Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan: Bye Week

Since the plan has four weekly assignments for each month, and there are some months that have five Tuesdays in a month, there will be a few times in the year that you won't have any assignments. This week happens to be one of those times. I always use these "bye weeks" as a time to clean up my food storage room or closet, or catch up on missed weeks (which I happen to have a few of in March). If you are uber-organized and are caught up and organized, pat yourself on the back and treat yourself! We'll be starting up with April's assignments next week!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March Week 4: Rice -- white, brown, instant

This week's food storage item is a simple one:

March Week 4: Rice -- white, brown, instant

We eat mostly brown rice in our family, so I buy bags of brown rice and store them in a tub (just to keep them from slipping and sliding all over the shelf). I also buy a case of Minute Brown Rice whenever there is a case lot sale, just to have on hand. Sometimes I need to be quicker about cooking my rice, if you know what I mean, and then Minute Brown Rice is just the thing.

Now, one thing that I LOVE to do is go to the Home Storage dry-pack cannery and load up on things that I want to have on my shelf for a really long time. One of the items they offer is White Rice, as pictured above in the can. I canned the rice in March of 2011, and it will be good for 30+ years. Can't ask for much more than that! To see if you have a Home Storage Center near you, click here.

This is a photo of our youth group working at the dry-pack cannery as part of our Amazing Race Youth Conference that Bob and I were in charge of. Even the youth had fun while doing the canning.

I printed the most updated order form, and as you can see, they have quite an offering of goods for food storage. To see the full form (which includes bulk prices), click here.

You can see that there are prices for both the pre-packaged items that may be available and also the prices for the pack-your-own items.

To see the items that you can order on-line, click here. They have quite a few different items, including rice. If you don't have a Home Storage Center near you, then this might be a good option. There is also some very helpful information on anything from storing drinking water, to finances, to short and long term food supply here.  It's definitely worth checking out, and the information is very useful!

Now, go and decide how much rice you and your family will need in the coming year (and way beyond, if you have the space), then add it to your grocery list. Next time you're at the grocery store, pick up the items, and get them on your shelves. Doesn't that feel great?

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March Week 3: Spices, Herbs, Seasonings

This week's food storage items are:

March Week 3: spices, herbs, seasonings (salt, pepper, seasoning salt, taco seasoning, chili powder, etc.)

As with all of the other weeks, store what your family uses. The one exception to that is that everyone should have iodized salt on their food storage shelves. It doesn't expire, so you can buy a case (or more) and you won't have to worry about having to throw it out... ever!  Most of what I've read online indicates that there is no expiration date, though there is some debate about whether iodized salt may expire at some point. The following is from Eatbydate:

How Long Does Salt Last?

The shelf life of salt
A better questions might be – does salt expire? Salt, or sodium chloride, is an essential mineral needed by the human body (and all animals) in order to function properly. It helps maintain the fluid levels in the body, yet an excess can be harmful. The shelf life of salt, a natural ingredient found in both land and sea has been there since the beginning of time. It is has been used for flavoring and food preservation for ages.
So, the official answer to does salt expire or does salt go bad is… No, it does not expire! When properly stored, the shelf life of salt is
Salt lasts forIndefinite

There are many, many uses for salt, whether it be used with food or for cleaning. I store quite a bit of salt, and I will only have to re-buy it once in a long while -- perhaps when I see a good deal in a case lot sale. Check out some of the many uses for salt at the end of this post.

If you go through other seasonings or spices, it wouldn't hurt to add them to your list. I use quite a bit of cinnamon, taco seasoning, seasoning salt and pepper, so I like to have at least one large jar of each on my food storage shelf. When I run out in the kitchen, I take from the food storage so that I am naturally rotating through my storage. These other items do have an expiration date and will lose some of their flavor after time, so don't overbuy.

Decide what you and your family will need as far as spices, herbs and seasonings go, add it to your grocery list, and next time you're at the grocery store, buy what you need and get it on your shelves. Easy peasy and it takes literally 10 minutes of your time! ...And you don't have to think about any more food storage til next week!

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

24 Uses for Salt
We know that eating too much salt is unhealthy for us (or is it?), but salt has all kinds of uses around the home! From your beauty routine to cleaning, salt can really come in handy.
Table salt and Epsom salts are perfect for making green cleaning and DIY beauty products at home. They’re cheap, they’re readily available, and unless you’re drinking that salt scrub you made, they’re non-toxic. Regular old salt has some very useful qualities. It cuts grease like a champ, is a mild antiseptic, and those tiny crystals are great for scrubbing counter tops or your skin.
There are probably thousands of ways that you can use salt around the house, so think of this list as a jumping-off point!
Salt for DIY Beauty
Who needs expensive, store-bought beauty supplies when you have salt on hand? Check out these DIY beauty recipes that use salt! If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to try out these recipes on a small area before you commit to scrubbing your whole face or body with salt.
1. Soothe Puffy Eyes – Soak a cloth in 1 cup warm water that has 1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved in it to make a compress for tired eyes.
2. Exfoliate – After a bath or shower, use plain old salt to slough off dead skin from dry areas like your feed, elbows, or knees.
3. Homemade Facial – Mix 1 part salt with 1 part olive oil, and massage into your face and neck. Wash of with soap and water, and admire your glowing skin.
4. DIY Salt Scrub – Combine coarse salt with a little bit of olive oil and your favorite essential oils for a decadent salt scrub.
5. Whiten Teeth – A mixture of 1 part salt and 2 parts baking soda will not only whiten your teeth but helps promote healthy gums by removing built up plaque. This mixture is too abrasive to use daily, so only do this treatment occasionally.
6. Relax in a Salt Bath – A couple of cups of salt in the tub helps relax sore muscles. You can up the ante by adding some soothing essential oils, like lavender or chamomile.
7. Fight Dandruff – Who needs chemical-packed dandruff shampoo? Before your next shower, massage your head with salt to remove those dead skin cells, then wash your hair with your usual shampoo.
8. Make a Bath Bomb – Instead of shelling out big bucks for all natural bath bombs, check out this recipe for homemade bath bombs with Epsom salts instead.
Cleaning the House with Salt
Salt’s scrubbing and degreasing powers make it a perfect choice for cleaning the house on the cheap and without harsh chemicals. Just like with your skin, before you scrub any surface with salt, do a little test to make sure it won’t scratch the finish.
9. Cleaning Brass – Combine 1 cup each of salt, white flour, and white vinegar. After you scrub the brass with it, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then wipe off with a damp cloth.
10. Get Grease out of Carpet – Mix 1 cup salt with 4 cups alcohol to gently scrub grease out of rugs and carpets.
11. Stop Wine Stains – Did you spill that glass of red all over the tablecloth or rug? Blot up what you can with a rag, when pour on the salt to soak up the remaining drops. Once the salt is dry, rinse it with cold water, then vacuum.
12. Get Rid of Condensation Rings on Wood – Add a tiny bit of salt to a light oil, like sunflower oil, and gently massage away those ugly white rings left from cold glasses.
13. Make Sponges Last Longer – Soak your sponge in cold water with a handful of salt to de-stink and extend its life.
14. Clean Your Iron – Is your iron a little sticky? Sprinkle some salt onto a piece of paper and iron over it on low to clean it off.
15. Clean the Fish Tank - Non-iodized salt is a great scrub for the inside of your fish tank. Just make sure you rinse it well before refilling. Did I mention non-iodized salt? Make sure that you use non-iodized salt.
16. Prevent Weeds – Are weeds popping up between the tiles on your patio? Pour salt into those crevices to keep them away naturally.
Cleaning the Kitchen with Salt
You may not shake salt into your food, but it’s so handy for cleaning in the kitchen that it deserves a category all its own.
17. Clean Greasy Pans – Slice a lemon in half, sprinkle on some salt, and marvel at the grease-cutting power!
18. Get Out Coffee and Tea Stains – Is your favorite mug looking a little dingy? Rub those coffee or tea stains with salt to buff them away.
19. De-Stink that Fridge – Next time you clean out your refrigerator, use a mixture of salt and seltzer to scrub the inside. The scrub will remove stains and grease and cut odors at the same time.
20. Clean the Coffee Pot – If your coffee hasn’t been tasting great lately, it could be that the lines of your coffee pot have oils built up. Run a full pot with water and 1/4 cup salt through your machine, then run just water. Your next pot of coffee will taste so much better!
21. Deodorize Your Kitchen Sink – Pour 1 cup salt and 1 1/2 cups boiling water down the kitchen sink to bust up small clogs and bust odors.
22. Scouring Cutting Boards – Remember that tip about the half lemon for greasy pans? You can use the same one to clean your cutting board.
23. Get the Tarnish off of  Silverware – Scrub with salt and a dry rag to make your silverware shiny again.

24. Deodorize the Oven – Did a casserole bubble over, and now your oven smells like burning? Before the oven cools down, sprinkle salt – carefully - onto the spilled food. Let it cool, then use a scrub brush to remove the salt. No more stink

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/24-surprising-uses-for-salt.html#ixzz2wKQ25R7E

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March Week 2: Dry Baking Mixes

It's that time again! It seems like last week flew right by, but here we are again, talking about the Week-by-Week Food Storage Plan. This week's items are:

March Week 2: Mixes - pancake, cake, brownie, Bisquick, muffin, etc.

These items will vary widely from family to family. For instance, I can't remember the last time I used a cake mix to bake a cake. However, there are a few times a year I might need to make a batch of quick cupcakes or "cake mix cookies". So, for our family, we really only need a handful of cake mixes on the shelves. I use a pancake mix here and there, and I use Bisquick in a cookie recipe that I make fairly often, so I'll make sure I have enough of both of those items.

In an emergency, I could use the pancake mix and the Bisquick to go along with other things in our food storage, so they may come in handy that way, too.

Think about how much of each of these items you might use in the coming year, and try to buy and store those amounts. Be sure that you check the expiration dates of the items you're buying so that you can keep them on your shelves throughout the year. Remember, one of the things that makes this system work is that you will be rotating through and using much of the food. You shouldn't have to discard old, expired food, which is one thing I found myself doing quite a bit of before.

As mentioned in several of these posts, if you're looking at this plan for the first time, the beauty of it is that you can jump right in this week and have this be the start of your year. You don't need to go back and try to catch up on the earlier weeks of this year. Start now, and know that a year from now, you'll have your complete food storage system.

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March Week 1: First-aid kit and supplies (Update or Begin)

This week's food storage item is the following:

March Week 1: First-aid kit, gauze, Q-tips, cotton balls, band-aids, Neosporin, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, etc.

I like to do this one in two parts.

First, I have a first aid kit in our bathroom, and this week is the perfect opportunity to update it and replenish it. I have a list taped to the top of the lid (the whole thing is kept in a fishing tackle box, which I love!) and I'll go through and check the contents of the kit with the list, and write anything I need to purchase on my shopping list. By the way, you can get a Plano fishing tackle box on Amazon for about $15.00, and they're perfect for first-aid kits!

Below is my list specifically for my first-aid kit (which is on red paper and taped to the inside of my first-aid kit lid). I first list the items that don't really expire, but may need replenishing.

Check to refill:
10 Band-aid adhesive pads - 2.25 X 3
10 butterfly bandages
1 box Band-aids (regular)
1 roll bandaging tape - 1” X 2.3 yds
1 roll first aid tape - ½” X 5 yds
1 roll Dermi clear tape - 1” X 10 yds
1 roll elastic tape - 1”
8 gauze pads - 2 X 2
10 gauze pads - 3 X 3
6 gauze pads - 4 X 4
2 absorbent pads - 8 X 10
1 roll gauze wrap - 2”
1 roll gauze wrap - 1”
1 roll ace bandage - 2”
1 roll ace bandage - 4”
20 Q-tips    
3 pr. rubber gloves
25 matches

Then, I list the items that have expiration dates, and may need to be rotated out:

Items with expiration date:
Purell hand sanitizer
antiseptic wash
first-aid crea
After-Bite itch eraser
Benadryl (itch stopping cream)
20 alcohol pads
12 Pepto Bismol tablets
24 Tylenol
24 Advil
cough drops

And lastly, some standard items that I just want to check to be sure they are still in the kit:

Standard Equipment:
1 tweezers
1 scissors - large
1 scissors - small
2 needles
Thermometer (forehead)
nail clipper
safety pins
ice pack

First-aid kit in a fishing tackle box

Second, in addition to my first-aid kit, I like to keep some extra things on hand in my emergency supply. I keep Q-tips, cotton balls, extra band-aids, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, various sizes of gauze pads, medical face masks, and rubber gloves. I keep most of these items (except the larger things) in a medium-sized container with a lid. It sits on the shelves next to the other items in my emergency supply. This week, when I checked my items, I noticed that the hydrogen peroxide had just expired. So, I'll need to pick up another couple of bottles from Costco. Everything else is on the shelf from a year ago, so we're good to go!

First-aid needs will vary from family to family, so as you look at my list, you may want to add or remove items. Store what your family will or may need for the year, as well as some extras that would be beneficial during a long-term emergency.

Let me reiterate that this is a weekly food storage plan that doesn't have any particular order. I like it that way so that I'm working on different things all the time, and building up different areas of my emergency supply. You can jump in on this plan at any given week, and have that be the start of your Week-by-Week Food Storage Plan. You don't need to go back to January and start at the beginning!

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.