Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Sun Is Shinning On Our Solar Panels


I woke up this morning and it was very bright. It has been partly dull for the last few days. When Number One got up he also immediately noticed the brightness of the morning. We have been unplugging unnecessary items at night to conserve on power, since we have been baking a lot for Thanksgiving. My oven uses a lot of power to light itself. I would like to change it out for a stove that has pilots. The pilots would also take the chill out of the air on the days that we don't use the heater.

We are trying to live within our solar means. We don't want to run the generator unless we have too. It cost money to buy the fuel for the generator and it cost money to replace the generator. Living within your means, financially, is a new concept for many. It's a hard reality for some. It's not too late to learn how to incorporate this into your life. It's actually a challenge that is fun for the whole family. Step out of your box and start figuring out ways to conserve. My grandmother taught me this old saying that she learned when she was a child growing up during the Great depression.

Use it up, wear it out, use it again or do without!

My grandmother also taught me that they never did without food because they lived on a farm. They preserved the food that they grew and raised with the future in mind. They were not rich and did without many things, but they were able to provide the basic necessities for themselves in a time when a lot of people could not. People had to learn how to live all over again. Did they re-create the wheel? No, they just went back to the basics. 

Living a more self reliant life style does not mean that it's less work. On the contrary,  it's a lot of physical work to provide food for yourself and your family. It takes a lot of knowledge and skill to run and maintain even the smallest operation. We do not have a major corporation backing us with unlimited funds. We care about what we produce and it does not always turn out the way it should.

I don't know the future of our economy, but I want to be able to provide for my family. I'm learning new skills all the time. I'm planning for our future and learning to conserve what God has seen fit to bless us with...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Benefits Of Beans

I buy beans from an oriental store. They have a better selection
and better prices.

When I was a child I used to sit with my Grandma Winnie and sort beans at the table in the mornings. I'm pretty sure that there was not a day that went by that they didn't eat beans, cornbread and fried potatoes. It was my Grandpa's favorite meal. I do not remember eating any other meal at their house. They must have, but I don't remember it.

 My Grandpa loved to fish and grow a garden. They had thirteen children. Beans used to be called " a poor man's food ", but I know that they had a love for beans. They must have to have eaten them everyday. Now, brown beans cost around .86 lb. Still a good bang for your buck for protein.

Health Benefits Of Beans:

Susan Raatz, PhD, MPH, RD
Research Nutritionist, USDA Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Throughout history, dry beans have been used as a staple of the diet, and the health benefits derived from them have been well recognized.  Documentation of their use goes back far into the past, long before biblical times.  Evidence of dry bean use in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, India and China is available from archeological evidence.
Most Americans are not eating enough beans, although people in the southern and western regions of the United States consume more than those in the Midwest and Northeast, even though half of the beans grown in the country are from North Dakota and Michigan. Americans consume, on average, about 6.5 pounds of dry beans yearly which is equal to 56g/week or a little more than 1/4 of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommendation of 3 cups of beans per week (dry weight ~200 g).
Dry beans are nutrient-dense in that the amount of nutrients provided per calorie is particularly high.   Increased intake will provide nutritional benefits to the diet, and may help to reduce disease risk and enhance longevity.  In a recent multicultural study, the consumption of beans was shown to be the only dietary component related to longevity.  In a study called the “Food Habits in Later Life Study,” investigators found that for every 20g intake of legumes (including dry beans), the risk ratio of death was reduced by 6% in the older people (aged 70 and older) studied.
Dry Beans are Nutritionally Rich
Although dry beans vary considerably in flavor, size, color, and shape, their nutritional composition is remarkably similar. (Table 1 provides an example of the nutrient content of cooked dry beans.) They are packed with protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and are low in fat.    One half cup of cooked dry beans contains approximately 115 calories and provides 8 grams of protein. In addition to macronutrients, vitamins and minerals, dry beans contain several types of phytochemicals. They are rich in lignans, which may play a role in preventing osteoporosis, heart disease, and certain cancers. The flavonoids in beans may help reduce heart disease and cancer risk. The plant stanol esters, or phytosterols, contained in dry beans may help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Dry Beans Provide Complex Carbohydrates
Sixty to 65% of the calories in dry beans are from carbohydrates, predominantly in the form of starch, resistant starch, and small amounts of non-starch polysaccharides.  Dry beans have a low glycemic index, with values varying from 27-42% relative to glucose and 40-59% relative to white bread.  The reduced glycemic index of dry beans helps reduce the glycemic load of the diet when served in a mixed meal.  The properties of the carbohydrates found in dry beans, along with their fiber content, make them ideal foods for the management of abnormalities associated with insulin resistance, diabetes and hyperlipidemia.
Beans contain some complex sugars of the raffinose family.  These are the sugars that cause digestive issues with bean consumption.  These sugars must be broken down by enzymes that are not available in the human digestive system and are therefore available for microbial action in the colon, resulting in gas production and flatulence.  These sugars can be removed effectively from the beans by soaking the beans, and then cooking them, discarding the soaking and cooking liquids.
Dry Beans Provide Beneficial Dietary Fiber
Dry beans are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers, so they provide the nutritional benefits of both fiber classes.  The soluble fiber in beans dissolves in water, trapping bile which helps to lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol, especially if LDL cholesterol levels were high to begin with, without compromising the level of protective HDL cholesterol. Dry beans also provide substantial amounts of insoluble fiber, which help attract water to the stool and enhance transit time of waste through the colon.  This may help to combat constipation, colon cancer, and other conditions that afflict the digestive tract.
Dry Beans are a Major Source of Dietary Protein
Dry beans are very good source of low fat protein. They contain between 21 to 25% protein by weight, which is much higher than other vegetable products.  In many parts of the world, they provide a substantial proportion of the total protein intake for the population.  The intake of dried beans as a protein source is extremely important worldwide as they provide a good source of protein at minimal cost relative to the production of animal protein sources.
Dry Beans are Low in Fat
The fat content of dry beans is very low (less than 2% of total content), and they contain predominately unsaturated fatty acids.  There is some variation based on variety and growth conditions, but most beans contain about 85% of their fat as unsaturated fatty acids.  Because dry beans are plant foods, they are cholesterol-free.
Dry Beans are Plentiful in Vitamins and Minerals
As for vitamins and minerals, beans are an excellent source of copper, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium—nutrients that many Americans don’t get enough of. Most dry beans are a rich source of iron, which makes them ideal for vegans who do not get an animal source of iron. The nutritional content of most dry beans is very similar, with the exception of iron content.  White beans have almost twice the iron of black beans, while kidney beans are somewhere in between.
Dry beans are an excellent source of the water-soluble vitamins thiamin and folic acid and a good source of riboflavin and vitamin B6.
Nutrient dense dry beans are an important addition to the diet.  They are low in fat, high in fiber and packed with protein. Dry beans provide a rich source of vitamins and minerals as well as plant phytochemicals.  Including 3 cups of cooked dry beans in the diet on a weekly basis will meet the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  In addition, they will enhance health-promoting aspects of the diet and be important in reducing risk for chronic diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Nutritional Values
Black Beans, Cooked
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 113
Fat: <1 g
Saturated Fat: <1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 20 g
Protein: 8 g
Dietary Fiber: 8 g
Sodium: 1 mg
Thiamin: <1 mg
Folic Acid: 128 mcg
Copper: <1 mg
Iron: 2 g
Magnesium: 60 mg
Manganese: <1 mg
Phosphorus: 120 mg
Potassium: 306 mg
Grind beans to add to soups or stews to add protein, flavor
and to thicken. Store in freezer.
I store dry beans in 1/2 gallon canning jars

2 cups of dry beans will make 4-5 cups cooked

Sort by removing imperfect beans and other debris from beans.
I soak my beans in a jar filled with hot water.
My mom sent me this funnel.

Beans are so versatile, they can be added to most dishes.

I used dehydrated hamburger. (hamburger rocks)

I also used leftover frozen salsa.

I cook my beans in an electric pressure cooker. (cooking beans in higher
altitudes takes forever)

Throw everything in!

Add spices

Pressure cook



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Secondhand Teasures

We had to go to town to take the dogs to the vet the other day. They are fine, praise God, they just needed their rabies booster and Hiho needed to be checked after taking a round of anti-biotics. Hiho and Abby were secondhand treasures too.

Afterwards, we went to a few Goodwill stores and a yard sale. Here are a few secondhand treasures that we brought home with us.

I picked out three books for .99 a piece

$1 Columbia Coat
The coat washed up nicely

1/2 gallon Ball canning jar for $1.00

A nice Weber grill for $5.00
Isn't it strange how things get priced? At yard sales people seem to price items by their memories of the item, not necessarily by how much the item is worth. The days of .25 items have all but disappeared. I blame this on the pre-printed tags you can buy at the store. The lowest price on those tags seems to be $1.

You can always tell when you meet another yard seller, they have their items reasonably priced. We see signs all the time for yard sales during the week. I think that people are suffering and trying to get by anyway they can.

Philippians 4:19

New International Version (NIV)
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Reach out to those in need. You may be the way God provides for a need. Don't miss out on the opportunity to serve others. Blessings......

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Inflation And Random Thoughts

Two eagles playing on the ice
 I heard on the news this morning that the items purchased for Christmas gifts last year will cost 20% more if you purchased the same items this year. I don't know exactly what gifts they were discussing, maybe it's across the board. As consumers, we know that utilities, fuel, food and clothing have increased dramatically over the last two years or longer.

Somehow, those types of purchases are not included in the inflation rates. I don't see why they aren't. We have to have these things to live. It's just another way to try and keep us in the dark when it comes to the truth about our economy. Who are they fooling? Do they not think that we don't notice that you can't buy meat for under $2 a pound? How about the fact that eggs cost almost $2 a dozen. I don't know why they can't be honest about inflation rates.

I worry about those who are on limited incomes and have no way to make more, like the elderly. I also worry about our military families. How are they coping? There are a lot of people who are in desperate situations that need help. Here is an article from the Huffington Post dated Nov. 3, 2011 about food stamps and food programs:

USDA data released this week shows that the number of Americans receiving food aid from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) hit another all-time high in August. 45.8 million people -- almost 15% of the country -- were enrolled in the program, which replaced Food Stamps in 2008. This is only a slight increase from July, when 45.3 million Americans were receiving SNAP help -- but a massive 31% jump since June 2009, when the National Bureau of Economic Research declared the most recent recession over.
In total, the USDA spent $6.1 billion on SNAP benefits in August 2011, up 8% from the year before.
Texas was the state with the most SNAP recipients, at 4.12 million, according to Bloomberg.
Part of the massive bump in SNAP usage is almost certainly attributable to increasingly levels of awareness of the program and better administration of benefits.
But the most recent numbers also highlight the persistence of America's economic doldrums, and their impact on food security in the country. The issue has been increasingly the subject of subject attention in recent months, with groups from Sesame Street to the US Congress using their influence to boost awareness. And the Huffington Post's own Paul Needham put a human face on the issue with his tireless coverage of food banks throughout the country.
To get an idea of the magnitude of American's skyrocketing SNAP usage, here's a chart illustrating the USDA's data going back to 2007:

This is a terrible tragedy. So many people. They cannot deny the truth anymore. Give it to us straight, so we can make adjustments as it happens, not as they see fit. Let us control our own lives. Make our own decisions. Stop weakening us to the point where we have no choice but to get onto the dole.

Please help out those in need and if your in need, pull yourself up and out of this as soon as you can. Don't let it break your spirit. This is not a new way of life. It's nothing but a small moment in time in the grand scheme of things. I believe that it is going to get worse before it will get better. Get strong, America

Is this what our government wants us to be? Weak, broken and in the dark? It's our government that is broken. This is the United States of America! Make your vote count! Don't sit back anymore and think that they will do what's best for us. Vote! Clean house! If they all must go, then sobeit! Don't overlook your local governments either. They don't want to get their financial house in order either, they just want to raise your taxes. We spend less and so should they!

Look at the Super comittee. They don't want to spend less.This was just a farse to make it seem like they care. Shame on them! They want to raise taxes. Those who threaten the elderly into believing they won't get a social security check if they don't raise debt limits, shame on you too! If they would have kept their filthy hands out of the pot, this wouldn't have been an issue.

Father in Heaven, have mercy on us. I pray that You will move those in power to do the right thing. I pray for our country and for all of us in it. Help us Father to get out of this mess. I pray for the world. It seems that we are all in the same boat. In Christ Jesus Name....Amen and Amen

Thanksgiving Day Meal Finale


Prepared Veggies

Preparing Charcoal

$5.00 Yard Sale Find



Menu: Homemade Bread, Grilled Stuffed Pork Loin, Grilled Garlic, Onions, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach Salad, Honey and Butter

Praise God, it's time to eat!

Thanksgiving Day Meals

Our Thanksgiving dinner was a modest rendition of the original, to say the least, without the bird. It was just the two of us, so we made what we had on hand. We usually travel to see friends and family this time of the year. This is the first time in years that we both have been home. You see, it's hunting season. It's that time of the year when Number One gets together with his hunting club and disappears for a week and then another and so on.
The bounty that he brings home provides us with wild healthy meat for a year or so. I like to make sausage out of the deer. Yummy! I like that he hunts. I keep the tenderloin and a few roasts in tact to make other dishes, but most of it is ground and turned into sausage at my leisure. It's a good feeling to have one's freezer full of a delicious healthy alternative to store bought feed lot hormone raging beef. I have noticed, in my neck of the woods, better beef choices at the stores.
                                            Sausage Pies
Pie Crust Recipe


Mixing the dough

Rolling out crust

Three X
I used three small pie shells

Ingredients: I used dehydrated bell peppers and homemade mozzarella from powdered milk


Add ingredients to pie shells

Three X for me


To Be Continued..........

Friday, November 25, 2011

Update: Phone Service

        Praise God, they finally have been able to fix the tower that gives us phone service at our home. Apparently, there were three damaged towers from this wind storm. I'm not sure if the last tower has been fixed yet. Our phone service has been disrupted for about two weeks.
        We could make outbound calls from our computer, but our calls were dropped more than once making work nearly impossible. It was frustrating and hard to explain to our clients. Number One is trying to get a credit from our carrier now, but that's a whole different story.
        It's out again. I think they are still working on it. Who knows? It's back. I'M GETTING WHIPLASH!

Thanksgiving Day Basic White Bread

Good Book To Have in Your Library
Basic White: Template for Bread making

2 cups milk                                1/2 cup warm water
1 tbs salt                                    (105*-115* F)
2 tbs butter                                2 tbs sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast                6-7 cups flour

        I have made many forms of this bread over the years. Number One claims that I can't follow a recipe. I follow a recipe at least once, then I "improve" on it. This recipe is very forgiving. You can "improve" on the nutritional value of this recipe by adding things like mashed potatoes, oatmeal, flax or whole wheat flour. Just add it to the milk mixture. I have left this recipe "pure". You can decide for yourself if you want to "improve" this recipe.
Heat milk, butter and salt in a saucepan on medium heat until bubbles appear around edges. Remove from heat and let cool to about 110*.

Oops, I used honey

Add yeast and sugar to mixing bowl.

        Add warm water to yeast and sugar. Make sure the water is not more than 115*. Higher temperatures will kill the yeast. Proof the yeast. Bubbles will appear in about five minutes.

Proof the yeast

Add milk mixture to the yeast mixture. Stir until mixed well. Make sure the temperature of the milk mixture is not more than 110*. You don't want to kill your yeast.
I use bread flour

The secret of making bread is to use as little flour as possible and still be able to handle the dough. Add half the flour and mix well. If you are doing this by hand use a good wooden spoon with a long handle.
Change to dough hook
Add flour one cup at a time mixing well after each cup. The dough should be soft and pliable. Do not add too much flour. This dough has a nice smooth feeling.

The purpose of kneading is to distribute the yeast cells throughout the dough. If kneading dough by hand, sprinkle flour on the counter top or dough board. Adding more flour to keep dough from sticking. Knead for about ten minutes. If using a mixer, mix for eight minutes adding enough flour to keep dough from sticking to the sides. Knead until soft, pliable and smooth.
Form into a ball
Form into a ball. Place dough into a greased bowl. Turn dough until completely covered in oil. Cover with plastic wrap then a towel. Place bowl in a warm draft free area. Let rise until doubled in size. About one hour.

After dough has doubled in size punch dough down. Remove from bowl and knead for three minutes on a floured surface to remove any air bubbles. Divide dough and let rest for five minutes. Form dough into logs and place into two greased 9 by 5 by 3 inch bread pans. Turn dough over to coat with oil. Make sure seam side is down for second rising.

Cover with towel let rise and place in a warm draft free place until dough has doubled in volume. After forty five minutes. Preheat oven to 400*. When oven has reached 400* place bread dough in oven and bake for 23 minutes.( I bake mine for 25 due to altitude) Bread should be nicely browned. Cover and let cool completely before slicing. I cheat and cut off the end as my treat for baking the bread. That's what I tell myself, anyway. Yummy plain or with butter...................

Tapping on bottom should produce hollow sound.