Fall Desserts: Apple Crisp

Fall is in the air. I LOVE IT! The cool crisp nights. The fall produce. Soups become the go-to meals. It’s the best.


What better fall dessert is there than some warm apple crisp. The other day my sister sent me a text and said “I’m craving apple crisp – but I don’t have all the ingredients to make it”. Of course I didn’t mention if she had food storage she wouldn’t have that problem. Instead I made a delicious pan of apple crisp (using her favorite recipe) and texted her a picture of it. Aren’t sisters the best? If she didn’t live a few states away I would have invited her over for some too (I’m not that mean).

So here’s my sister’s favorite apple crisp recipe (that she couldn’t make).

She made sure to tell me to double the toppings for extra yumminess.

Apple Crisp

5 apples, peeled and sliced (or 5 cups Freeze-Dried Granny Smith Apples, rehydrated)
½ cup of sugar
½ TB flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup water

Combine all ingredients into a 9×13 pan. Combine the following ingredients in a separate bowl.

1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
½ cup melted butter.

Sprinkle over top the apples. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

FREE Shelf Stable Recipe Book

Have you heard the term “Shelf Stable” and wondered exactly what it means? Different people have different opinions on that, but today we are going to give you OUR definition and then we have a great free gift for you to download too!

Shelf Stable Cookbook - Over 100 Recipes

What does shelf stable mean?
We consider a shelf stable recipe to be one that can be made completely with items that can be found in your pantry (not refrigerated). The purpose is to have meals that you can make should your power go out and you lose the foods that you have in your fridge and freezer.

Traditional shelf stable recipes
Most people thing of things like homemade bread, chili, spaghetti, etc. when they think of a shelf stable meal. Items that don’t have meats, dairy, or produce. These should definitely be staples of your diet in an emergency and it is helpful if you have at least practiced making some of the more difficult things.

Converting a regular recipe to shelf stable
Our favorite shelf stable recipes are some of our very favorite family recipes that we’ve converted to shelf stable by making a few simple substitutions. If you add canned or freeze-dried meats, cheeses, and produce to your food storage your meal options are drastically increased. See an example of this with Julie’s Enchilada Pie recipe.

FREE Shelf Stable Recipe Book
A few years ago we asked all of our readers to help us with a project and submit their favorite shelf stable recipes. We have some of the best readers out there! You should know- you’re one of them! We received over 100 recipes and compiled them all into this AMAZING Shelf Stable Recipe Book. The recipe book has the following categories:


(Please note: We made the recipes 4 to a page in order to save paper for you if you print it out. In case you find the font to be too small by doing this, we also made a FULL PAGE VERSION. It’s 172 pages but you can print it front and back or just use it on the computer. Enjoy!)

Feel free to pin the image below to save for later or share with your friends!


Brazilian Black Beans

Well it’s World Cup season and over here we cheer for the American, Canadian and Brazilian teams. To be festive this week I made Brazilian Black Beans. These beans come with a story.


About 10 years ago my husband served a mission for The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints in Brazil for 2 years. We had been dating before he left and when he got home we were married. He often spoke of some of his favorite foods from Brazil. Of course one of his favorite foods was the beans. For the last few years I took it as a challenge to try and re-create these famous Brazilian beans. I tweaked, and tweaked, and tweaked how I made them. Every time I made them he said they tasted good but weren’t exactly the same. Just an FYI… recreating food you have never tasted is actually quite challenging. He kept saying “They must just have different spices in Brazil”.

Well about 5 months ago a dear friend from my husband’s mission was in town. She came over and taught me how to make Brazilian beans. Well it turns out it wasn’t spices I was missing. It was sausage and bacon. Ummmmmm DEAR HUSBAND: SPICES CAN’T TAKE THE PLACE OF SAUSAGE AND BACON. Anyways, here’s the recipe for how dear Sueli from Brazil taught me how to make my husband’s favorite mission food.


Brazilian Beans

2 cups of dry beans soaked
5 cups of water (or chicken broth – see notes for how I make my chicken broth)
A large sausage or 4 small ones of your choice
4 pieces of bacon diced
1/2 green pepper
1/2 onion
Salt and Pepper


  • Pressure cook beans in water or bouillon for 15 minutes on low. Release pressure. At this point you want them kind of soft but not all the way cooked. In case you are using old beans or didn’t soak them long enough cook again until they are soft on the outside not all the way cooked on the inside.
  • Add 4 sausages or 1 large one cut into 4 pieces into the pressure cooker. Cook on low again for 10 minutes. This will flavor your beans. The sausage I use is pictured above. It is a natural chicken sausage and it works great.
  • While sausage is cooking fry bacon, green pepper, and onion in a frying pan.
  • Once the beans are done their second cook remove sausage and cut into bite size pieces. Each individual piece will be more juicy by leaving them in the larger chunks during the pressure cooking process.
  • Add bacon, green pepper, onions and sausage pieces back to pressure cooker and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.



She taught me how to make these with my electric pressure cooker. I absolutely love the electric pressure cooker. Love it. Your kitchen tools may vary so make adjustments as needed.
Chicken Broth: When I pull out an appliance I like to use it a few times (since it’s out already). I usually cook 4-5 frozen chicken breasts in water, garlic, onion, salt and pepper on high pressure for about 16 minutes. The liquid that this makes is am amazing broth. I then use the broth to make beans, soups or anything that needs broth.



Pizza is a FAVORITE around here. Whether it be take-out, gourmet, or homemade we are always up for pizza. Today we wanted to share with you 3 different ways to make homemade pizza dough. Depending on your time frame and preferences one of these will for sure be a hit!

The fastest way to make pizza dough is with Thrive’s new Country White Bread Dough. All you have to do is add water and yeast. It’s so easy even Julie’s boys help make it. The dough is great for bread, rolls, scones, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and PIZZA DOUGH.
We like this as an option when we really didn’t plan ahead and want a quick meal we know our family will love. Use this dough with any of your favorite pizza toppings and sauces.


Jodi’s family loves deep-dish pizza and her favorite recipe is this one modified from our friend Crystal at Everyday Food Storage.

2 1/2 C. Medium Hot Water
5 tsp. SAF Instant Yeast*
2 Tbsp. Sugar
3 Tbsp. Oil
1 tsp. Salt
6 C. Flour (you can do half all-purpose and half wheat or 100% fresh ground whole wheat)
1/2 Cube of Butter

1. Pour medium hot water in mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top and allow to dissolve.
2. Add sugar, salt, and oil. Gradually add approximately 6 cups of flour.
3. Melt 1/2 cube of butter on cookie sheet in oven as it is heating to 400 degrees and melt in oven.
4. Place dough on cookie sheet and press to fill pan, make sure butter gets on top of the dough.
5. Add your sauce, cheese, and toppings.
6. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned and the crust is firm.

* When using regular yeast change amount to 2 Tbsp. Makes enough dough for two pizzas, or one pizza and some breadsticks.


Julie loves to use our favorite bread recipe for her pizza dough. It’s 100% whole wheat and it makes a big enough batch she gets bread, pizza, and cinnamon rolls out of HALF a batch. She has also been known to make calzones and freeze them for quick lunches with the dough. This recipe originated on the Deals to Meals blog, directions are modified for Julie’s methods.

7 c. whole wheat flour (grind your own with your Wondermill)
2/3 c. vital wheat gluten (buy at Honeyville)
2 1/2 T. instant yeast (we like the SAF brand)

5 c. hot water (120-130 F)

2 T. salt
2/3 c. oil
2/3 c. honey or 1 c. sugar (we like honey the best!)
2 1/2 T. bottled lemon juice

5 c. whole wheat flour

Mix together the first three ingredients in your mixer with a dough hook (we both use and love our Bosch for this). Add water all at once and mix for 1 minute; cover and let rest for 10 minutes (this is called sponging). Add salt, oil, honey or sugar, and lemon juice and beat for 1 minute. Add last flour, 1 cup at a time, beating between each cup. Beat for about 6-10 minutes until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This makes very soft dough.

Spray counter with pam and take dough out of the bowl. Do NOT flour your counter, this will add dryness you don’t want in the dough. If you are making half the recipe, you can make up to 3 pizzas. Roll out the dough and top with your favorite sauce and toppings. You don’t need to let the dough rise very long but you can if you like a fluffier dough. I also like to make the dough in the morning, stick it in the fridge, then pull it out about 40 minutes before putting it in the oven to allow for it to warm and rise a little. For full instructions on making bread instead of pizza with this recipe, visit this link.

This is the dough Julie uses in her FAVORITE pizza. Buffalo Chicken Pizza. YUM

So there you have it. Whether you have 5, 15, or 25 minutes to get your pizza dough ready we think one of these will be a great option for you. Enjoy and share!

How to Make Ricotta Cheese from Powdered Milk

Julie and I often say if there were an emergency and we could eat PIZZA then everything would be ok. I’ve come to realize that cheese is a pretty major comfort food for me and is something I would miss significantly in an emergency situation. I’ve decided to try to have different cheeses on hand in several forms (shredded in the freezer, freeze-dried cheeses in my food storage, parmesan cheese in the pantry, etc.) One thing I couldn’t store well was ricotta cheese which is a favorite in some of our lasagna recipes. I decided to try a completely shelf stable lasagna one day and ventured out to see if I could MAKE ricotta cheese using powdered milk. I googled a few recipes and experimented a little bit and found a solution that seemed to work well! Here’s the full scoop.


Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe

8 cups water
1 1/2 cups Thrive Instant Powdered Milk
1/3 cup lemon juice or white vinegar
1 tsp. salt, optional
1 T. oil or butter, optional

Mix the water and milk powder in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat up to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit (or just before boiling). The milk will get foamy and start to steam. As soon as it starts to boil, remove from heat and add in the lemon juice and salt and butter if desired. The oil/butter can be helpful to encourage the curds and whey to separate better since the powdered milk is a non-fat milk.

Let the mixture sit for 10-20 minutes. You should see the milk separate into curds (white clumps) and whey (yellowy liquid). Once it all seems to be separated, strain the curds using a strainer with small holes and/or a cheese cloth or clean t-shirt. I just used a strainer and it seemed to be fine. I like to make things easy. I let it strain for about 30 minutes and then squished out as much of the excess whey as I could by pushing against the curds with a spoon. It made a crumbly cheese that was perfect for this lasagna.

From what I read online, this isn’t a TRUE ricotta but it was a pretty great substitution without taking all day or having to run to the store!

Hurray for cheese in my food storage!

Freezer Meals and Food Storage

If you are one of our friends on Facebook you may have seen some of the pictures I posted of my little project to help my Grandma last weekend. Grandma Shirley is my food storage idol. Ever since I was a little girl I used to sneak down to her food storage room and stare in amazement at the sheer volume of food there (and sneak into the candy stash which she claims is the most important part). A few years ago we actually went up and took pictures of her storage and wrote a little summary of our findings. It was fun to go through it with her. Check that out at this link.

Recently my grandma had a little health scare and has been unable to do her normal routines of cooking/cleaning/etc. We live about two hours away from her so my mom and I decided to drive up for the weekend and get her freezer stocked with meals. I shared a few pictures from the event on Facebook and everyone wanted to know more about it, so here are the details!


Step 1: Come up with a list of meals. I used recipes found in my “recipe binder“. There is a link to download my whole file found in that post. Here are the meals we chose to make and the instructions for cooking up each meal.


Step 2: Make a grocery list for all of the meals.

Step 3: Shop for your food. This was the fun part, since Grandma has such a great food storage, we went down to her basement first and we were able to get a ton of the ingredients from there. We found staples like rice and pasta, as well as most of the pantry items like canned corn, beans, cream of chicken soup, etc. We went and bought fresh meat and items like sour cream and eggs because we didn’t want to open up her #10 cans of them. She was so happy to see her food getting used instead of just wasting away in the basement. It is hard for her to make it up and down the stairs these days so we loved helping her out with this.


Step 4: Prepare all the meals. Our cook time was about 3 1/2 hours total. Make sure that you know what containers you are going to be using. We were able to use all of her dishes so we didn’t have to worry about using disposable pans. Plan ahead for how you will need to cook them so you don’t put something that needs to go in the oven in a plastic container.

Step 5: Put the meals in containers and label everything. We put all of the side dishes and/or extra toppings in little baggies taped to each container to make it very easy to have everything for one meal all in one place.


Since these original recipes were meant to feed a larger family, this ended up making at least 16 MEALS for my grandparents. It was so rewarding to do this for them, and we got to spend a fun day visiting while we cooked.


Summer Salad with a Quick and Easy Corn Salsa

Do you ever feel like you’ve been to one too many BBQ’s in the summer. Well I sure do. This is a fun alternative to the typical BBQ and it used some Food Storage.


The beauty of this concept is that people can make their own salads the way they like them. I like to put the hot ingredients in these tin containers where they can stay hot, but if they aren’t super hot it wont matter. The other ingredients can be put in Ziploc bags and transported wherever you want to go! Be creative with this idea and maybe enjoy a spin on the typical summer BBQ at your next family party.

Salad Bar BBQ

Rice (cook with cilantro and lime juice)
Beans (see instructions on how to take dry beans, to yummmy beans here)
Grilled chicken (since this is a summer BBQ salad bar after all)
Corn salsa (see recipe below)
Shredded cheese
Dressing of your choice
Chip strips
Any other toppings you like


Quick and Easy Corn Salsa
1 cup Freeze Dried Sweet Corn
1/4 cup Dehydrated Red and Green Bell Peppers
1/4 cup Freeze Dried Onions
2 TablespoonsFreeze Dried Cilantro

Combine corn, peppers and onions in bowl and cover with water. Let sit until corn is soft. Drain water. Add Cilantro. You can use fresh ingredients as well, but this works for a quick salsa when you don’t have some things on hand. You can also add the black beans and tomatoes right to this if you would like.

Hopefully this adds some “freshness” to your next event, and helps you rotate some of your food storage.

Fourth of July Recipes and Ideas

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! We are excited to be celebrating the Fourth this week (along with Canada Day on Monday!). We thought it would be fun to do a little link round up today of fun 4th of July recipes on the web. We hope you enjoy and have a great Holiday!

4th of July Recipe Round-Up from Food Storage Made Easy

Patriotic Jello
Jodi made an awesome 4th of July jello recipe that uses freeze dried fruit. Freeze dried berries are awesome to have when berries my be out of season, or when you just don’t feel like going to the store. You’ll have to check it out!
4th of July Brownies
We know you’ve heard it. You can replace fats like oils in baking with BEANS. Check out how Crystal does just that when she made her Fourth of July brownies.
Our Best BITES 4th of July
Remember the post we did featuring how to incorporate your food storage into some of your favorite recipes using “Our Best Bites” recipes. Well the girls over at Our Best Bites did the cutest 4th of July spread you gotta check out.
4th of July Blender Wheat Pancakes
A recipe for the most beginner food storage user. Blender wheat pancakes allow you to use your wheat without a wheat grinder and are a big hit. These pancakes are sure to be a family favorite.
Broken Glass Jello
Use only red and blue jello and you get an awesome patriotic jello dish that will be a hit at any get together.
Watermelon-Flavored Cake
A perfect summer-y cake to use at a 4th of July event or any pot luck you are attending. It not only looks like watermelon but tastes like it too!
Yummy Gummy Candy
Sugar-free and actually yummy. These red and white stars will be a hit with the little ones and can provide a healthy snack option.
Ultimate Veggie Burgers
These can be made with all food storage ingredients and are another great healthy option instead of traditional barbecue choices.
4th of July Printables
Whatever it is you are up to on the 4th, these toppers could make a lot of things cute. Isn’t it great that there are so many artistic people out there making these great things free and downloadable!

How to Create a Recipe Binder

A couple of years ago I posted about How to Organize Your Recipes as I was creating a recipe binder for my first little sister to get married. Fast forward two years to my next little sister’s wedding and I updated the whole system and gave her a recipe gift too. Since I tweaked my system I thought I’d share what I do now in case it helps you with YOUR recipe system. I love this for my own recipes and it makes it SO easy to share with family and friends.


Step 1: Buy a binder
I like to use the 1/2 size binders as they are a little bigger than recipe cards but don’t take up much space in your cupboard or on your counter. If you get the kind with a clear plastic coating you can slide in cute covers and side labels :) You can do all your recipes in one binder or split them up into main dishes/side dishes/desserts/etc.


Step 2: Buy paper or cardstock
You can use plain white paper or cardstock, but I like to color code based on categories. I buy my paper depending on the color combination I want for that particular binder. Cardstock will be sturdier, but paper will make your binder not as fat and heavy.

Step 3: Buy 1/2 size sheet protectors
These used to be a little bit hard to find but lately I’ve been finding them at most office supply stores or even at Wal-Mart. You can also buy them online if you are having trouble finding them in your area. They are a little pricier than full-page protectors but I LOVE the half page size. They are perfect to keep on the counter and you can fit a lot of recipes in one binder. Note: I also bought little section dividers but they are a bit silly since the page protectors stick out further than the dividers. But they add a little separator and they look cute so I left them in.

Step 4: Create your recipe database
This can be a little bit tricky, and is the main thing I have changed since the last time I did this project. All I do now is set up my word document as a giant table. There are two cells per page and I put one recipe in each cell. This keeps the file formatted perfectly and you can print it like regular. Hint, start the recipe on the bottom half of the page down one line extra and that will keep the margins and spacing even when you print and cut them.

I like to put the category name at the top of the recipe, and I also have made little notes on each recipe to indicate which items are food storage items versus ones I would buy fresh at the grocery store. This is a new addition I made for my own binder that helps me with my meal planning each month. For my sister, I made a copy of JUST the recipes so she doesn’t have to see all my “food storage” notes.

If you’d like to see the recipe file, you can download it by clicking the recipe image below.

Step 5: Put it all together!
Print each category separately so you don’t get the colors mixed up. Use a scrapbook paper cutter or scissors to cut your pages in half and slip them in the page protectors. I made a “cover page” for each food category so I make sure to put that in the front of each section. I also added notes on my cover sections for easy meal ideas that there are not actual recipes for. This helps with meal planning too.


I also uploaded a copy of the page I used to make the cute cover and side label. You can download that by clicking here. The font is called CHERI and you can search for it and download it to your computer if you want to use it.


This is the best system I have found for keeping track of my recipes. I LOVE being able to write notes on the pages with a dry-erase marker and updating the file with it every few months. I love being able to add recipes from my favorite cookbooks so I can have them all in one place, and easily be able to share my favorites with my sisters. And I especially love that I get to help my little sisters get started in their own cooking adventures in an easy to assemble, yet meaningful gift.

Food Storage Meats and a Delicious Meatballs Tetrazzini Recipe

When you look at typical food storage calculators you’ll notice that the main source of protein is in the legumes. For a long time Julie was a little “scared” of beans and just decided that she could store tuna and peanut butter and call it good for protein. (not really, but kind of).

Since then, we have both learned to love beans and the MANY MANY uses they have and how healthy they are to use in your everyday cooking. We also have discovered that it is not too difficult to add REAL meats into your food storage. We actually did a post a while back all about incorporating meats into your food storage that can give you some ideas on how to do it that best suits you. Some ways are more time consuming (canning) … others are more expensive (freeze-dried) and each person should figure out the best way for THEM to store meats for their own family.

That being said, I have done a combination of home-canned meats (tutorials found here and here), meats in the freezer, and freeze-dried meats. I like to have lots of options open to me. I love to practice cooking with my home canned and freeze-dried meats so that I can make sure they are good in my recipes should I ever have to depend on them in an emergency. One thing I’ve really been curious about is if I could make some of my favorite meatball recipes using food storage. Well I finally tried it and was THRILLED with the results!


This is a recipe that comes from my husband’s mom and it has quickly turned into a family favorite around here. You can use any basic meatball recipe, but I’ll share my favorite one with you. For this experiment I used half rehydrated freeze dried ground beef and half regular ground beef and it held together great! I’m going to try it with all freeze-dried next time and see if the meatballs are able to keep their shape ok still.

Basic Meatball Recipe:
1 lb ground beef (I used half freeze-dried ground beef)
1/3 c. milk
1/2 c. fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. dehydrated onion flakes
1 egg
1 tsp. Salt

Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Shape into meatballs (it’s easiest with a melon or ice cream scoop) and put on a rack with a pan underneath. I cover the pan with tinfoil to save on clean-up time. Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes. Note: I always double this recipe and save half in the fridge or freezer for another meatball recipe later in the week.


Meatballs Tetrazzini Recipe:
1 batch of basic meatballs
8 oz package spaghetti
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/4 c. freeze dried onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/8 tsp. pepper
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Directions: Prepare basic meatball recipe. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook spaghetti and drain. Combine soup, milk, onion, salt, pepper, and cheese. Head until cheese is melted. Arrange meatballs and spaghetti in a 9×13 pan. Pour liquid mixture over meatballs and toss to mix well. Back for 30 minutes until hot and serve immediately.