September is National Preparedness Month.  Each week this month I'll post a weekly challenge of something simple you can do, with no money at all if that's where you are.

We should be prepared for what?
Emergencies. Job loss.  "Eventualities"... like that earthquake we've been told to expect someday.  Illness.  Unavailability of water because somebody broke a water main.  Power outages, long or short.  You name it.

Here's a quick overview of some good recommendations for Personal or Family Emergency Planning

Items to consider may include:
•Three-month supply of food that is part of your normal daily diet.
•Drinking water.
•Financial reserves.
•Longer-term supply of basic food items.
•Medication and first aid supplies.
•Clothing and bedding.
•Important documents.
•Ways to communicate with family following a disaster

See for more information.

Create a family emergency contact plan and share it with your immediate family so everyone knows what to do, where/who to call or text, who will be your out-of-state contact, what are the emergency plans at your kids' schools, workplace, how to get people back home... 

The link below has a simple form you can use, and the second page of it has cards to fill out with the info you need, for you or your children to carry.

Will you accept the challenge?  I'd love to hear what you did.

If you live in or around Salt Lake City area, and would like to learn more about preparedness, you are welcome to attend an Emergency Preparedness Fair.  This fair is sponsored by an LDS stake in South Jordan and is this weekend (1/21).
 It's a free event and open to everyone!  This could be some great preparation for The Great Utah ShakeOut drill on April. 17 this year.

Time and location:
January 21, 2012 10am
LDS SunStone Building - 11543 Keystone Drive, South Jordan, Utah

Classes and Booths include:
First Aid
CPR - New Techniques
Emergency Planning
72 Hour Kits
Questar Gas
South Jordan City
Financial Planning
Water Storage
Water Reclamation and Rehydration
Grab & Run Ideas
Fire Safety
Storing basic foods, and cooking with them (see here for more)

For questions - contact Rich at 801-891-2710 or Rebecca at 801-859-6841

This quote was recently brought to my attention; it’s from some training that our General Relief Society President recently gave.  It is motivating and assuring at the same time.  I am grateful for wise and loving leaders, as well as the Spirit, to guide us.  I know they teach truth.

Below it  is a very adaptable recipe for meatballs/meatloaf.      



“I have a sense and a feeling as we have watched some of these disasters in the world, that this is a time for us to learn and prepare from these experiences.   The preparation happens in our own homes. There are not enough tents in the world to furnish every person with a tent unless the members of the church have a tent in their own homes...a simple thing like that. And then the storehouse is pressed down, heaped over and running over in our own homes. Some of you have student apartments, how prepared are you? If an earthquake or an economic disaster happened, would you have enough water to drink for 24 hours? Would you be able to get by until help could come to you? Those are the kind of the things we need to be thinking about in our day and time, the Lord expects us to do our little part and then He can bring on the miracles and then we don't need to fear.  I bear you my testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and that these principles will strengthen us individually, and as a family, and as a people, and as a church.  As we listen to prophets of God we will be okay.  We don’t need to worry about being alive in this scary time.  The world has had scary times before and the Lord has always taken care of His people who have been faithful.

 –  Julie B. Beck  

see herefor her whole video clip, then click on Training Video: Self-Reliance

Meatballs and meatloaf are essentially the same food; only the size differs.  Burgers or patties can be the same recipe, too.  In the simplest version, you simply salt and season meat, then form and cook it.  To end up with tender, juicy results, you either use higher-fat meat, or use something to help hold the moisture in.  Many recipes call for crushed crackers or dry breadcrumbs, but the most tender results come from making a panade, which is a bread-and-milk paste.  You can also use, in the same amount as the panade,  mashed or grated potato, cooked rice, leftover cooked oatmeal (unsweetened!) or other hot cereal for this. This would make the meatballs be gluten-free.  Dry crumbs soak up more moisture, leaving you with a drier result.  Egg is usually used as a binder, to hold the meat together. And try to not squeeze the meat very much when you’re mixing it; compressed meat is tough.  Other than that, use whatever flavor additions you prefer –

Onion, garlic, ground pepper, Worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, raw pork sausage, Parmesan or other cheese, parsley, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, Liquid Smoke, bacon pieces, diced chili peppers, shredded zucchini or carrot, chopped mushrooms, bits of sundried tomatoes, chopped spinach.  

 For quick, simple meals later on, make a BIG batch of meatloaf, and shape it into

* a couple meatloaves

*rolled meatloaf- pat into a rectangle on some waxed paper, spread on some filling (cheese and spinach, or whatever sounds good), roll it up with the help of the waxed paper.  (Don’t leave the paper inside it!)

*some meatballs

*mini meat loaves (portions to bake in muffin tins or custard cups)

 Freeze on cookie sheets so they won’t stick together, either before or after cooking them, then pop into freezer bags, squeeze the air out, label and freeze.

For several flavor variations, click on   Tender and Moist Meatloaf and Meatballs .

Tender and Moist Meatballs or Meatloaf

2 slices good-quality white bread, cut in ¼” cubes (1 ½ c.)
3 Tbsp. buttermilk, thinned yogurt or sour cream- milk works but is less creamy
1 egg
1 ½ lbs. lean burger (may use pork sausage as part of this)
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼- ½ c. Parmesan cheese
¼ c. minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine the bread, buttermilk, and egg, or use 1/2 c. other wet starch (i.e. cooked rice, oatmeal, mashed potato), with the egg, omitting buttermilk.  Mash together until it forms a paste. Add everything else and mix gently.  Form into meatballs, 1- 2” in diameter.  If you’re cooking them right away, they’ll hold together better if you first refrigerate them for an hour. To cook, pan-fry over medium heat in 1-2 Tbsp. oil, shaking the pan often to turn the meatballs.  1 ½” meatballs should be done in about 10 minutes.  Add to sauce, or cool and freeze.

Another way to cook them is:

Put meatballs on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet back-to-front halfway through.  Partially cool, then freeze.


Mix, form into a loaf, and bake for 1 hour @ 350 F. Before the last 15 minutes, brush with
Meatloaf glaze:

1/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. cider vinegar
This is the panade mixed with the seasonings; eggs are mixed in before adding the meat.  There are so many eggs because this is for a ten-pound batch of meatballs/loaf.

Fully mixed.  A small icecream scoop (this is a #10) makes quick work of meatballs.   Another way to make evenly-sized ones is to pat the meat in a square or rectangle, then cut them into evenly-sized small squares.  Roll each one.  One pound of meatball mixture will give you about 30 1-inch balls.

Put the meatballs on a lightly greased or sprayed cookie sheet.  For the roundest meatballs, roll them between your hands.  You can bake them now, and freeze them already cooked, or freeze them raw.  Put the whole tray in the freezer.  When they're solid, remove and put the meatballs in a freezer-safe bag or container.  Squeeze out the extra air, label, and put back in the freezer. 

The individually-frozen meatballs packaged and ready to go in the freezer. They're best if used within a few months, but they'll be safe to eat for much longer.  (I've used 2-year-old meatballs before.)

I found this method of securing jars, by accident, just trying to maximize my shelf space.  The metal shelves we bought have a wide lip, which normally means there is a 2" space between the top of your food and the bottom of the shelf up.  It turns out that the lip can be used to keep jars on the shelf. 

I have to tip the jar to get it in, and then it stays put!  About 3/4" of the top of the jar is hidden- and trapped- by the upper lip of the shelf.

Another option is to run rope or thick string in front of the jars. Usually I just wrap the rope around the endposts of the shelf to secure each one, but do whatever works.  

Another thing to consider is keeping your shelves from tipping over.  You can buy an L-shaped metal bracket at Home Depot or Lowe's for a couple dollars, use a couple screws to secure one side of the L to the top of your shelf, the other side to the wall.  MAKE SURE IT'S SCREWED INTO A STUD! This works well for bookshelves, too, which is a good thing for people like me whose children often climb when I'm not looking.... 

This week's information is on earthquake preparedness. Have you read up on the local earthquake hazards?  I read a rather lengthy report on hazards in Utah, and just laughed at the section on earthquakes-  pretty much any scenario that might happen somewhere in the world, can happen here on the Wasatch fault.  Some of these things sounded wild- like the whole valley floor tipping and allowing Utah Lake to fill up most of the Salt Lake Valley, or liquefaction of soils (basically, the ground turns to quicksand during shaking, and tall buildings fall over on their sides).  There are 2 main types of "events", as they're called, and we're due for both of them.  For instance, one type (non-surface-faulting, if you want the name) happens every 300-400 years, and it's been 350 years since the last one.  If the LDS Church decided it was important enough to spend the money to retrofit the Tabernacle, and to build the Conference Center to far exceed earthquake building standards, don't you think it's worth doing the simple things at home you can?

Most injuries are from things falling, not from building collapse.  Plus, I don't know about you, but I'd sure hate to lose a summer's worth of canning because they rattled off their shelves.  Or to have my storage area full of broken glass, nevermind the food that had been in them.  There are some very simple, cheap things you can do to secure your food storage.  I don't know how they'd do in the worst-case-scenario earthquake, but it'd be better than nothing.  The pictures above show a couple options. 

The State of Utah recently published a booklet about planning for earthquakes, "Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country".  It's full of good info. Pages 22-23 have more information about keeping your belongings from crashing all over during an earthquake. Here's the link:     

And for those of you in my neighborhood who ever wondered if there was anything good about our dirt here, there is a silver lining to all that nasty rock in our yards- our soil here in Glenmoor (South Jordan), combined with the location, has the lowest chance of turning to quicksand (liquefaction).   We're also as far from a faultline as you can be in this valley.  (Which really isn't saying much, but every little bit helps!)

P.S.   Do you know what our schools' emergency plans are?  Where and when do you get your children if they're at school?    I called our elementary and  middle schools to find out, and the short answer is- stay home until THEY (the schools) contact YOU.  They'll go in lockdown if they need to, or stay outside in good weather, or in case of bad weather or a severely damaged school, the Glenmoor church building is the fallback for Welby; the Dunsinane building and/or Walmart (really!) is the one for Elk Ridge.  When things are safe, they'll allow the students to call home, or you'll get a message via the radio, TV, Internet, etc.

Now for the recipe....

Quick Soft Breadsticks

Ready in 20-30 min. Yield: 12 breadsticks

1 1/4 cups flour (measure this one by scooping, NOT by spooning it into the cup)
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup milk
3 Tbsp. butter melted
2 tsp. sesame seeds

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Gradually add milk and stir to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead gently 3-4 times. Roll in a rectangle, 10"x5" and 1/2" thick. Cut into 12 breadsticks. (A pizza cutter works best for this.) Place butter in a 9x13 pan. Place breadsticks in butter and turn to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 450 14-18 minutes or til golden. Serve warm.    We double this for my family, and bake on a 12x18" cookie sheet.

This dough is very soft. If it's too sticky for you, use lots of flour on the counter when rolling, and be sure to cut with a pizza cutter!