Versatile, delicious and good for you — oatmeal is one of nature’s finest foods! Touted by some as the perfect breakfast food, oatmeal is loaded with soluble fiber and contains slow-release carbs that will give you energy for hours after breakfast. This week I’ll share 3 of my current favorite oatmeal breakfast recipes, in addition to a couple of other family favorites!  –Mellyn

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut. . .

I haven’t always enjoyed nuts.   As a child my siblings taught me to pick the nuts out of things, but once I started truly tasting the nuts I found I actually like them.

I have learned a couple of things about nuts I want to share with you.

#1 Nuts are a good source of protein.

#2 They can easily travel in trail mixes and on their own for snacking.

#3 Store raw nuts in the freezer if you plan on keeping them a long time.

#4 Raw nuts are healthier than roasted nuts.

#5 Sometimes you need a roasted nut anyway.  Let’s face it.  They are just good!

Still lovin’ those beans!

 So it’s been about a year since I posted some of the first AMAZING ways to use beans to replace fat in baking. If you missed those posts, and are interested, there’s more information under “Tips and Tidbits” and you can find all of the recipes by clicking on “Beans” on the ingredient menu on the left hand side of the page. This week I’m going to share the rest of my favorite bean recipes. Hopefully some of them will help as you’re making your food storage plan. I’m still just amazed by the mighty bean! Read on if you’d like to learn more…


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Last summer the kids and I experienced making applesauce for the first time! What an experience! We picked the apples off of our own trees, washed them, boiled them and ran them through a fancy machine that produced applesauce. It was delicious! Sadly, this year we are reduced to buying it from the store. Nevertheless, we’re still enjoying all of our applesauce favorites, and we’re excited to share them with you this week! –Mellyn 


Corn on the cob is one of my favorite things about summer! Slathered with butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper, it’s truly one of the most delightful foods of summer. My children have all been fans of the cob at an early age. We have lengthy video of our first daughter eating a cob of corn nearly as big as her head. And my youngest, at the age of 2, got into a knock down, drag out fight with a fellow toddler over who got the last piece of corn at dinner one night! Clearly fresh corn is something to write home about.

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Zucchini…I’m convinced it’s one of nature’s most amazing plants. When we arrived at our new home early last summer, a friend shared 5 zucchini/squash starts with me. I planted them in my garden and eagerly anticipated fresh zucchini and squash.

What I didn’t anticipate was the crazy way zucchini can be not-quite-ready one afternoon, and the size of a small country by the next!

We had zucchini coming out of our ears! I hid zucchini in everything we ate for weeks. I grated it and froze it for bread, used it to stretch the fruit in jams and even heard you could substitute it for cucumbers in your pickles and can it in pineapple juice and it’d taste like pineapple! Although I never had a chance to try the last two options on the list, we grew enough zucchini to feed my family almost more than we could stand and supply 2 or 3 other families to boot! 

What I learned last year is that I want zucchini seeds in my food storage! Zuccs may not be considered a powerhouse food nutritionally (although they do have vitamins and minerals in them…especially Vitamin C), but if you were in a situation where you needed a few plants to feed a lot of people, zucchini would be among my top picks!

In keeping with the knowledge that many of you are growing zucchini and would prefer to use your garden crop, rather than freeze-dried (who wouldn’t?!) I’ve offered ingredient info for all things fresh, in addition to all things food storage, in this week’s recipes!

Unfortunately for my family’s zucchini cravings, we don’t have a garden in our new location. In fact, when I went to the store to buy some zucchini to photograph for this post, there wasn’t any in the entire store! So while all of you gardeners are wondering where to hide the stuff, count your blessings! We’re paying too much for it at the grocery store, IF we can even find it, and dreaming about last summer….–Mellyn


Please pass the Parmesan!

There’s something delightful about Parmesan cheese. I’m not sure if it’s the intricate flavor, the longer shelf life or the fact that it’s so low calorie compared to its cousins, but Parmesan has a special place in my food storage plan.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE other cheese, too, but I’ve been able to dramatically reduce the amount of cheese my family consumes IN foods we eat without anyone noticing. That means we have more cheese to eat on crackers or with our apples and peanut butter!

Because of its distinctive flavor, a little Parmesan cheese goes a long way. We’ve been enjoying it on salads, in breads and in sauces, as we’ve prepared these recipes to share with you. We hope you’ll like it, too! –Mellyn

Sour lemons!

Although fresh lemons don’t store well, lemon juice is an excellent replacement. And its flavor is one of my favorites. In fact, most days I can’t decide whether I love lemon or chocolate better!

It should come as no surprise, then, that lemon juice is one of my must-have ingredients. Whether you’re using it to make a buttermilk substitute, to make sweetened condensed milk set up, or just to add some zing to your cooking, its versatility makes it invaluable! –Mellyn :)


Powdered Cheese Sauce

Powdered Cheese Sauce is not my first choice in the world for storing cheese for my recipes, but it does have its benefits. First, I purchased this can for $22.00. The can itself states that it is reconstituted in a water:powder ratio of 4:1. This can had 10 cups of powder in it. That would make 40 cups of cheese sauce for $22.00. BUT I found that a water:powder ratio of 2:1 was more appropriate when I was trying to add it to recipes. 4:1 was just too watery. It was hard to work with it that thin. So that makes 20 cups of cheese sauce for $22.00.
Now lets talk fresh for a minute. The local grocery store I shop at periodically has 8 oz. bags of shredded cheese or 8 oz. bricks of cheese on sale for $1.99. When it goes to this price I stock up my refrigerator and usually don’t have to buy again until I find it on sale again. 8 oz. of fresh cheese is approximately 2 cups shredded. That makes fresh shredded cheese $1.00 a cup.
Back to powdered cheese sauce. The price I paid for 20 cups of cheese sauce is very comparable to buying fresh. It has a long shelf life, and I could probably find it discounted if I watch the sales. So why is this NOT my #1 pick? I found it difficult to substitute in any cheese recipe. I have to do more than just hydrate and add. It doesn’t work just like fresh cheese. My family noticed every time I used it instead of fresh shredded cheese.
There were a few success stories in all my attempts. I will not lie to you. This is a great way to make macaroni and cheese. It is also good for casseroles and soups. So it’s not my #1 choice, but it is my #2, and I will continue to store this version of cheese as long as I have kids in my home requesting mac ‘n cheese for lunch.

Blueberries are not rotten chocolate chips…

One morning we delivered some freshly-baked blueberry muffins to our neighbors…

Reading that, I’m laughing because it sounds so picture perfect, doesn’t it? You can just envision my little children, nicely taking turns in our well-ordered kitchen. A little flour dusting their happy, rosy faces as they cheerfully walk to the neighbors with a warm plate of delicious muffins — steam wafting into the air. Ha! Continue reading


This is a great item for any kitchen. I use it so much that fresh onion has little place on my shopping list. WIth the use of dried onion I keep from crying too much in my kitchen either.

Picking just 5 recipes that go well with dehydrated onion was very hard for me. I hope you find something you like in this weeks pickings.


Pass the honey, Honey! Yes, we are corny in our house and yes we say this to each other at the dinner table. We use honey a lot and it is usually on our table. The more I work with honey the better I like it. I use it at Breakfast, lunch, and did I mention dinner?

I have never bought honey in large 5 or 6 gallon buckets. I just buy the biggest and cheapest bottles I can find. Costco serves me well in this area, but as long as the bottle is not to big for me to handle and use I will buy it. I like my honey to be rotated often so I don’t have it crystalize. Although all research available tells me that it doesn’t harm a thing to let it store long term and crystalize, I would rather not have the extra work of melting and getting it out of a large container. Does this mean I have a lot of small bottles of honey in my storage? It depends. To me 25 bottles is nothing when I use it daily. It has never expired and never crystalized. It is always good and ready when I am and easy to pour out of my bottles.

Super Strawberries!

Strawberries — I consider them one of nature’s finest creations, and you’ll find them regularly on our table. My preference, of course, is to eat them fresh. I love them on my granola in the morning or sliced over my pancakes with a little powdered sugar. I like them for dessert with a little bit of sweetened cream (okay, a lot of sweetened cream), and I love them in salads with a vinaigrette dressing.  Continue reading

Fruit Cocktail

I love Canned Fruit Cocktail. We usually eat it by the bowlful with our lunches. My favorite is the “Very Cherry” variety. When I find it on sale I really stock up! Sometimes I find it at Costco in great big #10 cans and since we are not a small family any more, we easily finish off a can before it goes bad. However you store it know that it has many uses. Here are a few recipes that will help you use and rotate your canned fruit cocktail!

Wheat Germ

Wheat germ –it’s not for the faint of heart. Or maybe a better way to say it is that you’re less likely to be faint of heart if you eat it. According to an article at http://www.livestrong.com/article/413438-why-should-i-eat-wheat-germ/, wheat germ is the “heart” of the wheat berry and the most nutrient-dense part of each kernel. Boasting 23 separate nutrients, wheat germ can boost dietary levels of fiber, protein, B-complex vitamins and vitamins E, A, C and K — just to name a few. Continue reading