Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trying something new...

Well, after much encouragement from my best source, (Mom) I have decided to try some late season planting. My first challenge was to find some seeds to plant. I called two stores, and no, they had no seeds left. The third store had some vegetable seeds in stock, so off I went. I bought 5 varieties: lettuce, radishes, onions, peas, and carrots.
The garden is really more of my husband's domain, so I asked if he could expand it. He said there was probably room in the existing area if he cleared out a space near our still oh-so-short corn, and our yet-to-arrive pumpkins. So while I was out chasing down seeds, he was out clearing the garden. To be fair, when I say that I have decided to try some planting, I am using the "I" in much the same way that I sometimes use the "we" when talking with my husband. Here is a probably-not-verbatim, close facsimile of the conversation we had this morning:

Me: So what did you clear out of the garden to make room?
Him: Mostly weeds.
Me: So will there be enough room to plant everything, do you think?
Him: We'll see.
Me: So can we plant them tonight? ( My thinking: after all, according to the information I have, I have until the end of July to plant these, so I am on a timetable here. :)
Him: (Laughing) You're funny.
Me: Ok, will you plant them tonight?
Him: Yes.

So that is the plan. Some of the produce I have chosen to start with supposedly has more time--August 15--to get into the ground, but I don't plan to wait. If something arises, and we (he) can't plant them until tomorrow, hopefully there is a little leeway--as my husband reminded me, there was snow on the ground last month where we live, so sometimes the weather isn't what you expect. I guess you can only do what you can do, and hope for the best.
Now, after having given my husband credit where credit is due, I will officially go back to using "we" when referring to our garden. I'm pretty excited, even though the weather around here had been interesting lately. I'm especially hoping that the "over-winter" (I think that's the terminology) crops turn out, since I don't recall having tried anything like that before. My suggestion to you: try it. Hey, if I can try it, anyone can. I'll let you know how it goes.
By the way, Homesteading Hickory Hills is back, and Johnson Family Farm has some recommendations for planting in their June 28th post. ( I know I mention these blogs a lot, but these people know how to grow gardens!) They live in a different area of the country than we do, so you will probably have to check out what is best for your area. But for procrastinators such as myself, with the "end of July" being the key date mentioned, today is actually the best day for this post... :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

First, you get non-hybrid seeds...

Then you have to know what to do to obtain seeds from what you have grown.
Pretty elementary, really, when you think about the fact that non-hybrid seeds are the kind that will produce plants that will give you seeds to make another crop, while hybrid seeds are such that they are a one-shot deal, and if you want more produce, you will have to go buy more seeds. I understood in theory. Then I thought about produce that doesn't have easily harvested seeds. I had mentioned this to my best source (Mom), so while I was down visiting my parents this past week, she decided to give me a little lesson.
We were in the backyard, when she pointed to a plant that was topped with fluffy white plant matter. She asked me what it was. I didn't know, but I ventured a guess--Queen Anne's lace? (BEHHHHH. There was no buzzer sound, but it would have been appropriate.) Try again. Turns out it was a carrot plant gone to seed.
Apparently, in order to harvest carrot seeds, you have to leave a plant in the ground, and the following growing season, it will go to seed. In the case of carrot seeds, they start out as fluffy white flowery growth, but then you have to dry them. The end, plantable product is a black seed.
Well, that's one kind of plant down. I really have so much to learn. The thing is, if you don't know how to harvest seeds from non-hybrid plants, you might as well have hybrid ones, because the result is the same--no seeds for the next year's crops. Who would have known that in some cases you have to wait a year to get your seeds ? (Obviously not me. :) Anyway, in this matter, as in so many others, the only way you're going to stay ahead is to plan ahead. Seed storage will hopefully eventually turn into food storage, so the learning goes on...

Friday, July 25, 2008

A quick calculation...

On my last poll, I asked what people would do if they absolutely had to evacuate from their home. There were several options listed (and people could choose multiple options), but 75% of those who responded said they could make it to a family member's house in the case of an emergency. Granted, I don't usually get that many people who vote on my polls (a big thank you to those who do :) but 75% is still a hefty percentage of people who would hope to rely on family to make it through a tough situation. So I guess one of the questions that we need to ask ourselves is: "How long will my food storage last if I need to support family members who come to me in an emergency situation?" Food prices today are such that if we suddenly found ourselves with several (or any) extra mouths to feed, we might quickly resort to using our reserves.

Other questions to ask in this hypothetical situation might be like these: Do our relatives have food allergies/sensitivities that would make it difficult for them to eat what I have stored? Where would these relatives be able to stay in the house in order to have as close to their own space as possible, to make a difficult situation easier? Are our children aware of what could happen (i.e. loss of own room, etc.) if we had to have emergency guests?

I'm sure that there are many wiser than me (and who may have had personal experience with either side of this scenario) who can think of more questions that we need to ask ourselves and/or can suggest better ways to prepare. If you have anything to add, please comment. I guess my point is, the emergency that arises that makes it necessary to use our food storage may not be our own personal emergency--it may be that of a family member. How prepared are we? Have we made the necessary calculations?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Some are more ready than others...

I just read over at Homesteading Hickory Hills that there will be no more new posts. I understand the reasons behind that decision---I just thought I would mention that I have really enjoyed hearing about the goings-on over there, and have learned a lot from their adventures. I read this quote, not too long ago, and I think it applies here:
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." -Dr. Seuss.
So, while I will miss hearing more, I don't really doubt that they will live happily ever after. They, along with the folks like those at the Johnson Family Farm are people that I wouldn't really worry about if there were an emergency situation, because they are examples of people that are living prepared, not just getting prepared. They have resources at hand that they know how to use.
Unfortunately, I don't know what happens when someone "kills" a blog. But if it remains up, I would encourage you to go read what is already there. If it gets taken down, you missed a good blog.

As for me, I am currently visiting my parents (actually, we've had a reunion--yay!) and have had very little computer time, but I will blog more when I get back. I haven't started my sprouts because the sprouter and I are separated by nigh these many miles, but I have an idea that that sprouter and I will become very good friends. At least that is the plan.... :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Survival sprouts

I was talking to someone in our area who is really knowledgeable about storage recently, and he said that if you had wheat and sprouts, you could survive. He is knowledgeable about all areas of storage for an emergency, so my husband and I plan to talk to him some more. I was just struck by that statement--if you think you could make yourself do it, and you're not allergic to wheat, it sounds like that should be the first thing to store. Perhaps it should be the first thing to store anyway, because I would imagine that in an emergency situation you could make yourself do pretty much what you needed to do to survive.
Not long after this conversation, one of my friends who I talk to about using our food storage (recipes, etc.) gave me a sprouting set! It looks like a mason jar, and has multi-colored lids and most importantly, a set of directions. I haven't started to use it yet, but I am very excited to learn how to do so.
One important thing that I already learned from my friend is that you have to be sure that you get the right kind of seeds to sprout. From what she said, some of the seeds that you can buy just anywhere are treated, so at least one good source would be a health food store. When she realized the extent of my ignorance, she dropped by some seeds for me to start out with. You have to love friends.
So in a nutshell, I now have the equipment, but have yet to gain the knowledge on the subject of sprouting. Lesson 1: Make sure you are using the right ingredients, that have not been treated. Another adventure for emergency (and hey, if there is no emergency, this is healthy and doable anyway) eating awaits. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Turned away

The other night I went to a national chain store near me (and it is highly likely that there is one near you as well, as they seem to be everywhere) and there were very few cars in the parking lot. Like scary few, because the parking lot is usually close to full. I could see a couple of employees hanging around outside, and thought that maybe with so few customers, even the greeters had little to nothing to do. So I went up to the front and one of the ladies there told me that they were closed because the electricity had gone out. They didn't know what had happened, but it was what it was, and sorry for the inconvenience. She was very nice about it, and I went on my way.
I had only gone there for nonessential things (i.e. spices for something that I want to make from scratch--you could still eat food without the spices, but where's the fun in that? :) so that wasn't a big problem for me. Inconvenient, yes. But not really a major issue. Some parts of it did bother me, though, among them:

1) The way I felt when I saw so few cars in the parking lot. Those cars probably belonged to the employees and a few other clueless customers such as myself who had to go all the way to the front of the store before noticing that the windows were perhaps a little darker than they should have been for people to be shopping/working inside. I sat there for a minute before getting out of my car, and thought, "Is the economy really that bad? To go from bustling and nearly full to nearly empty at a time when it is usually busy?"
I'm sure that it is that bad for some people. I think about the stories that are all over the internet and the newspapers about people having hard times making ends meet. If anyone reading this is already in a situation where it is impossible or nearly so to put any food into storage, please just do the best you can. Anything you can put away for future use is better than nothing. Prices are going up, but even a bag of beans for under $1 is a start.
2)What would happen if suddenly all of the stores that we can just run to now were closed--no warning, just a couple of employees standing out front to turn us away? Not just one store, but every store? How prepared am I? How prepared are you? This is a very personal question, and every person must answer it for him/herself. You may have noticed that some of the poll questions I put up aren't exactly food related, but they are preparation-related, for lack of a better phrase. Sometimes I think about all the things that are needed to be prepared for emergencies, and there are a lot. But every little thing we do crosses one thing off of a long list. I'm working on my list (which is still long), and I hope everyone is working on theirs. Every little step counts.

If the situation ever happens that we are turned away from every source that we usually turn to in order to get the things that we need to survive (food, heat, shelter) for whatever reason (job loss, the economy, natural disaster) do we have what we need to make do for ourselves and our families? I would hope that the answer swings more toward yes than no. I would hope that the situation never arises in the first place. If we're prepared, however, that kind of situation will still be stressful, but hopefully we won't have to experience being turned away when we have to go looking because we have stored nothing at all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Who knew?

I did not know until recently that Spam comes with bacon. Remember when I used Spam instead of bacon in my beans and rice recipe because I thought it unlikely that in an emergency situation I would have a pig running around, and even more unlikely that I would know how to make bacon even if I did? Now I can have the bacony goodness without the bacony mess. At least that is the theory. I haven't actually tried it yet, but it is available at a national chain near me. I was reminded about it when I found this article. I am always on the hunt for new recipes, and though some people don't like Spam very much, this is why I would recommend getting some in stock:

1) Even though, as I have mentioned earlier, beans and rice make a complete protein, variety is important in food storage matters. Spam has some protein, but one of the main reasons I want to have some on hand is because it adds the smell and flavor of meat, which is enticing by itself, and only adds to the flavor of something like rice and beans. In my opinion, beans cooking (before adding spices) do not have an appetizing aroma, (an opinion shared by at least one of my children) and it can be important to make your dishes as appetizing as possible during an emergency situation. This article, that I found when I was looking for information on appetite fatigue, makes sense to me. Your choices are going to be limited during emergency/survival situations anyway, so any tasty differences you can make might make the difference between someone in your family eating and remaining as healthy as possible, or compromising their health by becoming weaker by not eating.

2) Spam contains a lot of fat. This may be a downside for some people, but it is my understanding that children need fat for proper development, and we all need some fat in our diet to stay healthy. Rice and beans boiled in water with spices do not have a high fat content. Bread made with some oil does not have a high fat content. The amounts for fat in my posts in May, where I listed how much to store, are survival amounts, so they would be sufficient for survival. Storing extra fat might come in handy, however, when our food storage is our only source of nutrition. I don't think that we would eat Spam every day even if we could, even in an emergency situation. (See #1.) It's just that the fact that Spam and other products that have some fat could be a plus in an emergency situation, and could be one of the ways to help your family do more than just survive.

OK, here come the disclaimers: I do not work for the Spam company, and do not intend this to be free advertising for them (although, as I look back, it kind of looks like a commercial :) ) I do, however, like their product, and so do the majority of the members of my family. I made Spam and rice (flavored package) for lunch for the kids yesterday, and it is always a big hit. This, plus the article I first linked to, reminded me of appetite fatigue and the need for fat in our diets.
And of course, you know that I am not a doctor, or even an expert on food storage, (hence, the "adventure" part of my blog) so what I write is based on what I understand, and not intended as medical advice. I am just trying to think ahead about what would sustain my family through hard times and perhaps even make life a little easier for them in the event of emergency situations.

Soooooo.....if you take anything away from this post, I would suggest the following:

1) Vary your food storage to avoid appetite fatigue.

2) Make sure you are including whatever you can (i.e. extra fat) to make your food storage the best it can be, and customize it to your own needs so that your family can be as healthy as possible in emergency situations.

3) My kids like Spam. I consider myself lucky, seeing as how it is relatively inexpensive right now and can remain in storage for awhile. (Hey, this one is important to me. :)

Don't you wish you had known that you could have just skipped to the bottom in the first place? :). The storage amounts from my posts in May are survival amounts. If you don't have those yet, please get those supplies in first. Survival first. Enhancement second. Priorities, priorities. :) And please feel free to comment, send recipes, etc. I personally find the "Hot Dog Surprise" recipe in the first article especially intriguing....

Friday, July 11, 2008

The bean count

Well, we had rice and beans last night, and it was the probably the most consistently well-received dish of its kind yet. I don't know if that's because the kids are getting used to eating more rice and beans, if they were just trying to be encouraging because I find it difficult to really vary the stuff, or if it was just really that much better tasting. One liked it more than the others, and while one had to be encouraged to eat more, (and did) as far as I know, everyone did walk away without asking for an alternate meal. At any rate, they said they would eat it again, and that puts another win in my column. Running count: Beans:2 Me:3.
I started with this recipe, but as usual, I did my "use what I would reasonably have in food storage" routine, and here is how I changed it:
---soaked the beans most of the day instead of just rinsing them and dropping them in boiling water. They came out about right in the time frame given, so I'm glad I did.
---dried parsley in place of the parsley sprigs
---onion powder in place of the scallions or green onions
---garlic powder in place of the garlic cloves
---olive oil instead of peanut oil
I just guessed with the amount of the onion and garlic powders, and a small (fortunately) problem with the rosemary arose when I thought that the recipe called for fresh so I was "guessing" and put in a teaspoon instead of a 1/4 teaspoon, but I reread the recipe soon enough and was able to scoop a great deal of it out right after it was in the oil, and a little later on as well. A result of this was that it tasted a little on the strong side, but since I don't know how much was actually left in, it's a hard call. We'll have to see how it comes out when I do it right the next time.
While I recommend that you check out and try this recipe on your own, with all the changes, the thing I am probably recommending the most is the flavor combination--I hope that the original author(s) of the recipe wouldn't want to pull their hair out if they were to see the above changes. These would probably taste even more delicious (like I've said, I like rice and beans, and hey, I have lunch today as well :) ) if they were prepared in the intended manner, but I just don't think I would have all that is called for in terms of ingredients in storage, so I want to know now what I'm realistically looking at. Plus, we have phone service working, (not always available in emergency situations) and it's nice to be able to call your best source (in my case, Mom) when you have questions about the effects of adding too much rosemary.... :) Just trying to work the problems out now, and it's nice to end up with a recipe in the "plus" column.
You may wonder why I focus on the rice and beans. When used together, rice and beans are a complete protein, and protein is essential to a healthy diet as well as potentially being difficult to find in an emergency situation. I search for recipes with dried beans so that I will know how to get them edible in the most efficient ways possible. Hey, dried beans will store for a long time if stored properly. I will be trying out and posting about other kinds of recipes, because food variety would sure brighten an emergency situation. But last night we had these rice and beans, plus rolls from the recipe I linked to earlier (that we made Wednesday), and called it good.
That is, until a few hours later when we put out a frozen pizza (cooked, of course) for the kids. That's a pretty hefty "snack" at our house. Just trying to tell the whole story.... :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A little disturbing...

I went out to the mall on Saturday to the national chain where we usually buy our children's shoes, because I wanted to buy the next size up from what they are wearing and put them away for future use. The prices on some of the shoes were very reasonable, but after a call home I decided that I had better have the wearers of the shoes pick them out, because there were apparently too many varieties/features on them for me to pick them out and be reasonably sure of no complaints on my return home. I saw that the sale is to continue until the beginning of August, so I reasoned that when we return for something else before then, the children will have their choice in footwear. So far, so good.
I was about to leave when I further reasoned that my youngest wouldn't care and would be delighted with anything that I would pick out, so as long as I was I went and asked for the appropriate size on one style of shoe. The salesgirl returned and said the best she could do was one size smaller. I asked for another style. Still not available in the right size. I asked for a third style. They had it only in a different size. I asked when they got their shoes in, and she indicated weekly. I thanked her and left.
Now, to be fair, there was the style of shoe that my child is currently wearing, but I didn't ask about that one, so they may have had the size I was seeking available, just in a style that I didn't particularly want. But what it comes down to is this, which I know has been applied an infinite number of times to other situations: things aren't always what they appear to be. They have the shoes, displayed, apparently on sale, but what good does that do if they don't have the size you are looking for? It made me wonder if they were ordering fewer items into stock because of the economy, or if they were closing out choices to help with the bottom line, and when the last sizes available were gone, that style would be gone from the display. You may think that everything is readily available, but that may change, even when it looks like everything is going smoothly, and you can still go get whatever you need tomorrow, next week, next year, you fill in the blank. Looks can be deceiving, so everyone needs to be as careful as they can to make sure that they have what they need in storage, with food and other necessities as well.
I still have time to let my children pick their shoes ahead, whether at that store, or somewhere else, but I want to get it done soon. My children are still growing, and shoes are a necessity that I am not able to make sufficiently on my own. With the prices of fuel and food going up, it's not that big of a leap to imagine that other necessities will go up significantly as well, or may not be available for whatever reason, whether it be businesses failing, or the stores in the area carrying fewer items in order to stay afloat in a struggling economy-unavailable=unavailable=unavailable, no matter which way you slice it.
In an emergency situation, I would have of course been grateful for any style of the right size available, and checked every style out and bought what was available. My reasoning in trying to find something else is this--little things can make a big difference in a hard situation. If I can find something that my children actually like to store away for the future, perhaps it will bring a smile to their face when we pull it out for them to use. Prices may go up, and availability may change, but you'll be ahead of the game if you have what you need put away already.
I may be totally off on this--maybe I hit the store on the wrong day, and maybe all of the circumstances put together --timing, everyone needing the same size shoe on the same weekend, it was the weekend after the 4th, etc.--ended up with me trying to put two and two together and ending up with five. Thing is, there were hardly any people in the mall, (also a little disturbing) which can't be good for the economy, and at the time I was asking, I think I had the shoe department all to myself, so it didn't appear that I was in the midst of a run on shoes. Just something that's not food for thought.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Storage without knowledge is still storage...

My best source (as you know, Mom) has a theory that makes really good sense to me. She asks it in the form of a question: "Who do you think someone will be more willing to help, someone who says, 'I have this wheat, and don't know what to do with it-- can you help me learn how to prepare it to feed my children?' or the person who says, ' I don't have any wheat, can you give me the wheat that you were planning to feed your children?' " Even if you don't know what to do with wheat and rice and beans and the other staples, it is better to get some on your shelves and learn as you go along than to be stuck with nothing in the event of an emergency. Even in the above scenario, people may want to help if you have nothing. They just may not be able to.
One of the reasons I started this blog is because I looked at the food storage that is the most useful and long-lasting to have and realized that if whatever happened happened the next day and that was the only thing that I had to eat, that I knew very little about what to actually do with it. If you are in the same boat, don't wait until you know everything to get some food in storage--get some and then learn. I understand the thought process of "What's the point of getting something that I don't know how to use?" Thing is, even in an emergency, chances are good that someone will know how to help you, and it might just be a reciprocal thing--they may not have it to cook, but know how to cook it, and they may cook it in return for using some of it to feed their family while making it edible for yours. There still may be a price to pay for not knowing how to use it, but you'll still eat.
Right now, there is still time to learn. I have a couple of recipes that I can make, as seen here on the blog. Even if it isn't a loaf, I can still make bread to feed my kids. (Speaking of which, Alison kindly left a link on a comment on my "hit and a miss" post for bread, complete with substitutions that I would actually have in my storage, (except gluten at this point) that looks awesome--check it out if you want to get there ahead of me. If I do it successfully, I'll link it in a post.) I can make beans and rice that my kids will actually eat. Now I just have to learn more recipes, because they won't want to eat that every day. (And neither will I. :) )
This applies beyond just the cooking aspect of storage. Even if you don't know how to garden, store seeds. You get the idea. Hence, storage without knowledge is still storage, and you never know when you'll need to really depend on it.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

So far, so terms of availability

When I was out the other night I happened to look at the diesel prices and saw that they were nearing $5.00/gallon. I don't use diesel, but it scares me anyway, because so many products are only available nationwide due to the trucking industry. I feel bad that the truckers have to pay so much just to stay in business, but I'm glad that they haven't gone on strike like they have in India. Of course, the increased price is passed on to consumers, but in order to get it at any price, it has to be available and on the shelves, not rotting in a warehouse somewhere. You have less to worry about if you have food in storage. (Here comes that magpie again.... :)
If you need further information on food storage,there are so many good sources and ideas out on the Internet. For instance, if you follow the Johnson Family Farm, you will see some advice on when to plant certain produce, ideas for extra planting area by planting potatoes in totes, and what looks like a really useful link for home canning that I personally want to read more about. The point is, if there is something that you don't know how to do, and you are trying to get prepared for any kind of emergency, trucking or not, if you look around and try to find out how to go about it, chances are you will find even more good ideas than you were looking for. Google it or look for blogs, and look for links on the blogs that are useful. You might find easier ways or better ways or cheaper ways to do things as you try to store for the future.
Oh, and did I mention? Please get some food storage, whatever reason will motivate you. Even if there is no food on the trucks or the shelves, you and your children will still need to eat.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A hit and a miss

Well, I have finally made some bread. I have to qualify that a little because it wasn't a loaf of bread, but dinner rolls, and the recipe is found here. I just followed the directions and they turned out great. I include this because I wanted to do something that was really easy with a high probability of success. The added bonus was that the kids loved shaping the dough into rolls.
This is not, however, really a recipe I could make with only my food storage at this point. I have heard of canned butter and powdered eggs, but have yet to acquire any. I guess the biggest point there is that if you want to be able to make things that are relatively "normal" in an emergency situation, you will have to have saved or have access to items that are obtainable now but may not be part of what are thought of as common emergency staples, like wheat, rice, beans, salt. If you have chickens and a milk cow, you are in pretty good shape for this recipe if you know how to make butter, but I'm pretty sure that most of the people around here, like me, are not in that position. If you want food to taste good, you need things to enhance the staples, like spices and baking ingredients.
I guess a second point that is important to me is the need to practice before I get into an emergency, so that I can see what I would actually need. I need to find a more basic bread recipe (ideas welcome) and become so proficient at making it that it becomes second nature. I fully expect to have to practice to become successful--breadmaking is an art, after all. But I would a)be saving money by making my own, b)be used to using my food storage in an emergency situation, and c) be able to provide something that has become familiar for my children in an emergency situation.
The rolls were a hit. My most recent bean creation, however, was a miss. The beans and I are running even again--I am 2 for 4 in terms of success. This is another area where practice for me has become vital. In this recipe, it called for crushed red peppers--you may recall in another recipe, it was the amount of peppers that I would change as well--and it ended up that the amount was not a "winning combination" for our family. Way too hot. In fact, after tasting them (and having them leave a burning aftertaste sensation) I called my best source, (Mom) and she said that a fourth of the amount of peppers that I added would have been sufficient. (I am finding that ignorance is not bliss when it comes to dealing with peppers.)
The plus side (in terms of learning) to these beans:
---the method ( my own overnight soaking+the quick soak in the crockpot dictated by the recipe) gave the beans a wonderful saucy consistency, enhanced when I tried to lessen the heat by adding some tomato sauce to the beans. (The tomato sauce didn't seem to affect the strength of the peppers, but the consistency of the beans was great on the rice.) The beans mashed up wonderfully with just a spoon, so in at least one other recipe that I have yet to try where it says to run the beans through a food processor, it would probably work without one if I cook them like this. Live and learn.
---My husband and I have different tolerance for the peppers than the children do. He and I ate the beans, and our children tried them. (We had a main dish along with this that was a lot more popular, and the rice was more popular without the beans.) One child said that the beginning taste was good, but afterwards they burned your tongue, and they basically were not a big hit. Somewhere in the middle in terms of the peppers would probably have made everyone a lot happier, and in an emergency situation, little things can make a difference in the happiness level.
---I found out the drawbacks to this recipe using a $.78 bag of beans, and a small amount of dried peppers from a new $.50 package. We had additional food at the table that my children could eat if this was unsuccessful (which it was).

I will probably try this recipe again (once) and try to switch things around to better suit my family's taste. There were other ingredients, such as bouillon, involved, and it will be interesting to see if I can make this tastier for us. If it is successful, I will link to it, and tell how I changed it. If it isn't successful, well, at least I tried.
Onward and upward. If anyone is still reading at this point, please practice with food storage ingredients. Ruining a pot of beans when you can replace the beans for $.78 is easier to stomach than when you ruin a pot of beans during an emergency when you can't replace them at all.