This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

What to store in your food storage?
By Kellene Bishop

There are 3 aspects that you need to concern yourself with when it comes to your food storage.  Nutrition, preparation, and rotation.

Photo c/o crusa-soccer.com/

Create balanced meals. Photo c/o crusa-soccer.com/

The nutrition aspect has to do with WHAT you store.  Be sure it’s not food that will simply enable you to survive, but THRIVE.  Feeding your body quality nutrition in a time of stress is critical.  It’s one thing to try and live off of fast food and such when you lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle.  You may not think of food much now in your every day life.  But having nourishment will be one of your most overriding primary instincts to kick in during a time of survival.  (Yet another reason why to try and get the picky eaters in your family to expand their food repertoire.)  I’ve read messages from some folks that they have a years supply in dry cereal, or Kraft Mac & Cheese, etc.  While these “foods” may give some comfort immediately, they will not provide the nutrition you need and appetite fatigue will surely set in. 

What should be a part of your food storage?  As you plan your meals, go back to creating balanced meals.  You know, fruits, vegetables, protein, and grains.  Each meal you plan for your long term food storage should provide at least one serving in each of these categories. Keep in mind that you will use and require more carbohydrates in a crisis scenario than you most likely do now. 

Remember, the key is to not get overwhelmed with the food storage.  If I were to tell you that you needed to store 300 pounds of grains (wheat, pasta, flour, etc.) per person over the age of 7, no doubt that would stress you out and overwhelm you.  (Even though that figure is correct.)  This is exactly why I encourage folks to create their food storage based on meals and dishes rather than pounds.  THEN when you feel like you’ve accomplished your goal in that regard, do a little bit of calculating using this food storage calculator link and see if there may be some items to add in various categories such as fats and oils, or legumes, or sugars.

If you store based on “meals” then you don’t have to really concern yourself with “oh yeah, I need 3 pounds of cinnamon for the year” or other seasonings and sauces.  You will essentially have a year’s supply of menus figured out and thus you’ll have all of the seasonings you need for those dishes.  Add the extras after the fact.  Planning this way will also save you LOTS and LOTS of money too.  You’ll be less likely purchasing something just because it looks like a good deal, and only purchase what you know you and your family will use in specific meals. 

Propane Stove

Propane Stove

The next aspect of your food storage is preparation.  Do you have the tools and resources you need to prepare the food?  Do you have the recipes stored with the dishes? While it’s great that you may have recipes memorized, what if you’re ill or otherwise unavailable and aren’t the one preparing the food?  Do you have a hand beater stored since you won’t be able to use an electric one?  Do you know how to use your solar oven, Dutch oven, charcoal, propane stove or wood burning stove?  How are you going to clean up from cooking?  How are you going to ensure sanitized cooking conditions?

The last consideration of what to store in your food storage, is rotation.  If you find a great deal on 30 gallons of cooking oil, great, get it—but ONLY if you already use such an oil and can do so in an appropriate period of time.  Very little of your food storage should be purchased or stored with a “store it and forget it” mentality.  You need to look at just about everything you’ve got from a rotation standpoint.  This is a monumental task if you’re not already using what you store. 

Personally, I think making an excel spreadsheet of one’s food storage or taking time to label each container of food prior to putting it away, is a major pain in the fanny and certainly yet another deterrent to being prepared.  I store my food left to right, front to back, and I use it right to left and back to front.  I don’t put any labels on the food (other than when I bottle or freeze it) and I don’t have a special software accounting system.  As I bring things up from my food storage, I make a note on the grocery list to replace them.  The “system” is as easy as that.  As a result, I keep a pulse on what I have and its condition.  Very little of what I have purchased over the years gets wasted this way. 

As you can see in this series, the key is to make your food storage as underwhelming and second nature as your grocery shopping and meal preparations are today.  Your food storage efforts just need a little tweak in your mental preparedness and you’ll find that you have the time and energy to focus on the other aspects of preparedness that may more appropriately stretch your skills and time.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

A Case for Food Storage
By Kellene Bishop

In the matter of

One Year Supply of Food Storage (Plaintiff)

Vs.

Disbelief and Ignorance (Defendant)

“Plaintiff asserts that Defendant is guilty of unlawful endangerment, attempted murder, infliction of emotional stress, theft, criminal harassment, perjury, vandalism, disturbing the peace, racketeering, and fraud upon the citizens of the world.”

A Case for Food Storage photo c/o localwin.com

A Case for Food Storage photo c/o localwin.com

While many may have a tough time believing this when considering the case in favor of a year’s supply of food storage, I can assure you that the facts present themselves so abundantly in favor of food storage that were such a case to be brought before a court, this would be a slam dunk WIN for the “plaintiff.”  In my opinion, anyone who tries to convince you that you don’t need to be prepared with a year’s supply of essentials is plagued by some serious mental impairment.  I don’t say this coming from any position of religious belief regarding “the last days,” “Armageddon,” or “plagues, pestilence, and famine.”  The physical evidence is clear that we cannot continue to be oblivious to what’s going on around us and we must individually take action to prepare for a long-term interruption in our normal way of life—specifically when it comes to food and water.

Evidence #1: Worldwide food shortages.  Believe me, I know talking about food shortages sounds crazy, but I assure you that it only sounds foreign to us because it’s simply not a part of everyday life for most Americans.  I have written two pieces solely about food shortages on this site and provided ample evidence of such.  But in case that’s not enough for you, go to your favorite search engine and do a search on “food shortage.”  There are news articles from all over the world discussing this reality.  It’s not just restricted to 3rd world countries like you may expect.  Nations which have previously been top exporters of various food products are now IMPORTING food due to weather and natural disaster occurrences.

Photo c/o irishelection.com

Photo c/o irishelection.com

Evidence #2: Financial instability.  When an economy is in turmoil, it’s not just about consumers being able to afford to make purchases.  It’s also about manufacturers being able to afford to produce goods for consumers.  Consumers aren’t the only ones going without right now.  Companies are cutting back drastically everywhere.  Even flourishing food manufactuerers such as Proctor & Gamble have had to shut down plants, offer small amounts on their consumer coupons, decrease benefits packages, and freeze pay raises in various areas within the company.  P&G is one of the lucky ones.  Many others have had to completely shut their doors after decades of successful business.  The financial dance of the economy is a complicated tango. 

Right now the value of currency all over the world has been drastically reduced due to the financial meltdown within our nation.  We keep printing money to fund “stuff” without abiding by any consequences as to the actual value of that money.  In fact, the Federal Reserve has gone so far as to no longer produce the M3 report, which used to tell us just how much money was actually printed and in circulation at one time.  Let me share with you why that’s dangerous. 

mcdonalds-mealSuppose you ran a McDonald’s restaurant.  And suppose you elected to give out a coupon for a free McDonald’s meal.  Obviously, there has to be a limit to the number of meals your company can give to the community for free.  Even if you had a large budget for the campaign itself, you would still have logistical restrictions on the amount of beef, bread, manpower, and space that you would need to execute the coupon offer.  But what if one of your employees decided to make thousands of copies of that coupon and sent out stacks of them to everyone in the community?  Naturally you’re busy all day long making burgers, cleaning the restaurant, paying the employees and their benefits, and yet at the end of a month long campaign, all you’ve got to show for it is a stack of coupons that were exchanged for real meals.  Ultimately, you don’t have a business any longer—only the coupons are still in circulation.  So, tell me what those coupons are really worth to you—or more importantly how much they really cost you? 

Such is the case with our present financial condition in our nation.  We don’t have enough to back up the value of our “coupons.”  The gold is gone in Ft. Knox.  We have no idea how many “coupons” are in circulation.  And at some point (in the near future, I predict) it will be the “end of the month’s campaign,” and we will see that we’ve got a whole lot of useless paper in circulation with nothing but our last meal to show for it. 

So what happens?  People stop accepting your “useless paper” in exchange for your meals.  Instead they want something of “real value” such as gold, silver, or some other kind of “hard asset” trade in exchange for the goods you desire.  So how will you be able to feed your family for a year (or much more in order to provide enough time to fix such a mess) on what you’ve got in the form of “hard assets?”

This is exactly why I say that there is no better investment right now than FOOD.  Your money, or the value thereof, may be dwindling, but it can still be stretched a long ways in the form of coupons, rebates, combined with the “just plain cash” that we have now.  No matter what you pay today for it, it will still represent lifesaving nutrition for you tomorrow.  In fact, it will actually be worth MORE in the near future once an all out financial collapse occurs, because it will now represent a life saving asset that many will find themselves without.  

However, if you are smart and invest in a year’s supply of food now, you won’t regret it regardless of what happens on Wall Street. 

Evidence #3: Vulnerabilities.  The primary way that 98% of Americans receive some form of the nutritional needs is through technology and transportation.  ONE major earthquake along I-80, I-70, I-40, or I-20 in the United States and our nation will noticeably cripple our food and medical supplies.  A quarantine will cripple our access to emergency services, and depending on how long it lasts, even our access to running water, sewage, and electricity services.  Our nation runs pretty darn good when everything works well.  But it wouldn’t take much to put a major wrench in the flow of things.  One minor incident can cause a “food shortage” at your store within 30 minutes—no exaggeration.

Dragon Skin Body Armor

Dragon Skin Body Armor

Just as Dragon Skin Body Armor protects the wearer from a myriad of firearm hits (look it up, it’s AWESOME), food shortage protects from other ailments as well.  In the event that a particular staple becomes tainted in the market, you won’t have to “do without” because you already stocked up.  When prices sky-rocket because of rumor or natural disaster (just as rice and wheat have done over the last year) you’ll be a “foodlord” because of what you have already stored.  Your money will go further because your meals will be created as a result of what’s in your storage, not what you happen to pass by at the grocery store.  And a very definite sense of peace accompanies that storage in knowing that you have indeed provided for the well-being of your family and those you love.  

To summarize, food storage is every man’s defense against inflation, famine, pestilence, government regulations, financial instability, war, terror, natural disasters, and just plain market manipulation.  Why would you be without it? 

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

Yes, You Can Afford It

By Kellene Bishop

Photo c/o chathamjournal.com

Photo c/o chathamjournal.com

Let’s face it.  Watching your bags of groceries get smaller and smaller while the price goes up and up will overwhelm anyone–especially if you have food storage on the brain plus providing food for your family.  I don’t care how wealthy you are, paying more money for less groceries is upsetting, right?  Two nights ago I taught a class specifically to aid individuals in obtaining MORE groceries and other items for less.  To emphasize the message I created several dishes for the group of 40 people with serving sizes plenty for each person to try several tastes of each dish.  I made a dessert and two main dishes all for a total of $4.92.  I often tell people that it only costs $1 per person per day for a year’s supply of food.  But with the benefit of couponing, I find that price to be quite generous.  Why?  Because I am able to obtain so many items for FREE or even better, for less than free. 

Here’s an example of how I get something for “less than free.”  Albertson’s recently had a sale on General Mills cereals.  My husband enjoys Cheerios and I consider them relatively healthy.  I had a coupon for $1 off of a box of Cheerios.  They were on sale for $1.99 a box.  However, Albertson’s also distributed one of their own coupons which allows me to double the value of any coupon presented, up to a $1, on any product purchased.  I had my $1 off, Albertson’s doubled it, which made my box of Cheerios cost me negative 1 cent.  ($1.99 – $1 – $1 = $ -.01)  This kind of scenario happens in the stores I shop over and over.  To be honest, I never shopped at Albertson’s or Walgreens or Rite-Aid before because those stores were “too expensive.”  Now I can’t afford to shop at the warehouse stores!  Who needs to rob a bank anymore?  Taking groceries from a store is much more lucrative, legal, and fun.  And I have not yet been shot at trying to do so. 🙂

These kinds of discounts aren’t isolated solely to groceries.  I’ve purchased pain relievers, cough medicines, deodorants, toothpastes, feminine needs, razors, paper goods, bandages, and even rat poison at a deep discount.  In fact, I’m no longer impressed with “50% off” sales.  I tend to focus on “free,” “almost free” or “hey, we’ll essentially pay you to take this product out of the store for us.” 🙂

So here’s a question for you.  How many times would YOU want to get that kind of a deal?  If you could consistently get these kinds of deals on first-aid, medical supplies and groceries do you think you could easily accumulate your necessary food storage and some emergency preparedness supplies?  Of course you could!  The numbers of times you can get such a deal is limited only by your willingness to be aware of what’s going on around you in the form of sales, coupons, specials AND the number of newspapers and online coupons you’re willing to obtain.  I personally subscribe to five Sunday newspapers and regularly check 6 easy coupon websites.  More importantly for you to consider, I look at this as a part-time job.  I make my own hours, determine how much I make per hour (which turns out to be about $50-$100 an hour), work from the comfort of my own home.  Try getting a part-time job under those terms any other way today. 

coupon-binderThe biggest question I’m asked when teaching people about couponing is how much time it takes.  Usually this question is asked in an overwhelmed tone by the person, already anticipating that it will be yet one more thing on their massive list of things to do.  I usually spend about 2 hours on a Sunday night hunting and gathering my coupons.  I use a guillotine-style paper cutter to cut them so I can usually cut out 5 to 10 at a time.  Sometimes I have to cut the coupons down a bit more, but I use spring-loaded scissors for the task as not to wear out my hands.  (Of course, I purchased the scissors and the paper cutter on sale.)  Then I organize my coupons in a heavy, zippered, three-ring binder, divided into all of the categories of interest to me.  Then I insert the coupons into heavy duty baseball card holders.  I’ve researched a LOT of other methods for organizing coupons and I assure you that I’ve found this to be THE best way by far.  (Please take my word on this matter. You can go off and try to be a pioneer, but you know that they always come back with arrows in their back.) 🙂 I never have trouble finding or seeing the coupons.  They never fall out as the result of an errant slip, and as a result of my organization, I’m not a nuisance to someone who’s in line behind me. 

savvy-shopper-avatarIn addition to my own efforts, I’ve found a great ally who does all of the “watching” and accounting of the coupons for me—Amy at www.savvyshopperdeals.com.  Twice a week, Amy tells gives me a gauge as to what’s a good sale, a great sale, or a kick butt sale on her website.  I can go on her site, tell this amazing software what I’m looking for, what percentage I want to save, what store I want to shop, etc., and create my grocery list right there.  What I end up with is the perfect grocery list that tells me what stores the items are located, what coupons I need to have on hand (plus where they can be located, whether it be a website or a newspaper ad) and she even tells me what AISLE the products are in.  Best of all, this service is completely free.  This way I don’t have to waste time hunting through all of the ads.  I simply spend a little bit of time on her site after I’ve got my coupons organized, and I’m off to stealing…er, I mean buying groceries.  (Note: Right now Amy is local for Utah stores, however, she’s in the process of going NATIONAL very soon.  I’m excited for the rest of you.  Know though that there are similar services and forums online in your area as well.)

Couponing has several benefits.  Not only can you feed your family every day for cheap, but because you ARE feeding your family every day so affordably, it makes you think twice about going out to eat.  With easy recipes you don’t have to feel the need to “escape” to a restaurant for a break.  On those rare occasions when I do go out to eat now it’s only for something that I probably don’t know how to make like those dang biscuits at Texas Roadhouse.  I almost always have a coupon when I go out to eat now.  Even then I’m looking at my food and telling myself, “Do you know how much in groceries I can get for the price of these two meals?!”  Yes, I’m officially “coupon corrupted.”  But seriously.  Couponing really does change your perspective on money.  After you’ve had the experience of ringing up over $100 of groceries only to pay $4.92 for them, you sure think differently about paying for those “extra upgrades” in life.  When I see a quarter on the ground now, yeah, I’ll pick it up—‘cause that could pay for a couple meals if I use it right! 

There’s the stigma that couponing isn’t worthwhile and that it only saves you money on junk.  Part of the reason why I made great food for my class the other night was to dispel this stigma.  Here’s two great recipes that I used last night to show them just how yummy “cheap” can be.  (By the way, due to couponing, I got over $30 in free pork for this recipe the other day!)

Easy BBQ Pork (My total cost: $3.49. Serves 10-12)

In a saucepan over medium heat mix 2 jars of chili sauce and 1 regular sized jar of grape jelly.  Warm through. 

In a casserole dish, Dutch oven, or the sauce pan, place your cooked pork. (Canned, Hormel, Spam, etc.)  Drizzle the chili/jelly mixture over the meat and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the meat is warmed through.  This tastes better if you are able to have sliced pork simmering in the mixture instead of whole large pork roast, etc. Y ou simply can’t get enough of the bbq sauce flavor.

Serve over cooked rice.

tuna-roll-coupon-cooking-Tuna Roll (My total cost: $1.11. Serves 8 – 10)

2 cans of tuna, drained

½ C Miracle Whip

½ C of Italian shredded cheese mix

½ package of cream cheese, cut into cubes

1 can cream of celery

½ T. granulated onion

1 T. Italian seasoning

2 cans of Pillsbury crescent rolls or crescent rounds

***

1 can cream of mushroom

1 C of parmesan cheese or 4 cheese Italian cheese mix

1/4 C of milk

Sprinkle of parsley

1 stick of butter

1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed 

Mix the tuna, mayo, cream cheese, cheese mix and celery soup together in a bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Roll out the crescent rolls until they are in a flat rectangle.  

tuna-roll-first

Spoon the tuna mixture over the bread dough.  

tuna-roll-two

Carefully roll the dough like a “jelly roll”.  Place in a “Pam sprayed” casserole dish.  Bake at 350 for 12- 15 minutes.

tuna-roll-finished

In another bowl mix together the cream of mushroom soup, the cheese, and ¼ C of milk.  Stir consistently until nicely thickened.  Then spread over the cooked tuna rolls. 

Mix together the crumbled Ritz crackers and the melted butter. Top the dish evenly, then sprinkle a little parsley on top.  Return to the oven for about 10 minutes.  Serve warm.

I have so much more that I’d love to share with you on this topic, but that’s simply not practical on a blog.  So I’ll keep chipping away at different components on couponing and hope that in the meantime you’ll think twice about embracing this way of affordably gathering in your supplies.  

I’ve known folks who have been on food stamps who have been able to stand on their own two feet thanks to couponing.  I also personally know of a family of 7 that spends only $100 a month on groceries and HALF of that is for food storage.  Given that the value of our currency is in question and inflation keeps rearing its ugly head, I can’t think of a better way to fight back than to take advantage of couponing.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!