Please visit this blog's author at:

  • Happiness - I have a lot on my plate. My son's autism and epilepsy. Farm animals dying. Tight finances. My failing health and disabilities. But I have been trying SO ...
    2 days ago


A few weeks ago, the impending eruption of the super-volcano at YELLOWSTONE was forfront on most people's minds. Yes, even us. We live in Colorado, where we would be in the fall-out zone.

But it got us thinking. And thrusting even more into preparing to survive should the volcano actually erupt.

We always assumed that no matter what, we'd stay at our little farm. Here, in on the eastern plains of Colorado, we could weather almost any kind of natural disaster.

But the Yellowstone story changed our thinking.

Should the volcano erupt, we would HAVE to move. Er, bug out.  I mean, we couldn't stay underground for 10-15-20 years, now could we? Because it would take that along for the ash to settle and wash away, bringing back first plant life, then animals.

What have YOU done differently since you got the news that Yellowstone could go ka-blooey?

Vitamin D

We all hear about Vitamin D. We need it to be happy, to help calcium work in our bones, to move muscles and most important, to help our immune system work properly.  It is IMPERATIVE that we get enough Vit D, whether we are in normal situations, or living off of stored foods.

How Much Vitamin D do you need?
The amount of vitamin D you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts from the Food and Nutrition Board (a national group of experts) for different ages are listed below in International Units (IU):

Life StageRecommended Amount
Birth to 12 months400 IU
Children 1–13 years600 IU
Teens 14–18 years600 IU
Adults 19–70 years600 IU
Adults 71 years and older800 IU
Pregnant and breastfeeding women600 IU

How Do You Get Vitamin D From Foods?

Vitamin D is only in a few foods and often in very small amounts. Foods that provide vitamin D include:
  • Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
  • Beef liver (a little)
  • Cheese (a little)
  • Egg yolks (a little)
  • Mushrooms provide some vitamin D. In some mushrooms that are newly available in stores, the vitamin D content is being boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light.
  • Almost all of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart. (Except milk you get from the farm, like our raw goat milk!) But foods made from milk, like cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified.Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and soy beverages; check the labels.
 Getting enough vitamin D from your diet isn't easy. Studies show that typically only about 20% of our vitamin D comes from the foods we eat.
Get Enough Sunlight
Your body can make vitamin D on its own. When you walk out into the sunlight with exposed skin, your body naturally produces vitamin D. Just 10-15 minutes a day, like a nice walk around your property, should be enough. Please don't overdue it; you don't want skin cancer. If you will be outside more than a few minutes, wear a long sleeved shirt and sunscreen with an SPF of more than 8.

Dark skin, cloudy days, shade, and sunshine indoors through a window will not produce Vit D in your body.

Special Cases

My son is autistic with epilepsy. Because of his health problems, his epilepsy doctor (epileptologist) recommended he take 1,000 IUs of Vit D each day. This helps to bump up his immune system.

Since I have an autoimmune disease, I also increased my Vit D to 1,000 IUs.

We take a little liquid gell supplement to make sure we get at least 1,000. Then 10-15 minutes outside doing farm chores gets more Vit D into us.

Does it help? With our immune system?

Well, neither one of us have had the flu this year.  WITHOUT the flu shot, which we avoid like the plague.

Your call. 

Calcium: Lactose-Intolerance Living on Stored Foods

My husband is lactose-intolerant. He can take pills like "dairy digest" and it helps a little with cooked milk products, and can handle goat and sheep milk, but for the most part, he can't handle dairy. Believe me! He can NOT handle dairy!

Brings to thought, if we were to get rid of the goats and just ate stored food, how would he get enough calcium? Not just calcium, but Vitamin D also. (Vit D is in the next post.)

Why do we need calcium?

We need to consume a certain amount of calcium to build and maintain strong bones and healthy communication between the brain and various parts of the body.

Calcium strengthens the bones of humans until they reach the age of 20-25 years. After then, calcium helps bone maintenance and helps slow down bone density loss. It also regulates muscle contractions (including the heart, which is a muscle), helps normal blood coagulation (clotting), and with blood movement throughout our bodies. Calcium also helps with hormones and enzymes, and adequate levels early in life could protect against obesity later on.

Almost all of our calcium is stored in our teeth and bones, where it supports their hardness and structure.

How much calcium do you need?

I've seen these guidelines:
  • Young children 1-3 years old should get 700 milligrams (mg) per day.
  • Children 4-8 years old should get 1,000 mg per day.
  • Children 9-18 years old should get 1,300 mg of calcium a day.
  • Women younger than 51 and men up to age 70 should get 1,000 mg per day.
  • Women 51 to 70 should get 1,200 mg/day.
  • Women and men 71 and over should get 1,200 mg per day.

How does this translate into your daily diet?

A 45-year-old could easily get her recommended daily 1,000 mg of calcium by eating:
  • 1 packet of fortified oatmeal (100 mg)
  • 1 cup of skim milk (305 mg)
  • 8 ounces of non-fat yogurt (452 mg)
  • ½ cup of spinach (146 mg)
Hubby can't have milk (unless it's goat or sheep, or raw cow), but he can have yogurt. Something in the processing and enzymes.

But still.

Here are some foods that are high in calcium:
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Okra
  • Collards
  • Soy beans
  • White beans
  • Some fish, like sardines, salmon, perch, and rainbow trout
  • Foods that are calcium fortified, such as some orange juice, oatmeal, and breakfast cereal
We dehydrate as much spinach and other greens as we can. Plus we like okra (gumbo...yum!), white beans of all kinds, and we have several #10 cans of freeze-dried salmond. We do also have powdered goat milk and "better than milk" powdered rice milk, both of which have calcium.

Coconut milk doesn't have calcium. Not that I have seen.

Unless you raise the soy beans yourself from non-gmo seeds, I wouldn't recommend them as a source. Do your best to not only provide alternatives, but make sure those alternatives are as healthy as possible.

Of course, you could always store calcium tablets!

Book research for Homemade MREs, Gluten Free Cookbooks, and Medical Marijuana

I sent a gluten-free gnocchi recipe to some tasters/testers yesterday. I am still working on lots more recipes for the gluten-free cookbooks, so input is greatly appreciated. 

I still have another 75 recipes or so to test for my homemade MRE cookbook using dehydrated ngredients we are storing. I need more testers!

Now, to the medical marijuana book...

I started a fb group ( ) initially about Charlotte's Web to gather info for a book I am writing about using medical marijuana to help with health problems. Decided to cover all strains of med mmj. (As you know, my almost 18 year old son is autistic with epilepsy and will be getting a med mmj card soon).

I am asking for everyone's help to get people's stories about using medical mmj, including the ailment, strain(s) they use, success or failure, how it has changed them, etc. Stories should be 3-5 pages long. They need to include contact information, and permission for the story to be in the book.

People can comment here, join the above mentioned Facebook group, or email me at vikkibooksatyahooperiodcom.

Thank you so much for your help.


P.s. Today is epilepsy awareness day! Did you wear purple? Help people know if they have a lot of de ja vu episodes, they COULD be having simple partial seizures!

Pet Food

You know those metal trash cans I mentioned in the last post? That would be a good way to store a few bags of your pet's favorite food.

Or you could make sure to put cans of wet food in your pantry.

What about snacks?

But the dry would go stale and the wet is in a can lined with BPA. Neither of which are good. Your cat is a hopefully a mouser, very necessary, and your dog barks are people coming up the drive, also very necessary. You need to take care of them.

I will be working on a book with pet food and pet snacks recipes this summer, but meanwhile, here is a few tips:

1a. Store pre-made when you can.

1b. Store toys, rawhides (NOT from China!), etc.

2. Make your cat work for its food. Lots o mice!

3. Make your dog work for its food. Guarding, alerting, and helping you hunt.

4. Raise rabbits. Great source of protein, and if you can't stand the thought of eating them yourself, let your dog and cat. Never give the whole live rabbit to your pet or one day you will go into your rabbitry to find all of them dead and eaten. Kill it and skin the rabbit (keep the hide to tan for muffs or whatever). THEN give it to your pet somewhere where it is ok to get blood everywhere.

5. Learn how to make snacks, like dog biscuits.

6. Slowly, gradually, change your animals over to food you can make yourself. For instance, we are changing our dogs from regular dry food to foods from our kitchen, garden, and farm. Chicken or turkey or eggs, rice or oats or millet or quinoa, and vegetables.

That's it for now. Give it some thought.

If you have suggestions or questions about feeding your pet, including those other than cat or dog, please ask in the comments below.

Thank you.


For more information about Vikki or to find out about her current and upcoming books, please visit the website: . Meanwhile, subscibe or visit this blog often because I will be updating it on a more regular basis. THANK YOU!

Storing Food Against Pests

First, I was supposed to have knee surgery yesterday, Friday, but didn't. I had a lump in my mouth that needed a biopsy. Taking that piece out gave me a bad infection on top of what turned out to already be an infection (not cancer, thank god). So, to avoid the infection going through my bloodstream and into my newly sliced knee, we post-poned the surgery until two weeks from now.

Can hardly wait to be able to walk again!

But... this post is about storing your foods.

On Tuesday my son informed me that he was out of cereal. Oh no! Tragedy! I vaguely remembered that I had packed some stuff downstairs, so we clumped down where I had two metal trashcans (with lids) tucked away. The first one bore four packages of cereal, two of which he would eat! SCORE! No mice had attacked because the lid was on tightly. But boy howdy it was stale!

Lesson 1: Remember where you store your food, and what is there.

Lesson 2: Rotate your food!

Lesson 3: Metal trash cans with lids are a good storage system, for some things. We have quite a few in our garage that we store our livestock's feed in. Mice do not get in those either.

Lesson 4: Glass jars.

So, you bring home food, like packages of beans and peas and pasta, and you place the package intact in a tub or bucket. Close a lid on it, and your done.

That could be good for long term storage, but what do you do when you bring it out to use? Keep it in it's original packaging and place it on your pantry shelf?

Please don't.

Go to your local ACE Hardware Stores and ask where the canning jars are. You should be canning anyway. Get as many half-gallon jars as they have, and order more. My kitchen pantry is filled with half-gallon jars, with the Ball plastic lids. Easy to open yet bugs canNOT get in there. Neither can mice.  Keeps the pasta, beans, peas, cereal, grains, etc safe and you can easily see how much is left.


...doesn't the plastic packaging bother you? What is that stuff anyway? Do we really want the plastic leaching into our food and into our bodies? If we are in an emergency situation, we need every morsel of food and every drop of liquid to be super-healthy for our bodies.


For more information about Vikki or to find out about her current and upcoming books, please visit the website: . Meanwhile, subscibe or visit this blog often because I will be updating it on a more regular basis. THANK YOU!

Winter Weather in the Spring, and Gardening

Here it is, March 13, and season Spring is only 7 days away. Yet, we are recovering from more snow from Tuesday, and still have more snow on the way.

We live near Denver, CO, on the eastern plains. Technically, this is desert area, but don't tell Mother Nature that! While our summers are usually very hot and dry, we can have super cold winters with precipitation. Snows have been known to fall as late as May, which gives us a really short growing season, about 90 days.

I am itching to get into the garden.

My 17 year old autistic son had two brain surgeries last May for epilepsy. A lot changed about him afterwards. He is 1/4 blind in each eye. He talks slower. And his appetite changed!

For the first time ever, he likes raspberries (hence, we are planting more bushes this year, including yellow raspberries). And he tried snow peas last month. At the time, he said he didn't hate them. But on Monday, when I asked him what one vegetable, besides carrots, does he want us to grow in the garden thsi year, he said snow peas! Who knew!

So I ordered from my go-to heirloom seed place, Baker Creek ( three peas: snow peas, fresh-eating table peas, and blue peas that dry on the vine to store for dry-use.

Just (im)patiently waiting for the seeds to arrive.

So... what are you planting in your garden?


For more information about Vikki or to find out about her current and upcoming books, please visit the website: . Meanwhile, subscibe or visit this blog often because I will be updating it on a more regular basis. THANK YOU!

Meals from dehydrated foods


Quite a few months ago, my husband asked for more varied quick lunch. Had been making him soups, sandwiches, etc.  He needed more substance. Store-bought MREs have too much sodium, preservatives, and are boring. So are shelf-stable things from Dinty Moore and Hormel, or frozen dinners. Ick.

Browsed through our dehydrated foods, and my wheels started turning. I got out a bunch of half-pint jars, instant rice, tiny pasta, potato flakes, and other ingredients. Lined up the jars. Each got a starch, a protein, veggies, spices/herbs, and some got tomato powder.

He loved them!

So did his co-workers. Gimme gimme.

Every month I create a month's worth of breakfasts and lunches, each different from the others. My mother-in-law has also tested for me, as well as friends. One thing led to another, and I started this to make healthy MREs. For work, camping, backpacking, prepping/preparedness, everyday use, long term food storage/survival, etc. I even started a fb group for people to help me test recipes.

I have sections for lactose intolerant people, and gluten free. One person suggested the need for vegetarian and vegan recipes, so I am working on those too.  Sections for entrees, sides, desserts, beverages, and more. I have about 200 recipes, but I want to write more.


Give me suggestions as a comment below, or send me (vikkibooksatyahooperiodcom) a recipe you want me to tweak using dehydrated ingredients. 

Thank you!


This blog needs updating...don't you agree? So help me to help you!

What do you want me to write about?

More stored food recipes?

Homemade cleaning supplies?


Homemade MREs?

Just a little update on us. We have a tiny farm, just two acres, outside of  Denver, CO.   I am disabled, and awaiting knee surgeries. My hubby works an hour away for pittance. My 17 year old is autistic and ADHD, with epilepsy. He had two brain surgeries in May 2013 but still not sure if they successfully treated his epilepsy.

We have two dogs. We raise chickens (meat, eggs, income, fertilizer, pest control, weed control), royal palm turkeys (meat, income, feathers), and Nubian-cross goats (milk and its products like cheese, income, meat). We have a few fruit bushes and trees but are adding more this year, along with nut trees, oak trees (for when we someday {next year?} get pigs), and sugar maple trees.

We are adding more rhubarb and asparagus, because my asparagus quiches sell like hot cakes! We have a mid sized garden that produces enough for us (fresh, dehydrated, canned) and to sell. Just a tiny storefront by the front door, for when people pick up their eggs, milk and cheese. And other things!

I dehydrate for us (working on a cookbook for homemade healthy MREs) and also sell my homemade MREs. 

Learned how to can last year.  Made some amazing jams with waterbathing, and did meats and veggies with pressure canning. Even did bacon! Yum!

Experimenting with different kinds of homemade bread. Different kinds of goat cheese. Living a cleaner life. A more self-reliant life.

Guess that is about it. 

Be sure to comment below on the things you want he to write about.

Thanks, and be safe.


My sister and I chatted long distance on Christmas Day. They were expecting a blizzard that night, and was anxious to get to the store for bread and milk, and few other things.

Got me thinking.

We have goats for milk.

We have chickens for eggs.

We have feed and hay for chickens and goats.

I have 23 pounds of flour (because my baking business is taking off) plus yeast, baking powder, canola oil and other things to do baking.

In our dining room window and on the tiny storefront shelves by the front door, we have pots of these growing: string beans, tomatoes, lettuces, radishes, and herbs like rosemary and parsley.

I have jars of things I've dehydrated and put away, like zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, etc.  And canned goods like premade soups, tomato paste, fruits, etc. A freezer full of chickens.

We have a fireplace and plenty of wood.

We have water.

We have enough to last a minimum of a month. Probably closer to a year.

What about YOU?


I realize it's been a while since I've written here, but so much has happened.

My Tween has turned into a 16 year old with autism and epilepsy. He has some neurons that didn't form correctly in his brain (in utero) and some lesions and a small tumor.

We live out in the boonies, on a tiny 2 acres. Goats: 2 girls, 1 baby girl, 1 buck and 1 wether. Chickens: about 50 ranging from 3 days old to 2 years old, bantams and standards. Chicken varieties: silkies, cuckoo marans, black australorps, red stars, eggers (standard size and bantam), and all kinds of crosses that we hatched ourselves.

We grow as much of our food as possible but it'll be years before nut trees and some of our fruit trees bear. Loved the red raspberries and blueberries we ate this summer; we're adding even more plus yellow raspberries, purple raspberries, blackberries and currants in 2013.

Started a goat milk cheese share program in 2012 to help pay for my kid's expenses. Going well and have gotten egg and produce customers from it too.

We still have a LOT more to do but yes, we consider ourselves homesteaders. Do we believe the world will end on Dec 21 2012? Nope, but we still prep and could be considered survivalists.  We get powerful snowstorms and windstorms and microbursts (mini-tornadoes) out here a lot so we often are without power. We adjust.

= = = = = = =

Check out our farm's website we just started: Rosemary Ridge


I have a yogurt maker. Hubby bought it for me when we first moved out here on the farm and the goats started producing milk. (Hubby is lactose intolerant and my Kid would eat a $3.00 bought goat yogurt a day). I used it a couple of times but never could get it to come out good enough.

Trying again, but this time, without the yogurt maker. I'm using my crockpot. I tried it last weekend, without looking up a recipe at all, so naturally, it didn't work. Did make a very nice cheese tho!

Then I googled "how to make yogurt without a yogurt maker" and came across a wonderful blog of a person who cooked 365 in her crockpot. Yogurt was just one of those days.

Here's the condensed version but reduced to fit my 3 quart crockpot and using my ingredients:

Suggestion: Start in early or mid morning to get best results.

6 cups of fresh whole goat milk (qt and a half) (I pour mine directly from filterer)
1/3 cup plain yogurt (if Dannon, use a bit more)
 (Someday I will try 1/4 tsp probiotic instead ,as suggested elsewhere)

-Pour milk into crockpot and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours.
-Turn off crockpot and let sit for 3 hours.
-Take out about 2 cups of the milk in a glass measuring cup.
-Whisk in yogurt or probiotic to the measuring cup.
-Pour back to crockpot. Lightly stir to combine. Cover with heavy towel to keep warmth in.
-Let sit overnight.

To make it thicker, stir in a couple pinches of tapioca starch or unflavored gelatin to the yogurt starter (mix well then add).

Serve with a drizzle of pureed fruit or honey or agave nectar or maple syrup.  I'm gonna portion some out and add some powdered dehydrated fruit and either refrigerate or pour into popsicle molds for a frozen treat later.

Keep some of the plain to the side (in the fridge) to use as a starter next time.

And to keep it super healthy, pour your finished yogurt into 4 or 8 oz jelly jars, top with lid, screw on the ring and refrigerate. Good to add to your loved ones' lunch boxes without adding more waste to the trash can. The current batch I have going ... I'll add some pureed raspberry to the bottom of one, pureed peach to another, homemade blackberry jam to another. Gives us variety even tho it doesn't last long.



Update March 2014: You need everything to be exactly perfect for this to work. Have you tried it? Were you successful, or did you end up with warm milk? For those of you who were successful, please please please give us your tips here!


Putting the finishing touches on my plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Here's my criteria:
-use one of our huge roosters - we call this chicken "Thanksgiving" and some of our garden produce

huge chicken, roasted with garlic, "butter" and poultry seasoning
stuffing with mushrooms and water chestnuts
potato skins with bacon and rice cheese
sweet potatoes with "butter" and cinnamon-toasted-pecans
cranberry-and-orange muffins
pecan pie tarts

ham (gotta buy this year)
homemade bread
green beans with sliced almonds
mashed potatoes
apple chunks fried in cinnamon with walnuts and pecans
pumpkin-cheesecake-yogurt tarts

What would YOU add to these menues?


My kid's become addicted to IHOP's loaded potato soup, so I'm trying to make it myself. First, experimenting with fresh ingredients, but as soon as I have the recipe down, I'll adjust it to use stored products: dehydrated potatoes/onions, jarred bacon, and goat milk from our own goats.

A search for potato and bacon soup show all kinds with cream of something soup but I don't like using or storing them.

So ... does anybody have the recipe for IHOP's loaded potato soup?


I never did get a recipe so I worked on it and came up with this. Let me know if you think it comes close to IHOP's recipe. My son sure thought so!

8 potatoes, cubed (I leave the peel on for more fiber)
1/2 cup butter (one stick)
1/2 cup flour, all-purpose*
8 cups of milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt/pepper to taste

Top with:
Chopped green onions/scallions**
Bacon Bits (real ones, not those nasty fake ones)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

*To make gluten-free, use arrowroot instead. It's just a thickener.
**My son hates onions, so I leave these off his portion.


1. Microwave the cubed potatoes in a glass bowl for 7-10 minutes, until they are tender and soft.

2. While cooking, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour (or arrowroot) until combined, then gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium, and simmer 5-10 minutes, until somewhat thickened.

3. Stir in microwaved potatoes. Cook another 5 minutes. Add sour cream and cheddar cheese, stirring until blended.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Top with scallions, bacon pieces, cheddar cheese, or try an unusual cheese, like gruyere.

Note: You could add diced onions to the actual soup, if you want to. Totally up to you!


For more information about Vikki or to find out about her current and upcoming books, please visit the website: . Meanwhile, subscibe or visit this blog often because I will be updating it on a more regular basis. THANK YOU! Mar 11 2014

Nearly-Frozen Goats and Chickens

Here in Colorado, our high temp today was 4 degrees. F. That's not very high. Our low tonight is -6 degrees F but with wind child, is expected to be -20 degrees F. Bbbbbrrrrrr.

We have two dog houses that we've modified for the goats, added tarping and plastic to the roof to help keep snow and rain out, and stacked lots of hay inside. Each is on a pallet to keep it off the ground. They are pushed together to help keep the other warm. The three nigerian dwarf goats like the smaller green dog house, fitting tightly in there, which helps keep them warm. But the larger nubian milk goat can be really mean to the others so she is in the bigger dog house (purple!) by herself. (The goat choose, not use.) I've added lots of hay but still, she must be cold. And moans ... she's so sad! We have the gate to the goat pen open so the goats can come and go at will, going under the deck to get more hay to eat or a drink of cold but hopefully not-frozen water whenever they choose.

The pens we made for them and placed against our house weren't going to work in this bitter cold weather. So we moved a 6x10 dog kennel into the unheated but enclosed workshop and created a makeshift home for the 10 of the chickens. Three laying boxes (ok, small cat crates), water buckets, roosts and feeders. We also moved a smaller chicken "tractor" in there to hold 4 chickens (have to keep the roosters separate). Also hooked up two bright lights on a timer, and moved some chicken scratch in there, in rodent-proof tubs. We took a thermometer in there today and it read 15 degrees! Ouch! At least they are out of the wind and snow. They are all kept busy scratching for tossed-out cracked corn, and old goat hay to sift through.

So far everyone seems to be fairly ok. I'd chosen breeds of chickens known to be cold hardy, and the nigerian dwarf goats' coats are very thick and furry. I'm a little concerned about the nubian (whose hair didn't thicken up at all) and the goats' hooves. Our wether limped a little today until I rubbed his hooves to warm them up.

Everyone is checked on several times during the day, at the expense of our own health. Eggs collected are very cold but not frozen (they would be if we didn't check on the chickens as often as we did). We only got 2 eggs today, but that's expected and actually not bad.

Yep, for next winter, we're building a barn, with electricity to heat, and room for all of the chickens and goats. Or maybe we can convince our goats to stay under the deck behind our house, where it's not quite as cold, and is full of hay.

I'll have to give it some thought.

I hope we get through this cold snap ok. It's supposed to start warming up tomorrow. We sure could use it. I almost feel guilty sitting in my 62 degree home, with a roaring fire in the fireplace, and 2 pairs of pants on!


Happy new year, all!

Quick American Goulash

Recipe deleted for inclusion in ...

Kindle Book "Survival Cooking: Eating From Your Pantry and Backyard", published on in April 2013

Hard Copy available on, also in April 2013

New newsletter almost ready!

I am thinking about putting out a monthly newsletter "Survival Cooking and Living". This is for people interested in:

-raising chickens and quail
-raising dairy goats
-stocking your pantry for hard(er) times
-cooking from your stored foods
-gardening for self-reliance
-container gardening indoors
-preserving harvests
-and so much more

Many of the recipes are gluten-free, some are yeast-free and/or casein-free, and all are as easy as possible to make.

Don't let the word "Survival" fool you! It's not about being a militant or survivalist ... it's about being prepared for any eventuality. For instance, I have been storing food for years, and yes, using it. We hit a bad patch recently, and most of our grocery money had to go somewhere else. But we didn't worry! I just pulled out my tubs, and started making EVERY meal from stored food, instead just a few a week. I had plenty of stored dried fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, powdered milk (cow, rice and goat), eggs, meat, and cans of tuna and so forth. Plus we had eggs from our chickens and quail, and milk from our goat to drink and make cheese. Not sure if we'd survived this rough patch without preparing for emergencies. NOW we want to pass along more information to YOU!



I don't know if anyone was interested in this. If you are, please comment below, or at the link at the top of this page. Thank you.

Writer Wanted

Do you store food for a worse-case scenario? Do you cook that stored food, maybe experimenting to not let stored-food boredom enter your kitchen? Do you have a list of staples you make sure you always have in the pantry, and create masterpieces with them? Do you do all of this while penny-pinching?

Good. I need you!

I'd like to see regular postings on this blog again; wouldn't you? And now I've got a monthly newsletter that I'm working on, so ... I NEED HELP!

If you like to write and you are a self-reliant / self-sufficient type of homestead or urban dweller, I'd love for you to contribute blog postings here, once a week.

What do you think? Interested? If so, please leave a comment here, or e-mail to vikkibooks (at) yahoo DOT com.


FlaxMeal should be an essential storage item

I'm sure you've heard about flaxseed and its benefits: omega-3, heart-healthy, fiber, etc. There's another three benefits:
-easy to store ground flaxmeal
-low carb

Two out of the three of us here are gluten-free. I needed to find a cheap-way to make a cracker or bread for me because I'm also on a diet (lost 84 pounds and counting) so I experimented. Here's a favorite base recipe for my "flaxbread" that I eat almost daily:

1/3 cup ground flaxmeal
1/3 cup hot water

Mix together in a wide shallow bowl. After a few seconds, you'll notice it is becoming gloppy and gloopy. That's exactly what's supposed to happen. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes, then again in 30 second increments until done. I usually use a spatula after 2 minutes to loosen the edges and again at 3 minutes to turn it over.

Yes, it tastes kinda blah, but you can add all kinds of things to the flaxmeal (before adding the water!) to make it taste better:

-a teaspoon of flavored gelatin
-onion/garlic powder
-basil, garlic and onion Mrs. Dash
-dill and onion powder (tastes like pickles!)
-cocoa powder and cinnamon (my fav)
-dried powdered blueberries and cinnamon
-bump up the protein by adding powdered whey or hemp

The list can go on. An unopened container (we buy it from Sam's Club) will last a couple of years. In the fridge, an opened container could last probably a year.

NOTE: if you were making this "flaxbread" in a sitution where you can't use a microwave, it's easy enough to do over a campfire or solar oven. Just be sure to use pan-spray on whatever you place it on (aluminum foil, etc).

SECOND NOTE: To make crackers, glop the mixture on a fruit roll tray and dehydrate until not tacky any more. Good way to eat "raw food" because it doesn't get cooked, and you're starting with cold-mill flaxseed (not cooked).


Livestock Grain MAY Equal Human Food

Pic of whole oats (groats) to the right:

Now that we have a farm (goats, chickens, rabbit, quail), we buy wholesale livestock "cleaned grains" like cracked corn, whole oats, and black oil sunflower seeds. Got to thinking ... can we eat these things too?

So I contacted the manufacturer/distributor: Nutrena. I felt kinda stupid asking if humans can eat horse food, so I fudged and acted like my little kid had just eaten some ... was she going to be ok? Was told of course, the oats and corn are just find for people food.

Just the other day, tho, I sent them an e-mail asking specifically if Nutrena livestock feed is ok for human consumption and was told emphatically not.

Of course, I have to encourage everyone to check this out for yourself. It's up to you. WARNING/DISCLAIMER: only YOU can decide whether to stock up on the whole oats and cracked corn as part of your human food storage. And absolutely NEVER store anything that is medicated or from an unknown source.

Nutrena 50 pound bag of whole oats was only $11.99

Nutrena 50 pound bag of clean cracked yellow corn was only $8.49

20 pound bag of black oil sunflower seeds was $14.99

It looked like there might be some grass in our oats bag, but that can easily be cleaned. Keep these in their original bags, in metal trash cans, until you're ready to open and use. Then store in smaller rodent/ant-proof containers.

Soak and cook whole oats (groats) for a long time. Or you can grind the oats to use in baking as oat flour. Same with the cracked corn. The sunflower seeds provide a nice protein for a little extra work (hulling the seeds).

Just something I wanted to pass on to you. Be sure to acknowledge the disclaimer.

Four days of food, family and fun

You know me ... always hungry and always thinking about food. So even tho I don't post regularly on this blog any more, thought this would be the right place (and time) to post this!

See... I'm already thinking ahead to November (Thanksgiving) of this year, planning a Family Fun Time for our little family. There are four whole days where Hubby won't need to go to work, and we won't have to do much more than daily chores (caring for the livestock, etc.). We all have our little quirks about food:

-I'm on a diet and doing great, plus I'm a picky eater and don't really like turkey or chicken. Don't really like cooked veggies, but enjoy them raw. Also found a great recipe for pecan bars (gluten-free and lactose-free) that we can all enjoy.

-Hubby will eat almost anything but he's doing good on his diet too. However, he's lactose intolerant.

-The Kid doesn't eat meat any more, except for bacon and eggs. Is also gluten-intolerant. Also has lots of "adverse reactions" to certain foods (like anything with preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, or chemicals). Likes raw veggies like squash and spinach, and LOVES fruit. Even tolerates (read: eats) my pork-n-beans. Oh, and this Kid hates Thanksgiving food (sweet potatoes, green been cassarole, etc.)

We have some fruits and veggies growing in an upstairs bedroom that should be ready by then: green beans, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers. Our outside garden got slammed already this year but we might have corn and some winter squash.

Our goats won't be producing milk (one is too young and one should be pregnant by then), so no homemade cheese, but in addition to our one laying hen, the other chicks will be big enough to be laying eggs regularly.... probably between 6-11 eggs a day.

BUT ... we don't want to just eat for four days. We have board games, card games, books, movies, music, karaoke machine, and more. Could take a couple of long walks. Long talks.


Excellent Meal for Thanksgiving

Can you hear me patting myself on the back? Gotta say... everything I made to contribute to Mom-in-Law's feast yesterday was a big hit. One person, after tasting my pecan pie, asked where I was from. I said Kentucky, and she said, quite loudly with great enthusiasm: "no wonder you're such a great cook"!

Gotta say, even tho my Hubby and Kid often compliment my creations, hearing it from a complete stranger (wife of brother-in-law's brother, never met before) was a complete surprise and thrilled me beyond belief.

I ate too much, of course, and now don't want to move. I think we'll do our recipe experimenting tomorrow. Meanwhile...

how did YOUR Thanksgiving go? what did you cook? where did you go? did a local restaurant take the headache off your hands?

Marinade for Steak

Recipe deleted for inclusion in ...

Kindle Book "Survival Cooking: Eating From Your Pantry and Backyard", publish date: March or April 2013,

Hard Copy available on, also March or April 2013

Pecan Pie

I have the task of providing pecan pies to our Thanksgiving feast. I have 2 regular crusts, and 2 gluten-free crusts, so we're making 4 pies today. After each is being pulled from the oven, we're using dark chocolate chips to mark an "R" for regular crust, and "G" for gluten-free crust. Gotta do this for the Kid's sake. We're taking one regular and one gluten-free, because this is the Kid's favorite pie, and with all of his food allergies and being so picky, I want to make sure he has a good time there too!

Anyway, here's the recipe I'm using:

3 eggs, beaten
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened (or melted/cooled)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup pecan halves
9" pie shell

Beat eggs. Add the corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla, and blend well. Stir in pecans (I use pecans, whether they're halves or broken!). Pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 F. degrees for 50-55 minutes.

= = = =

NOTE: (1) I ended up with too much "batter" from each batch so I poured into a little tart shell (or 2) and will bake when I'm done with all of the pies. (2) Always place your pie plate/tin on a baking sheet not only for stability but also to catch any overflows (you'll need to clean the oven less often). (3) My first pie turned out a bit darker than I expected, so the second I baked only for 48 minutes, and it turned out beautifully. (4) For the gluten-free pies, I used pre-made gluten-free pie crusts from my favorite bakery ( Use care to not cross-contaminate.

After each was done, I moved from the baking sheet to a nice-sized plate and placed in our garage, where there are no bugs (or mice, thank goodness!) but it is about 40 degrees in there. After it completely cooled, I placed the entire plate/pie in a big baggie, and there it will stay until it's time to take to Thanksgiving dinner.

Green Bean Sidedish Controversy

I had found a new recipe for a green bean salad that I wanted to take to Thanksgiving. I was only told to bring green beans. Not any specifics. So this recipe looked delicious. Only thing was that I didn't have a pretty serving bowl for it; most of our stuff is still in boxes. Hubby asked his mom, the hostess of our coming Thanksgiving feast, if she had a serving bowl for this new green bean salad. I only heard his end of the conversation, but suffice it to say... no green bean salad. So I guess I'm making the old standby green beans with cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions. Along with the mashed potatoes (which were "too lumpy" the last time), baked ham, and 2 pecan pies (1 gluten-free and 1 regular). Hope the rich sister brings something other than wine this year!

Do I sound bitter? Sorry. I'm not having a great week.

Hubby and I decided that on Friday, we'll make our own "Thanksgiving" dinner here ... with the stuffing **I** like, the new green bean salad, homemade not-from-a-box bread machine bread, and whatever ham is leftover from Thursday. I think we'll also make cinnamon-and-sugar pecans and walnuts.

Then we're going to spend Sat and Sun making even more homemade breads ... experiments, if you will. For the bread machine, or drop biscuits or skillet ... all completely from scratch.

I'm thinking the diet will start on Monday.

Hopefully, after Friday, I'll post recipes for some of our bread experiments, and, of course, the green bean recipe IF it turns out ok. It has mushrooms, red onion, walnuts, feta cheese, and a white wine vinaigrette. Served chilled. Can't wait! Yum!

Possible change to blog

Keeping up with these blogs is very time consuming ... not that I mind, usually! We're getting ready to embark on an intensive homesteading adventure, and may not be able to work on blogs daily.

So... I'm thinking about combining our blogs (cooking, gardening, homesteading, survival, storage, homeschooling, etc.) into one. I would eventually move posts to the new and combined blog.

We have a lot of readers, and I value your opinion. Thoughts?

Pioneer Bread Brewis

I found this recipe in a book of pioneer ways and tips. It's a good way to use stale bread. No measurements were given so be your own best judge.

Spread bits of bread out and let them dry, to be pounded for pudding or soaked for brewis.

Soak your crusts and dry pieces of bread for a "good while" in hot milk. Mash them up, salt, and butter like toast.

(Some recipes I found online say to serve this with fish. Others to serve with maple syrup. I personally am going to mash them up, leave out the salt, and fry them up, then serve with honey. Yum!)

The Gluten-Free Diet Fad

I was watching TV the other night, when Channel 4 kept giving a teaser for the 10 p.m. news - about the "gluten-free diet fad" - will it really help you lose weight? I waited and waited and finally after 25 minutes of "news and weather", they got to the story. Basically, they said that gluten is found in wheat, and most people don't really need the diet.

Excuse me?

Then I did a search tonight... googled "gluten-free diet fad" and couldn't believe what I read. Some people write about gluten-free people being snobs, and not really needing gluten-free food but just want the attention. Some people write that all poultry is ok, but that is misleading as any poultry or other meat with injections and additives usually have a gluten product in them. .

Here's a link to one of the stories: - she barely mentioned oats (a responsible reporter would have mentioned that oats are usually contaminated from wheat being grown nearby but "certified gluten-free oats" are ok for gluten-intolerant people). And it's not true that chips are always ok ... many many times they use fillers that have gluten in them.

Gluten-intolerance MAY be a diet choice for some people, but those people don't really understand the diet. The products aren't made to reduce fat and sugar and cholesterol and sodium and calories, but only take out and replace products made from wheat, rye, oat and barley, including maltro-dextrin, soy sauce and more. So... are these people completely deleting from their food intake sodas? Candy? Sweets of all kinds?

People, come on! A gluten-free diet won't solve your problems; eat less and work out more.

This isn't a joke. Some people need to be on the diet, or they will die. Celiac disease is a serious auto-immune, digestive disease. Why would someone choose to put their kid on this diet if they didn't have to? That means no fast food, no birthday parties with other kids, no cereal with goofy characters on the boxes. Really? Parents would choose to pay extra money for special gluten-free products? Ha! Not likely.

No, my kid isn't celiac, but gluten-products, along with cashews, soy, corn, peanuts, cow's milk, preservatives and fake colors can turn my sweet boy into a hellion... going from nice to unbelievably horrible and suicidal within moments. Plus he's a very picky eater. When we find something he can eat, we stick with it, which he's ok with.

For me, I get a rash all over my body when I eat gluten. It's called dermatitis herpetiformis, and it's absolutely not fun. Gluten also messes up my ovulation cycle (which is why I can't get pregnant), but that's just me and hasn't been medically proven.

Enough of my rant. Input?


How to Make Yeast for Bread

I had been trying to figure this out, and being spurred on by reading a great book about self-sufficiency "Living the Good Life: How one family changed their world from their own backyard", I searched for and found this recipe.

And since I just made bread 2 days ago, first thing tomorrow, I'm starting a batch of this yeast!

= = =

Step 1: This step pulls the wild yeast from the air in your kitchen. The more you bake with yeast, the more you'll have in your air, so be sure to capture yeast shortly after you bake bread.

Combine in a medium-sized bowl: 2 cups of warm water, 1 tablespoon white table sugar, 2 cups of flour. Cover bowl with a cheesecloth, and place in a warm area in the kitchen. Stir every day at least once. When it bubbles, it means you have captured yeast from the air. From then on, just allow it to sit for 3-4 days to continue to bubble.

= = =

Step 2: This step makes the yeast into something you can use.

After the 3-4 days of bubbling, prepare a cookie sheet or dehydrator tray with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Thinly spread the liquid mixture on the prepared tray. When dry, break the dried yeast into small chunks. Grint into a powder (food processor or mortar/pestle). Use what you need. For longer, place in an air-tight container and store for short term in refrigerator. For long term storage, freeze in the container.

= = =

Step 3: This step shows how to use the yeast you made. This yeast isn't as concentrated as the yeast you can purchase (since it's mostly flour), so plan to use 1 cup of homemade yeast for 1 ounce of store-bought yeast.

Take 1 cup of liquid that your recipe calls for, and dissolve 1 cup of homemade yeast in it. Make the dough, making sure to reduce the flour you need by 1 cup (because your yeast is mostly flour!). Knead and rise dough as usual, which may take longer to do. Bake as usual.

Throw-Together Soup and Bread

With my fever raging, and the whole family down for the count with this swine flu, I just didn't feel like cooking yesterday. But I could throw things in the crockpot ... so I did. Sorry but I didn't measure - that's why I call it "throw"-together!

white beans (maybe a cup or 2?)
water to cover

Cook until soft. Added quinoa (maybe a cup?) and more water, and cooked until quinoa was soft. Added dried soup veggies (maybe a cup - green beans, peas, carrots, potatoes, onion, bell peppers, etc.). Also added lots of dried garlic (good for immune system) and dried onion dices. Pinch of hot pepper flakes.

When it smelled ready, we ate it with some bread I had done in the bread machine (comes in handy when I have no energy to knead).

I'm re-heating leftovers for tonight, after adding a dash of Mrs. Dash's garlic and herb mix, and we'll be adding some goat or sheep cheese to melt in the hot soup. Yum.