Category Archives: food storage

Healthy Banana Oatmeal Muffins – Pinterest (Fail?)

I’m in a quest to try as many of my Pinterest pins before I die….although that might be difficult because I can’t seem to stop pinning. So many recipes, crafts…things to do…. Anyways, I saw a recipe for a healthy banana oatmeal muffin here.  I had all the ingredients…especially some bananas that were well past their prime. Now, I’ve made many, many muffins in my life but never tried one without flour. And I really am trying for more healthy cooking.
They were quick and easy to make…but not so much a hit at my house. Middle son (who usually woofs my banana bread) said they were just all right. The little ones ate them…but not the whole thing and didn’t ask for more. Out of a dozen muffins I ended up giving four to the chickens two days later. I think it was the texture of the muffins that threw us off. I didn’t really like it. It was kind of like eating a mushed together oatmeal. Oh well, I’ve seen another one that has some added flour…and maybe if the oats were pulverized first?
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And no, that’s not my hand. I just forgot to take a picture first.

Eating From the Pantry

This year one of the things I’m trying to do is to be more organized and to gain a few more skills. I have a fairly good sized pantry but it’s not very organized. Things get put in there randomly….then they get pushed to the back and then they get gotten. Sound familiar to anyone?

So…. one of my goals for the year is to reorganize my pantry and refrigerator so that I don’t have to get rid of things that have expired or that turned into a science project at the back of my refrigerator.

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Yes, I’m really putting myself out there putting a picture of my refrigerator on the internet. Honestly, I really don’t know how it happens. It gets organized and then things get shoved in there and it looks like this. Scary.

I also need to get into my freezer. ( No pictures of my freezer will be happening. It’s in my garage and today it’s just too dang cold to go out there to take a picture. This is coming from someone who is not dealing well with the freezing cold weather we’re having here in California). I  have an older chest freezer that tends to have items at the bottom that get forgotten. One of my goals for January is to clear it out. I’ve been using items from the freezer from the pantry and fresh stuff from the fridge for the past 2 weeks with a set a goal of not spending more than 20 dollars each week. Originally, I was going to set some restrictions for myself on just buying fresh fruit, vegetables, bread or dairy. But, I decided not to be so restrictive so I’m just giving myself 20 dollars each week to spend on what’s necessary. So far I’ve spent 28 dollars. For the thirteen days. That’s a serious record for me.

One thing I’ve discovered, I have a lot of tomato products. Really a lot….tomato sauce, tomatoes juice, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce, frozen tomatoes from my garden, sun dried tomatoes. I won’t be buying tomato products for quite some time. Anyone have any creative recipes? You can only eat so much spaghetti.

Wish me luck as I dive deep into the recesses of my pantry…..

Linking up with Adventures in Country Living at Shalom Engedi Farm who is also Eating to the Bottom of Her Freezer.

Pantry Challenge Wrap Up

Back at the beginning of January I accepted a challenge to clear out my pantry. My thought was to clear out anything that was expired, organize what I do have and get some sort of inventory list going. I had my son pull everything out of the bedroom closet we call a pantry so I could get a real look at what we have.
image I’m pretty pleased with the small amount of things I found that were expired. There were a half dozen cans of beans that were given to us last year when my dh was unemployed. I never used them because they were already expired when given to us but I didn’t want to get rid of them because if things got really bad I thought we might have to use them.
Note to self and anyone else listening…if you are going to help someone out by giving them food…don’t give them expired foods. I know you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth when things are bad. However, while I was grateful to receive the free food…I was also a little afraid of giving my family food poisoning. Now that we’re in a better financial position I’m sure the opportunity to help someone else will happen. My lesson learned? Give the best of what you have not the stuff you plan to toss.
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. Proverbs 3:9-10.
Anyways, back to the challenge. One thing I discovered was that I have a lot more than I thought in some areas and am sorely lacking in others. Plus, things are scattered in too many places around the house to be used in an organized fashion. I’m finding things that we’re tucked in the back of cabinets because there was nowhere else to put them.

I’ve set a couple of goals that I want to accomplish over the next few months.
1. Get everything we have put onto some sort of inventory list. Anyone have any suggestions for a simple inventory system?
2. Clear out the extra room so it can effectively be used for our food storage. Not sure how fun this will be…it’s become the catchall room for everything that doesn’t have a place.
3. Create a menu plan to use what we have. This is going to be my biggest challenge. I have major menu plan envy from all the wonderful blogs on the net. I’ve never been very successful at creating a menu plan that works for my family.

One last thing… I tried to keep shopping to a minimum for the month of January with the intent of using up things that might be close to expiring. I can honestly say that this part of the challenge was a big success! I only purchased basic items that we needed and we ate from the pantry the rest of the time. Money spent for the month?  $134 out a $300 budget. We did eat out twice…but dh wanted to take me out both of those times….so I wasn’t about to say no.

I’m pretty satisfied with the way things went in January, but still feel like I have a long ways to go in getting as organized as I want to be.

Menu Plan January 9-14

It’s week 2 of the Pantry Challenge and so I think it’s gone pretty well. We ate from the fridge most of last week. It’s finally looking pretty clear.  There were a few packages of mini carrots and some apples that were going bad so I put them  in the crockpot with some other items to make a batch of dog food.  Last week there were also smoothies made with frozen bananas, pears and yogurt. I made a large batch of bean and cheese burritos, turkey sandwiches, and I tried these from the Tasty Kitchen because I happened to have the ingredients on hand. They were a little too sweet for my taste, though.

Still haven’t gotten the written inventory done…and the foodstuffs that were in the extra room closet are still laid out on the extra room bed.  Sigh…. My job keeps getting in the way….

January Pantry Challenge

 

          

Jessica at good(cheap)eats is hosting a pantry challenge for the month of January and I’ve decided to participate.  I really need to do an inventory of my pantry because I’m a little afraid of what I might find. This house has a very small kitchen so I don’t have a real pantry.  Most of our foodstuffs are stored in a closet in the extra room.  It started out fairly organized in the beginning, but as seems to happen pretty regularly in my life, it has become a jumbled mess.

I’m not organized enough to plan menus for the whole month.  I’m going for a weekly thing.  First up will be eating leftovers in fridge. We have several days worth…plus I have a roast thawed that will go in the crock pot today.  Breakfasts will be cold cereal, oatmeal or farina. Dh and I start back to work tomorrow so it needs to be easy. Lunches will be sandwiches or leftovers. Ds17  forages for himself during the day. I usually leave breakfast for him and he gets his own lunch.

So…my real goal for this month is to inventory the pantry and get rid of any items we’ll never use or expired items so I can see where there are any holes in what we really need.

We’ll see how it goes.

Monday Mission: Let’s Get Prepared

Being prepared for some of the challenges life throws at you has been something I’ve grown interested over the years.  I admit to first researching “preparedness” out of fear when y2k first came on the scene  but calmed down afterwards and came to my senses.

It does however make sense to buy food and other supplies in bulk at cheaper prices instead of purchasing when prices get inflated (like now). 

It makes sense to have daily supplies stored just in case you become unemployed long-term (as in my husband’s case) and need to rely on your stores and use the cash that would have gone towards food to be able to pay the bills.

It also makes sense to store water if you live in an area where water comes from the tap and from May to October you might get 5 to 10 days of rain. 

Katie at Kitchen Preparedness is doing a series on being prepared.  She is starting out by asking a series of questions to get you thinking about what preparedness is. You can read about it HERE.

Her Monday Mission (and, yes I know I’m late with this one) is to add a few gallons of water to your storage. Water is essential to staying alive, correct? I have filled some empty glass jars and some of my mason jars to add to my water storage.

Won’t you think about what you would do if your water was cut off even for just a few days?

Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping!

Betty Crocker Potato Buds~ Review and a Giveaway

Recently I received a package from MyBlogSpark to review.  In it was a box of Betty Crocker Potato Buds, a lovely wooden bowl, a large spoon with the Betty Crocker logo on it and a silicone pot holder made by Norpro. 

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The idea being of course that I try out their product and then give an unbiased review.  Although, being unbiased might be a problem since I’ve been a Betty Crocker fan for many, many years and they pretty much sell a no-fail product.

We did the traditional mashed potatoes straight from the box and they were good as usual…make sure to fluff though. 

Then I decided to try them out in a bread recipe I found online. I’ve been trying to find a recipe for bread that’s not so crumbly and someone I know suggested adding potato flakes.  I searched online and found an easy recipe for potato bread using instant mashed potato flakes. This recipe is for use in a bread machine.

http://www.bread-machine-recipes.com/recipes/potato_bread.html

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It made a denser, less crumbly loaf with a good flavor.  It was a piece of cake making it since I was able to to use the Betty Crocker Potato Buds and not have to worry about making mashed potatoes. 

I might add that Betty Crocker Potato Buds would make a wonderful addition to your food storage.

To any readers out there…guess what?!  MyBlogSpark has generously offered the same prize pack that I received to go to one of my lucky readers! All you have to do is leave a comment telling me another way you might use Betty Crocker Potato Buds.  Giveaway ends Friday, November 5 at 9pm PST.

And I can’t forget to disclose that the product, prize pack, information,and the giveaway were sponsored by Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark.  My review is all my own however.

Personal Preparedness

I’ve been tinkering around with having some sort of food storage for a little over 10 years now.

It really began with the whole Y2K thing. That was the first time I ever really thought about keeping anything extra aside.  I never knew anyone who did that while I was growing up.  I looked around on the internet and discovered that there was a whole group of people who prepared for anything and everything.  I also discovered a few “survivalist” websites….some of which were filled with way too much testosterone…one which seemed to make a lot of sense.  It was the Mrs. Survival forums.  It was made up of mostly women with the idea being to be prepared for life challenges.

Well, Y2K was a non-event and I got lots of jokes about the small amount of stuff I had set aside.  Unfortunately, my computer at that time didn’t hear that Y2K was a non-event and crashed shortly after.  I lost all of my favorite websites.

*Note about being prepared:  Back up your computer regularly!

I really didn’t think a lot about being prepared for a long while.  Life just sort of got in the way.  But, after Sept 11, I began to feel uneasy about the events going on in the world.  Around 2004 I began again looking for information on being prepared.  It almost felt like a silly thing to do though.  In my part of the country nothing really happen in terms of natural disasters.  Seriously…nothing.  I’ve lived in this town for 32 years and I can count on one hand the major storms we’ve had.  Our power has gone out for maybe four or five times.  We live in “earthquake” country…however, when the big quake hit San Francisco in ’89 the only way we knew something had happened was that our blinds rocked back and forth for about ten seconds.  It’s easy to be complacent where we are. 

In 2005 I found the Mrs. Survival again and I began really reading what others were doing and decided I needed to really do something.

As I look back, I realize that for a while, I let fear fuel what I was doing.  Listening to people on the forums…you could just feel the fear.  And I got caught up in it.  I bought and stored and bought and stored…and ended up with stuff I really didn’t need.

After I came to my senses (Yes, I did!) I began to listen to the voices of reason on the Mrs. Survival website.  These were women who were prepared as a way of life.  They weren’t just it because they were afraid the world was going to end tomorrow.  They prepared themselves for life’s challenges…be it natural disasters or job loss.  It’s a great place to go if you don’t know anyone in real life who is into that sort of thing.

My dh was beginning to look at me as if I was going off the deep end for a while.  He is slowly around.  I generally try to keep a good six months worth stored.  It has been a Godsend these past 8 months hat my dh has been out of work. 

I just began taking an online class with Sharon Astyk over at the Chatelaine’s Keys about creating your own food storage,  One thing I am hoping to get from this class is getting my food storage more organized.  I have discovered a lot of items that have expired because I didn’t keep good records of what I had.

Over the next few weeks I’m hoping to get together a better plan in the particular areas of food storage and gardening.

Evernote Challenge 3 (food)

I’m having a harder time reducing my information clutter than I am with my “real life” clutter.  I had made a decision to try out all the things I’ve accumulated in my Evernote  account because I had over 700 bits of really good stuff in there.  Ahem…. I have over 900 now.  There is just so much good stuff out there…and I love trying out new things…  Oh well, I’m back at it again.

This Evernote  item is making perfect pinto beans taken from the I DARE YOU TO EAT IT  blog.  This coming month my food budget might end up being less than $100 (yikes!).  I’m mentally preparing myself for that to happen and have decided to do a bunch of  cheap/eat from the food storage meals early on.  I have plenty of dried beans.  Lets just say we could eat beans and rice for the whole month and still have a lot left.  I just don’t know if we’d still want to be around each other after eating so many beans, lol.

Here is the recipe:

Perfect Pintos

Fresh Ingredients

2 large cloves garlic, crushed

Storage Ingredients

2 cups dry pinto beans

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 1/4 cups water

Sort beans for debris. Rinse. Cover with 2 quarts of water and soak for 12-24 hours. If possible, change the water three or four times during soaking process in order to draw out and remove indigestible sugars that cause digestive discomfort. Drain and thoroughly rinse beans. Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for approximately 10-12 hours, until beans are tender. Add 1-2 teaspoons salt to taste, and serve.