Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekend Roundup: Thanksgiving

One of the greatest things about a blog, is that each reader can share his or her opinion/knowledge with the rest of the readers. Please take time to read comments. Some readers have a wealth of information to share with the rest of us.

I enjoyed this article from Food Storage Made Easy about Holiday Baking and Food Storage. Not just because it tells us what food items will be on sale in the up coming weeks, but also because of the information about shelf life for each of the items.

You Can Can is offering a PDF of instructions of how to build your own water barrel rack. Head over there to leave your email address if you are interested.

Preparedness Brings Peace has a egg substitute recipe that doesn't look too hard.

And finally, if you are looking for more Holiday gift ideas involving food storage items, check out iPrepared's Home Storage Christmas Gifts. I can't think of a better present than one you actually need!

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's Tuesday... Happy Thanksgiving!

Since we know it's a busy week for all (well, all of our readers in the U.S.), we're not going to assign any specifics this week for your 72-hour kits or three-month supply. But hopefully as you go out shopping for the big day, you'll pick up a few extra cans of goodies for your pantry.

Don't forget that this is the last week of the month, so if you haven't gathered any rice yet, try to pick some up or order some online. If you order it from the website linked, it will already be canned so it can go right into the pantry and set aside for the future.

According to our schedule, we are supposed to be gathering beans next month, but stay tuned because we're going to mix things up a bit.

Also, we will not be posting for the next couple of days, due to the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Inspirational Thought: Happy Thanksgiving

"Come, ye thankful people, come; Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in Ere the winter storms begin.
God, our Maker, doth provide For our wants to be supplied.
Come to God's own temple, come; Raise the song of harvest home."

Come, Ye Thankful People
a harvest hymn written by: Henry Alford, 1810-1871

*Emphasis added

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekend Roundup and Q & A #5

The New York Times put out an article about increased Spam production and retail sales during this "recession" time. Being married to a Spam enthusiast, I'm curious, do you include spam in your food storage?

Meat is one of the last things we think about with food storage because canned meat is expensive, even Spam! Have you thought about canning your own meat? Liz walks us through how to can chicken using a pressure cooker. Check it out.

Each Saturday we will
post some questions that readers have asked with some (hopefully) good answers. Please be patient as we try to answer all your questions. More questions? Email us!

Previous Question and Answer Posts:
Question and Answer #1
Question and Answer #2
Question and Answer #3
Question and Answer #4

Other Informative Posts:
All About Oats
All About Beans
Let's Talk About Wheat
All About Rice
All About Rice Storage

Would you happen to know of any good companies to buy freeze dried foods from? Most that I have seen only carry it in the #10 cans and once it is opened it needs to be eaten within 2-3 weeks. You are not going to go through an entire #10 can of broccoli, for example, in 2-3 weeks. So I'm looking for a place that carries food storage packaged in smaller containers, like pouches. Do you have a company you can recommend??

Most companies that are selling dehydrated foods in small packages are companies who cater to backpackers or campers. The problem is their food is not very affordable. Backpacking, I've learned being married to Mountain Man, can be a very expensive hobby. For example, Harmony House Foods is a company that Mountain Man has purchased dehydrated foods from in small packages. Here's the kicker: a 3 oz pouch of onions sells for $2.95 which works out to be 98 cents/ounce. The LDS Cannery sells 40 ounces of dried onions for $6.65 or 16 cents per ounce. Here are some other alternatives:

In "Just Add Water" by Barbara Salsbury, we read dehydrated vegetables will last ten plus years if vacuum sealed (or stored in those #10 cans or foil pouches). After you open it, as long as you keep a tight-fitting plastic lid on your can, it will keep "as long as is required to use it." Even if it takes several months to use the food up, the flavor and food value won't alter, although the food will become softer because every time you open the can you expose the food to air. One idea is after you open a #10 can, divide the contents into portion size in ziplock bags, remove as much as possible, and seal tightly. Then you aren't exposing the extra dehydrated foods (that you aren't using at that time) to any extra air.

Another option would be to grow a garden and dehydrate your own produce. Or purchase produce at rock bottom prices and dehydrate it yourself. Then you can store your food in portion size packages according to your family's individual needs.

Where do you buy your dehydrated foods? I know you can get some things at the LDS canneries, but they don't seem to have a very wide selection. I've seen many sites suggest bringing your own foods to can and using the church's equipment, but where do you get the food in the first place? I'm interested in buying things like dehydrated celery, carrots, freeze-dried fruits, etc. Any suggestions or favorite stores?

I have actually never bought dehydrated food outside of what Mountain Man has for backpacking. We keep saying we need to buy some but right now we're focusing on buying wheat, rice and beans for our basic food storage. It's more important to me to have filling food before good tasting food. That being said, now I know Hannah has a food dryer, I'm planning on borrowing it multiple times next Spring/Summer and dehydrating produce from my garden or when produce goes on sale. Since I already have access to a dehydrator, that will be the least expensive option for me. I will most likely store my dehydrated foods in jars or ziplock bags because I'm not interested in storing it longer than a year or so since we are moving in a few years. However, if you were to dehydrate your own, you could take your big batches to the cannery to can for a storage life of 10 years plus.

Harmony House Foods, from the previous question, offers freeze dried food in larger containers too. They offer a 20 lb (320 oz) package of dried onions for $99.95 which works out to be 31 cents/ounce. What it is packaged in now will last 24 months or so, but you could take it to the cannery and package it there for longer storage. This wouldn't be economical for onions, obviously, but may be for the things the LDS cannery doesn't offer.

There are many other companies like Harmony House, that's just the one I'm acquainted with. Gee, I really hope I did my math right. Wouldn't that be embarrassing?

I'd appreciate some advice on the subject of what to buy (in terms of wheat) and how to store wheat for both short and long term.

Well, it really depends on your family. As a Latter-day Saint, I have been instructed to store a one year supply of wheat (and other things) for my family. So I have both hard red wheat and hard white wheat stored in #10 cans and foil pouches under my beds and in my closets. Wheat stored in this manner will last 30 years plus, so I don't mess with this. Unless I am totally out of wheat, which doesn't happen now that I'm working on my 3-Month Supply, I don't even touch the wheat. I'm not in a position financially to be able to rotate through this storage so I just stock up on it when I can and leave it alone. I'll rotate it in 25 years or so.

This wheat though, won't do me ANY good if I don't know how to use it and if my family isn't used to eating it. So, I also invest in wheat to use for short term. I personally buy a 25 lb bulk sack of wheat that I leave in my pantry and dip into to make whole wheat bread and other things. One bag usually lasts us 3-6 months of casual use. I hope to be able to buy another sack next cannery trip so I can have two in my pantry at any time. That way if there was an emergency I could kick up my wheat consumption so our other food storage would last longer. I couldn't find an exact number, but my guess is wheat in bulk sacks like mine will store for several years if kept in a cool, dark place. I mean, think about Little House on the Prairie, where the farmers would store their wheat for planting all winter long. What? That's not research?

My long winded advice is this: buy wheat for long term storage that is sealed and treated to last 30 plus years. You can do this yourself or buy it through the LDS cannery or somewhere else. Keep your short term wheat storage accessible so you can actually use it. And remember only grind what flour you need at a time, because once the wheat is ground into flour it goes rancid quickly.

Are you able to purchase items from an LDS cannery if you aren't Mormon?
Yes you can! You need to check into the cannery nearest you. Some food storage centers will require appointments and others are on a first come first serve basis, it just depends on the location. If you have a problem getting into the cannery for any reason, or are just nervous about trying it, make a Mormon friend, and have them walk you through the process. Mormons are really nice. I should know since I am one.

You can also order food storage items like beans, wheat, and rice online through the LDS Distribution Center You will have to sign up, but all that requires is your name and address, and is purely for processing and shipping information.


1. I have a few giant bags of white rice, but am uncertain what I need to do to them to make them last.

I feel the same way about rice. I buy rice already treated in #10 cans or pouches for my long term storage and I leave those alone. For my 3-Month Supply I keep a couple of bulk bags from a warehouse in my pantry, we go through rice pretty quickly though because Mountain Man loves it.

If you want your "giant" bags of rice for long term storage I would take them to a cannery and can them. You can bring your own food to the cannery and just pay for the supplies (cans, oxygen absorbers, etc). For shorter term storage, you can buy food grade five gallon buckets from a restaurant supplier, or someplace like that, and store your rice in them.

2. How do you store your rice? I'm considering two cups in a freezer ziplock, then a number of those bags in a sealed mylar bag in a 5 gal bucket with a gamma lid. I'm thinking that the freezer bags will be more resistant to puncture, and two cups in a bag would be easier to handle and each would last longer than a large bag.

I read a thread on a survivalist forum about how to treat rice for storage in 5 gallon buckets. The commentators were saying that they put their rice in freezer ziplocks (sturdy) in portion sizes and then freeze the bags for two weeks or so to kill any bugs that may have been on the rice. Then they stack the bags in the bucket and stick the gamma lid on. It's really interesting to me how everyone does it. But like I said before, we go through rice like crazy, so I just keep my sacks in my pantry. I like them there so I can keep my eye on them.

3. I was just wondering if you knew what advantages there were between using lids that snap on or twist on for the 5 gallon buckets. Other than the huge price difference between the two kinds of lids and the fact that you save your knuckles if you choose one over the other, do both kinds provide the same storage security and shelf life?

I had to do a little research on this because I'm pretty clueless on the 5 gallon bucket thing. I have three in use, one for my sugar in my pantry, and two in the garage with dog food in them. We have problems with pests down in the South. I bought them four plus years ago at Home Depot or Lowes. Meaning they aren't food grade. But the dog and I are both still alive so I guess it's okay. But I don't recommend it--definitely make sure your 5 gallon buckets are food grade quality.

About the lids, it looks like the difference between the two is convenience and price. The gamma lids (twist off) have an easily removable lid so you can get in and out of your buckets easily, but they are more expensive. The regular lids you may have to hammer on to achieve the seal you want, but once it's on correctly it should keep your food fresh. You may have to invest in one of those claw type bucket openers to help you open those. They are a doosy once closed tightly.

My cousin, Cousin S., has a nifty method with buckets. She keeps her 3-Month Supply storage (like sugar, flour, etc) in 5 gallon buckets, 2 per each. She has one bucket with a gamma lid (easy off) that she has for daily use, and the other just has a regular lid on it. When her bucket with the easy off feature is empty, she'll switch her lids, and then fill up the empty bucket with the regular lid back on. That way she knows when to rotate and only has to open the regular lid when she runs out. If I had more pantry space, or a basement, I might try that method. Then you only have to pay for half as many gamma lids, but still have the storage you need.

4. Does anyone know how long rice will keep in the pantry? I bought a 25 lb. bag at Costco and have used half of it in 3 months. If it'll keep for a couple of years, can I just buy 2 more bags and rotate them? I have a bunch of the #10 cans in my garage, but that rice doesn't taste as good.

I liked this article. Evidently, there was rice found at an archaeological site cooked normally. Meaning rice will last indefinitely. However, there will be texture differences over a number of years. I like to just keep my rice in bags in my pantry, but then again we eat a lot of rice, so a bag of rice won't last longer than 6 months. If I were you I would break down my storage into long term and short term. It's easier to keep track of and rotate the rice you're using regularly and then you don't have to worry about your longer term storage. One reason your garage rice might not taste very good is that it's being stored in your garage. Unless your garage is heated/air conditioned you shouldn't have your food in there. You should always keep your food in a cool, dry and dark place for optimal storage. Check out this awesome chart on pantry storage life.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Food Storage Friday: Tomato-Basil Bisque

One of the reasons I love winter is because of the endless soup possibilities. What is better than having a steaming bowl of soup at night? How about having only one pot to clean out?

This recipe came from Southern Living, this is the original recipe. The only change made was to use dried basil instead of fresh and then make my own buttermilk, easy peasy.

Ingredients: Powder milk, vinegar, water, tomato soup, diced tomatoes, basil, and pepper

First step, mix your milk from powder milk and water, and then sour it using 1 tablespoon of vinegar for every cup of milk.

The recipe calls for diced tomatoes, but you can use whole if that's what you have in your pantry. The soup tastes even better if you get your canned tomatoes for free. It creates a warm fuzzy feeling.

If you end up using whole tomatoes, just break them up with your spoon until they are bite size pieces.

I love this new technology of pull-top cans. It's so easy! But beware, we had a reader share how her pull-top tuna opened unnoticed in her 72 hour kit and covered the other food with hairy mold. Keep your pull tops out of your 72 hour kits.

Next add your tomato soup, stir it together.

Add the pepper.

Add the basil. Of course fresh tastes so much better than dried, and if you have that--use it, but this is food storage Friday, remember?

Each year we have a wonderful herb garden that lasts all summer long and I tend to forget about dried spices. Until I need them in the winter. Put Basil on my food supply list.

Next, add the buttermilk. It helps if the buttermilk is at room temperature so it won't curdle. Although my buttermilk has been curdling a lot lately, not quite sure what my problem is.

There isn't any particular order of ingredients. Just dump it all in.

Make sure it's warm all the way through and serve! It hits the spot on those cold days.

Tomato-Basil Bisque
adapted from Southern Living

2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans tomato soup, undiluted
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups buttermilk (made from 2 1/2 cups water, 2/3 cup + 1/6 cup powder milk and 2 + 1/2 tbsp vinegar)
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Mix together your milk, sour it with vinegar and let sit. Add tomato soup, diced tomatoes, dried basil, and freshly ground pepper to the pot. Add buttermilk and warm over medium heat until warmed through.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gluten-Free Food Storage: Mexican Hot Chocolate

This is the final post of a special 4-week series about food storage with food allergies. Thanks to our guest poster, Ali Kat! Be sure to check out her bio at the end of the post. To learn more about food storage with allergies, check out Ali's entire gluten-free series: Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3.

Mexican hot chocolate might possibly be the most decadent beverage on the face of the earth. I've been making it for about six years, and I have found that few men can handle it's richness, many women get weak in the knees with a small teacup full, and only once have I had someone ask for seconds (she was having hormonal issues). It's just that delicious and powerful. Although I used to make it with milk and real whipped cream, I tried it with soy and was dumbfounded by the delicious results. One sip and I thought I might have lived every moment I needed to before I die.

The magic of this is not only in it's richness, but also in the little bit of cayenne pepper I added. Just enough to give it a bite, but not enough to alter the flavor. If ever you wondered what the moment in the movie Chocolat might be like when Dame Judi Dench sipped that first sip of the hot chocolate, this will answer it for you. Mexican hot chocolate will go with any lovely Spanish feast, but I encourage you to try it with your best women friends first. You'll see reactions in each other you never knew were there.

Mexican Hot Chocolate (Does not contain wheat, gluten, dairy, shellfish, eggs, or nuts)

3 cups soymilk (can be stored at room temperature)
10 oz. of Spanish chocolate, chopped (can be found at specialty stores or Spanish markets)
1 cinnamon stick per person
1 pinch of ground nutmeg
4 granules of ground cayenne pepper person

In a saucepan on medium heat, put soymilk, cinnamon sticks (grate some before you put the sticks in), nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Stir constantly until liquid begins to boil. Reduce heat, and add chopped chocolate. Let sit for a couple of minutes, then whisk smooth. Poor into teacups and serve. Verbalize your joy loudly.

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 and occasional online stalker, go to her blog at: http://yeagleyspawn.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Longer-Term Food Storage - how do you store it?

Many people have asked us for the best way to store longer-term storage. There is no one "best way", but I'll share some preferred methods that we have.

You can use #10 cans. This is optimal for longer-term storage - it will stay good for years and years, and it's easy to transfer. You can order food already in #10 cans from LDS Catalog (prices include shipping). If you live near a cannery, you can go there and can up your own rice, and that's cheaper, but not everyone has this option.  My mother-in-law's stake owns 4 canners that people can "check out" and use in their own homes.  Check out our post on how to can your own food in #10 cans.

Another option for storage is in foil pouches. To read more about foil pouch storage, click here.

Finally, longer-term foods can also be stored in buckets. I know many people who keep their bags of rice, wheat, etc. in sealed 5-gallon buckets. Just be sure that the top is on tightly to keep rodents and bugs out. To read more about storage in buckets, click here.

Good luck with your longer-term storage!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Tuesday Again! (Week 25)

This week for your 72-hour kits, add some garbage bags and a can opener. Garbage bags come in handy for garbage, obviously, but they are also handy for keeping things dry, hauling things, etc. And the can opener is a necessity if you have canned food in your kits.

I know I've said this before, but if you haven't heard it before: don't forget to include non-food items in your three-month supply! I just stocked up on laundry detergent and dishwasher soap. Remember: the goal (for me, anyway) is to be able to live off the items in your home for 3 months without ever needing to go to the store. Don't forget about toilet paper, cleaning supplies (although baking soda can substitute for these), batteries, feminine products, diapers, shampoo, soap, contact solution, medicine, trash bags, etc.

And on to the longer-term storage... I can't believe I didn't even mention rice STORAGE last week in my blog post about rice. Wow. Anyway, tomorrow I'll be posting "All About Rice, Part 2", and I'll be talking about that. Sorry!!

On Thursday we have our final installment of gluten free recipes (it's a dessert this time!), and on Friday we have another great food storage recipe to share.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Inspirational Thought

"The best food storage is not in welfare grain elevators but in sealed cans and bottles in the homes of our people. What a gratifying thing it is to see cans of wheat and rice and beans under the beds or in the pantries of women (and men) who have taken welfare responsibility into their own hands. Such food may not be tasty, but it will be nourishing if it has to be used."

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008)
"In the Arms of His Love," Liahona, November 2006

***words in italics added by me, but I don't think Pres. Hinckley would mind.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekend Roundup--Q and A #4

This didn't post last week because I was down and out with the flu. Anyway, here are some more Q&A's in full glory, but just a few business items first:

1. We've added tabs to the top of the blog to help you navigate the website easier. Because it's all about being easy. Some of the links that used to be on the sidebars can now be found in the above tabs instead.

2. Lately, we have begun having some problems with plagiarism. While this is a bit flattering and motivating, as it entails our blog is being read and our information relied upon, it is also disheartening. We want you to use this website, but we would appreciate if you remembered to give us some credit. There's no need to dust off those old citation text books from freshman English, just add a link or our blog name. Thanks!


Each Saturday we will
post some questions that readers have asked with some (hopefully) good answers. Please be patient as we try to answer all your questions. More questions? Email us!

Previous Question and Answer Posts:
Question and Answer #1
Question and Answer #2
Question and Answer #3

Other Informative Posts:
All About Oats
All About Beans
Let's Talk About Wheat
All About Rice

I am getting ready to buy some blue 55 gallon water barrels. I'm not sure if they are safe though. They had fruit juice in them previously. I know FEMA recommends not using plastic milk containers or cardboard juice containers. Do you know much about this? What would be your recommendation. Many church wards have purchased them in bulk... I assume they are safe, but don't want to be wrong.

You are right about re-using milk containers or cardboard juice containers. That is not a safe method of storing water.

To clean your 55-gallon barrels thoroughly, use a pressure washer to really get it clean. If you don't have a pressure washer, take the barrel to a DIY car wash, where they are available to use. If you are still concerned about it getting clean enough, buy a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and pour it around in the barrel, it will kill whatever is left in there. Then, fill the barrel with water from a new hose (a cheap one is fine - old hoses may have mold) and add Clorox to the stored water, just to be on the safe side. You really don't need much - 1/2 teaspoon Regular bleach per five gallons of water (5 and 1/2 teaspoons total).

When you get around to using your water, it should still be fine, but you may have to bleach it again as you use it. Also, it's always a good idea to store drink mixes in your food storage (Crystal Lite, etc), because the plain stored water can taste stale or a little bleachy.

One final note about 55-gallon drums: be sure that when you are filling them with your water, they are placed where you want them to stay. Moving those things full of water is nearly impossible. Also, consider getting a small pump to use for when you need the water. It's much easier than using a bucket or something else to actually get the water out!

We have a built-in gas BBQ. Is there any way that you can convert this into an oven if you didn't have any electricity?

Mountain Man worries that the direct heat from the gas burners would make it difficult to treat your gas grill like an oven. It would probably be a good idea to put something like a brick or a flat stone on top of the rack, and under your bake ware. It would serve to distribute the heat, and protect the bottom of your dish from scorching. Compared to a normal oven loss of heat might be a problem, so you'll probably have to play around with the cook time. It's always a good idea to try something out before the emergency happens. Mountain Man promises to try it out sometime and let us know how it goes...

I've been trying to find out how long the wheat will store after it's ground into flour. I can't believe how hard it is to find that information! (at least I have had no luck) It'd be great if you could help me out on this one!

Not long, believe it or not. So, I have always stored my extra ground flour (from bread making) in my freezer because my aunt told me to. That's how I live life, but after doing a little research, it turns out that the germ in the wheat kernels contains oil, and the oils being exposed after grinding will go rancid. You can delay this by storing your ground wheat flour in an airtight Ziploc or container in the fridge (for a couple of weeks) or in the freezer (for a couple of months) but do keep in mind whole wheat flour is the most nutritious when it is freshly ground--so try to grind only as much as you need at a time. I do grind a couple of cups extra so I can make crackers or whatever and not have to drag out my grinder, but never more than 2 or 3 cups.

About your box oven, does it matter what the temp. is outside? For instance if you were to do it outside in the winter?

When we baked in our cardboard box oven, the temperature was in the 90's and it didn't seem to affect the finished product, but we have never tried it in the cold. It appears that Boy Scouts regularly use them on Klondike derbies, so they must work. Our advice is the same as above--give it a try! We'll be trying it too, so let us know how it works for you.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Food Storage Friday: Chocolate Snack Cake

I am not a chocolate cake connoisseur, as my dear friend Abs is, but this is my favorite chocolate cake. I love it because it so moist. I love not having to use eggs, which I find annoying and messy. I love how simple it is--I am all about one-bowl batters. And the best part is that it is made entirely with food storage items! I don't know about you, but if there's a crisis, I'm going to want some serious comfort food. And this cake is no laughing matter.

Ingredients: Flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cocoa, oil, vinegar, vanilla, water (can you tell I shop at Kroger?)

Sift the dry ingredients in a bowl. There have been several occasions when I've thought, "Nah, who needs sifting? It'll turn out fine." Oh, how I've rued those days . . . especially after I (or worse, possibly a guest) has bitten into a lump of baking soda. Please sift, even though it takes a little while. And although I haven't tried it, I imagine you could replace some of the white flour with wheat without ill effect.

I don't even know if I sift properly, but all I do is pour the dry ingredients into a mesh strainer and then stir them as they sift through to the bowl. It's much faster than doing each ingredient individually.

Combine the cold water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla in a liquid measuring cup and then pour it into the dry mixture. I love this cup (plastic because I'm clutsy and break things) and need another because I'm always having to wash it by hand so I can reuse it. Grrr.

Stir the batter well in the bowl--for a minute or so, until it's very smooth--and then pour it into a pan. The recipe says to grease and flour the pan, and sometimes I do that. Sometimes I don't, and then I regret it.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, and remove from the oven when the top of the cake springs back under your fingers. I used a smaller pan than I usually do, and it nearly didn't stay in the pan. I'd recommend a 9-in cake pan or an 8x8" casserole. Let it cool about 15 minutes before you cut into it so the cake isn't too crumbly.

It doesn't need any frosting. But if you're rotating, why not add some whipped cream on top?

Whipped cream or no, this cake is absolutely scrumptious. Enjoy!

Chocolate Snack Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cold water

1. Preheat oven to 350. Sift dry ingredients in bowl.
2. Mix oil, vinegar, vanilla, and water and mix into dry ingredients.
3. Stir until well-blended, about a minute. Immediately pour into greased and floured pan.
4. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes.

This recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker.

Brittany is a stay-at-home mom and wife to her best friend. She is an avid reader and lover of music. She enjoys cooking tasty and uncomplicated dishes (often with food storage items!) and is pleased to announce she has finally stored a two-week supply of water. The fact that she has yet to have a positive experience cooking dry beans, well, that's why she reads this blog.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gluten-Free Food Storage: Enchiladas

This is the third post of a special 4-week series about food storage with food allergies. Special thanks to our guest poster, Ali Kat! Be sure to check out her bio at the end of the post. Don't miss the rest of this series: Week 1, Week 2, and Week 4.

Enchiladas (Does not contain wheat, gluten, dairy, shellfish, soy, eggs, or nuts)

If you've ever been to St. George, Utah, then you've likely eaten enchiladas at a place called, Paula's. My dad grew up there and spent 20 years trying to de-code the secret recipe for those delicious enchiladas. After he finally cracked the recipe, he modified it and made it gluten-free. I have gone one step further and made it dairy-free as well. You might not know it, but a traditional enchilada is made with a corn tortilla, so gluten-freers can sometimes eat them relatively safely in authentic Mexican restaurants. Enjoy these super, fantastic enchiladas!

2 1/2 cups cold water
5 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 Tbsp. dairy-free vegetable spread (fake butter)
3/4 cups tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 lb. ground beef, turkey, or chicken (can be frozen for up to six months; tip- cooked meat stores better than raw meat)
3 Tbsp. onion flakes
1 lb. rice or soy cheese, shredded
1 can refried black beans
12 soft corn tortillas

Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly to avoid lumping. Add the dairy-free vegetable spread (fake-butter), tomato sauce, and spices. Mix thoroughly until everything is dissolved, then simmer.

Sauté the ground meat with the chopped onions. Add salt, pepper, and extra garlic powder to taste, if desired. Drain, and mix just enough sauce to keep moist.

In a large casserole dish, coat the bottom of the dish with sauce. Microwave tortillas wrapped in a paper towel for about 15 seconds to make pliable. Moisten one side of the tortilla with the sauce. Add beans, meat, cheese to the center, roll and place seam down in casserole dish. After dish has been filled, evenly coat remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

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 and occasional online stalker, go to her blog at: http://yeagleyspawn.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All About Rice!

Since we are gathering rice this month, let's talk about what it is and how it can benefit your food storage.

Did you know that raw rice may be ground into flour? Rice flour does not contain gluten and is suitable for people on a gluten-free diet. Rice may also be made into various types of noodles. Raw wild or brown rice may also be consumed by raw-foodist or fruitarians if soaked and sprouted (usually 1 week to 30 days).

Rice is a good source of protein and a staple food in many parts of the world, but it is not a complete protein: it does not contain all of the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts for good health, and should be combined with other sources of protein, such as nuts, seeds, beans or meat.

Now, let's talk about the two most commons types of rice: white and brown.

White rice is the name given to milled rice which has had its husk, bran, and germ removed. This is done largely to prevent spoilage and to extend the storage life of the grain. After milling, the rice is polished, resulting in a seed with a bright, white, shiny appearance. White rice is often enriched with some of the nutrients stripped from it during its processing. Enrichment of white rice with B1, B3, and iron is required by law in the United States.

Brown rice (or "hulled rice") is unmilled or partly milled rice, a kind of whole grain. It has a mild nutty flavor, is chewier than white rice and becomes rancid more quickly, but is far more nutritious. At various times starting in the 19th century many have advocated brown rice or wild rice as a healthier alternative. The bran in brown rice contains significant dietary fiber and the germ contains many vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, brown rice can remain in storage for only 6 months under normal conditions before it starts to go rancid. This makes it not a great option for longer term food storage.

I personally store only white rice, since it has a MUCH longer shelf life. I need to just be sure that whatever I serve it with (meat, veggies, etc) has the nutrition that I need.

The information and image from this article came from wikipedia.org.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday (Week 24)

It's Tuesday and we're going to work on our 72-hour kits, three-month supplies, and longer term storage.

This week for your 72-hour kits, put some small entertainment items in for yourself and/or your children. Coloring books, small games, a deck of cards... anything your family would enjoy. This will really help the time pass by more enjoyably, and it will be especially helpful for your children during an emergency situation. Hopefully you have some things around the house that you can just put into your kits today.

This week for my three-month supply, I added some canned fruit and some salt. Salt is very cheap and always nice to have on hand, and I found the canned fruit on sale so I stocked up a bit. I hope by now you are in the habit of stocking up on sales for your food storage. Just be sure you are stocking up on foods you already enjoy, and that are non-perishable.

How is your rice storage coming along this month for your longer-term storage? If your budget won't allow you to buy food for your three-month supply every week AND some rice this month, take a week off buying for your three-month supply and spend that money on rice. It's hard to buy it all, and that's why we're taking it slow.

Tomorrow I'm going to be writing a post all about rice - how to store it, what kinds to store, etc. Then, on Thursday we have another gluten-free food storage recipe, and on Friday is another general food storage recipe. We hope you enjoy!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Motivational Monday

“I should like to address a few remarks to those who ask, ‘Do I share with my neighbors who have not followed the counsel? And what about the nonmembers who do not have a year’s supply? Do we have to share with them?’ No, we don’t have to share—we get to share! Let us not be concerned about silly thoughts of whether we would share or not. Of course we would share! What would Jesus do? I could not possibly eat food and see my neighbors starving. And if you starve after sharing, ‘greater love hath no man than this …’ (John 15:13.)

Vaughn J. Featherstone, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Oct. 1976, 31–32

Friday, November 7, 2008

Food Storage Friday: Brown Sugar Muffins

Ah, muffins, the quintessential breakfast food! Okay, so maybe that's not the right usage of quintessential, but I really wanted to use quintessential this morning, and I was seeing no use for it around the house.

Ingredients: Brown sugar, shortening, vanilla, baking soda, powder milk and flour. My powder milk looks like its got this 'off-the-shoulder' thing going on...such a rebel.

First up, mix the brown sugar and shortening together

It's called 'creaming' and its purpose is to make air bubbles in the sugar. Or something.

Add the flour and the powdered milk

And baking soda and stir.

Add vanilla (I love recipes like these)

and water, and mix it all up.

Spoon into a muffin tin and bake!

The recipe makes a dozen, but by the time I got the camera out, there was only one left.

This is a "bare bones" recipe, meaning you can add whatever you like to it: raisins or craisins, any kind of nuts and so on. Have fun catering it to your family.

Brown Sugar Muffins

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup powder milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup water

Cream shortening and sugar together. Add flour, soda, powder milk and mix. Add vanilla and water and mix. Cook in a greased muffin tin for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gluten-Free Food Storage Recipe: Black Bean Soup and Cornbread

This is the second post of a special 4-week series about food storage with food allergies. Special thanks to our guest poster, Ali Kat! Be sure to check out her bio at the end of the post. Don't miss the rest of the series: Week 1, Week 3, and Week 4.

Black Bean Soup (Does not contain wheat, gluten, dairy, shellfish, soy, eggs, or nuts)

This black bean soup is both delicious and easy to prepare. It is a great way to get protein when meat is unavailable, and it is low fat and heart healthy. It's great for using non-perishable ingredients and will warm you from the inside.

1 cup of mild salsa (make sure there is no distilled vinegar or caramel coloring)
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth (beware of modified food starch)
1 can of diced green chilies, small
1/2 can corn
1/2 tsp. limejuice

Sprinkle of shredded non-dairy cheese (can be frozen for up to six months)
Heat the salsa in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often for about five minutes. Add the beans, broth, chilies, corn, and limejuice, and heat to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve and top with dairy-free cheese.
Great with cornbread or corn tortilla chips.

Cornbread (contains eggs and soy, substitute where appropriate)

3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cup soymilk
1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum, heaping
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten (you can use egg substitution)
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Stir cornmeal into the soymilk and let stand for five minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients. Add cornmeal and soymilk mixture, egg, and oil. Do not over mix. Pour batter into a greased 9x9 pan and bake at 400 F for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

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 and occasional online stalker, go to her blog at: http://yeagleyspawn.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A food storage / emergency preparedness wish list

In past years, whenever my husband/parents/in-laws asked me what I wanted for Christmas/birthday/anniversary, my mind went blank. Well, this year I know exactly what I'm asking for - food storage and emergency preparedness items!

We have compiled a Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness "Wish List". These are things that you may want to consider purchasing for yourself (or spouse, parents, children) this year, or you can mention these items when someone asks what you want!

We've broken down the items by price, but of course many items range in prices, so some things may be listed under two prices. If you aren't sure what some of these items are, just Google them and they're pretty explanatory. Or, feel free to email us (safelygatheredin (at) gmail.com) and we'll give you more information about a certain product, along with some recommendations.

*Note: these prices are based on quick online research. Shopping around or buying used will help you find the best deal on any of these items.

Under $20
Small first aid kits
Flashlights for the whole family
Jumper cables
Fuel for your camp stoves or grills
water storage containers
spices and herbs
seeds for the garden
bottles/jars for canning

$20 - 50
Water purifiers
good-quality sleeping bag
jumper cables
Dutch oven
Solar-powered radio (or solar radio/flashlight combo)
Wheat grinder (very small, hand cranked - useful if you lose electricity!)

Ready-made 72-hour kits
Wheat grinder (small - hand cranked or automatics)
Pressure cooker (small)
55-gallon drum for water storage

Rotating shelf systems (small)
Wheat grinder (small electric)
Good quality electric or hand-crank wheat grinder
Pressure cooker (large)

Rotating shelf systems (small to large)
Good quality electric wheat grinder
Pressure cooker (huge)
Good quality, large solar oven

Generators (for information on these, read a Popular Mechanics article here)

You could also just ask for some actual food storage - #10 cans of wheat, rice, beans, oats, powdered milk, etc.... YUM!

Anything else you can think of??

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Tuesday (Week #23)

We hope everyone had a great Halloween! Hopefully you all have a great stash of candy in your food storage now...

First, some exciting news! In the past, it's always been a little difficult to view our recipes (in our opinions). So, we've made it easy to search for our recipes alphabetically or by main ingredient (beans, oats, wheat, rice, pasta, canned meats). The link for this database is on the righthand side of our blog, near the top. We hope you find it helpful! We'll be updating the database every time a new recipe is added to our blog, so we hope you check back often.

This week for your 72-hour kits, add some blankets and/or sleeping bags. Hopefully you already have these items. If not, consider buying sleeping bags for your family for Christmas!

Obviously, sleeping bags will not always fit in your backpacks, so you may need to get creative. I added these items to my "grab and go" list on top of my kits (this list tells me what to grab besides my kit: shovel, ax, etc.... all the big things that are stored in other places in my home/garage).

How is your 3-month supply coming along? I've been buying a few more dessert mixes lately, because I know those would be much appreciated in times of emergency. I also bought a HUGE bag of baking soda at WalMart. Baking soda is SO versatile! It can be used in baking (!!), cleaning, brushing teeth, bee sting relief, putting out grease fires (important to me, from experience), etc. I just make sure that every time I walk into a grocery store, I come out with SOMETHING for my food storage. Form the habit!

This month for our longer-term storage, we're gathering rice again! Rice is so delicious and so versatile, and it really stretches far. Try to figure out how much rice you want for your family for one year, and get as much as possible this month. It's ok if you don't get it all at once - we'll be gathering rice again in a few months.

Tomorrow on our blog, we will be posting a "Food Storage / Emergency Preparedness Christmas Wish List". We will be listing many food storage/emergency prep items that you may want to consider giving as gifts (or asking for!) this Christmas season.

On Thursday, we'll be sharing our first gluten-free food storage recipe from guest poster Ali-Kat, and Friday will be our regular Food Storage Friday! It's going to be a great week so stay tuned!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Inspirational Thought

"Acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life. . . . As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year's supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness."

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
"If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 36

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Weekend Roundup--Q and A #3

Each Saturday we will post some questions that readers have asked with some (hopefully) good answers. Please be patient as we try to answer all your questions and still be able to shower once or twice a week. More questions? Email us!

Previous Question and Answer Posts:
Question and Answer #1
Question and Answer #2

Other Informative Posts:
All About Oats
All About Beans
Let's Talk About Wheat

Do you know how to safely store charcoal?
After some discussion with several people, we decided that probably the best way to store charcoal is to vacuum seal it in groups of 9-10 charcoals (or however many you normally use, if you use it regularly). This way, it's safe from water and other elements that would break it down. Personally, I plan on vacuum sealing my charcoal in groups of 9 and 10 (this would give me 360 or 400 degrees in my cardboard box oven). I will store all these charcoal pouches in a 5 gallon bucket for extra protection and organization.
No matter how you store your charcoal, keep it separate from your food and away from the heat.

Can you use dehydrated onions in recipes in the same way that you would use fresh or frozen onion? Or is there a way to reconstitute them?
Barbara G. Salsbury wrote a little gem about dehydrated foods called: "Just Add Water" that I borrowed from a lady I visit teach. It's in a workbook type format with a plastic binding which I find quite charming. But looking on amazon, looks like you can buy a new edition like this. This quote is directly from her book regarding the use of onions:

"Rinse. Cover with water (1/2 c. onions to 1-1/2 c. water) and allow to stand 10-15 minutes. Onions will expand to about 1 full cup. If onions are to be used in skillet dish or cooked, just add dry onion to mixture."

Have you ever made/thought about using canned pears, peaches, or other canned fruit in the Baked Oatmeal? Do you think it could be done?
I think that because the baked oatmeal cooks for quite a while, the canned fruit would go mushy in the process. But you could add the canned fruit to individual bowls right before serving and I bet it would be delicious.

I copied out the recipe for breakfast tomorrow and I noticed the cinnamon in the second picture and caption, but the recipe itself doesn't include cinnamon. HELP!! How much cinnamon should I put (or have put) in?
Wow, how incredibly embarrassing that I left that out. Not that I'm surprised. It should be 1 tsp. of cinnamon. I've updated the recipe here. Thanks for the heads up!

How about setting the baked oatmeal in your crockpot before bed to awaken to breakfast ready to go?
I've never tried it and I'm guessing you would have to make some liquid adjustments to get it to work. But here is a recipe for Crockpot Oatmeal.

I've heard some websites say to store beef jerky in 72-hour kits, and others say not to. Why the difference?
My personal guess why folks say not to store beef jerky in your kits is because it's so salty and could increase your water consumption. But on the other hand, beef jerky is packed full of calories and protein and is light and easy to carry in your pack.

I have beef jerky in my packs. I also have lots of suckers and hard candy that I could suck on in place of water. My opinion. Plus Mountain Man LOVES jerky.

I always wondered what the steel cut oats were because I've never been able to find them. It seems my grocery stores only have regular and instant. Where do you get them from?
We got this answer from another reader: Many grocery stores sell steel cut oats in the health section, with the pasta and the gluten-free foods. You can also find them at health food stores. A small bag from either place runs about $2.50-$2.69.

Abs: My mother-in-law gets hers from here.

We only eat steel-cut oats these days, but you have me thinking... I wonder if rolled-oats would be a good thing to add to my eating/storage plan. Do they last longer? They are probably cheaper?
I couldn't find anything on the shelf life, so I'm guessing that it will be about the same. But I would encourage you to try the rolled oats just because they cook a little bit quicker and would use less fuel if you were in that type of a situation. But above all else: store what you eat!

I did a quick price comparison. A 70 oz can (4.37 lbs) of rolled oats sells at Honeyville Grain for $9.99 and a 2.7 lb can of regular rolled oats at the LDS cannery sells for $2.20, so yes, rolled oats are less expensive unless you can find a better source for steel-cut oats.

I was reading your post about bread and wondered if you had considered how you would bake bread if the power/gas was out? I would love tips on that....Our stake president's wife let us know about an oven that runs on a small bottle of propane for 4 hours, but it was pretty pricey $150 or so... Any tips?
Bake it in a cardboard box oven! You can make one of these now and store it with your food storage, so it will be ready to go when you need it!

Using dutch ovens is another option. We hope to do some dutch oven tutorials in a little bit. So stay tuned for those.

So how do you budget for food?
We would need another blog and a few hours to explain this one. Check out some frugal living blogs like MoneySavingMom for great budgeting ideas.

Has anyone tried the Cool Couscous with Fruit recipe using that fruit drink mix that can be purchased through the LDS cannery, in place of the frozen concentrate orange juice?
I haven't tried it, but I bet it would be great. The orange juice is there just to give the couscous a fruity flavor. I think that even using just water would be fine too.