Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Food Friday: Menu tweaking and book review

My original 3 month food supply menu went like this:

Breakfast: breakfast burrito, cereal, oatmeal, pancakes. Repeat x 7 (per month).
Lunch: peanut butter/honey, tuna and crackers, ckn noodles, roll up sandwich, mac and cheese, peanut butter/jelly, tomato soup. Repeat x 4 (per month).

Dinner: Lemon Chicken Pasta, Chili, Ground Beef Taco Bake, Chicken and Rice Bake, Black Bean Soup, Bean/Cheese Burritos, Beef Stroganoff, Pizza, Quesadillas, Tuna noodle casserole, Manicotti, Mexican Noodle Bake, Haystacks. Repeat x2 (per month).

There were a few problems, most notably the excess amount of cheese and chicken I would need to store (6 huge Costco bags of cheese, 72 cans of chicken). So this week I did a little tweaking, and I looked for some recipes that would be easier and cheaper to store (mainly trying to include more meat-less meals). I am trying several recipes from a home storage cookbook (more about the book in a minute), and once I determine which recipes are keepers, I will adjust accordingly. Here is my *new and improved* plan:

Breakfast: Pancakes, Oatmeal, Pancakes, Cereal. Repeat x 7 (per month).
This reflects our current eating habits. We eat a lot of pancakes, some oatmeal, and a little cereal. This will also be much cheaper. I can have the other breakfasts at other times, as long as we are working through the stored items in a reasonable manner.

Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jam or Honey Sandwiches, Tuna and Crackers, Roll up sandwiches, Mac and Cheese, Tomato Soup. Repeat x 6 (per month).
Dinner: Lemon Chicken Pasta, Chili, Black Bean Burgers, Haystacks, Rice and Beans, Spaghetti, Vegetable bean teriyaki, Salmon chowder, Bean and cheese burritos, Pizza, Tuna noodle casserole, Black bean soup, Beef Stroganoff, Mexican Noodle bake. Repeat x 2 (per month).

This will reflect a much more cost-effective plan to store food, and if I make each of these meals once every other month, or once every 3rd month, it will rotate the food with no problem.

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Book Review: Cookin' with Home Storage by Peggy Layton and Vicki Tate

I opened this book to find an inscription from Kydon's mom: "To Kydon and Shanna, Christmas 1997". I know this is the first time I have cracked it open! But I have kept it all these years, knowing that one day I would get it together and work on my home storage!

This book is very practical in some ways, and in other ways it is not useful to me. First the negative: It seems to operate from the perspective that one day soon, you will pack all of your belongings, move to the middle of the dessert, and have to live for a year on whatever you brought with you. As I have said before, this is not my plan. I am using my freezer to some extent, and I plan to supplement my storage meals with things I buy fresh. If I were in a situation where I had to survive only on what I had, I would just be up the creek along with everyone else. For example, it has a section on how to make "meatless meat" using wheat gluten. And it announces with pride when a recipe is 150 years old. That is a flag to me to find another recipe, because I feel like cooking and flavor has come a long way since then! :)

The positive: There are a TON of recipes, and all of them use canned, dehydrated, or storable food exclusively. It also has a good list in the front of things you should store, and a pretty detailed 'emergency substitutions' page. I looked through and marked several recipes to try. If they turn out good, I will post them here! It also had a few fun things that I want to try, like how to make your own cream of chicken soup (or mushroom, celery, etc.), how to make some spice mixes like taco seasoning (I used that this week, and it was good!). And it has a section about how to reconstitute dried foods.

The most unusual thing that I thought I might try is it suggested using unflavored gelatin as a substitute for eggs. Here are the instructions:

To substitute for 1 egg: mix 1 tsp. gelatin, 3 T cold water, 1/2 c boiling water.

Before starting to mix cookies, cake, or something else: Place cold water in a mixing bowl and sprinkle gelatin in it to soften. Mix thoroughly. Add all the boiling water and stir until dissolved. While preparing the batter, place mixture in the freezer to thicken. When recipe calls for an egg, take the mixture and whip it until it is frothy. Then add it to the batter.

I plan to buy a box of unflavored gelatin and try this out! I will let you know how it goes.
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Bonus Hint for making it to the end: To improve the flavor of powdered milk, add a small amount of vanilla and chill.

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What are you currently focused on? How is your home storage progressing? Any hints or tips or ideas to share?

13 comments:

Lisa said...

Just a comment on the unflavored gelatin for eggs. That sounds like a lot of work! Awhile back, I bought a #10 can of powdered eggs, and I use it frequently in baking. All you have to do is increase the liquid in the recipe and add the powder. Way easy! I don't rememeber the price, but I don't think it was all that expensive.

As far as how I'm doing on my home storage? Great! I've bought several new shelves for the basement and they're already full. I have bags of food sitting on floor with no place to put them. I never thought I'd be in that situation! But I can't take much credit for this. I subscribed to a menu-planning, food storage website that tells me what to make and what to buy each week according to the local sales. But unfortunately, it's only local, so if and when we move I'll be back to figuring it out myself. I'd say my food storage has at least quadrupled in the last six months! At first I was spending more money, but now it's evened out. It's very exciting to go to the store and have plenty of money to spend on buying multiples of a sale item because I have a great stash at home and don't have to buy every ingredient for every recipe every week.

One thing I've learned is which items are seasonal and will go on sale at various times of the year, so you can plan for them in advance. For example, this is the time of year to be buying chicken broth, canned pumpkin, sugar and baking supplies, some spices, etc. I can send you a better list if you want that would cover the whole year.

Shanna said...

Ahh... that is how you do stored eggs! Honestly, I didn't even know there was such a thing as egg powder! Ok, forget the gelatin! :) I am putting that on my christmas list. :)

I would love a copy of the seasonal item list. I had one years ago, but it has been thrown out long ago. You can email it to me (momto3under2@gmail.com).

Thanks!

Lisa said...

I honestly think that that the powdered eggs would end up being cheaper in the long run than the gelatin, too. I have a huge can of eggs, but you only use about 1 Tablespoon per egg...it will last me forever. You'd have to buy a lot of packets of gelatin to get that kind of mileage.

Kelly said...

I finally fixed my food storage closet that fell apart a few weeks ago. I just ordered beans and macaroni from the cannery. I am doing pretty darn good. I also am getting a three month supply of food from Daily Bread. All you do is add water, and it tastes great!

Rebecca said...

Ok, I'm so glad you posted this about the gelatin. Even though the powdered eggs might be easier, I have a friend who has a little boy with an egg allergy, and this might help him be able to eat cookies sometimes! I will pass the word on to her to see if she wants to try it out.

Shanna said...

Kelly, good job getting your closet fixed. Things like that can just take the wind out of your sails, I winced when I saw those pictures on your blog!

Do you plan on using the Daily Bread meals on a regular basis, or is it more of a 'storage' item? How long are they good for? I want to learn how to cook from scratch more than I do now, but I think things like that would be nice to have for variety, ease, and taste.

Rebecca, I hadn't thought of people with allergies. There are probably a lot of things in this book that would help with things like that- I am going to have my radar up for things like that as I look through it a little more.

Kristi said...

I have a recipe I want to share:

Taco Soup
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 12 oz can salsa
1 package taco seasoning

I have served this over a little rice. We usually eat with a little cheese sprinkled over top and a dollup of sour cream. Indulge with tortilla chips!

However- this could be a great storage recipe. Ultimately it is good without the addition of cheese or sour cream.

Sarah said...

Shanna,
Thanks so much for your posts on food storage. It has helped me keep up my motivation to get it done. I have our year's supply of basic items, but have been working on our three month supply of foods we eat.

I have been watching the price of powdered eggs a little on the internet and the cheapest I have found them is $23.95 for a #10 can from a guy here locally. They are also going on my Christmas list...I totally want to try them out. Let me know how yours goes if you get to try them.

Shanna said...

Kristi- that recipe sounds good! I love that type of food, I am going to try it out! Thanks!

Sarah- I am very impressed the you have the 1 year supply!! That seems so overwhelming to me. I almost can't even wrap my brain around it, but I know that is just fear, not reality. I have some money saved, and my first-ever trip to the cannery is scheduled for next Saturday. :D

I check for prices on the egg powder this afternoon, and it was about $28. That makes 96 eggs. Buying fresh, I can buy 90 for about $10 (yes, I buy them 90 at a time. We eat a ton of eggs). So I would want to use it only enough to make sure it was rotated, but be able to have enough to make food in the food storage. Does any one know how long it is good for once opened?

Melinda and Matt said...

From http://www.lds.net/forums/preparedness/14804-using-dehydrated-basics-eggs-butter-etc.html

I saw that shelf life of the can of eggs is 15 years. Once opened the eggs need to be refrigerated and used within a year....you could order in 2.5 cans (instead of #10 cans)--they are more expensive per serving, but would take up less space in your fridge once opened... but really if you bought a small can and tried using it, then you could store a can for 10 years before really even needing to look at it again--then just use it and buy a new can(s).

Melinda and Matt said...

I also found this site: http://www.mredepot.com/servlet/the-92/Powdered-Eggs-%2310-Can/Detail

That says that the powdered eggs are good for 5-10 years unopened, and 12 months opened. Their price was 22.95 for 170 fresh whole eggs.

Shanna said...

Same price for almost double the amount, that sounds good to me! I always trust you to find the *deal*!

I guess that would fall more into the 'storage' rather than supply category. It is something you would really need to have in order to make a lot of things, but it would be cost-prohibitive to use it instead of fresh. I do like the idea to store it until close to the exp. date, then use it up at that time.

I may have to do like I did with powdered milk- buy a can, figure out how to use it, pracitice and see how it works, then stock up. Thanks!

Lisa said...

The can I bought = 226 whole eggs, and at my store right now, they are selling for $24.40/can.

My can doesn't say anything about storing it in the fridge after opening. I've just had it in the pantry and it's been fine. I don't use it all the time, just when I'm out of real eggs, and only in baking (I've had scrambled powdered eggs, and they were disgusting).