Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cost of Wasted Food and Water Storage

Why is it so important to "use what you store" and "store what you use?" When was the last time you threw away food you have stored? Has it been a week? A month? A year? If I asked you to take out a $20 bill and rip it up and throw it away, would you? Of course not! Yet, every time we throw away food from our food storage for any reason, it is essentially throwing money away. Not only that, it is a waste of food resources, time, energy, etc.

A. Loss of money—may cost more to replace today than it cost yesterday.

B. Security loss—if it is spoiled it cannot be eaten; what cannot get past the nose will not be eaten unless extreme starvation circumstances exist—thus no security.

C. Quality of food loss—food will never be fresher than it is the day it is stored.

D. Loss of self sufficiency—more dependent upon others.

The following attitudes and actions result in wasted foods. Food stored properly will be a source of security, preparedness, and aid in the management of available resources to the family.

  • Saving food and water for use only in time of emergency.
  • Storing what someone else outlines (not personalizing).
  • Storing foods family does not like and or will not eat.
  • Not rotating foods in storage.
  • Not developing habits or using skills necessary to utilize storage.
  • Placing storage in unaccessible locations.
  • Placing storage in adverse storage conditions.
A "Food Storage" should be an extension of your pantry. Use it or lose it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Preserving (Canning) Brown Sugar

Brown sugar doesn't last nearly as long as regular sugar in your food storage. If kept in its original bag, it will turn hard in a relatively short amount of time. You can buy brown sugar (C&H Brand- the good stuff) at Costco or Sam's for about $13 for a 25 pound bag. That makes it about 1/2 the cost of buying it at the grocery store. Here is a way to store brown sugar that will keep it as fresh as the day you bought it. What you will need, however, is a FoodSaver, and a mason jar attachment.

I purchase a 25 pound bag at a time of Brown Sugar from either Costco or Sam's.

My kids like to help put the brown sugar into jars. I pack it in tightly using a wooden tart press (you could use anything that fits down into the jar). Each quart jar holds about 2 pounds of brown sugar.

When the jar is full, wipe off the rim, so no sugar is on it. If there is sugar on the rim, the jar will not seal.

Put the lid on the jar (you do not need to do anything to the lid), and then put the jar attachment (seen here- can purchase on amazon.com, or get a a kitchen specialty store) over the whole top of the jar.

Plug into the FoodSaver and seal! The food saver extracts all of the oxygen out of the jar and seals the lid. When you open the jar when you are ready to use it, the brown sugar is as soft as the day you sealed it.

The finished product ready to go into my food storage room.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Powdered Milk Price Comparisons (per gallon)

As of 7-16-09, here are the different prices per gallon of powdered milk (reconstituted), when purchased at Macey's grocery store:

Country Fresh Farms: $4.88/gallon (ouch!)
Western Family Nonfat: $2.99/gallon
Morning Moo Chocolate: $2.40/gallon
Morning Moo Regular: $2.18/gallon
Country Cream: $2.20/gallon
LDS Cannery: $1.06/gallon (obviously purchased at LDS Cannery)

In a previous taste test, I actually preferred the Country Cream and LDS Church Cannery milk.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Powdered Milk Taste Test

At a class I attended on powdered milk, they had 6 different brands reconstituted (unmarked, so we could not tell what was what). They also had a pitcher (unmarked, of course) of real milk. We each sampled each milk, deciding if we thought:
  • Was it instant?
  • Was it real milk?
  • Would you purchase it for drinking?
  • What was the best tasting?
  • What was the worst tasting?
We found out later that the brands used were: Carnation Instant (sold in boxes); Morning Moo Milk Alternative; Country Cream; LDS Church Cannery; Morning Moo Chocolate; and real, non powdered milk.

Everyone in the class was surveyed to see which they thought was best, and if they could tell the real milk. It was interesting to see that some people preferred one thing, others preferred something else. This is how I rated them:

1. Country Cream (Best Tasting)
2. The real milk (Funny that I thought Country Cream tasted better... I thought IT must be the real milk)
3. LDS Church Cannery
4. Morning Moo Chocolate Flavor
5. Morning Moo Regular Milk Flavor
6. Carnation Instant (Worst Tasting)

So, before spending a lot of money on your powdered milk, it might be a great idea to purchase several cans, make up a quart of each and have your family do a taste test. Whatever your family likes best should be what you store.

Just make sure you make it up the day before, and serve it refrigerated.

Monday, July 20, 2009

BYU Personal Finance

Budgeting and saving money are hobbies of mine. I am always on the look out for sound financial information to help me and my family be prepared financially. Since my husband is self employed, and income is irregular, it is especially important for me to be a wise steward over our finances. Luckily, there are so many resources to help. If you haven't checked out the BYU Personal Finance site, I highly recommend it. It is all free, and it has a wealth of information. Check it out!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Have My Food Storage

I came across this and thought I would share..

Top Ten Reasons Why I Don't have Food Storage!

Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Have My Food Storage.

by Wendy Dewitt

10. My neighbors have a TWO year supply! No, they don't. They don't have any food. Did you know that 85% of the members of the church don't have any food storage at all? If your idea of food storage is to eat someone else's food.....this is a really bad plan.

9. I've paid tithing for 20 years...the church can give me a little food. Many members believe that when the times get hard, the church is going to come through like Joseph in Egypt. Absolutely not true. All the church storehouses and welfare farms across the country would only feed 4% of the members of the church. The church has been asking YOU to store food for 75 years. They're NOT storing food for you. Thus, another bad plan.

8. I'm moving in with my children / parents! Really....that's just a bad plan all by itself. But it points out that most members don't have a year's supply because they're PLANNING on eating someone else's food! Of course, since no one HAS any food, we have yet another bad plan.

7. I have a year's supply...and the bullets to go with it! I've heard time and again, "How dumb is that to go to all the time and expense of getting food...just to have some guy with a gun come and shoot my family to take it away?" Here's a better question. Are you afraid of the guy with the gun? Or are you more afraid of BECOMING the guy with the gun? What would you do if your children were starving to death? Would you lie? Cheat? Steal? Would you shoot your neighbor for his food? I guarantee....if you were watching your child starving to death, you would do anything you had to to keep them alive. If you don't have your year's supply, you are putting yourself in danger of losing not only your temporal salvation, but your spiritual salvation as well.

So far, all the reasons we don't have our food storage involve eating someone else's food. Please, don't put your family's temporal salvation in other people's hands. No one is storing food for you. Not your neighbors, not the government...not even the church.

#6. The boat and the 4 wheelers are taking up all my storage space! (priorities!)

#5. 3 letters....Y2K. Ok, that's 2 letters and a number....but they're always making way too much out of everything! This is never going to happen!" (Every prophecy that has ever been given WILL happen.)

#4. If anything DOES happen, the government will be here within hours! (insert laughter) Did you know the government has been telling us that we need to have food storage? They're actually CALLING it food storage! We now have the government telling us to store food, water, medicines...whatever we will need to be able to stay in our homes for several months.

#3. I can't afford scrap booking AND food storage. The average food storage can cost as little as a dollar a day. We live in the richest society in the history of the world, and while there are cases where money may be a problem, most of the time it is a matter of priorities. We have chosen bigger homes, nicer cars, more tv's, computers, vacations ...everything is more important than our food storage. If I asked, "Who has a cell phone?" most of you would say yes. You pay at least $30 a month to have a cell phone....that's about a dollar a day...the cost of one year's supply of food for your child. Is your cell phone really more important than your child's temporal salvation? You have to make food storage a priority.

2. I'm waiting for the cannery to sell Papa John's dehydrated pizza! Food storage has always had a stigma attached to it. If it's not wheat, beans and powdered milk, it's not food storage. With the system I use, food storage can be sweet and sour chicken, tamale pie, chile and cornbread, beef stew, shepherd's pie, minestrone...even chocolate chip cookies! Your imagination (and your pocketbook) are the only limitations you have.

And the #1 reason why I don't have my year's supply of food? A year?? I thought it was 72 hours!!

You KNOW you should have your food storage. You WANT to have it, but it can be so overwhelming! How much do I buy? Where do I store it? How do I cook it? It seems like an impossible task.... but it's not. It doesn't matter if you use my system or just start buying extra food, the important thing is to do something. Good luck in your efforts! Wendy DeWitt

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Storage Area

Many people are blessed to have a nice, dark, cool area in their basements to store their supply of food. Not everyone is in that situation. When choosing where to store your food, several things are important to consider.

"The storage area should be located where the average temperature can be kept above 32°F and below 70°F. Remember that the cooler the storage area the longer the retention of quality and nutrients. Freezing of some items, such as canned products, should be avoided since the expansion of the food during freezing may rupture (metal) or break (glass) the container, or break the seal on lids on glass bottles, and allow the food to be contaminated. This could pose a serious safety risk when the food thaws. The storage area should be dry (less than 15 percent humidity), and adequately ventilated to prevent condensation of moisture on packaging material. The area should be large enough so that shelves can accommodate all of the stored food and adequate space is available to keep the area clean and tidy. A 9 x 12 foot room with 10 foot ceilings will provide adequate space for a family of six to store an 18 month supply of food. Food should not be stored on the floor. It is a good idea to have the lowest shelf 2-3 feet off the floor in flood prone areas. Shelves should be designed so that a simple rotation system can effectively allow the oldest food to be used first and the newest food to be held within the shelf-life period.

When designing and building a food storage area, do it to minimize areas where insects and rodents can hide. As practical, seal all cracks and crevices. Eliminate any openings which insects or rodents may use to gain entrance to the storage area. Electrical equipment such as freezers, furnaces and hot water heaters should not be housed in the storage area. These appliances produce heat, unnecessarily increasing storage temperatures. Insulation of the storage area from other areas of the house will effectively reduce the average yearly temperature of the food."

Source: Charlotte P. Brennand, PhD, and Deloy G. Hendricks, PhD, Department of Nutrition & Food Sciences, USU

If ideal circumstances do not exist in your home for your storage space, consider storing under the bed (cooler, and darker), in coat closets, or anywhere where the temperature is cooler. The temperature is the main ingredient in maintaining quality food storage.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Homemade Tortillas

My family LOVES tortillas (not the premade, packaged gross kind), but the ones from Costco that you bake yourself. Whenever I bought the packages of them at Costco (about $7 for a pack), we ate them within a week. A couple of months ago after a lunch at Cafe Rio (I visit them about every week), I remembered that I had a great recipe for tortillas that tasted much like the Cafe Rio ones. After finding the recipe, I made them. It had been a while since I had made them! They were soooo good! My family decided that they tasted better than the Costco cook yourself kind, and as good as Cafe Rio! Well, since that day, we have been making tortillas a couple times a week. Not only do they taste fantastic, they are very, very cheap to make. Even better! This is a great way to use your food storage! You can use whole wheat flour (for 1/2 the amount of the flour) if you desire. Pair these with some home-canned chicken mixed with taco seasoning (post on how to can your own meat coming), home canned black beans, cheese, salsa, lettuce, and sour cream, and you have a super yummy, inexpensive meal!

4 cups flour (can use 2 cups whole wheat if desired)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup oil

Mix in Kitchen Aid with wire beater until all of the oil is incorporated- mixture will look like crumbs. (I did mine in the food processor). Add 1 1/2 cups HOT water. Continue mixing with the dough hook until ball is formed. (If using food processor, mix until ball is formed as well). Let dough knead in mixer for 1-2 minutes. Divide dough into large golf ball sized balls. Cover blobs of dough with towel and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Roll out. Don't worry if they aren't perfect circles, they never are. Cook on dry, medium heat in pan until bubbles form on the tortilla, then turn over and continue cooking until done.

Blobs of dough, sitting for 10-15 minutes

Roll out dough into circles. Roll them as thin as you can, the dough is very elastic.

Cook on medium-hot griddle (ungreased!) for 10-20 seconds until bubbles form.

Turn over and finish cooking (another 10-20 seconds).

The finished product. You won't be able to eat just one. :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Food Storage You Tube Video

Here is a great 3 minute video with prophetic statements to get you motivated to start, continue and use your food storage. Click here to view. Enjoy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dry Bean Equivalent

Most recipes call for cooked beans. If you are rotating your dry bean supply, the following equivalents may be helpful:

15-oz can beans = 1 1/2 cooked beans, drained
1 pound dry beans =5- 6 cups cooked beans, drained
1 pound dry beans = 2 cups dry beans
1 cup dry beans = 3 cups cooked beans, drained
2/3 cup of dry beans cooks up to 1 (15 oz) can of cooked beans.

Happy Cooking! Remember, changing the water that the beans were soaked in helps eliminate gas!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Canning dry beans

With the cost of food continually rising, I am finding that I really save money when I can my own food. Dry beans are very inexpensive to store for food storage. They are wonderful to have. As any other food in our food storages, they too need to be rotated and used. I love beans, but I find they take a lot of time to cook, and I need to plan ahead for when we will be using them. Canned, ready to use beans save a ton of time. At the store, a 15 oz can of beans range from .89-$1.69, depending on the type, and the store. Comparatively, a pint jar of your own canned beans (15-16 oz) costs about .18 cents. Of course you have the initial cost of the jar, but they can be reused indefinately. At the LDS Cannery, you can buy a 25 pound bag of dry beans for about $14.00!
Canning your own beans:

: An average of 5 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 3.25 pounds is needed per canner load of 10 pints-- and average of 3/4 pounds per quart.

: Select mature, dry seeds. Sort out and discard discolored seeds.

Procedure: a. Place dried beans or peas in a large pot and cover with water. Soak 12-18 hours in a cool place. Drain water. To quickly hydrate beans, you may cover sorted and washed beans with boiling water in a saucepan. Boil 2 minutes, remove from heat, soak 1 hour and drain (this is the way I prefer- much faster!). Cover beans soaked by either method with fresh water and boil 30 minutes.

b. Sterilize jars in the dishwasher. Pull them out when you are ready to use them so they are hot.

c. Using a slotted spoon, put beans in jar (use a canning funnel so you won't have a big mess!) leaving about 1 inch headspace (the space between top of rim and the beans).

d. When all jars are filled with the hot, partially cooked beans, use the liquid they were cooked in to fill up the jar. Once again, fill to 1 inch headspace.

e. Using a chopstick or knife, get air bubbles out by placing it on the inside if the jar and gently angling it toward the center.

f. Wipe off all rims of the jars. Make sure they are all clean!

g. Heat lids in simmering water for a couple of minutes to soften the seal.

h. Put lids and rings on jars. Only screw on "finger tight".

i. Put in canner. My canner holds 20 pints (stacked), or 7 quarts. Use your canner as directed in the instructions.

j. For elevations 4001-6000 feet (all of Utah County, and most of Utah), process pints for 75 minutes at 13 pounds of pressure. Process quarts for 90 minutes at 13 pounds of pressure.

13 pounds pressure

Finished product

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Baby Step # 4 (Dave Ramsey)

I love Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps! I feel it is one of the best way to get your finances in order.

Baby Step #4:
Direct 15% of your annual pre-tax income into your retirement plans. Utilize tax-advantaged accounts such as 401ks and Roth IRAs, if eligible.

If you are on this baby step, that means you have completed baby steps 1, 2, and 3! Congratulations!

Before this step, we were working on "cleaning the slate" of debt, and having our cushion emergency fund. Now it's time to get your retirement funds in shape! Contribute the maximum amount you can, your goal being contributions of a full 15 percent (or more) of your household's gross (pre-tax) income. If you have tax-advantaged plans (401k or Roth IRA, for example) available to you, then use them to their fullest extent. If your company matches any part of your contributions, do not consider this as part of your 15 percent. Additionally, do not include expected Social Security benefits in your retirement calculations. "I don't count on an inept government for my dignity at retirement, and you shouldn't either," Ramsey says. Chances are, Social Security benefits will be long gone before it is time for us to use them.

At this point, if you haven't already done so, it is time to begin seriously educating yourself about mutual funds, stocks, and the financial markets. You don't want to blindly put your money where you don't understand what is happening.

"Getting older is going to happen," Ramsey says. "You must invest now if you want to spend your golden years in dignity."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

New LDS Church Provident Living Blog!

Yay! The Church has introduced a new provident living blog. Click here to view! I think this will help us all in our provident living desires!

Here is the welcome letter:

An Invitation to Participate

To those of you who are passionate about preparedness, the Provident Living team invites you to join us in creating the next generation of the ProvidentLiving.org web site for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We envision the new Provident Living site to be a dynamic resource that not only teaches the principles of preparedness, but also motivates our worldwide audience to become better prepared. We appreciate what you are already doing to inspire others in their preparedness efforts, and we hope to draw from your experience and creativity to enhance the Church’s message of preparedness.

This blog is intended to be a gathering place for ideas, advice, and inspiration as we design the new preparedness-focused web site. Please comment on the different posts that interest you. Help us understand the needs of our audiences throughout the world, and ways you think we could better address their needs. Also, please share with us your success stories or lessons learned concerning preparedness. We desire to help families become prepared, and we recognize that your passion for preparedness will help us reach a larger audience.

We look forward to hearing from you.

The Provident Living Web Site Team

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Garden Therapy

I don't know about you, but I am really enjoying my garden! I enjoy going out each day and seeing the progress in each plant. It amazes me that these huge plants came from a single seed! This is the first year that I have used a square foot garden. So far, here is what I have learned:
  • To trellis tomatoes, you have to be DILIGENT. If you let them go for a week, it is really hard to get them back on the trellis. I am not sure if I like trellising tomatoes better than using traditional tomato cages.
  • Trellising tomatoes does take less room.
  • Weeds are really kept to a minimum. I have pulled only a handful of tiny weeds out of the gardens.
  • All the plants are growing exceptionally well- better than I have ever had in my traditional gardens.
  • This method really does produce more than the traditional garden. I have way more than what my family of 6 can eat (the neighbors are enjoying it!)
  • If I would have realized how much I loved it, I would have done this 15 years ago.
So far, we have harvested at least 20 zucchini, 10 yellow squash (I only planted one zucchini plant, and one squash plant), loads of peas, romaine lettuce, bibb lettuce, herbs, spinach, swiss chard, and onions. The carrots are about 5 inches long, and the beets are ready to be harvested. I give the square foot garden method a thumbs up.

The peas are about 6 ft. high

Zucchini plant

Yellow Squash

Pole Beans

Romaine Lettuce

Peppers (green, anaheim, jalapeno)


Bush Beans (upper left)

Trellis tomatoes

Swiss Chard




Cucumbers (front), peas (back)