Macoroni and Cheese Balls

Marti’s Corner – 21

Marti's Corner at City PreppingHi Everyone,


* Someone shared this link with me. Azure Natural Organic Foods, Recipes & Healthy Living • Azure Standard | Natural Organic Foods, Recipes and Healthy Living – Azure Standard Looks like they have some really good deals, especially if you are looking to buy some grains not found in grocery stores: quinoa, hard white wheat (from $.90 a pound), buckwheat, spelt, cornmeal, barley, oats, rice. Also baking supplies: vanilla 16 oz. same price as Costco, powdered milk, honey, and much more. Check it out.

Sick bean leaf
Bean leaves look like this.

Shriveled tomato leaf
Tomato leaves look like this.

* Garden updates. Some of my beans and tomatoes look “sick.” I’ve been searching everywhere to find out what is wrong.  My bean leaves were all shriveled up. Looks like aphid damage or some other kind of insect.  Also my tomato leaves were all shriveled. Looks like they’ve been burned.  I finally found the answer here: How to Recognize and Address Herbicide Damage in Urban Container Gardens – YouTube. Her pictures match mine exactly. Looks like it’s overspray from the weedkiller we used on the lawn. Mystery solved. Hoping if I baby those plants, they’ll stay alive.

* Most plants do NOT like our extreme heat. You need shade cloth if you want your plants to avoid sunscald, and keep producing. This is what I have. Vensovo 40% Sunblock Shade Cloth Net Black Resistant – 12X20 Ft Garden Shade Mesh Tarp for Plant Cover, Greenhouse, Chicken Coop, Tomatoes.  You don’t want to “block” the sun, just tone it down a bit. Sun cloth comes in different sizes and different strengths. I like the 40%. I’d buy white if I could find it, but all I have so far is black. You’d THINK it would be hotter under the black cloth. Surprisingly, it’s nice and cool under there. I start shading at 90˚. I kept my lettuce growing all summer long last year. I have my lettuce on the northernmost side of my house, so it shades first. Also, I use a shade cloth on the lettuce if it’s warm even in the morning. Once the house shades it, you can take the shade cloth off if you want. I like the lettuce to have SOME early morning sun. Not too hot. Lettuce is fussy that way.

One more thing: Shading broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, celery, leafy vegetables, and root vegetables, is fine. But anything that has to be pollinated: squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers – THESE vegetables need pollinators: bees, insects. So, you can’t cover them and leave them like that. It’s a pain to be sure. You can position the shade cloth up high so the pollinators can still get in, OR you have to cover and uncover. Cover in the morning at about 10 when it starts getting hot, and uncover at night when the temps drop. Most of the insects are active in the early morning. I literally left the ladder in the garden and climbed up every morning and again in the evening. Your alternative to this is to do the pollinating yourself. It’s not that hard, but you have to do it every day—then again, you don’t have to climb ladders. This year, I have a “sweet” set up and can leave the shade cloth in place.

* What to do in and for the garden this month. If you enter your zip code here Kellogg Garden Products, you will find a checklist for your specific zone. I am in Zone 9B.


Pasta for preppersThis is a good time to start making a list of recipes you can cook with only food on your shelf. Start with 7 recipes. ( Technically, you COULD just make these 7 things over and over). Not sure “I” could, but it’s a start. Then think about getting a 3 week supply of these ingredients. Three weeks. You can do that. Every time you make something, think, “Can I adjust this?” Example: pizza. Can you buy the ingredients for pizza and keep them on a shelf? Sure. Learn how to make the homemade crust (need yeast). Buy pizza sauce. Invest in some dehydrated cheese (it’s pricey, but it’s available), or in the short term, just freeze some. Get some sausage “bites” that are freeze-dried. OR learn to can ground beef, OR use canned chicken. You probably won’t want to use your freeze-dried mozzarella cheese and sausage bites. But you’ll have them on hand and you’ll be eating pizza when everyone else is eating Top Ramen. heh heh heh. Okay, so this doesn’t have a lot to do with pasta, but I talked about pasta last week AND some of your easiest recipes could just be spaghetti and tuna casserole.

SHORT TERM FOCUS: Mac & Cheese Go ahead and buy some boxes of mac and cheese. (You should be able to get them on sale for about $.79) Then you can doctor it up with one of these recipes: 25 Mac ‘N’ Cheese RecipesMacaroni and Cheese


I’m not sure about you, but I want FOOD in my 72-hour kit. You have to decide what a good fit for you is. Is your kit for…….

*when you are stuck in traffic on the freeway and your kids are screaming and tired? * when there is an earthquake and the freeway closes and you have to walk home from San Diego? * when you have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and drive 10 hours to Grandma’s house?

Your answer will determine what you will want to pack. If you anticipate walking any distance, you will want something you can eat for energy. And what if you have to walk for a couple of days? It IS a 72-hour kit after all. But if you are going to cook something (instant oatmeal), now you need a small stove, and matches, and a pot to cook in. If you are just thinking freeway traffic, well you probably only need granola bars and fruit roll-ups. Maybe brainstorm with your kids and spouse. Next week, I’ll tell what “I’ve” done and how it’s worked out for me.

MISC FOCUS: Camp Stove

Let’s pretend you are at home. There is no food in the grocery stores, AND there is no power. Yeah. Do you think THIS could happen? Ever? After last year, I think ANYTHING could happen. You should think of THREE alternate cooking scenarios. Here is one choice. A Camp stove. You can get them from Walmart for about $60.

This one on Amazon is under $70.  MARTIN 2 Burner Propane Stove Grill Gas 20000 Btu Outdoor Portable BurnerPrepper portable stoveSome camp stoves are super fancy.  I like this one too, because it can use both butane OR propane:  Gas ONE Propane or Butane Stove GS-3400P Dual Fuel Portable Camping and Backpacking Gas Stove Burner with Carrying Case Great for Emergency Preparedness Kit  Of course, if you have a BBQ, that works. In fact, you can get an attachment that allows you to hook up those big propane tanks to your little camp stove. Char-Broil 3/8-in 0.3125-in x 60.0-in Male-Female Propane Hose in the Propane Tanks & Accessories department at (I think I got mine at Walmart).  If you have a camp stove, start watching for sales of propane. I was curious how long a canister of propane will last, so I googled it. This guy knows everything there is to know about it. 16.4 OZ Propane Cylinder – How Long Does It Last?  I think the gist is that different stoves burn propane at different rates. Duh. But it looks like you’re only going to get 1-2 hours of cook time on a camp stove.

You can see that it is impractical to stove enough propane canisters to cook for several months, much less a year. But it is a good short-term solution – say 1-2 weeks. Stay tuned for next week’s email for suggestions on how to address this problem for the long term.


Today’s recipes are from “30 Minutes or Less” compiled by Professional Home Economics Teachers of California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah

Penne Pasta With Sausage

12 oz. penne pasta 2 TB olive oil 1/2 pound Italian sausage 1/2 onion, chopped 1 tsp minced garlic 3 oz. red bell pepper, roasted, chopped 1 26 oz jar marinara sauce 1 1/2 c. fresh spinach Garnish: Parmesan cheese, grated Bring a large pot of water to boil; cook pasta 10 minutes. Meanwhile, saute olive oil with sausage, onion, and garlic in large skillet for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain off excess fat. Stir in peppers and sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer about 4 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook 1 minute longer, until wilted and heated through. Drain pasta and pour onto serving platter. Pour sauce over pasta and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Spanish Noodles

2 slices bacon 1/2 c. celery, chopped 1 pound ground beef 1 28-oz can tomatoes, quartered 1/2 c. green pepper, chopped 1 tsp salt dash pepper 4 oz.. noodles or macaroni Cook bacon until crisp; drain, reserving drippings. Crumble bacon and set aside. Add celery to drippings in skillet and cook until tender. Add ground beef, brown slightly. Add tomatoes, green pepper, salt and pepper. Stir in uncooked noodles. Cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes or until tender. Stir in bacon.

Chili Ravioli Bake

Serves 4 1 can ravioli 1 can corn, drained 1 can chili, no beans 1/2 c. cheese, grated 1 c. corn chips, crushed Preheat oven to 350˚ In a casserole dish, layer the ravioli, corn and chili. Top with grated cheese and crushed corn chips. Bake in oven 10-15 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Creamy Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo

8 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes 3/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated 1/2 c. butter 1/2 c. milk 1 can cooked chicken 1 c. broccoli florets, steamed 8 oz. fettuccini noodles, cooked In a large saucepan, stir together cream cheese, Parmesan, milk and butter over low heat until smooth. Stir in chicken and broccoli; heat through. Serve over warm fettuccini noodles.


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