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Cooking With Beans!

Cooking With Beans!

A couple of weeks ago, I taught a class on cooking with beans.  I have taught this class many times, and I absolutely love cooking with beans and eating them!  Each time I teach this class I learn something new, and of course learn so many new recipes.  It is actually kind of fun. I love experimenting with beans to find new ways to use them.  Tonight I made a really yummy gravy, and instead of thickening it with corn starch or flour, I used bean flour.  It worked out great!  I had to whisk it a little bit more, because it tended to leave the tiny little dumplings on the top of the gravy look – but my whisk took care of that.  The gravy was delicious and nutritious!

Black Bean Brownies

Anyways, I was prepping for this class, and the day before the class I had a very strong AHA moment.  I was reviewing some of the things that I could do with beans, their value, their versatility, and their ease of storing, when all of a sudden I had the biggest AHA moment that I have ever felt with beans.

I totally understood why we are counseled to store beans for long term food storage.  It totally makes sense to me. I mean I always knew that they were good to store, but I learned even more why!

Beans are the all around healthy food for pretty much every purpose.  Here are some of the things that we can do with them.

  • Beans can replace proteins in our meals, and by combining them with another form of protein, they make up a complete protein that is usable by our bodies, and has way less fats than other forms of proteins.  They can be mashed, fried, baked, roasted, toasted, or made into salad.  The possibilities are endless.
  • Beans can be ground into flour and used in baking by replacing portions or all of the wheat flour with bean flour, depending on what you are baking.  This offers a much more nutritious way to baking for those fussy eaters who need that nutrition.  Flour can also be used in gravies (like I did tonight), sauces, dips, and pretty much any type of cooking that you need to thicken.  The only thing about cooking with bean flour in your baking, you will need to add more of your leavening agent like yeast or baking powder, because the bean flour is much heavier than wheat flour.  It doesn’t have a natural gluten to help things stick together so remember than when substituting it in baking as well.
  • Beans can also be used in baking by mashing up cooked beans and using them to replace the fats, either partial or all, in baking.  If you are replacing oil, you can blend up the beans with enough
    Black Bean Tortillas

    water to make them oil like consistency.  If replacing shortening, mash them up to resemble this texture.  To start with this I would experiment with various recipes until you get the hang of it.  Maybe start by replacing half and half beans and fats.  You will be making yummy food and it will still be nutritious.  They will never even know it is good for them. This one is extremely important to our food storage, because whenever there is food shortage problems, and especially during the famine over in Europe some time ago, if you do the research, the thing they were crying out for the most was fats to use in their cooking and baking.  Beans can provide the needed fats for the baking portion!  Yes it really will work!  Applesauce can also replace some of the fats in your baking – but that is another post!

  • Beans when sprouted, increase their nutritional value exponentially.  They offer so many vitamins and minerals that they could offer a complete meal, pretty much all on their own.  Sprouting them, use them in soups, salads, or any other meals.  All they really need to do is sprout to contain these vitamins.  If you use mung beans to sprout and get the same sort of sprouts that you can buy in the stores, it will help you to get healthy, lose weight and alkalize your body.  If you sprout regular beans, then dry them, and then use them in flours, baking, and cooking, you will still gain all of the nutrition.  What a complete power packed source of food by sprouting.
  • Storing beans can be done indefinitely if proper conditions are provided.  If they are kept dry and cool, they will last for many years, far longer than you or I will live.  Excavating the pyramids in Egypt, they found beans that had been stored for thousands of years, and guess what?  They were still as good as if they were first grown.  Keep them dry, and clean, and they will last forever.
  • Finally, but not the least by any means, they are so inexpensive to buy, and easy to use once you get used to them.  You can pick them up pretty much anywhere, but the place where I purchase them, which is probably the cheapest for the types they sell, is the LDS Church Cannery.  The LDS church has many of these canneries scattered throughout North America, and they will sell to anyone.  Search one out and see what they have to offer for beans.

My AHA moment – We are counseled to store beans for our long term food storage program, and I understand why.  They are an amazing food group / food groups, all wrapped up in one.  Why wouldn’t we want to eat them, and store them, and learn to cook with them?

What are your thoughts on beans?  I would love to hear them, and would really love to try out your favorite recipes. Please share them with me!

 

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Back To Basics – Shelter

Shelter

Shelter is at the top of the priority list for survival situations. Hypothermia or heat can kill within 30 minutes. Proper shelter, especially in extreme weather is very important.  You can find out more about emergency shelter for different situations in my Personal Preparedness Portfolio.

Clothing is a form of shelter for our bodies to protect us from the elements. Layering clothes helps to prepare us for any conditions or activities, disasters, or storms. Use three layers when thinking of how to dress for the weather. Layer one is the underwear which provides a basic insulation and will move the moisture – away from the skin, preventing chill when your activity stops. Choose long underwear, or thin, snug fitting pants and a long sleeved t-shirts.

The next layer is the insulation –- use one or more layers depending on the severity of the weather, including layers of pants to keep your legs warm, sweaters, and other  types of sweatshirts are good insulators as well.

Finally the outer clothing –- wear clothing that is windproof and waterproof if  possible. A good fit is very important. If it is too big, heat loss can happen quickly,  and too small and you may not have enough room for other layers.

Emergency shelter – Do you have shelter that will be quick and easy to transport

Emergency Shelter, What will yours be?

Emergency Shelter, What will yours be?

and put up? A good tent that will keep you out of nature’s elements is of most  importance. The tent should be easy to set up and of good quality. Think of what you  will need to reinforce your shelter, even if it is in your own home, things like: duct  tape, nails, plastic sheeting, and so on.

Another alternate for emergency situations is to have a good evacuation location  organized ahead of time, it may be at a family location or friends house. It could even  be at a hotel for a short term. Evacuation shelters are always an option too, and the city or government will often set these up pretty quickly. Will your clothing and  shelter keep you alive if the weather is really cold? Make sure you have clothing for  all ages that are in your family. Have them ready in your go bags, so you don’t have to hunt for the survival clothing. Hats, gloves, for both warm and cold weather, sturdy shoes, or boots, all necessary for survival in different temperatures.

There is also another thing to consider, when talking about shelter.  Sometimes in emergency situations, we might be asked to shelter in place instead of evacuate.  There are a number of reasons for this like: chemical spills, hurricane or severe weather, sickness / pandemic, toxic explosions, and things like this.

Following is the advice that is given by Canadian Fertilizers, a company in my city, that works with dangerous chemicals. They have created a shelter in place plan forCanadian Fertilizers Shelter In Placethe city and they list some very good guidelines on their website.  They also share this information with schools and business’ for the safety of all in the city. Here are the guides. You can find more information about it on their website.

“If you hear the Shelter-In-Place instruction on the radio or TV, go inside and turn on your radio to find out what you should do. Or, if you smell a strong or unusual odor and you don’t know where it’s coming from, go inside and begin Shelter-in-place procedures while you listen to the radio for information.

While it is only natural to want to go get your children from school in the event of an emergency, attempting to do so during a chemical emergency could just make   matters worse. You and your children could experience exposure to a much greater chemical hazard while traveling to or from school.

The local schools are developing emergency procedures. These are designed to ensure that your children would be safe at school during an emergency……

In some cases, evacuation is the better thing to do. However, evacuation could increase your chances of being exposed to the airborne chemical hazard. Evacuation is also more time consuming, especially with our limited road systems. The decision to evacuate or Shelter-in-place will be made by local emergency authorities.”

The most important thing that you can do, is listen to the authorities and be quick to obey. They know the extent of what the hazard can be and we need to take trust them that they are doing what is best for us.

You could create a bin and leave it in the designated room, strictly for shelter in place items. This bin should include duct tape and sheets of plastic that are cut to fit over doors, windows, vents, cracks, and whatever else the room might have that would allow in air from the outside. Keep a radio in the bin with fresh batteries. Perhaps add in a few activities that the children might want to do that will help time pass.

Here are what the steps to sheltering in place:
1. Go inside your home and verify the emergency. Turn on your local tv or radio station to get the updates as they happen.
2. Close all of your windows and doors.
3. Shut off the furnace, vents, fans, air conditioner, fireplace dampeners, and anything else that might be bringing in outside air to your home.
4. Enter and seal a smaller room in your home. Seal it with duct tape and wet cloths stuffed between larger cracks. Breathe through a wet towel to filter the air. Reduce or avoid smoking all together to reduce the amount of contaminates in the air.
5. Continue to listen to the radio or tv for further instructions. Try to keep the phone lines free for the emergency workers to use the lines as needed.
6. Do not leave the building unless you have been given an all clear from the authorities.

What’s your plan?  If you don’t have one, you should pick up my book, Personal Preparedness Portfolio, as it’s sole purpose is to guide you through a step by step process to be prepared for anything.  So what is your plan?  I would love to hear it.

 

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A Few Questions

Elder Robert D. Hales “The economic clouds that have long threatened the world are now fully upon us. The impact of this economic storm on our Heavenly Father’s children requires a gospel vision of welfare today more than ever before.” (“A Gospel Vision of Welfare: Faith in Action,” in Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance

Here are a few questions to ask yourself about the basics we are talking about.

How would you survive a disaster that caused panic and shut down all stores in your area? Would you be able to contribute to your neighbors and community, or would you be forced to beg neighbors for food?

Could you and your family survive tornadoes, hurricanes, or snowstorms that sent tornado-noaaeveryone into a “panic-buying” mode – emptying the store shelves and grabbing anything they could get their hands on? What if the stores couldn’t get restocked for weeks?

How would you live during weeks of “rolling blackouts”  or ice storms that shut things down, making it impossible to keep food stored.

What would you do if severe flooding hit your area, roads were washed out, nobody in and nobody out?  No trucks to restock stores?  What would you do?

The part that makes me worry is that people don’t think these things could ever happen, but all we need to do is watch the news, to realize that it is a reality that we all have to deal with today.

START WITH BASICS OF FOOD AND WATER

I have written a step by step guide to help you.  It is helpful for people to have a workbook

Personal Preparedness Portfolio

Personal Preparedness Portfolio

in hand to refer to it often.  In my Personal Preparedness Portfolio, I have laid out worksheets, check off lists, and guides to help us get prepared for pretty much anything.  You can take it to any level you want, and it all starts with the very basics of Food and Water.

Next basic we will be talking about is Shelter.  Check back!

 

 

Back to Basics – Food Storage

Back to Basics – Food Storage

A fellow blogger at Preparing For The Worst just wrote an excellent article on the importance of water storage, and it was very detailed.  I don’t think I can top that one, so I won’t even try.  Refer to his article to find out all about the basics of water in our prepping plans.

Today I would like to go into a bit of detail about why we should have a food storage program in our homes.  I do cover these in some detail in my book Personal Preparedness Portfolio.  Here you will find lists and worksheets that will help you figure things out.

There are three basic types of food storage that we should consider:

1. Emergency Food, often considered 72 hour kit food, or bug out food.  It consists of food that you could grab at the last minute and flee from your home because of some

72 hr survival kit.  Go to your Personal Preparedness Portfolio to find all your checklists of what you need.

72 hr survival kit. Go to your Personal Preparedness Portfolio to find all your checklists of what you need.

disaster situation.  This food would keep you alive for a few days until the government could step in and offer some relief, or until you could be able to return home, where you would have more food stored.  This food is usually something that can be eaten with or without heating.  It is lightweight because you have to carry it to wherever you are going.  It has nutritional value because you body will already be under great stress, so you will want to maintain your health the best you can.

Here is his scenario:  A severe pandemic has spread through your area.  The hospital is overflowing with patients, to the point of turning them away because they just can’t help them – or it is all under quarantine (nobody in and nobody out).  The schools are closed.  Many stores have had to close, due to no employees, and no truck drivers delivering goods because they are all sick too.  Business is running with minimal staffing, as most of them are home sick.  The food in your home is easy to prepare, because you are used to cooking it.  It won’t interrupt your diet at this crucial time.  Maybe Mom is sick and Dad or a sibling has to cook.  They will be able to figure it out because it is familiar to your family.  After three months, or hopefully less, the scare of this wave of the pandemic has passed,

After the Japan earthquake, people did panic and the store selves did empty

After the Japan earthquake, people did panic and the store selves did empty

and life can get back to some sort of normal.

I remember also about 2o years ago, there was a trucker’s strike, due to gasoline prices.  Within 24 hours of the trucks going on strike, all of the grocery stores in our city were closed, and their shelves were emptied because panic had set in.  People rushed to the stores to purchase anything and everything they could to get them through the tough times.  We luckily had enough in our home store, that we didn’t have to worry.  We just sat back and watched it develop on television.  Things can change so very quickly.

What if you found yourself sick or unemployed?  Wouldn’t it be great to know that at least for three months, you wouldn’t have to change your eating habits, at least not very much.  Hopefully after that time, you will have new employment, or have recovered from your sickness.

It is easy enough to gather a 3 month supply.  One way to do this is to pick 14 of your family’s favorite meals and write out the ingredients that would be needed to prepared this list of meals.  Multiply it by 6 and you will have a three month supply of main meals.  Do this for breakfast and lunch meals, and then any snacks you want to include.  Do the math and planning, then watch for sales to start stocking up as quickly and cheaply as you can.  If you use something off the shelf, keep a list of what things you need to purchase as sales come on again.

3. Long term food storage – food that will sustain life for up to one year.  When I talk about long term food storage, I don’t mean the same types of food that would be in your three month supply, even though some of them might be the same.  I am talking food that is inexpensive to purchase, has a long shelf life, and will provide essential nutrients to help your family stay alive for up to a year if needed.  Food like this would include beans and legumes, grains like rice, oats and pasta, wheat – which

Buckets, jars, cans, it doesn't matter how you store it, just do it.

Buckets, jars, cans, it doesn’t matter how you store it, just do it.

could be sprouted, ground, or made into valuable meat substitutes, baking essentials like salt, sugar, soda, yeast, honey, and powdered milk.  Cooking with these types of foods takes a little bit of practice, but if you are willing to put in a little time and effort, you will find that with these basics, you can be pretty creative and make some delicious meals.  To these basics I would add things like spices, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats, and any others that you might feel you need to cook from basics and from scratch.

Why would we need to have long term food storage?  Let’s think about that for a bit.  What if you have just been through a serious pandemic situation?  Your three month supply of familiar foods is gone, and there is still much to recover before life can ever get back to normal.  If this pandemic is a serious virus, such as the bird flu or something that deadly, it could be quite likely that there is a high death count.  Who is going to replace all of the workers?  The truckers?  The farmers?  Who is going to help rebuild your society?  It will take some time, and your family will be able to contribute to this because you have food, and you will have health and energy.  You may even be able to help feed a few others.

What if we our governments have just collapsed, and we have seen recently just how easily this could happen. I have my doubts that there would be anyone coming to the rescue of North America if our governments went bankrupt.  Take a look at what happened to some of the smaller countries, and multiply that by exponential amounts to see what it would like here.  Not a pretty picture.  The only countries that are big enough or rich enough to bail us out, we don’t want their help, so we would be in a rough predicament.  How good it would feel to know that you could at least feed your family.  You may not be eating steak, but you would be fed.  A person can cope with so much more as long as the tummy is full.  People tend to go a little nuts when they are trying to feed themselves, or their children.

Personal Preparedness Portfolio - full of lists and guides to help you get prepared for anything.

Personal Preparedness Portfolio – full of lists and guides to help you get prepared for anything.

There are many situations that could have us relying on our long term food storage.  Hyper-inflation, war, terrorism, economics, weather causing food shortages, unemployment, death, pandemic, natural disasters, and I am sure more you can think of.  Long term storage is fairly inexpensive to buy, has a very long shelf life, if stored properly, and can sustain life for a long time on very little.  It is vital to your preparedness plan for your family.

Suggested amounts for your family are:

Basic Long Term Storage
Per adult for one year


Grains: 400 lbs.
Legumes*: 60 lbs.
Powdered Milk: 16 lbs.
Cooking oil: 10 qts.
Sugar or honey: 60 lbs.
Salt: 8 lbs.
Water (2 wks) 15 gal.

*Legumes include dry beans, split peas, lentils, etc.
Source: First Presidency Letter, 2002 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Do the math and get planning and preparing.  Remember the quote by Benjamin Franklin: By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. 

Let’s not fail.  Let’s be the ones who can contribute to society no matter what situation we might find ourselves in.

 

 

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Hydration for the Apocalypse: How to Store Water for Long-Term Emergencies | The Art of Manliness

Excellent article that covers all of the water basics for prepping.

Preparing for the Worst

Hydration for the Apocalypse: How to Store Water for Long-Term Emergencies | The Art of Manliness.

Your community in action - moving food, water, medicines into shelters.

A big storm and earthquake hits your town. It’s a certifiable quakenado.

Your house is spared structural damage, but the power and water are out. According to news reports, the grid is down in your area and several water mains are broken. Conservative estimates are that it will take crews at least a week to get water service back on.

Would you have enough water in your home for you and your family to last until the water came back? Or if you live in the southwest, would you have enough in a situation where your city just plain runs out of water?

View original post 2,623 more words

 

Back To The Basics

Back to the basics!  An interesting concept, and one that is different for each of us.  It really depends where you are on the spectrum of preparedness.  If you are the person that has been “prepping” for years, and have learned new skills, gathered all of your food storage, and even have a great supply of weapons, then your “back to basics” will be different from someone who is just learning about the value of being prepared.  However, I will attempt to cover the general back to basics and you can read between the lines and fill in any blanks.

When disaster strikes, and it always does, what will you need to keep your family alive and

Water Storage

Water Storage

as comfortable as possible?  This is the question that you MUST ask yourselves.  I think that we have seen that no place in this world are we exempt from the possibility of some kind of disaster happening.  Keeping in mind that “disaster”, doesn’t  necessarily mean natural disaster.  It could also be man made, such as economic problems, or terrorism.

Back to the question of: What will you need to keep your family alive and as comfortable as possible during a disaster situation?  Let’s think about the basics to sustain life and offer some comfort.  Water, food, and shelter are life sustaining needs.  Medical can be added into this category of life sustaining, especially if you take any medication from prescription or other means.  The next set of needs would include: lighting, cooking, sanitation, heating,

Canning is one way to save food storage.

Canning is one way to save food storage.

financial, safety and communication.

I am going to take the next few posts and go into each of these areas in more detail.  For now remember the “rule of three”, for the 3 most important areas.  You can only survive extreme weather conditions for 3 hours without severe consequences.  You can only survive for 3 days without water.  You can only survive 3 weeks without food.

Shelter, water, and food are the most important.  Shelter is of course dependent on where you live and the weather situations.

I would love to hear your thoughts or personal stories as I work through this mini series of Back to the Basics.

 

 

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Gardening With The Future In Mind

Last year I really started thinking different about gardening.  Normally my gardens would include what fresh vegetables we might want through the summer months, and what produce I could grow to preserve and use for the winter.  I have always been blessed with great family and friends who have very large gardens / farms who have let me work for produce and such.  My dad has always had a large market garden / berry farm, but when he decided to sell out soon, I started to realize that I have wasted many of my years here, by not starting sooner to build up my own little yard into my own little survival garden.

Last year I planted cherry trees, Saskatoon bushes, raspberry bushes, some strawberry plants and currant bushes. We already have a really great set up of grape vines which

Gardening in pots.

Gardening in pots.

provide all the juice and jelly that we could use in a season.  However if I had planted these 12 years ago when we moved into this home, I would have a really great little berry farm on my corner lot in the city.  Now I have to wait for a few years to really see the benefits of planting these.

I have also planted a few herbs that are perennials. Some of these are herbs that we use on a daily basis, so planting them will help us long term to become more self reliant.  Some herbs are annuals where I live, so they need to be planted each year.

A couple of years ago we built four raised beds, that have proven to be prolific in pretty

Calendula, a herb that benefits the garden and your health.

Calendula, a herb that benefits the garden and your health.

much whatever I plant in them.  I love them!  They are so easy to weed and water, easy to plant, and easy to harvest the produce.  I have tried to used the square foot method of gardening in them a bit, and it seems to work great.  We have also built some metal sides to the raised beds, that way we can wrap them in plastic to make little 4 by 4 green houses.  It works like a charm.

Okay, so I have some perennial herbs planted, and lots of berry bushes and trees planted, but what other things can I get growing and how can I make better use of my yard to make my family more self reliant?

Probably one of the first things that you can do when planting a garden, is to try and buy garden seeds that are called “Heirloom” seeds.  These can grow produce for this year, and if you save the seeds, you can use them to grow produce next year and from year to year. The seeds that

Zucchini growing in pots

Zucchini growing in pots

are called hybrid seeds, are genetically modified to produce a great, heavy yielding crop for the one year, and then you have to purchase seeds again for the next year.  They will not produce fruit from planting the seed the second year.  You can use a mixture of seeds in your garden, depending on what you want, but just make sure you keep notes on which seeds are which, that way you can save useful seeds, and not waste time on others.

It would be wise also to learn which native weeds are actually herbs and food.  Many of these most obnoxious weeds we have, could sustain life, and actually help heal many of our minor complaints.  Weeds like dandelion, plantain, burdock, mullein, and portulaca can be

My grapes in their second year.  I need to update my pictures to the fifth year of growth.

My grapes in their second year. I need to update my pictures to the fifth year of growth.

really noxious weeds, but are all really healthy for us to eat, and have some amazing healing properties.  These can be a great resource for our survival gardening, just learning where to find them and what to do with them.

Some good vegetables to plant would include: green or yellow beans, corn (if you have the space), tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, cucumbers and squash (if you have the space).  Some of these take up quite a bit of space, so you can either get the kinds that climb, or find another garden space that you can let them spread.  You can learn to plant climbers with stalk plants, like beans or peas with corn, and then plant squash around the base to fill in.

You can plant things in pots too.  There are many years that I have not had enough garden space, so I grow things in pots.  Peppers, tomatoes, beans, carrots, and even zucchini can grow in pots.  Do a little bit of research because with careful attention, you can do all of your gardening in pots, if you are motivated enough.

No this isn't my yard, but maybe someday it will look this good! Notice a few pots in amongst the planted ones.

No this isn’t my yard, but maybe someday it will look this good! Notice a few pots in amongst the planted ones.

This year, I am going to make a couple of more raised beds.  I am running out of room in my yard, so I may have to use up some of my lawn and turn it into garden space.  We can each do little things each year, that can have a huge benefit for the future years.  One day, one year at a time, we can become a little bit more self sufficient.

 

 

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