Sunday, January 13, 2019

Five Things That Changed The Way I Do Food Storage

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*This is a repost from 2011
There are so many topics to cover when it comes to Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness.  So when I attended a great class Tuesday at Honeyville Grain called "Five Things That Will Change Your Mind About Food Storage", taught by the store manager Lisa Barker, it got me thinking about how to narrow down the list of all the topics of preparedness to just 5.  Lisa's 5 things are very similar to the 5 things that changed the way I do food storage and also how it has simplified my food storage. (I'll list her ideas at the end of the post) My food storage journey really began on September 11, 2001.  I remember the panicked feeling after watching the Twin Towers fall and then watching the other planes crashing into the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, and thinking this is it!  The world is ending!  The reason I felt so panicked was I had a 6 month old, 22 month old and a 4 year old and I didn't have more than a week's worth of anything.  My baby was strictly on formula and I only had the one can of formula we were using. I grabbed the kids and went to the grocery store and bought food, paper goods, formula, you name it and I probably bought it.  

As time went by and life looked like it was going to continue I really felt the need to start and continue a food storage program.  I started with basics and had things like flour, but I really didn't know how to store it and rotate it.  I went through several ways of storing my long-term items like a Rubbermaid container.  What I didn't realize was I needed to have a meal plan to create my 3-month supply and I was still cooking whatever sounded good that day for dinner.  I wasted so much food and was really frustrated.  So I know that I was inspired by Spirit when an idea came to me one Sunday afternoon, and that was to create a menu plan with an ingredient list.  I wrote down every meal that my family ate and then I made an ingredient list of all the items from those meals.  NOW I had a built in shopping list and I could buy my ingredients when they went on sale and have a pantry full of food that I used on a daily basis.  I keep this all in a binder with sheet protectors for each meal.  This has worked now for several years for me and I can tweak it as I go and add or subtract recipes when I find them.

My ingredient list that goes with my dinner meal plan.



The ingredient list I made helps me to see exactly what I need to have in my storage room for a 3-month supply.  I just multiply the item by 3 (which is more than a 3-month supply, but more is better, right?)  and I purchase that quantity.  The CASE LOT sales that are a PERFECT time to purchase items for your pantry!!!  Because if your food storage plan is to come to my house in an emergency you will probably be disappointed to find that I make you work for free food :)  hahaha :)  All kidding aside you really do need a plan for your family!!


So here are my 5 things that changed my mind about food storage:
  1. Making a meal plan, ingredient list and shopping for items when they are on sale!!
  2. Using the Food Saver to preserve my dehydrated food, spices, chocolate chips, candy, etc. 
  3. Gamma Lids!!  These lids have made my life sooooo much easier!  I can open a bucket of wheat just by unscrewing the gamma lid and the resealing it without having to pry open those lids that come with the buckets. 
  4. Canning and dehydrating my own food at home!  I never knew how easy it was to can your own meat!  Click HERE to view a previous post on canning meat.  I have also learned to dehydrate almost anything I can get my hands on and then sealing the food in a mason jar with the food saver.  
  5. Wheat!  I have loved learning about all the things that wheat can do!  You can grind it into flour, cook it into a cereal, sprout it into a vegetable, crack it and cook it, even ice cream. I am continually amazed at what wheat can do! Making my own bread has been such a fun learning experiment.  Click HERE to see the recipe I use. 
There you have it!  The five things that changed my mind about food storage and here are Lisa's 5 things:
  1. Store what you eat...eat what you store!
  2. Canning my own foods.
  3. Freeze Dried Foods
  4. FoodSaver, Meals in a jar
  5. I Dare You To Eat It, and It's In the Bag Plans 
EDUCATION IS POWER!!!!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Prepare Today Homemade- Pumpkin Oatmeal

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Fall is in the air!  The mornings are cooler and my children want something warm to eat for breakfast.  One of my favorite blogs to get kid friendly recipes from is called Super Healthy Kids and that is where I found a few great pumpkin recipes.  Nothing says fall like pumpkin, and with all the super food nutrients in pumpkin, I am always looking for new ways to use it. 

I made pumpkin oatmeal today and it was delicious.  I really like oatmeal but it can get monotonous eating it the same way everyday, but with oatmeal that tastes like pumpkin pie, I couldn't wait to try it!!


 This recipe couldn't be easier!  Add all ingredients go into the pan, heat until thickened, and eat!  I had all the ingredients on hand in my storage so I know we will be eating this for breakfast a lot this fall.  

 Pumpkin Oatmeal  (from blog.superhealthykids.com)
1/2 C oats (I used quick oats)
1 C milk (1 C water + 3 T non-instant powdered milk)
1/3 C pumpkin puree (canned or dehydrated pumpkin)
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1-2 t honey

Add all ingredients into a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat around 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and oatmeal is thickened.  Makes about 2 servings. 

Amy and Natalie, from Super Healthy Kids, have several other pumpkin recipes that are healthy and delicious.

High Protein Pumpkin  Pancakes

Pumpkin Pie Shakes

Pumpkin is healthy, delicious, and not just for Thanksgiving pies.  Try adding pumpkin to your breakfast and see how yummy it can be!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Food Storage Frame of Mind

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I have had many people tell me over the last few years that they don't have food storage because it is just too overwhelming to deal with.  I have thought a lot about that feeling and have wondered why I don't feel that way about food storage.  I came to the conclusion that I make food storage a way of life and not a one time obstacle that I have to overcome.  Just like we shouldn't diet, but make eating healthy a way of life, food storage should be a lifestyle. I believe in having food storage for emergencies, BUT I truly believe it is a principle of provident living.  " personal and family preparedness should be a way of provident living, an orderly approach to using the resources, gifts, and talents the Lord shares with us. So the first step is to teach our people to be self-reliant and independent through proper preparation for daily life." -Victor L. Brown, Ensign 1976

So, how do you make food storage a way of life??  There are MANY ways to store food and rotate food storage.  This is what I do and it's what works for my family.  It may not be right for your family but there might be a few things you could try out.

  • Have a meal plan that includes easy to prepare recipes.
  • Know what ingredients you use on a daily basis and keep those in stock at all times.
  • Watch the grocery sales and know what "a stock up price" is for every item you use in your recipes. Don't stress out about this....it took me a few months to know what a good deal was, but after some practice of comparing prices I know off hand what the low prices are.
  • Have freeze-dried or dehydrated equals to the fresh produce you like to eat.  They come in handy a lot more then you think they will.  They are worth the price and cook up almost like the fresh counterpart.
  • Make pantry meals that only use shelf-stable foods in your pantry 1-2 times per week.
  • Rotating food becomes easy when you are eating what you store.   
  • Learn to bake crackers, fruit leather, snacks, breads, etc. to save money and also to use food storage basics.
  • Store long term items in a proper bucket or mylar bag to prolong their life. Nothing is more frustrating then knowing you have food, opening it to use, and find it has become rancid.      
  • Be patient with yourself!!  I have a system down and know which foods I make every week.  I make granola bars, bread, and snacks on a regular basis.  It becomes natural and stress-free after a few times of making a recipe.  Give yourself time to learn something new.  
  •  Plan and grow a garden year after year.  I have only had small gardens and I really don't know what I am doing, but it gives my family fresh food. I feel that we spend time together as a family, and it really helps with our food budget in the summer.
  • I don't have foods that will only be used in a "SHTF" scenario.  I use all the food in my storage all the time. Some of my dehydrated foods don't get used as often, but they do get used, and when I store them properly they last a long time.
  • Learn to can and preserve.  There are so many times I run out of chicken in the freezer and open a bottle of canned chicken to save dinner.   
  • Add beans, tvp, and veggies to sauces, meat dishes, and casseroles.  It extends the amount of food your serving, and it uses your food storage.  There is also the added nutrition when you are sneaking veggies into dinnerCooked wheat can be added to many meat dishes and no one will know it's there.   

There are so many ways you can implement food storage into your daily life.  Keeping food storage in the back of my mind all the time I see things that maybe wouldn't have caught my eye otherwise.  While shopping, keep your eyes peeled for clearance and discount items that will work for your family.  I have come across many items that I would have passed up if I hadn't been in a prepper frame of mind ;) 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Winter Weather To Do List

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This is a re-post from 2011 but the ideas are still relevant.  Keep warm and safe in the cold weather.  It was -22 this morning where I live.  Be prepared before the storm!



I think winter may be on its way!!  It snowed today and my kids thought it was really fun, but as adults we know how long winter can be.  When it gets colder I always think about how we would cope if the power went out.  I personally don't enjoy being cold and having no heat would sure make life uncomfortable.  There are many ways of preparing for a cold weather emergency and I want to give you some ideas of what you could do before hand so you are well prepared.


Winter Preparation To Do List:
  • Have a portable heater, such as a Mr. Buddy heater, kerosene heater and lamps with oil, or wood for a wood burning stove.
  • Emergency radio:  crank or battery operated.  Store it in a location that is easy to access and always have extra batteries.
  • If possible have a generator.  A 5000 watt generator will run almost any appliance.  It has a 6 gallon gas tank that will run for 14 hours.
  • During the winter if it is cold enough outside you can put food in coolers and leave them by your back door.  Store coolers that will fit the food you typically have in your freezer and fridge.
  • A great way to stay warm is to pitch a tent in your living room or other room with a heat source.  The kids will probably enjoy this, but it is to keep the most heat in the area you are all sleeping.  
  • Sleeping bags and warm weather clothing.  I recently stood in line for 2 hours (by choice) in a snow storm and wore long underwear to keep warm.  I thought I was going to be cold but I didn't feel cold and I know it was the long underwear. Have a pair for everyone in your family.  Wool socks also kept my toes from freezing!  Hats, gloves, coats, scarves, socks, and warm sleeping bags are all important for every member of your family.  
  • A To Do Box of non-electric games, toys, coloring books, cards, jump ropes, paper, pens, pencils, etc to keep everyone occupied during a power outage.  I know that my kids nagging me with "I'm bored" would literally drive me insane if I had to hear it all day long.  Keep a box ready for power outages or emergencies to save everyone from boredom.
  • A great idea that I got from somewhere (I can't remember, sorry) is to have a menu written out, BEFORE the emergency, with the meals you could make if the power was out.  Have at least a weeks worth ready to go.  If you have a small butane stove you would probably have meals like soups, stews, or rice dishes.  Or if you have a Volcano Stove you could grill, or bake a dish.  Knowing what your menu will be will alleviate the stress of making food when it is cold, dark, and miserable!!
  • Have a corded land line phone in your home.  When the power goes out so do your cordless phones.  Cell phones may or may not work in an emergency.   
  • Snow shovels are also an item that will be gone from stores when a storm hits.  Have 1 or 2 shovels ready in your garage.


Before the Storm:
If you know a storm is approaching there are a few things you can do to prepare your family.  I am assuming you already will have food and water.
  • Put gas in your car.
  • Do the laundry and dishes and put away.  Folding laundry in the dark is never fun :)
  • Charge all phones, DS games, computers, dvd players, ipods, etc.
  • If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, have all the wood cut and placed in an area that is easy to access.
  • Get out all flashlights, batteries, candles, and matches so you aren't searching in the dark for light.
  • Bathe and shower the kids and yourself.  Starting off clean will make life more pleasant for everyone.  :)
  • Make sandwiches, gather some soup cans, or cook some food if the power is expected to go out.  I would pull out some snacks and keep them out so we don't have to search in the dark for food. 



IF you aren't prepared for any emergency I would then tell you to get yourself to the store and buy food, water, flashlights, and batteries.  Although so will most of the general population, so go early to get any kind of a selection.


If you travel frequently during the winter months it is important to have a car kit in your vehicle.  Click HERE to view a previous post on winter weather preparation and car kits.


"Have faith, unemcomber your life, lay up in store"-Keith B. McMullen

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Sun Oven Fruit Cobbler

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The kids are out of school and the craziness that has been my life over the last 9 months has slowed to a less-crazy life.  Time is on my side for a moment and I thought I would bake a little something in my Global Sun Oven. (click here to read more on the Global Sun Oven) It has been over 90 degrees where I live and that always makes me want to cook with my sun oven.  The sun oven doesn't need the summer heat to work, just the sun, but the heat makes me want to cook outside and not inside my house. (click here to see how the Sun Oven saved my Christmas dinner)



Apple cobbler sounded like a yummy treat, but this recipe is very versatile and other fruit will work as well.  Because I have to change every recipe into a food storage recipe I started off with dehydrated apples from the LDS Cannery, and boiled them in some water to speed up the rehydrating process.  

 I boiled 2 cups of dehydrated apples, 4 cups of water, a dash of lemon juice and 1/3 cup of sugar for about 5 minutes.  It was as easy as that and after draining them I poured them into a greased dark metal pan.  The dark cookware is a good option for sun oven cooking.  It keeps the heat inside the food, where as shiny metal, or glass pans, will reflect the heat outside of the oven.  

To save cleaning another bowl I melted the butter in the same pan that the apples cooked in.  The flour and brown sugar were added to the butter and honestly it was hard not to eat it straight from the pan!! 

Once the crumb topping was mixed well I sprinkled it over the apples and it was ready for the oven. 

The sun oven was preheated for about 20 minutes while I put the cobbler together and when I put the cobbler in, it had reached 375 degrees.  Cover the dish and bake for 2 or more hours. If you aren't familiar with the sun oven you will have to make sure the oven gets turned towards the sun as the day goes on.  A good way to make sure the position is correct is to check the shadows on either side of the oven.  If they are even on both sides of the oven, the oven is correctly facing the sun. I actually forgot about the cobbler cooking and it was in the oven for a little over 3 hours, but what is so great about the sun oven is that most dishes won't burn.  Food stays warm and ready to eat when you are ready!

This cobbler was delicious!!  Kind of warm on a hot day, but I loved that it was made from dehydrated apples.  I'm adding it to my food storage recipe binder. 

Fruit Cobbler
2 C fresh fruit (apples and berries work best) OR
2 C dehydrated apples
1/3 C sugar
1/2 t lemon juice
1/2 C butter
1 C flour
1 C brown sugar
cinnamon
If using dehydrated apples:  place apples plus 4 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until soft.  Remove from heat and drain.  Stir in the sugar and lemon juice.  Pour into greased baking dish. 

If using fresh fruit: mix the fruit with the sugar and lemon juice and pour into greased baking dish.

In a saucepan pan melt the butter over low heat.  Remove from heat and stir in flour and brown sugar.  Stir until well mixed.  Sprinkle over the apples in the baking dish.  Sprinkle cinnamon over the crumb topping. Cover the dish and bake in a preheated sun oven for about 2 hours. To cook in a conventional oven bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Making Yogurt With Acidophilus Tablets

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Making yogurt is a skill that will save you money and also allow you to make several other things, like cream cheese or sour cream, out of plain yogurt.  I have been making yogurt for a few years now and I have tried many different ways and have found what works and doesn't work.  I started making yogurt with regular milk from the grocery store but milk started to get expensive so I switched to using powdered milk.  For a yogurt starter I have tried regular, plain yogurt, dried starters, and even a forever starter that gets used over and over.  They all worked but my goal was to be able to make yogurt without having to use a refrigerated starter.  I do keep plain yogurt in 1/2 C measurements in the freezer, but that will still be a problem if there wasn't electricity.  My husband has always laughed at the fact that you need yogurt to make yogurt, but I think I have found a way around needing refrigeration for a starter.  One of my favorite websites is myfoodstoragecookbook.com  and that is where I learned about acidophilus three billion.


Acidophilus Three Billion is a probiotic that aids in digestion, but it is also the live cultures needed to make yogurt.  Instead of using plain yogurt with live cultures, use the acidophilus tablets instead.  (I bought mine on Amazon, but health food stores should have it too) Take note that the incubation period for the yogurt will be quite a bit longer, like 18-24 hours, before it starts to firm up.  Normally, with a plain yogurt starter, I would get the yogurt started in the morning and it would be setting up in the fridge by dinner time.  I made yogurt with the acidophilus and started incubating at 9am and I let it sit until about 10am the next day.  It wasn't bitter, like yogurt can get, it just took longer to set up.  I also made the yogurt in my Saratoga Jacks Thermal Cooker and that was a great option if I didn't have electricity.   I usually use my yogurt maker, and I'll have to try my next batch with my tablets to see if the yogurt comes out any differently.  


This is how I make yogurt.  You will notice that I don't heat up my milk and then let it cool. If you are using powdered milk you can skip that step.  If you use regular milk from the grocery store you will need to heat up your milk to 180 degrees and then let it cool to 100-110 degrees before adding your starter.  Don't let it cool to under 100 degrees or the starter won't "start".  It will stay in kind of a hibernation state.


Start by putting 3 3/4 C water and 1 C powdered milk into a blender.  Blend until combined.  Allow a few moments for the frothy milk to settle to the top.  You can scoop it off at this point and discard.  I add 1/3 C sugar and 1 T vanilla flavoring to my yogurt unless I am planning on making sour cream with it.  My children really like a little sweetness and flavor to their yogurt. I used to give them honey to mix in but the yogurt would get runny and they wouldn't eat it.  If you really don't care to use the sugar you can try a sugar substitute.  


Pill Crusher that I bought on amazon.com.


Using a pill crusher, crush 3 acidophilus tablets and add to a little of the blended milk.  Add it back to the blender and just stir to combine.  


Pour the milk into a clean, warm quart jar.  This recipe makes enough yogurt for one quart.  (I fill my mason jar with hot water while I make up the yogurt.)


There are several ways to incubate your yogurt but I decided to try my Saratoga Jacks Thermal Cooker.  If you don't have one try a small cooler or wonderbox.  Just make sure to have little or no air space around the jar.  I filled my cooker with the hottest water I could get out of my faucet, which was around 125 degrees.  Anything hotter will kill your starter.  After 8 hours I did switch out my water for hot water again.  The yogurt won't set up if it is too cool either.  Try to keep it above 110 degrees.  Don't let all of the temperature info scare you away from making yogurt.  It really isn't as hard as it may seem.  


Here is my yogurt after about 24 hours of incubation.  It is now in the fridge cooling off.  I tasted it and it was smooth, creamy, and just sweet enough.




Powdered Milk Yogurt Recipe
3 3/4 C warm tap water
1 C non-instant powdered milk (milk from the cannery)
2-4 T plain yogurt with active cultures OR 3 Acidophilus tablets, crushed
1/3 C sugar
1 T vanilla


Combine the water and powdered milk in a blender or use an emulsion blender.  Scoop off the foam.  Add the sugar and vanilla and blend.  Add the starter to a little of the milk from the blender and stir to combine, then add back to blended milk.  Use a spoon and stir gently to combine.  Pour into a warmed quart mason jar and incubate.  Wrap tightly in towels and place in a cooler or use a thermal cooker.  Fill the thermal cooker with hot tap water and place mason jar inside.  If using a yogurt starter your yogurt will be ready after about 8 hours.  Place in fridge and allow to firm up.  The thermal cooker can take up to 24 hours.  I checked it about every 8 hours.  


I filled my jars with warm water to heat them up.


Now you can have yogurt anytime, even in an emergency.  The cooling of the yogurt after incubation could be done with a cooler that has been buried under ground (with the lid open at the top) or in cold storage, but that is a whole other post :)


Click HERE to view another post on how I made yogurt in my yogurt maker and even how I made yogurt cream cheese :)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Food Storage Teacher/Mother's Day Gifts

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One of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is the gift of preparedness!  I leave no one safe from my preparedness gift giving.   I give preparedness gifts to my friends, family, and also as wedding and baby shower gifts, instead of gifts that may be unused.  (I am not saying you aren't prepared if you get a preparedness gift from me, I just love to help everyone get prepared) I have given cookbooks, wheat, #10 cans of mixes, #10 cans of dehydrated fruits and veggies, water containers, and meals in a bag (which make great shower gifts for newlyweds and new moms).  Last year my children gave their teachers, secretaries, and principal buckets of wheat that they could keep in their storage or use to make blender wheat pancakes without a grinder.  

 I found these great little buckets at the Honeyville Grain store in Salt Lake City and I filled them with wheat.  

 On one side of the bucket I added the saying "We hope you have a sa-wheat summer".

On the other side of the bucket I added a recipe for Blender Wheat Pancakes.  The teachers LOVED them and thought they were quite unique.  This would make a great gift for your child's teacher, or even for a birthday/Mother's Day, or a gift for family, friends, or neighbor.  Maybe it will spark their interest in preparedness and get them going :)

Blender Wheat Pancakes
1 C milk (1 C water + 3 T non-instant powdered milk)
1 C wheat kernels
2 eggs
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 T oil

Place the milk and wheat in a blender and blend on high for 4-5 minutes or until smooth.  Add eggs, oil, baking powder, and salt and blend until mixed.  Don't over mix. Pour batter directly from the blender onto a hot griddle.  Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side.  
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