Monthly Archives: July 2013

Chicago Next? Windy City Cash Balance Plummets To Only $33 Million As Debt Triples

As we have talked about this before in: What It’s Like To Live In a Bankrupt City. 

More cities are heading down this road.

While everyone’s attention is focused on the Detroit bankruptcy, and just what assets the city will sell in lieu of raising a DIP loan, perhaps it is time to refocus attention to the city 300 miles west: Chicago. According to the Chicago Sun Times citing year-end audits, Obama’s former right hand man, Rahm Emanuel, closed the books on 2012 with $33.4 million in unallocated cash on hand — down from $167 million the year before — while adding to the mountain of debt piled on Chicago taxpayers. In addition to a liquidity problem, Chicago may also be quite insolvent as the city’s total long-term debt soared to nearly $29 billion. That’s $10,780 for every one of the city’s nearly 2.69 million residents. More than a decade ago, the debt load was $9.6 billion or $3,338 per resident. Of course, in a world in which debt is “wealth”, this is great news… at least until debt becomes “bankruptcy.”

Ironically last year, now-retiring City Comptroller Amer Ahmad argued that the city’s debt load was not “troubling” because, “We still have a very strong bond rating. Our fiscal position is getting better every year and we are aggressively managing our liabilities and obligations” (very much awhat the ECB’s Mario Draghi tells the world when he gives the periodic monthly update of European capital markets during the central bank’s press conference). It is ironic because last week, Moody’s downgraded Chicago from Aa3 to A3 in an unprecedented three notch cut in the city’s bond rating, citing Chicago’s “very large and growing” pension liabilities, “significant” debt service payments, “unrelenting public safety demands” and historic reluctance to raise local taxes that has continued under Emanuel.

Moody’s noted that the city’s total fund balance at the close of 2012 was $231.3 million and that Chicago has just $625 million in “leased asset reserves.” Had the city fully funded its $1.5 billion “actuarially required contribution” to its four under-funded city employee pension funds in 2012 alone, “these two reserves would have been entirely depleted,” Moody’s said.

The “unassigned” balance is $33.4 million. Experts recommend a cash cushion of at least $200 million for a budget the size of Chicago’s, according to the Civic Federation. The city ended 2009 with an unallocated checkbook balance of just $2.7 million.

According to the Sun Times, Chicago budget Director Alex Holt blamed the $133.6 million drop in cash on hand balances on “honest” budgeting and ending the long-standing practice of carrying “ghost” vacancies. “We’re trying to be more transparent about what we’re really spending and taking in — not just carrying a bunch of people who took up money in the budget and left money on the table at the end of the year,” Holt said. Well that’s a welcome development – unfortunately the inevitable outcome of honest in the New Normal is bankruptcy.

“Let’s be straightforward about what we’ve got to spend and not pretend we’re gonna hire for a position we haven’t hired for, who know how many years when those resources are need to provide other services. … This is about matching revenues with expenses. You don’t want to over-tax people.”

Wait, did someone from Chicago just say that?

As also disclosed by the Sun Times, audits by the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche provide a treasure trove of information about city finances and operations.

Interesting nuggets include:

  • Chicago’s principal private employers were: J.P. Morgan Chase (8,168 workers); United Airlines (7,521); Accenture LLP (5,590; Northern Trust (5,448); Jewel Foods (4,572) and Ford Motor Co. (4,187). The 2012 city payroll was 33,708 — down from 40,297 in 2006.
  • The number of “physical arrests” by Chicago Police officers declined again — from 152,740 in 2011 to 145,390 in 2012. That continues a six-year trend that coincides with the hiring slowdown that caused a dramatic decline in the number of police officers. Police made 227,576 arrests in 2006. The number of arrests has been dropping like a rock ever since. The Chicago Police Department has long argued that it doesn’t measure the success of crime-fighting strategies simply by the number of arrests.
  • Emergency responses continued their steady rise — to 472,752. That’s up from 300,971 in 2006.
  • O’Hare Airport operating revenues were up by $23.2 million, a 3.3 percent increase, thanks to rising terminal rental and use charges. Operating expenses rose $19.1 million because of rising personnel and contracting costs. Airline ticket taxes known as “passenger facility charges” generated $154.5 million in 2012.
  • The number of passenger “enplanements” rose by a modest 37,000 — to 33.24 million. That’s despite a continued decline by O’Hare’s two largest carriers — from 8.7 million passenger boardings in 2011 to 7.4 million in 2012 at United Airlines and from 7.6 million to 7.2 million by American.
  • In 2003, United and American together accounted for 67.7 percent of O’Hare enplanements. Now, it’s just 44 percent.
  • Budget-oriented Midway Airport is thriving, spelling potentially good news if, as expected, Emanuel chooses to revive the $2.5 billion deal to privatize Midway that collapsed for lack of financing.
  • Midway boardings rose from 9.45 million in 2011 to 9.78 million last year. Operating revenues were up just $462,000 because of decreased landing fees and terminal use charges. That’s even though concession revenues rose by $1.8 million due to an increase in parking, restaurant and auto rentals. Operating expenses rose by $4.2. Ticket taxes generated $43.9 million.
  • The 55 percent subsidy to retiree health care that Emanuel wants to phase out and retirees are suing to maintain cost the city $97.5 million in 2012.
  • Daily refuse collections declined from 3,983 tons in 2011 year ago to 3,763 in 2012. Last year’s 52-ton increase had reversed a five-year trend. The amount of garbage generated by the 600,000 Chicago households was 4,451 tons a day in 2006 to 4,240 in 2008.
  • Thanks to last year’s record heat and drought conditions, average daily water consumption rose by 23 million gallons — to 793 million gallons — reversing a steady decline. In 2006, Chicago’s 1.04 million households were guzzling 884.9 million gallons-a-day. Operating revenues in the city’s water fund were up by $122.1 million or 29.6 percent, thanks to Emanuel’s 25 percent increase in water rates.
  • Chicago’s 165 tax-increment-financing districts had a collective balance of $1.5 billion. Most of that money is uncommitted, fueling an aldermanic demand Emanuel has rejected: to declare a TIF surplus and use the money to reduce some of the 3,000 layoffs at Chicago Public Schools.
  • The condition of Chicago’s four city employee pension funds is growing ever more precarious. The firefighters pension fund has assets to cover just 25 percent of liabilities, followed by: Police (31 percent); Municipal Employees (38 percent) and Laborers (56 percent).
  • Chicago’s historical collections and works of art are valued at $13.2 million.

There’s all that, and then there is the now traditional weekend slaughter of countless people as irrefutable proof that guns laws work, although maybe not in the city they were implemented.

By July 31, Emanuel must release a preliminary city budget. It’s almost certain to include another massive deficit — strengthening the city’s case in contract talks with city unions — that will have to be closed with more layoffs, service cuts and new revenues.

Since Emanuel’s 2013 budget held the line on taxes, fines and fees — beyond those set in motion the year before and annual increases in parking meter rates locked into the 75-year lease – what appears inevitable is another rise in the cost of Chicago living. The mayor also eliminated 275, mostly-vacant jobs while making strategic investments in tree-trimming, rodent control and children’s health and after-school programs.

But, aldermen warned that it was the calm before the storm: a painful solution to the city’s pension crisis that will require both new revenues and concessions from city employees.

Of course, now that Detroit has shown the way, and since he who defaults first, defaults best (and the second best and so on), there is a far more realistic outcome.

You can follow all these cities problems and more to come at: Bankrupt Cities, Municipalities List and Map

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: zerohedge

Think those are dollars in your wallet? Think again.

A thought from Senior Editor, Simon Black, SovereignMan.com

Here’s a question– if you’re in the Land of the Free, do you think those green pieces of paper in your wallet are dollars?

They’re not. A US dollar was defined by the Coinage Act of 1792 as 416 grains of standard silver.

No, those green pieces of paper are Federal Reserve notes. “Notes” in this case meaning liabilities to the central bank of the United States.

That makes you, me, and anyone else holding those green pieces of paper essentially creditors of the Federal Reserve, whether we signed up for it or not.

As we explored on Friday, the Fed is theoretically like any other business. On one side of its balance sheet, it has assets. On the other side, it has liabilities.

The Fed is unique, though, in that its liabilities– namely Federal Reserve Notes– are passed off as money in the Land of the Free.

And they have a legal monopoly in this money business. Just ask Bernard von NotHaus, the founder of Liberty Dollar who was labeled a domestic terrorist and convicted for minting silver coins to be used as a competing money.

Moreover, the Fed has the ability to increase its liabilities at will. Mr. Bernanke can conjure additional Federal Reserve notes out of thin air and pump them into the system.

And at this point, thanks to a long-standing policy of wanton money printing, the Fed has more liabilities than ever before in its history. By an enormous margin.

This precarious balance sheet is dangerous, because if the Fed goes bust, everyone loses.

Is it even possible for a central bank to go bust? Definitely. Zimbabwe and Tajikistan are infamous examples.

And most recently it happened in Iceland. The banking system there collapsed from being so highly leveraged, and Iceland’s central bank suffered tremendous losses.

The end result was insolvency, and the central bank’s liabilities, i.e. the Icelandic kronor, went into freefall, losing 60% against the dollar and euro in a matter of days.

So yes, it does happen. And the consequences are devastating.

But how likely is it that the Fed could go bust?

In its most recently published balance sheet, the Fed listed assets valued at $3.5 trillion.

Most of this is US Treasuries and ‘agency’ debt securities. You probably remember those– the toxic mortgage debt that blew up a few years ago like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Not exactly low risk.

Meanwhile, the Fed has become one of the biggest creditors of the United States government… which has managed to accumulate more debt than any government in the history of the world.

Of course, the only way the US government can pay interest to the Fed is by going into even more debt (which the Fed then has to buy).

Every time this happens, the Fed’s already razor-thin capital gets smaller and smaller, and the Fed’s balance sheet becomes riskier and riskier.

In fact, the Fed’s capital ratio (1.53%) is lower than Lehman Brothers when they went bankrupt in 2008.

But what happens if the Fed becomes insolvent?

In the case of Iceland, the government bailed out its central bank.

Iceland’s government went from being essentially debt free to having debts in excess of 100% of the country’s GDP, just to bail out the bank.

But the US, Japan, and Europe are already too indebted to bail out their central banks. An insolvent government cannot bail out an insolvent central bank.

The IMF is not an option either. The US, EU, Japan, etc. make up roughly half of the IMF capital quota– these are the countries who fund the IMF, not the other way around.

There really is no backstop for the Fed. The buck, so to speak, stops here. And with a capital ratio of just 1.53%, the Fed’s balance sheet is already in precarious financial condition.

Given that the Fed’s assets are so closely tied to the finances of the US government, the outlook should concern independent, thinking people.

If they go bust, the value of Federal Reserve notes (i.e. ‘dollars’) is going to plummet… along with the paper wealth of anyone holding them.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: Simon Black, Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

 

Town To Issue Licenses and Bounties To Shoot Down Drones: “They Fly In Town, They Get Shot Down”

The President, Congress and the Department of Homeland Security may think it’s legal to spy on the Land of the Free by deploying thousands of drones over the skies of America, but the residents of Deer Trail, Colorado have a different idea.

Not only are they set to vote on hunting licenses authorizing the shoot down of unmanned aerial vehicles hovering over their town, but they’ll be issued a $100 bounty if they can prove they did it:

The small town of Deer Trail, Colorado is considering a bold move. The town board will be voting on an ordinance that would create drone hunting licenses and offer bounties for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Deer Trail resident, Phillip Steel, drafted the ordinance.

“We do not want drones in town,” said Steel. “They fly in town, they get shot down.”

Even though it’s against the law to destroy federal property, Steel’s proposed ordinance outlines weapons, ammunition, rules of engagement, techniques, and bounties for drone hunting.

The ordinates states, “The Town of Deer Trail shall issue a reward of $100 to any shooter who presents a valid hunting license and the following identifiable parts of an unmanned aerial vehicle whose markings and configuration are consistent with those used on any similar craft known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government.”

Source: Denver Channel

Video report:


 

(Watch on Youtube via The Daily Sheeple; or at the Denver Channel)

The hunt is on and it’s up to the residents of every single town in The United States of America to join Deer Trail, Colorado.

Via: shtfplan

To prepare for economic collapse – a Action plan

Quick tips how to prepare for economic collapse contributed by John O

Based on all the information that I have received from a large number of sources, I believe a global economic collapse could take place sometime between May 2013 and October 2015, with the objective of introducing a one world currency.

So what can a person do to prepare for a complete collapse of the global financial system?

Following is a list of practical steps that you can take to prepare your family from the coming storm.

  1. Get out of all paper assets.
  2. Take all money out of your 401k or other retirement account.
  3. Become your own central bank, put all savings into “physical” gold or silver.
  4. Do not keep anything in a bank safe deposit box (It can be taken out by Homeland Insecurity).
  5. Stock up enough food, water and medical supplies to last you 3 to 6 months. (This is the minimum you should have).
  6. Protect your family buy a gun for every adult member of your family or group, and 2,000 rounds of ammo for each weapon.
  7. Put together a Bug out bag for every member of your family, even if your plan is to “Bug In”. S–t happens!
  8. Have a good quality, portable, water filter. Your life could depend on it! I recommend the Katadyn Pocket water filter.
  9. Keep some “emergency cash” in your home.
  10. Start paying down all your debts, get debt free!
  11. Under bank” Keep only enough funds in your checking account to pay your monthly bills.
  12. Raise a garden and become as self-reliant as possible.

Don’t play the game of the Globalist. Break free of their system as much as you can. If you don’t have a lot of money, start small, take baby steps. Each month buy one extra case of food, one extra case of water ex. Buy one ounce of silver every pay-day, in time it will add up, and you will be way ahead of your clueless neighbors. Don’t forget charity, buy some extra food for those who were not prepared.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: thesurvivalistblog

 

How To Make Your Own Sugar


 

Making My Own Sugar

It started like this. In my quest for self-reliance, I wanted to have the ability to produce my own sugar if need be. I planned on adding honey bees to the farmstead this last spring – but ‘we’ spent money on a new chainsaw instead. My next thought was maple trees? Not unless I could pay to put in a bunch of 10 year-old sugar maple tress, hope they all lived, then maybe in another 10-15 years when they started to mature I would have some smallish trees I might be able to tap. Stevia plants? I found out, not only do they not grow in my zone, but I have noticed that they are rather finicky to grow indoors and don’t like big shifts in temperature. That wouldn’t work in our house with wood heat. Then I found my answer through my grandma.

 

Sugar Beets. They used to grow them when my grandma was a child – but not just a couple of rows of them, they would plant a small field of them. She said that when they used the sugar from them, it was always a super dark brown sugar. So if one were using it in something like white cake or egg nog, that it would darken the color of what they were making but she remembered it still tasted really good. She said they processed them outside, because they smelled a little. Sugar beets contain 10-16% sucrose, compared to a sugar maple sap at 2% – this is why you need up to 40 gallons of sugar maple sap boiled down to make one gallon of maple syrup. The process is a tad quicker with sugar beets.

 


 

With a little research, I found a place to buy sugar beet seed and another place here and saw that they would grow perfectly in our Zone climate. They can be planted 4 weeks prior to the last frost, are cold hardy, and grow in full or partial sun. They also do not require a lot of water which makes them perfect! Sugar beets are cousins of turnips so their greens are completely edible for people, chickens, horses, pigs and cows. Needless to say, they did not go to waste at my place. They are really low maintenance and I really enjoyed growing them – you can pull them in mid summer or you can wait and pull them in the fall.

 

Do not worry about ‘accidentally’ buying GMO sugar beet seed. GMO sugar beet seed is not sold to home gardeners, they are only available to commercial farmers in bulk. So if one wanted to buy some GMO beet seed, you would have to buy a 50lb bag of it (for more info see Fear Free Garden Seeds).

 

Here is the process I used: Once pulled, I cut the greens off and saved the ones we wanted to eat in the fridge, then I put the greens that were going to the chickens and livestock in a separate bucket. I scrubbed all the beats really well with a stiff bristle brush. When canning beets, you are supposed to boil and peel them first. However, I was not canning these beets wanted to use as much of the beet as possible so I did not peel them.

 


 

Next I chopped them up by hand into tiny cubes. I have also heard that using your food processor to shred them works well. Then I added them to a big stock pot and added just enough water to cover them up. I set them to boil for an hour. Your goal here is to extract as much sugar as possible through cooking them so you actually want them to end up all mushy. It was recommended to me that I cook them for 30-45 minutes, but I ended up cooking them for over an hour.


 

Then you need to strain the beet pulp from the liquid and transfer the liquid into a different pot. I read that traditionally a cheese cloth bag was used for straining then you twist it and wring it out to extract as much liquid as possible. I found using a manual food mill helped move this process along a little faster. I mashed the beets in the mill and collected the liquid below. I stopped short of ricing them, as I didn’t want all of the beet pulp to end up in the pot. This remaining liquid was then run through a jelly bag to remove any remaining chunks of plant matter. If you don’t remove all the beet pulp – it will not store well.

 


 

 

The next step is cooking the liquid down. I was told that ‘back in the day’ they would reduce it down until crystals formed. I have found no guide on how much you are to reduce the liquid by or for how long to reduce the liquids. On that note, I was also told that at the time, most people did not have enough patience for crystallized sugar and would instead make beet ‘syrup’ and use the syrup in place of dry sugar. So with the goal of syrup in mind I brought my beet liquid up to a boil and started reducing, and reducing, and reducing the liquid.

 


 

 

After several hours, I was left with a small amount in one of my smallest pots. Now I was very suspicious of this because I could still smell the ‘beets’ and it still seemed watery, but when I tasted it – it was wonderful! It had a rich sweet syrupy flavor. So I continued boiling until I could see some ‘sheeting’ action with the syrup. “Sheeting” is what happens when you pour a little bit of the syrup out of the pot or a ladle and instead of it just pouring out like water, it starts to spread out, stick, and stiffen up a little. It may look like a little sheet of syrup trying to cling to the pot. This is also how to tell if maple syrup is ready for a hydrometer test.

 

Before a hydrometer was commonly used, once the syrup started sheeting it was ready. A hydrometer reading will tell you what the sugar content is for the syrup, it has to be done at a specific temperature and would take another complete article to explain. I didn’t bother with a hydrometer test as I am not selling my syrup and therefore had no desire to grade it, once it started sheeting it was good enough for me to consume.

 

Now, at this point if you wanted, you could take your syrup to 40°F – 45°F above the boiling temperature of water at your elevation (a candy thermometer is handy for this, may I suggest a non-digital one) – if it foams you can skim the foam off, or add a drop or two of vegetable oil. Basically what you are doing is making hard rock candy, so if you have ever made candy before: you are taking the sugar syrup to the “hard crack stage” (click link for more info). Then move it to a large flat pan continuously stirring until all moisture is gone. Later after it has cooled and hardened you can use a screen or a grater to grate down the hardened mass to a finer sugar like powder.


 

Sadly, I didn’t end up with much syrup for all of my work. I understand now why each family grew so many sugar beets. I stuck the less than half full bottle of sugar beet syrup in my fridge and used it in my coffee, on my pancakes, and in smoothies for the rest of the summer. It always added a nice flavor. I am afraid if I had boiled it down to crystals I would not have had much to show for myself, however, if storage is your goal, crystals are the way to go.

 

My grandma told me that while the syrup they had never went bad, it was not uncommon for some mold to collect on the top of the syrup. To fix this they would just scoop it off with a spoon and bring the syrup back up to a boil for a few minutes again and it was good to go, however I don’t think I will be trying that unless I have to, so for now I will just use the fridge.

 


 

The nice thing about this process is how little waste is produced and how usable every part of the sugar beet is! The beet pulp from cooking the beets went to the chickens and they LOVED it, but people can eat that too. The greens and tops went to both the livestock , chickens, and of course to us. The greens are completely edible – dehydrated and stored for later use in soups or Quiche or you can cook them up like collared greens. Collard greens, in one form or another, have been prepared by humans for 2000 years and were originally a survival food. They are a very good source of vitamin C, soluble fiber, and other good stuff . Here is a quick recipe I used, while not completely traditional – they sure did taste pretty good!

 


 

Collard Greens from Sugar Beet Greens

  • 2 cloves of mashed garlic (don’t bother with a silly garlic press just use the back of your spoon)
  • 5 cups of chicken stock
  • One to one and a half pack of bacon! (traditionally this would be a ham hock – this recipe cheats and takes less time)
  • 5 bunches collard greens (or in this case beet greens) – rinsed, trimmed and chopped
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Wash the greens thoroughly. Remove the thick stems that run down the center. Don’t worry about doing this to the small tender leaves. Stack 6 or 7 leaves on top of each other, roll them up, and slice them at one inch increments. Next, chop your bacon up into one or two-inch pieces and add it to a stock pot over medium heat. Once it begins to cook, add the garlic to the pot and cook the garlic in the bacon grease until it starts to look translucent.

 

At this point add the chicken broth and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add your greens to the mix and cook for them for 30 – 45 minutes ( I have found that you don’t need to cook beet greens as long as turnip greens or kale), add your salt and pepper and adjust seasonings according to your taste. Then drain your greens and serve. (Be sure to reserve the liquid, it can be used later for re-heating left over greens as they just don’t play well with microwaves.) Also I have been told by my friend who live in the South that you can save that broth which they call a collard ‘liquor’ and use is in further cooking or to sip on when you have a cold or flu. It is full of essential vitamins and minerals including iron and vitamin C. Especially important is that it contains a lot of vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting.

 

So there you have it. My ongoing experience with sugar beets.

 

Via: stephaniedayle1

 

By Stephanie Dayle Via – The American Preppers Network

Food Storage Restaurant-Style Tortillas

There are about a billion flour tortilla recipes out there.  You may have a favorite or you may be lost when it comes to trying to make them like I was.  In hunting for a recipe, I had some pretty picky criteria:

1. The recipe could only use the most shelf-stable ingredients: flour, water, salt, baking powder and Crisco. No milk. No eggs. No oil.

2. The tortillas had to taste good. Like restaurant GOOD!

I tried a couple mediocre recipes which were made worse by the fact that I had to hand-roll each tortilla, adding an extra 45 minutes of work. I wasn’t doing that again. Instead I opted for a , which are amazingly inexpensive for how much time they save you. Here is the one I got off Amazon which typically runs under $15: Tortilla Press.

Next I tried out a few recipes which all promised they produced delicious tortillas but in practice they fell flat on their face. See, I’m not a gourmet chef so I want a recipe that churns out warm, chewy tortillas every single time I make them, no matter what. I even tried a tortilla recipe that called for oil, thinking I was being too picky. That one was by far the worst tasting. Then one day I meandered across a friendly-looking recipe that met every criteria…and even included a slight rest time for the dough, which sounded “right” for making the fluffy-ish Chuy’s-style tortillas I wanted.  It’s not exactly like Chuy’s but I was pleased with the results. And not just me – I recruited taste-testers! All four chose the same recipe as their favorite which makes it a winner in my book!

Food Storage Restaurant-Style Tortillas

1 and 3/4 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup shortening (Crisco)

1/2 cup hot water

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients, whisking them together to ensure a uniform mix.


Add shortening and work it into the flour mixture with a fork, breaking up any large chunks until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Form a well in the center & pour in the hot water. Stir in with your fork.


You should have a shaggy dough ball beginning to form. Transfer the entire pile to a clean, well-floured surface.


Knead together until a smooth dough ball forms. (Use a bit of extra flour if needed.)


Invert your mixing bowl to cover the dough ball and let rest for 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, prep your tortilla press. We used a simple water spray bottle to moisten the inside of the aluminum plates and stuck plastic to it (A cut up ziplock back is perfect for this.) This prevents the smashed tortilla dough from sticking. It will stick to the plastic but it is easy to peel off, maintaining the flat, round shape.

(I have also used a cast iron pan to flatten then a rolling pin to finish.)


After 15 minutes, it was time to divide the dough into 8 pieces. You do this by dividing the big dough ball in half. Take one half and divide it in half again. Cut each of those in half againto create four pieces. Repeat with the other large dough ball half for a total of 8 pieces.


With floured hands, roll each piece into a ball.


Place the ball in the tortilla press, towards the back hinge, and close the press to form the tortilla, applying enough pressure that the tortilla dough squeezes out from the sides of the plates. (It takes about 3 seconds total to press 1 tortilla.)


Peel the tortilla away from the plastic and toss it on a comal or a skillet over medium-high heat. Here I am using my Lodge cast iron reversible grill and griddle
 to cook my tortillas over 2 burners. It was a lucky HomeGoods find for $19.99. You don’t need any cooking spray – just throw them on, cooking for about a minute per side but being careful to not burn them.


As each one comes hot off the stove, wrap them in a cloth napkin to keep them warm. Parchment paper works well if you’re transporting them somewhere.


Tortillas are typically cooked last so they are served warm but we found these tasted better after they had been sitting for 10 minutes so don’t worry too much about the timing. I promise your family will enjoy them!

Via: prepared-housewives

A Year of Supplemental Food Storage for $300 for a family of FOUR !

I have come across an amazing find, thanks to a FB friend; I have learned how to add enough food to my storage to feed us (2 adults and two kids) for a year! This is a combination of legumes, grains, beans etc that provides balanced, nutritious meals daily very cheap. The thing I love about this recipe is that it can be changed in many different ways by adding left over meats, vegetables, dry vegetables, TVP, potatoes, etc.

This recipe has been around the internet for years now, but this is the first time I have seen it. I have researched for hours on ways to get a years’ worth of food storage for a reasonable cost and finally found it, so I thought I would share it.

Note: Please feel free to share this with everyone you know. I feel it will greatly benefit anyone that has food storage, struggles with food storage, or is just beginning. I know for me, the thought of trying to get enough food for a year was sooo overwhelming, but with this plan, it created a *baseline* for me to build on so I felt secure knowing I had at least some basics to make a meal for my family. This will last a year if you ration it properly, but you will want/need to add things like meat and other vegetables (canned or dehydrated) to your pot of food. Lets face the facts, no one wants to eat the same thing over and over day in and day out. So you will want to build on this once you have it.

I am going to list the things needed and what you are supposed to do so you have an easy list at hand and instructions to add to your buckets.

What you will need:

Food:

  • 4 x 22 pounds of rice. Any kind of rice will do. (Four 20 pound bags + 8 one pound bags) OR two 50lb bags at Sam’s.
  • 2 x 11 pounds of Kidney Beans. (22 one pound bags)
  • 2 x 11 pounds of barley. (22 one pound bags)
  • 2 x 11 pounds of yellow lentils. (22 one pound bags)
  • 1 x 5.5 pounds of split green peas. (6 one pound bags)
  • 1 x 5.5 chick peas/garbanzo beans. (6 one pound bags)
  • 30 pounds beef or chicken bouillon. (or both) It will be added to each batch as you cook it.

Hardware:

  • Four/Five 5 gallon buckets for the rice. (rice usually settles if you shake it down so its give or take here)
  • One 5 gallon bucket for kidney beans.
  • One five gallon bucket for the barley.
  • One 5 gallon bucket for the yellow lentils.
  • One 1 gallon bucket for the split green peas.
  • One 1 gallon bucket for the chick peas/garbanzo.
  • Thirty-two oxygen absorbers

Total of six 10 gallon buckets and two 1 gallon buckets.

Approximate Cost Where I Live:

  • Rice @ Sam’s: 2 x $16.48 = $32.96 (two 50 lb bags)
  • Kidney Beans /sale: 22 x $0.67 = $14.74
  • Pearl Barley /sale: 22 x $0.59 = $12.98
  • Lentils / sale: 22 x $0.45 = $9.90
  • Green Split Peas / sale: 6 x $0.40 = $2.40
  • Chick peas (garbanzo) / sale: 6 x $0.58 = $3.48
  • Beef Bouillon: $65.49

Total Food: $141.95

Total Hardware: $153.92

Total combined cost: $295.87

Note: The reason the title says for $300 is to give some room based on cost of living in your area.

Directions:

  • Put split green peas and the chick peas in a separate 1 gallon bucket, add 1 OA (Ooxygen Absorber) to the bucket, seal.
  • Put Barley, Kidney beans, and lentils in separate 5 gallon containers adding 5 OA per bucket, seal.
  • Divide rice up in remaining 5 gallon buckets with 5 OA in each bucket, seal.

How to make your soup:

  • 8 oz of rice
  • 2 oz of red kidney beans
  • 2 oz of pearl barley
  • 2 oz of lintels
  • 1 oz of split green peas
  • 1 oz of chick peas/garbanzo’s
  • Bouillon to taste

Take the 16 oz dry mixture and add 6-7 quarts of water with a spoon of butter or olive oil (optional) to prevent the water from boiling over. Add 3 tablespoons bouillon or to taste. Then add any other meats, vegetables, potatoes or seasonings you’d like to. I personally love to add garlic and Lima beans. DO NOT add onions. They will spoil the mixture. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for two hours. You should have enough to feed 4 people for two days if rationed correctly.

Note: Onions ferment too quickly and will cut the time you are able to store the already cooked soup mixture. There is always the option of dried onions and you can add it to smaller batches you know will be eaten on the first day.

On the second day you will need to add more water and a tablespoon of bouillon because it will thicken in the refrigerator overnight. Boil for a min of ten minutes to kill off any potential bacteria, especially if you’re not able to store it in the refrigerator because you’re without electricity.

You will be full off of ONE large bowl of this delicious soup. The kids usually eat about a half a bowl with bread. That’s what makes it so great. If able to, bake some bread or corn bread to go with it.

If there is any mixture left on the third day, then just add it to the new mixture you make. (If making a new mixture on the third day) As time goes by you will learn to tell how much of each ingredient you need to fit your family’s needs.

With the exception of dairy and Vitamin B 12, this should take care of your nutritional needs. Maybe not all of your wants, but once you get this out of the way, you can concentrate on adding the stuff you want to your food storage knowing you have enough for a year already if you half to use it.

I hope this helps you all to begin or expand your food storage like it has me!

Keepin It Spicy,

Jalapeño Gal

Note: These prices may or may not go up a little with inflation after 2013.

Please visit my store: Jalapeño Gal’s Survival Surplus

Posted by Cari Schofield on Thursday, 09 August 2012 in Food Storage

10 Reasons you Should Store Oats

And eat them too!

Oats are one of those storage foods people LOVE to ignore. I can’t even get my own husband to eat them. Since we both came from rural areas and grew up with the same self-reliant and frugal values, I couldn’t understand this. I love oats! Why would anyone not like oats?

Soon I learned it wasn’t just him, but mostly everyone else I ran into. I am convinced that most people who don’t like oats are running into one of two main problems. They never had them prepared correctly to begin with; and/or they just don’t know what to do with them other than make oatmeal.

I am going to solve these problems with you today. Oats are an extremely valuable item to put in your food stores and an incredibly healthy addition to your diet and here’s why:

1. Oats Store Exceedingly Well: Oats, especially in their slightly modified form of groats, and steel-cut oats – will last a LONG, LONG time and still deliver life-sustaining nutrition. How long? Studies performed at BYU have shown oats to still deliver “life-sustaining nutrition” for over 30 years if stored correctly.
Click here to see an article on Dry Canning – which would be the only way to safely store them long-term. Even the more processed form of Rolled Oats or Traditional Oats will store 20+ years if stored correctly, Provident Living’s website claims 30 years. However, processing oats shortens their storage life, so the more processed they are, the shorter their shelf life.


2. Oats Can be Easily Prepared Without Power: A supply of rolled oats can be prepared in many different ways. The most common and easy way, is to boil them. This can be accomplished easily by setting your oats in water and a hint of lemon juice or vinegar overnight to soak (This makes them easier to digest and they will cook up so much nicer for you), the next morning your pre-soaked old-fashioned oats will cook up as easily as quick oats, this also saves on fuel for cooking.

For the slow cooking of steel-cut oats or even rolled oats you can use a
Dutch Oven
with an ample supply of water. Place in a bed of coals, use charcoal briquettes, or use a
kitchen oven
on top of your wood stove. The sealing lid of the Dutch Oven locks in moisture and prevents the oatmeal from drying out.

Or use it like in Scottish Haggis, it can be stuffed inside of various meats and used as a binder or stuffing. They can also be enjoyed as a drink that has been around for ages and the nice thing about the drink is that you still get many of the health benefits from the oats. You can also use oats to
make your own granola
as a snack or travel food (again you can do this with your Dutch Oven if need be
click here to see an article on Choosing and Seasoning a Dutch Oven)
. Lastly, oats in the form of whole oats (with the hulls intact) can be sprouted in a matter of 3 days or so and eaten as lovely nutrient rich sprouts.


Sweet Cinnamon Oak Drink
• 1 C Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
• 1 (4-inch) Cinnamon Stick, Broken into Chunks
• 4 C Water
• Sugar or Honey to taste
In a large pitcher, soak the oats, cinnamon and water for a minimum of one hour, preferably three. Blend the mixture (remove the cinnamon stick) in a blender. Strain and sweeten to taste. Serve well-chilled or over ice.


Slow Cooker Oat Meal 
• 1 cup steel-cut oats
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• 1 cup dried figs (or fruit of your choice)
• 4 cups water
• 1/2 cup half-and-half
In a slow cooker (or Dutch Oven), combine all ingredients and set to low heat. Cover and let cook for 8 to 9 hours (mine looked pretty good after 4 hours but I would not have hesitated to cook them longer) stir them to check for burning or drying and add more water if needed. If you are using a slow cooker (electric crock pot) method it works best if started before you go to bed. This way your oatmeal will be finished by morning.

Another recipe for rolled oats is a Scottish side dish called skerlie. It is a starch substitute like mashed potatoes, rice pilaf or taboule. It is made by sautéing onions in butter or oil and then toasting the rolled oats. It can be seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and/or any other spices you want/have. Other vegetables, fruits, nuts and meats may be added. Unlike the original recipe, I prefer adding water a tablespoon at a time and cooking covered until I like the texture (anywhere from rice-like to mashed potato/grits).

3. Oats are Higher in Protein Than Wheat or Rice: Oat protein is 16.9 g to that of even Brown Rice at 7.94 g. Oat protein is almost equal to soy protein, which research has shown is equal to meat, milk, and egg protein (a bonus for those of us who don’t like soy). The protein content of the different forms of oats ranges from 12 to 24%, the highest among cereals making oats an excellent choice to store as a survival food for times when other sources of protein are scarce.

4. Oats Make You Feel Fuller Longer: Oats contain more soluble fiber than any other grain, resulting in slower digestion and an extended sensation of fullness. Staying fuller longer could come in handy when food is scarce.

5. Oats Will Help Control Blood Sugar and Cholesterol: Oats contain complex carbohydrates which help stabilize blood sugar and the before mentioned soluble fiber slows the absorption of glucose. The soluble fiber in oats has also been proven to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) by essentially taking it out with trash as it moves through and out of your system so to speak. Oats could be one of your only tools in treating someone with high cholesterol in a prolonged emergency when they do not have access to their statin drugs and oats could be one of many dietary tools for helping to manage blood sugar levels (assuming you don’t smother the oats in sugar).


6. Oats Can be Used as a Meat Expander: During the depression, many families added oats to their meat when grinding and cooking it to make it go further and to keep everyone fuller a little longer. A favorite place to add oats was and still is to meat loaves as oats tend to take on the flavor of whatever they are cooked with.

7. Oats Can be Grown Where Wheat Cannot: Oats are grown in temperate regions. They have a lower summer heat requirement and greater tolerance of rain than other cereals such as wheat, rye or barley. They could be grown in areas with cool, wet summers, such as the Northwest. As an example to their hardiness, they are being grown successfully in Iceland. Oats also do not require weeding as they usually choke out most weeds. Whole oats can be planted as seeds.

8. Oats Can be Ground Into Flour: Groats are a good choice for flour making, but you can also use old-fashioned rolled oats. Rolled oats can be turned into oat flour with a strong food processor while groats will require a
grain mill.

Oat flour adds the health benefit of oats to any baked good. Oat flour, if coming from a wheat-free facility, can also help fill the holes in a gluten-free diet. If wheat becomes scarcer, oat flour may become its substitute.

9. Oats are Inexpensive and Versatile: Beside all the uses you’ve read about so far, left over oatmeal can be made into simple homemade oat bread.
Click here to view the recipe. Not only does this save money, but it adds nutrition and depth of flavor to your bread. Oats are relatively inexpensive due to their use as livestock feed and their unpopularity as people food. When compared to other high protein grains, oats are rather inexpensive making it an important choice for food storage. Now is a good time to stock up on oats.

10. Oats Can Double as an Animal Feed: Complex carbohydrates, in oats, have been providing energy to livestock for a very long time. Horses were the reason humans started cultivating oats. They can be fed to horses, cows, dogs (in the form of oatmeal), chickens, goats, sheep and almost every other farm animal.

 

5 main types of oats and why it matters!

Whole Oats
– These oats are usually straight from the field and still have a hull. You usually can only get these from a feed or farm supply store. Unless you have the means to remove the hull I would not recommend getting them unless you want them as animal feed or as seed – if you do buy them and want to use them as food, make sure they have not been treated with any kind of chemicals or poison.

Groats
These are oats with the hull removed, but are still difficult to come by. They can be found in co-ops and health food stores. They take a very long time to cook up, and remain hard and unpleasant to eat – BUT they are excellent if you want to grind them into flour with your home grain mill. You could also run them through your steel burrs if you have them on your grain mill, on a course grind and make your own version of steel-cut oats, which makes a very nice porridge. These are fairly difficult to grind without practice however, so another option would be if you have a roller mill or roller mill attachment for your meat grinder or KitchenAid, you can make your own old-fashioned rolled oats from groats.


Steel Cut Oats
These are oats that have been cut by steel blades into small pieces. They cook up finer and quicker than groats to make a nice porridge, and many people say that flavor from steel-cut oats is better than the old-fashioned rolled oat porridge we know as “oatmeal.” They are also known as Irish Oats or Pinhead Oats. Cooking time on Steel cut oats is 35-60 minutes if not longer.

Rolled Oats or Old Fashioned Oats
– Are a processed version of groats. They are groats that have been steamed and rolled flat to speed up cooking time to around 10-15 minutes in boiling water.

Quick OatsOnce again these are groats that have been steamed, but they have been rolled even thinner to decrease cooking time even more to 3-5 minutes in boiling water. Once oats are processed to this extreme they start losing some of their nutritional value as the processing methods begin to damage the soluble fiber within the oats.


Instant Oats – these are oats, usually quick oats, that have been pre-cooked and then dehydrated. You only need to add hot water to these oats for a finished product. They do not store well at all and are the least nutritious of all the different forms of oats, but they still have a well-deserved spot in your Bug Out Bag, or your 72 hour kit. Flavored Quaker Instant Oatmeal is this type of oats.

And let’s not forget about oatmeal cookies!! While not vital to survival they sure are good and would serve as a nice easy to make comfort food –
click here for a wheat free oatmeal cookie recipe!

Posted by Stephanie Dayle on Sunday, 02 December 2012 in Food Storage

 

USA Particularly Affected by Climate Disasters Now Unfolding Worldwide

There are a number of very serious climate disaster taking place right now. I’m not seeing this information in the main stream media either.

No point in reminding everyone just how incredibly controlled the “news” is within Amerika.

Read it all and weep for your future.

Mass Evacuations in W Canada amid Worst Flooding in 90 Years

80,000 people have been evacuated from more than two dozen Calgary neighborhoods.

Deadly Floods Force Thousands of Evacuations in SW France

There was also a huge ice storm in Geneva (Switzerland)

And another huge disaster in Armenia:

THE ARARAT VALLEY, ARMENIA, Friday, 20 June – It happened as Tigran Gasparian and his family were having lunch.  A massive black cloud turned day to night in minutes. Then the hail hammered on the roof.

“It was deafening”, says Tigran.  “I’ve never seen anything like it. The winds swirled around – like a tornado.  It went on for 45 minutes. At the end the hail was falling in big pieces like bits of broken glass. We knew all our crops had been destroyed.”

Farmers here have heard talk of climate change: many say the summers – when temperatures can reach near to 40C – are becoming hotter while winters are getting colder.

“Maybe the climate is changing” says Anoosh, Gasparian’s wife. “Or maybe the hail was sent by God as punishment for the way our country is chopping down its forests and destroying its landscape.”

Armenia, a small country in the South Caucasus region with a population of a little over three million, is highly dependent on its agriculture and is famous for its fruits and herbs.  Agriculture accounts for about 20% of gross domestic product.

Cut to shreds

Most of the country’s 340,000 farms are relatively small with plots of one hectare or less: there is little spare cash to fall back on when crops fail.

“Our apricots, peaches, watermelons, and tomatoes were cut to shreds ” says Tigran. “Usually we’d harvest about 35 tonnes of grapes – this year we’ll be lucky if we have 50 kilos.”

Is anybody even hearing about any of this?

Bolivia is declared a state of emergency, 10 new counties in California and Arizona,
16 Michigan counties, a massive mudslide in the Himalaya’s burying entire villages (72,000 reported missing), with dogs and vultures preying on the dead, hundreds of dead now identified, and thousands more feared dead.

More also available here on Desdemona – an Island of Death and Destruction

Over 500 homes were lost in Colorado to fires. This one made the news as the “worst fire in Colorado history in terms of damage”. Check out these pictures.

Alaska went bezerk on high temperatures, breaking all records.  “Baked Alaska“.

Just received a new report moments ago – they’re projecting a 67% snow loss in the Sierra Mountains by 2100 – if we don’t mitigate climate change (can’t and won’t, this projection is too low).

California will be toast, crispy and smoked. The Southwest will be uninhabitable. The Colorado river will be good place to try your hand at sandboarding.

They’re projecting the “Worst Fire Season in 100 years” (until next year, that is).

Want more doom?

“The Global Estimates report reveals that 32.4 million people were forced to flee their homes in 2012 by disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes. While Asia and west and central Africa bore the brunt, 1.3 million were displaced in rich countries, with the USA particularly affected.

You can download the report here: (pdf, very large file).

If I did this “disaster research” full-time, I could try to keep up with it all. There is a deluge of disasters unfolding all over the world now.

Still, very few seem to understand that this means “no food” in the days ahead.  How could it mean anything different?

My own garden is suffering under the odd weather patterns as I am sure many others are to.

 

Via: survivalacres

Mandatory Data Collection for All Americans – Obama Issues Executive Order to do it

I saw this a day ago, but needed to contemplate on what it might mean.

Barak Obama has issued an Executive Order for mandatory HIV testing of all Americans aged 15 through 65.

Allegedly, this is to help identify those who may be carrying the HIV virus.

Nothing this Administration has done can be taken at face value, as the historical record shows. I’m also wary of any efforts to ‘help me’ without asking for my permission FIRST.

Mandatory testing will be done through health-care providers, at least at first. The assumption is that everybody will be seeking health care under Obamacare.

Health care professionals (at least a significant percentage of them), have been recommending this for years

This is about government interference with your health, which will lead to some disastrous consequences. How long will it be before the disease-prone are denied health care?

But the real ominous possibility is this:  Mandatory DNA collection from every American, the most intrusive collection of personal data possible.  Up until recently, it was simply too expensive to attempt to gather this information on a wide-scale.  Not anymore, it’s relatively cheap.  Your DNA will now go into a massive surveillance database.

Warrantless DNA collection is
already being done
– but now it will include everyone, everywhere.

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the police can collect DNA samples from people they arrest even before they are convicted of a crime.

Your DNA will now be directly tied in with your health records, and Obamacare is administered by the IRS.

Every American’s DNA will now be cross-referenced to every record ever gathered. And I mean “every record”.  Employment records, tax records, credit card transactions, banking transactions, car registration, property records, travel records, educational records – virtually everything being recorded about you now (which is almost all-inclusive) will now be all-inclusive.

You may say “they have this already” and yes, they do. But this just paper information. It’s data records in vast databases.  But now they will now have YOU and what you actually “are”.  What you are actually made of.  And it is this information in the hands of government that is so incredibly dangerous to your future.

With this level of information, all kinds of profiling (and manipulation without your consent) by DNA can be identified. Who is more likely to be socially unacceptable? Who overspends?  Who earns too little? Which group is likely to be a dissident? Which groups have the most babies?  What about racial profiling a specific “treatment” to ensure a passive population?

This goes far, far beyond being denied health insurance because of HIV or something else they’ve identified.

How about which groups consume the most resources?  Which groups are likely to require the most health care?  Who will die first? Who do we want
to die first?

Or even worse – can they targeted specific DNA?  For elimination?  For mind-control?  For manipulation of health, attitudes, beliefs?

Sounds far-fetched? Science has long been working on exactly this.  Customized proteins for DNA targeting have been achieved.

What about target-specific weapons?  Already being worked on.

What if they are able to build DNA sensors – into everything?  You’ve seen this in the movies – walk by a doorway or innocuous bush on the sidewalk and DNA detectors instantly identify who, when and where you are. But this is about far more than movements, or spending habits – it is about being able to eliminate or target anyone, anywhere at any time.

The opportunities for abuse are virtually boundless. This is far more than the “No Fly” list of political dissidents (who had to “announce” themselves through some type of public exchange as being “anti-this or “anti-that”).  This is the ultimate “No Live List” of undesirables instantly identified – for any reason, in the hands of a government that has proven itself capable of incessant lies, murder, assassination, spying, coverup and intimidation of everyone – virtually WORLDWIDE.

The problem is – we cannot trust government, period. HIV testing is a good thing in my opinion, but not mandatory testing.

Forcing people to do anything is always a bad idea. Opportunities to exploit such things are nearly endless. History has plenty of examples where forced registrations have been repeatedly abused and used against citizens. Everything from gun confiscation to racial profiling or religious beliefs.  The opportunity to force a mandatory test leads to the opportunity to collect everybody’s DNA.  It is by no means a stretch of the imagination to point out how it could and in all likelihood, will be used against Americans.

Anytime this government claims to “help me”, I am deeply, deeply suspicious, because as the record shows, nothing claimed is what it turns out to be.  The news just reported that
98 million Americans were infected with cancer causing polyomavirus (SV40) in the polio vaccine,
but it took over 50 years for this information to be released.  Now, millions dead later, everybody is asking – accident or deliberate?

Disclosure is NOT part of the American government. Truth and honesty is ENTIRELY absent.  American “officials” believe you are too stupid to be informed of what they are doing. They do not want anyone to know what they are doing. The recent vicious prosecution of whistleblowers who exposed what they were doing is a prime example – it is a CRIME to tell the truth now. The “transparency” platform Sotero ran on is a cruel, cruel joke. We do not have transparency – we have a fascist dictatorship now and it’s about time we woke up to this fact.

Be advised and be aware.  Your last tiny vestiges of “freedom” is about to be stolen from you.

 

Via: survivalacres