Category: Reviews

Review: Saratoga Farms Butter Powder

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We’ve had a #10 can of Saratoga Farms Butter Powder in our house for a few years now. I was able to pick it up on sale from The Ready Store, but it’s also available through Amazon for a little less (at the time of this writing) if you prefer. I was both intrigued and a bit frightened at the idea of powdered butter, but decided it would be nice to have some sort of butter substitute in food storage even if just for cooking. But I also know that you need to taste test items before you decide to rely on them for food storage.

I found myself making mashed potatoes with no butter in the house and decided it was time to be brave. First, no one noticed a difference with the mashed potatoes. So I have no doubt that this product would work well in most cooking.

After I made my mashed potatoes, I decided to also make up a batch of butter for other uses. Namely, I wanted to know if it would taste good spread on bread. Bread is a great filler and easy to make, but we don’t necessarily enjoy it dry. We can dip it in soups or spread jam on it, but there’s something about buttered bread with a meal that would make the hard times seem a little less rustic.

This butter does not solidify. It stays in a porridge-like state, even when chilled. I also wasn’t able to get it completely smooth and creamy. It still retained a little bit of its gritty appearance, though it didn’t taste gritty. My initial taste test, spread on bread, wasn’t great. It didn’t quite taste like butter. Yet, after a couple bites, the taste grew on me. It tasted like butter the way Chef Boyardee tastes like spaghetti. You like it or you don’t, but for many, there’s a strange appeal. I feel this is the case with Saratoga Farms Butter Powder.

cookieAnd the big test? Will this work as butter in baked good. Yes! But the best use I’ve found for it since my initial taste tests: cookies. Every so often, I cheat and whip up a batch of cookie mix for the kids. The package mix calls for softened butter. Reconstituted butter powder is so perfect that cookie mix is now part of my food storage. Sure, I store the individual ingredients as well, but for ease and speed, these packages will make for great mood boosters. Just add some egg powder to your food storage too if you don’t have chickens and you’re all set. The dough is decent as raw cookie dough or as baked cookies.

The Verdict: This is definitely something I plan to keep in my food storage. As a butter spread on bread, it’s decent and even somewhat addictive, though it doesn’t taste like butter. But when you have dry homemade bread, it will make a welcome change to sweet jams as a spread. It also works in stovetop foods like mashed potatoes and makes a decent butter substitute in baked goods. It’s a winner in my book.

 

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Review: Growing Up – The Ins and Outs of Up and Down Gardening by Survival Life

growing-up-250When I was looking for other reviews of the 4 Foot Farm Blueprint by Crisis Education (I found none by the way), I stumbled upon what looked like a similar eBook called Growing Up: The Ins and Outs of Up and Down Gardening from Survival Life. It’s advertised in much the same way, with a PowerPoint online infomercial, also touts the ability to grow enough food to “feed a family of 4 in just 4 square feet of space,” and is also $7. The pitch was so similar that for awhile I actually thought they might be the same product.

So, as with the 4 Foot Farm Blueprint, we went online and purchased the eBook. Continue reading

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Review: 4 Foot Farm Blueprint Ebook 2014 Edition

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(written by Jackie)

Full Disclosure: After my original review of the 4 Foot Farm Blueprint by Crisis Education, I was contacted by someone from the company. I fully expected them to ask me to soften my review or to take it down, but surprisingly, they did not. They asked me to preview their 2014 version of the 4 Foot Farm eBook before it went live to the public. I agreed. Once I gave them my pre-market notes, they sent me the final product for review. So we did not pay for the 2014 edition of the 4 Foot Farm Blueprint by Crisis Education. We were not compensated for our review and our opinions remain our own, as always.

Crisis Education and I emailed back and forth a bit. I spotted a few simple grammar and spelling issues, but knowing that wasn’t the point of me previewing the product, I tried to focus my attention on the content of the eBook itself. If you recall, the 2013 edition focused on vertical gardening using either garden towers or a wall of recycled plastic bottles used for vertical container gardening. This would work most easily outside, but they suggested you could also bring it indoors if you were able to provide artificial lighting and so forth.

The 2014 version is two-fold, with both an indoor and outdoor system.  The indoor system focuses on a hydroponic wall for growing greens and herbs year-round. The outdoor system focuses on square foot gardening, companion planting, and succession planting for everything else you may want to grow. Continue reading

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Gear Review: Fieldline Tactical Alpha OPS Internal Frame Pack – Second Use

pack 2I have always heard that in order to get a true feel and assessment of a restaurant that you should give it at least two dining experiences at the establishment. Why shouldn’t the same be true for gear?

I thought about the first experience I had with the Fieldline Tactical Alpha OPS Internal Frame Pack. Perhaps I just bought a bad one, though I dislike the thought of that. To me, when it comes to a quality item, every one of the lot should be the cat’s ass when you pull it off of a store’s shelf. But there were so many positive reviews that I read about this pack, so many super-duper videos about it on YouTube. Maybe it was the proverbial crap item of the lot. Maybe I had too much weight in it. Maybe it was made on a Monday or a Friday. Maybe this is what was foretold in the Mayan Calendar. Maybe it came into contact with Kryptonite. I finally talked myself into giving it yet another try. Continue reading

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Gear Review: Fieldline Tactical Alpha OPS Internal Frame Pack

packIf you were following my prior adventure you may remember that I selected the Fieldline Tactical Alpha OPS Internal Frame Pack, a pack that I purchased from Walmart, to serve as my bug out bag. You may also remember that I quickly became a non-fan of this particular pack, and that I added its name to my lexicon of vulgarities. Now that the frustration and anger have subsided, and I have gotten my full refund from returning it, I have been able to sit down and give an honest review of this item.

My initial take on the pack, as I stood looking at it on the Walmart shelf, was “Frick’n Sweet!  And it’s only $40.00?  What a bargain!”  That and it had the word TACTICAL on it. Everyone knows just having the word tactical on a piece of gear gives you the best qualities of both SEALS and ninjas with none of their weaknesses (inability to defeat samurais for ninjas – inability to say no to a bar fight for SEALS).

The pack looked well-made. I liked the MOLLE attachment points on the pack and I loved the ALICE pack like attachment points on the bottom of the pack. Everything about this pack looked like it would make a solid bug out bag. So I decided to buy it. And then I decided to test it out. Let the good times roll! Continue reading

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Review: 4 Foot Farm Blueprint eBook

4ft-farm-blueprint-smaller(article by Jackie)

Note: This review covers the 2013 version of Crisis Education’s 4 Foot Farm Blueprint. Crisis Education has released a new version for 2014. Click here to read my review of the 2014 edition. The 2014 edition is very different from the version reviewed below.

One of our Colony members posted this link to our Facebook wall last week:

Crisis Education’s 4 Foot Farm Blueprint eBook

Gotta say, we knew just from the first viewing of this video that it was a scam, but we looked at each other, shrugged, and said, “It’s for the Colony,” and pulled out the credit card. $7 with a double-your-money-back guarantee? What could go wrong? Continue reading

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