Mellyn’s Musings

June 30, 2012 – Time flies when you’re having fun?!

Or something like that. It seems that I’ve lost a couple of months…

Lately I’ve had several folks ask me if all we eat is food storage. The answer to that is a resounding “NO!” We do eat a lot more food storage when I’m perfecting blog recipes, but in our real-life diet we eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and some meats. In reality, the fact that it doesn’t have to be rotated is one of my favorite aspects of long-term storage items like beans, rice and wheat. I’m trying to expand the number of recipes I store that use these long-term items so we have to eat/rotate even less! So, yes, you can food storage and still eat fresh!

On another subject…I’m still gathering recipes for the last few months of this year and would love some help with recipes that use applesauce, oatmeal or ketchup. So if you have some you’d like to share, please let me know!

I’ve also been doing some reading about natural yeast…think sourdough, but apparently it isn’t sour? I’ll try to remember to update here as I learn more…free starts are available. I have the website if you’re interested.

And finally, I know many of you are into freezer meals. Well I managed to get my hands on what looks like a fantastic freezer recipe book! This gal cooks about once every 6 months and stocks her freezer. Her recipes are pretty basic, but tried and true. If you’re interested in getting a copy, let me know, and I’ll send you the link. It costs about $6, I believe.

April 2, 2012 – Mexican cheese and total frustration

Not together, of course! The Mexican cheese was a great discovery (that I’m still perfecting). Made from powdered milk in under 10 minutes, this soft cheese can be used atop an enchilada like queso fresco or in place of ricotta or cottage cheese. I’m still amazed that it was so easy…

 

As for the frustration…the cooking program where I store all of the recipes I’m perfecting for the blog ATE my cookbooks this week! I’m choosing to view it as an indication of how good these recipes really are — even the computer is eating my work! 

February 27, 2012 – Yogurt!

So at long last I’ve figured out the yogurt thing! (I know, Robin’s had this down for like years, but I’m a little slow!) The turning point came when I broke down and purchased a yogurt maker from Amazon. This little baby is an incubator that keeps my yogurt at exactly the right temperature. I was having a terrible time trying to regulate the temp in my oven — producing yogurt that was perfect one day and runny the next. The other thing I love about it is that it incubates in little glass jars…which means my kids think it’s something really cool…as opposed to one of Mom’s weird experiments (that totally makes me think of Kid History). Anyway, another plus for little jars is that I can make different kinds of yogurt simultaneously. So hooray for Amazon! And hooray for yogurt!

February 10, 2012 – Where does the time go?

Our family recently moved across the country for the second time in less than a year, and it seems I’ve lost a couple of months in the process. Go figure!

But I just had to share our latest and greatest news from RealWomenStoreGrub…drum roll…our food storage calculator is nearing completion! We’re hoping a basic form will be up and running on our blog by mid-March. In a nutshell, it will calculate your food storage needs based on the recipes you select — generating a shopping list of each ingredient and the amount you need to make your meals for the selected number of days! 

December 14, 2011 – Quick Thoughts From My Kitchen….

Canned butter!? I found a recipe among some things that belong to my mom and had to see how it worked. Basically, you melt the butter and then pour it in canning jars, seal it up and put it in the fridge until it hardens again. The recipe I read said it’s shelf stable for up to 3 years! I’ll let you know…in a year or two how that one worked! But you know how I feel about butter!

Second, after reading Robin’s post about ways to use powdered milk I started thinking about bread. She mentioned that powdered milk will make your baked goods softer. That’s what I’ve been using potato flakes to achieve…but being out of potato flakes I decided to try powdered milk instead. My bread was amazing! So amazing that I had to bake it again to see if I got the same results…higher, lighter and softer! I’m going to give it a few more trials before I add this info onto my post for MT Wheat Bread, but I am doing the happy dance! Why? We are NOT milk drinkers in my family, and we aren’t big yogurt eaters, either. When I input our storage into the Emergency Essentials calculator, the amount of milk we can drink or eat on cereal for a year didn’t even come close to meeting nutritional recommendations for calcium. I’ve been tossing and turning (okay, not really, but it’s been on my mind) trying to figure out how to get more calcium into our diets. Adding powdered milk to our bread is brilliant — better bread AND a way to rotate powdered milk without Nestle’s Quik in it! Now I’m working on extra milk in the muffins, extra milk in the waffles, extra milk in the pancakes, extra milk in the cookies…

November 1, 2011 Kidney bean warning!

You all know beans are on my radar at the moment. I spent some time last week developing a recipe for my friend, Delane, who hates kidney beans, but has a ton of them to use. I actually came up with a beef stew, that while not pretty to look at, is pretty tasty.

Anyway, a few days later I was reading a book by Amy Stewart, titled Wicked Plants. In it, I learned that undercooked kidney beans contain a poisonous compound that causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Just 3 undercooked beans in a whole soup are enough to bring on these symptoms. So watch those kidney beans!

Boiling, even for 10 minutes, significantly reduces this compound, called phytohemagglutinin. But if you’re slow-cooking your kidney beans on low, they may never reach a high enough temperature to kill the compound.

These are definitely NOT beans I’d recommend grinding for flour! I wouldn’t recommend them for crockpots either (unless they’re already canned) after reading about all the folks who’ve suffered from undercooked kidney beans! I love kidney beans, but I’ll be boiling, boiling, boiling mine in the future. Better mushy than miserable!

October 25, 2011 – Right now I’m ultra-passionate about beans! Here’s why:

1. Beans are versatile – Bean week is coming, and I’m going to share 4 bean recipes that I dare even the pickiest eater to identify as bean-y. (The 5th will actually have beans you can see!) (Sidenote…don’t tell your family beforehand. My mom took some muffins to a gathering and told everyone they contained beans. One lady insisted she could definitely taste the beans. Funny thing was…mom was mistaken. There were no beans in the muffins!)

2. Beans will last 30+ years — so you don’t have to worry about opening the cans you lovingly sealed at the cannery. I’m not saying don’t use beans, I’m just saying leave the ones you’ve sealed alone and eat the ones you buy in plastic bags at the grocery store.

3. Beans are cheap – right around $1/pound. One cup of cooked beans costs about 20 cents, 1 cup of butter costs $1.40. Less than 1 cup of canned chicken costs over $2.

4. Beans aren’t fat, they’re good for you - I did a little research, and most varieties of beans are similar in that they’re fairly low in calories, high in protein, have almost no fat, and contain a lot of iron and potassium. But there’s some variation from bean to bean in carbohydrate and calcium content. Pintos are your low-carb bean, registering only 7 grams, where black beans have more than double the carbs, coming in at 15 grams. White beans (navy and great northern) are the heavy hitters when you’re talking calcium — with 120 mg per cup, while black beans have 46 mg.

I know, I know, everyone knows beans are good for us. The question is how to you turn them into something even the pickiest eater will ask for? Well…just wait until you see what I’ve been doing with beans!

October 11, 2011 - You know you’re totally into food storage when…

Spicy Girl was about 6, Robin and I were in the throws of organizing our food storage. I didn’t realize how completely it was dominating our conversation until one day when Spicy Girl and her older sister were lounging on my bed.

We were chatting about this and that, and I realized (with a slight pang) that they were getting older. I remarked how fun it was to be able to chat with them the way I did with my friends.
Spicy Girl looked at me with her most serious expression, and said,”That’s great, Mom, but PLEASE don’t make us talk about food storage!

 

 

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