Wednesday, June 30, 2010

7 Common Food Storage Mistakes

There are 7 common mistakes people make when storing food. Vicki Tate, author of "Cooking With Home Storage" tells what they are:

1. Variety
Most people store four basic items: wheat, milk, honey, and salt. We can’t survive on such a diet for several reasons. a) Many people are allergic to wheat and may not be aware of it until they are eating it meal after meal. b) Wheat is too harsh for young children. They can tolerate it in small amounts but not as their main staple. c) We get tired of eating the same foods over and over and many times prefer to not eat, than to eat that food again. This is called appetite fatigue. Young children and older people are particularly susceptible to it. Store less wheat than is generally suggested and put the difference into a variety of other grains, particularly ones your family likes to eat. Also store a variety of beans, as this will add color, texture, and flavor. Variety is the key to a successful storage program. It is essential that you store flavorings such as tomato, bouillon, cheese, and onion. Include a good supply of the spices you like to cook with. These flavorings and spices allow you to do many creative things with your grains and beans. Without them you are severely limited. Buy a good food storage cookbook, go through it, and see what your family would really eat. Look at the ingredients as you do it. This will help you more than anything else to know what items to store.

2. Extended staples
Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze dried foods as well as home canned and “store bought” canned goods. Make sure you add cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast, and powdered eggs. You can’t cook even the most basic recipes without these items.

3. Vitamins
Vitamins are important, especially if you have children, since children do not store body reserves of nutrients as adults do. A good quality multi-vitamin and vitamin C are the most vital. Others might be added as your budget permits.

4. Quick and easy and “psychological foods”
Quick and easy foods help you through times when you are psychologically or physically unable to prepare your basic storage items. “No cook” foods such as freeze-dried are wonderful since they require little preparation, MREs (Meal Ready to Eat), such as many preparedness outlets carry, canned goods, etc. are also very good. “Psychological foods” are the goodies—Jello, pudding, candy, etc.—you should add to your storage. These may sound frivolous, but through the years I've talked with many people who have lived entirely on their storage for extended periods of time. Nearly all of them say these were the most helpful items in their storage to “normalize” their situations and make it more bearable. These are especially important if you have children.

5. Balance
Time and time again I’ve seen families buy all of their wheat, then buy all of another item and so on. Don’t do that. It’s important to keep well-balanced as you build your storage. Buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you’ll fare much better having a one month supply of a variety of items than a year’s supply of two or three items.

6. Containers
Always store your bulk foods in food storage containers. I have seen literally tons and tons of food thrown away because they were left in sacks, where they became highly susceptible to moisture, insects, and rodents. If you are using plastic buckets make sure they are lined with a food grade plastic liner available from companies that carry packaging supplies. Never use trash can liners as these are treated with pesticides. Don’t stack them too high. In an earthquake they may topple, the lids pop open, or they may crack. A better container is the #10 tin can which most preparedness companies use when they package their foods.

7. Use your storage
One of the biggest problems I’ve seen is people storing food that they don’t know what to do with it. It’s vital that you and your family become familiar with the things you are storing. Know how to prepare these foods. You don’t want to have to learn under stress. Your family needs to be used to eating these foods now. A stressful period is not a good time to totally change your diet. It’s better to find out the mistakes you’ll make now while there’s still time to make corrections.

It’s easy to take basic food storage and add the essentials that make it tasty, and it needs to be done. If you have stored only the basics, there’s very little you can do with it. By adding even just a few things, it greatly increases your options, and the prospect of your family surviving on it. As I studied how the pioneers lived and ate, my whole feeling for food storage changed. I realized our storage is what most of the world has always lived on. If it’s put together the right way we are returning to good basic food with a few goodies thrown in.

Vicki's book is a good one if you want to look for it. Her list of mistakes is very important. If you love good food like I do, you'd probably rather go without than eat the same bland thing day after day. I think that variety has got to be one of the most important things.

One of the most essential storage items I can think of is Bouillon. With it in your storage you can make, among other things, soup. Anything can be added to make soup if you have the base. Dehydrated vegetables, meat, meal extenders like pasta and rice can make a meal that can serve a lot of people and fill them up. Serve with homemade bread, rolls, or cornbread and you can make a meal that will leave everyone feeling full and satisfied.

I personally prefer bouillon cubes for long term storage, because the bouillon granules go hard easily, but it doesn’t really matter. If you have access to bulk foods, you can purchase bouillon in bulk and store in airtight containers. It is also great for making all kinds of gravies and sauces.

Pick one of your family’s favorite meals and decide how you can make it into a food storage meal. Learn how to substitute the fresh items you can’t store for items that you can have in your pantry. Choose a favorite dessert or treat that your family likes and figure out how adapt the recipe to store the ingredients so you can make it anytime. Then....get those items in your storage and your family will be grateful to have familiar meals if you are ever forced to live off what you store.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Here is another way to use garbanzo beans (chickpeas) from your food storage. Even more, it is probably a reason to store Garbanzo beans. If you have never eaten hummus you will want to try it. Hummus, along with roasted Garbanzo beans, are a way to introduce your family to these beans. I will include a couple of recipes, one made with canned beans, the other with dried garbanzo beans. The recipes are interchangeable. It is a great dip for veggies, chips, pita bread, or almost anything else you can think of to put it on. It also makes for a great vegetarian sandwich spread.

The great thing about hummus, is that you can make it taste just how YOU like it. Not only that, when you make it yourself, it is fresh and not so high in sodium like the hummus you buy. It is just all around better for you.

Most hummus is made with Tahinni.Tahini is a paste made out of sesame seeds with a consistency similar to natural peanut butter (the oily kind). It has a delicious smokey flavor. If you have it or want to buy it, that’s great. Use what you need till you get the taste you want, usually 1-3 Tablespoons of it. If you don’t have tahinni you can use roasted sesame seeds processed with the beans or you may want to use sesame oil in place of the olive oil. If you happen to have an allergy to sesame seeds, you will like it just fine without.

Hummus (with canned beans)
1/2 c. sesame seeds (untoasted, you will toast them yourself for a richer flavor)
4 T. extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for serving
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
1 t. salt
1-3 T. lime juice, to your taste
2 cloves garlic
Paprika for garnish
Optional ingredients: Sun dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, eggplant, herbs and different kinds of nuts, feta cheese crumbles, fresh cilantro, basil, rosemary or parsley – whatever you like
Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet, stirring constantly and watching carefully, until just lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer the seeds to the bowl of a food processor. Add the olive oil and pulse until the sesame seeds are smoothly blended. Add all remaining ingredients except the paprika and pulse until hummus is well combined and smooth. Transfer to a bowl. If serving immediately, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Otherwise, tightly cover the hummus with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Before serving refrigerated hummus, allow it to come to room temperature, then stir and garnish. Yield: about 2 cups. Serve with raw vegetables, pita chip or spread on crusty bread pieces.

Hummus (with dried beans)
1 cup dried chickpeas
2 cloves of garlic
tahini to taste
1 lemon
1/2 t. paprika (gourmet paprika or sweet chili powder is best) 1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
Pure olive oil, canola oil, or sesame oil
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Pick over, rinse and soak the dry chickpeas overnight in plenty of water (they expand quite a bit). The next day rinse them, then boil the until they are soft, about an hour and a half. Add more water if necessary. If you want to roast your garlic, do it while the beans are cooking. All of the ingredients besides the beans are optional. The usual standard recipe includes olive or sesame oil, a lot of garlic, lemon juice, ground black pepper, and paprika. Remember, you cannot put extra virgin olive oil into a blender, or it will turn bitter. Use either pure olive oil or canola oil for blending, then if you want you can add a good extra virgin olive oil on top as a garnish. I personally don’t care for the olive oil on top. Put all ingredients in the blender or food processor and process till smooth. Adding whatever ingredients you like. The key to success is to taste often till you find just the taste you are looking for. Chances are, it will taste different every time you make it. If your mixture is too thick you can add a little yogurt or lemon juice or even water if you don’t want any more oil. Once your hummus is creamy, taste it with a clean spoon and adjust the salt, lemon and tahini or any others spices you want to add.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


My uncle was a beekeeper so we always had fresh honey. The honey he extracted was very light in color and delicious. Because he and my aunt had their own honey business, we had honey on the table at nearly every meal. We used it in cookies, to make bread, on scones, hot rolls, mixed with lemon juice for colds, on peanut butter and honey sandwiches, spread on saltine crackers for a late night snack, to make our own flavored creamed honey and in honey butter. We almost always had honey butter in the fridge.

When I left home and tasted different honey varieties I realized I had been spoiled. All honeys are not created equal. There are a few fun facts about honey that I learned.

1) The darker the honey the stronger the flavor is, even to the point of a hint of bitterness. Honey made from clover is a totally different product than honey where the bees do not have access to clover.

2) Eating honey that is produced in the area where you live is healthier for you. It may help with seasonal allergies because honey contains a bit of pollen from plants. So if you eat honey that is made by bees in the area where you live, the honey will often act as an immune booster, reducing your allergy symptoms to local flowering plants. It's a good idea to take two to three spoonfuls each day for several months prior to pollen season

3) Honey is a natural antibiotic. If you are allergic to penicillin you are most likely allergic to honey. You probably will not have a severe reaction but usually just an upset stomach. Probably only if you eat the honey plain, not in baked goods.

4) Honey is the only food known to never spoil. It lasts forever.

5) Honey is antimicrobial because of its high sugar content, so it's great for treating cuts and burns to prevent scarring.

6) Honey not only tastes good but is good for you. You're getting vitamins B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Honey also contains antioxidants and vitamin C.

7)Many claim that honey helps them have healthier looking skin and hair. I admit I've never had a desire to put honey in my hair but apparently others have.

Obviously honey is a sweetener that is a great addition to storage because of it's versatility as well as the health and long term storage benefits of honey.

I am including some recipes for you to try using honey. If you would like the recipe and instructions for making flavored creamed honey, leave a message and I will get it to you.

Honey Butter
2/3 C honey
2 cubes real butter, (slightly soft but still firm and cool)
¾ C powdered sugar
If you want your honey butter to be fluffy, make sure your butter is not too soft, just soft enough to mix with remaining ingredients. Put butter, honey and powdered sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer till all ingredients are nicely incorporated; scraping the bowl to make sure it is blended well. Store in the refrigerator but serve at room temperature with scones or hot bread.

Everyday Honey Cookies
½ c. butter
½ c. sugar
½ c. honey
1 egg
2/3 c. flour
½ t. soda
½ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
1 c. quick oats
1 c. coconut
1 t. vanilla
½ c. chopped nuts
Cream butter, sugar and honey together till light and fluffy. Add well beaten egg and blend together. Sift flour with dry ingredients; stir well. Add oats, coconut and vanilla. Add nuts. Dates, raisins or chocolate chips can also be added. Spread in greased 9x13 pan. Recipe can be doubled and baked in a 10x15 pan. Bake at 350º for 12-15 minutes. Cut in bars. These are a lot like granola bars but they are softer and chewier.

Note: To bake with Honey: Use pure honey for up to half of the sugar in the recipe For each cup of honey used: reduce the liquid by 1/2 cup Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and reduce oven temperature by 25º.

To cook with honey: For sauces, marinades, and salad dressings substitute pure honey for up to half the sugar in the recipe.1 cup of sugar =1/3 to 1/2 cup honey. (If it is a stronger honey you would use 1/3 cup. If it is milder use 1/2 cup)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Short Term Food Storage Recipe #3

Canned chili is an awesome food storage item. If you love making chili from scratch, go for it. I happen to love the Bear Creek Country Kitchens Darn Good Chili Mix. I have several packets of this in my storage along with the needed ingredients to make up the chili. We love it in bowls topped with cheese and sour cream, over cornbread or over baked potatoes. Try this mix, it's a keeper.
Canned chili is great to have on hand for a quick recipe. Today's recipe used canned chili and a package of macaroni and cheese for a quick and easy dinner. This recipe is an especially easy one to incorporate into your 3, 6, or 12 month storage plan.

1 package Macaroni and cheese
1 can chili
Cook Macaroni and cheese as directed on package. Heat chili. Blend together and serve.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I once heard a food storage specialist asked, "What is the best thing to store in your empty canning jars?" His reply was, "Anything but empty!" Canning jars and extra lids are a great storage item.

Today has been a busy day. I dried 5 lbs. of corn, 3 lbs. of peas and 1 lb. of blueberries. I also made 3 batches of strawberry sauce for the freezer and one for strawberry shortcake (see the post for blender pancakes for the awesome Strawberry sauce recipe).

The dried berries were an experiment. I got beautiful blueberries at COSTCO for $1.25 a pound. (Wish I'd bought more!) I had a few empty canning jars I had emptied recently and canned about 7 pounds of blueberries. These are great to eat straight out of the bottle or to use in pancakes, waffles or muffins. They can even be thickened to use in pie filling or tarts. If you'd rather, blueberry syrup tastes great and looks wonderful on your pantry shelf.

Canned Blueberries
Wash berries and pick over carefully. Pack into canning jars to within 1/2" of top. Make a syrup of 1 part sugar to 3 parts water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour over blueberries to within 1 1/2" of top of jar. Put hot lids and rims on jars. Process in boiling water bath 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.

Blueberry Syrup
6 1/2 - 7 cups fresh blueberries (washed and sorted)
2 T. Lemon Juice (bottled or fresh squeezed)
7 cups sugar
Crush the berries. Use a potato masher, food processor or blender. In a large pot combine berries and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Simmer till berries are soft, about 5-10 minutes. Strain the berries through a colander or large strainer in batches, letting the juice drain off and pressing berries to extract as much juice as possible. If you want a more clarified (clear) syrup, strain the juice through a double layer of cheesecloth OR a jelly bag. Discard the dry pulp. The yield of the pressed juice should be about 4 ½ to 5 cups. Combine the juice with 7 cups of sugar. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off any foam. Pour into prepared jars, add hot lids and rims. Process in boiling water bath for about 15 minutes when using pints.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dried Cinnamon Apples - Yum!

There are a hundred different ways to dry apples. I tasted several of them and wasn't impressed. First off, some were so hard or brittle that it was work just to chew it. I didn't enjoy eating them and had no desire to make them.

I soon realized that if I'm going to spend the time to make them I better like eating them. A friend told me how she did it and I adapted her recipe to fit what I wanted these snacks to taste like.

My criteria were first, a "chewable" finished product with a good taste. Second, I wanted the apples to look appealing. To me a shriveled up dried apple that doesn't resemble an apple isn't worth the effort. Finally, I wanted my family to like them and thereby appreciate the time and effort that would go into them.

These apples are a little more work because I peel them. That is part of the reason they are softer to eat. They are a little more flavorful because I dip one side in a cinnamon-sugar mixture before drying. I knew they were a big hit when my family was eating them faster than I could dry them. That's okay. I'm glad they like them as much as I do. Here is how I do it:

Dried Cinnamon Apple Slices
Peel apples, core and remove any bruises or blemishes. Use any kind of apples that you like when they are fresh. The apples you dry can be a bit softer and still dehydrate okay. Slice apples into either lemon juice or pineapple juice. Cut them in about 1/4" slices. As soon as all your apples are sliced, drain in a colander or strainer. Dip once slice at a time into the cinnamon-sugar mixture dipping only one side of each slice. The whole slice needn't be completely coated. Place unsugared side down on dehydrator trays and dry 6-7 hours, (rotating trays every 30-60 minutes)or until apples show no signs of moisture on the inside when a slice is bent or broken. After you've done this you'll know when they are ready. Store in airtight container (if they last that long).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Just for fun

I like to make things ahead of time for when I'm in a hurry. One of my favorite "homemade mixes" is Sand art Brownies. These are made in a quart jar or several quart jars if you feel rich and ambitious and stored in your pantry until you need a quick, fun, rich dessert. Being Father's day we naturally think of fun treats for dad.

This idea suggest that there are other cookie or cake mixes that could be stored this way as part of our short term food storage. Think of your favorites and see what you come up with. Try these little gems for a fun treat. They also make great neighbor gifts.

Layer in order given in a quart jar:
2/3 t. salt (scant ¾ t.)
½ c. plus 2 T. flour
1/3 c. cocoa
½ c. flour
2/3 c. brown sugar (do not pack in jar)
2/3 c. white sugar
½ c. semi sweet chocolate chips
½ c. white chips
Chopped nuts to fill jar
To use: Mix contents of jar with 1 t. vanilla, 2/3 c. vegetable oil and 3 eggs. Bake in a greased 9x9” pan at 350º for 27-32 minutes. So much better than store bought mixes.
Helpful hint: To make 1 dozen jars you will need 12 oz. cocoa, 42 oz. each of semi-sweet and white chips, 32 oz. nuts and 50 oz. brown sugar and 5 lbs. each of flour and white sugar.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne is an awesome spice to have in storage. It has been said that if you only use one herb, use cayenne. I don’t use it a lot in cooking (although my husband loves it sprinkled on almost anything) but we use it for health reasons.

Cayenne was one of the important things that the pioneers brought with them across the plains because if it’s healing power. They used it to stop bleeding, put it in open wounds and used it for sinus problems, frostbite, joint pain, headache, toothache as well as many other things. It is good for high blood pressure, heart health, ulcers. It was often sprinkled inside gloves and socks to keep the feet and hands warm. I am not by any means trying to tell you to use it as a substitute for other remedies but I will tell you how we use it.

We make what we call “Cayenne Tea”. It is not technically a tea but it is made with warm water. We have used this for years as a sore throat remedy. Cayenne kills strep so we always have it on hand during cold and flu season. It is a great item to include in your storage. Here is the simple recipe:

¼ c. warm water (warm enough to dissolve the honey)
¼ t. cayenne pepper
1 T. honey
1 T. lemon juice
Stir together till dissolved. Drink it quickly or gargle with it if you are brave. You may decrease the amount of cayenne for younger children.

Now what I also want to tell you about is a new product that I found out about because of using the cayenne tea. I always try to keep lemon juice on hand. I use a lot of it during the winter season. I also use it in cooking. The problem is that it is not a long term storage item. However, in doing some research , I found an alternative product that I can use in place of lemon juice and I just love it. It is not too expensive and it stores well and doesn’t take up much space. It is called “True Lemon”. It is crystallized lemon juice powder that comes in little packets. I have used it in the cayenne tea and in other cooking projects with very favorable results. You can buy it in Fred Meyer as well as on line. If you would like to look into getting some for your storage, check out the website at They have coupon and shipping specials and have lots of other products. Check out their website. I will talk about storing honey in another post.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Make a plan

I live my life making lists. Things to do. Things to buy. People to contact. Christmas lists. Birthday lists. Projects to complete. Things to remember. Shopping lists. Lists of lists to get the picture. The point of all this list making jargon is this - if you don't plan, it won't get done.

It is so easy to think of all the things I want to put in my storage but I have to constantly revise my plan and my lists to be successful in getting what I need.
The above link is to a food storage calculator. One of many available on the internet. Put your information in and calculate what you need to store for your family. It gives you several different catagories to work on for long term storage. Look at what you have already done and make a list of what you have left to do.

Next, take an inventory of items you use all the time, not included in the calculated list. Go thru your cupboards, pantry and if you can, a list of your favorite recipes and meals and decide what you need to have on hand and how much of each item for a year supply. This may seem overwhelming but it will also be an eye opener if you have not done this before.

This is a great project that your kids can help with. They can act as scribe while you inventory or the older ones can help by counting or making lists of different items such as spices, condiments etc.

Start a binder or notebook that you can keep all your information in. Everytime you think of something else you missed that you want to store, add it to the list.

I'm including a sample inventory list of common items you can add to your lists in the amounts you would need to store. Once your lists are as complete as possible you can begin the task of acquiring the necessary items as part of your regular shopping routine. Copy and revise the following list to fit your family's likes and dislikes. I have put an asterisk by some of the more important ones. You may eliminate some and add others. Have fun with your plan.

Baking Ingredients
*Baking chips (butterscotch, milk chocolate, semisweet, white, etc.)
Baking chocolate squares (semisweet, unsweetened)
*Baking powder
*Baking soda
*Corn meal
*Corn syrup
*Cream of tartar
*Extracts (almond, maple, mint, vanilla)
*Flour (all-purpose, bread, etc)
*Gelatin (flavored, plain)
*Milk (evaporated, sweetened condensed)
*Nonstick cooking spray
Nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts)
*Oil (olive, vegetable)
*Pie filling
*Salt and Pepper
**Spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc.)(inventory what is on your shelf now that you use all the time)
**Sugar (brown, confectioners’, granulated)
Tapioca, quick-cooking
Baking Mixes (Optional) You can make your own mixes if your store the ingredients
Corn bread
Frosting, canned
*Pudding, instant
Canned or Bottled Foods
*Beans (black, great northern, kidney, pinto, etc.)
*Broth (beef, chicken) (Bouillon cubes are the best storage option)
*Fruits (fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, peaches, pears, pineapple, etc.)
*Green chilies
*Jam and Jelly
**Meats (beef, chicken, ham, etc.)
**Peanut butter
Prepared entrées (chili, ravioli, spaghetti, soups, stews, etc.)
Sauces (Alfredo, cheese, picante, spaghetti, Taco, etc.)
Soups, condensed (chicken, mushroom, tomato, celery, etc.)
Tomatoes (diced, paste, sauce, stewed) or tomato powder
*Vegetables (Corn, green beans, peas)
Dried Fruits and Veggies
*Peppers (bell, hot, etc.)
**Bouillon granules (beef, chicken)
Browning and seasoning sauce
Hot pepper sauce
Onion soup mix
Seasoned salt
*Soy sauce
*Taco seasoning
**Vinegar (balsamic, cider, red wine, white, etc.)
*Worcestershire sauce
Bread (pita, sandwich)
Bread crumbs, dry
Crackers (graham, soda, etc.)
Noodle mixes
*Pasta (noodles, macaroni, penne, spaghetti, etc.)
*Rice, instant
Rice mixes
Stuffing mix
Storage, Long-Term*
*Dried beans (black, kidney, navy, pinto, garbanzo)
*Nonfat dry milk powder
*Oats (regular, Instant)
*Potato (flakes, Pearls)
*Rice (instant, long grain etc.)
*Wheat (red or white)
*Egg powder
*Butter powder
**Garden seeds

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Short Term Food Storage Recipe #2 - Taco Soup

I bet everyone has a favorite Taco Soup recipe. This has lots of canned ingredients. They are easy to store and this is a good food storage item. The hamburger can be replaced with Beef or Taco TVP or canned ground beef or even beef chunks. The onion can be substituted with dried onion. If you like taco soup, decide how many times you want to eat this per month and purchase that number of all of the ingredients. Multiply that by 3 for a 3 month supply and so on. This is a great recipe to include in your 3 or 6 or even 12 month food storage supply. Try it or use your own recipe to calculate how many of each of the ingredients you'll need to add to your short term food storage inventory list.
1 lb. hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
Minced garlic, optional
1 can vegetable beef soup
1 can zesty tomato soup
1 can corn
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can tomatoes
¼ c. salsa
1 ¾ c. water
1 T. taco seasoning mix
1 T. chili powder
Mix all together and heat through. Serve in bowls lined with taco chips. Top with sour cream and grated cheese. Freezes well!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Roasted Garbanzo Beans

I love beans. I continue to become even more fascinated with them as I study and read about them and use them. They are extremely nutritious and very easy to store. And the best thing about beans is their versatility. They can be ground and used as flour (like in the homemade cream of chicken soup we talked about), they can be cooked, mashed and used as a substitute for the fat in many recipes, they can be cooked and frozen and used in many bean soup or casserole recipes; there are hundreds of recipes for using beans.

Todays recipe uses Garbanzo beans or Chickpeas as they are sometimes called. These recipes use canned beans but if you are feeling ambitious or really become addicted to these snacks, you may want to use the more inexpensive dried beans and start from scratch, soaking and cooking them up to make these.

Roasted Garbanzos are a crunchy, spicy little snack that resembles corn nuts. They can be flavored with any flavoring you like so after you try these, go crazy. I've tried several recipes and think they are fun. I'll share the basics with you and then you can see what you can come up with. These make a great snack because they are spicy and crunchy and very healthy, garbanzos have one of the highest protein levels of any plants.

One thing I've learned thru this was that in the recipes that I thought would be too spicy for me (I'm a wimp) they really weren't. You might even want to taste test them while they are baking and see if you've added enough spice.

For each recipe below the beans are prepared the same. Drain and rinse the beans until there is no foam remaining when you run water over them. Let beans drain a few minutes then pat dry slightly with paper towels so spices will stick. Roast on a baking sheet, shaking the pan every 10 minutes or so (The beans will burn easily). They should be crunchy on the outside as well as crunchy on the inside. They will actually lose the bean taste when roasted. You'll see that you can either mix the beans with the oil and the spices or spray or brush the baking sheet with the oil and sprinkle the spices on.

Roasted Garbanzo Beans #1
1 can beans, rinsed, drained and patted dry
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. or more Moroccan Spice mix (In the post below with the spices)
Salt or kosher salt to taste (about 1/4 t.)
Preheat oven to 350º. Toss beans with oil, spice mix and salt. Spread in single layer in cookie sheet. Roast 40-50 minutes, shaking pan about every 10 minutes until crispy. Especially watch the last few minutes. Serve warm or let cool.

Roasted Garbanzo Beans #2
Prepare as above but use the following spices:
1/2 t. curry powder
1/4 t. cumin
1/8 t. cayenne
1/4 t. salt
Spray baking sheet with Olive oil spray or brush generously with oil. Roast at 375º 40-50 minutes stirring or shaking pan every 10-15minutes till crispy.

Other Roasting Flavor options:
Chili powder with cumin and cayenne
2 t. chili powder, 1 t. salt and 1 T. lime juice
Cinnamon and Sugar
Parmesan and garlic

Sunday, June 13, 2010


There are so many things in life that would be nice to have! All of us see things everyday that we want or hope to someday have. Most are just fluff, not a must have. So many good things out there but only a minimal amount of gotta haves.

The same is true of food storage. Sometimes when we contemplate the most important things for food storage we overlook some that aren't as exciting to get and often not talked about as a food storage item at all. I'd love to have cans and cans of dried fruit and delicious and eccentric easy-to-prepare freeze dried entrees; maybe even some delicious exotic storable chocolate!

Today I'm thinking about one of the most vital and important items we can store. It is so very important yet we often procrastinate storing it because it is expensive, takes up a lot of space, and it's easy to store some and then get in a pinch and use it. You know what it is. It has many names; bath tissue, toilet paper, T.P., and as my dad called it, "bum fotter"! Rolls and Rolls of the stuff.

Not only would it be a disaster to not have any stored, it is a serious health risk and could cause serious spread of disease. No need to rotate, just get it and store it.

Start today. Calculate how much you need to store. Keep track of how many rolls your family uses, not on a normal day when the kids are at school and husband is at work, but on a couple of days when everyone is at home. Then figure how many rolls you would need for a full year. Be generous in your calculations. This is a minimum amount that you should store.

Start accumulating it. Store it under your bed, in a garage or basement, in a storage tote or boxes that are hard to get keep you from sneaking into it when your regular supply gets low. Buy as many rolls per week as you can afford. Find where it is the best deal and buy it! If you wait for a sale on this stuff you'll never get what you need.

Storing enough for a family is a daunting task but necessary nevertheless. Get started. Plan, shop and store!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Spice Up Your Life

One of the most interesting ways to "Spice" up your food storage is to add spices. Anything tastes better with a little flavor. You can change and enhance the taste of anything with a little help from your favorites. Spices are quite expensive so be on the look-out for a good deal. Look for bulk spices, check in discount stores, don't be afraid to try non-name brand spices that are significantly less expensive.

There are many different spices that you will pay more for regardless of where you buy them. If you shop around for the spices you can find for less, then you don't feel so bad spending more on some. Remember if you buy the large bottles of spices, like in Sams or Costco, and it seems that you are saving money, remember if you don't reseal in smaller quantities with a food saver or dry pack in mylar bags, you may actually be losing money with wasted quantities. Make a concentrated effort to decide which spices are important for you to store, how you will store them and how much you want, then start shopping.

I found several bottles of some of my favorite spices in Family Dollar. I couldn't believe how inexpensive they were. I bought some and compared them to the spices in my spice rack and couldn't tell a bit of difference.

I'm going to include some interesting spice blends which you can make yourself and tweak to your own liking for a lot less money than buying the designer spice blends in your supermarket. Make a small quantity at first and see what it needs or how you can make it better. By some inexpensive spice bottles and get mixing your blends and storing your favorites.

½ t. garlic powder
½ t. onion powder
½ t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
¼ t. ground red pepper
½ t. ground ginger
1/8 t. ground cinnamon

½ t. garlic powder
½ t. onion powder
1 t. ground cumin
½ t. ground coriander
¼ t. ground red pepper
½ t. chili powder
½ t. cilantro

½ t. garlic powder
½ t. onion powder
½ t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
1/8 t. red pepper
1 t. oregano leaves
½ t. thyme leaves

2 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
½ t. chili powder
½ t. sweet paprika
½ t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. ground allspice
¼ t. ground ginger
1/8 t. cayenne pepper (adjust to your taste)
Pinch ground cloves

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recommended Web Site

I would like to tell you about a fun web site. If you are just getting started on your storage this is a great place to go; or if like me, you feel like you've been working on it forever this is still a great site. I'm including the link where you can sign up to receive their free email checklists to help you see what you need to do in all phases of your preparations.

These girls have done a wonderful job in helping with preparedness regardless of the phase you are in. Take a look. I think you'll love it.

I'm also incuding a fun recipe for you to try. If you have campers in your family, chances are you've tried this. It is a recipe for a Ziploc Omelet. It can be made on the stovetop or over a campfire. It is fun for everyone in the family to make their own breakfast. Give it a try if you have not tried it before. They are so good and you can use whatever ingredients you like. The best part is that it requires little or no cleanup.

Have everyone write their name on a Quart-size Ziploc Freezer bag (must be a freezer bag) with permanent marker. Crack 2 eggs (large or extra large) into the bag. Shake to combine them. Put out a variety of ingredients such as: shredded cheeses, diced ham, chopped onion, diced green pepper, diced tomato, sliced mushrooms, hash browns, salsa and etc. Everyone adds prepared ingredients of choice to their bag and shakes. Make sure to get the air out of the bag and zip it up. Place the bags into rolling boiling water for about 15 minutes. Cook until omlet is firm. You can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot. For more, make another pot of boiling water. Open bags and omelet will roll out easily. Serve with fresh fruit or muffins. Make sure egg is done and not still runny before opening.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Book Review - Make-A-Mix Cookery

I have to say that this book and it's sequel "More Make-A-Mix Cookery" are two of my favorite books ever. I have almost worn them out. I've given them for gifts numerous times and they are still my go-to books after all these years.

First of all, I love the idea of making my own mixes. I know what is in it and I can cut out all the preservatives and the other additives I can't pronounce and wouldn't want to be able to tell you what they are! To me it just makes sense to make up my own mixes and have them on hand and I found that it was so much easier for me to talk myself into making "Swedish Cinamon Twists", "Sweet and Sour Meatballs", or "WonTons" when I knew that most of the preparation was already done.

I loved having pre-cooked meat mix, chicken, meatball mix and pie crust already in my freezer and so many pantry mixes ready to go. This is where I got the recipe for Granola that I posted here and as with most of the other recipes I have yet to find a bad one.

This is an older book, though still available - even on Kindle - it seems to me that it is even more useful today with all of our busy schedules and being so pressed for time. The second volumn, "More MakeA-Mix Cookery" is a winner too. I'm posting one of my all-time favorite recipes below.

Thanks again to Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward and Madeline Westover for all the delicious and time saving recipes over the years. If you add a copy of this book to your cooking library you'll be glad you did! Take a look at what's inside here:

4 lbs. lean ground beef
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 c. dry breadcrumbs
½ c. finely chopped onion
1 T. salt
2 T. cornstarch
¼ t. pepper
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Blend well. Shape mixture into 1” balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets and bake 10-15 minutes, until browned. Remove immediately and drain on paper towels. When cool, put about 25-30 meatballs into freezer bags. Seal and label and use within 3-4 months. Y: 144 meatballs.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I've been fast and furiously working to bring my vegetable supply up to where it should be. I've been a slacker! So... now i'm drying something every day to make up for it. I'm hoping to get the drying caught up before it gets to be 105º in my kitchen!

I'm mostly drying corn, peas, celery, a bit of cauliflower and broccoli and carrots. I also dried a few potatoes just to see how it went and they turned out well, although having been raised on a potato farm I felt like I was breaking the law when I did it.

One of the interesting things I dry is peppers. They are a great addition to any food storage items. Buy when they are cheap, dice and dry. Store with your spices for use daily or dry pack later.

To reward yourself for all your hard work, I think you should use some of those peppers you have not dried yet with some of those beautiful Strawberries you just picked up to make this awesome Strawberry Salsa. Now if I could just figure out a way to put some of this in my long term storage!?!

2 ½ c. finely chopped fresh strawberries
1 c. chopped green pepper
2 T. chopped green onions
2 T. minced fresh parsley
½ c. prepared Catalina salad dressing
Dash hot pepper sauce (optional)
Pepper to taste
Tortilla chips or crackers for dipping
Combine strawberries, green pepper, onions and parsley. Stir in salad dressing, pepper sauce and pepper. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Serve with chips or crackers. Y: 3 cups

2 ½ c. finely chopped fresh strawberries
1 c. chopped green pepper
2 T. chopped green onions
2 T. minced fresh parsley
½ c. prepared Catalina salad dressing
Dash hot pepper sauce
Pepper to taste
Tortilla chips for dipping
Combine strawberries, green pepper, onions and parsley. Stir in salad dressing, pepper sauce and pepper. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Serve with chips or crackers. Y: 3 cups

Monday, June 7, 2010

Granola ... it started me thinking...

I love homemade Granola. It is soft and chewy and full of nuts and coconut and tastes so good for breakfast, for a snack or whenever you eat it, but expecially warm, right out of the oven. Did I mention that it is healthy as well? I love that this granola is not hard and crunchy (unless you bake it longer). It is so good and that made me start thinking about whether I would be able to make Granola from my food storage items if I could not go to the store and buy the ingredients.

So, this weekeend while I was shopping, I decided to think about making the ingredients available in my storage. I have oats stored. I have honey, molasses, vanilla and brown sugar stored. But wheat germ, which is a tasty and healthy addition to granola, now that is a different story. So realizing that once you open a jar of wheat germ, it doesn't last long. It goes bad pretty quick. And even worse than that, it costs nearly $4 for a bottle of wheat germ.

So I started thinking again, what if I could buy the wheat germ bulk. Then my mind starting going crazy with all the possibilities. What if I could not only buy it bulk for less, but dry pack it in 1 cup quantities in the mylar bags for when I want to make Granola.

Here is what I found. To buy the same amount of wheat germ in bulk that is in the $4 bottle cost me $.77. Is that crazy or what? So now I'm going to be able to have granola anytime. Even if I can go to the store and buy it, why should I pay almost 5 times as much?

I'm posting my favorite Granola recipe today. I've loved this recipe for years, since my kids were small and they love it too. So when you make it, make sure that your family will be home soon after you take it out of the oven and can try it warm with milk for an afterschool snack. It will become a family favorite.

Next on the agenda; to see how many of the other ingredients I can dry pack, such as coconut, pecans, almonds etc. and add to my everyday food storage. The possibilies just might be endless.

From: Make-A-Mix Cookery
10 c. oats
1 c. wheat germ
2 ½ c. shredded coconut
2 c. raw sunflower seeds
3 c. chopped nuts (any combination)
1 ½ c. brown sugar, packed
1 ½ c. water
1 ½ c. vegetable oil
½ c. honey
½ c. molasses
1 ½ t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
3 t. vanilla
Raisins or other dried fruit if desired
In large bowl, combine 1st 5 ingredients and mix well. In large saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, oil, honey, molasses, salt, cinnamon & vanilla. Heat till sugar is dissolved but do not boil. Pour syrup over dry ingredients & stir till well coated. Spread into 2 large cookie sheets. Bake 20-30 minutes at 300º stirring occasionally. For crunchy texture bake longer. Cool. Add dried fruit. Store in airtight containers. This makes a huge amount.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Can If You Can

I want to mention the LDS Church cannery. I spent the day there on Tuesday canning chicken. It was a good day. The products are high quality and the prices are good compared to other sources. I know that not everyone has this service available but if you do, take advantage of it. Find a group of friends and go together. Purchase as much as you can and sell what you can’t afford to others who babysit for you or are working and can’t make it.

We canned White Chicken Chunks. Before I started going to the cannery to can chicken, I had a preconceived notion of what the canned chicken would be like. I was very pleasantly surprised. It is very high quality and has endless uses. It only takes a few hours to can, and is a good food storage item. It is so much easier to plan food storage meals when you have meat in cans stored.

Also, if a cannery is available to you, check out the dry pack products that are there to purchase. It is so easy to get busy and put it off, but schedule a time as often as you possibly can and use this facility. Just a note here - the cannerys are book far in advance to do the Chicken and beef. Sometimes there is a 3 month wait. If you'd like to take advantage of the opportunity call first thing in the mornings to see if you can get signed up. You will be so glad you did.

If you don’t have a cannery available, experiment with different canned meat items and find some that you like. Stock up when they come on sale. Meat has a good storage life if stored in a cool, dry place.

We will also talk in another post about canning your own meat. It is not hard to do at all. I’ve done ground beef, chicken and a combo of steaks and roast beef. It is a wonderful thing to see on your shelves.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Short Term Food Storage

I love this concept! When I began working on food storage, it wasn’t that exciting. Wheat, beans, rice, honey, powdered milk, salt etc….you get the picture. It really doesn’t sound very appetizing. These things are extremely important but there is more. If you aren’t familiar with the Short Term Food Storage concept, this is it: You choose 10-15 meals that require minimal preparation and simple storable ingredients and then list the ingredients in each and store enough of each to have these meals 2, 3 or more times each month for a 3 month period. You can do this for breakfast lunch and dinner and in no time at all you have a 3 month plan. Then you can increase your amounts for a 6 month supply. Of course, you will rotate them and replace the ingredients as you use them. This makes the concept of just making wheat bread and cooking beans seems a little easier to swallow…literally!

For example if Spaghetti were one of my meals, I’d decide how many times a month I wanted to have it and then store the ingredients for that number of meals. Then I’d gradually add the ingredients for a 3 month supply and eventually up to a 6 month supply. These aren’t going to be gourmet meals but easy simple meals to fill you up.

As you begin to work on this plan, you can watch out for easy to plan and prepare meals that you can add into your rotation. From time to time I’ll post some of my favorite short term food storage meals to give you some ideas. Eventually you will be able to figure how to store enough for lunches and breakfasts also.

It’s important to continue working on long term food storage items also, but as you begin to accumulate a few meals you’ll become excited by the progress you are making and be anxious and encouraged to do more. It will also cut down on “random” grocery shopping and you’ll spend less as you follow a carefully developed plan.

You will want to also, especially if you have kids or if you like snacks like I do, begin to plan some ideas for simple snacks in your short term storage. Consider homemade flour tortillas (recipe will be posted soon) and the salsa from yesterday’s post or your favorite cookies or a simple snack.

Today I’m posting one of my favorite short term meals. It is simple, requires few ingredients and is quick to prepare. If you have meat in your food storage (canned chicken, beef, tuna, salmon, ham, spam etc.) your meals can be more versatile. This recipe is good with or without meat. Can be adapted to feed more and will stir together quickly. It is a very inexpensive storage meal.

Short term food storage meal #1 - Creamy Spaghetti Casserole
1 can chili
1 can creamed corn
1 can spaghetti or spaghettios
1 can beef chunks or ground beef (optional)
Combine all ingredients and heat till bubbly. Can be topped with grated cheese till melted. *Note: if you buy chili that has meat in it, you really don’t need the canned meat. When I make this I usually only use a little meat, often left over crumbled meatloaf, diced leftover roast beef or leftover Sloppy Joe meat. This combo without the meat is a little more juicy. You could even serve it over pasta or rice to extend it further. Experiment and see what you like and how much your family will eat.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I use a lot of celery in my cooking but it is sometimes hard to keep fresh celery on hand. I started drying celery a few years ago simply because I needed to be able to put it in soups and stews and other recipes without having to run to the store. And…now that it is next to impossible to get fresh vegetables without driving more than 30 miles I’ve learned what a benefit it is to have some on hand. I also like using the celery leaves in some recipes so I dry those too.

Drying celery is easy; just dice and spread on trays, rotating the trays ever half hour or so. I dry some celery leaves as well and store them in a spice bottle. Celery doesn’t get as hard as other vegetables when you dry them. It just needs to be dried until it has no moisture when you break a piece open.
One of the main reasons I started drying the celery leaves was to use in a salsa recipe I got from a friend who claim’s the celery leaves are a great addition to the recipe she calls “fresh salsa” even though it is made with canned tomatoes. It’s quick to put together and can be made with ingredients from your storage shelves. (We’ll talk about drying green peppers, onions and jalapenos later.) Try drying some celery and celery leaves and then try some of the leaves in this salsa:

Joy’s Fresh Salsa
2 qt. canned tomatoes or 4 cans of petite diced tomatoes
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
½ c. celery, finely chopped
¼ c. celery leaves, chopped
2 jalapenos – fresh or frozen, chopped (or less)
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. vinegar
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
Mix together and bring to a boil. Simmer a few minutes. Store in fridge; keeps up to 6 weeks.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Remember when.... could buy Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup 3 cans for $1? Well, I'm older so I remember better! It has been a while since that time but I still cringe when I have to buy a can of soup for a recipe I'm making and have to pay well over a dollar for a can of the Campbell's brand. I don't do that very often unless it's an emergency and I'm in a hurry.

Today I'm going to share 3 different recipes for substitutes for canned Cream Soups. One is a mix, one uses powdered milk and another-a recipe which facinates me- uses bean flour. They work great and are a perfect alternative to expensive canned soups. Try them and see which is your favorite and find out how much you can save in your favorite recipes.

Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute #1
1 T. butter
3 T. flour
½ c. chicken broth
½ c. milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in saucepan over medium low heat. Stir in flour and keep stirring till smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and add broth and milk, a little at a time, stirring to keep smooth. Return to heat. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring constantly till it thickens. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Use in casseroles in place of condensed cream soups. *For Cream of Mushroom soup add 2 T. chopped canned mushrooms.

Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute #2
5 T. White bean flour (Grind 4 T. of any white bean to make 5 T. bean flour)
1 ¾ c. water
4 t. chicken bouillon or 4 cubes
Combine bean flour, water and bouillon in a saucepan. Cook on medium heat until thick and delicious; whisking frequently. The soup should be ready in about 3 minutes. (longer if your bean flour is coarser). Use this with cooked veggies or meat for a complete meal. You can add this to recipes calling for cream of chicken soup. This replaces a can plus the water or milk in recipes. (This soup is 60 calories compared to 210 calories in canned cream of chicken soup.)

Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute #3
1 1/2 cups powdered nonfat milk (2 cups instant dry milk)
¾ cup cornstarch
¼ cup instant chicken bouillon
2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon basil leaves
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
½ teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Store in airtight container until ready to use. Yield: 9 cans soup
Combine 1 cup of Cream Soup Mix with 1 ¼ cups of cold water in saucepan. Cook and stir
until thickened. Add to casserole as you would the canned soup. Substitute for 1 can.
Add a 4 oz. can of mushrooms, undrained, as part of liquid in Cream of Chicken Soup above for cream of mushroom.