Thursday, 7 April 2011

Let's Talk Potatoes!

In this house potatoes rule!  Yes, we eat rice and pasta but potatoes are king around here!  I have always been a snob about "fake" potatoes.  I would never have dreamed of serving them to my family.  I have faded memories of the few times my mother served them and they were a disgusting pasty memory.

That is until last summer when I discovered through Costco a brand of dehydrated potatoes called Harvest Earth Creamy Mash potatoes that sells for the new 2011 price of $10.50 versus the $9 price I paid summer 2010. Costco had them to sample and I was blown away by the fact that they tasted like potatoes!  The ingredient list is small, potatoes, sea salt and dried milk, so they actually are potatoes!

Each box has 18 packets that in a pinch will serve 6 but with my large family I usually make two packets.  We always have left overs and I will use the leftovers to make potato bread.  If your Irish, you know what I'm talking about!  I also sprinkle in some garlic powder but that is a preference of mine, but just as delicious without.

So, on my last trek to Costco I bought another box and food sealed two packages together to extend the shelf life.  Give them a try, it is a good value and perfect for food storage, camping and when your rushed for time during supper hour.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Canadian Site

It's a rainy, gloomy day though cosy inside our home.  My youngest is home sick with a cold so I'm hanging out with her today.  I stumbled upon a new site today through the survival podcast which is also another good site.  However, what makes this one more interesting to me is that it is Canadian and they are located in the Maritimes!!!  So, if you get a chance, check out Canada Prepared and see for yourself how good it is.  They have a forum which I haven't had a chance to check out yet to see if it is active or not.  It is encouraging knowing there is other like minded Canadians out there! 

Sunday, 3 April 2011


My water storage isn't fancy.  When I started out prepping, I did buy water and ultimately poured it down the drain (or in my garden) when it had expired.  I have delicious well water and I realized that buying water isn't in my budget and goes against my more frugal side.  So, for our drinking water storage, I wash out 2 litre pop bottles or the heavy duty juice bottles and fill them with tap water and add a scant 1/8 teaspoon of bleach.  I date the cap and store the water in my basement but never on the concrete floor as it can leach into the plastic bottles.
The drinking water is good for a year and I simply repeat the process with my bottles each year and continually add to my supply with any pop that comes into the house on weekends.  Though, I have to confess, I am behind in my rotation.  Worst case, I would boil it on the woodstove before drinking.  I recently discovered some water dated from 2007, so I need to be more diligent!

I also make a point to keep my water storing supplies together.  I store my bleach in a reused ketchup bottle so that controlling the measurement is easier.  I use the same measuring spoon stored with the bleach and I throw my pop lids into the dishwasher and then they are also stored with my supplies till I'm ready.  I also make sure I rinse out the pop bottles immediately and store them upside down in a closet till I need them.  I ususally do six bottles at once...dunno why, maybe because I can carry them all together to the basement at once!  But, figuring out a system made a difference in fighting the lazy factor of saying to yourself you'll do it later.

I also keep in my bob bags for the vehicles water purifying tablets along with bottled water which is store bought.  Usually Shoppers Drug Mart puts a case of water on for $1.49 plus deposit every so often.  It is easy to keep it in the van. 

For every bottle of laundry soap or bleach that I empty, I fill it with water and this will be used for dishes or flushing toilets should their be no power.  We are on a well, so this is very important!  I would love to rig out our well with a hand pump but that is beyond my abilities and budget and I haven't convinced my husband on the importance of time I hope!

I hope to buy a water barrel this year for our drain pipes.  We live in an older home and hope to do repairs which also includes the rain gutters.  Ours are pretty nasty, leak all over and desperately need replacing.  So, with new rain gutters I hope to also have a nice rain barrel to catch the water for our garden!

Prices Rising

I realize that this isn't news to those preparing, however just in case someone new stumbles in they may find this newsworthy.  The LDS Cannery is where you can purchase food storage items at cost!  I'm not LDS but they offer a wealth of information and I have ordered from them.  So, seeing their substantial increases really brings it home if your hesitating in buying food before the prices climb any higher.  I got this off a list I am on and wanted to share.

Cannery Price increase effective now!,11666,8133-1-4352-1,00.html

Big price increases at the cannery.

Wheat is now $11.45 (up from $7.65)

The price went up in the 20 most bought foods 19.1% in 22 months or about 1% a month.

Biggest increase in:

Sugar 26%
Regular Oats 29.6%
White Wheat 31.9%
Macaroni 36.4%
Potato Flakes 39.2%

Rice and beans increased very little during the same period.  Anything that is corn related, like meat, is going up very rapidly.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Build a Self Watering Container


So, I finally bought myself some mylar bags and oxygen absorbers for my longterm food storage.  So, into my bins I went to take out my rice to store properly in these bags.  I really try to be diligent about rotating.  Especially because I have a family of six and up until recently couldn't afford or justify the expense of getting mylar.  So, I was very disappointed to discover two large bags of parboiled rice that I have had for at least three years now.  I know because I called Superstore customer service and they verified the date via the upc code. 

The smell isn't to bad, but it definitely smells different from the bag that my husband bought recently.  I have since learned that parboiled rice does go rancid, so I figure I may have to compost it which kills me!  But at the same time, I have no desire to make anyone in the house sick!  I'm hoping to find out that it is actually still good...Help!

I bought my mylar bags from Basic Life Eessentials a local company that I really want to support!  Excellent service and bags are beautiful and strong!

These are my oxygen absorbers that I ordered through LDS in the USA.  They ship for free to CANADA!!!!  WOW!

This is a jar that I foodsaved and another bag of basmati rice done in my foodsaver bags.  I love the mason jar method, but it can be hit and miss for the seal to hold.  Doesn't fill me with confidence, but I do like it!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Preparing your family...

Over the weekend I had my brother and sister in-law visit.  I adore my sil and I have talked to her before about having a pantry.  She did try to start one, but didn't really take it seriously.  She put in some effort during the H1N1 pandemic but when that fizzled out so did her efforts.

Like everyone else, they see what is going on around the world!  They can see prices going up and packages shrinking in size.  From our discussion I decided to show her my pantry.  At best, I have three months set aside for eight people, though if need be I could definitely stretch it out longer...I hope!  She thought I had a year!  She was shocked at what I am storing and I think it took her back a bit.  She immediately said I have to do this!  She had tons of questions and hopefully this is the beginning.

However, what surprised me most was my brother's reaction.  He was angry!  He felt that there was no way they could prepare and why bother because you waste it, they can't afford it, or you can't plan for everything so why bother.  His reaction surprised me because my brother is in the military!  Go figure!  They also just came home from a nice vacation, which they deserved...but honestly, if I could choose between an expensive vacation or buying enough food for a year...I would choose food!  My husband wouldn't agree...but I have a feeling in the short term he will change his mind as prices rise and things around the world get crazier!