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Sourdough in CrockOne of my favorite books for pioneer recipes is Cookin With Home Storage by Peggy Layton.  I keep this book on my desk, compared to most which are on a bookshelf.  I’m starting some sourdough and thought I would share what I learned in Peggy’s book.

Sourdough Starter – It wasn’t until the Danish people immigrated to Utah that years was brought to raise the breads.  Before then, they made a started which they called “Sourdough.”  It was made by combining flour, salt and enough warm water to make a spongy dough.  This was put in a crock with a loose lid and kept warm for several days, during which time it bubbled and formed it own yeast.  These breads weren’t as light as yeast breads but the wonderful flavor made up for it.  Sourdough was a favorite of the sheepherders in Sanpete County and still is.  It was used for breads, biscuits , and pancakes.

Dehydrating Your Sourdough Start

You can dry your start and store it for later use.  Spread a very thin layer on a piece of plastic wrap.  Dry it in a dehydrator or allow it to air dry.  When one side is dry, turn it over to allow it to dry on that side.  When it is completely dry, break it into pieces and grind it into a powder.  Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator.  To re-start it, just add water or milk until you get it back to the original consistency.  When using a reactivated starter, allow it to set at room temperature for 8 hours.

Sourdough Starter
Author: PrepperPenny via Peggy Layton
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
Almost any recipe can be changed to use sourdough. To make it work you have to control the leavening and keep the thickness or moisture the same. If the recipe calls for baking powder, leave a teaspoon out. If no but your results are too heavy, put a little baking powder in it. You may need to experiment a little.
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 C Warm Water
  • 2 1/2 C. Flour
  • 1 tsp Active, dry yeast
Instructions
  1. Stir together and allow it to set for 3-5 days in a warm place to ferment.
Notes
Save 1 cup from every batch to add more flour and milk to keep your starter going. Use in pancakes, biscuits and breads!

 

 

 

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Spicy Mustard Ranch Mix

Another spice mix that will be a wonderful addition to your home store.  Use as a salad dressing, veggie dip, chip dip and even as a sauce for a yummy baked chicken dish.

Zingy Mustard Ranch Mix
Recipe Type: Condiment
Author: iVillage.com
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk powder
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley
  • 1 Tbs dried chives
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tsp dried whole basil leaves
  • 2 tsp Dry Mustard
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
Instructions
  1. To make ranch dressing or dip, mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1/2 cup milk (or buttermilk) with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mix, depending on how strong you like it. This seasoning mix is great as a dry rub for fish or chicken, and you can also sprinkle it on hot buttered popcorn or oven fries.
Notes
Combine and store in an airtight container

 

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Stack of Pancakes Are you one who will buy frozen waffles, pancakes or French toast for the kids, just for the convenience of having them on a very busy morning where you might be running late?  I’m sure we all have.  But I hate how the ice crystals build up in them because they are packaged so poorly.  How about making your own for a mere fraction of the cost!

Stack of Waffles

One habit I have developed through my road to preparedness is almost always making large batches of anything I make.  If it’s meatloaf, instead of making one for dinner, I will make 4 and freeze 3.  It takes the same amount of time and you cut your cooking time by 1/4th because the next 3 meals need only to be reheated.   If I make soup, I make HUGE batches and can the leftovers so we can enjoy a quick, healthy and homemade meal without making it from scratch every time.  By doing this, you are saving yourself a lot time and having meals available if you suddenly find yourself in an emergency from power outages, storms or even having too much month left when the money is gone!  If you start thinking along these lines, you will be amazed how quickly and how much food you build up in your home store.

French-Toast w/a Heart

Now back to breakfasts.  I priced store-bought brands for these because they are less expensive than Eggos and other national brands.  But on average, even on sale, a 10-pack of store-brand waffles cost approximately $2.25.  Pancakes prices the same.  If you will simply make you own waffle or pancake mix from scratch using your own recipe or from my Master Pancake/Waffle Mix Recipe  and take an extra 30 minutes to an hour, you can fill your freezer with them for only pennies.

Here is exactly how I freeze mine.  This is one option.  To keep ice crystals from building;

1) Allow them to cool;  2) Lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place them in your freezer until they freeze; 3) Bring them out and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to prevent crystals from forming.  Or the best way is vacuum seal them in a FoodSaver if you have one.  I put mine together 2 or 4 in a bag so I can grab only what I need.

 

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Peppermint Toothpaste

I’ve made toothpaste from many different recipes available all over the internet.  Almost all were using salt as a scrubbing agent.  While I use these recipes as I’ve made them, none have come close to being this good.  The base for this is simply equal parts coconut oil and baking soda.  But what you can do from there is exciting.  I played with this for about an hour and finally came up with a taste that my whole family will absolutely enjoy.  And I know it’s healthy because I controlled everything that went into it.

First, the natural health properties for this recipe is important to realize.

Coconut Oil

Researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology’s Bioscience Research Institute in Ireland set out to test coconut oil’s biocidal properties against the bacteria responsible for tooth decay.

Dental caries is a commonly overlooked problem affecting 60 to 90 percent of children and the majority of adults in industrialized countries, according to chief researcher Dr. Damien Brady. His research team tested the antibacterial action of coconut oil in its natural state and coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion.

The oils were tested against strains of Streptococcus bacteria, which are common inhabitants of your mouth.

They found that enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibits the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay1. It is thought that the breaking down of the fatty coconut oil by the enzymes turns it into acids, which are toxic to certain bacteria.2 Enzyme-modified coconut oil was also harmful to the yeast Candida albicans, which can cause thrush.

Tea Tree Oil

Using Tea Tree Oil is completely optional.  But I try to use Tea Tree as much as I can because it has wonderful properties that makes it a popular natural agent for curing all three types of infectious organisms: fungus, bacteria, and virus. More importantly, it is known to effectively fight a number of infections that are resistant to some antibiotics. Therefore, Tea Tree Oil is an excellent natural remedy for hundreds of bacterial and fungal skin ailments and lends to adding a layer of health to your homemade toothpaste.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil, due to its antiseptic properties, is useful for dental care. It removes bad breath and helps teeth and gums deal with germs. No wonder, it is added in numerous toothpastes. It is also useful for treating toothaches

Baking Soda

Benefits of Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
Besides scraping off the stains on the teeth conduced by consumption of beverages like coffee, tea, etc. baking soda also removes plaque from the teeth. Plaque removal prevents the teeth from decaying and also freshens the breath. Moreover, the aspect about baking powder that makes it so popular is its affordability. Baking soda is one of the cheapest commercial teeth whiteners present in the market today. One box of baking soda costs somewhere near a dollar, and this one box can be used for over a hundred brushings. Overall, brushing with baking soda is believed to enhance dental health.

I make so many of my own products, I had all of these ingredients in my home store.  That’s why the cost to me was too small to even calculate.  All of these ingredients are available at most stores, but I have offered links below in case you are like me and look to save money by finding better deals online.

Mint Toothpaste

Mint Toothpaste
Recipe Type: Non-Food
Cuisine: Personal Hygiene
Author: PrepperPenny
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Baking Soda
  • 10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 10 Drops Tea Tree Oil (Optional)
  • Stevia (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Combine your coconut oil and baking soda until it’s smooth. Start adding your peppermint essential oil and and adjust it to meet your taste. Then add your tea tree oil. Now add your stevia to soften the flavor.
  2. Store in an airtight container and just dip you toothbrush in it to use.

 

References:

Coconut Oil oral benefits

Baking Soda Benefits

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Woman with Migraine

I suffer with chronic migraines.  I have been in this battle for 23 years.  I know exactly because I remember my 1st one like it was yesterday.

I picked up my son who was in kindergarden at that time.  I walked to the school because it was such a pretty day.  He and I played all the way home.  Barely over the threshold, it hit.  I felt like I just had an aneurism burst in my brain.  I literally crawled to the bathroom and began throwing up uncontrollably.  My little boy was crying until the vomiting subsided a little.  The whole time, I was in a panic mode.  However, I was trying to reassure my son “I was fine” but barely able to speak because of the excruciating  pain and agony.  So in my dark bathroom, I laid down on the cool floor next to the toilet in case the vomiting started back up.  The next thing I know, my little 5 year old little boy came into the bathroom with a blanket and a doll pillow.  He lifted my head and put this little pillow under it to make it softer, draped my torso with this little baby quilt and curled up against my back and took his nap like he was so accustom to doing at that time.  It lasted for several hours, but while I was in the midst of it, I was scared that I would actually die.  After all, I really did think it was an aneurism.

Obviously, I survived this terrifying and painful event.  After I realized I wasn’t dying, I concluded it was in fact a migraine.  My father suffered terribly from them for a period in his life when I was little.  A subsequent visit to my doctor confirmed it.

At first, the migraines came about every year, then every six months, then every month then and on and on until I was faced with a life consumed and destroyed by this curse.  Through the year, I have seen more specialists than I even knew where out there.  Lot’s of test, surgeries, hospital stays and too much caustic narcotics later, not one specialist could determine the triggers.  Even with all the meds they tried on me, nothing got them under control.  I was so medicated that I feel I lost several years of my life from living in my bed.

Then one day, I guess it was my Irish temper and pride rose up from inside and I took control.  The first thing was to get myself off of all the medication.  And guess what?  As fearful as the doctors were that I would become dependent, I wasn’t!  Did I suffer?  You bet.  Just getting all these chemicals out of my system was horrible.  I had as many headaches and suffered, but I wasn’t intoxicated.  After a few weeks, I started coming out of my room more and eventually suffered less.  After months, it got better.  Now years later, I’m doing pretty good.  I still have headaches, just not as bad or often.  I have injections for Imitrex and a non-narcotic pain reliever as a rescue, but even this much progress is leading me to do more.  That’s why I’m transitioning to herbal remedies for many health issues my family experiences.  Now I’m ready to tackle natural remedies for these headaches.  In doing a lot of research,  I found this information that I want to share with you.

My self-reliant life can’t help but anticipate a future that may or may not include access to professional, medical intervention.  I want to get back to the ways my grandparents did it.  Natural.

Here are some things I have and/or will be trying until I find what will work for me.

 Remedies

Ginger 

Traditional Chinese herbal medicine recommends ginger for headaches. Eat a small piece of fresh ginger root or make ginger tea from the fresh root or tea bags.

Coriander Seeds

An Aryuvedic treatment for sinus-related headaches is the steam inhalation of coriander seeds. Put the coriander seeds into a small bowl. Pour on some boiling water, drape a towel over your head and the bowl, and inhale the steam.

Celery

Celery contains phthalide which helps you to relax and be less anxious, which helps with pain. It is also rich in potassium which many headache sufferers are deficient in. Celery seeds can be used in smoothies/juices or soups. Taking 2 oz of celery juice and then laying down for 30 minutes has proven to be a very effective remedy for headaches.

Herbal Tea

Sitting down with a relaxing cup of mild herbal tea is often good for a tension headache. Good choices are peppermint, spearmint, chamomile, rose hip, lemon balm, or valerian root (may induce sleep). Additionally, adding cayenne pepper to your tea can help.

Vitamins and Minerals

Frequent headaches could be a sign that you are low on some important vitamins and minerals. Low levels of niacin and vitamin B6 can cause headaches. For example, all the B vitamins are needed to help combat stress and avoid tension headaches. The minerals calcium and magnesium work together to help prevent headaches, especially those related to a woman’s menstrual cycle. Good sources of calcium are dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale or broccoli, and beans and peas. Magnesium is found in dark green leafy vegetables, cacao, nuts, bananas, wheat germ, full spectrum salts, beans and peas.

Aromatherapy

The relaxing qualities of lavender oil make it a good treatment for a tension headache. This essential oil is very gentle and can be massaged in your temples, the base of your neck, or the base of your nostrils. Taking a bath with relaxing oils such as chamomile or ylang ylang will also help to soothe and relieve pain.

Emotional Freedom Technology (EFT – a.k.a Meridian Tapping)

The EFT tapping points align with particular acupuncture points along the meridians. EFT tapping techniques can help to remove emotional blockage in our body’s electrical or subtle energy system. EFT is referred to as ‘acupuncture without the needles’. For more information on EFT and where to find your meridian points, please visit The Tapping Solution.

Breathing

In order to learn how to relax and cope with headaches, you need to become familiar with your own breathing patterns and change them in ways that will help you relax. We tend to hold our breath when we are anxious, stressed, or in pain. Below are a few relaxation exercises:

Rhythmic breathing

If your breathing is short and hurried, slow it down by taking long, slow breaths. Inhale slowly then exhale slowly. Count slowly to five as you inhale, and then count slowly to five as you exhale. As you exhale slowly, pay attention to how your body naturally relaxes. Recognizing this change will help you to relax even more.

Deep breathing

Imagine a spot just below your navel. Breathe into that spot, filling your abdomen with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen up, then let it out, like deflating a balloon. With every long, slow exhalation, you should feel more relaxed.

Visualized breathing

Find a comfortable, quiet place where you can close your eyes, and combine slowed breathing with your imagination. Picture relaxation entering your body and tension leaving your body. Breathe deeply, but in a natural rhythm. Visualize your breath coming into your nostrils, going into your lungs and expanding your chest and abdomen. Then, visualize your breath going out the same way. Continue breathing, but each time you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in more relaxation. Each time you exhale imagine that you are getting rid of a little more tension.

These are just a few natural remedies. There are many more. However, prior to any of these recommendations, we should always ensure that we are getting enough pure water throughout the day. It seems simple, but dehydration is the leading cause of headaches. By simply drinking more water during the day, we may reduce the frequency of headaches and their debilitating effects.

Please note that some of the food items mentioned, such as bananas, cacao, and nuts can actually trigger headaches in some individuals. If this happens to you, don’t give up. With a little research, you will definitely be able to find the remedy that works best for you.

Trusting in our Natural Ability to Heal

Our bodies are an amazing design. If we allow ourselves to trust our bodies’ ability to heal itself, the results will be astounding. Let’s treat our body with the respect and loving care it deserves. If we do, symptoms such as headaches will occur much less frequently.

Via: Wake-Up World

Sources:

1. Prescription for Nutrional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch
2. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies; C. Norman Shealy

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Brown Sugar Recipe

Keeping fresh brown sugar in my home was . . . challenging.  By the time I was half-way through a box or bag, it wound up being a terribly hard block that I would literally take a hammer to.  No more.  Now I make only as much as I need when I need it.  So it’s always fresh and fluffy and very easy to work with.  Here is all you need to do.  Adjust the amount for what you need.  Make a half-batch or double, triple or whatever.

1 Cup Sugar

1 TBSP Molasses

You will just stir, and stir and when you think you have a lumpy mess, stir some more.  The first time I made it, I though, “Oh no.  I messed up.” But I kept going and eventually the sugar was eventually all coated with the molasses and as you can see by the photo, turned out absolutely beautiful.

 

 

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homemade ketchupWe all have them.  Quite a variety of them.  I’m talking condiments.  No respectable home grocery store would be worth anything without the magnificent flavors we all grew up on and rely on every day of our lives.  Learning to make your own spices, condiments and such are just as important as learning to make all the other healthy and delicious foods you used to buy ~ without all the processing and additives.  Today, I am proud to share this recipe to make your own ketchup.  As with most of the recipes I post, you can always adjust the spices to create your own blend that your family will love more than those in the grocery isle.  It’s these types of recipes which dictate much of the garden I grow in the summer.  Most of the ingredients in making ketchup can be grown in your garden, even if it’s in containers on a balcony.  Doing this will only enhance the layer of flavors and allow you to truly know what is going into the foods your family eats.  I hope you enjoy this very simple, yet delicious recipe.

To make it even more homemade, you can even make your own brown sugar used in this and all recipes calling for it.  See how easy it is to make yourself by clicking here.

Homemade Ketchup
Recipe Type: Condiment
Author: Alana Chernila
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 4 1/2 cups
Building your own home store is one of the healthiest and most frugal way to feed your family. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 C. Diced Onion (1 large)
  • 5 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 6 Pounds Ripe Tomatoes (Peeled, Seeded and Cored or three 28-ounce cans tomatoes, drained)
  • 3 tsp Kosher Salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 Tbsp Celery Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Dry Mustard
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 C Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until they are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute ~ stir constantly.
  2. Add tomatoes, sale, paprika, cinnamon, cloves, celery salt, cumin, dry mustard, chili powder, and ground pepper and simmer while covered, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.
  3. Blend until smooth with an immersion blender or transfer to an upright blender and puree until smooth. If you transferred into a blender, return to pot.
  4. Add the vinegard, brown sugar and honey. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, stirring often until the ketchup thickens (about 30 mins)
  5. Adjust salt, pepper and chili powder to tast.
  6. To Freeze some of your batch, be sure to allow it to cool completely before transferring to containers.
  7. FRIDGE: Covered container, 2 weeks
  8. FREEZER: Store in a freezer-safe, airtight container for 6 months. Or you can pour into vacuum seal bag, allow to freeze, then vacuum the air out and return to freezer.
  9. CANNING: Allow 1/2 inch head-space, process 30 minutes in a water bath canner

 

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