Category: Reuse Repurpose

corned beef

With inflation rising, your money getting you less and less finding ways to stretch everything, or repurpose is becoming more important to live a comfortable lifestyle.
I will be writing a series of blogs over the coming weeks to spark the inner imagination for you on how to stretch your money and food (including leftovers!) and some great ideas on repurposing packaging and other odds and ends that you may have in the past just thrown out. Not only will you save money, but time and also get to have a hand in going green and keeping things out of the landfills!

Today as the title suggests I am stretching the dollar regarding food….This past weekend I made an absolutely YUMMY cornedbeef and cabbage dinner in my trusty crockpot. Cornedbeef (which is basically a bad cut of beef that has been brined/preserved in a saltwater solution) can be tricky to cook without drying it out and making it tough. Enter the CROCKPOT (and I am sure a dutch oven would work well too if you are camping out or find yourself without power but have access to a fire or wood stove).

Simply Sweet and Tangy Tender Cornedbeef and Cabbage In a Crockpot or Dutch Oven

1 Cornedbeef (and actually you can use ANY not so good cut of meat or game)
Crockpot or Dutch Oven (if you use the dutch oven be sure to coat the inside of it to keep things from ‘sticking’)
Potatoes (as many as you add to the crock/dutch oven)
Cabbage (one large head or two small ones) If you don’t like cabbage, skip it.
Apples (3 medium ones)
3 cups water
6 tablespoons minced garlic with the oil (not dried garlic)
4 tablespoons of yellow mustard
2/3 cup honey OR ½ cup brown sugar

Cut up your potatoes, cabbage and apples to your liking…I tend to just thickly slice up the cabbage in chunks, the potatoes the same way and cut the apples in quarters removing the seed area.

In a small bowl combine your water, mustard, minced garlic and honey/sugar, mix well.

Place your cornedbeef or other meat (deer roast is awesome this way) in the bottom of your crockpot or dutch oven.

Next, add your cabbage, potatoes and apples

Pour your water mixture over this.

Put lid on.

If you use a crockpot, low setting it will take about 10 hours if your piece of meat is large, high setting it takes about 5-6 hrs. Adjust time according to size of meat. Typically I use about about 2-3 lb piece of cornedbeef. Less time for smaller, more time for larger.
Dutch Oven users: It will be about the sametime…the key is to keep the heat LOW…I have used my own electric oven and set the temperature on about 250 degrees.


Now for the ‘reusing’ and stretching the dollar…after you have eaten your fill (and typically the meat disappears and I have veggies and the broth leftover) take your leftover veggies and put into a container or baggie (put in the frig AFTER it has cooled of, this is important! If you put the hot or warm veggies in the frig before they cool off enough to handle by hand when you go to reheat them they will go to MUSH and the taste is off) and then SAVE THE BROTH you have leftover in a jar or another container…this you can put immediately into the frig.

Now you have a fast way to make another crockpot dish in a few days! No muss or fuss though it won’t make as much…in this case I used a small pork loin that came from the depths of my big freezer…yes, you know that piece of meat that has been there forever and maybe you would throw out…DON’T…slow cook it!20130821_9

Defrost the meat thoroughly, place in the bottom of the crock (this time I am using my small one) and get your broth out from frig and pour this over the meat (it is about 1.5 pounds in this case). Low temp setting for 6 hrs or high temp setting for 3-4 hrs. When the meat is close to being done (about 45 mins or so) take out your left over cooked veggies that you saved and put this on top of the meat and recover the crock, this will reheat them slowly and not over cook them and re-infuses them with the previous ‘seasoning’ making them even better tasting the second time around.

Bingo…time is up and everything is hot, tasty and delicious the second time around and no one is complaining about ‘leftovers’ and the pork that ‘freezer dead’ came out tender, delicious and falling apart!

Enjoy again!

The internet is a wonderful thing….I will be the first one to admit it…I like, no let me say, LOVE the internet. Oh the things you can find on it for free! Information, friends, family, like minded individuals…it has revolutionized how people communicate, do business and make connections with others. No more need to go down to the local library to do research, no more hanging out at bars or going out on the town to find ‘that special love’ or make new friends. No more need to drive around town trying to find something that you need. Got someone who doesn’t answer the phone (like me lol!) or ‘never writes’…not a problem…shoot them an email. Networking has become a breeze…MySpace and Facebook, Linked In and don’t forget the dating sites, of which there are now even specialized ones aimed at like minded individuals such a preppers! In the 20 some old years that the internet has become widely available to the general public, it has changed our lives in ways that are so good and used to be unimaginable.

However, there is a darkside to the internet that is rarely discussed or I dare say even thought about…The  Craigslist murders, identity theft, pornography, and the very seeming anonymity of the internet which allows individuals to say and do things that in ‘the real world’ they might never say or do.

Everytime you log into the internet and do a search on a subject, your unique computer address is logged and attached and stored. Google has admitted to ‘red flagging’ and passing along the computer addresses to a certain government agency for certain search terms such as collapse, economic, human to animal, infection, and we can only guess at other terms.  For more information you can check these links out:

Basically, they are doing what is called data mining. They are looking for certain terms to identify potential threats, reasonable enough I suppose on the surface, but then they go ‘surfing’ on social media sites too looking for people and groups that may or may not fit a particular profile of a ‘threat’ such as domestic ‘extremism’ …if you would like to see more on their ‘terms’ you can find them here:

The above just gives you an overview of what they are looking at in order to identify potential risks…not a big deal on the surface, but if you really read it and do a bit of homework you might, with just a few strokes of the keyboard and posting something on facebook or another online forum get yourself looked at no matter how innocent your comment is.

And if you are a ‘prepper’ well, read the following article…

If I really have your attention now, I dare you to google this phrase:

‘potential indicators of terrorist activities’ and see what you pull up…all kinds of potential indicators from tattoo shops to Costco to motel/hotels…

Okay, now I have covered that end of the darkside of the internet as related to government activities and what they are watching for just a tad bit which is just good knowledge to know…knowledge is power people.

In recent months, there have been cases in the news where people have been charged with crimes from stalking to harassment to extortion (making threats) using the internet and more specifically, facebook or other online forums. Which gets me to the REAL point of this article…the internet is not anonymous, it not ‘secure’, and its not PRIVATE!!! A few angry rants on Facebook or an online forum could be taken the wrong way by someone and then reported to the proper authorities and the next thing you know you got someone knocking at your door and you are looking at some sort of crazy charge simply for venting online or saying something that someone didn’t like. Maybe you have heard of that 15 year old who made a comment about Obama on facebook and wound up answering questions posed to him by the secret service? Or that woman who  was charged with manslaughter of a 15 year for comments made on facebook about the girl (who killed herself by the way), or the ex-boyfriend who ranted on facebook about his ex-girlfriend and almost got himself 5 years in jail…I could go on and on about cases where people have found themselves on the wrong side of the law because of rants and raves left on social media sites and in forums.

Another aspect is that employers are now looking online for YOU and what you say or do, hmm…your private life is no longer private once you post it people and if you post YOUR business online it is not private and they don’t need a search warrant because the internet, social media sites and forums are PUBLIC. That is what you to understand and know and wrap your brain around today. Just because you are sitting in the privacy of your home doesn’t make you anonymous, doesn’t make what you put ‘out there’ private and it is being looked at by who knows who. Criminals, law enforcement, employers, friends, family….if you post it, you own it, you did it, you said it, period…it is not private. And even if you DELETE it, or close the account or erase your computer or whatever, it is still out there somewhere in cyber space…forever….

I don’t say any of this to scare you, but to make you aware to make you think before you type or post a picture. The internet is just like the real world except even more so because anyone can find out what you have said or done with a few strokes of the keyboard, for good or bad purposes. Think before you speak used to be the saying, now it should be think before you type or upload that image…its called using your head and observing OPSEC. It’s not a Polly Anna world anymore and criminals can track you online, the officials can find you easy, or anyone else for that matter, again, for good or bad purposes. Heck, google earth shows your house right online! (which btw you can blur it out so they can’t see your home anymore).

I am not advocating pulling away from the internet, social media or from saying your opinion, but what I am trying to make a point about is to think first and then act. You wouldn’t go down to the local grocery store and post a sign that you are going to be out of town this weekend would you? Then why the heck would you post that for the world to see on Facebook or some online forum? You wouldn’t send pictures of your ‘fun’ weekend to your employer would you? Then why would you post it somewhere online? You wouldn’t make a list of every prep you have with your name, address and phone numbers and make copies and then go stand in the middle of the closest largest city and hand it out would you? They why would you tell everything online? And you certainly wouldn’t handwrite and hand deliver an angry rant about someone or something that happened expressing all your anger and thoughts about what you are thinking about doing (even though you never would) in person…then why the heck would you post something like that online for all to see?

We are all entitled to our opinions and to live our life the way we see fit, by the Constitution we are allowed the pursuit of happiness…but when we put it ‘out there’ (literally) we can open ourselves up to misunderstandings, criminals, predators and set balls in motion unintentionally. We, as Americans do still the right to free speech, but, as has been clarified by the courts, we can’t threaten or harm others with our speech…its one thing to think something and its another to ‘say’ it. Think before you type and upload.

I do believe in the saying, “see something, say something” especially when it comes to the erosion of civil or Constitutional rights or someone breaking the law, tyranny happens when good people ‘see’ but don’t speak up. However, “see something, say something” does not mean that I am allowed to use hate speech, make threats nor harm anyone in reporting what I am saying…think wisely and choose wisely in your words.

I am a big advocate for social networking and sharing ideas and knowledge and opinions, but in the right way, with security and safety kept in mind at all times. The internet is PUBLIC and the internet is FOREVER. Think before you type or upload and keep in mind that not everyone is like you…the internet is a tool, a tool that cuts both ways…lets keep it cutting safely eh? Lets share ideas and knowledge and come together for the common good. Let us share with each other in such a manner that is helpful, not harmful. Let us communicate our thoughts, opinions, knowledge and beliefs with calm, clarity, good intention and forethought. Let us USE the internet to help and support and uplift those that we may come into contact with even unintentionally. Let us not lead ourselves down a slippery slope when using the internet that may find us looking at the wrong end of a gun barrel or open ourselves up to a criminal or predator via the internet. Let us use the internet with safety, security and our future in our minds first and foremost…express yourself and share but be wise.

So the silly season is upon us, the opening shot fired being Black Friday…sigh…and so it begins. I will be honest in saying that I went out into that fray for one thing (okay, stupid! but I promise you it wasn’t for a toy or waffle maker nor electronic…in fact, it was for something that will help me when the crap hits the fan, but I will never, ever do that again and I am not sure that I even want to go into town ever again unless forced to…the madness, meanness and hatred that I felt in town that evening was hair raising and all that over some cheap items that had no real value in terms of survival (unless you call keeping up with the Jonses survival, but I don’t). It gave me a good dose of reality of where people are mentally and I didn’t like it one bit. Result? I am redoubling my efforts at being prepared…every penny will go towards being ready for a bad turn in the world and practical use.

Questions to determine value:


Will it keep me/mine warm?

Will it keep me/mine from being hungry?

Will it keep me/mine healthy?

Will it provide me/mine safety?

Will it give or provide me/mine the knowledge to any of the above questions?

I also keep this in mind…pay now, pay later, but pay you will…I use this saying and keep it in mind when trying to decide if the price in dollar terms is a ‘good value’. Just because its cheap does not mean it’s a good value. I’d rather pay more money wise and have it last and work long term than go ‘cheap’ and have it last 2 seconds and need replacing or repair quickly. And this includes FOOD. Garbage in, garbage health…again, pay now, pay later, but pay you will, some how, some way.

If the answer is NO to the above questions then I am not wasting the time, effort or money on it. Not going to do anything for me but take up space.

So what are items that I intend on procuring for warmth?

MORE Firewood

Extra clothing (gloves, hats, jeans, etc.)

A way to safely procure wood in the future.

So what are items that I intend to procure for the hunger question?

More can goods concentrating on meats and veggies

More #10 cans

A rocket stove

More raised garden beds (this can be done during the winter)

A small root cellar

More canning jars and extra lids.


Sugar (various forms)

So what are items that I intend to procure for the healthy question?


More soap

Hydrogen peroxide

More Vinegar

Alcohol (it has many uses and not just for getting drunk!)

More solid shoes to be stored for later use.

So what are the items I intend to procure for safety?

A CB radio.

An external dial up modem to retrofit my computer.

More ammo.

One more weather radio, preferably solar/hand crank.

And on the knowledge front? Well, I have always been a collector of books but I will periodically check amazon for new ones and I am always interested in medical books…can never have enough knowledge.

So that is my list. What’s on yours?

I have been pretty feverish in my efforts over the last year or so and have a good start, these are the dirty little details that I am left with at the moment.

Remember, plan, set goals and then go out and do. Every little bit counts and gets you that much further ahead of the hoards. Your needs will be determined by your own personal situation, but the these questions will help you to determine what you need.

Before Irene Musings

Well, it surely looks as though I am going find out just really prepared I am for SHFT. With Hurricane Irene less than 12hrs (at the time I write) from impacting my neck of the woods in Virginia (New Kent) I am just about done doing all that I can do besides playing the waiting game. Food, check. Water, check. Everything put away or tied down, check. Cars gassed, check. Fuel for the generator, check. Things for the kids to do (besides get on my nerve), check. Ebay mail all done and sent out, check. Emergency contacts set up with the family, check. Batteries, check. Dogs bathed, check (there is NO WAY I am going to sit locked up in house with the winds howling and rain pouring down with 3 stinky Pit Bulls, sorry). My pop up green house is packed with flying projectiles such as plant pots, chairs, garbage cans and the like. I tied it down even though it is securely staked and then found out I can zip up the darn door to it…oh well, nothing to do about that now. Personal protection is out and unlocked. Hmm, seems the only thing left to do at this time is get ice (I am trying to hold off until the last minute on that) and the gutters cleaned out. We are ‘ready’ (I think and am crossing my fingers!)

There are mandatory evacuations in place where floods happened when Isabel came through and I am seeing ‘strangers’ at the gas station and grocery store. Yesterday while at McDonald’s I saw a LOT of cars that had tags from New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts and some very unhappy looking people in those cars…I cannot imagine being forced to leave my vacation down in NagsHead only to travel home just in time to deal with the SAME stinking hurricane as soon as we got home…ugly…Yesterday while at the grocery store one last time to pick up some bananas and other odds and ends that I didn’t get at the beginning of the week (I have been working on this SHTF situation since I caught wind of it Monday…lesson to learn…trust your instincts!) I saw a woman with twins, about 8 months old and a 2 year old in tow…she told me her husband was out of town on business (first time all year) and of course it had to be the ONE weekend with a hurricane coming…it seemed to me she was trying hard to hold it together and stay focused.  The water was all but gone as yesterday morning at the grocery stores in my town and the day after the earthquake saw the water disappear from the ‘local’ Walmart’s. I am so grateful for my prepping lifestyle today…I won’t be out there with the horde’s who are just now waking up to reality…I have heard a lot of denial going on around my town and minimizing, this worries me. At the local gas station, the guy who owned it said he had just gotten gas in that day and it was already half-gone, ice was being delivered this morning as per the usual. Batteries are but gone around town too and I noticed aLOTof generators sitting in the back of pick-up trucks this morning when I went out. Traffic on the highway is heavy going towardsRichmond, but it seem down in the Hampton Roads Area it is snarled badly with people trying to get out at the last minute. That area is supposed to experience the full thrust of Irene, with the eye most likely passing over Norfolk…I pray they get out of harms way before it begins to rain, that area of Virginia floods like no one’s bees wax even on a good day.

My other half lost the keys to my truck yesterday…ran around like an idiot looking for them. Thank goodness I have two sets to everything otherwise I would have been SOL trying to finish up prepping yesterday. I did find the set he lost though, somehow they wound up in the freezer of the refrigerator..(don’t ask, I have no clue) I have learned that he not going to be of much help in this, he gets too wound up really, but he is good for the heavy duty lifting J I need to remember to get my hands on a prescription of some sort for him to take the edge off, or figure out some herbs or something…I am not looking forward to being locked in the house with him all wound up during the height of the storm…sigh…

We are starting to see the hurricane bands pass over now, though if I didn’t know it was a hurricane I wouldn’t think anything special was going on, just cloudy and extremely hot and humid out. The humming birds are still out and about, I suppose they are going to stay and sit it out, though I don’t see nor hear other types of birds…but the insects…woah! They are out in force, the bees are going nuts at the hummingbird feeders…I will be taking those down at the last minute tonight, and, call me silly, I did make up a gallon of sugar water for them for after the storm (yeah, I know, silly).

Oh and last night we had a storm pass through (like we needed that rain) and right before that blew through we had another aftershock from the earthquake on Monday….they say things happen in 3’s and I really don’t want to know what the ‘3rd’ is going to be at this point. As an odd thought…I having been working outside the past couple of days and haven’t seen tick one…wonder what is up with that, but the flies and mosquitoes are crazy.

I am sorry if I seem to be rambling…these are just snaps of what is going on in my neck of the woods and running through my head as I get ready for Hurricane Irene. I am trying to look at this as a dry run of ‘what may come’ as I know that things will get back to ‘normal’ sooner rather than later after Irene passes…I guess I will find out where I am good, where I need improvement and what I forgot…in otherwords my strengths and weaknesses in my preparedness plans…not to mention find out how those in my home deal with long term stress and fear. But I believe I am ready and good to go…I just hate the waiting and watching.

FYI just in case you are in the dark I reprinting a list of what you should have in your own home ‘just in case’. Of course this is just a basic list, and you should add or subtract depending upon your own personal situation.

I would like to add this note: their time frame is woefully inadequate…but a good place to start…personally I am more comfortable with a month’s supply ‘just in case’..when Isabel ripped throughVirginiaback in 2003 there were some place where they were without power for weeks…and many couldn’t even get out for a few days.

Be safe people…be safe…

Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days

Food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days
— non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
— foods for infants or the elderly
— snack foods
— non-electric can opener
— cooking tools / fuel
— paper plates / plastic utensils

Blankets / Pillows, etc.

Clothing – seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes

First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs

Special Items – for babies and the elderly

Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes

Flashlight / Batteries

Radio – Battery operated and NOAA weather radio

Telephones – Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set

Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards – Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods


Toys, Books and Games

Important documents – in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag
— insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.

Tools – keep a set with you during the storm

Vehicle fuel tanks filled

Pet care items
— proper identification / immunization records / medications
— ample supply of food and water
— a carrier or cage
— muzzle and leash

Here it goes…

Well, I am finally getting around to doing something that I have been thinking about for a long, long time. After hanging around several other blog sites for the past year or so I am jumping in…here it goes!

Let me introduce myself, my name is Rev. Laura aka SHFTMom…I am a girl scout at heart and believe in being ready for what ever may come my way, financial down turns, the skinned knee, the car breaking down at the most terrible time and oh, that little thing that seems to be looming closer with each passing day, TEOTWAWKI. Now, before you go thinking that I am some nutso job who thinks the world is going to go to you-know-where in some ball of ash or that a comet is going to put us back into the stone ages, know this…I don’t believe that..but what I do know and believe is that life as we know it now and have for say the past 30 or so years is coming to an end and that what we are facing not only as a country, but as a world is a complete rearrangement on a wholesale level, the kick-off, at least in my own humble opinion will be the final collapse of the economy. So, I am getting ready, wish I could do more and will be sharing on various things as I go along…so…what’s that song by REM? Its the end of the world as we know it…and I feel fine…that is until I broke of the stem of my tomato plant today as I tried to put the cage back into the ground. But its all good…I got 6 more plants! and that is the essence of being prepared to survive no matter what may come.