Saturday, July 30, 2016
Living the Pantry Lifestyle - A quick Q & A
It is that time of year when the struggle for computer time with the spouse begins. Can you believe preparations are underway for Fantasy Football? Already. So I'm coming in just under the wire for a Saturday post and it will have to be fast. I will try to proofread before clicking Publish. But just in case... forgive any typos, please.
I thought it a good day for answering a few questions, those I have not forgotten...
Do we save up for big projects?
If it is very big we do but we haven't done such a large project recently. My husband cannot earn very much extra income or I would lose my State insurance again (we learned that the hard way). So when he does earn a little here and there, it is often used for smaller projects.
When possible we purchase what we need for a project a little at a time. For instance, the lumber and hardware for the rebuilt raised beds in the garden were purchased in winter when a good selection of lumber was available and Menards had a great sale.
We like to have one seasonal project going at all times to keep costs consistent and not get completely worn out. Although my husband came close this year. He likes to think he is still 29.
Can I recommend a good 72 hour emergency kit?
My best recommendation is to put one together yourself. When I looked through the prepared kits available, I noticed they not only cost a whole lot of money (for three days of food!) but they didn't contain food I would usually eat in such a kit.
Even the Mountain House kit was not what I preferred. Instead, last winter (I think... time goes so fast), I ordered some Mountain House freeze dried pouches* and put together my own 72 hour (or I call mine a "grab and go") kit. It may be used on the go... it may be used at home.
I mixed in inexpensive items like boxes of granola bars, dried fruit, etc. which made it much cheaper than all freeze dried food. The freeze dried pouches were for one substantial meal a day. They have over a ten year shelf life so I'm thinking they will be used before then if we don't have an emergency.
They can be placed in a duffel bag, backpack, or even a Rubbermaid style container should they be stored in the garage. They should also contain at least a flashlight, emergency radio (a small battery operated radio will do), water, and whatever else you find essential. Like a paperback book. Your pet should have a bag ready if you live in an area where you would have to leave quickly in an emergency such as an earthquake, hurricane, wildfire, etc.
Remembering... a 72 hour kit is just the absolute minimum for any emergency. That's why I consider it a grab and go kit. That should be in addition to your regular pantry. Most true emergencies last a lot longer than three days.
What is essential in my pantry?
I always try to have plenty of King Arthur flour, sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, yeast, baking powder, baking soda, etc. for I found by having baking essentials on hand then I rarely have to go out to purchase something at the last minute.
I have fine sea salt, course sea salt, and a Mason jar of flaked salt that is rarely used but on hand when a recipe calls for it. Same with course decorating sugar. They are both for gilding the baked lily. I also keep some sticks of regular old Crisco on hand for my chocolate chip cookie recipe. I have lots of spices and herbs, olive oil, canola oil (a couple larger containers although more would be better), rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, and lemon infused olive oil just for fun.
I always have extra peanut butter and jelly, canned tomatoes, pizza sauce (used for a lot more than pizza), salsa, baked beans, various soups, and salmon. I feel rich for at the moment I have pecans in the freezer as well as plenty of frozen veggies that were purchased at the 10 for $10 sale.
I find if I have basics in the pantry, then I can quickly look up a recipe when something is needed to bake or make for a meal.
Just this last week, my husband asked if I would make chocolate syrup for him after buying vanilla ice cream. The chocolate syrup one buys at the store has stuff in it that he is not supposed to ingest. With items from the pantry, it only took about fifteen minutes to throw together the ingredients from the pantry and about a half an hour in the frig to cool.
I will add the chocolate syrup recipe to my recipe blog next week. It is easy and inexpensive, made with cocoa and sugar.
I've written about other basics I try to keep on hand. Really, I think more about what can be used to put meals together rather than just trying to survive an emergency situation. That is why I call it "deepening the pantry". We store what we eat and eat what we store and the difference is that we have extras as much as we can afford at the time.
Why do I encourage people to stock up so much?
Well, for one thing that is my passion ever since I began writing about it in the 1990s. It is a message God branded into me for a very long time. Having a deep pantry was a lifesaver when we went without income for a year or so two different times. I learned what was essential, what we could have done without, and what we didn't eat even when there was little in the house.
Like so many people, I have an unsettled feeling about what is going on in the world. We all need to be in prayer each day about our country and those other countries God lays on our heart. We need to get involved to the extent He is calling us to be involved.
But the one thing we can do, even if it is just a little each week, is to deepen our pantry with food and essential items. At the very least, it will keep us from being a victim by getting out to buy groceries when we should stay at home... whether it is simply in a snowstorm or a zombie apocalypse.
To the extent you can do so, you are the answer to your family's prayers in a time of crisis and perhaps maybe for others as well. It depends on how much God has gifted you to deepen your pantry.
Deepening the pantry is not an obsession as some who mock you would have you believe. It is a God given God ordained nudging in your spirit. Whether He is telling you to lay aside essentials for one week, one month, or more than a year. It's a God thing and no... you are not crazy. At least in that way... ;)
*If you follow this link to the Mountain House Beef Stew pouch, you can peruse other options. I made decisions by reading the comments by backpackers who depend on these meals on their journey. I'll write more specifics about them soon.
Image: Cookbook and Apples: allposters.com