Friday, November 18, 2011

I took my Shelf Reliance food camping...

I just went on a 10-day camping trip. Living History kind of camping. I took a selection of THRIVE foods with me this time.

I made up single serving omelets. Whole Egg powder, FD onions, red and green bell peppers, ham dices. If it was just me eating breakfast, it was add water, wait a minute or so, pop it in the pan and cook like normal. Quick, easy, yummy.

If it was a group eating breakfast, someone cooked a huge skillet of stuff and I didn't have to use my breakfast - and I didn't have to worry about it spoiling.

I contributed veggies to group meals - and everyone liked them.

I had my choice of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries or peach slices in my yogurt and my cereal whenever I wanted, even on the 9th day.

This will become standard camping fare for me (and I camp a lot!) because
  • I can have natural, unadulterated food throughout a 10-day event without refrigeration. Saves cooler space, saves ice money.
  • I can have food I'm proud to share, but if it doesn't get eaten it doesn't spoil.
  • I can pack a whopping amount of it without hurting my back - it's light!
Want to know more?
go to

Friday, October 14, 2011

You know, normally I say if it has a label, don't eat it. However - that doesn't always realistically allow for having stuff on hand when you need it - because you just plain ran out, or because an unexpected expense came up and you spent your grocery money at the auto mechanic's, or because a natural disaster happened and disrupted the food supply...

Over the years I have looked into storage foods to deal with these situations. I was never able to find what I really wanted until now, though. I did not want unpalatable food I wouldn't eat except in an emergency, and would have to throw out and replace when the emergency hadn't happened. I did not want a food plan built around meals I didn't like and high-carb fillers put in because manufacturers find pasta convenient.

I wanted good, wholesome, natural FOOD with no additives, no preservatives, no added ingredients. Food that is shelf-stable and yet when opened will be GOOD to eat, GOOD tasting and GOOD nutritionally. Food that is just, well, FOOD. Basic ingredients you cook with, using your own recipes. Green Beans. Carrots. Apples. Strawberries. Chicken. Beef. (They do have a few Entrees available, but that's really not their focus.)

I discovered a company - Shelf Reliance - that produces high quality natural freeze-dried foods - THRIVE foods! I tried their green beans first - and was seriously impressed. Freeze-dried food retains the shape, texture and nutrition of the fresh food, removing only the water. When I added hot water to the beans, they became green beans. Ready to eat, right then, in my opinion, although other people might like them cooked more than I cook them. (I'm into fresh, minimally cooked. If you like them cooked to death, go ahead - I'm sure they'll come out just the way you like them.)

Not only were they delicious - the remaining beans in the package will be good to eat for a long time (like 2 years! Opened). Just store airtight, dark and dry. They will not get freezer burned. They will not thaw out when my motor home freezer decides to be less than efficient in the heat of the summer. They will not become science experiments in the back of my fridge.

So I looked into the company and decided to become an Independent Shelf Reliance Consultant so I could share this discovery with others.

My kit arrived last night, and I spent the evening checking the shipment and studying the materials and all those things a new Consultant needs to do.

But this morning, I get to play with the food! I already know that the veggies and fruits will be yummy, so I started with some things I was skeptical about. Like Whole Eggs. I'm picky about eggs. In the name of product knowledge, I fixed breakfast.

Once again, I am impressed. I reconstituted enough egg powder for 2 eggs and made scrambled eggs. I had figured they'd be good for baking - but that they are good all by themselves as scrambled eggs was a very pleasant surprise. Next time I'll make up more eggs! They were quite yummy!

Another thing about THRIVE foods is that most of them are available in 3 sizes: #10 cans (gallon), Pantry Cans (5.5" high, 4" diameter), and Mylar Pouch. (a pouch of green beans contains 7 servings). The Pantry Cans are excellent for those of us who live in RVs and have limited storage space. The pouches are great for camping. The # 10 cans, of course, are the best value per serving and truly excellent for serious food storage.

Please make sure that you see
Jane Cassidy Store
in the upper right of the website before you place an order with Shelf Reliance. (That way you'll get the best pricing and I'll get credit!) Or email me for more information at
Or come back here, where I'll be reporting on my continued adventures with these foods.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Search for the Ideal Ice Cream Maker

I like to eat healthy food and I like to eat ice cream. This is only a problem if you don't make your own. However, I have been looking for the ice cream maker of my dreams for a few years now.

You may remember my early blog post about making ice cream in plastic bags. If not, you can read it here. This works. You can make single servings of ice cream, and it's fun... Of course, it is true that sometimes a plastic bag breaks... It still is the way to go for camping, or for a fun thing to do at parties where everyone can make their own and choose their own flavor...

But I did want an ice cream maker.

I tried a bowl-in-the-freezer kind, but it made too much for one person to eat, and homemade ice cream doesn't really keep as well as if it had all the nasty conditioners and stuff in it. It's best eaten fresh.

I found a smaller bowl-in-the-freezer one, with a hand crank. That was good. But still too big for one.

I gave those away and then got the kind you put ice and salt around the ice cream tub. It's not the traditional round tub - this one's more trash can shaped. Smaller. Fits nicely in the motorhome. But I made a half-tub of ice cream and fed 2 people and still put away a quart in the freezer. I'll keep it, but it's not for regular personal use.

This week, I solved the problem.

I was in Target for something else and happened to notice an ice cream machine in a box that was way too small for any ice cream machine I've ever seen.

Hamilton Beach Half Pint Ice Cream maker box

Hamilton Beach Half Pint. It comes with 2 pretty blue freezer bowls and a motor with paddle.

Half Pint compared to cappuccino can

These bowls are small enough for even my RV freezer and hold about a cup of ice cream to be. Pop the motor on top, plug it in, turn it on, wait 10-15 minutes, and it's ready to eat as soft serve or you can ripen it which makes it harder. That's about as convenient as it gets. You can eat it in the bowl.

Half Pint mixing bowl is serving bowl

You can make a cup, or a half-cup, as you wish.

Stevia-sweetened ice cream, fruit-sweetened ice cream, sherbet...