5 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me 5 Years Ago

We’ve been doing this blog for almost 5 years. The other day I was doing a big Food Storage room clean-up and reorganization. It made me somewhat nostalgic. This week I have pondered a lot where I started, where I am, and where I’d like to go. While cleaning the room I realized there were some things I wish I would have known when I started this all. Today I figured I would share them with you. Maybe they might help YOU out a little.

FSLEARNED

1. Don’t buy things you don’t eat
So when I first started building my food storage, I got really into couponing. It was a great way to buy things for great prices and build up a food storage. I would buy things I didn’t necessarily eat because they were such good prices. I thought to myself, in a real emergency I would probably eat that stuff. I didn’t buy a lot of it, and it was the kinds of foods you could open and eat right out of a can, so I thought I was being practical at the time. Well, those things are STILL sitting in my room 5 years later … and I need to figure out what to do with it all.

2. Despite your best intentions you won’t remember when you bought stuff
Back when I was a little girl, my favorite job was when I had to go down to the food storage room and write the date on each can of food. I pretended I was a cashier at a grocery store, and would pull each can through, one by one, putting the dates on them. Well nowadays a lot of foods come with expiration dates, but not all of them. So I haven’t been diligent in marking when I bought my foods, and they get mixed up on shelves. Looks like my 5 year old is about to be recruited to the family cashier job next time I do a big shop.

3. Don’t trust your kids to tell you when they take things out of your food storage
When we started the blog, I only had 1 little toddler who never went into the food storage room. Now I have a few boys who raid it regularly. I keep sending them downstairs to get me things when I’m cooking. What I’m learning is that they also go down there and help themselves as well. Between sending them down all the time, and them raiding the room, I don’t keep as good of track. I’m working on a solution for this one.

4. Your diet may change or evolve
This one is tricky! Since starting my food storage, I have switched to pretty much all whole grain everything. I also refrain from most pre-packaged, pre-made meals as well. When I started I was doing half and half. Well now I have quite a bit of white spaghetti noodles, some white rice, white sugar, and white flour. I had no way of knowing back then, what I would be eating now, or what I’ll be eating in 5 years. I’m not sure how to get around this dilemma. People who develop allergies probably face the same types of problems. Perhaps I could do some food storage trading with people. For the unopened and unexpired things I could donate it to the food bank.

5. Plan for expansion
I did this in my first house. I put shelves up in a way that I could keep adding to them because I KNEW I would be growing it. Well considering I started with nothing, of course I would grow it. Well silly me moved into this house and thought I had it all figured out. Since then I decided I wanted to store ALL my foods in #10 cans except wheat (I talked about this in my New Year’s resolutions post). Well that means I need another rotating shelf. Well now I need to explain to my husband that he was right and I should have put the food storage in the other area of the basement that would have accommodated this. I HATE doing that!

The older I get, the more I realize the only constant is CHANGE. It would have been nice to know all these things 5 years ago, but the fact of the matter is that is not how life goes. You learn, grow, try new things, and adapt all the time with EVERYTHING. So while it would have been nice to know those things… It’s ok. I’ve had fun learning!


Where in the World WERE WE?

In case you’ve been wondering why the two of us fell off the face of the planet for the last 3 weeks, we will fill you in!

Usually when we take on big projects, vacations, and even having babies, we make sure to time it with each other. There’s always at least one of us who tries to stay relatively available. Well we mistakenly decided to take on the holidays, while one of us MOVED, and the other FINISHED A BASEMENT. Bad, bad idea folks! It left us merely capable of handling urgent emails and slightly comatose the rest of the time. Well, Jodi is mostly settled into her new basement (although her food storage is still inaccessible), and Julie has running water, gas, and internet at the new house, so we’re ready to get back in the saddle. We’ve missed you on facebook, and on the blog.


With it still being early January, we wanted to share with you our Food Storage Goals for 2012!

  • Put my food storage room back together after the move. I have my rotating racks set up, but the rest of the food is in open boxes. I moved across the street so I was spoiled in that, I didn’t have to “carefully” pack it. More on moving food storage later this month!
  • Now that I have moved into a different house, and I “practiced” a garden at my mom’s house last year. I’m going to try my OWN garden, in my OWN yard!
  • Make my own granola on a regular basis. I’m good at having my family eat oatmeal often, but I want to try and make a good multi-grain, sprouted granola to add variety in nutrients to breakfast time.
  • After living without gas in our new house for a couple days in the middle of winter (long story), I want to learn more about ways to STAY warm without power

  • Get a better system for my UPSTAIRS pantry situation. I have a great food storage, but I get a little tired of running downstairs for ingredients almost every single night. This has been extremely annoying the last few weeks as most of my food storage has been completely inaccessible. I would like to have a decent amount of things upstairs and have a good system for moving things up from the basement in batches every now and then.
  • I want to learn dutch oven cooking this summer. Last summer I had fun trying regular recipes in my Sun Oven, but that was pretty easy to do. I feel like dutch oven cooking will require getting some new recipes to try and learning to cook in ways I’m not used to. I think it will be fun!
  • I definitely want to get more into dehydrating this year. I like freeze-dried foods but it can save tons of money to dehydrate your own plus you can have a lot more options with the different foods you are dehydrating. It’s also great for preserving extra garden harvest.
  • My final goal is to start sale shopping/couponing again. Having three kids and another on the way, I haven’t done great at stocking up when things are cheapest over the past little while. It takes conscious effort and some planning to do this. I’m always buying extras of things when I run out, and my long term storage is well stocked and rotated into my regular foods, but I think I can get my 3 month supply a little more robust and do it cheaper if I am couponing. This may have to wait til things settle down after baby #4, but it is a goal for me this year!


What are YOUR food storage goals for 2011?

Stay tuned for more in depth posts about Jodi’s new refinished food storage room, and Julie’s adventures in moving a food storage!

Julie’s Garden Update

So Jodi gave her garden update on Monday, and today it’s my turn. For those of you who have followed you know this year was my first year gardening. I still don’t have a yard that I can garden in (it’s small and shaded – always) so this year I borrowed some of my mom’s garden area. There were some advantages to this. She is a master gardener so she could teach me stuff, she tended to it while I was out of town, and she felt bad for me if some of my stuff didn’t come up right and gave me some of hers. The drawbacks of doing this was that I couldn’t just go to my backyard to pick lettuce for dinner, or see the growth each day. I’m glad I did it so I could learn a lot. I just can’t wait to have my OWN garden but…. once upon a time I had no room for food storage either. It’s a process.

Today I thought it would be fun to share with you how I’m using various garden vegetables. It’s SO fun and delicious to eat the yummy foods!


Green Peppers: When I first starting buying my own food in college, green peppers were 25 cents. Now they can be close to $1. For some reason it’s the only food price I remember, so it always bugs me just a little to buy green peppers. I love having them to throw in omelets with tomatoes, and onions. I make pizza once a week (more about that later) and love to top it with some fresh green pepper. I also love putting it in salads and bean salsas.

Zucchini. Oh I LOVE zucchini. I wish I had the abundance of zucchini I have right now YEAR round. I use it in everything. Really – spaghetti sauce, pizza toppings, grilled, boiled, fried, zucchini bread and more. The best part of it I think is the pizza though. I’ve been doing this amazing garden fresh pizza lately. I do whole wheat crust, tomato sauce, a little mozzarella cheese, and then top it with TONS of little chunks of zucchini, tomatoes, green peppers, onions and a little Parmesan cheese. Oh its HEAVENLY and it feels so light and guilt-free.

Spaghetti Squash. I may love spaghetti squash as much as I love zucchini. My favorite recipe is chicken Parmesan with spaghetti squash. I did a post about that one here. Well great- now I’m starving.

Lettuce, carrots, tomatoes: Who doesn’t love having fresh salad on hand all the time. The tomatoes are just coming in so I’ll be talking about that more later. I’m excited to can them with my mom and use them all year!

Gardening Updates from Julie and Jodi


Whether you’re a Master Gardener, or you just plant a couple small plants on your kitchen counter, learning the skill of gardening is very important in Food Storage. Today we’re going to update you on how our gardens are doing this year.

For those of you who have followed our blog for the last three years, you’ll know that I haven’t been into the gardening scene all that actively yet. It hasn’t been for a lack of interest, but rather a lack of knowledge, space, sun, and courage! Well this year I decided one way or another, I WOULD have a garden. I spent a lot of time debating between 3 garden options for me this summer.

I was trying to decide between:

  • Using my yard that is tiny and gets virtually no sun
  • Renting a garden plot in my community
  • Planting my garden at my mom’s house which is about 10 minutes away

Each of these options had pros and cons. I wanted so badly to plant in my own yard so I could see daily progress, however it became pretty clear that the overhaul that would have to take place on a yard that may not see the light of day probably wouldn’t work. I decided I would monitor the amount of sun that comes in this year and maybe attempt it next year after having a year of good practicing in an area that actually gets sun. I decided to plant in a row at my moms house since she’s a great gardener, could help guide me, and I’d have someone to water for when I’m out of town etc. So here you have it, my GARDEN! My area is half that first row – and I’m so proud of it.

My mom was SO helpful in getting me past my anxiety of planting a garden. I’m kind of the type that doesn’t like doing things that I don’t fully understand (ummm that is how this blog started in the first place actually hahah) so this is big for me. I felt like I was walking blindly into this whole thing, but with her help I feel much better now.

Here’s what we did a few weeks ago:

  • We planted the plants that you can plant in the cold weather outside
  • We planted herbs and spices in indoor planters
  • We planted a bunch of varieties of tomatoes in indoor planters – fully planning on buying tomato plants in a few weeks in case they don’t work
  • So I’m very proud to report that my tomato seeds are doing awesome… while my spices and herbs seeds WERE doing awesome….until they got knocked over and smashed by a 3 year old. Ah well – this is going to be my test year anyways :)

    I got started a little later than I had intended on my garden this year (ok that seems to happen every year, maybe I should just plan on it, lol). But then we got a few of our crazy late spring blizzards and I was glad I hadn’t put too much into the ground yet. I’ve got a good start on stuff in the ground and stuff growing inside. It’s so fun to watch everything growing! My camera is being troublesome but I will try to get some pictures uploaded later today. Here is a quick summary of my progress so far.

    What’s Outside

    So far I have peas and onions that are coming up quite nicely. Like I said, I planted them late but I’m hopeful I will still get SOMETHING out of them. My potatoes aren’t showing any signs of life yet, but I have faith that they will product!

    What’s Inside

    I have a whole tray of seedlings going. Pumpkins, zucchini, and cucumbers are growing like crazy. Watermelon (first time trying it!) and some herbs are doing well. Tons of tomatoes and peppers are coming along but not as quickly as I would like. Oh well, they won’t go into the ground for a while anyway.

    To Do This Week

    I need to transplant a lot of my indoor seedlings into bigger pots. That’s always a fun (and messy) job. I’m also going to plant a lot more straight outside. Carrots, beans, corn, etc. I know it may be a bit late for spinach and lettuce but I’m going to throw some of them in the garden just for fun and hope for the best. I also need to finish cleaning out the weeds from the rest of my garden beds and I’m hoping to get some brick borders to section off my larger garden area along the fence.

    What are YOU doing in your garden this week??

Food Storage To The Rescue!

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon, I was watching an episode of Good Eats on my DVR with my family (random I know!). It’s this show where the host Alton Brown dissects the science behind making foods like pizza, fried chicken, cookies and all sorts of other GOOD things. It kind of reminds me of a science show for kids, but the tricks and science behind it all is awesome. On this particular episode, he was sharing how to master fried chicken…. You know the kind where the crust around it is super good – JUST like the crust on Olive Garden Chicken Parmesan – A delicious piece of friend chicken breast covered in marinara sauce, cheese, and placed on top of noodles (are you drooling yet?). I looked at my husband and said – well now I know what’s for dinner.

I was missing HALF the ingredients to make the chicken turn out good…like buttermilk and eggs. NOOOOOOOO! I exclaimed. Well you’ll probably guess what I’ll say next… I used some of my everyday food storage items to replace what I was missing.

SO THIS IS THE PART - where I tell you how I changed just about everything in a recipe in order to use food storage and to make a recipe healthier.

  • He said to soak the chicken in buttermilk – so I made buttermilk from powdered milk and lemon juice.
  • He also said to dip the chicken in eggs before dipping it in the flour mixture – so I used powdered eggs and it worked!
  • He said to use white flour but I also ground up wheat and just a few corn kernels for the flour mixture.
  • He also said, if you’re looking to add any spices, put it in the egg mixture instead of the flour mixture, cause some spices tend to burn, and if it’s on the egg mixture, then covered in the flour mixture it will be protected!
  • He said to deep fry it, but I lightly coated my pan with olive oil and fried it that way.

SIDE NOTE: I also replaced regular noodles with spaghetti squash and it was SO good. In fact I’ve recently made the recipe again with two versions -one with noodles, one with spaghetti squash, and my entire family including the kids preferred the squash version!


Ingredients:

-1 cup of buttermilk (add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar for every 1 cup of milk, or powdered milk. Sit for 5-10 minutes)
-3 Chicken breasts (I sliced them to be more like chicken fingers for faster cooking time)
-2 Eggs (2 Tablespoons of powdered eggs, and 4 Tablespoons of water)
-1 cup of white or wheat flour. Add a small amount of cornmeal for a crunch
-2 Tablespoons of olive oil
-Package of spaghetti noodles, or 1 spaghetti squash
-Mozzarella cheese
-Homemade or store bought marinara sauce

Directions:
Soak chicken in buttermilk (overnight is best, but if you’re like me you’ll get about 15-20 minutes in and call it good). Place soaked chicken in a bowl with eggs, cover and coat evenly. Place flour in a ziploc bag. Put each strip of chicken in the flour bag one a time shaking it so the flour mixture coats the chicken evenly. Heat frying pan and olive oil, then place chicken on – turning once half way through.

Cook noodles or spaghetti squash separately and place in 9×13 pan. Pour marina sauce over the noodles. Place fried chicken on top of the noodles. Cover with a little (or a lot) of mozzarella cheese and a little more marinara. You don’t want TOO much marinara on top because you don’t want your chicken to get soggy – remember we like the CRUNCH. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes and ENJOY!

Needless to say- I was so glad I had some Food Storage items to help me make this recipe.

Let us know on our Facebook wall post today, or in comments how Food Storage has rescued you. What are some typical substitutions you make?


2010 New Years Resolutions Recap

In January of this year, we both posted some of our Food Storage goals and
Resolutions for 2010. It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed and it’s time to report on our goals.


Our joint goal this year was to help Grandma Lori get started with her Food Storage in the Extreme Food Storage Makeover. We’re pleased to report that we have had many successes in that realm and will continue to share things we learn with her. For a list of all the things we did with Grandma Lori, make sure to visit the Extreme Food Storage Makeover Page.

qs
I want to start sprouting regularly and really use it in more in my regular cooking. I must confess, it still totally scares me. I plan to MASTER sprouting once and for all!

RESULT: I haven’t “mastered” sprouting, but I have sprouted a bunch of different things on various occasions. It surprised me how easy it really was – and now I can’t believe I was so intimidated by it. I have put my sprouts in stir fry’s, smoothies, soups, sandwiches, and sometimes I just eat them plain. I’m so glad that I have this skill to fall back on if I need a way to get fresh food in my diet should I have to live off my food storage for an extended amount of time.

qr
I have never been one for following recipes – HOWEVER since I have started using my food storage, I’ll go ahead and admit, I need and use recipes. My current management system of those recipes is pretty pathetic, so I’m gonna beat Jodi on this one and figure out a way to put them all in the same place (and not bring my laptop into the kitchen as I cook anymore!)

RESULT: This is where I confess that I’ve failed. I have had good intentions all year of getting this done, but alas things have gotten in the way. I have brought all my recipes up to my office though with good intentions of compiling them. This however only irritates me when I’m cooking and have to come upstairs to get a recipe. Maybe having to come upstairs more and more will finally force me into getting this done.

qcm
I want to learn more about cooking without power. This is a topic I have never ventured into really because …. of fear …. but I’m gonna figure that one out this year too (well at least partially).

RESULT: I feel so much more confident with this topic now. I got a Volcano Grill and used it during the 7 Day Challenge. Just opening it out of the box and practicing on it has given me so much more confidence. I need to store more fuel now, and continue to learn about other methods, but I’m glad I did something about this fear!

qde
My sweet mom (Grandma Lori) donated her food dehydrator to me when we first started to learn about food storage. However, I haven’t been ambitious enough to use it yet. We have had some great tips and resources sent in by readers and I am determined to put some of it into action.

RESULT: Grandma Lori and I traded the dehydrator back and forth a few times this year depending on who was feeling ambitious enough to try it. The final discovery was that it was no longer functioning properly so I’ve been saving up to get an Excalibur Dehydrator. It finally arrived LAST WEEK and I am planning to dry some apples tomorrow. Yay!

qda
When first getting started in food storage, all of the disaster/emergency prep stuff really overwhelmed me. Now that I have food more under control, I feel ready to step up and start to become better prepared for specific types of natural disasters. Our Seven Day Challenge really made me think and my goal is to get more prepared this year.

RESULT: Our group book discussion on the book One Second After really helped me with this goal. While the book covers only an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) Attack, it really makes you think about how other emergencies could have similar situations to go through. One of the days of our Seven Day Challenge this year also had us write down a list of disasters that are likely to occur in our area. This was helpful too, and we’ve already had a “severe storm watch” this winter!

qltm
I love our three month supply worksheet. I have long wished I had something that specific for my long term food storage. I want to be able to plan meals for my year supply and know I have the right ingredients to make the meals I will be cooking. This is a huge goal for me this year which will take a lot of work but I know it will be worth it!

RESULT: What is it with both Julie and I failing on our recipe projects this year? You’d think we have been busy or something? I managed to come up with recipes for breakfast and then didn’t get any further. I would still love to put all of my food storage recipes in their own binder and have all of them included in my spreadsheet. (SOME DAY!)

What are some of your Food Storage Resolutions for Next Year? It’s always good to set a few goals, and celebrate the successes. We will be sharing our 2011 Resolutions soon!

HOMEMADE WHOLE WHEAT NOODLES (AND LASAGNA)

Do you ever find that whole wheat pasta can taste grainy, and let’s be honest – a little bit GROSS! This is Julie here, and I’m the one with the high tolerance for healthy food, yet I can barely stomach whole wheat noodles at times. Well when I discovered how DELICIOUS and easy making whole wheat pasta could be, I was hooked.

Awhile back, I shared that I was making lasagna on our facebook page. A lot of you asked for the recipe, and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get to this post. Anyhow, whenever I make lasagna now, I make the noodles using whole wheat. I don’t use any special pasta maker either! I just use a regular old rolling pin. The great thing about lasagna noodles, is that it doesn’t matter if they come out looking fancy, you just layer them anyways so you can mess up a little on the format!

In this video, I show you how to make my favorite – spinach whole wheat noodles- (recipe from grandma lori!) using wheat ground from my Wondermill. I’m also copying a recipe for regular whole wheat noodles (without spinach) that I have tried and love as well. You can try with the regular one first, then when you’re feeling brave go for the spinach noodles. They taste great, and even my dad ate them – he’s pickier then most children.


Sorry there are no pictures of the cooked product. I ended up bringing the lasagna to my parents house to prove to my dad how yummy healthy can be. He loved it, and we ate it before I remembered to pull out my camera.

Here are all the recipes for an incredible homemade, and HEALTHY lasagna. If you’re feeling up to it, try making the sauce from scratch too. This is not the type of lasagna that will make you feel heavy and bloated after. Oh I want some right now!

HOMEMADE LASAGNA

Ingredients:
Cooked lasagna noodles (12 noodles)
Marinara sauce of your choice
Ricotta cheese or Cottage cheese
Grated mozzarella cheese

Directions:
In a 9×13 pan spread small layer of marina sauce at the bottom of the pan. Place a layer of cooked noodles to cover the pan. Spread a layer of sauce, ricotta or cottage cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Repeat for 3 layers. Cook at 350 for 40 minutes.

HOMEMADE SPINACH WHOLE WHEAT NOODLES

Ingredients:
8 ounces of fresh spinach (1 package: 10 ounces frozen spinach can be substituted)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour (I used 1 cup semolina flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour)

Directions:
Wash spinach and cover and cook with just the water that clings to leaves until tender (3-10 minutes). Rinse spinach with cold water; drain. Place spinach eggs, 1 tablesppon oil and 1 teaspoon of salt in blender container. Cover and blend until pureed, about 20 seconds.
Make a well in center of flour, add spinach mixture. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Let stand 10 minutes. Divide dough into halves. Roll out each half, cut strips. Cook in boiling water until tender.

HOMEMADE WHOLE WHEAT NOODLES

Ingredients:
1 1/2 C semolina flour
1 1/2 c freshly ground whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/4 c water
1/4 c olive oil

Directions:
Combine semolina and flour and salt. Beat eggs lightly. Mix eggs, water and oil. Stir in to four mixture until a stiff dough forms,. You may need to add a little more flour. Knead 10 minutes or until elastic. Let rest, covered for 20 minutes. Roll out thinly. Cut into desired shape or shape with machine. Cook in boiling, salted water for 2-5 minutes.

HOMEMADE MARINARA MEAT SAUCE

Ingredients
2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes (I used a bottle of garden tomatoes)
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely diced onion
OPTIONAL:
Add 1 lb of ground beef or ground turkey (can use canned beef)
Add 1/2 zucchini cut into small chunks

Directions:
In a food processor place Italian tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. In a large skillet over medium heat saute the finely chopped onion in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce, and optional meat and veggies. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Try these recipes out and let me know how they go. Don’t be afraid of substituting the noodles in your own favorite lasagna recipe. They really are great, and aren’t nearly as hard as they sound! Good luck :)


What’s Coming Up Next?

As we read through all of the blog comments, emails, facebook discussions, etc. we came across several main themes over and over again that people are struggling with. And many of them are things that are issues we are working on ourselves. We are going to be spending the next few weeks covering each of these topics more in depth and hopefully they will be a help to you too.

1. Water storage / purification / conservation: Most people are prepared for a water shortage lasting even up to 2 weeks. However, it’s a lot different to have drinking water for 2 weeks versus LIVING water for two weeks. It’s also a big concern as to what to do if there is an even longer water shortage. There were a lot of great tips about how to stretch out your water supply that we can’t wait to share.

2. Powerless cooking: This is a huge one for us. We will be sharing details on what each of us used for cooking during the challenge, however we also need to research more options for cooking INSIDE.

3. EMP or Electromagnetic Pulse Attack: While some people don’t feel this is a legitimate threat, others consider it to be very possible. It is very hard to find credible information online about what ACTUALLY will happen during EMPs of differing levels of severity. We are going to be gathering more information and also want to do a group read and discussion of the book One Second After so we can look at possible scenarios in an interesting manner. Grab a copy from the library or order one today and we will have more details about the group read coming up soon.

4. Financial reserve: We all know we should have a little money tucked away in our disaster kits, but it was a bit interesting to note how many people actually struggled with this task. We’ll be sharing some tips and a little more detail on exactly what is recommend for this.

5. Alternate heating and cooling for your home: By always doing the challenge in September we miss out on really getting to emphasize the importance of having solutions for heating and cooling your home. It’s an overwhelming concept that is definitely “beyond the babysteps” but we think it is very important to start thinking about, learning about, and discussing.

6. Shelf stable recipes: While we still strongly believe that food storage is highly likely to be used in an economic crisis where you would still have access to electricity, we also now are ready to start thinking about what to do in an extended emergency where power is NOT available (EMP, fuel shortage, etc.). We are going to be exploring the world of “shelf-stable only” cooking and we will need your help! More to come.

If any of these things sounds like concepts you are wanting to work more on, follow along with us over the next few weeks/months as we will definitely be busy researching and sharing on the blog.

p.s. Just for fun, take our little poll! (FIX BEFORE GO LIVE)

  • Which topic(s) are you most interested in learning more about?

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  • The Million Dollar Question?

    Want to know what we get asked most often when we talk to groups of people about food storage? Ok, we’ll tell you. People always say, “I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, how do I incorporate that into my Food Storage Plan?”.

    Well we have been working on ways to answer that question. On our BabyStep 8 page, we talk about growing, canning, dehydrating, and freezing. Storing fruits and vegetables can be such a road block for so many people in food storage- ourselves included.

    Today, Julie is going to share with you some things she is doing to get closer to having that part of her food storage under control. It involves GREEN SMOOTHIES, AIRPLANES, AND I TOLD YOU SO’S.

    So for awhile now I have been into “Green Smoothies”. I got introduced to a website “Green Smoothie Girl” by my neighbor, and am just scraping the surface of some of the great stuff on her site. For those of you who make these, you know how amazing they make you feel, and how frantic you get when you don’t have your daily dose of fabulous fruits and vegetables. When thinking about WHY FOOD STORAGE, there are many reasons I have food storage. I choose to have food storage for emergency situations, but ALSO for situations where I might not have access to stores, or if money is tight. Having said that, I do a portion of freezer food planning in my food storage. Ideally I’ll have a nice, and fancy generator to power my freezer in case of no power situations, but we’re doing this ONE BabyStep at a time – remember!

    Anyways, about a month ago, my sisters were trying to find airline tickets for a trip they were taking. I had a couple of free flights from points I haven’t been able to use for FOREVER, and offered to sell them my free flights for a discount of what they were going to pay for their tickets anyways. My points were good for something after all! So, I did something I rarely do- I SPLURGED! I have been drooling, and I mean DROOLING over Blendtec and Vitamix blenders for months. Each morning when I had been making my smoothies, I told myself- one day- one day- I would have an AMAZING blender. Well to make a long story short, with my free flights money, I bought a Vitamix (I did some SERIOUS research and debating on which one to buy, and finally went with Vitamix , but there are bonuses to Blendtec that might make it the right blender for you, I’ll do a post on just that later).

    So with my Vitamix , I make so much fun stuff, smoothies being one of them. I went out of town without it, and barely survived – Ok- I’m being dramatic here, but seriously I LOVE it. Since I’ve made making smoothies a part of my daily life, I thought – I NEED to figure out how to store for this. This is where the “I TOLD YOU SO’S” come in. When I was a girl I would get SO embarrassed when I was grocery shopping with my mom and she would buy TONS of stuff on sale. Well, I’m going to confess. I’m turning into my mom. I am using Deals to Meals to buy my produce for so much cheaper then Walmart prices (I told you about this a few weeks ago). Earlier this week, I found myself buying huge amounts of fruits for freezing and I just had to laugh. Freezing this fruit when buying it for so cheap is a great way to build up my fruit storage, and save money at the same time. My plan is to keep buying 3-4 times the amount of produce I normally buy, when it’s at great prices, and keep on freezing. Ideally I would love to have fresh always, but just in case…

    So here are some tips I have learned from readers about freezing fruits. Please share your tips in the comment sections below:

    -Clean, wash and dry fruit first
    -Place fruit on cookie sheets or platters to freeze (this avoids clumping)
    -Put the powder that keeps fruit good on things like peaches
    -Freeze for a few hours
    -Place in ziploc bags
    -Label the bag with the date (I need to do that part still)


    Grains, Facebook, and a Guessing GAME!

    As I’ve been learning more about healthy food storage I’ve ventured into learning more about different types of grains. I can’t help but laugh at myself sometimes because only 2 years ago I didn’t even know what wheat looked like.

    A few weeks ago, I tried Quinoa for the first time, it’s a grain that is high in protein and super yummy! I ate it plain and decided to ask on our Facebook page, how you guys, our readers ate it. The response was awesome… We got 29 responses with ideas, links to recipes, tips on places to buy it cheaper and more. Here is just a little screen shot of some of the responses:

    Seriously – if you’re not on our facebook page you should be. We have great discussions, get questions answered, and do facebook only giveaways (merely because it’s SO easy to do there, and all you have to do to enter is hit a “like” button).


    Anyways, back to grains. I’m sure I don’t have to mention eating WHOLE grains is so GOOD for you! Check out this little display we bring to classes we teach. We got it from Pleasant Hill Grain. It shows how many of the GOOD parts of wheat are EXTRACTED when turning whole wheat flour to white flour. The process essentially removes all that is good…. sob.


    So on my journey to learn about more grains this summer (more then just wheat, rice and oats), I decided to invite you along and make a fun little game of it. I have purchased a bunch of grains already that I have been grinding in my WonderMill (Click here to buy – They are on sale for the summer!). I have used all types of grains, barley, millet, sweet brown rice in pancakes, breads and pizza dough. It’s been really fun.


    So here’s the game. Here are 10 pictures of different grains. Just for kicks – if you want, send us an email, leave a comment, or even jot down on a piece of paper your guesses as to WHAT each one of them are. I’ll post the answers in a couple weeks after you have had a chance to guess. After that… Ready, Set, Go – I’ll be telling you how I’m “throwing” them into my recipes :)

    ANSWERS

    1 – barley
    2 – popcorn
    3 – rye
    4 – brown rice
    5 – hard white wheat
    6 – oatmeal
    7 – quinoa
    8 – millet
    9 – sweet brown rice
    10 – spelt