Make Perfect Stove Popped Popcorn

We are big stove popped popcorn eaters around here.  I pretty much pop a pan a day.  My kids grew up on it.  Cheap and whole grain healthy, with a long term storage life and the added bonus of being quick and easy to make, popcorn is a food storage mainstay.

Making stove popped popcorn in oil is easy. It's a favorite snack for movie nights. It's a perfect long term storage item for your food storage too!

Ingredients for Stove Popped Pop Corn

You’ll need a heavy bottomed 6 quart stock pot with a lid.  This is important.  You don’t want your popcorn to burn.   I find these sorts of pots at thrift stores and yard sales all the time.  They are so versatile.  I have several.

My family prefers a light olive oil.  Or if I’m feeling rich, I use macadamia nut oil.  Grape seed oil works well.  I’ve also used avocado oil and love it.  But since I always have olive oil on hand, it’s usually what gets used.  Some people like to use coconut oil for their stove popped popcorn, but the taste wasn’t a hit at our house.

4 Tablespoons of oil.
1 Cup Popcorn
Sea Salt

Making stove popped popcorn in oil is easy. It's a favorite snack for movie nights. It's a perfect long term storage item for your food storage too!

How To Make Stove Popped Popcorn

Pour 4 Tablespoons of oil into a cold pan.
Next pour in 1 cup of popcorn.
Make sure each kernel is covered in oil. Shake the pan a bit to get so the corn and oil is evenly distributed over the bottom of your pan. Remember, you don’t want your popcorn to be drowning in oil. The oil line shouldn’t be above your popcorn.

I then put the top on my pan, turn up the heat to about a 7, or medium high, and let ‘er rip!

Making stove popped popcorn in oil is easy. It's a favorite snack for movie nights. It's a perfect long term storage item for your food storage too!

To Shake or Not to Shake (The pan that is……)

I use to shake my pan back and forth. But if your heat is high enough and your oil is hot enough all those little pieces of popcorn will pop up without any extra help.

However, if shaking helps you from burning your popcorn, by all means SHAKE! Just keep sliding the pot back and forth over the heat until all of those kernels have turned themselves inside out!

When the popping slows down to just a few pops at a time, it’s done!  Remove it from the burner.

Making stove popped popcorn in oil is easy. It's a favorite snack for movie nights. It's a perfect long term storage item for your food storage too!

 

Salt

I like to add my salt while my popcorn is still very warm. I think it sticks to the popcorn much better. I use sea salt. Unless I’m out. Then I’m stuck with table salt. That always make me a little bit sad.

Here’s the secret to adding salt to your popcorn. STIR/TOSS IT UP. More stirring/tossing than salt. Add a few shakes, stir the bejeebers out of it, taste it to see if you need more salt and repeat IF necessary. There is nothing worse than too much salt on the top of the popcorn and not enough on the bottom.

Viola. That’s it! That’s right, I don’t even add butter. Seriously. It’s divine just the way it is. Food of the gods. I always have people tell me how good it is.  As a matter of fact, people often leave my home with a big plastic cup of the stuff to take on the road with them.

It’s really that good.

Making stove popped popcorn in oil is easy. It's a favorite snack for movie nights. It's a perfect long term storage item for your food storage too!

Toppings for Stove Popped Popcorn

Every Sunday night is popcorn night at our house. It’s been a tradition since my kids were little. As a matter of fact, my married kids keep the tradition alive in their own homes now.

Over the years, we’ve come up with a few ideas to make our humble pots of stove popped popcorn a little more festive. Heck, we’ve been known to jazz up a pot of corn, serve it with a side of carrot sticks and fruit and call it dinner. (ahem)

Here are some of our favorites:

Lightly buttered with freshly grated Asiago cheese.

Lightly drizzled with white truffle oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Tossed with salt and dry Ranch seasoning.

Lightly buttered with both sea salt and black pepper.

Sprinkled with Thrive’s Dry Cheese Blend.  (Item #22445)

What is your favorite popcorn topping?

I’m secretly hoping that once you’ve tried making your own stove popped popcorn,  you’ll never go back to the microwaved stuff again.  Try it out for yourself, then come back and tell me what you think!

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How To Make A SHTF Financial Survival Plan

Are you concerned about your personal economic situation?   Worried about how you’ll survive if things continue to go downhill?   Do you work in an industry that is shutting doors at an alarming rate?   Inching closer to retirement?   You need a financial survival plan.

 

Financial Survival Plan for 2017

There are huge issues brewing for those looking to retire on pensions.  This is where my husband and I find ourselves.   A projected FY17 $1.8 trillion dollar deficit is nervous making for Baby Boomers wanting to retire.  Take, for example, the Dallas cops who chose to take their pensions in one lump sum, fearing the money will soon be gone.

You may be facing a job loss, or another situation where your monthly income will be drastically cut.  Regardless of the reason, now is the time to prepare for your family’s  financial survival, before things head south.

Create a Financial Survival Plan Before The Next Crisis

 

Know What You Have Coming In. Know What Is Going Out.

Begin 2017 with a resolution to cut your expenses to an all time low.   This not only saves money, but insures that when there is less coming in, you’ll still meet your needs.

Your first step will be to write down how much money  you have coming in each month.  Next write down how much money is going out each month.   This gives you not only something concrete to refer to, but also a way to track your progress.   On her website, and in her book, Survival Mom, Lisa Bedford offers an excellent and non-intimidating worksheet to help you create a financial survival plan.

Once you understand where your money is going you can begin to plug the leaks and be proactive in your quest to create your unique blueprint to financial survival.

Set Goals

How much would you need to have saved to cover one month of your living expenses?  What about six months of your living expenses?

Do you have any big expenses coming up?   My husband and I need a new roof for our home.  We had hoped that this roof would have lasted us another couple of years when we might have most of the costed saved up.  Nope.     Now we are looking at adding another $10,000 to the debt load we’ve been working so hard to pay off.

sigh.

You can bet we’ve set a goal to create a more aggressive savings fund for future home repairs.

Cut Expenses

Do you still need that premium cable package?  Downgrade your cable plan. (Hello Netflix!) Don’t use all your phone minutes?  Go with a less expensive plan.  Life was  good even before smart phones.

What are you paying for that you no longer use?  The gym membership?   An online service that you could easily go without?

Change out those light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs.

Trade in your gas guzzling SUV for something that costs much less to get you where you’re going.  And remember to batch your errands!

One of the best resources I’ve ever found on cutting expenses and preparing for a strong financial future costs less than a fast food dinner out.  Take a look.

3 Months Of What Your Family Uses Daily Is Part Of A Financial Survival Plan

Create a Stock Pile

I’m a firm believer that having at least a 3 month supply of what you use on a daily basis, purchased in bulk, on sale and with coupons, is the same as money in the bank.   How nice to have the knowledge that in an emergency you wouldn’t need to worry about going to the store for at least 3 months?

By writing down what you family eats for seven breakfasts, lunches and dinners, you will be on your way to knowing what to stock up on for a three month supply of food.

Next write down how many rolls of toilet paper, boxes of tissues, tube of tooth paste, etc. that you go through a week or a month.  What else does your family use on a daily basis?

And don’t forget to add in your drinking water as part of your three month supply!

Sell It!

 

One of the best decisions I made in 20016 was to go minimalist.  A successful Prepper is an organized Prepper.  You’ve got to know what you’ve stored and where you’ve stored it to make it through a disaster.

Look around your home.  What do you have that you don’t use?  Sell it!   Have a garage sale.  Or sell it on a Facebook yard sale page.  Simply type in the name of your city and ‘yard sale’ into the Facebook search bar, and you’ll find several cites to sell on, without having to ship or pay for ads.

Be brutal.  If you don’t use it on a regular basis, make some money off of it.

Find A Side Gig

Sometimes, there simply isn’t enough coming in, to meet the bills, much less to create a successful financial survival plan.  This is when a totally new stream of revenue needs to be found in order to make your financial security plan complete.

Look towards your skills and passions.  I’ve always had a heart for emergency preparedness and self sufficiency.  So it’s natural for me to blog about it with a goal to turn my knowledge into a work at home job.  This is the perfect way for me to stay at home with a medically fragile child, while adding another stream of income to help us better meet our son’s medical needs and prepare for retirement.

Food Storage has always been a passion of mine as well.  While my friends were having lingerie themed bridal showers, mine was……wait for it……FOOD STORAGE themed.  Yup.   I was a Prepper years before prepping was cool.

Because of my desire to have a deep pantry, I became a consultant for Thrive Life.   I’m not a host a party kind of girl, everything I do is online only.   I also receive discounts off of what I order.  It’s a win-win for me, and might be just what you’ve been looking for.

Maybe you’re a people person and working a part time job in your favorite store might be just the thing to bring in an extra source of income.

A Financial Survival Plan To Become Debt Free

Do You Have Skills Others Don’t?

Do you sew?  Quilt?  (Totally jealous if you do!)  How about selling via craft shows and local expos?

A neighbor with mad cake making and decorating skills creates and sells her master pieces from home.  Her work beats the socks off anything I’ve seen in bakeries.

Are you a gardener?   I’m hoping to sell my excess veggies this year to bring in a little extra money.   Are you great at fixing stuff?   You could start a new business using those skills.

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, Or Do Without

One of the biggest hurdles in creating a financial survival plan is the mind set that our society embraces that whoever  has the most toys wins.  Assigning meaning to stuff, at the cost of our self worth, or our health, vastly limits our ability  to prepare for an uncertain future.

Without the clutter, you can focus on what’s important: preparing your family to make it through a financial crisis.

What are you doing as part of your financial survival plan?

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How to tell if your baking powder is still fresh.

You are right in the middle of creating a culinary master piece.  Your mouth is watering as you reach for the last ingredient your recipe requires.  In your hand is a container of baking powder, recovered from way in the back of your cupboard.

You find yourself  wondering when you used this stuff last.  Heck, you wonder when you bought it.  How long does baking powder last, anyway?  All you need is to put dead baking powder in what you are making and have the entire thing flop.   You sniff it.  But what is baking powder supposed to smell like, anyway?   You taste a bit.  That’s didn’t help, either.

Test to see if your baking powder is still fresh. If not, use this recipe to whip up a new batch!

How do you know if your baking powder is still good?

 

To find out if your baking powder is still good, simply drop a teaspoon of the stuff into a cup of hot water.  If it bubbles heavily, you are good to go!  If not, it’s time to get a new can of this wonderous stuff that make your baked goods rise.

But, you’re in your favorite holey jammie pants and that messy bun of yours is hiding more than just a bad hair day?

We’ve got ya covered.  Here’s a simple replacement recipe.

How To Make Your Own Baking Powder

baking-powder-recipe

Grab your favorite measuring spoons.  These are mine.  Are they not adorable?  Don’t tell anyone, but my Mom and all of my married girls are getting these for Christmas.

Next, get out these common baking ingredients found in most any pantry, especially ones created with prepping in mind.    One is a leavener, the other is an acid that will activate the baking soda to get your baked goods to rise.

Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with 2 teaspoons cream of tarter.  Ta-da!  Problem solved!

Want to make a big batch and store it?  Just stick to the ratio of 1 part baking soda to 2 parts cream of tarter.

But now you’ll want to add one part corn starch or arrow root powder too.  This addition to your  recipe  will absorb any moisture and keep your newly created baking powder from clumping.

Plus, there will be NO aluminum to worry about!

How to tell if your baking powder is still fresh, AND a recipe to make your own!

 

 

  When was the last time you checked to see if baking powder was still good?

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Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar: Sausage Potato Soup

Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar provide nutrition, convenience, and long term storage ability to your food storage plan.   Boil a pot of water, dump in the ingredients, and viola!, dinner is served in record time.  Even if that dinner is made for a year later!

How to make Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar

What makes Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar so fantastic?  Imagine coming home too tired to cook, and the family wanting to eat…..NOW.  You boil water.  Dump in the contents of the jar.  Stir.  Viola.  It’s dinner baby.  It’s way healthier than fast food, AND at about $10.00 a jar for a family of 4, CHEAPER too.

You are learning to use your food storage, saving money, creating shelf stable, long lasting meals for your storage, and making your life easier.   We aim to please, here at Simply Preparing.

Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar Recipe using Thrive Life Foods

Sausage Potato Soup


Thrive Freeze Dried Ingredients:

1 C. Freeze Dried Sausage
1 C. Dehydrated Potato Chunks
1/3 C. Freeze Dried Sweet Corn
1/4 C. Freeze Dried Onions
1/3 C. Dehydrated Carrot Dices
1/3 C. Freeze Dried Peas
6 TBSP Chicken Bullion

Ready to try Thrive? I would love it if you bought using my link so I can grow my food storage as well.

Buy Thrive Freeze Dried Foods

Ingredients Needed From Your Pantry

1 TBSP Parsley
1 TBSP Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
4 TBLS Butter

Bring three quarts of water to a boil.  Add in the freeze dried ingredients along with the garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper.  While these ingredients simmer, make your thickening sauce.

 

How To Make A Thickening Sauce (Roux)

(Important Note:  The ingredients for the thickening sauce/roux will NOT be part of what you actually put into your jars.  These are items you’ll need to have on hand in your fridge/pantry to complete this meal.)

1/4 Cup flour

1 C reconstituted Powdered Milk

2TSPB Butter

 

Melt butter in a small pan over a low temperature.  Whisk 1/4  C. flour and allow to cook for a minute, whisking constantly.   Pour in 1 C. (reconstituted) Powdered Milk.  Stir until thick and bubbly.

Add a bit of your soup liquid to your thickening sauce to thin it out some.  Then add everything back into your soup and stir.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes before serving with a garnish of  Freeze Dried Parmesan Cheese.

When putting together the ingredients for your Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar, you also need to add an oxygen absorber to each jar or vacuum seal each jar.  Personally, I do both.  This will give you at least a year’s storage for this recipe.

Why You Should Have Freeze Dried Meals In A Jar In Your Food Storage Stash

Beans and rice might keep a body and soul together, but they are not going to be able to do much when food fatigue sets in.  Food fatigue is the idea that food is food and when you have nothing else you will eat it, whether you like it or not.

While this may be true to some extent, it is important to stock a variety of foods, as well as some meals that are tried and true family favorites.  That’s where Freeze Dried Meals in a jar come into play.   Having to eat beans every day for a month straight might just be what brings you down not only physically, but psychologically as well.

DIY Freeze Dried MREs for But Out Bags

Shelf stable meals such as Freeze Dried Meals in a jar offer variety and simplicity.  You can add fruits and veggies to your family’s diet even during an emergency.  You can even skip the jar and packaged these meals in mylar bags with an oxygen pack to store in your bug out bags.  Think homemade MREs.

How to cook your DIY Freeze Dried MREs

Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar can also easily be cooked over simple bug out stoves using items found in typical 72 hour kits.  Just make sure you’ve got your water stored too!

How are you preparing to feed your family in case of emergency?   Do you have Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar in your preps?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Original Recipe by Amber Spackman   Modifications by me.
**Photo Credit:  Ladyheart

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How to make goat milk yogurt.

My son, Parker, follows the SCD diet for his ulcerative colitis.  This diet calls for yogurt.  Goat milk yogurt is our yogurt of choice.   Either powdered goats milk or fresh goats milk will work just fine.  This recipe also works for cow’s milk.   It’s important to know you can replicate any foods required for a special diet when the shtf, in one of it’s many forms.  

goat milk for goat milk yogurt
It’s actually a pretty simple process.   I used a gallon and a half of fresh goat milk and put it into a a clean pot, allowing it to slowly warm up to 180 degrees.  Make you that when you check the temperature you stir the milk so that you get an overall reading.  You’ll want to keep the milk at 180 degrees for at least 2 minutes.

Next, take the your pot of milk off the hot burner and onto a cool one.   I often just place the entire pot into a sink of ice water to hurry the cooling process.  You want to let your milk cool to 100 degrees.

Once you milk has cooled to 100 degrees, pour a bit out into another container.    Add your yogurt ‘start’ to that small bit, stirring to make sure there are no lumps.  Then pour your newly mixed ‘start’ into the large pan and stir some more.  You want to make sure the starter and milk are well mixed.

cooking thermometerHeat your milk to 180 for at least 2 minutes and then allow it to cool to 100 degrees.

I used about 1/4 of a cup of yogurt starter.  What is a yogurt starter?  It’s simply a bit of yogurt I’ve saved back from my previous batch of goat milk yogurt.

goat milk yogurt start

Is this your first batch of yogurt?  No worries.  You can purchase a container of plain goat milk yogurt and use that.  OR you can use the packaged yogurt starter.    Simply follow the directions on the package.

Next  I poured the soon to be yogurt into clean half gallon mason jars.  We use a LOT of goat milk yogurt so I tend to make a lot at a time.   Feel free to start with a smaller amount!

Next I screw on the tops and rings and place each half gallon into my Excalibur dehydrator.  Yup.  You can make yogurt in the Excalibur.  Sweet, eh?

I keep my yogurt fermenting at about 100-115 degrees for at least 24 hours.   After the 24 hours have passed, I put the yogurt into the fridge to chill for about 24 hours.

What?  You don’t own an Excalibur?  Worry not.  You can use a yogurt maker, or even put your covered pot of milk and starter into the oven and use the oven light as a heat source.  Or how about using your crockpot?

Do you have someone on a special diet the likes of which you will need to replicate in case of a time of crisis?

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