My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


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I’m Back!  Did you miss me?

It’s been a while. I think I’ve just had the craziest 6 months of my life beginning when my father passed away in April. Since then, life has been coming at me nonstop. Here are some highlights:

  • My son, Michael, finished up his Eagle Scout application, had his board of review and his eagle court of honor 
  • Michael graduated from high school
  • We had 4 birthdays and my 25th wedding anniversary. 
  • My husband and I volunteered as youth leaders on a church pioneer handcart trek reenactment. 
  • Michael submitted his paperwork to serve a mission for our church and received a call to Russia with 8 1/2 weeks to prepare before reporting to the MTC.

Last Saturday, I helped give a baby shower for a friend having her first child. I decided to make a rag quilt out of some cute flannel I’ve been collecting for the past 13 years or so. 
Here’s the final product:
  

Cute, huh?  
One thing I love about these quilts is that they’re super easy to make, and they’re very forgiving. If the seams don’t line up, that’s okay. You’ll never notice. 
To make it you need to be able to do a few simple things: cut fabric in relatively straight lines, sew a relatively straight line, and be able to make many small snips with your scissors. That’s it. 
Here are the basic instructions:

  • Start with 5-6 yards of your favorite flannel.
  • Cut 70 9-inch squares.

  

  • Sew two squares together, right sides out, forming an X. 

   
   

  • Lay out pattern. 

  

  • Sew squares together in rows with a 1/2-inch seam allowance with all the seams facing the same way. 

  

  • Sew rows together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance with all the seams facing the same way. 

  

  • Sew around the outside of the blanket with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. 
  • Snip all the fabric between the seam allowance and edge of the fabric. 

   
 

  • Wash in your washing machine and dry in the dryer. 
  • Trim any loose threads and enjoy!

   
   
Try it out and let me know how it turns out!

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Am I Really Saving Money? Microwave Popcorn

Sorry I slacked off last week.  I was in need of a mini vacation, so I vacationed from my responsibilities, including my blog.  But I’m back!

 

Many moons ago, I remember reading something about all the things that cause cancer.  If I remember correctly, this article contended that everything on the planet, save 7 things, caused cancer.  Is that true?  I don’t know, but I remember one thing on that list broke my heart: microwave popcorn.  Who doesn’t love microwave popcorn?  A self contained snack, hot and ready in less than 3 minutes.  Truth be told, microwave popcorn is good, but it isn’t my favorite.  My most *FAVORITE* popcorn is oil-popped popcorn (which most likely also causes cancer, because everything does, right?). 

 

A little popcorn goes a long way!

A little popcorn goes a long way!

 

Now we have a lot more to worry about with GMOs, pesticides, bees dying, etc.  Is there an up-side to popcorn?  If what I read on the Internet is true, not only is popcorn a whole grain, it is not (yet) GMO (see article here).  That’s great if you are a popcorn lover like me, but is it good for anything else?  YES!  If you have a grain mill, you can grind popcorn to make cornmeal and have non-GMO cornbread!  Most of the corn grown in the USA is a GMO, and, if that concerns you, this is a great solution.  At least for the time being…

 

But, back to traditional popcorn.  Today, I’m going to show you two ways to make popcorn and compare the cost of homemade microwave popcorn to store-bought microwave popcorn.  First, here’s my favorite way to pop popcorn: in a pan with oil.  YUM!

 

To begin, I pulled out my popcorn and some Kettle Corn seasoning.

To begin, I pulled out my popcorn and some Kettle Corn seasoning.

 

I added 3/4 cup of unpopped popcorn to a large stockpot with oil.

I added 3/4 cup of unpopped popcorn to a large stockpot with oil.

 

I put the lid on the pan and turned the heat on medium high.  I let the popcorn pop until there was a second or two between pops, then I removed it from the stove.

I put the lid on the pan and turned the heat on medium high. I let the popcorn pop until there was a second or two between pops, then I removed it from the stove.

 

My 3/4 cup of unpopped popcorn became about 24 cups of popped popcorn!

My 3/4 cup of unpopped popcorn became about 24 cups of popped popcorn!

 

I sprinkled on some of my favorite "Kettle Corn" popcorn seasoning for an indulgent treat!

I sprinkled on some of my favorite “Kettle Corn” popcorn seasoning for an indulgent treat!

 

Now, microwave popcorn.

 

I measured about 3 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn into a plain, brown lunch bag.  If you don't have a lunch bag, you can put this into a microwaveable bowl and put a plate on top to cover it.

I measured about 3 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn into a plain, brown lunch bag. If you don’t have a lunch bag, you can put this into a microwaveable bowl and put a plate on top to cover it.

 

There are two ways you can seal the bag.  First, you can fold the top over 2-3 times.

There are two ways you can seal the bag. First, you can fold the top over 2-3 times.

 

Or you can fold down once and put one staple at the top to hold the bag shut.  No, this will not hurt your microwave.  Yes, I'm aware that it's metal, but it will be okay.  I promise.  Well, maybe I shouldn't promise.  I was told it was fine, and I've been doing it FOREVER (at least 5 years), but I am not an expert and cannot guarantee your experience will be problem free.  Consult a microwave expert before proceeding.

Or you can fold down once and put one staple at the top to hold the bag shut. No, this will not hurt your microwave. Yes, I’m aware that it’s metal, but it will be okay. I promise. Well, maybe I shouldn’t promise. I was told it was fine, and I’ve been doing it FOREVER (at least 5 years), but I am not an expert and cannot guarantee your experience will be problem free. Consult a microwave expert before proceeding.

 

Turn your microwave on high and pop until there is 1-2 seconds between pops.  Then remove from the microwave.

Turn your microwave on high and pop until there is 1-2 seconds between pops. Then remove from the microwave.

 

DO NOT TRY TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE MICROWAVE WHILE YOU ARE POPPING POPCORN, IGNORING THE ACTUAL POPCORN.  You will end up with a stinky mess like this one.

DO NOT TRY TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE MICROWAVE WHILE YOU ARE POPPING POPCORN, IGNORING THE ACTUAL POPCORN. You will end up with a stinky mess like this one.

 

Your popcorn should look something like this when you open the bag.  You can either fold down the bag and eat it right out of the bag (after adding anything else you want: salt, butter, etc.)...

Your popcorn should look something like this when you open the bag. You can either fold down the bag and eat it right out of the bag (after adding anything else you want: salt, butter, etc.)…

 

Or, you can pour it into a bowl and serve.  Just under 3 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn popped about 6 cups of popcorn.

Or, you can pour it into a bowl and serve. Just under 3 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn popped about 6 cups of popcorn.

 

So, are you saving money to pop your own popcorn?  Here’s the cost breakdown:

 

Grocery Store prices (in Southern California on June 9, 2014)

 

Homemade

Popcorn – $1.20/16 ounces, which contains 11 servings (3 tablespoons each), making is just under 11 cents a serving

Lunch Bags – $3.09/100 bags, making it just over 3 cents a bag

Total Price – 14 cents per serving using a bag or 11 cents if using a bowl.

 

Purchased from grocery store

Least expensive microwave popcorn – $5.99/25 servings = just under 25 cents a serving.

You save 9 – 14 cents per serving if you shop at my local grocery store.

 

Warehouse club prices (in Southern California on June 9, 2014)

 

Homemade

Popcorn – $23.98/50 pounds, which equals just under 4 cents a serving

Lunch bags – $3.09/100 bags, making it just over 3 cents a bag (My warehouse club doesn’t sell paper lunch bags, so this is the grocery store price.)

 Total Price – 7 cents per serving using a bag or less than 4 cents if using a bowl

 

Purchased from Warehouse Club

Store-bought Microwave popcorn – $7.28/56 servings (2 servings per bag) = 13 cents a serving.

You save anywhere from 5-9 cents per serving if you shop at my local warehouse club.

 

Is it worth it to you?  I can’t speak for you, but it’s worth it for me.  🙂

 

What’s your favorite way to save money making something at home?


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Am I REALLY Saving Money? Homemade Laundry Detergent

Another popular post from my “Am I really saving money?” series.

My Foray Into Food Storage

Before we begin, I have a quick reminder.  Don’t forget to check out my April Giveaway here!  And please visit my sponsor’s page.  🙂  Thanks!

When I first made my own laundry detergent and posted it on Facebook, telling all my friends how much money I saved, my husband said, “We have enough money to buy laundry detergent!”  And he’s right.  We do.  So, why in the world would I make my own?

1.  I like knowing exactly what’s in the things I use.

2.  I have a son with allergies who needs a fragrance free detergent.

3.  Every penny I save I can put toward building my food storage.

So, does it really save money to make my own detergent?  Let’s see.  We’ll start with the “recipe.”  I came up with this after reading several recipes online and took what I liked from a few of them…

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