Friday, October 31, 2008

Food Storage Friday: Coconut Curry Chicken

No, no oats in this recipe, this is all just for food storage fun! Or the fact that my daughter's birthday is this week and has thrown me ALL off my groove. So the muesli post I had scheduled just didn't get done. Luckily, I had this piece of work lying around saying: "Post me! Post me!"

This is a recipe I picked up from a Rachael Ray magazine. The only conversion it needed to be food storage friendly was to substitute canned chicken for fresh. Is dead chicken fresh? Anyway, here we go...

Coconut Curry Chicken. Yum. Sound like food storage?

Ingredients: Rice, canned chicken, coconut milk, curry powder, and five spice powder

First we're going to make rice, Philippino style. Mountain Man (my main, and only man) served a mission in the Philippines so this is how he makes rice. He shuns all rice cookers. I like my rice cooker. Especially when I have company coming. But I have to admit, this is easy!

Pour some oil in the bottom of a saucepan that has a lid.

Measure out your rice, I use one cup for our family of four.

And twice as much water as rice, so two cups here.

Put your rice over high heat and let it come to a boil.

Like this!

Totally blurry picture, but, if it were clear you would see that the level of the water has boiled down to the level of the rice, this is what you're looking for. Turn off heat completely, cover with the lid and leave on the burner (turned off) for about 15 minutes.

When the time is up, pop the lid off and fluff your rice.


Now for the curry, a little oil in the bottom of your sauce pan.

Add the curry powder

Stir it together with the oil to make a paste.

Now add your coconut milk. I found coconut milk by the rice in my grocery store.

Add the whole can

Cook over medium heat until the coconut milk reduces by half, about 7 minutes or so.

Now open your can of chicken, drain it and dump it into a bowl.

Add the five spice powder. I looked in vain for this seasoning at my local grocery store, there was none to be had. So I thought, hey, it's just five spices mixed together right? I can do that. So I looked it up and found a recipe here. I have a spice grinder so I was pretty stoked, for the first thirty seconds. It took FOREVER to grind all that stuff up. So although you can make it at home, I would recommend finding an Asian market and buying it. Your arm will thank you later.

Add the salt

and pepper

And mix around until the chicken is coated.

Here's where I made a game-time decision. You have to do that in food storage cooking. I could have put the chicken directly in the sauce here, but I was worried that if I did all the seasonings that I worked so hard to make would just fall off into the sauce. Not that it wouldn't taste good as a whole, but I wanted this chicken to taste good and not so much like canned chicken. So I warmed up some oil in a little frying pan and grilled the chicken a little, just so the spices would caramelize onto the meat and stay attached. Just for a few minutes, not long at all.

Go ahead and add the chicken to the sauce, stir it all together and top it on some rice and you've got yourself a delicious food storage friendly meal.

Thanks Rachael!

Coconut Curry Chicken
Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

1 1/2 cups white rice
2 tsps curry powder
13.5-oz can coconut milk
canned chicken
2 tsp five-spice powder
1 Tbsp oil

Add rice and 3 cups of water to a saucepan. Drizzle a little oil in and turn up to high heat. Watch for the water level to boil down to the rice. When it does, turn off the heat and cover. Let sit for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Drizzle oil in a skillet. Add curry powder and cook for one minute. Add coconut milk and cook until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Drain chicken and add to a bowl with the spices. Coat chicken. Add chicken to frying pan with warm oil and saute for a few minutes. Add chicken to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve over rice.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Planning and Executing Family Food Storage with Food Allergies

This is the first post of a special 4-week series about food storage with food allergies (to read the entire series, see posts from Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4). Special thanks to our guest poster, Ali Kat! Be sure to check out her bio at the end of the article.

Food storage is hard enough when you have the ability to buy and store any kind of food, but when you are one of the 12 million Americans who have food allergies or intolerances, food storage becomes quite daunting. We’ve been instructed for decades to store copious amounts of wheat/flour, powdered milk, and canned goods. What happens when all the food you can buy in bulk becomes poisonous to you or someone in your family?

As someone who has suffered from food allergies for more than six years, I have tried to wrap my head around this very issue. As it is, my sacrament bread is supplied by me and delivered on a special tray. There are several (yes, several) other families in my ward who are in the same boat, and each week a different deacon takes the allergy tray all over the chapel to the food allergy benches.

If you, or someone in your family, have food allergies or intolerances, chances are you’ve been struggling just to cook any meal from week to week. How then do you locate larger amounts of grocery goods and how do you find ways to plan meals that don’t require fresh ingredients? While I advocate using fresh ingredients whenever possible, I have found ways to get around the issue of cooking balanced allergen-free meals with items that can be stored. This article contains strategies for dealing with these issues, and over the coming weeks recipes that I have altered and prepared with great success using some of these strategies will be posted on this blog.

A year supply of grain

We’ve been instructed to have a year supply of wheat. I say, substitute that with a year supply of “grains”. I think that you can substitute wheat with brown rice, which is much healthier than white rice. You can steam rice as a whole grain or you can grind it in your electric or hand crank grain grinder. I personally own the hand crank kind. It is really important that if you plan to grind your own grains, make certain that your grinder is clean and free of any and all other flours and known allergens that are not gluten-free or wheat-free.

If you are strictly allergic to wheat, but not necessarily gluten intolerant, oats or barley is a good wheat alternative. All of these grains can be ground in a grain grinder, and can also be purchased as flour in larger amounts from specialty retailers, like Whole Foods, or through online suppliers. I had difficulty finding amaranth flour in stores, which I use for my all-purpose flour mix, and ordered it in bulk from a farmer I found on Amazon.com. On a side note, in my research I found that amaranth was used ceremoniously in Central and South America during ancient times. Take from that what you will, but please understand that my mother kept referring to my blueberry muffins as Book of Mormon muffins.

In your year supply of grain/flour, please know that the absence of gluten is going to require a binder and expander. I recommend xanthan gum. The initial package can be expensive, but one small bag lasts forever. One heaping teaspoon does the job and then some for most baking recipes. When you do your planning, determine how much baking you think you will be doing in a year’s time, and purchase enough allow for that. If you skip the xanthan gum, your baked goods will crumble and remain very dense and flat.

Other Non-Perishables

If you haven’t already, it is really important that you determine what ingredients fall under the category of your particular allergen or intolerance, and that you take a comprehensive list with you to the grocery store in an effort not to accidentally stock up on something you are allergic to.

Because of the epidemic proportions of food allergies and intolerances in this country, more food companies and food retailers are offering organic and allergen-free options as basic ingredients and food items. For example, I have found that there is only one brand of gluten-free chicken stock currently on the market, which I have recently found in bulk at my local bulk big box retailer. My sister, who is allergic to soy, has to be careful of the same thing. I have also found that some alternative foods can be stored at room temperature until opened, like soymilk and rice milk. This is important to note since we have been instructed to store large quantities of powdered milk, and this is not prudent or wise if you are allergic to dairy or are lactose intolerant.

Frozen foods

It’s good not too rely too heavily on your freezer in case you lose electricity for a lengthy period of time in warmer months, however raw meats and non-dairy cheeses and vegetable spreads (fake butter) can be stored in the freezer, which is a nice option for you. You can also freeze, or bottle, fresh fruits and vegetables that you get at farmers markets, so that you are using ingredients that have not been preserved with ingredients dangerous to you. It’s usually a really good idea for allergy-prone eaters to eat locally grown food. Organic foods tend to also be safer for individuals troubled by allergies or intolerances.

Preserving Your Foods Safely

If you are planning on preserving your foods yourself, (i.e., jerky, jams and jellies, etc…), be sure to understand what you can safely use as a preservative. For instance, sugar and salt are natural preservatives, but if you are diabetic or have high blood pressure, you may need to look into other alternatives. For me, the opposite is true and I can handle real sugar and salt just fine, but the fakes make me really sick. FYI, honey is another sugar preservative that lasts so long, it will outlive you.

Learning to Prepare Your Stored Foods Into Meals That You Are Willing To Swallow

It’s a really good idea to start researching recipes now and cataloging them, to a.) make sure they really work, or b.) taste good enough to eat a second and third time. With alternative foods, trial and error is the name of the game. I have eaten some really bad gluten-free foods, but I have also eaten some really delicious gluten-free foods, several of which I made myself. If you have success with a recipe, put it in your permanent file and make sure you always have enough ingredients on hand to make the meal as often as you think you will want to eat it over a three-month period of time.

Let’s See This In Action

I had a conversation about food storage recipes with my mother recently, and she told me about a cookbook the LDS Church put out several decades ago that had recipes based on food storage. She said that although the book was really useful and important in its time, it has become almost obsolete because a lot of the meals, which were fine at the time, are currently very out of date or considered unhealthy. She said, “People just don’t eat that way anymore”. When she told me this story, I immediately thought of all the casserole injustice perpetrated on me as a kid at home and at potluck suppers (potato chip casserole, really?). She has since submitted, Joseph the food scientist and chef to Salt Lake, to possibly get a re-write of the book because having a book filled with recipes that teach us how to use our food storage effectively is good, but doing it in a healthy and delicious way is equally or more important. I dread to think how many potato chip casseroles I might have had to eat if that was one of the few options available to me.

Fortunately for us all, Hannah and Abby have done a great job creating and posting food storage recipes that reflect how we eat today. I want to add to their treasure trove of recipes and ideas with recipes of my own.

As a treat for some of you with a variety of food problems, I have worked very hard to create recipes that can be used with alternative food storage items. I have collected and re-worked a group of recipes that can make up an entire meal or can be prepared one-at-a-time to be enjoyed on their own. I can testify that none of these recipes are second-rate alternatives, and that even the regular eaters of your household will cheer for these meals and gobble it up. My husband was shocked at what had been substituted when he ate the food I prepared for this assignment. He had no idea I had made the switches, and he normally complains when I make substitutions. So look for the recipes in the coming weeks, I promise that these recipes are four-star all the way and will get no complaints. Enjoy!

Ali has primarily lived all over the eastern United States, most recently in the southeast. Her formative years were spent in the northeast with all the other granite stators who like to “live free or die”. She hails from a gigantic Mormon family, where she is the eldest, and evidently the bossiest. She has worked as a photographer and graphic designer for the last 14 years, and also studied clinical psychology at the graduate level. She has been living with known food allergies for over six years, and is involved in the gluten-free community online and in her local area. She writes for her own blog as often as possible, and photographs everything she eats whenever she remembers (which is often), along with everything else that interests her.

To become a fan of Ali Kat’s work, or at least an occasional online stalker, go to her blog at: http://yeagleyspawn.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday, Week 22 (already?!)

I can't believe we've been going at this for 22 weeks! We hope that you are all learning and benefiting from our site as much as we are. Food storage and emergency preparedness have become real passions of mine since starting this blog.

This week for your 72-hour kit, add some candy! You may have already done this when you gathered the food, but if you haven't, later this week and early next week will be perfect times to enjoy the post-holiday sales. Add candy that your family enjoys - or that you know would be a special treat for them. You don't need much; even a little bit will go far in brightening your kids' (or your) day, making those 72 hours a bit easier. Be sure to get candy that won't melt.

Buy another meal or two this week for your 3-month supply, and put it in your food storage. Hopefully by now you have a good amount of food stored up - if not, that's ok. I think that it's important to develop the habit of buying food storage. Every time I visit the grocery store, I find myself looking around carefully for non-perishable food on sale to add to my food storage. It's become a habit for me, and it's really helped.

This is our last week to focus on gathering oats for your longer-term storage. Hopefully you've been able to gather some up so you can enjoy the recipes we've shared. The granola and baked oatmeal recipes look especially delicious, and I know my family could definitely eat those meals frequently if we had to. We even shared a dessert recipe - macaroons! Who wouldn't love those?? (reminder to self: buy cocoa powder for food storage!)

We are starting an exciting new series on Thursday - Gluten-Free Food Storage! We know that many people have problems with eating gluten, and this can pose a real difficulty when it comes to food storage. This Thursday, we will have an article on gluten-free food storage, and then for 3 Thursdays after that we'll be sharing 3 delicious gluten-free recipes, all made from food storage! We are very excited about this series, which will be written by a guest poster.

On Friday we'll have our usual Food Storage Friday, and on Saturday we'll be answering more of your questions!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Motivational Monday

Joseph, the son of Jacob, was a model of integrity. No doubt many of you have been reminded of him recently in a Sunday School class. Joseph’s integrity placed him among the greatest of our Heavenly Father’s sons. He did what was right and good; he was trustworthy and incorruptible, self-disciplined never to violate a trust.

Because of his integrity and righteousness, Joseph was favored and blessed of the Lord in every circumstance. His life is evidence that “all things work together for good to [those who] love God.” (Rom. 8:28.) His example is especially pertinent to us because most members of the Church have descended from his loins.

His father, Jacob, loved Joseph even from his youth. The Lord revealed future events to Joseph in dreams. However, his brothers hated him, plotted to take his life, and then sold him as a slave. When he was carried captive to Egypt, the Lord was with him there. Joseph became overseer of the house of Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh’s guard. When approached by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph refused and fled from her improper advances because of his personal righteousness and because he would not violate Potiphar’s trust.

This refusal and the accusations it prompted caused Joseph to be imprisoned. Again the Lord was with him. Joseph became overseer of the prison. The Lord enabled him to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh’s butler and baker, and later, Pharaoh’s dreams of seven fat and lean cows and of seven full and thin ears of corn. Subsequently, Joseph became ruler over all Egypt, second in rank only to Pharaoh. He directed the storage of food during the years of plenty and the dispensing of it during the years of famine.

During the famine, Joseph’s brothers, who had sold him as a slave twenty-two years earlier, came to Egypt to obtain food. Not recognizing him, they bowed down to him because of his high office.

In a tender, touching scene, Joseph identified himself to his brothers and forgave them. I suppose he could have retaliated for their mistreatment of him by making them slaves, having them imprisoned, or even having them put to death. But he did what was right and good. He said:

“I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.

“Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither. …

“And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity … and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

“So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God.” (Gen. 45:4–5, 7–8.)

Through Joseph, the Lord preserved the children of Israel and provided a place in Egypt for them to flourish and increase.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
"Personal Integrity, Ensign, May 1990

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Weekend Roundup -Question and Answer Edition

We got a lot of good questions this week, so we're doing another Q&A today! We'll start doing a Q & A post each Saturday to keep up with the questions. If we haven't answered your question yet it's probably too hard. Just kidding, we'll get to it in the weeks to come.

First up though, a little roundup:

Someone finally did it! It being comparing the cost of canned beans to dried beans, and did a tutorial on how to cook and store them to boot. Check out the post here at A Year of Crockpotting.


I have a question about canning. Is hot water canning different from pressure canning?

Hot water canning and pressure canning are different. To see the differences in methods, see our post on hot water canning here, and pressure canning here. To pressure cook foods, you do need an actual pressure cooker (or pressure canner which is bascally a large pressure cooker see here). To just do hot water canning, you could technically use any large pot with a lid-as long as it's deep enough to completely cover the jars with water AND you need a wire rack to keep the jars off the bottom of the pan (too much jiggling) see here.

What about soft white wheat and soft red wheat? What is the difference between winter wheat and spring wheat?

There are two types of white wheat – hard white and soft white. The differences between the two are found mainly in the end products for which they are used. Soft white has a lower protein level than hard white. Which is why the cannery sells the hard wheat, so the protein level is higher and therefore more nutritious. My guess is that the same is true of red wheat.

Where can you buy double boilers and the pots etc. needed to bottle things at home? Also, do you have a cheap place to buy jars or do I just have to get them at the grocery store?

You can buy pretty much everything you need online - try doing a Google search, or searching on Amazon. Amazon will show you many different brands of products, and they often have consumer reviews, which I really like.

You can buy your jars at any grocery store in the canning section (which is usually a really small part of the bags/tin foil section. I wouldn't buy them there if you can help it. I would look around at garage sales or talk to some older people in your area. I know my Grandma has shelves full of jars that she doesn't use since she doesn't can anymore. I defintely recommend getting your jars secondhand. I do buy my rings and lids at the store though.

I would love to hear any advice for those of us who eat raw or vegetarian. What are some different types of grains and such we could store to use for sprouting to have fresh greens? What are your recommendations for food storage in that regard?

Well if you eat raw, food storage can be a huge challenge. Having your own garden is probably the best advice we can give you in that regard. That way, you will have a constant supply of raw food available to you. Of course, this isn't always possible depending on where you live and what season it is. Your food storage can be heavy in dried fruits and veggies, nuts, etc. Consider storing some food that you would eat in an emergency, even if that doesn't necessarily mean you would eat it normally. This will make rotating difficult, but it's worth it.

Being vegetarian should be easy for food storage since canned meat is the most expensive item in the food storage! Stock up on lots of beans which are a great source of protein and of course vegetables.

As for your question about sprouting grains - here is a good article with some information about sprouting and how to do it. There are even a few illustrations showing you how to do it.

I am interested in the instructions about building your own rotating shelves, but I don't see them anywhere on your page.

We are slightly technically challenged so we haven't figured out how to link a pdf file on the blog, so email us at safelygatheredin @ gmail.com (remove spaces) and we'll send you a pdf of what we have.

Many of you have been asking about these, and a while back we posted the page on our site. However, they aren't really instructions on how to build it - it's more of a crude drawing with all the measurements and supplies you need. If anyone is interested in building these shelves, and can read the drawings, we'd love to have you take some pictures so we can share a step-by-step tutorial on the blog! Maybe someday Mountain Man or my husband will get to it... but we don't really see that happening any time soon.

What are the axe and shovel for in the 72-hour kits? Do we need a long-handled shovel and an axe to chop down a tree?

The axe and shovel come in handy in many ways, especially for survival. But I wouldn't stress about it if I didn't have it. Put it on a wish list and get it when you can. Never go into debt to buy food storage/emergency preparation items. That's not responsible.

cut firewood, clear a fallen tree in the road, you could use the back end as a sledgehammer to nail tent posts to the ground, you could kill animals to eat (according to my husband), etc. You could have a long-handled axe or a small one (a hatchet), but the longer one would probably be more useful, in my opinion.

Shovel: dig a latrine, dig down to find water, flatten ground for tents, dig in snow if needed, etc.

What do you store your 72 hour kit?

I store mine in our guest room closet - that's where all my food storage is, too! (Hannah)

I also store my main kits in the guest room closet. The sleeping bags are in another closet and the tools are in the garage. See here for more details about 72 hour kits.

I have a large walk-in attic storage area. It get's VERY hot in summer and equally cold in winter. Is there any kind of food storage that I can safely put there?

Unfortunately, there's really not much food-wise that will be safe up there, but you can store things like toilet paper, paper towels, infant and feminine needs and so on. How about storing off season clothing up there so there's more room in your closets for food storage/emergency preparation items.

Are you in Utah?

Nope, we aren't. And we try not to talk about it, because Mountain Man gets a little weepy about being so far away from the mountains.

If there's anything you'd like to know about food storage, within reason of course, please email us at safelygatheredin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Food Storage Friday Guest Post: Granola

Today we're making granola in a guest post by Aleasha.

Aleasha gave me some granola to taste test, because that's my job and all, and I just have to say: DELISH. It lasted two days and I hoarded it all to myself!--Abs

Ingredients: Oats, salt, powdered milk, oil, brown sugar, vanilla, water, dried fruit, nuts

Combine the dry ingredients-make sure you have a little helper!

Granola is one of those things that you can add what you like and leave out what you don't like.

Then add the wet ingredients

Stir it all together til it's all combined.

I like to add cinnamon and coconut for some extra flavor. Some people add extracts as well, such as almond.

Spread it out on baking sheets. You need to press it down a little onto the cookie sheets.

Bake in the oven until lightly toasted, stirring every 20-30 minutes. I take mine out of the oven and give her a flip with a spatula. Sine my oven is not big enough to place them side by side on the same rack, I rotate them after every stir or flip or turn or jooshz or whatever you want to call it!

Add the dry fruit AFTER the baking. I know this from experience. The things that are already dried just get all hard and crusty in the cooking process. If there is anything that would be good toasted, add before baking, such as the coconut or nuts.

I store my granola right back in the oat container! I also keep mine in the freezer. I don't know why... I guess because my mom always did!

I don't store mine in the freezer, one, because there's no room and two, because it never lasts that long. So where you store it is personal preference. Unless of course you let it sit on your counter for 3 months, and in that case, you should just send it to me.--Abs


14 cups rolled oats (old fashioned)
2 tsp. salt
1 cup powdered milk
2 cups brown sugar
1-2 Tbs. vanilla
1 cup water
1 cup oil
1 cup chopped nuts

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients. Mix well. Cook at 300 degrees F for about 2 hours. Stir every 20-30 minutes. After granola has cooled, stir in dried fruit if using. Store in an airtight container.

Aleasha is a stay-at-home mom of 2 little girls. She loves to cook and try out new recipes. Aleasha recently started incorporating a strictly food storage meal in her family's weekly menu and has been pleasantly pleased with the tasty meals that can be made.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Grab Our Button!

We know that many of you like to put "buttons" on the side of your blogs that link to your favorite sites, so we've created one for our blog!

Check it out on the righthand side of our page! (you may have to scroll down a bit)

Need help adding our button? Here are the instructions for adding it to your Blogger blog:

1. Cut or copy the html code in the box underneath our button (on the right side of the page)
2. Go to your blog layout and click "Add a gadget"
3. Choose "html/Javascript"
4. Paste the html code from above into the "content" box.
5. Click "save" and there you go! On your layout page you can move the button around on your sidebar and place it wherever you want. When people click on the picture, it'll take them right to our blog.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My 72 Hour Kit Journey***Warning: My Opinion Runs Rampant Throughout This Post!

Getting a 72-Hour Kit together can be a daunting task. I know—I put it off for years. Then, I put off rotating it for years. I just barely cleaned out and started over, and only because of the guilt I felt for contributing to this blog and not having a working 72-Hour Kit. Guilt can sometimes be a good thing, apparently.

I hope to share a few tips to help you in your own 72 Hour Kit quest. (Keep in mind this is only my opinion, so you may actually have to think for yourself. Bummer, I know.)

I. An emergency evacuation plan:

Why are you creating a 72-Hour Kit? For what purpose? How will you transport it? I plan for the worst possible situation because I'm a pessimist. In attempts to lighten up my attitude I have added expecting the best to my repertoire. I’ve learned that planning for the worst and expecting the best is often the most practical scenario.

Planning for the worst would entail me carrying my 72-Hour Kit somewhere. Therefore, it must be easily transportable. I chose backpacks because my husband is a backpacking fanatic and we had two extras lying around. If I had to carry one of them I could. I'm hoping for the best, which would mean I could use the car. Well, the best would be not to have to use it at all right? But, if I needed to Mountain Man could carry one backpack (the heavy one, ba ha) and I could carry the other.

If I needed to evacuate my area and there was a car available, I could throw my kits in the back of my car and go. But where would I go? Does it matter, you ask? Yes. You should look at a map and find out how far you can go on your tank of gas. Research evacuation stops in each of the four directions. You never know what will come at you (hurricane, earthquake, a nuclear something etc.) so you should know escape routes in all directions. When you make your perimeter, look for areas where you could stay. Mountain Man and I would head for a state park as far as we could get on our tank of gas. A state park would have water available that we could filter and use and it would be a place to pitch our tent and stay a while. Make a note of where you would go and keep it in your car with your atlas. You should have an atlas in your car (my opinion).

2. Meal Plan:

Most of the items on the list are self-explanatory but the food is left open to interpretation. I made a plan for our family based on what we could fit in our kits and what we like to eat. Also, I have a couple of backpacking stoves that I can rely on to cook. Make sure you have fuel for the stoves.

I made a menu plan, planning for 3 meals a day with two snacks (worst case scenario remember).

Day 1

Breakfast: Instant Oatmeal

Snack: Goldfish crackers

Lunch: PB&J and crackers

Snack: Granola bars

Dinner: Ramen (high in calories and very light. Plus, I like it!)

Day 2:

Breakfast: Pop Tarts and fruit (in the little plastic cups--applesauce/cut fruit)

Snack: Fruit snacks

Lunch: Tuna fish and crackers (Spam for Mountain Man, he hates tuna.)

Snack: Trail mix/dried fruit

Dinner: Dry soup packets and crackers (most likely goldfish)

Day 3:

Breakfast: Instant Cream of Wheat packets

Snack: Goldfish (we have a ton of goldfish, can you tell?)

Lunch: PB&J and crackers

Snack: Beef Jerky

Dinner: More Ramen!

Wow, no veggies...oh well. I'm not really worried about having nutritiously balanced meals. I'm worried about surviving (remember this is my opinion.) But I do have a bunch of dehydrated veggies in Mountain Man's backpacking cupboard I could throw in.

Do you see how this is going? I'm planning my menu based on what WE eat and on what's available to me. We don't have a lot of money so I'm not going to go out and buy special emergency food. What I am going to do is pick foods that are easily transported, high in calories, easy to prepare, don't require refrigeration, and yummy.

3. Put your kit together:

Oh, brother. This is where it gets tough for me. I'm really good at making lists, not so good at following through. What I did was go through my house and gather everything on the list (72-Hour Kit and my menu plan) that I already had in my house. I dumped it all on my guest bed two weeks before my in-laws were coming, thus giving myself a deadline. I measured out the necessary water and then packed everything I had into my backpacks.

I didn't/don't have everything on my list. I printed out my list (from the printables on the sidebar) and crossed off things as they went into the backpacks. I wrote my menu plan on the back of the paper so I wouldn't lose it.

Here it is, and you can see I've highlighted the things I don't have in yet. But I put it together anyway, because some food is better than no food! You ought to put a copy of this in your kit so you know what food you have without having to dig through your backpack or Tupperware.

I'm going to have to finish gathering items and do a repacking job, or enlist Mountain Man to help, because, quite frankly I'm not so swell at packing. But I loaded it all up anyway. Why? Because it's better to have something than nothing.

Obviously not everything fits in our backpacks. So I made a little list to tell me where everything is. If I got a call that I had to be out of my house in ten minutes or less I would probably be freaking out, understandably. So I am posting this note in my kitchen, on the pantry door, where I am most of the time (kind of sounds like I like to eat, eh?) and also by my 72-Hour Kits in the guest room closet. I guarantee that I won't be thinking clearly during an emergency, so I want to make it as easy for me as possible.

I had a Relief Society President who once handed out an emergency sheet she used. It had a list of items she would grab from her house depending on the time she had. I wish I could find it to scan it in. But basically she had a list of things she would grab if she had ten minutes (72-Hour Kits, etc). If she had 20 minutes she would grab more things, and so on. I think this would be a great FHE activity. Determine what is vital for survival, then what would be helpful, and finally, maybe some things that are important to each family member IF they had the time to grab it. Knowing the location of these items would also be helpful.

After sticking everything in you have, make a wish list of the things you need still. Start with the cheaper items at the top and chip away at it when you can. Ask for the larger things for Christmas gifts if you want. I think I'm turning into a food storage nerd.

To reiterate: Make an emergency evacuation plan, make your meal plan, and put it all together. Don't wait until you have everything!

P.S. Don't forget to rotate your food, clothing, and batteries...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday! (Week 21)

This week for your 72-hour kits, it's time for another cash installment of $25. Make sure you have small bills and change. Rolls of quarters are perfect.

For your 3-month supply, pick up another extra meal or two at the grocery store this week, and put it right in your food storage. How is your rotating going? If you need some suggestions for how to rotate your food, check out "How to Rotate Food" under the "topics" section on the right side of the blog page.

Have you been able to gather any oats yet this month for your longer-term storage? You can buy oats in #10 cans from the LDS Cannery - this is a great way to store oats, and they will last for many years. Abs and I like to keep our canned food canned, and we just rotate through the tubs we buy at the store. Of course, several years from now, when the food has only a couple years left, we'll start eating that and replacing that, but it's not something we have to worry about yet.

We got a lot of great comments and emails last week about our food for the 72-hour kits - thanks so much! We got some good suggestions, and people shared their lists of food that they store in theirs. We love your feedback!

Tomorrow, Abs is going to share some more options for 72-hour kit food - she made a complete food list of what she has in her kit, so you'll definitely want to read that for some more suggestions. And, of course, on Friday we'll have another great food storage recipe, so don't miss it!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Inspirational Thought

"We live in a most exciting and challenging period in human history. As technology sweeps through every facet of our lives, changes are occurring so rapidly that it can be difficult for us to keep our lives in balance. To maintain some semblance of stability in our lives, it is essential that we plan for our future. I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness. We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end."

Elder L. Tom Perry,
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
"If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear"

Friday, October 17, 2008

Food Storage Friday: Baked Oatmeal

One of my favorite ways to eat oatmeal is baked! This is an easy and delicious recipe that can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Ingredients: Powdered milk (and water), oats (regular), brown sugar, cinnamon, oil, craisins, and nuts

Okay, so apples are not pantry items. You can make this dish without them. You can even leave out all the extras (nuts and craisins) and it would still be delicious. But I had the apples. And it is SO yummy with apples that I just couldn't resist. Please forgive me.

I think you can just mix the powder milk and the equivalent water into the ingredients separately, but I just went ahead and made it up, force of habit I think.

Mix all the ingredients together in an oven safe container.

It looks like two small apples will do it. Dehydrated apples would be swell here.

I would use regular oats here instead of quick cooking. I think quick cooking oats would turn mushy since this dish cooks for a while.

Add a dash of salt in there too and stir around until combined.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes covered. You can use a dish with a lid or just use tin foil which is what I usually use. This makes 6-8 servings depending on who's eating it (kids vs. adults) and I don't usually use this big of a dish, but I was out of tin foil and needed a lid.

After 30 minutes, give it a stir and remove the cover. Let it cook another 30 minutes uncovered.

Fresh out of the oven! The smell is lovely.

Eat! It's delicious right out of the oven and also good warmed up later. You can also make it ahead of time (night before) by combining all the ingredients and covering with saran wrap and place in your fridge until you're ready to cook. Just leave out the nuts until right before you put it in the oven so they still have crunch.

Baked Oatmeal

4 cups milk (or 1-1/3 c. powdered milk and 3-3/4 c. water)
2-2/3 c. oats
1/3 c. brown sugar (or honey)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp Cinnamon
2 small apples, chopped or 1 c. dehydrated apples (optional)
3/4 c. raisins or craisins (optional)
1/3 c. nuts (whatever kind you like) (also optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in an oven safe dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Stir. Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Enjoy!