Sunday, July 31, 2011

Another Sunday Dinner....from our Food Storage!

I am on this kick where I like to try cooking my Sunday Dinner from items I have in my Food Storage.  Today is not different.  Today, we had Fish Taco's and they were good!

This is Salsa that I had canned myself.

I don't consider this cheating!  I purchase the uncooked Tortilla's at Costco and freeze them.  I have made my own in the past and will still do so. But in a pinch, I like to use these. 

I drizzled Extra Virgin Olive Oil (from my storage) on to a pan and heated it. 

I realize this doesn't look that fabulous, but here I am using my 'grill pan' to grill the fish.  I could have easily done this on my grill as well.  The fish can marinate in whatever you prefer. I used lemon juice and a few spices today...again all from my Food Storage. This Tilapia (fish) was also in my Freezer....and is part of my Food Storage.  After it is cooked, shred with a fork and place the fish in a serving dish. 

I used some fresh lettuce, but you could also use cabbage (soaked in a little vinegar....depending upon your preference).  Here is a taco ready to go.  This didn't take long at all to make.

See, Food Storage is really convenient and delicious!  Try something new today!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chef Brad is coming back to Utah...........

If you have been following this blog at all, you will note that I really like Chef Brad. I first saw him at Education week a couple of years ago and quickly made sure that I had an electronic pressure cooker and his books.  He has a series on BYUTV entitled Fusion Grain Cooking.  I have also attended his smaller classes taught at Bosch Kitchen Centers.  There is a charge, but you learn a lot and eat very well.

He returns to Utah in August.  Here is a link to his August Calendar.  Find a location near you....and pay the money!  It is really worth it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Prepare your Ark....August 5th and 6th.....FREE!!!!!

Look what is coming to Salt Lake City.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In rememberance of Pioneer Day.....

Courtesy of

What is this?  It is a photo of a little Idaho town called Montpelier.  As you can see, it was taken some time ago and was on a postcard.  The Little Red Hen has been blessed with significant Pioneer ancestry. However, today I would like to focus on a couple of my ancestors, who lived in this area many, many years ago......along with some of my modern-day commentary.

I am taking this information as excerpts from The History of the Bear Lake Pioneers published by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.  I was given this book by my Grandmother and Grandfather.  When I was visiting their Montpelier a number of years ago, the subject of ancestors came up.  They quickly retrieved this book and proudly marked specific pages with paperclips and bobby pins. Even though it has been years later, (and both of my Grandparents have now finished their earthly missions), I just haven't had the heart to remove these unique page they still remain in place.

The first individual I would like to mention is Charles Henry Bridges. He was born in Birmingham England in 1835 and was apprenticing to become a cork cutter.  In 1848, he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and  at the young age of 22, he he boarded a ship to American.  He had never been away from home before.  Fast forward a number of years......we had a missionary son fly to England to enter the MTC there. He had never been away from home either.  I gently, but frequently asked my husband to call the MTC in England to make sure he made it.  Well, after the Mission President patiently laughed....he reported that our son was there and sleeping.  There was a time difference you know.....

Charles made his way to Iowa  and was in the company of the  Edman Ellsworth's Handcart company, which was one of the first to cross the plains.  He was also called to guard Salt Lake City when the Army was sent to Utah.

Enter Francis Elizabeth Pearson Jones Bridges.  She was also from England and was born in 1837.  She worked with her mother as a nurse to wealthy families. She joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1855 at the ripe old age of 18.  She came to America with several family members in 1859.  They left with a handcart company under the leadership of George Howley.  I remember how mature I was at 18,,,,and the thought of me going to another country a few years later would never have crossed my mind!

Charles and Francis met at the home of President John Taylor. They lived in Salt Lake City after they were married until 1866 when they were called to help settle the Bear Lake Valley. They made the trip and settled in Clover Creek, which was later named Montpelier.  I have moved several times in my adult life....but there were always roads, stores, running water, etc. I don't know if I would have been a very good little camper under the rugged circumstances that my ancestors lived in. 

Charles was a man of many talents.  However, he was called to "help wash and lay out the dead".  There reportedly were no disinfectants at that time, so they used onion to disinfect.  It reportedly worked as he never contracted diphtheria or smallpox when they ravaged the area.  I work in a hospital environment...and we have so many procedures and safeguards in place, I sometimes feel my hands have been scrubbed about a much as a human can possibly scrub.

Elizabeth was called to serve as a midwife.  When she was set apart, she was supposedly promised that "in time of need the Lord would give her knowledge and skill to perform her duties successfully". She brought 1118 infants into the world, and she recorded each birth in a journal.  She not only was present at the home birth, but return several times to check up on the mother and baby, What was her fee? A whooping $2.50. Once she was reportedly paid with a live pig.  When my daughter was born, she was delivered by an emergency C-section.  We had to put her on the Credit Card just to get her out of the hospital!

 So, I tip my hat to these and other ancestors who showed the faith and obedience to follow the counsel of their leaders and made tremendous sacrifices.  How much different is it today?  We are asked by our leaders to do many things.  One of which is to be self-sufficient and be prepared. Take a page out of the lives of our Pioneer ancestry....doesn't storing a few items pale in comparison to what they were asked to do?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Having a loved one in the NICU.....

If you have read my last two posts, they have been about our newest little grandson....who decided to arrive a few weeks early and is now in an NICU.  I have had folks ask me what it is like in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  Well, for me personally, this is a familiar environment as I work in a hospital setting and have experience in a NICU.  However, it is a whole different ball game when you are suddenly the family member and not the health care provider. Add to that a couple of young parents who are experiencing this scenario for the first time.

So, I decided to show you what the experience is like.  There are very strict rules surrounding the NICU which are primarily for the safety and protection of the infant.  Above is the scrub sink. Everyone entering the NICU has to scrub their hands and be very, very clean.  The water is activated by a motion sensor and the bottles of 'gel' to clean your hands are activated by...

this foot pump.  (I secretly always wanted one of these for my home...but was not to be).  This is necessary so that faucets and handles are not touched and thus contaminating clean hands.

This package contains a scrubbing sponge and a nail cleaner.  These are used to scrub the hands for 3 minutes.

There are very strict procedures posted on the door....which has a special lock that can only be activated by a code for those entering.  There was also another sign that talked about cell phones.  Not only were they to be turned off so that the signal did not interfere with the life saving technology, but also they are considered to be a high infection control risk.  Think about it, these devices go everywhere with you, and have little crevices.  How many of you disinfect your cellphone?

Pain is carefully monitored and managed.  Here is the scale used to determine the infants pain level.  Pain can certainly come from needle sticks and invasive procedures like the placement of a Ventilator.  But, you may be surprised to learn that light, sound, positioning, and touch can also be painful experiences.  Consider that this baby should still be in utero and is not 'built' to be experiencing these sensations this early.

A monitor is placed on the baby's foot to monitor it's oxygen saturation levels.  Respiratory issues are very big in premature infants so this needs to monitored constantly. Little brains need oxygen.

Computer monitors shows several different measures all on one screen.  Heart rate, respirations, etc are tracked and monitored so that instantaneous changes can be made. Premature infants are very fragile.

IV's  and electrodes are also used to help monitor vital functions. It is hard for parents to see 'tubes and wires' coming from their infant. They are awkward to manage when you finally get to hold and feed your infant, but certainly can be managed.  They are lifesaving connections for their young baby.

For those infants who present with Jaundice, they are placed under UV lights as a treatment.

Little eyes are protected from the light as well.

However, as a grandparent, I am grateful to the medical professionals who use their skill and training to assist my grandson as he attempts to manage his new world. This NICU operates very differently from the units I have worked in with some aspects being positive and some being negative.  However, the end result is what my little grandson is now in the 'step-down' unit which means he is no longer in an Incubator and is in an Isolette breathing room air.  His parents now can dress him in his 'cute clothes' and do all of his cares while they are there. The last hurdle is feeding.  This little one just doesn't have the strength or endurance to take full feedings yet.....and the coming weeks will be focused on this very important skill.

Finally, these kids have great insurance.  As a former manager.....I subconsciously look at the costs of things at times.  As I visited the NICU with my adult children and saw the one-on-one staffing for my grandson, the instrumentation, medications, etc....the numbers added up very quickly.  I wouldn't be surprised if their bill to date was now in the hundreds of thousands.  However, the portion owed by this infants parents is doable.  So, now here is a soapbox need health insurance!  This is a very important part of being self-reliant and prepared.  Imagine if these parents did not have insurance.  How could they have foreseen an a premature infants arrival?  This bill alone could have bankrupted them.  So, be loving enough to your family to protect them. Look at your means and make the choice to be financially prepared by having health insurance.  You never know when you need to rely on my adult children found out this past week.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Little, little blessings.....

Our newest grandson has been a guest of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for the past week.  He has been making several remarkable advances and hopefully he will be released in the near future. 

Little miracles occur daily.  Simple activities that are expected with a newborn are slowly coming to pass.  It time to celebrate when he can breathe easily without the ventilator, then with only 3 liters of Oxygen to finally being able to tolerate room air.  Then from having a ventilator in his mouth, to tolerating a pacifier to actually taking oral feedings. Having to wait days to hold your baby, to being able to hold his hand in the incubator and finally to hold him.....with all the cords attached to him.  And now, my adult children finally will be able to dress their infant son tomorrow.  There are still obstacles to overcome, but there are small tender mercies noted every few hours.

Elder Bednar gave a wonderful talk on "Tender Mercies" a few years ago.  I feel that this quote certainly fits this situation:

"We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live."
We are thankful for the small miracles medically, spiritually, and through the kindness of family, friends, and church members.  The Lord is always mindful of us all.

Friday, July 15, 2011

"No pain that we suffer....."

We have been blessed with a new little grandson this week....and he decided that he wanted to come early.  His parents only could hold him briefly before he was whisked away to the NICU.

They have not yet been able to hold him, but can touch him and talk to him while he is in the Incubator.  He has some issues that may cause him to be in the NICU for up to 3 weeks.

As these adult children are far from their parents, this has been a challenging situation for them.  However, thanks to air travel, the Internet, digital cameras and tremendous medical technology and staff, they have been empowered and supported. The technology for this little one is very sophisticated. It is a normal environment for me as I work in the medical arena and have also worked in a NICU.  But, let me tell you, it is very different when you are all of a sudden on the 'family side' of the NICU.  It's a bit much for young parents, and as a grandparent, I am grateful for the expertise of the medical staff and how proactive they are.

Social media has played a remarkably important part of this early delivery.  My adult children have used Facebook, Instant Messaging, Email, and their Cellphones to contact and receive messages from family and friends.  The instantaneous messaging has been extremely comforting to them.

Also, new friends have also stepped up.  These new parents have been in a new LDS ward for 3 weeks, yet they have seen and heard from several ward members including the Bishop and the Relief Society President.  I am very grateful for this support as both my daughter and my grandson have received Priesthood blessings at the hands of priesthood holders from this new ward. 

As for the future, words such as "I never thought I would have to deal with anything like this" have been uttered.  However, the Lord appears to desire to bless this young family at this time.  I found this wonderful quote from President Kimball:

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we came here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.” (As quoted by Spencer W. Kimball, in Faith Precedes the Miracle, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972, page 98.)

This is one important aspect of the Plan of Salvation. I look forward to loving this new member of our family, and also see the growth and development that will come to his parents and to all of us. 

May the Lord bless them all.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Award winning.....

I had meant to talk about this 'award' a few months ago, but sometimes 'time' and 'events' just get in the way.  Too often, "food storage" foods are viewed as less in quality, taste, and variety. This just doesn't have to be the case. Here is a case in point.  Our ward/congregation had a Chili cook-off.  This has become quite the competition with some of our neighbors and they guard their Chili recipes quite closely and look forward to competing in this event.

I decided to enter....not because I am the best Chili-maker in the world, but because I wanted to try to make Chili with many of my food storage supplies and use one of my favorite electronic pressure cooker.

I cooked some of my dry Kidney Beans in the Pressure Cooker.  It is important to know that I have had these particular beans for several years and they were really hard.  However, in the Pressure Cooker, they came out just great.  I poured them into a strainer so that I could rinse the beans.

I cut up steak....and I really do mean steak. I wanted to win you know!  With the this pressure cooker, you can brown the meat inside on a different setting that does not involve pressure.  I browned the steak with a little Olive Oil and garlic.

I added other shelf-stable ingredients and the beans into the pot with the steak.  Of course, I added seasonings (chili powder, salt, etc to my liking).  I then simmered the Chili in the pressure cooker.  I can, because this device has so many settings....which is a huge selling point for these devices!

What was the result?  An award entitled "What is the secret ingredient?".  Well, I did use some fresh items.  Just before the judging, I put in some freshly chopped Cilantro and squeezed 2 limes into the mix.

If you think about many of your recipes, they do use food storage/shelf stable foods. You can, of course, combine them with fresh ingredients as well.  Also, having good tools like this Cuisinart  Electronic Pressure Cooker also makes using them convenient and reasonable.  Just like with any hobby or interest, having the right tools makes all the difference.  Why would you not infer the same logic with your Food Storage or Emergency planning?

Put on your thinking cap and try using your staples in everyday meals:)

Monday, July 4, 2011

You will never know how much it has cost my generation.....

 My husband and I had a little 'get-away' recently to a Bed and Breakfast in Midway Utah. The weather was beautiful and clear.  As we were getting ready to leave, we noticed 'something' up on top of a hill.  I actually wondered if it were something left from the I asked my husband to drive up there.  I was not prepared for what we found.  I have combined the photos that I took along with previous photos that I personally took to share with  you on this 235th anniversary of our Independence.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Sunday easy!

Here is my Sunday Dinner complete with Barbecue Chicken Breast, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, and a Tossed Salad.  We get out of church at noon....we started to eat about 12: 20.  How did I do it?  Look and see.

I used my Solar Oven (Tulsi Hybrid Solar Oven).  It comes with it's own pans. I sprayed both pans (2 of the 4) with Vegetable Oil to make the clean up easier).  I put the chicken breasts in the left one (partially thawed) and covered them with barbecue sauce from my food storage room.  In the 2nd pan, I placed a pint jar of beans I had canned myself (pintos in this case).

Next, I put in some dehydrated onions, a few big squirts of ketchup, and a bit of Worcestershire sauce.

I placed them into the solar oven, closed the lids and put both side reflectors on.  I then made sure it was facing the sun....and left for church.

When I came home, the temperature was between 275 degrees and 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

It appears that I did not put one of the lids on tightly, but no matter, the temperature remained the same.

Rooster Senior helped by taking out the Chicken first....

And then the beans.  Theses pans were very hot....always use hot pads (and this oven even comes with one).

We placed the hot pans on hot-pot-holders on our patio table.We also had put a potato salad (made previously) and a quick tossed salad out.

The beans required a little stir to ensure all the ingredients were mixed together (lesson to self, stir before cooking).  The chicken was tender and delicious. The beans were really good as well.  After eating and having a really nice conversation during dinner, it was a quick trip to take the dishes to the dishwasher.   Total time from oven to dishwasher, just under an hour.

What is the point of all of this? A solar oven...with constant heat...can not only cook your foods, but keep them warm at a safe temperature.  These foods were not dried out and were very tender.  A great deal of the food we had today was from our Food Storage....and we practiced using our Solar Oven.  Finally, it was super easy to do.  On a hot day like today...who wants to heat up the kitchen.

So, the take home storage is not something 'icky' and difficult. It is actually convenience foods...and they are easily retrieved from your stockpile.  Being prepared is about being obedient and exercising your faith.  It is also about making your life a bit easier....and healthful.  If you need a paradigm mind shift....pray and ask Heavenly Father to help you change your view about stocking up and being prepared.  I promise, there is piece of mind when you have your food and supplies in your home. Consider it.
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