Thursday, December 19, 2013

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Yummy, Fresh, Warm, Home Made Tortillas Dec 19, 2013

Tip of the Week to ya! 

I have been to a few classes on tortilla making. I have learned something new in each one. Home made tortillas have been in my menus for a few years and there is NO comparison when you look at the "store bought" tortillas with 100 ingredients that you can't pronounce (haven't looked? Take a'll be surprised what's in them). Warm, delightful, delicious fresh tortillas turns my entire family into little thieves. I can't keep the kids out of them (or the hubby for that matter). Just yummo!  Many people take advantage of the tortillas found at our local Mi Casa tortilla factory. They are really good...but fresh homemade ones can still beat them! I can't say that I'm a professional by any means, but I must admit...sometimes I'm tempted to get a little fiesta dress on and twirl the colorful ruffles in and out....and in and out...

I've been watching lots of YouTube videos (I think I have a Masters degree in YouTube education) and I found the simplest recipe and instructions to follow if you have never ventured to make your own:

A note: I don't use shortening....I prefer softened butter or olive oil...sometimes half butter/ half olive oil. Much of the "hecho en Mexico" tortillas are made with...wait for it...LARD (which is actually high in vitamin E)! 

If you have a desire to experiment with half wheat/ half white, it still makes a great tortilla...I wouldn't go more than 3/4 wheat, 1/4 white because wheat starts to make it harder and know...more like a Frisbee than a tortilla. :) Something to keep in mind, only cook them until you see bubbles start to form then flip it, if you leave them to cook too long, again we get a Frisbee....I feel a joint Young Men's activity coming on...Ultimate Frisbee!

Here is another recipe to consider with even healthier ingredients:

Until next week...Suelta mi tortilla (or leggo my tortilla) :) 


One last thought on this Thursday before will be 99 years ago this year of the Christmas Truce ( Garth Brooks wrote/performed in the song Belleau Wood). The short story is after so much fighting between the German and English front line in WWI in 1914, both sides were sick of the death. They called a truce for Christmas Day only, and both sides (even though there could be serious implications like a firing squad ) agreed to not fire a shot at each other for that day. It began with one German soldier singing "Stille Nacht" (or Silent Night) and they all joined in. They later played soccer and even exchanged what they had in the trenches with them as gifts to each other. 

No one wanted to fight anymore. They felt the love for their fellow man.

In this world that tries to make laws and enforce "world peace", let us remember the only thing that can promise and provide lasting peace is nothing save our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Warm Fuzzy (And Sometimes Slightly Itchy) Wool Dec 12, 2013

Before I get started with this week's tip, I thought I'd share a question and answer about last week's tip - here is the question that was sent to me:

In case of an EMP, municipal water and gas systems would be down also.  Do you have suggestions for water procurement during a prolonged power outage?

Here is the short answer: You are correct. One temporary solution is water storage, another is to have a well drilled near your property that you could have a hand crank pump available to mount on the well.

Here is the slightly longer answer: I have been told by a local fellow self-reliance guru...that our local water is gravity fed, so according to him, we wouldn't need pumps if the electricity went out. I personally wouldn't count on that in the instance (he will have to forgive me) he is wrong. 


Many of you know that I love wool. It has blessed my life in so many ways. I am slightly obsessed with wool socks! There is no comparison with any other fiber! 

When my grandmother was the Relief Society president in her ward many moons ago, they were encouraged by their stake to keep 3 wool blankets in their home at all times...Now why is that? The summer is hardly the time to cuddle up with a nice itchy wool blanket, pop some popcorn and sit down to watch the news....

It is an excellent fire retardant. They didn't have fire extinguishers back then. I have purchased three wool blankets from this site (the best price and quality I could find).  

Wool is awesome in more ways than a fire retardant. Wool will keep you warm even if you're wet. My husband's grandfather who attributed his survival on the German Death March to intervention from Heavenly Father and the over sized wool jacket given to him by the Germans the day the march began. The Death March (or Shoe Leather Express) began the day after Christmas and lasted for 3 months in the coldest winter that area of the world had seen for over half a century! So, needless to say, it was COLD! 

If you are on the look-out for socks, jackets or anything else made of wool for its warm and fuzzy benefits, be sure to look at the label. Many manufacturers say "100% Wool!", but if you look at the tag, only 10% is actually 100%...they can be sneaky...10% won't do a whole lot for you if the rest is acrylic. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - No, an EMP Is Not A Mythological Fairy Dec 5, 2013

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I grew up in a home that listened to Kenny Rogers and Barbara Mandrell. I am reminded of one of Barbara's songs, "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool" . I feel similarly when talking about self reliance. For YEARS those "wacky Mormons" stored food, gardened and all that crazy, peculiar stufff...FOR WHAT? Well, now if we fast forward to 2013, "prepping" is now cool! You can find numerous websites and videos to help you along your way in getting more prepared. 

We all prepare differently and there are some who choose to be REALLY extreme in their "Dooms Day" preparations. There are so many conspiracies...what do you actually prepare for? Can you be over prepared? I just watched a show where a man paid just under half a million dollars for an underground bunker for his family....if you have that kind of money...go for it, but I feel that is a little extreme.

Among the many "conspiracies" is the threat of and EMP (not to be confused with Imp....a little fiery fairy thing that is a mythological character that doesn't exist). Unfortunately, EMP's can actually happen. I am going to enlist the help of another blogger who says it better than I could...I will turn the time over to her....

Go Low Tech to prepare for an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) 


Have you ever heard of an EMP?

Here is a paragraph from the government's report about EMPs:

"Several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication. EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences. EMP will cover the wide geographic region within line of sight to the nuclear weapon. It has the capability to produce significant damage to critical infrastructures and thus to the very fabric of US society, as well as to the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power.  The common element that can produce such an impact from EMP is primarily electronics, so pervasive in all aspects of our society and military, coupled through critical infrastructures. Our vulnerability is increasing daily as our use of and dependence on electronics continues to grow. The impact of EMP is asymmetric in relation to potential protagonists who are not as dependent on modern electronics. "

(I took that paragraph from the fifth page on the above link.)

I do this blog as part of my church calling as a ward preparedness specialist.  I steer away from political or crazy things on this blog, but since this EMP information is on our government's website I assume I can talk about it in on this blog without looking too wacky.

Let's just consider what would happen if all of our electronics and technology were wiped out in one day.  

Here's some simple things you can do.

Think about every thing you do each day which uses electricity and technology, and come up with things that you can substitute.  Ask yourself, "What if I had no electricity.  What do I need to store NOW, to substitute for that item."

Here are some:

No electric washing machine?  Get some washtubs, and a wringer.

No Dryer?  Get a clothesline and clothespins.

No Electric drill, power saw, chain saw?  Get a hand saw, a handpowered drill, regular screwdrivers, etc.

No Electric wheat grinder?  Get a hand wheat grinder.  (I also have an antique meat grinder, hand powered.)

No electric sewing machine?  You might be able to find a foot-powered treadle machine somewhere.

No Computer or ipad?  Learn to hand write again.  Get pencils, pens, paper.

No computer files anymore?  You better have printed out all your recipes, and other important documents, in case you never have a computer again.  

No internet?  You better have all that stuff in regular old books, on the bookshelf, because you might not be able to look it up anymore.

No grocery stores, or trucks bringing food from faraway farms?  Better have food storage, plus garden tools and garden seeds, because you will need to grow your own food sooner or later.

This might be scary to think about, but if you have the low-tech equivalent, you will be able to make it through most crises and disasters better than someone who relies strictly on electricity.

So, I challenge you to take a day in the next few weeks and go "electricity free" and see what you might need to adjust in the event of extended power loss.