The Survival Mom » Food http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:51:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Fast, Healthy Meals in a Jar http://thesurvivalmom.com/fast-healthy-meals-in-a-jar/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/fast-healthy-meals-in-a-jar/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:02:58 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=9392 Winter is a time that I usually spend organizing and cleaning stuff since I can’t spend a whole lot of time outdoors without turning into a human popsicle!  So one of my winter projects is usually to go through my Read More

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meals in a  jarWinter is a time that I usually spend organizing and cleaning stuff since I can’t spend a whole lot of time outdoors without turning into a human popsicle!  So one of my winter projects is usually to go through my root cellar and my food storage, rotate stuff, check quantities, check the seals on all of my canning jars to make sure they’re good, and make a list of the things that I need to restock.

I want to share something that’s gotten me pretty excited, and maybe it’s something that will excite you as well: meals in a jar.  These meals will:

  • Help you take inventory of your food storage from a different perspective.
  • Help you rotate your food storage.
  • Give you a better idea of how much you actually need to store of specific food items that you know your family likes.
  • Allow you to experiment and work with your food storage without compromising the shelf life.
  • Allow you to create healthy, delicious, and inexpensive “fast food” meals for your family with a 5-8 year shelf life.
  • Extend the shelf life of some of your spices, pastas, and other store packaged items.
  • Give you one skillet meals that will be ready in less than 30 minutes, allowing you to spend less time in the kitchen and have more time for things you’d rather do.

Stephanie Peterson, aka Chef Tess Bakeresse, has been creating recipes for these meals with ingredients that will fit into a quart sized canning jar. Who would have thought that a meal for 4 people could fit into a quart jar?!

Well, I decided I had to try this. The idea of being able to combine ingredients from dehydrated and freeze-dried foods** to create meals ahead of time was really appealing. (I might also have a ‘thing’ about seeing glass jars with yummy contents lined up neatly on my pantry shelves, but that’s another story.)

Starting my Meals in a Jar adventure

So this is how it happened.  First, I had to order some 300 cc oxygen absorbers.  I chose some that were in packages of 20. I figured working with 20 jars at a time would be comfortable. (I realize you can purchase them in larger quantities and repackage the unused portion with a vacuum sealer, but, hey, I was already getting ready to do enough repackaging, for Pete’s sake!)

image by Chiot’s Run

Next, I checked my pantry to make sure I had the proper quantities of ingredients. In some cases, the freeze-dried and dehydrated foods I had on hand required me to experiment, so I cooked one or two of the recipes with what I already had and made adjustments accordingly. I made sure to jot this new version of the recipe down so I could duplicate it multiplied by 20!

I printed out labels with the cooking instructions and a place to mark the date that I packaged them. Then I gathered my 20 jars (wide mouth works best) and sterilized them. I did this far enough in advance to make sure that my jars were good and dry. I also made sure I had lids and rings on hand.

The process in detail

The morning I attempted this, I assembled the ingredients and began systematically filling the jars with the ingredients.  (Oh, and I measured a set of them into my skillet too…might as well be fixing tonight’s dinner while I’m putting in my kitchen time!)

Using a wide mouth funnel, I measured an ingredient into a jar and shook it down to help it settle. (If you’ve not worked with canning jars, I’ll just mention that it’s tempting to bang the jar on the counter, but it’s bad for the jar and can weaken the bottom of it.  So, bang it on the palm of your other hand or on a towel covered counter.)

Once those ingredients have settled, throw in more ingredients, and shake it down again. Throw in still MORE ingredients….  Shake your head and mumble about how, “That’s never gonna fit.”  Shake down the ingredients and be pleasantly surprised that they all really DO fit after all!

At this point I placed my lids in a warm place, like on a cookie sheet on the wood stove or in a warm oven.  This softens the gasket a bit so it’s easier to screw the ring down and get a good seal.

It’s also important at this point to make sure the rim of the jar is completely clear of any food particles.

Continuing on, I placed the oxygen absorber in the top of each jar, being careful that the corners would not interfere with the lid coming in contact with the rim of the jar. I positioned the lid and tightened down the ring. Then I waited for the ‘plink’ as a vacuum formed inside the jars.  It was really that easy! No hot water bath.  No pressure cooker. It’s called, “dry packing”. Using the oxygen absorber to form an air tight seal, these meals will have an extended shelf of 5-8 years on average, according to Chef Tess as long as they are stored in a cool, dark, dry location.

What I discovered pretty quickly is that I need to stock up on more spices. When you make a dozen or more batches of a recipe, you quickly go through items like basil, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder. It was interesting to find out exactly how many meals I could hope to get out of a # 10 can of freeze dried ground beef or sausage crumbles. When you are making twenty dinners at one time, you get a real good perspective on what you should be stocking in your pantry!

Other things I learned:

  • I now have a cool new way to store pastas and rice!
  • I need to stock up on more canning jars, lids, rings.
  • I had the best success rate of jars sealing when I warmed the lids with a dry heat so that the gasket was softer.
  • Wide mouth jars worked the best. Standard will work, too, but I REALLY had to work to get the ingredients shaken down enough to seal.  I also had to finagle the corners of the oxygen absorber down and ‘hold my tongue just right’ to get the lid and the ring on without the oxygen absorber trying to creep out.
  • I live in an area where it can be very humid in the summer time. Planning to assemble these meals in the winter with the wood stove going was probably the best environment for working with my freeze dried foods.
  • I did the math and found that if I purchased everything I needed to make 20 of these meals (assuming I already had the jars, lids, rings), each dinner for 4 would cost between $6.00 and $8.00. That means the cost per serving is $1.50 to 2.00. That’s pretty good for a nutritious, delicious meal! At that price, my food storage is a really economical option. Not to mention the money I’ll save on gas going to the grocery store.
  • It feels really great to see those ready-made, healthy ‘fast foods’ on my pantry shelf!  A couple of hours of work have saved me time in the future for other things. And they look beautiful lined up on my pantry shelves.

I modified one of Chef Tess’s recipes based on what I had in my pantry, and this is what I made.

 Saucy baked Ziti with Sausage and Mushrooms

*Put the following in a quart jar:

2/3 cup tomato powder

½ cup freeze dried onion

2 T freeze dried spinach

1 t oregano

1 t basil

¼ t marjoram

Dash of thyme

2 T  cheese blend

1 t sugar

1 cup  sausage crumbles

1 cup (3 oz) ziti or other pasta

1/3 cup freeze dried mushrooms

2 T carrot dices

If there was extra space, I packed more pasta in there, piece by piece.

Label for Jar:

Directions:  Place contents of jar in a covered skillet, along with 4 3/4 cups water. Simmer 15-20 minutes until pasta is tender and sauce is thickened.  Serves 4.

Thanks to Chef Tess, I’ve found a terrific way to not only rotate some of my food storage, but open it up and see exactly what’s inside! Taste it, study it, make sure my family likes it, and then have fun repackaging it into ready-made meals that will be quick and easy to fix in a pinch! Meals that will still have a lengthy shelf life! I hope you give this a try as well.

Also read:

Dehydrated Dinners, Part 1

Dehydrated  Dinners, Part 2: 20 Tips for Getting Started

*This recipe was created using food products from Thrive Life.  Using other brands may require slight adjustments to measurements.

** Lisa’s Note: I highly recommend Thrive Life foods but have also had very good experiences with Honeyville Farms and Augason Foods as well.

Guest post by Holly Cooley. This article was previously posted but we updated the article.

 

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15 Ways to Store & Use Winter Squash http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-ways-store-use-winter-squash/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-ways-store-use-winter-squash/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 06:00:38 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18421 Winter Squash is a great vegetable for our short-term food storage needs. It doesn’t need much from a preservation stand point, can be grown easily, purchased inexpensively, and tastes good in a variety of recipes.  Here are 15 Ways to Store & Read More

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15 Ways to Store & Use Winter Squash - The Survival MomWinter Squash is a great vegetable for our short-term food storage needs. It doesn’t need much from a preservation stand point, can be grown easily, purchased inexpensively, and tastes good in a variety of recipes.  Here are 15 Ways to Store & Use Winter Squash if you’re looking to add more of it to your family’s diet this coming year and beyond.

Storing Winter Squash

1. Winter squash can be stored in a root cellar for months with no other preservation requirements.  If you don’t have a root, an unheated guest room works well too.

2. Winter squash can be canned in chunks if you have a pressure canner. Canning the puree is not considered a safe home canning practice, so chunks only.

3. Cooked and pureed winter squash freezes easily and can be used in a variety of recipes.

4. Strips of squash can be blanched and dehydrated. Pureed winter squash can be made in pumpkin pie leather. Any winter squash will work, don’t let “pumpkin” scare you off.

Using Winter Squash

Don’t let recipes with specific squash stop you from making it. Most any winter squash can be substituted for any other.  It might say pumpkin but butternut will work just as well. If it says acorn and all you have is hubbard – go for it and don’t worry! The results will be just as tasty.

5. Pumpkin Smoothies & Pumpkin Hot Cocoa

6. Squash Millet Bake

7. Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna

8. Butternut Squash & Tart Cherry Quinoa

9. Black Bean & Pumpkin Soup

10. Squash Risotto

11. Pumpkin Cheesecake

12. Pumpkin Waffles

13. Black Bean & Squash Enchiladas

14. Roasted Hubbard Squash Soup with Hazelnuts & Chives

15. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have a favorite winter squash recipe? Please share it with us in the comments.

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The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook: Review & Giveaway http://thesurvivalmom.com/ultimate-dehydrator-cookbook/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/ultimate-dehydrator-cookbook/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 06:00:02 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18710 This giveaway has now ended. Congratulations to our lucky winners, Beki and Karen! IMAGINE being able to preserve your own food at home safely, economically, conveniently, and with no harmful additives. EVEN BETTER, your food storage will take up very Read More

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ultimate dehydrator cookbookThis giveaway has now ended. Congratulations to our lucky winners, Beki and Karen!

IMAGINE being able to preserve your own food at home safely, economically, conveniently, and with no harmful additives. EVEN BETTER, your food storage will take up very little space, and will last you for years to come!

Whether you are an avid gardener or you bring your produce home from the grocery store, The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook by Tammy Gangloff will inspire and motivate you!

indexI was a skeptic at first. I purchased a dehydrator over a year ago and dried some fruit. After the first batch of strawberries and banana’s were dried and immediately eaten by my family, I boxed up the dehydrator and tucked it away on a shelf. I am almost certain that if I had read the Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook in the beginning, I would probably be the proud owner today of not one, but two dehydrating machines!

Convincing a Skeptic (me!)

I was originally unenthusiastic about dehydrating because I’m a home canner. Dehydrating food is far different from home canning fruit, vegetables and meat, because canning is preserving with water. With dehydration, the goal is to eliminate water. After reading the book, I was very surprised at the amount of nutrients that are lost when it comes to preserving food by freezing, canning and dehydrating. And you guessed it, dehydrating is the best option for preserving those nutrients!

Although I do think it’s important to can my own meat, and will continue to do so, I now find that dehydrating my fruits and vegetables makes a lot of sense. Not only will this take up less space in my food storage, but most important, it takes less time! For example, when I’m canning, it takes me at least 3-4 hours from start to finish.

With dehydrating, I just plug it in, fill the trays, and go to bed!

More Uses: Drying Herbs

THIS IS THE PART where I want to jump up and down. The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook has shown me the ease in drying my own herbs for tea and medicine!

In the past, I have spent a small fortune buying commercial herbal teas. I stock up like crazy for sick days. After reading this book, I am more inspired than ever to grow my own, dry my own, and create my own herbal tea remedies! I can only imagine how much money I will save, not to mention the joy and peace of mind in knowing exactly what my family is consuming.

Not only will the book inspire you to dehydrate more, but the wonderful recipe section will have you dreaming up all kinds of meals and desserts for your family.

From dehydrating your own baby food, to crackers, or for creating unique holiday gifts, I have discovered that this book truly is THE Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook!

The Giveaway

We have so many awesome items from Dehydrate 2 Sell that we made it into two different giveaways, and EACH ONE INCLUDES A COPY OF HER BOOK!

The first, larger, also includes a Dutch baby pan, a coffee / tea press, a mesh tea infuser, an herb mill, an herb chopper, a pie lattice, a mini pie mold, an egg beater, silicone oven mitts, a set of three scoops, and a bucket / barrel opener.

The smaller prize package focuses on canning and adds a cherry pitter, apple peeler / corer, 6 piece canning set, canning lid holder, and a bucket / barrel opener to her book.

Feel free to enter both contests! Contest ends on October 21, 2014, and winners are selected at random. Winners will be notified the following day and have 48 hours to respond or prizes will be forfeited and a new winner selected.

GIVEAWAY #1

a Rafflecopter giveaway
GIVEAWAY #2 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Comforting Hot Drinks http://thesurvivalmom.com/comforting-hot-drinks/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/comforting-hot-drinks/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 15:00:08 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18412 Winter is coming and with the cooling air comes a desire to drink something warm. In fact, I’m learning that whenever I’m in the need for a little mental comforting I reach for something warm. It seems many of us do Read More

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Comforting Hot Drinks - Finding comfort for body & soul from food storage.Winter is coming and with the cooling air comes a desire to drink something warm. In fact, I’m learning that whenever I’m in the need for a little mental comforting I reach for something warm. It seems many of us do that, we reach for a favorite drink to help give us comfort and a moment of rest to face whatever needs facing. As we get ourselves prepared with the practical matters of flashlights, medical supplies, blankets, etc., let’s also take some time to prepare for some comfort in the form of hot drinks as well. Comfort in a cup, after all, can be accomplished for everyone in the family and easily be a part of our food storage plans. Need some inspiration? Here are some comforting hot drinks to get you started:

Hot Drink Ingredients to Stock

Keep your favorites as part of your food storage rotation – coffee beans, tea bags, cocoa powder, dried herbs for tea. Even a bottle or two of whiskey, brandy, or liqueurs for an extra adult comfort now and then. A person can always buy hot cocoa mixes but those tend to be full of artificial things many of us try to avoid and it’s easy and cheap enough to make from powdered milk, sugar, and cocoa powder anyway. Beyond the things like coffee and tea that come immediately to mind think of bottles of apple cider for hot cider, even orange juice concentrate can be used in a warm fruity punch.

Mixes to Make Ahead of Time

1. Hot Cocoa: 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar – 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder – 2 1/2 Cups Powdered Milk.  Combine everything together well and store in an airtight container. To make a cup: mix 3 Tablespoons of mix with 8 ounces of boiling water or coffee.

That cocoa mix makes a great gift too, if you wanted to help someone else find comfort in a cup.  A splash of coffee or mint liqueur in hot cocoa is a nice relaxing adult treat.

2. Chai tea concentrate make and freeze for a quick fix when the need for comfort strikes.

Don’t Forget Your Health

Hot drinks are comforting to our minds but they’re also very often nourishing and healing to our bodies as well. Keep some things stocked to boost immune systems, soothe sore throats, calm upset stomachs, and generally care for your families bodies too:

Other Recipe Ideas

What’s your favorite hot drink recipe?

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Casseroles Forever! Pantry Substitute for Canned Cream Soup http://thesurvivalmom.com/casseroles-forever-pantry-substitute-canned-cream-soup/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/casseroles-forever-pantry-substitute-canned-cream-soup/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 06:00:12 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18424 It’s a key ingredient in almost any casserole: cream of mushroom soup. Or cream of chicken, or cream of potato, or cream of celery. I used to buy cans and cans of the stuff. Then, as I slowly started to Read More

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creamed soup

It’s a key ingredient in almost any casserole: cream of mushroom soup. Or cream of chicken, or cream of potato, or cream of celery.

I used to buy cans and cans of the stuff. Then, as I slowly started to substitute healthier items for what I had in my pantry, I discovered a healthy cream of “whatever” soup mix.

And, the best part – it’s made from easy pantry items that you can stock up on for emergency situation. Instead of cans of creamed soup, you just need dry milk, cornstarch, bullion, dried minced onion, and seasoning.

Cream of “Whatever” Soup Mix

Mix together and store in an airtight container:

  • 2 C powdered dry milk
  • ¾ C cornstarch
  • ¼ C bullion (chicken or beef, personal preference)
  • 2 TB dried minced onion
  • 2 tsp seasoning, such as Italian or vegetable (personal preference)

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together 1/3 cup of the mix and 1¼ cup water until desired thickness is reached. This equals roughly 1 can of creamed soup.

If a recipe calls for adding milk and a can of creamed soup, I often just double the soup mix instead. Mushrooms, potatoes, or chicken can also be added to the dish, if desired, to come closer to the old recipe with canned cream soup.

Now you can have casseroles at any time – emergency or not!

Recipes for this mix can be found on several websites, but I found this one at One Good Thing by Jillee.

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10 Condiments That Make Life Better http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-condiments-make-life-better/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-condiments-make-life-better/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 06:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16780 So something really, truly bad happens. The grid has been down for a month or a deadly pandemic has us sequestered in our homes. Or you’re simply out of work for months and the savings are gone. You are living Read More

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So something really, truly bad happens. The grid has been down for a month or a deadly pandemic has us sequestered in our homes. Or you’re simply out of work for months and the savings are gone.

You are living on your food storage.

Hey, it’s all good! You’ve got staples like grains,beans and rice. You’ve got a wide range of canned, freeze dried, dehydrated and home-canned foods. There’s a well stocked root cellar. You’ve even got waxed cheese and waterglassed eggs.

Guess what else you’ve got?

Scared people. And you’re one of them. One of the reasons for prepping is to provide a sense of continuity (not normalcy – things aren’t currently normal: river…Egypt…). Continuity is a tether to how things were and holds the hope of a return to that state or something like it.

No matter how well you’ve prepped, sooner or later you’re going to be eating a lot more basic staples than you’re used to. So imagine this: you’ve grilled up some bean-based veggie burgers or you’ve mixed up some mashed potato flakes and…then what?

Let’s lay aside spices, sauces and ingredients like honey for another day and confine ourselves to ready-made condiments. And really, even if things are perfectly normal, these are still great to have in the house.

The 10 Condiments that will save your sanity

1) Ketchup

Why? Because it’s ketchup, that’s why! Ketchup is the duct tape of the kitchen. Unrivaled for versatility on the table, it’s also indispensable on the stove and in the oven. It can make almost anything edible.

BTW,there’s more to ketchup than just tomatoes. Ketchups made from blackberries, lobster shells, onions, and more used to be produced at home and commercially. There are parts of England where mushroom ketchup is still commonplace. If you’d like to try your hand at these heritage flavors, you’ll have to resort to out-of-print cookbooks like an old Joy of Cooking. Or there’s this.

2) Mayonnaise

Sure, you’ll be making a lot of tuna and chicken salad with all that canned meat. But there’s also creamy salad dressing, pasta salad and the basis for tartar sauce. Mayo is an ingredient in a wide range of recipes.

This brings us back to Continuity. Try telling a 6 year old who’s life has already been upended that there’ll be no birthday cake this year. There are a lot of food storage chocolate cake recipes out there. Most taste odd or have  weird ingredients/procedures. Burrowing holes? Puréed beans?  No.

My mother used to make a good and simple one, but this recipe is even better. Top it with powdered sugar or soft-whip some canned cream.

3) Soy / Worcestershire Sauce

There’s a lot of overlap between them because they both have high Umami. That’s a Japanese concept that boils down to a savory, meaty flavor where (typically) no meat is present. It’s caused by naturally occurring amino acids called glutamates, which are the source of concentrated laboratory MSG.

Ketchup has a lot too, but soy sauce and Worcestershire don’t have the high sugar and fruitiness, so it’s a very different flavor profile. Either one is a great way to perk up sad stew.

WARNING: Glutamate-rich foods like salami, mushrooms, red wine,aged cheese and walnuts are often migraine triggers.

4)Mustard

Mustard has a staggering number of other uses besides the “barbie,” especially in pan sauces and casseroles. You can’t make civilized baked beans without it. Sneak a touch into Alfredo sauce, turkey tetrazzini, and mac ‘n cheese. There’s also plain old honey mustard on almost anything. Combine with onions, rosemary and peach or apricot jam for an epic meat glaze!

5) Jam

You’re gonna make some bread with all that wheat,right? Also use on pilot bread or crackers, and in innumerable recipes, like the technique above. It can be stirred into plain muffin or coffee cake mix to make any flavor you choose, or thin it down and substitute for pancake syrup. Try sweetening herb tea with it and save the honey and sugar for other things.

6) Salsa

Tortillas have an impressive shelf life. Fry some up and crack open a jar of salsa as a treat when nerves get frayed. It can also be tossed with rice or pasta for a quick one-skillet meal or added to soups and casseroles. If you bottle it at home you must use a pressure canner!

7) BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce makes the list in part because it covereth a multitude of sins. It also covereth game meats your family isn’t used to yet.

I grew up in suburban Rhode Island but was once in a rural conversation where hunters were discussing the pros and cons of various game meats. The subject of squirrel was broached. I remarked, “I’ve never had squirrel.” Someone at whose house I’d eaten many times wryly informed me:  “Oh yes you have…”

8)Something Hot

Tabasco, sriracha , whatever your family likes. Even if you don’t use any, store a couple bottles for barter or the inevitable guests you’ll be taking in. It can also be used medicinally in soup to clear a badly stuffy head.

9) Gravy ( or the stuff and knowledge to make it)

Okay, not exactly a condiment, but for our discussion it functions like one. Think of all that rice, pasta , potatoes, canned/ freeze dried meats, and game. All just crying out for gravy.

Sure, you can make it from ingredients, but it’ll help to have some ready to roll, and it’s shockingly cheap around the holidays. It’s also another cheap thing that becomes a valuable barter item.

10) That Thing You Love

The condiment your family can’t live without, whatever it may be. If your family can’t go a week without Thai peanut sauce or Branston Pickle, you’d better store some – especially if That Thing is laborious to make or contains lots of arcane ingredients!

What’s Left Out?

I’ve left off things that aren’t used as often (plum sauce) or are easily and quickly made from common ingredients (tartar sauce and teriyaki). As for salad dressing, see my article here.

Hey, where’s the peanut butter?

(Warning: Heresy Alert!) I have several problems with PB.

  1. Classic PB is full of hydrogenated oil. Don’t be fooled by ” interesterified” oil, it’s even worse than just sounding like a made-up word from Calvin and Hobbs. It also contains a ton of sugar and varying amounts of salt. “Natural” PB has to be stirred and is often hard and rips up the bread or breaks the crackers.doit
  2. People use far more of it per serving than they think they do.
  3. Even if it’s all-natural and you only use a tablespoon, it’s a tremendous amount of fat for the protein you get.

In my search for the right wrap-up to this post , I let my family read it. When it was suggested to me that my beef with PB just might be sour grapes because I’ve become allergic and can’t have it anymore, my brother channeled Darth Vader: ” Search your feelings, Beth. You know it to be true…”

( Defiant huff…)  Fine. Be that way.

11) Peanut Butter

Being a pastry chef, I think of PB more as a baking ingredient than actual food; it’s baking and confectionary applications are almost endless. Then there are the obvious uses on bread, crackers, apples, jicama, celery. The “Fam” suggested the aforementioned Thai peanut sauce, fried PB sandwiches, curry, and more…

…if you’re into that sort of thing.

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10 Ways to Use Dried Beans http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-ways-use-dried-beans/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-ways-use-dried-beans/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 06:00:34 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=17761 Dried beans keep for a long time and are often included in our preps.  They are lightweight, nutrient dense, and easy to prepare.  We all know beans and rice is the perfect protein. High in fiber and full of good Read More

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10 Ways to Use Dried Beans - The Survival Mom

Dried beans keep for a long time and are often included in our preps.  They are lightweight, nutrient dense, and easy to prepare.  We all know beans and rice is the perfect protein. High in fiber and full of good fats, beans are a healthy addition to our diets.

However, beans and rice might get boring after a while. Thankfully, beans are an extremely versatile food that lend themselves to many adaptations.

Here are 10 Ways to Use Dried Beans:

  1. Pinto Bean Oat Waffles
  2. Southwestern Breakfast Burrito
  3. Navy Bean Gravy
  4. Cherokee Bean Bread
  5. Basil White Bean Sandwich Spread
  6. Savory Bean & Cheese Oatmeal
  7. Rosemary Leek Cannellini Cakes
  8. Chickpea Zucchini Brownies
  9. Black Bean Fudge
  10. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip & Bean Cookies

What’s your favorite way to use dried beans?

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Top 10 Foods for Stocking Up http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-ten-foods-for-stocking-up/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-ten-foods-for-stocking-up/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 22:00:55 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=1245 You’ll want to pin this list for future reference! Click here. To get started with the basic building blocks of food storage, these are the top 10 foods I recommend. If these aren’t a good fit for your family, for Read More

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You’ll want to pin this list for future reference! Click here.

top 10 foods for stocking up

To get started with the basic building blocks of food storage, these are the top 10 foods I recommend. If these aren’t a good fit for your family, for whatever reason, stock up on the alternatives that you’re currently using. Be very aware of the enemies of food storage and always try to store your food in the most optimal conditions possible.

Wheat 

Once ground, wheat is the building block for varieties of bread, tortillas, flat bread, pizza crust and more.  I’ve stocked up on hard red wheat for hearty breads, general purpose hard white wheat, and soft white wheat for pastries.

Rice 

On its’ own, it’s a side dish.  Mixed with herbs and a vegetable or two, it’s a simple main dish.  It’s a great meal-stretcher when topped with, or served alongside, main dishes such as a stir fry.  Note: brown rice contains oils which will eventually become rancid. If you can keep it stored at very chilly temperatures, say below 60 degrees, it will be fresher, longer. Otherwise, plan on a shelf life of about a year or so.

Dried milk

Without electricity, fresh milk will go bad in hours.  In an emergency situation, fresh will be difficult to come by unless you own a cow or a goat.  Dried milk provides not only milk to drink, but milk to use as an ingredient in other dishes. Also look for shelf-stable milk that comes in cardboard cartons. It’s a very good option to dried milk.

Salt

Stock up on table salt at your local Costco.  It’s inexpensive and has multiple uses. I’ve purchased boxes of Kosher salt, along with the regular iodized table salt.

Beans

Buy canned beans and dry beans in different varieties.  Versatile,  economical and a good source of fiber. Dried beans can be ground into a powder and added to everything from cookies to soups.

Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato puree, etc.  Watch for them on sale and then grab a few dozen cans.  Learn how to can and dehydrate tomatoes. They’re the basis for salsas, soups, stews, and sauces. I’ll bet you’ve eaten something made from tomatoes in the past 48 hours!

Other canned veggies and fruit

These will help provide important nutrients, variety to your recipes, and have a very long shelf life.  If you can’t stomach canned veggies, try dehydrating your own or purchasing freeze-dried.

Peanut butter 

High in protein, yummy on warm, freshly made bread!  Add some honey and you have a winner! Keep a new, sealed jar in emergency kits for a quick dose of protein when you might need it most.

Oil

Without oil, you’re pretty much stuck with boiling your meat and veggies. The problem is that oil goes rancid very quickly. Most oils have a shelf life of only a year. Some food storage experts recommend packing vegetable shortening in canning jars and then using a Food Saver jar sealer to vacuum out all the air/oxygen. Stored this way, shortening can stay fresh for years as long as it’s stored in a cool location. When the time comes to use it, just measure out what you need for a recipe, melt it, and you have oil. While many of us have moved away from the use of vegetable oil, this is probably the best option for having a supply of oil on hand, long term.

Dried pasta

Another meal stretcher and a kid-pleasing dish any day of the week.  My own kids have been known to dip bow-tie pasta in ranch dressing. I really, really like the egg noodles from Ready Reserve Foods, which are actually dehydrated. As they cook they expand and become thick, hearty noodles, much like the homemade noodles my mom used to make.

Sugar and honey

Okay, that makes eleven, but I’ve known women who were ready to kill when deprived of sugar for too long! Both honey and sugar will last indefinitely.

NOTE: This article was originally published on September 3, 2009. My blog had launched only 4 months prior! This list continues to be what I recommend for basic food storage, so I wanted to publish it again with additional information.

 

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Augason Farms fall recipes http://thesurvivalmom.com/augason-farms-fall-recipes/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/augason-farms-fall-recipes/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:30:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=17934 This month’s recipes from Augason Farms are a perfect fit for chilly autumn whether. If it’s still a bit warm in your area, turn down the AC, put on a sweater, and make these yummy fall recipes anyway! All Augason Read More

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fall recipes

image by Jing a Ling

This month’s recipes from Augason Farms are a perfect fit for chilly autumn whether. If it’s still a bit warm in your area, turn down the AC, put on a sweater, and make these yummy fall recipes anyway!

All Augason Farms products are available at this link.

Cheesy Corn Chowder

8 cups water (add less for a thicker soup)

½ cup Augason Farms Cheese Blend Powder

2 T Augason Farms Chicken Bouillon

4 cups Augason Farms Freeze Dried Sweet Corn

1 T Augason Farms Bacon Flavored Vegetarian Meat Substitute

2 T Augason Farms Dehydrated Diced Carrots*

1 cup Augason Farms Dehydrated Potato Dices**

½ cup Augason Farms Dehydrated Cross Cut Celery***

½ cup Augason Farms Dehydrated Chopped Onions****

1 small can diced green chilies

2 t. Augason Farms Iodized Salt

1 ½ t. cumin

½ t.  garlic powder

2 cups heavy cream

Directions

1. Place all ingredients except the cream in a pot and bring to a low boil, simmer 20-25 minutes until vegetables are tender.

2. Place soup in a blender in small batches and blend until smooth.

3. Return to pot and add cream. Mix well.

4. Garnish with hot sauce and fresh lime juice.

* Can substitute with ¼ cup fresh diced carrots

** Can substitute with 1 ½ cups fresh potato dices

*** Can substitute with 2/3 cup fresh diced celery

**** Can substitute with 1 cup fresh chopped onion

Macaroni and Cheese

3 cups elbow macaroni

1/2 cup Augason Farms Cheese Blend Powder

1/4 cup Augason Farms Butter Powder

1 T water

1/3 cup milk

Directions

1. Cook and drain macaroni.

2. Add remaining ingredients, mix until creamy.

NOTE: The beauty of this particular recipe is that it’s a way to have mac ‘n cheese for the kids at any time because all these ingredients are shelf stable! Substitute fresh milk for 2 Tablespoons dried milk and 1/3 c. water.

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The Nitty Gritty of Commerical Food Storage Packaging: Oxygen vs. Nitrogen in Food Storage http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-packaging/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-packaging/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:15:08 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18129 It’s easy to pin this for later! Click here. Over the years, I’ve tried out dehydrated and freeze dried foods from many different companies. Nearly all of the packages I opened, whether cans, buckets, or pouches, had an oxygen absorber Read More

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oxygen vs nitrogen

It’s easy to pin this for later! Click here.

Over the years, I’ve tried out dehydrated and freeze dried foods from many different companies. Nearly all of the packages I opened, whether cans, buckets, or pouches, had an oxygen absorber inserted inside.

When I’ve packed my own foods in 2-liter soda bottles, buckets, or canning jars, I’ve also used oxy absorbers because they are the easiest technique in food storage packaging for removing oxygen, one of the main enemies of food storage.

However, there is actually a much better system for preserving food for the longest shelf life possible, and that is a system that removes the oxygen and replaces it with nitrogen. Ready Reserve Foods is one of only 2 or 3 in the country that use this system in all their food packaging. I’ve toured their facility and have seen this system in action.

Nitrogen vs. Oxygen

Because we typically use up the food in our kitchen pantries and refrigerators rather quickly, we don’t often see the results that oxygen has on food. Although oxygen makes up only 21% of the air we breathe, it can cause food to spoil, go rancid, lose its nutrients, as well as its flavor.

Oxygen allows microorganisms to grow, which results in mold, and when there are microscopic insect eggs present in dry foods such as cornmeal, flour, and pasta, the oxygen provides a friendly environment for those insects to develop and eventually hatch.

Nitrogen, on the other hand, is actually beneficial to food. When used in food packaging, it helps the food retain its flavor, smell, and appearance, and extends the shelf life.

So, when it comes to food storage, oxygen = bad! Nitrogen = good!

Oxy absorbers are the easy way out with food storage packaging

Removing oxygen from a can or pouch of food is time consuming. It has to be vacuumed out very slowly. This takes time and not a lot of companies have the time, or want to take the time, to do that. Generally, oxygen absorbers are okay but they aren’t nearly as effective for very long-term storage.

The food storage companies that solely rely on oxygen absorbers do so because its easier, less expensive, and, to a point, effective. When you and I re-package bulk food for storage, using oxygen absorbers is, by far, the easiest technique for removing oxygen. Regardless of where the food is packaged, oxygen absorbers do not remove all the oxygen.

Over time, though, the oxygen that remains in the sealed containers will have a detrimental affect on the food in spite of the absorber.

Buying food for the long haul

If you believe, like many Americans do, that keeping food stored for emergencies is a priority, you’ll want to take into consideration how that food has been packaged. Companies that use only oxygen absorbers and claim a 25-30 year life of their food are grossly exaggerating.

Under the most ideal conditions, including consistent storage temperatures of 70 degrees or lower, most foods will be at their optimum for 10-15 years, or so. When preservatives are added to the food, the shelf life can be extended for a few more years, but oxygen will still be present.

Ready Reserve Foods takes the time to slowly vacuum the oxygen out of every container and then fill them with nitrogen. The nitrogen pushes out any remaining oxygen and the container is sealed. At most, there might be 2% of oxygen remaining. This method, by far, is the most effective.

Should I throw out my foods with oxy absorbers?

Since most every food storage company relies solely on the use of oxygen absorbers, chances are the food you have purchased fall into that category. This doesn’t mean you have been buying rubbish, just that there are foods out there that have been more effectively packaged.

In my own food storage pantry I have foods from at least 5 different companies, including Ready Reserve Foods. The food I’ve purchased from them has been individual ingredients, such as parboiled rice (I love it!), chicken and beef stock for soups, noodles, and dehydrated vegetables. All of these can be used in my everyday cooking, but because of the way they’ve been packaged, I’m keeping many of them on hand for longer-term storage.

If all your food storage products have come from companies using the oxygen absorber technique, it’s more important than ever to keep that food stored in the coolest spot in the house. When it comes to food storage, cooler is always better.

NOTE: Until further notice Ready Reserve Foods is offering a 20% discount on all their food storage products. Use coupon code SURVIVAL.

 

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