Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Of Survival Skills and Thankfulness

As i've mentioned, there are things i've been meaning/wanting to do that i haven't been doing.

Things like using all those chicken feet in my freezer to make chicken stock.

Things like learning to use my monumentally expensive pressure can things like chicken stock.

Today, i became thankful for our recent "misfortune" of losing grocery money.  Because when we're in a predicament, my wheels start turning, and i start thinking about how to make something from nothing things they're not normally made from.  I think that's called resourcefulness.

For example, i read just last week about how the fat skimmed off of chicken stock before it's canned, can be refrigerated and used in place of butter in things like rice and mashed potatoes.  And i thought, "i haven't made my chicken stock yet.  I should do that."

Or for another example, while evaluating our supplies, i noted that we had just about enough sugar to sweeten the same amount of tea that we have tea bags to make.  But my husband has a sweet tooth.  I also noted that i have fruit, unreasonable amounts of corn syrup (which i use about once a year to make caramel popcorn), and enough flour to make dough for a large cobbler.  Ding!  Surely corn syrup can be used to sweeten fruit for cobbler, right?  We're going to find out!

I am really enjoying this.

Today, i started making chicken stock, and i'll share that later.  But let's just say that the wonderful smell in my house is enough to brighten anyone's day, several times over.  I know it has brightened mine.

When i was looking in our hurricane storage - which is not nearly as much fun to get into if you're not having a hurricane, i decided to pull out a couple of small items for filler.  I also found two MREs left over from Hurricane Ike.  FEMA, or someone like that, was handing them out at the time, but it turned out that we never actually ate them.  And since MREs don't actually last forever, i decided to put them into the meal rotation this week for fun.  And since i imagined that not all of my readers have ever eaten a real MRE (i never had before today), i thought i would share, with pictures.

My chosen MRE meal was #21, Chili and Macaroni.

Here's what was inside my packet.  Sorry the picture's kind of small and fuzzy.  There's the chili with macaroni, peach mango apple sauce, wheat snack bread, cheese jalapeno spread, kreamsicle cookies, cinnamon imperials, a packet of apple cider mix, which includes salt, red pepper flakes, lemonade mix, a wet towelette, and two pieces of gum.  Don't forget there's also the heater (flameless ration heater) and the hot drink bag, so you can heat water for your cider.

Oh!  And look, you can use the back of the Peach Mango Apple Sauce to send a note home to Mom!

For my cider, which was very good, i decided to use a coffee mug and my microwave, instead of a plastic bag.  But i did use the FRH (flameless ration heater) to heat up my chili and macaroni.  It was pretty neat.  You add maybe a couple of tablespoons of water to this bag, and it immediately heats up.  It heated up so fast that it scared me, and i stuffed it in a box before i realized i hadn't read the directions.  I had to pull it out and read and then do it right, but it worked really well.

Since i'm not in a fox hole somewhere, but instead in my own kitchen, i decided not to eat out of the little bags.  I used dishes, and i had a pretty decent meal...more than i could eat in fact.

Again, sorry for the fuzzy pictures.  This is my peach mango applesauce in the bowl, chili and macaroni, and wheat bread snack with jalapeno cheese spread on the plate.  Not bad.

The picture that didn't turn out is the kreamsicle cookies, which are sort of a hard sugar cookie with orange candies stuck in them, but they taste better than i'm describing them.  And the cinnamon imperials are basically red hots.  I don't know how nutritious red hots are, but i suppose if i were stuck in a fox hole (do they still use fox holes?  i've obviously never been at war) somewhere waiting to get shot at, i would probably appreciate a big bag of red hots to pass the time.  In my case, i'm nibbling at them two or three at a time, from a bowl on my counter.

I took the lemonade to church with me and still have quite a bit left.  I put the wet towelette in my purse, and the matches, we'll save in a drawer somewhere.  Did i tell you there were matches?  There were matches.

Anyway, i had fun checking out my MRE, which stands for Meal Ready to Eat, by the way, and i've concluded it wouldn't be that awful to survive on them for an extended period.  They're pretty good, and the flameless heater is lots of fun.

Oh, and i keep forgetting i don't like jalapenos.  So i shared that part with the dogs.  It seems like they (jalapenos, not the dogs) should taste good, and then i put them in my mouth, and they just don't.  I'm sorry.  Maybe i'll remember next time.

Hope you enjoyed my MRE!


  1. Very interesting!
    And you know what they say:
    Need is the mother of inventions.

  2. Michelle SeagravesOctober 21, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    Beth, You make me laugh! We might need to borrow these ideas ~bad month for us too. We had to buy a refrigerator last night. UGH!!! 2nd one in 2 months!! We might be eating pintos for the rest of the month or year or decade. BUT we have eggs!!

    Have a great day ~Michelle

  3. Michelle, maybe we need to come up with some pinto beans and egg recipes. Sounds awful, but maybe there's something we can do with it!


  4. Terrific post, Beth! Love your resourcefulness, and while I don't envy you the hurricanes, it sure must be fun to play with MREs!

    I remember seeing a recipe years ago for refried beans and seasoned scrambled eggs in a burrito. I would need cheese, though.

  5. Kris, i guess i could use GSSH's "wheat snack bread" pieces he didn't eat, for flat tortillas....sort of.



What do you think about that?