's different enough that they won't accidentally use the sink out of habit (lesson learned from last time). If a toothbrush does make it under the tap, just put it in boiling water for one minute to sanitize it again. Hand washing should be done with boiled water as well. It also doesn't hurt to have some hand sanitizer hanging around for use before eating and drinking, because sometimes contamination can make it through you're precautions;)
After the ban is lifted:
1. Flush your hot water tank twice
2. Run treated water through all your faucets for 15 minutes
3. Throw out the ice from your ice maker and sanitize the bin
4. Run a couple gallons of treated water through your refrigerator after you replace the water filter
5. Bleach the aerators in all your faucets
6. Scrub down all your sinks and bathtubs with a germ killing bath cleaner
She also shared this additional comment with me:

 I've got to go check on my elderly neighbor. She didn't have much water last night and we thought this was going to be short term.. I learned from you and mom to help myself, and then help those around me:)

Take Home Message:

  • Would you know what to do in this situation?  Would you know how to find out if the water in your area was compromised. For that matter, do you know how to find out about any possible emergency in your town or neighborhood?   Many cities have a website with wonderful information. Check out the resources in your area today so that you are not wasting valuable time if and when a compromised situation arises.  
  • Do you have the necessary supplies on hand? Not only do you need to boil water in this situation, but you need other things as well.  You should have water filters, bleach, containers to boil in, stored water, and fuel just in case you are without power as well.  
  • Knowing that your water is compromised, if you had to dispose of waste.....what would you plan be?  What are the requirements/codes in your are to deal with waste?  Are you allowed to bury it?  Do you know which of your plants you can safely put liquid waste on?  As a general rule, you should never put human waste on plants/trees that provide food for consumption. It is often fine for ornamental plants.
  • How would you keep your family members from habitually going to the faucet and getting a drink or brushing your teeth?  How would you alert little ones that cannot read?
  • What about your neighbors?  Do you have any neighbors or extended family members who may need your assistance during times like these? Do you have a plan in place for them?

Food for thought, don't you think?  

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: June 20, 2014, 6:37 pm
Today is Father's Day, and I hope you take a moment to express your love and gratitude to all the Father's in your life.  Happy Father's Day to my own Father, my Husband, Son's and Son-in-Law's, my Grandfathers, my Uncles, and my Brother-in-laws.  We are grateful for the positive contributions you make to our family.  And for us all, I am hopeful that you will join me in expressing love and appreciation to our Blessed Father-in-Heaven.

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: June 15, 2014, 11:02 am

Remember that little song from Sesame Street..."One of these things is not like the other".  Well I want you to look at the picture above and figure out which is not like the others.  Is it the shape?  Is it the type of glass?  Have you figured it out yet?  

I love Apothecary jars, but I have shied away from purchasing them because I hate to pay the hefty price. I have found them starting from $25.00 to over $40.00 each.  I just couldn't make it myself pay those prices. I did, however, find one of these at Ross yesterday for $10.00. That didn't hurt as much....so I paid the price.  

But, I didn't want to pay it over 3 or 4 times.  I found this suggestion on-line. I love brilliant people like this and decided to give it a try.  The suggestion was related to making Apothecary jars from.....(are you ready for this?).....materials from the Dollar Store!  So, I went, I shopped and I brought things home to use!

I purchased all of these things (except the Loctite glass glue) from the Dollar Store.  I purchased 2 candlesticks, one goblet, a vase, a glass, and a package of 3 glass bowls (next to the glue).

Because these are glass, I wanted to ensure that all the glue residue from the price tags was removed.  I used "Goof Off" to complete this task.

I pulled off the paper portion of the tag. I took a paper-towel sheet and poured some of the "Goof Off" liquid on it.  

I stopped a little over half-way through to show you how effective this liquid it. It completely removed all traces of the residue.

I inverted the vase and the glass.  I put the "Loctite Glass Glue" on the bottom and placed the inverted candle-holders into the glue.  You have to leave these alone for a long time to make sure that the glue adheres.  

Here is another view.

To make the lids, invert the bowls.  The instructions above suggest that you purchase glass doorknobs.  I looked at them, and they were very pretty in the store. But, they cost between $5.00 - $10.00 to purchase, and again I didn't wish to spend that type of money on these utilitarian containers. Instead, I took clear glass pebbles purchased from the Dollar Store (that you would use in a vase to hold flowers) and glued 2 on top of each other for the 'knob'.

For this 'jar', I used a goblet and placed the inverted bowl on top.  I love this one!

So there you have it.  One Apothecary jar that I purchased for $10.00 and 3 that I made for under $10.00.  

So what do you think?

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: June 14, 2014, 9:05 pm

In my last post, I talked about Batteries and storage.  Having Batteries is one thing, but getting to recharge them is another.  Can you recharge disposable batteries...Yes!

I saw this advertised on a television network late one night when I couldn't sleep.  I decided to give it a try as it said it will recharge traditional batteries. "Hmmm" I thought, that would be wonderful if I could recharge traditional batteries.  I purchased it.  It is called the "Renu-it pro series (Professional Grade Disposable Battery Regenerator).  Although I didn't purchase this device from Amazon, it can be purchased there.  It costs about $30.00.

I like the read-out.  It lets you know if your batteries are 'bad' (meaning that they will not recharge) or if your batteries are charged.  

I like the indicator lights. I like that you can charge different sizes of batteries at the same time. Additionally, you can stack the batteries on top of each other (like AA or AAA) to charge them.  You can see the red lights on the indicator. If they are solid, they are not chargeable.  If they are flashing, the batteries is or can be charged.  Notice also that you can charge NiCD, Alkaline and NiMH batteries.  

I also have rechargeable batteries as well.  Although the still picture cannot show it, the display has a 'wave-like' motion to show that it is charging.

Things to Consider:

  • You should always inspect the batteries, particularly the Alkaline batteries for leaking.  This should be done before and after charging.  Place the batteries on tissue or paper for about an hour after charging to check for leaking. Any battery that is leaking should be disposed of.
  • I have found that the recharged 'disposable' batteries do not hold a charge as long as fresh batteries do, so keep that in mind.
  • One reviewer on Amazon suggested that you should charge your batteries when you have about 1/3 of a charge left.  You will need a meter to do this.  In his experience, you have a higher chance of charging the battery.
  • If the device you put the batteries in is fairly costly, consider using fresh batteries to avoid the chance of leaking.
  • You will save money by recharging your batteries!  This is a big deal!
You need more than Batteries in your emergency supplies. Consider getting a meter and a recharger to make the most of your battery investment.

Consider it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: June 10, 2014, 9:30 am

One of the basic needs we all have is power.  Lets face it, we live on our devices, expect that things will light up and work, and also entertain us.  The biggest nightmare I used to have on Christmas Eve was that I forgot to get batteries for the next morning!  

I try to keep a supply of batteries on hand for everything.  I also keep a supply in case of a loss of power or when we are camping, hiking, or just out and away from the house.  My children have found my little stash and I am stocking it more than using them at this point.  I am still trying to find a solution to this little challenge, but it is not a big issue.  I am glad they come home to visit. If that means loosing a battery here or there, then I certainly come out with a win when I get to spend time with them.

I found this Range Kleen WKT4162 82-Battery organizer with Removable Tester on Amazon. It costs just about $10.00.  (FYI, I have not received any remuneration for mentioning this product).  It holds 25 AAA Batteries, 39 AA batteries, 4 9-Volt batteries, 8 C batteries, 6 D batteries, and room for a 5-Button cell batteries (in a top swivel drawer).  That's a lot of power and a lot of options.

It comes with a battery tester.  I love this thing!  It can either be attached or removed for use.  It can check all the batteries that are stored in the tray! Watch this!

As you can see the arm moves so that you can maneuver it to meet your positive pole.  These are AA Batteries.

I had to hold the D-Cell battery in place for the photo.... (now you all know that I am double jointed in my thumb).

The 9-volt took me a minute to figure out how to use the meter.  You have to hold it by the poles, not from the top-bottom as you have seen above.

Here is a bird-eye view.  It holds a lot of batteries.  It even comes with mounting screws if you wanted to mount it to the wall.


I traditionally purchase my batteries from the shopping club.  If you notice, they are sold at room temperature.  When I was growing up, I had several family members store their batteries in the refrigerator and state that it increases their shelf life.  In researching different manufacturers of batteries, the prevailing suggestion is to store them at room temperature.  Well, what is room temperature?  Different folks prefer their homes cooler while some prefer their homes to be warmer.  I choose to keep my in garage refrigerator. They are out of the way, and I don't run the risk that someone will spill something on them in the Garage refrigerator.  (That refrigerator is for extra produce, Rooster Seniors Sodas, and other stored items. No left-overs in there!).  

I checked the life of the Batteries (how long they hold a charge) of the Duracell Coppertop Batteries that I purchased.  I think this is just as important as having them available. Here are the particulars:

  • D-Cell:  10 years
  • C-Cell:  10 years
  • 9-Volt:  5 years
  • AA-Cell:  10 years
  • AAA-Cell:  10 years

So, check you supply.  Do you have enough for emergencies.....let alone Christmas morning!

Check out your supply today!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: June 8, 2014, 11:51 pm

Yum!  It's finally Grilling Season, which is one of my most favorite 'seasons' of the year!  I have a new Gadget that I wanted to try and it turned out very well. 

I recently purchased a Kitchen Collection Stuffed Burger Maker on a recent shopping excursion with my daughter.  (I love the Kitchen Collection store...so many fun things in there!).  I had seen another brand of this device being advertised on the television by a well-known chef.  When I saw this device, my thinking was that I can always afford $6.00 just in case it didn't work.  

Here is a pictorial view (with my suggestions) on how to use this device to make delicious stuffed burgers.

Take a small ball of fresh Hamburger and press it flat with the 'lid'.

Then add your desired toppings. We used Cheddar Cheese and real bacon bits. I found that you really don't need to put a lot in the middle.  Some instructions suggest making a small well in the middle to hold your stuffing ingredients. I used both methods, but the burgers appeared to turn out the same in the end. 

Then I placed another small ball of hamburger in the device and pushed it flat with the lid.

Follow the directions and unscrew the lid according to the arrows on the lid.

There is a black bottom plate (see it on the bottom of the burger?) that you push to help dislodge the burger. Then you carefully dislodge the bottom plate.

This is how the burgers look from a side view. In some burgers, you could see a 'dividing line' between the layers, but most you could not.

This is where I would give you a 'word of warning'.  Spray your grill with a cooking spray before placing your burgers on the hot grill.  As you can see, some of them stuck and 2 of them came apart as Rooster Senior attempted to flip them.

This is how it turned out!  The Burger was delicious and I loved it!  There were not complaints.....or leftovers.  

What is the take-home message?

  • Grilling is actually practicing an emergency skill.  
  • If we had to eat from the grill, this would be a fun edition to your meal planning.
  • All of the ingredients for these burgers came from my food storage.  The Hamburger was from the freezer (in 1 lb bags), the cheese was also from the freezer as was the bacon.
  • The condiments, (including the Relish that I canned last fall) came from my food storage as well.
  • You can have quick meals that are delicious and inviting from your Food Storage Staples.

Consider getting one of these devices.

They are inexpensive and fun!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: June 1, 2014, 10:41 pm

On this Memorial Day, I have chosen to remember those who have bravely served and given all.  The honor guard is one of the last respectful things that we do for our Veterans.  I hope you thank a Veteran today and remember those who have preceded us into the Rest of the Lord. To my Father-in-Law, my Son-in-Law and various other family and friends who have chosen to serve, I express my sincere appreciation and thankfulness.  (The information that I am reposting was shared previously after the passing of a beloved extended family member).

At the grave site, the Honor Guard was present.  I was deeply touched by the deep tradition of reverence, and respect paid to this veteran.  In researching this tradition, I found the Following from the Department of Defense:

What can the family of an eligible veteran expect? The core elements of the funeral honors ceremony, which will be conducted are:
- Flag folding
- Flag presentation
- Playing of Taps

The veteran’s parent Service representative will present the flag. 

A member of the Honor Guard related a verse that appeared to include the following words...

"On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, or Air Force), and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciate for your loved one's honorable and faithful service."

The flag is folded 13 times, and each fold has a meaning:

The first fold of our Flag is a symbol of life. 
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life. 
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world. 
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance. 
The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong." 
The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. 
The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of ourRepublic. 
The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day. 
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded. 
The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born. 
The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 
The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. 
When the Flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our Nation's motto, "In God We Trust." After the Flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.

We do live in a nation founded in Christian Beliefs.....as noted in the meaning of the folding of the flag.  Take a moment to reflect on the goodness that you enjoy not only due to the service of our brave Military.  The Lord is mindful of us all, and we would be wise to be mindful of him in all that we do.

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: May 26, 2014, 3:02 pm

We are awaiting the arrival of a new little Princess in our family.  Her parents are anxiously awaiting her birth and are gathering as many pink and purple items in anticipation of her arrival.

Our Daughter-in-Law requested some 'hand made' items for this little one, so my Daughter and I got busy and had some great fun together. These sweet Bibs were some of the things that I made for my future Granddaughter.  Not only were they fun, but also were very doable.

You can make a pattern off any Bib that you may have.  I had a pattern already. I cut out two large pieces (one for the front and one for the back).  I also cute out two pieces for the pocket.  One out of a contrast fabric and one out of a clear plastic.  I had this plastic left over from another project that I did some time ago.

I took the two pocket pieces.  I serged them together with the plastic piece on the bottom.  I tried it the opposite way without any real success. Trust me, putting the plastic piece down on the bottom works very well. 

Here is the finished edge after serging.

Sew the Bias Tape on over the edge you just serged.

Here is the piece with the Bias Tape sewn on the top edge.

Take the two large pieces.  Put the wrong sides together.

Pin the pocket to the bottom of the Bib.

Serge around all edges.

See how clean the edges are after Serging?  I love that aspect of a Serger!

Sew a piece of Bias Tape around the neckline.

Now, you will sew a very large piece of Bias Tape around the perimeter.
Advance a long piece of Bias Tape before your starting point on the Bib. Determine how long you want it to be as this will be a Tie for the Bib.  

Sew the Bias Tape around the perimeter of the Bib.

After sewing around the perimeter, leave a length of the Bias Tape at the end. This becomes the other tie for the Bib.  Sew along the length of Bias Tape (Tie end).  Go back to the first Tie and do the same.

Aren't these sweet?  They have a type of 'waterproof' pocket that can catch all kinds of 'treasures' when the time comes for her to begin to eat solids.  

Take Home Message:

I made these from scraps.  I hate to admit this but I am really not kidding. I had made receiving blankets and burp clothes already from these fabrics (with my Daughter of course). All I needed to purchase was the Bias Tape. The rest of these sweet bibs were made from scraps.  (I hope my Daughter-in-Law doesn't mind!). The Bias Tape cost me just under a dollar per Bib.  

You Can Do This!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: May 26, 2014, 1:18 am

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