Monday, December 27, 2010

Wanna vote on where a million dollars goes for food aid?

If you or someone you know is on facebook, there is a campaign from Wal-Mart in which they are donating $1 million dollars to fight hunger to the community who gets the most "like" votes on Facebook. It's not just any community--they have identified the communities with the most food hardship, and there are 100 to choose from. In Idaho, they have identified Boise City-Nampa as being one of those communities. At the time that I looked at it, Boise City-Nampa is #44 in the running.

You can vote here.

Right now, Boise City-Nampa has 698 supporters, and Salt Lake City, which is currently ranked #1, has 46,213 supporters. Whoever you vote for, you can only vote until December 31, so at this point, you have 4 days plus in which to vote.

And if you get the chance and have the means, don't forget to put aside some cans/boxes of food into your pantry for storage so that you can have some "food aid" of your own on hand for future situations and emergencies....

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow, snow, and oh, more snow.... least if you are in the areas mentioned here, which is actually kind of a large section of Idaho. While the linked article is specific to Idaho, the tips from the National Weather Service mentioned here could be useful to everyone who could find themselves dealing with winter weather.

Wherever you are, stay safe out there....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Good deals, but today's the last day

I don't usually mention stores by name, but yes I will if they are going to give me a good bargain. I should have posted about this earlier, because my understanding is that today (Tuesday) is the last day for these deals, but you do still have today if you are interested... :)

You will need an Albertson's card, but if I can explain it correctly, right now they are doing a mix-and-match sale with a number of different things where if you buy 10 of the particpating items, you get $5.00/off. This is especially financially pleasing, if like me, you are interested in stocking up on Albertson's Cream of Mushroom soup, when it turns out that you can get cans for $.29 when you buy 10, or Dole Pineapple for $.75/can when you buy 10. There are other items involved, but I give the regular disclaimers: 1) Please call your local Albertsons to make sure they are participating before embarking on any such endeavor (particularly if it has snowed where you are like it has snowed where we are), 2)I don't work for Albertsons and/or Dole, and 3)sorry I'm late in getting this information out if it does end up being useful to you... :)

It appears that food prices are going nowhere but up, according to articles like this one. I have posted about another alarming article on my other blog, if you are interested. I hope, as always, that everyone who is able is doing what they can to get some food storage and emergency supplies in stock. I still have a lot of work to do myself, but the more people that are prepared, the better off we all will be...

Friday, October 15, 2010

(More) reasons that Idaho isn't boring...

Well, aren't things hopping in Idaho Falls! Well, clucking, to be more precise. Now, if you're an Idaho Falls resident, you can have six hens in your backyard, according to this article. If you're interested in starting to raise chickens, you might want to read the ideas found in this article. And of course, there's always a lot of information available on the internet... :)

And while we're still talking about Idaho Falls, maybe the local wildlife heard about the new rules about chicken-raising and jumped the gun. Can't think of a better reason for this mountain lion sighting... hopefully it goes home/is taken care of without anyone getting injured or worse.

Also of interest is a new blog out of Idaho, My Adventures in Self Reliance. I also recently found out about the blog, Food Storage. The more information we have, the better prepared we'll be--and I need all the information I can get about getting better prepared.... :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is third time the charm? or Got chickens?

Sorry I've been neglecting the blog (and the e-mail box), but thanks so much for taking the time to come back to read---time for the neglect to end.... :)

Anyway, for those who don't already know, because I've been so slow to mention this--they are considering allowing people to keep chickens in Idaho Falls! You can read about it here. They say in the article that the proposal needs to be read three times, and it's been read twice, so if you want to make your voice heard in Idaho Falls, now might be an opportune time. Also, if you can't have chickens in your city/town/place of residence, and you want chickens, you might want to bring it up so that you can....nothing like a food source that keeps on giving!

I had a question posed by S. about Idaho Preppers meeting up. The best place to find out about this would most likely be over at the Idaho Preppers Network section of the American Preppers Network Forum. I have not looked at this extensively, but it is probably the first place I'd look for information on prepper meetings. I welcome comments about any meetings so that those who may want to can attend, if those organizing it would like it posted here as well. I will check my e-mail box linked to the blog more often as well, so I can get the info out if any comes in.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Food bank donations, retail-style

I don't know if this is happening everywhere, but I have seen in our area that there are at least two stores that are collecting donations for the food bank on a regular basis--at least I saw nothing that indicated a start date and/or end date for the collection. One place is the local national chainstore, where they have a basket of food for $1.00 or under or something to that effect right at the register. They also have a barrel in the entryway (where you pick up your cart if you so desire) where I suppose you could just bring in something to donate before you enter the store if you wanted. (I bet they wouldn't mind if you dropped something in that you bought in the store on the way out, either.... :)

The other place is a dollar store, where the price of the items is pretty much what you would expect. (Just don't forget the sales tax...) The cashier asks you if you want to donate at the register, (as they do at the national chainstore as well) and if the answer is yes, grabs an item from the basket, rings it up, and puts it away to be taken to the food bank.

To me, this indicates the great need that there is when it comes to food bank donations. Specifically in Idaho, you can read about what's happening when it comes to food banks in a couple of articles-- if you are in need of assistance in Coeur d' Alene you can look here, or if you can offer assistance in Pocatello by donating to the food bank, look here. The food drive in Pocatello is in connection with an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project that will take place there, which I think is a great idea, since they want to help more than just the family that's getting the house.

So, I don't know if this retail-style food donation practice is everywhere, or just around here. In any case, from what I understand, the need for donations is growing, and apparently so are the businesses that are trying to meet the demand...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How does your garden grow?

Unfortunately, as in alas and alack, it doesn't look like we are going to get much edible produce from our garden this year. Our raspberries have come through admirably, however, and that is some consolation. Even our pumpkin(s)--yes, even plurality is in question at this point--are not prospering as they usually do. We will have to see...

I saw some information on the life expectancy of seeds, so went searching on the internet and found this site. The article not only provides a chart for the life expectancy of a list of seeds, but also outlines a way to determine if your seeds are still viable. If your garden doesn't meet expectations this year, (I feel your pain) then hopefully there's always next year, if you take good care of your seeds. I will go looking (again) for non-hybrid seeds, because they seem to be getting harder and harder to find, and put them in storage. Seeds in the hand, and all that...

Hope your garden is doing/has done better than ours this year. Who knows? Maybe our garden will surprise us. One can but hope.... :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Water safety article

In our area of Idaho, there are a lot of canals that are full of water this time of year. I was at an outdoor activity not long ago where there were a lot of children running around in the vicinity of one of these canals, not to mention the fact that one of them found and handled a garter snake. That child knew what kind of snake it was, (I wouldn't have) and the other children enjoyed seeing it. The water is what made me more nervous--the water is fast-moving, and it wouldn't take much for a child sliding down the canal sides to accidentally end up in it. Watching for potential accidents is essential.

This experience reminds me of the water safety article, "Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning", that I received in an e-mail at the beginning of this month. It was written in May, so if you may have seen it before I did, but it has a lot of great information.

When linking to the article above earlier today, I noticed that there are other articles mentioned on the same page that might be useful to read, so I will probably check it out again. I hope everyone is having a great summer--stay safe!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering with gratitude

On Memorial Day we take the family out to see family gravesites. This year we also asked our children to locate at least two graves of veterans. This wasn't difficult, as it is a tradition here (and I imagine many other places) to put flags on the graves of veterans. In the past few years we have made it a tradition to place a plant or flowers on the grave of a veteran near one of our family member's gravesites. We never met him, but we are grateful for his service nevertheless.

And if you are serving or have served in the military, or are the family of someone who has, we are grateful for your service as well.

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From the emergency notebook....

This is about the fourth or fifth or umpteenth time I have started this post--when I first started, some part of the program was automatically putting the English into another script. Never know what will happen when technology meets up with little fingers, (I don't know for sure what happened, but that's my guess, and I'm sticking with it) so I hope the final product turns out normal when I publish it. Ah, technology.

Anyway, I have been thinking about the garden, and have also been thinking it's just too early to send those seeds out on their own. So in place of a gardening post, I thought that I would include a couple of recipes that I have commented on on my other blog, but haven't mentioned here. One is for cornbread, found on Friday's Food Fancy, which is just a really good resource for all sorts of food storage recipes. Another is this recipe for tortillas, over at The Happy Housewife. I have gotten better and better at making these, but alas, they are still not really round.... :) They taste good, as does the cornbread--I highly recommend both recipes, and they are the way I like my recipes--really, really, easy.

As for the title, I really do have these recipes and others in what I call my emergency notebook, because I never know when the power will go out, and I want to have those recipes and lists of substitutions and etc. in one place in my hot and sweaty little hand in times of emergency. If you don't have an emergency notebook, please consider starting one. And for those who have not seen other recipes I have already listed, you may want to look here for bean recipes and here for another list of bread recipes--- just in case you would rather not jump all over this blog trying to collect them one by one. :) Gotta love having recipes where you can use those food storage staples or at least do simple things from scratch--hope you like them like we like them around here!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Unusual emergencies

A couple of unusual emergencies have occurred in our country recently:

--I first heard about the water pipe break in Boston yesterday, and found this article on it today. From what I understand, the break has had far-reaching consequences, and while water is available, it must be boiled. I found it interesting that one person quoted remarked that it is "inconvenient"--I'm just glad that they have water to work with, even though it must be boiled. Perhaps more disturbing are some of the comments in the comment section (though I read only the first few) about fights over the bottled water in the stores...

--The oil spill disaster is affecting the Louisiana fishing industry, which you can read about here. In the linked article, mention is made of the fact that the fishermen are now unable to go out and harvest, when they have spent a great deal of money to get ready for the fishing season, which usually begins about this time. This means less (or perhaps, unfortunately, no) revenue for them, and less available food for any/everyone who relies on the seafood they usually provide. In this less recent article, there is a man quoted who indicates that this disaster will have an impact on the sea life in the area that could last many years.

My thoughts and prayers are with the fishermen and their families, and to those (some of whom are the same fishermen) who have to work in dangerous conditions to clean up the effects of the oil spill. I hope that those affected have enough provisions set aside to weather this emergency, and I hope that everyone in the affected area in Boston has the means to either boil their water or purchase clean water. And I hope everyone everywhere prepares for emergencies, unusual or no....

Monday, April 12, 2010

J.S. from Nampa: 1st aid preparedness

I prefer to make my own first aid kits because I can tailor them to my specific needs. I use 2 references mostly the SAS Survival Guide and FM 21-11 Army first aid. The SAS book you can get at Amazon or almost any book store. FM 21-11 is available at for free; all you have to do is bookmark it or print it out.

My favorite store for items is the Dollar store. You can get some great buys and you might be surprised at all they offer. Just remember products tend to rotate in and out rather quickly so if you have a product you like buy as much as you can afford when it’s in stock.

1. Small 1st aid kits: Usually a few bandages, some alcohol pads and a pain killer of some sort.

These are great for the car, boat or RV. A lot of injuries will be small ones but you will need to treat them right away to prevent infections.

2. Splints: Popsicle sticks are great splints for fingers and toes. Newspapers can be used to immobilize a limb.

3. Tape and Ace bandages: Great for sprains, broken bones and pressure bandages.

4.Chemical heat and cold packs: These items are great at relieving pain, reducing swelling and don’t need electricity. The heat packs are good for warming in case of a chill, and cold packs for a fever.

5. Hydrogen Peroxide, Rubbing Alcohol, and Iodine/Betadine, great for cleaning the areas around the wound. Don’t put in the wound!!

6. Epson salts great for soothing sore muscles and assists with pain of muscle or soft tissue injuries.

7.Medications: Benadryl or a generic equivalent a must can help with allergies, Anaphylactic shock and a sleep aid. Also works for dogs. Pain killers Aspirin for adults a blood thinner, good for heart attack and stroke if taken immediately. Good pain killer for dogs as well. I use the 81 mg version for my dogs. I have small dogs so about 81 mg per 15-20 pounds is the dosage. Ibuprophen (Advil) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for humans. Watch the dosage especially on Acetaminophen. Liver damage from high dosage.

8. Caring for someone sick or injured: Masks you can get cheap masks at the dollar store or go to a Home store and get the N95 type mask, Doggie training pads, can be place on the beds to protect against body fluids. Bleach, diluted bleach kills just about every bug out there, have a small wash basin to clean hands. Soap a 30 second wash with plain ole soap is great to prevent the spread of infection. Sing the ABC song while you wash and you are at 30 seconds.

9. Odds and ends: Calamine lotions or a Hydrocortisone cream for skin irritations, I like the arthritis creams for local pain relief. A Neosporin type cream for small wounds. Some cough medicine and Pepto-Bismol for stomach upset. What ever you need for yourself.

10. Gauze bandages great for most any wound. When you think you have enough buy about 10% more. They don’t spoil and when you need them few items will do as well in there place.

Remedies from the Kitchen

1. Dried Rosemary is great for a persistent cough. Just boil some water, place the rosemary in it and then breathe in the steam. Works for dogs as well.

2. Honey Anti- bacterial and great as a cough syrup ingredient. Place honey on a scratch or around the wound. Real honey not corn syrup with a honey flavor added. Also Honey seems to help folks with allergies. Just get local honey where folks have an allergy.

3. Lemon juice is a natural expectorant, Place a teaspoon of honey and 1 oz. of lemon juice and 1 oz. of whiskey in an 8 oz. cup top off with hot water. One of the best cough suppressants I have tried. Plus it makes being sick a hell of a lot more fun. If you don’t drink, use a calming tea instead of hot water.

4. Real Chicken Soup. I prefer using baked chicken as my stock starter. I place it in a crock pot and mix in carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Let it slow cook for 6-12 hours and then strain. Save broth in an Ice cube trays or in freezer bags. Home made stock is a great starter for any meal and real chicken stock is proven to help with colds. Also if you have seafood shells from shrimp or crab makes a great starter liquid for chowders or boil or bake off bones from fish.

5. Baking soda and salts, I prefer a Kosher or Redmond’s Sea salt, you can mix up an electrolyte fluid for sick folks and works great for low blood pressure. Also baking soda can be used for acid indigestion.

6. Agave Syrups can help stabilize diabetics and lasts nearly forever. Plus it has got a great flavor for Latino recipes that require a sweet.

7. If you have roses save the rose hips and you can make rose hip tea. A great source of Vitamin C.

8. I like the SAS book because it has many natural remedies in it and they are easily made into medicines.

9.Ciders and vinegars are great source of vitamin C and are great multi-taskers. You can clean windows, pickle, can and brine plus add flavor with them. Make sure you get real vinegars and not the imitations with flavors added. Costs a bit more but the benefits outweigh the costs.

10. Great site for old cookbooks and stuff you need to make your way in a non-tech world.

As you can see I love multi-taskers. I prefer to get as many uses out of any product I have planted, bought or fixed in place. I’m looking a raspberry and blackberries as a defense for my windows and entry ways. Growing Concertina wire and I get the berries as well, what’s not to love?

You have to make it difficult for folks to attack you, sorry to say the criminals will go look for an easier mark than you if you are ready and prepped. Don’t advertise what you have as far as goods. Advertise you got weapons and defenses in place. My pets are part of my plan, the need prep as we do an extra bag of food, a cat box, doggie pads blankets treat and pillows for them is important.

Life is complicated enough no need to suffer if you have an alternative. That’s why I prep; I have suffered from MRE’s and not having real home-made comfort food. So bring on the beans and ham hocks, dirty rice, fried chicken and gravy. Gosh I love those comfort foods and those right now are the cheapest to buy. May not be the best for the body but they are good for the soul.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Another reason to "bee" prepared

According to this article, "about one-third of the human diet is from plants that require pollination from honeybees, which means everything from apples to zucchini", so the news given in the same article that bees are not doing well is not good, (an understatement) for many reasons. If fewer food products and less honey are being produced, the more of each category that you have on hand, the better off you will be. You may notice that Idaho's claim to fame in this article is that the beehive owner featured keeps his hives in Idaho Falls for part of the year.....

Speaking of pictures, the one in the heading is from Craters of the Moon, a spot in Idaho where there are remnants of the activity of a once-active volcano. Thanks to T.D., who suggested in an e-mail that I put a picture of scenic Idaho. It took me awhile, but there it is. I actually had planned to put up a picture from a totally different location, but technology wasn't cooperating this morning. This picture was actually taken awhile ago when we went there on a family outing. Now that I know how to add pictures in the heading, there will probably be changes periodically, because Idaho is a truly beautiful place....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Idaho's Governor Otter takes a stand

Idaho is first in the nation to have a governor sign legislation indicating that our state doesn't want to be included in the federal healthcare bill should it pass, at least in part because of the section in the healthcare bill that requires people to purchase health insurance.

Whether you are for or against the healthcare bill, if it passes it will add another mandatory expense to cover--all the more reason to have the basic necessities on hand so that you don't have to choose between them and what would become a required "necessity". I personally am against the current legislation being discussed, (though I think that there are some types of healthcare changes that would benefit the country) but the one of the great things about the United States of America is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

You might want to make your opinion known on the healthcare bill soon if you are interested--things seem to be moving pretty fast right now. Idaho's Representatives are Congressman Minnick and Congressman Simpson, since they are trying to pass it in the House of Representatives right now.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Not a good list to be on...

Heard a little bit about this previously, but just found this article about states that are having problems with supplying refunds that are owed to taxpayers. It's not very long, but supplies information about other states in addition to Idaho.

This kind of situation could cause an emergency for people who were depending on their tax refund for food and/or other necessities. Emergencies can come in all shapes and sizes, so I truly hope that everyone will put food and/or other necessities aside for potential emergencies. What you have in your closet/storage room/pantry is a sure thing, while apparently what was a "sure thing" in the past in terms of a tax refund may be a long time coming--sometimes an emergency can be caused by a delay rather than an actual event...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Some other ideas

Thanks again to Aloha2U from Hawaii Preppers Network, who left a comment about using noodles and spam in your 3-month supply. We are so glad that Hawaii dodged a bullet and the tsunami warnings remained warnings! There were so many good ideas in the comment that it deserves its own post:

For starters local people love to add spam to saimin, cup-o-noodles is like saimin. What you do is dice the spam and throw it in your cup-o-noodles with some chopped green onions it makes the meal heartier. You could also add other types of meat to your noodles as well like chicken or pork and beef, you'll have a different tasty noodle meal every time you eat cup-o-noodles.

People here also love to add different types of vegetables to their saimin too, such as chopped watercress or slivers of scrambled egg, bean sprouts, bok choy, thin slivers of carrots anything really you can add.

Honey Baked Spam with Cloves, is another delish meal. You make it just like the ham recipe except it's with spam but instead of adding orange juice to the recipe you add pineapple juice with the chunks of pineapple using the entire can of pineapples and it's juice this is REALLY good. You just need to modify the recipe mixture size wise because the spam is much smaller than a ham.

Hawaii people love spam, a lot of the restaurants here serve spam to some degree or another and the local folks create all kinds of dishes using spam. For now I think these recipes should keep you busy and your tummy happy. But I will keep you posted on other recipes as well. Enjoy!

End of comment.

We have some Ramen noodles in our storage, and we have had our children prepare some with canned vegetables as a meal so that in a pinch they would be able to cook something for themselves that doesn't take long and doesn't take that much energy. You never know when the people who usually make the meals will be unable to do so due to illness, etc., so teaching children how to deal with emergencies is one more way to prepare.

More ideas are always welcome, and thanks again, Aloha2U!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Recipes from others

I have been planning this post for awhile, and it contains wonderful recipes from Aloha2U, who posts on the Hawaii Preppers Network. If you haven't heard, there are tsunami warnings out for Hawaii, and Aloha2U has a lot of helpful information on that posted now. My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected already by the earthquake in Chile and emergencies that have followed. I hope that the warnings remain warnings, and that if tsunamis and other problems result, that as few are affected as possible.

You may recall this post, where I put down some of my ideas for using a 3 month supply. Many, many thanks to those who added recipes in the comments, some of which I am going to post today:

Tuxgirl kindly shared this recipe:

1 jar apricot preserves
1 small bottle french salad dressing (or catalina... and recently i havent seen the small bottles, so i use part of a normal bottlle)
1 package onion soup mix (or a handful of cannery onion)
some amount of chicken...

mix first 3 ingredients together. bake chicken til almost done (optional). drain chicken (a good idea if you do the previous step). pour mixture over chicken. cook until chicken us done.

Aloha2U kindly shared the following recipes:

Paprika chicken:
lemon juice
paprika spice
garlic salt
garlic cloves
4 chicken breasts w/ bone

Mix first 3 ingredients in a large bowl.
mash a couple garlic cloves and toss that in to the mix.
Then add the chicken and mix everything together. When chicken looks nice and saturated with all the ingredients place everything in a pan and into the oven at about 375-400 degrees, should be ready in about 30-40 minutes.

I really don't have an exact amount for each ingredient due to the recipe being a hand-me-down family recipe, but the lemon juice you might want to make sure you have a good amount so that the paprika and spices are well blended to the point of a paste yet more on the liquid side. The garlic cloves I eventually end up tucking them under or between the skin and meat of the chicken to get that added extra flavor.

Also, you can more or less taste the amount of the mixture you want as well as having additional chicken to the recipe and just adjusting the amount of ingredients to match the amount of chicken. All you're really doing is drenching the chicken in this mixture, this goes real well with rice!

Personally I love packing on the paprika but the hubby wants it to be toned down a bit when it comes to paprika.


Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken

12 chicken thighs
2 cups water
2 cups soy sauce
2-3 cloves garlic
2-3 slices or grated ginger
1 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients (except chicken) in a large pot and heat until sugar dissolves. Add more sugar if you like it sweeter, more water to lessen the saltiness. Bring contents of the pot to a medium boil ( and the taste of the sauce to your liking). Add the chicken and simmer 45 minutes (until the meat begins to fall or seperate from the bones). Serve with sticky rice and corn.

This recipe is the bomb, my mouth is watering right now as I write this. If you like you can always substitute honey in place of the sugar, I do that sometimes which gives it a honey flavor and oh so yumlish! I'm not sure if you folks have soy sauce out there but if you have an oriental or asian store they will more than likely carry soy sauce.

Thank you very much, Tuxgirl and Aloha2U! These are the chicken recipes, but Aloha2U added more ideas that I plan to put in another post. If you don't want to wait, check out the comments in the linked post---and add some of your own if you'd like. The more recipes we share, the more everyone benefits....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More food is being donated, but....

Unfortunately, there are more people who need it, so the problem remains. That seems to be one of the main messages of this article about hunger in Idaho. Thought you might like to see what they are saying about our fair state--it's not very good news, but I'm glad that people are giving more to help others out.

We are not much for peppers around here, so we rarely if ever buy them, but I saw in a local grocery chain's ad that they are selling different varieties of peppers for 2 for $3.00. That seemed really high to me--am I way off or is that just extraordinarily expensive? At any rate, it would be cheaper to grow your own, even if the seed packets are also expensive. Hope everyone is planning on some kind of garden this year--maybe I'll grow some peppers.....

Friday, February 5, 2010

Always nice to know your options...

Especially if you think them out ahead of time. Thanks to all/any who were involved in the e-mail chain that led to the arrival of the message that ended up in my e-mail box. The message contained this link about two different ways to deal with an earthquake. I don't know the best way for you to deal with an earthquake situation, and you will have to decide for yourselves which course of action is best for you and/or your loved ones to follow, but more knowledge is always a good way to start.

Hope we never experience an earthquake, but the thing about emergencies is that they are usually somewhat unexpected, either in their arrival or intensity, and having an idea of what to do beforehand is always a plus...

Friday, January 29, 2010

How's your 3-month supply going?

I still have work to do on my 3-month supply--where ideally you have 3 months worth of meals that you eat on a regular basis anyway. I tend to use up my 3 month supply supplies, which tends to be really good on the rotation side but not-so-good on the storage side....

But, if there were an immediate quarantine or something that required using what I have on hand, I have some supplies, and other recipes that probably wouldn't be quite as good, but edible if I had to use only what I had for awhile. (Notice, I didn't say 3 months...)

--One meal that I have worked into my rotation is shepherd's pie, which I describe in a post on my food storage blog here. Talk about eaaasssssyyyyyy. Yeah, that's the way I like it. Thing is, my family is partial to it as well, and the Dinty Moore stew seems to disappear more often than I'd like. If you try this, make sure that your family likes the brands you are using--we tried a variation on the theme years ago with stew on potatoes with a brand my husband didn't like, and we didn't try anything like it again for years.

--Ok, yay, when I went to link the post above, I realized that in that same post I just linked to, there are links about rice and beans, and bread recipes, and the Spam-fried rice recipe, all of which I would also incorporate in my 3 month plan. So if you go over there and stay awhile I understand. For this post, I just wanted to name a few easy recipes that probably wouldn't be quite as good in an emergency situation, but that would be really good for variety if resources were limited:

--Curry and rice. First, I have to say that curry is probably my favorite flavor eveeerrr. (As in, I think I like it better than chocolate. Yeah, pretty much.)

Usually it would consist of browned ground turkey or beef, can(s) of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup, and curry powder. That's it. Just brown the meat, breaking it up as you go. After it's fully cooked, add the cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup, water to your desired consistency, and curry powder to your taste, and you are done once it is heated through. Put it over rice.

However, curry still tastes like curry without the meat, and in a pinch you could eat the sauce meatless. We tend to buy the bulk ground turkey meat, brown it, and freeze it in one-pound portions to add to meals. I really like to see little bags of meat ready to use in my freezer. Now, normally I wouldn't say to trust in something that requires refrigeration, but as I say, it can be done in a meatless fashion. And if you live somewhere like Idaho, and you need your 3 month supply during one of the many months of winter, you can stick your meat outside in your garage or other predator-free location, and it will keep. It was 4 degrees outside this morning, with a -5 windchill. Frosty....

--Meatless spaghetti and sauce. Really, I probably needn't have mentioned this one, but it makes me feel good to see more ideas on the list. If you have enough meat in your freezer (and/or garage) to add, all the better....

--Pasta + cream of (insert flavor here) soup + canned meat +vegetable. I'm purposely being vague here because I don't really do this right now, but I totally would if I was looking for something different to eat and all I had was what was on my shelves. I'm not really a tuna person, but I have a couple of cans hanging around. What I lack is a knowledge of any kind of spices would go well with this combination, but pretty much if you have a can of cream of whatever and some pasta, you will end up with something filling. Please don't hesitate to leave comments that would make this combination more appetizing...

--Chili on baked potatoes is a favorite around here. If you have olives and cheese to add, all the better, but chili on potatoes is pretty filling all by itself. I try to keep my potatoes cold enough that the eyes don't get all scary, but I am not always successful with their storage. Makes me wonder how people make them last all winter....

So how about you? I find that when I plan for the 3 month rotation (as I said, still very much a work in progress) I tend to concentrate on the dinner-type meals. However, due to the fact that there is a wonderful sale on oatmeal at Albertsons this week (see details here) I have recently acquired more supplies to go towards breakfasts.

I mention the above because I was thinking about what I would have in the way of "regular meals" if there were a quarantine or something today. When I think about 12 weeks, with 7 different meals, each used once a week, I try to think of the least expensive, fewest ingredient meals I can, because 3 months of food can be expensive to acquire. I have incorporated some meals that use longer term supplies into my rotation as well, but really, I have a lot of work to do. What about you? If you have easy 3-month meals to share, please feel free to leave a comment. You never know how many people you'll be helping.... :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Just one example...

Sometimes it's evident that things are not going well economically. There are the obvious occurrences, like the huge unfortunate situation of home foreclosures across the nation. There is the bailout of a major car company. But sometimes, you have to be on the inside to see that sales are down even in the local national chainstore....

No, I'm not on the inside at the local national chainstore, but leading up to the holidays in December, I was talking to someone who is. According to memory, and from what I understand, the procedure at the store is to keep track of daily sales and then to compare those sales to the sales made on the same date of the previous year. The day that we were discussing, a day that you would expect to be full of sales because of its proximity to the holidays, sales were down 13% from the previous year. And employees' hours were being cut during the same time period. Granted, it is my understanding that the hours would go back up after the holiday season, but it seemed a little backwards to me if everything is going well--wouldn't it be expected that hours would go up in what would normally be considered a peak buying period? And however they calculate their areas, the person that I was talking to indicated that the store we were discussing was actually doing better than other stores to which they are compared.

Personally, I found this information alarming. If you can't afford to shop at the local national chainstore, then you don't have many choices left, and my concern is that if this chain is struggling, then the next step I would think is coming is that its prices will (continue to) go up to make up for lost revenue in sales.

Please do what you can according to what you can afford to get some emergency supplies in storage. Perhaps it will not be unemployment/underemployment that will be the reason that you find that you are glad that you put some food away--it may be a natural disaster, a quarantine, a truckers' strike, higher food prices, a terrorist incident that disrupts the food supply chain, or someone else's food emergency that will either leave you glad that you put away supplies, or unhappy that you have not prepared enough. I am not trying to be an alarmist, or trying to predict anything. I am just pointing out that there are so many things that could happen to make emergency supplies necessary, that it just makes sense to put aside extra of what you would eat/use anyway just in case you find yourself in one of these, or any other emergency situation. Emergencies don't always happen to someone else. Just ask someone who has experienced one.

If you are fortunate to have enough to share, I would ask you to do what you can for those affected by the earthquake in Haiti. I have lived in Haiti, and it hurts to see and hear what is happening there.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gotta love perpetuation when it comes to food....

I was thinking about my food storage the other day, and wondering how long what I have will last, and what I really know how to make with the basic staples, and just how much variety I really have planned out when it comes to meals, among other things. Then I had a discussion with a preparedness expert I know, and when I mentioned that none of it would last forever (ok, I was really thinking about convenient things like, oh, canned meat) was reminded that I'll be able to grow things in the garden with seeds we've put aside. And that really does give me hope.

Then today, I got my hands on some literature that gives information about gardening classes and a community garden that was headed, "Want to grow your own backyard garden but don't have a backyard?", immediately followed by "Come to the Idaho Falls Community Gardens". So I called the number listed to see if there would be any objection to advertising their info on this blog (as I figured, there was no problem) and found out that there are actually 3 community gardens in Idaho Falls. Gardeners' registration is not until April 10, 2010, but between now and then there are numerous free classes, like "Basics of Vegetable Gardening in Southeastern Idaho", and "Get Growing: Starting and Growing Seedlings Indoors". The full list can be found here. You can access the main menu here.

I realize that many people already have room for gardening, but they may be interested in the classes offered. Others may have the expertise in gardening, but no room to put that expertise to use. And there may be others who are interested in the whole package of information and garden plot. Whatever the case, the information is there if you are interested in learning to garden, or simply in improving your gardening skills.

If there are other community gardens that you know of in other areas of Idaho, please let me know, and I will post the information. If you are in another state, I would venture to guess that the moderators of your state site would love to receive any information on gardening and community gardens that you are willing to share.

Well, back to my discussion on meat and food storage. Unfortunately, chickens are still not legal where I live. But in a weird twist, when I got the mail today I found an advertisement for a free trial issue for "Backyard Poultry", addressed to me personally. I could wonder how my interest in raising chickens got past this blog and on to someone's mailing list--or I could just wonder if people really hug their chickens, as it asks, "Have you hugged your chicken today?" above my name and address. I would have a hard time getting attached to my chickens, unless I was only raising them for the eggs...