Monday, June 27, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade- Cheddar Cheese Powder

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Homework isn't just for kids.  I received an assignment in one of my food storage classes at Honeyville Grain, (have I sold you on attending these classes yet?!?!)  and it was to open a #10 can that we had in our homes and actually use it.  I have many cans that are "for an emergency only" and I was really excited to have this challenge.  

I chose to open my #10 can of cheddar cheese powder.  I have had a recipe for Cheddar Cheese Crisps that I have had in my recipe "to do" pile, so now was my chance!!  I tried two different recipes and my kids liked both of them so I think I will continue to make these.  After making crackers though, I will say that I am surprised that crackers in the store aren't more expensive.  They are really tricky to get the right thinness so they don't puff up like pita bread.  I found that if I rolled out the dough on the cookie sheet and cut shapes directly on the cookie sheet, I could get the dough thin and cut without having to transfer the dough from the counter to the tray.  It tended to rip and tear if I rolled it on the counter so I tried the cookie sheet method and it worked perfect!

(from Shelf-Reliance)
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 C cheese powder
1/8 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3 T oil
about 1/2 C water

Mix the first 4 ingredients and slowly add the oil until crumbly.  (You can do this in a food processor or in a mixer with wire whip attachments)   Add the water 1 T at a time until the dough comes together.  Roll the dough out to 1/8" onto a sprayed cookie sheet.  Cut into squares with a pizza cutter.  Prick each square with a fork and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.  Cool the crackers on the cookie sheet to allow them to crisp up.  

image from
1 C flour
4 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
8 oz grated cheddar cheese (1/4-1/2 C cheddar cheese powder)
3/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Pulse the flour, butter, cheese, and 1/2 t salt and pepper together using a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Pulse in 3-4 T of water, 1 T at a time, and only enough so that the dough forms a ball.  Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 20 min or up to 24 hours. (I didn't chill my dough because I was rolling it directly onto the cookie sheet)

Roll the dough out to 1/8" onto a greased cookie sheet. Using small cookie cutter animal shapes (I got little 2" animal shapes from Spoons n' Spice) and remove the extra dough from around the cracker shapes.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.      

The lesson learned from my homework assignment was that I need to open and use my #10 cans.  They are great for an emergency but they also need to be tasted by all of my family.  Testing new recipes on my family in times of stress is not a time to find out they don't like them. Just a reminder to try out the foods you buy in #10 cans.  You can always seal up the remainder of the #10 ingredients in a mason jar with your Food Saver.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Waxing Cheese & Shelf-Stable Eggs!!

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I have been attending food storage classes at Honeyville Grain and I have been learning some great tips on extending the life of refrigerated items.  Did you know you can keep cheese and eggs on a shelf in your storage room?  It sounds crazy, but it works!!  Think of what farmers used to do with their cheese, milk, and eggs.  They didn't have refrigeration and waxing was a common practice.  So clear your head of all preconceived ideas about storing eggs and cheese and try it!  {I just want to mention that these ideas and suggestions are just that...ideas from the instructors and you can find what works for you.  This isn't endorsed by Honeyville and is the opinion of the instructor}

If you purchase the Tillamook brand of cheese, it is already vacuum sealed and you can place it in a cool, dark place and it will last for months.  Keep in mind that it will get sharper with age so start out with a medium cheese.   A good tip is to place the cheese in an old baby wipe container, or other Tupperware container, so rodents and other pests don't find your cheese.

Click HERE to see how I tried keeping cheese on my storage room shelf.  It did work!

Another way to preserve your cheese is to wax it.  If you have ever eaten Babybel cheese it is already waxed and can actually be stored on a shelf and not in the fridge.  The American way is to have our cheese in the fridge and so the Babybel company has the stores place the cheese in the fridge so we will buy it.  In Europe it is sold as a shelf-stable item. Here are the instructions to waxing your own cheese. (from Afton & Jenee)  Only use hard cheese,  not mozzarella, if you are going to wax it!!

Cheese Dipped For Long-Term Storage
-Use Mild, HARD cheese as the flavor sharpens with time-
  1. Divide 5lb loaf of cheese into portions your family will eat in ONE day! Make sure the cheese is dry before dipping.
  2. To melt cheese wax, you will be using the double-boiler method.  Place water in tall stock pot, filling a little over half way.  Wash an empty #10 can, remove the label and place can in pot of boiling water.
  3. Put a chunk of cheese wax in #10 can and let melt completely.
  4. Take cheese sections and arrange the sections in a pattern on a cookie sheet.  This is to help you remember when you are in the dipping process.
  5. Take one piece of cheese and dip it into the cheese wax.  It will cover about half of the cheese. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat with all your pieces of cheese.
  6. After all of the first dips are done you will need to dip each piece again but start with the opposite sides of the first dips.
  7. Now you will need to dip each of the sides and the middle of each piece of cheese.  All parts of the cheese should be covered by now.  
  8. Do the previous steps of dipping again, repeating TWO more times.  
  9. Once the sections are dipped THREE times, store in a cool, dry place for 8-10 years.  Place cheese in a bucket with lid for best storage life. (I think if you left it on the shelf for more than 6 months you may not be able to eat it because it would be too sharp.  Check out what this blogger said about her cheese that was on the shelf for over 1 year!)
If you open your waxed cheese you can use some of the cheese and then re-wax the cheese.  If you don't want to re-wax, the cheese must be kept in the fridge. To purchase cheese waxing materials click HERE.

If you don't have chickens there is a way to have whole, real eggs for an omelet or fried egg.  Storing eggs on a shelf in your storage room is easy.
  1. Rub each egg with a little mineral oil. (found in the pharmacy area of the grocery store)
  2. Place back in the carton with the narrow tip of the egg down. (if you are using a cardboard carton place a sheet of plastic wrap down first so the oil doesn't seep through)
  3. Place the carton in a cool,dark spot and you will have eggs for 7-12 months.  
You won't be able to whip the egg whites, but you can have fried eggs.  Boiled eggs maybe really hard to peel, but you could try it!

These are just a few of the really great tips that I am learning at Honeyville.

Click HERE to review the goals for June.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade- Black Bean & Couscous Salad

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Cooking in the summer is hard because you don't want to heat up your kitchen.  This recipe is easy, fast and good for you!  Eating the beans with the couscous makes a complete protein, which is great for a meatless meal. 

Image credit:
Black Bean & Couscous Salad (from
1 C uncooked couscous (buy it at Winco in the bulk area and seal in jars with a food saver!!) 
1 1/4 C chicken broth
3 T oil
2 T lime juice
1 t red wine vinegar
1/2 t ground cumin
8 green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 C cilantro
1 C frozen or canned corn
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper to taste

Bring chicken broth to a boil and stir in the couscous.  Cover the pot and remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil,lime juice, vinegar, and cumin.  Add green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn and beans.  Toss to coat.

Fluff the couscous well with a fork.  Add to the bowl with the veggies and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.

We love this with tortillas or pita chips.  Add a salad and fruit and you have a light, easy dinner during the heat of summer! 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Prepare Today!!

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We are half-way through June already!!  Are your lives as crazy as mine?  Life is busy and I know we all have good intentions when it comes to stocking our pantry's, but sometimes life can get in the way of accomplishing our goals.  I want you to commit to making a preparedness goal and keeping that commitment!!  Just like visiting teaching, if you let it go to far into the month it is harder to do.  I want all of you to find something in the goals each month that you can accomplish during the first week of the month.  Imagine how good you will feel knowing you are preparing your family for tough times ahead or for an emergency.  

So, for the rest of 2011 you are going to become more prepared and not procrastinate any longer!!  I also want you all to know I am here to help.  If you need me to come over to your home and help you inventory or even need me to show you the ropes of couponing, I am available to help!  Many days as I drive around town I look at how many cars and people are around me, it scares me to think that most of these people don't have a home grocery store or have even stored water.  If we were to have an earthquake, the grocery stores would be empty by day 3!!!  Water will be the first to go along with canned goods and paper goods.  Charcoal and camping supplies will also disappear off the store shelves.  Use the time we have NOW, when we can still find great sale prices and stock our homes with food and supplies, while times are relatively calm.  I don't know how else to get you to prepare unless I go door to door and drag you along with me :)  Take what President Ezra Taft Benson has said to heart:

"The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah."  ("Prepare Ye," Ensign, Jan. 1974, 69) 

I can't imagine having to watch friends and family members banging on the ark doors and Noah having to close them and listen to the wailing outside.  Keep that in mind, use your money wisely, don't procrastinate any longer!!!!!!

Click HERE to view the goals for June!!

Enjoy the journey!
Enjoy the blessings!
Feel the PEACE!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade- Fiesta Wheat and Bean Salad

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A friend of mine, that I met through the food storage classes at Honeyville Grain, made this wheat bean salad and it is delicious!!  I have a little trepidation in eating cooked wheat berries (it's a texture thing for me)  and I loved this salad.  The recipe is from Leisa Card's book "I Dare You To Eat It".  She also has a great website

You will need to cook your wheat berries before you make this salad.  It is simple but does take some time so plan ahead of time and store them in the fridge or freezer.

Cooked Wheat Berries
10 c water
4 c raw whole wheat
1 T salt
Add all ingredients to a greased crock pot and cook on low 8-10 hours (or overnight).  Cooke wheat berries can be stored in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for months.

image credit:
Fiesta Wheat & Bean Salad
1 green pepper, diced
1 orange or red pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, cored and diced
juice of 1 lime
3 C cooked wheat berries
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
2 t chili powder
2 t cumin
1/4 C cider vinegar
1 T sugar
1/2 C oil
1 t salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Toss well and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

This would be so yummy on a quesadilla or with tacos.  We ate it in a bowl just as is and it was a very yummy salad!! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Adding Fruit To Your Storage

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If many of us had to live off of the food stored in our homes right now, I bet after about 3 days you would be craving fresh fruits and veggies.  Most of us probably have wheat, oats, rice, flour, sugar, maybe some canned veggies (I wonder how hungry my kids will have to be to eat those :),  but after only a little while of eating carbs all the time you will wish you had added some variety to your storage.  Adding fruits in your storage allows you to have color and vitamins in your diet! This time of year the fruit selections at the store become cheaper, and fresher, and being able to extend the life of produce adds so much more to your storage.

To have fruit in your long-term storage you have probably figured out that it will need to be freeze-dried or dehydrated first (or bottled or canned, but we will focus on the dried variety today).  There are a few differences between the two and you can decide what works for you.  I have a little of both in my storage.  I add the freeze-dried only when it's on sale, so it gets added to my storage in smaller amounts.  

Dehydrated foods:  
1.Cheaper than freeze-dried  
2.Can be done in your home with food from your garden  
3.Dehydrated foods are smaller and require less storage space
  1. Dehydrating the food takes a little more of the nutrients than freeze-dried food. ( about 60% of the nutrients remain)
  2. Takes longer to rehydrate than freeze-dried food (up to an hour in cool water, 5-20 minutes in hot water)
  3. Most dehydrated food needs to be reconstituted to consume, (fruits are one category that you can eat in dehydrated form)
Freeze-Dried Foods:  

  1. Retain the original shape of the food (or close to it)
  2. Retains many nutrients and vitamins (up to 90%)
  3. Takes less time to rehydrate (a few minutes in boiling water)
  4. You can eat most freeze-dried food right out of the can (make sure to drink a lot of water if you eat the freeze-dried food)
  • Freeze-dried food is more expensive
  • You can't freeze dry your food at home, it has to be done commercially
  • It does take up a little more space than dehydrated food so you will need a few more shelves to store equal amounts of freeze-dried and dehydrated foods.
I suggest a little of both for your storage.  I know that if I open a #10 can of dried apples it is gone in a day in my house.  And if you haven't tried freeze-dried mandarin oranges, you are in for a treat!!  

**Please don't buy products in bulk until you have tried them!!  Especially when it comes to the price of freeze-dried foods.  You always want to know your family will eat what is in your storage!!

 Many food storage stores and grocery stores here in Utah carry both dehydrated and freeze-dried #10 cans of food.  Watch for sales and buy only what your family eats!!  Honeyville & Emergency Essentials both have sales all the time on different products so check them out at the links below.

Honeyville Grain  &

Emergency Essentials

How are you coming along with your goals for June?  Click HERE if you need a reminder of what we are storing this month.

Enjoy the Journey!
Enjoy the Blessings!
Feel the Peace!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Prepare Today Homemade- Boiled Omlets

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Summer is almost here!  Many families go camping during the summer months and I have been reading up on Dutch oven cooking and other ways that families cook in the outdoors.  I found a really fun recipe that is easy and also adaptable for different tastes.  Making an omelet in a bag allows you to have your meal in one disposable bag (no dishes!), anyone can make this (if you can boil water :), and almost anything can be added to it, so even picky eaters can customize their omelet!  I found this recipe from and thought it would be a great recipe to try on your next camping trip or just cooking at home with the kids. 

Omelets In A Bag Recipe
3 eggs
2 sausage links, veggies, other meat, etc. (great idea for leftovers or your dehydrated veggies!!)
shredded cheese
(optional) salsa
pot of boiling water
a Ziploc bag
a pot
a plate
Boil the water. While waiting for it to boil, crack the 3 eggs into a Ziploc bag. Put the sausage, cheese, and salsa in there too. Get all the air out of the bag. Mush together all of the ingredients. Once the water is boiled, put your Ziploc bag into the water. Wait 15 minutes. Once done, open bag onto a plate.

Here is a great video for all you visual learners (that's me!)

How simple is that!  I am going to try it with my powdered eggs and see how it goes!  This would be a great way to have a protein source in an emergency.  

Saturday, June 4, 2011

June Goals

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It is time for a new set of goals!  June is here and hopefully bringing some warmer weather with it.  Have you all planted a garden yet?  I planted mine, but I am hoping for some sunshine to help it grow.  There is nothing more amazing than planting seeds and watching them grow into food.  It really does amaze me to think of all the things my Heavenly Father has created and how miraculous it is to watch a garden grow! {and I have wasted so many years not growing my own garden!!}  I am hoping to have enough food to dehydrate and store for the winter months.  Fingers crossed :)  

Check out a really great website that has so many ideas on how and what to do with your dehydrated food. 

June Goals

3-Month Supply Goal:
You are only allowed to buy items for your 3-month supply this month that are on SALE!!  Save some money and build your pantry at the same time.  Buy 3 months worth or the amount your budget allows.

Water Goal:
Warmer months mean you need more water.  Make sure to have water stored in your car and at work.  (Everyone who works away from their home should have a mini 72-hour kit in their desk or taped to the underside of your desk.  If you are in an earthquake at work and you are sitting at your desk, where is the first place you would go?  Under your desk! If the building was damaged and you were under your desk waiting for rescuers you would have some food an water to keep you alive!! Add a whistle to help rescue workers find you.)

Financial Reserve Goal:
Start a change jar today and call it your food storage savings jar!  Use this money to purchase items for anything related to preparedness!!

Long-Term Storage Goal:
This month our goal is to add fruit to our long-term storage.  There are many freeze-dried and dehydrated options out on the market.  Most of them are delicious, but make sure you try them before buying a year supply :)  Dehydrating your own fruit and sealing in mason jars with a food saver is another great way to save money while adding variety to your storage.  This is where your garden comes in handy!  Plant some fruit trees or berry bushes and try something new this year!

Emergency Preparedness Goal:
Goal0 Solar Power Packs
This month's focus is on GENERATORS & SOLAR POWER.  I have to admit that I don't know a whole lot about either subject but that is why I love the internet!! You need to research and find out what works for your family and your budget.  I am really interested in the Goal0 company and their products.  The has a great post HERE on the Goal0 products.  And another great post on generators HERE.

 Enjoy the Journey!
Enjoy the Blessings!
Feel the Peace!!

Don't forget to check the blog on Monday's for the new Prepare Today Homemade posts!!
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