So today, as I'm sitting at my desk enjoying leftovers from last night and perusing GlockTalk, it occurred to me that this might be a good time to remind everyone how easy it can be to eat what you store and store what you eat... On the menu I have lentil stew. It's made from 32oz of lentils, 1 Hillshire Farms sausage link, 4 chopped carrots, 2-3 chopped pieces of celery, and 1/2 diced onion. The lentils are stored dry in a mason jar, sealed up with a small oxygen absorber; I like the 100cc size for these. I have stored dried beans, lentils, and split peas like this for the last 8-9 years and have never had any go bad or even degrade in taste. You just open the jar, pour in the beans, toss in an oxygen absorber, and screw thew lid back on. The sauasage, the carrots, and the onion all came from the freezer where they are stored in ziplocs with the storage date and contents written on the outside in Sharpie. The celery, as we were fresh out, was store bought. Take a little olive oil from the shelf and throw it into a pan on medium heat, toss in some garlic and your cut up vegetables and cook until you can smell the onion just start to caramalize and the carrots and celery are cooked through. Then add in your lentils and diced sausage and fill with water or broth until the liquid is just covering the other ingredients. We add balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and tabasco sauce for seasoning, along with sea salt and black pepper. Let it sit on medium for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes and you've got one of the best, most filling, most nutritious meals you can make. We top it with sour cream and extra hot sauce and eat it just like chili. And all the ingredients (except celery, which I'm not a huge fan of anyway) came out of my freezer or off my shelf. We could substitue the frozen ingredients for dehydrated or freeze dried ones, but as they are more expensive than frozen we only eat the dried stuff if it's about to go out of rotation or to try a new product or recipe. Also, by buying my vegetables from a local farmers market, or getting them from my farmer neighbor, or by growing them myself I save a lot of money. I buy in bulk, chop them up, and either freeze or dehydrate them; making sure to date every single bag as I seal it up. My deep freezer is an energy star appliance and I have tested to make sure that it will keep its contents frozen by running only 2 hours per day. I'm sure it could handle less run time but I haven't tested it yet. With my current fuel storage and generator, I could realistically keep the freezer going for several months. I even have enough leftover that these lentils, one of my personal favorites, will be lunch tomorrow as well. On a side note, the sandwich shop Jimmy Johns sells their day old bread for fifty cents a loaf. it's Italian style bread, probably 16 or so inches long...about the same amount of bread you'd get with a footlong sub from SUBWAY. Whenever we treat ourselves to a meal from there, whatever we spend on dinner we also spend on spare loaves of bread. This stuff keeps in the freezer for about two months without getting super tough or crumbly, easy. We've got loaves out the wazoo stored in the freezer. We make it into garlic bread, subs, texas toast, etc. All together, we spent about five bucks to make a meal that could easily feed eight people. Or four or five people and me, to be perfectly honest. Tonight will be 2 boxes of Annie's all natural white cheddar mac and cheese, 2 cans of peas, and half of a sausage link, diced. Boil the pasta until it's done. drain the water, add in 2 tbs of butter and the cheese powder, stir it up then stir in the drained peas and the diced sausage. let it sit on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, season with black pepper, and there's another awesome meal from the shelf. We always spend a tiny bit more for better quality foods. Annie's mac and cheese is all natural, so the cheese powder is 100% real cheese. This stuff is like crack, but with less tooth loss and legal ramifications. It'll feed 5-6 and costs about eight dollars to make. By buying quality foods that we actually like and buying them in bulk we don't spend much more than the cost of generic brand food and the end product, our meals, are a hell of a lot better off for it. Our dog eats half and half leftovers and dry food, so that means less we have to spend on Purina. I will warn you though, mac and cheese gives our Newfie gas that I don't think even Saddam would have touched. Best of luck to everyone with eating what you store and storing what you eat. I'd love to hear of some new recipes and ideas from my fellow GTers.