Prepare Every Needful Thing

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

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Equipment and Supplies–January 2015

Food Dehydrator

dried applesDehydrating is an excellent way to preserve produce for later use. One does not need to worry about maintaining high acidity, jars breaking or failing to seal and storage space requirements are greatly reduced over canning. Many foods retain excellent nutrition and are easy to use in cooking. I have found that my home-dried fruits and vegetables rival or exceed the quality of products I have purchased, including many of the ultra-expensive freeze-dried goods. I recently broke open a box of home-dried mixed vegetables I had prepared three years ago when we needed to empty our freezer. We’ve been adding them to soups this winter and have found their flavor and texture perfect for this use.

The process is typically quite simple. Wash, cut to size, blanch or dip if required (these steps can be omitted if you are dehydrating frozen vegetables!), spread on dehydrator trays and set dehydrator temperature. When food has reached your desired level of dryness (long-term storage items should be crisp, shorter-term can remain leathery), freeze your items for 72 hours to kill insect eggs, then seal in airtight packaging and store away from light and heat.

In addition to mixed vegetables, a few of our family’s favorite dehydrated foods are apples, pears, pineapples, mangoes, bananas, apricots, peaches and tomatoes. Detailed instructions on how to dry these and other foods can be found online as well as in many food preserving books.

When purchasing a dehydrator, pay attention to capacity, power, heat adjustability and airflow. An adequate machine will make the difference between a tool that is used regularly and one that sits on a shelf. My dehydrator is a Nesco brand machine and I have been very happy with it. I like that I do not need to rotate trays and that I only need to purchase additional trays if I ever decide I need more space. My mom has an Excalibur that she has been very happy with as well.

Alternatives to purchasing an electric dehydrator include oven dehydrating (keep the temperature range between 105-165F for best results), dehydrating near a wood stove or solar dehydrating.

For more on solar dehydration, see:


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Financial Preparedness–January 2015

Improve Your Employability

business handshakeWhether we are currently in the workforce or working hard in our homes, we all need to be ready for the unexpected.  A change in employment status will most likely touch each of us at some point and there are things we can do to prepare for that situation.  The first four are especially recommended.

  1.  Update your resume/portfolio.  Make sure that all essential information is current, and then ask someone you trust, preferably in your field, to review it with you.  Identify strong and weak areas and determine whether you need additional training or simply a re-write.
  2. Scan, or other employment listings and familiarize yourself with what employers are looking for in your field today.  Employer expectations change over time and may be very different from when you got your current job or left the workforce to take care of your children.
  3. Now that you have reviewed your resume and know what current employers expect, choose one work-related skill to improve.  This could include anything from reviewing old training materials, to taking a college or other class, to practicing to finally master a skill-set that has eluded you.
  4. Create a Plan B.  Mentally step through the path you would take if you needed to get a job or a new job.  Write it down and keep it with your resume.  Employment changes can be very challenging and this will give you a nice, orderly list to follow while you work through this transition.
  5. Refresh an old contact in your field.
  6. Volunteer.  This can give you current work experience to list on your resume without the time commitment of full or part-time employment.
  7. Post your resume at Linked In or with other professional networking sites or organizations.
  8. Check to make sure that all your publicly available information online is professionally acceptable.  Employers will often check a potential employee’s online presence to judge character, etc.
  9. Subscribe to a professional journal related to your field of employment.

 “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”   D&C 64:33

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Cooking With Food Storage–January 2015

Egyptian Lentil Soup

Lentils2 Tablespoons dried onion

½ cup sliced dehydrated carrots

¼ cup diced dehydrated celery

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 Tablespoon olive oil

16 cups water

4 bouillon cubes (chicken or vegetable)

3 cups lentils

1 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons lemon juice


Rinse and pick over lentils. Place all ingredients in a large stock pot EXCEPT LEMON JUICE and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the lentils are very tender and the broth is slightly thickened. Stir in the lemon juice.

Serves 10.



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Home Production and Gardening–January 2015

Making Basic Apronsaprons

Back in the days before easy clothing manufacturing and laundering, aprons were a regular part of most peoples’ lives. Aprons were used by craftspeople in all lines of business to keep their other clothes clean, to reduce wear and tear on more expensive fabrics and to keep needed tools close at hand. They can serve the same purpose today. I read somewhere recently where a woman determined that the cause of the pinholes on the front waist-area of her t-shirts was due to her leaning against the counter while she worked. As soon as she started consistently wearing an apron, no new holes!


The following three aprons are constructed using only:

  • 1 middle- to heavy-weight cotton dishtowel, about 27” x 20”
  • 2 ½ yards of wide, sturdy ribbon (1 ½”-2” grosgrain is a good choice)


Dishtowel Apron I

Fold dishtowel in half width-wise, and ribbon length-wise to find centers. Pin centers together with ribbon covering top ½” of towel. Finish pinning along length of towel and then sew towel to ribbon, by hand or with a sewing machine.

Dishtowel Apron II (with pockets)

Lay out dishtowel length-wise and fold up bottom to 4” from the top edge. Pin in place and then stitch edges in place to form one long pocket. Subdivide pocket into two or more smaller pockets by marking (with pins or a washable fabric pencil) and then sewing additional vertical lines into the large pocket. Fold apron and ribbon in half to find centers, pin and sew apron to ribbon, with ribbon covering top ½” of towel.

Dishtowel Apron III (gathered)

Lay out dishtowel widthwise and run a row of long stitches (by hand or machine) about ¼” from the top edge without tying off ends. Pull end of thread to gather (ruffle) edge until top edge measures about 17”. Tie off threads to maintain length, find and match centers by folding towel and ribbon in half and adjust gathers evenly across edge. Pin with ribbon covering top ½” of towel and sew in place.


For further ideas and inspiration—

Pleated dishtowel apron

Gathering apron

Utility apron

Ruffled full apron


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Emergency and Disaster Response–January 2015

Oral Rehydration SolutionORS

In a disaster scenario, delays in restoring utilities can cause sanitation to become difficult, and these conditions will often lead to widespread gastro-intestinal illness. Many times the illness and death rates resulting from unsanitary conditions will outstrip the injuries and losses that occurred during the actual event. Aside from preparing adequately for household sanitation (see the March 2014 issue of this newsletter for sanitation and handwashing options, as well as July 2013 on water purification) it is a good idea to stock supplies for rehydration, should someone become ill. The following formulae are more effective than water at rehydrating as they will replace electrolytes and allow the body to absorb fluids more effectively.

To determine if a patient is suffering from dehydration, look for the following signs and symptoms: absent or scanty tears, saliva, sweat and urine; skin loses elasticity and does not “snap back” when pinched on hand or forearm; rapid respiration; headache or dizziness; increasing fever with some of the above symptoms. It is better to err on the side of caution as dehydration can become fatal.

To rehydrate, the adult patient should consume 1 quart oral rehydration solution every hour for the first 4-6 hours. Children (around 60 pounds) should consume 8 ounces per hour over the same period. Be sure that the water and preparation and drinking vessels you are using are absolutely clean! This is no time to take chances.

  • Gatorade formula: dilute Gatorade by half with water.
  • Juice formula: (take both parts together or separately)
    • PART ONE—8 ounces fruit juice, ½ teaspoon honey and a pinch of salt
    • PART TWO—8 ounces water and ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Dry formula: Mix 1 teaspoon salt, 4 teaspoons cream of tartar, ½ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ cup sugar into 1 quart of water. Stir before drinking as mixture tends to settle.
  • Simple formula: 1 bucket (gallon) of water, 1 handful (cup) of sugar and 1 three-finger pinch (teaspoon) of salt.



Spiritual Preparedness–January 2015

Temples—The Mountain of the Lordslc temple

The new year is traditionally a time to reflect upon our lives and then set new goals pertaining to the improvements that we wish to make. Some of those goals may include strengthening home and family through the temple. On this topic, I would like to share the following words from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

Sometimes when life is complex and demanding we simply need to “get away.” This is not to be confused with “run away,” but it is to go physically, if possible, but in any case spiritually, mentally, and emotionally to a mountain or some other favorite place of renewal. .. Then we can return to the fray with stronger faith and greater hope, renewed vigor for the battle of life.

Jesus did this as often as possible. When the crowds were too great on the seashore, He would put out in a boat and cross to the other side of the lake. When the bustle—and often hostility—of Jerusalem was too great, He would retreat to His beloved Galilee. When the throngs in the street or the marketplace were too great, He would “flee as a bird” to His Mountain.

And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

   And again: When it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.

   And again: And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed, And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.

   And again: They were filled with madness: and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus. And it came to pass in those days that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

Live is demanding. Our days are complex. People’s needs are great. We are expected to fight the good fight. That is our purpose and duty. But to do so we need renewal physically, we need refreshment spiritually, and we need peace emotionally. To do so we need time with God and ourselves. We need solitude. We need the strength that fleeing as a bird to our holy mountain will provide.