Search results for: 'canning'

  • 10 Simple Steps to Self-Sufficiency

    10 Simple Steps to Self-Sufficiency

    Most of us don’t have the luxury/ability/desire/whatever to be 100% self-sufficient, but there are things you can start doing today that will put you on the road to being 10% or 20% or 90% self-sufficient, and that is a great goal, too!

    1. Get an emergency fund. While most of us can’t completely live off what we grow and make ourselves, being financially secure is a great step on the path to being completely self-sufficient. If you have a financial reserve, you can buy the necessities that you may not have on hand. Aim for 3-6 months of expenses in a high-yield savings account (easily accessible, don’t invest this money in inaccessible funds). Live on less than what you earn, and use the rest for building an emergency fund and investing for retirement. Whether it’s 30%, 60%, or 80% depends on your living expenses and income. After each paycheck, place a specific percentage into your emergency fund until you have 3-6 months saved. Replenish as necessary (but remember this is an emergency fund, not a vacation or “fun” fund). Part of becoming financially self-sufficient is reducing your debt to become debt-free.

    2. Start a garden. Whether it’s a bag of potting soil with a few tomatoes growing out of it, or a perfect, huge organic garden, every little bit helps! This list of great gardening books with short summaries of their contents to get you started. There are all kinds of gardening methods from square-foot to pots, and there is sure to be one that fits your budget and space. On social media you can join groups about gardening in your area; these groups can be a ton of help in getting you started. Or ask an expert like your seed supplier, local master gardeners, or your neighbors who are pros).

    3. Edible landscaping. Beyond an actual vegetable garden, you can landscape your yard with things you can eat! Better Homes and Gardens has a great article about this. Edible landscaping includes fruit trees and shrubs, vines, groundcover, flowers, herbs, and more! You get a beautiful yard, and you can eat it!

    4. Compost. There is one thing a lawn is great for (besides playing on), and that is green material for a compost pile. OrganicGardening.com has a great basic instruction guide for building a compost pile. Essentially, you need “brown” (dead leaves, newspaper, dead flowers –carbon-rich) and “green” (plant-based kitchen waste, grass clippings – nitrogen-rich) materials, a shovel-full of garden soil, and some room, and you will have great compost for feeding your garden or edible landscape.

    5. Preserve what you grow. Once you start harvesting things from your yard and garden, you need to know how to preserve your bounty to use during the off-season. It does take time, but it saves a lot of money on food. This can include canning, freezing, drying (read our post Preparedness Basics: How to Use a Dehydrator), pickling, smoking, and more.

    6. Learn How to Cook from scratch. Once you have a bunch of great produce and other plants from your edible landscape and garden, you need to know how to cook with these great ingredients. Pick up some cookbooks and start experimenting. Turn that backyard bounty into healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals for your family. You can also learn to make your own dairy products like cheese, yogurt, butter, and ice cream. Check out our article, Cheese Making 101: A Basic Guide to get started. Making food from scratch could save you big money since the prices on these items always seem to be going up!

    7. Bake your own bread. Bread, especially the whole grain kind, can be expensive—sometimes costing over $4.00 a loaf! You can make bread at home for around $.50 a loaf (plus you can control what you put in it). This will save you money and help you be more self-sufficient (and it’s delicious). You can also read our post 6 Reasons Why you should Grind Your Own Wheat to learn the benefits of adding home-ground wheat to your homemade bread.

    8. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Being self-sufficient is also about frugality and learning new skills. You can make your own cleaning supplies for a fraction of the cost of store-bought bottled cleaners. Bring out your inner-chemist and mix up these cleaners from Living Well, Spending Less. You can also make your own personal care products like these from Keeper of the Home.

    You can also fix-it yourself. Learn how to do simple plumbing and electrical work, paint your own deck, etc. (You can also learn to [reuse “trash”] for new purposes. It can be a lot of fun!) And, of course, you can always ask yourself “Do I really need that?” before buying something new.

    9. Walk and bike. Not only does this give you a workout, it will save on car insurance, gas, and maintenance. This can take more “time,” but if you plan it right, it can be your workout and it can help you to spend less on your shopping trips because you can’t carry as much back and you won’t be at the store as often.

    10. First-Aid equipped. There are a lot of natural remedies for the small things that ail us (things you can grow in your edible/usable landscape!). Become familiar with plants and herbs that can help you treat your own minor medical problems. Learn to use essential oils (if they interest you). And don’t forget a good, fully-stocked first-aid kit that’s easy to get to. It’s also good to have a smaller one that’s portable (in case you need to carry it with you somewhere).

     

    There are lots of easy things you can do to start or progress on the road to self-sufficiency, even just taking small steps to become more self-sufficient today can help you in the long run.

    What are your best tips and top ideas to start (or continue) on the road to self-sufficiency? What’s your next step?

     

    -Michelle

     

    Sources

    http://gardening.about.com/od/toppicktools/tp/GardenBooks.htm

    http://www.bhg.com/gardening/vegetable/vegetables/edible-landscaping/

    http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2013/03/13/green-thrifty-cleaning-products/

    http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/04/simple-steps-to-safe-and-natural-personal-care-and-18-homemade-beauty-recipes.html

     

    Posted In: Insight, Planning, Uncategorized Tagged With: survival skills, homesteading

  • Mountain House Rice Entrees to Die For

    Several of the Mountain House Entrees on sale this month include rice. If, like me, you’re fond of rice-based dishes, you’ll definitely want to try these! Mountain House produces some of the most popular, best-tasting entrees in the business. Most of these meals are fully-cooked before they are freeze-dried, not just made of separately freeze-dried or dehydrated ingredients tossed together during the canning process. Here are a couple of my favorites:

    New Orleans Style Rice with Shrimp and Ham (Sale price $22.12, regularly $39.49)
    Reminiscent of Creole Jambalaya, this spicy entrée includes black beans and flavorful seasonings along with shrimp, ham, rice, and vegetables. This dish is a quick, hot meal to make on a cold winter evening!

    Mountain House Rice Entrees: New Orleans Style Rice with Shrimp and Ham

    Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice  (Sale price $27.75, regularly $39.49)
    Pork, rice, onions, green and red peppers, all in a delicious pineapple sauce—yumm, a taste of the islands! We just sampled this yesterday, and the flavors blend beautifully. The pork is in small-enough pieces that it reconstitutes quickly and completely, and the pineapple and peppers balance each other nicely. The “sour” part is just right—not overwhelming.

    Mountain House Rice Entrees: Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice

    Other rice-based entrees include

    • Rice and Chicken, which combines bites of chicken with perfectly-seasoned rice and bits of pimiento.
    • Mexican Style Rice and Chicken, which features scrumptiously spicy chicken, brown rice, tomato, kidney beans, olives, peppers, and onions, as well as a wealth of spices to warm up your winter.
    • Chicken Teriyaki with Rice, including bamboo shoots, mushroom, bell peppers, peas, and onions in a tangy teriyaki sauce which one reviewer said “passed the picky teenage daughter test.”

    These are just a few of the great Mountain House products we have on sale this month. Check out all the Mountain House cans at beprepared.com. You can buy with confidence, knowing our satisfaction and low-price guarantees are there to back up your purchase.

    I’m planning to stock up this month—how about you?

    --Sharon

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Rice dishes, emergency cooking, freeze dried food, #10 cans, freeze dried, emergency preparedness, sale, preparedness, mountain house, food storage

  • Prepper Style New Year's Resolutions--Survival Skills

    |3 COMMENT(S)

    Each Monday in January, we’re sharing our Preparedness New Year’s Resolutions for 2014. If you’d like to make some Prepping Resolutions of your own, but don’t know where to start, borrow some of our resolutions or use this series to get some ideas.

    This week we're  talking about Survival Skills. Take a look at last week’s resolutions for Food and Water Storage.

    Prepper style New Year's Resolutions for Survival Skills

    Here is what our Emergency Essentials’ bloggers plan on doing to hone their Survival Skills in 2014:

    New Year’s Resolution Prepper Style: Survival Skills

    Sharon

    I resolve to experiment with and learn different alternative cooking skills, such as basic thermos cooking and one-pot meals on a Single Burner Folding Stove with a Heat Cell Canister. I hope to get a Volcano Collapsible Grill with an Oven Lid and learn to use it for both grilling and baking using the Volcano Dutch Oven. I also plan to continue learning how to grow vegetables successfully in pots. (Last summer’s results were mixed: the cucumbers and peppers were great, but the eggplants were so small I kept waiting for them to grow large enough to harvest while they were actually growing old!)

     

    Sarah

    You may or may not know that, growing up, I used to go camping and hiking with my family all the time. As I grew older, I kicked my inner tomboy to the curb and embraced the world of stilettos and manicures. This year I’m letting the pendulum swing back to middle ground and I’ll be spending some more time outdoors, practicing and learning some survival skills (like building a fire or a shelter, orienteering, etc.). I’m also going to do some canning and dehydrating this year, which will be a totally new experience for me. There are dozens of skills I want to learn, but I’m trying to pace myself, so the first thing I’m going to do is a winter camping trip where I’ll practice building an emergency shelter and a fire. (Wish me luck. But if you’re worried about me, also know that I’m absolutely taking a tent. And an armful of hand and body warmers.)

    Angela

    Sometimes my husband acts like he’s a “dead body” and tells me to try to carry him out of a “burning house” (yes, I know this is weird). It’s annoying when he does it, but I fail at dragging him even two feet every time. This makes me think that I need to strength train to be able to get him to safety if something happened. So my New Year’s Resolution for skills is to learn various methods for carrying another person, strength training (so that I can lift more than 30 pounds . . .), and exercising more in case we have to evacuate on foot, or build a shelter.

     

    Kim

    Once upon a time I was CPR and First Aid certified . . . that was like 6 ½ years ago. This New Year, I resolve to relearn (and get re-certified) in First Aid and CPR. I just hit my one year wedding anniversary this last December and it’s made me realize that I want to be able to be self-reliant in protecting my family, if it comes to that. My husband and I ski . . . a lot. By developing First Aid skills, I will be better prepared to take care of my husband if he gets hurt while we’re skiing (before ski patrol arrives, of course). Knowing CPR and First Aid will also help me in the future when I have children. Learning these skills now will give me confidence to heal/help my children when they are ill or get injured.

     

    What type of Survival Skills do you want to develop in 2014? 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: survival skills, emergency preparedness, Survival, skills

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