2015
Jul 22

Recipe for an Emergency Kit

by Hannah Holt »

2 comments


Six backpacks hang in our garage. They have food, water, clothing, and other supplies so our family could make it through 72-hours. You know….in case stores are closed and we need to leave fast and the earth is falling down all around us.

Most of the time the packs just sit there, but every six months, I rotate the water/food/etc. I was going through the packs last week and in a moment of laziness decided we didn’t need them anymore. Then media outlets exploded with this news: the entire Pacific Northwest is going to suffer a devastating earthquake ANY FREAKING DAY.

The hype is a little overrated. I’ve lived in the northwest for almost 30 years, and I remember them predicting the same thing about 25 years ago. We’ll have a huge earthquake some day. There’s no doubt about that, but “any freaking day” could be tomorrow or–300 years from now.

In any case, I decided I’d at least keep the backpacks in rotation.

Here’s what makes up a typical 72-hour “go bag”:

  • a change of clothes
    • my kids are growing so this needs to be updated annually
  • personal hygiene items
    • toothpaste, contact solution, and medicines will expire, so check the dates
  • matches and a fuel source for cooking
  • a mess kit and/or a container for boiling water
  • an emergency blanket
  • a rain poncho
  • a flashlight
    • make sure the batteries aren’t connected to avoid slow drain
  • cash
    • we keep about $20
  • a first aid kit
  • a sharp knife
  • water
  • food

Rotating the food takes the most time for me. I’m slowly working in a rotation of longer term storage (freeze dried meals). But prepackaged emergency meals are pricey, so I also make some of my own.

Three days of food for one family

 

{Enough food to feed a family of six for three days. FYI, the fruit in the background isn’t part of the plan.}

Every six months, I have my family eat the food from their packs. This is because I don’t want to waste food and also the food needs to be something they’d actually eat. So before I planned a menu, I let my family sample a variety of different meal options.

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{Re-hydrated Pad Thai, right. Pho rice, left.}

Then everyone voted for their favorite meals.

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For each homemade recipe you’ll need a quart sized freezer bag. You can add boiling water right into freezer bags. Then stir and let rest until finished cooking.

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Here are three of our favorite home-prepared emergency meals.

Breakfast:

Rice Porridge

  • 1 cup minute rice
  • 1 Tb powdered milk
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup boiling water
  • optional: add raisins, nuts, and/or dehydrated apple slices

Lunch:

 

Mexi Rice

  • 1 cup minute rice
  • ½ cup tortilla soup mix
  • 1 ¼ cups boiling water

Dinner:

 

Sweet and Sour Rice

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 ½ Tb sweet and sour seasoning
  • ½ cup peanuts
  • 1 ¼ cups boiling water

You’ll notice my kids seemed to prefer the minute rice meals, but other good options for a starch base could be: couscous, instant oats, or potato flakes.

When I was making these meals, I went through the bulk foods aisle of my local grocery store and mixed and matched food that I thought might blend well together. My kids also liked instant potatoes with ranch dressing mix, and anything with cheese powder.

I was looking for high calorie/low cost options. Each meal I created averaged about 400-500 calories. At three meals a day or 1,200 calories, that’s enough to keep an adult going but probably not satisfied. Still, for an kit that needs to fit in a backpack, it’s just perfect.

Here’s what three days of food looks like for one person:

Three days of food for one person

 


2015
Apr 08

The Incredible Edible Yard

by Hannah Holt »

Comments Off on The Incredible Edible Yard


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of my favorite books growing up. I loved cheering for Charlie as he came out ahead of the obnoxious Varuca Salt (et al). But most of all, I wanted to float down that chocolate river.

Charliechocolate

Unfortunately, I grew up and realized a chocolate river would lead to all kinds of trouble: ants, carpet cleaning nightmares, a happy but untimely death…

In lieu of the chocolate river, I’ve opted for the highly snackible yard. Wherever possible, I plant edible bushes and flowers. It’s more healthful than my childhood dream but still delicious. Here’s how it came about.

Last year we moved to a house with almost zero landscaping:

astro turf yard

That green you see is astro-turf. Pretty sweet. Right?

Okay. No.

I live in a temperate rain forest for crying out loud. I knew we could do better.

Flowers

I started with flowers because they are relatively easy and beautiful. I chose…

cone flower

  • cone flowers
  • lavender
  • sage
  • parsley
  • day lilies (Warning: many types of lilies are poisonous. Always research plants thoroughly before eating. FYI, day lilies taste like cucumbers and make a colorful addition to salads.)

Trees

  • apple
  • fig

(Note: many fruiting trees and bushes require more than one variety to produce fruit. However, some are self-fertile.)

Bushes

  • blueberry
  • rosemary
  • honeyberry

Honeyberry is a new bush for us. They are ripening now and should be ready by June. Fingers crossed that we don’t hate them.

Vines

  • raspberries
  • kiwi

We haven’t planted the kiwis yet because it involves building a rather large trellis system. Last year our huge project was this rock wall:

Wall beginnings

Building it made us very tired. One big thing at a time–kiwis are my wish list for next year.

Ground Cover

creeping thyme

  • creeping thyme
  • strawberries

We also have a wood chip and grass play areas for the kids, and a vegetable garden plot. Not every section of our yard was completely guided by the plant-to-eat philosophy. However, it’s possible to make landscaping choices that are decorative and delectable.

All this on one-tenth of an acre.

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(This picture is from last summer before most of the perennials had grown in. I’ll try to update later this year with the second year’s growth.)