Monthly Archives: November 2010

  • Cook With Confidence

    You’ve got your holiday meals planned, and your oven is ready for the turkey. But, have you considered how you’d cook all your preparedness food during an emergency? With these ideas, you’ll be able to cook with confidence!

    Many years ago, I decided I’d try cooking my very first turkey. It was just a week before Thanksgiving and some good friends of ours were moving and I wanted to give them a great memory and a home cooked Thanksgiving meal. I was mortified to cook my own turkey, I fretted over my mashed potatoes, and I can’t even begin to tell you how I worried over the gravy. Despite my distress, the meal turned out wonderful. I believe its success was because I had three important things. Good ingredients, and a little know how from my mom, and the right tools for the job.

    Preparedness cooking is no different. You must begin with the right foods. We’ve spent the last several months discussing the different types of foods to store and which ones are right for your family. We’ve also spent some time learning about recipes and discussing how best to prepare many of the foods available for your preparedness pantry. Now, I’d like to discuss a few of the cooking tools you should have to help you serve up a feast, no matter what conditions you encounter.

    Having a good emergency stove is essential to cooking with confidence. There are many different choices, and what you choose will depend upon your needs and your budget. For your emergency kit, or if you are on the go, you may wish to rely upon a simple flat fold stove. This stove stores flat, is lightweight, and each canister provides about 5 hours of cook time. The fuel is free from toxic fumes and biodegradable. It can also be used for warmth.

    If you are at home, don’t forget your patio BBQ! Yes, that wonderful backyard cookout can be an emergency cookout too. You might want to consider storing extra briquettes in buckets for just such an emergency.

    If you prefer using propane, you have more options available for your cooking needs. The Volcano stove is powered by propane and can even be used to bake. It folds flat and can be stored easily. It can be fueled by the same propane you use on a gas grill and is extremely versatile.

    These are just a few of the options available to you as you decide how to cook in an emergency. Study your options and make sure your choice accommodates your different cooking needs and your family’s situation. Don’t be afraid to take the time to try out your emergency cooking tools, you may be pleasantly surprised at how you will soon be cooking with confidence!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Prepare for Presents!

    By Angie Sullivan

    Not sure what to give everyone on your gift list? Consider preparedness products! 

    Many years ago, when my husband and I had just started our little family, I yearned to become more prepared. With the cold weather and a new daughter to care for, I realized how much I might need a few items to keep my family comfortable should an emergency happen. I let my parents know that for the holidays that year, I would like food storage or preparedness gifts. I remember opening the cans of food and being so grateful that my little pantry would be better stocked in the coming year.

    Don’t hesitate to consider preparedness items for your gift list this year. Imagine giving those you love the gift of a better prepared home, some extra cans of food, or warmth should they need it. Here are some ideas to help you check off a few presents on that gift list!

    • Stocking stuffers are easy to find when it comes to preparedness! Emergency blankets, first aid kits, whistles, fire starters, and hand warmers. are just a few of the wonderful items available to stuff a stocking with.
    • If you need a gift for a dear friend, you might want consider an emergency kit. You can find kits as small or as big as you would like.
    • Would you like to celebrate a great teacher, hairdresser, or mail carrier? A basket containing an assortment of preparedness items really shows how much you care.
    • Know someone who spends a lot of time commuting? Give them an emergency car kit to help keep them safe on the road.
    • Many of us have avid hunters and sportsman in our families. Could they use a new tent, sleeping bag, or water filter?
    • Do you have a friend who loves to cook? There are food dehydrators, canners, mixers, mills, and many other items that can make kitchen work fun, easy, and help them should an emergency occur.
    • Who doesn’t enjoy a good meal? Consider putting together a collection of several dehydrated or freeze dried items to make an entire meal for a special family.
    • Neighborhood gifts can be simple when you consider preparedness items. One year, I supplied my neighborhood friends with a 5 in 1 Survival Whistle and a fun poem about preparedness.

    The possibilities are endless! This year, take a closer look at your holiday gift list and consider checking it off with emergency preparedness items. Not only will you be helping your loved ones prepare, you’ll be blessing them with the gift of love by letting them know you want them safe and comfortable no matter what the future holds. You might find that you’ve started a new tradition in your household, being prepared for presents!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Practice makes Perfect . . . Soup, that is!

    Winter is a great time of year for practicing with food storage items. Why? Because there are so many great possibilities for food storage soup! Combined with food storage bread, we can have great winter lunches or dinners while rotating storage and learning better ways to use long-term storage items.

    My favorite storage soup is Split Pea Soup. It is so easy it almost makes itself, and it is really good! I use as much as I can from my #10 cans.

    Ingredients

    1/4 cup dehydrated carrots

    1/4 cup dehydrated onions

    1-2 Tbsp cooking oil

    Ham, bacon or ham jerky

    1/4 to 3/4 tsp dehydrated garlic powder to taste

    1 or 2 cups dehydrated split green peas

    8-12 cups water and/or broth

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Reconstituted sour cream powder (optional)

    Directions

    Rehydrate carrots and onions in ½ cup warm water. Saute vegetables in oil with ham, bacon or ham jerky.

    Add between 1/4 and 3/4 teaspoon of dehydrated garlic powder to taste. Add a cup or two of dried split green peas. I stir the dried peas around in the moist mix of flavors for a minute before adding water or chicken broth. This allows the peas to soak up the concentrated flavors first. Add about 6 cups of water or broth, cover and simmer. Check every 10 minutes or so for the first half-hour, and replenish liquid as it is absorbed. Depending on how thick or thin you like your soup, 8 to 12 cups of water and/or broth will be the total requirement.

    For a smoother soup, you can use a hand-held blender or a potato ricer to puree the peas, once they are softened. Just before serving, add salt and pepper to taste.

    We serve this with a large dollop of reconstituted sour cream in the middle of the soup and a chunk of fresh whole wheat bread on the side. I use my stored wheat, ground with my grain mill.

    This recipe will make enough for 8 generous servings of thick soup, or 10 to 12 servings of thinner soup. Leftover soup makes a great gravy over rice for the next meal.

    --Gretchen, Arizona

     

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  • Fired Up

    Want something that will give light, keep you warm, and help you cook? Get fired up about starting up a fire!

    The cold weather makes me yearn for the warmth of a crackling fire. Though most of us long for the fire simply for the ambiance, during an emergency situation having that fire could help you cook, give you light, and keep you warm. Thinking about building a fire takes me back to the days of my youth. I remember trying to hone my fire making skills at girl’s camp. At first the beautiful flames were illusive, but soon with some help and a few extra tools, I was roasting marshmallows and warming my hands by the crackling fire. Just like my girl’s camp days, the time to learn about and prepare for making a fire is before an emergency strikes.

    Technology has provided us many options besides a fire to keep us warm, give us light, and help us cook. Nevertheless, this most basic of skills is still one of the most important things for us to learn. Let’s begin with the basics of fire building:

    First, determine a safe place to build your fire. Build on dirt or rock, as far from dry grasses and other vegetation as possible. Be sure you have water nearby to extinguish your fire should it get out of hand. You will need three sizes of material to make a great fire. These are calling tinder, kindling, and fire fuel.

    Tinder is material smaller in width than a match. Shredded bark and pine needles are examples of tinder. Many fire starters are simply a flint and tinder. You can even find fire starter pellets that you can use as the tinder. They are incredibly handy and can help you get your fire up and crackling! Next you need to gather kindling. Kindling is the small sticks up to the size of your wrist. After the tinder and kindling, you need to gather your wood for the fuel. I prefer to arrange my wood into a tee pee configuration, with the tinder and kindling beneath.

    You have a couple of choices when it comes to lighting your kindling. Waterproof matches are especially smart in an emergency along with lighters and flint and steel. I like the idea of having a few options on hand just in case.

    To extinguish your fire, simply sprinkle with water and stir the ashes in with dirt. Continue to sprinkle the water until there is no longer steam or hot embers. Be certain it is completely cool before leaving your fire unattended.

    Take advantage of the cold winter weather and teach your family how to build a fire. Because with a little know how and a few helpful tools, you can get all fired up!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Food Prep Preparedness

    With the holidays just around the corner, you’ll be preparing more of your favorite foods. Do you have the tools you need not just for the holidays, but also for your preparedness pantry?

    The crisp, fragrant fall air has us all enjoying the bounty of the harvest and looking forward to the holidays ahead. Along with the holidays come the many family recipes that we enjoy as traditions and comfort foods. Certainly, you will be taking stock of your kitchen and making sure you have the food prep tools necessary to get you through the next few months.

    As you think about updating or replacing some of your much needed food preparation tools, don’t forget to think about the items you could use for your preparedness pantry too! For example, I’m a sucker for the aroma of fresh baked bread on a cool fall day. I’ll be using my electric wheat grinder quite a bit in the next few months. As I use my electric mill, I should certainly make sure that I’ve got something available to me should the electricity be turned off. A hand grain mill would be something I should certainly consider for preparedness food preparation.

    Are you enjoying all that fresh fruit? Could you use some help peeling and slicing it? I know my cobbler would be a whole lot easier if I could use a Potato and Apple Peeler to make quick work of that bushel of crisp apples. Perhaps your family prefers a fresh cherry pie? The Cherry Stoner is a must have for you! Many of these items are not only handy to have around for the holidays, but also for your food storage as they are hand operated and do not require electricity.

    Not only should we be thinking about those big tools, but what about the small and simple things needed to keep your kitchen functioning? Nothing can halt a recipe like a faulty can opener. Think of all the rows and rows of cans you’ve got stored away, now imagine not being able to open them! I recommend storing a few extra can openers just in case. Take a moment and go through your kitchen drawers and update or replace broken or faulty measuring cups, knives, cutting boards, and other food preparation tools.

    As you prepare for your holiday happenings, don’t forget to think a little bit about your preparedness pantry and the food prep items that would be beneficial during an emergency. Take the time to be sure that you are food prep prepared!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Power Up

    By Angie Sullivan

    With a few handy emergency tools, even with the power out, you can be powered up!

    Being without power during an emergency can be not only inconvenient, but it can also prevent you from using some of your most essential tools. Many of us have flashlights and radios stored for an emergency, but what good are these items without the batteries to go with them? Storing extra batteries is a great idea, but batteries do have a shelf-life, and should be tested and rotated. Checking your batteries twice is year is often recommended. If you don’t want to be worried about dead batteries, consider a battery charger. A solar battery charger uses the power of the sun to juice up rechargeable batteries, which you can easily find in an electronic or superstore. Not only would this be much more convenient than finding and replacing all your batteries regularly, it would also be an investment that paid off in the years to come.

    In addition to the solar battery charger, many other electronics can be found solar powered. Be on the lookout for solar flashlights, radios, and other essentials. If you would like the convenience of being able to plug in your electronics, consider a power generator. The Power Dome EX is a handy generator that stores energy. You plug it in and then the energy is available when you need it. It works well on the go and can be used to power anything you need to plug in, and it even has cables to jump your car. You can also purchase a power charger, the Goal0 Nomad 7M, that uses solar power. Just set it up in the sun and it’s ready to power anything from a laptop to a lamp!

    Gas powered generators are the next available resource if you want to keep your family powered up. The Honeywell Generator with Inverter HW2000i is a handy gasoline generator. It runs on gasoline and can provide a reliable source of power for any appliances or electronics you wish up to 2000 watts.

    Take advantage of the wonderful new technology available to help you stay powered up when the power’s out!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Pet Preparedness

    By Angie Sullivan

    You consider your pets a part of the family, but have you stored the necessary preparedness items for your four footed friends

    Once you have ensured the safety and preparedness of each family member, it is time to turn your attention to the loyal family pet. Believe it or not, preparing your pets for an emergency or disaster is very similar to preparing your children. They need many of the same basics, like food, water, and shelter. As with children, your pet’s disposition may change dramatically after a disaster or during an emergency. Pets often become confused and agitated. Staying calm will help your pets stay calm. Don’t panic, but speak firmly and calmly.

    Before the disaster strikes, be sure you have a few things in order. First, be sure to stay current with your animal’s vaccinations. Take photos of each animal, being sure to include any distinguishing marks and store those photos along with any medical records or other important papers in a resealable plastic bag. Be sure your pet has a properly fitted collar, a current license and identification tags. This is important even for animals that rarely go outdoors. Have an emergency kit for each pet. Make sure you have and can easily use a carrier or cage for each animal.

    During an emergency situation, try to keep your animals with you if possible. If you must leave your pet, be sure to leave enough food and water to last several days should you not be able to return quickly. Simply filling a bathtub with a few inches of water might keep your pet hydrated until you are able to return.

    If you are taking your pet with you, be sure you take an emergency kit for them as well. This kit should include food, treats, and water. Include appropriate food and water dishes along with anything necessary to prepare the food, like a can opener. Pack blankets and towels along with a brush or other hygiene items. Sanitation items like litter, or plastic bags for picking up after the animals will be essential to keep everyone healthy and happy. A few familiar toys will help distract your pet and release tension.

    Packing a small first aid kit for your animal is also a great idea. This kit might include a few days worth of medications or vitamins your pet normally takes along with a pet first aid manual. Include a card with the phone numbers and addresses of local vet offices. A small stash of tape, scissors, gauze, antibacterial soap and hydrogen peroxide can come in handy if your pet is injured.

    Whether your pet is furry, flies, or has fins, they are often considered another member of the family! By taking these small steps, you will also be able to provide for the needs of each of your treasured family pets!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness