Saturday, December 26, 2009

Variety is the Spice of Food Storage

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Now that Christmas is over winter could be done too in my opinion. The dark, cold days of winter can get very monotonous. I wish spring with all the vibrant colors would get here a little faster than it does. While thinking of this I also thought of food storage and how it can also become monotonous and bland.

If you were to eat from your food storage for the next month with NO trips to the store for any item, could you do it? I bet we would find some gaps in our food storage. At first we may have fresh fruit or veggies, but after 2 weeks or so they would be gone and then what? If you have canned or dried substitutes your family may not even realize you had to use them as a substitute. But most of us would be eating pretty bland food.

Some food that we use all the time is cheese, but do we have it stored for long term use. Some of the big blocks of cheese at the grocery store are vacuum sealed cheese (Tillamook is a great example) and will last months in the fridge if unopened. You can also vacuum seal your cheese after opening with a Food Saver and it will last a lot longer. Freezing shredded cheese is also a great option and cheese powder in a #10 can would work for some baking recipes. I've also read that if you wrap your cheese in aluminum foil, with no air gaps, it will last a lot longer too.

I thought of other food items that would add spice to an otherwise bland storage. We can have wheat, pasta, rice, flour, but without some added flavor we would be sick of eating it after awhile. 

Items to spice up your bland food storage: (only buy what your family uses)


-Spices of all kinds
-Cocoa powder (stores indefinitely)
-Chocolate chips (vacuum seal in mason jars for maximum shelf life)
-Brownie and cake mixes
-Eggs (powdered eggs are amazingly simple to use)
-Butter (butter powder is available)
-Drink mixes to add some variety to water
-Shortening/oil (not much baking can be done without it)
-Soy Sauce
-Candy/Chocolate (store candy in #10 cans marked as pinto beans and no one but you will know they are there, that way it will stay part of the food storage and not some late night candy raid :)

We also need to have variety in our everyday storage. Think of all the pastas that are out there. My kids will think I have made a new dinner just because there is a new pasta in the pan. Store more than just spaghetti. Sugar also has more than one form, white, brown, powdered, honey and molasses. There are many dinners that you can make starting with bullion or soup base. Don't forget to store beef, chicken, and even pork varieties. (Winco has soup base in their bulk bin area for a great price). Having just a little variety will make your storage last a lot longer with-out your family getting bored. 

A great non-food item to store would be cheesecloth. You can use it to make cheese from powdered milk and also need it to make cottage cheese. (Rennet tablets also come in handy for cottage cheese making)

One of the most important items I think to store are canned FRUITS AND VEGGIES. Your family needs to store 185lbs of EACH (on average) to have a year supply. That's a lot of produce. This summer and fall I bought fresh fruit and veggies when they were at their cheapest and we ate what we could and I dehydrated the rest. I then vacuumed sealed the dried food into mason jars and they should keep for a couple years on the shelf. I recently dried celery after having a bunch left over from Thanksgiving time and it shrunk down to nothing and I used it in soup (after reconstituting it) and it was wonderful. A dehydrator is a great investment to make and I can't believe all the things I have dried: green onions, celery, apples, white onion, cilantro, carrots, bananas, grapes (that was fun to see turn to raisins) etc. This also saves a ton of money by buying the food when they are in season and then we able to use them all winter and not having to pay high prices.

During fruit tree season ask neighbors and friends to let you have fruit that is not getting picked or is on the ground. You can cook with them, freeze them or dehydrate and save lots of money too. Canned or dried vegetables are also a must. I love to look at my canned food storage and see all the different colored labels, it means I have variety, think spring and how colorful it is. Our food storage needs to look like that as well. Here is a list of fruits and veggies to store (of course only store what you will use):

Applesauce (also great for an oil substitute in baking)
Dry fruit (raisins, coconut, apples)
Fruit cocktail
Mandarin oranges
Carrots  (dried)
Green beans  
Green Chilies
Instant potatoes
Mixed vegetables
Onions- dried minced
Spaghetti sauce
Tomato paste 
Tomato sauce 
Tomato soup 

As you can see there are many ways to store fruits and veggies. Pick a few to focus on in the next couple of weeks and add some variety to your food storage.

Here is an easy recipe using canned items.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken
1 can black beans drained an rinsed
1 can corn drained
1 large bottle salsa
2-3 chicken breasts
Add all to a slow cooker and cook on high 2-3 hours. Shred chicken when cooked all the way through.
We eat this on tortillas with some rice.

Self-Reliant Goals for December:

Long Term Goals:
Flour 75lbs PP
Sugar 60lbs PP

3-Month Supply Goals:
Substitute a canned version

of a fresh ingredients in one of your recipes sometime this month. Even if you love to use fresh ingredients, you will need a canned version if there was no electricity or major disaster.

72-Hour Kit Goal:
Try to find the little Hotties body warmers. The packs of body warmers will definitely be needed if we encounter a disaster in the dead of winter. They even have an adhesive product to stay where you want it. Make sure that everyone in your family has gloves or mittens. Trying to find a matching pair in the dark and in a hurry could potentially be impossible :) The body warmers should also be kept in your car kits as well. Mylar blankets are a great thing to have in a car kit and 72-hour kit. Make sure to have 1 per person

Saturday, December 19, 2009

When The Lights Go Out & You Have No Heat

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On Sunday morning, a few years ago, the power went out. I lay in bed with my electric blanket that slowly got cooler and wondered how long this was going to last. It was cold outside and I knew we didn't have long before we were going to be cold too. We all put socks and sweatshirts on and thought of ways to keep busy. I knew we had warm sleeping bags (that I could pull out, but are for Christmas) if we got really cold, but we really had no other heat source. This really got me thinking of what it would be like if this had been an earthquake and we didn't have power for days or weeks. I do have a wood fireplace, but we don't have any wood stocked for it. Plus if the chimney had collapsed during an earthquake then what would we do? I do have a Sun Oven so we have a way to cook, so my focus is going to be a way to heat my home and keep my family warm.

What to do when your power goes out: (from

  1. First, check to see if your neighbors have power. If you are the only home without electricity, check the main fuse in your electric service panel or fuse box to see if the main circuit breaker has been tripped or if a fuse has blown. If you don’t know how to check, consult a qualified electrician. If your neighbors do not have electricity either, then you know there has been a power outage in your area.
  2. Report your power outage to your local utility company so they know which area has lost power, especially in a storm. Only call once to report your outage.
  3. Turn off all major non-essential appliances such as your electric range and washer/dryer. Turn off the majority of your light switches, but leave a few on so you know when the power has been restored. This reduces the electrical demand once the power has been restored.
  4. Unplug sensitive electronic equipment such as your TV, personal computer, VCR and microwave. This will reduce chance of damage caused by electric surges.
  5. Try to keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed to conserve the cold inside. You never know how long the power will be out, and you don’t want your food to spoil.
  6. Open the window shades to allow more light to come in.
Take the time to prepare for a power outage and to gain the knowledge needed to respond safely and effectively during the emergency. A few simple preparations can greatly reduce the inconveniences caused by a power outage.

I also strongly suggest printing out this handout HERE and keep it as a reference to living without light. I will quickly list the ideas Debbie Kent suggests if the lights go out.

-List what your family's needs

-What will you cook and how?

-How will you heat your home?

-What lighting will you use? (all main rooms of your house should have some form of emergency lighting, like a flashlight or crank flashlight)

Debbie then lists in detail; lighting sources, kinds of flashlights, cooking, heating, power sources, batteries, and fire starters.

If you need some last minute Christmas presents, crank flashlights, or headlamps would make a great gift. Even for children, they would love having a headlamp to play with or light sticks for their 72-hour kits.

I found a store called Recreation Outlet on 3160 S. State St. in Salt Lake City, Utah (801-484-4800) that has a lot of emergency preparedness items for a lot less. They have hand warmer packs, headlamps, portable stoves , crank flashlight/radios , full 72-hour kits in a backpack , mylar emergency blankets , coats, boots, clothing, sleeping bags, snow shoes,etc. I could spend all day in that store. :)

I want you to think of your family and what would be an essential to have if we had no power for 1 week. I would be miserable without heat and if my children were suffering because of the cold I would be really stressed. I think a propane heater may be on my birthday list and finding a way to store cut wood for our fireplace is another idea. What are your goals for warmth this winter?

Self-Reliant Goals for December:
Long Term Goals:
Flour 75lbs PP-Sams club has 25lb bags for $10
Sugar 60lbs PP

3-Month Supply Goals:
Substitute a canned version of a fresh ingredients in one of your recipes sometime this month. Even if you love to use fresh ingredients, you will need a canned version if there was no electricity or major disaster.

72-Hour Kit goal:Search out little Hotties body warmers. The packs of body warmers will definitely be needed if we encounter a disaster in the dead of winter. They even have an adhesive product to stay where you want it. Make sure that everyone in your family has gloves or mittens. Trying to find a matching pair in the dark and in a hurry could potentially be impossible :) The body warmers should also be kept in your car kits as well.  Mylar blankets are a great thing to have in a car kit and 72-hour kit. Make sure to have 1 per person.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

December is Baking Month

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December is the month for baking. The stores have great sales and
with the holiday's there is no excuse to not be in the kitchen. This month we are gathering flour and sugar for our long term self-reliant goal, but these are two items that are most likely used in your cooking on a daily basis. I thought it would be fun to go a little more in depth and see just how much we need to store for baking ingredients and other miscellaneous items that we need to put our meals together.
 After you have gotten great deals on your food you will next need to use these ingredients in your everyday cooking. Which means that yes, you will need to learn how to cook, and cook from scratch. Don't run away....keep reading :) It is not as hard as most people think. Just learn to make one or two things a month that you don't already know how to do. Try the maple syrup recipe (scroll down the page) or try using unflavored gelatin instead of eggs in a recipe. As long as you are learning to use your food storage you are on the right path. Alright, let's jump in. Purchase only those items that YOUR family will eat and what you use in cooking.  Store what you what you store!!  (thanks to for the info)

  • Cooking oils:  Canola or vegetable oil are used in baking. Unopened bottles only last about 1 year. You can substitute applesauce for oil in baking recipes or pureed beans will work also. Click HERE to see how to use beans as an oil substitute in brownies.
  • Peanut Butter:  Peanut butter supplies the good fat that we need and will stay good for 6-9 months.
  • Mayonnaise: Is used in salads, sandwiches, pasta salads and although we don't "need" mayo it does make food taste better. Shelf life of 2-3 months.
  • Salad Dressing: You can use store bought or make your own. Watch for expiration dates as dressing does not last long.
  • Shortening:  Has a longer shelf life than most oils. Shelf life of 8-10 years if unopened and kept in a cool, dry place. Melt shortening to use as oil in recipes.
  • Granulated Sugar:  It is used in a lot of food storage recipes and is very important to store. Shelf life of 20+ years if kept dry.
  • Honey: more expensive, but can substitute for sugar in recipes and it doesn't have quite the reaction that sugar does to your blood sugar levels. Crystallized sugar can be warmed and used as normal.
  • Brown Sugar: Used in baking and some bread recipes. Shelf life is 6 months stored in airtight container. Some people store white sugar and molasses to make their own, and not have to deal with brown sugar going bad.
  • Molasses and Corn Syrup: These are used as sweeteners in recipes. Store as much or as little as your family needs.
  • Flavored gelatin: Store 6 boxes PP. Is used in molded desserts and to thicken cold soups.
  • Powdered Fruit Drink: Is used to make water more drinkable. Shelf life is 3 years unopened.
  • Maple syrup: Real maple syrup can be used as a sugar substitute, but the imitation maple syrup is only good on pancakes and waffles. (recipe to follow)
  • Nonfat Dry Milk: It is much cheaper than regular milk. To make it taste better try adding 1 t sugar and 1 t vanilla to a gallon.
  • Evaporated Milk: Can store cans or make your own from powdered milk. Mix 1 -1/2 C. water and 1/2 C.+1 T dry powdered milk and blend very well. Check out the post on evaporated milk HERE.
  • Powdered Eggs: These are cheaper than regular eggs and they have been pasteurized so now you can lick the beaters without worry about getting ill. Purchase at Macey's grocery store, Winco, and sometimes at Walmart when they have food storage items. 
  • Butter:  It can be purchased in can form. I have found it at Macey's, Emergency Essentials, and Blue Chip Group store (33rd S. 5th W). Don't can your own butter due to botulism poisoning. You can also purchase butter powder at emergency preparedness stores. Real canned butter is pricey so I would only purchase a few and when your budget allows.
  • Sour Cream: is available in powder form at emergency preparedness stores. This isn't necessary to store, but would make certain dinners seem normal in an emergency situation.
  • Baking soda, baking powder, and Salt:  They all have an indefinite shelf life if unopened. Definitely store these to be able to bake.
  • Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast:  Needed to make bread. Store in freezer for indefinite shelf life.
  • Knox unflavored Gelatin: This is such a cool thing to know. Use gelatin instead of eggs in baking. 1tsp gelatin + 3 T cold water and stir until dissolved then add 2 T hot water and stir. When you use this in your recipes decrease the water in your recipe by about 1/4 C to account for the "egg". You can order Knox unflavored gelatin in bulk from (search for "unflavored gelatin")
Now that you know a few things about storing baking items, you'll next need to know how to use them in recipes. These are recipes that I use and my family loves. 

Maple Syrup (from the Essential Food Storage Cookbook)
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
1 C water
Boil and stir constantly and cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add:
1 t maple flavoring, 1/2 t vanilla, and 2 T butter.
Stir until butter dissolves and store in bottle. (We save old syrup bottles and use those)
**Note ** Watch for maple flavoring to go on sale. Or buy 32 oz from Farmer Brothers Coffee Wholesale 2230 S. 2000 W. West Valley. 801-974-5427. It was around $6.00 for 32oz. Make sure you call first as they are only open to the public on certain days until noon. That bottle will last a long time. 

Whole grain Hamburger Bun or Rolls (makes 8)
1 C. water room temperature
2 T oil
1/4 C honey
1 T molasses
3 C whole wheat flour
1 t salt
1 T yeast (I use instant yeast, straight from the freezer to the bowl. You won't need the second rise. Just form into the shape you want, raise 30 min and bake.)
Add all ingredients to mixer and knead 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Let rise until double. (omit if using instant yeast) Shape dough into 8 buns or rolls and let rise on pans for 30 min. Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown.
I will also use this recipe to make bread bowls for soup. Just make bigger rolls than just a dinner roll size. 

Chocolate Mint Parfait Bars (from Jennifer Schreiter)
1 chocolate or devils food cake mix
1/3 C butter or margarine
Mix together with beaters until crumbly and press in 15x10 pan and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin dissolved in 1/4 C boiling water
Add 1/2 C powered sugar to gelatin with
1/2 C butter
1/2 C shortening
1/4 t mint extract
Beat until smooth-about 1-2 minutes. Blend in about 3 1/2 C more powdered sugar and spread onto COOLED base.
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3 T butter (has to be butter)
Melt together and let cool just slightly and spread over filling. Keep refrigerated. These are to die for and are so yummy!

So there you have it, baking ingredient storage 101. Keep track of what baking ingredients you are using and stock up when they go on sale this month. Try to make something from scratch and remember it doesn't always have to turn out the first time. (Guess how I know :)

Self-Reliant Goals for December:
Long Term Goals:
Flour 75lbs PP
Sugar 35lbs PP-Nothing great on sale, be patient :)
3-Month Supply Goals: Substitute a canned version of a fresh ingredients in one of your recipes sometime this month. Even if you love to use fresh ingredients, you will need a canned version if there was no electricity or major disaster.
72-Hour Kit goal: Search out little Hotties body warmers. The packs of body warmers will definitely be needed if we encounter a disaster in the dead of winter. They even have an adhesive product to stay where you want it. Make sure that everyone in your family has gloves or mittens. Trying to find a matching pair in the dark and in a hurry could potentially be impossible :) The body warmers should also be kept in your car kits as well.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Evaporated Milk Info & Recipes

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Evaporated milk is one of those food storage items that I know I should have, but I don't have a lot of recipes to use it up and rotate. As a challenge I went on a search for ways to use evaporated milk. It is recommended that you store 3 cans per person per year of evaporated milk, IF you use it. Don't worry if you don't have any, or if you run out, because you can make your own. Follow this recipe.

Homemade Evaporated Milk (from
1-1/2 C water
1/2 C + 1 T dry powdered milk
Blend VERY WELL in blender. Makes one 12oz can.

Now onto some yummy food recipes:

Italian Meatballs (from The Essential Food Storage Cookbook)
1-1/2 lbs ground turkey or ground beef
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 c. evaporated milk
3/4 C. dry bread crumbs
1/3 C. Parmesan cheese
2 T dried parsley
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1/2 t basil
1/4 t thyme
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly. Toll into 1-1/2 " meatballs (about 24) Place on a greased jelly roll pan with sides. Bake for 20 minutes until browned.

Vanilla Ambrosia Ice Cream (from the Essential Food Storage Cookbook)
4 eggs, beaten well
1-1/2 C sugar
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 cans (12oz size) evaporated milk
2 T vanilla
1 t salt
1 C powdered milk (reconstituted)
In a 2qt pitcher mix eggs, sugar, milks, vanilla, salt, and powdered milk until well combined. Add enough water to make 2 quarts total and mix well. Pour into ice cream maker and process according to directions. May need to freeze for several hours before serving. Serves 8-10 (can stir in chocolate chips or crushed candy bars before freezing)

Egg-Chili Casserole (from the Essential Food Storage Cookbook)
8 eggs
1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
1-1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 C shredded Jack cheese
4 T biscuit/baking mix
1 4oz. can diced green chilies
1 C. chunky salsa
Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl mix eggs, milk, cheeses, biscuit mix, and chilies. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until just set. Then top with spoonfuls of the chunky salsa spread over the top. Return to oven for about 10 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn't overcook. Serves 6

I hope these recipes give you some new life for evaporated milk. They are simple and quick recipes too. Watch for this and other baking items to be on sale in December. It is the number one baking month of the whole year. And I buy all my baking supplies for the year during this month.

December Self-Reliant Goals:

Long Term Goal: Sugar and Flour

3 Month Supply Goal: Keep watching the sales for the items that your family uses.

Water Goal: keep storing until you have at least 14 gallons per person.

72 Hour Kits Goal: Warmth! Make sure you have sleeping bags for everyone. Recreation Outlet on 3160 S. State has children's 0 degrees sleeping bags for only $34.95. Stock up on those little hand warmers that you just have to open to heat up. The silver emergency blankets are also a must for your kits. Both these items should be in your car kits as well. Chap stick and lotion would be great items to add as well. Chapped lips can be beyond irritating.

Keep up the great work! Please leave me a comment if there is a topic or item that you would like me to post on.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Prepare Today Homemade: Pumpkin Pudding

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Short Term and Long Term Goals: December is a great month for baking supplies to be at their lowest prices. This is a great time to stock up on flour, brown or powdered sugar and notice that spices are 40% off at Smiths. Our self-reliant goal this month is all about baking supplies. Take stock of what you have and of all the spices that you use. Do you have enough for at least 3 months? or how about a years worth?
Water goals:  Keep some in your car kits and make sure everyone has some in their 72-hour kits.

72-Hour Kit Goals: Hotties heat packs (the small pouches that heat up when you crush them) Also check everyone's sleeping bags for wear and tear or wash and store for the winter.

I made a great recipe this week and it uses food storage items, try it out. And for all those that have evaporated milk and don't know what to do with them, this one's for you :)

Pumpkin Pudding (really like pumpkin pie without the crust)
1/2 C sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/4 t each ground ginger & ground cloves
2 large eggs (I bake with powdered eggs)
one 15 oz. can pumpkin
one 12-oz can evaporated nonfat milk

Mix sugar, spices, salt in small bowl. Beat the eggs in a large bowl (if you use powdered eggs just mix in with other ingredients, it saves a step) Stir in the pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually add the evaporated milk. Pour in 13X9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. It should still be wiggly in the middle. Cool and enjoy warm or cold.
Refrigerate leftovers if you have any :) I make graham crackers to eat with it. My kids love this stuff!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas the Self-Reliant Way

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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I really can't believe that December is almost here. Time to think Christmas and what to get your family and friends for gifts this year. Food storage items make great gifts, especially for those hard to buy for people. I recommend Emergency Essentials for some great gadgets. My favorite right now is the hand crank radio that also charges cell phones and plays MP3 players. (as the mom of a teenager, this is a must for entertainment) It is called a Kaito Voyager (model KA500). I also want the solar battery charger. You supply the rechargeable batteries and the sun does the rest. Then worries over having the right amount of batteries is taken care of. They have almost every emergency item available and right now their water barrels are on sale- 55 gallon is $39.99- 30 gallon is $34.99-and the 15 gallon is $24.95. Check out their website for all the fun things-  (I don't get anything for talking about them, I really love their stuff :)

Another gadget that I recently purchased is a hand crank for my Bosch mixer. Kneading dough by hand is not my idea of fun and I am so excited to try out the hand crank. I found it at and it ran $14.99 with free shipping. I know several ward members own a Bosch and thought this would be a great gift idea.

The top item on my wish list is a Sun Oven. This handy suitcase sized box cooks your food with the sun. Cold temperatures don't affect the cooking, you only need the sun. Check out the website HERE and see what they can do. The Bosch Kitchen Center on about 6200 S and Highland Dr. carry these. They are pricey, around $300.00 but you can use them all year round. Think how great it would be to have dinner cooking outside in the middle of July.
And lastly, click HERE to read a great post from the Preparedness Pro of her gadget must haves. I really like her website and get a lot of information from her.

I know that many of us don't "need" anything, but home storage items would make wonderful gifts. I would talk to your family ahead of time to make sure the items that you want to buy are items they really want and could use. I really want "real" sleeping bags for my family this year. I think my children would be ok with that as a gift.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gear Up For Winter Driving

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"Gear up for winter driving" on page D6 of the Sunday Tribune. Just thought I would let you all know. It has a list of items to keep in your car. Get ready, the snow is coming.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Surviving The Flu

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Swine Flu, we hear these two words on a daily basis now. I hope and pray that you have not been affected by this flu. If you have been you have probably learned what would help and what didn't while you were sick. My children haven't been sick, but they get quite a few headaches and we were down to the last bottle of Motrin. It made me think about how much medicine that I would need to last a year and I realized that I definitely don't have enough. I know all moms can understand the helplessness when children are sick in the middle of the night and nothing seems to work. Well, I don't want to have to worry about getting pain reliever for my children and stocking up on medicine and sickness related items are my focus for awhile.

Click HERE and read a handout from a mom who was ill along with her children and came up with some great ideas of what to have on hand when you and your family become sick. It is labeled a Moms Survival guide, but I think it applies to all of us.

Some items that I always have on hand are hand sanitizer, sports drinks, 7-up, crackers, pain reliever, Clorox wipes, and other disinfecting cleaners. I am a germ obsessed mom and I have to be able to disinfect everything when someone becomes sick in my family. I don't want the virus to spread to everyone.

Medicine In Your Food Storage:

I have found Walmart to have the lowest prices on their store brand medicine. It contains the same ingredients as the name brands and is usually half price. Look around as you shop to catch the deals on over-the-counter medicines. October and November are the 2 biggest sale months for Rite Aid and Walgreens for medicine. So watch the ads and save big! Stock up on the medicines your family uses.

You might want to also check with your pharmacist to see if you are able to get more than just one months worth of your medications. Especially if they are medications you can't go without.

Make a list of medicines that you and your family use and decide how you will can get enough for at least a 3 month supply. Look for sales, or maybe just by one extra every other week when you grocery shop.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pumpkin Shortage

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One of my favorite vegetabl-es (or is it a fruit?) is rumored to have a shortage this fall. 

This article was in the LA Times:
By Jerry Hirsch October 10, 2009
"Pumpkin pie lovers be warned: You may not find your favorite can of pie filling at the supermarket. There's a national shortage of canned pumpkin and pie filling, a result of poor weather that reduced last year's crop. Shoppers report finding bare shelves, and the supermarkets say they have been put on an "allocation," or quota, system by Libby's, a division of food giant Nestle that controls more than 80% of the canned pumpkin market. Libby's typically uses surpluses from the previous year to stock store shelves during September and October, when the annual pumpkin harvest gets underway. Wet conditions during last year's growing season left canners without a surplus this year, said Roz O'Hearn, a Libby's spokeswoman. But this year's crop is on its way. "We began shipping Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin [filling] in late September, so it should be on grocer's shelves soon," she said.
Shoppers could find the filling a bit more expensive this year. Libby's has a suggested retail price of $1.59 for its 15-ounce can and a suggested price of $2.59 for its 29-ounce cans of pure pumpkin and pumpkin pie mix. O'Hearn said the prices represented a "small increase" over last year because of higher expenses for the steel that goes into the cans and higher grower costs. She did not provide a percentage increase."
  • So it looks like we may pay a little more for our canned pumpkin this year and one way to save some money is to puree your own pumpkin. If you still have some cooking pumpkins left over from Halloween now is the time to actually cook them. It is really quite simple. Pumpkin can be boiled, or baked and both ways you'll need to start by scooping out all the stringy stuff and then cutting the pumpkin into pieces.
  • Simmer Method: cut pumpkin into 3-4 inch pieces and remove skin with knife and boil 35-40 minutes.
  • Baking Method: cut pumpkin in half and then into quarters if too big. Place flesh side down in about 1" of water and cover with foil. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until tender.
  • After your pumpkin is cooked it needs to be mashed. A potato masher, blender or food processor will work, you pick your favorite. Now your pumpkin is ready to freeze. About 7 C of pumpkin puree will make about 2 pies so freeze according to your recipe. Remember that your homemade version will have a lot more water in it and you'll probably be able to omit the water or liquid in your pumpkin recipes. You could also strain your pumpkins before you freeze it. Cheesecloth would work in a strainer over a bowl in the fridge over night.
  • I love pumpkin bread, muffins and pancakes. I love to sneak healthy food in yummy treats. Pumpkin muffins are part of my 3 month supply menu and I need about 4of the bigger cans of pumpkin puree to last my family 3 months. Don't worry if you use pumpkin and don't have any to cook because I am going to find the lowest price on canned pumpkin and we will all get our pumpkin stored.
Pumpkin Muffins (makes 24 muffins)
from: The Essential Food Storage Cookbook
By: Tami Girsberger and Carol Peterson (great Christmas present)
3 C flour (2 c wheat & 1 C white)
2 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t cloves
1 C butter (2 sticks)
2 C sugar
4 eggs (I use powdered eggs)
1 150z can pumpkin
12 oz chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ginger together. Cream the butter and sugar and then add the eggs and pumpkin; add to dry ingredients. (fold in chocolate chips if you like) Pour into 2 muffin tins. (this recipe makes 24 muffins) Bake for 22-25 minutes. I freeze 12 of them for a dinner later in the month and they freeze wonderfully.
This example of a pumpkin shortage just reinforces my belief in food storage. We are not just storing for a disaster. We are storing food for many reasons and food shortages are one of them. I encourage all of you to look at what food storage you do have and to find the parts that you may be lacking. Keep a list of items that you need and watch the grocery lists that I post on Wednesday's to be able to stock up on your items affordably. I know we can all do this and feel the peace of having food storage.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cold Weather Preparedness

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As we head into winter weather, I thought that we should all take inventory of our winter necessities.

Living in Utah means living in cold weather territory and with that comes snow, ice, and sometimes power outages. We need to be prepared for many situations in our homes, cars, and even our workplace for an emergency situation. Think of how many hours of the day you are not home. I know that I run errands almost everyday and am gone from my home for several hours at a time. An emergency is not going to happen conveniently when we are all in our homes so I found some ideas to help us all be ready.

  • Everyone needs to have a car kit of some kind
  • Click HERE to view a great list of items for a kit
  • Keep water and granola bars if nothing else
  • Keep an extra blanket in winter along with gloves
  • Always travel with your coat and proper winter shoes
  • (I personally have been stuck at the bottom of Hilltop Rd and had to walk with 3 little children in the snow and none of us were wearing snow shoes and I didn't have a coat. I never leave home without a coat now)
  • Keep your car at least half filled with gas at all times. (No electricity means no gas pumps)
  • Have a kit like your car kit at your place of work
  • Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime

I read several accounts from families that were affected by the ice storms in the Midwest last winter and had no power for over a week. Their biggest advice was to be prepared with a generator, batteries, flashlights, candles and meals ready to eat. Many of them tried to go to the store only to find empty shelves. They had to rely on family to help them out. We need to figure out how to react in situations like this and be prepared before they happen.

If you are feeling adventurous plan out 2 weeks worth of easy meals with crackers, canned goods and simple to prepare items like soup or chili. Keep these items along with flashlights and batteries in a Rubbermaid container for power outage situations. Click HERE to view some ideas on meals that won't need to be cooked before eating.  To help plan even further, see how long you could go without using any electricity. It is amazing how much we depend on it. Especially for heating our homes!

Hopefully we will never have to go through a major power outage, but being prepared for one is all the more important as we head into winter. As you get out your winter coats, make sure everyone has coats, hats, gloves/mittens, scarves, long underwear, and boots that fit and are great at keeping them warm. This Christmas I am asking for sleeping bags (good ones) that would keep my family warm if we had no heat. 

For your next family home evening have everyone think of situations and emergency's and try to make a plan of how to get the family reunited. If the children were at school and mom and dad are at work, where and how would you all get back together? Being prepared temporally will allow us to grow spiritually.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Adequate Nutrition During an Emergency

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Did any of you notice the article in the random sampler of the October 2009 Ensign? It is titled "Adequate Nutrition During an Emergency" and is written by a registered dietitian, Miriam Blackham Een. It caught my attention because I don't have a large amount of protein in my 72-Hour kits.

Miriam suggests that we include items in our 72-Hour kits like dried fruit, peanut butter, crackers, drinking water, and meal replacements like protein shakes. Instant breakfast drinks, powdered milk and energy bars are also included in her pack.

"During perilous times, your body would especially need adequate nutrition." Think of how hard it would be to walk with your pack and your children in tow. We would definitely need extra protein and calories to help us get through the challenge.

Think through your 72-hour kits and the food that you have chosen. I know I am going to be looking for protein bars to go on sale. Emergency Essentials has individual peanut butter packs that we use in our kits. They are about 2 T of peanut butter and go great with crackers or the individual packs of wheat bread that they sell too.

"A sample meal for one person for 3 days would include 9 meal replacements plus 1 1/2 cups or a 12-oz bag of dried fruit, peanut butter to provide at least 6 two-tablespoon servings, and about 40 saltine crackers or another cracker equivalent."

Click HERE if you would like to read the full article from the Church website.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"The Staff of Life"~Week 5

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"The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of wheat."

-Brigham Young

Wheat-so much can be said about this amazing grain. A large part of your food storage will be made of grains and 100lbs of that is wheat. Wheat comes in hard and soft, red and white. I love hard white wheat for its mild flavor and for ease in making bread. It is up to you and your family's taste to what wheat you prefer.

Wheat that is stored properly will last 30+ years. Storing properly means in a #10 can away from light, heat and moisture. Food grade poly buckets also work. I have mine sealed with gamma lids that screw off and on. If you haven't stored wheat and have decided to take the October challenge and purchase 50lbs of wheat, just remember that a wheat grinder is a must. If your budget doesn't allow a grinder right now, don't worry, there are so many ways to use wheat.

Defining Wheat (from

  1. Berries: Wheat is boiled to resemble rice. It is also the name of the uncooked kernel.
  2. Bulgar: Wheat has been parboiled, dried, debranned and ground to make it cook fast.
  3. Cracked: Wheat that is milled at a very coarse setting or is just "cracked". This is good for use in hot cereals.
  4. Flakes: Wheat that is rolled.
  5. Gluten: The protein found in wheat. You can buy/make gluten.
  6. Ground: Wheat is processed in a grinder to make flour.
  7. Sprouts: When wheat is planted and watered as seeds.
So you see that there are ways to be using your wheat without a grinder. One way is to roast the kernels.

Roasted Wheat Kernels
1/4 C. wheat berries (whole kernel)
1/ T. oil
1/3 T salt
Heat oil in a skillet and add wheat. Pop like popcorn. Swirl around so they don't burn-sprinkle with salt while they are still hot. They don't get puffed up like popcorn but do become a little puffy wheat kernels.
Remember to introduce wheat slowly to your family's diet. Your tummies will thank you for it. Also 1 in 100 people are allergic to gluten so don't put off trying your wheat until there is an emergency because if your family is allergic an emergency is not the time to find out!

Sprouting is also a wonderful way to use your wheat. Read the post HERE that goes through sprouting wheat. (Wheat turns into a vegetable when sprouted?!)

Self-Reliant Challenge:
  1. 50lbs of wheat in October.
  2. Purchase extra items on your 3-month menu plan list.
  3. Adding sunscreen, scriptures, extra set of keys to your 72-hour kit.
  4. Keep gathering water until you have at least 14 gallons per person.
Sources for purchasing Grains in the Salt Lake Area:
Dry Pack Cannery- 730 W. 800 S. 801-240-7370
Emergency Essentials-3300 S. 110 W. 801-994-1055
Macey's Food and Drug -7850 S. 1300 E.
Honeyville Grain- 635 N. Billy Mitchell Rd. 801-972-2168
Lehi Mills- 1-800-660-4346
Bosch Kitchen Center- 6265 S. Highland Dr. 801-272-4932

Friday, October 16, 2009

Emergency Essentials Food Analyzer

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Have you ever wondered how much inventory you have in #10 cans, and storage pails? I found a great way to calculate your numbers. Emergecy Essentials has come up with a food calculator to help us with this. I like that I can calculate the cans that I already have and see how many days this would feed my family. There are 12 categories to choose from; cereals and grains, Meat/TVP, Desserts, Mountain House freeze dried foods,MRE's, even grocery store items. There is also a tab for entering your own item.

It is simple to do and easy to input the numbers, the caluculator does all the work for you. I could feed my family for 139.45 days with just the canned goods and storage pails that I have right now. There is an instruction tab if you need some help. Plus it gives you ideas of items that maybe you didn't think to have in your home storage such as spelt flour, mangos and popcorn.

I realized that I need quite a bit more fruits and vegetables in my storage (although my children would argue that point). And if you feel so inclined there is ordering information available right on the spot, and nutrition information. I don't know if I really think of the nutrition of the items that I am storing, I think of if my family will eat it. It was an eye opener to see the areas of nutrition that I was lacking. I really like Emergency Essentials for a lot of my food storage needs. They have fun items like sour cream powder and celery (I know you may not think that is fun, but I do :)

Click on the link below to try it out for yourself. It was fun to try! Be careful though, you could be using this a lot to keep track of your storage. :)

Click HERE to read more information on the food storage analyzer.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Interchangeable Pantry~Part 2

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This is part 2 of the interchangeable pantry. Check out the first post HERE. I had so much information that I decided to break it all up into two posts. This post will focus on baking substitutions and then a list of ideas that you could make if you only had certain ingredients on hand in your long term storage. 

 Remember to keep buying at least one extra of the items on your shopping list this week. You should have a list of ingredients that form your 3 month supply. 
  (remember all the dinners that you put together and wrote out and made an ingredient list with, good, I thought you remembered. If you didn't do that, then you have some homework to do :)  

Then I am sharing a few recipes that we enjoy at our dinner table. They are not gourmet dinners, but keep us from starving and usually everyone will eat it. 

Basic baking supplies are a must if you want your food supply to feed anyone. You will be able to make bread, tortillas, English muffins (recipe to follow), pizza dough, biscuits, pita pockets, and many more. Without yeast, salt, baking soda, and baking powder your breads will be a disaster. I have been short on ingredients before and there are substitutions that are out there to save you in a bind.

Baking Supply Substitutions
(information from Betty Crocker cookbook and

Baking powder 1 teaspoon=1/2 t cream of tartar plus a 1/4 t baking soda

Broth 1 cup=1 t or 1 cube instant bouillon plus 1 C water

Buttermilk 1 C=1 T lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 C, let stand 5 min. or use 1 C plain yogurt

Chocolate sweet baking 4 oz=1/4 C cocoa powder + 1/3 white sugar

Cornstarch 1 T (for thickening)= 2 T all-purpose flour

Corn Syrup 1 C=1 C white sugar + 1/4 C water

Egg 1=1 T egg powder + 2 T water or 1 t gelatin (non flavored) +3 T cold water+ 3 T hot water= 1 egg

Lemon juice 1 t=1/2 t vinegar

Evaporated milk 1 12oz can= 1 1/2 C water +1/2 C + 1 T dry powder milk blended very well in blender

Milk whole 1 C=1/2 C evaporated milk plus 1/2 C water or 1 C water plus 1/3 C nonfat dry milk powder

Molasses 1 C= 1 C honey

Powdered sugar 1 C= 1 C white sugar in blender on high for 3 min. + 1 T cornstarch

Sour Cream 1 C= 1 C plain yogurt

Sugar white 1 C= 1/2 C packed brown sugar or 2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Sweetened condensed milk 1 14oz can= 1/2 C hot water+1 C dry powder milk+1 C sugar+ 1 T butter, blend all WELL in blender

Tomato juice 1 C= 1/2 C tomato sauce + 1/2 C water

Tomato Sauce 2 C=3/4 C tomato paste + 1 C water

Did you know.............(FROM FOODSTORAGEMADEEASY.NET)






I promised some recipes from the interchangeable ingredients. Here they are, and keep in mind they aren't gourmet, just family friendly.

Stuffed Pasta Shells
1 box of stuffing (60z) cooked
2 C diced cooked chicken (or 1 can chicken)
1/2 C peas (frozen, canned, dehydrated)
1/2 C mayo
18 jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
2/3 C water
Combine the stuffing, chicken, peas & mayo in a bowl. Spoon into shells and place in 13x9 pan. Combine soup and water and pour over shells. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with dried parsley and serve. Makes 6 servings. Serve with fruit (fresh or
canned) and a green salad.

Black Bean Flautas

1 15 oz black beans undrained
1 C broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t chili powder

Boil all ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and mash with potato masher until as smooth as desired. (we like it kind of chunky)
ADD to bean mixture:
1/3 C fresh cilantro (can used dry, 1 T)
1 lime, juiced (I use bottled, 1 T)
Place 2 T of mixture onto one tortilla (makes 12 tortillas)
Sprinkle with:
cheddar cheese (3 C shredded)
tomato (2 large diced)
green onion (6 cut)

Roll up and place in 13x9 pan. Cook at 450 for 10 minutes.
Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Homemade English Muffins

1 C hot water
1/2 C water+half of 1/3 C powdered milk
2 t honey
2 t salt
4 C flour (2 c white+2 C wheat)
2 t instant yeast
2 T oil

Add water, powdered milk mixture, honey, salt to a mixing bowl, combine. Add 2 C flour, yeast, and stir until combined. Cover with towel and let rise 1 hour. Add remaining 2 C of flour, oil and stir to combine. Roll out onto a cornmeal covered surface and use a round biscuit cutter or cup and but our round shapes. Let muffins rise, covered, for 1 hour. Heat a griddle to med/high heat and grease with a little oil. Grill muffins until brown on both sides and cooked in the middle. Can freeze for later use.

Chicken Macaroni Bake

2 C elbow macaroni cooked and drained
1 C cooked, chopped chicken (or 1 Can)
2 T dried onion reconstituted in 1/4 C hot water (or fresh)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 C broth
1 C shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients together (except cheese) in an 8x8 sprayed pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with muffins and a vegetable.

I know this was a lot of information at once, but it all kind of fit together as I was thinking about my pantry. If you haven't made a menu yet, get going and write down as many recipes as you can think of that your family likes to eat. Then you must make a master list of all ingredients and how much you need of each one. Slowly we will stock up on these ingredients as the sales happen. It took me a couple of months to really remember the ingredients that I need and now I know when an item is on sale how much I need of it. Just be patient and go slowly!

72-Hour Kit:
Since summer is obviously over, take any extra sunscreen and add it to your 72-hour kits. I would seal it in a resealable bag to avoid any messes. Remember that sunscreen looses its sun blocking ability rather quickly so next summer you'll need to rotate the sunscreen.
Long Term Storage:
October is wheat month for this blog (and all who are reading and following along). Don't forget to buy at least 50lbs of wheat sometime this month. (If you already have your wheat storage, Yay! and you don't have to read any further). A one year supply of wheat for one person is 100lbs. The cannery is a great place to start. There are no excuses this month, get your wheat and have the peace of mind that you are the right path to becoming self-reliant!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Interchangeable Pantry~ Week 3

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 Have you noticed that a lot of items in your menus are interchangeable? When I made my ingredient list for my 3 month supply menu I noticed quite a few of the same ingredients were used for different recipes. I love being able to stock up on one item and use it for 3 different meals. It makes buying and rotating your food supply much easier.

Beans are very versatile in your food storage. Think of tortilla soup, chili, taco salad, bean enchiladas, black bean flautas, red beans and rice, bean dips, three-bean salad, etc. Beans can also be used as a meat extender and you can used mashed beans to replace the fat in baked goods. I use mashed black beans instead of oil in my brownies (1 C of bean puree= 1 C oil, ) I buy cases of canned beans and love knowing I will use them for multiple meals. You will need 60lbs per person person per year.

Creamed Soups are a casserole staple. I love a warm casserole on a cold winter night. I also love the ease of casseroles, just throw all the ingredients in a baking dish, bake and dinner is done. Many casseroles can be interchangeable and be so different at the same time. Think of all the recipes that you like to make that have creamed soups and stock up.

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Pasta is probably loved by everyone. It is easy to store and can be used in so many different ways. Along with pasta are the sauces. The same pasta can be totally different when a red sauce or white sauce is used. From spaghetti to stroganoff to stuffed shells, the ideas are endless. You will need 40lbs per person per year of pastas.

Baking supplies are a must for your 3 month supply. You will need yeast (2lbs per person per year), baking soda (1 lb pp per year), baking powder (2lbs pp per year), flour (75lbs pp per year), and salt (8lbs pp per year). These supplies allow you to make bread, but then also you can make tortillas, English muffins, pita bread, pizza dough, biscuits, muffins, pretty much any bread. Watch November and December for excellent sales on baking supplies. I will let you know for sure when they are stock up prices.
I have often been baking and realized that I was out of an ingredient. I found some substitutions that work great.

Baking Substitutions (I've included the yearly amounts needed per person)
Baking powder (2lbs pp per year) 1 t= 1/2 t cream of tartar and 1/4 t baking soda
Buttermilk 1 C=1 T lemon juice or vinegar to 1 C milk and let sit
Chocolate sweet baking 4 oz=1/4 C cocoa powder+1/3 C white sugar+ 3 T shortening (cocoa powder has an indefinite shelf life)
Cornstarch 1 T (as a thickener)=2 T all purpose flour
Egg 1= 1 T powdered egg+2 T water OR 1 t unflavored gelatin+ 3 T cold water to dissolve and add 2 T hot water
Evaporated milk 140z can (3 cans pp per year)= 1 C water + 2/3 C powdered milk (powdered milk 12lbs pp per year)
Powdered Sugar(3 bags pp per year) 1 C= 1 C white sugar blended for 3 min. in a blender+add 1 T cornstarch (35lbs white sugar pp per year)

Spices: Don't forget to store spices. I don't know what I would do without garlic powder and cinnamon (not together, just in general) Here are 2 recipes using spices that act just like the manufactured counterpart.

Taco Seasoning (makes one package)
  • 4-6 t instant mined onion
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 t cornstarch
  • 1/2 t cayenne
  • 1/8 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 t oregano
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/8 t black pepper
Mix all and store in tightly in ziploc bag. Make several at a time to keep on hand.

Onion Soup Mix (5 T of mix=1 11 1/4 oz package)
  • 3/4 instant minced onion
  • 1/3 C. beef bullion powder
  • 4 t onion powder
  • 1/4 t crushed celery seed
  • 1/4 t sugar
Combine all ingredients in an airtight container. Use 5 T of mix to = 1 onion soup mix package.

I hope you have all made your 3 month menu plan and have an ingredient list. Getting to know your ingredients will make shopping and storing so much easier. Take is slowly and make sure you are cooking at least once a week from your 3 month supply menu. (I use every meal as my food storage meal. We eat what we store.)  

Your challenge this week is to cook at least one meal from your pantry, and to have your menu ingredient list written out. Shopping for your 3 month supply will be difficult if you don't know what you need :)

Remember to keep adding water to your storage. Everyone needs 14 gallons per person. Make sure your 72-hour kits have a first aid kit and a sewing kit. One per person is recommended but it depends on the size of your sewing and first aid kits. (If anyone needs backpacks, check out DI. I found some brand new and gently used heavy duty rolling backpacks for $2!)
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