Who Will Provide Education If There Are No Schools?

         Todd Sepulveda, minister and educator, has created an e-book, “Education After the Collapse” available as a free download at EdThatMatters which informs us that the education community rarely thinks about education after a disaster. “We have seen examples of this across the country. Schools pride themselves with the coordination of conducting one fire-drill a month, but what is the plan in case of a “big one?” Who will be responsible for teaching our children? Will this be on anyone’s mind?” Todd asks.
If you and your family survive a disaster that takes away government provided services, the responsibility for education of the younger generations will fall on you. Not an educator? Never fear. Common sense will kick in here. There are three techniques for learning. Some people learn by listening, others by seeing demonstrations and still others by doing. In a collapse situation, to determine how best to work with your children, you will need to know how they learn. This will take some observation and experiments.
Do you actually perform what you were formally educated to do on a daily basis? Probably not. So what is the most important part of education? Learning to think critically. Problem solving techniques often involve taking knowledge gained in one area and applying it to another. Flexibility in learning will be a critical factor.

          There are three basic parts to all education: reading, math and science. Reading is the most important. Once you learn to read, you can learn anything. Do you remember the slow process you went through? Phonics is the basis for learning to read. Letter recognition, sounds and image association all fit together. There is a complete process building on these base letters, advancing to sight words and then on to putting words together to make sentences.
Math starts with basic arithmetic of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. From there it advances to measurements and on to problem solving. Todd takes you through the steps of problem solving using the Window Pane technique. If you think about it, this simple approach for problem solving can be applied to all kinds of life challenges. We will all need to return to knowledge base strategies like this to overcome problems in a societal breakdown.


Photo: Education_After_The_Collapse

In a collapse scenario, science will be your friend. The knowledge of which plants are safe to eat, which animals should be hunted for the most nutrition, gardening, all come under science. Moon phases [link] and cloud identification to recognize upcoming weather conditions are basics of survival, too. Do not wait to download this ebook. It is filled with explanations and even flash cards you can use. Here’s what another expert in the survival arena said about this book:

In Education After the Collapse, you will be reminded that different children – and people for that matter – have different capacities and styles of learning. That said, within the scope of those differences, teaching children to solve problems and think critically is probably the most important lesson of all……But even more important, if you care about our world and you care about society, you will want to read the rest of Education After the Collapse. And after reading it? You just might – like me – want to stock up on some textbooks, paper, writing materials and flash cards so that you will have them for the children of the unprepared – if and when the time comes.
Gaye @ www.backdoorsurvival.com

Billie Nicholson, Editor
February 2015

The Many Uses of Powdered Milk

   What is Powdered Milk?

Wikipedia defines powdered milk as a manufactured dairy product made by evaporating milk to dryness.This technique gives milk a much longer shelf life than liquid milk; it doesn’t need to be refrigerated; and in this evaporated state, it is easier to transport.
Marco Polo wrote of sun-dried skim milk during the days of Kublai Kahn, whose troops carried it in the form of a paste. The first form of modern production was invented by a Russian physician. Today powdered milk is usually made by spray drying milk products. The milk is concentrated to about 50% milk solids, which is then sprayed into a heated chamber where the water evaporates instantly, leaving powdered milk solids. Another process is freeze drying which preserves more nutrients that heat drying. The drying method may alter the solubility in cold water and the flavor.1

Powdered Milk is Nutritious

Most of us have had a less than pleasing experience with powdered milk. Improvements in the processing techniques has resulted in a much more agreeable product. It is a prepper staple that we should all add to our supplies. One cup of dry milk provides you with a good source of protein, vitamins A and D, calcium, magnesium and essential fats.2

Powdered Milk Facts

Here are some things you should know about powdered milk:
•  There is a big difference between Regular Nonfat Dry Milk and Instant Nonfat Dry Milk. Regular can be turned into a variety of milk products; Instant can only be drinkable milk.
•  There are almost twice as many servings in Regular Nonfat Dry Milk as in Instant.
•  There is more protein per serving in Regular Nonfat Dry Milk.
•  Instant Nonfat Dry Milk tastes better.
•  Instant dissolves easier than Regular Nonfat Dry Milk.
• Instant can be found in most grocery stores; Regular is available online in emergency preparedness stores.

Regular Nonfat Dried Milk can be used to make:
Sour Cream – by mixing 1/3 c dry milk with 3/4 cup plain yogurt. Makes a great low fat dip.4
Regular Milk – just substitute 1/3 cup dry milk and 1 cup cold water. Best chilled.
White Sauce – mix 1/3 cup dry milk, 3tsp melted butter and 3 TBS flour to form a paste. Slowly ad 1 cup water and whisk until smooth.
Yogurt – can be made using 1 cup Regular Nonfat Dried Milk mixed with 2 cups warm water (110ºF) and 2 TBS plain yogurt as a starter. Keep at 110º about 8 hours to thicken. This technique can also be used to make Yogurt Sour Cream and Cream Cheese. These can be used in pancake mixes and Stroganoff recipes3 as well as hot cocoa, instant oatmeal and pudding mixes.2

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powdered_milk#
2. http://readynutrition.com/resources/the-skinny-6-everyday-uses-for-dry-milk_28122012/
3. http://www.prepperssurvive.com/preppers-powdered-milk/
4. http://andreadekker.com/uses-for-dry-milk/ 

Billie Nicholson, Editor
February 2015

Solar Baked Curried Chicken and Rice

Chicken Curry Pilaf

This tasty one dish meal is a good way to make use of left over chicken.

Sun Oven Curried Chicken Pilaf

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Weight Watchers In One Pot)


1 1/3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons minced, peeled fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown rice

2 cups previously cooked chicken, skin removed and shredded

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Set Sun Oven out to preheat

In a sauce pan, combine the chicken broth and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Keep warm.

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic, curry powder, garam masala, and salt. Stir in the rice until evenly coated. Stir in the chicken and tomatoes. Stir in the warm broth mixture, cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Stir in the peas and leave in the Sun Oven another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro just before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Upside-Down Solar Baked Cupcakes

Muffin Pan Stack

I’m not much of a baker, no matter what kind of oven I use. However, I’ve learned from experience that as far as cakes go the best results, at least aesthetically speaking, are obtained with cupcakes and upside-down cakes. So why not combine the two?

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Weight Watchers Comfort Classics)


1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger*

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunk, drained

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup 1% milk

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray two 6-cup muffin pans with cooking spray or arrange 12 cupcake sized silicone baking molds two baking pans and spray with cooking spray.

Combine the brown sugar, ginger, and butter in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the pineapple. Spoon the pineapple mixture evenly among the muffin tins or baking molds; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, milk, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir until just blended. Fill the muffin pans or baking molds evenly with the batter. Bake side by side or cross stacked (top layer will cook slightly faster) until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool the cupcakes it the pans on a rack for 10 minutes. To loosen run a knife around the side of the muffin cups or simply pop out of the silicone molds. Remove the cupcakes from the pans or molds and cool upside down (pineapple side up) on racks. Drizzle and extra syrup in the pans or molds over the cupcakes.

*spray your knife with cooking spray to keep the ginger from sticking.

Muffin Tins 1

Garlic-Potato Soup

Garlic Soup

We’ve been fighting off colds this week and got tired of the usual chicken soup. I’d heard garlic is another good way to keep a cold at bay and decided to put it to the test with this recipe.

Garlicky Solar Soup


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

24 cloves garlic, peeled

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

salt to taste

Fresh thyme and sage for garnish


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking and stirring until the onion is softened and the garlic cloves are just beginning to brown, about 5 more minutes. Stir in the potatoes. Pour the broth over the potatoes. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the potatoes are very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Use a handheld immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Garnish with thyme and thinly sliced sage.

Makes 4 servings.

Single Serving Solar Cheese Cakes

Cheese Cakes

If ever there was an excuse to by some of those cute, colorful silicone cupcake lines this recipe is it. They will make your life so much easier. But if you’re still not convinced, line the tins with a strip of aluminum foil to use as a handle.

Mini Raspberry Amaretto Cheese Cakes

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Weight Watchers In One Pot)


1/2 cup amaretti cookie crumbs (or ginger snaps)

1 tablespoon butter, softened

12 teaspoons raspberry fruit spread

2 (8-ounce) packages Neufchâtel cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line two 6-cup muffin tins with silicone baking molds or spray with cooking spray and line each cup with a 2 x 6-inch strip of foil, allowing the foil to extend above the rim.

In a small bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs and the butter until well combined. Press 2 teaspoons of the mixture onto the bottom of each cup; refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Spread 1 teaspoon of the fruit spread over the crumb mixture in each cup. Keep refrigerated while preparing the filling.

Put the cheese in a medium bowl and use an electric mixture to beat until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy, about 2 more minutes. Beat in the egg, egg white, zest, and vanilla extract. Divide the cheese filling evenly among the cups. Bake in the Sun Oven until the edges are set and the centers jiggle slightly, about 30 minutes. If the pans do not fit side by side use a rack to separate them and cross stack them in the cooking chamber; the top pan will cook slightly faster. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cove with foil refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days. Pop cheese cakes out of the molds or us the foil to lift them from the pans.


Sun Oven Chicken Soup Dinner

Chicken Bok Choy Soup

Prepare the flavor infused broth in the Sun Oven early in the day. Come dinner time it will only take five minutes to put the soup together.

Asian Style Chicken Soup with Bok Choy

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Martha Stewart)


4 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

1 piece (1 1/2-inch) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

1 bunch (about 5-ounces) green onions, divided

2 Thai or jalapeño chile peppers, divided

1 bunch fresh dill

6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, caps sliced, stems reserved

1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breasts

2 heads baby bok toy, quartered


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Set aside 1 green onion, 1 chile pepper for the garnish.

Chop the remaining green onions and one of the chile peppers. In a large pot, combine the stock, water, ginger, chopped green onions and chile pepper, dill, and mushroom stems. Add the chicken, cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the chicken is cooked, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer the chicken to a bowl. Drain the broth through a fine sieve and discard the solids. Return the broth to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushroom caps and the bok choy. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Finely chop the remaining green onion and thinly slice the chile pepper. Slice the chicken and divide it among four bowls. Ladle the soup over chicken in the bowls. Garnish with green onions and chile pepper.

Makes 4 servings.


Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos


The vegetable box I had delivered last week included a pound of fingerling sweet potatoes which are not one of my favorite things. This came as a bit of a surprise to me because when I initially read the contents my brain skipped over the word sweet – I was expecting regular fingerling potatoes which are one of my favorite things. In any case, these burritos were pretty good.

Sweet Potato Burritos

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Allrecipes.com)


1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled or scrubbed clean, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil, divided’

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

pinch cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups previously cooked black beans (or 1 15-ounce can drained), mashed

1 teaspoon mustard

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 to 3 tablespoons water.

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

4 burrito size flour tortillas, warmed


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a baking pan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the sweet potatoes to the pan, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with salt, cover with another baking pan, and transfer to the Sun Oven. Bake until the potatoes are soft, about 45 minutes. Mash the potatoes in the pan with a fork; set aside. Leave the oven out.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic followed by the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne. Stir in the mashed beans, mustard, and soy sauce. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, to reach the consistency of refried beans. Removed from heat and let cool slightly.

Spread 1/4 of the mashed sweet potatoes in the center of a tortilla. Top with 1/4 of the beans and 1/4 of the cheese. Fold the tortilla into a burrito and place it, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining 3 tortillas. Transfer the baking pan to the Sun Oven and bake until the burritos are heated through, about 30 minutes.



Spiced up British Fare

New Sun Oven

While most Americans know that the British consume a lot of fish and chips many have never heard of mushy peas. They have a consistency similar to mashed potatoes and every fish and chip shop in Great Britain has them on the menu. Traditionally they are cooked with marrow fat and no other seasoning. My version uses olive oil and curry powder. At a recent fish fry we hosted they were the surprise hit of the evening.

Curried Mushy Peas


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 cup dried split peas, picked over, rinsed, and drained

2 2/3 cups water



Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the curry powder. Remove from heat. Stir in the split peas. Add the water, cover, and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the peas are very soft and the water has been absorbed. Season to taste with salt. Serve as a side dish or over rice or quinoa (shockingly good) as a main course.

Makes 4 servings.


Parsnip Persistence

Parsnip Soup

I’ve given parsnips more second chances than almost any other food I can think of. Once or twice a year I say to myself, “Maybe they’re not that bad after all”. This recipe, that includes potatoes and bacon, sounded good on paper. I’ll admit, it wasn’t that terrible, but I’ll probably just make potato and bacon soup next time. Luckily my husband likes parsnips and hopefully the soup freezes well.

Parsnip and Potato Soup

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Rachael Ray)


6 slices bacon, cut into 3 pieces

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/4 pound Russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 pound parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 sprig flat leaf parsley, tied into a bundle with string

4 cups chicken broth

salt to taste

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Chopped chives for garnish


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Line the bottom of a soup pot with the bacon (it’s o.k. if it overlaps a little). Place the pot, uncovered, in the Sun Oven until the bacon is crisp, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Peel and chop the vegetables while the bacon is cooking. When the bacon is crisp bring the pot inside; leave the Sun Oven out. Transfer the cooked slices to a paper towel. When cool enough to handle finely chop the bacon and set aside. Drain all but two tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pot then add the butter. Add the potatoes to the pot, stirring to coat. Top the potatoes with the parsnips, onion, garlic, pepper, nutmeg, and parsley. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the vegetables begin to soften, about 40 minutes. Remove the parsley and discard. Add the hot broth, cover, and continue cooking until the vegetables are very soft, about 4o more minutes. Remove the pot from the Sun Oven. Add the milk. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with the reserved bacon bits and chives.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Bacon for Soup

Join The Every Needful Thing Newsletter

  • Helpful Preparedness Tips
  • Solar cooking Recipes
  • Preparedness product reviews and promotions

The monthly resource for emergency preparedness and food storage specialists, and their family, friends and neighbors.