Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Challenge for You

I tried a new kind of milk this week. It's GREAT! Definitely my favorite so far. And unlike Morning Moos, it's real milk, and not milk substitute. It's called Country Cream by Grandma's Country Foods. So far this is the winner to replace all the milk I have stored from the cannery. Shipping is kind of pricey but I hear that it is also available at Macey's grocery stores in Utah Valley. I'll have to have my sister check it out for me.

I've been trying a lot of new things lately. I have a new system. (I LOVE new systems). I created a folder to help me organize new recipes that I want to try. I have divided the recipes into categories:

1. Crockpot
2. Dutch Oven
3. Food Storage
4. Pantry Only
5. Regular recipes

Now when I create my menu list each week I choose at least one new recipe from each section to try. The food storage recipes are recipes that use only my long term stored items. The Pantry Only section contains recipes that are for my 3 month supply which contain mostly canned good from the grocery store that can be eaten without adding any fresh, frozen, or dairy items. These are valuable recipes because it's hard to come across good, edible meals that do not need added fresh meat, produce, or dairy. When I find good ones I will post them in my recipe section and tag them "Pantry Recipe" I use these recipes for my 3 month supply, not my year supply since they are mostly made up of canned grocery items which expire after only a year or two.

So far this new system is working great. Plus, it makes the drudgery of deciding what to eat each week much easier since I only have to come up with 1 or 2 dinners outside of my list of new things to try.

I also have 3 older kids (ages 11-15) and they each cook one night a week. It's good experience for them to get a new recipe on their night, especially if it's a food storage one, and gain their own experience.

Tonight we made our dutch oven meal which turned out pretty good. I'm trying to get the hang of dutch oven cooking. I found some dutch oven liners which make it much better because you don't have to clean a big mess out of the pot. Dutch oven cooking is not my favorite yet but I think as I do it I will like it better and it won't seem so scary. The ultimate goal of course, is to be able to cook my food storage meals in it.

So, what does all this have to do with you? Well I want to issue a small challenge to all my readers. Pick one night a week and try out food storage only recipes. It's not too big of a commitment but if you do it faithfully, by the end of the year you will have tried out 52 recipes! Begin a collection of your favorites for your own family's food storage recipe book. You will be amazed at how good it will make you feel, and how much less scary food storage will seem. Let me know how it goes!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What is the best way to store food?

I know you all think I dropped off the face of the earth. SORRY!! School started, plus soccer practice for 3 kids, plus my husband had surgery, and on and on. I haven't even had time to blog.

Well hubby goes back to work tomorrow and we survived the first couple of weeks of school so I'm hoping things will get back to normal ~ at least my crazy version of normal :)

Two weeks ago I taught my first class on Living off Food Storage. I thought it went pretty well and hopefully I left the impression of being a relatively sane person despite some of the crazy things I do. Some of my blog followers were there which actually made the whole thing SO much more fun! I have 2 more classes scheduled so far so hopefully there will be a lot of people inspired to do something with their food storage. :)

I had a couple of things I could blog about but I felt like I should talk about this one first. There are, in the world, basically 2 ideas about storing food for a year. One, the "old fashioned" way with #10 cans of whole foods like wheat, beans, rice, etc. The other is commonly called "storing what you eat" meaning storing regular grocery foods that you use everyday.

Both methods have their pros and cons and I don't think we can say either one is the "right" way because any way you store up food is going to bless your family, but I think we should consider carefully before we choose what is right for our own families. I am no expert but I have, obviously, chosen to store whole foods and I will tell you why.

1. If you ever had to actually live off your food storage alone, have you thought of what it would do to your health to eat only store bought food out of a can for an entire year? Of course with all those preservatives, you might live longer ;)

2. If you had to leave your home with your food storage, it would be much harder to move thousands of little cans, than fewer larger ones.

3. Store bought cans and foods have a much shorter shelf life and must be vigorously rotated.

4. If you are truly living off food storage alone, remember that you can not supplement canned goods with fresh produce, or cheese, or dairy. Everything you make has to come from a can. Most people going with the "store what you eat" method forget about that.

4. And finally, have you ever thought about why we might all have to live off our food storage in mass? I can think of a lot of scenarios (plague, famine, widespread destructions, total economic collapse, etc) and none of them make me think that on day 366 we will get to go back to the grocery store. It seems much more likely we will be growing our own food like wheat, beans, rice, etc. I would just rather already know how to use these foods because I had stored them, and my body is used to eating them.

That being said, there is one caveat. If you are going to store whole foods in bulk then please, please, please, learn how to use it. If you aren't going to learn how to cook with it, then it is better to store the store bought cans. They will at least preserve our family's lives for a year. After that, come over and I will teach you how to use the other foods :)

Now in fairness, I do actually use somewhat of a hybrid method of storage. I have a 3 month supply that is separate from my year supply. MOST of my 3 month supply is store bought canned items that I eat regularly with just a few bulk items mixed in. It is easier to rotate these cans when there is only 3 months worth, and in an emergency scenario, they provide quick meals and comfort foods. When we set out to live off food storage, my 3 month supply was the first to get used up because it was food I was familiar with and it was convenient. However, I couldn't imagine living off it for a year.

I have a list of books that I love that help with using your food storage. Some I have shared before but I will list them all here anyway:

For cooking whole foods from scratch:
1. "A Bite of Independence Through Self Sufficiency" by Marlynn Phipps, Jan Woolley, and Venecia & Jenny Phipps - Used copies only or purchase e-book
2. "Dinner is in the Jar" by Kathy Clark
3. "Country Beans" by Rita Bingham
4. "The Essential food Storage Cookbook" by Tami Girsberger and Carol Peterson
5. "Mix a Meal Cookbook" by Deanna Bean & Lorna Shute

For cooking with pantry items only:

1. 100-day Pantry: 100 Quick and Easy Gourmet Meals Jan Jackson
2. It's in the Bag a New Approach to Food Storage Michelle and Trent Snow

Anyway, that is my 2 cents, although it might not be worth even that much! LOL However you decide to store food, it will bless your life to have it. When people feel safe and secure they are better able to function in their everyday lives and they are happier.

Next week I am going to blog about easy ways you can begin using your food storage now and teaching yourself, and your family, how to use what you have stored.