Today it’s all about how to prep without anxiety. Maybe you never experience anxiety, but I do, sometimes. I don’t have anxiety thinking about prepping. It’s the lifestyle I learned from my mom. Now, my mom had never heard of a Sun Oven or the term prepping. We just had a pantry full of food. I never thought about evacuating my home when I was younger, but life has changed. Life is not the same anymore.
We never stored water, except what was in the 40-gallon water heater and our large drinking water dispenser (Las Vegas water was nasty). I’ve learned after many years that the water heater water we use may or may not be safe to use if our water lines are contaminated. In the last couple of years, Utah has had many cities with water that you could not drink, cook with or bathe in, let alone brush your teeth with. Yikes, in Utah? How could this be? Yep, it happens.
There were mistakes with pipes connected incorrectly by county workers. One of the culprits they found was Ecoli. Well, we can all make mistakes, but this is not acceptable. So WE must be prepared to take care of ourselves. Please picture this, I saw people on the news via the TV lined up at city and county buildings to get bottled water because the stores were sold out. Please tell me you will not be one of those people.
I understand if you don’t have the budget or the space to store what you need for months or years, but please get enough food and water for three days, then graduate to seven days. Okay, now you get it, start a little at a time, as in one can at a time. Remember, you don’t need to buy 100-pound bags of beans if you don’t like to eat beans.
I eat a bean burrito with vegetarian beans on a flour tortilla every day, with no cheese. I could eat these cold or hot, it doesn’t matter. I can make the tortillas, but I buy a huge bag of tortillas at Costco, and cases of vegetarian refried beans. I count the tortillas out and place six of them in a bag to freeze them.
When I get down to five tortillas, I go get a new bag from the freezer. If I have zero power, I can make the best flour or corn tortillas on this planet, if I don’t say so myself. See, no anxiety with the tortillas, I can make them. Plus, I have cases of all kinds of beans and I have several #10 cans of beans.
Here’s the deal with beans, the older the beans, the harder those suckers become, and they will take longer to cook, as well as use a lot more fuel to cook them. Just giving you the heads-up here. Hence, I buy three to four cases of my favorite brand of vegetarian beans to store. I usually make quinoa or rice once a week, and if I have leftovers I add it to my burrito.
Mark isn’t really fond of beans, so it doesn’t make sense for me to make the tortillas from scratch as I used to when my daughters were growing up. I can still picture the foil rectangles lined up with one tortilla on each sheet. One daughter spread a 1/4 cup of homemade cooked mashed beans on each tortilla, then one daughter put a tablespoon of grated cheese, the next daughter rolled them and the next daughter folded the foil. We would make 100 burritos at a time. That’s how we rolled, literally, when the girls were growing up.
I must confess, my daughter, Heidi found a dirt clump that I had missed in one burrito once when sorting the beans to cook. She couldn’t eat beans for years, so please watch for dirt clumps and rocks, just saying. You can also pressure-cook beans if they do get old, so no worries if you have some old beans. I am not sure how much food value there would be in 40-year-old beans, but hey, if we’re starving they say we would eat almost anything. Yikes, I am just about to admit I threw out my OLD beans, I still feel guilty about it. Just a little, not a lot.
I was talking to a friend today who said to me, “I must admit, prepping gives me anxiety.” I told her she is not alone, I hear it all the time. It’s okay, let’s just do a little at a time. I compare food storage and emergency prep to looking at the rows and rows of food at grocery stores. I do not like grocery shopping, so I make my pantry of food storage my “grocery store.”
I had to meet a friend at the hospital the other day after she and her daughter were in a minor car accident. Thankfully, they were fine after having x-rays, a CT scan, etc. I stayed there for about five hours trying to comfort them, and we talked about car insurance, etc. She only has one car that is now totaled, so this is why her daughter called me from the ambulance to come to the hospital.
She needed a ride home and someone to hold her hand. I had chicken pot pies in the oven for a friend who just had a hip replaced. They needed to cook for an hour, but I headed to the hospital after I delivered the pot pies. The reason I am telling you this story is because while I was at the hospital my friend who was in a neck brace waiting to hear about the results of all the x-rays, and whatever, mentioned she was glad she had gone to the grocery store that day. But she forgot to pick up some coffee and asked if I could stop at the store to pick some up on our way home. Of course, I could do that for her.
Well, the results were fine, thank goodness and we headed to the pharmacy after we left the hospital to get some painkillers for her back pain from the accident. Well, we both forgot to pick up the coffee UNTIL she was home. She asked me if I could pick some up tomorrow, I said I didn’t have a car for two days. I told her she would need to get someone else to pick it up. I also live about 12-14 miles from her, so she would have to call someone else.
I only have one car. The reason I am telling you this story is because I want you to store more than one bag of coffee if you drink coffee. What I am saying is NEVER have one can or bag at your house that may be critical to you if you have a disaster, a car accident, or an unforeseen emergency.
I remember a reader commented on my blog a few days ago about having had two feet of snow dumped in her neighborhood. She mentioned the garbage pick-up and mail delivery was stopped for two months! Wow, I have never had that happen to me where I live. She and her family were fine because they were prepared with food, water, and powdered milk. Although, the cat preferred fresh milk, great story!
My point is this, I want you to think about what you eat each day (no drive-thru’s) and write it down. What do you eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day? Here is a PRINTABLE I use for classes when I teach: Where Do I Start by Food Storage Moms
You can fill in the blanks for each meal, it doesn’t have to be perfect, you just write down what you need to make those meals. If the store shelves are empty or the roads are closed, you will have your own little grocery store at home so to speak.
Prep Without Anxiety:
Write down what you eat every day for breakfast. For instance, for breakfast, if you eat cereal, buy cereal and some powdered or instant milk. Add some canned or bottled fruit, you are set. If you like pancakes, buy pancake mix and syrup or jam. Who needs butter if we have an emergency, right?
If you make pancakes, you already know what supplies you need to make those yummy pancakes. Be sure and have more than one or two choices because you may need food for 30 days or more. But today, just think about three days’ worth of breakfast ideas, then seven days.
You can do it, I promise. Practice makes perfect. Please remember, we need water to make that instant milk or the pancakes each day. Plus, we need water to hydrate ourselves, for hygiene and eventually wash at least our underwear if a water shortage becomes long-term. When cooking you’ll need a cooking device for those pancakes.
I highly recommend this one. I bought one for all four of my daughters. A gas barbecue is fine but uses a lot of fuel. Camp Chef Butane 1 Burner Stove with Camping Case and don’t forget the fuel: GasOne Butane Fuel Canister (12 Pack)
Lunch is easy if you think about it. Sliced cold cuts will not cut it because they need the refrigerator. Peanut butter and jelly are a staple in my home. Who doesn’t love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? I started buying small jars because it goes rancid very quickly once the jars are open.
I can still picture the #10 cans of peanut butter I bought when my girls were growing up. My family rarely ate jam or jelly on our peanut butter because it was too expensive. My mom used to make apricot jam from her trees and that was a real treat!
We would have peanut butter sandwiches on my homemade bread with a jar or two of home-canned peaches. If you think about it, store some canned tuna (not too many because tuna goes mushy) and some cans of canned meat. Add some jars or packets of mayo and you can make sandwiches, like chicken salad. I always store pickles.
Can you just smell the bread and butter pickles? They add a lot to any sandwich. Now if you don’t make bread, store crackers or learn to make crackers. Learn to make biscuits with a cream sauce over them. You can make grilled cheese sandwiches and use up what you have in the refrigerator.
Of course, keep the refrigerator and freezer closed as long as possible to keep the food safe if the power goes out for an extended period. I started storing smaller jars of mayo and Miracle Whip because it takes a month or more to use them up before they go bad.
A few cases of canned fruit and vegetables are great pantry items. Buy only the ones you will eat. If you can your own fruit and vegetables, you are awesome! I love when the garden is in full bloom, who loves fresh sliced tomatoes? I sure do!
You need to know I am not big on processed food, but here’s the deal, let’s make dinner easy in case of an emergency. Take your family to your local grocery store and let everyone choose one food item they would actually eat for dinner. I love canned chili, this is an easy one for me.
I can make just about anything from scratch, but let’s choose some foods that you can just heat and eat using your butane stove or right out of the can. I want you to think of it like camping. I remember making frozen meals to take in the trailer.
Well, let’s think a little differently, like without a refrigerator. You may need to grab something from your home grocery store. Are you getting the drift now? The family will eat what they chose at the store and eat it in an emergency. I remember making colored bags and filling them to take to young mothers who had a baby.
For example, a jar of spaghetti sauce, a package of pasta, and a jar of Parmesan cheese. I added some cans of green beans and a can or two of fruit cocktail. All the family had to do was boil the water for the pasta, add the spaghetti sauce, and heat the green beans. I call these my “dinners in a bag.”
I hope you realize that having a small grocery store in your home, so to speak, will help you beyond anything I can teach you, literally. Plus, you will save money by not going to the store as often. If you cook from scratch, you can even do more! Add some #10 cans of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables as your budget allows.
If you can have three days of food, then seven, then thirty days of food stored, you rock. Remember, water is the number one thing you need to store. The American Red Cross suggests one gallon of water per person per day. I recommend four gallons per person per day. You can never have too much water.
May God bless you and your family to be prepared for the unexpected. I promise you can prep without anxiety with just one can at a time. Please just do it. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for following my blog. If you start with food, water, and a butane stove, everything else will fall into place. May God bless this world, Linda