How to Make Your Own Pill Bottle Survival Kit

Make Your Own Pill Bottle Survival Kit

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You can never have too many survival kits. The problem is, the more stuff you have, the harder it is to carry it all. Most people want as much stuff as they can get in as small a container as possible, and rightfully so. That’s why the DIY pill bottle survival kit is ideal for everyone to have. You can make your own and carry carry it with you everywhere you go. They fit in your pocket, in a woman’s purse, or in your bug-out bag. It’s also really easy to make your own pill bottle survival kit.

Contents of your pill bottle survival kit

You can put anything you want in your survival kit as long as it fits without damaging any of the other components. Obviously the bigger your pill bottle, the more stuff you can put in your survival kit. While it’s not a full-fledged bug-out bag, what you put in your pill bottle can help you in a dire emergency. Remember, knowledge is your ultimate survival tool – everything else is just helpful!

Here’s what’s in my pill bottle survival kit:

  1. Pill Bottle – I wrapped my pill bottle with 550 paracord. Believe it or not, that’s actually 10′ of cord! I also hooked a figure 8 key ring on the bottle so I can hook it to a carabiner on my bug-out bag. You could also put something like this on the bottle to serve the same purpose, though. Also, the lid is deep enough that I can epoxy a mini button compass in it.
  2. Matches – I sealed 2 matches and the striker surface from a match book inside a drinking straw to keep them waterproof.
  3. Birthday Candles – Once you light your match or lighter, you can use the birthday candle to hold the flame so you can get your fire lit. Dripping the wax onto the kindling will help it burn a little longer, too.
  4. Fire Straws – I made these fire starter straws with cotton and petroleum jelly. Simply cut the straw open, fluff up the cotton a bit, and a spark will set it ablaze.
  5. Button – Of course if your pants lose a button, you’ve got a replacement!
  6. Mini Red Finger Flashlight –
  7. Super bright red led gives you enough light to see in your general area without giving away your position if you’re worried about OpSec. I’m not totally sure where this little flashlight came from, but I think my kids got some and they gave me this one. It’s perfect for the pill bottle survival kit!

  • Index Card – You can use an index card to help get a fire started, write a note on it, make a map, or tear it into pieces, attach the pieces to a tree at eye level to mark a trail so you don’t get lost.
  • Safety Pins – Use to hold clothing together, hold a poncho or other material together to make a tent, or use as a makeshift fishing hook.
  • Dental Floss – About 20′ of unscented dental floss that can be used for fishing line or to sew up torn clothes. Of course, you could always use it to floss your teeth – no reason not to practice a little hygiene while you’re surviving.
  • Neosporin Straws – Seal some Neosporin into some bits of straw so you always have some for minor wounds.
  • Tweezers – Good to get splinters out and assist with other small tasks.
  • Ibuprofen – A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, ibuprofen is always good to have on hand to help lessen pain, relieve fever and reduce inflammation.
  • Allergy Medication – In case you have an allergic reaction to a sting or bite, or to a plant, it’s good to have an antihistamine on hand. Not only will they help reduce your reaction, they could actually save your life! What more could you ask for from a “survival kit”?
  • Cotton Balls – You can use these cotton balls as either a blood clotting agent, or as tinder for starting a fire (like with the fire straws, only without the petroleum jelly).
  • Alcohol Wipes – Use for wound cleaning or needle sterilization if emergency stitches are needed. You can also use alcohol wipes for fire starting tinder.
  • Band-Aids – Use for covering minor wounds.
  • Money – You can put whatever denomination of money in here that you want, but I only keep a couple of bucks. I would hate to lose my survival kit with a $20 in it.
  • Aluminum Foil – My piece measures about 12.5″x18″. Aluminum foil can be formed into a makeshift container to catch and hold water (as long as you press it tightly so there are no leaks). You can also use it as a wind break for your fire (which will actually double as a heat reflector).
  • Here are a few more ideas for your pill bottle survival kit’s contents checklist:

    X-acto blade / razor blade
    Boullion cube(s)
    Duct tape
    Needle(s)
    Knot tying instructions
    Fishing hook(s), line, weight(s)

    Variations on the pill bottle survival kit

    I’ve started thinking up new, creative ways to pack a pill bottle.

    Fishing kit:

    • fishing line
    • a small bobber
    • weights
    • hooks
    • flies

    Medical kit:

    • ibuprofen
    • allergy medicine
    • Neosporin
    • rubber gloves
    • cotton balls
    • cotton swabs
    • micro tooth brush
    • tweezers
    • needle(s)
    • alcohol wipe(s)
    • Bandaids

    What kind of things can you think of to pack inside your pill bottle survival kit?

    Patrick is a Christ follower, the father of a special needs daughter with a brilliant personality and two musically talented sons, the husband of a beautiful and incredibly wonderful woman, an avid cook and gardener, a craftsman, and a hopeful homesteader with a passion for researching. He and his wife live as frugally as possible and try daily to live as God intends them to live. “I don’t know everything there is to know about the topics on my website,” he says, “but I do love discovering new things and sharing that information with my readers.”

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    Zombie Squad • View topic – Cast Iron Skillets for Everyday Use and Beyond.



    This is the pan after 2 more and finished:



    —————-

    Disclaimer #2: You are dealing with smoke, heavy objects and you are heating them up VERY VERY HOT. Use common sense, if you burn yourself, die of smoke inhalation, drop the skillet and break your foot… its not my fault, be careful!

    Other than that enjoy your well seasoned, well cared for iron skillet… your grandkids will be using it and enjoying it too.

    a Note on the Wagner and Griswold Collector Society: I cant really say much nice about these guys, they REQUIRE you to use your REAL FULL first and last name on their forums, if you make up a name, they will ban you, forever. They are unforgiving and impolite. I explained to their mods that I had a unique first and last name and that I did not want their forum popping up every time someone at work or a job interview googled my name… their response was to ban me from their forum. If your name is John Smith I reccomend them to learn a bit more, if it isn't the privacy concerns are a bit too much to contend with.







    This is the pan after *1* step of darkening and seasoning, I did not need to put this pan through the cleaning cycle of the oven.

    Cast Iron Skillets for Everyday Use and Beyond.
    By: Merovingian


    Introduction: There are two segments of the population when dealing with Cast Iron, those that grew up on Cast Iron Cookware and those that didn't. Being one of those that did, and since have eaten off an Iron Skillet roughly half of every meal I have ever put in my mouth I find myself in a bit of a position to help that other segment of the population that never touched the stuff but may want to for whatever reason.

    Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert, some of the things I state here my be thought of as 'wrong' by the experts in the field. However this is what works for me, has worked for my family and the way I was taught… by both family and by a bit of research and experience.

    Why Cast Iron? Those that have not grown up on Cast Iron see the stuff as heavy, cumbersome, dirty, and hard to clean and take care of. While each of these points is debatable, the most contentious point is cleaning and taking care of the stuff. Taking care of Cast Iron properly is one of those 'arts' that 50 years ago everyone knew how to do it but has been lost among the fads of stainless steel, copper, and teflon.

    Cast Iron, quite simply is one of those things that if purchased correctly and taken care of will last y our great grandchildren til they have grandchildren. There are MANY families all over the world that have cast iron skillets from 50 to 150 years old as family heirlooms and that still use their skillet weekly or even daily.

    Purchasing Cast Iron: Purchasing cast iron as a 'user' rather than a collector is a fairly simple concept. I DO NOT suggest buying a 'new' and 'pre-seasoned' skillet from ChinaMart such as "Lodge", In my opinion the best Iron Skillets for your uses were made from 1890 to 1960. They can be found almost anywhere, back of your grandmothers pantry, under her sink, in an antique store, piled up at a flea market, on ebay, at a pawn shop, or on the floor or hung on a nail of an abandoned barn. These things are quite literally EVERYWHERE.

    Why not Lodge? Lodge skillets are 'rumored' to be made of sub-standard Iron with weak handles that can 'snap off' if not used correctly. I have nothing to back that up, and it is just internet rumors… so take it as that. HOWEVER, my main complaint with ALL new Iron Skillet cookware is the cooking surface… this is the same from Le Creuset (Higher End) to Lodge (Lower End). You will notice on 'antique' Iron skillets the interior cooking surface is totally smooth, from the center of the cooking surface, up the walls to the top, and the rest of it (the outside) is rough. Newer 'minted' designed the interior is pocked, or rough, then preseasoned on top of this substandard surface. It is for this reason that you can not EVER get the same reliability and non-stick surface off a newer Iron Skillet as you can with an old one… they simply "Don't Make them like they used to." Literally.

    How do I find what I am looking for? The two biggest brand names for the past 200 years of Iron Skillets were Griswold or Wagner. 90% of the skillets you will find will be one of these two brands, if you stick to these two you really cant go wrong as long as the condition is good.

    Size: Sizes can be labeled by either number or by letter, I find it a confusing system as it is not 'standard' But the most popular skillets are "6 Inch" "10 Inch" and "12 Inch". I find the 12 Inch skillets VERY large and heavy… I use a 10 inch for a family of four and I am very happy with it. If you can leave it on the stove forever, or you have a family bigger than 4 you might want the 12 inch version, if not I would almost certainly go for the 10 inch. The 6 inch is small, I use mine for camping… it is big enough to fry two eggs, fold them over to open up the other half and fry two strips of bacon. Its perfect



    A Note on Ebay: If you choose to go for eBay instead of another route, DO NOT buy from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, or Russia. You are very likely to end up with a 'counterfeit' and one made of who knows what… prob lead. And yes… they DO counterfeit Iron Skillets. Buy from the USA or Australia and you should be safe.

    Once you have a skillet in front of you, what are you looking at?

    #1: Look for cracks, if there are cracks ANYWHERE, you do not want that skillet… it has been prob been dropped and isnt worth your time. Chips are 'ok' but it depends on where they are how big and should be taken on a case by case basis.

    #2: Cooking Surface, is it smooth? If yes, you are in good shape.

    #3: Is it a Wagner or Griswold pan? If Yes you are on the right track.

    #4: Is it under $50 shipped? Anything more than this is a 'rare' pan or something, you really shouldnt pay more than $50 including shipping. People over at the Wagner and Griswold collector forum laugh when one of their 12 inch 'common' skillets sell for over 100$ because they took good pictures and oiled it up nice to look pretty, they went to a pawn shop, bought a nasty looking pan for $5 and seasoned it properly then resold it and made 95$ for about 30 min of work and 6 hours of time.

    #5: Other than cracks the number one thing you should look for is warping. If there is ANY warping or weakening in the metal you do not want the pan. The pan should sit level on a flat surface and not wobble much if at all.

    #6: Pitting, look for severe pitting on the outside of the pan and any kind of pitting on the inside. Pitting is due to long term rust and is mostly found on 'barn' skillets that people find buried or on the floor of a barn.

    If you have found a Wagner or Griswold pan, in the size you want, with no cracks, no pitting, no warping and it sits flat on a flat surface. You have found the pan you want… even if it is a bit rusty, in fact, it prob will be.

    I have my pan, now what?

    #1: First you need to clean it. DO NOT Sandblast it or anything crazy… you will just jack up the cooking surface. To clean it wash it with water and dish soap for its initial cleaning. Use steel wool lightly on the inside to get rid of the rust and anything inside… if its not too bad of shape you should use one of those green scour pads instead of steel wool. If you used soap you need to rinse, rinse, rinse and scrub scrub scrub, you do not want any of that soap left on the metal when you are done.

    #1a: If you are not comfortable with the above, or the pan is truly nasty, or has already been seasoned by someone other than a family member or someone who you trust that they know what they are doing, you can put the pan FACE DOWN in your oven and put it on its 'cleaning' cycle… usually a 2 to 3 hour process. YOU MUST LEAVE THE PAN IN THE OVER OVER NIGHT TO COOL IF YOU USE THE OVEN CLEANING METHOD. When the pan comes out it will look red and rusty, and you will think "Aww crap I jacked up my pan" but its fine. Head up to number one and clean with JUST WATER and a scrubber if you are freaked out by the rust… I wouldn't worry about it.

    Once it is clean dry with a towel pretty well… At this point you have two options, you can skip right to seasoning, or you can 'darken' the pan. If you used the oven cleaning method or you dont care about darkening you can skip #2 and go to #3.

    #2: Darkening, you are basically heating th emetal up a bit to darken the iron, stick the pan upside down in the oven on the center rack for one hour at 350, at the end of that hour turn it up to 450 for 30 min. Then Allow to cool enough to handle it.

    #3: If you darkened the pan you are good to go with seasoning, if not you need to heat the pan enough to get rid of any moisture left in/on the metal, so turn your burner on and heat it up on medium for 10 min or so so that the pan is totally dry.

    #4: You need oil, there are 30 different people all over the internet using all different types of oil with different temps. I use EITHER bacon grease or Olive Oil. Bacon Grease is what your grandmother used to season hers, Olive Oil is what I use most of the time though, its easier. What you are basically doing is heating the oil on the pan beyond its smoke point so that it carbonizes. YOU DO NOT WANT ANY KIND OF STICKY OIL, such as vegetable oil.

    Here is a chart for 'advanced' users on the smoke point of various oils.
    http://whatscookingamerica.net/Informat … lTypes.htm

    Some people are able to 'taste' the oil they used to season the pan, I can't but if you are a judge on Iron Chef America or something, choose an oil you like the taste of.

    #5: Once you have chosen an oil, say olive oil for example you need to take a 'lintless' rag of some sort and apply the oil all over the pan, do not over do it. You are not going for a 'wet' look. In fact you need to rub and rub till the pan looks dry, but is still 'dark' from the oil… once the pan is dark with oil, but no longer looks wet you can move on to step #6.

    #6: Heat the oven to 350 and put the pan in FACE DOWN for 30 min, after 30 min turn oven up to 400, after that go to 450 for an hour. Open a window, if it smokes too bad you added too much oil… but it will smoke a little bit either way, your smoke detector may go off. Let the pan cool in the oven.

    #7: Repeat steps 5 and 6 several times if you want to do it right, I usually do it 3 times, to get a good start… on one you are going to use for camping I would do it more.

    You now have a 'seasoned' iron skillet, coat the pan one more time with the oil of your choice and let it sit on your stove to look pretty till you are ready to use it.

    First Use: I ALWAYS cook bacon in my pan as its first use… it does help.

    Cooking with Iron: Just like normal cookware you want to cook with the lowest temp you need to cook with, you can easily burn stuff into the bottom of the pan by cooking too hot, just like with stainless steel or anything else. As you cook small microscopic bits of iron WILL leach into your food and increase your iron count, this is a health benefit for women who very commonly have a low iron count.

    Cleaning: After cooking there is always the clean up, this is where people freak out and argue and say their method is better. Most experts will say to not use soap, at all, ever. I disagree, but I don't use much. Most foods can be wiped out of the bottom of the pan and then cleaned with just very hot water. However, as an added health measure after I do the normal cleaning, I add a *single* drop of dishsoap and wash the cleaning surface with a brush then rinse really well with hot water. Soap really is optional, and it is NOT recommended by most 'experts' but I use it anyway and have never had any problems… just dont use too much.

    After Cleaning: After the pan is clean re-oil it lightly all over, stick it on low heat for like 5 min and wipe it down.

    If you jack up seasoning it, cooking in it, or cleaning it, just reseason it. Cast Iron is one of those things that will last forever, unlike nonstick teflon which is ruined if you over heat it.

    A Note on camping: Nothing ruins cast iron like cooking on a camp fire, campfire cooking is the #1 cause of 'warping' in cast iron… that doesnt mean you can do it, and it doesnt work well. But a campfire pan will not last as long, and dont use grandmas heirloom cast iron skillet on your campfire… buy one for that purpose exclusively… that's what I did: here are pictures.

    ———————–

    Here is the 6 inch 'camping' pan I purchased off Ebay, I paid under $20 including shipping from a seller in the USA. You prob wont find one that is slate grey like this, it is grey because it had NEVER been seasoned or used. I prob paid a bit more because of that, it was a bit rusty though. Notice, it sits flat, no pitting, no warping, no cracks…





    This is the pan after 2 more and finished:



    —————-

    Disclaimer #2: You are dealing with smoke, heavy objects and you are heating them up VERY VERY HOT. Use common sense, if you burn yourself, die of smoke inhalation, drop the skillet and break your foot… its not my fault, be careful!

    Other than that enjoy your well seasoned, well cared for iron skillet… your grandkids will be using it and enjoying it too.

    a Note on the Wagner and Griswold Collector Society: I cant really say much nice about these guys, they REQUIRE you to use your REAL FULL first and last name on their forums, if you make up a name, they will ban you, forever. They are unforgiving and impolite. I explained to their mods that I had a unique first and last name and that I did not want their forum popping up every time someone at work or a job interview googled my name… their response was to ban me from their forum. If your name is John Smith I reccomend them to learn a bit more, if it isn't the privacy concerns are a bit too much to contend with.







    This is the pan after *1* step of darkening and seasoning, I did not need to put this pan through the cleaning cycle of the oven.

    Cast Iron Skillets for Everyday Use and Beyond.
    By: Merovingian


    Introduction: There are two segments of the population when dealing with Cast Iron, those that grew up on Cast Iron Cookware and those that didn't. Being one of those that did, and since have eaten off an Iron Skillet roughly half of every meal I have ever put in my mouth I find myself in a bit of a position to help that other segment of the population that never touched the stuff but may want to for whatever reason.

    Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert, some of the things I state here my be thought of as 'wrong' by the experts in the field. However this is what works for me, has worked for my family and the way I was taught… by both family and by a bit of research and experience.

    Why Cast Iron? Those that have not grown up on Cast Iron see the stuff as heavy, cumbersome, dirty, and hard to clean and take care of. While each of these points is debatable, the most contentious point is cleaning and taking care of the stuff. Taking care of Cast Iron properly is one of those 'arts' that 50 years ago everyone knew how to do it but has been lost among the fads of stainless steel, copper, and teflon.

    Cast Iron, quite simply is one of those things that if purchased correctly and taken care of will last y our great grandchildren til they have grandchildren. There are MANY families all over the world that have cast iron skillets from 50 to 150 years old as family heirlooms and that still use their skillet weekly or even daily.

    Purchasing Cast Iron: Purchasing cast iron as a 'user' rather than a collector is a fairly simple concept. I DO NOT suggest buying a 'new' and 'pre-seasoned' skillet from ChinaMart such as "Lodge", In my opinion the best Iron Skillets for your uses were made from 1890 to 1960. They can be found almost anywhere, back of your grandmothers pantry, under her sink, in an antique store, piled up at a flea market, on ebay, at a pawn shop, or on the floor or hung on a nail of an abandoned barn. These things are quite literally EVERYWHERE.

    Why not Lodge? Lodge skillets are 'rumored' to be made of sub-standard Iron with weak handles that can 'snap off' if not used correctly. I have nothing to back that up, and it is just internet rumors… so take it as that. HOWEVER, my main complaint with ALL new Iron Skillet cookware is the cooking surface… this is the same from Le Creuset (Higher End) to Lodge (Lower End). You will notice on 'antique' Iron skillets the interior cooking surface is totally smooth, from the center of the cooking surface, up the walls to the top, and the rest of it (the outside) is rough. Newer 'minted' designed the interior is pocked, or rough, then preseasoned on top of this substandard surface. It is for this reason that you can not EVER get the same reliability and non-stick surface off a newer Iron Skillet as you can with an old one… they simply "Don't Make them like they used to." Literally.

    How do I find what I am looking for? The two biggest brand names for the past 200 years of Iron Skillets were Griswold or Wagner. 90% of the skillets you will find will be one of these two brands, if you stick to these two you really cant go wrong as long as the condition is good.

    Size: Sizes can be labeled by either number or by letter, I find it a confusing system as it is not 'standard' But the most popular skillets are "6 Inch" "10 Inch" and "12 Inch". I find the 12 Inch skillets VERY large and heavy… I use a 10 inch for a family of four and I am very happy with it. If you can leave it on the stove forever, or you have a family bigger than 4 you might want the 12 inch version, if not I would almost certainly go for the 10 inch. The 6 inch is small, I use mine for camping… it is big enough to fry two eggs, fold them over to open up the other half and fry two strips of bacon. Its perfect



    A Note on Ebay: If you choose to go for eBay instead of another route, DO NOT buy from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, or Russia. You are very likely to end up with a 'counterfeit' and one made of who knows what… prob lead. And yes… they DO counterfeit Iron Skillets. Buy from the USA or Australia and you should be safe.

    Once you have a skillet in front of you, what are you looking at?

    #1: Look for cracks, if there are cracks ANYWHERE, you do not want that skillet… it has been prob been dropped and isnt worth your time. Chips are 'ok' but it depends on where they are how big and should be taken on a case by case basis.

    #2: Cooking Surface, is it smooth? If yes, you are in good shape.

    #3: Is it a Wagner or Griswold pan? If Yes you are on the right track.

    #4: Is it under $50 shipped? Anything more than this is a 'rare' pan or something, you really shouldnt pay more than $50 including shipping. People over at the Wagner and Griswold collector forum laugh when one of their 12 inch 'common' skillets sell for over 100$ because they took good pictures and oiled it up nice to look pretty, they went to a pawn shop, bought a nasty looking pan for $5 and seasoned it properly then resold it and made 95$ for about 30 min of work and 6 hours of time.

    #5: Other than cracks the number one thing you should look for is warping. If there is ANY warping or weakening in the metal you do not want the pan. The pan should sit level on a flat surface and not wobble much if at all.

    #6: Pitting, look for severe pitting on the outside of the pan and any kind of pitting on the inside. Pitting is due to long term rust and is mostly found on 'barn' skillets that people find buried or on the floor of a barn.

    If you have found a Wagner or Griswold pan, in the size you want, with no cracks, no pitting, no warping and it sits flat on a flat surface. You have found the pan you want… even if it is a bit rusty, in fact, it prob will be.

    I have my pan, now what?

    #1: First you need to clean it. DO NOT Sandblast it or anything crazy… you will just jack up the cooking surface. To clean it wash it with water and dish soap for its initial cleaning. Use steel wool lightly on the inside to get rid of the rust and anything inside… if its not too bad of shape you should use one of those green scour pads instead of steel wool. If you used soap you need to rinse, rinse, rinse and scrub scrub scrub, you do not want any of that soap left on the metal when you are done.

    #1a: If you are not comfortable with the above, or the pan is truly nasty, or has already been seasoned by someone other than a family member or someone who you trust that they know what they are doing, you can put the pan FACE DOWN in your oven and put it on its 'cleaning' cycle… usually a 2 to 3 hour process. YOU MUST LEAVE THE PAN IN THE OVER OVER NIGHT TO COOL IF YOU USE THE OVEN CLEANING METHOD. When the pan comes out it will look red and rusty, and you will think "Aww crap I jacked up my pan" but its fine. Head up to number one and clean with JUST WATER and a scrubber if you are freaked out by the rust… I wouldn't worry about it.

    Once it is clean dry with a towel pretty well… At this point you have two options, you can skip right to seasoning, or you can 'darken' the pan. If you used the oven cleaning method or you dont care about darkening you can skip #2 and go to #3.

    #2: Darkening, you are basically heating th emetal up a bit to darken the iron, stick the pan upside down in the oven on the center rack for one hour at 350, at the end of that hour turn it up to 450 for 30 min. Then Allow to cool enough to handle it.

    #3: If you darkened the pan you are good to go with seasoning, if not you need to heat the pan enough to get rid of any moisture left in/on the metal, so turn your burner on and heat it up on medium for 10 min or so so that the pan is totally dry.

    #4: You need oil, there are 30 different people all over the internet using all different types of oil with different temps. I use EITHER bacon grease or Olive Oil. Bacon Grease is what your grandmother used to season hers, Olive Oil is what I use most of the time though, its easier. What you are basically doing is heating the oil on the pan beyond its smoke point so that it carbonizes. YOU DO NOT WANT ANY KIND OF STICKY OIL, such as vegetable oil.

    Here is a chart for 'advanced' users on the smoke point of various oils.
    http://whatscookingamerica.net/Informat … lTypes.htm

    Some people are able to 'taste' the oil they used to season the pan, I can't but if you are a judge on Iron Chef America or something, choose an oil you like the taste of.

    #5: Once you have chosen an oil, say olive oil for example you need to take a 'lintless' rag of some sort and apply the oil all over the pan, do not over do it. You are not going for a 'wet' look. In fact you need to rub and rub till the pan looks dry, but is still 'dark' from the oil… once the pan is dark with oil, but no longer looks wet you can move on to step #6.

    #6: Heat the oven to 350 and put the pan in FACE DOWN for 30 min, after 30 min turn oven up to 400, after that go to 450 for an hour. Open a window, if it smokes too bad you added too much oil… but it will smoke a little bit either way, your smoke detector may go off. Let the pan cool in the oven.

    #7: Repeat steps 5 and 6 several times if you want to do it right, I usually do it 3 times, to get a good start… on one you are going to use for camping I would do it more.

    You now have a 'seasoned' iron skillet, coat the pan one more time with the oil of your choice and let it sit on your stove to look pretty till you are ready to use it.

    First Use: I ALWAYS cook bacon in my pan as its first use… it does help.

    Cooking with Iron: Just like normal cookware you want to cook with the lowest temp you need to cook with, you can easily burn stuff into the bottom of the pan by cooking too hot, just like with stainless steel or anything else. As you cook small microscopic bits of iron WILL leach into your food and increase your iron count, this is a health benefit for women who very commonly have a low iron count.

    Cleaning: After cooking there is always the clean up, this is where people freak out and argue and say their method is better. Most experts will say to not use soap, at all, ever. I disagree, but I don't use much. Most foods can be wiped out of the bottom of the pan and then cleaned with just very hot water. However, as an added health measure after I do the normal cleaning, I add a *single* drop of dishsoap and wash the cleaning surface with a brush then rinse really well with hot water. Soap really is optional, and it is NOT recommended by most 'experts' but I use it anyway and have never had any problems… just dont use too much.

    After Cleaning: After the pan is clean re-oil it lightly all over, stick it on low heat for like 5 min and wipe it down.

    If you jack up seasoning it, cooking in it, or cleaning it, just reseason it. Cast Iron is one of those things that will last forever, unlike nonstick teflon which is ruined if you over heat it.

    A Note on camping: Nothing ruins cast iron like cooking on a camp fire, campfire cooking is the #1 cause of 'warping' in cast iron… that doesnt mean you can do it, and it doesnt work well. But a campfire pan will not last as long, and dont use grandmas heirloom cast iron skillet on your campfire… buy one for that purpose exclusively… that's what I did: here are pictures.

    ———————–

    Here is the 6 inch 'camping' pan I purchased off Ebay, I paid under $20 including shipping from a seller in the USA. You prob wont find one that is slate grey like this, it is grey because it had NEVER been seasoned or used. I prob paid a bit more because of that, it was a bit rusty though. Notice, it sits flat, no pitting, no warping, no cracks…





    This is the pan after 2 more and finished:



    —————-

    Disclaimer #2: You are dealing with smoke, heavy objects and you are heating them up VERY VERY HOT. Use common sense, if you burn yourself, die of smoke inhalation, drop the skillet and break your foot… its not my fault, be careful!

    Other than that enjoy your well seasoned, well cared for iron skillet… your grandkids will be using it and enjoying it too.

    a Note on the Wagner and Griswold Collector Society: I cant really say much nice about these guys, they REQUIRE you to use your REAL FULL first and last name on their forums, if you make up a name, they will ban you, forever. They are unforgiving and impolite. I explained to their mods that I had a unique first and last name and that I did not want their forum popping up every time someone at work or a job interview googled my name… their response was to ban me from their forum. If your name is John Smith I reccomend them to learn a bit more, if it isn't the privacy concerns are a bit too much to contend with.







    This is the pan after *1* step of darkening and seasoning, I did not need to put this pan through the cleaning cycle of the oven.

    Cast Iron Skillets for Everyday Use and Beyond.
    By: Merovingian


    Introduction: There are two segments of the population when dealing with Cast Iron, those that grew up on Cast Iron Cookware and those that didn't. Being one of those that did, and since have eaten off an Iron Skillet roughly half of every meal I have ever put in my mouth I find myself in a bit of a position to help that other segment of the population that never touched the stuff but may want to for whatever reason.

    Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert, some of the things I state here my be thought of as 'wrong' by the experts in the field. However this is what works for me, has worked for my family and the way I was taught… by both family and by a bit of research and experience.

    Why Cast Iron? Those that have not grown up on Cast Iron see the stuff as heavy, cumbersome, dirty, and hard to clean and take care of. While each of these points is debatable, the most contentious point is cleaning and taking care of the stuff. Taking care of Cast Iron properly is one of those 'arts' that 50 years ago everyone knew how to do it but has been lost among the fads of stainless steel, copper, and teflon.

    Cast Iron, quite simply is one of those things that if purchased correctly and taken care of will last y our great grandchildren til they have grandchildren. There are MANY families all over the world that have cast iron skillets from 50 to 150 years old as family heirlooms and that still use their skillet weekly or even daily.

    Purchasing Cast Iron: Purchasing cast iron as a 'user' rather than a collector is a fairly simple concept. I DO NOT suggest buying a 'new' and 'pre-seasoned' skillet from ChinaMart such as "Lodge", In my opinion the best Iron Skillets for your uses were made from 1890 to 1960. They can be found almost anywhere, back of your grandmothers pantry, under her sink, in an antique store, piled up at a flea market, on ebay, at a pawn shop, or on the floor or hung on a nail of an abandoned barn. These things are quite literally EVERYWHERE.

    Why not Lodge? Lodge skillets are 'rumored' to be made of sub-standard Iron with weak handles that can 'snap off' if not used correctly. I have nothing to back that up, and it is just internet rumors… so take it as that. HOWEVER, my main complaint with ALL new Iron Skillet cookware is the cooking surface… this is the same from Le Creuset (Higher End) to Lodge (Lower End). You will notice on 'antique' Iron skillets the interior cooking surface is totally smooth, from the center of the cooking surface, up the walls to the top, and the rest of it (the outside) is rough. Newer 'minted' designed the interior is pocked, or rough, then preseasoned on top of this substandard surface. It is for this reason that you can not EVER get the same reliability and non-stick surface off a newer Iron Skillet as you can with an old one… they simply "Don't Make them like they used to." Literally.

    How do I find what I am looking for? The two biggest brand names for the past 200 years of Iron Skillets were Griswold or Wagner. 90% of the skillets you will find will be one of these two brands, if you stick to these two you really cant go wrong as long as the condition is good.

    Size: Sizes can be labeled by either number or by letter, I find it a confusing system as it is not 'standard' But the most popular skillets are "6 Inch" "10 Inch" and "12 Inch". I find the 12 Inch skillets VERY large and heavy… I use a 10 inch for a family of four and I am very happy with it. If you can leave it on the stove forever, or you have a family bigger than 4 you might want the 12 inch version, if not I would almost certainly go for the 10 inch. The 6 inch is small, I use mine for camping… it is big enough to fry two eggs, fold them over to open up the other half and fry two strips of bacon. Its perfect



    A Note on Ebay: If you choose to go for eBay instead of another route, DO NOT buy from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, or Russia. You are very likely to end up with a 'counterfeit' and one made of who knows what… prob lead. And yes… they DO counterfeit Iron Skillets. Buy from the USA or Australia and you should be safe.

    Once you have a skillet in front of you, what are you looking at?

    #1: Look for cracks, if there are cracks ANYWHERE, you do not want that skillet… it has been prob been dropped and isnt worth your time. Chips are 'ok' but it depends on where they are how big and should be taken on a case by case basis.

    #2: Cooking Surface, is it smooth? If yes, you are in good shape.

    #3: Is it a Wagner or Griswold pan? If Yes you are on the right track.

    #4: Is it under $50 shipped? Anything more than this is a 'rare' pan or something, you really shouldnt pay more than $50 including shipping. People over at the Wagner and Griswold collector forum laugh when one of their 12 inch 'common' skillets sell for over 100$ because they took good pictures and oiled it up nice to look pretty, they went to a pawn shop, bought a nasty looking pan for $5 and seasoned it properly then resold it and made 95$ for about 30 min of work and 6 hours of time.

    #5: Other than cracks the number one thing you should look for is warping. If there is ANY warping or weakening in the metal you do not want the pan. The pan should sit level on a flat surface and not wobble much if at all.

    #6: Pitting, look for severe pitting on the outside of the pan and any kind of pitting on the inside. Pitting is due to long term rust and is mostly found on 'barn' skillets that people find buried or on the floor of a barn.

    If you have found a Wagner or Griswold pan, in the size you want, with no cracks, no pitting, no warping and it sits flat on a flat surface. You have found the pan you want… even if it is a bit rusty, in fact, it prob will be.

    I have my pan, now what?

    #1: First you need to clean it. DO NOT Sandblast it or anything crazy… you will just jack up the cooking surface. To clean it wash it with water and dish soap for its initial cleaning. Use steel wool lightly on the inside to get rid of the rust and anything inside… if its not too bad of shape you should use one of those green scour pads instead of steel wool. If you used soap you need to rinse, rinse, rinse and scrub scrub scrub, you do not want any of that soap left on the metal when you are done.

    #1a: If you are not comfortable with the above, or the pan is truly nasty, or has already been seasoned by someone other than a family member or someone who you trust that they know what they are doing, you can put the pan FACE DOWN in your oven and put it on its 'cleaning' cycle… usually a 2 to 3 hour process. YOU MUST LEAVE THE PAN IN THE OVER OVER NIGHT TO COOL IF YOU USE THE OVEN CLEANING METHOD. When the pan comes out it will look red and rusty, and you will think "Aww crap I jacked up my pan" but its fine. Head up to number one and clean with JUST WATER and a scrubber if you are freaked out by the rust… I wouldn't worry about it.

    Once it is clean dry with a towel pretty well… At this point you have two options, you can skip right to seasoning, or you can 'darken' the pan. If you used the oven cleaning method or you dont care about darkening you can skip #2 and go to #3.

    #2: Darkening, you are basically heating th emetal up a bit to darken the iron, stick the pan upside down in the oven on the center rack for one hour at 350, at the end of that hour turn it up to 450 for 30 min. Then Allow to cool enough to handle it.

    #3: If you darkened the pan you are good to go with seasoning, if not you need to heat the pan enough to get rid of any moisture left in/on the metal, so turn your burner on and heat it up on medium for 10 min or so so that the pan is totally dry.

    #4: You need oil, there are 30 different people all over the internet using all different types of oil with different temps. I use EITHER bacon grease or Olive Oil. Bacon Grease is what your grandmother used to season hers, Olive Oil is what I use most of the time though, its easier. What you are basically doing is heating the oil on the pan beyond its smoke point so that it carbonizes. YOU DO NOT WANT ANY KIND OF STICKY OIL, such as vegetable oil.

    Here is a chart for 'advanced' users on the smoke point of various oils.
    http://whatscookingamerica.net/Informat … lTypes.htm

    Some people are able to 'taste' the oil they used to season the pan, I can't but if you are a judge on Iron Chef America or something, choose an oil you like the taste of.

    #5: Once you have chosen an oil, say olive oil for example you need to take a 'lintless' rag of some sort and apply the oil all over the pan, do not over do it. You are not going for a 'wet' look. In fact you need to rub and rub till the pan looks dry, but is still 'dark' from the oil… once the pan is dark with oil, but no longer looks wet you can move on to step #6.

    #6: Heat the oven to 350 and put the pan in FACE DOWN for 30 min, after 30 min turn oven up to 400, after that go to 450 for an hour. Open a window, if it smokes too bad you added too much oil… but it will smoke a little bit either way, your smoke detector may go off. Let the pan cool in the oven.

    #7: Repeat steps 5 and 6 several times if you want to do it right, I usually do it 3 times, to get a good start… on one you are going to use for camping I would do it more.

    You now have a 'seasoned' iron skillet, coat the pan one more time with the oil of your choice and let it sit on your stove to look pretty till you are ready to use it.

    First Use: I ALWAYS cook bacon in my pan as its first use… it does help.

    Cooking with Iron: Just like normal cookware you want to cook with the lowest temp you need to cook with, you can easily burn stuff into the bottom of the pan by cooking too hot, just like with stainless steel or anything else. As you cook small microscopic bits of iron WILL leach into your food and increase your iron count, this is a health benefit for women who very commonly have a low iron count.

    Cleaning: After cooking there is always the clean up, this is where people freak out and argue and say their method is better. Most experts will say to not use soap, at all, ever. I disagree, but I don't use much. Most foods can be wiped out of the bottom of the pan and then cleaned with just very hot water. However, as an added health measure after I do the normal cleaning, I add a *single* drop of dishsoap and wash the cleaning surface with a brush then rinse really well with hot water. Soap really is optional, and it is NOT recommended by most 'experts' but I use it anyway and have never had any problems… just dont use too much.

    After Cleaning: After the pan is clean re-oil it lightly all over, stick it on low heat for like 5 min and wipe it down.

    If you jack up seasoning it, cooking in it, or cleaning it, just reseason it. Cast Iron is one of those things that will last forever, unlike nonstick teflon which is ruined if you over heat it.

    A Note on camping: Nothing ruins cast iron like cooking on a camp fire, campfire cooking is the #1 cause of 'warping' in cast iron… that doesnt mean you can do it, and it doesnt work well. But a campfire pan will not last as long, and dont use grandmas heirloom cast iron skillet on your campfire… buy one for that purpose exclusively… that's what I did: here are pictures.

    ———————–

    Here is the 6 inch 'camping' pan I purchased off Ebay, I paid under $20 including shipping from a seller in the USA. You prob wont find one that is slate grey like this, it is grey because it had NEVER been seasoned or used. I prob paid a bit more because of that, it was a bit rusty though. Notice, it sits flat, no pitting, no warping, no cracks…





    This is the pan after 2 more and finished:



    —————-

    Disclaimer #2: You are dealing with smoke, heavy objects and you are heating them up VERY VERY HOT. Use common sense, if you burn yourself, die of smoke inhalation, drop the skillet and break your foot… its not my fault, be careful!

    Other than that enjoy your well seasoned, well cared for iron skillet… your grandkids will be using it and enjoying it too.

    a Note on the Wagner and Griswold Collector Society: I cant really say much nice about these guys, they REQUIRE you to use your REAL FULL first and last name on their forums, if you make up a name, they will ban you, forever. They are unforgiving and impolite. I explained to their mods that I had a unique first and last name and that I did not want their forum popping up every time someone at work or a job interview googled my name… their response was to ban me from their forum. If your name is John Smith I reccomend them to learn a bit more, if it isn't the privacy concerns are a bit too much to contend with.







    This is the pan after *1* step of darkening and seasoning, I did not need to put this pan through the cleaning cycle of the oven.

    Cast Iron Skillets for Everyday Use and Beyond.
    By: Merovingian


    Introduction: There are two segments of the population when dealing with Cast Iron, those that grew up on Cast Iron Cookware and those that didn't. Being one of those that did, and since have eaten off an Iron Skillet roughly half of every meal I have ever put in my mouth I find myself in a bit of a position to help that other segment of the population that never touched the stuff but may want to for whatever reason.

    Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert, some of the things I state here my be thought of as 'wrong' by the experts in the field. However this is what works for me, has worked for my family and the way I was taught… by both family and by a bit of research and experience.

    Why Cast Iron? Those that have not grown up on Cast Iron see the stuff as heavy, cumbersome, dirty, and hard to clean and take care of. While each of these points is debatable, the most contentious point is cleaning and taking care of the stuff. Taking care of Cast Iron properly is one of those 'arts' that 50 years ago everyone knew how to do it but has been lost among the fads of stainless steel, copper, and teflon.

    Cast Iron, quite simply is one of those things that if purchased correctly and taken care of will last y our great grandchildren til they have grandchildren. There are MANY families all over the world that have cast iron skillets from 50 to 150 years old as family heirlooms and that still use their skillet weekly or even daily.

    Purchasing Cast Iron: Purchasing cast iron as a 'user' rather than a collector is a fairly simple concept. I DO NOT suggest buying a 'new' and 'pre-seasoned' skillet from ChinaMart such as "Lodge", In my opinion the best Iron Skillets for your uses were made from 1890 to 1960. They can be found almost anywhere, back of your grandmothers pantry, under her sink, in an antique store, piled up at a flea market, on ebay, at a pawn shop, or on the floor or hung on a nail of an abandoned barn. These things are quite literally EVERYWHERE.

    Why not Lodge? Lodge skillets are 'rumored' to be made of sub-standard Iron with weak handles that can 'snap off' if not used correctly. I have nothing to back that up, and it is just internet rumors… so take it as that. HOWEVER, my main complaint with ALL new Iron Skillet cookware is the cooking surface… this is the same from Le Creuset (Higher End) to Lodge (Lower End). You will notice on 'antique' Iron skillets the interior cooking surface is totally smooth, from the center of the cooking surface, up the walls to the top, and the rest of it (the outside) is rough. Newer 'minted' designed the interior is pocked, or rough, then preseasoned on top of this substandard surface. It is for this reason that you can not EVER get the same reliability and non-stick surface off a newer Iron Skillet as you can with an old one… they simply "Don't Make them like they used to." Literally.

    How do I find what I am looking for? The two biggest brand names for the past 200 years of Iron Skillets were Griswold or Wagner. 90% of the skillets you will find will be one of these two brands, if you stick to these two you really cant go wrong as long as the condition is good.

    Size: Sizes can be labeled by either number or by letter, I find it a confusing system as it is not 'standard' But the most popular skillets are "6 Inch" "10 Inch" and "12 Inch". I find the 12 Inch skillets VERY large and heavy… I use a 10 inch for a family of four and I am very happy with it. If you can leave it on the stove forever, or you have a family bigger than 4 you might want the 12 inch version, if not I would almost certainly go for the 10 inch. The 6 inch is small, I use mine for camping… it is big enough to fry two eggs, fold them over to open up the other half and fry two strips of bacon. Its perfect



    A Note on Ebay: If you choose to go for eBay instead of another route, DO NOT buy from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, or Russia. You are very likely to end up with a 'counterfeit' and one made of who knows what… prob lead. And yes… they DO counterfeit Iron Skillets. Buy from the USA or Australia and you should be safe.

    Once you have a skillet in front of you, what are you looking at?

    #1: Look for cracks, if there are cracks ANYWHERE, you do not want that skillet… it has been prob been dropped and isnt worth your time. Chips are 'ok' but it depends on where they are how big and should be taken on a case by case basis.

    #2: Cooking Surface, is it smooth? If yes, you are in good shape.

    #3: Is it a Wagner or Griswold pan? If Yes you are on the right track.

    #4: Is it under $50 shipped? Anything more than this is a 'rare' pan or something, you really shouldnt pay more than $50 including shipping. People over at the Wagner and Griswold collector forum laugh when one of their 12 inch 'common' skillets sell for over 100$ because they took good pictures and oiled it up nice to look pretty, they went to a pawn shop, bought a nasty looking pan for $5 and seasoned it properly then resold it and made 95$ for about 30 min of work and 6 hours of time.

    #5: Other than cracks the number one thing you should look for is warping. If there is ANY warping or weakening in the metal you do not want the pan. The pan should sit level on a flat surface and not wobble much if at all.

    #6: Pitting, look for severe pitting on the outside of the pan and any kind of pitting on the inside. Pitting is due to long term rust and is mostly found on 'barn' skillets that people find buried or on the floor of a barn.

    If you have found a Wagner or Griswold pan, in the size you want, with no cracks, no pitting, no warping and it sits flat on a flat surface. You have found the pan you want… even if it is a bit rusty, in fact, it prob will be.

    I have my pan, now what?

    #1: First you need to clean it. DO NOT Sandblast it or anything crazy… you will just jack up the cooking surface. To clean it wash it with water and dish soap for its initial cleaning. Use steel wool lightly on the inside to get rid of the rust and anything inside… if its not too bad of shape you should use one of those green scour pads instead of steel wool. If you used soap you need to rinse, rinse, rinse and scrub scrub scrub, you do not want any of that soap left on the metal when you are done.

    #1a: If you are not comfortable with the above, or the pan is truly nasty, or has already been seasoned by someone other than a family member or someone who you trust that they know what they are doing, you can put the pan FACE DOWN in your oven and put it on its 'cleaning' cycle… usually a 2 to 3 hour process. YOU MUST LEAVE THE PAN IN THE OVER OVER NIGHT TO COOL IF YOU USE THE OVEN CLEANING METHOD. When the pan comes out it will look red and rusty, and you will think "Aww crap I jacked up my pan" but its fine. Head up to number one and clean with JUST WATER and a scrubber if you are freaked out by the rust… I wouldn't worry about it.

    Once it is clean dry with a towel pretty well… At this point you have two options, you can skip right to seasoning, or you can 'darken' the pan. If you used the oven cleaning method or you dont care about darkening you can skip #2 and go to #3.

    #2: Darkening, you are basically heating th emetal up a bit to darken the iron, stick the pan upside down in the oven on the center rack for one hour at 350, at the end of that hour turn it up to 450 for 30 min. Then Allow to cool enough to handle it.

    #3: If you darkened the pan you are good to go with seasoning, if not you need to heat the pan enough to get rid of any moisture left in/on the metal, so turn your burner on and heat it up on medium for 10 min or so so that the pan is totally dry.

    #4: You need oil, there are 30 different people all over the internet using all different types of oil with different temps. I use EITHER bacon grease or Olive Oil. Bacon Grease is what your grandmother used to season hers, Olive Oil is what I use most of the time though, its easier. What you are basically doing is heating the oil on the pan beyond its smoke point so that it carbonizes. YOU DO NOT WANT ANY KIND OF STICKY OIL, such as vegetable oil.

    Here is a chart for 'advanced' users on the smoke point of various oils.
    http://whatscookingamerica.net/Informat … lTypes.htm

    Some people are able to 'taste' the oil they used to season the pan, I can't but if you are a judge on Iron Chef America or something, choose an oil you like the taste of.

    #5: Once you have chosen an oil, say olive oil for example you need to take a 'lintless' rag of some sort and apply the oil all over the pan, do not over do it. You are not going for a 'wet' look. In fact you need to rub and rub till the pan looks dry, but is still 'dark' from the oil… once the pan is dark with oil, but no longer looks wet you can move on to step #6.

    #6: Heat the oven to 350 and put the pan in FACE DOWN for 30 min, after 30 min turn oven up to 400, after that go to 450 for an hour. Open a window, if it smokes too bad you added too much oil… but it will smoke a little bit either way, your smoke detector may go off. Let the pan cool in the oven.

    #7: Repeat steps 5 and 6 several times if you want to do it right, I usually do it 3 times, to get a good start… on one you are going to use for camping I would do it more.

    You now have a 'seasoned' iron skillet, coat the pan one more time with the oil of your choice and let it sit on your stove to look pretty till you are ready to use it.

    First Use: I ALWAYS cook bacon in my pan as its first use… it does help.

    Cooking with Iron: Just like normal cookware you want to cook with the lowest temp you need to cook with, you can easily burn stuff into the bottom of the pan by cooking too hot, just like with stainless steel or anything else. As you cook small microscopic bits of iron WILL leach into your food and increase your iron count, this is a health benefit for women who very commonly have a low iron count.

    Cleaning: After cooking there is always the clean up, this is where people freak out and argue and say their method is better. Most experts will say to not use soap, at all, ever. I disagree, but I don't use much. Most foods can be wiped out of the bottom of the pan and then cleaned with just very hot water. However, as an added health measure after I do the normal cleaning, I add a *single* drop of dishsoap and wash the cleaning surface with a brush then rinse really well with hot water. Soap really is optional, and it is NOT recommended by most 'experts' but I use it anyway and have never had any problems… just dont use too much.

    After Cleaning: After the pan is clean re-oil it lightly all over, stick it on low heat for like 5 min and wipe it down.

    If you jack up seasoning it, cooking in it, or cleaning it, just reseason it. Cast Iron is one of those things that will last forever, unlike nonstick teflon which is ruined if you over heat it.

    A Note on camping: Nothing ruins cast iron like cooking on a camp fire, campfire cooking is the #1 cause of 'warping' in cast iron… that doesnt mean you can do it, and it doesnt work well. But a campfire pan will not last as long, and dont use grandmas heirloom cast iron skillet on your campfire… buy one for that purpose exclusively… that's what I did: here are pictures.

    ———————–

    Here is the 6 inch 'camping' pan I purchased off Ebay, I paid under $20 including shipping from a seller in the USA. You prob wont find one that is slate grey like this, it is grey because it had NEVER been seasoned or used. I prob paid a bit more because of that, it was a bit rusty though. Notice, it sits flat, no pitting, no warping, no cracks…



    Posted via blogwith

    Hamburger/Potato Skillet

    Author Topic: Hamburger/Potato Skillet (Read 1097 times)

    • Survival Veteran

  • Posts: 7596
  • Karma: 180
  • Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « on: January 05, 2015, 02:05:36 PM »

    It was my turn last night to make dinner. Didn't know what to make so I invented something. It was quick, easy, and darn pretty tasty, so I thought I would share it.

    1-1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
    1 medium onion – chopped
    4 stalks of celery – chopped
    4 cloves garlic – chopped
    2 tbs butter
    seasoned salt
    pepper
    thyme
    cumin
    2 cans (10-3/4 oz) cream of mushroom soup
    4 medium potatoes – grated w/ peels on
    1 cup grated cheddar cheese

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I browned the hamburger in our 3-1/2 qt cast iron braiser to make sure it would all fit and that I would only use one piece of cookware. Then I added the onion, celery, garlic, and sauteed all that together. I also added the seasoning, to taste. After that I mixed in the soup, as well as the potatoes. Flatten with spatula and add to oven uncovered for 1 hour. Add cheese and broil until golden brown on top.

    I served this with steamed asparagus spears.

    .

    « Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 02:10:53 PM by nelson96 »

    Logged

    “There are few things more pathetic than those who have lost their curiosity and sense of adventure, and who no longer care to learn.”
    ~ Gordon B. Hinckley

    One hundred thousand generations of people lived and ate as hunter-gatherers, and only two generations have grown up on highly processed fast foods. . . It's not too late

    I've been to the battle field, I've seen the enemy and the enemy is me.
    ~ Paraphrasing 'Pogo' comic strip (author Walt Kelly)

    • Survival Demonstrator

  • Posts: 3166
  • Karma: 120
  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #1 on: January 05, 2015, 03:24:32 PM »

    I will try this out. I'm also a "one pot" man when I can get away with it. The other night I whipped up a "tater tot casserole" that was rather similar to this, but with the notable exception of frozen tater tots instead of grated potatoes.

    1-1/2 lean grnd beef
    2 celery
    1 carrot
    1 med onion
    (spices I forget, but know I used paprika)
    1 can cream of mushroom soup

    Cook similar to yours, but add cooked meat and veggies into baking dish, mix in soup (cream of chicken works too) and layer tots on top.
    Bake in oven 350F for 35min+

    You could add shredded cheese on top.

    This is one of many "last ditch" dad has to cook on short notice type meals.

    Logged

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/S5QPSCX

    • Survival Veteran

  • Posts: 7596
  • Karma: 180
  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #2 on: January 05, 2015, 03:32:26 PM »

    I will try this out. I'm also a "one pot" man when I can get away with it. The other night I whipped up a "tater tot casserole" that was rather similar to this, but with the notable exception of frozen tater tots instead of grated potatoes.

    1-1/2 lean grnd beef
    2 celery
    1 carrot
    1 med onion
    (spices I forget, but know I used paprika)
    1 can cream of mushroom soup

    Cook similar to yours, but add cooked meat and veggies into baking dish, mix in soup (cream of chicken works too) and layer tots on top.
    Bake in oven 350F for 35min+

    You could add shredded cheese on top.

    This is one of many "last ditch" dad has to cook on short notice type meals.

    I've done something very similar but as a shepards pie. . . . Replace tator tots with mashed potatoes.

    Logged

    “There are few things more pathetic than those who have lost their curiosity and sense of adventure, and who no longer care to learn.”
    ~ Gordon B. Hinckley

    One hundred thousand generations of people lived and ate as hunter-gatherers, and only two generations have grown up on highly processed fast foods. . . It's not too late

    I've been to the battle field, I've seen the enemy and the enemy is me.
    ~ Paraphrasing 'Pogo' comic strip (author Walt Kelly)

    • The Defenestrator
    • Global Moderator
    • Survival Veteran

  • Posts: 7068
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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #3 on: January 05, 2015, 03:34:40 PM »

    Any suggestion for avoiding the "cream of" soup? I have a kid that seems to be allergic to all the cream soups. (vomiting)

    Logged

    F_M
    Check out my blogs at The Homestead Fritz and Camping With Fritz

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #4 on: January 05, 2015, 03:37:40 PM »

    Any suggestion for avoiding the "cream of" soup? I have a kid that seems to be allergic to all the cream soups. (vomiting)

    Maybe some sour cream after it cooks? Like stroganoff?

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #5 on: January 05, 2015, 03:49:18 PM »

    When I was a short order cook the signature dish was hash browns cooked with onions and peppers until done. At that point you'd dump a couple scrambled eggs and mix until it cooked through. Cheese on top and cover til it melts. Heaven. I add bacon of course.

    It's become popular at the cabin since. Sounds like you guys are aligning pretty close. It's a great scratch way to feed many.

    Fritz- try a dollop of Mexican sour cream or even Greek yogurt in a pinch. Just know you might need to add mushrooms, onions, garlic, etc. that the soup offers. I can't stand most "cream of…" soups but mushroom will always hold a place in my heart for down home pork casseroles as a kid. You could probably get away with some kind of bechamel, sauce Mornay, or hollandaise (my fave) and it would be all the better for it. Most of us use canned soups as a shortcut for real French sauces anyway. You could thicken chicken stock with a roux and probably get close.

    Nostalgia for the days of sous chefery…

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #6 on: January 05, 2015, 04:14:53 PM »

    Any suggestion for avoiding the "cream of" soup? I have a kid that seems to be allergic to all the cream soups. (vomiting)

    I'm guessing that it's a lactose issue?

    The soup is really just a binding agent that's quick/easy and adds good flavor. I would say that you can substitute a lactose free soup but I'm not sure they make a condensed version. When I add the cream of mushroom, I throw it in straight from the can without adding water.

    Eggs would work, but would change the dish completely.

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #7 on: January 05, 2015, 04:23:58 PM »

    Any suggestion for avoiding the "cream of" soup? I have a kid that seems to be allergic to all the cream soups. (vomiting)

    My daughter is gluten intolerant. Not full on celiac, and she can enjoy the rare pastry, but I just make cream of chicken soup using gluten free flour.

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #8 on: January 05, 2015, 04:30:02 PM »

    I've done something very similar but as a shepards pie. . . . Replace tator tots with mashed potatoes.

    When I make mashed potatoes I often will make 2-3 times what I expect we'll eat in a meal for this reason. Otherwise mashed potatoes from scratch are too involved for a improvised meal.

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #9 on: January 05, 2015, 04:35:45 PM »

    mashed potatoes from scratch are too involved for a improvised meal.

    Oh but so worth it.
    Next time you make mashed potatoes, add real butter, half & half, garlic powder, shredded pepper jack cheese. . . . It'll be worth it. You don't even have to peel the potatoes or mash them up very well.

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #10 on: January 05, 2015, 05:32:06 PM »

    Mashed potatoes freeze really well in food saver bags too. I did about 20 pounds in 5 different bags…just thaw and serve!

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #11 on: January 05, 2015, 05:35:26 PM »

    And they make a weird breakfast when smashed in a waffle iron… I actually love waffled mashed potatoes with cream, chives, and caviar.

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #12 on: January 05, 2015, 05:51:51 PM »

    And they make a weird breakfast when smashed in a waffle iron… I actually love waffled mashed potatoes with cream, chives, and caviar.

    I didn't realize MN had legalized recreational marijuana

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #13 on: January 05, 2015, 06:11:32 PM »

    No, our governor is a drunk not a pothead. It's a shame too when you watch loved ones crippled by arthritis or Crone's.

    I'm what you call a "foodie". As a youngin' I worked in a series of restaurants, caterers, and still moonlight as an adviser to bakeries. In our house a whim means Belgian steamed mussels or Dutch pancakes. I have a copy of Modernist Cuisine if it puts things in perspective. Yes, I make foams, gels, and the like. Sous vide is great. Ferran Adria is a personal hero.

    http://modernistcuisine.com/books/modernist-cuisine/
    I'd highly recommend it. Worth the $500.

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #14 on: January 05, 2015, 06:20:13 PM »

    We don't need no stinking cook books?

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #15 on: January 05, 2015, 07:03:46 PM »

    $500

    We don't need no stinking cook books?

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #16 on: January 05, 2015, 07:08:45 PM »

    a recipe for home made Hamburger Helper

    Bite your tongue.

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #17 on: January 05, 2015, 09:35:35 PM »

    Nelson, it sounds awesome. I will try it out with the family.

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #18 on: January 05, 2015, 09:54:32 PM »

    Nelson, it sounds awesome. I will try it out with the family.

    Let me know what they think.

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #19 on: January 05, 2015, 10:23:18 PM »

    I'm going to try it too. Sounds like dishes we like making.

    I make one kinda similar but with just with potatoes (sliced like patties) , onions hamburg & fennel

    I use fennel in a lot of my dishes since it's a great natural defense against acid reflux

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #20 on: January 06, 2015, 01:00:20 AM »

    I use fennel in a lot of my dishes since it's a great natural defense against acid reflux

    Interesting, I didn't know that.

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  • Re: Hamburger/Potato Skillet
    « Reply #21 on: January 06, 2015, 04:29:48 AM »

    Interesting, I didn't know that.

    yeah, I get it bad & after 1 particularly bad episode my wife looked up natural remedies on the web & voila – works better than Tums!

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    11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime | Ready Nutrition

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    11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime

    Tess Pennington
    Ready Nutrition
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    Did you know that with proper storage techniques, you can have a lifetime supply of certain foods? Certain foods can stand the test of time, and continue being a lifeline to the families that stored it. Knowing which foods last indefinitely and how to store them are you keys to success.

    The best way to store food for the long term is by using a multi-barrier system. This system protects the food from natural elements such as moisture and sunlight, as well as from insect infestations.

    Typically, those who store bulk foods look for inexpensive items that have multi-purposes and will last long term. Listed below are 11 food items that are not only multi-purpose preps, but they can last a lifetime!

    Honey

    Honey never really goes bad. In a tomb in Egypt 3,000 years ago, honey was found and was still edible. If there are temperature fluctuations and sunlight, then the consistency and color can change. Many honey harvesters say that when honey crystallizes, then it can be re-heated and used just like fresh honey. Because of honey’s low water content, microorganisms do not like the environment.

    Uses: curing, baking, medicinal, wine (mead)

    Salt

    Although salt is prone to absorbing moisture, it’s shelf life is indefinite. This indispensable mineral will be a valuable commodity in a long term disaster and will be a essential bartering item.

    Uses: curing, preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, tanning hides

    Sugar

    Life would be so boring without sugar. Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container.

    Uses: sweetener for beverages, breads, cakes, preservative, curing, gardening, insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches).

    Wheat

    Wheat is a major part of the diet for over 1/3 of the world. This popular staple supplies 20% of daily calories to a majority of the world population. Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita­mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.

    Uses: baking, making alcohol, livestock feed, leavening agent

    Dried corn

    Essentially, dried corn can be substituted for any recipe that calls for fresh corn. Our ancestors began drying corn because of it’s short lived season. To extend the shelf life of corn, it has to be preserved by drying it out so it can be used later in the year.

    Uses: soups, cornmeal, livestock feed, hominy and grits, heating source (do a search for corn burning fireplaces).

    Baking soda

    This multi-purpose prep is a must have for long term storage.

    Uses: teeth cleaner, household cleaner, dish cleaner, laundry detergent booster, leavening agent for baked goods, tarnish remover

    Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa

    Adding these to your long term storage will not only add a variety to just drinking water, but will also lift morale. Instant coffee is high vacuum freeze dried. So, as long as it is not introduced to moisture, then it will last. Storage life for all teas and cocoas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by repackaging the items with a vacuum sealing.

    Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

    Non-carbonated soft drinks

    Although many of us prefer carbonated beverages, over time the sugars break down and the drink flavor is altered. Non-carbonated beverages stand a longer test of time. And, as long as the bottles are stored in optimum conditions, they will last. Non-carbonated beverages include: vitamin water, Gatorade, juices, bottled water.

    Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

    White rice

    White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, cheap and has a long shelf life. If properly stored this popular food staple can last 30 years or more.

    Uses: breakfast meal, addition to soups, side dishes, alternative to wheat flour

    Bouillon products

    Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved. However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered. If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags.

    Uses: flavoring dishes

    Powdered milk

    Powdered milk can last indefinitely, however, it is advised to prolong it’s shelf life by either repackaging it for longer term storage, or placing it in the freezer. If the powdered milk developes an odor or has turned a yellowish tint, it’s time to discard.

    Uses: beverage, dessert, ingredient for certain breads, addition to soup and baked goods.

    Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

    Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals.

    Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

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    DIY Optical Illusion Garden Mirror – Empress of Dirt

    DIY Optical Illusion Garden Mirror

    04.22.2015 by // 2 Comments

    Would you like to start a secret garden? Good news! This project may look complicated but it’s really not. It’s an illusion! I have a super simple tip (below) that makes it really easy to turn any rectangular mirror into cool, optical illusion garden art and you will not need to do any special measurements or calculations.

    While you could make this project without power tools, it is preferable that you have an electric saw that does miter cuts, although you could use a hand saw instead. The electric saw will just make the cutting faster and easier.

    If you would like info on keeping mirrors safe in the garden (for you and the birds), see How to Use Mirrors in the Garden.

    This One Cost $12

    I’ve been admiring these mirrors for years and, after seeing one priced at $290, decided I probably could make my own. Nothing like inflated prices to make you feel like you can do it yourself!

    As it turns out, it was much easier (and faster) than I expected. In fact, you could probably make your own (other than waiting for the paint to dry) in less time than it will take me to write these instructions.

    This project cost me a whopping $12 to make with the purchase of a mirror, wood, and hardware at the thrift store. I used leftover paint from my garden shed makeover.


    Optical Illusion Design Ideas

    There are so many possibilities for these mirrors but they all have the same basic design.

    Look at the images below.

    Every mirror has an outer frame and an inner frame, which is the section that creates the illusion.

    Here’s the same design with window grilles:

    This next one is simply doubled to look like two open windows:

    And here’s another variation made to look like an open garden gate.

    This can be really cool when placed on the ground against a garden fence.

    To create my optical illusion mirror, I used the design with window grilles but simplified it so there were fewer wood cuts required.

    Tips for Best Results

    Before we get started with the instructions, here’s a few things to consider:

    • Use the same size/thickness of wood for the entire project (unless your mirror already has a nice frame). I used 1×2″ lumber.
    • There are many options for joining the wood pieces: this may determine which thickness of wood you choose (if you have some experience or expertise with woodworking). I’ve listed what I used in the materials section below.
    • Think about how you will hang the mirror (if it doesn’t already have a frame and hanging hardware) and plan accordingly.
    • Paint the inner and outer frames the same colour. This seems to enhance the effect of the illusion.
    • Paint all sides of the wood including the sides and back since it will be reflected by the mirror.
    • Add hardware (hinges and handle) to give the effect of a functioning window or door.

    Super Simple Construction Tip

    I mentioned this project can be done without any special measurements or calculations and here’s how.

    Make a paper version first.

    By creating a paper template, you will know exactly how much wood you need, you”ll have a template for each wood cut, and you’ll be able to double check the design before ever cutting the wood.

    I’ll walk you through the steps below to show how to create your design.


    1. Get materials and tools ready (list below).
    2. Make paper template for the wood cuts.
    3. Cut wood.
    4. Assemble.
    5. Prime and paint (or stain) all sides of wood.
    6. Attach hinges and handle.
    7. Secure mirror to back of frame.
    8. Attach wood pieces to front of mirror.
    9. Add hanging hardware.
    10. Hang it up in the garden and amaze your friends.

    Materials & Tools Needed

    There are so many options depending on your woodworking skills or standards.
    I’m a complete amateur but wanted something sturdy that looks good.

    Some links go to sites including Amazon.com where I am an affiliate.


    I put the mirror on a table and then created my template on top of it.
    You could either cut out strips of paper using the wood as a template (for the width of the paper strips) or simply draw the whole thing on a large piece of paper and cut out the pattern pieces.

    Have a look at the diagram (above) for guidance.

    Many of you will probably be able to make the project simply by seeing the diagram and making the template.

    If written instructions help, keep going. Otherwise, draw a design you like on paper, cut out the wood, and go for it!

    Outer Frame Parts A and B – 2 of each
    Decide whether you want to make mitered or butted corners.
    I made mitered corners and created an outer frame that is larger than the mirror by 1″ on each side (2″ total) to allow room for attaching the mirror to the back of the frame.

    Inner Frame Parts C (2), E, F, G, H, I
    The inner frame has 4 sides plus the inner wood pieces forming a cross.

    Create your paper template in this order:

    • E- Fits the inside space next to A.
    • G- is parallel to A (the outer frame) and placed equal distance from the top and bottom B pieces.
    • There’s also a gap between G and the nearest A (which helps create the illusion of the window being open).
    • First determine the desired location of G but hold off with the length for now.
    • G has two angled cuts but you need the C pieces first.
    • C – These two pieces are the same (you just turn one over after cutting it out).
    • The C pieces have two angled cuts (labelled 1 & 2, and 5&6). With G and E in place, cut out the C pieces to fit nicely against them.
    • See how cuts 3 & 4 on the G piece line up with the outer edges of the C pieces? Trim G at the top and bottom using the outer edges of the C pieces as your guide.

    Make the Inner Cross

    With E, G, and the two C pieces taped in place, make the inner cross pieces.

    • F is placed parallel to E and G, and slightly closer to G than E.
    • F has two angled cuts (7&8).

    Make H and I

    With F also taped in place, create H and I.

    • H will be slightly longer than I (because F is slightly closer to G than E).

    If it looks good, you’re ready to cut the wood.

    Cut the Wood

    • Label each pattern piece and trace them onto the wood.
    • Cut out the wood.
    • Sand any rough edges.
    • You can either prime and paint (or stain) first or after assembly.

    Here’s a close-up of the lower left corner:




    metal mending plates
    clamps



    GE II silicone sealant

    Whatever you use, make sure it’s suitable for glass/mirrors and wood, and do not apply it near the edges where it will be reflected by the mirror.

    Secure the mirror to the back of the frame. I used mirror clips.

    Add hanging hardware. I used heavy duty picture hanging hardware.





    copper colour

    If You Make One Too

    I’d love to see it! It would be great to create a gallery of all sorts of optical illusion windows, doors, and gates.

    Love it? Share it on Pinterest

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