• Mexican Hot Cocoa
• Fruit Smoothie
• Glass of milk
The pantries here at Castoff Kitchen are getting pretty bare.
The project has used up most of the unusual, left-over or one-off items in the cupboard, and what remains looks like the start of a good survival kit. Pasta. Peanut butter. Energy bars. Nuts and seeds. Sugar, salt and spices. Powdered milk.
Ah, powdered milk. My large-ish bag of Carnation Instant Skim Milk was not purchased to prepare for the apocalypse. But if you are looking to set up an emergency survival kit for a zombie invasion (or more prosaic emergencies such as an extended power outage or catastrophic weather event), powdered milk will be on your shopping list.
I spent a fair bit of time looking into the dried milk phenomenon and have yet to find a writer who enthuses about the taste of reconstituted milk powder. But despite that, there is a certain respect (grudging? surprised?) for a product that shows up in more places than you would expect.
- Powdered milk is on the emergency supplies list associated with a post from the Centres for Disease Control on how to prepare for the zombie apocalypse.
- The website Off The Grid News also puts powdered milk on its list of 25 foods to include in your emergency stockpile. On the day I was looking, the banner at the top of the web page encouraged readers to find out “How To Legally Carry Firearms (Almost) Anywhere, Anytime.”
- If you are looking for ways to use up your supply of skim milk powder without consuming it, you can put it in your bath, use it to make a face mask or use it to paint the walls. (Why would I make any of this stuff up?)
- If you need condensed milk or evaporated milk to make a fancy dessert, you can whip some up in a hurry.
- Powered milk is a key ingredient for products ranging from baby formula to candy (malted milk balls and caramel confections) to sports nutrition bars.
- For workout enthusiasts, powdered milk can be used instead of whey-based protein powders. The drawbacks seem to be that milk proteins are not absorbed as quickly as whey proteins, and milk proteins may add additional carbs to your diet.
So on paper (or whatever we want to call the digital equivalent), skim milk powder looks like an all-round player. However, all that research doesn’t answer the more pressing question: what should I do with the bag of skim milk powder in my cupboard?
For today’s Kitchen Castoff experiment, we made three easy beverages using a bag of Carnation Instant Skim Milk powder: hot cocoa, fruit smoothie and, of course, a glass of milk.
Kitchen Castoff Used
Carnation Instant Skim Milk Powder
This is how we did it
A glass of milk
Theoretically, this is the reason Instant Skim Milk Powder makes it onto all the survival kits lists. Just mix 4 tbsp powder into 1 cup of cold water.
That’s the theory. The reality? Well, it is quite awful straight out of the tap. However, I put the glass in the refrigerator and the next morning the milk was perfect for coffee — and perfectly acceptable to drink on its own.
Mexican Hot Cocoa
The little Huatulco hotel we stayed at in November offered the most delicious hot chocolate with its breakfast buffet. It had the approximate consistency of black coffee, but tasted like barely sweetened chocolate with spices. When we returned home, I set about re-creating that experience by building a powdered mix that I use to make a mug anytime. Recipe is based on this one from Alton Brown.
- 1 cup confectioners’ (icing) sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 ¼ cup skim milk powder
- 4 – 6 tbsp grated dark chocolate
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 or 2 pinches cayenne pepper powder
Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.
To make a single serving, put 2 tbsp mix in a mug and add hot water. I start by adding a small amount and mixing it into a smooth paste, then filling the rest of the mug.
Once you’ve had a mug, you can adjust the powdered mix (more sugar or more cayenne kick, for example). As well, you can use hot milk instead of hot water (or a mixture of both). Or top off the mug with marshmallows or a splash of Bailey’s Irish cream.
This is the recipe that is printed on the back of the bag, so I figured … why not give it a try? Normally, my smoothies would include almond milk instead of regular milk — almond milk has fewer calories but less protein than the skim milk powder. I used a mixture of strawberries and blueberries, but a banana would have boosted the sweetness and the thickness.
- ½ cup ice cubes
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup instant skim milk powder
- 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
- 2 cups total of fruits (berries, bananas, mango, peach, etc.)
Crush ice in blender with a little water. Add remaining water, skim milk powder, yogurt and fruit mixture. Blend until smooth.
Curious about my “Kitchen Castoffs” concept? Here’s the explainer describing my 100-day project.
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