Sunday, September 20, 2009

Moving to

I decided to change the name of this blog, to more accurately reflect the contents.  So I created a new blog at  All new posts will be there.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Freeze-Dried Cheddar Cheese is Awesome Right Out of the Can

It has the full cheddar-cheese flavor. And it's a little crunchy. I think I'll like eating it as a snack. And it would probably be good in trail mix.

This Month's Emergency Essentials Order

This month I spent quite a bit more on my food storage than I have been spending. I've been spending about $100 a month. This month I spent a little over $200. I justify that with two arguments: I'm eating my food storage now, so it reduces what I spend at the grocery store; I purchased several items that I'll use with other items to make them more useful, and save money in the long run.

I got two cans each of dehydrated hashbrowns and sliced potatoes. I polished off the hashbrowns and sliced potatoes I bought earlier, so I needed more. Since I've been making breakfast at home with the Scrambled Egg Mix and either potatoes or biscuits, I haven't felt the need to drive through Micky D's on the way to work. So that's a savings right there!

I got one can each of shortening powder, margarine powder, and instant nonfat dry milk, along with dough enhancer and SAF instant yeast. From these items, together with flour and other baking items I got from the grocery store, I can make mixes for baked goods. By making my own baked goods, and my own mixes for the baked goods, I can save a lot of money, as well as being prepared for power outages (or whatever).

I ordered a can of Original Flavor Swiss Whey D'Lite Drink. It has less lactose than milk (too much lactose being a problem for me). But now I don't see any Swiss Whey D'Lite flavor on the Emergency Essentials website. It looks like they've replaced it with several flavors of Creamy Select Drink Mix, which is lactose free. Maybe I got the last can!

I got a pound each of spaghetti and taco seasoning, and the spice bottles to put them in. I'm particularly looking forward to using the spaghetti seasoning with the tomato powder I got awhile ago, to make spaghetti sauce.

One thing I like about the spice bottles is that they come with a press-n-seal seal. You fill the bottle, put on the seal, and securely screw down the cap. Then the bottle is sealed until you use it. I expect each 1-lb bag of seasoning to fill four 8-oz spice bottles. So while I'm using one bottle, the other three are still seal. It should keep them fresher than using a bigger bottle.

This is going to sound weird, because oatmeal is so cheap at the grocery store. But I got a can of it. And I'll get more cans as time goes on. Why? Because the stuff you get at the grocery store is in cardboard containers, which aren't good for long-term storage. A whole host of pests can get into cardboard containers.

And I got a can of freeze-dried shredded cheddar cheese. It's pricey at $44.95. But I think it will be worth it in the long run. I like cheese, but I waste a lot of it when I buy a bag and don't use it all before it gets moldy. This way, I'll just rehydrate what I need at one time and the rest won't go to waste. I'll be able to make quesadillas with re-hydrated cheese and home-made tortillas (with the tortilla mix from "Mix-a-Meal").

And I got a few things to start on my BOB (Bug Out Bag). No, this isn't for getting out of town if something bad happens. I actually intend to stay home in most scenarios. This is so I can get home from work or somewhere else, if something bad happens while I'm away from home.

For my BOB, I got a couple of 32-oz water bottles (I already have a couple water bottles in the bag, and some Aqua Blox). I got some Katadyn Micropur Purification tablets, and one of those reflective emergency sleeping bags. I don't expect to rely on that flimsy bag, but it might be handy to use along with my sleeping bag.

And that's it for this month. I'll let you know how I like the stuff I bought as I use it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I Have Plums!

Well, OK, there were only 6 of them, but they're my first 6 plums, so I'm excited.  I should tell you that I've killed 3 plum trees before they could produce fruit.  I don't know what the problem is.  They do fine for 2-3 years, they they start wilting and just die.  Grrrr!

But I have 2 plum trees that are 7 years old.  They were given to me as seedlings by a neighbor when I first moved into my house (actually, she gave me several seedlings, but these are the only 2 to survive).  They just sprouted in her garden, apparently from seeds from plums that fell from her trees.  So there's no telling what their parentage is.  You know, trees from random crosses of named varieties are usually inferior trees producing inferior fruit.  So I wasn't really expecting anything--not even when one of the trees flowered for the first time this spring.

But today I was out by the trees picking blackberries and I noticed that there were some plums on one of the trees, way up high where the deer can't get them.  I was shocked!  So I got a step-ladder and picked the plums.  They were wonderful!  They taste just like Italian Prune Plums, which are my absolute favorite.   Italian Prune Plums are self-fruitful, so maybe that is what they are.

Now I'm really looking forward to plums next year!

Re-hydrated Dehydrated Mac and Cheese

I had a problem I needed to solve:  how to take a single serving of Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese to work for lunch, and have it taste fresh.  You might think that I could just cook some of the macaroni at work, and put the cheese goop on it.  But we don't have a stove at work, only a microwave.  And microwaved macaroni isn't very good.  Besides, I can't make it without it boiling over in the microwave, and that's a mess to clean up.  And I didn't want to make it at home and bring it to work to heat up, because then it's like rubber.

So it finally hit me.  Cook the macaroni, then dehydrate it.  You can re-hydrate just the amount you want in the microwave.  Then you can put the cheese goop on it (I use part of the goop package at once, putting the rest in the fridge).

So Friday night I tried it, and it worked really well.  I cooked up the macaroni for three packages of Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese, as usual.  It seemed like I was overloading the dehydrator, but it worked out fine.  I dehydrated it for a couple hours, then turned off the dehydrator and "fluffed up" the partially-dehydrated macaroni.  By that, I mean that on each tray I mixed together the pieces that were getting dry fast with the pieces that were getting dry more slowly, breaking apart the pieces that were stuck together.  I did it again a couple hours later.  Then I left it on to run while I went to bed.  When I got up on Saturday, I had dried macaroni.

Dried cooked macaroni looks almost like dry uncooked macaroni, but a little flatter.  Most people probably wouldn't notice the difference. 

The 3 packages of macaroni filled up a 1-gallon freezer bag a little over half way.

I shook out enough to make a bowl of mac-and-cheese tonight and started it to boil on the stove.  Once the water came to a boil, the macaroni took only 1 or 2 minutes to rehydrate.  Way faster than cooking it from the package!  Then I mushed out some of the cheese goop and stirred it into the re-hydrated macaroni.  I had dinner in less than 5 minutes.  The only difference when I do this at work is that I'll re-hydrate the macaroni in the microwave rather than on the stove-top.

It's going to be nice to have good macaroni for lunch.  It'll also be fast and easy to cook when the power goes out.