Practical Prepping–Dry Storage


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I’m getting low on sugar and corn meal in my pantry so I’m preparing some for storage.  I learned that when storing ground grain like flour and corn meal, it is a good idea to put the package from the store in the freezer for a couple of days to kill any larvae in the grain.  Sounds creepy I know but it is not unusual to have dormant larvae in grain.  Adding a bay leaf to stored grain also helps kill any little incubating varmints.

After freezing my corn meal I store it in glass canning jars.  Use the same funnel you use to fill canning jars when transferring the grain. I pour it from the package into a flexible container with a pour spout, which also helps avoid spills.  Add a small anti-moisture packet to the top of the jar and label it with the date.  I save the anti-moisture packets from vitamin and supplement jars to use again but they can also be found on-line.

Live and learn–Some of the sugar and salt I recently used from storage was hard. I thought it would work to store it in the original packaging in plastic tubs but the tubs were not enough to keep moisture out and prevent the packages from becoming solid.  From now on I will transfer sugar and salt into glass jars with tight-fitting lids and store as I do ground grains.  A clean, food-safe plastic container with a tight lid also works.  I also use coffee cans with plastic lids but I seal the lids with Duck Tape to make sure moisture does not get in.

The sugar and salt are not damaged if they become hard; break up the chunks and use as you would normally do.  Both sugar and salt have a long shelf life.

If corn meal is something you do not normally cook with, try these delicious ideas.

  • Corn Meal Mush:  Pour corn meal into boiling salted water and cook, stirring, until porridge is thickened and tender.  Consult package directions for proportions and cooking time.  Dot a bowl of thick porridge with butter and serve as a side with spicy pork dishes as polenta or eat hot with cream and sugar for a quick hot breakfast cereal.
  • Refrigerate left-over Corn Meal Mush in a small greased loaf pan.  Cut cold, firm mush in 1/2-inch slices, dredge with flour and fry in hot coconut oil [or vegetable oil].  Serve dusted with powdered sugar, with gravy, or with maple syrup.  I grew up looking forward to Fried Corn Meal Mush for dinner or breakfast.
  • Sweet Corncake:  I am not a fan of dry Southern Corn Bread–at least the recipes I am familiar with.  But when I discovered this keeper from Cheri & Bill Campbell of Bishop Hill Colony Bakery, Sweet Corncake has become a family favorite. Bishop Hill is a restored Swedish Settlement near Galesburg, Illinois.  My husband and I enjoy visiting in the autumn for fall festivals or antique shows–and to sample Bill’s sweet treats and lunches.


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbls. baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil [or coconut oil]
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together all dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix together oil, beaten eggs and milk.
  3. Gently mix dry and wet ingredients together just until moistened.
  4. Pour batter into a 13″x9″ greased pan.
  5. Bake 30 minutes. The bread is done when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

This moist corn cake is delicious for breakfast with butter or with soup.  Try it as a side with pot roast or pork.  Delicious!



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I Need to Hug a Bunny

Sometimes I just get the most consuming urge to hug a small furry animal.  I don’t want to feed it, groom it, walk it or clean up after it…I just want to hug it and pet it.

This urge is so strong at times I visit Pet Smart just to check out the animals for sale or watch the dogs being groomed.  I am over owning a pet; but renting one from time to time sounds like a good idea.

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If you have a pet, take a moment to hug it for me so that I can experience it vicariously through you…  Thank you.

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Simple Embroidery Tea Towels

Cherry Tea Towel

Cherry Tea Towel

This looks like the typical 1940’s dish towel my grandmother used but it is a new knock-off.  Find these vintage-style red-banded towels by the pack or sold individually at IKEA.

Add a simple embroidery pattern such as cherries.  I traced this design using a round bottle cap.  These IKEA towels are extremely reasonable and are very well-made with machine stitched hems and a hanging tab.  Super absorbent too–still the best for drying stemware.  It is also the perfect little gift and can be personalized with initials.

I used a simple straight stitch with red and black embroidery floss.  A design doesn’t have to be complicated to be classic.





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Red Roses

Butch, my dear husband of almost 42 years, gave me red roses for my birthday.  Gorgeous!

Their beautiful color brightens up this cold weather.

Birthday Roses

Birthday Roses

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Happy Little Tomato Sprouts

It does my heart good to visit my tomato sprouts each day, spritzing them with their morning shower.  Last year I planted a non-hybrid heirloom tomato called Rutgers.  They were complimentary seeds from a web site I’m afraid I can’t remember.  I sent for them [paying only postage] in order to get a self-sustaining variety going in the garden.  Non-hybrid varieties will reproduce themselves but hybrids will not.  Well, you may get a plant from a hybrid but it won’t necessarily be the same tomato from last season.


At the end of the summer I split open a ripe tomato, spread the seedy pulp out on a paper towel exposing the seeds, and let it dry in a cool place.  Then I rolled it up and stored it in my seed basket.  A month ago I peeled seeds from the paper and planted them in a small jiffy pot planter.  I followed the instructions about wetting the pots, put the lid on, and let the little mini greenhouse languish on a sunny windowsill until the sprouts began pushing at the top of the lid.  Then I thinned the sprouts to only two stems per pot.

In another couple of months they should be big enough to transplant the entire peat pot into the garden.  Of course I will wait until after Mothers’ Day, the date when frost is no longer likely in our area  Next year I will repeat the process.  I may never buy tomato seeds or plants again!

Islands of snow spot the frozen ground outside but this little touch of green makes me think of spring.


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Baby Boomers With a Zest for Life – Sharon L. Clemens: A Woman of Many Talents

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50 Plus News & Views magazine featured author Sharon L. Clemens in their February issue.  Pick up the complimentary magazine at local libraries, retail outlets and doctors’ offices.  The article included a short biography, an excerpt from her latest novel Door County Escape, and a popular recipe from the book.  Also mentioned is her first non-fiction work Spiritual Prepping for the Rapture.  Both books are available on in soft cover or e-book format.

Door County Escape is Sharon’s fifth novel in the Door County series.  Spiritual Prepping for the Rapture is a departure for the author but not in real life.  She has been studying and teaching Bible prophecy for over thirty years.  The author wanted to share the excitement and anticipation that accompanies a life focused on the return of Christ to reign on earth.  With the growing convergence of signs like birth pains increasing in frequency and intensity, she encourages readers to look with hope for the return of Christ for the Church.  Included in the book are frugal tips for living a more self-sufficient life in view of increasingly demanding times that may well precede the Rapture of the Church.

Sharon also publishes a complimentary e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a “Prophecy Chat” e-newsletter on current events and issues relating to Bible prophecy.  To receive these newsletters, contact her at:


New for 2014! Available in soft cover or Kindle e-book format on  This is a great summer read.

New for 2014! Available in soft cover or Kindle e-book format on This is a great summer read.


Newest Release on

Newest Release on


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February Mid-Winter Moments

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Our daughter crafted this February banner.  It was an unexpected treat to open the parcel. It commemorates not only Valentines’ Day.  Cutouts of Washington and Lincoln represent both president’s birthdays and a snowflake reminds us we are only half-way through winter.  Two Valentine envelopes sealed with hearts and outlined with blue blanket stitching surround the heart outlined in a chain stitch.  All panels are pastel felt and are sewn to a grosgrain blue ribbon.  Thank you Kelly!

The table is set for an informal Valentine lunch with friends who came for “A Jet Tour Through The Revelation.”  I remembered that my geraniums were blooming downstairs and added rose and pink blooms to the vase.

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