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For anyone who knows me, you know how I feel about food. Heck, I was just accused last week of only talking about food on Facebook! Food is life. You need money to purchase or grow food but ultimately, it’s food (and water) that will get you through any life altering situation. Can’t pay your mortgage? While you are waiting for the sheriffs to come knocking on your door to kick you out (which can take as much as 2 years or more) at least you’ll be able to eat. Don’t have electricity? If you have a bbq grill of any kind, you can cook. Store what you eat, eat what you store. Don’t go by what “the experts” say. You don’t need fancy, prepackaged (and expensive) ready made 1 year food storage! If you have that now (or can afford the initial outlay of money and don’t mind eating it eventually) then go for it. But start now! When you go shopping, buy two or three of an item instead of one. Do this each time you go grocery shopping, in no time you will have a few months of food storage with even one bead of sweat on your brow.


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16/Jun/2011: New Kitchen Gadgets

I have been messing around with Wordpress. I really like it and have made MANY posts to it. Now that I don't have to cut and paste, I will share the links to those posts here.

New Kitchen Gadgets « thesustainablehome

Total Votes: 179 - Rating: 7.92

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Total Votes: 171 - Rating: 7.96

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Total Votes: 144 - Rating: 7.73

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While taking a much needed sabbatical, I have been cooking and baking ... a lot! Because I am how I am, I have been trying recipes from my latest cookbook. I received this cookbook from my Mother-In-Law and I love it! It's Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book from around 1958.

So, I wanted cookies. I found this Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and absolutely love it! These cookies are not as sweet, salty, and grainy as Nestlé's Toll House cookie recipe (which can be viewed here: http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/specialty/nth-detail-occc.aspx). Since I used Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Chips (which are larger) I doubled everything in the recipe except chocolate chips.

Sustainable Home


Chocolate Chip Cookies
Glamorous, crunchy, rich with chocolate bits and nuts.

Also known as "Toll House" Cookies ... from Kenneth and Ruth Wakefield's charming New England Toll House on the outskirts of Whitman, Massachusetts. These cookies were first introduced to American homemakers in 1939 through our series of radio talks on "Famous Foods from Famous Eating Places."

Mix thoroughly:

2/3 cup soft shortening (part butter)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together and stir in:

*1 1/2 cups sifted Gold Medal Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
* For a softer, more rounded cookie, use 1 3/4 cups sifted flour.

Stir in:

1/2 cup cut-up nuts
6-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate pieces (about 1 1/4 cups)

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls about 2" apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake until delicately browned ... cookies should still be soft. Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet.

Temperature: 375 degrees F
Time: Bake 8 to 10 minutes
Amount: 4 to 5 dozen 2" cookies.

Total Votes: 118 - Rating: 8.08

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How to Build a Rotating Canned Food Shelf

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Storing canned food in your kitchen cabinets is an inefficient use of space and you will often find old cans in the back. This easy-to-build shelf system will solve the problem by rotating the cans. The cost is a small fraction of the price of retail canned food systems. There are many variations so modify the plans to suit your needs and abilities.

1. Decide the size and number of shelves you need. This article will cover a 5-shelf system that is 32in wide, 24in deep, and 64in tall.
2. Cut the plywood on a table saw or with a circular saw.
1. Cut one full sheet in half length-wise. From each half, cut a shelf at 32in. (should leave 64in for the sides).
2. Cut the other full sheet in half length-wise also. Cut each half in thirds at 32in each.
3. Cut the half-sheet of plywood at 32in. Cut the 32x48 piece in half (24x32). Set the remaining 16x48 piece aside for later. You should have 2-24x64 and 10-24x32.

3. Using a router and straight edge, route slots into the sides 3/4in. wide and 1/4in. deep. (An alternative is to attach rails that the shelves will rest on. The slot method is stronger and will not interfere with the rolling cans.)
* The shelves need to have a 1:12 slope (1in. drop for each 12in. run).
* For standard cans, the distance from the top of the input shelf to the top of the corresponding output shelf is 8in.
* For standard cans, the distance from the top of the input shelf, to the top of the next output shelf is 4in.
* For standard cans, the input shelf is 3.5in shorter than the output shelf.
* For larger cans, add 1 inch to these dimensions.
* Draw outlines for all slots.

4. Trim the shelves. The finished outside width of the shelf system will be 32in. The shelves will fit in a slot 1/4in deep. Therefore, the width of the shelves is actually 31in. Each input shelf also needs to be trimmed on the back to allow a space for the can to drop. For standard cans, this gap needs to be 3.5in.
5. Lay one side flat on the ground with the slots facing up. Insert the shelves into the slots and place the other side on top.
6. Drive 2in. screws through the side and into the edge of the shelf. Put two screws in each shelf.
7. Turn the unit over and drive screws in this side also.
8. Turn the unit over so the back is facing up. Attach the pieces that were cut from the input shelves to prevent the cans from falling off the back.
9. From the 16x48 scrap plywood, cut 5 pieces 2x32in. Turn the unit over so the front is facing up. Attach the 2x32in. pieces to block the cans from falling out the front.
10. With the remaining plywood and/or additional scrap you have laying around, build a base that the casters will attach to. Stand the unit upright and attach it to the base.
11. Decide the configuration of cans that you need. Each row will need to be about 1/2in wider than the can. On the table saw, rip 1/4in-wide strips from plywood, MDF, or dimensional lumber. MDF and lumber work best. Attach them to the shelves with wood glue.
12. One problem you may have is the cans getting mis-aligned when they drop down.
* A solution for this is to add a divider connecting the row dividing strips, filling the gap. Cut cardboard in a trapezoidal shape to fit over the two row dividers. Cut out the center material of the cardboard and glue the flaps to the row dividers.

13. Another problem occurs when the gap is too large for the cans. The can can get blocked, preventing other cans from dropping down.
* A solution for this problem is to glue wedges at the back of the lower shelf. This will cause the can to roll forward before the next one locks it in. The wedges can be cut from the same material used for the row dividers. They should be large enough to move the can forward.

14. The rotating canned food shelf is ready for use. Add labels to the front of each row to identify the contents and load cans in the top portion of each shelf.


* A simpler design is possible when you have easy access to the back. This allows you to load the cans in the back and they simply roll forward.
* This shelf system can accommodate any can size - even #10 cans. Just measure the diameter and length of the can and allow at least 1/2 inch clearance.
* The casters are very important. Experience has shown the mobility they add is a valuable convenience.
* The same concepts can be applied to build this shelf system fixed in a closet. Just use rails (screwed into studs) to support the shelves.
* For added stability make the base larger than the footprint of the shelf unit. The casters should provide support a couple inches in front of and behind the shelf unit.


* Power tools can be dangerous. Be careful.
* Always wear safety glasses when operating or using any type of power tool.

Things You'll Need

* 4 casters (3 inch)
* 2.5 sheets 3/4" plywood
* MDF or lumber
* Wood glue
* 2 inch screws
* Table saw
* Circular saw
* Router with 3/4in bit
* Drill

Related wikiHows

* How to Build a Hidden Door Bookshelf
* How to Make Use of Dead Space Under the Stairs
* How to Organize a Cork Board
* How to Organize a Display in a China Cabinet

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Build a Rotating Canned Food Shelf. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Total Votes: 96 - Rating: 7.85

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14/Jan/2009: Canning Potatoes


Yesterday, I canned my first batch of potatoes. I will be canning both red potatoes and sweet potatoes. I purchased two 10 pound bags of red potatoes (I figured this was the best choice, since the only other option was russet potatoes) and two 10 pound boxes of sweet potatoes.

This was one of the easiest things to do! I left the skins on, cut them in half or quarters (depending on their size), and followed the directions here: http://jordansfarm.wordpress.com/2008/08/23/canning-potatoes/. They all sealed beautifully and only two sucked up some of the water (the jars are about half full of water) so those will be used first (miss paranoid here).

The 20 pounds of red potatoes filled 19 quart jars (with a few left over so I could enjoy them with dinner) and 20 pounds of sweet potatoes filled 14 jars (actually 16 but I did not want to pressure can 2 jars so mashed sweet potatoes were for lunch and dinner the next day).

Further down on the web page above page is instructions for canning sweet potatoes. That is how I will be doing the sweet potatoes tonight:

Sweet Potatoes canned:

Boil first for about 5 min. so as the skins will rub off.

Leave small ones whole/ or cut,

Pack into jars

Fill with water or med. syrup (med. syrup: 3 1/4 cup sugar and 5 cups water= 7 cups syrup)

Leave 1 inch head space, remove air bubbles

Pressure can 10 pounds for:

Pints: 1 hour 5 minutes
Quarts: 1 hour and 30 minutes

I packed in syrup but a light syrup instead. I went looking around for light syrup recipes that would allow me to incorporate honey. I found this page (http://www.pickyourown.org/sugarsolution.htm), and it turns out you can replace half the sugar with honey! That's what I did!

I love fresh sweet potatoes but after seeing how the red potatoes bleached out (no longer red) I am afraid of blah, bland sweet potatoes. I have not tried the sweet potatoes yet but last night we had corned beef hash with the canned red potatoes. I cubed them, put plenty of oil in the pan, let it brown without moving it around much, then removed them from the pan. We added them back right before the eggs were set. They tasted wonderful! They did not have that canned potato smell when we opened up the jar, and tasted just like boiled potatoes right out of the jar!)

Total Votes: 70 - Rating: 7.97

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Presto 16 qt Canner

After 20 years of waiting, I have finally gotten a pressure canner! I am so excited I can hardly think straight. This was my Christmas present from my husband (in addition to loving me, I think it was mostly to get me to stop bugging him about it). It's a Presto 16 quart.

The third day, I was re-canning some of my #10 cans of food. I never wanted to open the cans because I did not want to freeze the leftovers. I processed all foods for the recommended times/pressure settings and they all turned out really nice! All except my beets. They look bleached out but one thing I noticed as I was opening up the can of pickled beets. They use high fructose corn syrup! I'll be making my own from now on.

My first big canning project is going to be chicken. Yeah, I know. Meat first? Yup. See, we buy a lot of whole chickens and load up the freezer. Canning most of the chicken will free up that freezer space for something else.

The majority of the time, we only use whole chickens for my husband's tacos and enchiladas. Those recipes require us to boil, then de-bone the chicken so why not cut those steps out?

So I went searching around and found this great blog:


Then I'll use the bones for chicken soup. Can you tell I'm excited?

Total Votes: 56 - Rating: 8.04

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21/Oct/2008: Update on Lemon Wine

The first bottle of Lemon Wine I made in April (Lemons, Lemons Everywhere) was opened Friday. It's sweet ... very sweet. I wasn't even sure there was alcohol in it until about five minutes after I finished the glass. To me, it tasted like lemon syrup.

I sent a bottle up to my sister's house so they could try it. My oldest sister had to be forced to even try it. My older sister said it tasted more like lemon liquor (suggesting mixing it with club soda), and my brother-in-law tried it over ice.

I'm glad I had them try it because I really didn't know if I liked it or not. At least none of us keeled over dead from it! LOL!

Total Votes: 58 - Rating: 7.76

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16/Oct/2008: Pumpkin Time!

I was gifted with approximately 10 pumpkins. A friend wasn't expecting the vines to come up this year so we had plenty to give to co-workers, neighbors, and hold onto.

So, I was looking around online. I usually freeze my pumpkin puree but here's a woman who cans it! I figure, using her recipe, I'll end up with pumpkin pie filling with one quart being enough to make two pies. I am so excited!


Total Votes: 59 - Rating: 7.80

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