Monday, September 28, 2009

72 Hour Kit: Week 2: Clothing/Personal Items

72 Hour Kit: Week #2: Clothing/Personal Items

This week each person will need a backpack. This time of year, backpacks are on clearance at most retailers. I was on the look out this summer and picked up several at yard sales, and got the last two on clearance for about $5.00. This will hold all personal items for each person. Once again, this list is merely a suggestion, and you will need to tailor your backpacks to what will fit your family. Your family’s needs may be substantially different than my family’s needs. It is a good idea when you rotate your food kits to rotate your clothing. If you are rotating at conference time, in April you could pack clothes for warmer weather, and in October, clothes for cooler weather. It is also good to check your clothing every 6 months if you have children. They can changes sizes so fast! That would be terrible in an emergency to not have proper fitting clothes. Click here for printer friendly .pdf.

Clothing/Personal Item list:
  1. One complete change of clothing and footwear (include undergarments, good socks and sturdy shoes). Pack in large Ziplok bag if possible.
  2. Rain poncho (Walmart has them for .88 cents in the camping section, or Dollar Tree has a two-pack for $1.00)
  3. Emergency Blanket (Walmart has them for $2.88 in the camping section)
  4. Sunglasses
  5. Thermal underwear (if rotating for Winter months)
  6. Waterproof hat and gloves (for Winter months)
  7. Jacket or sweater
  8. Blanket or sleeping bag (wool or wool blend is best option, as it keeps warm even when wet, resists fire, and is less bulky than sleeping bags)
  9. Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, razor, feminine hygiene, sunscreen). Travel sizes work well as to not take up as much space.
  10. Contact lenses and supplies
  11. Extra eye glasses
  12. 3 day supply of prescription medications.
  13. Ziplok for Sanitation supplies (toilet paper- remove cardboard roll to save space-towelettes, hand sanitizer, disinfectant)
  14. Plastic garbage bags with ties: These have many uses- garbage, toilet waste (lining a 5 gallon bucket), ground cloths, broken window cover, rain poncho, etc) Every person should have 1 in their backpack.
  15. Flashlight with batteries
  16. In outer pocket our backpacks will have silverware, and plastic bowls. One pack will have the can opener. This could also be fastened to a food bucket as well.
  17. On the outer zipper, or on another outer portion, a water bottle and hand sanitizer will be fastened for easy access.
To do at home this week:
Make a family disaster plan.
Have a home fire drill
Establish an Emergency Contact

Next Week: Week 3: First Aid Kit

Friday, September 18, 2009

72 Hour Kits: Week #1: Food

With General Conference quickly approaching, I decided that I must finally get my 72 hour kits together. I am thankful for great friends who have shared ideas, lists, and support to get these off the ground. It is great to have friends doing the same things at the same time! For the next 7-8 weeks, I will post what we are doing to have a complete kit to last our family for 72 hours in the case of emergency.

In 1983, my family's house was hit by a mudslide. We had no emergency plan, or 72 hour kit. My dad and brothers were gone sandbagging my dad's business, so it was just my mom and a sister and brother at home. Our whole neighborhood was forced to evacuate immediately. My Mom grabbed a ham out of the fridge and some silverware. That was all we had! We went to a nearby high school to wait for further instruction. We had no way of contacting my dad and letting him know where we were. We were blessed that we knew a police officer who would relay the message to the rest of the family where we would be. Luckily, we had family in the area to stay with until we could live in our home again. If an emergency hit my family today, I hope to be much more prepared, with a disaster plan, and 72 hour emergency kits.

Suggestions for food kit:
  1. Food for your 72 hour kit should take little preparation, and require no refrigeration. In the event of an emergency you may have been evacuated to another location. This will be a stressful time. Cooking facilities may be at a minimum. Please keep this in mind while preparing your food kit.
  2. Pick foods that your family enjoys. While putting together our kits, my kids kept saying "This is so cool! You never buy these things!" They can't wait to eat them.
  3. Rotate your food. Make it a rule that every general conference you eat and replace the food in your kit. This way, in the event of an emergency, you will always have fresh food. I can't think of anything worse than being in a stressful emergency situation, and opening up rotten food!
  4. Don't forget to pack a can opener if needed, plastic bowls and plastic utensils. Due to space limitations, these items will be in our backpack pockets.
  5. If possible, use what you have. There is no reason to spend a fortune.
  6. Pack enough water. The general guideline is 1.5 gallons per person per day. We will be using 5 gallon jugs. I will also have a water bottle labeled by name carabeenered to each backpack. They sell water bottle fasteners at Wal-mart for $1 each in the camp section.
  7. A few reminders: Jolley Rancher candies can melt and make your kit all sticky. Unopened Beef jerky should be double wrapped in a ziplok bag so all of your food doesn't taste like jerky. Be careful about packing gum. Hot temperatures can make the gum all sticky and gross, and the flavor will also permeate the other food. If you pack gum, double wrap the unopened packages in ziplok bags.
This list is merely a suggestion. Tailor your kits to fit your family. I decided to put the food portion in a food safe bucket (2 gallon). I purchased the buckets at the grocery store for $1.99 each. This way, each family member can grab their food bucket, and their backpack and be ready to go. This also makes it easier to rotate.

For printer friendly pdf, click here.

Meal Plan:

Day One

Breakfast: Snack pack cereal, shelf stable milk (or powdered milk), applesauce cup, box of O.J.
Lunch: Can of tuna, crackers, pudding cup
Dinner: Progresso soup, oyster crackers
Snacks: Jerky, raisins

Day Two

Breakfast: Instant oatmeal, fruit roll-up, box of apple juice
Lunch: Protein bar, cup of fruit, beef jerky
Dinner: Beef stew, crackers
Snacks: Cereal bar, 2 fruit snacks

Day Three

Breakfast: Snack pack cereal, shelf stable milk (or powdered milk), box of juice
Lunch: Spaghettios, applesauce, beef jerky
Dinner: Chili, saltines, pudding cup
Snacks: Trail mix, granola bar

Shopping List for meal plan for family of 6:

12 boxes snack pack cereal
12 boxes of milk
12 applesauce bowls
6 boxes O.J.
6 Progresso Soup
1 bag oyster crackers
6 boxes raisins
12 fruit snacks
6 oatmeal packets
6 boxes apple juice
6 fruit roll-ups
6 packs gum (package separately)
6 cans tuna
3 sleeves Ritz crackers (or other)
6 protein bars
6 fruit cups
18 beef jerky (1-2 large bag)
6 cans beef stew
6 cereal bars
6 granola bars
6 boxes grape juice (or other)
6 trail mix (or large bag)
6 spaghettios
6 cans of chili
3 sleeves saltines
12 pudding cups

Other food ideas include: Corned beef hash; ravioli, cookies, canned milk, cheese and crackers, vienna sausages, bread sticks, peanut packages, beef sticks, hot cocoa mix

1st layer in bucket (Chili, Beef Stew, Spaghettios, Progresso soup, raisins, 3 capri suns, smarties, cereal bar, fruit roll-up, granola bar. Note: On 3 of the kits, I put a sleeve of saltines (to share) where one of the capri suns are. I moved the capri sun to the top layer.

Top layer in bucket: 2 fruit cups, applesauce (stacked on one another), puddings, trail mix, cereal boxes, crackers, protein bar, oatmeal, beef jerky. You can't see the things that were stuffed in any available space: fruit snacks, powdered milk etc.

The finished product: I printed off the meal plan and put each person's name on a bucket. These will be stored next to each child's backpack and a family tote.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tips For Canning

Over the past couple of years, friends and neighbors have shared some great tips with me about canning. Hope they help someone else as much as they have helped me!

  • If possible, have someone help you. For some reason, you get more than double the amount, and it is much more fun.
  • If what you are canning requires you to remove the skin (peaches, tomatoes), this tip will save you a ton of time. Tie string TIGHTLY around the plug in your sink. Put plug firmly in place over drain. Fill sink up with peaches or tomatoes, leaving string visible (you can put it over your faucet). Pour boiling water over the fruit until all fruit is covered. Leave on for 30-60 seconds. Pull string to release the plug draining all the water out. Now you have a sinkful of fruit ready to be peeled and used. Much faster than doing several at a time in boiling water.
  • To peel pears, do the step above. Then, instead of peeling with a knife, use a piece of nylon netting from the fabric store. It is sold right next to the toulle, but it has smaller holes and is softer. Simply rub the skins with the netting and it leaves a skinless, beautiful pear.
  • Don't start until your kitchen is clean. This way the process is easier, less stressful, and easier to clean up.
  • Buy a camp stove. I love having the 3 burner stove set up in my garage. It keeps my house cool, and I can do 2 or 3 canners at a time.
  • Use multiple canners. It makes the process twice as fast! If a neighbor or friend has a canner, trade off, so you each can have two going at a time.
  • Make sure you have all the tools that you need out, clean, and ready to go.
  • Wash jars in dishwasher. Keep them hot until ready to use.
  • Buy a package of latex (if you are not allergic) exam gloves. They are really inexpensive. I bought a box of 200 at Sam's Club for about $7.00. Well worth the money. They keep your hands from turning brown when doing peaches and tomatoes. They are wonderful to use when canning meats as well.
  • Enjoy the work of canning. Each season it is very fulfilling to see what I have preserved for my family. We enjoy it all year round.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Peach Pancake Syrup

I have never used a steam juicer before today. Wow! This makes it so easy and fast to make delicious jellies, or my favorite, fruit pancake syrup. Seriously, if you don't have one, you may want to either purchase one or borrow a friends. I had lots of peaches left over and I am done making peach jam, freezer raspberry- peach jam, and bottling sliced peaches. I couldn't bear not to use what I had. Here are the directions to make Peach (or any fruit) Syrup.

Set up steam juicer. Put clamp on hose, so nothing will drip out until you are ready. Put water in water pan (about 3/4 full). Place juice kettle and steam basket on top. When water starts boiling, put fruit in steam basket. If using peaches, simply wash them and remove the pit. Put in juicer. If you want different flavors of syrup, simply add blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries. Let your imagination run wild! I used frozen blackberries mixed with the peaches for a couple of batches and blueberries from the LDS Church Cannery mixed with peaches for another batch .
  1. Watch for steam to come out the lid. When this happens, start timing. It takes about 1 hour to extract the juice from the fruit. Check the water pan occasionally. Do not let it burn dry!! You can either keep the hose unclamped and have it drain into another pan, or keep it clamped until the hour is up, and then unclamp.
  1. Measure 5 cups of sugar into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Measure 3 1/4 cup of juice into a pan. Add 2 TB lemon juice (fresh is best). Add 1 1/2-2 TB fruit pectin (1/4-1/3 of box). Stir until dissolved. Add 1/2 tsp butter or margarine to reduce foaming if desired (this really makes a big difference!). Bring to a rapid boil.
5. Add sugar all at once. Stir well, and bring back to a rapid boil.
6. Boil 2 minutes. Skim if desired.
7. Ladle into hot, clean pint jars.
8.Wipe off rims. Put on prepared lids and rings (only finger tight).
9. Process 15 minutes in boiling water canner (for altitudes of 3001-6000 ft). For 1001-3000 ft process 10 minutes, and for 6001-8000 ft process 20 minutes.
10. Remove jars and place upright on towel about an inch apart.
11. Remove rings and make sure each jar has sealed.
12. Store in cool dark place for up to a year.
13. ENJOY!

This recipe makes 3 pints.

TIP: Do not double recipe in the same pan. For some reason, when doubling, it doesn't set up correctly.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Christmas Shopping.... At a Discount!!

As the time for Christmas shopping is here, I just wanted to make sure everyone knew about It is a fabulous website where, if you check it often, will save you a ton of money. Last year, most of my Christmas shopping was done through this website. My favorite part of the site is under "PYP Forums", then "Screaming Deals Online". It is completely free to use. When people find amazing deals online, they post there. Often times, you need to act quickly, because the deals can go fast. For example, this week I subscribed to one of my favorite magazines, "Taste of Home" for only $2.88 for a year! Needless to say, I signed up for 4 years (total $11.52). This would make a great gift for my MIL as well :)

Last year I purchased Heelie's for my kids for $15 shipped, a real pearl necklace for $3.99 (shipped), 24 scholastic hard books with cd's for $24 (shipped) and many, many more things. Check it out, and hopefully you will find some great deals. I love giving my family a fantastic Christmas without going 1 cent over my small Christmas budget!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Raspberry Peach Freezer Jam

This is my Mom's recipe, that we enjoy year after year. A great way to use up the older, squishier peaches that don't quite make the cut for canning.

Raspberry Peach Freezer Jam
makes 8 pints

2 (6 oz) packages of raspberry jello
2 boxes/containers frozen raspberries with juice
8 cups mashed, ripe peaches
7 cups sugar

Mix over medium heat until sugar and jello are dissolved.
Freeze. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Canning/Freezing Corn

Last week my sister and I decided to preserve corn. After tasting the delicious corn at the local farmer's market, we decided to give it a go! Wow! We learned a few things:
1. It is a lot of work.
2. It is delicious! See the bottom of this post for our "taste test" of both.

The process of preparing the corn is the same for either canning (raw pack), or freezing:
1. Select fresh corn. The sooner you preserve it after it is picked, the better. The grower I bought the corn from said that is should be started within 6 hours of picking.
2. Remove the husk and silk from each cob.
3. Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes.
4. Immediately put in ice water to stop the cooking process.
(The picture to the left is the corn after it has been blanched and taken out of the ice water.)

5. Cut kernels from cob. I thought an electric knife was easiest. TIP: If you put the cob in a bundt pan, the kernels fall directly into the pan.

For canning:

1. Put kernels in jar, leaving 1 inch headspace.
2. Add 1/2 tsp salt to pints, and 1 tsp salt to quarts.
3. Add boiling water to jar, once again leaving 1 inch headspace.
4. Put prepared lids and rings on jar.
5. Process in PRESSURE CANNER for 55 minutes for pints and 85 minutes for quarts. (Corn is a very low acid food, and must be canned in a pressure canner for the specified amount of time at the correct pressure!)

Use the pressure below:
0-2000 ft: 11 pounds pressure
2001-4000 ft: 12 pounds pressure
4001-6000 ft: 13 pounds pressure (Utah County)
6000+ ft: 14 pounds pressure

It took about 4 ears per pint. Each ear yielded approximately 1/2 cup of kernels.

For Freezing: (The grower gave me the recipe for the syrup to put on it. He said it would be the best corn you've tasted. After tasting it, I have to agree!)
1. After corn is off the cob, fill quart size freezer bags (I put 2 cups per quart bag, even though it could have held more. I wanted to pack it in portions my family would use for 1 meal).
2. Make a syrup of 1 cup water, 1 TB salt, and 1 TB sugar. Boil together.
3. Add 1/4 cup of syrup to each bag.
4. Freeze.
5. When you are ready to use the frozen corn, there is no need to add any additional liquid to heat it up. The syrup you put in gives it a wonderful flavor as well.

Taste comparison: The canned corn is better than any canned corn I have bought. With sweeter varieties of corn, the canning process tends to turn the corn a little brown. The frozen corn was even better than the canned corn, and kept its bright color. I want to have both in my food storage, but the frozen was definately the overall winner! It tasted like it came right off the cob.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Homemade Ranch Dressing & Dip

This delicious recipe comes from my friend (Thanks Jenni!) and is wonderful. It is a great way to use dried onions!

Homemade Ranch Dressing/Dip

1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup dehydrated onions
1/2 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp onion salt
2 cups real mayonnaise
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp Accent flavor enhancer

Add water to dehydrated onions and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients. Drain onions and add to mixture, stirring well.

Tip: Although fresh buttermilk is the best, if you don't have any, you can stir in 1 TB of either vinegar or lemon juice into 1 cup of milk. Let sit for 3-5 minutes, and you will have buttermilk!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Preserving Jams & Jellies

Follow These Steps in Making Jam or Jelly at Home:

  1. Wash and sterilize mason canning jars (either 1/2 pint, or pint) in dishwasher. You want to make sure the jars will be hot until ready to use. If you don't have a dishwasher, boil jars for 10 minutes.
  2. Put lids in simmering water for 2 minutes to soften the seal.
  3. Prepare jam or jelly according to recipe directions. Boil for the recommended time in the recipe and then quickly skim off foam (if needed or desired).
  4. Remove presterilized jars from the dishwasher one at a time. Fill quickly with the hot jelly or jam mixture, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the sealing surface of the jars with a clean paper towel, dampened with hot water, to remove any jelly, jam or sugar crystals. Put lid and ring on jar (finger tight only). Work quickly to insure that the filled jars stay as hot as possible until all are filled and ready to load into the canner for processing. However, remember the jam or jelly mixture is very hot and take precautions not to burn yourself!
  5. Load the filled jars, fitted with lids, into the canner one at a time, using a jar lifter. Keep the jar upright at all times. Tilting the jar could cause the hot jelly or jam mixture to spill into the sealing area of the lid, which should remain clean and undisturbed. The water in the canner can be close to boiling when the jars are added, if you have made sure the filled product has remained very hot until the canner load is ready.
  6. Turn the heat under the canner to its highest setting, cover the canner with its lid and heat until the water boils vigorously. Process the jars for 10 minutes (altitude 1000-3000 ft) 15 minutes (altitude 3001-6000 ft) or 20 minutes (altitude 6001-8000 ft) after the water boils. The water level in the canner should be 1-2 inches above the tops of the jars. The water in the canner must remain boiling during the entire time, so keep the heat source on high and a tight lid on the canner.
  7. When the jars have been processed in boiling water for the recommended time, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Wait 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner; use a jar lifter and keep jars upright. Carefully place them directly onto a towel or cake cooling rack, leaving at least one inch of space between the jars during cooling. Avoid placing the jars on a cold surface or in a cold draft.
  8. Cool jars upright for 12-24 hours while vacuum seal is drawn and jam or jelly sets up. Let the jars sit undisturbed while they cool. Do not tighten ring bands on the lids or push down on the center of the flat metal lid until the jar is completely cooled.
  9. Remove ring bands from sealed jars. Put any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use first.
  10. Wash jars and lids to remove all residues. Label and store in a cool, dry place out of direct light.
  11. -Some information taken from National Center for Food Preservation