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Slow Cooker Smothered Chops

chops

Slow Cooker Smothered Chops

Prep Time: 15mn
Cook Time: 8hr
Total Time: 8hr 15mn
INGREDIENTS

4 bone-in pork chops, about 3/4 inch thick seasoned with salt and pepper on each side
4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried parsley

DIRECTIONS

Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels, then season both sides with salt and pepper.

Cook bacon over medium high heat until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan with a
slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, then store it in the fridge until later.

There should be about 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in the pan, just eyeball it. If it doesn’t look like
there’s enough, add a little canola or vegetable oil and increase the heat to high. If there’s more
than 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in the pan, drain some off until you’re left with 2 tablespoons.

Add the pork chops to the pan and cook for two to three minutes per side, until they are nicely browned.

Transfer the browned pork chops to the slow cooker.

Add a small amount of oil to the pan if there is no remaining fat/oil, about a teaspoon. Add the onions,
a pinch of salt, and 1/4 cup water and cook until the onions are translucent. Use a wooden spoon to scrape
up the browned bits of pork chop on the bottom of the pan.

Add in garlic and cook for another minute. Pour this mixture over the pork chops.

To the skillet combine chicken stock, worcestershire sauce and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Pour over pork chops.

Add bay leave to the slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours, until the pork chops are tender.

Discard the bay leaves and carefully remove the pork chops from the slow cooker and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil

Pour the liquid from the slow cooker through a fine mesh strainer into a large saucepan. Place the solids in a blender,
and add in 1 cup of the liquid from the saucepan. Blend on high until smooth. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan
and heat to medium high heat.

In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons water with 1 tablespoon corn starch. Pour this mixture into the sauce pan cook
for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and is bubbly.

Stir in the vinegar, add in the bacon, and season with salt and pepper to taste.


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Bucket Berkey Faucet Upgrade


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Salisbury Steak Recipe – You can do it

Ingredients

  • 2lbs – 80/20 Ground Chuck
  • 1/2 Cup – Bread Crumbs
  • 1 – Egg
  • ½ Cup – Milk
  • 1 tsp – Salt
  • 1 tsp – Black Pepper
  • 2 TBS – Dried Minced Onion
  • 1 TBS – Beef Base
  • 2 TBS – Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2- Medium Yellow Onions (chopped or sliced)
  • 2 Cups – Sliced Mushrooms (not in video recipe)
  • 4 Cups – Water
  • 2 TBS Corn Starch – 2 TBS Water to make slurry.

 

 

Directions
  • In a large bowl combine egg, milk, bread crumbs, Worcestershire, dried onions, black pepper, and salt.  Mix well.
  • Add ground beef and mix until well incorporated and form into oval patties, burger or meatballs,
  • In a large skillet over medium heat brown for 2 minutes per side and remove from pan.
  • Add onions and mushrooms and saute 2-3 minutes.
  • Add water and beef base, bring to a boil until the beef base is dissolved.
  • Return patties to the skillet, return to a simmer, cover and cook on low for 1 hour.
  • Add corn starch slurry, mix until smooth and the gravy has thickened.

INGREDIENTS

– 2 pounds ground beef
– 2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce divided
– 2 eggs
– 1/2 Cup bread crumbs ( I used crushed Ritz crackers
– 1 tspn garlic powder
– 1 tspn onion powder
– 2 tspn salt
– 1 tspn pepper
– 1 tspn dried thyme
– 2 Tbs red wine
– 8 ounces butter
– 1 medium onion diced
– 2 Tbs flour
– 3 ounces tomato paste
– 1 beef bouillon cube crushed
– 2 cups beef stock
– 8 ounces of sliced baby bella mushrooms

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large bowl thoroughly combine bread crumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, 1 Tbs of Worcestershire sauce, and eggs to ground beef.
2. Form 8 salisbury steak patties.
3. In a large skillet over medium to medium/high heat add 3 Tbs of butter.
4. Add 4 patties and allow to sear for 5 minutes per side.
5. Remove patties and set aside, discarding any excess grease left in the pan.
6. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 for remaining patties.
7. Add 2 Tbs of butter to skillet.
8. Add onions and sautè until translucent.
9. Add flour to onions and cook 3 to 4 minutes stirring often.
10. Add tomato paste and stir for 30 seconds.
11. Add wine and 1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce and stir.
12. Add mushrooms and stir for 1 minute.
13. Add beef broth, crushed beef bouillon cube, and thyme and stir.
14. Bring to a boil.
15. Add salisbury steak patties to mushroom gravy.
16. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover skillet for 15 minutes turning patties once if so desired.
17. SERVE AND ENJOY! 🙂


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Off Grid Water System

Underground POTABLE WATER STORAGE TANKS – Our Off Grid Water System

 


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5 Emergency Food Mistakes Preppers Make

alg-salt-sea-mission-jpg

One of the first things that people tackle when beginning to prepare for emergencies is food storage, and rightfully so. But there’s a lot more to it than stacking buckets of wheat in the garage or stockpiling bottled water.

If you’re going to take the time and money to prepare for the unexpected, get informed about the do’s and don’ts of proper food storage. Here are 5 mistakes that preppers often make when starting to build their emergency food supply, and how to fix them.

Storing food you don’t like, or don’t know how to prepare

Many people will buy a bucket of wheat, throw it in the closet, and call it a day. But they don’t know how to turn that wheat into bread, or if they’ll even like it if they do. Make sure you store food that you eat on a regular basis. Try making a loaf of bread from some wheat one day (you’ll feel like a superhero, promise), and use those dry beans and rice in your everyday meals. That way, when the day comes and you need to survive off your food storage, it doesn’t flip your world upside down. In an emergency, eating food that you’re already used to is beneficial to your mental health. Don’t add to the stress of such a situation by suddenly having to prepare and eat food that is completely new to you.

Rice and beans are a prepper staple and a great option for emergency food storage, but make sure you have variety or family might balk.

Rice and beans are a prepper staple and a great option for emergency food storage, but make sure you have variety or family might balk.

And if you choose to buy pre-packaged emergency kits, many companies sell samples of the meals that are included, so you can give them a taste before you stock up. Use the same rule of thumb here too, and rotate a packaged dinner into your meal planning every couple of weeks, so you’re used to preparing and eating your food storage. Using these pantry staples will also cut down on your grocery bill, too, which is a great added bonus.

Storing food improperly

Are you stockpiling cans in the attic or out in shed? Almost any food that you plan on storing for longer than 6 months should be kept at stable temperatures and humidity levels, which makes both of those places poor options. A cool, dark place like a basement can work great, but be careful if your basement is damp or prone to flooding. The best location for your food storage is on the main level of your home, where the temperature and moisture levels are controlled. Also, try not to keep all your eggs in one basket – have several different locations where you can store food, in case one area becomes compromised.

moldy_food

Food would ideally be stored in a cool, dark place like a basement

Also make sure that your food storage is packaged in a way that deters pests and moisture. Buckets and #10 cans are great ways to store long-lasting food supplies. Food packaged in their original boxes or bags can work fine as long as they are rotated and used regularly – just keep an eye on those expiration dates and make sure your storage area isn’t accessible to mice or other pests.

Not having enough variety in your storage

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Both for the sake of flavor as well as nutrition, make sure that you store a wide variety of food in your supply. Many novices stock up on carbohydrates like wheat and rice but forget to include other essentials. Make sure you’re covering all the necessary food groups – there are a lot of great ways to store protein, dairy, fruits, and vegetables as part of your storage staples. You can easily purchase freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, and even meat in #10 cans or buckets, and dry milk is a great way to make sure your dairy needs are met. Pre-packaged meals also offer an easy way to incorporate variety into your food storage.

Forgetting “the little things”

Things like salt, spices, oil, and condiments make food storage more enjoyable to eat, and baking ingredients such as baking powder, yeast, and eggs are essential to cooking even the most basic recipes from your supplies. Some of these things can be purchased in long-lasting forms, but a great way to make sure you have them on hand is to simply buy a little extra each time you shop. Next time you need a bottle of vegetable oil, just buy an extra and put it with your food storage. Little by little, you can build up a stockpile of these “little things”, and with proper rotation for freshness, you’ll always have a little extra of everything on hand.

Remember to store things like desserts and candy bars, too. When an emergency situation hits, sweet treats are a great way to keep life feeling as normal as possible, especially if you have children. You can buy a #10 can of something like brownie mix, or simply use the method above to always keep a few boxes of treats rotating through your regular storage.

Not rotating food or letting it go bad

If you use everyday foods in your storage, make sure to rotate them properly and use them before the expiration date.

Buying an extra can of soup and sticking on the shelf for a decade is not a wise food storage solution. If you use everyday foods in your storage, make sure to rotate them properly and use them before the expiration date. Rotating food storage simply means using the oldest item first, and putting the more recently purchased item at the back of the line. For longer term “store it and forget it” options, you can purchase meal packs contained in buckets that store for 20 years or more. We recommend using a combination of both practices for a well-rounded supply that will be both easy and safe to use in an emergency situation.

Food storage can seem intimidating at first, but if you’ve got a handle on each of these areas, you’re well on your way to having a great emergency food supply that will last and serve you well, regardless of what life throws at you. Having a supply of familiar and delicious food on hand will give you an immense feeling of relief and safety. You can start small, and begin today!


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10 Simple Steps to Self-Sufficiency

 

10 Simple Steps to Self-Sufficiency

Most of us don’t have the luxury/ability/desire/whatever to be 100% self-sufficient, but there are things you can start doing today that will put you on the road to being 10% or 20% or 90% self-sufficient, and that is a great goal, too!

1. Get an emergency fund. While most of us can’t completely live off what we grow and make ourselves, being financially secure is a great step on the path to being completely self-sufficient. If you have a financial reserve, you can buy the necessities that you may not have on hand. Aim for 3-6 months of expenses in a high-yield savings account (easily accessible, don’t invest this money in inaccessible funds). Live on less than what you earn, and use the rest for building an emergency fund and investing for retirement. Whether it’s 30%, 60%, or 80% depends on your living expenses and income. After each paycheck, place a specific percentage into your emergency fund until you have 3-6 months saved. Replenish as necessary (but remember this is an emergency fund, not a vacation or “fun” fund). Part of becoming financially self-sufficient is reducing your debt to become debt-free.

2. Start a garden. Whether it’s a bag of potting soil with a few tomatoes growing out of it, or a perfect, huge organic garden, every little bit helps! This list of great gardening books with short summaries of their contents to get you started. There are all kinds of gardening methods from square-foot to pots, and there is sure to be one that fits your budget and space. On social media you can join groups about gardening in your area; these groups can be a ton of help in getting you started. Or ask an expert like your seed supplier, local master gardeners, or your neighbors who are pros).

3. Edible landscaping. Beyond an actual vegetable garden, you can landscape your yard with things you can eat! Better Homes and Gardens has a great article about this. Edible landscaping includes fruit trees and shrubs, vines, groundcover, flowers, herbs, and more! You get a beautiful yard, and you can eat it!

4. Compost. There is one thing a lawn is great for (besides playing on), and that is green material for a compost pile. OrganicGardening.com has a great basic instruction guide for building a compost pile. Essentially, you need “brown” (dead leaves, newspaper, dead flowers –carbon-rich) and “green” (plant-based kitchen waste, grass clippings – nitrogen-rich) materials, a shovel-full of garden soil, and some room, and you will have great compost for feeding your garden or edible landscape.

5. Preserve what you grow. Once you start harvesting things from your yard and garden, you need to know how to preserve your bounty to use during the off-season. It does take time, but it saves a lot of money on food. This can include canning, freezing, drying (read our post Preparedness Basics: How to Use a Dehydrator), pickling, smoking, and more.

6. Learn How to Cook from scratch. Once you have a bunch of great produce and other plants from your edible landscape and garden, you need to know how to cook with these great ingredients. Pick up some cookbooks and start experimenting. Turn that backyard bounty into healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals for your family. You can also learn to make your own dairy products like cheese, yogurt, butter, and ice cream. Check out our article, Cheese Making 101: A Basic Guide to get started. Making food from scratch could save you big money since the prices on these items always seem to be going up!

7. Bake your own bread. Bread, especially the whole grain kind, can be expensive—sometimes costing over $4.00 a loaf! You can make bread at home for around $.50 a loaf (plus you can control what you put in it). This will save you money and help you be more self-sufficient (and it’s delicious). You can also read our post 6 Reasons Why you should Grind Your Own Wheat to learn the benefits of adding home-ground wheat to your homemade bread.

8. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Being self-sufficient is also about frugality and learning new skills. You can make your own cleaning supplies for a fraction of the cost of store-bought bottled cleaners. Bring out your inner-chemist and mix up these cleaners from Living Well, Spending Less. You can also make your own personal care products like these from Keeper of the Home.

You can also fix-it yourself. Learn how to do simple plumbing and electrical work, paint your own deck, etc. (You can also learn to [reuse “trash”] for new purposes. It can be a lot of fun!) And, of course, you can always ask yourself “Do I really need that?” before buying something new.

9. Walk and bike. Not only does this give you a workout, it will save on car insurance, gas, and maintenance. This can take more “time,” but if you plan it right, it can be your workout and it can help you to spend less on your shopping trips because you can’t carry as much back and you won’t be at the store as often.

10. First-Aid equipped. There are a lot of natural remedies for the small things that ail us (things you can grow in your edible/usable landscape!). Become familiar with plants and herbs that can help you treat your own minor medical problems. Learn to use essential oils (if they interest you). And don’t forget a good, fully-stocked first-aid kit that’s easy to get to. It’s also good to have a smaller one that’s portable (in case you need to carry it with you somewhere).

 

There are lots of easy things you can do to start or progress on the road to self-sufficiency, even just taking small steps to become more self-sufficient today can help you in the long run.

What are your best tips and top ideas to start (or continue) on the road to self-sufficiency? What’s your next step?

 

Sources

http://gardening.about.com/od/toppicktools/tp/GardenBooks.htm

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/vegetable/vegetables/edible-landscaping/

http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2013/03/13/green-thrifty-cleaning-products/

http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/04/simple-steps-to-safe-and-natural-personal-care-and-18-homemade-beauty-recipes.html


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