Ginger Pear Crisp Recipe

* 6 pears, peeled and sliced (I didn’t peel the pears; too much work, especially when the peel is actually quite good)
* 1 TBSP ground ginger
* 1/2 C. brown sugar
* 2 tsp ground cinnamon
* 2 TBSP butter, cut into bits

Topping:
* 1/4 c. flour (we used freshly ground whole wheat)
* 3/4 c. oats
* 1/4 c. brown sugar
* 1/4 c. sugar
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 6 TBSP butter

Toss first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a buttered baking dish.
Using a fork, combine the topping ingredients. Spread over pears. Bake at 350 degrees (fahrenheit) for 30 minutes, or until brown & bubbly.
The original recipe called for raisins to be mixed in with the pears; I think they’d prove an un-necessary distraction, but perhaps you feel differently.

~~~
Note: I happen to know that this is good becaus there was a whole pan left when I went to my grandparents’ this morning, and when I returned in the afternoon it was gone. Not a smidgen left. Very frustrating, and nothing left to do but bury myself in the solace of a big mug of chocolate milk.

Reposted at The Common Kitchen

Posted in cookery | 3 Comments

Frugal Tips for Disaster Preparedness

As we noted here previously, September is, ironically, disaster preparedness month. Throughout the month we’ll be posting some ideas for preparing an emergency kit without sending the budget in cardiac arrest.

Today I’ll be listing a few foods that do not need to be cooked, although you will need a tool or two.

Nonfood item to add to your kit: A decent can opener. If possible, get a good pocketknife/leatherman tool for your purse, too. Some utensils, especially spoons or forks to scrape out contents of cans.

1. Ramen Noodles. Yes, Ramen Noodles. I had to laugh when I read some Katrina coverage where a reporter, wanting to illustrate how desperately hungry a man was, told how he was eating dried ramen noodles. The reporter claimed that ” ‘It tastes like chips,’ the man said hopefully.” I suspect that the ‘hopefully’ was the reporter’s opinion substituted for straight reporting. I wish he’d asked the man if he’d ever eaten Ramen noodles that way before the storm. I bet he had. Some 13 years ago or so friends of ours from Hawaii told us that raw, uncooked, crunchy ramen noodles are a popular snack for school children. You gently crunch up the noodles while still in the bag. Then you open one end of the bag and pull out the foil seasoning packet. Sprinkle about half of the seasoning packet over the dry noodles in the bag. SAve the other half packet of seasoning- you can add that to bean soups, instant mashed potatoes, and use it for seasoning soups, broths, and meat if you are so lucky as to have meat to cook. Eat the dried ramen noddle bits with your fingers, just like chips.
Ramen noodles are cheap, cheap, cheap. They are not terribly nutritious, but they will serve to keep your belly full, they are a comfort food for many, and they are lightweight, which is a plus if you have to carry your emergency supplies.

Tuna Fish- watch for sales and use coupons to do this frugally. Drain the liquid and use it to reconstitute dried onions or to add to liquid for soups- unless you hate fish. But then, if you hate fish, you won’t want tuna anyway.

Peanut Butter- watch for sales and use coupons. Also if you are on WIC you are eligible to get free peanut butter. PUt a jar or two in your emergency stash.

Dried fruits- these do not need to be reconstituted. Raisins are cheapest. Dried tomatoes taste great. You can dry your own or buy dried fruit in bags and boxes. I notice in our areas the local pharmacies have very good deals on boxes of dried fruit in the fall. Also try a local dollar store if you have those.

Jars of nuts- peanuts will probably be the cheapest, but you might score a good sale.

Granola bars, fruit bars, breakfast bars, poptarts- these things are fairly self explanatory. Again, watch for sales and use coupons whenever possible.

Tofu in asceptic packaging- I know a lot of people think soy is really bad for you, and I know a lot of people wouldn’t touch tofu with a barge pole. But we like it. This is an item that is very frugal if you buy through a cooperative grocery warehouse such as Blooming Prairie or at a military commissary. Some asian grocery stores adn market may have it at a reasonable price, too. Here where we live, the local grocery store marks it up so high that it is not a frugal food.

beef jerky- this is another item that can be quite pricey. You can sometimes find it inexpensively at the dollar store, or you can make your own.

Landjaeger sausage – keeps very well and does not need refrigeration. I believe the German Army travled on these for decades. How expensive it is depends largely on being in the right place at the right time.

Honey

Canned fruit- never throw away the juice from canned fruits and vegetables. Drnk it or bring it with you. Do not throw it away.

Instant pudding, powdered milk, and water (or liquid from canned fruit- stir together to make the pudding.

Vitamins

Candy- this will depend on where you live. In Alaska chocolate is just fine. In LA, I imagine it’s a sticky, nasty mess.

A few boxes of crackers

Caned (sheesh) Canned Veggies.

There are others, I ‘ma sure. I am equally sure that those of us who live in earthquake prone areas will need to prepare and store prepoarations differently than those who live in Hurricane country. Know your area, know the types of needs you are most likely to have, and stock with your family in mind.

Remember to rotate through your supplies, replacing them and eating the older stock. This is important for two reasons- one is to keep your supplies in good order. The second is because it is important to be familiar with these foods. In an emergency you don’t want to be experimenting. You want to be serving meals that are familiar, and even comfortable, to all.

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Shakespeare Narration from the FYB

Valentines and Profeus was friends. And Profeus loved a beautiful lady.
(the Boy wrinkles his nose in disgust and continues) He was so in love with her that that is the end of my narration.

Valentine and Proteus appear in Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona

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Ginger Pear Crisp Recipe

* 6 pears, peeled and sliced (I didn’t peel the pears; too much work, especially when the peel is actually quite good)
* 1 TBSP ground ginger
* 1/2 C. brown sugar
* 2 tsp ground cinnamon
* 2 TBSP butter, cut into bits

Topping:
* 1/4 c. flour (we used freshly ground whole wheat)
* 3/4 c. oats
* 1/4 c. brown sugar
* 1/4 c. sugar
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 6 TBSP butter

Toss first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a buttered baking dish.
Using a fork, combine the topping ingredients. Spread over pears. Bake at 350 degrees (fahrenheit) for 30 minutes, or until brown & bubbly.
The original recipe called for raisins to be mixed in with the pears; I think they’d prove an un-necessary distraction, but perhaps you feel differently.

~~~
Note: I happen to know that this is good becaus there was a whole pan left when I went to my grandparents’ this morning, and when I returned in the afternoon it was gone. Not a smidgen left. Very frustrating, and nothing left to do but bury myself in the solace of a big mug of chocolate milk.

Reposted at The Common Kitchen

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Copywork

Today for Copywork, JennyAnyDots and I were supposed to use a poem of our choice. Jenny did “Death, Be Not Proud” by John Donne, and I did High Flight, but Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr. who was in the RCAF.

“High Flight”

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Blogs to Read Today

Today an extra special focus on the mil-blogs. I love these guys.

So go read Mudville and BlackFive already, although today they are angry enough that there’s some rough language (Mudville is usually pretty careful about it, BlackFive less so).

You especially want:
Greyhawk’s Wet Shoes- that’s where you’ll find the explanation for the picture I’ve shared in this post.
Mrs. Greyhawk’s Outstanding Morning Patrol

BlackFive’s The Ones Who Stayed

And his list of other countries who have generously offered help makes a very heartwarming read.

Junkyard has more government 101 for those who still think the Feds can just walk into a state and take charge.

This article from the Army Tiems was linked in the comments at Junkyard Blog’s FEMA post.

And here’s a new-to-me blog, Cy-Fair, with a very interesting transcript from Larry King’s interview with General Blum, including these concluding remarks “The big issue is that we have to find and know where the need is to get it there. Just sending supplies is no good unless it gets into the hands of those who needs it. And that’s what we’re working very hard — and we are in support, Larry, it’s very important everybody needs to know this in the country, that we are in support of the lead federal agency. The civilian authorities are in charge. The apparatuses of government are still in charge. This is not martial law. This is the United States of America and its military responds to support the governors of these states are very capable of handling this problem with the resources that were seeing.”

And PUdge at Slashdot would like people to understand Federalism just a little better.

Update: forgot to mention the picture comes from Lucianne.

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Mary Queen of VietNam Church Survivors

Remember this post, where I shared this specific request for help found at the NOLA website:

“Story: Mary Queen of VN Church 5069 Willowbrook Drive, New Orleans, LA 70129

There are still approximately over 300 Vietnamese people stranded in
sewage water up to the necks in many areas gathered at the Church.
We’ve contacted USCG, Red Cross, news media but no help has come out to
their way yet. As you all know, Versailles is so far on the eastern edge
of New Orleans that by the time any helicopters come that way, they’re
already filled with people and have to turn back towards the Superdome
to drop people off. (I think this is the case but not sure)”

Blogger My Boaz’s Ruth points out that a good number of helicoptors flying overhead were not rescue choppers at all- they were media owned and operated, and their purpose was not save anybody but to give the reporters good film footage. Wonder if that might have been the case in this situation?

“We have been in touch with some of the people there thru one phone (a
land line in a residential home near the small church) for the past two
days but no help still. The people have been taking turns to keep
telephone watch to hear news. We managed to patch thru NBC via 3-way
calling around 3pm today but still no help.

The water is still rising in that area. The levees east (Lake
Pontchartrain) and south (Chalmette)of Versailles are the ones that have
been breached. Many of the people are growing weak and sick from lack of
food and water plus the heat. Some of them feel like they probably
won’t make it for the next day. Please people!!! do what you can to get
these people to save land.”

That story bothered me so much that I hunted down an email address for FEMA and emailed them to ask if they knew about the people trapped in the church building, and if they had somebody monitoring that website. FEMA emailed me back to say they did know about them, and they would be rescued. Given the conditions described above, I was horribly frightened that it would all be too late.

But maybe conditions were not quite so dreadful as that email made them sound. Via Mudville Gazette I find this article:

Not everyone was in a rush to leave. About 200 Vietnamese Americans from the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church in the Michoud neighborhood of New Orleans sat patiently on chairs, chatting and playing cards. They had decided to wait until the crowds jamming the bus lines had eased, said Viet Tran, 17.

“We’ve come through this together, as a group, so we want to wait till we can all go out together as a group,” Tran said.

Huh?

I’m really glad they seem to be okay.

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FEMA is not Your Daddy

And it’s not the first responder in a crisis, either. More on Louisiana’s own disaster plan and how the local and state authorities did not follow it, and why this is not FEMA’s fault, here.

As long as I have known anything at all about disaster preparedness, I have known that individuals are supposed to be prepared to have three days of supplies on hand because FEMA says it will take them three to four days to respond. They are being blamed for failing as First Responders- but they have never, ever told anybody that they would be.

(bonnet-tip to Lucianne)

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Frugal Guide To Disaster Preparedness

Today we will suggest four more easy, frugal items that will help improve the taste and comfort level of the bean flour soups and dried bean stews we’ve already talked about:

1. Salt and pepper (okay, that’s two)
2. dried, minced onion flakes
3. garlic powder
4. instant mashed potato flakes
5. Powdered Milk

These are all already dehydrated for you.=) Just add some potato flakes to the boiling water of any bean dish, and the two flavors blend well. It will slightly thicken the broth, and it will be a bit like a potato soup in flavor. These items are readily available at your grocery store, and if you watch for sales and use coupons, you can get them very inexpensively. Use them to thicken and flavor soups and stews. Or just use them for comfort foods like mashed potatoes- just boil liquid, add mashed potatoes and powdered milk, let stand, season to taste. Or add some minced onion to the boiling water at the same time as the potatoes for a more flavorful mashed potato dish.

Store these in ziplock bags or airtight cans or jars. Make sure you keep your emergency supplies together so you don’t have to hunt them down. If you keep some in your freezer, keep a box or plastic tote nearby with other supplies. You should also keep some emergency supplies in the trunk of your car, and some in backpacks for each family member in case you need to evacuate quickly.

Minced onion flakes are available in the spices and herb section of your grocery store. But they are also available in the bulk section of many health food stores, and that will be much cheaper. Cheaper still would be to be a member of a natural foods co-op and buy one pound at a time- although this is a larger chunk of money to lay out in one transaction, and thus will still be out of reach for many. You can dice onions in uniformly sized squares and dehydrate them yourself, although this useful website suggests that it’s not worth the hassle. Sometimes it might be, though.

Slice the onions into rings, then slice the rings into evenly sized squares. Spread them evenly on a cookie sheet (you might want to lightly grease it if it is not a teflon sheet). Preheat your oven at 150 degrees and leave the onions in there for about three hours. They should be brittle when done. The stronger the flavor of your onion, the more flavor the dried pieces will have. To reconstitute, ideally you will want to soak the onions in about the same amount of liquid- so 1/2 cup dried onion would soak in 1/2 a cup of liquid. Ideally it would soak for an hour or two and then you’d use it just like chopped onion- but an emergency seldom gives us ideal situations. You can just add it to your meal, mash it with a brick to make onion powder (it will reconstitute more quickly), of, if necessary, eat it as is for ‘onion chips.’ If you can store it in a dry, airtight jar or bag in a cool area, it will keep about four to six months. If it is stored in a warmer location, replace with freshly dried onions and use it in your cooking after two or three months.

Thus far all we have discussed are water sources (water in bottles, and a bottle of bleach you can use to purify contaminated water), bean flours, soup broth powders, dehydrated beans, salt, dried minced onion, garlic powder, and powdered milk.
If you are going to be able to cook any of these things, you need to make sure you have matches and a lighter or two- these are also things you can add to your supplies without spending much money.
You may end up cooking on the grill, or you may have to cook over a campfire. Or maybe you won’t be able to cook at all? Then what? That’s for next time.

Posted in frugalities | 6 Comments

Copywork

Today for Copywork, JennyAnyDots and I were supposed to use a poem of our choice. Jenny did “Death, Be Not Proud” by John Donne, and I did High Flight, but Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr. who was in the RCAF.

“High Flight”

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments