Home-Made Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Billie and Robert Nicholson

Tomato Vinaigrette DressingTired of purchasing salad dressings with all kinds of “secret” ingredients and unknown preservatives? Here is an alternative. Compare this with store-bought salad dressings and you will find: a. Cost savings b. Tastes better  c. Known contents (what you know and trust)  d.  You can vary the ingredients to your taste  e. Gives you the satisfaction of being independent, more in charge of your food sources & improving your family’s quality of life. Send us your modifications for comparison.


2 Sun dried tomatoes (or 1/2 cup dried slices – we dried our tomatoes by slicing & putting them in dehydrator – Sun Oven® works great – on parchment, added some herbs and dried them @ 95º F)

1 large clove garlic, sliced

1 tsp capers, rinsed

3 sprigs fresh Oregano (dried will work)

3 sprigs fresh Parsley

1 TBS Tomato Paste (we open can of paste & freeze the leftover paste in ice cube tray, wrap each spoonful in plastic wrap and store in zip-lock bag in freezer for later use)

1/8 cup filtered water

1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pinch of Red Pepper (we dried ours, then ground up seeds and all for more kick)

Pinch of fresh ground Black Pepper

Pinch of salt (optional)

sun-dried tomato vinaigrette


Start with the dry ingredients first in a blender on high, then add other ingredients and blend together. Decant into bottle of your choice and refrigerate between uses.  This delicious salad dressing will thicken over time and you can add a touch more water to help it pour easily. We serve one to two tablespoons per 2 cup salad.


Billie Nicholson, Editor

February 2015

Predicting the Weather

What is Weather?

What is weather, how is it formed and how can future weather be predicted? Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Almost all weather conditions begin with the sun. It provides the energy to raise temperatures, and the uneven warming (water warms slower than soil and shady soil warms slower than soil in the sun) triggers air movement. Add to that a spinning earth and you have a weather producing machine.Weather forms when the air masses begin to move, based on air pressure (temperature and moisture) differences, interacting with the surface of the earth and one another. This air movement influences air throughout all levels of the atmosphere, not just close to the earth’s surface.Weather conditions have a profound influence on human life and humans have been thinking about it for centuries. Even today it is a frequent topic of conversation.

Weather Observations

Ancient weather forecasting relied on observed patterns. Over the years these observations became known as weather lore and were used as the basis of predicting weather. With the invention of the electric telegraph in 1835 modern forecasting began. The telegraphed reports of weather conditions from a wide area almost instantaneously allowed predictions of impending weather events to be made using the knowledge of what was going on upwind.3

The Weather Bureau, established in 1870, originally was assigned to the U.S. Army Signal Service within the Department of War. Twenty years later it was transferred to the Department of Agriculture. In the early 1900’s scientists proposed that the evolution and motion of the atmosphere was governed by complex mathematical equations, the laws of fluid motion and thermodynamics, could be used to calculate and thus predict the coming weather. Today we use supercomputers to carry out these calculations. Granted current weather forecasters do not always get it right, things have come a long way since 1870.4



Anticipating Weather Changes

How will we anticipate weather conditions in a survival situation? We will need to return to the knowledge base of observations in nature to help us guesstimate weather changes. An article in The Preparedness Review, Winter 2014 (TPR5-Winter 2014.pdf)includes some behaviors to note:

  • Wild animals tend to feed heavily before a storm.
  • Animals make noise before a storm.
  • Herding animals get together before a storm.
  • Bees are nowhere to be found before a storm.
  • “Red sky in the morning, sailors (and everyone else) take warning.”
  • Body aches and pains appear before a storm
  • The lower the clouds the greater the chances for a storm.

 Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Weather
2. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/predicting-weather
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather_forecasting
4. http://www.iweathernet.com/educational/history-weather-forecasting
5. http://www.wired.com/2014/12/nasa-best-earth-from-space-2014/#slide-id-1688839

Earth, Eastern Hemisphere
Part of NASA’s Blue Marble collection, this image is a composite built from images taken during eight orbits by the Suomi NPP satellite on March 30.

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

Storage Closet Remedy

Suzanne Borges

I wanted to maximize storage options in our new broom closet but didn’t want to add another “honey-do” list. We do too much digging under cabinets and through boxes to find things, so most storage items aren’t going to help that. My first idea was door hanging shelves, but they might be noisy and tall items could fall off. My problem was also complicated by the fact that the broom closet’s door is only 19-1/4″ wide. I am blessed that the door has no knob on the inside and two magnetic catches. As long as what I found allowed for door closure without too much weight, I was good to go. Last night at Walmart I found my solution in the closet accessories area — a hanging shoe bag. For $9 I have what I want.

Storage Remedy

Storage Closet Remedy











Billie Nicholson, Editor
February 2015


By Measles & Rubella Initiative

Measles is highly contagious


Public Domain_US Gov.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus and spread through coughing and sneezing. 90% of people coming in contact with an infected person will become infected if they are not already immune. Immunity is achieved by either having been vaccinated or having previously contracted the disease. Symptoms include a high fever, severe skin rash, cough and sensitivity to light.

In 2000, prior to the formation of the Measles & Rubella Initiative, more than 500,000 children died worldwide from measles complications each year. About 30% of reported measles cases have complications like pneumonia, blindness, diarrhea and encephalitis. These debilitating effects are most common in children under five and adults over the age of twenty.

 There is no specific treatment for measles

Most patients will recover with rest and supportive treatment. Treatments for the symptoms include ibuprofen to reduce fever and pain and fluids.

With the introduction of vaccines around the world, by 2012 the death rate had been cut significantly, but still kills about 122,000 children – mostly children less than five years old. Measles can be completely prevented with two doses of a safe, effective and inexpensive vaccine. Avoid measles parties.1

A recent outbreak of measles cases has been linked to a popular theme park. The strain of measles in the California cases has been matched to the strain circulating in the Philippines. Stephen Cochi, senior advisor with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “That virus has spread around the world.” From his experience tracking previous measles outbreaks in the U.S., Cochi says the source was probably an American. “It’s really traveling Americans who are unvaccinated, then return to the U.S. with the virus, who are causing most of the current out-breaks.” 2

1. http://www.measlesrubellainitiative.org/

Billie Nicholson, Editor
February 2015

Gardening by the Moon

Planting a garden using the phases of the moon is a method of cultivation as old as agriculture itself. For centuries, farming records show a reliance on using the proper phase of the moon for timing planting, crop maintenance and harvesting.  Astrology and it’s symbolic figures were used as guides for many parts of everyday life including planting, harvesting, raising, butchering meats, and even marrying. The Farmer’s Almanac, still published today, includes these directions along with a long range weather forecast and suggestions for other life activities. This old style knowledge provides a schedule for planting that we can use just as gardeners in days passed. Today it is referred to as “Biodynamic Gardening.” 1
As the moon revolves around the earth the sun’s light creates a changing shape or phase of the moon as seen from earth. The earth’s gravity is affected by both the sun, moon and planets. The ocean tides are highest during a full moon, when the sun and moon are lined up with the earth.  Our forefathers believed that as the moon draws the tides, it also draws upon all water, causing moisture to swell up in the earth promoting growth. This is the best time to plant.

Moon phases

Gardening By Moon Phases

  1. New moon to first quarter – This is the time to plant above ground crops; those you can see. Examples are cabbage, celery, broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, grains, leeks, celery, lettuce, spinach, parsley, cauliflower.
  2. First quarter to full moon – At this time you would plant above ground crops that you can see that have seed within a fruit or pod, and flowers. Examples are tomatoes, peppers, beans, melons, cucumbers, beans, squash.
  3. Full moon to last quarter – This is when you plant root crops, bulbs, perennials and biennials. The idea is that these plants need strong roots. Examples are onion, turnips, garlic, carrots, beets and radishes.
  4. Last quarter to new moon – If you have to plant during this time, it must be in a fruitful sign such as Scorpio, Pisces, Cancer, Taurus, Libra or Capricorn. If you need to weed, or cultivate, do it in a barren sign like Virgo, Leo, Aquarius, Gemini, Sagittarius or Aries. Harvest in Aquarius, Gemini, Leo, Aries, or Sagittarius. 2

Our Moon zooms around the Zodiac wheel while visiting each of the 12 signs in only 28 and a quarter days, thus having to change into a different astrological sign every 2-3 days. With the understanding that each of our 12 signs are categorized into the 4 elements of fire, earth, air and water- this is the basis of how one can determine what sign the Moon is passing through is the best one to plant under to make sure that a successful harvest will be the end result. Moon phase gardening has been around a long time. It is worth trying if you haven’t yet.    Learn More

Billie Nicholson, Editor
January 2015


1.   http://www.moongrow.com/moon_phase_gardening.html
2.   http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/10141/using-moon-phases-as-a-planting-guide


Our January 2015 issue of “Every Needful Thing”  also includes:

The Motivation Factor

The Magic of the Side by Stephen D. Palmer

9 Simple Tips to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance by Gaye Levy

How Many Plastic Bags Do You Use?

and from Our Solar Chef - Vegetarian Chickpea Curry Pie

Don’t miss our January Special on case lots of fuel disks for your Cube Stove

The Motivation Factor

Happy New Year 2015

As we begin a new year, have you made a plan for 2015? Did you know you could? Yes, you can! This may seem like a mammoth task, but not if you take the planning in phases, by topics or even by time. What are your plans and obligations for January, February and March? What parts of your life do you want to change? Motivation for change can come in a variety of ways. Are we solving a problem or trying to eliminate an unwanted situation? These motivations seldom are successful. Why not focus on something that you desire – a positive outcome.

The first step is a personal evaluation. Once you know where you are, then you can begin setting goals.The difference between our desired goals and our actual state creates a structural tension, which strives for resolution. This requires tracking your actions. Keep those records.

As you work through this process, you will have to make choices. A primary choice is something we want more than something else. Secondary choices involve the actions we take to support the primary choice. Sometimes, we have to make secondary choices that we don’t want to do, but we do them because these actions influence the outcome of the primary choice. We learn to have internal conversations with ourselves. If you will have these conversations, you will become more aware of what you’re doing when you make these choices. This is powerful, you move out of the mindless behavior stage and into one where the consequences of your actions have a meaning. The relationship between primary and secondary choices provides us with the key to discipline. With this understanding you will be able to accomplish more than you ever imagined. In 2015, Go for it!

Billie Nicholson, Editor
January 2015

Our January 2015 issue of “Every Needful Thing”  also includes:

The Magic of the Side by Stephen D. Palmer

9 Simple Tips to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance by Gaye Levy

Gardening by the Moon

How Many Plastic Bags Do You Use?

and from Our Solar Chef - Vegetarian Chickpea Curry Pie

Don’t miss our January Special on case lots of fuel disks for your Cube Stove

How Many Plastic Bags Do You Use?

Plastic Bags

photo by Rusty Buggy Enterprises

One-time use plastic bags have been around for over 50 years. Introduced as a convenience for shoppers and as an alternative to using paper, to save trees, plastic bags have become a worldwide nuisance, littering the countryside, backing up drains and sewers and becoming a hazard to animals and marine life. They have become the major component of garbage floating in the ocean currents.1

Plastic Bag Fact Sheet

The Earth Policy Institute has provided a Plastic Bag Fact Sheet filled with facts you need to know in order to understand what is coming soon to communities near you.

  • Worldwide, a trillion single-use plastic bags are used each year, nearly 2 million per minute.
  • The amount of energy required to make 12 plastic shopping bags could drive a car for a mile.
  • Currently 100 billion plastic bags pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year – almost one bag per person each day. Laid end to end, they would circle the equator 1,330 times.
  • Livestock choking on plastic bags – from camels in the United Arab Emirates to sheep in Mauritania and cattle in India and Texas – have led communities to consider regulation.
  • City, state and national governments around the world are trying to limit plastic bag litter and waste with bans and fees.
  • Denmark was the first country to pass a plastic bag tax in 1993. Danes use very few light-weight plastic bags – about 4 per person each year.
  • At least 16 African countries have announced bans on certain types of plastic bags, to varying levels of effectiveness. Before a ban on thin bags, which tear easily and get caught by the wind, went into effect in 2003, plastic bags were christened South Africa’s “national flower” because of their prevalence in bushes and trees. Thicker bags are taxed.
  • Many European countries tax plastic bags or ban free distribution. The EU Parliament is discussing measures that would require member states to cut plastic bag use by 80% by 2019. A memo on the proposal noted “plastic bags have been found in stomachs of several endangered marine species,” including various turtles and porpoises, and 94% of North Sea birds.
  • The provinces of Ontario and Quebec have each halved their plastic bag use through a variety of measures, including store incentives for using reusable bags and retailer imposed fees.
  • The plastics industry has spent millions of dollars to challenge plastic bag ordinances.
  • Over 150 U.S. cities and counties ban or require fees for plastic bags. California passed the first statewide ban in 2014.
  • Washington, D.C., was the first U.S. city to require food and alcohol retailers to charge customers 5¢ for each plastic or paper bag. Proceeds are shared between stores and environmental clean-ups.
  • The Clean Air Council reports that less than 1% of plastic bags are recycled each year and the cost for recycling one ton costs $4,000 and the recycled product can be sold for only $32.2

Are you one of the 49 million Americans living in communities that have banned plastic bags?

Billie Nicholson, Editor
January 2015


1.  http://business-ethics.com/2010/04/10/0957-does-banning-plastic-bags-help-the-environment/
 2.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/18/plastic-bag-bans_n_3769826.html


Our January 2015 issue of “Every Needful Thing”  also includes:

The Motivation Factor

The Magic of the Side by Stephen D. Palmer

9 Simple Tips to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance by Gaye Levy

Gardening by the Moon

and from Our Solar Chef - Vegetarian Chickpea Curry Pie

Don’t miss our January Special on case lots of fuel disks for your Cube Stove


Contributions to a Food Bank

Food BankGenerosity during the holidays often includes contributions to food banks. Do you think about contributing something healthy? One in seven Americans visited a food pantry in 2013 according to Feeding America. These include elderly, single parents, returning veterans, and the recently released incarcerated. These are human beings whose hard times have forced them to choose between paying the electricity bill or buying food. Many may be suffering from medical problems related to diet. As you consider contributing to a food bank to help feed the needy this holiday season, include nutrient rich, non-perishable food. Here is a list suggested by Super Food Drive.


  1. Brown or Wild Rice
  2. Quinoa or Cous-cous
  3. Wheat Berries, Amaranth
  4. Steel cut or rolled Oats
  5. Whole Wheat or Brown Rice Pasta
  6. Whole Grain Cereals  (5 grams fiber)


  1. Canned Cold Water Fish – water packed: (Tuna, Sardines or Wild Salmon)
  2. Canned Beans & Legumes: (Black Beans, Garbanzo, Adzuki, Kidney, Lentils)
  3. Seeds and Nuts – unsalted: (Pumpkin, Sunflower, Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews)
  4. Nut Butters – natural & non-hydrogenated:  (Almond, Peanut, Macadamia or Tahini butter)

Fruit and Vegetables

  1. Canned Fruit and Vegetables – low sodium and packed in water not syrup
  2. Dried Fruits – no added sugar: (Blueberries, Prunes, Cranberries, Apples, Mangos
  3. Canned Soups – low sodium
  4. Low sodium sauces like Tomato and Alfredo

Herbs & Spices

  1. Green and White Tea
  2. Herbs & Spices – to flavor beans and grains: Oregano, Basil, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Rosemary, Thyme, Dill, Ginger and Cinnamon)

Cooking Oils

  1. Olive oil
  2. Coconut oil
  3. Canola oil
  4. Sesame Oil


Share the Joy of the holiday season: Include a copy of your favorite recipe for making a meal using the items you donate.

Billie Nicholson, Editor
December, 2014

This month’s issue includes:

  • During our conversations with Pearl Harbor Survivors, they continued to warn us of the importance of being prepared – on every level, from our national military down to each individual. During World War II, everyone sacrificed to insure that world peace would be restored.
  • Mama’s Last Gift ~ Who would expect 33 year old jelly to be any good? The jelly was firm and no crystallization or mold was apparent. A taste test confirmed the goodness within.
  • Preparing for a Pandemic ~ A pandemic is basically a global epidemic. Learn how to protect your family should a viral sickness begin to spread around the world.

Persimmon Leather

Persimmon leatherPersimmons are a sweet and delicious fruit filled with vitamins and minerals. They contain anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-aging compounds. Persimmons are known to help soothe sore throats and irritated digestive tracts. They’re good for colds, constipation, viral infections and acid reflux.

Persimmon tea is a well known acid reflux remedy that can be made by combining 2 quarts of water, 3 cinnamon sticks, and 1/2 cup of thinly sliced fresh ginger into a pot and simmering for 30-60 minutes. When done, remove the cinnamon sticks & ginger from pot and add 1 cup of dried persimmons. Allow the dried persimmons to soak in tea and store entire mixture in the fridge for up to a week. Sip 1/2 cup of this liquid 1-3 times day to stop and prevent symptoms of acid reflux from reoccurring.

There are two popular varieties of persimmons: Hachiyas and Fuyus. Hachiya persimmons have a tear drop shape and must be fully ripe, almost to a pudding, jelly-like consistency before eating. When Hachiya persimmons are fully ripe, they are decadently sweet and are prized around the world for their flavor and health benefits. Fuyu persimmons are hard and crisp like an apple and they can be eaten out of hand or peeled and sliced into pieces. Fuyu persimmons are also delicious dried and are a chewy snack that can help curb your appetite while being packed with energy. Both varieties can be used in a bread recipe much like zucchini or bananas. They add nutritional and healing benefits to your diet.

Billie Nicholson, Editor
December, 2014

Persimmon leather

Persimmon leather









This month’s issue includes:

  • During our conversations with Pearl Harbor Survivors, they continued to warn us of the importance of being prepared – on every level, from our national military down to each individual. During World War II, everyone sacrificed to insure that world peace would be restored.
  • Mama’s Last Gift ~ Who would expect 33 year old jelly to be any good? The jelly was firm and no crystallization or mold was apparent. A taste test confirmed the goodness within.
  • Preparing for a Pandemic ~ A pandemic is basically a global epidemic. Learn how to protect your family should a viral sickness begin to spread around the world.
  • Deer hunting season is a highlight of the winter months. Here is our favorite recipe made in the Sun Oven®. Served with warm Artisan bread, this makes a hearty meal in any weather.
  • Generosity during the holidays often includes contributions to food banks. Think about contributing something healthy in your Food Bank Contribution.

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