With the snow we have had here in the Northwest, and with higher temperatures, wind and rain predicted in the upcoming days, there are issues you NEED TO BE AWARE of and PREPARE FOR.
#1 POWER OUTAGES – A visit to the Ready.gov website will remind you of preparations you can take to ease the stress of a power outage. We’ve had 6-8 hour outages; we’ve had 6-8 day outages. SO HOPE FOR THE BEST; PREPARE FOR THE WORST.
POINTS Ready.gov/power-outages site does not address upfront:
- STORE WATER – 1 gallon per person per day. Get tips on Water Storage here.
- HAVE FOOD ON HAND that does not require cooking or refrigerating after opening.
- DO NOT ASSUME that putting meats and dairy products that need refrigeration out in a snow bank (or other snowy/cold location) will be enough to maintain that food at the required 40 degrees F or below for safety. You can put food into a cooler/ice chest with snow packed around it. HOWEVER, the snow should be clean; the cooler should be in a shady spot; the cooler should be checked regularly; a thermometer should be used to monitor the interior temperature of the storage area. Dairy can be consumed as soon as possible. Neither dairy or meat should be consumed if storage temps rise above 40 degrees F for longer than 2 hours.
- MAKE PLANS AHEAD OF TIME to shelter with a friend, relative or at another location if your home does not have an safe alternate source of heat such as a wood stove.
NO BRAINER – don’t wait until the power outage to review this important information. Print off valuable guidelines and planning tips and put them in a notebook labeled “Emergency Preparedness”
Much like the sun, moon and stars in our sky, our individual lives move forward in a pattern of eternal rounds. Every year contains birthdays of loved ones, Sundays of devotion, holidays of joy and reverence, partings with a little pain, harvests in autumn, quiet in winter, flowers in spring and warmth in summer.
Can we benefit from taking note of and building on these annual blessings? I say yes. Can our greetings be sweeter? Might our devotion be brighter? Should our shadow of love and our arms of caring sweep more broadly?
In a wonderfully silly movie, Groundhog Day, the main character, Phil, is caught in a bizarre cycle of repeating the same day over and over, experiencing similar scenes and encountering the same people. At first, a nightmare, the day ultimately becomes a device to carry Phil towards improvement and greater happiness. In the same way Phil improves his piano playing with more practice, it is possible for us to make small changes in our journey through deliberate practice each year.
Can I practice starting my tomato seedlings just a little earlier, send out my Easter greetings with the diligence I give to Christmas cards, hang out my American flag on June 14th, be on time to church, put sun screen on every day? At the sweetest level, maybe my phone calls to elderly parents and aunts will be more frequent, and my smile more immediate for all I meet.
Come, let us anew, our journey pursue
Roll round with the year and never stand still
‘Till the Master appear.
His adorable will, let us gladly fulfill
And our talents improve, by the patience of hope
And the labor of love.
Baby, it’s cold outside!
Winter Outdoor Safety Checklist:
- Dress warmly and stay dry
- Understand wind chill
- Avoid exertion
- Avoid ice
- Be safe during recreation
- Be cautious about travel
- Recognize hypothermia
For the rest of this important posted COLD WEATHER reminder, go to the 2013, January post!
New products!!! Well, updated products…
NON-FAT DRY MILK used to come in the #10 cans, like all of the other dehydrated products. But no more. It is now packaged in a Mylar pouch similar to the Hot Cocoa packaging. You may or may not be aware that the dry milk is not rated for a longer-term shelf life. The recommendation for use is within two years of purchase. This packaging serves as a reminder of shorter shelf life. The current product yields 29 one-cup serving.
For readers interested in the Nutrition Facts of the DRY MILK package, here they are.
HOT COCOA The Home Storage Center now offers a new (and may I say, IMPROVED) hot cocoa mix. It is, reportedly, the recipe used by the Marriott .Hotels. According to the Spokane folks, Mr. Marriott himself said that the recipe would be a well-received improvement over what many of us thought was a pretty good hot chocolate mix. In case you feel like you can’t keep track, check out the picture of the old packaging and the latest variety of Hot Cocoa standing side by side. I can say, after tasting it myself, that the new version is an amazing improvement. It quickly dissolved with none stuck to the sides of the mug; tasted smoother and creamier; and it left no cocoa in the bottom of the mug when I finished. This package of hot cocoa mix yields 27 one-cup servings.
The final addition/upgrade to Home Storage Center products is the BERRY DRINK MIX. It replaces the “orange” drink mix available for so many years. The ingredients do include sugar, but in defense of progress, there is no artificial food coloring – only dehydrated grape juice. There is a smattering of minerals and vitamins in the mix and artificial flavoring – mixed berry flavor, maltodextrin, and modified food starch. There are 41 one-cup servings in this product.
The Spokane Home Storage Center is open on Fridays from 10 am to 5 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm.
BLACK FRIDAY – day to clean the refrigerator out!
I could have picked on a sunny Saturday (procrastination) or a blue Monday. But, I really NEEDED TO clean up today.
What about you?? The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are peak times of refrigerator use. (Need I say more?)
I won’t go into specifics on what makes the coldest spot in my kitchen “dirty.” But here are a few possibilities that just might be universal.
- Something has spilled or leaked
- Lost leftovers are waiting to be found
- Found leftovers are waiting to be identified
- Identified leftovers are waiting to be eaten or tossed o
- Fruits/veggies are no longer “fresh”
Where to start? Gather strength, or a helper, or both! to help avoid getting sucked into doing more than “cleaning, taking inventory and tossing.” Preparing a work space and clearing out the sink could just help end that vortex. NUMBER ONE TIP: take care of that work space preparation a day or two before you take on the refrigerator. You’ll want the counter for items to be saved and returned to their place. You’ll need the sink for washing outsides of containers and soaking containers that have been emptied. Work spaces done? Attack.
- GATHER TOOLS: Liquid dish soap, small wash clothes, larger towels, BLUE sponge for scrubbing, spray bottle or commercial Kitchen Cleaner in spray bottle, razor (hardware store variety), small bucket or pot, old toothbrush
- Put on MUSIC.
- Double-line a SMALL TRASH CAN for discarded items. (Not everything is swiftly disposed of in a garbage disposal.)
- Place OLD BATH TOWELS on counter. Just toss towels in laundry when done.
- Put a BIG TOWEL on the floor in front of the appliance.
- BEGIN with your stickiest / most crowded / or most avoided shelf or drawer. Sort as you unload: keep, toss.
- If possible, REMOVE DRAWERS AND SHELVES, one at a time. Take to sink; wash down with hot, soapy water and let soak. RULE; never take out an appliance part that is stubborn. You may have difficulty getting it back in.
- IF THE DRAWER OR SHELF WILL NOT COME OUT, use a spray bottle with soapy water OR your favorite commercial kitchen cleaner and wet down surfaces you are going to wash off. You will also use this spray method to wet down the refrigerator walls.
- WAIT to return drawers and shelves until all of the interior is washed out.
- WASHING OUT THE INTERIOR: place a small pot or bucket filled with hot, soapy water at the fridge (saving back-and-forth time to the sink). After spraying down and “soaking” the interior, use a mildly abrasive BLUE SPONGE with scratchy surface on one side to scrub. Use a RAZOR (hardware store variety) to remove stubborn, stuck on food or dried up syrupy run-off on shelves or in bottom of fridge. Be very careful with the SHARP TOOL!! Use the TOOTHBRUSH to scrub cracks and edges.
- USE SMALL CLOTH to wash off shelves and drawers and other interior surfaces. Use a LARGER TOWEL to remove food particles and dry off refrigerator parts and walls.
- FINISH washing and drying any parts you have been soaking at the sink area and return to refrigerator.
- RETURN food, condiments, and other refrigerated items to your refrigerator.
- CALL FAMILY MEMBERS OR ROOMMATES to look at AND admire the results.This invites a moment of silence as they gaze at a CLEAN AND ORGANIZED refrigerator!!!!! (You can use this type of gathering any time a member of your household successfully completes a big or challenging chore 😉
Oh yeah, I wish this refrigerator were available in my household size…
…not to be confused with International Chocolate Day on September 13, birthday of Milton S. Hershey. But then chocolate lovers of the country and the world don’t really care when the celebration is, just as long as there’s chocolate involved.
A few suggestions for celebrating this day:
- Find some great chocolate to consume
- Buy extra chocolate and store
- Make something chocolaty
- All of the above 😉
#3. Okay, so what do I have at home??? Quick inventory (no time to waste): 1 serving of Rocky Road ice cream; 2 packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips; 1 open can of hot cocoa ; 2 boxes of FUDGE brownie mix; 1 quart jar of cocoa powder; oh my goodness, 6 28-0z bottles of chocolate syrup!? The possibilities aren’t exactly endless, but I do have something to work with.
And that is the point. There is an item, a principle if you will, in food storage called the “ESSENTIALS” – items that perk up the rest of your storage life. Salt might possibly be the #1 item on many a list of essentials. Baking powder, yeast, vitamins, and a myriad of seasonings and sauces are all in the running. Non-food items are also on the ballot. For me, Ziploc bags, aluminum foil and hand lotion are essentials.
Back to chocolate. An essential? Flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, oil, eggs, and even vanilla CANNOT make a chocolate cake. You NEED cocoa powder. I rest my case!!
So on National Chocolate Day, at least give some thought to this comforting, uplifting essential. And if you’re up for a new, never-fail recipe, here’s my age-old, family-approved Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake recipe for testing in your family:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- 1 1/2 c. sugar (experiment with less, say 1 c.)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c. light mayonnaise
- 2 c. sifted flour
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp baking pwd.
- 2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/3 c. cold water
Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla together. Blend in mayonnaise. Sift dry ingredients together. Add alternately with water to egg mixture. Turn batter into lightly greased and floured 9 x 13″ – inch pan. Bake 30 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.
- This product is so moist and almost crumb-less that you can enjoy it without any icing.
- Use less sugar and have a cake with a richer, fuller chocolate flavor.
- Bake in a cupcake tin; tuck unfrosted cupcakes into a Ziploc freezer bag (from your pantry essentials!) and stretch the treat into a week’s worth of fresh happiness.
Have a favorite, successful chocolate creation? Please feel free to post it in the comments below! Thanks.
The month of September has brought us a new price list* from the Spokane Home Storage Center. Please check it out. The only price change is the cost of the hard red and hard white wheat: an increase of $3.00 per 25# bag. This increase is in keeping with the hike in wheat prices generally. AND remember, the bulk beans, carrots and onions are not available at the Spokane Home Storage Center.
On the Palouse, Winco Store bulk foods presently has only Hard Red Wheat “Berries.” 25#/$10.65.
Walmart has 25# buckets of red and white wheat. The price is $15, but you do get the sealed bucket.
If anyone, locally, knows of a wholesale source for wheat here, please let us know.
*www.providentliving.org > food storage (you will find the link to the newest order form in the right-hand column.
(Sorry, the hyperlink feature on WordPress doesn’t seem to be working for this link)