Be Prepared

Back To Basics – Basic Survival Skills – Food

Knowing basic survival skills is really getting back to basics.  Sound emergency preparation can relieve your mind and eliminate the fear that comes from not being prepared in case of an individual or a collective hardship.

After attending a meeting, on surviving a Pandemic, I decided to include helpful information on this site that will help you be better prepared, no matter what hardship you may encounter.

This program is called “Survival In A Closet” The line up will be something you can store in your apartment or condo. Not everyone lives in individual homes where space may be readily available. If you have a closet, you can designate for survival preparation, then you’re in great shape to follow the program.

This is a step up from a 72 hour kit.

In the next several months… we’ll move on a fast track to get you set up for a two to three month emergency supply for you and your family. You can follow the program, or just include some of survival tips in the  preparations you’ve already made.

Now, remember… this won’t be a luxury program… just a simple basic “survival” plan.  Down to the bare bones.  Once you get your plan in place… you can add all the little extras you want.

The first thing that comes to mind for many folks is food. However, In my booklet, “4 Family Survival Needs that Are More Important Than Food,” I explore why food is not the most important consideration.

The logical place to start would be the first consideration mentioned in the booklet…  but if I know most of you… food is still your primary thought.  What will we eat?

So with that in mind, we’re going to start with food because this will be the easiest step in the program. Then we will consider the other four as we go along.  Remember… this is a fast track program.

The food bucket can be found at Costco for about $69.00.  It contains 200 adult meals… which will cover 3 meals a day for 66 days.  The food packets must be reconstituted with water.  Last summer, I purchased one of these buckets after sampling some of the meals.  They were actually very good.  I have tasted some reconstituted food that was so bad, I knew if I had to count on it, I wouldn’t make it.

These food buckets can be found at “Emergency Preparedness Stores,” but they are a little more expensive.

You will need to determine how many buckets your family will need.  It might be a good idea to purchase one bucket and cook up a food packet before you invest in several containers.

Since these buckets stack very well, you can stack them in the corner of your closet to the ceiling.

So… the first in our “Closet Preparation” series is… food.  Get moving and pick up your buckets at Costco now.

Till Later,

Insightful Nana

P.S. There is not a basic survival guide in the world that works… unless you work it. Go for it.

Scratch Cooking

Scratch Recipes For Salad Dressings

A scratch recipe for salad dressings is getting down to cooking basics.  With so much rich food that grace our holiday tables… it’s nice to offer a good healthy “Green Salad”…  to even things out.  I promise, your guests and family will appreciate the extra effort you go to, if you use these scratch recipes to make your own salad dressing… because they are so good.

These three recipes use basic ingredients you usually have in your cupboard or pantry.  So.. save a few coins and make your own dressings and get raves.  There is nothing like the “real” thing.

The three salad dressings I’m sharing with you today are: Rick’s Honey Basil, Evelyn’s Creamy French, and Basic Buttermilk Ranch.   These recipes have been in my recipe box for years and they’re so easy to prepare.

Rick Carter is the husband of Rebecca, my fellow designer.  He’s does the cookin’ at their house and she does the clean up.  What a deal.  He’s one of the finest chefs I know.  He often would cook and bring lunch to our work.  We were often treated to his secret specialties… such as “Bear” and “Ostrich.”  Never a dull moment.  Rick’s Honey Basil dressing is a nice substitute for Italian.

The Ingredient are   1/2 C. Cider Vinegar…1/2 C. Honey… 1/2 C. Oil (I use light Olive oil but Veg. oil works great.)  2 tes. Sesame Seed Oil… 1/2 tes. garlic powder… 1 heaping tes. of Spicy or Hot Mustard…. 1 tes. Dried Basil… 1/4 tes. Salt… Dash of Pepper.

You can put all the ingredients in a blender (except the dried basil) … or you can use a hand blender to mix.

Blend at high speed until all ingredients are mix well.

Stir in dried basil by hand.  Refrain from blending basil in blender.

There you have it… Rick’s Honey Basil Dressing.

Evelyn is my mom.  Her Creamy French dressing adorned our Thanksgiving and Christmas tables as long as I can remember.  We called it the “Red Dressing.  It’s not only delicious… but it’s bright color is a spiffy addition to your holiday table.

The ingredients are:  1 1/4 C. Ketchup… 1 C. Oil… 1/2 C. White Vinegar… 1/4 to 1/2 tes. garlic powder… 1/2 tes. Dry Mustard…  A scant 1/2 C. Sugar… 1/4 tes. black pepper.

Combine all the ingredients together in a blender or bowl.

Blend all of the ingredients together at high speed.

This Creamy French dressing is so good… you’ll keep a fresh batch in the fridge all year long.

I don’t ever remember my mom every purchasing a bottled dressing.  She always made her dressings from scratch… and that included her Buttermilk Ranch.

The ingredients are:  1 1/2 C. of Mayo.  (She sometimes would substituted the 1/2 C. Mayo for Sour Cream).  It make the dressing a little more mild. 1 tes. Onion Powder.  1 tes. Garlic Powder.  2 tes. Dried Parsley.  1 1/2 C. Buttermilk. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.

Put all the ingredients in a bowl… not a blender.

Mix together with a wire whip.

This is so good… you’ll be telling Hidden Valley “good bye.”

I love a fresh green salad… don’t you?

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  If you’ve got a great salad dressing recipe and would like to share it… let me know and we’ll post it on Back To Basics.  Contact me by e-mail.

Back To Basics

Home Canning Back To Basics

Home Canning is getting “Back To Basics” for me…back to my childhood.  During the summer, I could be found along side my mom at the kitchen sink canning bushels of fruit and veggies for the approaching winter.  It wasn’t much fun at the time… being out with my friends was far more appealing.  After my marriage license was sign, I swore, the wretched activity would never be repeated again.

Wrong!  About the middle of each June, my mom would call on the phone.  “The beets are on,” she would chirp.  Acting like a robot, I would order the beets from the farmer.  This ritual, in some form,  would be repeated the entire summer and into the fall.

So…here we go… with a list of the wretched activity that was not going to be part of my married life.

June: picked beets, strawberry jam, apricots, apricot nectar, apricot jam, dried apricot, dried apricot leather, cherries, cherry jam, frozen pie cherries, dried cherry leather, maraschino cherries, Queen Anne cherries.

July: dill pickles, sweet pickles, sweet pickle relish, bread and butter pickles, dilly beans, mustard pickles, pickled vegetables, frozen corn.

August: peaches, peach jam,  pears, pear butter, dried pears,  plums, dried plums, frozen fruit compote, raspberry jam

September: tomato juice, snappy tom, stewed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, chili sauce, salsa, green tomato relish.

October: chili, bottled fresh trout, corned deer meat, apple sauce, apple pie filling, dried apples, grape juice

I now look at the list of items I preserved in the past and it makes my brain rattle in my head.  However, there was great pleasure in going into my fruit room and seeing all the bottles lined up on the shelves.  When the door was closed there was a sense of security and a feeling of well being in my soul.

When my kids were small, the home canning helped my family through some tough financial times.  It was then, I felt gratitude toward Mom… who taught me well.

Still, one year I let a bushel of apples rot on the back porch… just too exhausted to put them in canning jars.  When they ended up in the garbage… I said to myself, “Enough is enough… my canning days are over.”  However, I did keep all my canning jars.. just in case I ever changed my mind.

For years, the case lot sales was the direction I went for my winter supply.  I won’t tell you how many years ago that was… but as the years went by… my memory dulled… and the  hankering to do a little home canning came back.  At that point, I home canned just for pleasure.   A little of this and a little of that.

This year…my hankering was a pretty strong and I dragged out my canning supplies.  Dill pickles, tomato juice, stewed tomatoes, and whole tomatoes sit on my storage shelves.  One afternoon… a bushel of peaches landed in the back of my car.  Hmmm… what’s this all about?  It was the “Back To Basics” stirring in my soul…. and the fact I need to be better prepared for an emergency.

Now, everyone doesn’t have the availability of the fruits and veggies to take on home canning… and in some cases… it might be less expensive to go to the case lot sale and purchase the items.  My shelves have case  goods on them too.

The point I’m trying to make is, whether you do a little home canning or buy case lots, having a little extra food on hand in case of an emergency can put your mind and heart at ease.  And, if no emergency arises… great…. additional food on your shelves is sure convenient.

But… since you never know… it’s best to be prepared.

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  We had our first frost here in Utah County… and the grapes are ready… Hmmm… got that “Back To Basics” feeling stirring again in my soul again. Cold frosty grape juice would sure be nice in January.  Apples…. applesauce…. pie filling…….Hmmm.

As I See It

We’re In For A Change

We’re in for a change and I don’t mean on the political scene.  I’m talking about making a change right here at Insightful Nana.

For sometime, I’ve wanted to share some information with you and didn’t quite know in which category it belonged.  I’ve finally decided that the information is so important that it needs a category of it’s own. The new category is going to be: “Back To Basics.”  Because I’ve witnessed so many economic changes in our world lately, I have the feeling I should get “Back To Basics.”

As a child, I was raised in a home where my Mom was very frugal.  We lived very simply… without a lot of frills.  My mom made all of our clothes… and that was quite a feat since she had 6 girls.  She was a “Scratch Cook” and prepared wonderful meals and taught her 6 daughters to do the same.

I have certainly enjoyed more financial abundance in my life than my mom did when she was raising her family.  It’s been a fun ride… but I see where my money could be more wisely spent at the present time.  So, for me to cut back a bit and tweak some basic skills, is like going home again.

In “Back to Basics, we’ll be exploring all kinds of subjects… Simple, down to earth ideas and tips that will help you through tough times.  That is… if your having to tighten up a bit.  Themes such as emergency preparedness, homemade cleaning solutions, simply homemade medical remedies etc. will be featured.

Freedom comes when you have lots of choices.  I want to give you a lot of choices… so if you have to tighten your belt a bit… you’ll have some back up.  If you don’t have to tighten up… great… these tips still might come in handy.

The “Mom” category is being moved under the “Family” category.  So… it’s kind of like she’s going home too.

I hope you’ll enjoy the new ” Back To Basics” category.  I will be posting there in the next couple of days…  So hold on.  I’ll be inviting you to contribute your ideas too.  Together…we can be prepared and weather any storm.

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  In no way am I buying into the “Great Depression” or “Great Recession.”  But, it’s like looking at the planet and saying, “We can do a better job keeping our planet safe… so we can do a few “green things” and help make a difference.”   So, in that light, we can make a difference in our own homes and communities by learning and practicing “Back To Basic” skills.  In helping and supporting each other, we can be prepared for anything.