Emergency Essentials Blog

The Emergency Essentials Blog

  • Bombogenesis Strikes the East Coast

    By Melissa Rivera


    Bombogenesis - Via Euro News Bombogenesis - Photo via Euro News


    Yes, I know all of you in the West, in your light-jacket-temperatures, are chortling about those wuss easterners who can’t handle a little snow and cold. And, frankly, at least in northern Virginia, there’s some truth to that. Our local school district canceled school for two days in response to the “bomb cyclone.” We got less than six inches of snow. To be fair, though, the wind was strong enough to push the wind chill to around 0 degrees Fahrenheit for weeks. And knock a squirrel out of a tree. I’d never seen that before.

    Other places got it worse.

    Five feet of snow buried Erie, Penn., over Christmas, blocking people in their homes.

    In Boston, storm surge from the New Year’s nor’easter sent slushy seawater flooding into streets. People had to quickly evacuate homes and submerged cars. The flood waters then froze in place, turning streets into feet-deep ice rinks and blocking fire hydrants.

    About 79,000 people lost power throughout the eastern U.S.

    New York City’s Central Park had more snow on the ground than had been seen in 30 years. In New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, the storm canceled flights, then a deep freeze caused equipment malfunction, leading to more delayed or canceled flights and problems retrieving luggage. Police had to break up a fight. The cold also caused pipes to burst, flooding a terminal with three feet of water.

    According to the New York Times, New York Senator Chuck Schumer complained, “J.F.K. has to follow the Boy Scouts’ motto: ‘Be prepared.’ They weren’t.”

    My family was prepared, mainly because we just moved from the west. Where we live in northern Virginia didn’t get hit that hard. The power never went out. My husband could get to Washington, D.C. for work, though traffic was abominable. My younger children spent their two snow days outside, trying unsuccessfully to build snowmen with powdery snow and sledding down hills that quickly became mud.

    So, why did they have snow days anyway? For starters, the roads weren’t cleared. Cities here contract with the Virginia Department of Transportation to remove snow. In northern Virginia alone, that’s almost 18,000 lane miles, according to VDOT. The nearest VDOT headquarters is in another city a 20 minute drive from ours in good weather. VDOT says it has access to 4,000 snow clearing vehicles in northern Virginia, but adds that most are pickup trucks with snow blades. You know those big snow trucks used to clear major roads? VDOT in northern Virginia has two of them. (To be fair, the roads here are so narrow and winding, the big trucks wouldn’t work on many of them.)

    I’ve been told the temperature here usually rises quickly after snowfall, so solar plowing is a fairly effective form of snow control. Right before the January 4 storm, I went to buy snow melt for our steps and sidewalk, just in case. I had to ask for help to find it. It was in the far back of the store, behind Christmas decorations on clearance.

    A couple of days after the storm, snow melt was displayed front and center in another store.

    It’s been cold and windy enough that the snow didn’t melt. It wasn’t as bad as Mount Washington, Vermont, which tied the record for the second-coldest place on earth with a wind chill temperature of -96. But it was cold enough that my 12-year-old special needs daughter was crying after waiting outside for her bus for a half hour, even though I bundled her up like the little kid in “A Christmas Story.” It was cold enough that my cell phone froze when I tried to use it to call the school district’s transportation department to learn the reason behind the wait. It was cold enough that some school buses didn’t work, including my daughter’s.

    It was windy enough to knock over full trash cans and send them –and their contents – sliding down slick roads. And it was cold enough and windy enough that I watched a squirrel on a branch get caught in a wind gust and slip off. Fortunately, it only fell a few feet, to the roof of a home.

    My kids went back to school today, with a two-hour delayed start time. I just got a message saying that, because of impending inclement weather, school would be dismissed two hours early. At least we’re still prepared for the weather. Here we go again.


    Disaster_Blog_Banner Bombogenesis

  • Korean BBQ Beef Recipe with Keith Snow

    Korean BBQ Beef Recipe


    Making your home smell like a Korean restaurant doesn't have to be difficult. Use this recipe and follow along with the video using some of your freeze-dried food as ingredients for a simple, yet delicious Korean BBQ Beef!



    Korean BBQ Beef Recipe

    By: Keith Snow

    Prep: 15 min | Cook: 20 min | 5 Servings


    Sauce Ingredients
    • 3/4 cup low-sodium Tamari soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 5 garlic cloves, minced finely
    • 1 cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water to form slurry
    • 1 cup water
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
    • 2 tablespoons chili paste (Sambal Holec or similar hot sauce)
    • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon fresh or dehydrated ginger
    Main Ingredients


    1. In pot over medium heat, mix all sauce ingredients together.
    2. Put freeze-dried beef and bell peppers in a large bowl. Add boiling water, cover, then set aside to rehydrate.
    3. Cook green onions in oil in wok over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes.
    4. Add meat mixture (reserve rehydrating liquid for now). Stir in 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce, followed by cilantro, and then rehydrating liquid from the meat mixture. Stir well and turn off heat.
    5. Serve warm with sliced cucumbers, julienned carrots, lettuce, etc.


    Tell us in the comments how your Korean BBQ turned out!

  • Hash Brown Casserole Recipe with Keith Snow

    Hash Brown Casserole


    What you eat for breakfast sets the tone for the rest of your day, so you might as well make it a good one, right? Keith Snow takes you through the steps to creating your own delicious breakfast in the form of a hash brown casserole using your shelf-stable food.



    Hash Brown Casserole Recipe

    By: Keith Snow

    Prep: 10 min | Bake: 22 min | 6 Servings


    1 1/2 cups Emergency Essentials Hash Brown Potatoes

    1 1/2 cups boiling water

    2 tbs Emergency Essentials Freeze-Dried White Onion Flakes

    1/4 cup Emergency Essentials Freeze-Dried Cheddar Cheese

    2 tbs Emergency Essentials Chicken Gravy Mix

    1 tsp salt

    1/4 tsp black pepper



    1. Add 1/2 cup warm water to cheddar cheese in a small bowl. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
    2. Add hash browns, onions, salt, pepper, chicken gravy mix, and rehydrated cheddar cheese (plus soaking liquid) into a large work bowl. Add boiling water, stir well, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
    3. Pour contents of the bowl into a casserole dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 22 minutes.
    4. Serve with eggs, bacon, or other breakfast treats.


    Did you make it? Let us know how it turned out!

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