Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thrive Product Comparisons - Knowledge is Power


Product Comparisons

"Which onions should I buy?" "What's the difference between Instant and Non-fat milk?" "Which apples do you prefer?"....These are just a few of the questions we get regarding our food. So I will give you a head to head comparison on each of our foods that you may have to decide between.
In all cases where there is a freeze-dried (FD) product versus a dehydrated one, the freeze-dried product will have a higher concentration of nutrients and flavor. However, dehydrated products are better to keep their bulk in cooking.

These sliced Fuji Apples have their skins left on and are sweet, just like a fresh Fuji apple--they are great for snacking on or adding to your oatmeal, etc. The sliced Granny Smith Apples have already had their skins peeled and are more tart, just like a fresh Granny Smith apple--these are great for baking.


You may have guessed it, but the main difference between these two is that one is sliced and the others are left whole. The Whole Strawberries have a reputation of being sweeter than the sliced ones.



Onions vs. Onions (FD)
Both of these onions are chopped and ready to go, but the dehydrated onions will plump up when you rehydrate them; however, they have less flavor when compared to the freeze-dried onions. So, if you need an onion with a bit of bulk, go with the dehydrated ones; if you need an onion more for the flavor, go with the freeze-dried ones. Also, because the dehydrated ones plump up, your can of onions will actually "go farther" than the freeze-dried ones because the freeze-dried ones stay their original size.


The Red & Green Bell Peppers are chopped, dehydrated peppers. They will plump up a bit when you cook with them, but personally I would just go with the freeze-dried bell peppers. The Green Bell Peppers and the Red Bell Peppers are cut into long slices and have great flavor and cook up really well; however, they are sold individually and not combined in a single can like the dehydrated ones are.


The Potato Beads are a powder for making mashed potatoes and include milk, salt, etc. The Potato Chunks are dehydrated cubes of potatoes and will plump up when you rehydrate them, though they take about 15-20 minutes of simmering to fully reconstitute. The Potato Dices (FD) are freeze-dried cubes of potatoes that rehydrate in very little time and have more of a fresh-potato flavor than the dehydrated ones. ThePotato Chunks and Potato Dices (FD) can be used interchangeably in many recipes and are ultimately the same size, it's mostly a matter of reconstitution time; however, the can of Potato Chunks will "go farther" because the potatoes are smaller before they plump up, while the Potato Dices (FD) will stay the same size.


The Instant White Rice is already partially prepared and only takes 3-5 mins. to cook at home; however, because they have been partially prepared, there are fewer grains of rice in a can due to their increased size. The White Rice has almost twice as many servings in its can, though it takes about 15 minutes to cook.Personally, I prefer the texture of the non-instant white rice.



Hard Red Wheat has a higher amount of protein, which yields itself well to rustic, artisan breads with its nutty flavor (though sometimes bitter). Because of its lower, moderate level of protein,Hard Winter Wheat makes softer breads, has a more subtle flavor, and requires less sweeteners in its breads.

Cheese Blend vs. the other FD cheeses

Unlike the other freeze-dried cheeses that are shredded and a single type of cheese in the can, the Cheese Blend is a powder. It is a blend that lends itself well to cheese sauces like you would use in a soup or macaroni and cheese. The Cheese Blend has a shorter shelf life than the freeze-dried cheeses though. 



Instant Milk is intended for drinking, though I also use it in stove-top recipes that call for milk. Powdered Milk, on the other hand, is intended for cooking and baking. You can still drink the powdered milk, but it will taste like powdered milk. A #10 can of Instant Milk will make approximately 5 gallons of milk, depending on how much powder you use. The milks have a 2-year opened shelf life (25 years when unopened), so if you can buy it in the 6-gallon bucket that will be your best value.


The non-instant beans are regular beans, but they have been packaged to have the longer shelf life of 30 years. They need to be prepared as traditional beans are, which takes several hours and a lot of water. The instant beans have a 25-year shelf life and have been partially prepared so they only take 15-20 mins. to cook at home. They appear cracked when you open the can, but once cooked look the same as the non-instant beans. Both cans have pretty much the same number of servings, but the instant beans are about half the weight.


Beef Dices (FD) vs. Roast Beef (FD) 

Both of these meats are cooked and cut. The Beef Dices are about the size of stew meat while the Roast Beef is smaller. They both have salt added to them. These are very versatile and can be used in several recipes, including stroganoff, stew, burritos, fajitas, etc. There is the equivalent of approximately 5 lbs of fresh beef in each can.
Both of these meats are cooked and cut. Just as the name implies, the Chopped Chicken is chopped, but there are no other ingredients. The Seasoned Chicken Slices have salt added to them and are cut into strips. Both of these can be used in a number of recipes, including chicken salad, burritos, fajitas, soups, etc. There is the equivalent of approximately 5 lbs of fresh chicken in each can.



The Scrambled Egg Mix is still just eggs, but it has a different ratio of egg whites to egg yolks. They make excellent scrambled eggs (and omelets and French toast, etc.), and you can also use them in your baking recipes that call for fresh eggs. They have a longer shelf life than the Whole Egg Powder; however, there are fewer eggs per can because it requires more powder to equal 1 egg than the Whole Egg Powder does. But, the Whole Egg Powder is only intended for baking. The Whole Egg Powder doesn't have an anti-caking agent in them, so your cakes won't be crumbly. If I had to choose only one, I'd go with the Scrambled Egg Mix

January Specials      
Christi Williams

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Brunch with Mom and Eggland's Best Eggs {Giveaway}

There is nothing better than spending time with my Mom and having great food.
I was so excited when I was connected by Egglands eggs with this opportunity to host a brunch and offered a fun giveaway, I LOVE Egglands Best Eggs. There are so many great recipes on the Eggland's Best website. As I looked through the recipes I found a Breakfast Burrito: http://bit.ly/T10yRS and a Sunny Side Breakfast Pizza Recipe: http://bit.ly/Qmem9r . But I decided on a yummy Broccoli & Cheddar Frittata. 
We had a wonderful time!


Did you know that all eggs are not created equal? When compared to ordinary eggs, Eggland’s Best eggs contain:
· 10 times more vitamin E
· Double the amount of omega-3’s
· Twice the amount of vitamin D
· 3 times more vitamin B12
· 25% less saturated fat
· 38% more lutein

Broccoli & Cheddar Frittata
with
Biscuits with fresh raspberry jam
Banana Nut Muffins with real butter
Strawberries and mandarin oranges with orange juice 


 A few of Mom and Dad's friends

I cherish my time with Mom 

Broccoli & Cheddar Frittata


Ingredients

  • 5 Eggland's Best eggs (large)
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, low-fat
  • 1/4 cup yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli florets

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Spray a 9" tart pan or pie pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Dice onion and set aside; if using fresh broccoli, wash well and cut florets from stems.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt, and pepper until fluffy.
  5. Stir in cheddar cheese, onion, and broccoli.
  6. Pour egg mixture into pan and sprinkle parsley on top.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until eggs are set; allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Check out Eggland's best on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. Sign up for their free Newsletter, and download their FREE (for Facebook fans) e-book (a $9.99 value) too!

Plus, the great folks at Eggland's Best has a fantastic gift package to give away to ONE lucky reader of my blog.  
Included are:
(1) Coupon for one free dozen eggs
(1) Ceramic mixing bowl
(1) Egg shaped wooden cutting board
(1) Whisk
(1) Bowl scraper
(1) Ceramic Mug
(1) Eco Bag

TO ENTER: Visit the Eggland's Best website recipe section by clicking here and leave a comment below telling me which recipe is your favorite.  




Disclaimer: The Eggland’s Best coupon, information, and two gift packs have been provided by Eggland’s Best. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Food Storage 101

Emergency Preparedness can be broken down into the following categories:

Water
Shelter
Food
First Aid
Defense
Sanitation
Air

Our friend Mark Smith, a Preparedness Consultant, teaches that in order to have a well-rounded emergency preparedness plan, you should always be storing food.  If you are working on your first aid kit, buy bandages and some food.  Pick up some bottled water and food.  Order a camping stove and some food.  This is why we focus primarily on food storage.

Eat what you store and store what you eat!

If you did a quick search for "how much food storage do I need" you will find many websites that have a food storage calculator or a list of foods that you need to store.  This list will usually include several pounds of lard, pearled barley, gelatin and molasses.  When you are in the middle of an ice storm heating water over a candle, do you know what to do with barley, gelatin and lard? 

You need to be familiar with your food storage.  If you choose to store food that you don't normally eat, make sure you slowly incorporate these foods into your diet now.  If your body does not have the enzymes to digest the new foods, there is a high possibility you will get either an upset stomach or other numerous digestive problems.  An emergency situation is not the time to introduce new foods to your diet.

Getting Started

Make a list of your favorite simple meals and begin storing the ingredients.  All of the ingredients need to be shelf-stable.  For example, my family loves Terriyaki Chicken Bowls, so I store rice, freeze-dried chicken, freeze-dried broccoli and bottled terriyaki sauce.  If there is a power outage, the chicken in the freezer won't last long, so the freeze-dried chicken is ideal.

I found it easier to plan my food storage by planning an entire month of meals.  Then I figured out what ingredients I would need to make each meal.  The longer the shelf life, the better.  If you like spaghetti, but the shelf life of the sauce is only a year, either plan to rotate the sauces so you eat them within the year, or store the ingredients with a higher shelf life.  (Shelf Reliance) Thrive Life has a great tomato powder with a shelf life of 8 years.  With the powder, you can quickly throw together an amazing spaghetti dinner right from your food storage.

The 3 Enemies of Food Storage:

1. Heat
2. Moisture
3. Light

Store your food in a cool, dry place.  If you are storing shelf-stable food such as cans or buckets of legumes and grains, inside your home works just fine.  If the temperature is above 80, it may shorten the shelf life a bit.  The cooler, the better.  This is why our Grandparents had cool, dark root cellars.  If you use glass mason jars, storing the jars on the counter is not recommended because the light will compromise the food.  As for moisture, this pertains to your freeze-dried, dehydrated, grains and legumes.  With cans, there is always the possibility of rust due to water or moisture.  Make sure your dried food is not exposed to any moisture.  You can take extra precautions by adding oxygen absorbers and storing in mylar bags.  If the mylar bags are sealed, they keep out light and moisture.  You can pick up food-grade buckets with lids at any hardware store, or try asking for used buckets at restaurants and bakeries.  A good rinsing and you have free storage.  I usually purchase my mylar bags from Amazon online for the best price.

Quantity

It is better to have and not need, than need and not have.  We recommend starting with a 2 week supply, then save 3 months, 6 months and so on.  If you decide you want a year supply of food and you start by storing rice, then have a situation such as a job loss, you will be eating rice for every meal.  I recently learned of the term,appetite fatigue.  This means you simply cannot stand to eat that food any longer. and you will take less and less and end up in metabolic decline.  You could literally starve to death sitting next to a bag of food.  So start by buying ingredients for a few full meals each time.  By starting small, you will build a well-rounded food storage.  Don't forget to store condiments and seasonings as well.  Chicken is chicken.  It's the sauces and seasonings that make it a wonderful meal.

Freeze-Dried vs. Dehydrated

Freeze-dried flash freezes food at the peak of ripeness, then uses a vacuum to pull only the moisture out, leaving the nutrition and enzymes.  The dehydrating process uses heat to cook out all of the moisture.  Dehydration has a shorter shelf life and sometimes requires adding preservatives.  Due to shelf life, nutrition and taste, I prefer freeze-dried, but there are some foods such as carrots that are better dehydrated.  Freeze-drying a carrot turns it completely white.

Preparation

I use my food storage for everyday meals, so preparation is no different than any other food, except it is usually quicker because i don't have to slice and dice.  I do have to heat and eat though.  Since this is food for a possible emergency, you need to think about what tools you will need to have on hand to prepare and cook your meals.  If the power is out, you aren't using the stove, blender or microwave.  You will need to invest in a few tools that do not require electricity.  Also, if you plan to rehydrate anything, you will need to plan for a water source if the water is not available.  .   


My Personal Recommendation:

After months of comparing food storage companies and different methods, I personally chose THRIVE food from (Shelf Reliance) Thrive Life.  Thrive is by far the best tasting food and usually the best price out of all of the brands I have tried.  They offer mainly ingredients rather than pre-packaged meals, so I can use my own personal recipes.  Most of the product line is freeze-dried with an average shelf life of about 25 years.  The cans are coated inside as well as outside to prevent rust.  Being on a budget, I LOVE the Q FoodPlanner.  I quickly filled up an online shopping cart of everything I wanted and set a monthly budget by reallocating my grocery budget.  I have found this actually saves me money because I am not making as many trips to the grocery store and not wasting any food.  THRIVE food is by far the best brand I have tasted.  I had to laugh when my neighbor's daughter was surprised when she tried it and said, "mom, this tastes like real food." 

What Is Fresh?

I think we can all agree that Fresh food is best. My question is, what is fresh really?  Fresh produce is picked straight from the vine when ripe. When picked too early and allowed to ripen on a truck, that produce delivers almost no nutrition by the time you bring it home.  The fruits and vegetables that are too ripe to make the trip to the store are sent to be frozen.  This is why frozen food generally has more nutrition than "fresh" from the shelves.  Even better than frozen is the freeze-dried method.  This is when food is flash frozen at 60 below zero, then put in a vacuum where all the moisture is turned to vapor and removed completely.  This method instantly preserves the shape, color, texture and flavor and has more nutrition than any other method of preservation.

I love that (Shelf Reliance) Thrive Life flash-freezes their produce within 48 hours of harvesting to ensure the most nutritious and best-tasting food on the market.  By using the freeze-drying method, then sealing it in a double-coated can, protected from light, moisture and air, the food has no way to decompose, giving it a shelf life of 25 years or more.

I can get the best vegetables straight from my garden in the summer, but what about during the winter?  Here in Oklahoma there is absolutely no way I can acquire a fresh pineapple or mango because it has to be imported.  With Thrive food I can open a can of pineapple in the winter 15 years from now I am confident I am getting the best nutrition.

Is THRIVE the only food on my shelves?  No, I buy all of my wheat locally because it is cheaper.  I still get bulk items such as beans and rice at local stores (the rice at the Asian food store is fantastic!)  I still jump on sales at the grocery store and visit the local LDS cannery.  I have food stored that I have personally canned in the past, but don't have the time or space this year to have a garden, so I store food the best way for me.

Whether you choose to grow your own garden and can and dehydrate your food, use coupons to stock up on canned goods, or purchase freeze-dried, I urge you to insure your family's most basic needs.  Emergencies happen at the most inopportune times, make sure you are always ready!



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I am grateful for the snow

We so funny, we are never happy the way things are. 
So instead of complaining about the snow, I am going to look at the positive.

Provo Temple in the Snow by Temples by Tyler
Snow is beautiful
Snow is peaceful
Snow is refreshing
Snow is cleansing
Snow is a miracle
Snow is bright
Snow is reflective of light
The snow brings us much needed water
I am grateful to live where it snows.

 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Another Grand baby on the way!!

As much as I love my children (all 9 of them) there is nothing better than being a Grandma. Age is a funny thing, for the most part we never feel any older and yet it shows in everything around us.

Each stage of life both has it pros and cons. As a young mother there were days I thought I would not survive, the sleepless nights, the messes, homework, dishes and laundry.  As a mother of teenagers the emotional drain, the heartaches, the joys in accomplishments, the busy schedules. As a mother of young adults, trying to guide and yet not push too hard, and the with the range of age of my children I still deal with most of that, it’s complex, a balancing act with at times I have failed miserably at it.

There are those “you’re doing a great job” parent moments in the midst of the craziness and busyness that you realize these children have been entrusted into my care, I can only hope I have taught them what they need to know.
Number three is on the way (due in July)!! What joy this brings me. Really being a Grandma is the best gig in town. We are very Happy for Alissa and Trevor.