Living 100% on Food Storage: refilling Nespresso pods

Just a quick filler post while I sip coffee... and was thinking about it.

We are a huge "coffee" drinking family.  We have every kind of brewer, coffee maker, French Press, vintage percolator, etc.  But what we use(d) most of the time was the Keurig with k-cups or the new Nespresso with pods. 

Since we are now only doing food storage, we have switched it up a bit.

The primary coffee brewer for my husband is the Hamilton Beach Brew Station (I think it's called).  It works to brew ground coffee into a full 12-cup carafe in the top.  You push your travel mug or coffee mug against a bar to fill.   This uses regular, ground coffee, which I had cans stored.

We have a couple boxes of k-cups in the pantry (72-120 ct) so those work in the Keurig but I don't like the taste of using the eco-cup or k-cup refills with regular coffee.  It's really... disgusting tasting.  Luckily we haven't gotten to that point yet.  

My favorite right now (that I only allow myself 1 per day as my first cup in the morning) is the Vertuo Nespresso. 

  • I empty the collection basket from the back of the machine, and cut off the foil top.
  • After washing, let them dry completely.
  • Using foils that had been purchased as well, I refill each of the pods and apply the foil top make them 'new' again.
  • The coffee brewed this way tastes much better than the refilled k-cup pods!

Doing this, I can use up the ground coffee and the coffee beans I have in food storage since I don't have any Nespresso pods stored (they are so very expensive, and my Nespresso brewer is 'new' as I got it as a gift.  I didn't have time to build up a pod storage as I did with regular coffee and k-cups).  I only had the one foil tops though.

I will be able to do this until my package of foils are gone.  At that point I'd have to decide whether to invest in more foils (about $10 I think?) or switch to using regular brewed coffee in the carafe (which I don't care for the taste).  I really don't want to spend any money though.  

Almost zero expenses other than bills and mortgage since November, 2023.






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Living on 100% Food Storage: Tonight's dinner was chicken and black bean soft tacos

No photos, because I was in the kitchen, my cell phone was in the office and I just didn't feel it was important to get it just to take a picture of some cooked chicken with black beans.  

Dinner:  Chicken and Black Bean Soft Shell Tacos

Chicken - precooked breasts and thighs, and food sealed for the freezer a couple months ago*
Black Beans - canned, from my 2-3 year storage.  The dried beans are for longer term storage, later.
Seasonings - from the pantry.
Salsa - homemade canned (recipe posted on the site numerous times over the years, see right side bar)
Lettuce was a little more of the final mix in the fridge.**
Sour Cream - was left here by a family member as I used it to make cakes for her for a party she threw
Tortillas - from the freezer.  We are running low so I'll have to start making them from scratch soon.

I did not put any cheddar cheese out tonight and it apparently wasn't missed.  Nothing was said anyway. My options for that are frozen blocks of cheese in the deep freezer and we have some freeze dried in long term storage I haven't brought out yet.

SIDE NOTE:  I brought out a 4 pack of canned pineapple from the 2-3 year storage.   They are good quality slice pineapple rounds.  It was bought at Sam's Club or Costco and is really good - not hard or weedy in texture like some brands of pineapple pieces.  I saved 3/4 of a can for The Littles to have with lunch tomorrow and the other 3 cans are currently being dehydrated.  If you've never had dehydrated pineapple... you should!




*I should have added in some of the freeze dried vegetarian chicken pieces!  Ack.  I didn't even think about that until now.  I have broth from pre-cooking the chicken that I took out of the freezer at the same time.  I will use that to rehydrate the freeze dried chicken at some point this week for a meal.

**God is really watching over us.  You know how the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of finding one unbroken container of oil in the temple in Jerusalem and how it was only enough to last 1 day but it lasted 8 days?  I have a container of heavy cream I bought in November that I'm still using (hoarding and only using when powered heavy cream won't do) and it is still good, not sour, not bad, not anything!  It's just as fresh and when it was opened.  And lettuce normally wilts so quickly or gets slimy.  We brought home a clam shell container of a spring mix salad on January 14th, leftover from a family birthday and it's still fresh.  It's just started to wilt a bit yesterday.  The sour cream I used to make cakes was for the party held on the 14th - I made the cakes earlier that week and froze them so this sour cream is still fresh and perfect on the 30th.

We have had unbelievable luck with random foods staying fresh long after they should have given up.  That's never happened before, but I'm ever so thankful.  And tell God so daily. 

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Living on Food Storage: Pizza!

Living 100% on food storage:  Last grocery trip was November, 2023.  Today is January 30th, 2024.

Using my same 'daily bread' bucket from the fridge, I decided at the last second to make pizzas for dinner last night. 

If you are brand new here, check on the side bar for the many mentions in the past 2 months of my 3/4 ingredient, artisan bread that I make everything out of now.  It's just 3 cups flour, 1/2 - 1 t yeast, a teaspoon salt and 1 or 2 t sugar, mixed in a bucket with 1 1/2 - 2 cups hot water, topped with a lid and put in the refrigerator to use within the next few days.  

The dough in the bucket is the perfect amount for 2 pizzas.  The first one was a typical pepperoni pizza, using pepperoni from the freezer, homemade pizza sauce (I posted about a couple weeks ago), mozzarella cheese from the freezer (getting low but not out yet!), and the last of the green olives in a jar in the fridge.  Topped it off with parmesan cheese also already in a container in the refrigerator.

The 2nd pizza, one of my favorites but improvised with what we had on hand... my Greek Feta Pizza.

I have 1 container of feta left in the freezer, and so I opted to use some on this as it's totally worth it.  When this is gone I'll switch to the food storage freeze dried feta cheese.

I've been posting about this pizza for literally about 15 years now!  If you've missed it, here is the original recipe, which I always improvise in one way or another.

Greek Feta Pizza

1/2 c mayonnaise
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 c crumbled feta cheese
1 - 12 inch pre-baked pizza crust, homemade crust
1/2 c oil packed sun dried tomatoes
olive oil (or oil from the sun dried tomatoes)
1/4 pitted Kalamata olives,, chopped or sliced
1 t dried oregano
2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and dry
1/2 small red onion, sliced into rings

Heat oven to 450.  Mix the mayonnaise with garlic and 1/2 cup feta.  Spread this over your pizza crust or over 2 or 3 thick flour tortillas.  Top with tomatoes, olives and oregano.  Bake until heated through.  Toss the spinach and onion with about 1 tablespoon olive oil or if you have it - oil from the sun dried tomatoes.  Tops the pizza with the spinach mixture and the rest of the 1/2 cup feta.  Return to the oven for about 3 minutes.   Slice and serve!

I used my 'daily bread' dough from the fridge for the crusts.
I like to mix about 1/2 cup homemade pizza sauce (from food storage items and posted recently) in with the mayonnaise and I don't use sun dried tomatoes (I don't like them and don't keep them in our pantry or food storage).
I still have a few onions left - another one was starting to sprout, so he got used.  When those are gone I'll switch to re-hydrating the dried minced versions until I can hopefully grow some or at least green onions in the garden this summer.
Unfortunately I found I'm completely out of my frozen spinach stores.  I have freeze dried on hand in my long term storage, which I may have to look for, as we tend to eat a lot of spinach and it's too cold/early to plant.  I had the very end of a salad mix in the fridge, which I found about 4 spinach leaves in, so I pulled them out and used those. 
I have Kalmata olives in the fridge and an extra jar in the 2-3 year pantry.  Spices and oil I always have on hand and in storage. 
Lastly, I still have a bit of mozzarella in the freezer.  When that is gone my options will be to switch to using freeze dried mozzarella from long term storage or making homemade mozzarella cheese from whole milk powder in my 2-3 year storage.  I'll update the process as needed when I make the meals and improve as such.


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100% Food Storage - a version of the Feta Pasta bake - but a ricotta version

  100% food storage.  Last trip to the grocery store was in November 2023 - and today is January 28, 2024.


Tonight's dinner was so, so good!  It's something I make often but not usually from 100% food storage.  My normal would be a baked feta pasta dish but since I'm not going to the store, not buying anything, and living 100% on food storage right now, I'm hoarding the last half container of feta I have in the freezer and opted to use some homemade ricotta I had in the freezer from last week.   

The baked cheese pasta dish didn't use a recipe but went something like this...

3 cans diced tomatoes, drained
olive oil
fresh minced garlic
homemade ricotta cheese
red pepper flakes
pasta - cooked and tossed with a bit of butter
salt and pepper

On a foil lined baking pan, drizzle some olive oil.  Add the tomatoes and garlic.  Place the feta or ricotta in the center, drizzle with more olive oil.  Sprinkle with oregano, red pepper flakes and basil, salt and pepper.  Bake at 400 for about 35 minutes or more until the tomatoes are roasted through and cheese is getting golden.

Mash it all up if you wish - or leave it all in whole pieces if you like that better.  I do a bit of both.  I use a stick blender to blend about 1/3 of the sauce to thicken it.   Pour over pasta of choice and serve with homemade bread.

I'm also going to add the homemade cheese 'recipe' although I didn't actually use a recipe for it. 

Very similar to my homemade yogurt, except I didn't have any fresh plain yogurt as a starter, and ended up using citric acid crystals and making cheese.  I do make homemade cheese fairly often, but I've always used fresh milk - not milk powder.  I'm happy to report the whole milk powder worked pretty well.  It was a soft ricotta like cheese, which I salted to taste and then froze until today.

I actually added the cheese to the pan and went into the oven while it still frozen.  :)
The Cheese

1-2 t citric acid crystals mixed in 2 T milk
1 quart water
1 1/2 - 2 cups dry whole milk powder - I used Nido

Use a 1 quart container of whatever style you wish but it's easiest if it has some sort of lid.
Fill it about half way with water, add the citric acid/milk mixture and whisk or mix briefly, then add the powdered milk.  Shake, whisk or blend until smooth.  Fill the rest of the container up to the 1 quart line.  Put the top on or cover it well, and let it set for about 12 hours someplace fairly warm like an oven with a light on or, I put mine on a heating pad set to 'low' and cover with a dish towel.  You can also speed up the process by heating your milk on the stove until it starts to get tiny little bubbles around the edge, but it doesn't burn, scorch or boil!  You take it off the heat, add the citric acid (or use about a tablespoon of vinegar or even lemon juice) - stir, and as it starts to curdle, you continue with the next step.

Sprinkle salt to taste, mix and then place it in the center of a piece of cheesecloth, and bundle up.  Hang so the liquid can drain out and let it drain for an hour until all the liquid has drained off.  Squeeze a bit, form into a round and refrigerator or freeze until needed.



 Into the oven........ the cheese was still frozen as I didn't know I was making this for dinner until... I was.



Out of the oven.  Could have gone longer, but it smelled so good and I was getting so hungry!

Using a stick blender to blend about 1/3 of it to thicken... then onto the pasta! 

I randomly grabbed a box off the shelf - it was rotini this time.
Served with the homemade bread made earlier today.

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Living on Food Storage: It was a 'make flour' kind of day today

Living on 100% food storage... my last trip to the grocery store was in November 2023.  Today is January 28, 2024.


After stocking up on a lot of flour for holiday baking this year, I still had quite a bit to use up since I didn't do as much baking as I thought I would.  I've been using that since Christmas, but today I finally was getting low enough I could get some hard white wheat out and grind some fresh flour.

I had about 10 lbs. of wheat berries here in the kitchen pantry.  After grinding the fresh flour, I went ahead and mixed it with the white flour I had left in the flour buckets.  

I was grinding hard white today.  I also have soft white wheat in storage and some hard red as well, although I don't use that as much.

Freshly ground flour........





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Living on Food Storage: Just another photo... of just another loaf of bread.... from my daily bucket I keep in the fridge (3/4 ingredient bread)


No kneading or shaping on this guy, he was just a shaggy dough tossed into the bread pan

... and give us this day, our daily bread.

One of the things we've been enjoying tremendously is our daily bread.   The thing is, I do literally almost NO work to make our daily bread.  It takes almost zero amount of my time, I don't knead it, I don't do anything with it.   I literally just take the goop out of the fridge and decide what shape it's going to be and bake it.

Once I started to make this version, I haven't made any of my 'regular' breads or rolls since. 

New here?

My last grocery trip to the grocery store was for Christmas baking ingredients and a few random groceries - that was in November 2023.  It's now January 27, 2024.   We've been living 100% on food storage.  

And here is the bread I've mentioned...  all you need is 3 ingredients (I like 4 because I add a little sugar to the yeast) and a bucket or container with a lid.

The original version is one I posted back in November, 2019 that would make 4 - 1 lb. loaves. (Linked)
Since then, it's evolved into a smaller, more simple version I just kind of throw together.

When I first made this it was in a bowl and it was the 3 ingredient version without sugar for the yeast.  It evolved into the bucket with a lid version that I do add 2 teaspoons of sugar to.  I'm not sure if it's the bucket or the sugar or the fact that I normally bake it in a bread loaf pan for our daily bread, but it's now a loaf that keeps easily and wonderfully for 2-3 days if it lasts that long - and doesn't lose texture or get crumbly and is still soft and delicious.


Simple Artisan Bread
Bucket Version

3 cups flour
1 t yeast
1 t salt
2 t sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water (sometimes up to 2 depending on the day, the flour, the humidity, etc.)

(Usually I toss in a teaspoon or two of sugar, once in a while I add a tablespoon of egg powder to the dry ingredients, other times I've added a couple tablespoons of olive oil - it's a pretty easy and friendly recipe to mess with.)

Pour the dry into a food safe bucket or container with a lid.  

Mix the dry a little bit, then pour in about 1 1/2 cups hot water.  Stir.  

If it's too dry, add more water.  Too wet, add a couple more tablespoons flour.  Just stir it together until it's a shaggy, somewhat gooey, wet dough.  Now you loosely put the lid on top, let it set on the counter for a few hours until you want to use it that day or put the lid on and pop it into the refrigerator for a day or two until you want to use it.  Don't knead it.  The gluten forms from the time it sits.

About an hour or two before you need bread of some type, pull it out.  Dust enough flour to make it into whatever you want (round, rolls, pizza dough, bread, garlic bubble bread, etc.) If you have time, try to let it rise in a warm spot for about 45 minutes and bake it the way best for whatever you are making but usually it will be a preheated oven at 375 for about 35 minutes.

Using the same bucket, just put another 3 cups flour, a teaspoon of salt and about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of yeast back into the bucket, add a cup or two of hot water, stir, and put it back into the refrigerator for the next day.




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Living on Food Storage: The taste test continued with cereals.... and how I longer term store them in mylar

Living on 100% food storage:   Last grocery trip was November 2023 and today is January 26, 2024.


As mentioned previously, we aren't a cereal-for-breakfast kind of family and honestly, until we started to only use food storage 100%, we were pretty much a zero sugar family so although I was stocking a few fun cereals, they weren't getting rotated out with fresh product.   I actually picked these up (in the photos) for when we had family visiting and thought we'd put them out for breakfast options but it ends up no one in our extended family seems to be big cereal eaters.  Because they were in the 2-3 year storage pantry, and 'life' kept me busy, they didn't get rotated, and I  basically ignored them until 'someday' when I'd have time to package them for longer term.

And that would be yesterday/today.

If you missed the first cereal taste test (one winner, one loser) it is the post just preceding this one.   Out of these cereal options above (one with a 2021 best by date and the other two with 2022 best by dates) they were... ALL WINNERS. 

Yes, they were all fresh and tasted great with good textures.

So it was time to longer-term store them.  I do this with mylar and an oxygen absorber.

Food quality mylar bags
An oxygen absorber
An old hair straightener to seal the bags



Since it would be rare for us to want cereal for breakfast, I sealed them all back up (I kept one from yesterday in the cupboard though for all of us to use this week/next week) and they are all back into the 2-3 year storage pantry.  Breakfast cereal or tasty dry snack... I'm good to go. 









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Living on Food Storage 2024: Cereal in Food Storage - two taste tests done last night

Living on Food Storage 2024:  Last grocery shopping trip was November 2023.  Today is January 26, 2024.

Important Notes:

We are not a 'cereal' eating family.  It's for two reasons really.  First, we aren't 'breakfast' people and second, we normally are a zero sugar family and have been for years.  

When it came to stocking for 'just in case' days, I knew if it were truly a situation that were eating from our pantry and storage, we would be happy to have breakfast items, and wouldn't care if they had sugar in them.  As a matter of fact, eating stored food items probably would mean we would be happy to have a 'special' item once in a while.

So while were not a breakfast family nor a sugar family, I was once-in-awhile picking up some cereals or other items I saw that looked new or fun or I thought we might use in the future.  

Now, I KNEW and I KNOW most cereals DO NOT STORE WELL.   Not in their original wrapping for sure, but even in other circumstances, the quality or taste might change (even if they are SAFE to eat... again, it's a taste or texture thing).




Remember this one?

 In 2020 (I think) The Elf on the Shelf Candy Cane Cookie Cereal was released.  It looked fun and I thought The Little Ones might like it as a special Christmas time cereal so I bought it as well as the Sugar Cookie version.  

Although we opened the Sugar Cooke Elf on a Shelf version, we never opened or used the Candy Cane Cookie version.

The best by date on this one was December 2021.  That means it's only just 2 years past 'best buy' and I was hopeful that the sugar in the cereal might have helped the grains in the cereal pieces keep their flavor.  It also has mini dried marshmallows, which I thought would still be firm and crunchy.

They weren't.  And the sugar didn't help the grains in the cereal.  Even though the cereal box was unopened and the inner bag was completely sealed tight, their bags and seals are not as air tight as say, a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber.  

The grains had started to change flavor to that old going-off taste.  The marshmallows were not crisp any longer and were squishy. 


The second taste test was the Kellogg's Special K 'Blueberry with Lemon Clusters'.   Same "best by" date of 2021.

I actually liked this one on the rare occasion I would eat cereal, and one of our daughters absolutely LOVES this one. I think I originally had 4 of these in the 2-3 year pantry but within the first year had given 2 of them to that particular daughter as they got really hard to find in the stores (Do they still make these?  I don't know since I don't buy or eat cereal).  

Opening this one, I thought for sure it would be terrible because it's primarily large flakes that would have gone 'off'.  But surprise... not bad!  It wasn't 100% but the change in taste was so slight that it was hardly noticeable. 


I started to read a book before bed, and found myself grabbing this box and snacking on the dry cereal by the handful while I was reading.  I'm going to keep this one 'out' and we'll be happy to eat it this next week or so.

Two more 'surprise' fun cereals from Dunkin Donuts to come next in the 'taste test' series. 

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Living on Food Storage 2024: Mashed Potatoes (including butter powder)

Living on 100% food storage - the last grocery store trip was November, 2023.  Today is January 24, 2024.

My previous post mentioned I would serve some sort of potato with the mushroom roast for dinner.  I opted for mashed potatoes, using some of the mashed potato flakes from storage.  I made tonight's mashed potatoes with not only dry potato flakes, but dry milk powder (whole milk) and dried butter power that is old enough all the dates are rubbed off and I'm pretty sure this company doesn't even sell these pouches anymore but they do still sell the #10 cans.  The butter powder is vacuum food sealed air tight between uses so even though it's years old, it's still fresh and perfect and works great.

Food Storage Mashed Potatoes
This makes 4 servings

2 c water
2 T whole milk powder (I use Nido)
2 - 3 T dehydrated butter powder (we love buttery potatoes, I used 3)
Salt and Pepper
(Optional:  I added some garlic as well)
1 c mashed potato flakes

In a bowl place the milk and butter powder, add the water.  Heat in the microwave or heat in a pan on the stove until boiling.  Remove from heat and stir in potato flakes with a fork.  Season with salt and pepper.  (If it's too thick just add a couple more tablespoons of hot water and keep fluffing with a fork until it's the consistency you like.)









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Living On Food Storage 2024: Roast with Dehydrated Mushrooms

100% food storage/pantry/freezer meals.  Haven't been to the grocery store since November, 2023 and today is January 24, 2024.

Tonight's dinner is in the instant pot, on the slow cooker setting.  It's a mushroom roast and I'll be serving with potatoes, either home canned or mashed from stored potato flakes.  The star of the show however is the mushrooms.  Our family loves mushrooms cooked with our roasts but obviously mushrooms from the store go bad within days so storing them means you have to choose one or more options of storing longer term.

We store mushrooms in 4 different ways.  

The first, obvious and one we don't actually store too many of are canned from the store.  I may have some still in my 2-3 year storage but they are never my first choice.

The second way we store them is freezing.  Because they go bad so quickly, I have always immediately sliced the whole mushrooms or used sliced mushrooms from the store and put them into a food sealer bag and popped them into the freezer.  This is my primary way of using and storing mushrooms on any given day - when not using food storage items.  It ensures I always had fresh mushrooms on hand for pizza, sauces, roasts, soups, etc.

Third:  Freeze dried.  Expensive, but we do have some cans of freeze dried mushrooms in storage.  Freeze dried is the most expensive option to purchase but the quality and flavor and texture is awesome.

Fourth and last, dehydrated!  And that's what I used today.


This is my regular container of dehydrated mushrooms that lives in my kitchen pantry at all times.  I would always restock it when it got low (although of course I'm not restocking it now that we are using food storage and not buying anything at the grocery store). 

To make them, simply slice your mushrooms or buy store bought sliced and place them on the dehydrator trays.  Dehydrate until they are dried out of all moisture but still pliable.  Place into a jar with a lid and let them set for a week or so, shaking them and letting the moisture left in them equalize out.  Check for no excess moisture left in them, mold, etc.  When you see they are still dry and loose, you can make sure they are sealed tightly and start to use them as needed.

No need to rehydrate before use except if you want to use them pizza.  I add them to the dishes directly and they soak up the liquid/water/broth as they cook.  To rehydrate them for things like pizza, just toss them in a bowl of hot water and let them soak for 10-15 minutes or even overnight.  You can drain off the liquid and use them as you would fresh.

Everything thrown into the slow cooker...


1 can cream of celery soup
onion powder
dehydrated mushrooms
dehydrated or fresh green onions or onions if you wish
2-3 teaspoons beef base or bouillon
1 soup can of water 
1/4 c dry red wine or even balsamic vinegar (optional)
salt and pepper

Slow cooked about 6-8 hours or until it's fall apart tender.

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Homemade Chicken Soup with Noodles - (after cooking and de-boning leftover turkey and freezing it and the broth)

100% living on food storage... last trip to the grocery store was in November, 2023.  Today is January 23, 2024.

Tonight we had homemade Chicken Soup for dinner but the afternoon was spent doing this... simmering a smoked turkey to get food sealed bags of cooked turkey to use for future meals and broth for the same.

This was a great deal at the store after last Thanksgiving - a whole smoked turkey that went down to about $5.  It went into the deep freezer at the time.  I brought it out at some point and roasted it to heat it through (because they are already precooked by the smoking process) and we had it for a meal but it was wrapped tightly and put back into the deep freezer until I had time to do exactly what I did today.

I filled a pot with water and put the whole turkey in.  Brought it to a boil and then reduced heat to let it simmer a few hours until it was completely heated through again and falling apart.  Removing the turkey to a large pan, I strained the broth, saved about 4 cups for our soup and bagged up 12 cups into food sealed bags for the deep freezer. 

I de-boned the meat, used some for the soup and food sealed the rest and froze them for future meals. 

I've posted the soup recipe before but it's quick and simple so here it is again...

Homemade Chicken Soup with Noodles

2 chicken breasts, or equivalent (dice, cube, shred, etc. uncooked is fine if you have time to cook the soup longer)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cans water
1/2 a stick of butter (4 oz)
pepper to taste
Pasta (noodles) of choice, uncooked

In a crockpot or soup pot place the chicken and water along with the can of soup, butter and pepper.  Cook for about 5-6 hours on low in a crock pot slow cooker or about 2-3 hours on high; or cover and cook on the stove until your chicken is done and you can shred/cut it.  Add the noodles about an hour before serving time in the slow cooker or about 15-20 minutes prior to serving if cooking on the stove.  If you had the pasta too early it will get huge and mushy.  




I've tried 'doctoring' this up and honestly it's really good just as it is.  If you must add 'something' a little parsley for color or some tiny diced bits of carrot but I don't like any of the typical herbs or spices added to this one.  It seems perfect just how it is.





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Canned Cheese From Storage: one good, one, meh

December 2021 dated

Last night's dinner were burritos and nachos.  I had pulled a small food sealed bag of shredded cheddar out to use, but I also remembered single cans of cheese in the 2-3 year pantry and I wanted to get those tested/rotated and used up so I decided to open and 'test' them.

Both were the same brand, but one is cheddar and the other white cheese. Both bought at the same time and both have the same 'best if used by' date of Dec. 2021.  (Not an 'expiration' date - remember - if the seal is good, they are good.  The quality taste or color may change with time but they are perfectly good and safe to eat). 

First I opened the aged cheddar.  It wasn't the bright orange color, and had faded to a more white color.  That's fine, because cheddar is actually white and the orange/yellow color is an additive so it may have faded.  It looked perfectly fine and the seal was good but the initial taste test brought out a taste of... tin can.  I could certainly taste the can flavor had permeated the cheese sauce. 

That one went into the trash.

I expected the same thing with the second can so I opened it quickly, only to find it was still the same off white color it always is, had the same texture and looked and smelled the same as a brand new, fresh can off the shelf.

Taste Test:  no discernible flavor of the tin can taste the cheddar sauce had.  This one was pretty much still 100% in color, taste and texture.  I used it for the burritos and the nachos. 

Granted, processed cheese sauce isn't my 'go to' normally, because I don't like the chemical taste of processed cheese foods - but I had picked up a few random cans on one of my previous shopping trips over the past few years strictly for the 2-3 year storage pantry, so it was nice to get a chance to use them up. 

The last time I opened one of them to test for use was in July and it had also been the cheddar cheese sauce version - and I didn't use it as it was a darker burnt orange color at the time so I just threw it out.  We weren't living on food storage at that time and I was just randomly opening it to 'test' and use it up to rotate it out if I could. 

Interesting that the aged cheddar cheese sauce is now 0 for 2 but aged differently; one turned a dark burnt orange, the other faded to almost white.  Neither were used.  But the Queso Blanco white cheese sauce has been perfectly fine. It apparently stores better for longer term.

December 2021 dated


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Living on Food Storage 2024 - Split Pea Soup and Homemade Artisan Bread in a Dutch Oven

For those just joining us...  it's January 21, 2024 and my last trip to the grocery store was in November 2023 for Christmas baking ingredients and a few regular items; I had no idea we'd be living on our stored goods a week later.  Ever so thankful God put it on my heart and mind to stock up over the past few years. 

Today I glanced through the kitchen pantry, brainstorming ideas for dinner.  I spied a bag of split peas. Like most of the country and Canada right now, it's freezing cold, so split pea soup seemed like a delicious idea. I just had to make sure I could make it from our food storage items.

Store Items and Substitutions.....

Split Peas... check.
Water, ok.  Salt and pepper, yes.  Dried Marjoram, yes.
Onion... yes!  I still have a handful in the onion bin - one was starting to sprout, so he gets used for sure.
Ham hocks or meaty bone.  Sigh.  No.  But I do have ham deli meat in the freezer and I know I have Spam in the long term storage! 
Celery, potatoes and carrots?
I have that large #10 can of dehydrated celery (I previously posted about) bought in 2012. 
I don't want to use up my canned potatoes as they are going quickly and I really had no idea we'd be using them in 2024.  I do have mashed potato flakes and dehydrated potato hash browns in storage though!  Mashed flakes will do.
Carrots?  Yes.  Thanks to 10 lbs. fresh carrots that someone couldn't use and gave to one of my young adult daughters, who also couldn't/wouldn't use them, she had brought them to my house last month and I gladly accepted them.  I have fresh carrots! 

A basic recipe, repeated in similar versions in almost every church cookbook or organization cookbook you find.  Tiny differences in the water amount (2 quarts or 3 quarts) and the celery, potatoes and carrots could be anywhere from 3/4 cup to 1 1/4 cup.  Other than that, pretty much the same.  And then just add 1 cup of cooked ham or pieces at the end.  I also added 1 T chicken base (bouillon) since I didn't have ham base and I didn't have a ham bone to add a lot of flavor.

One thing I did DIFFERENT this time... made it in my Instant Pot!  I will gladly do this every time from here on out. After rinsing and going through the split peas I did NOT precook or boil them.  I put them in the instant pot with 2.5 qt. water.  Added the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the ham and the mashed potato flakes.  Sealed it and set it to pressure cook for 30 minutes. Let it set for 5 minutes before releasing the seal.  Added the diced/chopped spam (ham) and stirred enough about 3/4 cup mashed potato flakes to make it thick and creamy, the way we prefer it.

While it cooked I used my 'daily bread' from the fridge to plop into a round on parchment and heated my Dutch Oven inside, while I preheated the oven to 400.  Popped the parchment paper and dough right into the pot, put the lid on and baked for 35 minutes.  Turned the oven off, took the lid off, and left the bread in for another 10 minutes, then removed.

The bread dunked in the soup for dinner tonight was so very comforting, warm and delicious.



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Just a quick photo of the random food storage items brought into the kitchen today....


I posted in the previous post that I used Split Peas to make a soup for dinner tonight.  Some deli ham from the freezer in the photo above (left side) and in the back you can see 2 little cans of Spam from 2015.  The large can of peaches and the pineapple on the right are for the little ones this week as fruit options in addition to the freeze dried bananas, peaches and strawberries and all the frozen fruit we've been enjoying (especially frozen fresh raspberries... oh my, so good).  The large brown jar in the back is just more beef bouillon base for soups and meats. 

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Living on Food Storage: Garlic Bubble Bread



I have posted how I started to keep a container in the refrigerator of a basic Artisan Bread Dough so I can bake daily bread to stretch our food storage meal options. 

One of the posts:

Starting with the flour/salt/yeast bread idea, over the past couple weeks I regularly started to add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to the mix as well.  Every day I use it to make a bread round, sandwich loaf, hamburger buns, dinner rolls, etc.   Today I was in a rush doing a hundred things but I made sure to grab the bucket and toss it out on a floured surface and cut it into smaller pieces.

To each piece I dipped them into a bowl of butter, garlic cloves and garlic salt.  The butter used was another pint can of home canned butter from my 2-3 year pantry, canned in the fall of 2020.  (Delicious!).  I didn't put any parsley in because I was literally rushing to get this into a bundt pan as fast as I could as I had far too many other things to do that were more important than our daily bread (sad but true).  It rose in the pan while Mr. Husband and I had to run an important errand and get some paperwork.  When we got home I popped it into a hot oven to bake while I went on to the next important task we had to get done.

And here we are... the fruit of my (not very much) labor.  Garlic Bubble Bread.

Bread Dough
Melted Butter
Garlic, minced
Garlic Salt

Dip pieces of dough into butter, place in a bundt pan.  Let rise to double.  Bake at 375 about 30 minuets or until golden brown and done.  Turn out and serve warm with dinner or with a dipping sauce.

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Living Off Food Storage 100% - the Auguson Farms 'Whole' Egg Powder for scrambled eggs this time


New here?  Currently living off food storage and posting thoughts, recipes, etc.  Last trip to the grocery store was November 2023.  Today is January 18, 2024.

Previously I believe I posted when I opened the 'Scrambled Egg' mix and made scrambled eggs with cheese for breakfast.  They were... 'fine' I suppose.  If you are really hungry.  They were a little bit gritty or grainier looking and in texture than fresh and were a darker shade of golden yellow.  Not 'fresh egg' yellow or in taste.  I don't think it was the egg though, so much as the oil and dry milk powder that was already added to the mixture in production.  This is what makes them a scrambled egg powder instead of just 'egg' powder.  

At the time I determined I'd probably just bake with them as they will be perfect in any recipe that uses eggs with a little oil or milk, like cakes, pancakes, bread, etc. 

So the next step was to use the 'whole egg powder' next to make scrambled eggs.  It is nothing but eggs, no oil or milk already added to 'age' them prematurely. 

Mixing them up this morning they are thicker than fresh eggs (which of course you can just add a little more water than called for).  I added the sliced cheese that The Littles like, and I cooked them in the pan after I browned some homemade breakfast sausage cooked in a little bacon drippings.  This was to give the eggs a little more flavor.  I then just used a little salt and pepper as usual.

The eggs had a better texture than the 'scrambled' mix. They looked like regular fresh scrambled eggs.  But the color was still the darker golden honey yellow of egg powder.  The kids noticed the color right off and the 3 year old informed me he wasn't going to like them and didn't want to eat them.  Ha ha.  He did have 3 bites of them but my rule is if you have tried them and really don't care for something, you don't have to eat it.  So he ate a good portion of sausage and drank his milk, then had an apple with peanut butter instead.

The one year old seemed to like the sausage better than the scrambled eggs as well.  I had a few bites, my husband had a couple bites but neither of us chose to eat more than that.  They taste fine but the darker color does tell your brain they aren't 'real, fresh scrambled eggs'.  Ha ha.


But these are perfect and wonderful for cooking and again, for any pancakes, waffles, cakes, bread, rolls, anything that uses egg in the recipe these will be perfect for, just like all my regular cooking done over the years powdered whole egg.   Nothing special or different or bad or good about this brand.  Just a normal whole powdered egg.  It's... fine.

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Living Off Food Storage - Auguson Farms Vegetarian Taco Meat for Super Nachos and Soft Tacos


I'm sitting here eating a big plate of 'super nachos' as I type this and they are so so good.  And I am guilty of judging this product before trying it... and I stand as 100% wrong. 

Let me explain.

If you are new here:   We are eating 100% food storage right now.  Last grocery store trip was November 2023 and today is January 17th, 2024.  This is a #10 can I bought when I very first started to buy long term food storage.  It was 2012.  Since it was 'long term' it went into storage.  Fast forward to 2017/2018. I was planning a 2 week cross-country hiking/camping trip and ordered freeze-dried food for the trip. One of the things I ordered and used was a 'vegetarian taco flavored meat'.  It was awful.  So awful it wasn't even edible.  Because of that I had been dreading trying this food product in our long term storage. 

I was wrong. The *other* vegetarian taco meat I had tried was from a different brand.  I thought they would all be the same.  They are not.  I opened this one today, and it is so very good that I have no qualms whatsoever in eating it.  It is very, very good!

Auguson Farms Vegetarian Taco Flavored Meat

2 cups water
1 cup vegetarian taco meat
2 T oil (I used avocado)
1 T soy sauce or liquid aminos

Heat the water in a pan on the stove.  Add the oil and liquid aminos or soy sauce to the water.  When it comes to a simmer add the vegetarian taco flavored meat.  Cook for 2-3 minutes and it will rehydrate, using up the extra liquid and become a texture just like regular ''taco meat' that you are used to.  (See photo). 

Serve as you would taco meat.

*I went ahead and added a little bit of cumin, chipotle, chili powder and onion powder. Not much, but some...which really enhanced the taco meat flavor for 'make-it-yourself' Mexican dinner.  

Mr. Husband made soft tacos out of it and I found myself snacking on it with round tortilla chips until I was able to make a full plate of 'super nachos'.  I added a can of corn from the pantry to the mix.  Serve with flour tortillas, chips, taco shells... however you would normally use taco meat.

After simmering at a low boil for just a couple minutes....  taco 'meat'.

I kept snacking on it with chips from the pantry until I could make a proper plate of super nachos. 




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Living off Food Storage and Pantry in 2024 - Crispy Oven Baked Chicken with Diced Potatoes

My last trip to the grocery store was November 2023.  Today is January 16, 2024.

Ugly photo but it was taken super quick with my cellphone.  It is what it is.


So nice we did it twice!  Last night I raved about the pork chops I threw together at the last second that were incredible.  And so easy.  We easily could have had them again tonight but instead, I took some boneless chicken thighs out of the deep freezer to thaw, and then ended up using the same seasonings on them - so, similar but not exact.

Finished them off with some home canned diced potatoes I canned in 2020 or 2021 (I didn't read the lid and don't want to go back into the  kitchen to check.)

Oven Baked Crispy Chicken with Diced Potatoes

Boneless Chicken Thighs (or thin boneless chicken breasts, or pork chops)
Parmesan Cheese
Crushed parmesan crisps (like a chip/cracker but are just cheese crisps sold in the snack aisles for low-carb/keto)
   OR use panko or breadcrumbs or even crushed corn flakes or heck, even rice krispies
Spices like Garlic and Woodfired Garlic, onion powder, etc.
Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 and place a cast iron pan or other dish in it while it preheats.  Add enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.  I used avocado oil.  

While the oven pre-heats, sprinkle the chicken thighs or breasts with your favorite spices.  I used Kinders Woodfired Garlic and a Garlic Jalapeno mix.  Spread about a tablespoon of mayonnaise on each pork chop. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as you like.  Top each with crushed crumbs of choice. 

When the oven is ready and the pan is hot, remove the chops/chicken to the hot pan.  The pan should be 400 just like the oven and it should sizzle.  Cook about 35-40 minutes or until done (thin sliced pork chops cook a little quicker so about 25-35 for those). 

You can add potatoes to the pan to cook with it.  If using fresh, dice them, toss in a bit of oil and add to the pan with salt and pepper.  If you using home canned potatoes (as I did) they are already cooked so if you like them crispy and golden brown add them at the start of cooking.  If you want them to to be heated through but not crisp or golden, add them the last 15-20 minutes or so. 

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Living Off Food Storage - 2024 - Incredible Crispy Oven Baked Pork Chops

If you are new here:  Living off what we have on hand and food storage - 2024 edition.  My last grocery shopping trip was a small one for random items and holiday baking ingredients back in November 2023.  I didn't plan on this but I haven't been to the grocery store since then and it's now January 15, 2024 (and counting!).

Half of a cold, leftover pork chop from the refrigerator - the only photo I could get!

Meal made from freezer and pantry items this time.

It was 3:30 pm and I had to get something planned for dinner.  I knew it would be pork chops of some sort as I took them out to thaw earlier but other than that, it could go any way.  In the end, these were incredible and will be made again very soon (probably within about 3-4 days).  SO good.  And so easy.  

Crispy Oven Baked Pork Chops

Pork Chops
Parmesan Cheese
Crushed parmesan crisps (like a chip/cracker but are just cheese crisps sold in the snack aisles for low-carb/keto)
   OR use panko or breadcrumbs or even crushed corn flakes or rice krispies
Spices like Garlic and Woodfired Garlic, onion powder, etc.
Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 and place a cast iron pan or other dish in it while it preheats.  Add enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.  I used avocado oil.  

While the oven pre-heats, sprinkle the pork chops with your favorite spices.  I used Kinders Woodfired Garlic and a Garlic Jalapeno mix.  Spread about a tablespoon of mayonnaise on each pork chop. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as you like.  Top each chop with crushed crumbs of choice. 

When the oven is ready and the pan is hot, remove the pork chops to the hot pan.  The pan should be 400 just like the oven and it should sizzle.  Cook about 25 minutes or until done.  Golden crispy and so, so good. 

I served with a broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mixture from the freezer. 

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Living Off Food Storage 2024 - Homemade Tomato Soup

 Food Storage 2024 - haven't been to the grocery store since November, 2023 - it's now January 13, 2024

Mr. Husband had surgery yesterday and today I was determined to make some sort of hot, healthy soup for dinner.  I was craving tomato soup and it just so happens our regular, go-to tomato soup is perfect for using food storage items because it uses canned tomatoes and canned milk anyway! 

We've been making this one for years and it's a favorite.  You can play with the amount of onions a bit, and you can add extra tomato if you wish.   Food storage options if you don't have fresh onions, are to use reconstituted minced dehyrated onions - but only about 1/2 a cup re-hydrated since they are so tiny compared to the 3/4 - 1 cup a diced fresh onion would be.  Tomatoes work best if a can of pureed or crushed, 28 oz. size but if you are blessed to have fresh tomatoes, just blend them up in the blender (instructions for easy skin removal at the bottom of the post) until you have about 28 oz. worth, more or less.

This is awesome with evaporated milk but you could use cream or half and half if you wished.  I've made it in the past with regular milk as well although I used a little more flour to thicken.  Since my original recipe uses evaporated milk and we are doing food strorage groceries right now it was perfect for tonight's dinner!   Serving with grilled cheese made with my homemade bread and we still have American Cheese slices right now - although I will switch to freeze dried cheddar, reconstituted, later on when we are out.

Homemade Tomato Soup

5 T butter
1 T oil
3/4 c sweet onion, diced

3-4  cups worth of fresh tomato puree (approximately) or crushed or pureed tomatoes in a can - 28 oz.
1/2 t dried basil or about 1 teaspoon fresh, diced
3 T flour
1 3/4 - 2 cups chicken broth (bouillon, homemade or canned)
1/4 t baking soda
2 T sugar
12 oz. evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat the butter and vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and basil. Simmer about 10 minutes. 

Combine the flour into the broth and whisk or beat with a fork until smooth.  Add to the soup, stirring constantly. Simmer on low 10-15 minutes.  Add the baking soda, sugar, milk and salt and pepper.  Heat through and serve.


*Note:  If you are using fresh tomatoes, plunge them into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute, then into cold water and slip the skin off before chopping up and adding them to your blender to puree.  If you are using canned, diced tomatoes you have the choice of blending them smoother OR leave them chunky for a soup with body.  If you are using puree from a can, no need to use a blender at all.







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Living Off Food Storage 2024 - more photos of my canned butter


In my earlier post you may have caught the fact I used canned butter in one of the recipes.  I thought I would touch briefly on that because it's January 2024 - and I just used butter canned October 2020 and it was still just as perfect as the day I canned it. 

Here was an earlier taste test I did as well in June of 2022:

Reposted below....



In October 2020 I canned butter.  I did a follow-up taste and post in May 2021 and at that time I was thrilled with it.  Absolutely thrilled.  I did another taste test in February of 2022 - at the 18 month mark, it was again... absolutely wonderful.  Just perfect, sweet cream butter.  

Here we are in June 2022... this October will be 2 years.  I haven't used much of the canned butter because it was part of my 2-3 year storage for 'hard' or 'harder' times.  I knew it was coming... and it looks like it's coming up pretty fast.

So... was my home canned butter still holding up?

Oh yes!

Tonight I opened one to use at dinner and it was just as perfect as the day it was canned. 

Once opened, I use a plastic lid on the canning jar.

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Living off Food Storage Edition - Scrambled Eggs with Cheese and Toast


Tonight we are having burgers for dinner - with homemade buns from my daily bread recipe I keep adding to each day I make a new loaf of some sort of bread.  This morning was scrambled eggs with cheese and toast made from homemade bread. 

The eggs are the first time I've used this product.  It's not 'whole egg powder' but a scrambled egg mix; the difference is this mix has milk and oil already added to the mix (according to the ingredients list I checked).  This can was one of those 'first cans I ever bought' items back in spring of 2012.  Generally speaking it is fine - I think the only thing worth mentioning is they may have been a little bit grainier than fresh scrambled eggs.

I think generally speaking I like making our scrambled eggs out of regular 'whole egg' powder - adding our own butter, cheese, etc. (whatever we want).  BUT in the circumstances where you don't have oil, butter or even any form of milk or cheese, this is a good choice.  Camping, hiking, etc. come to mind.   We will use it and add bacon, sausage, cheese, etc. as well as salt and pepper but I'll also be cooking with it.  Things that use egg, milk and oil like cakes, pancakes, bread, etc. will be great with this powdered egg option.




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