Use Your Bean and Rice to the Occasion

Food Storage Quick Tip #7- Beans and Rice

Over the last several months, I have made observations about food storage every where I can.  One thing that I’ve noticed is that rice shelves in store are never fully stocked.  Also never fully stocked are beans, specifically canned beans.  I find that interesting.

Rice and beans together are considered by many as a perfect food.  Rice is the staple food for two thirds of the world’s population, and in many countries, it is illegal to store food (we are blessed!)  As a storage item, they are relatively nonperishable, and can be modified to any cuisine.  In the event there is little availability of meat, beans can replace protein and vitamins needed.  And they are LOW FAT!  Beans and rice served together for a perfect union of nutrition and taste.  We eat refried beans with Spanish rice.  We have soups and other dishes.  Even salads can include rice or beans.  Traditionally, humanity has been serving beans over rice for centuries.

One of the big, hUgE, GIANT hinderances with rice and (dry) beans is how the heck do you cook the stuff?  I admit that I have not been successful cooking rice until sometime in the last decade.  My mom used minute rice, so I never had a “real” home cooked bowl of rice until I was out of college.  Of course, it took me years to humble myself and figure out I needed some guidance.  Then Voila!  It is almost as second nature as making popcorn!  Knowlege has made all the difference.  There are as many methods to cooking rice and beans as there are varieites of the staple.  You probably have your favorite, but for those who want the basics, here are a couple of easy recipes that have worked for me.

RICE – Just like your husband’s mother used to make 🙂
3 cups water
1 cup rice
bring water to a boil in saucepan.  When rolling boil is achieved, add rice and stir.  Put on the lid and reduce heat to low (some peple reduce to off).  DO NO REMOVE THE LID.  DO NOT STIR.  Set the timer for 25 minutes, remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.  Done.

DRY BEANS – (Not to be attempted when you have only 10 minutes before your husband arrives home)
Soak 2 cups of dry beans for several hours in plenty of water (some people do this overnight).  Drain.  Add 6 cups water to beans and heat to boiling.  Boil gently, stirring frequently until tender.  This will take between 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on variety.  Dry beans expand (boy, do they expand!) and absorb water as they cook, so more water should be added as you go to prevent schoching.  Test often and come to your own decision when beans are tender and taste done.  Salt and spices can be added anytime during the last stages of preparation.  Hint:  Do not go to the library and leave the beans on the stove simmering!  Burned beans are BAD NEWS!

Assignment A:  Go to your pantry again.  Using the food storage calculator, http://lds.about.com/library/bl/faq/blcalculator.htm calculate what quantities of beans and rice you need for 3 months.  Set and begin to carry out a goal based on your family tastes, needs, and affordability.  Or B: Make rice and beans for one meal this week.  Recipes on the internet are plentiful if you don’t know one you like.

FUN FACTS:
A common term referring to rice and beans is used to describe any pairing that works together well.  “They are like rice and beans”.
– A well-known term when referring to beans is, “the magical fruit”.

October 13, 2008 at 12:19 pm 4 comments

A Penny for Your Thoughts

Food Storage Quick Tip #6 – Saving some money

This week’s tip is about saving some money.  There is no right or wrong way to achieve this, even if only a few coins a week.  We just need to start!  Of course it is not a good thing to have a lot of cash in the house; but it would be good to have a little on hand.  If the ATMS are not working in an emergency, it might hold you over until things get turned around.

Here are a few examples of saving some coins:

  • Coin tray in your car.  Save your change from drive-through transactions.  It has saved my life a few times when I forgot my purse.
  • What’s your favorite coin?  Some people like pennies.  Dimes are kind of cute.  Check out the links at the bottom for coin savers that made the news.
  • Find change in the washer?  My vote:  It’s unclaimed property
  • Clip coupons and pledge that amount saved to your emergency account.  You’ll want to put your receipt in your scrapbook.  What a good wife!
  • Save a quarter a day.  Or a dollar a week.
  • Start a swear jar.  Caution:  Don’t swear more just to add up the quarters.

The Internet has given us opportunity to at any time manage our bank accounts.  One way to save a little bit each month is to use their automatic transfer system.  You can set it to transfer $1.00 a week, or whatever, on a prearranged day.  Even if it doesn’t seem like a lot, it adds up.  Another suggested way is to look at it by percentage.  If you faithfully pay 10% every month back to the good Lord, think about putting away 1% every month for yourself.  Decide with your own family’s needs in mind.

Assignment:  Start saving some money.  Even if it is only a few coins a week in a jar.

Links:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,318018,00.html
Article about a man who buys car with coins.
http://www.coinstar.com/us/PressReleases/723130
Article about a man who makes a record exchange of pennies at a Coinstar machine.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Where do you see people in the movies put their emergency cash?
In a boot (Maverick)
In  a shoe
In a shirt (The Dollmaker)
Hidden in a hat lining (Paper Moon)
In a milk jug
In a cold stove (Unsinkable Molly Brown)
In a Mason jar buried in the back yard
Sewn into the lining of an orphan child’s jacket
Saved in a piggy bank (to be opened by a giant cartoon hammer)
A safe is good for large quantities counted often and nicely stacked.
In a sugar bowl, cookie jar, or ice box
A cigar box
A baking powder can (Where The Red Fern Grows)
Stuffed in a mattress (When banks are not to be trusted)
Between pages of a secret book
Inside a rag doll (Night of the Hunter)
In the brazier (Next to the Kleenex :))

October 6, 2008 at 11:41 pm 3 comments

Whole Grain Goodness

Food Storage Quick tip #5 – Storing Grain

 

I am not an economist, but I do listen to the news.  We know that the value of the US dollar value is down, which means foreign currency buys more.  Buying goods from other countries cost us more right now.  Food prices are up because of gas prices, but also because of food shortages,  they say.   But hey, how about we sell them something they want.  Their dollars would really help our economy.  So, we sell some of our reserves of corn and wheat.   (?!)
http://www.grains.org/galleries/headlines/09-12-2008%20Exports.pdf  

Grain is important in the world economy.  Biblically, when there was famine in Canaan, Joseph who was now the king of Egypt opened the Grainaries to save the people.   In the story of Ruth, she gleaned the fields after the reapers to have food for her mother in law, Naomi.   Several times it is indicated that there was lots of partying after the wheat harvest, because basically, it was money in the bank.

Wheat and corn store for many years.  Corn and wheat have been found in the pyramids, and when they prepared it, it was as good as new. 

Remember in the book, Little House on the Prairie The Long Winter?  A half cup of grain ground by a coffee mill saved the whole family from starvation.  (Ma, you go girl!)  (I about died that winter myself!)  I know that if things got really bad, necessity would drive us to use wheat in a variety of ways to keep us alive. 

What kind of wheat should you store?  From what I am seeing on the internet, hard white wheat is sweeter and is preferred sometimes because of the color in cooking.  You can use it for white bread and retain the gluten.  Hard red wheat is traditionally used in whole wheat foods.  When processed into white flour, hard red loses gluten and other factors.  So what you store is according to your own taste.

Link for good information on wheat.   http://beprepared.com/article.asp?ai=67&c2a=rn&name=All%20About%20Wheat&bhcd2=1221487034 

Assignment A: This week, spend $10 on grain items.  It can be barley, wheat, oats in any form.  Or B:  Do you have everything you need in the house for making bread or other items?  Yeast, etc.   Make an inventory and fill in the holes. 

BONUS RECIPE:  EASY WHEAT PANCAKES
                           1/2 cup wheat kernels
                           1TB flax seed
                           1/2
 cup = 2 tsp. milk
                     B
lend in blender 3-4 minutes.  Then add:
                           ¼ cup milk
                     Blend 2 more minutes.  Then add:
                           2 TB vegetable oil
                           1 egg
                          ½ tsp. baking powder
                          1/8 tsp.
                   Blend one more time until mixed.  Pour on medium griddle as usual.
      

September 25, 2008 at 9:57 am 1 comment

What’$ Up With That?

Food STorage Quick Tip #4 – Fuel Prices

Question of the week:  I’m trying to get my food storage, but food prices are higher.  What’s up with that?
Answer:  Higher gas prices.

We are in a recession with the same initial signs as in the 1970’s.  Sometimes we get so busy in our lives that we don’t pay attention to what is going on around us.  Then all of a sudden.  Holy Cow!

When the price of oil is high, everything is affected by it.  That is why you hear about gas prices 24/7.  Have you noticed that postage went up another penny a few months ago?  It costs more to deliver the mail.  Producing and delivering crops is more expensive.  Recent crop failures have also contributed to the higher food prices.  Dining out is going up.  Getting to work costs more.  Industries like road construction costs are up and taxes will be affected.  And my personal bummer:  I have to rethink y Ebay purchases because it costs me more in shipping when I have a successful auction win.

So the cost of living is going up.  Prices are becoming inflated.  Does this mean our paychecks are also going to rise?  Hmmmmmm.

Day to day, we should be preparing ourselves for this to last longer than a few months because sources say it will.  Since more of our disposable income is eaten up now with necessities, we have to find ways to make that income work until the cycle changes.

As long as we have to pay for it, let’s use less of it:

  • If you have two vehicles, use the one with better gas mileage whenever possible.
  • Avoid extra trips to town.  Make a list before you go of the stopes you have to make.  And use the most direct route.
  • Walk.  Especially short distances.  As mother used to say, “you’ve got legs”.
  • Bring out the bikes.  Kill two birds with one stone.  Exercise/saving fuel = Weightloss/$$
  • Carpool.  We all have kids that go places.  Don’t be afraid to split the driving with another parent.
  • Have teenagers buy their own gas. (Enough said).
  • Drive 55 mph.  Yes.  55 mph.  You might think it is unbelievable, but that is what we did in the 70’s.  It was the law nationwide and we lived by it.  Okay, okay, I’m not serious about 55 mph.  It behooves no one to cause an accident in the fast lane.  Just go the speed limit.

Think about how these principles are relevant to your on family.  Assignment A:  Fill your gas cans at home.  Even a few gallons will be hellpful if evacuation is called for in an emergency.  Store in a well ventilated area.  Then pick one way you will conserve gas this week.  Or B:  there may be an increased intereste in food preservation in the coming months.  Think about stocking up on lids if you can (can as in canning).  Or, C:  Add another staple this week from your pantry list.

September 19, 2008 at 2:19 am Leave a comment

In Tran$lation

Food Storage Quick Tip #3 – How much does it really cost?

This week is a focus is about needs and wants and how it translates into preparedness.  This tactic can me the difference in our debt, our self reliance, and personal well being.  Sacrificing something “at the moment” can bloom  when you make a more secure decision for the relative future.  Even little things.  It is kind of like weight loss, demanding choices and will power.  Likewise, it is easier when somebody else you know has similar goals.  So get with a friend and accept the challenge to review and share your ways of thinking.
The comparisons below can give you a breakdown of affordability on wants vs. what you really need.  Of course it is not to the penny, but it is a close to a rough dollar for dollar exchange.  They are only random examples. Put the words “translates into” wherever you see the = sign.
TTRANSLATION CHART:
2/$13 movies from Walmart = 25 cans tuna (.52 per can)
4 Pizza Hut deliveries (soda included) = 45 lbs. beef (1.79 lb.)for your freezer
$100 cell phone upgrade (you are eligilbe!) = 28 gallons gas (3.719)
10 cases/24 pack soda (3/$12) = Small food dehydrator (Snackmaster brand)
5 new release DVD rentals (3.99 ea.) = 3 1/2 jumbo packs of toilet paper (5.97 unit)
2 Butterfinger candy bars = 3 packages household matches
1 Sunday outfit from Target (includes shoes) = 8–10 hours work (10.00/hour net)
3 McDonald’s chicken nugget happy meals (2 with uneaten fries) = 25 lb. flour
Cosmetic Surgery = I think you get the picture.
Assignment: A: Instead of eating out this week, take the money you would have spent and start an emergency expense fund.  Or B:  Instead of eating out this week, take the money you would have spent and buy as many items on your food storage inventory list from last week.

September 13, 2008 at 1:11 am Leave a comment

Show Me What You’re Workin’ With

Food Storage Quick Tip #2 – Do an Inventory

This week I want you to go to your pantries and make an inventory of what you do have.  Take a piece of paper and write down items as you go that you need or desire.  Think about the way your family eats.  Look for ingredients to recipes your family LIKES.  Do you have oil for those cake mixes?   Do you have the cream soup for your main dishes?  How many meals do you have on hand?  If you bought 6 cans in last week’s assignments, you can see that 6 cans of vegetables just gave you part of 6 dinners.  If you bought 6 cans of soup or chili, you have almost a week’s worth of lunches.    Is your pantry full of fun fruits and chips, you will not fulfill your supply of food, or sustain your family if the situation is dire.

Go to your fridge or freezer.  If you don’t have a large freezer, you can still store a few things in your small one.  Do you have chicken for that enchilada recipe or hamburger for spaghetti?  Enough frozen  vegetables?    Frozen prepared foods such as pizza or meat pies are great for convenience, but overall more expensive and take up more room than basic meats or juices.

How are you doing on the basic staples?  A staple is a principle item or commodity that can be used in different ways.   Examples are; shortening, butter, honey, oil, peanut butter, jam, rice, wheat, flour, sugar.  I would also say baby formula if that applies to you.  These items could make the difference in a situation where there are no prepared foods to be had.

Many of us have bought and paid for home storage items that we either don’t know how to use or don’t like to eat.  It doesn’t help us to have food that we aren’t going to eat (although it could be a barter able item in a bad situation).   Don’t know how to use wheat?  Pick rice.  Don’t like rice?  Pick pasta.  Nobody’s choice is right or wrong, and everybody choice may be different.  The key here is to do it YOUR way in the way of choice of food for three months.

Okay, got your list?  We know that food prices are up, but here’s  Assignment: A: When you go to the store this week, purchase one or more of a larger staple.  Pick something you WILL USE in an affordable quantity.  (Sorry Ladies, soda pop or Slimfast does not qualify :D)   Or  B: When you go to the store the next few weeks, look for meat on sale.   This week buy 2 items or more of meat.  Canned or freezable.  Meat can get expensive, but when you see it on sale, buy two instead of one.

September 2, 2008 at 9:17 pm Leave a comment

No Brainer

Food Storage Quick Tip #1 – Start at the beginning

When we lived in Washington State, because we lived in a forest, we had
quite a bit of wildlife around.  One morning, I heard a loud banging going
on.  I glanced over at my neighbor’s porch where she kept a metal tin with a
tight lid containing her cat food.  A raccoon had discovered it and was
batting it back and forth across the porch trying to open it.  Soon you
could see him with his little hands trying to get under the lip.  the can
clanked back and forth for a long time.  After awhile, it finally clattered
off the porch, the raccoon following behind.  Raccoons are pretty smart, but
he couldn’t crack the lid on that can.

I can just imagine people having no electricity, a lot of canned goods, and
looking like silly raccoons trying to find away to open them up.  Which
method would YOU use:  Hammer?  Ballpoint pen?  Your teeth?  How about
throwing it off the roof of the house?  It would be pretty darned
frustrating.

Assignment A: Purchase, if you don’t have one already,
a manual (I call it an analog:D) can opener.  Doesn’t have to be expensive,
just has to work.  B: Buy 6 extra cans of food when you shop this week.

August 25, 2008 at 8:12 pm 1 comment

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