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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cold Weather Emergency -What would you do?

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     You  received a call saying that your neighbor fell in a gutter.  An ambulance was called, but it was 20 minutes away.  It was a cold, rainy day in mid-November and the lady who fell was very old (in her 80's).  You ran out to help.  Some of the neighbors had found her and pulled her out of the gutter (there was water in it) on to the road.  When you arrived the lady was barely conscious and she was shivering.  There appeared to be a bump on her forehead which was probably caused by the fall.  What should you do?  What should you not do?  Leave your comments below and stay tuned for expert advice!


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Friday, October 8, 2010

An Unquenchable Fire to Keep You Warm

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     Would you like to light a fire on wet wood?  Do you want to light a fire on water?  Are you looking for something to help you stay warm while camping, backpacking, snow-shoeing, skiing, etc?  If you answered yes to these questions, look no further.  We have just the product for you!  Check out our hottest new product at Survival Superstore!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Getting Ready for Halloween!!!

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It's October!  Halloween is coming!  It's time for costumes, candy, and decorating!!!  Oh, and don't forget the pumpkin carving either.  It is a great way to spend quality time with your family and to nurture your creativity.  Here at Basic Living, we gathered 15 yummy recipes for you to try this Halloween season.  Be sure to start trying them early, so you can use your favorite ones to make your Halloween even yummier!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's for dinner tonight?

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Isn't trying to decide what's for dinner one of the hardest things sometimes?  It seems like I repeat the same recipes every two weeks.  In an attempt to get inspiration on what to make for dinner, I used to spend hours watching the cooking channel.  Over time, I began to enjoy cooking for my wife and to take chances with new things.  Well, today was one of those days where I had to improvise and adapt to the world around me.  I usually make this dish with cream of mushroom soup, but when I was half way done the reality struck me like a bolt of lightening "we're out of cream of mushroom!"  Here is the accidental recipe which turned out to be a home-run!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Inspirationals - "Create"

Pin It Here is a great message about being creative.  Hope you'll like it. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Survival Food!!?

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So, it's not really considered a "survival food" where we live, but for some it might serve as a survival food when there is nothing left to eat.  Although I grew up in a culture where bee larvae are considered a delicacy, I probably wouldn't be able to get myself to enjoy one of these unless it was the only thing available and I haven't eaten anything for days...  Just in case you are curious, here is the recipe for those who are brave enough to try some.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Putting the Bosch Universal Plus to the test

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     So, I am not going to lie, I like to spend time on looking for fun things.  And let's be honest, I'm sure you've had your fair share of "youtube-fix", so here's one for you if you haven't had your fix for the day.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oatmeal Recipe

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Instant Oatmeal Packets
To make individual instant packets:
Blend 1/2 C. of oats until powdery.
Into each of the 10 packets (perhaps individual sealable sandwich bags) combine the following ingredients:

  -1/4 C. unpowdered oats
  -2 TBSP powder oats
  -1/8 tsp. salt
  -1 tsp. sugar (optional)
  -Close the top and store in a dry place.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How to make survival ration bars at home

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Monday, September 27, 2010

An Inspirational Thought Of The Day

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A simple act of kindness can lift the people around you.  Look for ways to make others' lives brighter. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Best Outdoor Cooking Set!

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Camping is a great way to spend quality time with your family and friends.  However, because of all the preparation involved, some may choose not to deal with the trouble of acquiring a tent, sleeping bags, and everything else that makes a camping experience so fun and unique.  If you are one of those people, here is a set for you!  Kitchen to Go kit contains everything you need for you and your family have a good meal out in the wild.  It includes a compact gas stove with spare gas cans, frying pan, a small pot, lighter, cooking utensils, a Wind N' Go flashlight, and a Wind N' Go Mini Lantern.
Have you ever been unable to cook in your house because the power went out and your electric stoves won't work?  I have been in those situations many times.  Fortunately, the power outages occurred late at night, so there was no need for us to cook at the time, but in our home we now have portable gas stoves so that we do not find ourselves unable to cook a hot meal for our kids just because the power went out.  Emergency survival is more than just making it through disasters, but it is "how" you survive them.  If you are prepared, there will be no worries.  If you have electric stoves, the Kitchen to Go Kit is a kit for you!!!  Check it out at today!

by Kento Fukuyasu

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Monday, September 13, 2010

The end of another Season

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Well it's the end of another season; you know the one that we call summer, and with that means the end of a couple of things, one of which is the end of gardening. In Japan the rice is being harvested, in Idaho it's the potatoes, and somewhere around the Nebraska area the corn is being husked. All of this signifies the end of the heat season while waiting for the cold winter season to settle in.  During this time the prices on things such as apples and strawberries, lettuce and tomatoes all rise and we become meat eaters, simply because the prices on produce are high enough to make one broke.
But what  about our vegetables? What about the healthy stuff that keeps us sane? Since it's too cold for crops and gardens to survive outside, Basic Living has equipped themselves with a few products that will keep you healthy and happy this winter season. By simply adding some healthy greens that can easily be grown indoors you will be eating healthier this winter season. Sprouts are a great way to add variety and greens into your life. They can be grown indoors and can be used in soups and salads or even added to a sandwich if such is desired.  From the wonderful easy sprout or the Kitchen crop Sprouter you can be growing sprouts in a matter of days.  The interesting thing about sprouts is that there is such a wide variety to choose from.  Just a few that can be used in these wonderful little sprouters and grown anytime of the year include: Alfalfa, curly cres, daikon radish, and green peas. More options are available and prices vary but can be found at Basic Living all year long.
Try sprouts this winter season and find out what you have been missing!
Happy Sprouting!!!
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How To Select A Juicer

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There are many factors that determine which of the many juicers out there is the best juicer for you.  Some of the factors that you need to consider are:
  1. Juicer Types
  2. Produce most likely to be juiced
  3. Cleaning
  4. Power
  5. Noise Level
1. Juicer Types
There are six main types of juicers that are available today.  They are Centrifugal Juicers, Citrus Juicers, Manual Press Juicers, Single Gear (a.k.a. Masticating Juicers), Twin Gear (a.k.a. Triturating Juicers), and Wheat Grass Juicers.
  • Centrifugal Juicers:  Centrifugal juicers are the most affordable and popular choice available to people looking to buy a juicer these days.  These juicers use a shredding disc to spin out  the juice and a strainer basket to hold the pulp in the machine.
  • Citrus Juicers:  A citrus juicer provides the convenience of juicing citrus fruits at home so you can enjoy the benefits of fresh squeezed citrus juice any time.
  • Manual Press Juicers:  Since the juice is pressed through cheesecloth, the juice is virtually pulp free, but can be a slow process.  Requires produce to be shredded in order to be pressed and squeezes the juice out of the produce with pressure.
  • Single Gear (a.k.a. Masticating Juicers):  These produce less foam, and can be utilized to make baby food, sauces, and sorbets.  A slow turning single auger is used by these types of juicers to crush the produce into the walls or screen of the juicer.
  • Twin Gear Juicers (a.k.a. Triturating Juicers):  These juicers have two gears that shreds, then presses the juice out of the produce.  These types of juicers are liable to be more expensive than other types of juicers, but twin gears juicers are the most efficient and can extract larger volumes of juice from fruits and vegetables.
  • Wheatgrass Juicers:  Wheatgrass juicers can extract the juice out of the blades of wheatgrass either manually or automatically.  Wheatgrass is a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and enzymes.  This is a specialized type of juicer since normal fruit and vegetable juicers will not juice wheatgrass. 
2. Produce most likely to be juiced
If you are likely to be juicing fruit and vegetables in equal quantities, then a centrifugal juicer is your best option and some models also feature attachments that will allow you to juice citrus as well.  However, those juicers do not juice leafy vegetables well.  For juicing mainly vegetables a single auger juicer would be the best option, but they produce rather thick juice from fruit, almost sauce-like, since they are designed for juicing stalk-like vegetables.

3. Cleaning
 The time it will take to clean a juicer after you used it will depend on the complexity of the juicer as the average juicer has between four and seven parts requiring cleaning.  This means that while a citrus press can be cleaned with a quick wipe down, a juicer with more functionality will take longer to clean.  Also a check should be made as to whether the components are dishwasher safe, unless you are happy to hand wash the parts.

4. Power
 The amount of power you need depends on the hardness of the produce you are juicing.  The harder the produce, the more power you will need, but anything over 400 watts should be more than sufficient.  The stronger the motor is, the longer it is likely to last.  Also a check should be made as to whether the motor is guaranteed by the manufacturer.  

5. Noise Levels 
This is dependent on the power of your juicer's motor.  The more powerful the motor, the higher the noise levels produced.  The importance of this factor is guided by personal preference and your sitation.  If you have no one around to complain about the noise and you don't mind the noise, then it is unimportant; but if you mind a loud noise or people around you do, then it is a consideration.  But it must be weighted up against the effectiveness of your juicer.
Click here to check out the juicers at!

Happy Juicing!!!

by Mechele Eckman

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Juicing for Health

Pin It Tomato Juice in a glas, decorated with tomato ...Image via WikipediaTo be blunt, Americans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables.  For example, although the National Cancer Institute recommends 5 servings of vegetables and 3 of fruits each day, the truth is this:  The average American eats only 1 1/2 serving of vegetables and, on average, no fruit on any given day.
Benefits of Juicing
     No matter what our age, it is never too late to start drinking your fruits and vegetables.  Juices can flush toxins from your body, are good for your weight, heart, circulation, and overall well being.  Juices contain saturated fats or added sodium and can be helpful in lowering your cholesterol 

  -Juicing breaks cell walls of whole foods including tomatoes and carrots.  This way you make it easy for your body to absorb all the wonderful nutrients of the vegetables and fruits.   

  -Juice is absorbed within 20 minutes.  You don't have to waste energy do digest the foods.  Nothing energizes you quicker than juice.   

  -Best way to consume high volumes of greens.  Some people wonder, how they can ever eat all the greens that are recommended.  Juicing is the solution.   

  -Greens are the most alkalizing, mineralizing and healthiest foods.  But not always the most palatable.  By juicing vegetables you can mix with apples or carrots for better taste.   

  -Juicing only takes a few minutes.  More than blending but still quick and much faster and easier than cooking.   

  -No pans to scrub.  Juicers are relatively quick and easy to clean - especially the centrifuge juicers.  
  -Juicing is easy to learn and you an make and adapt recipes easily.      

How to Juice
  1. Wash the vegetables and fruits.
  2. Depending on the kind of raw food or juicer, you might have to pre-cut.
  3. Juice the soft fruits and veggies first.  Then the harder and tougher ones (like carrots).  the latter will push the softer ones through.
  4. The best way to begin a regular juicing routine is to do it the same time each day and only begin with the vegetables and fruits that ou enjoy eating whole.
  5. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices should be consumed right away because if you store them they can lose their nutrition value very quickly.
  6. It is best to clean juicer right after use.  
 Juicing Tips and Techniques
  1. The first thing to consider is whether or not to make your own juice.  Preparing your own juice will save you money and it will be the freshest it can get.  You can buy bottled juices but some of the nutrition is lost in bottling.  
  2. Choose a juicer that does not create excess heat that will destroy valuable nutrients in fruits and vegetables.  For juicing green vegetables and grasses - use a twin gear juicer.  For juicing harder vegetables such as carrots or soft veggies such as cucumber, it's easier and quicker to use a centrifuge juicer.
  3. Whenever possible, organic produce should be used for juicing to avoid consuming concentrated amounts of pesticides with your healthy juices.  
  4. If you are juicing primarily for health, use 50-75% greens like spinach, kale, chard, parsley or broccoli as the base of your juice recipe.  Fruit juices tend to be higher in sugar and lower in nutrients than vegetable juices.  In general, you can get about 8 ounces of juice from a pound of raw produce.
  5. If yo want juice with no pulp at all, you can use cheesecloth or a coffee filter to further strain juice after it goes through your juicer.  As a final juicing tip, consider that the softer the fruit or vegetable, the thicker the juice will be.  In fact, the juice extracted from very soft fruits like pears, peaches, strawberries, and apricots is known as nectar. 
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Rasberry Pie Recipe

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     Raspberries are filled with bright color and flavor that will wake up your senses and make your taste buds happy.  While picking fresh raspberries from your garden, you might wonder about a way to enjoy the wonderful smell and flavor of these wonderful raspberries long after they were picked.  I have successfully trapped the mouth-watering flavor and heavenly smell of raspberries into a pie.  Here is the recipe.  I hope you'll like it.

4 cups of Raspberries
1/4 c. Clear Jel (instant)
1 to 1/4 c. sugar
     Combine clear jel with the sugar and then add to the raspberries. If they are fresh you may need to add about 1/2 cup water. If your raspberries have been frozen and are thawed do not add any liquid. Pour into a 9 inch pie crust and top with another crust for the top and bake at 425 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

by Mechele Eckman
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

IOSAT - Hot item at Survival Superstore

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This summer, we have seen an increase in people purchasing the iOSAT tablets.  

iOSAT was developed by ANBEX in 1979 following the meltdown at Three Mile Island nuclear plant.  iOSAT was developed for the purpose of protecting people from accidental or terrorist-related release of radioactive iodine from  nuclear power plants or from nuclear weapons. 

In 1982, iOSAT was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and it is known today as the only full-strength tablet which may legally be sold in the US for preventing radiation blocking. 

According to ANBEX, the value of Potassium Iodine in preventing radiation blocking has been known to man as early as the 1950's.

"Development. The value of KI as a radiation protective was first recognized in 1954 following a Pacific nuclear bomb test. Shifting winds blew radioactive fallout in an unexpected direction, contaminating two small atolls 150 miles away. Although residents were quickly evacuated, it was too late. Within 20 years, most of the island's adult population, and all of its children, had developed some form of thyroid disease or cancer.
"Doctors studying the problem soon realized that radioactive iodine in the fallout had entered the island's food and water supplies. It had been inhaled and ingested by the islanders and absorbed by their thyroid glands. Over the years it led to the steady, inevitable, development of cancer and other thyroid malfunctions. While the fallout had contained traces of other radioactive products, these had played little or no role.
"This understanding led experts to speculate that much of the danger from radiation might be eliminated if the absorption of radioiodine by the thyroid gland could be blocked. As a result, a search began for a class of drugs that later became known as 'thyroid blocking agents.'
"By 1957, scientists had concluded that potassium iodide represented an ideal thyroid blocking agent. This material had been used for years in other therapies, was known to be extremely safe, inexpensive, had a long shelf life, and could prevent 99% of the radioactive iodine in fallout from being absorbed." -from ANBEX website
 iOSAT is available today at Survival Superstore.   Stop by and pick up your tablets to protect your loved ones from a nuclear emergency. 

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Sour Dough Starter and Bread

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Different types of Starter
2 cups flour
2 cups water                                      
1 Tbsp. yeast       

1 cup flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast

2 cups fresh ground wheat
2 cups water

1 bunch of organic grapes
3 Tbsp yogurt
1/3 cup non-fat milk (dry)
1 cup warm water
1Tbsp. sugar

1 cup water
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup flour

2 cups bread flour
2 cups water
1 cup flour

General Tips
1. Do not use a metal bowl

2. Cover with plastic wrap, a wet paper towel, or a loose fitting lid

3. A dark liquid will collect on the top of your starter this is called the hooch. It is good. You just mix it in.

4. Keep in a warm place about 70-80 °F.

5. Thick starter seems to develop more flavor but a thick starter is difficult for new bakers to work with.    A pancake batter consistency is good.

6. When you use wild yeast (yeast from the flour and the air) it might take a few tries before you get the flavor you like.

7. If your starter starts to smell really bad feed it twice a day instead of once or empty most of the starter out feed it and put it in the refrigerator for a day.

8. The starter is ready to use after about 4 days on the counter. It should have lots of bubbles.

9. When using wild yeast for your starter, it will take the bread a lot longer to rise. It might take about 8 hours for your bread to double in size. So it is good to let it rise over night and bake in the morning.

10. Yeast provides the leavening action for the bread

11. bacteria provides the flavor.

12. Sweetners in your starter encourage mold.

13. You can dehydrate your starter to give to friends.

14. Starter left in the refrigerator will stay active for 4 weeks.

15. Many commercial bakeries use a combination of a starter plus packaged yeast which is more reliable and whose growth rate can be controlled.

16. Starter made with commercial yeast have a less distinctive sourdough flavor.

17. Feed your starter once for 3 to 4 days until there are a lot of bubbles and then use or store in the refrigerator.

18. If your starter has been in the refrigerator for a while. You need to refresh it before you use it. Refresh it by adding 1 c. flour and 1 cup water. Do it the night before you want to use it so it comes to room temperature and becomes bubbly.

19. All dough contains at least some bacteria. Why then aren’t all breads sour? In dough made by commercial yeast the yeast outnumber the bacteria. Since both compete for the same sugars, the yeast win out, and the bacteria don’t have a chance to produce their acidic by-products. In sour dough, yeast and bacteria are more closely balanced, so the bacteria have a chance to add their flavor to the bread.

Friday, July 30, 2010

No-Knead Sourdough Bread

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1 ½ lb. loaf
3 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting
¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. sourdough
Cornmeal as needed

     1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/5 cups warm water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for 18 to 24 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 ° F. You can put it into the oven with the oven light on.

     2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

     3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

     4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450° F. Put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven.  Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is ok. Shake pan once or twice if dough unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

by Mechele Eckman
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lexan Bottle - safe, durable water container

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     Have you ever seen someone drop a gallon jug on the floor?  The container ruptured, content spilling without reservation, and the owner watching helplessly.  Storing or transporting liquid could be a challenge sometimes. 

     In a survival or an emergency situation, water is one of the single most important thing that could make or break your survival.  It is important that you find access to safe, drinkable water.  Once you gained access to drinkable water and your next objective is to keep it safe, the 1000ml lexan bottle is the perfect item for you.  Made with Lexan Resin Polycarbonate Plastic, the lexan bottle is virtually indestructable.  It also prevents absorbing flavors and smells, while the lid threads attach directly to MSR or Katadyn water filters for easy filtering.  Graduated measures help you measure in both ounces and milliliters.

     Used with water purification tablets, the 1000ml lexan bottle provides an easy solution to both obtaining and storing your safe, drinkable water.  Does your 72 hour kit have a lexan bottle in it?  If not, now is a great time to improve your kit by including one!

Click here for's product page.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Portable Aqua Tablets - easy solution for water safety

Pin It Whether you are camping, hiking, traveling, or simply thinking about being prepared; water is a crucial element in life that cannot be gone without for a long period of time.   Anywhere from 65% to 90% of the human body is composed of water.  We have a perfect line of products to help you meet your water purification needs in camping, hiking, and emergency preparedness.

Portable Aqua Water Purification Technology is an excellent solution for water safety for those looking for easy, compact, and light weight water purification system.  Though it is not meant for on-going use, it is a perfect solution when you have to obtain safe, drinkable water without having to start a fire. suggests the following uses:

Outdoor Activities

Whether camping, canoeing, hunting, or engaging in any sort of outdoor activity, it pays to be mindful of your water supply. A bottle of Potable Aqua® tablets takes up very little space, weigh less than a pound, and when used correctly will protect you from a host of parasites, viruses and bacteria.

International Travel

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that between 30% and 70% of international travelers suffer some form of Traveler's Diarrhea (TD), calling TD "the most predictable travel-related illness."

The most common causes of water-borne TD are bacteria, such as E. coli, cholera and salmonella, which are reduced or eliminated by Potable Aqua® Drinking Water Germicidal Tablets.

Be conscious of where you are. If you are traveling to a place where indoor plumbing is not widely available, or where monsoons, floods or inadequate water treatment may leave water supplies exposed to pathogens, proceed with caution.

Potable Aqua® Drinking Water Germicidal Tablets, when used correctly, can render water safe for drinking.

Disaster Relief and Emergency Preparedness

As hurricanes and tsunamis tragically demonstrate, the first things to get knocked out by natural disasters are the electrical grid and the water supply.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) an adult needs a minimum of a half gallon of water per day just for drinking. So a family of four would require roughly two gallons per day of purified water.

When water is scarce, water purification tablets like Potable Aqua® are crucial for an emergency preparedness kit.

Portable Aqua Tablets are included in all of our deluxe emergency kits as well as the survivor emergency kits.  But if you need the tablets for an addition to your 72 hour kit or for your hiking trip, they are available at  Or click here for a direct link to the product page.

by Store
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Find us at the Rexburg Farmers' Market

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It's summer time!  That means it's time for Rexburg's annual farmers market.  It is a great place to find fresh produce and hand-made crafts and more!  This year, we are also going to be part of the farmers market by selling our home made beef jerky made with our dehydrators and a Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine.  We are seeing continual success with our jerky.  Last Friday, we sold out of three flavors: Mama Mia Italiano, Bacon and Cheddar, and Hot, HOT Salsa. 

We also held a jerky eating contest.  Our contestants were required to chew and swallow ten pieces of jerky with various flavors.  Spicy ones included!

Jerky can be made at home very easily with the use of a jerky seasoning mix and a dehydrator.  Check out our store for tools to help you get started on your jerky making project. 

We have a winner! 

If you live in Rexburg, or anywhere near the area, the Rexburg Farmers Market is the place to be on Friday evenings.  If you are in the area between 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. stop by and try our jerky for free!  Come and talk to Jim about making your own home made jerky and what tools we have for you at the store.  Hope to see you there tomorrow!
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Applesauce - the home made way

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After a few years into marriage I decided that making my own baby food was the best way to go to provide better nutrition for my infants.  One of the many things that I decided to do and still do for our whole family is make applesauce.  Apples seem to be in abundance where I live and there are so many things you can do with them.
The first few times I made applesauce I peeled and cored every apple and then put them in a pot on the stove to cook down.  The applesauce was good but there was too much work involved for me to continue this process so I started looking around for something to help make this process easier. Two products that I found on the market were a steam juicer and food strainer/sauce makerThe steam juicer is an appliance that can be used for many things.  Besides being a steam juicer, it is a colander, steam cooker, soup pot and roaster so if you want to get your money’s worth out of it don’t store it too far away because you can use it all year long.
When preparing my applesauce I use the steam juicer first.  I wash my apples, stem, and quarter them (which allows the apples to cook faster).  I do not take the time to core them because the food strainer/sauce maker will take care of the cores.  I fill up the colander in the steamer with the prepared apples.   The bottom pan or sauce pot in the juicer must be filled with water.  Place the sauce pot on the stove filled with water, the juice kettle on top and then the colander on top of that with the lid in place.  Bring that to a boil. You should allow your apples to steam for about 60 minutes or until they are nice and mushy.
While the apples have been steaming, concentrated juice has been collecting in the juice kettle.  I drain that juice off, bottle it while it is hot and process it in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes (3,000 to 6,000 ft).  Later I use the juice for fruit drinks or boil it with sugar for syrup (great on pancakes or waffles). 
After the apples have steamed for 60 minutes and I have bottled all of the juice.  I run the apples through a food strainer/sauce maker.  This machine is great because it separates the peel, core and seeds from the pulp.  The food strainer/sauce maker is nice but not absolutely necessary either.  I have in the past just mashed my apples through a sieve.  Once the pulp has been extracted though, you need to add some kind of anti-darkening agent.  I use Fruit Fresh.   I just add the powder right to the applesauce.  The next step is to return the applesauce to the sauce pot (the bottom pot of the steamer) and add sugar.   I taste my sauce and sweeten it accordingly.  You can follow this tip. Add ¼ cup sugar per pound of apples.  I have also added red cinnamon candy to my sauce.  It gives it a nice pink color, adds some sweetness, and a cinnamon taste.  My kids think this applesauce is great.
  After you add your sugar heat the sauce to boiling.  Stir the sauce to prevent sticking.  Maintain temperature at a boil (212°F) while filling jars.  Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles by crisscrossing a flat plastic utensil through the sauce.  Wipe around the top of the bottle. Place hot lid on the bottle and finger tighten the ring.    Process your pints or quarts of applesauce for 30 minutes (3,000 to 6,000 ft) in a boiling water bath.  After processing time is over remove carefully.  Let the jars sit on a towel covered counter for 12 to 24 hours.  Then check the seal by pressing the lid in the center.  If it gives at all it is not sealed and must be refrigerated.  Use your unsealed applesauce within 24 hours.
I know it seems like a lot of work but it is well worth the effort.  Homemade applesauce just doesn’t compare to store bought sauce.  When you do your own you have a piece of mind that you know what is going into the sauce.  It also gives you a sense of pride and satisfaction. I think your kids will love the fact that it is homemade too. So start making sauce and enjoy. 

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Victorio Stainless Steel Steam Juicer

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Extract the natural juice of grapes, berries, and other high-liquid fruits with the power of steam. Just boil water in the bottom container and place fruit in the top container. Natural concentrated fruit juice drips in the center pan where it can be extracted through a surgical-quality, heat-resistant tube. Use it for making jellies or store as concentrate for healthy natural fruit juice. The Steam Juicer is also perfect for cooking soups and stews or steaming vegetables.
Steam Juicer Capacities:
  • Over all height is 16"
  • Diameter is 10.5"
  • Colander - The part the fruit or vegetables go in - 9.5 QT
  • Juice Kettle - The part that catches the juice during the steam juicing process - 2.5 qt
  • Water pan - bottom pan of water that boils to create steam - 4.5 QT
Available at Basic Living
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    Surviving a Severe Storm

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         A few nights ago, I had a dream that my family and I were in a severe thunder storm.  Standing in front of a house (we don't have a house yet in real life...) we watched a tornado form just down the street from where we were.  I told my family to get down to the basement as quick as possible.  As I walked in the house following my wife and kids, to my surprise, I found a Survivor 4 Person Kit sitting next to the front door.  My dream ended as we went down the stairs to the basement. (maybe because I just helped put together a bunch of kits that day???)

         Although it was just a dream (and a really bizarre one too) , it gave me a lot to think about.  Having lived in Nebraska for a while, I've had my fair share of "going down stairs."  And yes, most of the time nothing happens.  Sometimes it becomes so routine that I forgot the seriousness of the situation.  In Japan there is a saying: "tensai wa wasureta koro ni yatte kuru."  The direct translation means "disasters strike when it is forgotten."  The lesson behind the saying is that disasters strike when you least expect them.  

         In 2004 I was staying at my grandmother's house in Lincoln, NE when we were alarmed by a severe thunder storm capable of producing tornadoes.  We went down to the basement without too much concern and waited out until the warning was lifted.  Little did we know there was an F5 tornado headed our way until it changed its course at the last minute.  Unfortunately, a small city fell prey to this destructive, uninvited visitor.  "A disasters struck when it was least expected."

           In my dream, having a Survivor 4 Person Kit made me feel a little confident.  But in reality, buying a ready-made kit alone is not enough for severe disaster preparedness.  There is a great deal of emotional stress involved.  When I volunteered to for the clean up effort after the tornado struck, there was a sense of loss as I looked upon places where buildings and houses used to stand.  Now, it was thought someone came and ran over the buildings with a bulldozer and dumped garbage on top of them.

         The clean up crew was instructed to look for and collect items that belong to the victims that they would appreciate.  Those items were then gathered in a location where the victims can come and look for their personal belongings.  Pictures of loved ones suddenly held more value than they ever did.  A watch, a comb, a knife that your father gave you, etc.  Anything that could bring back the sweet memories shared with families and friends in a home that once stood were collected and gathered.  

         In preparing for disasters, we should remember the wisdom in expecting the least expected.  Ask yourselves; what's the most important thing in my life?  What can I do today to protect them in times of disasters?  Does your family know that you love them?  Where can you go if your house becomes no longer available as your shelter?

         These are questions worth pondering and discussing with your loved ones.  Buying a 72 hour kit is only the beginning of emergency preparedness.  Make sure to include items you don't want to lose (family pictures, journals, important paper work, etc).  Obviously it is impossible to take everything with you, but you can take quite a bit if you store these things electronically on a flash drive, CD, etc. They are lighter and smaller than carrying actual photo albums, books, and journals. 

         I hope we will all be wise and prepare for the least expected and by so doing, we will find ourselves enjoying the peace that only comes by knowing we are prepared.

    by Kento Fukuyasu
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    Rice Recipes

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         Regular white rice has been milled to remove the hull, germ and most of the bran. It is available both long and short grain, the long grain being a better all-purpose rice. One cup uncooked= 3 cups cooked.

         Parboiled (converted) rice contains the vitamins found in brown rice but is polished like white rice. One cup uncooked=3 1/2 cups cooked. Precooked (instant) rice is commercially cooked, rinsed and dried before packaging. It is therefore quick and very easy to prepare. One cup uncooked=2 cups cooked.

         Brown rice is unpolished with only the outer hull removed. It has a slightly firm texture and a nutlike flavor. One cup uncooked=4 cups cooked.

         Wild rice is the seed of grass that grows in marshes. It is dark greenish-brown in color and has a distinctive, nutlike flavor. Expensive, it is sometimes combined with white or brown rice. One cup uncooked=3 cups cooked.


    Plain Rice
    2 C. rice
    4 C. water
    1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
         Put rice in saucepan large enough to allow for two times expansion. Cover with water to about 2 inches above rice, add salt if desired. Bring to a boil and boil uncovered until most of the water is gone. Turn down heat as low as possible; cover and steam about 20 mins or until water has been absorbed.

    Ordinary Brown Rice
    1 C. brown rice
    2 3/4 C. water
    1 tsp. salt, if desired
         Heat until boiling stirring once; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer until tender, 45-50 minutes; remove
    from heat.

    Lemon Rice
         Stir in 2 TBSP margarine, melted, and 2 TBSP lemon juice into cooked rice.

    Mushroom Rice
         Heat 1 can mushrooms, drained in 2 TBS margarine until tender; stir into cooked rice.

    Onion Rice
         Cook 2 TBSP finely chopped onion in 2 TBSP margarine until tender; stir into cooked rice.

    Parsley Rice
         Stir 2 TBSP fresh parsley into cooked rice.

    Deluxe Brown Rice
    1 C. sliced carrots
    3 TBSP oil
    1/2 C. onions
    3 C. cooked brown rice
    1 tsp. salt, or to taste
    1 TBSP sesame seeds
         Saute’ carrots in oil about 10 minutes.  Add onions. Cook 10 minutes longer. Stir in rice and salt. Cook, stirring gently until rice is heated through. Add sesame seeds; toss lightly.

    4 TBSP butter
    1 C. rice
    2 C. basic beef or chicken stock
         Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add rice; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter is absorbed. Pour in 1 cup stock; cook, stirring frequently, until stock has been absorbed. Add 1/2 cup stock; cook until absorbed. Add remaining stock; stir well. Cover; simmer until stock has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Cooking time will be about 25 minutes after first addition of stock. (From the book The Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking).

    Basic Fried Oven-Cooked Rice
    4 TBSP butter
    1 C. rice
    1 small onion, chopped
    2 C. basic Chicken Stock
         Melt butter in frying pan. Add rice and onion; cook over medium heat about 5 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Turn rice mixture into casserole dish. Stir in stock; cover. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until rice is tender and stock is absorbed. (From The Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking).

    Curried Rice
    1/2 C. rice
    2 C. hot water
    1/2 C. canned tomatoes
    1/4 C. finely sliced onion
    1/4 C. thinly sliced green pepper
    2 TBSP melted butter
    3/4 tsp. curry powder
         Put rice into casserole dish; add water. Let stand about 3/4 hour. Add all other ingredients; mix well. Cover; cook in preheated 350 degrees oven about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Most of liquid should be absorbed, but serve rice while still moist. Yield 4 servings. (From The Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking).

    Sugar-and-Spice Rice
    1 C. cold water
    1 C. whole milk
    1 tsp. salt
    1 C. uncooked rice
    1/2 C. Butter
    1/2 C. granulated sugar
    2 tsp. cinnamon
         Combine water, milk, salt, and uncooked rice in 3-quart saucepan; bring to boil. Stir once; cover.  Turn heat very low; cook 20 minutes or until water and milk are absorbed. Do not uncover while cooking.  Spoon rice into serving dishes; top each serving with 2 TBSP butter, 2 TBSP sugar, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Serve immediately. Yield 4 servings.

         Unless otherwise noted the information and recipes on rice were taken from the Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.
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