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Wonder Oven ONE Day Give Away!

29 Sep Comment to win Wonder Oven

Wrapping up National Preparedness Month, I’d like to give away this super cute wonder oven to help at least one more person get more prepared!  For those who’ve been wanting one for a while, here’s your chance!

This is going to be the simplest old-fashioned drawing ever.  Leave me a comment — either here or on facebook (or both for two chances to win) – telling me something you’d like to learn how to make with it.  I’m not caring about what you write so much as I’m caring about weeding out the comments from people who don’t know what one is.  (I want to be sure it goes to someone who really will put it to use!)  I’ll print all the comments out and have one of my kids draw the winner!

Comments close tomorrow at NOON (CT) and I’ll contact the winner tomorrow night.  If it’s a comment here on the blog I’ll send an email, on Facebook I’ll post it there to get the person to respond (so keep a look out!) .  The winner will have 24 hours to claim the prize and send me his/her address; otherwise, I’ll draw another name.  Good luck to all!

Comment to win Wonder Oven

 

And on that note…

I happily offer paper patterns to anyone who wants one (US only).  I just finished sending the last batch of patterns this past weekend, so for those who request now, you can expect them to be sent off the first part of November.   A paper pattern is helpful if you’re looking to sew (or get a group together to sew) your own wonder ovens along with directions on finding the beads and sewing the project.  The pattern, based off of this online pattern, is something I offer for free to you (as a service) just to make it easier to get done since the online pattern is difficult to interpret on to paper.

Postage of $2 each can be sent to me by way of Paypal (myfoodstoragecookbook@hotmail.com) or by just mailing something back to me afterward, but it’s not required.  I want anyone who wants one to have one, so I offer it –completely free– knowing it’s helpful in sewing it and helpful overall in getting the word out about wonder ovens.  In my experience with food storage cooking, I firmly believe this is one of the single most important preps you can have and learn how to use.

Here’s what’s included.   Take advantage of this offer –get yourself prepared with a wonder oven of your own– while all the supplies to make one are so easily available.  Email me a request (subject line “wonder oven pattern” is helpful) to myfoodstoragecookbook@hotmail.com.

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A Prepared Cook’s Guide To Creating An Ideal Kitchen Space

22 Sep Keep Calm1

There are patterns and principles, long since tested, that can make anyone more effective in whatever kitchen space they find themselves in.  This post is a collection of rules you should know as well as the best shortcuts and re-purposed items I’ve found that have made a difference in the way I’m able to effectively work in my kitchen.

These ideas, while they’ll do tremendous things for the way you feel about your kitchen today, are also something I’ve come to appreciate as an added layer to my food preparedness too.  Not only does an organized kitchen make you want to cook more, (encouraging you to get better at the skills themselves) but in an extreme circumstance, it’s benefits could even include a much faster and smoother transition if relocation to a new space was necessary.  There are lots of reasons to put thought into both your kitchen space as well as the tools/ ingredients  you use most to find the path of “least work” for the “greatest return”. Continue reading

Even Easier Homemade Spaetzle

1 Jul spaetzle

Wow, it’s been a while!  I didn’t intend to break from blogging so much in June but it just flew away!  For those who have followed over the past couple summers, you know summer time for me is pretty much “off season” for the blog.  While I’d love to keep playing and keep connected to all you folks all year long I’m (for sanity reasons) a seasonal blogger/ facebooker, etc.  Maybe one of these days I’ll figure out how to balance more while the kids are home all day, but I haven’t gotten to that point yet.  So now, with the entrance of summer, my time has officially been handed over to my little people…and my medium sized people, as my teens are becoming not so little anymore.  (Btw, for those who are new here, my kids are 15, almost 13, 11, almost 7 and almost 2.  And to add one more little tidbit to our summer’s craziness, three of these kids’s birthdays — plus their dad’s birthday — land in the month of July, if you can imagine the odds.  We celebrate some of the birthdays in June –so it’s been party central here lately– this because each July we take off on a massive road trip lasting 4-6 weeks to visit family in ID, WA and UT.  Every year I begin this road trip asking myself “why drive three days with kids like this??” and every year I come back home with a satisfied answer for myself.)

For those who asked about classes:  our travel calendar this year didn’t end up allowing enough spare time for the classes to happen {sadly}.  Sorry about that, maybe next year (?)  Or, perhaps one of these days I’ll get moving on some other way to bring classes instead to your computer screen, that’d work too!  Ideas or suggestions on that?  Feel free to pass them along!

All this said, there’s a bright spot.  I couldn’t leave you hanging all summer without posting this wonderful tutorial my friend Eva offered us.  Eva is another friend of mine who moved here from outside the US having gained wonderful real life training growing up on how to cook with basics ingredients — this time in the Baltic region of the world.  I’ll tell you more about her in just a minute, but first a little about the recipe…

If you’ve tried making homemade spaetzle — or homemade noodles at all — in the past this recipe is probably the fastest one there is.  You’re going to love it!!  For anyone who’s never made spaetzle before, you now have the easiest way to do it at your finger tips!  For our purposes, this post is going up to emphasize the *method* of making the spaetzle, the recipe is included here as well, but it’s Eva’s everyday recipe including fresh eggs.  Definitely use it if you have fresh eggs on hand, but if you’re looking for a storeable recipe, check out my post for Hungarian Goulash with Spaetzle from a few years ago.  Again, it’s a great 100% pantry ingredient recipe from Shari Haag’s “The Everyday Gourmet” cookbook and we’ve loved it!  The great thing is, from now on I won’t be taking forever cutting noodles into a pot! Continue reading

Cooking Meat in a Wonder Oven: a Better Container

2 Jun IMG_8658

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by a couple of you whether there was another way to cook meat in a wonder oven other than the plastic bag method I originally posted here.

I’m SO glad for the question because it caused me to look at things in a different way which now has gotten me thinking about other directions this style of cooking can be taken!  Plus, going forward it’s going to save me supplies and money since the improved container (at least the one I’m going to be using from now on) negates the need for me to buy bags anymore.  (Yay!!)  More on that in a minute. Continue reading

What’s Your Threat: Food Storage…Without a Plan

23 May Threat cover

I’m excited to have been invited to join up with many other great preparedness bloggers today, adding a post about the biggest threat I see in our aim for preparing for the future.  Here’s my contribution, you’ll want to “hop” over to see others which have been posted by following the links below.

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The “biggest threat” to successful preparations, that I see, is the act of storing food away (relaxing and thinking you’re prepared) but neglecting to have a plan for it.

Through this post, I’ll detail 9 areas of planning which need to be addressed — in addition to the storing of food — in order for your food storage to become a “parachute” in your preparedness plan, effectively serving (and possibly saving) your family the way you want it to.

Without taking a close look at these details and double checking your preparations it’s easy to find a false sense of security lulling you to sit back and relax.  All the while- as you’re thinking you’re taken care of in the food storage department–  an oncoming train could be barreling it’s way around the corner and you’re in fact not ready for it. Continue reading

Keep your Cool this Summer: Wonder Oven Tip!

21 May IMG_8528

We all know wonder ovens keep things hot for extended periods of time, however it’s useful to know they also keep things cool, even frozen in the very same way!  

As an example of this, last summer our family took a road trip at which at one point – going from point “A” to point “B”– we knew we were going to be arriving to a family reunion the very same night our family had been assigned to make dinner for the group.  We wouldn’t have time to visit a store, so before leaving we picked up frozen hamburger patties and packed them in the wonder oven to travel with us.  Once we’d arrived and were ready to make dinner, a full 12 hours later, we pulled the hamburger patties from the wonder oven to use and they were still rock hard frozen. Of course we gathered a group from the family together (those kind enough to indulge me in my thrill of all things wonder oven) and oohed and ahhed at the “wow” of these pillows!!

Keep Frozen Foods Frozen

For this reason, having a wonder oven is extremely useful for many reasons.  If you’re freezer went out for whatever reason, you could save some of your food from perishing by simply bundling it up in your wonder oven pillows.  The more pillows you have on hand, the more food you could save!

In keeping things frozen, another use for them is to keep either a set of pillows with it’s container (if you have room) or just a single pillow –with a way to secure it around your food– in the back end of your vehicle to keep ice cream and frozen foods frozen on your way home from the grocery store.  Here in TX, everyone knows ice cream is the last item you buy when grocery shopping, just to be able to get it home before it melts!  With a wonder oven pillow on hand, you don’t have to worry — you can even go run a few errands afterward — the ice cream will stay frozen.

Keep Cold Foods Cold

Another application, one that I use a lot, is in using my wonder oven pillows (here in the Texas heat) to keep things cool.  Simply by wrapping up the food in one of the pillows, keeping the food surrounded by the insulating beads within the pillow, foods such as lunch meats and cheese can be kept cool for hours (all day if needed) for picnics, etc.  It’s so easy and it doesn’t even require a container! Continue reading

Chocolate Long Term Storage: Using Wheat Bran

8 May

Read with consideration, this method (whether the bran is to be attributed to it’s success) is currently under investigation…

Chocolate lovers, listen up!  I was given permission to post an experiment that’s been 5 years in the making (not my own), attempting to pin down the most successful way to store chocolate long term.

The following quoted recommendation (found by our tester 5 years ago) is what initially triggered the test you’ll read below.

“I have stored both M&M’s and chocolate chips.  You cannot put an oxy pack in with them [while storing] because it will make the oil in the chocolate go rancid.  I have experimented for years and have found storing them with bran is the best.  I’ve even tried storing it with sawdust (instead of bran) but the chocolate went rancid in 2 years with the sawdust.  I’m not sure what it is about the bran but it works.  I have had chocolate stored for up to 15 years now without it going bad.  I have stored it in three different ways:

1- Sealed in # 10 can (the best way for storing larger amounts of it)

2- Stored in a mylar pouch (not very good because the mice go through mylar pouches in nothing flat)
3- Stored in buckets (okay but not very efficient because once you open the bucket and let the oxygen in the chocolate goes bad very soon, 1 -2 months)

Instructions:

Leave the chocolate in it’s original package and pack (bury) the package in wheat bran. Then seal the can. You can usually get 4 packages of chocolate chips in one #10 can and then fill the rest with bran.”

Storage Test  

Wanting to try it himself, here are the results from our featured 2nd tester of this method (in his own words):

“Today I opened a can of assorted Hershey’s kisses that was sealed in February of 2009. It was stored in a basement with a fairly even temp. between 50 and 75 degrees. I made sure to completely surround the original packages with the wheat bran and used no oxygen absorber. I found that 4-10oz. packages fit perfectly into a #10 can. The critical thing, I believe, is to ensure that all the packages are surrounded individually on all sides.

The candies have no off smell whatsoever, and virtually no discoloration. The taste of samples from each bag was, to me, no different than the day they were purchased. I consider this method of storing chocolate a smashing success!!!”

storing chocolate

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To get a better picture of what was really going on, I sent a note to a friend of mine, Cheryl Driggs (author @ www.simplyprepared.com), who I consider highly knowledgeable in storing techniques and food science. My question was whether the “bran” had anything to do with it or if it was just a filler of space. Here’s her reply, for anyone who might like to consider it.  She writes:

“I don’t think it has anything to do with the wheat bran. I think it has more to do with filling up the space and pushing out the air so anything would work.

Also, I’ve never heard the idea that using an absorber causes chocolate to go rancid. Rancidity is caused by oxidation. If there is no oxygen there won’t be oxidation so it should be just the opposite.  Absorbers should prevent oxidation and rancidity, however LDS Church home storage recommendations currently don’t recommend using absorbers with high fat foods until further research is done (although you do find them in commercial packages of jerky and other foods).

Part of the reason his chocolate came out well is the fact that he stored it at such a low temperature. The white coating that appears on chocolate is called “bloom”. Heat causes the fat in the chocolate to rise to the surface. The bloom is chocolate fat.”

What say you?  Please share a comment with us if you’ve found success storing chocolate.

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