Monday, January 31, 2011

Mountain House WINNERS!

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in our Mountain House giveaway last week.  Many of you commented that you have tried (and loved!) Mountain House products before, which is great!

We used Random.org to find a winner, and we got the numbers.........

#141,  and #6!

#141, Jenny A., who said,

I would love to try some of these products.  My biggest challenge is financial and storage space.

Thanks so much for all of the great information that you share on this blog!

Well, you're welcome Jenny A.! :)

and the second winner, #6, is Rachelle, who said,

My biggest challenge at this moment is just finding the funds.  I'll just keep up my "a little at a time" routine!

Good plan, Rachelle.

Jenny A. and Rachelle, please email us at safelygatheredin (at) gmail.com with your mailing address so that Mountain House can ship you your prize.  Thanks again to everyone for participating, and thanks again to Mountain House for this opportunity. 

Oh, and stay tuned... later this week I'll be sharing some more pictures of the Mountain House  products we tried... I had planned to share them today, but my SD card has been misplaced.  I guess that's what happens when your 4-year-old thinks the camera is a toy!

Also, thanks again for your comments.  You have provided us with a lot of great suggestions for future blog posts, and we look forward to helping you out!

Inspirational Thought

"Those who structure their standard of living to allow a little surplus, control their circumstances. Those who spend a little more than they earn are controlled by their circumstances. They are in bondage”

President N. Eldon Tanner "Constancy Amid Change," Ensign, Nov. 1979, 81

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mountain House Review/Giveaway!!

Mountain HouseJust In Case 7 day food unit

Mountain House

Several weeks ago, Mountain House contacted us to see if we would be willing to review some of their products here on the blog.  Of course, we were more than happy oblige and they sent us a box of some of their best selling freeze-dried foods. (I'll share some pictures in our post announcing the giveaway winners.)

If you aren't familiar with Mountain House, here's a brief description straight from their website:

Mountain House, the #1 brand of freeze dried backpacking foods has been the choice of backpackers, hikers, campers, and other outdoor enthusiasts for over 30 years.  When it comes to long term food storage, emergency preparedness and recreational activities like camping, hiking, backpacking and hunting, Mountain House is the #1 choice.  That's because Mountain House has been recognized as the best tasting freeze dried meals.  Mountain House is convenient, easy to prepare and has a long shelf life.

Like I said above, Mountain House sent me some of their best sellers, including: Macaroni & cheese, Vegetable Lasagna, Chicken Teriyaki with rice, Scrambled Eggs with bacon, and Buffalo style chicken, and a few more.  They even sent a freeze dried ice cream sandwich, which I thought tasted great (unfortunately, my kids did too and I only got one bite!).

I have to say, I have been so pleasantly surprised by everything I have tried so far.  The textures were great, and every meal is so full of flavor.  All of the foods can be eaten alone, and a handful can also be used as fillings in tortillas, making it an even heartier meal.  

One of the best parts about these packs of food is that they can be prepared right in the bag.  You just rip open the top, add 1-2 cups of boiling water (depending on the directions), and seal the bag up again with the zipper.  Let stand for 8-9 minutes, and it's done!  You can even eat it right out of the bag.  Also, most (if not all) of the pouches had two servings in each pouch.

I definitely recommend Mountain House foods.  In the past, Abbie and I have both warned against completely filling your food storage with freeze-dried foods because, what if you don't have access to clean water?  However, if you are able to store lots of water or have access to clean water, you should consider investing in some of these meals.

But think beyond general food storage -- these babies are perfect for your 72-hour kits!  They are incredibly light weight, and you are already carrying water in your kids so you have that handy.  They are also filling and would provide you with the calories you need.  Check out the Mountain House website because they have entrees, breakfasts, desserts... they even have some vegetarian meals.  I am planning on placing my own order in the future so that we can re-stock our 72-hour kits.

And now, the moment I'm sure you are all waiting for... the giveaway!  Mountain House wants to give TWO of our readers a box of some of their best-selling products.

To enter the giveaway, simply comment on this post (click on the word "comments" at the end of this post.  If you receive our posts via email, you will need to visit our food storage website to make a comment.)

So let us know: what is your biggest food storage challenge?  I know we've asked this before, but I'm always interested to hear what other people are working on, and it gives us great ideas for future posts as well!

One comment per person, please.  The giveaway ends Saturday at midnight EST.  We'll announce the winners next Monday.

Good luck, and thanks to Mountain House for the great giveaway!

**Just a disclaimer - the picture at the top of the post is Mountain House's 7-day food unit.  This is not the giveaway item, it's just a picture of some of their products.  Mountain House is giving away a random assortment of some of their best selling entrees.**

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Food Storage Tuesday

Every Tuesday, we post specific items you should gather in order to supplement your emergency car kit, your three-month supply, and your longer term storage.  If you are new to our blog, don't worry!  You won't be left behind.  Just start up where we are and follow along.  You will eventually have everything completed.  Once the car kit is complete, we'll be putting together 72-hour kits again (week by week).  Once those are done, we'll gather the car kits again.  So don't worry, just jump on in and join us where we are today!

This week for your car kits, add a pack of wet wipes and a roll of toilet paper.  In the past, people have recommended to us that you take the cardboard thing out of the toilet paper roll so that it will lie flatter - that's a good option, especially if you are tight on space in your box.  You will also want to keep it in a ziploc bag so it stays clean.  You may also want to keep the wet wipes in a plastic bag to give them extra protection for staying wet.

How's your three-month supply going?  Remember, the goal is to not have to go shopping for three months.  Don't forget to stock up on paper towels (if you use them), toilet paper, medications, diapers (get a size up, and then when you baby starts wearing that size, rotate those and buy another size up for storage, etc).  You also need cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, etc.

It's the last week that we are gathering "other" items for our longer-term storage.  Honey, flour, yeast, salt, sugar, powdered milk, etc.... Good luck!  We'll be moving on to something else next week.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Motivational Monday

“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress”

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin "Earthly Debts, Heavenly Debts," Ensign, May 2004, 42

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Food Storage Friday (err...Saturday): Fruit and Nut Energy Bars

I got the recipe for these fruit and nut bars from Family Fun. From the recipe they looked a lot like Lara Bars, which I really like, so I thought I'd give them a try.

Ingredients: dates, peanuts, vanilla and salt

First, put the peanuts in the food processor. Or blender if you got a really awesome blender for Christmas which I did. Sorry the pic is rotated...

Process the nuts---I think I went a little too far, I would leave more chunks next time. This was approaching peanut butter.

Put the processed peanuts in a separate bowl.

Then add the dates to the food processor.

Process the dates

Then add the peanuts back into the processor, as well as the vanilla and the salt.

Process it all together.

You want to be able to squeeze the mixture and form bars. So dump it on a clean surface and start forming into bars

The recipe says it makes six bars, I was only able to get five and they were TINY! But the recipe would be easily doubled or tripled.

Eat right away or wrap individually in plastic and store in the fridge.

Consensus: they were delicious (if you like peanuts). Mountain Man REALLY liked them and had a couple right away. With no added sugar it makes a great granola bar substitute and was really quick to make.

There are several other types of fruit and nut bars on the Family Fun page that use different nuts if you have peanut allergies. I'd be interested to hear how they turn out if you try them.

Peanut Butter Snaps
Family Fun

2/3 cup dates
1/3 cup peanuts
1/4 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Grind peanuts in a food processor. Remove to a bowl. Grind dates in the processor. Add the ground peanuts back in along with the vanilla and salt. Process until you can squeeze the mixture into bars. Form 5-6 bars and enjoy! To store, wrap individually in plastic and store in the fridge for a week.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Innovative Camping Products (article review)

Topeak Bikamper One-Person Bicycling Tent
I don't know about you, but whenever I see a web page or news article about camping products, I get a little bit excited to read it.  Not because of my love of camping (I actually don't really love it), but I am always interested in new and interesting ideas when it comes to camping.... you know, for emergency preparedness purposes.  And I'm always looking for things that will make my camping experience a bit easier and a bit more like home.

I came across this article a few weeks ago on the Camping Tourist website and wanted to share it with you today.  Some things seems a bit over the top, but others are pretty good ideas and there is at least one thing I'm thinking I want for my 72-hour kits.  Plus it's just fun to see what people are coming up with these days!

Click on over to the full article to see pictures and read more about them, but I just want to touch on them below.  The links below take you to Amazon so you can read specific reviews and get price information.

1. The bikamper (shown above): Basically, a tent that uses your bike frame to hold it up.  Looks interesting, especially if you love biking and camping.  Hence the name, bikamper (bike + camper).

2. The selk'bag.  The only way I can really describe this is to say that it's a sleeping bag "outfit" - a sleeping bag with arms and legs.  According to the article, it also doubles as a mattress.  They even come in kids' sizes and a variety of colors!

3. The cocoon.  I couldn't find this on Amazon but picture a tear-drop shaped tent hanging from a tree branch.  And you sleep in it sitting up!  Worth a look, just because it's pretty interesting looking....

4.  Solar powered tent.  I couldn't find anything like it on Amazon, but this is interesting.  This tent has LED lights inside, plus it can charge batteries.  It's too bad Amazon doesn't apparently sell these, because I'm curious about how well it would work and what people would think of this.  It's a great concept!

5. Stronghold camping tent.  Basically, an igloo-looking tent.... you know, for all those times you may find yourself stranded in Antarctica (literally, that's what it's for - places like the Himalayas and Antarctica).  At $3k, these are a bit out of my budget (plus I don't see myself going on a frigid expedition any time soon...)

6. Symbium3 Quechua backpack.  I can't find this on Amazon either so I don't know the price, but it's an aluminum-support backpack that apparently doesn't put any stress on your back.  Looks like it would be an awesome carrier for your 72-hour kits; however, it's pretty cool looking so I would guess it's pretty pricey.

7. Respite - a tent/hammock mix.  Could be comfy.

8. Pocket shower.  Wouldn't it be great to be able to shower even if you were stuck in the middle of nowhere??  There are lots of options on Amazon for something like this.  Does anyone have one that they recommend?

9.  Coleman Rendezvous stove.  Basically a sophisticated camping stove, but to be honest I'm not very well-versed in camping stoves, so you'd have to decide for yourself if it's fancy.  And that brings me to a question... can "sophisticated" and "camping" really be in the same sentence??

10.  DirecTV's Satgo.  Because camping shouldn't stop you from missing that episode of American Idol... haha.

Do any of you have any experience with any of these items?  Do you own (or know of) any other innovative camping ideas that could be used for emergency prep?

(image from Amazon.com)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Food Storage Tuesday

Every Tuesday, we post specific items you should gather in order to supplement your emergency car kit, your three-month supply, and your longer term storage.  If you are new to our blog, don't worry!  You won't be left behind.  Just start up where we are and follow along.  You will eventually have everything completed.  Once the car kit is complete, we'll be putting together 72-hour kits again (week by week).  Once those are done, we'll gather the car kits again.  So don't worry, just jump on in and join us where we are today!

This week for your car kits, add a flashlight and batteries.  Better yet, add a crank flashlight so you won't even need batteries.  This crank flashlight on Amazon has great reviews, but shop around to find what will be best for you.

How's your three-month supply coming along?  Like I said last week, we are trying to eat through a lot of ours before we move, so I've been putting our food storage meal plan into action.  We have one or two food storage meals per week (supplemented with fresh salad, fruit, etc).

We're still gathering "other" items this month for the long-term food storage.   Hope you're stocking up on all those "extras"! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Inspirational Thought

1 aThen shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten bvirgins, which took their clamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all aslumbered and bslept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the abridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their alamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps aare gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were aready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was bshut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I aknow you not.
13 aWatch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Matthew 25:1-13

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 Food Storage Goals (Abbie)

The past year I've been busy growing something other than food storage. Maybe many of you can sympathize with me that when I'm pregnant, I lose focus on a lot of goals and just try to survive. So now that I am out of the pregnancy-induced daze, I'm ready to jump back into life, especially into food storage! And there's no better time than the new year.

Here are my food storage/emergency preparedness goals for this year:

1. Go through and "revitalize" the following:
  • Car kit
  • 72 hour kits
  • 3 month supply menu plan
Not only do they need some TLC (i.e. major restocking), I also need to add baby supplies/foods to each of them to allow for our growing family.

2. Eat up current food storage

Like Hannah, I'm *hopefully* moving this summer and I've decided to follow her plan and eat up our food storage (especially our 3 month supply). I will try to save the grocery money I would have spent and restock our food storage when we move. I am planning on saving and moving a lot of our long term supply (beans and wheat that has been canned and is good for 30+ years) but I'd like to eat through our three month supply and several bags of wheat I've got stashed in my guest room closet. To help with this goal, I have mini goals:

  • Make bread often (eat only homemade bread)
  • Keep ground wheat flour in freezer for any cooking/baking
  • Eat the pantry and freezers clean
  • Make a 3 Month Supply Menu plan and grocery list (catered to our family) so that when we move into our new home I'll know exactly what to buy
  • Buy as much of our food storage as budget allows when we move into our new home
That's basically it, not too daunting (I hope). I plan to blog along as I accomplish these tasks, although I'm a little embarrassed at the state of my car kit.

Here's to a New Year and new goals!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My food storage goals for 2011 (Hannah)

Today and tomorrow, Abbie and I will be sharing some of our food storage goals for the upcoming year.  I am always excited for the new year and the opportunities it brings, and I LOVED reading all of your New Year's resolutions as you entered our giveaway last week.  There were a ton of really great ones and I actually wrote down a couple of them for ME to do!  So thanks to everyone for sharing with us - we read a lot of food storage and non-food storage goals alike.  It was great.

My food storage goals this year will actually be quiet similar to my goals last year.  Last year, one of my goals was to actually deplete a lot of my food storage over the first half of the year, because we were planning to move in June 2010.  I was pretty successful at that, and we ended up only having to pack about 4-5 boxes of food storage to take with us.  When we got to our new apartment in July, I went on a big shopping spree and replaced much of my food storage with grocery money that I had been saving over the previous months (because we were eating our food storage).  I wasn't able to bring us back to where we used to be (food storage-wise), but it was better than nothing.

But now.... we are moving AGAIN this June!  My husband is only doing his intern year here in Virginia, and we'll be moving to Florida in June so that he can do his 4-5 year radiology residency. 

So... you guessed it!  Once again, for the first half of the year I'll focus on depleting my food storage, and carefully saving the grocery money I DON'T spend, so that I can quickly replace it all when we get settled in Florida.  My main goal for the second half of the year will be to replenish my food storage.

Don't get me wrong: I am not opposed to "moving" food storage.  I would definitely pack it all up and move it ALL if we had to.  But anyone who has moved knows what a huge undertaking it is, and to add a bunch of food storage into the mix is a bit overwhelming.  I know some people may tell me that it's a really bad idea to get rid of my food storage and, what if we NEED it?  I understand that that's a risk I'm taking but I feel good about our decision.

Plus, I feel like it's good practice for me to be using my food storage so often.  I'm getting a lot of experience with cooking with my canned goods, as well as with my longer-term storage.  It's been fun to see what I can come up with, and it's also a little exciting to see our "food storage fund" grow semi-quickly as we save money on groceries each week (since we're eating more from the pantry).

Once we move to Florida, one of my food storage goals will be to figure out a good storage and rotation system in our new house.  We don't know yet where we will be living, but I'm definitely crossing my fingers for a house with a pantry and lots of other storage space.  Here's hoping!  It's been difficult to really set up a "system" here because we are only here for a year.  We'll be in Florida for 4-5 years, so I'm really looking forward to doing some longer-term changes to maximize food storage space (shelving, etc.).

Ideally, I'd also like to get a good water storage system in place (after we move), as well as focus on some emergency prep stuff.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Food Storage Tuesday

Every Tuesday, we post specific items you should gather in order to supplement your emergency car kit, your three-month supply, and your longer term storage.  If you are new to our blog, don't worry!  You won't be left behind.  Just start up where we are and follow along.  You will eventually have everything completed.  Once the car kit is complete, we'll be putting together 72-hour kits again (week by week).  Once those are done, we'll gather the car kits again.  So don't worry, just jump on in and join us where we are today!

This week for your car kits, add some bottled water and some snacks (granola bars, trail mix without the chocolate (it melts), gummy treats, etc.).  In the past, some people have worried about having their bottled water in the trunks of their cars for so long (because of chemicals from the plastic).  If you are concerned about this, rotate your water regularly, especially in the summer.  I'm not going to tell you how often "regularly" is... I'll let you decide!

How much water?  It depends on how many people are in your family and how many seats you have in your car.  I have 5 seats in my car so I store 5 bottles of water, even though I don't usually have 5 people in my car.  Better safe than sorry, though! 

How's your three month supply coming along?  Make a plan!  I know it seems like we say this all the time but really is the key to success.  A bunch of hodge-podge food storage in your pantry will not do much good (okay, it will of course do the job, but it will be confusing and could be difficult to make meals out of random canned and dry goods).

This month for our longer-term storage we're still gathering "other" items (see the sidebar for a list of items).  I think I'm going to focus on powdered milk and white flour this month.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Motivational Monday

"Behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."

Alma 37:6

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Giveaway Winner!!

Thanks to everyone who participated in our giveaway!  We used Random.org to find a winner.  Congratulations to:

#17, Mama's Boys, who said,

Along with all the things that are constantly on my radar (eating well, food storage, being more organized), I'm going to make a deliberate attempt to just have more fun with life.

Congratulations, Mama's Boys!!  Please email us at safelygatheredin (at) gmail.com to claim your prize.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year's giveaway: "It's in the Bag"

It's in the Bag a New Approach to Food Storage

A few months ago we gave away a copy of the book, "It's in the Bag: A New Approach to Food Storage".  Here's your second chance to win a copy!

Written by Michelle and Trent Snow, "It's in the Bag" introduces a unique way of planning your food storage.  Here's a link to our book review of the book that we did last summer.

To enter to win this giveaway, just leave a comment on this post telling us one of your New Year's resolutions.  It doesn't have to be food storage or emergency prep-related, but we do love to read about those!  (Make sure you leave a comment on THIS post, not our old review/giveaway post!  Just click on the "Comments" link word below.  If you get our blog posts through email, you'll have to click onto our website and make your comment there). 

One comment per person, please.  Giveaway closes tomorrow, Friday January 7th at midnight EST.  We will use Random.org to find a winner, and we'll announce the winner on Saturday.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Food Storage Tuesday

Every Tuesday, we post specific items you should gather in order to supplement your emergency car kit, your three-month supply, and your longer term storage.  If you are new to our blog, don't worry!  You won't be left behind.  Just start up where we are and follow along.  You will eventually have everything completed.  Once the car kit is complete, we'll be putting together 72-hour kits again (week by week).  Once those are done, we'll gather the car kits again.  So don't worry, just jump on in and join us where we are today!

I hope you all had a great holiday season and that you are ready to get back into the swing of things as far as food storage/emergency prep goes.  I know I am ready to start up again!  I'll admit, my three-month supply is dwindling a little bit but I'm ready to get back on the bandwagon and start again.

We have finished our 72-hour kits and we're starting the car kits again!  Car kits are perfect for those little emergencies that could come up when we are traveling -- whether we are 5 miles from home or 500 miles from home.  This week, find a box to act as your actual kit.  I like using a small tupperware box with a snap-on lid.  You can see our list of car kit items here, so take a look at it and see how big you think your box needs to be.  Not everything needs to fit IN the box - for example, you could have your small first aid kit separate from your box, or the jumper cables could just be separate as well.  

For your three-month supply, assess what you have and what your plan is.  Don't have a food storage plan? Make one!  It's as simple as just writing out what meals you want in your three-month supply, and then making a master list of ingredients you need.  For example, 3 months = 12 weeks.  I plan on making spaghetti once per week in my plan, so I need to buy approximately 12 lbs of pasta, 12 jars of sauce, etc... and ta-da!  All my Monday dinners are planned.  Onto Tuesday...... click on the link above for more examples.  Don't have time to make a whole food storage plan?  We've done one for you, complete with recipes and a master shopping list... all in our food storage e-book.

This month for our longer-term storage, we are gathering "other" items.  Let's face it, the 4 staples (beans, oats, rice, and wheat) don't really bring much excitement to a "year's supply" of food.  I like to also have a year's supply (or at least 6 months' worth) of: powdered milk, yeast, pasta, white flour, sugar, honey, and bouillon cubes.  Oh, and cocoa powder and chocolate syrup. :)

Besides the 4 "staples", what do you stock up on?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Motivational Monday

“To become self-reliant, a person must work. Work is
physical, mental, or spiritual effort. It is a basic source
of happiness, self-worth, and prosperity. Through work,
people accomplish many good things in their lives. . . .

“As people become self-reliant, they are better prepared
to endure adversities” and are “better able to care for others
in need.”

Church Handbook of Instructions