Monthly Archives: May 2010

  • M-R-Easy!

    By Angie Sullivan

    Don’t pass up storing some of the tastiest, easiest food storage meals available!

    Our preparedness journey has recently focused on the lightweight and compact food bars. Well, there’s another easy preparedness food that you’re sure to enjoy. M.R.E.s or “Meals Ready to Eat” were originally created for the U.S. government in the 1970’s for the Space Program, Military, Forest Service, and FEMA. But, these meals have come a long way since they first debuted. They are ready to eat, delicious, and if stored in a cool spot, can sport up to a 10 year shelf life from manufacture date! (I know a group of people who ate a 23-year old Beef Stew MRE and it still tasted good!) The meals are packed in triple layer plastic/aluminum pouches that can be opened without any tools. The food is precooked, and sealed to neutralize bacteria so the food is shelf stable even at room temperature.

    So, what does this mean to you? It means you’ve just been introduced to the “fast food” of the preparedness world! When you first pick up a M.R.E., you will find it is packed in a small box which protects the meal and makes it easier to stack. Inside the box there is a dark pouch. Rip open the pouch and you’ve got your choice of amazing entrées! There is Chicken Pesto, Beef Enchilada, and Cheese Tortellini to name a few. Your entrée can be warmed by using an M.R.E. heater, dropping the pouch in hot water, or even leaving the pouch on a hot rock. Don’t want to wait for it to heat up? Many are tasty even at room temperature!

    With M.R.E.s you can forget the mess kit, the water for reconstitution, and the recipe book. The meals can be eaten straight from the pouch and you can even choose sides and desserts to go with your delicious main meals. Sides like Garlic Mashed Potatoes and desserts like Lemon Poppyseed Cake are comfort food favorites completely prepared and ready for your family to enjoy. They even have pouches of peanut butter and jelly for that picky toddler!

    So, don’t hesitate to try out the amazing M.R.E! They are perfect for “beefing up” your emergency kit food, but your food storage shelves will also benefit from these fast foods because they are an ideal one week, one month emergency food supply. Oh, and did you know that you can even purchase an Emergency Backup Meal that will include an entire M.R.E. meal along with the M.R.E. heater? Now, what could be M.R.Easier?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Passport to Preparednessd, angie sullivan

  • Want to store something that can be eaten in a boat, on a train, in the heat or pouring rain? No, not green eggs and ham! We’re talking Calorie Food Bars!

    We’ve spent a lot of time discussing food storage basics, but I wanted to take the time to let you know about a very simple food storage item that may come in handy in many situations, and especially as you prepare your cars and recreational vehicles for your summertime excursions. (Yep! Don’t forget about preparedness on the road!) They are commonly called Calorie Food Bars, and they are designed to offer quick energy and vitamins and minerals. They are an excellent addition to your car, boat, travel trailer, RV or emergency kit. Just open and eat!

    You might be thinking, “Why not just store a few granola bars in my car?” First of all, these food bars are higher in calories. Now, that doesn’t sound great for those of us wishing to lose a few inches, but in an emergency, calories are a critical unit of energy and finding a quick source of them is essential. Also, some Calorie Food Bars are designed to be non-thirst evoking. So, if you are trying to conserve that stored water, these bars won’t leave your mouth needlessly parched. In addition, Calorie Food Bars store well in a wide range of temperatures. They meet the standards of the U.S. Coast Guard, which basically means they can be left in your boat or car without spoiling in inclement and fluctuating weather. They are compact, vacuum sealed, and their thick foil packaging make them a smart choice for areas where storage is at a premium, or where lightweight options are preferred, such as school lockers, sports bags, or anywhere you wish to add an extra level of preparedness for your family.

    Manufacturers suggest you store a minimum of 3600 calories per person, giving you 1200 calories each day. It is best to divide the 1200 calories into 3- 400 calories meals. The food bars come divided into different caloric amounts and you can even get different flavors! Calorie food bars are designed for short term emergencies, and should be rotated approximately every 5 years.

    -  Angie Sullivan

    As you can see, this compact, reliable, and resilient food source is something you can definitely trust to help your family become more prepared away from home. So you CAN eat them in a boat, or on a train, despite the heat or pouring rain! You will like these Calories Bars, you will see…quick food storage, just trust me!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Passport to Preparednessd, angie sullivan

  • Your food storage pantry will not be complete without sugar, salt, and fats!

     

    We have a few more items to discuss on our journey through the basics of food storage. We have already learned about grains, legumes, garden seeds, and milk. The last three of the 7 basics are sugar, salt, and fat. Without these three vital ingredients, many of our food storage recipes would suffer from a serious lack of flavor and texture!

     

    Salt

    Salt is a staple in every kitchen. It is in virtually every recipe as salt influences the flavor of food. It enhances the natural flavors of grains, vegetables, and even fruits! It can deepen the flavor of desserts, and give extra oomph to a bland starch. If you have ever tasted a loaf of bread or other baked item where the salt was omitted, I’m sure you’ll agree it that the finished product left much to be desired! Salt has also been used for centuries as a preservative. In addition to being an integral part of most recipes, it is also a household staple in many other ways. Salt can be used as a cleaning abrasive, and when mixed with water it makes a brine which can be used to clean out foul smelling food containers and help make that greasy and stinky garbage disposal fresh again. Salt mixed into a paste can be used as toothpaste and as a scrub for the skin. When mixed with water as a mild solution, it can be a mouth gargle and eye wash. Salt is helpful in the laundry too, as it can freshen clothing and can be used to help remove persperation stains. I recently read in a magazine that sprinkling salt will keep ants out of the kitchen! Who knew that salt was such a versatile item? Also, make sure some of the salt you store is iodized because it provides a much needed micronutrient , iodine. Salt is a mineral so if properly stored it should last indefinitely.

     

    Sugar

    Storing sugar and honey will provide you with another recipe staple. Like salt, sugar enhances and develops the flavor of many of the basic foods that you will be storing. One of my favorite breakfast cereals is six grain rolled cereal, but without a pinch of salt and a healthy tablespoon of sugar, it wouldn’t appeal to me very much! Sugar is a simple carbohydrate and provides energy for the body. Honey is a wonderful storage item because it is a concentrated sugar, so you can use less than a refined sugar. Be aware that honey is not recommended for children under the age of 1 by most Pediatricians. Honey is a great addition to cereals, breads, and a drizzle on many of the basics makes them much more appealing. Don’t forget that along with white sugar and honey, you can also store brown sugar, which has a deeper flavor as it is a combination of white sugar and molasses. Like salt, sugar if properly stored should last indefinitely.

     

     

     

    Fats

    Living in a world were fats are considered the bad guys of the food world, it seems that storing oil or other fats isn’t very important. Well, in the context of food storage, fats are very important! Did you know that Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble, which means that they need fat to be digested, absorbed and used within the body? Fats are sources of essential fatty acids, another important dietary requirement. Though low fat diets are preferred, eliminating fat completely from the diet would be harmful to the body. In regards to food storage, fat is extremely important. It helps add flavor to foods, aids in the cooking process, and is an effective energy source. You can choose to store fats in oil form and shortening is also a good food storage item. Butter, margarine, and shortening powders are also available. Be mindful that liquid fats purchased at your local grocery store will need to be rotated every few years. Dehydrated products can be stored longer, especially if they are kept cool and dry. Despite the fact that many of us are diet conscious these days, please don’t neglect this important food storage item!

     

    As you can see, our basic pantry would simply be incomplete, and quite frankly, loose much of it’s palatability without the addition of these three essentials. So, please add them to your list because sugar, salt, and fats will go a long way in making everything taste better!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Storing Instant Non-fat Dried Milk will allow you to not only enjoy one of your favorite beverages, but will allow to you make a multitude of other delicious foods.

    Our journey continues through the basics of food storage, and our next item is a must-have at our home. With three young children, and most particularly a picky four year old as the caboose, we go through a lot of milk.Often, when she will eat nothing else, she’ll happily enjoy a sippy cup of milk. Luckily, milk provides many vitamins and minerals. When non-fat milk is served, it can also be a great source of protein without the fat.

    Are you skeptical about dried milk? Do you worry about the flavor, the storage, and quite frankly, how to use the stuff? Well, I’m here to calm your fears. Don’t be intimidated by instant milk any longer, grab a can and let’s get the most from milk.

    Did you know that Instant Non-fat Dried Milk can be stored for 20+ years? A recent study by researchers at Brigham Young University cited that even the “worst” sample of milk (stored for 29 years in a relatively high oxygen environment) was given a 63% acceptance rate for drinking in an emergency and a 75% acceptance rate for use in recipes(citation needed). You can feel confident that the milk you are storing, as long as it’s kept in a cool dry place and nitrogen packed, will serve you well for many years. But you don’t have to wait to try that milk.First of all, you are going to be pleasantly surprised by the taste of powdered milk. If mixed well in the blender or mixer pitcher then chilled, you will find that the taste is very close to the nonfat milk you purchase at your local grocery store. Besides being great for drinking, dried milk can be used to make other milk products. Did you know you can make buttermilk, yogurt, cottage cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and even whipped topping with your dried milk? It’s true, armed with some know-how and a few extra ingredients, all of these are possible with your food storage milk.

    Now, take a moment and think of all the recipes that call for milk. Just this weekend I made pancakes for my children, not realizing that my just add water pancake mix probably had dried milk in it. If you have a recipe that calls for milk, just add the powdered milk to the recipe, and then add the amount of water needed to reconstitute the milk. Imagine all the possibilities. You can create pudding mixes, cream soups, cheese sauces, gravies, and chowders with your food storage milk. Considering all the recipes I’d read involving powdered milk, I realized that this basic food storage item would definitely add flavor and variety to my arsenal of food storage options.

    So, don’t be intimidated by the powdered version of one of your favorite ingredients. You’ll enjoy the nutrition, flavor, storability, and most of all, theversatility of your dried milk now and in the future. Take advantage of the Food Storage Analyzer at [www.beprepared.com/analyzer] to help you decide how much you should store for your family.Rest assured that you can wear a milk mustache no matter the moment.

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • The recent flooding in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky caused me to wonder if we are all prepared for this type of natural disaster. So far, 22 people have lost their lives. According to FEMA, "Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states...Every state is at risk from this hazard."

    What Should I Do Before A Flood?

    How to Plan

    Nobody can stop a flood. But if you are faced with one, there are actions you can take to protect your family and keep your property losses to a minimum. The most important thing is to make sure your family is safe.

    Before a Flood

    • Keep a battery-powered radio tuned to a local station, and follow emergency instructions.
    • If the waters start to rise inside your house before you have evacuated, retreat to the second floor, the attic, and if necessary, the roof. Take dry clothing, a flashlight and a portable radio with you. Then, wait for help. Don't try to swim to safety; wait for rescuers to come to you.

    Kaito Voyager

    Buy Flood Insurance

    • One of the most important things that you can do to financially protect your home and family before a flood is to purchase a flood insurance policy.
    • You can obtain one through your insurance company or agent. Flood insurance is guaranteed through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Your homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
    • Don't wait until a flood is coming to purchase your policy. It normally takes 30 days after purchase for a flood insurance policy to go into effect.

    If time permits, here are other steps that you can take before the flood waters come

    • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary.
    • Move valuables such as photos, papers, anything irreplaceable, and needed clothing to upper floors or higher elevations.
    • Fill bathtubs, sinks and plastic soda bottles with clean water. If time permits, sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach. Rinse and then fill with clean water.
    • If time permits, bring outdoor possessions such as lawn furniture, grills and trash cans inside, or tie them down securely.

    What Should I Do During a Flood?

    Once The Flood Arrives

    • Do not drive through a flooded area. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else.
    • Do not walk through flooded areas. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
    • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires. Electrocution is another major source of deaths in floods. Electric current passes easily through water.
    • Look out for animals - especially snakes. Animals lose their homes in floods, too. They may seek shelter in yours.

    What Should I Do After A Flood?

    After The Flood

    • If your home, apartment or business has suffered damage, call the insurance company or agent who handles your flood insurance policy right away to file a claim.
    • Before entering a building, check for structural damage. Don't go in if there is any chance of the building collapsing.
    • Upon entering the building, do not use matches, cigarette lighters or any other open flames, since gas may be trapped inside. Instead, use a flashlight or a lightstick to light your way.
    • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
    • Flood waters can pick up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms and factories.

    8-12 Hour Lightsticks

    If your home has been flooded, protect your family's health by cleaning up your house right away. Throw out foods and medicines that may have come into contact with flood water.

    • Until local authorities proclaim your water supply to be safe, boil water for drinking and food preparation vigorously for five minutes before using.
    • Be careful walking around. After a flood, steps and floors are often slippery with mud and covered with debris, including nails and broken glass.
    • Take steps to reduce your risk of future floods. Make sure to follow local building codes and ordinances when rebuilding, and use flood-resistant materials and techniques to protect yourself and your property from future flood damage.

    Floods and flash floods occur within all 50 states and can be extremely dangerous. They are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters next to fire, so knowledge and preparation is extremely important and will help keep losses to a minimum.

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  • Great Grains

    We’ve taken some time to discuss wheat and beans, but we certainly couldn’t continue our preparedness journey without discussing some other great grains for our food storage pantry.

     

    Did you know that cereal grains provide more food energy worldwide than any other type of crop? They can add texture and variety and in their whole form, they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein.

    Rice

    Rice is often considered the most widely consumed grain on the planet. Did you know that two thirds of the world’s population eats rice as their staple food? It is also the third largest food crop! There are literally thousands of varieties of rice. The most common categories are long grain, medium grain, and short grain. Short grain sticks together when cooked, while long grain stays separate. Medium grain rice isn’t as common in the U.S and tends to have a stronger flavor similar to short grain with the texture of long grain. rice Most of the rice you find on the grocery store shelves is long grain. The less processed brown rice is more nutritious than white rice with a pleasant nutty flavor, but the higher fat content makes it harder to store long term. Rice is often used as a side dish but can also be used in casseroles, salads, as well as in soups and stews. Come to think of it, most recipes could benefit from a little rice on the side!

     

    Corn

    Corn or “maize” is the most widely cultivated crop in the U.S. Dried corn in food storage can be ground into a meal, which can be used in polenta or grits. If ground fine, it can be used to make corn bread or masa for tortillas and tamales. Popcorn can be popped for a snack, or ground into cornmeal.

     

    Rolled Oats

    Rolled oats are often called “old fashioned” oats and are familiar to most as the tried and true oatmeal breakfast cereal of our youth. (Pass the brown sugar please!) Quick oats have been rolled thinner so they will cook faster. You may also be familiar with the oatmeal packets that require just a little water and less than a minute in the microwave. Though they are not recommended for long term storage, they can be a smart addition to your 1-3 month food supply! Though oats are most commonly used as a porridge or cereal, don’t hesitate to add them to bread, cookies, and many of us use oats to extend our meat in meatloaf and meatballs.

     

    Barley

    Barley, or “pearled barley” in its most common form, is often used in soups and stews. It is nutty in flavor and can be used along with other grains for cereals and bread flours, though it isn’t often used alone as it’s low gluten content doesn’t create a good raised loaf. It can also be used in making a mild healthy drink.

     

    Also don’t forget to add these grains into the food storage analyzer (foodstorageanalyzer.com) and watch the nutrient levels for carbohydrates, protein, Iron, fiber and calcium begin to soar!

     

    As you stock your shelves for the future, don’t hesitate to purchase and experiment with some of these great grains. You may surprised by the variety, flavor, and texture they can add to your recipes!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness