Valley Food Storage Review

Many times we’ve discussed food preparations and in our prepping discussions, we’ve talked about different scenarios for when we might need to have a nice stock of food on hand. There doesn’t have to be a “zombie apocalypse” for us to wish we had a good supply of food on hand. The recent ebola scare, though it looks like it isn’t going to be as serious as it sounded initially, could have been a disaster, especially if there was an outbreak in your area. The flu season is coming and we may end up not feeling like going out or we may not want to be out with other sick people. There could be many scenarios when we would not want to have to go out to the grocery store.

When I’ve discussed canning food, many have commented that they just don’t have room to store food and I understand that. Valley Food Storage may be a solution to those with little to no storage, or for those who have no interest in cannning food.

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a sample from Valley Food Storage. I wasn’t sure what I would receive but was sent a package of their Pasta Primavera to try. Today I fixed it for lunch. It was delicious! Straight out of the package, I fixed myself a little bowl of it and you know we like good food and this was good! I added some sauteed, partially cooked broccoli, asparagus, carrots and mushrooms.

Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera

The sauce was delicious! Honestly, I could see myself opening a package of this and fixing it for company. It was great with the veggies and it would be great with a grilled chicken breast but what matters most is that alone, straight out of the package, with nothing added, it was delicious and would be easy to fix and quite filling.

The sealed, dried foods from Valley Foods have a 25  year shelf life – they guarantee it.

I’ve always been hesitant to buy the freeze dried foods that are supposed to last forever because what good is it to have a full pantry of food if it doesn’t taste good and you’d have to be starving before you’d eat it? I can only speak for the pasta primavera but I don’t think anyone would have a problem eating this and enjoying every bite of it.

Please check out their website. At this time, you can order a sample and see what you think.

Kefir Smoothies

We are both loving the milk kefir smoothies and started some water kefir to begin fermenting this morning. With the milk kefir grains, I’ve been having just about a pint of kefir produced each day but today I used a quart jar and it’s almost full of milk. The grains have grown and with a few much warmer days, the milk is fermenting more quickly.

Yesterday morning, we had a pumpkin pie kefir smoothie.

Pumpkin Pie Ingredients

Pumpkin Pie Ingredients

We have to add a little milk to get enough for both of us to have a small smoothie. As soon as there’s more kefir each day, I’ll stop adding the milk. The ingredients include canned pumpkin, flaked oats, kefir, a bit of nutmeg and the extra milk.

Smoothie in the Making

Smoothie in the Making

Pour all the ingredients in a jar, stick the immersion blender in there, give it a whirl . . rinse the blender, put it away for another day . . simple as that.

Whipped Cream?

Whipped Cream?

I was so tempted to add some whipped cream . . but I didn’t. Really!

This morning, we had apple cinnamon smoothies and I think they were my favorite.

Apple Smoothie

Apple Smoothie

I chopped the apples, added a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg, the oatmeal which thickens it all up a bit, the kefir and again, a bit of extra milk.

Apple Smoothies

Apple Smoothies

All the small glasses were in the dishwasher so you can see that we’re each getting smaller amounts but in a couple of days, we should be able to have enough to make these glasses about two-thirds full.

For tomorrow morning, I think we’ll have fig/ginger smoothies!

Kefir Smoothie

Fermented foods seem to be the rage right now. Because I love cooking and playing in the kitchen, I had to jump on the fermenting bandwagon. As part of my fermenting experiment, I began reading about kefir. I had no idea what it was and kept reading more and more about it so decided I had to try it.

As I was researching kefir, I found many claims for health benefits and while I’m not real sure what’s true and what’s hype, I am convinced that it is healthy enough that it’s worth making and worth drinking. Please do your own research and see if it’s something you might want to try. This site has a lot of good info and might be a good starting place if you’re interested in reading more.

First, I bought a few “kefir smoothies” . . the already made kind in the dairy section of the grocery store. We had never tasted kefir and I wanted to be sure it was something we liked. They were delicious. Kefir is a fermented milk and a “starter” called kefir grains is used to start the process. The next step was to find kefir grains.

Kefir Grains

Kefir Grains

They aren’t really grains but more like a cottage cheese looking substance. To make the kefir, I poured about 1-1/2 cups of whole milk over them, placed a coffee filter over the jar and let it sit at room temp for about 24 hours. During the 24 hours, I gently stirred the milk a few times.

Kefir Fermenting

Kefir Fermenting

The next step, after the fermentation period, was to strain out the kefir grains and the milk was fermented and ready to be used. I’ve read that it’s best to use utensils that are not metal. Therefore, I make and store the kefir in glass jars, use a plastic spatula for stirring and a plastic strainer for draining.

Straining Grains

Straining Grains

 The grains grow with each batch and soon I’ll have enough grains to make a second batch of kefir. As soon as the grains are strained out, they can go into another batch. 

Kefir Grains

Kefir Grains

My grains were ordered from Yemoos Nurturing Cultures and  you can read more about making kefir on their website. I find it all very interesting!

Morning Smoothie

Morning Smoothie

This morning I added a little honey to the kefir, a banana and a grape, and a little freshly rolled oats, and we had it like a smoothie. We’re feeling so healthy!  :)