Tomatoes: The Overlooked Survival Food

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stock up on tomatoesOn my list of the Top 10 Foods for Stocking Up, I impulsively added tomatoes as #6.  During the past few days I’ve been keeping an eye on the foods we most often eat, and sure enough, tomatoes are a big part of our diet.  Sunday we dined on tacos and tostadas, both topped with salsa.  The next night we gorged on take-out pizza with a delicious tomato sauce flavored with red wine.  Ketchup is the life blood of my kids’ lunches, and some of my favorite soups are tomato based.  It’s no wonder that I stock up on tomatoes and tomato products.

Reasons to stock up on tomatoes

One reason I’m glad to include tomatoes as a major part of my food storage is that they contain healthy doses of Vitamins A and C and are wonderfully low in calories. Tomatoes are a natural diuretic, being 90% water themselves, and can help flush toxins out of your body.  On top of all that, they’ve been found to contain lycopene, an amazing element that combats cancer.

The peak season for growing your own tomatoes is in the glorious, hot days of summer, but they’re available at the market year round.  If you can get your hands on a large number of fresh tomatoes, here are some options for you, other than letting them rot in your vegetable drawer!

Oven Dried Tomatoes

What a delicous way to preserve your tomatoes, and this couldn’t be simpler.  Wash your tomatoes and slice them about 1/2″ thick.  Toss them with salt, pepper, and olive oil and place them on a baking rack.  Bake at a very low temperature, 225 degrees, for at least 2-3 hours.  You’ll know they’re done when they feel like soft leather and are chewy.  For long-term storage, you can seal them in either canning jars using a jar sealer attachment and a Food Saver or in Food Saver bags. Since the dried tomatoes will still have a degree of moisture, I don’t recommend storing them for much longer than 3-6 months.

Dehydrated Tomatoes

Again, wash and slice tomatoes, but this time, layer them on dehydrator trays.  If you’re new to food dehydration, read this.  Tomatoes will need a good 6-12 hours of dehydrating time, and when they’re finished, they’ll be crispy. Far more moisture is removed using this method than oven drying, so these crackly tomato slices will have a much longer shelf life. Use the canning jar/jar sealer method with a Food Saver. That is my preferred method for storing dehydrated tomato slices.

Homemade Tomato Powder

The first time I heard of tomato powder, I thought, “Huh?”  It turns out that this is a great ingredient for adding tomato flavor and nutrients to soups, chiles, stews, salad dressings, and more, and it can be quickly rehydrated as tomato sauce. Add more powder for a thicker sauce.

Stored in the fridge, tomato powder will last indefinitely.  To make your own, seed your tomato slices before dehydration or not. I leave the skins on and the seeds in. Place the slices on dehydrator trays, making sure they don’t overlap and dry until very, very crispy. This will take several hours.

Once you have crispy tomato slices, break them into small pieces and turn them into powder using your food processer or blender.  I use my Magic Bullet and get great results.

The Paranoid Dad’s Not-So-Secret Salsa Recipe

We love this fresh flavored salsa.  You can add cilantro, if you like.  I love cilantro, but Parnoid Dad says it tastes like dirt.  Go figure.

In a saucepan over low heat, combine these ingredients until thoroughly heated:

3 T. oil

3 T. vinegar

3 t. salt

3 t. sugar or preferred sweetener, to taste

3 cloves garlic, pressed

Pour warmed liquid into a bowl and add 1 large can tomatoes (chopped or pureed), 1 chopped white onion, and chopped jalapenos to taste.  I also add a handful of chopped cilantro. Add a nice big bag of tortilla chips, and dinner is served!

Make-it-Yourself Ketchup

Yes, you can make delicious, homemade ketchup, seasoned just the way you like it!  I’ve found that some store brands are too sugary, and the sugar free brand is quite pricey. This is the recipe I included in my mini-book, Switch From Store-Bought to Homemade, available as a free download!

Lisa’s Homemade Ketchup

6 oz. tomato paste

1/4 c. honey*, or to taste (I also sometimes use sweeteners when I want to cut down on carbs and calories.)

1/2 c. white vinegar

1/4 c. water

3/4 t. salt

1/4 t. onion powder

1/4 t. garlic powder

Whisk all these ingredients together in a medium size saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 30 minutes and allow to cool before pouring it into a container. We use squeeze bottles but you could also recycle old ketchup bottles for this use.

Home canned tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the easiest foods to can, even for beginners. Other than learning how to make jelly and jam when I was a kid, canning tomatoes were the first food I ever officially canned. Since you use the simple water-bath method, there’s no need to calculate pressure or timing based on your elevation.

Here are simple instructions for canning your own tomatoes.

With all these options, it’s very, very easy to stock up on tomatoes in your food storage pantry. They’re versatile, delicious, and I’ll bet you and your family can’t go much longer than a week or two without eating something made from tomatoes!

stock up on tomatoes

Are you new to food storage? Check out these tutorials as well as my full-length family survival manual, Survival Mom!

For even more, here’s a page full of more links and videos!

Even more food storage resources!

This article updated on August 2, 2015.


No Fat Dehydrator Zucchini Chips

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No bake, no fat, very tasty! Dehydrator zucchini chips | PreparednessMama

Dehydrator Zucchini Chips are so tasty that your family will gobble them up. You’ll have a hard time getting them from the dehydrator to the storage bag. Our family loves chips and dip, especially in the summer when we are having family gatherings and BBQ’s. Have you taken a look at the preservative and fat […]

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Southern Peach Tea: A Recipe to Know by Heart

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Southern Peach Tea: A Recipe to Know by Heart There are some incredible things that happen when you head south. You find a rich culture and a band of people who share very similar ideals. You also realize that their simple appreciation of life and love for things like the outdoors. Then you get smacked …

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Borax Uses and Multi-Purpose Cleaner

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What is borax? It is a natural occurring mineral (a compound of the element, Boron). Borax has lots of practical uses (some listed below) and is often purposed as an affordable, natural cleaning, odor eliminating, eco-friendly cleaner used around the home. Where does borax come from? One of the largest deposits is located in Boron, […]

Homemade Apple Cider Recipes To Die For

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Homemade Apple Cider Recipes To Die For   My grandma made the best apple cider from an old English recipe. My mom has an old dutch recipe that is pretty good too. I went hunting the internet for a collection on apple cider recipes that I could share and I think I have found a …

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How To Make Honey Moonshine

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How To Make Honey Moonshine Okay, before you start to do anything with regards to making moonshine, please check your local, state, federal and national statutes to make sure you won’t be breaking any laws by building a still to prepare your blend of moonshine. Most states have certain laws in place against making alcoholic beverages that exceed …

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20 Crock Pot Tips for the Winter

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crock pot tipsThere is nothing better than ending a cool winter day than with a bowl of something cooked in a crock pot. In our home, we adore our crock pots, all four of them. There is always one on the counter top ready to go. The soups and stews are always a big hit, and a really good crock pot recipe book is worth its weight in gold.

Lately, we have been branching out and using our crock pot for more than soup. We’ve learned some tricks and tips than can take your crock pot meals to the next level.

Which size crock pot?

Slow cookers come in a variety of sizes, usually 1 quart to 8 1/2 quarts. Follow the recipe’s recommended size. This is important becasue the correct quart cooker will allow your meal to cook properly, and you won’t have an overflow of mess to clean. Most recipes will work best in a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker.

Don’t peek!

Every time you open the lid, heat escapes and you lengthen the cooking time by 15 – 20 minutes. The best time to check on your dish is about 45 minutes before it should be done. You will be able to tell how much of your cooking time needs to be adjusted.

Do not over-fill

Do not put too much in your crock pot. Most manufactures recommend that you fill your slow cooker no more than two-thirds full. Check what the manufacture recommends for your specific brand and size pot. By following the recommendations, you will avoid any possible food safety hazards and your meal will be finished on time. Don’t be afraid to cook whole chickens and big meaty roasts. These can be very healthy meals. Just check that the lid has a good snug fit.

Avoid the food danger zone

Bacteria love to become an uninvited guest at temperatures between 40° and 140°F degrees. The best way to avoid the danger zone is to put your prepped food in separate containers in the refrigerator ahead of time. Do not cook large chunks of frozen meat in the crock pot. There is no guarantee that large pieces of meat will be cooked all the way through. If you need to double check your food’s temperature, a good quality digital thermometer like this one will give you the information you need without having to lift the crock pot’s lid. Works great when keeping track of food in the oven, too.

Get the most out of the meat

To maximize the flavor of your meal, brown your meat in a skillet before adding it to the crock pot. Then deglaze the pan and with wine or broth. Deglazing gets all of the caramelized pieces of meat from the bottom of the pan. Add the liquid with those yummy bits of meat to your crock pot and you will have a richer flavor in your meal.

Out with the old crock pot!

Check out the new crock pots! There are so many new options available now. If you need your crock pot to do its cooking while you are out of the house, look into the programmable models. On these models, when the food is finished cooking, the slow cooker adjusts its temperature. This keeps your food warm, but at a safe temperature until you are ready to dig in. The latest crock pot in my house has a rubber lined hole in the top of the lid for a meat thermometer. This is a pretty brilliant combination of the crock pot with an indispendable thermometer.The thermometer fits snugly into the lid so none of the heat escapes out. Perfect for larger cuts of meat.

Preheat your crock pot

It is basically a little oven. So give it about 20 minutes to warm up all the way before you start adding your food. Just like you pre-heat your oven, pre-heat while prepping your food. It also cuts down on cooking time.

Food temperature matters

Putting frozen food in the slow cooker can increase your chances of bacteria growth. Remember that danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees F that was mentioned above? Prevent bacteria by avoiding all frozen foods. Fully thaw out all meats and vegetables before adding to the cooker. We have thawed out meat in the fridge or used our microwave to thaw vegetables. The only exception to this rule would be the prepackaged crock pot meals that are sold in the frozen food section in the grocery store. Just follow the directions on the back of the package.

Gingerbread in a crockpot meal?

Toss in some crumbled gingerbread or crushed ginger snap cookies! Ginger adds a depth of flavor and texture to the liquid. Use them in beef type dishes like stew and pot roast.

Use a high quality wine

Look for wines that are dry and have a high alcohol content to add more complex flavor to your dish. The alcohol doesn’t evaporate out much because the cooker lid is sealed. So remember that a little bit goes a long way.

The best vanilla quality possible

Like the wine, use a vanilla of high quality. The alcohol in the vanilla doesn’t burn off as fast and leaves a more intense flavor. Use the same amount your recipe recommends.

Forgotten food

If you rush out the door in the morning with food in an unplugged crock pot, you must toss it. I know, it hurts. But forgetting to plug or turn the crock pot to low or high means that your food could have spent the day in that danger zone. Even having uncooked food on the warm setting needs to go too. The warm setting isn’t warm enough to prevent bacteria. It is hard to throw away food, but it is easier than being sick. Again, you need a good food/meat thermometer!

Layer your food

To get all of your ingredients cooked at the right temperature and finished at the same time, you must layer. Any root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots, need to be placed at the bottom of the pot. These foods take longer to cook and need to be where most of the heat is. Place the meat on top of the root vegetables. If you are going to cut the meat, cut it into uniform pieces for even cooking. Any other smaller or delicate foods, such as mushrooms, can be placed last. They require a shorter cooking time

Pasta and rice

These can both be tricky. When overcooked, they become an inedible blob in your dish. It is best to add rice the last 30 minutes of cooking. Cooking the pasta separately and adding it to your food right before serving is a safer bet. My friend makes this pasta dish and swears by its ease and taste. I feel the ziti is a heavier pasta and that is why it works in this recipe without being cooked on the stove top.

Crock Pot Baked Ziti

Serves 8

1 lb. box of ziti noodles, uncooked

15 ounce container low-fat ricotta cheese

1 egg

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, fresh is preferred over the green can kind

1½ cup low-fat mozzarella cheese, grated

½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 24-ounce jars marinara sauce, any flavor

7-8 fresh, thinly sliced basil leaves or ½ teaspoon dried basil


Use cooking spray to spray the inside of the crock pot, and rinse the noodles in a colandar and set them aside.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, egg whites, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella, salt, and pepper. Stir until this is a smooth mixture.

In the crockpot, layer half of the noodles, about 2 1/2 cups. Pour 2 cups of the marinara sauce over the noodles. Use a spoon to smooth the sauce over the noodles so they are all covered and create an even layer.

Drop small spoonfuls of the ricotta mix over the sauce/pasta. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula to carefully spread the cheese mixture over the noodles.

Repeat the 3 layers: noodles, marinara, and cheese. Over the top of everything, pour the remaining marinara sauce.

Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours. By this time, the ziti will be finished. Sprinkle the remaining cheeses over the top, cover with the crock pot lid, and allow about 10 minutes for the cheese to melt.

Garnish with the fresh basil and serve.

Notes: For a heartier dish, you can add a layer of cooked ground beef, sausage or vegetables, such as mushroom and spinach after the sauce layer and before the cheese layer. This recipe freezes well. Source of original recipe is here.

Wait a day

Some foods are better the second day. Many soups increase in flavor when they have had time to sit. About 24 hours should do it. If your dish has any sinewy tissue, like brisket, it will also have an improved flavor after sitting in the refrigerator for a day.

Choosing the right cut of meat for the temperature

For low heat, chose pork shoulders, chuck roasts, short ribs, chicken thighs and drumsticks and any other tough or fatty meat. They tend to become tender and moist. Avoid cooking chicken breasts, pork loin and other leaner cuts of meat on low. They often get dried out. Trim any excess fat before cooking. You don’t want greasy liquid floating on top of your dish.

Dairy last

Milk products, like yogurt, milk and sour cream should be stirred in the last 15 minutes of cooking. If you add them earlier, they tend to break down and you will not have the creamy consistency you are looking for.

Vegetable mush

If you end up with mushy veggies, scoop them out and puree them. Reduce the puree in a sauce pan and make a glaze to pour over the meat or add it to your sauce. To prevent mushy tomatoes, try sun dried tomatoes or use whole canned tomatoes and cut them into large pieces. Diced or crushed tomatoes can disintegrate into your dish.

Consider desserts in your crock pot

The sealed lid allows moisture to stay in the most delicious cakes, breads and brownies. Even cheesecake! Consider using your slow cooker to make party mixes and to roast nuts. Breakfast in a crock pot is an easy way to start the morning. Steel cut oatmeal or a breakfast casserole can be easily prepared the night before. A crock pot also does a great job with oat groats.

Give your crock some TLC

Any sudden change in temperature can cause the ceramic insert to crack. Place a dish cloth in between the insert and cool countertop if needed. Let the insert come to room temperature before you expose it to a hot or cold element. There are plastic liners available that are specifically designed to be used for crock pots. The make clean up easy!

crock pot tips

How To Make Fresh Mayonnaise That Keeps

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How To Make Fresh Mayonnaise That Keeps Once I realized I could make our own mayonnaise so easily, I felt pretty committed to never buying the store-bought kind again. We like doing things ourselves: We know what’s in it – we never have to read food labels and wonder what they really mean – and we …

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Recipe: Emergency Food Bar

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Emergency food needs to be shelf stable and contain needed nutrients. It is a plus if the food tastes good, is light weight, and not very expensive. This is not the easiest project to achieve, and I had to test many different recipes until I settled on this particular one. This particular food bar recipe […]

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Kitchen DIY: How to Nixtimalize Corn

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This project looks deceptively simple, but it is one that I had to try a couple times to get right. I only stuck with it because Nixtamalization is a vital process for people that use corn as a staple food. This is because the nutrient niacin is unavailable in unprocessed corn, and by cooking dried […]

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Peasant Bread: The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make

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Peasant Bread: The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make Peasant bread is a no knead bread, I know some people hate no knead bread but this is not your typical no knead bread. It bakes in well-buttered pyrex bowls — there is no pre-heating of the baking vessels in this recipe. It emerges golden and crisp …

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How To Make an Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe

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How To Make an Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe I prefer to support the body in fighting the infection rather than take something that bypasses this natural process. If we were in a SHTF situation, we may not have access to normal over the counter medicine to soothe a sore throat or a nasty cough. That’s …

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Pemmican – The Survival Super Food

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Pemmican – The Survival Super Food When it comes to survival food, pemmican is on top of the list and for good reason. This survival food stood the test of time, it’s easy to prepare and it will last for a long time, without the need of refrigeration. Pemmican is one of the legacies of …

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190+ Seasoning & Spice Mix Recipes & Blends

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190+ Seasoning & Spice Mix Recipes & Blends Did you know that many store bought herb and spice blends can be very expensive, and a lot of them contain additives, anti-caking agents or MSG. That for me was enough to hunt down the best homemade spice and seasoning recipes and blends. For the past 2 …

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Russian Tea Recipe For Use During Cold & Flu Season

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Russian Tea Recipe For Use During Cold & Flu Season Oh yum. This warm Russian Tea is so, so delightful. I made this citrusy beverage a few weeks ago anyway and since then, I’ve kept it nearly constantly in the refrigerator for a quick-heat-to-experience-bliss moment. This recipe makes about two gallons, so you have plenty …

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Easy Pull Apart Cheese Herb Bread Recipe

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Easy Pull Apart Cheese Herb Bread Recipe Winter is here and that means cold weather, windows can be opened again and best of all our ovens can bake all day without heating up the house too much! I have posted quite a few bread recipes over the years but none like I am sharing with …

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13 Best Homebrew Recipes

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13 Best Homebrew Recipes Brewing your own beer at home has never been easier than at this exact moment in history. It’s legal in 49 states (get with it, Alabama!), and affordable brewing equipment and ingredient kits are just a mouse click away. And since the Internet is teeming with information and nice folks eager …

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DVD: The Quick Wholesome Foods

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See larger image The Quick Wholesome Foods DVD with 28 page Recipe Booklet shows you how to make delicious heart healthy meals from wheat, grains, beans and more using your food storage. A complete HOW-TO&; Read More …

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9 Homemade Spice Seasoning Blends To Flavor Food

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9 Homemade Spice Seasoning Blends To Flavor Food Spice blends are very expensive when bought ready mixed! I want to let you in on a little secret! Make them yourself for a third of the cost. Actually these blends will be better tasting and more healthier than the store bought one. Since you’re making them …

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How To Make Tiger Bread

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How To Make Tiger Bread My kids love tiger bread, which I’ve always bought at the supermarket when we visit our relatives, but I devised my own tiger bread recipe to make it myself because I can’t find it in my neck of the woods. Tiger bread is quite possibly the tastiest bread you will …

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How to Cook a Raccoon

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How to Cook a Raccoon via Preparedness Advice

When was the last time you cooked a raccoon?  For most people that would be never. Yet for many years, raccoons were on the menu for the Native Americans and the pioneers. In parts of the south, raccoon hunting is still popular.

Raccoons have a wide range, living all over North America. They are easy to trap; my neighbor has caught quite a few when trapping to cut down the skunk population. He uses live traps and most of the time just releases the raccoons. These traps are humane and quite inexpensive.

But raccoons are edible, and if cooked right, they’re quite tasty. Most of us aren’t used to eating many wild animals with deer and elk being the major 2 exceptions. This book explains not only how to cook many different types of wild game but how to butcher them as well. It would be a good addition to your collection of survival related books.

When you dress the raccoon, be sure and remove the brown bean shaped glands under each front leg and on both sides of the spine. Then remove as much visible fat as possible. Then go ahead and roast it or make a stew.  Here is a recipe for roast raccoon.

  • 1 raccoon cleaned and cut up
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 2 medium onions peeled and sliced
  • 2 bay leaves

Set several boney pieces aside and bread the rest in the flour seasoned with the salt and pepper.  Then brown the pieces in the cooking oil in a good frying pan.  Drain off the excess oil.  Put the meat in a roasting pan; add the onions and bay leaves.  Cover and bake for two hours at 350 f or until tender.

Take the boney pieces that you set aside and cover them with water. Simmer the pieces until the attached meat is tender.  Use this broth to make gravy.

As with any animal, if it looks sick or in poor condition do not eat it or skin it. Raccoons do carry rabies.


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10 Mouth-Watering Banana Bread Recipes

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10 Mouth-Watering Banana Bread Recipes I absolutely, 100% can say banana bread is my favorite dessert / bread you can get. These decadent desserts are guaranteed to please the palate of even the most picky people at your table. Check out 10 of what looks like the best banana bread recipes from around the web. …

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10 Delicious Crazy Cake Recipes

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10 Delicious Crazy Cake Recipes Call them what you will: Depression Cakes, War Cakes, Wacky Cakes, Crazy Cakes… they are known by many names.  But whatever you choose to call them for now, you’ll be calling them delicious once you try one for yourself! They require NO eggs, NO milk, NO butter and even NO bowls …

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30 Healthy Dinner Recipes For Less Than $1 A Serving

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30 Healthy Dinner Recipes For Less Than $1 A Serving Food is expensive. Raw and healthy food is even more expensive. That being said, I have found a great website that gives us 30 Healthy Dinner Recipes For Less Than $1 A Serving. Yes you read that right.. less than 1 dollar! Check all of the …

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132 Delicious Jams And Jelly Recipes

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132 Delicious Jams And Jelly Recipes I am a big fan of homemade jams and jelly. My grandma and mother made them all the time. I remember going blackberry and raspberry hunting in the country as a child and I remember loving doing that.  I would like to do the same with my children. I …

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365 Days Of Wholesome Food – Crock Pot Recipes

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365 Days Of Wholesome Food – Crock Pot Recipes I always cook in the slow cooker / crock-pot. My wife actually prefers eating this way. We use ours all year round but always seem to cook the same old stuff. That needed to change, so I went hunting down some other new and exciting recipes and came …

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Super Star NUTELLA Brioche Recipe

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Super Star NUTELLA Brioche Recipe I was searching for a kickass dessert recipe for my 4H class over on International Cooking Blog. They have  a delicious yet simple to make “Super Star Nutella Brioche” recipe which I immediately baked and let me tell you a little secret. This is now my favorite baked dessert. Even …

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10 Of The Best Fermented Food Recipes

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10 Of The Best Fermented Food Recipes It has only been in the past 6 months that I have been eating fermented foods. Sounds gross, but actually this type of food is so good for you. I feel like I have been robbed of well health for not knowing about it sooner. In easy to …

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Survival Mom DIY: How To Make Fruit Leather

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Survival Mom DIY How to Make Fruit Leather via The Survival Mom

Just for fun, listen to this Nat King Cole song while you read the rest of this article.

The taste of fresh peaches in late summer and early fall reminds me that “fall” can mean the excitement of back-to-school season and the crisp smell of falling leaves, before the tyranny of Pumpkin Spice Latte sets in.

Many different fruits lend themselves well to homemade fruit leather, but peaches are my favorite. Peaches can be canned, bottled, frozen, and made into endless varieties of pies and crisps. For this reason, I love preserving peaches. I do not love the long process that is involved with peeling them – the blanching, the ice water, the piles of skins on the counter. So anything that means I don’t have to do that is well worth my time. Besides, research indicates that the skin of the fruit is the part that has the most nutrients, so it’s in your best interest to leave the skin on.

This year, I decided to try dehydrating my peaches because you do not have to peel them! The dehydration process educes the skins to almost nothing. Making fruit leather similarly renders peeling unnecessary because you can puree the fruit, skin and all. If you don’t have to bother, why should you?

I had always been hesitant to buy a dehydrator prior to this experiment. When I was thinking about buying one a few years ago, a friend said to me, “I dunno, I can’t seem to justify a reason to buy a glorified hair dryer that sits on my counter and whines at me all day.” When you put it that way, dehydrator doesn’t sound at all like something you’d want in your house. After tasting the results when I used my mother’s to make copious amounts of fruit leather and dehydrated peach slices, I changed my tune.

Needed Equipment

There are several kinds of dehydrators on the open market these days. One could write a series of blog posts just discussing the pros and cons of each. Briefly, there are bottom-up dehydrators and top-down ones — they blow the warm air either from a fan at the top of the unit or the bottom. There are also dehydrators that blow the warm air from the side. Food dehydration experts agree the Excalibur is the best style and brand on the market. Alton Brown also rigged up a DIY model using furnace filters and a box fan, though I would not recommend it for sticky items like fruit.

Each kind of dehydrator has its pros and cons. Vertically stacking dehydrators can be customized, with extra drying racks added or taken away. Horizontal dehydrators are more expensive, but dry food faster, although they hold a set number of trays and you can’t add or subtract racks. On the other hand, if you want to use your dehydrator to make yogurt, you can empty a model like this one of its trays and have an open area for jars.

If you are hoping to make fruit leather, you will need specialty fruit roll sheets, lest your fruit puree fall through the slats in the drying rack into a gooey mess. If you have an Excalibur-style dehydrator, you’ll need sheets like these.

Dehydrated Peaches

When preparing peaches or other fruit for dehydrating, slice them thinly. They will have to be dried thoroughly in order to keep from molding during storage, and it is easier for this to happen if they are cut into small pieces. To keep your fruit from browning, place your peach slices in a bath of water with about a tablespoon of lemon juice mixed in. The acid in the lemon juice will keep the peaches looking peach-colored. They don’t have to sit in there for any set period of time. A minute or two is more than enough.

Drain the peaches, pay dry, and lay them on the dehydrator trays. Dry them at 135-140 degrees for at least 8 hours, possibly longer. In my own experience, peach slices end up more leathery and harden a bit when cooled. You just want to make sure there is no moisture left in the slices.

My son remarked that they looked like leaves, and I think I agree – they have that red-and-gold color and veined patterning that distinctly reminds one of autumn leaves. Perfect for sticking in a brown-bag lunch.

Making Fruit Leather

So on to making fruit roll-ups, a popular snack for school lunch boxes. When I was a kid, roll-ups were very heavily marketed with their neon colors and interestingly-shaped cut outs. Technically, the fruit roll-ups you buy at the grocery store are made of fruit (pear slurry, mostly), but they are so chock-full of corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors that you would have to split some very fine hairs when calling it a “healthy snack.”

Let’s compare this to the home-made variety, sometimes known as “fruit leather.” When made correctly, fruit leather contains: fruit. If you feel like it, or if your fruit is especially tart, you may choose to add a small amount of sugar.

Here’s how you make it:

FruitpureeTake some fruit. Remove any seeds. Peel if desired. It is not necessary to peel peaches in this instance.

Put the fruit in a blender on the “puree” setting. Blend until your solid fruit is now a liquid.

You have two options at this point:

  1.  Choose to simmer your pureed fruit over the stove. Your puree is ready to be put into the dehydrator when a spoonful of your fruit dropped onto a plate no longer bleeds any watery liquid.

2.  Choose to skip that step entirely. The benefit here is that you will be able to fit more solids onto your dehydrator tray and thus get a thicker piece of fruit leather. The negative is, of course, that this takes more time.

Whatever you decide, spread your mixture onto your fruit roll trays. In a pinch you can use parchment paper, I use this brand, but it does tend to get wrinkly when absorbing the liquid from your fruit. so for best results you really do need to invest in the fruit roll trays. Once the fruit leather mixture is in the dehydrator, expect it to take somewhere in the vicinity of 8 hours before it’s ready. Take if off your fruit roll trays when it is still pliable, but no longer gooey.

If you’re worried about whether anyone in your family would want to eat your latest creation, don’t. My kids kept gobbling it up before I could whip out my camera to take a picture, so I wasn’t able to take any photographic evidence until I’d made my third batch. I’m pretty sure that when they ate the second batch it was still warm from the dehydrator. I kind of had to make three batches – it would have been really lame to show you guys a picture of an empty plastic bag.

It’s easy to experiment with new flavors, as well. In addition to plain peach fruit leather, I made a batch of peach-mango and peach-strawberry. I didn’t measure proportions, I just blended it all together. Of the three flavors, my kids liked the peach-mango the best. Note: the fruit leather in the picture below lasted approximately three and a half minutes after I took this picture. So if you are making it with the intention to put it in your child’s lunchbox, you will need to store it in a safe.


Can I Dehydrate Food If I Don’t Have A Dehydrator?

Heck yes, you can. If it’s good enough for Ma Ingalls it’s good enough for all of us. A simple cookie sheet is all you need, although I also recommend using a silpat mat in addition, particularly if you are going to be making fruit leather. I recommend putting a thin layer of cheesecloth over your food if you’re going to dry it in the sun, for the purposes of protecting it from being snacked on by critters and to keep it from getting The Great Outdoors all over it. Be advised that sun-drying takes several days.

You can also use a conventional oven to dehydrate food, if you put it on a low setting (170 degrees or thereabouts).

For more information on dehydrating food, check out this list of other Survival Mom articles found here.

Survival Mom DIY How to Make Fruit Leather via The Survival Mom


Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze Recipe

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Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze Recipe In my eyes pumpkin isn’t just for the fall. I actually eat it year round. I had the craving for something pumpkin and came across this awesome and DELICIOUS pumpkin cake recipe. This cake is 2 ingredient so even the less skilled cooks among us can make …

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How To Make Foolproof Chocolate Peanut Butter Keto Fat Bombs

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Foolproof Chocolate Peanut Butter Keto Fat Bombs

Foolproof Chocolate Peanut Butter Keto Fat Bombs

How To Make Foolproof Chocolate Peanut Butter Keto Fat Bombs

These  Foolproof  Chocolate Peanut Butter Keto Fat Bombs are amazing. I tried to make fat bombs once before. I used coconut oil and sugar-free hazelnut coffee flavoring.  They  were an abomination. The hazelnut flavor globed up in little bubbles. So not every bite had any sweetness.  They were too hard to eat. It was a total failure. That’s why I have never made them again.  Not even these ones. Nope, My girlfriend Serenity made these. 

She said it was super easy and wrote down her recipe. So easy even a caveman like me could do make them. Little did she know I would take her hand written recipe and make it into a blog post. She’s probably turning red right now reading this. 

What Are Fat Bombs?

Fat bombs are little hight fat treats. Usually made from a combination of coconut oil, nuts and seeds and butter. They are created by some anonymous genius and has spawned thousands of recipes. They are a much loved low carb, keto and paleo staple. 

Why Eat Fat Bombs?

When transitioning to a lower carb diet many miss the occasional sweet treat. Also, they are under-eating and not getting  enough fat in. Fat bombs solve both of those problems. 

When I am really tracking my macro numbers I shoot for about 80% of my calories from fat. To get that high you sometimes need to add in meals and snacks made almost entirely from fat. In the winter my go to is Paleo Coconut Curry Soup.  

I found a good post on why Fat bombs are healthy.  I covered the heightened brain functions I had on my 3 day fast post. Eating more fat helps you  get into and stay in ketosis. Once in ketosis, your body will use ketones as its main fuel source. Ketones are beneficial to a host of body functions.  

Foolproof Chocolate Peanut Butter Keto Fat Bombs

So give Serenity’s Foolproof Chocolate Peanut Butter Keto Fat Bombs a try. If by chance you don’t like the taste of stevia you can try xylitol. It is a natural no calorie sweetener that even Couch Potato Mike Likes. It has no after taste or bitterness. In fact, it tastes just like sugar. Which is why I don’t like it.  It is less sweet than stevia so you will have to use more of it. Just be careful with using too much. You will get disaster pants if you overdue it.  



Foolproof Chocolate Peanut Butter Keto Fat Bombs
2016-09-02 08:44:10

Delicious Peanut Butter Keto Fat Bombs

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  1. 1/2 Cup Coconut OIl
  2. 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
  3. 2~3 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  4. 2~4 TBSP Stevia
  5. Splash of Vanilla Extract (Optional)
  1. In a saucepan on low heat melt the coconut oil.
  2. Add in the peanut butter.
  3. Stir in Cocoa powder.
  4. Stir in the stevia powder.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
  6. Pour into molds or a muffin tin.
  7. Freeze for 30 minutes to set them
  8. Remove from molds and place in freezer baggies to store.
  1. To mix use an electric hand mixer to avoid clumps.
  2. Grease the molds with coconut oil for easy removal of the fat bombs.
By Serenity Phillips
Survival Punk




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Onion Bombs: The Best Camping Food Ever

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Onion Bombs: The Best Camping Food Ever Do you want to make one of my favorite camping meals? They are called onion bombs and they will fill you up, keep you full and enable you to have a clean camping site due to the no clean up. I make these in advance and keep them …

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Meatless Recipes for Hard Times

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Meatless Recipes For Hard TimesThis morning I was looking through a recipe book that was written during the First World War like this one. It contained a number of meatless recipes that are designed to serve as a substitute when you were short of meat. One thing I like about these recipes is that they were not soy-based and with a little imagination, could be easily modified to fit the supplies that you have available.

Hominy Croquettes

  • 1-cup cooked hominy
  • ½-cup nuts
  • 1-tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1-teaspoon of salt
  • -teaspoon of pepper
  • 1-egg
  • 1-tablespoon melted fat

Mix and roll in dried breadcrumbs and bake in oven for 20 minutes

Meatless Sausage

  • 1 cup soaked and cooked peas, beans, lentil, or lima beans, your choice.
  • ½ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup fat or oil
  • 1-egg
  • ½-teaspoon salt
  • 1-teaspoon sage

Mix and shape as sausage. Roll in flour and fry. As you can see from the meatless sausage recipe, you can substitute almost any legume in the recipe.

Rice and Nut Loaf

  • 1-cup boiled rice or potatoes
  • 1-cup peanuts
  • 2/3-cup dried breadcrumbs
  • ¾-cup milk, can be powdered
  • 2-teaspoons salt
  • 1/8-teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8-teaspoon cayenne
  • 2-tablespoons fat or oil

Mix well. Bake in greased pan for 30 minutes

You will notice that in these old cookbooks they do not give temperatures like in the new ones, because so many people were still cooking on wood or kerosene stoves just as they did back in pioneer days, as I discussed in this article.

I am always looking for good meatless recipes. It is not because I don’t like meat, but because I feel that there are situations where they can be in short supply. If you have any good meatless recipes to share, please post them here in Comments.


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How To Make A Solar Cooking Jar & Split Pea and Potato Soup Recipe

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How To Make A Solar Cooking Jar If you are a lone wolf or have a limited budget and a solar oven is to expensive or to bulky for a bug out, then I have a simple small solution that’s easy to make and easy to carry. THE SOLAR COOKING JAR. This is so easy …

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Make A Months Worth Of Freezer Meals In 4 hours For Under 200 Bucks

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Make A Months Worth Of Freezer Meals In 4 Hours For Under 200 Bucks This is not only genius and very frugal, it gives you a whole month of freezer meals in less than 4 hours, that alone is a awesome. I know making meals on a daily basis to feed your family is hard …

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Hot Sauce You Can Make At Home

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Hot Sauce Make At HomeThings like making hot sauce or having it in food storage may seem like luxuries to some of you. I know people who think that if the country comes apart, they will be hiding in the hills eating whatever they can scrounge.

Now, foraging skills are vital, in my opinion, but man cannot live by bread alone — so I like to know how to make my favorite hot sauce and salsa! I’ve shared my recipes in this article but there are simply dozens more in books like this one. It has the word ‘fiery’ in its title — how can you possibly go wrong?

Now, it may be true that some will be able to survive by living off the land; I don’t know exactly what will happen. However, you do have to eat and knowing how to get the best out of whatever food you have is important, which is why I put these tips together for making the most out of your food storage. Good food improves morale and keeps everyone a bit happier. Learn all the skills you can to become as self sufficient as possible.

In my case, I need my hot sauce!

Hot peppers can be uncomfortable to work with, kind of like pepper spray. If you are not used to working with them, you may want to consider wearing gloves and a mask, like this one that protects both your eyes and nose.  My wife works with habaneros on a regular basis and does not use any protection, but keep in mind that she has done this for many years. I would also suggest working in a well-ventilated area.

Making a Fermented Hot Sauce

A fermented hot sauce will have a decent shelve life without refrigeration if canned or kept in brine. To make this type of hot sauce, you need to extract liquids from the peppers in a method similar to that used to make sauerkraut, as I explain in this article. Start out with some good red-ripe peppers. If you want to tone the sauce down a bit, you can throw in some green ones.  We would probably use habaneros or Serranos. You may want to start with something a bit milder. Here’s an excellent list of all the different peppers and their heat levels.

Make a Mash

First, chop off the stems and then grind the peppers into a medium to fine mash with a food processor or hand grinder. Pour the pepper mash into a ceramic crock or a glass or food-grade plastic container.

Add Salt

Salt does two important things: it extracts water from peppers and adds flavor. The ratio of mashed peppers to salt is roughly 1 1/2  teaspoons of salt per cup of mashed peppers. Mix the salt into your mash. As the salt extracts the water it should completely cover the mash and prevent it from being exposed to air. If you’re not pulling out enough water to cover the mash, add some salt water.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to cover the mash with a plate which has a heavy object on it to keep the mash below the level of the brine. The brine is the protective barrier that keeps the mash from spoiling. If the brine level starts to lower from evaporation, add addition water.

Allow the Mash to Ferment

Store your crock at room temperature and cover the container with a towel to keep out dust. Be sure and check on it frequently to make sure the liquid is covering the mash. Let your mash ferment for at least a month to allow the flavor to improve. After 3 to 4 weeks, add white wine vinegar, or other seasoning to taste, and age for approximately another week to allow the flavors to blend.

Strain the Mash

If you want you can strain your sauce through a fine mesh like this one. This removes the seeds and gives it a smooth, pourable texture.

Bottle Your Hot Sauce

Your hot sauce should easily keep for several months. Store it in the refrigerator or can it.

Noah’s Salsa

I have to add my own recipe for salsa — one that has been in my family for 3 generations now. When I first made it for my wife, then fiancee, she started eating it with a bag of chips and didn’t stop until the salsa bowl was empty. It was at that moment, I suspect, that she decided she had definitely made the right decision in accepting my proposal.

In a saucepan over low heat, combine these ingredients until thoroughly heated:

3 T. oil

3 T. vinegar

3 t. salt

3 t. sugar or preferred sweetener, to taste

3 cloves garlic, pressed

Pour warmed liquid into a bowl and add 1 large can tomatoes (chopped or pureed), 1 chopped white onion, and chopped jalapenos to taste. Sometimes, against my protests, my wife will add a handful of chopped cilantro.

Updated by Noah, 8/23/16


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Pioneer Cooking is an Art

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Pioneer CookingPioneer, cooking is an interesting subject; it comes very close to the way in which many of us may have to cook in the future. It was a type of cooking that required that you make do with what you had, but in a way, it was also an art. In a future TEOTWAWKI scenario, this is exactly the same mindset and skill set you’ll need.

A few pioneer cookbooks still exist, and two that looked particularly interesting were Log Cabin Cooking and to get kids interested in this type of cooking, The Little House Cookbook.

I recently came across a set of rules for pioneer cooking. These are simple rules that you can easily learn and follow, and they come in handy for everyday cooking.

1. No complaining that, “I don’t have that ingredient”, “The recipe won’t work.” Figure out a substitute and a solution. Learn to be creative. Your only goal is to produce something that is edible and, hopefully, tastes good.

2. No temperature gauge in your improvised oven? Try these tips to get a general idea of heat level:

  • 400-450° — Your hand can be comfortably held in the oven for 35 seconds.
  • 350° — Your hand can be comfortably held in the oven for 45 seconds.
  • 200-300° – Your hand can be comfortably held in the oven for 60 seconds.

3. Learn to cook by feel. Notice how a teaspoon of salt feels and looks in your hand. How about a cup of sugar?  Can you judge what three cups of flour looks like and about how much it weighs in a bowl?

4. No timers. Learn to check your food as it cooks or bakes. Learn what your food smells and looks like when it is finished cooking.

5. Learn the following:

  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder raises one cup of flour.
  • To make bread, use one cup of liquid to three cups flour and one package yeast to two cups liquid.
  • Muffins use one-cup liquid to two cups flour.
  • 5 heaping tablespoons of flour equal one cup.
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar equals one ounce.
  • 7 heaping tablespoons of sugar equal one cup
  • 2 1/2 cups of sugar equals one pound.
  • 3 ½ cups of cornmeal equals 1 quart.
  • 4 cups of flour equals 1 pound.
  • 1 cup of water equals 8 ounces.

Now, these may seem a bit silly to someone who is used to following modern recipes, but if you read old pioneer recipes, these are the type of measurements they used.

Pioneer cooking was a “make do” type of cooking. Most people had no measuring cups, so they needed to learn to do measurements by sight and feel. It was just as much of an art as any other creative endeavor. Pioneers and other old-time cooks learned to watch their food and taste it while it was still cooking. Temperature was done by feel. If you burned it you ate it. You couldn’t afford to throw away food.

Next time you go camping, try pioneer cooking. Make all your meals from scratch using no measuring cups or spoons. Bonus points if you use all cast iron pots and pans.



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Making Soap!

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Self-Reliance Skill: Making Soap Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” If you want to stay healthy post-disaster, then you need to learn how to make soap. Soap making is both an essential skill, and an easy craft to learn. Some people, however, are nervous to try making soap at home because it involves lye. Lye is … Continue reading Making Soap!

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Corn Pone, a Pioneer Staple

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corn pone recipeCorn Pone is a form of cornbread normally made without milk or eggs. It is normally baked or fried. Where corn pone came from is contested in the history books. It is well documented that it was used by both armies during the Civil War, so both the North and the South at least agreed on one thing! It’s also something that was cooked and eaten by pioneers.

Most of the modern recipes we see for corn pone use milk and eggs. This is really just corn bread. Older recipes for corn pone leave out the milk and eggs. The people were poor and often just scraping by.

Here is an old corn pone recipe.

4 cups ground white or yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon salt
2-3 cups of very hot, but not boiling, water
Up to 1/2 cup bacon grease or other oil

corn poneIn a large bowl, add the hot water to the corn meal and mix into a thick batter. Cover with a dishcloth and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. The batter should still be soft enough to mold into a small cake about the size of the palm of your hand. If not add a bit more water. Take your cake and shove three fingers into the middle, if the batter holds the fingerprints, the batter is just right. If not, adjust the water or corn meal as necessary.

Take your cast iron skillet and put it over a medium heat on the stove or over your fire, add the bacon grease or oil. When the oil is hot lay the cakes into the pan. Cook them until they are browned on one side, this should take about 3 minutes. Turn each and brown on the other side. Drain the fat and serve.

Corn pone can be fried as above or baked in a Dutch oven. If you have ham, bacon, or chili peppers, they can be added as an option. I love it with chopped up jalapeno peppers mixed in the batter.

As one old boy said, “This was a get-by recipe, when you had nothing else. If you were lucky enough to have butter or jam it tasted plenty good.” In the days of the Great Depression, sometimes this would be a meal in itself.


UPDATE FROM NOAH: Pioneer and Great Depression recipes are very popular among preppers and homesteaders. Over the years, Howard provided quite a few of these and over the coming days, I’ll be updating and posting them. They shouldn’t disappear into the archives.

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How to Calculate How Much Food to Store

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how much food to storeWhen I first began setting up my family’s food storage pantry, I was in a bit of a panic. It was late 2008, the economy was beginning to wave red warning flags, and all I wanted was to keep my family safe and surviving. I never stopped to figure out how much food to store.

So, into the shopping cart went multiple cans of ravioli, boxes of granola bars, juice boxes, and Honey Nut Cheerios. I had no idea of how much we needed to have, nor which foods were best. I just figured that food would keep us alive, and that was what was most important.

Well, that’s not a bad starting point, but over time, my  knowledge of food storage increased and the contents of my pantry improved, and I owe it all to spaghetti sauce.

The spaghetti sauce eye-opener

One day, after I’d been storing food for several months, I was looking over my over-stuffed pantry shelves and counted the jars of spaghetti sauce I had on hand. 53. Fifty-three jars of Prego, Ragu, Paul Newman’s — pretty much any brand for which I had found a coupon.

Then I counted the amount of spaghetti I had: 13 packages. How did I plan on making spaghetti as a meal without much actual spaghetti? That’s when I realized the importance of aligning what was in my pantry with specific meals planned and knowing how much of each ingredient to purchase and store.

As a mom, I do my regular grocery shopping around a menu. I make a list of what I want to cook for dinners, what we’ll eat for breakfasts and lunches, and then create a shopping list. I think in terms of recipes, not so much in terms of ounces or pounds of specific ingredients.

Over time, this is pretty much how I’ve managed my entire food storage. It’s centered around what we actually like to eat and meals that are easy to prepare if we were without power and I had to use a solar oven, like this one. Even in the best of times, cooking is not my favorite past time, so why complicate the process when planning for the worst of times with overly fussy recipes that are time consuming.

When all hell is breaking loose, who cares if they’re eating chili mac or boeuf bourguignon?

It’s important to have a solid idea of how much food your family consumes now as well as how much it will consume following a major disaster of some type. That way, you’ll know your own family’s needs are covered, will have an idea of how much you can spare (or not) in helping others, and will also let you know when you’ve reached your food storage goal.

Get started with the recipes

One of the best ways to make sure you are storing what you eat, is by doing doing just that – STORE WHAT YOU EAT! Find your family’s favorite recipes and then figure out how much food you’ll need to be able to make those meals for 3 months, 6 months, or however long you want to hide out in your home away from zombies.

You might have to make some minor adjustments to your recipes –  like having canned chicken on hand, or buying some freeze-dried fruits and veggies, but if you plan ahead you will have everything you need in case Ebola strikes your town and you need to hide out for awhile.

Some of the recipes that I have in my food storage planner are Macho Mexican Rice (been making this for years, you can tweak it in dozens of different ways), No-Recipe Soups, and various types of skillet casseroles.

In the case of soups and casseroles, their cooking pots or pans become both a mixing bowl, the cooking/baking vessel, and then the serving dish, all in one. Again, think “hard times, no power, must…keep…up…my…strength”. Anything that makes the whole cooking/eating/cleaning cycle easy is the route to take.

As well, look for recipes that are shelf stable and do not require refrigeration. In prepper circles, this is why dehydrated and freeze-dried foods are so popular. Stock up on cans of freeze-dried ground beef, store in on a shelf in a cool location, and you’ll be able to make hamburger pie, chili, or tacos in a matter of 5 minutes. The brand of freeze-dried food that I use most often is Thrive Life, but there are many different brands on the market.

For recipes requiring fresh produce, consider buying freeze-dried and/or dehydrated. Dittos if they call for meat and dairy products. Freeze-dried cheese is surprisingly good, although expensive.

The breakfasts and lunches at my house rarely require an actual recipe. For breakfast, I personally favor oatmeal and homemade pancakes. If I make 3-4 loaves of bread per week for my family of 4, I can serve up sandwiches at lunch. Leftovers are another popular lunch item as well as quick meals of pasta and homemade marinara sauce. Even though these meals are quick and casual, I will still have to account for them in my planning.

How to calculate how much food to store

Now that you have your meals planned, it’s time to calculate how much food you’ll need. A goal of 3 months is a reasonable one for more people and all too many crises, such as Superstorm Sandy, have proven that life doesn’t always return to normal as quickly as we might expect.

Also, in the days and weeks following a major disaster and the grocery stores have re-opened, do you really want to have grocery shopping on your To Do list? That stash of food, cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc. will be a godsend in more ways than one.

So, on to our calculations.

For each recipe, decide how many times you want to make it in a given month. A meal of pasta and marinara would be fine with my own family if I served it once a week. Dittos for the Macho Mexican Rice and chicken salad using freeze dried chicken. I’ll plan on making each of these meals once a week, or 12 times for my 3-month plan.

For your planning purposes, it will be simpler to assume each main meal/recipe will be made once a week. Therefore, when it comes time to begin shopping for ingredients, you’ll take each recipe, multiply each ingredient times 12, and that’s how much of each ingredient you’ll need to stock up on.

Going back to my Mexican rice recipe, let’s use that as an example:

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 3 cups water or chicken broth
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. each: cumin, chili powder
  • 1 can chopped green chilies
  • 1/2 c. corn (frozen, freeze-dried, or canned)
  • 1/2 c. salsa

My plan is to make this once a week and, since all the ingredients are very food-storage friendly (have long shelf lives and can be stored at room temperature), I’m ready to move on to my calculations by multiplying each ingredient amount by 12.

  • 24 cups white rice
  • 36 T. olive oil
  • 36 cups water or chicken broth
  • 24 T. tomato paste
  • 24 cloves garlic
  • 6 t. salt
  • 12 t. each: cumin, chili powder
  • 12 cans chopped green chilies
  • 6 c. corn
  • 6 c. salsa

Looking over this list, a few things come to mind that will make storing this food easier. First, rice is inexpensive and maybe another rice-centered meal would be a good idea. I can buy a 50 pound bag of rice at Costco and be ready to make many dozens of these recipes. That would cover 2 days per week with 2 rice meals.

Storing oil can be tricky, and I detail the problem and solutions in this article, but in this case, olive oil stores for quite a long while on its own and can also be refrigerated or even frozen to extend its shelf life.

Next, if I prefer chicken broth over water, I can buy a large can of chicken bouillon and be good for at least a year. The bouillon from the grocery store is very expensive in comparison. Buy tomato paste in the largest size can OR make my own with tomato powder and a little bit of water.

Most of my recipes require garlic and I have a good supply of garlic powder on hand already. For this recipe and during a time of duress, I’d go ahead and use that garlic powder in lieu of fresh garlic. If you also use a lot of garlic in your cooking, plant many cloves of it and begin harvesting your own.

The remaining ingredients are all nicely shelf stable and will last for years by storing them in a dark, cool location — away from the enemies of food storage. I buy many spices in bulk already and canned goods and the salsa can be purchased inexpensively with coupons.

Once I know how much of each ingredient I need for this recipe, I need to make the same calculations for every other recipe in my plan. Honestly, this is the hardest part of the whole planning process.

You’ll end up with quite a long list of ingredients, but you’ll find a lot of recipes will call for the same ingredient. Between coupons, grocery store sales, and buying food in bulk when it costs less per unit, this really doesn’t have to be expensive.

By the way, if these large amounts cause you to freak out, just step your goal down a notch from 3 months to 1 month or from 1 month to 2 weeks. The main goal is to have extra food on hand that your family will eat and that can be prepared for a time of emergency. Once you get those 2 weeks or that 1 month under your belt, just repeat the process, except this time around, you’ll be a pro!

The recipe secret

If you think about a time when you’ll have to rely on stored food to see you and your family through a very tough time, the last thing you’ll want to do is make complicated recipes. The Mexican rice recipe borders on being almost too fussy for a survival recipe, but I’ve made it many times and know that I can make it as simple as possible by using only the first 6 or 7 ingredients AND I can turn it into a very satisfying meal by adding just about any kind of meat, including homemade hamburger rocks or freeze-dried beef.

The secret to making the planning, shopping, and storing of your food easy is by selecting very simple recipes that call for basic ingredients that will also be used in other dishes. If your kids can also make the recipes, that’s a huge bonus. This article provides even more details for the planning process.

Depending on your own style and skills, all this information can be kept in a spreadsheet or on sheets of plain old notebook paper. You’ll definitely want to have a system for tracking what you have and what you still need to buy.

how much food to store

Cherry Shrub: A Different Kind of Summer Drink

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DIY fruit shrubOne of the best things about summertime is sitting on your front porch with a nice, cool, fruity drink in your hand: lemonade, watermelon smoothies, or even some old fashioned soda pop. Lately, a different kind of drink has become quite popular in some circles: the shrub.

I must clarify that I am not referring to a short bushy plant used in landscaping and the subject of Monty Python jokes (oddly enough most articles on shrubs always seem to mention Roger the Shrubber in some way or another.). Oh, no. I’m referring to a tasty, fruity non-alcoholic vinegar drink.

If you have never heard of a shrub, or tasted a drinking vinegar before, you might feel skeptical. That’s fair; I was skeptical at first, as well. Drinking something -on purpose – that’s mostly vinegar doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time, no matter how much sugar or fruit or whatever is in it. It wasn’t until a friend of mine tried some at a Colonial Heritage Festival and swore up and down how good it was that I thought to reconsider.

Shrubs have been around for a long time, and were very popular in 17th Century Europe and in Colonial America. At that time, shrub syrup was made by steeping fruit (usually berries) in vinegar for a period of time as a method of preservation. Modern shrubs are made slightly differently, but nonetheless, I always enjoy these older kinds of recipes because trying them out feels like a discovery, a way of reconnecting with the distant past.

READ MORE: Connect with the past by collecting and reading old cookbooks! Here’s a list of reasons why this is a great idea.

I’ve never been much of a drinker, but I really like fancy beverages. When I heard about how easy it was to make shrubs at home, I gave it a whirl. It’s cherry season, and since I’ve already done cherry jam, cherry preserves, and cherry pie filing, I decided to do something a little different. Cherry shrub syrup appeared in my fridge.

But then I thought, why stop there? Since shrub syrup is so easy to make, why not make a variety of shrubs?

So I did.

Shrub-making is an excellent way to use any fruit that might not be quite at its best. I had some iffy-looking nectarines in the fruit bowl on my counter, so I made a nectarine shrub. And I had some freezer-burned strawberries in my freezer, so I made a strawberry/ balsamic shrub. The mint I had growing in my backyard didn’t have anything wrong with it, per se, but I made a lemon-mint shrub with it anyway. In addition to the citrus flesh, peel the zest and add that to the mixture, as well. The simplicity and versatility of something like shrub syrup lends itself to all kinds of possibilities, including the occasional “adult beverage“, if you’re so inclined.

How To Make A Shrub Syrup

The really appealing thing about shrub drinks is how easy they are to make.


1 cup fruit, roughly chopped. Stone fruit should be pitted, berries or cherries can be lightly crushed.

1 cup sugar (plain white granulated sugar is easiest, but you can experiment with brown sugar)

1 cup apple cider vinegar. Red wine, white wine, or other fruit-based vinegars make good substitutions. Avoid plain old white vinegar.


Combine your fruit and sugar in a bowl. At first, it will look rather clumpy. Keep it in the fridge for a day or two, taking it out every so often for a good stir. The sugar acts as a desiccant, and will draw out the liquid from the fruit. When it’s ready, your concoction will begin to look like fruit floating around in syrup.

Sometimes this will take a day or two, or the process could take only a few hours. The graphic on the right shows the progression from plain cherries to your shrub syrup, moving clockwise. Strain with a simple wire mesh strainer into a separate container, and add your vinegar. Voila! Done!

Hot Tip: Save the sugared fruit! It makes a great addition to plain yogurt or oatmeal, or can be eaten straight as a snack. Especially popular with children.

Your shrub syrup will keep in your fridge for several months. If it becomes slimy or looks like it’s beginning to ferment (watch for signs of bubbles!), discard immediately. For best results, wait for the shrub to mellow in the fridge for a few days before using. This will allow the sharp vinegar flavor to meld with the fruit and sugar. Serve with club soda, still water, or, if you feel like it, use as an ingredient in the cocktail of your choice. Two to three tablespoons of shrub syrup is more than sufficient to flavor a full-sized glass of club soda.

The Popular Reception

shrubdrinkAs a word of warning, not everyone I’ve met likes this kind of drink. My husband thought I was playing a joke on him when I handed him a glass of nectarine shrub, and a friend of mine politely declined her invitation to taste it at all. My older kids disliked the flavor immensely when I used a little of balsamic vinegar in addition to the apple cider vinegar. However, my 3-year-old likes it a lot.

Even with concerns that the acid in the vinegar is probably not the best for your teeth, it’s not any worse than soda pop or Crystal Lite, and has a lot less sugar, too. If you’re concerned about the effects of vinegar on your teeth, just rinse your mouth out with water.

On the whole, I found the shrub drinks from the original recipe to be a little too vinegary for my taste. As an intellectual exercise, I made another version of the cherry shrub, this time using more fruit and less vinegar. The resulting drink was much better received by all parties, and I liked it better myself. I call it the “Crystal Lite” version, because the smaller amount of vinegar adds just enough tartness to bring out the sweetness of the fruit, but not enough to make you question why you thought drinking vinegar was a good idea in the first place. It probably is some kind of testament to our sugar-obsessed society that my kids liked this version so much better. Perhaps it isn’t very traditional, but I can’t seem to feel bad about it.

Cherry Shrub, Crystal Lite Version


1 1/2 cup sweet northwestern cherries, pitted

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

2 T. Balsamic Vinegar

Lime wedges and/ or mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Use the same instructions as above. This version of the shrub is much more reminiscent of a regular soft drink, particularly when served with club soda. However, it has much, much less sugar than traditional soda pop, and uses no artificial colors or flavors.

If you’ve ever tried making a shrub syrup, what kind have you tried?

DIY fruit shrub

Storing and Using Amaranth: A Tutorial

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amaranth tutorialMost people in Food Storage Land are all about wheat. We all know why: if you’ve been reading this blog – or any prepper blog, for that matter – for any length of time you might be sick of hearing all about wheat. “It stores well, you can make a ton of stuff with it, bread, wheat, wheat, wheat, blah blah blah.”

It’s all very nice if you like that sort of thing. But for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, or if you just plain old don’t like bread, all this stuff about wheat will make you want to scream. But what else is there? It’s not like there are a ton of options when it comes to grains stored in #10 cans.

That’s where you would be wrong. There are many food storage companies who were only too happy to branch out. Thrive Life, as an example, has on offer a variety of non-wheat grains, including quinoa, millet, and amaranth.  Quinoa is quite popular right now, due to its high protein content, but not many people know much about millet or amaranth. I, myself, had heard very little about amaranth (isn’t it some kind of flower?) until I saw some on the Thrive Life website and decided to try it out. It’s also available on Amazon.

THRIVE LIFE TIP: Thrive Life is a top-notch food storage company and one of Survival Mom’s favorites. If you place an order, be sure to place it on the Thrive Life website of a consultant. The company has different prices, according to where their products are purchased, and those on the sites of consultants are always lowest. If you’re not ordering through any other Thrive Life consultant, here’s the link to Lisa Bedford’s page.

What is Amaranth, Anyway?

Amaranth has a fairly interesting history. It’s indigenous to Mesoamerica, and was extensively used by the Aztecs prior to the Spanish Conquest. Even though it was widely grown and eaten, amaranth production fell to practically nothing when the Conquistadors outlawed is cultivation. Amaranth plants can be either very tall or very short, depending on the variety, with full, bushy leaves and feathery flowers that form seed heads. The flower love-lies-bleeding is actually a variety of amaranth, albeit not one that was developed for its seeds. The grains are extremely tiny, about the size of poppy seeds.

What Can You Do With it?

Amaranth may not enjoy the lofty status occupied by wheat, but there are plenty of ways it can be eaten. The grain can be popped like popcorn (for instructions click here or here), or made into a hearty porridge by cooking it similar to oatmeal. Popped amaranth can be used as an add-in to homemade granola or as a crunchy topping for salads. The leaves can also be cooked and eaten like spinach or kale.

In India and Sri Lanka, amaranth greens are added to stir-fry dishes and curries. I particularly enjoy amaranth in soups and stews, where it gives the meal a nutty, earthy flavor. Just add 1/8 – 1/4 cup to any soup recipe. It can be stored just like any other grain such as wheat, corn, or rice, and should last several decades if kept in an airtight container at cooleer temperatures. According to the Whole Grain Council, amaranth has a slightly shorter shelf life than other grains when kept in an open container in your pantry – just four months compared to six months for wheat.

Nutritional Value

Amaranth is high in protein and is a good source of calcium, iron, and magnesium. It must be cooked, whether by popping or by another method, before being eaten, or else the nutrients will not be available to your body.

If you enjoy hot cereals, but feel bored with plain old oatmeal or cracked wheat, try some amaranth for a change. The texture is similar to cream of wheat, but with a nuttier taste.

Amaranth Hot Cereal


  • 1 cup amaranth
  • 2 cup water
  • pinch salt
  • brown sugar, maple syrup, fruit, or other add-ins to taste


Combine amaranth and water with salt in a medium-sized saucepan and cook over medium heat. The amaranth will float on top of the water at first. Bring to a boil, and then turn down the heat and let simmer for approximately 20 minutes. When it is fully cooked through, the amaranth will become translucent and will have absorbed most of the water. Remove from heat, add flavorings of your choice. Serve with milk.

You can even grow amaranth in your backyard if you so desire. Baker Creek Seeds carries multiple varieties of amaranth. It is easy to grow, and enjoyable, too. Bright and colorful foliage makes it a good choice for edible landscaping. Most commercial amaranth has tan seeds, but some cultivars have red or black seeds. Imagine how cool it would be to serve red amaranth cereal for breakfast that you have grown and harvested yourself!

I hope you’re inspired to give amaranth a try. Let us know how you liked it in the comments.

amaranth tutorial

Survival Mom DIY: No-Recipe Casseroles!

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food storage casserolesCasseroles. Love them or hate them, they are definitely a comfort food to many and a super-convenient main dish to others. I grew up on casseroles, from the classic Tuna Noodle Casserole to my Nana’s Shlumgum, so I’m a fan.

The casserole can become the best friend to any busy mom or dad, and if you’ve been working on building a food storage pantry, you’ll fall in love with the idea of a No-Recipe Casserole. This is more of a concept than a recipe with specific measurements or even ingredients, and for that reason, it’s the perfect food storage companion.

The building blocks of any casserole

Just about any casserole recipe you find is made up of 5-7 of these building blocks:

  1. A base
  2. Protein
  3. Carbohydrate/starch
  4. Vegetables
  5. Additional liquid
  6. Seasonings
  7. A topping of some sort

Once you get these 7 components in your head, along with a few more bits of information, you’re equipped to rummage through your freezer, fridge, and pantry shelves to produce a casserole totally unique in the world! And that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

Let’s take a closer look at these 7 building blocks and the individual ingredients for each:

A base

The base of a casserole acts as a binding agent to hold all the other ingredients together. The base of your casserole could be as simple as a can of “Cream of…” soup. Cream of mushroom soup is a classic casserole ingredient, but if you don’t want to use a processed food product, try making your own “Cream of…”soup mix and use that. Another option is leftover gravy or a couple of gravy packets. For added creaminess, add 2-3 tablespoons of cream cheese or 1/2 of sour cream.

A source of protein

There are many wonderful meat-free casseroles recipes, but if your casserole is going to be a hearty main dish, you should add a protein, even if it’s just a can of rinsed beans. Any meat or poultry will do, and, in fact, try combining different types of meat, especially if you have leftovers. The secret to my amazing chili is that I combine ground beef, cooked bacon, chopped kielbasa — almost any meat I have, and the results are delicious. You can do the same with this No-Recipe Casserole. Chopped/shredded chicken or turkey, ground beef, tuna, venison — it’s all good. Be sure the meat is cooked and drained before adding it to your base, and figure on 12-16 ounces or so.

I’ve found that freeze-dried meats work wonderfully in casseroles. They are already cooked and diced and only need to be rehydrated. I use freeze-dried diced chicken in my family’s very favorite Sonoran Enchilada Casserole, and you would never know that chicken wasn’t freshly cooked. Home-canned chicken or beef is another option for quickly adding a source of protein.


The beauty of adding a carbohydrate to your casserole is that it will increase the amount of calories and the amount of food at the same time. Extra calories are an important consideration in times of emergency, since these typically require more physical activity from us, and just by adding a handful of rice or macaroni, a recipe that would have normally served 6 people, can suddenly serve 8 or 10.

Carbs that work successfully in a casserole are white and brown rice, macaroni and rotini pasta, wheat berries, quinoa, and beans. These should all be cooked first to an al dente finish (they’ll continue cooking just a bit once added to the casserole and heated), although uncooked rice can be added as long as extra water or broth is also added to the casserole.


It’s with veggies that your unique casserole really begins to take shape. The veggies you add can be frozen, canned (rinse first), dehydrated, or freeze-dried. Add whatever veggies your family likes, although it’s definitely permissable to sneak a little something in for extra nutrition, such as this dehydrated spinach. If anyone asks, tell them the green stuff is just “herbs”.

I typically add chopped onion, celery, and bell peppers to many of my dishes. If you’re adding these to a casserole, which only needs to bake for 20-30 minutes, these veggies will need to be sauteed in a bit of butter or a healthy oil before being added to the casserole dish. This is true of most other fresh veggies.

Diced potatoes can act as a meal stretcher, a veggie, and a carbohydrate. Keep a can of dehydrated potato dices handy just for this purpose. They are wonderfully affordable.

Additional liquid

At this point, you will need to add more liquid. Assess the amount of protein, carbohydrates, and veggies and then add extra liquid. This can be water, beef or chicken broth, a vegetable broth, or milk. Salsa is another nice addition if you want your casserole to have a Southwest flavor.

If you’re adding uncooked rice, you’ll need to add even more liquid. Typically, the ratio for uncooked rice and liquid is about 1 cup of rice to 1 1/2 cups liquid.


The classic casserole will be seasoned with salt, pepper, and a few dashes of garlic powder. Additional herbs, such as basil and parsley add some flavor, as will a teaspoon or two of dehydrated minced onion, if your newly invented recipe doesn’t contain onion otherwise.

A teaspoon of basil and oregano will give your casserole a bit of an Italian flavor, and a Southwest flair comes easy with a teaspoon of chili powder, a dash of cayenne, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cumin.


When I was a kid, it was the casserole topping that was always my favorite. Come to think of it, it still is! The toppings on  your No-Recipe Casseroles can be crushed potato chips, Fritos, Doritos, or crackers of any kind. It could be 1/4 to 1/2 cup of bread crumbs mixed with a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt, and sauteed in a frying pan with 2 Tablespoons of butter. Grated cheese is another excellent topping and if your casserole screams “Italian!”, by all means, add a grating of Parmesan cheese as a topping, on its own or mixed with the buttery breadcrumb mixture.

Learning to cook without a recipe is an excellent preparedness skill. It challenges you to use whatever you happen to have on hand, without relying on that quick trip to the grocery store, which inevitably turns into a far more expensive outing. It’s also a great way to incorporate new “food storage” foods into your family’s diet, without them ever knowing, and a casserole is the ideal dish to cook in a solar oven.

As you begin creating your own No-Recipe Casseroles, you’ll want to do one final thing: jot down the ingredients of any casserole that is truly outstanding. If your family cleans their plates and then asks for seconds, you have a winner, and if you’re like me and your memory is a little iffy, you’ll be glad to have a written record of that new family favorite.

Try this no-recipe method with soup, too! Here’s my tutorial.

food storage casseroles

Foil wrap campfire cooking | Make easy, tasty fuel for outdoor energy

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In an emergency, let’s hope you have food and know how to cook it. But what happens if you end up with a fire, some food staples, and a piece of aluminum foil – can you combine those to make a tasty meal?

All you need to make a foil dinner is aluminum foil, food and a heat source.

By Leon Pantenburg

In a survival situation, food should taste good. When (fill in the acronym) happens, previously-fussy eaters will find that hunger is the best sauce. But the same diet everyday will soon grow monotonous. (Really, how many MREs can you eat before all the entrees taste the same?)

Most people will eat whatever is available because they are hungry. But what about the old folks, little kids and toddlers? Diet monotony, or bland, repetitive tastes can cause them to just quit eating.

Obviously, this is dangerous – without the food energy, their bodies can’t produce warmth, they will grow weaker and their mental outlook and the group morale will deteriorate.

So food preparation in survival situations is important, and tasty food can start with just a piece of aluminum foil. (I carry a big piece in most of my survival kits!)

As part of a survival scenario, consider where you might be when disaster strikes, and what your needs

might be.  If I’m hunting, fishing, hiking or participating in some other vigorous activity, then food is fuel. At the end of the day, I want a lot to eat, fast, and taste is not so important. If convenience is the major consideration, I’ll eat whatever is available. Frequently, that might be something like jerky and hardtack.

But if I’m at a Central Oregon Dutch Oven Society outing, a group devoted to outdoor epicurean cuisine, then gourmet-style food prepared outside in a cast iron pot over coals is the reason for being there.

The lowly foil wrap can fit quite well into either category, and a well-prepared prepper or survivalist should know this

Hardtack, a very simple. long-lasting survival ration, is very easy to make and has the taste, texture and consistency of a fired brick!

Hardtack, a very simple. long-lasting survival ration, is very easy to make and has the taste, texture and consistency of a fired brick!

survival technique.  A wrap is nothing more than food bound up in aluminum foil and cooked over campfire coals or on a grill over charcoal. The wrap can be the main course, a side dish or a dessert. Foil wrap food can be as simple as a foiled baking potato or ear of corn on the cob or as complicated as a delicate salmon fillet smothered with fresh herbs and vegetables.

At elk or deer hunting camp, we frequently prepare a simple foil wrap of sliced potatoes and onions seasoned with some garlic and gobbed with butter the night before. We hunt all the next day, and whoever gets to camp first starts the fire. By the time everyone gets back after dark, there is a nice bed of coals to use with the Dutch ovens and foil wraps.

The wrap is tossed on the coals, biscuits are popped out of the tube into a Dutch oven, and elk or deer backstrap is sliced, dredged in flour and fried. Total time for a great meal is about 30 minutes.

Foil wraps are simple and fun and are a great way to make lunch with your kids. A wrap can make a nice meal to take along on an outing or day hike. A foil wrap stored in a plastic bag can be perfect for a noon meal in the backcountry. And everyone can make their own, dictated by their own tastes.

As a cooking merit badge counselor for Boy Scout Troop 18, I frequently run across youngsters who, according to their parents, are very fussy eaters.

Wraps can change that. Let the youngster decide what ingredients go into a wrap for lunch or dinner, but make sure there are veggies, some soup for a broth and fish or meat. The novelty of building your very own fire, and cooking over it, plus the positive peer pressure of the other kids will overshadow previous food prejudices.

In wilderness cooking, every recipe should start with soap and water or hand sanitizer. Even though the cooking conditions may be primitive, sanitation shouldn’t be, and a case of dysentery or giardia can taint those otherwise great memories.

Food preparation with foil wraps is simplicity itself, and for short day trips, all the cutting and dicing can be done at home. For longer trips, some dishes can be pre-made, wrapped and frozen. Insulate the frozen food well, place it in the bottom of your pack, and it should thaw out in time to make a fresh, hearty meal for the second night out.

To wrap the food, place it in the center of a rectangular piece of heavy duty foil, then bring the long edges together on top. Fold the long edge over once, then continue roll-folding until it’s snug over the food. There should be several inches at each open end that are clear of food.

Dutch oven cobbler

Dutch oven cobbler

Then, roll the ends in tightly, compressing the food and making sure that each end has at least three complete rolls. This prevents juices from escaping during cooking and gives you something to hang on to when turning the packet.

Sometimes, depending on what’s cooking, you’ll want to double wrap the packet. To avoid any leakage while transporting, put the completed package in a plastic bag. Then, when you’re done eating, put all the leftovers and used foil in the bag and carry it out. (Sounds like a tasty MRE, right?)

Temperatures for foil wrap cooking are best learned through experience and will depend to a certain extent on what is in the wrap. But a good rule of thumb is that the coals should be hot enough that you can place your hand an inch above the grate for about five seconds, but no longer, without discomfort.

You may put the wrap directly in the coals of a campfire, but make sure the fire isn’t too hot. A good idea is to rake some coals away from the flames and place the wrap directly on them. Obviously, you’ll need to watch the wrap closely.

Food is a critical item among preppers, survivalists, outdoorspeople  and anyone who needs energy. Storing and preserving food is a consideration for whatever disaster and/emergency might happen.

But regardless of what stockpiled food you may have or what you cook, a little planning, preparation and foil can make a great meal.

And that’s a wrap.

Try these recipes with your kids, or outdoors beginners to teach the foil wrap technique:


2 TSP butter or margarine

1 English muffin, split

12-inch square of foil

3 TBS canned pie filling, any flavor

Butter the outside of the muffin and place down on the shiny side of the foil. Top with pie filling. Butter the other muffin half and place on top of the fruit. Roll the foil over the muffin and make sure the ends are securely rolled.

Cook for about 15 minutes, moving the packet every few minutes. When done, the outside of the muffin should be browned. Be careful the filling will be extremely hot. Let cool before eating.


18-inch square of foil

2 whole small carrots

1 TBS of margarine or butter

1/2 tsp of dried herb mix

1/4 tsp lemon pepper or garlic pepper

Fresh fish fillets, about four to five ounces

Lay foil shiny side down on flat surface. Peel carrots and slice 1/4-inch thick. Arrange down the center of the foil. Cut butter into pats and distribute over the carrots. Place fish on top of the carrots and sprinkle the herbs and lemon pepper over the fillet. Cut the remaining butter into pats and distribute over the fish.Fold the foil around the fish and place the packet fish side upon coals. Cook for about 15 minutes, then flip and cook another eight to 10 minutes.

To serve, carefully open the packet; serve directly from the foil or transfer all the contents to an individual plate.


18-by-24-inch piece of heavy duty foil

1 TBS of barbecue sauce

1/4 small onion

5 ounces of lean ground beef or venison

1/4 tsp seasoned salt or garlic salt

1/2 small baking potato

1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced into pennies

Fold the foil in half, shiny side in. Place the barbecue sauce in the center. Peel onion, slice and arrange over the sauce. Combine ground meat and seasoned salt, mix well and form into oblong patty, about 4-by-3-by-3/4 inches and place on top of the onions. Peel potato and carrot and slice both 1/8-inch thick. Top patty with potatoes and carrots. Fold foil over the ingredients and be sure to seal the ends very well.

Place packet on grill or coals, and turn and rotate every 10 minutes. Total cooking time should be about 35 minutes.

To check for doneness, open packet. Vegetables should be tender and meat should be medium-well.


Pie filling

White or yellow cake mix

Pats of butter or margarine

This is a beginner recipe that is very popular with kids or first-time campers and adapts the time-honored dump cake to foil.

Place several tablespoons of pie filling on the foil, then top with cake mix and pats of butter. Fold the ingredients into the foil and place on the grill. Cook about 10 to 12 minutes on one side, then flip and cook another 5 to 10 minutes.

Kitchen DIY: Creme Fraiche

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Today we are going to talk Creme Fraiche. Crme Fraiche is a fermented dairy product used in both hot and cold French cuisine. I think it is important to note that French does not always mean snooty and haughty (most times it does though). As a practical person, I am a big fan of what is called “peasant food” – local, nutritious, inexpensive, and plentiful food that is used by the lower economic class as staples. I figure if it was used to keep the average peasant alive in the 1600’s it would work to keep me alive if I

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How To Make Hard Cider The Easy Way

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How To Make Hard Cider The Easy Way First off let me start by saying that you too CAN brew a wonderful hard cider that will rival store bought ciders and exceed every expectation! After brewing this hard cider recipe, the store bought brands will be a thing of the past and not only will …

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Recipe Chicken with Vinegar

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Today’s recipe of cooking chicken with vinegar is a pretty basic cooking skill.  This of method cooking meat “Adobo” is a cultural cooking process from the Philippines, where meat is marinated in vinegar, browned, and then simmered in the marinade. This process is worthwhile for preppers, homesteaders, or outdoorsmen to know because leftovers keep well without refrigeration because the vinegar inhibits bacteria. In my experience it softens up tough meat, and I especially like using this process with rabbit.  As a matter of fact, I make “chicken with vinegar” far more often with rabbit more than I do with chicken.

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3 Mason Jar Meal Recipes (With Meat)

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3 Mason Jar Meal Recipes (With Meat) Knowing how to preserve food can make all the difference in the world to your long term survival plan. Canning is a great way to preserve foods you otherwise would throw away. For example, if you grow your own fruits and veggies and can’t eat them fast enough, can …

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Make Your Own Yeast

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make your own yeast

If you’ve been prepping for any length of time, you undoubtedly have several pounds of wheat berries stored away.  You may also have experimented with making your own wonderfully delicious breads.  The downside of long-term prepping and bread making is keeping active yeast on hand.  The average “best by” date on yeast is 2 years.  Once opened, it must be kept cool and dry. In a refrigerator, yeast can remain good for up to 4 months; in the freezer for 6 months.

Occasionally there are people who have had success with older yeast, but the bottom line is that store bought yeast is for short-term. If you have store-bought yeast, stored longer than the above mentioned time frames, follow this simple test to see if it’s still active. A container of yeast that isn’t active anymore should be thrown out.

How to proof yeast

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in 1/2 C warm water from the tap. Between 110°F-115°F is most effective. The only way to really be sure about the temperature is to use a thermometer. When it doubt, the water from your faucet should be warm but NOT hot to the touch.

Stir in your dry yeast, either one 1/4 oz. packet (7g) or 2 1/4 tablespoons of granulated yeast. Most people say that the yeast should be brought to room temperature first, but I have always had good luck when using it straight from the freezer.

It only takes three or four minutes for the yeast to “wake up” and start to rise. After ten minutes, the surface of your yeast-water mixture should have a foamy top. If so, then congratulations! You have active yeast! It should be used immediately. Most recipes take into account the liquid needed to proof yeast. If yours does not, deduct 1/2 cup of liquid from your recipe if you proof yeast with this method.

A good way to tell if your yeast has risen sufficiently is to use a 1 C measuring cup. If the yeast foam reaches the top, you’re good to go. If your yeast has an insufficient rise, it will not be any good for baking. Best to throw out the entire container.

Learn how to make your own yeast

If you can’t get to a grocery store for Fleischman’s, what’s the alternative?  Try growing your own yeast!  Here are a few methods that should fit most needs and skill levels.  Depending on the availability of the items listed below, choose one that best fits you, your region, and your personal stockpile.

Raisin / Fruit Yeast


  • Clean Glass jar.  (24oz. or larger) Sterilize in hot water and allow it to dry.
  • Water. Clean, filtered, or bottled is good.  Tap water can be used, depending on your local conditions. Warning:  Too much chlorine in your water, or water that is too basic, can kill the yeast.
  • Raisins or other fruit. Most fruits have traces of yeast on their skins. Note that you may not get as good of a result with fruit that has been washed and waxed.


  1. Place three to four tablespoons of raisins in your jar.  Adding a few tablespoons of honey or sugar will facilitate the fermentation process.
  2. Fill the jar ¾ full with water.  Place the lid on the jar lightly.  Do NOT tighten the lid – you will want to allow some air to escape.
  3. Place jar at a constant room temperature.  Do not allow the jar to get cold.  This will kill off the yeast and stop the process.
  4. Stir at least once a day for three to four days.
  5. When bubbles form on the top and you smell a wine-like fermentation you have yeast.  The raisins, or fruit, should be floating.
  6. Place your new yeast in the refrigerator.

Yeast from Grain/ Sourdough Starter

Yeast is already present on grain.  All you need to do is to cultivate it in a manner similar to the above instructions. Here is a basic recipe for sourdough starter.


  • 1 1/4 C unbleached all purpose flour or milled wheat berries
  • 1 C clean warm water
  • 1 sterile jar with cheesecloth or lid


  1. Mix the flour and warm water, and keep at room temperature.
  2. After several days, the mixture will start to bubble and will begin to rise.
  3. Keep your starter in the refrigerator when not in use. Use as you would any sourdough starter.

Yeast from Potatoes

The starch in potatoes make it another prime candidate for yeast production.


  • 1 unpeeled medium-sized potato
  • 4 C warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 quart jar


  1. Rinse your potato to remove dirt, but don’t scrub it too much.
  2. Cut it into pieces to facilitate cooking, then boil until cooked through.
  3. Drain, and save the water.
  4. Mash the potato and add sugar and salt.
  5. Allow mixture to cool until it is at room temperature.
  6. Add water to the potato mash until whole mixture equals 1 quart.
  7. Cover and let sit in a warm place and allow it to ferment for several days.

SPI 728x90

Feeding the Starter

Once you have created your own yeast, you need to “feed” it regularly.   This means adding 1 cup flour and 1 cup water to the mix so that the yeast can keep growing. You will need to feed the starter daily if it is at room temperature, or weekly if it is in the fridge. If you don’t bake bread that day, you will also need to toss out one cup of the starter after feeding so that the ratios stay the same. This is an important step, and can be a great motivator to bake regularly so that none of your hard work goes to waste! Yeast starters are one thing you will not want to throw in the compost pile, as the bacteria can grow out of control and give you a very unpleasant result.

No matter which method you choose, making your own yeast is a skill that dates back thousands of years.  Continue researching the sources provided to find other ideas, methods, and tips.  Begin practicing and post your results.  Feel free to add your own ideas and advice in the comment section below.

WANT MORE “FROM-SCRATCH” RECIPES? Download Survival Mom’s free ebook, “Switch From Store-Bought to Homemade.”

This article, written by Right Wing Mom, was originally published in 2011. It has been updated and revised.

make your own yeast

Frugal Eating – Over 100 Crock Pot Recipes & Ideas

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Frugal Eating – Over 100 Crock Pot Recipes & Ideas If you want to eat more real foods, I mean NON processed meats. This is for you. You will save a ton of money eating this way and its really easy to make each and every one of the dishes provided in the link below. …

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5 Healing Homemade Soap Recipes

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5 Healing Homemade Soap Recipes These Healing Homemade Soap Recipes will rock your socks off,  you will never have to buy soap again with these recipes. Plus they can promote healing for a number of ailments! You may think soap as simple cleaning agent for your body that help remove all the dirt and grime that your …

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How To Make The Best Monkey Butter Recipe Ever

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How To Make The Best Monkey Butter Recipe Ever! I have seen monkey butter recipes floating around the web for years so I decided to make a batch and see what all the commotion was about. This spread is a delightful combination of bananas, pineapple, coconut, and citrus that I’m finding irresistible (my favorite so …

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6 Instant Meals-On-The-Go: Just Add Boiling Water

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6 Instant Meals-On-The-Go: Just Add Boiling Water Life can get hectic sometimes, god knows mine does. When I have a busy week or my wife can’t be bothered to cook, especially on a hot day, we always have some of these “ready to go meals” on hand. You can make these instant meals and take …

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How To Make Fresh Tomato Sauce (Italian Secret Recipe!)

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How To Make Fresh Tomato Sauce (Italian Secret Recipe!) Store bought pasta sauce or tomato sauce is great but did you know that you can make authentic Italian tomato sauce for a lot cheaper and a lot less additives than the store bought varieties? I wanted to test this recipe out so my darling wife …

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Irresistible French Toast Bake Recipe

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Irresistible French Toast Bake Recipe French toast has always been one of my favorite food for breakfast. I just can’t get enough of them. It is so effortless to make yet delicious on your palette. Back in my childhood, when rushing to the school and not wanting to eat a lengthy and boring breakfast, it was …

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67+ Homemade All-Natural Cleaning Recipes

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67+ Homemade All-Natural Cleaning Recipes At some point in a persons life, you want to get rid of all the nasty chemicals and toxins in regular store brought cleaners and just go natural. That happened to me about 2 years ago and I haven’t looked back since. Next time you are at the store just …

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How to Make Easy Thirty Minute Mozzarella Cheese

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How to Make Easy Thirty Minute Mozzarella Cheese Cheese is just so yummy. Packed with Vitamins and calcium. Mozzarella is one of those cheeses you can buy from the store and you need a mortgage just to be able to purchase some. Stop spending money on it and make your own. You can make your …

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Apple Braided Bread Recipe

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Apple Braided Bread Recipe  I have never seen anything quite like this before. I asked my wife to make this and boy oh boy am I glad she did. Obviously you have apple pie but this is apple bread, this is apple braided bread recipe is the epitome of deliciousness. I actually think you may …

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Dry and Moist Cooking Methods!

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Dry and Moist Cooking Methods James Walton “I Am Liberty” This weeks episode will be an intro to what will be a series on cooking methods. I am thinking we will need almost 8 weeks to cover both the dry and moist methods to cook. These methods were the base of my training as a … Continue reading Dry and Moist Cooking Methods!

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Bacon Wrapped BBQ Meatball Onion Bombs – Best Camping Food Ever!

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Bacon Wrapped BBQ Meatball Onion Bombs – Best Camping Food Ever! Do you want to make one of my favorite camping meals? They are called onion bombs and they will fill you up, keep you full and enable you to have a clean camping site due to the no clean up. I make these in …

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1 Minute Wine Recipe

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1 Minute Wine Recipe Ever wanted to try your hand at making wine? Most people who look into it get overwhelmed with all the different equipment needed. If that doesn’t turn them away, the complicated steps involved according to numerous wine making guides can leave the average person feeling like they need a degree just …

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How To Make Bisquick (copycat) Baking Mix Recipe

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How To Make Bisquick (copycat) Baking Mix Recipe My wife loves making copycat recipes because she tries to make her recipes taste better than the recipe she is trying to copy. Granted a lot of these copycat recipes are not that great and actually taste like a cheap second hand dinner someone has left on …

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The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make – Peasant Bread

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The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make – Peasant Bread Peasant bread is a no knead bread, I know some people hate no knead bread but this is not your typical no knead bread. It bakes in well-buttered pyrex bowls — there is no pre-heating of the baking vessels in this recipe. It emerges golden and …

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101 Freezer Cooking Recipes

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101 Freezer Cooking Recipes If you are anything like me.. you hate to cook. My wife on the other hand LOVES to cook but hates the planning and getting recipes in order. I wanted to help her out a little, so I went searching for some freezer recipes but found the same old recipes that …

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No-Knead English Muffin Bread Recipe

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No-Knead English Muffin Bread Recipe Making any kind of bread is scary, a lot of things can go wrong, for example, you mix in too much yeast, you don’t mix it well enough or you bake it too long and it becomes dry and tough! There is no need to worry about any of that …

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12 Months Of No Processed Foods – Crock Pot Recipes

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12 Months Of No Processed Foods – Crock Pot Recipes Eating no processed foods is paramount to living a healthy life. Don’t be alarmed if you see that some of these recipes call for what we call “minimally processed foods”, for example, ketchup, canned vegetables, etc. These are minimally processed foods but can also be …

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How To Make SESB – Super Easy Survival Bread

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How To Make SESB – Super Easy Survival Bread In the past few months I have posted a few bread recipes and all have been great articles, this bread recipe is just plain awesome, probably the easiest bread you could ever make. Best of all, it will stay edible for ages! It’s that simple you …

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How To Make Tomato Sauce For Basically Free

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How To Make Tomato Sauce For Basically Free This recipe may just change your life as you know it… In the kitchen at least! If you can tomatoes you most likely throw away the skins of the tomatoes, tomato skins in a canned tomato product can be tough and stringy, and do that thing where they …

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Freeze-Dried Chicken: A Tutorial

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Freeze-Dried Chicken: A Tutorial via The Survival Mom

Of all the freeze-dried meats on the market, chicken is the one I use the most. It’s such a part of my everyday cooking that I was a bit surprised to hear someone say just this week that they weren’t entirely sure how to cook with it. Well, let me tell you.

How many recipes are there in the world that call for “one chicken breast, cooked and chopped?” Usually when I see something like that, I immediately think of the overhead required to thaw the chicken, cook it, and chop it up before I can get to the rest of the recipe. When I only have 45 minutes to throw a meal together for a hungry family, that’s the last thing I want to do. Freeze dried chicken takes out those extra laborious steps. Just rehydrate it and you’re golden. Specific instructions may vary, depending on the brand you’re using, but typically rehydration involves letting one part freeze dried chicken chunks stand in 2 parts water for 5-15 minutes. After the requisite time, I use my handy kitchen strainer to pour off any excess water.

Because it’s already pre-chopped and pre-cooked, freeze dried chicken is excellent for quick casseroles, chicken salad, and chicken noodle soup. Here are 3 of my tried-and-tested recipes using this handy food.

Layered Freeze-Dried Chicken Enchiladas

This is one of my family’s most favorite meals. It’s not terribly authentic because it is more of a tortilla lasagna than anything, but it’s still tasty and doesn’t take a lot of time to make.


1 1/2 cup freeze dried chicken, rehydrated

1/4 cup dehydrated onions

1 1/2 cup freeze dried cheddar cheese, divided

2 cans enchilada sauce -or- 2 cup homemade enchilada sauce, divided

1 cup sour cream

green chiles – optional (My kids just pick them out, so I tend to omit them.)

tortillas (whole wheat is best – usually 10 store bought, or anywhere from 6-9 homemade ones using the tortilla recipe found here.)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, onions, 1 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, chiles, 1 cup cheese.

In a 13 x 9 inch pan, put down a tortilla layer, breaking them in pieces in order to cover the whole bottom.

Spread a thin layer of the chicken and cheese filling, then cover with another layer of tortillas. Alternate layers until you run out of filling, ending with tortillas.

Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the pan, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 25 min or until bubbly.

Freeze-Dried Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is many things to many people, which is the primary basis of its appeal. All chicken salad has chicken and mayonnaise as the primary ingredients. It can be easily customized, according to preference and availability of ingredients, by adding:

  • chopped apples
  • chopped celery
  • parsley
  • basil
  • tarragon
  • dill
  • pecans or walnuts
  • minced hard-boiled egg
  • pineapple
  • grapes
  • mustard
  • chili powder or paprika
  • red onion or scallions
  • shredded carrots
  • olives

Here is where experimentation is truly king. If you don’t already have a favorite way to make chicken salad, I encourage you to add or subtract ingredients until you find one. If mayonnaise isn’t really your thing, you can also use sour cream or even plain yogurt instead.

Freeze-Dried Chicken Noodle Soup

Making soup with freeze-dried chicken is even easier, because you don’t even have to rehydrate the chicken ahead of time! Just make your soup as you normally would. Add 1/2 cup or so of chicken chunks into the pot once other ingredients are cooked through. Since the chicken doesn’t have to actually cook, just rehydrate and heat up, it’s okay to add the chicken toward the end of the cooking time. This is usually about when I add noodles as well.

NOTE: It’s okay to make soup without a recipe! It’s super easy with this tutorial.

Some people might think that freeze-dried chicken is one of those fluffy “luxury foods” for emergency preparedness – too outer-spacey and high tech for every day use by actual people. Not so! I like to keep a can on hand at all times. After you get used to cooking with freeze-dried chicken, you’ll start to think of fresh or frozen chicken breasts as a waste of time and motions (at least when it comes to making a quick dinner).

A quick word on taste: I used to cook with a lot of canned chicken for the same reasons I now use the freeze-dried version. The thing with canned chicken, though, is that it doesn’t have nearly the shelf-life. Also, and I think anyone who has eaten chicken out of a can will agree with me, it does have a residual taste that you don’t usually find when eating fresh chicken. If you’re worried that freeze-dried chicken will have a weird taste that can only be described as “ugh,” don’t. This very week I made a freeze-dried chicken meal for my family, and I was pleasantly surprised by how normal it tasted. You never would have guessed that this meal came from a can!

If you don’t already have freeze-dried chicken as part of your food storage, I encourage you to change your ways. You won’t be sorry!

Freeze-Dried Chicken: A Tutorial via The Survival Mom

36 Delicious Cast Iron Skillet Recipes

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36 Delicious Cast Iron Skillet Recipes Ah, the good old cast iron skillet. Used by many for so many recipes all over the world! Cast iron skillets are durable, require less cooking oil when compared to other high-end pans, and they are a chemical-free alternative to nonstick pans. I inherited my grandma’s old cast iron skillet and …

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Yummy Soups You Can Make With 5 Ingredients or Less!

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Yummy Soups You Can Make With 5 Ingredients or Less! (With What’s Already In Your Pantry) Soup is one of the most economical meals you can make, and the 9 soups in this article can all by made with 5 ingredients or less! For those of us that are doing our best to be frugal, not …

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9 Easy Yummy Drink Recipes For Winter

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9 Easy Yummy Drink Recipes For Winter I hate to break it to you guys but it’s cold out there. Winter is here, or did you already notice? For me that means digging out the snow, wrapping up nice and warm and teaching the kids not to each the yellow snow. It also means mulled …

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How To Make Authentic Vodka Or Schnapps From Potatoes

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How To Make Authentic Vodka Or Schnapps From Potatoes mmm, vodka, one of my all time favorite alcoholic beverages. I like vodka because of its ability to be mixed with pretty much any-other drink to create a wonderful, drunk inducing drink. I must have had my head in the sand all my life because I never …

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Apple Cider Vinegar: Morning Detox Tea

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Apple Cider Vinegar: Morning Detox Tea Start your morning right with this detoxifying Apple Cider Vinegar Tea recipe from Vinegar has been used as a natural remedy for centuries that may be able to kill bacteria, lower blood sugar, help with weight loss and as a cleaning agent. We have cited amazing uses for apple cider vinegar in the …

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The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make: Artisan Bread

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The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make: Artisan Bread I love homemade bread.  Who doesn’t?  The relationship never goes stale.  I tried the recipe from linked below and found it to be very tasty and easy to make.  No kneading or bread machine and only four ingredients required! This would be a great bread recipe …

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How To Use Eggshells to Heal Your Cavities

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How To Use Eggshells to Heal Your Cavities I’ll start out by saying you should visit your dentist regularly if you can.  That being said, not everyone can has easy access to or can afford one (not to mention those too afraid to go!).  I’m always trolling the internet for natural alternatives and came across this …

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Moist And Delicious Cinnamon Apple Bread Recipe

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Moist And Delicious Cinnamon Apple Bread Recipe Tis’ the season and all that! The holidays have always been a time of apples and cinnamon, in my house anyway. I hunted for some great apple bread recipes and came across the best tasting cake / bread, whatever you want to call it I have ever tasted. …

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Shelf-Stable Recipe Book – Free PDF Download

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 Shelf-Stable Recipe Book This cookbook is a great resource from  It is a 58 page PDF with a variety of recipes using storage food. Great to save, Bookmark or print off. I love searching the internet in search of great articles. I was actually searching for food expiration dates and came across this FREE download and thought …

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Nordic Nut Bread – Paleo Bread – Stone Age Bread Recipe

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Nordic Nut Bread – Paleo Bread – Stone Age Bread Recipe I know what you are thinking, nuts are expensive. You can go scavenge nuts from the wild in the summer, make it a family thing or just indulge on nuts when they go on sale. It is not very important as to what kind …

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Quite possibly The Best Eggnog Recipe On The Internet

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Quite possibly The Best Eggnog Recipe On The Internet I am going to quote from the recipe owner here…”It’s taken me several years to perfect this recipe. Now everyone asks, ‘When are you making the eggnog?!’ This uses cooked eggs for safety, and you can use more or less rum to taste. It’s a bit …

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