It's not necessary. Really. What lunch is complete without a little taste of chocolate? Ok, most of them. But a day is made brighter by a little bite of brownie, c'mon, unless you're like my dear friend who shall remain nameless that thinks chocolate tastes like soap.
I have the coolest Aunt in the world, Fay DeBoer. It's her birthday, 29 AGAIN! If you knew her, you'd be nodding your head up and down with me, ayep. Some of her cool things she does is make dresses for little orphan girls. Cute, cute dresses for cute little orphan girls. In fact, I coveted a couple of her dresses when she brought them to my parent's home when we lived in Washington state. She told us that these two dresses needed to be worn by a little country girl. And gave them to my only daughter. Nifty thing is, that those two dresses were so well made, and so beautifully done, that they are now beloved by my third daughter. Still loving the dresses! Still loving the Aunt Fay! Happy Birthday sweetie.
Aunt Fay likes chocolate brownies now and then. In fact, I imagine she probably has a little cocoa in her food storage too. My favorite brownies had to be tweaked a little for my emergency preparedness recipe. Here's the original recipe, and the notes for how to eat out of your food storage, follow.
Chewy Gooey Cocoa Brownies
1-2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted (or other fat)
2 T water
2 Large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1-1/3 cups flour (I have used 100% whole wheat, 1/2 all purpose flour, and other variations)
3/4 cup Baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (optional if you use salted butter)
3/4 cup chopped nuts (completely optional)
Preheat oven to 350*. Grease 13x9 baking pan. Combine sugar, butter and water in large bowl. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl; stir into sugar mixture. Add nuts if desired. Spread into prepared baking pan. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely, then cut into bars. Makes 2 dozen brownies, depending on how you divide the pan. Needs no frosting.
Food storage substitutes:
How to substitute for 1 egg :
1 teaspoon dry unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
7 teaspoons of hot water
Combine gelatin with cold water. Let sit for a moment to hydrate the granules.
Add hot water, stir well. Use in place of 1 egg.
***For baking*** reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup per egg replacement used. Experiment with this to see how to adjust your favorite recipe. In my case, I used one real egg in the brownies, and one egg substitute and the recipe is perfect! Another day... I'll use two egg substitute measures. Just for you gentle reader, because we have 30 dozen eggs in the cool cellar.
I use whole wheat flour, ground from the whole wheat kernels I store in some #10 cans, and some 5 gallon buckets. I have vegetable oil stored, and usually have 20 dozen eggs at any given point in a very cool cellar. It wouldn't be fun if I didn't have bulk baking cocoa stored. Baking powder is stored in very small cans, because it begins to go flat once they're opened. Do not store baking powder in #10 cans unless you have some wicked large group of people to bake biscuits for, within the next six months. I have a few #10 cans and some large canisters of Hershey's baking cocoa, and a few jars of vacuum sealed chocolate chips. They'll keep quite a while, not that we'd ever let them get old.
Back to lunch. Write down 2 weeks of lunches you'd be willing to eat, and then tally up the ingredients you can use to make them. Double it, and you have a month supply of lunches. Here are some ideas. Biscuits and creamed chicken cream of chicken soup, canned chicken, a can of peas, a bottle of peaches, and a brownie for dessert. You can store homemade biscuit mix for a year. With it you can make strawberry shortcake, chicken and dumplings, chicken ala king over a biscuit, sausage gravy over biscuits, Sausage cheddar balls, a quick biscuit pizza crust, chicken pot pie, and more.
Here's just one variation to get you started thinking.
Easy Biscuit Mix
6 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/4 cups butter flavored shortening
Directions:Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Store in a container with tight-fitting lid. For a healthier mix, make with 3 cups white flour and 3 cups whole wheat flour. For Buttermilk Mix, add 9 tablespoons dry buttermilk powder to the basic mix.
To use this mix, take 3 cups of Easy Biscuit mix, add 3/4 cup of milk, or yogurt, or buttermilk etc., and mix gently. After adding your liquid mix only until a soft dough forms. Dough may be slightly sticky but that is normal.
Generously flour counter or board and transfer dough on top dusting with a small amount of flour if dough is sticky. Pat dough out with hands till about 1 inch thick and cut with biscuit cutter or large glass dipped in flour. Place on baking sheet about 1 1/2 inch apart. Bake 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with melted butter if you like.
You could roll with rolling pin but that will make for tougher biscuits. Not good, no no no.
To make dumpings, you stir as above, then drop into gently boiling stew. Turn down to a simmering boil, cook for 10 minutes uncovered, and then cover tightly for 10 more minutes. This would perk up your every day chicken soup considerably, wouldn't it? You can store canned carrots, canned peas, bottled chicken you canned yourself when chicken legs & thighs were on sale for .49 cents a pound, and voila' gourmet goodness in a pinch. Living frugally doesn't have to be living on top ramen noodles and generic box brand of macaroni and cheese powder.