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  • Baby Steps: Plan a Food Storage Menu and Pick up a New Skill

    Baby Step 1: Plan a Food Storage Menu

    Not sure what foods to buy and store for your food storage supply? Here’s a helpful hint: if you don’t know what to store, try making a weekly or monthly food storage menu that includes your favorite family meals.

    According to Leslie Probert, author of Food Storage in a Nutshell, if you plan a month’s worth of meals and then multiply it by 12, you’ll know exactly what you’ll need to buy to sustain your family for a year on food storage. So here are 4 baby steps on how to get started on your food storage menu.

    Make a list of your favorite meals: Look at the recipes and ingredients for each of these meals and pull out your Emergency Essentials catalog or go online to beprepared.com. Search for the ingredients to make each of these meals out of our large selection of freeze-dried and dehydrated foods. Write these meals down on a calendar to keep track of them. You can use our Food Storage Menu Planner to keep track of your shopping list, monthly meal calendars, and food storage inventory. Just click on the picture below and start planning!

     Food Storage Menu Planner



    Create a short-term storage supply: Since not all food items can be preserved long-term, you may have to think about ways to change the recipes so that you can use food storage products. You may also want to think about creating a [short-term food storage] supply that includes items like vegetable oil, brown rice, and peanut butter. You can rotate these items regularly so that you can have them on hand if you’re in an emergency situation.

    Purchase your supplies:  You can gradually add supplies to your food storage, or you can get it all at once (year supply combos work well for this option). It’s up to you—do what works best for your situation. But keep in mind that it’s recommended to start with the basics—grains, legumes, dry milk, sugar, salt, oil, and garden seeds so that you can have the basic supplies to make a number of meals.

    Start Cooking:  Once you’ve purchased your supplies, start cooking with them to test out meals. This will not only show you what needs to be adjusted to make the recipes work, but it will also help your family to become familiar with eating freeze-dried and dehydrated foods before an emergency hits.



    Baby Step 2: Try a New Food Storage Recipe or Technique

    To go along with our food storage theme, consider learning how to cook with a food storage item that you are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable cooking. One item that may seem difficult to cook is wheat. Here are some resources to get you started if you want to learn how to cook with wheat:

    Wheat Cookin’ Made Easy (DVD)

    The Amazing Wheat Book

    The Working with Wheat Combo

    The Easiest Way to Use Wheat

    Also, Food Storage in a Nutshell provides a very good list of the best ways to cook with freeze-dried and dehydrated foods so that you can preserve the nutrients in your food storage meals.

    Stay tuned for our Baby Steps: Halloween Safety and DIY Costumes coming up later this week!


  • Valentine's Day Menus: Avoid a Dinner Disaster

    If you haven’t got your ducks in a row for your Valentine's Day dinner yet, don’t worry—we’ve got an Anti-Disaster Valentine’s Menu for you. If you've got the following food storage items in your prepared pantry you in luck! Not only is the food going to be delicious, but you won’t have to spend the rest of today frantically chopping, peeling, dicing, and who knows what to prepare the food. We've even got two menu options for you. Check ‘em out:


    Menu 1- Veggie frittata, green salad, and vanilla ice cream with an apricot and strawberry compote.

    Treat your sweetie (or your sweet family) to a delicious Food Storage Veggie Frittata and some green salad; then finish with some vanilla ice cream smothered with a tangy and sweet compote.

    Maybe you’re not familiar with frittata and compote, so let’s get down to the nitty gritty: a frittata is basically an omelet that’s baked instead of cooked on the stovetop, and a compote is basically fruit that is mixed with sugar, then cooked on the stovetop until the fruit is stewed and the fruit juice and sugar have created a sweet syrup (translation= it’s awesome, and you want it on your ice cream).



    Veggie Frittata (makes 4 servings)

    Preheat your oven to broil on low.

    Combine all the vegetables in a medium bowl and add enough water to completely cover them. While they are reconstituting, mix up the eggs and have them ready. When the vegetables are tender, drain them well and add them to the egg mix. Add the cheddar (do not reconstitute). Mix all the ingredients well, and pour into a cast iron (or other oven-ready) skillet.

    Cook over medium heat until the bottom of the frittata is set, then place the skillet under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until fully set and golden on top. Watch closely so it doesn't burn!

    Note: you can also cook the frittata entirely in the oven, without using the stovetop. Just preheat the oven to 350 F, and place the skillet into the oven. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until the frittata is just set in the center. 

    Fruit Compote Ice Cream Topping (makes 4 servings)

    In a medium bowl, reconstitute the fruit, then drain.

    Add fruit and a small amount of sugar to a medium saucepan. Stir to mix well. Stir continually until the fruit has stewed and the juices have combined with the sugar to create a syrupy-looking liquid. Adjust the amount of water and sugar as needed to get your preferred consistency.

    Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly (or completely if you prefer).

    Serve over ice cream. Garnish with crushed vanilla cookies (optional). 


    Menu 2 - Pork Chops, green salad, and a fudgy brownie sundae with peanut butter sauce.

    Veggie frittata not your style? Looking for something with a little more… well, frankly, more meat? Check out these variations you can use to make the Mountain House Pork Chops (which, I’ll be honest, I loved, and I’m not usually a big fan of pork in general).

    Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Chops

    Option 1)     Reconstitute the pork chops as directed—and treat them as you would raw meat.

    Once they’re ready to cook, heat your pan on the stove top and add some oil to prevent the chops from sticking. Sprinkle the chops with salt, pepper, and brown sugar on top, and place top-side down into the pan. Sprinkle again with salt, pepper, and brown sugar before turning. The sugar will give the pork chops a nice hint of sweetness and (even more important, in my opinion) a gorgeous caramelized color.

    Option 2)     Follow the directions above.

    In addition to the brown sugar, add some reconstituted freeze-dried raspberries to the top of the pork chop after it has been turned. (You can sweeten the raspberries if you like—I prefer the contrast of the sweet brown sugar glaze on the pork chop against the tangy raspberries).

    If you don’t already have the Mountain House Pork Chops, you should snag some while they’re on sale this month. There are limited quantities, so they may sell out any time. And believe me… if a nice pork chop is comfort food to you, then you want these in your food storage.


    Fudgy Brownie Sundae with Peanut Butter Sauce

    How can you go wrong with chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter together? You can’t. Everything about this combination is right—like you and your Valentine.

    There are two ways to make this dessert happen. And they’re both from food storage. (Except the ice cream, although we do sell that.)

    Option 1: No baking required

    To make the Peanut Butter sauce, just reconstitute the Peanut Butter powder so it’s thinner than you would normally make it for spreading. Add vanilla and sugar to taste, and pour over the brownie and ice cream.

    Option 2: Some baking required (a.k.a., hot, gooey brownies fresh from the oven for your sundae. Mmmm…)

    Make the brownies according to the directions. You could also reconstitute a bit of extra Peanut Butter powder and drop it into the brownie batter by the spoonful, then swirl, back, and serve with ice cream and sauce on top (if you want a double punch of peanut butter.)


    We hope these recipes can help you avoid a Valentine's Day disaster! Enjoy!




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