Thursday, November 21, 2013

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Nov 21, 2013 Make Your Own Home Made Extracts!

Tip of the mornin' to ya! 

I recently found this website and I love it! The link below was emailed to me and I started to browse other pages on her site, and all I can say is WOW! She could teach many classes I would be interested in attending.

If you follow this link ( ) the author takes you step by step how to make your own vanilla, lemon and almond extracts. I think anyone who does the grocery shopping knows that the REAL stuff at the grocery store could break the bank in a hurry if you wanted to purchase several bottles for your storage.

This is where Self-Reliance steps in - if you learn to make your own, you save a BUNDLE! There is a catch however - you will need to purchase vodka. Come again? Some may be thinking, "But that is against the Word of Wisdom!" Let me there is too much...let me sum up.

Alcohol extraction allows for a couple of things: #1 long shelf life - alcohol is a preservative. #2 It extracts flavors, and desired medicinal qualities from plants.

If you read in section 89, there IS proper place for "strong drink"- for the washing of the body. Alcohol is used in medicines (NyQuil, etc) - and if used in super small quantities (1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp) it can help cleanse the body of micro-organisms etc. I make herbal extracts all the time to get the highest potency and shelf life out of herbs I purchase. They are called tinctures.

Did you know that vanilla extract can kill some bacteria? Check out this article:

Did you know that lemons have anti-viral properties?
When you grate the lemon peel to make your extract, you are getting the lemon oil as well! 

Remember, we are counseled to use all these things with judgement, skill, prudence and thanksgiving.,18-20?lang=eng

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - The Amazing Properties of Natural Vinegar - Nov 14, 2013

I am sOOOooo glad I went to the evening Relief Society meeting (formerly known as Homemaking et al)!! We had good food, good fun, a little bit of Indian Leg Wrestling, but best of all great conversation! 

The topic of planter warts came up (isn't that great??), and Sister Tami said she had removed one from her finger using apple cider vinegar. No way!! Then, the kicker...Sister Tricia said you can also use it to remove MOLES!! So, I decided to look up how other people had done it, and I found many examples.

I am in the experimenting process currently, I'll tell you how it works out! I'm so excited ( *giddy giggle*)!

So, this gets me thinking...we live in a time where we can visit the doctor pretty much whenever we want. They have all these high tech gadgets that help diagnose issues that would have only been dreamed of even decades ago. We really are blessed. But...what if, there wasn't a doctor around when you needed one? Some may think, "Oh, that could never happen! - We live in America!" If anyone remembers not too far back to Hurricane Sandy, or further still Hurricane Katrina, many people were left without food, water and medical supplies because of evacuation from the flood waters. We must prepare to be self-reliant with as many aspects of our health care as we can.

Will vinegar be our cure all? Many people believe so, but I would disagree. I have learned through experience not to put all your pickled eggs in one jar...if you know what I mean. We will talk more about other alternatives later, but for the meantime, vinegar does have SO many amazing things to offer us! Here is what other people have used vinegar for (I mean the real stuff...the "pasteurized" cider vinegar at the grocery store doesn't have all the properties the real stuff does. But, it will do in a pinch):


One more thing - Attention Gluten Free-ers!

I got an email from Honeyville Grain - they are having a sale! Honeyville only charges $5 for shipping too!

Honeyville's 15% Off All Gluten Free Items Starts Today Thursday, Nov. 14th, 2013 and lasts only 6 days. To claim your 15% savings, shop online at before the sale ends on Tuesday, Nov 19th, 2013. Then simply enter the coupon code "BAKING" during checkout and enjoy. Remember to tell your friends and family, before they miss out!

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - WOWEE! The Wonderific Wonder Oven Nov 7, 2013

When my nephew was around four years old, he said, "Ohhh I just love mashed potatoes!!" My sister said, "Well, if you love them why don't you marry them?" He said, "(scoff) I can't marry them, they don't have feet!" 

I hear ya bud, I feel the same way about my Wonder Oven. They are cute, warm and cuddly, but Wonder Oven's would make less of a mess if you snuggled them as opposed to your mashed potatoes. Alas, they don't have feet either. 

My new hero on the Wonder Oven scene is a cute little lady named Megan who runs this site:

All of the things on her little site far surpass my cute little tips. You can compile your own cookbook with your own recipes and make them food storage friendly! I encourage you to check it out! Awesome...anyway...

She has perfected making bread in the Wonder Oven and this is her experience...its all in the pan you use. Check it out...

I am sure you will come to love Megan as I have...AND she has feet :).

Friday, November 1, 2013

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Aug 29, 2013 - Sleeping Bags

Have you ever compared prices to get the highest quality with the lowest price. I did that with a toilet brush the other day and found that I really should have gone for the $7 one the first time because the $1.50 was a waste of precious money. Lesson learned.

Sleeping bags can be the same way. Walmart can carry some good bags...unless you need to see a night under the stars under 40 degrees because of an emergency evacuation. Get it right the first time and don't waste your precious money. 

My suggestion is to get a four season sleeping bag the first time around because you can add or take away bags to fit the season. I found used military bags for a good deal on Amazon at this link:

To be honest...the price isn't that much different either. I have spent hours looking for bags and even the most expensive cannot guarantee comfort even around 20 degrees (that is above zero). Give it a good thought, because our pioneer fore bearers would have really enjoyed having these bags for their journey.

Happy hunting! 

Self - Reliance Tip of the Week - Oct 31, 2013 - What Are We Doing?

I recently went to a middle school concert for Band and Orchestra. Since I have played the flute for years, I noticed a really nervous 7th grade flautist (a flute player) who kept looking at the girl to her side to make sure she was playing the right thing. I've so been there before! I'm sure you know that feeling too - not quite new to "playing", but still not so sure you're doing it "right". 

Self-reliance can be the same way. We all know the basics of what we need (food, water, shelter, sanitation), but are you doing it right? Some may be thinking, "My neighbor has all of these newfangled gadgets, they must be more prepared than me..."

Don't get me wrong, a goal to get the top of the line water filtration system is well worth the extra money and a good buy...unless you don't have the finances to get it.If you need to, save up for it - there is no shame in that. Staying out of debt is as much a part of self-reliance as buying food. If someone you know is using a credit card to purchase thelatest and greatest in "prepper" accessories, it will come back to bite them something serious...with interest...kind of like an American Staffordshire Terrier...with five sets of shark teeth. Yeowers! That's gonna leave a mark!

Prayer, research and practice are the only sure ways to know that you're going to succeed in the "Concert of Self-Reliance". Others may be looking to you for an example.

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Oct 24, 2013 - Salt! Glorious Salt!

Salt is a seasoning that has lasted through the ages! It is so amazing that it is even in the scriptures! In Luke 14:34 it says:

Salt is good: but if the bsalt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?

I don't think I've ever had salt that has lost its savour. That is a sad day. So is the day that we forget how important it is to store salt! Our bodies need it! 

I am only slightly obsessed with Colonial America era. I love the clothing, the architecture, the Founding Fathers...I love it all! It shouldn't be surprising that we can learn so many preparedness lessons from this day in time too. They had no cars, no electricity, NO iPHONES??? But they survived! I have found a website that has many things from this time period that I periodically drool over when I have a spare minute or two. They have also been making cooking videos. Here is a video on how to preserve pork with salt (remember, they had no refrigerators) for several winter months.

If you feel so inclined to check out their website, here is also a link, but beware - there are some amazing things on this website you might become as slightly obsessed as I :). Tell me honestly... wouldn't you just LOVE if this stuff came back in style?

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Oct 17 2013 - The Need of Self Reliance

We are seeing an epidemic today of many of our nation's brothers and sisters. It is a sad sight. It is the "Gimme Gimme" epidemic. As we have seen in the news lately about the "glitches" in the nutrition assistance program across the nation. How easily can relying on someone else get you into trouble in a hurry?

George Washington stated, "There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favors from Nation to Nation. 'Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard." 

Will God do for us which we can do for ourselves? 

I have been reading about my Great Great Uncle Alfred Hancock. This fellow many would consider "unlucky". He contracted typhoid just after he married. This disease left him with an uncooperative leg for the rest of his life. Not long after he "recovered" from the typhoid he was kicked in the head by "the calmest" horse they owned. After three surgeries, he had to learn to walk and talk again. 

By today's standards, he could easily be on "disability" and never work another day in his life. But, he went to school to learn how to repair shoes and still was able to rely on himself for his support and that of his family. 

Please don't misread what I am saying. There are people who cannot provide for themselves. But there are also many who rely on others when they are in reality capable to take care of their families. 

The bottom line is, if there is an emergency, don't plan on going to someone elses house because you didn't prepare. Rely on your own promptings to attain the needs for your family. If there are any "glitches" that our nation may run into, you will have much less to worry about because you planned ahead.

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Oct 10, 2013 - Washable What?

Some of you may remember the days that you used to cloth diaper your babies. I was one of those babies. Then came along the THROW AWAY paper diaper. Wow...what an amazing invention. It changed our lives forever. Convenience is trump in our day in age. 

But what if...truckers went on strike, there was an earthquake, or a tornado  happened to interrupt our day? Diapers would fly off the shelves faster than chocolate. If you don't have washable diapers, you're left towels? I'm not liking that visual. 

I looked and looked and looked for fairly priced washable diapers for the"modern" world. I found them. The initial cost is a bit pricey, but they will pay for themselves over and over if taken care of properly. I have been using them for the past two weeks on my bubbins and it is amazing what I have learned in such a short time. One of the greatest blessings of these kind of diapers is you do not have to buy different sizes. They have snaps to adjust the sizing. That is rockin'!Here are the diapers I purchased:

What if you are passed the raising babies stage in your life? Should you get some? That is up to you. Do you have any grand-babies in diapers? If you ever needed them, you'd be so glad you had them. 

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Oct 3 - Cry Me A River

We have seen the river ebb and flow the past few months. What a beautiful sight to many to see all of the rain we have had. Sometimes it was a love/hate relationship because of a leak in my roof, but since that has been fixed (thanks dear!), I welcome all the rain the Lord would like to bless our sometimes very dusty valley with. 

This same river which sustained life for the pioneer settlers, sustains us today (along with wells, water sheds and modern water utilities too). What was life like for those same pioneers who had to haul water before irrigation was existent here? I'm sure it was a pain, but they were so thankful to have it. If you have ever been without water, for one reason or another, you might know what I'm talking about. 

Some of our local wells have dried, some pumps have failed, and others have experienced well collapse. Without water, life stops! We can have all the food storage we want, but without water to cook, clean, sanitize or cool ourselves, it can only take us so far. 

I strongly encourage you to get a supply of water that your family might have inthe case of an emergency. Then, you can cry me a river of joy.

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Sept 26, 2013 - Archive: What to do with all this Wheat?

A blog was started by a brilliant young lady when we were in Solomon Ward and we kept the tips coming until the ward split, shuffle and fruit basket reorganization took place. The tips are still available for your reading enjoyment at this link.

I've decided to take some information from that archive once in a while. It is always good to get a refresher on something you may not have thought about for a while. For some it may be old, for some it may be new, sometimes it is borrowed, and seldom it is blue. :) So here goes:

A question I get a lot is: "So, I have all this wheat...what do I do with it?"

Well, I was talking with my friend Marie the other day. She told me that a few years ago her grandparents served a mission in Adam-ondi-ahman. They decided as a couple that they were going to eat SUPER healthy. They made cracked wheat cereal, whole wheat bread, etc etc. They were so happy to be eating healthy...until...about a week into it, for the sake of the squeamish lets just say that her grandfather had some SERIOUS digestive trouble. 

Poor Marie...she didn't know why in the world he was sharing this information with her. Well, Marie, it is because our "Tip-of-the-week" readers needed something to...chew on.

One of the big mistakes that Grandma & Grandpa made was that this much wheat is not something they normally eat. Their digestive systems weren't ready for all that. Our society is beginning to see many food allergies to wheat, soy, eggs, milk etc. I won't get into the hows and whys now, but if we HAVE to eat things that we aren't used to eating, some tummies might not be ready for that. So...lets plan ahead.

Suggestion #1: Plan several meals that you usually eat and have those items on hand...say, 3 months worth :). 

Suggestion #2: Have at least one meal a week that is strictly food storage items. Pancakes are a good start :).

If you're going to be making Whole Wheat Bread, it is a good idea to also get "vital wheat gluten" found currently in the "emergency food isle" at Walmart. After many tries and failures, Sister Noelle told me that her husband uses the "vital wheat gluten" and 2 T to my 2 loaf batch turned out awesome!!! Thanks Noelle!

What if you have allergies to wheat? What if you want to cut gluten down in the things you currently eat in an effort to avoid gluten intolerance later? I have a tool for you! Check out Chef Brad

He has a natural "white flour" recipe and a gluten free flour recipe. I haven't tried them yet, but I'll let you know when I do.

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Sept 19 - Got Oil?

You might think because of the subject line, that I will be discussing cooking oil. Not this time.

I recently heard the story that took place many years ago. There was a serious lightning storm in Manti Utah. A family watched as lightning flashed around thenewly finished temple. The children said to their mother, "The Lord wouldn't strike the temple would He?" Just as the mother was assuring them He would not, lightning struck the temple and it lit on fire. Her husband was among those who fought the fire and put it out. When he returned home, the children asked him why the Lord would strike his own temple. The father answered them that installing a lightning rod had been discussed, but not carried out. He said, "God had given the means to protect the Temple against lightning, and the workers neglected to use those means. They thus did not have a right to expect miraculous interventions."

 What does that have to do with oil? The parable of the 10 virgins can become trite when comparing it with spiritual and physical preparedness. I cannot think ofa better comparison. The five foolish virgins could not expect to attend the feast because they were off buying more oil. 

Like the Manti Temple, we cannot expect "miraculous interventions" if we fail to use the means the Lord has given us to prepare ourselves and our families against days of coming tribulation. This applies to physical, spiritual and even emotional preparedness. 

I spoke with a friend a few years ago and she told me that she thought she was doing enough to prepare by laying some money in the bank. She realized that if financial institutions were to fail, that money would be worthless and she would have nothing to give her family to eat. 

On the other hand, if we do use the means we have to carry out preparations we know we should do, and listen to the spirit for guidance for anything else - I believe we can expect miraculous intervention. That is the law of obedience. "I,the Lord, am bound when we do what I say. When we do not what I say, ye have no promise." Doctrine and Covenants 82:10

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - April 27 - What We Have Here - A Failure to Communicate

We may have all had a time when (for those of us who choose to have them) when we were so thankful to have our cell phone. For some people the cell phone goes in the pocket before teeth are brushed or make-up is applied. It is a necessity.

How would you communicate if your cell phone didn't work? Bostonians recently had this communication shortage during the 2013 Boston Bombings last week. First reports were that service was shut off to prevent anymore cell phone detonation. Then Sprint said that their network shut down because of that kindof traffic. What ever the reason, it is something that can happen. What is your plan B if you cannot communicate via cell phone? How would you tell your family that you were ok in an emergency if your phone isn't working?

Many families have chosen, for several different reasons, to have their home phone now be a cell phone. "Land Lines" are becoming more and more rare because of the versatility that a cell phone can offer.  Inthe event of an emergency there are a few alternative options:

Self - Reliance Tip of the Week - July 8 Vacuum Sealer Jar Attachment

Do you have a vacuum sealer? Did you know there is a jar attachment where you can use canning jar lids and seal all kinds of awesome things in them?

Things I have personally sealed: almonds, chocolate chips, and raisins.

Things I plan on sealing are: olive oil, walnuts, pecans, dried fruit, coconut, brown sugar, and more chocolate chips :),

Things you cannot seal this way: powdery stuff (like flour) it will get sucked up in the hose and stuck, things that need heat and pressure (like fruits and veggies etc).
Here is are some links where you can purchase the attachment. 

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Sept 12, 2013 - Diva Cup

When we're talking about "sanitation" - nothing sounds more "sanitary" than "sanitary napkins". However unruly "Auntie Flow" can be when she comes to visit every 28 days or so, dealing with that visit can be anything but sanitary. Enduring those few days with the inevitable visitor, teaches patience and long suffering to say the least! Do you have a supply for this kind of sanitation? 

If you have daughters in your home that supply must be multiplied because those precious napkins are something you do NOT want to be without in a crisis of any kind (and I'm not talking about the "bad hair day" crisis).

I have recently come across an item that is "self-reliant" friendly. It sounds a little different than the norm, but hear me out. You might want to give this a try.

It is called a "Diva Cup". It is a reusable mini-cup that can be used by sea or by land. It is not associated with chemicals like dioxin (in pads) or sicknesses like TSS (in tampons). The huge plus here, is that it is reusable. That means less to buy and less trash. I know people who swear by these and will never go back tothe traditional means of "sanitary napkins" or the like.

Here is a link to one of the many places that sell this little "Diva" :

For more information here is the "Diva Cup" website:

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Sept 5, 2013 - Cheese Glorious Cheese!

For many families cheese is a comfort food (oouu pick me!). For other families not so much. If life would be hard for you without cheese, this is the tip for you!

There are actually a few ways to have your cheese for a rainy day:

1) One is cheese waxing - here is an excellent how-to video (not for mozzerella or cream cheese though...hard cheeses are invited to this party only)

2)  And then there is learning how to make your own cheese...It sounds so complicated and not do-able in our modern day...but it is and it TASTES SOOOOOoooo good!

This is a website you can get starter packets (which I have and I have enjoyed making Mozzerella) - I got the 30 minute Mozzerella kit:

When making your own cheese, you need to know there is a learning curve. But you can do it!

3) Freeze dried cheese is an awesome option! This is my favorite place to get it. It is a bit pricey, but you can buy it now and use it later. When stored in the proper temperatures, it will last many many years. I have cooked with it before (including grilled cheese sandwiches!) and my family didn't even know! My picky eaters were none the wiser!

Hopefully you can glean something worth your while in this week's tip. Have a great day!

PS - For those who might not have thought me completely crazy.... I want to let you know that I used my Wonder Oven to dye wool! Please ask me how! :)

Self - Reliance Tip of the Week - May 10, 2013 - Chocolate Cake in a Solar Oven

Hello Everyone!

We all make mistakes when we are learning something new. It is no different when you are in the process oflearning how to use food storage!

I made some chocolate cake in my solar oven!

I made some mistakes.

You can watch it here:

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - May 1, 2013 - Italian Dressing Mix !

Sometimes when it comes to self-reliant thinking, you have to improvise. 

One of our favorite "food storage friendly" meals is Pasta Chicken Salad. Here is the recipe:
1 pint canned chicken
1 Box whole wheat penne
1 can olives
1 to 2 Tomatoes (or 1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes if fresh isn't available)
1/2 c fresh celery sliced (or 2 T dehydrated)
1/2 C fresh grated carrots (or 2 T dehydrated
1 pkg Italian Dressing mix (and vinegar and oil that goes with it)
Olive oil 
Parmesan cheese

Prepare Italian dressing according to package directions set aside. Cook noodles according to package directions, drain, rinse and cover with olive oil and put in the fridge. If you have dehydrated veggies, hydrate according to directions on the can and set aside. Drain olives and tomatoes. When noodles are cool, add veggies and chicken. Top with Italian dressing and mix well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before eating. Yummo!

I had a small dilemma when I went to make it for dinner last night. Where did I put my Italian Dressing mix? It is time to improvise! I found this recipe and it was a wonderful substitute. In fact  I think it had more flavors than the mix I usually have on hand from the store.

Italian Dressing Mix
1 T garlic salt
1T onion powder
1 T white sugar
2 T dried oregano
1t. ground black pepper
1/4 t. dried thyme
1 t. dried basil
1T dried parsley
1/4 t. celery salt
2T Salt

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic salt, onion powder, sugar, oregano, pepper thyme, basil, parsley, celery salt and regular salt. Store in tightly sealed container.

To prepare dressing, whisk together 1/4 C white vinegar, 2/3 C olive oil, 2 T water and 2 T dry mix.

This was an easy family favorite to change to a "Food Storage Friendly" meal.

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - April 16th Peanut Butter Breakfast Energy Balls

I found this recipe book for shelf stable recipes. If you don't know where to start as far as using foods from your storage, this recipe book is an excellent place to start. You can print it for free at this link:

This recipe has been excellent for our family!! It is a good breakfast or snack recipe.

Peanut Butter Breakfast Energy Balls

2 C rolled oats
2T chia seeds (loaded with vitamins!)
1/2 c unsalted peanuts or walnuts
1/2 C brown rice syrup or honey
3/4 C peanut butter melted

Optional ingredients:
chocolate chips, dried fruit, flax seeds, wheat germ, cocout, m&ms, banana chips, 

In a bowl, mix together oats, seeds, and nuts. Add brown rice syrup or honey  and mix to combine. Add melted peanut butter and mix until moistened. At this point you can fold in  1/2 c add ins. If making these when you have power, you can press into a 13/9 in pan and bake at 350 for 20-25 min or press in a pan and chill for 60 minutes. If you are without power, roll into balls. These do not need refrigeration. 

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - April 3 Dehydrate 2 Store !

Well, for those familiar with "Self Reliant Tips of the Week" we are beginning again!

What are these tips? Well, they are tips for those who are inside and outside of our faith that want to be better prepared for emergencies; be it temporal or spiritual. 

If there are any questions you may have or would like to learn about something but do not know where to begin, let me know and I'll see what I can find out. 

This week's tip:

I found the most wonderful website that talks about dehydrating food. For those of you who like to coupon and can get frozen corn on sale at a crazy-cool price, but don't have room in your freezer for it, this site is for you. 

If you've never dehydrated and don't know where to start or if it is worth you effort to look into purchasing a dehydrator, this site is also for you. 

It is awesome!!! If you have dehydrated food and you need recipe ideas she has tons of recipes and videos to choose from. 

Go ahead and give it a try. You'll be glad you did!

New Home for Tips of the Week!

Hello all! I will be posting "Self Reliance Tips of the Week" on this blog. Be sure to share with friends and family so they won't be coming to your house in case of an emergency!!