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.