Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pantry Pics

This is my dining table. Once again it is in use as a storage space rather than a piece of furniture used to make dining more comfortable. On the table is part of my stockpile. 
Stockpile 1
I had to empty the cupboard this lot was stored in so it could be moved. Yes, more disruption due to the ever-unfinished kitchen. I figured if I need to move it then I might as well do a stocktake, too. 

Stockpile 2
Most of my canned goods and consumables are stored elsewhere but I'm hoping these pictures will show that anyone can start to build a reserve of food stuffs. 
Stockpile 3
Stockpiling is not an exact science or a one size fits all set of instructions. We're all different so we all have different needs. The trick is to start, then build on it regularly.

Whatever happens, you're prepared to ride out the worst of it if you know you have a well stocked pantry.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Introducing Riley

A couple of weeks ago, the latest member of our household arrived.
Riley - Life's tough!
His name is Riley. He's now 11 weeks old and as anyone who's ever had any experience with kittens knows, when he's not fast asleep; he's a total lunatic.

Riley - The paper was like this when I found it... honest!
He's also firmly entrenched in our lives and our hearts.

Riley was one of the lucky ones. Most of his litter mates were unable to find homes and went to the local animal welfare centre and inevitably, were euthanised. I will never understand why people neglect to get their pets de-sexed. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Treats that Nourish Body and Soul

One of my favourite treats is 'salty maple syrup almonds', you can find the recipe here. It was pure serendipity that brought these treats into my world.

I love almonds, but they don't love me. Each time I ate them: raw, roasted, scorched, it didn't matter, I felt worse. I wasn't about to give up though so I did some research and discovered that soaking nuts (and seeds) makes them far more digestible by:

  • Neutralising the natural enzyme inhibitors in the nut
  • Enabling the body to absorb more vitamins
  • Breaking down the gluten so digestion is much easier, and
  • Reducing phytic acid, which inhibits the absorption of vital minerals.
I'm a fussy soul though, and I wanted the almonds to be full of flavour. That's how Salty Maple Syrup Almonds were created. And, not only are they very tasty, they're also full of vitamins and minerals. Just make sure you use real maple syrup and preferably Celtic salt as these ingredients are packed with nutrients, too.

They take a little while to roast so I usually have them in the oven while I'm also baking other things. 

Try them, and let me know what you think.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Stockpiling 101, cont...

Step Two

Now you’ll need to spend some time thinking about menus. In order to know what to stockpile you need to focus on what you use. If you don’t bake, then it’s pointless having 50 kg of flour stored. If you don’t eat baked beans they shouldn’t be in the cupboard. You know what you and your family eat on a regular basis. Most families have a dozen or so favourite meals they cycle through regularly. What are your family’s favourites? That’s where you should start your list.

Make a list of the ingredients or food items you buy regularly and start checking prices. Write the price, the size of the packaging and the store in a little note pad that you keep with you all the time. This enables you to take advantage of specials when you see them therefore making your stockpile a real budget superhero.

Remember though, only buy what you use, don’t buy it because it’s cheap. Cheap is still expensive if it sits at the back of the pantry collecting dust until it’s finally thrown away during your next spring cleaning session.

Once you’ve started to build up a supply the food items you use regularly, you can expand your stock list to include consumable items like toiletries and cleaning supplies.

When you’re comfortable with your ability to manage your well stocked pantry you’ll no doubt want to take it to the next level – preparation planning.

Preparing for an emergency, whether or not it’s financial or physical or both takes planning based on an intimate knowledge of your needs. Emergency Preparation requires you to store everything you need to survive a short term (or long term) emergency. Working on your well stocked pantry is giving you the knowledge, skills and a head start on stockpiling.

As your stockpile builds you will begin to feel a sense of self-reliance. You’re no longer a slave to the supermarket. The roles have been reversed. You can choose to buy when it suits you rather than them. You’ll start to get a taste of the real power of the money in your pocket and your respect for its power will grow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Well Stocked Pantry or Stockpiling 101

Step One

You need to know where you are in order to map out how to get to your destination. Organising your stockpile is no different. 

Once you decide you'd like to create your own well stocked pantry, you'll need to do a stocktake. That means getting everything out and making some decisions:
  • What's in your pantry now?
  • How long has it been there?
  • Is it past its expiry date?
  • How many of each item do you have?
  • Will you (and your family) still eat it?
  • If not, can you donate it?
You might by surprised at just how much stuff has made its way into your pantry and never seen the light of day again. Sort through it as quickly as you can, if you linger too long at this task you'll start to focus on the money that's potentially been wasted rather than the task at hand and that's not useful at this point.

Create three separate piles; keep, use immediately, donate. It would be prudent to throw away some things and I'm sure you know which ones when you see them. The 'keep' pile will form the basis of your stockpile, the 'use immediately' pile will mostly consist of items you bought on impulse rather than items you buy regularly so find a way to use them immediately. If you can't, donate them via a local food charity. Anything you can't ever see yourself or your family eating again, that's still well within its “use by” or “best before” date, donate.

Give your pantry a clean while it's empty. You might want to cover the shelves while you're at it, too. But, don't get too carried away or you'll lose sight of your objective, which is to start organising your stockpile.

When it comes time to refill your pantry, take a lesson from the supermarkets. Make sure the items you use every day are the most easily accessible and that usually means eye level. Items that are heavy or bulky should be on the lowest shelf or floor, items that are used less often can go on higher shelves, which is probably a good place for the biscuits!

Now that your pantry is clean and uncluttered, you’re ready for the next step. Tomorrow we’ll start on stocking your pantry.