Family Food Storage Plan For 3 Months

Making a family food storage plan for 3 months can feel daunting.  Overwhelming.  Something you’d rather not even think about.

How much do I need?

Where do I start?

How am I going to pay for it?

I suggest working on a 3 Month Family Food Storage Plan.  3-Months of foods you KNOW your family will eat.  Nothing funky.  Nothing you hope they will eat.  Don’t buy into the theory that when people get hungry enough, they’ll eat whatever you put in front of them.  It simply ain’t true!

I suggest you begin by creating 7 breakfast menus, 7 lunch menus, and 7 dinner menus that your family is familiar with and enjoys. 

Then break each menu down to each ingredient.  Don’t just assume you have enough tomato sauce, go and check.  Add up how many teaspoons of salt you will need and make sure you have it on hand.  How sad will you be when your Italian pasta bake has no oregano because you thought you had enough? If you like mayo with your tuna salad, you’d better list mayo on your ingredient list.  The same with pickles.  How’s your supply of celery salt looking? Go ahead and look, I’ll wait…

Now you should have the ingredients listed for 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 7 dinners.

Since you are working towards a THREE MONTHS family food storage plan, you’ll want to take those ingredients and multiply it by 12.  12 weeks = 3 months.

  • If you are planning on serving oatmeal for breakfast once a week for 3 months, and your family uses a pound of dry oats per breakfast, then you are going to need 12 pounds of dried oats.
  • If you need 1 cup of raisins for each breakfast, they you will need 12 cups of raisins total.   How much brown sugar does your crew plow through each time they eat oatmeal?  You are going to need that much, times 12.
  • Oh, and if your family likes milk on their oatmeal, you’re gonna want to make sure you have either powdered or canned milk in your stash.

What I like the most about this plan of starting your food storage  is that you wind up with exactly what you need in order to make a variety of complete meals. 

(And because you have three months of meals your family can’t wait to eat, you can easily rotate the ingredients for each meal.  Yes, you must rotate your food storage. Don’t give me the stink eye over this.  Storing only cans of stuff that lasts for 20 years, is expensive and  full of sodium.  In times of crisis your family is going to want foods that are familiar. )

Imagine 3 months of nothing but taco shells, green beans and pudding cups.


This plan is sounding better already, huh?

Food Storage Plan

Food storage plan for 3 months step by step infographic

PS:  Wondering how to make meals that call for meat if the power has gone out?  Yoders makes canned meat that actually tastes good.  With an (approx) 8 year shelf life, you may want to invest in a few cans.  I keep a couple of cases of the canned hamburger on hand.

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7 Manual Kitchen Tools I’m Glad I Have For Emergencies

Manual kitchen tools are important to have in your home in case of an emergency that includes no electricity. We inherited my childhood home from my Depression-era grandparents and I have been blessed enough to still have many of the high-quality manual kitchen tools that they used. But all is not lost if you weren’t this lucky! These kitchen gadgets can be found anywhere. Garage sales and thrift stores may be just the place to get the quality ones of the past, but IKEA, Target, Walmart and dollar stores sell most of these manual kitchen tools as well! Just always be thinking when you are in the kitchen “How could I make this if I didn’t have electricity?” I guarantee almost every new fancy appliance we have has an older generation solution! Here are some of my favorites!

My favorite manual kitchen tools for emergency preparedness:

manual kitchen tools for emergencies

  1.  Cast-iron pans. I am SO blessed to have many of these from my great grandmothers farm. They connect and ground me to my roots every time I cook in them. Cast iron really is one of those things that gets better with age. Seasoning new cast iron pans are a lot of work. This is one thing I really suggest you find at a second hand store or garage sale. I have heard numerous complaints from preppers buying the ones at camping stores and then not getting them seasoned right. But if you cant find it there? Buy a new quality set, take the time to season them correctly and pass them onto your grandchildren someday.
  2. Tea Kettle-not your decorative kitchen one! A camping one like this can handle the high heat of outdoor flames. Remember, if electricity is out, you probably won’t be cooking indoors unless you have gas burners that you can light manually. Also remember in your preps that herbal teas are a great way sooth sore throats, sinuses, and calm nerves. You can use this as a quick way to boil water for packaged soups or instant coffee as well.
  3. Egg Timer– Just the regular wind up timer. It’s going to be pretty handy when you are trying to cook something without anyway to see how much time has passed!
  4. Can opener-That was this weeks Sunday Skill so I am sure you all went out and got one already!
  5. Thermometer-You are likely to be using cooking methods that aren’t part of your daily routine. Things cook much differently on a propane grill or open flame than they do in your kitchen. Have a thermometer that has the safe temperature of common items marked out on it like this:
  6. High quality kitchen hand tools like a masher, peeler, wisk, egg beater, large metal stirring spoons, and large heavy duty tongs.
  7. Camping Stove– This is common item many of us had growing up. I just don’t know how many families are big campers anymore so I want to throw this out there as likely the most important thing on this list. None of the other items matter if you have no way to cook! Make sure you have a camping stove and plenty of the small propane tanks for fuel! Depending on what part of the country you live in camping items may be very cheap right now. It’s a great time to invest in one if you don’t already have one. You never want to use one of these indoors but I have all intentions of using mine in a highly ventilated room (open window in the basement) if we should ever get to the horrible place where we don’t want neighbors to know we have hot food.

A camping stove and as much fuel as I could afford would be my highest priority on this list. The rest of the items are things you should look for as you are out and about and hit sales or stop by a thrift store one day and browse for them. But if you don’t have an alternative way to cook without drawing a lot of attention to yourself like using that big BBQ you have in the back that the whole neighborhood can smell, go figure out a solution TODAY!


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Prepping On A Budget Through Frugal Living

One of the biggest excuses I hear as to why people don’t prep for emergencies is ‘I can’t afford it.’

Hogwash. Prepping on a budget isn’t that hard.

I’m one of those who believes you can’t afford not to prep.  After my medically fragile son with special needs was born, we found ourselves living on our food storage while our grocery money went to paying for Parker’s necessities.

The secret is to prepping on a budget is to build your food storage around what is on sale each month and use coupons if possible.

If I can save even $5.00 a week, that’s $5.00 more that can go toward preps.

Prepping on a Budget Banner

I’m going to start listing my frugal endeavors here each week.  I’d love it if you would join in with me by sharing your frugal endeavors for the week.  Hopefully we can inspire each other to save more to go towards our prepping goals.

Use Reward Cards To Pay For Prepping Supplies

  • My Mom loves to shop at a home decor store that offers a reward card each time she shops.  For every $10.00 she spends, the store stamps her card.  Once she has spent $200.00 she can then turn that card in for $15.00 off her next purchase.  Instead of using her card, she gives it to me.  By combining her rewards card with the 25% off coupon I found, I was able to score a sweet Christmas gift for my married daughter for less than $2.00.


  • I turned my swagbucks in for an Amazon gift card to be used on another Christmas gift.


Canning is a great way to start prepping on a budget

Homestead Living & Sale Stocking

  • I used left over frozen turkey in Parker’s blenderized diet this week.


  • Surprisingly enough, the rosemary in my garden is still alive and going strong.  I harvested it by freezing it in olive oil in baby food trays.


  • Instead of giving in to the temptation of ordering pizza, I made it from scratch.


  • My son is a wrestler.  He was in a tournament on Saturday.  They sell food during these tournaments, but boy is it expensive.  Instead I packed him a small cooler of fresh fruit, Gatorade I scored for .40 a bottle this summer, and other nutritious food.


  • Instead of purchasing expensive home school curriculum, I searched the internet for free downloads.


  • Began using cloth trainers instead of Pull-Ups.



  • I rescued the pumpkins that my parents were using on their front porch for decoration.  I baked them, pureed them, and then froze the puree.  I’ll use it in holiday baking and Parker’s blenderized diet.



What about you?  What are you doing to help save money to use towards emergency planning?


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Zombie Soup: Dry Soup Mix For Emergency Prepardness

I have always loved the story of Stone Soup. A community coming together to chip in and make something out of nothing is how I envision what I hope my community becomes in an emergency scenario. Homemade dry soup mix made from dehydrated vegetables is an excellent part of your emergency food storage plans. Before I get blasted by the people out there who keep prepping 100% OPSEC (operational security), I have built sharing into my prepping in a short term emergency. I feel the best security is to make sure that no one around me is truly in need. AKA a zombie. Prepping things like this simple Zombie Soup will hopefully go a long way in keeping the zombies at bay for at least a little while.

Soup makes me happy. It signifies warmth and comfort. This weekend I put together Zombie Soup preps out of our Thanksgiving leftovers. I now have everything I need dehydrated and ready to throw together a soup in our 36 qt. pot that fits on top of the turkey fryer, which makes an extremely efficient propane boiler that would provide that needed warmth, comfort, and nutrition in an emergency situation to a large group.

To make Zombie Soup you really don’t need a recipe. What you do need is the foresight to put away dehydrated foods in your emergency food preps.

Homemade Dry Soup Mix Ingredients for Zombie Soup:

Homemade Dry Soup Mix Ingredients to make Zombie Soup

  • I am a big fan of quinoa for prepping. One cup of cooked quinoa has 222 calories and 8.1 grams of protein. Alternately you could use the prepper staple food- rice or beans or both. If you use quinoa put it in towards the end of your soup cooking cycle as it only takes about 20 minutes in a simmering soup.
  • Dehydrated mushrooms. One Costco sized mushroom container is dehydrated and packed into this Kerr 1 pint mason jar and 1 300 cc oxygen absorber.
  • Dry vegetable soup starter. The third pint size jar has 2 1/2 onions, 1/2 Costco sized bag of carrots, and 6 stocks of celery (had these leftover from Thanksgiving)
  • Bouillon cubes. Sodium and flavor! Or use canned stock. Personally, if I am feeding this to a large crowd I am saving my stock and using cubes with purified water here.

Add as much or as little as you need and want but mark on the outside of the jar what the original volume of the dehydrated foods are. Carrots and celery dehydrate into very small pieces so there is a good deal more there than it appears in its dehydrated state. You could also toss in any meat available.

To save space I could have put the mushrooms in with the soup starter mix, added the bouillon cubes in a small ziplock bag sealed on its on (they have moisture not good for the vegetables) and the quinoa also sealed separately (so it can be cooked less time) all into one foodsaver bag. But to be honest, I can’t find where I hid my last stash of foodsaver bags!


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Do You Need a Tactical Flashlight For Your Bug Out Bag?

I’ll admit it. I didn’t get the hype on buying special tactical flashlights for emergency use. My house is stocked full of the big plastic ones with the D cell batteries. After reviewing this Nebo 5160 SE Redline, I am a total convert! Everyone needs to have a tactical flashlight in their Bug Out Bag and as a part of their survival gear. Instead of boring you with all the details in writing, I decided to just bite the bullet and show you how the Nebo 5160 works.  Presenting my first video review here on Simply Preparing:

As I mentioned in the video the folks at Gunner Security were awesome in helping me. They sent over the flashlight for me to check out and have one for a lucky reader here to win. I had no idea that they sold things like flashlights, holsters, knives and lasers. I will be getting my CCW in a few weeks and I plan to check out their holsters a little more seriously then. A little birdie told me pink range bags may be coming soon!

So, would you like to win one of these for your Bug Out Bag? Here is how (This giveaway is closed):

At $34.49 these would make excellent holiday stocking stuffers. I know you love to support small family business as much as I do so consider buying one of these tactical flashlights from Gunner Security for someone you love and want to be safe!

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How To Store Coffee Plus a Giveaway *closed*!

I love helping to support small family businesses and I love coffee so when a friend told me about Brown & Jenkins, a small, family owned coffee roaster in Vermont I was more than intrigued. The more I learned about how their process is organic and they have an eye towards sustainability I became a fan. And then I found out that they are fans of the prepper movement, I thought we were a marriage made in heaven! Given their expertise I asked them to help us learn the best way to store coffee for our preps!

Coffee Beans Brown & Jenkins Coffee is an important part of my short term prep plans but storing coffee as part of long term storage is much trickier. Brown & Jenkins has the following advice:

What is the best way to store coffee?

If you need to extend the shelf life beyond 3 weeks, you should store your coffee in the freezer. Whole beans can be kept fresh in the freezer for up to six months.

They suggest keeping the coffee beans in the poly-lined bag it came in and placing that in a heavy duty freezer bag (ziplock) and storing the beans in the freezer.

Once out of the freezer keep your whole bean coffee in a cool, dry cupboard. Or place in the storage chamber of your mill wheel grinder.

Why should I grind my own coffee?

The truth of the matter is, that ground coffee goes stale much more quickly. Coffee will begin to loose its flavor immediately after grinding. The purchase of a grinder and grinding your own coffee beans just prior to brewing is one of the most important steps you can take to improve the flavor and aroma of your coffee.

Manual Coffee Grinder

This manual coffee grinder (think no electricity) is consistently rated as one of the best by Amazon reviewers


How should I grind my coffee?

The simple fact is that the finer the grind, the easier it is for the water to extract the flavor, and the more flavor you will get from a given amount of coffee. So it would seem as though we should grind all our coffee as fine as possible, however two other factors come into play…the brewing method and the clarity we personally desire in the cup.

How fine should I grind my coffee?

This leads us to the brewing method. Basically, you should grind your coffee as finely as your brewing method will allow. You don’t want to slow down the brewing process with a grind too fine for your machine or some unwanted flavor characteristics would begin to be extracted.

Brown & Jenkins suggests grinding coffee you are using in a french press to the same consistency you would for your drip pot. So practice what you would grind your beans to when you have the luxury of an electrical coffee maker and you will be all ready to go when your only option is to use this:

Thermos Nissan 34-Ounce Vacuum Insulated Stainless-Steel Gourmet Coffee Press

More durable than the glass french press and will keep your coffee hotter.

This is all wonderful advice for staying sanely caffeinated in an emergency situation but what if I want to have long term storage of coffee?

The recommend way by most preppers is three things:

  1. Store instant coffee. I wrote a post on my love for Via by Starbucks not too long ago as a short term prepping item.
  2. Store whole green coffee beans, learn how to roast them yourself as needed. You need to store the whole green beans in mylar bags with o2 absorbers like you would most other long term storage items (tutorial coming on mylar soon)
  3. Deal with the degraded taste and store 10# cans of brands like Folgers.

Brown & Jenkins was kind enough to offer two bags of coffee to one lucky reader. You can even visit their site and pick out any of the 10 oz bags you want if you win. After looking through all their flavors, I think I am going to put an order in for the coffee club and look at it as a way to force me to store more coffee with the adage of rotating it out so I am constantly “drinking what I store and storing what I drink”.


And in case anyone is wondering on my relationship with them, there really is none except that a good friend works with them and I really admire their commitment to their business and love of coffee. I wasn’t compensated in anyway to tell you about them (I didn’t even get free coffee out of it like the winner will 🙂 )


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Prepping Projects For Thanksgiving Weekend

Pinterest has been bursting with great ideas for prepping over this holiday weekend. Here are some of my favorite ideas for Thanksgiving weekend prepping projects.

thanksgiving prepping pinterest ideas

Dehydrate Pumpkins

We’ve been talking for several weeks now about how this is the time of year to put up pumpkins. Here are some great directions on how to dehydrate pumpkin:

How to Can Cranberries

I love fresh cranberries and this recipe looks delicious. I am curious though that the instructions for this don’t include a water bath. Has anyone done this without using the water bath method?


Plant a Winter Vegetable Garden

I never knew that there were some vegetables that will do very well in the winter. I am going to put some garlic sets out and try it:



What are you planning on prepping this Thanksgiving weekend? Have your eye on anything special in Black Friday sales? I am not planning on shopping but instead practicing skills and working on food stores. I have all the ingredients ready to dehydrate for Zombie Soup and will be getting that put up this weekend.

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How to Dehydrate Apples

Dehydrating food is a skill that all preppers should master and dehydrated apples are probably the easiest food to learn with.  But I would be seriously remiss in letting anyone think that I store dehydrated apples as long term food storage in this house. Truth is, the second my kids see this bag on the counter they will be gone. The work involved used to make the fact that they would disappear faster than I could peel them discouraging and then I bought an apple peeler/corer/slicer. It cut my prep time down into a ridiculous 20 mins for a 5 lb bag to be opened and the nesco trays running. Now, that is a time I can deal with for making a healthy snack! If you don’t have teenage boys roaming your home, this makes an excellent long term food storage option. Especially when you get apples on sale in the fall.

I used a combination of Fuji and Gala this round.

5# bag of fuji applesI was able to slice, peel and core all the apples in less than 10 mins. You can also use this when prepping potatoes.

apple on peeler/slicer/corerNext, everything goes into a water bath dip with Ball Fruit Fresh.

apples in water and ball fruit fresh bath

5 lb bag fits 6 Nesco trays perfectly.

nesco tray with dehdrated apples I dehydrate for 6-12 hours (depending on how chewy or dry you like them)on 135 degrees. It works perfectly for me to put them in around 3:30 in the afternoon and have my husband shut it off in the morning around 6:30 am.

bagged homemade dehydrated apples

This whole process yields roughly a 1/2 gallon Ziploc bag, which will take my teens minutes to munch through. If I was storing this for long term use, I would seal in a mason jar, take the air out with the foodsaver jar sealer and include a silica gel pack.

I had to wonder who this compares cost wise to just buying a bag. I looks like in my local area I can get a bag this size for roughly $10. Apples right now are running about $1 a pound (not on sale) in my area so this is cheaper. Finding apples less expensive would be better economically but even at the $5 savings I like doing this for my family. They love the taste and it is easy and I know what is in it!

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Contest: Win a Copy of Survival Mom

Survival Mom Book by Lisa Bedford

Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios [Paperback]

I am a big believer in that the first investment a prepper should make is a survival library. I was lucky enough that one of the first survival books I picked up was Survival Mom by Lisa Bedford. Doomsday Preppers had just started airing and in my panic mode, Lisa seemed like a friendly face to turn to.I devoured her blog, The Survival Mom in just days and then quickly ordered her book onto my iPad. Her writing style in the book is simple, calming and its like she takes your hand and walks you through things step by step. By nature of blogging and having guest authors, her blog doesn’t give you that ‘hold my hand’ approach anymore and is more and more being geared to the audience who has been growing their prepping skills right along with her. I still feel right at home on her blog but I wish that everyone of her readers had the chance to get to know her and the basic survival skills from her book first. Which is why I was thrilled that she donated a book over to my little blog as my very first giveaway on!


Lisa’s book is fabulous but there are a few others I think you should take a look it as well.


I will do in depth reviews on each of these three at some point but they are a great compliment after you get through Survivor Mom by Lisa Bedford.

I know building a library can be expensive and so Lisa and I teamed up to give one lucky person a chance to win a copy of her book. Here is how.


This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 and up and will be mailed by Lisa Bedford. Contest ends 11/12/2012 at 12PM GMT

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Adding Coffee To Your Prepping Supplies

Without my coffee I will be a zombie pretty quick! Are you used to grabbing your morning cup of Joe? You may want to include a way to have your morning coffee then!

The other day I was walking through Target when the lure of Starbucks pulled me closer. After buying my iced coffee I eyed these Starbucks Via Iced Caramel packages sitting on the counter. I’ve seen the Via coffee’s before and to be honest they reminded me a lot of the old Folger’s ground coffee my grandfather drank. I started thinking about when he passed away the old barn he had was stocked with many odd things, one being a wall (literally) of coffee! During the Depression, coffee was very hard to come by and so many people of that generation had large stocks of it “Just In Case”.

Thinking of my own preps, I realized I didn’t have any coffee! SILLY, I know. But really, if the end of the world comes I am going to need my Venti caffeine fix! I bought a pack of these Via Iced Caramels to try and Oh MY,they were GOOD! I went back and grabbed enough to get me through my 10 day no electricity plan.

Thinking about coffee made me remember that we do own a French Press. It’s not fancy like this stainless steel model, just the old fashioned glass one but in a pinch it will certainly work. You just need coffee grounds and boiling water. We do have whole beans on hand but I need to purchase a hand grinder so it could be used without electricity. So, when my Via’s are long gone I can still have my caffeine fix, which will keep me from becoming a zombie just a little bit longer I guess!

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