How To Prep Without Anxiety

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Today it’s all about how to prep without anxiety. Maybe you never get 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 word 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 water dispenser (Las Vegas water was nasty). Now, I’ve learned after many years that water heater water we may all have may or may not be safe to use if our water lines are contaminated. In the last couple 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 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.

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I understand if you do not 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 do not 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, 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 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 like 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 say, my daughter, Heidi found a dirt clump in one burrito once, that I missed 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 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 the 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 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 that needed to cook an hour for a friend who just had a hip replaced, but I headed there after I delivered those. 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 pain killers 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 dump 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 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:

  1. Write down what you eat every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For instance, if you eat cereal, buy cereal and some powdered or instant milk. Add some canned or bottle 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)
  2. Lunch is easy if you think about it. Sliced cold cuts will not cut it because they need the refrigerator. Peanut butter and jelly is 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 tomato sliced tomatoes? I sure do!
  3. 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 to eat 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 at 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.

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16 thoughts on “How To Prep Without Anxiety

  • April 30, 2017 at 6:33 am
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    I prep so that I don’t have to worry. I started to prep for snow storms, power outages, mainly. Then just continued, until I have a good supply. I like knowing that if I can’t get out, there is plenty to eat. We have a wood stove that keeps us warm, a well that we can get water from, and a septic tank, so I can flush the toilet with a bucket if needed. I read that every 5 years, that blackouts increase 50%. What a statistic. I have a french press for coffee, and am well stocked up on coffee. A coleman oven that goes on the wood stove, to bake bread, and book lights to read with. If I can keep warm, eat, use the bathroom, and read, I am pretty happy.

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    • April 30, 2017 at 8:50 am
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      Janet, oh how I wish I still had a wood stove! Luckily blankets will work here in Southern Utah! I love hearing people have them, they are so awesome because you keep your pipes from freezing if possible. I didn’t know the septic tank would still work without electricity. I remember living in River Heights, Utah and we had a septic tank there. Mental note, thanks for the tip that using a bucket of water we can still flush with a septic tank! I love hearing you have a well, that’s one thing I have never had experience with. My sister has a well, in Texas. I had not heard that blackouts increase every 5 years by 50%, YIKES! I believe it! Oh my goodness, I did not know that Coleman made an oven to go on top of a wood stove. Of course, now I need to look into that! Thanks for that tip. I have a CampChef oven/stove combo but that would Coleman oven for people with a wood stove would be awesome. Now, I will go check that out. Love your tips! I do need to learn to use a French press for coffee, I better learn that ASAP. I do recommend storing coffee to drink or barter with. \Thanks again for your wonderful comments and tips! Hugs, Linda

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      • April 30, 2017 at 11:20 am
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        Some septic systems have electric motors. Some are gravity fed. We have one that is gravity fed, so we don’t have to worry. The ones with motors, I am not sure about.

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        • May 1, 2017 at 8:03 am
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          Hi Janet, thanks for that update. I need all the tips you can share about septic tanks. When I did mortgages on homes with loans they had to pumped out and serviced before we could close on the loan. I did not know there electric driven and gravity fed, thank you so much for the update! Hugs, Linda

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  • April 30, 2017 at 8:25 am
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    Linda, I love your bean story; I had a bean & green chile burrito for breakfast yesterday LOL! Here’s my story: my maternal grandmother was widowed young in 1947. She raised 10 children on beans and homemade tortillas. Bean burritos were a staple in our home for my 6’3″ sons when they were growing up, and one time the baseball coach was so amazed by how powerful my oldest was, he asked me “What do you feed that boy?!” I shouted “Beans!” My favorites are the LDS instant refried beans. Question: how do you make your corn tortillas & can we store masa harina long-term by sealing in mason jars?

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    • April 30, 2017 at 9:08 am
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      Roxanne, oh my goodness, 6’3″ sons! One of my grandsons is 6’2″ and my daughter laughs because she fixes one meal and he’s hungry one hour later. He plays volleyball for a college. I have got to tell her about the beans! He is our tallest grandchild. I grew up with only sisters and only had daughters so I have never had to feed boys or young men daily. I do not know how these families who have athletes (male or female) feed those kids. Plus, I don’t know how any family can afford to feed their families these days without using beans and rice. I have bought instant beans from a company that was supposed to be Instant Refried Beans and they made a mistake and labeled the cans incorrectly. I didn’t realize it until about two years later. I notified them and they replaced them. Yikes, regular beans would use too much fuel to cook them. I store my masa harina corn flour in the freezer. I’m glad you asked me that question, I would not store it in mason jars. I’m writing myself a note to research that. I use my friend, Melissa Richardson’s recipe, she is Mexican and man oh man her recipe is awesome. She wrote the book about how to make bread with natural yeast. I’ve been wanting to show my readers how to make corn tortillas again. I will try and do that very soon. The ingredients say corn and lime. Cornmeal goes bad very quickly. Thanks for your great comment, hugs, Linda

      Reply
  • April 30, 2017 at 11:12 am
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    Hi, Linda. Great overview of starting small and building. I love the part of your story about the coffee. I roast and grind my own beans because it makes better coffee. For me, coffee in my preps is a must. I currently have 250 pounds of green coffee beans and I’m still adding to it. Not only will it give me plenty of coffee, but I figure it will be great for barter once there’s none available. Green coffee beans will pretty much last forever, as long as they’re kept dry. I roast them in a barrel I had made for my electric rotisserie, but they are easy to roast in a cast iron pan, as well. I use an electric grinder, but have three manual grinders on hand. I use my Moccamaster drip coffee maker, but have two french presses and three vacuum pots for making coffee on the stove. I have a wood stove and a fireplace, as well as wood and coal stocked up, so I can cook with either. Baking on the wood stove is pretty easy with a cast iron dutch oven, it just takes some effort to keep your temperature somewhat even. I, also, have the two rocket stoves and plenty of fuel available for them just outside my door. Since my kitchen stove is propane and I have a 150 gallon tank I keep topped off, that will last me a while before I have to go to wood, in the event I can’t get propane. Currently I have about five years of food stocked, 4 55 gallon barrels of water, and 20 gallons of water in smaller containers. I, also have a water bath canner and two pressure canners, 12 dozen canning jars, a box of extra rings, and I purchase an extra dozen lids every time I go to the grocery store. I store a large assortment of heirloom herb and vegetable seeds. My food stores include dried corn and slaked lime for soaking it, for corn tortillas and grits. *G*
    Have a great day my friend! Big hugs, Mare

    Reply
    • May 1, 2017 at 9:04 am
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      Hi, Mare, oh my gosh, you rock with preparedness! I have never heard of green coffee beans! I love learning new things! Woohoo! This is so awesome to hear how prepared you are! It’s music to my ears, but you already know that! I love making tortillas! They are so easy to make and taste so yummy! Have a great day my friend, hugs to you! Linda

      Reply
  • April 30, 2017 at 1:06 pm
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    Hi Linda,
    I am looking for a corn and flour Tortillas receipt that does not use Mesa flour. I know it needs to be kept in a freezer but what if the electrical grid is down. I have never made them but want to know how
    I really enjoy all your articles and appreciate all the work you do to help us prepare.

    I have looked online for one but they are not what I am looking to make.

    Thanks a WHOLE bunch.
    Melba

    Reply
    • May 1, 2017 at 8:08 am
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      OH Melba, you are so wonderful! I have written several posts on making tortillas, spinach, corn and flour. When I first started my blog I was learning how to take good pictures. That’s still a work in progress. I hope to show everyone in about a week how to make all of them. Thanks for following my blog, you made my day! Hugs, Linda

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  • April 30, 2017 at 4:14 pm
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    i thought i was alone with the daily burrito. lol.
    i have put rice and grits in ball jars with oxygen absorbers and they do very well. i also cook up a mess of beans then i dehydrate them and vacuum seal them in ball jars. when i want beans, i just soak them in water with whatever seasonings i want and dinner is ready. no soaking overnight and waiting for them to cook.
    i have lots of extra kitty food for the furry girls but i cant seem to get enough water. i know i will need extra for the girls so i am planning on more water than i need for me but i just cant seem to keep enough. that is number one on my list right now as hurricane season will be here shortly. i am starting my list for hurricane season and will start building more supplies.

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    • May 1, 2017 at 8:13 am
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      Oh, Maggi. we can call ourselves the burrito girls! Wow, I better get on the stick and dehydrate some of my beans! I learned how in my Master Preserving Canning class. I’m glad to hear you have extra food for the furry girls, my puppy dog food is getting down in the bucket, I need to pick up another bag soon. I’m hearing water is one of the hardest things to start storing. I decided I’m going to write a post today about it if I can get to it. It’s critical for people to do it. Thanks again for commenting, you a very special friend! Hugs,Linda

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  • April 30, 2017 at 8:20 pm
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    So enjoyed reading this. So many things to think about. I have 4 boys ages 9, 7, 5, and 7 months and they already eat a lot. I try to keep the house stocked with food, but it’s a job, at least one or two trips to the store a week to keep fresh produce in the house. We do have some long term food storage (supposed to last for 30 years) that I bought online a few years ago, but I should probably take stock of it and add to it. I even bought some water containers and the product you are supposed to add to them to make the water safe for a long time, but never filled them up. I think I have been intimidated thinking I might mess it up and the water would be bad. Plus I have to figure out where to store everything. We have an old fashioned basement that’s more like an old cellar. Our house was built in 1928. Maybe we should put shelving down there and store water in it.

    My husband is a horticulture professor and is in charge of the community garden at the University Arboretum. We are getting ready to plant our garden next weekend and this year he is offering small 50 square ft. spots for kids for $5. Our kids will each have one. My husbands wants our kids to take ownership of there own gardens and wanted to give other kids the opportunity too. I think it is great for so many reasons…working hard and seeing your efforts pay off, learning more about where your food comes from, and enjoying the bounty of your own harvest to name a few.

    You mentioned making biscuits and a cream sauce earlier. Actually sausage gravy is about the easiest thing in the world to make and it makes a great breakfast or dinner. My students used to make this recipe when I taught Family and Consumer Sciences. https://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/biscuits-and-sausage-gravy Although I do not know if you can get canned sausage for food storage, you could make with another fat like lard or coconut oil and dried bits of meat or canned beef.

    Thanks for always reminding me to stock up. With 4 young kids I don’t like to run out of anything.

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    • May 1, 2017 at 8:26 am
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      Oh, Faith, oh my goodness what a fabulous idea about having a $5.00 plot to learn to grow a garden. First, they have a little “skin” in the project, like the $5.00 and they will learn how to garden. Plus, they will learn how to work. Although, I’m sure you have done a great job teaching them to work in many ways. I had four girls and you have 4 boys! I used to say I “specialized” in having girls. Thankfully, I had girls because I was a girly girl years ago and so were my girls. Now, I have girly girl granddaughters. I never had brothers or sons, but my first grandchild was a boy! LOL! We are very close and I love it! I have 17 grandkids and about half are girls and half are boys. I was going to tell you, I grew up on sausage gravy! I’m so glad you shared your recipe in your comment! Plus, we can buy freeze-dried sausage from Thrive and a few other places. I can smell it cooking right now….Hugs, Linda

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  • April 30, 2017 at 10:21 pm
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    Linda, I simply love your articles. I have made your laundry soap . And followed your suggestions on honey. I now realized I do have much anxiety toward storage. My husband and I are the only ones left in our home. My husband grumbles about food storage , which is because a lot of food that is past its date printed on the can has to be thrown away. He also says we won’t live long enough to worry about it. So………. I faithfully try to add small amounts every month. The problem is that we have six children with pretty large families. Four of them live around us . All our grandchildren are grown and are starting their own families. Now, the major problem ! Grandma is the only one canning or storing anything. No matter how much I emphasize storing anything to them , I get this response. “We will just come over to your place Mom and Grandma ! You’ll care of us. !”. And off they go laughing. I already have three granddaughters that shop in my pantry and cellar ! Linda , I’m 70 years old and frankly it’s getting pretty hard to worry about six children and their spouses, twenty-nine grandchildren and some have spouses, and 15 great grandchildren! I do express my misgivings to them, but they’re always too busy ! What on earth do I do ?

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    • May 1, 2017 at 8:41 am
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      Hi, Lauraly, I’m 67 years old and I totally get what you are saying. I will share a secret with you, I throw out the expired cans when Mark isn’t home. I am very frugal so yes this is hard for me to do. Here’s the deal, white flour goes rancid after one year, mold spores grow in it. I can hear people now saying I’m wrong but I did the research, trust me. We all do what is right for us, I will not use old white flour. Now, I must laugh at your husband’s comments in a good way, because I get what he is saying. BUT, we have our kids that can use it. Plus, you and I both share our pantry with grandkids, boys, and girls. In some small way, YOU and I are teaching the grandkids that having a pantry is important. I worry about some of the families that aren’t interested in storing even the basics of food storage. I also worry that the art of cooking from scratch in some families is a lost art. I never thought of it as an art and maybe it isn’t. I’m concerned with the drive-thru’s that seem to be breakfast, lunch, and dinner for some families. Yikes, we have so much Type II Diabetes in our country. Please keep doing what you are doing, you are showing your family that YOU store food and someday, they will understand. I hope my neighbors do because I can’t feed the entire subdivision after a disaster. God bless you for what you are doing, it will pay off! Hugs, Linda

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