Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: More Delicious Wheat Recipes

Whole Wheat Cornbread
1 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c brown or white sugar
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 c yellow cornmeal
2 eggs
1 c milk
1/4 c shortening

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cornmeal. Add eggs, milk and shortening. Mix well. Bake in greased 9 inch square pan at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Also makes 12 muffins.
Variations: Add 1/2 c grated cheese or 1/2 c crisp bacon.

Old Fashioned Whole Wheat Raisin Nut Muffins
2 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c nonfat dry milk powder
1 tsp soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 c chopped nuts
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c coconut, optional
1 egg
1/4 c oil
1 c plus 2 T cold water

With a pastry blender, mix together whole wheat flour, brown sugar, nonfat dry milk, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix in nuts, raisins and coconut (optional.) Beat egg with a fork. Stir in oil and water. Add to flour mixture. Mix just enough to combine with all ingredients moistened. Spoon into paper baking cups or well-greased muffin tins. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for about 17-20 minutes. Makes 12-18 muffins.

Honey Wheat Variety Muffins
1 c all purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1/2 c milk
1/2 c honey
1/4 c cooking oil
1/2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center. In another bowl, combine beaten egg, milk, honey, oil and lemon peel. Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy.) Spoon batter into greased or lined muffin cups and fill 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Makes 12.

Sunflower Nut Wheat Muffins: Prepare as above except stir 1/2 c sunflower seeds into flour mixture. (If using salted nuts, reduce salt to 1/8 tsp.)
Fruit Wheat Muffins: Prepare as above,except fold 1/2 c fresh or frozen blueberries, raisins, snipped pitted whole dates, or chopped apple into batter.
Honey-Nut Wheat Muffins: Prepare as above, except fold 1/2 c chopped walnuts, pecans, peanuts or toasted almonds into batter.

Homemade Noodles
1 beaten egg
1/2 tsp salt
3 T milk
1 c whole what flour (or white)

Combine all ingredients. Place dough on heavily floured counter and press out with hands. Sprinkle more flour on top of dough and then roll out with rolling pin until very thin. Let dry for 1-3 hours. Roll up heavily floured dough loosely and slice thin (1/4 inch) and unroll. Drop into boiling soup or salted water and cook 10-15 minutes. Yield: 3 c cooked noodles.

Whole Wheat Egg Noodles
6 Eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oil
2 c whole wheat flour

Beat eggs thoroughly. Add salt, oil and flour. Mix well. Roll mixture out on floured board with wax paper between rolling pin and dough. When 1/8 inch thick, cut with sharp knife or pizza cutter into strips. Boil in salted water or broth. Can be frozen for later use.

Light Whole Wheat Bread
5 1/2 c hot water
2/3 c honey
2/3 c oil
2 T salt
2 c white flour
3 T yeast
9-12 c whole wheat flour

Mix hot water, honey, oil and salt in mixer. Add white flour and yeast. Then add whole wheat flour. Knead 2-3 minutes. Form into loaves. Place into 5 loaf pans. Let rise. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes.

1 1/2 c warm water
1 package dry yeast
1 tsp honey
2 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 to 2 c all purpose flour
2 T olive oil (approximately)
Coarse (kosher) salt

Place 1/4 c of the warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over it and stir in the honey. Let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining warm water to the yeast mixture and stir in the whole wheat flour, salt and about 1 1/4 c of the all-purpose flour. The dough will be slightly sticky. Transfer to a well-floured board and knead, adding more flour as needed, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until double in volume, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down, cover and let rise once more until doubled in volume about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush four baking sheets with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Punch the dough down once more. With floured hands, scrape a heaping tablespoon of dough onto a well-floured board. Roll the dough into a thin rope no more than 1/2 inch thick and about 12 inches long. Place on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Brush each dough stick with more olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack. Makes about 24 bread sticks.

Source: Traverse Mountain 1st Ward Pantry Cookbook

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Wheat Mix with Recipes

Wheat Mix
6 c whole wheat flour
3 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c instant nonfat dry milk
1 T salt
1 c sugar
1/2 c wheat germ
1/4 c baking powder
2 c vegetable shortening

In a large bowl, combine whole wheat flour, white flour, dry milk, salt, sugar, wheat germ and baking powder. Mix well. With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until evenly distributed. Place in airtight container and store in a cool, dry place. Use within 10-12 weeks. Makes about 14 cups.

Quick Wheat Breakfast Cake
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 c water
2 1/4 c wheat mix
1 c chopped raisins
1/2 c brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8 inch square pan. Combine egg and water in a medium bowl. stir in wheat mix and raisins until moistened. Spread into prepared pan. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts in small bowl and sprinkle on top of cake. Bake 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut into 16 two inch squares. Serve warm. Variation: Substitute orange peel and orange juice for part of the water in the recipe--mmm.

Favorite Wheat Pancakes
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 c water
2 1/4 c wheat mix

Combine egg and water in medium bowl. Stir in wheat mix until just moistened. Cook on a hot oiled griddle for about 3-4 minutes until browned on both sides. Makes about 15 four inch pancakes.
Variation: Top with sliced peaches and cinnamon syrup.

Quick Wheat Muffins
3 c wheat mix
2 T sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 c water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter muffin pans. In a medium bowl, combine wheat mix and sugar. Blend well. Combine egg and water in a small bowl. Add all at once to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened; batter should be lumpy. Fill prepared muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12 large muffins.

Source: Traverse Mountain 1st Ward Pantry Cookbook

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards: What to Do if They're Lost or Stolen

Many people find it easy and convenient to use credit cards and ATM or debit cards. The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) offer procedures for you to use if your cards are lost or stolen.

Report the loss or theft of your credit cards and your ATM or debit cards to the card issuers as quickly as possible. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24 hour service to deal with such emergencies. It's a good idea to follow up your phone calls with a letter. Include your account number, when you noticed your card was missing, and the date you first reported the loss.

You also may want to check your homeowner's insurance policy to see if it covers your liability for card thefts. If not, some insurance companies will allow you to change your policy to include this protection.

Credit Card Loss or Fraudulent Charges (FCBA)
Your maximum liability under federal law for unauthorized use of your credit card is $50. If you report the loss before your credit cards are used, the FCBA says the card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized charges. If a thief uses your cards before you report them missing, the most you will owe for unauthorized charges is $50 per card. Also, if the loss involves your credit card number, but not the card itself, you have no liability for unauthorized use.

After the loss, review your billing statements carefully. If they show any unauthorized charges, it's best to send a letter to the card issuer describing each questionable charge. Again, tell the card issuer the date your card was lost or stolen, or when you first noticed unauthorized charges, and when you first reported the problem to them. Be sure to send the letter to the address provided for billing errors. Do not send it with a payment or to the address where you send your payments unless you are directed to do so.

ATM or Debit Card Loss or Fraudulent Tranfers (EFTA).
Your liability under federal law for unauthorized use of your ATM or debit card depends on how quickly you report the loss. If you report at ATM or debit card missing before it is used without your permission, the EFTA says the card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized transfers. If unauthorized use occurs before you report it, your liability under federal law depends on how quickly you report the loss.

for example, if you report the loss within two business days after you realize yr card is missing, you will not be responsible for more than $50 for unauthorized use. However, if you don't report the loss within two business days after you discover the loss, you could lose up to $500 because of an unauthorized transfer. You also risk unlimited loss if you fail to report an unauthorized transfer within 60 days after your bank statement containing unauthorized use is mailed to you. That means you could lose all the money in your bank account and the unused portion of your line of credit established for overdrafts. However, for unauthorized transfers involving only your debit card number (not the loss of the card), you are liable only for tranfers that occur after 60 days following the mailing of your bank statement containing the unauthorized use and before you report the loss.

If unauthorized transfers show up on your bank statement, report them to the card issuer as quickly as possible. Once you've reported the loss of your ATM or debit card, you cannot be held liable for additional unauthorized transfers that occur after that time.

The best protections against card fraud are to know where your cards are at all times and to keep them secure. For protection of ATM and debit cards that involve a Personal Identification Number (PIN), keep your PIN a secret. Don't use your address, birthdate, phone or Social Security number as the PIN and do memorize the number.

The following suggestions may help you protect your credit card and your ATM or debit card accounts.

  • Be cautious about disclosing your account number over the phone unless you know you're dealing with a reputable company.

  • Never put your account number on the outside of an envelope or on a postcard.

  • Draw a line through blank spaces on charge or debit slips above the total so the amount cannot be changed.

  • Don't sign a blank charge or debit slip.

  • Tear up carbons and save your receipts to check against your monthly statements.

  • Cut up old cards--cutting through the account number--before disposing of them.

  • Open monthly statements promptly and compare them with your receipts. Report mistakes or discrepancies as soon as possible to the special address listed on your statement for inquiries. Under the FCBA (credit cards) and the EFTA (ATM or debit cards), the card issuer must investigate errors reported to them within 60 days of the date your statement was mailed to you.
  • Keep a record--in a safe place separate from your cards--of your account numbers, expiration dates, and the telephone numbers of each card issuer so you can report a loss quickly.
  • Carry only those cards that you anticipate you'll need.


  • Don't carry your PIN in your wallet or purse or write it on your ATM or debit card.

  • Never write your PIN on the outside of a deposit slip, an envelope or other papers that could be easily lost or seen.

  • Carefully check ATM or debit card transactions before you enter the PIN or before you sign the receipt; the funds for this item will be fairly quickly transferred out of your checking or other deposit account.

  • Periodically check your account activity. This is particularly important if you bank online. Compare the current balance and recent withdrawals or transfers to those you've recorded, including your current ATM and debit card withdrawals and purchases and your recent checks. If you notice transactions you didn't make, or if your balance has dropped suddenly without activity by you, immediately report the problem to your card issuer. Someone may have co-opted your account information to commit fraud.


For an annual fee, companies will notify the issuers of your credit card and your ATM or debit card accounts if your card is lost or stolen. This service allows you to make only one phone call to report all card losses rather than calling individual issuers. Most services also will request replacement cards on your behalf.

Purchasing a card registration service may be convenient, but it's not required. THE FCBA and EFTA give you the right to contact your card issuers directly in the event of a loss or suspected unauthorized use.

If you decide to buy a registration service, compare offers. Carefully read the contract to determine the company's obligations and your liability. For example, will the company reimburse you if it fails to notify card issuers promptly once you've called in the loss to the service? If not, you could be liable for unauthorized charges or transfers.


The following federal agencies are responsible for enforcing federal laws that govern credit card and ATM or debit card transactions. Questions concerning a particular card issuer should be directed to the enforcement agency responsible for that issuer.

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System: Regulates state-chartered banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System, bank holding companies, and branches of foreign banks:

Division of Consumer and Community Affairs
Stop 801 20th and C Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20551
202-452-3693; http://www.federalreserve.gov/

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Regulates state-chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System:

Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection
550 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20429
877-ASK-FDIC (27-3342) toll-free; http://www.fdic.gov/

National Credit Union Administration: Regulates federally chartered credit unions:

Office of Public and Congressional Affairs
1775 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3428
703-518-6330; http://www.ncua.gov/

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency: Regulates banks with “national” in the name or “N.A.” after the name:

Office of the Ombudsman Customer Assistance Group
1301 McKinney Street, Suite 3450
Houston, TX 77010
800-613-6743 toll free; http://www.occ.treas.gov/

Office of Thrift Supervision: Regulates federal savings and loan association and federal savings banks:

Consumer Programs
170 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20552
800-842-6929 toll-free; http://www.ots.treas.gov/

Federal Trade Commission
Regulates other credit card and debit card issuers:

Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) toll-free; ftc.gov

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP; TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Source: FTC, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Division of Consumer and Business Education

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Emergency Preparedness: Family Emergency Health Information Sheet

Below is a link to a Family Emergency Health Information Sheet created by the CDC. This was designed to help in the event of a pandemic but would be helpful in any health-related emergency. The information includes blood type; past/current medical conditions; current medications and dosages; emergency contacts; hospitals near work, school and home; family physician; pharmacy; employer contact; school contact; religious afiliation; veternarian.

It would be helpful to have this sheet completed for every member in your family placed in your Important Document Book (compiling directions included here: http://preparednessmatters.blogspot.com/search/label/Legal%20Information) and keep a copy in your 72 hour kit.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Family Home Evening Ideas

The church has several family home evening activities on their website that are preparedness related. Click on the following link to find them:


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Corn Mix

I'm a big fan of cooking mixes. They make food preparation much easier. Here's a corn mix recipe which uses wheat flour and powdered milk from your food storage. I've also included several recipes which you can prepare very quickly using the corn mix.

2 c Whole wheat flour
2 c Corn meal
1 c Nonfat dry milk powder
2 1/2 tb Baking powder
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 c Oil

Combine all ingredients mixing well until oil is absorbed. Store airtight in the refrigerator. Makes about 6 1/2 cups mix.


1 3/4 c Corn mix
1/4 c Water

Preheat oven to 425°. Oil a baking sheet; set aside. Combine mix & water until it holds together, adding a little water if necessary. Pat into a 1/2" thick rectangle and scrore into six 2" squares, taking care not to score all the way through. Place on baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until browned. Makes 6 biscuits.

1 3/4 c Corn Mix
1/4 c Water

Preheat oven to 425°. Oil & flour a baking sheet; set aside. Blend mix & water until it forms a dough that can be rolled, adding a little water if necessary. Roll out to 1/8" thick on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to baking sheet and score into desired shapes. Bake 10 minutes or until browned. Cool on rack, break apart on score lines. Makes 1/2 lb. of crackers.

1 1/2 c Corn Mix
1/4 c Water

Combine mix & water to form a ball of dough that can be handled. Cover & let rest 15 to 30 minutes. Divide into quarters. Roll each into a 7" round on a lightly floured surface. Lightly oil a heavy skillet or use the top of your wood stove and heat until very hot. Cook until flecked with brown spots on both sides. Serve while hot.

Notes: To make a single flat, use 6 tablespoons mix and 1 tablespoon water.

2 3/4 c Corn Mix
1 Beaten egg
2 tbsp Honey, molasses or sugar
1 c Water

Preheat oven to 400°. Oil 8 muffin cups for large muffins or 10 for medium; set aside. Add egg, sweetener and water to mix until moistened. Spoon into muffin cups; bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

1 1/3 c Corn Mix
1/2 c Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 Beaten egg
1 c Water

Toss cheese in mix to coat. Stir in remaining ingredients; let stand 5 minutes to thicken. Lightly oil a heavy skillet. Using 1/4 cup batter for regular sized or 1/3 cup batter for fillable pancakes, cook until done on both sides.

1 1/2 c Corn Mix
1 Egg
1 tsp Molasses
1/3 c to 1/2 water
2/3 c Corn kernels
Oil for deep frying

Add egg/molasses and 1/3 cup water to mix to make a thick batter. Batter should fall from spoon in a thick lump; add water if necessary. Stir in corn. Heat oil for deep frying to 365°. Drop dough into hot oil and cook until browned on all sides. Drain and serve hot. Makes about 20 fritters; 4 servings.

Source: Meal Master version 8.05

Provident Living: How to Save Money

We have been instructed by our church leaders to "gradually build a financial reserve, and use for emergencies only. If you save a little money regularly, you will be surprised how much accumulates over time." If you're struggling to save money, here are some great ideas to help you get started:

1. Set savings goals. For short-term goals, this is easy. If you want to buy a video game, find out how much it costs; if you want to buy a house, determine how much of a down payment you’ll need. For long-term goals, such as retirement, you’ll need to do a lot more planning (figuring out how much money you’ll need to live comfortably for 20 or 30 years after you stop working), and you’ll also need to figure out how investments will help you achieve your goals.

2. Eliminate any debt first. Simply calculating how much you spend each month on your debts will illustrate that eliminating debt is the fastest way to free up money. Once the money is freed from debt payment, it can easily be re-purposed to savings.

Establish a timeframe. For example: "I want to be able to buy a house two years from today." Set a particular date for accomplishing shorter-term goals, and make sure the goal is attainable within that time period. If it’s not attainable, you’ll just get discouraged.

Figure out how much you’ll have to save per week, per month, or per paycheck to attain each of your savings goals. Take each thing you want to save for and figure out how much you need to start saving now. For most savings goals, it’s best to save the same amount each period. For example, if you want to put a $20,000 down payment on a home in 36 months (three years), you’ll need to save about $550 per month every month. But if your paychecks amount to $1000, it might not be a realistic goal, so adjust your timeframe until you come up with an approachable amount.

3. Keep a record of your expenses. What you save falls between two activities and their difference: how much you make and how much you spend. Since you have more control over how much you spend, it's wise to take a critical look at your expenses.

  • Write down everything you spend your money on for a couple weeks or a month. Be as detailed as possible, and try not to leave out small purchases.

  • Assign each purchase or expenditure a category such as: Rent, Car insurance, Car payments, Phone Bill, Cable Bill, Utilities, Gas, Food, Entertainment, etc.

  • Keep a small notebook with you at all times. Get in the habit of recording every expense and saving the receipts.

  • Sit down once a week with your small notebook and receipts. Record your expenses in a larger notebook or a spreadsheet program.

4. Cut your expenses. Take a good, hard look at your spending records after a month or two have passed. You’ll probably be surprised when you look back at your record of expenses: $100 on lunch at work each month, $300 on ice cream per year? You’ll likely see some obvious cuts you can make. Depending on how much you need to save, however, you may need to make some difficult decisions. Think about your priorities, and make cuts you can live with. Calculate how much those cuts will save you per year, and you'll be much more motivated to pinch pennies.

  • Can you move to a less expensive apartment or house?

  • Can you refinance your mortgage?

  • Can you save money on gas, or give up a car altogether? If your family has multiple cars, can you bring it down to one?

  • Can you drop a land line and only use your cell phone?

  • Can you live without cable or satellite TV?

  • Can you cut down on your utility bills?

  • Can you restrict eating out?

  • Buy food in bulk?

  • Cook more at home? You might be able to save a lot of money on food.

Reassess your savings goals. Subtract your expenses (the ones you can't live without) from your take-home income (i.e. after taxes have been taken out). What is the difference? And does it match up with your savings goals? Let's say you've decided you can definitely get by on $1500 per month, and your paychecks amount to $2300 per month. That leaves you with $800 to save. If there’s absolutely no way you can fit all your savings goals into your budget, take a look at what you’re saving for and cut the less important things or adjust the timeframe. Maybe you need to put off buying a new car for another year, or maybe you don’t really need a big-screen TV that badly.

5. Make a budget. Once you’ve managed to balance your earnings with your savings goals and spending, write down a budget so you’ll know each month or each paycheck how much you can spend on any given thing or category of things. This is especially important for expenses which tend to fluctuate, or which you know you're going to have a particularly hard time restricting. (E.g. "I will only spend $30 a month on movies/chocolate/etc.")

6. Stop using credit cards. Pay for everything with cash or money orders. Don't even use checks. It's easier to overspend when you're pulling from a bank or credit account because you don't know exactly how much is in there. If you have cash, you can see your supply running low. You can even bundle up the predetermined amount of cash allocated for each expense with a label or keep separate jars for each expense (e.g. a bundle/jar for gas, another for miscellaneous). As you pull money from a jar for that particular expense, you'll see how much remains and you'll also be reminded of your limit.

If you need to have credit cards but you don't want the temptation of having them available to use day-to-day, restrict that section of your wallet with a note or picture reminding you of your savings goals. Credit cards are not inherently evil; it's all about your self control. If you use them responsibly (i.e. completely pay them off every month), you can benefit from them. But the reason most credit card companies make money, however, is because people end up spending money that they don't have. Unless you are one of the people who can religiously pay off the balance in full every month, you're better off foregoing the promotions that credit card companies use to lure you in (cash back, introductory APR, airline miles, and so on).

7. Open an interest-bearing savings account. It’s a lot easier to keep track of your savings if you have them separate from your spending money. You can also usually get better interest on savings accounts than on checking accounts (if you get interest on your checking account at all). Consider higher-interest options such as CDs or money-market accounts for longer savings goals.

8. Know where your money is. And how much of it, too. If you accidentally overdraw your bank account, you will incur hefty bank fees; worse yet, the place you paid with that check may slap a bounced check fee on top of that, and send the check in again, resulting in a second overdraft fee from the bank! So just a few cents missing to cover that check could result in over $100 in fees. To avoid that, you should always know how much money you've got in your account(s), so you never cut a check for more than what you have.

9. Pay yourself first. Savings should be your priority, so don’t just say that you’ll save whatever’s left over at the end of the month. Deposit savings into an account (or your piggybank) as soon as you get paid. An easy, effective way to start saving is to simply deposit 10% of every check in a savings account. If you get a check or sum of cash, say 710.68, move the decimal point one place to the left and deposit that amount: 71.07. This works well and requires little thought; over several years, you've a tidy sum in savings. Over decades, you'll be a millionaire.

You can set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account.
Many employers allow you to deduct savings from your paycheck. The money is directly deposited in your savings account so you never even see it on your paycheck.

You can also have investments for retirement taken directly out of your pay, and the taxes may be deferred with this option.

Source: Adapted from an article in Wikihow.

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Italian Whole Wheat Focaccia Crackers

Italian Whole Wheat Focaccia Crackers
1/2 pk (1-1/8 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 ts sugar
3/4 c warm water
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
3/4 ts salt
2 tb shortening
olive oil for the tops

This is an adaptation of Italian focaccia. It is one of the most crispy and crunchy crackers, as well as one of the most substantial. Try serving Focaccia Crackers with soft cheese or garlic-flavored cream cheese. It is somewhat more difficult to make than most other crackers, but worth twice the trouble. 375 F. 20 to 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the yeast with the sugar and 1/4 cup of the warm water. Set aside in a warm place until the mixture starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl or in the food processor. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the yeast mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup warm water. Blend to form a dough that will hold together in a cohesive ball.

Knead well by hand for about 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface or by pulsing about 25 seconds in the food processor. Knead until the dough is smooth and springy to the touch.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn it over to coat all sides. Cover with a damp towel and set the dough in a warm place until it has doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface or pastry cloth. Roll it into a rectangular shape approximately 1/4 inch thick. Place the dough on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a damp towel, and let it rise for another 35 to 45 minutes.

Using both hands, gently push your fingertips all over the top of the risen dough, leaving indentations throughout. Cover it with a damp towel again and put in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375~F. With your fingers or a soft pastry brush, lightly brush the top with olive oil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until very crisp. Cool on a rack. When cooled, break into small, irregularly shaped pieces, or into 2 large crackers that can be broken off as they are nibbled.

VARIATIONS: Sprinkle the top of the dough with rosemary, basil, or your favorite herb after brushing with the olive oil.

Source: http://wholewheatcookbook.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 21, 2008

Emergency Preparedness: Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Each year in America, unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning claims more than 500 lives and sends another 15,200 people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.

Here are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from deadly carbon monoxide fumes.


Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, cO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly form person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.

CO gas can come from several sources: gas-fired appliances, charcoal grills, wood-burning furnances or fireplaces and motor vehicles.

Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Medical experts believe that unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and people with heart or lung problems are at even greater risk for CO poisoning.

What you need to do if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off depends on whether anyone is feeling ill or not.

  1. Silence the alarm.
  2. Turn off all appliances and sources of combustion. (i.e. furnace and fireplace)
  3. Ventilate the house with fresh air by opening doors and windows.
  4. Call a qualified professional to investigate the source of the possible CO build-up.


  1. Evacuate all occupants immediately.
  2. Determine how many occupants are ill and determine their symptoms.
  3. Call your local emergency number and when relaying information to the dispatcher, include the number of people feeling ill.
  4. Do not re-enter the home without the approval of a fire department representative.
  5. Call a qualified professional to repair the source of the CO.


  • Install at least one carbon monoxide alarm with an audible warning signal evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), near the sleeping areas and outside individual bedrooms. Carbon monoxide alarms measure levels of CO over time and are designed to sound an alaram before an average, healthy adult would experience symptoms. It is very possible that you may not be experiencing symptoms when you hear the alarm. This doesn't mean that CO is not present.
  • Have a qualified professional check all fuel burning appliances, furnaces, venting and chimney systems at least once a year.
  • Never use your range or oven to help heat your home and never use a charcoal grill or hibachi in your home or garage.
  • Never keep a car running in a garage. Even if the garage doors are open, normal circulation will not provide enough fresh air to reliably prevent a dangerous buildup of CO.
  • When purchasing an existing home, have a qualified technician evaluate the integrity of the heating and cooking systems, as well as the sealed spaces between the garage and house. The presence of a carbon monoxide alarm in your home can save your life in the event of CO buildup.

Source: The U.S. Fire Administration, Department of Homeland Security

Emergency Preparedness: Avoid Portable Generator Hazards

Portable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but they can be hazardous. The primary hazards to avoid when using them are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock or electrocution, and fire.

Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting form improper use of portable generators:

  • Always use generators outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents.
  • NEVER use generators in homes, garages, crawl spaces, or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions.
  • Install battery-operated or plug-in (with battery back-up) carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home, following manufacturer's instructions.
  • Test CO alarms often and replace batteries when needed.


  • Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure.
  • Dry your hands before touching the generator.
  • Plug appliances directly into generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension cord. Make sure entire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin.
  • Never plug the generator into a wall outlet. This practice, known as backfeeding, can cause an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer.
  • If necessary to connect generator to house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified electrician install appropriate equipment. Or, your utility company may be able to install an appropriate transfer switch.


  • Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
  • Always store fuel outside of living areas in properly labeled non-glass containers.
  • Store fuel away from any fuel burning appliance.

Source: The U.S. Fire Administration, Dept. of Homeland Security

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Provident Living: Make your own Shampoo

I recently found a recipe for making your own shampoo. It will certainly save you money. If nothing else, it might come in handy in an emergency:

So here’s the recipe:

Distilled White Vinegar
Baking Soda

Combine the two so that it’s runny. Dip your head back or forward. Pour mixture over hair. Use your fingertips and massage the mixture through your hair and scalp. Rinse. Follow with a light conditioner.

You will not believe how squeaky clean your hair will be - and feel! You might even find that you don’t have to wash it as often.

The author of the post said this: "I’m a runner - at least 3 or 4 times a week, so I wash my hair often. This mixture prevents my hair from drying out."

Let me know what you think!

Source: http://cheapcheez.com/2008/11/06/natural-shampoo-make-it-yourself/#more-51

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Wheat Salad

I saw this picture on the blog, "Preparedness Brings Peace" and it looked so good I had to post it. I can't wait to try making it! Enjoy. . .


5 cups cooled cracked wheat cereal or cooked whole wheat or bulgar

1/4 cup diced green pepper

1 cup finely diced celery

1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise (or Ranch Dressing)

1/2 cup diced green onion

1 cup chicken, crab meat, shrimp, tuna, or turkey

Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill well before serving. Serves 8 to 10. This salad does not taste like you are eating wheat. It has a good "meaty" taste to it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Reviving crystalized honey

Honey has the tendency to crystalize in the bottle and become hard. But, did you know that it doesn’t mean the honey has gone bad? It is quite easy to revive your crystalized honey so you can use it once again.

  1. Get a bowl or measuring cup that is larger than the size of your honey container.

  2. Fill the bowl or cup with hot water, and then place the container of honey (make sure it is shut tight!) into the hot water.

  3. It will take about half an hour, but the honey will turn into liquid again, and the crystals will be gone.

Note: it is not recommended that you microwave honey containers, as they are not microwave safe, and can even cause sparks. And it is also very easy to overheat honey in the microwave, so we recommend you heat your honey using the hot water method instead.

Source: http://www.momsbudget.com/blog/

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Orange Juice Muffins using Whole Wheat Flour

Orange Juice Muffins
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoons sugar
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine all-purpose flour and next 5 ingredients (all-purpose flour through cinnamon) in a medium bowl; stir well. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine juice, oil, rind and egg with a whisk; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in raisins. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Source: http://wholewheatcookbook.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Provident Living: Make your own household cleaners

In today's economically challenged times, every penny counts. One way to save money is by making your own cleaning supplies. These homemade cleaning formulas are non-toxic and cost about 1/10th the price of commercial cleaners.


Baking soda

Washing soda

White distilled vinegar

A good liquid soap or detergent

Tea tree oil

6 clean spray bottles

2 glass jars


Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit.
Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.


1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent

3 tablespoons vinegar

2 cups water

Spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.


1 cup or more baking soda


A squirt or two of liquid detergent

Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn’t work for you it is probably because you didn’t use enough baking soda and/or water.


1/2 teaspoon washing soda

A dab of liquid soap

2 cups hot tap water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.


1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)

1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice

Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.


Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5 percent vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board and in your bathroom and use them for cleaning. I often spray the vinegar on our cutting board before going to bed at night, and don’t even rinse but let it set overnight. The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours. Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet rim. Just spray it on and wipe off.

Tea Tree Treasure

Nothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. I’ve used it successfully on a moldy ceiling from a leaking roof, on a musty bureau, a musty rug, and a moldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.

2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water
Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes two cups.

Vinegar Spray

Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Financial Preparedness: 10 Ways to Beat the Recession

My husband e-mailed me this article and I thought it was worth sharing with the rest of you. If you're like me, you're concerned about the effects of a recession on you and your family. Many people feel like they are powerless to change the economic situation and that adds to their feelings of anxiety. The author of this article, Brian Reeder, did some research and found some simple things you can do to beat the recession.

  1. Network - Networking is a great tool to maintain a large group of people that can help you if need be. It keeps potential income options open, and by consistently expanding your network, you’re consistently expanding your income opportunities. Plus, if you’re in a crunch and need some cash, it’s better to be able to ask 50 people than 5. The Key: Be yourself! Get to know the people you meet, show them who you are. Someone who knows you and is interested in who you are is much more likely to help you out than someone you met once and exchanged business cards with.

  2. Establish a personal budget - This is something that seems like common sense, but a surprising number of people have never done it. Once you get all your expenditures on paper (or the screen), it’s much easier to see where your money is going and where you need to cut back. The Key: Find a system that works for you. Having a spreadsheet may work for someone, but may be a headache to others. The biggest reason people don’t establish a budget is because it’s time consuming - us a free program like expensr to eliminate this time waste.

  3. Understand what a recession is - What is a recession? How about a depression? Aside from the depr v. rec, I had no idea. Now I know that “The economy will typically expand steadily for six to 10 years and then enter a recession for six months to two years. The point where the recession begins is known as a peak, and the point where it ends as known as a trough. Following the trough, the economy expands again toward another peak.” (howstuffworks) So the recession is really a healthy phase in the economic cycle, it's just awful being in one. A depression on the other hand, is a long-term economic state characterized by unemployment and low prices and low levels of trade and investment.

  4. Get out of debt - this is easier said than done, but the first key is to eliminate credit card debt. If you have thousands in credit card debt and have money in the bank to cover it (and still have a healthy buffer), pay it off. Your savings in interest payments every month will justify this pay-off within months, not years. If you don’t have the cash on hand to pay off that debt, pick up a part-time job solely to make payments on it. I know that some people can’t do this, but they may be able to use the next tool.

  5. Consolidate your debt - The best way to consolidate your debt is not through some shady website that just wants your information. It’s going to your financial institution and asking them how. They will be more than willing to help - they want you to be able to make the payments every month. If you find someone that won’t help, go to another branch, or another bank. Smaller credit unions are usually the best to deal with - they act like real people. For the most part.

  6. Find part-time work to supplement income - Find an industry that doesn’t require prior experience or education, and minimal training. Also find an industry that isn’t going anywhere, and will survive through the recession. My advice: get a job in the service industry. You can find a job in practically any industry on craiglist. Find something you enjoy doing and don’t have to go to school for. Plus, tips are NOT a bad thing.

  7. Have a back-up fund - One of the biggest hurdles people will have to leap over is losing their job. It is (usually) an unexpected problem, and never a welcome one. The best thing to do is plan for it. Make sure you have a minimum 3 month buffer in your bank account so that you can survive after it happens. Unemployment will only cover part of your expenses, and the problem people get into is getting multiple credit cards to cover the remaining expense. Then, even if you find a job, you have a mountain of debt to get over, immediately putting you in the red and stressing you out.

  8. Focus on the basics - Frivolity has to be the first to go if your budget is tight. If it’s the difference between paying rent and going out to dinner, hopefully the decision isn’t a difficult one. But, this is dependent on making a budget - if you don’t know where you stand, how can you know what you have to spend? This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have fun though - you just need to find alternative ways to have it (see below)!

  9. Have a secure place to keep your money - Both in your bank, and in your pocket. I would suggest carrying your wallet in your front pocket, and keeping minimum cash on you. If I have cash I will spend it. I know that, so I make it a point to only take with my what I can spend. Also, make sure you have all the necessary phone numbers and account numbers written down in one place, outside of your wallet. That way if your wallet gets stolen, you can easily call and cancel your credit cards.

  10. Be happy - Find cheap/free ways to find happiness. Go to the park, take a walk, get books/movies from the library, have a “cooking night” with your friends where you all pitch in. Their are a lot of ways to enjoy life without spending money. As the quote says, “the best things in life are free”…

Source: brainfeeder.com

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls


1 package active dry yeast or quick-rise yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/8 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)\

1 cup fat-free milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons shortening

1 large egg

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Smear:

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup margarine

1/4 cup flour or cake crumbs

1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons fat-free milk

2-3 teaspoons cinnamon or to taste

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand 5 minutes. Add milk, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and shortening to the yeast mixture. Stir in egg and whole wheat flour; beat 2 minutes. Gradually add bread flour. Dough will be soft and slightly sticky. Knead until smooth and elastic, 10 to 15 minutes by hand or 10 minutes with dough hook. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to coat. Cover; let rise in a warm (95° to 100°F) place until double in size. Punch down dough; cover and let rise again. Punch down dough again; cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Mix smear ingredients together until smooth. Roll dough into a 12 x 16-inch rectangle and spread a thin layer of smear on the dough piece, leaving a 1-inch strip along one of the short edges uncovered. Brush the uncovered 1-inch dough strip with water. Beginning with the short, smeared edge, roll up, pinch to seal the un-smeared edge and cut into 12 rolls.Place rolls in a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Cover with a warm, damp towel; let rise in a warm (85°F) place until doubled in size. Bake in 375°F pre-heated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden.

Servings: 12 rolls
Calories/Serving: 274
Nutrition: Each roll provides approximately: 274 calories; 6 g protein; 51 g carbohydrates; 6 g fat (2 g saturated); 3 g fiber; 19 mg cholesterol; 30 mcg folate; 2 mg iron; 268 mg sodium.

Source: Wheat Foods Council

Friday, October 31, 2008

Provident Living: Another recipe for laundry soap, this time for dry soap

I love your comments, keep them coming! Speaking of which, reader "sammon" left a comment with her quick and easy recipe for dry laundry soap.

1 bar Fels Napa
1c borax
1c washing soda

Grate the bar soap. Add the borax and washing soda. Mix and put in a laundry container. Use 2 tablespoons per load.

I've found that I get better results when I throw in 1/2 c of oxyclean.

This recipe doesn't last as long as the liquid (you'll have to test it out for yourself though, just to make sure) but it can be made quite quickly, especially if you use a food processor to grate the bar soap. I actually like it better, but that's really a personal call. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Provident Living: How to Make your own Laundry Detergent

Here's a recipe to make your own laundry detergent for a fraction of the cost of store-bought detergent. Sounds like it might be a fun money-saving project for your family.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 bar of soap (whatever kind you like; I used Lever 2000 because we have tons of bars of it from a case we bought a while back)
  • 1 box of washing soda (look for it in the laundry detergent aisle at your local department store - it comes in an Arm & Hammer box and will contain enough for six batches of this stuff)
  • 1 box of borax (this is not necessary, but I’ve found it really kicks the cleaning up a notch - one box of borax will contain more than enough for tons of batches of this homemade detergent - if you decide to use this, be careful)
  • A five gallon bucket with a lid (or a bucket that will hold more than 15 liters - ask around - these aren’t too tough to acquire)
  • Three gallons of tap water
  • A big spoon to stir the mixture with
  • A measuring cup
  • A knife
  1. Put about four cups of water into a pan on your stove and turn the heat up on high until it’s almost boiling. While you’re waiting, whip out a knife and start shaving strips off of the bar of soap into the water, whittling it down. Keep the heat below a boil and keep shaving the soap. Eventually, you’ll shave up the whole bar, then stir the hot water until the soap is dissolved and you have some highly soapy water.
  2. Put three gallons of hot water (11 liters or so) into the five gallon bucket - the easiest way is to fill up three gallon milk jugs worth of it. Then mix in the hot soapy water from step one, stir it for a while, then add a cup of the washing soda. Keep stirring it for another minute or two, then add a half cup of borax if you are using borax. Stir for another couple of minutes, then let the stuff sit overnight to cool.
  3. And you’re done. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have a bucket of gelatinous slime that’s a paler shade of the soap that you used (in our case, it’s a very pale greenish blue). One measuring cup full of this slime will be roughly what you need to do a load of laundry - and the ingredients are basically the same as laundry detergent. Thus, out of three gallons, you’ll get about 48 loads of laundry. If you do this six times, you’ll have used six bars of soap ($0.99 each), one box of washing soda ($2.49 at our store), and about half a box of borax ($2.49 at our store, so $1.25) and make 288 loads of laundry. This comes up to a cost of right around three cents a gallon, or a savings of $70. Plus, you can make slime in the kitchen - and have a legitimate reason for doing so!

P.S. See comments for additional feedback. Those with really hard water may not find this recipe a success.

Source: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/

Monday, October 20, 2008

Provident Living: Ways to Lower your monthly expenses

We are facing challenging economic times. Finding ways to reduce your monthly expenses will help you better utilize the financial resources you have so you can save money for a rainy day. Here are some ideas to trim your monthly expenses:

Automobiles are money pits - they constantly go down in value, devour fuel by the gallon, and often require all manner of repairs and maintenance work. How can we reduce the cost of automobiles in our monthly budget?

Buy used vehicles People with normal incomes cannot afford new cars. New cars lose 60% of their value in the first four years. Save your money and pay cash for a used car. You will pay thousands of extra dollars over the life of a car loan.

Use public transportation If you have an option that enables you to ride to regular destinations (such as work, the store, or a shopping center) instead of using your automobile, you can save quite a bit of money on gas and maintenance by just dropping a few coins on the bus or the rail system and leaving the car at home (or parking it at a station).

Sell an automobile If an automobile is sitting in your driveway or garage and isn’t used, consider selling it. If nothing else, the insurance expense will go away, and if you can use the money from the sale to pay it off or, better yet, pocket some of the money, even better.

Carpool If you have an opportunity to share a ride to and from work with someone else, that not only significantly reduces wear and tear on your car and gas expenses, it enables you to use any carpooling lanes on the commute, which almost always save time when commuting.

Keep the tires on your automobiles inflated properly Once a month, stop by a local gas station that offers free air and check the air pressure in your car tires, then fill each one to the maximum recommended amount as stated in your manual. This improves gas mileage by one percent for every two PSI of air you are able to add to your tires.

We all face a continual onslaught of energy costs, especially as we use more and more electronic devices. Luckily, technology has brought us a few effective ways to reduce costs as well.

Install CFLs Compact fluorescent light bulbs are receiving a big push right now and their advantages are great: a longer lifespan and significantly less electrical usage. Stick with the name brands for now, even at a premium - my entire house switched to GE CFLs more than a year ago and I have yet to replace a single one. A tip: when comparing bulbs, use the lumens number to compare bulbs, not the equivalent wattages - the lumens indicate the actual amount of light emitted by the bulb. Remember also that under normal usage (4 hours a day) and normal electrical rates ($0.10 per kilowatt hour), replacing a 75 watt bulb with a 20 watt CFL saves $0.66 per month. Multiply that by all the bulbs in your house to see how much you’ll save every month.

Install a programmable thermostat A programmable thermostat allows you to automatically alter the heating and cooling of your home when you’re not at home, when you’re asleep, and so on, saving significantly on your heating and cooling bills.

Unplug all unused electrical devices Are there any electrical devices around the house that stay plugged in, but that you rarely use? Most electric devices use a small amount of electricity constantly, a phantom charge. To eliminate that usage, unplug the items.

Utilize timers and power strips Along those lines, consider utilizing power strips and power timers to turn electrical devices on and off. A power strip with a switch on it, when turned off, blocks the phantom charge on those devices; a timer can automatically turn off the charge going to a power strip (or anything plugged into it) at a certain time each night. This is a great way to eliminate phantom charge on your home electronic equipment at night.

Install a blanket for your hot water heater and reduce the temperature In many homes, the hot water heater is a major energy drain; the water is kept hotter than most people ever use, plus the heat is constantly lost to the environment, meaning you have to burn more energy than ever to keep the water so hot. Solve both problems by dropping the temperature down to 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit (around 60 degress Celsius) and also installing a blanket on your water heater to keep in the heat - a blanket can pay for itself in about a year.

Air seal your home Air sealing your home can prevent drafts, which can often cause the loss of cool air in the summer and the loss of warm air in the winter, both of which can increase your housing costs. Here’s a great guide to this weekend project from the EERE.

Many people look at entertainment as the first thing to cut when trying to trim costs, but they often forget to look at the regular expenditures that slowly eat away at your financial foundation month in and month out. Here are some things to consider that you may have overlooked before.

Cancel club memberships Look at things like a health club, a country club, and so on. How often do you really use these services? If you’re using a gym membership less than once a week or a country club membership less than once a month, you’re likely throwing away money.

Reduce or eliminate your cable/satellite bill For many people, this advice is beyond the pale, but it’s worth looking at. Perhaps you could trim back on your premium channel selection and just go with basic cable, or perhaps you could even eliminate your cable bill entirely - it will also help with electricity costs because you won’t be watching television as much and you’ll suddenly find you have much more free time.

Look for inexpensive entertainment options Do you utilize the local library? Do you attend local community events like municipal band concerts and so on? Are you aware of local volunteer groups and organizations? Your community often offers many options for inexpensive or free entertainment of all kinds - you don’t have to have a big entertainment budget each month.

Strongly reduce or eliminate travel By being selective about what we travel to - and also open to inviting people to visiting us - we signifcantly cut down on travel expenses.

Cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions If you get a magazine or newspaper in the mail but simply don’t read it, cancel that subscription when it comes up for renewal, no matter how much you “like” the magazine. An unread subscription is nothing more than expensive clutter.

Look at and consider reducing/eliminating other regular paid services Look at services like Netflix - are you really getting $19.95 a month out of these services? If not, just drop the service and look for other options, like a local rental store. What about satellite radio? If you use that but find yourself not using it or just sticking with the same things you listen to on regular radio (like NPR or top forty), then cancel the service.

For many people it just seems more convenient to eat out, even though it’s incredibly expensive and not as much of a time saver as you might think. Consider these options.

Cook (and pack) your own meals at home When you cook at home, make plenty so that you can freeze some of it for future meals and, even better, take some of it as leftovers to work, drastically reducing the cost of the typical workplace lunch. Some people may shy away from leftovers, but you can make leftovers as good as the original.

Reduce or eliminate eating out or getting take-out Take-out and dining out can be a huge timesaver for a busy family, but the expense can be tremendous - and it often doesn’t save much time, either. Instead, look at other options for dining at home: prepare lots of meals at once and freeze them for easy cooking later, focus on simple recipes, and choose recipes that utilize the fresh produce in season in your area.

Buy nonperishable items in bulk Many people never even bother to look at some of the larger packages of nonperishable items - they think it’s just too much. Try looking at the cost per unit of all of the sizes and choose the one that’s the best deal; often, it is the big bulky package, but that just means you won’t be buying it again for a long time. Spread out over months and over a lot of items (think of all of the nonperishables in your home - food is just the beginning), this can add up to a lot of trimmed fat.

Start a garden Vegetable gardening is a splendid hobby that can often turn a profit if done well. Focus on vegetables that are easy to grow and produce abundant fruit, like tomatoes, and learn how to store the excess through such processes as canning. Opening up a jar of tomatoes in the winter that were grown by you in the summer and canned in the fall is a wonderful experience - and it can really help with trimming the food bill.

Buy generic Many products (not just food) are available in a store-brand or generic form for significantly less money - quite often with the name brand, you’re paying for their advertising budget with the higher cost. Look carefully at the ingredients in generic and name-brand products and if they’re the same, go with the generic one on a regular basis, which will consistently trim money from your shopping bill.

We all have insurance to protect against the unexpected, but when we overpay for insurance, we leave ourselves vulnerable in a different way by stretching our budget too thin. Look into these options for ways to reduce your insurance premiums.

Comparison Shop for homeowner and auto insurance If you haven’t shopped around for homeowner and auto insurance lately, now’s a good time to get a few quotes, especially if your credit is strong. If you can save a substantial amount and maintain your current coverage, it’s well worth switching to another provider, but give your current one a chance to match.

Switch to term life insurance If you’re paying for whole life insurance or universal life insurance, look strongly at a term package instead. The cost per year will be significantly cheaper and at the end of the term, your life insurance needs will likely be far less than they are right now.

Raise your deductibles If you’re paying a large premium in order to have a small deductible, you might want to consider switching that, particularly if your claims are infrequent. Raising your deductible can often significantly reduce your annual premiums, easing the monthly strain on your bills.

There are many other areas of your budget that can also afford a bit of fat trimmed from them. Let’s look at a few more possibilities for lowering your regular expenses.

Reduce or eliminate your cell phone bill Ask yourself how much you really use your cell phone; if it’s not all that much, look at perhaps getting a prepaid phone with a small number of minutes on it for those emergency situations when you actually use it. If you do use it a lot, look at the features you’re paying for on your bill and see if you can trim any of those.

Reduce or eliminate organized child activities Look for activities that your child is sincerely interested in (if you don’t know, ask them what they really like) and focus on those while cutting back on the rest.

Eliminate services (housecleaning, landscaping, etc.) If you hire out household services to others, consider trimming back or eliminating them. Instead, put aside some time each week to do them yourself - not only will you save money, but you’ll find that many activities can get the whole family involved (like housecleaning).

Shop Garage Sales and Thrift Stores You can find great deals on clothing, children's toys and household items at garage sales and thrift stores. Rather than buying a new bike for our son when we discovered his new bike was too big for him to ride without training wheels, we found a perfect-sized bike for $5.00 at a garage sale. Now he can ride his used bike sans training wheels and will grow into his nice new bike eventually. We often find name brand childrens' clothing at garage sales for ridiculousy low prices.

Strongly reduce or eliminate clothes shopping I have a close friend who insists on having a significant monthly clothes budget. I challenged her to trim her spending in half and instead focus more on looking for bargains - and she’s never looked back. If you need to dress well for work, don’t let that slide, but putting in some effort to look for a bargain can often pay huge dividends. Even better - have a moratorium on shopping for new clothes until you really need something new.

Reduce grooming expenses Instead of having your hair cut and styled weekly, cut back to every other week. If you have your nails done twice a month, cut back to monthly, or have manicure parties where you do it at home with your friends instead. If you buy expensive shampoos, look at lower cost options. It doesn’t have to cost a truckload to keep up appearances.

Move to a less expensive area Many people leave this option out when looking at trimming their budget, but if you can find work in another area, it may be worth considering. Look around at other areas of the country where you can find employment, see what your salary would be there, and look at the housing costs. Quite often, you’ll find yourself significantly ahead by looking at areas like Minneapolis rather than areas like San Francisco, even at a significantly lower salary.

Clean out your house and sell your stuff
If you aren't using that old set of golf clubs in your basement, sell them. Hold a garage sale or sell them on e-bay. You might be surprised at the money you can add to your budget when you sell unwanted or unnecessary items.

Using even a few of these options can really open up some breathing room in a budget, enabling you to break free of debt and chase your dreams.

Source: Most of this is quoted from an article by Trent found at http://www.thesimpledollar.com/ with a few of my ideas injected as well as those of Dave Ramsey http://www.daveramsey.com/etc/cms/why_buy_a_used_car_5153.htmlc

About this site

Preparedness Matters provides information to help individuals and families become more prepared for adversity in life.

The site emphasizes five areas of preparedness:

1. Food and Water Storage
2. Financial Preparedness
3. Spiritual Preparedness
4. Emergency Preparedness
5. Provident Living

The blog began as an information resource for members of my church congregation. Its scope has expanded to aid people throughout the world in their preparations for life's challenges.

Preparedness Matters is updated frequently so check in often or become a follower.

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Black Bean Recipes

Black Bean Soup

1 lb black beans (or 2 cans--15 oz.)
6 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp margarine or butter
1 c onion, chopped
1 c carrots, shredded
1 bay leaf
1 tsp oregano
1 c celery, chopped
1 c potatoes, shredded
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 2 large cloves, minced
1/4 tsp pepper
1-6 oz. can tomato paste
3 tbsp lemon juice
sliced lemon, if desired

Soak beans as directed on package, drain. In a large, deep pot, bring beans and chicken broth to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. In large skillet, melt margarine, saute onion, carrot and celery for 3-5 minutes until crisp. Add vegetables and remaining ingredients except lemon juice and sliced lemon. Stir well. Simmer covered for 1 hour. Add lemon just before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.

Source: Michelle Shoemaker

Bean and Corn Salad

3/4 lb. green beans -- trimmed
3 tablespoon. cider vinegar
3 tablespoon. olive oil
2 tsp. honey Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 can black beans (15 oz.) drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked fresh corn kernels or 1/2 10 oz. box frozen corn -- thawed
1 medium red onion -- thinly sliced

Cook green beans in boiling water until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Combine vinegar, oil, mustard, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Toss in green beans, black beans, corn, and onion.

Bean and Barley Salad

2 cups barley -- cooked
2 cups black beans -- cooked
2 cups garbanzo beans -- cooked
4 medium plum tomatoes -- chopped
3 stalks green onions -- sliced with tops
4 whole roasted red peppers -- chopped
1/2 cup white corn -- or to taste
3/4 cup fresh parsley -- chopped
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar -- or to taste

Mix all ingredients as you add them. Add dressing last. Chill for 2-4 hours at least.
Serving Ideas : as a main dish with whole grain bread

Bean and Pasta Salad

4 ounces rotini (corkscrew) pasta
15 ounces black beans -- canned , rinsed and drained or dried which have been soaked overnight
1/2 cup red pepper -- cut into small dice
1 small red onion -- peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons fat-free Parmesan cheese -- grated
3 tablespoons parsley -- -- finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup fat-free Italian salad dressing
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook pasta until al dente in plenty of boiling salted water. Drain and place in a large bowl.
Add black beans to pasta along with parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano and dressing. Toss well and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Bean Burritos

2 c Cooked black beans -or- 1 can Black beans
1/4 md Onion Minced garlic (to taste)
4 c Steamed rice
2 tsp Black pepper

Bring the black beans to a simmer in their own juices. Use fresh garlic and slice it very fine so it nearly dissappears when you add it to the beans with the pepper After about five minutes, add the onions. When serving, use twice as much rice as beans and about a third as much lettuce, all wrapped in a nice flour tortilla.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Three Month Supply: Downloadable spreadsheet

Here's a downloadable spreadsheet to plan your three month supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet and an accompanying instructional video. It is an outstanding tool to get you organized! Thanks to Emily for sharing this information in her comment!


Source: foodstoragemadeeasy.net

Friday, October 10, 2008

Food Storage: Inventory Sheet

Here's a printable food storage inventory sheet you might find helpful in determining what you have in your food storage and what you need.


Source: http://safelygatheredin.blogspot.com/

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Chocolate Chip Cookies made with white beans!

(Made with white beans)

½ cup cooked white beans
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs (1/4 C. Egg Powder + 1/2 C. Water)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ¼ cups wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup pecans (or walnuts) chopped

Beat beans and sugar together. Add eggs, vanilla. In separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add flour moisture to bean/sugar mixture. Stir until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips, and nuts. Cover and refrigerate dough for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350°F. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes depending on size of cookies. Makes 4 dozen.

Source: http://everydayfoodstorage.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Emergency Preparedness: Unit Emergency Response Plans

1. In case of emergency, the unit leader keeps in touch with the stake presidency. The following information will need to be provided to the stake leadership:
  • Name, title and unit of the reporting officer
  • How the presiding officer can be reached
  • Description, location and magnitude of emergency
  • Numbers of injured missing or dead
  • Location and extent of damage done to Church or member property
  • Actions being taken to help those in distress
  • Needed assistance that is unavailable locally

2. Have current membership lists and an area or street map with all families marked, if possible.

3. Make sure that all families have home and visiting teachers assigned. Organize a telephone tree so that emergency instructions and other messages can go out in an orderly fashion.

4. List of unit members with special needs who may need help, e.g., those with medical or transport problems as well as those with family members in leadership callings who may be away from home.

5. List all members with especially useful skills or professions: medical personnel, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, engineers, etc.

6. List of members with extra room in case of need to lodge others, as well as members with room for tents, campers, etc.

7. List of members with useful equipment or implements, e.g., chain saws, pickup trucks, generators, etc.

8. Look after the missionaries.

9. Who will make decisions if unit leader is not available?

10. Someone needs to be assigned to help with communications, perhaps one of the clerks.

11. How will communications be handled if there is no telephone service?

12. Convene welfare committee to assess needs: injured, deceased, homes damaged or destroyed, families separated.

13. Know what kind of civil emergency plans are in place in communities where members live.

14. Have a plan on how space in the ward/branch building can be used as a shelter.

15. Basic instructions for different kind of emergencies: earthquakes, floods, house fires, social unrest, etc. (Ensure that information is obtained from reliable source.) This should not be part of the body of the plan but can be an appendix.

16. Organize a plan to make contact with those who work out of the area in the event of a terrorist attack. These individuals have a responsibility to attempt to contact family and/o friends.

Other things to consider:

1. Sacrament meeting talks about preparedness

2. First or fifth Sunday Priesthood/Relief Society Lessons about preparedness

3. Relief Society enrichment meetings/activities about preparedness

4. Young Women/Young Men activities about preparedness

5. Encourage use of dry-pack canner

6. Encourage families and individuals to have personal/family emergency response plans

Source: LynnKay Brown

Dry Pack Canning: Scranton Stake Canning Schedule 2009

January: Stroudsburg
February: Nazareth
March: Honesdale
April: Tunkhannock
May: Wilkes-Barre
June: Scranton
July: Tunkhannock
August: Nazareth
September: Stroudsburg
October: Scranton
November: Honesdale
December: Wilkes-Barre

Monday, September 29, 2008

Peace comes through following the prophet

As I reflect upon the current financial crisis, I am reminded of the words of the prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, when he urged us to get out of debt, store food and save for a rainy day. It has been seven years since October 2001 when he gave us the following counsel:

"Occasions of this kind pull us up sharply to a realization that life is fragile, peace is fragile, civilization itself is fragile. The economy is particularly vulnerable. We have been counseled again and again concerning self-reliance, concerning debt, concerning thrift. So many of our people are heavily in debt for things that are not entirely necessary. When I was a young man, my father counseled me to build a modest home, sufficient for the needs of my family, and make it beautiful and attractive and pleasant and secure. He counseled me to pay off the mortgage as quickly as I could so that, come what may, there would be a roof over the heads of my wife and children. I was reared on that kind of doctrine. I urge you as members of this Church to get free of debt where possible and to have a little laid aside against a rainy day.

"We cannot provide against every contingency. But we can provide against many contingencies. Let the present situation remind us that this we should do.

"As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect. And, above all, my brothers and sisters, let us move forward with faith in the Living God and His Beloved Son.

"Great are the promises concerning this land of America. We are told unequivocally that it "is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ" (Ether 2:12). This is the crux of the entire matter—obedience to the commandments of God.

"The Constitution under which we live, and which has not only blessed us but has become a model for other constitutions, is our God-inspired national safeguard ensuring freedom and liberty, justice and equality before the law.

"I do not know what the future holds. I do not wish to sound negative, but I wish to remind you of the warnings of scripture and the teachings of the prophets which we have had constantly before us.

"I cannot forget the great lesson of Pharaoh's dream of the fat and lean kine and of the full and withered stalks of corn.

"I cannot dismiss from my mind the grim warnings of the Lord as set forth in the 24th chapter of Matthew.

"I am familiar, as are you, with the declarations of modern revelation that the time will come when the earth will be cleansed and there will be indescribable distress, with weeping and mourning and lamentation (see D&C 112:24).

"Now, I do not wish to be an alarmist. I do not wish to be a prophet of doom. I am optimistic. I do not believe the time is here when an all-consuming calamity will overtake us. I earnestly pray that it may not. There is so much of the Lord's work yet to be done. We, and our children after us, must do it." - President Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, October 2001.

This message was given ten years ago by President Hinckley during the priesthood session, in October 1998.

"I wish to speak to you about temporal matters.

"As a backdrop for what I wish to say, I read to you a few verses from the 41st chapter of Genesis.

"Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, dreamed dreams which greatly troubled him. The wise men of his court could not give an interpretation. Joseph was then brought before him: "Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river:

"'And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow:

"'And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed. . . .

"'And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: . . .

"'And I saw in my dream . . . seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good:

"'And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them:
"'And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: . . .

"'And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, . . . God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.

"'The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. . . .

"'. . . What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.

"'Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:

"'And there shall arise after them seven years of famine.

"'. . . And God will shortly bring it to pass" (Gen. 41:17­20, 22­26, 28­30, 32).

"Now, brethren, I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order.

"So many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes. In fact, some are living on borrowings.

"We have witnessed in recent weeks wide and fearsome swings in the markets of the world. The economy is a fragile thing. A stumble in the economy in Jakarta or Moscow can immediately affect the entire world. It can eventually reach down to each of us as individuals. There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.

"I hope with all my heart that we shall never slip into a depression. I am a child of the Great Depression of the thirties. I finished the university in 1932, when unemployment in this area exceeded 33 percent.

"My father was then president of the largest stake in the Church in this valley. It was before our present welfare program was established. He walked the floor worrying about his people. He and his associates established a great wood-chopping project designed to keep the home furnaces and stoves going and the people warm in the winter. They had no money with which to buy coal. Men who had been affluent were among those who chopped wood.

"I repeat, I hope we will never again see such a depression. But I am troubled by the huge consumer installment debt which hangs over the people of the nation, including our own people. In March 1997 that debt totaled $1.2 trillion, which represented a 7 percent increase over the previous year.

"In December of 1997, 55 to 60 million households in the United States carried credit card balances. These balances averaged more than $7,000 and cost $1,000 per year in interest and fees. Consumer debt as a percentage of disposable income rose from 16.3 percent in 1993 to 19.3 percent in 1996.

"Everyone knows that every dollar borrowed carries with it the penalty of paying interest. When money cannot be repaid, then bankruptcy follows. There were 1,350,118 bankruptcies in the United States last year. This represented a 50 percent increase from 1992. In the second quarter of this year, nearly 362,000 persons filed for bankruptcy, a record number for a three-month period.

"We are beguiled by seductive advertising. Television carries the enticing invitation to borrow up to 125 percent of the value of one's home. But no mention is made of interest.

"President J. Reuben Clark Jr., in the priesthood meeting of the conference in 1938, said from this pulpit: "Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1938, 103).

"I recognize that it may be necessary to borrow to get a home, of course. But let us buy a home that we can afford and thus ease the payments which will constantly hang over our heads without mercy or respite for as long as 30 years.

"No one knows when emergencies will strike. I am somewhat familiar with the case of a man who was highly successful in his profession. He lived in comfort. He built a large home. Then one day he was suddenly involved in a serious accident. Instantly, without warning, he almost lost his life. He was left a cripple. Destroyed was his earning power. He faced huge medical bills. He had other payments to make. He was helpless before his creditors. One moment he was rich, the next he was broke.

"Since the beginnings of the Church, the Lord has spoken on this matter of debt. To Martin Harris through revelation, He said: "Pay the debt thou hast contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage" (D&C 19:35).

"President Heber J. Grant spoke repeatedly on this matter from this pulpit. He said: "If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means. And if there is any one thing that is grinding and discouraging and disheartening, it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet" (Gospel Standards, comp. G. Homer Durham [1941], 111).

"We are carrying a message of self-reliance throughout the Church. Self-reliance cannot obtain when there is serious debt hanging over a household. One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others.

"In managing the affairs of the Church, we have tried to set an example. We have, as a matter of policy, stringently followed the practice of setting aside each year a percentage of the income of the Church against a possible day of need.

"I am grateful to be able to say that the Church in all its operations, in all its undertakings, in all of its departments, is able to function without borrowed money. If we cannot get along, we will curtail our programs. We will shrink expenditures to fit the income. We will not borrow.
One of the happiest days in the life of President Joseph F. Smith was the day the Church paid off its long-standing indebtedness.

"What a wonderful feeling it is to be free of debt, to have a little money against a day of emergency put away where it can be retrieved when necessary.

"President Faust would not tell you this himself. Perhaps I can tell it, and he can take it out on me afterward. He had a mortgage on his home drawing 4 percent interest. Many people would have told him he was foolish to pay off that mortgage when it carried so low a rate of interest. But the first opportunity he had to acquire some means, he and his wife determined they would pay off their mortgage. He has been free of debt since that day. That's why he wears a smile on his face, and that's why he whistles while he works.

"I urge you, brethren, to look to the condition of your finances. I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from bondage.

"This is a part of the temporal gospel in which we believe. May the Lord bless you, my beloved brethren, to set your houses in order. If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts. That's all I have to say about it, but I wish to say it with all the emphasis of which I am capable.

"I leave with you my testimony of the divinity of this work and my love for each of you, in the name of the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, amen." - President Gordon B. Hinckley, Priesthood Session, October 1998.

Following the prophet brings us peace during adversity. I am grateful that we followed his counsel and urge you to do the same.

Preparedness Quotes

"When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, 'We can’t afford it, even though we want it!' or 'We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!'" - Elder Robert D. Hales, April 2009 General Conference

"Many areas of the world have experienced difficult economic times. Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost, and investments have been jeopardized. We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibility do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered. When the priesthood of this Church works together as one in meeting these vexing conditions, near miracles take place.

"We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt."
- President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008 Priesthood Session, General Conference

"Avoid the philosophy that yesterday's luxuries have become today's necessities. They aren't necessities until we make them so. Many enter into long-term debt only to find that changes occur; people become ill or incapacitated, companies fail or downsize, jobs are lost, natural disasters befall us. For many reasons, payments on large amounts of debt can no longer be made. Our debt becomes as a Damocles sword hanging over our heads and threatening to destroy us."
- President Thomas S. Monson, April 2006 General Conference

“We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the real storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, ‘Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing’ (D&C 109:8.)”
President Gordon B. Hinckley

"We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult--the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.

"We are living in the prophesied time 'when peace shall be taken from the earth' (D&C 1:35,) when 'all things shall be in commotion' and 'men's hearts shall fail them' (D&C 88:91.) There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current 'commotion' is spiritual." Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“Every father and mother are the family’s store keepers. They should store whatever their family would like to have in case of an emergency…(and) God will sustain us through our trials.” President James E. Faust

“We live in a most exciting and challenging period in human history. As technology sweeps through every facet of our lives, changes are occurring so rapidly that it can be difficult for us to keep our lives in balance. To maintain some semblance of stability in our lives, it is essential that we plan for our future. I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness. We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end.”- Elder L. Tom Perry, Ensign, Nov. 1995

"Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food. . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food free." President Thomas S. Monson

"Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. … We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.

“First, gain an adequate education. Learn a trade or a profession to enable you to obtain steady employment that will provide remuneration sufficient to care for yourself and your family. …

“Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. Incorporate in your lives the discipline of budgeting that which the Lord has blessed you with. As regularly as you pay your tithing, set aside an amount needed for future family requirements. …

“Third, avoid excessive debt. Necessary debt should be incurred only after careful, thoughtful prayer and after obtaining the best possible advice. We need the discipline to stay well within our ability to pay. …

“Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life [if local laws permit such storage]. Obtain clothing and build a savings account on a sensible, well-planned basis that can serve well in times of emergency. As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.” - Elder L. Tom Perry, October 1995 General Conference

“Maintain a year's supply. The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year's supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days. How many of us have complied with this? We strive with the Lord, finding many excuses: We do not have room for storage. The food spoils. We do not have the funds to do it. We do not like these common foods. It is not needed -- there will always be someone to help in trouble. The government will come to the rescue. And some intend to obey but procrastinate.” - The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.375

“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress” - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Be prepared in all things against the day when tribulations and desolations are sent forth upon the wicked." D&C 29:8

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not aquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them." President Ezra Taft Benson

"Fear not little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. . .Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." D&C 6:34, 36

"I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ. . . They (five foolish) had the saving, exalting gospel, but it had not been made the center of their lives. They knew the way but gave only a small measure of loyalty and devotion.

"The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. . . . This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. . . . In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living." - President Spencer W. Kimball

“We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where he says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says." - President Spencer W. Kimball



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