Saturday, June 18, 2016

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Two Summer Projects

This summer is proving to be very hot and dry in our area.  Once again there was rain all around us this week but we received very little compared to the rest of the state.  Which meant a lot of time is spent watering the porch and deck flowers as well as the garden.

When we had a brief cool down (relatively speaking), I worked on my first indoor project of the summer.  I cleaned out the deep freeze, got rid of mostly bread items that had been in it far too long, and placed gallon containers that held our filtered water on the bottom of the freezer.  That will help it not have to work as hard in the heat of the garage.

My freezer is pathetically empty at the moment.  The funds I normally use to keep it at least half filled were relegated to the garden projects.  But they absolutely had to be done in a timely manner.  This week my husband purchased the soil we needed for a lawn project and the half ton of pea gravel we needed for the rows between the raised beds in the garden.

Which meant I had the ever so important job of helping him back the dump truck he had rented from the garden center... first next to a tree (to dump the soil) and then to just the right spot on our driveway (to dump the pea gravel).  Without getting hit.  I must admit to having overdone the STOP! a few times but he tends to be a little hard of hearing.

The garden project will be done for now once the pea gravel has been spread on the garden rows.  We may finally expand it out and build at least a couple more raised beds this fall.  Our garden isn't very big and we would love to grow more of our food. But even if we can't expand this year, the essential project of the rebuild and update is almost finished.  Happy dance!  The landscaping projects will continue through the summer.  We are taking our land back from the forest.

I do hope to begin stocking the freezer with meat, butter, frozen veggies, etc. again.  But I'm soon going to restock it with main dishes ready to pop in the oven and desserts to have ready when needed.  I was inspired by this post from Annabel of The Bluebirds are Nesting.

The good thing about a project like cleaning out the freezer is that it goes a long way to organizing the pantry eventually... and it cost nothing but time!

My next summer project will cost some Amazon credit.  I'm purchasing a few more Mountain House dinners to have available for grab and go bags.  They have never been a priority since we live in a rural area but after seeing some news events where people have had to leave home even from rural areas, I decided I needed to update the two bags I prepared a couple years ago.

The nice thing about the Mountain House pouches is that they are light, portable, and have an expiration date (unopened) of around 2026 - 2028.  I realize the pouches are made for backpackers but they are perfect for grab and go bags (don't forget to take water!)... and should we never need to grab and go they can be used for a tasty meal here at home.  They would supplement items like energy bars, dried fruit, etc. that do not need cooking.

The other backpacking type of food product I have purchased that has high reviews is from Harmony House.  It was purchased to put back for an emergency to provide a source of vegetables.  It only has a shelf life of two years before you need to use it but for around $50.00, you can tuck away five star rated dehydrated vegetables, lentils, and beans that are all packed in a small box.  I was amazed how much food was in that box, each in its' own Ziploc style pouch.

It is also available in the form of premixed soups and a slightly more expensive box that has a larger variety of food.  For the price, it would be easy for most people to begin using the various veggies in one box at the end of a year and replacing it with another to "put back".  I will start using the box I have when cooler weather comes around again for soups.  These are high quality dehydrated non-GMO and Kosher veggies.

The Mountain House pouches listed are "cooked" with boiling water added and the pouch sealed for indicated time.  The Harmony House products are placed in a pot with water and simmered for indicated time.  The reviews of each item have ways people have cooked them.  I have to admit, I need to purchase a few Mountain High pouches because I used what I already bought on nights I was at home alone and too tired to cook.  It is a good way to see what you like... or so I told myself.

As well as using Amazon credit for some Mountain House pouches, I will be putting fresh batteries in the flashlights in the bags and updating anything else that needs attention.  Then they can go back in the closet where they are easy to... grab and go.

If anyone saw the last episode of NCIS this season, the child from Israel who was rescued came with her grab and go bag.  That is very realistic.  I have read that Israeli citizens are recommended to have a grab and go bag should they need to go to a bomb shelter and that most do have one for each person.  It isn't a bad idea for the rest of us even we probably will hunker down.  One never knows.

Further information for some Mountain House products (some links take you to larger amounts but you only need click on the "Pouch" size):
Beef Stew... here.
Biscuits and Gravy... here.
Chicken Fried Rice... here.
Pasta Primavera... here.
Mac and Cheese... here.

Further information for Harmony House products:
Basic Backpackers Kit (what I bought, individual dried veggies, lentils, beans, Non GMO)... here.
Backpackeres Prepared Soup Kit... here.


Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I know a freezer is cheaper to run when full and will fill old milk bottles or something similar and put them in to keep the running cost down.

mdoe37 said...

Mountain House Chicken Teriyaki Could lay my face in a pouch right now! Mmmm

I tried a new "gardening project". Such a hassle with weeds and watering. Trying it out for my parents who are now 80 and 85. I watched a Youtube video by Larry Hall who is growing gardens in Walmart shopping bags. Line a kiddie pool with some stone and place the soil bags in. Water up to the top of the stone and the bags apparently wick the moisture up. So far I have beets, cukes, and radishes up with carrots and green onions hopefully to follow. He has some other videos showing stuff that would work on patios as well. I'm hopeful.

Whaaaat? You let him drive the dump? I do all that stuff here, the husband....never. lol its terribly hot here right now, but mid week is project to be in the 70's. I'm not a 90 degree girl.