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Archive for the ‘self-sufficiency’ Category

I was thinking recently that if it came down to it, we could survive on one meal a day for one year – if we HAD to.

So…I sat down with a legal pad and my recipe file and made a list of 30 meals that could be eaten each month, then calculated the the amount of ingredients needed.

Please keep in mind this is ONLY a general idea – it could be supplemented with fresh garden produce, eggs from your chickens, fresh meat, etc.   It also assumes you keep regular supplies in your pantry (such as sugar, flour, spices, baking powder/soda, etc).

This is just a starting point.  I hope it will give you some ideas!

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(Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian or a nutritionist – I am a mom. The following list is a STARTING POINT and would need to be supplemented with food from a garden and also hunting. This is only given as an example and is not intended to be anything stated or implied other than a springboard for ideas. Nutrition information was not calculated. This was an example for a family of three.)
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Food for one year – one meal per day

1)  Chicken Alfredo 12 jars alfredo sauce

12 pkgs fettucine noodles

12 cans chicken

2)  Breakfast (biscuits:  flour, sugar, baking powder, shortening, salt, milk) 12 pkgs bacon
3)  Tacos (lettuce, cheese, taco sauce) 12 pkgs hamb meat

12 pkgs taco seasoning

12 pkgs taco shells

4)  Chicken Enchiladas (sour cream, cheese, milk) 12 cans cream of chicken soup

12 jars enchilada sauce
12 cans chicken
12 pkgs flour tortillas

5)  Chicken & Dumplings (biscuit mix or homemade) 12 cans chicken

24 cans chicken broth (or ckn base)

6)  SPAM / Mac & Cheese / Veggies 12 cans SPAM

12 pkgs mac & cheese

12 cans green beans (or other veggies)

7)  Beef Stew (rice) 12 cans carrots

12 cans potatoes

12 cans beef

8)  Bean Burritos (cheese or cheese sauce) 12 pkgs flour tortillas

12 cans refried beans

9)  Spaghetti (hamb optional /Parmesan cheese) 12 jars spaghetti sauce

12 pkgs spaghetti noodles

10)  Canned Ham / Rice / Veggies 12 cans ham

12 cans corn (or other)

11)  Red Beans & Rice (rice, dried beans, seasoning, cornbread mix/milk/eggs) 12 pkgs kielbasa

24 pkgs cornbread mix

12)  Meatballs w/Mushroom Gravy / Mashed Potatoes (flakes) / Lima Beans (dried) 12 pkgs hamb meat

12 cans cream of mushroom soup

13)  Hamburgers / Nachos (chips, pickles, homemade bread) 12 pkgs hamb meat

12 cans cheese sauce

12 cans rotel

14)  Chicken Spaghetti 12 cans chicken

12 pkgs spaghetti noodles

12 cans cream of chicken soup

12 cans cream of mushroom soup

12 cans cheese sauce

12 cans chicken broth

15)  Chili Macaroni (spices, dried beans) 12 pkgs hamb meat

12 pkgs macaroni pasta

12 cans tomatoes or sauce

16)  Chili Dogs (homemade bread) 12 pkgs hot dogs

12 cans chili

17)  Potato Soup (potato flakes, bullion cubes/ckn base/OR broth, cheese, powdered milk) 12 cans cheese sauce

24 cans chicken broth (?)

18)  SPAM, Mac & cheese, Veggies 12 cans SPAM

12 pkgs macaroni & cheese

12 cans green beans (or dried beans)

19)  Putanesca (parmesan cheese) 12 cans Putanesca

12 pkgs spaghetti noodles

20)  Gnocchi (potato flakes, powdered milk, eggs) 12 jars sauce (spaghetti/alfredo)
21)  Fried Rice (rice, soy sauce, spices veggies) 12 cans/jars meat (chicken, SPAM, etc)
22)  Pancakes & Sausage (syrup, flour, eggs, baking powder) 12 sausage chubs
23)  Chili (spices, rice, dried beans) 24 pkgs hamb meat

24 cans diced tomatoes OR sauce

24)  Chicken Pot Pie (biscuit mix or homemade, ckn broth or base, powdered milk, spices) 12 cans chicken

12 large cans mixed veggies

25)  PB&J  Sandwiches, hummus (dried chickpeas / homemade bread) Peanut butter

Jelly

26)  Hearty Beef & Beans (dried pinto beans, biscuits) 12 pkgs hamb meat

12 cans tomato sauce

12 cans vegetables

27)  Homemade Soup (dried beans, asst canned veggies, cornbread) 24 pkgs cornbread mix (or meal)

12 cans tomato juice

12 pkgs hamb meat (optional)

28)  Oatmeal
29)  Grits
30)  SOS (homemade bread, powdered milk) 12 pkgs hamb meat

Shopping/pantry list:

60 – Chicken breast
24 – Cream of chicken soup
24 – Cream of mushroom soup
at least 36 (or equivalent) – Cheese sauce
24 to 36 – SPAM
48 – Tomato sauce
88 to 100 – Hamburger meat
12 – Tomato juice
48 pkgs – Cornbread mix (or make from scratch)
6 – Peanut Butter
6 – Jelly
12 – Large cans mixed vegetables
12 – Sausage chubs
24 – Spaghetti sauce
36 – Spaghetti noodles
12 – Alfredo sauce
12 – canned beef
12 – kielbasa or beef smoked sausage
12 – Fettucine noodles
12 jars – Putanesca
12 to 24 – Rotel
24 (minimum) cans – Green beans
24 (minimum) cans – Corn
60 cans – Chicken broth (OR use bullion OR chicken base)
12 – Hot dogs
12 – Canned chili
12 – Canned ham
12 – Refried beans
24 – Flour tortillas (or make homemade)
12 – Bacon
18 – Enchilada sauce
12 – Taco seasoning
12 – Taco shells (or make homemade flour tortillas)
12 – Parmesan Cheese
12 – Macaroni noodles
24 – Macaroni & cheese (packaged)
12 to 24 – carrots (canned)
12 to 24 – potatoes (canned)

Basics onhand:

Spices (basil, oregano, chili powder, paprika, cumin, Cavender’s, etc)
Flour
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Salt
Sugar
Shortening
Powdered Milk
Dried beans
Rice
Potato Flakes

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Er…in my case, rice, rice everywhere and none to cook with!

I learned a valuable food storage lesson recently.  I normally keep a quart jar of long grain white rice in my pantry so there’s not a huge bag open at one time.  I had already put most of the 50 pound bags we’d purchased into mylar and buckets.

Hence, the problem.

When I ran out of rice in the pantry, I quickly realized I had two options:  open a brand new 5o pound bag of rice or break into my long term food storage buckets.

Needless to say, I opened a 50 pound bag and spent the next half hour breaking it down into bags to vacuum seal.  This time, I did smaller bags of 4 to 5 pounds per bag.  Major “duh” moment on my part for not thinking of this sooner.  Since we are using/rotating most of our food storage, it just makes sense to have smaller amounts more accessible.

Lesson learned!

Don’t put all of your food storage into mylar and buckets!  There is such a thing as “long term” food storage, and then food that will be rotated more quickly.   I knew this already, but putting it into practice is another thing entirely.  🙂

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As in, have we hit bottom yet?  I don’t think so based on lots of late night, bleary-eyed searches on the internet.  I heard this morning on the news that GM will need another $70 BILLION dollars in help before this is all said and done.

At what point is it enough?

I’ve been pondering a post about this for a while.  Granted, this is a layman’s point of view – I am not an economist, nor do I play one on tv, but I do pay attention to what’s going on in the world around me.

I realize there are a lot of factors at work here leading up to the economic mess we are in today.  However, there was a tipping point last year that was very clear from my perspective – the point at which consumers literally came to a crossroads and had to make some tough decisions.

What was that tipping point?  Gas prices.

When gas prices rose to almost $4 a gallon (and higher in some parts of the country), consumers literally had to decide between paying their mortgages and putting gas in their vehicles and food on their tables.  I know it put a serious dent in our budget, along with everyone else we know.

At that same time, food prices started rising, and have never come back down.  Gas eventually fell lower than I thought I’d ever see again in my lifetime, but food prices are continuing to go up.  More on that in a minute.

Now this isn’t rocket science – everyone can see when a family is stretched thin financially, it doesn’t take much for the house of cards to come tumbling down.  As people struggled to pay for food and gas, slipped behind on their mortgage payments and other bills, it publicly unearthed some very serious flaws with our financial system here in the US.

People borrowed money to pay for houses and cars they knew they couldn’t afford.  Greedy bankers eagerly loaned them the money knowing they wouldn’t be able to make the payments.  Some of the older folks have a saying for this – it’s called, “where two fools met.”  Banks did unspeakable things with volatile  loans – packaging them into bundles and selling them off to other companies, knowing it was just a matter of time before it all came to a head.

But there is a bigger problem at work here.  Corruption on levels previously unheard of within our political AND economic system.  Congressmen have their fingers in this mess, are hugely responsible for what has happened, yet they try to blame the companies when THEY are the ones who voted for deregulation, bailouts, and lots of sweet perks while patting themselves on the back for what a good job they did.

All of this “bailout” money that was supposed to solve our financial problems hasn’t done a thing – I can’t tell anything is any better, can you?  Companies are still laying off, people are still losing their homes, and families are still struggling to make ends meet.  People who have worked hard all of their lives for what they have are losing everything they own.  Yet the government is still printing money left and right, and guess who’s paying for all of these corporate bailouts?  Yep – the American taxpayers.

As previously mentioned, food prices continue to rise, and there is every indication they will continue to do so.  We have fewer and fewer farmers every year.  We are importing food at a never seen before rate, and are rapidly descending into a deeper abyss than ever imagined.

We personally know many families where someone has been laid off.  My husband is still working (thankfully), but his hours have been cut due to the slowdown.  If it hasn’t hit your home yet, be thankful – it’s a matter of time before it does.

An elder at our church told me recently that I had “lived the best years of my life already”.  It was a sobering statement.  I agree with him completely – I cannot see any way things will right themselves within my lifetime.

I encourage you to vote with your feet if you live in a state where they are continuing to pile on more taxes.  There are 50 states in this Union, and there are surely other places to live where freedom to use your money as YOU see fit still exists.   VOTE THEM OUT when the 2010 elections come up.

Our freedoms are not free – they have been bought with a price.  Our very way of life is at stake.

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(said in my best monotone voice):

This is a test of your preparedness system.  This is only a test.  If it were a real emergency, you would be required to use your preparedness stores for survival. This is only a test.

Are you ready?

If nothing else, this past week with the swine flu (aka H1N1 virus) should have made you think more seriously about the status of your preparedness plans.  It is important to be prepared – not panicked.

What if this had been bad enough that everyone was required to be quarantined in their homes for a month?  Two months?  Six months?

Could it really get that bad?  Possibly.  Scientists have said for years we are due for another major pandemic. Hopefully this one won’t be it, but sooner or later it realistically could happen.

So my question to you is this…are you prepared?  Do you have ample food in your pantry?  Enough to last a month or even longer?  Do you have N95 masks?  Hand sanitizer?  Medications to help ease flu symptoms (such as ibuprofen/tylenol, nasal decongestants, cough syrup, etc)?  Kleenex?  Bleach?  Medications you need to take on  a regular basis?

These are all valid points to consider.  There may come a time when it is medically necessary to stay home from work/school in order to prevent a contagion from spreading.  If nothing else, this with the swine flu should be a wake up call.

If you have not prepared yet, yesterday was the time to do so.  Start immediately – your life and that of your family may depend on it in the future.

If you have already taken steps to prepare, go over your supplies – double check any areas you may be lacking.

No, you can’t think of everything, but doing SOMETHING is better than nothing.

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This should be part of every family’s emergency plans – food ready to go at a moment’s notice along with all of your other provisions (you do have a bag with a change of clothes and a toothbrush at the very least, right?  😀 ).

If you have to evacuate your home in a hurry, it pays to have an assortment of food storage in a bucket or two so you can literally “grab and go” without trying to decide what to take with you.

I took two of the orange “homer buckets” and divided up a variety of foods between them.  I don’t know how long this food will last for our family, but I can say with some confidence that it is at *least* a weeks’ worth, probably longer if we had to stretch it.  I’m using this only as an example – what you store in yours may be totally different.

(I also put a list in the top of each bucket in addition to listing on the outside for easy reference later – also make a note of rotation date, such as “rotate by 12/2010”.)

In bucket number one, we have the following:

Emergency bucket #1

(2) pkgs lima beans – dry (all pkgs vacuum sealed unless otherwise noted)
(1) large pkg pinto beans (dry)
5# bag white flour
4# bag white sugar
box of matches
powdered milk (probably 3 cups or so)
1# box baking soda
1/2 box instant potatoes (with instructions cut off of the box and included in pkg)
1 can vegetable shortening (inside a gallon ziploc bag)
1 large pkg popcorn kernels
1 pkg macaroni and cheese (removed from box, cheese packet vacuum sealed along with macaroni)

In bucket #2:
emergency bucket #2

Vacuum sealed packet of dried onion / packet of chili powder
3 – pkgs macaroni and cheese
6 – pkgs ramen noodles
1# yeast
10 oz baking powder
1# salt
pepper
2 – DAK hams
1 – can tamales
2 – cans chili w/beans
1 – can rotel tomatoes
2 – 6oz cans tomato paste
4 – cans Spam
1 – LARGE bag of long grain white rice
1 – pkg of dehydrated mixed vegetables from a #10 can

From both of these buckets, you could make almost endless combinations of meals – everything from beans and rice, vegetable soup to bread, pancakes, biscuits, etc.

Hope this inspires you to get some “grab & go” food together for your family as well!  😀

UPDATE 4/12/09:  I also added 2 – 12.5 oz cans chicken breast and a ziploc bag of restaurant ketchup packets to the buckets.  There was a little bit of room left, and I wanted to make the most of it.   I’m estimating we could have at least one substantial meal a day for nearly two weeks from the contents of these two buckets.

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I’ve seen this question in various places on the internet, and thought I’d put my 2 cents’ worth in on the subject.

First – let’s talk about the bucket. If your bucket was previously used for food (icing from a bakery, pickles, etc.), then wash the bucket thoroughly, maybe even put some bleach in it and then let it air out for a couple of days to get any residual smell out.

If your bucket previously contained chemicals, DO NOT USE IT FOR FOOD STORAGE.

There is some debate on whether or not the orange “homer buckets” from Home Depot are suitable. Please note this is just MY opinion – everyone has to decide for themselves on this matter. I use metallized Mylar liners in any buckets we use for food storage, so the bucket is really there just to protect the liner – food never comes into direct contact with the bucket this way. Home Depot has stated the homer buckets are not food safe, but some people say the manufacturer said they are, but the dye used in the buckets is not. For myself, using a mylar liner, I don’t have a problem using the orange Home Depot buckets. That’s just me though.

Now – the liner. I think it’s necessary because buckets in and of themselves are NOT air-tight. With the mylar liners, you can choose to put in a few oxygen absorbers if you’d like. I personally do not use the oxygen absorbers along with my liners.  I think to an extent, the food storage people are having a field day selling supplies to folks. Again, this is another area everybody has to decide for themselves.  I buy liners from www.beprepared.com

From my own experience, a 5 gallon bucket will hold approximately 30 to 35 pounds of long grain rice, sugar, beans, etc.

An addendum to this:  I was browsing yesterday and ran across http://sevenunits.blogspot.com/2008/03/basic-food-storage-on-budget.html

The info on their site says that a 5 gallon bucket will hold 80 cups of whatever you are storing (by volume – not weight).   Their recommendation is to store (5) 5 gallon buckets per person of rice, flour, and beans annually.   When you tell someone to store a year’s worth of food, it’s sometimes hard to visualize.  This will give you a better idea of a starting point.

I have also read about some people putting more than one item into a bucket, and there is some wisdom in doing this.  You could choose to vacuum seal packages of flour, sugar, beans, rice, salt, seasonings, some canned goods, etc. and put into the mylar bag, then seal for some extra protection.  That way you can grab a bucket and know you have enough to make a complete meal from one pail.  This would also be helpful if you need to give a bucket of supplies to family, friends, or neighbors (or if you have to evacuate in an emergency – you can literally “grab and go”).

The important thing is to actually START on your food storage.  Make it a priority for yourself and your family.  IT IS THAT IMPORTANT. Hard times are coming, and you may need to rely on your food storage.  Since I started this blog last fall, things have continued to go downhill – they will not get better anytime soon.  Sorry – not trying to be “doom and gloom”, just a realist.   Farmers have been unable to get loans to plant crops, there are droughts occurring on the west coast, and a large percentage of our food supply is being shipped in from overseas.

Getcher buckets ready, folks!

UPDATE 4/8/09:  Be sure to check another post I made on this subject – having “Grab and Go” buckets ready for an emergency (includes pictures!):  https://arksoaper.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/emergency-buckets-grab-go-food/

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I have been doing this for years, and started our tweenager on part of this regime too because of pimples/breakouts (raging hormones will do it every time!).  These are effective yet inexpensive ways that might help to treat acne on your own.  Sometimes you do have to see a dermatologist, so keep that in mind.  If you don’t see noticeable results within a week and the acne is severe, I would definitely consult a dermatologist for further treatment.  Just a disclaimer – try this at your own risk.  I’ve used the items listed below for years with no problem, but every person is different.  If you have problems with ANY product, stop using it immediately.

First – it is very important to keep the face clean.  Keep your fingers/hands OFF of your face.  Your fingers have natural oils on them which further clog pores in the face and will make breakouts worse.  Also, keep your hair clean, and for boys, keep the hair short enough that it is not hanging on the forehead – oils from the hair will also make breakouts worse.

Plain ol’ soap is good enough to wash the face, unless you are a soap snob like me and are compelled to make your own.   😀  We use a facial soap I made with French Green Clay in it which is wonderful for drawing out excess oils from the skin and helps to remove impurities.  However, ANY soap is better than nothing.  Wash the face twice a day – preferably morning and evening.  Do not scrub excessively – it will only irritate the skin.  The goal is to gently remove excess oils – not scrub your face off.

Special note for women/girls wearing makeup – good ol’ Vaseline and an old washcloth will take off eye makeup/mascara better than anything I’ve ever found.  I’ve heard people say your eyelashes will fall out from using it.  That’s hooey – I’ve been using Vaseline to remove mascara since I was 13.  Several decades have passed since then, and I still have my eyelashes.  Remove eye makeup before washing the face with soap.  I keep a stack of old washcloths in the linen closet specifically for this purpose.

Now this is the clincher – it is the single most important thing you can do to prevent breakouts in my humble opinion.  Get a bottle of apple cider vinegar at the grocery store (you’ll find it around the regular clear vinegar, but apple cider vinegar is amber colored).   Pour some into a smaller bottle and keep it in your bathroom.  At LEAST in the evenings after you wash your face, take a cotton ball with some of the apple cider vinegar on it, and gently but firmly scrub your face with it.  Until you get used to it, it might take your breath away and your eyes might water (avoid the eye area, btw – it stings horribly).  Be sure to get in the creases around your nose very well.  Breathe through your mouth if you have to if the smell is too strong.  Allow the vinegar to sit for 30 seconds or so, then rinse your face with plain water.  The smell DOES go away after a few minutes and you won’t smell like a salad.

The apple cider vinegar helps to annihilate nasties on your skin that contribute to pimples/breakouts.  It is cheap to use, and it does work for most people.  I can tell within a day or so if tweenager isn’t using it – it makes that much difference.

We are also using a product called Clean & Clear Advantage – Acne Spot Treatment.  It has a purple cap and is in a small silver tube.  The stuff is clear, and it only takes a dab of it.  I think it cost around $7 at Walmart (which I thought was expensive), but it has done a pretty good job also.  We had tried different acne creams and they bleached out several shirts when kiddo would sweat after P.E., so we switched to this instead.

Lastly, if you have any foods that you know make you prone to breakouts, avoid them or at least eat sparingly.  Some people say chocolate is a trigger for them, although many doctors would disagree.  When I was younger, chocolate did seem to make my face worse.  That is one good thing about getting older … pimples are fewer and far between.  😀

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