• Drought Update: Lake Powell's Bleakest Year Yet

    We’ve talked a lot this year about the destructive drought choking the western US. And while California gets most of the attention (check out UNL’s drought monitor and their frighteningly visual perspective on California’s situation), other states are suffering, as well. In fact, the drop in a single reservoir is affecting residents of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah—and California! This headline from the Daily Mail sums up the dangerous situation:

    “Satellite images reveal mud-choked Lake Powell is LESS than half full and has hit a record low as the Western drought continues to strain major reservoirs”

    The article, which features a chilling image gallery of the barely recognizable vacation spot, reports that Lake Powell currently sits at 42% of its capacity, with experts estimating that this year’s snowmelt will only bring it up to about 51%. And it’s not just bad news for boaters. The man-made reservoir serves as a source of drinking water for 20 million people living across the west, and the Glen Canyon dam that regulates the reservoir provides hydroelectric power to the area.

    While forecasters predict a cool, wet “El Niño” year for 2014, Eric Holthaus over at Slate.com explains why that won’t be enough to recover from this decade-plus long dry spell in his article, “What Does El Niño Mean For Me?”. With no end in sight, then, how can we…er…weather this storm?

    For ideas on ways to prepare against the effects of severe drought, check out these helpful posts:

    And for a recap of this year’s drought and its unexpected effects, read here:

     

    What are you doing differently this year because of the drought?

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • iStock_000011554172Small_america

    To celebrate the diversity of our amazing country, we’re highlighting some traditional recipes from each region of the United States. The best part is many of these recipes can be adapted to fit your food storage needs.

    As we “tour” the country, you’ll learn where some of America’s favorite dishes originated and why they’re special to each region. Click on the pictures below to find recipes for each dish, and then add them to your food storage recipe collection.

     

    New England

    Enriched by the influx of Native Americans, as well as Irish and Italian immigrants, the New England area has introduced America to foods like potatoes, chowder, pork, cabbage, pasta, sausage, baked beans, and flavorful sauces from Italy. Did you know? New England cuisine also gave us tasty treats like apple pie, cranberry sauce, and blueberry muffins.

     New England Corn and Potato Chowder

     New England Corn and Potato Chowder

     

    The South

    Known for its soul food, seafood, and pork dishes, the South has introduced the taste of Spain and the British isles to the US. Some southern favorites include cornbread, ham, bacon, pit-barbecued pork, deep-fried meats and vegetables, hushpuppies, collard greens, and black-eyed peas. But don’t forget about dessert: sweet potato pie, banana pudding, and red velvet cake are all southern favorites.

    So, kick back with a bowl of cracklins (deep-fried pork skins) and a tall glass of lemonade or sweet tea and check out these delicious southern treats.

     Southern food: Chicken Hushpuppies with Blackberry Mustard

    Chicken Hushpuppies with Blackberry Mustard

     

    More Southern Recipes to try:

    Easy ‘Nana’ Pudding

    Fried Green Tomatoes 

     

    Cajun and Creole-Louisiana

    Although Louisiana is technically considered “the South,” the cuisine and culture of rural southern Louisiana and the city of New Orleans are so distinct they deserve a section of their own. So, have you ever wondered what the difference between Creole and Cajun food is?

    Creole cuisine refers to a blend of French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Native American, Canary Island, and African influences on food available to the early settlers in the area.

    Cajun food features what is called the “culinary holy trinity” of onions, bell peppers, and celery, included in most savory dishes. It emphasizes one-pot meals such as Jambalaya (influenced by Spanish paella), Dirty Rice, and Crawfish Etouffée.

    As they say in New Orleans, Bon appétit, e laissez les bons temps rouler!

     Beignets

     Beignets

     

    More Recipes from Louisiana to try:

    Shrimp Etouffee

    Creamy Cajun Chicken 

     

    Midwest: America’s Heartland

    The central heartland of America, also known as the Midwest or the “nation’s breadbasket,” consists of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Often, when we think of the Midwest, images of rolling hills, farms, and fruit and grain fields come to mind.

    Did you know that many of America’s favorite foods originated in the Midwest? Hot dogs, hamburgers, corn dogs, ice cream cones, pretzels, Reuben sandwiches, and our favorite dairy products (cheese!) were all first made in America’s Heartland.

    Aside from the American favorites we enjoy from this region, the Midwest also has a strong German, Polish, Hungarian, and Scandinavian influence, bringing us foods like sauerkraut, Cornish pasties, bratwurst, goulash, and rye bread.

     Cornish Pasties

     Cornish Pasties from America’s Heartland

     

    More recipes from the Heartland to try:

    Chicken Paprikash (Hungarian)

    Lefse (Norwegian Flatbread)

     

    The Southwest

    The rustic cooking of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and southern California is a combination of Mexican, American cowboy, and Native American foods combined with the domesticated beef and pork grown in Texas. Tex-Mex cuisine, a type of food combining Mexican and cowboy dishes, thrives in this area.

    “Fresh-Mex” cuisine, Chimichangas, Nachos, Fajijitas, and Chili Con Queso and several variations of Chili were also developed in this region. In fact, the spicy meat and/or bean stew we call Chili originated in Texas. Other variations include casseroles like Chicken-Green Chili Enchilada casserole and Tamale pie. Tortilla soup, which originated in the Southwest, has also become a popular favorite in restaurants and homes across the country.

    Todos son deliciosos!

     Tamale Pie

    Tamale Pie

     

     

    More Southwestern Recipes to try:

    Horchata (Spiced Milk)

    Authentic San Antonio Tex-Mex Chili

    Mexican Rice (with tomatoes)

     

    The Northwest

    For our purposes, the Northwestern United States includes northern California (San Francisco and farther north), Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, and parts of Montana. As with all regions, the origin of those who settled there, combined with the cooking of the Native Americans and the available natural foods all contributed to the cuisine.

    The northern forests abound with game and the waters teem with fish and seafood. This region brings us meals like elk steak, venison sloppy joes, and lamb stew. In the waters, Salmon is king among the fish of the Northwest. Scallops, mussels, shrimp, and clams are popular favorites, as well. In addition to the meat and game, apples, peaches, berries, apricots, cherries, and sweet onions grow in abundance in this region.

    Mixed Berry Pie

     Mixed Berry Pie 

     

     

    The California Coast 

    California—especially Southern California—has developed a cuisine so unique that it qualifies for a discussion of its own in American cookery. Blessed with a climate that produces nuts, fruits, vegetables, and a coastline full of fresh seafood, California cooks emphasize using local produce and seafood in season. They prefer to keep it light and healthy, quickly cooked, and combined in unusual ways. However, the food in this area also has influences from Mexican and Southwestern cooking.

    “Fusion cooking” originates here, combining flavors and foods from different ethnic traditions in new ways. An example would be a combination of Chinese or Thai ingredients topping a pizza. Check out our recipes from the California Coast.

    Cherry Walnut Salad

    Cherry Walnut Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

     

     

    What’s your favorite state or regional recipe?

    -Angela and Sharon

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Why Buy Mountain House from Emergency Essentials?

    Over their 40-year history, Mountain House has perfected the art of freeze-drying and packaging delicious meals for the military, outdoor enthusiasts, and long-term emergency food storage. Walk in to any sporting goods store, and you’ll probably find a display of Mountain House pouches ready and waiting to supply you with food for your next camping trip.

    However, there are several benefits to buying Mountain House products from Emergency Essentials that other stores just don’t offer.

    Here are 9 reasons why Emergency Essentials is the best place to buy Mountain House for your next outdoor adventure or for your emergency supplies:

    1. Unparalleled Selection: We sell the complete assortment of Mountain House Products, including new, seasonal, and limited-time products
    2. EE Exclusives: We stock some unique items and combos you simply won’t find anywhere else.
    3. Ready to Ship: These products are stocked in our warehouse and ready to ship immediately.
    4. Freshest Inventory: Because we sell large quantities, we receive frequent shipments—so you know you’re getting the freshest product possible.
    5. Lowest Price in the Country—Guaranteed: As one of Mountain House’s largest distributors, we have the buying power to bring you low prices. We’ll always have the best price (and if we don’t, we’ll match it).
    6. Emergency Essentials’ Stamp of Approval: Mountain House products have been prepared in our test kitchens and tasted by our experts and they meet or exceed our standards.
    7. We Guarantee Your Satisfaction 100%: You can try Mountain House for the first time without a care in the world—if you don’t like it, let us known within 30 days of your purchase, and we’ll take care of it! (But we’re pretty sure you’re going to love it.)
    8. Get everything you need in one place—and in one order: We have all your food storage and preparedness needs covered—just add whatever you need to your order and they’ll all arrive together, direct from our warehouse—and fast!
    9. You always get accurate, honest information when you do business with us. That’s just the way we do things around here.

    If you haven’t tried Mountain House before, give it a try! If you’ve tried it, tell us what you love about it!

     

    -Angela

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, mountain house

  • “If this is “emergency” food, things don’t look so bad!” This is what Nancy, an Emergency Essentials customer, said about Mountain House® Lasagna with Meat Sauce.

    Our customers are raving about Mountain House®—everything from the delicious flavor to the long shelf-life. And why not rave?

    Mountain House Beef Stroganoff

    Tested and used in the harshest conditions by people whose lives depended on them, Mountain House® freeze-dried meals are perfect for military, outdoor enthusiasts, or to use during emergencies. But these meals aren’t just for those who find themselves in less-than-ideal conditions. Mountain House® meals have been a favorite for people just like you for years—whether for camping or just a crazy weeknight at home.

    Check out what others have to say about Mountain House® meals:

    FiveStars

    “One of our favorites!”

    - Trade (Beef Stroganoff)

    FiveStars

    “This is so good I couldn’t wait for a disaster. We ate it up and ordered more.”

    -Meredith (Beef Stroganoff)

    FiveStars

    “This is amazing! The flavors blend perfectly and have a wonderful taste.”

    -Cynthia (Sweet and Sour Pork)

    FiveStars

    “Great diversion from humdrum meals.”

    - Bruce (Chili Mac)

    FourStars

    “Satisfying! Great for camping and emergencies.”

    - Kenneth, (Chili Mac)

    FiveStars

    “Tasty and you get a lot of cheese…and I mean a lot!”

    - Bradford (Macaroni and Cheese)

    FiveStars

    “We love it…we can’t get enough of it.”

    - Cassandra (Noodles and Chicken)

    FiveStars

    “Another winner from Mountain House!”

    - Jennifer C. (Noodles and Chicken)

    FiveStars

    “If this is “emergency” food, things don’t look so bad!”

    -Nancy (Lasagna with Meat Sauce)

    FiveStars

    “We NEVER expected to love Mountain House foods as much as we do.”

    -Sandi (Lasagna with Meat Sauce)

    FiveStars

    “You will not believe that it could possibly be freeze-dried… Better than homemade!!”

    - FL gal (Lasagna with Meat Sauce)

    If you don’t believe them, try out a can or two for yourself. You’ll love them. We guarantee it.

    What’s your favorite Mountain House® meal?

     

    --Kim

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, mountain house, sale, Customer Reviews

  • 5 Non-Emergency Uses for Mountain House

    Who says you can only eat Mountain House during an emergency?

    In addition to rotating Mountain House into your weekly meals to prepare yourself and your family for an emergency, there are several non-emergency uses for Mountain House that you can include into your daily life.

    Here are our 5 favorite non-emergency uses for Mountain House (some of these uses might surprise you.)

    1. Mom’s night out (and Dad can’t cook)
    2. You just don’t have time or energy to cook.
    3. Gourmet backpacking food (and easy cleanup).
    4. “Mom, what’s for Dinner?”
    5. Quick hot meal for an ailing neighbor.

    *Bonus use: “Hey Grandma, we’re coming over in an hour!” Great for feeding any unexpected family, friends, or guests who need a place to stay.

    But let’s be honest: Mountain House food is so good that you’ll be looking for any excuse to eat it; once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked.

     

    What other non-emergency uses do you have for Mountain House? Let us know in the comments.

    -Angela

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, mountain house

  • 30 High-Tech Ways to Survive any Disaster

    I can always count on Popular Mechanics when I need my mind blown on a weekday afternoon. And how can you go wrong with a headline like “30 Ways to Survive Absolutely Any Disaster”? Sure enough, PM has come up with 30 of the most recent—and most awesome—tech innovations to revolutionize disaster preparedness on an individual, national, and global level. I defy Mother Nature to get past all 30 of these!

    Author Sarah Fecht divides the list into four categories, involving areas of prediction, protection, response, and personal preparedness. Definitely read the article (at four pages, you’ll be in full emergency prep geek-out mode), but here’s a quick tour.

    Prediction – The newest and coolest early warning systems use  established technology in new places (seismometers and accelerometers in the ocean, for example);fancy-pants newer technology (GPS, sensors, drones) to detect flash flooding; and a particularly thrilling combination of new and old technology: underwater drones! (I’m not lying!). And between them, experts can give us ample lead time on earthquakes, flooding, volcanic eruptions, storm surge, tornadoes, tsunamis, and even asteroids. ‘Cause if the Earth is about to be pummeled by pick-up sized space rocks, I need time to pack.

    Protection – Companies have been working for generations on bigger and better barriers against the elements, and current technology has taken the effort miles forward. My favorite innovations, however, build protection right into the infrastructure, making things like streets, buildings, and power lines more absorptive, flexible, and resistant.

    Response – In an effort to get the right people to the right place at the crucial time, researchers are pulling out all the innovative stops. In particular, first responders now have the aid of solar, microwave, drone, cell network, radio, and medical technology. They can even use  sensors to detect a human heartbeat under 30 feet of rubble and a tiny, injectable, antimicrobial sponge to stop bleeding.

    Personal – The most immediate and most basic needs of disaster victims have not changed with the times. We still need shelter, water, food, and life-saving information. Under this heading, PM’s article mostly reports cool new gadgets that do what the old ones did, only faster and better—a water purifier that works in 15 seconds, for example, or a solar generator that will run your fridge for a full 24 hours. The standout here is the Survival Capsule, a former Boeing engineer’s response to the 2011 tsunami that battered Japan. Think Life Cube or the All-In-Four Emergency Supply plus Noah’s ark, all in miniature and with seatbelts.

    I don’t know about you, but I love seeing all this energetic innovation going toward making us safer in a crisis. I’m not going to stop storing wheat and Band-Aids, but if there’s an app for emergency prep, you better believe I’m going to download it!

     

    What are your favorite high-tech preparedness solutions?

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: disaster, technology, survival technology, disaster technology

  • What to Expect (or not) from El Nino

    Here’s a cheerful headline to brighten your week: “El Niño is Going to Make Your 2014 Miserable.” Thank you, salon.com, for the good news.

    Actually, 2014 is half over already, and it’s been a pretty fair six months for me, so I’m not getting too hand-wringy quite, yet. I am, however, interested to see what kinds of wacky weather the warm Pacific currents have in store.

    The trick about El Niño, as we were informed by the Weather Channel recently (see their article, “Hurricane Season 2014: 5 Things You Need to Know”), is that its effects are famously unpredictable. Even salon.com’s efforts to sound dire are compromised, as experts warn us that the year could be unusually wet or unusually dry…or, um, neither.

    “Regions across the U.S. that are normally wet can dry out during El Niño conditions, while normally dry regions can flood.” Worldwide expectations related to El Niño are not always accurate, however. “There is an expectation of drought, but not in every single El Niño event do we actually have drought,” Lisa Goddard, director of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, said.

    Well, that certainly clears things up.

    Sounds to me like a good time to be prepared for any eventuality. So here are some articles to help get you set for whatever El Niño has in store for your area.

    Keep an eye on the skies, and let us know how El Niño is affecting you this year!

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: storm, Weather, el Nino

  • What makes Mountain House so Awesome?

    It’s no secret that here at Emergency Essentials, we love Mountain House food. Not only does Mountain House taste great, but it’s also perfect for emergencies or your everyday needs with great quality, selection, and shelf life.

    But you don’t have to take our word for it. The history of the Mountain House Company and their unique freeze-drying process help the product speak for itself.

    Here are six reasons why Mountain House is awesome:

    1. They’re perfect for long-term storage: Mountain House has been in business for 40+ years. They’ve perfected the art of freeze-drying and packaging freeze-dried meals for long-term storage. Their products have been scientifically proven to store for at least 25 years.

    2. Each meal uses fresh ingredients: Since Mountain House only uses fresh ingredients, the nutritional value, color, and texture of the food is preserved during the freeze drying process. This means that you can enjoy the same nutritional benefits you would from eating a fresh apple each time you bite into a Mountain House freeze-dried apple slice.

    3. Each meal has a home-cooked taste: Instead of freeze-drying each individual component in the meal and then packaging it all together, Mountain House prepares and cooks each meal before freeze-drying. To ensure optimal flavor and to enhance the quality of each meal, Mountain House adds noodles into the package after the freeze-drying process.

    As you add water to your meal, the noodles will cook in the same time it takes to reconstitute the other components, so you’ll have tender noodles to enjoy with each meal. This method of freeze-drying gives each Mountain House meal a home cooked taste that everyone enjoys.

    Added bonus: each meal is cooked by trained, professional chefs (no wonder it’s so good!)

    4. Each meal is quick and simple to prepare: The best thing about Mountain House meals is that they are easy to prepare. All you have to do is add hot water, wait 8-10 minutes, and voila, dinner is served.

    5. You can use Mountain House for more than just emergencies: Mountain House isn’t only good in emergencies, but it is also perfect for camping trips, a quick hot meal for when you don’t feel like cooking, and for preparing a quick meal for an ailing neighbor.

    Fun fact: Did you know? Mountain House’s parent company, Oregon Freeze-Dry began by selling freeze-dried meals to the military during the Vietnam War. Since 1968, Mountain House has been trusted to feed troops in every theater of combat.

    6. Mountain House is improving each day: Mountain House has a dedicated team of researchers that work each day to ensure that Mountain House foods taste great. They even have a sensory group that evaluates the taste, texture, and flavor of each meal to make sure that each product is high quality.

     

    Check out this video to learn more about Mountain House’s Research and development team and why Mountain House is just plain awesome:

    What do you love about Mountain House products? Let us know in the comments

     

    -Angela

     

    *Editor’s Note about the Image at the top of this post: Although this picture looks like Mountain House cans are stored in the garage, we do not recommend keeping your food storage in a garage for long-term storage. Fluctuations in temperature, odors, and other chemicals can lessen the quality (and longevity) of your food.

    For more info on studies about Mountain House, check out the results of this Oregon State University study on Mountain House products  http://safecastle.com/documents/OSU-Sensory-Report.pdf

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, mountain house, sale

  • California's Fire Season

    During the few years I spent down in Orange County, CA, I didn’t so much miss the seasons, but I just had to get used to a different set of seasons. Fog season. High surf season. Ugg boots season. And fire season.

    If you’ve never lived through a summer-to-fall in Southern California, it’s hard to describe the brittle dryness of the air; the hot, dusty Santa Ana winds; the sinister orange tint of the sky; or the sharp burn in your throat as ash settles like cottonwood on cars and lawns. Wildfire season is unpleasant at best, and downright scary for those who live in the driest swaths. And California’s worst dry spell in recorded history is making that danger a reality for more and more residents.

    In mid-June, this report surfaced: “California Wildfire Threatens 1,000 More Homes Near Sequoia National Park.” While no injuries or fatalities were logged in relation to this fire, it swallowed three homes and was very hard to contain. Turns out the combination of heat, wind, and acres of brush sucked dry as tinder is exactly what a fire like this needed to grow to disastrous proportions.

    We’ve been watching California’s fires particularly closely this year. For a re-cap, check out our previous posts, “California Wildfires Spread Due to Drought Conditions,” and “Wildfires Plague Southern California.” And whether or not you live within blaze territory, it’s smart to know your wildfire safety. Here are some of our favorite resources:

    • FEMA’s US Fire Administration page has all sorts of free, downloadable materials on wildfire awareness and preparation.
    • We really like Ready.gov’s tip list for what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.
    • The Wildfire Preparedness page from the American Red Cross is organized similarly, and includes guidelines on rebuilding after fire damage.
    • Readyforwildfire.org has fantastic interactive information, video tutorials, links to action plan and emergency kit checklists, and a live Twitter feed from Cal Fire.
    • Everybody’s favorite furry forest ranger, Smokey the Bear, has a whole tab full of games and teaching tools for children and families at SmokeyBear.com/kids.

     

    What are you doing during the dry season to prepare?

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Fire Safety, wildfire, fire season

  • Salmonella: The Outbreak that Just won't Quit

    Over the last couple of months, we’ve been warned about possible outbreaks of measles and MERS; norovirus on cruise ships and at resorts; and strains of Ebola spreading through Africa and worrying health officials. So, this headline should make us all feel better:

    U.S. salmonella outbreak widens, 574 now sick from Foster Farms chicken

    Yeah, remember that salmonella scare from last March? Turns out that hasn’t actually ended yet. At the end of May, the outbreak was still rampant. Fortunately, the year-long outbreak hasn’t resulted in any fatalities, but that doesn’t make me any less wary about the disease—especially this particular strain, which is proving resistant to drugs and increasingly leading to blood infections.

    An AP article, “5 Things to Know About Salmonella in Chicken,” outlines the current situation (including an explanation of why the CDC doesn’t seem to be able to get this in hand), describes the symptoms, and reminds us of the number one preventative practice: cook your chicken.

    And, not to pile it on here, but did you know that chicken is not the only carrier of salmonella? According to the CDC, just about any raw dairy, meat, fruit, or veggies can be contaminated; so can water sources that come into contact with human or animal waste, as well as certain domestic animals themselves. In fact, an info sheet from Utah’s Bureau of Epidemiology reports “Utah as well as the rest of the U.S. has seen an increase in Salmonella infection as the result of increased ownerships of exotic animal species such as reptiles.”

    Okay, yuck!

    So, besides sealing myself in an anti-septic bubble for the rest of my life, what can I do? The CDC’s “Salmonella Prevention” page has a comprehensive list of tips to keep from contracting the bug (my favorite: “Don't work with raw poultry or meat, and an infant [e.g., feed, change diaper, etc.] at the same time.” I mean, I know we moms gotta multitask, but really?).

    Another helpful resource is “How to Prevent a Salmonella Infection,” from about-salmonella.com. And if you’re worried about your own water sources (either at home or on the trail), read through our article, “Making Water Drinkable: Ways to Filter and Purify Water You Have on Hand.”

     

    Be prepared to stay healthy, and jump into the discussion here to share your best prevention tips!

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: First Aid, Current Events, health and wellness, health

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