Thursday, March 31, 2011
I really had good intentions of posting the results of my trip to Smith's, but I woke up on Wednesday morning with the WORST cold/flu...I was absolutely miserable and slept most of the day. I had to put perishable stuff away Tuesday night, so I never got to take a picture. I was going to pull it out on Wednesday and take a quick pic, but the cold/flu won out. Will you hate me forever if I don't post the results?

I feel even worse because my stake is hosting a Food Storage & Emergency Preparedness Fair this evening and I was so excited about going...until I got sick. Then the hubs got sick this morning, and my mom (who was going to watch the kids tonight so hubs and I could go) got sick as well. I was supposed to provide a sample dish of something I made from food storage, and I was going to do black bean brownies with strawberry sauce (from freeze-dried strawberries) and whipped cream (from my shelf-stable whipping cream), and I totally had to bail on that as well. I was worried that I would cough or sneeze and inadvertantly taint the brownies while making them and that would get others sick...

What I'm Buying - Smith's 3/29

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
So, I know you'll never believe this, but I honestly haven't been to the store for actual grocery shopping in almost a month! I've sent the hubs to the store once or twice for milk, but that's about it.

Now that the extra job is over, and the basement is 99% finished, I was finally able to make it to the store today - just in time for the very last day of the March to Savings event.

*However*...I haven't been able to muster the strength to go drag all of the groceries in from the car (there's a TON - over 120 items), so I don't have a picture or details for you yet. I will - soon. Just wanted to let you know I am still alive; barely, but alive.

Proof that I am still around...

Monday, March 28, 2011
This is what I somehow managed to fit in on Friday night (LATE Friday night), amongst the chaos that is my life right now...

I owe a HUGE, MASSIVE, ENORMOUS "Thank you!" to my husband who spent what seemed like forever browning the 25lbs of ground beef for me while I worked. This batch came out of the canner at just after midnight. There were 16 pints (one did not seal, so it went into the fridge to be used for dinner last night). The second batch that I did later was 12 pints, so I got 28 all together from about 25-30 lbs of hamburger.

The importance of preparing in advance...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shoppers in Tokyo are clearing shelves of basic necessities, and it is becoming more difficult to find certain items. The situation there is difficult enough already without the added stress of worrying about where you can go to find basic food and supplies for yourself and your family...

The 15-Minute 72-Hour Kit (repost)

Monday, March 21, 2011
***This is a post from March 2010. In light of the recent events in Japan, there has been increased interest in preparing 72-hour kits, so I'm reposting to make this one easier to find.***

The unprecedented scale of the recent disasters in Japan has gotten a lot of people thinking about emergency preparedness. While not officially part of the food storage program of the LDS Church, 72-hour kits are still great things to have as part of your emergency preparations.

I think we all understand the need for having one, but I think there are still a lot of people with many questions about what to include, how to put one together, and wondering how to start.

When you think about putting something together for an emergency, you naturally try to think of all the possible situations and what you would need in each one. And what starts out as a small list of survival basics can quickly turn into a huge storage container of "stuff" that you would want to have for X, Y and Z contingencies. Then it starts to get a little overwhelming - How do we gather all that stuff? How do we pay for all of it? What do we store it in? How are we going to carry it all? When are we going to find the time to put together this intensive emergency kit?

It doesn't have to be that way. I want to give you an idea for a simple, basic kit you can put together in about 15 minutes with stuff you probably already have around your house. Sure, this isn't the "deluxe" model, but this is fast, lightweight, easy, cheap and most importantly, it will still put you in a much better position in an emergency than having no preparations or kit at all!

So here goes...I started by just jotting down the things that, in an emergency situation, would be directly involved in sustaining or preserving life.

Here are the most basic concerns:
  • drinking water
  • wound care
  • basic sanitation
  • warmth
  • food
To that end, here's what I gathered up:

small backpack [this is a super el cheapo, only one main compartment, backpack]
bottled water [sure, it's not the recommended 3 gallons worth, but it's WAY better than none at all!]
small assortment of adhesive bandages
antiseptic wash [you could use alcohol wipes or iodine, I just couldn't find mine this afternoon]
antibiotic ointment
bar of soap
1 day's worth of food [I just grabbed 6 granola bars - simple, easy, no cooking involved, and easy to ration if needed]
small bottle or individual packets of pain reliever
roll of toilet paper
(for the gals) sanitary pads/tampons

That's it. That's all there is. It took me all of about 15 minutes to round up these items from around my house. Remember, this is not a deluxe kit - this is a bare basics, "only those thing that would be necessary to sustain life" kind of kit.

Sure, it would be nice to have a full change of clothes, or shampoo, or a folding shovel, or a portable toilet, etc., but those things are not absolutely necessary to sustain life. In the context of an emergency situation, those things are "luxuries" - you can survive without a change of clothes, you can survive with dirty hair, you can relieve yourself without having a sit-down portable toilet, you can spend the night without a tent...It wouldn't be pretty, and you might be downright miserable, but you'd survive.

But you CAN'T survive for very long without water. And if you have a wound that gets infected, you WON'T survive for very long without medical intervention.

Here it is all packed in the backpack. There was still a good 6 inches at the top of the backpack AND nothing in the small outside compartment, so you could add additional items if you wanted. All together, even with the water bottle inside the backpack, the entire thing only weighed 5lb 10oz!

The idea is just to give you an example of something quick and easy that you can put together without much expense and in very little time. If you don't have an emergency kit yet, make this your first! You can always add to this later. You can add additional items as time and finances allow. But even just this little basic kit will still get you much further ahead in an emergency than not having anything at all!

Use whatever you have on-hand right now in your home. Even if it's just a can of Diet Coke and a roll of toilet paper thrown in a plastic grocery bag and hung on a nail on the wall of your garage. SERIOSLY. It is still WAY better than having nothing at all!

Handout for the "15-Minute 72-Hour Kit"

From KSL

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Japan disaster reason to review preparation


Sunday Edition March 20: Preparing for an Earthquake

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

"Start out with the very basics. Get yourself some water, get yourself some high-protein food and put those pieces of sustainment into a bag. From there start building, and once you get one built, start building the next. Just take it small bits at a time." -Jeffrey Graviet

Remember, any preparation is better than no preparation at all. Even one little water bottle in your car or in your purse could be the difference between life and death.

What Do Home Storage Centers Offer?

Thursday, March 17, 2011
Here's a list of some of the typical items you'll find for canning at a home storage center:

apple slices
beans, Great Northern
beans, Pinto
beans, refried
beans, black turtle
diced carrots
fruit drink mix
hot cocoa mix
dry powdered milk
oats, rolled
oats, quick
dry minced onions
potato flakes
pudding mix (sometimes, depends on location and supply)
soup mix (sometimes, depends on location and supply)
wheat, hard red or white
white flour
white rice

I haven't seen the pudding mix or the soup mix recently, so they may be phasing those out.

The potato flakes are new as of last year. It used to be potato pearls. I personally like the flakes better, because that's what I grew up with. But if you prefer the pearls, have no fear. You can still buy them in at the storage center in 28oz containers (not #10 cans though) - or you can still find them in some Costco warehouses in larger containers.

Everything on the list above has a 30+ shelf life except for:

carrots, 25yr
refried beans, 5yr
hot cocoa mix, 2yr
white flour, 10yr
fruit drink mix, 2yr

Increased Demand for Emergency Preparedness Items...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Stock Up on Pasta!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pasta is a great thing to have in your food storage! It is easy to use, easy to prepare, and lasts a LONG time when properly stored.

This is a great week to stock up on some pasta for your food storage. Smith's is running their "March to Savings" sale - buy 10 items and save $5 instantly. Sale starts Wednesday.

Select varieties of 16oz American Beauty pastas are on sale for .99. When you buy 10 of them, or buy some as part of 10 participating items, you'll pay only .49 per package! That is a five-star stock up price!!!

You can store them in their original packaging, and then stick them in a plastic tub or bucket for extra protection and longer term storage. Or, if you prefer, you can rent a canner from a home storage center and can your pasta in #10 cans.

Earthquake Survival Tips - Story from KSL

Sunday, March 13, 2011
As part of its coverage of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, KSL has posted an interview with Salt Lake County's Emergency Services Coordinator to find out what we can do here to prepare for and survive an earthquake.

Video Courtesy of KSL.com


Friday, March 11, 2011
I have lots more info to post about the home storage centers, the things they offer, and what you can do with the food purchased there...but life has temporarily gotten in the way...again...

I'm working three jobs this week and next, on top of trying to get a basement painted, trimmed and carpeted so we can get our house on the market ASAP. I will do my best to keep posts coming, but they may be fewer and farther between for the next week or so.

What Do You DO at a Home Storage Center?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Well, there are several options:

1) You can spend time there taking bulk items and packaging them into individual #10 cans or mylar bags, which you then purchase and take home. (You do not have to buy specific amounts, but if you open a bulk container, you must can the entire thing...any cans/bags that you don't want to buy are put out on a shelf for the next person to choose from. Some of the canneries will let walk-ins purchase from these items without doing any canning, but others reserve these extras only for those who come in and do canning.)

2) You can buy just the bulk packages of items and take them home. No canning involved, but the bulk packaging is not meant for long-term storage.

3) You can buy the bulk packages of items and empty cans or bags, and then rent the canner or sealer, and can or seal the items at home (although, if you have the time, it's much easier - and cleaner - to just do the items there at the storage center).

4) You can buy pre-packaged items in #10 cans or mylar bags, but there is a limited list of items available through this method. However, this is probably the easiest way to start! This is just like walking into a store, taking an item off the shelf, paying for it at the register and then taking it home - there is no other work involved.

5) You can buy empty cans, lids, oxygen absorbers, etc., and then "rent" the canner to take home and you can then can your own items (which you must purchase separately).

What is a Home Storage Center?

Monday, March 7, 2011
(Sometimes referred to as canneries or dry-pack canneries.)

Assistance with longer-term food storage is available in home storage centers throughout the United States and Canada.

A home storage center helps Church members prepare for adversity by helping them build a basic supply of food for their longer-term home storage.

Home storage centers have wheat, white rice, dry beans, other basic food items, and packaging supplies available for members to purchase. The centers also have packaging rooms and equipment available for packaging of products purchased at these facilities.

Here's a little intro video (found on YouTube) on what you'll find when you go to a home storage center:

You do not have to be a member of the LDS Church to use the cannery. However, some cannery locations ask that you come with a member, so you'll need to check with the location nearest you.

Is anyone interested in getting a group together to go to a cannery?

Preparedness Is A Gospel Principle

Sunday, March 6, 2011
Preparation is a gospel principle. We know that we lived with our Heavenly Father before this earthly life, and that there we were prepared to come to earth and participate in this probationary state. Christ Himself testified on numerous occasions that He was prepared from the foundation of the world to reeem His people (see Ether 3:14).

In the Book of Mormon, Aaron taught us that "the plan of redemption was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name" (Alma 22:13). Alma taught us that God's great and eternal purposes were prepared before the foundation of the world and testified that "this life is a probationary state, a time to prepare to meet God, a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of ... which is after the resurrection of the dead" (Alma 12:24). Nephi taught us that "the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which He commandest them" (1 Nephi 3:7).

Jesus taught us the importance of both temporal and spiritual preparation in God's kindgom with His parable of the ten virgins. He said the time will come when the Shepherd will divide His sheep and invite them to inherit the kingdom which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world (see Matthew 25:31-34).

When we are baptized, we make covenants with the Lord that will prepare us to enter into His fold. When we go to the temmple, we glean additional insights into the many preparations that were made in order to bring about our mortality and to bring about God's plan of salvation. And it is there that we make covenants and receive those ordinances that will prepare us to return to live with our Heavenly Father once again. God's plan is one of preparation, and preparation is part of His plan.

Each one of us was prepared to come here to earth at this time for very specific purposes, and while here we are asked to prepare both physically and spiritually to confront the challenges we may face throughout mortality. It is not just about preparing for temporal emergencies, or even for temporary emergencies - it's about being prepared in all that we o, and following the example of preparedness set by our Heavenly Father.

We have been counseled time and again to prepare ourselves, both temporally and spiritually, for the trials and tempests that will come for each of us. And I know that as we make sincere efforts to heed that counsel, the Lord will bless us and magnify our efforts. The Lord knows each of us individually, and He knows what we are capable of. He does not ask that we run faster nor labor more than we have strength, but that we make our preparations in wisdom and order, with diligence that we might thereby win the prize (see Mosiah 4:27). Our preparations will vary depending on our individual and family circumstances and needs, and it is not a competition. The important thing is that we put forth the effort and make a start.

I know that if we are prepared, we need not fear. President Hinckley said:
"We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. This is a first priority. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments" ("If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear", Ensign, November 2005, pg. 60).
And Nephi taught that the Lord:
"...will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved" (1 Nephi 22:17).

What is it that we are to prepare? We are to do those things that will put sufficient oil in our lamps so that they are burning bright when the Bridegroom cometh. We are to do those things that will qualify us to hold a temple recommend. It's not about perfection, it's about trying our best and not giving up. We are to heed the direction given in D&C 87:8, "Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come." We enter on to the straight and narrow through repentance and baptism, and then we do our best to stay on that path no matter what comes our way. We continue to prepare and progress until the day approaches when the Lord shall say to us, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matthew 25:21).

Having food storage and financial savings is more than just a good idea or a wise suggestion; it is a divine gospel principle. We are commanded to work out our own salvation, both temporal and spiritual, and we cannot succeed in that endeavor if we are not prepared. We cannot rely on others; we must do it ourselves. Any preparation, however small, is better than no preparation at all. Preparation brings peace, and because preparation is a gospel principle, when we follow it, we are blessed.

Questions for You

Thursday, March 3, 2011
(This is for anyone who reads the blog.)

Help a blogger out, eh?

I got the chance to go to the dry pack cannery yesterday, and I did 54 cans worth of food. I was exhausted! But now I can say that except for needing about 30 more lbs of rice, we have our full year's storage of long-term items! Hooray!!!

My trip has me thinking, though. I have questions, and I need your help for the answers. Would you be so kind as to answer these the following questions in a comment post (can be anonymous)?

How many of you have been to a dry-pack cannery to do canning?

Are you familiar with all of the items offered there?

Have you ever gone to the cannery just to pick up some of the pre-packaged items?

Are there any of the items offered there that you are not sure how to use or incorporate into meals?

Would a series of posts on the cannery items and how to use them (how to prepare, recipes involving that item, etc.) be helpful to you?

My New Favorite Cookbook!!!

I've been awaiting the release of this one for some time now. I've been a follower of their blog for several months, and have loved every single one of the recipes I have tried!

My copy arrived today and I wasted absolutely no time in immediately looking through the entire thing...it is beautiful! The pictures are gorgeous and mouth-watering. The food looks fabulous and I can't wait to try every single one of the recipes!

This one is available at Deseret Book (and probably Seagull Book), but I'd recommend getting it online from Amazon - it's almost $10 cheaper!

Our Best Bites, available at Amazon.com

(It's possible that it might make an appearance at Costco stores here in Utah, but no guarantee. And I'm not getting paid or reimbursed in any way to endorse this - I just honestly think it's a great cookbook!)

If you'd like to try out some of the recipes before buying the bookbook, you can find many of them at the blog:

Our Best Bites