Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Food Storage Inventory


Over the years we have used a couple of different systems to do our inventory. 

Do any of these sound familiar? 
  • When we were first building our food storage we wrote a list on the back of an envelope as we were running out the door to go to the case lot sale. 
  • As we started building our long term food supply, I once wrote my inventory on a blank LDS Dry pack canning order form.  
  • One year I just bagged the inventory and just bought whatever I thought sounded good We ended up with a lot of coconut milk and chocolate chips and not many foods that could actually be used to make a healthy meal. 
  • As we have gotten a larger supply I have used inventory’s in Excel that calculate everything you could possible ever want to know.  But I find them to be a little overwhelming.
This year I think I have finally created a system that I really like.   This food storage inventory is designed to be printed out and written on.  You are in control of how many of each item you want to store.  You can use a food storage calculator to figure it out.  I like this one, and this one

To print the click here:  Food Storage Inventory   (There were some problems with the link but it is working now.)

It is a Google document. When you are ready to print be sure to print from the Google documents menu NOT the browser menu.
I recommend that you print in color.  The categories are color coded to help you easily find the correct area.

Each section has a heading at the top and the bottom of the page.  When I do an inventory I put the list on a clip board and then flip pages as needed.  I could never tell what was on each page because the titles were at the top.  By adding the titles to the bottom of the page it makes it quicker to see which page you are on. 
The Shopping List:  Food Storage can be overwhelming.  After taking an inventory you may feel a little anxiety about the items you are lacking.  By narrowing it down to the top 10 things you need to add to your food storage you have defined clear manageable goals.

Good Luck doing your inventory!  If you use my inventory I’d love to hear how it goes. 

P.S.  Don't feel like just because it is on the inventory list you have to store it.  You don't.  I recommend that you store ONLY foods that you eat regularly.   If you have never in your life eaten quinoa then it is probably not something you want to buy in bulk to add to your food storage.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cherry Chocolate No Bake Cookies




These chocolate chewy cookies are a great chocolate treat.  These fruity cookies are blended smooth so when you eat them they are very fudgy. 


Cherry-Chocolate No Bake Cookies 

Printable Recipe

(Makes 10-14 balls)
  • 3/4 cup freeze dried cherries (you can substitute dry unsweetened cherries, which are commonly found in supermarkets)
·         1 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (sweetened is okay)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • Dash salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • ½ cup chocolate chips, optional but delicious
In the bowl of a food processor, blend the coconut into powder.  Add dry cherries, don't rehydrate just add them dry, and process until everything is powdered.  Add all other ingredients and process until to forms a "dough" about a minute.  Roll into balls.  Refrigerate until firm.   Yield 10 cookies


Other No Bake Cookies You might Enjoy: 

Mango Lime No Bake Cookies

Coconut Apricot No Bake Cookies

 


Monday, June 25, 2012

Cheese Burger Buns


In the summer I am always in need of hamburger buns.  We eat a lot of sandwiches in the summer (pulled pork, veggie burgers, cheese burgers)  and for some reason my kids just do not like to eat them on regular bread, they demand buns.

In years past I have hesitated to make my own.  But now that I have three kids, I almost always would rather make my own then drag three kids to the market.

The powdered cheese in these buns make them amazing.  Perfect for a barbeque. 

This recipe has been on my to try list for a long time.  I recently made it for the frits time and LOVE it.  Why did I not make this when I first found it?  I don't know but I'm glad I made it.

Note:  This recipe makes 6 hamburger buns, but can easily be doubled to make more.

 
Cheese Burger Buns
Recipe source: King Author Flour
2 3/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup cheese blend  powder or 1/2 cup finely grated sharp cheddar
3/4 teaspoon salt*
1 teaspoon onion powder, optional but tasty
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 large egg  (1 Tablespoon whole egg powder plus 2 Tablespoons water)
2/3 to 3/4 cup lukewarm water**
*Use 1 teaspoon salt if you use freshly grated cheese
**Use the greater amount of liquid in winter or in drier climates; the lesser amount in summer, or in a humid environment.

Topping

2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

1) Combine all of the ingredients, and beat at high speed, using an electric mixer, for 2 minutes. To use your bread machine, put everything in the bucket, and let the dough go through its dough or manual cycle; skip to step 3 below if you're using a bread machine.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or rising bucket, cover it, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it's noticeably puffy.

3) Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 6 pieces; each will be about 111g, a scant 4 ounces.

4) Shape the dough into balls, and place them in the wells of a lightly greased hamburger bun pan. If you don't have a bun pan, space them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

5) Gently flatten the buns with your hand to fill the bottom of the pan's wells, or until they're about 3 1/2" to 4" wide.

6) Cover the buns, and let them rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until they're noticeably puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

7) Brush each bun with some of the melted butter.

8) Bake the buns for about 20 minutes, until they're a light, golden brown, and their interior temperature is at least 200°F, measured with an instant-read thermometer.

9) Remove the buns from the oven, transfer them to a rack, and brush with the remaining melted butter. Allow the buns to cool completely, then store airtight at room temperature.

Yield: 6 big buns.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Creamy Taco Soup



Have you ever been given soup in a jar?  A while ago I was given some.  I was kind of excited about it.  (I know I’m a dork).

Me:  Awesome,  I don’t have to make dinner

Soup Directions:  “ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS: 1 pound ground beef, black pepper to taste, garlic powder to taste, 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes - undrained, 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste, and 3 quarts water. TO PREPARE SOUP: Remove pasta from top of jar, and set aside. In a large pot over medium heat, brown beef with pepper and garlic; drain excess fat. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and soup mix. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in the pasta, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pasta, peas, lentils and barley are tender.”

Me: You want me to do all that?  And it is going to take more than an hour to cook?  
Me:  Let’s order pizza

I really love the idea of meals in a jar, BUT I do not love the idea of adding lots of other ingredients, and having to do lots of prep work.  I want to be able to dump in in the pan, add some water, heat and serve.

So when another Shelf Reliance consultant shared this recipe I had to try it.   It is just what I was looking for.  Dump in the ingredients, add water, stir, simmer, and eat. 


Creamy Taco Soup
Recipe adapted from a recipe by Scarlett Arny


1 c. Freeze Dried Ground Beef 
1 c. Instant Black Beans
 
1 3/4 c. Freeze Dried Sweet Corn
 
1 c. Sour Cream
 powder
1/4 c. Tomato Powder
 
2 c. powdered Cheese Blend
2 Tbsp. Freeze Dried Green Chilies
1 (1.25 oz.) package of Taco Seasoning Mix 
5-6 c. WATER (As it boils it will thicken.)
 

½ cup FD Cheese, rehydrated,  for Garnish

 Add ingredients (excluding the freeze dried cheese) to a large pot.
  Whisk to dissolve the powders.

Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then simmer between 15-20 minutes, stirring often.
 

Heat till thickness is achieved. It will also thicken as it cools. If too thick, add some extra water. 

Garnish bowls of soup with Shredded Cheddar Cheese. 

Do you make gifts in a jar?  What kind of gifts in a jar would you want to receive?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Where Do I Put My Food Storage? In the front room



One of the biggest challenges with food storage is where to put it.  This is especially true for those living in homes or apartments without a basement, cold storage, or other appropriate food storage area.    For years I have heard of people putting their food storage under beds, behind couches, or disguised as an end table, but I was never thrilled with the idea of storing food storage in the main living area of the house until I saw this cleaver solution. 


The K family has limited storage space for food storage, so they have to be creative.  They do however have a large family room.  After seeing some amazing built in shelves they wondered if they could do the same thing and use the shelves to store their food storage. 

They purchased enough shelving to fill the entire wall space making this shelving look built in.   Because the shelving was going to contain food storage they opted for cabinets with doors, solid on the bottom half and glass on the top half.  


 The idea was they would put the more decorative food storage (beautiful cans and home canned fruits) on display on the top half and put the less attractive buckets, cans, and jars on the bottom half. 


The middle section contains solid doors all the way up, they could have chosen an entertainment center for this spot, but opted instead for the increased storage space. 




The details: 
 This shelving was purchased from IKEA and includes: 
  • Billy Extra Deep, ($79 with out the doors,  $129 with doors).   Be carefull that you get the EXTRA DEEP,  it is kind of hard to find (and not on the website).  Look in the living room section.  
  • Billy Wall Shelf ($40.00 plus doors)
  • PAX model Bergsbo  (2 door includes door $189).   The PAX is the same height as the billy only if you add the wall shelf on top of the Billys.  The PAX is slightly deeper then the Billy's, so the K family pulled the Billys slightly forward from the wall and then used the included kits to attache them to the wall (so they don't fall over in an earth quake)
Question:  Do you store any of your food storage in the front room? If so how?








Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Coconut Apricot No Bake Cookies





Coconut Apricot No Bake Cookies

Printable Recipe
  • 1/2 C freeze dried apricots (you can substitute regular dried apricots)
  • 1 C shredded unsweetened coconut (you can use sweetened if you can't find unsweetened)
  • Dash salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp  honey

In the bowl of a food processor, blend the coconut into powder.  Add dry apricots, don't rehydrate just add them dry, and process until everything is powdered.  Add all other ingredients and process until to forms a "dough" about a minute.  Roll into balls.  Refrigerate until firm.   Yield 10 cookies

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mango Lime No Bake Cookies


I have this friend Tiffany who carries around a stack of recipe cards, when she meets someone new she hands them a recipe like most people would hand out a business card.   I wish everyone would hand out their best recipe.

About a year ago I created Coconut Mango Lime No Bake Cookies and shared  it here.  If I was going to hand out my best recipe to everyone I meet this would be the recipe. 
 
Why is the such a great recipe?

  • It is easy, it takes 5 minutes or less
  • No bake means absolutely NO cooking, baking, or heating of any kind.  
    • For years I have felt cheated by the fact that most no bake cookies have to be cooked on the stove top.  But with this recipe, and a few more to come, when I say no bake I mean it.    
  • It is delicious, so delicious when I take it places the adults eat this and try to get the kids to eat the chips ahoy.
  • It is tropical.  I have a love most everything that has coconut, lime, or mangoes in it.  All three in one cookies is heavenly!    
    •  I’m thinking that is because I live pretty far from the tropics.  For example, it is currently the middle of June and I still have to cover my garden at night so it doesn’t freeze. 


Mango Lime No Bake Cookies

1/2 cup freeze dried mangoes
1 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey

In the bowl of a food processor, blend the coconut into powder.  Add dry mangoes, don't rehydrate just add them dry, and process until everything is powdered.  Add all other ingredients and process until to forms a "dough" about a minute.  Roll into balls.  Refrigerate until firm.   Yield 10 cookies




Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Make Your Own Instant Oatmeal part 2



It is always interesting to see what posts people talk about the most.  A while back I posted about how I make my own instant oatmeal.  A lot of my readers really liked the post.  Since then I have made a few more flavors and  I wanted to share them.

DIY Instant Oatmeal

  My kids love oatmeal in the morning and making my own instant oatmeal is a great way to slip some food storage into our diet.  

I mix and store my instant oatmeal in a clean number 10 can but any air tight container will work.    You can put it in individual bags so that it is ready to go, or you can measure out ½ cup every time you are going to make it.   I purchased some inexpensive measuring cups and just leave the ½ cup in the container with the oatmeal.  




I use my blender to blend up 1 cup of the oats, this makes the texture of the oatmeal more like the store bought packets.  


When I make my own mixes like this one I like to put a label with the recipe on the outside of whatever container I’m using to store it in.  That way when it is gone I can easily make some more.  I thought you might like a printable version too  so here it is.





Banana Bread Instant Oatmeal
3 C Quick-Cooking Oats  ( I have also used regular old fashioned oats and it works just fine)
1 cup freeze dried bananas (it is okay to substitute dehydrated banana chips)
1/2 cup dry milk
1/2 cup sugar (optional)
½ cup chocolate chips  or chopped walnuts nuts
Pinch of Salt

Put 1 C. oats in a blender (or food processor) and whirl at high speed until powdery.   Combine powdered oats with all other ingredients mix well. Store in airtight container.

**You do not have to blend up the oats, blending it makes it more like the packets of instant oatmeal.

To serve: In a microwave safe bowl, mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1/2 cup water.  Microwave 1 minute.  Serve with milk.



 

Tropical Oatmeal

3 C Quick-Cooking Oats  ( I have also used regular old fashioned oats and it works just fine)
1 cup freeze dried mangoes
½ cup freeze dried bananas
½ cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup dry milk
1/2 cup sugar (optional)
Pinch of Salt

Put 1 C. oats in a blender (or food processor) and whirl at high speed until powdery.   Combine powdered oats with all other ingredients mix well. Store in airtight container.

To serve: In a microwave safe bowl, mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1/2 cup water.  Microwave 1 minute.  Serve with milk.


Red Berry Oatmeal

3 C Quick-Cooking Oats  ( I have also used regular old fashioned oats and it works just fine)
1 cup freeze dried raspberries
1 cup freeze dried strawberries
1/2 cup dry milk
1/2 cup sugar (don’t leave it out in this recipe, the berries are unsweetened and very tart)
Pinch of Salt

Put 1 C. oats in a blender (or food processor) and whirl at high speed until powdery.   Combine powdered oats with all other ingredients mix well. Store in airtight container.

To serve: In a microwave safe bowl, mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1/2 cup water.  Microwave 1 minute.  Serve with milk.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Where Do I Put My Food Storage? 6 Gallon Bucket Shelf




Why store food storage in 6 gallon buckets?
  •  More economical.  For example right now (June 2012) you can buy a 6 gallon bucket of Instant Milk for  $85.29 which holds 437 servings or 28 pounds.  Buying the same amount of milk in #10 cans is  $156.72.  So by purchasing Instant Milk in a 6 gallon bucket your save  $71.43. 
  •  Stackable
  • Reseal-able
  •  Air-tight
  • Pest-tight,
  • Water-tight
  • Double Protection
  • Better use of storage space.  When you store #10 cans there is lots of wasted space around the can, hence more food in less space.
  • Less garbage.  When I store flour in number 10 cans, I go through a LOT of number 10 cans. 

So where do you put all those buckets?
In the past I have been hesitant to purchase food storage products in buckets, because I didn’t have anywhere to put them.   I have a few buckets but it seemed like whatever product I needed to get to was always at the bottom of the stack of very heavy buckets.

Our Old Solution:
This is what we used to do.  Stack them up in the corner.  Elegant don’t you think? 


Our New Solution:  The Bucket Shelf




Shelf Dimensions: 72 inches by 30 inches by 12  inches
Holds:  8 Buckets
Where to purchase the Bucket Shelf 
Price $89.99 

Pros:
·         The bucket shelf effectively uses a small amount of space storing 8 buckets while giving you easy access to each.  This is a huge improvement over my old method of stacking them high and deep and hoping I never needed to get to the buckets at the back.
·         The bucket shelf is easy to put together.  Since there are no can tracks to fit in the shelf can be put together in about 20 minutes.
·         Cost:  At $89.00 is a great price for shelving.   
Cons:
·         The bucket shelf will not sit flush with the wall.  Because the buckets sit in the shelf at an angle the shelf must be a couple of inches away from the wall.  The bucket shelf comes with two brackets that are used to secure the shelf to the wall, so it doesn’t accidently tip over.  But the brackets are pretty big making the shelf farther away from the wall then is necessary.  In my house space is at a premium so I’m not very happy about those 4 extra inches. 
·         The box it comes in says “box 1 of 2” which is totally confusing because it is only one box.  Note:  the box is heavy. 

Our Experience: 
My nice husband helped me set it up.  And since apparently we are bad at measuring space it would not fit in the space under the stairs were we thought we were going to put it. Instead it ended up in my office.  (Yes I truly am a food storage nut if I’m storing food in my office).   Because there is carpet where we set it up we put some boards under it.  This is important if you set up any harvest shelf on carpet it can punch through your carpet.  This would definitely not make you happy. 

Everything went well; the shelf was easy to set up, after we found our mallet.  The only tricky thing was that the Bucket Shelf is designed to NOT sit flush against the wall, but out about 8 inches.  It comes with a bracket so that you can attach the shelf to the wall so it won’t tip over. 

But we did not have the space for that.  We found that the shelf really needed to be about 2 inches away from the back wall.  So my handy husband is going to figure out some alternative to attach it to the wall so it won’t fall over in an earthquake.
This is how my shelf is set up. You can see that it is about 2 inches off the wall where as the bracket from Shel Reliance is about 8 inches long.  That was too far off the wall for me.

Over all I’m very pleased with the shelf. It makes accessing the items I have in my buckets much easier. I think I’ll even buy a few more items in bucket now.

I added two things to my shelf. 

A Rivet Hook and  Scoop


One of the things I added on to my shelf was a rivet hook, which I love.  It is inexpensive (about $3.00) from which I hang a scoop so that it is easy to refill any of the small containers I have in my kitchen for daily use.  


Tips
·         I recommend that will all Shelf Reliance FRS Shelves you use a rubber mallet to pound the shelves into place.  If you don’t you end up having pieces wiggle free. 
·         I recommend purchasing a hook and a scoop and hanging the scoop from the shelf.  I love these hooks and have them on most of my shelves.  Having a scoop right there and ready to use really help to fill the smaller containers that use in my kitchen.


Over All:  I really like the bucket shelf.  It makes my buckets very accessible.  I would purchase this product again (in fact I might buy one for my Mom). 



Disclosure: 
 This review is not sponsored by Shelf Reliance.  I purchased all items described for my personal use.   I am a consultant for Shelf Reliance and when you purchase through the links on this site I receive a small commission, which supports this blog.   


What about you? 
Where do you store your buckets?  Do you keep them accessible or do stack them up for long term storage?
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