How Do You Prep?

How many of you actively prep for a SHTF situation? How many have thought a little bit about it and have some supplies that might get you through a week? Who hasn’t done anything at all to prepare if something happens to ruin the current economy?

We have camping supplies and a 72 hour freeze dried meal kit but that is about as far as we have gone with prepping. With recent news that the stock market may completely shut down, I am thinking I need to do a bit more in terms of preparing my family for the worst. So I decided instead of my normal grocery shopping this week, I was only going to spend half on groceries and rely more on what was in my cupboards so I could use the rest to start buying some things to store. I spend about $100 a week on groceries, so I limited that to $50. I admit I do tend to have plenty stocked and could last longer than a week between trips but I choose not to because I like variety:)

 

This is what I bought on this trip.

Dollar Tree

2 packs  emergency candles (54 hours total)

10 match boxes (320 total matches)

2 sterno cans (off brand)

can opener

Sam’s Club

12 cans (case) corn

12 cans (case)  green beans

12 cans (case) condensed chicken soup

 Walmart

5lbs rice

5 gallon water jug

So I know it isn’t that much but I spent a total of $50 on it and it will at least last us a few days more than what we have in the house. I am planning on buying more each week I go shopping and planning my grocery shopping different to hopefully get on a monthly rotation of supplies that I just restock  as they are used.

I know I need to plan for my kids and my animals as well so that will be something I do on future trips. Food and supplies for the dog, food for the fish (though they probably will end up getting the short end of the stick if we have to bug out), things for the kids to keep them entertained in a time of crisis, as well as things for my husband and myself since we will need something to keep sane.

Future supplies , other than food & water, I’m thinking of: small bottles of propane (lantern and stove), paper goods, foil, diapers, baby wipes, hand sanitizer (wipes and gel), soap, small tool kit, blankets, books, and writing tools. I know we would have to plan for the bare minimum to bug out but anything that could help last in our home and keep the kids safe before that point, the better.

I definitely want to try for more healthier options but I don’t have the ability to can my own food so I will plan with what I am able to since any food will be worth having when there is none left in the stores.

What are you doing to prep? What about having healthy options for your family in a time of crisis? Share in the comments!

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A better Me

I have been starting to make changes in my life again to be healthier. I have been a bit lazy in recent times with everything going on so it is time to get back to it. First, I have a homemade toothpast. I did research and came up with my own mixture that has actually been remineralizing my teeth and minor cavities I had, as well as decrease the sensitivity. Not to mention it has whitened them from the commercial whitening paste I had been using for months. I can’t promise it works for everyone but it did work for me. Mine is a mix of coconut oil,baking soda, ground cloves, salt, powdered egg shell(heard it was the best way to get calcium over using a powder form), and a few drops of tea tree and peppermint essential oils. I just sort of blended everything together so I dont have exact measurements, I did fill up a small baby food jar with it.  I am going to see what happens after a month but I think I will need to get the rest of my family on board with it if it really does heal my cavities. 2 are noticeably healing(small holes and one was pretty deep), and I had dark sticky spots on two molars that are getting lighter as well. I wish I took pictures but i was too skeptical to believe it!

Second, I have been doing a 30 Day Ab and Squat Challenge.  I am on Day 14 and still going strong. My last challenge I failed after the first week. I have noticed some changes at this point and am feeling better about myself already.  It is an easy way to get into a routine and starts out easy for those who are out of shape like myself.

Next will be getting back to no-poo since I have stopped when my baby was born a year ago. I definitely notice the difference since my hair is a lot more frizzy as well as dandruff coming back.

Starting January I am going to attempt a 30 Day Whole Food challenge as well as another workout challenge.  I have a lot I want to do, I just need to keep my mind on it to follow through!

 

Boba/ Bubble tea

So One of my obsessions is Boba. Something about the chewy boba and the sweet icy drink is just amazing to me. I bought the tapioca pearls months ago with the intent of making my own boba smoothie but never had the courage. Well today I am finally taking the leap to make it! I use tapicoa pearls and boba interchangeably because they are essentially the same thing.

Warning: This recipe is not for those counting calories!

Boba

Boiling Boba

Finished boba

peach smoothie

Yum!

Boba
I use these, they are quick cooking and ready in only a few minutes Wufuyuan – Tapioca Pearl (Black) – Net Wt. 8.8 Oz.

Boil the tapioca pearls in a pot with enough water to give them room to float freely. I fill up my large pot with water for the entire package of pearls. Boil for about 5 minutes until they are tender all the way through.

Simple Syrup
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup water

I just boiled in my microwave for about 4 minutes until all the sugar was dissolved but you can do this on the stove top. You can do half white sugar/ half brown sugar for a little different flavor.

Add the finished boba to the syrup mix and let cool.

Peach Boba Smoothie
2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1 can peach halves, drained (approximately 3 small peaches)

I used my food processor ( I broke my blender!) to blend the peaches and condensed milk together. You can use a blender though.

Stick it in the freezer until it becomes slightly icy and the boba has cooled.

Blend the peach mixture to get an even icy consistency

Put some boba in the bottom of a glass, pour on the peach mixture and enjoy!

This will make 1 serving:)

Yes I know blended peaches and condensed milk is not a smoothie but it tastes amazing and is good enough of a smoothie to me.

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Pork Tamales with Green Sauce

So I have been really behind with everything I have wanted to do between school and a sick baby the past few days. I am finally getting caught up on my housework. Only 3 loads of laundry left to do, yay!

I made my tamales the other day with my pulled pork from a few nights ago. They turned out pretty good and I sort of winged the sauce since I was doing it on my own without the husband’s help.

I use masa preparada (prepared masa) from the mexican store Cardena’s. If you don’t have any around you then I am sure you can find a recipe to make your own. I know it uses ground corn, margarine, salt and I think something else. Not too difficult to find the ingredients for. I just take the easy way since I can buy it already made. Less work that way.

So I made about 2 dozen tamales with this recipe with some sauce left over. This is a mild sauce but you can make it more spicy if you want.

Tamales de Puerco

1 lb Masa Preparada

24 Corn husks (soak for a few hours in cold water or 30 minutes in hot water)

3-4cups Pulled Pork

Chile Verde

Tamale Pot (Steamer pot)

You can find them at any mexican store or even on Amazon 3-Piece Aluminum Steamer, 10-Inch

Chile Verde

9 small tomatillos (they are like green tomatoes ad usually have a green husk on them)

1 large jalapeno

1 to 2 cloves of garlic

1. Roast the jalapeno and tomatillos until the skin is essentially burnt. I do this in a broiler, my husband will do it in a cast iron pan on the stove top.

2. Rinse under cool water to peel off and discard the skin

3. Depending on how spicy you want it, start with only half the jalapeno and puree in a food processor or blender with tomatillos and garlic. Taste and add the rest of the jalapeno if desired.

4. Mix pork and the chile sauce together. Set aside.

5. Take a corn husk and shake off the excess water. Spread masa in a square in the center leaving space on each side, the top and the bottom.

6. Add in 1 to 2 tablespoons of pork and fold the husk to make a small package.Repeat until desired amount of tamales are made.

7. Add water to the bottom of the pot so that it is just under the tray.

8. Place tamales upright in pot, cover, and let cook for a few hours on low heat. Add more water as needed until tamales are cooked. Masa should be firm and some what crumbly when broken.

Enjoy!

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Crock Pot Pulled Pork

My husband is Mexican so the past 5 years that we have been together I have had to learn how to cook some of the more traditional dishes that he is used to eating. Carnitas has been one that I avoided mainly because of the time involved and lack of utensils to cook it how his family makes it. Well I knew I could make bbq pork in the crockpot, so I created my own recipe from that based on my husband’s taste preferences and it is a healthier version as well. So win-win, I can make it at home instead of buying from some where and it is not so greasy. Plus it makes enough pork to do multiple meals for my family and the seasonings are subtle enough that it is so versatile to be used for just about any recipe with pulled pork. This feeds my husband, myself and our two older boys for a few nights when we add in other dishes like beans, rice or veggies. So I spend about $15 on pork to feed us for 3 dinners and maybe a lunch or two. Definitely saves money which I like!

Pulled Pork

6lb pork shoulder/butt, remove any skin(mine usually has a giant bone in it as part of the weight which is ok)

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Onion Powder

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Chili Powder (if desired)

1 tbsp Chicken Bouillon

2 to 4 cups Water

2 bay leaves

1. Place bay leaves and pork into crock pot with enough water to go no more than 1/3 of the way up the pork with the chicken bouillon. It usually falls between 2 to 4 cups of water for me depending on the size of the pork shoulder/butt.

2. Sprinkle the rest of the seasonings on the exposed surfaces of the pork. Don’t worry if it isn’t all coated, you will still get flavor. Add chili powder if you want a bit of a kick.

3. Let it cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6.

4. At this point I will take it out and cut out the bone and start shredding some pieces then let sit on high for another hour. If you are patient you could just leave it be for another two hours and it should just fall off the bone. Just pour the broth over the meat.

5. Shred and let sit in the broth until needed.

Fried Carnitas

Use meat as prepared above

1. Use a little bit of lard, oil or pork fat from the meat to fry the shredded pork. I use a cast iron pan for this.

2. Drain juice from the pork before putting in the pan. Some juice is ok.

3. Stir/mix until about half of the pork is crispy. 10 minutes or so. Go longer if you prefer it to be more crisp, less if you want more tender pieces.

4. Put in tacos or burritos or even eat as is!

Baked Carnitas

Use meat as prepared above.

1. Drain broth from shredded pork and spread out on a cookie sheet. I like to line with foil to reduce clean up.

2. Place in the broiler for a few minutes until crispy. This varies based on your broiler/oven and you can make it less or more crispy based on your preferences.

3. Enjoy!

Tamales

Drain the shredded pork, mix with your favorite sauce and fill your tamales with it. I will have my sauce recipe up soon so stay tuned!

BBQ Pork

Prepare meat as above. Drain the broth and add in your favorite barbecue sauce. Enjoy on its own or as a sandwich with your favorite rolls.

Dehydrating Food for Prepping and Storage

So in my effort to save money but to prep for the worst, I invested in a dehydrator a few years ago. I have used it off and on but ever really in an effort to do anything with it. Well a month ago or so I decided to try it to prep for food storage. I dried some shredded chicken, onions and potatoes. It all turned out pretty good to store but I haven’t attempted to re-hydrate the chicken for use yet! The potatoes were pretty easy to do and after looking at a few sites I decided on my own way. The onions I didn’t read up on anything on how to dry, and the chicken well I did a little reading but went the course on my own. Today I am trying onions (again) and some bread I had stashed in the freezer to make bread crumbs out of.

My dehydrator has no temperature setting so I just watch until the item I am drying is ready.

Dried Shredded Potatoes

1. Boil water while shredding potatoes (I did this by hand but you could use an electric method)

2. Blanch shredded potatoes for a few minutes in the boiling water ( You want it cooked but not mushy)

3. Dry the excess water on paper towels (or towels if you are saving money) and place into dehydrator until dry. It took about 6 hours for 4 potatoes. They are dry when they snap into pieces.  If it still flexes it needs more time.

4. Re-hydrate at a 1 to 1 ratio (1 cup potato:1 cup boiling water) and let sit until water is absorbed. Drain excess water, if any, and eat or fry if desired for hash browns. My potatoes equaled about 1 cup dry to one potato. I used russet potatoes.

Dried Onions

1. Slice onions and discard peel and the ends.

2. Separate rings and place onto dehydrator trays.

3. Dry with other items to minimize the smell or place outside.

4. Dry until it snaps into pieces. If it still flexes it needs more time. It took about 5 hours for one onion.

Dried Chicken

1. Cook chicken in a method you prefer ( I like using my crockpot) and let cool.

2. Discard any fat and skin as that can cause the finished product to go rancid.

3. Shred chicken and place on dehydrator trays until dry. It does remain slightly flexible but overall will be hard and crispy. It took about 4 hours for one chicken breast.

4. I have not tried re-hydrating yet so I will update when I do!

It is an easy way to prep food for a camping trip or just to store for one of those SHTF scenarios. Not to mention budget friendly as my dehydrator only cost $30 new and I just dry extra/ leftover ingredients that I have!

Making Money From Home

As a stay at home mom,, sometimes the budget gets really tight. We have all been there at some time in our lives. This post is about how I make extra cash online. All the sites I have tried are legitimate and work well to earn cash. Whether you want something easy like reading email or something more difficult like taking surveys.

I have tried all of these sites and recommend them all. Something to do in spare time to earn a little extra or while you are surfing aimlessly online. Who doesn’t like some extra cash? Best part all of the sites are free to sign up with and start earning!

 

Points2Shop : Get paid to take surveys, play games, and complete trial offers!

SwagBucks : Get paid to shop online, search and even play games!

InstaGC : Get paid to take surveys and complete offers!

InboxDollars : $5 bonus for signing up! Get paid to read email, search, complete offers and surveys!

Hits4Pay : $5 bonus for signing up! Get paid to read emails!

 

 

 




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Adding to the family or buying a home?

Oh the dilemma’s of a family who is renting. We have decided that we want to add to our family and try for a darling daughter but we also want to buy a home instead of throwing money away on rent each month. I stay home, my loving husband works full time and then some so we can pay the bills but I know it is not enough to buy a house unless I can get a job that alternate’s with his hours (meaning I have to work over night) so we don’t have to pay for daycare, which adds up quickly for two children toddlers. It also means we will have to pay much more for insurance if I am working because we won’t qualify for subsidies. Not to mention the husband’s work does not offer insurance and he has to pick his own plan.  We live a modest life and try to save some each month and starting next year we have made the decision to save every extra cent we can to put towards buying a house and building our savings since we are extremely lacking in both even after 4 years together. 

 

Did you ever come up against this choice? What did you choose? Or what advice do you have for me being in this situation? Build our family now and buy a house later or wait to add on? We are mid-20’s so it isn’t like my clock is ticking yet but I still don’t want to wait too long either. 

Adventures in Bread Making

So I have been trying to make sourdough bread, complete with making my starter from just mixing flour and water. Well so far I have had no luck. I get OK bread but definitely nothing resembling sourdough and surely nothing resembling bread from the store. I have tried various bread recipes and nothing ever turns out quite right, doesn’t rise enough or is too crumbly or just is not working for some reason. Well all that changed the other day. I found a easy bread recipe and it worked! I mean actually worked. My hubby even asked for more which has so far been unheard of in my bread-making attempts. So now I will share the recipe with you:)

 

I found this recipe here at dailydishrecipes.com 

Only thing I did was cut the recipe in half to experiment and be sure it worked and boy did it!

This is all from the above website, all credited to Nicole Cook

You will need:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. butter, softened (we’ve used margarine, but you will have better results with pure unsalted butter)

Take the time to proof your yeast first. It works better.

In a bowl, pour the water and the sugar. Mix until dissolved. Add the yeast. Again, mix until dissolved.

Set it aside for 10 minutes. When you come back it should have bubbles formed all over the top of it. This is how you know it’s “alive” and ready to go.

Next, throw in the flour and the salt. Then, slice up the butter into smaller pieces and add it. This just makes it easier for it to blend when you’re mixing.

Now comes the fun part. Knead the ingredients together for about 10 minutes by hand, about 5 minutes with a mixer. You can usually tell it’s done when it feels slightly elastic, smooth and isn’t sticking to anything.

Knead the dough into a ball and place it in a clean bowl. Cover it with some plastic wrap that you have sprayed with cooking spray or rubbed with some oil. (believe you me, we have forgotten this step before, and it makes a difference. I have no idea why. It just does. So do it.)  Set the bowl in a warm place. I actually just cover mine with two kitchen towels and put it on the counter in the back out of the way.

Allow it to rise for one hour.

After an hour uncover the dough. It should be pretty big and poofy at this point. Take your hand and punch into it once or twice to get it to push all the air out of it.

Knead it again (you don’t have to take it out of the bowl, I do it right in the bowl) for about a minute or two, forming it into a ball.

Sprinkle flour onto your table or other wooden work surface.

Put the ball in the middle of the work surface.

Cut the ball into two equal pieces using a bencher, or I just use a kitchen knife.

Taking one half of the dough, knead it a little folding it over itself over and over. Create a sort of ovalish shape with it and then place it into your lightly greased loaf dish.

Now repeat everything with the second wedge of dough.

Put both pans back where you had the bowl for the first rise, but leave them uncovered. For one hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When your dough has risen the second time and doubled in size, it’s time to put them in the oven.

Just put ‘em in there for 35-40 minutes. I’m pretty faithful with my 35 minute timing, but it could take more in your neck of the woods.

When they’re done, pull ‘em out of the oven and allow them to sit in the pans for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, using a potholder or towel, turn the bread out onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool the rest of the way. Since you’re aiming for sandwich bread, it is better not to cut them until they are completely cooled, otherwise they get a little crumbly.

Once cooled, trim into slices and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (if it lasts that long, because we go through one loaf in 1 day!) lol

 

 

Veggie Shish Kabobs

 

Image

Don’t the look yummy? They really were! I should have taken more pictures but alas got too caught up in eating them! 

Veggie Shish-Kabobs

Crimini Mushrooms

1/2  medium/large White Onion

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Green Bell Pepper

Cut up veggies into chunks about the size of the mushrooms and alternate on skewers. I did two mushrooms on each skewer and alternated onions and bell peppers and had 7 skewers made. Bake in an oven at 350f for 30 minutes or until the veggies look done. 

 

Marinade

This is just the ingredients, I didn’t measure when I dumped everything in the bowl so my measurements are a guess, but the hubby loved it! Feel free to adjust to your tastes! 

3/4 cup Vegetable Oil (as an after thought it was probably a little much)

2 TBSP Worcester sauce

2 TBSP Soy sauce

3 TBSP brown sugar

2 TSP garlic powder

2 TSP onion powder 

1 TBSP red wine vinegar

 

Whisk together in a bowl and pour over veggies before cooking, use leftover marinade as a dip when the shish-kabobs are done. No need to boil since there is no meat!