Self-reliance by Jeffrey R. Yago [download top books to read]

  • Full Title : Self-reliance: Recession-proof your pantry
  • Autor: Jeffrey R. Yago
  • Print Length: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Backwoods Home Magazine
  • Publication Date: December 2, 2012
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: B00AHER3TU
  • ISBN-13: 
  • Download File Format: mobi


Recession-proof your pantry with these ideas on long-term storage, what to keep in your pantry, canning basics, freezing and dehydrating foods, and recipes to help you in good times and bad. This self-reliance guide from Backwoods Home Magazine is a must-have for everyone starting on the road to self-reliance as well as those well along their way.




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A cozy morning enriches mind and body. Its fortifying rituals prepare us for whatever obstacles might arise in the ensuing hours. Morning is a time to map out what lies ahead, take time to care for yourself and others, wake up the imagination, and create a solid foundation for a successful day.

Developing a routine we can count on is one sure way to feel cozy the whole day through. It’s the hygge way to do the morning. But there is more to a hygge morning than organization; it is also a time to arouse the creative mind and enliven the imagination. It’s the luscious moment when everything seems possible, the day filled with promise. There is strength to be derived from a cozy morning routine. A brisk walk invigorates your body and charges your mind.

Treating those we love with tenderness the instant they open their sleepy eyes wraps our relationships in love and respect. And inviting friends and family into our homes at the beginning of the day to nourish them with healthful food and warm company is the hyggeligt way.


There are so many ways to create a morning infused with the spirit of hygge. One of the best is to jumpstart the day with coffee or tea. It goes without saying that coffee and tea are the king and queen of most mornings throughout the world, and Scandinavia is no different. But even these fundamental sunrise mainstays can be made extraordinary with a little tweaking.

Our coffee of choice in Reykjavík is roasted and served at Reykjavík Roasters—a cozy café a few blocks from Gunnar’s restaurant, Dill—where coffee creation is an art form. Reykjavík Roasters’ owner is an award-winning barista from Iceland, who learned his craft at the Coffee Collective, a beloved Copenhagen coffee shop. He returned to Reykjavík with a passion for coffee that has turned his little café into the place to go for a perfect cuppa in a setting that is hygge through and through, with its basket of yarn and knitting needles on a shelf for anyone with a hankering, a vintage record player in one corner, and inviting nooks and crannies where coffee lovers settle in for a long morning of good conversation and cups of rich, perfectly brewed coffee.

With a bit of planning, the ritual of coffee or tea drinking can be elevated in your own home on even the busiest days, just as it is at Reykjavík Roasters. Stage everything you’ll need the night before to avoid scrambling for the beans, filters, mugs, and spoons in the morning. Consider adding a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or nutmeg or swirling in a few drops of high-quality vanilla extract to elevate the usual routine. Buy a mug or traveling cup that feels unique, not utilitarian. Pick up coffee beans or tea during your travels to bring back memories from a relaxing vacation with each morning cup.

How to Make a Perfect Cup of Coffee or Tea at Home


Scandinavians love coffee. The average person enjoys around twenty pounds of coffee annually, with Finland in the lead at twenty-eight annual pounds per individual. Coffee breaks are an important part of the culture. In Finland and Sweden, a coffee break is called a fika, which is also the word for a coffee shop and even “coffee” itself. Norwegians and Danes refer to it as a kaffeslabberas; and for Icelanders, a coffee break is a kaffiboð, which, similar to a fika, is often accompanied by a light snack.

Selecting Coffee Beans

Be wary of inexpensive coffee beans. They are often of poor quality and dubious origin and will leave a bitter taste in your mouth. A good bean begins its life at the farm where it was cultivated. Look for “green,” or unroasted, beans that can be traced back to their source and were grown sustainably by farmers who were paid a fair wage. Companies that source this kind of bean usually proudly display it on their label. Now, it’s time for roasting; freshly roasted beans are ideal. Many coffee shops roast their beans in-house and are an excellent place to begin your search. The best bean flavor exists within the first two weeks of roasting, when the roasting oils are unspoiled and the overall flavor is broad and complex. Whole beans are essential because there is significant flavor loss once they are ground. Ground beans should be processed immediately. Invest in a coffee grinder or even an inexpensive spice grinder to grind beans yourself. Do not overgrind; your beans should be ground to order to avoid the bitterness that arises when the oils are overly agitated.


There are many ways to brew a perfect cup of coffee. The result should be acidically well-balanced with a barely there, toasty-sweet note that emerges with each sip. It should have a slight velvety mouthfeel and a lingering sensation that is not bitter but is instead animated by subtle notes of nuttiness and depth. If you live in an area where there is a high concentration of fluoride, calcium, or chlorine in your water, use neutral distilled water or filtered spring water instead. Here are a few options that result in multiple cups of flavorful coffee.

French Press

Equipment: French press, freshly ground coffee beans, very hot but not boiling water, and a spoon

Depending on the size of your press, place approximately 6 tablespoons of freshly ground coffee beans into the press.

Pour the hot water into the press; the ratio between liquid and grounds should be 10:1. Let this steep untouched for 5 minutes.

Scrape the surface of the liquid with the spoon to remove accumulated froth and stray grounds.

Using the plunger, gently press it down into the coffee to push the grounds to the bottom of the press. Pour into cups and serve.

Drip Filter

This is not the filtered coffee produced by a machine. Instead, it’s the pour-over method that enables you to retain control of the speed at which the water is filtered through the grounds.

Equipment: paper filter (preferably unbleached), porcelain filter cone (available online and in most kitchen supply stores), receptacle such as a glass or ceramic decanter, hot but not boiling water, freshly ground coffee beans

Arrange the filter inside the cone and place the cone over the receptacle. Pour hot water through the filter in order to rid it of its fibrous flavor note. Discard the water in the receptacle and rearrange the cone and filter on top.

Place approximately 6 tablespoons of freshly ground coffee beans into the filter.

Slowly pour 4 cups of hot water over the grounds. Pour only enough during this first stage to moisten (or bloom) your grounds. Give them about 30 seconds to adjust and then complete the process. The pour should last between 3 to 4 minutes. Enjoy!


Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It’s encouraging to think that centuries of trial and error have gone into brewing a perfect cup. There are more than fifteen hundred varieties of tea on the planet, but only four categories of tea leaf. Herbal incarnations are technically not authentic “tea.” More than six billion pounds of tea leaves are harvested annually around the world. The flavor notes of the highest-quality leaves can be compared to an esteemed bottle of wine. Look for tea that can be traced back to its source and is grown organically by farmers and pickers who are treated fairly. Tea leaf varieties include the following.

White: White tea is the rarest, most valuable, and most healthful of all tea varieties because it is the first stage in a tea leaf’s growth, is relatively unprocessed, and is densely packed with nutrients such as antioxidants and amino acids. It is hand-harvested in the spring, contains the least amount of caffeine, and should have a silvery-white color. The best white teas taste slightly sweet, with a perfumed aroma.

Green: Green tea is the second stage in a tea leaf’s life. It contains high levels of antioxidants and its flavor notes can vary depending upon how it is processed, which occurs after the white leaf loses its moisture content and takes on a limp appearance. In Japan, it is steamed, which gives it a pronounced herbal quality; in China, where it is traditionally roasted, its flavor profile is more pronounced. Both techniques are what give green tea leaves their distinctive, tightly rolled shape.

Oolong: Oolong tea, which falls between green and black tea, is produced in Asia, where the leaves are traditionally tossed in bamboo racks to mildly bruise them. This causes the tea’s enzymes to react to oxygen and is what gives oolong its multifaceted flavor profile. Oolong that is darker in appearance will have a more caramelized flavor, whereas leaves that are lighter in color will have a more delicate floral note.

Black: Black tea is fully oxidized and is the most popular tea variety in the Western world. The iconic Earl Grey, Darjeeling, and English Breakfast are all black tea varieties. After the leaf is fully oxidized, it is fired to stop the process. The malty, robust flavor typically has notes of caramel and subtle dark chocolate.

Brewing Tea

The variety of tea leaf will determine the ratio of water to tea as well as its temperature and steeping time. If using a tea bag, the volume of tea is suitable for one cup of tea.

White tea: 2 teaspoons tea to 1 cup water at 160° for 1 to 2 minutes

Green tea: 1 to 2 teaspoons tea to 1 cup water at 180° for 3 to 5 minutes

Oolong tea: 1 to 2 teaspoons tea to 1 cup water at 175° for 1 to 3 minutes

Black tea: 1 teaspoon tea to 1 cup water at 200° for 3 to 5 minutes

Equipment, Process, and Tips

The equipment required to brew a quality cup of tea and the process itself are relatively simple. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Equipment: tea, infuser (if not using a tea bag), cup, and distilled water

Process: Place your tea bag or infuser in your cup and heat the water to the temperature outlined. Pour the water into your cup and steep as indicated. Remove the tea bag (or infuser) and enjoy.


Water that is too hot will flatten the tea’s flavor.

For stronger tea, do not increase the steeping time, as this can make the tea taste bitter. Instead, increase the volume of tea leaves.


(Icelandic beignets)

In Iceland, the kleinur (“kly-noor”) pastry recipe has been passed down from one generation to the next for as long as anyone can remember. These addictive little treats, sweet and crunchy on the outside and airy and tender on the inside, are an integral part of chilly Icelandic mornings.


4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

½ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

1 egg

½ cup buttermilk, or as needed

2 quarts peanut or canola oil

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cardamom (if using). Add the egg and stir with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Add the buttermilk in increments until the batter comes together and resembles shaggy chocolate chip cookie dough; it should not be runny.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the peanut oil to 350°F. Line a plate with a double layer of paper towels.

Lightly flour a clean work surface and rolling pin. Place the dough on the surface and gently roll out into a ½-inch-thick rectangle. (Add additional flour to the rolling pin if necessary.) Using a sharp paring knife, cut the kleinur into long diamond shapes. Lay a damp cloth towel over the kleinur so they do not dry out.

Working in batches so as not to crowd the surface of the oil, use a spatula to pick up each kleinur and carefully transfer to the oil. The batter will sink instantly, but rise to the surface within 2 to 3 minutes. Once it does, use a wooden spoon to turn gently and continue to fry until both sides are just golden brown, approximately 30 seconds more.

Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the kleinur to the prepared plate. Immediately sift confectioners’ sugar over the kleinur. After the first batch, allow the oil to return to 350°F before repeating the process. Serve piping hot.


Coffee is one way to jumpstart the morning engine, but hiking or walking through your neighborhood is another way to fuel the day. If you’d like to combine the two, in Norway there’s turkaffe, which translates as a coffee break while hiking. Movement through walking shakes off lethargy and perks up your brain. Morning exercise affords time to map out the hours ahead and find solutions to issues that might arise. Since the sun rises so early during the spring and summer months throughout Scandinavia, early morning hikes, commencing when the rest of the world is still sleeping, are not uncommon. We once hiked along the top of a glacier on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland at 3:00 a.m., just as the July sun was beginning to rise. Scandinavians relish long springtime hikes after a winter of strolling in perpetual twilight. In Sweden, where it is said that the indigenous Sami people determine the length of their walk by the brews of coffee required to complete the trail, the 620-mile-long Skåneleden trail in the south of the country features well-posted signs, ancient forests, abundant wildlife, and quaint red cottages for lodging. In Norway, the breathtaking 12-mile-long Trolltunga walk features towering cliffs and culminates in “the tongue,” a shard of rock perched high above the pristine water. Venturing to the edge of it is not for the faint of heart.

But you don’t have to be in Scandinavia to relish a gratifying hike. Even a brisk morning walk through a non-rural area can inspire hygge moments. Instead of packing snacks, bring your wallet and see it as an opportunity to check out a new restaurant or coffee shop. Carry a lightweight collapsible bag in your pocket; you never know what discoveries you might make at a local market.

Spiced Buttermilk Fritters

The crispy, golden brown exterior of these spiced fritters gives way to an airy interior with a subtle buttermilk tanginess. They call for cultured, not traditional thin, buttermilk; the cultured type provides the thick consistency needed to achieve a properly puffed fritter. They’re the perfect recipe for a family breakfast because they are so versatile and have a way of pleasing everyone at the table. Later in the day, they are also nimble partners for bowls of hot soup, and they make lovely sandwiches when halved and stacked with sliced ham or turkey, pickles, your family’s favorite cheese, and a spread of mustard and mayonnaise. For something sweet rather than savory, substitute cinnamon and nutmeg for the cumin and sprinkle them with confectioners’ sugar as they emerge from the fryer—a Scandinavian version of a beignet. They are best served puffed and hot, but will hold up for a few hours when stored in a covered container at room temperature. On the weekend, serve with pints of cold beer for the adults and berry spritzers (see this page) for the kids.


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1½ teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon melted butter, plus softened butter for serving (optional)

1 cup cultured buttermilk

1 gallon canola oil

Slices of cheese, such as Swiss or Harvarti, and prosciutto for serving (optional)

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the melted butter and buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. If the dough feels too tight, add a little water to loosen it in order to achieve a malleable but not runny consistency.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the canola oil to 350°F. Line a few plates with a double layer of paper towels.

Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough ¾ inch thick. Cut the dough into squares approximately the size of a playing card. Using a slotted spoon, carefully drop the squares into the oil, one by one, being careful not to crowd the pot. The fritters will sink to the bottom but rise to the surface in about 3 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, gently flip them in the oil until they just begin to turn golden brown on all sides. Transfer to the prepared plates and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining fritter dough.

Serve piping hot alongside a bowl of softened butter and a plate of cheese and prosciutto.

Pancakes with Berries and Whipped Cream

Begin the morning with a large stack of hot Scandinavian pancakes glistening with melted butter, with bowls of fresh berries and freshly whipped cream on the side. It gets you as close to cozy as any breakfast can. Scandinavian pancakes are a distant cousin to bready American-style pancakes. In Nordic countries, they are nearly as thin as a sheet of paper, with a feathery-light texture similar to a crepe and a sweet finish. They’re typically prepared using a specialty Scandinavian pancake pan, but a crepe pan or even a 9-inch nonstick sauté pan will work. Skilled Scandinavian pancake makers flip their pancakes by sending them airborne with a flick of the wrist. Mastering this step might require a few attempts, but don’t be discouraged. Once you’ve acquired the pancake-flipping skill, it’s a fun way to impress your friends and family. If you’re not confident in your flipping abilities, use a large offset spatula.


2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

2 tablespoons melted butter, plus softened butter for serving

¾ cup whole milk, or as needed

Canola oil for frying

Freshly whipped cream, blueberries or other fresh berries, and ground cinnamon for serving

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the eggs and melted butter and stir with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the batter is smooth and thin.

Pour about ½ cup canola oil into a small bowl. Dip a paper towel into the oil and rub it over the surface of a Scandinavian pancake pan or crepe or nonstick sauté pan until the pan glistens. Set a plate next to the pan.

Warm the prepared pan over medium heat until it is hot but not smoking. Using a ladle, pour approximately ½ cup of batter onto the center of the hot pan to form a layer as thin as a playing card. Wearing an oven mitt, gently swirl the pan to evenly distribute the batter, then return it to the heat.

Watch the pancake carefully for tiny bubbles to form over the surface, about 3 minutes. When the bubbles start to form and approximately 1 inch of the edge looks drier than the interior and deepens in color, flip the pancake with a flick of your wrist, or use a large offset spatula.

After 2 minutes, use the spatula to lift one side of the pancake to see if the bottom is light golden brown. Once the pancake is ready, lift the pan and, using the spatula, slip the pancake onto the plate. Use a paper towel to carefully rub the hot pan with another slick of oil and return the pan to the stove, allowing about 30 seconds to heat back up. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter. Cover the finished pancakes with a cloth towel as you work to keep them as warm as possible. Once all the pancakes are cooked, distribute them on serving plates and serve alongside bowls of whipped cream and blueberries, with the cinnamon and softened butter.


The custom of breakfast in bed should not be relegated to Victorian times or Downton Abbey reruns. It’s an unexpected surprise guaranteed to elicit feelings of jo


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