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  • Baby Steps to a Preparedness Network

    We've got relationships on the brain this month. Having a friendly relationship with your neighbors can be a crucial survival tool. Ideally every individual and family is prepared, but it’s almost impossible to gather all the information, knowledge, skills, and equipment you’ll need for every possible scenario. This is where building a neighborhood group or a network of prepared people can help.

    Once you’ve got your basic short-term survival kit and food storage taken care of, take a look at other prepared families and see how you might help each other. The idea is to find like-minded, trustworthy individuals who have differing skills, and are willing to work together in a crisis.

    To make sure your support network is in place before disaster hits, follow these baby steps.

    Baby Step 1: Make a list of your skills and resources.

    Think of services you can provide and what equipment you have.

    Baby Step 2: Make a list of skills and resources you need.

    Some of the most valuable resources are people with skills and equipment that are common, yet specialized. Here are some commonly needed skills:

    • Paramedic, nurse, other medical workers
    • Construction workers (with access to a backhoe, jackhammer, or crane)
    • Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, or masons
    • Mechanics, drivers, or people with a HAZMAT license

    Baby Step 3: Meet your neighbors.

    Borrow a cup of sugar. Yeah, it’s an excuse… but if you need a reason, this one is as good as any. To thank them, make a batch of something sweet and when you take it over, chat for a bit.

    If you’re not the outgoing, introduce-yourself-in-person type, no problem! Diane Schmidt at About.com has a great idea.

    “I once wrote a note and attached it to a jar of homemade jam and left it on a neighbor's porch. I introduced our family, said where we lived, and that we were around if they needed anything. It was simple and brief and in return, we found some really great friends.”

    Baby Step 4: Get to know your neighbors better.

    Invite your neighbors over for a backyard hot dog roast, a mid-winter wassail party, or multi-family game night. The event doesn't have to be elaborate. In fact, you’ll enjoy it more if it’s casual, low-key, and fun.

    • Play games based on specific skills: knot tying, communication, problem solving, first aid, etc.
    • Play a get-to-know-you game: Write questions on cards and use them as prompts.

                            Given a specific situation (stranded in your car, lost in the woods, etc.) what would you do?
                            Have you ever survived a natural disaster?

    If your neighbors don’t respond enthusiastically, don’t get discouraged. There are plenty of people in town who are interested in prepping. They may lay low, but you’ll find them.

    Baby Step 5: Reach out to people in your area via our Forum.

    Our forum is a virtual network across the U.S. Contributors actively discuss topics and answer each other’s questions. You’ll find that there is a wide range of participants, from beginners to seasoned preppers. Click here to visit the Emergency Essentials Forum.

    You may also consider posting a note on the message board at a local outdoor supplier, hunting and sporting goods store, or on the American Prepper Network.

    Always use caution when communicating via the internet. Don’t post any personal information like your home address or phone number. If you are going to meet someone you’ve been introduced to online, meet in a public place, tell someone you trust where you’re going, who you’re meeting, and when you plan to return.

    Build up a network before a disaster hits your neighborhood!

  • Valentine's Day Menus: Avoid a Dinner Disaster

    If you haven’t got your ducks in a row for your Valentine's Day dinner yet, don’t worry—we’ve got an Anti-Disaster Valentine’s Menu for you. If you've got the following food storage items in your prepared pantry you in luck! Not only is the food going to be delicious, but you won’t have to spend the rest of today frantically chopping, peeling, dicing, and who knows what to prepare the food. We've even got two menu options for you. Check ‘em out:


    Menu 1- Veggie frittata, green salad, and vanilla ice cream with an apricot and strawberry compote.

    Treat your sweetie (or your sweet family) to a delicious Food Storage Veggie Frittata and some green salad; then finish with some vanilla ice cream smothered with a tangy and sweet compote.

    Maybe you’re not familiar with frittata and compote, so let’s get down to the nitty gritty: a frittata is basically an omelet that’s baked instead of cooked on the stovetop, and a compote is basically fruit that is mixed with sugar, then cooked on the stovetop until the fruit is stewed and the fruit juice and sugar have created a sweet syrup (translation= it’s awesome, and you want it on your ice cream).



    Veggie Frittata (makes 4 servings)

    Preheat your oven to broil on low.

    Combine all the vegetables in a medium bowl and add enough water to completely cover them. While they are reconstituting, mix up the eggs and have them ready. When the vegetables are tender, drain them well and add them to the egg mix. Add the cheddar (do not reconstitute). Mix all the ingredients well, and pour into a cast iron (or other oven-ready) skillet.

    Cook over medium heat until the bottom of the frittata is set, then place the skillet under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until fully set and golden on top. Watch closely so it doesn't burn!

    Note: you can also cook the frittata entirely in the oven, without using the stovetop. Just preheat the oven to 350 F, and place the skillet into the oven. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until the frittata is just set in the center. 

    Fruit Compote Ice Cream Topping (makes 4 servings)

    In a medium bowl, reconstitute the fruit, then drain.

    Add fruit and a small amount of sugar to a medium saucepan. Stir to mix well. Stir continually until the fruit has stewed and the juices have combined with the sugar to create a syrupy-looking liquid. Adjust the amount of water and sugar as needed to get your preferred consistency.

    Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly (or completely if you prefer).

    Serve over ice cream. Garnish with crushed vanilla cookies (optional). 


    Menu 2 - Pork Chops, green salad, and a fudgy brownie sundae with peanut butter sauce.

    Veggie frittata not your style? Looking for something with a little more… well, frankly, more meat? Check out these variations you can use to make the Mountain House Pork Chops (which, I’ll be honest, I loved, and I’m not usually a big fan of pork in general).

    Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Chops

    Option 1)     Reconstitute the pork chops as directed—and treat them as you would raw meat.

    Once they’re ready to cook, heat your pan on the stove top and add some oil to prevent the chops from sticking. Sprinkle the chops with salt, pepper, and brown sugar on top, and place top-side down into the pan. Sprinkle again with salt, pepper, and brown sugar before turning. The sugar will give the pork chops a nice hint of sweetness and (even more important, in my opinion) a gorgeous caramelized color.

    Option 2)     Follow the directions above.

    In addition to the brown sugar, add some reconstituted freeze-dried raspberries to the top of the pork chop after it has been turned. (You can sweeten the raspberries if you like—I prefer the contrast of the sweet brown sugar glaze on the pork chop against the tangy raspberries).

    If you don’t already have the Mountain House Pork Chops, you should snag some while they’re on sale this month. There are limited quantities, so they may sell out any time. And believe me… if a nice pork chop is comfort food to you, then you want these in your food storage.


    Fudgy Brownie Sundae with Peanut Butter Sauce

    How can you go wrong with chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter together? You can’t. Everything about this combination is right—like you and your Valentine.

    There are two ways to make this dessert happen. And they’re both from food storage. (Except the ice cream, although we do sell that.)

    Option 1: No baking required

    To make the Peanut Butter sauce, just reconstitute the Peanut Butter powder so it’s thinner than you would normally make it for spreading. Add vanilla and sugar to taste, and pour over the brownie and ice cream.

    Option 2: Some baking required (a.k.a., hot, gooey brownies fresh from the oven for your sundae. Mmmm…)

    Make the brownies according to the directions. You could also reconstitute a bit of extra Peanut Butter powder and drop it into the brownie batter by the spoonful, then swirl, back, and serve with ice cream and sauce on top (if you want a double punch of peanut butter.)


    We hope these recipes can help you avoid a Valentine's Day disaster! Enjoy!




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