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Friday, March 25, 2011

Great sites on the net!

I have been spending lots of time on my old favorite, Frugal Squirrel, they have lots of great information to glean but I have favorite Patriot fiction stories that I follow.  I have some favorite authors that have inspired me and led me along the way in my prepping.  Kathy in Florida, Paradox, and many others have fertile minds and great ideas for prepping and surviving various senarios that could happen in our future. There are many more interesting people on YouTube such as Southernprepper1, Homesteadacres, and Goathollow, NancyToday, and many others who have shared their prepping knowledge and their ideas for surviving or just sharing their interests, whether it is making soap, gardening or teaching security and defense topics.  I have learned what I don't know as well as learned what I want to delve into and try to fill those holes that I have in my preps. 

What many of us do at the beginning is to prep by buying things.  Food, hygiene items, grain mills, solar ovens, water treatment filters, etc.  I must admit those are what I have done.  I got the medicines, antibiotics, first aid items, books, and downloads.  Now I am concentrating on learning and doing. The doing is the hard part.  I have the wheat mill (Country Living) but have yet to try it out.  I have the solar oven and have not learned how to use it yet.  This summer is my "Doing School"..... I will be spending a week sometime in June living off the grid, making everything without electricity, grinding my own flour, making my bread by hand (meaning I won't use the bread machine), and will cook in the sun oven or a wood fire.  I used to cook on a wood fire quite often and was quite good at it.  I was in a reenactment group for the 1740 to 1840 period.  I am rusty now I am sure and will have to practice up on it again. 

How many of you are prepping with stuff and not the knowledge and practice of doing the things that will be necessary for after "Collapse Day"  which I call "C  Day".  We all know it is coming with our gov't being stuck in the spend, spend, spend mode.  We can't pay our debt off and the next 3 generations couldn't pay it off.  We will default when China, Japan and the oil producing countries stop buying our Treasury Bills to finance our debt.  Then we will be reduced to taking care of ourselves and trying to protect what we have worked so hard to accumulate in our preps.

Let's all think about what we need to learn and practice what we do learn before we need to do it to survive.  Most of us won't have a retreat to fall back on and we will have to survive the turmoil that will happen in the cities long enough to wait out the initial die/kill offs.  Then try to survive with gangs trying to overwhelm us.  Gardening will have to be done with armed guards watching for the gardeners safety. Maybe even doing gardening when it is raining or dark for cover. 

Let's see what we will have to learn that we haven't maybe thought about before.  Making cheese is one that I want to learn because I love cheese and would really miss it since I don't have access to milk producing animals.  I will learn to make the few cheeses that I can from dry milk.  What about making soap.  Even though we have a lot of soaps and cleaners in our preps we will eventually run out of them.  How about learning to treat wounds and illnesses with natural herbal remedies.  I still need to get some of the herbs and seeds for growing them, and learn how to utilize them.  What about learning to raise rabbits?  That is the only food animal that I can raise on my city lot.  I have thought about trying to quietly raise a few guinea hens but it is against the city laws where I live so I am a bit shy about trying.  I need to learn to shoot, clean, and load a gun.  I need to take a safety course and practice.

What do you need to learn and what do you need to practice?  What is it going to be like After the Stuff Hits the Fan? How many years until we have manufacturing again in our country? How many years until there is a viable monetary system again? How many years until we will be able to afford electricity again?  How many years until we can go to a grocery store and afford to buy a weeks groceries again?  Those are the things that will be happening and we will be having to deal with whether we have prepared to or not.....................Think about it!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Learn to feed your family on a tight budget.

Food budget for $60 a week or less.

Do you think you could feed your family on a budget of $60 a week for food only that could be for a family of four, 2 adults and 2 children which would be a 7 year old and a 12 year old.   

Menu's - shopping lists – Tips and Tricks to cutting the food budget.


Day 1 of $60.00 week.
Breakfast -
Oatmeal Old Fashioned - one cup per person
                                       - 2% milk - raisins  1 oz.
                                       - sugar 3 tsp. - apple juice 4 oz.
                                       - 1 hard or soft boiled egg.

Lunch -

1 grilled cheese sandwich or 1 bologna sandwich, 1 small apple
Carrot sticks, one glass of kool aid or iced tea

Dinner -
Spaghetti and turkey meatballs, Salad small with oil and vinegar dressing, garlic bread

Snack - homemade cookies make enough for the week of snacks and freeze
Milk for the kids and tea for the adults

Day 2
Breakfast -
Rice Krispy Cereal – Store brand with ½ of a banana – 2 % milk – 2 tsps. Sugar
4 oz. of O.J. made from  frozen concentrate

Lunch – 
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich,  Raisins and celery sticks

Dinner – Chili with beans made with  ½ lb. frozen ground turkey and lentils and kidney beans homemade of course.  Corn bread homemade.

Snack – Milk and cookies  Milk for kids and tea for adults Cookies made
for the week homemade

Day 2 has about 6 servings of fruit and vegetables, plenty of fiber, protein, and carbs.

Day 3
Breakfast – Cheese omelet – toast– 4 oz. of apple juice

Lunch – Tuna sandwich with celery and onion to help stretch it.
              Carrot sticks, Tea or Kool Aid

Dinner – Homemade baked beans with kielbasa or smoked sausage, or franks sliced in it
               Lettuce wedges with homemade thousand island dressing. Leftover corn bread.

Snack -  Popcorn with milk for kids and tea or lemonade kool aid for adults.

Day 3 has at least 5 or 6 vegetables/fruits, loads of fiber, loads of protein and great carbs.

Day 4
Breakfast – pancakes with syrup – 4 oz. of frozen o.j. from concentrate, 6 oz. glass
of 2 % milk
Lunch – Leftover chili or Baked bean dish for those who can reheat it and bologna sandwich for kids in school.  Carrot and Celery sticks,  tea or kool aid.

Dinner –  Chicken stew with potatoes, carrots, celery,
and onions, homemade biscuits,  Jello salad with fruit cocktail.

Snack -  homemade pretzels and Kool aid or tea

Day 4 has between 6 and 8 veg/fruits for the day and plenty of protein, fiber, and carbs.

Day 5
Breakfast – Biscuits and turkey sausage gravy – small apple and 4 oz. of OJ from frozen concentrate

Lunch -  Peanut butter and jelly sandwich,  raisins, and iced tea or kool aid

Dinner – Vegetarian taco’s and leftover beans from day 3 Leftover Jello / fruit cocktail salad

Snack – Homemade pretzels reheated and dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar, Milk for kids
and tea  or kool aid lemonade for adults

Day 5 has plenty of veg/fruits, protein, fiber, and carbs

Day 6 - Breakfast – biscuit sausage sandwich, apple sauce, milk

Lunch – cheese sandwiches with lettuce and thinly sliced tomatoes, tea or kool aid

Dinner – Mexican soup or Minestrone soup Homemade with Saltine crackers or buttered
garlic bread, Cabbage, carrot, raisin cole slaw homemade

Snack -  saltine crackers with American cheese.  Cut slices into cracker size pieces.  Milk or kool aid or tea.

Day 6 has plenty of vegetables/fruit, protein, fiber, and carbs.

Day 7 -  
Breakfast -  Oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon homemade applesauce and 6 oz. of 2% milk

Lunch – Egg Salad sandwich, carrot, celery and raisins. Tea or kool aid

Dinner -  Rice and chicken casserole, Peas,  and homemade bread pudding

Snack -  Popcorn and Kool aid or milk

Day 7 has plenty of protein, 5 veg/fruits,  and lots of fiber, and carbs.
If all of this was bought as inexpensively as possible such as store brand items, in bulk items and homemade it would be a very inexpensive, healthy, and filling menu for a day.  The first week when
you start buying bulk will be more but it will average out to be approximately $8 a day when you stop buying convenience foods and junk foods.  Do you only make cookies at Christmas and then you buy slice and bake cookies to make?  That will change when you find your favorite recipes and make your own mixes to make cooking easier. I make a homemade slice and bake refrigerator dough that I bake
in my hot oven after baking a casserole or meat.  It saves power and will give fresher cookies by only
baking when your oven was already hot. 

This sample menu gets in your 5 fruits and vegetables a day, at least 6 ounces of protein and healthy carbs, and all the fiber you need for a day. I would suspect if it was broken down it would cost this
family of four about $8 of their food money for that day.  Of course I am assuming they buy their food at the least expensive store they can and use store brands as well as making homemade bread, meatballs and spaghetti sauce. Homemade salad from lettuce and carrots and croutons. Use frozen ground turkey for the meatballs with oatmeal and an egg as filler.  The homemade cookies can be oatmeal cookies or simple sugar cookies for very little money.

Most of what is on this menu is bought in large enough sizes to be used for at least 2 weeks such as flour, rice krispies, oatmeal, peanut butter, popcorn, saltine crackers, rice and beans.

The meat such as frozen ground turkey will be bought on sale if possible or at least at the least expensive grocer you can find.  Kielbasa, smoked sausage or franks will be a toss up on how much per serving they will cost you.  I suggest buying whole milk and mixing it half and half with instant dried milk to stretch it and to make it 2%.  Keep it cold and if you can make chocolate syrup to stir into it the kids will never know it is part instant.

Make all your breads homemade and you can buy 25 lbs. of flour at a time very reasonably.  5 lb bags of flour costs a lot more.  Sugar is the same way.  25 lb bag will last for months for about the cost of 2 or 3 five lb. bags.  Rice is the same way.

Yes this diet I propose has some sugar and white rice and white bread.  As the  shopper goes along they may be able to introduce some wheat flour into the family’s diet and brown rice.  After
shopping for a few weeks and cooking from scratch and you start seeing savings in the food budget then add in some brown rice bought in 1 lb bags and whole wheat pasta and see if your family will tolerate it.  As you start seeing savings I suggest you add a larger variety of vegetables in season and
fruits as well.  The ones listed here are less expensive and very healthy.  When fall rolls around start serving more winter squash when the price is low like butternut or acorn.  You can serve it as a side vegetable or in soups or in breads or sweet breads or muffins, you can also make a pie from it like pumpkin.  When turkey goes on sale at Thanksgiving buy at least 2 turkeys and cook one at Thanksgiving,  immediately after the meal start a turkey soup with the bones and skin left over, package any sliced turkey for sandwiches hot or cold, and save the bits and pieces for a turkey pot pie along with leftover vegetables, and potatoes and gravy. Freeze the other turkey and do the same things with variations for Christmas and the following week or two.    Apples are much less expensive in the fall as well as pears.  Raisins are good value but seem expensive when you buy them but they go a long ways.  You only need an oz. of raisins to have a fruit serving.  It is about the size of  walnut in your hand.  Nuts are good for you but expensive.  If you can buy nuts on sale near Thanksgiving or Christmas then freeze them.  You can take them out of the freezer as you are going to serve them.  They make a great snack mixed with raisins.  Walnuts are very good for you so you could pan roast a few to add to your salads to perk them up.  Seafood is another item that can be expensive so you have to be watchful of sales.  Often the frozen filets are your best bets.  Flounder, perch, tilapia, and cod.  Catfish is affordable if you like it.  If you fish you can eat what you catch.  If you have to buy fish then consider stretching it with a homemade stuffing made with diced apples and raisins, celery, cubed bread, onion, and lemon juice sprinkled over the fish and stuffing, bake it all in the oven and serve like you would any casserole.

When cooking with turkey instead of beef consider adding a beef bouillon cube or granules to your spaghetti sauce or chili and it will help the flavor.  Also cut back on how much meat you put in dishes like spaghetti or chili.  By making meatballs you can stretch them using your oatmeal, onions, egg and even some lentils if you have some cooked up.  Make bread for sandwiches about every 4 days to make sure it stays fresh. Put it while still a little warm into a zip lock bag, or a cereal box wax paper bag that you save.  They work great and keep the bread moist and tender.  When you make corn bread
make enough for at least 2 meals to save on electricity.  Wrap well and refrigerate to keep it fresh for later in the week.  Biscuits can be done the same way.  Leftover cornbread after serving it twice can
be crumbled and added to leftover sandwich bread to make your stuffing’s for chicken or fish meals.  Stale biscuits you can rehydrate by adding a few drops of water and I mean just a few and steaming in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Then use them as a base for sausage white gravy.  When you make
sausage gravy use no more than about 2 patties worth to make it and save the rest for sausage biscuits on another morning.  Turkey sausage in the roll is a great low cost substitute for pork sausage and is healthier for you.  You can make home made pizza and use leftover turkey sausage with your cheese for a more interesting and filling pizza. Buy tuna when it is on sale or buy the store brand at a discount store.  We have Farm Fresh discount grocery here which is called Sav a Lot.  I buy my tuna there when it is not on sale cheaper somewhere else.  They want 59 cents consistently.  I do stock up in large amounts when a store in the area has tuna for 39 to 50 cents as a loss leader. It will save you time and money.  You won’t be as tempted to run to the store for a can of biscuits or Bisquick if you keep a homemade biscuit mix in your fridge.  They make everything that Bisquick will make and won't have extra unneeded preservatives. You can always cook with instant milk it will save you a lot of money over a period of time. Save the store bought gallons for the kids to drink but do try to add some of the instant as about a quarter of the gallon is gone, the kids won’t even notice and then add another quarter as it is drunk down to that level again.  Don’t go past the half regular milk and half instant or you will probably get yucks coming out of your kids mouths. My husband was please with all instant milk on cereal.  He said he couldn’t tell the difference. I think the cereal has enough sweetness and flavor to mask it’s instant flavor. Consider cooking a lb. of kidney beans or pintos once a week also consider cooking a pot of lentils and you can freeze them to use in chili, soups, and as fillers in taco’s, and salads.  The dried beans are inexpensive a great source of protein and very good filling high quality carbs.  If your family likes Velveeta type cheese then consider buying one store brand 3 lb. package each month.  It lasts well in the fridge and makes good grilled cheese and is great for cubing and adding to casseroles instead of the more expensive cheddar type cheeses.  Processed American cheese is usually kind of costly but you can buy it on sale once in awhile.  When you find things like this on sale freeze the extra’s that you can’t use in a couple of weeks.  Cheese freezes well.  Grate your own cheese.  It will be more flavorful and fresher and you won’t have to pay for someone else to do it.  Meat that is being sold at the store at a low reduced price because it is ready to expire on it’s sell by date is just fine.  I buy cubed steak, round roast and chuck roasts this way. Cut your own stew meat out of the tough roasts and cook low and slow to get tender flavorful stews, beef burgundy and soups.  Get to know your butcher and ask when they mark down the meat and put it out.  They may even tell you to be there a certain time and you can pick out the cheapest and best of the bunch. 

If you hunt ask your butcher about saving you beef fat to add to your venison when you grind it. It will improve the flavor.  Try not to use the fat of the deer because it tastes very gamey. If you like calves liver then try cooking the deer liver the same way.  If you don’t like liver, heart, and kidneys
then still save them and grind them or chop them and stew them for your dogs.  They will love it. 

Usually when you buy fruits try to buy the fruit in a 3 lb. bag but make sure they are small
apples or oranges.  A small apple or orange is about all you will get most kids to eat without waste. Buy bananas close to the day of serving.  They go bad fast.  If they start to turn before you can use
them, then stick them in the freezer.  The peels will turn black but the banana will be great for muffins, quick sweet bread or pancakes.  Allow ½ a banana per person for cereal. A half of a banana is one serving.  People get too generous with juice.  Try measuring your juice out for the family.  Juice is part of their nutritional requirement but it shouldn’t be drunk like water.  It shoots the blood sugar up and then they will have a large sugar drop in 2 hours, that will make them feel bad and they will be hungry again.  If you can get them to eat the fruit instead they will be much better off.  Four ounces of juice is a serving which equals a small piece of fruit.  If they still want something to drink then serve them their milk or water.  Kids usually don’t drink enough water.  Kids don’t really need a lot of milk but they should get 2 eight ounce glasses a day.  Younger children should have at least 2% milk.  There are vitamins that are in the fat that they need and they should be burning off the fat calories by playing outdoors. 

If you can buy from a warehouse store then consider buying 5 lb. packages of carrots.  A 5 lb.
package will last you for two to three weeks.  You can serve it as cooked carrots for a vegetable, on the side, or you can put it in soups and stews, you can serve carrot sticks and carrot slaw either by itself or with cabbage.  It is great added to salads and Jello.  When you get home from shopping take out 4 carrots and wash and peel them.  Then cut into sticks do the same with celery and put them into a container of water that you can seal. They will stay super crisp for serving with lunch and for snacks.  If you don’t use them within 4 days then dice them and add them to a stir fry, salad or soup.  Then start all over again.  If you grow your own cucumbers then add them to your snacking items.  If you can, make ranch dressing, that will make a great dip for kids who don’t want to eat them plain.  If you have a garden make sure you plant the vegetables your kids love and feed them as often as possible.  The nutrients in truly fresh vegetables build their immunity so that they won’t catch the fall colds, flu, and viruses.  Warehouse stores like Sam’s are the cheapest place to buy bulk flour, rice, sugar, oils, and pastas. If you don’t have a membership then find a friend or relative who does and ask to tag along.  You will need to take cash since you have to have a membership to buy foods yourself and they can’t buy foods with your debit card or check.  I suggest you never buy groceries with a credit card because the interest you will pay will take away from your savings.

When you make your homemade breads make your white sandwich bread, make French bread for garlic toast, make sandwich rolls for Sloppy Joes, and your salad sandwiches such as egg salad, tuna salad, and chicken/turkey salad.  It makes the sandwiches seem more filling and interesting to be on buns rather than ordinary bread.  Save the bread for bologna, grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, toast and French toast.  Make up your own pretzels and pizza dough as well.  You will be pleasantly surprised how easy and delicious homemade pizza is and the pretzels as well.

Buy your poultry on sale only.  The stores are always having sales on chicken drumsticks and thighs in 10 lb packs and the chicken breasts go on sale for 89 cents to 99 cents on the bone.  Don’t pay an extra $1.00 a lb. to get them to cut the meat off the bone.  It is easy to do yourself.  Just be careful with sharp knives.  Use paper towels to hold the slippery meat and you will have an easier time of it.  Use a separate cutting board for poultry and pork.  Disinfect anything that has touched raw poultry or pork with a weak solution of chlorine bleach and water.  Wash the board and knives and your hands in hot soapy water or your dishwasher.  When you get home from the grocer with your bags of chicken separate them into meal sized portions,  I allow one thigh or 2 drumsticks per person.  That is plenty of meat for a meal.  If you like you may separate the drumsticks from the thighs and serve some meals with just one or the other.  The thighs are good for baking and frying and fricassees, and the drumsticks are great barbecued, or like hot wings, or lemon pepper chicken.  It used to be that whole chicken were cheaper than cut up chicken but it isn’t that way often anymore.  If you just have to have a whole chicken then consider the waste. Make sure you use everything. After serving the whole chicken there will be leftovers.  Don’t waste the bones and skin and bits and pieces of meat.  Make a big chicken vegetable or chicken noodle soup.  Strain your broth after cooking, pick out your meat, feed the skin to your dogs and then you can throw out the bones.  Let the broth sit until the fat rises and then skim it. Add back your meat, then add whatever else you will be putting in your
soup and cook till the noodles or veggies are done.  Americans waste more food than most families
ever have to eat in other countries.  We need to learn to use our food wisely and completely.  Only discard inedible parts of food such as well used bones and fat.  Remember your dogs will love well used beef soup bones but not chicken or turkey bones and not the cut chop bones etc.  They
splinter and can harm your dog’s tummy or throat. 
Spices and seasonings can make the difference in having delicious food and bland food.

Simple foods can be like gourmet with some simple spices and herbs.

First off if you can grow your own herbs and preserve them it will save you a lot of money each year. Rosemary is a perennial and basil and parsley are easy annuals.  You can also grow oregano and thyme.  Chives can be grown on your windowsill.  If you can buy Kosher or Sea salt it makes a big difference in flavor.  Pepper cracked and ground fresh has more flavor, also nutmeg grated fresh is the best way to go. 

The bare minimum for your spice cabinet is as follows; salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, cumin, and chili powder.  If you like curry then that is good as well, I always have turmeric, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice.  But I could live without them.  Last on my list but useful are rosemary, parsley, and cayenne.  You may like or hate some of these herbs and spices.  So you choose what you like to keep on hand. The Dollar Tree carries a fairly large selection of spices and
herbs.  Grow what you can and even ask for a small amount of spices and herbs from a friend to try them out before investing in them.  Also if there is a dish you want to try that you won’t have use for the herb or spice except for this one dish ask your friend, mom, or sister for a spoonful to make it.  If you only want curry once a year then you don’t want a bottle that will sit and gather dust.  Maybe you can find a friend or relative that you can go halves with on some seldom used spices. I would like to suggest you try cooking cinnamon chicken and use nutmeg in your greens of any kind that you cook.  Turmeric will make your rice yellow and add a zip to a meal that otherwise would be boring.   I use onions, garlic, celery and carrots for flavor in soups, stews, casseroles, boiled
dinners and salads.  I grow hot peppers in the summer and put them in vinegar and use the vinegar as my hot sauce.  You can make some of your own condiments but I find that buying mustard is cheaper than making it and mayo/salad dressing and ketchup are items I would rather buy than make.  Barbeque sauce is easily made though so you can make it or buy it on sale.  Pickles
can be quite expensive so watch for sales or go to the dollar tree.  If you grow cucumbers or are given some try making fresh refrigerator vinegar pickles. You slice the cucumbers; I peel mine, then slice an onion thinly and add both to a container that has a lid.  Add salt, pepper, and vinegar leave for at least 1 or 2 days then serve.  Vinegar pickles are very sour but delicious as a little side dish to heavier meals. Vinegar helps level out blood sugar levels so eating something like these fresh pickles will help with a starchy meal such as macaroni and cheese or a rice casserole. 

Try to have themed nights to make your meals more

Mexican night – Vegetarian Chili and cornbread, Tacos or Taco Salad, or Enchilada Casserole

Italian night – Spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread, Rotini casserole and brushetta, or Pizza

Chinese night – Stir fry and egg drop soup, or Fried Rice and garlic green beans

Breakfast for supper night – pancakes and sausage, Frittata and salad, or omelets with salsa

New England night – boiled dinner and cornbread, Boston Baked Beans and Ham Steak, or New England Clam Chowder and crackers

New Orleans Mardi gras night – Red Beans and Rice, cornbread, Jambalaya and Biscuits, or chicken creole

Down by the Sea Night – fish and stuffing casserole, Mackerel, salmon or tuna patties and macaroni and cheese, Manhatton Clam Chowder

Barbeque Night – Barbeque chicken or hot dogs and macaroni salad, Barbeque Turkey burgers with grilled vegetables

Night in Paris – Quiche and Salad,  or Beef Burgundy and noodles

Vegetarian Night – Macaroni and Cheese, Stuffed Baked Potatoes, Lentil or Split
Pea Soup, Minestrone Soup, French Onion Soup

Inexpensive meals:

Potato Treet Casserole

Soup and sandwiches

French Toast

Potato Soup


Spaghetti Carbonara

Stewed Canned Corned Beef over rice or mashed potatoes

Lemon chicken drumsticks and yellow rice

Fricasseed chicken thighs and rice

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Homemade Desserts:

Egg Custard

Bread Pudding

Rice Pudding

Chocolate or Vanilla Pudding


Homemade Cookies:







Baked Apples

Homemade Pies:

Custard Pie

Squash Pie

Vinegar Pie

Homemade Quick Breads:

Lemon poppyseed
Banana  Nut

Side Dishes:

Potato Salad


Spanish Rice

Yellow Rice

Buttered Noodles

Boiled Potatoes

Baked Potatoes

Potato Planks or wedges

Mashed Potatoes


Cheese Grits

Macaroni and Cheese

Sweet Potatoes

Baked Onions


Butternut Squash


Green Beans

Dried Kidney Beans

Dried Chick Peas

Frozen Green Peas

Frozen Corn

Buy plenty of eggs which are inexpensive protein.  Always have a good sized jar of peanut
butter.  Always have beans of different varieties on hand such as pinto, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, or great northern and garbanzos.  You can substitute beans for oil in recipes and beans for meat in recipes.  They are good for you and are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates.
Have at least 3 or 4 meals a week that are non meat. Don’t make more than one or two lunches a week that have meat except for leftovers.
Turn leftovers into new meals, be creative.

Leftover pinto’s and rice can make refried beans for tacos
and rice can be made into red rice to serve with them.

Leftover black beans can be used as an oil substitute in
brownies or chocolate cake or cookies.

Leftover spaghetti can make minestrone soup with all the
leftover veggies from the week.

Leftover lentils and kidney beans as well as black beans can
be put into chili or make veggie burgers by mixing with rice and egg.

Cook enough corn bread or muffins for 3 meals a week when
you cook it.  As soon as it is cool place
in plastic bag and store in fridge.

Make enough biscuits for at least 2 meals a week and while
still warm place in plastic bags and store in fridge.

Make 4 loaves of bread on the same day and keep 1 loaf out
and store others un-sliced inplastic wrap in the fridge.

Cook your beans for the week all at the same time and you
will only be stuck watching them for the 3 hours or so that it takes to cook
them instead of 3 hours each time you need them.

Plan your menu’s ahead. Shop for basics and then fill in with sale meats and change the
menu accordingly. 

For example:

Chicken is on sale for thighs and drumsticks 10 lbs for 4.90 so you buy a bag and  repackaged your chicken in bags separated for
3 or 4 meals.  One night will be bbq
drumsticks and Mac and Cheese,  one night
will be baked garlic chicken thighs (one a piece) with homemade stuffing.  One night will be Chicken and dumplings and

Any leftover chicken uncooked or cooked will be turned into
chicken stew later or added to your leftover soup or make a pot pie or
shepherds pie.

Pork roast that is on sale for 89 cents a lb.  you buy a 3 lb. roast and turn it into at least
3 meals.  Cook the roast and serve thinly sliced roast one or two slices per person for a Sunday
dinner. Cut up about 1 cup of pork for pork perlau and one cup of pork for fried
rice, and lastly any other left over can be added to your homemade soup along
with other meats and vegetables left over from other meals.

Once a week cook 3 cups of rice.  Store in plastic bag in fridge.

Prep your carrots and celery when you come home from the
store.  The carrot and celery sticks go into storage containers  with clean water
which you should change daily and the rest should be prepped into chunks or
dices for meals and stored in baggies.

Have one big meal a week that is breakfast for supper, such
as; pancakes, omelets, frittata, or quiche. These meals are good for stretching your food budget and have plenty of protein. 

Unless ground beef is on sale for a very low price I find that it is an expensive meat to serve. If I can get it for approximatly a dollar a pound I will scarf it up but
usually I think that the $1 to $1.40 a pound ground turkey is more economical
and better for you.

Turkey is fine in chili, spaghetti, and meat balls. Turkey
sausage is much cheaper than pork sausage.

I hope this article will give you ideas you can use and will
make you think about your own family and how you can save money on your food
budget and still give your family nutritious foods and variety.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake and Tsunami

As I watch Fox News this morning I am mesmerized at the videos on the damage that has taken place in Japan this morning.  The death toll is rising constantly and will continue to rise.  They have no idea how many people have already died and how many will die throughout the day.  The power has been turned off all over Japan.  The gas mains have ruptured in many places and the tsunami has wiped out  many coastal towns.  I really feel for these people.  They will be in my prayers for quite awhile.  There is still dangers to the U.S. islands and to the west coast of the U. S.  The earthquake itself was 8.9 on the Richter Scale.  That is very rare to have such a strong earthquake anywhere. 

My grandmother was in the 1906 earthquake in San Franscico which was estimated from 7.5 to 8.25 which was pretty devasting and the fires afterward were awful.  They were still using oil lamps and gas lamps.  The gas lines ruptured and caused most of the fires.  My grandmother was in a hotel at the time which was woodframed and she said in her room the floor undulated about 3 ft. and she watched things on her table slide off of the table onto the floor with no breakage because the floor came up to meet the top of the table.  She and her 3 sons stood in the entrance door to her room until the quake stopped then they grabbed a few clothes and ran out doors to the park across the street.  They lived in the park for about a week because none of the buildings were safe. 

Japan has more earthquake proof buildings than almost any other country.  They are very good at engineering and I expect all of the major buildings in the city were okay with the earthquake but the tsunami is a different story.   The homes that were hit by the tsunami are no more. They were being swept inland and then back out as the waves retreated. 

Now are we prepared if something bad hits in our area?  Could a tornado or a hurricane destroy your home and leave you homeless?  Do you have your G.O.O.D. bag ready so you can evacuate if needed?  Do you know what you would need to take in your area?  Some things are universal in all areas for our Get Out Of Dodge bag such as food and clothing and a full tank of gas for your vehicles. There will also be specifics for each family or individual.  Medications, of which some will be in your bag, might have to be gathered out of the refrigerator or your bedside, such as insulin or some antibiotics.  What about the area you live in?  Is it still cold? Snow and ice?  You will need warmer clothing and sleeping bags.  How about extra blankets? Do you have snow tires on your car?  Do you have chains in your trunk? Everyone should sit down and consider what they might need if they had to leave their homes and head inland or away from a dam or out of an area that is having flooding. Sometimes there is very little notice and if you are at work and don't have time to go home for your bags what do you have with you in your car so you could leave straight from work?  Do you have a
plan for those still at home to meet you somewhere out of the area of danger?  Do you have a way to contact your loved ones if you are on the road?  Like I said earlier everyone should sit down and think about what you may need and how to evacuate.  Routes should be planned out you should have paper maps with you as well as your GPS.  In some circumstances the GPS may not be what you need to evacuate.  GPS is set up to use main highways and if they are parking lots you will need to avoid the main highways and take the secondary roads.  I would just like everyone to be aware of what they may need and have everything ready to go.  Let's all be praying for our own country's areas that may be hit by the tsunamis and keep praying for Japan.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Do you have holes? This is my plan for my holes!

I call the lack of certain things in my food storage HOLES.  Some people call them gaps and then some people call them missing items. Whatever you call them, life might be pretty tough without them or maybe just bland or boring.  Can you imagine eating rice, beans, vegetables, fruit and bread without the seasonings, sauces, dressings,  jellies and desserts?  Do you want just to survive or to survive comfortably?  I for one want to feel satisfied at the end of the day each day.  I don’t want to be craving something I don’t have.  My family says they feel the same way.  While discussing this with my husband over dinner last night he told me of a few things he wouldn’t want to live without.  He said mayonnaise/salad dressing, mustard, ketchup, steak sauce, and hot sauce were a few of the things he could think of that would make life more bearable in rough times.  I asked my granddaughter and she said she wanted chocolate syrup and strawberry syrup. I thought about what I wanted to make meals more pleasant and I decided that the extras at some of my favorite meals would be necessary.  I want mushrooms, mandarin oranges, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, relishes and cheese .  Now I have to look at what I could possibly make out of ordinary ingredients and what I will have to supply pre-made.  Mayo and salad dressing can be made but I would like to have a years supply if I can get it dated for that long, the same for ketchup and mustard.

I will stock enough pickles and relishes for a year as well.  I will also stock the spices and seasoning to make my own pickles and relishes to replace what I have used every summer when harvesting my garden.  Now as for the other things I listed.  I would like to have a years supply of all of them and then have recipes to make many of the items when I am close to running out.  The one thing that I don’t think I would want to make is soy sauce.  I don’t want to store a lot of soy beans.  They aren’t that easy to find in bulk and are quite expensive.  So if I can I will store a couple of years worth of soy sauce. 

Now I want to address cheese.  I live in the city and don’t have access to goats or cows, so I won’t have fresh milk to make good hard cheeses with.   So I have stored lots of dry milk powder and instant dry milk as well.  There are lots of recipes for making soft cheeses on the net so I have downloaded them.  I know I can make yogurt cheese because I know how to make yogurt.   The yogurt cheese will substitute for sour cream and cream cheese.  I have recipes for making some soft white cheese which I believe will melt and can be used in casseroles and pizzas.  I can make cottage cheese and I am hoping I can make mozzarella as well.  I already use cottage cheese in lasagna so we are used to that. I do need to stock up on more parmesan cheese.  The big wholesale stores carry big containers of grated parmesan.  I think I can repack the cheese into mylar with 02 absorbers and keep in a cool dry place to make it last longer.  Cheddar is my favorite cheese to cook with so I will miss that for sure.  I think I will try to buy some whole wheels of cheddar covered in the wax.  I believe it will last for years if kept cool and uncut.  Then of course when I cut into it I will have to recoat the quarters of the round that I am not using in fresh wax.  I have bought the wax to do this already and will keep it for future use. I need to buy some powdered cheddar to keep for using in sauces and in/on wet foods, for instance when making macaroni and cheese or making omelets.  I definitely want to practice making the soft white cheeses and cooking with them so that I won’t be surprised or disappointed after the collapse of society.

Everyone must decide where their own holes are in the food storage and decide how to fill them for themselves.  Research, shop sales, find recipes to make your own, or find alternatives.  I am listing my holes to show my thinking and plans.

My list of holes:

                          Mayo/salad dressing - store a 1 yr. supply keep recipes
                                                              for making my own
                          Mustard  - store 2 yr. supply -  keep recipes for
                                            making  my own                                                        
                          Ketchup– store 1 yr. supply - keep recipes for
                                           making  my own
                          Steak sauce – store 1 yr. supply – 
                                          find recipes for making my own               
                          Soy sauce – buy 2 yr. supply  
                          Teriyaki sauce – buy 2 yr. supply
                          Horseradish – buy 1 yr. supply – buy seeds to grow fresh     
                          Hot sauce – buy 2 yr. supply –
                                              store cayenne and recipe for more     
                          Relishes – buy 1 yr. supply –
                                            buy seeds and spices to make own
                          Chocolate syrup – 1 yr. supply –
                                            keep recipe for making own           
                          Strawberry syrup – 1 yr. supply –
                                            keep recipe and strawberry seeds

Cheese;             Buy cheddar cheese rounds in wax
                          Buy cheddar cheese powder in #10 cans
                          Buy Citric Acid for making cheese
                          Buy cheesecloth for draining cheese
                          Buy rennet to make cheese
                          Practice making and cooking with homemade cheese
                          Keep directions and recipes for cheese making with dry milk
                          Buy grated parmesan cheese in large containers and repack.
                          Buy jarred cheese whiz a case if possible     

Veg. & fruit;       Buy cases of mushrooms and mandarin oranges
                          Buy dried mushrooms and repackage in mylar with 02 absorber
                          Buy jarred red peppers
                          Buy jarred or canned jalapeƱos

This is my list.  Now figure out what your family will have problems living without and figure how to address it.  Have fun!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Visit With My Three Friends

I am not kidding about the three friends but the three friends in this case are not humans.  Do you feel like sometimes you don’t have many REAL friends that you can share your idea of a successful day of adding  food to your storage?  I have found that I don’t have any REAL friends that accept me for my oddities of preparing for a possibly bleak future.  They tell me I am obsessive and paranoid.  They laugh about me when they think I can’t hear.  So I don’t talk about my trips to the LDS Cannery or my day of shopping for sale items that I can buy 40 or 50 cans of vegetables or tuna for my storage.  My Dad used to tell me that I would be lucky if I could claim one good and real friend by the time I die.  I think he was right.  I would just like to find one friend locally that would call me and tell me that they saw boneless chicken breasts for $1.87 lb. and for me to get my shoes on because we were going to buy 20 lbs each to can!  Or someone who would smile and ask to see my food storage because she wanted to see what she might be missing in hers.  Those kind of friends are hard to find.  I spent the day with the only friends that accept me and help me with my food storage.
The first one is called Excalibur.  He just loves to take my vegetables and fruits and turn them into long term storage for me.  He works for me while I sleep and then my second friend welcomes me to join him in packing my newly dried veggies in canning jars and making sure they last as long as possible.  His name is Foodsaver.  He sucks the air out of my jars of dried vegetables.  He pulls a vacuum and makes sure that the food that Excalibur prepared will last for years.  They work well together and they both like me visiting them and working with them.  Now lastly I am preparing to visit my third friend this afternoon.  My third friend really sizzles and has quite a temper and I call her Old Ma.  Old Ma is the friend that cans all my meats for me.  I prepare my jars by using my dishwasher.  I put my two new cases of Ball canning jars in the dishwasher to make sure they are as clean as possible.  Then I will cut up my large chuck roast I bought and my 6 lbs. of chicken breasts and my 7 lb. ham that is in the fridge.  I will do two loads of jars of meat tonight and 2 loads tomorrow and I will be done for the week. Next week will be breakfast sausage of which I have 9 lbs and then I will be canning butter after that.  Old Ma won’t be joining in on the fun of canning the butter though.   Now I will save the butter canning for next time I visit the blog.  I will give a step by step account of my adventures in canning butter.  It will be my first time canning butter so I will try to give my problems and successes with it.  See you next time. 

Shirley (Gram of Gram’s Survival Kitchen)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Welcome to Gram's Survival Kitchen

I will try to write to share with others my journey to self sufficiency and the ability to survive any disaster which may crop up in our crazy world.  Sometimes I may comment on new events happening around the world that may affect us all, but mostly it will be about Food Storage, Cooking, and Recipes with Food Storage.  I will also try to talk about gardening a little bit.  It is not my strong suit so it will be interesting to see if I can grow anything more than a few tomato plants in my backyard that hasn't been used for gardening in years if at all.  I plan to try to have a small salad garden, an herb garden, and a vegetable garden.  I will use a solar oven to test recipes and try to take pictures of them to add with explanations of successes or failures with recipes.  I will be talking about how to store food and give links to youtube videos that are great for learning.  I won't try to reinvent the wheel but will show you where I learned to do things.  I will try to organize and make some sense of my food storage mess.  I will take you on my journey to do all this.  I will try out recipes and give my opinion on the difficulties and taste of those recipes.  I invite you all to do the same.  I will be testing recipes from Everyday Food Storage, Hillbilly Housewife, and many other sites and cookbooks.  As  I find good, healthy, and delicious recipes I will add them to a cookbook which we can all use.  If this all sounds good to you then join me and others as we build a support group and a place to make new friends.

Shirley  (Gram of  "Gram's Survival Kitchen")