February 1st, 2012

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Plans and Goals

Sometimes it helps to talk out the things you want to do and the projects you want to work on, and get cheers for stuff you've finished.

*  What are some of your upcoming plans and goals?
*  Are any of them things you'll need help with, and if so, what kind of help?
*  What are some plans/goals that you have recently completed?
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New Crowdfunding Project: "Sitting Bull's Voice"

"Sitting Bull's Voice" is a documentary project over on Kickstarter.  The goal is to preserve some of the history relating to a famous Native American leader and his descendants.  

I'm really excited to see this project.  The topic is a personal favorite; I love studying tribal history.  Also, I think that crowdfunding is a great match for Native American culture because the tribes are so community-oriented.  I'm also pleased to see someone using this business model to preserve aspects of the past, such as oral tradition, that are easily lost and not well respected by the mainstream.

You can help by making a donation and/or boosting the signal.
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Slow Cooking for Beginners

This is my post for the "Cooking for People Who Don't: Food Security Round" carnival.

A slow cooker, also known as a crockpot, is a cheap and easy way to make food.  It uses a small amount of electricity to cook food at low heat over a long time.  Some are very simple and just have a High/Low setting.  A fancier model may have several settings -- mine has them marked by hours -- a warm function, a timer, a removable ceramic liner, etc.  The slow cooker makes it possible to cook food overnight, or while you are away from home, safely and effectively.

Suit the size to your needs.  Pint-sized ones can be used to heat sauces, gravies, etc.  A 2-quart cooker is good for one or two people. A 4-5 quart cooker works for family-sized meals.  For large groups or preservation, you may want a big 7-8 quart cooker. You can make a large amount of something, divide it into portions, then can or freeze it for later use.  This is much cheaper than buying convenience foods, and the results can be healthier too.

Slow cookers are good for making all kinds of different foods, but some of the best-known recipes are for cheap filling foods.  You can make a big crock of ham and beans for under $5.  Spaghetti sauce can be made in large batches and frozen for later.  (My favorites include "Beefsteak Tomato Sauce," "Golden Spaghetti Sauce," and "Roma Tomato Sauce.") There are easy dessert recipes for slow cookers, such as "Berry Sweet Dumplings."   Finally, learn to make stock.  It is easy to do using leftovers, so it doesn't cost anything; and the results are better and cheaper than storebought broth or stock.