Meal Planning for Surgery Prep

Being the cook  is one of my contributions to our family of 4 with 2 small children. I plan and cook every meal, mostly from scratch, so our family can eat what we feel is best for them. During any given day I spend a couple hours cooking and cleaning up in the kitchen.

Shortly before the recent holiday I went through some medical stuff that ultimately would require a future surgery to treat fully. Thankfully I was told to expect a short recovery of 1-2 weeks and I had the upside of ample time to plan and prepare.

Though my recovery would hopefully be short, I was fully expecting to have about 7 days of discomfort and low to no energy based on what I’ve been told from friends who had similar surgeries. During that time I wanted to make it as easy as possible for my husband to fill in and take over the things that I normally take care of in our home. We knew he’d be picking up everything I couldn’t during this time because of where we live. Family and friends aren’t near by, nor do we have take-out options.

Meal planning to prepare for surgery is easy. Meal plan for each day, create a shopping list, prepare meals and freeze. STICK TO THE PLAN!Meal-planning Continue reading “Meal Planning for Surgery Prep”

Vacuum Sealing Flour

I’ve used the mason jar sealer attachment for our Food Saver a few times, but only recently started using it to vacuum seal dried food goods. In the past I had placed dried food items in the Food Saver bags and preserved them in that fashion with few complaints. After sealing almond flour that way, I decided flour would be better preserved in jars to prevent the flour from caking together. I finally got around to another bulk flour preservation project and tried the mason jar technique. The jars are the way to go in my opinion. Of course the cost is higher, but they store so much more neatly and the flour doesn’t get clumped together. There is also the added benefit of the jars and lids being completely reusable. This is especially nice if for some reason you don’t get a great seal the first go round. With bags I had a few occasions where the seal was lost for one reason or another and there wasn’t enough room to reseal so the bag was tossed.

Here is what I did:
I used the largest mason jars we had (sterilized of course). Otherwise, I think this project would’ve been too tedious for my taste.
ball-canning-jars

Continue reading “Vacuum Sealing Flour”

Storing Dried Beans with FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer

We go through a fair amount of beans and buckwheat in this house. To save a bit of money to allow us to buy higher quality foods we try to buy in bulk. We’ve put our FoodSaver vacuum sealer into action to help store the larger amounts of these dry goods. I spent some time today storing this 50-lb bag of Navy Beans. Finally getting to the bottom of the bag in this picture!

We choose to vacuum seal foods when it’s appropriate to allow for longer storage in the cool, damp basement. We just don’t have room in the pantry to keep everything. Continue reading “Storing Dried Beans with FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer”

Food Storage…Where to Begin?

We began our food storage on a whim while living in our small 600 square foot apartment. The key for us at that particular moment was the absolute need for easy, space saving storage. We have since expanded quite a bit, our needs have changed and we now have much more storage space in our current home. Soon after moving our supply to our new home we sat down to make a plan and get organized.

Buy only things that are eaten on a regular basis. This ensures constant rotation. This is especially important with short term storage items that only last a year or 2. You want to make rotation a habit. This is the easiest way to do so with cans: cansolidator.  Buy things that dont require refrigeration!

Water. Water. Water. Having an ample supply of water is obviously the key to survival and comfortable living. Think total water usage, not just consumption. Water is necessary for hygiene and cooking as well as drinking. Find a way to ensure access to clean water in the event that public water systems become contaminated or power outages prevent normal well function. The solution for us is one that we use regularly when we have our prolonged winter power outages. We run our well on a gas generator.

Know what you have, what you consume, and how long your supplies will last. The easiest way is to start an inventory list the day you begin your storage and add/ subtract as things are added and eaten. If you’re like me and didnt stay on top of things, set aside an afternoon and update your inventory. I found a spreadsheet is the easiest way to do this. Include sizes, number of portions, and expiration dates. This way you can tell at a glance what you use most of and what’s about to expire. It’s also a good idea to do a quick once over of your spreadsheet when making your grocery list. Whether you decide to buy a little extra each shopping trip, once a month, or 3 times a year, you can easily see what you’ve consumed and how much you need to purchase to replenish your supply. Continue reading “Food Storage…Where to Begin?”

Shelf Reliance Cansolidator

To keep our canned goods rotating we’ve set up a Shelf Reliance Cansolidator Harvest 72″ unit. This unit holds up to 600 cans although we don’t have ours filled to the maximum capacity. It’s actually pretty empty at the time this picture was taken.

Cansolidator

Assembly took about 2 hours and was a bit tedious. The frame work goes together easily with a little help from a mallet.  For each slot there are multiple cross supports that snap into place and they each need to be fitted to the correct can size so the cans rotate smoothly which was the time consuming part.
Once the unit was put together we had to seriously consider which canned goods would get a spot in the cansolidator and which would remain on the shelf in the pantry. Only the foods that we use on a regular basis and felt we could get through before expiration got a spot. The other foods that we don’t keep many of on hand are living happily in our pantry!