This month my focus is on building my 90 day supply of food, with freezer meals!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Freezer Cooking - Smoothies -

It really bothers me that I have so many vegetables in our food storage, but hardly any fruit, besides extremely processed stuff.
So, I picked up lots of strawberries on sale for $1 a pound, TONS of bananas and some blackberries too (also on sale $1 a 8 oz. container). Then I simply pureed the fruit. 3 cups of fruit per baggie should be enough to make 6 smoothies for the family.
I used banana for half of the fruit in each batch, then half blackberries/half strawberries for some, and then half bananas/half strawberries for the others. Out of about $16 worth of fruit I was able to get 24 bags of pre-pureed fruit. About $0.67 of fruit per batch of smoothies (or about 11 cents per serving), and now we have strawberries even on weeks when it's not on sale. Not a bad deal to me! :) I used freezer bags & have tested it since & they did well.
I was going to add yogurt, but I wasn't sure how well it would freeze & I have more than enough dry powdered milk to make yogurt if we were in a dire emergency.
Now to find other non-sugary ideas for fruit in our 90 day supply. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

How do you store your food? Part 3

This is a little more fun of an idea. We are trying to keep a 90 day supply of cereal in the house, but we can go thru a lot of cereal each week. And we would have a million random boxes of cereal all around. Then, a candy company in the same business complex by my husband's work in Nevada went under. And they were allowing people to come thru and take what they wanted. This was his idea, to use the candy dispensers for cereal! It's great having a home for them, and it eliminated a lot of clutter & mess, while allowing the kids to have a lot of options. About two boxes of cereal fit into each container.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Last Minute Dinner

So last night is a perfect example of why I am determined to make more & more freezer meals. I've been busy getting ready for a craft fair next weekend, and realized about 3:00 that I had nothing for dinner.
So, I pulled out a frozen meatloaf (and just cooked it longer in the oven), and then thought about it, and grabbed some frozen veggies & made some stove top from our food storage. Then, to finish off the meal, I made defrosted some rolls and then lightly warmed them in the oven right before dinner.
5 minutes of work on a stressful day and we still had a really nice dinner too! :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Freezer Cooking - Cookie Dough -

So pretty much every cookie dough seems to freeze well. So, I've been randomly making a double batch of cookies, and freezing half of it. I usually only use half the recommended amount of chocolate chips, so a double batch means that I use up a whole bag, but don't have a million cookies sitting around to tempt me. I freeze them in rolls. And having random chocolate cookies waiting for me on a bad day is so, so good.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Freezer Cooking - PB & J -

Mornings are hectic. I don't care if you have kids or not ... they are crazy! So, I ran across a good idea a while ago and it's really worked well.
Smuckers Uncrustables are $2.16 at our local Wal-Mart. And that's only 4 sandwiches, so $0.54 each, and with four kids now able to eat them for lunch, they wouldn't last long. So, I've started doing something else instead. Freezing a regular PB & J for them, which isn't technically cooking ... but it's still bulk preparation.
Just put a slight slathering of the peanut butter on both sides of the bread, and then the jelly in-between. Then freeze! When you place it in their lunch, it will completely defrost by lunch and the peanut butter stops the jelly from making the sandwich all soggy. I can fit 16 in the side compartment of the freezer, and it makes the mornings so much easier on the busy days. :)
Cost Breakdown: 1 loaf of bread ($1), 1/4 of a peanut butter jar ($0.25 - I buy mine at $1 each when they are on sale), 1/2 of freezer jam ($0.50 - or round abouts) - $1.75 for 10 sandwiches, or $0.175 each! That's about a $0.36 savings for each sandwich, or $1.44 each time that I feed my kids these for lunch ... yeah! :)
As a side note, I made homemade freezer jam for these & my son has been begging for them every day as a result!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Freezer Cooking - Corn Dog Muffins -

This week I wanted to focus on building up my lunch items. It's easy to make something for the kids for lunch, and then to double-triple-or even quadruple the recipe (or in this particular case, 8). It looked funny in the picture, but I thought the kids might like it, and it would be a lot cheaper than buying corn dogs for the kids.

When I buy corn dogs, it comes out to be about $1.16 per lunch. And I had all the ingredients on-hand already. So, we decided to try these corn dog muffins.

Here's the cost break down: $0.59 for eggs (purchased at $0.88 a dozen for Easter), $4 for jiffy mix (bought at $0.50 a box at the case lot sale), $1.76 for hot dogs (2 packages), and I have absolutely no idea what the milk cost (I used the pre-mixed food storage milk). So, around $6.35 for about 15 lunches. Or $0.42 a lunch, versus $1.16 a lunch buying the pre-made corn dogs. It would have cost $17.50 for just as many of the pre-made corn dogs in the freezer.

$11.15 in savings may not seem like much, but those kind of savings really add up. And my son told me they were super yummy ... definitely not my kind of lunch preference, but they like it. :) And it's a nice mix up from the mac n' cheese or pb&j lunches they normally get.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

How do you store your food? Part 2

I already posted how I like buckets. It seems like a larger amount of money at first, but it's almost the exact same cost as the #10 cans, but it's a one time only cost. But, as we've been collecting more and more buckets, we realized we needed to be creative with our storage ideas. We lived in a 1400 sq. ft. home in Vegas. And my daughter's bed was tall enough to put buckets underneath (we were able to fit 18). And then we decided we need to come up with more ideas. Our bedroom needed some end tables, so we placed them four on the bottom & four on top. It made a nice side table height. Then my husband measured across & made a square top. We were worried about the kids being able to play with them, so we put wood all along to create a box top. It was around $40 for the wood for both tops. Then we staple gunned the fabric around to create a pleated look with some decorator fabric I got for $3 a yard at Home Fabric in Henderson (I really, really, really miss that fabric store).
In our new home we've placed those as side tables in the baby's room (they won't fit in the tiny bedroom we're using now). Between the two side tables it gave a home for 16 more buckets. Now that we've been filling more buckets, we're trying to come up with another idea for creative storage again.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Freezer Cooking - Morning Hot Pockets -

With so many small kids up during all hours of the night, and then begging Daddy for attention in the morning, there usually isn't a lot of time for my husband to have breakfast.

Then while researching I found this post about making breakfast hot pockets.

So I made a double batch of the honey oatmeal bread dough for the outer part of the hot pockets and got enough supplies to make 45 hot pockets.

Eggs were on sale for $0.88 a dozen & I had bought 10 of them (we can eat a dozen for breakfast ... I wasn't worried). So it used 4 dozen eggs ($3.52), 3 packages of bacon ($4.47) & 1 pound of cheese ($2.50). I am not even going to attempt to figure out what the dough costs, but I'd be surprised if it was more than $2. So, for about $12.49 I was able to make 45 morning hot pockets for my husband to grab when he's in a hurry. That comes out to be a little less than $0.28 each ... not bad for the piece of mind it gives! :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Freezer Cooking - Meatloaf -

I've tried lots of meatloaf recipes, but this is by far my favorite. Five simple ingredients. I mix all the ingredients and shape them in a bread pan before freezing. I don't cook it until it's actual time for dinner. Super Yum!


1 pkg. stove top stuffing mix
1 egg
1/3 c. water
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. salsa

Combine dry stuffing mix with egg, salsa and water. Add ground beef and mix well. put in a loaf pan, to shape it. Wrap well and freeze.

To de-frost:
Place in the fridge to defrost the night prior. When time to cook, place in a bread loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Freezer Cooking - Baked Ziti -

This week I want to focus on more freezer dinners. It's going to be cold for the next few days, so it's the perfect time to not leave the house & use my oven (once June hits ... the oven will NOT be turned on again for the summer time).
So, this was today's addition to our freezer.
Baked Ziti. Using all food storage ingredients we already had on hand (and I used dehydrated onion instead of the fresh onion ... fresh onions are way too expensive here!). It was a lot yummier than I thought it would be, the kids all went back for seconds.
I tried a single batch of it before I did the bulk cooking & freezing. I was worried 8 oz. of pasta wouldn't be enough, but about a third of a large lasagna pan went in the fridge for leftovers.
So I made enough for four more dinners, and put them in my freezer.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Freezer Cooking - Toddler French Toast Sticks -

So having all the rolls is nice ... but it takes up way too much freezer space! I'm lucky because we have a small little freezer above our fridge, and a large deep freezer. All the rolls took up an entire section though! Definitely going with thinner ideas from now on.
I found today's recipe and knew it would be perfect. French toast sticks! I wish I could buy expensive, pre-made french toast sticks for my kids. But, they are very expensive & with four kids eating them, they really go fast! And with a almost one year old, these are the perfect finger food for him. My older kids each ate 5 french toast sticks, and the baby ate 3. So 18 sticks or 6 slices of bread make a meal for us.

We tried a small batch of the toddler french toast sticks (using pumpkin puree that I had from thanksgiving). The kids loved them & were all begging for more.

The cost breakdown? I doubled the recipe to make about 9 meals (one this morning & 8 more frozen) & took about an hour and a half. It used less than a quarter of pumpkin puree that I got for $1 ($0.25), 18 eggs ($1.18), 2 loaves of bread ($3.59), 1 stick of butter ($0.14) and almost 3 cups of milk (I used the food storage milk I keep pre-mixed in my fridge). So, $5.16 for 9 meals, or $0.58 each time, for four kids. And they all were a lot fuller & weren't scavenging for food as usual. :)
Sorry for the bad picture, I forgot to take one until they were all scrunched up.

Here's my take on her recipe for Toddler French Toast Sticks:

30 slices of whole wheat bread
1/4 c. butter, melted
8 eggs
1/3 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. pumpkin puree

Mix all ingredients except the bread together in a bowl. Take all your bread and cut it into thirds. Heat a griddle and dip the bread into the egg mixture to coat it and cook on the griddle. Flip over once one side is brown & make sure both sides are fully cooked. Place finished bread on cookie sheet, keep separated & allow to cool completely. Once completely cooled, place cookie sheet in the freezer. Flash freeze the toast sticks for 30 minutes. (The flash freezing allows the food to start to freeze, so when you place them in a bag they won't stick together). Remove from cookie sheet and place in a freezer bag. Freeze until ready to use. To warm up: microwave 30 - 45 seconds.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Goal for April

So, I was going to focus on beans this month. But, an event yesterday got me thinking in a different route. I bargain shop, a lot. I have a large variety of random things in my home & in our food storage. But, we're running low on meat right now, because there hasn't been a great meat sale lately. Well, yesterday I got a phone call that put me into a panic. One of my visiting teaching gal's sons fell & broke his arm and was in the hospital having surgery ... so they were asking me to bring dinner. And you know how you want to bring a really great meal at those times? Well, I didn't really have anything "great" to offer.
Which got me thinking about my 90 day supply and how to better be prepared for those moments ... and for the moments when my son has a last minute book report to make, or life doesn't go as smoothly as I think it will.
I had read about freezer cooking before, but this month I'm going to work on it & build a better stash of ready to cook meals. I already buy hamburger in large quantities when it's on sale for $1 a pound, cook it and then bag it. And I also always make a few (usually 5 or 6) meatloafs at that same time.
But for myself, bulk cooking & freezing would work wonderfully for those last minute, unexpected moments ... or for the moments when I'm too busy doing nothing to want to worry about dinner. :)
I can't do that once a month cook fest (I have a family to take care of), and that would mean either bulk buying at HUGE quantities to keep a 90 day supply on hand. So, I'm going to focus on making huge batches of something each day.
Today, I made rolls. LOTS of them. I made 3 dozen honey whole wheat rolls, and then took that dough and also made 2 loaves of homemade bread to freeze as well. And then I made 5 dozen of these delicious sweet rolls. The sweet rolls are a family favorite that I'll make on Sunday's in my bread machine (set to the dough setting) while we're at church. The kids were literally jumping up and down they were so excited to get some (we'll definitely be having these for Easter).
If you're interested in bulk cooking or wondering if anyone has any good tips, I found this post helpful.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oatmeal Recipes - A few more to try -

Okay, I think if I try to serve my family one more oatmeal recipe, they might revolt.. I've tried a lot of recipes, and didn't post the absolute failures ... so believe me, lots and lots of oatmeal has happened here. I ended up going thru over 20 lbs. this month with just random recipes tried ... maybe 150 on a real year of food storage wouldn't work so well. But, I wanted to share a lot of the links that I found, but didn't try ... yet.

Let me know if anybody tries any ... there are a lot on my list to make sometime soon!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Oatmeal Recipes -Oatmeal Pancakes -

Since moving to Cheyenne we make a LOT more warm breakfasts. Something about sending my son off to school for the day with something warm in his tummy makes me feel better when it's near negative digits. Of course, this summer will be ALL about the cereal ... but during the cold months it's been all about any kind of warmth we can get! As a result I've tried a dozen or so different pancake/waffle ideas ... and I've come to the conclusion that we need to have more pre-made pancake mix in our food storage. It takes a lot more work to make something, than to just add water.
Today's pancake mix can be found here. And it was pretty good, but seriously ... bisquick from now on baby! And as fast as we can go thru it, why worry? Especially when it has a year and a half expiration date???

Oatmeal Pancakes
2 c. oats
3 c. buttermilk (remember how to make buttermilk? 2 tbsp. vinegar to each cup of pre-made powdered milk)
3 eggs, well beaten
1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
dash salt
1 tbsp. oil
butter or extra oil for the griddle

Puts the oats in a large bowl & add the buttermilk. Let them soak overnight. The next morning, add the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt and oil. Heat the flat iron surface-griddle, oil the pan and pour the mixture out to desired size. Brown on both sides and serve.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oatmeal Recipes - Honey Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread -

This is my favorite bread recipe, hands down. It's perfect and the kids love it. I've had lots of yeast failures, but this one hasn't failed me yet. I usually only make a half a batch and mix it in my bread machine (which makes one nice loaf). Whenever I've tried making it with my kitchen aid, the machine really sputters, and it's a really expensive machine to replace! I'm afraid I don't even know where I got this recipe from (it's been a few years), so if anybody ever figures it out, please let me know. :)

Honey Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread

3 c. warm water
1 tbsp. instant or quick rise yeast
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. honey
1 tbsp. salt
6 cups whole wheat flour (I usually do half whole wheat flour & half white flour)
1/2 c. oatmeal
1/4 c. gluten w/ vitamin C (I'll confess I don't have any gluten in my food storage ... yet ... and even without this the bread is always amazing, I just add a bit more flour to make up for the missed gluten)

Combine the first 5 ingredients and mix well. Add 5 cups flour, oats and gluten flour. Mix well. Continue to add the other 1 c. flour slowly until the dough forms a ball in your mixer, scrap the excess dough off the sides of the bowl. Allow the mix to rest for 5 - 10 minutes. While mixing, preheat your oven to 100 - 125 degrees.
Oil the counter surface & your hands (use oil, not flour). Pat your dough on the oiled surface and slice with a knife into 2 large even loaves. Pat down and roll into your loaf shape, then put into greased bread pans. Turn off your oven, cover the loaves loosely with saran wrap and put them in the warmed oven to rise until double (about 45 - 60 minutes, depending on the humidity in the air). Remove the loaves from the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from pans and immediately place on a wire cooling rack.

**OR ... you can do what I do, half the recipe, throw it in your bread maker & set it to dough. It'll beep after 1 1/2 hours, ready to be shaped into a loaf and put in the oven ... easy-peasy.**

Oatmeal Recipes - Oatmeal Bread -

So, after looking more at the prudent homemaker's website, I noticed she continually mentioned this Walton company and when looking more into them, I found a lot of great looking food storage recipes. Including Oatmeal Bread.
This was a very yummy bread, I topped it with some brushed on melted butter, and the kids and hubby devoured the first loaf within an hour or so. I ended up having to add quite a bit more flour than they suggested (almost 1 1/2 c.) so that it would be pliable enough to knead. It was a good bread, not too sweet at all.
It did call for buttermilk, so again I used some pre-mixed powdered milk that I keep in my fridge and 2 tbsp. of vinegar together. It makes a great knock off of buttermilk, but for a fraction of the cost.
Oatmeal Bread (makes 2 loaves)
1/2 c. warm water
2 tbsp. dry yeast
3/4 c. water, boiling
3/4 c. rolled oats
1 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. honey
2 c. flour
1 tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 - 3 1/2 c. flour

In a small bowl, stir the yeast and 1/2 c. warm water together; allow to stand until the yeast dissolves and bubbles up. In a medium sauce pan, bring 3/4 c. water to a boil; stir in oatmeal and cook for several minutes. Remove from the heat and add the buttermilk, oil, and honey.
Sift flour, salt and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture and oat mixture and beat with a wire whip or a slotted spoon; let stand for 5 minutes. Gradually add enough remaining flour until the dough is soft enough for kneading. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 8 - 10 minutes or until a soft, elastic ball forms. Place the dough in a clean greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough and divide it into two even portions; cover the bowl or towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Form the loaves and place into greased 8 x 4 inch pans. Cover and let rise until double in bulk again. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes or until fully down. Remove from oven and turn out to cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Oatmeal Recipes -Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins-

If you haven't checked out the Prepared LDS Family website, you should. She puts a lot of time into her site and has a lot of valuable information gathered together. When I was searching for more oatmeal recipes, this site was one of the first that came up in my searches, and I love her chocolate chip oatmeal muffins!
When I was first making the muffins, I thought I had done something wrong, because they were very plain looking as I placed them into the oven, nothing at all like the golden color of her muffins, but while they baked they turned golden & delicious. :)
I hadn't taken any photos when all of a sudden I realized my children had DEVOURED the other 9, so I quickly placed them on a platter and snapped a picture, they didn't even make it to dinner (and I made them late in the afternoon).
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
1 1/4 c. flour
1 c. oatmeal (I used quick)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 c. low-fat buttermilk (I used the reconstituted powdered milk that I keep in my fridge, alone with 1 tbsp. vinegar to make it buttermilk)
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. honey (and to keep the honey from sticking to the measuring spoon, I use the same measuring spoon that I used for vegetable oil, then it slides out more easily, maybe it's a well known fact to most, but I never knew to do it until Paula Deen mentioned it on an episode)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c. regular chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees & grease a 12 muffin pan. By hand, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, soda and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, honey, and egg and mix well. Add wet and dry ingredients together. Mix until just blended, do not over mix! Spoon into each muffin cup, about 1/2 - 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes and remove muffins from pan after about 5 minutes.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Oatmeal Recipes - Oatmeal Cake -

I really like the shelf reliance website. They have lots of great recipes and ideas. I'll never, never, never pay hundreds of dollars for a metal ramp to rotate my cans, but the recipe part of the site is nice. Which is were this oatmeal cake recipe is from, I've earmarked lots of other ones to try too.
They weren't kidding when they described it as homey looking. But, it was a very rich cake. When we tried it, we all agreed that it would be PERFECT warm with some vanilla ice cream on the side. I had a bundt cake pan and thought that it would look pretty from it, but despite greasing the life out of my pan, this thing crumbled when I tried to flip it out. So, a basic, bland picture it is! LOL. My son loves powdered sugar so I sprinkled some on it when he decided it didn't look good enough to eat, and the picky eater was satisfied. :)
Oatmeal Cake

1/2 c. butter
1 c. quick oats
1 1/2 c. boiling water
2 eggs
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. white flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, oatmeal and boiling water in a bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining cake ingredients together. Once mixed, add the oatmeal mixture and stir. Pour the batter into a greased cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Oatmeal Recipes - Easy Granola Bars -

These did not taste like granola bars in the sense that I expected. More like a cookie bar. If I make them again, I would use old fashioned oatmeal, not the quick oatmeal. It made it more mushy and less palatable. The recipe can be found here, but just in case the link ever gets moved, I wanted to post it as well.

Easy Granola Bars

4 1/2 c. oats
1 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. honey
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
2 c. miniture semi-sweet chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, etc. for your granola bar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease one 9x13 inch pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients. Stir in the 2 cups assorted ingredients for your granola bar. Lightly press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 F for 18 - 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes and then cut them into bars. Let the bars cool completely in a pan before removing or serving them.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oatmeal Recipes -Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies-

Last night was the RS birthday celebration. It was wonderful. But it followed a very busy day, which included whipping these delightful cookies together, painting various furniture (we only have had two nice painting weather days in the months since we moved here ... the last two), bargain grocery shopping, and trying to whip up some homemade cinnamon rolls for the party gift exchange. These yummy cookies are definitely worth the extra stress it added to my day yesterday.
As an added side note ... I always tend to make a double batch when I make cookies. Lots of times I try to freeze the second half to defrost on another date. But, I won't double the amount of chocolate chips I put in the batter. It cuts costs a bit, and no one ever noticed when I started doing it, so I guess it's all good.


1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp. milk (another great way to use up that powdered milk I keep mixed up in the fridge!)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. quick or old fashioned oats
1 pkg. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat the brown sugar, butter and sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips and mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un greased baking sheets.
Bake for 9 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies or for 12 to 13 minutes for crispy cookies. Cool for 1 minute before eating.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

-Oatmeal Recipes- Oatmeal Irish Soda Bread

Okay, so I debated even posting this recipe. But, I did try it and as a once a year only kind-of deal, I guess it would be okay. But seriously, St. Patty's Day would be the ONLY time of year I would actually make this again. Purely for the whole "we're having a fun Irish dinner" kind of deal. I made this recipe for Oatmeal Irish Soda Bread. My husband said it looked kind-of green ... which wasn't intentional. It's the first bread I've made in a REALLY long time that didn't turn out right AT ALL. I couldn't bribe my kids to eat it, even the baby turned it down. And don't ask me why I chose to eat it, but I regretfully did ... and suffered heartburn for the rest of the night.
A few substitutions I did:
  • I used my pre-mixed up powdered milk that I keep in my fridge (I have been using up a little over a #10 of powdered milk each month this way!).
  • I found a link that suggested adding 1 tbsp. vinegar to 1 c. milk to make buttermilk. Which I've done before in other recipes and it's been just fine before too.

Anyways, worth trying I guess. LOL. Hopefully next time produces a better result!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oatmeal Recipes - Pre-Made Oatmeal Packets -

Okay, this is the awesome oatmeal kind of breakfast I wanted! :) I don't know if I have mentioned how awesome Lisa is, but she is always pumping out great ideas and keeps so on top of her blog, she's awesome! She posted these ideas from a self-reliant sisters meeting and here's the link.

Instant Oatmeal Packets

Blend 1/2 c. oats in food processor until powdery. Then in ten individual ziploc baggies combine, 1/4 c. quick or instant oatmeal and 2 T. powdered oats with a pinch of salt.
To use: Empty packets into the bowl and add 2/3 c. of water. Microwave for 1 and a half minutes and it's ready to eat!

She also lists a bunch of variations. I made the kids the raisins & brown sugar, except with craisins instead. So yummy!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Oatmeal Recipes - Sneaky Oatmeal -

So, I saw this great idea over at everyday food storage's blog. She made sneaky oatmeal. Seriously this woman is amazing with all of her recipes, my goal is to become such a great food storage cook.
So, I made up a batch and put the instructions on a little sticky on the top of the #10 can. I was busy trying to feed the kids and do dishes and hadn't tried any for myself, when my husband came in. After trying it, he informed me that it wasn't as flavorful as he was used to, but my kids had seconds and thirds. I thought it wasn't bad, but I want to research some more pre-made oatmeal packets to try tomorrow morning.
The one interesting thing she did is mix up the powdered milk into the oatmeal recipe, but my kids wouldn't eat the oatmeal without another form of real milk in front of them. So it used up milk, but I still had to use real milk too. Here's her recipe in case you didn't click over already:

Sneaky Oatmeal Mix
4 c. oatmeal
2 T. powdered milk
2 T. sugar

Mix ingredients in an empty #10 can and set aside.

To use the mix simply mix 1/2 c. oatmeal mix & 1 c. water and microwave for two minutes.

Last Week's Great Accomplishment

So, last week we completed a major food storage milestone here. My 2 year old is potty trained!!! YEAH!!! And before you say that's not a real food storage related thing ... do you realize I just cut the number of diapers I need to store in HALF!?! He's the third child and this was the best one yet! LOVE IT! :)
As for a real food storage recipe, I've been trying lots of them and have more to post starting tomorrow. The goal is still 25 recipes for oatmeal, so there will probably be a few extra posts some days ... hope it helps someone! :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oatmeal Recipes - No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies -

Okay, so this cookie was the one that came up with everybody I talked with about food storage. But, it is a good recipe, and definitely uses up those oats! I tend to make a double batch of them each time, since I can never keep them on hand very long. This recipe is also a great way to use up some of your powdered milk, and I know that you all are storing some pre-made milk in your fridge, right? The link can be found here.

My 4 year old has recently found her voice about likes & dislikes. She came up to them and while my 7 year old was chanting, "yeah, yeah, yeah!" She told me they looked like poop. Thanks sweetie, that makes me feel so ... great about it.

Food Storage Items Used: Oatmeal, Sugar, Milk, Peanut Butter.

1/2 c. butter/margarine
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/8 tsp. salt
3 c. quick cooking oats
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 tbsp. vanilla extract


In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cocoa, milk and butter. Bring it to a rapid boil, stirring occasionally.

Let boil rapidly for one minute, stirring the whole time. Remove from the heat source and stir in the vanilla, salt, peanut butter and oats.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper and allow cookies to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Now sit back and enjoy all the wonderful songs of praise your children will give you when they see the yummy treat you've made them. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oatmeal Recipe - Brown Sugar Oatmeal Raisin Bread -

So my kitchen is an absolute disaster pit right now. But! I have found lots of new, yummy oatmeal bread recipes to share! I seem to find the same ones over & over again and have found lots of great new blogs because of all the searching. :)

The first one I wanted to share was brown sugar oatmeal raisin bread. This bread was a bit time consuming, but so worth it! I made three smaller loaves instead of two larger ones & froze two. They seem to have done well with the freezing too! I used only what I had on hand, so I substituted craisins for raisins & regular flour for wheat flour (we don't have a grinder yet, they are expensive!). The bread itself is rolled a bit at the end with a mixture similar to the cinnamon rolls I make, so it makes for a yummy strip of sugary goodness through out it. It is so yummy & I've definitely added it to my food storage recipe box. I'm really excited to try out more of this guy's recipes, yum-o!

And a tip for using your food storage more. I always keep a pre-mixed up container of my powdered milk in the fridge & substitute it whenever a recipe calls for milk. I notice I'm using about a gallon or so a month, and just finished up my first can of powdered milk since the move. :) Just check the can for instructions, but the brand I have calls for a quart of water to be mixed with 2/3 c. of powdered milk. Powdered milk also doesn't have to be scalded as called for in many recipes.

You can make buttermilk for your bread (like I did in this recipe) by adding 1 tbsp. of vinegar to 1 c. of your pre-mixed powdered milk.

Food Storage ingredients used in this recipe: oatmeal, whole wheat flour, oil, yeast, powdered milk.

Here's his recipe adjusted for using your food storage(since a lot of things I link to get moved around I've noticed). I would definitely recommend checking out his site for pictures to show you what to do exactly.

2 1/4 c. buttermilk (or 2 1/4 c. pre-mixed powdered milk with 2 1/4 tbsp. vinegar pre-mixed together)
2 tbsp. butter
1 egg (beaten)
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast (this is the equivalent to one yeast packet)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. bread flour
1 c. raisins

1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. butter (melted)

Warm up your pre-made buttermilk to 105 - 110 degrees (that's the temperature to help grow your yeast). Pour the buttermilk into a large bowl. Now add in the brown sugar, salt and butter. Mix till well blended and allow to cool down. Add the beaten egg & mix well.

Now add in these dry ingredients: the rolled oats, whole wheat flour, cinnamon and yeast. Mix for a few minutes until well mixed and allow to rest uncovered for 10 minutes.

Start to add in the bread flour. When it becomes to hard to mix in your bowl, pour it out onto a flat surface and continue to add the flour slowly. Knead for 8 minutes so the dough can become smooth and elastic.

Allow the dough to rest again for 5 minutes. This will help the dough to relax. Add in the raisins and knead again until all the raisins are incorporated into the dough.

Add a little oil to the bowl and place the dough into the bowl. Flip the dough over a few times to lightly coat on all sides & cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest until dough has doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Cut the dough in half and take one piece of dough at a time and roll it out to a 16 x 7 rectangle. In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon to make the filling. Brush half of the melted butter onto the dough. And sprinkle half the sugar cinnamon mixture on top of the butter.

Roll the dough like a jelly roll and pinch the seam closed. Place onto your baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap to allow to double in bulk again, about one more hour. After that take a wooden spoon and press down the middle of the dough, all the way to the bottom.

Preheat your oven to 375 & allow the dough to rest and rise some more for about 15 more minutes. Place a pan on the bottom shelf with water in it to create steam & place the bread loaves on the top of the oven. Bake 30 - 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Information about Oatmeal

If you'd like to read about the types of oats out there, check out the self-reliant sisters link here. Lisa (the gal who runs that blog) is a really amazing gal and keeps up on so much information for it, it's a wonderful resource. Personally, we store almost exclusively quick oats. My kids prefer them and they never notice them in the bread recipes I've tried (which is a big bonus!).

They suggest that you get at least 25 lbs. per adult of oats. They need to be stored in a long term storage container (such as the #10 cans, 5 gallon food-grade buckets, or pouches) and have a shelf life of up to 30 years. we try to use buckets as often as possible, they cost about the same as the #10 cans, but we can re-use them. So it's a one time investment, versus every #10 can we use costing us an additional $1.

We just bucketed 100 lbs. of oatmeal this week, and I was surprised at how much we were really able to store in each bucket. We pushed the food down a bit, to make it hold more & we were able to store 19.5 lbs. per 5 gallon bucket.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Food Storage Focus for March -Oats-

So I'm going to try and increase my food storage recipe bank. I need simple, basic recipes. Things that my children can & have & will eat again and again (on purpose).
I decided to start with oatmeal & increasing my recipe bank there first. So that will be the focus on March, using that grain! We just got our year's supply of oatmeal, and I've been surprised how hard it's been to find recipes for oatmeal besides chocolate chip cookies & oatmeal for breakfast.
As I've read more & more about food storage, I noticed something on the prudent homemaker's site. She said that their family is actually using 3x's the amount of food suggested by the church to store. I'm really curious to see how much I use up this next month with all the baking we'll be doing.
And my family is really excited to get to be the guinea pigs of the fun recipes I've been researching! :) And what was the joke my son pointed out??? Oh yeah, on Hannah Montana (Lord help me for letting them watch that!) the other day they called something "Nature's Broom" ... lol ... guess with all the recipes we'll be trying this month that might be happening over here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's Saturday - Budgeting your Food Storage -

I have loved getting to try and research and experiment more with my food storage. I've been trying so many new recipes to post here, but now it's Saturday ... and I plan on taking a break for the weekend to enjoy some time with my family. We're hopefully going to Costco (it's a 45 minute drive away) ... oh Costco, how I miss thee! Seriously people, huge gap in my life without it.

But, I thought that Saturdays might be a good time to point out other blogs & other people's information. I've been amazed at how many people are just as passionate about food storage and really have put so much time and effort into putting the information they have gathered out there.

I'd like to preface this post with my own personal opinion. Your food storage should be tailored to your family. I don't believe there is a right or a wrong way to do food storage. We are given some general council and guidance, but the church's own literature says you need to find your own way that works for your family. My family's eating habits and yours will be different and there is nothing wrong with that.

When we would have classes at my home (which honestly were more like group discussions ... I learned so much from everyone who came & shared with us!), I always prefaced my information that that was what worked best for my family, but that it wasn't the only way to do something. I believe as long as we are working towards the goal of a year's supply we will be blessed and we will find our own way.
With that being said, I found a wonderful blog called Prepared LDS Family. I'm still reading so much of it, but it's wonderful and I hope you'll take the time to check it out.

The particular post I wanted to highlight is about starting and budgeting for your food storage. We've been working on our food storage for years, and have used it and depleted it and built it up again a couple of times. The goal this year is to use & re-use without completely depleting it at the same time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Think She's Right

So I've been couponing a lot more. I spend most of my Sunday afternoon/evening sorting & clipping. I check the blogs multiple times a day to make sure I don't miss any great coupons. And to be honest, there is a thrill in getting a $4 or $5 check out of 8 brownie mixes and 4 boxes of cereal & then getting $7 back in RR. BUT! It's very time consuming and I hate how stressed out it can make me trying to make sure I've done everything right. Also, have you noticed how low the coupon totals are getting? I got a coupon for $0.50 off FOUR (!!!) pringles. Seriously? That's less than a thirteen cents each coupon!
So it's been really bothering me how much time it takes. I have a wonderful husband who will go with me from store to store, help me do multiple check outs to save time, and the kids will sit in the carts all day long sometimes, just to go from store to store shopping. I'm trying to build up a 90 day supply, and it's working. But, there's been a big cost to my family with time spent away from them (even when we're in the same room).
So, I've been praying. A lot. Trying to figure out what's the best way to maximize our small food budget, while still gathering food storage. I want to complete our food storage this year. And it seems like coupons could help do it, but I'm not sure I want to spend another year like I have the last month bargain shopping.
And today, I was checking out a favorite website and I found the answer. She's right about how to spend our money.
I'd been debating about going and doing two more check outs (that would have been about $15 combined) to get more pre-made brownie mixes, cookie mixes and cereal. That fourteen dollars would buy a huge box of cocoa, a large bag of chocolate chips and more eggs to have for breakfast. And it would only take a single shopping trip to Sam's (or the Costco 45 minutes away). And rather than spending $20 on pre-made bags of popcorn (they are on-sale at Costco thru Saturday), I am going to buy the HUGE un-popped, regular popcorn at Sam's & a HUGE thing of butter to pour on it. That popcorn will be a year's supply, rather than a few months.
She's right, we need to change our way of thinking. And I need to stop couponing for pre-made items and start stocking up on more basics. It won't really take that much more time to make homemade brownies, but it will be a lot cheaper.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When the "Bug" Hit

So I always had heard about the importance of food storage and gathering it slowly. Learning to use it. It was something I heard about in different Relief Society meetings and in Sacrament meetings on occasion. I remember my Mom had some random cans of wheat in the garage growing up. I also had a friend who had always talked about it to me. But I had always joked that I would be heading to her house if the worst ever hit. Then in late 2007, the urge to start working on it hit me. And I listened to that prompting. I didn't know what I was doing, or where to start. I just started gathering up pasta at first. My husband and I began to really want food storage, but we literally didn't have two dimes to rub together, we were barely able to afford the weekly groceries. I had always been mindful of bargain shopping and was the one my friends would come to for advice about good deals, but even with all the money we saved there, it still didn't leave money for food storage.
So, we debated and debated what to do. We were able to take some money from the tax returns in 2008 & 2009 to buy some. And I am a big believer in donating to the local charities & thrift stores. We always have a box of things to take to Goodwill or DI sitting around. But, we really de-junked and then had two separate yard sales. With just that money we were able to raise $300 for food storage!
And for holidays and even birthdays we started to get food storage too for each other. It may seem corny to some, but it was something we really were excited for & we felt like it was more important than any other physical/material item we could get for each other.
For my husband's birthday we got 200 lbs. of flour, 100 lbs. of sugar, 50 lbs. of black beans, 6 lbs. of baking soda and 2 gallons of oil (I looked it up on a family blog post, ha ha ha).
The church advises you to slowly build your one week, then your two week, then your month supply & so on. But that idea doesn't work as well for me. It's hard to have my mind in so many different directions, so I focus on one thing at a time. This month we finally purchased the last of our oats. It's something where you have to go with what works best for you.
Where are we now with food storage? Well, we're about 50% with the long term stuff. Most of the bigger purchases are done, now we're onto the smaller priced things, like oil & vinegar, etc. I have been bargain shopping & couponing my life away trying to get a 90 day supply together. Money's even tighter now then it was when we started, so it's been hard and slow. But, I know with the effort & sincere desire, the Lord will bless us to finish it this year.
It's just hard when you want it ... to have wait and slowly do it rather than getting it all at once.

Monday, February 22, 2010


We have become obsessed about the idea of gardening here. And then canning it ... who have I become??? LOL. We've done lots of research and found a local garden supply store that offers lots of free classes & the people were really friendly too. Now, we're just trying to research more to figure out the best way to get around things ... like hail in the summer (where have I moved to???) and the fact that there are rabbits all around here.
And this is a rental property, I don't want to invest a lot of money into something that we don't own. But, I want it to be a great harvest too! This year with all the canning supplies we'll need we won't break even, but next year it will save us lots of money, and we're working on the long term goals here.
I found this article about protecting the garden from hail. And then I found this idea at A Thrifty Mom for creating a greenhouse for our plants.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spices & Herbs

We've slowly started accumulating more thru sales & couponing for our 90 day supply. But the spices is something that I hadn't really thought about much, until we moved here & I ran out of parsley for a recipe one day & it was cold, and snowing and I REALLY didn't want to take the kids out into that. Then I realized how vital our spices will be. Basics may not always be too tasty, but if you add some flavor they can be!
So how to stock up without forking out TONS of dough? Well, I've started slowly accumulating the large spice containers. Every time we go to the local Sam's Club, I pick up a spice. It's usually only $3-$5 each time, but it's a start and slowly without even realizing it, we're getting a decent stock pile. I want to buy one of each spice we use, then do a second round and buy more. Today we went to pick up milk and I picked up the corn starch. It's only $2.81 currently, so I picked up two containers of it. It doesn't expire until Jan. 2013, so I figure I have plenty of time to use it up.
In just the last month and a half, we've accumulated cinnamon, chili powder, parsley flakes, oregano, taco seasoning, chicken bouillon cubes & today's addition of corn starch. I noticed a HUGE 64 oz. container of imitation vanilla was $4.81, so that will be our next purchase. It's a small step, but it's yielding big results without even really trying.
And something we've started doing that you might want to consider. There have been times when food is getting close to it's expiration date. I know many who use it after it's "expired" and we do sometimes. But if it's something I know we won't use in a timely manner (peanut butter & oil for example), we've been donating it (before it's expired) to local food banks. Every Christmas there are lots of food drives, and the boy scouts come around once a year and take stuff and so do the postal employees. It's a way to cycle thru things, use our food storage supply without waste and give to the food banks all at the same time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Previous Blog & Marshmallow Recipe

In Las Vegas, we had a monthly food storage group that met at our home. I did my best to research and find all the details & information I could. But what impressed me the most was how each of us had different pieces of information, and by coming together I learned so much at each meeting. We would post the meetings information at the ward food storage blog. But by moving, it meant that I am now on my own different adventure, so a different blog, not tied in with the church group seemed more appropriate.
But the first recipe I want to share is actually on that blog. It's for homemade marshmallows, using candy canes (originally posted on the previous blog here). It's a very yummy & simple recipe who's key ingredient really is neglect. It also is a great way to use up your sugar, gelatin & some corn syrup! :)

Peppermint Candy Cane Marshmallows
(takes 10 - 12 hours with the setting time included)
*Original Basic Vanilla Marshmallow Recipe can be found here.*

4 gelatin envelopes
1 1/2 c. water
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 1/3 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. corn syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1 box of candy canes (about ten should do a double batch)
flour & powdered sugar (to toss the finished candy canes in)
*Additional Need: 1 Candy Thermometer*

Spray a 9x13" pan with cooking spray and set aside to hold finished marshmallows. unwrap all the candy canes and put them in a freezer duty ziploc baggies (if you are using a rolling pin to crush them) or use your food processor or coffee grinder to puree them.
Now in a large container (that will not melt with boiling hot liquids), pour in 3/4 c. of water & the vanilla extract. Set the rest of the water aside for later. Slowly pour each individual gelatin container over the mixture. Set this bowl aside to the let the gelatin "bloom".
In a good sized saucepan add the sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining water. Put the lid on and bring to a boil, do not stir! Once it's at a boil, remove the lid and put in your thermometer. This is the point where I do something else (like my overflowing sink of dirty dishes ... do they ever get under control?) and come back every few minutes to check on the temperature. You need the temperature of the sugar mixture to reach between 234 - 240 degrees. Too low of a temperature & the gelatin will never properly set & will be gooey (gag!). But, too high of a temperature and they will become rock candy instead of a soft, delicious marshmallow.
Once your mixture reaches between 234 - 240 degrees, slowly pour it into the gelatin water you set aside to "bloom" earlier. If you reached the right temperature, it will bubble up quite a bit. Mix it at a medium speed for 8 - 10 minutes.
After this time is done (and usually my dishes are done & the dish washer is running by this point, added bonus!), you are ready for your final step. Add the 2/3 c. of crushed candy canes to your fluffy mixture. Incorporate them well, and then pour the finished marshmallows into the sprayed pan.
The marshmallows will need to set for about 10 - 12 hours to fully set. Once they are ready, lightly spray a cookie sheet or whatever you are using to cut your marshmallows on. I like to use my pizza cutter, it makes nice, quick clean cuts. Then toss the marshmallows in a baggie of an equal mixture of flour & powdered sugar (1/43 c. of each will be more than enough), to help the marshmallows not be sticky.
Shake off any excess powder & enjoy with a hot cup of cocoa!
These marshmallows are fantastic. They look like something you would get from a designer, uber-expensive store. And your friends will all ooh and aah at you when they find out you make HOMEMADE marshmallows. Even if you are the worst cook in the world, these guarantee to make you look fantastic.
Food Storage Ingredients Used: Corn Syrup, Flour, Sugar, Gelatin

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Another Blog?

I know there are millions of blogs out there, I get lost every day in all the wonderful-ness (is that even really a word?) of them. But! I haven't found a food storage blog for Cheyenne or this are of Wyoming. So here I am, today it's snowing and I have no way to really go out, so I'm typing this up instead.
Who am I? Well, I'm a recent transplant to Cheyenne. We lived in Las Vegas previously and it was amazing to see how quickly it went from a thriving city to almost depression level un-employment. During that time, we had already started to gather up our food storage and were even having monthly classes at our home to teach & learn with others.
I coupon quite a bit (more now that we've moved to Cheyenne), but I feel that the ultimate way to save money lies in our food storage. Using it more, learning more recipes & utilizing it in our lives. It will save us money on our groceries and will teach us all the self-reliance we need to succeed.
I've made it a personal goal to use our food storage (any part of our food storage) daily in our new home. And plan on posting more recipes & share more tidbits & sales that I find in Cheyenne. Hopefully it will help us become more self-reliant and use our food storage better.