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So many ingredients!

I am moving in a few months, and thought I'd go through my ingredients for my homemade healthy MREs. Maybe prepare enough meals for two for a few months.

Wow! I have so many ingredients, and still have more dehydrating in my Excalibur. Do I stop dehydrating and make the meals? So I leave my jars out and pack them last?

Seriously, if I needed ingredients for only my picky-eater son, there would be no problem. Pasta. Various cheeses and milk products. Dried fruit and dried peas.  That's about it.

BUT not only do I enjoy more variety, I still need to experiment with more recipes for my homemade healthy MRE book and blog ( ).

What to do.  What to do.

As an aside, what kinds of posts would you like to see me add to this blog?

Blog Author Vikki Lawrence Returns

Dear Readers:

So so very sorry that I haven’t written here (or pretty much anywhere) in a long time.  Between dealing with my liver disease and breast cancer, the smacking return of my son’s epilepsy, and other problems, I’ve been weighed down. Literally.

Today I write this blog post to let you know that I will attempt to come on my blogs at least once a week for a while.  I feel terrible for neglecting my wonderful readers. Plus I really need to get back to taking care of ME, right?

BUT … be heartened that I have also gotten back to working on my book about making homemade MREs … my “instant meals” book. My goal is to have it listed on Amazon before the end of November.

If you are a prepper and want to stock up on all kinds of dehydrated or freeze-dried ingredients so you can make just about anything, this book will be for you.  You might want to fire up your dehydrator now and get started on potatoes, yams, green beans, Brussels sprouts and other ingredients you might have problems finding as pre-dehydrated, or that are super abundant now.  I just did a huge amount of peeled diced apples (I like them super-crispy, not rubbery) to make my own homemade apple cinnamon oatmeal and apple crumble.  So very yum!

Gotta tell you … I am having so much fun trying out my new recipes, and figuring out how to get my very picky eater son to eat something besides plain ole mac and cheese, pizza and cheesy tortillas.  (Sssshhh… don’t tell him but I’m hiding powdered cauliflower in his pasta alfredo!).

That reminds me … I need to dehydrate some more cauliflower this week. Very low setting so it will stay raw.

One of the recipes I’m working on today is instant “creamed coconut spinach” and even though I don’t care much for cooked spinach, I think I about have the recipe down.

Vikki Lawrence



I am Vikki, one of the owners of Rosemary Ridge Farm and Rosemary Ridge Books, and the sole author of this blog.  On June 17 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was caught early, during a routine mammogram, so the prognosis is good. However, I do need surgery and radiation treatments afterwards (thank god, no chemo unless they find something during the surgery) but still, the recovery process will be long, painful and exhausting.
So so sorry to post this, but I am stopping almost all projects so I can move from our little farm out in the boonies into the city to be closer to doctors, hospitals and treatment centers. Already diagnosed with non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis this past October, I’m exhausted every day. I need to put writing this blog on hold and de-stress my life. I will re-start when I can. Meanwhile, I hope you understand, and please enjoy the postings I’ve already made here.
Thank you for listening, and please add me and my wonderful 19 year old special needs son in your prayers.
Again, thank you.

Eating Like Ancient Romans

I've been going nuts lately, reading about how people in times past fed their families. This one deals with Ancient Rome.

A bit of history, first. The great Rome started as a very small village in the 8th century BC, along the River Tiber in central Italy. (Didn't all great cities start near a constant body of water?!?) It didn't take long to become a great city with powerful leaders who wanted more and more land. 

As Rome conquered other civilizations, they began to incorporate the ways of life, and vice versa.  That included religion, dress, housing, politics and, of course, food.

This great civilization reined for over 1,000 years. It depended on very large estates to grow enough to feed those who were not farmers.

The biggest crops were barley and wheat, root vegetables, home-farmed fish (?!?!!) and livestock like sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks and pigeons. In addition to figuring out sewers and plumbing (which was eventually lost to our knowledge for thousands of years), they worked out irrigation systems, to make growing crops more efficient. They also started using compost and using animal manure to make fertilizer. Fruits were grown in sophisticatedly laid-out orchards and vineyards (for their wine).

Those that could, hunted rabbits, partridges, pigeons, wild boar/pork and deer/venison. They gathered wild fruits and plants, like nettles.

They grew a type of wheat called FAR. It was usually and mainly used to make a thick porridge. Later, they grew rye, barley and wheat, and figured out bread-making, which became the staple food for all Roman classes. People dipped it in olive oil and wine, or ate it with cheese. They also made a kind of fried bread (stale bread cubes soaked in milk and fried in oil).

Veggies grown included cabbages, broccoli, lentils, broad beans, peas and lettuces. (Someone invented the salad!).  Underground veggies included turnips, radishes, and leeks.

Orchard fruits like olives and grapes were very prized, using the olives not only for eating but mainly for making oil, and even tho grapes were often eaten fresh, they more often were used to make a fermented wine.

Other popular fruits included melons, figs, plums and peaches.  Oh yum.  (By the way, have you planted your fruit trees yet?  If not, get on that as soon as the weather warms up!)

Odors lingered, from unwashed bodies to nearly-rotting food.  Sauces were created to use strong herbs to mask these strong smells and tastes. They especially liked garlic, onion, lovage, dill, and pennyroyal.

They created something called "garum" and "liquamen". They start out the same: fermented aged fish (bones, entrails and all) with water and natural wind-carried yeast. Garum was lumpy, and liquamen was garum that was strained to be all liquid.

They didn't have cane sugar, so they used honey and fruit/fruit juices to sweeten foods.  Sometimes they even used flower petals (rose-water in particular) or a thick honey/wine syrup.

They used a spit for roasting animals. Be sure to put a drip pan underneath the animal so you can catch the drippings to baste and to use later for seasoning breads and so forth. 

Ancient Romans also used many tools we do now... like sieves (colanders), chopping boards, baking sheets, ladles and bronze or iron pots and pans. They also made several different sized tripods to hang pots ... moving closer or further from the fire, depending on what was being made.

They also made special bread ovens: tight spaces with fire IN the space, then once at the desired temperature, quickly scraped out and bread inserted, then the space was sealed up.

Instead of a mortar and pestle, they used it's precedent: a mortarium. The ancient Romans loved crushed/smashed pastes, dips and sauces.

They started with a simple mush for a quick breakfast, or flat bread dipped or drizzled with olive oil or wine, and topped with cheese, olives and raisins.

Lunch was also a light fare, with cold meats, leftovers from last night's dinner, cheese from cows, goats or sheep, and sometimes fruit.

Dinner was the biggest meal. Depending on how wealthy the household was, there were be an amazing and lavish spreads of roasted meats, stews, breads (flat and otherwise), cheese, vegetables, fruits and sauces.  Wine poured freely. Cake might be served.

Burping was expected.  There was no fork yet, so people used spoons, knives and their fingers to eat. Guests brought their own napkins and often used them to transport leftovers home. Unwanted food was thrown on the floor for slaves/servants to pick up to eat.


Could you eat like this?  You would need an orchard, basic veggies, meat and a strong stomach.  I think I could get by with the porridge every morning, cheese/fruit/bread at lunch, and meat with veggies/cheese/bread/sauces at the heavy evening meal.

Yeah, quite doable. What do you think?

WWII Kitchen and Garden

Another that I watched was: (8 episodes, 3 are missing)

Now, I doubt that in the future, should any of our countries go to war, that we'll be hard-pressed to turn all aerable (growable) land into fields of grains and vegetables for the troops, but think about your own situation as you watch the vid. Do you have any property that you could turn into a field of wheat or millet right now, to feed your family? What about orchards for fruits, or long rows of veggies or brambles of berries?

Remember, it takes years and years to get fruit from trees, and a year or two to get at least a few berries from brambles.  Get started!

Core the apples and slice into kinda-thin.  She used a jar, candle and saucer to prevent them from browning, and a stick and oven to dry them.  Have to say .... I'm so very glad I have my Excalibur dehydrator, and more importantly, two SOLAR dehydrators!

Create ropes like the vid shows. However, you could also use the panty-hose method (which means you'll have to store/stock lots and lots of stockings and pantyhose).

One way they mention in the vid is preserving the eggs in "water glass" which is made with water and sodium silicate.  Yeah, I don't know.  YOU might do that, and that's fine, but I can't see me doing that.  Instead, I would hope that my quail (easily kept in a garage or even in the house) or my chickens would give me at least one egg a day so I can make a cake or an omelet every once in a while.

In the USA, we think of pudding as a dairy-based glob of sweet deliciousness.  In the vid, it's just a boiled (often savory) item. And the pastry crust is made, not from butter because that was rationed, but with self-rising flour, suet (the hard fat in many animals), grated potato (needed for the starch) and cold water.  Have you tried to make a pastry crust without butter?  Experiment NOW!  You'll be surprised how tasty substitutions can be.

It was as important then as it is now: if you don't have composted animal waste to spread over your garden or field, you will need something else.  Take green plants, add brown/dry straw, add lime and nitrogen, then wet it down. Before long, you'll have a wonderful compost for your garden or field.  It takes a while, tho, so start it now!

Just remember: rabbit waste is NOT hot (it will not burn your plants) so you can use it immediately.  Do NOT use chicken, goat, cow and other animal waste right away before you will burn and kill your plants.

And certainly don't use omnivore/human waste on your garden. How about you put human waste near trees, instead!

Interesting how they used CARROTS as their sweetening agent.  Now that I think about it, carrots really ARE a sweet veggie.  Hmmm... interesting. Thinking I need to grow more carrots, and be sure to grate before dehydrating!

This was basically a cake and it looked delicious!

Buy now the heirloom seeds of items you want to eat.  Then start learning how to grow them, and saving seed.  It might be difficult to buy heirloom seeds in the future.

They discuss the rationing of sugar, and how, even when it came to wedding cakes, eventually they were forbade to use sugar to top a cake.  Instead, there was a cardboard simulated cake that actually fit over the 8 or 10 inch plain cake, good for pictures.  Then the cardboard was taken off and the actual small cake cut in tiny slivers.

Thinking: if you have only a small bit of flour, rising agents like baking soda and powder, and sugar, what could YOU make for a wedding or birthday?

= = = =

From, they showed how to put up gooseberries, boil ham, harvest and bury some nuts, and how to salt large amounts of beans.