The Survival Mom » Food http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:54:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Why You Should Include Junk Food in Your Food Storage Pantry http://thesurvivalmom.com/junk-food-storage/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/junk-food-storage/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:40:12 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21932 Disasters are stressful, no question about it. The power goes out, maybe the water and heat along with it. The kids are whining and probably at least a little scared. You and your spouse are edgy, perhaps getting more than Read More

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Add junk food storage to your food storage pantry.Disasters are stressful, no question about it. The power goes out, maybe the water and heat along with it. The kids are whining and probably at least a little scared. You and your spouse are edgy, perhaps getting more than a little short with each other. You’re all stuck at home, either because the roads are terrible or because there’s just no place to go, no stores or restaurants are open.

This is just the time to break into your junk food storage to bring a bit of comfort.

Comfort food is just that, food that provides psychological, if not physical, comfort. It does so not because it is chock full of nutritious goodness but, in many cases at least, because it doesn’t do a damn thing for you but taste good. Much of the time, comfort foods are what we call “junk food”.

Junk food is a guilty pleasure. We know we shouldn’t eat very much of it. We know that fruits and vegetables are a far better, healthier choice for snacking. But, y’know what? Sometimes a body just needs salt, grease, and chocolate!

Now, I’m not suggesting you abandon your food storage plans and get rid of the home canned veggies, the soups, the stews, and all that good stuff. What I am suggesting, though, is you add to your storage at least a few selections from the shady side of the food pyramid.

Popcorn is a great choice, but go for the bagged, already popped, corn. Keep in mind that in an emergency, your ability to cook, whether with a microwave or stove top, may be limited. While yes, it is great fun to make popcorn the old fashioned way, with oil and a pan over a flame, that just might not be feasible depending upon the nature of the crisis. Some movie theaters sell gigantic bags of pre-popped popcorn already salted and ready to eat.

Chips are usually a hit as well. Many varieties will stay fresh a while as long as the bags are sealed. My own preference is for nacho cheese Doritos. Seriously, Doritos ranks rather high on my list of things I’m going to miss should the world come crashing down around my ears.

Of course, candy and chocolate deserve to be included on our list of comfort foods. Ideally, you already have a nice cool, dark spot in your house where you’re storing much of your disaster supplies. A few chocolate bars, maybe a few boxes of theater candy, and an assortment of other sugary goodies would be a great addition to the home emergency kit.

Most junk food isn’t packaged in a way that is intended for long-term food storage. Cookies, candy, crackers, and even smaller chips like Fritos will need to be repackaged if you plan on having junk food storage.

Now, I will readily admit that I’m a fiend for soda and I drink far more of it than is healthy for anyone. That said, I do actually drink less now than I did when I was younger, so that’s a step in the right direction. If you have a similar fixation on carbonated beverages, you might consider packing a few cans or bottles in with the other comfort foods. Keep in mind, though, that most of these fizzy drinks don’t have a very long shelf life. A bottle of soda I bought today at a convenience store is showing an expiration date about ten weeks from now. I can tell you from experience that, unlike the expiration dates you’ll find on other food products, the ones listed on Mountain Dew bottles are pretty factual. I tried a bottle once that was about two months out of date. That, um, did not go well.

I strongly suggest that any food items be stored in some sort of pest-proof container. A small Rubbermaid tote would work well, as would any other container made from heavy plastic that has a tight lid. It wouldn’t be very comforting to open up your box of goodies only to find that mice have made a nice home out of the now-empty chip bags. Keep in mind the enemies of food storage, rotate your junk food (that probably won’t be a problem!), and keep a stash for those stressful post-crisis days.

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My secret ingredient: Buttermilk! http://thesurvivalmom.com/buttermilk/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/buttermilk/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:53:58 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21642 About two years ago, I decided to stop buying pre-made baking mixes and start making pancakes, muffins, waffles and biscuits from scratch. They tasted great, and I was glad I made the switch from store-bought to homemade. And then I discovered Read More

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Use buttermilk in your recipes for a better, richer flavor.About two years ago, I decided to stop buying pre-made baking mixes and start making pancakes, muffins, waffles and biscuits from scratch. They tasted great, and I was glad I made the switch from store-bought to homemade.

And then I discovered what buttermilk could do.

I had some leftover buttermilk in my refrigerator from making Irish soda bread for St. Patrick’s Day and decided to use it to make pancakes. One bite was all it took to convince the whole family that we would only make buttermilk pancakes from then on. Out of curiosity, I added buttermilk to homemade muffins and biscuits, and the verdict was the same – delicious!

Buttermilk adds flavor

Buttermilk really is like a secret ingredient when it comes to making baked goods from scratch. It is also key if you make your own Ranch dressing. There is a significant taste difference to the dressing if you use buttermilk instead of milk. It just tastes better and fresher and adds a deeper, richer flavor than milk in many recipes.

What is buttermilk?

What is buttermilk? It is the slightly sour liquid left over after butter has been churned. If you haven’t tried to make your own butter, there is a very simple process, and you can see for yourself what buttermilk is. This is a fun project for kids, as a way to teach them where their food comes from and how it’s made.

The good news is that you don’t have to make homemade butter first. You can just buy it at the store. But, even better news is that you don’t even have to go buy it – you can make it with two ingredients you probably already have in your refrigerator. If you have milk and lemons or lemon juice on hand, you can make your own buttermilk and it will only take you a few extra minutes.

How to make buttermilk

Start with 1 cup of milk and add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Voila! Buttermilk!

If you don’t have lemon juice, you can also use 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar, and you can substitute heavy cream for the milk. Each variation has its own taste, but they all add more flavor than milk alone.

You can freeze it!

If you buy a whole quart of buttermilk, it’s unlikely you’ll use it all up in just a few days. Stored in the fridge, it will remain fresh for at least 2 weeks after the printed date on the carton.

You can also freeze it if you have any left over. If you want small portions, freeze it in an ice cube tray and then transfer the frozen buttermilk cubes to a container once they’re frozen. To thaw, put the frozen cubes in the refrigerator or heat it on a low setting. The buttermilk will need to be whisked or blended once it’s thawed, as the freezing process may separate the solids and whey.

Start using buttermilk in old and new recipes!

Read over your recipes and see if there might already be a variation for using this secret ingredient. If there isn’t one and you want to substitute buttermilk for milk, add ½ teaspoon baking soda per cup for baked goods. Try it just once and you’ll never go back.

Here are a few new recipes for you to try.

Peach Buttermilk Muffins

Honey Whole Wheat Buttermilk Sandwich Bread

Buttermilk fried chicken

Blackberry buttermilk ice cream

Buttermilk biscuits

Buttermilk pancakes

 

 

 

 

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7 Reasons to Buy Old Cookbooks http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-reasons-buy-old-cookbooks/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-reasons-buy-old-cookbooks/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 07:00:43 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21792 I keep my eye out for old cookbooks when I go to thrift stores or garage sales. They are part of the books we keep on hand for reference material and I like to buy old cookbooks for many reasons. Read More

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buy old cookbooksI keep my eye out for old cookbooks when I go to thrift stores or garage sales. They are part of the books we keep on hand for reference material and I like to buy old cookbooks for many reasons.

By “old,” I mean cookbooks from the early 1980’s or earlier.

7 Reasons to buy old cookbooks

1. Cooking without a microwave

Microwaves didn’t become household items until the mid-1970s, according to the IEEE Global History Network. If the power ever goes out for any amount of time, the microwave will not be an option. We will be cooking on the grill, over a fire, on a rocket stove, a solar oven, or on a handmade stove.

While I do know what recipes I can make out of my food storage, my husband and children might need to figure things out if something happens to me. Or, if we get bored with the meals out of storage, we can find new recipes for variety. Older cookbooks rarely, if ever, have you use the microwave as part of the recipe. This makes it easier to convert the recipe to another cooking method.

2. Fewer convenience ingredients

How many of the recipes that you use contain baking mix or canned beans as ingredients? What happens when the Bisquick runs out and you only have dry beans? Older cookbooks have you use the ingredients that you would probably have in your food storage because there weren’t as many convenience products to buy in the stores, which also means fewer processed foods, with their GMO ingredients and additives.  That’s a win-win, all the way around.

3. More real ingredients for healthier eating

This ties to fewer convenience ingredients, but older cookbooks usually use more “real food” ingredients. You need to have the basics on hand – flour, sugar, salt, beans, seasonings, butter, etc. They won’t call for Hershey’s syrup or pre-mixed seasonings. This can be helpful not only for cooking from the food pantry but also if you want to move more towards a real food diet. For example, the older cookbook I have has six versions of a basic fruit cobbler (7-10 ingredients), while the new one only has a version that uses quick-cooking polenta mix or cornmeal (about 10 ingredients).

4. Calls for using fewer kitchen gadgets

Electric mixers, food processors, blenders are all part of most people’s kitchen and cooking routines. However, if there’s no power, there’s no way to use those gadgets. An EMP, as featured in One Second After, could eliminate every electric appliance in your kitchen.

Do you know how to knead bread without your mixer? Do you have a way to blend ingredients without the blender? Good knives and the right non-electric tools would come in handy. Older cookbooks have tips on how to make recipes using these types of tools instead of electric kitchen gadgets.

For example, I found a 1989 Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (I’m still looking for an older one). While it does say how to proof yeast in a microwave, it also explains how to alter a recipe if using a hand mixer instead of an electric mixer.

5. More variations for recipes

I noticed more recipes with cornmeal in older cookbooks, like corn waffles and fried mush. There are recipes for sauces and salad dressings. If you want to make anything from scratch, you can usually find a recipe for it in an older cookbook. The older the cookbook, the more it will use basic ingredients and have more variations on the recipes with fewer ingredients. (Think of depression era recipes). The older cookbook I have has recipes for rabbit and spiced tongue. Whenever I can, I buy old cookbooks!

6. They’re inexpensive

A new cookbook with glossy photos can easily cost $20 and more. Especially when purchased at a bookstore. Old cookbooks can cost fifty cents, or less, in second hand bookstores, thrift stores, yard sales, and similar places. You can easily buy several for less than ten bucks.

7. They bring back memories of old favorites

Thumbing through an old cookbook, you will probably come across recipes that you remember from your childhood, your grandma’s kitchen, and potlucks from past holidays and church events. It’s a little bit like going on a treasure hunt — you never know what you’ll find!

Don’t forget the new …

I’ve found some great “new” cookbooks that provide all these features, too.

Have you found any hidden gems in old cookbooks? Do you think they are worth looking for and adding to your reference library?

Helpful resources mentioned in this article:

 

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How Corned Beef is Like Bill Murray http://thesurvivalmom.com/what-is-corned-beef/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/what-is-corned-beef/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 07:00:54 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21998 Corned Beef is a lot like Bill Murray, and if you’re wondering, what is corned beef?, hang in there with me! Bill Murray is so exceptional at the first thing we knew him for (absurdist comedy), that despite ample evidence Read More

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What is corned beef?Corned Beef is a lot like Bill Murray, and if you’re wondering, what is corned beef?, hang in there with me!

Bill Murray is so exceptional at the first thing we knew him for (absurdist comedy), that despite ample evidence of his mastery of other emotions and genres, there are still people who only want the slapstick. Don’t get me wrong, I love Caddyshack and Ghostbusters as much as any red-blooded American: but where would American Cinema (and our larger pop culture) be without Rushmore, Royal Tennenbaums, Groundhog Day, Monument Men and more.

Which brings us to Corned Beef.  Because it’s March.

What is Corned Beef?

Most people are happy to partake of St Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage out of respect for tradition, and who doesn’t love the occasional plate of hash? But outside of isolated geographic pockets where Reuben sandwiches are popular (and seriously, how many of those can you really eat?), most people do little else with it.

There is so much more to corned beef than meets the eye — a lot like Bill Murray.

Many people avoid corned beef due to its “running buddy” cabbage. Or traumatic childhood memories of New England Boiled-To-Death Dinner, which is a total misnomer because it shouldn’t be boiled.  More on that later.

So why bother buying and storing Corned Beef (hereafter, “CB”)?  Several reasons, which we’ll get to below.  But first, let’s look at what CB is. And isn’t.

1) There is no corn (or llama).
It’s beef brisket cured with salt and spices. Typically sold brined in cryovac bags with an extra spice packet, it is also seen “dry” in butcher shops and sliced for sandwiches in delis. Be aware though, that the stuff at the deli counter in a grocery store often bears little resemblance to the genuine article.

“Corned” refers to the large, grain-like salt particles and whole spice mixture used to cure it. This technique was popularized and carried around the world in a time when “corn” was a generic term synonymous with “grain.” It could just as easily have been dubbed “grained beef”.

And it is beef. Apparently, there is still a lot of concern that canned CB is horse, llama, or other meats not commonly consumed in the U.S. The USDA requires that it actually is beef. And it’s not random flotsam and jetsam either. It’s nearly always brisket but sometimes other cuts are included, though none of what Anthony Bourdain has dubbed “the nasty bits.”

The seasoning packet that comes with it can be any combo of mustard seed, coriander seed, fennel seed, bay leaf, peppercorns, allspice berries, and occasionally juniper berries. Many people, myself included, use only a small amount. I’ve discovered that many people who hate CB actually like it with less seasoning or just hate one of those spices, usually coriander or juniper. You can pick them out or make your own blend of just bay leaf, mustard seed, peppercorns and an allspice berry. If you use a ready-made pickling spice blend, add a couple bay leaves if there aren’t any in the ingredients list.

By the way, the difference between CB and pastrami is that pastrami is smoked, often cured longer and with more spices and steamed for serving. It is almost exclusively a sandwich ingredient and usually has steaming juice applied to the said sandwich.

2) Why is some $1.49 and some $3.29?
Prices have gone wildly up this year and the 2 prices are closer together. I think all the brisket is being used for Texas dry-rub. So maybe just say “What’s with the 2 different kinds and prices?”

The answer is that there are 2 different cuts: point and flat. Point is fattier inside and out. It’s more marbled so it stays moister but tends to shred and shrinks more. It’s less expensive because you’re paying for more fat and it’s not as pretty or as convenient for sandwiches. Some say it tastes better than flat, but that’s subjective.

Flat is less marbled, so it has less fat and the fibers are a little different so it shrinks less. It makes prettier slices on a platter and it’s neater in a sandwich. It’s only dry if overcooked, cooked too fast, or not enough sauce/broth is used. Flat is typically also what’s used for Texas BBQ (NOT grilling).

Either way, it’s a tough, working muscle, so it requires long, low-temp cooking. Hence all the BBQ and slow-cookers.

It may be helpful to learn more about cuts of meat.

6 Reasons to store corned beef?

Storage ease

Those cryovac bags have a shelf life of 2-3 months!  Every March, I buy about 10 of them when they’re cheap and I toss 3 in the bottom of the fridge and just huck the rest in the freezer without further ado. CB is widely available canned but good luck finding any that isn’t from Brazil or Argentina. Even if it says “canned in the USA”, the beef is probably still South American or else it would say otherwise.

If you have ecological concerns about rain forest depletion or just want more control of your product, it’s easily home canned. I confess, I’ve never done it, but I’ve started a monthly “Preservation Days” group, and it’s one of our upcoming projects. There are bunches of online videos and tutorials that show how.

As you know, spices grow stronger in the canning process, so use a light hand. I’m going to try grinding the spices and only putting a tiny pinch in each jar.”

Barter

If things ever do get to that stage, there are going to be half-prepared people who need stuff to put on all that rice/beans/pasta. There are also going to be people who didn’t think to store pet food and might be interested in any canned meat for Fido and Fluffy.

Familiarity

In hard or scary times, never underestimate the comfort power of hash! And remember that hash as a breakfast food is a holdover from a time when there was no central heating and when most Americans were engaged in physically harder work. What if that were the case again?

Cultural adventure

Thanks to colonial empires, half the world eats corned beef. There are iconic homestyle dishes containing it all over the world, especially in places that had little rural electricity well into the 20th Century. Canned CB became a survival staple in such places and lingers there in down-home comfort foods.

The Survival Skill satisfaction of making your own

Curing your own is as easy as pie. There are basically 2 schools of thought on this. The more iconic pink color (which comes from saltpeter, available in many hunting/camping stores, some pharmacies, or online) with a traditional, sweeter, more baking-spice flavor as in Michael Ruhlman’s recipe.  Saltpeter is sodium nitrate and mankind has been using it to preserve food since the Middle Ages. It’s now more refined and standardized, so results are more predictable but there are health concerns about possible carcinogens so just don’t go crazy. And it’s a common migraine trigger. Besides color, it also adds a more sour note and is balanced by a sweeter brine. Or, don’t use saltpeter (which leaves the meat grey) and a more savory flavor profile, as in one of my favorite cookbooks, The Best Recipe.

But the Number One reason to stock up on corned beef is,

Versatility

Depending on the recipe, it can be substituted for other beef, ham, bacon, and of course, Spam.  Or just added to many classic dishes, as in:

  • Shepherd’s Pie
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Biscuits and Gravy
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Omelets
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Poutine (pile of fries w/cheese curds and gravy. Thank you, Quebec!)
  • Hawaiian “Sushi” in place of the Spam
  • Mixed into onion gravy over polenta, potatoes, or noodles
  • …or simply heat and serve next to roasted veggies!

Now about that Boiled Dinner…

Whether you use home-cured or store-bought, the Cook’s Illustrated Boiled Dinner/ CB and cabbage recipe is the best. Basically, the meat is gently simmered until tender and then removed from the stove top and rested in a 200 degree oven while potatoes/carrots simmer in the liquid for about 10 minutes and then add onions, parsnips, and cabbage wedges (with core intact but removed later) added to pot. Continue simmering till all is tender. My family smashes the potatoes with a fork and applies the broth. If you reeeeally don’t like cabbage, do try this method before giving up on it for good. If you’ve only had it boiled into oblivion, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

In researching this article, the Internet offered me several recipes for Corned Beef Poutine with Guinness Gravy. While looking for one without the Guinness, I stumbled upon these corned beef pretzel sliders.

Oh. My. Gosh.
You could keep the

You could keep these to yourself, but you really should serve them to company or…
“Nobody’s going to believe you…

Here are some resources mentioned in the article

The post How Corned Beef is Like Bill Murray by Beth Johnson appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

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Build your Food Storage from Scratch: Canning Chicken Breast http://thesurvivalmom.com/build-food-storage-scratch-canning-chicken-breast/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/build-food-storage-scratch-canning-chicken-breast/#comments Sun, 15 Mar 2015 07:00:15 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21912 It makes me a bit nervous having a freezer full of meats… the grid goes down and we’re up a creek. There’s no way I could can it all fast enough to save it. So, while we’re in a grid Read More

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Canning chicken breastIt makes me a bit nervous having a freezer full of meats… the grid goes down and we’re up a creek. There’s no way I could can it all fast enough to save it. So, while we’re in a grid UP situation, I try to can a batch of SOMETHING at least once a week, if not more. We try to buy only when there is a really killer deal and buy in bulk at that time. Recently we found a reallllllllly killer deal on locally grown chicken breast, so I loaded up. Canning chicken breast was now on my schedule!

Canning meats is not only handy, pop the seal and VOILA you have prepared food, but it’s also a “stocking the pantry thing”. I like having my food in a state that does not require any ‘grid’ resources. The fact that it is safe and healthy is a win–win.

Canning Chicken Breast is a very simple endeavour, that reaps nice rewards!

My steps for canning chicken breast

First, I get out my Dutch Oven, my chicken breast, my meat scissors, an onion and a quart of chicken broth. Plain water will work in place of the chicken broth.

I like to get all my onion cut up first in fairly small pieces, get my chicken breast cut up in nice bite size-ish pieces and then heat up the Dutch Oven on my stove. Toss in the onion and chicken, add a dash of salt and a big dash of pepper (we like pepper!).

This mixture is going to cook until the chicken is almost cooked through. You may want to pour in a bit of the chicken broth after the onions have cooked up a little bit. Then, I get two pots of hot water going to sanitize my jar lids and another to ladle hot water into my jars to cover my chicken mixture for the actual canning process. Once my chicken is almost cooked, I dump in the rest of my broth, and let it finish cooking until all the chicken, onion, and broth is nice and hot.

Sanitizing and filling the jars

At this point I prep my jars. Some folks warm them in an oven, some folks warm them in a dishwasher, some folks don’t warm them at all. I don’t own a dishwasher, and don’t like to put them in the oven, so I’ve opted to fill them with pretty hot water to temper them that way. I’ve had too many crack and break when I did nothing to pre-warm them, and I do not want to waste my food or a perfectly good jar. Also, a jar breaking in a pressure canner can be a problem.

Once I have my lids hot, my ‘filler water’ hot, my Dutch Oven is done cooking and off to the side, my jars are tempered and I have all my supplies at the ready– it’s time to get started canning chicken breast!

IMPORTANT! Meats must be canned in a PRESSURE CANNER! You cannot use a water bath canner. (A pressure canner is not the same as a pressure cooker.)

I get my pressure canner on the stove and turn up the fire.

Chicken Breast Canning

I take my first jar and empty that hot water I was using to temper it, into my canner (why waste it!?). Then, I fill my canning jar with chicken. If my chicken is not covered with liquid, that’s fine. That’s why we put on an extra pot of hot water or ‘filler water’ to finish filling up the jars to the thread line.

NOTE: The chicken broth/water used to cook up the chicken breast will not be enough to fill your jars and cover your chicken. This is why I have that extra pot of very hot water standing by.

Once I have my jar filled properly to the thread, or leaving 1 inch head space, I lightly tap my jar down on a surface covered with towels to get any little air bubbles out. You can also use a wooden spoon or a chopstick to poke around in your jar as a method for releasing those air bubbles. At this point, it’s helpful to have a set of canning tools on hand.

Next, I take a clean washcloth and dip a corner of it in hot water and wipe the rim of my jar, where the lid is going to rest and SEAL the jar. For a proper seal, that rim MUST be completely clean — not a speck of food or liquid left or you won’t get a seal between your jar and lid. Once I have wiped down the rim of the jar, I put on my lid and ring and put the jar in the canner.

Into the pressure canner!

I can at 15 pounds pressure for my elevation and  90 minutes for quarts, 75 minutes for pints. It’s very important to refer to your BALL BLUE BOOK or County Extension Office for specifics on canning for your location.

I love canning chicken breast because it can easily be made into a ton of meals! Soups, casseroles, stir frys, drain the liquid and make chicken salad, chicken tacos, etc. The first jar I opened from this batch, I dumped into a hot cast iron skillet, with some minced garlic and made chicken fettucini– quick and easy. It’s a very nice convenience food to have on hand, and in a grid down situation, I can easily make all types of meals with this chicken already prepared! This is a wonderful way to preserve meat and stock the pantry at the same time!

Helpful resources

The post Build your Food Storage from Scratch: Canning Chicken Breast by Lisa Barthuly appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

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Food Storage Grains: An inexpensive calorie with lots of versatility http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-grains-inexpensive-calorie-lots-versatility/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-grains-inexpensive-calorie-lots-versatility/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 08:00:26 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21780 Grains are a fantastic staple for any food storage pantry. Food storage grains provide a variety of nutrients and are typically one of the least expensive calories you can purchase (after sugar and drink mixes). Yet, many people I’ve worked Read More

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Grains are an inexpensive calorie and there is a lot of versatility to be found! Learn about 8 different food storage grains and how to use them.

Grains are a fantastic staple for any food storage pantry. Food storage grains provide a variety of nutrients and are typically one of the least expensive calories you can purchase (after sugar and drink mixes).

Yet, many people I’ve worked with over the years limit themselves to just a few grains such as wheat, rice, and, oats. Personally, I hope that even in tough times, my diet would be more exciting than that! There are a huge variety of grains available, many of which are even suitable for a gluten free diet.

I’ve listed various food storage grains below, along with simple directions for how to cook them (add fruit, sugar, honey, cinnamon, etc., for cereal), and other uses you may not have thought of.

Hard Red or White Wheat

NOT GLUTEN FREE

Wheat has been around for a very long time. It’s long shelf life and versatility make it a great choice for long term food storage. It can also be an economical purchase.

TIP: Learn More About Wheat and download this free wheat storage worksheet.

Both hard red and hard white wheat are 100% whole wheat, but the red is a more bitter and works best in artisan or other hard breads. Hard white wheat is less bitter, a bit sweeter, and works best for rolls and other softer breads. Recipes that use hard white wheat tend to need a bit less sugar.

  • How to cook 
    • Use 3 cups water for every 1 cup wheat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer until soft (about 75 minutes). Drain excess water. Makes 2 ¼ cups of cooked wheat berries.
  • Other uses
    • Grind into flour and use for any variety of breads.
    • Cook for 45 minutes instead of 75 to make wheat berries you can use as a meat substitute, in salads, on yogurt or in soups. This acts as a meal-stretcher for times when you have more mouths to feed than you do food!
    • Pop the wheat berries! Add 1 cup to a frying pan with a bit of oil. Shake while cooking and they will pop after a few minutes. Sprinkle with seasonings.
    • Grow wheat grass!
  • Shelf Life 

White Rice

GLUTEN FREE

White rice is not the most nutrient dense of the various grains, but it is inexpensive and can be used as a base for a variety of dishes. Learn more about rice and try this recipe for more nutritional Super Rice.

  • How to cook
    • 1 3/4 cups water for every 1 cup rice. Bring to a boil in a medium size saucepan, cover with a tight lid, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and steam (leave lid on) for 5 minutes. Makes 2 cups.
  • Other uses
  • Shelf Life
    • 25+ years when properly packaged.

Rolled Oats

NOT TYPICALLY GLUTEN FREE

You can find gluten free oats, though most that you buy are not gluten free. Check carefully!

Rolled oats come in two forms: Old-fashioned (take about 15 mintues to cook) and quick cooking (take about 4-5 minutes to cook). They are the most common grain used for breakfast cereal (oatmeal), but they have a variety of other uses as well.

Oats are packed with nutrition: fiber, thiamin, and iron. They can even reduce cholesterol levels! Learn more about Oats.

  • How to cook
    • 2 cups water for every 1 cup oats. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover with lid. Simmer for 10-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Make 1.5 cups.
  • Other uses
    • Cookies!
    • Granola Bars
    • Neutralize odors (put an open container in your fridge!)
    • Grind into flour (use your food processor, not your mill) and use in pancakes etc.
    • Cobbler topping
    • Use in meatloaf instead of crackers / bread
  • Shelf Life
    • 25+ years when properly packaged.

Oat Groats

NOT TYPICALLY GLUTEN FREE

You can find gluten free oat groats, though most that you buy are not gluten free. Check carefully!

Oat groats are the whole grain version of rolled oats, so they are packed with even more nutrition. They are nuttier and chewier than rolled oats.

  • How to cook
    • 3 cups water for every 1 cup oat groats. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover with lid. Simmer for 50-60 minutes, stirring frequently. Let stand for 10 minutes. Make 2 1/4 cups.
    • This makes an amazing hot breakfast cereal. Just add whatever mix-ins you most enjoy with oatmeal, such as brown sugar, nuts, and raisins.
  • Other uses
    • Add to breads (after cooking) for a nutty flavor
    • Add cooked groats to soups and stews
    • Grind into a flour and use in gluten free baking or replace just a small amount of the wheat flour to add a rich, dense, nutty, flavor to baked goods.
  • Shelf Life
    • 30+ years when properly packaged. Thrive Life oat groats are packaged for long term storage, but like all food should be stored in a cool, dry location.

Quinoa

GLUTEN FREE

Quinoa has an extremely high protein content. In fact, it is a complete protein source. It also provides fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and, iron. It is closely related to spinach! Learn more about Quinoa.

  • How to cook
    • Rinse well. Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add 1 cup quinoa. Turn down heat and cover with lid. Simmer for 20 minutes. Make 2 1/4 cups.
  • Other uses
    • As a replacement for brown rice (since brown rice doesn’t store as long)
    • Grind into a flour and use in gluten free baking
    • Use in meatloaf instead of crackers / bread
    • Pop it like popcorn and eat it dry (with toppings) or use in cookies like oatmeal
    • In soups and stews.
  • Shelf Life
    • 20+ years when properly packaged.

Amaranth

GLUTEN FREE

Amaranth has shown potential as a cholesterol-lowing whole grain, and has very high protein content. Like quinoa, it is also a complete protein source. It is high in fiber, iron, and, calcium. Learn More About Amaranth

If amaranth isn’t in your local grocery store, you can purchase it on Amazon or try this organic amaranth from Thrive Life.

  • How to cook
    • Rinse well. Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add 1 cup amaranth. Turn down heat and cover with lid. Simmer for 20 -25 minutes. Make 2 1/2 cups.
  • Other uses
    • Pop it! (careful…it burns fast!). Just add one tablespoon at a time to a hot dry skillet and keep it moving!
    • To thicken soups and stews.
  • Shelf Life
    • 20+ years when properly packaged.

Barley

NOT GLUTEN FREE

Barley is chewy, nutty and delicious. It has more protein many other grains, and is higher in fiber and lower in soluble (starch) carbohydrates than almost all other whole grains. Learn More About Barley

  • How to cook
    • Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add 1 cup barley. Turn down heat and cover with lid. Simmer for 45 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Make 3 cups.
  • Other uses
    • As a replacement for brown rice
    • Grind it an use in cookies
    • Grind and use for bread
    • Mix in with a stew or soup for more fiber, carbohydrates, and calories.
  • Shelf Life
    • 8-10 years when properly packaged.

Millet

GLUTEN FREE

Millet is a very mild grain that is high in antioxidants, phosphorus, and, magnesium. It is another “heart healthy” grain. Learn More About Millet

  • How to cook
    • Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add 1 cup millet. Turn down heat and cover with lid. Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Make 3 cups.
  • Other uses
    • Cook with more water to make it creamy like mashed potatoes
    • Cook with less water to make it fluffy like rice
    • Grind it and use in gluten free recipes
    • Combine a bit of it with rice before cooking for added nutrients.
  • Shelf Life
    • 20+ years when properly packaged.

Your Food Storage Grains Challenge

It is likely that many of you already have wheat, rice and/or oats in your food stores.  I would encourage you to try a new way of using those grains and to pick at least one new grain to add to those stores for some additional variety!

What are your favorite food storage grains?

Grains are an inexpensive calorie and there is a lot of versatility to be found! Learn about 8 different food storage grains and how to use them.Resources mentioned in this article

 

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19 Sweet and Savory Breakfasts With Pantry Products http://thesurvivalmom.com/sweet-and-savory-breakfasts-with-pantry-products/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/sweet-and-savory-breakfasts-with-pantry-products/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 08:00:46 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22076 Are you a breakfast person? Is preparing an amazing breakfast for your family or going out for breakfast a special event? If so, you’ll love these 19 sweet and savory breakfast recipes. The first two are from Augason Farms and Read More

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Sweet and savory breakfast recipes.  www.TheSurvivalMom.comAre you a breakfast person? Is preparing an amazing breakfast for your family or going out for breakfast a special event?

If so, you’ll love these 19 sweet and savory breakfast recipes. The first two are from Augason Farms and include ingredients that are shelf stable, meaning they can be stored at room temperature for long periods of time. (Be sure to learn about the 6 enemies of food storage so your food will remain nutritious and tasty.)

It is unbelievably convenient to have ingredients like dried eggs, freeze dried cheese, and freeze dried or dehydrated fruits and veggies on hand, because sooner or later, I’m going to need them! Like every other mom out there, sometimes I’m just too busy to get to the grocery store and having foods from my favorite food storage companies is a huge life saver.

Enjoy these recipes and check out the 17 links to a few more I thought my fellow breakfast-lovers would enjoy!

Cheesy Eggs ‘n Bacon

1 cup Augason Farms Dried Scrambled Egg Mix

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 tablespoon Augason Farms Bacon Flavored Bits Vegetarian Meat Substitute

1 teaspoon garlic bread seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 – 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Directions

Briskly whisk together egg mix and water until smooth. Add bacon bits and seasoning. Place mixture on a griddle at a low heat of 250˚F. Cook about 1/2 minute and then scramble. Turn eggs over and cook about 1/2 minute more. Add cheese and continue cooking until desired texture.

Augason Farms Sweet Strawberry Muffins

2 ½ cups Augason Farms Buttermilk Pancake Mix

1 ¼ cups water

½ cup sugar

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon Augason Farms Dried Whole Eggs

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup Augason Farms Sliced Strawberries, crushed

Muffin Topping:

4 tablespoons melted butter

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Mix all muffin ingredients together until well blended. Fill muffin liners 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

While still warm, roll muffin tops in melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.

 

And now for 17 more sweet and savory breakfast recipes!

You’ll find all these and more on my Pinterest Breakfast board!

Sweet

Angel Food Cake French Toast

Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Churro Waffles

Easy Cream Cheese Danishes

Extra Fluffy Blueberry Almond Pancakes

Glazed Orange Sweet Rolls

Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Texas French Toast Bake

Savory

Bacon Egg Cups

Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

Crispy Breakfast Quesadillas

Easy Cheesey Breakfast Casserole

Everything Bagel Overnight Breakfast Casserole

Hash Brown Egg Nests with Avocado

Omelet Breakfast Bites

Sunday Morning Eggs Benedict

 

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Happy, Healthy, & Prepared — A FREE Ebook For You! http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-book/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-book/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:00:01 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22091 The Survival Mom Radio Network produced over 700 shows during its very successful run. We aren’t producing new episodes now, but together, the hosts contributed to a handy ebook with tips for homesteading, survival, family life, and more. That book Read More

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Happy Healthy and Prepared ebook  www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Click to download from Kindle.

The Survival Mom Radio Network produced over 700 shows during its very successful run. We aren’t producing new episodes now, but together, the hosts contributed to a handy ebook with tips for homesteading, survival, family life, and more.

That book is completely FREE!

Here’s the link for the Kindle version of Happy, Healthy & Preparedand you don’t need to have a Kindle in order to read it. Here are complete instructions for reading Kindle books from your computer!

 

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DIY Homemade Seasoning Mixes http://thesurvivalmom.com/seasoning-mix-recipe/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/seasoning-mix-recipe/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:28:46 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21645 I felt intimidated at the thought of making my own seasoning mix recipes at first. The little packets you can buy at the store made it so easy, and they made my dinners taste good. Then, there was the night Read More

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DIY homemade seasoning mix recipes. www.TheSurvivalMom.comI felt intimidated at the thought of making my own seasoning mix recipes at first. The little packets you can buy at the store made it so easy, and they made my dinners taste good. Then, there was the night I was making fajitas and realized I did not have a fajita seasoning packet in my pantry. I didn’t even have a taco seasoning packet (it must have been at the end of the month before my major trip to the grocerey store). This was also before I had started building up our food storage.

I opened my trusted Better Homes and Gardens cookbook to see if they had a recipe for seasoning fajitas and there was. It was actually just a few seasonings and it ended up tasting great. I decided then that I could do it. I could start making our own seasoning.If


If I can make my own homemade seasoning mixes, you can, too!
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homemade seasoning mix recipes

Surprisingly, I found seasoning mixes in this cookbook. Who knew?

I wanted to do it for two reasons – to know what was in our food and to make it easier to have seasonings in our food storage. I found out it can also be more economical. Making your own seasoning mixes gives you control over what brand and type of seasoning are in your food. It only takes a few key seasoning to give you a wide range of taste options for your meals.

I would recommend having the following on hand to create your own mixes. I buy the spices I use most in bulk. Here’s a list of the most common ingredients in these mixes.

With these, and some flour and sugar, you should be all set. Below are my favorite recipes, but a quick internet or Pinterest search will give you numerous seasoning mix recipes. You’ll find many of them on The Survival Mom’s board, Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade.

Download the free mini-guide, “Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade.”

Also, save old spice and shaker bottles. You’ll need them for your new, fresh mixes. You can also buy shaker bottles new.

Fried rice

For fried rice seasoning, I just add garlic powder, cumin and cayenne to taste.

Ranch seasoning/dressing

Store in airtight container:

1 T. pepper
3/8 cup parsley
1/8 cup garlic salt
1/2 T. Kosher salt
1 T. garlic powder
3 T. dried minced onion
1/2 T. dill

Keep this mixture in an airtight container. When ready to make salad dressing, whisk together 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 tablespoon mix. Add buttermilk or milk until desired consistency is reached.

Taco seasoning

Store in airtight container:

1 part chili powder
1 part ground cumin
1 part garlic powder
1 part onion powder
1/4-1/2 part crushed red pepper

I use 1 cup of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder, and 1/4 cup crushed red pepper.

About 1/4 cup of seasoning equals one seasoning packet. You can adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Chili seasoning

Store in airtight container:

1 T. all purpose flour
2 T. dried minced onion
1/2 t. chili powder
1 t. seasoned salt (like Lawrys)
1/2 t. crushed dried red pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. ground cumin

About 1/4 cup of seasoning equals one seasoning packet

Be sure to download this free mini-guide for more recipes, “Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade.”

Resources mentioned in article:

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The 3 Food Storage Companies I Recommend and Why — Important Update http://thesurvivalmom.com/best-food-storage-company/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/best-food-storage-company/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 15:30:50 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19494 A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the 3 food storage companies that I purchase from the most and sent it to my newsletter subscribers. Since then, I’ve received numerous questions about my selections and the best food Read More

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Survival Mom recommended food storage companies.A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the 3 food storage companies that I purchase from the most and sent it to my newsletter subscribers. Since then, I’ve received numerous questions about my selections and the best food storage company to use, so I wanted to address those here on the blog.

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Briefly, the companies that I use most often are Thrive Life*, Ready Reserve Foods, and Augason Farms. Here are my reasons:

  • Thrive Life* has an outstanding, user-friendly website, and a huge array of mostly freeze-dried foods that can be incorporated in thousands of recipes. This is my recommended form of food storage. Just-add-water meals, not so much, although I do have some of those as well for urgent emergencies. Thrive Life offers the opportunity to earn money and have foods auto-shipped, which helps stay on track with food storage goals. In short, they have some unique features similar companies do not offer. I’ve been a Thrive Life consultant for 4 years.
  • Ready Reserve Foods is a smaller, family-owned company in southern Idaho who sells mostly dehydrated, not freeze dried, fruits and vegetables, as well as many other food and survival products. They are one of the very few companies in the country who use nitrogen to package their food, which is far superior to the use of an oxygen absorber. They carry peanut butter powder and parboiled rice, which I love and have plenty of in my pantry. Their products are also competitively priced. I’ve visited their facilities and they have worked with me on and off over the years.
  • Augason Farms has been a long-time sponsor of my blog, but that isn’t why I selected them. Although many other companies carry similar products, Augason Farms foods can be found in stores across the country, like Sam’s Club, Winco, and Walmart. This is important because it makes “survival food” available to everyone who may not be able to order online. Their food is consistently good, their website immense with both products and information.

The Best Food Storage Company?

So what about other companies such as Emergency Essentials, Walton Feed, The Ready Store, and Honeyville?


The 3 food storage companies used most often by #Survival Mom. #PrepperTalk
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None of these companies are inferior, they just don’t rise to the top in the various categories that I specified — best website, dehydrated food options and nitrogen packing, and products readily available without having to place a mail order.

I’ve visited the main Emergency Essentials store in Salt Lake City and found the manager there to be friendly and helpful. The survival products they carry are priced well and I ended up buying quite a few MREs.


Which is the best food storage company?
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For a year or so I taught classes at the Honeyville Farms retail store in Phoenix and bought quite a few food items each time. One thing I noticed was that the food purchased in the store was very nicely priced but the price increased dramatically online. They advertise their low shipping cost, but obviously, the price of shipping has to be made up elsewhere, thus the increase in their online prices. This made it difficult for me to determine which of their products were priced well and which might be more expensive than other brands, whose shipping charges were higher.

Currently, a 50 pound bag of hard white wheat costs $19.99 at a Honeyville Farms store, but it’s $43.99 online. That’s quite a difference and is typical with all their food products. The $4.99 shipping charge becomes meaningless, and it also makes it very difficult to truly compare Honeyville cost and value with other companies.

TIP: Learn about wheat before buying it in quantities!

Walton Feed was the very first food storage company I encountered, and the ordering process, at least back then, was quite confusing and complicated to a newbie. Their products are good quality, we are still using the cocoa powder I bought back, and I have no complaints. If you want to take a look at their products and pricing, it’s best to place a huge order with other people, if possible, in order to save on shipping. When I did this, an 18-wheeler delivered the order to my friend’s house (she was the coordinator), and she divided up the orders for each person.

All that food is surprisingly similar. Here’s why.

One factor many don’t realize is that all this food, whether it be wheat, strawberries, corn, and everything else comes from only so many farms! Just as food processing plants package food and then place different labels on them for different brands, these farms and packing plants do the same thing. So wheat purchased from Emergency Essentials just might come from the exact same farm as Augason Farms wheat, or vice versa. There are very few plants that freeze dry produce, so it’s just logical that the food itself is the same from one company to the next, and only the label and, likely, the packaging process,is different. Exactly where the food comes from is highly confidential, and you will probably only find out the country from which it originated.

When I spoke with Ready Reserve Foods about their parboiled rice, I was informed that it was grown on a farm in Idaho, not too far from their offices. That was nice to hear! Locally grown food, whose practices can be monitored, is always best.

Food  storage mistakes abound!

Before making a large purchase of this food, even if you’re in a huge panic and think that time is running out, please don’t buy anything you aren’t familiar with and may not actually use. I have about a dozen cans of germade. It’s wheat germ, something my kids have never had and of which I only have distant memories. One of these days I’ll crack open a can and serve it to them. If they like it, great! If not, I’ll be looking on Pinterest for other recipes that call for germade!

TIP: Read my Quick Start Guide to getting prepared if you’re panicking, and even if you’re not!

One mistake I’ve made is to buy far more wheat and less rice, which in many ways is more versatile. It’s also advantageous for families dealing with gluten issues. On the upside, I have loads of wheat to barter with, and now I’ve started to look for 50 pound bags of rice that I can repackage.

TIP: If you buy food in large quantities, you’ll probably have to repackage it for the longest shelf life.

Whichever companies you choose, start with buying small quantities. Thrive Life sells small, #2.5 size cans, as well as pouches of their foods. This is a very, very good way to check the quality, taste, and versatility of a food.

This food is for more than just storage

One reader asked me if I ever actually ate this food! Right now in my kitchen, I have opened cans of freeze dried blueberries (used them in a baked oatmeal this morning), freeze dried strawberries (we use them in smoothies), freeze dried cheese (ran out of fresh cheddar one day…), oats, parboiled rice, cocoa powder, bell pepper slices, and instant milk. Although most of my food is specifically for long-term storage, it’s pretty common around here that we have to track down an ingredient that I need.

This is very handy, and in many ways, I have my own grocery store at home! Because dehydrated and freeze dried food stays fresh for months after the container is opened, I just keep it in my kitchen pantry and use it whenever I need that particular ingredient. After a while, you figure out which of these foods you should probably stock up on more than others. For me:

  1. Berries
  2. Freeze dried corn (We use it a lot in chowders.)
  3. Freeze dried sausage crumbles. These are amazing and such a great way to have sausage for pasta meals and pizza.
  4. Instant milk. Good to have on hand when we don’t have any fresh.
  5. Freeze dried bell peppers. Fresh from the store can be pretty expensive, and this is a good way to have peppers when I need them.

The bottom line

Whichever company you purchase from, try to compare prices and quantities. Also pay attention to serving sizes, especially when buying just-add-water meals. Those can be deceiving and are a topic for a separate article!

For your convenience, here are links to some of the major food storage companies:

Augason Farms

Emergency Essentials (You may see the brand name Provident Pantry associated with them.)

Thrive Life*

Honeyville

The Ready Store (Brand name of foods is Saratoga Farms.)

Walton Feed, aka Rainy Day Foods

Ready Reserve Foods

Lindon Farms

Mountain House Foods (Read my Mountain House review.)

Legacy Foods (I tried 3 of their entrees — very good!)

Resources to help you stock up

Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios  (I include 2 very full chapters on getting started with food storage, which foods to buy first, and how to keep your pantry organized.)

Food Saver Vacuum Sealer – this removes oxygen, which will extend the shelf life of your food.

Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett

*This link will take you to my personal Thrive Life website. The lowest prices from this company are reserved for customers purchasing through a consultant. Whether you make your Thrive Life purchase through my website or not, be sure to order through a consultant rather than on the main Thrive Life website where prices will be higher.

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