Friday, July 30, 2010

Bread and Jelly Anyone?

I mentioned in my last post about logical planning. I have always thought I could eat a lot of homemade wheat bread or pancakes if I had to, but I would certainly prefer to have something good to go on them. I love jelly, jam and syrup. I confess to often eating the French toast or pancakes just for the jelly.

And...don't forget Peanut Butter and Jelly. Peanut Butter is obviously a great storage item but it goes down better with Jelly.

Sometimes making Jelly is a big production and can be a little time consuming - especially if you have to pick the fruit. Here are some quick Jelly recipes that you can make in a hurry that are great on fresh hot bread, pancakes, waffles, French toast or just a plain old PB&J.

The first two jellies are made with canned juice. And yes, I do have some red hots on hand to make the cinnamon-apple jelly. Canned juice stores for awhile too in a cool dry place.

I am including the recipe for Rhubarb Jelly just because it's my most favorite thing ever. If you have never tried it, you should. It is soooo good! It makes a great jelly or syrup.

Hopefully these recipes will inspire you to think about your food storage and what you can put together to make a quick and easy meal that even the kids like!

3 ½ c. Grape juice (canned)
2 ½ T. lemon juice
1 pkg. pectin
4 ½ c. sugar
Measure sugar and set aside. Combine juices in large heavy saucepan. Stir in pectin. Bring to full rolling boil which you cannot stir down. Add sugar and stir. Bring to a boil and boil hard exactly 2 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Pour into hot jars. Wipe top of jar. Seal and process in water bath for 10 minutes. Y: about 7 half pints

4 c. bottled apple juice
1 package pectin
4 c. sugar
¼ c. Red Hots Candies
Combine juice and pectin in heavy 6 quart saucepan. Bring to full rolling boil which you cannot stir down. Add sugar and red hots. Stir. Bring to a boil. Boil hard for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Pour jelly into hot jars. Wipe top of jar. Seal and process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Cook rhubarb until it is mushy. Cover with just enough water to cover, the less water the stronger the flavor will be. Strain rhubarb extracting as much juice as possible.
3 c. rhubarb juice
1/3 c. liquid pectin (1 pouch or ½ bottle)
4 ½ c. sugar
Bring juice and pectin to a boil. Add sugar and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Pour into sterilized jars and put lids on. Water bath 15 minutes. This is a delicate, tangy jelly, especially good on thumbprint cookies or waffle or pancakes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Logical Food Storage

One of the things I have learned to do from time to time is to think logically about my food storage. It's hard to project ahead to what could or would happen in an emergency, but I kind of like to go there in my head! Strange, I know.

I think to myself what would I do in this situation? If I had no electricity, what could I whip up for a quick meal? What items in my food storage are the most versatile? What comfort foods are quick to fix?

One thing I always come back to is this: I may not always have the time or the energy to whip up a batch of homemade bread and wait for it to rise and bake, but I can make pancakes. Or I can make flour tortillas and fill them with almost anything to make a quick meal.

I love homemade tortillas. There is no comparison to the store bought brands. In fact, when I do buy flour tortillas I usually end up throwing part of a package away because they just don't get eaten. Here is a good recipe for flour tortillas if you don't have one. You can make these in a bread mixer but you definitely don't have to. I have seen the Spanish ladies who taught us how to make these, with their hands up to their elbows in flour and shortening, but they certainly turn out a good product.
Flour Tortillas
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 c. shortening (you can use lard)
1 c. very hot water
Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add shortening and cut in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in HOT water. The water needs to be hot enought to melt the shortening but not too hot or it will be gooey. Mix well until thoroughly combined like dough. Divide into balls (You will get between 8 & 12) depending on how big you make them. Preheat a heavy skillet to medium-low heat. Roll balls into tortilla shape without adding more flour. If you need you can spray your area where you are rolling. Try to maintain as much of a circle shape as possible. Place rolling pin in middle of flattened dough ball and roll to desired thickness, shaping as you go, and keeping edges smooth and even.

Put tortilla on preheated skillet. The first one is the hardest. You want the dough to puff up into bubbles but not for them to pop and burn. You'll know when you do it. Adjust heat accordingly. When they really start to puff up, turn on cook on the other side for about 45 seconds or so till they are done. You don't want it to be too dark because it will be crispy when it cools and we want soft and flexible. Stack them in a pile as you cook them to keep warm. They can be also be reheated if necessary. So good when they are fresh off the griddle.

For a fun snack, cut the tortillas in wedges, using your pizza cutter. Place on a baking sheet and spray or brush with oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (to dip in cut up, sweetened fresh fruit) or sprinkle with your favorite spices to dip in salsa or ther dips. Bake at 350º for 8-10 minutes till they start to curl and crisp up.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Short term food storage recipe - #6

One of the most important parts of food storage is a good inventory. Making a list of what you need and the amounts is first. Then comes the task of keeping track of what you buy and how much you still need. The most daunting part is keeping track of what you use, that needs to be replaced. Once you get this part under control, you'll feel more energized and able to better make a long term plan for acquiring what you need.

Hopefully you have chosen several meals for your short term food storage plan that you want to have several times in a 3 month period and are in the process of getting enough of all the ingredients to complete your short term food storage.

Here is another one of mine that is easy to do from food storage ingredients. If you can come up with 15 different menus for dinner then you can have them twice a month or 6 times in a 3 month period. Even better if you can come up with 30 meals. That's great variety.

1 T. butter
½ c. soft bread crumbs
2 ½ c. spaghetti (broken in half)
1 can tomato soup, undiluted
1 can evaporated milk
1 can tuna, drained
1 c. grated cheese
1 T. minced onion
½ t. salt
Dash dried thyme
Melt butter in small saucepan and toss with bread crumbs and set aside. Cook spaghetti and drain. In a 2-quart casserole, mix spaghetti and soup with remaining ingredients. Top with buttered crumbs. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes. Y: 8 servings

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Best Cornbread Ever!

Okay. I know everyone says that. Truth is, most cornbread recipes are very similar. This one is no exception. I think what makes this better is that it is made from scratch. For this recipe, you can grind your own popcorn white or yellow – your choice. I like white the best and if you buy it in bulk you save money too.

One thing that makes it an excellent food storage recipe is that you can dry pack popcorn in mylar bags, all ready to open and grind for the cornbread. The popcorn definitely stores better than the cornmeal, which is a plus.

Here is a tip about the mylar bags if you are sealing them at home, and have sealed something like popcorn in the mylar bags, when you open the bag, just cut across the top, remove the popcorn or beans or whatever you have sealed, refill with more new popcorn or beans and reseal, put a new label on and you are good to go. The mylar bags can become reuseable bags.

For the cornbread recipe, grind the popcorn in your wheat grinder on either medium or fine. You can also use cornmeal in this recipe but this is definitely a food storage recipe so try all the food storage items in it that you can.

It's great with honey butter or fresh jam or I've included one of my favorite ways to eat cornbread too.

The Best Ever Cornbread
1 c. cornmeal (Grind your own popcorn to make cornmeal)
1 c. flour
1 cube butter
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs or (4 T. powdered eggs + ½ c. water)
1 c. buttermilk or (1 T. lemon juice or vinegar in cup, finish filling with milk, or powdered milk)
Preheat oven to 375º. Grease an 8” square pan. Melt butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and quickly stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour and salt until well blended and only a few lumps remain. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 30-40 minutes or till a toothpick comes out clean.

Serving suggestion: Cornbread and Chili
For a fun and different way to serve chili, bake up a batch of cornbread. Serve in bowls topped with chili, grated cheese and sour cream. For a quick chili meal or a good storage idea, try “Darn Good Chili Mix” made by Bear Creek Soup Mixes. All you need to add is tomato sauce and your own meat and you have a quick meal.

Monday, July 26, 2010


One of the most vital parts of your food storage is your water storage. I’m not going to spend a lot of time telling you how to store water, whether to chlorinate or not because there are experts that have a lot more knowledge than I do. I just want to emphasize what an important and essential thing it is that you store water.

If you have city water, you may not realize what a scary feeling it is to turn on the tap and have nothing come out. Having lived in an older home that was on an unreliable and often contaminated water supply, I learned early on what a sick feeling it is to suddenly be "out of water". Drinking water is essential but we need water for so many other things. With just a gallon or two of stored water you soon learn just how much water it takes to survive. If you have babies or young children it becomes even more critical.

Much of your decision on how to store water will depend on where you are going to store it. We all know that storing water in milk jugs or even the jugs that you buy drinking water in can be disastrous. They won’t last long and you’ll have a soggy mess. The large barrels that store water are really the most economical way space-wise to store water because you can store 50 gallon in about a 2-3 foot square area. However they are harder to use. An ideal situation would be enough of the barrels for your long term storage plus smaller, manageable containers for emergency access. Two-liter bottles work great but remember if they or any other storage container is clear, they must be stored where it is dark to prevent the growth of algae in them. One of my favorite storage containers is the mylar bags that are inside the cardboard boxes that will stack. I have used them in an emergency and the water tastes wonderful and stays good.

Whatever you decide to use for storing water, get it done! The containers may be an expense but at some point they may save your lives or the lives of your children.

For more information on how to safely store water see:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cake in a Cup

There is an email going around these days for a cake in the cup recipe. This ISN'T it! Tried that one and wasn't impressed. I've had this recipe for years and have used it numerous times and with several different varieties. It's fun and easy to make for a quick snack. This is a 'just for fun' recipe for a fun little mix.

For cake:
1 cake mix
1 sm. Instant pudding mix (not sugar free)
Good cake combinations are:
Lemon cake/Lemon pudding
Yellow cake/Chocolate pudding (excellent)
Devils Food/Chocolate pudding
Pineapple cake/Coconut cream pudding
Butterscotch cake/Butterscotch pudding
For Glaze:
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1 ½ t. dry flavoring: powdered lemonade mix (not sugar free) powdered orange drink or cocoa powder
Place dry cake mix and dry pudding mix into large bowl and blend well with a whisk. This will make 8-9 cake mixes.
Place ½ c. dry mix into sandwich bag. Label and seal. Combine glaze ingredients and put into small bag and label and seal.
To use:
Cup must hold 1 ½ c. water and must be microwave safe. Generously spray inside of cup with Pam. Empty dry cake mix into cup and add 1 egg white, 1 T. oil and 1 T. water. Mix for 15 seconds, carefully mixing in all the dry mix. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes. While cake is cooking, place glaze ingredients into small container and add 1 ½ t. water and mix well. When cake is done, pour glaze over cake in cup. Eat warm. (Batter can be mixed in a small bowl and poured into sprayed cup if desired.) These are fun and don’t really have to be glazed. Keep some on hand for a quick snack.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Please Pass the Salt

Salt is one of the basic recommended storage items for a years supply. There are several reasons for this. First, food tastes bland without it. Second, everyone needs some salt in their diet and third, it is used to preserve food.

It is a no-brainer that we all like things to taste good. Salt is pretty inexpensive to store and should be one of the first things we add to our storage. However, if it isn't stored properly it can take on moisture and harden. Make sure to store your salt in a moisture proof container (not the sack or paper can it comes in). It will store forever if it doesn't get moisture or absorb the flavor or odor of whatever it is stored near. It may turn a little yellow if it has iodine in it, but it is still good to eat. Salt with iodine is the preferred storage salt, because it is good for the thyroid unless there is someone in your family whose body can't tolerate iodine.

Salt is a vital substance for survival of all living creatures, particularly humans. Water, salt and potassium together regulate the water content of the body. Salt is a natural antihistamine. It can be used to relieve asthma. Salt is a strong anti-stress element for the body. Salt extracts excess acid from inside the cells, particularly the brain cells. Salt is vital for maintaining muscle tone and strength. Lack of bladder control and involuntary leakage of urine could be a consequence of low salt intake.

Think of the recipes that you use when canning items on a regular basis. What types and amounts of salt do they call for? Make sure that you have enough salt in your storage if you plan on using it to cure meats also.

I am a little distressed by the fact that most salt contains aluminum, as an anti caking agent. I prefer to use the "Real Salt" brand in my cooking and in my shakers. If you haven't tried it yet, you should. It is a little more pricey but if you buy it at a food storage outlet rather than off your supermarket shelves, you'll save money. It comes in larger size packages than the shaker bottle pictured above. Give it a try!

One of my favorite recipes ever, I received from a friend who passed away several years ago. I look forward to the fall when cucumbers are on so I can make this relish. It doesn't use as much salt as some pickles but it is a to-die-for sweet pickle relish that is wonderful on burgers, tuna sandwiches or mixed in any kind of a sandwich spread.

12 large cucumbers
4 green peppers
1 red pepper
4 large onions
3 c. vinegar
5 c. sugar
2 T. salt
4 t. celery seed
4 t. mustard seed
3 t. turmeric
¼ t. cloves
Grind cucumbers, peppers and onions; sprinkle 2 T. salt over mixture and let set overnight. Add 1 qt. water. Boil 15 minutes. Drain and wash. Add vinegar, sugar, seeds and turmeric. Cook 20 minutes. Seal in jars. Y: about 8 pints.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A 'Mix Fix'

Okay. I admit it. I have a fixation with homemade mixes. I love the concept of being able to make things from scratch for less money and without added preservatives. I've collected recipes for mixes for years but just the last few have they figured into my food storage planning. I'll share some of these from time to time. Imagine how many mixes you can make for the price of just one purchased mix.

Today I'm including a recipe for homemade Rice-a-roni. Pretty easy to make. I'm also including my favorite variation on that mix, an easy Chicken Rice-a-roni salad that is so good for a cool summer meal.

Homemade Rice-a-roni
Just like the real thing, but more colorful.
1/4 c.rice
1/4 c. spaghetti, broken into ¼” pieces or vermicelli
1 t. butter
1/4 t. tumeric
1/2 t. minced onion
2 t. chicken bouillon
Parsley & pepper to taste
1 c. water
Melt butter in pan and stir in rice and noodles. Cook, stirring occasionally until rice and noodles are browned. Add water, onions, parsley, turmeric, and pepper. Bring to a boil. cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Servings: 2 to 3

1 package Chicken Rice-a-Roni
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped sweet pickle
½ c. diced onion
1 c. frozen peas
3 boiled eggs, chopped
1 c. slivered almonds
2 c. cooked chicken, cubed
1 c. Miracle Whip
Pickle juice
Mix cooked, cooled rice-a-roni with other ingredients. Stir in Miracle whip thinned with pickle juice. Serve on lettuce leaf. Sprinkle with paprika. *Note: the homemade version of Rice-a-roni makes a smaller amount than the box mix. Adjust Miracle whip dressing accordingly.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Have you ever eaten TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)? Well... if you have eaten at Taco Time or eaten frozen pizza you have.

What is TVP?
Textured vegetable protein – sometimes referred to as textured soy protein – is a meat substitute made from soy flour. It is sold in both flavored and unflavored varieties, and comes in a variety of flavors, such as beef, chicken, taco, pepperoni, sausage, bacon, and others, making it easy to work with and incredibly versatile.

Since TVP is sold in dehydrated form, it must be rehydrated before use. This can be acheived by soaking it in water for 5-10 minutes or through the cooking process (when used in soups, sauces and other liquids).

TVP is considerably cheaper than meat, and goes a lot further too. Expect to get the equivalent of three pounds of meat out of one pound of TVP.

Taco can be used in place of meat in may recipes. You'd be surprised what you can do with it, including making meatballs. Many people use it half and half with their hamburger to stretch their budget. It is a great food storage item because it stores well and keeps for a long time. I have used the taco with good success and like the beef and chicken in casseroles and chili.

TVP is quite inexpensive and will greatly increase the number of meals you can make from your food storage. Here is a recipe I got from a friend.

Sloppy Joes
2-3 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 1/2 c. vegetable broth
2 1/2 c. tomato sauce
1 T. chili powder
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 c. beef T.V.P
salt and pepper to taste
5-6 hamburger buns
In a large skillet, saute the onion and peppers in olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until onions are soft. Reduce heat to medium low and add the remaining ingredients (except buns) and stir well to combine. Allow to simmer for at least 15 more minutes. Spoon onto hamburger buns and serve hot.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tomatoes & Sundried Tomatoes

One of the easiest and most interesting vegetables or fruits, as the case may be, to dry and use is the Tomato.
As tomatoes dry, the flavor intensifies because you are eliminating all the water. They can then be used in chili, soups, stews or sauces, or can be blended and turned into tomato powder and used as a base for so many recipes. Another option is to make Sundried tomatoes with them.

Here is how I do it: I like to wash and dry the tomatoes, cutting the top core off and then slice them in about ¼” slices. Many people prefer to cut them in chunks or quarters depending on the size. I slice them because the dry faster and if I am using them in a soup or stew, I don’t care for big chunks of tomatoes. Also if I am making sundried tomatoes out of them, I prefer the slices. You can do as you wish. I slice them onto trays lined with paper towels, just to absorb some of the excess moisture. Lay the slices on your dehydrator trays and dry till the slices are crisp, or until there is no moisture left. You’ll want to have all the slices of a uniform size. Rotate trays occasionally to insure even drying. Tomatoes will also “crisp-up” a little as they cool.

At this point you can store them in airtight container for use in your favorite recipes or you can blend them to a fine powder and store the powder. Many people like to eat the tomato “chips” as a snack or with a dip. They are also excellent broken up a bit and stirred into soft cream cheese for a cracker or bagel spread.

To make sundried tomatoes, sprinkle them with your favorite seasoning such as an Italian Seasoning Blend. Don’t make up any more than you can use in a reasonable period of time because they can go rancid over time. For dried oil, put a clove of garlic in a small canning jar,(the Garlic is optional)place the dried tomatoes inside and fill with olive oil. Place the jar in the refrigerator for about a week. They are then ready to use however you wish. There are great in any of your favorite dishes, dips or sauces.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Taters in a Barrel

I'm not a great gardener. My parents both had green thumbs and could grow anything and lots of it. That gene skipped me so I hope that it shows up in the next generation. However, I have had some pretty good gardens in the past, mainly because of ideal soil and water conditions, and I certainly do love eating everything that comes out of a garden.

I'm always on the lookout for sneaky tricks and fun ideas for gardening. Especially because we live where there is such a short growing season. I've seen this idea a few times and have been fascinated with it from the first. I have yet to try it but I'm going to do it. It sounds awesome. If any of you are so inclined, let me know how it goes. Looks to me like the results are awesome.

I'm attaching an article from "Mother Earth News" about growing potatoes in a barrel. There are numerous articles out there that tell of different or similar methods but I think this sounds like an awesome idea! One thing I might mention is that this article uses sawdust. You can also use compost material or a good soil mix of your own.

From: “Mother Earth News”
Taters in a Barrel
How to grow potatoes in a barrel for simple harvesting.

Remember what potatoes used to taste like . . . hot and steaming from the oven, full of fluffy white meal, and with an earthy flavor that didn't need the help of butter or sour cream? Well, you can raise your own spuds and recapture that special flavor, and you won't have to do a lot of backbreaking digging, either. You can do what I do and grow taters in a barrel. . . and what's more, that container is filled with sawdust. Yep, you heard me right, sawdust!

Here's how it's done: First, get yourself a barrel. You can use an old metal or plastic trash can, or even a discarded whiskey keg. However, the size of the container will determine the number of "earth apples" you'll harvest, so make your selection accordingly. To prepare your growing' bin, poke a series of holes-spaced about six inches in each direction-in the bottom of the container. The drainage provided by the bores will help keep your spuds' "feet" dry ... an important consideration. Then spread a sheet of fiberglass screening over the holes, and put about six inches of soil in the bottom of the barrel. Next comes a four-inch layer of sawdust . . . and-with that in place-you're ready to plant the seed potatoes.

As you probably know, spuds-unlike most vegetables-aren't usually raised from seed. Instead, they're sprouted from the eyes of fully grown tubers . . . known as seed potatoes. So, if you grew your own crop of taters last year and set some of the bumpy beauties aside, you're ahead of the game. Check with a neighbor or friend for seed or check out a garden store. (There's one source to avoid, however: store-bought spuds, even if they are beginning to sprout. The commercial edibles have usually been sprayed with an antisprouting chemical . . . and even the ones that do put forth new growth will develop poorly.)

Slice your seed potatoes so that each chunk contains two eyes, and let the severed spuds sit for a day or two while their cut surfaces dry. Next, take the "seeds" and push 'em down into the layer of saw dust in the barrel . . . just far enough so they're covered. Now dampen the tree shavings and stand back. In only a few days you'll find little plants sprouting' through the sawdust. Then, each time these young'uns grow a couple of inches above the wood waste, dump in another load to cover 'em up, and give the crop a soaking. Since the new potatoes form above their parent eye, you are-in effect-creating room for more down-home delicacies each time you bury the plant! By the time the container is full, you'll have two or three feet of barrel grown beauties to harvest.

Come September, when it's time to gather your May-planted crop, you can forget about your spading fork. Simply tilt the barrel over on its side, give it a shake or two to get things moving, and pour out the most beautiful crop of luscious spuds you've ever seen! And-after you've taken those terrific taters from their nest you'll have some mighty fine organic material left over to work into your garden soil. But planting' time’s coming on, and seed potato stocks are often limited ... so you'd better get cracking if you want to raise a banquet in a barrel!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sun Oven

I've been thinking about cooking methods all week. In an emergency, depending on the type of emergency, you may have to wing it when it comes to preparing food. You may be a great campfire builder, or Dutch Oven Connoisseur but those may not be feasible options depending on your circumstances. It's good to have several different cooking methods available.

The Sun Oven is a great accessory. The thing that I like the most about the Sun Oven is that you can use it at any time. It will even cook when it is 5º outside. As long as there is sunshine, you can bake in it and prepare meals.

The only drawback that I can see is that if you are faced with strong winds, because of the light-weight make-up of the Sun Oven, the winds could be a hinderance. It would also be more benificial in a climate where there is a lot of sun as opposed to an area when there is extended periods of clouds and rain. I believe that using it over time will help you learn how to get the most use from your oven. I think that anyone can use this, but the hotter the climate, the more uses you will find for it. I could prepare food in my house on a cookstove in the winter with no problem, but I can't even imagine cooking on a hot cookstove when it's 98º outside.

The Sun Oven is a wonderful invention. You can cook or bake any food in it that you can make in your oven. Make soups, casseroles and stews, not to mention breads, cookies, cakes and lets not forget pies or brownies.

It folds up compactly and requires little storage space. It is very lightweight and easy to set up. The best thing about it of course, is that it requires no fuel except sunlight. It does a wonderful job of cooking and it is pretty much impossible to burn your food.Be thinking about what cooking methods fit your needs the best and decide if a Sun Oven might be right for you. I highly reccommend it. If you are interested you can check it out at

Friday, July 16, 2010

Short Term Food Storage Recipe #5 - Chicken Casserole

The nice thing about this recipe is that it really is food storage friendly. The stuffing mix can be made from scratch. You can use canned chicken, homemade cream of chicken soup, dried celery, dried onion, rehydrated dried peas and homemade sour cream, or just some milk in a pinch. Here is the recipe for the casserole, followed by recipes for other ingredients.

Remember: Successful food storage meals are not made from food storage recipes, but from your favorite recipes adapted to use food storage.

1 pkg. stove top stuffing mix
2 c. cubed cooked chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. sour cream
1 c. chopped celery
½ c. chopped onion
1 c. frozen peas, thawed
Salt and pepper
Garlic salt and chopped parsley (optional)
Make stuffing following directions on package. Mix chicken with sour cream and soup. Season lightly with salt, pepper, garlic salt or powder. Stir in celery, onion and peas. Put a layer of stuffing in bottom of 9x13” pan. Spread creamed mixture over top then spread remaining stuffing on top. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes at 350º or until heated through. This casserole freezes well.

Homemade Stovetop Stuffing Mix
6 c. cubed bread
1 T. parsley flakes
3 cubes chicken bouillon
1/4 c. dried minced onion
1/2 c. dried minced celery
1 t. thyme
1 t. pepper
1/2 t. sage
1/2 t. salt
Preheat oven to 350º. Bake bread 8 to 10 minutes. In large bowl toss bread with remaining ingredients till evenly coated. Store in a air tight container. Will keep for 1 to 4 months or 12 months frozen. Cook just like you would for the prepackaged mix. Combine 2 cups stuffing mix with 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Y: 7 cups mix

Sour Cream Substitute #1
2 c. buttermilk (use 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar and finish filling each cup with milk)
6 T. cornstarch
If not using in dessert recipes add:
2 t. onion powder
Dash paprika
Blend all together in blender. Store in covered container in the fridge and use as regular sour cream.

Sour Cream Substitute #2
7/8 c. buttermilk plus ¼ c. butter or margarine. Blend until smooth

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.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cooking without Electricity

There are many ways of cooking without electricity or gas. Some are fairly simple, others more complicated but most require fuel. A lot of fuel. Unless you have unlimited storage space to store fuel or other resources that make it feasible for you to do this, you may want to consider other alternatives.

Some of these alternative cooking methods are, cooking over a campfire or fire pit, propane or butane stoves, wood burning stoves, thermos cooking, sun ovens and many others. I think it might be a good idea to study all of them and decide which ones will work best for you. Yes, I believe you will need to be prepared to use several different methods.
One that is fairly new to me but which fascinates me is the Wonder Box cooker or the Wonder Oven. This is made using an 18 gallon rubbermaid tote (Another box or container of equal proportions will also work), and 2 cushions inside filled with polystyrene beads (like the bean bag chairs have.) The idea behind this cooker is that you cook or bake in water - water which you first bring to a boil, put your food inside and then cover and place inside the pillows inside the wonder box and cover. The food continues to cook or bake.

You can cook a whole chicken, bake bread, or do anything that you would want to do. The only fuel required for this method would be the fuel to bring the water to a boil. I am including some websites for instructions and a pattern to make your own wonderbox. I'm getting right on this bandwagon.

A friend tells me she baked bread (using 48 oz. tin cans to put her dough in) and it bakes perfectly. The wonder box will also keep cold food cold. It can keep ice cream frozen for up to 4 hours. I don't know about you but I think that being prepared (before you need to use it) would be a great asset to your food storage. The links below are for the cushion pattern and the construction instructions. Any questions, let me know and I can send you more info.

If you prefer to order the cusion already made here is a website where you can get more information:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Storing and Using Wheat

Hopefully your wheat storage is ever growing. When we started storing wheat shortly after we were married, the only choice to store that had the proper moisture content was hard red wheat. Now that a new variety of wheat is available, Golden 86 or Hard White Wheat, wheat storage and usage has greatly improved.

The hard white wheat makes delicious bread, a lighter texture than the old hard red wheat bread that was typical years ago. Hard white wheat is easy to find now, in fact many people and providers prefer it to the hard red.

Hopefully you have a hand grinder in your storage. They are around $80, sometimes cheaper on sale and are a must for your emergency food storage. If you are lucky enough to have an electric grinder that is awesome. Put a hand grinder on your "soon to purchase" list. These little hand grinders have also greatly improved in quality in the last few years. They put out a high quality of fine flour great for making bread.

If you are a bread maker, you may already have a favorite wheat bread recipe. If you are hesitant to switch from all white flour to whole wheat, start with half and half and gradually increase the wheat flour in your recipe. Cookies are also a great way to introduce whole wheat flour into your diets.

Here is a great Whole Wheat Bread Recipe for you to try. This makes 2 loaves but you can cut the recipe in half for one loaf if you wish. Good luck.

Almost Perfect Whole Wheat Bread
3 c. warm water (110º-115º)
1 T. Saf Instant yeast (or other instant yeast)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. honey
1 T. salt
6 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 c. whole oats
1/4 c. gluten
(Mixer Method) Combine 1st 5 ingredients and mix. Add 5 cups flour, oats and gluten flour. Mix well. Continue adding the other 1 c. flour slowly until dough forms a ball and scrapes the excess dough off the sides of the bowl. Let mix for 5-10 minutes. While mixing, preheat oven to 125º. Oil the counter surface and your hands. Put dough on oiled surface and slice with a knife into 2 large or 3 small loaves. Pat dough down and roll into loaf shape, and put into greased bread pans. Turn off oven, cover loaves loosely with plastic wrap and put in warmed oven to rise till double (45-60 minutes). Remove loaves from oven, preheat to 350º. Bake loaves for 25-30 minutes, or till loaves sound hollow when thumped. Remove from pans immediately and place on wire cooling rack. Dough can be mixed and kneaded by hand instead of using bread mixed if you desire. Serve warm with honey butter or fresh strawberry jam.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I HATE cooked cereal, especially cooked oatmeal. I’ve tried, I really have, but it’s useless. Growing up, my mom made cooked cereal (several different varieties) and it made me gag. I made it for my husband and kids. We tried many different kinds. They all ate it but it is still a no-go for me. I never let my kids know that I thought it was the most disgusting thing ever. But I did. And I do.

Enter Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah). I had read so many good things about this unique grain and wanted to give it a try. I’ve found several recipes and just kept coming back to this recipe called Quinoa for Breakfast. I got brave. I just made a little portion thinking I wouldn’t waste that much when I threw it out. Guess what? I loved it. It wasn’t like your ordinary, goopy, gooey, slimy, no taste or texture oatmeal. It had texture and was very good. It tasted a little like granola with a more fine texture. Finally I can eat cooked cereal for breakfast.

Don’t let me lead you to think that Quinoa is just for breakfast. It is a grain that can be used in place of rice or pasta. In salads, soups, stews, casseroles, side dishes, pilaf, as a cereal or in a pudding. Quinoa can be substituted for almost any grain in any recipe. I had another recipe where Quinoa was used in place of pasta, but I lost it. It's floating around in cyber space. When I find it again, I'll post it. Here is the breakfast recipe.

Quinoa for Breakfast
(Makes one generous serving)
¼ c. quinoa
¼ t. cinnamon
½ c. milk for cooking (more for serving)
Generous pinch of sea salt
1 whole date
3 dried apricots
Pecans or almonds
½ T. honey
¼ t. vanilla
Put quinoa in a mesh strainer and rinse well. In a small saucepan over medium heat stir together quinoa and cinnamon. Add milk and bring to a boil. Stir in salt. Lower heat to simmer; cover saucepan and let simmer about 15 minutes. Finely chop dates and apricots. Once milk is almost fully absorbed into quinoa, add honey, vanilla, dates and apricots and nuts. Mix thoroughly. Serve in individual dishes with additional milk. Note: This would also be good with raisins, dried cranberries, or any chopped fresh fruit that you like.

Below are some interesting facts about Quinoa. Give it a try!
1. The Incas called it the "mother grain" and revered it as sacred.

2. The seeds are tiny and flat with a pointed oval shape and look like a cross between a sesame seed and millet. It takes about 3 grains of Quinoa laid end to end, to equal the size of one grain of rice.

3. Quinoa is gluten-free which makes this a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity, and supplying variety and good nutrition to any diet.

4. As it cooks, the outer germ around each grain twists outward forming a little white, spiral tail, which is attached to the kernel. The grain itself is soft and delicate and the tail is crunchy which creates and interesting texture combination and pleasant "crunch" when eating the grain. Quinoa is fluffy and has a mild, delicate, slightly nutty flavor.

5. Before cooking, the seeds must be rinsed to remove their bitter resin-like coating, which is called saponin. Quinoa is rinsed before it is packaged and sold, but it is best to rinse again at home before use to remove any of the powdery residue that may remain on the seeds. The presence of saponin is obvious by the production of a soapy looking "suds" when the seeds are swished in water. Placing quinoa in a strainer and rinsing thoroughly with water easily washes the saponin from the seeds. In South America the saponin which is removed from the quinoa is used as detergent for washing clothes and as an antiseptic to promote healing of skin injuries.

6. Quinoa is high in protein, calcium and iron; a good source of vitamin E and several B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development. It is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids typically low in other grains. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Some types of wheat come close to matching quinoa's protein content, but grains such as barley, corn, and rice generally have less than half the protein of quinoa. Four ounces a day, about 1/2-cup, will provide a child’s protein needs for one day.

7. Quinoa cooks very quickly, in only 15 minutes. Uncooked seeds may be added to soups and stews as you would barley or rice and quinoa is often substituted for rice in rice dishes. Dry roasting quinoa in a pan or in the oven, before cooking will give a toasted flavor, and it can be cooked in fruit juice to add character to the flavor for use as a breakfast cereal or in desserts.

8. Cold salads consisting of quinoa and chopped vegetables or cooked beans make a quick, easy, and nutritious dish.

9. Quinoa seeds can be sprouted and eaten in salads and sandwiches. To sprout the seeds, soak about 1/3 cup seeds in a jar for 2 to 4 hours, then drain and rinse the seeds twice a day for 2-4 days. When the sprouts are about 1 “ long, place them near a window for chlorophyll to develop, which will give them a vibrant green color.

10. Another fascinating way of using quinoa is to "pop" the seeds in a dry skillet and eat them as a dry cereal.

11. Quinoa should be stored in a cool dry place. It is not a long term storage item, only about a year, but if dry packed it will keep well for some time. Once it is opened, it should be stored in the fridge.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


One of the most important items in your food storage is Yeast. I love the Saf Instant Brand because it stores so well, is very inexpensive and you can tell that it is still good because of the tight, brick-like packaging. As long as the package is tight and hard, the yeast is still good. However any yeast that is packaged for long term storage is okay to store. Here are a few tips on using instant yeast:

1)Use about 20% less instant yeast than the amount of active dry yeast called for in a recipe.
2)Add the instant yeast directly to your dry ingredients.
3)When substituting into a recipe that calls for active dry yeast, be sure to add the amount of water you would have dissolved the yeast in to your wet ingredients.
4) With instant yeast you only need 1 rise. The first rise is replaced with a 10 minute rest and you don’t have to punch the dough down.

Saf Instant is still under $3 a pound in Utah and Idaho so it can be quite inexpensive to store a year's supply of yeast. If you have your wheat stored, yeast is a must. Here is a good recipe for rolls that you can make from start to finish in about an hour, yes that includes bake time.

Rapid Rise Rolls
(This makes 2 cookie sheet pans of rolls)
4 cups flour
6 Tablespoons SAF instant yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
Mix above ingredients together thoroughly. Add to dry mixture:
3 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup oil
3 eggs
Beat thoroughly and let it work (sponge) for about 5-10 minutes. Then add the rest of the flour, about 6 1/2 cups. Dough should be slightly sticky. Knead on floured board about 5 times. Melt 1/4 cup butter and spread on cookie sheets. Pinch off dough for rolls, dip dough top-side-down in butter, turn over and place on cookie sheet leaving 1/2" space between rolls and sides of cookie sheet. Put 1 pan of rolls in pre-heated 170º oven for 10 minutes. Remove rolls from oven. Heat oven to 425º and bake the rolls for about 10 minutes, or bake at 350º for about 15-20 minutes. The other pan of rolls should be ready to put in to bake without having to pre-proof in the oven. The rolls should have risen enough to fill in all the empty spaces and be above the rim of the cookie sheet about 1-2". Note: if you want to mix this in your Kitchen Aid or Bosch, cut recipe in half and you'll have 1 pan of rolls.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Short Term Food Storage - Recipe #4

Here is another quick and easy main dish recipe that can easily be adapted to use food storage. This is pretty easy to change to include what you like in it. It uses 4 kinds of beans, which can be canned beans to make it a quick and easy recipe, or you can used dried beans that you have soaked and cooked for a more traditional food storage recipe. It was originally a meatless recipe but I have made it using leftover crumbled meatloaf or ham and often use canned ham in it. Try it and see what you think...

1 can Pork n’ beans
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can French style green beans, drained
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 c. chili sauce
¼ c. packed brown sugar
Leftover cubed ham or roast beef (optional)
Combine all ingredients in an ungreased 2 quart casserole. Bake uncovered at 350º 1 hour or till heated through and bubbly. Y: 8-10 servings.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dinner is in the Jar - Book Review

I loved this book for a number of reasons:

First: I loved the whole concept of this idea of preparing dinners that are made with food storage ingredients and can be stored on your shelf and made quickly without a lot of preparation. The author refers to them as comfort foods. What a good idea especially for use in an emergency or time of crisis.

Second: This is where I got the information on using mylar bags to dry pack at home. I love this idea and have been doing this ever since. I've dry packed things like baking cocoa that was in a large container and in the way. Now it is in 4 smaller bags that are boxed up until needed.

Third: After purchasing the book I decided I would try making all the recipes in the book, I believe there are about 30 meals. I immediately started gathering ingredients, thinking I had most everything on hand. It was an interesting experience for me to find out what I really needed that I thought I had and also what I'd like to have in storage that I didn't know I wanted before.

Fourth: This book has caused me to look at my own recipes and figure out how I can convert the ingredients in some of them to dry, storable ingredients.

Fifth: It's just a good book. The author has been very cordial, as we have emailed back and forth a few times, answering my questions and giving me helpful suggestions. Her concept in this book is that if you prepare 3 of each of the meals in this book, you will have 90 dinners on your shelf. Don't you just love that idea? For more information on this book go to and check it out.