Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Simple Ways to Reduce your Electricity Use

Here in Texas it is H.O.T! We are in a severe drought (We did get 2 inches a few days ago! Praise The Lord!) and our lows are in the 90s. I refuse to even think about the high temperature! If its over 100 I just don't even want to know!! 

With all this extreme heat, come lots of extreme energy use! We opened our electric bill this month and knew there just had to be a mistake! We called the electric company, and there is no mistake. They explained that everyone in the area is experiencing similar problems, because of the extreme heat appliances such as air conditioners just can't keep up. The A/C is constantly going. We decided its time to find some ways to make some simple changes. Every little bit counts! Saving energy is good for your pocket book and good for the environment! While saving some green you are also 'going green' and reducing you carbon footprint!

Simple Ways to Reduce your Electricity Use:

1. Turn your thermostat up! (For winter, do the opposite) Even just a few degrees can make a BIG difference! If you normally have your A/C set at 72 try 75. The The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) recommends setting your thermostat to 78.  Use fans to make the room feel cooler. When you are away from home, turn your thermostat up to 85. Make sure all blinds and curtains are closed to keep the sun from heating up the home.

2. Turn off all lights and small appliances when not in use. Unplug all appliances not in use. Standby power for appliances not in use typically accounts for 5% to 10% of residential electricity use.

3. Consider energy efficient windows or UV-resistant coatings for your windows. Blinds, curtains, drapes, ect all help to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.

4. Turn your refrigerator down. Refrigerators account for about 20% of Household electricity use. Use a thermometer to set your refrigerator temperature as close to 37 degrees and your freezer as close to 3 degrees as possible.

5. Wash clothes in cold or warm water, NOT hot. Just switching 2 loads a week from hot to warm can save a tremendous amount of electricity. Cold water saves energy and is better for your clothes.Line Dry clothes whenever you can. Line drying saves up to 5% on energy use!

6. Make sure your dishwasher is full before running a wash cycle. Use the Air Dry setting. Not using heat in the drying cycle can save 20 percent of your dishwasher's total electricity use.

7. Turn down your hot water heater. Water heaters are normally set at 150, but 120 is a more ideal setting. Each 10 degree reduction saves 600 pounds of CO2 per year for an electric water heater, or 440 pounds for a gas heater. If every household turned its water heater thermostat down 20 degrees, we could prevent more than 45 million tons of annual CO2 emissions - the same amount emitted by the entire nations of Kuwait or Libya. Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket, which costs just $10 to $20 & can save lots of energy use!

8. Clean or replace air filters as recommended. Energy is lost when air conditioners and hot-air furnaces have to work harder to draw air through dirty filters. Cleaning a dirty air conditioner filter can save 5 percent of the energy used. 

9. Change your routines a bit to limit the use of heat-generating appliances such as the oven, dishwasher and clothes dryer during the daytime hours when temperatures are hottest. This prevents your A/C from having to work harder using more energy.

10.Swapping incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent can cut a home electric bill.Switching one incandescent for a CFL saves $35 in energy costs over the projected 10-year life of the bulb. Not only do CFLs use less energy than conventional bulbs, but they also generate less heat.

How have you reduced your electric bill? Share your tips and tricks bellow in the comments or hop on to our facebook or blogfrog community to discuss your energy savings with us!

~ Go to to shop products and get the best deals on food storage and emergency preparation products.~
~Always be in the know… Sign Up for my Newsletter~

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Recipe: Stone Soup

I love soup! It is so yummy and tasty and soothing! Best of all, soup in easy to make & freezes & reheats well!

Hillary posted a great recipe for 'Stone Soup' from your food storage!


Stone (optional ;)
4-5 Cups water
3-4 tsp beef bouillon
1/2 cup FD corn
1/2 cup FD peas
1/2 cup FD green beans
1/4 cup FD celery
1/4 cup FD onion
1 potato, diced (or potato dices)
1/3 cup carrot dices
1 1/2 cups FD ground beef
1 cup instant rice

1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Clean the stone and place it in your pot (optional of course).  Add water and bouillon and bring to a boil.  Add all other ingredients and simmer about 10 minutes or until all ingredients are heated and rehydrated.  Enjoy with cheese sprinkled on top.

This could be a great food storage meal in an emergency.  Keep the book Stone Soup with your food storage and in an emergency you can read the book together and then have kids help assemble their own stone soup and have a great time eating their creation.  It would be a great diversion from whatever crisis is at hand and also help get the kids to eat their veggies! 

I love that Hillary admits in her post that she "didn't exactly measure the ingredients". I habitually 'don't exactly measure' and throw things together! I would love to hear from my readers: Are you a measure-er or do you throw things together?

I was always a big fan of the story of Stone Soup. Some of my favorite memories are reading the story with my mommy and recreating our own stone soup! I think this week the Wee Ones and I will read Stone Soup and make this yummy dish! This would also make a great homeschool activity! Or provide some great entertainment and yummy food on a rainy day! I think I may also use this recipe to create a meal in a jar! Just put all your dry ingredients in a mason jar! Add water and you have a quick easy meal that is ready to eat! What a great addition to your Home Store! (Would make a great gift too!) When you are working with freeze-dried yummy Thrive foods, the possibilities are endless!!

~ Go to to shop products and get the best deals on food storage and emergency preparation products.~
~Always be in the know… Sign Up for my Newsletter~

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Home Store & Tawny's Chicken Enchiladas

For me, my Home Store is all about saving me time and money while allowing me to feed my family healthier meals. Fuel Prices are insane. So, if I have to go to town to buy an item for a recipe, I am not saving time or money. By keeping shelf stable foods in my pantry, I am able to try lots of new recipes without needing special trips for specific items.

I have learned, you MUST be adaptive in your cooking. It is not just about following a recipe. It's about looking at what *you* have available and making it work. Adjust your recipes. Make them work for your family's taste. Make it fit your budget. Use what you already have in your kitchen. This can be an art & practice makes perfect. I started playing around with the idea of 'adaptive recipes' when I was in High School and cooked dinner for our family most week nights. I turned everything into a casserole. Some were amazing. Some were 'experiments'. Either way, my family got tired of casseroles! ;) The point is, use what you have. Don't have Cream of Chicken soup? Use Cream of Mushroom or make your own condensed soup with Magic Mix. Don't have sour cream? Try cream cheese or Thrive Sour Cream powder. Sometimes cream is a good substitute. Be flexible. That is what the Home Store is all about!

Last night I was hungry for some chicken enchiladas! I haven't been grocery shopping in over a month. We have been super busy helping my mom out and visiting the hospital. I was determined to cook with what I already had in my kitchen and home store. I looked over my mom's enchilada recipe. I looked at a recipe from my dear friend Rena. With these recipes in mind, I started scouting my kitchen for ingredients. I am posting my recipe bellow. Feel free to spice it up a bit! We have some who love spicy and those who don't so I always offer Taco Sauce & Jalapeno Peppers on the side. Chopped Jalapenos or green Chilli Peppers would be amazing in the sauce! Yummy! Adjust the recipe to whatever you have on hand!!

Tawny's Chicken Enchilada

1 cup Thrive Chicken TVP
1/2 cup Thrive Freeze Dried Chicken
1/4 cup Thrive Bell Peppers
1/2 cup Thrive Onions (Freeze Dried or dehydrated)
2 Tablespoons Chopped Garlic
1/2 Large Onion (chopped)
3 Cups Water

1 cup Magic Mix
1 chicken bullion cube
3/4 cup Water
1 cup Thrive Instant Milk (prepared)
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Seasoning to Taste
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Chicken enchilada Filling:
Start by bring your water to a boil. Add Chicken TVP, Freeze Dried Chicken, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Allow to boil until all Thrive items are reconstituted and fresh onion becomes soft. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.

Prepare Magic Mix as if you are making a condensed soup substitute: in medium sauce pan, bring water to boil. Add bullion cube to make 'broth'. Over low heat, slowly add in magic mix and stir continuously. Mix will become very thick. Season to taste. (You may replace this with one can condensed soup) Over low Heat, combine milk to 'condensed soup' mixture. continuously stirring, add sour cream. Add in cheese. continue to stir until well combined. Season to taste.

Warm corn tortillas in oil. Fill tortillas with chicken filling mixture and cheese. Roll and place in casserole dish. Repeat until dish is full. Pour sauce over rolled tortillas. Using a spoon, spread sauce making sure all tortillas are well covered. sprinkle cheese and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until sauce begins to bubble. Serve warm.

If you have extra Chicken mixture left, save it for quesadillas the next day! Yummy!

Chicken Filling


Fill The Tortillas with Goodies

Ready for Sauce

Time For The Oven
All Done

Eat Up

~ Go to to shop products and get the best deals on food storage and emergency preparation products.~
~Always be in the know… Sign Up for my Newsletter~

Friday, August 12, 2011

To My Readers...

You may have noticed a lack of post recently, I apologize.

A request was sent out weeks ago to my facebook fans asking for prayers after my mom's husband was carefligthed from their home.  Your prayers and thoughts are greatly appreciated, I know they brought my mother great comfort in this difficult time.

Sadly, Monday morning after a lengthy hospital stay, my step-father, Jack, lost his battle with cancer.

He is greatly missed. 

We all  now try to return to things as 'normal' and try to support other members of the family, especially my incredibly strong mother, as much as possible.

As things begin to settle down a bit, I find myself looking forward to returning to blogging!

Thank You all for your patience!