Jodi’s 2014 Food Storage Resolutions

Last week, Julie shared her 2014 Food Storage Goals with you, and now it’s MY turn. I have always loved setting goals, but definitely struggle with the follow-through. So this year I’m going to be using these cute worksheets to help me come up with steps to start working on them asap and to really detail WHY I am doing these goals. I hope this will help me to keep referring back to them and working on them throughout the year.

  • Try one new recipe per week. Sometimes I get in a cooking rut. I actually LOVE to cook and love to try new recipes. But I HATE how stressful it feels with four little “helpers”, busy busy afternoons, and picky eaters. It sort of zaps the fun out of it so I resort to a lot of “easy dinners”, or just making the things I know the kids will eat without complaining. This year I want to focus on trying new recipes, especially ones that use food storage foods. I figure planning it once per week on a day I know isn’t too busy and making sure I have the right ingredients for it in advance will make it easier to follow-through on this. I’m also going to not let picky eaters dictate what we eat. I WILL make them try something new once a week, that won’t kill them right?
  • Get my gardens and fruit trees installed. We moved into a new home last year and spent the summer working on getting a functioning sprinkler system and a lawn and we didn’t get any of our gardens in :( This spring I am planning to be READY. I have my garden plan laid out and the garden area is ready for an irrigation system to be installed. We will be planting 9 fruit trees, three large garden boxes for smaller veggies, a flat garden bed area for corn and sprawling veggies, and three smaller garden boxes for some fruit bushes. I know it will be expensive and time consuming to get it all installed so we are saving up for it now and will be making a schedule of when to get it all done so we don’t miss out on another garden season!
  • Implement my three month supply rotation plan. I have a lot more space upstairs in my new house so I end up keeping a lot of food upstairs and don’t use my downstairs supplies as much. This becomes a problem when I think I have things in the basement but I don’t. So my new plan is to do my meal plan at the beginning of the month (including my one new recipe per week as per my goal above). Then I will “grocery shop” from the basement for all pantry items that I will be needing that month. Then I’ll go to the grocery store and buy all the fresh ingredients I need as well as whatever pantry items were on the list. When I come home I will take those items immediately to the basement. So I will always have a three month supply of those pantry items downstairs, but I will constantly be rotating and restocking them without worrying about depleting them. I am crossing my fingers that I can keep up with this plan. I think it will ease my stress a lot!


What are YOUR food storage goals for 2014?

Julie’s 2014 Food Storage Goals

I guess this is old news at this point but HAPPY NEW YEARS! We hope you are all doing well and motivated for another great year of building and using your Food Storage.

We were pretty quiet here and on facebook, as we spent some extra time with our families who were home from school and other obligations. Now that we’re back into the swing of things we wanted to start off the year by sharing our 2014 Food Storage goals with you. It’s become somewhat of a tradition on the blog and it provides us with a road map of things to work on for the year. Today Julie will be the one sharing her goals, check back later this week for Jodi’s goals.

  • Be smarter about meal planning. If you’ve followed us for awhile you know that I’m the one who likes to wing it with recipes and meal planning. It’s always worked for me, so why not? Well I’ll tell you why not. I now have 3 growing boys who are in sports and are eating faster than I can cook. I need to find meals and recipes that I can rotate through that feed hungry boys, without me being in the kitchen all day. I’m hoping to use my food storage foods to do this. We were guilty of eating out more than I would have liked to last year so this is a good goal for our family.
  • Understand purification and filtration better. I have a lot of water stored. I have some really great tools for filtration and purification stored as well. The problem is, I couldn’t explain exactly how those tools work very well to someone without using my notes. I would like to understand them well enough that I have complete confidence in my understanding of how they work.
  • Find 5 go-to Freezer Meals I know this feels like my first goal, but it’s not the exact same. I want to find 5 meals I have tried and tested to know work well frozen and reheated. I think giving myself a number to shoot for is a good idea. Since I’ve got a decent handle on gathering my food storage my goals are heavily focused on using it apparently!


What are YOUR food storage goals for 2014?


Best of Food Storage Made Easy 2013

We are so excited to start a new year of building our food storage, learning new skills, and helping our families become more prepared. Next week we will be sharing our 2013 New Year’s Resolutions with you and encouraging you to work on your own. But this week we wanted to give you a recap of some of our most popular posts from last year in case you missed any of them along the way.

3 BIGGEST HIGHLIGHTS THIS YEAR


Our entire website organize and categorized to make it easy to access everything in one place.


Complete revision of our Emergency Preparedness Plan with more detail and better format.

EBOOK

Brand new 3-Part eBook program to help you build your food storage and learn to use it.

Other Helpful Posts

Homemade Whole Wheat “Rhodes” Rolls
Julie shares her secret bread making tips that enable her to create delicious freezer rolls that are even yummier than Rhodes rolls and made of 100% whole wheat!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Another freezer meal idea, this soup is great fresh or several weeks later out of the freezer.
Fuel the Fire February
This is a 5-part series covering common and less-common fuels that are used for emergency preparedness and cooking without power.
Fast and Easy Chicken Quinoa Soup
A delicious recipe using a grain that people don’t commonly store but we think is a great option to add variety to your food storage grains.
New Thrive Sauces (and Seasonings)
Thrive Life launched a new line of sauces and seasonings at its annual convention in 2013. We love the additional meal options these open up in our storage!
Sour Dough 101: Part 1
Learn the basics of sour dough and how to make a starter
Sour Dough 101: Part 2
A delicious recipe for Artisan sour dough. Great yeast-free bread option.
Getting Started Raising Chickens
Jodi shares about her adventures raising backyard chickens and gives details on everything you need to know to get started.
Tax Refund Week
Tips for helping you to make the most of your money when purchasing food storage, especially when you have a large bulk sum to spend such as when you get a tax refund.
How to Overcome Food Storage Challenges
Whatever struggles you may have with food storage, we have some tips for helping you to overcome them.
Rice Flour Crepes
Using home ground rice flour, you can make lots of different foods that are gluten-free. Great for a change of pace or if you have allergies.
New and Improved Sun Oven
The All-American Sun Oven is a complete redesign of the popular Global Sun Oven. This post is a summary of all the new features.
Greek Lentil Soup Recipe
Another healthy recipe that uses one of the legumes that you will find on most long term food storage calculators.
Homemade Household Cleaning Supplies
Learn how you can use common storage items to replace a lot of your household cleaners. It can save on the amount of non-food items you need to store.
5 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me 5 Years Ago
Some tips for beginners that can help you get started with the right thinking. Don’t wait five years to figure this out!
Pizza Casserole: Food Storage Style
A great twist on a “facebook” recipe turned into a fully shelf-stable meal.
17 Ways to Use Your Wheat Grinder
17 different delicious recipes using different legumes and grains that you can grind in any wheat grinder.
Water Storage FAQ
We discuss commonly asked questions about water storage on a podcast episode with links to lots of additional information.
10 Ways to Practice Powerless Cooking This Summer
Summer time is a great excuse to practice cooking outdoors and work on those powerless cooking skills. Here are ten tips to help you get practicing.
Summer Salad with a Quick and Easy Corn Salsa
A great go-to salad that can be made using food storage foods and taken to any pot luck or barbecue event.
How to Create a Recipe Binder
Jodi gives a step by step tutorial showing how to make a great little recipe binder to organize all of your recipes. This is a favorite gift she gives to her sisters as they get married.
What can you do with YOUR food storage?
See the different foods you can make just by adding a few more items into your food storage plan. It’s definitely a good idea to go “beyond the basics”.
Emergency Preparedness Plan: Whats New?
Download our new 9 page emergency preparedness plan to help make a plan and disaster kit for your family.
What can you do with YOUR food storage?
See the different foods you can make just by adding a few more items into your food storage plan. It’s definitely a good idea to go “beyond the basics”.
Freezer Meals and Food Storage
Jodi shares about a freezer meal project she did for her grandma and how she used lots of food storage items in her meal ideas.
7 Day Challenge Recap
Summary and links to all 7 days of the 2013 7 day challenge, an annual event where we all practice our preparedness in a fun and challenging mock emergency.
Food Storage Substitutions
Print out these handy substitutions for when you run out of an ingredient or want to store less ingredients and still make your same foods.

12 Days of Food Storage Christmas
Fun gift ideas for Christmas time or ANY time, to help you give the gift of preparedness to loved ones.
  Let’s Talk About Rice
Rice is a common grain in long term food storage. There are many varieties you can buy, and not all of them are ideal for storage. This post gives lots of detailed info on this staple food.
  Freeze-Dried Foods versus Dehydrated Foods
Many people don’t realize there is a significant difference between freeze-dried foods and dehydrated foods. This post covers all the basics to help you understand and make decisions on which ones to store for your family.
  All About Freeze-Dried Cheese
If you can have pizza in an emergency, everything will be ok. Freeze-dried cheese can make that a possibility.
  All About Yeast and Vital Wheat Gluten
These two ingredients are key to making our favorite whole wheat bread recipe but they can be intimidating if you are new to bread-making.

National Preparedness Month and the SEVEN DAY CHALLENGE

Welcome to September! In case you didn’t know, September is National Preparedness Month, so you will probably be hearing lots about it on all of your favorite food storage and emergency preparedness blogs. Today we wanted to introduce you to a little fun activity that we do each September and invite you to join us and participate.

Back in 2009 Julie and I got this crazy idea that we should do a little “fire drill” and one day just email all of our readers and tell them a big “emergency” happened that we would all work through together. As we thought about how we could do this, we eventually came up with the idea to do a 7 Day Challenge in conjunction with National Preparedness Month. The Challenge became a week long series of mock emergencies with daily limitations and tasks to help assess your level of preparedness. We decided to start it on a surprise day in September, but we give you lots of hints to know it’s coming up soon!

We are getting ready to start our FIFTH challenge and we have learned so much every single year that we have done this with all of you. We wanted to do a little trip down memory lane to help get you excited about this year’s challenge. We hope you enjoy this and sign up to join in THIS YEAR!

We did one of our podcast episodes featuring some of our favorite things about the challenge as well as some hints and tips if you are going to participate this year. You can listen by clicking the banner below:

Seven Day Challenge Highlights

Here is an introduction to the first challenge we did 4 years ago

2009: Jodi’s kids LOVED evacuating and eating out of 72 hour kits

2009: Julie made bread from scratch to practice a dietary limitation

2010: Jodi and her family making shadow puppets at night (great electricity-free entertainment)

2010: Julie practiced changing a tire (no husbands allowed to help!)

2011: Jodi’s Sun Oven dinner failed (rainy day, boo)

2011: Julie’s little guy had fun testing out the “porta-potty” on sanitation practice day

2012: Jodi and her kids tested out a 3600 calorie bar (one of them loved it, the other HATED it)

2012: Julie’s Sun Oven cookies and quinoa were a success

Tips for the 2013 Challenge

Follow our Facebook page:
Go to http://facebook.com/foodstoragemadeeasy and make sure to “like” our page. Sometimes facebook doesn’t show all of the posts in your newsfeed so during the challenge days, make sure you bookmark that link directly and check back frequently. We love to have readers post pictures of THEIR adventures, but they are hard to see on the page. We’ll do our best to repost fun things so everyone can see them. Each day we’ll post a status where you can share your experiences that day. You don’t have to be a member of Facebook to read through these.

Follow us on Instagram
If you have an iPhone or iPad you can follow us on Instagram, our username is “foodstoragemadeeasy”. We will be posting LOTS of pictures there throughout the challenge week, and we would love if everyone could post their pics and use the hashtag #7daychallenge and tag us too. That way we can see your pics and all our readers can see what everyone else is doing there. It will be FUN! We will cover Instagram and how we will be using it in a little more detail later :)

Fill your gas tanks and stock your fridges
The challenge rules are no spending money, no eating out, no grocery shopping, etc. for the WHOLE WEEK. You do not want to get the email stating that the challenge is about to start on a day when your tank is EMPTY or you have zero milk in the house.

Print out recipes and other important information
Many of the days require you to do hard things and we don’t let you use a computer. Make sure you have some resources to help you if you can’t hop online to check a recipe or figure out how to use your Volcano Grill. Now would be a great time to put together your own recipe binder.

Get your family and friends involved!
We have SOOO much fun doing this together and getting our friends and family to join in too. We encourage you to have your friends/family sign up to participate, but at least post about what you are doing on your social media, blogs, etc. We all want our loved ones to be more prepared and this is a great way for them to see some of the reasons WHY you do what you do and it might teach them a little something too.

Review past challenges
Take a look at our “Why Food Storage” series to get an idea of the concepts that we will be practicing. We try to test ourselves on each of these five concepts of why you might be storing food. Then review some of the activities from the last four years. You can see what things you might want to brush up on before THIS year gets underway!
2012 7 DAY CHALLENGE Overview
2011 7 DAY CHALLENGE Overview
2010 7 DAY CHALLENGE Overview
2009 7 DAY CHALLENGE Overview

SIGN UP NOW

Let’s Talk About Rice

In BabyStep 5: Grains we give you a long list of grains which can/should be part of your food storage. We really have focused a lot on wheat as it is one of the most versatile grains and is really a staple of any “food storage diet”. However, today we want to go over some details on another very common grain that people often include in their storage … RICE!

Types of Rice

There are over 40,000 different varieties of rice, but people generally store only the most common ones. In general we recommend storing the type that your family prefers to eat, but there are some shelf life considerations with that.

Long, Medium, Short
Rice can be categorized by the kernel shape/size. Long rice is three times as long as wide and cooks up firm and fluffy. Medium rice is a little shorter than long grain and is soft, moist, and slightly sticky. Short rice is less than two times longer than it is wide and is very sticky. Specialty varieties include Arborio, Basmati, Della or Dellmont, Japanese premium, Jasmine, Toro, and Waxy. Info from the USU Extension Office

Brown vs White
Brown rice is considered a whole grain. The outer husk is removed but the bran and germ remain in tact. This provides a lot of fiber and allows the rice to retain it’s nutrients. Brown rice has a short shelf life (about 6 months) due to the oil content found in it, so it will go rancid quickly unless store in the fridge/freezer. There are MANY colors, shapes, and sizes of brown rice including long, medium, and short grains, basmati, red, purple, black and many more.

White rice is rice that has had the bran and germ removed and been completely milled and polished. Normally vitamins and minerals are added back in to improve the nutrient content of the food. White rice has a long shelf life so it is great for long term food storage.

Parboiled rice can be either white or brown. It is rice that has been soaked and steamed before the outer husk is removed. This allows many nutrients to leach into the kernels from the husk that you would be unable to eat otherwise. Parboiled white rice is healthier than regular white rice. It retains nutrients but still lacks the fiber from the bran that brown rice contains. Parboiled brown rice is the healthiest option of all since it gets the extra nutrients leached from the husk while also retaining the bran and germ.

Instant vs Non-Instant
Instant rice is simply rice that has been fully cooked and then dried before packaging. This allows it to have a much shorter cook time since it doesn’t have to be fully cooked again. According to the Whole Grains Council a study has been done showing that instant brown rice has equivalent nutritional value to regular brown rice. So if you find it more convenient to store instant rice versus regular rice, you don’t need to worry about any lost health benefits. Typically instant rice is more expensive than regular rice.

Shelf Life of Rice

White rice has a shelf life of up to 30 years if it is stored in a cool dry place sealed in a container with oxygen absorbers. If stored at higher temperatures it will still last for about ten years. Any added nutrients and flavors will be retained.

Brown rice from the store typically only lasts about 6-8 months due to the oil content in it. If you choose to include this in your food storage make sure you rotate it very aggressively. Commercial packaged instant brown rice designed for longer term storage can have a longer shelf life. Thrive Life has Instant Brown Rice with a 7 year shelf life. That is the longest we’ve ever seen for brown rice.

Uses of Rice

Most people know how to cook traditional meals with rice. It is great as a filler in soups and casseroles, as a side dish for meat/chicken dishes with sauces, spiced up for a delicious mexican side dish, or a staple of chinese food cooking. The one usage that many people don’t often think of is using it as rice flour. If you have a wheat grinder you can grind your rice kernels and make a fine flour that can be used in lots of different recipes. This is especially useful if you have a gluten allergy and need to use alternative flours. Here are a few of the recipes we’ve made: Rice Flour Crepes, Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies, and Cream Cheese and Jam Cookies (made with wonderflour which contains ground brown rice)

How to Cook Rice

If you are used to cooking instant rice, but you have decided to store regular rice since it is cheaper, you may realize you have a little trouble cooking it. Here are a few tips for you. A rice cooker can be helpful, but you will not be able to use it in a powerless emergency. Julie shares her secret to cooking perfect rice over on this blog post. Another great tool to use is a pressure cooker. We recommend getting a pressure cooker over a rice cooker since you can use it for SOOOO many other things. You can check out our favorite electric pressure cooker at this link. It won’t be useful in a powerless emergency but is great to practice on and helps you rotate through your rice easily.

Happy 5th Birthday to Food Storage Made Easy!

5

We passed our 5th blogiversary this summer and still kind of can’t believe we have been at this for 5 YEARS! It’s amazing how much changes in 5 years (like adding 4 more kids between the two of us), and how much we still have to learn. To celebrate this event, we wanted to say thank you to your our devoted and faithful readers with 3 PRETTY AWESOME surprises that we put together.

Has Food Storage Made Easy helped you? We would really appreciate if you shared some of these things with your friends and family who may be interested. Pin them, share links on facebook, or forward our monthly newsletter on. It helps us get new readers and be able to teach even more people about getting prepared, which we love! Thanks again for your support in walking this journey with us over the last five years :)

Alright, let’s get right to it. Here are the surprises we put together for YOU:

1
What do you get when you gather almost 300 blog posts over the course of 5 years? A Food Storage Encyclopedia is what you get. You won’t believe this until you see it! All of our most informative posts are listed on the Encyclopedia page and separated by categories. You will be amazed at how much faster you will be able to find things you are looking for and be well on your way to getting your Food Storage going.

EPREPNEW
We have been wanting to revamp our Emergency Preparedness Plan for the last 2 years! Well we finally got it together and made it happen. Download this plan and you will be guided on how to create an short term Emergency Preparedness Plan for your family! This version is much more organized and easier to use than our former excel version.

3
AUG10
With the Food Storage Made Easy ebook Binder, you’ll finally know how to build (and USE) your Food Storage. We walk you step by step through what to buy and how to use it including information, recipes, and checklists. Download your copy today and immediately start putting your binder together. This special pricing only happens 1 or 2 times a year so don’t miss out!

DON’T FORGET TO SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS SO THEY CAN CELEBRATE ALONG WITH US AND HAVE ACCESS TO THESE GREAT SURPRISES TOO!

17 WAYS TO USE YOUR WHEAT GRINDER

17-WAYS

Here is a great compilation of 17 recipes and ways to use your Wheat Grinder. Our favorite Wheat Grinder is the Wondermill. We sell it for the lowest price available online at our STORE. Enjoy these recipes and happy cooking!

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GRIND BEANS FOR BEAN FLOUR

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup
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Julie LOVES to make a healthy and cheap version of cream of chicken soup using just dry beans and chicken bouillon, it’s amazing!  See how she includes it in this delicious enchilada pie recipe.

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Basic White Sauce
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Jodi’s kids love macaroni and cheese of any variety.  She’s moved from Kraft Dinner, to butter/flour/milk white sauce, and now makes a great HEALTHIER bean flour white sauce .

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Bean Flour Gravy (or stew)
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Julie makes a mean (and low-fat) beef gravy using bean flour, and also uses a similar method as the base of her beef stew.  If you want all the flavor without all the fat, check it out.

View Recipe

 

MAKE INEXPENSIVE RICE FLOUR

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies
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This gluten-free, vegan treat is wonderful because although it is healthy, it is also delicious!  Julie’s favorite part is that she always has these ingredients on hand too, so it’s easy to whip up a batch.

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Rice Flour Crepes
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Crepes are a family favorite recipe in Jodi’s home.  She decided to be adventurous and try them with rice flour instead of wheat.  They turned out great and can be great for people with gluten intolerance.

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HOMEMADE MULTI-GRAIN MIXES

Ezekiel Bread
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Ezekiel bread was a challenge Julie took on after a reader sent her a recipe for it.  She researched it and found it to be a very interesting nutritional bread.  She tried it out and it tasted good too!

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Multi-Grain Pancakes
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Jodi and Julie’s cousin sent them this multi-grain pancake recipe after she made it and her kids raved about how good it was.  Wheat grinders make it so easy to  cook with multi-grain flours.

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GRIND POPCORN INTO CORNMEAL

Buttermilk Cornbread
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If you have ever had cornbread made from a box, believe me, you will never have it again once you’ve tasted this buttermilk cornbread made from fresh ground popcorn.  It’s divine.

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IHOP Corn Cakes
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IHOP has some wonderful varieties of pancakes, but some of them don’t stay forever.  When the corn cakes stopped being sold, Jodi knew she had to find a way to make them at home!

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MAKE WONDERFLOUR FOR BAKING

Cream Cheese and Jam Cookies
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It’s no secret that Jodi likes treats and Julie is the healthy one.  But these cookies are “healthy” because they use a whole grain flour instead of white flour but taste just like regular cookies!

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Whole Grain Banana Muffins
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Julie tried this recipe her friend sent her and was thrilled with the results. These yummy things don’t have any oil, or white sugar, or white flour in them.  She loves healthy food storage cooking!

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AND MANY MANY WHEAT RECIPES!

Our Favorite Bread Recipe
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After trying many many MANY bread recipes, we finally found the perfect one for us.  It uses simple ingredients and turns out wonderful every time.  This will be the last bread recipe you’ll ever try.

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Homemade Pizza
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We always like to claim that in an emergency if we could just make PIZZA, we could get through anything.  Well who knew that we would end up just loving to make it all the time since it’s so delicious!

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Lasagna Noodles
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Julie wanted to try this spinach lasagna recipe from Grandma Lori but she added a twist by using whole wheat flour as well.  No fancy pasta maker needed to create  fresh homemade noodles.

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Homemade Tortillas
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Julie makes some awesome homemade tortillas.  You can roll them out by hand (not so pretty) or use a tortilla press (beautiful round tortillas).  Her recipe is simple and oh so delicious.

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Delicious Cakes
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One Thanksgiving we did a cake experiment to see if our family could tell the difference between a regular cake and a “food storage” cake.   View the results of the experiment and the recipe.

View Recipe

Homemade Whole Wheat “Rhodes” Rolls
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Julie shares her secrets to making delicious homemade rolls that you can freeze and just pop out later for a quick and healthy dinner roll.  These are better than Rhodes rolls and 100% whole wheat!

View Recipe

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How to Make Omelets Freeze-Dried Style

Two years ago Julie and I won a trip to Cancun and we both brought our husbands and made a fun trip out of it. My husband and I fell in love with this breakfast place there that had the most amazing custom-made omelets. When we got home we had a little bit of an obsession with trying to recreate these omelets. (Our backyard chickens were still laying like champions so we had no shortage of eggs to try it out on every morning.)

The problem was that we kept running out of the fresh veggies needed for the omelets. One day I was really wanting one of the famous omelets but had no peppers or tomatoes in the house. So I ventured to the basement and pulled a few cans upstairs to try out. I then had the brilliant idea to also use freeze-dried cheese just to see if in an “emergency” I could still have my treasured breakfast.

Back Camera

Here is how I reconstituted the foods. I used freeze-dried green bell peppers and freeze dried tomato dices. I rehydrated them for just a couple of minutes before adding them into the omelet. I used freeze-dried cheddar cheese. I reconstituted it in a bowl full of water. This made it kind of squishy and hard to spread around. There are two other methods which work better which I’ll describe below. I sprinkled some of the cheese inside and topped the omelet with the rest. My omelet was DIVINE! Now if I really wanted to get crazy I could also try throwing in some freeze-dried ham, but I’m hesitant to open a full can of it because it has such a short open shelf life (but in an emergency I could have delicious ham in my omelet too!) I’d also like to try it with the scrambled egg mix some day just to see if it is as yummy (because I know not everyone has chickens).

Back Camera

Tips for Reconstituting Freeze-Dried Cheese

Best Method: (from Thrive Life’s Chef Todd)
1. Place 2 cups of THRIVE cheese in a glass bowl.
2. With a spoon, lightly stir cheese while drizzling 1/2 cup of cold water over the cheese. Stir continuously until all the water is incorporated into the cheese.
3. Water should just barely start to collect on the bottom of the glass bowl. This is a sign that the cheese has absorbed enough water.
4. Place cheese in a zip lock bag and store in refrigerator overnight or for several hours before use.

Note: Cheese will last up to 8 days in refrigerator. Continue to reconstitute cheese, as you need it, following these simple steps. Adjust quantity for individual needs.

Quick Method:
1. Place a thick layer of paper towels on a plate.
2. Pour dried cheese onto the paper towels.
3. Spray the cheese with a spray bottle and stir around with your finger.
4. Continue spraying and waiting a little bit, spraying and waiting.
5. Once water starts to pool under the paper towel, it should be pretty well hydrated. It may be slightly crunchy but should work fine in recipes for melting, etc.


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!


Pizza Casserole (Food Storage Style)

I don’t know about you, but some days I just see the same recipes going around Facebook and/or Pinterest over and over again. It’s like a conspiracy to try to get me to make something naughty. A couple of weeks ago this delicious looking pizza casserole was making the rounds:

pizza

I thought it looked easy and yummy but I was missing a few of the ingredients for it … so I decided to make an adventure of it and try making a food storage version. I have to say I was pretty thrilled with the results, and it was a winner with my kiddos. That doesn’t often happen when I’m trying new recipes. So here is MY version of the pizza casserole. Enjoy!

pizza-caasserole

Ingredients:
1 16 ounce package rotini pasta
2 c. freeze dried sausage crumbles
1/2 c. freeze dried green peppers
3/4 c. Thrive Tomato Sauce Powder
3 c. water
2-3 c. freeze dried mozzarella cheese
1 small package sliced pepperoni

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13 casserole dish. Cook rotini noodles until slightly underdone. While pasta is cooking, lightly brown the dried sausage crumbles (before reconstituting). Mix tomato sauce powder with water until smooth, add browned sausage and freeze-dried green peppers. They will rehydrate in the sauce so no need to do that beforehand. Combine the sauce and the noodles and pour into the casserole dish.

Lay freeze-dried cheese out on a plate covered with a paper towel. Spray it with water using a spray bottle until the cheese is fully hydrated and not crunchy any more. Sprinkle over the top of the noodle/sauce mixture. Top with pepperoni slices. Bake 20-25 minutes in the oven.

There you have it, an easy yummy dinner that could be made totally with shelf stable items. Who wouldn’t want “pizza” in an emergency? And this is a lot easier than grinding wheat to make homemade pizza dough ;)