Making the Best of Powdered Milk, Part 2, by JR

(Continued from Part 1.)

DIY Survival Bars

2 cups                quick oats
2 1/2 cups          dry milk
1 cup                  sugar
3 tablespoons     honey
1 3-ounce package Jell-O, lemon or orange taste best
1/4 cup               water

Mix the first three ingredients together in a bowl.  Mix the next three ingredients in a saucepan, and,   stirring constantly, bring to boil.  Remove from heat, combine with the dry ingredients, and mix well. This dough is rather stiff, so I’d recommend using a food processor or heavy duty mixer if you have it.  If the dough is too dry, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time and mix it in thoroughly until you are able to pat the dough into the pan (a cookie sheet is what I’d recommend).  Cut into bars before baking.  Bake at 200 to 250 degrees for 1.5 hours or in a dehydrator at 150 degrees for 4-5 hours.

For variety, you can try changing jello flavors, adding extracts or nuts, or substituting molasses for honey.

Package the bars to suit your needs.  Vacuum-seal and put them in your emergency kits.  We wrap in plastic and then store them in cookie or candy tins in our vehicles because packrats are a huge problem in our desert valley.  If we lived in the city (I’ve never heard anyone in our city complaining of packrats), we’d skip the tin and put our emergency car food in a small plastic tote.  For immediate or short-term storage, zippered bags will work just fine.



I first heard about peanut butter play dough when my boys were very young.  It sounded kind of gross then and it still does now.  I’ve never been fond of peanut butter and honey sandwiches, so that combination doesn’t appeal to me, and throwing dry milk into the mix doesn’t improve things.  But we were really tight with money, and I sometimes needed to find something new to interest my little boys.  So I decided to mix some up.

They loved it.

I spent a lot of years trying to wrap my head around how children could enjoy this so much.  I finally gave up.  But I’ve never seen a child who didn’t really enjoy being able to play with his or her food and eat it and not get in trouble for it.  So twenty-five years ago, when I wrote a recipe book for items to make to play with children, peanut butter play dough was part of it.

There’s really not much to it.  It mixes up pretty quickly by hand, maybe a minute or two of kneading it together.  The measurements looks pretty small, but actually this makes plenty for three to four children.  Make sure they wash their hands really well before playing and eating, and give them all their own portions–no sharing after they’ve started playing with it.  Because of the honey, do not let children under 12 months of age use this.  And of course, it wouldn’t be a good idea for any child with a milk or peanut allergy.


Peanut Butter Play Dough

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup dry milk


Knead all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Children can model simple figures and eat as they play.


Sometimes, you just need a little something sweet, a little chocolate.  We all get that.  We have our supplies of canned Halloween and Valentine’s Day candy, and chocolate chips, and the super-secret-Mom-stash of Trader Joe’s peanut butter cups and salted chocolate almonds.  I really don’t like to think of myself as selfish, but these are only stockpiled for my family.  I can’t afford to do it for anyone else.

So it’s nice to have a cheap alternative to share with others.  Tootsie Rolls fill the bill.  They take a little bit of time, but not a lot of brains or skill.  You can enlist an older child or teenager to help, and then it won’t even take you much time, either.

Tootsie Rolls

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup dry milk

1/4 cup white corn syrup


Mix all ingredients together.  Knead like you would for bread.   It can take a bit of time to work all the sugar and cocoa powder in, but keep at it and you eventually get there.  Roll into rope shapes and cut into desired lengths.


They are almost like Tootsie Rolls, but not quite.  If you just call them chocolate candies, that might work better.  The taste is just fine, but adding a couple of drops of orange extract apparently makes the flavor just like a Tootsie Roll, even if the texture is a little off. They need to be wrapped in waxed paper, or they will dry out pretty quickly.


Bear in mind that these recipes are to be used in a true emergency, one where, for whatever reason, the mother cannot breast-feed her baby and there is no commercial baby formula available anywhere.  TEOTWAWKI has really and truly happened.

1/4 cup non-instant dry milk powder  OR 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon instant dry milk powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/3 cups boiled water

Cool water to warm before adding other ingredients.  Combine milk powder and sugar together and then add to water.  Stir until no lumps remain.  (Some dry milk powders dissolve more readily than others.)  Mix in coconut oil.  This formula may be spoon-fed if bottles are not available.

This formula is only to be used in a true emergency or catastrophic-type disaster.  It does not provide the essential vitamins and minerals a developing baby needs.  If the disaster lasts more than a day, you will absolutely need to find a source for formula or someone who can nurse the baby.

A few cautions:

  • Do not add vitamins to this formula.  A baby’s liver and kidneys are extremely delicate and excess vitamins may put undue strain on the vital organs.
  • Use only pure cane sugar, if possible.  Beet sugar, which is what all granulated sugar sold in stores is unless it is pure cane sugar, may contain traces of Roundup.  Sugar is necessary for the baby’s body to process the protein.
  • Never give honey to any baby under 12 months of age due to the risk of infant botulism.
  • Some corn syrup contains high fructose corn syrup as one of its ingredients, so be sure to avoid that.  Last I checked, Karo syrup was still clean.

Magic Mix is probably the best thing that ever happened to powdered milk.  Or perhaps I should say, to people who have to use powdered milk and their families.  It’s used by everyone everywhere in the food storage world. In a nutshell, Magic Mix is simply dry milk, butter, and flour combined in a large batch and stored in the refrigerator until needed.  Mixed with water and cooked, it makes a simple white sauce that is the basis for so many other sauces in cooking.

Here we have the recipe for the basic mix.

Magic Mix
2 1/3 cups dry milk
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour

Combine all in a large bowl with a pastry blender or wire whisk.  Mix until crumbly, like cornmeal.  Store in the refrigerator.

And here is the White Sauce.  I’ve never even used it alone.  But I figure it’s there for a reason.

White Sauce
Yields:  8 oz

2/3 cup Magic Mix
1 cup water

In a saucepan combine Magic Mix and water.  Stir rapidly over medium heat until it starts to bubble.


Magic Mix Recipes

The real magic starts when you begin adding in other ingredients. The following is a series of recipes that include Magic Mix:

Vegetable Cheese Sauce

Yields:  8 oz

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup Magic Mix
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine water and Magic Mix in a pot over medium high heat.  Stir constantly with a whisk until it bubbles and thickens.  Stir in shredded cheese until melted in sauce.  Serve warm over vegetables.  (I personally like this best over veggies and spiral pasta.  It looks like you put a lot of effort into making a tasty side dish, when actually, you didn’t.)

This pudding is seriously good.  I’m thinking I’m going to have to make it for dessert tonight.

Chocolate Pudding
Serves:  4

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Magic Mix
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine Magic Mix, sugar, and cocoa in saucepan and mix well.  Add water, stir over medium heat until pudding bubbles.  Add vanilla and beat.  Cover and cool.

Banana Cream Pie, with Homemade Nilla Wafers

Up for your consideration today is Banana Cream Pie.  And while I did happen to use fresh bananas for this, every other ingredient is food storage, and most of it is long-term food storage.  (If we were in a grid-down situation, I would have used some freeze-dried bananas.)  And it was my first time ever making a banana cream pie.


Homemade Nilla Wafers
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar together.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients separately (and yes, that is baking powder and not baking soda), and then add to creamed ingredients and mix well.  If you want true Nilla Wafer size cookies, roll about a teaspoon (like measuring spoon teaspoon size) of dough into a ball and flatten it with your fingers.  The cookies will spread quite a bit, so place them about two inches apart on the cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Banana Cream Pie
1 1/2 cups crushed Nilla Wafers
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup Magic Mix

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups water

4 bananas, sliced

Combine the crushed cookies and butter and press into a 9-inch pie pan.  Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.  Set pie crust aside.

Combine Magic Mix and sugar in a small saucepan.  Stir in water, and over medium heat, continue stirring until mixture bubbles and thickens into pudding.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Let cool 15 minutes.

Place sliced bananas on pie crust.  Pour pudding over the bananas.  Top with Nilla Wafers.  Chill and serve.

For Chocolate Banana Cream Pie, add 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder or 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the pudding mix when you combine the Magic Mix and sugar.

I don’t actually plan on being able to have ice when our society collapses.  OK, I mean in the summer, when we want a cool treat.  I know we’ll have ice in the winter.  I certainly hope to have ice in the summer, but I don’t plan on it.  I could be wrong.  I would absolutely love to be wrong.  I’d love to be wrong about all of this, about needing to be prepared for upheaval in our lives.  But unfortunately, I’ve read a little too much history, and history always repeats.  So we prepare.  And when we start recovering from our collapse, maybe there will be a little ice-making going on.  And maybe we’ll be able to have some cold, sweet treats.  Like a fudgsicle.

Magic Mix comes to the rescue again.



1 cup Magic Mix

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/2 tablespoons dry milk

2 1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon vanilla


Combine dry ingredients in a medium saucepan and mix well.  Over medium heat, add in water, stirring continuously until mixture bubbles and thickens.  Remove from heat and beat in vanilla extract.  Pour into popsicle molds, ice cube trays, or small waxed paper cups.  Freeze until solid.  To support toothpicks in trays or cups, cover with aluminum foil and then poke the toothpick through.

(To be concluded in Part 3.)


  1. Refined sugar? For a baby? Haven’t you been reading contemporary studies of just how bad refined sugar is for both little and big humans??

    Keep the sugar out for all these recipes and use stevia or at least honey instead.

  2. This is a recipe for a baby in an emergency situation. No, refined sugar isn’t great, but it is preferred to death for most people. Using stevia will not give that baby some very important carbohydrates. Using honey could cause infantile botulism, which is most definitely fatal.

    Pick your poison.

    I’ll stick with sugar.

  3. ” TEOTWAWKI has really and truly happened.”
    Under duress people will do whatever they must to feed their infants. If the worst has happened, however, advanced medical treatment may not be readily available. Proceed with caution.:
    CDC Warns Against Honey Pacifier Use After 4 Texas Infants Develop Botulism
    “Infant botulism, as with other forms, used to have a very high mortality rate but is generally a self-limited condition. The nerves will eventually regenerate working connections to the muscle if enough time is allowed by not dying. With supportive modern medical interventions, infant botulism survival did improve significantly, but prior to the development of a safe and effective therapy it often meant months of hospitalization and several weeks on a ventilator. With appropriate dosing of botulinum antitoxin, however, the average total time in the hospital is down to less than 3 weeks.”

    FYI, when it comes to honey, buy local. Good article on honey laundering.:
    Asian Honey, Banned in Europe, Is Flooding U.S. Grocery Shelves

  4. There are differences in powdered milk. Most of the powdered milk sold in the United States has had the fat removed making it less nutritious. The one exception I know of is NIDO brand powdered milk. It is powdered whole milk. It is made in Mexico but you can find it in most supermarkets in the Hispanic foods section. Wal Mart has it in large as well as smaller packages. FWIW another product you should be aware of is Knorr powdered chicken and beef stock. It’s also often found in the Hispanic foods section. The Knorr chicken stock, often labeled CALDO DE POLLO, is the best chicken flavor additive I have ever tried. It is full-flavored and not nearly as salty as most American bouillon.

  5. Commercial beet sugar based far more than Roundup in it. We owned sugar beet acreage farmed under contract, in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming. Many different chemicals have been added for decades to the farm lands. We watched it for years. And know several who died of chemical induced illnesses up and down the Big Horn River. More people dead the further down stream, and the irrigation water is applied daily to the crops all season long, year after year.

  6. Also do not ever give molasses to a baby unless you are absolutely desperate. It will not kill the baby, but diarrhea, oh my!

    I babysat for a health conscious family that was putting blackstrap molasses in their baby’s formula. They couldn’t understand the nonstop runs. They stopped after I passed the information along.

  7. For the Emergency Baby Formula, I’ll stick with the recipe provided in Nuclear War Survival Skills, by Cresson H. Kearny (p. 90 of my edition). I believe he’s really done his basic research.

    Per day (not per serving), the chart recommends: Instant non-fat dry milk, 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (2-3/4 oz.); Vegetable cooking oil 3 tablespoons (1 oz.); Sugar 2 tablespoons (0.7 oz); and a Standard daily multi-vitamin (1/3 pill). Mix with 4 cups of boiled water. He notes that the full day’s amount should be mixed only in cool weather, or if refrigeration is available, Otherwise, only mix up 1/3 of the day’s amount per serving. Regarding the vitamin pills, he suggests grinding up the pill, and separating out the powder by thirds – one-third of a normal pill per day – carefully keep track of the amount, as a baby can be overdosed. Kearny also provides storage amounts for one month and six months – by which time you’d probably have the baby on solids – with information on THAT also provided.

    ((Even as a single guy, this is the type of information I sort out and write in a permanent paper/ink notebook, for community use and/or possible barter information, in case of TEOTWAWKI. And Kearny’s book is well worth the cost for other long-term grid-down circumstances beyond the nuclear war scenario.))

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