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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Breakfast Recipes

I love breakfast! It's one of my favorite things about getting up in the morning.

Breakfast foods are usually simple to prepare and can be inexpensive. We sometimes have "breakfast" for dinner. Here are three of my family's favorite breakfast recipes:

I use 1/3 cup non-instant powdered milk and 1 cup water in place of milk. Mix non-instant powdered milk with dry ingredients, mix water with liquid ingredients.
3 eggs
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted shortening
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, stirred and measured
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar

Beat eggs thoroughly; stir in milk, shortening, and sifted dry ingredients just until blended. Bake on lightly greased griddle. Makes 8 to 10 pancakes.

Apple Pancakes:
Stir in 1 cup finely chopped apple.

Blueberry Pancakes: Stir in 1 cup fresh, frozen, or canned and drained blueberries.

I use 2/3 cup non-instant powdered milk and 2 1/4 cups water in place of milk. Mix non-instant powdered milk with the dry ingredients, mix water with the liquid ingredients.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, stirred and measured
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 beaten eggs
2 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup melted shortening or vegetable oil

Stir together dry ingredients. Combine eggs, milk, and shortening. Combine liquid and dry ingredients just before baking; beat until smooth. Bake in hot waffle iron. Makes 12 waffles.

8 1/2 cups 6 Grain Mix
(Rolled - Red Wheat, White Wheat, Rye, Oats, Barley and Sunflower Seeds)
1 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups finely chopped mixed nuts
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups raisins, chopped dates or other dried fruit, if desired

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine 6 Grain Mix, coconut, and nuts, if desired. Stir until evenly distributed. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, oil, honey, molasses, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Do not boil. Pour syrup over grain mixture. Stir with a large wooden spoon until syrup coats other ingredients. Spread mixture in two 13" x 9" baking pans or on 2 large baking sheets with raised sides. Bake 20 to 30 minutes in preheated oven, stirring occasionally. Bake 10 minutes longer for a crunchier texture. Cool on racks. Stir in raisins, chopped dates or other dried fruit, if desired. Spoon into a 10-cup container with a tight-fitting lid. Seal container. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool dry place. Use within 6 months. Makes about 10 cups.


How Would One Prepare Financially for Hard Times?

Let's face it -- times are tough -- and they will most likely get tougher before they get better. (Not what you wanted to hear, but something you probably knew already.)

We can feel peace even when there is trouble around us. There are things we can do to help us make it through these turbulent times. The following is a re-post from an article printed in the June 1980 Ensign and suggests some timeless ideas on how to prepare financially:

1. The breadwinner in the family should make every effort to stay employed and keep earning wages or salaries, profits, and benefits. 2. Try to build tenure or seniority with your employer, and demonstrate both creative and productive skills.
3. Keep knowledge and skills current through continuous upgrading; thus, you can compete with the best and offer the best service or product available in your field. Even family members not employed should do the same. Where possible, everyone should have or work toward a potentially marketable skill or product.
4. Protect yourself during a recession—or times of inflation—by keeping monthly expenditures well under control. It is no time to have any excessive debt or large installment payments. Also, you may not be able to borrow money for major things like houses, farms, or businesses. Wait until money is more available and the interest levels are moderate.
5. Have an emergency cash reserve. The longer or deeper the economic downturn, the greater the need for ready money in such cases as unemployment, reduced income, illness, or injury.
6. As much as possible, get ownership and clear title (or deed) to cars, major appliances, homes, farms, businesses, etc. During a recession or depression, repossession, foreclosure, and garnishment—and the resulting risk of bankruptcy—are more likely since cash demands continue and income may stop. Ownership of your major possessions would provide you with great security.
7. Have an adequate one year’s supply of food and clothing. It takes most families months and even years to build a good supply and learn how to store and rotate it properly. Get started now.
8. Be willing to make significant life-style changes. Economic hardship could force you to sacrifice many comforts and luxuries such as recreation, travel, nonessential clothing, eating out, entertainment, and gifts; can you make some of these changes voluntarily now? Expenditures might have to focus on essentials such as food, housing, utilities, health care, and transportation.
9. Organize your extended families to give help to each generation as needed.
10. Self-reliance is important. Knowing how to make bread, sew clothes, make gifts, toys, and home decorations, paint the house, fix the plumbing, etc., will become increasingly valuable. As much as possible, be able to sustain life. Grow a garden, cultivate fruit trees, keep animals, etc., wherever practical, or have access to these resources.
One of the best defenses against a recession or a depression is owning things like food surpluses (such as grain, sugar, corn, rice, beans, and dried fruits), precious metals and gems, coal and wood, land, etc. They have intrinsic value, demand for them stays high, and they can be used in many ways.
11. Be good friends and neighbors. During hard times, you’ll be exchanging products and services much more.
(Source: “Questions about Coping Financially: Welfare Services Suggests Some Answers,” Ensign, Jun 1980, 12)
*Previous posts on FINANCES

How Would You Vanish for a Month?

Alas my application for the Vanish challenge was rejected (I did get a nice thanks but no thanks email though). Although I am not the most technically savvy person, thus not one to be a "searcher" who hunts down the contestants, I was damn sure that I could hide out in plain sight for a month and collect up the $10,000 prize. Here were some of my ideas, feel free to add your own ideas in the comment section below...
  • Location matters. If you know that the people who are hunting for you are some of the most technically savvy in the country, you obviously wouldn't want to be hanging out in techie hot spots (Bay Area, Seattle, etc), where people would be more likely to have heard about the contest or be an active participant. I would head for places where the demographics would support a group of people less likely to know about or be participating in the contest (rural areas, Indian reservations, South Central LA, etc).
  • Technology matters. The people who would be interested in participating in such a contest are the hackers, techies, and others who will go to great lengths to follow your every move through technology--credit card swipes, Twitter reports, cell phone transmissions, etc. Thus, use cash, minimize your communications via web, minimize your (obviously prepaid) cell phone use, etc.
  • Your habits matter. The guy who originated the contest was found because he used technology to search out a gluten free pizza. Um, strike one (technology) and strike two (how many people would be searching out a gluten free pizza??). More often than not, if you ask detectives and those who search for people in hiding, it's the people's habits (which of course are well researched ahead of time) that trip them up. In other words, if you are going into hiding and you have a two pack a day smoking habit along with a taste for dive bars, pole dancers, and Jack Daniels, unless you become the stellar opposite of these habits, you will be much easier to find.
  • Your looks matter. When people try to disappear, they think that dying their hair or shaving it off completely will be a good enough disguise. Wrong. A good disguise requires a total transformation so that you actually become another person. Uniforms are good since people often look, and quickly dismiss, a uniform and barely notice the person in it. How closely would you look at a nun in full nun's dress? Or a guy dressed as a janitor who is sweeping up trash in a city park? A woman in a McDonalds uniform with her hair pulled back and no makeup? Taking on a homeless disguise is also effective as most people barely acknowledge and quickly want to be away from the homeless people they encounter.
  • Your persona matters. Store security, undercover cops, even Air Marshals are fairly easy to pick out of a crowd no matter how dressed down they are because the air about them is different. Their body language usually affects a subconscious, confident, intimidating manner just because they can't get past their training. The way people speak matters--if you look like a minimum wage waitress but sound like you just escaped from an Ivy League college, people will notice. People who have just returned from deployment in a war zone or just got released from prison are easy to spot because they have so many mannerism that served them well in their previous environment that they stick out like a sore thumb in your average American community.
  • Your price tag matters. The more someone wants to pay to find you, the bigger the target you become. If the price is high enough (and in some circles that isn't very much), your best friend will turn you in. In other words, if you are on the run, trust no one.
Well those are a few of the thoughts that were going through my mind as I carefully planned my month-long escape. Any other ideas?

20 Ways to Survive Poverty

It's no surprise, if you have been reading the news lately, that more people are finding themselves almost instantly dropped into poverty. Here's some tips for surviving if you find yourself in such a situation:
  1. No matter how much (or how little) you make, always put aside 10% of your earnings into savings.
  2. Take help (food stamps, welfare) only if you absolutely, positively can't survive without it--you don't want to get too comfy and become dependant on such help.
  3. Keep yourself busy; if you aren't working then volunteer, take classes, start a garden or do other things to keep yourself occupied. "Idle hands are the devil's playground" as grandma used to say.
  4. Ratchet back your standard of living to meet your current income. Some people try to support their former standard of living using credit which never works out well.
  5. Study frugality. Millions of people before you have lived (many quite happily I might add) very frugally. There are books, websites, and even classes that can teach you how to embrace frugality and live well on much less.
  6. Never lower your standards. You may end up living in the ghetto but that doesn't mean you lower your standards for your children's schooling, your behavior, your spouses qualities, etc.
  7. Develop quality relationships. A nice thing about "poor people" is that they are often less judgemental than your usual snooty yuppies. They are often the people that will give you the shirt off of their backs if you need it and they will often clue you in about all kind of information (about the neighborhood, the neighbors, etc) which may prove useful.
  8. Keep your goals in mind and work towards them every day. You may be broke and in the ghetto but there is always hope, if you have a clear goal and keep working towards it every day no matter how small the progress; eventually you will end up somewhere better.
  9. Hustle and make money every time the opportunity arises. You may need to scan Craigslist daily, go to the 'daily work, daily pay' office, or go door-to-door asking for lawn mowing jobs but you can't make money if you don't try. The more you try, the more you will make.
  10. Search out the free things that will make your life enjoyable even if you are broke. Go to the free night at the museum, volunteer at a community event so that you will get the opportunity to enjoy the event for free after your shift, check out free community activities such as free outdoor movies, bands on the pier, etc.
  11. Stay out of trouble. There is no denying that when you are living in poverty you will meet many people who are in poverty because of their poor decisions--whether it is get rich quick schemes that always fail, problems with drugs or alcohol, or a penchant for getting into legal trouble. Avoid theses people. You are only as good as the people you hang around with.
  12. Use your time wisely--read instead of watch TV, play educational games with your kids instead of going to the bar or casino, limit computer use to work-related stuff and limit mindless internet trolling. Often times when people are in a crappy situation, they look for ways to escape instead of ways to engage. Keep engaged.
  13. You may be in poverty but you can still look good and presentable. Always iron your clothes and keep them stain-free, polish your shoes, and stand up straight...these things cost very little money but can make you look like a million bucks.
  14. Ask for help when possible. Maybe you can hit up an old friend for a job referral, ask a relative to babysit while you go job hunting, or make your needs clearly known to your spouse instead of just assuming they should know what it is you want them to help out with.
  15. Look for win-win situations to take advantage of. Say an elderly relative needs help around the house and happens to have a small apartment over her garage. Work out a deal where you get reduced or free rent in exchange for taking care of her home and yard.
  16. Take care of your health. Generally if you are in poverty, health care is hard to come by so it only makes sense to take care of your health by yourself as much as possible. Exercise every day (walking is free and easy to do for most people) and eat right (skip the fast food and cook staples such as beans and rice from scratch).
  17. Look for cheaper options for things that are important to you (ie: use free public internet instead of paying for internet at home, watch movies for free online instead of paying monthly for cable, cut down to a pre-paid cell phone if you don't use many minutes, etc).
  18. Get outside. Fresh air, sunlight, and social interaction are better than locking yourself away in a dinky, dank apartment.
  19. Consider relocating. Some places are just dead ends--for jobs, for social attitudes and mores, and for upward mobility. Don't discount the power of changing to a more promising location in order to help yourself back out of poverty.
  20. Don't give up. Being broke can be tough but giving up won't help. Get into a good, supportive church, take any opportunity to improve yourself and your marketability, make living frugally fun with picnics and playing at the park with the kids, hang out at the library instead of the bar...
Being in poverty is a fairly crappy way to live. Most people have ended up here at one time or another in their lives, however there are ways to escape from poverty and many people have been able to do this. You can too.

(title unknown)

Spring is right around the corner and as I was planning my garden I was reminded about "companion planting". There is a lot of info in books and on the web for you to check out. One link for you to check out, with a great chart is here: http://www.pioneerliving.net/companionplanting.htm I have used companion planting and I do think it makes a difference. Check it out.
I also wanted to pass on a wonderful link about acorns. They grow just about everywhere and are delicious, nutritious and FREE. In a survival situation you will be glad to know how to prepare them and eat them. The brown soaking water can even be used in the process of animal hide tanning and has both antiseptic and antiviral properties. Check out this link here: http://www.grandpappy.info/racorns.htm This site has a wonderful nutritional chart-these little gems are full of good nutrition! It also gives clear instructions on drying, storing and preparing them. It is important to know that you need to soak them to leech out the tannic acid to make it tasty and edible.
Grandpappy's Basic Acorn Recipes
Acorn grits may be deep fried and eaten as a side dish.
Acorn grits may be added to soups or salads.
Acorn grits may be fried briefly in a skillet and then used as one of the ingredients in a granola snack recipe.
Acorn meal may be used in most recipes to replace 1/4 of the flour or 1/4 the corn meal. However, since acorn meal contains natural sweetness, you should reduce any other sweeteners in the recipe by 1/4.
Ground acorn nutmeats may be roasted and then used as a weak coffee substitute.
Indian Acorn Griddlecakes2 cups acorn meal
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water
Preparation: Combine everything and beat to a stiff batter. Let stand for one hour.Cook: Heat 1 tbsp. of fat or oil in frying pan. Drop batter into pan to form cakes about 3 to 4 inches across. Brown cakes slowly on both sides. These cakes will keep for several days.
Mexican Acorn Tortillas
2 cups acorn meal
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. salt
Preparation: Mix ingredients. Add just enough water to make a stiff dough. Let stand for 30 minutes.Cook: Squeeze into small balls and then press each ball into a very thin flat cake. Fry in a lightly greased skillet until brown on both sides. Use just enough fat or oil to prevent sticking.
Acorn Pemmican Tortilla1/2 cup acorn meal
1 pound lean meat, cut in thin strips
Several tortillas
Cook: Boil the lean meat in salted water until tender. Drain and allow to dry. Grind the meat and the acorn meal together using a fine grinding blade. Mix well and then grind a second time. Heat and serve wrapped in a tortilla, or on any flat bread.Variation: Add cooked white rice, or cooked beans, or hot sauce, or grated cheese as part of the tortilla stuffing.
Pioneer Acorn Bread and Acorn Muffins
1 cup acorn meal
1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. baking powder
3 tbsp. oil
1 cup milk (or water)Optional: You may add 1 egg to the above ingredients.Preparation: Combine milk, egg (if available), and oil and beat until smooth. Mix in the acorn meal, flour, salt, and baking powder and stir into a smooth dough. Place in a greased bread pan.Cook: Bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes. Cool and serve.Variation: Acorn Muffins: Fill greased muffin tins about 2/3 full with above mixture and bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes.
Pioneer Acorn Pancakes
Preparation: Use the above recipe for Pioneer Acorn Bread, but use 2 eggs and 1 1/4 cups milk.Cook: Drop batter from a ladle onto a hot greased grill. When bottom is brown, turn once and brown other side. Serve with butter, or syrup, or honey, or jelly, or fresh fruit.
Breakfast Acorn meal (Similar to Oatmeal)
1 cup acorn meal
2.5 cups water
1/8 cup hickory nuts or black walnuts, crushed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. honey or sugar
Boil the water with the salt. Add the acorn meal and continue boiling for 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Allow to cool for about five minutes. Stir in the honey and nuts. Very satisfying and delicious, and it will provide enough energy for a day of rigorous physical activity.
Acorn and Corn Meal Mush
1/2 cup acorn meal
4 cups water
1 cup corn meal
1 tsp. salt
Cook: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in the top half of a double boiler. Add the salt. Sprinkle the acorn meal slowly into the boiling water and stir continuously. Then add the corn meal. When the mixture starts to bubble, it should be able to support a plastic or wooden stirring spoon in the center without the spoon falling over. If too thick, add a little water. If too thin, add a little more cornmeal.Then put the mixture which is in the top half of the double boiler into the bottom half of the double boiler which contains boiling water. Simmer about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up any lumps, until the mush becomes thick. Serve hot for breakfast, lunch, or supper.Variation: May be served with a topping of milk, or butter, or grated cheese, or bacon bits, or honey, or sugar, or fruit, or jam.Variation: Pour above finished, cooked mush into a greased loaf pan and put in the refrigerator for about 8 hours. It will become solid and then it can be sliced with a knife into 1/2 inch thick slices. Coat each slice with flour and fry in a very thin layer of oil, one side at a time. Serve with butter, or syrup, or jam (similar to French toast).
Acorn Bread2 cups acorn meal
1/2 cup milk (or water)
1 tbsp. baking powder
2 cups wheat flour
3 tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 egg (optional)Optional Sweeteners: Add 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup or sugar, if available.Preparation: Combine all the above ingredients and pour into a loaf pan.Cook : Bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes or until done. Yields a moist bread with a sweet nutty flavor.
Glazed Acorn Treats
Boiled dry whole acorn kernels
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water
Preparation: Mix and dissolve the sugar, salt, and cream of tartar in 1 cup of water.Cook: Bring above mixture to a boil in a small pot. Continue to boil until the mixture first begins to show signs of browning. Then immediately put the small pot into a larger pot of boiling water to keep the mixture in a liquid state. (Or use a double boiler.) Use a pair of tweezers to dip individual whole acorn kernels (previously shelled, boiled and dried), one at a time into the mixture and then put each acorn onto a sheet of wax paper to dry and harden. Serve as a candied covered nut.
Acorn Cookies
2 cups wheat flour
1 cup white (or brown) sugar
1 tsp. baking powder (or baking soda)
1 cup acorn grits
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp. salt
Preparation: Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, cream the shortening and the sugar. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Then blend in the acorn grits. Pinch off walnut sized pieces of dough and roll into balls. Place 1.5" apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.Cook: Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly colored. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.Variation: Add 1 egg and/or 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
Keep on Preppin Folks!

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