July 31, 2010

Year Supply

I would not recommend even thinking about starting to organize your year supply of food until you have your 3 month supply of food organized, and well under way. If you do not have your 3 monthly supply started, please consult my 3 month supply posts. If you feel comfortable with your position on your 3 month supply, you may continue reading.
Store a year supply of basics. If this sounds overwhelming to you for any reason (time, space, money, etc.), as it does to me, then don't worry about a year supply. Think of this in terms of 1, 3, or 6 months instead. Once you have and use basic foods, you may branch out to other foods as your interest, time, finances, and space allow.
So, what should you store? A calculator can be found online at About.com. Or you can use this spreadsheet that I created. Just print out each page of this spreadsheet, then fill in the highlighted cells, showing how much you want to store (goal), and how much you have. With both of these calculators, be sure to individualize it to your family's needs and preferences. If you don't like one type of bean, substitute for another. If you prefer one type of grain over another, make those substitutes, as well.
In future posts I will address each basic food storage item individually.

July 29, 2010


I have read a few financial books recently that emphasize the importance of having a will. Then a week ago I attended a class on Financial Information binders. Here I learned that I should include the original will in my Financial Information binder, and a copy with an attorney/relative/friend. I have now determined that having an up-to-date will is an important part of emergency and financial preparedness. For example, if you are married and have children, and both you and your spouse die, and you have not outlined in a will where you would like your children to go, the children will become wards of the state, and the state will determine where the best place for them to be is. That may be with grandma and grandpa, an aunt and uncle, or foster care. I think that I can determine who could best take care of my children better than a state official(s).

If you do not currently have money available to have a will made, I believe it is something worth saving for. In the mean time, you can write your wishes down, and place them in a location where someone could easily find (such as your Financial Information binder). You should also leave it with another individual, probably the person you request to take care of your children.  This document would preferably be typed and notarized (a bank can notarize, usually for a small fee). If you are married, be sure that both you and your spouse sign.

Please note that I am not a lawyer, and am not giving legal advice. The above information is simply my point of view, based on factual information that I have gathered from multiple sources.

More on the Financial Information binder to come, as I create mine.

July 26, 2010

Salmon Enchiladas

I adapted this recipe from The Well-Fed Heart.  Yummy!  You will notice with both this recipe and my chicken enchilada recipe that I don't roll tortillas for my enchiladas.  I just layer the tortillas and filling.  This saves time; I have also found that rolling corn tortillas is quite tricky.  They tear a lot.

Salmon Enchiladas

1 15-oz. can salmon
1 4-oz. can diced green chilies
1/4 cup chopped onion (I used yellow, but green or sweet would be great)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2-1 cup black beans (depending on how much you like beans)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (monterey jack and cheddar are good)
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
corn tortillas
cream cheese, softened, if desired

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook onion in a fry pan covered with cooking spray over medium heat, until soft.
  3. Mix first eight ingredients in a large bowl, reserving ½ cup shredded cheese.
  4. Cover bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish with salmon mixture.  Place tortillas on top.  Repeat layers until all of salmon mixture is used, preferably ending with tortillas on top (although this doesn't matter too much).
  5. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.  
  6. Remove from oven. Spread the cream cheese on top, followed by the salsa, and then reserved shredded cheese. 
  7. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until cheese is browned, and salsa is warm.

July 24, 2010

Coupon Mom

I just discovered couponmom.com.  It is really neat.  I just choose from a drop down menu what state and store I wish to look at, and it will tell me what is on sale at the store and what coupons I can use to help me save even more money.  I ordered a weekend subscription to a newspaper this week, so I am on my way to saving. 

July 23, 2010

Freezing Chicken

Last week I cooked chicken and froze it so that it is ready for me to use whenever I need it. Chicken thighs were on sale for 68¢/lb. I cooked them up, took the chicken off the bone, and froze it in 1 cup portions. I put each cup in a cheap sandwich bag, then put all the bags in a freezer bag. I learned this tip from my sister-in-law.
I cooked the chicken on a cookie sheet covered with tin foil at 425
° for about 40 minutes. I also put tin foil on top of the chicken to help keep it from getting brown and hard. This worked okay, but I'm sure there's a better method for cooking chicken thighs. If you have an idea, please leave a comment. Thanks!

July 21, 2010

Emergency Preparedness Class

I have now attended 2 out of 3 parts of an emergency preparedness class put on by USU Extensions. I have learned a lot! I will quickly outline below what I learned. Then as I do each of these items myself, I will write a more detailed post.

  1. 120 hour kits. Yes, no more 72 hour kits. That is just not long enough. I have always thought of these as kind of a 1-size-fits-all deal. No! Make it individual to you and your family's needs.
  2. Car kit. I have never had one. I will soon be creating one.
  3. Family emergency plan. Have multiple meeting places, and local and out-of-state contacts.
  4. Electrical, water, and gas shut offs. This is a top priority for me to learn.
  5. Shelter in Place guidelines. In case there is some sort of chemical or nuclear threat, you may need to stay inside, and do everything you can to keep air from entering the room you are in.
  6. Evacuation plan. Where will you go? How will you get there? What will you bring with you?
  7. Emergency cash stash. Have lots of $1 bills and quarters on hand.
  8. Financial information binder. You want to have all of your financial information all together in multiple safe locations.

July 15, 2010

Freezer vs. Canned Jam

It is almost canning season! So today I researched freezer vs. canned jam. The difference is that freezer jam is not cooked. This makes it a lot easier and simpler than canning jam. But the flavor is definitely different.
When canning, I recommend getting an actual canning book. I have the Ball Blue Book. By following the recipes in this book, I know the food meets the USDA's requirements, and will be safe. I don't know if a recipe from a website, friend, or family member will be safe.
When making a freezer jam, you don't have to worry about safety. Anything can go in the freezer, and as long as the freezer is cold enough, it will be safe to eat.

July 13, 2010

Coupons! (again) and a shopping warning

Last coupon post I made I said that I wasn't into coupons. I just began house-sitting, and enjoyed the last month of the owners' newspaper subscription, and therefore the coupons. Now that I've used coupons, though, I think I may continue to.

10¢ per ounce used to be my price point for cereal. And I thought that this was a really good deal. Actually, I still think it is a really good deal, but I see now that I can do much better than this. On Saturday I bought 8 boxes of name-brand cereal for $8, averaging at less than 7¢/ oz.

So, today I have been researching online coupons, with the help of my aunt (thank you!). I have found The Krazy Coupon Lady to be very helpful. All You also has a lot of printable coupons.

On Saturday I also bought pasta. It was advertised at being 50¢ per 12-16 oz. package. I planned to only get 16 oz. packages. After arriving home, I discovered that I had bought 5 12 oz. packages and 1 24 oz. package (priced at $2). The lesson: look at what you are purchasing, to make sure you got what you really wanted.