Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Cherry Almond Granola

This mouthwatering granola concoction is great for snacking or as an ice cream or yogurt topping.  Mmmm!  Enjoy!

Cherry Almond Granola

3 Cups rolled oats
1 Cup slivered almonds
¼ Cup, plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
¼ Cup, plus 2 tablespoons honey
¼ Cup Vegetable oil
¾ tsp salt
1 Cup {or more} dried cherries
1 small package slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, cherries, nuts and brown sugar. In a separate bowl, combine honey, oil and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto a jelly roll pan. Cook for 1 hour and 15 min.,  stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool and store in an air tight container.

Sources:  Recipe:  Alton Brown, Photo:  Kate @ The Gaines Gang

Monday, February 7, 2011

Emergency Preparedness: Keep refrigerated and frozen food from spoiling during a power outage

I live in the Eastern United States and we have been hit hard this year by multiple ice storms and big snowstorms.  People often lose power because of downed trees during and after winter storms and severe weather.  How can you prepare to keep your refrigerated and frozen food from spoiling?  Preparedness Pantry had some great ideas:

• Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. An appliance thermometer will indicate the temperature inside the refrigerator and freezer in case of a power outage and help determine the safety of the food.

• Make sure the freezer is at 0°F or below and the refrigerator is at 40°F or below.

• Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or coolers after the power is out.

• Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately — this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.

• Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.

• Group food together in the freezer — this helps the food stay cold longer.

Steps to follow after the weather emergency:

• Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.

• The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) and the door remains closed.

• Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after 4 hours without power.

• Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40° F or below when checked with a food thermometer.

• Never taste a food to determine its safety!

• When in Doubt, Throw it Out!

Here's another great article from the blog to help you prepare for power outages:


Source:  http://preparednesspantry.blogspot.com/

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Improving Your Internet Security

"I just got a free ipad.  Check it out.  Click here."  or "LOL.  What are you doing in this video?"  or "I am in England and my wallet was stolen.  Please send me money so I can get home."  Have you encountered any of these internet scams?  I have seen them all and many, many more.  If you click on the link, you will then send that message or one even worse to all your friend's e-mail accounts via facebook.  So what can you do to prevent this from happening to you? 

First, don't click on links unless you're certain they are taking you to a legitimate video or link.  If in doubt, don't click.  Sometimes, I will message the friend and ask if it's a legitimate link but in general, I don't bite.  Second, make your passwords for internet sites more difficult to hack.  

According to an internet security expert, hackers use computer programs which go through the entire dictionary to find words in your passwords.  He suggests that if you're going to use a word in your password, put a number in the middle of it.  If you have a hard time remembering your password, use the same one everywhere, just change the first two letters.  For example, use the first two letters of the website you are accessing (For example am5happ13y for Amazon.com, fa5happ13y for Facebook.com, eb5happ13y for ebay.com, etc.) Hackers also use personal information such as names, children's names, personal and family birthdates and anniversaries to try and crack your password so avoid using them when creating a password.  This information can often be found in public records.  Using symbols in the password, rather than numbers also improves password security. 

You can do other things to protect yourself while surfing.  Invest in a security program like McAfee or Norton.  These programs remove many of the threats to your security and are well-worth the investment.  In addition, I have a friend who has an e-mail account which she uses to access websites and receive online offers which is separate from her personal e-mail.  My sister has an e-mail account solely for facebook notifications and correspondence.   If you have any other ideas, please share them.


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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