17 things you probably didn’t know about honey, but definitely should!

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One of my favorite uses for honey is as a face cleanser. It leaves my skin feeling baby-soft, and my only complaint is that it almost always gets in my hair, no matter what. We always have at least 1 or 2 large containers of honey in the house, not only for beauty routines, but […]

Using Butter Powder: A Tutorial

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Most food storage products purchased from food storage companies are pretty much the same all across the board. Foods like wheat and freeze-fried fruit are all very similar no matter what brand you choose to buy. Other products, and dairy products in particular, are not that way so much. They vary from company to company, and […]

A Short Guide To The Proper Storage of Cookie Ingredients

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If the #1 rule to purchasing a home is, “Location, Location, Location,” then the #1 rule of food storage is, “rotation, rotation, rotation.” I mention it because some thirty-year-old brown sugar and chocolate chips recently came into my possession, and it probably would have been good if it had been rotated out a few decades […]

15 Vintage Kitchen Tools We All Must Have

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If we lose power we will need at least these 15 vintage kitchen tools at the very least. I love going to antique stores and checking out items that I consider very useful if we have zero electricity. Actually, even if we don’t lose power I still use these today in my kitchen. Plus, I think some of these items will bring back a few good memories when grandma was in the kitchen cooking or baking. I can still picture my great-grandma making Lefse, one of our favorite Norwegian family treats made with leftover mashed potatoes. Oh, my goodness, I better make some of that today, my mouth is watering for it. I like Lefse with butter and brown sugar. Let me know what traditional treats you enjoyed eating together as a family.

As a child, this is when I learned to cook from scratch. There were not many packaged items, except for bags of flour or sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and spices, how life has changed. We used the bags the flour came in for kitchen towels or made aprons out of them. Nothing was ever wasted, ever. I’m going to share some of my old family recipes while using these tools. Now, some of these items we use today, but some families have never used them. Let me know your vintage kitchen tools you love to use!

15 Vintage Kitchen Tools

1.Big Stainless Steel Bowl

I think I still have the two original ones I got when Mark and I were married almost 50 years ago. They are approximately 18 inches in diameter. Those bowls have been used for making bread, cookies, large salads, and cleaning the windows.

2.Potato Masher

I remember my mom having a pan like deal and we all took turns turning the handle to “mash” the potatoes. My grandmother preferred a ricer for her fluffy mashed potatoes. Even a few chunks are okay in my mashed potatoes. I’m fine even with the peelings on them as well. I just use this tool: Potato Masher

3.Ebelskiver Cast Iron Pan

I grew up on Ebelskivers, they are basically round balls of pancake batter. My mom had a cast iron pan. They are so yummy! Ebelskivers by Linda

4.Cast Iron Fry Pans

Did your mom save the bacon grease after frying bacon? I still do! I swear, cast iron pans make the very best scrambled eggs, cornbread and homemade pizza dough too! Wow, I love cast iron pans! Pizza by Linda 

5.Cast Iron Griddle

Who uses a griddle for pancakes, grilled cheese and so much more? I think I have three cast iron griddles. I love them!

5.Hand Mixer

I can still remember Mom having a SunBeam electric mixer sitting on the counter and she was so proud of that baby, no more hand mixing. But she still used her wire whipped hand-cranked mixer because it was easier to clean.

6.Whisk/Danish Whisk

Everyone needs a whisk to quickly stir those scrambled eggs, right? I can’t see any of the white stuff, I’m such a baby. Theresa reminded me about my beloved Danish whisk.

7.Egg Separator

I still remember my mom making seven-minute frosting after using an egg separator. I think I still have my yellow Tupperware one I’ve had for decades!

8.Can Opener

We can’t get by without a can opener. I love the hand operated ones which I still use sometimes today. But I also remember when the electric can opener came out. WOW, happy day!

9.Large Soup Pot

Everyone needs a soup pot for soup or boiling water for a large pan of spaghetti!

10.Pancake Turner

I can still picture the skinny silver pancake turners my mom had. Now we have larger ones to flip pancakes, fried eggs or grilled cheese sandwiches.

11.Wooden Spoons

I always have wooden spoons in the crock sitting on my counter top to grab when I need one.

12.Pastry Cutter

I wish I could say I make great pies, but I don’t, I buy them. But, I still need one of these for my biscuits to cut in the butter.

13.Biscuits Cutters

I’m like addicted to collecting biscuit cutters at antique stores. I love all the different shapes.

14.Canisters On The Counter

Do you remember your mom or grandma having canisters sitting on the counter with flour, sugar, tea, and coffee written on them? I even had some, but then switched to plastic buckets with Gamma lids. The plastic buckets certainly aren’t as attractive, but the contents seem to stay fresh longer.

15.Rolling Pin

I can’t get by without a rolling pin or two. I use them for my cinnamon rolls, pasta, and biscuits. Cinnamon rolls by Linda


Thank you to OhioPrepper, I have so many spatulas, how did I forget those?

17.Meat Grinders

Thank you, Kathy, she reminded me about the meat grinders, I love ham salad and my mom and dad made a pork sausage, how did I forget this one?

18. Terracotta Brown Sugar Bear

Theresa reminded me about this one as well: Terra Cotta Bear Sugar Bear – it’s terracotta and soaked in water. It’s then placed in the brown sugar canister to keep the sugar “moist”. Have one I’ve used for decades.

19. Coffee Percolators

Judy mentioned coffee percolators and popcorn poppers! Also, vegetable peelers.

This was a fun post for me to write today. Please share your memories of your vintage kitchen tools. I need to make a batch of cookies, what do you feel like baking this week?

Lodge Cast Iron Griddle

Lodge Pizza Griddle

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Celebrating During Times Crises

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celebrate in a crisisMy family lived in Northern Alabama and experienced the April 2011 Tornado Outbreak. We saw one of the tornadoes from our front window. I worked clean up and recovery after the storms and the damage and loss was devastating for so many people. Even those of us that were spared direct damage still had to deal with days (and for some, weeks) of no power.

So, while we of course were thankful for being spared, there could have been a “mini-disaster” of our own because the day after the storms was my daughter’s 9th birthday. We were stuck at home and unable to go out for birthday fun as planned. Thankfully, I had already purchased her presents and had a dessert mix on hand so we were able to plan a last minute family celebration at home.

Now, please don’t misunderstand, missing out on a planned birthday party in NO WAY compares to the loss of property and life that was experienced due to these storms. My daughter understood what was happening and was not upset in the least by changing plans. But it made me think about a long term disaster or TEOTWAWKI event. It will be important to celebrate birthdays and holidays even in the midst of a crisis when at all possible.

My daughter’s 9th birthday is what triggered my desire to add holidays to our family preparedness plan.

Celebrate in a crisis

If we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic, for example, and have to shelter-in-place for weeks or months, I am now prepared to still celebrate with my family on our special occasions.

  • Greeting cards for each birthday, anniversary and holiday
  • A small gift for each birthday, anniversary and holiday. Books, Mad Libs, card games, drawing books, and craft kits are great options.
  • Candy or other shelf stable treats related to each holiday
  • Stocking stuffers for Christmas. In my family that means scented hand sanitizers or lip gloss, little stuffed animals, mini Lego kits, and fun gadgets.

Rotation of these items is easy! When the birthday or holiday comes around, use what you have set aside and then buy something for the next year. I buy a bag of Halloween Candy on November 1st on sale and add it to the stash. After Valentines Day, I purchase a box of Valentine’s Cards with the candy included. Not only will my kids enjoy these, but they will have them to share with others in the neighborhood that might not have planned to celebrate.

If you find yourself in the midst of a shelter-in-place and haven’t planned ahead for some of these events, look around the house for something you can make. If you know how to knit or crochet, draw or paint, weave, make jewelry, etc, you can have supplies on hand to create a nice gift. The ability to bake cakes, cookies, or brownies and a few balloons or streamers will help create a festive occasion.  Be sure to have craft items for children so they can get involved in decorating and by making gifts for each other.

Think about the emotional boost that your family would get during a TEOTWAWKI event by doing something as simple as celebrating a birthday or having presents to open on Christmas morning. Hard times have a way of putting things into perspective and the celebrations don’t have to be huge, but taking the time to honor the person or the day can lift spirits, increase resilience, bond family members, and just produce some smiles.


60 of the Best Cast Iron Skillet Recipes

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More and more people are realizing the terrific advantages of cooking with cast iron, and you’ll find that people definitely have their own preferences. There are lots campfire chefs, dutch oven devotees, and griddle gurus, but here at Surviving Prepper we prefer our skillets. For us, the skillet is the ultimate cooking pan. We deep fry, grill, stir fry, saute, and bake with our skillets. We start ’em on the stove top, and finish ’em in the oven. We LOVE cooking with our cast iron skillets. And we’re constantly scouring the internet for inspiration about what new and tasty delicious meal we can create next. Here is a list of 60 of the Best Cast Iron Skillet Recipes that we’ve found so far.

Best Cast Iron Skillet Entree Recipes

perfect porterhouse steakProsciutto-Wrapped Chicken with AsparagusGrilled Honey and Browned Garlic Butter Salmon

  1. Perfect Porterhouse Steak – This is chef Bobby Flay’s recipe for the perfect Porterhouse steak. With a steak this thick, you need to season liberally; when Flay demonstrated for us, the surface of the meat was virtually white from salt.
  2. Butter-Basted, Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Steaks Recipe – Perfectly cooked butter-basted steak, with a deep brown crust flavored with aromatics.
  3. Skillet-Fried Chicken – This easy recipe for Southern fried chicken is the only one you’ll ever need.
  4. Classic Buffalo Hot Wings – Fried or grilled? Either way, these crispy hot wings bathed in classic buffalo sauce are perfect for game day parties and backyard barbecues.
  5. Skillet Deep Dish Pizza – This pizza is loaded with toppings and cheese and cooked in a skillet for a perfect, crispy crust.
  6. Brown Sugar Soy Sauce Salmon – Grilling doesn’t have to be all about red meat! A fresh cut of seafood is a healthy alternative to wow your family and friends.
  7. Skillet Chicken with Bacon and White Wine Sauce – Starting with small bite-sized pieces of salty bacon and sweet caramelized shallots, and ending with the fact that it’s going to have that golden, crispy chicken skin after the chicken is pan-fried a little bit before taking a nice oven-bath in the white wine pan sauce.
  8. The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish – Shrimp is delicious in itself, just add a few herbs and spices to make it perfect.
  9. Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Asparagus – This easy, show-stopper dinner is healthy to boot. Well I mean besides the cream. But the asparagus totally makes up for that.
  10. Rosemary Pork Chops – Who doesn’t love a good pork chop? Rosemary is a perfect partner for pork, and your cast iron skillet will give those chops a good sear.
  11. Cajun Blackened Catfish – This is a recipe from a very good Cajun friend who is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana.
  12. Huevos Rancheros – These Huevos Rancheros are pretty epic in the world of one pan dinners. Throw a bunch of tasty ingredients in a skillet, and crack some eggs into that rich, super flavorful sauce.
  13. Julia Child’s Creamy Chicken + Mushroom – Julia Child’s Creamy Chicken + Mushroom (also known as Supremes De Volaille Aux Champignons) is now lightened up! It takes less than 30 minutes to have this gourmet meal at your table — in one skillet — without any guilt.
  14. Browned Butter Honey Garlic Salmon – Salmon steaks panfried on Browned Butter infused with garlic and honey; then grilled/broiled for an extra 8 minutes for extra golden, crispy and caramelised finish.
  15. Black-Pepper-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Chimichurri Sauce – A tangy condiment made with fresh herbs and garlic, chimichurri sauce is a traditional accompaniment to grilled meats in Argentina and pairs well with peppery steak.
  16. Southwestern Braised Lamb Shanks – Cranberries and chipotle chiles in adobo sauce impart a tangy-sweet and smoky flavor to these succulent braised lamb shanks.
  17. Cumin-Coriander Sirloin Steak – The combination of cumin, coriander, and ground red pepper create a tasty rub for the beef. Brown sugar aids caramelization
  18. Skillet Lemon Chicken with Olives and Herbs – Bright and flavorful, pan seared chicken breasts get tossed with green olives, lemon and fresh herbs then is finished in the oven.
  19. Quick and Easy Pizza Skillet – This quick and easy pizza skillet is like an amazing pan pizza baked and served in your favorite cast iron skillet, and it’s completely customizable!

Best Cast Iron Skillet Side Recipes

Garlic Parmesan Stuffed MushroomsCharred Summer VegetablesBaked Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Garlic Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms – These cheesy, garlic stuffed mushroom caps are an easy game day crowd pleaser! Serve them warm from the oven and straight from the griddle.
  2. Crispy Baked Pasta With Mushrooms, Sausage, and Parmesan Cream Sauce Recipe – One-skillet meal fit for normal everyday folks who perhaps might occasionally feel like kings.
  3. Baked Macaroni and Cheese – Baked macaroni and cheese doesn’t have to be complicated with layers of ingredients to be the soul-warming food you crave.
  4. Schmaltz-Refried Pinto Beans – Most store-bought lard (the traditional fat in refried beans) is nearly flavorless, unlike chicken fat, which is delicious and readily available.
  5. Spinach & Cheese Breakfast Skillet – This 700-calorie hash-and-egg recipe is a big healthy breakfast.
  6. Hasselback Potato Skillet Bake – A perfect side dish that can also be served as an alternative to hash browns for breakfast.
  7. Roasted Brussels Sprouts – The sweet satisfaction of seeing this dyed-in-the-wool brussels sprouts avoider pick these roasted emerald jewels out of the pan and munch on them like candy.
  8. Skillet Macaroni and Broccoli and Mushrooms and Cheese – This mac ‘n’ cheese, adapted from the book “Real Food Has Curves” by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, is quicker and easier to make than the classic casserole.
  9. Loaded Smashed Potato Skillet – This Loaded Smashed Potato Skillet has the flavors of loaded baked potatoes in one easy skillet dish. Perfect for a BBQ or even making on the BBQ.
  10. Four Cheese Baked Skillet Rigatoni – Incredible recipe! Perfect for a food induced coma.
  11. Umami Edamame – Umami Edamame healthy is a sweet, spicy, and oh so tasty snack that makes a perfect appetizer or side dish!
  12. Charred Summer Vegetables – Add the vegetables to a hot cast-iron skillet, cover, and cook 5 minutes without stirring so the natural sugars caramelize and add flavor.

Best Cast Iron Skillet Bread Recipes

olive rosemary pistachio focacciaBriggs Buttermilk Biscuitspepperoni pull apart garlic knots

  1. Easy No-Knead Olive-Rosemary Focaccia With Pistachios Recipe – This focaccia, topped with olives, rosemary, and pistachios, requires no kneading or stretching and results in a crisp, olive oil-scented crust and a puffy, moist, well-risen internal crumb with just the right amount of tender chew
  2. Briggs’ Buttermilk Biscuits – We love how the tops and bottoms of these biscuits are slightly crispy and the inside stays tender and flaky.
  3. Spicy Sausage and Cheddar Yeast Rolls – With his passion for bread, Bill Ryan, founder of the Louisiana Dutch Oven Society, is always looking for different ways to create a great tasting roll. After tasting your first one, you will quickly be grabbing for more!
  4. Easy Pull-Apart Pepperoni Garlic Knots Recipe – These pull-apart garlic knots are intensely flavored with pepperoni, red pepper flakes, garlic, and two types of cheeses, and have a moist, buttery crumb.
  5. Spotted Dog Irish Bread – I was SHOCKED to find out this wasn’t real Irish Soda Bread, but instead more commonly known as Spotted Dog.
  6. Irish Soda Bread in a Skillet – A basic version of Irish Soda Bread that is baked in a cast iron skillet.
  7. Butternut Squash Rolls Recipe – With their cheery yellow color and delicious aroma, these appealing buns will brighten your buffet table.
  8. Brown Butter Skillet Cornbread – This lightly sweet cornbread has a crunchy, buttery crust, which comes from baking it in a hot skillet.
  9. No Knead Rosemary Parmesan Skillet Bread – You can use whatever sturdy herbs or cheese you prefer. Dip the bread in oil & balsamic, slather with butter, or dip into a tomato sauce.
  10. 30 Minute Honey Whole Wheat Skillet Bread – Simply combine all the ingredients, all at once in one bowl, pour buttermilk over the top, stir until just moistened, and turn dough out into the skillet and bake. No kneading, no mixer, no dough hooks. Nothing fancy or complicated, and no tricky steps.
  11. Beer & Cheese Skillet Bread – This Beer & Cheese Skillet Bread recipe is super easy and delicious! Plus it requires minimal ingredients!

Best Cast Iron Skillet Desert Recipes

Iron-Skillet Peach CrispDeath by Chocolate Skillet BrownieCinnamon Roll Skillet Cake

  1. Skillet Apple Pie with Cinnamon Whipped Cream – Easy apple pie that will that will wow your guests every time.
  2. Skillet S’mores Dip – Melted chocolate and toasted marshmallows that stays warm inside the cast iron skillet and only takes 15 minutes to make.
  3. Homemade Apple Fritters – Soft homemade donut dough folded with apples and spices and fried in a cast iron skillet for a crispy exterior crust.
  4. Nutella Stuffed Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie – This buttery and gooey on the inside – crispy and set on the outside – Nutella stuffed magical pie of-a-chocolate-chip-cookie had all of us weak at the knees begging for more, desperately scraping each and every crumb directly outta the pan like we’d been starving for weeks.
  5. Iron-Skillet Peach Crisp – The season’s most swoon-worthy peaches get extra-caramelized thanks to this cast iron crisp.
  6. German Apple Pancake Recipe – Pretty dish that is always a hit with guests.
  7. Fudge Brownie Pie Recipe – Here’s a fun and festive way to serve brownies. Family and friends will love topping their pieces with whipped cream and strawberries.
  8. Milk Cake Recipe – This is a simple recipe—and you’ll be able to use your well-seasoned cast-iron skillet to make it. The result of your effort is a light, airy cake.
  9. Banana Skillet Upside-Down Cake Recipe – Sometimes I add drained maraschino cherries to this banana skillet dessert and serve it with a ice cream
  10. Gooey Texas Sheet Cake Skillet – I know making Texas Sheet Cake in a Skillet technically makes it NOT Texas Sheet Cake.
  11. Skillet Peach and Blueberry Cake – This Peach and Blueberry Cake is moist, sweetened with brown sugar, for great flavor and topped with a pretty peach and blueberry decoration.
  12. Guest-at-the-Doorstep Apple-Berry Charlotte – Classic Soviet cuisine abounded in nifty quick recipes for unexpected guests. This puffy dessert requires only sliced tart apples, a few handfuls of berries and a simple batter.
  13. Chocolate Churro Dip – When churros met Nutella, your world became a better place.
  14. Death by Chocolate Skillet Brownie – Chocolate is commonly called an aphrodisiac, and when you dig your spoon in a gooey, warm bite of this triple chocolate skillet brownie, you’ll totally know why.
  15. Gooey Sugar Cookie Caramel Pudding Cake – This Sugar Cookie Caramel Pudding Cake is a warm, sugar cookie cake sitting on top of a layer of gooey caramel!
  16. Easy, 30 minute Cinnamon Roll Skillet Cake – Simple, no-yeast, time saving cinnamon rolls made in a skillet and covered with a creamy glaze. This cinnamon roll skillet cake takes less than 10 minutes to assemble and is a crowd-pleasing dessert!
  17. Peanut Butter Swirl GF Brownies – This brownie is amazing on two levels: first, it utilizes a cast iron skillet for baking, which ensures an evenly crisp brownie crust and fudgy center. Second, the bake time is around the 35 minute mark, and you can wow guests at the end of the meal with a dessert everyone can dive into.
  18. Vanilla Sugar Skillet Cake – This Vanilla Sugar Skillet Cake Recipe is baked in a cast iron skillet and uses basic pantry ingredients. It’s light, moist and delicious!

Best Cast Iron Skillet Recipes?

Do you have a cast iron skillet recipe that you think people should know about? Send it to us and we will add it to this post!

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Top 18 Holiday Bargains for Stocking Up

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The holidays are the perfect time for stocking up! Here are 18 bargains to look for. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comBeginning in October every year, grocery stores begin prominently displaying all types of food typically used in holiday cooking and baking. Every grocery store I’ve been to in the past couple of months has their holiday bargains right out front and center.

For Survival Moms who want to stock up their food pantry, this is an ideal time to take advantage of the coupons and sales that also come at this time of year. Today I took a look at this week’s grocery ads, and here’s a master list of items you may want to grab before the holiday season ends.

  • Ham and Turkey
    • Both of these can be frozen and/or canned to provide meals well into the New Year. A frozen turkey can remain frozen and still be safe to eat for up to a year. 
    • Stuck with a lot of leftover ham or turkey? Here’s a list of great recipes for turkey and more for ham that will give you something fresh and delicious to make with those leftovers.
  • Fresh oranges
    • Once the orange has been eaten, dry the peels and create your own orange zest for recipes throughout the year. If you end up with more zest than you think you’ll use within 6 months or so, use a Food Saver to vacuum seal the remaining zest in a pouch for longer term storage.
    • Speaking of a vacuum sealer, I highly recommend that you use it for vacuum sealing canning jars filled with foods of all kinds. It really is a must-have for a prepper’s kitchen.
  • Coffee
    • Grocery stores know that coffee is part of holiday entertaining, so you’re going to find lots of coffee brands on sale. Coffee beans, and especially green, unroasted coffee beans, will have the longest shelf life, but you can still repackage both beans and ground coffee in canning jars using the Food Saver jar attachment to suck out all the air/oxygen or seal the coffee in plastic pouches using your vacuum sealer.
    • Coffee is definitely worth stocking up on, but be sure to keep it stored in a cool, dark, and dry location. Even so, it will have its freshest flavor if used within just a couple of months.
  • Nuts
    • Again, this is the season for baking all types of treats and many of my favorite recipes include nuts. You’ll find nuts on sale but keep an eye on prices because they are still generally a higher priced grocery item.
    • If you do find a bargain, store those nuts in a cool, dry, dark location, and, if possible, vacuum pack them using a Food Saver. This will help the nuts stay fresh and stave off their tendency to go rancid.
  • Fresh fruit
    • Depending on where you live, you may find low prices on blueberries, blackberries, pomegranates, pineapple, oranges, and a lot more.
    • Dehydrating fruit is very simple and food dehydrators don’t have to cost a lot of money. I found mine on Craigslist several years ago for $30 and it still works fine. The Excalibur dehydrator is considered top of the line, and maybe if you have Christmas gift money, this might be a good time to buy!
    • You can also freeze fruit and even can it, so stocking up now on fruits that are in season is a very smart thing to do. Just make sure you budget your time so all that yummy stuff won’t rot during an especially busy time of year.
  • Butter
    • Right now my favorite grocery store has a pound of butter for $2.50. That’s the lowest price I’ve seen in a while. Butter can easily be frozen, at one time I had 40 pounds of it in our big freezer!
    • I’ve heard of canning butter but am not convinced it’s the safest thing to do.
  • Alcohol
    • Call me crazy, but it never hurts to have a few bottles of whisky or vodka around. Even if you’re not much of a drinker, vodka can be useful in making tinctures and from what I’ve heard, whiskey has medicinal uses as well. This article explains why preppers should stock up on alcohol.
    • If you’re thinking of stocking up on bottles of alcohol as a product for barter, stick with hard liquor: vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whiskey and brandy, as they can all have indefinite shelf lives.
    • Learn how to make your own wine with instructions from a book like this one
  • Potatoes, both fresh and instant
    • Potatoes can be peeled, sliced, and dehydrated by following these steps.
    • When stored in a very cool location, around 45 to 50 degrees, they can stay fresh for up to 3 months.
    • Instant mashed potatoes come in handy for quick meals. However, they will need to be repackaged for a longer shelf life. Read these instructions. Once repackaged, I highly recommend placing them in the freezer for at least a week in order to kill any microscopic insect eggs that might be present.
    • Here’s a terrific collection of awesome potato recipes.
  • Canned vegetables
    • Store these in a cool location and they can last for more than a year. Do circle the “Best By” date and then open a can every so often to check for color and flavor.
    • You can always drain the veggies and dry them on your dehydrator trays for even longer shelf life.
  • Over-the-Counter meds for coughs and cold symptoms
    • These generally have a shelf life of more than a year.
    • During the winter months, you’ll also find coupons for these for added savings.
  • Batteries
    • Retailers aren’t stupid. They know that for every battery-operated gift purchased, someone is going to need batteries! Keep an eye out for coupons and combine them with store sales.
    • Batteries are among the most useful items you can stock up on, so go crazy when you find a really good deal!
  • Not-just-for-Christmas wrapping paper
    • Who said that white wrapping paper with red polka dots is just for Christmas? When you find wrapping paper that will be perfectly fine throughout the year, buy it!
  • Gravy and gravy mixes
    • There’s nothing like homemade gravy, but there’s also nothing handier than opening a jar of gravy and pouring it over mashed potatoes! A few jars of gravy in the pantry just might save dinner one day soon!
    • Gravy packets are great as a stock-up item. They have very long shelf lives, can be prepared quickly, and can make items as plain as white rice pretty tasty. I recommend a stash of these for a bare-bones food storage plan like this one.
  • Frozen pies
    • Now, you wouldn’t ordinarily think of a pie when it comes to stocking up, but one or two in the freezer can come in handy.
    • Think about any special occasions coming up, potlucks, parties — any even where you might have to make dessert. Now think about how busy you’re going to be this year. A frozen pie looks like a better and better idea, doesn’t it?
  • Baking staples
    • Sugar, flour, baking powder, chocolate chips — you’ll find all these and a lot more on sale. And, all of them can be stored long-term.
    • Flour, in particular, must be repackaged. Read this to learn how.
    • Watch this video to learn how to store things like chocolate chips, shortening, and candy.
  • Snack foods
    • Grocery stores know that serving appetizers and snacks are a part of the holidays. You’ll find things like Triscuits and other crackers on sale, along with pretzels and chips. If you find these at a great price, stock up and plan on portioning them into snack bags for your kids’ lunches.
  • Chex cereals
    • Everybody and their dog is going to be making one variation of Chex mix or another, so why not stock up on several boxes for breakfasts or other recipes?
    • If you want to store Chex or any other cereal for long term, follow the instructions in the video I mentioned above or package the cereal in mylar bags with an oxygen absorber. This package includes both the bags and the absorbers.
  • Canned soups
    • Like most other canned foods, soups can have a long shelf life if stored in a cool location.
    • Buy soup flavors that your family members enjoy and soups that you normally use in recipes.

What other foods that are on sale during the holidays do you stock up on?

How To Bake Without an Oven – Woodstove Bakes

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Baking Without an Oven – Woodstove Bakes One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is the food; the baked goods, in particular. Living off-grid doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some fresh baking.  On Homestead Honey, there is an article on how to bake in your woodstove during the winter.  This seems like a …

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16 Bread Baking Tips Your Grandma Forgot To Tell You

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16 Bread Baking Tips Your Grandma Forgot To Tell You If you have ever made bread you should know how wonderful it smells and tastes, there is nothing quite like it, in my opinion. These days you can get pre-made mixes that you just add water to and put into a bread machine but did …

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Make Your Own Yeast

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make your own yeast

If you’ve been prepping for any length of time, you undoubtedly have several pounds of wheat berries stored away.  You may also have experimented with making your own wonderfully delicious breads.  The downside of long-term prepping and bread making is keeping active yeast on hand.  The average “best by” date on yeast is 2 years.  Once opened, it must be kept cool and dry. In a refrigerator, yeast can remain good for up to 4 months; in the freezer for 6 months.

Occasionally there are people who have had success with older yeast, but the bottom line is that store bought yeast is for short-term. If you have store-bought yeast, stored longer than the above mentioned time frames, follow this simple test to see if it’s still active. A container of yeast that isn’t active anymore should be thrown out.

How to proof yeast

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in 1/2 C warm water from the tap. Between 110°F-115°F is most effective. The only way to really be sure about the temperature is to use a thermometer. When it doubt, the water from your faucet should be warm but NOT hot to the touch.

Stir in your dry yeast, either one 1/4 oz. packet (7g) or 2 1/4 tablespoons of granulated yeast. Most people say that the yeast should be brought to room temperature first, but I have always had good luck when using it straight from the freezer.

It only takes three or four minutes for the yeast to “wake up” and start to rise. After ten minutes, the surface of your yeast-water mixture should have a foamy top. If so, then congratulations! You have active yeast! It should be used immediately. Most recipes take into account the liquid needed to proof yeast. If yours does not, deduct 1/2 cup of liquid from your recipe if you proof yeast with this method.

A good way to tell if your yeast has risen sufficiently is to use a 1 C measuring cup. If the yeast foam reaches the top, you’re good to go. If your yeast has an insufficient rise, it will not be any good for baking. Best to throw out the entire container.

Learn how to make your own yeast

If you can’t get to a grocery store for Fleischman’s, what’s the alternative?  Try growing your own yeast!  Here are a few methods that should fit most needs and skill levels.  Depending on the availability of the items listed below, choose one that best fits you, your region, and your personal stockpile.

Raisin / Fruit Yeast


  • Clean Glass jar.  (24oz. or larger) Sterilize in hot water and allow it to dry.
  • Water. Clean, filtered, or bottled is good.  Tap water can be used, depending on your local conditions. Warning:  Too much chlorine in your water, or water that is too basic, can kill the yeast.
  • Raisins or other fruit. Most fruits have traces of yeast on their skins. Note that you may not get as good of a result with fruit that has been washed and waxed.


  1. Place three to four tablespoons of raisins in your jar.  Adding a few tablespoons of honey or sugar will facilitate the fermentation process.
  2. Fill the jar ¾ full with water.  Place the lid on the jar lightly.  Do NOT tighten the lid – you will want to allow some air to escape.
  3. Place jar at a constant room temperature.  Do not allow the jar to get cold.  This will kill off the yeast and stop the process.
  4. Stir at least once a day for three to four days.
  5. When bubbles form on the top and you smell a wine-like fermentation you have yeast.  The raisins, or fruit, should be floating.
  6. Place your new yeast in the refrigerator.

Yeast from Grain/ Sourdough Starter

Yeast is already present on grain.  All you need to do is to cultivate it in a manner similar to the above instructions. Here is a basic recipe for sourdough starter.


  • 1 1/4 C unbleached all purpose flour or milled wheat berries
  • 1 C clean warm water
  • 1 sterile jar with cheesecloth or lid


  1. Mix the flour and warm water, and keep at room temperature.
  2. After several days, the mixture will start to bubble and will begin to rise.
  3. Keep your starter in the refrigerator when not in use. Use as you would any sourdough starter.

Yeast from Potatoes

The starch in potatoes make it another prime candidate for yeast production.


  • 1 unpeeled medium-sized potato
  • 4 C warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 quart jar


  1. Rinse your potato to remove dirt, but don’t scrub it too much.
  2. Cut it into pieces to facilitate cooking, then boil until cooked through.
  3. Drain, and save the water.
  4. Mash the potato and add sugar and salt.
  5. Allow mixture to cool until it is at room temperature.
  6. Add water to the potato mash until whole mixture equals 1 quart.
  7. Cover and let sit in a warm place and allow it to ferment for several days.

SPI 728x90

Feeding the Starter

Once you have created your own yeast, you need to “feed” it regularly.   This means adding 1 cup flour and 1 cup water to the mix so that the yeast can keep growing. You will need to feed the starter daily if it is at room temperature, or weekly if it is in the fridge. If you don’t bake bread that day, you will also need to toss out one cup of the starter after feeding so that the ratios stay the same. This is an important step, and can be a great motivator to bake regularly so that none of your hard work goes to waste! Yeast starters are one thing you will not want to throw in the compost pile, as the bacteria can grow out of control and give you a very unpleasant result.

No matter which method you choose, making your own yeast is a skill that dates back thousands of years.  Continue researching the sources provided to find other ideas, methods, and tips.  Begin practicing and post your results.  Feel free to add your own ideas and advice in the comment section below.

WANT MORE “FROM-SCRATCH” RECIPES? Download Survival Mom’s free ebook, “Switch From Store-Bought to Homemade.”

This article, written by Right Wing Mom, was originally published in 2011. It has been updated and revised.

make your own yeast

Solavore Sport Oven Review & Giveaway!

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solavore oven review

I have been using the Solavore Sport Oven for the past month and had an opportunity to review this product.

When the unit arrived, I noticed that it was lightweight, and it was easy to put all the “parts” together. This is just a matter of putting together 3 pieces: the black oven itself, the plastic top, and the reflector panels, which line the oven. It came with a WAPI stick to confirm you have achieved water pasteurization, which is a handy survival tool to have on hand. Since the easiest test of all is the heating of water,  I thought I’d try that first as part of my Solavore review. The weather was optimal, because the sun was out, it was around 45-50 degrees, but breezy.

I put cold tap water in my quart Mason jar, and suspended the WAPI stick so that it remained in the center of the jar. Then I placed the lid on, and reflector panels. I went to do some outdoor work and checked on it 30 minutes later. The interior temperature of the Solavore was already up to 220 and there was some condensation on the inside of the oven’s lid. The wax in the WAPI had already flipped from one side of the tube to the other end, indicating the water had achieved pasteurization. Since the water was nice and hot,  I used it to make a pot of hot tea!

Main dishes in the Solavore

Next, I wanted to try a main dish, so I decided to make Chicken Cacciatore. Weather conditions were in the mid-fifties, sunny, and breezy. I started with four large partially frozen chicken breasts. I placed two in each black enamel pan and added a quart of store bought spaghetti sauce, fresh basil, and garlic. I put the lids on and placed them in the oven. After an hour or so, I could actually smell the chicken, but I didn’t want to open it up and peek. I didn’t want to risk losing the heat that had built up. I did occasionally rotate the oven for optimal sun.

After about 4 ½ hours later, I had to check it, because of how good it smelled. To my surprise, it was completely done. The chicken was tender, juicy, and it easily pulled apart with just a fork. (I made my pasta on the stove, because the unit was full of my Chicken Cacciatore.) I plated it up, and added parmesan cheese. The slow cooking had infused the sauce and chicken with the basil and garlic. It was delicious and my family loved it.

The next time weather permitted, I made two pans of bratwurst and onions for some company I was expecting. The brats were defrosted, and I placed them on top of the sliced onions, and into the Solavore. Weather conditions were full sun, low 60’s, and breezy. This time it only took 3 hours for it to be fully cooked and BROWNED, which I didn’t expect. I didn’t realize how much water onions contained, because I had quite a bit of liquid at the bottom of the pan. It looked more like soup, so I drained it, and it was fine. I served it with hot dog buns, and everyone raved about it.

A few days later, I went to my mom’s for the day to mow her large property. I thought I’d get the meal started before leaving, and then get to work on her yard. This meal was two pans each of a 3-pound, mostly frozen chuck roast, pound of halved potatoes, and a pound of mini carrots. No water was added. Weather conditions were favorable that day with full sun, 60 degree temperatures, and breezy.

LEARN MORE: You can read all about the Solavore at their website.

I put the Solavore in full sun at 10:30 am, and stopped at 2:00 to check it. It smelled good, but when I lifted the lid, I knew it wasn’t going to be ready for dinner. I ended up quartering the roasts, mixing all the contents, and put the lids back on. I checked again at 5:30, and it was completely done. It smelled heavenly, was nicely browned, and everything was simmering in a tasty broth. The meat had fallen off the bone. My dogs were happy to get those!

Solavore cooks up a great dessert

Lastly, I wanted to bake something to see how the Solavore performed in that capacity. I decided to make a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. First, I put a stick and a half of butter in the pan to melt. Then, I  added  brown sugar, pineapple rings, and maraschino cherries. I mixed up a store-bought yellow cake mix, poured it over the top, put it in the oven, and then drove it to work!

I placed the oven in the parking lot where I could see it. It was about 60 degrees outside, mild, but 50% cloudy, so I left the reflector panels on it. About 3 hours later, I checked, and the cake was golden brown. It smelled just like warm pineapple. I inverted the cake onto a tray and was amazed at how pretty it looked. It tasted just as good if not better than a conventional oven. I think the moisture stays in the cake instead of escaping and you can really tell the difference. I noted that the cake rose properly, and the bottom wasn’t burned. It was truly remarkable.

My Solavore review verdict

After trying out the Solavore Sport Oven, I am impressed with this product. It is very versatile, and can really cook anything. I can make enough food for 8 people, maybe more if you include kids. I also researched the price, and found it retails for about $229.00, which is significantly lower than other brands.

My top heat was 250-260 degrees, which was sufficient for any of the food I made. When I made the chuck roast at my mom’s (Hi Mom!), I drove home with the meal in the oven, and it retained the temperature, so my food was still piping hot 20 minutes later. I like the fact you can quickly pasteurize water. Even on a mostly cloudy day, its easy to get the WAPI to 150 degrees.

The only thing I did to improve the unit’s efficiency was to prop a tree branch under it during afternoon hours to catch more of the sun. Overall, I  give the Solavore Sport Oven 5 out of 5 stars for:

  • Doing exactly what it promised to do
  • Its versatility
  • Competitive price
  • It’s environmentally friendly
  • Lightweight and easily transported

Thanks, Solavore for a quality product. The company provided me with an oven but in no way attempted to influence my review.

Now for the giveaway!

Win a Solavore Sport Oven! This giveaway begins at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, May 25, and ends at midnight on Monday, May 30. One winner will be selected at random and notified via email within 48 hours. Winner must respond with a valid shipping address within 72 hours or the prize is forfeited and another winner will be selected.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

solavore oven review

Broiling and Baking!

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Broiling and Baking James Walton “I Am Liberty” For week two of the I AM Liberty series of cooking methods we are going to move the conversation over to the dry side. Week one was all about the wonders of braising. This week we are going to talk broiling and baking. Do you even use … Continue reading Broiling and Baking!

The post Broiling and Baking! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Encore post: Make your won Copycat Little Caeser’s Pizza Dough!

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The following is an Encore post that was originally published in 2010.  It is one of the most popular posts on this blog, so we thought we would share it again for those who may not have had the chance to see it.  Happy baking!

Copycat “Little Caesar’s Pizza Dough”

I have your attention with that title don’t I?  We are continuing to focus on unique ways to use your flour.  This recipe can make some wonderful things.  It comes from a post from “Savory Seasoning” (See the recipe at the bottom of this post!).  My thanks to this blog for posting this fabulous recipe!

Now, we are not just going to make pizza.  We are going to make this a matter of convenience.  In all seriousness, that is exactly what we are going to do.  Remember that Bread maker we pulled out a few weeks ago, it should still be easy to access at this point.  Get it out.


The reason we are going to use this machine, is that it will do all the work.  This is very important to the LRH, and most likely everyone else, because I have a long list of things to do every day.  So, on a day you are home, and still have that long list, you can make up several batches of this and save them for later.

Pour in your warm water.

 Put in all your dry ingredients (yeast, sugar, salt).  Then add your honey, olive oil and flour.

Turn it on your dough cycle and leave!


 When the cycle is done, take the dough out and punch it down.

Place the dough into a gallon zip-lock bag.  My sister states that she keeps her bags and uses them over and over to put this same dough in.

This is how it looks just after I zipped the bag.

Put it in the refrigerator overnight.

This is how it looks the next day.

Lessons to be learned:

  •  It took me about 3 minutes to put everything into the bread machine
  • I only used my Food Storage ingredients.
  • I got a lot done while the bread machine did the work for me…..did you catch that?  It did the work for me.
  • Convenience:  If you make several batches in a day, you have dough for other days.  How does that work?  Take it out of the refrigerator, punch it down, wrap it in plastic wrap and get about 3 balls of dough into that same zip-lock bag and freeze them.  On the day you want to use it, take it out in the morning and let it defrost in your refrigerator.  By dinner time, it is ready to go.
  • It is a lot less expensive to make this from scratch than to purchase dough from the store or from a mix.
  • The hands on time was less than 10 minutes per batch.
  • You can make more than Pizza dough with this.  The first thought are those wonderful bread sticks that can be made.  Watch the blog for more ideas of how to use it.

Here is the recipe for “Little Caesars Pizza Dough”.  

Little Caesars Pizza Dough
1 1/4 cups (9.7 oz) warm water (approximately 120° F)
2 3/4 tsp. dry active yeast
2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP Honey 
1 TBSP Olive Oil 
2 Tsp. Salt
1 1/2 cups (8 oz.) bread flour or all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (8 oz.) whole wheat flour (optional, can use 100% bread flour or all purpose flour)
Mix water and yeast in mixing bowl and allow it to proof for 5 minutes. Mix in sugar, honey and oil. Then mix in 1 cup flour and the salt. Continue mixing in all the remaining flour until you get a nice, soft dough. Knead until dough is soft and smooth (approx. 10 minutes). 
Finish kneading on a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Place in the refrigerator in a covered container coated with olive oil for overnight. For the perfect flavor, it is best to time making the dough 24 hours before baking the pizza’s (for pizza Saturday at 5pm, make your dough Friday at 5pm). If you are short on time you can sacrifice some flavor and make this dough first thing in the morning and place it in the fridge until dinner that evening. 
3 hours before baking: Remove from fridge and either divide dough in half for two 12” pizzas or leave whole for one somewhat thicker 16” pizza. Work each piece of dough into balls. Allow the dough to come back to room temperature (this process generally takes 3 hours).
45 minutes before baking: With your pizza stone on the bottom rack of your oven, preheat your oven to 475° F to allow the stone to get hot enough (this process generally takes 40-50 minutes).
15 minutes before baking: Shape dough into desired pizza crust, sprinkle pizza peel, wooden cutting board or upside down cookie sheet with corn meal, flour or rice flour. Place pizza crust on top, then add toppings. Gently slide pizza onto the hot pizza stone and bake for 9-11 minutes. 

Try it today!

It’s a Matter of Cutting Cinnamon Roll Dough…with a Twist

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I love Cinnamon Rolls…..don’t you?  Making them takes some time, but the end result is such a reward.  I recently was spending time with my sweet Mother. She was making Cinnamon Rolls.  I had forgotten about a technique she uses to cut her rolls.  Without using this technique, you rolls can be flat and misshapen.  Are you ready to learn from the best? 

Cutting Cinnamon Rolls with….Dental Floss:

After preparing the dough, brushing with butter and placing your cinnamon-sugar it is time to roll and cut your rolls.  My Mother states that you carefully roll you dough and pinch the edges together.  Shape the roll into a nice even roll.
My Mother takes a length of….Dental Floss.  That’s right, dental floss.  Slide it under the roll to the desired width of the roll you desire.
Cross the ends over each other at the top of the roll.
See the crossed dental floss at the top? Pull the string at both ends and cut the roll.  
See the beautiful slice?
See how beautiful they look when they are placed on the cookie sheet?

Try it!

How To Make Bannock Bread

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Bannock bread, one staple recipe no self respecting outdoorsman/survivalist/prepper can live without. I hate to call this a recipe post, as the bannock recipes are as numerous as flame wars over the best rifle for TEOTWAWKI. Basically, bannock is a quick bread – it can be applied to any flat roundish food made out of […]

The post How To Make Bannock Bread appeared first on Shepherd School – Home for DIY Prepper Projects.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

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This may be another perfect Short Term Food Storage item. Every disaster pantry needs some kind of common treats such as cookies that can be baked in a camp stove Coleman Oven or on a rocket stove with the camp stove oven on top of it or in an RV kitchen. Goodies can make difficult survival times tolerable.
The other day I was at WalMart looking for some different types of storable foods and came across this Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. Now I know just about anyone can bake Chocolate Chip Cookies because there’s a number of refrigerated ready to bake versions or simply buying enough of the ingredients and create them from scratch.
This mix caught my eye because shelf life according to this box is one year and it was just $2.50 for a double batch. A batch is 24 full-size cookies (2 tablespoons of dough). Everything you need including the chocolate chips is in the mix except for one egg (could use egg powder) and ¼ cup oil or use 1 stick of butter and water. I like oil because I stock it. This is simple and I like simple when it comes to stored foods and their preparations.
Best part? These cookies taste great, perfect texture and have lots of chips in them. This mix recipe does not let the cookies spread out flat and thin like the Toll-House and other recipes do. Worth a try, I’m sure you’ll like them! I have baked six batches so far and they are in the freezer waiting! 😀
Front of the box.

The two individual mix bags, one for each batch.
One batch ready for the oven. I use a fork and slightly press each dough ball slightly flat.
Fresh out of the oven. Notice how high they are!

On the cooling rack.
Here’s the scoop I use for baking and cooking. They’re sold by the Number 1,2,3,4 etc, but mine was made in China and not identified. It is however 1 5/8 diameter and is just shy of 2 tablespoons. It’s also great for portioning meatballs.
The scoop filled with cookie dough, 2 tablespoons.
Today 9-22-15, I baked the same Walmart prepackaged cookie mix only today it was “Peanut Butter” and they are delicious. Again everything is in the package so all you add is one egg and 3 tablespoons of oil.

Side note, I store food in two, time groups:

“Short Term” is food that lasts 2 years or less just about everything you purchase from a supermarket be it pouched, boxed and can foods.

“Long Term” is generally dry bulk food that can store up to 20 or more years. 

Cookies, Oatmeal Peanut Butter

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Here at Living Prepared my focus is to be able to live comfortably along with eating well in a long term ‘Grid Down’ disaster scenario which I believe would be the worst kind of disaster we could face.

Today I made a batch of Oatmeal Cookies, a simple and quick recipe all from my long term stored foods.


Makes about 50 cookies.

3 cups rolled oats

2 cups whole wheat milled flour

1 cup peanut butter

2 cups light brown sugar

1¼ cups water

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp salt


In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients together.

Then add and combine in all the liquids.

Drop a rounded heaping tablespoonful onto an lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake @ 350f degrees for 18 minutes.

Currant Season!

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I love the wild currants, but I gotta say the picking is quite labor intensive.

It’s THAT time of year again, when the currants begin to ripen and are ready to be picked and dried for the year.  It always manages to happen when the weather gets hot, meaning any foraging trips require plenty of water, cooling clothing, and in this Ginger’s case, plenty of sunscreen.

But the effort is worth it.

I use wild currants in a lot of my baked goods, including my homemade brioche, muffins, and pancakes.  And earlier this year Dave McCallum soaked them in whiskey for our Valentine’s Day Gluten Free Foraged Cake!


This is my brioche, mid bake, with dried currants from a nearby park.

So I think this week I’ll be taking Hunny B. out to my favorite currant picking spot to gather and dry enough berries to get us through the year.  I don’t need many, the flavor is very strong so usually less than a gallon is enough to get us through til next season.

But I’d better do it soon.  Carolina’s parents are visiting from Chile at the end of the month and love my Wild Currant Brioche.

Just remember, whenever you forage, to use proper foraging etiquette.

Oh!  I almost forgot – speaking of Chile, we’re back with new episodes on Memorial Day!  We start with a trip to Chile, with urban foraging, a live volcano, and a hike to a glacier that gets us in a little over our heads.  Don’t miss it!