Friday, August 19, 2016

PUTTING FOOD BY - Prepackaged Pasta

While they are not my favorite thing to purchase, having quick fix foods in the pantry do make life easier when the rest of the world refuses to stop spinning for two seconds. However, I do not like keeping things in their original packaging. I prefer glass canning jars.

The picture above shows items pulled from the kitchen cabinets. The picture below is their repackaged version:

I try to package pastas in wide mouth quarts. I do not use half-gallon jars (though I could), because once I pop the seal I want to use them up in a week or two as opposed to resealing a larger jar.

I've heard, though I can not get confirmation on the fact, that you should not use the vacuum seal for powdered items as they can clog the air canal. Makes sense. So the pastas are in jars and if they have a coordinating powder mix in a separate pouch, I put those in the 1/2 jelly jars and screw the lids on tight. These are the jars I will use first. 

On a recent trip to Big Lots, I found small tortellini pasta in several varieties. These cute little bags were perfect for me as Bob does not eat anything that includes the name of a vegetable or green leafy additive.

I did get a couple bags of four-cheese so I could fix something for the two of us, but primarily this purchase was for my meals when he is gone. I stored them in pint jars... just enough for two meal-preps each.

I will probably get at least four meals from each jar, but I'll cook them in batches of two so that I'll have meals for two days in a row then the other half of the jar for the following week. 

What types of pastas do your family enjoy? Share your favs, or a link to a favorite pasta recipe.

Friday, August 12, 2016


Bob loves cinnamon toast, cinnamon rolls, etc. So when I found Cinnamon Roll Captain Crunch I knew this would become a favorite. Since the product is new on the shelves (in our area at least), I thought I'd better stock up while I could find the cereal.

I'm not a sweet cereal fan so these are all for Bob. I packaged them in quart jars. I figure he'll go through one jar in a couple of  'man' servings so the contents won't have time to get stale. He can alternate cereal a couple of days a week with other things like his 'leftovers' omelets, sausage gravy with biscuits, pancakes/ eggs/ bacon, etc... all his other favorites.

As you can see I only got eight jars. I'm thinking I might want to stop by Big Lots today and pick up a few more boxes. I think this was three boxes.  At only .75 per breakfast I think we can add a few more to the pantry.

Monday, August 8, 2016


A couple of weeks ago, Bob and I made a trip to West Plains. He was meeting up with a guy to buy a generator and I needed a few things from 'the evil store' as we've dubbed the big Box Store. We always spend more than we intend when we walk through those doors. But I'm getting better.

On this day, storms were to the south and west of us. I was struck by this cloud formation. All of the clouds seem to be sprouting up from the ground like mushrooms.

Over the course of about 45 minutes the clouds went from the single plume...

to having a smaller friend. They soon joined to form a circle of sorts.

And finally, I loved the brush strokes of this formation. One of the ladies on a crafting thread I belong to thought this one would make a lovely scrapbooking background. I agree.

You can keep sight of where you are going while still enjoying the beauty around you. 

Friday, August 5, 2016


As I said in an earlier post, I've been like a squirrel preparing for winter... while we are still experiencing the summer heat. I've just had this feeling of needing to stock up.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be talking about various forms of 'stocking up'.  Keep in mind, I am only stocking food for two people. Your food preferences and number of people in your household will dictate your options.

When my pantry is well-stocked, I'll share recipes using the pantry items.

If you would like to see some great videos on dehydrator and food saver storage, check out Linda's Pantry on YouTube.

This picture shows four loaves of French Bread. I didn't realize until I got home that one was sliced, but the slices worked up the same. I purchased these from the discount rack at my local box store for .50 each. 

At home, I sliced them into bite-sized cubes and spread them on food dehydrator trays. I have five racks. These four loaves took ten trays total, so I had two drying rounds. 

Each batch took approximately twenty-four hours to dry. I wanted to make sure no more moisture remained. When I could crumble a piece in my hand easily, I unplugged the dehydrator and let the bread cubes cool completely before vacuum sealing in wide-mouth quart jars. 

These four loaves (minus 6-8 slices for meals) gave me eleven jars. I can use them for stuffing, or crush them for breading.

Because they are so versatile, I will probably make more later in the season

Monday, August 1, 2016


One of the 125 bases for Air Evac Lifeteam is located in West Plains, Missouri. The new office building was completed in 2015. We drive by this display often on our way to Hirsh's Farm Supply or one of our favorite restaurant options.

The flags and helicopter are the cornerstone of their parking lot. I am always awestruck by the flags. Last week, the flags flew at half mast. I'm not sure why. I thought perhaps they may have been in tribute to the many fallen police officers over the previous couple of weeks. However, when we drove past the Sheriff's Dept, their flags were not at half mast.

One of the items on my Photography Bucket List is to take a night shot. I just never remember. Maybe tonight. 

Monday, July 18, 2016


After several weeks of nursing tendonitis in my right elbow, I'm finally able to spend more time on the computer past buzzing email. I'm ready to get back to work.

While I've been off, I've been watching lots of YouTube, researching various stock up/ prepping methods. Again, not the SHTF kind of thing, but just being prepared for anything that comes down the road. I'll be introducing you to some of those folks in the coming weeks.

While the temps rise to the upper 90s here in the Ozarks, I'm already looking forward to fall. Not so much wanting to escape the heat but planning for winter. The FoodSaver is getting a workout and the pantry is getting an overhaul.

For now, life is about the garden. Everything got a late start because I had problems finding straw bales. I finally had to settle for some hay bales and I have to say, I am not as happy with the hay. They seem to break down faster and do not drain like the straw bales do, which creates a root rot problem.

This is a shot of my horseshoe bale garden. There are 13 bales here with five separate double-stacked tires down the center. Closer inspection of the individual components:

Brandywine tomatoes. I have each plant staked. We'll see how they do. Normally, I would have put them on the cattle panel like last year but I had a good paste tomato there and wasn't planning on doing slicing maters at all. But those bales were hay and I lost every single paste plant. I've since planted those bales with a Solar Fire... heat/ drought resistant plant that turned out to be a bush plant. I'll show those next week.

Here's a close up of one of the Brandywine loaded with blooms. I think I'm going to pluck one bloom from each cluster so the energy will produce better quality. 

I finally got to plant some herbs this year. This pot is about 95% Basil. LOL I'll be creating basil/ oil cubes, pesto cubes (both frozen) and drying basil in the dehydrator over the next few weeks. 

I'm still in the process of revamping some of the blogs but I' hope you'll hang with me as I get back on the road with this one. Lots of things to share! 

Monday, May 2, 2016


Hi everyone.

After serious contemplation and soul searching, I have come to the decision to put all of my blogs and social media attentioins on temporary hiatus. JUST for the month of MAY. I have some health issues I need to contend with as well as household/ family things. So I'm going off the grid for a few weeks.

I am hoping, with rest, the health issue will improve and I can come back in June stronger than ever.
By then, I should have some of the notes in place (that I've taken here and there about post ideas but have 'here and there' LOL) so that I can bring you quality information and share what's going on in my little part of the world.

Stay safe!