Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Quest for Coffee And SHTF

I've done several posts in the past about coffee storage for extremely bad situations, like being without it. I've looked at several commercial packaging techniques, and the steel canisters seem to be your best bet for ease of use. Look for the expiration dates when you have a few minutes to peruse the coffee aisle at your local grocer.

The holy grail for coffee and long term storage is the green coffee bean, which can stay "fresh" for a year stored in a cool dark pantry, without any special packaging or preparation. The shelf life can be extended to 10+ years with storage in mylar bags and an oxygen eater.

First, a quick education in how the green coffee bean progresses to various roasts. The roasting process was taken from Sweet Maria's wholesale coffee supplier. (LINK)

Understanding the different stages of the roast will help you control the flavor of your cup and appreciate how different roasts result in different cup flavors.
  - Yellowing: For the first few minutes the bean remains greenish, then turn lighter yellowish and emit a grassy smell.
- Steam: The beans start to steam as their internal water content dissipates.
- First Crack: The steam becomes fragrant. Soon you will hear the first crack, an audible cracking sound as the real roasting starts to occur: sugars begin to caramelize, bound-up water escapes, the structure of the bean breaks down and oils migrate from their little pockets outward.
- First Roasted Stage: After the first crack, the roast can be considered complete any time according to your taste. The cracking is an audible cue, and, along with sight and smell, tells you what stage the roast is at. This is what is called a City roast.

- Caramelization: Caramelization continues, oils migrate, and the bean expands in size as the roast becomes dark. As the roast progresses, this is a City + roast. Most of our roast recommendations stop at this point. When you are on the verge of second crack, that is a Full City roast.
- Second Crack: At this point a second crack can be heard, often more volatile than the first. The roast character starts to eclipse the origin character of the beans at this point and is also known as a Vienna roast. A few pops into second crack is a Full City + roast. Roasting all the way through second crack may result in small pieces of bean being blown away like shrapnel!
- Darkening Roast: As the roast becomes very dark, the smoke is more pungent as sugars burn completely, and the bean structure breaks down more and more. As the end of second crack approaches you will achieve a French roast.
- Ack!! Too Late!: Eventually, the sugars burn completely, and the roast will only result in a thin-bodied cup of "charcoal water."

During the next 24 hours, the newly roasted coffee beans will gas carbon dioxide, hence the air vents on commercially processed packages of coffee. I have been experimenting with using a hot air popper, and it is ridiculously simply.

The green coffee beans and the roasted beans to first "pop"
I ordered the sample pack from Sweet Maria's which was eight pounds of coffee beans for about $48.00 w/ shipping. Still a very reasonable price, and the best prices that I've found while researching the topic for a few weeks. (more later on prices)

As a Prepper, this is what I would suggest. Order a sample pack from Sweet Maria's and experiment with the different methods of roasting the green coffee beans. You'll also get to learn the different region growing "tastes" and what roasts (i.e. medium roast, espresso) you prefer. I'll be learning to roast the beans using cast iron and an oven over the next few months. 

SOLUTION: You can either order, and store your coffee with mylar and oxygen eaters, or purchase canned green coffee beans from Costco for about $4.00/pound. I haven't tried the coffee from Costco, so I can't testify to it's quality. Any readers have experience with this brand?  Practice roasting the green coffee beans with varying methods. Having the supplies, but not knowing how to prepare/use them is not good logic. 

If things get bad, you'll still have your morning cup of coffee to greet the day.

 
Comments are always welcomed and Keep Right On Prepping - K

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Blog Fluff

As the title suggest, just a quick post of no importance.

Our family has been planning a vacation to Walt Disney World, or whichever one is in Florida, for a couple of years. The plans got side railed with the newest addition to the family. I jokingly tell my friends that we are a white couple with no rhythm. Anyways, we are taking family walks to gradually get the boys in better shape since the average person walks about 6-10 miles per day.

The boys has also purchased piggy banks to save their money for the trip. Red Ant is saving for a gigantic Lego set at Disney Springs. Row has informed the family that he will be using his money to rent a motorized wheelchair. Smart boy.




Image result for disney world motorized wheelchair
Keep Right On Prepping - K

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Garage Renovation

When we bought the house, it had a ramp from the garage into the mudroom. It came in handy for moving heavy appliances, boxes, and other items that needed a dolly, but time and resources have made it possible for me to finally start work on a work bench area.


I remembered to start taking pictures about half way through the demolish process. The handrails have already been taken down along the 10 foot sloped ramp.


All of the 2x4's have had the nails removed, and the ends trimmed (if needed) for the workbench. I'll repurpose as much of the wood as possible. I still have plans to build a small step down for the Doctor since it is a HUGE step for a three year old. It'll be easier to get into the house on leg days as well....

Our teaching Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace class has ended until this Fall, so we will have more time to complete planned posts, projects, and a mini-blog series. I don't know if I talked about the surreal feeling of being done with school, but I am slowly refocusing my energies towards skill sets.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Analogy


We took the kids to our church Easter Egg hunt yesterday, and I was thinking that all of the kids scrambling around to collect the eggs is very similar to what happens whenever the weatherman calls for any frozen precipitation. It's nice being a parent and standing back watching all the mayhem.

Happy Easter.

-The K family


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Backyard Potatoes

I had a hour before work to finish up the side yard potato/compost containers. Last year, we had to replace the main water line from the house to the meter, and they dug up quite a bit of the side of the house. The monkey grass was re-purposed to keep the water away from the foundation and move the water towards the backyard.


I cleaned up the old leaves and mulched them with the mower. The leaves will make the base layer, then some sand, followed by the cut potatoes (with eyes). I'll top off the potato cuttings with more mulch and a little bit of soil.


The cages are being kept together with zip ties, so that at harvest time, I can just clip the ties and harvest the potatoes. I chose this area for a few reasons, plenty of light, more soil is needed at this location, easy to watch, plenty of room for runners since this area doesn't get mowed, and close to the faucet.


I'll periodically post throughout the year until the first frost. I've probably started with about three pounds of raw potatoes for this endeavor, plus $13 for the rabbit fencing. Maybe $16 as a start up cost....

I'll start the third container this weekend with the boys as a science experiment.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Backyard Potatoes

In the practice of moving from hoarder to sustainer, I've had an experiment going since this winter with raw potatoes.


These potatoes have been in the pantry since the first frost of last year, and looking kinda tired, but they have sprouts and should be able to produce more potatoes. The idea is to see if these potatoes from the last harvest can be replanted with only storage in a cool dark place.

I'll be putting them into wire fencing containers with sand, and periodically dump bagged mulch from the yard on top of the plants. This should make the plant climb the container while producing more potatoes per square foot. The wire fencing will be connected using zip ties to make the harvest easier.







I also had a bag of older potatoes that I bought a few weeks ago, to compare results. The red potatoes were cut in half, with eyes on each half, and will be dried for 24 hours before planting.

I'll post tomorrow with the final product.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Rant Alert About Netflix

We've used Netflix combined with Amazon Prime video for several years to ditch high cable costs. We spent $243/ year for our home entertainment needs. Recently, Netflix replaced the 5 star rating system with a thumbs up or thumbs down due to the customer having a hard time deciding how to rate a video series. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!

These are the same idiots that caused Burger King to stop selling the 1/3 pound burger because the customer thought it was smaller than the 1/4 pounder. Listen, people are generally stupid. I mean, if you have to put warning labels on hair dryers to NOT use them in the shower, well...we have a problem.



I'm rating Netflix a big thumbs down for caving to the intellectual deficit in America.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

News link: http://variety.com/2017/digital/news/netflix-kills-star-ratings-thumbs-up-thumbs-down-1202023257/

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Revamping Blog and a Long Overdue Post

I'll jump right into the update starting with the youngest family member to the oldest. The Doctor, soon to be three year old, is in full terrible twos mode. He is constantly testing limits, telling us No, and generally being a two year old. He is still our sweet boy that is willing to dish out hugs and kisses at any random moment, and frequently wanting to share a sweet treat.

Beach picture (2016) run through Prisma application
Red Ant, our eight year old, has been accepted into the Gifted and Talented program within our district. This means that while in elementary school he gets "dragged out" of classes for enrichment programs three times per week. They are working with  3D printers, reverse engineering household items, and doing a business model for a candy store. He is still enrolled in Marshal's Art, and I'm really impressed with his progress and natural ability to learn the basics of martial arts.

Row, our eleven year old, is growing like a weed and excelling academically as well. He scored a 99 percentile on the ACT Aspire, which got Duke's Talent Search Department attention, and they are tracking his academic performance. A potential full ride scholarship to a well known university! We have also filled out the necessary paperwork for him to be tested for the Talented and Gifted program. All of his teachers have selected him for AP classes for his sixth grade year. He continues to draw, and has been dying to get a YouTube channel to post his own videos with his brother.

Sweetheart is still running and completed her second full Little Rock marathon this spring, and training for other various races throughout the state.

Sweetheart's Dad at our house for his birthday. (Prisma app)
Both of her parents are having health issues, and we have told my parents that they are not allowed to have any issues at this time. Her mom is having heart issues, while her father has a slew of problems mainly due to non-compliance. We are still teaching financial classes at church, and ready for our summer break.



My life has been hard to describe. After officially taking my last test, it seems surreal, that after six years, I no longer have another test or any more schooling on my schedule. I have been toying with taking the HAM radio license, and delving into iOS application programming to build an application of when to buy pantry items at their low price points.  I have already created a spreadsheet for statistical tracking of our state scratch off using limited information and extrapolating the data. Let me know if anyone is interested and I'll put a post together....

My bipolar coworker has gotten on a kick out of calling me a prepper. Either he has been looking over my shoulder which is very real considering his paranoid states or found my blog. Typically, I agree with him and try to blow him off. Yesterday, he asked if he could come bring a cot and stay with my family in the event of an emergency. "Hell no" was my first thought, but politely ran the numbers game that he would reduce our family's resources. Instead of one year's food we would only have about eight months worth. I truly wish I was able to discuss his failure as an adult to take care of himself in the event of an emergency, but that wouldn't be conducive to a good work relationship.

The future of the blog is going to revamped, edited, and trimmed of fat. There will be less frequent posting, but more content if you follow my point. The ways of Monsoon Matriarch, Pioneer Preppy, and Harry Flashman to name a few bloggers.


K and Row


Future Posts:
I still have a review of .223 ammo from Ammo To Go that needs to trip taken to our local National Forest to finish the write up.
I've also been working on roasting my own green coffee beans, and will have a post about that as well.
A small series on building your own medical kit, on the frugal, for the most common medical occurrences for an EMP event.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Clean Up

Today, I cleaned the refrigerator, inside and out. Couldn't be happier to throw away some clutter...


I'm glad the magnet is gone like last week's sweet potatoes, both need to be taken to the dump. I hope President Trump will clean up the stink in Washington DC like I cleaned my refrigerator.  


Keep Right On Prepping - K

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Inflation and The Pantry

A few days ago at my local store, I found that they had my toothpaste on sale for 10 for $10. I bought five to kinda restock my reserves, but was mildly surprised when I rotated my stock. The older toothpaste, that I had bought at $1.00/tube was 6.4 ounces and the new stock was a 4 ounce tube for the same price. Talk about inflation!

We also found a great sale on closeout canned pumpkin (expires Dec 2019) from the holiday season.


At 32 cents a can, I bought 24 cans for the pantry to supplement our 16 cans left over from last year's sale.
What do we do with all this pumpkin? Sweetheart makes these honey pumpkin muffins that the boys love.


Honey Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 12, adapted from Whole Foods
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or white bread flour)
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, wheat germ, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a second large bowl, combine sugar, oil, honey, milk, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.  Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling 3/4 full.  Bake until cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from pan to set aside and cool completely.
Recipe from Eats Well with Others [LINK]

Keep Right On Prepping  - K 



Friday, January 13, 2017

Combination Locks

I like to use combination locks for our gates for a few reasons. The big one is no key to lose and common codes. Also, if another group/family member needs to access the gates without you being there, a quick call can solve the situation. No key to hide nor to be found....

I also reset the lock to zero-zero-zero-zero after I lock it up. That way is someone has tried a few combinations, chances are the no-gooder won't reset it to my code. While locks only keep honest people out, I try to make my house more difficult than the neighbors. Thieves are lazy like that....

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Wrapup



Hello! It's been a long while since my last post, but I have been very busy and accomplished my major task on December 29th, 2016. I passed my national registry exam for MRI with an 85. This means that I'll be able to work anywhere in the United States as an MRI technologist. My end goal is to work at the VA providing veterans with first class care and compassion. This last test is by no means the last step in my education, as my field requires continuing education. I have jokingly told Sweetheart that I would like to get a degree in history, and add another piece of paper to my office wall. A good friend and I will be taking our  HAM radio license this year. Now, I can study for fun stuff!



The kids are growing fast. The Doctor had his first real haircut after Christmas, and lost his curls. He is two and a half, and his vocabulary is exploding. He knows most of his colors and shapes, and figures things out rather too quickly like moving the chair to reach things that he wants. We are hoping that this is an indication of his intelligence.


Red Ant with Pincers, our eight year old, has enrolled in martial arts, or Marshal's Art if you have Red Ant tell ya. He has show an interest for over a year through his after school program, and it was time to officially find him a Dojo to advance his skills. The Sensei is very good with kids, and doesn't nickle and dime the parents like ATA. Red Ant is currently being tested for the Talented and Gifted program for his school district for scoring in the 95th percentile on an abstract intelligence test given to all 2nd graders.

Row has been growing by leaps and bounds and stands at my shoulders now. He is still making all A's and made the Principal's List (again!) by the first semester. Only a few students make the list each quarter. He still shows a natural adapt at art, and encourage him to explore new formats.

Sweetheart and I will continue to co-lead our church's Dave Ramsey program to help people get out of debt and handle their finances. Sweetheart stills runs marathon and half marathons, and I'll be adding more movement to my lifestyle for a healthier me. The future of this blog will be less frequent, as I direct my energy towards more substance. I've got a series of posts in the think tank about long term hoarding, as Pioneer Preppy calls it. I'll also be doing another review for Ammo To Go on a battle pack of ammunition.

The dynamics of prepping haven't changed since a new President will be taking the reins this month, so now is not the time to become complacent. The fundamentals of our economy aren't any better, and the world seems to be spiraling into continued madness.

Keep Right On Prepping - K and Family