Tag Archive: homemade


20150103_19

I like to play around with my canning. I often find great deals on meat at the grocery store and given how expensive meat has become I will pick up every reduced priced piece of meat they have. But what I have run into is a complete lack of canning recipes for ‘meals’. Yes, there are soups out there and your traditional ‘how to can meat’ but a meal? Not much so I have turned to traditional meals and other types of recipes from old cook books and have found that I can can most of it so that all I have to do is add rice or pasta or something else for a fast and delicious meal.

We like Chinese food, especially sweet and sour chicken but it can be time consuming to make it for dinner and I thought: ‘why not pressure can it?’ so we can heat and eat. It is super easy to do and tastes delicious over rice.
The following recipe is enough for 7 quarts which is about 2-3 people over rice.

Get all your supplies ready. 7 quart jars, lids, pressure canner, etc. PLEASE! Remember that the new Ball Canning Lids do NOT get boiled any more. Simply wash and get them ‘warm’. I like to put them in a pan and turn my stove on the ‘melt’ setting. If you boil the new lids you might just find out down the road that they won’t stay sealed.

What you will need for the recipe:
5 lbs of raw chicken thigh meat (or breast if that is what you have)
2 lbs of shredded carrots
1 large can of crushed pineapple
3 small cans of water chestnuts
2 medium onions
2 Cans of corn
Sweet and Sour Sauce (make your own or if you want you can buy a jar of it)

Remember, a recipe is but a suggestion! Add or subtract to your taste.

First, cut up your raw chicken into bite sized chunks. Place into large container (I tend to use my water bath canner for mixing up large batches of food).
Chop up to your taste the onions and add to the chicken.
Add your shredded carrots

Next, get your sweet and sour broth going. I use a 4 quart sauce pan and typically will put 3 quarts of water into it and then add whatever flavoring I will use. I got lucky and found a bunch of pre-made sauces and marinades for 99 cents each. A few were sweet and sour marinades. So I added 2 12 ounce bottles to the 3 quarts of water and stirred well and brought to a boil and then turned down to a simmer while I finished up the food part.

Drain your crushed pineapple into the simmering sweet and sour water.
Drain your water chestnuts into the simmering sweet and sour water.
Drain your corn into the simmering sweet and sour water.

Next, dump your crushed pineapple and water chestnuts in with the carrots, chicken and onions. Mix well.

Now you are ready to can.

Evenly distribute your chicken mix into the 7 jars.
Pour your sweet and sour broth to about ½ inch head space.
Stir using a knife to get out air pockets and bubbles. Add more broth if necessary.
Clean the lip of jar with vinegar.
Place lids and rings on.
Put jars into canner as usual and you know what to do next.

Processing time is 70 minutes at 10 lbs pressure. And YES that is more than adequate to get the chicken thoroughly cooked!
Allow to cool as usual.

To use:
Simply open jar and heat up while you are cooking your rice! Put over rice and enjoy!

Have fun canning!
Survivingshtfmom

PS I will add a picture of the product shortly!

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Jerky…a staple of those who hunt, camp, hike or just enjoy being able to eat a high protein snack without cooking. I have been making jerky for about 20 some odd years now and want to share a few ‘secrets’ to making it. You can make jerky out of ANY type of meat, including fish, deer, beef and chicken.

I personally got started making jerky when I was blessed with A LOT of venison/deer meat and had no idea how to cook it. After several not so good attempts at making normal meals out of the venison my hunter friend mentioned how much he liked jerky and asked if I could make that for him. And that is how I got into the jerky making business. It’s fun, easy and tasty and it doesn’t matter much what you are trying to use. For purposes of this article I will be speaking about making chicken and beef jerky.

First things first, people almost always ‘question’ homemade jerky and freak out about the safety of eating it (after all its NOT cooked) and how long you can keep it safely. If you do it right neither of these two things will matter. I have eaten my own personal jerky that was over 3 years old…no problems!!! But it usually doesn’t last that long. So, without further ado let’s get making jerky!

What you will need:
Your protein source (meat..fish, beef, chicken, deer, whatever!)
Salt (or high sodium content marinating sauce)
Seasonings of choice (if making your own)
Dehydrator

For simplicity’s sake I typically use BBQ sauce, or salad dressing or Worchester sauce…almost ANYTHING that you could use for marinating your protein.
The REAL trick is to have a high sodium content in your marinating sauce. This ‘cures’ the meat so that no nasty critters/germmies can grow. You want at least 40% of your ‘daily’ sodium allowance to be in your marinating sauce. Not hard to do really especially if you use soy sauce (which I did for this particular batch).

I used a honey mustard salad dressing (one bottle) and then ½ of one bottle of soy sauce. Just stirred together…use your imagination here. I have been known to just add table salt to increase the sodium content. Typically 1 tablespoon to 1 cup marinating sauce. I have been known to make my own ‘salad dressing’ and just add the extra salt. Don’t be afraid to have fun here to make new and interesting tastes! As a note: if you happen to decide to use venison I typically soak the slices in butter milk and salt to get the ‘game/blood’ out of the meat for about 2 days in the refrigerator. Doing it this way means needing to use less salt for the ‘marinating’ part.
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Next, slice your protein into strips no more than ½ inch thick. If you have a lot of fat, trim it off. The thicker the slice, the longer it will take to dry and the longer you will have to marinate. If using chicken, the chicken breast is best for making jerky.
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After slicing into thin strip simply put your meat into a ziplock baggie and put in your marinating sauce. Allow to sit for 20 minutes at a minimum in the refrigerator (or counter top). Some of my best jerky has been allowed to sit in its marinating sauce for 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator, especially if I am making large amounts.
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Next lay the strips out on your dehydrator trays.
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Set the heat level (if you have one) to 155 and leave alone for the next 5 hours.
After 5 hours come back and check for doneness. It should be ‘dry’ but flexible but ‘hard’ too. I have found that chicken and fish dry much faster than denser types of meat such as beef. If not done yet, check back about once an hour until it passes the flexible, dry and hard test.
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Once you have the jerky ‘made’ let it sit to cool off for several hours. This is important to avoid moisture being trapped into the bag that you will place your finished jerky in.

Now there are 2 schools of thought on how to store homemade jerky. If you are going to eat it quickly, say within a couple of months, simply putting the jerky into a zip lock baggie will work and you can keep in a coolish dark place. However, if you are planning on long term storage you will want to vacuum seal it. Personally I vacuum seal a personal sized serving of the jerky and then place into 5 gallon buckets (yes, I make that MUCH!!!). One note on both methods, be sure that no pin prick holes are made in the storage bag, this allows moisture and air to get into the bag. Whenever I vacuum seal I will generally allow the sealed bags to sit over night and then reseal (double bag) any bags that have air in them, not doing so will shorten the shelf life. Or, you can just use that unsealed bag first.

Have fun! It takes just a little bit of work to make your own jerky but it tastes awesome and people will beg you for it!

Stay safe and be prepared
survivingshtfmom

antsDing dong the ants are dead, the ants are dead, the ants are dead….okay, forgive my lapse into the Wizard of Oz, but an infestation of ants, even during good times isn’t funny. I get how important ants are in the grand scheme of things, in making the world go ‘round, but when I leave a pot of green beans on the stove and sit down, eat dinner and come back to clean up and the pot of green beans is being attacked en masse, well, Houston, we have a problem.

I keep a clean kitchen (okay, I have been known to leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight upon occasion) simply because I KNOW from living in low rent apartments how the insect world operates. But these ants, these ants were crazy. No matter how clean I kept things, no matter how fast I got things put away and put up, they came…in droves!

Went the conventional route, you know, bait traps, sprays, and then after 2 years of dealing with these suckers I broke down and went nuclear, calling in the exterminator. What I did not know or understand until a year ago when my wash machine decided to flood my home with water is that these buggers had made a MASSIVE nest in the insulation under my floor and in the walls…yep, you should have seen the guys who came out from Service Master RUN when they started pulling up the flooring that was ruined to remove insulation and such. Yeah, it was THAT BAD. My wash machine room and half of my kitchen (the insulation under the floor) had been turned into ant heaven. So, long and short, I thought removing their ‘nest’ ie the insulation the ants would disappear. (And I never did replace the insulation, why give them more nesting material?). And it worked, for the winter and into the spring and then the invaders came back…this time not only at the stove and kitchen sink, but the ants were literally coming out of the second bathroom bathtub faucet…sigh…yep…seriously…so out came the exterminator AGAIN. And they went away for a while and then came back with a vengeance a few months ago. At this point I am surprised I have hair left on my head trying to keep things clean, killing as needed (they even found the garbage CAN this time). So, knowing that the nice expensive exterminator didn’t work (no wonder why my Pitbull Maggie wanted to eat him and she LIKES everyone) I suffered and did what I could until a few days ago… hehehehehe…now I have NO visible ants and even tested the theory this morning by leaving yummy jelly on the counter top for a few hours…nope, not one ant!

Wanna know the secret?

Homemade ant bait…

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See ants are funny, the ones you see, they get the food, take it home, feed it to other ants who then in turn make their ‘food’ and that feeds everyone, including the queen. Bingo! Everyone gets the yummy homicidal boric acid sugar food 🙂
Sorry if I seem a bit gleeful, but, me and these ants have gone round about for years now 🙂

So, what is the miracle for pennies?
Boric Acid (yep, that stuff you have heard that works for roaches)
Sugar
Water
Cotton Balls
Something to put the cotton balls in
Glass Jar

Here we go:
Put 1 cup HOT water into glass jar
Add 2 TBS Boric Acid
Shake WELL
Then add 1 cup of sugar to the boric acid/water mix and shake well again.
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Soak the cotton balls in this solution and put the cotton balls on a small piece of wax paper, old soda bottle caps or whatever.

Next place several of these where you see the ants coming and going so they will quickly find it and take it home to mama.
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Took less than 24hrs for me to make them disappear and the kids had fun watching the hordes get their ‘food’.
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kitchen

In an effort to save money I have posted on making my own liquid laundry detergent…it works and works well, taking out stains, no smell left and is safe for the environment and septic systems. If this interests you please visit:

Going forward to save money and have just a few ingredients that are relatively cheap and easy obtain at this moment I will be doing a series based on ‘areas’ in the home that we are looking to keep clean.

Today, we will be looking at keeping the kitchen area clean, including dishes, floors, windows, etc.

What you will need:
Vinegar
Borax
Baking Soda
Washing Soda
Containers/Spray Bottles
Someway of measuring (spoon, cup, etc.)
Essential Oils
Castile Soap or other natural soap (liquid and bar)

How to make liquid soap from bar soap

Dishwashing Detergent Powder:
Very simple and works great!

1 part Borax
1 part Baking Soda

Mix the Borax and baking soda together. I like to make large batches at a time and use a ‘repurposed’ plastic container with a tight lid that once held pretzels and I do keep a dedicated large tablespoon for ease of use in the container itself.
Add to your dishwasher’s detergent compartment, and run as usual. I typically use about 1 Tablespoon per load of dishes in the dishwasher. Borax and baking soda are both natural disinfectants and mild abrasives – just what you need to blast away stuck on food and germs.

If you have hard water add a rinsing agent to get rid of spots:

What you need:
White Vinegar

To make the transition from commercial to natural dishwasher rinsing agent:
1. Finish using up any commercial rinse agent that remains in your dishwasher.
2. Instead of refilling with the commercial rising agent, fill the well with white vinegar.
3. Run your dishwasher as usual.
4. Refill the dispenser as needed.

Liquid Dishwashing Soap:

What you will need:
Pan/Pot
Water
Castile Bar Soap
Liquid Castile Soap
Washing Soda
Essential Oils (optional)
Squirt Bottle Container

Ingredients
1. 1 1/4 cups boiling water
2. 1/4 cup (tightly packed) castile bar soap, grated
3. 1 tablespoon washing soda (use a little more for a thicker soap)
4. 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
5. 10-30 drops essential oils (optional; I use 20 drops orange and 10 drops tea tree)
Instructions
1. Add grated castile soap to boiling water and stir until dissolved.
2. Add washing soda and stir.
3. Add liquid castile soap and stir.
4. Let mixture cool, then add essential oils.
5. Transfer to repurposed soap dispenser and use as regular dish soap.
Notes
1. Soap mixture will harden as it sets. If it’s too thick to pour, just add a tiny bit of warm water and give it a good shake to loosen it up.
2. The amount of washing soda you use will dictate how thick the soap gets, so adjust accordingly. The temperature of your kitchen is also a factor.
(taken from naturesnurtureblog.com)

Stainless Steel or Appliance Cleaner:

What you will need:
Spray bottle
Vinegar
Cleaning Cloth/Cotton Rags

I like to reuse spray bottles (you can reuse one if you clean it out well! Windex bottles or other spray bottles that had multipurpose cleaners in them, just be sure to clean/rinse well) or if you are very cautious you can buy new ones fairly inexpensively. And instead of paper towels use either washable ‘rags’ or even cut up old tee-shirts (you can buy a bag of ‘rags’ on amazon by the the pound for just under $7).

Fill a spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar. Then, spray on all of your stainless steel surfaces, and wipe dry with a soft cleaning cloth. Simple and effective!

Marble Counter Tops:
What you need:
Natural Liquid Soap Or Grated Natural Bar Soap
Spray Bottle
To make a safe cleanser for a home marble countertop, fill a spray bottle with 1 tablespoon of natural liquid soap, such as Castile soap, (how to make liquid soap out of bar soap) and 1 quart of warm water. Shake the bottle to mix them thoroughly. Alternatively, grate 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of your favorite natural or organic bar soap, and dissolve that in the same quantity of water.
To clean the countertop, mist it lightly with the mild soap solution and wipe it clean with a soft, damp, lint-free cloth.
Use a second cloth to buff the stone dry if you wish.
DO NOT USE LEMON JUICE, VINEGAR OR ANY OTHER NATURAL CLEANER THAT IS ACIDIC AS IT WILL ETCH THE MARBLE AND/OR GROUT!
ALSO, ESSENTIAL OILS SHOULD NOT BE USED ON MARBLE OR GROUT AS MANY OF THEM WILL ‘EAT’ GROUT.
Some acidic and highly pigmented liquids, such as red wine and fruit juices, can quickly stain marble. Remove these stains with a poultice. First, wipe the stained area with bottled or distilled water. Then mix up a thick paste of more water with an absorbent material such as chalk, white flour or kaolin clay. If the marble is white, you can use a bottle of 6 percent hydrogen peroxide for your liquid, instead of water. Tape plastic over the poultice to keep it from drying out, and leave it for 48 hours. Wipe away the poultice with water, and repeat if necessary.

Porcelain, Tile, Kitchen Counter Tops: (not marble)

What you need:
Spray bottle (optional)
Baking Soda
Salt (optional)
Tea Tree Oil (option for spray only)
Water
Rag/Towel

Dust surfaces with baking soda (just a little!), then scrub with a moist sponge or cloth. If you have tougher grime, sprinkle on some salt, and work up some elbow grease.
Just like using Comet or other commercially available cleansing powders. Keep that in mind…a little goes a long way and to avoid residue you will need to rinse/wipe well.

Alternatively, I have found that you can get a 1 quart spray bottle, fill with warm water, add 3 tablespoons baking soda, 20 drops tea tree essential oil. Shake well, spray, rinse.

Oven Cleaner

Conventional oven cleaning chemicals are loaded with toxic ingredients, including ethers, ethylene glycol, lye (sodium and potassium hydroxide), methylene chloride and petroleum distillates. The products are harmful to skin and eyes, and the fumes are unhealthy. Instead, go natural!
Baking Soda and Water: Coat the inside of your dirty appliance with a paste made from water and baking soda. Let stand overnight. Then, don gloves and scour off that grime. Make spotless with a moist cloth.

(taken from thedailygreen.com)

Disinfectant Kitchen Spray:

What you need:
Spray Bottle
Water
Liquid Castile Soap
Tea Tree or Lavender Essential Oil

Mix 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid castile soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil. Spray or rub on countertops and other kitchen surfaces.

Let sit for a minute or two and then wipe off with a wet rag.

Can be used to clean the refrigerator including the seals. Do NOT use citrus oils on plastics or other porous materials as they will MELT or CORRODE them over time.

Glass Stove Top Cleaner:

What you need:
Preferred method of cleaning is a ‘magic eraser’

Otherwise you will need:
Water
Baking Soda

Take 1/8 cup warm water and add enough baking soda to make thin paste…scrub as you would using commercial glass stove top cleaner.

Kitchen Floor Cleaner:

Do NOT use on real wood or bamboo floors!!!

What you will need:
1. 1 cup water
2. 1 cup vinegar
3. 1 cup alcohol
4. 2-3 drops dish soap (Castile, Dawn, etc. click here on how to make your own)
5. 10 drops lavender essential oil
6. 6 drops tea tree essential oil
7. Fine-mist spray bottle – 24oz
8. Microfiber or other dry mop
YES, YOU CAN USE THIS IN YOUR SWIFTER MOP OR OTHER SPRAY AS YOU GO COMMERCIAL MOPS.
Instructions
1. Add all ingredients to spray bottle and shake to combine.
2. Sweep/vacuum the floor.
3. Spray cleaner on the floor (or other surface).
4. Wipe up with a microfiber cloth.
Notes
1. As with all cleaners, please do a spot test to make sure this will work on your floors!
2. For a mop and bucket version, try this: For a gallon of water, you could try 1/2 cup of vinegar, and 1/3 cup of alcohol, plus a few drops of dish soap.
3. Remember really wring the mop out so that you do not leave a lot water on the floor to ‘dry’.

Kitchen Sink Cleaner:
What you will need:
Baking Soda
Sponge or Rag

Sprinkle baking soda into sink and scrub out…rinse.


Garbage Disposal Cleaner:
Bonus: You also sharpen the blades at the same time!!!

What you will need:
Vinegar
Baking Soda
2 Lemon or Oranges Slices
OR
20 drops essential oils of your choice
OR
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
Ice

Garbage disposals not only get really stinky if you don’t maintain them, the blades will also go dull. Here’s is a fast and easy way to eliminate odors and sharpen the blades.

Instructions:
Put ½ cup baking soda down garbage disposal
Put 20 drops essential oil of choice into ½ cup vinegar
OR
Put 2 thin slices lemon or oranges down garbage disposal and then add ½ cup vinegar to disposal
OR
Put 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice into ½ vinegar and pour into disposal

Let sit for a minute

Then put 6-10 ice cubes down disposal
Turn on water
Turn on garbage disposal and allow to run until you no longer hear chopping.

Get Rid of Drain Flies:

What you need:
Vinegar
Pan/Pot

Instructions:

Gently heat 2 cups per drain of vinegar in pot/pan.
Pour down effected drain(s).
Let sit for a few minutes.
Run warm water to flush out.
Repeat as needed.

Get Rid of Fruit Flies:

What you need:
Small wide mouth glass or ceramic bowls
Apple cider vinegar

Put small amount of apple cider vinegar into small wide mouth bowls and place around known areas where the fruit flies are. Let sit for a day. You will trap them by drowning. Personally I like to use an all purpose natural cleaner to sneak up on the small bowl before they notice me and spray real quick to make the ones on the rim wet so they can’t fly and then I rinse down the sink. Repeat as needed.

Alternatively you can make this trap for fruit flies:

What you will need:

1 pint mason jar or 1 recycled baby food jar, with lid if you still have it.
A hammer and standard nail (if you have the mason jar or baby food jar top)
OR plastic wrap, rubber band and a fork/skewer/toothpick if you don’t have the top.

1/4–1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, wine, stale beer or bourbon
Optional: small piece of old, overripe fruit
2-3 drops of dishwashing soap

Directions
Using the lid method:
Punch 8-12 holes into the lid, just big enough for the fruit fly to enter. Big enough you can get the tip of pen into it.
If you don’t have the lid:
Get plastic wrap, or wax paper (old sandwhich baggie?) and a rubber band to tightly cover the top of the jar. Poke holes into it with a fork, skewer or toothpick.
Fill the jar with about a half inch of apple cider vinegar, wine, beer or liquor. Stir in a couple drops of dishwashing soap (if you want), then place a small piece of overripe fruit into the middle of the liquid (if you have), if you do use fruit be sure that the fruit is sticking out of the liquid.
Set your traps where you see the fruit flies. Empty and repeat every 2 to 3 days. You can put down the drain, compost pile, etc. Just get them gone!

Preventing Fruit Flies/Drain Flies
1. Clean your produce as soon as you get home, and store it loose or in a new bag, rather than in the plastic bag you got from the store.
2. Cover your fruit bowl or store fruit in the refrigerator.
3. Don’t put food or beverage containers in waste paper baskets.
4. Use, freeze or compost all overripe fruits and vegetables.
5. Don’t keep any vegetable or meat scraps in your garbage can inside your home. Not only does regularly taking out the garbage keep flies away but ants and other creepies.
6. Take out your compost.
7. Wash all dishes and clear the drains in your sink.
8. Run garbage disposal regularly.
9. Don’t leave wet dishrags in the sink, on the countertops or in the washmachine.
10. Clean the seals of your refrigerator door, the top and under the fridge.
11. Clean under and around your dishwasher and stove.
12. Allow the first inch of the soil in your houseplants to dry out before watering.
13. Make sure you have good window and door screens.

chicken
Protein is an invaluable source of long term energy in a survival situation or in any situation in which we are called upon to exert more energy than usual (camping, running, etc.) and/or a time when you can’t really cook or want to keep it simple during and emergency…prepackaged dehydrated food is great if you can find it cheaply, but knowing how to properly dehydrate protein NOW, yourself, before something happens is something to learn how to do and after the initial expense of buying a good dehydrator you will wind up saving yourself tons of money, not mention YOU get to control what goes in your food.

Previously I had dehydrated chicken breasts using one of those smaller, cheaper food dehydrators and honestly, after rehydrating and trying to eat it on the go, I thought that perhaps there could be a better, more flavorful way of doing this.

I wound up buying last year an excellent Excalibur Food dehydrator at a good discount from ebay simply because I was becoming frustrated with the limited amount drying space I had with my old round one. It wasn’t very efficient at drying, the middle ring took forever to dry, with the bottom and top ones drying very quickly and uneven drying on all rings so I was constantly moving the food I was drying around and the large slots meant a lot of food fell through as it was drying…nope…I bit the bullet and bought a good, solid Excalibur and I highly recommend that if you are serious about drying foods for storage or use during camping that you get one…well worth the money!

So here we go again on how to dehydrate chicken, while the first article I wrote on dehydrating chicken is a great and simple start to doing so, I have tweaked my technique and have learned a few tips to add to dehydrating your chicken to make your chicken turn out so much more better.

What you will need:
Dehydrator
Chicken (whatever you can lay your hands on cheaply)
Large pot for boiling your chicken
Powdered Seasonings for infusing flavor into the chicken

One thing I have learned since last writing about dehydrating chicken is that DARK MEAT is the best when dehydrating chicken. When you go to rehydrate or eat it like jerky, it rehydrates much more readily which can be important if you are carrying it with you to eat on the run.

I also like to use thigh or leg meat verses the breast…again, just easier to rehydrate. But use what you have, white meat, thigh, breast, leg, whatever, the process drying is the same. My only note on chicken breast is that it rehydrates more slowly and is tougher after rehydrating (not to mention it COSTS more money unless you can get a real deal on it). And don’t forget you can use bone in or bone out.

So, I found on clearance boneless chicken thighs (mostly dark meat) at the local market…spent maybe $2 for the package. If you are using chicken with bones in it, you will just need to spend the time taking the meat off the bone before putting in the dehydrator.

In one large pot I put 12 cups of water, seasonings to taste (I like to use garlic and onion powder with a touch of salt) and put about 1/3 of cup of each into the water. Then in goes the chicken.

At this point I bring the water, seasonings and chicken to a roiling boil and allow it boil itself until done. You will have to gauge for yourself when it is done cooking as boiling/cooking time will depend upon what you are using. To speed up the process of cooking and if you are using chicken breasts, I have found that by cutting up the breast into chunks FIRST (raw) and then cooking saves time and you don’t over cook the thinner chicken.

When the chicken is done cooking you will then need to do one of two things at this point…if you are using chicken that has a bone in it, you will need to get the meat of the bone place the meat on a plate covered with a couple layers of towels.
If you are using boneless meat you may just place the meat on a plate covered with a couple layers of towels.
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FYI: That water you just added spices to and boiled your chicken in? Excellent stock/soup base…don’t throw it away! Extend your money! Can it, freeze it, etc. IF you find yourself without power you have ‘instant’ soup base to rehydrate your chicken in!

Next, you will want to take two more towels, lay them over your meat and press the ‘juice’ out of the meat…this helps to speed up the drying time and keeps the meat from becoming too tough from ‘over dehydrating’ which can easily be done since everything you dehydrate is from the outside in and meat likes to retain its moisture! It wouldn’t to ‘burn’ (over cook so to speak) your meat!

Then allow to cool to room temperature, to speed this up you may place in the refrigerator. I am not sure WHY this helps, but by accident and then by design I have found that this really helps with retaining texture, taste and helps prevent the meat from being tough after rehydration (even with chicken breasts).

After your chicken meat cools off you will need to pull or cut into bite size pieces or whatever size you want. I just like bite size because its faster to dry and easier to rehydrate in your mouth if you want to eat it like that and if using in soups or casseroles you require less water/time to rehydrate (which is important especially if using with noodles or dehydrated veggies which rehydrate faster).

Very lightly spray your trays with an oil (not a lot, just a very, very light coat). This will prevent sticking which is very important if you are using one of the dehydrators that cheaper ones with the big slots. Not so important with an Excalibur as the screen is flexible, but I still spray, makes clean up easier!

Now you are ready to put your chicken pieces on the drying racks…
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At this point, close up your dehydrator…if you have one that allows you to set a temperature on it, you will use 155 degrees temperature setting, if not, just turn it on.
Leave the dehydrator be for at least 3 hours before opening and checking on the chicken. After 3 hours I found mine almost done. You may or may not have the same experience. But if not almost done at this point (and there are many factors that control this) close back up and check again in a couple of hours.

For those with the smaller, cheap dehydrators you may find yourself having to move trays and chicken around to get more even drying. If I am dehydrating A LOT of meat in my Excalibur I wind up moving the racks around once, the top one and bottom one go into the middle and the middle racks go on the top/bottom. But with only 2 racks in I did not have to do this.

IF almost done, shut it down and allow to cool again. I left mine overnight.
The point being is that you will want to shut the dehydrator off when the meat is almost completely dry and allow to cool off.

After cooling off, restart your dehydrator to finish dehydrating. Be careful at this point to check about every half hour so you do not over dehydrate and potentially burn your chicken.

You will know its completely dehydrated when it is no ‘spongy’. I like to ‘sample’ a piece. It will be ‘dry’ and crunchy but easy to chew. Don’t worry if it’s ‘hard’ that happens, but the more you dehydrate meat the better you will get at gauging when its ‘perfect’.

Allow to cool again before packaging by the method you want to do so. If you will be using within the week, ziplock baggies are great…anything longer than a week and you will want to vacuum seal the chicken some how, in a jar or a food saver, though the old timers never did this! For long term storage you will want to remove all the oxygen for best results and longest shelf life. Will store this way for AT LEAST a year, depending upon storage conditions.

Dehydrated properly, chicken (or any meat) is a great way to save money on food storage, make ‘fast food’ meals with little to no mess (one pot! Ever tried cooking after a hurricane? The less ‘pots’ the better!) or it’s a cheap way to make your own camping/bug out food.

My end result:
About 4 cups of protein and weighs in at just over 2 ounces.

To use:
Pretty simple, you can either just munch on it using your own spit to rehydrate it or you can add to water, soups, and so much more! Put together with veggies and noodles in water for a fast meal. Takes about 15 minutes in boiling water to completely rehydrate and heat depending upon the size you make the ‘bites’.


Softwater Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
3 ingredients!!

Ever wonder about all those homemade laundry detergent soap recipes that you see around? Many of them are made for places with ‘hard’ water, but lucky me! I have soft well water and have come up with this particular recipe that can be made for pennies per load that works well for those with soft water. If you have softwater you do not need all that soap to get things clean. And if you use too much soap in the laundry and you have softwater you can wind up with dingy looking clothing that actually HOLDS THE DIRT since normal rinse cycles are not enough to get the soap out.

I like to pre-make a lot of the soap ‘ingredients’ at one time so I have plastic containers that I keep them in ready at hand whenever I need to make laundry detergent or whatever out of the ingredients.
I prefer to make the liquid over using the powdered version since soap doesn’t easily ‘melt’ in cold water.

Note: the harder your water (and if you are on city water you have very hard water) the more ‘soap’ you need in the ‘soap’ and I will list an alternative reciepe to compensate for this.

What you will need:
Fels Napa or some other soap such as castile or even homemade soap
Borax
Washing Soda (not BAKING SODA)
5 Gallon Bucket with lid
Long Wooden Spoon
Metal Pan
Containers for finished soap- gallon milk jugs, old laundry detergent jugs, etc.
Grater
Funnel
Measuring Cup
Plastic Containers (if you want to make up more than one 5 gallon batch to set aside for future use, recommend!)

Gather the required items, the soap, borax and washing soda can typically be found in almost any grocery store or big box store, but you may have to check around for the washing soda.

Using a grater (I have a big dedicated ‘soap grater’ that I picked up on ebay for next to nothing which is actually an old cheese grater) grind up the Fels Napa Soap Bar or whatever soap bar you choose to use (just avoid ‘commercial’ bath soap…will NOT WORK). You will wind up with quite a bit from one bar…set aside.

In a metal pot, put 4 cups of hot water (from the tap is fine) and place ½ cup of grated soap (do not pack it) into the water. Put pot on stove and set your settings to medium-low…Stir this continually with wooden spoon until soap is dissolved/melted.

DO NOT LET IT BOIL

It will be slightly foamy. You are not done melting the soap until you have no chunks or flakes left.

Get your 5 gallon bucket with the lid.
Fill the bucket half full with hot water (the hottest water you can get from the tap will work just fine!) and put on the floor.

Take your melted soap water and add to the bucket
Next add ½ cup borax and ½ cup of washing soda to the bucket
The measuring cup shows 1 cup of the washing soda/borax mixture (1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup is 1 cup)

Stir WELL until all powder is dissolved.

At this point, finish filling your bucket with more hot water to about 1 inch from the top.

Stir WELL again…be sure to get down to the bottom of the bucket while stirring…this soap mixture will NOT hurt your skin at all and easily rinses off.

Cover and let sit for 24 hrs.

After this cooling off and waiting time take the lid off, you will find that it has thickened on the top and bottom into a ‘gel’ like substance….it may look runny or separated…or with chunks of goo through out the bucket…this is OKAY and NORMAL….STIR AGAIN WELL!

Get your containers and funnel and measuring cup now. I recommend putting down towels on the floor just in case of an opps so you don’t spend a lot of time cleaning the floor (trust me on this!)

Fill your containers now…I like to use the measuring cup to scoop out the liquid detergent from the bucket and then pour through the funnel into the containers…at this point if you would like to add essential oils then add 5mls per gallon and shake well…All done…no fabric softener needed.

OF NOTE: Shake well in the smaller containers before use each time, it will separate again.

Since I use laundry detergent containers I just use the same amount that I would as if it was store bought. So use the ‘normal’ amount that you would use of liquid laundry detergent. This is for softwater ONLY.

HARDWATER

If you have hardwater/city water you will need to INCREASE the amount of soap, borax and washing soda, but the directions on how to make are the same.
If you are making up a lot of soap at one time for future ‘making’ just be sure to grate one bar at a time and place what you get from ONE BAR into a baggie. Alternatively you may weigh out 4.5 ounces of grated soap bar.

Hardwater Recipe:

1 Full Bar of Fels Napa (or other soap) Grated or 4.5 ounces
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing

Follow the same directions for making softwater liquid laundry detergent.
When you are using this homemade liquid laundry detergent you will want to use ½ cup per load (about 160 loads or so) and slightly more for heavily soiled clothing.

Enjoy!

UPDATE 8/23/2013
I have been using this batch of homemade soap for softwater for the past 2 weeks…EXCELLENT!!! no pre treating of light stains, clothes are brighter, softer and best of all, they smell CLEAN and not soapy!
If you try this, let me know how it turns out for you!