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IMG_2940I am really excited to announce that I will now be a contributing writer for the blog at ModernHomesteaders.net.  I have been a fan of theirs for awhile and being asked to contribute was very flattering and exciting.  I am scheduled to write for them once a week.

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I will be talking about my road to prepping and the accomplishments I have made.  I hope to show how anyone, even if you are on a tight budget, how to start and build up emergency supplies and equipment.  But as importantly, I will be teaching alternative cooking methods, food preservation and other great DIY projects to help save you money.  I will share product reviews and a host of other things that should help you develop your own plan or hone in on the plan you have to move you ahead.

I’ve seen many things happen in the way of disasters.  Things like hurricanes, tornadoes, super storms, terror attacks and an economic system teetering in the brink of decline.  I see families displaced, left without a home to live in or even clothes on their backs.  I see these people at the mercy of charities and government agencies for their very survival.  I don’t want my family to be like those families we all see on television after such a big event. I hope you will follow me as I contribute to the great work Shane is doing at Modern Homesteaders.  If you don’t already subscribe to Modern Homesteaders, please click this link and visit them on Facebook by clicking here.

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Finished Red BeansI don’t have any fresh produce harvest to satisfy my urge to do some canning, so I decided to can some red beans I had in my home store to create another use for them in my home store.  Canning from bulk, dry beans saves you a good amount of money and is healthier and tastes better.  Having these beans ready for my red beans and rice or chili makes them very convenient, too. I do not add any spices to my beans, not even salt.  I prefer to spice them when I decide on which dish I am preparing.  However, if you like, you can add spices to yours.

I started out by washing and carefully inspecting them, removing any bad beans or pebbles.  Once this step was done, I put them in to soak in a large container overnight.  Step 1 - Adding Beans

I then dumped that water, washed them again and ladled them into hot, sanitized quart canning jars.

Remove Air Bubbles

Here you will add boiling water and using a plastic or wood utensil, remove any trapped air bubbles from your beans.  Check your headspace and adjust the water level to have a 1″ (2.5 cm)headspace.

Wiping Rims

Never, ever forget to wipe the rims and check for chips or cracks.  Forgetting this step could cause your batch to fail.

Lids and Bands

After cleaning the rims of each jar, center the lid on jar.  Screw band down until it is finger-tip tight.  Here, I am using white Tattler Lids and standard bands.

Beans in Canner

Place jars in your pressure canner.  Adjust water level, lock lid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Vent steam for 10 minutes, then close vent.  Continue heating  to achieve 10 pounds (69 kPa) pressure and maintain this pressure to process for  75 minutes for pint jars, 90 minutes for quart jars.

Diagram of Canner

Jars in canner

Once the time is up, turn off the heat source and allow canner to cool down and relieve the pressure.  Once the pressure is diminished, remove the lid and allow them to sit for approximately 10 more minutes.

Removing Jars with Lifter

Using a rubber jar lifter (please don’t try using anything else), carefully remove your jars and place them on a towel and leave them undisturbed for 24 hours.

Finished Red Beans

After 24 hours, remove the bands and check all the seals. If any did not seal correctly, put them in the refrigerator and use them within 2 weeks.  Wash your jars, label and date them.

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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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teriyaki-sauceHow many dishes do you make that calls for teriyaki sauce?  If you don’t already use this delicious, sweet and spicy condiment, you should look at your chicken or beef at a different angle.  This sauce is one of my families favorites.   This is a great addition to your home store.

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
Recipe Type: Sauce
Author: PrepperPenny
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce – Make your own with my recipe linked below
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 5 tablespoons packed brown sugar – Make your own with my recipe linked below
  • 1 -2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
Instructions
  1. Mix everything EXCEPT cornstarch and 1/4 C of your water in a sauce pan and begin heating.
  2. Mix cornstarch and cold water in a cup and dissolve. Add to sauce in pan.
  3. Heat until sauce thickens to desired thickness.
  4. Add water to thin it if you prefer
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 6 months.

Make your own Soy Sauce.  Get the recipe by clicking here.

Make your own Brown Sugar.  Get the recipe by clicking here.

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