Monday, May 20, 2013

FoodStorage for Frequent Flyers (or movers)

My family is preparing to move soon, probably within the next three months.  People have been asking me for months why I am still working on my food storage when I know I am just going to have to move it?  Its as simple as this.  I don't want to be caught unprepared!
I have an amazing husband who has taught an crazy unorganized artsy chic a very simple truth.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

I have a plan!

Whether you are in the military, or know you have a job transfer coming up in the coming months or years, or whether you just know you want to move soon, you can STILL get your food storage started, and here's a few ideas to help.

#1 Believe in what you are doing!

Most of us want food storage, but we just keep coming up with excuses to prevent getting started.  That's where I was a few years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit.  I had 2 small children and probably enough food in my pantry for a couple of weeks.  Then I heard some stories from women who had lived through Katrina.  One in particular stood out to me.  These people were in a shelter and had their 72 hour kits.  Their neighbors however had nothing to feed their children.  The woman talked about how hard it was to choose between feeding her own children and feeding her neighbors children.  A thought hit me very suddenly and strongly.  Which one am I going to be... the one MAKING that choice...or the one BEGGING for food for my starving children.  Its so much bigger than 72 hour kits though.  There are many scenarios that don't involve an apocalypse that would require us to need food in our own homes without being able to run to wally world (Walmart).  
So- I encourage you to ask that same question.  WHICH person will YOU be? And even better than that, what if we inspired our neighbors to get prepared in advance too?  Then we would never have to make that choice at all!  (Thats why I am doing this people)

#2  Start Small and Simple

Plan out the Super Seven System, and figure out what you need to feed your family for 3 months.  You don't need to have buckets of wheat and rice to make this system work- pick simple meals like spaghetti with noodles and Store-bought Sauce.  Obviously, pick meals that you WILL actually eat and test them on your kiddos and husband before you make any purchases- make sure you are ONLY making the amount you actually need to eat and not enough for leftovers!


Drag the money out from under your mattress, or give up going out to eat for a few months- do whatever you have to do to buy a 3 month supply and put it away.  You will be surprised at how small an amount of space you can fit a 3 month supply in.  In fact it will probably fit under a Twin Sized bed, unless you have 12 kids or something.

Uh, oh! You just got told you're moving in 3 months...
So NOW what???

First of all, don't act so surprised, you knew this was coming and you are prepared!  You have chosen one of 2 options.

 #1- Sell your stuff

The way I figure it, you're food storage probably takes up about as much space as that couch in your living room.  You know, the one you don't totally love?  Or maybe the dresser in your kids room that you would love to replace?  So here's what you do.  You SELL the items of furniture that you don't want, or can do without.  Then you take the money from that sale and put it in an envelope labeled "furniture money" NOW, you have room for the boxes of food storage that have been under your kids bed!  When you get moved and settled in, you pull out that envelope stuffed with money from selling your stuff and you start browsing craigslist, yard sales, etc to replace it.

#2- Shop in your Storage

Normally I would never tell you to shop in your food storage unless you are rotating it.  But when you know you are going to be moving in a few months, you can start eating your food storage.  Just try to limit your trips to the grocery store as much as possible and live off of what you have stored.  Each week put the money you have saved into an envelope labeled "FOOD STORAGE" (and don't touch it for anything else) This does take some discipline- but it will work if you ACTUALLY do it.  When you get moved and settled, you can take that money and go purchase your food-storage again. 

My family is actually implementing a combination of these two principles.  We have a piano and a HUGE sectional couch.  So when we move we are going to sell those and use the money to buy new ones in our new home.  We are going to take the space those would have used and replace it with jars full of home canned Jam, peaches, applesauce, and meat.  Because I have a huge stock of jars and I figure those will be easier to move full than empty (I have visions of hundreds of broken glass jars from one rough stop).  I can also get wheat a lot cheaper here in AZ than in my new home so we will be moving our buckets of wheat as well.
For all the rest, the cans of veggies, frozen foods, spaghetti noodles, etc- we are trying to eat as much as possible right now.  Our grocery budget for our family of six is around 120 a week- so I have been putting nearly that much into the bank every week.  I still have to buy milk, eggs, and cheese.  And I still buy fresh veggies and fruit- but all the rest gets directed to the bank!  I have put away enough now that I will have enough from saving the last 6 months (we have planned to move for awhile) to buy an entire years supply.  I'm so excited about that!!

Any questions? Leave them in the comments!  And please, check out my other posts- especially the one about canning meat since that's something crucial to most of our eating habits and store bought canned meat is, NASTY!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Never heard of the FoodSaver? Welcome, to a new tomorrow! The FoodSaver will help prolong your dry goods, your frozen foods and yes even your fresh refrigerated foods! You can purchase the FoodSaver at a variety of places for less like amazon, craigslist, Costco, Khols, Walmart ect. the hyperlink is there just so you can read more information about it.

Things I foodsaver-

Refrigerated (and yes they do still have to be refrigerated- you can't just put them on the shelf)

  • Lettuce and Spinach
  • Herbs- like Basil, cilantro
  • Mushrooms
  • Leftovers
  • Fruit
Dry Pack
  • Spices- I buy these in bulk for WAAAAY cheaper than the regular store at Winco foods.  Then I  put the amount I will use in a few months into a small shaker and foodsaver the rest in a pint jar
  • Wheat Flour- I grind once every couple of weeks, and always have some leftover
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Nuts
  • Dill Seed
  • Dehydrated Veggies (I make these myself in my dehydrater and then my garden lasts longer!)
  • Coconut
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Cake Mixes
The possibilities are endless!! Anything that is already shelf stable you can dry-pack with your foodsaver jar attachment.  Why?  Because it prolongs the life significantly!

Canning Lids

If you enjoy canning you can also appreciate the frustration that is involved each time you open a jar and know that now you are going to have to purchase another lid to be able to use that same jar in the future, AHHHH!!! I use to have a really difficult time justifying using the food I had put up because I had to then toss that lid, so I went searching... I found the best kept secret! Well actually it was not a secret at all just not many people know about them and they have been around since the '70's!!!!! I was a little nervous since they are plastic lids however after reading all of their reviews and finding out that no one EVER has returned a single lid I decided to try them out. I purchased some and started using them immediately. honestly that is no joke the second my Brown Santa (UPS) rang my bell I litteraly ran to the door got them and dropped all that I was doing for the day so I could start canning! I know you are on the seat of your chair to know what amazing product I had found, so without further ado may I present to you: I have used my Tattler Reusable Lids now in all three methods of storing food that I know: water bath canning, pressure canning, and the Foodsaver. After using them in all three methods I have discovered they work amazingly well (just like the metal lids, if not better because you can reuse them) in the water bath and the pressure canning however they do not work so hot with the Foodsaver method as they do not retain the seal for long periods of time. Remember thought, if you are using the Foodsaver, you can reuse the metal lids as the wax seal on them is not compromised :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

My Favorite Recipes-

I have been working on getting my family's recipes ready to go, here are some of them that I have done so far, if you would like to use them in your own plan. Keep in mind that while the cards state that the meals feed 6, that I have 4 small children under the age of 10 and 2 adults. If you have teenagers, you are going to need to add to the recipes to accommodate that! Also- some of these recipes are painfully simple, and you might be thinking..."I don't need a recipe for that"- The recipe isn't the point...Tallying up how much of each ingredient you need to feed your family for a set period of time is the point! The pink columns calculate for you- You can edit how many weeks you're planning for. 13, 26, 52, etc

How does it all work?

So the whole basis of this system is the figuring.  The first time I listened to Wendy Dewitt I was SO excited, I had always been scared of food storage (admit it, you are too!) and she made it seem SO EASY! I told everyone about it and how wonderful the idea was.  But for TWO FULL YEARS I did nothing with it.  I tried to write up my recipes about 15 or 20 times, but it was overwhelming and the math was confusing and I didn't really know how to make my recipes with JUST shelf stable items.  Finally I read the book "One Second After" by William R. Forstchen and got pretty concerned that I couldn't feed my children in a time of emergency.   I decided to get serious and I wanted some spreadsheets to help me do it.  What I am posting on here for you is the result of HOURS AND HOURS of work.  I want to make it easy for everyone else, so please feel free to tell me if there is something you don't understand and I'll be glad to help!

The first thing you want to do is read through the "How To"- it really walks you through what each spreadsheet is for and how you can use them.
Then you need your blank Recipe Card- to start filling it out! Instructions are in the How-to. I have the recipe cards I have finished uploaded here Next are the spreadsheets themselves- There are 3 pages or "sheets" to this document and you can toggle through them once you have downloaded it.
Next you have your "Price Comparison write-in Sheet" This is the same as your last sheet in the Food Storage Spreadsheets where you can compare and contrast prices-this one however, is printable so you can write in prices and add your own ingredients to the list. Sheet 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Grains, Grains, Grains!

We do have to store some grains- so where is the best place to buy them?

Surprisingly the cannery is not always the cheapest place to go- Shop around and compare.

Walmart sells wheat already sealed in buckets- if you don't live nearby, you can order them online and have them shipped to you- if you order 45 dollars worth its shipped FREE! :)  The reviews say this wheat is clean and not GMO :) Its about .53 a lb but it IS already in buckets- which is a big plus!
Grandpas Grains- This is a local company that you can order from.
Honeyville- If you have never been to the Honeyville store in Chandler you are seriously missing out- they have great deals on food storage and emergency Prep items and their wheat is the cheapest of anywhere as of November 2012- at .39 a lb - but you will have to purchase buckets to store it in long term.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Reference Sites

Here are some reference sites that I use all neatly organized into one spot for you, so you don't have to go hunting them yourself :)  You're Welcome!

Avoiding Common Canning Mistakes
USDA Canning Guide
National Center For Home Food Preservation
Everything under the sun
pick your own- TONS of recipes, and canning tips
dutch oven madness
deals to meals
prepared lds family
prepared not scared
Food Storage made Easy!  -this site will send you updates directly to your e-mail on how to get started with food storage!

And some great motivational Articles to read~!
A Talk by Spencer W. Kimball

Talk by Vaughn J. Featherstone