Sep 30 2008

Emergency preparedness: Food, water and more


Sorry for my unannounced absence! I thought I would have some posts prepared to run, but I didn’t quite get that done. Last week and through the weekend, Shane and I traveled to Indiana to visit family and friends. It’s probably going to be our last trip until after our baby is born!

Back to regularly scheduled programming…

Last week, we discussed the importance of preparing for emergency situations. You never know when they’ll strike, so it’s best to be prepared, right?

My first aid kits arrived just a few days after I placed the order. I got to use my car kit for the first time this weekend. Yay, preparedness!

Now, it’s time for me to make sure we have all of the essentials to get through some sort of emergency situation. We need:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Flashlights
  • Battery-powered radio

Most authorities recommend having enough food and water per person to last for three days. Based on what you have right now, can you and your family survive if your power went out and you couldn’t leave your home?

We couldn’t. Right now, we don’t have enough water to last us long. We have a water filter pitcher in our refrigerator, but that would only last us until it was emptied. If our power went out and the water was unsafe to drink, we wouldn’t be able to refill it. Bad!

How I’ll fix our water situation:

There are a few options. I can pick up some gallon jugs of water. These do expire, though. Or, I can buy a few refillable gallon jugs and put treated water inside. I’ll need to change the water periodically. You can buy little packets of drinking water, which expire in five years. Finally, you can get water treatment tablets. I think I’ll get a few reusable water containers. Still shopping around for these.

Our food supply is actually pretty low right now. We’ve been eating out of the pantry for awhile, and our stash has finally dwindled. We don’t have anything designated “emergencies only.” Rather, we’d start by eating the perishable items in our fridge and working our way through the pantry. It would be a bizarre assortment of canned veggies and fruits, dry goods, and beans. Yum. And, not the best plan.

How I’ll fix our food situation:

Instead of letting our pantry get so low, I’d probably be better off by keeping several meals stocked there, including canned goods that require little to no prepwork (I have a manual can opener, so no trouble there). I’ll use these ingredients as a part of our regular cooking, but I’ll be sure to keep a decent stash at all times.

Also, I’m actually considering getting some packets of basic survival food. You know, like to eat if things are so dire that it’s your last resort. They don’t look so yummy, but they’re packed with nutrition, are somewhat cheap, and don’t take up much space. I have hardly any available storage space, so I like this option. Of course, we’d only eat these things after our perishable and non-perishable stash ran out.

Lights and radio

I just checked my big flashlight, and the bulb is out. Better put a bulb and a backup on my shopping list this week. I have a few other flashlights, but it would be a good idea to get some more batteries to have on hand. We have plenty of candles, matches, and I even have an oil lamp and oil to use during a blackout.

Finally, I’d like to make sure we have a battery-powered radio (and extra batteries) in case that would be of some use. I’m *kind of* sure I saw one of these at the Dollar Tree before, so I’ll check there before spending much. If not, I’m sure I can find one at a thrift store for just a few dollars.

Some emergency kits suggest keeping a stash of blankets, clothes, and sneakers for people. We have all of those items, and for now, I don’t see the need to gather them all in one location. It would take all of two minutes to gather those things if needed.

Take a look at your household supplies. Can you feed everyone in your family and all of your pets for three days? Will you all be able to drink safe water? Will you be sitting in the dark the whole time? What sorts of items do you keep in your emergency stash?

My last steps in emergency preparations will be to make sure we have a cash emergency fund at home and copies of all of our important paperwork, and quick access to the original documents so we can grab and go if needed. More on that later!

Sep 24 2008

Final thoughts on the ‘Sneaky Chef’


My copy of The Sneaky Chef cookbook is due back at the library soon, so I thought I’d post some final thoughts on my experiments.

This weekend, I tried making the “beefed up onion soup” from the Secret Chef cookbook.

I won’t be making it again.

The recipe was simply too sweet. It called for vidalia onions, pomegranate juice, and the orange puree which has carrots and sweet potatoes. I guess you can see why it would be a bit sweet!

I’m sure it was plenty healthy, but it just didn’t work for me. Next time I make onion soup, I’ll use several types of onions and base it more off of the Panera Bread recipe instead. If I have some puree on hand, I might toss it in, but I just don’t know.

Last night, I made some Sneaky Chef marinara sauce. It had canned tomatoes, tomato paste, an onion, seasonings, and some white and orange puree in it. It, too, was on the sweeter side but it was decent. Not the best marinara I’ve ever had, but I’m sure it was plenty healthy.

The best recipes we’ve tried from the cookbook were the hummus and the strawberry/banana smoothies. I’ll likely be making those two again.

I don’t think I’ll have a chance to try any more recipes before I need to return my book. That means, I won’t have a chance to try the purple puree (baby spinach and blueberries) or green (baby spinach, broccoli, green peas) or a few other simpler ones.

The bottom line:

Of the four recipes I tried this week, two were keepers, and two were “no thanks, I don’t want seconds.”

Making the purees did take a little while, but once you do it, you typically will have enough to last for several recipes. Based on the puree flavor, I think the white puree (cauliflower and zucchini) would be the easiest to hide in foods, since it’s more bland than the orange (carrot and sweet potato).

I might try to experiment on my own by adding my own veggie purees to my own recipes.

But, for now, I won’t be buying my own copy of the book. I might on down the road, especially if I have a hard time on my own.

Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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