Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions for Food Storage and Emergency Prep... and a GIVEAWAY!!

*******Update: the giveaway is closed... thanks for all your great comments! Good luck with your 2009 goals!***********

Do you make New Year's resolutions?

We do! And even if you don't normally make a list, consider writing down some food storage and emergency preparation goals for 2009. Writing down your goals may help them feel more achievable. I'm going to tape mine to the refrigerator so I don't forget, and also so that my husband can know what they are and ask me from time to time how I'm doing with them. I need all the motivation I can get sometimes!

Abs and I have very similar goals this year. We both want to finish getting a 2-week supply of water, get our 3-months supplies COMPLETELY done, and have a full inventory of our longer-term storage. I would also like to have more powdered milk and sugar in my longer-term storage by the end of the year (if I was really on top of things, I'd set an amount I need to have, but hopefully I will have time this January to sit down and figure that out). And finally, I really want to have our 72-hour kits completely finished and ready to go in any situation.

We want to hear YOUR food storage and emergency prep goals for 2009. Leave us a comment on this post, telling us one or two things you want to accomplish. One person will win a small first aid kit, which is perfect for your car kit or 72-hour kit! We will use Random.org to choose the winner.

One entry per person, please. This giveaway will close Friday night at midnight (EST).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Ok, it's finally time to get back to work!

This week for your 72-hour kits, put together a small sewing kit. You should have a few needles, some thread, buttons, safety pins of varying sizes, straight pins, scissors, measuring tape, thimble, and a pencil (a fabric pencil would be great, or a lead one is fine). You can store all of these things in a small plastic baggie, or a little cloth bag if you have one. One sewing kit per family should be fine, but consider the number of people you have as you add the buttons and safety pins.

I don't know about you, but we got LOTS of candy for Christmas. I'm putting a lot of it away in my 3-month supply. I know candy doesn't stay good as long as most non-perishables, but it will be nice to have the candy on hand for little special treats for my daughter, or other occasions. You may be able to find lots of holiday food on sale this week, so be sure to stock up if it's non-perishable, and if it's within your budget. Just add something to your supply.

It's the last week to gather your "other" items for your longer-term storage. Hopefully you've been able to gather powdered milk. white flour, sugar, honey, or whatever it is you wanted to stock up on. In January we'll start gathering a new food item.

We have a great week ahead! We're going to say goodbye to 2008 and start the new year right with a GIVEAWAY which begins tomorrow, so stay tuned. On Thursday we have a special "best of" post, and we'll also be sharing some of the pictures you sent of YOUR food storage / emergency prep progress! On Friday we have another delicious food storage recipe using non-perishables only, and Saturday we'll give you a roundup of our favorite articles from the week.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Motivational Monday

"This is the beginning of a new year, and each of us might well say to himself, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Let me begin now to prepare for eternal life, that I may know a fullness of joy and happiness now and forever.” After all, this is really what each of us wants, and it is most important that we take time to find out how to get it and begin now to work at it day by day.

To accomplish this we must study and learn and increase our knowledge and understanding of the gospel. Then by application of our learning day by day and every day we will have an increase of faith and testimony that is so necessary for our own salvation, as well as for our influence on the lives of those we love, those with whom we want to share our happiness and blessings.

Remember always that the gospel is designed to teach us how to conduct ourselves for the benefit of our spiritual and temporal affairs. It is not enough to attend Church meetings, partake of the sacrament, participate in religious discussions, and then turn a deaf ear to the needs of our families, our neighbors or our communities, or be dishonest or unscrupulous in our dealings with them.

Neither is it enough to be a good, solid citizen, contributing to charities, serving on community boards, and in general living a good Christian life. Although commendable, this is not sufficient to entitle one to the fulness of joy and the eternal life that our Father in heaven has promised to those who love him and keep his commandments.

We recall the scriptural account of one who came to the Savior and said:

“Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

“And he said unto him, … if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matt. 19:16–17.)"

N. Eldon Tanner, “Just for Today,” New Era, Jan 1975, 4

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We won't be assigning anything to gather this week, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to buy a few extra cans of food to put in your food storage.

Need any last-minute gift ideas? Check out our Food Storage/Emergency Prep gift guide that we published back in early November.

We won't be posting the rest of this week. We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday.

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Inspirational Thought

No matter how small the home, members find space for food storage. In Carmen Merisalde’s home in Bogotá, the telephone table covered by a lovely floor-length cloth is really a barrel filled with bags of dry-packed food.

Members are encouraged to save a little bit—even just a handful—of rice or other basic foods every time they prepare a meal. That way, even when money is scarce, they are storing little by little. When they have collected enough, they dry pack it for storage. The stake owns a dry-pack machine that rotates from ward to ward so everyone has a chance to use it. “You should see the tears in the eyes of many as they dry pack the first bag of rice they have collected handful by handful,” says President Saavedra.

Sharing with others. Some of the food in Ivonne Palacio’s kitchen cupboards in Bogotá will never appear on her table. It is reserved for others. The Area Presidency encourages members to store food to share in cases of emergency. “We call it ‘the Lord’s storehouse in the homes of the members,’ ” says Elder Costa. “The bishop asks families to always have on hand a certain amount of rice or other basic food items that they can donate. Then when he asks for it for a needy family, they donate it and buy more to replace it.”

This method has several benefits. “First, it encourages members to have their own food storage,” says Elder Costa. “Second, we are taking care of emergencies quickly. Third, we can save fast-offering funds for situations in which cash is needed, such as for medicine or rent. Although the Kénnedy stake is one of the poorest economically, almost all families have some food storage—and many have some to share. And the stake is self-reliant in fast-offering funds.”

“We are not storing just food and water, we’re also storing blessings!” says Sister Palacio. “Heavenly Father is teaching us to have the pure love of Christ.”

Liahona, 2005, March The Saints of Colombia: An Example of Strength

By Marvin K. Gardner
Church Magazines

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weekend Roundup: Holiday Gifts and No Electricity

Hope you enjoyed our Holiday gift series using food storage. I, personally, am making mini loaves of whole wheat bread to give away with strawberry freezer jam that I froze in baby food jars. I figure that after all the sweets people have received they might like some good healthful bread.

Just one more tip: Try making some Homemade marshmallows from Little Birdie Secrets to give away with your homemade cocoa mix, it'll be a hit!

Not Just For Storing has a great article about reusing containers for food storage. Check it out here.

Here's an entertainment book for kids from Self Reliant Sisters that would be great to stick in your 72hr kit with some crayons/pencils if you have children.

Totally Ready
had an interesting idea to turn off the electricity for a day and see what you really need to do to be prepared for an emergency where you wouldn't have any power. Could make for a fun, family-bonding experience...or something, but better to experience it when you actually have a choice.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Food Storage Friday: English Muffins

Do you ever see a recipe and decide to make it right then? That's what happened when I saw an english muffin recipe at The Happy Housewife. I love english muffins and started them mere seconds after reading the recipe. They were delicious, so naturally I thought that I ought to see if I could make them food storage friendly. So I did, and here they are.

And just because they are made with only non perishables, didn't stop me from slathering the freshly baked ones with loads butter.

Ingredients: Flour, powdered milk, water, honey, oil, salt, yeast and cornmeal. When 70% of the food is in nontraditional packaging, you know it's food storage.

Start off by adding your powdered milk to a mixing bowl. When you reconstitute powdered milk you add 1/3 cup of powdered milk to 8 oz or one cup of water. Perfect measurements right? Well, when you only need 1/2 cup of milk you can still do 1/2 cup of water but you have to eyeball the powdered milk because, unfortunately for me, I don't have a 1/6 measuring cup. Oh, how I wished I did if only for the sake of food storage.

Add the water to reconstitute the milk, as well as the water called for in the recipe.

Add the salt

and the honey and mix together.

Now add half the flour

and the yeast

and mix again until it looks like pancake batter. I did this all by hand by the way.

See? Pancake batter.

Now cover and let rise for one hour.

When you come back, the dough should look like this, all bubbly and hopefully bigger.

Now add the oil, I used canola oil.

And the rest of the flour. The first time I made these, I used half white flour and half whole wheat, and they were delicious. This time I used all white flour, and they were still delicious. It's a win-win situation.

Mix together, if you aren't using a mixer, you may have to get your hands dirty a little bit to combine the dough.

Sprinkle a clean surface with cornmeal

And roll out the dough

Dip a cup or cookie cutter into flour to keep it from sticking to the dough

Princesses are very big at our house and coincidentally are perfect size for making english muffins.

Cut out the english muffins, and when you've cut out as many as you can out of one rolling, gather up the leftover dough and roll out again to cut out more muffins.

And place them on a sheet of wax paper. Place them cornmeal side down (not like I did) and then they won't stick to the wax paper.

I can't remember from making these how many the recipe turns out, but it looks like from this picture there are 18.

Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rise for another hour.

They should look like this, nice and puffy.

Heat a griddle over medium high heat and drizzle with a little oil to make a nonstick surface.

Grill your english muffins on each side. You'll have to watch your first batch carefully to determine what your optimum cooking time is. You want them to be browned on each side and it's okay to taste test one to make sure its done in the middle.

Hello, beautiful. You can actually pull this apart with your hands, just like the store bought ones, no knife necessary.

Eat straight off the griddle, or toast to have with your breakfast in the morning. They are delicious any way you try them!

English Muffins
adapted from The Happy Housewife

1 cup hot water
1/2 cup prepared powdered milk or 1/2 cup water and half of 1/3 cup powdered milk
2 tsp honey
2 tsp salt
4 cups flour (you can use 1/2 white 1/2 whole wheat)
2 tsp instant yeast
2 Tbsp oil

Add water, powdered milk (and water for powdered milk), honey and salt to a mixing bowl. Combine. Add 2 cups of flour and yeast and stir until combined. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for one hour. Add remaining 2 cups of flour and oil and stir until well combined. Roll out onto a cornmeal covered surface and using a cookie cutter or cup, cut out round shapes. Let cut muffins rise, covered, for another hour. Heat a griddle to medium high heat and grease with a little oil. Grill muffins on both sides until lightly brown and cooked in the middle. Eat!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Gift Series: Hot Cocoa Mix

This year I have pared down my Christmas baking but wanted to make something I could prepare without eating it all myself first. I also had a large opened box of powdered milk that I needed to use quickly, so I decided to whip out my mother's fabulous hot cocoa mix recipe. What better way to use that powdered milk you have stored up and give a Christmas gift at the same time?!!

Ingredients: instant nonfat dry milk, non-dairy coffee creamer, powdered sugar, instant chocolate drink mix (Quik or other brand).

For those who have never purchased it before--like me--coffee creamer comes in many different varieties. I'd be interested in hearing how the mint flavor would turn out in the hot cocoa mix . . . Mmm.

Take one 25.6 oz box of powdered milk (which, after considerable mental effort, I determined translates into approximately 10 2/3 cups) and pour into a large bowl. Add 1 3/4 cups coffee creamer, 2 cups powdered sugar, and 2 1/2 c. chocolate drink mix. Combine well.

Add 1/3 cup of mix to 8 oz. hot water. The result is rich, milky, and scrumptious hot cocoa.

If you can part with the mix and give it away, be sure to include preparation instructions. Merry Christmas!

Hot Cocoa Mix

1 (25.6 oz) box instant nonfat dry milk
1 3/4 c. non-dairy coffee creamer
2 c. powdered sugar
2 1/2 c. instant chocolate drink mix

Combine all ingredients. Store in airtight container. 1/3 c. mix to 1 c. hot water per serving.

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.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Frugal Food Storage - Fifteen Years Later

Last week, our inspirational thought was an exerpt from the January 1993 Ensign. It was a story written by Colleen Hansen. Colleen has graciously agreed to write a follow-up article on her food storage progress. Thanks, Colleen!

Years ago when still in college (and completely broke), my husband and I began setting aside a few cans and boxes each week after bringing home the groceries. If it was an “extra,” and we could do without it until the next grocery shopping trip, we added it to our growing pile of food storage. To our surprise, our food storage “savings account” became much like a savings account at the bank. Although we started out small, it became an inspiring challenge to see how much we could make it grow each time we came home from the grocery store.

This basic method has worked so well for us that we still continue to use it many years later, with one refinement: now, we actually treat our food storage like a savings account. In order to rotate our storage and minimize waste, each grocery day, we “withdraw” food staples such as dry and canned goods from the storage area and put them into our kitchen cupboards. Then we “deposit” the recently-purchased food back into the storage area, always trying to deposit more than we withdraw. (My husband calls this “going shopping in the basement,” and he has more fun on shopping days than I do!)

Through using this savings method, we have been able to gradually but steadily increase our food storage so that currently, we have enough food on hand to sustain us for a year. In addition to the obvious, I think this method has several benefits:

1. It allows for any income, large or small. No matter what our economic circumstances, we have learned that we can always save something. As better employment opportunities and income increases, the “savings” can be increased accordingly. On the other hand, if income has been altered negatively, the “savings” may temporarily be less, as well. The important thing is to keep saving whenever possible.

2. It provides the opportunity to develop the consistent habit of thinking about and planning for food storage. Now it is simply ingrained in me to keep an eye out for bargains and sales, and grab a few of the items to add to our storage. When I arrive home, it is routine to automatically set aside food and other goods to go into our storage stockpile. We don’t miss it, and it isn’t a sacrifice to save food.

3. It permitted our children to become more involved in the food storage principle. Over the years, they enjoyed helping to choose which foods went into food storage, and which ones stayed in the cupboard. Sometimes I used simple tracking charts, and the children liked to mark off what was used and what was replaced.

4. It offered positive emotional motivation. Instead of feeling overwhelmed at the idea of planning and paying for a year’s supply of food and essentials on a smaller budget, I am consistently uplifted and encouraged. Watching an asset such as food storage grow can motivate us to continue until we have completed our goals. In addition, the peace of mind which comes from feeling that we are better prepared to meet temporal challenges is priceless. Knowing that our family will not need to go hungry is often more than enough incentive to keep me looking forward to keeping my home storage well-stocked.

I have found that by making home storage a priority, we have received additional opportunities to add to our food storage. These occasions have included unexpected food sales, access to unique, low-cost sources not generally made public, offers of free extra fruit and vegetables from friends and neighbors for home canning, etc. I believe that when we are making any effort to follow the Lord’s counsel to become better prepared through home storage, no matter how small, then He blesses us, and often in more ways than one. In other words, when we try, He provides. In this way, we can all succeed at “safely gathering in” what we need to take care of our families.

Copyright 2008 by Colleen Hansen

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Every Tuesday, we talk about what to add to our 72-hour kits, 3-month supply, and longer term storage.

It's another catch-up week for the 72-hour kits, so check out the list on the left side of the blog to see what you're missing. And let me stress this point: if you are new to our blog and haven't started this project, don't worry! You don't have to go out and buy everything to catch up (unless you want to, of course!). As soon as we're done with the 72-hour kits (in just a few weeks), we'll be making an emergency car kit step-by-step. Then, once those are done, we'll start putting together 72-hour kits again. And we'll just keep cycling through those so that everyone has a chance to get everything done.

I don't know about you, but for my three-month supply, I'm picking up the ingredients for fudge this week!! Oh, and the ingredients for chocolate cereal snack mix. Don't underestimate the importance of storing desserts. Can you imagine going three months without them? Maybe some of you can, but I know I can't. However, buy what you can this week. Just a can or two here and there goes a long way.

What are you gathering for your longer-term storage? It's a "freebie" month, so gather whatever you want. I've been able to store a few cans of powdered milk, and I even canned up some hot cocoa mix. Yum!

Don't forget that we are asking for your pictures!!! We've gotten a few already, but we'd like to get LOTS of pictures!! If you are unsure what I am talking about, let me explain. The week after Christmas, we'd like to showcase your progress on your food storage and emergency preparedness. Please email us pictures of whatever you'd like to show off! Maybe it's your 72-hour kits, your car kits, your pantry, etc. Show us!! Please email the pictures to safelygatheredin (at) gmail (dot) com. Don't be embarrassed if your kits aren't done or your shelves aren't full. We want to see what you've done so far!

Tomorrow we're having a very special guest post. Remember last week's Motivational Monday, about the woman whose husband showed her that having food in the pantry meant that they had frugal food storage? That story was published about 16 years ago in the Ensign magazine. Well, Colleen Hansen (the author of the article) has graciously written a follow-up article about food storage, just for us (well, just for YOU, our readers!). We are very excited about it!

On Thursday we have another food storage gift idea, and Friday we'll teach you another food storage recipe, non-perishables only. It's an exciting week, so stay tuned!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Motivational Monday

The true nature of people becomes obvious in times of real need. Good people become better; they get close to one another; they learn to share and become united. The strength that develops out of unity of the many good people becomes a real survival factor. On the other hand, people who lack emotional stability become cruel and ruthless under trying circumstances; however, they do not seem to become an overbearing threat because of the closeness and unity of the majority of the people. Therefore, strangely enough, those who have survived hardships look back with fond memories to the awful period of pain and destruction because they recall the closeness that developed as they united themselves to survive by sharing whatever they had.

How blessed we are to be taught in these times of plenty that we might prepare for times of need without undue haste. Even more wonderful is the realization that we can prepare ourselves without fear because we know that God lives, that He knows and loves each one of us, and that He is giving us direction in these latter days through a living prophet.

God loves us so much that He allows us to come to Him at any time with our personal requests for help and direction—that our eyes will be opened and we will learn to live with wisdom and patience in times of austerity, that we might learn by the Lord’s influence to identify our real needs.

What a comfort it is to read His revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” (D&C 38:30.)

The Lord wants us to be prepared.

Ensign 1982 June
How Beautiful to Live in These Times and Be Prepared!

By Elder F. Enzio Busche
Of the First Quorum of the Seventy

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weekend Roundup and Q & A #6 (Be sure to read to the end... we have a request!!!)

The Pantry Panel wrote about surviving a minor illness. We have Sprite, Gatorade and soda crackers in our food storage just for when we get sick. Having food that your kids are familiar with and can prepare for you if they are old enough is a great idea too. Maybe having some favorite recipes in an easy to find location would be a great idea.

Preparedness Matters has a link from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) with a
Family Health Emergency Information Form that would be great to stick in your 72 hour kit.

I am always happy when my two interests collide. What about making a
recipe holder courtesy of Anna Maria Horner, and filling it with food storage recipes as a holiday gift?

For an interesting discussion of bottled butter please see:
iPrepared and Preparedness Brings Peace

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
Question and Answer #5

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

My question is how to can beef. Is it raw packed like chicken? I prefer not to have everything cooked before and during canning.

Neither Hannah nor I have ever canned meat; I don't know that I ever will, raw meat has never been high on my priority list. We turned to an expert to answer some questions about raw meat canning. Introducing Mountain Man's uncle, a food science professor at a major university. Dr. Uncle (as we'll call him here), actually researches the safety issues surrounding food storage. We posed this question to him, and he wrote back:

Most foods can be “canned” if done properly. I would refer you to the following websites for info on canning of poultry and meat. It is put out by United States Department of Agriculture and put on the web by USU and well studied. You just need to be sure all the ins and outs of pressure canning are understood. When people mix up or don’t understand the need for pressure canning versus hot water bath canning, results can be deadly. The USDA guide is a good reference that we refer people to all the time, then they (USDA) can take the heat for botched canning by consumers (double pun heat and botch (botchulism). You didn’t know I was that clever did you?

The websites I would recommend are Preparing and Canning Poultry, Red Meats and Seafoods (this is a pdf) for meat processing. We do venison all the time at home. Then if you go back one step to Food Preservation you can find all kinds of researched methods for canning. Other Universities will put similar info on their extension websites (Other land grant Universities) OR contact your local extension agent for local info.

So my advice is this, if you are interested in canning meat, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. You don't want to spend a lot of time canning something that will just end up killing your kids.

Can I store my flour and sugar in the packages they come in? I'll have to find out if our stake has a canner, but I doubt it does. I'm not sure how to store it if I can't can it.

We've talked about this here. Basically to reiterate, it depends on how long you are planning on storing the food. If it is for your 3-Month supply and you will be using it within a year or so, you can store it in the same package. According to this chart, opened flour will store for 6-8 months, and store unopened for a year. If it is part of your longer-term storage and you are planning to keep it around for longer than one year, I would recommend canning it either in cans/foil pouches or in 5 gallon, food grade buckets. Sugar lasts indefinitely, but keep in mind that if you live in an area where pests are a problem you might want to stick your package into a 5 gallon bucket just to keep little critters out. Rotten little monsters...

I never thought about buying honey. We don't really use it all that often. Would it be a good idea to buy it in small bottles since we don't use it a lot? Does it stay good for a long time after opening it?

Store what you eat! If you want to try honey out I would recommend starting with small containers. Make sure that you have another sweetener stored that you like to eat and use regularly. A little sugar or honey can make oatmeal and wheat a lot more palatable. According to this chart, honey can be stored open or unopened for a year.

I want to start storing wheat grain and need to buy a grinder so I can make bread. Do you have a recommendation on which grinder to purchase? There is so much out there I don't know where to start. I want to get a good machine that will last a long time and am willing to pay more for quality. I am looking for electric.

I can only recommend the grinder that I have which is a Grain Master by Whisper Mill. It belonged to my grandmother before she died, but I'm not sure how much she used it. I wasn't really into wheat grinding as a teenager. Anyway, point being, I got it 5 years ago and my grandmother had it for a while before that, and it still works great.

I found an article here comparing wheat grinders, but like I said, the only one I can recommend is my own. Speaking of grinders, I really hope I get a hand grinder for Christmas. If my electricity went out for a long time, I'd be in a load of trouble.

We live in a TINY condo (less than 1,000 square feet, no garage). We are busting at the seams, with only two closets in our entire house. I would love creative ideas on where to store food and water in tiny spaces. Also, I've seen them before but where could I get a hold of a list of recommended amounts for long term storage, ie how much rice, oats, wheat, etc. for two people?

There are food calculators all over, but the one I use is here at www.lds.org, you just type in how many people and how many months you are planning for and it will pull up a list what you need to store.

We talk a little about where we store our food here, here and at the bottom of this post here. I buy the foil pouches so I can slide them under my beds, we have really low beds in our home. I can't help it, I love low beds but they're no good for food storage. I liked Hannah's idea of pulling the couch forward from the wall 6-8 inches and stacking food storage behind it. Another idea would be to store in 5-gallon buckets, then paint the buckets and make a cushion for the top--then use them as stools.

Let's hear from some of our readers, where are some of the creative places you store your food storage?

Readers, we want your help!! We would LOVE to see your progress with food storage and emergency preparedness. The week between Christmas and New Year's, we would love to post YOUR success pictures. We want to see car kits, 72-hour kits, 3-month supplies, or longer-term storage. We'd love to see where you store your food! If you have a picture (or two!) to share with us, please email it to us at safelygatheredin (at) gmail (dot) com. Of course, your shelves don't have to be FULL and your kits don't need to be COMPLETE... we just want to see your progress so far!! This is your time to show off what you've done, so let's see it!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Food Storage Friday: Ravioli Soup

For many of us, storing cans of soup is an easy way contribute to our three-month supply, not to mention to use as a fall-back on a lazy or stressful evening for dinner. However, sometimes dumping a can of condensed soup into a pot just doesn't cut it. So why not dump in several different kinds of soups to create a meal with a bit more pizazz?

I'd like to introduce you to ravioli soup, which is so ridiculously easy I feel silly showing you all these pictures. However, I love step-by-step recipes, so please read on.

Ingredients: 1 can of beef consomme, 1 can of chick peas (also known as garbanzo beans or ceci beans), 2 small cans of beef ravioli or 1 large can, 1 can chunky beef/vegetable soup.

If you're rotating, adding some sauteed kielbasa (I used about 1/4 lb) makes the soup more hearty. You can also saute some 1/2 head of cabbage, but we have some non-cabbage lovers around here, so I declined.

These are chick peas, also known as garbanzo beans or ceci beans (or a variety of other names). For those unfamiliar with chick peas, they're a legume with a nutty flavor and are full of protein. Often used in Mediterranean or Indian dishes, they can be eaten cold in salads, warm in soups, in hummus, or even ground into flour. My three-year-old enjoyed eating them plain with her lunch yesterday.

For purposes of this recipe, I only used half a can, but again, I guess we're chick pea wimps around here. Drain and rinse the beans.

Just pour all the ingredients--soups, chick peas, and kielbasa if rotating--into a saucepan (I should have used a bigger saucepan--I guess I need to ask Santa for one) and warm.

This is a wonderful recipe for a cold fall day, and it provides a nice variation on the traditional canned soup meal. Enjoy with some homemade, food storage biscuits made with homemade Bisquick. But that's a recipe for another day.

Ravioli Soup

1 can chick peas, drained
1 can beef consomme
1 large can ravioli (or 2 small)
1 can chunky beef and vegetable soup
1/4 lb. kielbasa, cut and sauteed (optional)
1/2 head cabbage, sauteed with kielbasa (optional)

1. Dump all ingredients into a saucepan and heat.
2. Serve yourself a bowl and enjoy!

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, December 11, 2008

Holiday Gift Series: Fudge

My mother-in-law has a secret fudge recipe that is simply amazing. I’m drooling over the keyboard just thinking about it. It contains about a pound of butter and could quite possibly kill you if consumed in mass quantities.

This is not that fudge. But, for food storage, it's pretty darn good.

Ingredients: Sweetened condensed milk, semi-sweet chocolate chips, vanilla and unsweetened baking chocolate.

Find a pan to hold your fudge and grease the bottom and sides with shortening. I would have used my 8x8 pan if it hadn’t broken last week. I’m a clutz so Pyrex doesn’t last long around here.

No matter what your feelings for shortening, you ought to keep a tub just for greasing purposes. It is certainly less expensive than cooking spray.

When my college roommate, Squirtney (she’ll be thrilled with the nickname), would make fudge and she would line her pan with foil. When the fudge had set up, she just dumped it upside down and peeled off the foil. That works too.

When your pan is greased, or lined, add your sweetened condensed milk to a saucepan over low heat.

Add your chocolate chips.

Add your baking chocolate. The baking chocolate is optional. It makes for more chocolatey fudge—obviously. (You know, those who state the obvious are seldom wrong.) Anyway, if you crave darker chocolate fudge, go ahead and add a square of baking chocolate.

Stir it constantly over low-medium heat so the chocolate can melt.

When you make this, go ahead and chop up your baking chocolate a little before you dump it in. Then, you won’t be waiting for the one square of chocolate to melt, like me.

When it is melted and all smooth, take it off the heat.

Quickly add the vanilla and nuts, if you want, and stir until well combined.

Pour into your prepared dish and refrigerate for a couple of hours until it’s set.

When the fudge has chilled and you’ve sampled it, of course, cut it up.

I like to cut it into large squares and wrap them in saran wrap. I used to cut fudge into small pieces, but I could never get them uniform and it bothered me. I too, have OCD tendencies. Especially when it comes to fudge.

Try using this tutorial to make a paper box out of cardstock and deliver to your neighbors and friends with the fudge inside.

Save some for you!

(From Betty Crocker)

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 bag semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
1 oz (1 square) unsweetened baking chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Grease bottom and sides of 8x8 pan (or smaller) with shortening or line with aluminum foil. Heat milk and chocolate in saucepan over low-medium heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and nuts if using. Refrigerate about 1.5-2 hours until firm.