Monday, April 27, 2015

Storage to the Rescue...

I excel at not remembering things. LOL. While I responded to an e-vite, got a reminder notice and we have talked about for at least 4 weeks I forgot that we were gathering last evening. 
On my way home from church, I ran through the list of desserts I had in storage to make. Luckily, I hadn't packed everything and shipped it to the new house.
I pulled out a Ghirardelli double dark chocolate brownie mix Mylar bag & the recipe. 
Then I assembled:
1/2 C. Melted Coconut Oil (which I use as a substitute for vegetable oil)

1 egg (from a new batch I am testing storing with coconut oil) 
1/4 C. Water 
8 T. Peanut Butter

I just made the brownies according to the directions which I had cut out from the boxes.
Then our favorite is peanut butter brownie. I just plopped heaping tablespoons of peanut butter on top of the mix and swirled it around on top of the mix.

Baked it and after I tested one for quality assurance, wrapped it up and took it with me to the dinner.

I have about two years worth of stored desserts, some in Mylar bags. 

One of the finest treasures...

It was Thanksgiving in the mid-1930's, the family & the Reverend were gathered around the dining room table on the farm in Southern IL.
There was Gramma & Grampa Hooppaw (that would be my great-grandparents), 10 children, spouses & some young children...
They didn't have a lot, but their hearts were full of joy. The bounty was abounding that day and each person signed a quilt square, including the preacher. 

My Grandfather Loammi Revis Hooppaw, Grandmother Dorothy Mae & my uncle. 

Afterwards, they always gathered around the piano & sang out of the old church hymnal. That tradition carried on for many, many years and to this day the cousins get together to remember how we are all stitched together as family.
Later MY grandmother, hand stitched their names from that Thanksgiving long ago and turned that into a lasting treasure of memories with now graces my home.

"Riches I heed not nor man's empty praise
Thou mine inheritance now and always
Thou and thou only first in my heart
High King of heaven my treasure Thou are"

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Little Known Poison Ivy Remedy

While I have never had to deal with poison ivy, my son was a magnet when he was young. I am not sure where I gleaned this tidbit of information, but my favorite poison ivy remedy is making a paste out of a little water and caffeinated instant coffee
You take the instant coffee and add little bits of water until you get a paste. Apply it to the areas affected by the poison ivy. Allow the paste to dry, until crusty. Then gently wash off with a washcloth. 
Sometimes you will need a couple applications. 
My son hated the coffee treatment, but it really worked. The worst time was when he had it on his face and close to his eyes. That time we went to the doctors. The coffee treatment worked way better than what the doctor offered.
In fact the following day he was able to go to the filming of a popular kids t.v. show and his cute little face was poison ivy free.
Eventually I taught him how to identify the various infamous leaves of three..

 Photo credit: WebMD
If you know you have been exposed to poison ivy, wash off as soon as possible.

I found that the remedies offered on WebMD & from my doctor in those days didn't work well enough. 
I probably learned about this from the Doctor Book of Home RemediesI own several of these books and they have always been one of my first "go to" sources for many years.
As you see, I store really cheap instant coffee (since I wouldn't drink instant coffee) just for that purpose.
There are other remedies that apparently work for others like pomelosoaps with tea tree oil.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

15 Meals 100% from Food Storage

Honestly, when I first started storing food, I was pretty intimidated by all those lists. I just couldn't wrap my mind around lists. So I started focusing around meals that we already ate. 
When I say recipes 100% from food storage, I really mean I have more than what is in my pantry. All these items I have from 1-3 years worth of the item stored. Here are the first 15 meals I have shared on Facebook on Make-It-Mondays.
I believe it is very important to actually cook from your food storage.

1) Chicken Pasta with Dehydrated mushrooms. All from storage: Canned butter, dehydrated mushrooms, pressure canned Zaycon Chicken, canned tomato sauce, canned milk, spaghetti noodles and Parmesan cheese. 

2) Canned Ravioli: Not everything I store is to make homemade. I have several just "cans" of food.  

 3) Navy Beans & Ham A down right good home cooked meal from the depression era. My dad's favorite meal.

4) Chicken Noodle Soup I make lots of chicken soup in the winter. It various every time. I just grab handfuls of whatever dehydrated veggie I want that day to add to the soup pot.

5) Chicken & Dumplings This would have to be my favorite meal. This day I brought everything over in a box to show my grand babies how to make one of their dad's favorite meals.

6) Corned Beef & Cabbage When you have canned the corned beef at St. Patrick's Day prices, you are able to have it ready in minutes at other times of the year.

 7) Feijoeda This is one of my favorite Brazilian dishes. Hearty, meaty black beans & rice.

 8) Sausage Gravy & Biscuits Believe it or not, I did not grow up in the south. But, I such have a lot of southern dishes in my stores. This happens to be one of Mr. Perky's favorites.

 9) Pasta with Hot Italian Sausages I like things spicy and creamy. I actually prefer a rose sauce over a straight tomato sauce. Pasta is another meal that you can just add various dehydrated veggies to change things up.

10) Tomato Soup Yep, just from the can with milk. 

11) Creamed Chipped Beef LOL. Another southern favorite. Also a depression meal. Chipped beef dehydrates & stores well. 

 12) Thai Peanut Chicken & Rice LOVE Thai peanut chicken sauce! This is one of the meals I have stored for 12 people for a year.

14) Pasta Carbonara Yep, I store pressure canned bacon. Another meal I took on the road. 

15) Hamburgers, Potato Salad & Baked Beans  I have even pressure canned hamburger patties for convenient meals.

That's the first 15 meals, now I am going to share several other things I make from food storage like desserts, before I continue with the other 16 meals on Make-It-Monday. At the end you will have 31 meals that we make from food storage. (33)

How To Make Simply Delicious Cold Brew Iced Coffee

Would you believe I didn't drink coffee until I was 47 years old? That's correct, this Perky Gramma who's job has been to serve java for almost 10 years now didn't drink coffee. What I finally found out is that I am not a fan of Latin American coffee. I actually prefer African (Kenya) coffee or very dark roast. In fact, when I brew coffee at home, I brew Espresso roast or Tribute blend.

Often people will just brew a regular pot of coffee (sometimes double strength) and pour ice. While this will suffice for some, cold brewing ice coffee creates a much different flavor profile. Particularly depending on what type of coffee you use.

Cold brewed iced coffee doesn't have that "bite" of traditionally brewed  coffee, is lower in acid content and it has a higher caffeine content. Actually a true cold brewing method is unique since it utilizes time, rather than heat, to extract a more naturally sweet and delicious flavor from the coffee beans. 

My home cold brew is based on the recipe used at the fine purveyor of coffee where I work. I am using espresso roast, but another more traditional flavor profile would be a blend of Latin American and African coffee.

1 lb. coffee (ground for paper filter)
2 liters water
Large container (1 gallon shown here)

Take your ground coffee and wrap it in a double layer cheese cloth. Tie it off tight. I actually used cotton thread to create a tight seal.
Place the wrapped coffee in a large container and add two liters of water.

EDITED: While this Aladdin Mason jar I used this time is great for water kefir, it isn't that great for brewing the cold brewed ice coffee. I have previously been using a 2 liter contain and trying to get the ratios correct, it was hilarious to try to get the coffee bundle out of the top of my Aladdin.

Let this slow steep for at least 20 hours.
Remove the coffee bundle and pour over ice.
This will store nicely in the fridge for at least a week, though we only keep it for 24 hours at work.
If this recipe too strong, then simply add more water after the cold brew. Then if need, add your cream and sugar.
While I haven't done the ratios, you could also utilize a french press or even a percolator to cold brew your ice coffee.
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Friday, April 24, 2015

Can you venture a guess...

On the top shelf, in the closet - sat this box of very soft cloth to be used should the day ever arise when toilet paper is no longer available. It's um..sort of even color coordinated. When I started preparing, I knew that t.p. was one of those items that we used everyday (obviously), but I got to thinking just how much t.p. could a person store?
While I actually know some people that have committed space to store MANY years worth of t.p., I made up my mind that I would store at least one years worth and at the max two years worth.
I am not ashamed to say that when we run out of the "good stuff", we will be using "personal cloths". I have saved super soft cloth to cut into smaller squares. They are now in the pile of boxes to move to our new home. 

Somewhere in the back of my mind I also remember seeing on some show on the History channel about the ancient Romans, where they used urine a a bleaching agent for whites. Now, I haven't actually tried this tip, just know that tidbit of information is tucked away. But, that information is also in several other places, including in the writings of Jane Austin & The Compleat Servant Maid.
"Before that you suffer it to be washed, lay it all night in urine, the next day rub all the spots in the urine as if you were washing in water; then lay it in more urine another night and then rub it again, and so do till you find they be quite out.Hannah Woolley, The Compleat Servant-Maid, 1677"
I will continue to store my favorite toilet paper. But, I certainly have my back up plan. Do you? 

I have actually been waiting to write this little blog post for awhile now, as I had to dismantle my food storage shelves in the closet to share a picture. Below are some really interesting sites I found when trying to find the above quote. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.

The Compleat Servant-Maid
Old and Interesting

fullonica: laundry

3 Quick Ways To Help Determine Real Silver from Fake Silver

I seem to be finding coins everywhere while I am packing. I have also found several silver bracelets. 

Early on DH did some research and we decided to use a neodymium magnet to sort though the jewelry and other items that appeared to be silver..
My guess was these were all silver & I was correct.

These are the two neodymium magnets, DH just happened to have on hand. It always amazes me what he has hanging around.

So, you hold the magnet close to the piece and if it is not silver, the magnet sticks to it. This earring isn't silver.  
If the items is silver, the magnet will not stick. This necklace is silver.

Though it is getting harder to find, you may also find "junk silver" in old coins. The value of the precious metals in the coins before these dates (below) is worth way more than the face value of the coins. 

Pennies minted in 1982 or earlier.
Nickels minted in 45 or earlier. (Nickels aren't made of silver)
Dimes & quarters minted in 1964 or earlier.
Take the time to check your change. 

Here are 3 Quick Ways to Determine if You Have an Item That is Silver:
1) The Magnet Test Silver is not magnetic. If you place a strong, rare-earth magnet called a Neodymium magnet on a silver coin or bar, it should not easily stick to it. If you are testing bars, you can angle one at 45 degrees and let the magnet slide down. It should slide down very slowly. If it sticks or it slides very quickly, it is not silver. However, keep in mind that just because the magnet does not stick does not necessarily mean that it is silver.

2) The Ice Test In addition to having the highest electrical conductivity of any element, silver also has the highest thermal conductivity of any metal. If you place an ice cube on a silver coin or bar, the ice will begin to melt immediately. Obviously, ice will melt if placed on anything at room temperature, for example, but if placed on silver it will melt much more quickly and impressively. Try it!
3) The Ring Test Silver has a nice ringing sound when it is tapped. If it is a coin, you can flick it into the air. Alternatively, you can gently tap it with another coin. In both instances, you should hear a high-pitched bell-type ring that lasts about 1-2 seconds. A fun way to try this is with a U.S. quarter from the years 1932-1964, which is 90% silver, and with a modern U.S. quarter (post 1965), which is 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel. The silver quarter ring will be much higher-pitched compared to the dull ring of the copper quarter. Be careful when doing this with whatever coin you are testing so as not to ding or damage it.
These three tests are not absolutely determinative, but they are quick ways to help you gauge the purity of your "silver" if you do not have a digital scale readily available or do not want use silver acid testing. 
3 Quick Ways To Help Determine real Silver From Fake Silver

Why do some coins have grooves on the edges?
The dollar, half dollar, quarter, and dime were originally made of precious metals (gold and silver). Reeded edges were a way to deter counterfeiting and the practice of filing the edges of coins so the metal shavings could be sold.
The penny and nickel are considered "minor" coins of the United States, so their edges are plain.
Currently, none of the coins produced for circulation contain precious metals, but reeding is useful in another way: reeded edges help people who have visual impairments. For example, the dime and the penny are similar in size, but the reeding on the dime makes it easy to identify by touch. (From the U.S. Mint)
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Even on regular Amazon (not prime), on specific items, when your total order reaches a $35 the shipping to home is free. So, i created a store of these items I use frequently or recommend. It doesn't cost you anything extra, but I do receive a small percentage as an advertising bonus, if you purchase from my store. You are even able to just link in and do any of your regular Amazon shopping. Thank you for your support.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Do You Remember the Fridance?

What time is it?'s...FRIDANCE time!!!!!!(__|__) (__\__) (__/__)♪♪♪♪♪♪ (__|__) (__\__) (__/__) ♪♪♪♪♪♪ (__|__) (__\__)♪♪♪♪♪♪ (__/__) (__/__)(__|__) (__\__) (__/__) ♪♪♪♪♪♪ (__|__) (__\__) (__/__) (__|__) (__\__) (__/__) ♪♪♪♪♪♪... (__|__) (__\__) (__/__)♪♪♪♪♪♪(__|__) (__\__) (__/__) Woo Hoo!!!!!

Back when I was a wee little canner... I found Canning Granny. Her goal was “Sharing the dying art of homemaking...canning, dehydrating, preserving and storing food...and enjoying myself during the process”. Her Friday posts began with the Fridance & it always made me smile.
She managed to share her world & endure the canning nazi's. She was always so supportive of me. 
But, she epitomized helping & sharing others accomplishments. A lofty goal I try to emulate.
The real reason I believe she was successful & liked by many was a little bit of love went into every jar she canned & post she shared.

While her Canning Granny website is still up for reference, though she is no longer there. Nowadays there are other canning sites I follow and they are great people. 
But, Canning Granny is sorely missed...

Initially she simply shared various posts that shared the basics of canning she gleaned. Her is one of Canning Granny's early posts:

Canning provides a number of great benefits which are relevant to today’s lifestyles.  While home canning has been around for generations, the reasons why people can today are different than the reasons why people canned products years ago.

Gardening and home canning can lower your grocery bill.  Burpee Seed Company ( estimates that for every $50 spent on seeds and fertilizer, a gardener can yield $1,250 worth of produce. As it’s not feasible for a family to enjoy all of that fresh produce all at one time, home canning allows you to preserve that fresh, home grown flavor from your garden for use all year long, and saving on your grocery bill.

Home canning supports sustainable lifestyles.  Canning locally-grown produce reduces the carbon footprint created by transporting vegetables around the world in off-seasons.  A study by Carnegie Mellon found that 11% of the average American’s household food-related greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation of foods. You can reduce that by growing your own produce or purchasing it locally, and then fresh preserving the harvest and re-using canning jars year after year.

Fresh preserving allows you to manage your family’s nutrition.  Many canning enthusiasts enjoy the versatility and control they have with fresh preserving recipes.  When you fresh preserve foods, you can avoid additives and preservatives found in many commercial products, and you may even opt to use organic ingredients.

According to research from The National Gardening Association, 48% of consumers’ garden to ensure their food is safe.  Canning is a perfect way to manage the ingredients in your recipes to ensure that your family not only gets the garden fresh flavor of fresh produce, but that they also avoid any undesired ingredients.

Express yourself through unique and creative recipes. For generations canners have used fresh preserving to showcase their own unique style with creative canning recipes. Impress your friends and family by creating unique jams, jellies and other culinary creations.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why We Need to Practice Skills or Oops! Asparagus...

You can't just wait until an emergency situation to plant a garden and have a lovely thriving garden overnight. 
In the past, I was never really successful at growing food. Between the dogs eating everything we planted (yes, my dogs love veggies & fruit) and my lack of a green thumb - it was a skill I needed to really learn about.

First Things First: Before we ever got started, we determined that there was a huge tree that was shading our proposed garden area. Because of the close proximity to our neighbors fence, we hired a professional to take down the tree. The nice thing was they actually cut the tree into logs (for the fireplace) and chipped the remains and left them for us. We didn't have to buy any wood chips for our garden.


How Will My Garden Grow: you need to determine how you are going to grow your garden. We chose the Back to Eden method. There are several excellent methods of growing a garden, this method really appealed to my lifestyle. 

Because I wanted to not use any chemicals...
The BTE method is really great. Below you will see the before & after pictures of how the soil changed in just one year. It went from red clay, to dark, moist, rich soil...see the earthworm in the pic?


                                                   Before                                   One Year Later

I grew everything from seed. So far, everything I have grown has been from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. There are other good companies out there, I just had seen Baker Creek recommend often. They sell all non-GMO, heirloom seeds. Exactly what my choice was. Besides the health issue, you will always be able to save seeds for your future gardening. I have been able to start saving seeds also. 

Raised Beds: For my first garden I chose raised beds and Square Foot Gardening.  (associates link) I found these methods were easier on my back. The second year I used the Three Sisters Method for planting my corn, squash and greens beans.

There is a learning curve for each vegetable: Start small to learn about growing each vegetable. Sounds simple, but thankfully I realized that before I started. I started with peas, green beans, carrots, melons, yellow crook neck squash, asparagus and corn. I still haven't mastered tomatoes, carrots & peas.
That being said, it's no different than storing preps: Grow What You Eat, Eat What You Grow.

Oops! Asparagus...
I am not planting a garden this year because of the move. This actually makes me sad in some ways, since I have learned to really like gardening. But the nice thing is I have last year's crop (minus tomatoes) canned and on my storage shelves.
 Well, actually everything is still in Jar Boxes in our new house. 
Anyway, I looked out my back door last week and oops...
My third year asparagus had popped up in the garden. Doing a happy dance. Asparagus is a perennial (continues to come back each year).

First, I had to learn about how to harvest the asparagus. Now that I knew how to harvest we ate some, gave some away and I have dehydrated several batches so far. 
1) Cut the spears when they reach the size of a pencil
2) Use a serrated knife
3) Continue to harvest every day (or every other day) for 8 weeks.
4) After the 8 weeks, let them "fern out" for the following year.

I have been harvesting spears each day now, I save them up in the fridge until I get a good sized batch, steam them, then dehydrated the asparagus. 

After dehydrating several batches, I vacuum sealed the asparagus. This will be a great addition to many recipes.  Next year I will be canning asparagus.

I will be transplanting my asparagus to our new home. When I do, I will be sharing that adventure. 

Top Three Picks: I participate in the Amazon Associates program, where I receive a small percentage of purchase made from my recommendations. As you can see from this post I only recommend items that I personally use (or something similar) and like. I always appreciate your help.


Granny Miller My beds get overgrown too! Probably the best way to deal with an overgrown asparagus bed is to burn off the growth in the late fall or early spring. But what I do is salt the entire bed with livestock salt because it is so close to a building. Asparagus loves salt. I use #50 or #100 bags of salt from the feed store. Burning or salting will keep the weeds down and under control. Good luck 
Future Ref: A Return To Simplicity: How To Grow Asparagus

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Being Mentally Prepared for Defense...*

Being prepared mentally is an often overlooked part of weapons preparation for newbies. I believe it starts with the simple question if you could actually defend yourself and your family.
As many of you know, both my husband and I served in the military. He was in the Navy & retired from our local county sheriffs department. He has taught weapons safety/familiarization courses for over 30 years and Utah concealed carry for 12 plus years.
I was in the Army, was Military Police & on the combat rifle team. We met at a weapons training course. Awwww....

Could you shoot to protect you and yours if needed? Before I joined the military; I knew I needed to work through the process of actually shooting someone. That was going to be my “job”. I had never even seen a weapon before I joined the military.
I know people vary on their belief systems & I respect that. But, I am going to challenge you to at the very least, think through various scenarios to figure out what you think you are able to do & not do and with what defense item.
I am not going into a lot of details, this is to help you decide where you are at and think through those scenarios. If you need practice scenarios, I recommend even something simple like watching real life situations/videos. Effective Tactics (12007) often shares various helpful videos with commentary. 

The reality is I am 5' 3¾” short. I weigh more than is recommended for my height, but I am not very imposing. I am currently 58 years old and have physical limitations. But, I am VERY comfortable in defending myself and my family.

If you are uncomfortable with any weapon, please take some sort of defense class to be prepared. Give yourself a fighting chance.

Learn: If you are considering owning a weapon for the first time; I want you to take a familiarization course, practice with the weapon, loading, unloading & shooting. In my personal opinion; owning a weapon and not knowing how to use it is a recipe for disaster. In fact it is down right stupid.
I will ask you here in this public forum to be legal in your state. Register, take your concealed carry licensing class. If you plan on carrying in other states, take a “Utah Concealed Carry Class”, which enables the holder to legally carry in more than 30 reciprocal states.

If you live in the Commonwealth of Virginia and want to take the above classes, PM (private message) me on FaceBook and I will get you the information for a class in Northern Virginia.

Practice is key! Go to a range and practice shooting under various conditions.
An often over looked key practice is reloading. If you are caught in a situation, that is not the time to be fumbling. If you are sitting watching t.v. in the evening, that is an excellent time to practice reloading. We have dummie ammo for me to practice with. Remember, you need to practice with all the various types of ammo & weapons. 

Take the time right now and look around your house. See what is readily available to you for defense. Know where your “weapons” are located. Do the same for your car. Is it a knife in the kitchen or in your glove box? Is it cleaning chemical on the counter? Is it a sap next to your chair? A .38 in a drawer?

Just take the time today to think this through. Practice, practice, practice...


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

144 Meals In a Box (Recipe 100% from storage)

Once I hit my first big goal of one years food storage for Mr. Perky and me, I started on a journey of setting adding some meals for 12 people for one year to my food storage. With a chance of just our two grown sons, their wives and 6 children we could be providing for them if something catastrophic should occur.

This "Make-It-Monday Meal" is simply prepackaged "A Taste of Thai" peanut sauce mix, coconut milk & pressured canned chicken. I simply prepared it according to the recipe on the box and serve over rice. Since it is something we eat, therefore I stored it.
For ONE meal for the 12 people, I use 3 packages of "A Taste of Thai" peanut sauce mix, 3 cans of coconut milk, 2 1/2-3 jars of pressure canned chicken and of course we have a lot of rice stored.
Now I have stored another one years worth meal for 12 people. (144 meals)
Which equals:
18+ pints of pressure canned chicken (one lb. of canned chicken goes a long way)
36 cans of coconut milk 
36 boxes of "A Taste of Thai" peanut sauce mix
Prepared and served over rice.

While we are talking about chicken, just have to mention that Zaycon is starting to take orders for chicken breasts for only $1.89 a pound. 

They are a fantastic company, which really is growing by word of mouth. They have always offered a fantastic referral program, now it is even better. After you have signed up, you get your own referral number and the first time someone purchases from you they will give you $5 credit towards your next purchase! That's a great deal!
My referral for Zaycon Fresh (click here) . As always I only share what I actually use & appreciate your support.
I am trying to share a meal that I have stored each Monday. At the end I hope to post a complete list of 31 meals. Here are some of the others meals posted so far: Food Storage Meals
Progress of One Year of Meals for 12

What I do here is simply share our preparedness journey. If you liked this post we would love it if you joined our Perky Prepping Gramma community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day. (247)

Things I have used or read this week:

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