Salt Lake City, Part I

Whew! What a shopping trip that was! We spent three days in Salt Lake City shopping for food storage (and eating) with our good friends from Montana. It was a great experience and we think this will become a yearly tradition… I need to start saving my money now🙂

To keep this post a little more manageable, I’ll do an in-depth post on the items later as I use them or pack them away. Keep in mind, this is only day one of our shopping weekend! There are more posts to come!

These first two pictures are of the snow-covered mountains and the view from our hotel room when we arrived on Saturday morning. I love the snow, I love cold weather, and I was hoping for more snow! There was no snow on the ground when we arrived and I left the hotel blinds up all night so I could watch to see if it did start to snow.

And at 2:22 am my hubby woke me to tell me that it was snowing! I smiled, stared at it for a while and then fell back asleep. In the morning we awoke to the beautiful picture on the left. But I suppose I’m jumping ahead in the story because we did spend the rest of our arrival day shopping at some of the stores closer to our hotel. Let me fill you in on the rest of our arrival day.

Our first stop was Emergency Essentials on University Parkway. This was our second visit to this store. We’ve shopped there once before on a trip back from visiting our friends in Montana. It is a medium-sized store and they have very helpful clerks. I really enjoyed the fountain display where you could demo the water filter systems. We didn’t get a water filter this time, but we did pick up some items that I’ve been wanting after watching a video on a water bottle, cup and pocket stove on the Survive2Day YouTube channel. Here’s a list of what we purchased at Emergency Essentials (a picture of the items follows the list).

  • Backpack, from clearance rack
  • (2) Hotties hand warmers
  • (2) Hotties feet warmers
  • Pocket stove with 12 small fuel cells
  • MRE
  • Blue water bottle
  • Stainless steel cup
  • Solar battery charger
  • (2) Fruit roll-up dehydrator trays
  • Set of hard plastic utensils
  • (2) disposable toothbrushes

I think we got a great deal on the backpack. Our friend found it on the clearance rack. It was there because it had a small rip in a seam at the top. But I can fix that up easy enough with a needle and some thread. We’re going to use this as our get-home-bag. Now I just need to fill it up!

Even though we’d only shopped at one store so far, we had been driving all day, so it was time to sit down, relax, eat, and catch up with our friends. So we stopped at Golden Corral for dinner. If you ever have a chance to eat there, I’d highly suggest you take the opportunity. I really like the food, especially the fresh grilled steak!!!

After dinner my friend spotted a Hobby Lobby across the street… you guessed it, that was our next stop! I’ve never been to a Hobby Lobby and I really liked it. I know, I know, it’s not food storage, but hey, this post is about shopping too… right?!? The picture to the right shows the things I bought there. It doesn’t include a beautiful resin cross that we picked up too. But you’ll see that hung on a wall in another picture later. And all the items, except for the crochet thread and cross were on sale!

Our next and final stop for the evening was the local WalMart. I remember that they had an Emergency Preparedness section in the back of the store and wanted to see if anything was new since our last visit. It was the same as before and I was once again disappointed that it seemed so disorganized. Kinda like someone forget that section was even in the store. We didn’t buy any food storage there because it was mostly Augason Farms products and we’d planned on going to the outlet store on Monday. But… I did get a great pair of cold weather boots on sale! I needed to buy them because I’d left both pair of my warm boots back at home. All I had with me was my pair of slip on tennis shoes that I wear when traveling. If it snowed, I was going to be miserable! So into the cart went the boots along with a bottle of chocolate milk for my hubby🙂

So that’s about it for our first day! If you have any questions, on the items we purchased, just leave a comment below.

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Grinding Hard White Wheat with KitchenAid

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been using my new grinder attachment for my KitchenAid mixer. I’m learning a lot and thought I’d share some information and pictures with you.

First, when grinding the wheat with the KitchenAid you need to make sure that you have a container that is tall enough to fit under the shoot of the grinder, otherwise you’ll end up with flour all over the counter and your mixer and your hands and… and… and…

As you can see, my setup is rather hysterical… but hey, it works. I took two guacamole bowls and stacked them upside down to use as a platform for the recycled oats container that will catch the flour. I’ve actually replaced the guacamole bowls with a coffee cup since I took this picture. It seems to work much better and is a little more stable.

Be very careful when you turn on the machine to start the grinder. The instructions state that the machine must be set all the way up to the number 10 setting to get it to grind. Well, at that high of a speed, the little metal piece that usually holds the hook/paddle/whip, really gets moving!!! Kinda scary, but I just step back and let it run. Oh, and I thought maybe if I put the bowl on the machine it would guard against accidentally injury… but that doesn’t work either because it gets in the way of my oats container thats being used to catch the flour.😦 I’m not sure why KitchenAid hasn’t come up with some sort of “catchment” system for all the great attachments you can purchase for the machine.

The picture above I thought was interesting. It shows the whole hard white wheat kernel before it’s put through the grinder. The bowl in the middle is the gritty bran (I hope that’s what it’s called) that I sifted off the flour. The resulting hard white wheat flour is in the bowl on the right.

And this picture shows the kernel, bran, a bit of commercial whole wheat flour, my ground whole wheat flour, and some white all-purpose flour. The all-purpose and commercial whole wheat flour are very soft and fluffy. My ground whole wheat flour is a combination of fluffy with a little bit of a gritty texture. The bran I sifted out of the ground flour is really gritty.

I did use some of the fresh ground flour, as is without sifting, to make French bread. As I shaped the loaves I could really feel the gritty texture. But after baking it, you could not feel any gritty texture when eating it! It made delicious sausage, pepper onion hoagies for dinner!🙂

I wanted to remove the bran from another batch of  freshly ground whole wheat flour to use in making some bagels. I wanted my to see if sifting it made any difference at all. To do this, I used a very small meshed strainer. It did a really good job of removing the bran from the flour. The resulting flour was still a little gritty and not as soft as the commercially milled whole wheat flour. And it does take a long time to sift a few cups by hand. I wonder if I should try putting it through the grinder again? I wonder if that would even make a difference. I’ll have to give it a try and do some more research on that option.

The bagel dough was a little gritty too, but after water bathing and baking, you couldn’t taste or feel the grit. I did notice they raised a little less than they do with the commercial flour. I wonder if adding a little more vital wheat gluten would help.

The bran that I’d sifted out of the flour I used to make oatmeal cookies. I replaced one cup of the all-purpose flour for one cup of the bran. Then I replaced the rest of the flour with the whole wheat flour that hadn’t been sifted. The cookies weren’t as puffy as I usually like, but I wasn’t using my normal recipe because I couldn’t find it. But I will tell you they were very very tasty and very crispy!! I’ll have to work on the recipe a bit more to perfect the cookies, because I think you’ll like them, I want to share a good recipe with you. I think I also want to make these a completely food storage recipe replacing the butter and egg with powdered butter and powdered egg.

I also made some grape oatmeal bars using the freshly ground whole wheat flour. I was watching the show Pioneer Woman on TV the other night (I really like this show!) and Ree Drummond made these bars for her homeschooled group. They looked really good and I think they’d be great to make for the morning of a future road trip we’ll be making. Here’s the link to the recipe for the Strawberry version that she made. Mine bars are a little dry and I think that’s because the whole wheat flour does have a tendency to soak up more liquid than regular white flour. I’m sure I can fix this by adding some water or milk or something. I’ll work on that because these are very yummy! Hubby will be blessing his staff these tasty tidbits!!

All in all, I’m very satisfied, so far, with grinding wheat at home for flour in baking bread and cookies. I know I’ll have to do some more testing to get things exactly how I like them. And I’ll make sure to pass along to you any other tips/tricks I find along the way.

><>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~<><
Whoever falls on that stone will be broken;
but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.
Luke 20:18 (NKJV)

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Spice Rack Reorg and Recycled Containers

After making my first batch of homemade taco seasoning the other day, I started to put the spices back into my under-the-stairs closet pantry. As I  stood there with the numerous containers of spices in my arms, I realized that the racks were in dire need of reorganization!

I wish I’d gotten a picture before I completely emptied the racks. You probably would have thought I was a nut and that it didn’t look like it needed reorganizing. But, I lean “just a little” to the perfectionist side of being organized and it was driving me “just a little” crazy that the jars/containers weren’t in alphabetical order. I know… crazy… but that’s me!

So I grabbed a big box and started pulling all the containers/jars out of the racks. I decided that I was going to organize them alphabetically and get rid of things that past their printed expiration dates, and combine multiple spice jars into one. I can’t believe I found a jar that was marked 2007! I know it’s just a spice and it probably would have been just fine, but out it went. I did save a couple that were marked 2009… please don’t call the food police on me.🙂

My newly alphabetized spice racks.

Okay, I’m afraid to admit this, but I’m still “just a little” crazy even after the alphabetical re-organization! I so wish all the containers where the same size or at least all the same type! LOL! But I’ll deal with it. At least now I can find spices a lot faster. The only ones that aren’t in exact alphabetical order are the large containers in the top right shelf. That’s because they are too tall to fit into the lower shelves. And this picture doesn’t show the slanted ceiling in this pantry.

I think the picture to the right gives a better idea of the slanted ceiling and the size of the pantry (you can click on it to zoom in to make it a little bigger). I think I’ve done a good job organizing it and you’d be amazed at how much is actually stored in it… like the 15 or so hidden recycled juice bottles used to store water. But I’ll save that for another in-depth post on all the organization I’ve done in my food storage areas.

I’ve mentioned quite a few times lately about using recycled containers. Here’s how I’ve used, or plan to use, recycled containers:

  • Small peanut butter jars make great gift containers for Noreen’s Peanut Butter Cups cocoa.
  • Mayonnaise jars store homemade mayo.
  • Whipped topping containers are the perfect size to take salsa/dips to church potlucks.
  • Spice containers are useful for sharing things like tomato powder, green onion powder or homemade packaged mixes like taco seasoning mix.
  • Take-out soup containers can be reused to take homemade soup or stew for a quick meal to a family who has just moved.
  • Tin cans… did you know they can actually be used to vacuum seal dehydrated foods. I haven’t done this yet, but I’ve seen how it’s done… it’s on my to-do list… and I’ll show you how in a later post.
  • Glass drink containers, like the ones tea come in… work perfectly for taking along homemade salad dressings when invited for dinner at friend’s.
  • Glass olive containers can be used to store spices. They can even be vacuum sealed in a canister, if the cap has a bit of a rubber seal.
  • Those little mashed potato side dish containers from the chicken place work great for sending leftovers to work with hubby! They even say they are reusable on the bottom!
  • And lastly, the little containers for salsa from the Mexican fast food places work great to hold small amounts of ingredients when baking/cooking.

Beware! Recycled containers can easily take over your kitchen cupboards. So don’t go overboard and become a hoarder. Allocate a small area for recycled container storage. When it’s full, don’t save anymore! But if you’re a giver like me, you’ll find that you are constantly rotating them so your storage space never gets full.🙂

And I will tell you that I only recycle plastic/glass containers that have labels that come off quite easily after soaking in hot water for a few minutes. If there is a little sticky spot after soaking, I use a really cool tool called a Goo Gone Pen. I also use this pen to remove old labels from mason jars I get at the thrift stores. This pen was a really great investment, there isn’t a sticky spot I haven’t been able to get off with it. Sometimes I do have to move up to the bottle of Goo Gone and a cheap paper towel. But it works every time!

><>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~<><
Did you know that the word “spices
occurs 35 times in 32 versus
in the NKJV of the Bible?
You can read them all here.

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