Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Will Vanilla Prices Soar?

A story from the Associated Press, published on 8 December 2008, indicates that an incurable disease has destroyed about 80% of the vanilla plants in Madagascar. Why is that important to you? Madagascar ships most of its vanilla to the U.S. , where it is used in candy, soft drinks and ice cream.

The situation occurred in the first place because vanilla prices were high. Farmers crowded plants together, trying to get the most from their land. Scientists "think" they might have a disease-resistant variety of vanilla, but no one knows for sure yet. Even if the new varieties work, it will no doubt take quite a while for production to be renewed.

My take on this is that the price of real vanilla is going to soar. Moreover, it's very possible that the price of imitation vanilla will also rise, because people who generally use real vanilla will be forced to buy the imitation. So, go get your stock of vanilla, during the holiday sales.

If you would like to read the "rest of the story", here is a link

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Recipe: Instant Oatmeal

Combine the following ingredients in small zipper bags.
  • 1/2 cup oats, blended until powdery
  • 1/4 cup unpowdered oats
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • optional: 1 tsp sugar or equivalent of dried stevia or another natural sweetener
  • optional: Add dried fruit in small pieces: apples, raisins, apricots
  • optional: Add a little spice, such as cinnamon and nutmeg.

Seal baggie and store in a dry place.

Microwave cooking:
Empty packet into microwavable bowl. Add 2/3 cup water or milk. Microwave on high about 1 1/2 minutes, stir.

Conventional cooking:
Empty packet into pan. Add 1/2 cup boiling water; cook and stir over heat until thickened.

Recipe from

What Would Grandma Do?

We women have so much on our plates -- too much. That's why we need to be smart about how we prepare. We don't need to reinvent the wheel, thank heavens. There are people who have done the experimenting for us, found out what works and what doesn't work -- and they are willing to share. Phew! One such person is Wendy DeWitt, who will be doing a presentation locally in November (see Upcoming Events). Slap down that nagging feeling you should be doing "something" and attend a meeting that will give you direction and show you an easier way.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Plan: January through September

A tried and true plan for building up food storage, shared by a mother with young children. A few of her comments are in quotes.
"Food storage hasn't been a terribly practical thing for us to work on until we moved into this house. Now that we have the space we've been stocking up."

  1. Add the weekly item to your shopping list.
  2. Buy the largest amount of each week's item you can sensibly afford.
  3. Replace items as you use them.
  4. If you miss a week, skip to the next week.
  5. Don't get behind. Share your hot buys with the rest of us.
  6. If your family loves something not listed, buy it and store it.

  • Week 1 -- Watch for and buy 50% off on Christmas items, cards, paper, ribbons, etc.
  • Week 2 -- Detergents, bleach, cleansers. Laundry detergent, dish detergent, bathroom, window & toilet cleaners.
  • Week 3 -- Medical supplies: Aspirin, Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, Vicks, cough drops. Whatever your family needs.
  • Week 4 -- Paper supplies: Paper towels, plates, cups, Kleenex, toilet paper, napkins, utensils.
  • Week 1 -- Juices: lemon, orange, grapefruit, or powdered juices-like Tang, etc.
  • Week 2 -- Peanut butter- get your creamy and/or crunchy
  • Week 3 --Solid vegetable shortening and/or oil. Buy both if you prefer, shortening is usually less expensive
  • Week 4 -- Personal products: Soap, deodorant, shampoo, lotions, shaving supplies, feminine products.
  • Week 1 -- First aid kit: Gauze patches, Q-tips, cotton balls, band-aids, Neosporin, Calamine...
  • Week 2 -- Mixes: Cake, pancake, muffin, Bisquick. Purchase or make your own.
  • Week 3 -- Spices and Herbs: Pepper, salt, cinnamon, bay leaves, oregano, taco seasonings, chili powder...
  • Week 4 -- Rice- buy 10, 15, 20 pounds. White, brown, instant
“The first 3 months of executing 'the plan' has made an impressive addition to our food storage collection. ... I've spent more money on it than I planned (between $50-$70 a month — only $10-$20 a week. I was planning for no more than $10 a week, but there are sales. (And Sam's Club).... I feel an unexpected rush of accomplishment when I look at it all. I sleep better on stormy nights.”
  • Week 1 -- Pasta. 5 or 10 pounds. Don't forget the mac and cheese
  • Week 2 -- Dry milk. 40 oz. will make 5 gallons. (And, any self-respecting recipe for white bread will use at least a tablespoon.)
  • Week 3 -- Assemble an emergency sewing kit: thread, pins, needles, buttons, snaps, zippers, tape measure, etc.
  • Week 4 -- Ready Dinners: ravioli, pasta, oriental, boxed or frozen. Get what your family will eat.
  • Week 1 -- 10 lbs. of flour.
  • Week 2 -- Dry soups and soup mixes. Boxes of crackers: saltines, graham, etc.
  • Week 3 -- Jello gelatin pudding mixes
  • Week 4 -- Garden seeds: Radishes are great in an emergency. They grow fast, are full of vitamins and minerals, and are full of water.
“I included that only because it was in the booklet. Even in a disastrous emergency, I cannot see myself being willing to live on radishes. I hope I never have to prove that.”
  • Week 1 -- Safety Items: rope or twine, flashlight, dated batteries
  • Week 2 -- Grate and bag 5 pounds of cheese. Use in casseroles and soups (or everything if you are in our family). Also, buy Parmesan.
  • Week 3 -- Condiments: mustard, ketchup, relish, mayo, Worcestershire, pickles, olives, soy sauce, salad dressings.
  • Week 4 -- White sales! Buy a new thermo blanket, some new pillows...
“I love having our little mini mart downstairs. It is really nice not having to run to the store for little things. Even if it has been a while since our last trip to the grocery store, I can always make due with what we have--a dear luxury as there is no such thing as a quick run to the store when one has two kiddo's in tow.”
  • Week 1 -- Sure-Jell, Certo, Paraffin wax, etc., or buy some jams and jellies. Watch for sales.
  • Week 2 -- Fill those water jugs! Or buy some bottled water.
  • Week 3 -- 72 hour kit week; start it, update it, or complete it…but get it done!
  • Week 4 -- Canned goods. Buy what your family likes and will eat. Chili, soups, canned meats, kidney beans, etc.

  • Week 1 -- Back to school sales. Paper, pencils, envelopes, stamps, and journals
  • Week 2 -- Baking powder, soda, corn starch, vanilla, bullion cubes, cooking spray
  • Week 3 -- Tomato week. Can or buy…salsa, juice, sauce, whole, whopped, paste, pizza and spaghetti sauce.
  • Week 4 -- Do some fruit canning or drying. Or, buy it. Watch for sales.
  • Week 1 -- Vegetable week. Can or freeze lots of vegetables. Or buy some canned. Green beans, mushrooms, corn.
  • Week 2 -- Get dry beans, peas, legumes, etc.
  • Week 3 -- Sweeteners. Honey, Karo, Molasses, brown and powdered sugars.
  • Week 4 -- Iodized salt. It seasons, it preserves, it’s a toothpaste and a de-icer.

Click here for the rest of "The Plan": The Plan: October through December.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What Me Worry? Prepare Instead

When I asked for comments from the sisters on what key areas interested them for SRS, the first answer was emergency preparedness. They asked, “What can I do when a disaster happens and the power goes out and it’s either 100 degrees in the summer or 10 degrees and freezing?” “How can I heat/cool my home... feed my children ... let alone anything else?” One sister asked if we’re all planning to go back to an early pioneer mind-set. If you start thinking of all the “What ifs”, you realize how much we desperately need more information. Thankfully, other minds have been working on these issues. Check Upcoming Events for two “Can’t-Miss” emergency preparedness meetings to be held locally in August. These are both well-known and sought-after speakers, and we get them nearly on our doorstep and for free. Is your head in the sand like mine has been? Mark your calendar and attend one or both of these meetings.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our First Meeting!

Our first SRS meeting is this coming Thursday, 7:30 p.m. in the RS room. Some questions to consider before you come:
  • What do you hope to accomplish by participating in SRS?
  • What are your areas of interest in becoming self-reliant? (i.e. getting food or preparedness items and/or learning specific skills)
  • What skills have you already developed in becoming self-reliant/living providently? (i.e. sprouting, solar cooking)
As we progress, this blog will become important to us in sharing ideas and thoughts. Until we all get used to it, be patient ..... and check back every so often for the monthly challenge and for upcoming events.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

KTec Kitchen Mill

For those of you interested in the wheat/grain/bean grinder, here is a photo and a description, though Sis. Norton is not ordering from this site.
You'll note that the price listed on the website is $199 -- what I paid 22 years ago. You will get this considerably cheaper (more than $50 cheaper) with Sis. Norton. I have to add that this is the first preparedness item I have seen get cheaper.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Start of Something Blog

With kudos to the original Self-Reliant Sisters group in Nevada, we're taking their example and using a blog to distribute info about food storage and preparedness to ER1 sisters.We'll post info about group buys, hints and ideas for getting and using our food storage, and have some fun along the way. Like the original group, we will be issuing challenges that aim to get you closer to your goal of being prepared.