Grams Image

Grams Image

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Look Back!

A look back at how I have prepared for C-Day! (Collapse Day)  I started back in 1999 and then when Y2K fizzled I slowed down to a crawl and even stopped a lot of my prepping.  Don't get me wrong I didn't get rid of anything that I had acquired I just started living off of it.  My husband lost his job and we had to give our house up and eventually had to go bankrupt.  We moved into a rental and lived off the food storage that I had worked so hard to can and dehydrate as well as the rice and beans and canned veggies.  My son also had a similar story and he and his family also ate from our food storage.  We ended up using most of the food and as we used it I didn't replace it.  

Then a few years ago when our house value started dropping severely I started realizing that we needed to start prepping again and I started getting back on the net and studying what I needed to do again.  I refreshed my skills of canning and started canning.  I canned pear sauce and pear butter from free pears I got from friends.  Then I started going to farm stands and picking up bushels of string beans and tomatoes.  I made salsa, and tomato juice and canned tomatoes.  Then I started thinking about meat and every time chicken breasts went on sale I canned between 10 and 20 pounds of it.  That got to be scary thinking we may be living off of chicken and tuna only so I started buying large fresh pork roasts and canning them.  Next came the beef roasts, mind you I got the cheapest cuts possible such as chuck or round roasts then they were cut up to fit into the jars and canned.   The last meat I canned has been ground beef.  I learned a nifty way to do it from the lady on Homestead Acres and I am still canning this ground beef as I can find it on sale.  I tried canning ham and corned beef as well but the ham turns really dark when it is canned and it doesn't look very appetizing .  So I have bought about 40 12 oz. and 1 lb. cans of ham from Walgreens  when it has gone on sale for $2 a can.  I also bought their canned crabmeat and clams when they were on sale as well.  Corned beef I bought in cans from the commissary and Sam's Club but their price went up and now neither of them seem to carry it anymore around here.

My canned vegetables I bought when they were on sale for between 25 cents and 39 cents at the grocery stores as loss leaders.  I would buy the limit and go back every day during the sale for the limit again.  I also went many times to multiple stores and took my husband and granddaughter with me to buy their limit as well so I now have about 400 cans of a variety of vegetables.  Most of them are corn, creamed corn, string beans, and peas.  But about 175 cans of them are beets, limas, kidney beans, pork and beans, sauerkraut, spinach, black eyed peas and garbanzo beans of which I bought at about 50 to 65 cents.  I also have quite a bit of refried beans and some canned potatoes as well as many cans of whole or diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste.  I found many of my large cans of tomatoes for 88 cents and the 15 oz. cans for 45 cents at places like Big Lots and Ollies.  You need to be careful of the dates when buying from places such as these because some of the exp. dates will be within 6 months and that is why they get them cheap and sell them cheap.  But I do buy the short exp. date cans if I can use them in my kitchen pantry and use them up before the exp. date.   

The next group of items I have stocked up on was rice which I purchased at Sam's Club.  I got enough to feed 15 people for a year or two and also enough to make rice milk for those members of my family who are allergic to dairy.  I purchase 24 boxes of various Betty Crocker potato products such as scalloped, and au gratin for 40 cents a box after sale and with coupons.  I purchased a rice a roni type mix at savalot grocery for 49 cents a box and keep about 30 boxes on hand.  I also bought two cases of macaroni and cheese like Kraft makes for 25 cents a box.  I bought instant mashed potatoes when on sale at the commissary and got probably 100 lbs. of a variety of dried beans and lentils and peas from the commissary which I accomplished by buying 4 packages every time I went shopping over a year or so.  

Now for condiments, that was fun, I tried buying them a couple at a time as I went to the grocery and then I got into extreme couponing and started watching for rock bottom prices in June and July and saved my coupons and ordered many from Coupon Masters on the net.  I ended up getting almost all of my mustards, barbeque sauces, salad dressings, and ketchups for less than 15 cents each and some were free.  Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip style salad dressing  I got for about half price.  I did the same thing with jellies, jams, and preserves.  I couldn't get very good deals on steak sauces and Worcestershire sauce so I went to Dollar Deals which is a Dollar Tree store.  The sauces were $1 each.  Not bad considering many of these are $4 or more such as Heinz 57 or A1 Steaks.  Of course they are a generic brand but they taste very similar to the name brands.

Over the last few years I made several orders to Emergency Essentials and Honeyville for dehydrated foods and wheat berries when they were on sale.  I then kept reading that LDS Cannery was allowing non members to can foods and buy bulk grains and beans so I called and made an appointment and showed up.  They were very nice and helpful.  They taught me how to do it and even jumped in and helped.  Didn't take but about 2 hours for me to can 50 lbs of mashed potato flakes, 50 lbs. of oatmeal, 50 lbs. of non instant milk powder, 25 lbs. of Tang, 25 lbs of hot cocoa mix, and 50 lbs of onion flakes and 50 lbs of carrots.  I then bought bulk red and white hard winter wheat and bulk pinto beans.  I also bought a few cans of Navy Beans and Black Beans.  Of course all of their foods are dried and dehydrated and are not freeze dried but their prices were super reasonable compared to EE or Honeyville. 

As far as Coffee and Tea.  I have bought them both on sale 2 to 4 cans or boxes at a time when I find them on sale.  Sam's has large containers of Non Dairy Creamer which I buy 1 or 2 each time I go there.  The non Dairy Creamer will be used to make Dry milk creamier and a better consistency for drinking or cereal as well as for coffee.   I have bought Koolaid on sale for 10 cents a pack and stocked up on Lemonade or Pink Lemonade mostly but also got punch and grape and a few other flavors for a change of pace.  The Tang that has a 100% of Vit. C daily allowance will be kept for breakfast drink only to make the Tang last for as long as possible.  If someone catches a cold they will be allowed 3 or 4 glasses a day.

As far as treats are concerned I have bought hard candies when they are on sale after Halloween and Christmas.  I have lots of mints, red hots and a variety of other candies.  I bought brownie mixes when they were on sale and used coupons.  But I think my best buy was when I happened on Betty Crocker cake mixes at the commissary for 65 cents on sale and they had coupons and there were no limit on what you could buy.  It ended up costing me 32 cent a box and I bought 27 boxes of German chocolate, fudge and yellow cake mixes.  Now I have to find the recipes to turn these into cookies and snack cakes so that I don't have to make just cakes from them.  We are not really fond of eating cake with frosting but do enjoy a variety of desserts. I also have bought a large variety of jello and pudding mixes.  Puddings taste just fine with instant milk or non instant dried milk.  I was surprised at how good it tasted. 

I am now trying to buy jars of cheese whiz and nacho cheese.  I figure they will last longer than fresh cheese in my food storage.  I have some Cheddar Wheels that are waxed that should last for years in the refrigerator.  I guess it will just get sharper with age. 

I have many other foods such as condensed soups, home canned soups, chili, corned beef hash, sardines, and a good quantity of Salmon.  I have about 400 cans of chunk light tuna because it is a favorite of our and versatile.  Of course since they are 5 ozs. each they will go pretty quickly if our extended family is with us after the collapse.  I also have a few packages of dry soups and couscous.   I got a really good deal of canned spaghetti sauces in many different flavors.  I bought about 50 cans at about 69 cents a piece.  I also have lots of spaghetti, rotini, macaroni, penne, fettucini, etc.   and also egg noodles.

I have 45 lbs of grits which we like for breakfast and we use it with seafood and it is even good with cheese added to it to serve as a starch with a meal like chili or with ham.  I bought several cases of ravioli which I got for 59 cent a can.  I figured they would be good for times when we can't do more than heat food slightly.  In a pinch you can eat them cold and you don't need water to fix them.

My canned fruit is a variety from #10 cans of apple slices and banana slices to 1 pound cans of peaches, pears, pineapple, and  fruit cocktail.  I also have a good supply of raisins, cranberries, dates, and prunes in dried forms. 

I have not mentioned some other things in my storage.  200 lbs of bread and all purpose flour, 400 lbs. of sugar, 300 lbs. of salt and lots of very large plastic bottles of spices.  I have approximately 6 large bottles of cinnamon ( Hubby and I are diabetic) so we use a lot of cinnamon.  I have Curry powder, cumin, Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, bay leaves, lemon pepper, chili powder, turmeric, paprika,  Steak rubs, and chicken rubs, cayenne, garlic, and some others I can't think of right now.  I also have 2 gallon bottles of black pepper.   I have 6 lbs. of yeast and large bags of baking soda and a large jar of baking powder.  I have 6 pints of vanilla and many smaller jars and bottles of less used spices, herbs and flavorings.  Also I have about 5 lbs. of chicken bouillon cubes and 5 lbs of beef bouillon cubes.

I know this sounds like an awful lot of food but I have 13 people in my household and extended local family.  I am the one in the family doing the food storage.  If anyone does come to stay with us long term they will be required to bring with them all their food from their homes as well as all their clothes, bedding, weapons, ammo, portable lights and batteries as well as portable radios, walkies, etc.

There is no way we can support everyone so everyone has to contribute, cutting wood, helping with the garden and fruit trees, helping with the rabbits, trapping squirrels and wild rabbits, fishing, purifying water.  Canning and dehydrating foods, washing clothes and hanging on the lines, trapping wild geese, I would try to domesticate the wild geese by clipping their wings and feeding them well.  Their fresh eggs would be very welcome.  At that point I don't care what the city will allow.  Someone in the group will be in charge of sprouting seeds and beans probably one of the children or a couple of them.  Someone else  will be in charge of filtering water and boiling it or treating it. I will be in charge of menu planning and probably most of the cooking.  I want to stretch the food as far as I can and still keep everyone fed well enough to keep them healthy.  I am the only one who can make bread at the moment so I will be teaching that skill to one of the other women or a couple of them so that they can share that load. I believe it will be quite a bit of work to keep everyone in bread, rolls and buns.  All dishes of course will be washed by hand and every member of the family will wipe their own dishes off and then wash them in a tub of hot soapy water and rinse them and put them in a drainer. Different people will have to take their turn at scrubbing pots, pan, and bowls.  Foods will have to be cooled to room temperature and then packaged and put into cooling jars or put in a winter cooler on the porch.  All this is if we don't have power anymore.  We have 180 kilowatts of PV solar power which will be for recharging computer, and phones if they work and lights and fans.  I will probably use either the Kitchen Mixer or bread machine to knead the bread for me to lighten that load but will bake the bread in the solar oven or box oven on the wood stove or grill.  All cooking will be done by several different methods, solar oven, wood stove in winter, rocket stove, propane grill, open fire (campfire) cooking, or buddy burner and hobo stove cooking.  Clothing will be washed in a large tub or in my wonder washer.  I will reserve the wonder washer for underclothes and light weight clothes like blouses shorts and the like.  They are not that sturdy to hold up to much washing of bed linens or jeans.  Pillow cases would do well in the wonder washer though.  

We live on 1 1/8th acre of land.  The buildings take up about a quarter of it or so and we will try to dedicate as much as possible to gardening or raising rabbits or captured geese hopefully.  I  hope that the gardens will produce properly.   With reports of droughts and strange weather around the country I do worry about it.  I will ask that everyone in the family put at least 1 full hour a day into weeding and picking off bugs.  The food grown in that garden will be worth its weight in gold.  The food I have will not last forever especially if have all 13 and maybe more in our home. We have 2600 square feet in our house and a one car detached garage and 2 good size sheds and one small tool shed.  I have thought of cleaning out the garage and putting screen door and windows in it for air flow and then putting some of the party out there to sleep at night if it seems safe enough with one or two people on guard to watch the garden at night.  I would hate to be almost ready to harvest and then have it all stolen by the lazy neighbors who won't grow a garden. 

As far as the neighbors go, I was thinking about asking them to grow gardens in their backyards if we till them for them and give them seeds.  Then they will have food for themselves and their families.  One of the reasons I have so much rice is so we can give the neighbors something to help them survive.  If they grow a garden of their own and have some rice they have a chance at least.  Maybe we can teach them to trap squirrels and rabbits.  There is also a good size group of raccoons in my neighborhood as well.  We live within walking distance of the river and some creeks so there should be crabs and fish available with the right persistence.  I know many will leave their homes and will probably die the first winter.  We live in a neighborhood with many older retired folk.  I know we can't take care of everyone so we will be concerned with our immediate neighbors on all sides of us which will be about 10 houses.  I imagine some of those will be abandoned by those going to stay with their families. We have a house across the street from us that is a Veterans Home.  There is 4 to 5 people there and they mostly are in their late 60's and 70's.  They are men who can't really be alone for health reasons or are recuperating from surgeries but don't need nursing just some ordinary home care.  The lady who cooks and cleans is trained to give CPR, regular first aid and to give the men their medication.  There is a younger man who is about 35 who stay there all night every night to watch over them in case of emergencies.   I would suppose that some of these men might be able to stand a watch early in the mornings or later in the evenings to help with security if we give them walkie talkies to use to alert us.  They have a full view of our front area and we could also watch their front area when they are resting.  Turn about fair play? Hopefully the neighborhood will work together if it is needed. 

As far a weapons go, we have our hunting guns and self defense weapons which I hope never to have to use.  We have enough ammunition and cleaning equipment.  I don't like to talk about the security side of our preparations.  That is not my department and my husband does not feel we should let the world know what we can or can't do to defend ourselves.  That is a taboo subject.  Subject closed.

Well, I hope this gives you an idea of our preparations.  Of course I left lots out like the camping gear we have and the candle storage as well as wind up radios and wind up lanterns and the flashlights and batteries and all the medical supplies as well as the many books to help us with our survival and medical needs as well as all the board games and cards for entertainment.  The three little kids 6,8, and 11 will be doing chores to stay busy and home schooling and then will have time for games and puzzles as well as reading.  hopefully the electronic equipment will be able to be used for watching movies once in a while.  We have one laptop that is put in a faraday cage along with many movies that are put away for the pleasure of the kids especially.  The changes will be hardest on them I believe.  They will see a side of the world they have never been aware of and have to adapt quite suddenly.  I hope to have a Sunday School for them and the adults that wish to attend each Sunday.  I have one hymnal and  many Bibles so I guess we could muddle through.  Prayer is always a comfort and singing is uplifting even if it is the old time songs or the children's songs. 

I will end this tome with this thought, with God's help and our earnest preparation of all that we can accomplish no matter to what extent it ends up being  when the collapse arrives we will not go down without heartily trying to survive to the best of our ability.  God bless everyone who reads this and may God protect us all during the dire times ahead.

Gram of:

 Gram's Survival Kitchen

Sunday, October 30, 2011

List of Hardware for the Prepping of Food

List of hardware for food prep atshtf ________________________________________

     I've been thinking that we need to make specialty lists for different purposes such as items to help prep and cook foods atshtf. This list will be just for food preparation and cooking in a stay at home or things to have at the retreat situation but would like others to help with a separate list for bug out situations that you could carry on your backs or in a pull wagon.

Items for prepping foods without city power supply: Can openers, multiple hand crank can openers. Buy good ones that will last and are sturdy. Pots that will hold up over an open fire. Cast iron cookware is number one and secondly would suggest black granite ware pots because they can be used in solar ovens as well. Third suggestion would be camping cookware which would be easiest to use in a bug out situation. They are usually nesting and can be used in multiple ways. The fourth suggestion is a good non teflon wok with lid and utensils because it would be great for over an open fire. Many people in Asia only have woks and maybe one other pot for cooking.
Large metal utensils such as spoons, slotted spoons, and spatulas for non bugout situations.
Knives, butcher knife (should be carbon steel so it can be sharpened easily for multiple uses such as cutting up game or vegetables or slicing cooked meats. Can also be a good self defense weapon.
Bread pans for baking breads or loaves of anything. Can also be used for caseroles, cakes, or even to make jello in in the colder weather. Ice chests of various types for keeping animals out of foods kept outdoors in the cold for storage of meats, leftovers, dairy, etc. Will also help keep foods from getting to hot in the summer even without ice and protect open foods from rodents. Egg beaters, whisks, colanders, mandolins, graters, hand cranked food processors, pasta makers, blenders, toasters, metal skewers, tongs, fish baskets for cooking over a grill or fire, steamer baskets, deep fryer baskets, seed and bean sprouting supplies, leather pot holders and good cloth pot holder mits. All of these items are able to be purchased at non electric places such as Lehmans and most can be purchase at China Mart or on the web and you probably already have much of this list.
Bowls of different types for different uses. Ceramic or glass, metal and wood all have important uses, plastic bowls are good for storage with lids.
Cookbooks whether they are recipes from the web such as Frugal Forums or books you can buy such as cooking with storage foods, beans and rice cookbooks, campfire cooking, solar cooking or crockpot cookery can be used for solar cooking, wild game cookery, wok cookery, etc. You need to find books that you can adapt to non electric cooking. Cookbooks such as were written in the colonial days up through the 1940's are great books to teach to cook frugally and well over wood stoves, fireplaces, gas stoves etc. There are many of the really old cookbooks for free on the net that you can either download (which would take a lot of paper and ink) or to copy and paste the recipes that you like and make a personal cookbook that you think your family would go for atshtf. There are sites on the net with recipes such as; Or just buy a crockpot cookbook for slow cooking recipes that can be used in the solar oven. You can also bake, roast and steam in your solar oven. Casseroles, breads, cakes, cookies, roasted meats, baked potatoes, custards, pies, etc. about the only thing you cannot do is fry in the solar oven. It may take longer to cook some dishes but it still comes out great and you will have a hard time burning anything except cookies, but they at least burn evenly. ;-)
Now lets talk about ways to cook. We have just been talking about solar cooking in solar ovens. commercial ones cook the best but you can make your own and have something on hand until you can afford a commercial one. There are the oven style and the cook-it style which is a reflector and oven bag cookery. There is also the fresnel lens cookers. You can probaly fry in that last style. I don't have one and never have tried one but I have read about them.
Rocket stoves are a convenient and frugal style of cooker that uses very little fuel and it can be nothing more than branches, paper, cardboard, pine cones, etc. just don't use pressure treated wood.
Campfire cooking is a wonderful way to cook if your are not severely limited on wood. It does take a bit to do any amount of cooking, but one good thing about it is that the food is wonderful in flavor being cooked on an open fire and you can do spit style cooking as well as fry foods. You can buy the wrought iron items to use over the fire to hang pots or use as a spit etc. from online or make them yourself with directions from the net. They can be made from iron pipes and the grill over the fire can be an oven rack from a discarded stove or grill.
Wood stoves which will probably be used by many for heating their homes can be cooked on indoors and you can even bake your biscuits or corn bread etc on top of one with a camp oven over them. This is really only practical in the colder months of the year. Since there will be no air conditioning you will not want to heat up your house. Wood cook stoves are great but again not comfortable to cook in the summer on or in them.
There is also hobo stoves which you can use any fuel you may have on hand, I personally use buddy burners in mine for short term power outages. The plans and directions for these are also on the net. The buddy burner will last for approximately 2 hours and will definitely cook most of what you would want to cook.
There are propane grills, charcoal grills, and coleman style gas stoves, and also some kerosene stoves out there but they all take fossil fuels that are expensive and will be hard to replace so I would save those to use for special occasions or when wood is not available and the sun is not out. The frugality of the solar oven and the rocket stove and buddy burners make them my personal favorites.
My next in line is propane grills and burners if you can afford to store a quantity of propane and lastly due to the cost of wood if you have to buy it are the wood stove and campfire style cooking. The wood we will be buying or collecting mostly will go for heating our home in the wood stove. So in the winter I will be making lots of stews and soups, rice and beans etc. on our boxwood stove. Also don't forget your camp oven, if you purchase one they usually come with a temp. guage which will come in very handy. You can make them but you will have to guess about your temp. unless you can rig up a guage yourself. .
Grain mills are an important item if you want to be able to grind your wheat, corn, beans, rice or whatever into a meal or flour. It was the second most important item on my list after a water filter. I researched it and found that the most durable mill was a Country Living Grain Mill. I saved for quite a while to buy it. As a matter of fact I bought it after I bought my grains and was a nervous wreck until I did get it. I do think I need a second mill for smaller amounts of flour to make pancakes or biscuits. I don't want to drag the big mill out and it is large and heavy to just grind a cup or three of flour. I will probably be grinding large amounts of flour just one or two times a week so the major mess can be cleaned up more easily and then the mill can be stored out of the way until the next time. Please don't buy your grains and no mill. Boiled wheat is no where near the same thing as bread...........
Next on my list which really should have been first is WATER equipment such as filters, barrels, pumps etc. My favorite filters are the large drip filter Berkey style filters whether homemade or bought. Mine is a Katydyn brand but it is the same exact style as the Berkey's are. You will need large amounts of water for cooking, washing foods, hygiene of the kitchen and of the members of the household. The pets and animals will need water etc. . Everyone already knows the rule of 3's so I won't repeat them but water is number 2 on there just because air is always number one. . Now lets talk about how to prepare for tshtf when it comes to water. A deep well is the most effective method of getting water but then there are parts of the country where the wells would have to be hundreds of feet deep and would be out of range money wise. I can't really speak to desert areas as I have never even been to a desert in my life. I would imagine buying cisterns and having them filled would be good for them and living next to an area where there is water available. For most of the country wells are practical and there is enough rainfall in most of the country that we can capture the rain through gutters and containers. There is also other methods of collection such as pools, barrels with large plastic funnels, homebuilt ponds, etc. For the short term I have about a hundred 2 liter soda bottles filled with water. Of course they are treated and rotated out for fresh treated water twice a year. Half every six months.
Suggestions for food preservation for the future if there is no power is solar dehydrators, water bath canners, and pressure canners as well as having a smoke house. The plans for the solar dehydrators and the smoke houses are on the net for free and are there for the Preppers who want to google them.
As far as the canners go, I have bought all mine either on the net used or at thrift stores or estate or yard sales. The one thing that can really cost dearly is the jars, lids and rings. If you have the money buy the tattler lids for your jars if not then let me suggest you buy your extra lids for the future from Dollar General they have the regular lids for a dollar per pack of 12. Cheapest I have found anywhere. The wide mouth lids are quite expensive and if I had it to do over I wouldn't have bought any wide mouth jars. I bought most of my jars by advertising what I was willing to pay per dosen (my you know what key is broken so I have to spell dosen with the s. Sorry. I bought many dosen's of jars this way locally. Many older folks who are now passing away used to can food yearly and the grandchildren of those people who are cleaning out grandma's attics, garages and cupboards don't want them and would otherwise probably just throw them away so they are willing to sell them for cheap. Try it....
Lastly I want to talk about the many remarks of buying huge quantities of paper plates, paper towels etc. because of water shortages. I think having a supply of paper plates is advisable but I have no room to have a years supply of paper plates, and plastic utensils etc. as well as not having the money to purchase them. So my idea is to assign eating utensils and plates, mugs,and glasses to each individual in the family and then have everyone clean their own utensils with first wiping them off with newpaper which I have stored up and then taking a rag with bleach water and wiping them down. The rag may be kept in a small amount of bleach water while the family does their own items and then can be wrung out and hung to dry for the next time. If they wipe their dishes well before washing them with the rag there won't be much in the way of food left on them and it will be very frugal to wash them. By not using soap and just using hot water with a little bleach it will still be sterile without having to rinse or even dip the plates, glasses, mugs or utensils. The only things that will have to be washed in any amount of water will be the pots or serving bowls. But there won't be many serving bowls except for non cooked items or cold served items such as fruit salad, jello, or potato salad, slaws, or meat or seafood salads. One pot of boiling water of about a quart could wash these things easily and even the dirtiest water can be used to soak pots that need soaking then they can be washed with a small amount of boiling water with bleach and a little soap afterwards.
I must admit I have made many of the items that can be homemade to use in my preservation, storage, cooking etc. because of deciding I need to put our available funds elsewhere but when I do buy items that I cannot make I look for used first and then sales or discounted items second. Research to me means searching and then searching and then searching again as many times as it takes to find the items I need at the cheapest prices. One warning I have for everyone is to check out the cost of shipping if it comes from somewhere else thru whatever site or method you use. My experience has shown me that shipping costs vary widely and can make the seemingly cheap item terribly expensive. Compare to your door price not just the listed prices. Remember to keep the use of credit also in mind. If you can't pay it off immediately after it is put on your card you may be paying interest which also runs the price up. Just sayin...........
I hope that this will open a dialog about equipment for your food storage and prepping and survival atshtf. As you can see I didn't get into gardening, building, or wood chopping supplies. Those things should be on a list of their own.
So happy prepping!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

30 Things Needed for Food Storage

This is a recent post that I made on Frugal Squirrel Forums. I believe it is a very good article with a fairly complete list of items we should have in our permanent short, intermediate and long term storage. I hope that the following list will be added to and critiqued for our food storage needs after the stuff hits the fan. It is not a question of what will be sold out first because we hope to have these essentials when we need it and not have to buy after a catastrophe....

1. Water, water source, water treatment supplies such as plain bleach and filters.

2. Grains, wheat berries with grain mill, corn, oatmeal, flour, grits, rice, and other grains.

3. Pasta's such as macaroni, spaghetti, egg noodles, penne and any other type you like.

4. Dehydrated potatoes, instant mashed potatoes, boxed potatoes such as au gratin and scalloped.

5. Dairy such as dry milk, canned milk, condensed milk, instant nonfat dry milk, and non dairy creamer.Cheese which can be canned cheese, parmesan, cheese whiz, and waxed cheeses. We should have recipes for making fresh cheeses such as cottage cheese, ricotta, and mozzarella from dry milk. Also yogurt can be made as well as yogurt cheese from dry milk. Powdered eggs, whole, whites or scrambled.

6. Dehydrated vegetables such as carrots, peas, beans, legumes of all kinds that you like, broccoli, celery, bell peppers, onion and mixed vegetables.

7. Canned vegetables, for quicker use and for situations where you don't have enough water.

8. Dried Fruits such as raisins, cranberries, prunes, apricots, dates, coconut, and apples.

9. Nuts and Seeds such as peanuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.

10. Canned meats which there are many canned meats in the grocery store such as chicken, tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, corned beef, roast beef in gravy, barbeque pork, dried beef in jars, ham, and lots of sandwich spreads. Also is good to can your own meats of all types. Don't forget Spam, or Treet and also pepperoni's and summer sausage which have quite long shelf life which can be extended by freezing the meats until such time as you need them or until there is no electricity.

11. Canned meals and soups such as chili, stew, chow mein, spaghetti, ravioli, soups of all kinds, and home canned meals as well.

12. Baking supplies such as yeast, baking powder, baking soda, salt, gluten, sugar, honey, cream of tartar, flavorings, spices, cocoa, chocolate chips, coconut, seeds.

13. Canned fruits such as fruit cocktail, peaches, pineapple, pears, applesauce, apples, etc.

14. Coffee, teas, cocoa, instant breakfast, sport drinks and drink mixes like koolaid or tang. Make sure your drink mixes have added vitamins especially vit. C.

15. Cereals such as oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat, cold cereals of whole grains and rotate to keep fresh.

16. Canned sauces such as salsa, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joe sauce, chili sauce, tomato sauces and pastes, and canned tomatoes.

17. Treats such as packaged cake mixes, brownie mixes, candy, popcorn, pudding mixes and jello mixes.

18. Herbs and spices for cooking. Very important to get a lot of what you usually use and keep it unopened and in a cool dark space. Without these your food will be bland and tasteless. Make sure you have vinegar and lemon juice for flavoring and salad dressings and cheese making.

19. Sweeteners such as Honey, sugar, brown sugar, confectioners sugar, agave, corn syrup, maple syrup, sugar substitutes, or pancake syrups.

20. Oils and fats such as shortening, lard, vegetable oil, olive oil, canola oil, butter, and other exotic oils.

21. Peanut Butter, other nut butters if desired. Also don't forget jellies and jams of your choice.

22. TVP if desired to add protein to dishes such as chili, spaghetti etc.

23. Sprouting seeds and beans. Very healthy when you have no fresh greens in winter. Try to grow cabbages and collards through most of the winter to use to help with winter foods.

24. Alcohol if desired but not necessarily to drink. Can be used to make flavoring and used for marinades. Makes venison taste pretty good with Jack Daniels. Red wine can make canned beef taste good like beef burgundy. Useful for cooking and drinking especially for celebrations.

25. Garden seeds that are heirloom, non-gmo, and fresh so they will sprout. Keep fresh heads of garlic so they can be broken up to be planted as well as some fresh potatoes so they can be cut up and planted as well after the stuff hits the fan.

26. Vitamins and mineral supplements. Which will help prevent malnutrition from lack of some foods that you may not be getting especially fresh foods.

27. Ensure, and pedialite may be good to have for people who become ill and need special diets while recuperating. You can find rehydration drink recipes on the net.

28. Bouillion cubes or granules for flavor in foods and for broths when nursing ill patients.

29. Medicinal herbs for home remedies. There may not be any medical treatment available other that what you can supply yourself.

30. Medicinal herb seeds to grow in your garden to make sure you have a supply of home remedies when needed. Have a good book or two on home remedies and herbal medicines.

This is my list of essentials for bugging in place or for keeping in a retreat. I have these things for the most part. Still filling in a little here and there. Please add those things you think are necessary that I may have forgotten or accidentally omitted. There should be a separate list of non food items that we should have such as water filters, wells and pumps, cookbooks, grain mill, pasta maker, food mills, can openers, canners and jars, food dehydrator, solar oven, rocket stove, grill, propane, gardening equipment, security items and defense items. But that will be for another list.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ominivore or Vegetarian?

I am one of those people who has wasted my time canning beef, chicken, pork, venison, and meat stews, and soups. I have read many comments on survival sites about how canning meats are a waste of time. They say that people can hunt for their meat or live a vegetarian lifestyle. I say both are non-sustainable. I believe the animals that are considered meat sources will be hunted to near extinction and vegetarian lifestyle will not be giving you enough calories to do the hard work you will need to do for survival. I plan to only eat meat 2 to 3 times a week if the stuff hits the fan and we can't go to a grocery store for our regular foods. I have a years supply of food for 4 to 5 people but will be feeding upwards to 13 people possibly. I will not be feeding everyone straight meat but will be putting a bit in with beans and rice dishes or vegetable and meat soups or stews served with rice or noodles or mashed potatoes or breads of different kinds. Meat will not be figured prominently any more but will be there for psychological value and flavor. Special holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Fourth of July I will serve a more pure form of meat such as salmon cakes or barbeque pork or sausage egg casserole. They will seem much more celebratory if they are few and far between. Thanksgiving I have a recipe for Chicken or Turkey croquets put away along with stuffing, veggies, gravy and rolls like most other Thanksgivings of our past. I always like the fixings better than the Turkey on Thanksgiving anyway.....Now to talk about vegetarian eating. It isn't my favorite way to eat everyday but 3 or 4 times a week it could be okay. I have played around with creating things like lentil rice burgers and when they are served with all the hamburger fixings and also with a little beef boullion in the burger it is really passable and my husband even said he can deal with that as a substitute for burgers atshtf. Also baked beans and corn bread and fried rice is a very acceptable meal. If your beans are the canned variety and come with bits of pork fat. Make sure you chop the pork fat very fine and leave it in the beans for flavor and the fat that is needed in your diet. Spaghetti sauces that you stock up on can be the meat type flavors such as Del Monte's Meat Spaghetti Sauce or Italian Sausage style sauce. Spaghetti Marinara is fine but try to put away Parmesan Cheese into your storage for those meals. It will help mask not having meat in them. Who here hasn't tried vienna sausage in their beans and rice or in the rice caseroles? What about buying the cheaper canned Luncheon Meats like Treet, which I bought about 75 cans of for 75 cents each for flavoring otherwise bland meals like bean soup or frittata's or quiches. My husband tells me all the time not to buy Spam because he hates it. I cook for him many different meals with the luncheon meat and he has never said a negative word about it and cleans his plate. Perceptions are something we will have to work around until everyone is on board with eating what we have and being grateful for it. I figure I will be able to make Tuna Macaroni and cheese casserole to feed 13 people with 2 cans of tuna in oil if I leave the oil in the tuna and add it to the macaroni and cheese. The tuna flavored oil can substitute for the butter and will add the taste of tuna throughout the casserole. What about learning to make a hummus sandwich spread to make for a change of pace from the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and think of eating baked beans over toast for lunch in the winter. In the summer make use of the salad greens and tomatoes for sandwiches. What about refried bean and red rice burritos with a dollop of yogurt. If you have cucumbers or zucchini make sandwiches with them with a spread of yogurt. Learn to make homemade yogurt and cottage cheese and riccotta from non fat dry milk and serve those with fresh or canned fruits or vegetables for lunches or light dinners. Yogurt is very versatile and can be used in place of sour cream in stroganoff and on baked potatoes or with instant mashed potatoes for a richness and tang that you would not be getting without the butter and sour cream that we are all so used to. Don't forget that yogurt takes to being flavored very well. You can add some strawberry jam to it or chives and garlic powder, try different seasonings with plain yogurt and you will see what I mean. Just look as some of the recipes you use regularly and figure how you can change them to use what you have in food storage or buy the things for your food storage that you don't think you can live without like powdered sour cream it is really quite yummy. But if you can't afford it then learn to make the yogurt. If you are a pretty staunch carnivore/omnivore consider raising rabbits and or chickens if your city allows it. My city does not allow the eating fowl of any kind to be raised domestically, but they don't have any rules about rabbits so we are headed for raising rabbits this coming year. And don't forget that rabbit manure is considered one of the best fertilizers and does not need to be aged to be used. We will start them off in a greenhouse type structure this winter and will move them outdoors in the spring. Everyone's tastes and preferences will be different but you need to think about whole meals when you plan your food storage, not just individual ingredients. Take the time to look at your menus and store the things you will need for the whole menu or learn to deal with substitutes now before tshtf. These are important steps on your journey to your future survival and life skills that you are trying to prepare for after the collapse or catastrophe happens.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Canning Season!!

This is definitely canning season for me. I decided to can as much beef and possible since the national news has been saying that beef would be going up 30 to 33% soon. I have been going to the commissary at the Air Force base near me and buying the mark down beef roasts, round roast mostly, and canning them. So far I have canned almost 50 lbs. in both quart and pint jars. I am having to take a little break because I need to go buy more canning jars today. So I will be going to Walmart and Big Lots and try to get the most economical jars. I have also canned about 20 lbs of ground beef. I need to can 20 more lbs of beef that I have and will be canning 30 more lbs of ground beef. When I can ground beef I do it the way the lady does on Homestead Acres. She breaks it up and boils it, then she removes it from the water and puts in the jars. Then adds de-fatted beef broth to the jars and pressure cans them. I have taken it a small step further and used the leftover broth and small amount of the ground beef to make beef/vegetable soup and then I can that as well. The recipe I use is one my family used as I was growing up. It is beef or ground beef, onion, garlic, canned tomatoes, mixed vegetables (I used my dehydrated mixed vegetables), boullion cubes, basil, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. It is just a throw it together soup, seasoned to taste and is very delicious. I have always since childhood eaten mine with peanut butter bread on the side which I dip in the broth. My granddaughter screams yea everytime I tell her I am making it. Sometimes she begs me to make it, so having the canned soup allows me to fix it for her in minutes as opposed to the hour or two it would usually take. Our family doesn't mind commercially canned chicken noodle soup or dried Top Ramen once in awhile but homemade is preferred. I will be soon making more pear butter and pear sauce to can. That is a yearly tradition and this year I plan to try persimmon butter and persimmon ketchup. I have never had them so will be interested in how the turn out. I used to eat persimmon straight off my parents tree but my Mom did not can much so I never had the butters and ketchups that can be made from different fruits. I also want to learn to make chutney which I believe I could do from the pears this year. We lived in Scotland at one time for a couple of years and chutneys were very popular over there. The fall is arriving and the windows are open and AC is off. So the canning doesn't make the house uncomfortably hot anymore and I have the itch to keep canning. I am hoping to clean out my freezers and find everything that is good in cans and will try to make room for the venison that I hope to be storing soon. I will try canning a lot of that as well but that will come gradually over the winter. I do hope hubby gets at least one deer this year. I plan to help him butcher it ourselves this year. The butcher asks too much from us for his services and I want the whole dear in the freezer or my pantry so wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Little House on the Prairie Recipes

I read a story today about someone who cooked like the 1940's for a year, so I thought I might steal their idea and try something similar. I am more interested in cooking like the 1870's though. I have a cookbook that is written about the Little House on the Prairie foods and recipes along with the stories about the recipes. I thought the movie Julie and Julia was very interesting and I don't see any reason I couldn't do the same with Laura Ingalls Wilders mother's recipes. I really loved the series and I read almost everything I could find about her family and Almonzo's family. That period of time is when my family was pioneering into Illinois and Iowa and later into Nevada and Montana. I have always thought that the country cooking that the Ingalls and Wilder's cooked would have been very similar to what my family would have cooked. The Ingalls ate a little more rustically than the Wilders did because the Wilders lived on a large successful farm and the Ingalls lived on a homestead that had to be proven just like Laura and Almonzo did later in the series. I know that my ancestors would have eaten on the rustic side because they were pioneers and moved west in wagons with little worldly possessions. So I will pull my cookbook out and start trying the recipes one at a time. I won't be cooking just those recipes but will be trying them added with some of my family's other favorites. I will tell you about the trials, failures and successes. I will keep the recipes in a notebook with notes on the successes to use during lean and scary times since they are simple recipes with few ingredients. I would love to hear about others testing of old and inherited recipes. Have a great day! Gram

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Storage room revisited

Well, it is 90% done now so I have been in Hog Heaven. The only thing left to do is to build a small shelf under the window to put my Country Living Grain Mill on and then all I will have left is to pack some more buckets of rice, popcorn, flour, wheat and beans that I never got around to packing.
My food storage room is dedicated at the moment to commercially canned foods and #10 cans of dehydrated foods. I have dedicated my kitchen food pantry to home canned/jarred foods of meats, vegetables and Excalibur dried foods. I have started using my home jarred meats because there are some left that were canned at the end of '09. I don't want to lose any of it to spoilage. Now I have to make sure I can enough meats to replace those jars that I am using.
I want to thank my handy son for doing 90% of the work for me in my food storage room. He did a beautiful job and I am very proud of it! I still have to do the inventory but I think I will put it off until the weather is colder and I have someone to do the pencil pushing for me while I climb and count. I found out I have way too many green beans so I will have to find some new recipes to incorporate green beans in other than stews, soups, and as a simple side dish. We aren't crazy about the bean casserole for Thanksgiving since so many of my family can't eat milk products.
Well folks, how is your food storage coming along? I hope everyone is consistently buying their food for storage and rotation. Have a great Fall!

1800's Food Pantry

I was on Hillbilly Housewife today and I read about the bulk storage items that would be important for the pantry to help us save money today and I thought I would post it here for people to read but this is info from Hillbilly Housewife.

Ever wonder how our ancestors always seemed to have food on the table even in lean times? When we are visiting the grocery store every week to the tune of hundreds of dollars, we long to know their secret. In fact it isn’t a secret at all. It is actually good planning and preparation on their part. Once we realize this and begin doing as they did, we too will see our dollar stretch further.

The items that we have on hand are what determine how far our food will go. Filling your cabinets or pantry with a few useful staples can be the difference between a trip to the grocery store each and every week versus once or twice a month. Stocking just a few choice items is all you need to create wonderful meals.

1. Flour. Flour is a starter item for many recipes. You can add it to some water and make gravy in the pan for many meat dishes. Flour is used to make bread (biscuits, rolls, loaves) and to coat chicken. It can also be used to coat a round or square cake pan to prevent the cake from sticking. Of course, one of the favorite uses for flour is in cookie recipes that make scrumptious desserts.

2. Rice. My husband loves rice so much that we once bought a fifty pound bag from a grocery store in his hometown. Fifty pounds! Rice is a side dish, but it doesn’t have to be plain. It can be jazzed up with veggies to accompany dinner. My mother uses leftover rice for a dessert called sweet rice. Just add evaporated milk and some sugar to a bowl of rice and warm it in the microwave. It is a tasty treat for after dinner. Another popular dessert is rice pudding. Rice can also be mixed with leftover meat and a cream soup to form a casserole. Rice has many uses and your sure to find a few that your family will love.

3. Pasta. There are many different pasta choices and all have great uses. Manicotti can be stuffed with tomato sauce and cheeses. Macaroni can be used to make a creamy salad and also is great combined with cheese or spaghetti sauce. Spiral pasta is used in many different pasta salads. Spaghetti can be used in a casserole topped with cheese or in the traditional way with tomato sauce and meat.

4. Spices. There are other ways to season food besides salt and pepper. In fact, many spices taste better than salt. Even diehard salt-a-holics won’t miss the salt in foods if other seasonings are used. Cayenne pepper, chili powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, oregano, and garlic powder are all useful tools in your flavor arsenal to give foods a fresh new taste.

5. Beans. There go those beans again. Beans can top your salad (edamame), make an awesome dip (black beans), and go well with grilled foods (baked beans). They provide a good source of protein with very little fat. Beans are good in soups, stews, and over rice for a simple yet filling meal.

Do you have these staples in your kitchen? You can probably think of several more that will enhance your pantry and save money. Start with these and grow your own list of basic kitchen staples that are versatile and economical. (The end of their post.)

My comments follow:
I am from the south so I vote for Grits, baking soda, baking powder, yeast and vinegar to keep on hand in the pantry. The flour and cornmeal would be hard to make into much without these things. I can think of hundreds of things to make with these ingredients and the rice, flour, beans, cornmeal, sugar, salt, pasta and spices. Think about what they made in the 1800′s! Pancakes, hoe cakes, breads, cakes, cookies, baked beans, rice and beans, bean patties, bean soup, dumplings, hoppin’ john, gumbo’s, and many other dishes. Add in some meat, eggs and fresh garden vegetables and they ate very well. They just didn’t have Hamburger helper or frozen dinners but convenience food for them was to go out to the garden and pick a few vegetables like squash or onions or to go to the root cellar to get their carrots, apples, and potatoes in the winter and spring. They were in hog heaven to be pulling a ham out of the meat shed in the winter. They could eat for a week or two on one small ham. Meat was rarely a large part of the meal. It was a treat. Today we are all backwards with our cooking and purchases. Me included. We need to all learn the old ways of purchasing the basics and being creative with them and having the family meal together as the important part of day. Our families would be much better off, I believe. Sorry for the history lesson.

I thought someone else might find this as interesting as I did. Would love comments on the subject. Visit Hillbilly Housewife and check out their wonderful site and recipes.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Food Storage Room!

Food Storage Room, sounds like a plan, a room dedicated to food storage and also big enough to keep most of my storage foods. This coming week the Lord willing my husband is taking a week of his vacation to turn an unfinished room in our home into my food storage room. It is off of the entry foyer but has a lockable door on it. It will be a dream come true for me. I have boxes of fruits, vegetables, and meats stacked in the walkway going from the front door to the kitchen. My pantry is full, my utility room is full, under the bed is full. I have food stashed everywhere. I can't do an inventory because I can't organize it so this will be a project for us to empty the room and build the shelving and then I can start with vegetables and organize them by type and date then go to fruits and meats and do the same. I will lastly do the packages and buckets. I will still have other areas stashed with food but I am hoping to keep maybe the buckets in the entry way closet then it will be near the food storage room. This will be like Christmas for me. A lot of work for me to organize and inventory but the final result will be a huge boulder off my shoulders. I must admit I have had a deep depression worrying about the mess and not having my house in order. I haven't been able to have guests over because of the mess. I would be devastated to have someone see my huge piles of food stacked all over the place. I do not advertise my food storage to my church friends because they all seem to feel we will be raptured before anything bad happens. Where they find that in the Bible is beyond me. Did he rapture the Christians before WWII? Did he rapture the Christians before the Black Plague? Or for that matter before anything bad that has happened since Jesus' death and resurection? I feel we don't have the magic pill to avoid bad times. Jesus taught us to be prepared and used many examples to teach the idea of being prepared for any problems. He also taught us to rely on God but not to forsake our own preparedness or being prepared to help others with charity. If your neighbor is starving because of a collapse will you be able to watch them suffer and die without offering at least the minimum to keep them going until times are better? Can we watch our extended family starve to death without helping? Not I! I have friends with much more money than I but with no more than a weeks worth of groceries in their pantries. When I have brought up the food storage idea to them they said it was a big waste of money, time, and space. That I should just believe that Jesus is returning soon to rapture us and I should just forget what all the people doing this stuff are saying. I guess they are in the know about exactly the chain of events coming in the future and they know exactly when Jesus will be back. It is really funny that I remember the Bible stating that no man knows the day or the hour of His return. I am sticking with the Bible and ignoring the know-it-all's. Some people will never be convinced of our need for preparedness.

My major thought is that we have been through a deep depression in the past when everyone lived in more rural settings and almost everyone had gardens and wells and septic systems. The way our times have changed we won't be able to survive in todays world without some preparation so I am trying to make sure that my family and neighbors will at least be able to have the bare bones to make it through. I also want to have the knowledge to make it through. My many notebooks full of how to's and information and my many books will be needing a place to live and be organized as well and that will be my next project after my food storage. Then my medical and first aid supplies and equipment will need a place to live and be organized also.

It seems it is never ending but the end result will be a comforting and secure feeling about our future. I pray that we will have the time to complete it all before the Collapse that is coming!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Worried about when Collapse Day will Be?

Hi everyone! It sounds as if everyone is worried about when C-day or Collapse Day will be.  I didn't coin that term to make people worry.  Let me explain my philosophy of when it will happen.  "It doesn't matter when!" Only God knows when! Our only mandate is to start to prepare, continue to prepare and pray.  God said there would be signs and yes we see them all the time now, but he didn't say how long the signs would be before a collapse.  So he told us to always be prepared like the brides with the oil in their lamps.  Look times are getting tough, lots of people are just starting to get prepared, and that’s okay, because the newbie’s are way ahead of the sheeple with their heads in the sand.  You know the types the ones that say, "The Government will take care of us...” and the ones that say, “We have always been able to persevere through tough times my grandparents made it through the depression didn't they?” Well, those of us who believe in preparedness won't be the ones jumping from the 5th story of an office building like so many did when we had the financial collapse that started the depression.  They had always had money and jobs and depended on those things and loved those things.  They had no idea how to go on without them.  The whole point of preparedness is #1 Trust GOD!, #2 Trust ourselves, #3 to be as prepared Spiritually, Mentally, and then be as prepared Physically as possible. The physical part is what most people on preparedness sites look for but the other things are important as well.  You need to prepare spiritually in your own way, following your own beliefs, no matter what religion you are it is still up to you.  With so many different belief systems out there we can't dwell on that in these sites but it is still important. Now all the newbie’s that are out there just waking up.  You are tackling your mental preparedness by realizing that you need to prepare. Now your next step is to tackle the first step in your physical preparedness.  It is overwhelming isn't it! But I am only asking you to take the first step!  One step - just ONE STEP!  How do you eat an elephant?  ONE bite at a time!  Can you imagine how Noah felt when God told him to build this huge Ark? How did he start? He first questioned and doubted his own ability to do it. The next thing was to study the plans and figure out what he needed to build it.  He then went with his list to cut the wood and made his first swing of the axe to cut the first piece of wood.  That is what preparedness is all about.  Believe in your own ability that God says you have and then figure what you need and start getting it one thing at a time. If you have a computer and you are reading this you probably already have a shelter. Next start saving your juice bottles and 2 liter soda bottles and wash them out as you empty them.  Fill your free bottles with your tap water and add 4 drops of plain regular bleach per 2 liter bottle and store out of the light like in a closet. Next you do what is in the next article after this. I hope this will help those just starting on their journey into food storage.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Start at the Beginning - One Step at a Time!

For the newbies to Prepping for survival let's not overwhelm with everything at one time.  Let's get organized and think logically.  Don't go to the warehouse store and buy 500 lbs of rice and beans and nothing else because you run out of money.  Let's start with looking at what your family likes to eat the most.  Can you think about the regular meals you make every month or every other week?  I will use my family as an example.  We have 3 in our household and we have favorite foods and some meals that I make every week or two.  You may have the same and probably have 14 meals that you could live with to have over and over again.  The following is an example of dinner menus:

1.   Spaghetti, garlic bread, green vegetable.
2.   Beef Stroganoff, green or orange vegetable, dinner roll
3.   Sweet and Sour chicken, rice
4.   Chile with beans, mashed potatoes (family tradition from childhood), corn muffins
5.   Beef Stew, dinner rolls or sliced homemade bread.
6.   Tuna Noodle casserole, Peas, Fruit cocktail
7.   Pork Curry with Apples, Rice
8.   Pork Perlau, Spinach
9.   Ham Scalloped Potatoes, Brocolli
10. Tacos or burritos, Spanish Rice
11. Homemade beef vegetable soup, peanut butter sandwiches
12. Homemade Chicken and dumplings or noodles
13. Homemade Sausage Pizza, Fruit compote
14. Salmon Cakes, noodles alfredo, lima beans

The above are not written in stone for us.  We can switch out menus for similar menus like - making beef burgundy instead of stroganoff. Or chicken and rice casserole instead of sweet and sour chicken.  You get the idea.  I will have the same meats but fixed in a different way in case we tire of the same meal every 2 weeks.   I may make enchilada casserole instead of taco's or burritos in the winter since I won't have fresh lettuce or tomatoes for them. Mexican lasagna is also an alternative.  Tired of spaghetti?  Try lasagna or stuffed shells.  Want a meatless meal each week then have  vegetable soup, spaghetti marinara, red beans and rice, or boston baked beans and cornbread.  The ideas are endless.  Look through different cookbooks and find interesting recipes.  Most recipes can be converted to food storage recipes.  Deep fried chicken, med. rare steaks, and the like will be hard to get or make in post collapse because they require fresh meats and we are not going to worry about those things at this time.  You may be able to raise chickens or rabbits where you live and then you can have the deep fried chicken or rabbit.  I can raise rabbits but not chickens where I live so I will not get much fresh chicken post collapse.  I also will not have fresh milk.  I will have powdered milk so I will be making yogurt, yogurt cheese, cottage cheese, and fresh farmers style cheese from powdered milk.  I will store parmesan for the first year and have some canned cheeses and powdered cheddar cheese for that first year as well.  All these things we will attack later. Now lets make a menu for 7 breakfasts:

1.   Pancakes with syrup and dried reconstituted fruit.
2.   Scrambled eggs and toast with Orange Drink
3.   Muffins, with orange julius
4.   Sausage, cheese, omelet with toast
5.   Oatmeal with apples and brown sugar and cinnamon
6.   Sweet bread with preserves and Orange drink
7.   Homemade granola with Orange drink

Now as far as the third meal of the day.  We may be eating it at night because of lack of power.  We will cook the large meal in a solar oven or solar cookit.  We will have a rocket stove or propane burner to hopefully fill in on bad weather days. We will do an article later about alternate cooking methods. Back to the light supper or lunch in the evening.  (Think about it, this is the healthier way to eat anyway.)  Leftovers will need to be eaten up in the evening because of poor or no refrigeration (if there is power outages).

1. Leftovers of what you had for you big meal or Dinner....
2. Tuna Sandwiches
3  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
4. Soup and crackers
5. Ham sandwiches
6. Chicken salad/sandwiches
7. In the summer if you can grow gardens this is when you should be eating salads with dried fruit and leftover meats or beans in them.

These are just some ideas.  There are many others.  You may want to make up some sloppy joes for a treat or grill some vegetables to serve with cheese and bread.  Your personal tastes and creativity are not limited to my ideas.  Just start thinking everytime you make a meal for your family, "Could I have made this with food storage?"  You will start thinking about what you will need to start storing.

Now Wendy Dewitt is where I have gotten the majority of my way of planning for storage.  Next she teaches to write out your recipes.  Take those ingredient amounts and multiply times 8 for a 3  1/2 month supply of once per 2 weeks for that particular meal.  Write those ingredient and amounts down in your list, notebook or wherever you will be keeping your info.

Example:  For a 3  1/2 month supply take 8  times the amount of the item needed for that recipe because that will give you the amount you need to have for cooking it every 2 weeks.
Spaghetti - 1 pint of home canned ground beef,                               8 pints
                   1 can of Hunt's mushroom spaghetti sauce,                  8 cans
                   1 can of diced tomatoes                                                 8 cans
                   1 teaspoon of garlic powder                                          8 tsp.
                   1 teaspoon of dried basil                                               8 tsp.
                   4 tablespoons of parmesan cheese                                32 tbsp.

String Beans  2/3 cup of dehydrated green beans                             5 1/3 cups dried green beans

Now you do this with every recipe and then add up like ingredients and you will have what you need to buy or can or dry of your foods for your food storage.  For instance I plan to use ground beef at least 3 times each 2 week period so I will need 24 pints of ground beef.  I hope this is clear and understandable.  Wendy Dewitt has equivalency charts to take your total tsps. or cups etc. of a particular item and make it into ozs. or cups or lbs. etc so you can figure what to buy. This is the end of this first lesson.   I will add more later which will include how to store your food, rotate your food, making substitutions for foods you cannot store, etc.  Start out with your menus like above and then we can work on it together if you need help.  Happy Prepping! You are on your way to becoming self sufficient one step at a time!  Gram

Shelf life is included when possible. Shelf life will always be diminished by heat and/or moisture
Letting foods "air out" in a large bowl will often take away that rancid or metallic smell they sometimes get.
The # sign before an item means "number" as in "#10 can" (number 10 can)
The # sign after an item means "pound" as in "2#" (2 pounds)
(jars) ...................... 5+ yrs 16 Tb / c 4 c / qt
Apple slices
(dehydrated) .......... 30 yrs 10 c / #10 can =1 ¼ # 1 c dry + ½ c water = 2 c fresh
Baking powder
................ 1 to 2 yrs (I also read indefinite) 32 Tb = 1# Test baking powder: add 1 tsp to 1/3 C
hot water. Foams/bubbles= it’s good. 2 parts cream of tartar + 1 part baking soda = baking powder
Baking soda
............................ Indefinite 32 Tb=1# Store in sealed container in cool dry place. To test: add to water....if it bubbles, it’s good
........................................ 30 yrs 12 c / #10 can 1 # =2 ½ c dry = 6 c cooked
Butter (almost)
..........................1 pound shortening + ½ tsp salt + 1 2/3 c condensed milk. Whip the shortening and salt until light. Add the condensed milk a little at a time and blend.
(canned) ......................... 10+ yrs (indefinite?) 12 oz can=24 Tb or 3 sticks of butter
Cake mixes
................................5+ yrs Includes cookie, cornbread, brownie and other mixes Vacuum seal in jars
........................................3 yrs / chocolates 6+ / jelly beans, hard candies, etc Vacuum seal in jars
Canned foods.
............................3+ yrs "Canned food maintains its high eating quality for more than two years and is safe to eat as long as the container is not damaged in any way." Toss out any bulging or weeping cans
(dehydrated) ................ 25 yrs 12 c / #10 can=2 ½ # ½ c dry=1 c hydrated carrots
(dehydrated) .................. 25 yrs 12 c / #10 can 2 oz=1 c ½ c dry=1 c hydrated celery
(canned) .................... 10+ yrs (indefinite?) Can be sliced. shredded or melted 8 oz per can
Cheese powder
........................ 5+ yrs 4 c in 1 # of powder 96 Tb=1 # Vacuum seal /use for mac & cheese
(canned)..............................10+ yrs (or as long as the can is still in good condition; no weeping/bulging)
........................................ 20 yrs 90 Tb =1# Vacuum seal in jars Will smell rancid when bad
.................................. 6+ yrs 4 c=1 # Vacuum seal in jars
.............................. Indefinite 45 Tb=1# Vacuum sealing not necessary
Corn syrup
............................... Indefinite 1 c sugar + 2 c water. Cook til thick. (About an hour in solar oven.)
Cream of tartar.
........................Indefinite 3 Tbs = 1 oz 48 Tbs = 1# Vacuum seal in jars
(fresh).................................1 yr Dip hands into warmed mineral oil and lightly coat eggs. Replace in carton with point down. In cold climates store in a cool, dark place. In warmer climates, place in fridge
(powdered) ....................... 10 yrs 32 eggs=1# 2 eggs=1 oz Use gelatin (Knox type) as an egg substitute
Egg substitute
............................See Gelatin
(white) ............................. 10+ yrs 12 c / #10 can 19 c=5#
(Knox type) .............. Indefinite 1# gelatin=192 eggs 1 oz unflavored gelatin=12 tsp=12 "eggs"
Egg substitute: 1 tsp gelatin + 3 Tb cold water + 2 Tb hot water=1 "egg" Buy in bulk ( Grapenuts
...................................10 yrs 6c in 24 oz box Vacuum seal in jars
........................................ Indefinite 20 Tb=1 c=13 oz 6 c=5# Reconstitute honey by heating it
Hot cocoa
................................. 2 to 3 yrs 12 c / #10 can #10 can=56 liquid c
Pancake mix................3+ yrs 1c mix = 6 (4") pancakes 10# bag makes 240 (4") pancakes
.................................. 30 yrs 12 c / #10 can 4 c = 1 # 2 c dry=5 c cooked
.............................. 6+ yrs 28 oz box=4 ½ c dry= 18 c cooked ¼ c dry=1 c cooked Vacuum seal
........................................ 3+ yrs 1 pint bottle holds 1# of meat 1 qt bottle holds 2#
(nonfat dry) ....................... 20 yrs 12 c/#10 can 1/3# dry=1 c dry #10 can=58 liquid c ¼ c dry = 1 c milk
: 1 c water,
1/3 c dry milk, 1 Tb vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit 5 min.
Condensed milk
: ½ c hot water, 1 c sugar, ¼ c dry milk, 1 c water. Place in canning jar with lid & shake

This equivalency chart is reprinted with the permission of Wendy Dewitt the author.