I was given an assignment to do another post on food storage. I do these frequently for Augason Farms because, like them, I believe strongly in being as prepared as is possible. No one will be completely, 100% prepared. I think part of many people’s overwhelmed response to food storage and emergency supplies is that they think they need to have it all perfectly set up and that they just can’t pull that off, so they give up on making an effort.
People, you weren’t prepared to leave home when you grew up. There were lessons to learn, mistakes to make and experiences to have. But, those situations in which you were not prepared did not lessen the value of the things you were prepared for. Whatever skills you could bring to the table helped you make your way until you could figure out the rest of it. I was very prepared to have children, but not completely. What I had learned helped me to be a better mother and led the way for the rest of the skills I needed.
If you are in a situation where you are suddenly not getting paid, whatever supplies you have on hand will help. If you are stuck in a blizzard like I was a week ago, with no power and the heat rapidly dropping and a house full of hungry children, you will be infinitely better off with one flashlight, a few blankets and a few packages of instant soup than you would be with nothing.
I firmly believe that effort is blessed. I live my life by the principle that if I try, God will make up the rest. And He does.
So, stop trying to be perfectly prepped. Lose the expectation. Stop being overwhelmed and ask yourself what can I do, rather than focus on what you can’t do. Life is too uncertain to not at least try.
In the past few weeks we have been in a terrible blizzard that decimated tens of thousands of the cattle where I live and forced many people to survive without power or access to anything except what was on hand for several days. Being military, they have threatened not to pay us over the shutdown, fixed that, and are now saying again that if the US defaults, we can again expect no paycheck. My foster children, who depend on programs like WIC for their formula, cannot get it through the program they are supposed to be supported through due to the shutdown. That need now falls on me. I am not perfectly prepared to handle all of this. But I am confident that through the many preparations I have made, the skills I have learned and the resources at my disposal – we will be ok, and in many instances, even comfortable.
So- TRY. Baby steps. Leap of faith. Effort is always blessed. Always.
Without further ado, (and, yes I know that was a lot of ado) here are some super yummy food storage recipes and ideas for you to try. Because I got to figure out how to eat with nothing but a burner during our power outage, I’m going to point out some fantastic products for you to stock up on, in case you end up in that boat. We are going for easy-peasy power-outage meals that only require one burner.
First off, I want to show you these awesome soups from Augason Farms.
Crown Canyon is their new soup brand and these were a huge hit with my entire family during this past power outage. Hot, yummy, and as easy and mixing the packet and some water together. We have also brought these with us on several camping/backpacking trips. Lighter than their canned counterparts, and containing several servings, you definitely want to add some of these to your 72 hour kit and pantry. The Cheesy Potato and Chicken Noodle have been our favorites. My eleven year old frequently whips one of these up when he is hungry or babysitting.
We have a few of these 12 day emergency pails on hand, as well as the 72 hour ones. They provide enough food, with a basic plan of what to eat when, for one person for 12 days. You can buy them for 3 days, 12 days or 30 days. I like these because they are great on the go, and take the stress of constantly trying to figure out what to eat next away. These are perfect for short term disasters.
These entree in a can are also really great in a pinch, particularly if you are trying to feed a family, and don’t want to deal with (or lack the resources to deal) a messy prep and clean up. These one can wonders come in several family favorites: chicken fettucini alfredo, beef teriyaki, chili macaroni, and more. Times calling for food storage tend to be stressful, and simplicity, along with comfort foods are a great way to take the edge off and reserve your energy for other issues.
And finally, how about some minestrone soup?
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans or appx 2 cups cooked beans
1 can navy beans or appx 2 cups cooked
1 can tomato soup or Augason Farm’s Tomato Powder plus 1 1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup Augason Farm’s Spinach leaves
3 Tbs chicken bouillon
3 Tbs dried basil
2 tsp dried parsley
3 tsp dried oregano
4 cloves diced garlic
1/2 cup onions (or more if you love them)
2 cups water
1 cup pasta- I like the traditional shell pasta.
This is simple to make, filling and surprisingly meaty for a vegetarian meal.
So get started! Get that pantry stocked, even if it is one can at a time. And take advantage of the October sale at Augason Farms! 30% off Cocoas, Morning Moos and Soups!
This has been one of my favorite meals lately. It is simple and very good for you. It is also amazingly easy to make from your Augason Farms food storage basics!
Cajun Black Beans & Rice
1/3rd cup olive oil
3 chopped bell peppers or dehydrated diced bell pepper
2 cups black beans
2 cups white rice
4 cans vegetable broth or water and chicken bouillon to taste
2 Bay leaves
Salt & pepper to taste
Pour the oil in your pan and add the onions. Set them at a low simmer. Add in your peppers (add a cup of water if you are using dehydrated peppers). Let the mixture cook on low for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. This smells amazing!
Once your veggies are tender, add in your ready to eat black beans or canned black beans.
Bring your rice, broth and bay leaves to a boil, stirring occasionally until the rice is soft and all moisture has been absorbed. Pick out the bay leaves. They add flavor during the cooking process but are not actually eaten.
Serve the beans and peppers over the rice and enjoy! It’s fast, easy, vegan and tastes great. This rice and beans is also a fabulous burrito filling, or wonderful used in fajitas! I always make a big batch so we can do the meal one night and fajitas the next.
Leah’s Scalloped Potatoes
1 cup dehydrated onions
5 cups dehydrated potato slices or 8 medium peeled and sliced potatoes
1-2 cups chopped ham (this is really just personal preference, I tend to use lots)
1 pint heavy cream (no substitutions!)
1/4th cup butter sliced into pats
salt and pepper
This is a super fast, super easy, super yummy meal. Get out your casserole dish. (If you’re using dehydrated taters, put them and the onions in two cups of water and simmer gently until all water is absorbed). Mix potatoes, ham and onions together, place in casserole pan. Pour all of the cream over the mixture. Never, ever substitute half and half or try to make this recipe healthier. If you do, my grandmother will roll over in her grave, and rightly so. Just have a smaller portion of the really good stuff. Salt and pepper to taste. Place butter pats over the top, cover with tin foil and bake for about an hour at 350, or until the potatoes are tender and easy to break with a fork. Enjoy!
2 cups macaroni noodles, boiled and drained
1/2 cup dehydrated onions
1lb ground beef or beef flavored vegetarian meat substitute
1 can or one cup prepared red kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
Brown your hamburger and onions. Dump everything into a large skillet. Heat on medium until thoroughly warmed and serve. This one is a real kid pleaser.
I know food storage can be overwhelming. You have to buy it, store it and figure out how to use it. I hope these recipes help you start using these every day essentials in your menu plans. Once you add in a few great food storage meals, you will find it is much easier to rotate through your pantry. If your pantry isn’t as stocked as mine, and you are overwhelmed by the seeming impossibility of a solid, long term food storage, remember -one can at a time. Don’t think you need to rush out and do it all in one day. If you can budget out a few food storage items each month, you will eventually have a very stocked pantry and be protected in times of personal financial crisis as well as world food scarcity. Economists have said recently that food is probably the very best thing you can invest in right now because prices and demand are skyrocketing. A well stocked pantry brings peace of mind and security to your family. Start now, start small, just START!
Tips from a former florist since it is nearly Mother’s Day:
1. Shop local. You will do much better on prices and quality if you avoid the nationwide teleflora type shops and look up a local florist or better yet, a nursery. Place orders by phone or in person- not online.
2. Have an idea of what you want- if you can be specific, be specific. If you can’t be specific, ask what is fresh and just off the truck today.
3. Think outside the vase. A flat of annuals or a box of perennial bulbs for a gardener is more exciting than blooms that will die in a week. A hanging basket or pre-made planter will last for moths if properly cared for. I have sent my mother entire flats of impatiens a few times- gets quite the reaction at the office, and mom’s garden looks lovely all summer. A small plant with a gift certificate is also extra special.
4. If you must do cut flowers, there is more to life than roses. As a former florist, I can tell you that roses are the most uninspiring flower out there. They are a pill to clean and die off quickly. They are also what I really want to get out of my shop before they open and go completely limp. Think irises, tulips, delphiniums, daisies, alstroemeria, lilies, carnations, or my personal favorite- orchids. Be unique.
5. I always make it a point to tell the person taking the order that my mother is an avid gardener and that I was a florist. This says that we recognize quality, and we expect quality delivered. If you have been disappointed in the past, it doesn’t hurt to mention that. Saying, “wow, your competitor left me really unimpressed last year” gives them a reason to do better. Letting them know that you know a .99 cent carn from a $5 lily gives them a little accountability. Most florists really want to please you and want to sell the best product possible. You don’t need to be rude about it, but working something like, “I really don’t want my mom to be disappointed because she is such an amazing gardener and we had this really lackluster product last time I sent flowers. What do you have that is fresh and will really wow her?” is a good way to go.
6. Have your recipient snap a photo of the arrangement when it arrives and send it to you. Most people aren’t going to say, “Thanks for the ugly flowers,” or “wow, you spent five bucks on me” but if it is in a photo- you can see for yourself if you got what you paid for, or if you got the vase that fell off the back of the truck, so to speak. If you find yourself underwhelmed, call and complain.
7. On the flip side, a little praise never hurt. If they have done well, you can call and say so. At the very least, make a note of the business you used so you can use them again in the future!
8. Having a bad day? There is NOTHING wrong with sending yourself a few blooms! Flowers have been known to actually lessen symptoms of depression. If you need a pick me up, visit your local nursery or florist and get yourself a little something! Don’t pout because no one remembered you- treat yourself!