Easy Fresh Saladings

Easy Fresh Saladings

Prepare Your Saladings Ahead

Sam and I are always talking about tips and tricks to make your life easier while being prepared. While Sam’s enjoying a wonderful family vacation with friends, I’ll post my easy, fresh salad preparation which works great for one or two people, especially when you don’t eat it fast enough before it goes bad. But it would work for any family of any size.

yummy tossed salad

This is for a simple tossed salad, but you can prepare most items ahead, making it easier to enjoy a fresh, crisp salad at any time without a lot of preparation. This process will allow you to enjoy fresh salads for 10-14 days.

A few key points:

  • Keep your fridge colder – I keep mine close to the coldest setting. I feel it’s worth it if I’m trying to save on grocery trips.
  • Always be sure to wash your veggies and dry them. I don’t have one of those spinners, so I just use a clean dish towel or paper towels.

Steps for a simple tossed salad:

Iceberg lettuce – take off outer leaves, rinse if needed, and dry. I usually cut the core out and then cut it in half. It makes it easy to grab a few leaves for a sandwich or to cut up for your salad. I wrap them in paper towels and place in a large plastic bag (or your favorite container).

Romaine Lettuce – remove the outer leaves, cut the core off the bottom, separate the leaves, rinse and dry. Line a 9×13 cake pan with a couple of paper towels. Place your leaves in and cover with a paper towel. Place the lid on the cake pan and store in the bottom of your fridge (bottom is colder).

Peppers – wash, remove stem and seeds, and cut in half or quarters (lengthwise). Be sure to dry them off with a paper towel. I use a 32 oz yogurt container. Place a piece of paper towel on the bottom, place a few pieces, add another piece of paper towel, and place the rest of the pepper. The paper towel helps to absorb the moisture.

Peppers can also be chopped up and stored in the same manner as above.

Mushrooms – in this case, I have button mushrooms. I wash them and dry them. Slice them if you like. Pack them in a container in the same fashion as the peppers above.

Green Onions – Wash and trim. Lightly dry them off. Then wrap loosely in a paper towel and place in a plastic bag.

Regular onions can be peeled, cut in halves or quarters, wrap pieces in aluminum foil, and place in a large yogurt container. They will keep if kept cold and will not smell up your fridge.

Tomatoes – the best approach I’ve had is to cut them to your liking and place them in sour cream or yogurt container using paper towel pieces on the bottom and the top. I’ve done this because quite often I can’t eat them fast enough.

Of course, you can search online and find dozens of suggestions to try. The above works well for me.

When I’m ready to create my salad, I just tear up some lettuce, add mushrooms, chop a bit of pepper and onion, feta cheese, top with tomatoes, and add the dressing of choice.

You can certainly add radishes, different mushrooms, meat, nuts and seeds, and any other items of choice. I like to add some of those nut and raisin mixes, croutons, and even fruit.

The point is to make it easy to enjoy a fresh salad and not throw anything away because it went bad!

Let me know any tips or tricks you might have on our Facebook page. Most of all – enjoy your fresh salad!

Warmly, Ellie

Preparing for Disasters

Preparing for Disasters

family preparedness listIRS Suggestions for Disaster Preparation

Sam found this video that she thought we should share with our readers. Along with a well-stocked food pantry, ready go-bags, first-aid kits, and such, this video discusses Important Papers you may need. Whether it’s a hurricane, fire, or another disaster, there are some very important papers you might need to have to restore your lives. Personal IDs, birth certificates, passports, tax info, SS and/or medical cards and information, and even such things as home titles. and insurances are all items that will make recovery after a disaster easier.

WAYS to SAVE Your Important Papers

The video mentions saving electronic copies (scan those that are not in electronic form). They also suggest creating duplicate copies and storing them in another location.

A few thoughts/concerns:

  • If you store it on your computer, you better plan to grab it when you need to leave your home or business.
  • Better yet, save them in online storage, such as Google docs or Drive, DropBox, etc.
  • You could save them on a USB drive (thumb drive) and easily take them with you.
  • If you store electronically, don’t forget to have passwords easily available. Of course, using a site like RoboForm, Last Pass, etc would be very helpful because you’ll only need to remember one password (the one for your password manager program).
  • You could also take photos on your phone, though this could be less secure.

Remember, you don’t want to be worrying about this as you’re rushing to leave your home or business. And it will be too late to gather it in a crisis. So think about this now! Fireproof safes are another option but sometimes aren’t easily retrieved after a disaster.

Click this page on their website for some IRS guidance for papers you may need as a family and/or a business.

As always, you are encouraged to make a plan. Don’t forget to keep those documents updated. It’s a bit of a chore now, but will save a lot of headaches should you be in a position to need them!

REMEMBER: When you’re prepared, you have less fear and are able to take action!

Satisfaction of Preparedness

Satisfaction of Preparedness

Satisfaction – Inner Calm – Just Plain Smart

Food-storage-closet-from-Unsplash-by-Annie_SprattNo matter what you call it, or how you feel about it, being prepared feels GREAT! As we discuss in our Sunday Snacks today, prices fluctuating, news that can’t help but put us on edge, supply chain issues still occurring with no real end in sight, and so much more, Sam and Ellie share their philosophies about preparedness!

We’re not talking about long-term storage as much as 3 months, 6 months, or up to a year. For instance, if you’d begun adding to your pantry last fall and through the winter, the savings on those items, if you had to purchase them today, would most certainly help your budget.

We’ve discussed in other posts how to get started. You can visit our blog page for more information. You can also join our email list and receive a pdf with tips and lists to start your 30-day food supply.

If you like to read the transcript of the video below, CLICK HERE.

Key Tips for Why Preparedness Can Be Satisfying

  • No panic.
    When you see a store with empty shelves, especially items that you use regularly, you’ll be prepared. Always purchase a few items to keep in your pantry staples.
  • Less worry.
    Price fluctuations won’t be so worrying, especially if you were smart enough to purchase ahead when prices were less expensive.
  • Calm.
    When you know you can care for yourself and/or your family, the latest headlines won’t feel so frightening.
  • Family action.
    When the family works together to be prepared, there’s a sense of “We’ve got this” rather than fear.
  • Sense of community.
    If you have an elderly or needy neighbor, you may be able to help.Note of caution: do NOT broadcast about your food storage. Just know you can quietly help if you so choose.

In the video, Sam shares how pleasantly surprised she was to learn that her kids are much more aware and knowledgeable about being prepared than she realized. In recent storms, her daughter did an amazing job of taking leadership at their Scout Camp. And her son takes personal responsibility in noticing and noting on the grocery list when they need to add items to their storage. If you think about it in the same way you would plan for a trip, you’ll soon discover that it’s not as difficult as you might have feared.

It’s never too late to start. Add an extra item or two with each shopping trip. Think about items you use every day and figure out ways to add an extra for your pantry storage.

Find ways to add calm and a sense of satisfaction by being prepared.

One other thought: knowing you have a little extra means that you can quietly help a neighbor or family member through tough times. For instance, if a couple of elderly friends are having a tough time, knowing that you have a couple of cans of food that you can share, or even a prepared meal that you can walk over to them, is worth way more than the price of the food.

We’re here to help. Have a specific question? Give us a shout. Send us a message on FB if you like. But get started!

NOTE: If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word. Visit and like our youtube channel and our Facebook page. Sign up for our newsletter  – the form’s on the HOME page. Share your thoughts with us on youtube or FB. And, please, share us with your friends. Here’s to your peace of mind because you’re prepared!

Between us, we have over 100 years of experience, and Sam’s only 40!
If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to
sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.

Are We Learning Anything from the Chaos?

Are We Learning Anything from the Chaos?

from Ellie…

Preparedness = Less Stress

We’ve spent over two years dealing with the Covid Virus. Today we struggle with the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Over the last decade, we’ve seen ever-rising numbers of natural disasters! It’s all frightening. Add the continuous updates from the media and social media, and we’re feeling overwhelmed. Gas prices are rising. Inflation is affecting everything from our budgets to our shopping, which in turn affects businesses and the economy. Too many are feeling helpless.

backpacks, water bottle, preparedness

What can we do? Is there an action we can take? Most certainly we can pray, donate, and maybe even be better neighbors. But are we learning anything? No, I’m not talking about running out to buy toilet paper and milk before the storm, or even worse, just after the storm! That’s been the point for Sam and me to work on this blog. It’s about thinking ahead a wee bit. And no, I’m not talking about doomsday preppers though I appreciate their efforts and philosophy as well.

With the virus, we watched in tears as families were unable to communicate with one another. We saw fear in the eyes of the sick and worry in those who love them. With the war in Ukraine, we’re watching millions of families running to safer locations while bombing and shooting occur around them.

What would you do if you had to run on a moment’s notice? Are you ready?

little one with his/her own backpackWhy do we watch these scenarios play out in real life and do nothing? Do we really believe “it can’t happen here?” If we do, then our worry is for naught. Even when we know that natural disasters such as fires and hurricanes are headed our way, we somehow believe the worst can’t happen to us. Oh, yes, we worry ourselves sick. But then, we wait.

Seriously, if someone knocked on your door and said, “You have 60 seconds to leave,” would you be ready? The majority of us would not be ready and would immediately be panicked and helpless. Why is that? We’ve been forewarned just by seeing what’s happening in our country and around the world. What do we need to think beyond the rush to buy toilet paper and milk? Seriously?

Is there an action we can take? Is there any way to be prepared?

Consider a day of prepping for your own welfare and security. As an older woman, I’ve pondered this a number of times. I don’t have a car so I would either need to head out on foot or hitch a ride. Of course, I have family and friends nearby so I’m sure I’d get a ride. But what’s my responsibility? What can I do to be prepared? What do I have prepared that I can grab in 60 seconds?

Bugout or Go-Bag Suggestions

Everyone – from infants to seniors – should have a bugout bag. Simply put, it’s a backpack or duffle bag that you grab that has the very basic items you’ll need if you have to leave your home and don’t know how soon you’ll be back. And you can prepare it over a weekend. It may just save your life. At the very least, it will make the threat of an emergency that might require a bugout bag less stressful.

  1. Copies of important papers in a waterproof container for all family members (Soc. Sec. card, driver’s license or ID, Passport if you have one, medical information, insurance info, bank info, possibly passwords to accounts, contacts)
  2. Medicines for at least a week, ideally 30 days.
  3. Body wipes to keep clean until you can have a bath/shower.
  4. Cash – you’ll need this to buy things when you get to safety.
  5. Change of clothes or two
  6. Personal needs: toothpaste, toothbrush, sanitary items, etc. Travel sizes would work in this scenario.
  7. Phone and Charger
  8. Possibly a few family photos in a waterproof container
  9. If you have children, you might consider a small item for comfort and maybe a game that can easily be put in a backpack and played quietly. A kindle filled with stories for kids and adults may also help. Of course, you’ll want to be sure to take the charger.
  10. Water – in a moment’s notice you can’t carry a lot, but add a few bottles
  11. Munchies – granola bars, etc that will keep everyone going until you find help
  12. Flashlight and batteries
  13. An emergency radio is something we don’t often think about. But if you’re in a situation where you can’t get information, a radio that has the NOAA channel for weather will help keep you aware of what’s happening. Ideally, along with battery backup, it can also be hand-cranked or solar-powered. Quite often the radio has the ability to charge a phone, etc.
  14. Any items specific to a family member’s needs.
  15. Let’s not forget our furry friends. Dog/Cat dish, food, water, leash or carrier, etc.

Most certainly there are many more items that come to mind. But we’re talking survival when you must run! NOW!

You’ll need to look at your own lifestyle and special needs and determine what absolutely MUST be in that backpack or bug-out bag. But do it now. Don’t wait until you have to run! There’s a wonderful post for those with elderly or disabled members of the family. READ IT HERE

3 youth with backpacks

We’ve seen enough in the last decade to know that yes, it can happen to us. Stop watching the screen as if you are removed from such tragedy. Stop worrying about “what if?”

Start preparing. You can even have a bag ready in your car or where you work. Silly? Possibly. But will it be silly the moment you need it? Absolutely not!

Stop passively watching and worrying. Take action today. Make those copies of important papers should you have to leave your home at a moment’s notice. Know where you can immediately grab those medicines to toss in the bag on your way out the door. Have a list on your refrigerator or cupboard to remind you of the last-minute items to throw in each Bugout Bag.

There’s a ton of solid information, just do your research. You’ll find sites that will review items to give you best choices and why. There are sites that will highlight specific needs. There’s no need to be crazy about it. Just go through a day and see what you use. EX: I brush my teeth – need toothpaste and a toothbrush. I take my meds. Pack some or put it on your list to grab when you run. I use a specific cream for my baby. PUt one in his/her go-bag. An afternoon of preparation may be the difference between being totally lost and having enough to get to a safe location with the information and needs that will help you survive.

Preparedness = Less Stress

One last thought. When you leave, think ahead. Don’t drink up all the water and eat on the munchies as if you’ll find the nearest convenience store in the next hour or two! Be smart. Stay alert and realize that the safe zone may take a while to get there. What’s in your Bugout Bag may need to last a bit longer than you planned. Be smart! Be prepared! Be calm.

And go “Beyond TP and Milk” – you’ll feel much calmer in the midst of the chaos! Here’s to your safety!

Preparing Our Raised Beds

Preparing Our Raised Beds

Mushroom Gold and Garden Prep

The weather has been awesome here in Maryland this week. So we have been preparing our raised beds for spring.

Every year we get a load of mushroom soil. Actually, we get like five cubic yards of it. It’s a lot!

Here’s our approach:

Bob, my husband, digs down to the bottom of one side of the bed in order to dump the mushroom soil into the side of the raised bed. Then we’re going to mix the soils together, the existing soil with the mushroom soil in order to create a lovely nutrient-rich mixture for our plants.

Actually, the first year we just dumped it on top and spread it around. And we did not have as much success. But this year he had actually spread all the soil in the bed to one side and added the mushroom soil. Then he was able to mix it far more efficiently. The mix is now much more nutrient-dense.

When we go to plant our seedlings in a few weeks, what we’ll end up doing is just put a bit of worm castings and some other little fertilizers right in the holes. It’ll be yummy deliciousness for all of our plants that we’re going to be putting in here.

Between us, we have over 100-years of experience and Sam’s only 39! If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.