Food storage challenge of the week:Take inventory of what you have. Include your fridge, freezer, pantry, basement, ... wherever you have food on hand.
Years ago, Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone suggested three steps to building your food storage:1- Inventory
what you have2- decide what you will need
to bring levels to where they should be. That gets broken into a couple steps because now the Church recommends having a 3- month supply of your everyday food, in addition to the long - term storage foods for a year's supply. More on that later.3- Work out a time schedule
for when you'll have that 3- month and/or year of food. I'll send more on how to afford that, next week.
Then, of course, begin. Or, rather, continue: you already have begun if you have even one can or box of food on hand!
"The Lord will make it possible, if we make a firm commitment, for every Latter-day Saint family to have a year’s supply of food reserves…. All we have to do is to decide, commit to do it, and then keep the commitment. Miracles will take place; the way will be opened… We will prove through our actions our willingness to follow our beloved prophet and the Brethren, which will bring security to us and our families.”
-Vaughn J. Featherstonehttps://www.lds.org/general-conference/1976/04/food-storage?lang=eng
Elderberry syrup is known as a wonderful immunity booster and antiviral- which means it'll help knock down the flu or any other virus-caused illness. It's also really, really delicious on pancakes. Or a splash added to desserts or fruit salads. Or brushed on a spice cake. Or mixed with chilled sparkling water. Or... you get the idea.
Now that there's a jar in my fridge, I may have to watch to be sure my children don't sneak in and use up all my 'medicine'. Just for that reason, I wax-sealed the lids on the jars I plan to share with others.
I've already used it. My family has had a nasty cold or flu this week; we've had missed school days and work days from it. Yesterday it hit me hard, and felt like it was on the verge of turning into bronchitis or pneumonia. I've been taking either elderberry infusion (tea) or the syrup at least three times a day since feeling it come on a couple days ago, and today I feel much better. I suppose that may or may not have anything to do with the elderberries... but I'm keeping the routine up until I'm better! Yum.
I started with 2 pounds of berries, used a steam juicer, and the first 2-3 cups of juice were nice and dark; strong enough to use without boiling to condense it. The longer the berries steamed, though, the lighter the juice got, so I boiled down the last three cups to yield about 1 1/2 cups.
You'll notice in the photos below that some of those berries don't look exactly the same as the others... I have a young hawthorn tree. It produces berries, but not yet enough to make a batch of anything yet. The haw berries are said to be good for reducing inflammation (as well as normalizing blood pressure and helping strengthen and regulate the heart)- so I threw them in with my elderberries. Honey is used in this instead of sugar because of its soothing, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties.
If you want to make a wax seal, paraffin works great. I had a small ball of red cheese wax I'd saved, and used that.Elderberry Syrup
Start with 2-3 cups elderberry juice
(depending on strength)- if not strong, boil to reduce to 2 cups. To the warm, NOT hot juice (if you want to preserve the enzymes if using raw honey), stir in these ingredients: 2 cups honey
5 drops ginger essential oil
3 drops cinnamon essential oil
2 drops clove essential oil
Store in the refrigerator. Probably best used within a couple months- though I've had syrups stay nice for a year, refrigerated. You could store them longer if you seal them in sterilized jars.
To use medicinally, take a tablespoon straight or mixed in 6-8 oz warm water, every 3 hours if you're sick and an adult, or take once a day as a general immunity booster. See the label below for more details.
If you want to start with berries but don't have a steam juicer, and want to use the spices themselves instead of essential oils, combine 4 oz (2/3 c.) berries in 3 ½ c. water, a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and ½ tsp. cloves; Simmer until water is reduced by almost half; strain, pressing on the berries. Cool until just warm, stir in honey.
On a related note, you can use jelly to make gourmet pancake syrup: see here
Broadleaf plantain in my garden.
Saturday was work-in-the-yard-before-the-storm-hits day.
The garden needed prepared for the winter: potatoes dug, the now-dry corn cobs pulled from their perches on the stalks, the final beets pulled, more chard and broccoli harvested, dry and tangled tomato vines yanked from the fence they'd been trained on, carrots prepared to stay through the winter. Tilling would have been nice, but between the garden and what was going on in the house, there wasn't enough time to get to it. As it was, I only got halfway through the garden list. But my kids finally got the house clean -- the weekly deeper-cleaning-- along with a post hole dug and fence repaired with my husband. With a lot of reminders. (The kids, that is...)
While stripping corn cobs from the stalks, I felt something sharp on the pad of my ring finger. When I looked, a large drop of blood pooled up immediately; I had sliced my finger on a corn husk. I turned back to my work, but felt something wet running down the finger. Looking again, I saw that it was bleeding quickly, leaving small spatters of blood on the ground. Turns out that the cut was fairly deep. I ignored it for another few minutes, but the bleeding had not slowed. Not wanting to stop my work lest the chickens -- who were in the garden too-- would get to the corn, I looked around, found some still-growing plaintain, and tore a leaf off. The leaves are not only known for helping stop bleeding and helping heal, but have strong fibers running through them. I wrapped the leaf around my wound, winding the trailing fiber around an extra couple times.
It stayed on snugly while I worked, and the tightness was soothing. When I pulled it off ten minutes later, the bleeding had stopped completely. It didn't restart, either, when I finally -carefully- washed off the dried blood. This stuff works!
My husband laughed when he heard the story, and said it was "so MacGyver-ish".
I took that as a high compliment.
Homemade Turmeric ointment!
About a year ago my right ankle swelled up and became tender to the touch. There was no recent injury that I knew of. After a few days, I wrapped it with an Ace bandage. The swelling went down under the bandage, only to pop up on the top of my foot. After wrapping the top of my foot, the swelling moved to the other side of my ankle. Weird. At that point, I got online to look for how to pull down swelling. What I found was an ancient Ayurvedic medicine: turmeric and salt. Well, those were two ingredients I had on hand, and easy to mix.
I tried it: applied it to a folded damp paper towel, slapped it on the ankle, and wrapped it to make it stay in place.
Lo and behold-- after a day, the ankle was less painful. After two days, the swelling was gone. GONE! And it didn’t come back. My ankle was stained bright yellow for a week, but, hey, it felt great.
Turns out that turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory. There is lots of evidence
that this kitchen spice is also effective against cancer, arthritis, preventing and reversing Alzheimer's, and more
What about the salt? You know how it kills snails: it pulls water through cell walls, essentially dehydrating them. This is an example of osmosis. It works on the same principle to pull extra water out of your skin or underlying tissues. I used RealSalt because it includes trace minerals. The salt and turmeric reinforce aspects of each other.
The basic mixture is 2 parts turmeric to one part salt, then mix with just enough water or oil to make a paste. If you use water, it's considered an actual paste; if you use oil, it's technically an ointment. Water might help it penetrate your skin better, but curcumin is fat-soluble, so it might be more potent as an ointment. I don't know for sure; it just seemed logical to use the oil, which has healing properties itself if you use either coconut oil or olive oil. Curcumin's bioavailability is said to increase if you add something with quercetin. Dock (sorrel) has large amounts; so does apple, broccoli, cranberries, and more. Since I didn’t find anything in my house and yard while I was mixing that was easy to use that wouldn’t spoil in it, I skipped that part. Maybe next time I’ll dry some dock and heat it for a couple hours with the coconut oil base. Or add a little green drink powder. It still works fine without it; there was no quercetin in what I used on my ankle.
This new batch also contains a couple essential oils this time around (didn't with my ankle), to hopefully enhance the healing properties; this will go on a leg injured by falling down the stairs, made worse by a lack of circulation and movement, now suffering- months later- with fluid in the joints and pain. Rosemary
is relaxing, a good tonic for nervous and circulatory systems, and helps increase vigor and energy. Ginger relaxes blood vessels is a strong circulatory stimulant, and is often used in massage oils and to relieve aches and pains. A standard amount of essential oils for topical use is 1 drop essential oil per 25 mL of carrier oil, or about 5 drops per ¼ cup oil.
Please remember that anyone can be allergic to foods; don't use ingredients you've had reactions to, and watch for new reactions. When you apply this to your skin, wrap it with something that doesn't matter if it gets stained- because it will! (Turmeric is also a great fabric dye.)Here are the quantities I used for this batch:
4 Tbsp. turmeric (1/4 c.)
2 Tbsp. RealSalt
2 Tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil (I used coconut oil)
2 drops rosemary oil, optional
2 drops ginger oil, optional
Best stored in a small glass jar. Babyfood jars are great.
Upcoming 2014 Utah Legislation-Ending Compulsory Education
Utah state senator Aaron Osmond
has announced that in 2014 he’ll sponsor a bill proposing to end compulsory education
in Utah. The announcement got national attention, as Utah would be the first state to have this in a hundred years if it passes.
There is a bit of panic and a lot of misunderstanding about this.
“Compulsory education” is not the same as “public education”, and under his proposal, public education would remain solidly in place. What would
change is the parents’ ability
to determine what is best for their child, would give teachers more respect
by not forcing those who don’t want to be there on them, and would return the role of the state as a supporter of the family
—the basic unit of society-- rather than the current view of the family being the supporter of the state.
The principle involved here is whether or not we will allow parents to make decisions based on their own projected outcomes, or whether they’ll be compelled to do what bureaucrats think best for their children.
I believe the purpose of life is for each person to learn from their own choices and learning and the consequences that naturally follow. We are much less likely to learn –or value the chance to learn- when we’re forced into anything. Our current system’s promise is that every person will turn out to be ‘educated’, without regard to individual preference, agency, or voluntary dedication. They fail, as they must.
I have children in public school, in a charter school, and homeschool. Even though I’m ‘allowed’ to homeschool, the state requires me to get their permission to take care of my own children’s education, to promise to have them in ‘school’ for a certain number of hours and days, and to teach them the same topics the state Board of Education determined were most necessary. This is wrong for a few reasons.
- Do individuals and families exist to serve the state, or does the state exist to protect natural rights of individuals and families?
- My children, not having to compete for attention with 30 other students in a class, can get their work done in fewer hours.
- There are multiple reasons for education- and the UBOE’s objectives are not the same as mine.
- There’s never enough time to get everything done that anyone would like; I want to spend the limited time with my children teaching them things I think most important in helping them be hardworking, loving, responsible people who search for wisdom and reach out to others on their own initiative.
Before acting on your fears that Utah will suddenly be a hotbed of juvenile delinquents and welfare recipients if this law passes, please research the history of compulsory education and what the alternatives yield
. Some good places to start are (please at least watch the video! the same one as embedded above):
In addition, this will help relieve the huge financial burden that comes with our local student population predicted to double over the next 15-20 years.
According to http://boostup.org
we currently have a 24% dropout rate in Utah. I think that this will not change much when ending compulsory education. Others are worried that some parents are lazy and will not have their children attend- but I believe these parents are highly motivated to have the children at school where others take care of them and leave the parents with free time during the day.
What about those who worry that children not educated at a school (home-schooled) will end up on the welfare rolls?
Look at the track record of those who ARE in public education! Two years ago (2011) we had about 32 million households
who receive means-tested government assistance like school lunches, Medicaid, and food stamps, and 49% of American household have at least one member who receive some sort of government assistance. And the numbers continue to climb. We have a government that discourages personal initiative and effort, and protects us from the natural consequences of our actions, which would yield growth, understanding, and drive.
Here's something else that Oak (the guy from the vid above) has said:
"Why don't parents parent? Because once the state takes that authority from a parent, they are absolved of responsibility. If you want parents to parent again, give them back the authority and responsibility so they are empowered. If their child doesn't want to go to school, it's not the state's job to call the child a criminal and force him/her to school, it's then the parent's job to teach the child (perhaps with the help of concerned family and neighbors) the value of an education. If the child doesn't see the value, he/she won't learn. You can't teach someone who refuses to learn and you only hinder those who are there to learn. Removing compulsory education will help children become self-motivated just like we expect of them in college. It's not going to introduce child labor and sweat shops. It's going to open up new paths in education as educators innovate to provide a reason for those children to be in school."
“Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government
.” –Milton Friedman "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
— James Madison
In the War in Heaven,
some were willing to trade their agency to choose, for promises of security. Christ’s plan is for agency, personal effort, and learning from natural consequences-- the path that leads to personal, meaningful growth; Satan’s plan is of control and coercion.
"We must be careful that we are not led to accept or support in any way any organization, cause or measure which, in its remotest effect, would jeopardize free agency, whether it be in politics, government, religion, employment, education, or any other field. It is not enough for us to be sincere in what we support. We must be right!” -Marion G. Romney Summary of my thoughts- I see this as an issue of whether the parents or the state is the ultimate authority over each child, and also as a perfect example of the continuation of the War in Heaven. In addition, scaling back the arm of government to its proper role here will have cost benefits.
Earlier this month there was a news story about a Florida father who found a note composed by his son as a school assignment where the boy wrote that he is willing to give up natural rights in exchange security
. The dad is fuming. On a related note, Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC recently turned heads by declaring that not only do our children belong to the community instead of the parents
, but that citizens can vote “to impinge on individual freedoms in order to advance a common good
." Wait, others get to choose what my children are taught, in the name of what’s good for the collective? That’s what’s happening now, and promising to become worse.
Many of us are upset because of the indoctrination in the schools.
Want to fix it? Here's the first problem: there is no way to avoid "indoctrination"; the word literally means to teach or impress some kind of doctrine or principle
. There's no escaping it when any kind of teaching is the goal.
So, do I indoctrinate my children? You bet! --if
you're looking at the original meaning. Any time you teach something, you 'indoctrinate'. One of my parental responsibilities is to teach: to raise my children
. Because of this, my freedom of religion is also inextricably tied to how and what my children are taught: I'm accountable to God for what I do or don't teach. Nowadays most people only think of the negative connotation of ‘indoctrinate’- which has become the politically correct definition- the kind of teaching that stifles critical thinking
. More than one side sees the other as being guilty of this.
What we're actually upset with, then, is WHO is teaching WHAT to our children. That leads to the main problem- our school system and its curriculum is set up with little to no local input, answerable to officials in varying levels of government. Even more concerning, Common Core makes this issue increase dramatically. One solution to the issue is to homeschool, but that is not an attractive or viable option for many people. In addition, Common Core even stretches its tentacles into homeschooling
through its database tracking system for all children, preschool through age 20, and by rewriting pre-college tests like the ACT.
Here's what would
solve the problem: (1) return to local control of schools- and by this I mean the principal and the teachers
of any one particular school, who will now make their own curriculum choices, including -gasp!- whatever religious instruction is wanted, and answer directly to the children's parents instead of government, and (2) allow parents to have their child attend whichever school they wish to attend; since each school will develop its own flavor of 'indoctrination', the parents can choose what is closest to their own beliefs. Instead, now government arrogantly glosses over parental responsibility and attempts to replace God by making us all accountable to them. The family
is the basic unit of society, with parental rights and responsibilities, and as such, parents should have the ultimate say in how the children are raised and what they are taught. Let the schools be directly accountable to parents and recognize that the parents
will eventually answer to God for how they teach, train, and treat their children. As parents and citizens, please stand up for your rights to keep the federal government of our domain
photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/
Today I read an article detailing Nestle's 'horrific' discovery that children are actually helping harvest the cacao in Ivory Coast
. They pledged to help end the practice, and bewailed the fact that the practice still exists despite industry's discouragement of it. They mentioned in passing that the recent political and economic turmoil (civil war) in Ivory Coast has made it necessary for everyone, including children, to work, and that farmers had to work "excessively long hours". The FLA (Fair Labor Association)'s brainy solution is to end child labor by... ending poverty.
I'm sorry, Nestle and others are misguided.
You cannot end poverty without the people improving their own situation- which can only be done by either consuming less than you earn, or earning more than you consume. Where do the money and goods come from, without lots of individual effort?
I grew up on a farm. I wasn't happy with that fact until the year before I graduated, when I realized how much of a blessing that hard work had been. I also saw my parents work harder than I had. When it was hay-baling time, that hay had to be baled at exactly the right stage or it lost nutrition. On top of that, we had to work around the weather. If it rained, we had to either wait for the hay to dry out, or bale it quickly before the storm hit. My dad worked 16-hour days during the summer to begin with, and that extended up to 24-30 hours straight during baling. We older kids had to be out the door by 6 a.m. the whole summer to move sprinkler pipes: quarter-mile long systems made of forty-foot lengths of aluminum, each needing to be unhooked, carried forward 40 feet through tangles of knee-high alfalfa, hooked back together, and turned on. I drove tractors, planted acres of grain, learned to shoot a rifle (at ground squirrels destroying our irrigating system), tossed heavy hay bales, bottle-fed calves in minus-30-degree weather, slogged through early-spring mud, lost boots and socks to mud holes in fields-- and learned to stop, think, notice, and appreciate better what was around me. The summer of my junior year in high school, I saw that not only had the work helped shape my attitude and outlook, it also gave me a chance to work together with my family, strengthening ties and accomplishing mutual goals.
Too many times our good intentions, forced on others, lead to serious deterioration of a nation. The extent to which our own nation has mandated child labor laws has resulted in a nation of young and middle-aged people with a serious entitlement mentality. They don't understand that progress and prosperity have long, hard work at their core, and believe too often that someone else should provide for them. Take the Occupy Wall Street group, for instance. Or nearly any liberal/progressive.
I wish that my children had the opportunity
to spend long days harvesting cacao pods- or strawberries- or whatever else bureaucrats think is "too hard". It's difficult for me, as a citydweller, to find enough work for them to keep their minds and bodies healthy. They can't get official "jobs" until they're 14 or 16, by which time many of their lifetime habits have already been developed. I've been surprised when my children think it's "too hard" learning to ride a bike, or to learn their math facts, or anything that has delayed gratification. Hard work not only develops muscle and sinew but character and tenacity.
Justice William O. Douglas stated, “Those in power need checks and restraints lest they come to identify the common good from their own tastes and desires, and their continuation in office as essential to the preservation of the nation."
Nations go through challenging times, it's required of everyone to work or to stay in spiraling poverty.
Work is not a bad thing. People emerge stronger.
________________________More than 150 years ago, a French economist wrote about the same thing, declaring that only bad economists confine themeselves to the visible effect. Here's an excerpt from Frederic Bastiat's "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen". It's brilliant. You can read the entire excerpt at http://www.thefreemanonline.org/features/what-is-seen-and-what-is-not-seen-2/ or the whole essay at http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html
This excerpt is from the first chapter of
Selected Essays on Political Economy, translated by Seymour Cain and edited by George B. de Huszar, published by the Foundation for Economic Education.In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them.
There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.
Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa. Whence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.
The same thing, of course, is true of health and morals. Often, the sweeter the first fruit of a habit, the more bitter are its later fruits: for example, debauchery, sloth, prodigality. When a man is impressed by the effect that is seen and has not yet learned to discern the effects that are not seen, he indulges in deplorable habits, not only through natural inclination, but deliberately.
This explains man’s necessarily painful evolution. Ignorance surrounds him at his cradle; therefore, he regulates his acts according to their first consequences, the only ones that, in his infancy, he can see. It is only after a long time that he learns to take account of the others. Two very different masters teach him this lesson: experience and foresight. Experience teaches efficaciously but brutally. It instructs us in all the effects of an act by making us feel them, and we cannot fail to learn eventually, from having been burned ourselves, that fire burns. I should prefer, in so far as possible, to replace this rude teacher with one more gentle: foresight. For that reason I shall investigate the consequences of several economic phenomena, contrasting those that are seen with those that are not seen."
What's an example that you have seen of this principle?
Have you seen pallets lying around your town? Have you wondered what to do with them? This video has rapid-fire ideas; some I've seen, most I hadn't!
Since it's so fast, though, my personal suggestion is to watch it straight through, then watch it again with your cursor on the 'pause' button.
(If you like the tune, it's "Popcorn" by Gershon Kingsley; my favorite version is with the Swedish Chef from The Muppets
. But I digress...)
Do you know the difference between baking soda and baking powder?
How long have they been around?
Baking soda, sodium bicarbonate
is an alkaline powder; when it is mixed with acidic ingredients, the two react and form carbon dioxide bubbles. The bubbles lift and lighten batter as it bakes; baking must be done right away, before the bubbles dissipate and you lose its leavening power. Common acidic ingredients include vinegar, buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice, cream of tartar, brown sugar, and honey. Baking soda also helps foods brown better, since moderate alkalinity, along with heat, is a catalyst for the Maillard Reaction
(the reason, other than caramelization, that cooked foods turn brown).Baking powder
is a combination of alkaline, acid (cream of tartar), and starch. You don't need to use acidic ingredients in recipes using just baking powder, since the balance is already there. Most baking powders are made with two different alkaline powders- one that reacts right away (baking soda), and one that reacts only with heat. This way you can save some of that leavening power for when the food is actually IN the oven. The starch is there to help absorb moisture so the powders don't react in the can and to help the powder stay free-flowing.
To use baking soda instead of baking powder, use 1/3 the amount, and make sure there's something acidic in the batter. For instance, if your recipe calls for 1 Tbsp (which is 3 tsp.) baking powder, you can use 1 tsp. baking soda, and use buttermilk- or sour milk- instead of regular milk. Or mix in 1 tsp. cream of tartar. Or use brown sugar instead of white.
This works in reverse, too: if your biscuit recipe calls for buttermilk and you only have plain milk, use it but switch that 1 tsp. baking soda for 1 Tbsp. baking powder (or whatever it calls for, keeping that 1:3 ratio).
As far as I can find, baking powder wasn't invented until the 1800's, but leavening powders have been around at least for centuries. Some of the earlier ones include:Baker's Ammonia
(ammonium carbonate, "hartshorn"; NOT cleaning ammonia!- which is poisonous)- made from powdered reindeer horn. (Seriously.) This one actually has characteristics more of baking powder, substitutes 1:1 for it, and makes cookies especially crisp and light.Potash or pearl ash
(potassium carbonate, an alkaline salt)- made by adding water to the ashes of 'vegetables' or weeds, steeping overnight, then evaporating all the water by boiling. The fine 'ash' left is used as baking soda. There's a fascinating article on the process in the 1802 "Domestic Encyclopedia
"Saleratus, or soda ash
(sodium carbonate, an alkaline salt)- also known as washing soda... sometimes used also in the boiling water step of making bagels, as it helps them brown better (Maillard reaction!!!). An interesting bit of chemistry with this one is that when you heat sodium bicarbonate
(baking soda) by itself above about 160 F, you end up with sodium carbonate
(washing soda), with byproducts of carbon dioxide and water (which dissipate into the air). 2NaHCO3
(sodium bicarbonate) → Na2CO3(sodium carbonate)+ H2O
(It works fastest at 400 F.)
Baking soda's first large-scale appearance was in 1846, when a factory was built to make this new product, created by doing the opposite of the formula above- dissolving sodium carbonate in water, then pumping in carbon dioxide. (There's a more efficient method now.)
Can you believe we've had this useful leavener less than 200 years, and baking powder less than 150? Boy, are we spoiled in the kitchen nowadays...Read more:
My vivacious 86-year-old grandmother bottles pineapple on a regular basis- has since before I was born- since she lives near a plentiful source. She is one of those people who knows how to make anything
out of anything
and waste precious little to none of it. As she ate some of my fresh pineapple salad
earlier this week, she related how she'd been teaching my cousin to bottle fruit. I was intrigued with what she told me about using the peel and cores. Growing up, we kids used to always chew up the cores, which are admittedly tough and less flavorful, but we could only handle a few before the acids started hurting our mouths. See the slideshow above to learn what she does with them.
Once you've cut the pineapple into wedges, free of cores and peels, it's ready to cut into whatever size you want. You can then bottle it, freeze it, or use it right away. Like all cut fruit, it has a relatively short refrigerator life.