Tag Archives: emergency

Real Life: Dinner Fail (Almost)

This ain’t Pinterest.  This is real life.  I try to shoot as straight as possible, since I don’t want people to feel like doing the things we do is impossible.  Part of our method is to be as transparent as possible, even when it doesn’t show us in the best light.

First confession: We don’t eat clean all the time.  Sometimes, I will throw a prepackaged bag of noodles filled with MSG and unpronounceable ingredients  into a pot and call it dinner. I’m trying to get better about this particular issue, we do have a lot of premade food in our extended pantry.  Most of it was given to us, but it beckons from time to time.  Our sons actually think that Ramen noodles are a treat, since they get them so infrequently.  (I pretty them up with vegetables and meat, but still, not really healthy, though I can delude myself enough about it.)

Second confession: Even though I advocate meal planning, I don’t always do it.  Heck, sometimes, like this Sunday, I go through all the effort of meal planning.  Then, totally ignore it. It’s not practicing what I preach but we all fall short.

Pantry (and sis) Saved the Day

Today, I was feeling very unwell.  I’m ashamed to admit it, but I turned the television on at around 1 and let the boys watch Netflix while I laid on the couch, hoping my sinuses didn’t finally explode like they felt they might.  Come dinner time, I couldn’t think of a single thing to make.  Everything sounded too daunting, nothing was thawed.  (Yes, I realize the irony that I could have avoided all this had I actually followed my meal plan and taken the pork chops out last night for a crock pot meal.  Quiet, you.) Leftover icecream cake was looking more and more like a very real option.

Fortunately, I was on the phone with my sister, who uses her Bluetooth to talk during her second shift driving 18 wheel trucks.  She said, “just make spaghetti.”  I thought to myself, okay, Matt isn’t home.  The kids and I could just have spaghetti and sauce.  Sauce is a vegetable and you don’t need meat at every meal, right?  I committed to the pasta.  I went into the extended pantry to get the jar of sauce, and my brain finally kicked on.  Hello, I have cans of meat, both home canned and commercially canned, grab one of those, you dummy.  Not only did I grab the can of chicken, but I also decided to fancy it up with a can of mushrooms.

These all came from my pantry. And, for those of you interested, all bought on rock bottom sales.
These all came from my pantry. And, for those of you interested, all bought on rock bottom sales.

I cooked dinner which took hardly anytime.  After grace, I enjoyed this quick pantry meal.  And then I wanted to smack myself.  I have written two ebooks on frugality, one of which focuses on the kitchen.  I knew that an extended pantry is the way to avoid eating out or take the effort out of meals.  Why hadn’t I just done that without the prompting of my sister?

It tasted just as fantastic as it looked.
It tasted just as fantastic as it looked.

And I came to this conclusion.  I need someone to tell me what to do.  Not all the time mind you, but when I’m sick or sad, I need someone to just tell me to put one foot in front of the other.  This is the premise behind my homemaking journal, since I am not one of those blessed people who are naturally organized.  As I sat there at dinner, I decided to make a list of a few meals that I could keep in my homemaking binder.  These meals would be quick pantry meals that I could make out of our storage.  Not only will it make last minute meals no-brainers, it’s also a way for me to practice cooking from our food storage. I’ll be ready for an emergency, but it also helps to rotate the storage.

Emergency Pantry Meals

  1. Pasta + sauce+ canned meat of choice (chicken, ground beef, ground venison, ground pork)
  2. Jar of soup +bread product (bread, crackers, pita)
  3. Homecanned jar of sweet and sour chicken, bourbon chicken, etc + instant rice
  4. Jar meat (thicken with flour) + jar of carrots served over instant mashed potatoes
  5. Jar of sliced potatoes +ground meat+ pint tomato sauce+ can of peas for burgos (excellent recipe from the More with Less cookbook

Now I have this short list installed in my homemaking journal so that I have someone to tell me what to do. Someone eminently qualified.  Me!

What other pantry meals can you think of?  Share with me so I can add to my list and others can benefit from your unique and fabulous wisdom.

-Mandi

 

 

72 Hour Kit Review and Giveaway!

Here is what all four packages look like after they are removed from the larger package.
Here is what all four packages look like after they are removed from the larger package.

Prepackaged Kits and You

Getting started with emergency preparedness can be a daunting task.  There are so many different issues to consider that many folks give up, even though they know that they should be doing something.  While I do not advocate making it the only part of your emergency preparedness storage, prepackaged kits can be an easy way to start.

My Patriot Supply sells 72 hour kits for getting started, along with many other kits.  This kit in particular has four serving packages of each: Blue Ribbon Creamy Chicken Rice, Liberty Bell Cheesy Potato soup, Traveler’s Stew and Granny’s Homestyle Potato soup. They use non-GMO ingredients and their food is made in the USA, in case that stuff is important to you. (It is to us, but I know that’s not a priority for everyone.) If you go to their site and sign up for their newsletter, you will be privy to the many sales that they have which make it easier to build your food stockpile for less money.  Who doesn’t like a deal?

Taste Testing

Prepackaged food conjures images of disgusting, tasteless, unidentifiable gruel.  I’ll be completely honest: even I did not have high expectations when I ordered the 72 hours kit from Patriot Supply.  I thought that at best it would be passable freeze dried food that we could keep that would be light weight, easily transportable and long lasting, since the mylar sealed bags can be good for up to 25 years.  Taste good, though?  Seemed too much to ask.

Blue Ribbon Creamy Chicken Rice

With trepidation, I cooked up the Blue Ribbon Creamy Chicken Rice.  It required 20 minutes of cooking at a simmer, so you will definitely need a heat source to cook it, not just add boiling water.  (Not to worry, we plan to cover that topic in another post.) At first, I despaired of it thickening up and thought perhaps we would end up with soup.  Not such a bad thing, except the temperature was 95F so the last thing we wanted was soup for dinner.  However, after I cooked it and let it cool as the directions state, texture was similar to the flavored rice from Rice-a-Roni or some other prepackaged mix.  But that’s where the similarities ended.  Patriot Supply’s rice was so creamy and delicious that it tasted practically homemade.  We ate it as a side with some cold chicken we had, but I ate some of the rice cold the next day (for testing purposes, of course).  It was just as fantastic as the day before.

When they said creamy, they weren't kidding!
When they said creamy, they weren’t kidding!

Matt gives it two thumbs up.  As an avid outdoorsman and all around adventurer, even having hiked the Appalachian Trail for six months, he has eaten a lot of instant meals: MREs, C-Rats, K-rats… (Maybe some other acronyms but I kinda started to space out.)  He too was surprised and thrilled by the flavor and texture of the rice.

Liberty Bell Cheddar Potato Soup

After such an excellent first experiment, I was eager to try another meal from the 72 hour package.  I selected the Liberty Bell Cheddar Potato soup, because, hello, potatoes and cheese.  I followed the instructions, simmering the soup on the stove, while stirring frequently.  I learned the hard way, do not abandon your soup, you will scorch the bottom.  Fortunately, I caught it before too much damage was done.

I added the parsley garnish from my herb garden out front.
I added the parsley garnish from my herb garden out front.

After letting the soup cool, I ladled it out into dishes.  For this dish, my guinea pig was my mother in law, who was a great sport about it, considering the high had been in the nineties again that day.  Taking a spoonful, I was not disappointed.  .  I had figured that the soup would be basically a thin compilation of potato flakes and powdered cheese. Instead, the soup had a very creamy and cheesy base with shreds of potatoes in it.  My mother in law noted that the cheese did not have the “fake cheese” flavor that is common to many premade mixes.  It was delicious and we practically licked our bowls clean, much to the dogs’ lament.

Recommendation

It is without reservations that we recommend these products from Patriot Supply.  No, we have not received any compensation from the company.  They are just that good.  We intend to purchase a few kits to give away as Christmas gifts to certain family members and friends who would appreciate them. Also, they are fairly slim and compact, a boon for putting in a five gallon bucket 72 hour kit or in a Bug Out Bag.  (Also stuff we’ll cover in other posts)

Giveaway!

Now, for the exciting part, we will be holding a drawing for all folks who join our newsletter, with the prize being your very own 72 hour kit.  We will hold the drawing on July 31, 2016,  so use the link to join our newsletter.  Not only will you get a chance to win, but we will be sending out freebies and updates that are only available to our subscribers.   Come join in the fun!

 

Subscribe to our list to be entered in our giveaway. We’ll never sell your email. Scout’s honor. (Matt used to be a Boyscout, so that’s totally legit.)

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