Tag Archive: cooking


cottage cheeseConventional ‘food wisdom’ (ie the food police known as the USDA and FDA) ‘says’ you can’t dehydrate cottage cheese. Well, yes you CAN!!
Cottage Cheese…alright, that either makes you cringe or makes you happy. It is a versatile ‘cheese’ that can be eaten on its own or used/substituted in great recipes. But here is the GREAT question…did you know you can dehydrate it for long term storage? Yes, you read that correctly, you can SAFELY dehydrate it. No need for the expensive ‘freeze dried’ #10 can stuff that once opened will stick together within a week. Do it YOURSELF! I did and so can you and here is how:

Taken indirectly from the pages of Food Storage: Preserving Meat, Dairy, and Eggs by Susan Gregersen and David Armstrong

Get your cottage cheese from the local store. Any type will do but the no fat works best for fast dehydration. Fat included cottage cheese takes longer to dry and you will have to turn it over to complete the drying process. Non-fat dries rather quickly.

Spread on fruit leather sheets as thinly as possible. Mine is spread to about ¼ inch thick. Put the dehydrator on 125 and walk away for about 8 to 12 hrs before checking. You may need to turn it. I did not have to do so since I used no fat cottage cheese.

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When dry (and time will depend upon your dehydrator and weather conditions) allow to sit and cool for about an hour.

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Vacuum seal or put into jars with O2 absorbers. Will last AT LEAST one year if not longer depending upon storage conditions.

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To rehydrate: pour about twice as much boiling water (by volume) to dehydrated cottage cheese and let it sit. Stir every two or three minutes for about 15 minutes. Trick is the longer you let it ‘sit’ re-hydrating the more like ‘real’ or ‘fresh’ cottage cheese it will be. It can be eaten this way or used in cooking.

I have not at this point in time dehydrated this but I have eaten it (chewed) dehydrated and I will tell you…YUM!

So go ahead and give it a try, it might be a treat on the trail or something good for future use. It will store well and is very cost effective.

survivingshtfmom

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Once again, my friend over at VaCreepinOutdoors is at it again…comparing two different types of small ‘bug out’ type cooking methods.
Check it out:

Bugging out is NOT a preferred way of getting anywhere, but in an emergency…maybe your get home bag or for just in case, you can see the difference between the two.
Personally I have the small canister stove….just in case.

Btw…the small burner comes from amazon for only $7…sometimes DYI is NOT the best option!!!

remember to like and subscribe VaCreepinOutdoors…tons of great videos on survival and making the best in the worst case…

One thing this shtfmom has given great thought to is how to cook if things go south. Back plans to back up plans…Of course I have your typical electric oven (which I wish was propane, but so it goes). But having gone through a few different times without electricity for long periods of time I have had to address the issue of how to cook without electricity. Yes, there is the rocket stove and you can make those on the cheap…but having a natural abundance of free wood spending that money on a good one (after all I have quite a few people to feed!) and a fire pit and cast iron…well, of course this is appealing to me…not to mention sitting around a good fire and eating great food with great company. There is nothing like an open fire to bring people together. And I don’t about you, but in a situation where you have chickens, alot of the time people avoid the ‘wings’. This is a GREAT way to use the wing and eat well. In any type of situation you may come across in this world, knowing how to cook over an open pit fire will serve well…give it a go and give it a try! Being prepared to cook under various conditions and using different methods is a plus in my book!

My friend over at VaCreepinOutdoors came up a bit ago and he made these awesome Garlic Parmesan chicken wings over the open fire…
Hope you enjoy the video and the inspiration it may give you and maybe next time you decide to ‘grill’ you may think about open pit cooking instead. And by the way…find him on YouTube for more great survival skills…great and informative videos.

Published on Oct 22, 2013

Making wings in a dutch oven. They turned out great.

9 fresh wings. ( total of all wing parts. flats and drumsticks combined)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1teaspoon Italian seasoning
1teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

coat wings in olive oil, dredge wings in remaining ingredients. Cook at 425 in preheated oven for 30 minutes on a cookie sheet. You can flip them at 15-20 minutes. I usually don’t. If you like crispier wings, just cook longer. At time of plating you can ad shredded parmesan cheese or the regular granulated works fine. Or just eat as is.

That’s what I go by for fixing in the oven. A dutch oven takes longer and won’t crisp like an oven but they are fall off the bone good. Expect an hour minimum cook time. The longer they cook in a dutch oven the more tender they will be. If concerned about eating under cooked chicken of any kind, the rule is 160 degrees. If chicken exceeds 160, your good. There is actually enough moisture in the pot to cook for an hour and a half to 2 hours. As stated, longer cook time for a dutch oven, the more fall off the bone tender.

Just be careful that your skills doesn’t get you designated as camp cook. LOL

ISD…okay…just what is that you ask? I is for improvised, S is Storage and D is for Device…Improvised Storage Device…yeah, okay, okay, I will admit that older son #2 came up with it and he is an admitted warfare nut and everything is put or translated into militaristic terms if you communicate with him. But hey, an ISD sounds lot better than ‘repurposed’ or ‘recycled’ doesn’t it?

So what is an ISD exactly…well, see the picture below for a few ideas…

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Of course the wonderful, multi-purpose 2 liter soda bottle. I use these to store rice, flour type products, popcorn, salt, sugar and other liquids (not water though as they are too thin as I have found out for long term use/storage). Gatorade bottles are great too for storing rice, flour, liquids and BEANS very easily. (Anyone who has tried to get beans into a 2 liter soda bottle knows what a pain in the rear that is let alone get them OUT and I am not into self torture food storage). How about those lunch meat containers? Put them into the dishwasher and guess what? Instant free storage. Old salad dressing bottles are great for making your own salad dressings, storing ‘homemade’ liquid soap or, if you are like me and buy in bulk, putting that liquid into a manageable container. I save and reuse the spice bottles too, again, great for breaking down from bulk purchase to manageable and you can use them to make and store your own toilet/tub scrub. One gallon water jugs that have been used? Either refill them and put outside for use as grey water (flushing toilets, watering plants, etc.) or refill with some other liquid purpose (recently I made bug killer from concentrate and used a one gallon jug to store extra in). I saved the empty laundry detergent containers to refill and reuse with my own laundry detergent and make gallons of bug killer from concentrate. Cottage cheese containers, sour cream containers? Yeah, those things that we constantly throw away…perfect for storing non-food items in such as nails, screws, thread, crayons, you name it…if it fits, it stores. Big vinegar containers I reuse to make large amounts of cleaners using vinegar. And, I will admit to reusing those zip lock bags too, a simple scrub and air dry and you get more than one use out of them. I save and reuse anything that is a ‘container’. I have a couple of totes with clean empty containers in them ‘just in case’. You never know…Any one with more ideas? Please do share your reuse ideas for ISD’s…improvised storage devices.

I am all about saving money and getting the most bang for my buck, however, I do live by the rule ‘pay now, pay later, but pay you will’… in other words, you can buy the cheapest or mid-grade item right now, because its ‘cheap’, but you wind up having to replace it later on down road because it wears out faster, quits working or doesn’t work properly because its ‘cheap’.
The flip side to that saying is that sometimes you can find great items, expensive ones on ebay, craigslist or yardsales and be cheap but get the ‘expensive’ product. And that is what I usually like to do, find what I what I want at the cheapest price available.

But sometimes, like with pressure cookers, you really don’t want to buy used (too much of a risk and many time pieces are missing and yes, you can buy the replacements, but that just adds to the cost doesn’t it?) so last year, when I went looking to purchase a pressure cooker I turned to Amazon to get one at ‘cheaper’ price. There were two available by Presto and here is my tale of two pressure cookers:

Of course I wanted to save money so I went with the cheaper 6 quart Aluminum pressure cooker (about $25 at the time) by Presto. And this is a direct quote:

• Cooks three to ten times faster than ordinary cooking methods, saving time, energy, and money.
• Pressure regulator maintains the proper cooking pressure automatically.
• Strong, heavy-gauge aluminum for quick, even heating.
• Includes cooking rack and complete 64-page instruction/recipe book.
• 9-3/4 by 16-2/3 by 8-1/2 inches; 12 year limited warranty.
4 and half stars from over 300 people…heck yeah I thought! The other one available was the Presto 6 quart Stainless Steel pressure cooker and at the time was almost twice the cost…nope, I thought, why spend the extra money for something ‘fancier’ and honestly what I thought was just a ‘shinier’ version designed to make Presto extra money?
And of course, I had done my research on pressure cookers and found mixed comments on using them on induction and glass cook tops (I have a glass one). So…I went cheap, ignoring my ‘pay now, pay later, but pay you will’ rule….

Fast forward over the past year…I used this aluminum pressure cooker weekly, not one problem…everything came out perfect, no problems, quick, easy meals…until one day last week…I put in my meat, proper water amount, etc. did everything I was supposed to do, got it wobbling properly and knew I had at least 20 minutes before it would be ready so I jumped in the shower (that one of the pleasures of using a pressure cooker by the way, get it going and move on to something else). When I got out of the shower I smelled the food, which is not usual, but this was really strong…something was a foot. Got dressed quickly and went to check on the cooker and the closer I got the more burn smell I got and then I noticed the whole POT was wobbling along…NOT A GOOD SIGN!!!
Alright, even though the timer said I had at least another 10 minutes to finish cooking I took it off the burner and did my quick cool down, the pot itself definitely no longer sat flatly on the stove, in fact it very rounded at the bottom. Got it open and the meat was burned beyond recognition, 1 inch think burned crap on the bottom of the cooker…lets just say, something went horribly wrong this go around. Warped and burned beyond saving it was…sigh…trash…complete failure on many levels…so much for trying to save money…

So, I bit the bullet and purchased the stainless steel version, a bit more money, but having used stainless steel pots and pans for YEARS I know this one will last forever….it even clearly states:

• Chicken, fish, meat, and vegetables cook to perfection fast; Helps tenderize economical cuts of meat
• Pressure regulator maintains the proper cooking pressure automatically; Complete 64-page instruction/recipe book included
• Ideal for use on regular, smooth-top and induction ranges; Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
• Cover lock indicator shows when there is pressure inside the cooker and prevents the cover from being opened until pressure is safely reduced
• Helper handle for ease of handling; Extended 12-year limited warranty

You can check the stainless steel one out here:
<a href="Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker

Good news is that now that the old one has died I now have another base plate, weight regulator…threw away the seal as I suspect that the seal also failed since the pot warped on the base…at least I was able to salvage something from ‘trying to save money’…sometimes its just not worth it and in a SHTF situation, or another situation where you might not be able to replace something easily, just keep this little story in mind… cheaper is not necessarily ‘better’.

I have used my stainless steel pressure cooker and to be honest, wow! What difference I notice in the texture and taste of the food and the clean up was so easy (the aluminum was a bit of scrub to clean well)…all over the type of metal used…who woulda thunk it? So ladies and gents, do yourself a favor and spend the extra money if you are wanting to get into pressure cooking…it’s a great way to save time, money (energy bills) and get the slow cook taste in no time…get stainless!!

And be sure to browse the books for pressure cooking for great recipes and a few other favorite things I have found:

A couple of months ago I had the good fortune to meet someone who is an avid hunter and fisherman, quite a good one too. And to top it off someone who has the same mindset of being able to survive come what may.
Having personally grown up in a family that hunted and fished out in the Midwest, as a child I can remember eating wild game, fish and fresh homegrown fruits and vegetables, some of it collected wild.
Well, you know how life goes, you grow up, move to the city and start to forget things…at least I did until the economic crash a few years back and moving to an area that is hurricane prone. Then I discovered the ‘prepping’ movement and down the rabbit hole I went, coming back around full circle to where I started from….but this isn’t a how to get back to basics blog or how to become more self-sufficient, rather, I would like to share a YouTube video done by VaCreepinOutdoors on how to use the should roast from a deer. People think that wild game is an acquired taste and that only certain parts of deer are ‘good’, but honestly, almost every part of any animal has its uses and most can be eaten if properly prepared and this video will show you how to cook that funny thing called a deer shoulder roast that most would throw away…enjoy the video!

Recipe:

1 Deer Shoulder Roast
Vegetables of Choice
Seasonings of Choice
Crock Pot

Marinate deer shoulder roast in olive oil and seasonings for 2 days in plastic baggie in refrigerator.
When ready to cook prepare vegetables as you wish, place deer shoulder roast in crock pot, place vegetables in crock pot, season to your own taste, basil, Italian seasonings are great seasonings for deer meat.

Place crock pot on low and walk away…will take approximately 6-8 hours on low…

It is absolutely delicious! Trust me, almost like eating roast beef, so this coming hunting season, don’t let that scary looking deer shoulder roast go to waste…its good eating.