• 3 Easy Food Storage Dinner Parties

     

    Hi, friends. Urban Girl, here.

    We’ve been experimenting with food storage more and more here in the Emergency Essentials Test Kitchen, and we hope you’ve been enjoying the recipes coming through in our emails (if you aren’t signed up for those, click on the blue button near the top of the blog to sign up!).

    I’ve been thinking about having a dinner party in the next couple of weeks, and I decided I want to kill two birds with one stone and have a food storage dinner party. So I’ve been looking through the recipes on BePrepared.com and I’ve come up with three dinner parties I could pull together. Here’s what I’m thinking (click each image to see the recipe):

     

    Mexican

    Appetizer: 7-layer Dip 

    Food storage 7 Layer Bean Dip

     

    Entrée: Beef Brisket Taco

    Mexican Food storage Dinner Party: Beef Brisket Taco

     

    Dessert: Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps

     Food Storage Dinner Party Dessert: Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps

     

    Italian

    Appetizer: Creamy Tuscan Tomato Soup

    Creamy Tuscan Tomato Soup

     

    Entrée: Linguini Chicken with Vegetables

    Linguini Chicken and Vegetables

     

    Dessert: Peach "Shortcake" with Strawberry Basil Sauce 

    Peach Shortcake with Strawberry Basil Sauce

     

     

     

    Southern-inspired

    Appetizer: Zucchini Corn Fritters

    Zucchini Corn Fritters

     

    Entrée: Cajun Chicken and Pasta

    Cajun Chicken and Pasta

     

    Dessert: Strawberry-Banana-Peach Cobbler

    Strawberry-Banana-Peach Cobbler

     

     

    And for drinks, I’ll make one of the delicious food storage mocktails we whipped up in the Test Kitchen. Yum!

     

    I’ve tried all these recipes, and I love every single one. So now I just have to decide which menu to use. I’m leaning toward the Southern-inspired dinner, but man… I really love 7-Layer Dip.

    Which of these dinner parties would you throw? Or would you go a different route for a food storage dinner party?

     

    Bon appetit!

     

    P.S. Need to get more familiar with food storage? Try some of these recipes out, or check out our Recipes page for other options. (We’ve also got a photo contest going on with our recipes… we’ve got a lot of recipes that need photos and we’d love to see what you come up with…Winning pictures will be featured and credited on our site, and if your photo is chosen you get to pick a free MyChoice can of food storage! Click here for the contest details.)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, Urban Girl, recipes, party

  • Do you feel like you’ve run out of room to store all your food storage?

    If so, we’ve got another Do It Yourself solution for you. For your next DIY project, consider making a canned food organizer. Now, I know you’ve probably seen a lot b of different DIY shelf organizers on the web that range from flipping wire shelves upside down in a closet to putting Lazy Susan shelves into a traditional pantry.

    So what makes this canned food organizer different than all the rest? It’s a shelf that slides out from the space between your fridge and the wall. It makes great use of wasted space.

    Instead of taking up extra space in your cabinets and cupboards, this shelf creates a totally new space to store your food and other supplies in. We found a tutorial from Mallory at classyclutter.net that shows you a step-by-step process for making a canned food organizer.

    DIY Food Storage Organizer

    Photo courtesy of ClassyClutter.net

     

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    9 – 1×4s cut to 29 1/2″ (top board, shelves, bottom board)

    2 – 1×4s, cut to 64″ (Side boards)

    1 – Thin board, cut to 31 1/2 x 64″ (Mallory used bead board/wainscoting board from Home Depot)

    4 – 1 ½-2″ Metal Casters that hold 50+ lbs (Mallory used 2″, 80lbs)

    7 – 7/16 dowels cut to 30″ long (lumber section of Home Depot)

    Handle or knob

    Paint and Brush, Roller, or Sprayer (if needed)

     

    Tools and Supplies:

    Drill

    7/16″ drill bit for drilling dowel holes

    Several wood screws (purchase a bulk-size bag or box to make sure you have enough)

    Several 2″ nails (purchase a bulk-size bag or box to make sure you have enough)

    Several finishing nails (purchase a bulk-size bag or box to make sure you have enough)

    Hammer

     

    Directions:

    Essentially you’re going to build a ladder-like structure and then put a back panel onto it so that all your food stays in place. Put the completed structure on wheels and put a handle on the side so that you can easily roll the shelving unit out.

    For step-by-step instructions and pictures, check out the article, “DIY Canned Food Organizer Tutorial—Build Your Own.” Or check out this “imgr” food storage shelf tutorial as an alternative technique for building this awesome shelf.

     

    Want more DIYs?

    Check out this list of 60+ DIY Kitchen Shelf projects from diyncrafts.com that can help you organize your cabinets, pots and pans, spices, and much more.

    If you’re looking for more “unconventional” places to store your emergency supplies, check out our “No Room for Supplies?” Pinterest Board and read our article, “Baby Steps: Make Room for your Food and Supply Storage.”

     

    Where do you store your store your food storage and emergency supplies?

     

    Sources

    http://www.classyclutter.net/2012/05/build-your-own-extra-storage-diy-canned-food-organizer.html (Tutorial)

    http://imgur.com/a/nqKrk (Tutorial)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, DIY

  • As you sit beside your pool, take a break from weeding your flourishing garden, or set the table for a BBQ this summer, put your feet up and enjoy a refreshing breeze of flavor with these fruity mocktails—(non-alcoholic cocktails) every one of which can be made with food storage. Just click the name of the drink to get to the recipe. Enjoy!

    Mocktails--a Better Way to use Your Freeze-Dried Fruit

    Strawberry Peach Mocktail

    With only two ingredients, it’s easy to enjoy the refreshing, sweet flavor of peaches and strawberries combined into one delicious drink.

    Strawberry Mango Mocktail

    This delicious combination of mango, strawberry, orange, honey, and lime will give you a unique burst of flavor with every sip. Perfect for warm summer days.

    Berry-Lime Water

    A subtle blend of berries and lime add a sweet flavor to your average glass of water—refreshing and great for a quick-to-make, cool drink.

    Lemonade & Berry Blend

    This tart drink combines the revitalizing flavor of lemons with a variety of berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries) and sparkling water to give your drink a little extra kick.

    Summer Fruit Daiquiri

    Refreshingly tart and sweet, the summer fruit daiquiri is a great way to add some favorite fruits into your day. Peaches, strawberries, mangos, and the flavors of orange and lemons come together to give you a taste you’ll crave all summer.

    Pina Colada Smoothie

    A delicious combination of pineapple, banana, honey, and vanilla will sweep you away to a tropical island. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this sweet treat.

     

    What’s your favorite refreshing summer drink?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, recipes, food storage recipes

  • 5 Kid-Friendly Food Storage Favorites

    If you have kids, don’t wait for an emergency to break out your food storage supply. Try rotating freeze-dried and dehydrated foods into your regular family meals. That way when you use your food storage in an emergency there won’t be as many complaints about a change in diet or a new variety of food choices.

    The last thing you want to deal with in an emergency is a meltdown because your children refuse to eat that strange food you’ve been storing in the basement…

    Here are 5 kid-friendly food storage favorites that have been tried and tested by our customers and their kids. These foods have gotten thumbs-up approval from 10-month-olds all the way up to teenagers.

     

    5 Kid-Friendly Food Storage Favorites

    1. Mountain House (Just-Add-Water) Meals-The great thing about Mountain House meals is that they start out as a home cooked meal before going through the freeze drying process. They’re using fresh ingredients your kids will love. Here are a couple of kid favorites:

    • Mountain House Noodles and Chicken-“Out of all the Mountain House entrees, this is the one my 5-year-old will eat any time we make it. We use the pouches when we go out backpacking or snowshoeing, and this is one of the better dishes. Sort of like chicken noodle soup. I recommend it!” – Fred
    • Mountain House Sweet and Sour Pork-“This is amazing! The flavors blend perfectly and have a wonderful taste. My super picky teenage son had three helpings with our first taste test! Great dinner and purchased numerous cans”- Cynthia
    • Mountain House Beef Stew-“My 10-month-old and I think this stuff is fantastic. We have reduced the amount of waste materials with traditional baby food (no more jars, foil, or plastic containers). The size and texture of the beef and vegetables are perfect for her. And the broth adds just the right balance of flavor for her palate. I strongly recommend this to all my friends.”- Connie

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Meals: Mountain House Beef Stew

    2. Provident Pantry Instant NonFat Dry Milk-Dry This is not your traditional dry milk. It has a rich, creamy taste. One customer even said she ran out of milk and put this into her kid’s breakfast cereal instead; they couldn’t tell the difference. Here’s what another mom had to say:

    • We were absolutely amazed at how delicious this milk is! We are BIG milk drinkers in our home, so we were a little reluctant to order powdered milk, but I ordered the “MyChoice” size for a trial, and was ecstatic at the taste! I gave some to my husband (who is extremely picky) to try, and he loved it! My kids,who are also very picky, loved it as well! This is a definite must-have for your food storage”-Darcy

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Favorites: Instant Nonfat Dry Milk

    3. MRE Stuffed French Toast-Great for a quick meal on the go, this MRE has been praised by our employees and customers alike. Check out what these customers thought of them:

    • “I loved this and so did my children. They loved it so much they have asked if I can order some for breakfast on the go. We had these while camping and they will definitely go on the "to buy" list again!”- Suzanne
    • “My daughter and I loved these. They’re very filling, and the syrup is good to be artificial. I recommend these to anyone with kids” - Travis

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Favorites: MRE Stuffed French Toast

    4. Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Strawberries -Great to eat straight out of the can or rehydrated, these strawberries are sweet and tangy. They’re excellent additions to desserts and cakes. Here’s how this grandma got her grandkids to try them:

    • “Purchased one #10 can to try. I put them in smaller containers for my grandchildren to snack on and I put them in their oatmeal. My little food critics loved them! I immediately ordered 12 more cans for my food storage. I rehydrated them in fruit juice, thickened it, and made fruit syrup for the pancakes. Lots of possibilities, want to try strawberry bread next.” - Linda

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Favorites: Freeze-Dried Strawberries

    5. Provident Pantry Scrambled Egg MixThis mom’s rendition of breakfast tortillas made her kids crazy about eating these scrambled eggs:

    • “Okay, so it’s not real scrambled eggs but my kids really like them. I bought it to try out and see if we could survive off of this and I think we will have no problem. My kids’ favorite way to eat these eggs is to combine it with freeze dried sausage and roll it up in a tortilla. I even served it to some friends this way to see if they could tell the difference and not one noticed. In fact, all the breakfast burritos were gone!” - Tammie

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Favorites: Scrambled Egg Mix

    Of course, not all kids will love every type of freeze-dried food, but check them out and find the ones perfect for your family. For more kid-friendly foods and snacks, check out our baking mixes, desserts and drinks, and meat, eggs, and dairy items.

    What types of food storage items do your kids love?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, kids

  • Often times, after you’ve devoured the contents of your favorite food storage cans, all that’s left in the bottom are small pieces and powder that comes from jostling the can over time. Compound butters are an easy way to add extra flavor to your favorite dishes and use up the little bit of extra powder you have left in your mostly-eaten food storage supply. Typically, compound butter is made from a mixture of butter with additional ingredients such as oils and herbs to give it a unique, tasty flavor.

    Check out these delicious, tried-and-tested, compound butters using your extra food storage (or come up with your own combinations):

    Blackberry Butter

    Food Storage Blackberry Butter Recipe

    Using Red Feather Butter, this sweet spread combines raspberries, blackberries, and honey into a delicious blend you’ll love. This butter is great on toast, cornbread, pancakes, waffles, or other dishes that need a hint of sweetness.

    Honey Cinnamon Butter

    Food Storage Honey Cinnamon Butter

    Honey and cinnamon come together to give you a sweet, mouthwatering flavor. Honey Cinnamon Butter is delicious on muffins, toast, bagels, cornbread, French toast, and more.

     

    Strawberry Honey Butter

    Food Storage Strawberry Honey Butter

    Using Provident Pantry Butter Powder, the flavors in this strawberry and honey butter will give you a sweet, refreshing taste of summertime and will add flair to your breakfasts, brunches, and desserts. It’s great to use on cornbread, toast, scones, biscuits, popovers, pancakes, and French toast.

     

    Basil Garlic Butter

    Food Storage Basil Garlic Butter

    Unlike the sweet butters above, this savory Basil Garlic Butter is perfect to eat for lunch or dinner. This appetizing blend of herbs and green onions helps you create a variety of unforgettable sides to go with any meal. Use it on French bread or homemade bread using Provident Pantry White Bread Roll and Scone Mix and serve with a salad or pasta.

     

    Do you use flavored butters? What other ways do you use the little bit of powder from the bottom of your food storage cans?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, recipes, food storage recipes

  •  Setting Preparedness Goals

    “Getting Prepared” is a worthy goal in and of itself, but can be a little bit nebulous. How do you know when you’re done? Do you have a way to be sure you covered all your bases?

    There’s one easy way to be sure you get everything done that you need to do without getting burned out: Set preparedness goals. Here are four good reasons you should:

    Track  your progress

    Setting preparedness goals is a great way to see how much progress you’re making in a given time period. If you set time-specific goals, even better. Keep your goals all in one place, and sort them by preparedness category. Assign a “due date,” and as you achieve them, check off the box, knowing you’ve got one more item, concept, or skill under your belt.

    Stay focused on the most important needs first

    It’s easy to get sidetracked in your preparedness efforts—everything can seem like “the most important” based on what’s going on in the world, the things you’ve already started working on, and things your neighbors, friends, or others tell you to do. Making goals will help you focus on what will meet your needs. Let your neighbors focus on their own needs, and everyone comes out ahead.

    Pace Yourself

    Working on one or two goals at a time keeps you from running around like a crazy person, doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, while somehow still feeling like you didn’t make any progress at the end of the day (week, month, etc.).

    Consistently working on the same single goal (or two) will allow you to keep up your momentum without getting burned out and throwing in the towel.

    Enjoy the Accomplishment

    This is a biggie one—especially if you’re the type that likes to check things off your list. Setting manageable goals and checking them off your list can give you that boost of motivation to keep building on the supplies and the skills you already have.

    Get the Most Out of Your Goals

    There are a few things you can go to set yourself up for success in achieving your preparedness goals:

    1)      Figure out your preparedness needs and priorities first. This will keep your goals focused and relevant to what you want to accomplish.

    2)      Write them down. This is crucial. Have a preparedness binder? Stick this in the very front, and categorize your goals so you can easily see how your efforts are preparing you to meet your needs and face certain challenges.

    No preparedness binder? Keep your goals posted in your storage room near your supplies, or keep a document on your computer, tablet, or phone.

    3)      Make yourself accountable for your goals by sharing them with family or friends who are also interested in preparedness, survival, or homesteading (or all of the above). Friends and neighbors can provide additional ideas, help, and motivation.

    4)      Set timelines for each goal—and be realistic. If your budget won’t allow you to buy a year supply of food at once, don’t set a short-term goal to get a year’s worth of food. Make that a long-term goal, and work on a week supply or a month supply first. If, however, you’re too generous with the timeline, you may lose motivation to keep working toward your goal. So strike a balance, and don’t be a perfectionist about it.

    5)      Make the goals specific enough that you’ll know when you’ve accomplished them. If you find yourself checking off a goal and saying, “Well, except for…,” then it might be best to create two or more related goals.

    Remember to Have Fun!

    Enjoy the process of getting prepared—if you’re feeling burned out, alternate “have to” goals with “want to” goals to keep your interest and your motivation high. It might be boring to chop logs into firewood, but if you follow that with an evening of cooking delicious meals over a campfire or a backyard fire pit, you’ll remember the benefits of all your hard work—and practice a useful survival skill at the same time.

     

    So, what’s next on your list of survival goals?

     

    --Urban Girl.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, Emergency plan, emergency preparedness

  • Aquaponics 

    Photo Courtesy of Backyard Aquaponics

    What is Aquaponics and why should you incorporate it into your preparedness plans?

    Aquaponics is the practice of raising fish and vegetables together in a symbiotic relationship. In other words, it is the practice of raising fish in a tank and using the fish waste to fertilize the plants. The way it works is the water from the fish tank is pumped through the grow beds, where the beneficial bacteria convert the ammonia from the fish water into nitrites and then into nitrates that the plants feed on. The plants, in turn, filter out the ammonia, which is harmful to the fish; the water is then pumped back into the tank as clean, aerated water.

    Aquaponics can be done on any scale from a small aquarium with just a few goldfish and herbs for one person, to a large commercial greenhouse producing enough fish and vegetables for an entire community. So whether you are in a small apartment or a greenhouse setting, Aquaponics can be done.

    Why would I consider Aquaponics?

    It is very simple; any additional FRESH food you can put into your diet—now or in an emergency—will help your mood, provide great nutrition, and give you a feeling of accomplishment. Don't get me wrong—having a supply of storage foods is your best bet to survive an emergency. But in an extended emergency, not having to use up all of your supplies, or accidentally running out of them, is crucial.What do you do when they are gone? Being self-sufficient in growing your own food and supplying your own meat is an excellent back up plan. Preserving food that you have grown yourself is also a great way to know exactly what is in your meals. And, I might add, it is a wonderful activity to get the whole family involved in.

    Most Aquaponics setups are very simple and fairly low-cost to make. With a simple greenhouse or indoor unit, you can grow fresh vegetables and fish for your table year round in even the harshest environments. The great thing about Aquaponics systems is that they are essentially self-sustaining. Other than an occasional topping off with water to replace what’s lost through evaporation, you don't have a lot of upkeep. Also, depending on the type of fish you use you can feed some of the vegetable waste to them. Most materials for construction can be salvaged practically free (if not completely free).

    I will be building a mid-size system in the following weeks to demonstrate how Aquaponics works. I will provide photos and construction techniques to help you along if you choose to try your hand at it. Mind you, I am just starting out myself, so what mistakes I make will be documented so you don't do the same. I will take this from construction to first harvest of a crop.

     

    --Kevin, OK (Guest Blogger and EE Customer)

     

    Sources & Additional Information:

    http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/guide-to-aquaponics/what-is-aquaponics/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: gardening, preserving

  • Recent Earthquakes in California cause people to prepare

    Since leaving Southern California a few years ago, I’ve been missing fresh avocado and Disneyland something fierce. One thing I haven’t missed? Earthquakes. I was reminded of how much I didn’t miss them when friends started reporting their experiences online with the recent 6.7 shaker.

    While the injury count is encouraging (none), the New York Times points to an important side effect: “For Californians, 2 Quakes Put Preparedness Back on the Map.” According to the article, the relatively gentle reminders lately have reminded a complacent community of the real and imminent danger of larger quakes. In fact, more than just encouraging residents to store water and practice earthquake safety, LA’s mayor is working with a prominent seismologist to overhaul the city’s unsound buildings and shore up its water and communications infrastructure.

    The short-term takeaway: events like this remind us of the importance of earthquake preparation. Is my house up to code? Have I stored food and water? Do I have ways to communicate with family or rescuers if phone towers are knocked out? These are important questions to answer, and you can find a thorough range of preparation resources in our post, “How to Prepare for an Earthquake.”

    There is, however, an even scarier lesson at work here. Angelinos certainly aren’t exclusively guilty of this, but the situation is a powerful reminder of how quickly we become complacent in our preparations. L.A.’s expert seismologist Lucille M. Jones calls the last 17 years “the quietest time we have ever seen,” in terms of seismic activity—but that’s barely a generation away from the lethal Northridge quake!

    A long stint without a disaster accomplishes two potentially fatal things. First, it tips preparedness off the radar of our consciousness. And second, it increases the likelihood of another disaster (for example, if experts predict my neighborhood will flood every ten years, and it’s been nine…). This principle really hits home for me. I said I was relieved to be away from the California fault lines, but experts have been predicting “The Big One,” a 9+ point mega-quake, here in my own Pacific Northwest for ages. The last one was in 1700. We’re long overdue, and we’re nowhere as prepared as Southern California!

     

    Whether it’s earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, or floods in your neck of the woods (and, let’s be honest, it’s never just one), don’t let a calm spell fool you. Follow LA county’s lead and take care of the problem before things get even dicier. Start here, and let us know how else we can help you!

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, natural disaster, Earthquake

  • Keeping Your Head Above Water with Flood Insurance

    Here’s a fun little pop quiz from FloodSmart.gov.

    True or False?

    • In the last five years, all fifty states have experienced some level of flooding.
    • Everyone lives in a flood zone.
    • Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover floods.

    If you answered “true” to all of the above, you get a gold star. And those aren’t even the scariest flood-related facts from the National Flood Insurance Program’s official site. Even more persuasive are the numbers, like $42,000(average flood insurance claim),4% (the interest rate on a federal disaster assistance loan, the typical relief source for the uninsured), and 1/3 (the fraction of flood disaster relief recipients who live outside high risk areas).

    Flooding stands in its own category of natural disasters, as it’s commonly an effect, rather than a cause. That means that it’s usually paired with something else disastrous—a result of hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, even avalanches. That makes floods dangerous, expensive, and sneaky.

    All of this is why the federal government has put together this super helpful site. Because so few private insurers offer flood insurance (read more about that here), the NFIP was born to help fill the gap. Here’s a quick tour of what FloodSmart.gov offers and why you should take a peek, whether or not you live on a flood plain.

    • Regularly updated flood maps, complete with helpful designations and explanations. Find out whether you live in a high, low, or undetermined risk area and what each of those categories actually means. For example, a high risk area is one where you have a 1 in 4 risk of flooding in the course of a 30 year mortgage. Good to know!
    • Interactive damage cost calculator. Just pick a sample home size and the level of the flood—anywhere from an inch to four feet—and this handy graphic will show you the approximate cost of any flood. Try entering the smallest square footage and the shallowest flood, and prepare to have your mind blown.
    • All about residential coverage. Whether you own or rent your home, look here to find out what’s covered, how much you can expect to pay, and what steps to take to find coverage—including a neat little agent locator that lets you search by zip code. My first try brought up a well-known insurance agent in my own neighborhood!

     

    Flooding and flash flooding can happen during any season of the year. And because most policies require at least 30 days to take effect, the best time to look into flood insurance is always now!

    - Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: floods, flooding

  • When Lightning Strikes will you be prepared?

    According to Time magazine’s online newsfeed, the US Geological Survey has  published a new map of the United States. Broken down by county, and based on data from 1995 to 2009, this map shows the relative rate of lightning strikes across the nation. As the headline suggests, “You Have the Highest Chance of Getting Struck” in the darker red areas, which appear concentrated in—but not exclusive to—the Northeast and Southwest US. Estimated averages range from 50 to 200 fatalities each year from lightning strikes, but even a non-fatal lightning strike can be traumatic and cause injuries.

    I know at this time of year, most of us are more worried about rain choking our gutters. While it’s true that summer poses a greater threat of lightning striking, any time is a good time to inform and prepare ourselves. (And if you think lightning won’t strike at the end of winter, check out this unbelievable video  from Lexington, KY, that shows 11 strikes in one minute!)

    We’ve written about lightning before, once to publicize Lightning Awareness Week  last June and a more thorough article  later that summer, with loads of links and resources. Those are great places to start—especially if you live in one of the areas highlighted in the USGS’s new map!

    Want a bit more reading? WikiHow has a great little eight step list with pictures, titled (appropriately) “How To Avoid Getting Hit By Lightning”. And ScienceDaily.com  takes a medical view of the phenomenon, offering an ER doctor’s perspective on what happens when someone is struck by lightning and what you can do to help.

    Don’t let the stormy season creep up on you. No matter how chilly or beautiful it is in your area right now, be prepared for any weather disaster!

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: storms, lightning, thunderstorms

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