Category Archives: Food Storage

Product Review: Wise Food Storage “Savory Stroganoff”

One of this site’s advertisers is Wise Food Storage, who recently sent me a free sample to review.  The company supplies dehydrated food for emergency food storage, camping, and backpacking.  On their website, they sell mostly packages consisting of assortments of food, such as the package shown below, which is billed as providing enough food for two people for 72 hours:

72 Hour Kit for 2 PeopleTHe sample I was sent was a single meal, namely their “Savory Stoganoff.”

I was initially a bit skeptical, since my experience has been that most suppliers of “survival” food seem to charge a considerably higher price than one would pay for comparable items at the supermarket.  In many cases, they hide the higher price by making inflated claims as to how long the product will last.  For example, some companies offer a “30 day supply” of food, but if you look carefully, you realize that you would be eating starvation rations for those thirty days.

It was refreshing to see that Wise doesn’t follow this same practice, and the claims on their website are reasonable.  A normal diet consists of about 2000 calories per day.  You can certainly survive on less, but if you want to replicate a normal diet as much as possible during an emergency, you should plan on having about that many calories per day per person.  And Wise seems to use honest figures on their website.   For example, the 72 Hour Kit for 2 People shown above supplies over 13,000 calories, which is indeed enough to feed two people for three days, with their normal caloric intake.  In fact, with a bit of scrimping, it would probably last even longer than advertised.  It is refreshing to see a company that didn’t fall into the trap of making exaggerated claims.  As you shop around, you might see lower prices.  But before you buy, make sure you’re really getting the number of days’ supply that the company is claiming.  In Wise’s case, you are.  In the case of some other suppliers, you are not.

I’m not normally a fan of “kits” for food storage.  From a price point of view, you’re probably better off buying normal food from the supermarket.  You’ll know that they are items you like to eat, the cost will be lower, and the supermarket has many items that can be stored for a long period of time, especially if you rotate them into your family’s normal diet.  On my food storage basics page, I have ideas for emergency food storage using items available at any supermarket.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for buying a well thought out “kit.”  You know that everything is optimized for long-term storage and minimal preparation.  And there’s something reassuring about looking at a single container and knowing that it will give you enough food to eat for X days.  I wouldn’t recommend a kit as your family’s sole source of emergency food, but they do have their place.  In addition to Wise’s 72 Hour Kit, they have a variety of other similar assortments. such as a 1 Month Emergency Food Supply for 1 Person – 56 Servings and a 2 Week supply geared for backpackers.  Again, you can probably put similar kits together yourself at a somewhat lower price, but for some people, the convenience is worth it.

Package of Savory Stroganoff being reviewed.

Package of Savory Stroganoff being reviewed.

Wise’s website doesn’t seem to sell individual meals, but they are available from WalMart.  For example, you can purchase a single package of the “Savory Stroganoff” reviewed here.  The price is quite reasonable, and you can order online and have it delivered to a local WalMart, so there is no shipping cost.

The Savory Stroganoff I reviewed exceeded my expectations.  I wouldn’t describe it as a gourmet meal, but it was reasonably good tasting, easy to prepare, and would be quite adequate during an emergency or while camping.  The nine-ounce package was billed as having a storage life of 25 years.  It was packaged in a heavy plastic pouch with an oxygen absorber inside (and I’ll say more about the oxygen absorber in a moment).  According to the nutrition facts, the package supplies four servings of 250 calories each.  In other words, the one package contains a thousand calories, or about half of one person’s caloric needs for the day.  We did feed four people lunch using the one pouch, and the meal was filling.  Each serving contains 45 grams of carbohydrates, 4.5 grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein, so it’s a reasonably well balanced meal by itself.  The vitamin content is relatively low, supplying 0% of the daily requirement of vitamin A, 2% of the daily requirement of vitamin C, 8% of the calcium, and 8% of the iron.  During a short-term emergency, vitamin deficiency isn’t an issue, but those planning for a longer-term emergency would be well advised to include some multivitamin tablets if relying on this kind of storage food.

The main ingredient is the pasta, along with nondairy creamer and textured vegetable protein.  You can view the full list of ingredients and nutrition facts at the WalMart website.

Preparation was very straightforward, and we followed the instructions on the package exactly.  You start by boiling four cups of water, turning off the heat, and then adding the contents of the package to the boiling water.  We used the stove, but the water could be boiled by any emergency heat source.  Since the only actual cooking is the boiling of the water, there’s really nothing that can go wrong.  You simply cover the pot and wait 12-15 minutes.

The glitch in the instructions was that it didn’t mention the oxygen absorber inside, so we wound up pouring it into the boiling water, where we had to fish it out.  But other than this oversight, the instructions were self-explanatory.

After 15 minutes, you remove the cover, and let it stand for another 2-3 minutes.  We used a normal kitchen pan, but any container with a lid could be used.  In an emergency, to minimize the amount of cleanup, I would boil the water in one container, and then “cook” the food in some kind of disposable container.

The completed Stroganoff.

The completed Stroganoff.

The finished product didn’t look particularly appealing.  Perhaps it would have looked better if we had let it sit a while longer, but it was rather watery.  It looked more like a thick soup than Stroganoff.  It was best served in a cup or bowl and eaten with a spoon.

However, it tasted quite good, and neither my wife and I nor our kids had any complaints.  It did not have the “dehydrated” taste that I feared it would have.  It tasted like noodles and sauce.  There was a bit of seasoning–I noticed that the ingredients included dried onions.  However, it was rather bland, and adding a little bit of salt and pepper improved it considerably.  My daughter added a little bit of Knorr chicken bouillon, and she reported that this made it taste quite good.  So my main advice if you’re going to rely on prepackaged items like this, it would be a good idea to also include familiar seasonings.

In summary, the stroganoff tasted better than I expected without a “freeze dried” taste, and was more reasonably priced than I expected.  It’s more expensive than comparable supermarket items, but much less expensive than comparable items billed as “survival” or “backpacking” food.  I probably won’t order one of Wise’s food “kits,” but I’ll probably purchase a few packages of the stroganoff and other meals to keep in the camper, or just to keep in the house for times when a relatively quick meal is needed.

Full Disclosure:  The product reviewed was supplied to me free of charge by Wise Compnay, one of this website’s advertisers, in exchange for an honest review.  All product links on this page are affiliate links, meaning that if you click on the links and purchase the product, I will receive an advertising fee.

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SNAP Challenge 2015: The Final Day

Leftover staple items.

Leftover staple items.

Today marks the seventh and final day of my 2015 SNAP Challenge, where I’ve eaten for a week on less than $31.50, the average amount received by recipients of SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps. My actual expenditures were $27.99, which was up a bit from last year, but still well within the guidelines. As an added challenge this year, I concentrated mostly on foods that are suitable for emergency food storage.

20150124_180632Breakfast today consisted of oatmeal. For lunch, I finished the nachos and had another serving of biscuits and gravy.  Supper, shown here, consisted of the remaining burritos, and a quesadilla made with the remaining cheese sauce and tortilla.

Most of my leftover food is shown above. I still have at least a pound each of the flour and sugar, half a pint of the cooking oil, and half a pound of margarine. So I could easily subsist a few more days on what I have. But since the challenge ends at midnight, I’ll just rotate those remaining items back into our normal household pantry, and think about what I can do for future challenges.

20150124_180008As I did last year, I celebrated the end of the Challenge by baking a cake, shown here, using  this recipe.  About the time I was supposed to take it out of the oven, I realized that I had forgotten to include the margarine called for in the recipe.  Even though the cake wasn’t as good as last year, it was surprisingly good despite this omission.

I should note that the recipe called for two eggs, and I only had one.  Over the last year, there has apparently been inflation in the price of eggs.  Last year, a dollar bought eight, but this year, I only had six eggs.  Therefore, I had to include one egg from the normal household supply.  But I’ll be sharing more than half the cake with the rest of the family.

I have five hours to go, but there’s no question that I’ll survive.  I still have about a dozen cookies to tide me over, as well as several biscuits.  I also have about a fourth of my can of coffee remaining.  In normal use, my 10.5 ounce can wouldn’t have lasted the week, but with a bit of rationing, I had plenty.

I’ll probably have some concluding thoughts in a few days, but this concludes my SNAP Challenge for the year.  Tomorrow, we’ll resume our normal programming, and look at why a Boy Scout a hundred years ago took it upon himself to have a Merit Badge requirement changed.

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SNAP Challenge 2015: Day 5

20150122_160043I didn’t really have breakfast this morning, other than coffee.  Lunch consisted of leftover Ramen noodles, with some of the mixed vegetables mixed in, along with the leftover pig in blanket from a couple of nights ago.

Since I didn’t have much of a lunch, I also had an afternoon snack consisting of the nachos shown above.  I’m concentrating on storage food for my challenge this week, and the chips aren’t a particularly good long-term storage item.  But they do have a reasonably long shelf life, and they’re the kind of thing one might find around the house in an emergency.  For long-term storage, they could, of course, be made with stored ingredients.  Yesterday, I discussed how tortillas could be made from Maseca and water.  The tortillas can be cut into chips and deep fried to make tortilla chips.

Canned cheese sauce.

The  canned cheese sauce, on the other hand, is an excellent storage item.  A few days ago, I used it to make a passable pizza.  It wasn’t intended for that purpose, and although it made a fairly good pizza, the result was unusual looking.  But today, I was using the sauce for its intended purpose, and it made a very good snack.

The cheese sauce is relatively expensive (about $2.50 per can), so it’s probably not an economical option if you plan to use it regularly on a long-term basis.  However, having a few cans in your pantry can allow you to make some good comfort food in case of emergency.

For long-term storage, a very good option for some of your dairy needs is Honeyville powdered cheese.  This product appears to be very similar to the cheese powder that comes with boxed macaroni and cheese.  For about $21, you get a lot of this powdery substance, a can containing 41 servings of 140 calories each.  It can be used for things such as macaroni and cheese (although the boxes of macaroni and cheese are probably cheaper), and also makes a quite good cheese sauce.  I’ve found that the consistency is thicker than cheese sauce, so it actually makes a better dip.

According to the instructions on the can, you simply add hot water.  It’s not salted, so you will want to add salt.  And I’ve found that the final result is better if you add a little bit of milk and butter or margarine.

A few cans of the  cheese sauce are certainly helpful for emergency storage.  But over the long term, the Honeyville powdered cheese would allow you to augment your dairy storage with something with an essentially infinite shelf life.

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Supper is shown above.  I made another batch of biscuits and had biscuits and gravy, using the gravy mixicon and water.  I also had some of the canned vegetablesicon and a couple of slices of the Armour Treet.  I washed it down with coffee and Kool-Aid.  I am very full after this dinner which consisted entirely of canned and dried ingredients.

I also have plenty of leftovers, such that I don’t think I’ll need to do much cooking for the final two days of the SNAP Challenge.  I have leftover burritos, pizza, and biscuits and gravy in the refrigerator, but I also have additional ingredients in case I want to try something else.  I’ve almost finished my second batch of cookies, so I’ll probably make one more batch.  The largest downfall for most SNAP Challenge participants seems to be the failure to recognize the people often eat between meals.  And having the cookies available makes the challenge much more manageable. icon


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SNAP Challenge 2015: Day 4

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My 25 cent oatmeal.

For breakfast this morning, I departed somewhat from my previous shopping list. Instead of using the groceries I purchased this weekend, I had some oatmeal. Oatmeal is a good storage item, and it’s certainly within my budget, so I don’t consider this to be “cheating.” The particular oatmeal I ate was Quaker Pumpkin Spice Instant Oatmeal . I had it in the house, and had actually purchased the 8 pack about a month ago at WalMart as a closeout item for only 25 cents. So my total expenditure for the two envelopes as 6-1/4 cents.

But since I didn’t buy the oatmeal during the SNAP Challenge period, it’s not fair to use 25 cents as the price. Instead, I’ll treat it as an expenditure of $1, since oatmeal (both instant and regular) is always available at the Dollar Store. Therefore, my total expenditures are now up to $27.99.

For lunch, I finished the chili from yesterday.

For supper, I used the tortillas and can of refried beans for burritos. I made seven, four of which I saved for later. After viewing my unusual looking food, my wife took pity on me and prepared the burritos. I could have done it, but they wouldn’t have looked nearly this good. As you can see, I finished up the blue Kool-Aid and am now working on the pink Kool-Aid.

The canned beans and prepared tortillas are certainly suitable items for medium-term storage, since the tortillas had an expiration date a few months away. So they’re both good items to keep around the house. But for long-term storage, there are even better options.

First of all, normal dry beans are cheap and will keep basically forever if properly stored. The disadvantage, of course, is that they require a fair amount of preparation and actual cooking. Another excellent option is the Honeyville refried bean flakes. These are dehydrated refried beans. You simply add hot water, and the result is refried beans which are indistinguishable from (or even better than) the canned variety. The cost is basically comprable to canned beans.

While tortillas will last a long time, the basic ingredient for corn tortillas, Maseca, will last basically forever if stored properly. The only other ingredient necessary to make tortillas is water, so this is a good choice for emergency food storage. It should be available in most Supermarkets, including WalMart.
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Of course, one must know how to make tortillas. It’s not particularly difficult, but it does require some practice. And it’s made much easier by having the proper tool, namely a tortilla press such as the one shown here. They’re available at Amazon, WalMarticon, and many other places. If you can’t find one locally, you can order at WalMart online and pick it up at your local store.

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SNAP Challenge 2015: Day 3

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I have to admit that this year’s SNAP Challenge is proving to be a bit more challenging than last year, since I’m relying this year on food that is suitable for long-term storage (or, to put it another way, the so-called “non-perishable” items that people are asked to donate to food banks).  My menu is about the same as last year, but I don’t have any bread, hot dogs, sausage, or hamburger.  The overall cost is about the same, but the substitutes aren’t quite as good.  In particular, the canned meat is starting to get old.

For breakfast this morning, I had pancakes and some of the Armour Treet.icon  For lunch and supper, I made chili, using some of the Treet, one can of Chili beans, and one can of tomatoes.  I’ve been grazing on the peanut butter cookies, so I made another batch.  (I forgot to flatten them with a fork, but they taste OK.)  Both are shown above.icon  I had one biscuit for lunch, but I’m starting to tire of them, so I had cookies with my chili for supper.

 

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SNAP Challenge 2015: Day 2

Tonight's Supper.

Tonight’s Supper.

Day 2 of the SNAP Challenge was again uneventful.  I’m subsisting this week on less than $31.50 in groceries, and I’m concentrating on items that are easily storable.

After my initial failure with pancake syrup, I tried again last night and was somewhat more successful.  Since I don’t have any brown sugar to work with, I used two parts sugar and one part water and let it simmer until it was the right consistency.  Last year, my syrup was too watery, so I tried simmering it longer, taking care not to set off the smoke alarm as happened a couple of nights ago.  I still don’t have the knack, since it was excessively crystallized.  But I managed to get enough for my pancakes this morning, and for a couple more meals.

For lunch, I finished the tuna salad from yesterday, and had a couple of biscuits.

Supper consisted of the experimental pigs in blankets shown above.  I simply made the biscuit dough, wrapped it around the remaining Vienna Sausagesicon, and baked for about 15 minutes.  I also made one package of the Ramen noodles.  I washed it down with windshield washer fluid–er, I mean blue Kool-Aid.

With the exception of a couple of pats of margarine that I put on the pancakes, everything I consumed today is suitable for long-term storage.

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SNAP Challenge 2015: Day 1

The SNAP Challenge got to an uneventful start today. For breakfast this morning, I had two of the pancakes.  Because of the failure with the syrup last night, I put peanut butter on them.  On the way to church, I put an extra pancake and a couple of cookies in my pocket, which I had as a snack on the way home.

20150118_140044For a fast lunch, I made some tuna salad, consisting of pastaicon, one can of tuna, and some mayonnaiseicon.  I had about half of it for lunch and saved the rest for later.  I also had two biscuits and a couple of cookies for dessert.  I didn’t resort to drinking windshield washer fluid.  The blue liquid was actually Kool-Aid, since it turns out that the first batch was that color, undoubtedly with all-natural coloring.  I also had coffee.  For some reason, many SNAP Challenge participants add to the suffering by erroneously concluding that coffee is out of their budget.  I have plenty for a week, and it cost only about $2.  I am conserving somewhat, however.  Normally, I would go through the 10.5 ounce can in a little less than a week.  Therefore, I’m making it one cup at a time, and I should have plenty for the week.


For supper, I made experimental pizza.  Since one focus during my SNAP Challenge is the use of food appropriate for emergency storage, I decided to work with cheese.  Storing dairy products can be a challenge for some, but there are many options.  One of them is canned cheese, such as shown here.  At WalMart, it cost about $2.50 for a 15-ounce can.  It’s available in many supermarkets in the Mexican aisle.  This one is called “condensed,” and for use in things like nachos, the instructions call for water to be added.  We normally buy the uncondensed version, which sells for about $2 for the same size.  It was out of stock when I made my shopping trip.

I used this cheese in pizzas, which are shown here.  SNAPpizzaAs you can see, they wound up looking a bit unusual, since the cheese didn’t completely melt.  Chances are a more skilled chef would be able to make the pizza look a bit more presentable, but it tasted good.  The crusts are flour tortillas which I first coated with a bit of vegetable oil.  On top of that was some of the spaghetti sauce.  For toppings, I used about 1/4 of the can of cheese and two Vienna sausages.

Despite it’s odd looks, this year’s pizza tasted much better than my first attempt last year.  Last year, I used plain tomato sauce, and I didn’t have many seasonings to work with.  As a result, it was rather bland. In fact, the pizza represented the one time that I threw away leftovers last year.  In addition, the canned cheese I used this year actually worked a lot better than the cheap cheese I used last year.  And ounce for ounce, the price was about the same.  I’ll be using the canned cheese in other recipes over the next few days.  Even though the can of cheese represented my single largest expenditure this year, I think it was a good choice.

The can of cheese had an expiration date of May 2016, meaning that it has a shelf life of over a year.  It does look like a good option for emergency storage.  Calorie for calorie, it’s more expensive than other options (about $2.50 for 700 calories), but it’s still a good choice for adding a bit of variety.

I washed down supper with another glass of blue Kool-Aid and, of course, coffee.

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SNAP Challenge 2015 Day 0: Cooking

I plan to start the seven-day SNAP challenge tomorrow.  I did the shopping yesterday.  I spent a total of $26.99 on groceries that should last me the week.  Most people who take the SNAP challenge seem to go hungry since they don’t think about their basic caloric needs, which for most people is in the ballpark of 2000 calories per day.

Most of my caloric needs are taken care of with $4.94 of my purchase money, in the form of the following, which make up a total of 17,510 calories, more than enough for seven days:  Five pounds of flouricon , four pounds of sugaricon, and 16 ounces of  cooking oilicon.  Those items are not, by themselves, particularly edible.  Therefore, my mission for today was to change some of those ingredients, along with a few others, into actual food.  Since this process takes about the same amount of time regardless of the quantity, I made enough for the next few days and put them in the freezer.

20150117_200705I started by making the pancakes shown here.  They are now in the freezer and can quickly be warmed up in the toaster or microwave for a fast breakfast or snack.  I used the same recipe as last year, except I used cooking oil instead of margarine, in keeping with my theme this year of using ingredients that can be stored for emergency use.

And since my use of storage food items precludes the luxury of 20150117_203434-1having bread, I’ll be relying more on the pancakes and biscuits.  I also made my first batch of biscuits, which are shown here.  I again used the same recipe as last year, but used cooking oil in place of the sausage grease or margarine that I used previously.

I also made a batch of peanut butter cookies.  The downfall of many SNAP challenge participants seems to be the lack of snack items.  The 18 cookies I baked should tide me over between meals for the next couple of days.  I used the same recipe as last year, but since I had more peanut butter to work with this year, I was slightly more generous.  I went ahead and used the margarine for these cookies, although I think the cooking oil would have worked just as well.

I also prepared two other items, or at least tried to do so.  Envelopes of Kool-Aidicon cost 20 cents, considerably less than the pre-sweetened variety.   It’s easier to prepare it by the glass, so I made my own pre-sweetened Kool-Aid by adding one envelope to a cup of sugar.  My first failure so far was with pancake syrup.  I mixed two parts sugar and one part water (equal parts of white and brown sugar work better, but I don’t have brown sugar) and left them to simmer on the stove.  I was reminded of this when the smoke detector went off, since I neglected to keep an eye on it.  Perhaps I’ll try again tonight, but I’ll probably just clean up the mess and leave my syrup making for another day.  In any event, I lost one cup of sugar, which was burnt to a crisp rather than delivering any food value.  But last year, I had more than a pound of sugar left at the end of the SNAP challenge, so I won’t go hungry as a result of my carelessness.

 

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SNAP Challenge 2015: Testing Storage Food

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As I did in 2013, I will once again be taking the SNAP Challenge, starting in the next couple of days.  I explained it in more detail when I originally took it, but the general idea is to subsist for seven days on $31.50 in food, which represents the average amount received by recipients of the SNAP program, formerly known as Food Stamps.

There seem to be two categories of people who take the challenge.  The first group is made up of those who view the challenge as being extraordinarily trivial.  Occasionally, one of them will announce that he or she is participating and go out and buy $31.50 worth of food.  They often put little thought into what they buy, and they usually aren’t heard of after a few days.  This is probably due to the fact that they failed.

The other group of people usually make it through the full seven days, but only after enduring a great deal of suffering.  Like the other group, they usually make poor buying decisions by buying apparently “healthy” but expensive food.  They usually suffer through the seven days, but are hungry most of the time.

I’m in the middle group.  Last year, I discovered that the challenge was not trivial.  But I also discovered that with a little bit of planning, I could eat quite well over the course of the seven days.  This year, I’m doing it again, but with a new twist.  One of the focuses of this blog is emergency preparedness, and I learned last year that the challenge also taught lessons for disaster planning.

On my website, I have a number of pages discussing emergency food storage.  Since I don’t own any camouflage clothing, I’m not much of a “survivalist.”  But even for those who are not contemplating a complete apocalypse, I believe that it is important to make preparations to be reasonably self-sufficient in emergencies.  And having a reasonable amount of food in the house is one important preparation.  In most cases, this “emergency food” is just part of the groceries we would normally buy.  Therefore, the SNAP challenge is a good way to test these emergency supplies.  Last year, my SNAP purchases included quite a few refrigerated items, such as hot dogs and ground beef. These would not be a good choice for emergency storage.  This year, I made a point to store items that are similar to the kinds of things that can be stored for an emergency.

This is not a perfect test, because I also needed to stay under the $31.50 budget.  Some of the storage food I would normally buy comes in larger quantities.  Therefore, I have made a few substitutions:

I did buy six fresh eggs, which should stay in the refrigerator (although it’s relatively safe to store eggs at room temperature for a few days).  For emergency storage, I would recommend Honeyville powdered eggs. Despite any bad reputation that powdered eggs might have, the Honeyville eggs are actually excellent, and indistinguishable from fresh eggs in cooking or baking. They can even be used for scrambled eggs, which taste almost as good as normal eggs. In a real emergency, I would use the Honeyville eggs. But for purposes of this test, they would be out of my budget. A large can costs almost $20. While they are economical, the can is much more than I need for one week. Therefore, I’m substituting fresh eggs, which cost me $1 for a half dozen.

I also purchased a pound of margarine.  Margarine will keep outside of the refrigerator, but not for long-term use.  In an actual emergency, there are other options.  One option is canned butter (ghee), which is fairly expensive. Another more economical option is Honeyville Powdered Butter, which I have not actually tried, but seems to have excellent reviews.  Another surprisingly good option is Butter Flavor Crisco, which can be stored.  Last year, I didn’t purchase any cooking oil. This time, to help allay any concerns that I’m “cheating”, I did purchase vegetable oil, which I’ll use for most cooking. Therefore, my use of the margarine should be farily minimal.

My shopping list for the challenge does include a couple of items that have fairly long shelf lives, but not what one might consider “long term.” I have one package of tortillas, and one bag of tortilla chips. Both of these have an expiration date a few months out, so it’s not unreasonable to believe that they would be in a normal cupboard in time of emergency.

Finally, as I did last year, the main staple of my diet will be my five-pound bag of self-rising flouricon. The bag I just purchased has an expiration date of December 2015, meaning that it can be stored for almost a year. For actual emergency storage, I would recommend normal flour, since the “self-rising” flour is nothing more than normal flour with baking powder already added. But for the SNAP challenge, the self-rising flour is easier on the budget. The smallest can of baking powder, which would last months, was over a dollar. For emergency use, it would be better to purchase regular flour along with a can or two of baking powder.

My focus on shelf-stable food means two big changes from last year’s challenge. First of all, I used two pounds of bread last year, and I don’t have the same luxury this year. But I had flour left over last year, so I’ll need to use the flour to make a substitute. Last year, I did have meat, in the form of hamburger, hot dogs, and sausages. This year, I’ll need to get by on canned meats. That will make things more challenging.

Finally, I should say a word about milk. I’ll be using shelf-stable milkicon. It’s always available at the dollar store for a dollar a quart, it has a shelf life of about a year, and it tastes just like any other milk. It’s a good choice for emergency storage, although since most of my uses are for cooking, powdered milk would be adequate. More information is available on my milk page.

As I did last year, I’ll spend a few hours the day before the challenge begins preparing some food.  I’ll eat well during my week, but it does require advance preparation.  And it’s more efficient to do most of the preparation all at once.

Today, I purchased the food shown above.  My total expenditure was $26.99.  I bought all of the food at either Walmart or Dollar Tree.  The complete shopping list is shown below, along with the prices I paid.  You can click on the links to see the exact items I purchased.  (In a few cases, I couldn’t find the same brand online, in which case the link goes to an identical product of a different brand or size.)


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Honeyville Discount Code for Emergency Storage Food

On my website, I have a number of pages regarding emergency food storage.  Even if, like me, you don’t own a single piece of camouflage clothing and don’t think of yourself as a “survivalist,” it is prudent to keep some food on hand in case of emergency.  You can find my food storage pages at these links:

One excellent source for bulk food for emergency storage, Honeyville Grain, has a sale this week (until August 26, 2014). By using coupon code SCHOOL14, you will receive 15% off your order.

No matter what size your order is, the flat rate shipping cost is only $4.99. Therefore, it is very economical to order food in bulk. To take advantage of the discount until August 26, 2014 use coupon code SCHOOL14 when you check out.

You’ll find a full selection of their food storage products at this link.Here are some of the products that I think are most useful.

Milk Alternative

Honeyville’s “Milk Alternative” is about the best way I know to store large quantities of powdered milk. It’s not actually whole milk, but it is a dairy product, and has nutrition very similar to milk. The first ingredient is whey, and the second ingredient is nonfat milk. While it doesn’t taste exactly like real milk, it’s actually quite close, and tastes much better than products such as Carnation instant milk. It’s also quite economical. It’s also available in chocolate and strawberry.

Fruit Smoothie Mixes

The fruit smoothie mixes  are excellent. You’ll use them regularly, and they’ll ensure that you have an emergency dairy product on hand.

Hot Cocoa Mixes

The hot chocolate mixes are about the same price that you’ll find for comparable products in the supermarket. But in my opinion, they’re better quality, and come in a variety of flavors.

Powdered Drink Mixes

The powdered drink mixes are comparable to what you’ll find in the supermarket. These are economical for storage large quantities.

9-Grain Cereal

The Honeyville Nine Grain Cereal is excellent. It makes a hot cereal that tastes much better than oatmeal and is more nutritious. It’s quite economical, and you’ll use it in your normal menu, as well as for emergency storage.

Powdered Eggs

Admittedly, most people have a bad reaction to the words “powdered eggs,” usually stemming from a prior bad experience. Fortunately, the Honeyville powdered eggs do not live up to that reputation. They are excellent, and when used in scrambled eggs or baking, they are indistinguishable from the real thing. They can make an excellent source of protein in an emergency.

The only downside is that they come in a large can. They’re good when you open the can, but after about a month, they once again start to live up to the reputation. Therefore, they are hard to use in your daily cooking. But for emergency storage, I highly recommend them.

Note: All of the above links are affiliate links, and I get a small commission is you make a purchase after following these links. But in my personal experience, the Honeyville products are all excellent, and I’ll probably be placing an order myself this week.