Day Thirteen

Okay, I think I’m reading too many doomsday websites because I’m in panic mode. Things are about to fall apart and I have no water stored (mistake #1), and I have no alternative cooking methods (mistake #2). I don’t even have 72-hour emergency kits. We are woefully unprepared and I have zero money to spend on any of these things.

On the upside, I found another yummy recipe with ingredients that would store well long-term. The only tweak I made to this one is I used two cans of chopped chicken instead of using whole, raw chicken breasts. I also put in the juice from the cans, but still used the whole 3 cups of water (2 initially, and 1 halfway through). I have to say, Lipton Onion Soup Mix goes into a LOT of our recipes and makes them all really delicious. I need to find a copycat recipe… Anyone got one up for grabs?

Day Twelve

This is by far the longest and most consistent I have been with blogging. I guess that shows the passion I have for prepping and homesteading.

Still reading all the horrors in the news. Now Iowa is issuing “community ID cards“… supposedly to help immigrants without documentation obtain aid (which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever) but I feel it has far more sinister implications. But as I said before, I’m not going to go into my political views, though I’m sure you’ll pick up on my subtle hints here and there.

My sister came to visit today so there was no prepping or homesteading. But I did try a new recipe, with a bonus – it would be very easy to store the ingredients for it! Check out this Taco Bake over at Gooseberry Patch. I tweaked it a little – added a can of drained sweet corn, increased the cheddar, and left out the Parmesan and green onions. Everyone raved about it (including me) and it has made its way into our dinner rotation. It was also really easy and fairly quick (about 45 minutes total with only about 25 minutes of prep).

I was really craving tacos but we didn’t have all the necessary ingredients, and I loathe going to the store on the weekend. So I searched for a taco casserole but everything called for tortillas or chips. I could have made tortillas but I don’t like putting them or chips in casseroles because they just get soggy. I found this recipe and really liked that it used macaroni for the starch. So I tried it to much success. Check it out, you won’t regret it!

We ordered a Food Saver vacuum sealer yesterday on Ebay. It was a display model so the box is banged up but I think the actual machine will be fine. Got a nice discount (almost half price) and free shipping. I also found some resealable, reusable bags on Amazon for fairly cheap. Just toss them in the dishwasher and dry them good and you can reuse them. Pretty awesome. I think it’s going to work wonders for us. I’ll let you know how it works and if we like it after I get it and use it.

Day Ten

Well, still not feeling the best, but I’ve managed to keep working on my binder and to sew a few more “unpaper” towels/rags.

I also inventoried our downstairs stores and found that we have quite a bit of stuff. More than I expected. I’m sure that, combined with what we have upstairs in the pantry, we could easily survive a week. I’m actually thinking about challenging myself to cook on just what we have at the house, no running to the store or eating out, just to see if we actually would last a week (I’m fairly confident that we could).

Other than that, I’ve just been reading, reading, reading. I’ve been watching the news on a new site (SHTFplan) instead of being spoon-fed the garbage the government wants us to hear or suffering from the sensationalism that most news agencies use to gain viewers/readers.

My binder is coming together. I’ve printed out a calculated list of how much of each food I need to store for 1 month/3 months/6 months/1 year for each person. It’s a little overwhelming to think that I need over 1000 lbs (half a ton) of grains for a family of four! It is terribly daunting to think of gathering that much food, storing it, rotating it out, making sure it’s stored properly and safely… and to do it all alone AND with disapproval from The Man of the House (he thinks I’ve gone off the deep end).

I did find out today where I can get some cheap free-range eggs (locally), and when the local Amish farmer’s markets are going to be. I’m hoping to get about 25 chickens to put in the freezer, as well as some produce to can or freeze (or EAT!).

Lastly, I’ve continued to gather recipes for my recipe binder that use all the stored food items I will be putting away, as well as recipes for ways to preserve and store food.

Day Six

I got another 9 1/2 jelly jars of cherry jam canned today! (Well, we didn’t can the 1/2 jar, we ate it!) No bread today. I chose to spend some time with my son, so we watched a movie. Not sure what’s on the agenda for tomorrow – I have class part of the day so I’m not sure I’ll have time for a whole lot. Perhaps tomorrow should just be a cleaning day…

Next on my project list, though, is strawberry jam! The cherry jam was absolutely delicious and that’s coming from someone who’s not a huge jelly fan. But then, I’d never had homemade cherry jam before! (Seriously, if you’ve never had it, TRY IT.) I used the recipe from Moms Need to Know. Great recipe, though the directions are a little lacking. If you’re interested, the yield is 9-10 jelly jars. And when she says 4 cups of cherries, this is the cherry puree you make, not whole or even halved cherries. Took a little trial and error to figure it out, but the recipe, as I said, makes some seriously delicious jam!

For the strawberry jam, I’ll be using The Pioneer Woman’s recipe (here’s part II, since there’s no link on the page). It’s pretty much the same recipe except with strawberries. She also advocates the use of half a pat of butter to reduce the foam. I didn’t remove the foam on the cherry jam because I wasn’t sure what the issue with it was, but I did a little research and experts say two things: the foam doesn’t taste very good (which The Pioneer Woman contradicts by saying she loves it on toast…) and that it perhaps reduces the storage life. But since ours won’t be stored too long, I don’t think it’ll be an issue. That being said, I will still probably skim the foam off of the strawberry jam. Just in case…

Due to my inability to sleep tonight, I’m going to do some research on herbal medicine and basic first aid. My father is a doctor but I can’t swear that he’ll be here when the country collapses, I want to know how to take care of those issues. I am CPR certified, so that’s a plus, but I don’t know much about trauma and injuries, and herbal medicine is totally new to me. I’ve found some interesting recipes for things like antibiotic ointment. I’ll have to look into the ingredients and see if they are super expensive or short shelf-life to see if it’s practical for me to invest in right away to get some experience with it. The antibiotic ointment calls for several different kinds of essential oils and I have zero experience with those.

Lastly, I’ll be taking a conceal & carry class this month to learn how to use my recently purchased firearm. I’m terrified of guns, but I’m determined to be able to protect myself and my son. I’m not taking the class primarily for the permit to conceal my weapon, mostly I just need to learn how to use it and get some experience with it.

I also found an interesting article on reinforcing entry doors. If you’re interested, I found it on The Family Handyman. I think this will also be a priority on my project list. When things go down, everyone’s going to flock to those that are prepared and have supplies. I’ll be ready.

Day Five

Had a very productive, great day! I sewed five “unpaper” towels (basically rags with terrycloth on one side and tea towel on the other), and canned 10 jelly jars of cherry jam! This is quite a feat – I’ve never canned before, so many, many thanks to my wonderful mother who helped me out and let me use her canner.

This homesteading thing is going waaaay better than I expected. Can’t wait to add more items to our stores! Perhaps tomorrow will be another baking day… fresh bread is always a treat, and I think it’ll freeze just fine, too.

Until tomorrow, friends!

Day Three & Four

Missed blogging yesterday. Here’s the scoop on the last two days.

Made some whole wheat bread last night. Figured out what I did wrong the first time and that was I didn’t let my yeast “sponge” long enough (I did 2 minutes instead of 20). This time was a success – two delicious and healthy loaves! It was a hit with the family. Next time, though, I think I’ll try the white whole wheat flour. It’s said that it makes a less dense loaf. Red wheat (which is the brown whole wheat we think of when we hear “whole wheat”) makes a darker, denser loaf than the white wheat, but the nutritional values are the same. So we’ll give that a shot next time.

We went “into town” for some shopping today. Saved $32.05 at one store, and I haven’t figured up the other store yet. So I’m up to $43.65 in savings in just four days! Maybe this process won’t be as slow as I had thought… Also, I’ve managed to get our stores up discreetly. I think we could easily survive a week on what we have tucked away. So, goal #1 is done!

Tomorrow I may make some more bread. I’m not sure what my plans are yet.

Happy Independence Day, America! Don’t forget the reasons we were founded, and fight the good fight!

Day Two: Shopping Trip

Alright, I got home yesterday and had a few minutes before I needed to start supper, so I ran to the local Wal-Mart armed with a few coupons, a sale item, and a price match item. Managed to save $5.50. Which isn’t a whole lot, but hey, it’s $5 more than I had stashed away.

The Man of the House thinks I’ve gone off the deep end. I mentioned saving the money I saved to put back some food into long-term storage and he said next I’d be planning out a bunker. I tried to laugh it off but it kind of annoyed me. I’ll work on him and see if I can’t get him to see the benefits of having some food stored away or some animals around.