Food Storage

I thought you might get a kick out of our breakfast this morning – so I was raised by a thrifty mom who taught me wisely not to waste food.  So, those yummy rolls were sliced in half this morning and made into French toast a la food storage – aka 3 Tbsp of egg powder + ¾ cup of milk (made from milk powder) + vanilla and cinnamon.  Then, I top the French toast with my homemade sugar syrup flavored with “Mapleine.”  If you’re not familiar with Mapleine, give it a try.  You can find it in the spices area near the vanilla.  My mom made sugar syrup from brown sugar – no maple flavoring – but I’ve decided I prefer the flavoring.  The recipe for syrup is on the back of the bottle – but pretty much it’s 2 parts sugar to 1 part water.  I make 1 cup of sugar + ½ cup water and just heat it in the microwave.  I store it in my fridge in a glass canning jar.

We topped the French toast with sliced fresh peaches I purchased from www.bulknaturalfoods.com – a west Tennessee family run food co-op specializing in organic/minimally processed foods.  Please check them out.  I bought a 25lb box of amazing peaches for $15 + $5 shipping.  You are not locked in to anything – you just order what you want each order you’re interested.  This would be a great way to purchase some things to can.  We could go together to buy a couple boxes of peaches and then can them.  I have a DELICIOUS peach salsa recipe that I canned last summer.

A few storage tips:

Make a list of what recipes/snacks/foods your family eats regularly and stock up on those items whenever they go on sale.  I started out by keeping a list of what the everyday price was on items at Walmart and at Aldi.  (My list of those are 2 years old and it’s CRAZY how much those prices have risen in 2 years!  Can you say INFLATION?)  This helped me to know when things were really on sale.  I’ve gotten away from shopping at Walmart and have found that when I stock up on items at Kroger when they’re on a good sale I can save money over Walmart anyway.  Also, know the prices for regular sized items (say a 4 lb bag of sugar) so when you’re at Costco you know if the 25 lbs bag is a good price.  I kept this list printed out in my wallet.  Now I use a free I-Phone app called “GROCERY IQ.”  I put in the notes section what the price was – say for hamburger or tuna, etc. so I know whether something is a good price or not.  As I’m growing older, I really notice that if I don’t write it down I don’t remember it!  Here’s my Aldi price list from 2 years ago:

ALDI PRICES 4/21/2010

 Sugar                                      2.49         (5lb)

Flour                                      1.39         (5lb)

100 cal cookies                       1.99         (5.3 oz)

Triscuits                                  1.49         (9.5 oz)

Wheat thins                            1.39         (10 oz)

Cake Mix                                .89

Extra Virg Olive Oil               3.99         (16.9 oz)

Choc Chips                             1.69         (12 oz)

Frosting                                  1.19         (16 oz)

Pecans                                    2.89         (6 oz)

Peanut Butter                         1.39         (18 oz)

Oatmeal – flavored                  1.49         (15 oz)

Tuna in water                         .49           (5 oz)

Spag Sauce                             1.19         (26 oz)

Fabric Soft                             1.89         (70 sheets)

Orange Cleaner                     .99           (32 oz)

Dishwasher Gel                     2.49         (75 oz)

Lt Sour Cream                       .89           (16 oz)

Butter                                      1.99         (16 oz)

Smart Bal Butter                    2.29         (15 oz)

Sliced Cheese                          1.99         (8 oz)

Hamburger (80%)                  2.49/lb

Hamburger (93%)                  2.99/lb

Whole wheat bread               1.19         (20 oz)

Mushrooms                            .99           (8 oz)

Black Beans                           .59           (15.5 oz)

I found this GREAT website at www.dealstomeals.blogspot.com and she is like a food storage mega woman.  So, let’s say tuna is on a mega sale, stock up as much as your budget allows – say, buy 30 cans.  Base is on the expiration date and how much your family would eat before it expires.  Watch the expiration date – I have stocked up on peanut butter and on canned evaporated milk and not used them before they expired.

Stock up on what you use – cereal, oatmeal, ketchup, mayo, oil, sugar, flour, tuna.

I’m a bit embarrassed to show you what kind of junk our family was eating a couple years ago when I made this list, but for the sake of transparency I’ll put my list here.  This list allowed us to know what to have in our “home store.”  Now that we are eating less processed food, I store larger quantities of a smaller variety of items — so rather than buying things pre-made, I make them from scratch or use more whole foods and fresh fruits and veggies.

ALDIMacaroni (3)Spaghetti (4)

Penne (3)

Egg noodles (3)

Ramen noodles (2)

Spaghetti Sauce (10)

Brown sugar oatmeal (3)

Canned corn (10)

Cream corn (10)

Green beans (cut – not French) (10)

Canned spinach (4)

Canned peas (4)

Canned mixed vegetables (4)

Canned potatoes (4)

Baked beans (10)

Canned tuna (10)

Canned chicken (10)

Canned salmon (4)

Canned black beans (6)

Pineapple (4)

Tomato Sauce (8 oz) (6)

Diced Tomatoes (10)

Fruit cocktail (10)

Cornbread mix (4)

Breadcrumbs (1)

Brownie mix (3)

Flour (4)

Sugar (4)

Splenda packets (3)

Rice (4)

Beans (4)

Juice boxes (4)

Parm. Cheese (2)

Velveeta Cheese (2)

Mushroom soup (10)

Tomato Soup (10)

Cream of chicken soup (6)

Onion soup mix (2)

Pancake mix (3)

Chicken bouillon (2)

Beef bouillon (1)

Ranch dressing (2)

Blue cheese dressing (2)

Canola Oil (2)

Vinegar (2)

Family size tea bags (2)

Cheetos (2)

Stick Pretzels (2)

ALDIFat free milk (2)2% milk (2)

Margarine (2)

Butter (4)

Sour Cream (2)

Eggs (18)

Yogurt (6)

Cottage cheese (1)

Colby shredded cheese (2)

Mozz. Shredded cheese (2)

Cheddar shredded cheese (2)

String Cheese (2)

Cream cheese (2)

Amer. Cheese slices (2)

Muenster cheese (2)

Hamsteak (3)

Bacon (2)

Chicken Sausages (2)

Deli meat (3)

Frozen chicken breasts (4)

5 lb. hamburger pack (3)

Frozen hamburgers (1)

Hotdogs (4)

Corn dogs (4)

Half-gallon ice cream (2)

Lite coolwhip (2)

Hamburger buns (2)

Hotdog buns (2)

Bagels (2)

Tortillas (2)

100% whole wheat bread (2)

White bread (2)

Rolls (2)

Sweet potatoes

Bag salad

Bag spinach

Zucchini

Romaine hearts

Avocado

Mushrooms

Clementines

Grapes

Dishwasher detergent

French fries (2)

Tater tots (2)

French fried onions (2)

Saltines (2)

WALMARTAlfredo sauce (4)Brown rice (2)

Whole wheat lasagna (2)

Mashed potatoes (2)

Cereal (4)

Deli ham & turkey

Diapers – white cloud

Huggies wipes

Toilet paper

Paper towels

Big liquid hand soap

Dryer sheets

Laundry detergent

Borax (1)

Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (1)

Pizza crust mix (4)

Walmart triscuits (2)

Walmart wheat thins (2)

Cheese on cheese crackers (2)

Graham crackers (2)

Granola Bars (2)

Nutty Bars (2)

Tortilla chips (2)

Laughing cow cheese

cappuccino mix

Pudding mix (4)

Jello mix (4)

Snack puddings (4)

Ketchup (3)

Peanut butter (3)

Canned corned beef hash (4)

Gallon, Qt, Sandwich ziplock bags

Plastic wrap (sam’s choice)

Alum. Foil

Frozen Pillsbury biscuits (2)

Taco seasoning (2)

Chicken marinade (4)

Frozen mixed veg. (2)

Frozen spinach (2)

Frozen California veg. (2)

Frozen stirfry veg. (2)

Pie crusts (3)

Eggs (18)

Pineapple tidbits (4)

Applesauce (4)

Chicken nuggets (4)

Chicken patties (3)

Crystal Light (4)

Totino’s Pizza (6)

FREEZE stuff!  Cheese, butter, hamburger (I buy in bulk, cook it with onions and portion it in ¾ lbs portions in quart size bags).  When your fresh fruit looks like it’s going to turn – freeze it, or even cook it and freeze it.  Costco has great prices on fresh strawberries, so I’ll buy a 4-lb thing fresh.  Then, if we don’t eat them all, I wash them, cut off green tops and freeze them whole on a cookie sheet.  After they’re frozen, toss them in a ziplock bag and you can use them individually.  Grate up zucchini, press out the excess liquid and freeze in a baggie to use for muffins.  Bananas, peaches and blueberries are great frozen – they’re great in muffins or smoothies.  We do have an upright freezer in our garage that allows us to stock up on what’s on sale.

“America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams” by Steve and Annette Economides is available at the Collierville library and had lots of great tips.

As far as using actually Shelf Reliance foods, my favorite products would include: egg powder, instant milk powder, sour cream powder, shortening powder, freeze dried chiles, carrot dices, bell peppers, diced onions, potato beads (instant potatoes), mushrooms, tomato powder, instant black beans, and hard WHITE winter wheat.

Shelf Reliance carries a #10 can of Garden Vegetable seeds.  We bought 2 cans and have been experimenting with planting one can and stored the other.  The seeds are non-hybrid and even come with a little sheet explaining how to collect and store the seeds to replant the next year.

Thanks you guys!