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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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Click Here To Visit Modern Homesteaders

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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THRIVE Rice A Roni

I’ve always loved Rice-A-Roni!  I’m thrilled to have found this recipe to offer my family anytime.  And because it’s made with food storage, you can make up batches and store in jars or bags.  Great also for hiking and camping trips.  Just be sure to keep the onions, celery and spaghetti pieces in a separate bag (in the container with the other ingredients) so you can rehydrate them prior to sautéing them.   Here, you will control the ingredients.  To compare, here is the ingredients from the Rice-A-Roni box.

RICE, WHEAT FLOUR, DURUM WHEAT SEMOLINA, SALT, SUGAR, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT*, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, ONIONS*, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, NATURAL FLAVOR, PARSLEY*, GARLIC*, CHICKEN BROTH*, CHICKEN FAT, TURMERIC SPICE WHICH IMPARTS COLOR, HYDROLYZED CORN GLUTEN, NIACIN*, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, DISODIUM INOSINATE, FERRIC ORTHOPHOSPHATE, FERROUS SULFATE, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, TURMERIC EXTRACT, FOLIC ACID, RIBOFLAVIN.

Really, if I can’t pronounce it or know exactly what it is or where it comes from, I think I don’t want to feed it to my family.  With THRIVE, you know what is in it.  No additives, preservatives or artificial flavors.  Now that’s reassuring.

THRIVE-Style Rice-A-Roni
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Roni via THRIVE Life
Prep time: 3 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 23 mins
Serves: 6
In snack-size ziplock bag, keep the onion, spaghetti pieces and celery separate so you can rehydrate them. All other ingredients can be layered or just
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 1⁄3 C THRIVE Freeze-Dried Onion rehydrated
  • 1⁄2 C THRIVE Freeze-Dried Celery, rehydrated
  • 1 C Spaghetti Noodles, broken into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 C White Rice
  • 1⁄2 tsp Sage
  • 2 1⁄2 C Water
  • 4 tsp THRIVE Chicken Bullion
Instructions
  1. Sautee onion, celery, and spaghetti pieces in butter over medium heat until spaghetti pieces are golden brown. Add rice and sage and stir until coated with butter. Add water and bouillon and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until rice is tender.

 

celery_1Onionchicken-bouillon

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Finished MIJ ChiliI am married to a Texan.  A few things I learned to cook when we were married was bbq brisket, bbq beans and chili.  He really is a chili snob.  So I felt really challenged when I set out to make a dry version from the ingredients we have in our food storage.  After all, preparing for hard times is being affected as little as possible.  Having your favorite foods will make the hard times much easier and healthier to face.  It took a few tweaks, but I put a recipe together that he is very happy with and is regularly rotating into my menu.

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Add and adjust your personal preference in spices. Sprinkling a dash of red pepper will add some heat

As with any meal in a jar, they are quite pretty sitting in my glass front, antique cupboard.  But I have to say, these make adorable gifts, too.  I have given away many and always get great reviews.  With a decorative tag where you write or print the cooking instructions on and a mini-bottle of tabasco, they are a fun gift to give and look even more pretty in your cupboards.

For more information on freeze-dried food, I have put information in this document to answer questions you may have.   Meal In A Jar Newsletter.  For safely preparing your jars, I have put together this document  Prepping Jars

Chili Meal In A Jar
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: American/Mexican
Author: PrepperPenny
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 4-6
Layer your ingredients in the order listed. You may have to lightly pound you jar on your countertop to get the ingredients to settle and fit in your 1 quart jar. If you have a vacuum seal system, use the attachment to draw out all the air. If you do not have one, you will need to add a 100cc oxygen absorber which will draw out any air.
Ingredients
  • 1/2 Cup THRIVE Tomato Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Mix
  • 1 Tbsp Beef Bouillon
  • 1 Cup THRIVE Instant Red Beans
  • 2/3 Cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried Ground Beef
  • 1/3 Cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried Sausage Crumbles
  • 1/4 Cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried Onions
  • 1/2 Cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried Mixed Bell Peppers
  • 1/2 Cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup Celery
  • 1/4 Cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried Green Chili Peppers
Instructions
  1. Bring 8-10 cups of water to boil. Empty ingredients into the boiling water and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30-45 minutes.
  2. Adjust salt, pepper and preferred spices to taste
  3. If you like chili mac, simply reduce the amount of instant beans and replace with the pasta of our choice. Or you can simply add pasta when you cook this meal.

 

For any THRIVE food, please visit my store by clicking here

For any THRIVE food, please visit my store by clicking here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Infused OilOne thing I strive to do in planning my home store, I try to make sure I either have or can make all the things my family and I enjoy in these “good” times.  I don’t want to be pulling out buckets of legumes and beans without having the flavors I’m accustom to going into them.  Simple things really do make life more comfortable.  And this technique to infusing oil is an example of planning to thrive while others struggle to survive.  Pay attention to the little things.  Those sometimes unnoticeable extra’s that you might take for granted.  This recipe was given to me to share by reader Tess Pavlin.  She has tried and tweaked this until she was sure it was wonderful and felt comfortable in making it public.  Win for us, right?

Infused oils will spice up your cooking and lend to wonderful healing and relaxing massages.

When you are ready to start making essential oil from your herbs, follow these four steps carefully:

  1. Put a handful of your herbs or flower heads into a clean glass jar. Choose either a single herb such Basil Infused Oilas basil or a mixture such as oregano, rosemary and thyme. Crush them to release the flavor into the carrier oil. Make absolutely sure your herbs are completely dry.  Water will likely make your oil go rancid.
  2. Pour 12 oz. of oil into the jar until the leaves or flowers are completely covered. Put a well-fitting top on the jar and let it stand in a warm (but not sunny) place shaking daily for two weeks.
  3. Straining Infused OilAfter the two weeks, strain off the herbs (use a cotton muslin cloth or an old open weave linen handkerchief) and then repeat the process of infusion with a fresh handful of your herbs (but using the same oil). Do this, as many times as necessary until you have a jar of strongly flavored aromatic oil.
  4. Store your aromatic oil in a small to medium-size sterilized bottle and label it. Clean the rim and tightly seal the cap to reduce the chances of air getting into the bottle. Make sure that you keep your stored oils out of sunlight.

Always remember:

Use a good-quality, mild-flavored oil such as sunflower oil or grapeseed oil. You don’t want the taste of the oil to compete with the flavor and smell of your herbs. For this reason you should avoid using extra virgin olive oil.Cover your herbs completely with oil during the infusing process. Any bits sticking out will oxidize and spoil the flavor of the oil.

Before storing the oil make sure you have removed all the plant material. (If you don’t the oil will become cloudy and sour)

WHAT OTHERs ARE DOING WITH THEIRs

Another way to speed up the process of infusing your oils is by using a small crock pot on its lowest setting.

  1. Gently bruise the herbs or flowers by crushing the in the palm of your hands before adding them to the pot. You can also press them with a wooden spoon or in a mortar and pestle but it is not necessary.
  2. Add 16 oz. of oil to the crock pot and turn heat on low. Add the herbs, leaves, or petals. Let simmer covered for 12 hours. Stir lightly and turn off overnight. Day 2 turn back on and simmer again for 12 hours. Day 3 repeat. Strain oils through cheesecloth to remove solids and bottle the oils. They will keep for a minimum of 3 years if tightly sealed.

Extra Tip:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of Vitamin E (per pint) to your beauty and medicinal oils to preserve them. You could also try using 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract.

Alternative methods.

1. OVEN INFUSED HOMEMADE OILS – Place your herbs in an oven safe dish and cover with the natural oil of your choice. Cover the dish and place in the oven at 200 degrees or the lowest possible setting your oven has. Cook for three hours. While it’s still warm, strain through cheese cloth and squeeze the oil from the herbs. Pour the oil into a sterile bottle or jar.

2. STOVE TOP INFUSED OILS – Using a double boiler, GENTLY simmer oil and herbs for 2 hours. Strain through cheese cloth. For a stronger infusion repeat using the same oil and fresh herbs.

Infused oild in crockpot3. CROCK POT INFUSED HOMEMADE OILS – This method can only be used if your crock pot has a “warm” or very low setting! This works great for infusing several oils at once. Fill your sterile pint jars with your herbs and oils. Place the jars in the crock pot and cook on low for eight hours. You can do up to 5 different oils at once with this method depending on the size of your crock pot!

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Soy Sauce

Here is another easy and shelf-stable recipe to help you in building your home store.  There are many uses for soy sauce.  Making your own is cheap, easy and more delicious than commercially produced sauces.  I use it as a spice in meatloaf, soups and stews.  And if you are a DIY junkie, you have the ingredients already in your home.  If not, I have linked products for this recipe below for your convenience.

 

Soy Sauce
Recipe Type: Spice
Author: PrepperPenny
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups boiling water
  • 4 Tbsp Beef Bouillon
  • 4 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Molasses
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • pinch of black pepper
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together until dissolved and pour into an airtight container. May be refrigerated indefinitely.

THRIVE beef-bouillon

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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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Dishwasher Detergent

Learning to make the commercial products you currently buy saves you quite a lot of money, especially over time.  Inline of my life of building my own home store, this recipe will lead you to a more self-reliant life ~ one recipe at a time.

 

Dishwasher Detergent
Author: PrepperPenny
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
DIY home products saves you a lot of money over time and you get the satisfaction of controlling the ingredients you family comes in contact with.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid (Can substitute with unsweatened lemonade drink mix)
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt (for scrubbing action)
  • * 2 Tbsp Rice (Optional)
Instructions
  1. Simply mix all the ingredients and keep in an airtight container.
  2. Use 1 Tbsp per load
  3. * I found through my own experience that the basic recipe becomes very clumpy and hard. If you add a little bit of rice, it keeps you detergent loose and broken up. It’s such a small amount (only a few kernels get into each load) that it washes right through and saves you a lot of frustration.

 

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