Looks like more inflation is coming. Time to stock up more!

November 30, 2011

    I think what the Central banks have done with Quantitative Easing  on a world wide scale will result in inflation with a vengeance in 3- 6 months. You don’t solve debt by taking out more debt and then hope your paycheck will go up so you can still make the higher payments. You have to suck it up and start paying down your debt. Yes it will hurt, perhaps you will lose things to being repo’ed but you have to get small and focus on necessities. The scale is different from your kitchen table to the halls of congress to the Fed, but the math is the same.    
   I’m planning to get some more flour and sugar at Paul’s Market. They have a good buy on 25 pounds of flour for $6.00 and 25 pounds of sugar for $13.00. I like flour and grains as they are great multi-tasker, and while white flour only stores for 5 years compared to whole grain wheat’s 25 years.  I use it fast enough to keep it rotated. I’m not up to it physically to grind grain when I want to make something so flour is a great compromise.
   Then off to Fred Meyer’s to get 2 more cans of coffee at $7.00 each. I bought 12 cans about 2 years ago and drank it  hoping for a recovery of the coffee crop which has not happened and looks to be kinda iffy for the future. If I find coffee for $7.00 (new price point) I’m buying and working toward 12 cans again on hand. All coffee is imported to the lower 48 and Alaska so this will be a hard to come by item by cost at least. In Idaho they grow grains and sugar beets so it will be accessible, but there are only poor substitutes for coffee and they don’t grow in Idaho.
    I’ve been darn pleased with Champion sport’s bra I got at Fred Meyers on sale and the Fruit of the Loom sweatpants at Family Dollar. I’ll get 2 more of the sweat pants this paycheck and wait a bit and see if the bras go on sale again. Cotton prices spiked last year and it will start hitting the ready to wear in 2012 as rising prices start hitting the stores. I’ve also noticed the socks I buy are a bit thinner fabric than I used to get with Hanes cotton socks so it looks like the manufacturer’s are dropping the weight of fabric to stay at the same price. I know it’s a marketing gimmick, but I much rather have the quality I expect even at a higher price, rather than getting the same price but getting a lesser quality product.


My BBQ turkey adventure.

November 27, 2011

I wanted to do BBQ turkey and I planned it so I was not responsible for the meal on Thanksgiving. So demon Murphy and I did battle today for Turkey on the BBQ grill.
3 and 1/2 hours prepping and cooking and it looks good. Small bird at 11.5 pounds

  1.  I  try thawing the turkey in the fridge for 2 days. Even this small turkey was as hard as a rock. the 3rd day I placed in a bucket of cool water and back into the extra fridge in the garage. Plan for at least 4 days for thawing a turkey.
  2. I did more of a marinade rather than a brine consisting of 1/2 gallon each water and a Apple juice, whole peppercorns, 4 Bay leaves and dried rosemary let it set 2 days. Drain the turkey pat dry and rubbed with olive oil, white pepper, sage and a little salt.
  3. Used a charcoal chimney for the first time and it worked great. No more dependence on lighter fluid! I also use mesquite chunk charcoal instead of briquets. I like the smoke flavor and how long it lasts and I don’t care for the additives in briquets. Using your chiminy make a bed of coals and then push them to the outer edges of where you are cooking the bird. Under your bird you will want a drip pan to catch the fat and juices. You can add water, wine or beer about an inch deep to prevent flare ups. I added my homemade dark ale. You’ll want the temp of the grill to maintain 325-350 degrees F. 
  4. For the first hour:  Breast is down and every 15 minutes you give the turkey a quarter turn, making sure you maintain temp and you drip pan keeps about 1 inch of liquids in it.
  5. 2nd hour: flip the turkey on its back do the same as the first hour but start basting every 15 minutes. I used a rosemary infused butter. This is the hour I needed to add 1 chiminey worth of coals. Place giblets and neck  in tinfoil and put over heat to cook
  6. 30 minutes left in cooking flip the turkey again on it’s breast after basting and I didn’t rotate it any more. Take neck out of giblet tinfoil and let it brown, flipping it over after 15 min. Give everything 1 last basting. 
  7. Turkey is done, use a meat instant read thermometer and you should be around 160 degrees internal temp. As the turkey rests it should cruise on up to 165 degrees and be good to go. 
  8. Rest the turkey at least 20 minutes for a small one and up to 40 minutes for a 20 pounds plus. This gives the bird time to reabsorb juices. This gives you time for gravy or any last minute touches for the meal. 
  9. I had a little smoke ring 1/10 of an inch below the skin and the Mesquite and dark ale imparted a little sweetness to the meat. Very tasty but I went kind of traditional/safe spices for my first try I think I will spice it up a little for the next turkey.

All in all I am pleased how it turned out. As the grill/smoker is one my backup cooking systems I learned I can maintain 325-350 degrees F.  I added flavor, freeded up an oven to do other foods. I’m thinking I could bake my Mac&Cheese in a dutch oven in the last hour. As this is an extra turkey I’ve got some family that want to try the BBQ version so I’ll shred and slice some of the meat for them and myself and then cook the bones for stock. I got an idea for white/green chili.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving! Now back to work.

November 25, 2011

    The Mac&Cheese was a hit at dinner and Mom asked for an extra bowl from the leftovers. I got about 1/3 of it left and since it could feed over 20 people and we had about 9 it went well. I was going to BBQ the turkey but I was wiped out from getting the leaves picked up so the timeline got pushed back on the turkey. I’m going to be puttering at cleaning up the house so it will be a good time to BBQ the turkey and see how it works out. If it turns out good I’ll can it and share with Mom. If it’s a bust I’ll make stock and some dog and cat food.
   I got my big 5 gallon stock pots, the last 2 of that size and I planned for them to be my Beer brewers but I can see all kind of uses now that I have them on hand. While I was roaming the Family Dollar store I found some good sweatpants for $5.00 each and picked up a couple of pairs. They are Fruit of the Loom brand and the fabric is fairly heavy. Cotton looks like it may spike in cost so it’s a good idea to get what you can, when you can at a low cost. I like having sweats for layering and staying warm in the winter.
    Not sure if the Lager beer experiment is working. I got it warmed up but still nothing in the bubbler. I popped the top on the bucket and if I’m understanding how lager should smell and work I may be okay.  I’ll give it another week and bottle and hope for the best. The worse that can happen is it doesn’t work and I’ll stick with ales a while longer. I’ve been darn lucky that all of my brews have been good, so 1 bad batch would not be unexpected. We got another person on the block wanting to learn to brew beer. That gives us 4 housholds that could brew..

Feeling much better today!

November 22, 2011

   I overslept and missed my walk with Mom. I must have need the extra sleep as I’m feeling much better today. One thing I have learned is not to get to stressed out when my body decides to have a mind of it’s own. I spent a lazy day just reading and sitting around in pj’s most of the day and had a really good nap. When I got up I felt good so checked the turkey to see if it was thawing. Nope! hard as a rock, got  one of my food safe bucket and put the turkey and some cool water for it to thaw back into my extra little fridge. Hopefully by tomorrow it will be ready to brine. I’m not providing the turkey for the family so I don’t have any pressure on me so if things don’t go as planned I’m okay.
   I’m still warming up the lager, 5 gallons of mostly water takes a while to warm up if you are only using ambient temperature so you don’t kill the yeast. Right now my beer bucket looks as if it has a cold wrapped in a blanket with the heating pad.
     I wanted to do up some meat loaf using items you can easily have stored or if you need to cook them up quickly.  A frozen meat loaf freezes well and be reheated for sandwiches to cubed and added to soup. I am baking them in several different size pans from small tinfoil loaf  pan (8oz.), a small metal loaf pan (16 0z.) and a normal loaf pan that holds (1.5 lbs.) of meat each. Using different size pans lets you reheat a little or a lot. Still working on the spices as it tastes a little bland, but a good start. 
Meat Loaf
3 pounds of ground beef
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 eggs
1 3/4  cups panko crumbs
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tbsp. red pepper flake
1 tbsp. Dried onion
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. White pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
I put the beef in my mixing bowl with the paddle start mixing. After the ground beef is broken up a bit I add tomatoes, eggs, spices . Mix about 1 minute or till thoroughly mixed and then add the panko crumbs. Mix to combine place in loaf pan and bake 45 minutes for the small pans, 1 hour for the regular loaf pan.

Not much done today, I feel as if I was beat with a large stick

November 21, 2011

    Just par for the course on hurting during weather changes. Once it settles down I’ll be feeling much better. But a few things did get done even if I got a little help. The nieghbor came over and cleaned out my rain gutters. They were beginging to look like a very high, skinny planting bed. I’m hoping for a couple of warmer days and I can do some work on picking up the leaves. I picked up a couple of little space heaters,one for me and one for Mom at $11.00 each they are great for a little spot heat. Luckly I got them when I did as they were going really fast and the local hardware store wasn’t sure if the supply truck would make it before they ran out. I got a chimney charcoal starter i had been wanting for a long time. I did not like being dependent on having starter fluid.
     I stopped by the beer lady as my Lager still hadn’t started bubbling. She say not to worry it may need to be warmed up  for the yeast to get started. So she recommended I bring it up stairs and let it warm up a bit before I panic. She was also working on her new 1 gallon all grain kit, she’ll be posting up the pics on her website soon.   I  need to get my Stock pots but I just wimped out, but manged to stop by the Lighthouse to give them a little cash for buying Thanksgiving supplies. I was going to pickup some food but I felt they had a better idea of their most critical needs.
At least I managed to get a few things done even if they were easy physically.

Being thankful and other stuff

November 20, 2011

   I seem to have collected a couple folks as follower to my little Blog. I’ve never stopped to thank you folks for stopping by and reading my little ramblings. I wish to correct that oversight now and thank you all. It’s nice to know that folks get enough from my site to follow and that makes me feel that I’m making a small difference.
     You got to check out this post by Kris at  http://krissimplyliving.blogspot.com/2011/11/your-god-wont-poison-me.html
It really touched me and I feel that Kris is an old friend I just haven’t met yet. We both are doing this prepping thing on the cheap and while I squeeze a penny hard enough to make Lincoln’s eyes tear up. She has him screaming in agony.
   I got the turkey thawing in the fridge and batch of dark Ale is going into the bucket to ferment tonight. I got the Lager done but I’m kind of nervous. I know it’s a longer and slower process but my little air lock is not bubbling. I’ll check with the Beer lady and see if it’s normal. I may have to re-pitch the yeast. I sure hope it’s a simple fix, but if not I’ll just chock it up to “Stuff Happens” and try again. I’ve been lucky so far as all my brews have turned out really good.
Family Dollar has 2-5 gallon stock pots on sale. I’m going to get  two of the 5 Gallon one for $15.00 each. Those pots will be great to have on hand for Beer making and I’ll have a pot for making big batches of stock, soup and stew for my future canning adventures.
     I did not get the bacon canned like I hoped, but I ‘m going to make a bunch of mini meat loaves and Mac&Cheese I can freeze Monday and perhaps I can combine that with keeping an eye on the pressure canner.  My sister has a friend that works at a local dairy and can get butter for about $1.00 per pound if we order $30.00 worth. So I’ve told her I’d be happy to get as much as possible. I can see how I could can up a years worth of butter at that price.
    I got my sister’s birthday presents. She’s had a  rough year but she’s getting on top of all the work her daughter made for her. I wanted to get her a couple of items since she got both her deck and house cleaned up. For the deck a set of solar powered LED lights for decoration and for the house a little crystal of SpongeBob that lights up. She is on SSI so I wanted her to have something that won’t impact her electric bill and these are great for this idea. I added batteries for lighting the crystal so she won’t have to add batteries right away for the crystal.

I am the 100% American

November 19, 2011

    I worked for min. wage and some times living on tips. I did not get foodstamps or handouts from the government. I joined the Army and got a descent wage and living that I chose to accept.  I paid my taxes, medicare and Social Security without qualm and now you want to call it an entitlement? or not fair that an E-6 gets 50%of base pay after 20 years (about $1200-1400 per month) + pay for Tricare. But a congress critter is paid $174,000 per year and after 5 years get a 100% pension and all benies of being a congress critter.  Do you know that medicare insurance part B costs at least $125.00 per month and is taken out of  SS? Every COLA adjustment for the last 3 years that I know of has been ate by medicare costs. So your seniors can’t win against the bookeepers. They get no extra money toward food or energy costs because the Medicare premium rises in lockstep to th COLA. It’s a book keepers gimmick. If I was paid SS in a static value like gold it would be a very different thing. Prior to 1971 gold had a value of about $35.00 per ounce. The average SS check was about $70-80.00 per month or about 2 oz. of gold per month. Without inflation I should get 2 oz. of gold worth of purchasing power almost $3000.00 per month on SS.  Yet I get less than half of that and must pay Medicare as well.
   The PTB’s have inflated the money. The dime in 1964 that bought a gallon of gas will still buy a gallon of gas based on the silver content of a 1964 coin. It simply costs $3.00+ FRN’s today to get that 1964 dime’s worth of value. The cost of gas hasn’t really changed it’s still just a dime a gallon. But only in real metal and not paper. If you start thinking something tangible, something with real or lasting value I know it changed my whole mindset, I hope it can change yours. Start thinking in metals not to profit but as value traded for value. Is that bag of rice worth a 1/2 ounce of silver? Is that bag of meat worth a gram of gold? Your dollars are meaningless but what you can trade them for, be it silver, gold, meat, beans or rice can be priceless.

Crisis Fatigue and coming out of it.

November 18, 2011

    I’m constantly amazed how the PTB’s have been able to keep all of the economies at least sputtering along.  It seems on an almost daily basis I think something could be the “Trigger event” and some how they muddle through and keep the economy going. I think it will make things worse in the long run but I also want more time for folks to wake up and get ready.  There is a part of me that just wishes the other shoe would drop and we could get to work getting out of this hole instead of just digging deeper.
    It sometimes wears me down and I get in a poopy mood. But I am getting better on pulling out of those funks with laughter, helping others in need and starting new projects. One of the big advantages of being ready is I’m in a win/win situation no matter what happens. I can set my goals for self-reliance and I’m always a winner because of the skills I have learned and in a bizarre way I’m thankful that this is happening as it motivated me to do for myself and teach others.
    So anyway on to the new projects I’m doing;  today I’m brewing up my first batch of Lager style beer. The temps in my basement are right at 60 degrees F. and my beer lady has a lager type yeast  that works good at that temp. The Beer Lady is also setting up a new kit for 1 gallon batches of beer made from whole grains as opposed to using Malt extract. This will let me try out brewing beer from scratch but I don’t have to lose a  5 gallon batch if I screw up. I love a local shopkeeper who knows who I am and has new ideas and making it simple for me to try them out. It works out for her to make more money and for me because she’s trying to make it easier for me to try new things. You don’t get that kind of individual attention at your local Big Box Store.
    For helping other I have my shopping list for the guys at the Lighthouse. I’m getting a turkey, about 8 pounds of frozen veggies and 20 pounds of potatoes to help with their Thanksgiving dinner. I’m trying to make this a monthly part of the budget but it’s still a new habit I’m trying to get and I almost wanted to let it slide this month to get goodies of my own.  But that is not the kind of person I want to be, so darn and shucks and perhaps a few other words to myself , I will keep that commitment.
    I got all the buckets cleaned,  flour and Doggie food are in them with DE to keep it fresh and bug free.
NY Strip is cut into steaks, double wrapped in the freezer. This weekend I’m canning some bacon and hamburger to see how they work out. I’m going with a wide mouth pint jar this time because I’d prefer to make 1 meal, 1 jar and not have to refrigerate after opening if I can avoid it.

Had a good day shopping

November 16, 2011

    Just got a couple of items at Cash & Carry as I swung by to pick up the short-term flyer. Bad news no flyers in stock but they did have one posted and 5 pounds of shredded cheddar cheese at $11.98 was to good to pass up. I’ll break it down into smaller packages and store in the freezer. I shred my own cheese if needed but I saved almost $7.00 compared to a 5 pound block of cheese. This will work great for my mac and cheese and I want to do more end of week casseroles to use up leftovers. I also scored 50 pounds of flour for $5.00 because the bag was torn. I don’t care I’ll be storing it in a bucket. 
   I picked up a  12 pound  NY strip steak for $3.87 a pound. A little costly up front but I’ve been trying to lay in a good store of beef before rising prices really start to kick in.  I still want to get a 10 pound chub of burger for $18.90 and get it canned  Plus I found Cash & Carry has pork bellies. I get to try making my own bacon which should be fun and a good skill to have.
   I’ll finish up the shopping Thursday getting some odds and ends like Ice melt, a few items at the dollar store and visit the beer lady and get the fixins for my first Lager type beer. I hope to have it ready in time for Xmas and I found a charcoal chimney for about $15.00 that’s something I wanted for some time for my smoker/grill setup.
All in all a good day!

Home made Mac&Cheese

November 14, 2011

The neighbors had a get together and I had entirely to much fun. I made my first batch of Real Mac and Cheese and it turned out fantastic. I based the recipe on one I found in the Lodge cookbook “A Skillet Full” and all of the items were from the pantry.
2 pounds of cooked pasta(al dente)
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
1/2 teaspoon of dried garlic
32 oz. of UHT Whole milk
20 oz.  cheddar cheese shredded
10 oz Monterrey jack cheese shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter over med. high heat  gradually add flour stir until smooth cook 2 min. constantly stirring, stir in salt, pepper, garlic and red pepper flake. Whisk in milk stir constantly while it cooks for 10 min. Slowly add 1/2 of the cheese until smooth. Remove from heat stir in pasta and top with remaining cheese and bake for 30 min.

This was a huge breakthrough for me cause I suck at sauces and gravies. I tend to get a little impatient and don’t let the flour cook long enough to get rid of the doughy taste. This was a great recipe to practice getting down the sauce and you could easily add bacon, ham, tuna or even sausage and make almost a whole meal in 1 pan. I wanted to do something new with just my stored items and that could be vegetarian or expand for us carnivores.

   I want to get more practice at cooking new ways and trying new recipes as one of my goals. I get lazy and a little bit fearful to try new cooking ideas as I’m afraid it will turn out badly and I’ll end up just tossing food away. But I have been gathering cookbooks and I do a good job following the basics of the recipes. This mac & cheese was just the confidence booster I needed to try new things.