October 2, 2015

super cheap and easy chicken noodle soup recipe

I was trying to push coax my son and his family into doing some prepping type things this weekend and thought .... since it's so chilly it would be a good idea to make some chicken noodle soup and freeze half of it for later. I told them I have a recipe for a cheap and easy chicken noodle soup -- and I do....... in my HEAD lol  Not an actual recipe that's view-able online or typed out! So I thought better get to work writing it out. So here it goes.

dirt cheap chicken noodle soup

     6 chicken bouillon cubes
8-12 cups of water
     1 bag/box of tiny noodles (stars, ABCs, etc)
        pepper (to taste)

directions: get water boiling; add bouillon and pepper, stir to dissolve; bring back to boil; dump in noodles and stir for 15 seconds; shut off burner; wait about 4 mins and stir again; soup is done when noodles are soft (about 10 mins).

now depending on how lucky you are, there might be some things you can add to this soup to make it even tastier. Here's some things I can think of that are cheap and easy.

(add any of these BEFORE noodles!)
  • canned chicken
  • 1 small onion diced
  • ½ bottle of dried onion flakes
  • fresh celery or carrots (about 1 each)
  • garlic (about 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ Tablespoon garlic powder (NOT garlic salt!)
  • ½ Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 or 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • more bags of noodles
  •  2 Tablespoons of oil or butter
  • a can of corn
 I try to put all of that above in mine, maybe less bouillon, and I also try to put in the following herbs (just a sprinkle each) - thyme, parsley, herbs de provence, and celery seed. Also if I have the chance I will boil chicken in water then pull the chicken out, chop it up, add it instead of canned chicken - then use the leftover water for the water that's listed above.

If for some reason you don't have chicken bouillon you can use chicken ramen noodle seasoning packs. Also you can use ANY kind of noodle. I would suggest breaking up large ones but you don't have to. We've had chicken noodle soup with broken up macaroni before! lol

And everyone who knows me knows I ALWAYS make all recipes doubled at least so..........


September 30, 2015

living without......... cable

Ahhhh.... this is one of the easy ones! =)  Don't get me wrong it's difficult to do but in the last 10-15 years living without cable has become much easier. Also I know there are many guides or experiences written out here on the internet -- I know I'm not new with this idea! So because of that I will share a few well written links and then share my experiences =)

links -

a great guide & info with a nice chart to help out =)

Here at our house we use alot of different options all at once. First of all we have 2 traditional put on a pole outside antennas. We put one facing one direction and the other facing perpendicular. This means we have to have converters on any tv that we want to make use of this but most new tvs have it built in so it's not too difficult. (we also have a dvd player that we use on older tvs because it has a built in converter) Worst case scenario we'll get 0 channels but usually 2 -- best case scenario we can get 15! It really depends on your area, a good antenna does wonders though. Here's a website to check out whats available in your area http://antennaweb.org/Address.aspx  If you've checked this site in the past and it didn't seem like there was much available, try again. I've checked just last year and there was only 1 channel available in my area and I just checked today and now there are 3 available! I think various stations are starting to add boosters to their antennas (?) and slowly are making them accessible at further distances.

We also have in the past made use of the local library and it's selection of dvds (or vhs back in the day!). Currently we make use more of free movie websites, youtube, and network tv websites. I don't want to share the sites we visit for fear of bad traffic to my blog here.

One of the biggest things we do for entertainment is watch one of the 1000+ dvds we own lol Seriously! If you'd like to browse through our dvd collection then look here -- http://www.invelos.com/DVDCollection.aspx/kingdarkside 

We also own 2 ps3's and a roku (1st ed since then I can hook it up to older tvs). With both of these devices we are able to make use of our Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts. Also with shows or movies we have ripped into our computer or downloaded we can use PS3 Media Server to play them on with the ps3. It works really well for all our needs and it's free. (PS3 Media Server can be found here - http://www.ps3mediaserver.org/)

As for Netflix and Amazon Prime. Netflix is cheaper to get started but Amazon Prime is a better buy IMO. Since Amazon Prime is a one time a year fee once you have that taken care of it seems like nothing to pay out the monthly fee for the Netflix.

When it comes to living without cable it really is a personal preference of what direction you want to go in. With the internet and an internet capable device your costs can be $0 a month and it's possible to spend out untold amounts depending on how much or kinds of devices and options available today. The main thing to remember is you don't have to do without entertainment in today's world.


September 23, 2015

living without...... electricity

Let me start out with saying -- NO I don't know of any way to get or hook up illegal electricity! I wouldn't use any ideas on how to do this anyway because of two reasons -- 1. I'm an honest person! and 2. I am scared of electricity! I usually have someone else plug things in for me - even if it's my kids! lol yes I'm THAT scared!

Also I don't understand electricity that well either. I've tried and tried but it just boggles my mind. Oh I know how to run it and basically how it works just not in detail. In fact when I start to TRY to dig into it my brain just starts jumbling up things -- volts, watts, amps, amp-hours, etc., etc.

But what to do when you have no power -- that I can help with! Plus some simple ideas to make use of alternative power in small amounts. These are things in my bag of tricks! :D

1. follow the advice that you can from my living without gas post (here). Alot of these ideas and suggestions work for when your without electricity.

2. if this is going to be longer than a couple days then you should think about changing your living schedule to one that is more in line with what people in the 1800's lived with - go to sleep when it's dark and be awake and do stuff you need to during the day. You'll use less resources this way.

3. while thinking of the 1800's try to educate yourself (or remind yourself of what you've read!) on the way things were accomplished during that time in history when there was no electricity and try to think of what your going to need to implement in your life now. cooking, washing clothes, and entertainment are three areas that come to mind.

4. although this is fourth down on this list, honestly it will probably be the first on your mind -- LIGHT! In fact lets start the detail portion of this post with this topic.

I'm not only scared of electricity, but also scared of the dark. Honest! I can't sleep without a night light - sometimes I even have to have the ceiling light on. So when the power flickers here, the first thing I do is light a candle. I have candles in my room by my bed, in the bathroom with a lighter even - near the toilet, on my desk, in the kitchen.... it goes on and on. Light is the most important thing to me when I think about electricity.

Having candles around are a great idea, but you should always use caution when you are not going to be in the room and if you have pets or kids. Candles should always be on something heat safe, wicks trimmed to a safe height, and placed in a safe area (check above!). Never try walking with a candle - trust me it's not worth it lol Wax gets all over the place when it drips or if you trip and drop the candle. Plus they tend to flicker or go out when walking with them making the whole reason your walking with them pointless.

A tip for using candles - placement depending on the type of candle will help spread the illumination to a larger area, or make it brighter. Sometimes placing a candle on a coffee table in a central location will really light up a room. Using mirrors really helps spread the light, so don't using aluminum foil to direct the light.

For temporary use you can use outdoor solar lights, glow sticks or flash lights. But unless you have rechargeable batteries with either a solar panel battery charger or a battery charger that will work in a car (& a car!) these are not long term options. Plus they aren't good options for a whole room. I can say without a doubt these are probably your safest options and are good to have for kids to make use of. Outdoor solar lights are high inadequate for providing significant light for routine use.

Your best long term item for light is a oil lamp. A good sturdy camping oil lamp with a hanger is your best long term source of light. The lamp should cost less than $10 and the oil less than $5 - both can be bought at Walmart. (lamp in camping section, oil near the candles) One jug of oil should last a week at least - I've not timed it. You can walk with an oil lamp without worries as long as you pay attention! but no flickering - not even outside! I've had my oil lamp for over 8 years and the only maintenance I've had to do is trim the wick from time to time and clean the glass. Cleaning the glass is quick and easy with some rubbing alcohol and toilet paper. The only other thing you need for an oil lamp is a funnel -- makes filling it much easier. While using a oil lamp if you put a plant hanger bracket or shelf bracket on the wall then you can easily hang the lamp to light up a whole room without worrying that it's going to fall over. Shelf brackets that look like this are best -

One last idea that is really cheap for light -- vegetable oil lamp/candles. Now I don't know how else you can do this without buying some items online first but this is THE cheapest way to have light. I've tried 2 types that look like those pictured below -
I've just used basic, generic corn and vegetable oil and they both work just fine. I've practiced "knocking it over" and every time it put itself out within a minute. When I used mine I put it into half pint mason jars - just filled up with oil (no water) and waited a few mins then lit. These work forever but still have a normal candles limitations in regards to walking with it.

Now that we've covered light now to the easy parts =) Unless you get a generator, everything else in your house that needs electricity is out of commission, sadly. You can try putting into use solar panels & a battery system - don't get me wrong you'll be able to run some things - mostly though your going to find it's inadequate for most things you need to power in your house beyond some entertainment items (computer, laptop, tv, ps3, etc).

If you want to try thinking of some things to use with a solar panel system or even just to power within your car then think of just that - items you can charge in your car lighter plugs or with a lighter to usb plug. If you keep that in mind you'll see there IS potential but it IS limited. But for about $400 you can create a simple solar panel system with a panel, charge controller, marine battery, and some car lighter plugs. We created a simple system like this minus the marine battery - we use a big car battery - and plus a 8 foot string of led party lights (like you can install in a car) and are able to power the lights for at least 5 hours every night and it's not set up to really maximize the power the way it should be. I'm positive there is more we can do with our system but we've just not messed with it. One thing I do have set aside if we ever have to depend on this system is some usb powered fans because I sure don't want to be sweaty if the power is out during the summer!

You'll have to figure out an alternative to cooking which I covered quite a few in my living without gas post. Beyond that the biggest problem will be trying to live without a refrigerator. Your best bet is to buy or borrow a really good cooler and then buy some ice if it's in the warmer seasons.