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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

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

58 Wonder Oven sets available at the lowest price EVER!

2 Sep Wonder Oven Sale (1)

I know for myself how critical owning a Wonder Oven is to being able to cook with your food storage.  There’s no tool out there to compare it to.  The conservation of fuel saved by using a wonder oven — worst case scenerio — could be what literally saves your family from running out of fuel (and starving) before running out of the food you have stored.

Because I believe having a wonder oven is so important, and because there aren’t nearly enough people who have access to one,  I took on a bigger than normal project this summer.   The problem I believe isn’t that people don’t want to try it, it’s that the pillows themselves are hard to come by.  From their specialized beads to their abnormally angled pattern they’re admittedly a hassle for the average person to make.  On the other hand, buying them pre-made costs between $50-$60 dollars, money that many are skeptical to spend on a couple of bean bag pillows that are somehow supposed to cook your food (something they’ve never actually seen work before).  Knowing first hand all the AMAZING things you can make with a wonder oven , I realized something had to be done to get more of these marvelous tools out there!!

So … I decided to give you an opportunity you’ll never see again.  I have 58 wonder oven sets that now need good homes.

*** THIS DEAL IS SOLD OUT.  Do email me (address:  myfoodstoragecookbook@hotmail.com) if you’re interested in receiving a pattern to make one yourself.*** Continue reading

Wishing for a Wonder Oven?

26 Aug

Heads up!  Save the date and be sure to get here on time.

The post will go up @10 am CT!

Labor Day preview

Labor Day preview

Where to Buy: Wonder Oven Beads

6 Aug
So what do you do in the summer time?  Get busy making Wonder Ovens!!
***
As those of you who’ve tried know, the hardest part of making a Wonder Oven is finding the beads.  This week I heard back from someone having trouble finding the beads for a reasonable price (esp. shipping)  for where they live, using the ideas I shared here.  I’m so glad she reached out because thanks to her another option was discovered.  If it’s successful for you — or on the other hand, if there are any troubles that arise — leave a comment so we’ll know for the future. Continue reading

Spaghetti Pie

2 Jun Spaghetti Pie (16)

Print the recipe page!  spaghetti pie

Adapted for food storage from this  Mel’s Kitchen recipe, which she says happens to be her family’s favorite dinner, this one’s a sure “kid and family” pleaser.  The recipe calls for 4 oz  “1/3 less fat” cream cheese, which cooperates perfectly with our pantry-made cream cheese recipe!  If making 100% with food storage and trying to cook the Spaghetti Pie in a sun oven (mid morning is best), consider making the cream cheese the night before, (allowing it to strain overnight) so it’s ready to go in the morning.

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Chicken Barley Soup

9 May Chicken Barley Soup (5)

Print the recipe card!  chicken barley soup

I’ve got some great “tried and taste tested” content coming up in the next two weeks!  It’s a little different than my “norm” recipe schedule, here there and everywhere (haha!) but I think you’ll like it.

First off, in my second post this week I’ll be posting a compilation of various grocery store ingredient taste tests.  Basically a directory of which brands (of which products) to consider more closely as you’re building your pantry.  This comes as I’ve been collecting this information for a while, trolling various published taste tests and adding up their results. My goal with this post has been to get a better picture of which brand’s products are worth stocking up on versus which ones aren’t.

Secondly, the “Soup in a Bag” reviews are back!!  With the detail in each tester’s trial, I’ve decided to post them each independently M-W-F of next week.  And, best of all, thanks to permission given from the book’s author, each post will include the tester’s favorite recipe for you to try yourself!  Awesome!!  Get ready to enjoy!

Speaking of soup, appropriately enough, swim team just started for my three oldest kids which means the water is freezing and I have kids coming home with blue lips and chattering teeth for the first few weeks.  So you can guess what’s on the menu a lot lately.  This homey soup is the food storage version of this recipe and went over well with everyone, even the five year old.

serves 6 -8 Continue reading

Truly Impossible Pie

2 May Impossible Pie (13)

Print the recipe page!   truly impossible pie

A friend of mine who reads the blog and is trying to put together a breakfast plan using her wonder oven, asked me last week about making an impossible pie in a wonder oven.  I thought it was an interesting twist and got to thinking about it.  Well, I’m so glad she asked because now I’m totally in love with this recipe!!  So, what’s an impossible pie, you ask? Children of the 70’s (and their mothers) should remember this Bisquick creation, where Bisquick was poured over top of an egg batter layered with vegetables, meat and cheese and baked.   It’s impossibility was that you got a “crust” without rolling out pie dough.  The result was a quiche that was fast and easy to fix.

Well, if ever there was an impossible pie, I’d give that title instead to this variation!  If you’d asked me even a year ago, I never in a million years would have thought this to be a possibility as a food storage recipe.  Thanks to discovering Honeyville’s OvaEasy Eggs, now it is.  And beyond that, it utilizes the heat retentive cooking of a wonder oven, which makes it a breakfast possibility even if the power is out.  You see, you can’t bake anything — for breakfast— if the power is out.  The sun isn’t out to heat your sun oven so you’re options are limited to cooking over a stovetop of some kind.  Not that hot cereal isn’t great, but it gets old like everything else.

This recipe exemplifies the idea that in using a wonder oven your pot and lid act as a “mini-oven”, just as in making bread, where you can still bake using just a minimal amount of stove top fuel if the power is out. Continue reading

Homemade Hamburger Helper: 9 varieties

4 Apr Homemade Hamburger Helper (20)

Print any of the hamburger helper recipe cards!  

salisbury       potato stroganoff      cheesy jambalaya           

cheesy italian shells        cheesy beef taco       

cheeseburger macaroni      lasagna

beef stroganoff        chili mac

We’re all looking for an easy way to get dinner on the table.  Most nights we’d like it to be without too much thought and without having to worry whether the family is going to eat what we make.  Betty Crocker and other manufacturers have made a killing on the idea of “dinner in a box” albeit with the price of preservatives, colorings and chemicals added in.  Enter Suzanne McMinn.  This gal heads up the site “Chickens in the Road” and she’s figured out a number of the Hamburger Helper boxed dinners for us, allowing us to enjoy the convenience we want minus the additives we don’t.

Now I have to be honest, I’ve never bought Hamburger Helper and only learned about this website and recipe idea from a reader who asked for a food storage version of it.  But I’m so glad she did!  And can we say “pantry meal time”??  I love it when I see people naturally coming up with the same idea.  Ready packed meals make sense whether you’re using them day to day or to have on hand in case of emergency, whether the emergency be immediate –to have ready to grab and go with your 72 hour kit– or longer term.

Thanks to Suzanne doing the hard work,  I’ve done the much easier part of translating them to food storage.  And btw, there are all kinds of additions you can make to these recipes, I’d suggest visiting Suzanne’s original blog post for more ideas on that.  Also, all of the recipes call for 1 lb. ground beef (or about 2 cups cooked), so if you’re using fresh ground beef (or hamburger from the freezer) that’s the amount you’d need.

Each recipe serves 4-6

Continue reading

Easy Hamburger Soup

28 Mar Easy Hamburger Soup (11)

Print the recipe card!  easy hamburger soup

A simple to prepare yet hearty soup that easily adapts with food storage ingredients.  As an everyday meal it’s a great “catch-all” for whatever extra veggies you have in the refrigerator to use up!  I like making this recipe in a large batch because we like the leftovers the next day but if it’s too large a recipe for your group you can easily cut it down by half.  Also, remember, you can replace the soup back into your wonder oven after serving if you’re wanting to keep it hot!

Although it simmers for 45 minutes I’ve categorized it as a pantry meal for how simple the preparation is (plus, it easily “packs” as one).  Ten minutes –fifteen if you’re using freeze dried ingredients– and it’s on it’s way!

Serves 10-12

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Radio Show: Wonder Ovens!

25 Mar Wonder oven

Take a listen tomorrow, March 26th at 1pm CT (or any time afterward, it’ll be archived with the same link) where Joyce Pierce, host of the “All You Need to Know Show” with the Preparedness Radio Network, has invited me over to talk about Wonder Ovens!

We’ll be talking about making them, using them and why having one is so valuable as you’re getting your food storage preps together!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/doctorprepper/2013/03/26/all-you-need-to-know

A few post-script details from what was talked about…

  • To find a local supplier of the styrene beads, I called a national supplier of foam products, Insulfoam (1-800-228-4412), and asked where in my area they supplied “unexpanded polystyrene bead”.  From there I was given a local supplier, which (in my area) referred to them as “virgin beads”. 

**UPDATE:  You can now find the beads to buy online by visiting this retailer!  Visit {this post} for more information on this product.

  • Once you have the beads and the pattern ready you can follow the rest of the instructions easily by visiting the step by step instructions on the following two sites. We filled the pillows using 4 gallons of beads to fill the top and 6 gallons to fill the bottom.  This made a set of pillows “floppy” enough to fit in an 18 gallon bucket.  

www.Iwillprepare.com 

www.prepared-housewives.com

  • for those of you wondering what the styrene pellets look like and how big they’re “not”…here’s a picture of the size you’re looking for.

Styrene Pellets

  • Due to the difficulty we had in creating the pattern from the angles given online, if you’d like a paper pattern mailed I’m offering them for free.  (I’ll pull this offer from the post if it becomes too much to keep up with.)  Just send me an email to request one with your mailing address if interested.  My email address is myfoodstoragecookbook@hotmail.com. 

Mexican Tortilla Lasagna

14 Mar Mexican Tortilla Lasagna (27)

Print the recipe page!  mexican tortilla lasagna

Many crock pot recipes work well in a wonder oven and this former crock pot recipe does exactly that.  It follows the same idea as Wonder Oven Lasagna that I posted a year ago, if any of you remember.   Also, if you don’t have a wonder oven, don’t worry, it can still be baked (the changes are in the notes section).

Again, this is a meal that takes longer to make due to the homemade tortillas (which in timing it, this step took an extra 30 min.) but the reward is that you end up with a family friendly meal that doesn’t taste like food storage. Continue reading

Baked Shells Casserole

7 Mar Baked Shells Casserole (29)

Print the recipe page!   baked shells casserole  

Today’s recipe is my food storage version of a popular Rachel Ray dish of the same name.  It turned out to be her #1 most downloaded recipe of 2010 in fact.  It does take some extra time to make but (food storage or not) it’s a guaranteed winner!

Continue reading

Curried Coconut Chicken

3 Mar Curried Coconut Chicken (20)

Print the recipe card!  curried coconut chicken

This is a fantastic recipe!  It’s easy to make (since most of it’s ingredients are shelf stable in the first place) so it works as a food storage meal without a problem.   It was adapted from this Curried Coconut Chicken recipe from Allrecipes.

Due to it’s extended simmering time, it’s perfectly suited for cooking in a Wonder oven or thermal cooker.  On the other hand, it really isn’t reasonable to make (as far as fuel storage goes) without one.  Also, as a side note, we prefer the stewed tomatoes coarsely pureed rather than left in chunks, (that’s the way I’ve made it here) but you can make it any way you want to.

My husband, usually not a fan of curry, is a fan of this recipe.  That fact alone is enough for me to believe that a majority of you out there will like it too.  Enjoy! Continue reading

Cajun Red Beans ‘n Rice

13 Dec Cajun Red Beans 'n Rice (12)

Print the recipe page!  cajun red beans n rice

If you’ve read much here on the blog, you know that one of the websites that inspired me most initially was Karen Wilkinson’s kneadfulthingsnow.com.  So I was alarmed to receive an email this week that one of my links to her website wasn’t responding.  I tried it myself and sure enough it wasn’t.  I’m trying to contact Karen to see if I can find out where her site has gone, but in the meantime this brings me to share a word with you about the worth of recipes and the frailty of the internet.

It wasn’t all too long ago (my grandmother’s era) that recipes were guarded, prized and generally kept to oneself or strictly within a family.  There are some funny stories my grandmother used to tell about women in the town she grew up in who either outright refused to share certain recipes or gave out bogus “altered” ones to keep their true recipes safe.  Owning a copy of a good recipe was a big deal back then.

Today, we see the opposite: recipes are everywhere.  Good ones, bad ones, and everything in between.  This is great but with so much saturation we risk taking them for granted.  As far as emergency preparedness goes (in my opinion) a recipe that uses your preps, that your family will eat, could mean the difference between surviving and staring at a wall of food storage not knowing what to make.

Bottom line:  if there’s a recipe you think you might want to include in your food storage preps, don’t wait — get it printed out.  You can always toss it later but on the other hand, you might be really glad you’ve copied it; you just never know.  Remember, all the recipes here on the blog can be printed as a simple recipe card and are found at the top of each post.

Which brings us to our recipe, brought back to you from being “lost”… Continue reading

My $180 lesson

14 Nov Bain Marie Pot

We all know the simplest ideas are usually the best.  Unfortunately, figuring out what’s simple (and best) isn’t always so simple.  After a long road, I’ve finally found the simplest, cheapest and best container for making bread in a Wonder Oven.   If you’ve already read the step by step “how to” of making bread in a wonder oven (over in this post), knowing this item is out there will save you a lot of hassle.  After all I’ve spent in both time and money figuring it out, it seemed worthy of a post to save others the same trouble. Continue reading

Rice Pudding

26 Apr Wonderoven Rice Pudding (1)

Print the recipe card!  rice pudding

My kids really love this rice pudding.  It’s made for dessert one night, eaten for breakfast the next day (if they can get away with it), and goes into their lunch bags as a treat for lunch.  It’s easy to make in the wonder oven, includes simple ingredients and even though the recipe doesn’t call for eggs (which is good for my food storage plan) it’s still thick and creamy.  Yum!

Continue reading

Spanish Rice, two varieties

26 Apr Spanish Rice (19)

Print the recipe cards!  

traditional spanish rice

tomatillo pilaf

Forget the Rice-a-Roni.  These two wonder oven made rice dishes are just as easy to make and taste a whole lot better!  Left overs freeze well so you can even enjoy it later when it’s needed for a fast meal.  In using with your food storage plan, serve this with Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, Shredded Beef Taquitos, Tacos, Tamales or any other fiesta minded main dish.

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Making Tamales

5 Apr Making Tamales (47)

Print the recipe card!   tamales

Frankly, I don’t want to have to say goodbye to tamales … ever.  It seems like every three months or so I find myself desperately craving these little corn-husked bundles, at which point you’ll find me visiting the homemade Mexican grill down the road and spending $1.45 for a 2 tamale fix.  What would happen  if there weren’t tamales to be bought from the wonderful spanish speaking “I’ve-made-tamales-my-whole-life” women at the restaurant?  Sadness, I tell you.

To avoid such I set out to find a reasonably simple way to make my own.  Mind you I’m not interested in spending all day in the kitchen (as some recipes suggest) no matter how much I’m wanting tamales.  On top of that, I wanted a recipe who’s staple ingredients could be stored long term.  Once again I turned to a reliable recipe testing source, Cook’s Illustrated (specifically their “Best International Recipe” book) to teach me how to make something that before I’d only bought.  What I found was an uncomplicated recipe that brought everything to the table I was looking for and turned out some pretty great tamales if I do say so myself!

Oh , and did I mention this recipe provided another perfect chance to save fuel by using my wonder oven?  (*see this video if you’re wondering what a wonder oven is!)

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Wonder Oven Lasagna

10 Mar Wonder Oven Lasagna (17)

Print the recipe card!  wonder oven lasagna

Since I’ve been on a Wonder Oven cooking kick lately I thought I’d throw out one more idea on the topic before taking a blogging break next week to go on a trip with my family.

This has to be the easiest way out there to make lasagna!  I love it because it only takes one pan to make and I can get it started and then forget about it until dinner.  To make it into a long term storage meal,  use either freeze dried or home canned beef/sausage (in the sauce), food storage ricotta style cheese in place of fresh (see 8/24th’s post) and top it with rehydrated freeze dried mozzarella cheese.   {P.S. — you can see how freeze dried mozzarella is rehydrated and used by checking out either 10/5th’s  or 1/21st’s post.}

This is so easy that a simple step by step with pictures is all it needs here on the blog for explanation … Enjoy!

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