How To Prepare Your Home For
Winter (or emergencies)
by Kelly Frohnauer
Each Fall the squirrels gather acorns
and nuts, filling their nests in preparation for the coming winter. This
year, while observing nature, you will notice the squirrels have started
gathering food sooner that usual.
If nature gives any indication of
the coming seasons then like the squirrel, we too, should start getting
prepared and be ready for the coming season.
Being prepared increases our sense
of security and can help to make difficult situations go by smoother and
with less distress.
Use the following four steps to prepare
yourself and your home for adverse winter weather conditions, emergencies
or the usual wintertime power outages.
1) Stock your herbal/first aid medicine
Sometimes it is impossible to get
to a doctor, whether because of extreme weather conditions, no transportation
or an emergency situation requiring immediate attention.
Having a supply of herbal remedies
for times of sickness and emergencies is important. If these situations
should arise you will be able to respond immediately instead of needing
to make a trip to town to get medicine or waiting for a doctors appointment.
Stock up on remedies that treat colds,
flu, coughs, skin wounds, muscle wounds and intestinal upset. For a list
of tried and true remedies that you can add to your home medicine cabinet
go to the Natural Family Home Medicine Cabinet.
Herb books are an important resource
to own. They can help you make informed decisions concerning you and your
families health care. Also important is a First-Aid manual. They are indispensable
for knowing how to deal with accidents such as broken bones, electrical
shock, concussions, etc. Take a first-aid class. Most hospital's offer
community education first-aid/CPR classes at reasonable prices. What you
learn could save a life.
2) Stock your food pantry.
Keeping extra food on hand is a regular
practice in our home. It's nice to have the food on hand and not just for
emergency purposes but also for times when the budget gets too tight!
Make it a regular habit while grocery
shopping to purchase a few extra items that store well and put them away
in a designated surplus cupboard or in a box under the bed. Take note regularly
of what you have stored and organize it in a manner so the food can be
easily rotated for freshness.
Purchase foods that store well, will
keep for long periods of time and do not require lots of heat energy to
prepare. The following are some basic examples:
*All types of canned goods. These
store the best.
*Boxed cereals and instant soup,
rice, macaroni and muffin mixes.
*Grains and Legumes - the quicker
cooking types like oats, couscous, tabouli, falafel, bulgur and lentils.
*Flour and cornmeal - Best stored
in the freezer or air tight glass jars in a cool dark cupboard.
When storing flour and grains first
put them in your freezer for at least 3 days before putting them away in
your cupboard. This will kill any meal worm or weevil eggs that would hatch
during storage and ruin your food.
Purchase a hand held non-electric
can opener. Paper plates and cups will also come in handy, especially when
water is unavailable or limited for washing.
Buying food in bulk through a co-op
is an economical way to build up your food storage. Below are a few co-op
websites that serve different areas of the U.S. To meet their minimums
you can get together with your friends and neighbors and combine an order.
Ozark Cooperative Warehouse
United Northeast Natural & Organic
Serves the Northeast, New England,
mid-Atlantic, mid-western and southern states.
Tucson Cooperative Warehouse
serving the Southern states
Door to Door Organics
Serving the greater Philadelphia
area, Maryland, and New York
For other companies that sell food
storage systems, vacuum packed and canned food, food buckets and other
food storage items go to the Family Homesteading Advocates Natural
Foods links and resources page.
3) Store water.
Water is the most important resource
we can have. When water gets cut off or wells run dry it is a major setback
for everyone. In this type of situation your whole household must be diligent
to conserve whatever water you have available.
Having a storage of drinking water
is crucial. A general rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per
day. Personally, I have found this to be more than enough water. In fact,
when fresh running water is not available you will quickly learn to make
each drop count.
Some tips for storing your drinking
*Store water in clean plastic containers.
Two-liter soda bottles work great. Milk jugs are not recommended because
they do not seal well and are hard to get totally free of milk residue.
*Rotate your water supply, even
the commercially prepared bottled drinking water - at least every six months.
*If storing well or spring water,
add two drops of liquid household bleach per gallon of water. The only
active ingredient in the bleach should be 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. There
should not be any added soap or fragrances. You do not need to do this
when storing city water.
*If you are storing commercially
prepared spring or drinking water, keep it in the original sealed container.
Once opened, use it. Do not store it again.
If you are forced to use a water
source that you are unsure about it's purity then definitely purify the
water before consuming or storing it. To purify water, follow these steps.
*Filter the water to remove as many
*Bring the water to a rolling boil
for a full ten minutes.
*Let the water cool at least 30
*Add eight drops of liquid household
bleach per gallon of cool water. (Water must be cool or the chlorine in
the bleach will not work. The only active ingredient in the bleach should
be 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. There should not be any added soap or fragrances.)
*Let the water stand 30 minutes.
*If the water smells of chlorine,
you can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, add eight more drops
of chlorine bleach, let stand 30 minutes, and smell again. If it smells
of chlorine, you can use it. If the water does not smell of chlorine this
time, discard it and find another source.
Here are some helpful water conservation
tips to use during times of water shortages:
*Keep a bowl of water in sink for
everyone to wash their hands in. Use this water over and over until visibly
*Dump the dirty hand washing water
into the tank of your toilet to be used for flushing.
*Wash fruits and vegetables in a
bowl of water. Then use that water to replenish your hand washing water.
*For washing your hair pour about
2 quarts of warm water into a big bowl or dish tub. Dip your head in to
get wet. Go easy on the shampoo and squeeze out excess suds directly into
sink, not into the bowl. Rinse hair using the same water.
*Use leftover hair washing water
for a sponge bath.
*When done bathing, dump water into
Several companies have water storage
barrels and systems to help make storing water convenient. Go to the Family
Homesteading Advocate's Home Preparedness
Links page for resources.
4) Gather non-electric sources for
lighting, cooking and for warmth.
Power outages tend to be a common
occurrence in our area during the winter. By being prepared, these outages,
instead of being stressful and worrisome times, have created some fond
memories for our family...sitting around the kitchen table playing games
by candlelight, munching on cheese and crackers and sipping cups of hot
cocoa that was heated on top of our woodstove which is radiating warmth
throughout the room...
Some of those power outages continued
for 5 days! Since most of our homes need electricity to function, being
prepared for a power outage is important and can help alleviate the fear
and stress that these situations can create.
A) Non-electric sources for lighting.
The following are excellent sources
for non-electric lighting. Put these items in an easy to get to place,
one that you will remember and be able to find safely in the dark.
*A box of matchbooks.
*Tapered candles - This type puts
out lots of light.
*Batteries for the flashlight
*Kerosene lamps or Oil lamps
*Spare kerosene or lamp oil
B) Non-electric sources for cooking
Cooking without electricity can be
just like cooking while camping. A Coleman campstove is a good investment.
They are fairly inexpensive and most use the disposable propane canisters
which make them convenient and less messy. One will fit on the kitchen
When using camp stoves in the house
be sure to have a window partially open for some ventilation. When done
cooking put the stove outside right away as most tend to leak propane when
not in use.
DO NOT use charcoal briquettes indoors
- very Toxic and dangerous!
If you have a woodstove that a pot
will sit safely on, then you can use it to heat pots of food and kettles
of water. keep a pot of water on top of it to use for warming up washing
(body or dishes) water.
*Coleman type table top cookstove
*Several spare Propane canisters,
the one liter size. Or a 5 gallon size if your stove can be hooked up to
C) Non-electric sources for heating
If you have a wood stove installed
in your home chances are you have a cord or more stacked and ready for
use. Wood stoves are an excellent source of non-electric heat.
If a wood stove is not applicable
to you, there are other ways to keep warm when the electricity goes out.
Some ways are:
*Portable alcohol heaters
*Warm clothing - long johns under
clothes, stocking caps, wool socks, slippers, etc.
Lehman's is a popular resource for
all survival type needs. They have many different types of non-electric
appliances, solar powered items, food and water storage supplies and more.
You can visit Lehman's
With all the candles and open flames
you will have operating during a power outage it is vital that you have
a fire extinguisher. Mount one in a visible easy to reach place.
Let us take a hint from nature and
take the time now to prepare our homes for winter.
©2001 Kelly Frohnauer
Whole Wheat Bread Baking
By Crystal Miller
Have you tried to make whole wheat
bread but found the results less than appealing? Perhaps you weren't sure
if the loaf should be eaten or used as a door stop! Don't despair; whole
wheat bread baking success is something you can achieve. Perhaps some of
my tips and hints will get you started on the right path. The results of
your efforts will not only be better nutrition for your family but it will
be something that they will love to eat.
The first thing to consider for successful
bread is the type of wheat you will use. There are basically 2 types of
wheat, 'hard' and 'soft'. Each one is used for baking but only the 'hard'
is used for bread or any baking done with yeast. The 'soft' wheat, commonly
called 'pastry flour' is used for quick breads. If you are using flour
(as apposed to grinding the whole wheat grain), make sure the package says
"Best for Bread" or "Bread Flour" or something of this nature. For the
absolute best quality and taste, freshly ground wheat is the ideal choice.
But when I started baking I did not have a grinder or access to one and
bought many, many bags of whole wheat flour from the health food store.
Another secret that I have learned
to make a soft textured whole wheat bread is to add a little gluten flour
(this is also referred to as Vital Wheat Gluten) to the bread. Gluten is
a protein normally found in flour. This helps give your bread elasticity
and helps it to rise much better than it would without it. If you add gluten
flour (usually found in health food stores) to you bread you will need
to add about 2 to 3 T per loaf.
Yeast is another crucial aspect to
bread baking. If you don't bake a lot and then one day discover an older
opened jar of yeast in the cupboard and use it, well you may end up with
a baking failure. Only use fresh yeast as it does have a useful shelf life.
If you buy your yeast in a jar or bag from a warehouse store (like Costco
or Sam's Club), then make sure to store the opened package in your refrigerator
or freezer for best results. If you are not sure your yeast is working
simply test it before you begin baking. This will save you a lot of frustration
and cost of ingredients. To test your yeast put about ¼ cup of nicely
warm water in a bowl and sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of yeast over this.
You can also sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of sugar in as this will help the
yeast. Wait 5 to 10 minutes. By this time the yeast should be nice and
bubbly in the bowl. If it is not, toss the yeast because it has gotten
to old. One last comment on yeast, if you store it in the freezer make
sure to take it out a few hours ahead of the time you will use it so it
can warm up.
Temperature is very important. When
you add your liquid (some recipes call for water others call for milk)
to the yeast it must be warm enough to make the yeast react but not too
warm or it will kill the yeast. So what is the proper temperature for yeast?
It is about 100 to 110 degrees. Cooler temps will cause the bread to rise
very slowly. I don't use a thermometer to test the temperatures of my yeast.
I run the water from the faucet over my wrist and wait until it feels a
little more than comfortably warm to me. When your bread is rising it also
needs to stay warm. Set it in a draft free area. I let mine rise in the
oven. You can turn your oven on for just a few minutes to slightly warm
it, then turn it off (very important!) when you can feel the first bit
of heat and let your loaves rise in there. If you don't have
a good standard recipe to try then perhaps you would like to
use mine. This is the recipe I always
use to make my family's bread.
Delicious Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
makes 2 loaves
2 cups warm water
1 T yeast
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup oil
2 t. salt
1/3 cup gluten
5 to 7 cups whole wheat flour, freshly
ground if possible (I use Hard White
In a stand up type mixer such as
a Kitchen Aid combine water,yeast and honey. Let this sit for about 5 minutes
or until the yeast is nice and bubbly. Add oil, salt, gluten flour and
3 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Knead this with your mixer and continue
to add more flour until the dough does not stick to the side of the bowl
and does not feel sticky to the touch. Knead for another 7 to 8 minutes.
When dough has finished kneading
let it sit in the mixer bowl and rise until doubled in volume. This usually
takes about 45 minutes. When it has finished rising, turn on your mixer
and knead again for a few more minutes to get all the air bubbles out.
Remove from mixer and divide the dough into 2 pieces and shape into loaves
and put in bread pans that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Let the loaves rise until they are about ½ to 1 inch above the rim
of the bread pan. Bake at 350 for approx. 30 minutes or until golden brown.
The last thing I would like to say
is that bread baking is an art. It takes time to get a feel for it, to
know when the ingredients are just right and to know what it takes to have
great success. I have been baking bread for my family for many years. So
I know it is an art that greatly improves with time and experience!
Copyright: Crystal Miller, 2004
About the Author:
Crystal Miller is the mother of
8 children and enjoys her God given role as wife, homemaker and mother!
She has a small cookbook available in both book form and e-book on baking
breads, quick breads and desserts with whole foods. You can find
information on her homemaking and country living website, The Family Homestead
She also has a free monthly newsletter, Homestead Happenings available.
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TIPS FOR FREEZING MEALS
By Lois Breneman, Editor of the
Heart to Heart Newsletter
Freezer Recipes ~ Below are some
freezer meals that have been favorites of our family. I hope these
recipes and tips will help make life a little easier for you and provide
extra time to spend with your husband and children!
Time Saver and Education ~ Cooking
in large quantities is a time saver, because you cut, measure, sauté,
brown and mix all at once, rather than repeatedly. It also saves
trips to the grocery store and provides more family time. This is
also a great opportunity to get your children to help and learn how to
cook at the same time. It also teaches them by example how to plan
ahead for an upcoming busy day.
*Using your favorite recipes or the
ones below, do the math and multiply each ingredient. Put that amount
in parentheses to the right of each line, with a note at the top of the
recipe card, giving the total number of servings or write "(8 x Recipe),"
so the figuring is done for the next time. (See the banana bread
*In figuring the math, you will save
measuring time by remembering that:
1 Tbsp. = 3 tsp.
1 cup = 16 Tbsp. . . . . . . Therefore
4 Tbsp. = ¼ cup
*When multiplying 6 oz. tomato paste,
etc., keep in mind that larger cans can be purchased to save time.
*Sometimes you need to consider the
available amount of a main ingredient before figuring how many times you
plan to multiply. For instance, if you already have four bags of
fresh cranberries on hand, measure them out after they are chopped, to
see how many recipes they will make. Be sure you have all the other
ingredients as well.
* A squash recipe is perfect for
gardeners with an abundance of squash. Our family just enjoyed a
squash casserole on Sunday, that was prepared last summer and frozen.
Dishpan Mixing ~ After multiplying
your recipe ingredients, a dishpan or basin may be the only container that
will hold all the ingredients. Buy a new dishpan, making sure it
is clean and save it for future mixing in large quantities.
Reusing Dishes ~ Gather together
your casserole dishes. There is no need to grease the dish if you
plan to pop out the frozen food and wrap. When cooking a lot of casseroles
ahead, freeze the casserole in the dish and pop the food out of the dish
when frozen solid a day later, so the dishes can be used again. Do
that by running hot water on the bottom of the dish and inserting a paring
knife at the edge to pop it out. Quickly wrap the frozen casserole
securely in foil and label it with making tape, using a permanent pen.
When ready to bake each casserole, simply put it into dish in which it
was frozen, and thaw it in the refrigerator. Add the topping if needed
and bake. Another method would be to line the casserole with foil,
fill with food, wrap, freeze in the dish, remove foil-wrapped casserole
from the dish, and return wrapped and labeled casserole to freezer.
Toppings ~ When a recipe calls for
a cheese or breadcrumb topping, that can be added the day it is baked.
The reason is because when removing the frozen casserole from its dish,
you may lose some of the topping. A good idea would be to put the
prepared topping in a freezer bag, and tape it to the dish.
Labels ~ Only the name of the recipe
needs to be on the label. Keep an index card in your kitchen with
the names of the recipes in your freezer, along with the oven temperature
Beach Trips ~ With the high
cost of vacations, it is economical to cook in for most meals and enjoy
going out some evenings. Here’s where your freezer meals will come
in handy! By packing a large cooler with a frozen turkey breast and
other frozen meals, they will stay frozen for about ten hours, even on
a very hot day. We’ve done it many times.
Once A Month Cooking ~ This
is another way to cook ahead, preparing a variety of specific meals to
use in a one-month period, and you can find a book by this name, with some
great recipes to freeze. I prefer to cook a large quantity of one
particular recipe one day and do another when the main ingredient is on
sale or when I feel like cooking. Whichever way you do it, you will
find it is wonderful to go to your freezer and pull out an already-prepared
meal to pop into the oven! Most casseroles go well with a vegetable
and a salad or applesauce, so most of the work will already be done.
Cook Fresh Meat Ahead to Freeze ~
*Cook taco meat with the seasoning
in meal-size packs.
*Buy a large amount of fresh chicken
on sale and freeze it in freezer bags with a marinade – you can do the
same with beef.
*Cook a fresh turkey breast and freeze
portions of the meat in freezer bags for a quick meal.
*Cook sloppy Joes, using ground chuck,
ground turkey or shredded turkey and freeze in freezer bags.
*Cook a large amount of fresh ground
chuck when you find it on sale and freeze in meal-size portions in freezer
*Cook fresh sausage ahead and freeze
for speedier preparation time in making a hash brown or breakfast casserole.
Dried Beans and Brown Rice ~ Cook
each of these in a large Dutch oven and freeze in meal-size portions, using
freezer bags. Never salt dried beans or rice as you cook them (this
prevents softening of the grain or bean), but add salt after cooking.
Save on Freezer Bags ~ One large
freezer bag can hold a multiple number of single-serving slices of banana
bread, muffins or sandwiches, each in a regular zip-lock bag or simply
wrapped in plastic wrap. Just retrieve from the larger bag for lunches.
1 ¼ cups 2” spaghetti pieces
1 ½ - 2 cups cooked turkey
¼ cup minced pimiento
¼ cup minced green pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ turkey broth
1/8 tsp. celery salt
1/8 tsp. ground pepper
½ grated small onion
1 ½ cup grated sharp cheddar
cheese (6 oz.)
Cook spaghetti until barley tender.
Drain, rinse with hot water, drain well. Add remaining ingredients,
except ½ cup grated cheese. Toss lightly. Taste and
add more seasoning if necessary. Pour into a 1½ quart casserole.
Sprinkle with ½ cup grated cheese. Bake casserole (covered)
for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 4 servings.
Cook 4 cups or more of egg noodles.
Run cold water over them to prevent sticking together.
Brown 4# ground chuck.
Mix 4 small cans tomato sauce together
with meat. Set aside.
16 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cottage cheese
2 Tbsp. minced green pepper
¼ cup minced onion
Layer in casserole dish:
half of noodles
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
FAVORITE BANANA BREAD
-- (5 X Recipe)
1 cup sugar (5 cups) – (1 cup
less - 4 cups - works great for 5X’s the recipe)
½ cup oil (2
2 eggs (10)
3-4 bananas (15-20)
pinch salt (5 pinches)
1 tsp. baking soda (1 Tbsp, 2 tsp.)
¼ tsp. baking powder (1 ¼
1 ¾ cups unbleached flour
(8 ¾ cups)
Mix first four ingredients together.
Add remaining ingredients and mix, but do not beat.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes
or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
This has been a favorite of ours
for 28 years, though I cut way down on the sugar and sometimes use all
*freshly milled whole wheat flour. Sometimes I also add some oat
bran in place of a portion of the flour. This is great wrapped individually
for lunches in place of a dessert. Freshly milled flour produces
a much lighter bread than the store-bought whole wheat flour and is so
much more nutritious. If you are interested in a food mill to grind
your own grain, just ask me about it. I can tell you more about how
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lois Breneman is the Editor of the
Heart to Heart Newsletter, bringing encouragement to women. She shares
creative ideas for home, family, homemaking and so much more from a Christian
perspective. You may receive her bi-monthly newsletter by sending
your name, city, state, country and the name of the person who referred
you to Heart to Heart to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wonders of Whole Wheat
by Kelly Frohnauer
Cooking with whole wheat flour
is a great way to increase the nutritional value of the foods we eat. But
many of todays recipes list bleached, enriched white flour and for some
of us the thought of changing that ingredient to whole wheat flour can
I used to think that in order to
use whole wheat flour I needed to find recipes that specifically listed
it. As a newlywed, finances were tight so I had to make do with the few
cookbooks that I had which were either a wedding gift or ones that my mom
had given me. All of them listed bleached, enriched, white flour in the
recipes requiring flour. My committment to healthy eating and my lack of
proper recipes caused me to venture into unknown territory and just "go
for it". So I substituted whole wheat flour whenever the recipe called
for bleached flour. I soon discovered that, although my cookies didn't
taste "just like moms" they did turn out really good!
Here are a few things I have discovered
that help when substituting with whole wheat flour in recipes that
call for bleached white flour:
Fluff flour while measuring. Make sure
it doesn't get compacted in the measuring cup. You actually want to end
up with about a tablespoon or two less than the amount called for, i.e.
if it requires 1 cup white flour use about 7/8 whole wheat flour.
If your eggs are really small, use 2
for every 1 listed in the recipe.
Pie crusts and some cookies may require
a tablespoon or 2 of extra water added.
1/8 - 1/4 cup honey will add moisture
to baked goods when substituting whole wheat flour.
Pancakes and waffles will be lighter
in texture if you whip the egg whites into stiff peaks and then fold into
So, go ahead and experiment with substituting
and create some family heirloom recipes of your own!
recipes using amaranth, spelt, wheat and millet flour check out the website
& Grain. They also sell a hand crank flour mill, juicers,
dehydrator and other canning equipment.
According to Beth Durtschi (see
below) Ascorbic acid or lemon juice softens the gluten that develops
while bread making, thus making your breads softer! So try adding
a tablespoon or two the next time you make bread, pizza dough or cinnamon
rolls and see what happens! I know I am going to!
is an online provider of authentic
ethnic products for all your ethnic cooking needs. They offer an extensive
selection of authentic ethnic brands and products delivered right to your
doorstep. Whether you are looking for Abalone, FuFu Flour
or even exclusive Chinese Tea Pots, you can find it at EthnicGrocer.com
Reviews by Kelly Frohnauer
the Best of Basics - Family Preparedness Handbook
by James Talmage Stevens
My mother-in-law gave me this book
about a year after we were married. It was such a blessing! Whole wheat
recipes, finally! Also, honey recipes, sourdough bread starters and cheese
making recipes! Just the information that we needed. For the past 20 years
this book has been well used. It not only contains whole foods recipes
but also information on food storage, family preparedness, yard gardening,
personal care and cleaning products and more. Some recipes are geared to
giving you ideas on how to incorporate your dry foods storage into your
daily meal planning. The handy table of food substitutions in the back
has helped me many a time. Every homesteading home needs this book. (see
book link below)
Up -How to Preserve the Foods You Grow, Naturally
by Carol Hupping
Another great Rodale book, this
is one of the most comprehensive guides to harvesting, storing, preparing
and preserving foods of all kinds. Complete step-by-step instructions for
freezing, canning, drying, and preserving vegetables, meats, fish and poultry.
A dairy section covers freezing milk and cream, making butter, cheeses,
yoghurt, ice cream, storing eggs. Plus information on harvesting, grinding
and storing grains and seeds. The recipes only use honey, even the jelly
and jam recipes (honey gives the French Vanilla ice cream a nice touch).
I have owned this book since the early 80's and use the pickle recipes
every year. Our family favorite is the Sweet Gherkins using honey. Now
in it's Third Edition, your natural kitchen will truly benefit from the
information in this book. (see link below)
New Laurel's Kitchen : A Handbook for Vegetarian Cookery and Nutrition
by Laurel Robertson, Brian Ruppenthal, Carol L. Flinders
Lots of delicious, whole foods recipes
and vegetarian nutritional information. A great resource for enjoying a
(see link below)