Showing posts with label food storage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food storage. Show all posts

Monday, March 16, 2015

Corned Beef Casserole: A Food Storage Friendly Meal!

Corned Beef Casserole is another childhood favorite of mine growing up. I make it now and then when I want comfort food. This is my mom's recipe and I have no clue where she got it from.

I also make it for St. Patrick's Day since the traditional foods of St. Patrick's Day do not thrill my kids at all.

Everything in this recipe is food storage friendly and can be stored for at least 1-2 years. I know I appreciate having ingredients for meals just in case going to the grocery store is not an option. This is also a very forgiving recipe!

For the ingredients, this recipe uses canned corned beef. You can find that in a square/rectangle tin in the canned meats section of your grocery store. Canned corned beef used to be very cheap to buy, but has risen quite a bit in cost. If you can find it for $3-4 a tin, you have got a deal and should buy up!

If you do not want to use canned cream of mushroom soup, feel free to use homemade. Homemade works great and tastes fine in this recipe.

Corned Beef Casserole

2 cups elbow macaroni
1 - 10.75 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1 can of corned beef
salt and pepper to taste
onion power or dried minced onion to taste

1. Boil elbow macaroni in salted boiling water until tender. Drain, but do not rinse.

2. Grease a 9 x 9 inch pan. Mix soup, corned beef, salt, pepper, and onion together in the prepared pan.

3. Add cooked macaroni and mix well.

4. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes. 30 minutes if you want soft or 45 minutes if you want the crunchy on top and edges.

Serves 4-6 people. Serve with peas or roasted cabbage.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuna Noodle Casserole - A Food Storage Friendly Meal!

Ahhh....Tuna Noodle Casserole. Doesn't that evoke childhood memories?

I happen to love it! I eat 80/20 most of the time, focusing on eating healthy. Then sometimes, I want some childhood comfort food. Tuna Noodle Casserole is one of those meals!

My Grandma Ertz made it. My mom makes it. We had it during Lent and we had it during the rest of the year. It is a meal that is simple to put together and all the ingredients are food storage, pantry friendly ingredients. It is only four ingredients. Who doesn't love that?

Tuna Noodle Casserole

2 cups egg noodles, uncooked
1 can cream of mushroom soup (can substitute homemade if you wish)
1 cup cooked peas (canned or frozen, doesn't matter)
1 small can or packet tuna (packed in water works best)

1. Cook the egg noodles in boiling salted water. Drain.

2. In a 8" x 8" pan, mix together soup, peas, and tuna. Add noodles and mix together. You can season it if you wish. I don't usually add anymore salt, but a little black pepper, onion powder, or garlic powder is always nice.

3. Put into a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve. Ideally, this recipe should serve four people. However, I often double it like I did in these pictures. That way, I have a prayer of having leftovers for the next day.

Now, I have to confess. I grew up eating this with ketchup on it. Not all people go for this including some of my kids. Try it once - you might like it! 

Give it a try! Let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading,

Monday, February 2, 2015

Food Rationing, Food Storage, and Wartime: We Have Much To Learn

I am a history geek. There is no one era in time that catches my fancy. All of them do. Lately, I have been studying food rationing during wartime during World War 1 and 2 in America and Britain. Some things have really caught my attention.

1. The government will step in and tell farmers what they can plant, where they can plant, and to do so in the most efficient way. The government will focus on the crops that will feed the most people cheaply. They will also be more concerned about feeding the troops than they will be about feeding the population. None of these things are bad things, but they are the reality.

2. People were very much encouraged to grow their own food. Gardens were almost expected. They were called "Victory Gardens". They were encouraged to grow food rather than lawns because the troops and the population needed food. They were also encouraged to can/preserve the food and share with their neighbors

3. People transitioned from meat based diets to plant based diets with a small amount of meat every day. If you didn't grow your own meat, meat was very heavily rationed by the end of each war. You may have been expected to make five pounds of meat last all week for a family of four.

4. People (town and country) were encouraged to keep chickens, rabbits, and other small livestock for eggs and meat. These things helped stretch the rationed food.

5. Along with food rationing, rubber, cloth, metal, petroleum, and a myriad of other things were rationed. You would have been expected to repair, mend, reuse, and repurpose anything you could to make it last longer. "Nothing wasted" would have been expected. In fact, you would have been looked down upon by your neighbors for being wasteful.

6. Sugar and fats were also heavily rationed. Most families were only given a quarter pound of fat and sugar each a week to make last all week by the end of the wars. That really is not much. Remember, fats are oils, butter, and lard.

7. If you had a dairy cow, you might be expected to give most of the milk to the government and only keep enough for your family to drink. If you had been able to make cheese and butter before, you wouldn't have been able to now because they needed the milk for the troops. If the milked soured for some reason, you could keep that for yourself.

8. Grocers often ran out of certain staple foods every week due to demand. Some things, like produce, may not be available at all and especially if it was grown in another country. Food from other countries might not be able to make it to America due to blockades and bombings. During the wars, boats were often repurposed for the armies to carry supplies.

9. Rationing got more and more stringent as each war wore on. At the start of rationing, you may be allowed one pound of sugar and by the end of rationing you may allowed a quarter pound of sugar.

Remember, before the WWII, we were in a depression in America. When the war broke out, most people were already used to having gardens, canning/preserving, raising livestock, and making everything stretch.

My grandma was born in 1920 and lived through the Depression and WWII. She remembers the Depression didn't hit them as hard because they lived on a farm in Northwest Iowa. They had dairy cows that had to be milked twice a day by hand, a garden, crops, and naturally reused everything. When she graduated high school, she worked as a hired girl to make extra money. She married my grandfather in 1942 and followed him from base to base as he trained pilots. They always made do with what they had and helped other families out. That was just the way it was.

Many people do not live this way anymore. It is just too easy to buy everything and throw it away when you no longer want it anymore. What would happen if rationing were to take place tomorrow?

Could you survive on what was allowed to you by the government? Could you handle stretching food over and over again just to have enough to eat all week? Could you handle cooking from scratch more to make food stretch that much further?

Many people relied on produce that was canned and preserved. They would seek out food that had been forgotten as being food. They would forage. They would hunt and trap. They started gardens if they didn't have one before. They raised chickens in the backyard. They produced more of their own food to make their food stretch farther.

Food storage was the key to their survival and to sending more food to feed the troops. Food storage is still key. You never know when a time like this will happen again. The situation might not be a war, but a personal crisis, a natural disaster, or a national crisis. Could you live like this?

What do you need to do so you and yours would not be affected as bad as others may be? Now is the time to store food, start a garden, raise a few chickens, learn to forage for food, hunt, and barter with neighbors. Now is the time to see how far you can stretch food and learn to live simply without having to rely on grocery stores as much.

You never know when this could happen to you. What can you do today?

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sunday Savings on the Homestead Week 1: Clean Out The Food Storage

Every Sunday I will be posting a Sunday Savings on the Homestead. This posts will concentrate on one money saving thing you and I can do to save money for the week. Some will be easy, some will be be a bit difficult, and all will concentrate on one way to save money for the week. Please join me in trying to live a frugal life in 2015!

Now let us all be real here. We all have food in our food storage and pantries that are close to the expiration date or past the expiration date. I am fairly organized in my food storage and I know I do.

Our Sunday Savings mission for the week is grab those foods that are about to expire or have expired, bring them to the kitchen, and use them up in our meals this week. This may mean some creative meals, but that is better than wasting the food!

A note of safety: You are your own best decision maker. The decision to use out-dated, expired food is up to you. If the packaging looks compromised in any way, I would not use it. If you open the packaging and the food does not smell, look, or feel right, don't use it. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December is a GREAT Month To Stock Your Food Storage!

December has been very good to me this month! The sales, the loss leaders, the opportunities....

We have been hitting all of them!

First of all, December is a very good time to stock up on pork. Some of you may not eat pork and that is fine. However, we do. I have been able to get several items for $1.99 a pound and under. Bacon was $2.99 a pound and I did get a fifteen pound box of that. I also got a ten pound roll of ground pork for $1.99 a pound. I also got an eight pound boneless pork loin for $1.99 a pound. I will post this week how I split that up and what I did with all that!

On top of all the pork, we have a half of a hog coming tomorrow. Our freezer will be reasonably full again! I will post how I had that split up and what came out of it.

December is also a great month to stock up on baking goods! I have bought several five pound packages of flour for $.99 - $1.49 a package. I have also been finding white sugar for $.99 for four pound packages. Brown and powdered sugar has been $.99-$1.49 for two pound packages. Chocolate chips have been $.99-$1.99 for 12 oz. packages.

We have also been stocking up the canned goods. Many canned vegetables have been $.29-.48 a can. That is a great price for canned goods right now, but I have been running into limits of 6 or 12 per customer per trip/day. Creamed soups have also been $.48-.69 a can, but also encountering limits on those. I have seen a lot of canned fruit on sale lately, but hopefully soon.

Frozen vegetables have been $.69 a package. I have been stocking up peas and peas/carrots like crazy!

Potatoes have been $.99 for five pounds and $1.99 for ten pounds. I am hoping they go cheaper, but that is the best price so far.

Now is the time of year to buy citrus. A four pound bag of oranges was only $1.99. Mandarin oranges have been $2.99 for three pound packages. These are great to stuff into stockings. Kept in a cool, dark place, citrus can last a long time.

We do not use a lot of dairy items because of lactose intolerance issues, but I have noticed cream cheese, sour cream, and cheese being at decent prices. Butter has gone on great sales around Thanksgiving and I am hoping Christmas will have the same thing!

What good sales have you been seeing and adding to your food storage?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Food Brick and Water Brick Giveaway!


Food Brick and Water Brick Giveaway! has graciously agreed to sponsor a pre-Thanksgiving Giveaway to one of our loyal readers so they can get their food and water storage off the ground! Today you get the opportunity to win FOUR water bricks and FOUR food bricks! The Water Bricks can hold up to 3.5 Gallons of water, and are sturdy enough to stack up to 4 feet tall. They are small enough to slide under a bed, and light enough (even when full) to be easily carried with their handy handle. The Food Bricks are the same size as the water brick, but they are specifically designed to pack, stack, and store food. They interlock and stack perfectly with the waterbricks. Both bricks are made of heavy, durable, BPA-free food grade plastic. Food and Water Bricks are perfect for preparedness, disaster relief, or any outdoor activity like boating, rafting, camping, tailgating, and more, and you can enter to win your very own set of EIGHT food and water bricks (4 of each) today!

Meet the Bloggers Involved

Terms and Conditions

This Food Brick and Water Brick Giveaway is sponsored by, and is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Monday, Nov. 17th at 6:00 am (CST) and ends on Sunday, Nov. 23th, 2014 at 6:00 pm (CST). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone!


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Do Not Put All Your Eggs In One Food Storage Basket!

When talking to people about food storage, most people are believers in using multiple methods to build up food storage as well as having a variety of foods in their food storage. However, increasingly I have been coming across people who only have one or two things they are stocking up on, one method, or one way to stock up.

Do not rely on just one method - you need to have a well rounded out food storage. Why?

 - You can buy a lot of canned goods, but eventually you run the risk of food expiring or running out.

 - You can buy a lot of freeze-dried foods, but the same problem exists as the canned goods.

 - You can rely solely on what you grow and raise, but what if you have a bad year or disease takes your animals?

 - You can buy a lot of dried or bulk goods, but what if they get damp, contaminated, or spoil?

 - You can can buy tons of rice and beans, but that will get old in a hurry without seasonings or other ingredients.

 - You can have a freezer stocked with meat, frozen vegetables, and frozen fruit, but what if the power fails or your freezer fails?

 - You can rely on what you hunt or forage, but what if the area becomes over hunted or stripped bare?

 - You can take the chance that you don't need food storage, but you could be proven very wrong.

As you can see, choosing one method can be a problem. Food storage is not complicated, but you should think of it in a broad sense. By choosing many different methods, you will survive longer than choosing one.

How many ways are there to build up your food storage? Several ways and methods. I use various ways and methods especially when I get into a rut. I build up my food storage using these ways:
 - commerically canned
 - home canned
 - freeze-dried
 - bulk and dried goods
 - gardening
 - gleaning and foraging
 - freezing
 - chickens for eggs
 - hunting (when I get the appropriate training and permits)

Personally, I don't think there is one right or one wrong way to build up food storage. Just don't put all your eggs in one basket! Choose from many ways/methods:
 - pick a few extras cans or jars of food at the grocery store
 - shop loss leaders in your weekly ads and buy the limit (within the constraints of your budget)
 - buy a flat of cans (I do this a lot at Aldis)
 - start a garden
 - ask for extra produce
 - can everything you can
 - don't waste the food you have
 - dehydrate produce
 - raise chickens for meat and eggs (very easy to do!)
 - join a food coop to make bulk purchases
 - shop online from places like Amazon and Emergency Essentials
 - purchase a quarter or half of beef/pork and can and/or freeze it

How do you like to build up your food storage? Do you believe in one way or choose many ways?

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How I Preserve Food: Vegetable Soup

One of the greatest things about preserving your food is making your own food to eat later on! You can control the ingredients, use up what you have on hand, and make delicious food such as this Vegetable Soup. I also like that I can make this recipe in pint jars for work lunches and quart jars for a quick supper.

Vegetable Soup
based from a recipe in Ball Blue Book of Preserving

2 quarts chopped, peeled cored tomatoes (about 12 large)
1.5 quarts cubed and peeled potatoes (about 6 medium)
1.5 quarts 3/4-inch sliced carrots (about 12 medium)
1 quart whole kernal corn, uncooked
2 cups 1-inch sliced celery (about 4 stalks)
2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)
1/5 quarts water
Salt and pepper (optional, as you want)

Feel free to play around with the vegetables a bit. I would make sure to keep the tomatoes, but I think the other vegetables can be switched to taste. The original recipe called for 1 quart of lima beans which I did not add because I did not have any on hand. I also added 2 chopped medium-sized zucchini to mine since I had plenty to use up. In the past I have also added bell peppers, green beans, and peas.

I would also caution you on the use of the salt and pepper. I usually never add black pepper when I am canning, but I did the last time I made it. The black pepper made it very peppery and almost too much for my tastes.

1. Combine all vegetables in a large saucepot. Add water; simmer 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

2. Ladle hot soup into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps.

3. Process pints 55 minutes, quarts 1 hour and 25 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure in a steam-pressure canner.

Yield: about 14 pints or 7 quarts

This post is a part of:

The Prepared Bloggers - How We Preserve Foods

Join us as we share different reasons and methods of how we preserve food to create a long-term storage plan for our families. Click on each link to be taken to a new blog with helpful information and tips.

  Mom with a PREP - How to Dehydrate Ginger and Make Ginger Powder
  Preparedness Mama - Make Jam Without Pectin
  Mama Kautz - Dehydrating
  Busy B Homemaker - Freezer Jam
  Ed That Matters - Anyone Can Do It: Fool Proof Food Storage
  The Apartment Prepper - Easy Marinated Mushrooms
  The Homesteading Hippy - How to Use Your Pressure Canner
  Montana Homesteader - Making and Preserving Cherry Pit Syrup
  Are We Crazy or What - How to Dehydrate Cherries
  Your Thrive Life - How I Preserve Food: Meals in a Jar 
  Melissa K Norris - Re-Usable Canning Tattler Lids-Do They Really Work?
  Real Food Living - Preserve and Store Grains wiith Dry Ice
  Cooke's Frontier - Smoking
  Homestead Dreamer - Water Bath Canning
  Evergrowing Farm - How to Preserve Red Chile
  Survival Sherpa - Modern Mountain Man MRE's
  The Backyard Pioneer - Fermentation
  Trayer Wilderness - How We Preserve Food
  Living Life in Rural Iowa - Vegetable Soup
  The Organic PrepperHow to Make Jam without using added Pectin
  Homesteading Mom - How I Preserve Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup
  A Matter of Preparedness - How I Preserve Using Mylar Bags


(This post does contain affiliate links. Thanks!)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Preparedness on the Cheap: Inventory Your Food Storage

(Preparedness on the Cheap is a series of articles for the prepper and everyone else that doesn't have a lot of money, but needs to take steps to be prepared. A good deal of prepping is learning, planning and organizing. Prepping doesn't have to cost a lot of money, but does involve a lot of doing!)

When I first put up these shelves. They are no longer this empty!

While prepping can cost you a lot of money, there are some very easy prepping things to do to keep you sane and your money to be spent a little more wisely. This week I am going to tackle inventorying the food storage.

Doing a food storage inventory can seem like a daunting task, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks:
1. Knowing what you have on hand to make meals.
2. Knowing what you need to stock up on.
3. Knowing what you need to can from the garden this year or even plant in the garden this year.
4. Having a concise list in case of disaster.
5. What you have been eating everyday vs what you thought you would eat and haven't touched.

Pizza sauce and chicken can go together nicely, but for organizing they need to be with other like things!

Making a food storage inventory can take time. When I do my food storage inventory, I use that time to reorganize my food storage so like foods are together for easier inventorying. The kids and I are guilty of putting the food away in a "loosely organized" manner so when I inventory I make sure everything is together and nicely put away. Write down every item so you don't get too many items that you will barely use.

What to use to inventory? This is where you can get as high tech and as low tech as you wish. I just use a lined spiral notebook. I know people who have a program on the computer, have created an Excel worksheet, or downloaded food storage sheets.

None of these methods are right or wrong. Just use whatever is comfortable for you, but always make sure you have a hard copy somewhere accessible. I keep my notebook with my food storage because I just find it easier.

Food storage inventory should be taken at least once a month. However, I try for at least once a quarter because once a month seems out of my reach at the moment. I am striving for it though.

I hope this helps you! Please let me know in the comments what you do to inventory your food storage.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What Do You Need To Start Canning Your Own Food?

Canning, by and far, is one of the easiest things I know how to do. That may be because I steer away from complicated recipes, but I find it so rewarding to pick food from my garden or trees and preserving it myself. Many people are overwhelmed by canning, but with a few good pieces of equipment, you can do it too.

Canning is not fancy if you choose it not to be, but some basic equipment is necessary. I got a lot of my canning equipment from my mom and garage sales. I got a lot of jars from my grandmas and friends. You do not have to drop a lot of money on canning unless you want to. The list below is what I consider the essentials of canning. This is all I use to can.

The Essentials:

1. Jars. I use half-pint, pint, and quart jars. The half-pints I use for all kinds of butter, jams, and jellies. The pints and quarts I use for just about everything else. I have a tendency to can using portion and meal size for my family.

2. Lids and Rings. You will need many more lids than rings. I started out buying a quite a few lid and rings kits. Now I buy mostly lids unless I have rings starting to rust.

3. Water Canner. You want one that will hold at least 6-7 quart jars. You also want one that has a canning rack to hold the jars still in the canner.

4. Pressure Canner. You will need a pressure canner to can low-acid foods to make them safe to eat later. There are many options out there, but like the water canner, you will want one that holds at least 6-7 quart jars and comes with a canning rack.

5. A Canning Kit. This kit includes a jar lifter, a lid lifter, an air bubble tool,  and a funnel. I went a few years without this kit and, trust me, this kit comes in handy. Very handy.

6. Canning Books. I highly recommend a good canning resource book. I use my Ball Blue Book all the time. I also use my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook a lot for recipes.

Another great resource is At Home Canning and Beyond by Kendra Lynne from A New Life on the Homestead! 

That is it! Canning doesn't look that intimidating now, doesn't it? You can do this!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Slow Cooker Applesauce - Eating, Canning, and Freezing Instructions

Slow Cooker Applesauce is probably one of the easiest recipes I have in my arsenal to make. I love that I can sweetened it to taste, spice it if I want to, and make enough to can.

Slow Cooker Applesauce also has the benefit of saving me money by using the slow cooker and not the stove. I also like this recipe because there is no babysitting the stove! I have better things to do with my time than babysit the stove.

Per pint, Slow Cooker Applesauce is also cheaper than purchasing it in the store. I know what is in my applesauce versus the store bought applesauce which can have high fructose corn syrup and other preservatives that are not necessary!

During the fall, apples are cheap! If you don't have a tree or two to pick from, you can pick up 10-20 pounds pretty cheaply at the store. I know our local stores were advertising $.69 a pound for apples during this last fall. When you do the price break down, you can make your own cheaper than the store. During the rest of the year, I can find apples for $.89 - $.99 per pound which isn't a bad price. I refuse to pay more than that anyway. I can usually pick up bags of apples on clearance for $.99 a bag. What Dane doesn't eat gets made into this applesauce.

The apples will turn brown as the slow cooker cooks them down. I am okay with this. Some people might not be okay with this and they can choose to add Fruit Fresh or lemon juice.

Also, I am using a 6 quart slow cooker. If you are using a smaller one, adjust the recipe to fit your slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Applesauce

20-30 apples, peeled, chopped or sliced with cores removed
sweetener of choice, to taste
spices, to taste (I use cinnamon and sometimes nutmeg)

1. Place the apples in the slow cooker. I run my apples through an apple peeler/corer/slicer and throw the apples in the slow cooker as I go. When the slow cooker is full, I put the lid on so 20-30 apples is an estimate.

2. Set the slow cooker on low and walk away. Occasionally check the slow cooker and stir if you would like. It does help to break up the apples.

3. After 6-10 hours, if your apples are broken down and basically mush, you can do a few different things. I like to use the potato masher to get the apples to the chunky applesauce consistency. Then I sweeten them and spice them. If you like a smoother consistency, you can use an immersion blender, food mill, or a food processor and puree them smooth. Then you can sweeten and spice them.

4. Serve as part of a meal or make it the meal. Who am I to judge? Otherwise, move to the canning portion of this recipe. You can also freeze this applesauce.

To Can Applesauce:
1. Fill water canner and bring water to boiling.
2. Clean jars and rings with hot soapy water and dry. Keep jars and lids hot, either using the water canner or the warm setting in your oven.
3. Fill jars with hot applesauce leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and wipe the rim of the jars off with a wet washcloth.
4. Place lids and rings on jars. Tighten them to finger tight.
5. Process pints in the boiling water canner for 20 minutes. If using quart jars, process for 30 minutes.
6. Take out of canner and let cool. You should hear a pinging sound as the lids cool and seal. Let cool for 24 hours and put away. I generally get 4-6 pints of applesauce canned, depending on how much we eat first.

To Freeze Applesauce:
1. If using containers or jars, clean them in hot soapy water along with the lids. If using bags or a Food Saver, get them out and ready to go.
2. Fill containers/jars with hot applesauce, filling only 3/4 of the container/jar. You need to allow room for the applesauce to expand as it freezes. Otherwise, you will have a big mess. If filling bags, the same philosophy. Fill only 3/4 full, squeeze as much air out as you can, and seal.
3. No matter what you are using, place them in the refrigerator for 24 hours to cool. If you don't moisture from the hot to the freezer may cause freezer burn, breaking of containers or bags, and a mess in your freezer.
4. Place into the freezer after the 24 hours cool down in the fridge.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, November 10, 2013

10 Totally Free Prepping Things To Do

This post is a part of the 30 Days of Preparedness Round Robin with Prepared Bloggers! Thank you for visiting!

I love prepping lists! I have so many printed out and filed in a binder so I can look at them. I get motivated from them and finds all sorts of ideas to get things done!

I am offering you today a list of 10 totally free prepping things to do. Some of the things will take only a few minutes to do, some will take a few hours, and some might take more time than that. You can do these things with your family or invite your friends over to do these things. The only thing that might not make this totally free is canning jars. However, I am assuming most of you have jars on hand!

10 Totally Free Prepping Items To Do

1. Learn to get around your house in the dark. Think about the days when you were a teenager and had to sneak in and out of your house without your parents hearing. You didn't do that? Oh. Moving on....

Learn your escape plan and be able to get around in the dark in case of no power or someone strange being in your house. This might mean you will have to clean your floors and move furniture so you can get around safely. Also, be sure your bag, purse, keys, phone, wallet, etc. is in one, logical place for you to find in the dark and get out safely.

2. Inventory your things. Do you know what you have? Where is it? What are you missing? You need to make an inventory of your prepping supplies and things with where the item is located. If the items can be easily located, you can respond to a situation or emergency much, much more quickly. This inventory should be for food, ammo, supplies, first aid supplies, etc. Everything should be inventoried.

3. Organize your food. Put your food together in logical groups: baking, vegetable, fruits, meats, spices, condiments, sauces, etc. Get even more specific than that - put all your salt together in one place, for example. Put items in plastic bags in glass jars so the food will last longer. Write the expiration dates clearly on the food items so you know to grab the oldest food first. Organize your food to have the oldest food in front and newest in the back or on the bottom. With everything organized, you can send your kids to get the food items you want without the stress of telling them 30,000 times where it is!

4. Can your meats. Look in your freezer and look at the meats that are easy to can. I like to can chicken, stew meat, ground meats, and turkey. If you lose power for multiple days, you can still have a good supply of meat to feed your family and reduce the waste of what you might lose. Meat is too expensive to waste!

5. Make a family preparedness plan. This is a good thing for the whole family can participate in. You need to decide where to go, where to meet, what to grab, how to act, and what to do. You need to make multiple plans in case that Plan A doesn't work, your family knows what to do otherwise. Make sure you also include emergency contacts, medical records, and an inventory of your household goods and keep them ALL in the same place.

6. Write out your priority/wish list. This one is my favorite to do and it keeps me focused! What do you want to get done around the property and house? What do you wish you could do or buy for your preparedness goals? Write down what you need to buy or make. Take this list shopping with you or keep it buy the computer in case you get a little money for those items. Dreaming and planning cost nothing!

7. Practice your skills! Practice those skills which you feel you need refining. Practice makes you better! If you feel your target shooting needs some practice, set up some cans on a fence post and start practicing! Fill a feed sack or a pet food bag with grass clipping or dead leaves. Get the bow and arrow out and start practicing! Need to get more comfortable with sewing? Get some material out and make a pillow while practicing making a straight seam. The possibilities are endless!

8. Complete projects! I have projects that I have all the stuff I need for the project, I just haven't done it. I have started projects and I haven't finished them. I have total confidence I am not the only one! Get your projects done!

9. Organize, clean out, put together your Every Day Carry (EDC) Bag. This can be your purse, a tote bag, backpack, or whatever you feel comfortable carrying with you in the car or everywhere you go. Everyone carries different things with them and most of what you carry depends on where you are at in life (baby, kids, no kids). I like to carry extra cash, flashlight, personal items, knife, scissors, pens/pencils, food, small first-aid kit, small sewing kit, gloves, hat, and other things I might need. This bag is what would be your go-to bag as well as your bag you grab if you need to walk anywhere due to car breakdowns, emergencies, etc.

10. Clean out your vehicles and check their fluids and tires. Anytime is a good time to vacuum out the vehicle and get the trash out of it. Wipe down the surfaces and organize what needs to stay in the vehicle. When you get down with that, check the fluid levels in the vehicles and check the tire pressure. Top off what needs to be topped off and pump up the tires if needed. Your vehicle needs to be ready to go anytime you are!

With winter and the weekend coming, now is a good time to get these things done! You will not spend any money if you don't want to. If you find yourself in a position where you might, see if you have anything that might work in its place! Be creative!

If you have anything to add, please comment below!

September is National Preparedness Month and The Prepared Bloggers are at it again!

September is National Preparedness Month #30DaysofPrep 2015

It's safe to say that our ultimate goal is to help you have an emergency kit, a family plan, and the knowledge to garden, preserve your harvest and use useful herbs every day – without spending a ton of money to do it. Luckily that’s obtainable for every family and a journey we would love to help you with. This year we have posts about food storage, 72-hour Kits & Bug Out Bags, and every aspect of preparedness, from water storage to cooking off grid. You’ll also find many ideas to help you be more self-reliant. Look for information on the big giveaway we've put together for later in the month. Be sure to visit our sites and learn as much as you can about being prepared. We'll be using the hashtag #30DaysOfPrep for these and many other ideas throughout the month of September, so join in the conversation and make 2015 the year you become prepared.

Food Storage


72-Hour Kits or Bug Out Bags


Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nourishing Foods for Your Food Storage

Food storage can be a tricky and confusing thing. What should you store? What does your family eat? What do you like to eat? What is non-perishable but still good for you?

A lot of food storage areas I see have a lot of junk food in them. I don't mean just the Little Debbie snacks. I see a lot of rice mixes, sugary cereals, processed foods, high carbohydrate foods, and empty calorie drinks. That is just a few examples. Those foods can come in handy if you are hungry. But they will do nothing to help fuel your body.

If you were to lose power for an extended amount of time, your body will use more energy to get tasks done because you will be doing more physically and mentally demanding things. Your body will need the nourishment of good, healthy foods for added energy and the additional calories you will need to power your body. If you were to lose your job or be laid off for extended amount of time, you need good foods to keep your mental energy and mood upbeat. Your body needs to be kept at an even keel for those times when you need to keep your hope up.

Processed foods with preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, food dyes, and other added chemicals will do nothing to aid in nourishing your body. In fact, they will do more damage to your body when you need your body to be at its peak. They cause mood swings, emotional instability, fatigue, immunity problems, among other things.

Honestly, I understand that food is food. If you are truly hungry, any food will work to keep you alive and going. Smart food storage decisions now will aid in better situations later. I want to share what I have done and what ideas I have to help you create a healthier food storage.

What should you store in your healthy food pantry now? Think of:

  • foods that you can make and do make from scratch
  • foods your family will enjoy
  • foods that have a shorter and longer storage life
  • simple seasonings
  • garden produce you can or have canned
  • meat you can or have canned

What can you do now to have in storage:

  • make your own granola/breakfast cereal/oatmeal packets
  • make your own canned soups and stews
  • make your own pasta sauces, salsas, and other tomato products
  • stock up on seasonings to make your food delicious and break the boredom
  • buy and eat foods that nourish and fuel your body

What things can you buy (This is what I have in mine):

  • rolled, quick-cooking, and steel oats
  • salt, pepper, herbs, spices
  • whole wheat flour or wheat berries if you have a grinder
  • raw sugar or organic cane sugar
  • honey
  • lemon juice
  • vinegar (white, apple cider, etc.)
  • baking supplies such as baking powder, baking soda, yeast, vanilla extract
  • dried fruits (just be careful, some contain food dyes and preservatives)
  • freeze-dried fruits and vegetables
  • water
  • canned fruit that does not have sugar or artificial sweeteners added
  • canned vegetables that are low sodium
  • tomato products without the artificial ingredients
  • dried beans of all types
  • dried lentils, split beans, and other legumes
  • olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • pasta (not always the healthiest, but a good vehicle for other foods)
  • rice (brown, white, jasmine, basmati, wild)
  • nuts
  • tea (green and black)
  • ketchup, mustard, taco sauce

That should give you a start of getting a food pantry that is nourishing for yourself and your family. You might have other things to add to these list and please comment below to share with others!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Frugal Tip Friday: Pasta Leftovers

This week's frugal tip is an off-shoot of yesterday's post about Corn Casserole. In the tips and suggestions, I have listed one about using up the ends of pasta that are in boxes. I don't let these gems go to waste! This is still food and money spent. I have actually helped people clean out their food pantries and kitchens and they will throw these away. What?!?!

Don't do that! Let me help you!

Invest in one of these:

I use these containers a lot! They are so handy!  I don't use them for cereal either although I should. I use them for leftover pasta and chocolate chips. If I have a little bit left in the bottom of a box or bag of pasta, I will dump them into the container. Then I will use the pasta in dishes such as Corn Casserole and Cavatini where I don't care what the pasta in them looks like. Besides, the kids think it is fun to see all the different shapes!

If you don't want to pay full price for one of these cereal containers, you don't have to. I have bought several at garage sales and thrift shops. They can be found for less than a $1.00!

A word to the wise: do not mix your egg noodles with your regular pasta. They don't cook the same and sometimes cause soupy casseroles. Soupy casseroles are not a good thing.

Have a great day! Thanks for reading!

The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Can Your Own Potatoes

What you see below was my total crop of potatoes from the garden this year. I planted three rows of 15 plants each and this was it. I might have to set a better watering system next year. Dang heat. 

I knew I wanted to can potatoes again this year. I love the convenience of opening up a jar, draining it, and dumping the potatoes into a frying pan. Almost instant fried potatoes! You don't need garden potatoes to do this, by the way. A bag of potatoes from the supermarket will work too. This is also a canning project that can be done any time of the year.

How To Can Potatoes:

1. Wash the potatoes thoroughly. Set a pot of water to boiling. Get your pressure canner ready to go and set to boiling. Place quart-size jars into hot water or a warm oven to get them hot. Set a small pan of water to simmer for the lids.

2. Peel the potatoes if you would like. (I don't, but that is a personal preference.) Cut the potatoes into similar size pieces that you can get into the jar. I do roughly one-inch pieces of potatoes. Toss the lids into the simmering pot of water.

**At this point you can boil the potatoes for 10 minutes if you would like before packing the potatoes into the jars. I follow the raw pack method and have perfectly good results. 

3. Pack the potatoes into the hot jars tightly. (I didn't have enough potatoes for six quarts so I used a few store-bought potatoes.) Ladle boiling water over the packed potatoes. If desired, add a teaspoon of salt over the potatoes.

4. Use a spatula or a butter knife to get down the sides to release the air bubbles. Put lids and rings on the jars after wiping the jars to get rid of any residue.

5. Place jars in the pressure canner using a jar rack. I don't always use mine, but it is recommended. Place lid on top of the pressure canner and lock into place. Let the canner come up to pressure and follow your manufacturer's recommendations. I have an old pressure canner and just have a weight on top.

6. Process the potatoes at 10 pounds pressure for 40 minutes if using the quart jars or 35 minutes if using pint jars. Pressure may need to be adjusted according to altitude. When done, remove canner from heat and let the canner cool before opening the canner. Take the jars out and let cool. 

7. After 12 hours, check the jars to see if they sealed. The jars may be cloudy, but don't let that freak you out. Label and date the jars. Eat later and enjoy!

This is one of the simplest canning recipes I have done! Try it and let me know how it works for you!

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What Meats Will Meet Your Needs?

In setting up your food storage, a tough area to address is meat. When I started this series, I stopped because I wasn't certain how to address this myself along with the fact that I had changed my mind a few times about how I was going to address this area.

The best way to address the issue of meat in your food storage is to understand that you will need a few different plans. You have heard of others saying back-ups to back-ups to back-ups? In this case, they are absolutely right.

I know others who will say that you do not necessarily need to have meat in your food storage plan and that you will need to replace meat with other healthy proteins or go meatless. While I do encourage a few meatless meals a week, I do not believe meat is totally replaceable in the food storage plan. Meat is too valuable of a resource of necessary protein to give up eating altogether.

My first plan for meats to keep my chest freezer full of them. In fact, as of this being written, I have very little room for more. What a wonderful problem to have! I buy my meat directly from the producer and normally buy a half of beef once a year, several chickens, chicken breasts, a half of pork, and a few turkeys. I do like to keep ground turkey on hand also as cheaper alternative to ground beef and to stretch the ground beef I have on hand.

I could stop at this plan and be done, but while I think this is wonderful to have a full freezer and be in the position I could justify getting another freezer, problems can and do arise with my Plan A. Freezers fail. You could lose power for several days and lose everything in the freezer.

While I know (and a tip for you) a freezer only needs to be plugged in for four hours a day to stay frozen along with putting layers of blankets on top to keep the freezer cold, a possibility occurs to lose everything. So what is the next plan?

The next plan for me splits off into two plans that are equally valuable as well as viable. Plan B is to keep shelf stable meat products in my food storage. Canned chicken, tuna packets, canned corned beef, real bacon bits, and canned ham all have a place in my food storage. These are things I believe I will use and do use on a regular basis. As always, you need to keep what you will use. By having these items on hand, I could leave the freezer alone and keep the cold inside undisturbed.

Plan C is to can my own meat which I have been doing a little of myself. If you have a pressure canner and jars, you can do this yourself too. I highly recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. This is a fantastic resource for anyone canning or learning how to can. They do tell you how to can meats. I started out learning how to can chicken since chicken is something I use a lot in my one-dish meals.

Also with canning your meats, if you think you might lose your freezer for any reason, you may be able to save a good deal of your meat by canning it instead of letting the meat go to waste. Learning how to can meat is definitely a skill you would want to have.

Do I have a Plan D? Not exactly. Plan D is going to involve learning things I have not learned yet. I want to learn other ways to preserve meat whether that is making jerky or drying the meat, curing meat, smoking meat, and salt packing meat for storage. These are all necessary skills that I need to learn.

I also need to learn to hunt for times when meat may be too expensive for me to buy for my family. Hunting is my Plan E, but if I don't really know how, this plan becomes impractical. Hunting for me does not only mean being able to bring down the animal, but to skin, gut, and dress the animal. Again, these are all necessary skills that I need to learn.

So far, this is my plans for addressing meat in my food storage as well as what I keep on hand. Again, I had to look at the possibilities with something that needs a little different attention than other food storage items.

How do you plan to address meat in your food storage? Do you have different plans that will take you through emergencies and other situations that may be out of your control?

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Could You Please Pass The Legumes?

Before life interrupted the Food Storage series I started writing, I had covered spices, condiments/sauces, and grains. Today I am going to cover legumes.

Quite frankly, I am still working on this area with my family. I am still experimenting with incorporating more legumes in our diet. Legumes are peas, beans, peanuts, and lentils. These are all very cheap to purchase. Beans and lentils make an excellent alternative to meat in one's diet when paired with a grain or something made with a grain. An example would be beans and rice!

However, with skyrocketing meat prices, I am looking at legumes more seriously. My family seems to be willing eaters of them except for my youngest and he is learning to like them. I have discovered that the cheapest legumes are the dried variety, but the dried variety needs to have some planning to cook them. Lentils and split peas are easy in that they do not need the soaking time that regular dried beans and peas need. Canned varieties of beans are easy to use and make a quick addition to any meal.

As I mentioned before I am still experimenting with legumes and what my family likes to eat. As of right now, this is what I have on hand:

1. Lentils

2. Canned black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, chili beans, baked beans, refried beans and great northern beans

3. Dried Split Peas

4. Dried kidney beans, cannelloni beans, black beans, pinto beans, great northern beans, and navy beans

5. 16 bean soup mixes

I have some variety listed, but in the legume category the variety does not come from the products listed. The variety comes from the multiple ways they can be prepared! You can make:

Many, many kinds of Soups
Beans and Rice
Baked Beans
Calico Beans
Cowboy Beans 
Skillet Dishes
Lentils and Rice
and many more things! Legumes are so versatile! 

I am canning my own beans as well as making my own soup mixes from the items listed. I like having options for using these delicious things!

What do you keep in your pantry for legumes?

Thanks for reading,


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