A Matter Of Preparedness

The latest posts from A Matter Of Preparedness

I realize the Easter is tomorrow, but due to our schedules our family had our Easter Dinner last night.  Yes, we had the traditional Easter Egg Hunt and crazy noisy conversations.  I made everything (with the exception of the Spiral Ham) from my pantry and freezer.  

I decided to add a sweet treat for dessert.  I also decided to use my new mini-cupcake pan that I recently found on sale.  

I made lots and lots of yellow cake cupcakes.  Aren't they cute?  I decided to dress them up for an Easter Treat.

I took some Coconut.  I decided to transform it!

I wanted to turn it into 'grass'.  I took my food coloring and added a few drops of green.

I put on a tight fitting lid.....and shook it to death!

Here is what it looked like afterwards.  Isn't it cute?

I made some butter cream frosting (so good....it was hard not to sneak in a few tastes as I went).  I didn't worry about making it 'pretty'....

Here is why, I turned over the cupcake and dipped the frosting side into the colored coconut.

Here is the cupcake after the coconut dredge and with a little "gummy bean" on top.  ("Gummy bean" is what my little Grandson called Jelly Beans).

How did they go over?  Pretty well....I just had a bazillion of them. So, I am possibly going to do some neighbor visiting today.

This is a simple thing to do, but a fun presentation.  This was an easy treat and certainly brightened our traditional Easter dinner.

Try it!!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: April 19, 2014, 10:57 pm

Sometimes it is important to appreciate the basics. This is certainly true for things like Spaghetti Sauce.  It is a classic and had wide appeal.  You can use many of the staples in your Food storage and cook it in your crockpot while you hurry through your busy day.

Do you want to find out more?  See the guide below!

Check out How to Make Spaghetti Sauce in a Crockpot! by Carin Hadley on Snapguide.

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: April 18, 2014, 3:22 pm

Twice a year, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meet together in "General Conference".  This is an opportunity to hear from our Prophet, Apostles and General Church Leadership.  It is a time of year I often look forward to.

As a child, I didn't always have the 'attention span' to appreciate this spiritually rich experience.  So, I want to offer other parents out there some fun and meaningful activities that your children and grandchildren may enjoy.

I made this game that fits inside of a "Guess Who" game.  You can download it for free at this link!

Below is a list of other great ideas that are easily printed for use.  

Now.....let's talk about Breakfast!  

Image courtesy of "Heavenly Homemakers.com"
Do you recognize it yet?  It is a version of homemade "Grape Nuts".  Here is HeavenlyHomemakers.com's recipe.  I love how it uses shelf stable foods (you could choose to use powdered milk with vinegar for the buttermilk) and makes a delicious and nutritious cereal.  This blogger calculates that it cost her $2.00 to make an amount that is twice the volume of the brand name box you can purchase at the store.  It's easy!  Try it!

Homemade Grape Nuts Cereal
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)
1 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
2 cups buttermilk (or milk mixed with 2 Tablespoons vinegar)
2/3 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Mix all ingredients together, beating well until smooth.  Spread mixture onto a parchment paper lined (or well buttered) cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes in a 375° oven. Remove cereal from the oven, and cool completely.  Once cool, grind in a food processor until it becomes “crumb like.”
Return crumbs to cookie sheet or a large baking pan.  Bake in a 250° oven for one hour or until crisp, stirring every 15 minutes.

To watch General Conference, check your local listing for your Television service.  You may also watch all sessions here.  

In a crazy world with crazy people doing crazy things in the name of love, religion, or politics.....take this time to be taught by the true Prophet and Apostles of the Lord.  The Lord and our Heavenly Father have their arms open and outstretched to all of us.  This is true no what matter our station in life is or our location.  Come and be "Spiritually Fed "this weekend!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: April 5, 2014, 9:45 am
Image courtesy of AmarieB.com
At this point in time, I am always shocked to find someone who either has not heard of or is not using Pinterest. A beloved family member recently bit the bullet and joined.  Welcome to the dark side my dear:)

I get frequent notices that my 'pins' have been repined on to many other people's boards. Today, I decided to look into how popular some of them are. Let's just say that I was a bit shocked by the number count of some of my posts/pins. Would you like to know some of the most popular pins?  Okay!

1.  I wrote a post on Canning Dried Beans.  To date, it has been repined over 8,000 times!
2.  Another post/pin on how to use Mylar Bags  has been repined nearly 3,000 times.
3.  Information how to mix good tasting Powdered Milk has been repined nearly 5,000 times.
4.  I wrote a post about Temple Marriage (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) that included a fabulous video from Jenny Phillips.  This one has been repined nearly 9,000 times.

These are just a handful that I discovered.  I am very humbled by all of this, and very grateful to you as readers.  I hope to be able to continue to offer information that may be helpful to you as you pursue your quest to be prepared. 

I want to thank you all for your interest.  May the Lord bless you all.   

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: March 26, 2014, 6:35 am

Do you remember when you left home to begin your big adventure at school or your first 'grown-up' job?  Chances are, if you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that following your move you were a member of a Young-Single Adult (YSA) Ward. As you can see from the above picture, in my area, the YSA wards number in the hundreds.  

During this time of life, many are on their own for the first time.  They are trying to balance school, work, dating, friendships, church service...and just surviving it all.  As my husband and I serve in a YSA ward, we see so much goodness and potential in all of the YSA's.  Sometimes the balancing is not so graceful and course corrections are in order. 

With all that activity, do you think that preparedness and emergency plans are anywhere on the horizon?  I can tell you honestly, it is probably one of the furthest thoughts from their minds.  So, enter the Emergency Preparedness plan for each ward and Stake.

This is actually a photo that I took while in one of our student's apartments.  It is the Stake/Ward Emergency Preparedness plan.  But this is only one aspect.

There is actually a lot of planning that goes into the YSA Emergency Preparedness plan.  I will include some excerpts:

"Church guidance for YSA Stakes:  “ As stake presidents, we should counsel our members that while they do not need to accumulate food that would supply their long-term needs, they should have a short-term supply as recommended in the current pamphlet, All Is Safely Gathered In. You should feel free to counsel your members appropriately.  (Elder Osguthorpe memo to Stake Presidents, April 27, 2008)"
Does this sound familiar?

 Establish and maintain means of emergency communications.
A. Develop and maintain a communication plan that will enable:
(1) Members communicating with their respective ward leadership.

(2) Wards communicating with their respective Stake leadership.
(3) Stakes communicating with the University's Emergency Operations Center.
(4) Stakes communicating as needed with others outside the stake or wards.
B. Periodically test this communications system.
So, how do you test the "Communication System" in a YSA Ward and Stake? You have a drill!

In our Stake, a drill is held during Family Home Evening twice within a school year. This is announced ahead of time.  All members of the ward gather in one place (parking lot, volleyball court...some central location) at 7:00 at night. Each apartment number is called out by a member of the Ward Emergency Preparedness Committee. Those who reside in the apartment report who is currently on site, and the location of anyone who is not.  If they don't know where everyone is, these roommates are asked to text/call/contact to learn the location of everyone in their apartment. It sounds simple enough doesn't it?  Believe it or not, response is not quick. Sometimes the Bishopric calls as well.  The entire YSA ward stays until hopefully the location of everyone is known.  Then, the information is relayed to a Stake representative until the Stake President is informed about the whereabouts of his flock.  There are times when not all members can be found.  When this occurs, an action plan is put in place to help ensure this would not happen in the case of a real emergency. Frankly, this is why they have these drills. 

Then what?  A little training with a very captive audience.  Remember not all young adults are single.

Here are guidelines for personal preparation that are offered.  Notice that the YSA's are encouraged to have enough money on hand to get home.  Sometimes that may involve a tank of gas, however it often it involves a flight.

Personal Emergency Response Plan
Guidelines for Provo Utah YSA & Married Student Stakes
$ Keep at least one week's worth of groceries on hand at all times, along with food for emergencies (granola bars, etc.).
$ Keep at least a three-day supply of emergency water (one gallon per person per day).

$ Keep your car's gas tank at least half full at all times.
$ Have enough money available to get to your parents= home (if that is where you would go in case of a major emergency) or other place of retreat.
$ Have your cell phone programmed to call family and other important people in your life. Program an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number in your cell-phone directory.
$ Designate an out-of-area family member as a family-communication contact.
$ Keep your roommates/spouse apprised of your whereabouts.
$ Know about emergency information sources, including KSL AM 1160 and FM 102.7 and KBYU FM 89.1 and 89.5.  Remember that your car radio is a source for emergency information.
Other emergency items
$ Designate a place for meeting your roommates, or your spouse and children (right outside your home for emergencies such as fires, and outside your neighborhood if you can=t get home).
$ Be aware of your ward=s emergency response plan, especially the ward emergency-meeting locations.
$ Identify primary and alternate escape routes out of your home, and conduct drills with your family/roommates.
$ Keep all needed medications readily available (one-week supply).
$ Have items available for warmth in cold weather (coats, blankets, etc.)
$ Keep insurance policies (policy number and contact information) available, along with any other important documents, such as birth certificates and marriage licenses.
$ Learn what to do for the different hazards that could impact you or your family.  See General Emergency Guidelines at http://risk.byu.edu/emergency/generalDownloads.php.
$ Go to http://risk.byu.edu/emergency for more information.
11 August 2008
This next part seems Herculean for many young adults.  Again, they are often just learning how to live on their own and have traditionally relied on their parents to be mindful of emergency preparedness items.  Here are instructions on making a kit for emergencies (FYI, this would be a good outline for a parent to prepare a kit for their YSA to take with them).

Get A Kit You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days. In addition, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer.
Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:
Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
Local maps
Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:
Prescription medications and glasses
Infant formula and diapers
Pet food and extra water for your pet
Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
Cash or traveler's checks and change
Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the EFFAK Emergency Financial First Aid Kit - PDF, 277Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information
Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov
Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
Fire Extinguisher
Matches in a waterproof container
Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
Paper and pencil
Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency by visiting: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/ 

How do you end this informative Family Home Evening?  With fun, games, and food!  

Parents Take-Home Message:
  • Teach your children basic preparedness skills before they leave home. This includes how to cook from scratch, clean and how to do laundry.  You seriously handicap your child if they do not have these basic skills....no matter how many times they roll their eyes and complain.
  • Teach your children basic survival skills such as those listed above.  This is for their safety and also so that you can sleep at night while they are gone:)
  • Teach them to respond when members of their ward call or text them.  This is not only a courtesy, but in the case of an emergency it is a safety issue.  Too many YSA's do not respond when they are contacted by either peers or leadership.  Then, if they do respond, it may have been days since the initial contact. Also, teach them to look at their email.....regularly.  All communication does not come in the form of a text.  If some of the above information were to be sent as an attachment, honestly some of our YSA's would never see it even though they have email.
  • Teach them basic First Aid skills.
  • Teach them budgeting skills.  One of the requirements above was to have enough money to get home.  Some of our YSA's don't even know where they are going to get enough money to eat for the next week because they live in the present. This is only true for some of them.
  • Have an out-of-state person for them to contact in case of an emergency. I would recommend that you have this stipulated before they leave home.
Emergency Preparedness skills are necessary during all phases of life.  Please don't forget those folks who probably consider themselves to be exempt from having to even consider this important topic just because of their station in life.

Be Safe!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: March 23, 2014, 12:08 pm

Isn't this a great visual?  Isn't this a great spiritual thought by Elder David Bednar?  Well, I am not crafty (or clever) enough to come up with these beautiful images and quotes all by myself. However, there are many that are readily available. Would you like to see more?

I love this quote by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.

I greatly appreciate this one by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf.  Especially the "Love is a measure..." 

The Sisters are also quoted.  For me personally, this should be another motto for Relief Society.  "First observe then serve" is a great quote by Sister Linda K Burton.

Isn't this one not only visually beautiful but powerful in it's message?

So, where do these come from?  Where else, lds.org.  To be exact, they come from here.  

So, the next time you are looking for a Spiritual Thought for either yourself, for a lesson (Relief Society, Sunday School, Visiting Teaching, Primary, Family Home Evening) or possibly for a talk, go to www.lds.org and look in the media library.  Lots of treasures to be had in there!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: March 19, 2014, 6:00 am

Have you ever purchased something having intention of using it right away?  Well, that is certainly the case for me.  I bought a Volcano Stove and was very excited to use it.  I walked by it several times and saw it in the closet many times.  I kept thinking to myself, "I need to just get it out and try it"...but alas life happened and my poor Volcano stove stayed packed up...waiting to be tested.

I then was asked to teach a class on Powerless Cooking in the Midwest.  Yea!  I finally had the opportunity to make use of it.  And...I love this device.  I purchased the Volcano II which can use 3 different types of fuel.  And, I love that flexibility.

I like to use a Chimney to start charcoal.  I like the fact that it can prepare all the coals in an equal burn.

The Volcano II easily sets up.  With a quick pull on the handle, the collapsible legs set up.

This device has a 2 plates. One for fuel.

And one to hold my Dutch Oven.

This device is designed to control the heat better than traditional charcoal with Dutch Oven Cooking.  

This sliding vent allows you to control the airflow.  Instead of a quick rise in heat with a quick cooling curve, the vent allows for super heat to surround the Dutch oven and have a more controlled burn or utilization of the heat.  

See how nicely the Dutch Oven fits into the Volcano?

Finally, I spaced briquettes around the top.  Then a short time later, we have a delicious Apple Cobbler to enjoy.

Take Away Points:
  • This is a huge addition to your Emergency Cooking plan.
  • It makes efficient use of your fuel, which is a major consideration.
  • It can use wood, charcoal or propane, which gives you many options for cooking.
  • It collapses into a small unit and fits easily into a carrying case that came with my unit.
  • It runs about $200.00.

I will use this over and over again.  I am just sorry I didn't take advantage of this wonderful device earlier.

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: March 16, 2014, 5:00 am
Hi all:

This is a shout-out to Megan from at My "Food Storage Cookbook".  She is hosting the "Biggest Prepper" Contest and has some wonderful prizes to go along with it. If you need inspiration to get yourself going or if you just need to learn more, go to her site today!

Learn more about the contest by going here.

Check it out today!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: March 12, 2014, 6:34 am

I glanced at my Facebook page one day and saw a plea from my very pregnant daughter. She was under the weather and posted a plea for homemade Chicken Soup.  She was mostly kidding, but I was in a position to make some for her.

I had everything and didn't have to go to the store....I just love that!!!!!  Having your Food Storage Staples is so very convenient!

I cut the carrots....

Diced the Celery....

I used my "Pantry Gold" (aka Canned Chicken).  I poured the broth into the pan with the vegetables, spices and Bay Leaf.  I also used some of my Chicken Soup base that I use when I need Chicken broth.  This is a shelf stable product.  

I diced the chicken....I personally like to have real chunks of Chicken in my soup.

Instead of Noodles, I put in Barley. I love the texture that Barley gives the soup.

Letting the soup simmer for a few minutes makes the whole house smell wonderful.

Transporting the soup was a challenge.  I remembered that I had these wonderful jars with a rubber seal.  I usually make my yogurt in these jars.  

I used my canning funnel to spoon the delicious soup into the jar....

I placed the freshly made soup into a bag.

Threw in some crackers.....

And, of course I put "someone's missing Dinosaur Train" in the bag.  You see, not only was my daughter not feeling well, but her little 2-year old son was fussing because he could not find his one of his favorite toys. It had accidentally been left behind during one of his visits to our house.  

What is the 'take-home message'?  Having a well-stocked pantry and Food Storage allows you to do things on the spot.  Yes, I did use fresh carrots and celery, but a well stocked refrigerator is also part of being prepared.  I could have used dehydrated vegetables if I wanted to.  I just decided to use the fresh vegetables.

Ultimate convenience comes from having your Food Storage Staples available.  Yes, Food Storage is absolutely 'convenience food' at your fingertips.  

Would you like the recipe?  It comes from an old Cookbook I have had for a very long time.  

Chicken Rice Soup (The New Pillsbury Family Cookbook 1973)

  • 3-4 lbs stewing chicken cut into pieces (I used my canned chicken-1 Pint)
  • 3 quarts (12 cups) water
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning, if desired
  • 2 medium stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion copped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown or white rice  (I used Barley instead)
In large saucepan, combine chicken, water, salt, peppercorns and poultry seasoning.  Bring to boil. Cover and simmer 2-2 1/2 hours or until hours or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken and peppercorns.  Skim off fat. Cut meat from the bone and return to soup.  (Isn't the canned Chicken easier?).  Add remaining ingredients. Continue simmering, covered, 30-40 minutes or until rice (Barley in my case) is tender.    For Chicken Noodle Soup, omit rice and 1-2 cups uncooked noodles.  Cover until noodles are tender.  

Try It On A Cold Wintery Day!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: March 9, 2014, 3:34 am

There has been a great deal of news coverage on the unrest in the Ukraine over the past few weeks. 

Image courtesy of Bleacherreport

We have seen, Bogdana Matsotskachoose, give up her Olympic  dream of her life to go home and support the protestors in their home land.  

Image courtesy of PBS
Protesters and Police have clashed, too many have lost their lives.  There has been a change in leadership and a fledgling government is trying to stand on wobbly legs.

I have watched, as we all have, these events on the news.  As badly as I have felt for the citizens of this country, it all came home to roost for me today.  My friend placed this plea on her Facebook page (with the names removed):

"Asking a favor - Putin has asked his parliament for permission to send military troops to Ukraine - specifically Crimea. We are fasting tomorrow for the people of Ukraine and the missionaries there (especially the one who is near and dear to my heart - Elder (son)) - could you add them into your fasting and prayer tomorrow? And - if you aren't the fasting, but the praying type - could you lift them up in prayer. My heart hurts for this people and their division and what it could mean for their country. Thank you so much!"

How could I or anyone not feel for this family and the all of the families who live in this troubled corner of the world?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made the following statement today.

Church Statement on Missionaries Serving in Ukraine

Salt Lake City-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement today regarding missionaries serving in Ukraine:
Due to civil unrest, 23 missionaries serving in the Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Mission have been removed from the Crimean peninsula and transferred to other areas within the mission as a precautionary measure.

Many around the world are  participating in Fasting and Prayer today and tomorrow. If you can find it in your heart, can you please include the missionaries and the people of the Ukraine in your Prayers and Fasting.  

If you are new to Prayer, it isn't difficult. Find a quiet and secluded place.
  • Begin by calling on The Father by saying "Heavenly Father" 
  • Take a minute to offer your thanks for the blessings that you are grateful for.  Suggestions might be for your family, health, shelter, etc
  • Ask Heavenly Father for the things you are calling upon him for.  (If you feel so inclined, ask for protection and care to be upon the People of the Ukraine).
  • End "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen"
Our Brothers and Sisters abroad need our help.  Please find it in your heart to include them in your Fasting and Prayers.

ADDENDUM:  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released the following information:

Given the evolving situation in Ukraine, 22 missionaries serving in that country will end their missions early and return home over the next few days. This includes missionaries originally scheduled for release in March and April of this year and allows the four missions in Ukraine to better accommodate the missionaries who were moved out of the Crimean Peninsula. Missionaries who have been in missionary training centers preparing to enter Ukraine are being temporarily reassigned to other missions or will remain at the MTCs on a short-term basis (see previous statements issued this week).

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: March 1, 2014, 10:58 pm
Image courtesy of lds.org
There has been 'a lot' of information regarding the Home and Family Storage Centers (offered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) as of late. There has also been a lot of confusion as to what you can get, can, order etc.

There are 2 distinct opportunities to order product:

There is a new pricing list for Packaged and Bulk Products that was published as of February 1, 2014

The second option is Home Storage Centers with Opportunities to Package Products (selected locations). This was also published as of 2/1/14

If you are wondering where the facilities that you can package your own are located, look here.

I also love how 'current' the church is with their media.  They have QR codes for each of these forms!

For the Price List for Prepackaged foods.

For the Price List for Packaging your own product. 

At any rate, there are still foods that you can purchase through the Home Storage Centers.  If you would like more information, please go here.

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: February 25, 2014, 7:01 am

I came home from the Temple this morning and saw a lot of activity across the street.  "Big deal" you may think.  Well, it really is.  The beautiful home across the street has been vacant for about 5 years.  What happened 5 years ago? The economy and some difficult business issues for the family who lived there. And, as we all have seen across the country, the family just walked away from their beautiful home.  We have seen glimmers of hope over the years.  Folks who say they have purchased the home, but the banks just couldn't find a solution to make everyone happy and thus it was dark again.  

However, I saw moving trucks today with real people moving real furniture into the home!  I thought about what I could take to them as a house-warming gift.  I decided to make one of my favorites.....Pumpkin bread with Chocolate Chips.  It's as good as it sounds....trust me.

I decided to use my Canned Pumpkin that I did a few weeks ago.  

So, I put some of the chunks into my little blender.

One Quart of pumpkin chunks gave me just under 2 cups of pumpkin puree.  Just for your information, a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree yields about 1.75 cups of puree.

This fabulous recipe recommends adding the pumpkin puree and eggs....

Vegetable Oil....

and the Sugar.  Mix well.

In a second bowl, I added the flour baking soda and salt (isn't this little measuring spoon great?  I got it at the recent Build Your Own Blog Conference held in SLC a couple of weeks ago).  I also added the spices as well.

Mix all the dry ingredients together.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  

Even though this step takes a few minutes, it is totally worth it.  I trace the bottom of the bread pan on to parchment paper.  I cut them out and place them in the bottom of the bread pan (after I have sprayed the pan with cooking spray).  This allows me to easily remove the bread from the pan without it tearing.

This recipe made 6 mini loaves of delicious Pumpkin Bread.

This recipe does not call for Chocolate chips.....but my Ghirardelli chips were screaming for me to throw them in!

After baking, I let the loaves cool.

I took a loaf over to meet the new neighbors.  Then we came home and ate some ourselves....delicious!

The recipe comes from here.

Sooo, what is the take-home message?
  • I had everything at home to make this quick and delicious bread.
  • I figure that this quart of pumpkin cost be about $.30 versus  $3.33 for a 15 ounce can.
  • The pumpkin chunks performed just as well as the commercially packed pumpkin puree.
Just another benefit from canning pumpkin.  I would encourage you to put 'canning pumpkin' on your list next fall.  It is totally worth it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: February 23, 2014, 4:02 am

It seems that Winter has struck everywhere. This was my Backyard not to long ago.

Image courtesy of J Carroll

A family member's home in the South East with the Power line down.

Courtesy of Josh Lott

And a Midwest bitterly cold photo.  I remember shoveling sidewalks when I was growing up in Michigan.  My face froze and the snow would sting my face as well as I shoveled the powdery white precipitation.  The sad part was that in a short time, the snow often blew back across the driveway or sidewalk requiring you to go out and do it all again.  

No doubt you have heard the news about all the strange winter weather going on all round the country.  However, it is severe in many parts of our nation.  I have checked in on several family and friends in various parts of this frigid country and wanted to share what they have learned or found that they need to work on..

  1. It's cold...it's cold...it's cold.  Having alternate fuel sources available when needed is a must. Propane prices have jumped nearly $2.00 per gallon. Wood is useful if it has been kept dry and away from the elements.  Do you have access to Natural Gas?  I am sitting here writing this post by the fire....powered by Natural Gas.  In an emergency, our Natural Gas rarely goes out, so I can be warm and safe in my home.  
  2. Sheltering in place.  Many school districts have cancelled school a lot! This means that the parents must have a plan to care for their children if they work outside of the home.  It also means that there needs to be some form of 'entertainment' that is not dependent on power.  How is your stash of cards and board games?
  3. Feeding the family:  I have seen news stories that showed shelving in stores that were nearly bare.  Are you in a position to feed your family with the food reserves that you have in place?  Do you have fuel and a means to cook it without power? Do you have experience cooking with a Dutch Oven, Wonder Oven, Reflector Oven, etc?  
  4. Power:  I messaged with one family member in the South East. She said they were watching TV by Generator.  I messaged her and asked what type of generator they had. She reported that it was a portable one. She also stated that after the storm dies down that they were going to get an additional one.  What plans do you have in place for a power outage that may be prolonged? 
  5. Light:  Check your current supplies.  Flashlights are often the first thing that one thinks of when the power goes out.  But they require batteries....and a lot of them at that.  Candles are also often thought of.  Do you have enough candles, matches, and batteries etc to serve you over several days?  I have a solar powered light that I can also use.  Think outside of the box, what do you have access to and what should you store. Consider using the solar lights that you have in your garden or along your walkway.  They can charge during the day and be brought in to provide light during the evening.  
  6. Communication:  Without power, how are you going to communicate with the rest of the world?  How will folks contact you?  I recently purchased a powerbank for a conference that I attended to charge my phone, tablet, and laptop.  It lasted for days.  I plan to keep it in my car for emergencies.   Consider looking into various types of equipment to keep you in contact during emergencies.  
  7. Water:  Are you pipes in danger of being frozen?  Do you let a little water drip from your faucets to protect your plumbing?  Do you have enough water on hand to drink and use for hygiene if you traditional supply were to be interrupted?
The time to prepare for anything is now.  Here are some important questions that you need to answer for yourself and your family:  
  • What have you thought of doing?  
  • Have you made a list? 
  • What is your time-line?  
  • How much money can you set aside for preparedness items.  
  • Who do you share your plans with and who do you keep your plans from? 
  • How do you plan to respond if others come to you for shelter etc because they have not taken the necessary precautions.
  • Do you know how to use the equipment or food that you have stored?
  • Is your family used to the types of foods you may have to eat during an emergency?  Just for your information, there is research that shows that children will decline to eat if they are not familiar with the foods being offered...even if they are hungry.  The old adage that "they will eat when they get hungry" just isn't true.  I don't want to be the helpless parent/grandparent trying to offer substance to a child who just doesn't want it because they have never had it.
  • Do you have pets?  Have you made emergency plans for their care?
  • How is your transportation?  Do you have a vehicle that can travel in snowy weather?
  • What medical supplies do you have on hand?  Can you handle a bout with a cold or flu without running to the store.  What about ailments like Diarrhea or constipation.  What do you have on hand to deal with these common discomforts.  Do you have the knowledge and supplies to deal with broken bones, wounds and the like?

Hopefully you will be in a position to start a conversation with your spouse or significant other using these questions.  Make a plan today...especially if you are really stuck at home due to the winter weather.

Post comments about your thoughts and plans.  Lets learn from each other!  
Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: February 15, 2014, 10:27 pm

Mmmmmm, these are so good!  It's a great Valentine's treat that you can easily make at home.  How did I make them?  Take a look!

I cooked Tortillas in my cast-iron pans.

Wait for them to start to bubble, then flip!

See the little golden brown 'spots'?  That means you are well on your way to a nicely toasted tortilla.

I stacked the cooked tortillas on a plate.

Here I pulled out Cinnamon and sugar.  I made a mixture and put it into a shaker. I used a piece of parchment paper to make a little funnel so that I did not miss any of the sugary deliciousness!

Place the cooked tortilla's on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Do not use your Silpat type inserts for this.  You will see why later!

Coat the tortillas with melted butter.....yum!

Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture....double yum!

Now, using your pizza cutter, cut the tortilla in to triangular-shaped chips.  I cut the tortilla into wedges, then cut the wedges into smaller pieces.  (Now do you seen why you don't use your nice Silpat mats?)

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes....they smell so good when you take them out!

Quickly remove from the cookie sheet and place on a towel.  Allow them to cool.  (If you leave them on the cookie sheet, they continue to cook and can get burned spots).

Aren't the chips yummy-looking?

 Now, make your Strawberry Nacho's.  Begin with a layer of Cinnamon-Sugar chips.  Place your sliced (and sugared) strawberries as your next layer.  Grab your Whipped Cream (I was lazy, I used the can-type) and finally drizzle with melted chocolate.

Did you gain 5 lbs just reading this recipe?  I think I did!

This recipe comes from here from "Best Bites".

Let me know what your fans think after you make them!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: February 14, 2014, 4:38 pm

During December, I was dying to tell you about this great little device. However, I didn't because I gave it to some special folks as a gift.  They read this blog, so I didn't want to "spill the beans".  Well January came and went and I realized that I still have not shared this great device with you.  So, I will finally take that opportunity today. (Just for your information, I purchased this device and have not had any financial consideration for this review).

The photo above is not a photoshop creation.  Would you like to see more:

Yes, this is a small pot cooking on the device.

You can also use a large pot on the device.

Image courtesy of Amazon

You can also get a 'grill' that stands over the device to use for cooking.

It uses twigs. Here we are using newspaper to start a file.

What is this neat little device?  The Biolite Wood Burning Campstove.

Here are some important facts:
  1. It weighs about 2 lbs and is about the same size as a Nalogene bottle.
  2. As it burns, it powers a fan the helps keep the fire burning and also transfers the heat into power to charge your small devices.
  3. You do not have to carry fuel when you use this.  Instead, pick up dry tinder as you hike or camp.  Some folks who have reviewed this product state that you can get 15-60 minutes of charge time on your phone while cooking a meal. It can charge your light source as well.  This is on-demand power.  
  4. Some reviewers stated that this device can be difficult to use if you live in a humid climate. However, these photos were taken in Michigan where it is very humid.  We had no issue starting the fire and burning tinder that we found lying around on the ground.  It burned quickly and efficiently.  It actually charged the phone, which was amazing to behold.
  5. You can carry a portable power bank to charge your phone, but that is an additional 6-10 ounces depending on what you are packing.  This can supply you with a heat source and power your small devices.
  6. The feet collapse and it fits into a small draw-string bag for easy transport.
  7. Some reviewers stated that ash can build up and impede the performance of the fan.  In my use of the device, this was not an issue, but I could see if you used it for an extended time for one meal how that could be possible.
  8. The Fan has 2 options, low and high to help you manage your flame for cooking.
  9. When the indicator light is lit, you can charge your small device.
  10. The power module is stored in the cooking chamber for transport making it very
  11. This uses clean energy.
  12. If you have a power-outage at home, this could power your phone while you cook your meal.

BioLite CampStove Demo & Story from BioLite on Vimeo.

I love this technology.  It works and it a seriously great option not only for hiking and camping but for emergency preparedness as well.  If you are sheltering in place, or if you had to use your 72 hour kit, this would be a welcome addition to your preparedness plans.

You can purchase this directly from Biolite, or from Amazon (with Prime there is no shipping fee).

My motto is that Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness are skill sets supported by food and tools. This device certainly fits in that realm.  Consider adding this important device to your plans.  

Consider it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: February 4, 2014, 9:39 am

Sometimes I do realize how fortunate I am to live where I do. It is the hotbed of information, supplies, and ideas for Food Storage and Preparedness.  Having said that, there are folks all around me who often are unaware, don't express an interest, or just are oblivious to the good fortune surrounding them.  

Yesterday was woe of those "I am so grateful" moments. This is because I attended a Winter gardening/Greenhouse class taught by the infamous Cale Warnock.  

In all fairness to Caleb, he never stopped moving even though he agreed to allow me to take his picture.  I took several....this is one of the good ones.  Guess where we all are?  In his Greenhouse....see the foliage?

This is his Greenhouse that he let a lot of us tour and snack in.  It is a lean-to style Greenhouse that he had constructed on the back of his barn.  Want to take a little tour?

This is the floor.  Now, he (and I for that matter) live in an area that has lots of rocks under the soil, and many of them are huge. I remember driving up to the site of our current home while it was under construction.  The basement had just been dug and it looked like somewhere that Fred Flintstone and Barney would hang out.  Caleb informed us that he had heavy equipment come and dig down 8 feet, then back-filled 4 feet of just rock.  This is necessary for something called "Thermal Mass".

I think everyone knows that the soil is warm when you dig deep. Think of  Geo-Thermal heat.  He said he used the rocks to help transmit the heat through "Thermal Mass".

See the timbers and the rebar?

He has layered Timbers (and secured with rebar running through the timbers). These raised beds are about 4 feet tall. They are reportedly filled with that same rock to again take advantage of the Thermal Mass.  He reports that he has very little soil on top, about 1/2 to 1 inch for most foods.  The exception would be root vegetables.

Back to the floor, he has a couple of tubes that the rock was back filled around....to have a direct conduit for the warmth to travel into his Greenhouse.

The roof is made from "Twin-wall Polycarbonate" and not glass. 

As you might expect, the Greenhouse gets very hot.  It needs to be vented.  Here is the large vent.  Class members were surprised to feel the heat that was coming out if it on a bitterly cold winter day.

Here is another vent that can be opened when needed.

The window is another vent.  In the photo above, you saw a vent near the peak of the roof, here is another view from the outside.  See the hinges and clasp.

Sooooo, what is he growing?

Lots of delicious greens.  He allowed us to take pieces of the leaves and sample them.  Fresh and delicious.  

Here he is pointing out a sprouted potato.  He planted potatoes on New Years Eve, less than a month ago.

Lots of greens,,,,  Notice, no pots here.  He says in the bed is better because of the thermal mass.  

And continual crop rotation and planting.  I love the sticks dividing each item....simple and effective.

The Water barrel is in the corner allowing him to water "in 90 seconds" as he says. How in the world does he get water in his Greenhouse?

He uses rain water and melting snow that he captures from rain gutters.  Now, before some Utahns get going, it is now legal to capture and keep up to 200 gallons of your own rain water...and he does.  Can you imagine hauling water into this Greenhouse?  That alone would stop me from considering it!

Although difficult to see, there is a Thermometer in the corner.  


What is the take-home message?
  • He raises his food year-round.  He makes a great point about being dependent on the food supply chain.  He is also correct about the modified seed, generous use of pesticides, and Irradiation (a slight exposure to radiation to manage pests etc, but takes away up to 10% of the nutrients of your produce).  
  • You need to know what varieties will grow in the winter...and he does.  See his book "Backyard Winter Gardening" which lists varieties to use.  He does not use hybrid seeds, more like an Heirloom seed.
  • He not only uses his Green house, but cold frames as well.  

    He reports that it does not take a lot of time, and this Greenhouse does not require electricity to run.  This is huge point!

    You can learn more about Winter Gardening from his book:

    Here, you can hear and see him give you the personal tour....

    Author: The Little Red Hen
    Posted: January 26, 2014, 3:16 pm

    Winter desolation.....in my backyard.  It's a cold Winter morning.  Of course I would be the one to try something new with the snow and cold outside....who else?  I knew the sun would be changing soon, so I decided to try my Sun Oven in this cold weather.

    I decided to make Chili from items from my Pantry/Food Storage.

    Here I am adding Canned Beans

    I then added my Tomato concoction.

    In went my canned Hamburger.

    I added Dehydrated minced onion.

    Chili powder was next....

    Finally, Tomato Sauce.

    See how the sun was moving quickly?  I set up the Sun Oven in the position that I traditionally use in the summer.  I let the Sun Oven heat up for a while.

    I placed the Chili in the Sun oven.

    I, again going off the settings and positioning from last summer, left my Sun Oven and went off to Church for 3 hours.

    How did it turn out after I returned to my home? Not so well

    There was a significant amount of condensation on the glass and the temperature was....really....low.

    I brought the Chili and and used my temperature probe.  Look at the temperature....  Ugh, I had an epic failure here.

    Why am I showing you this?  Well, first of all my neighbor told me that that everything I do (for this blog) turns out perfectly.  So not!  I don't always share the 'misses' and 'mistakes'.  So, today I am showing something that did not work.  

    Image and information courtesy of Sungage

    Here is what I believe happened.  Look at Figure (b) in the Summer, the rays hit the ground more directly.  Now look at figure (c) as this depicts the sun rays direction in the winter. This means that it would take more rays and a longer period of time to heat up in the winter.  This is a big deal!

    Here is information about using this device in the Winter from the Sun Oven Website

    Can I use a SUN OVEN® in the winter?
    Yes, a SUN OVEN® can be used on a clear winter day. The most important factor in using a SUN OVEN® is the brightness of the sun, not the outside air temperature. Often, a 40-degree, clear, low-humidity day will allow food to cook faster than a 100-degree day with high humidity. The SUN OVEN® has been used very successfully at the base camp of a Mt. Everest expedition where the temperatures are often well below zero. There are, however, more cooking hours available in the summer than in the winter. In the summer, it is not unusual to cook from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, whereas during the early winter, effective cooking is limited to 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

    I didn't start this oven until 12:30 p.m. and came home near 4:00 p.m.  I used it in the wrong time frame.

    Am I giving up?  No, I will try this again this winter, however, I will babysit it next time.  I need to know that this is a viable option should I need it in the winter.  

    So, this is just a learning experience...nothing more or less. I look forward to learning more as I build my skill set by using the tools I have available to me.

    Author: The Little Red Hen
    Posted: January 20, 2014, 1:31 am

    I recently took the plunge and learned how to can Pumpkin.  At first glance, you might think "Why do that?, I can buy a can in the store when I need it".  It is a very valid thought.  However, as I have looked at what I can do with this, and the cost effectiveness of canning pumpkin, I am grateful that I took the time to learn, to try, & to experiment on the word.  Here is the process with my thoughts on how to do this. 

    I plan on using my little bottles of orange goodness for many things.  Here is one recipe that I tried....and it was great!

    What is it?  Pumpkin soup.  I found the recipe in my my trusty "The New Pillsbury Family Cookbook" that was copyrighted in 1975.   Yes, this cookbook has been around for a while. I looked on Pillsbury website for this particular recipe, but it wasn't really there.  However, I found several that I really would like to try in the future that looked delish!

    Pumpkin Soup (Pillsbury) 

    (With the Little Red Hen's suggestions in red of course)

    4 Cups cubed raw pumpkin
    1/2 Cup butter or margarine
    1/2 Cup water
    3.5 to 4 cups (about 26 oz) chicken stock (see my suggestions below)
    2 stalks celery, cut into pieces
    1 medium onion, quartered,
    3 sprigs parsley or 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
    1/2 bay leaf
    1/2 teaspoon powdered thyme
    1/2 cup dry white wine or sherry (I skipped this step)
    1 teaspoon salt

    The directions tell you out cook your pumpkin in butter then simmer with 1/2 cup water for 30 minutes.  I skipped this step and used my canned pumpkin.

    The remainder of the ingredients are used to make a broth.  Simmer them for 30 minutes.  I used my Chicken Flavored soup base, but also could have used my powdered bouillon for the chicken stock.  Having food storage staples gives me many options.  I hate to have my choices restricted:). 

    The instructions suggest that you strain out all the vegetables and just use the broth. The next step is to add the pumpkin and simmer for 15 minutes.  I refused to throw out all those simmered vegetables.  I removed the bay leaf and kept them all.

    The suggestion was to blend the soup contents in the blender.  All I could think of was "what a hot mess".  Instead, I pulled out my stick blender  and went to work.  I found that tilting my stick blender slightly allowed for the larger chunks of the vegetables to be pureed.  

    Doesn't it look beautiful as a puree?

    I served this delicious soup with salad.  It was a cold day and this was a welcome meal by all.  Rooster Junior even helped himself to seconds.  

    After chopping the vegetables, which really didn't take long, the time involved was the simmering (about 45 minutes total) and the blending (about 5 minutes). Most of the time this was simmering, I was doing other things, so the hands-on time was very short.

    I made this soup, I believe for under a dollar.  The Salad (for 4 people) was approximately about $1.58 as the lettuce was $.83 for the head of Romaine, ~ $.75 for grape tomatoes and Onions from my garden. Yes, they are still there and usable in January.    Salad Dressing came from my pantry, (but a couple of tablespoons to me are inconsequential at this point).  Total cost for this meal for 4 people was a whopping $2.58!  

    It does pay to can and use these foods as convenience foods when you are cooking.  

    Try it!

    Author: The Little Red Hen
    Posted: January 12, 2014, 4:19 pm


    Church Instructs Leaders on 
    Same-Sex Marriage

    Following recent court actions bearing on same-sex marriage, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles today sent the following instructions and guidance to congregational leaders throughout the United States. Leaders were asked to share this information with their members in appropriate settings.

    On December 20, 2013, a federal district judge in Salt Lake City issued an order legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah, striking down century-old state laws and a state constitutional amendment that defined marriage exclusively as between a man and a woman. The United States Supreme Court has put that ruling on hold pending consideration of the issue by an appellate court. During the interval between the district court ruling and the Supreme Court stay, numerous same-sex marriages were performed in Utah. Legal proceedings and legislative action in some other states and countries have given civil recognition to same-sex marriage relationships.
    As we face this and other issues of our time, we encourage all to bear in mind our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27–28). “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well-being of society. Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and crucial to eternal salvation.
    Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We urge you to review and teach Church members the doctrine contained in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
    Just as those who promote same-sex marriage are entitled to civility, the same is true for those who oppose it. The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ constitutionally protected right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution. The Church is also entitled to maintain its standards of moral conduct and good standing for members.
    Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same-sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.
    While these matters will continue to evolve, we affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree.
    As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God’s commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them. We invite you to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths of the gospel, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society’s future.
    Author: The Little Red Hen
    Posted: January 11, 2014, 9:01 am

    Yes, that really is a pumpkin that I used for 'decoration' during October and November.  The sad truth is, it is not the only one.  I have always thought about learning how to can pumpkin, but it just seemed daunting.  So, I never did try it. I didn't like throwing good pumpkins away, it always bothered me. So, this year, I did something about it.  

    I found directions on canning Pumpkin from the University of Minnesota Extension service.  I followed their directions, but learned a few tricks along the way that I thought I would share.

    After washing the pumpkin, cut it open with a sharp knife.

    Initially, I cut the pumpkin in half.

    After cutting the half again (making quarters), I tried a number of 'tools' to scoop out the seeds and stringy mess.  Guess which one turned out to be the best tool to use?

    The best tool was a serrated Steak Knife.  I started from one corner and pulled the seed/string mixture to the center.  I flipped the piece around and repeated it on the other side.  After taking a couple of large scoops out, the knife cleaned up all the 'strings' and left the flesh.

    The directions indicate that you should cut the pumpkin flesh into one inch strips and then peel.  After cleaning the inside, I put a sharp knife in the middle of the quarter piece and cut toward the tip. I repeated this process from the middle to the other tip.

    "Peel"?  I had never peeled a pumpkin and thought that it might take forever. It would have too if I didn't get a bit creative.  I initially started with a sharp paring knife.  That took way to long and didn't leave a smooth surface.  I then tried a potato peeler and it worked really well,  It was relatively quick too! Look at the difference between the two above in the picture.  The only suggestion I would give is for portions of the flesh that have deep indentions.  Cut along the indentions and use the peeler on the edge to get all of the peel.

    Next, cube the strips and drop them into boiling water.  Boil for 2 minutes.

    I chose to use a strainer to retrieve the pumpkin dices after boiling.

    I poured the hot dices of pumpkin right into the jar from the strainer by using a funnel.

    Fill the jars with the hot water that you boiled the pumpkin dices in, wipe the rim and place a sterilized lip and ring on the bottle. This pumpkin made 5 quart jars of pumpkin.

    Process for your area in a Pressure Canner.  As I live over 5,000 feet, I processed at 15 lbs pressure for 90 minutes.


    Now, you may be asking yourself if this worth it.  I believe it is.  I got that pumpkin for free!  A 29 oz can of pureed pumpkin (the national brand) costs $3.33. I got 4 cups of diced pumpkin in each quart.    The smaller pumpkin gave me the equivalent of ~ five 29 oz cans once the dices are pureed.  

    I am guessing that I may get 7 quarts from the larger pumpkin that remains. (Just for a point of reference, I paid $2.00 for the larger pumpkin I have yet to process).  That means that with the larger pumpkin, I will save ~$21.31. (Here is the math:  7 cans would cost $3.33 each leaving a total of $23.31. Subtracting the $2.00 I paid for the pumpkin leaves a residual amount of $21.31)


    Once I got my system going, it took about 10 minutes to get the seeds/strings from the inside and about 30 minutes to peel the entire pumpkin.  As I used a large stock pot, the boiling of all the pumpkin dices was under 5 min.  So, it took about 45 minutes to prepare the food for the canner.  After placing the jars in the canner, I set the timer for 90 minutes and went about my other pressing tasks.


    I plan to blend the dices and use the puree as I would in any recipe.  It could be used in bread, soups, and certainly pies.


    Canning pumpkins and winter squash

    By William Schafer, University of Minnesota Extension educator
    Revised 2010

    Vegetables must be canned in a pressure canner for the correct time and pressure (PSI) to ensure their safety. If not canned correctly, these low acid foods may contain the deadly botulism toxin.

    Vegetables may be canned without salt. Salt adds flavor but does not prevent spoilage. If you use a weighted-gauge canner and can at an altitude less than 1000 feet, you may use 10 PSI instead of 15 PSI for the canner pressure. This will improve nutrient and quality retention of the vegetables. Check with your local county extension office or Soil Conservation District for altitude information.

    Cubed pumpkins and winter squash (acorn, banana, buttercup, butternut, golden delicious, or hubbard)

    Quantity: An average of 16 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 10 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints – an average of 2-1/4 pounds per quart.

    Quality: Pumpkins and squash should have a hard rind and stringless, mature pulp of ideal quality for cooking fresh. Small size pumpkins (sugar or pie varieties) make better products.

    Procedure: Wash, remove seeds, cut into 1 inch-wide slices, and peel. Cut flesh into 1 inch cubes. Boil 2 minutes in water. Caution: Do not mash or puree. Fill jars with cubes and cooking liquid, leaving 1 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process. For making pies, drain processed jars and strain or sieve cubes.

    Recommended Processes
    1) Dial-gauge Pressure Canner
    Pints – 55 minutes 11 PSI 
    Quarts – 90 minutes 11 PSI

    2) Weighted-gauge Pressure Canner
    Pints – 55 minutes 15 PSI 
    Quarts – 90 minutes 15 PSI


    So, if you still have a pumpkin or two left...you ought to give this a try.  It really was a worthwhile task and I will be doing it again.

    Try it! 

    Author: The Little Red Hen
    Posted: January 6, 2014, 2:12 am
    Hi everyone! I haven't gone missing, in fact I have some fun things I would love to share with you. However, many of them are going to be shared with loved ones this Christmas. So, for obvious reasons I cannot share them yet!

    However, as we give gifts of all sorts this Christmas, I would encourage you to give the gifts the Savior wishes us to give. May the Lord bless you and yours this Christmas Season. Thank you for sharing your time and interest with us. We are grateful to be a part of you world for the brief moments that you find to stop by. 

     Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

    Author: The Little Red Hen
    Posted: December 22, 2013, 4:35 am
    Courtesy of KSL
    It is Christmas time.  I am sure that I have been just as busy as the rest of you. I made the mistake of going to Costco today....in the afternoon....with all the craziness.  I found that I had to exercise great patience with people who would just stop in the middle of the aisle and were totally oblivious to the many people lined up behind them trying to get by.  I tried to be courteous..."Excuse me, can I get around you please"...but I was muttering under my breath....'don't block the aisles please....please do not block the aisles.....you're going to block the aisle and trap all of us if you do that".  I decided I wasn't carrying any type of Christmas Spirit as I was being the muttering fool.  So, I went home.

    I did some housekeeping duties, went out to dinner with my husband and some wonderful Young Single Adults from our Ward, and then came home.  I am supposed to teach a lesson tomorrow during our Relief Society Meeting (Adult women's Sunday Meeting).  I am going to teach the lesson on what an elect woman Mary was.  As I have looked into what a remarkable young woman she was, I have decided to share some of the things I have learned with you.

    Selected in the Pre-mortal life...

    "...Mary and Joseph were selected in those ancient councils by the Father to be the earthly guardians of Jesus. Mary was given the unique privilege and responsibility of bringing the great Jehovah into the world, in which he would obtain a body of flesh and bones, experience mortality, and continue his mission for the redemption of mankind." (Robert J Matthews)

    Reference to Mary in the Scriptures....

    Over time, the scriptures foretold of Mary beginning in the Old Testament:  
    The Old Testament:  Isaiah 700 BC:  Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa. 7:14.) The New Testament identifies this as a prophecy referring to Mary and the birth of Jesus. (See Matt. 1:22–23.)

    The Book of Mormon:  Nephi 600 BC: “… I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.
    “And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me. …
    “And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
    “And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.
    “And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!” (1 Ne. 11:13–15, 18, 20–21.)
    King Benjamin 124 years:  the Redeemer should “be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.” (Mosiah 3:8.)
    Alma 80 years: “And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.” (Alma 7:10.)
    (Timeline courtesy of Robert J Matthews).

    Royal Lineage:

    Maybe you are more informed than I am, but I always thought that any lineage associated with the Mortal Savior would have been through Joseph.  So not! Mary was of the Royal line of David.  

    Since Jesus was not begotten by mortal man, his descent from David would, by necessity, be through his mother. Thus, when Mary came to earth, she was born into that royal lineage so she could transmit it to her son Jesus. That Mary was of Davidic descent is plainly set forth in the scriptures. Jesus was frequently addressed as “Son of David”; he did not disclaim that title. (Robert J Matthews)

    Joseph was also royalty and Jesus inherited the royal line through Joseph as well. 

    “Had Judah been a free and independent nation, ruled by her rightful sovereign, Joseph the carpenter would have been her crowned king; and his lawful successor to the throne would have been Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” (Jesus the Christ, p. 87.)
    Being where we should be...

    I cannot imagine what it must have been like for Mary to be informed that she was to be the mortal mother of the Savior. She too had experienced 'the veil' of forgetfulness when she was born, but must have been taught and trained by loving parents to prepare her for such a moment.  

    The Angel Gabriel...
    “… Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women … for thou hast found favour with God.
    “And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
    “And he shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
    “And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:28–33.)

    So, I offer this wonderful Video for you to see.  The miracle of Christmas began long before the birth of the Savior.  It began in the pre-mortal existence where Mary was most likely selected to be the Mother of the Savior of the world.  She lived her life in such a way, that she was in a position to have this great opportunity.

    I think that when I go back to Costco in a few days (and yes I have too, they only had half of my order), I will try to remember where I came from and where everyone else in that giant store came from in their Pre-mortal life.  I will do my best to remember that these were the valiant and good who were saved to come forth to the earth at this time.  I will be prepared to to be more patient, smile, and offer a "Merry Christmas" to people that I do not know.

    Being prepared isn't just the 'stuff' or temporal preparation, it is primarily the Spiritual Preparation.  I need to put myself in the right place, mindset, and position to be worthy of the tremendous blessings that I have been given.

    Let me offer this early "Merry Christmas" to you all!

    Author: The Little Red Hen
    Posted: December 15, 2013, 2:59 am

    Are you ready for the big day or are you panicked because this big meal is only a few days away?  Personally, I hope you are looking forward to it!

    So, I am sharing some of my favorite ideas to help you with your holiday meal. These are from 'meals past', but I still use the ideas, recipes and the like each time I host a big meal.  It is totally doable!

    Make a plan:  

    Hosting Thanksgiving takes more than food.  Please see this 'to do' list to help you cover your bases.  

    Lay out everything ahead of time:

    No kidding, make sure you have all the dishes and pieces that you will need. Set them up ahead of time to make sure you have everything and that everything fits.  See this post that shows you the steps we did when we fed over 45 in our home.  I learned a lot.

    Cooking the 'Bird':

    There is more than one way to cook a Turkey.

    PS...It's crispy and tender.

    He sets it up in the back yard and lowers the turkey down while he is atop the ladder.  By the way, he uses a good portion of my stored oil to do this.  So, if you are going to try this, stock up!

    Making the Stuffing:

    With so many concerns about cooking Stuffing in your turkey, why not try let your crock pot do all the work?  Learn more about this method here. 

    What about the Rolls?

    What about Cranberry Sauce?

    • This is so simple to do and inexpensive. You can make 12 half-pints of delicious Cranberry sauce for less than 50% of the national brand.  The added blessing is that you have some for long after Thanksgiving when you have a craving for this delicious condiment.  It also makes a unique neighbor gift!

    We need a little Dessert!

    • When making pies, uses this recipe for the pie crust...it really lives up to its name of "Perfect Pie Crust"!
    • Fill you pie crust with Apple Pie Filling that you hopefully canned a few weeks ago. It is still not too late if you have access to apples.  Put them up on Monday or Tuesday so that you have this filling ready to go on Wednesday.  You can make your pies ahead of time as well.

     Please, please don't forget the Why!

    Even among the strife of worldly cares, we have much to be thankful for.  President Thomas S Monson shares the following:
    We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

    Let me express my sincere thank you to each of our readers.  We are grateful that you take time out of your busy day to visit with us.  We are hopeful that the information that we share positively impacts your lives for the better. 

    I wish to tell you all that I know that my Heavenly Father lives, and loves us all.  He is all-knowing and all-caring. He knows each of us by name and desires to bless with all that he has as we strive to become closer to him.

    May the Lord bless you all this Thanksgiving Season.

    Author: The Little Red Hen
    Posted: November 24, 2013, 5:12 pm

    Isn't it beautiful!  Cranberry Sauce...from scratch! (If you are wondering what is up with the jar on the far left...stay tuned and I will tell you:)

    Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  I hate making this wonderful holiday into "Labor day", so I try to do things ahead of time.  This is why I made....and canned...my own Cranberry Sauce.  And...it tastes amazing!

    After bringing the water, sugar, and Orange juice to a boil for 5 minutes, add your fresh cranberries.

    Bring the combination to a medium boil for 10 minutes. After boiling, take off the heat and add the Vanilla.  I promise the Vanilla makes this sauce just amazing!

    This is an optional step, but it is one I like to do.  Some people do not mind Cranberry Sauce with lumps and others like their sauce to be smooth.  I am of the latter group.   So, I am using my stick blender to smooth out the sauce.  This step only took a few minutes.

    Put the delightful mixture into clean and sterilized jars.

    Place the jars into the a hot water bath.  As I live over 5,000 feet, I processed  these jars for 20 minutes.

    Look at how beautiful this sauce is.  I am not only ready for Thanksgiving, but I also have a start on my 'neighbor gifts'.  I also will have this yummy sauce to use anytime I want...and I like that option.  Just for your information, this recipe yields 12 half pint jars.

    The Cost...

    How much did this cost?  Here is the breakdown:

    8 cups of Cranberries:  $3. 59
    4 Cups of Sugar: $ 2.28
    Water:  free
    Vanilla:  $ .31

    Total Investment:  $6.17 half-pint jars of Cranberry Sauce

    As this blog serves a national and even international community, I will use a national price for the big brand name Cranberry Sauce which is $8.86 for 14 ounces which works out to be $.63/ounce.

    This recipe generates about 128 ounces total for a cost per ounce of $.05.  This is over a 75% savings over purchasing it in a can.


    Why would I can it?  It only takes under an hour, it's really delicious, and I like to have it in smaller containers so that I don't waste any when I open it.

    Also, you may still be wondering why the jar on the left looks so funny?

    It is because the lid was not sealing as quickly as the others, so I turned the jar upside down to help it seal.  It set up and will remain that way until the jar is opened.


    Where did I get the recipe?

    I found this recipe on Canning Granny, but found this particular recipe in the comments section.  Here is the recipe....it's a good one!

    Leslie's Cranberry Orange Sauce

    8-9 cups cranberries
    4 cups sugar
    4 cups water
    2 oranges
    1 T. vanilla flavoring, optional

    Preparation : Prepare 12 half pint jars, lids, and rings. Sterilize the jars and keep them in the hot water till its time for processing. Make sure to fill your water bath canner and get the water to a simmer.

    Cooking: In a large stainless steel add water, sugar, zest and juice of 2 oranges and heat up over medium heat. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and bring back to a boil. the cranberries will begin popping. If you like it whole cranberries and some sauce use a potato masher to smooth the cranberries. If you want it to be just sauce you can use an immersion blender. Cook stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla flavoring. Remove from heat.

    Filling the jars: On a dishtowel place your hot jars and using your funnel in each jar using a ladle then fill the jars leaving ½” headspace. Remove air bubbles and refill to the proper headspace with the mixture if necessary. 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: Make sure your rack is on the bottom of the canner and 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 10 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: Some time 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.

    Try it !!!!!!

    Author: The Little Red Hen
    Posted: November 17, 2013, 4:38 pm

    This is an actual parking lot in Shipshewana Indiana.  Actually this is the parking lot on one side of a store with automobiles on the opposite side of the building

    This town certainly did have some really "Neat Stuff".

    I like the "Seven Sisters Eatery" (in light of the popular "Six Sisters" wonderful info we all see on the Internet as of late)

    I am telling you, these businesses are "the best" for having resources for those with a preparedness mindset.

    Look was on the shelf!  I have never seen Tattler lids on a store shelf.

    Look how cool this stove is!

    I like this Compost Trash Can....

    Things were reasonably priced!

    Nearly every grain or flour you can think of.

    I took my time going down the spice aisle....I just wished I had more space in my luggage to bring many of these home!

    I found these metal lids (on the right) that are the same size as the lids I use with my gallon jars.  I use these to store my food storage staples.

    You might ask why I would replace the lids....well it is a simple reason.  The metal lids have a gasket in them where the plastic lid does not.  These fit perfectly on my existing containers.

    These are Airlock devices for fermenting foods like Sauerkraut etc.  I have paid over $6.00 a piece for these. In these stores, they were just under $2.00.  I nabbed a few.

    Although not pictured here, there was the largest selection of Lodge Cast Iron ware (and huge pieces as well), crocks, bottles, canning supplies, and baskets that I have ever seen.  

    One thing that I really loved is the fact that they did not accept credit cards or debit cards....absolutely none!  However, they had an ATM nearby so that customers could retrieve cash for their purchases.

    Take home message:

    • If you live near an Amish community, you are very fortunate.  You can access Food Storage Staples and Preparedness items all in one place.
    • I love that customers were required to pay cash and cannot use debt.
    • It is a way of life for these great folks.  They practice what they preach every day.  

    These are lessons that we all can take advantage of....

    Author: The Little Red Hen
    Posted: October 26, 2013, 4:37 pm

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