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  • Get the Basics This Black Friday

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! I hope your day is full of food and family (and perhaps even some football). Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful, that's for certain, and there is so much to be grateful for! Your health, family, job, and yes, your personal preparedness. Be grateful for that! You deserve to feel happy and confident in your plans for the future.

    We want you to be as prepared as possible for whatever might come. This Black Friday (tomorrow!), we have loads of amazing deals that will help you be even more prepared for disasters, job loss, and any other unexpected emergency that might come your way.

    Head on over to beprepared.com starting at midnight tonight (Thanksgiving) to take advantage of all our amazing door busters and other killer deals. This is a fantastic way to continue preparing for the future. With prices so low, it’s much easier to stock up on gear and add to your emergency food storage without breaking the bank. And that right there is definitely something to be thankful for.

    Not sure what you need? Let’s start with the basics:



    Water is one of the most important aspects of survival. Your body can only survive three days without water. After that, all bets are off. If you’re not sure where to begin, I suggest taking a look at our emergency water options.



    Food is also important. Not only is it crucial to life, but it’s tasty and an enjoyable part of every day. Our freeze-dried food can be stored for up to 25 years, making it ideal for emergencies. But don’t stop there! It’s one of the easiest, most delicious options for your camping, hunting, and other outdoor trips. So if you’re looking for meal options for the next couple of decades, look no further.



    Happy Thanksgiving!Your outdoor gear is useful while camping, hiking, and otherwise being away from technology. But did you know that your outdoor gear can double as emergency gear? So even if you’re not into camping and getting lost in the woods for fun, having some extra gear on hand could prove quite useful should you be effected by a disaster. Even power outages and other minor emergencies can be made much easier by having alternative power sources, extra lights, and other essential gear.


    Of course, there’s a lot more to choose from than what’s listed here. But it’s Black Friday! You don’t have time to read lengthy reports about all our products on sale! Head on over to beprepared.com and take a look for yourself. I guarantee you’ll find something that catches your eye, and the price attached to it will make it that much better.


    Happy Thanksgiving! What are you most looking forward to this Black Friday?


    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Cheese Making 101: A Basic Guide

    Cheese Making 101: A Basic Guide

    Whether you’re a cheese connoisseur or just like to throw it in with your lasagna, homemade cheese will give you a delicious (not to mention inexpensive!) blend of flavors—exactly the way you want. And believe it or not, making your own homemade cheese is actually easier than you might think, it just takes some practice. Learn some of the basics of cheese making and how it can change the way you look at cheese.


    Why should I make my own cheese?

    By making your own cheese, you’re actually getting a lot more than just better taste. Check out five benefits to making your own cheese.

    1. No artificial ingredients. Commercially sold cheese tends to have added food coloring, growth hormones, pesticides, or GMO-heavy ingredients, according to Cultures for Health and FineCooking.com. When you make your own cheese, everything you put into it is completely natural, making it a healthier addition to your meals. And it never hurts to know exactly what you are putting into the food that you’ll be putting into your body.

    2. It’s inexpensive. Making your own cheese is a great way to try all the exotic varieties of cheese without breaking the bank. The only supplies you need are a heavy-bottomed pot, kitchen thermometer, cheesecloth, and some cultures (but we’ll get into that later).

     3. Fast and Easy. Once you learn how to make cheese, it’s a process that becomes fast and easy, no matter what type of cheese you decide to try. The basic process is the same for most cheeses, so no matter what you want to make, you’ll already have the basics down.

    4. Children love it. Most kids love cheese, and letting them be a part of making it is a great activity. It’s also a fun way to teach them about science and chemistry as you use bacteria, enzymes, and naturally formed acids to solidify and preserve milk protein, and fat.

    5. It’s delicious. Do I really need to say any more? No matter what flavor of cheese you choose to make, it’ll make a tasty addition to your meals and snacks.


    Basic Supplies

    Making cheese requires some basic supplies to help you get the best possible results. Make sure you have the following equipment and ingredients on hand before you start.


    Fresh Milk: The fresher the milk, the better. The best flavor of cheese comes from unpasteurized milk (although you’ll want to let it cure for 2-4 months if you’re worried about pathogens in it); however, you can also use pasteurized milk, whole milk, or skim milk. Using anything other than unpasteurized milk may require you to add extra ingredients (such as more Calcium Chloride in pasteurized milk to help it coagulate). Remember, the fresher and fattier the milk, the richer and better the taste. Note: Ultra-pasteurized milk is not recommended to make cheese because it has difficulty coagulating. It can, however, work for making yogurt.

    Cultures: Cultures are the bacteria or chemicals you add to acidify your milk and help the curing process. There are two types of cultures: Thermophilic and Mesophilic. The one you need will depend on the cheese you make. Thermophilic cultures are used for cheeses that are scalded to high temperatures. Mesophilic cultures are for those that don’t heat beyond 102° F.

    A lot of cultures are considered “mixed cultures” where there are multiple strains of bacteria included. The mix of the culture can change quickly due to temperature and storage conditions so it can be harder to know exactly what the mix of those cultures is. You can also use pure cultures (where there’s only one strain of bacteria present, making it easier to know exactly what bacteria is in the culture) from cheese-making supply houses.

    Rennet: Rennet is the enzyme that causes acidified milk to gel together and to form a “clean break”. A clean break is when the coagulated milk holds itself together when you probe the mixture with a table knife or finger. In order to get a clean break, the milk must be undisturbed during its gelling process. You can use rennet liquid, powder, or tablets.



    Heavy Stainless Steel Pot with Lid: It’s important to use a pot with a heavy bottom to help disperse the heat evenly without scorching the milk. You can also use a heavy enameled pot. Just make sure you don’t use an aluminum one which will react with the acidifiers (bacteria or inorganic chemicals that produce or become acids to help with the curing) used in the process.

    Measuring Cups: Have a variety of measuring cups and spoons on hand. Accurate measurements will help your cheese turn out better.

    Thermometer: While cooking and cooling your cheese, it’s important to keep an accurate temperature reading. The texture of your cheese depends on it and can change with a sudden shift in temperature, even by one degree.

    Large Whisk: This helps to mix the rennet and starter. Rennet is the enzyme that causes acidified milk to gel together. The starter is the bacteria or acidifiers you add to your milk so that the rennet will work and the curds will form.

    “Cheese Cloth”: Use a type of “cheese cloth” or white cotton fabric (such as a handkerchief or a non-terry sterilized dish towel) to drain the liquid whey proteins from the solid curds. If possible, avoid using what is sold at supermarkets as “cheese cloth”. Typically, this fabric is too flimsy and the open-weave material will let your curd slip through. If you do choose to use the supermarket’s cheese cloth, layer a few pieces at different angles to minimize curd loss.  

    Cheese Press:  This tool is used to apply pressure to fresh curds, exposing the milk protein and allowing the loose curds to bond with each other to form solid cheese. The cheese press is required if you plan on making a hard cheese (Parmesan, Romano, Cojita, aged Gouda, etc.). You can purchase a press from a cheese-making supply house, or make your own if you’re only making a pound or two.

    Wax: Waxing the outside of your cheese prevents it from molding or spoiling while it ages. Make sure to use a wax that will resist cracking (unlike Paraffin) so that your cheese doesn’t spoil or grow mold through the wax’s weak spots. Check out how to wax your cheese here.


    Basic Process

    Before beginning, prepare your kitchen by scrubbing your counters, stove, and sink thoroughly. Each type of cheese requires the growth of specific bacteria in the mixture of basic ingredients. Any unwanted bacteria that get into the mixture can ruin your batch of cheese.

    The process for each type of cheese (soft, semi-soft, hard, extra-hard) is fairly similar, with slight variations to make each cheese different. For example, the process for making Cheddar cheese and Colby cheese starts out the same, but the Colby cheese has an extra step where more water is added, giving you a moister cheese in the end.

    Learn more about cultures from CheeseMaking.com.

    Learn more about Rennet from CheeseMaking.com.

    Learn more about cheese-making and get more recipes at the sites below:











  • Spice Up Your Celebrations: Cajun Chicken and Pasta

    Cajun Chicken and Pasta

    Trying to impress your friends and family with your extraordinary cooking skills? Well, we have a recipe that will blow them away—and the best thing is you can make it anytime, even in an emergency, just using your food storage supplies. (And you don’t have to be a great cook!)

    A few of us here at the office decided to see if we could impress our co-workers with our cooking skills using this Cajun Chicken and Pasta recipe—because really, sometimes yummy food is just the best way to celebrate on an uneventful Tuesday.

    Cajun Chicken and Pasta (4 servings)

    2 cups Provident Pantry Freeze Dried White Chicken, reconstituted

    1 cup Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Red Bell Pepper, reconstituted

    ½ cup Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Celery, reconstituted

    2 TBS MyChoice Freeze Dried Green Onions, reconstituted

    ½ cup MyChoice Freeze Dried Mushroom Slices, reconstituted

    1 cup reconstituted MyChoice Instant Nonfat Dry Milk

    1 TBS Provident Pantry White Flour

    1 tsp Cajun seasoning, divided* (or add more to taste)

    2 TBS Clarified Butter or Red Feather Canned Butter

    ½ tsp MyChoice Basil

    ½ tsp Provident Pantry Iodized Salt

    3 cups cooked Provident Pantry Egg Noodle Pasta

    Parmesan cheese (optional)

    *You can make your own Cajun seasoning by blending ¼ tsp MyChoice Onion Powder, ¼ tsp MyChoice Garlic Powder, ¼ tsp paprika, ½ tsp Provident Pantry Iodized Salt, and ½ tsp cayenne pepper.

    1. Reconstitute first six ingredients. Drain and reserve excess water
    2. Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions.
    3. In skillet, sauté vegetables in butter and sprinkle with 1/3 of the Cajun seasoning.
    4. In a separate bowl, sprinkle chicken with a little of the Cajun seasoning as well. Add chicken into skillet with vegetables and toss to coat with butter and seasonings.
    5. Mix in basil.
    6. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir.
    7. Add milk and stir well until thickened. If there is any Cajun seasoning left, add it to the chicken mixture. Taste for seasoning; if it’s not spicy enough for you, add more Cajun seasoning to taste.
    8. If the sauce in the chicken mixture becomes too thick, thin it with a little of the reserved water.
    9. Fold chicken mixture into the cooked noodles.
    10. Add about ½ tsp of salt and mix well.
    11. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve hot.


    Here’s What the Emergency Essential’s Team Had to Say

    We tried to impress our co-workers with this savory meal and…it worked! After everyone had a taste, check out what they had to say:

    “This has just the right amount of spice. I never would’ve guessed in a million years that this was from food storage!”    --Scotty

    “Extremely flavorful with a slight kick. I would definitely eat this…”    --David

    “This is a great meal that’s easy and fast to make! It gives you an exotic food storage meal that’s different from the traditional food storage meals.”    --Angela

    “Delicious! It had just a little bit of a kick, but not too spicy. It was just enough to say ‘Mmmm!’ I never thought this would’ve come from food storage.”    --Becca

    “It was good—a little spicy for me—but good.”    --Sairey

    “I love the flavor and the spicy factor wasn’t too high so even though I’m a wuss, I could still handle it—Delicious!”    --Sarah

    Try out this delicious recipe with your food storage to make an impression at any celebration, or just for a flavorful meal at home. Come back and let us know what you think!

    Also check out these other delicious recipes that will have people coming back for more:

    Oriental Chicken Salad
    Food Storage Super Bowl Recipe Roundup
    Spicy Chicken
    Chicken A La King
    Linguini Chicken with Vegetables

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