Keeping up your Dehydrated Goodies by amber west

My in-laws are coming.  Which is great and fabulous and has thrown me into a bit of deep cleaning; this in turn, has led to a few momentous accomplishments.

My In-laws (Robert & Christine) in Egypt with us in Feb

The first thing that this had led to is that I’ve become a dehydrator queen.  As my dried stores have depleted I’ve been making a mental list of yummy breads, crackers and snacks to make up, new recipes to try out, and just a general round of  things that I want to blend up and then dry out.  Well now that family is coming the time is at hand.  So I’ve been making yummy things like Cherry-Vanilla-Almond Buckwheat Granola, Onion Bread, Sour Kraut Crackers, Green Tortillas and Pumpkin Gingersnaps.  I keep all of my dry-stored foods in fun and unique glass jars on a wooden shelf in my kitchen. I love finding interesting and old fashioned lidded jars from thrift shops and antique stores, then bringing them home and painting them with Chalkboard paint.  This is my labeling system. Most of my jars have Chalkboard paint on them and then I use chalk in fun colors to write the name of what’s in the jar.  Its super colorful and fun and a lot easier than some of my old systems (masking tape and

Labeled Jars (with Chalkboard Paint and Chalk)

sharpies, laminated labels and Velcro).  Yesterday I ran into an issue with this system.  I ran out of room on my shelves and jars to put stuff in.  I was so excited about my new creations that I went a little overboard and made a bit too much.  Normally I don’t view this as a problem because dehydrated goodies keep for weeks, if not months, however I hadn’t thought about where I was going to put it all.  Yet somehow this brought me back to an issue that I’ve been meaning to deal with for years.

I still keep wheat flour around.  Weird but true.  I almost never use flour and yet it’s just one of those old-timey staples that I’ve kept for so long that I didn’t know how not to keep it around.  I was trying to remember the last time I used it even.  Christmas?  Yikes!  That’s ridiculous.  So in an instant I did the thing that I should’ve done last time I super cleaned out my cabinets - I threw out all of my flour!  Whole wheat, white (comically labeled “White Flour of Death”),  all of it went into Ziploc bags and away from my house.  It seems like such a ridiculous staple to keep around, like cow milk and eggs; these days my staples are more like lemons, dates, almonds, tomatoes and mixed greens. Even better I didn’t actually throw out the flour (I hate to waste food, even bad-for-you food).  Our office manager, Amanda, along with her team that does the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness are having a bake sale on Saturday to raise money.  They inherited all of my flour for their baking needs, so though eating that flour wouldn’t have done anything for a woman recovering from breast cancer, possibly selling it will.  Plus to balance out all the raw food my in-laws will be eating with us while they're here, I'll take them down to purchase  baked non-raw goodies, which will benefit Amanda, Breast Cancer Awareness and help them not feel deprived.  It all comes full circle in the end.

And now I have large jars available to hold Apple Bars, Banana-Walnut Balls and Lentil Crunchies!  Super fabulous indeed!

~Amber West

For those of you interested, here’s a link to Amanda’s breast cancer walk donation page.  She has to raise $1800 before her walk  in San Francisco on July 10-11, 2010!  Amanda is super- amazing and I personally would support her in any endeavor she chooses to pursue.

Oh and just FYI....Remember that if you want to submit a video for the Hot Raw Chef Contest then the deadline is Wednesday!  If you need inspiration I highly recommend cleaning out your cabinets!

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