Preparedness

Sorry about missing the last week. I’m going to Europe tomorrow and I’ve been planning and packing madly. Yes, I actually started packing several days in advance. This is a first for me. Usually I’m tossing stuff in my suitcase as Mister yells at me to hurry-up-because-we-need-to-be-at-the-airport-right-this-second-I-cant-believe-you-haven’t-done-this-already. But that’s because I’m in charge of packing seven people and he’s in charge of packing one. But he always forgets that teensy detail. So anyway, I love planning trips. And I’ve been planning all the fun things for us to do in London and Paris. (All six kids are not going along, by the way.)

So I won’t be doing a preparedness item next week. Instead we’re going to be working on buying medicine for the next week and a half. Medicine can be kind of spendy so it’s nice to break it up into a couple of smaller chunks.

Here are things to buy that anybody would need:

band-aids, gauze and tape (gauze and tape are pretty cheap)

Neosporin

alcohol

pain relievers (Advil or Tylenol. Pills and/or liquid)

Anti-diarrheal medicine (you can die of the runs if they get bad enough)

Cold or allergy medicine

Now think of specialized medications that your family may need:

Diabetes supplies

Stomach medications (Prilosec, Tums, Gas-X)

Contact lens supplies

Cough drops

Really think about what you would need if you couldn’t get to a pharmacy or doctor for a couple of weeks.  The nice thing about medicine and pharmaceutical supplies is that you will probably use them at some point. This isn’t like cans of dried beans!

Remember that health is your family’s number one priority. This isn’t the time to skimp!

 

We’re getting back to the basics with our item this week: flour. Hopefully you’re not totally clueless when it comes to baking. If you plan on having any sort of bread/biscuits/cookies/cake during the zombie apocalypse, you’re going to need flour. (If you are one of my gluten-free friends then plan on stocking up on gluten-free “flour”. Or a bunch of box mixes. Whichever you’re more likely to use.)      Flour is kind of a no-brainer. If worst comes to worst you can always throw together some tortillas. This is an item that should be pretty easy for you to rotate through on a regular basis.

I recommend at least five pounds per person. If you live in a place like Texas that tends to be a bit heavy on the pantry critters, pack your flour up well. I’ve found that Jumbo ziploc bags are perfect for keeping my flour weevil-free. I can get two five-pound bags of flour in one Jumbo ziploc.

Man, am I a flake. I didn’t even realize I missed posting my preparedness item! Sorry about that. Although for all I know, I’m standing at the side of the Grand Canyon with my voice echoing and nobody around to hear. But maybe there are a bunch of lurkers who are very quietly stocking up when I tell them to.

Anyhoo, our items this week are paper plates, cups and utensils. Imagine if the water supply were interrupted. What would you use to eat off of? It’s kind of hard to keep dishes clean if there’s no water. Plus you’d be too stressed wot worry about cleaning anyway. Thus I have issued my decree for disposable dishes and silverware.

I’d suggest getting big old piles of this stuff. You can always use it for a BBQ or something if the world doesn’t end. It’s never going to go bad or need to be thrown away so you might as well buy a whole bunch of these items.

This week we’re buying chili and/or stew to get prepared. Very few foods are as easy, filling and nutritious all at once. Just pop open a can and heat. What could be easier? And if worst comes to worst, you don’t even need to heat it up.

It’s up to you whether you would prefer chili with or without beans. I like beans because, well, I like beans. They’re good for you and they fill you up. I prefer chili over stew since it sticks to your ribs better. But you can buy whatever you and your family prefers. Just stay away from condensed soups because the point here is to have food that doesn’t require a whole lot of preparation.

I would recommend around ten cans per person. Yes, that’s a lot of chili. Yes, that’s expensive. Yes, the lady at the checkout counter is going to think you are a nutball.  Do you want to be prepared or not? Just think about all the crap you buy for Easter baskets. And that’s for like a day.  Your food storage is going to matter a whole lot more than Easter candy so just do it!

Throw a bunch of cans in your shopping cart the next time you’re at the store. Get it done. That’s the name of the game.

Being prepared isn’t just about food and water!

Toilet Paper is something every single person needs and nobody wants to run out of. If you don’t feel like buying toilet paper then make sure you’ve got a lot of leaves in your backyard!

Toilet paper is bulky so it can be a pain to store if you are short on space. It’s such an important item, though, so try to find a way.

I recommend 6-18 rolls per person. Think how often your family goes through a roll and you will probably want to err on the side of too many rolls. It’s also one of the few things you can store in your garage since it won’t be affected by the hot weather, so keep that in mind. And it never gets rotten so there’s no excuse not to have a bunch of T.P. on hand.

Remember not to put this off! Just throw a big package of toilet paper in your cart every time you go to the store this week. Make it simple and get it done!

cereal bowls
This week we’re going to stock up on cereal. Dry cereal, that is. Cheerios, Cookie Crisp, granola–whatever strikes your fancy. Cereal may not be the most filling food but it’s something that just about everybody likes. And sometimes that’s what you need most. It’s easy and the only ingredient you need is milk (and maybe a little sugar if you get one of those healthy kinds).

If you’re a mom, one of the most common complaints is that everybody will eat cereal up in no time. While that is a bummer (the stuff is not cheap, after all) at least you don’t need to worry about rotating it! And if your family is one of those who doesn’t eat cereal, well I don’t really know what to say. Obviously you’ve never eaten Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch because that stuff is goooood.

I would recommend at least a couple of boxes per person. Yes, it’s going to be expensive. But at least you know it’s going to be eaten. Just bite the bullet and remember that the prophet commanded us to have a three-month supply of food we normally eat. So I guess that means the prophet wants us to buy cereal!

And a couple of people have asked about eating this three-month supply of food. Yes, you re supposed to be eating this stuff! Rotating through your food storage is definitely the way to go. I mean, you can buy all this stuff and lock it away, never to be thought of unless things get tough. But you’ll probably end up throwing most of the food away after a while.

The idea here is to get food that your family eats so that you will eat it! And then you’ll have to restock. It’s just like regular grocery shopping except in larger quantities.

You can do this! Make it easy and just get it done!

We’re already on week six! How is it going for you? Are you playing along? Have you managed to buy a little something extra every time you go to the store?

This week we’ll be working on adding fruit to our pantries and freezers. I’d like you to get mostly canned. This shouldn’t be a problem: most everyone can stomach canned pineapple or mandarin oranges. I always have frozen fruit on hand too; it’s great for smoothies or muffins. Keep in mind, though, that we don’t have nearly as much room for frozen foods as we do for canned foods. You can store canned food just about anywhere: under beds, at the tops of closets, in the back of hard to reach shelves.  So it makes more sense to have more canned goods on hand. Plus you don’t need to worry about losing power; you’re not at the mercy of your freezer if most of your fruit is in cans or jars.

Get 5-10 cans per person. For my family of eight that’s somewhere between 50-80 cans. Holy crap, that’s a lot of cans! Since I go to Costco every week I’ll just load up several 8-packs of fruits and call it good.  Shall we consider olives to be fruit? I think technically they are. If your family is like mine, they can never get enough black olives so throw some of those in your shopping buggy too.

Remember, just get it done. Don’t put it off and don’t over-think it. Just buy extras whenever you go to the store!

 

P.S. I’ve put a box up on the sidebar to remind you of past items in case you missed a week. ——>

In case you haven’t noticed, Tuesday is working out better for me for posting new items. So wrap your mind about checking in on Tuesdays.  Remember, this is supposed to be easy and do-able. Just buy as much of these items as you can afford/have room for each week. No comparison shopping or waiting for a trip to Costco. Just get it done!

This week we’ll be buying rice. 3-5 lbs per person is a beginning amount. I recommend putting smaller bags in a larger ziplock bag to keep out the weevils. They love rice! If you ended up getting a giant 25 lb bag, then that’s obviously not a possibility. Just pray for no weevils!

Did you know that the shorter grain of rice you get, the stickier it is? Long grain is nice and fluffy and is great plain or in pilaf. It’s the traditional kind of rice that Americans prefer. Medium grain is the kind of sticky rice you find at Chinese restaurants (it’s my favorite!). Short grain rice is the stickiest and is perfect for things like sushi.

Feel free to get brown rice too, if that’s something your family likes. We buy Texmati as well as medium grain. I’m going to throw some quinoa in my cart this week too.

Our item this week is vegetables (canned and frozen). This is where a lot of your vitamins and minerals will be coming from so stock up as much as you can.
A lot of young children may not care for veggies by themselves, but remember that canned tomatoes make great salsa and pasta sauce, canned carrots or peas, although mushy and gross on their own, taste fine in a casserole or pot pie and nearly everyone likes corn with a big dollop of butter.  Think outside the box too; we eat a ton of green chiles in various dishes, so I’ll be sure to buy a bunch of those.

A few people have asked me if it’s OK to buy all frozen veggies because canned don’t taste as good. I generally prefer frozen but it’s incredibly important to have a shelf-stable supply of vegetables. You know how easy it is for the power to go out? Just imagine what’s going to happen to all those frozen veggies if the power stays out for more than a couple of days. Goodbye freezer!

Buy at least five cans of vegetables per person (I’ll leave quantities of frozen items up to you. It really depends on how much room you’ve got in your freezer).  For my family of eight people, that’s at least 40 cans. It’s going to seem like a whole bunch when you load up your cart, but it really isn’t that many.

 

 

Hey everyone! How did it go with the peanut butter? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can read my original post here.) Here we go with this week’s assignment!

Fat is your friend.

At least in cooking it is. It’s pretty hard to cook without using oil, butter or shortening. Those are one of the Big Four must-have items in anyone’s food storage. No matter whether you are trying to stockpile for a year or are just hoping to get a couple of week’s worth of food, you need fat.

This week we’re going to concentrate on oil and shortening. Get whatever oil you prefer. Make sure you don’t get just olive, though, because that tastes awful in baked goods. I like to split my oil up between olive (my preference for cooking), coconut and peanut.

Also get some shortening. I rarely use shortening because, well, it doesn’t taste that great (although it does add volume and a nice texture to some baked goods when it’s combined with butter. Like in snickerdoodles. My recipe here is excellent.) But it’s very smart to have on hand as a substitute for butter. It stays good for over a year, whereas butter must refrigerated and it lasts for only a couple of months.

The problem with all items that are high in fat is that fat becomes rancid with 18 months. Sometimes earlier. So nuts, chocolate, oil, peanut butter and anything else that’s fatty will need to be rotated regularly. Fortunately these are the best-tasting items so using them up is not a big problem. We just need to be aware.

I recommend half a botttle of oil per person, and half a can of shortening per person. So if you’ve got four people in your family, you’ll get two bottles of oil and two cans of shortening. If you have enough room in your freezer I’d recommend getting some extra butter, too. It freezes beautifully.

Remember to Get it done! It’s not about looking for deals or comparison shopping; It’s about buying a few extra items every time you go to the grocery store.