Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dishes, Dishes, Everywhere

I think I'm about to toss all the dishes out and live only on paper plates and cups! When I said that living on food storage wasn't that hard I lied. OK, well I didn't lie. The cooking part is pretty easy, but the clean up is much more work. I'm only exaggerating a little.

There is more dish washing when you aren't eating out, aren't buying your pizza crust or your pie crust. There is also more dish washing when you are re-hydrating carrots or onions etc. Often you can just mix in food (like milk or eggs) and then add extra water, but some foods just don't work that way. So I obviously didn't have my 3 month supply of dish washing soap, but even if I had it wouldn't have lasted since we run through it more.

So I'm doing lots of hand washing and I'm searching the net for homemade dish washing soap. So far the two recipes have left tons of film on the dishes - love this hard water. I'm almost thinking it's worth the water softener.

Have we really been living on our food storage?

Someone asked me the other day if we have really been able to live on what we have stored. The answer is yes - with the exceptions I mentioned at the beginning and sort of one other. Rex had a couple of meals provided by work when they were in the middle of crunch time at work. I had a meal served at a meeting I went to. Brady had a meal at a birthday party.

The one thing I felt guilty about was the muffins. Brady had a marching band garage sale fundraiser. We bought muffins to sell at the garage sale. I debated and debated on how many to buy. The sales were downright pitiful. So the kids and I each had one of the leftovers. After the garage sale we took all of the leftover stuff to DI, along with the rest of the muffins. The volunteers appreciated those muffins. But I'm feeling guilty about that so we are extending this month long experiment by one day.

So now you know.

CERT class

I just finished the CERT class and I'm glad I did. I was pretty nervous about it, but it was really nice to get the hands on practice of what to do in an emergency. When I first looked at the length of the class (21 hours) I wasn't so excited about it. But after having gone through it I wish we could have had more hands on. Luckily, once you have been through training you can go to other CERT disasters to practice more.

Car Kits

For those in our ward who missed it - we are working on car kits this year. Every once in awhile we will be announcing suggestions of items to get in your kit. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to get everything together so if you just concentrate on 1 or 2 items to put in your kit then it won't be quite so bad.

So this week be on the look out of whatever container you would like to store it in. Backpacks are a great thing to grab and go, but depending on what you are putting in your kit they may not have enough room. You may want to consider putting a 72 hour kit in a backpack and then storing that in a larger box with items such as flares of booster cables.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fun With Food Storage

I always thought of food storage as drudgery. Something you only did when you had no money and were in the middle of a disaster. I've come to find out that you can have fun with your food storage.

One of the ways to have fun with it is to have a theme dinner or party. You could choose your favorite movie or TV show and have food that goes along with it. Now I won't recommend a specific show or movie, but for a TV show, like um...Lost, I might have Shepherd's Pie (Jack Shepherd), "Dharma" Green Beans and "Dharma" Peanut Butter bars. I'll share 2 recipes that you could use - even if you don't watch the show.

There is only 1 thing for which I use vegetable beef soup and that is Shepherd's Pie. I really don't stock up much of it because of that. And during this month I had not one can. So I did a search for it, found a recipe and then modified it for long term and short term food storage.

Shepherd's Pie

1/2 cup dried carrots
1 cup cold water

Add water to carrots. Drain off excess water after 20 minutes.

2 T died onions
1/2 c + 2 T hot water

Add water to onions. Drain off excess water after 15 minutes.

3 cups potato flakes
1 t salt
1/4 cup butter (optional)
1 cup milk (3 T dry milk powder + 1 cup water)
3 cups boiling water

Mix together dry ingredients (including milk powder). Add rest. Stir together with fork. Mix in butter, 1 T finely re-hydrated onions and 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb lean ground beef
2 T flour
1 T ketchup
3/4 cup beef broth
Can of green beans, drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brown together onions and hamburger till onions are clear and hamburger is browned. Pour off excess fat, then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add ketchup and beef broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add carrots and beans. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the ground beef and carrot mixture in an even layer on the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Peanut Butter Bars
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (or 1 cup white sugar + 1 T molasses)
2 eggs (2 T egg powder + 4 T water)
1 c peanut butter
2/3 t soda
2/3 t salt
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups oats

Cream butter, sugar, brown sugar and eggs. (No need to blend together egg powder and water. Just add both to the mixing bowl). Add peanut butter, soda, salt, and vanilla. Blend in flour and oats. This will be thick. Press in a jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Adapted from Peanut Butter Fingers in the "Heartland Favorites" cookbook.

Fudge Topping for peanut butter bars
1 can sweetened condensed milk ( 1 cup dry powdered milk, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup hot water, 1 T butter, thoroughly mixed in blender)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat the milk, chocolate chips and butter over low heat in a sauce pan. Stir until blended and pour over crust.

Note: The recipe doesn't list butter other than on the note for the sweetened condensed milk. So one time I added 1 T butter and the other time I added none. I didn't see any difference so I will skip the extra butter from now on.

Another note: (I'm must be really LOST). Until writing this down I didn't notice that the fudge topping was supposed to be added before baking. My family liked it anyway, so do it however you would like.

From "I can't Believe It's Food Storage"

EDIT: After tasting the shepherd's pie I have to say I thought it was too sweet. So I've edited the recipe to take our 1/2 the carrots and add some beans.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's Cannery Time

I was feeling domestic yesterday - something that doesn't happen very often. With the cannery coming up tomorrow I thought it would be a good thing to share what I did and learned yesterday. I made 4 different foods made from products from the cannery and it was so easy.

First I made granola. I shared a couple of recipes for making granola back in April. Yesterday I made the Heart Healthy Granola, only this time instead of using honey I used maple syrup. I am not much of a maple fan, but this granola was yummy with only a light touch of maple.

Then I got on a roll thinking I would make granola bars. For some reason I always thought this would be complicated. It's not. It's even easier to make than the granola because your don't have to turn it midway when cooking. I made Easy Granola Bars posted at I didn't add the melted butter.

While making the granola bars I discovered that I didn't have any more sweetened condensed milk. I've seen several recipes for this and I always thought I would try it, but haven't yet because I don't use it all that much and because I thought it would be hard or time consuming. So yesterday I pulled out the recipe and told myself that from now on I'm going to have to read the recipe right away because sometimes things are so much easier than you would assume.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 cup water
2 T butter or margarine
2 cups sugar or splenda
1 cups dry milk powder(non-instant and not Moo's Milk) OR 4 cups instant

Bring water, butter and sugar to a boil. Add milk powder and blend till smooth in a blender. Refrigerate. Makes 1 quart. Will store in refrigerator for up to one year.

And last I have been thinking I really ought to see if I can use those dried carrots from the cannery. I've been worried that they would taste nasty so I've had in mind I only had them if worse came to worst. Yesterday I was in the mood though. I had been thinking of a dish I had some time ago with chicken and carrots, but I could find the recipe. I can't even remember where I found it. So I looked through recipe books and online and came up with a mix of several I found. I got real creative with the name.

Chicken Carrot Rice Dish
4 chicken breasts
2/3 c dried carrots
2/3 c brown rice
1 pkg dried mushroom onion soup mix
2 t basil
2 2/3 c chicken broth
1 c water
1 c onion
1 T oil.
pepper and salt to taste

Saute onion in the oil. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. I was going to cook this on high for 4-6 hours in the slow cooker, but realized after 2 that it was going to be done in time before I had to leave the house. I finished it off with 10 minutes on high in the pressure cooker. If you should try this in the slow cooker I'd love to hear how it turned out and if the 4-6 hours was a good estimate on time.

If you see me at the cannery tomorrow never fear. I haven't given up on my month long experiment. I'm just concerned about getting to the cannery in June and I'd like to replenish what we are using now. We'll just not be using it yet.

Things on my list after this experiment:
good can opener - those big cans are harder to open than the small
more oats - we use more oats than the year supply lists call for
more spices
more dried fruit
more nuts

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quick Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes

Last night I was going through my new issue (June/July 2010) of Healthy Cooking (Taste of Home) and came across a recipe that I thought would be good to use for food storage. Quick Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes. I modified it to work with our storage (and left out the raisins) and they tasted really good. I thought I would share it with you and include the substitutions I made:

Quick Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes
2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups buttermilk (2 cups mixed powdered milk plus 2 T white vinegar)
1/2 c egg substitute (2 powdered eggs)
2 T canola oil
1/2 c flour
2 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup raisins

In a small bowl, combine oats and buttermilk: Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in egg substitute and oil; set aside. (When you make "buttermilk" with vinegar you are supposed to let it sit a bit before using. Because this was already sitting then I just mixed the milk powder, water and vinegar and then added the oatmeal and let it sit.) (There is no need to mix your powdered eggs and water in a separate bowl. When it comes time to add the egg substitute just add the amount of water your egg directions call for to make 2 eggs, but don't add the powder.)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. (Now, add the egg powder). Stir in the wet ingredients until moistened. Add raisins.

Pour batter by heaping 1/4 cupfuls onto hot griddle coated with cooking spray. Turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden brown.

Note: I play around with how much fat to add on a lot of recipes. I suggest not doing that with this recipe. This morning I doubled this recipe and forgot to double the oil. I had a rough time with the pancakes sticking to the pan until I realized my mistake and added what I had forgotten.

A couple of years ago I had a lot of pears and got tired of canning them. I came across a Pear Syrup recipe at USU extension that was a lot easier than I thought it might be. It was wonderful on these pancakes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Living On Food Storage Day 17

I've been somewhat surprised at how little life changes when living on food storage. We've definitely noticed the loss of fresh milk and veggies, but while using our 3 month supply things have changed very little.

Breakfast is a bit different. I can't just grab a box of cold cereal on those days we are in a hurry. You have to plan ahead to make granola, bread, pancakes or whatever, but really it isn't all that different. Most days dinner isn't any different than any other day.

So why does this seem like such a big deal when we talk about living on your food storage?

I think some of it comes from all the classes about living on your year supply. Using your wheat as a meat replacement is sometimes interesting, but it seems a little odd. (I've always wondered why you would make wheat chili when beans are in your year supply as well.) It's kind of strange to me that we look at long term food storage for times when we have nothing else. Food storage has been taught in modern times since Brigham Young, yet how often have 99% of us us had to live on our long term food storage only?

I suspect that one of the main reasons we have it is not so that it can sit around for 30 years when a famine comes around, but so that we can live the Word of Wisdom more fully. I've learned the past year that using my food storage on a regular basis is so much easier than I thought, not so strange as I thought and I feel better physically when doing it.

Another reason I think food storage is a big deal in our minds is the storage of it. Honestly, it can take a lot of room to store it and if you are organizing challenged as I am then it can be an overwhelming task. I'll be the first to admit my organizing efforts of it have been less than good. We're one of the lucky ones that have the long, skinny food storage room in our basement and still I struggle. I imagine some of you have it much tougher than I do. That's something I will have to work on and I'll pass along what I learn.

The last thing that makes it a big deal is money. If I just buy wheat at the,12568,2026-1-4-39291,00.html for my family of 5 it will cost $468 for a year supply. If you start thinking about it those terms it may start to get overwhelming. Remember though, we need not try to do it all at once. Buy an extra can of tomatoes when they are on sale. Plant a zucchini and freeze what you can't use. Little by little you can build your storage.

Stock Up Food is a great tool to help you build your storage and give you incentive. Right now it only deals with your year supply, but the owner has plans to someday expand it. This site allows you to put in how much of each of the basics you have and then will tell you in percentage how much you have saved. For example it may say I have 15% of my grains, 100% of my water, 50% of my beans with 60% of my food storage overall. I can't tell you how excited I was each time I went to the cannery and then came home and increased those percentages. It also allows you to take out what you have used so you can keep up to date with it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Living on Food Storage Day 8

I feel funny with that title. How many of us are thinking we are living on food storage if we haven't gone grocery shopping in 8 days? Yet, I know from watching the news about past hurricanes that 8 days is quite a stretch for some people to go. I wish that food storage were taught more widely so that people wouldn't have to suffer like some have when they didn't have a week's worth of food.

There is much I have learned from this. I find it amazing that I learned on just my first day. Looking ahead to no food shopping for a month changes your perspective right away. Things I've learned:

Make from scratch foods often enough that they are not a novelty (or at least often enough so they are less of a novelty!) Even though the ravenous wolves understand homemade bread and granola will be the standard in the house for the next month it hasn't stopped them from devouring it. When I buy bread I usually freeze a loaf or two because it will be eaten so slowly. When we make bread it disappears before our eyes.

It teaches you to use your money more wisely. I mentioned that this wasn't a no money exercise. Just a using food storage exercise. It's been interesting to me though, how much I have second thoughts on buying all sorts of stuff now. I've little things I wouldn't have thought twice of before can wait. Now every time I think of spending something unnecessary I think of Elder Hales' talk Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually.

It helps children budget. I have a child that can't seem to hang on to money. Occasionally this child will surprise us when he/she actually has money saved. When we started this the child had enough lunch money for 5 meals. I was thrilled when instead of getting upset the child counted up all the Wednesdays in the month. You see, on Wednesday the school has gravy something and this child loves gravy. Now this child is forgoing other beloved meals to make sure there is enough money in the account for the meal.

Don't forget to store personal care items. I usually buy a case of toilet paper when I buy it. I haven't bought any lately though and our supply has dwindled. You never keep an eye on your supplies like you do when you are afraid you will run out.

Don't forget your seasonings. Wheat and rice and beans etc. are great for long term storage. I've got meat and fruits and veggies in cans and in the freezer. But at some point I'm afraid I will run out of a few of my most used seasonings. I think my almond extract will probably be the first to go. I don't fear that I am going to run out of food by the end of the month, but I do fear that some of it won't have a lot of flavor.

Heavenly Father blesses us when we do what He asks. One of my concerns was fresh fruit and veggies. Last year we planted our first garden. We failed at growing lettuce. I think we had enough for 2 small servings of salad. At the end of the year we let the garden go. This spring we found the lettuce had gone to seed and it was springing up everywhere in the garden and out.

We really didn't need the lettuce last summer and fall, but Heavenly Father has blessed us with it now. He will bless all His children if they just try. Find out what He wants you to do. Buy just one extra can for your food storage each time you go. Try an easy food storage recipe. Save an extra dollar from your paycheck. Then look around to see where your own lettuce leaves are growing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Living on Food Storage

From time to time people tell me they heard that in some ward or another a bishop called families to live on their food storage for a month. Several years ago in my last stake several families were asked to do this. It was interesting to hear of their experiences. I've since heard that bishops have been asked not to do it because of the hardship it creates for some families.

I started thinking about this yesterday and we decided to try it. (Some of you have heard about my goals - this is my newest one.) We didn't run out and get a bunch of supplies today. This can't be planned for.

I felt strongly that we shouldn't create too much hardship on my family because this is my goal, not theirs. So since I promised Brady shakes tonight for FHE I got the ice cream for that. Pet food and medical supplies don't count.

The children can use what lunch money they have left in their accounts, but we won't replenish it till they are done except for milk or juice. (That means I'll need to be making bread for sandwiches etc.) And if we have a work lunch that would be difficult not to attend it also doesn't count.

This isn't a no spending month. It's more geared to food storage and consumables. So no buying shampoo, tooth paste etc. No going out to eat. No cleaning supplies.

Rex says it has already changed his thinking about some things. I'm thinking about how I will have to plan my time better to make a lot of things from scratch and from long term food storage, but I'm excited.

Wish me luck. I'll report on my on my progress throughout the month.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

CERT Training

Ever heard of CERT? I hadn't till last year. I don't know how we heard about it, but Rex felt like he needed to do the training for it. This is what CERT training is:

Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not be able to meet the demand for these services...

One also expects that under these kinds of conditions, family members, fellow employees, and neighbors will spontaneously try to help each other. This was the case following the Mexico City earthquake where untrained, spontaneous volunteers saved 800 people. However, 100 people lost their lives while attempting to save others. This is a high price to pay and is preventable through training.

...What can government do to prepare citizens for this eventuality?

First, present citizens the facts about what to expect following a major disaster in terms of immediate services. Second, give the message about their responsibility for mitigation and preparedness. Third, train them in needed life saving skills with emphasis on decision making skills, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. Fourth, organize teams so that they are an extension of first responder services offering immediate help to victims until professional services arrive. ---Community Emergency Response Team

After you go through the training you go through a practice disaster. Friends and family are invited to come and be victims of the disaster. Krista, Gavin and I participated. I know that disasters are not a fun thing, but in this case acting like a victim was fun. I thought I did well when afterward a man told me, "You scared me!"

Rex is glad he went through the training because it gave him an opportunity to think about and through emergency scenarios in a way he hadn't. He feels it has made him better prepared to respond and help others than he was before.

We just discovered that training classes will start on Thursday (5/6/10). We know it's late notice, but some of you may be able to do it if you get in right away. Normally there are 7 classes and a separate practice disaster announced after. The Unified Fire Authority has started something new. You can do your first 3 classes online and then just attend 4 classes plus disaster. You NEED to start these right away to get the online portion in by Thursday. Register for classes here.

I'm going to start the classes this week. I'd love to have someone join me. If you can't get to them then most of the cities in the county have them in some form or another or there will be some taught next fall. One other options is to some extent you can mix the classes within the different cities and times. For example you can attend a class in Herriman if you miss a class here. You can also pick up the classes you missed next fall. Just call 801-743-7150 or email to make sure you are attending the right make up classes.