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  • Prepping for the Presidency: How to be Ready for What the Election Brings

    voting place election 2016

    The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election is right around the corner. We generally shy away from political posts, but this time of year (every four years, of course) is always pertinent to preppers. After all, the future of the country is being voted on. Will the majority choose the best candidate for the job? Or will the country fall apart either way? These are just a few thoughts going through the minds of many.

    Election years are notoriously uncertain, and this one seems to be especially so.

    donald trump election 2016

    Headlines from news agencies promote woe and gloom, accusing each candidate of some form of atrocity or another. Whether it’s about a “big, dirty secret” on one candidate’s tax returns, or the other candidate’s ongoing email scandal, there is certainly reason to worry for the future, no matter who you favor. These headlines aren’t exactly the most comforting thing to see, especially this close to Election Day. So what’s a person to do when, as the headlines hint, both candidates are going to usher in World War III?

    hillary clinton election 2016

    Basically, you do the same thing you’ve always done: prepare, prepare, prepare!

    But how does one prepare for a new president, you ask? Just as you would for a tornado, earthquake, economic crisis, job loss, power outage, and any other disaster.

    First, stock up on the basics.

    That includes food, water, medical supplies, and necessary gear for warmth, cooking, and other necessities. Ready.gov suggests having enough food, water, and other supplies to last you 72 hours. Having supplies for three days is a fantastic start, but some emergencies may last longer.

    Once you have the basics, start adding to it. This includes investing in outdoor gear like sleeping bags, tents, cooking stoves, and other things that will make your life easier should the need arise. This also includes stocking up with more emergency food.

    If the stock market crashes, food prices may spike, and could remain high for months or even years. Having a well-stocked supply of food is an investment that will pay off during events like this, among other crises. For long-term preparation, we recommend having a year supply of food. Whether you get it all at once or in stages is up to you. But if you’re planning for a disaster without an end in sight, a year supply is the way to go.

    No matter the election result – whether your candidate wins, your opponent comes out on top, or it’s a lose-lose and nobody is the victor in your books – you will always be on the winning side when you’re prepared.

    Now it's time for us to give our endorsement. Of course, there could only be one winner, and that winner is...

    #Preparedness2016

     

    election_buy_supply_blog1 election day

  • Mountain House Review (Part 2): Stroganoff, Teriyaki, and Noodles and Chicken

    mh-classic-bucket Mountain House ReviewWhat’s an emergency? Most of us think of natural disasters: hurricanes, floods, earthquakes.

    But what about when mom is sick and dad isn’t around and five kids ages 3 to 13, most of whom have various dietary restrictions, need to be fed?

    That happened this week. Fortunately, during the last two weeks we’ve been trying meal pouches from the Mountain House® Classic Assortment (SKU: FC B395). The bucket contains 12 pouches of six different meals. Two pouches of Beef Stroganoff to the rescue.

     

    Beef Stroganoff

    “What’s Beef Stroganoff?” one of my children asked.

    “It’s ground beef and noodles,” I replied.

    beef-stroganoff Mountain House ReviewNotice I neglected to mention the traditional mushrooms and sour cream. I didn’t want them to run away from the table, screaming, before they’d tried it. Some of my children are incredibly picky. I have an autistic, 5-year-old son who, until last year, ate fewer than 10 foods. I also have a special needs 11-year-old who, at nearly every dinner, informs me that she’s “allergic” to everything on the table.

    She was the only one who didn’t try the Beef Stroganoff. Everyone else liked it. Though the rehydrated mushrooms were large enough to be obvious, they apparently looked enough like ground beef to fool the children. I later caught my 5-year-old sitting on the table next to the serving bowl, shoving stroganoff into his mouth with both hands.

    We liked the sauce’s flavor, probably because it was more cream-of-mushroom soup than sour cream. The mushrooms were not the least bit rubbery, which, frankly, surprised me considering their dehydrated-rehydrated status.

    However, the best part of the meal for me was its ease and speed. I’d been sick all day and wasn’t up to cooking. Two packets of Beef Stroganoff and a salad made a quick, healthy, tasty dinner that cost less than a trip to a fast food restaurant.

     

    Noodles and Chicken

    noodles-and-chicken Mountain House ReviewAn advantage of variety buckets like this one is that it allows family members to realize they actually enjoy food they normally wouldn’t try. My 9-year-old fruit hater discovered she loved the Granola with Blueberries and Milk. My 3-year-old little carnivore learned that the noodles in the Lasagna were as good as the meat. (You can find my review of those products here.)

    Occasionally, however, it means running across a food that one person loves but the rest don’t.

    I thought the Noodles and Chicken tasted great. The noodles were tender but not soggy, the chicken was flavorful and the sauce was thick and spiced perfectly.

    However, a few months ago, my children simultaneously decided they didn’t like chicken. (I wish they’d made that decision before I bought the 40-pound box of frozen chicken breasts, rather than after.)

    My 3-year-old was the only one who ate more than a bite. She asked for seconds. The rest asked for hot dogs.

    Food storage does no good if no one likes it. The nice thing about this Classic Meal Assortment bucket, and other food storage buckets, is it allows you to try many different entrées. Then, when you see what family members like, you can buy pouches or larger cans of their favorites. You’re not wasting food or money.

     

    Chicken Teriyaki with Rice

    chicken-teriyaki mountain house reviewI’ve discovered one way to get my kids to (occasionally) eat chicken: put it in Chinese-style recipes. I served one of the two Chicken Teriyaki with Rice pouches according to the package instructions. I made stuffed egg rolls using the other pouch. The children who didn’t like chicken ate the egg rolls, and the ones who didn’t like egg rolls ate the Chicken Teriyaki with rice. Success.

     

    Stuffed Chicken Teriyaki Egg Rolls

    Ingredients:

    1 package coleslaw mix

    OR

    3 cups shredded cabbage and

    ¼ cup grated carrot

    2 Tablespoons soy sauce

    2 Tablespoons water

    2 teaspoons ground ginger

    2 teaspoons garlic powder

    1/8-1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder (you can get many varieties in supermarket spice sections, but the best is in Asian stores)

    Green onion to taste (optional)

    One pouch Mountain House Freeze Dried Teriyaki Chicken with Rice, prepared

    One package egg roll wrappers (You can find them in the produce section of grocery stores)

    Cooking oil spray

     

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking oil spray.

    In a large saucepan or wok, sauté coleslaw mix or cabbage and carrots, and green onion, with 2 Tablespoons soy sauce and 2 Tablespoons water. Add ginger, garlic powder and Chinese 5-spice powder.

    Add Mountain House Freeze Dried Teriyaki Chicken with Rice, stirring to prevent burning. Remove pan from heat.

    Put about ¼-1/3 cup mixture into each egg roll wrapper. Roll according to directions on package. Place on cookie sheet.

    Spray the tops of egg rolls with cooking oil spray and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through, until lightly browned.

    Makes 12-18.

     

    Blog Image mountain house review

  • 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

    Ingredients:

    Streusel Topping

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

     

    Muffins

    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

     

    Directions

    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.

    --Melissa

     

    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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