Showing posts with label rice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rice. Show all posts

Monday, February 4, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

A slew of stuff arrived in the mail and eventually I will talk about it. Picked up some extra cleaning stuff. The good folks at Camping Survival sent me some canned rice and powdered eggs as well as a Water BOB and a Life Straw portable water filter. Also got some sugar. You will be seeing reviews in due time.

Did some dry fire training with the J and went on a great ruck march yesterday. Also I have been working on barefoot running. It is pretty comfortable but I have also been wearing sandals or minimalist shoes for awhile. My form is changing and it seems to be a lot more efficient.

Anyway that's what I have been up to. What did you do to prepare this week?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Friday, June 1, 2012

Finally Friday!

It is Friday and thank goodness for that. Work was quiet today so I got a bunch of various stuff which has been waiting forever done. The kind of things that you need to do but always linger slightly below more pressing matter. That was nice.

Getting off work at a decent time set things off to a good start. Wifey made enchiladas and spanish rice which was great. There is beer in the fridge, scotch in the cabinet and ice in the freezer so that front is covered.

We do not have any big plans for this weekend. We will probably take Walker for a ride in his wagon both days. He really likes it, a comfortable seat but freedom to move around a bit, a place to put his milk and Dad doing all the work, what is not to like. It is also a pretty good activity to get out of the house when we don't have anything we need to do. Maybe we will go out to lunch or something. The last few things for my Get Home Bag came in this week so I am going to try and get it all put together. You will see a post on that sooner or later.  There are some various blog admin things I would like to do.

Anyway my weekend is off to a pretty darn good start. I hope yours is also.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Food Storage Thoughts

So part of the fun of being in the military is moving. Part of the fun of moving is dealing with stored food. Packing a bunch of stuff across town is a hassle but across the country is problematic and across the world is a nonstarter. So that means you eat up as much as you can. We are in the eating stage. I plan to look back at these notes in the future and hope they may benefit you folks also.

Here are some random observations:
-Jelly with fake sugar doesn't store well.
-Pretty much everything else seems to be fine long past it's "best by date".
-We should store more coffee though I think that got used before I deployed. However since it was over a year ago I can't really recall.
-Dry pasta and sauce is a winner. It is one of our easy go to dinners. We probably can't store enough of the stuff.
-We didn't have any baking powder. It is one of those things we don't use that much of so I guess it was easy to miss.

Now that Walker eats actual food we will need to make some adjustments to our food storage.
-We should store more ketsup. The kid loves the stuff and puts it on everything.
-Additionally we need to store a lot more shelf stable and dry milk.
-Since our diet has become more varried canned veggies go fast. Once you make a meat and a starch opening a can and heating it up is an easy answer to round things out.
-Also we seem to use a good amount of baked beans.
-Walker eats canned fruits like crazy. Of course we feed him as much fresh stuff as we can but it isn't always available at reasonable prices and sometimes we run out of it.

Anyway that is all I can think of now. As we keep eating I may have some more observations.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Eating Expired Shelf Stable Foods

As a bit of background I recently returned from a year in Afghanistan. During that time Wifey went back home to stay with family in the PNW. We kept our residence in Germany through this time. We left all the shelf stable food in the kitchen. Over this time pretty much everything that was in the kitchen expired. Being cheap we want to use whatever we can. After all food storage is budget neutral or even positive (you can buy at sales since you don't need it for dinner that night) BUT ONLY IF YOU ACTUALLY EAT THE FOOD. Also I was just plain curious.

Before any more discussion there should probably be a disclaimer. I am going to write some anecdotal observations which come from evaluating and eating food that is past the "best by" date. Please do not take this as anything more than one families individual experiences. I am not a doctor or a nutrition expert or a scientist or in any way qualified to say that expired food is safe to consume.  I am just some yahoo sitting at home eating expired food and writing about it on the internet. Do your own research, talk to some experts and make your own decisions. If you eat a can of oysters that have been in a shed in Alabama for a decade, get sick an die don't have your survivors come complaining to me.

I think it is important to consider three things when it comes to the dates put on food. The first is that the dates are "best by" not "you will die if you eat after". Secondly we live in a very litigious society so companies have to error seriously (like belt and suspenders with pants that fit) on the side of caution. Lastly knowing that many people toss stuff at the date on the package and then go out and replace it companies have financial motivation to make the date a bit earlier to (over time and a large customer base) increase their sales. Due to these three things I think the dates on packages are often far earlier than the practical date where food is seriously degraded or unsafe to consume.

We will go item by item in no particular order discussing the edible then those deemed inedible. All items were in their original packaging.

The following items were solidly edible:

Cereal (Cherios 11 months past date, Captain Crunch 13 months past and generic Frosted Flakes 9 months past). No identifiable changes. Smells and tastes fine.

Flour, sealed, 6 months past best by date. It didn't rise quite as much as normal but tasted fine.

Folgers coffee opened 8 months past best by date. Maybe a little bit stale but perfectly drinkable.

Peter Pan chunky peanut butter, opened and partially used, 8 months past best by date. Starting to separate into solid and oil but smells and tastes fine.

Peter Pan creamy peanut butter opened and partially used, 10 months past best by date. No identifiable changes. Smells and tastes fine.

Crisco vegitable oil, 7 months past date. No identifiable changes. Smells and tastes fine. Used for cooking and baking.

Campbells tomato soup, 8 months past date. Slightly gelatinous and the soup came out with some lumps but otherwise tasted fine.
The below items were deemed inedible:
Manwich BBQ Sloppy Joe Sauce, 13 months past date. Opened the can and the contents were gelatinous and seemed to have some pockets of green discoloratation on the top that may have been some sort of mold. Needless to say we did not eat it.
Grape Jelly, Smuckers sugarless, unopened and 6 months past date. Smelled slightly like vinegar and we did not eat it.
It bears repeating that I am just some yahoo sitting at home eating expired food and writing about it on the internet. Just because something worked once for me does not mean it is necessarily so for all people under all circumstances. Do your own research, consult experts if necessary and use common sense before eating any food that is beyond the best by date or has been preserved/ stored questionably.
Anyway I thought this stuff might interest you all. As we try some more stuff I will keep track of it and report the results.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Working Our Way Through Some Food Storage

One of the interesting things about my job is that sometimes your situation changes or you need to move and food storage is either eaten, donated or tossed. We are approaching one of those times. So we have gotten to eating. I have a few observations.

1. Buying just dairy, meat and fresh vegitables instead of everything you eat makes for a small grocery bill.
2. You can do a lot with basic staples like rice, flour, sugar and a modest stash of condiments and such. With some cooking skills there are all sorts of possible combinations and dishes.
3. Thinking to eating just our stored stuff the ratio of starches to staple type meat, vegetables and condiments is too high. We need to store more shelf stable meats and canned/ dehydrated vegetables.
4.  It is good to keep plenty of food in the house.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

UN Talks About Food Prices

You can read the article here.

A guy from the World Food Program said "Food might be there on the markets, but people don't have the resources to buy it because it is too expensive."

I am not worried about MY access to food. However I am worried about world stability. The reason I am not worried is that I am, at least relative to the entire world, rich. Like most Americans and western Europeans I spend a relatively small percentage of my income on food. If food prices go up 15 or 20 percent I would notice and grumble but could easily pay. If food prices went up 100 percent or even more we would change the way we eat and have to adjust our budget but we would be able to afford some sort of food to eat.

However food prices radically going up screws with a lot of people. Poor folks (and I'm talking 3rd world poor not those whining Americans with a comfortable residence, 2 cars, flat screen TV's and an Ipod's) can't do this. They spend a very high percentage of their income on food. They don't have room to shift things around if food prices go up 30 percent, let alone double. This means they need to earn more money which is not a solution because if they were capable of that they would already be doing it. What it really means is that some people might starve and lots of people will start protesting and burning stuff down. These folks are ripe for getting whipped up by political agitators of all kinds as they are in a bad spot as well as generally being poorly educated and often illiterate. This is the kind of stuff that, if left unchecked can topple or radically reshape countries.  In particular Mexico (not that it is the most vulnerable but by proximity it would have the biggest second and third order effects on the US) is quite vulnerable to changes in corn prices.

Something to pay attention to if not to freak out about.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Freezing Tomato Paste

We use a decent amount of tomato paste here at Casa De TOR. It is a key ingredient in Spanish rice which is one of our favorites and also in chili and many soups or sauces. The problem is that while we need it we never need very much of it, most recipes we make use a tablespoon or two of the stuff. We get it in little 6 ounce cans but since it is an ingredient in large recipes we can never use a whole can of the stuff inside of its shelf life once opened and put into the fridge. They cost about 50 cents each but it has just been driving me nuts.

I hate wasting food to the point where I am willing to go to dis proportionate lengths to be able to use it before it goes bad or preserve it. Wifey got to looking online and read about how some folks freeze tomato paste. The preferred method is to put it into ice cube trays. I made Spanish rice the night before last and today I took what was left and put it into an ice cube tray in the freezer. Once thoroughly frozen I intend to take the tomato paste cubes out of the tray, wrap them in wax paper and put them into a plastic bag. We should be able to get 4-6 recipes out of one of those small cans. Next time we cook something with it I will post on how it works out.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yummy Spanish Rice

Rice is a pretty solid preparadness food. We also like rice because it is really cheap. It doesn't last 12,000 years like wheat does but it is a lot easier to incorporate into your diet with minimal adjustments. That being said plain rice pretty much sucks. We have rice as a major part of dinner once just about every week. The two ways we tend to have it are with Terriaki Chicken and as Spanish rice.

Spanish rice couples well with Tacos or Fajitas or Enchilladas. Those meals tend to be meat and dairy (cheese and sour cream) heavy and thus relatively expensive. Adding Spanish rice as a side dish gives us roughly double the meals for the same amount of expensive stuff and thus greatly drags down the total cost per meal. If you have huge tortillas and are down with the whole mission style thing just put the rice into the burrito.  Also it is just frickin good.

I can heat up a nice big plate of the Spanish rice and it is a great meal. The recipe makes a bunch of the stuff. Usually enough for us both to have dinner and about two lunches.

This is the recipe Wifey uses. Also here are her hints: 
First of all when you brown the rice in the olive oil it is uncooked ie measure out of bag and pour it strait into the olive oil. This is noted because in just about everything else where you add rice cooking the rice first is an implied task. Secondly when you add the broth to the rice should be hot enough to simmer immediately. Then you put the lid on and DON'T TOUCH IT AGAIN, just let it cook until it is done. When you turn off the heat and let it 'rest' for 5 minutes don't lift the lid. Just let it be.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Letter To Ryan

First of all I am sorry to hear about your misfortune. Second I am glad you are learning from it and preparing to take steps towards being more prepared. Don't feel too bad about living paycheck to paycheck. That will rapidly improve (assuming you make good choices) when you get done with school. I am going to guess that at least 1/3rd of our readers would be in a fairly similar position though maybe with a bit more food in the house. Another third would need to shift some things around or whatever and would be OK. The last third keep enough of a buffer in checking that it would not be a big issue (depending on when in the month).

Your major concern here is food as you have recently run out of it. Once this little bump in the road is past here is what I suggest. Go to your local big box (Costco, Sam's Club, Winco, etc) and purchase the following items: 20lbs bag of just add water bisquick, a big jug of syrup, 20lbs of rice (sticky is what we prefer) with whatever you like to put on it, a big assed thing of oatmeal plus some brown sugar and a huge jar of peanut butter. Not exactly sure what these will cost you but not very much. Also not going to look up calories and figure out how many days worth of food this is but I think you could eat for awhile on this stuff. This is your starting point to get a decent amount of food for a price you can afford. You now have a reasonable start to staples and more food then a disturbing amount of people. If need be buy the first half of the list one payday and the remainder the following payday.

Here is your next step in food. Get things you actually eat. Every time you pick up something get a second one. The emphasis is on reasonably long term shelf stable stuff but having a couple spare frozen pizzas, packages of burger, etc is not a bad thing. If you would get 2 cans of tuna get 3 or 4. Instead of one box of cereal get two. The key is not to eat up this stuff but to continue buying in excess of your consumption to build up a surplus. It is easy enough (at least in theory) to just put the new stuff at the back of the pile and thus rotate your food.

[if you start getting worried about needing this food for an emergency then just get an alternative cooking source or two]

Between these two plans it is easy enough to rapidly accumulate a good amount of food which you normally eat. Getting to a few weeks or a month of food should be easy and with the plan I outlined you will hardly notice it in the overall budget.

Lots of people say they are too poor to save. I would say just the opposite. People who make/ have very little money need to save (for these purposes) much more so then those who make more. Someone who makes 70k a year can take life's minor problem ($400 seems to be the unlucky number for me) in stride. However a set of tires he would buy without a second though but someone who makes 17k a year that is a real issue UNLESS THEY HAVE PLANNED AND SAVED.

My other suggestion is to save cash. I am not talking about money in the bank though that is a very good thing. Banks are closed, they fail, you loose your card, etc. Every paycheck take $20 and put it away. Keep it in an envelope or whatever in a safe place and DON'T SPEND IT. Continue doing this until you've got a months cash expenses (the landlord, insurance, etc can get checks). At a rate you can probably save at this should take a few months. Once you get to a months worth of cash expenses in said envelope look at putting your continued contributions into a bank account.

Anyway here are a couple of old posts which might be interesting; Letter to Maggy, The Emergency Fund. You can read those but they will rhyme significantly with what I said above. My thoughts are somewhat different because his situation is unique as he is still in school.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lunch- Cheap Chow

Today for lunch I finished off the fried rice. I like to occasionally eat rice with eggs. Throw a couple of over easy eggs on top of rice and mix it all up. You get a nice goey eggy ricey mix which is pretty good. Great for those times you are going to have rice for the 4th meal in 5 days.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cheap Food

Yesterday it was my day to cook. We had eaten meat for the last couple nights and wanted something different. I ended up making fried rice. Definitely a pretty cheap meal. Ours was a couple carrots, 3 slices of bacon, 2 green onions, 2 scrambled eggs (thanks Flea, forgot to mention that), a cut up chunk of sweet onion, some soy sauce and 3 cups of rice. If I can make it you certainly can. Basically the recipe goes as follows:
1 cook the rice
Cut bacon into little pieces and throw it into the wok (or fry pan) to cook.
While bacon is cooking cut up the veggies.
When bacon is done throw veggies into the wok.
Wait till veggies are cooked.
Put scrambled eggs in (thanks again Flea)
Stir rice into wok
Put soy sauce in and keep stirring till it seems done.

Now you have a big ole thing of fried rice. We like it best with a bit of Ketchup.

You could do it with flavored chicken or something but we eat enough meat that having it largely absent from a meal is just fine. We had leftovers tonight as a light dinner. Got a couple meals left in the fridge. Probably lunches for me for the first half of next week.
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