Prepping on a Budget: Things to Buy at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has to be one of the best times of the year for prepping on a budget. Loss leaders are the items stores deeply discount to get you in the door in hopes you will buy the rest of your meal there. I admit, I am a lazy couponer and deal shopper at best these days but this is one week that all the ads are spread out and my strategies kick in. Especially if money is tight for prepping this week your extra $5-$10 will yield you much better results than most others throughout the year.

Loss leaders at Thanksgiving center around foods that are great for 2-3 years of shelf storage. I was able to pick up all of the below canned goods for less than 69 cents a can. The soups and veggies were 50 cents each.

Ideas for building long term food storage using Thanksgiving loss leaders.

I know Walmart price matching can be a pain for some. My store is really nice about it so I just gathered all my ads, made a list and headed in for one big stock up.

Here is a list of great prepping items to be looking for on sale the week of Thanksgiving:

  • Turkeys-Buy as many as you have space for in the freezer. Or plan to can the meat or make chili or soups with them to can.
  • Canned Fruit– pineapple, peaches, pears, cranberries are all good choices.
  • Canned Soups-Broth, Cream of Mushroom and Chicken are big this week. Broth takes the place of water when cooking rice or beans so you are helping to up your water storage with that one as well.
  • Canned Pumpkin-This is a biggie if you have pets.
  • Jarred Gravy-Will make emergency foods taste a little better!
  • Pumpkin, Squash, Onions, Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes– All of these store well if you can ‘root cellar‘ them. For those of us that have no ability to root cellar, there are many creative ways to can or dehydrate these veggies to store. My favorite ways to use a bounty of pumpkin is on ParkerMama’s blog.
  • Butter– I freeze mine but I know it can be canned.
  • Flour-If you would like to store it for more than a year, you can put it in airtight mylar containers. I’ll post a tutorial soon on how to do this easily.
  • Sugar, Karo Syrup and Honey-check how long Karo lasts cause it’s not something I use.
  • Salt-You need salt in your diet in an emergency. It also works well to cure and preserve foods and has actually been used as currency throughout the word. It’s amazing what this undervalued thing that sits on our table is useful for!

Check expiration dates as you are shopping. Digging around a bit can produce dates almost a year apart. Duringcanned goods expiration date 2015-long term food storage my shopping I was able to find 2015 dates in most cases.

 

I’d love to hear from you: 

  • I am not a canner so if you are and have good links to share, please leave them in the comments.
  • What’s missing above? Is there something great I forgot to share?

Homemade Pizza Tutorial

One great way to save money for preps is to stop eating out and use the savings for prepping. I well know how hard that can be. It’s so easy to pick up the phone and order a pizza. It’s also easy to make you own pizza. Don’t believe me? You will after you read our Homemade Pizza Tutorial.

The biggest complaint I hear about homemade pizza is about the crust. It’s soggy. It’s doughy. It just plain tastes bad.

I can honestly promise you this pizza crust recipe will surprise you. It will taste like take out. Crisp. Light. Thin or thick. You will love this crust. Pinky swear. It’s all in a few tricks of the trade that I share below. Shall we get started?

Disclaimer: This isn’t my original recipe. I found it on Lauren’s Latest.

 

 

Ingredients for homemade pizza dough:

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey {or sugar}
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 cups bread flour {give or take 1/2 cup…depending on the heat & humidity}

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, preferably that of a stand mixer, stir yeast and honey into warm water. Sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam. This tells you that the yeast is alive and kicking. Pour in salt, oil and half the flour and mix.

Making pizza dough in a Blendtec Blender

The reason you only add half of the flour is because how much flour you add depends on how humid your home is. Yup. I kid you not.

The more you make this dough the more experienced you’ll get with it’s proper ‘feel.’ You’ll know if it needs the entire amount the recipe calls for. It’ll most likely change depending on the seasons.

Slowly add the rest of the flour until the dough is soft but DOES NOT stick to your fingers.  I have better pictures about this on my main blog.

Part of the magic of this dough is letting it knead for SIX MINUTES.  I think that is what I’ve been missing.  Letting my dough knead long enough.   I’d let it go for a few minutes, but I never thought to let it go for a full 6 minutes.

fresh, homemade pizza dough

Ain’t she grand?

 

Next you will want to place your dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a thin, wet kitchen towel and put it some place warm until it grows to double it’s size about 1-2 hours.   I like to put mine on the top of my stove and then turn the oven on low.

When your dough has doubled in size preheat your oven to 500 degrees.   If you have a pizza stone, make sure to put it in the oven while it’s preheating.

If you don't have a pizza stone you can use an upside down jelly roll pan.

I don’t have a pizza stone.  I use an upside down jelly roll pan in the oven.  I use cover it with parchment paper.

Next it’s time to roll your dough out.  I roll out my dough on my counter.  Then I lift it up and place it on a piece of parchment paper.  I add my toppings, and then transfer the pizza still on the parchment paper, directly onto my hot upside down jellyroll pan in my 500 degree oven.

pizza dough ready for toppings

Ready for homemade pizza toppings!

 

I let my pizza cook for 9 minutes.  My poor oven has seen better days and cooks pretty hot.  You may need to leave yours in for a minute or two longer.

Homemade pizza baking in the oven.

Fresh homemade pizza right from the oven!

Pizza at home just like the Pro's make!

The results?  Ah-ma-zing.  Truly.  Totally.  A new family favorite.

Give this recipe a try and come back then let me know how it worked out for you!  If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments section below!

 

Paper Plates For Emergencies: Super Bowl Sales

Super Bowl Sunday is here and that means, before you sit down for the big game, let’s put some thought into how this American tradition can further your preps! If you have been a regular reader here for awhile you know that I LOVE holidays because each one brings its own chance to prep on a budget! To be honest, the Super Bowl isn’t a huge opportunity to prep but there is at least one thing you don’t want to miss out on: paper plates for emergencies, plastic cups and plastic utensils!

Paper Plates For Emergencies

paper plates for emergencies

Paper plates, plastic cups and plastic utensils will be invaluable in an emergency situation. If the water is off, paper removes the need to waste water on washing making things much more sanitary. If the garbage is not getting picked up it makes it easy to burn your waste materials. For this reason, you want to stock the cheap, plain white, uncoated plates. They are the easiest to burn.   If you include paper products in your prepping, you need to make sure that you have a way to safely burn them like an outdoor fire pit or wood stove. Don’t burn anything plastic coated in your barbeque or outdoor fire pit. It will leave a reside that is impossible to get off! Plastic cups and utensils are not clean to burn but can be reused many times before being thrown away. You can wipe the utensils easily with an antiseptic wipe.

Other Prepping Items to Pick Up During Super Bowl Sunday Sales:

  • Hotdogs-these are easy to cook in an emergency using little resources. Combine them with a can of beans and you have the old campfire Beanie Weanie tradition which is packed with protein.
  • Canned chili
  • Canned nuts
  • Propane (price is really coming down in my area)
  • Charcoal

 What are you finding out there to help build your preps during the Super Bowl season?

 

Prepping on a Budget: Group Co-ops

One of the tips you’ll hear the most when trying to save money on food is to buy in bulk.  As a rule purchasing in bulk is a good strategy for prepping on a budget, but you need to be careful and compare  per ounce prices.   You can beef up your savings when prepping on a budget by putting together  group co-ops.

How to use Group Co-ops when Prepping on a Budget

Now when I mention group co-ops people think of already existing group co-ops like Azure Standard or something along those lines.  I’ve ran many a co-op in my time, and truth be known, co-ops come in all shapes and sizes.

Bulk Nuts Vacuum sealed with a FoodSaver

Recently a friend of mine contacted a local nut company and asked how big of an order was required to get their discount price.  A discount price is often not as low as a wholesale/resale price because a company requires a wholesale business number to sell at that price.  But a discount price is much lower than a sale price and makes it worth the time to co-ordinate orders with a group of other like minded people.

You can run group co-ops for all sorts of things from food to tangibles like grain grinders, water purifiers, etc.  It’s not hard.  Just give a company a call, ask if they would be willing to participate in your co-op.  Many grocery stores are willing to order in larger quantities of items for discount prices.

Where to find Group Co-Op Opportunities when Prepping on a Budget

Azure Standard

Walton Feed

Emergency Essentials

Local suppliers of fruits, veggies, nuts, etc.

Local health food stores.

Local grocery stores.

The worst that can happen is for someone to tell you no.  Big deal.  Scratch them off your list and move on to the next name.

Bulk Purchased Pumpkin Seeds Vacuum Sealed with a Food Saver

Back to our local nut co-op.  I purchased about 50 pounds of different kinds of nuts and seeds.  All at about a 30-40% discount.   It was awesome.  And easy.  And totally worth the time to bag up all those orders.

How to Store Nuts When Prepping on a Budget

I used to pour them in Mason jars and then stick ’em in my freezer.  But that didn’t leave a lot of room for great stock up deals on meat and the like.

vacuum sealing nuts in a Mason jar with my Food Saver

Using my FoodSaver to vacuum seal nuts in  Mason jars allows the nuts to last without having to take up precious freezer space, makes life so much easier!   I have almonds I purchased and vacuumed sealed two years ago that are still fresh!   Just make sure the tops stay sealed.  If one top comes unsealed, simply vacuum seal it again.  No biggie.

Food Savers Make Prepping on a Budget Super Easy!

It’s super easy! Looking at the picture above, you can see that I have the wide mouth jar sealer on my wide mouth jar, on which I’ve already placed a wide mouth lid. No ring needed right now. Just the jar and the lid.

Then I pulled out the accessory tubing from my FoodSaver and connected it to the top of the wide mouth jar sealer.  I pressed the button that starts the vacuum sealing process. It stops on it’s own when it’s done!

FoodSaver gives you the option of using regular mouth sized jars too. Just make sure you have the sealer for the regular mouth jars. Personally, I prefer the wide mouth jars, but the instructions will remain the same.

According to the manufacturer, the FM5000 Series of FoodSavers is compatible with jar sealers and any other FoodSaver container or accessory.

You will also need the regular and wide mouth FoodSaver jar sealers.

Prepping on a Budget using Mason Jars!

When you vacuum seal in mason jars, you can use any size from pint to quart to (my favorite!) half gallon jars! And, you can open and reseal them as many times as you would like. Score!

Vacuum Sealing is an excellent way to store legumes, rices, grains, raisins, and….well, the sky is kind of the limit here!

Anyone else prepping on a budget and using group co-ops to increase their purchasing power?  I’d love to hear about your experiences!