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  • Gift the Gift of Gear: for Domestic Goddesses (and Gods)

    Give the Gift of Gear: for Domestic Goddesses

    Alright, installment three of our super-helpful themed gift lists comes straight from our emergency preparedness elves and focuses on the gourmets and gourmands in your life. Ready?

    To-Die-For Gifts for the Domestic Goddess (or God—we know some of you men are rockstars in the kitchen!)

    Under $25: We have a confession. One of our favorite sounds is the contented hum of machinery happily doing our household chores for us. We have been known to run the washing machine, dishwasher, breadmaker, crockpot, and rice cooker all at the same time. However, we’re also painfully aware of our dependence on electricity. All of which is why we love the Kitchen Plus 2000 Hand-Powered Food Processor. On sale for only $14.99, and with more than ten attachments, we could do just about anything except wash the dog with this thing, and never plug in a single cord!

    Also on our list are a couple of specialty cookbooks that can make food storage meal prep a truly enjoyable experience. Check out LeArta Moulton’s The Amazing Wheat Book and Archie and Linda Dixon’s fantastic Dutch oven recipe book, Just Dutch It!

    Under $50: A good cook knows how to pick and use the best herbs, spices, and produce she can find. A great cook grows her own. Support your kitchen diva’s greatness by giving the gift of green. Our heirloom seed kits come with 5-10 different varieties of seeds and instructions how to plant, tend, harvest, and even save seeds! Try the Salsa Garden Kit or the Fruit Heirloom Garden Seeds.

    Under $100: As any true domestic goddess can attest, calories don’t count in an emergency. That’s why we always include dessert in our home food storage. Wrap up each item in the Dessert Variety Combo for your gourmet—which includes cake and brownie mixes, as well as icing, pudding, and even ice cream!—and watch her do amazing things.

    Over $100: This was a hard category, not because there’s too little to choose from, but because there’s so much! We love the Camp Chef Portable Outdoor Oven Combo, and we really love the idea of being served a fancy four-course meal served al fresco. We’ve also always wanted the WonderMill Wheat Grinder, and we think it would make an ideal gift combined with The Amazing Wheat Book (seriously, don’t you want one, too?).

    But if we had to pick the ultimate, heavy-duty, I-love-you-so-much-I-want-you-to-be-happy-forever gift, there’s really no question: it’s got to be the Bosch. Pick out one of our four combos, each with different attachments, and watch your domestic goddess swoon. Then see if she’ll make you some cookies.

    Got a kitchen diva in your house? What are you getting him or her this year? And don’t forget to come back to see the last installment of our holiday gift lists!

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: gear, emergency cooking, gift guide

  • 15 Food Storage Hacks to Make Cooking Easier

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    15 Food Storage Hacks to Make Cooking Easier

    You may think of food storage as buckets of wheat and beans that are useless in your everyday cooking.

    Not so, my friends. Here are 15 food storage hacks to make your cooking easier and more awesome on a daily basis:

    1. Dehydrated onion flakes = no chopping onions = no tears. Win.

    2. Freeze-dried fruit crushed into powder in a blender makes an awesome addition to frosting and filling for cakes, cookies, and other treats.

    3. Powdered milk is fantastic for baking and everyday use (especially when you unexpectedly run out and your kids are about to stage a mutiny).

    4. Powdered milk is also great for those who use milk infrequently. No sense in letting half of the container go bad—just mix up the amount you want on an as-needed basis. Also, powdered milk has come a long way since your childhood days of “scorched-tasting” milk. Don’t be afraid.

    5. Use the powder or leftover pieces of your favorite freeze-dried fruits or spices to create delicious compound butters to spread on bread and other treats.

    6. Instead of chopping up garlic, Minced Garlic is a super convenient product to store. It will cut your prep time in half, and you can use it in your favorite meals. (And, bonus, your hands won’t smell like garlic.)

    7. Freeze-dried veggies are an easy way to have seasonal vegetables at any time of year. Add them to soups and casseroles without having to chop, slice, or dice.

    8. Add Peanut Butter Powder to smoothies. You’ll get all the flavor with much less fat.

    9. Use Butter Powder to make spreadable butter in a hurry.

    10. If you get home late or forgot to plan dinner, you can use Taco Mix (TVP) to make tacos in a flash!

    11. Freeze-dried fruit is perfect in smoothies. You can also use Freeze-dried fruits to make apple-peach or strawberry-banana bread.

    12. Looking for a great after school snack for the kids? FD fruits are healthy and taste so good, the kids won’t miss candy (well . . . )

    13. Use Freeze-dried meats as toppings for homemade pizza.

    14. Got a “Helper” meal or pre-packaged meal that requires meat? You can use freeze-dried meats as substitutes in your favorite pre-packaged dishes.

    15. Wheat berries don’t just have to be used for flour. You can use wheat berries as a meat extender or a substitute for meat in meals. Check out our post, “All about Wheat” to find out how.

    How do you use food storage to make cooking easier?

    -Angela, Dawn, and Urban Girl

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency cooking, cooking, food storage

  • Why You Should Grind Grains Other Than Wheat . . .

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    Why you should Grind Grains other than wheat

    You know the benefits of grinding your own wheat: whole grains are shelf stable for longer than flour is, so you can take advantage of sales and keep a bigger supply on hand. And when you grind your own wheat, you’re able to keep all the parts of the grain in the flour, including the protein- and nutrient-rich bran and germ, which are usually removed during commercial grinding. But did you know these same benefits extend to grains other than wheat, too?

    Recently, I’ve wanted to live a life that more regularly includes new-to-me grains like buckwheat (not actually a wheat, I’ve recently discovered). And rye. And spelt. Sometimes I want the ability to make cakes, pies, pancakes, porridge, rolls, cookies, anything wheat flour makes, with more protein and less gluten.

    Sometimes I want my food to taste nuttier, deeper, grassier, heartier, lighter, crispier, whatever-er, than wheat flour would make it. And I always want these things without spending exorbitant money or time. Non-wheat grains bring their own plusses to the table. Don’t miss out on them just because wheat is the first grain we think of when the topic of grain mills comes to mind.

     

    Our Top Four Reasons to Grind Non-Wheat Grains

    1. The Health Benefits will blow you away: Pearled Barley, for instance, is high in fiber and vitamins but low in fat, cholesterol, and calories. Likewise, according to the Whole Grains Council, whole oats (otherwise called oat groats)have been linked with all kinds of health bonuses, including the decreased likelihood of asthma, increased appetite control, improved immune system, decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes, and reduced blood pressure.

    2. A Great Remedy for Eliminating Menu Fatigue: Even better, when you grind your own grains, you get nutritional and taste diversity. Grind up some Provident Pantry Yellow Popcorn, and you get fresh, homemade corn meal—nutrient rich and begging to be made into creamy polenta or buttery corn bread with too much honey.

    3. Perfect for those with Dietary Restrictions: Swap out some or all of your wheat flour for freshly ground Provident Pantry Superpail Spelt flour, and you can make a moist, almost fudgy, three-layer satsuma cake that will make your gluten-sensitive guests feel like celebrating. (Note: Because spelt is a form of wheat, spelt is not gluten free, but it is sometimes easier for gluten-sensitive people to digest than traditional wheat.)

    4. They’ll Spice up your Weekly Dinners: Hankering for an international spin on bread with dinner? Non-wheat grains are key to the flatbreads from many countries, including Ethiopian injera and French socca (a chickpea flour flatbread).

    In sum, grinding your own non-wheat grains can put gluten-free/old school/exotic foods within your price range and bailiwick.

     

    Recipes

    To that end, here are some recipes the new you (and me!) can try. Imagine, fresh from your (and my!) grinder and kitchen—

    Breakfasts

    • Buckwheat crepes (try the Mark Bittman recipe, findable on any number of blogs; when I made them they had a sort of toasted nut flavor that made me think maybe they were better than regular crepes)
    • Teff porridge with apples and dates (recipe and sweet anecdote at http://www.pbs.org/food/kitchen-vignettes/teff-porridge/)

    Entrees

    Sides

    Desserts

    For more grain recipes and inspiration, I’d recommend http://www.chefbrad.com/, http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes.php, and http://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes.

     

    A final note about grinders

    High-quality grinders, like the Nutrimill Grinder or the Wonder Mill Grinder , can turn bulk grains into flours with so little hassle, it’s ridiculous.

    But not all grinders are designed to grind all kinds of grains (some have trouble with oily grains--the Wondermill Junior comes with an extra head to grind oily grains), so be sure to check the instructions (or, in the case of the Wonder Mill Grinder, the website willitgrind.com) to see which grains can be ground in which machine.

     

    Now that I’ve spilled the grains (aka beans), you tell me—what’s your favorite recipe to make with ground grains other than wheat?

    -Sarah B.

     

    References

     

    http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/the-nutrition-of-pearled-barley.html

    http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-benefits-of-oats

    http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/what-is-a-whole-grain

    http://willitgrind.com/

    http://www.thewondermill.com/

    “Spelt,” article available at http://extension.usu.edu/fsne/

    Interview with Lisa Keller, notes on file with the author

    Posted In: Emergency Cooking, Food Storage, Insight, Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency cooking

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