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  • Mountain House Review (Part 1): 3 Meals from the Classic Assortment Bucket

    I’m not a chef. I’m more of a short-order cook. In my family of seven, six have dietary restriction. Food allergies include milk products, tree nuts, wheat, corn, eggs, and soy, in varying degrees of severity. I also have an autistic son who, until last year, ate fewer than 10 foods, and a special needs daughter with weak musculature who struggles with hard-to-chew foods.

    When I find a food that most family members like and can eat, it’s lovely.  It’s even better when it cooks in less than 30 minutes. And it’s a massive bonus when my kids can make it themselves. Meal pouches from the Mountain House® Classic Assortment (12 pouches) (SKU: FC B395) meet all three qualifications. We tried three of the six types of meals. I enthusiastically recommend all three.


    Lasagna with Meat Sauce

    mh-lasagna-pouch Mountain House ReviewMy kids first requested the Lasagna with Meat Sauce. We used two packages. Each package said it served 2.5 people. When we used it as a main dish, we found it served more. Six of us ate, and we had leftovers. Our side dish was Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn with Butter and Salt (SKU: FN C101)

    “It tasted superb,” my 9-year-old said.

    I don’t have much experience with freeze-dried food, so I followed the package directions exactly. (We didn’t always do so; more on that later.) After I added two cups of boiling water to the pouch and stirred, I expected everything to mush together in a (flavorful) blob. It didn’t. The texture was reminiscent of skillet lasagna, and the ingredients were distinct.

    My 3-year-old, nicknamed “the little carnivore,” ate the meat and left the noodles. My special needs daughter ate the noodles and left the meat. Both requested multiple helpings.

    The meat sauce was thick with a cheesy, mildly spicy flavor. (If you like a strong flavor, you might want to add spices.)

    “I think it should have less sauce, because it got all over me,” my 9-year-old joked.

    It contains dairy and wheat products.


    Granola with Milk and Blueberries

    mh-granola-with-milk-and-blueberries-pouch Mountain House ReviewThe package says the Granola with Milk and Blueberries serves two. It depends on the two. My 9-year-old, who made it herself, ate the whole pouch.  And she doesn’t normally like fruit.

    The directions call for ½ cup of cold water. When my daughter made it, she said it was “too liquid-y.” The pouch says you can add less water for thicker granola. The second time we made it, we started with 1/3 cup of water and added a bit more as needed.

    The granola contains milk, soy, wheat and coconut.

    I also tried the granola pouch as a streusel topping for blueberry muffins, adapting a Betty Crocker recipe. It enhanced the muffins by adding a bit of crunch and cinnamon flavor.


    Streusel-topped Blueberry Muffins


    Streusel Topping

    One packet (two servings) Mountain House Granola with Milk and Blueberries, prepared.



    ¾ cup milk

    ¼ cup vegetable oil

    1 egg

    2 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour

    ½ cup granulated sugar

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 cup fresh, canned (drained) or frozen blueberries



    Heat oven to 400°F. Line 12 regular-size muffin cups with paper baking cups, or spray bottoms of cups with cooking spray.

    In large bowl, beat milk, oil and egg with fork or wire whisk until blended. Add 2 cups flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder and salt all at once; stir just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Gently stir in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle each with about 1 tablespoon streusel.

    Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. If muffins were baked in paper baking cups, immediately remove from pan to cooling rack. If muffins were baked in sprayed pan, leave in pan about 5 minutes, then remove from pan to cooling rack. Serve warm or cooled.


    Beef Stew

    mh-beef-stew-pouch Mountain House ReviewI was at the doctor and my 13-year-old was babysitting. My doctor appointment ran late, so my 9-year old decided to make dinner. She went to the Mountain House bucket, opened a package of Beef Stew and added 2 cups of water. Unfortunately, she didn’t read the directions to boil the water first. She put the mixture in a saucepan, and we heated it over the stove. It still came out great.

    At first glance, there didn’t seem to be that much beef in the stew. However, the beef flavor came through in every bite. It was thick enough that we served it with toast.

    Even though it tasted really good, it was not the most appetizing-looking food on the planet. So imagine my surprise when my picky, autistic, 5-year-old ate two full helpings and asked for more. This one’s a keeper.

    It contains soy and wheat.


    Other notes: The Mountain House packets contain my favorite “Best if used by” label: July 2046. Here’s one food storage item you won’t have to rotate.

    Make sure you store water as well as food. Ready.gov recommends storing a gallon per person per day for three days.

    I will review the other three meals in the Mountain House Classic Meal Assortment® in my next post.



    Editor’s note: While the food in the Mountain House® Classic Assortment comes in pouches, these meals are also available in #10 cans.


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  • North Carolina Floods at Record Levels Following Hurricane Matthew

    flooded-street-in-nc-fema-photo North Carolina Floods North Carolina Floods - Photo courtesy of FEMA

    Hurricane Matthew brought torrential rain to the Southeast and, days later, flooding is still as high as ever. In Lumberton, N.C., the flood waters stretch on for 3 miles down certain streets. Princeville, N.C. was devastated by Hurricane Floyd back in 1999; today those memories come flooding back as water levels rise to heights not seen since Floyd.

    “We’re going to have to rebuild a town,” said Princeville’s mayor.

    The worst, however, is likely over, although that doesn’t necessarily mean the flooding will be done quickly. Many of the rivers in North Carolina are still cresting at record-breaking heights, and although the water levels should be dropping soon, major flooding is remains likely for many days. Fortunately, there is no rain forecast in the near future.

    Hurricane Matthew’s destructive wind and storms came and went, but the lasting effects linger on. Even those out of the path of the storm are experiencing heavy flooding. In Georgia, for example, many people were told that because they didn’t live in a flood plain, they didn’t need flood insurance.

    How wrong they were.

    Despite living in an area not known for flooding, countless people lost tens of thousands of dollars due to flood damage. The thing about disasters is, you never can tell when one will affect you. Those affected by floods in a non-flood plain certainly weren’t expecting it. They were even out of range of the hurricane.

    When preparing for disaster, it’s wise to prepare for every scenario. Sure, some areas can rule out certain disasters, such as a hurricane hitting Utah, but what about tornadoes? Yes, they are rare, but just recently Utah experienced three tornadoes in two days. Rare doesn’t mean impossible, and being prepared for all possibilities is essential for bouncing back after a crisis.


    Disaster_Blog_Banner North Carolina Floods

  • Lingering Drought (and Not Just in California)

    Step aside, California; you’re not the only one dealing with drought in this country.

    The entire state of Alabama is under some sort of drought condition, ranging from abnormally dry to exceptional drought. The last time the whole of Alabama faced drought conditions was back in 2011.

    nj-drought-monitor-comparison Lingering DroughtBut it’s not just Alabama. New Jersey is also drying up, and dry weather looks to be on the docket for a while yet. While not as bad as Alabama or California (can anywhere be as bad as California?), severe drought is creeping in along the Northeast. Lack of rain and snow in 2016 is a large factor in these drought conditions.

    While Georgia isn’t completely parched, it is quite dry in many areas. In fact, at the beginning of the 2016 calendar year, there wasn’t even a trace of moderate drought. Now there’s plenty of moderate, severe, extreme, and even exceptional drought conditions.

    But wait! There’s more! Mississippi is also suffering. A handful of counties are afflicted with extreme drought, while the majority is facing moderate to severe drought. About a third of the state is “just” abnormally dry. Only two counties are unaffected by drought conditions. In all, Georgia’s farmers are really starting to feel it.

    Of course, California isn’t doing so great, either.

    As a nation, there are a lot of parched states. IN fact, there are only a select few that don’t have any drought conditions at all. That being said, there are still plenty of areas that are receiving plenty of water, despite their state having some form of dryness. So all is not lost!

    us-drought-monitor-as-of-october-11-2016 Lingering DroughtHowever, the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that certain areas are more affected than others. Take a look at the map here and see if you live in one of those areas. If you do, now is the perfect time to start preparing your water storage. Invest in a water barrel (or two) and fill them before you’re on a water restriction. This is one way to ensure you have enough water before any restrictions are put into place. And this water is not just for drinking, but washing and cleaning as well.

    Drought can happen in any state, and if you are fortunate to not be affected by it at this time, take precautions now so that when the drought does come to your neighborhood, you’ll be ready.


    Disaster_Blog_Banner Lingering Drought

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