The Survival Mom » Food http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Sat, 17 Jan 2015 20:34:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Sea Salt – An Indispensable Commodity for Uncertain Times http://thesurvivalmom.com/sea-salt-an-indispensable-commodity-for-uncertain-times/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/sea-salt-an-indispensable-commodity-for-uncertain-times/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 08:00:31 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=4150 When we think about setting aside emergency supplies, most of us would agree that preserved food and purified water are the essentials and everything else is secondary to these. Some might even choose to incorporate things like a manual grain Read More

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You have food and water, but did you know you might be missing a critical supply? Sea salt is far more than just a flavoring when you cook. I via The Survival MomWhen we think about setting aside emergency supplies, most of us would agree that preserved food and purified water are the essentials and everything else is secondary to these. Some might even choose to incorporate things like a manual grain mill, a water purifier, a food dehydrator, a solar cook stove and so on.

But who would ever consider something as simple and humble as salt as an indispensable necessity and commodity in the tumultuous days ahead? I would even go so far as to say if sea salt is not a part of your survival provisions, it’s time to tuck away this invaluable, hidden treasure.

In fact, salt was once valued as a form of currency – it was that scarce, and considered a luxury of few. The ancient Greeks used salt to trade for slaves and Roman soldiers were paid in “salt money” or “salarium argentum” where we derive the English word, “salary”. Homer called it “Divine”. Jesus calls His followers (which I’m honored to say I am) the “salt of the earth”.

Wars have been fought and whole settlements turned into cities and nations over the pursuit of salt. Just as gold and silver have once again gained ground in this present economic meltdown, so also will sea salt be a valuable and tradable commodity, literally “worth its weight in gold.” It will be a supreme bartering tool.

Preserving Food with Sea Salt

Sea salt has a unique ability of drawing out the flavor in food like no other seasoning, but this is secondary to yet another one of its amazing values. Salt has long been known for its ability to preserve foods. In the event of societal and economic collapse, refrigeration may be a thing of the past. Unless you plan to consume what you pick immediately, depend on your air dehydrator or live off your food storage, you will need salt for preserving food.

During harvest time, there should be plenty of fresh food (assuming you thought ahead to plant a garden), but the long harsh winters will inevitably come and preserving food will be a crucial issue. Even hunting for game, chances are you will not be able to consume it all in one sitting – salt preservation will be key. And without power, your pressure canner or electric dehydrator will not get you very far, so salt can be the perfect alternate route.

Health Benefits

With salt’s same ability to retard spoilage, “mineral dense sea salt” also aids in disinfecting and healing wounds. A simple salt paste or soaking a wound in a salt/water solution several times a day should achieve positive results. Sea salt also rejuvenates the skin keeping a more youthful appearance while aiding in the healing of acne, psoriasis, eczema and other skin related problems.

Ever wonder why your skin felt so tight, free and clear of irritation or blemishes after spending a day at the beach? Sea salt has miracle healing properties that are often overlooked. In fact, the Blue Lagoon in Iceland is world renown for its hot salt springs that people flock to with skin conditions. Dead Sea salts are another sought after skin commodity.

Which kind of sea salt?

But might I be quick to add that not just any salt will suffice when it comes to you and your loved ones, especially typical table salt (sodium chloride) and in some cases, certain brands of sea salt. Salt that is processed for vast human consumption – while meeting the public’s demand for a product that is cheap and convenient – sacrifices a lot of health benefits.

Table salt has been stripped of all but two of its 84 trace minerals through a chemical process, dried at extreme temperatures, and oftentimes – for the sake of appearance – anti-caking, free-flowing, or conditioning agents are added along with iodine. But buyer beware of even some brands of so-called sea salt: It may be mechanically harvested from dirt or concrete basins and piped through metal conduits; artificially processed; heated to extreme temperatures to break the molecular structure; stripped of its essential minerals and further adulterated by chemical additives.[i] In essence, many highly acclaimed “sea salts” are no different than plain ole table salt.

So where do you find pure, unadulterated salt? This graph shows some of the best brands compared with some of the more popular (and less expensive) brands.

Dense with vital trace minerals along with its light grey hue from the pure clay sole it’s harvested from, Celtic Sea Salt® is unmistakable in old world flavor and nutritious. (And taste may mean everything with a bland diet of survival foods!)

Extracted from the natural evaporation of the sea and wind alone, the ocean brine is channeled from the sea to the pristine shallow clay ponds, surrounded by vegetation. It provides a natural habitat for the salt while the salt farmer gathers the dazzling white crystals with a long, shovel-like tool, then collects it daily by hand.[ii]

Other Benefits

Celtic Sea Salt can be a simple addition to any food storage plan that just makes sense. It not only stores indefinitely, it provides so many hidden health benefits to mention in this article, but here are just a few:

Supplying well over 80 (24 of which are essential to life) minerals needed for proper metabolic functions and the assimilation of necessary nutrients in the body, natural sea salt is also an excellent immune booster and helps keep the body alkaline.

It works synergistically with vitamins and other minerals for their bioavailability to the body. (Bioavailability: the extent to which a nutrient or medication can be used by the body.) For instance, we know that calcium needs both magnesium and Vitamin D3 to be absorbed; sodium and potassium need each other in the proper proportions to help maintain normal blood pressure and water distribution.

Since natural sea salt contains a balance of minerals including sodium and potassium, the body is able to safely eliminate any excess sodium without the complications of typical table salt. This is a huge benefit for those who have to monitor their salt intake.

“Sea water contains minerals such as ionized sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and selenium, plus many trace elements such as copper, iron, zinc, manganese, and chromium. The human body uses the minerals & trace elements in sea salt to create electrolytes, maintaining the “internal ocean” which is vital to the proper functioning of every system in the body.”

In an age of degenerative diseases and in the difficult times that may lie ahead, no doubt sea salt is and will be worth its weight in gold, in more ways than one. Not only essential for health and vitality, sea salt clearly carries a vast array of benefits.

A Final Note

The familiar round grocery store container of salt is always ground the same. That’s not true of the many varieties of sea salt. It can be anywhere from chunks the size of landscaping rocks to finely ground, which is what most Americans are used to seeing. The website Sea Salt has a lot more specific information on types, coarseness, history, etc. of sea salt.


[i] De Langre, Jacques, Seasalt’s Hidden Powers, Asheville: Happiness Press 1994, page 3

[ii] De Langre, Jacques, Seasalt’s Hidden Powers, Asheville: Happiness Press 1994, page 1

Copyrighted © 2010

Guest Post By Roxanne Griswold, Ready Made Resources

This article has been updated from the original posted on May 26, 2010.

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10 Unusual Foods You Should Have in Your Pantry http://thesurvivalmom.com/9-unusual-foods-you-should-have-in-your-pantry/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/9-unusual-foods-you-should-have-in-your-pantry/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 08:00:07 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=5415 Modern Americans probably have more food choices than any other group in the history of the planet Earth. I was told about a Japanese student who went to an American grocery store for cereal. Seeing the selection in the aisle Read More

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10 Unusual foods you should have in your pantry! | www.TheSurvivalMom.comModern Americans probably have more food choices than any other group in the history of the planet Earth. I was told about a Japanese student who went to an American grocery store for cereal. Seeing the selection in the aisle was so overwhelming they went home without it that day.

For people used to such plenty and variety, beans and rice alone is clearly not a long-term menu plan. But keeping that much variety in one home (or even one store!) is not realistic. Worse yet, it can be hard to figure out a way to store some of our “regular” foods for the long-term so we can maintain a semi-normal diet in an emergency.

So, what “unusual” foods should you consider adding to your pantry? The products listed below are all shelf-stable, meaning they do not need to be refrigerated, and are available from companies such as Thrive Life, Augason Farms, and Ready Reserve Foods.

Survival Mom’s Top 10 Unusual Food Storage Foods

1. Shortening powder 

This product is a sure-fire way of having shortening on hand for all your baking without having to worry about it going rancid. It’s a necessity for making pie crusts and biscuits. Even more important, you can sprinkle some in a hot skillet, and when it melts, you can pan fry! What a concept!

2. Powdered peanut butter 

Peanut butter has an amazingly long shelf life, even after it’s been opened, but powdered peanut butter is still very useful. Every morning I add a tablespoon or so to my protein drink. It adds all the flavor and nutrition of peanuts without any of the fat found in peanut butter. You can even get it with chocolate already mixed in!

3. Butter powder

This product won’t give you exactly the same flavor of butter and it doesn’t quite melt, but it’s still a handy addition to your pantry. Once reconstituted and chilled, it hardens and has the same consistency of refrigerated butter.

4. Tomato powder

The first time I read about this product, I said, “Huh??” Now I think it’s indispensable because it’s a cost-effective way of having tomato paste and tomato sauce on demand and save vast amounts of space at the same time, and it’s easy enough to make yourself.

5. TVP (your choice of flavors)

I know Textured Vegetable Protein isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it comes in handy when you want to add a little more protein to a casserole or soup. Just a handful can add the flavor of chicken or taco meat (a little can go a long way), and you can’t beat the price.

6. Freeze-dried cheese 

You can still enjoy cheese enchiladas while fending off zombies with this great product! I first sampled FD cheddar cheese a few months ago and was amazed by how beautifully it melts.

7. Powdered cheese 

When you buy this in bulk, you have the main ingredient (besides macaroni) for mac-and-cheese but also cheese sauces for veggies, casseroles, and the all-important survival food, nachos!

8. Freeze-dried grapes 

Yes, grapes. Canned grapes have never quite caught on (ewwww!), dehydrated grapes are raisins, but FD grapes have the same color, shape, size and flavor as fresh. They’re just crunchy, and they make a great, healthy snack. Once opened, though, they will absorb moisture in the air and go from crunchy to sticky and chewy. You may want to repackage them in canning jars to retain the crunchy texture.

9. Dehydrated sour cream 

Now, this won’t give you that wonderfully cool dollop you’ve come to expect, but when you make a dish that calls for sour cream, this product does just fine. Add some to mashed potatoes or a creamy casserole, and you’ll never know the difference.

10. Freeze-dried cottage cheese

This was one of the first ‘survival’ foods we purchased. Because we had young kids, we wanted to make sure we had plenty of Vitamin D-dense foods. It sounds strange, but it’s actually quite good when it’s reconstituted and chilled. If the grid is down and you want homemade lasagna, that shouldn’t be a problem with this and freeze-dried mozzarella cheese on hand!

These 10 unusual foods will go a long way toward letting your family diet stay closer to normal in a disaster.

This article has been updated from the original version published on November 4, 2010.

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15 Reasons to Stock Up on Peanut Butter http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-reasons-to-stock-up-on-peanut-butter/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-reasons-to-stock-up-on-peanut-butter/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 17:28:08 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=7839 Peanut butter is packed with nutrients. It has an incredibly long shelf life, even when opened. Peanut butter is a great addition to any bug out bag or emergency kit. Peanut butter is a necessary ingredient in many recipes, both Read More

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Nutritious with a long shelf-life, peanut butter is definitely something to add to your food storage pantry! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comPeanut butter is packed with nutrients.

It has an incredibly long shelf life, even when opened.

Peanut butter is a great addition to any bug out bag or emergency kit.

Peanut butter is a necessary ingredient in many recipes, both sweet and savory.

It is a high calorie food, providing plenty of energy.

It’s one of those stick-to-your-ribs foods.

Peanut butter is an ideal spread for sandwiches and can be combined with jelly, jam, bananas, apples, and anything else that sounds good!

It can be mixed in with oatmeal, with a bit of honey, for an extra nutritious breakfast.

Peanut butter is high in plant protein.

It comes in crunchy, super crunchy and other varieties, so everyone in the family gets their favorite version.

All you really need to enjoy peanut butter is a spoon.

It comes in package sizes ranging from individual packets to family-sized buckets.  Each has its place in your food storage pantry.

Peanut butter is rich in folate, which is a necessary nutrient for pregnant women.

“All Natural” peanut butter is available and doesn’t contain trans fat.

Spread a bit on a pine cone, and you can feed hungry birds during the winter.

Powdered peanut butter is a good option if you want to avoid the oils in peanut butter but want the flavor for recipes.

Resources for recipes and more info:

101 Things to Do With Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter Comfort cookbook

The Peanut Institute

Peanut Butter Lovers

Skippy Peanut Butter

 

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Try it Today! Meal planning in 6 easy steps! (Skill of the Month) http://thesurvivalmom.com/meal-planning-6-easy-steps/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/meal-planning-6-easy-steps/#comments Sun, 11 Jan 2015 13:51:48 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20794 A very long time ago, I used to be able to go grocery shopping without a list. I could think of meals for my husband and I while I was at the store and gather the ingredients. Of course, this Read More

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Meal planning in 6 easy steps - the Survival MomA very long time ago, I used to be able to go grocery shopping without a list. I could think of meals for my husband and I while I was at the store and gather the ingredients. Of course, this meant I didn’t have a set budget, never knew exactly what items I had on hand and lots of last-minute trips to the store for the “Oh, I forgot …” item.

Then the time came when we needed to stick to a budget with the arrival of our children. I needed a list to make sure I got everything necessary because I did not want to do any last-minute shopping trips. I wanted to make getting dinner on the table easier. So, here’s how I went from being a no-list shopper to a meal planning, list shopper.

1. Compile the recipes you use

I made a list of the meals we typically had for dinner. I organized the recipes in a binder with page protectors. Today, I have a Pinterest board specifically for recipes I have tried and used. Getting a list of meals with their ingredients is step one. You can consult this list every time you plan meals and then try a new recipe out each time and decide if it will be put on the permanent list or not.

2. Decide how many meals you need

Look at your calendar for the next week, 2 weeks or month – however long you will be shopping for. Are there any planned nights out? Don’t forget to check for school “spirit nights” and such that you plan to attend and days off school when you will need to feed the kids lunch. How many days will you need a slow-cooker recipe instead of a baking one? Figure out how many nights you will need to make meals for and what kind of meals you need.

I shop for a month at a time, but I usually only need about 20 meals or so, with about 7 of those being in the Crock-Pot, because several will give us leftovers or we use food in the freezer from the previous month.

3. List out your meals and ingredients

I write down the meals and whether they will feed us for one or two nights. Then, I list the ingredients I will need next to them. This is done on the back of my shopping list. I’ve made these files to help me.

SHOPPING LIST MENU LIST SHOPPING LIST

Listing the ingredients may seem tedious, but it only takes a few minutes and serves two purposes – transferring to the shopping list so an item isn’t overlooked and knowing exactly what is in your pantry. I know what meal each jar of spaghetti sauce in my pantry is for because I can consult my ingredients list. I also write out what meal I am going to use on what day. A calendar clipped to the refrigerator is an easy what to do this step.

4. Know your store aisles/make your list

My shopping list is broken down into categories based on the aisles in the store I usually shop at. You may shop at more than one store and just want to use generic categories. If you mainly shop at one store, it can save you time to organize your list by the aisles. It keeps you from having to go back to a section.

Knowing how the aisles are broken down in your store can also help you if you coupon. I sort my coupons by aisle and can easily compare them to what is on my list for that aisle’s section. You can jot down the aisles on your next trip or see if the store lists its aisle breakdown on its Web site.

If you aren’t sure of the aisles or your store recently remodeled, did you know there’s an app for that? Seriously, grocery stores now apps to help you find the goods in their store quickly and easily.

5. Cross off/Add on

One last step that can save you money is to check your pantry for anything left that can be crossed off your list. Forgot to add the tomatoes into a casserole? You won’t need those next time. Do you have enough of your basic ingredients, like flour, sugar and seasonings? What breakfast items, snacks, and dairy products do you need? If you have food storage, also check if anything was “borrowed” from your supplies or rotated out and needs added to the list to restock.

6. Shop and cook

Check off your shopping list as you go. Check unit prices to be sure you are getting the best deal. Use coupons if you have them on hand. Organizing your pantry when you get home while putting things away helps you know what you have on hand. If you feel motivated, you can always cook up the meat you’ll use for the time period and then freeze it. I save a lot of time pulling pre-cooked meat out of my freezer for meals.

I keep all my lists clipped on to the refrigerator to stay organized. Once I got into the habit of doing this, I started really enjoying planning meals. I know what meals I have on hand for the month, when we’re going to have them and that all the ingredients needed for the meals are in the pantry. No last-minute trips. No figuring out what’s for dinner at 5 p.m. It means a lot more time enjoying my family and less time worrying how (and what) to feed them.

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Try it Today! Homemade Yogurt from Powdered Milk http://thesurvivalmom.com/try-today-homemade-yogurt-powdered-milk/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/try-today-homemade-yogurt-powdered-milk/#comments Sun, 04 Jan 2015 08:00:29 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20380 We must, all of us, be honest. How many of you really enjoy drinking reconstituted powdered milk? Not me! On the occasions when I have had to drink it, it was with the deepest loathing. It has that stale “powdered Read More

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Almost no one likes drinking reconstituted powdered milk, so what to do with it, other than baking? Make homemade yogurt!!!  | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comWe must, all of us, be honest. How many of you really enjoy drinking reconstituted powdered milk? Not me!

On the occasions when I have had to drink it, it was with the deepest loathing. It has that stale “powdered milk” taste, and leaves the uncomfortable feeling I am really drinking white water. I think I speak for the majority of us when I say, Ick!

I have a much better use for powdered milk, turning it into homemade yogurt!

I bet some of you are thinking, “Ugh, that sounds pretty complicated. I’m sure it’s not for me.” Don’t despair! While some advocate carefully monitoring the temperature of your milk through the whole process, using special equipment, I am much more laid back. I have been making yogurt on a regular basis for a few years now and have had great success.

The end product is smooth, tasty and completely devoid of all the characteristics I so hate about powdered milk. Once you try this, you will want to make it all the time! This recipe makes eight cups.

Ingredients:

You will need:

1/2 cup yogurt (your “starter”) – This needs to be yogurt with LIVE bacterial cultures. It can be plain grocery store yogurt or 1/2 cup of yogurt from your own last batch. If using your own yogurt, it will have to be less than two weeks old. Any older than that and the cultures die off and the old yogurt will not properly inoculate your milk to turn it into new yogurt. As an alternative to actual yogurt, cheese supply companies sell powdered bacterial cultures that are specifically formulated for yogurt-making. These will keep in your freezer for up to a year.

powderedmilktextureEnough milk powder to make eight cups when reconstituted – A quick word here about what kind of powdered milk to use: There are many different brands on the market. I’ve tried several different kinds and some work better than others.

To make sure your yogurt is smooth and creamy instead of grainy or chunky, use a brand that is smooth and fine in texture while it is still in powdered form, similar to powdered sugar or white flour. Grainy milk powder will make grainy yogurt. I use a non-name brand that says to use 3 Tbsp of powder for every cup of water. When making yogurt, I round it up a bit and use 1 1/2 cups of powder for my yogurt recipe.

Eight cups of water

A crock pot – If you have a yogurt maker, you can also use it. You may also be able to find online tutorials that use an electric heating pad or a dehydrator. I understand that these methods also work well. I have always used a crock pot and have never gone wrong, so this tutorial will discuss that method.

A whisk

A food thermometer

Method:

1) Put eight cups of water in your crock pot and then add your milk powder and whisk it vigorously until all lumps are gone. If you miss a teeny little lump or two, it’s not a big deal. Put the cover on your crock pot and leave it on low heat for three hours, after which your milk should be in the neighborhood of 180 degrees F.

2) When your milk has come up to temperature and /or has spent the appropriate amount of time in your crock pot, turn off the heat and unplug it. (Unplugging it is very important if you live in a house with little children who live for toggling knobs and pushing buttons that should not be pushed.) Leave it to cool down for about 2 hrs and 45 minutes, when it is at around 110 degrees. Do use a food thermometer at each step to make sure it’s at the correct temperature.

3) Now, take one cup of warm milk from your crock pot and put it in a bowl with your yogurt starter, to temper your inoculant. Whisk it together until it is smooth, pour it all back into the crock pot and stir it together.

4) Cover the crock pot with a beach towel to hold in the heat and let it sit for about 6-8 hours. You might think that a measly little towel isn’t enough to keep it warm – trust me, it is. If you peek under the crock pot lid after a couple of hours, you will be greeted by a warm, slightly sour yogurty smell that will tell you that the live bacteria are doing their little microscopic jobs.

5) After your yogurt has sat on the counter under the towel for the prescribed amount of time, move the crock into the fridge overnight. You might be tempted to stir it a bit at this point, but this is not recommended. In fact, this is a good way to get grainy yogurt. For best results, don’t disturb the gel until it has completely cooled.

Great! Now What Do I Do With Half A Gallon Of Homemade Yogurt?

My children love this stuff and have been known to go through a whole batch in less than four days. One of my sons prefers it with homemade jam, and the other likes it with a bit of vanilla extract and some sugar for sweetening. I also use it to make naan, a variety of Indian flat bread. It can be drained in cheesecloth to make Greek yogurt or even yogurt cheese.

I want to emphasize that none of these instructions are hard and fast rules. I have sometimes left the milk warming in the crock pot for four hours instead of three, and one more than one occasion I have left the crock pot on the counter overnight! It still has turned out fine.

I hope all of you will try it, and let me know how you liked it! What suggestions do you have for using homemade yogurt?

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Tight Space Prepping: Decorating your home for survival http://thesurvivalmom.com/tight-space-prepping-decor/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/tight-space-prepping-decor/#comments Sat, 03 Jan 2015 07:00:03 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20130 Just because you live in a small apartment or home doesn’t mean that you can’t join the wonderful world of prepping. There are many ways to have a garden, store food, and enjoy your living space – without looking (or Read More

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prepping decor 800 x 800Just because you live in a small apartment or home doesn’t mean that you can’t join the wonderful world of prepping. There are many ways to have a garden, store food, and enjoy your living space – without looking (or feeling) like a hoarder!

House Plants

Filling your home with the right types of plants can be one of the best ways to both beautify your small space and have a few useful emergency tools on hand.

Food

When choosing house plants, pick ones that are useful, not just pretty. There are many types of edible flowers and plants. One of my favorites to keep are mini roses. They don’t take up a whole lot of space and are safe for human consumption, as long as you don’t spray them with pesticide. Also consider adding a few miniature fruit trees. They are great for both decoration and food production.

Medical

Many herbs, such as rosemary, are great for both cooking and medicinal purposes. It’s a pretty little shrub that looks like a fir tree. As a cooking herb it’s great for chicken, but it also aids in the digestion of richer meats. Rosemary essential oil is great for the scalp and reduces dandruff.

Rosemary and other herbs keep well on window sills or the kitchen counter. Aloe, for burns, is another favorite to keep in the house.

Finding Space

A bunch of planters sitting in the middle of the living room is hardly attractive, and few us of have a large outside window sill like the one pictured above. Putting your plants on the balcony would be an obvious go to, but not all apartments have a balcony. In that situation, try hanging your plants from the ceiling in a sunny area, but don’t go overboard. One or two plants per room will do.

Perhaps you would like to start a vegetable garden but don’t have an outside space. That’s where an indoor vegetable garden comes in. You can use a specially designed AeroGarden, or simply place a book case across from a large window in a non carpeted room.

No matter what kind of plants you have, an indoor grow light can help. If you have pets or small children, it’s best to keep your plants on the top shelves. Some cats will even try to eat cactus!

Purposeful Decorations

There are some decorations that are pretty but serve no practical purpose. Others are really pretty and can do something useful. When decorating in our home, I try my best to go with the second choice.

Lighting

Candles are my first go to for decorative lighting. They are easy to store and many even come in their own jars. They don’t take up much space because they are on display when not in use. They don’t require a storage of fuel, like oil.  If you have children or pets you could use the LED candles. They require batteries, but so would flashlights.

You could also use decorative oil lamps. You may be able to find a few at thrift store or online. They do require oil, but you can counter that by buying a lamp with a clear oil tank and filling it with a colored oil. The advantage of these lamps is that the light may be turned up or down and they also contribute to warming your home.

Insulation

Insulation is important to any prepper’s home. Covering those windows is the first step I would take to insulate my home.

Thermal curtains are designed to keep the outside heat, cold, and prying eyes out of your home, and they also keep the room extra dark. They are readily available at store like Target as well as online, so there are more than enough options to find something to match any room.

Where permitted, cover the windows with an insulating window film. These come in many decorative designs and serve two purposes. The first is to help block UV light from coming into my home and to reflect sunlight away. The second (an added bonus) is that they may also prevent street viewing inside your home when the curtains are open.

I also love to use floor rugs. It adds an extra layer of insulation to the floors and keeps the apartment carpets from getting quite as dirty.

Concealment Decor

I confess: I don’t like staring at piles of cans in my living room. While I love having my storage, I don’t like feeling as though I live in a tiny warehouse so when I find a way to hide my storage, I do.

Creative Furniture Use

Bean bag chairs are the absolute best when it comes to hiding storage in plain sight. Children and grownups alike, love to sit on them. They are easy to move from room to room as a portable chair and are amazingly comfortable to read on. I use them as advertised. I hide bags of beans and peas in them. When I need a bag of split peas to make soup, I simple evict whichever child is sitting on the food storage for a moment and get what I need.

Creative Shelving

One of my favorite memories growing up is the giant bookcase my parents made. It was made of plywood and buckets, although cinder blocks are a common variation. The buckets contained stored flour and rice. To make this design look more decorative all you need to do is cover the ply wood with self-sticking shelf paper and color coordinate the buckets.

Hide Away Decor

Couch covers and bed ruffles make it easy to hide storage under my furniture, where I am happy not to see it. They also provide a potential fabric source should I need it. They come in a variety of patterns and colors to meet your decorating needs and (if made of the right fabric) can also be used as an extra blanket.

What other decorating ideas have you come up with to help with your prepping in tight spaces?

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12 Chocolate Strawberry Recipes — Including 2 just for food storage! http://thesurvivalmom.com/chocolate-strawberry-recipes/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/chocolate-strawberry-recipes/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 00:19:55 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20517 Some things were born to just go together. Like ham and cheese, salt and pepper, socks and cold weather…and chocolate and strawberries! Here are 2 recipes from Augason Farms using their shelf-stable ingredients, and we’ve added 10 more chocolate strawberry Read More

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Mmmm....12 chocolate & strawberry recipes! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Some things were born to just go together. Like ham and cheese, salt and pepper, socks and cold weather…and chocolate and strawberries! Here are 2 recipes from Augason Farms using their shelf-stable ingredients, and we’ve added 10 more chocolate strawberry recipes to tempt you.

Dieters beware!

Strawberry Shortcake

Biscuit ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Augason Farms Iodized Salt

3 tablespoons Augason Farms White Granulated Sugar

1 stick butter, chilled

2/3 to 3/4 cup half and half

Filling

2 cups Augason Farms Freeze Dried Sliced Strawberries, rehydrated and drained

1/3 cup Augason Farms White Granulated Sugar

1 1/2 cups Augason Farms Spiff-E-Whip, prepared

Directions

Sprinkle rehydrated strawberry slices with the sugar; cover and let stand at room temperature for about one hour. Whip the Spiff-E-Whip until it holds a soft peak. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Set rack at center level.

Combine, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in large bowl, and then add butter cut into about 8 pieces. Mix with pastry tool until it resembles coarse meal and make a well in the center. With a fork, stir in the half & half, just until dough is moist. Do not overwork. The dough doesn’t have to hold together well at this point. Let the dough stand for a minute. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough over on itself 2 for 3 turns, until it holds together and is less sticky.

Gently pat the dough into a 6” by 12” rectangle about ¾” thick and cut into 8-3” biscuits with a floured round cutter. Place on non-stick cookie sheet. Brush with milk and sprinkle tops with sugar, if desired. Bake for 10–15 minutes or until golden brown. While still warm, slice horizontally with a serrated knife. Cover bottom with about 1/3 cup of berry mixture. Replace the tops; add a tablespoon or so of berries. Serve with prepared Spiff-E-Whip. Makes 8 servings.

 

Maple Hot Chocolate

1 cup Augason Farms Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix
4 cups hot water
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows

In a large saucepan combine hot chocolate mix with hot water, maple flavoring, vanilla, and 8 marshmallows. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until marshmallows are melted. Ladle into 4 mugs and top each with a marshmallow.

And 10 More Chocolate Strawberry Recipes! Enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats

Chocolate Strawberry Truffle Pie

The Cutest Strawberry-Chocolate Dumplings You’ve Ever Seen

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie

Nutella Stuffed Strawberries

Raw Strawberry Chocolate Trifle

Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

 Strawberry Cream Chocolates

Whole Grain Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies

If you want even more incredible chocolate desserts, check out these cookbooks!

Chocolates and Confections at Home with The Culinary Institute of America

Chocolate Covered Katie: Over 80 Delicious Recipes That Are Secretly Good for You

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Looking for some GREAT Leftover Ham Recipes? http://thesurvivalmom.com/leftover-ham-recipes/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/leftover-ham-recipes/#comments Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19637 Once the big meal is over, the family’s all gone, the dishes away, the question looms: What on earth will we do with all this leftover ham?!? (Or turkey.) Since food fights, using them as building materials, and putting them Read More

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Here's our list of creative and delicious ways to use leftover ham. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comOnce the big meal is over, the family’s all gone, the dishes away, the question looms: What on earth will we do with all this leftover ham?!? (Or turkey.)

Since food fights, using them as building materials, and putting them somewhere to see what grows on them aren’t appealing if you’re old enough to have finished middle school, here are some leftover ham recipes that might make you a little more enthusiastic about all those leftovers.

Breakfast Ham Recipes

Use your leftovers to try something new for breakfast, like a quiche cup or a breakfast skillet. If you’re not a morning person, either muffins or green eggs and ham can be started the day before.

mini quicheThe names are self-explanatory, and the results are delicious!

Breakfast Skillet

Ham Gruyere Quiche

Mini Quiche

Green Eggs and Ham  (It takes advance prep since to make canned – green – eggs.)

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Muffins

slowcookercreamofbroccolihamsoupSoup, Salad and Sandwiches

Ah, yes, the Ham Sandwich, a staple of post-holiday leftovers. These recipes elevate it to a yummy treat instead of a slapped-together tolerable way to fill your stomach.

Broccoli, Ham & Pasta Salad

Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup

Beans and Ham Soup

Slow Cooker Cream of Broccoli and Ham Soup

Ham Salad

Hawaiian Ham & Swiss Slider (The recipe calls for King’s Hawaiian Bread. Yum!)

Dinner and Snacks

We all know beef and venison can be turned into jerky, but have you ever tried ham jerky? Perhaps it’s time you did!

Do you have a holiday party coming up? Some of these make great appetizers – and you can use leftover Christmas ham for New Years Eve party appetizers.

ham rollsThere is one recipe for a pizza with ham, but there are lots of other ways to top a pizza with ham – including Hawaiian pizza!

Ham Jerky

Ham Balls

Ham Fried Rice

Ham, Gruyere, and Shallot Pizza

New Years Eve Ham Rolls

How does your family use your leftover ham? What great recipes can you share?

 

 

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Top 18 Holiday Bargains for Stocking Up http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-18-holiday-bargains-stocking/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-18-holiday-bargains-stocking/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 21:46:13 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20321 Beginning in October every year, grocery stores begin prominently displaying all types of food typically used in holiday cooking and baking. Every grocery store I’ve been to in the past couple of months has their holiday bargains right out front and Read More

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The holidays are the perfect time for stocking up! Here are 18 bargains to look for. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comBeginning in October every year, grocery stores begin prominently displaying all types of food typically used in holiday cooking and baking. Every grocery store I’ve been to in the past couple of months has their holiday bargains right out front and center.

For Survival Moms who want to stock up their food pantry, this is an ideal time to take advantage of the coupons and sales that also come at this time of year. Today I took a look at this week’s grocery ads, and here’s a master list of items you may want to grab before the holiday season ends.

  • Ham and Turkey
    • Both of these can be frozen and/or canned to provide meals well into the New Year. A frozen turkey can remain frozen and still be safe to eat for up to a year.
  • Fresh oranges
    • Once the orange has been eaten, dry the peels and create your own orange zest for recipes throughout the year. If you end up with more zest than you think you’ll use within 6 months or so, use a Food Saver to vacuum seal the remaining zest in a pouch for longer term storage.
  • Coffee
    • Grocery stores know that coffee is part of holiday entertaining, so you’re going to find lots of coffee brands on sale. Coffee beans, and especially green, unroasted coffee beans, will have the longest shelf life, but you can still repackage both beans and ground coffee in canning jars using the Food Saver jar attachment to suck out all the air/oxygen or seal the coffee in plastic pouches using your vacuum sealer.
    • Coffee is definitely worth stocking up on, but be sure to keep it stored in a cool, dark, and dry location. Even so, it will have its freshest flavor if used within just a couple of months.
  • Nuts
    • Again, this is the season for baking all types of treats and many of my favorite recipes include nuts. You’ll find nuts on sale but keep an eye on prices because they are still generally a higher priced grocery item.
    • If you do find a bargain, store those nuts in a cool, dry, dark location, and, if possible, vacuum pack them using a Food Saver.
  • Fresh fruit
    • Depending on where you live, you may find low prices on blueberries, blackberries, pomegranates, pineapple, oranges, and a lot more.
    • Dehydrating fruit is very simple and food dehydrators don’t have to cost a lot of money. I found mine on Craigslist several years ago for $30 and it still works fine.
    • You can also freeze fruit and even can it, so stocking up now on fruits that are in season is a very smart thing to do. Just make sure you budget your time so all that yummy stuff won’t rot during an especially busy time of year.
  • Butter
    • Right now my favorite grocery store has a pound of butter for $2.50. That’s the lowest price I’ve seen in a while. Butter can easily be frozen, at one time I had 40 pounds of it in our big freezer!
    • I’ve heard of canning butter but am not convinced it’s the safest thing to do.
  • Alcohol
    • Call me crazy, but it never hurts to have a few bottles of whisky or vodka around. Even if you’re not much of a drinker, vodka can be useful in making tinctures and from what I’ve heard, whiskey has medicinal uses as well.
    • If you’re thinking of stocking up on bottles of alcohol as a product for barter, stick with hard liquor: vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whiskey and brandy, as they can all have indefinite shelf lives.
  • Potatoes, both fresh and instant
    • Potatoes can be peeled, sliced, and dehydrated by following these steps.
    • When stored in a very cool location, around 45 to 50 degrees, they can stay fresh for up to 3 months.
    • Instant mashed potatoes come in handy for quick meals. However, they will need to be repackaged for a longer shelf life. Read these instructions. Once repackaged, I highly recommend placing them in the freezer for at least a week in order to kill any microscopic insect eggs that might be present.
    • Here’s a terrific collection of awesome potato recipes.
  • Canned vegetables
    • Store these in a cool location and they can last for more than a year.
    • You can always drain the veggies and dry them on your dehydrator trays for even longer shelf life.
  • Over-the-Counter meds for coughs and cold symptoms
    • These generally have a shelf life of more than a year.
    • During the winter months, you’ll also find coupons for these for added savings.
  • Batteries
    • Retailers aren’t stupid. They know that for every battery-operated gift purchased, someone is going to need batteries! Keep an eye out for coupons and combine them with store sales.
    • Batteries are among the most useful items you can stock up on, so go crazy when you find a really good deal!
  • Not-just-for-Christmas wrapping paper
    • Who said that white wrapping paper with red polka dots is just for Christmas? When you find wrapping paper that will be perfectly fine throughout the year, buy it!
  • Gravy and gravy mixes
    • There’s nothing like homemade gravy, but there’s also nothing handier than opening a jar of gravy and pouring it over mashed potatoes! A few jars of gravy in the pantry just might save dinner one day soon!
    • Gravy packets are great as a stock-up item. They have very long shelf lives, can be prepared quickly, and can make items as plain as white rice pretty tasty.
  • Frozen pies
    • Now, you wouldn’t ordinarily think of a pie when it comes to stocking up, but one or two in the freezer can come in handy.
    • Think about any special occasions coming up, potlucks, parties — any even where you might have to make dessert. Now think about how busy you’re going to be this year. A frozen pie looks like a better and better idea, doesn’t it?
  • Baking staples
    • Sugar, flour, baking powder, chocolate chips — you’ll find all these and a lot more on sale. And, all of them can be stored long-term.
    • Flour, in particular, must be repackaged. Read this to learn how.
    • Watch this video to learn how to store things like chocolate chips, shortening, and candy.
  • Snack foods
    • Grocery stores know that serving appetizers and snacks are a part of the holidays. You’ll find things like Triscuits and other crackers on sale, along with pretzels and chips. If you find these at a great price, stock up and plan on portioning them into snack bags for your kids’ lunches.
  • Chex cereals
    • Everybody and their dog is going to be making one variation of Chex mix or another, so why not stock up on several boxes for breakfasts or other recipes?
  • Canned soups
    • Like most other canned foods, soups can have a long shelf life if stored in a cool location.
    • Buy soup flavors that your family members enjoy and soups that you normally use in recipes.

What other foods that are on sale during the holidays do you stock up on?

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Stock Your Pantry From Scratch: Homemade Apple Pie Filling http://thesurvivalmom.com/homemade-apple-pie-filling/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/homemade-apple-pie-filling/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:00:26 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19664 Apples just seem to overflow here at our homestead. And thankfully so! They are an excellent staple to have on the pantry shelf, easy to can & put up and best of all…delicious! If /when the SHTF, comfort foods will Read More

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Stock your pantry from scratch with this amazing apple pie filling you can yourself. Super easy recipe! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Apples just seem to overflow here at our homestead. And thankfully so! They are an excellent staple to have on the pantry shelf, easy to can & put up and best of all…delicious! If /when the SHTF, comfort foods will be soooo appreciated, even if the “S” in question is just a big Snowstorm!

Each year, we can huge quantities of applesauce, make apple butter for the grandparents, and dehydrate apple chips, but far and away our favorite way to preserve all the beautiful apples we get in the Fall is Apple Pie Filling! No matter how much we make, there can never be enough for our family and friends.

I can seasonally and in bulk, to stock the pantry shelves, teach my children the art of canning and have shelf stable (delicious) foods on hand, at the ready. This helps me use sales and in-season foods at the best price and quality, while keeping the pantry stocked.

Apples are so versatile that we came up with 27 Things You Can Do With Apples.  Now, it’s prime time to finish canning those apples and stock your pantry from scratch!

Homemade Apple Pie Filling!

When we think canning, most of us think about things like green beans and chili. But there is so much more to canning than vegetables and the old standards! Let’s can some DESSERT for those deep pantry shelves!

I love to have this super simple, yet very delicious, pie filling on my pantry shelf! It’s easy to can and makes for effortless desserts all year long. What’s not to love? Here’s my recipe for apple pie filling.

Apple Pie Filling

18 cups (of your favorite!) apples, peeled & sliced (about 6 lbs.)

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 cups brown sugar

1 cup cornstarch

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

¼ 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

8 cups water

In a large bowl, mix the apples with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Set aside. In a large pot, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Add water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for two minutes. It will start to thicken up.

Add your apples and return to a boil. (You may want to drain off some of the lemon juice, but some folks think it adds a nice flavor.) Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6-8 minutes.

Don’t forget to stir OFTEN. You don’t want this to burn!

Have your canner, quart jars, and lids hot and ready. Pack each jar with filling, leaving head space, 1 inch from the top.

Process in your water bath canner for 20 minutes. Makes about 5 – 6 quarts! Carefully remove your jars from the canner. Set your jars on a towel, counter, or table for 24 hours, then line your pantry shelf!

Enjoy! You’ve just made it so simple for yourself to have a homemade dessert ready in minutes for your family, to take to a family in need, or that last minute congregation or family gathering! We use this as a base ingredient to make apple pies, crisps, ice cream topping, dump cakes, etc., etc.–in minutes! Apple pie filling always makes a welcome gift, too. :-)

Take advantage of what He gives us. Canning  is truly a labor of love for me.

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