Finale Contest Winners!

3 May

There are a lot of things I wasn’t expecting at the outset of this contest.  Of course I knew it would be a great experience for anyone who decided to join up, but I didn’t know I’d sit reading submissions each week cheering on the participants (for all my family to hear), laughing out loud at their funny weekly experiences, or feeling so touched by their notes of gratitude.

Another thing I didn’t expect to have happen was seeing how fast participants ended up catching on to food storage cooking and how good they got at it!  I already knew if I could do it anyone could, but the motivation of a contest really fueled the fire and got the job done (and then some)!  All recipes added up, it’s very impressive to see what these “once novice” prepper cooks accomplished in the short span of three months!!

Here are the stats:

Biggest Prepper


Week by week, the pace of the contest grew more intense.  And for anyone reading who may not have known the rules from the outset, one of the main requirements was that (beyond skill recipes, such as making things you might normally buy already made such as bread, yogurt, butter, tortillas, etc.) each participant was not allowed to repeat the same recipe twice.  This necessitated a lot of creative planning and thinking ahead in each participant’s  cooking.  In the graph layout below you see the top point score each week noted at the top of each weekly column.  The total number of recipes made that week (by all participants) is included at the bottom.

contest overall graph


So, let’s get down to business.  Here are our WINNERS as well as our final tallied points!!!

Overall standing graph


All of our 10 finalists will be receiving a Wonder Oven from me (as detailed in the initial contest post).  Additionally, the top 5 will receive a package of some of my favorite containers to use in cooking with their Wonder Oven.


4th ribbon

Dawn Dockery

With an amazing two week end-of-show effort, Dawn had been watching the contest previously but seemingly came out of no where weeks 11 & 12 to catch 4th place!  Great job, Dawn!!

Kelly Kettle USA

Kelly kettle ad


third ribbon

Barbara Cortopassi

Barbara was a consistent participant through the majority of the contest, making a total of 57 recipes and earning 427 points!  In the midst of the contest, her family had some tummy aches from not being accustomed to eating wheat, her husband and daughter got serious about grinding wheat (in bulk!) for Barbara’s bread making weekly plans and she even had a yogurt and granola taste testing involving two of her granddaughters.  In addition to this 3rd place prize, she also was the winner of two weekly prizes and one of the two facebook prizes.

Preparedness Plus Products, LLC

Preparedness Plus Products ad2


second ribbon

Amanda Shulz

Amanda kept within a shadow’s pace of our winner nearly every week, steadily driving the competition higher each week.  She made a total of 136 recipes in all, totaling 1,170 points!  She worked relentlessly (btw, she’ll be detailing her experience for anyone who wants to read HERE on her blog) and, like Barbara, got her husband to help with the work too!  Hopefully her new WonderMill Deluxe Grain Mill will help her with not having to work so hard (at least as far as grinding is concerned) in future adventures.  Also, in addition to this prize, Amanda also won three of our weekly points contest prizes.

Wonder Mill

Wondermill ad


first ribbon

Paula Herron

Paula’s drive and determination has been non stop ever since she started the contest, week #2!  The most impressive thing (to me) about Paula’s success in this contest is that she started it as a beginner.

She told me…”My food storage [previous to the contest] consisted of homecanned garden veggies and fruits and about 10 or 12 #10 cans of product from the local LDS cannery and nothing else.”  However, even though she started this contest in the beginning stages of her preps, she didn’t let it stop her and went on to learn everything you’ve seen her do here simply because she was determined to do it.

Due to her hard work and persistance, spending hours upon hours planning, she did it and now (beyond more than $1,000 in prizes) has a lot of experience to show for it.

With a grand total of 134 recipes made, carrying over to 1235 points, Paula is our Biggest Prepper!!  

I know she’s going to LOVE her new Sun Oven and I hope to get to see some of what she does with it.

Sun Oven International

Sun Oven ad

A BIG thank you to each of these companies for their very generous support!!  

Weeks #11 & #12 Prize Drawing



Brittney Barney

A prize package of three pantry sized cans of three great Thrive products, sponsored by our very own  Amanda Schulz (visit her shopping site here!!) Her package for you includes a pantry sized can of each of the following:

Freeze Dried Sausage Crumbles

Instant Black Beans and

Freeze Dried Sweet Potatoes

thrive prize 1 (1)


Amanda Shulz

From Foxhill Corporation, it’s a $90 camp oven!!  Camp ovens fit over one burner of a gas or wood stove and allow you to bake as you usually would.  Simply light whatever heating source you’re using, center the oven over it and adjust the flame to reach baking temperature.  Because these units are compact, they don’t require a lot of heat.  In using one, to prevent burning, start out with low heat and increase it gradually until your temperature is right.  They’re made from rust resistant heavy aluminum, which further allows them to bake evenly.

In the collage above I pictured the smaller single unit, to demonstrate how it’s used.  However, the unit being featured for our prize is the actually the double unit, measuring 10 x 10 x 9 1/2″ and weighing 4 lbs. Additionally, the package includes:

  • Two Non-Stick Baking Pans
  • Baking Rack with Removeable Middle Shelf
  • Favorite Camping Recipes
  • Easy to Use Instructions
  • Side Handles
  • Temperature Gauge



Vicki Davis

From for emergency lighting, heating and cooking, our next prize, a Tri Outlet Safety Post, turns a propane tank into a multi-use tool!!  You just screw the pole onto a bulk propane cylinder and it allows up to three propane accessories to run at once.  The post is 30″ tall and retails for $35.99.

wrap up prizes

To go along with this prize, is a compatible lantern, the Coleman Northstar Propane Lantern, retailing for $59.99.  By placing the lantern on top of the pole, you’ll have light at the optimum height for any kind of area lighting.


Angalee Blatter

A distributor of Goal Zero’s easy-to-use portable solar power products, the website  is donating Goal Zero’s newest lantern, the $79.00 Lighthouse 250!! Product Description: Lantern and USB power hub in one.  This bright lantern has 250 Lumens and three brightness levels and hand crank.  Recharge through USB or solar.  Also gives you the ability to recharge all your small USB devices right from the lantern.  Integrated USB cord to recharge your phone twice, camera, gps, Guide 10, or to give a boost to a larger device like an iPad.

Lighthouse 250 Lantern

If you’re looking to go solar, whether it be panels, power packs or tools for lighting, the guys over at Power in a Pinch offer a wide variety of products to choose from.  Get an idea of what they can offer you by checking out a video (a product walk through) HERE.  

Thanks everyone for a GREAT contest!!

In the comments, I’d love to hear the answers from our participants to TWO questions:

#1:  Knowing what you know now, how effective do you think you would have been in feeding your family with food storage if you’d been required to do so before beginning this challenge?  Do you think you could have just “made it work” if you’d been called upon to do so?  How long do you think you might have lasted eating what you had with the skills you had?

#2:  What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from this challenge about being prepared to cook with food storage?

12 Responses to “Finale Contest Winners!”

  1. Amanda May 3, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    I am so excited about the contest winners! #1) I am so thrilled to have won the burner oven. I cannot wait to use that on my volcano stove (I finally pulled it out of the box last week to compare to my ecostove. I feel a blog coming on!) and see what I can cook. #2) I am TOTALLY excited about the grain mill. We have the victorio that is not their very basic model but a step up from it. This will be such a welcomed addition to my tools! #3) I am so excited to recieve a wonder oven, because I killed mine during the contest. Yes, you can melt the pebbles, by the way!

    To Your Questions:
    #1) We would have been okay if I had to cook with what I had prior to the challenge, because I had a decent grasp on cooking with my storage. Where I realized I lacked was variety, and a better plan to use our storage. Now we have a great plan in the works, and a great outlook for what our storage can do for us, and what it can’t. We also realize how much fresh fruits and veggies play into our diet, and what we need to do to ensure we can still acquire those as well. Our garden is IN! Yay!

    #2) I learned how to use our smoker as an oven. That was very valuable. We store and use quite a bit of propane anyway, and we cook outside often, so it was just another tool along the way my husband informed me we already had. The other thing I learned was just how time consuming from scratch cooking is. I realize pioneers truly worked to survive. If ever I was in the position that this was needed, it would be a group effort.

    This of course is a readers digest version of everything, but I look forward to growing, adapting and learning as I go. 🙂

    • Megan May 3, 2014 at 11:30 am #

      I’m SO excited you won the oven too!! I’m thinking about getting one for myself, so I’ll be waiting for a blog post from you. Thanks, Amanda, this contest WOULD NOT have been the same with out you!!

  2. Pam Emick May 3, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    Would you ask Barbara Cortopassi to write me? I’d like her to teach a class on all her recipes!!


    • Megan May 3, 2014 at 11:26 am #

      Sure, Pam. I think I can hook you up! 🙂

    • Barbara Cortopassi May 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

      Pam, I will most definitely get in touch with you.

  3. Debbie May 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    I couldn’t find a link to read the blog post about the 2nd place winners experience. I would love to read it. Also, thank you so much for doing this everyone!

    • Amanda May 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

      Hi Debbie! I blogged week one and two last week, and will be posting them in all in the coming weeks in individual posts because there were weeks I cooked upwards of 25-30 recipes. you can find it here:

      • Debbie May 3, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

        Thank you, I will check it out.

  4. Paula May 4, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    Hi Megan,
    Sorry I took a while to answer. I was resting and thinking! We made it! 12 (11) long weeks! We had joy, we had fun, we were cooking with the sun ( singing voice for a little laughter this morning). But on a serious note, I am glad the contest has ended! While it was a lot of fun and a Tremendous learning experience for me it was also very time consuming (Planning, Cooking, and MOUNDS of DISHES)! I hand wash mine by the way no dishwashers in this house but little ole me. I do have one in training! I am so glad Amanda encouraged me to enter. Just think if I hadn’t listened I would not have won all the GREAT prizes to add to my food storage and survival gear. I can’t wait for the oven to arrive and yes, I will cook up a nice dinner with it! Planning on using the EcoQue stove just as soon as all the gear arrives! I hope you know that if this old bird can learn how in 11 wks to cook and adapt with food storage so can all your readers. Give it a try Gals you will be glad you did. Just jump in there!!!
    Question #1– Yes, I feel comfortable that I could have cooked with what I had and like Amanda the variety is what I lacked. I have added along the course of the last 3 months lots of product to our stores. I learned through all this that some of our favorites can still carry us through using our food storage. My goal when entering was to learn how to adapt family recipes and what we eat everyday to food storage ingredients and cooking styles. As to how long? Well, my husband is a BIG meat eater! We did not get too far into the challenge when I realized he was wanting his (real food). I did tackle my fears and began canning my own meats, just for this challenge, so I learned a very valuable skill for our family!
    Question #2 — While the skill recipes were great to learn I feel the experience and time spent cooking with my alternative non-electric appliances was the most useful! Ladies it takes time and PRACTICE! to cook with wood and coals. I learned how to convert my charcoal grill into an oven (that really works) which was so helpful with breads and cookies! And like Amanda I think I broke my Wonder Oven! How many times I spilled food all over it and yeah you can melt the beads if the pan is too hot! I can’t wait to get my new one. Thank you again for all your time spent with this contest. I would also like to say THANK YOU to your family for letting us have so much of your time and attention. They must be a terrific bunch! Happy cookin’. Paula

    • Megan May 4, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

      I’m just now seeing this, I had to take a day off the computer too in celebration 🙂

      Thanks, Paula for your comments here and for ALL you did week after week. You’re one in a million for the way you tackled it head on like you did. Plus, you uncovered so many more recipes for all of the rest of us to consider!!

      Btw (just a heads up, I’ll email more information about it), I’ve already heard from two preparedness online radio hosts who are interested in having you on for a segment. I’d love to hear a show about what went into keeping up with cooking like this and the day by day, “how you did it”. #1 because it’s such useful information — if we ever had to do it someone like you has a much better feel now for what it’s like, and #2 because I never would have thought so many “all from scratch” food storage meals were possible to be made between yourself and Amanda. You must have been up late evenings looking for recipes and then cooking all day (and washing dishes).

      Best to you in the future!! Megan

  5. Brittney May 6, 2014 at 12:02 am #

    Congratulations to all the winners! This is so exciting!
    To answer your questions:
    1) We would NOT have survived! I realized as I did this how many recipes I ALMOST had all the ingredients for. But I always seemed to be missing a few things, so I never would have been able to make the recipe. We would also have run out of so many things that I’ve never thought of. I just had a whole bunch of random things stored up, and it would have been pretty rough feeding my family of six with what I had. We wouldn’t have made it!
    2) The most valuable thing I learned was to have a plan–have designated food storage recipes PRINTED and available. Know what’s in those recipes and then have those ingredients on hand. It makes perfect sense to me now, but it had never occurred to me before to do it this way!
    Now that I have some recipes stored up, (my THREE month food storage plan done–woohoo!), the next time there is a challenge, I’m going to focus on cooking without electricity. Great advice, Paula! It didn’t occur to me there might be a learning curve with that as well!
    This has been a wonderful experience, Megan. Thank you so much for doing this for us. I can’t wait for the next one! 🙂

  6. Karen Olsen Hall May 9, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    Congratulations everyone! I am grateful for this contest!
    To answer your questions:
    1. We would have done ok, because I have a propane cooker outside, a BBQ, and a dutch oven, but it would have been hard cooking here in the wind and snow! I cook a lot from food storage, but I had never tried baking cookies (and that was something I really tried to master during the contest). We do have a lot of variety because I can a lot of fruits and vegies, and meats, and dehydrate as well. But, I hadn’t tried making several food items without any power and that was a great learning experience.

    2. Since I am already starting to say what I learned there are so many things! I tried probably 50 different recipes/combinations for baking cookies to see what we liked the most. Also, I had a volcano stove but hadn’t used it, but with the contest, I used it to bake all those different batches of cookies, with the baking cover and without the baking cover. I learned how and used my rocket stove for the first time and it was great to heat up the briquettes with only a few sticks!

    I learned a lot about how to get the right temperature for my dutch oven cooking with charcoal briquettes! I had just been guessing before, but because of the contest, I learned how many briquettes for temperatures desired. I had previously cooked with the dutch oven over a wood fire, but because of fire restrictions here, I used briquettes, which I hadn’t done before. I had never used a wonder oven before, and because of this contest I used it to cook several things. The muffins were my favorite surprise and they tasted great!

    I also made several mixes with food storage ingredients. I researched a found a lot of new recipes that I could use my tomato powder with and even learned how to make ketchup without high fructose corn syrup! I learned how to make cookie mixes like the Betty Crocker cookie mixes that are soooooo expensive, and now I have them for pennies! They are so convenient! I also learned to use powdered margarine, which I had avoided using, and just kept for emergencies!

    I used powdered eggs in lots and lots of recipes, and I was thrilled to find out how easy they were to use in the mixes I put together.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t get to enter several weeks of the contest at the end because I had to go out of state for family for most of April, so I didn’t enter my mixes or several other recipes I made, but I worked hard, researched a lot, practiced several different forms of cooking and gained a lot of new skills (especially powerless cooking). I would not have worked that hard or done that much cooking/researching/experimenting with recipes and different cooking methods if it hadn’t been for the contest!

    Thank you for the opportunity to learn from your talents, and thank you for the prizes! I appreciate learning from you all too! Please keep me posted on the next contest! 🙂 Hopefully I will be able to be home for the full duration next time! Thanks again, Megan, for all the work you put in to make this contest possible!

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