Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Emergency Preparedness

(Image found on Google Images from here)

I mentioned  a week or 2 ago about this Emergency Preparedness Experiment we agreed to participate in. Basically starting at the moment we were asked, we could not shop for a whole week (unless absolutely positively necessary). I'll admit that I was willing, just not necessarily thrilled to do it.  I will also admit that I did go to the store the very next day to buy milk (yes, just milk!) for my son.  I do, however have powdered milk in case of an emergency, but I just didn't find it fair to have to make him suffer like that (or me, for that matter...I really didn't want to deal with a VERY cranky boy who didn't get his milk...yes, he knows the difference!).  

I thought it might be fun to share with you what we ate over the past week, so maybe it might help you stock up your pantry or freezer, I don't know.  I found that I had more of a challenge then I normally would, because we were out of town for a week and were only home for 3 days before we were put up to the challenge (in which I did NOT go shopping!), so I really had to go 3 weeks or more without shopping!  Well I guess I know we'll be okay for a couple weeks in case of a disaster, right?  Here are a few of the things that we ate.  We had leftovers 1 night and a free for all, choose what you want another night.  
  • Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches - We had T.J.'s Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup (a great alternative to canned, but unfortunately doesn't last as long in your pantry!).  We already had bread, but I always keep a loaf in the freezer - when I run out, I take the frozen loaf out and buy a new loaf and put it in the freezer, that way I'm always rotating and never out!)
  • Spaghetti & broccoli (frozen) - I always keep extra pasta in the pantry, as well as a can or more of spaghetti sauce.  I used Trader Joe's sauce, which I added seasoned cooked ground beef to, as well as some other seasonings including cayenne pepper (which really made it yummy!).  I also almost always have fresh, frozen broccoli on hand in my freezer.
  • Taco Soup & Corn Bread - This is a great pantry soup that makes a ton and is a great way to use up (or rather rotate) your beans.  For the corn bread, I used a box of Jiffy corn bread mix I had in the freezer.
  • Frozen Pizza (the yummy Margarita kind from Costco) with spinach salad.
  • Chicken Nuggets with mashed potatoes (the powdered kind) and frozen (or canned) corn.
Two key things that I always make sure that I do with my food storage is rotate and replenish.  Make sure that you store only food that you'll actually eat.  There's no reason why you shouldn't be able to eat much different then you do normally.  Utilize your freezer and pantry (if you're like me and don't have a real pantry, make one!  Put up a shelf in your laundry room or a closet designated only for food.)  I almost never am without my non-perishable or freezable food items.  I always have one in my pantry while one is being used.  When the one being used runs out, I buy a new one as if there wasn't any in storage, then place the new one in storage and use the one that was already there (hopefully that made sense).  It doesn't cost any more than your normal grocery visits (except of course the very first time you buy an extra one, but do things one at a time if needed!), in fact you would be replenishing them anyway.  Make sure that you do the same thing with non-food items such as toilet paper, fem. supplies, diapers, wipers, toothpaste, deo., soap, laundry soup, etc.  For example I buy my diapers in big boxes from Costco.  When I am 1/2 way through the box, I buy a new box, so I never even get close to running out.  

Why should YOU prepare?  So many people think that they don't need to prepare because "there hasn't ever been a natural disaster here!"  Well being prepared is more than just for natural disasters (which by the way you never do know if one might hit!).  With our country being in the financial trouble that it is in right now, I believe everyone should prepare for hard times!  Who knows when we will have to dig into our food supply.  Hard times doesn't just mean financial trouble....what if there is a transportation strike and no food can be shipped into your area...I'll tell ya what, I don't want to be the one who's family starves because there is no food in the stores! Or what if we become unemployed and have no money coming in?  The list really could go on and on.  My husband and I have lived off of food storage MANY times - thankfully we had it.  So that, my friends, is why emergency preparedness is important!

You don't have to start big, just start with what you have.  Good luck!  

One last thing, then I'll be done going off on my tangent.  I don't know if I would necessarily recommend doing this, but I would recommend maybe going through your pantry and freezer and make a mock menu to see if you actually have the right kinds of foods needed to live off of for a week or weeks at a time.

I'm done...lets get back to REAL food now! :)


AnyEdge said...

You should check out "cooking tip of the day" a blog by Linda. She's cool and has awesome ideas.

Sandy said...

Jules...I'm sorry, but I'm still laughing that you guys were asked to go a WHOLE WEEK without shopping:) I guess I've lived out in the middle of nowhere for too long! However, you did inspire us to try a similar test ourselves - I'm going to the store today to get a few things, then we're going to go a whole month without any grocery shopping. We have what we *think* is about 9 months storage, but we thought it would be a good idea to try to live off of it completely for a month and see how much our family actually uses in a month (and WHAT we use) before we go make/grow/buy/store more next summer. We definitely live somewhere where its not too far fetched to have a scenerio where we couldn't get to the store for weeks at a time (weather, flooding,etc.) and we have definitely used our storage during tougher financial times, too (like during house construction!!!). Thanks for the good reminder!!

I'd also like to add...conference weekend is a GREAT time to check over your food storage and 72 hour kit. We got into this habit a few years ago and we just know that we'll be going through everything twice a year!