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Showing posts with the label Food

What Happens When You Have A Bad Gardening Year?

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This spring's weather conditions have been anything but ideal. The weather is too hot already in some areas, too cool in other areas, and the rain has been unrelenting. Many, many conventional crops are not being planted due to flooding and unworkable fields. Many experts are already predicting food shortages due to flooding, livestock lost, and crops not being planted.

While all of that is pretty bad, gardens are taking a hit this year too. The naysayers will say that gardens aren't as important as crops because you can just buy your food at the grocery store. However, many of us rely on our gardens for reducing our food bills, putting nutritious food on our tables, and providing food with no chemicals and bacteria. For most of us, gardening is not a hobby but part of our overall food plan to provide for ourselves and to know where our food comes from.

Therefore, what happens when you have a bad gardening year and how can you plan around that?

Bad gardening years can happen to a…

30+ Cookbooks and Manuals You Should Have on Your Reference Shelf for Your Homestead and Your Preps

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Cookbooks are invaluable. They teach us so much about cooking, baking, canning, butchering, and more. They give specific instructions on how to do anything with cooking and the kitchen. They can really help the experiences and the novice alike.

While nothing really replaces the experience you get by doing and learning, having resources like cookbooks and cooking manuals is very important. You should have a good variety of cookbooks and manuals. Whether you are a canner, a preserver, a carnivore, a vegetarian, a hunter, or a gardener, you need to be well-rounded about you keep on your shelf.

In a crisis or a disaster, you may like to eat meat but meat may be scarce. Having some vegetarian recipes may mean you can have a filling meal with what you have on hand. You may not be a hunter, but you may need to know how to butcher your own meat. You may have a lot of produce from the garden or from gleaning and need to preserve it in a variety of ways.

You will notice that not all of these are c…

8 Ways To Quickly and Frugally Build Up Your Food Stockpiles and Pantry

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When you first start prepping, you become a little bit obsessed about obtaining your preps. You never know when you will need it, but you think you need to build up your stockpiles rather quickly.

I thought I needed to get my stockpile built as soon as possible and as much as the budget allowed! However, I couldn't just throw money at my stockpile. I didn't have a lot of extra money left over at the end of the paycheck to spend like a lottery winner. I needed to be smart with my money - down to the last penny.

I want to share with you how I built my stockpile quickly and frugally while still paying all my bills. These are still the same techniques I use to maintain and further build up my stockpile. This covers mostly my food stockpiles, but I did use some of these techniques for my non-perishable stockpiles too.

8 Ways To Quickly and Frugally Build Up Your Food Stockpiles and Pantry

1. The Grocery Store. This is the first and best way I have added to my stockpiles. I used to be a…

16 Ways To Not Waste Food (and Use Up The Leftovers)

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One of the biggest problems facing the world today is food. Particularly how much food is wasted when there are so many people who would be happy to eat it. Grocery stores throw out perfectly good food every day and lock it into dumpsters. Restaurants scape tons of food into the trash every day because people do not finish their meals and don't wish to take it home.

In other words, food waste is a real problem! The problem isn't limited to just businesses. The problem also happens in the home more than we care to think about. We waste a lot of food in our homes without a thought to our hard earned money to purchase/grow the food and the hours we put into the food.

This really needs to stop! Fortunately, I have some things you can do to combat food waste in your home. Unfortunately, I have learned some of these things the hard way and have done my fair share of not caring as much as I should about our food. I don't want you to make the same mistakes!

16 Ways To Not Waste Food …

Small Batch Canning: Saving Time, Money, and Sanity!

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Wouldn't it be wonderful if you had time during the garden harvest to can all day, every day? When you see super awesome deals on produce at the store, you could purchase them and can them right away when you get home?

You don't have that kind of time? Me neither.

A lot of people ask how I get so much canning done when I am busy with a full-time job and kids. I have a good sized garden and we like to eat fresh produce from it. However, I plant tomatoes and cucumbers with the sole purpose of canning them. I like to take the extra garden bounty and preserve it so we aren't wasting food. However, I don't have time for marathon canning sessions. Even on the weekends, I have plenty of other things on my to-do list besides canning.

I practice the time-saving practice of small batch canning. If I can preserve something every day or night, I can get a lot of canning done. I can keep up with my garden better by small batch canning.  I am not waiting for a lot of tomatoes to be don…

The Best Way To Freeze Zucchini (And What To Do With It Afterwards!)

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Zucchini is one of those rare garden plants. Almost anyone can grow it! Zucchini is also (normally) very prolific meaning that it will produce very well for weeks if not months. We love here at Living Life in Rural Iowa so I like to put it up for use in the winter.

You can use zucchini in place of cucumber in relishes and pickles to preserve and use up the bounty. We like to eat it straight from the garden on the grill. However, we eat a good deal of it in baked goods with the idea that the end result might be healthier!

In order to use it over the winter, I have learned how to freeze it. I went through many trials and errors trying to find the best way to do this. One of the things I had learned right away is that you can easily freezer burn zucchini. The second thing I learned is that the texture of the zucchini changes considerably when frozen and thawed.

With that in mind, I had to find a way to do this so that I could use it again in the winter. The best way to freeze and preserve z…

Think Long Term With Perennials When Planting Your Garden and Yard

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Gardening can be a lot of fun especially when you start reaping the benefits from all that work. Some of the hardest work, but greatest reward when planting your garden is planting perennials. Perennials come in several forms, but what you are looking for are plants, bushes, and trees that will produce food every year.

From a prepping standpoint, you want a constant food source. Most perennials are not easy to kill or hard to establish. However, if you are thinking long-term, you want to start these perennials now to get them established. There are perennials can take 1-3 years to produce food. Trees can take even longer to produce food. You want to get them in the ground this summer and fall.

From a homesteading standpoint, growing your food is always a delight. There is always a satisfaction in providing your food and reducing your independence on the grocery store. Planting perennials are always rewarding in that you reap what you sow every year.

From a frugal living standpoint, growi…

Could We Handle Food Rationing Now?

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In WWI (somewhat) and WWII definitely, food rationing was one of the few ways that governments in the United States and Britain could keep the soldiers fed as well as its citizens. Everyone was expected to do their share and stay within the guidelines of food rationing. In addition to the food rationing, citizens were heavily encouraged to "do their part" in their duty to their country by growing food and making every bit count.

Citizens were encouraged to make do. They were encouraged to start their own Victory garden and supplement their own rations. They were encouraged to forage and eat food they weren't accustomed to thinking as food. Food waste was a sin and they were encouraged to stretch their rations as far as possible.

In Britain, food rationing started in 1939 and lasted well past the war. They were under food rationing until 1954 while Britain recovered from the war. Food rationing started in 1942 and ended in the United States in August 1945 except for sugar w…

Nine Ways to Beat The Food Rationing System When It Happens Again

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Right now, food seems to be plentiful in America. There is plenty of it in the stores and you hear stories of how much food is wasted from restaurants and grocery stores. However, there are some factors that could lead us to a rationing system in a hurry if something happened. Those things do not even have to be catastrophic for us to be rationed.

In most natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding, Red Cross and FEMA dive right in to help. However, they will only serve meals and/or give out limited amounts of food and water. Yes, many other people donate food and money when things like this happen, but what if they couldn't?

In WWI, the Americans were not put on a rationing system but were asked to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less meat and wheat products. In WWII, Americans were put on a rationing system that became stricter as the war went on. Even then, this country imported a lot of food and supply chains were disrupted. In addition to that, the troops needed …

Easy Skillet Spaghetti: A Great Dinner for a Busy Night!

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We are a busy household. A lot of nights we do not eat supper until 7:30 - 8:00 at night. Sometimes we need to make supper on the fly and have something on the table quickly. Sometimes we just want to make something quick and easy because we are tired. This Skillet Spaghetti fits the bill.

This recipe is easy. Very easy! It is a cheap meal to make. It is also made in one large skillet or dutch oven. One pot meals are my favorite meals. So just about anything made in one pot will get a chance at this household. I based this recipe off of one that I first made 12-15 years ago. I have since changed this recipe and completely lost the original recipe. 

Easy Skillet Spaghetti

Serves 4-6 people

1 pound ground beef
1 - 24 ounce jar of pasta (spaghetti) sauce
24 ounces water
12 ounces spaghetti noodles, broken into thirds
Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese for garnish



1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet or dutch oven until done. You can drain the grease if you feel there is too much, but I general…

Clean Out Your Freezers With Me In August!

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I declare August as National Clean Out Your Freezer(s) Month.

Why? The reasons are endless...

School is starting soon for us and may have already started for you.Summer bounty is flowing in from the garden.There may still be meals in the freezer from last year's freezer cooking binge.There may be meat from 2014 in the bottom of the freezer.There may be frozen vegetables and fruits from 2012.You may have a storage shortage in the freezer.You may have to get really creative in order to put even more in the freezer!You may have leftovers from two Christmases ago still frozen in your favorite containers...
Most of those, if not all, are a true story in this house! I bet they are true for your house too, but I will not point any fingers. I have a full-size chest freezer as well as the freezer in my refrigerator. I am going to concentrate mainly on the chest freezer, but the other freezer will be looked at too.

No matter if you are a prepper or a homesteader, this needs to be done. You need…

10 Reasons You Should Be Gardening!

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One of the most important skills to learn is gardening. The ability to grow your own food and maintain your own sustainability is a key point in homesteading and prepping. While you may not be able to produce all your own food, you have the capability to produce a lot of it. You can also garden just for pleasure. You can also garden for your long term food storage needs by canning, freezing, and drying your produce.

There are many ways to garden. No matter what method of gardening you choose, the results are the same. With a little hard work, weed control, and commitment, you will have produced your own food and gained a skill that, sadly, most people do not have.

10 Reasons You Should Be Gardening:

1. You produce your own food! This is the best thing about gardening. You can walk out to your garden and pick what you want to eat with your supper or as your supper. Eating what you produce is a great feeling. Your hard work produced food to provide for you, your family, and possibly neighb…