Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Convert or Convince?

No, I'm not talking about religion or politics.  I'm talking about the "Preparedness Movement".  There's been so much talk about it lately, probably in part to the Prepper shows on television (which I admittedly have not seen, so cannot honestly comment on) and part to do with the way our country is headed.

Is this media attention a good or bad thing?  I'm not sure yet.  But if it makes even one of your friends, family members or occasional acquaintance become more self-reliant and responsible, I'm thinking it's a good thing.

My sister recently asked me for information on what stuff I put into her Emergency Backpack (I had made one for her and Mom years ago...wonder if they have been updated??  Hint-hint.)  because a friend of hers wanted to make one for each member of her immediate family.  I was thrilled to hear that!  I'm nowhere near being an expert crisis preparedness kind'a person, nor would I actually consider the backpacks "Bug-out-bags" or properly equipped for the Zombie invasion, but they make a dandy addition to the emergency equipment in your vehicle.

If you want to see what I have in my vehicle backpack, click here.

It's been quite a while since I've done any posts about food storage or emergency preparedness and this backpack request got me to thinking.  We have a nicely stocked pantry.   Wheat, rice, beans, flour, sugar, canned fruit & vegetables (homemade & store bought) and home canned meats.  Most of our pantry consists of "raw" or basic staples.  Stuff that will require home processing to make into suitable meals.  We don't really have an "Emergency" food storage plan, as in we don't have a special storage area or container for a time of crisis.  Our entire pantry is our food storage plan, be it for every day cooking or in times of unexpected need.

But what about those people who do not (for whatever reason) want to store those basic staples, but want to be prepared in the event of a natural or man made disaster?  People who prefer ready-to-eat or almost-ready-to-eat meals (uhm, Christine???).  There's no use in asking a person that is used to cooking Macaroni & Cheese and hot dogs for dinner to suddenly start storing fifty pound bags of pinto beans in their pantry.  Those beans would just sit in the bag until kingdom come.  So instead of trying to convert someone to rice and hard red wheat berries, I figured I could convince them to have an emergency food supply if the items were a bit more realistic for them.

After doing a bit of thinking and a smidgen of research, I've complied a list of easily prepared, readily available and shelf stable grocery items that could be put into a large plastic tub along with a menu and instruction for meal preparation.  This would hold two weeks worth of food for two people and could be stored in an out-of-the-way place.

Feel free to share this list with others, or to share ideas here with us.  It's an easy, no-brainer way to get someone started on their way to being more prepared for any number of disasters - be it natural, man made, personal or financial.  And it doesn't entail spending tons of money on fancy freeze-dried meals or MRE's.

Menu (repeat twice)
Breakfast – Oatmeal
Lunch – Rice A Roni (your choice), Corn muffins
Dinner – Shredded BBQ Chicken, side of baked beans & leftover corn muffins
Snacks – Canned fruit

Breakfast – Pancakes w/maple syrup
Lunch – Complete Meal bowls (your choice)
Dinner – Pasta with Sauce #1
Snacks – Chocolate bar

Breakfast – PB&J on flatbread
Lunch – Ramen soup with mixed veggies
Dinner – Chicken with mashed potatoes & gravy, stuffing, canned corn
Snacks – Chewy Bars                                                                   

Breakfast – Oatmeal
Lunch – Mac & Cheese with Cheese & garlic biscuits
Dinner – Pasta with Sauce #2
Snacks – Canned fruit

Breakfast – Pancakes with maple syrup
Lunch – Chili with cornbread muffins
Dinner – Tuna Helper    
Snacks – Banana nut muffins                                                                                                                   

Breakfast – PB&J on flatbread
Lunch – Rice a Roni (chicken flavor), Cream of Chicken Soup
Dinner – Pasta with Sauce #3, leftover flatbread
Snacks – Chewy bars             

Breakfast - Oatmeal
Lunch - Complete Meal bowls (your choice)
Dinner- Chicken w/Spanish Rice a Roni, Refried Beans
Snacks - Chocolate bar

Shopping List (for two weeks, two people)

Tuna Fish 5 oz. cans 4, Chicken breast 12.5 oz cans 10, Tuna helper 2, Spaghetti 1 lb. box 3, Pasta sauce (pick a variety) 6, Meals in a cup (your choice) 4, Instant Oatmeal packets 3 boxes, Rice a Roni chicken flavor 2, Rice a Roni Spanish Rice 2, Rice a Roni (your choice) 2, Cream of Chicken soup 2, Powdered milk 1, Vegetable oil 1, Canned fruit 4, Mac & Cheese (w/cheese pouch, not powdered) 2, Instant potatoes 1, Cornbread muffin mix 4, Cheddar & garlic biscuit mix 2, Banana Nut muffins 2, Granola or Chewy bars 2 boxes, Jiffy Pizza Crust Mix (for the flatbread) 4, Peanut butter 1, Jelly 1, Baked beans 2, Canned mixed veggies 4, Complete Pancake mix 2 boxes, Ramen Noodles 4, Canned chili 4, Maple Syrup 1, BBQ Sauce 1, Chicken gravy packet 2, Stuffing mix 2, Canned corn 2, Refried beans 2, Taco seasoning 2, Cooking spray 1, Chocolate bars 4, Dried mixed fruit 2 bags, Tea bags (your choice) 2 boxes, Hard candy 1 bag.  Thirty gallons of water for drinking & meal preparation (in various containers; gallon jugs, individual "sport" bottles, etc.).

This menu and shopping list is obviously very specific, but can easily be changed.  Don't like Chili?  Just swap it out with some canned Ravioli, or one of those instant single-serving Pad Tai Noodle meals.  The reasoning I made it so precise was that I didn't want my sister having to "think" about it, just DO it.  I'd also say that I made the menu pretty fancy and varied for something that's supposed to be for "Emergency" only, so you could just have three or four different menu days instead of seven.  There are also four days out of the week that includes tuna or chicken and those items are pretty pricey.  You could easily reduce the number of "protein days" and replace them with more noodles or rice or pasta.  I tried to limit the items to almost-ready-to-heat-n-eat; products that only needed water, oil or milk (powdered) to make.  You could easily add in meals that require eggs and just add some powdered eggs to your list.

Another reason for this menu being so specific is that I wanted and needed Christine to be able to USE this stuff after a time (she likes chicken, therefore the ten cans of chicken breasts).  As many of us know, the best storage system is "Store what you Eat, Eat what you Store".  I suppose one could just toss the stuff after a few years & replace it with new items and mentally write it off as a cost of having this little "insurance" policy, but I'd prefer if it was used and not wasted.

As soon as I get around to it, I'll have a post that will deal with the actual preparation of the foodstuffs  in an emergency and if I get around to it, the actual costs of this 2-week menu.


  1. I have watched the show, and find it somewhat on the extreme level. One set of parents took the family out to hunt and eat mice, to prepare for an extreme situation. It's interesting for sure. In the end, I would not want the world to know what I stocked up on for such a situation. I would fear that those who did not, would be robbing those who did. I'm guessing ammo would be a first good choice too.

  2. I have recently been invited into a "preppers" group and next month I am the main speaker all because I opened my mouth. Two of the group members asked me to do a in home consultation last weekend.
    It is funny how I was a freak a year or so ago but now I am in high demand.
    One of the first things I say to them is that I am not a prepper. I am a homesteader and try to live as close to the way the pioneers did using modern technology.
    I guess I should have called my blog Modern Day Pioneer.
    This movement you speak of has always been there, it's just most don't want to do it even though they know they should so now they think they need to get going with it.
    Most of the folks who don't are living in denial and being we are their reality, it scares them and that is why they exploit us.

  3. First off, don't bother with those shows because they are ridiculous! I am a "prepper" in that we have 6-12 months of food storage, firearms, ammo, BOB's for every member of the family and vehicle, water storage is always going to be a challenge but we do the best we can. I even belong to a preparedness group that consists of mostly military, homesteaders, teachers and "regular" folk... funny there aren't really any that are like the tv show people LOL. Well, except one guy - there's always one, right? We call him (not to his face) "Stroller Prepper" - he is all outfitted in tactical pants, vest, etc but comes to the meetings pushing a trendy stroller with his infant. We always joke about what might be in the stroller basket -I think he just likes to buy stuff haha. I have found the best way to get family and friends interested without being alarmist is to focus on weather/natural disasters, since most people can relate to that. None of this is stuff I usually talk about much except to others who "get it" :)! Kudos for all you are doing to make sure your family is better prepared than the next, in the end that's all we can do!

  4. Great advice! It's awesome when someone else does the thinking!

  5. THANK YOU!!!! Yes, this is exactly what I needed! A list that I don't have to "think" about...just buy. Yes, it's embarrassing that all I eat are those frozen Lean Cuisines and Smart Ones. My poor husband...he only eats what ever food he can find around the house. I would be totally screwed without a freezer and microwave.

  6. I think this is very timely. If nothing else, we have been subject to an endless stream of extreme weather. It's so good to be prepared - smart, too. You are such a resource! I'd like to see the meal prep and costs too. I would have to GF my emergency stash, but that is something that I plan to do anyway. BTW, I thought I had lost my mind when I opened your blog - new look? Or did Evil Kitty figure out your password...?

  7. Kristina, I figured the show probably focused on the "nutjobs"....otherwise how much fun would it be to watch a bunch of of "normal" homesteaders just pulling weeds or building a shelf to hold our bag of dried lentils?

    M.D.R., well, we all still think you're a freak! :)
    I go back & forth about talking about being prepared, because most people just think your a "Conspiracy theory nutjob with lots of guns" instead of just down-to-earth prepardness and responsibility to keep your family safe.

    Erin, Oh, you've "got" to somehow covertly get a picture of Stroller Prepper!! And I agree, going the "Natural Disaster" route as opposed to "Mutant Biker Zombies" makes it much more palatable to most people when trying to get them to prepare for a disaster.

    hoosier girl, that was my thinking...easy-peasy and no-brainer...PERFECT for Christine!! LOL!

    Christine, are you going to do a guest post for us on how you made your Emergency Food thingy?! Please?

    Susan, weather is probably the thing I'm most concerned about. But what gets me is that it's not like adverse weather is something "new"; people should always be preparing for a natural disaster. Oh, and what do you mean "new blog look"? I have no idea what you're talking about.

  8. I came to the conclusion that "reality shows" are pretty much over-hyped crap. I have watched a couple of prepper shows and came to the conclusion these folks (IMO) are on the low end of the gene pool. Very fear based, very closed minded and very scary. Not someone I would want to survive with! No thought of what do you do when your food/ammo runs out? You get into a community and help each other. Ah well... Good ideas, and yes, buy what you would actually eat. I have some no-cooking foods stocked for real emergencies- simple add boiling ater, eat as is foods. I would advise too, that people learn to COOK FROM SCRATCH. You'll really feel stupid later if you can't throw together a tasty, simple, quick dish. Ditch the microwave for a couple of weeks and eat some REAL food. It's not only healthier, but much cheaper! Take a cooking class if you need to. If you're a parent teach your kids to do that same. Kids love helping out in the kitchen if you make it fun! Love the cat wallpaper!!!

  9. Woo hoo... finally someone who sounds like me. I love this post. I have plenty of stuff I can cook for us if the SHTF, we have guns, ammo, candles, chickens, sheep... too much meat is frozen, so I need to think about that. But I don't prep in the "tv sense" of the word. I just wish I had the kind of money to buy all that prepared food. What I could do with financial backing like that. But, I am just not there and won't be... too many kids, dogs, and real life going on here. Thank you again! I will be sharing this link on my facebook page, if that's okay!

  10. Nancy, I never understood why the networks called those shows "Reality" shows. As if there were any "real" things going on there. But maybe we're just the ones out of touch with the real world? If that's the case, call me a nutjob & I'll just nod my head in agreement :) Although I admire those that stockpile food for an emergency, I often wonder if they realize that eventually they will need to GROW something.

    Ruth, you should really try pressure canning some of your chicken & mutton, it's easy....I even managed to do it!!
    Go ahead and share this, the more people that prepare themselves and their households for unexpected emergencies, the better we'll all be!

  11. Good post! Using the natural disaster scenario would make it easier to convince more people that they should be prepared. Water would be the biggest problem for us. I would love to get a generator but hubby keeps saying it's too expensive (after he buys a $900 saddle, grrrr...).