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Food Emergency! Dial 0 for Help

Food Emergency!

My Story

This last week I had a food emergency. Not a “finances emergency” where I had no money for food. It’s not a “by the way, all ten of us are coming over for dinner” type of emergency. Not even an “I have nothing to eat in the house” emergency. A weather emergency. Like, I couldn’t get out of the house emergency.

Why Would You Have a Food Emergency?

Weather can create havoc when it comes time to cook. It’s too cold or hot to leave the house. You are trapped by snow or rain. Or worse, a melting sun. 

We aren’t even talking about the electrical problems emergency. Let’s not even go there. That’s a totally separate post.

There are always times when you need to eat, but don’t have all the fresh ingredients for a meal. The fridge is bare of freshness.

Maybe you’ve been eating out every day for the last month, and forgot how to cook? Naw!

Or you flat out don’t want to make something fresh for dinner. You are lazy and don’t want to use your brain. Happens to me ALL the time!

What is a diyhomegoddess to do?

Have Food Emergency Supplies for Any Event

You might not ever need this, but it’s always good to have something in the freezer. What happens if you need a quick meal and you don’t have time to think about it?

  • “Mom, I am supposed to bring cookies for a bake sale tomorrow”.
  • “Mom, I’m starving. I need to eat before I faint!”
  • “Honey, I invited the boss over for dinner. I don’t need anything fancy, I just want to schmooze a bit so I get that promotion”.

A Food Emergency Freezer

You might be like me, and have a small freezer. After all, I have a tiny kitchen, so I need a tiny refrigerator to match. But there is always room for some emergency food. Here’s what I always have in my freezer, for any food emergency.

Staples

  • A chopped white or yellow or red onion. Do it in a small dice, so you always have a couple of tablespoons of onion if needed. Before you ask, the stores do sell chopped frozen onion, but you can DIY it cheaper. And get dicing practice on the side. I’ve tried other veggies like carrots and celery, but they are mush when they get thawed, so you need to cook them from the frozen state, and deal with the excess water.
  • Ice cubes of tomato paste. The reason for this is there are many recipes calling for 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. So you open a 6 ounce can of tomato paste, use like 1/4 of it for the recipe. What do you do with the rest? Toss it? Nope! Put 2 tablespoons of tomato paste in each ice cube tray spot , freeze, then put the cubes into a zip lock bag. You will always have tomato paste at the ready. The other options are  buying one of those tubes to tomato paste (looks like toothpaste concept) or get tomato powder from a spice shop. My favorite is spice shop is here.
  • You can do the same ice cube trick with coconut milk. Usually it’s the same problem. You only use a part of the can in any recipe, unless it is uber coconut heavy.
  • A pound of salted butter for spreading on those lovely rolls you have.
  • A pound of unsalted butter for baking.
  • Tortillas to make an emergency quesadilla.
  • SOME shredded cheese like Mozzarella, Gouda, or Cheddar. Mind you though, these should never be eaten ‘raw’, use them in recipes only.

Meals

  • Individual Servings, or pairs, or family sized servings of homemade:
    • Chili (with or without beans)
    • Spaghetti sauce (with or without meat
    • Beef Stew 
    • Your Favorite Soup
    • HINT: This can be leftovers from meals (great for individual serving emergencies) or just make an batch and throw it directly in the freezer when cooled. The only suggestion this diyhomegoddess has is if you are making a full batch to put in the freezer, don’t put any pasta in there if you add some. Wait till it is being heated up. That will deflect the mushy mess.
  • A simple casserole. Chunked cooked chicken breast. Sautéed veggies (might I suggest the holy trinity). Cream of mushroom soup and Lipton’s onion soup mix. Toss in some rice. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top maybe? Warm it all up in the oven for about 20 minutes. If you use an aluminum foil baking pan, you can recycle after, no dish to scrub!
  • Do you make homemade lasagna? Make two batches and pt one in the freezer when cool.
  • Something to just keep in the freezer is a bag of frozen rolls. They are ready to cook, and make the house smell really good!

Deserts

  • Some poached pears or other fruit. These will make a good emergency dessert with the ice cream I know you have in the freezer. Here’s a recipe for poached pears here.
  • Cookies! Every time you make a batch of cookies throw one dozen in the freezer. After a couple of baking sessions, you will have a good variety. You will always have emergency cookies for that kids bake sale he told you about the night before, or you have friends coming over to chat for the afternoon. Everyone will think you spent days making cookies. As long as you thawed them out fully, no one will ever know. It will be a secret between us diyhomegoddesses.
  • A layer cake, sans frosting. Thaw it out, and grab one of those tubs of frosting I know all you diyhomegoddesses have hidden from me.

And Voila!

There you have it. Food emergency avoided! 

What kinds of food do you like to keep in the freezer for a just in case moment?

Herbs and The Herb Garden

HERB

The Herb Garden

My Story

HERB! What a wonderful thing to have. I have one of those Aero Garden things. I tried to grow herbs, but someone (I’m not saying who) over fed them, and they died rather quickly. The dill and the basil were being bullies and keeping the poor parsley herbfrom growing to its full potential, so I decided to give myself a break while I do some scientific research before I try again. This time, I will go with a custom blend of herbs, so I can control them, instead of them controlling me, and driving me mad. If you want to have a go at it yourself, here’s what I bought. I bought it at Sur La Table, but here’s the Aerogarden website if you want more options.

The best thing to start with is one or two small pots of your favorite herb. It will give your kitchen a wonderful smell, and with a set of kitchen shears I know you already have, you can add some nice depth of flavor to your meals.

Here’s a good article about using and storing fresh herbs in your kitchen, with a great infographic to put onto your pinterest account. You do have a pinterest account, don’t you?

Just remember, fresh herbs will usually last a week or two in the refrigerator. Dried will last you a good year. Keep them away from the stove and the sunlight. You can find a little more about herbs form my review on the Top Chef Lesson on Herbs here.

A Tidbit

Did you know herbs were once considered only for medicinal purposes? Are you coughing? Add rosemary. What about a stomach ache? Use mint. Basil is supposed to help you when you are feeling down. Here’s a handy chart with some basics. Luckily we have advanced, but it’s a little tidbit to file away for a party. Read more

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